By Lisbeth Calandrino
So, you’ve finally decided to break down and hire a digital marketing company. Up until now, you’ve had a Facebook page that you used occasionally, but it’s a placeholder. Now you have a business partner who can help you raise your game. You’ve got someone posting on your social media sites, writing your blogs and checking your stats. You’ve learned everything there is to know about this new technology.
So, you’re all set, right? Not so fast. If you’re hoping this will be the secret to your success, think again. To say 2020 is different than 2000 is the understatement of the century. Beyond the obvious impact COVID-19 has had on small businesses, especially how they promote and market themselves, we’re simply dealing with a different type of consumer than we did 20 years ago. Back then, most people were still doing traditional advertising and left it to the newspapers and TV stations that knew the customer. Connecting with customers was limited, so it didn’t matter. Do some of these old strategies still work? Of course; a lot depends on your market. However, I recently read that most people in a car are looking at their phones, unless they’re driving—we hope! What does that say about billboards?
Regardless of the digital platform you use, it will only succeed if you are actively involved. Sure, it’s great to have someone writing your blogs, tracking your customers and even providing a chatbot. (A chatbot can help with deliveries, answer return policy questions, book appointment and answer simple FAQs, etc.) However, if you don’t have the basics down, such as who’s driving the delivery truck and knowing all the materials are there, you’re back to square one.
A digital platform connects you and your customers to numerous touch points. But they’re your customers, so what are you doing to connect with them? As the late Steve Jobs famously said: “You have to start with the customer experience and work back towards the technology, not the other way around.”
So, what can you do to maximize your investment? Here are some tips.
- Strategize. Sit down with your marketing company and have them explain the customer touch points and what you can do to increase your engagements. Review these with your employees and determine how everyone can connect. Don’t do this once; rather, do it weekly or every two weeks. Have them explain your stats and what you might do to continue to improve. Engage your team members so they understand how it will impact their customer relations.
- Create videos. First, determine what is worth a video, what are you trying to show the customer and how you will do it.
- Ask for online reviews. Installers are the key to the success of your business. Sit with your installers and discuss how you engage with your customers, especially after the sale. Encourage them to ask customers for positive reviews as soon as the installation is complete.
- Don’t let leads go cold. With more and more consumers researching online, follow-through is more important than ever. If you can’t handle the Internet leads, I suggest you hire someone. Car dealers don’t wait around for salespeople to follow up on the Internet customer. They have a person who is paid to bring the customer into the showroom, and this person often gets a spiff if the customer buys. This way they are invested in the customer’s positive experience.