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Word-Of-Mouth Marketing Online –Equals Healthy Sales

Small and medium-sized business owners, you know how vital it is to the health of your business that you make a great impression with all of your customers, who then, of course, tell their friends. Plain and simple that’s word-of-mouth advertising. Undeniably, it’s the best way of introducing your business to potential new customers and bringing in new sales. Customers as advocates, what could be better than that? Maybe multiplying that advantage? Take your word-of-mouth techniques online and you can do just that. Quite simply, you will then have created the essence of inbound marketing and social media dynamics. Big words, simple idea –word-of-mouth –brought online. Online, we call it building a community.

Taking aspects of your word-of-mouth marketing online can be relatively easy and can be gained steadily over time, just like your brick and mortar-earned client base.

'Word of Mouth' photo (c) 2007, Paull Young - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/The same rules prevail.

  1. Pay attention to what your customer is telling you,
  2. Know what they will tell others, and
  3. Always- appreciate their comments and their business.

Keep these guidelines in mind when putting your business… out there. Need some help sorting this all out?

Here are 5 easy tips to help you get started online.

Do your online networks work together and support each other?

You’ve chosen the online networks you want your business to network with: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and others. You’ve created a website –set it up to become your basecamp. Now, are they integrated? Is the “Like” button on your web page? Is your web address on your Facebook page? There is usually simple code to insert, or a plug-in to be added.

Can people find you? Remember- Location, location, location!

Where does your page rank? If you have a physical location, when people search for you, do Google maps appear? At the top of the page? And is the location correct? These are all things you can adjust yourself by going into Google maps, Yahoo maps, etc.

Time-management

Don’t let this defeat you! There is a lot of information to track.  BUT, there are some great little ‘helpers’ for social media management, tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and Ping.fm. These are free services that pride themselves on ease of use and allow you to track and update all your networks at once. Looking for something more robust? Depending on what you need, I have some ideas on that. Drop me an email.

Inbound marketing does not work best in a vacuum

Macy's QR Code imageAdd a little Outbound Marketing to your online mix. Integrating your brick and mortar word-of-mouth techniques with your online presence can be as easy as holding a drawing with business cards for a free meal or service. If you are sending postcards, have an offer on the card that pulls clients into your website for something like a contest, free reward or valuable info. Add these to your database for opt-in email marketing, find them on Facebook, or run a text campaign to their cell phones. Cutting edge promotions, most recently, have integrated QR codes into promotions, effectively making use of smartphone technology.

SEO, keywords and Links = Results

Keywords and link building are essential to building an online presence. One of the first things to do is to be sure you have the relevant keywords listed in your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Do you have a business that you partner with? Ask them to link to your site and in return you should link to theirs. It’s powerful stuff for getting better search results and getting the Big Boys to notice (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) your site.

There is a much more to bringing your successful word-of-mouth strategies online, but give me a call and we’ll chat about things you can do right away to advance your word-of-mouth presence and ensure healthy sales.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

The Pluses and Pitfalls of Partnerships

Many entrepreneurs and startups would never have been formed if it weren’t for partnerships –as in dual ownership of a business entity. Many depend on one partner contributing capital, while the other contributes intellectual capital; some depend on complementary skill sets, some depend on sharing time spent working on the business and multiplying what working together can do. No matter your reason, think long and hard before going into a partnership with someone.
partnership agreementphoto © 2010 o5com | more info (via: Wylio)

The reality of a partnership is that they are just like marriages, but many times, without the long vetting process of a courtship. Just like a marriage the percentages of survival are often against you. And just like in a marriage, a partnership involves balancing a huge mix of issues like: division of the work, who is the final decision-maker, work styles, money decisions, egos, perceptions & promises, and stress. Then as time goes by, uncover the skeletons in that person’s closet and you start to see why, in reality, it may have been better to go it alone.

If you’re still set on a partnership as the only way of making your entrepreneurial dream a reality then I suggest the first thing you do is see a business lawyer to protect yourself and your interest in the business. One of the things they may have you work through is a partnership agreement similar to the one on our Resources page. Leave a comment for me below (no need to post your email address), if you’d like it sent to you as a word document. If you think through as many of these things as possible you will no doubt improve your odds. I’d also advise you to be on guard if your future partner wants to gloss over any of the points in the agreement. Items like number 11, amount of time contributed, or item 13, whose decision will prevail, should be considered for all potential possibilities, as they will undoubtedly become important as your business evolves.

One thing that is not mentioned in this list is the idea of ‘full disclosure’. No matter how long you’ve known the person or even if they are related to you, I recommend having a background check done and credit score pulled for all involved parties. Finding out months into a partnership that your partner isn’t exactly what they claimed to be can be a rude shock and game changer, better to find out right away.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Give us a call today!