Four Simple Steps to Convert Customers into Advocates

Turning satisfied customers into advocates of your services, products or brands is a very powerful marketing tool.  Every day, the influence of Social Media in purchasing decisions grows exponentially!

Your customers wield tremendous influence over their FaceBook Friends, Twitter Followers, LinkedIn Connections etc. So, how do you turn your customers into your own army of brand evangelists?

Try the old Social Media Four Step!

Step One:

Do Great Work! Always strive to exceed expectations. A delighted customer will happily tout your business to others. They’ll take great pride in having found such a great company to deal with. They will even make your company part of their own identity. Ever see that Apple logo sticker in the back window of a car (or VW Bus!)?  

Step Two:

Engage The Customer! Actively get your customers involved in your product or services. These are the folks you want advocating for you so you better be sure you’re all on the same page! Ask for their opinions about, and recommendations for, improvement to their experience with your company. By engaging your customers in the process, they will feel even more invested in you, and therefore become more willing advocates.

Step Three:

K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Silly! Make it really easy for customers to advocate on your behalf. Provide several simple resources to talk about your company.  Have a strong social media plan in place with several outlets for your customers to talk about you.  Invite them to “like” you on Facebook and write a recommendation or testimonial.

Step Four:

Ask! Let your happy, delighted customers know that you would greatly appreciate their help in spreading the word about their wonderful experience with your company. Invite them to join your LinkedIn contacts and recommend your services. Have them follow you on Twitter, comment on your blog, Pin you to their Pinterest board – whatever! By developing your company’s social media strategy you’re creating a platform for your advocates to some advocating.  Where is your company on the social media spectrum?

Step Four and a Half:

Don’t forget to set up your mostly free accounts up in business directories; i.e. Alexa, Citysearch, Merchant Circle, Yelp, etc.  These directories allow you to put in your company background information, contact information and keyword tags for search engines. Once you’re listed on these directories your brand evangelists have yet another place to can tell the world how wonderful you are!


How Do You Create A Strong Call To Action?

In all of your marketing efforts, the main objective is to get a response.  The call to action (CTA) is the most important part of your message of your website, email campaign, direct mail campaign, SMS campaign or pay per click campaign.

The problem with most CTA’s is they are not clear enough as to what your audience will be getting, or they do not stand out enough.

The most common CTA mistakes on websites is a lack of detail.  For example, “Buy Now” – Buy What?  Or, “Click Here”…and what download a virus?  Make your message clear – “Click Here To Sign Up For Our Newsletter” or “Fill Out The Form to Buy Our Video”.  The design of your CTA is also important.  The CTA should be larger than other elements on the page and use color and contrast to make it stand out.

This is also a problem with Direct Mail, if your printed piece is covered in “Act Now”, “Limited Time Offer”, or “Supplies Are Limited”, this is not a strong message to the consumer who has been seeing these messages over and over and they tune them out.  Be clear on what your company is offering, for instance, if you are a pool contractor, you may want to offer free estimate and a $100 off coupon for returning the card.    With direct mail it is also very important that your CTA is going to the right mailing list!

We all know that mobile marketing is becoming more relevant as the number of people who use their tablets and smart phones for information increases. With mobile marketing you will increase your opt-ins by giving your customers more information on what they will receive, how often and how to opt-out.  Make sure your CTA provides incentive; it could be a coupon, entering a sweepstakes, special offer, etc.

PPC advertising costs you money, so you want to make sure every click you pay for counts.  A PPC campaign is highly targeted traffic, so it’s important that you don’t confuse your pay per click visitors.  Your landing page should be solely dedicated to s single purpose with a strong CTA.  For example if you are a landscaping company wanting to build your customer base, your landing page should provide your company information, a form to fill out for more information and an incentive for doing so, i.e. first month service free and free estimate.

Direct Etc. will help you develop the strong CTA’s to increase your response, exposure and conversions. Contact us for more information.


Video Marketing, Why You Need It

Video Marketing is a very hot topic now and is growing rapidly. Cisco Systems estimates that 90% of web traffic will be driven by video by the end of 2013 and must be incorporated into your website’s content marketing strategy.

Your website’s content and your blog gets your message in front of your potential customers and you can be found via Long Tail Keyword search in Google.  However, Video is much easier to syndicate and will get that video in front of as many eyeballs as possible.  There are several ways to post syndicate your videos, here are a few resources:

  • YouTube
  • Video Aggregators, e.g. Veoh, Blip, Metacafe
  • Post Link on Your Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, etc.
  • Place Video on your website or blog
  • Ask other websites to post your video
  • Post your video on iTunes as a video podcast

As you can see, website content is important, but one video allows you dozens of places to post and get you more exposure.

Creating videos is simple and inexpensive.  You don’t need a director, professional equipment, editing skills or software.  You just need a video camera or smart phone to get started.  Find the best person in your company to be your star and then deliver information people can use and enjoy.

Think about it, as a restaurant owner, wouldn’t a video of patron enjoying your venue and raving about the Chef’s Special have way more impact than pictures on your website? You bet!

If you’re a landscape company, a video showing the transformation of a customer’s property as well as the customer enjoying their new yard is far more impactful than just before & after pictures.  And as an added bonus, a clients’ testimonial on video will carry far more weight than one that’s written.

Another advantage of Video marketing is its ability to establish your company’s personality even faster than writing articles or blog posts.  On video your personality comes through to viewers and gives them an opportunity to like and share you with their social community, expanding your reach even further.

Even though video is established in most market areas, the number of companies using it effectively is relatively small. So the use of videos to discuss your products and services definitely sets your company apart from your competition.

The growth of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets accessing the internet is phenomenal. Video plays very well on these mobile devices.  As your Blended Marketing Solution provider, Direct Etc. will help you to integrate your online marketing, including videos with your direct mail and email campaigns to ensure all channels perform at their best!

Contact us today to see how we can help you.


Google Places Update

As we all know Google is constantly updating their products and search algorithms.  Direct Etc. will keep up with these changes and get the information out to our readers as quick as we can! We know how important it is to the small business owners to keep up with these changes and adjust their business listings on the Internet to advance their brand and continue to grow business.

In an effort to bump up their social network Google+, the search engine has replaced Google Places with Google Plus Local.  When Google Plus launched in 2011, there was a lot of enthusiasm, however, the usage statistics did not keep up with the pre-launch hype.  With replacing Google Places with Google Plus Local, which will also interface with Zagat, Google hopes its 100 million users with start interacting more frequently on the social network and give Facebook more competition.

If you already have a Google Places page, it has been replaced with the new Google+ Local page.  So you don’t need to worry about doing anything with your listing.  Here is a list of changes that have been implemented.

  • The substitution of the new Google+ Local pages for Google Places pages
  • The appearance of a “Local” tab within Google+
  • The integration and free availability of Zagat reviews
  • The integration of Google+ Local pages across Google properties, i.e. search, Maps, mobile
  • Integration of a circles filter to find reviews/recommendations from friends, family and colleagues.

When Google launched Places their hope was that merchants would use it to interact and communicate with their customers and prospects.  This didn’t happen because of the limitations of Places.  Learning from that Google+ Local is much more versatile and social “friendly” with functionality equal to Facebook and Twitter.

These changes will enhance the consumer experience with a relatively small adjustment and learning curve.  Internet users will continue using Google as they have but get the benefit of the richer pages and Zagat ratings.  Millions of local merchants can use the technology to create dynamic pages and content and create greater engagement with customers and prospects.

If you don’t have your Google+ Local page, we encourage you to do so soon.  It’s free and easy to set up.  However, if you need some help, please contact us.