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I think it’s impossible to have a successful business without promoting your product or service.
I also believe that everyone being part of a company can contribute to a company’s word of mouth marketing. No matter if they’re customer service agents or a graphic designer.
I’m also certain that a great product and excellent service are the foundation of positive customers’ recommendations.
Following this, I will give you examples of actions you can take to promote your business online.
Increase customer engagement with email marketing
There are many types of email newsletters you can send to customers. It all depends on the business you’re in and the content you create.
You can send newsletters which inform about special promotions, new products and updates or new blog posts.
At LiveChat we have a couple of newsletters.
We send thematic Monthly Newsletters to our customers. Their goal is to educate customers in a particular subject. I’m responsible for them, so I hope they meet your expectations.
We have Partners Newsletters that help our affiliates, resellers and experts understand our product better and to give them tips on how to promote it successfully.
We also have the Blog Newsletters that our precious content team sends each time we publish a new post.
Whatever newsletter you decide you want to go with, plan to send them regularly. It will help your readers to get used to it. And maybe one day they will wait to get it.
Email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with customers and regular readers. Keep in mind that 91% of consumers check their email every day. Also, on a daily basis consumer interact with about 11 brands through email (compared to 9 brands via Facebook, and less than 8 brands via Twitter).
It’s a very strong medium. And when used right, it’s super effective.
The power of social networks
Your business won’t fit on every social media channel. Before you set up any social media accounts, think about why you want to have them. Then come up with the right social media strategy and focus on providing great content.
Here’s how you can use your social media to promote your business online:
Sharing your expertise – post little known facts, best in a light and funny way. You can also do it in the form of questions and offer something to the first person who answers them correctly.
Ask conversation starter questions – this way you nurture relationships with your customers. You also start a discussion, which increases the chances of reaching new people who follow your customers.
Context – You don’t post a product update info on Instagram with a feature graphic. You rather put a picture of a happy team who finished some bad-ass project and the product update info goes to Twitter and Facebook. As Gary Vaynerchuk says: “Content is king but context is God.” Adjust the content to the channel you post it on.
Follow the one-in-seven rule – I wrote that you should post other people's stuff on your social media many times already. Recently I found out about the “one-in-seven rule”. It means only one of every seven posts you publish should promote your business. The remaining six can be focused on sharing valuable content, including posts from the community. Obviously, you can promote your business in other posts, but not directly.
Customer reviews are very powerful. They can make you the market leader.
How to get them?
Well, first you need to have happy customers. Then you need to encourage them to talk about their experience using your product or service. Encouraging customers is very important. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes customers just forget or don’t have enough motivation to leave you a review they want.
I know it myself. I had the best bike adventure in Milano, and I promised the guide to write a recommendation on TripAdvisor. Even though I create articles on a daily basis, I didn’t write a few sentences recommending his service. We wrote on WhatsApp after the trip, but I finally didn’t leave him a review (Sorry Ben!). I guess I wanted the review to be perfect and once I created it in my head, I thought people won’t believe me anyway.
In my defense, I can say that I talk about this tour guide pretty often, whenever I talk to people about travels. I say about what an unforgettable day we had with this guide and I recommend it to anyone. So, note that a little poke requesting your customers to refer your business may do wonders. Because it’s not like they don’t wanna do it!
Join relevant online communities and contribute
Every industry has online communities sharing their knowledge, experience and tips. You should get involved. You can join groups of experts on LinkedIn or post in the Google+ communities.
Besides posting your content, you can contribute and answer other users questions. It’s all about networking. If you decide to do that, maybe you won’t gather as much traffic to your website, but you can become a well known member of the groups and be perceived as an expert in your field.
This way you passively promote your business by putting a link in your signature or BIO and you mention it only when the context is appropriate. It helps you build credibility among online users.
YouTube is a free and easy way to distribute promotional videos. But unless you won’t create a viral advertisement, you should concentrate on publishing valuable content that people want to view instead of ads.
For example on Livechat's Youtube account besides promotional videos explaining how LiveChat works, you can find our customer stories in which they explain how LiveChat helped them running their business.
Don’t forget about SEO
While all the points above treated about you reaching out directly to your customers and readers, SEO is about doing the best you can so the potential customer can find you themselves.
Long time ago, I used to think that SEO is like balancing on the edge of morality (“online morality” obviously!) by preparing short, not so valuable articles full of certain keywords just to get indexed on the first site of Google. Apparently some companies do it. But now I know what true SEO is about. And if somebody reacts negatively to SEO I think it might be because their companies don’t do it right.
For me, SEO is about preparing content that readers want to find. And if SEO is done right, it works for your business without you lifting a finger.
While preparing content on your website you have to keep in mind what keywords are related to your business and industry. I can’t go any deeper right now because it’s a vast subject. For now I’ll give you the link to the most useful article on SEO that I’ve read: Google’s 200 Ranking Factors.
Last but not least is the word of mouth marketing which is always worth mentioning. When you develop relationships with your customers and make them happy with your service, they will do marketing for you for free.
Word of mouth is the most powerful drive that makes people buy. I know that most conversations about products happen live but not all of them. For example, on Facebook people sometimes have a long dialog about a particular website, company or a product. Also, on their Facebook wall they often ask if people can recommend something.
Read more about creating word of mouth.
Promoting your business
If you’re an entrepreneur your business promotion on a daily basis can be: improving your product, sharing new upgrades and updates and maintaining relationships with customers.
But to your daily activities you should also deploy all the actions I mentioned above. Step by step.
These actions are not simple, we actually have dedicated people for most of them, like social media specialist, marketing specialist. We are still trying to find a SEO specialist.
Whoever in your company is responsible for it, don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediately effects. They usually take time. But it’s worth the effort.