7 Tips For SME’s: Using Internal Resources For Online Marketing
As a small business owner you will likely have educated yourself by now on how to market your business using social media, SEO, emails and paid advertising. But do you have the time to do these things well?
In your DIY efforts you might find that a myriad of things limit the hours you can spend on online marketing. What’s the best solution? To use your company’s internal resources effectively to distribute your marketing efforts and make your online marketing goals achievable sooner.
Here we’ll discuss some practical approaches for distributing your online marketing efforts to the internal resources available within your company, your friends or family, and even customers themselves.
1. Customer Service:
Whoever takes care of customer service in your company is a great resource for information on what your customers really want.
Ask the person/people who directly interact with your customers questions, such as:
- What do your customers like the most about your product or service?
- What do your customers dislike about your brand?
- Where did your customers hear about your business?
- Are your customers active on social media sites? If yes, which site do they visit most frequently?
- How often do they like updates on your product or service?
- Do they prefer email or social media?
- How do they rate the site’s user-friendliness?
- What made them come to you rather than a different supplier of your type of product or service?
- If they were to recommend your business to their friends, what benefits would they point out to them?
Note: Keep in mind that you do not want to overload customers with questions!
2. Internal Site Search:
Usually websites have an internal search option which is beneficial for customers who are trying to find something specific on the site. If you have one on your site, use the reporting function to look for words that your customers use to search on the site.
These user-specific searches will give you greater insight on the elements on your website that should be made more prominent, or the types of content that people are interested in.
For instance, if you have an e-commerce website with many products and the most common query is for a specific product, you probably want to provide your marketing message for that product right on the home page. You could also provide a discount on the product and make that prominent on the home page. Or you could offer information on the product via your social media brand pages.
Read this Google support article on how to leverage an internal site search.
3. Social Media Savvy Colleagues/Friends/Family:
You likely already know who among your staff, friends and family are popular on social media platforms. Ask them if they would like to manage your social media pages for an incentive.
Set a plan for how often post updates must go live on your social media brand pages and distribute the schedule to your social media savvy staff. Clearly explain any guidelines and articulate how the brand identity should be maintained in posts.
The advantage of using social-media-savvy people to do this job is that they will be fast, they will probably enjoy doing it, it will save your time and they may bring a fresh, more broad outlook on the business.
Do not forget to track these posts once you’ve delegated them elsewhere! Conduct regular meetings with your newly appointed social media managers and discuss the obstacles they face, if any, or if they have ideas for better interaction with your customer base.
You can also share the information you gained in the first tip with your social media stars so they know more about your customers. This will help them to better structure your marketing messages.
4. Train a Colleague to Collect Online Performance Reports:
As a business owner you will want to check your web traffic and content marketing reports regularly. But you can also train someone in your office or within your family who is trustworthy and responsible enough to check your website’s online performance reports and create a weekly or monthly performance chart.
Keeping track of conversions in these reports is an obvious metric, but the person you trained can also regularly keep track of the website’s traffic increases or decreases, popular keywords that send traffic, any websites that send traffic, conversion paths and social media referrals, and then report back to you with the most interesting information.
You can then use the information on your performance statistics to better your marketing strategy, or produce case studies from these reports to write about in your blog for the benefit of your readers.
5. Make Brand Advocates Out of Customers:
Whether dealing with an irate customer who posted a negative online review or a happy customer who blogged or tweeted about your brand in deep appreciation, you can make brand advocates out of both with smart customer service.
Negative comments can be turned into recommendations if you have the ability to win these customers’ hearts with amazing service, product information or an extra little incentive in the form of a discount or replacement.
Ask happy customers for reviews on your Google+ page or any other review website of your choice. Read our blog post on 4 Steps to Get Online Reviews to know more. Leverage your presence at local events and fundraisers to encourage reviews or blog mentions of your brand. Check out this post by SocialMediaToday.com that talks about turning your customers into brand advocates.
6. Mommy Bloggers as Company Brand Ambassadors:
If there is someone in your family or community who belongs to the mommy blogger community, get in touch with them and give them a reason to blog about your small business.
Here is a blog from SocialMediaExaminer.com that shares some research statistics supporting the use of brand advocates to market your brand online.
7. Make Use of Employees for Brand/Content Marketing:
You can always use your employees’ special skills or talents to reach out to your customers and help build your brand. For instance, if you have a multilingual employee, you can use their language skills to create content for a foreign market.
At WooRank we have utilized this tactic with our extremely talented staff member Javier Sanz. He has recently blogged about digital marketing on a very reputed site in our niche – SearchEngineJournal.com, in both Spanish and English.
You must train and educate your employees about your brand and your brand’s USP (unique selling proposition). Give them material to hand over to potential customers they might meet outside of work.
You can also distribute gifts that have your brand name or logo imprinted on them to your employees and their family and friends. Who doesn’t want a great new mug or t-shirt? Plus these gifts can work as brand advocates by themselves.
Listed below are online apps/tools that help develop brand advocacy among company employees and peers:
So, what internal resources are present in your company that could be used for successful online marketing? Do you share any of the marketing or PR responsibilities of your small business with your friends or family? Let’s discuss the possibilities in the comments!