In recent years, the Internet has changed the world of marketing. Marketers can no longer use the same techniques today that worked yesterday. The attitudes and behavior of your customer have changed, and to be successful you have to change with them.
Don’t Believe the Hype
Over the last few decades, consumers have endured a flood of sales and marketing material. They’ve been inundated with ads everywhere they turn, and each marketer tries to shout over the others for their attention. As a result, people have tuned out. They don’t believe in exaggerated language or hype anymore.
No More Used Car Salesmen
The online versions of used car salesmen have gotten a bad rap because of their hard-sell tactics. These tactics make them look like opportunists out to make a quick buck with little regard for their customers’ best interests. Consumers are no longer responsive to this approach. They’re smarter shoppers today, and they understand when they’re being manipulated.
Today’s Marketing Is about Relationships
The salespeople of the past saw a customer as a way to make a quick sale. The marketer of today needs to build relationships. The goal is for the customer to see you as a trusted friend and a valuable source of information. People want to feel like part of the brands they love, rather than just a number in a company’s marketing game.
The key to building relationships well is to focus on your customers’ needs. Listen closely to them and understand their problems and desires. You can then offer the products and services that customers are already actively seeking, rather than trying to convince them to buy products they never wanted in the first place.
The way savvy marketers reach their audience online today is through content marketing. Customers are looking online for information, and you can be there to provide it. You build your expertise by providing answers and become, in customers’ eyes, an authority in your niche. This engenders trust and builds relationships. The resulting sale is a natural outgrowth of the relationship. Prospective customers visit your site because they know you’re offering what they want.
Older marketing channels like television and print media went one way – from the marketer to the customer. Today’s communication goes both ways. It’s just as much about listening to your customers as talking, and in fact, probably more so.
Customers today are proactive in going out and finding what they want. Internet users aren’t passive like TV watchers. If you’ve listened well, you can create and provide them with the information they’re looking for, before anyone else.
Making It about Them
Today’s marketing is even more customer-focused than that of the past. It’s not enough for your website or marketing materials to boast about your company’s successes. Marketers have to emphasize tangible results their customers will get from the product or service and back them up with evidence supporting their claims. If you do your homework and know your target market well, it’s not hard at all to do this effectively. Offer what they need and invite them to join the dialog.