Your customers are not buying the way they used to. The promotional and marketing activities you used to rely on that brought you business are at best no longer as effective as they once were, and in many cases are now totally redundant.
With increasing competition customers are bombarded with news, information and promotions; simply getting your message in front of customers and engaging with them is the challenge we now all face. So how can you engage with customers, create desire, generate a fan following and ultimately increase your sales?
Two words – influence and relationships. It is no longer acceptable to “push” your products, services or brand on to customers. Simply sending sales messages, particularly by email, over and over again to customers who are already worn out with the effort of hitting the delete button when going through their emails will not do anything but drive them away. What you need to do is subtly influence your customers by targeting and influencing the people who influence your customers i.e. influencers.
For example, take our business Uniq Marketing and Design; our influencers include Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise, accountants, business magazines, the Federation of Small Business, various Chambers of Commerce – all of these organisations and businesses advise business owners on how to grow their company and are therefore our target influencers. If we court them and establish a relationship with them, they will sell what we do to our customers. This is the hallowed ground of Word of Mouth marketing that, since the dawn of time, has always been one of the most effective, if not the most effective form of marketing.
The second new trend in marketing is relationships. Relationship marketing has been around for a while but the difference is that the relationship we as business owners have with our customers has changed irrevocably. Our customers do not want to be sold to in the manner in which they are used to because they no longer trust businesses or accept what they say as fact. They are naturally and increasingly more sceptical therefore you need to engage with potential customers in their environment in a manner they find acceptable. As a result, the relationship between your company and your customers has to be deeper. If you are only half-heartedly engaging with relationship marketing it will not work and your return on investment will be poor. The key to relationship marketing now is that it is a two way communication where your customers can respond and engage with you.
It is vital that the customer is the one that dictates the relationship and drives it, not you. In conclusion, to create desire, demand and devotion in customers you have to influence those that influence them and deepen the relationship by ensuring it is a two way communication.