Some will say that the whole idea of a conversation just muddies the waters of marketing and we should be focused on the conversion. Certainly, if marketing doesn’t result in conversions than what are we being paid for? However, as any top salesperson will tell you, a good conversation is often the first step to a sale.
If we do believe that a conversation is a good way to at least engage subscribers, then are enough of us listening? Ask yourself how much talking you are doing with your email and online marketing and how much listening. This is one of those questions which I think is good to ask yourself every now and then — it might even prove an inspiration for something new.
The power of the internet offers brands the ability to involve consumers as never before. It actually provides the opportunity for your customers and prospective customers to contribute to a better product and better marketing of the product. This power is not something to be intimidated by, but something to embrace and leverage for greater success.
The value of word-of-mouth is growing thanks to social media and the web. People talk about the good experiences and shout about the bad ones on any number of channels today. For example, I certainly read user reviews when I am researching a purchase and when I have a strong opinion about a brand I’ll even submit one. I don’t do this because I love your marketing. The marketing may get my attention, but it’s the experience with the product which will get my approval.
Social media has taken word-of-mouth out of the neighbourhood and given it the power to influence countless others. It can help people make dramatic political and social change or simply help someone make a purchase decision.
Every online channel today can be used for a two-way conversation. Accessibility is extremely important via email or any other social channel. The choice of how to interact with a brand should be up to the consumer. Keep all the lines of communication open and make sure that when someone does interact with you, they get a quick and thoughtful response. The worst possible thing you can do is tell people you are listening and then take so long to respond that they feel ignored. If at all possible, you want to respond the same day or faster depending on the channel. If you need time to investigate then respond and let the person know you are on the case.
In email marketing or any kind of online marketing today, your ears should be bigger than your mouth. You’ve got email, a blog, Twitter and Facebook as primary ways to share information with and from your customers.
Offer the consumer the choice of which channels they want to use, but leverage your blog as the hub for those conversations. Showcase the big wins where people are raving about your product or your service online. But don’t shy away from being honest and demonstrating that you can deal with problems too. How well you handle a complaint and resolve a problem for someone can carry a very positive message to many others.
Tie all the channels into that hub and cross-promote them. Let people know you are listening and that will get them thinking and hopefully talking about you.