As a business owner, you always want more people to walk through your doors to buy what you’re selling. The key to that nowadays is to continually focus on online marketing and face-to-face meetings that happen offline.
Most sales reps or business owners can close the deal if they meet you face-to-face. But this isn’t enough to fuel explosive growth. To expand, you have to be present online, where your customers already are.
Online marketing takes many forms. Content marketing, being active in forums, being active on social media…these are all ways to educate customers, which ultimately leads to sales. It’s about finding out where your customers are going to be — and then showing up, ready to interact.
You Can’t Fake Showing Up
There’s a massive difference between being fully present and only showing up for roll call.
By now, every business in existence has heard that there is a huge benefit to blogging, creating videos, and being active on social media. But not every business has their heart in embracing these tools. These are usually the businesses that have lost the most ground over the last ten years.
The world keeps shifting, whether we like it or not. Every business has a choice. Either keep up with the direction everyone else is going, or wonder why sales keep getting harder to come by.
Don’t get me wrong. You need both old-school and modern online marketing. You can’t get to the top of your industry without a healthy mix of both. It always comes back to selling trust to your customers. I just know it’s hard to raise awareness of your product without having a solid online marketing strategy.
How Social Impacts Search
Local business owners that didn’t grow up with the Internet sometimes have a hard time seeing the value in social media. They are almost always great salespeople. They just prefer to be in front of you to make that sale.
There’s nothing wrong with being fully engaged with people that are in the same room as you. This is an essential means of making sales. But it’s only part of raising awareness of your brand.
There are lots of businesses that were doing great in search engines five and ten years ago that aren’t doing so hot today. Part of the reason for that is Google looks for signs of life from your business. Google gauges the strength of your brand by things like social media mentions and activity, and mentions in other blogs ans news sites.
When Google doesn’t see these brand signals from your business, but it does see them from your competitors, it pushes your competitors brand authority a bit higher, and your a bit lower.
Over time, you can see how this starts to impact where you rank in search.
You can be active in your community, but if it isn’t mentioned online anywhere, in Google’s eyes, it didn’t really happen.
Why Google cares so much about brand signals — like blogging, social media, and third-party mentions — is their whole business model revolves around delivering the best possible results to searchers.
What’s sad but true is you may be the best local business in your industry, but if you’re not helping anyone online, your momentum is going to be restricted to word-of-mouth referrals. You won’t be able to capitalize on the explosive growth that happens online.
So if you ask me why you should blog, or make videos, or help people in forums, or spend so much time helping people for free — the answer is simple.
That’s how you get complete strangers to trust in your brand, and then become paying customers.
The payoff comes when you’ve been writing articles about your particular industry for a couple of years. Then people who are typing questions into Google keep finding your articles — then that starts telling Google that your website actually is a trustworthy site when it comes to that subject.
This is how being present online becomes an investment into the future of your business. By creating strong brand signals.
Online Marketing Is Like Meeting Customers Face-to-Face
You can eventually make a name for your business online. All it takes is constant dedication to creating site content that answers questions, and the willingness to help people.
Social media seems to be a huge stumbling block for a lot of old-school salespeople. But it really shouldn’t be. There’s always real people on the other end of your social interactions.
The same people that are so good in face-to-face communication sometimes have a hard time digesting that social media is a legitimate human interaction. It really is so much more than telling people what you had for breakfast. It’s a chance to show people what your company is all about before they ever pick up the phone.
And what many businesses may not realize is that is exactly what customers do before they call you. They Google your business, check your website, and check your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram to see if your business is the right fit for them.
If a potential customer comes to your site, or your Facebook, or your LinkedIn page, and it looks like a ghost town, what’s to stop them from thinking it will be different if they call you on the phone?
Wherever you are, just stop and take a look around. What’s the one item that nearly everyone has in their possession at all times?
You win the prize if you answered, their smartphone.
What’s the first thing those same people do whenever they’re bored for an instant? That’s right, they hop on Facebook. Or Pinterest. Or Twitter. Or YouTube. Or Snapchat.
If you think that rule only applies to millennials, you’re wrong. That applies equally to middle aged and older people with smart phones and tablets just as much as it does teenagers and twentysomethings.
So the choice is yours. Be present online, or give up that territory to the businesses who are prospecting online on a daily basis.
You Also Need Face-To-Face Marketing
I don’t want to give you the impression that I only believe in the value of online marketing. That’s the farthest thing from the truth.
There is a ton of value in connecting with people face-to-face and being in proximity to them.
I don’t know what it is about humans. We’re more likely to trust people who we’ve met face to face. (Or at least seen their face and heard them talk — which is why video platforms are so great).
We listen to people more closely once we’ve met them. There’s something that takes place when you meet someone that makes them more real. It’s just as essential for online marketers to get out from behind the keyboard and meet people as it is for traditional businesses or sales reps to have a strong presence online.
Do The Things That Other Businesses Won’t
My advice to you is: if you want to be credible and you want your business to be found online —
The majority of the businesses out there won’t do the combination of physically getting in front of people, and going for depth in online marketing.
You have to do both. You have to market online relentlessly. And you have to take more of those face-to-face meetings to win that extra revenue.
And there’s no faking whether you believe in what you’re doing or not. If you’re just doing online marketing or social because someone told you to, and you don’t like doing it, that#&8217;s going to come across to everyone.
It’s the same thing if you feel really comfortable just doing social media, or content marketing, but being a room full of people makes you nervous or uneasy. People will sense that you’re out of your element.
But I believe you have to do whatever it takes to get in front of people. Tell them what you do. Show your expertise. And when it comes to customer acquisition and lead generation, whenever possible, be the person in the room that is the expert in your industry. It doesn’t matter if that room is in the physical world or an online platform.
There’s a time to work in your business, and a time to work on your business. Make sure you’re leaving room in your day to talk to people both online and offline.