Don’t stop the music.
When times get tough the companies that get through to the other side are the companies that keep advertising. In fact, advertising budgets should increase while other non essentials decrease. You need to reach an even wider audience during tough economies because conversions are harder to achieve. Oh and by the way, don’t forget the other 9 critical steps on this list.
This is a committed relationship.
Don’t take your existing customers for granted. They have pronounced their love for you buy handing over their hard earned cash, and now during these tough times, you want to make sure they are still happy and willing to continue in this relationship. You need to ask them how they are feeling. Ask them what you can do for them. Is there something you can offer them that is very relevant to the current economic situation. Polls, surveys, special offers and personalization are all part of a good customer relations management strategy. And we can help you with this.
Redefine your market.
It’s something we all never find time to do, but it’s important, especially in times where we see our current customers spending less. It’s important to confirm or redefine the market for our product or service. How can we expand the size of our “business pie” and get a larger slice of each of the important segments? Take a look at all the current and potential market segments, industries or customer groups who use your product or service. Which ones are growing? Are there segments or industries that we are not pursuing but should be? Do we offer the features and benefits that these segments or industries demand?
Keep an eye on the competition.
It’s very important to know “what you bring to the party” and why potential customers should buy from you versus your competitors. Put together a list of features and benefits your service offers versus your main competitors. Rank all the competitors on a scale of 1-10 on each of the different criteria. You’ll know pretty quickly where you are deficient or need to improve. If you are charging more for your services versus competition, you’d better have some unique features or benefits to justify customers going with you rather than the competition. Competitive analysis is a big part of our auditing services and we can help.
Make sure your website does what it’s supposed to.
Your website is your face to the online world…Is it easy to navigate and understand? Take a look at your website stats. How many pages deep are people exploring on your website? How long do they stay? Are they doing what you want them to? Do you have incentives or strategic “calls to action” for them to “order now” or to contact you to ask for more information? Your website is your business now and is no longer just a brochure. It needs to be easy to use, provide customers with the solutions they are looking for, and must motivate them to “do something right now”. Step back and take an objective look at your website from the customer’s perspective; better yet, ask your clients to give you an honest opinion/review of your website. You’ll be sure to come out with a bunch of areas you can improve on. Valve Interactive understands websites and how to make them work for you to achieve the results you need. Feel free to contact us to discuss your situation anytime.
Search Engine Optimization – Are they finding you?
Currently 88% of your potential customers are using search engines to find services and products on line. Search engines are the number one source of business online. If you aren’t showing up in the first or second page listings on Google or Yahoo for the most important keyword terms that potential customers are searching under, then you basically don’t exist. So if you plan to have the internet become a major lead generator and an important source of business, then you need to undertake a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) program to make your website “search engine friendly” and to start getting high rankings on the major keywords that will drive traffic to your website. SEO involves tweaking your website in terms of content, keywords, reference links (in and out), design elements, copy (and also some basic meta tag related techniques) such that your site shows up in a high rank for relevant keywords/phrases. Although “optimizing” your website is a fairly technical endeavor, you can attempt to do it yourself or alternatively, hire specialists like us to get it done right. Valve has successfully conducted search optimization programs for over 100 companies, ranging from start- ups to Fortune 500 companies.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – Drive them to your site NOW.
Pay per Click (PPC) programs offered by the major search engines is the quickest way to drive new potential customers to your website. Like a live auction, you bid on placement of your ads related to “specific keywords” that potential customers would be typing in the “search box” to find specific products or services. Each keyword has a different market price. You only pay when they click on your ad (hence the name pay per click). Aside from choosing the right keywords, and developing the most cost efficient price bidding strategy, the most important factor in the success of this program is achieving a “conversion” or a sale for every x number of visitors you have paid to visit your website. Valve interactive specializes in developing and managing PPC campaigns that increase conversion on your website and generate new customers. Contact us to learn more about how we do it.
Email promotion – Keep existing customers while bringing in new ones.
Your first priority in these tough economic times is making sure you preserve your current customer base. What are you doing to stay in touch and connect with them on an ongoing basis? Email campaigns and newsletters are a highly cost efficient way to keep your customers updated on all the latest company news, improvements or new products and services that you offer, and to reinforce why they should choose your company versus other companies. At the same time you should also be using email promotion to target potential new customers to tell them about your company and the unique features and benefits you can offer them. Email works! Let us help your create a plan to make it happen.
Mobile Marketing – More potential customers going mobile every day.
With 85% of US residents now using cell phones, and the use of text messaging and internet access on phones exploding, mobile marketing is definitely a new marketing opportunity for many businesses to connect with their customer base. Text messaging allows you a maximum of 170 characters or approximately 25-35 words on average to communicate your message. Although initially text messaging was used primarily by retailers providing information on specials, coupons, discounts etc., it is now being utilized in new creative ways by a multitude of different industries to communicate and provide information along with a “call to action” once users receive the text message. Open Rates (that is readership) of text messages is currently five times higher than Email, and conversion rates and the response rates to offers are significantly higher as well. Mobile Marketing is definitely here to stay, and is something that should not be ignored even in a downturn. We’d be happy to explore how this new marketing channel can work for your business.
Social Marketing – Connecting on a “one to one” basis.
Social Media is currently all the rage, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Myspace or blogging. They are all part of the new highly explosive “Social Marketing” channel and represent a new way to connect with customers or potential customers as never before. It’s a little like “one to one public Relations”, and offers you the opportunity to position yourself as an authority in your industry providing helpful information in discussion groups and responding to questions from your target audience. Depending on the type of business you are in, Social Marketing can have a major impact on your business and prove to be a viable way to generate new customers and increase loyalty long term. Give us a call and let’s discuss which type of programs would be most effective for your business.