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Comprehensive Business Marketing

As human interaction becomes more integrated on the internet, businesses today see a greater need to promote their products and services online.  According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project (a major research effort to understand online behavior), Americans of every age group are using the internet more than ever.  The project identifies some clear trends:  74% of all American adults are online, with a whopping 93% of adults 18-29 online.  Even more striking, nearly 40% of adults 65 and over are using the internet regularly, up from 12.5% just nine years ago.

What does this mean?  It means businesses and communities absolutely need to promote their products, services and messages to an online audience.  This communication strategy doesn’t replace traditional marketing and promotional efforts.  In fact, it means online efforts can enhance traditional media like radio and newspapers with increased connectivity both in print and on the airwaves.  Our local media outlets serve as great examples: the Ord Quiz has launched a new website, as has KNLV radio, with the radio station also being on Twitter for more than a year.

These trends are no different for our local business community.  If you travel to Facebook, you’ll see a major increase in our area businesses promoting their products and services.  These messages can reinforce brand loyalty with existing customers and win new ones, especially in harder-to-reach markets like metro and non-Nebraska communities.

Online efforts can enhance print and radio advertising in a way that creates return customers and increases business profitability.  The money you spend on the airwaves and in print can be stretched farther when the conversation is taken online.  The question I often get from local business owners is:  How?

There is no right way to market your business online and conventional wisdom doesn’t apply to new methods on the internet.  Online trends change much more rapidly than on the radio and in print. But what is clear are several key points:
— Tell your story. Now. The web allows you to connect with people today in ways never seen before, and they are interested in how your business came to be. Just be authentic: you know how you built your business, the hard work and toil it took. People want inspiration and your business can be part of that story.
— Pay attention to what your customers are saying. Now more than ever you can have unfiltered, honest conversations with your customers. The more to talk with them about what motivates them to buy your brand, the more brand loyalty you create. Facebook and Twitter are great places to do this, but don’t forget one key fact: opinions are still shaped in the coffee shop. Positively engage your customers and they will sell your business for you.
–Find what works for you: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, Youtube, FourSquare, etc. etc. You get the point. There are a lot of social media sites today that can help launch your brand or our business. Learn what works best for you. Mashable.com is a great resource on coming trends in social media.

Whatever the case may be, marketing and promoting your business or brand is a vastly different ballgame than it was before. Options are many and the attention of your current and future customers are shorter than ever. So make your remarkable story connect.

Good luck.

 

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