There are certain things a business needs to know before it can begin to contemplate exactly how to approach its target market.
At the top of that list should be what those potential customers expect from your brand. After all, if your target consumers make up a rather specific corner of the market, it will save time and energy knowing what their expectations are before any move is made to approach them through advertising.
While there may be more specific wants and needs depending on the product or service in question, there are three very general things that people want as well. According to Social Media Examiner, this is what they are.
1. Have a Social Media Presence
Today, it’s no longer a matter of if a company can afford to be without a presence on the Internet. The answer is a resounding no. In addition to having a website, it’s also anticipated that a company will be available on a major social media site.
Responders to a poll by HubSpot revealed that consumers of all ages (18 to 60 years of age) expect a company to have a Facebook page. Other big social media sites where a brand should make its presence known include Twitter and Instagram. YouTube has proven useful in recent years for sharing video ads that could very well go viral.
It’s important to note that fewer consumers than ever are looking to simply search for a brand through Google.
Rather than hoping your company’s name is at the top of the search results, your business should hope to reach as many people as possible through today’s top social media sites.
2. Use Your Internet Presence to Help Customers
Your visibility on social media and the Web isn’t merely about being better able to advertise; it’s actually a great customer service tool. In fact, a growing number of customers are comfortable turning to a Facebook page, Twitter account or website blog to ask questions about a product and leave feedback.
If customers want help, they are no longer content to wait by the phone and talk to an automated recording. They are going to go looking for your brand online.
Finding you may be relatively easy, but that’s only half of the need met. Unfortunately, some companies make the mistake of never responding to customer questions or concerns – especially if the feedback offered is negative. This major error often leads to your company being negatively discussed on customer service websites and forums.
Word-of-mouth travels fast on the Internet, so whether your brand is easily accessible to customers or ignores them will be known relatively quickly. This is information that can ultimately help make or break you.
3. Don’t Go for the Hard Sell
Consumers are done with the hard sell; they are not interested in being bullied, insulted or simply worn down into buying a product. While brands were more likely to make themselves visible on the Internet for selling purposes, research has determined that this effort is currently futile.
Blame the overly aggressive pop-up and banner ads of the 1990s and early 2000s. People simply downloaded pop-up blockers to deal with unwanted ads. Even when ads aren’t blocked, they’re just so commonplace that they are easily overlooked.
Even earlier than that, people experienced banner blindness. Why do you think advertisements have appeared on gas pumps or even the backs of stamps? Simple – advertisers were looking for new ways to reach an audience that had grown fatigued of noticing ads in the same old places.
Aggressive ads are a turnoff and trying to market your brand to consumers outright is now treated with suspicion rather than curiosity.
This doesn’t mean consumers aren’t interested in your brand. They may be very interested. What matters is the manner in which people are approached.
Content marketing is a versatile tool that is increasingly relied on. This could mean creating e-books, calendars, clothing, etc. that has your company’s logo or name but doesn’t specifically try and sell your company’s product. Offering helping advice or life hacks can create enough positive associations with your brand that will draw customers. There is also the use of social media to talk about pop culture events in such a way that you will go viral. This is done through clever ads and viral tweets.
These three tips are important reminders of the huge role that the Internet and especially social media sites play in modern marketing strategies. You simply cannot afford to be unattached and unavailable to Internet users.
It’s important to remember that your business shouldn’t merely be observing; your brand’s online experience must be as interactive as possible.