It is hard to stomach the idea of an entire slew of new technological innovations wanting a piece of your marketing budget. Perhaps you have only recently put up a website for your business and begun to make forays into Search Engine Optimization, Google Adwords, or other advertising. In response to the recent article on CNN.com, “New Search Engines Aspire to Supplement Google” one could almost hear the collective groan.
What now? Oprah Winfrey has 1 million followers on Twitter. Newspapers are folding left and right. Facebook has 200 million registered users, but the most popular TV show, “American Idol” on Fox, gets only about 23.26 million viewers. The world is changing quickly and so is the playing field for business.
New search engines – like Microsoft’s Bing – will take time to reach the type of critical mass Google and Yahoo currently have. In addition, new technologies such as Twitter and Facebook are good for some businesses and useless for others. In order to take advantage of the newest technologies without overextending your staff or throwing away money there are a few things to assess critically.
1) Is your business local?
You aren’t going to ship that hot thin crust pizza pie to Baltimore. Focus on loyalty programs and email reminders. Newsletters can be a key fixture for staying in your customer’s minds (If you need a recommendation for a program, comment below or email us). Be sure to find/register yourself on the major reviewing websites like MojoPages.com and Yelp.com; put up pictures and a concise “About Us”, don’t just check that your business is on the website.
2) Are you a personality or a trendsetter?
A blog for new developments in eco-friendly building materials would work for you. A Twitter account with your weekly hot ideas on top quality wines by the case would definitely be a welcome way to keep your customers in touch with useful information.
3) Rapidly fluctuating prices? Roving locations?
A Twitter account could work to keep your rabid customer base returning. A great example of this is the Kogi barbeque truck in Los Angeles, which posts its updated locations on the fly!
4) Is your product the highlight? Can you benefit from already existing brand building?
Facebook may be a great way to extend the personality of a brand by building upon an existing character such as “Neil with the Deal” from Leeds mattress. Another idea is utilizing the group calendar/event functions of Facebook to promote in-store events. This would work well for bookstores, cooking classes, or spa services.
5) Personalize, and before you market, consider the implications. I would never say don’t adopt a technology you don’t understand. If we did that most of us wouldn’t be allowed to use a microwave. But definitely try to use a new application and decide how you would want to receive messages from others. If you are not offering an incentive for the time and attention you are asking for, you risk the possibility of turning your customers off.
In the end, my advice is to focus on your core business and the tried and true staples of SEO and Adwords. Begin with new technologies for personal use and decide what works for you. Ask your customers, your kids, and your friends what they are using and what they like about it. Be savvy and pick 2-3 businesses and join their Facebook, Twitter feed, and newsletter so that when you are ready to make a (small) jump into a new technology you already have had experiences and insight from the customer or audience’s point of view.
There will not be as many turnkey marketing approaches that will work across vertical niches in the business world of the future. Instead there are going to be a lot of questions that have never come up before that will be much more difficult to answer.
After all, can you imagine asking, “it’s a newspaper, how do I use it?”
Erin Jourdan is a guest blogger for Obu Interactive who has worked extensively in print and interactive.