Elevate Your Business Growth Practices to The Web

Web Quality

Business consultants, coaches, and authors are fond of admonishing that what got you here won’t get you there.

Their reasons often stem from their desire to teach you their methods, thereby helping you to break free from your past.

The flaw in this reasoning is your past is precisely what got you here. Why would you want to abandon that?

It should be obvious that digital technologies, the Internet, and especially the social web, are responsible for much of the upheaval in our current business environment. Therefore, the true challenge is simply adapting to all of it.

What got you here will indeed get you there, provided you learn how to move your proven business growth practices to the social web. 

Learning  to translate your business growth to the web is vital, for the simple reason  that the web is now central to ever business – and its customers.

Therefore, start with understanding the core components of your current business model. That good old foundation is still solid. Now let’s find out how to make it more relevant.

The Marketing Driven Business

If you were a successful marketer before the Internet, you can be successful today, regardless of your affinity for technology. The distinction is recognizing that the marketing that works these days is much more than pure advertising or promotion.

The one thing every marketing driven business needs to learn is that today they are teachers first.

Your marketing must have a content marketing component that educates your communities, thereby teaching them how to be better buyers. That is what you promote – the value that precedes or is associated with your products and services.

If smart marketing brought you business to its current level, that should be your focus for moving it to the next one.

Nearly every person and business is using social media in some way. The trick is understanding that it is essential to bring great content to if. Without solid educational content marketing to back up your social media, your business is pretty much dead in the water.

The Sales Driven Business

Are you someone that passionately cares about helping people? If so, then this business environment is perfect for you.

Legendary sales trainer Zig Ziglar was known to say there are no “born salespeople.” What he meant was selling is a skill, and that means it can be learned by anyone that cares enough to help their customers.

One thing sales professionals need to learn today is that social marketing is a new way of selling.

The process of freely giving of your time to help your customers by answering their questions can now be accomplished with online media. Your sales team has been doing this for years; they only need to bring those skills and experience to this digital platform.

Selling ultimately comes down to one-on-one conversations, and bringing those stories online serves to give them greater reach for connecting the dots to new buyers.

The Production Driven Business

For some mainstream businesses their work is their marketing. It speaks for itself. This describes the company that I sold my landscape business to, and is one of the reasons I sold to them. Their production efficiencies married nicely with our sales and marketing strengths.

Can you amplify the quality of your work online? Absolutely. Using Pinterest and Facebook to not only capture the beauty of the finished product, but also the methods and practices for creating it is powerful.

One thing every business should be doing is creating shareable, visual, digital objects that instantly capture the nature of their work. Those visual media objects speak for themselves, just as your work does.

There are more social media channels, tools, and methods than any business (large or small) could possibly use, so don’t even attempt to keep up. Instead, seriously consider the strengths that you already know are responsible for bringing your business this far.

Now consider how to best adapt them to how the trending, social web. For example, Twitter moves fast and is probably not the best channel for buyers to soak up all of the finer details of photos that profile your best projects.

Match the digital medium with the message and the messenger – your business.

How about leaving a comment about how this transition is working for you?

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)

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The Power of Questions for Attracting and Engaging New Buyers

Jeff Korhan - Questions Engage Buyers

Content marketing makes your business more attractive to prospective buyers by eliminating questions that stand in the way of them engaging with your company.

Thus, when thinking about selling products and services, it’s smart to first consider the most relevant questions that need to be addressed. I just recently had car graphics London ON wrap my vehicle. It is a statement. It starts conversations. It makes me money. There are so many things that we can do offline that will increase our clients online. Think outside the box.

Have the mindset that social media puts your company in the answers business.  

Questions have to be answered to engage buyers on a web where more than 50% of all consumers go for answers to their most relevant problems, needs, or desires.

Following are 3 reasons why your business should be asking and answering more questions.

Learn to leverage this practice to engage new buyers, build trust with them, and create the alignment that makes your business memorable.

#1 – Asking Questions Engages Buyers

Consumers are often afraid of asking questions, or they simply do not know which questions they should be asking. This is something I discovered by accident when I launched the landscape business that I operated for over two decades.

Before entering an industry that was then new to me, I conducted extensive research to learn about standard practices, which surprisingly were seldom followed by many local landscape businesses.

So, I asked questions that got prospective buyers thinking, and then provided answers that got the phone ringing. 

When the truth hit the streets it spread throughout the communities we served; and in a short period of time our previously unknown business was the talk of the town. This was before the Internet, so we were using print media to reach our target audience.

Questions are differentiators. They show you understand your small business and its ideal customers.

Use questions to engage your social media communities. It is a practice that is a vital component of successful social marketing.

#2 – Asking Questions Builds Trust

For consumers and businesses alike, it is easy and therefore common to follow the crowd. However, when your business asks good questions it soon becomes apparent to your buyers that you honestly want to help them make better decisions.

For example, what is the question that is on the mind of every prospective buyer: What is the price?

This is the question that most companies dread, when in reality it is one that opens the door to let the buyer into your world of truth and trust.

Price is much more than a number. There are short-term and long-term costs associated with price. Those long-term costs are not always evident, and smart buyers intuitively know to ask about it. When they don’t, you have to ask for them.

When you ask your buyers if they want to know why your price is higher, you will get their attention. People are curious and your willingness to be transparent will be refreshing.

Nobody wants to pay the higher price, but educated buyers will when you validate your price with evidence that suggests other companies are taking short-cuts that will cost the buyer more over the long term.

Content marketing educates buyers about a practice known as “lying by omission.” If something should be included but isn’t, you have instantly eliminated that company as one that is not trustworthy.

#3- Asking Questions Shows You Care

Traditional marketing in the form of advertising was the business telling the marketplace what they thought they needed to know.

Today consumers have a voice and they expect to be engaged in a productive dialogue. Your questions will bring up more questions that will feed that conversation, and more important, demonstrate that your business cares about them.

When you care enough to ask you humanize your business, thereby building the trust that is essential for prospective buyers to step forward and take action.

Even if they do not buy today, you will have planted the seeds for them to come back after they have done more research.

Have you ever gone to a website where the “support” or “help” is packaged within a short list of FAQ’s – frequently asked questions?  Often you cannot find the question that thoroughly responds to your particular concern.

This is why the practice of content marketing is so powerful. Answering questions in a narrative format creates familiarity. It helps the buyer see their situation in the solutions you have provided for your customers.

Your job as a content marketer is never done, because the most relevant problems are chronic. You have to keep doing this again and again to learn more, while serving up more relevant solutions to the most commonly asked questions.

Your sales team is providing relevant solutions every day – and so is your content marketing. This is one reason why social marketing is the new relationship selling.

Ready to get started?

If you would like to get the full story of how I used content marketing to launch my landscape business, read the Introduction to my new book:  Built-In Social, by downloading it and Chapter One for FREE right here.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

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