Are you sometimes bewildered about where to turn to learn about marketing your business? What follows is a short story (I promise) about my own transition from a traditional marketer to an on-line marketer, that I hope will benefit you.
When I was a little girl (yes, it was many decades ago) my mother bought our family a complete set of Encyclopedia Britiannica books. It was a huge investment at that time and she had to forego other necessities to do it. She taught me how to use these books and I'm eternally grateful that she did. The books provided many happy hours of reading and became the foundation of my life-long love of learning. Unfortunately, I don't still have that set of books. Fortunately, I have found a new treasure to replace them - the Internet. And it's become my new BFF (best friend forever).
My absolute favourite use of the Internet is to make it be my institute of higher learning that I was unable to attend previously, for a variety of life-interruption reasons. Now, there is no excuse for not being able to learn whatever I choose to add to my existing knowledge and skills.
Marketing strategies and skills are one great example. There is more than enough information available for just a few keystrokes. Just "Google" whatever you want and it shall be delivered faster than the speed of light! Another technological marvel I love is my Kindle book reader. I can locate a Marketing book on the Internet that I want to read, and download it to my laptop or Kindle in under 60 seconds.
My latest Marketing book find is by David Meerman Scott, titled "The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly" (whew, that's one long title). I found it through reading Scott's blog and bought the e-book version it for my Kindle through Amazon. You can also order it in hard copy.
I highly recommend this book (I have no affiliation or connection with the author) to any business-to-business or business-to-consumer marketer interested in learning the new best practices for marketing on the Internet.
Meerman Scott's book is truly the only book you need to read about on-line marketing. It covers the theory as well as practical recommendations for social networking, blogs, news releases, podcasts, and videos. Of course, you can read other books on these topics. But, if you only have budget for one marketing book, this is the one to buy. Other books will only tell you the same things in a different wrapper.
I do feel obliged to warn you. On-line marketing is no easy fix for whatever ails your business' bottom line. It is the worst of all four-letter words - WORK! But, that being said, it goes a long way towards making up for being hard work, because it is affordable by even the smallest of small businesses. There can be a long learning curve if you are not computer savvy. And, even if you are computer and marketing savvy, the "new rules" of on-line marketing will take some getting used to. Especially so, if you have relied on traditional marketing methods up to now (such as print, broadcast, cold calling, and trade shows).
Meerman Scott's book shines a new light on these now polarized strategies. Traditional marketing is considered "push" marketing, where you push your message out to the general public, whether they want it or not (he calls it "interruption marketing"). He advocates a totally opposite approach - "pull" marketing where you pull specific target customers into your circle of influence by providing compelling content which meets THEIR needs (not yours).
If you are serious about becoming a successful on-line marketer, I recommend you read Meerman Scott's book and follow his advice. Unfortunately, the old rules of marketing are now about as relevant as my mother's beloved set of Encyclopedia Britannica. As Bob Dylan says, "The times, they are a changin'".
You are invited to comment on this blog post, or any of my other posts. Agree? Or disagree? - let's start a conversation!
In a previous blog post I recommend why and how to take advantage of three social networking services: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I also mentioned that I would write subsequent posts on each of these "Big Three" social networking sites, and the video sharing network YouTube. This second installment of four is dedicated to getting you started with Twitter.
So you know "sweet tweet" about Twitter? Well, according to Wikipedia, "Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets".
Wikipedia states, in part, Twitter was created in March 2006 and launched that July. The service rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with over 500 million active users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion web engine search queries per day. Since its launch, the Twitter website has become one of the top 10 most visited on the Internet, and has been described as "the SMS (Small Message Service) of the Internet. Unregistered users can read tweets, while registered users can post tweets through the website interface, SMS, or other mobile devices.
Wikipedia also indicates, "In a 2009, in a Time (magazine) essay, technology author, Steven Johnson described the basic mechanics of Twitter as 'remarkably simple': As a social network, Twitter revolves around the principle of followers. When you choose to follow another Twitter user, that user's tweets appear in reverse chronological order on your main Twitter page. If you follow 20 people, you'll see a mix of tweets scrolling down the page: breakfast-cereal updates, interesting new links, music recommendations, even musings on the future of education."
Originally, when a user opened a free Twitter account, the premise was to post tweets responding to the quintessential conversational opener "What are you doing?" on any subject you cared to promote, including your business. As of November, 2009, Twitter emphasized its news and information-network strategy by changing the question asked to users for status updates from "What are you doing?" to "What's happening?"
Undeniably, many users post frivolous tweets. Of much more serious conseqence, Twitter became the tool to communicate and promote social change during the "Arab Spring" of 2011. In terms of a business promotion tool, Twitter can provide quick and easy two-way communication between you and your target market.
I highly recommend reading 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business by Chris Brogan, to enlighten you about Twitter as a legitimate marketing strategy. Brogan's article states, “Step 1. Build an account and immediately start using "Twitter Search" to watch for your name, your competitor’s names, or words that relate to your products. (Listening always comes first.) “Twitter can provide almost instant feedback about your industry that you might miss otherwise. Hint: there are 49 more good ideas in Brogan's article. So pucker up and start "tweeting". What have you got to lose?
You are invited to ask questions and/or to post a comment in the space below regarding your experience with using Twitter for business or to point out other advantages and disadvantages not mentiond here.