When advertising sales people stop in (always without an appointment) I’ve resorted to using a tactic that’s helped ease their pain and mine. I tell them we have too much business and can’t advertise anymore. You should see the looks I’ve gotten. I know they’re thinking fast, but can’t come up with anything.
It’s true, but why do I say this?
We’ve chosen to invest more time than money in meeting our customers where they live and do research: online. In fact, as a former journalist trained in writing for a specific audience, I find it surprising that more businesses forget who they want to communicate with (and they also think it’s wrong to end a sentence with a preposition.) Forget that (your audience, not the preposition), my friend, and you can forget your future.
Our audience in this case is our present and future client base, and they are SO online. The vast majority in our industry are so painfully NOT online or, if they are, their online presence is a comic joke akin to a newspaper insert-turned-website, or boardroom panacea designed to feed a CEO’s ego while being totally un-user-friendly and, frankly, boring.
Now, I also speak Spanish and German fluently, and have a conversational grasp on Farsi, Swedish and French. If you, too, are multi-lingual, you’ve seen someone’s face light up when you speak their language.
That’s what we want to do!
And it’s even better than that because we can speak “web” in their home, office or on their PDA. There is an overwhelming amount of media input without personality (or worse… with BAD personality) designed for the masses.
Our websites, blog, Twitter, YouTube videos, FaceBook pictures and other online media efforts, are all there to show the human side of our business, communicate trends, educate and speak to the many unique facets of what we do and what sets us apart from so many other businesses in our industry.
And, unlike direct mail and radio, people only read or watch it when they choose to by clicking on it.
We still do direct mail and some radio advertising, but the nascent heart of our publicity efforts and relationship marketing is the web. Think about it: I’m a sales manager and former business owner, but I graduated Magna Cum Laude from a top-20 journalism school, the University of Maryland at College Park, so being able to write and form a web presence is just another way to keep us ahead of the noisy pack. I can also use “I” in this type of writing, which is a nice break from dry “who, what, when, where, why” work.
And it’s a blast!
In fact, there really are days where I have to stop blogging, changing web pages, launching new sites, DIGGing, etc… and dig into some paperwork. Speaking of which, I just got back from a fascinating convention and have a stack on my desk. Sorry, Twitter, no tweets for awhile…
Got Seth? Here is a link to Seth Godin’s post on using the web. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/01/what-to-do-when.html
and another on using a sense of urgency when responding to web leads: