The constantly expanding number of websites out there, the growing “noise” online of those vying for attention, and the ever-changing habits and behaviors of those who represent your target prospects, all combine to make Internet marketing more challenging than ever. Yet the opportunity to differentiate yourself and your business from others still exists, and the upside potential of doing so correctly is enormous.
Internet marketing is not “passive”
Long gone are the days when having a website for your business was sufficient. And gone, too, are the (not-so-distant) days when a simple investment in SEO (search engine optimization) would result in new leads from your website. Today, it simply isn’t enough to have a website that gets found.
About five years ago, I began telling clients and prospects, “Your customers expect you to be part of the dialog online, and if you’re not, you are becoming increasingly irrelevant to them.” Those were harsh words for some to hear, but those who failed to heed the advice are still in the same place they were when I spoke those words to them. Nobody likes to face the fact that the rules of marketing have changed, and that they must either adopt, or perish.
So what’s working right now?
Every business — every business — needs to learn how to harness the power of Twitter and LinkedIn, right now:
- Twitter gives you the ability to monitor the conversations that are happening online — in any industry, about any subject matter, mentioning any company or competitor of yours — in real time. If you think Twitter’s not for you because you “wouldn’t know what to tweet”, you aren’t thinking about Twitter correctly. Twitter is an extremely powerful tool that must be part of your marketing arsenal.
- LinkedIn has thousands of special interest groups where people meet to exchange ideas and find answers to their business problems. There is no better place than LinkedIn to join the dialog and offer advice on a subject in which you are an expert. Done correctly, you have the ability to differentiate yourself as a thought leader in your field and attract qualified prospects who need the service or product you offer.
Keep your eyes on Google+
Google+ (pronounced “Google plus”) is the giant’s attempt at competing with Facebook, and they are doing very nicely, thank you. Many in the online marketing world predict that Google+ will very soon outpace Facebook and replace it as the platform of choice for building online community around your company and brand. Stay tuned!