With a massive convergence to a world of digital in the past two decades, e-marketing and the emphasis on facilitating databases has sky rocketed.
And rightfully so – there are now over 2 billion Internet users worldwide, an average of 144 billion emails are sent per day, and of the current 802 million active Facebook account holders, 28% aged between 18-34 check their account before they get out of bed in the morning!
These crazy Internet usage statistics not only show the impact of the Internet on our daily lives, they also drive many SME’s to include e-marketing initiatives in their marketing strategy. In many cases, SEO, email marketing, social media management, online advertising & promotions and mobile marketing now demand more attention from SME business owners than traditional marketing methods did once upon a time.
And this is great! Finally marketing is starting to get the attention it deserves among a wider group of SME business owners.
Maybe it’s the Internet’s undeniable presence in all of our lives that has business owners comfortable with the idea of engaging in e-marketing. Or perhaps it’s the fear of being left for dead from an inability to keep up with the times. Or it could be the undeniable abundance of e-marketing advantages – cost effectiveness, flexibility, trackability, measurability, interactivity and the ability to target. Whatever the reason, it’s awesome that business owners are widening their marketing horizons and giving it a shot.
In saying this, it’s also important that we stop and remind ourselves that our e-marketing initiatives need to be backed up by something else. Outside of a ‘buy-now’ call to action that takes a customer straight through to checkout, many successful e-marketing initiatives result in an enquiry for more information or personal contact to line up a meeting. It’s at this point that our people skills come into play.
Research shows that even with well crafted & executed marketing campaigns and outstanding products & services, we still need to be able to engage with people and build strong relationships to succeed in business. Disregarding the online retail environment, our e-marketing efforts inform, educate, generate interest and ensure our business is top-of-mind. What they don’t do is close the deal and build that meaningful relationship with the customer that sees them coming back time and time again. This comes down to us – our people, and how we handle what comes next.
A poor attitude will trump a catchy e-promotion every day of the week. We have all experienced the frustration and anger after a phone call with a business representative who is less than helpful and/or makes us feel like we are just another number. Let’s face it; we’re not going to do business with them. What’s more, because of our human physiological and psychological make-up, a negative experience will be remembered and is much more likely to be discussed with others than a positive one.
When planning our e-marketing activities we cannot afford to ignore the human element. If SME business owners are going to take on e-marketing, consideration for the ‘what comes next’ has to be given.
We have to teach our staff how to respond to enquiries that are generated from our online initiatives in a way that favourably represents our brand, ensures a positive customer experience and supports our e-activity’s desired action.
Our digital world is a fascinating one and the marketing opportunities it presents are boundless. But it’s not enough to simply be online and marketing in this sphere. To be successful our e-marketing initiatives need be backed up with a human element that creates a positive experience, reinforces our brand, and ensures we are remembered for all of the right reasons.