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Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins in a Socially Connected World Hardcover – May 1, 2012
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From the Author: Six Simple Ideas for Small Business Marketing
- Buyers trust comments and reviews (even from strangers).
According to a Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey, only 14 percent of people trust advertising, while 78 percent of people trust consumer recommendations. When businesses interact with current customers online, these socially visible interactions feed their referral engine.
- A customer's friends are a business's next best prospects.
We all want to find a rich source of qualified new prospects. Turns out every business already has one! The social networks of your current customers are filled with people like them - people who might be interested in your products or services.
- Rise above the ordinary in small and large ways that wow customers.
To create a connection, understand the experience your business delivers through a customer's eyes...and find one or two spots to create something a little bit special.
- They won't join if they're not asked. (Yes, they really have to be asked!)
People need to know why they should connect to an organization's social media vehicles like Twitter and Facebook. What are they going to get? Ensure that it is easy and compelling for them to connect, and then ask them!
- Engagement drives social visibility.
Social proof is the concept that when we see our friends and colleagues take an action, such as eating at a particular restaurant, that action is an endorsement. Social proof happens through social visibility. When people engage with a business - especially online via social media - their networks see this engagement, and they are enticed to engage, too.
- Engagement matters.
Engagement cements a connection between a business and their current customers, and drives the social visibility that will motivate and inspire repeat and new business. Engagement happens in small doses.
From the Inside Flap
"If you're still scratching your head about how social media can help your small business, you've picked up the right book. Engagement Marketing shows you how to connect with existing customers and create new ones. The expert at small business marketing,Gail Goodman shaves the process down to three easy steps. A must for any growing small business."
W. Kenneth Yancey, Jr., CEO, SCORE
If you've shied away from social media because you just cannot see how it benefits your small business, association, or nonprofit, Engagement Marketing will change your perspective. That's because Gail F. Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact, "gets it." She knows you're pressed for time, on a budget, and just a little bit skeptical of the whole "social media thing."
You already know that word-of-mouth referrals are the lifeblood of your small business and that they ultimately lead to more business. Engagement Marketing builds on this tried-and-true marketing basic, only now Goodman shows you how to do it with referrals that have become publicly visible thanks to social media.
Whether you run a hotel, an accounting firm, or a museum, you'll find lots of creative, cost-effective ways for reaching out to your customers, members, or donors and encouraging them to spread the good word about you online, where it's visible to their friends, families, colleaguesand the world.
Top customer reviews
On the face of it small businesses, be it a boutique store, a two person law practice, or a garden services provider, have a marketing problem not faced by large organizations; insufficient time and insufficient money. Goodman’s book shows how small businesses overcome these limitations through the use of “engagement marketing.” In fact, small businesses have a consequential advantage over large business using this method.
In a survey conducted by Small Business Trends it was found that 83% of respondents attributed new business to referrals recommend by people who already know the business. It will, of course, only be your highly satisfied customers who would do this. Highly satisfied customers don’t wait for anyone to ask about your business, they talk about their experience over lunch, at work; anywhere they have a ready listener.
This scenario, however, presupposes the quality of the experience so the follow-on question is how does one deliver that experience for everyone who does business with you? Goodman offers many pointers all of which can be subsumed under the advice: determined how people enter your business and ensure you provide a great experience at each entry point. Pause, and reflect on this because it is Step One in engagement marketing. How is your phone answered? Queries handled? Complaints addressed? Requests responded to? And on. If it is not a great experience, fix it.
Word of mouth has always been a source of new business, and still is. You need only think of how much more likely you are to try a new restaurant that was recommended by your “foodie” neighbour against an advertisement you saw in the newspaper. All that has really changed is that we now have the social media megaphone which can let many more people have your foodie neighbour’s recommendation.
Social media has the added benefit of enabling you to know exactly where your referrals are coming from, so you can track the source of the referrals and encourage them to keep at it.
If Step One is to provide the memorable experience, Step Two is to entice people to keep in touch with you whether via e-mail marketing or social media, so that, with their permission you can continue to stay connected and market to them. By staying in touch you achieve two crucial objectives: The first is that you extend the experience beyond their purchase of goods or services, and the second is that you retain your place in their active memory. How often have you had someone do good work for you, but when you are asked to recommend a provider of that service a few years later, you just cannot remember his name.
We all have enough to do to fill our lives and are hardly in need of engaging in anything more that we have already. This being so you will need to entice your satisfied customers through the benefits they will get from remaining connected to you. You will also have to ensure that remaining connected is easy, very easy. There is no shortage of platforms to enable this connection such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and more.
Another reason for wanting this connection is to know what they are saying about you. Many of the smaller businesses you use, the hairdresser, the dentists, the tailor, know you by name, but what they don’t know is what you say about them to others. The social media context into which you entice your customers will solve this problem.
After gaining permission to stay in touch you now need to engage with them through social media, e-mail newsletters, blog posts, and other methods to ensure they find value in staying connected. If they find no value in staying connected, disconnecting is just one delete button away.
The book is full of examples that will stimulate your thinking and aid you in finding appropriate offerings. Some examples: Goodman’s favourite kitchen utensil store hosts a meeting at which people can exchange cook books they don’t use with other people who enjoy cooking, held, of course, in the kitchen utensil store. A yoga school could send out a mailing of a different pose each month together with the correct posture and its benefits. A wine store could feature a wine of the month and the food it is best paired with.
The enablers of all this activity is the existence of social media. A considerable portion of the book explains how to use these platforms effectively and, best of all, does so in a manner accessible to even the most technology shy.
Goodman works with small business and non-profits and is well aware of the objections that arise whenever the suggestion to spend time on marketing is made. In the chapter on “Overcoming Common Obstacles” she deals thoughtfully with objections a small business owner might raise: “I don’t have time,” “I don’t understand the technology;” “I don’t like to impose on people” and more. She offers suggestions that are convincing and viable and even provides a quick start guide to the four largest platforms, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Google+.
I cannot imagine a small business that would not benefit from working through Engagement Marketing and applying what is appropriate to their time and funding constraints.
Readability Light +---- Serious
Insights High --+-- Low
Practical High +---- Low
Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy
Equally important to the success of Constant Contact is Gail Goodman's ability to share the spotlight with good resource people and give them a platform to be heard. Unlike some people leading the small business marketing "charge" that want all the attention on them, we have here someone who "gets it" that others have their area of expertise and need to be heard. I want to take that idea and model it for the Local Experts Program in my area. I can't see how we can do anything but be a great resource for small business owners. This book is significant because of the ideas it presents that are "real world" for a small business owner. They would do themselves a favor to read and apply the principles here.