Marketing: Make one-to-one connections

Monday, April 26, 2010

Q. How can I get customers talking online about my brand/business?

A. Today, the name of the customer acquisition game either begins or ends with Web 2.0. Customer-centric providers should strive to personalize their brand online, as the “one-to-one” connection gained through social and viral marketing can cultivate customer loyalty while rapidly increasing referrals.

The following tactics will help personalize your brand, grow your family of customers and provide a solid foundation for future generations of successful marketing programs:

  • Place a face with your name. Better yet, faces. When describing your services, add pictures of your staff and show them interacting with clients. Often, first-time customers have concerns about what to expect when purchasing equipment or supplies for their conditions. When potential newcomers see your staff’s friendly faces along with happy customers, they can put those fears to rest. (Be sure to get written consent from customers.)
  • Put down your e-roots. Electronic grassroots marketing, aka online marketing with a shoestring budget, isn’t complicated if you leverage the world of free viral resources at your disposal: Facebook, Wordpress,  YouTube, etc.
  • Encourage the growth of your family tree. In a nutshell, Web 2.0 simply means bi-directional communication through an online format. Previously, people pushed their information out through Web sites like some kind of electronic hiccup in the “show up and throw up” sales approach. That approach rarely works in person, much less with a virtual audience that can leave when you’re not looking. Instead, create interactive paths where you act more as a tour guide, allowing customers to talk to you and others about your services through online interactions.

As a side note, if you are investing time and money in driving people to your store through your Web site, make sure your site design doesn’t look like it belongs in an 80s family photo album. If so, consider giving it a facelift.

Lisa Wells is an Atlanta-based marketing consultant for the medical industry. Reach her at or 404-944-0081.