Use Today’s Web Technologies to
Connect with Your Customers
By Peter Koeppel
small businesses, the traditional ways of attracting customers are
no longer enough. Today, technology abounds, and the smart business
owners are using it as a vital part of their business growth
strategy. In fact, since many people now spend more time online than
they do listening to radio or watching television, web-based
advertising is a must for any small business to survive. Following
are some of the latest technologies you can use to reach existing
customers and attract new ones.
Blogs: Blogs are short for “web logs.” These are informational
postings you can create to inform potential and existing customers
about your products or services. Your posting can include text,
images, video, and audio. In addition, because of the interactive
nature of blogs, your prospects and customers can post feedback on
the blog, thus keeping you on the pulse of your customers’ needs.
And unlike a web page, which is relatively static and updated
periodically, your blog is an ever-changing venue that gets updated
as often as every day.
blogs are linked to the company’s main web page, making them a great
source for attracting people to your site. Even better, the more you
update your blog, the higher your blog will appear in search
rankings, since sites such as Google like blogs that are regularly
updated and that have links.
Feeds: RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. With an RSS
feed you can send news and information directly to your customers
and prospects. Additionally, you and your managers can stay updated
on industry trends by subscribing to RSS feeds that supply
customized, relevant content about current events. Creating RSS
feeds can also help position your company as a leading source of
information, which could mean more customers for your organization.
RSS feeds are a perfect resource for small businesses, because
there’s no cost involved in establishing and maintaining them
Tagging: Tagging enables web users to organize online
information from many sources, such as websites, links, images, etc.
When the information is tagged, you can easily find it later, no
matter where it came from. Because of this, tags help bring people
to your blogs or website. You can utilize tools like del.icio.us to
help tag URLs with keywords related to your business. Tags can
benefit small businesses by enabling them to access and utilize
information more efficiently.
Podcasting: A Podcast is essentially your own radio show on the
web. Customers and prospects can download Podcasts automatically, so
it’s easy for people to listen to your company’s broadcast. With a
Podcast, your message gets delivered to people unfiltered, which
enables you to have a conversation with the listener and personalize
your company. Some great Podcast topics include interviewing the CEO
or a leader of your company, or having an expert in your field as a
guest. Podcasts greatly enhance your company’s image and build
Wikis: Wikis are websites that site visitors can edit and
update. Why would you want people to edit your website? Because it
provides a forum for customers, prospects, and company employees to
collaborate. Realize, though, that your competitors and others can
abuse or alter information on wikis; therefore, consider limiting
access to your wiki or only allowing employees or managers access to
editing the posted information. While a wiki is good for documenting
and sharing information, a blog may be a better choice for
developing ongoing dialogue between your company and customers.
Online and Interactive Video: If you can’t afford to run a large
television campaign for your company, you can certainly post your
television commercial or a video clip of a key person at your
company being interviewed on your website. Even better, take it a
step further by creating something clever or intriguing and posting
it for free on YouTube or Google Video, which are sites that
millions of people visit every day.
great way to reach customers is to have an interactive video host on
your website. So when someone lands on your site, a video clip of
the CEO or spokesperson for your company greets the visitor. To gain
the maximum impact from this technology, consider shooting video of
your host so he or she appears to be walking onto your computer
screen when a visitor lands on the site, and have the host appear to
be talking directly to the website visitor. The interactive host
might talk briefly about the benefits of doing business with your
company and point out some of the highlights of your site. They
might also talk about the benefits of a particular product your
create and post short video clips (30 to 60 seconds in length) on
your site that a visitor can interact with. This helps to involve
the prospect with the contents of your site.
Your Business with the Right Technology Mix: The more technology you
integrate into your marketing and advertising mix, the more
customers you’ll attract. Remember that the Internet is a great way
to build your company’s credibility by highlighting your innovation
and providing first-class information. So put some of these
web-based tools to work for you today. When you do, you’ll grow your
business and your customer base.
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