Compared to B2B companies, businesses that serve consumer audiences are typically focused on a much shorter sales cycle due to the cost and nature of the purchase. They are searching for a one stop sale. B2C companies typically target a single decision maker or customer segment instead of multiple decision makers and influencers. As a result, the approach and internet marketing tactics mix needs to be more relevant to the consumer vs. the business buying experience.
The Holiday season gives B2C marketers plenty of reasons to improve their focus on best practices in internet marketing. Competition is tough for online buyers, so what should B2C marketers keep in mind with their Internet marketing strategy? Here are 5 essential tips for B2C marketers to get more sales online:
Understand Your Audience
Social media serves as a great focus group because you can see in real time how they interact and share. By engaging with your target market via social media you will continue to learn things about them that you may have not been privy to before. This will continue to allow you to target consumers in a personalized way to increase brand awareness and encourage engagement.
Own Your Brand
When a Minnesota based international restaurant chain had an interest in creating a Facebook and social media presence they discovered that there were already hundreds of pages created by fans on behalf of their brand. The organization was able to analyze what their fans were already doing and strategically establish their corporate Facebook presence alongside the fan pages. The page currently has 3.7 million fans and quickly became a major hub for the brand. They continue to have a very high user interaction rate and have created customized landing pages to drawn additional fans into their page.
Capitalize on User Generated Content
According to SEO specialist Michael Dehaven 80-90% of total content on many major e-commerce sites is user generated. This statistic alone should encourage B2C marketers to research what consumers are currently saying about their brand as well as their competitors. This research will lay the foundation for strong keyword and social media strategies. Often times as marketers we can get caught up in creating a catchy or attractive way to describe our offering instead of finding out how our consumers would describe the product or services.
React Appropriately To Negative Feedback
ChapStick has been in the media over the past few months due to their strange advertisements that generated a lot of negative feedback. More important and detrimental to the brand was the way that ChapStick poorly handled the feedback. Instead of listening and responding to feedback from consumers ChapStick decided to simply delete negative comments and refused to respond to the feedback. This only added fuel to the fire. On top of this ChapStick began defending their choice for the advertising campaign instead of listening to what consumers were saying. While I believe ChapStick did eventually release an apology it was too little too late. If you would like to read more about the campaign and ChapStick’s response be sure to check out this article released by AdWeek.
How do you think ChapStick could have handled this situation better? Perhaps some real time research and crowdsourcing could have helped create a more consumer friendly campaign in the first place. If ChapStick had run a promotion or campaign for consumers to help put together the campaign they would have not only had a better product but consumers would have been more excited to share the information with their networks therefore increasing ChapSticks visibility even more. However, a realistic solution would have been very simple. Listening and responding to negative press will help manage the relationship with the consumers that are unhappy as well as anyone else they share information with.
Build Brand Loyalty
If you have effectively researched and interacted with your audience then you will have a better understanding of what sort of information they like to consume and share. Providing top notch customer service via social media and other web properties can also be a great means of building brand awareness and encouraging loyalty. Some other tactics might include creating number of promotions or discounts to encourage repeat businesses, or providing your consumers with “insider information” that has not been made available to the general public.
Effective online marketing often requires massive amounts of research, creation, measurement, and adaptability. However, the benefits can far outweigh the costs. If you are a B2C marketer I am curious to know what mishaps you have faced and how you have (or haven’t) overcome them?