Times are hard, budgets are tight, customers are finicky, so think out the box to grab their attention and email addresses.

What will make you stand out from your competitors? What are customers looking for that will give you the edge? We have previously talked about respecting your customers and understanding who they are and what they seek…Now is the time to get on top of that and reach out to your potential customers.

You could try giving away an MP3 loaded with your brochure, white papers, product manuals, articles, product reviews and comparisons, links to helpful resources, even some cheery recession busting music if you feel the need! It should be valuable, unique content related to the search which led them to you.

By not forcing people to subscribe for content that may tip their decision to spend with you, but actually giving it away for free when times are hard, PLUS giving them something useful – an MP3 player – which they can use as they wish, you could be making all the difference in their minds when it comes to purchase decision time.

If your budget is really tight, and your product prices are low, reduce the cost of this marketing activity by making it digital. Offer the chance to download your white papers etc in return for their email address. And then follow up on all those who have downloaded it. Not weeks later, but hours or even minutes later. Personalise your response. Give them a customer care number to ring if they have questions, offer a once a day or once a week online chat when they can ask questions, use Twitter to offer further advice or incentives to buy from you.

Converse with your customers. Talk to them, listen to them, help them out, offer what they need, and develop relationships. It may seem to be time-consuming but it is this type of one to one business that will help sell products and services.

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ClickThrough is a digital marketing agency, providing search engine optimisation, pay per click management, conversion optimisation, web development and content marketing services.