Can you recall the words in this acclaimed hit by one of the most famous singer song-writers of the sixties – Bob Dylan?
The times… they are a-changin!
The lyrics to this song captured the social and political upheaval of the ‘60’s and if you listen to the rest of the lyrics they are as relevant now in the social space that dominates our world today – as they were then – just look at the opening verse!
Come gather ’round people wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’ then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin’…
Well times are a-changin’ – are you??
The world is now connected in ways we could never have imagined ten or even five years ago. Information systems and the emergence of the Internet and online technologies have opened up ways of communicating with your audience and given you the opportunity to speak to your customer base in a way that has not been experienced until now!
Are you taking advantage of these technologies to speak to your customers?
This massive advance in technology and shift in communication portals has literally opened the doors to millions of customers who now shop online – what does this mean for you?
This revolution in technology affects us in more ways than we could ever imagine… as it not only changes the way we communicate, it also changes the way we position our business in front of our customers.
You need to be involved in the continually changing, evolving world of online marketing and actively learning, implementing and taking part in these new paradigms that are leading the changes.
… for the times… they are a changing…
Think back to what your marketing strategy looked like ten years, five years, or even 12 months ago!
How were you talking to your customers then?
Are you still communicating with them the same way?
I certainly hope not…because if you are…
…you’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin’…
How the travel industry has embraced new web based strategies
Take the billion dollar travel industry as an example of how they have fully embraced technology and all the opportunities it opened up for them.
These are just a few of the many facilities travellers can now do online:
- find the cheapest fares and deals online
- book your travel
- online ticketing
- book your seat
- order your meal
- upgrade your travel
- cancel your booking
- check your phone for up to date information and flight details
- instant access to arrivals, departures, cancellations
- book transport, accommodation, travel insurance
- apply for visa applications online
- look at holiday guides and planners
- self-check-in at airports with electronic boarding pass
- pre-pay your entire vacation online
- view videos of unknown places
- visit a myriad of fascinating travel blogs
- find outrageous “experience” gifts – luxury and travel adventure experiences for someone who has everything
- connect with travel guides and experts
- view social media travel industry profiles and online interactions
Can you remember how you traveled before the internet, not so many years ago, and how much this industry alone has progressed?
Successes of unequalled proportions have been gained in a short span of time by businesses tapping into this huge resource of online communication which has resulted in a boom over the last two decades.
Savvy business owners are connected… because they watch… and they listen… and they test… and they learn… And this is the crucial part – they put into practice what the thought leaders in the online marketing industry are saying. They listen to their words of wisdom, their astuteness in interpreting new trends and the biggest takeaway for you, their sharing and their generosity to the online world so you can learn, adapt and implement their ground-breaking strategies.
If your business is suffering from lack of focus and a slump in sales…
It’s time to focus on a revised marketing strategy that embraces these new technologies.
It’s time for you to listen and learn, re-assess and re-invent your marketing strategy.
Here is one big opportunity to improve and reinforce relationships with your customers and keep your business moving forward if you want to maintain a visible presence in the insatiable world of consumerism.
There’s absolutely no excuse for complacency, laziness or arrogance as the ability to stay connected is as easy as the click of a mouse.
The value of a content marketing strategy and how to get started
So let’s look at a simple way for you to make some changes that will get you noticed and get you on the road to building a successful content marketing strategy.
Develop your blog with interesting, quality, content and deliver it on a consistent basis. This will facilitate a connection with your audience and give you the opportunity to establish and position yourself as an authority in your industry.
If this is something new to you there is an abundance of information online that the world’s best bloggers have given us along with many resources to make learning simple, effective and productive!
And you can learn to do this. After all, who knows your business better than you do? Who is more knowledgeable and certified to write about your products than you or your team?
So how do you go about this?
- Start collecting your ideas for blog posts
- Gather around you a content creation team (you don’t have to do it all yourself)
- Make a list of what information is needed to retain your existing customers and write about it
- provide better solutions than your competitors
- your staff are properly trained in the art of customer service
- develop your resources so you can provide creative solutions to your customers’ problems
- give managers the authority to make decisions that will benefit your customers
- make business decisions that cater to your smart, savvy customers
- make sure your company policies are benefiting your customers (which in turn will benefit your business)
- give your customers tangible results – loyalty discounts, add-ons and incentives
- spend extra time with your customers to understand their needs and to help them
- Create an editorial calendar and schedule your content for publication
- Have patience while your internal content creators are being educated and trained
And above all, remember that your customers are much better educated now and have access to more information that any other time in history – so acknowledge and respect this.
A small word of warning …
You may experience ‘overwhelm’ so you need to get very organized. Get a system in place that lets someone chase up the content creators so there is a stockpile of content always ready to add to your blog.
Make the time to sit down and meet with the people who will write the content and see how you can assist each other. Find out what each individual member is good at and use that skill.
If you can tell a good story use stories to get your message across…
If you like to show the fun side of your nature and feel this is the best way for you to express yourself – do it…
Whatever your skills are – let them shine through in your content.
If numbers, graphs and analytics press your buttons, stick with them.
You will find it easier to use your existing skills combined with your personality to kick start your content.
Start small and with focus – but just do it. The key thing is to create valuable information that will appeal to your audience and provide solutions for them, no salesy stuff and no pitching your products, this won’t work!
Always give something of value and don’t ever be scared of giving too much away!
What! Give away all the IP that has taken me years to acquire… to my competitors? Why would I do that?
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again…
Sorry to say but you are not giving away IP, rather you are establishing yourself as a leader and this is a key way businesses attract new clients/customers.
Your generosity will be rewarded.
Okay, so now you’re up and running, content creators are organised on a regular schedule, good quality content is being published consistently on your blog… so now you need to share it.
What’s next? Time to leverage social media
There’s no need to tell you about the millions and millions of people using social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Slideshare (and Pinterest works well if you have a good visual product) and a host of others.
Promote your content on all the channels you think are relevant for you, engage and make the time to develop strong relationships with your audience. Like any sustainable strategy, this takes time, but presuming you are in business for the long term, it will definitely be worth it. When you interact and connect, your listeners will begin to see you as an authority. When this happens people will do the work for you by spreading your content far and wide.
If you can understand and grasp these concepts and implement them with the discipline and self-control of an army general, you’ll win the war in no time!
The line it is drawn the curse it is cast
The slow one now will later be fast
As the present now will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’…
Midge Hand is a Co-founder and Director of High Profile Enterprises. Midge is one of only around 50 Copyblogger Media Certified Content Marketers and is the only one in New Zealand. When away from the demands of running High Profile Enterprises, Midge enjoys time with family, cooking for friends, Pilates and paddle boarding. This year her new challenge is to learn to play the melodica.