If you're struggling to decide whether investing in your website or advertising is more important, I'll save you the trouble: the correct answer is that you need both.
If the website is like the heart - in that you need it to survive - your marketing campaign is like the brain.
Much like our neural system controls the way our vital organs operate, an effective advertising strategy makes everything else work the way it's supposed to. It's what gets customers interested in your product, enticing them to locate your website and, ideally, to make a purchase.
But like the brain, your marketing campaign can never, ever stop working - not even for a brief time period.
Keep the heart of your marketing campaign pumping
There used to be a time when linear conversation between you and your customer base was an acceptable practice, but those days are over.
Although business owners are catching on to these trends, a recent study found that many companies have become overly complacent.
Nowadays, you have to keep consumers engaged, largely by implementing an effective marketing campaign while responding to every question and complaint in a timely manner. They also expect you to provide service through the platform of their choice - email, smartphone, social media, you name it.
Does this sound like a lot to handle for your budget? Don't fret! You have all the tools at your disposal to develop a better relationship with your customers.
To start, let's look at the different challenges highlighted by the above mentioned study, along with the easy ways you can overcome these challenges:
- Consistent communication: Eighty percent of executives said they only reach out to consumers if there is a problem, but this won't fly in the age of the 24/7 shopper.
You need to be persistent with your customers. Send emails out to subscribers who haven't bought something from you in awhile, or post Instagram pictures asking them to guess what a product is. Do something to make sure they haven't forgotten about you.
- Squashing complaints quickly: Three-quarters of customers don't demonstrate any brand loyalty these days, according to the study. In order to win their loyalty over, you should be sure to respond to every question, complaint and inquiry - regardless of how big or small, important or outrageous it may be. Whenever possible, respond to issues publicly so that everyone can see it's being addressed, and use names to make the message feel more personal.
- Going for the win-win: More than half of companies are planning to launch a new product line in 2013. If you're in that group, how can you ensure that you're going to be successful? Employing a method like crowdsourcing - where you ask consumers which product they want most - offers a win-win scenario. Not only will you improve your chances of success, but you will engage the customer by making him or her feel more involved.
Remember, if your website is the heart of your business' success, a quality marketing campaign that engages customers is what makes everything operate. Don't ignore either one.