Traditional marketing was all about the push. But social media has been a game-changer, transforming the sales pitch into a ''push, pull and engage'' style of wooing, says Dell social media expert Richard Binhammer.
He and three other marketing gurus gave their thoughts on modern day marketing at lats week's National Small Business Summit in Brisbane. Here are some highlights.
Richard Binhammer, social media expert for Dell
Dell's social media go-to man says in 2010, marketing is not about forcing material down potential customers' throats.
''It's about listening to what they have to say, going where your customers are, learning from them constantly,'' he says.
''I think the reddest, hottest thing about social media is that in fact it allows you to connect more strongly, in a more real way.''
Binhammer said the technology company had clear strategies on using tools such as Facebook and Twitter for marketing.
''Listen to your customers, go where they are. It's about listening to what they have to say...learning from them constantly.''
He says Dell delivers news, information and sales offers, but only to their customers who have asked for it.
''In the case of social media it's as if your customers are having a dinner party. You can choose to go to that dinner party and participate with them on an equal basis, or you can go back and try and serve that dinner to them...in which case you're the rude waiter.
''Traditional marketing is very much pushing the message. Social media marketing is all about push, pull and engage. Start by: listen, pull, engage, push.''
Adam Franklin, managing director, Bluewire Media
Websites and social media have allowed innovative small business to compete with the big business world's lavish marketing budgets, says Adam Franklin.
''We can no longer get outspent, it's now the quality of content that you publish,'' he says.
Franklin says a starting point is creating a website that offers something remarkable, which readers will then pass on to their friends, sometimes via social media.
''Backlinks can't be bought, Google ranks can't be faked...It's these backlinks that propel you up Google,'' he says.
''Once your remarkable content is online it will continue to pay dividends over the years. Make that lead unassailable by always creating the best content in your industry.''
Franklin says small businesses should market to people in a way they want and in terms that they like.
He said studies had shown only 40 per cent of people trust advertisements, while 70 per cent or more trust personal recommendations. That's where a link or ''like'' on Facebook or Twitter can be gold.
But Franklin says don't shy away from allowing people to review your business online or on social media. Instead use it as a way to address any problems and turn negatives around.
''People have always been talking about your business or organisation...they've just been talking it behind your back,'' he says.
Valerie Khoo, founder, The Sydney Writers' Centre (and MySmallBusiness blogger)
Gathering a database of contacts is the best way to begin a marketing campaign, says Khoo.
''The most basic thing is, if you're not finding a way to collect contact information via your website, then you're nuts,'' she says.
Once that's done, communicate with your contacts in the way you have promised - whether that's through an email newsletter or another form.
Khoo says small businesses shouldn't be overwhelmed by the prospect of social media taking up too much time.
''You're in total control on how much time you spend,'' she says.
And best of all, it's a great return for free - apart from the cost of your time - marketing.
Blogs are an excellent way of engaging your audience, she says, but writing them may not appeal to everyone.
''You also need to be doing something that you enjoy. If you find you are hating every minute of blogging then it's not for you. Maybe a staff member could blog for you,'' says Khoo.
Ciaran McGuigan, Strike Force Sales
McGuigan says while emails en masse are fine, they don't reproduce a real-life conversation. So he encourages small business to get their sales team on the phones.
''Get your people speaking to your prospects,'' he says.
McGuigan swears by a ''10 before 10'' sales rule - so much so that the slogan is displayed on his car's numberplate.
''Make 10 outbound calls by 10 o'clock every day of the week. You will probably triple your sales.''
- The Age
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