|In our digital world, online product
reviews, forums, video demos and instant price comparisons are only a
click away. It’s not surprising then, that very few of us are willing to
fork over any cash before first conducting some online research. |
In fact, a recent study by
the Web analytics company Compete revealed that only 6% of consumers
surveyed indicated that they did NOT conduct research prior to their
last online purchase. Also, every month more than 80 million consumers
use shopping comparison sites like Cnet, Bizrate or Yahoo Shopping
before making a purchase.
marketer, it’s important to take these statistics to heart. If you’re
not paying attention to how the Web is factoring into your customers’
buying decisions, then you could be missing out. We’ve put together some
tips to make sure the Internet is helping you light new fires instead
of burning down the house.
be tempted to ignore the online world when it comes to your marketing
plan. Instead, do your homework and use it as the powerful tool that it
the sales cycle. Do you know how your customers and potential customers
use the Internet in your niche? If your answer rhymes with "go,” it may
be time for some research. Research will help you take the guesswork
out of your marketing decisions and help you get a firm understanding of
how the Internet factors into your customers’ buying decisions.
Instead of trying to spread your marketing dollars across all available
outlets, use the information you gathered in your research phase to
develop marketing strategies accordingly. For example, if your research
reveals that customers primarily use the Internet as a tool to gather
information about your product, a video demo (or something similar)
might be in line. If you learn that your customers rely primarily on
online reviews, it would be beneficial to develop tactics that encourage
happy customers to write reviews. In an environment with tight consumer
wallets and even tighter marketing budgets, businesses can’t afford to
invest money in resources their customers don’t use.
information. The Internet is like an insatiable, fire-spitting dragon
that never sleeps (ok, maybe that fire analogy doesn’t work, but you get
the idea). Make sure you keep online information about your product or
service up to date, so customers are basing their decisions on accurate
information. Update your Web site regularly. Correct information that
may be inaccurate on other sites.
ears to the ground. Just the thought of bad online product reviews can
lead many of us to start sweating profusely and break out in hives.
Monitor what is being said online about you online so that you can
respond immediately if an unhappy customer is ranting online. This will
help prevent irreparable damage to your brand.
current on new technology. We’re not talking about becoming a walking
encyclopedia on new geeky technology. Simply be aware of the new
technology that is emerging in the marketplace to help consumer conduct
online research about products and services. You never know – some of
the new gadgets may work perfectly for your niche. For example, there
are now a number of barcode scanning applications available for download
on mobile devices that allow consumers to compare prices by just taking
a picture with their Smartphone’s camera.
- Inga Rundquist