a crowd at the pier on a summer day

The advantages of listening in a noisy, digital world.

Technology has obviously changed the culture of marketing drastically. Especially emerging is the opportunity with online marketing. Yet, with literally at-their-fingertips information, consumers are still looking to engage with the people they buy from. Which makes the online marketing opportunity for your small business greater than ever. While this gives us as business owners, managers and marketers a whole new set of responsibilities, it also gives us a whole new set of advantages.

Marketers have now realized that “pushing” your product is not the most effective way to convert online users to buyers.  We’ve adopted so many new strategies such as content marketing, social media marketing, and video marketing to first gain the users trust prior to asking for anything from them.

As marketers, we stopped talking and began listening to what the user wants?

Technology has made listening to our customers extremely easy.  Below are a few ways that you can find highly targeted customers, listen to what they’re saying, and join the conversation online.

Forums

The real-life equivalent of a cocktail party, forums can be great for listening to what your customers are talking about and learning how to best please them.

Need help finding a forum around your industry?

Go to Google and type in forum:[keyword related to your industry].  This will bring us a list of forums of people talking about your industry.

Pay attention to the higher-rated posts and see what people are talking about. Higher rated posts are often seen as the most popular or most informative – both good reasons to keep an eye on them.

Don’t try to sell anything.  Use this as a resource to learn more about your customers and better your business.

 Twitter

Still think Twitter is a fad? Think again. In fact, Twitter’s still on the rise, already becoming a “search engine ranking factor”, but has recently struck a deal with Google for Tweets to be released as search results. Making Twitter another amazing resource for finding people with comments or questions regarding your specialties.  If you’re a local “brick and morter” business, you’ll find Twitter even more beneficial than using forums.

Here are the steps you should use to find hyper-targeted, interested individuals talking about your industry…

  1. Go to twitter.com/search-advanced.
  2. Input keywords that describe your business (keep it short).
  3. Select your language.
  4. Select your city or state.
  5. Click “Search”

Bravo!  You now have a list of targeted individuals talking about your industry.

Go ahead and join the conversation.  If they’re asking a question, offer a solution.  If they need help, offer your assistance.  Again, try to build a reputation and gain their trust before selling anything.

Learning From Your Competition

Learning from your digital competition is vital, and easier than you might think. Pay attention to competitors you know, and search for those you don’t. Check out companies you admire. Maybe some obscure, maybe some national brands with strong digital presences. The point is to observe. Watch what successful brands are doing. Pay attention to what you like. Pay attention to what you don’t.

Go in and search for keywords surrounding your business.  Take notes on what these websites are doing that’s driving their success.  Are they promoting certain products?  Do they have a great brand? The online presence of a company can say a lot to a prospective customer these days. What is your company’s saying about you?

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If you’re able to listen for the things that should matter most to you, you will have a better pulse on your industry and your customers. Paramount also does competitive analysis and industry specific newsletter feeds directly to your inbox. Give us a call to talk more about these solutions.