BY Molly Congdon
In a growing technological world, e-commerce for many businesses continues to rise.
Much of that push is driven by convenience. Customers are able to visit their favorite store 24 hours a day, in the comfort of their own home. The process is constantly evolving.
“We believe it’s paramount to provide amazing content that motivates your demographic to become fans, patrons and ultimately brand advocates,” said Megan Cornell, chief social media officer with SIX marketing in Saratoga Springs. The day of shouting your message for all to hear has come and gone.”
SIX aspires to make a connection with customers that is lasting and memorable.
It’s never been easier to utilize technology to the advantage of your business.
“We all know it’s a new world where we have to be connected to each other in real-time all the time,” Cornell said. “Brands need to be in front of their customers now more than ever. The digital space provides the resources for them to do so. It provides marketers with valuable insights into consumer behaviors that help us serve them with better marketing.”
She said with the addition of things like wearable-tech gadgets, it shows the use of technology is only increasing. Buyers are looking for instant gratification, and new technology helps marketers serve customer needs.
Small businesses have a few options.
"If you are a small business or a start-up, every dollar counts," Cornell said. "You need to make sure your investment has a return–period. Spending thousands on trying different marketing solutions could send your bottom-line plummeting."
She said the best solution for small businesses is use of social media.
"Take advantage of where your customers are every single day," Cornell said. "Learn about them, engage with their wants and needs. Success will come for the small price of a little creativity and some of your time. The digital space, in general, is much less expensive with a much greater potential than traditional tactics."
A business has to know the power of its story and can't assume that people will go out in search of it. Business owners need to share it with the masses.
"People buy you well before they buy your products," Cornell said. "The power of video can help. Combine video and social media with some well-thought-out planning and you have struck gold. Our SIX team has a rule if the message isn't something you wouldn't respond to, get rid of it and start again. Your customers appreciate well-thought-out messaging, and they will be quick to judge what businesses think is 'good enough.'"
The online market is booming."Everybody is selling online, whether it's their brand, products or services," Cornell said. "Your online presence is becoming more important than your front door. Consumers have likely made up their mind about you before they even walk into your shop. Your website, social media and online presence need to have the same professional demeanor that everything else in your business has."
She added that timing is important.
"There's certainly a place to serve people with the correct message, but it's imperative that you serve them with the right message at the right time," Cornell said. "Good marketers will nurture their consumers and know when and what to serve them with. The best marketing is when you don't even know it is marketing, you just feel a connection to it."
Cornell said one of the largest advantages of online marketing is learning about the digital behavior of customers. Businesses can capitalize on the interactions customers are having with the company by analyzing online metrics. She said new areas of revenue can be found from paying attention to how consumers are behaving. Businesses that think they know what customers want can determine what they actually want.
"Marketing is a field that literally changes daily, and it is a full-time job to keep up with the trends, platforms, and new concepts," Cornell said. "It can be overwhelming, especially if you don't have a marketing team on staff. This is why hiring a good agency can make all the difference."
She said businesses that want to get involved in the field can "jump right in and get experience. Do a few internships. Become a sponge and learn everything you can about this industry … If you go all-in, you will know soon enough whether this is an industry for you."
"Take risks," Cornell said. "The best marketing we have ever produced or seen comes from the willingness to challenge the status quo and create something truly amazing."
In choosing a marketing agency, "finding one that understands your business goals and is transparent and honest with you is paramount," Cornell said.