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| In this edition: Internet Marketing Resolutions for 2008 - Make Customer Engagement Your No. 1 Priority |

Internet Marketing Resolutions for 2008

...Make Customer Engagement Your No. 1 Priority

Welcome to the latest edition of the Inside Edge--your monthly report on Internet trends and advancements that can turn your business into a more profitable e-Business. At the start of the New Year, which promises to bring new challenges and new opportunities, we highlight the fundamental customer engagement techniques of Internet marketing. As you plan your business strategies for 2008, stay on track and reap the rewards of implementing processes that will enhance customer engagement on the web.

The start of a New Year rings in many changes; some visibly significant, others more mundane and intangible – but no matter what, the change opens up a fresh new page waiting to be filled. As a business owner, the changes you unveil will no doubt, impact all members of your value chain. Are they as anxious and excited in their anticipation of change as you want them to be? Maybe, or maybe not. What they will be, for sure, is open to any change that benefits them and offers new advantages. Increased business profits will transmit positive effects on your entire value chain with the customer at the top. Nothing can drive profits and get your cash register ringing better than an engaged, involved and active customer base.

If your single most important resolution this year is to "own the customer", then you can follow these basic, easy-to-adopt and highly effective Internet marketing steps:

  • Analyze and revive your email marketing campaigns: Over the last year, your email marketing campaigns must have delivered results in varying degrees of success. Review and analyze these past campaigns to nail down the success factors of the most effective ones. Fine-tuning these and adding current relevance will ensure that you are better equipped to roll out new email campaigns this year. In addition, review your email lists and databases in order to purge "dead" addresses. Study the trends, click-through rates of old campaigns and plan ways to "awaken" or re-engage the folks who have stopped clicking on or opening your emails. Simple ways to do this is through making special offers (with a time validity), requesting addressees to update their profiles and preferences or even sending out text-based messages, which will overcome any blocks due to images or html. If your website has an e-commerce engine, another way to use email is 'triggered messaging' which comes into play, for example, when a potential customer abandons the shopping cart on your site. It is absolutely possible to try to regain lost sales in this manner – not easy, but possible and certainly worth the effort!
  • Edit your 'Search Words' to become 'Customer Carewords': Gerry McGovern, author of "Killer Web Content" propounds the concept of 'customer carewords' over search words. No longer is it sufficient to have the right search words that help your website to be found on the web. Getting targeted traffic that travels through your site and performs the desired buying actions is achievable through the use of carewords. For example, if your website sells Orthotics and related foot-care products, an effective search word would certainly be "orthotics". However, the customer carewords would be "foot pain relief", "foot comfort", "foot support" and so on.
  • Create or enhance your rewards and loyalty program: If you haven't yet rewarded your loyal customers, periodically or through an ongoing loyalty program, start right away! What better way can there be to win over, encourage and enhance customer engagement than by saying "Thank you for your business"? Offering a reward or incentive for continued business is like investing in insurance; stocking up on loyalty to be prepared for bleak seasons, sudden and fierce competition or any other unforeseen business circumstances. You can't go wrong. In order to own the customer, you have to be in their mind space through high positive recall.
  • Get actively involved in social networking online: Select the most useful online social media for your business. Consumer Generated Media (CGM) is the intersection between real and virtual worlds. In the travel industry, for example, where consumer opinions and forums play a major role, various companies offer networking opportunities. From choosing your cab-sharing partner to Instant Messaging another passenger on the same plane to invitation-only 'meet spaces' designed to bring like-minded travelers together, all of these are effective networking mechanisms.
    The credibility of information on a website is no longer automatically accepted. There is an "ideological clash" between "official" content (your own website, brochures, descriptions, industry rating, awards, etc.) and CGM-related content (blogs, customer review sites, etc.). What do your customers believe? Establish a corporate policy regarding CGM and it is critical that you monitor and react quickly to postings on blogs, forums, web-boards, or other influential social media.
  • Audit your performance through customer feedback and RoI metrics: Website visitor analysis using real-time web analytics, digital advertising campaign tracking, online surveys, customer feedback forms, web forums, customer brainstorming sessions; all of these and more methods of internal and external audits can and should be employed to monitor your business' e-performance. Embracing trends and best practices with regard to e-CRM is the first step towards owning the customer.

Having outlined some top Internet marketing resolutions above, it goes without saying that you cannot ignore or undermine other equally important aspects of your website. Your WSI Internet Marketing Consultant can help you ensure that your website is always up to date, informative, optimized, and user friendly – bringing in qualified, profit-bearing and ENGAGED customers.

This edition of the Inside Edge has been brought to you by Ron McArthur, Certified Internet Consultant.

For more information about WSI Internet Solutions for your business contact us today!
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Debra Aho Williamson, Senior Analyst, eMarketer predicts that about 44% of US consumers will use social networking at least once a month. US ad spending on social networks will climb to nearly $1.6 billion in 2008, from $920 million in 2007. Read more...

Although targeted advertising is getting the lion's share of attention and will continue to be a hot button in 2008, other forms of social network marketing, such as search advertising, widgets and e-commerce, will draw increased marketer interest. Additionally, self-serve advertising systems will create a new market for local and small businesses to promote themselves via social networks.

Activities such as online shopping, searching and even sending e-mail will be enhanced with social networking features. Social networking will remain a key online activity regardless of the individual performance of MySpace or Facebook.











































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