Having recently finished delivering Systum’s new web site, I have been taking a few days just to catch my breath. It’s such a big and important job for any company that it isn’t unusual to rest a bit on our laurels when the job is done. But as the head of Marketing for a company like Systum, I know better. This is just the beginning.
The internet is so crowded that having a web site is liking having a storefront in a mall with a billion stores. How is anyone ever going to find you? Forget about walk-in traffic. People almost never stumble on web sites.
As most of you know, search engines are critical and Google is an important way to get yourself found. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that Google is the only answer. The problem for SMBs is that Google tends to favor the biggest and most established sites. Their algorithms look for domain authority and link density, which favor the largest media conglomerates that do a tremendous amount of cross-linking between their different properties. Unless you can get one of them to point at you, you’re going to have to work very hard to hit the all-important first page.
The other critical piece is online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. These are no doubt important channels, but they can get expensive. They will expose your product to a bigger audience, but they could also negatively impact your margins. While great channels, often times the customers become loyal to the channel, not your brand.
So what’s an SMB to do? Go back to basics. Word of mouth is still the most powerful form of advertising. In an online world, word of mouth is all about relationship marketing. Understand your customers and leads. Delight them and build their trust. Turn them into repeat customers and advocates for your brand.
But isn’t this something that only big brands can afford?
With Systum, you can play this game too. You see, we designed Systum around the 360° view of the customer. The key ingredient is integration. Previously, only big brands could afford the hugely expensive and time-consuming task of integrating all their various silos and applications to give them the total view of the customer. Even they haven’t quite figured out how to do this effectively and certainly not affordably. With Systum, these various ways of relating to the customer are all integrated from the start.
From discovery to invoice to support and repeat business, Systum gives you a record of every time a customer has been touched by your brand. Use this knowledge. Interact with your customers in a way that tells them that you understand them and care.
As a small to medium-sized business, you have the advantage over the big brands that you can translate this knowledge and understanding into real human relationships, something a big brand can only pretend to be doing. With a truly personal touch, you can build a level of trust and loyalty that big brands can only dream of.