By Mike Eide
Earlier this week we wrote about buying a fireplace in the 21st century. While there have been many advancements in fireplaces as far as buying one goes, there have been just as many advancements in selling a fireplace in this day and age.
We truly live in a digital age, whether you like it or not. The way you market your product regardless of what it is has changed. No longer is there loyalty to the local retailer just because they want to support a local business, now you will be expected to fight for their hard earned dollars with multiple competitors. You will be required to reach out to them in such different ways then you ever thought imaginable. The lines of retailer and consumer are now blurred to more personal relationships.
New ways of reaching out to sell to today’s consumer
Traditional media is dying. Don’t let them try and tell you otherwise. It is just media evolution and all the big media companies have been working behind the scenes to stay relevant. Radio is losing listeners to satellite radio, wireless streamed smartphone apps or just smartphones in general. Television is losing viewers to online streaming services like Netflix and YouTube. Print is all moving online. The ways you are required to reach the end consumer is changing, so your business should be in the forefront of this change as well.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing is a newer phrase. Businesses before us never needed to ever worry about something like this. A social network to them was a stack of business cards in the desk drawer. Now a days Social Media Marketing is becoming a requirement of any business looking to sell in the 21st century. With social media the retailer now has the ability to reach directly to their customer looking more like a regular person than a static object like a website for instance. Social media allows you to build a following and communicate freely with them.
The second part to Social Media Marketing is that now you can advertise directly in these social media platforms. These social media platforms obtain an incredible amount of data about its users, which in turn can be used by us retailers to zero in on the exact demographic we want with our ads. This is an extremely powerful tool they have at their disposal.
Search Engine Marketing
Get used to the term search engine marketing. It is a phrase that is here to stay for the foreseeable future. I once read that 93% of all purchasing decisions began on a search engine. While I am not sure if that number is quite that high, I am sure it is close. Our buyers today are more educated than ever. They know more about the products we sell then we can imagine, and it usually is because of the online world. Google is the number one search engine in the world. So if you are looking into search engine marketing Google will be the logical place. Part of your yearly advertising budget will have to be dedicated to Google advertising (pay-per-click or Google Adwords). You want to get those customers searching for your products to see your ads rather than your competition.
The second part of Search Engine Marketing is Search Engine Optimization. This is what you or a private firm do to your website to help its search engine rankings moving your placement further up the list eventually to the first page of the search. If you are not already utilizing SEO or Search Engine Marketing than you are already behind the eight ball.
The Knowledge to sell
Now that you can reach out to the customers in new ways, you have brought them into your digital storefront, and then hopefully into your real storefront, you need to be sure that your staff is even more knowledgeable than the customer. We have already established that the consumer today will be better educated about the product they are interested in then in the past, so your staff will need to be super educated in the products they sell. If you cannot take the time to properly train and educate your staff, you will never be able to finalize this sales process with the consumers you are now bringing in the door.
As you can see, the ways we now sell fireplaces in the 21st century have evolved just as much as the choices and options in buying a fireplace. Having the ability to know how and where to properly reach your customers, have a great digital and real store front to show off how reputable you are, and finally having an expertly trained sales staff to finish the cycle off will not leave your business in the background, but rather in the fore front of the 21st century retailer.