Be Where Your Customers Are (Lesson 1)
Series: 4 Marketing Lessons from a Trip to Italy (Part 1 of 4)
How the Real World can Teach You About Marketing
One of the (few) great things about having a wife who travels for business is that sometimes I get to join her. It’s a great setup; she works for a few days (sometimes I’ll help) and then we go exploring. I was recently looking at photos from a 2011 business trip to Verona and Venice, Italy when I started thinking about the marketing lessons those photos were teaching.
As a marketing professional, I’m always on the lookout for real world examples of great marketing experiences, or lack thereof, and fortunately this trip didn’t disappoint. In fact, it offered some very instructive lessons so I thought it would be fun to turn them into a series.
Every day this week (except Wednesday) I’ll post another mini-case study and conclude with mini marketing lesson in the form of Key Takeaways. And just to whet your appetite, here’s the week’s lesson plan:
- Lesson 1: Be Where Your Customers Are (Below)
- Lesson 2: Using Marketing to Create Barriers to Entry
- Lesson 3: How to Stand Out from the Competition
- Lesson 4: Respect Your Customers
The first lesson starts below. I hope you enjoy it, and please don’t forget to leave a comment.
Lesson 1: Be Where Your Customers Are
Let me introduce you to Michele Lazzarotto, owner of Lavarre Tutto. Michele is building an ultrasonic cleaning business in Milan, Italy and is a remarkably savvy businessman. In a conversation with me over dinner, Michele told me, “You have to market, constantly. If you don’t, you’re an idiot. How will your customers find you?”
Michele’s primary marketing tool is the Internet. He has a website, but unlike his competition he’s constantly trying to improve its effectiveness and targeting. Not only does Michele “totally get” Google analytics, he has an aggressive Google Keyword campaign and is tracking his traffic closely. Compared to a massive corporation, his traffic may be small, but it’s well targeted and has a high conversion rate. For Michele, his marketing is driving so much business to his cleaning service that he’s expanding his operations and is investing in new equipment.
Michele clearly knows how his customers are finding him and he’s leveraging that knowledge to his advantage. He also knows that his customers, like practically everyone else, use social media. So Michele is also on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+, but he has a problem. “I don’t like to hear about the stupid things,” Michele told me. “I don’t care about what someone had for breakfast.”
Michele’s complaint is a common one; he doesn’t have the time to waste with trivial postings. Instead, he wants social media to be strictly a marketing tool. Also, while he generally doesn’t mind “friending” people, he’s very concerned about the time commitment required to maintain a social media presence. Yet, Michele knows that his customers are spending more and more time using social. Because of that, he knows that’s where he needs to be.
Michele knew his customers used Google and he aggressively established himself there. His company is the number one result for several search terms on google.it (Google’s Italian site) and he’s learning how to more effectively manage his presence. Now Michele is following his customers onto Social Media and that move is already paying dividends; a former customer who had “friended” him on Facebook has come back because of the “friendship” they’ve developed there. Michele is also setting up a blog to augment his online presence and to help establish himself in the Italian cleaning services market as a thought leader. To say Michele is excited about the future is an understatement.
I mentioned earlier about Michele’s concerns about the time commitment required to manage his social media presence. My advice to Michele was simple; slow and steady wins the race.
If not managed properly, social media can be a huge time-sink. Fortunately, a robust social media presence can be built gradually while one finds their “sweet spot,” the amount of time that can comfortably be spent online building and managing that presence. Some tactics that help people develop their sweet spot include gradually compiling a backlog of blog posts. I recommend building a backlog of at least a dozen posts of varying lengths. With a dozen posts, assuming that more will follow at a regular pace, it won’t take long for Michele look like he’s been blogging regularly. Not only will that help to build credibility, a consistent and growing posting history will help your search engine rankings. Of course, the most important thing is to write great posts that people will want to share.
What do you think? Please leave a comment and let us know.
Need help setting up and managing your online marketing or social media presence? Please don’t hesitate to contact me. I can help.
Don’t miss tomorrow’s lesson or the rest of the posts from this series: