We’ve all been there. Somebody comes along and tells us that they want their marketing to look like Apple’s. What they are really saying, of course, is they want their brand to be like Apple’s, a goal that is unrealistic as they come.
The truth is Apple-envy won’t produce real-world results. And Apple's branding doesn’t work for every size business. The real inspiration for marketing today should instead be a site that most of us visit on a daily basis, even if its visual identity doesn’t give you the warm-and-fuzzies: Amazon.com.
Rather than creating a superficial relationship with its customers, Amazon has created an online marketing experience built on a deep intelligence gains overtime. The more a person uses Amazon, the more relevant their shopping experience becomes. Today, nearly every business can create the same dynamic experience online, which means Amazon is not only an inspiration, but one that you can actually mimic on both B2B and B2C websites.
So why should you be more like Amazon instead of Apple...
Long before technical SEO lost its value thanks to a focus on fresh, relevant content, Amazon understood that content was part of the discovery process. The user generated reviews, lists and an extensive forums system make up for the fact that their URL structure and meta data are some of the ugliest an SEO could ever imagine. Amazon used content from the start to build communities that increased site traffic. (Plus, all that content creates tons of internal linking opportunities.)
For the B2B minded, Amazon’s blogs, scattered about the web on the company's own site and on Typepad, provide solutions to their customers' problems. Those blogs also provide best practices for using their services. All of this content, both user-generated and company-generated, makes their services more relevant to their customers, both B2C and B2B.
It sometimes feels like Amazon knows what you want before you do. When you visit their site products are suggested for you based on previous purchases and browsing habits. And once you’ve made a purchase, Amazon knows they don’t need to sell you that item again. The same techniques should be used on your website.
Depending on website visitors' stage in the buying process or their industry or any number of other factors, your website should display the most relevant content to end users. Now, you can’t expect to get all the info right away, but overtime you can provide offers that will encourage visitors to provide you with more information about themselves. Just remember, every time you ask for information you should make the on-page content more relevant... just like Amazon.
Instead of sending notification whenever you abandon your shopping cart, Amazon “nurtures” you with other relevant purchase offers. This isn’t about getting you to make one sale. Amazon is creating compelling reasons for you to continue your relationship with them. By combining their nurturing with personalization, they entice you back to their website where you will likely make additional purchases or simply provide them with additional information regarding your customer profile for better personalization.
In the case of your marketing, just because your team lost a sale, doesn’t mean that prospect won’t come back to you in the future. And just because a lead is a customer, doesn’t mean you stop communicating with them. Lost sales can become customers down the line. Customers can become up-sell opportunities. It’s up to you to provide the content that website visitor wants to see, when they need to see it.
Online marketing isn’t simply about getting a user to click the “Request a Quote” button on your homepage. Now, you should be able to make content that applies to that customer, learn from what his or her preferences are, and continue to nurture with more targeted information.
At the end of the process, that “Request a Quote” button can be customized for users so that they know you know who they are and what they need.
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