Building Your Customer Network

Business action and conduct are purposive: to solve problems (customer problems) and provide services, of course in a profitable way.  The sense of mystery regarding the future has always been a bother and slight annoyance for everyone, especially businesses.  Nobody knows if customers will suddenly drop in the near future or if the economy will suddenly go into recession.  Now with the existence of digital communications (content, media, behavior, and expectations), digital marketing has been created.  People now use multiple devices (all digital) such as smartphones, PCs, tablets, mp3, etc. to communicate contents such as apps, files, photos, music, and videos.  People are pursuing a digital lifestyle these days, thus businesses can tap into the psychology of their clients through digital marketing.  The future can be predicted due to the ability of tracking consumer-making decisions.  Due to this growth of a digital lifestyle, people leave behind their digital footprint that businesses follow to track and predict their behavior.  In order to track statistics related to consumer behavior, there must be a relationship between customers and businesses.  Through digital marketing, not only does a relationship form, but so does an interdependency between enterprise and consumer develop.  Marketers must study the customer decision journey, which has become increasingly digital.  Once businesses can see how consumers include certain brands and ditch others, they can adjust their company’s image to the liking of their customers.

Photo by thetaxhaven: thetaxhaven.posterous.com

The relationship between a business and its customer is no longer solely about the transaction; now customers become attached to their favorite brands and they try to advocate for them because they know there will be something in it for them ultimately.  When customers develop emotional and rational attachments to a brand, they become bonded and advocate, support, and protect that brand.  They know that they can score special deals, free offers, and even money for promoting their favorite brand.  They are also aware that if they keep their brands going then prices will be kept low.  Companies are obviously dependent on their clients, so they try very hard to keep their customers and to constantly attract more people who are similar to their steadfast clients.  There is most definitely a correlation between customer behavior and digital marketing efforts such as fantastic websites, personalized email campaigns, visually appealing graphics, social networking, photos/videos that give outsiders an inside look on what goes on behind the scenes.  The more energy businesses put into digital marketing, the more consumers will get excited and respond to the attention.

You should interview, say, at least 30 of your clients and find out how they feel about your company and it’s services.  Customers want to help you improve so that the products they receive from you are better.  Discover the fallacies about your company from your clients and others and then try to correct them.

Accumulate publicly attainable data on search activity of your company’s field and traffic patterns.  Use standard Google Analytics, Universal Analytics, Crazy Egg, Lyris HQ Agency Edition, WebTrends, SiteCatalyst.  You should track the number of people who use your site, comparing the number of visitors on each page, the number of visits by different users to see whether the same people keep returning to your site or if lots of people only visit once or twice.  It is also important to track your visitors with factors such as the country, state, city they’re from and what pages they look at while visiting your site.  Discover the keywords or phrases people typed into search engines like Google or Mozilla Firefox.  If that doesn’t give you enough information, buy additional data.

Ultimately, brands must find where their customers have discussions in order to learn what they think of the brand’s products.  Answer your customers’ questions and help them get what they need.  Listen to their suggestions and adjust accordingly in order to gain more advocates of your brand.

-Ariana Sauber

 

Why You Should Become a Blogger

So, you want to break into the field of digital media? It can take time, but a great way to gain experience while still in school or working in another field is to start blogging. Choose a specific topic to write about, but try to not keep it too narrow. Maybe you will write about a hobby or passion you have, or maybe it will be a blog about trends in social media, anything that excites you. Once you decide on a category, the next step is to chose a platform.

Photo Credit: CollegeDegrees360

There are many free platforms you can choose like WordPress, Blogger, or Tumblr. WordPress and Blogger are more traditional styles while Tumblr is more visually oriented. If your hobby is an outdoor hobby that can be accompanied my many photos, you may to use Tumblr. If your topic is more professionally orientated, Blogger or WordPress may be a better choice.

After that it is time to build up a community on Twitter. If you are not already on Twitter, set up an account. If you are, start following similar users and start reading their blogs, commenting, and retweeting and replying to their tweets. Think of similar bloggers as your allies, not your competition they may be your only audience for a while. Many seasoned Twitter experts  advocate for using your own name and having your profile picture be of yourself. It makes it more personal that way, people will be more likely to engage with a person, rather than an icon image.

Getting an audience takes patience and time, but does pay off. The trick is to publish often and regularly. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Once you are established, guest posts are a great way to get more exposure. I was lucky enough to land a guest post on a popular blog with a large readership and my post was re-syndicated on the PR Daily. This would have never happened if I published the same piece on my own blog.

So go ahead, let the world hear your voice speak with authority on a topic you know about. You may enjoy it even more than you though, and it might even land you a job.

Talk Nerdy To Me – Nerd Nite Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor’s newest event aims to bring together two of the greatest things about growing up: feeling comfortable in your own skin and the ability to legally enjoy an after-work drink, in moderation. Nerd Nite is a growing global phenomenon that brings together self-proclaimed nerds in a relaxed bar setting where they can share interesting informational nerdy presentations.

3D Printing Example at Nerd Nite Ann Arbor

Photo by ashlieforchione

I had the opportunity to get involved in Nerd Nite Ann Arbor in its early stages. My sister, a developer/nerd, and some of her friends made it their mission to organize the first ever Nerd Nite in Ann Arbor. I went at first to support her; while they had invited nerds they knew, the ‘Bosses’ (Nerd Nite organizers) weren’t sure how many people would actually show. One invited nerd even digitally muttered their uncertainty about the event – there would be girls there, and alcohol. How nerdy could it be?

How very nerdy, indeed. At least 20 people had to be turned away at the door – all the extra standing room only spots were taken well before the first presentation on Nanotechnology. Though some nerds waited in another area of the bar, hoping to catch a glimpse of the next two presentations on 3D Printing (see above photo) and Data Visualization, it was to no avail. No one even left the presentation area for fear of losing their spot.

At the end of the first night, I knew Nerd Night Ann Arbor would be bigger than my sister ever hoped. So, I did what any good sister-nerd with digital marketing know-how would do. I offered to help manage their social media outreach, and get my digital-nerd on. See, while digital and social marketing is a job field I’m pursuing, it is also a passion of mine. Something to get ‘nerdy’ about, as any good-fitting job should be. The facebook page and twitter are already exploding. I’m geeked to see what we can do for the next event this February.

If this post has got you feeling nerdy, geeked out, or put you in touch with your inner poindexter, check out Nerd Nite Ann Arbor or just talk nerdy to me.

Up-Coming Events for MSU’s Alumni Club of Washtenaw County

Being a recent Michigan State University graduate, I have recently discovered the value of a strong alumni network. No matter what it states on that very expensive piece of paper I worked so hard to achieve, without the right connections and experience, very few job opportunities are open to myself and the rest of today’s graduates. And while joining an alumni network is no guarantee of employment, it can definitely open up the door to internship opportunities and other circumstances that help young, inexperienced grads gain much-needed “real world” experience.

I consider myself lucky enough to be a part of an alumni group that spans the nation, and to some degree the world, making it easy to find networking and support wherever life takes me.

The Michigan State University (MSU) Alumni Club of Washtenaw County, my current location, serves as a hub for networking, socializing and general relationship building for all MSU Alumni and supporters living and working in the Washtenaw Area of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline, Chelsea and Milan. The main purpose of the group is to support the continued success of Washtenaw citizens and businesses, while also allowing them to become active in their community through networking and activities.

As the month of August approaches the Alumni Club prepares for two of its big events- its First Monday meeting, and Annual Spartan Golf Scramble and BBQ.

First Mondays are social events that bring the Washtenaw branch of MSU’s Alumni Club together on the first Monday of each month. These informal meetings usually start around 6 pm and last as long as people want to stay and network amongst the group. The August meeting will take place on August 2nd at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, located at 720 Norris St. The Corner Brewery is known for its large outdoor beer garden and tasting room. Behind the scenes, it is a production brewery that produces and bottles beer for distribution throughout the state of Michigan.

The Alumni Club’s other big up-coming event is the Spartan Golf Scramble and BBQ. The Spartan Golf Scramble and BBQ is an event that is held each year to raise money for a scholarship endowment fund that benefits Spartans from the Washtenaw Area as they attend MSU. Each year the group looks for avid golfers and die-hard MSU alum to come out and enjoy an afternoon of Spartan fellowship and networking, while supporting future Spartans through financial contributions to the event. The event will include 18 holes of golf on the Lake Forest Golf Club green, with each participate golfing in teams of four. Single players are welcome to sign up for the event and will be placed in a foursome on the day of the outing. All skill levels are welcome to come out and play. The Spartan Golf Scramble and BBQ will be held on August 14th this year.

For more information or to look ahead to more club events, visit the club calendar.

Currently in Transition

As the phrase “I’m currently in transition” becomes increasingly popular, it is no wonder that sites like indeed.com are garnering more and more attention. Indeed is a site that makes searching for jobs on the web easy… well easier at least.

Indeed.com functions like any other search engine, except that it is specifically for searching want ads and job posting sites. The concept is that users can log into indeed.com and by simply filling in their fields of interest, be given a list of related jobs. “Searchable” fields include salary, title, company, location, job type, and employer/recruiter.

A feature that makes recruiters and headhunters, like Collin LaLonde, recommend indeed.com is the trend capability. By hitting the trend button at the top left corner of the screen, users will see a graph of their chosen field pop-up. The screenshot below shows the graph that was produced for marketing professionals during the year 2009 and 2010. When looking at the graph it seems that marketing jobs were predicted to stay fairly consistent, as far as demand is concerned, throughout the year 2009.

Another feature on indeed.com that is drawing a lot of attention is the online forum. Forums are pages on websites that allow users to post comments, questions and/or concerns; while they also allow users to respond to their fellow users’ posts. This a great way for people to build a network- which is huge when searching for a job, maintain connections, and receive peer feed-back. Making indeed.com an important tool for anyone who is “currently in transition”.

How to get the most of Twitter

Twitter is a great tool for networking, by using its 140 characters messages you can connect with many people around the globe that can be potentially interesting for your career or even your business. The following ones are some guidelines that will help you to get the most of each tweet:

  • Use every word to make an impact (you only have 140 characters, don’t waste them)
  • Use your real name or last name, your WoW name may be popular among the other dwarfs or orcs, but maybe not so well known for anyone else.
  • Link, link and link again to your site or blog.
  • Use tinyurl, this will allow you to introduce longer web addresses. Also try to use the custom URL option if possible.
  • Be selective with your contacts, you don’t need to be antisocial but there is no need to follow back everyone who adds you, especially if their profile pictures are kind of suspicious (half naked women, etc…).
  • Share anything you think is useful, it may be useful for others and it adds interest to your twitter account.
  • Pimp your twitter account.
  • Keep your profile update, link to your blog.
  • Interact with your followers, comment on their tweets.
  • Try to tweet everyday, don’t let people forget about you!

Hope this little advice help. I’ll see you on Twitter.