There is reputation management and then there is relationship management. Both are necessary and both are quite different from one another.
If you have been in sales or marketing for a while you probably have already heard the term “Relationship Based Marketing”. This type of marketing differs from other forms of marketing in that it recognizes the long term value of keeping customers, as opposed to direct or “Intrusion” marketing, which focuses upon acquisition of new clients by targeting majority demographics based upon prospective client lists.
Relationship marketing also relies upon acquiring the knowledge of what the consumer needs solely through existing customers in a mutual exchange. Relationship marketing is also often dependent upon what is called viral marketing.
What is viral marketing? Viral marketing refers to a marketing techniques that uses pre-existing social networks to increase brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet.
So how can one use the Internet for viral marketing? There are many ways and a good SEO specialist will help your company utilize all of them.
Web 2.0 and Social Media
According to Wikipedia, which is a perfect example of Web 2.0, the term Web 2.0 is defined as “commonly associated with web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web. Examples of Web 2.0 include web-based communities, hosted services, web applications, social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, mashups, and folksonomies.”
Web 2.0 gives more tools to those who utilize relationship-based marketing to promote their product or service. With Web 2.0 you are not only reaching a large base of people but you are also giving more marketing power to your website through the spider web of connections behind each of these types of media. If you are promoting yourself through Wikipedia, you are getting a two-fold force of marketing, one, directly to your potential client and two, promoting your website’s viability due to Wikipedia’s highly spidered site.
Blogging has probably been around longer than the other types of relationship based marketing techniques. What better way to promote yourself and your product then to sit down in a one-on-one fashion with potential clients? This is what blogging does. With your blog you can share your interests or passions with others who will then either respond back or share that information with others.
If the idea of creating a blog scares you, this too has been made easier. Not only is there software out there making it easier and easier to blog but there are also professional copywriters that can write your blogs for you. SEO specialists utilize these copywriters in a different way, not just to produce copy but copy that is optimized for your company’s key terms as well as providing backlinks to your website.
Comment on Existing Blogs
Once you write your blog, it does your blog well to have people comment on it. This has to do with the way search engines work as well as plain ole viral marketing. To bring in more people to read your blog and comment, become a frequent visitor to sites that are related to your profession and you may find yourself becoming the go-to person for those in need of that professional expertise.
Facebook and Other Social media
It is quite possible you have heard or even used Facebook by now. And if you haven’t used Twitter, certainly you have heard the term. These along with MySpace, and LinkedIn are common forms of social media. Sites like Facebook and MySpace have a broad focus while LinkedIn is more business focused. Sites like Facebook, provide the opportunity to add a customized page which you can use to promote a business.
As you can see relationship based marketing takes time and patience but is possibly one of the most viable and reliable forms of getting your name and company out to the public with the greatest long term value.
Pamela Ravenwood is an SEO analyst and consultant with SEO Essential Solutions. Ms. Ravenwood specializes in social media, increasing website rankings and website analysis.