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Retain and Engage Customers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 13, 2010

No matter how well-conceived, simply building a website is no guarantee that customers will come to your site. Most businesses spend tremendous time and money to get a visitor one time, and then the cycle begins again to get the person to return to the site. The right engagement tools can address this problem in a cost and time-effective manner. Depending on your type of business or marketing campaign, here are methods that can work for you:

E-mail. E-mail remains a cost-efficient and time-efficient method for reaching a targeted audience and has proven particularly effective for business-to-business marketing. An effective service will include list management, templates, antispam checks, and campaign tracking. Remember, mass blasts of generic content are a waste of time. Stay targeted.

Blog. A blog gives you a voice and a place to be heard. It is a forum for commenting on the news of the day, linking to relevant content, and sharing your opinions and advice. For many small companies, a blog can act like a one-stop, dynamic marketing machine, providing timely news, product, or service updates, and sharing your expertise with all those who visit. Plus, your blog is easily syndicatable and can be linked to your site, thus encouraging return visits.

Web apps. Give visitors access to the best of your content, anywhere they are on the Internet, by developing a Web app. A Web app sits in the real estate at the top of the browser and is a persistent reminder of your brand and a convenient method for users to interact with your content, services, or functionality.

Social Media. Social media are no longer a nice-to-have; they are a must-have. Small businesses too often ignore social media technologies because they are afraid of the time commitment. But these free tools offer incredible visibility and awareness (and access to millions of users at no cost). For instance, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can help you drive promotions, sales, news, and content, while HootSuite, Co-Tweet, and Nutshell Mail can help you organize your social presence.

Adam Boyden
San Mateo, Calif.

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