Good luck doing business like last year! It’s been 60 years since the birth of brand management to the cutting edge of today’s online marketing. The gap between marketing leaders and entrepreneurs is closing. The spontaneity and reactivity needed for online marketing has forced large marketers to reorganize their marketing department and hire people capable of both thinking and doing. While this is rare in the corporate world, it’s a natural state of mind for entrepreneurs. This gives us the advantage, though it is often shadowed by our lack of knowledge of the new marketing landscape and tools.

Let’s face it, most entrepreneurs are extremely busy with the day to day business, and they have some reticence to embrace new ways of marketing their products or services. Unfortunately, consumers have become more savvy with the internet at their fingertips, so it is becoming hard to base sales strategies only on SWAT, advertising and price competition. No matter your price positioning, shoppers will find a better price in seconds. As per advertising it still works but not as effectively.

With the social media explosion, marketing experts told everyone that Marketing as we knew it was dead and that it was to be replaced by social media marketing and customer engagement. Right, but how do you do that? Many entrepreneurs jumped on the social media El Dorado without a clue on how to make new customers from the thousands of followers they had on Facebook and Twitter.

Don’t take me wrong, I am not saying that social media is not great, but entrepreneurs should use them to connect with prospects, and then invite them to their own community where it will be much easier to convert them into customers and keep them as clients. Why do you need your own online community? That is an easy one to answer. Let’s take the almighty Facebook, listening to marketing experts you probably have opened a Facebook page for your business and that is ok as you should have one. Say you have spent a considerable amount of time and resources to get 25-100k followers, or maybe more, and now you want to showcase your latest product by sharing the info. Unfortunately, Facebook is now throttling your posts so maybe a thousand followers will see your post if you are lucky (unless you pay of course). When asked, the Facebook spokesmen are saying that Facebook is a business and therefore should make money. I do agree with the principle but who paid you for creating these pages, and bringing more contacts from the outside to grow their network? Yes, we still have twitter and 600 other social medias, but for how long?

The next logical question is: Why would people on Facebook come and register in your own community? I could answer simply, why not? 20 years ago, people were very cautious to register anywhere. Today it is safe to say that 55% of the world’s consumer purchases are done online, demanding not only their info but their credit card numbers. Why not to give your clients a better experience with rich content, features, gifts, personalized discounts and services they will not find anywhere else, not even on Facebook. Another advantage to having your own online community is that you will be able to better communicate with your employees, partners, suppliers, agents, sales reps, the press and other media, and you will be able to manage your company remotely. If you have any doubt of the benefits of having your own community then browse big corporation websites and see if they have a member login.

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