In both traditional and online marketing, there are a lot of “rules to live by” that, as it turns out, seem to conflict with one another.  Through our testing while running campaigns for more than 50 companies we have found the ones you can actually live by. They may not be set in stone, but they are easy to remember and can give you a leg up on the competition.

“7 Points of Contact To Make A Sale” – Most Car Sales Training Guides.

“It takes 10 Points of Customer Contact To Earn Trust” – Most Real Estate Sales Seminars.

“With online marketing, you need to engage a customer 12 times to make a sale.” – Most online marketing books.

The truth is a little more vague than a specific number.  How do you count “points of contact” online?  Does an email count? Does a social media ad count?  Does a tweet count for half a contact?  How do we calculate ROI on the amount we spend on ads if we don’t know who viewed each ad?

“These days that number is much higher due to the massive amounts of sales messages we see in email and on the web. Even in the B2B space – there are lots of newsletters and Google ads, LinkedIn messages, blog posts, etc. Even if that number is now 50, the key is still the same: the more and more kinds of points of contact the better.” (Source: Faith Seekings)

The truth is that you need to reach out and engage with your potential customers everywhere they are. You don’t choose the platforms that you want to use, your customer does. With all of the options out there, you need to be on the platforms that your target demographic are spending their time on. The more you are engaging with them online and offline, the better your chance of earning their business.

In our upcoming book on Publihsizer, Crush SEO: Learn How To Market Your Local Business Online, we discuss more than just basic SEO.  We discuss how to reach out to your target market through content marketing and reciprocity to find potential customers, get their attention, build their trust, and ultimately drive more leads.

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Strategies Debunked and Confirmed

It takes 20 5-Star Google Reviews to Get The Top Rank on Google Maps

This could or could not be true.  How much competition is there in your area? How many reviews do your competitors have? How close is your business to the area where people are searching from? Are the keywords and phrases people are searching for in your Google+ business page? How well ranked is your company’s home page on the same topic?

Those are all factors that Google takes into consideration when ranking your business on a Google map search.  20 reviews may or may not get you the top position. But, there is one thing here that you can take to the bank: more positive reviews will improve your search rank.

Try to encourage your happy customers to review you.  In some cases, we have seen companies with only 1 positive review reach the top of the Google Map search results.  The moral of the story: more reviews are a positive factor in your search ranking.

It Takes 7 Points of Contact to Make a Sale

In some cases, it only take 1 point of contact to make a sale if that point of contact builds trust and shows that you are an authority on the subject. One well thought out blog post that answers all of a potential customer’s questions can be all that it takes to make a sale.

In some instances, it can take months to generate a sale.  If you use your blog, social media, and in-person networking to your advantage, you can build a basis for trust. Let’s say a customer reads a post on social media about your company.  Then, a couple weeks later, they read another one and it points to a blog article.  They read the article and sign up for your mailing list.

You send them informative and entertaining information by email, chat with them on Facebook or Twitter, post articles to LinkedIn, and keep your company fresh in their mind. Three months down the road, they need your type of product or service and they immediately think of you.  No need to go search around on Google or Bing. They know who you are, they know that you know what you’re talking about, and they contact you or visit your brick and mortar location.

In the first case, it took 1 point of contact. In the second case, it took months of contact. The takeaway here is that you need to keep building that trust, engaging potential customers, and building a relationship. That relationship will earn you their business.

People Don’t Click on Paid Posts or Links

Some people do.  A LOT of people do.  But again, some people don’t.

The key here is to diversify. If they search for your company online, can they find you? Do you have both a solid paid search rank and organic search rank? Are you posting nothing but commercial content? Are your social media posts entertaining or informative?

You cannot ignore part of your audience or you will miss potential customers and leads. The other fact that a lot of people are missing is that paid advertising works.  If it didn’t, you wouldn’t see very many ads online and TV commercials would be a thing of the past.

The important part is to track your return on investment against your goals.  Is your goal with paid advertising to directly drive immediate sales or are you trying to build brand awareness?  Regardless of your goals, you need to be seen, and in this age of boosted posts and pay-per-click advertising, you will likely need to pay to be seen by some of your potential audience.

A Well-Rounded and Diverse Media Presence

In the Internet age, a well-rounded media presence that is tailored to the demographic of your customers is a must.  Reach out to them where their eyeballs are pointed.  Inform and entertain them. Build their trust in you, your expertise, and your brand and they will beat a path to your door.