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LisBiz Strategies: Haven’t I seen that blog before?

March 2/9, 2015; Volume 28/Number 18

By Lisbeth Calandrino

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 5.28.57 PMI see the need for social media has finally caught up with many stores. Today on my Twitter feed, I saw three posts that had the same blog headline and content. Last week, two of my Mary Kay sellers sent out the exact same newsletter with the same products. I called one of them and explained I didn’t think it was a good idea, but despite agreeing with me nothing has changed.

Trying to build a competitive advantage today is challenging. Product and sellers are everywhere, and there seems to be very little new on the horizon. I pay a lot of attention to fashion, and they are always looking for something new or old to fascinate the customer.

The Color Marketing Group publishes the color of the year and automobile manufacturers struggle to surpass their competitors. False eyelashes are making a big comeback, skirts are getting longer with slits up the front, and they’re trying to get us to wear those 1950s flowered pants. Buick continues to pretend its car looks so different that no one can tell it’s a Buick. It sure looks like a Buick to me except that Tiger Woods is missing.

Sameness never commands the highest price or the discriminating customer. It’s not that hard to be different; it just takes some thought. There are many businesses that are doing a good job of building their own cliques. It’s no different from high school or college; you just might need some lessons. Believe me, we can all tell when the content on a social media site has been scripted by someone other than the business.

What about Google? What do they think about blog duplication? I reached out to Christine Whittemore, web developer and chief simplifier, Simple Marketing Now. “With changes in Google algorithms, they have cut down on duplicate content,” she said. “Once they pick it up, if it’s duplicated they are likely to ignore the rest of the posts. This eliminates the search that you’re after.”

As Christine and I discussed it, she pointed out that we’re all trying to create unique experiences for our customers so they see us as the store of choice. If everything is the same, it’s obvious that the uniqueness for the customer has been left out.

Referrals make up 90% of your business, which is up from 80% two years ago. Social media is a way for you to connect and build that personal connection so your customers can feel excited about sending their friends to your store. Building a relationship online is similar to building one through networking in your community. You have to talk to them and find ways to turn them from customers into friends.

Can you remember when a good restaurant was just a good restaurant? These days it’s as much about the chef as it is about the food. The chef needs to have a following, blog and TV show.

The customer is looking for a personal relationship with you, your employees and your store. Finding ways to bring customers into your store and entertain them is more important than an impersonal blog about product. Holding a Girls’ Night Out, raising money for your favorite charity and old-fashioned networking will continue to build your customer base. Engaging with your customers by asking what events they would be interested in attending will give you additional mileage. Having an after-sale automated program with ‘personal’ messages to designated groups of customers will also quickly build your connections.