When it comes to having an exit strategy, you will have thought long and hard about what your business should look like when it comes time to sell, and have been working towards that goal for some time. Your assets are all in place, your sales are strong, the place looks in ship shape, but have you given much thought to your database, and in particular, your online data base?
If not all businesses currently have a website, how many companies have, and talk to their database regularly? You see, those people on your database are maybe a mixture of your customers and prospects, with emphasis on the word prospects, they are your future customers, so it makes sense to keep them up to date with valuable news and content from you, to keep them wanting what you offer.
The other online places you should have databases, are your social channels, channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even YouTube, and whilst you should always think of these areas rented real estate, they are still part of your overall database.
I say they are rented real estate, because you don’t own them, they can be gone in the flick of a switch if the platforms choose to do so, so they will always be vulnerable. But they are still an asset and an important part of your business.
If you haven’t already got much in the way of a database, start building one now:
- Get your customers - Call each of your customers and ask them for their email address. Explain you would like to keep them informed with your new monthly newsletter which will cover content that responds to their problem, need or desire. For example, if you are a local restaurant, your database may want to hear about menu changes, food allergy options, easy car parking and events.
- Newsletter sign up - Put a newsletter sign up form on your website for others to subscribe to. This should be as part of your main template so that it shows on every page.
- Find them - Find out where your target market is hanging out online, and set up the relevant social page such as Facebook or LinkedIn depending on the outcome. With our restaurant example, Facebook would be an obvious choice, so post your opening hours, today’s specials, what’s in season. The great thing about using a platform such as Facebook, is you get to be able to chat with your customers very easily, and so developing a deeper and loyal relationship.
- Subscribe - Can your product be demonstrated well on video to capture subscribers through YouTube? What goes on in the kitchen, testimonials from happy customers, shopping for what’s fresh at the local market could all be great short videos.
Companies that have amassed thousands of connections, followers, fans and now even pinners, have got a great opportunity to talk to each and every one of those people on a regular basis, keeping your brand on their radar for when they or someone they know, needs your product or service.
Social media marketing is not a silver bullet, it takes time and patience to get your message right, get a reasonable size base together and keep the relevant content rolling, so plan early on and make a start.
A company with a large database of customers, prospects and a great social presence of happy fans and subscribers will be far more attractive to a buyer in this digital age than one without any presence at all. Make sure you are ready.
Linda Coles of Blue Banana is a social media speaker, trainer and author of the book "Learn marketing with social media in 7 days”.