Chatter marketing is currently the most powerful way to promote and run your business online. In essence what you do is listen to what your customers are saying, either directly or through actions they take while on your website, and respond to them with relevant content and offers. By following what they’re doing, you’re creating instant chatter profiles for website visitors that provide insight into what each customer may be thinking about purchasing.
So you end up with a broad picture of your customers: what pages on your website they visit, what links they click on, what message boards they participate in, what reviews they scan, what groups they join, whose tweets they follow, and so on.
How does all this work in practice?
The first thing most people do when they discover a need for a product or service is talk about it. And, more and more, they talk about it a lot; the more expensive and involved the need is (say, a trip to Europe, as opposed to the purchase of an umbrella), the more people discuss it. They ask people they know whether they have ever purchased this product or service. If so, where? Was it a good experience? Once they’ve asked friends and family, the next place that people are going is to their social networks.
Perhaps as a last option, the consumer will use a search engine to see more options, but by then it’s almost a done deal: your customer will already have been connected to the best options (best being defined as those embraced by people the customer trusts) and now is just locating contact information.
Social media is filled with opportunities for you to eavesdrop on your customers. It’s not so different, really, from the days when a salesperson would listen to customers talking in a store and approach them: “I couldn’t help but overhearing that you’re looking for a raincoat…” And why not use these same tested sales techniques online? The difference is that instead of walking up to the customer, you’re sending him or her an email—or a series of emails—focusing on his or her expressed interests.
That’s chatter marketing: email meets social.