The way that you buy products and services has changed drastically from five years ago. Your experience with your favourite brands has changed - whether it’s your favourite coffee shop, clothing brand, stationary retailer or insurance broker.
If you consider how you interact with companies now, you’ll see how expansive the list has become - in comparison to just a few years ago.
- You visit their shop or office
- You read their flyers and leaflets
- You meet them at conferences and trade fairs
- You watch their ads on the television
- You hear their ads on the radio
- You read about them in the newspaper
- You visit their website
- You talk with them on social media
- You read their email newsletters
- You read their news and their useful tips and guides on their website
- You see them in search engines such as Google
- You hear about them through your favourite celebrities
Once you realise that the way you buy your favourites products has changed, you’ll realise that your very own customers have changed too.
But has your business? Are you still using the same marketing strategies as you did in 2010?
If so, you may be losing out on some valuable revenue. A recent study has shown that if a customer has many interactions with a business both online and offline, through platforms such as social media and email, then that company can convert them into a customer
2 ½ times faster. If a competitor manages to engage with a potential customer online before you do, you’ve lost them.
How do customers find your business in the digital world?
One of the key changes in today’s customer journey is how they find your business. Whilst prospective customers can still find us through traditional advertising, the main port of call for many of us is search engines such as Google.
If you’re in need of a new service of product, you go straight to Google and type in what you’re looking for - whether this is ‘men’s shoes’ or ‘funeral directors in Leeds’.
A few years ago, you might have looked in a business directory such as the Yellow Pages but now the process is a lot easier and quicker. You just open your web browser and search.
Even B2B companies need to have a solid presence on search. Search is the number one source of information for B2B buyers - 90% of buyers use search engines as part of the research process.
Try to find your offering on Google - Is it easy to find your business on search engines or do your competitors appear first?
How do customers recommend you online?
Loyal customers are great assets for a business because of how comfortable they are with recommending you to their friends - and they now do this differently in the digital world.
Five years ago, loyal customers would recommend through word-of-mouth and that might have been it. In today’s digital world, friends share businesses with other friends in Facebook posts or through Twitter mentions. It’s common for us to see comments on social media posts with customers tagging friends saying ‘this is the company I was telling you about’. In fact, 52% of customers actually trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations.
Is your company active on social media? You want to make sure that when your customers talk about you, you are ready to respond and thank them.
How do customers review your business online?
When you have a really positive experience with a brand, or even a negative one, where do you air your thoughts? Some people talk to their friends or colleagues across a desk - but many go straight online.
Whether you’re online or not, customers are going to criticise you, complain about you and praise you. Many business owners think that if they put their business on Facebook or review sites, they will receive hundreds of bad comments.
The truth is, if somebody has a negative opinion on your product or service, they are going to say it whether you’re on the platform or not.
If you are on the platform, however, you usually have the golden opportunity to engage with that reviewer. You can apologise and maybe offer them a refund or discount. Chances are that this angry customer is now grateful that your brand read their message and acted on it. It then has a snowball effect - other prospective customers will see this conversation and it will create a positive sentiment towards your company.
You can’t have this positive engagement and potential extra custom if you’re not on the platform.
How do customers engage with your business out-of-hours?
If you’re a shop or office with standard daytime working hours, there are huge gaps of time in the evening and maybe the weekend where you’re not available. Ten years ago, customers expected that if they needed you, they would simply have to wait until the morning. That isn’t the case anymore.
If a customer is sat at home in the evening and wants to find some clothes or wants to look for a supplier for their business, they expect to be able to find companies online.
If you’re not online or if you have a poor online presence, you are losing out to competitors. When customers are initially researching businesses online, 60% are only considering 1 or 2 brands. This is a huge percentage of potential revenue that your business will lose out on if a competitor has a better online experience.
Has your business adapted to the digital world?
For many businesses, the digital world is a confusing and scary place. They’re not sure what to do and they’re not sure where to start. But in reality, the digital world is full of opportunities for your business that you need to take advantage of - because a competitor will.
If you don’t have the resource or the knowledge, outsourcing your digital strategy to an agency may be a good idea. As an expert digital agency, if you want to ask us any questions or ask for advice, get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help.