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Change with your customer’s habits if you want to survive

Change to survive in business

A lot of small businesses I talk to say much the same thing, “I have been doing this for years and I’m still busy so there’s no need to try anything different.” It’s a popular argument for many, but it is a flawed one, especially when it comes to marketing.

People’s buying habits change. Just like popular culture, technology, the economy, the government and what’s going on in the world at the time. At the moment these habits are changing faster and more often than before, so what might be working for you right now isn’t necessarily going to work for you next year.

I’ll give you three examples.

Finding you

Advertising a small business used to be just a matter of getting in the Yellow Pages, Phone Book and Thomson Local. Then post a couple of adverts in the local paper while waiting for the phone to ring. Sound familiar?

So where is the Yellow Pages now? When did you last pick up a phone book or see a Thomson Local? While you may be doing the same thing in your business, the world around you is changing.

We use the internet for everything now. Uptake of internet use, even among the retired, is faster than ever and all elements of society are embracing it. If you don’t, you’re going to get left behind. A good website is the least of what you need!

Assessing you

For some small businesses such as the trades, much of your work comes from word of mouth. This is one of the best ways of getting new business but it is very limited. It’s out of your control and is only ever as good as your last job. Testimonials are still relevant and so are references but they are slow and unwieldy.

When you went on holiday last, did you believe what the travel agent told you or did you check the place out on Trip Advisor? When you bought your car or van, did you just get the one you have always buy or did you check reviews to learn about new models and prices? I bet you did and that’s exactly what your customers are doing about you.

Before they do business with you they are checking reviews, looking on search engines and seeing what people are saying about you. If you don’t get out in front of that, you’re likely to find business drying up.

Contacting you

How many times have you called a plumber, builder, electrician or plasterer only to get voicemail? How many times have you called your clothes shop of choice only to be put through to a call centre? Then what did you do? Did you wait until you were called back or did you move on to the next number on the list?

Our patience isn’t what it used to be. We live in a world of instant gratification. If you’re not timely in your communications, people will move on, fast. It doesn’t matter what your industry is, snooze and you will lose.

By offering multiple ways of contacting you, customers are much more likely to engage with your business. By integrating email, Twitter, SMS, instant message and whatever else is relevant into your website, you can keep some of that interest before that potential customer moves on. With the right website integration, you could manage all of these methods from your smartphone. No extra expense, no hassle.

Contact Coastal Content today to learn more about how we can help your business!

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