There’s an old adage: do the same thing every time and you’ll get the same results. That’s not true any more. In this day and age with technology and information doubling about every 6 months, if you do the same thing you’ve always done you will get fewer results.
Case in Point:
The Birmingham News, a newspaper founded in 1885 is only printed 3 days a week now. Clearly, those classified ads you used to sell your car or find a job 15 years ago are at best 43% as effective as they once were (assuming newspaper circulation is the same, 3 divided by 7 is 43%).
Where’s the other 57%? Online.
If you’re not growing your customer acquisition solutions, you’re giving your customers to your competitors. Here are 5 recommendations that will help you reach your target audience right now:
1. Update Your Website
This may not be earth-shattering, but consider the fact your website is visited several thousand times more per month than your office/shop/store. It should reflect current web development trends, styles, and technologies and deliver a positive first impression for all new customers. That flashing banner from 1998 should be scrapped, and you should fill your site with content that is relevant and helpful to your users. The site as a whole should be framed around the intent of your website: is it to drive phone calls, downloads, orders, sign ups, etc.? Make that the focus and the design should follow suit.
2. Make It Mobile Friendly
And by mobile-friendly I don’t mean serve users the desktop version of your website when they’re using a smartphone. This may seem “Web Tech 101” to you, but you’d be surprised at the number of clients who don’t know what I’m talking about. If you’ll look at your site’s user stats you’ll probably find a giant spike in mobile-user traffic at some point between 2011 and 2012. Remember when smartphones on Android’s platform came free with a new wireless contract? Remember when the iPhone 3 and 3Gs were free with a new contract? That’s when every site we maintain saw a monumental shift in user technology from 98% desktop to 60% desktop almost unilaterally across our company. So when you update your website, be sure to provide users on smartphones a version that is easy to use and navigate with their thumbs.
3. Use Local Search Marketing
Without a doubt this is the #1 missed opportunity I see with clients. Clients every day are not spending any ad dollars locally to reach people searching for the products and services they offer. That’s like not running a local newspaper ad 20 years ago. Oh the insanity! Local customers are super easy to reach and at a marginal cost – just start a Google AdWords campaign, create some simple text ads describing your products, enter some keywords about the products and services you provide, set a daily budget (think what your daily newspaper classified budget was way-back-when), and set some geography parameters, and presto! Your ads appear locally for people searching for your products and services.
4. Start a Newsletter
Your customers want to know when things are on sale, they want to know when there is a special offer on shipping, they want to know about new products, and they want to know that you’re looking to grow your ability to serve them. Offer them the opportunity to sign up for a newsletter and send them something regularly. It doesn’t have to be daily, maybe monthly, but build an email list of people willing to subscribe to you. These are fans of your brand so engage these people! In your store, put up signs highlighting your newsletter and how you offer a coupon each month to subscribers. Be creative and figure out ways to show off your brand with the products and services you provide, package all that into a simple blog post, publish it to your site, then email everyone on your newsletter list to check out what you’ve created.
5. Get Social
“But Facebook is for my grandkids!” you say. Tell that to the b-b-b-b-billion active Facebook users. That’s right, 1 in 7 people on the planet actively use Facebook. Keyword here: active. That means they log in and use their account about weekly, at minimum. So you can create a Facebook page for your business, highlight that in your advertising (like in print ads, on business cards, in your shop windows, in your newsletter, on your website, hint-hint) and your customers will follow you. “So then what?” you say. Ask them questions, see what they like, ask them about a product you’re thinking of selling. Ask them the team they think will win the Super Bowl. Facebook is a giant conversation and you can either sit back and let the billion active users talk, or you can jump in and talk to your customers and fans.
One last tidbit for you: more tablets were sold in Q4 2012 than desktop or laptop PCs. And by tablets, I mean iPads (they own 92% of the tablet market share).
Wondering where you need to be in 6 months to a year? It has something to do with tablets . . . ahem, I mean iPads.