Ten years ago, people went to one or two websites when looking for a product, and made a decision based on that information. Today, however, the information available about products is almost endless. Without practically limitless data online, customer reviews, and countless vendors to purchase from, the purchasing power is in the customer's hands more than ever before. In the past, companies had more power to convince and reason with customers with regards to purchases. Sales people were trusted, and a speaking to a company directly was considered a logical step in making a purchase. Today, however, customers are able to locate most of this information before ever speaking with the company. This makes sales and outreach more difficult for companies; how do you sell to a customer who already has all of the facts? Thus, marketing to our customers is more difficult than it once was. Traditional strategies like cold calls, cold emails, snail mail, and trade shows have much less of an impact. The bad news for marketers is that much of their campaign budgets are going to waste. The good news is that there is an entire set of new strategies available for marketers who want to get an edge over the competition. Here are a few of the strategies and ideas to keep in mind in order to pivot our marketing strategies so that they stay effective even with the change in customer behavior.
It's difficult to get your sales pitch heard from a customer who isn't interested. If someone isn't interested in buying your product in the first place, they're not likely to want to sit through your presentation or speech. Customer's attention spans are also shorter; people are dong ten things at once and certainly don't have the time to listen to your thoughts. This is where adding value comes in handy. If you can present your target audience with a token of value--maybe it's a free item, a piece of information, or even an interesting or funny video, they will be more likely to engage with you. Don't focus on executing the sale right off the bat; focus on establishing a line of communication with your customer. If you can start a dialogue with your customer then a sale can follow naturally. Adding value is a great starting point. Rather than interrupting someone's dinner by cold calling them and immediately pitching them your product, consider taking a softer approach. Everyone appreciates value, including your customers.
It's more much difficult to hear yourself heard amongst today's marketers on social media. There is a seemingly endless influx of ads, marketing content, and other noise that floods our Twitter newsfeeds and covers our Facebook home pages. To get yourself seen amongst the crowd, be unique. Be interesting, genuine, and captivating. Don't be obsessed with merely promoting your promoting your product; be obsessed with engaging your customers. Never forget that engagement comes first - purchasing comes second.
People and customers operate in a multi-channel world, and your marketing should too. Old marketing techniques that utilize email and calls exclusively are obsolete. Make sure to leverage LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other channels to reach customers.
The best way to achieve the highest ROI on your marketing campaigns is to examine the data. Make sure to examine the most impactful, relevant KPI's to determine the direct impact that your campaign is having. This way you will be able to test whether certain ads, blog posts, or content are generating real traffic and driving purchases. Without analytics you are essentially shooting in the dark.
If you want your customers to see you, then you need to be seen. People don't sift through the paper anymore to look at ads or evaluate products; people look online. Thus, your SEO is critical for customer outreach and acquisition. Focusing on using keywords in the right places, leveraging the right outlets, and connecting back to your homepage are good ways to start with SEO.
At the end of the day, your focus should not be on your product: it should be on your customer. Make sure to market and sell based on the specific needs of the customer--not just your needs as a company. Allow your marketing campaign to be swayed based on insight you gather from your potential buyers.