We live in a world that is obsessed with everything new. I don't think there has ever been a time where consumers crave new as much as they do today. So if your business has mastered the art of coming up with new products and services, it's time to question whether or not you are making the cardinal sin of forgetting to tell your customers about them?
I see this a lot in small businesses everywhere. I literally stumble across a new product or service, one that I would have bought ages ago if I knew it existed, but the business owner simply didn't think to mention it. They assumed that everyone would figure it out. This is a very dangerous assumption to make in any business.
There are two key considerations here. The first is to make sure you are educating your customers about anything and everything new with every medium possible and the second is to keep educating them, don't assume one email has the problem solved. Remember it is your job to educate them, not their job to automatically know what is going on in your business.
To dive a little deeper, we all have a range of mechanisms to update customers about anything new going on in our business. Off the top of my head here are just a few:
• Social media
• On your website
• On your blog
• Through email (and email signatures)
• Pick up the phone and tell them
• On your invoices
• Signage on your vehicle
• In your waiting room
• Send a letter
• On your phone message
• In your advertising
Of course it depends on the kind of business you run, but I think you get the point. Then the question is how long do we need to keep telling people about this new product or service? How long is too long? These are tough questions to answer.
Various research will say that a person needs to hear a message somewhere between 7 and 10 times before it sinks it. I don't think it is that clear. Personally I tend to hear a message much faster when it is relevant to me. For example a discounted airfare to Alice Springs doesn't even reach my radar, but a cheap airfare to Sydney certainly does.
The moral to the story is that these days there is no one single communication mechanism that captures everyone and there are different things that different people are attuned to listen out for (mostly subconsciously). This means that you have to communicate the new products or services often, across all of the various forms of media. Most people don't - and that's the problem and the missed opportunity.
Don't assume everyone has heard your message when you get tired of hearing about it or reading it. Odds on they haven't. Balance this against whether or not people are buying your new product or service or acting accordingly to what has changed in your business (for example perhaps you have extended your trading hours - is anyone coming at the new times?).
Doing business is complicated and communication is still the most vital element when it comes to building your customer base. Communicate loudly, clearly and often and you will notice a dramatic difference. Remember it's your job to tell your customers what's new, it's not theirs to try and figure it out.