We get told a lot by business owners that referrals and word of mouth are the core of their business. This has been true of the past, and obviously it’s still holds true today – up to a point.
But, whether you like it or not, the modern shopper has changed.
The rate of change has been tremendous
If you think back to 2007, just eight years ago, the iPhone was just being released (it didn’t actually reach Australian shores until a year later). Apple had such a massive head start that it took competitors years to catch up. And now, just a few years on, you have few options but to buy a smartphone. And this has changed the internet and how we interact with it dramatically.
If this was just a passing fad, or a niche market, then you could reasonably ignore it. But it’s not – this is the way things are. Yet I have business owners sit in front of me, with their iPad on, saying digital marketing isn’t for them. Their customers aren’t on social media. Rubbish!
Today, 46% of Australians use social media at least once a day, and 19% admit to using as much as 5 times a day. Other research says we look at our phone 110 times per day, on average. That’s basically a glance every 7 minutes. A heavy user might unlock their phone up to 900 in one day! And that’s just your phone. You might be shocked by this, but if you stop and think about it you know it to be true.
The question is how can you use this to your advantage? Maybe you’ve tried and haven’t had success. But is that any wonder when technology is moving so fast, and every day there is a new tool you can use?
Social media and instant gratification
The traditional consumer used word of mouth and trial and error to purchase products. Business customers visited trade shows and networking events. Today, 28% of Australians report using social network sites for researching products and services. Customers also spend more time educating themselves before making a purchase decision. In fact, you’ve no doubt noticed more customers are more informed than ever before they even approach you. I know I am.
In this modern era, technology has also given rise to the demand for instant gratification – whether for a new gadget for home or creating a purchase order while on a work site. The statistics back this trend, with 95% of us making online purchases from home, 39% from work, 31% while on public transport and 30% while sitting in bars or restaurants. A pessimist might see this as just another demand from customers. But an optimist sees this as an opportunity to increase sales and improve profit margins. Want further proof? Instagram, the social photo sharing app, has opened the doors for shops to sell products right then and there, instantly within the app. Genius.
So ask yourself the question – can your customers find you online? Are they informed enough to pick up the phone and call you? Can they buy your products while at work, or while waiting for friends at the bar? If not, you could be missing huge opportunities. Seize them, or you can be sure someone else will.
Not sure how? Start by learning more about online inbound marketing, or see how online marketing is changing B2B sales.