Recently I received an email from John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, asking me what will be the key in the upcoming year when it comes to small businesses. If you don't know John I must say you may be missing out on one the most influential small business gurus there is. I've had the opportunity to sit across from John and share a cup of coffee, review his material on referral marketing and evaluate his marketing plan software. He always pushes out the most useful material, that honestly I look forward to each and everyone of his marketing initiatives that he puts out to the public. Ok, enough about John, but seriously if you haven't heard of him you may just want to check him out.
Ok, back to his request. My response was:
"This will be the year for small businesses to recognize the behavior of consumers to effectively market; advertising is no longer enough without understanding the “why” behind the purchase."
I must admit this was my second response, at first I was drawn to social media, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that really social media is about understanding consumers and relating to them in a way that they understand. It's no longer enough to market and advertise, it's crucial to create those relationships that matter to our consumers. How do we do that?
- We take the time to listen to them and to identify their needs.
- We then present our products or services in a way that genuinely fulfills their needs. Cut out the hype - sell what works and you'll never have to hunt down new customers again.
- Stand behind your products and services. If you don't you'll not only lose the customers you have, but you'll deplete the chances of acquiring new customers.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say. Wow, if we would all do this a little more, our integrity would increase and so would our bottom-line.
- Create that emotional connection with your customers, the kind that creates customer loyalty not just repeat-buying. If you don't touch them emotionally why should they return and why should they be loyal to you?
If you can follow these five things proactively, I guarantee you that your business will grow. If you choose to ignore them you may very well be out of business come next year. Creating relationships with your customers and understanding the "why" behind the purchase really is that important.