As usual my blogging inspiration for the day comes from my daily life and today I was shocked by a local Tulsa company...thus the need for today's post. Business has changed over the years and with addition of technology there are many ways that customers can find your company, ranging from traditional and digital avenues. In the information overload it is essential that prospects are able to find you easily. According to Jay Baer, the author of Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype:
In 2010, shoppers needed 5.3 sources of information before making a purchase decision. In 2011, just one year later, shoppers needed 10.4 sources before making a purchase decision.
First of all...you can see that the age of technology has drastically changed the way customers show. The next issue to discuss is....where are these sources coming from? The answer is anywhere from traditional media such as print advertising, TV, radio, brick & mortar storefront, online, social media, etc to word of mouth. Now this is not a pitch to tell you to be on ALL forms of advertising and ALL forms of social media because for me not all advertising is created equal for every company. But with that, it is essential that people are able to find you.
Now for my story....today on Facebook a friend of mine asked for a recommendation for a certain product that she was looking for in town. She had tons of comments and suggestions and I knew of a vendor from an event I had attended that would be a perfect solution for her. Unfortunately I did not have their contact information....so what did I do? You guessed it? GOOGLE! But much to my surprise this company was nowhere to be found....not even in the Yellow Pages (yes I know...shocking)! Thus my next step was to contact a client of mine that had worked with them in the past...but much to my surprise even my client has trouble finding the information. We managed to find their email, but it was no longer working. Finally they were able to get their phone number and I was able to help my friend.
Now for the lessons to be learned from this experience:
1. You are in business...prospects should not have to work to find you.
There are so many businesses in today's modern world and for the most part if you make finding your information difficult for the customer, they will use your competitor instead.
2. Being able to be found on Google is ESSENTIAL in today's world.
If the company had a website or was listed in an online directory ANYWHERE on the internet, Google would have been able to direct me to their information. Obviously as a digital marketer I always recommend having a customized website for your business as this will typically be what people see first when searching for you.
3. If your competition is online, you need to be too.
For this particular story, this vendor is in an industry that is very involved on social media which is why searching for them was that much more frustrating. If you are in an industry that has a heavy presence online, if you are not there you will likely lose out on new customers.
4. Make sure your information is up to date.
This should be a no brainer, but regardless it is something that can get overlooked. Make sure that your contact information across the web and traditional media is directing people to your most current information.
Now for your challenge....take a minute to see your business through the eyes of new customers. How would you search for your business? See where the holes might be in your current strategy and make an action plan to improve this year.