When we consider the way we used to communicate with businesses, and compare it to how we communicate with them today, the two actions can be said to be completely foreign to each other. The days of bulky phone books and wall mounted phones are long over. Times have changed, and the way consumers choose to interact with businesses is completely in their hands – they get to choose how and when they are ready to communicate. Who do we have to thank for this fundamental change in the ways we communicate with each other? Well, that’s easy – two day shipping and convenient one swipe to purchase actions. When consumers want something, they want it now.
The First Website
The first website went live over 20 years ago, on August 6th, 1991. Websites were especially necessary for businesses who wanted to generate new business by getting their name out there. Websites served their purpose by providing general information, such as services and hours of operation. Whether you were a large, well established business or a small mom & pop shop, as a business owner, a website was essential to having a chance against your competitors. If we consider how the very first websites looked like and compare them to how they look like today, that difference in itself is enough evidence that our digital world of marketing is constantly changing.
So what exactly has changed, and why did it change?
- 24/7 Access Is Now Expected
When a consumer is ready to make a buying decision, they want you as the business to be ready for them in that very moment. With as much competition and variety as there is now with businesses, consumers are not willing nor required to sit around and wait for a business to get back to them. Again, it doesn’t necessarily matter whether your business is small or large, the same experience is expected by the consumer regardless. When businesses become slow to adapt to consumer demands, the consequence reflects heavily on the success of that business.
How can a business keep up with the new demands of consumers?
- Convenient Consumer Conversations
The prosperity of a business now relies on the convenience of the consumer. Not just this, but consumers crave personalization and want you as the business to care for them. This goes back to 24/7 access to a business, which can accurately be defined and addressed through a variety of different channels where consumers are able to connect with you in more than one way. No one wants to call into a customer service line to figure out whether or not you offer a specific service, service their location, or even figure out if the business is open on the weekends. Any roadblocks or friction that can be caused due to a slow interaction will essentially drive away the potential consumer. Consumers want to be able to reach you in the most convenient way for them – providing consumers with as many different options for them to interact with you is vital to the advancement of your business. With tools such website chat, Facebook messenger, social media platforms, and SMS, the options for consumer interactions are endless.
- Today’s Massive Opportunity
With advancements in technology today, consumers get to interact with businesses in new ways through conversational marketing. Websites don’t look like they used to, phones are far more improved from what they were, and the fact of the matter is the tools available for small businesses to have real conversations with consumers is an incredible opportunity. As a business owner, how could you not want to jump in and take advantage of where technology has brought us to, and to think how astonishingly available these tools are for small businesses is just astounding on its own.
Through effective customer communication channels, businesses now have a way to get ahead of competitors struggling to adapt to consumer demands. When a business fails to catch up with consumer demands, the outcome is the result of delay.
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. If any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add, please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!