When a consumer hears about a product today, their first reaction is ‘Let me search for it online.’
That statement itself is obvious, but do you understand the meaning behind it? The discovery journey your customer goes on to learn about your products and services?
Every so often, something comes along and changes the rulebook. This could be a change in the Google algorithm, a new technology or a social network that lets you share information. And with changes comes another trend that a brand feels they must jump on even if they don’t have a useful success metric.
Many small businesses enter a state of euphoria when consumers like a simple Facebook post, even though a much smaller segment of their audience took a deeper commitment by actually sharing that post with their network.
In the pursuit of engagement, small businesses pour their messages down on consumers’ heads and hope that some of them get wet. However, engagement isn’t about “pouring” your message. Instead, it is more about being present in the conversation when your consumer wants to have it, not when you want to share it.
The Emergence of Pre-Shopping Access
Admittedly a few years before my time, there was a point where big-ticket items such as cars, homes or expensive electronics received a majority of the pre-shopping attention. Today, consumers engage in discovery before shopping on just about everything.
This new shopping behavior means that consumers are exposed to different elements of a brand much earlier in the purchase cycle. So as a marketer how do you accommodate for this? How do you successfully deliver ‘your’ message, even when so many other channels are telling potential customers what they should think about you in advance?
As a small business marketer you must first understand that there are no barriers to access.
Today’s shoppers carry access in their pockets with smartphones, laptops and tablets. “We simply want a website that is informational,” shouldn’t be in your company vocabulary.
Consumers are now creating their own consumer guides with reviews, tweets, blogs, social network posts and videos for products of all kinds including yours. As marketers this has created an entirely different conversation.
Don’t believe me?
Open up a new window tab and type the name of your company’s flagship product. Hopefully you rank near the top of search engine results. Now add the word reviews. Most likely you will see ratings and opinion sites, online stores, images, coupons, demonstration videos, social network pages … and even competitive sites.
My question for you is this: Could you even find your product? If you found it were you happy with what you saw? Based on what you saw, will somebody buy your product?
This is where brands win or lose customers; this is where engagement and truly being present is most important.