It’s easy to get lost in a sea of noise when you are trying to catch the attention of your target market. While every media outlet is vying for your attention, whether it be traditional or social, there are only so many dollars to be had. So where do you begin? The old adage is still true; start where you are. But what does that mean? We can all beat ourselves up about how we should have started sooner or implemented this strategy or that program, but don’t fall into that trap. Start now and be deliberate.
As businesses advance and technology is at the forefront, our attention spans have become smaller and smaller. So how am I going to capture my customer’s attention in an incredibly crowded market? Here are a few things that might help.
Believe it or not, old fashioned is still in fashion. What do I mean? I’m not suggesting you dump your smart phone for a rotary dial or bring back your typewriter, but sales and profits are built on relationships. So foster those customer relationships. Whether you are business to business or business to consumer, there are “old” strategies that work. Invest in thank-you notes. Yes, your mom was right, you should always send a handwritten thank you. Handwritten notes take time, but they make an impact. How many emails do you get in a day? If you are like me, more than I want. When is the last time you got a handwritten note? If you want to stand out, write a personal note. The cards, nor the words, have to be fancy. I send out three to five notes each week. I try to include a personal touch that shows I was listening when I interacted with the person. Do not ask for business here. This is just a simple note showing your appreciation for their time. Trust me, it makes an impact.
Different is Good
Be risk-savvy when it comes to marketing. Many business owners are so risk adverse when it comes to their marketing, they just blend in because that is what everyone else does. You took the risk by opening your doors, now take that same spirit to your marketing. In some industries, everything from every company looks the same. Be willing to take some risks. Get your ideas, run them by a few confidants and then JUMP IN! I am in the Ag Business, pigs to be exact, all the “big” companies tend to look very similar in their advertising and product messaging. B-O-R-I-N-G! Don’t look like everyone else. Now you may not be able to go too crazy depending on your industry, but there are always areas where a little risk, a non-traditional color, an edgy style or fun message or offer, can make you stand out from the competition. Catch your customer’s attention and then deliver the goods.
Make your customers feel welcome. I know this is cliché, and we all say we are doing everything we can to make our customers have a positive experience. Are we really? What we think we are doing great, may not be what our customer perceives as great at all. When someone calls in, how is that call handled? When someone walks into the storefront, how are they treated? Do you welcome them? With a smile? When your customer is online trying to navigate your website, is it user-friendly? With short attention spans, our customers are quick to form an opinion on your company. It is extremely difficult to “undo” a bad impression. Yes, we all have bad days, but it can’t show to your customer. An easy (and inexpensive) solution is to create your own “mystery shopper” to help evaluate how well you are treating your customers. Choose someone who will give you honest feedback that can pose as a “mystery shopper” whether it be on the phone, in person or online. Getting honest feedback from someone will help evaluate your customer’s “branding experience.” Don’t get upset at the feedback they give you. Use it to evaluate and take the steps necessary to create the type of experience you want your customers to have. Creating that positive atmosphere goes a long way in the customer relationship.
Nothing written here is rocket science. In fact, I’m sure you have heard all of these ideas many times before. It’s difficult to stand out from the crowd; you want to make a positive, lasting impression on a consumer base whose attentions are being pulled in many different directions. I said it earlier, be deliberate. Be deliberate about being disruptive. It doesn’t always have to be loud, it just has to be memorable.