Entrepreneur.com boldly declares “2016 will be the year of the customer.” So how do your sales and marketing strategies need to shift in 2016 to keep growing your business? The broad answer is that you, your staff, and your marketing efforts must become super-focused on the customer. Let’s examine a few concrete action steps you can start using today to make that happen.
In 2016, content needs to go more interactive. Articles, blogs, white papers and the like are great, but the trend is to get your customer more involved by employing quizzes, games, slideshows, and videos in your web content. The goal is to keep your customer clicking and interacting with your site. Younger customers, especially millennials and other “tech natives” expect their brands to allow a 24/7/365 dialogue rather than a one-way message. Unlike their parents, “86% of millennials are willing to provide insight on their consumer habits and decision-making processes, often through the use of online surveys.” In return, they expect an improved product and buying experience.
Interactive content also gets more shares on social media. Quizzes that help the customer learn something about themselves (not your product) are particularly popular. If you aren’t already on the social media bandwagon with your business, 2016 is the time to start. You know you can use social media to follow your existing customers, and a key strategy of any social media campaign is to reconnect with former customers and attract new ones. Your goal is to use your customer data to craft a successful, customer-focused campaign on various social media platforms. This is where employing an internet marketing expert like Morris Marketing can help.
Generally, customers love personalized content, but 2016 is the year to achieve a balance with this type of marketing. Special discounts offered “just for you” based on past buying history are usually welcomed, but too much targeted, personalized content is … too much. Some customers find it creepy that a specific cosmetics company ad appears on every site, page, and app they open for weeks after ordering one product from their website. It starts to feel like stalking and customers are shying away from it in 2016.
Customers are responding to “usage scenario” sales techniques in 2016. The content of your advertising, marketing, and other customer contacts needs to shift away from naming every quality and accolade of your product to using stories of how a problem was solved using your product. A discussion of your customers’ needs should come before (and possibly in place of) proclaiming all the distinguishing characteristics of your product. If your customer can get a similar product elsewhere, then their interaction with you and your website needs to convince them to do business with you instead of your competition. Focusing on them and earning their trust is the answer.
In speaking to a small business owner recently, I was impressed how he’s been able to grow his traditional, family-run business in the face of a tightening economy. He told me that his company’s highest value was to treat each and every customer like gold, to make them feel like kings and queens for a day. His strategy is working and he has the customer testimonials to prove it.
If you and your business need help with your marketing efforts to stay competitive and become more customer-focused in 2016, call Morris Marketing today at 919-424-8314 .

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