Kindra K, Marketing CoordinatorMar 2, 2017 @ 6:26PM
The New Year’s Resolution Dogma
As our calendars reset to a brand new year, we often find ourselves composing an endless list of goals and resolutions. New Year resolutions normally revolve around family benchmarks, lifestyle changes, fitness regimens, and business goals. Sound familiar? If you said yes, you fall into the vast majority of the population. There is nothing wrong with having goals, aspirations, and benchmarks. The problem is that we find ourselves incredibly discouraged when these shiny new resolutions fizzle out in a fiery blaze of disappointment. We start off the year enthusiastic, and when we fail to meet those goals within the first several months, we throw in the towel. There are two main reasons why New Year’s resolutions fail. The first is that we tend to set insanely overreaching and unrealistic goals. The second (and most notable) reason is that we select the WRONG goals because we jump to the desired end result rather than focus on the root drivers that will make that end result possible.
As an example, let’s use a typical business goal: “I want to make a $1,000,000 in revenue for my business by the end of the year.” The problem with this goal is that it jumps to the end result, the 1 million dollars, instead of focusing on the goals that will make this end result possible. Setting an end result goal will almost always be frustrating because it is the equivalent of you making your way through a maze without a map.
The Root of Success
You may be asking yourself “how do I map out my goals?” Defining that you want to achieve $1,000,000 in revenue for your business by the end of the year is fine, but without a clear roadmap of achievable benchmark goals, the end result will fade away. By changing our perception, we can redirect our goals to smaller, more transformational increments. It’s no longer about achieving $1,000,000 in revenue, it's about realizing where the root driver of that money. Is it coming from jobs? If so, who’s booking these jobs? Most likely, customers have chosen your business to solve their problem, whatever that problem may be. Doing some more analysis, we start to see consistencies and patterns about our customers. Why have our customers been so happy? Was it the experience that they had? Was it a specific employee that our customers liked? Was it our amazing customer service? Figuring out these answers becomes an incredibly important task. Understanding why your business is making money helps you take advantage of possible opportunities. Word-of-mouth business is key to boosting your organic referral business. If you are losing out on new business opportunities because you are so wrapped up in the day-to-day operations of your business, ask yourself if there is a way to change things up. By doing so, you can avoid a dip in the quality of your work, while still gaining new valuable customers. As you see, getting to know who your customers can really help build a road map to help you replicate success and gain more qualified customers. So how do you really get to know your customer?
Knowing Your Customer
Getting to know your customers is easy, but it will take some due diligence, and more importantly, a change in perspective. When you start to get to know your customer, you begin to notice trends and similarities. These trends and similarities start forming what is referred to as a ‘customer persona.’ Don’t let this fancy term scare you off, though. Customer personas are simply combinations of buying behaviors in terms of frequency or consistency, pain points and struggles, universal goals, wishes, dreams, and a general demographics all coming together to form a customer ‘type.’ You may find that customers have intertwined personas. This information is extremely beneficial and crucial to the success of your business. Why? Because knowing your customer persona will significantly help you target potential new customers that match that persona. The better understanding you have of your customers, the better your business can do. When you have a better grasp of your general customer base, you can begin to segment and target exact parts of your customer base. For example, if you see that your customer base has decreased in age consecutively for the past 3 years, you could assume that trend will continue, and therefore establish a plan to target a younger generation of customers. So how does this help you? With information like this, you will gain a better understanding of different mediums to target your customer base, which will also help you target more qualified customers that are more likely to want your services. It gives you a good idea of where to spend your precious marketing dollars in order to maximize new customer acquisition and current customer retention.
The Times Are Changing
So where do you target these specific customers? At the grocery store? At the coffee shop? Maybe, but probably not. As you know, technology is becoming increasingly unavoidable. Just as with technological advancements, customer expectations are also rapidly changing. What does that mean exactly? In short, consumers are becoming vastly dependent on the internet to find service professionals to fill their needs. How does this relate to you and your business? Customers, especially younger generations of customers, have certain expectations. These demands are shifting small business’ focus to providing millennials with the experience they expect. Millennials are expecting convenience at the push of a button. Companies that have identified this trend have quickly pivoted to offer more convenient methods of customer interaction. This doesn't necessarily mean that you need to set your business to 24/7 on-demand status. It just means that you have to expand your capabilities to facilitate an easier, more hands-off, seamless experience in the places your customers expect to find you. Without adapting to this persona, you could face significant customer acquisition roadblocks. Not only will this hamper new business, it may also marr the loyalty with your existing customer base.
The Technology Curve
So how do you adapt your strategy to appeal to these younger millennials? The answer is to leverage technology and let it do the heavy lifting for you. The first thing we need to establish right off the bat is that the entire world is shifting from desktop computer-driven behavior to mobile. Everyone has a smartphone, everyone is on social media, and everyone is almost permanently glued to their devices 24/7. This is GREAT NEWS for businesses because it provides an amazing platform to reach the right customer, in the right place, at the right time. New technology tools are constantly being created and updated to expedite businesses workflow, shifting focus from day-to-day administrative operations, to the actual professional craft. Also, it is important to note that the old adage claiming that technology is for rocket scientists is simply no longer true. What will happen if you and your business doesn’t adapt? Ignoring these new and innovative tools will prevent you from reaching these new and eager customers. These new technology tools aren’t meant to scare you off, they’re meant to be assets to help you and your business. Adapting will lead you ahead of the curve and in line with the masses of customers that want to use you.
Online Booking Demand
Now to the nitty gritty. So what do your potential customers expect of you? The answer is simple: they expect EVERYTHING. They expect to be able to find you easily, to validate the quality of your service, to book you directly, and to indulge in an amazing, seamless, personalized experience. They also expect everything on-demand, instant, and easy. So how do you deliver on these unrealistic expectations? We could write an entire book to answer this question, but let’s tackle the simple things you CAN do right away to give you a considerable head start advantage.
Have you heard of Yelp!? I’m sure you have. Yelp! is the leader for business discovery as well as overall lead generation. 78% of all people who use review sites rely on Yelp! when searching for local service businesses. Even more staggering, 82% of people who go on Yelp! intend to buy. Those aren't small numbers by any mean. Customers aren’t only looking on Yelp! to find local businesses, but they are also looking to book you online as well. An overwhelming and undeniable trend towards purely digital booking is becoming an expectation a business can’t live without. Customers want to be able to book their service online without having to call in. This has been the progression of mobile technology and expectation, especially for millennials.
Be Where Your Customers Are
Your first business goal in 2017 should be to make yourself available for booking where your customers expect. Platforms like Yelp!, For instance. Whether your customers can book you directly on your website, directly on your Yelp! business page, or on an application, they’re all means to help you and your business align itself with future customers where they spend their time. The great news is that there are amazing tools out there designed to help you get booked online. With these booking features, you can not only expect to gain new customers, but also provide a seamless, loyalty buffering experience.