With 2016 coming to a close, businesses have to start preparing to implement new strategies into their marketing departments. We have learned that the customer now has more power than the business in the purchasing decision. The internet and social media have brought full transparency to the relationship between businesses and their customers. With more options than ever before, it will be important for businesses to stand out. Not only do businesses have to present a good product, but also deliver excellent customer satisfaction. In 2016, we learned that the customer no longer makes their decision on the best product. Other factors now go into the purchasing decision because building mutually beneficial relationships is now the key to keeping your customers coming back.
Here are four important trends to be aware of as businesses prepare for 2017:
- Ratings are KING.
According to research published by Vendasta, star rating has become the number one factor by consumers to judge a business. A customer will choose one product over by looking at its rating or reviews. It will be more important than ever to deliver quality products. If not, your business will be exposed through rating sites where 88% of online shoppers go before making a purchase decision. Just remember to be as honest and transparent as possible on the web.
- Remodel/Update Your Customer Experience.
According to a blog by Ginny Mineo on Hubspot, 55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds browsing your website. Businesses now have to be prepared to make it as easy and fast as possible for users to navigate through websites and social media channels. In addition, it will be important to also monitor customer feedback and respond as quickly as possible. Remember to only engage in the conversation when necessary. Your website and social media channels should give the customer all of the information and resources they need. In good cases, other community members will step in and engage with users who may leave questions or comments on your online channels. Use your best judgement to find a balance between leaving it to your community members to respond or stepping in to resolve the situation. Overall, your business should spend more time on maximizing the customer experience with a focus on speed, accessibility and responsiveness.
- Stop Spending Your Money on Online Advertisements.
When customers are flooded with online ads about your business, they see it as spam. According to Infolinks and bannerblindness.org, “A study revealed that only 2.8% of participants thought that ads on website were relevant.” Moreover, according to Adobe, “33% of internet users find display ads completely intolerable.” Yes, you will see statistics out there that tell you why your businesses needs to purchase ads. I suggest putting more time and effort into attracting customers to your business organically through good online content, products and customer experience. Those three will build longer and stronger relationships to have customers come back. Advertisements may bring you a customer here and there, but they will be less likely to stay for the long run.
Take a look at your website and the type of content that you are sharing. How much of it is text vs visuals? With people consuming more information than ever, it will be important to give your customers a variety of content. Not only that, but it also has to be easy to understand and to the point. According to kissmetrics, “Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images”. We are seeing the transition to places like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook live video streams. These are all places where visuals dominate the platforms and can be accessed on mobile devices. It no longer matters how professional or exclusive your brand is. People care about experiences that are genuine and can be accessed instantaneously. Other great visuals that can help give variety to your content are infographics, memes, GIF’s, webinars, comics and screenshots.