How is Your Business Going to Survive the On-Demand Economy?
Is your business struggling with the transition of moving from a traditional marketing and sales approach to a digital strategy?
If you’ve recently found yourself wondering why your business is suffering online, then you’re going to have to face some harsh truths: it might not be your marketing and sales process that’s not working, but rather how you’re actually conducting this process.
I recently heard a piece on NPR about this new phenomenon called “the On-Demand Economy,” and for the first time in my life… I wanted to call the station and explain that the On-Demand Economy isn’t something for a business to fear, but rather something to adapt to and capitalize on.
Here’s the backstory: on a long drive back home after the holidays, I was flipping through stations on the radio and heard a segment about the “On-Demand Economy,” and it caught me completely off guard. What caught me by surprise wasn’t the show’s description of how our culture wants everything 10 minutes ago, or how many powerful apps might be on your phone, but rather the dreary, negative stigma that accompanied these topics.
This approach to marketing – nurturing and keeping customers happy – aligns with the inbound marketing methodology, which is pictured below. Leads will not make the leap from convert to close if you’re not keeping up with on-demand business trends. Consumers want their cake and they want to eat it, too. Making your customers happy and ensuring they become returning customers or evangelists: this is what it’s all about.
Position Your Brand Like Nobody Else Can
Businesses that stand out from the noise are the ones who are doing things differently than or against the grain from their competitors, such as:
These companies have ditched the old-school approach to marketing (forcing themselves onto their audience) and adopted a more inbound-style approach (generating customers and evangelists of their brand). All of the companies above have created waves within their industries and left their competitors wondering what they did wrong.
The following is a list of concepts and philosophies that you can apply to your marketing and sales model to turn things around this year:
Provide a Remarkable Experience
How can you differentiate your on-boarding experience, whether it’s in an online shopping cart or a conference room, from the competition? Are you still marketing to leads/customers the same ways you did before they converted? Are you making your prospects and customers feel like they belong or are a part of something? Is there anything worse than being marketed to like a new lead after you’ve already made a purchase!? Your customers should feel that they are a part of something at this point in time.
Can your clients receive a call back? HubSpot has introduced a feature that you can use to request a call back from HubSpot tech support instead of sitting on hold listening to the dreaded “hold music.” This adds to the delight phase of the inbound marketing methodology.
Are you actually helping or selling in your sales process? Recently, I contacted Wistia with a few questions through their chat support, and – within minutes – I was on a first-name basis with somebody who I still reach out to whenever I need something. Not only did this result in a remarkable experience for me, but it also drove me to sign up several of my clients with Wistia… I myself became an evangelist for their company!
Produce Relevant (Searchable) Content
What are your website visitors looking for when they land on your website? Are you guiding your prospects through the buyer’s journey? Do your current clients feel so confident in your message/tone that they’re referring you to their colleagues?
Rule #1 – Stop talking about yourself. Remember, successful organizations are no longer in the business of ‘selling,’ but rather ‘helping.’ If your consumer is looking for something, they’re going to find it one way or another. Make sure your company is the one talking about their searched topic, or consumers will find the company that is – guaranteed.
Monitor & Engage with Social Media
Are you paying attention to brand mentions, or providing feedback to people are talking about/reaching out to your brand?? Are you monitoring what your competitors are up to?
This is getting more and more important for businesses. People are talking about you and it’s vital you know about it. This corresponds with the ‘attract’ and ‘delight’ stages in the inbound methodology.
Nobody Wants to Feel Disconnected
Keep in touch with your prospects and customers by setting up workflows with your marketing automation software. Of course, I’m a huge advocate for HubSpot, which makes doing this very simple and effective. Create monthly or seasonal newsletters with important company news, updates for prospects/clients or relevant industry developments. Make sure you’re consistently keeping up with social media and sharing important news not only about your company, but also about your industry as a whole.
Adapt to Your Industry Before Your Competitor Does
It’s important to monitor your competitors via their blog, social media accounts, website and etc. See what others are doing and keep an eye on gradual changes happening within your industry; this way, you won’t get left behind.
Analyze Everything and Don’t Get Comfortable
Your website should never sit stagnant: just like your marketing efforts, your website presence should be consistently tested, tweaked and refined.
Growth Driven Design (GDD) is a recent take on web design that has exploded in popularity among businesses leaders that understand both how it works and why they need it. GDD should really have been coined “data-driven design,” because it’s a systematic process that incorporates how your website is performing and optimizes it until it performs better. GDD relies on hard data and not a web designer’s set of best practices that is carried from one site to another. Your website is your digital storefront. Make sure you’re delighting customers and making them stick on your site by constantly optimizing for their online experience.
The good news is: you can survive the On-Demand Economy! The companies that have paid attention and morphed into this new consumer-centric playing field are thriving. Just make sure you’re paying attention to your visitors, your prospects and your customers at all times, and alter your business model to align with their behavior.