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HOW HAS YOUR BUSINESS CHANGED IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS?

The team at Spinifex Communications shares tips on how to ensure you are connecting with your customer in the modern age. 

When we talk about comparing ‘the now’ with the ‘good old days’ in running a small business it feels like the interval between then and now gets smaller and smaller as time goes by. Every time we turn around there’s been some sort of technological advancement that has changed the way we do things, or our customers have become almost unrecognisable and don’t even pay attention to what we’re selling because they’re too busy playing on their smart phones.

The reality is that although nothing really looks the same, at it’s core, communicating to our customers and the problems we face as a small business remain unchanged, it’s all just packaged a little bit differently.

In a survey conducted in 2013 addressing this specific issue, participants were asked to compare their current business to what it was like five years previously, and talk about what they do differently now compared to back then.

The survey suggested that the three biggest differences in doing business ‘Then versus Now’ were:

  1. 24% use more online marketing tools*
  2. 59% say economic uncertainty*
  3. 27% use more automated business solutions*

Whereas the main challenges for a small business were acquiring customers and keeping the customers you already have loyal to your business were, and still are, the biggest concerns.

So how do we reach out to these customers? Bearing in mind that in today’s world online tools are increasingly being used to connect and engage with your customer. Not only that, today’s customer has higher expectations, expects value for money and a better standard of service, and you’re also competing with noise from multiple channels, all directed at grabbing your customers attention.

The key is effective communication

Luckily there is a science to good communication. With a few planning steps before you send an email or sign your life away to online advertising, you can increase the effectiveness of your communication and start getting the best bang for your buck.

Identify your target audience

Who are you trying to talk to? Can you fit them into a profile? What do they do?

Understanding the concerns of your audience

What is most important to your audience when thinking about the key messages you want to communicate to your customers? What are they concerned about?

Analyse your value offering

Once you know your customers’ concerns, what solution are you offering? What value are you providing to help meet your customers’ needs?

Position your offer

What is different about your offer to your competitors? Where will your offer sit in the mind of your customers? In what way would you like your offer to be perceived? If they line up all the offers for similar services they have received, why will they pick you over the competition?

Identify the most effective media channels you want to use to communicate your message.

Is it email? Is it a letterbox drop? Is it in the local newspaper? Is it via online paid advertising? Where do your customers search for services like yours?

Develop your message and deliver

Once you know what your offer is and how you want it to be perceived, you need to create a way to package that up in a short message and deliver it to your customers.

Stick to these simple steps and you might just end up winning some new customers, saving yourself some time and even retaining your current customers.

Peter Huxley and Lukas Perrott, Spinifex Communications International

*Survey and statistics sourced from May 2013 Constant Contact “Small Businesses: Then and Now” survey.