Your Customers Have Evolved. Have You?

photo-1417733403748-83bbc7c05140Recently, at one of my companies (Carrot, our software company) we ran a promotion and discovered some pretty cool stuff about our customers that we wouldn’t have predicted. This one customer behavior insight changed the way we’re now doing some things. This one insight could be a “make or break” key to your own success as a business owner.

I’ll get to what that important insight was in a minute. But first, a story.

Several years back, when I really started diving in and learning marketing at a high level, I decided to look to the history “books” for my first lessons. Over the centuries, as new technologies were invented and became mainstream, those technologies changed the behavior patterns of the way people look for what they want and need to buy.

The newspaper changed the way information and news was spread to people. It also opened it up for businesses to get their message in front of a lot of people at once, rather than having to rely on people walking by their storefront. It was a game changer.

Then came the telegraph, direct mail (courtesy of the USPS), the telephone, radio, television… and now the internet.

Companies that adapted to the new technologies prospered. For instance, can you imagine not having a phone number for your business? Probably not. But when the phone was still a new technology, lots of businesses didn’t adapt. It made it hard for customers to reach them easily… so customers went the easiest path… to their competitors. Those same companies that didn’t evolve blamed their failures on the “darn telephone taking their customers away”. Sounds silly nowadays right?

Right now we’re going through the same thing with the internet. If the internet was a person, it wouldn’t even be old enough to vote yet. The internet is still young. The internet isn’t going away anytime soon, yet hoards of companies are still doing things as if it were 1995.

All this to say, your customers HAVE EVOLVED. Have you?

My observation is that the majority of local companies in Roseburg have not (but many think they have).

So, back to the insight from earlier.

During our tests, we discovered that over 40% of all traffic to our website was from mobile phones. That surprised the heck outta us. The alarming part was that none of our websites were optimized for mobile phones. We were leaking out revenue left and right because we didn’t evolve with our customers as fast as they evolved themselves.

If you have a website, and are a local business (where the majority of your business is done locally. Restaurants, plumbers, hair salons, etc.), odds are the percentage of people searching the internet for what you offer on their mobile phone is higher than the 40% we’re seeing. Has your internet strategy evolved with your customer? Have you recently thought to yourself, “the darn internet is taking customers away from me”?.

Recently I was going through our local paper and read an article about a long­ time Roseburg company scaling back business massively because they’re losing customers “to the internet”. The internet is a tool. Any business can use the tool just as good as their competitor in town… or across the country. It’s those who adapt to the way their customers are searching for solutions that win.

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