Getting new customers in Trent Hills or the rest of Northumberland County has never been harder. The growth of the Internet and consumers’ acceptance of it has led to a fundamental shift in how Cobourg, Port Hope and other businesses must keep in touch with their potential customers and clients. Facebook, Local Search, Twitter, smart phones, and the flood of online information provide today’s consumers with access to more and faster means of finding what they want, where they want it, and at prices they want, than ever before.
This year there are 17 states in the US where they don’t automatically deliver the telephone white pages anymore. According to AT&T, in places where people have a choice, only two percent of customers asked for a print copy.
Think about how this impacts the Yellow Pages. Publishers get to charge more for wider circulation. They absolutely want to see mandatory delivery. In fact, in San Francisco, where people were given a choice whether to receive the Yellow Pages or not, the Yellow Pages Association sued the city. The Association was afraid of what might happen to their business if people were allowed to opt out of receiving the directory. What does that tell you about consumer behaviour? If you are relying on the Yellow Pages for the bulk of your business, you can expect things to get a lot worse than they are today. What are you supposed to do if getting new customers is a priority for you? Let’s face it. That’s a priority for all businesses!
If you depend on TV, newspaper, or radio advertising to draw in customers, take a look at the following trends among the 18–29 and 30–49 year-old age groups in the chart on the next page. I think you will find it illuminating.
TV, newspaper, and radio are all falling as news sources, across all ages from 18 to 49. Newspaper decline is the greatest in the 30–49 year-old group. What does that say about the advertising dollars you are spending in this medium?
And what is the only medium trending upward? You guessed it. The internet. Now here’s a key question: As your marketing dollar’s effectiveness has been falling in the old media, have you been spending money on the new? Do you know what your cost is for getting new customers? Or what it used to be? Here’s another key question: Does the person responsible for your internet marketing know what they are doing? The level of sophistication in marketing in larger centres has been growing. In even smaller cities, like Peterborough, online marketing is making it’s presence felt. So online marketing isn’t enough by itself any longer. It needs to be SMART online marketing, if you want the dollars you spend to help you in getting new customers.
The only way you will be able to judge whether your money is being spent wisely is if you either see results, or else you understand a little bit about what should be getting done. I am going to walk you through the process a little at a time, in bite sized chunks, so you can make sense of the madness. I find that a big part of my job, as a Northumberland County online marketing consultant, is educating my clients in Cobourg, Port Hope and Trent Hills so that they are confident in the path we are taking, and so they can appreciate the results better when the results finally happen. The good news is that when they start getting new customers because of online marketing work, it is eminently trackable. Stick around. You may not wind up doing any of this yourself, but at least you will know what you need to get done, and why. And I hope you will realize that the internet may be just the “getting new customers” tool you require.