During the current era of abundant products and services, loyalty is fading. This is especially true in overcrowded industries where very few are able to establish a niche or clearly differentiate themselves. As the playing field is being leveled by social media and low-cost inbound marketing efforts, companies who used to “buy” attention, struggle to come up with new ideas. They now dig deep into their Google Analytics data and other resources to understand their existing customers and to find ways to attract new prospects.
Recent 15miles/Localeze Local Search Usage Study conducted by comScore revealed information indicating that users have shifted from “white” or “yellow page” information searching behavior of “finding” listings to a behavior of “searching” and “shopping” to determine where to buy products and services. At the same time many businesses in small communities still gain new customers through referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. Accordingly, businesses need to continue strengthening their online visibility while discovering ways to increase customer loyalty through old-fashioned, but time-tested communications. Web analytics tools such as Yahoo Web Analytics and Crazy Egg allow website owners to see which content on their site visitors are reviewing most often, how visitors find their website and much more, but these numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Why do customers stick to certain products, services and providers but separate themselves fast from others?
Often, it is the whole ecosystem, the whole experience that keeps us going back to make another purchase. We like to interact with a hairdresser who not only makes us look 10 years younger, but with whom we can also have an engaging conversation. We are drawn to personal trainers who remember our children’s names and educate us beyond the time of our appointment with them. We stick with the car salesman who cares about our safety and meeting our specific needs. We appreciate dentists who turn the whole root canal experience into a relaxing event in a recliner chair wearing sunglasses and whose crown lasts a long time. We find our way back to a welcoming bakery with a great selection of pastries and a caring staff.
We all respond to experts who are passionate about solving our problems in a professional manner. The trick is to find the most suitable and balanced way to translate positive offline face-to-face experiences into online conversations that can be easily shared.