Communicating With Your Customers In 2017 – Think Different

Last week, I wrote an article, “With Social Media’s Existence, Are Email Subscriptions Even Necessary?” which received a lot of attention and got people thinking. While many business owners and people of the era of email marketing and subscriptions are afraid to deviate from old school methods of advertising, they’re actually detrimental to their business’ growth. We now live in the social media age, and this era has transformed, reshaped, and completely revolutionized how we as humans communicate with others on a daily basis. This different form of communication doesn’t just effect how we talk wth friends and family, but how we as entrepreneurs and members of a marketing department engage with customers.

We’re a few months away from 2017, which means an entire generation born around 1999 and 2000 are now at the age of 17-18. These kids grew up with iPhones in their hands and by the age of 13 Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, and Snapchat were all apps downloaded onto their devices. Their form of communication is exclusively though social media, and that translates to older generations as well. The largest growing demographic of users on Facebook is not teenagers or millennials, they’re actually 50 year olds, and it’s not just Facebook they’ve taken by storm. Baby Boomers and members of Generation X, the same people who were or still are on your email subscription lists, now spend more time on social media. Let that sink in for a minute; your customers are no longer reading newspapers, watching infomercials or looking at online catalogs.

What does this mean? Everyone’s form of communication, whether it be amongst themselves or with businesses has changed drastically, and the marketing departments that still emphasize gathering an email subscription list are being left behind like that friend we knew who was last to create a Facebook profile. We as business owners are being left behind heading into 2017 and the only way to catch up is following our target markets, no matter where they reside or what platform they spend the most time on.

The creation of social media has forced businesses to become friendly and personal with their potential customers. To sell a product or service in 2017, you have to be social, which now limits the effectiveness of email newsletters or marketing material as your target markets are no longer communicating through Gmail or Outlook. The companies that are succeeding in today’s market are those who are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and new platforms where people are hanging out. If email was still widely effective, companies like L.L Bean wouldn’t be putting forth a lot of effort on social media platforms. The only reason why they still send emails is because they have the resources and have the brand awareness that keeps them relevant, even on outdated forms of communication.

Starting in 2017, or better yet, this holiday season, make an assertive effort to spend more time on social media platforms, post more content, and engage with followers and customers. Use Facebook ads to help reach the maximum amount of people in your market, which is essential for having strong sales figures and healthy growth of new followers who are now subscribed to your business via Facebook where your posts are now on their timelines.

We can no longer live in the past in terms of marketing and expect great results. 2017 is the year of looking forward as the change in communication has forced many to join social media. A few decades ago, older generations shaped and formed how consumers behaved, but today, the younger generations have taken the reigns and their influence is more powerful than most give them credit for. The content they consume, who they follow, and what they buy translated to older generations, which led a swath of consumers to new platforms, and the corporations followed suit.

Now it’s time for small businesses to do the same as 99% of their target markets spend hours of their day on social media. To grow your business in 2017, you’ll have to become social, literally. Many still operate as if consumers are only worth their time if they buy a product, but in today’s economy, it’s in fact that customer that initiates communication and the sale, and it’s the business’ job to direct them to their purchase through the use of engagement and great content. It’s this change in pattern as to why email marketing lost its effectiveness, and why we all must use communication channels as we do in our personal lives.

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