There’s never a better time to learn than right now. You’re probably thinking of the adage, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but that just isn’t true. And if you want to grow your customer base and reach more potential customers you need to keep educated on new technologies and ways to reach more people.
According to the United States Postal Service, the amount of direct mail marketing pieces has decreased significantly during the past decade. That doesn’t mean that mail isn’t an effective marketing tool; it simply means the technologies to deliver your messages have evolved during the past 10 years, making the methods of the delivery perhaps more efficient and timelier.
Technology is at our fingertips and accessible to us 24/7, making shopping easier than ever – it also means as a business, you need to step up your game because retail just became more competitive. Take my recent experience. The plumber took one look at our water softener – probably one of the first ever installed – and said, “it’s shot.” He quoted me an outlandish price for a new one with installation. Now, between my husband and his uncle, they’ve made quite a few enhancements to this old farmhouse we bought last fall. I looked online on my phone and found water softeners at one-third of the quoted price that the plumber gave me before he even drove out of my driveway. That is just one example of how technology helps with marketing.
Keeping up with technology will give you an edge over your competition. Develop a website or other social media platform that you can easily be traced to next time someone is searching for “livestock supplement” or “horse mineral.” Make sure your contact information is easily accessible and even start using an electronic inventory system so that the potential customer can see what you have in stock. It is a lot more desirable to drive 30 miles to a dealer when you know they have what you need in-stock.
Technology also lets you share real-time experiences and testimonials from other product users. Hearing from peers in the industry is so convincing when deciding to use a product, so whether it is one of our testimonials or your own customer you have recorded a video of and posted, be sure to share those so your customers and potential customers can learn the benefits without feeling like they are getting a “hard sell.”
Another great use for technology is as a customer service tool. Remember, it is at your customers’ fingertips continually. They can text, message, email or even call you with a question or concern and you can respond almost immediately.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with technology. Just because it exists doesn’t mean it is right for you or your business. Discover tools that are easiest for you to use and the ones that work best for the goals you are trying to accomplish. If you want to share the products you have on hand, any store promotions or educational programs or product testimonials, perhaps a web site or Facebook would be more ideal than Instagram or Snapchat.
Set aside time for technology each day. Make learning and using technology part of your daily schedule just like you do billing and inventory control. Once you become comfortable with the technology you are using, it will become second nature.
Don’t stress. Using technology should be fun, and it should make life easier on you. If you get to a roadblock, relax, take a deep breath, and try something different. Reach out for help or “google” a solution to your challenge.
Technology – it is here to stay and make our lives easier. Just like learning anything, there may be a few bumps along the way, but once you’ve mastered your new skills, you’ll be growing your customer base and reaching more potential!