Does my business need a blog? Am I doing search engine optimization (SEO) right? How should I use Twitter and Facebook?
If thoughts like these are keeping you up at night, read on.
The world is changing right before our eyes (and webcams).
From a technological perspective, 2011 was a watershed year:
- In the U.S., smart phone penetration reached 51 percent by the end of last year, according to Nielsen.
- Time spent by users on social media sites as a percentage of overall time online reached 30 percent.
- Time spent on social media as a percentage of online mobile time reached 60 percent.
Think you already feel the impact of this on-the-go, always-connected society? Hang on to your hat, because that impact is going to get even larger. We will see a steady rise of more people on more powerful devices participating in ever more social experiences to discover and share information that shapes their personal and professional decision-making.
Information is becoming infinite.
Statistically speaking, your targeted customer relationships have already been impacted. Your potential buyers and partners are being inundated with data about new trends, facts, and opinions on an hourly basis.
Consider the following:
- 85.3 percent of buyers go online to research purchases (Enquiro B2B survey.)
- Among Web 2.0 technologies that companies use for business purposes, social networking ranks second in importance behind Web services (Global survey by The McKinsey Quarterly.)
- More than 100 million people log onto Facebook at least once each day.
- More than 1.5 million pieces of content (links, stories, photos, etc.) are shared on Facebook daily.
- More than 29 billion tweets were counted before breaking the Gigatweet twitter counter.
- More than 100 million blogs have been indexed by Technorati.
- In just a few weeks, Google +1 gained over 20 million users.
More options = more stress.
Your potential customers are facing more and more options. Probably too many of them. At some point, the effort required to analyze multiple options and be able to meaningfully distinguish one from another outweighs the benefits of choice.
“Too many options <are> troubling…” because of the “risk of misperception and miscalculation, of misunderstanding the available alternatives, of misreading one’s own tastes, of yielding to a moment’s whim and regretting it afterwards, combined with ‘the stress of information acquisition.’”
– Daniel McFadden, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley
Being discovered is hard enough, but standing out is even harder.
We hear a lot in the media about which business sectors are shrinking, but here’s a wake-up call for you. Advertising is growing. U.S. advertising expenditures in the first quarter of 2011 increased 4.4% to $32.5 billion, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth (Kantar Media). We are seeing businesses spend more on advertising and promotion in an attempt to create awareness.
But pure advertising is losing its effectiveness. Your potential customers are relying more on their network, friends, and trusted experts to help them find businesses and make buying decisions.
In part, this is because digital media is making it easier all the time to access recommendations from those sources. Already, an estimated two-thirds of the economy is influenced by personal recommendations (estimated by McKinsey).
So while everyone is spending more to capture buyers’ attention, small businesses are left wondering how to obtain and control those crucial personal recommendations.
What’s a small business to do?
OK, the Internet is too darned big, social media is growing like crazy, and recommendations matter more than anything. As a small business trying to stand out, how do you compete? How do you win?
We believe size matters less and passion matters more. While information is abundant, passion is still rare. Yes, you may have to learn new technology, and yes, you may have to acquire new skills. But if you believe in your business, there has never been a better time to experiment, learn, and grow.
Are you excited? Overwhelmed? In a series of blog posts to follow, we will layout a series of six (6) plays that we feel every small B2B company (and many B2C companies as well) ought to follow. We are here to help. Our objective is for you to have your very own modern marketing plan and a clear sense of direction for winning more B2B customer relationships.
If you can’t wait to get started, click here to unleash your inner superstar by downloading “A B-to-B Playbook for Discovering Your Next Customer Relationship.”