Welcome to 2016. Like me, you’ve undoubtedly been bombarded by every “top 10 places to invest your marketing dollars,” “customer experience/journey planning in 2016,” “here are the marketing trends to stay and go,” “Snapchat is going to be HUGE” article, blog post and/or tweet over the last few weeks. Side note: Did you hear Snapchat is gonna be huge – yeah, me too.
Do yourself a favor and stop reading them — or just read them after this. It’s not that I don’t believe that many — perhaps even most — of those articles would provide value; it’s that all of them are missing the one thing that would really make a difference to your customers.
If you want more customers, a better customer experience or better results from your marketing campaign, one thing, and only one thing, will yield those results: Give people time.
Time, you say?
Look around you. Go ahead, look up! What do you see?
If you’re reading this on the train, in a coffee shop or your office, you see people furiously going about their days. Whether they are working, standing in line, walking or even driving (heaven forbid), people are likely heads down, buried in their devices thumbing through Facebook, news or the 101 unread emails in their inbox.
While devices and technology are largely intended to make our lives simpler, they have done exactly the opposite. Those devices and the apps on them have encumbered our already busy lives with constant dings, notifications and inevitable reminders that we are missing something in our digital worlds. They are robbing us of the most valuable thing we have: time.
And, yes, marketers are making things worse.
What makes this trend even worse is the fact that we (marketers) often waste people’s time.
We make copy too complicated; our landing pages ask for information that isn’t 100% necessary to convert a prospect. We push out irrelevant, useless content through our channels; we add an unnecessary step to our checkout process. We don't take time to customize our message – no matter the platform.
Put simply, we create a lot of friction for our customers.
More friction = more time wasted = unhappy people = less likely people are going to do business with us.
So, as you’re thinking about and/or executing all those great plans you have in the queue for 2016, think about one thing: How do we make this easier or simpler for people? How can we make the best use of people’s time?
Need inspiration? Look around at how some of the biggies are all accomplishing this effort:
There are numerous real-world examples of brands finding ways to give people their time back.
The key is that our products, services or whatever we are selling should help make people’s lives easier, better, something they feel they cannot live without. It doesn't matter what new social media channel you’re creating a content strategy for, or how much money you are pouring into your next media campaign, if it’s not easy for your client to reach the touchpoints that your business deems successful, those efforts will not work in your best interest.
No magical content trick or tactic will give you as much success as when a customer thinks, “That was so easy,” and then simply moves on with their day.
Do your customers and your marketing dollars a favor and go stand in line at a Starbucks and try to join your newsletter, buy a membership or product, read an article from your blog, and ask yourself, “How easy and/or valuable is this? How big of an effort did it take to (insert goal here)?”
In most cases, the path of least resistance is frowned upon, however, not when it comes to getting customers to do what creates success for our business. The less time and resistance someone has between them and your bottom line, the more likely you are to make money. Now go back to reading all those “2016” articles.
P.S. If you’ve got some great examples of how a brand is wasting less of our time, I’d love to hear about them. Feel free to contact me.