Small business marketing used to be fairly simple: Place ads in the local paper—or a few spots on radio or television—find a good location for your storefront, ask for referrals, and then wait for the business to come to you. That’s all changed. With unlimited information just clicks away on smartphones, tablets and laptops, your customers have become active investigators. They do their own research, bypassing ads in favour of information relevant to their needs. Whether it’s customer reviews, articles or videos, they’re looking for whatever helps them learn something useful.
In fact, according to one widely cited study by the technology company CEB, B2B buyers these days are already 57 percent of the way through their decision-making process before they even speak with a supplier.