A Convenient Truth
Last week I wrote a post on a subject I’ve been fascinated with of late called the Evolution of Commitment. The general idea of the post was to suggest that with all of this free information and free versions of products available it’s become more challenging to get someone to commit to your offering. I asked readers to tell me what gets them to pull out their wallet and commit and several themes arose.
One word that came up time and time again was convenience. It does seem that people will spend their last dime to get something that makes life easier, more convenient, and that’s something marketers must factor into every aspect of their business. It’s not always the best product that wins. Often it’s a good product that is easy to find, easy to understand, and easy to acquire that wins.
We often get stuck running our business in a ways that are most convenient for us and not so much for the very people we need to attract – customers. Some of the greatest innovations available today reside in making something – a product, service or entire industry – more convenient.
Take a look at all of the ways a prospect could find you and contact you. Are your contact details on every page of your web site? Do you have outposts in places like Facebook? Are your local search engine profiles enhanced with useful information? Do you offer multiple forms of contact – email, web form, click to call, IM? Can prospects get additional information without having to pick up the phone?
Convenient products and services
Do you have versions of your products and services tailored to every size and budget? Do you have trial offerings? Do you offer automated training to help customers get the most from your offerings? Do you give access to your products and services in ways that prospects want them – smart phone, online, offline, iPad, iPod?
No matter what your product or service you can always find new ways to give customers the ability to acquire it on their own terms. This is an area where growing use of the mobile device is just begging for innovation. I’ve been offering my podcast free of charge for years. Recently, I created a iPhone app for the podcast that’s available for $2.99. While the same information is available for free, hundreds choose to download and pay for the app for the convenience of getting the content delivered the way they want it.
This is a tricky one. If it’s hard to understand what you do that’s unique, what you stand for, why I must have what you offer, there’s going to be convenience friction. One of the best innovations in this area lies in paring your message down to the simplest terms possible.
Consider this About Us message from software service provider 37 Signals as a fine example of a convenient message – “We believe most software is too complex. Too many features, too many promises. Instead, we build simpler web-based software with elegant interfaces and thoughtful features you’ll actually use.”
While I think most would consider this an obvious topic, it’s not always an easy one to put into practice. What a customer thinks is convenience may not be what we think it is. In fact, it’s often hard for customers to tell us what it is. You’ve got to experiment and constantly push everyone in your organization to consider innovation through convenience.