Once upon a time, the customer journey used to have a clear beginning, middle and end and most customers followed a similar path. Times have changed, however, and the “traditional customer journey” no longer exists.

Today, the path a customer takes to get to your business is unpredictable. The steps between awareness and purchase are many and varied, and they often loop back on each other. People might come across you on their phone at 3:00 a.m., dismiss you while reading reviews on their laptop, only to rediscover you again while scrolling through their news feed on their tablet, and so on.

So the question remains, how can small businesses adapt and continue to succeed given the unpredictable nature of the new customer journey?

1. Be Everywhere Your Customers Are

Easier said than done, but still essential. You need to be where your customers are looking to interact with you to even get them started on the journey to choosing your business.

But don’t get preoccupied with being everywhere all at once. With options ranging from the digital (email marketing, social media marketing, SEO, paid search, etc.)  to more traditional mainstays, such as print, radio, television, and outdoor display ads, actually being everywhere isn’t realistically an option for a majority of small businesses. What you need to determine is which channels yield the highest returns with your audience and focus your efforts and budget there.

2. Test, Test, and Test Some More

How do you know if what you’re doing is working, or if something needs a change? Adopt a test-and-learn mentality that allows you to invest in your most successful endeavors, as well as kill off the initiatives that aren’t working. Don’t get too attached to individual strategies, let them prove their worth, and when they stop working, ditch them and move on to testing another approach.

3. Have a Connected Mindset

This is often the most difficult and involves working across platforms and mediums to arrange all the parts of your digital marketing so that they work together, instead of separately.

If you update your logo, it needs to be reflected everywhere your logo appears, not just on your business card. When people visit your website, you need to retarget them with ads on social. If someone were to leave you a review, it needs to show up on your website.

Since people will interact with your business across many touchpoints, and they determine their own path to purchase, your business needs to be able to share the relevant data across all your marketing channels to get the best return on investment.

4. Keep an Open Mind

This is a quickly changing space, and there are a lot of transformative shifts underway. Remember, just because it’s worked for you in the past, doesn’t me it is going to work for you in the future.

An always-evolving mindset is crucial to keep up. Be flexible and let the results drive your decisions, the numbers don’t lie.