17 ways to connect with your customers
As a business owner, it’s important to create a bond between your customers and your brand. You can do this through marketing messages, product packaging, community work, and much more. There is no hard-and-fast rule for connecting with customers. The key is to make them remember your business, so they pick you over the competition.
Don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach
Every customer is different. So, you need to approach them differently. Some of the most successful businesses today have found unique ways to increase their customer engagement. You can benefit from learning what they’ve done, so you can apply it to your business. For example, some people might respond to marketing messages that are humorous. Others might prefer more serious ones. You need to find out what style resonates the most with your audience.
Don’t try to do everything yourself
It can be tempting to handle customer outreach on your own. But if you’re too busy running the day-to-day operations of your business, you might not have time for this. Plus, it’s difficult to keep up with every social media channel or to write hundreds of blog posts. You can save time by outsourcing certain tasks and letting professionals deal with them.
Respond to concerns as quickly as possible
If a customer reaches out to you via social media, it’s important to respond. Why? People might have questions about your brand, and they want an answer immediately. Responding within the hour shows that you’re attentive and that you care about their feedback. If a complaint arises, be apologetic and offer a solution. For example, you might offer a refund or a replacement product.
Create your own customer community
In-person communities aren’t the only kind of community. In fact, some businesses have found success by creating online communities. Their customers can share their thoughts and opinions, while the business can ask them questions and receive feedback about new products. For example, if you’re considering introducing a new product line, you can ask customers what they think and get their advice on how to make it better.
Use surveys to learn more about your customers
Social media isn’t the only way to reach out to customers. In fact, you might find that sending them surveys is an effective way to learn more about them. This way, you can discover what your customers want and need. For example, if they don’t like a certain product, they might tell you so by responding to the survey. But if they love it, they’ll say so as well.
Don’t forget your current customers
Your existing customers are the ones who know, like and trust you. So, it can make sense to focus your marketing messages on them. That way, they keep coming back again and again for more of your products or services. You can also use social media to ask them for feedback about your new product line, event, or service. This will let you get the perspective of your most loyal fans.
Go above and beyond for your customers
The most successful businesses go above and beyond for their customers. Grocery stores, for example, offer free bags to encourage people to shop with them. Airlines have been known to give away upgrades or award miles as a way of saying thanks for being loyal customers. You can think about creative ways that you can reward your best customers, so they continue to support you.
Follow up with people who have expressed interest in your business
People might express interest in your company on social media or allow you to send them emails. This means they’re open to hearing from you, but it doesn’t mean they’ll do business with you right away. You need to follow up with them by asking if they want to take the next step. For example, if they’ve shown an interest in your product or service, you can ask them for their email address so you can send them more information.
Keep it personal, not transactional
If you’re too focused on just talking to your customers about their needs and interests, you might forget that they want a human connection. Remember that social media allows “friends” to connect with each other. It’s not just for buying and selling stuff. So, think of it as an opportunity to be friendly and personable, even if you’re a business.
Focus on face-to-face interactions
You can probably reach more customers through social media, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to do business. Consider other ways that you can connect with people, such as speaking events and in-person networking. For example, if you’re trying to sell a product or service to attorneys, spend some time at local bars and restaurants to promote it.
Focus on relationships, not transactions
In the past, it made sense for businesses to focus mostly on transactions. After all, if a potential customer wanted their product or service but they didn’t know how to get it or who sold it to them, they’d have a difficult time doing so. But social media has changed that. Now, people are more likely to turn to the internet for information before they make a purchase. So, it can be advantageous for you to focus on your relationships with customers, not just transactions.
Create compelling content
Content marketing is all about sharing interesting or helpful things through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The goal is to engage with audiences. So, think about interesting things that your customers might want to see or read online. Don’t just look at the business side of social media, but also how it can help you expand your network and grow as a person or company.
Be active on social media
One of the best ways to get your business noticed is to become active on social media. People are everywhere, so do a search for hashtags related to your product or service. For example, if you’re a dentist in New York City, you can use #nycdentist or #newyorkdentist and see what others are saying about dental practices.
Social media is all about connecting with people, not just customers. So focus on your relationships and you’ll see social media become more beneficial to your business in the long run. Start by investing time into getting to know people online before asking them to buy from you. For example, you can share their blog posts or retweet their tweets.
Make your business more charitable
Instead of simply promoting your business, try to help out with charitable causes. You’ll make people feel good about doing business with you and they may even mention it on social media. For example, if someone is having a fundraiser for cancer research, let them know that you’d like to donate some money toward the cause or give away one of your products for free. Look at Michael Savage of New Canaan as an example of an excellent charitable cause you can get involved with.
Provide value through your content
In addition to creating compelling content, make sure you provide value to readers. For example, if you’re a dentist in North Carolina that specializes in helping people with sleep apnea, write a blog post about the dangers of this condition and include some tips on how to get a good night’s sleep. People who read your blog will be interested in learning more about getting healthy, not just how to pay for dental work.
Show your appreciation
Studies have shown that appreciation goes a long way toward improving relationships. So, say “thank you” for business or social media shares and your customers will feel good about doing more business with you in the future. It can be as simple as sending out an email, but people like to know their work is noticed and appreciated.
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