In today’s fast-paced world it’s easier than ever to connect with your audience in order to grow your customer base. At the same time, with so many tools and resources, it can also get complicated and overwhelming to make those personal connections.
For example, social media is a great way to connect with your customers if done correctly—creating valuable content that your customers want to share—but if you’re just updating your status with a “Buy my product” message, it’s a quick way to lose your following, and you’re not really connecting with your customers now are you?
To help you make those priceless connections, here are five simple and effective ways to connect with your customers, while growing your customer base at the same time.
1. Nice to know you
Want to connect with your customers? You have to get to know them on a personal level. As Larry Alton points out on Desk.com:
Knowing your customers lets you in on the secrets of what your specific audience loves to see and what annoys them. It gives you an insider perspective on the type of marketing content you need, the media sources you should be using, the sales conventions needed on your website, and the kinds of products and services you should be developing.
You can get to know your customers by finding out their:
With this information at hand, you can target the customers with the right content, promotions, and marketing channels and most of all, you now have a way to serve these individuals. You can uncover this information by conducting market research, sending them surveys, or reading and listening to their feedback on social media, forums and review sites.
You can’t forget the power of Google Analytics which can assist you in pretty much discovering any piece of information that you can image about your customers and how to help them. By analyzing customer data you can learn who your customers are and then segment that information to make personalized connections.
Connecting with customers can also result in employees at your company finding their jobs more meaningful, and being significantly more likely to plan to stay, according to new SurveyMonkey research.
2. Keep them in the loop
Whether it’s a major announcement like the introduction of a new product/service, an upcoming promotion, or your latest blog post, it’s imperative that you keep your customers in the loop. Thankfully, this is becoming less challenging since you can easily reach your customers through an email, newsletters, push notifications onto their mobile devices, or updating your social media channels through tools like MailChimp and Hootsuite.
Keeping your customers updated lets them know more about your business and how you can bring value into their lives.
3. Provide superior customer service
Customer service is an absolute necessity in today’s customer-based world. This means responding to customers in a timely manner on social channels, forums, review sites, or emails whenever they have a question, inquiry, or concern. But, you also need to go above and beyond. Listen to what your customers are saying about you on social media. If you spot a customer raving about your company, thank them publicly for the kind words. If they have something negative to say, publicly, or privately—offer to make things right.
If you’re looking for a way to do customer service right, take a page out the legendary, and sometimes insane, lengths that Zappos reps will go to make their customers happy.
4. Partner up
One of the most common ways that you can grow your business is to team up with another company. Tapping into the other companies’ current list of clients is an effective way to introduce yourself to a new audience. For example, let’s say you own a catering company. You could partner with a local business, such as a law firm, accountant, or real estate agency to cater any of their upcoming events. While their attendees are enjoying the event, they are now exposed to your product as well—don’t forget to have cards and flyers in place so that the guests know how to get in touch with you.
A more famous example would be Uber and Spotify. This partnership allowed Uber passengers to create playlists through Spotify. If you’re a frequent Uber user, you probably went ahead and downloaded the Spotify app so that you can listen to your favorite tunes. That’s a powerful connection that an expensive ad campaign can’t come close to duplicating, nor pay for.
5. Make some FaceTime
Living in a digital world may make it seem like it’s less important for you to spend some quality face-time with your customers. Many begin to neglect customers in the face-time aspect. In fact, according to SAS, “face-to-face interactions will remain the most important customer engagement channel.” This may be easier to accomplish if you have a brick and mortar store since you and your employees will have daily interaction with your customers or if you’re meeting with high profile clients every couple of months. However, you can also personally interact with customers at industry events, trade shows, or local meetups. And, don’t forget that you can always just talk shop whenever you’re out and about.
If you don’t have the time to physically meet with your customers, you can always pick-up the phone (or Skype), host a webinar/Hangout, or send them a personalized note via email or direct message. The idea is that instead of buying a faceless/nameless brand, your customers get to see the people behind your brand!
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, author and contributing writer for Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, Inc., and The Huffington Post.