How to Engage with Customers Online
We’ve talked a lot about ways to bring in more customers recently, but learning how to successfully engage with those customers can seem like hard work. Don’t put this in the too hard basket though because up to 61% of your business might be coming from repeat customers. It’s also estimated that it costs 5-6 times more to bring on a new customer, versus keeping and growing your existing customers.
So, it’s worth it right? Read on and we’ll explain some of the ways you can learn to engage with your customers online and grow your repeat business.
1 – Stay connected with your customers
With the advent of the internet there are so many ways now that you can stay connected with your customers. Let’s talk through some of the ways you can stay in touch with your customers.
We all know our businesses should be on social media and that we should be proactive with our accounts. But what many businesses struggle with is the how. The answer to that question really lies in who your customer is, because then you can tailor your marketing strategy around content that will interest and inspire them.
Facebook is a social platform built around connecting with others. Create your content so that it is interesting and invites discussion and interaction.
Instagram is built around inspiring people through images. Craft beautiful graphics and images that inspire your users to connect with you.
LinkedIn is a business platform where you can grow yourself as authority in your field. Create confidence around what you do and the knowledge you have so that other business people feel confident doing business with you.
YouTube engages with consumers via video, often in the form of imparting valuable knowledge in the form of how to videos.
Don’t be afraid to freely share your knowledge. Offering free value will grow your database and establish you in your field.
Creating a newsletter list of your customers means you can stay connected to them through regular, consistent emails. These emails can be set up in the form of automations or newsletters. There are lots of great online tools you can use to accomplish this – MailChimp, ActiveCampaign and Hubspot to name a few.
Automations are a series of emails that are sent to the customer, following an event. A very simple and really important automation is a request for a review after a purchase on your website, or following a sale. A more complex series of automations might send the customer an email once a week for the first month, and then monthly for the next year, after they sign up to your newsletter. These emails might welcome them to your newsletter, explain how to use the products or services you offer, introduce them to more products and services, and generally chat with them to help keep your business top of mind. Another automation might follow the purchase of a specific product, with reminders to service or how to’s to use the product.
You can of course also draft up personalised emails that you send directly to your customer. This requires more manual effort, but does give a strong personal touch. For this method, I would suggest creating a list of your top customers – maybe 50 at most. Then at important dates like Christmas, mid winter or spring, send them a personalised email that thanks them for their business and shows your appreciation.
Facebook Messenger is an excellent tool for staying connected with your customers. By creating a Messenger database, you can connect with them in the same sort of way as email – but with a much higher engagement rate. In fact, Messenger packs a whopping 80% open rate and 30% clickthrough rate!
Messenger is designed for short messages. You can use it to thank them for being loyal customers, send them gift voucher codes or let them know about upcoming sales and events.
2 – Create a VIP list or loyalty programme
79% of consumers say that they are more likely to continue doing business with a brand that has a loyalty program 1, so it makes sense to make this a strong part of your marketing strategy.
There are lots of ways you can create loyalty programmes or VIP lists. It might be as simple as getting people to sign up to a special email list that gives them discounts, special offers and rewards. You might send these out via Messenger, email or SMS. You could create a card that offers a free product or service every so many products or services bought. Or you could create a card they swipe much like Flybuys where they build up points for purchases which they can then spend on your products and services.
3 – Be relatable
If your primary customers are young teenage girls who you interact with on Instagram, they’re not going to relate to boring statistics or dry facts. If your primary customers are men in their 50’s who love hunting and fishing, they’re not likely to be interested in hand bags, kittens or cupcakes. Work out who your customer is, what they love, what they hate, and what problems you solve for them, then make your content relatable.
Do you research and review your statistics and engagements. You can do this by reviewing your social media posts and looking for the most interactions (likes, views, shares, comments). On your website, you can review your Google Analytics data to see which pages are performing better. Look at your competitors, what are they doing? What are they doing that is working well?
Work out what is working and what isn’t. Trial different kinds of images, headlines, text and information. Once you land on what works, create themes around that.
4 – Be responsive
Whatever forms of contact you have with your customers, its important that you are consistently responsive. Don’t wait for days to reply to an email Respond to all reviews whether they are positive or negative. Reply to comments on your social media pages.
5 – Be clear about what you want
Work out your marketing strategy and create a crystal clear plan around what it is you want your customers to do. Do you want them to leave a positive review, comment on your Facebook post, or sign up to your newsletter? Be crystal clear with your calls to action and tell them in plain English.
Don’t expect your customers to do more than one thing at once. If you want to get a great review, don’t email them asking for a review and to check out your latest product. They’ll only do one thing, or they will get confused or overwhelmed and will end up doing nothing at all.
6 – Be engaging
When your customers walk in the door, email or phone, make them feel important. If your customer feels valued, they will more likely do business with you, refer you to others, and become a repeat customer. Talk to them about their lives to help you in your understanding of your customer base. Ask for feedback on your products, services and customer relationship. Take critical feedback positively, use it to grow, change and adapt.
If you think about how you’d like your customer to engage with you, become active in engaging similarly with other businesses. Celebrate their successes, comment on their posts, send them positive reviews and feedback after a job well done.
7 – Show appreciation
What better way to make your customers feel valued than by showing your appreciation. For some businesses this might be as personal as visiting your top customers in person and taking them a Christmas gift. It might be creating branded Christmas gifts that you mail out to your client database. Or it might be as simple as emailing all customers a gift voucher.
Support their businesses by shopping with your customers, writing great reviews for them, tagging them in your social posts and being active on their social media pages.
8 – Don’t be afraid
Sometimes marketing can seem overwhelming and scary. Don’t be afraid to jump in and start doing. You can only learn from your successes and failures, so that over time your marketing strategy can become fine tuned to perfection. Start creating your lists and engaging with your customers today.
1 Cited from Forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2020/05/07/50-stats-that-show-the-importance-of-good-loyalty-programs-even-during-a-crisis/?sh=1472243f2410