When was the last time you saw Susan Sell, your favorite customer? She used to call twice a month but seems to have fallen off your radar these days. In fact, many of your repeat customers have. But the question you should be asking isn’t “Where are my customers”, it should be “How can I engage customers?”
Staying in contact with your customers is essential to building customer relationships. And as any experienced marketer will tell you, relationships are a huge part of the customer’s journey. How the customer experiences their journey with your business will determine any other interactions they may have with you in the future.
Luckily, customer engagement isn’t a hard task these days. Thanks to the open availability of the internet, both customers and business owners have the opportunity to interact with each other frequently and freely. That means that if you aren’t already using the internet to talk to customers, you need to hurry to catch up.
Talking to customers online isn’t hard. In fact, there are plenty of opportunities for you to reach out and contact them. Some type of messages that you can send are:
- Transactions messages (receipts, invoices, etc)
- Promotions or discounts
- Updates on industry related topics
- Free gifts
But how should you reach out to customers? This is another opportunity to let your creativity fly. There are loads of channels for you to connect with your customers. Take a look at our list of potential digital communication channels and decide on which one works best for your business’s brand.
Email is the easiest go-to for communicating with your customers. Email addresses can be gathered in a number of ways, such as during the signup process or at the end of a transaction.
Email offers a great opportunity to use personalization. Since the rise of smart technology, personalization has almost become a standard practice for those targeting return customers. Plus, adding a personal touch to each email really demonstrates the value your business places on every individual.
2. Automated Email
Automated email campaigns take the concept of email marketing to the next level. Signing up with an automation software provider such as MailChimp, Drip, GoDaddy, and Infusionsoft will allow you to consistently send emails to customers without having to send them manually. It can save hours of labor for your business and provide a sense of consistency for your customers.
3. Phone Calls
Of course, nothing beats the tried and true. One of the best ways to reach out to customers is by calling them. No relationship building technique quite beats hearing a real human voice on the other end of the line.
4. Live Chat
Another way for customers to have direct access to your employees is a Live Chat feature on your company website. Relationships are a two-way street, and customers appreciate having the ability to reach out to the business whenever they would like. While this is possible over the phone, adding an alternative approach may make it easier for customers not able to place calls.
Also, many Live Chat features email customers transcripts of the interaction. This is a valuable tool for businesses to keep track of their employees’ customer service skills.
5. Facebook Business Messenger
Facebook is currently in the beta phase of its latest product, a Messenger plug-in for business websites. Similar to a live chat feature, the messenger icon will hover over the business webpage, allowing visitors to contact the company through Facebook Messenger.
Your business may already be using Facebook Messenger to keep in contact with your client base. It’s a convenient communication channel for many customers who are more active on social media than their email. The beta feature will connect those conversations with the chat feature on the host website. For more information, check out Sarah Parez’s article on the plug-in.
6. Paid Ads
Marketing wouldn’t be anything without advertisements. And the internet is full of them. Paid ads come in many different forms, such as:
- Display or banner ads
- Text ads
- Google Adwords
- Bing or yahoo alternative
- Social Media paid ads
You may have noticed that the ads that you see are all very similar to topics you have interacted with online. This is because of remarketing. Advertisement companies offer remarketing services to send specific ads to customers who have interacted with your website or app. This allows businesses to target customers whenever they go online. It’s a handy tool that guarantees to keep your company before their eyes.
7. Updated and Active Social Media Accounts
Social media is booming. The best part about social media is that it’s free for all, and provides your business with a platform to create content that will not only engage your customers but also add a personal feel for your business. There are tons of social media platforms that connect customers with businesses, including:
- Google +
There are also tons of directory and review websites that your business may show up on, including
- Angie’s List
It’s important that your business has a profile on all of the websites you feel like your customers may use and are relevant to your industry. For example, Angie’s LIst is not where a customer will go to look for a dentist because it is a home service providers directory.
Of course, just having a profile isn’t enough. Each of those profiles needs to be updated with the correct contact information. You also have to show that you are active on those sites. Example of staying active can be:
- Status updates, tweets, posts!
- Add pictures and videos
- Comment on reviews or customer comments
For tips on how to update and set up a profile, check out our blog on setting up and advertising on Google!
8. Social Media Tagging
One great feature many social media platforms have is a tagging option. This means that your business can tag customers or other businesses that you collaborate within your posts and pictures. It’s a great way to show connections with others and can be used to highlight your business’s relationship with its network and customers.
9. Social Media Groups or Community
Another great feature found on different social media accounts are the groups and community features. Your business can join or create a group for customers to join and receive information or network with other customers. Participating in these conversations will give your business a clear picture of how your customers may perceive you. And providing a topic of conversation is a great way to engage customers in the group.
10. Reply to Comments
On social media platforms, customers may leave comments on your business’s page, or tag you in their own post. A great way to build a relationship with a customer clearly seeking one is by simply replying. Nothing builds a strong relationship that when a business responds to a customer who wants to be heard.
11. Reply to Reviews
A similar but far more important way to engage with your customers is to reply to their reviews. Whether they are negative or positive, replying to a review shows that your business values customers input, allowing you to build or repair your relationship.
Replying to reviews is also a great way to maintain a positive online reputation. One study shows that 30% of customers judge a business on whether or not they respond to reviews. Check out our blog posts on dealing with negative and positive reviews!
Blogs are great for showing off to your customers. You may have loads of great advice, guides, and general commentary on topics that your customers may enjoy or appreciate reading. It also gives your business the chance to create a voice for your business. And, of course, the blog comment section encourages the customer to engage with the content you produce.
13. Video Campaigns
Video campaigns are another great way to engage your customers. Videos can be about anything – education, updates, and even just seasonal greetings. They give you a great chance to show the human side of your business by doing just that – showing your employees.
For example, check out our video introduction at the beginning of this post – and many of our other RevuKangaroo in 2 videos on Youtube!
14. SMS Text
SMS Text marketing is often an overlooked diamond in the rough. Considering 83% of millennials open SMS text messages 90 seconds after receiving them, it is hard to dispute the that SMS texting is a nearly foolproof way to engage your customers.
There are many SMS marketing services that provide businesses with a way to send customizable messages. Some may even argue that SMS marketing will soon beat out traditional email marketing campaigns. Whether you agree or not, SMS marketing is definitely worth checking out.
Apps are a wonderful way to engage customers who value ease of access or entertainment. Apps can offer a way for the customers to contact your business whenever they need to, often providing contact information or messaging systems. They may also offer better ways to shop, or provide entertaining content to keep them engaged.
And the best part about setting up an app for your business? Push notifications. Push notifications are messages or alerts that appear to any customer who had downloaded your app. It’s almost like a private channel that your business can use to remind customers about your relationship and encourage them to engage with your content.
As you can see, there are loads of ways to engage with your customers and clients. The options are endless, and there are plenty of marketing services that can help with these connections.
Maybe a simple email or text remind Susan Sell just how much you value her business. Maybe a promotional discount will encourage your Facebook followers to come back within the next week. All it takes is a little communication to create the loyal customers your business needs.