3 Smart & Proven Ways to Market to Customers for Business Growth
Everyone drives better with a cop behind them.
Think about the last time you were on the road and you noticed an officer in your rearview mirror or even in the lane next to you. What did you do? Put both hands on the wheel? Slow down? Make sure ALL distractions were completely put away? (Guess that burger you were eating will just have to wait!) You do your best driving when someone is there to literally police the way you’re riding on the road.
Well, it’s time to start thinking about your customers like that cop in the rearview mirror.
What we mean is, if you want to achieve business growth, then you’re going to have to drive your business like someone important is always watching. And, in this case, that someone important is your customers.
So, how do you constantly bring your “A-game” to your customers and always put your best foot forward? Here are some straightforward, effective, and smart strategies to market to your customers to achieve business growth:
Strategy 1: Stay in Control of Your Online Reviews
Did you know that 92 percent of customers read online reviews? Did you also know that a whopping 87 percent of customers won’t even consider a business with too many bad reviews? These numbers come to us from a BrightLocal survey – and they reveal something incredibly important.
REVIEWS MATTER. A LOT.
And, that means controlling your online reviews is incredibly important to helping your business achieve growth and profitability.
But, wait. Don’t customers write those reviews? Don’t we as businesses have absolutely no control over what our customers say about us?
Well, on some level, yes. We don’t control other people – we aren’t Scarlet Witch or Jean Grey. BUT, we do have control over how much we know about our reviews and how we respond to reviews, good or bad.
Find Your Reviews Online
Before you can begin taking some control over your online reviews, you have to know where your reviews are being posted. Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook… all of these sites can be your best friend – or your worst enemy. In addition to these mega review sites, you’ll also want to think of industry-specific sites – if you’re in the wedding business, you’ll want to keep an eye on Wedding Wire and The Knot. If you’re in the service industry, you’ll need to know what’s being said on sites like Angie’s List.
Ask Happy Customers for Reviews
Once you know the sites, it’s time to start asking loyal and happy customers for reviews. The best time to ask is when the customer is at the peak of their experience – like when they’ve just used your product or service and they’ve experienced all of the benefits of it. You can’t explicitly email and ask for positive reviews, but you CAN ask in person and include links to your Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook pages on any follow-up emails you send to your customers (they’re smart – they’ll probably get the hint). You’d be wise to ask them to review the employee or employees who helped them versus asking them to review “the company”. You’re more likely to get a response, and get a kinder review since it’s “person-to-person”. Plus, consumers like doing business with people, feeling special, and the bonding that happens builds brand loyalty.
Respond to ALL Reviews
As you start to generate some reviews, the next thing you want to do is respond. If you receive a positive review, thank the customer! Let them know how much they mean to you (more about why this is so important in a bit).
And, if it’s not-so-positive? Well, it’s inevitable, but at some point in time, your business is probably going to receive a negative review. Even if your customer service is on point. Even if your product is the best on the market. At some point, someone is going to be dissatisfied – and they’re going to let the internet know how they feel.
So, when that happens, what’s the best thing you can do? You can’t delete the review if it starts in the public domain… and you certainly can’t chew Negative Ned out. So, what do you do? You do what your mama always told you to do – you take the high road. No, not by turning the other cheek and ignoring the review. You take the high road by letting Ned know you’re sorry he had a bad experience and letting him know you want to make it up to him.
This strategy works on two different levels:
- It’s an opportunity for you to make things right with the customer. Ask if you can connect with Ned off the review site and see what actually happened. Determine if you can make it right. And, if you can, do it. Who knows? Maybe Ned will be so impressed that he’ll change and/or take down his negative review.
- But, even if he doesn’t, this shows other potential customers and current customers that you CARE. You’re willing to make things right with Ned, even if Ned’s not willing to work with you. And, after all, who doesn’t want to work with a business that cares about their customers, owns their mistakes, and does their best to make things right? That’s the stuff of positive relationships.
So, take control of your reviews by asking for positive ones and responding to both the positive and the negative. You can’t control who reviews your business or what they say – but control what you can to keep your business on the right trajectory.
Strategy 2: Time Your Marketing for Re-Engagement and Referrals
You’ve heard the saying: “Timing is everything.” You’ve also probably heard the saying: “It’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to go find a new one.” These two statements could not be truer than when it comes to re-engaging your audience to maximize business growth – and maximize your referrals.
To begin to unearth how to re-engage your audience, you’re first going to have to start digging into the mind of the customer. The first question you will need to answer: What is it the customer wants?
Good customer service…
Fast and efficient service…
Well, yes, yes, and yes. But, honestly, the real answer is that the customer wants to know that they matter to you!
Make the Customer Feel Special
Your customer wants to feel like the one-and-only, special, unique soul that they are. They want to know you understand their wants and needs – and that you care.
In fact, they want you to know them so well that you are more than just a business – you’re a friend. You know their favorite things. You know the perfect thing to get them for their birthday. You know their deepest, darkest secrets and desires.
Okay, maybe not -completely- that last one, but the customer definitely wants to know that you get them.
Take our old friend Susan Sell, for example. Susan’s birthday is in December, amid the holiday rush. She often feels completely forgotten, even though she secretly loves her birthday and wishes her loved ones would celebrate it more. What better way to show Susan you care than to send her an offer she would love on her birthday? One that’s tailored to her favorite products and/or services from your business.
That’s just one way to show Susan how much she means to you and to get her to re-engage with your business. What are some other ways?
Reach Out at the Peak of the Experience
Imagine this scenario: You and your friends decide to go see the newest blockbuster movie. And it’s amazing. It’s everything you hoped for and more. You and your friends step out of the theatre and you can’t stop talking about the action, the romance, the special effects. You’re so excited, you all decide to walk across the street and grab a pizza so you can keep talking. And, that night, as you get home, you hop online to research how the movie was made, the story background, the casting process…
The next day, it’s back to work. And, even though your movie-going experience was awesome, as time passes, those good feelings start to fade as you go back to the “real world” and start having more new, exciting experiences.
In this scenario, if the production team behind the movie was going to ask for a review, when would have been the best time?
Answer: Very shortly after the overwhelmingly positive experience of seeing the movie, when you’re still buzzing with excitement.
The same answer is true of your customers. The best to ask for a review, re-engage your audience, seek referrals… is at the peak of the experience – when the customer still has the warm fuzzies and can’t stop gushing about your business.
This is one of the best times to maximize your marketing efforts and really connect with your customer. Book that next appointment. Ask if the customer has a friend who would love your services. Upsell or talk about another product they’re sure to love. Or, just let the customer know they’re still on your mind by sending a quick thank you for the purchase. The possibilities to keep your audience engaged are endless…
Lost Them Already? Try to Get Them Back…
Remember that customer again, Susan Sell? We talked about her originally in our 15 Creative Ways to Engage Customers with Infographic blog. There, we listed plenty of ways to engage your customers. But, what about specific ways to engage customers who haven’t been around in a while?
Well, they need to know you care, so let them know that they’re missed. A personalized note can go a long way. So can a “come back and see us” offer. And, so can a new product or service, or a rewards program…
The important thing is to get that note or offer to the lost customer in a way that is meaningful. This means truly knowing your customer and having some understanding of why they lost touch. Were you bombarding them with emails and they lost interest? Did they grow bored of the same old product or service and left to seek something new? Do they maybe no longer require your services, but know someone else who would love them?
If they left because you were overwhelming them, give them a few weeks to breathe before following up again. If they left suddenly, get back in touch sooner than later and ask for feedback about why they left. If the customer no longer requires your services (say, because you’re a realtor), ask (again, sooner than later) if they know anyone who might be in need of your services so you can get in touch.
The reason for leaving and the right timing often go hand in hand, so make sure you understand the reason before trying to nail down the timing of when to reach back out again.
The Bottom Line: When it comes to timing your marketing, keep the customer and their needs in mind.
Strategy 3: Inspire Service Excellence
So, we’re going to let you in on a little secret: None of the above matters if you don’t have excellent customer service. You’re not going to get the positive reviews you want, re-engage your audience, or get referrals if your customers aren’t being treated well by your customer service team.
Remember what we said in Strategy 2? Susan Sell wants to know she is your special customer and that you know her, you get her, and you care about her. Well, how is she going to feel that way if the person sitting at the front desk doesn’t look her in the eye, say her name, or talk to her when she walks in the door?
We’re going to assume you know what good customer service IS and what it ISN’T. But, what you might need are some strategies and techniques to help inspire your team to give it their all every time they come to work.
Offer Work-Life Balance
Let’s start by meeting your team’s basic needs. If Jenny has worked 10 days in a row, she might be feeling a little burned out. Even if she’s a top employee, she might still be a bit crankier than normal if she hasn’t had time to put her feet up for a day (or at least accomplish a few personal goals). And, whether she means to or not, that crankiness could get taken out on a customer – YOUR hard-earned customer. And that’s why ensuring your employees have appropriate work-life balance is important to keep your customer service on point.
Show Your Appreciation
Just like your customer, your customer service team matters. And, just like you want to show your customer how much care, you also want to show your customer service team how much you care. You can do this easily by offering praise when a team member does something particularly well – or goes out of their way to provide superior service to a customer.
You can also emphasize the importance of the job that they do and how much it matters. Seriously. Some people turn up their noses at customer service jobs, but this team is the FACE of your company – the first people your customers are going to interact with. That means they are super important in helping your business make a great impression. So, tell them!
Encourage Growth and Creativity
Who wants to be stuck in a dead end job? If your customer service team knows there is growth potential at your company or even professional development opportunities, they will be more likely to put their best foot forward each and every day. Encourage this! Push your team to be their best selves and have their best interests at heart.
You can also encourage growth by letting your team know you are open to ideas and feedback. If someone has an idea to help improve your business, by all means, listen! Even if you don’t ultimately end up using the idea, your employee will appreciate being heard – this shows that what they say matters and that you value their ideas.
Remember: Just like your customers, your customer service team wants to know that you are invested in who they are and what they bring to the table.
In Conclusion: Show That You Care
At the end of the day, your marketing efforts and strategies come back to show the people who help make your business a success that you care. That means valuing both your customers and your employees. And, fortunately, there are plenty of easy (and even FREE!) ways you can do just that. Treat your customers and team like the cop who’s driving behind you, and you’ll be on your way to business hopping in no time.
Looking for more easy-to-absorb and effective business growth tips? Our podcasts offer plenty of tips and tricks to help you grow your business. Ask@RevuKangaroo.com or Check them out here: https://go.revukangaroo.com/optin-19839860