They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but that particular maxim does not necessarily apply to consumers. In an era when ads from your rivals constantly bombard your customers and have the potential to lure them away, you cannot afford to fade into the background. If the pandemic is cramping your style and affecting your interactions with buyers, it’s time to take the control into your own hands to boost your brand recognition.
Send a newsletter regularly.
You probably already know how well this tried-and-true strategy works for disseminating family gossip during the holidays. Believe it or not, it is just as effective for remaining at the forefront of your customers’ minds. Use your business newsletter to provide valuable tips and tricks related to the products you sell, while offering insider benefits to any customer who signs up.
Of course, it’s important to get clients’ permission before sending your weekly or monthly missives. Furthermore, resist the urge to be too pushy or salesy. Your newsletter should become something your customers look forward to receiving, a connection that links them to you and strengthens your bond.
Offer personalized workshops.
Many businesses specialize in products that appeal to a niche market. These clients possess a fervent passion and often have esoteric knowledge related to the boutique items you sell. There is no better way to keep these buyers close than by furnishing them with seminars and workshops that provide them with in-depth information that pertains directly to their specific interests.
In the past, you might have invited clients to in-person workshops where you demonstrated new innovations, techniques, or products. If the pandemic now makes that impossible, consider hosting online seminars instead. At the same time you are maintaining your connections and presenting valuable information, you might well find that you learn a few things yourself.
Start a customer loyalty program.
All of us like to be appreciated and that includes your clients. No matter what types of products or services you provide, you are sure to be able to find a way to provide incentives to the regular patrons you serve. By doing so, you’ll be viewed in a positive light, while your customers will become even more highly motivated to purchase things from you in the future.
Loyalty programs offer another benefit: In addition to rewarding customers for purchases, you can also incentivize them for referring their friends and family to your shop or ecommerce website. Just make it a point to provide incentives that mesh with your customer demographics as well as your business priorities.
Harness customer relationship management capabilities.
When you remember to recognize a person’s birthday or another event that is particularly important to them, you will instantly create a memorable link that will stand the test of time. Fortunately, you do not need ESP or a phenomenal memory to accomplish this.
Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software should allow you to input important data into each customer record. What’s more, you can set it to send date-sensitive emails with relevant messages and discounts. The bottom line is that this extra attention to detail can set you apart from your competitors in the minds of your valued customers.
Establish and maintain a social media presence.
Social media is rapidly taking a primary place in most businesses’ marketing strategies — and for all the right reasons. Sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube give you stellar vehicles for self-promotion, including posting text content, video demonstrations, and customer reviews. Furthermore, you can directly converse with existing and potential customers, offer product-related advice, and learn invaluable information about what matters to the people you serve.
The key to any social media presence is consistency. Even the most polished page or channel is useless if you fail to update it frequently or stop engaging with visitors. In most cases, these sites are free, so don’t waste one of the most dynamic and affordable opportunities available to small and mid-sized business owners today.
Pick up the phone.
In this era of email and text messages, it’s easy to forget that you still have another important communications tool at your disposal: Your telephone. Whether it’s a smartphone or simply a landline, your phone can give you a way to have a one-on-one conversation with each and every customer. For many people, even five minutes of direct dialogue with you will send a message like no other that you think they are unique, important, and worth your time.
Let customers know their opinions matter.
Another way to prove to customers that you value them is to ask them for their opinions about your business and the products and/or services you sell. Of course, one way that they can do this is by posting reviews on sites such as Yelp, but you don’t necessarily need to stop there. You can also host virtual or in-person focus groups, or invite buyers to post testimonials on your company’s website.
Of course, you can never go wrong by rewarding people for taking the time to give their opinions. Discounts, free merchandise, and entry into drawings for monthly prizes are just a few ways that you can make completing a survey or attending a meeting more appealing to busy consumers.
Address concerns as soon as they arise.
No one likes conflict, but you cannot afford to let difficulties with patrons fester. Even if a concern seems small to you, keep in mind that it might loom very large for the other person. Therefore, treat conflicts and concerns as such, and address them right away, especially if dialogue is initiated in a public forum such as on social media.
Provide quality products and services.
In the end, the element that will keep people coming back and will inspire them to refer others to your business is nothing more or less than the products and services you provide and your ability to keep customers feeling important. Even the glossiest and fanciest marketing strategies will fall flat if these essential underpinnings fall short.
In order to ensure that your foundation of quality products and services remains strong, periodically review your business plan. Evaluate whether you are meeting the goals you set for your company. Also, don’t be afraid to make changes if your focus is shifting. Ensure that all staff members are thoroughly trained so that they can greet customers with the same knowledge and individual care that you pride yourself on providing.
Do not allow the isolation of the pandemic to infect your business and the way you treat your customers. After all, they are the lifeblood of your enterprise. Incorporating these strategies into your CRM and marketing systems can help to ensure that you remain just as important to your patrons as they are to you.