One of the best ways to grow your small business is to keep in touch with your customers and leads. People see between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements every day, so companies need to work hard to stay relevant in the eyes of their target audience.
Nurturing prospects and reaching out to existing customers can help you build stronger buyer personas, increase sales, and boost engagement across all marketing channels. As your business grows, you’ll need to think about other ways to stay in contact with these people if you want to keep them interested in your brand.
The thing is, there are countless tools and platforms you can use to reach your audience. Many entrepreneurs and business owners feel overwhelmed when faced with this task, and it’s not hard to see why. No one likes making a decision when there are so many ‘wrong choices.’
I will try to simplify the process and share five of the best ways you can stay in touch with your customers. We use all of the advice I’ll present today across our brands and have had tremendous success. I’m confident the same can be true for you too.
Send Personalized Emails
Let’s start by talking about a traditional marketing communication channel – email. Over 4 billion people use email, and that number is growing every year. A majority of these people say they prefer to engage with brands through email instead of generalized advertising.
I believe this sentiment has a lot to do with the personalized flexibility that comes with email marketing.
Once you grow your list, you can start separating (also known as segmenting) your leads based on their unique interests, pain points, and even individual traits. You can also track subscribers based on how they behave on your site. So, when subscribers download specific lead magnets, buy a product, or read themed blog posts, they would go to a separate list based on their preferences.
This data can help you communicate in a way that simply isn’t possible on most other marketing platforms.
Social media, for instance, is a great communication channel. But you can’t always get laser-focused information on each person while talking to them.
You can also use information volunteered to you to craft engaging emails. We like asking our subscribers for their birthdays so we can send them a special discount on our products during their birthday month.
Research shows that 4 out of 5 (yes, 80%) people say they want more personalized content, offers, and promotions from brands they love. So, if you’re looking for a way to communicate with your customers, you can’t go wrong with personalized emails.
Respond to Comments
Another way to keep readers interested in your website is to respond to your blog and social media comments. I believe this tip is equally crucial for maximum engagement on both platforms.
When it comes to commenting on blog posts, the name of the game is new user engagement. Over 77% of internet users read blog posts. Similarly, a majority of website visitors are new arrivals. Your goal is to keep as many of these first-time visitors coming back to your site.
You can ask visitors to join your email list or follow your social media channel, but responding to comments is also an extremely effective strategy. If a new visitor liked your blog post enough to share their feedback, you can bet that they will appreciate that you took the time to respond.
On the social media side of things, you’re going to see a lot of comments from people who are current customers or those who have already subscribed to your email list. In this sense, they are not first-time visitors and want to hear a little more from you. Engaging with these users can help build brand loyalty and social proof.
I suggest responding to every comment you can. Keep your eyes out for opportunities to tease new features, thank customers for supporting your business, or help users with industry-specific problems.
Experiment with Push Alerts
The next strategy I want to talk about today is push alerts. Odds are, you’ve subscribed to get push notifications from a few businesses you enjoy. People are willing to sign up for alerts when they think the company may deliver helpful content or promotions through their messages.
For example, many people subscribe to push alerts on their favorite hobby blog. People like reading about things that interest them, so they want to be alerted when a new piece of content is published.
Similarly, people who buy pet food online like to enable push alerts on their favorite online food store. Why wouldn’t they want to grab a discount on their next order if they already intended to spend their money on pet food?
If you look at the numbers, the open rates parallel this trend. On average, push alerts have an open rate of 28%, which is usually higher than the average business owner’s email open rate or social media post engagement rate.
You should send two primary message types to those who opt-in to your web notifications.
First, use the information from your customer segments to schedule push alerts for each subsection of your audience. In the pet store example we mentioned above, the marketing team could make an alert for cat food and dog food discounts separately based on what each customer last purchased.
You should also send users alerts based on how they behave with your website. So, if someone downloads a lead magnet, you could send them new blog posts that match the content they already showed interest in.
We use push alerts to curve our shopping cart abandonment rate. If a user subscribes to our alerts, adds an item to their cart, but doesn’t check out, we send them a friendly reminder via push notification. We’ve managed to recover a substantial number of lost sales with this communication strategy.
Embrace Omnichannel Customer Service
Businesses across all industries need a robust customer support system if they want to thrive. We can all remember at least one poor online customer service experience that made us say, “I’m never buying from them again!” You never want your audience to feel this way while trying to communicate with your brand.
The best way to master customer support is to take an omnichannel approach. We encourage our customers to use four different methods to reach out to us for assistance.
First, users can send us an email by filling out a simple contact form. This method takes the longest, but it’s essential to have this feature available for people who don’t have time to sit down and have a conversation.
We also allow users to engage with our chatbots and live support agents on our site. The chatbots help customers with common problems, like resetting passwords. Our chatbot can also send users resources by linking to blog posts or FAQ pages on our site.
Our live chat team helps customers and prospects with questions that require additional research or out-of-the-box thinking. Splitting your on-site support in this way helps manage the workload of your live team while ensuring your customers get fast, accurate answers to their questions.
I also recommend building a support system on popular social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Research shows that 76% of U.S. shoppers have bought something they first spotted on a brand social media post.
The thing is, people rarely see an item and go directly to your checkout page. Instead, they may contact your social media support team so they can ask a few questions.
Merge Social Media with Your Website
Speaking of social media, I want to talk about how to merge social accounts with your website. Many people choose to stay in contact with businesses through social media. When you consider that over 4.62 billion people use these websites, this trend makes sense.
If you can link your profiles to your site, there’s an excellent chance you’ll see a surge in engagement and conversations through cross-channel marketing.
One way to accomplish this task is to add social media feeds directly to your online store. There are plugins on the market that allow you to share feeds from YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter on your sidebar or a standalone page.
When someone finds your website for the first time, they can see how you communicate with others by reading your social wall. You can use this strategy to build trust with your audience, which could result in them communicating with your brand using one or more of the methods mentioned above.
It doesn’t matter how many customers you have right now; robust communication channels are vital to your success. The five general tips I presented today can help you find what works best for your brand.
After adopting one of these strategies, don’t be afraid to experiment with your message, audience segments, and offers. The way you engage with your customers will change over time. If you’re willing to give them the chance to talk to you, you’ll find countless opportunities to grow your business.