How to get closer to your customers
Have you made any New Year’s resolutions yet? Usually New Year’s resolutions include losing weight, getting organised and staying fit and healthy. It's quite commonplace for us to make these for personal reasons – but how many of us make them for business reasons?
Business resolutions would be focused around spending less, earning more and making the time spent at work more exciting and engaging. As you look forward to this new year and running your small business in 2013, think about what resolutions you can tailor to your marketing plan that will give you the most financial rewards and improve your business wellbeing.
As you promote your business and it becomes more well known, building better customer relationships is going to be the big key element for 2013, so here are five small business ‘Relationship Building’ resolutions for 2013 that will hopefully inspire you to think of some yourself.
1. Be more personal
The saying goes: ‘People buy from people’. The more personal a relationship you strike up with your customers, the more chance they will buy from you rather than someone else. Blog posts, newsletters, tweets and Facebook posts only go so far as information vehicles. Being more personal will help so why not call your customers rather than all correspondence being via email? If time is not an issue then a phone call really does make a more personal approach.
2. Increase your exposure to social media
Expand your presence on Facebook by adding custom tabs/pages to help grow your ‘fan’ base. In terms of audience interaction, commit to posting at least twice per day on both Facebook and Twitter. The significance of LinkedIn is also something you need a plan to utilise in this new year. Set up a YouTube channel and add relevant videos. ‘A picture speaks a 1000 words’ they say, so showing you and your company helps to give a face to your brand and personalises your organisation.
It's very easy if you're involved in social media for a business to allow it to cross over into your personal life. We’ve all been there engaging with customers on Facebook, only to have a sneaky peak at your own personal Facebook page and find some friend's post so interesting that you waste an hour looking through their post and others. Use your time on social media more effectively - before you fire up the business Facebook page, have a defined idea of why you are there and what you need to achieve in the visit. It's very easy to become distracted and this can only lead to you wasting your time browsing.
3. Be less selfish
It’s not all about me, me, me. Don’t just throw information about your organisation at your customers - it would be more polite to allow them to talk about theirs. Just ask - find out what your customers are up to, what events they are attending, what trade shows are they exhibiting at. If you have not already done so, it would certainly be a huge benefit to meet your customers face to face. Chances are there will be more potential customers attending these events, maybe from a similar field, so use the opportunity to attract more new business from these events.
4. Increase your customer testimonials
Word of Mouth is invaluable for you – and it's free advertising. A customer who volunteers your services to others is incredibly valuable. Actively ask your customers to promote your business through social media. If they are happy with your products and services, just ask them to tweet about it or ‘like’ your Facebook business page. If you can get them to ‘recommend’ you on their personal Facebook page, this can help you reach potential customers you didn’t even know existed. As this cycle continues, you can then reach out your brand to a much bigger field.
5. Ask for feedback
There are so many reasons why a customer decides to buy from you and there are a whole list of other reasons why they decide to buy or not to buy from you again in the future. Getting customer feedback on their shopping experience is vital to improving how you do business and most importantly, how you improve your methods in order to keep a customer coming back again and again. All customer comments are valid. Not all of them can be implemented but a customer sees your company and organisation from their point of view. This insight allows you to make alterations and improve your methods so they are not repeated again with the same customer or with others. All feedback is good for business.
As business in 2013 becomes even more competitive, a more personal approach will help your company and organisation stand out. The more friendly you are with your customers, the more likely it is they will buy from you.