Customers are the heart of any successful business and they are by far a business’s biggest asset. Nurturing the relationship between the business and the customers maintains trust with your existing customer base while also helping to convert new clients. The most effective way to do this is to focus on maintaining and increasing customer engagement.
A strong customer engagement means higher sales, increased trust, brand loyalty and most importantly, repeat business. Customer engagement gauges how effectively your brand is reaching your audience. Increasing customer engagement means strengthening your relationship with your customers.
Customer engagement methods will differ across business and industry types. Nevertheless, there are a few easy steps that you can take to boost customer engagement and work towards creating a community between your business and your customers. Keep reading for five easy ways to increase customer engagement with your small business:
Social media is a great opportunity for small businesses. It can be simple to use and is an easy way to measure brand loyalty. It can also be done for free.
The days of paper advertisements are long gone and people rarely use anything other than a computer or smartphone to access information. Social media not only establishes a direct line to your customers, it can also be utilized as a free marketing tool and an insight into customer needs and ongoing trends.
While many businesses hold social media accounts, harnessing how to use them effectively will be a game-changer for your business. Social media isn’t just a platform, it’s an engagement tool. Posting a daily/bi-weekly story, for example, doesn’t just give customers an insight into the business, it also lets you gauge customer engagement. Polling tools, commenting and engagement functions, and tagging features help you foster a relationship with your customers. Start a hashtag, do a LIVE video, there are many possibilities available for you.
Social media provides a platform to freely advertise, promote, and gauge customer engagement to positively promote your brand, products and services. Your customers will receive the same information, the same experience and a community should grow. Regularly posting also maintains your business relevance. Many small businesses post 3 times a week. You can also post daily, but don’t post more than twice a day.
You’d be surprised with how flexible social media can be to get your message across. If you’re unsure, do a little research of your favourite brands or industry competitors. Your social media community is the most effective way to understand how effectively you are reaching your audience.
Loyalty Programs & Rewards
Coffee stamp cards, Instagram giveaways, member discounts and second purchase discounts are all examples of how you can increase customer engagement. When customers are engaged in your services and products, they are more likely to take action, strengthening brand awareness and loyalty.
It’s important to make customers feel valued and special from time to time. This could happen by offering a free product or discounted service for the first 10 accounts to comment on a social media post or offering a small discount on all second purchases. Alternatively, you can offer VIP member perks.
Loyalty perks and rewards encourage customers to repurchase. If a customer is happy with the first product or service that they receive, they will likely return. If there is an added incentive they will definitely return.
Loyalty perks encourage repeat business, prompt higher customer spending, help to generate positive reviews and can help your business stand out from the crowd. They stimulate a competitive way of thinking to help your business grow.
Customer rewards don’t have to be extravagant or complicated. Begin small and think about what kind of loyalty perk will be aligned to your business and your customers. Your customers will feel valued and you will benefit from your growing community.
Providing customers with quick tidbits, updates, information on your new services, and industry advice lets you showcase your expertise and services.
It’s easy to assume that customers won’t bother to read email newsletters, however, if they’re interested in what you have to say, then they may well take the time to read your emails. They provide accessible information for your customers, promote your business and can increase website traffic.
Newsletters and blogs are an effective way for businesses to share promotions and opportunities. You’ll be establishing your business as a knowledgeable source of information.
Word of Mouth
Simple, yes. Effective – absolutely. Word of mouth is a powerful indicator of customer engagement. First impressions in business are lasting impressions and can account for a large portion of repeat business.
At the end of the day, loyalty is emotionally driven. If the customer trusts your service and brand, they will likely return and spread the word to their friends.
A positive experience from the first point of contact sets the tone for future interactions, establishing a foundation of trust and loyalty. This impression can be made through the actions of staff members, product quality or even store accessibility and layout. Word of mouth generates customer referrals, reviews and feedback.
Nevertheless, even if the customer has had a negative experience with a brand, if the business and staff handle it with care and compassion, word will get around.
Word of mouth is an effective tool for customer engagement. Because of this, setting in place strategies for staff members to welcome customers, handle complaints and present themselves favourably is a great idea.
Understanding your Business Direction
Without understanding your business direction, you won’t adequately be able to plan your customer engagement strategy. Your business needs to have a clear outline of what you do, what you stand for and where you are heading.
At the end of the day, if there is uncertainty from you there will be uncertainty from your customers. The customer engagement strategies that you choose should focus on promoting communication between your business and your customer community. Without adequate communication, consumer confidence will likely drop along with the strength of the brand.
Understanding where your business sits within its industry and alongside your competitors is the best way to begin implementing your customer engagement strategy. During times of change, instability and uncertainty, it’s a unique opportunity to understand how your business fares within the industry and against your competitors.
Seeking out a business valuation provides you with an accurate scope of where your business sits within its industry and offers insight into opportunities for growth and strategic developments. In turn, this will promote awareness about your business and give you an understanding of how you can optimize your customer engagement.
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