Studies show that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. In addition, increasing customer retention by 5% can increase revenue from 25% up to 90%. Finally, it is much easier to sell to an existing customer (60% success rate) than to a new customer (up to 10% success rate). Although customer acquisition is important, existing customers are a huge asset to a business. Thus, maintaining a strong relationship with your past and existing clients is essential so they stay loyal to your business. The best way to do that is simply to stay connected with your customers.
There are plenty of ways to stay connected with your customers. Even more so in the digital age where publishing mobile-friendly content can sometimes be enough to nurture that connection. For small businesses, making a smart use of online platforms and tools can really help nurture existing customer relationships, stay connected and up-sell.
How to stay connected with your customers
1. Use social media
Social media is a great, free and easy tool to stay in touch with your customers. Brands will use different platforms depending on their audience and so it is up to each business to know where their audience is. Although social media are very commonly used to raise awareness, promote products and built a brand identity, it is more and more used for customer service.
Indeed, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provide an easy and direct access to brands. Not only do they prove to customers that there are human beings behind digital content, but they also allow brands to establish a direct relationship with customers.
For example, a spa client of ours opened their DMs on Facebook and Instagram to allow their customers and followers to book appointments directly through social media. This direct access strengthens trust and loyalty since it shows customers that the brand is very responsive should they have any question. It also helps to make a good impression.
2. Send newsletters
A lot of people think email marketing is dead and that emails either end up in the spam folder or are sent straight to the bin by subscribers. Of course, the title and abstract of the email as well as the use of emojis will determine whether an email catches the attention of their target reader. And thus, open rate will vary greatly.
The seasons, specific sales or other updates will also impact the opening rate of each newsletter. Businesses however have noticed that most of online purchases were made by customers subscribed to their newsletter. Thus, email marketing is well alive.
Building an email list may seem difficult and tedious at first but it is worth it. Website visitors will need an incentive to sign up (i.e. a welcome discount) but they will also be more likely to purchase your product next. The conversion rate of email marketing is three times higher than social media’s.
Sending frequent newsletters and updates is a great way to stay connected with your customers, inform them of new offers and promotions while giving them your latest updates.
3. Curate a blog
Curating a well-written and informative blog not only is good for attracting new leads, improve your website’s SEO (and google ranking) but it is also great to keep your existing customers interested in what you are doing. A blog will help establish your brand as an expert in your industry as well.
A website offers practical and in-tone information. However, a blog allows more flexibility and the opportunity to share updates that show who you are, what is going on behind-the-scenes. In short, a blog is a direct communication channel that really help you to stay connected with your customers.
Writing a blog will add content to your website, which will boost SEO and Google ranking. It may help with internal and back linking as well. You may choose to write very detailed blog posts on your niche or service, which people may refer to in their own blog posts. A blog is great to teach people about your product and establish yourself as a trusted source of information.
4. Survey your customers
One way to stay connected with your customers, have them stay engaged with your company is to go beyond showing your appreciation for their customership. You need to show them that you value their opinion, that what they think about your business is important and that you need their feedback.
Businesses want their brand to have a certain image and will build their marketing strategy around that. However, sometimes it may be difficult to know what customers actually think. Surveying customers and asking for their feedback is a great way to improve your business.
Furthermore, by listening to your customers’ feedback, you show that they matter to you and you give them the chance to participate in making your company better. In other words, you give them the opportunity to contribute to your company’s success, which is something very rewarding and that increases customer engagement and loyalty.
5. Engage on social platforms
We mentioned earlier how can social media be used by brands to stay connected with customers and strengthen relationships. That is one form of engaging with them. Staying in touch with customers, speaking with them, ensuring they engage with your brands on social media can be done through content marketing.
Each platforms will require a different content strategy since each platform offers different features. For example, Instagram stories offer polls, survey and little quizzes that are great for engagement. Twitter is a much more conversational platforms and often allow people to engage in long threads.
Facebook is mostly based on people commenting and tagging each other below publications. Some publishers and fashion brands have used cute videos to increase engagement, followers and revenue. Engaging with customers on social media is actually giving them the opportunity to engage with you first. Some brands even go as far as commenting back on users Instagram posts.
6. Always answer questions and queries
By being on social media, you give customers a direct communication channel to you. Even though most brands do not use their social platform for customer service, people will eventually use them for that purpose. And thus, you should expect to receive queries and questions.
Never ignore a customer trying to reach out to you on social media or anywhere else. Not only is it bad for customer service but it is taking a huge risk for your brand’s reputation. Posts can spread like wildfire on social media. It takes very little for a frustrated customer to take to social media to express their anger. And thus, you risk damaging your brand.
Always answering questions is a great way to stay connected with your customers as it shows them that you are always available. They can ask a question, they know they will get a response. And then can come back any time. It shows that you are responsive, helpful, approachable and accessible.
7. Provide exceptional customer service
Providing great customer service is common sense to many but is sometimes still overlooked. The way you treat your customers will impact your brand reputation as well as revenue. Why would people buy your products if you do not treat them well for it?
Some customer service hiccups have had huge damage on some brand’s reputation. It is important that you always find a solution to a customer, whether they’d be right or wrong. In the end, their opinion is what will help other people to make their own and decide to buy your products.
People tend to remember a negative experience much better than a positive one. It does not matter if out of the ten times they ordered from you, the ninth first were good if the last was bad. People share negative experiences, which will affect your business.
8. Offer a great online experience
Nowadays, a lot of businesses have an online presence. A website is very helpful to make your products more accessible to anyone wherever in the world they may be. Which in turns increases your chances to sell your products. More people, more visibility.
Customers may find your website through a Google search, through social media or through word-of-mouth. Here again, the first impression is crucial. Your website needs to be visually pleasing, easy to navigate, quick to load and offer all the information people need to make an informed decision about your brand.
Keeping people on your website is key to increase your conversion rate. One thing a lot of business emphasize on is reducing bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of people that did not go beyond the first page of your website they landed on. A website taking long to load will lose you a lot of potential customers.
That is why it is important that your brand offers a very smooth and pleasant online experience to make sure people want to come back.
9. Monitor review sites
As a brand or small business owner, you may be dreading review sites as you may land on negative reviews about you. However, even though they are not ideal, negative reviews provide you with the opportunity to reflect on your business and improve it.
That is why you should monitor review sites like Yelp or Google My Business. And again, answer any comments made by customers, good or bad alike. It is easy to answer a good review. A bad review? Not so much. But it is important to show unsatisfied customers that you care about them and that you want to provide them with a solution.
Indeed, most unhappy customers end up changing their negative review when they feel that the brand took responsibility and was actively looking for a solution. You cannot change the past. However, most customers are more forgiving than hou think. You need to restore their faith in you by admitting that you made a mistake and are doing everything you can to fix it.
Only then can you increase customers’ trust in you and loyalty.
10. Stay on brand
Last but not least, a great way to stay connected with your customers is simply to stay on brand. You need to stay consistent with your brand image, content and online behavior. Changing all the time can only be confusing to your followers on social media for example. You are allowed a rebrand, which you will announce to your followers prior. But switching all the time may just push them to hit that unfollow button.
Although a lot of people are open to change, they may not understand a sudden shift in your brand. This could break the relationship you had with them. People follow brands on Instagram for a particular reason after all. Very often it is for their content and personality. Customers love consistency.
That is it for our ten tips on how to stay connected with your customers. We hope those tips help you strengthen customer relations and help you secure people’s loyalty and trust in your business!