Social, email marketing, PPC. There’s no shortage of ways to market your small business. But how do you connect with customers? How do you build relationships with them and become the type of company people love, talk about, and recommend?
The fact that you’re even asking the question means you’re already halfway there. We’ve gathered 10 tips to take you the rest of the way. From talking to people from the heart to asking for feedback, you’ll see just how easy it can be to stand out from the crowd and make your brand truly memorable.
What did mom always tell you? Ok, she told you a lot. But she definitely told you to be yourself. The same goes for your business. Your company has a personality. It has a voice. Don’t hide it! Don’t fake it. Don’t imitate anyone else. Make mom proud and let your company be its own great, unique self.
Talk to customers like real people.
Yes, technically we call them “customers,” but behind the analytics and the forecasts and everything else, customers are people. Be nice to them. (See below!) Talk to them like people. Better yet, talk to them like friends. You’ll find they’ll actually become friends—and be more likely to reach out.
Friendliness goes a long, long way, in business and in life in general. It’s such a basic premise—so obvious and so important—yet so many companies can’t seem to do it, or do it consistently. Always be friendly to your customers, even when they’re being less than friendly to you. If some of your employees can’t be unfailingly friendly, find ones that can.
Whether your company’s just getting off the ground or it’s well-established, part of talking to your customers like real people—and being friendly—is encouraging them to reach out and provide feedback. It makes customers feel important, and provides you with valuable insights about what you’re doing right and what could use improvement.
If you’ve ever been to a networking event, you know a name-tag and a smile can go a long way. Why? Because they make you look approachable! And an approachable business encourages customers to relax, interact, and stay a while. Ego and arrogance don’t have a place when it comes to relationship building, so leave them at the door or risk locking everyone out.
Make it easy to get in touch.
When customers are ready to reach out, make it easy for them to do so. Phone, email, text, chat, smoke signals. (Wait, what?) Seriously. In this day and age, there’s no excuse for a business that’s hard to reach. It’s frustrating and, for lack of a better term, it makes your company look sketchy. And, much like dating, there’s no bigger customer turnoff than sketchiness.
Get back to them quickly.
When it comes to reaching out to a business, there’s nothing like a fast response. It’s one of the simplest, most basic things you can do to connect with customers. It makes people feel like you actually care about them. And it’s the type of thing that leaves a lasting, positive impression.
Be open to criticism.
People aren’t always going to contact you when things go right. They’re actually more likely to get in touch when things go wrong. That’s why it’s absolutely essential your business is not only open to criticism, but representatives respond graciously when it’s received. Remember that you need to know what you’re doing wrong so you can do things right.
If there’s a problem, make things right. (Right away.)
Successful companies take a problem and transform it into an opportunity to build customer relationships. The very best thing your business can do when unhappy customers reach out is to make things right as quickly as possible. That might mean a gift card, a coupon, or a free meal. Whatever you decide to do, always acknowledge the issue and apologize for any inconvenience.
Provide value on social media.
When it comes to social, don’t post just to post. And don’t post to receive praise. Whether it’s a helpful tip or a mood booster, use social media to add to your customers’ lives. Your followers know good social media when they see it. Remember, people like your business enough to follow it. So make mama proud and let your true colors shine.