Take a step back and look at all of the pieces of your small business. You have your hard-working employees, your products or services, your physical workspace, your capital and, finally, don’t forget about your brand! Your brand is a critical component of the business as it not only tells a story, but it also delivers a promise. You’re promising customers a certain level of quality for service and satisfaction; a guarantee that is eye-catching enough to start their journey to loyalty. Think of it as your business DNA saying “Here’s what we want you to know about what it is we do.” To get that message across to your customers, you’ll need to know how and when to communicate with them in a way that provides value and delivers on that promise.
There are over 3 billion active internet users around the world, and nearly 2.1 billion of them are on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. You should be communicating with these customers and potential customers by creating a presence for your brand through these social channels. When a customer reaches out to your small business to praise your service or raise concern over a product, be there to converse with them. You can only truly humanize your brand by actively engaging with the people reaching out to you. This will help you deliver on the quality brand promise you’ve made to your customers.
Another way to deliver on your brand promise is through targeted email marketing. An effective email marketing strategy can yield an average of 4,300 percent return on investment. I recommend looking into software that will allow you to quickly follow-up with your customers so you can increase efficiency and decrease guesswork. You’ll want the ability to create, send and track smart campaigns that allow you to view how many times the email has been opened, clicked on and more. Also, make sure you hone your brand’s voice in order to encourage customer loyalty. Remember, each impression counts, so consistency will create an experience a customer can count on—which will improve your brand.
You always want to be communicating your brand promise, and when it comes to communicating with customers directly, you are looking at golden opportunities for engagement. You now have your social media presence ready and your email marketing strategy solidified, but what happens after you’ve made a new customer? The best way to deliver on your brand promise is by nurturing your customer relationships, and you can do that by following up with them after they have made a purchase or interacted with your small business. Having trouble deciding what to say? Here, let me offer two quick suggestions:
- Make them an expert: Ask questions about their favorite product features or experiences with your wares. Listening to their feedback shows them you’re listening to what they have to say and gives you the opportunity to make continued improvements.
- Just say thank you: It’s really as simple as that. Just saying a quick “thank you” to your new or returning customer will show them you’re willing to take the time to appreciate their relationship with your business and will keep the lines of communication open should they have any questions or issues you might be able to help with.
Remember that emarketing software I mentioned? That same program should also be able to keep segmented lists and groups as well as a comprehensive contact record. This will allow you to streamline your communication processes and reach out to customers when they are more likely to respond; after making a purchase. Keeping track of a customer’s activity will also give you the opportunity to anticipate their next move, so you can catch them at the perfect time to get an update or encourage them to re-up a purchase.
Excellent communication and a commitment to delivering on your brand promise will help you grow your company. Find the right tools to keep your small business organized so you can live up to your brand promise while reaching new customers and keeping your existing clientele happy. A strong brand that is received well by consumers is key to finding success in today’s competitive business environment—and I love seeing small businesses develop solid brands that gives them an edge over larger competitors in their space!