There is nothing more important to a business than connecting with your customer. If you don’t, you won’t sell products and no one will recommend you to their friends.
Plus, if you can’t connect with your customers then you’re wasting your advertising dollars on ineffective tactics.
Many businesses fail to connect with their customers for this very reason – they employ outdated methods to reach their audience. Most notably, they are only concerned with getting their logo in front of people, rather than cultivating a brand that matters to people.
The good news is that technology gives you a platform to create a meaningful brand identity that resonates with your target market.
If you’re having trouble navigating new media and this new era of advertising, then read on. We’ve got tips you (and your business) can’t live without.
1. Connect in Real Time
Email greatly increased our ability to connect with customers, but it’s quickly being eclipsed by social media as a touchstone between people and brands.
Odds are, your customers are always on social media. Create Twitter and Facebook accounts for your brand and use them to connect with your customers. If you are a brick and mortar business, it’s a good idea to set up a Foursquare account, too.
This has two benefits:
1. You can alert your customers about sales and special promotions to drive traffic to your business.
2. You can respond immediately to negative and positive feedback. Through replies and retweets you can immediately engage your customers and thank them for their positive reviews of your company. The more you thank them, the more they will share their experiences on social media.
The key to successful social media is to respond as soon as possible to all types of feedback – most importantly negative feedback. Sites like Facebook and Twitter give you the chance to control the spread of negative comments before they get out of hand. Remember to keep a cool head when you respond to negativity, even if the commenter is belligerent. Forbes has some great advice on how to handle this.
2. Get Your Voice Out There
In the past, marketing has been stagnant. It wasn’t very easy to carve out a voice for your company. You were just a logo and maybe a tagline. Thanks to technology, you can craft a brand identity with which your customer identifies.
Don’t be afraid to create a strong voice for your company. Be different. Be quirky. Imagine your brand not as a thing, but as someone with whom your customers would want to be friends.
Make sure that your brand personality is showcased on your website through copy, design and other imagery. Likewise, make sure that all of your social graphics reflect your brand identity.
Do more than showcase your products and services. Let your company’s values shine through. Give your employees some time in the spotlight. Customers like to peek behind the curtain and see the people behind the brand.
3. Set Yourself Apart from the Competition
There’s more to internet marketing than Facebook, Twitter and email campaigns.
Blogs give you an opportunity to engage your customers in a way that your competitors might not. Even if your competitors have their own blogs, they aren’t your brand.
Write about what you can offer your customers, weaving in your brand identity. Be conversational in your posts. Don’t be buttoned up – that doesn’t resonate with people. It is your voice that connects you with your audience, so examine what the competition does and make sure that you’re delivering something completely different.
Another way to get an edge over the competition through technology is to look for their weak spots. Are there any social networks they aren’t using?
Snapchat has a growing userbase and most small businesses have no idea how to harness the network. If you want to be really different, consider how you can use a network like Spotify to engage with your audience.
Technology continually advances our ability to connect with the people who matter to our business, you simply have to be willing to put your brand out there and dedicate time to take advantage of these opportunities.
We’d love to hear how you use technology to connect with your customers. Let us know in the comments.