If the lion’s share of your business comes at the end of the year, you know that now is the time to get your fourth quarter plans firmly in place so you can exceed year-end goals.
The most effective way to drive sales, grow your business and establish a solid foundation for a prosperous new year is through customer engagement.
Here are five ways to engage your customers and end the year with a bang.
1. Focus on your top customers. You’ll want to look closely at your e-mail and social media marketing results to determine which 20 percent of your customers are driving 80 percent of your business.
Based on what you glean from who’s opening, clicking, sharing, responding and buying, you’ll be able to group your customers into the following three categories: VIP, active or inactive.
For VIP customers, consider offering them deeper discounts, inviting them to participate in private events, or presenting them with insider deals.
When it comes to active customers, you’ll also want to thank and reward them, yet on a slightly different scale. As for inactive customers, that brings us to point Number 2.
2. Don’t be afraid to disengage from inactive customers. If a customer has not been active, reach out to them with a compelling and personalized offer based on their interests and encourage feedback so you can determine the reason why they went dark. If they don’t return despite your best efforts, don’t feel compelled to continue to engage them. Focusing on the most engaged customers will yield the greatest results.
3. Build your network through your network. You know that referrals are the most cost-effective way to build your business. To do this, create a noteworthy offer for existing customers with an added incentive when they bring a friend along. Since the friend will already be pre-conditioned to like your business, you have a terrific opportunity to establish a new customer relationship with long-term potential.
When the new customers arrive, make sure they have an outstanding experience and ask permission to continue the conversation through e-mail or social media. In follow up to their initial visit, present them with an offer or other incentive that gives them a reason to return.
4. Ask for feedback. While feedback is not often requested, it’s the best way you can improve the customer experience.
Consider sending an e-mail survey or running a poll on your Facebook business page. For example, ask customers to vote on the next campaign or special offer you’ll run, such as free shipping, gift wrapping or later hours during the holiday season.
When you make the feedback interactive and social, they’ll keep coming back to your site to see how their votes are faring. Meanwhile, you’ll be gathering even more relevant information about their likes and dislikes while giving them what they want.
5. Maximize your presence at events. Make the most of your presence at industry or large-scale events by communicating in real-time via tools like Twitter and Foursquare. After the event, keep the conversations going with new connections by leveraging e-mail and social media. If you’re hosting the event, look into mobile check-in tools to reduce registration lines and get you out from behind the registration table and mingling with guests. And if you’re running an online event, explore meeting tools that allow you to fully engage your audience through slide sharing, instant messaging, video and voice.
If you put these ideas into practice now, you’ll be able to tweak your messages and campaigns so your fourth quarter ends on a high note.