Be everywhere online. Canvas the neighborhood. Leave no stone unturned. Believe it or not, these old-school approaches to marketing are still being bandied about, though they sometimes deliver relatively low ROI. When it comes to customer acquisition and retention, it takes more than just blasting messages or plastering offers across your social media channels. Attracting and retaining customers can come from having an authentic and transparent approach to how you present your business and engage your customers.
When it comes to customer acquisition strategies, you want those that can help you attract customers who provide long-term value for your company. Here are seven ways successful businesses can go about doing this.
1. Make it easy for customers to find you online and connect with you personally.
Your perfect customer could be searching for your business right now, but they may not know you exist because your business doesn't show up in their search results. Or your business appears in search results, but customers don’t know how to get in touch with you or they're directed to a generic email address.
Making it easy for them to find you is one part of successful customer acquisition. Consider completely filling out your online profiles on social media, review sites and your own website. This can include directions, hours, who to contact for what and how they can reach the right person live and online.
2. Live up to your online image to help increase your chances of customer acquisition.
When a business’s photos are a bit too retouched, their online reviews are a little too good to be true and they suddenly amass a groundswell of social media fans overnight, it can be a lot like catfishing.
These actions might initially seem like good ideas, but they can leave behind a whiff of incredulity, which may put your reputation at risk. When your online persona accurately reflects the customer’s experience in the real world, customers may find you more endearing and may be more likely to frequent your business.
3. Focus on engaging the customers that are most aligned with your vision.
Here’s where the old adage “water seeks its own level” comes to mind. Instead of trying to be all things to a wide swath of potential customers, consider focusing on cultivating relationships with those customers who are most closely aligned with your vision for the business. Less can be more.
4. Go deep, not wide.
Along the same vein of cultivating strong relationships with your targeted audience, the same customer acquisition principle can apply to your online presence. Instead of spreading yourself too thin, you may want to focus your marketing efforts on the one or two channels where the majority of your target customers are most active and most responsive.
5. Deliver an amazing customer experience.
From presenting a consistent image online and in person, to the products and services you stand behind and deliver, going the extra mile is table stakes these days.
But you don’t need to invest in expensive marketing tactics to deliver an amazing customer experience. The most genuine gestures can go a long way in fostering strong customer relationships. For example, freely sharing your expertise and proactively anticipating and answering the questions customers are thinking about—or should be thinking about—can help make for memorable experiences.
6. Set yourself apart from the competition.
One way you can set yourself apart from the competition is by taking amazing customer experience to the next level. You could do this by earning the right to continue the conversation online. For example, you may want to highlight the benefits of subscribing to your email or following you on social media, such as receiving even more free expert advice and insider deals, as well as joining an online community that includes their neighbors.
7. Encourage customers to tell you the truth, especially when it’s not praise.
It’s easy to chalk up a bad customer experience to the “you can’t please everybody” mantra. You can also accept that even with your most loyal customers, things sometimes don’t always go as planned.
But to help build your business with the right customers and head off negative word-of-mouth and online reviews, you may want to regularly ask your customers for feedback. Consider telling them that you’re looking to make their experience better and that you can’t do it without their help. When customers know their voices won’t go unheard, you may be able to build stronger ties to them and lower the likelihood that they'll abandon you should something go awry.
Building a great business and driving word of mouth isn’t only about how much you pour into your marketing efforts—it’s about what’s being poured in.
For more tips on how to keep customers engaged, access 4 Growth Hacks for More Engaged Customers, with insights from CEO of Growth Hackers, Sean Ellis.
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