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Five ways to stay in touch with your customers – and have them look forward to it

Tuesday, 3 December 2013 | By Amanda Jesnoewski

When it comes to increasing your sales and overall profitability, one of the best places to start is to increase your level of customer interaction.

 

The more contact you have with your customers, the more likely it is that they will buy from you and refer you to others who need your products or services.

 

It shouldn’t be just any old customer interaction though. You need to be strategic, targeted, value-driven and compelling – without appearing to be desperate, spamming or annoying.

 

Not always the easiest feat, but to help you here are five proven ways to maintain regular customer contact and how to use them more effectively so your customers look forward to hearing from you.

 

1. Newsletters

 

While some will argue the trusty newsletter has had its day, I tend to disagree. If you are going to make it work in this day and age of endless emails though, you're going to have to shake things up a bit.

 

When producing your newsletter, e-zine or e-news always come at it from the perspective “What's in it for my customer? What information, tips and offers can I include that will make my customer want to give up 5, 10 or 15 minutes of their life to read this every month?”

 

Think industry insights or a market update, some key tips that could be helpful and implemented the day they receive your newsletter, a relevant article and a call to action by way of a special offer.

 

You want to keep it short and succinct, and where possible, in the reading pane of their email. If you do have any long articles or pieces of information you want to include, publish them as a blog post on your website so you can provide a short sentence or two with a link to "read more" in your newsletter to save space and increase your website traffic.

 

2. Special offers and competitions

 

A special offer for the month can be a great way to stay in touch with your customers and get them buying from you. Competitions also have the benefit of getting customers to engage with you by sharing your brand both online and offline.

 

To hold your customers' interests and ensure the best results, make sure your special offers are different each time and your competition prizes are desired items that are relevant to your business.

 

3. Emails using auto-responders

 

Not only are auto-responders an effective way of interacting with your customers, they can also save you a lot of time in the process.

 

You could have a set email sequence start from when a customer or potential customer first inquires, becomes a customer, signs up to your mailing list or downloads a resource from your website so there is a clear process leading them to a sale or repeat sale.

 

Or you could use it to give a quick weekly tip, update, thought, special offer, or all of the above to add more value to them.

 

For optimum impact, make it concise, poignant, relevant and educational. Also use a value-driven or fear-based headline in order to stand out in an overcrowded email inbox.

 

4.  Social Media

 

Social media is perhaps one of the best ways to stay in touch with your customers as it's the most accepted regular form of contact, and a more "social" form of contact, making rapport building quicker and easier when done right.

 

On social media, most people are anticipating regular updates from you - normally daily updates and possibly even multiple daily updates depending on your business. No other communication method has as much expected or allowed regular communication with a customer, making it an extremely valuable tool.

 

To use it effectively and maintain your customer's interest, you need to do more than post special offers and sales pitches. Look to inform, entertain and add value to your customers first, and then add some business promotion in.

 

5. Blogging

 

While it is a slightly more passive way of communicating with customers as they are coming to you, when you post relevant, interesting and educational content regularly, you can build a loyal readership that will keep coming back for more.

 

To make it a little less passive, give readers the opportunity to subscribe to your blog by email or RSS feed. This way they can have updates sent to them immediately instead of potentially missing something when they are left to come back on their own.

 

To monetise your blog and convert your readers to customers, add a call to action or special offer that relates to what you wrote about in the post as a P.S. at the end of your blog post.

 

How do you stay in regular contact with your customers? What works best for you?