6 Key Platforms for Communicating with Your Customers
6 Key Platforms for Communicating with Your Customers
As a business in this competitive digital age, you need to be able to communicate clearly with your target customers. If you don’t, your competitors will.
Here are six platforms you must master in order to entice, engage and please your customers.
The purpose of having a website is to attract and engage your target audience(s) online.
Some of your website’s visitors will have had previous interactions with your company, but many visitors will be brand-new prospective customers who have never heard of you before. You need to make sure that your written copy appeals to all types of visitors, and that it conveys your brand’s messages clearly. Internet users can be impatient and unforgiving, so making solid first impressions is crucial to winning them over.
As well as providing a positive portrait of your business, your content should genuinely help and inform readers. That’s what will win you their trust. Show them that you identify and empathise with their predicaments, and then tell them how your product or service can help.
In this increasingly digital age, having a strong online presence is vital to business success. In some sectors, the appearance and the feel of your website may be more important than that of your physical premises.
Email is an invaluable communication channel for any business. You need it for two reasons:
- To provide customer service
Although many customers still prefer to pick up the phone when they want to ask a question or submit a complaint, some prefer to send an email – either because they’re more comfortable communicating this way, or because it’s more convenient for them. (We talk more about this further down.)
- To send out marketing material to prospective customers
A sophisticated email marketing campaign can provide huge ROI for your business, because it allows you to target customers who are already actively interested in your products or services. If they’ve signed up to your mailing list, you’ve obviously impressed them in some way already.
But you can’t just send each email to your entire database, because you’ll annoy many of your contacts with irrelevant and ineffective messages. This could lead them to unsubscribe from your mailing list, and maybe even turn against your brand.
So you need to be strategic.
By establishing your company’s ‘buyer personas’ and creating segmented lists for your different personas, you will be clear on which emails you need to write for which types of customer. You must also bear in mind that not all prospective customers are ready to buy from you yet – many will have only just started shopping around, so you will need to win their trust before you try to sell to them.
NOTE: You should only send marketing emails to customers who have subscribed – do not buy lists of contacts, even if those contacts are relevant to what you do, because whatever you send will technically be spam (even if it’s great stuff).
Social Media Channels
There are two ways you can communicate with your customers via social media:
- By sharing links to your content, or links to other people’s content that is relevant to your target demographic
- By providing customer service – answering queries, handling complaints, etc.
Some companies (usually the big ones) choose to have separate social accounts on the same platform – one Twitter account for marketing, and another Twitter account for customer service. But if you’re a small business, you’ll probably be okay with just the one account.
Whichever social platforms you choose, and however many accounts you create for your business, you must be willing to commit time and effort to each one. Having a social media account and having a social media presence are not the same thing.
When it comes to marketing your content, you should also look to join in with relevant discussions – has something happened in the news that affects your business or your target audience? And do you have an opinion on it, or some insight to share? Get involved. On the customer-service side of things, if someone asks a question, you need to answer it. Likewise, if someone expresses their disappointment, you need to reply appropriately.
Although it can be expensive, online advertising can be very effective. The key is targeting the right people with the right messages – your ads need to grab attention and push buttons.
There are countless types of online ads. Here are some of the most popular:
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
You’ll have to work out which types of online advertising work best for your business. With some experimentation and a little patience, you’ll establish what’s effective (and cost-effective) and what isn’t.
For example, you might want to launch some Twitter ads to see how much engagement they receive in comparison to your PPC ads. On the other hand, PPC might turn out to be your best bet – if your product is particularly niche and you bid on longer-tail keywords, your PPC costs should remain fairly low because there will be less competition.
Although this is the digital age, you shouldn’t dismiss the idea of print advertising until you’ve researched your target audiences and created your customer personas. It could be that print is one of your most effective advertising channels.
We have to remember (and respect) that not everyone is fully converted to digital media yet. Some people still prefer the more tactile experience of handling and reading a real newspaper or magazine, and many older people use the internet rarely.
If you’re a small business targeting local customers who are over 60, for instance, running ads in local papers could be worthwhile (as opposed to putting all of your marketing spend into online ads).
Embracing technology and exploring new channels is part and parcel of the modern business world. That’s how you’ll keep up with your competitors, and how you’ll find new ways to reach new audiences.
But the digital world isn’t the only place where you need to communicate superbly with your customers. You can have the slickest and most welcoming website in the world, but if you can’t provide the same high-quality customer experience face-to-face or over the phone, you’ll quickly lose that trust you’ve worked so hard to gain.
Customers still like to have conversations with real people when they’re interacting with businesses – it’s reassuring for them. Your business needs that human element.
Secure Your High-Quality Customer Service with alldayPA
You know that providing excellent customer service over the phone is important, but it can be difficult when you’re busy trying to run and develop your business. This is where we can help you. We offer expert telephone-answering and call-handling services, providing a convenient outsourced solution to the challenge of managing enquiries into your business. We will work closely with you from the outset, immersing ourselves in your business and learning about your customers, so that we can fit seamlessly into your team.
Call us on 0345 056 8888 to find out more about how we can help you.
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