No wonder every business owner by now would have realized the importance of having an online presence, for the vast majority of potential consumers does use Google to find local businesses. Even if yours is a dairy farming business, you would have created at least a single page website with a description about your services and your contact information. An online presence is highly important to outbound marketing where the customers find you, mostly through various paid and natural search engine marketing efforts. It is also important for inbound marketing for promotion of a company or other organization through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, newsletters, whitepapers, SEO, physical products, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to attract customers through the different stages of the purchase funnel. Online presence is not just having a website. There are many other online means through which you can reach out to your customers in a better and a more enhanced manner. Let us have a look at some real time examples, where a brand has successfully improved their relationship with customers by enhancing their already existing online presence, and how were they able to do it.
Encourage Customers To Associate With Your Brand
This would prove wonderful, especially for business owners, who own a single page website, as they wouldn’t be in a position to invest huge amount on building a funky website, spending thousands of dollars. Having a social media page encourages your customers to directly interact with your brand, is a ‘low cost high returns’ way of improving your relationship with your customers, as well as inviting your potential customers to start liking your product and services.
In 2012, while I was in the UK, I have had a personal experience where I found myself engaging with a brand when Cravendale, a milk brand in the UK, launched a loyalty scheme for their customers, during the release of Disney’s The Muppets on 10th February 2012. Cravendale promoted that they are happy to give away a Kermit backpack, in return for the collection of 20 codes from special 2 Litre bottles of Cravendale. The customers, once they get their Kermit backpacks, are invited to post the photos of their children holding the Kermit backpack. Customers were excited to collect the codes, get the Kermit backpack for their children and post photos of their children with the bag on Cravendale’s social media page. Seeing this excitement of other customers, being a not so regular customer of Cravendale, I turned around to become their permanent customer, after I found worth associating with the brand, for something special in return, and eventually got close to the brand.
Real Time Video Chat for Customer Support
Imagine yourself facing an issue with a product. You want to contact the customer care of the company to get this resolved at the earliest. You call up and all the customer executives are busy. You wait on the phone for long listening to repeating music. Wouldn’t you find this irritating, especially when you get charged for every minute of the call? How about giving your customers a facility to connect with one of your customer executives in a few seconds, through a video chat? They would love it, don’t they?
Real time video chat is one of the recent trends in improving customer relationship. It establishes better communication with the online users. Recently, Amazon introduced their ‘May Day Button’ on their kindle fire. Through this new feature, the online customers can establish a video connection with Amazon’s customer support representative. This was the very first of its kind, and Amazon was the first ever company to introduce this innovative way of providing customer support. Today, Amazon is very proud of their live video chat with customer support executives that can happen under 10 seconds of customer request.
E-mail marketing helps improve customer relationships on a shoestring budget. For just a few pennies per customer, you can send out email newsletters as an expert, who can give away some free insight, tips and advice, or as a friend who has something interesting to share. It is an easy way to communicate with your customers for telling them why they should buy from you. E-mail marketing is an easy way to remain in your customer’s memory, build trust with them in terms of your expertise, and retain them.
One best example where subscription can be encouraged, even though when the current subscription is running is what Reading Eggs usually does. Reading Eggs is a subscription based website that offers reading program for children from the age of 3, in the form of lessons, quizzes, games, and more. I found this website very interesting for my 3 year old. With subscription for a period of 6 months, I found my child showing keen interest to sit on the reading eggs. He not only loved it, but also started learning reading. I regular received email newsletters from them and the one that drove me to subscribe for another 12 months, even when the current subscription was running was this message from them in one of their emails.
18 months of Reading Eggs for the price of 12! Hurry offer ends 2nd December
Your current and repeat customers need special attention. Try and find out the loyalty drivers for your customers. Email marketing can be utilized in the best way for retaining existing customers, encourage repeat purchases and continued subscriptions, through offers, reminders and indirectly by creating a brand preference.
Further, you can remind your customers about the vouchers that have not been redeemed yet, coupons that have to be gotten redeemed within a span of time, and points they have collected so far, and that they are yet to get redeemed. Reminding the customers, especially when they are about to expire can help them save some money on their purchase and this strategy can indirectly help you in boosting sales, as it drives a sense of urgency to purchase.
Make customers feel good on their special days
Target marketing is one aspect that helps drive sales, on a special occasion, on a day when your customers will be in most need of your services. This works very well, especially for gifting websites and restaurants. On special days like Valentine’s Day, customers would surely want to gift their loved ones and also want to take them to a restaurant. Sending an email to them, about special gifts that are usually not available on their website on other days, or a discount offer for a dinner, works very effectively on those days.
On this note that email marketing is an effective tool for improving customer relationship, ‘’Proflowers’’, an online flower retailer in the United States, uses email in a very effective way to retain customers and provoke repeat purchase. They do this by sending special promotions to customers on specific dates that they know are important for their customers, like Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day, Anniversaries, and Birthdays. The awesome most things about these targeted emails is, they help boost sales, and also make customers feel relevant about them, and offer a great incentive for a repeat purchase.
Use Blogs To Educate Customers And Engage Them
The main benefit of blogging when it comes to customer relationships is that you are allowing yourself to become an authority in your area of expertise. The fact is that in the world of today, where the customers are smarter, you cannot become an authority simply by declaring yourself as one. Customers are good investigators and they want to see you prove it. By producing informative and quality content, on various topics related to your area of expertise, and posting such content regularly on your blog, can prove that you are a true and a reliable company, and you are offering services that are based on your thorough expertise. This will certainly take time to accomplish, but you will find it worthwhile, over a period of time, when your customers start associating you with an informative content on a particular subject, instead with a brand that might give an impression to your customers that you are only focusing on promotions.
Helpscout, Unbounce and Kissmetrics have been successfully using blogs. All three have highly engaging blogs with informative content that help educate their customers on the significance of their area of expertise. Taking Unbounce as an example, they offer a Landing Page Builder solution, which helps marketing managers build and A/B test landing pages without the need to consult with the development team. There blog focuses on conversion rate optimization (CRO) and how to improve landing pages, drive more customers, run A/B tests and generate new leads.
Social Media As An Effective Tool For Improving Customer Relationship
Having a page on Social media can help you in offering a better and an enhanced service to your loyal customers. You can use social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to answer customer questions and solve their problems. You can use social media to keep customers informed of the launch of new products. This works very well, especially when your customers are finding an issue in your current product, and would definitely love the new and improved version of it.
Baby food brands in the UK, ‘Cow and Gate’ and ‘Hipp Organic’, own a social media page and lets its customers to raise queries on their baby food products. Through their social media page, they provide tips and advice for their customers, including the quantity that needs to be given per serving, tips and advice when the child doesn’t like the taste of one of their baby food product, and so on.
Here, I would want to tell you about one of my personal experience, when my child did not like the taste of cow and gate rice cereal. I raised a complaint on their social media page. I got a response that I could try mixing some of mashed banana with it for an enhanced taste. I tried and my child loved it. This gave me a feel that the brand not only focuses on promotions, even if their primary reason could be that, but also offers tips and advice to new and inexperienced mothers.
Conclusion: Whether you have a single page website with a simple layout or a trendy website with 20-30 pages, tweaking your online presence a bit, by using different online marketing tools like Video chatting, Social media, E-mail marketing, Blog writing, for your customers to directly interact with your brand, gain sufficient insights about your products and services, and why would buying them from you would become important for them, does not only improve relationships with your existing customers, but can also bring new customers for your business. Apart from customer relationships, these online tools also are capable of ranking your website top of the Google search page. Google crawling is highly important at the first place because, that’s the main driver for the potential customers to approach you.
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