In the current digital marketing environment, customer relationship management is king. But, just like successful personal relationships, customer relationships work when people are made to feel like they matter.
The good news is that technology provides the right tools to assist small and medium businesses, across all sectors and industries, with a cost-effective way to nurture, engage and persuade their customers to become their greatest advocates.
Here are some ideas and tips that you can try:
Nurture – Invest in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
Storing, managing and analysing information about your current and prospective customers is key to personalising your messaging and taking advantage of sales opportunities when they arise.
Nurturing your relationship with current and prospective customers makes good business sense. Here is an up-to-date summary of the latest digital CRM software that you might like to test. Most platforms offer a free trial, and some are available on a month-to-month basis.
Engage – Regular targeted communication
Regular email marketing updates will remind customers about you, your business and what you have to offer.
It has been reported by Campaign Monitor that personalised subject lines in email marketing messages are 26% more likely to be opened. This is where the up-to-date customer information in your CRM comes into play.
You can target customers, addressing them by name and product or service offering, in turn this indicates that they aren’t just a number, but an integral part of your business.
Persuade – Online reviews and recommendations
It is now commonplace that customers will do their own online research before making a purchase or engaging your services. Testimonials and recommendations from happy customers are one of the most persuasive ways to generate trust.
As the dominant search engine, having a standout Google My Business presence is a must for local search rankings, search engine optimisation, customer engagement and reviews. Encourage your customers to leave reviews by sending them a link to place recommendations on your Google My Business page. Simply follow Google’s instructions on how to do this here.
Late last year Facebook changed the star rating method for customer rankings and replaced it with Yes/No Recommendations. You can read more here about setting up ‘Recommendations’ on your business Facebook page, as well as instructions on how to send a recommendation link to customers.
While you can’t please everyone and negative reviews may occur, it is best to deal with these directly and in an open manner by answering and addressing the issue. If you believe you have been the subject of fake or malicious reviews, you have the right to request that the platforms remove them under Australian consumer and competition law.
Global firm Nielsen regularly conducts research into consumer trends. Their research findings consistently show that customers trust online consumer reviews as a source of brand information and messaging.
By developing the right methods and systems in your business, your customers can help build you that trust through their recommendations and testimonials about your services and products. It’s a win, win!
By Joanne Ryan
Joanne Ryan is Managing Director of Infodec Communications, an experienced and long-established communications, strategy and marketing company located in Miranda.