Today businesses are constantly trying out different avenues to connect with their customers. Why? Because many marketers understand that today’s consumers aren’t the same as the consumers of the past. Today’s consumers tend to want more personal buying experiences or ones that are customized to their buying habits and personal preferences. The days of the high-pressure selling and word-for-word script-reciting are pretty much over. Consumers want to be around like-mind people and engage in communities aligned with their interests.
You’ll notice that many big brands shifting towards creating these types of online and offline communities. And its because they understand the value of establishing a place where their audiences can connect. But what about the little guys who have small business budgets? This post is for you. Here are some ways that you can enhance your customer experience as a small business.
Understanding how and why your customers buy from you can provide you with the insight needed to deeply enhance their buying experience. Gathering valuable customer data can save your business thousands of marketing dollars, as targeted campaigns will always outperform a splatter approach (one where you just throw things out to see what sticks). Once you have this data and you’re equipped with an insight on what your customers are looking for, it’s just a matter of fulfilling the need.
For example, are your customers more interested in purchasing your products via an Instagram feed than on Facebook? If so, beefing up your Instagram profile seems the way to go. Know your customers’ demographics, buying habits, and community hangouts, as this can provide you with the data needed to personalize their engagement and increase your sales.
As a small business owner, working to keep up with your day-to-day operational costs can easily overshadow any interests in creating a more personalized customer experience. With a high volume of sales or a continual flow of leads, it makes sense to want to use most (or all) of your resources for lead acquisition, especially if you’re a new business. But is that enough to sustain your business long term? Is it enough to help you scale your business?
Here are a few important questions to ask.
- Are most of your customer’s one-time purchasers?
- Do you receive a lot of referred business?
- How successful is your company with cross and up-selling?
In order to set your business up for future success consider ways to establish a sense of brand loyalty with your customers. Not only can become your biggest future advocates, but they can lay the foundation that allows you to support future growth efforts. Do this by personalizing their experience in an automated way, as to not overextend your current resources. This can be in the form of loyalty programs, free “expert” resources, branded gifts, monthly prizes and incentives, and other forms of recognition.
Consider creating a relationship with another brand whose product lines compliment your own. For example, if you’re a phone service provider reach out to phone accessory companies to discuss the potential for co-branded campaigns. Or if you make scented candles try tapping brands that carry other home-related products such as wall accessories or even personal products, or any brand that would mesh well with your brand’s image. Not only can allies help increase your brand’s exposure, but they can help you offer your customers a personalized experience that fulfills more than one need.
Personalizing your customers’ experience not only allows you to create deeper connections with your customers, but it helps to foster consumer relationships that can increase your brand’s awareness and likeability. When people like you, they’re more likely to buy from you.