One of the first battles a business faces, building customer awareness is essential for success. Businesses must be known by customers. Of course, knowledge alone does not lead to profit. Customers must be
The key to successfully converting consumers into engaged customers is being approachable and personable. As a business, this is accomplished through seven important tactics:
#1. Be Present on Social Media
In the new age of the empowered consumers, businesses are expected to shoulder more of the connection burden. Successful businesses, for example, are present where consumers are already spending time. Social media, used by 78% of United States residents in 2016, is a smart place to meet consumers where they already are. At the same time, social media naturally provides means for interaction, making it easy for businesses to engage customers interpersonally.
#2. Host Online Activities
Through social media and modern technology’s connectivity, consumers are regularly offered opportunities to connect, engage, and interact with businesses and institutions as well individual people. Don’t expect consumers to seek opportunities to engage with your business. Instead, create and make convenient opportunities to encourage customers to engage with your company.
For example, host online activities that are naturally engaging. Post polls for consumers to participate in. Host contests with real prizes. Create online clubs and membership to offer engaged consumers discounts and sneak previews. Livestream news about new products being launched.
Since empowered consumers have so much access to information and options, it makes businesses like yours stand out when you offer unique, relevant guides. For instance, posting “best and worst of” lists and other buying guides that are useful to your consumers will make your business memorable and personable.
Other relevant content to share may include new stories related to your industry or even stories about something great your business is doing. Restaurants offering food to people in need, for example, can benefit from sharing content about this practice. Everything from humorous memes to practical how-to videos qualifies as relevant content to viewers who look to businesses for connection, entertainment, and opportunities (not just advertisements.)
#4. Earn Helpful Reviews
Many consumers rely heavily on reviews when selecting items for purchase and businesses to make purchases from. Reviews include everything from a numerical rating to a commentary on the pros and cons of a product or a business. If you want customers to actively engage with your business, you need to have helpful reviews that make it clear your business is worth the time.
Making reviewing easy by offering customers links to review sites when they make purchases. If your business is based in a physical location, loan an iPad to happy customers and ask them to type a review on the spot. Offer incentives like discounts for those who leave reviews. Host an event where you provide free samples in exchange for reviews. Whatever you do- establish yourself with reviews that are helpful, honest, and legitimate.
#5. Respond to Feedback Publicly
Besides being helpful for establishing your business’ credibility, reviews create an opportunity for you to engage customers publicly. Respond to reviews –positive or negative- whenever possible. This demonstrates that your business values its customers and personal interactions.
If customers post anything about your business on social media, reply and share. When a customer posts a review relating a bad experience, publicly apologize and show how your business is making an effort to correct any issues. Thank customers for positive reviews.
By responding publicly to feedback in ways like these, your business engages with customers. Your current customers may reply again, share what you share, and otherwise interact. Potential customers, on the other hand, will be encouraged to engage in reviewing and associating with your business as well.
#6. Offer Branded Freebies
People love freebies. Thankfully, they don’t all have to be expensive and many types of freebies can double as advertisements or ways to get business. For example, creating geotagged filters for social media is an affordable process. Customers have to come to your actual business to get the filter. The free filter, when customers use it, then advertises your business while making current customers happy.
Other branded freebies might include creative coupons, small items, free samples of products, and other social media favorites. Branded freebies usually take some creativity, but the fun pays off as customers get engaged with your business to participate and get their freebies.
#7. Participate in Trends
Your business isn’t the only one looking for ways to convert consumers into engaged customers. Trends accomplishing this task may come and go, but they can be effective in the long run. Many businesses find it is worthwhile to participate in trends in order to engage with customers.
For instance, Pokemon Go was utilized by many businesses while it was possible. Businesses offered freebies to players of the game or advertised the Pokemon Go characters present at their physical location. Some hosted simple contests or events related to the trend. In the process, new customers engaged with their business. Many of those customers, if satisfied with their experience, continued to return even after the Pokemon Go trend died down.
Be on the lookout for big and little trends. Show support for community issues and causes that your customers are likely to care about. The more you engage with others as a company, the more approachable your business appears.
Making the Conversion Last
If the first step in succeeding as a business is building brand awareness and the second step is converting aware consumers into engaged customers, then the third step is retaining customers. Referred to as gaining loyalty or a following, this third step of making conversions last is essential. As you seek to engage customers using the tactics described, be sure the actual customer experience of service and purchasing is actually satisfying.
Image: Hand drawing Customer Acquisition concept on white notebook