Your business is always looking to find and attract new customers who will recognize the quality of your offerings and become dedicated supporters. Growing your customer base is an important step toward being able to expand your business’s offerings and better serve your customers. To find these new customers, you’ll have to reach out to them where they are, which is oftentimes online.
Whether they’re current customers or are thinking of supporting your business for the first time, customers expect your business to address their individual needs and concerns and to be readily accessible on a variety of platforms. We’re taking a look at some of the ways you can attract and interact with current and potential customers, showing how you can:
- Use customer preferences to shape engaging communications.
- Ensure that your website is easy to use.
- Make your business accessible on multiple platforms.
- Refresh your social media presence.
- Offer incentives to new and dedicated customers.
- Automate communications to reach more customers.
Getting customers’ attention begins with reaching out to them in ways that address their personal interests and needs. To find out what your customers are likely to be looking for, develop an outreach strategy that’s informed by your current customers’ buying habits and preferences.
1. Use customer preferences to shape engaging communications.
When your customers receive communications from your business, whether via email, on your website, or through another channel, they want your outreach to address their personal reasons for supporting your business as closely as possible. You’ll attract and retain more customers when you demonstrate your commitment to meeting their individual interests.
To gather the information you need to create communications that will engage different groups of your customers and motivate them to support you in the future, your first important resource is your CRM. Using the customer data you’ve gathered, you’ll be able to see:
- What they’re buying. Send different groups of customers updates on the products and services that matter most to them.
- How they’re reaching you. What communication methods are getting new and returning customers to your online store? If email, social media, or another method has proven particularly effective, you’ll want to focus your energies there.
- Who they are. Demographic information such as age and location can help you shape communications that will encourage current customers to return and engage new customers who share these attributes with your current supporters.
The information stored in your CRM is immensely valuable to your communication and outreach strategies, whether you’re addressing your most familiar customers or reaching out to new supporters who may share some of their interests and motivations.
Understanding one’s base of customers, members, or other supporters is central to the successful operation of any business, association, or organization. Want more guidance in this area as you create your next outreach? Your business can adapt the features of the best association management databases to suit your own unique needs.
Once you’ve reached out to your customers successfully, they’ll either want to support your business or learn more. Whichever of these options they choose, it’s important that you provide them with a website that’s easy to navigate and use.
2. Ensure that your website is easy to use.
No matter what reasons your customers have for visiting your business online, they’re expecting a website that can direct them to what they’re looking for quickly and easily. If you haven’t given your website a makeover recently, there’s no time like the present to ensure your site is up-to-date and engaging to visitors.
Your website is one of the most important locations your business has to win the trust of customers and potential customers, and it’s also one of the most accessible means through which you can connect with them. As you review your website, keep the following in mind:
- Your business’s branding should be prevalent throughout. Your familiar color scheme, logo, and other branding elements help customers ensure that they’re in the right place. This is especially important when they’re making their purchases online.
- The payment process should be stress-free. If your current payment method requires customers to input extensive amounts of information each time they make a purchase, it’s probably time to look for new ways to accept online payments. Snowball Fundraising’s list of the best PayPal alternatives offers several choices that are quick to use and highly secure.
- Provide multiple ways to connect. Ensure that you provide links and widgets to your social media pages and a place for customers to sign up for your email list.
With an easy-to-use website that encourages customers to stay connected to your business after they make their purchases, you’ll be able to motivate new customers to return. To provide them with multiple options for interacting with your business, ensure that you’re accessible on multiple platforms.
3. Make your business accessible on multiple platforms.
Did you know that 60 percent of online shoppers use mobile exclusively to make purchase decisions? As we spend increasing amounts of time on our smartphones, it’s more important than ever that your business’s website is readily accessible on mobile devices.
Want to encourage new and returning customers to shop from their smartphones or otherwise interact with your business on this convenient platform? There are a few crucial steps you should take to attract mobile shoppers and visitors, including:
- Making your website mobile-responsive. Customers won’t visit your business’s website or shop in your online store on their mobile devices if those sites and pages don’t display and function well on mobile. Ensure that the processes of viewing the pages and making purchases are just as easy on smartphones as they are on computer screens.
- Incorporating text communications. Short texts can be an effective way to keep customers updated on news such as new offerings or upcoming sales. Give customers the option of receiving text communications from your business.
- Increasing your social media presence. One of the most common ways in which most of us use our phones is checking social media. Stay connected with your customers by encouraging them to like or follow you on popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
When your business is accessible via mobile, your customers are likely to see your posts, emails, and texts more often, keeping you in their focus. They’ll also be able to make purchases from your online store more conveniently. Fonteva’s guide to association management systems offers additional insight into the ways in which a strong mobile strategy can connect wide networks of customers, members, and other groups.
One central component of this strong mobile strategy is an effective social media presence. Whether your business has long interacted with customers on these popular platforms or you’re relatively new to social media, a revamped presence can be a great way to reach new customers.
If your business has shied away from social media in the past, now is the time to get involved. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms like them are more popular than ever. While you probably already know that social media can help you reach millennial audiences, you’ll actually connect with customers of all age groups on social media.
A creative and multifaceted social media strategy is a great way to draw customers to your business.
Not sure what platforms you should be using? The answer is to have as many accounts as your team can manage effectively. You’ll only benefit from having a profile on every platform you can find if you’re able to dedicate the time and resources to learning about each platform’s strengths and creating the right content for all of them.
A better approach is to create accounts on the platforms that best align with your business’s goals and reach your intended customers where they are. Looking for the largest audiences? Facebook is probably the way to go. Want to reach younger crowds with a visual appeal? Expand into Instagram.
Whichever platforms you choose, social media is an excellent location to share updates on your business’s offerings, develop and strengthen your brand’s image, and tell your story to current and potential customers. It’s also a great place to incentivize supporting your business with fun rewards.
5. Offer incentives to new and dedicated customers.
Whether you’re trying to engage your newest customers or thank your most dedicated veteran supporters, you can motivate them to stay connected to your business by offering them incentives when they make purchases or interact with you. For both new and loyal customers, incentives help demonstrate that your business values their support.
Looking for ways to incentivize engagement with your business? Your online presence provides lots of opportunities to motivate customers to support you and receive fun rewards in return. You may want to consider:
- Offering an incentive for joining your email list. Give new customers a coupon, discount, free item, or similar reward when they join your email list. This will motivate more of them to stay connected to your business.
- Holding a social media contest. Interact with your customers and reward them for their support with a social media contest that asks them to contribute their funniest photos, for instance, or their wittiest captions. You can reward your winner with a coupon or discount or with branded merchandise your design.
- Rewarding loyal customers. Your most committed supporters are essential to your business, so show your appreciation with special incentives and offers for your most frequent customers.
When your customers feel valued, they’ll feel encouraged to support you again and to recommend your business to others. As your customer base grows, you’ll need an efficient way to communicate with more supporters while retaining the level of personalization necessary to make those communications effective.
6. Automate communications to reach more customers.
While social media is a valuable channel through which your business should reach out to current and potential customers, don’t forget to focus on your email efforts as well! Automated emails can help you reach out to wide networks of customers.
Automating your email process doesn’t mean you have to send the exact same communication to each of your customers. Before you create any messages, use the information you have stored in your CRM to segment your customers into categories according to, for instance:
- How long they have supported your business.
- How frequently they support your business.
- What they tend to purchase.
Once you’ve segmented your customers, you can create different emails for each group, save these email templates, and automate the sending process. To learn more about how your business can incorporate automation, check out some of the software features discussed in this guide.
From an engaging email newsletter to a strong social media strategy to a website that customers can access easily on their phones and computers, there are plenty of ways that your business can reach new audiences. With plenty of data and a working knowledge of the online tools available, you’ll be able to attract and retain the customers you’re looking for.
If your business is looking to acquire more customers, work to develop effective online outreach strategies that address their interests and needs. When customers know that your business is listening and responding to their preferences, they’ll be happy to interact with and support you.