What do your customers want from you? Your initial answer will probably be something like, ” A product/service that does what it’s supposed to do and great customer service to go with.” (or some variation of that) Now, what do your customers want from you online?
STOP! The same answer does not apply. Your customers aren’t connecting with you online for the same reason they buy your product, so get that thought out of your head. Your customers are connecting with you for their own benefit, not for yours. They are looking for value, and that comes in several different forms. Here are three things your customers are looking for that they aren’t getting.
1. A Relationship: Your primary job online isn’t to sell your product, it’s to develop a relationship. Once you get that part down the sales will follow. When your customers connect with you, whether it’s via e-mail or social media, they are opening up a channel of communication. We all know that communication is supposed to go both ways to make sure that you are listening, speaking and interacting, just like you would in a face to face conversation. If you miss any of these elements your customers will feel like they are putting their efforts into a bad relationship, and we all know how that usually ends. Break up! Which translates in business to “Lost Customer”.
2. Information, Entertainment or Conversation: Generally speaking, when someone is browsing through their social media sites they are looking for one or all of these three things. Your biggest goal is to become a reliable source for your customers. When they need something, even when it has nothing to do with your product or service, you want them to come to you. The first thing to do is to decide whether you’re going to have a niche or be a jack of all trades (Whether you will focus on one or provide all three). The next step is making sure that you are providing QUALITY content on a CONSISTENT basis. The final step is letting your customers know where and when they can get it, don’t ever expect them to find it on their own, at least initially. This is like the classic line from the movie Field of Dreams with one slight modification, “If you build it, and tell them about it, they will come.”
3. A Deal or An Opportunity – Going back to the initial idea of the give-and-take relationship. If your customers are giving you access to them and their connections they are going to expect a little something in return. There are two big ways to do this on social media.
Give your customers a discount - You have the ability to offer a discount to your customers right? Why not offer an exclusive discount to your customers who connect with you online? It’s not any different than running a coupon or deal on any form of ad. The people who see it might take advantage of it, and they might buy a little something else while they’re at it.
Give them a chance to win something they want or need - The fact is that you have to put some money into marketing. The good news is that social media is essentially free to use. Approach social media contests like you would running an ad. Instead of buying the space, you are buying the prize to give away. Your customers will give you their time and even tell the world about you for a chance to win something they want or need. You can run contests weekly, monthly, quarterly or even yearly depending on how much your willing to give away. On a weekly basis you might give away a $10 gift card to the local coffee shop, while once a year you might give away a flat screen. Those are just examples, but you get the point. The contest encourages your customers and their friends to interact with you on a regular basis and then to tell their friends about you. That’s what you get for running an ad right?