In order to find new potential customers it is important to know where these people are. Fortunately (or unfortunately if your business is not up to speed with modern online marketing trends) the overwhelming majority of people can be found on social media platforms; an observation that is statistically supported.
There are many users who participate in social media across several platforms, not just Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and Google Plus also have millions of users who are just as engaged and active.
Due to this, it is safe to say that social media is currently the optimum forum for mass interaction. However, a presence on social media is not enough.
Businesses and marketers need to know where to find their customers. And this is merely the first step in the social commerce journey! Many marketers who decide to use social media as a means of finding leads, may be confused how to do this when it comes to the actual implementation. But don’t worry, collected beneath are five tips to help marketers and businesses generate leads through social media platforms.
1Have a social media presence for your business
Unfortunately, some businesses are under the misguided idea that if they simply set up a Facebook Page and Twitter account then the fans will quickly follow suit.
This conclusion is erroneous. Simply put no social media users are going to follow a business who makes no effort to engage and interact with their following.
First you should ensure that your business has an account on all the major social media platforms relevant to your target customer. Once this important pre-step has been taken, the hard work begins.
To establish a presence and begin utilising social media networks as a tool to further your business it is important to post content regularly and continually interact with other users.
2Be human, not a robot
One of the key aspects of social media is the social element. People do not sign up to social media platforms so they can be directly advertised to in their leisure time. They join up so they can connect to other interesting human beings across the world around a range of topics of significance to them.
If you want to be accepted by these users you will have to appeal to them as a human. This may produce more difficulties than was initially anticipated.
A good place to start is to make a personal pledge that you will not transform your social media networks into an alternative mailing list.
Instead you should look for ways in which you can begin engaging your followers in conversation. Also, do not be afraid of letting your personal voice come out via your posts and content. In addition, when you receive any comments or feedback, ensure that you respond promptly.
3Provide your following with what they want
As a marketer or business owner you already know what you want from your followers, namely to convert them into actual customers. For the best results you should consider this scenario from the perspective of a potential lead.
Ask yourself, what these possible leads will want. Also consider the fact that if you are not offering anything to them, why would they bother to visiting your website, or become a fan or follower of you on social media? This is the essence of inbound marketing.
If you can work out how to provide perspective customers and leads with what they want, then you will not have to seek them out, instead they will find you.
You should provide your following with interesting and engaging content, which is also informative, but do not ask for anything in return.
A good way of doing this is by setting up a company blog which explores issues, problems and questions which commonly arise from your customer base.
Once this has been done, you should link it back through your various social media pages. When doing this remember to include a visual aspect to your activities.
It has been found that the human brain is far more effective at processing images than it is at processing text. It is well worth playing with infographics, memes, videos and photos to see what provides the best results.
4Link your social media to your CRM and sales
A Customer Relation Management system, or CRM, is becoming a key tool for businesses who wish to maintain good relationships with their customers.
This is done by keeping accurate information about the minute yet important information, details of appointments and other important customer information. The other part of this is ensuring that this information is then accessible.
When your business is using social media as part of its sales process to prospect for leads, ensure that your sales team is up to speed with the facts.
Accumulate information as you proceed and ensure that you have a CRM in place to analyse and share this information with members of your company who require it.
Working in unison with various departments and individuals within your business will ensure that you enjoy more success from the information you have accumulated. Meaning that you will not have to rely merely on the charm of your social media efforts to gain results.
If all other measure fail then do not be afraid to utilise a bit of persuasion. If you really want to gain public support for your brand on social media platforms, then the quickest way to do so is with some persuasion techniques.
This can take the form of a “contest”. Offer social media users the opportunity to enter a prize draw, however in order to enter they must either like or share your content.
If you offer something that people want you will see a large amount of people engaging with you in order to take part.
What Is Customer Intimacy And How Do You Use It?
If you think that maintaining a close relationship with customers is not as important as selling your products, you are wrong.
Knowing your customers well is a major part of being a successful marketing company. When companies do not connect with their customers, this is when they lose loyalty, revenue and positive customer sentiments. And in today’s world of hyper-connectivity and improved brand interactions, not being connected to your consumers can damage your brand in the long run.
If you think that maintaining a close relationship with customers is not as important as selling your products, you are wrong.Customer intimacy should be a top priority for any company who wants to maintain their success.
But, what exactly is customer intimacy?
Simply put, it is a business strategy that is based on paying close attention to the needs of your customers and ensuring that these needs are met and prioritised at all points of their journey with your company. It often involves close contact with customers using a variety of different channels and techniques. You need them to know that you care about their needs and understand what they are asking for.
You could think of it as segmenting your audience and creating specific offerings to precisely match their needs. If you want to excel at using customer intimacy, you will need to combine your in-depth knowledge of your customer with the ability to be flexible in your operations. This way, you can respond to any customer needs as quickly as possible, maintaining the high standards they have come to expect from your brand.
How do I use it?
Now that you understand what customer intimacy is, you are ready to delve deeper and figure out how to use it. There are some simple tips that you can use to implement customer intimacy in your current marketing strategy. Outlined below are just some of these effective methods.
Always prioritise your customers
This is the first step to any successful customer intimacy strategy. Prioritising your customers means that you need to set up operational processes which are “customer first” in their thinking. You will need to start by listening to customers and analysing their concerns. Only once you understand these concerns, will you be able to provide solutions.
It is important to look into processes that prioritise these concerns rather than react negatively to them. An example of this is avoiding looking at how many calls your client service team takes in a day but rather looking at the goals that they achieve when answering customer queries. Have they answered the customer’s question? Is there a resolution in sight for the problem? These are a more important metric to look at than how many calls are answered in a day.
Try to resolve problems
In order to become more customer-intimate, you should strive to solve the problems that arise rather than discourage people from coming to you with issues. And your brand should make customers feel as though they can share their grievances, either by contacting you directly or by writing a review on your social media page.
Statistics show that customers share a bad experience twice as often than they do a positive one, which could be highly detrimental to your company. So, when your customers do take the time to contact your business with either a positive or negative review, you have to have steps in place to resolve these problems. Use these complaints to improve your processes and your customer service section, so that the next time someone contacts you, it will be with compliments and not complaints.
Set goals that your entire company must follow
One of the most effective ways to become a customer-centric company is to set common goals that all of your employees must follow. For example, one goal could be to answer customer questions within 24 hours with a solution that is realistic and achievable. Or you could aim to improve your project turn-around time by gathering information from clients at every stage of their journey.
Whatever goals you set for your business, you will need to ensure that every employee adheres to them. Leaders need to set an example for their staff so that the customers, ultimately, reap the benefits. But be sure that your goals are attainable. You cannot expect your employees to reach the unreachable, as this will negatively impact the level of customer service you can provide consumers. Look at the data that is coming in from customer calls and interactions and use this to come up with goals that you can reach.
The customer is always right
We often use this saying in a joking or derivative way, but it is truer than you might think, especially for marketing companies. In today’s world, the consumer wants brands to focus on them. In fact, if a brand ignores even the smallest form of contact with a customer, there could be an issue. And this is why you need to become a customer-intimate brand.
You need to prioritise the needs of the customer at every touchpoint in their journey with your brand, solve any problems that might arise and ensure that everyone is on the same page in your company. Soon you will see that your customers are singing your praises to everyone they meet.
How To Use Sales Skills To Build Your Business
If you want to build your business up, read on below for how to use sales skills to do so.
Building your business from the ground up is no easy feat. You might feel overwhelmed by all the ways and methods that are available to you but there is one way that can help your efforts immensely, and that is by using sales skills. Sales skills might not seem like they are applicable to building a business, but what is a business without sale people?
You could look into a sales accelerator for business development course to improve your selling skills. Sales training courses can be useful, as they will teach you about sales techniques and sales strategy, which you can apply to other aspects of your business. So, if you want to build your business up, read on below for how to use sales skills to do so.
Listen to existing customers
An effective way to improve your business offerings is to listen to your existing customers. Listening is actually more complex than it seems, and it means that you have to do a lot less talking. This will help you to truly hear your customers and take stock of what they are saying.
Listening to existing customers is one of the best sales and marketing strategies you can use to improve your business. This is especially true if you have built a relationship and rapport with your current customer base, as this will encourage them to give you insights into any issues they might be facing. Whether you are a small business or a large company, listening to customers is always helpful.
Try to solve a problem
Solving a problem is a marketing plan that is effective and sure to work in building your business. And a great salesperson knows that solving the problem of a potential customer is a sure-fire way to improving the conversion rate of their business.
You will need to do some research into the problems that your target market faces and then focus on how your products or services can be used to solve these problems. This ties into the first step of listening, not only to your existing clients but to potential ones too. Listen to what people are saying and learn to read what is being said. This way, you will be able to ascertain the problems your customers are facing and you can come up with solutions to fix them.
Use word of mouth
Existing customers can be a huge help to your business, in that they can provide you with positive referrals to use to boost your client base. If a customer is happy with the services or products you have provided them with, you can ask them for the name and contact details of other business owners who might benefit from your help.
You can also ask for positive testimonials from customers that you can place on your business site and social media platforms. You should always ask permission before using testimonials, and be sure that they are factual, true and relevant to your brand. Referrals and testimonials are common sales tactics that can be applied to boosting a small business or improving the reputation of an established company. And while nobody enjoys receiving negative reviews, it is important that you use these reviews to learn from your mistakes and improve your customer experiences.
Sell your vision
Building your business might involve reaching out to investors to help with monetary issues, and this is where your sales skills will really need to shine. This is because you are not only selling your business, but you are selling your vision of your business as well.
You will need to give specific details as to how your offerings will help customers to solve problems and answer questions. And you will need to sell a successful vision to your investors of how you want your business to success. Show them that your employees will be happy with how well they are taken care of and that customers will live a better life by using your services or product.
Exceed customer expectations
When a salesperson goes over and above what the customer expects, it is likely that the customer will become a return customer. And this is what you want for your business, right? So you should look into ways in which you can meet and exceed customer expectations.
One of the benefits of always exceeding expectations is that you will no longer have to rely on the “hard sell” to encourage people to use your business. Word-of-mouth will travel about your excellent customer service, which will sell your business for you. If your brand is passionate about providing customers with the best possible service, you will be selling your business and improving it all at once.
Key Tips To Retain Customer And Improve Sales In Ecommerce Sites
If the ideas you are selling are fresh, innovative or even intuitive, you might gain customers, but retaining them actually determines the exact ROIs you can gain from your venture.
Ecommerce in simpler terms is the activity of buying and selling of goods and services over the web. With the increasing reach and accessibility of internet day by day, online mode of business transactions is gaining prominence. For any business, retaining customers is more advantageous than acquiring new ones.
The root of customer retention for any business digs deep. And here are few stats to show the depth of its importance:
- Almost around 41% of online revenues generated are from retained customers that too just by 8% of the retention rate.
- If an ecommerce site can increase their customer retention by mere 5% rate their sales can increase by 25% to even 125%.
- Unsatisfactory customer service takes a toll on a business. About 71% of unsatisfied customers end their relation with the vendor.
As the importance of customer retention is being cleared, the next question to pop up is the method of retaining customers. You have to keep note of the important aspects that lead to retaining customers effectively. Here are a few handpicked proven ways to retain your customers and thus improve the sales.
1. Gesture of appreciation
A simple gesture of appreciation or offer or discount can do wonders in enhancing sales. Unexpected surprises or gifts are something which is appreciated by everyone and can cement your relation with your customers.
For this you can add extra discounts, offer vouchers or can send the customer some gifts with a handwritten ‘thank you’ note couple of days after buying. This unexpected gesture of appreciation will divert customers’ attention towards your site.
2. Email marketing
Your customers already provide you with data about their choices and preferences. However continuous email campaign is a subtle but effective way of expanding your customer database. Expand the items that are being added in the emails.
Try to innovate the offers and discounts, add newer items to increase your customer’s preferences and keep tracking them. Track which sequence of emails is gaining the highest hits.
3. Gold membership
Probably the most used, yet efficient way of customer retention is VIP privileges and Gold membership etc. A policy including reward points and hierarchical VIP status enabling your customers to various privileges offers etc. act as significant ways of improving sales. The alluring offers and VIP memberships will entice your customers to shop more.
4. Customer Services
A seemingly consistent and personalised customer service is what controls most of the brands nowadays. Most of the market researches show that it’s the customers who modulate and decide the fates of the brand. So be where your customers are for cementing a professional relation with them.
5. Showing diligence
Just occasional email campaigning and gifts and vouchers aren’t enough for successful customer retention. In the era of high-end competition, if you are not careful about the needs, preferences, requirements and most importantly, the complaints of your customers, no matter how much offers or VIP privileges are provided, customer retention is impossible.
Being proactive to the needs of customers, engaging them continuously as well as collecting and reacting to their feedbacks are the three major steps for any customer retention scheme.
6. Create value for Customers
If you are buying online , will you choose to buy from a website that sells low quality products at a cheap price? The answer is certainly no because everybody desires for quality in terms of shopping. Also, cost alone isn’t valued by customers, there have to be multiple components of value addition to optimise the overall shopping experience for your customers. As an e-commerce company, you need to master the elements of making a successful e-commerce website and later work upon your plan.
7. Limited period offers
Almost all ecommerce sites nowadays follow the policy of giving limited period offers and big bash discounts etc. A large-scale promotion before the said offer period, and some lucrative offers along with VIP privileges can help.
Improvising the existing privileges too can lure the existing customers into more shopping and hence enhance online retail sales.
8. Transparency in sales
Honesty is the key to success in any field of life. An ecommerce business site is no different. It takes painful long period of time for building up a company’s reputation. The only cue card that vouches for the reputation is transparency in sales and company’s policy.
The more transparent you are the better feed you get in return. So, whatever be the service you provide, keeping hidden policies and hidden charges is a strict no-no.
9. Promise and supply gap
It’s good to aspire for more, for bigger contracts, more sales but aspiration shouldn’t blindfold your capabilities. Continuous offerings to customers, more discounts and bigger promise for retaining them shouldn’t go beyond your limits and you end up giving lower outputs in reality.
This, in long run, hinders your company’s reputation to a considerable extent as well. So, promise only according to your limits and not beyond.
10. Building up a customer community
Humans are social beings by nature. The brand you are selling can actually act as a platform for different customers. Add a community chat room in your site where your customers or the Gold members can login by their credentials and discuss the pros and cons, offer fresh ideas, match and compare their services etc.
This allows for a rigorous service assessment, customer needs, and fresh idea generation for increasing sales and knowing the pulse of the shopper.
11. Enhancing social shares
This is an add-on feature of the preceded one. Your clients are your potential buyers some of whom are even potential giant-scale buyers. To churn the need of buying in them, incentivise your social platforms. You can do that by putting brand ambassadors’ photographs and ask for a competition amongst the clients.
Alluring offers and gifts for the winners will also make it an enticing professional deal. This can act in both retention and outreaching to newer clients. Also, these gifts and competitions can enhance the word-of-mouth publicity as well.
To wrap it up
Retaining customer is as important as reaching new ones. In fact in long term, customer retention plays a pivotal role. So a proper, polite and courteous customer service, a prompt feedback and complaint resolving team, transparent policies and quality performance on-time are few attributes that can retain customers and take your business sky high.
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