Being a small business owner in the digital age provides endless possibilities to communicate with your clients. Studying entrepreneurship in academic settings and providing consulting services to classmates and friends has offered me a unique view of what works in growing a business and what doesn't. Trying to provide friendly and personalized communication to customers can build strong relationships one client at a time. Here are five strategies to go about building such relationships.
Social Media Replies
To be able to offer replies using social media first requires your presence on such sites. Build a profile on a handful of well-established sites, and look around if any less mainstream sites suit your specific niche in the business world. A comic book shop owner may benefit from embracing comic-related social media, and a local Provo store may find joining a city-specific forum helpful for business.
When approached with compliments, send a public reply as simple as "thank you so much," which can subtly draw attention to the praise you received. Address questions and concerns as well, but use judgment in ultimately resolving any conflicts in private.
For a semi-personalized medium of communication, develop a section on your website that invites those interested to sign up for a company e-newsletter. Have a few options to check, which lets them opt in for the content they want to receive such as coupons and special offers, news and events, etc. Depending on your business, you may have a few specific fields to add on such as recipes, recent industry publications and so on.
As part of the e-newsletter sign-up, ask for the birthday (month and date only) of your clients. For those having a birthday within the month, send a friendly postcard or email expressing well-wishes along with an offer such as 20% off a purchase within the next 30 days. With the size of your clientele in mind, decide if a handwritten note on a postcard or a personalized note in the email will be effective or too time-consuming. You may decide to categorize customers and send completely personalized birthday wishes for only the most loyal tier.
Follow-Up Phone Calls after Large Purchases
As a customer service ploy, make sure your clients are satisfied with their bigger purchases by contacting them a week or month after purchase. Ask if there's anything your company can do to make the experience better, and see if any additional parts or services can be rendered. For a palatable exchange, use this time only to please the customer and not to make another sell.
Offers Based on Previous Purchases
Using whatever contact information and purchase history you have for clients, consider reaching out when product upgrades come out. Being informative but not overly pushy can be helpful in letting customers know about changes they are legitimately interested in. Think about sending out special discounts on goods that will complement previous purchases.
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