Channels of Communication for SMBs to Engage Customers
August 29, 2012 8 Comments
A common ability that many successful businesses share is strong communication. Communication empowers individuals, motivates teams, aligns strategy, sets standards, sells potential consumers and retains existing customers. As more and more companies work on their online presence, they sometimes fail to evolve their communication style so it works in new channels. To effectively reach your audience today, you need to build value for your followers, share content from other sources and get involved in conversations. At the same time, you can’t forget the reason you’re there—to sell.
Here are the vehicles for small- to medium-sized business that will help build your brand online and keep your customers coming back for more!
While building your website, small things can improve your visitors’ experiences. Think of the homepage as your shop’s show window. This is where most of your visitors come in and decide whether to explore further. Instead of confusing them, simple designs help customers navigate while highlighting your products/services, testimonials and samples. Informative and informal copy keeps interest levels high by talking in customers’ language. When you legitimately use keywords searched by target customers on your pages and in the tags, you improve your ranking in search engines results. You should also make the Contact Us tab easy to locate so customers can reach you.
Companies that blog get 55% more web traffic and 70% more leads than those that don’t, according to recent research shared by Hubspot. A blog is like the lounge area of a website where the atmosphere is more relaxed, the focus is not on aggressive selling and readers can freely share their views and experiences. It is a perfect setting to engage the audience and tempt them to come for more information and interesting tips or just to get to know you and your company better. So, instead of barraging your target customers with intrusive ads, a better way is to invite and engage them by talking about your products and services with a personal touch. It is also a good opportunity to share your passion for your business and commitment to customer satisfaction. For more detail, read our blog on How to Engage Retail Customers with a Good Blog
Social media and blog posts are dynamic content that search engines like Google and Bing use to help rank websites. This makes the decision to use social media obvious. Sites like Facebook and Pinterest let you share stories that cut through the clutter and help customers to connect with you. Use photos, videos, infographics and other visuals to get results that plain text can’t. LinkedIn is a great platform to reach with potential customers and influencers, as well as to ask for referrals. By participating in existing LinkedIn groups related to your business area or starting groups that will draw interested people , you can add value, enhance your brand and potentially secure new customers. Why not try Twitter to announce any special deals or sales? It is a great last-minute marketing tool to provide event updates or to promote articles, press releases, news, etc.
When you first set up your YouTube channel, no one expects you to be perfect and have Steven Spielberg-quality videos from day one! You’ll learn as you go along and improve your videos, but you’ll be making sales in the process. Start focusing on length, lighting, pacing and topics that get the right kind of attention. Listen to the comments you receive and apply the advice to your future projects. As shared by Mark Robertson, Founder, ReelSEO, the #1 tip for success with B2B video is to dedicate time. Mark said, “It takes time to create magnetic content worth watching, sharing and repeating.” He added, “It takes time to optimize your video’s title, tags and description. And it takes time to engage and converse with your customers to build persistent relationships.”
To be top-of-mind with your customers, it’s a good idea to have a channel to share information regularly. According to Exact Target, 42% of subscribers are more likely to buy from a company after subscribing to their emails. But nothing puts off a customer more than a newsletter that’s dull, vague and irrelevant. Make your newsletter interesting by putting yourself in your readers; shoes and cover topics they care about. Put shorter articles on top so people don’t have to skip through all the content to finish stories. Include visual cues like sidebars, headings, subheads, and different in background colors for different sections to help readers navigate the newsletter. Also, try using icons for repeating elements and same terms through the editions for continuity. Lastly, photos and infographics break up blocks of text and help readers more easily digest the content. Be sure to include captions to point out the most important information.
These are some suggested vehicles to communicate about your business with current and potential customers. Please go ahead and share with me other vehicles that you have found successful!