Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur the collaborators are his.
For business leaders, the shift from traditional direct advertising and marketing to a brand to understanding who, why, when, where and how your brand can attract a customer is huge. Today’s slang refers to building customer relationships that will last from the first interaction with a brand to the sale, to winning an ambassador for your brand. I know from experience that many CEOs and brand managers are not taking advantage of this new landscape. Here are some of the best practices to keep in mind:
Make sure the relationship is not one-sided
I once spoke to a group of entrepreneurs and a photographer explained the frustration of not being able to grow their business. He showed me his website, which was a very nice portfolio of his work. She did some interaction on social media and was known in a local area by wealthy people who used professional photographers on a regular basis.
The photographer’s problem was that her relationship with her audience was one-sided. She was showing everyone how good she was at her job. Okay, okay, but I told you no one cares how great you are taking pictures; you are supposed to know how to do your job. They need to understand who you are, what you do and trust that you will take care of them. Customers also want to know what you offer that is unique to everyone else taking photos.
Related: The 7 stages of customer relationship management
Meet your customers to solve their problems
Part of the photographer’s problem was that she didn’t know her clients. In general, my advice is not to do any target marketing until you have gone through the process of knowing who your customer is. If you haven’t already, you should search for “customer profile sheets” on Google and use a template that includes a photo of who that person is. You can have as many customer profiles as you want, but it’s best to target the most accurate audience.
To do this, you need to know a lot about them, including their “painful points,” which are the problems they have. Think about what you would like if you were your customer. Would price be an issue? Location? Save time? Get help? Take a social look to see what people are complaining about or look at Google Trends to see which searches are popular.
Once you have the problems, you can find out how your company or brand offers the best solutions. Your services must outperform the competition when it comes to helping your target customers. Knowing who these people are and what they need is critical to your success.
Related: How you can build lasting relationships with customers
Use the marketing tag
Now that you know who you need to reach and what issues you solve, you can start implementing a marketing plan. Email marketing is considered one of the most successful ways to generate contacts and nurture customers. However, like life in general, use this strategy with a proper marketing label and a plan that will not irritate your potential customers.
A customer should never feel chased by a salesperson. Constantly pinging people by email when you don’t receive a response can irritate your potential customers. “Submit once and track twice” is a good rule to follow for sales messages. Another option is to provide useful content such as a newsletter to start engaging a user. However, an email address you receive through a platform, including your website, is not an open invitation to send spam. A clear “unsubscribe” option must be provided.
Also, tactics that use language that sounds desperate or confrontational, such as “Will you ever respond?” or “I’ve contacted you repeatedly and would appreciate a response” are never a good idea. Subject lines that begin with “You’re not doing X properly, we can help” are also not well received. Sure, you can create a sense of urgency, but if you can’t make your statement effective, you’ll lose someone before you start.
The general premise here is that brands need to listen and understand what customers need. When there were only a few banks, grocery stores, clothing manufacturers, etc., telling people what you offered worked. The brightest penny could stand out on billboards, in storefronts, on TV and more. I don’t need to tell you that there are so many options – customers will do their research and ask for more. Once your business knows what “more” is, you can direct your energies to provide it.
Related: 5 ways to establish killer relationships with customers