How to Connect with Your Customers
Businesses benefit when customers feel an authentic connection to a brand.
We live in a digital era which means that connecting with your customers is no longer limited to in-person encounters or phone calls, as our interactions migrate more and more to our devices. This means there are more opportunities to connect with potential and loyal customers alike – regardless of their location – in real time across what seems like a never-ending host of marketing channels. Between email, text, and social marketing channels, not to mention paid online ads, there are more ways for businesses to reach out to their customers than ever before.
But, don’t mistake more opportunities to connect with your customers with actual connectedness. These days many consumers feel inundated with messages coming at them from every angle (and device). When these communications are not personalized and customers feel like they are being talked at, not to, true connectedness is lost.
So how do you make customers feel truly connected? It takes the right balance of personalization and a conversational feel, across the right mix of marketing channels to truly form a brand building, sales-inducing connection. To help you achieve that perfect mix of messaging mojo that leaves customers feeling connected to your brand, we’ve compiled a short list of effective strategies that you can start using today.
8 Effective Ways to Create Meaningful Customer Connections
1. Thank First-Time Customers
First impressions matter and reaching out to express gratitude to someone new to your brand is a great way to kick off your relationship. So, make sure to follow-up with new customers after they’ve made their first purchase. It also shows that you are in tune with your customers, and notice when you’ve added a newbie to your base.
Consider offering new customers a special offer when they sign up for your email list or subscribe to SMS text messages. This will not only encourage them to make a purchase, but it will enable you to collect the contact information you need to connect with them and turn that first-timer into a repeat customer.
Remember, no matter how great or small the purchase, and regardless of which marketing channel you decide to use, reaching out to simply thank someone for their business is an easy and sure-fire way to show you value each and every customer.
2. Respond Quickly
Every time a customer reaches out, you have an opportunity to make a personal connection. Even when a customer is coming forward with a complaint, there is still an opportunity for you to replace their negative experience with a positive one, make things right, and come out on the other side with a stronger connection.
The key to successfully connecting customers who reach out is speed. The longer it takes for a customer to hear from you, the less important and less heard they feel. The quicker you can respond to a customer, the more likely you are to retain or gain their business.
For example, if a customer reaches out asking for specific product information – perhaps specifications like measurements – it’s essential for you to respond promptly. Afterall, they may be shopping around and the sooner you can provide the info, the sooner they can decide to buy from you. Having excellent and timely customer service where you address customer’s needs will set your business apart and drive sales.
3. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize
One of the main reasons small business owners should take the time to connect with customers is to make them feel special. Why? Because when a customer feels truly connected to your brand, they’re more likely to do business with you than with your competition. One easy and effective way to create these warm and fuzzy feelings with customers is to personalize your marketing communications.
So how can you personalize your customer communications? Most businesses collect information about their customers, such as their shopping patterns and purchase history. You can use this type of information to your advantage by anticipating the behaviors of your customers and pro-actively addressing their needs.
For example, if you run a salon, you can reach out to regular customers after some time and communicate with them that it might be time for a hair appointment.
4. Customize Your Marketing Channels
An important component of making customers feel genuinely connected is knowing and respecting their communication preferences. When collecting customer information, be sure to ask about contact preferences. Don’t assume email or a phone call is the best way to reach out to your patrons. Some customers may rarely check email, while others may find a phone call intrusive, and some may only pay attention to text messages.
Remember, more marketing channels does not necessarily mean it’s easier to connect with your customers and reaching out through an undesired or unfamiliar channel can only trigger anti-connected vibes. Knowing the best way to contact your customers, whether Facebook or email or by way of text, not only gives you the best shot at having your message be seen, but it also shows them you understand and care about their preferences.
One thing to consider when seeking true connectedness with your customers is to make sure they have the ability to reply to the messages you send out. In many instances, whether you have an in-person or online business, using text marketing to communicate with customers is a great way to have a straightforward and customized conversation in real time – just make sure your customers have opted in.
5. Survey Your Customers
A great way to demonstrate that you care about the needs and wants of your customers is by sending out surveys. To sweeten the deal and repay customers for not only their patronage, but the time they took to share their input, offer them a promotional discount or other incentive to make it worth their while.
Make sure not to send out too many surveys. Soliciting customer feedback should only represent a small portion of your customer outreach. Be sure to keep an eye on how your base is responding to your requests for feedback.
When possible, try to make your surveys specific to the buying habits of individual customers. For example, ask customers to review products that they are particularly interested in according to their browsing behaviors. Or, if they’re repeat customers of a specific product or service type, ask them to share why they revisit this particular purchase. Eliciting reviews from customers, whether through email, social media, or text message, builds loyalty because it shows that you care about their opinion.
6. Be Social
As of 2022, approximately 3.96 billion people actively use social media, according to Statista. More than likely a large percentage of your current and future customers are actively engaging on at least one social platform, like TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram just to name a few.
Social platforms offer your small business a unique opportunity to show customers who you are beyond your storefront or official website. It’s a place where you can interact with multiple customers at once and build an online community centered around your products or services.
It’s also an opportunity, if you choose to enable the functionality, to engage directly with your followers. Nearly every social platform allows for direct messaging. Encourage your followers, customers and non-customers alike, to reach out directly to you through these messaging features to expand your connectedness options.
7. Reward Repeat Customers
Everyone loves feeling valued and one way to make your customers feel the love is rewarding them with exclusives and discounts. Often first-time customers receive a bonus because they are new, but don’t forget that your repeat customers deserve and appreciate incentives and rewards all the same.
Whether you decide to thank your regular customers with a targeted discount based on their spending history, or by simply offering a loyalty program like no other, make sure your customers find it generous and easy to redeem.
The more personalized you make your reward, the more special your customers will feel. For example, if you have a particular product that certain customers buy frequently, target that group and make sure they receive a loyalty reward or VIP discount directed at the item they love to buy. Let them know you’ve created the offer with their particular taste in mind.
When sending out exclusives that are particularly time-sensitive, like an early-access discount code, you will want to employ at least one marketing channel that delivers fast read rates. SMS text messages have a 98% open rate, with 90% of messages being read within the first 30 minutes of receipt. You can increase your chances of converting your message to a sale by taking advantage of partnerships like EZ Texting’s Shopify integration, which enables you to direct your customers to your website so they can order products right then, and there.
8. Leverage SMS Marketing
One of the best ways to get connected and stay connected to your customers is to give them a direct and convenient line to you. Today’s consumers want to be able to reach out at any time and receive a timely response from the businesses they frequent. Sure, email works, if you are willing to wait for a response. A phone call can work, but it’s not necessarily instant and it’s not as versatile as a text message. After all, you can send a text while you are in a meeting or waiting to pick up your child from school.
Over the last several years, small business owners have started realizing how much SMS text marketing can help small businesses, especially because it allows them to meet customers where they’re at – on their devices. By adding text marketing to your marketing strategy, you boost how connected your customers feel by simply reaching them in a more personal way that comes with the added benefit of speed and convenience.
SMS marketing can help your brand feel more approachable and encourage engagement and connectedness. Certain techniques, such as conversational texting, can strengthen the bonds you have with customers by opening up an authentic line of communication that customers can rely upon.
Why Is It Important to Connect With Customers?
Connecting with customers is an integral part of helping your business grow and succeed. Employing targeted strategies across marketing channels is one way to grow and nurture customer connectedness.
At EZ Texting, we offer a variety of features — such as SMS text campaigns and integrations with Zapier — that can help you connect with your customers in personalized and meaningful ways. See our pricing plans, designed to fit the budget of small and large businesses alike, and start your Free Trial* today!