We’re living in a multi-channel marketing environment and that’s a great thing, mostly.
On the one hand, there’s a wide variety of ways to interact with customers and prospects and drive sales. If a potential customer doesn’t respond positively to direct mail, they may be more willing to connect with your firm on Facebook, for example.
But the downside is that consumers have far higher expectations today than they did only a few short years ago. If you aren’t catering to their channel of choice, you risk frustrating them and possibly losing them.
Here are a few of the main channel platforms your customers may expect you to be actively using:
Done well, an your email newsletter can drive enthusiastic customers to your web pages and build long-term loyalty. You can highlight promotions, offer engaging content and offer exclusive discounts.
But customers also expect you to treat their inboxes with respect and this can be a balancing act. Contact them too often and you risk complaints about spam; contact them too little and you risk letting them forget why they signed up to receive your messages in the first place.
Aim to send regular marketing emails that contain articles and offers your customers will want to receive.
Customers also expect it to be easy to unsubscribe and that you’ll protect their information. These are two very easy ways to keep your customers happy.
Many people now expect brands to be active on Facebook and it can be a great way to connect with them.
If you’re a popular brand then you probably already have a few customer-created fan groups – but you can’t control the content on those pages. That makes it important for you to set up your own official page for people to ‘like.’
On your official page you can increase brand loyalty by offering friendly, informal interactions; competitions; and exclusive offers. Facebook is also easy to integrate into your emails, too. It's simple to include links to your Facebook page on your email newsletter and benefit from customers sharing your branded content with their network.
Your corporate website
A poor website that’s hard to navigate is a major turnoff for many customers.
But it’s not just the design of the pages of your site that matter. It’s very common for people to find a website through search engines instead of by typing in the address directly.
Make sure you’re ranking at the top of search results for your brand name and also ranking highly for the most obvious search terms. If you’re not ranking highly on the first page of search results, you'll be much harder to find.
When customers rant about specific brands via Twitter, they are probably expecting a response. Twitter is a great tool for forming a direct dialogue with your customers.
All brands should be monitoring for mentions and acknowledging both criticisms and praise from their consumers.
If you’re not doing so then your brand appears unconnected. Worse, the customer might imagine that you’ve seen their outburst but simply don’t care enough to respond.
Monitoring Twitter is a must for today's marketer. It’s easy to do and even small brands can easily keep an eye on this platform, even though they are less likely to be mentioned.
With so many web-based platforms, it’s very easy to forget that sometimes customers expect to speak to a human.
Make sure you don’t alienate these clients by ploughing all your energy into online contact options. It might be easier for you but it won’t always be best for them.
If you can afford to do so, make sure there’s a phone number on all your customer facing channels for people to call when they want more than an online interaction.