Cater to How Customers Communicate for Greater Marketing Success
Your customers obviously share an affinity for your business and its goods or services, but they differ in how they communicate. Their methods these days include texting, email, phone, and face-to-face networking.
Understanding your customers’ styles and preferences — and aligning your marketing strategy accordingly — helps you foster stronger relationships and encourage greater sales. This is increasingly true as mobile and digital technologies become more varied and complex.
“Today, you have to do more than just ‘market to’ customers,” says Shannon Belew, author of The Art of Social Selling. “To be most effective, you need to open a dialogue and help build a meaningful relationship between customer and brand. Understanding communications style or preferences helps guide you to the best channel for each of your various customer types.”
Call, Text, Email, or Tweet?
Some people, for example, are uncomfortable talking with others. These folks won’t answer your phone calls but may respond instantly to your text messages. Consider SMS marketing to reach these consumers.
Other people are social butterflies who like to be part of a community — or the conversation, so to speak. They post to Facebook frequently, tweet often, and like to share images via Pinterest or Instagram. Social media is an effective way to reach these consumers, because that’s where their eyeballs are.
Still others in your target market are busy, busy, busy. For them, email is the medium of choice, because they can read your missive when they have time. Reaching out to them via email gives your marketing messages a better chance of being read and acted upon.
Yet another segment of your target market will prefer direct communications, such as phone calls or face-to-face interaction. Tempt these prospects with marketing that encourages an in-store visit, so you can deliver the personal service they seek.
Push vs. Pull Marketing
In 2013, more than 50 percent of time U.S. consumers spent with online retailers was done using a mobile device. If your customers rely heavily on mobile communications, you may need to switch from traditional push marketing to pull marketing.
In push marketing, businesses place their messaging in front of consumers and hope they respond. An example of this is direct mail.
In pull marketing, your marketing is more viral and naturally more engaging. An example of this is a Facebook campaign in which you invite people to share an image of themselves (such as a selfie using your product) and encourage them to share it with those in their network, too, which gains you greater exposure.
Mobile consumers are naturally suited to pull marketing.
One Size Does Not Fit All
“The other pitfall in this strategy is assuming that there is a singular way to reach out to customers based on each of these communications style preferences,” Belew explains.
“Even though your customer may fall into one preference category, that doesn’t mean you stop trying to talk with them in the other channels: You need an integrated approach that uses all of the channels appropriate for your brand, which may include social media, mobile, emails, and phone calls.”
Master that and you’re well on your way to communicating well with your customers.
Dave Clarke is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.