Effective Ways To Stay In Touch With Your Customers Online

Are you looking for ways to stay in touch with your customers and prospects? Now is not the time to go into hiding – now is the time to be even more present. Below are some effective strategies to use to stay top of mind, stay connected, and keep your business going.

Email

Email is the most effective online marketing tool. It’s the one way you can ensure your message is delivered to your audience. If you don’t have an email list, now is the time to get one going. Email allows you to share important updates, offers and build an ongoing connection with your audience. Here are the steps and strategies to get you started with email marketing:

CHOOSE AN EMAIL PROVIDER

First, do you have an email service provider? If not, that’s your first step. I love Mailchimp, but there are a lot of other services out there depending on your preference. The best part is Mailchimp is free up to 2,000 subscribers. So, if you are just starting out building your list, it’s always nice to start for free.

BUILD YOUR LIST

Next, you have to get people to opt-in to your emails and sign up for your list. There are a lot of ways to go about this. Here are some ideas to start:

  • Add a sign up form to your website (p.s. you can create this form and grab the code from Mailchimp)
  • Post about it on social media with a link to your sign up form
  • If you have an existing or past customer list, you can send them a personal email saying you want to continue to keep in touch with them, and include a link to sign up in that email.
  • Add the sign up link/form anywhere else your audience may see it (think email signature, Instagram profile, etc.)

Wondering why you have to get permission? Long story short, it’s the law! But it also means your audience is more likely to stick around because they chose to be part of it.

DECIDE HOW YOU WILL USE EMAIL MARKETING

This step will look different depending on your business model and what you sell or provide, but there are a few basic option to start with:

  • Email newsletter: often a monthly email where you share information/resources with your audience. Do you have a blog? Share your latest articles in this newsletter. Don’t have a blog? Let’s talk.
  • Transactional emails: convert your audience to paying customers with transactional/promotional emails. Want to feature a specific product or service? Launching a new product or service? Highlight it in an email that you know will get delivered to your audience.
  • Automation series: automation is one of the most underutilized features of email marketing. Automation allows you to send a series of emails to your audience either when they join your list or based on behaviors they perform on your website or in emails. It can be as simple as resending an email to people who didn’t open your first email. Or as complicated as a 7-part drip campaign.

You can choose one of the models above to get started, or build a strategy that combines all of these types of emails. If you want to connect to develop a strategy that’s right for your business goals, let me know.

DESIGN YOUR TEMPLATES

Email marketing tools like Mailchimp have predesigned templates to get you started, or you can hire someone to design professional, branded templates that you can use for your email marketing needs. Either way, stick with a consistent look and feel that is simple, easy to read, and on-brand.

CALLS TO ACTION

Ultimately you want people to do something with your emails and take some sort of action. As you think through your strategy and goals, don’t forget about what action you want your audience to take. Here are some examples:

  • Order
  • Buy Now
  • Contact
  • Read More (don’t give everything away in your email…have them get the rest of what they want on your website)
  • Download
  • Watch Now (video)
  • Book Your Tickets
  • Save My Seat
  • Register Now
  • Connect With Us On _______(Facebook, Instagram, etc.)

Something to keep in mind with calls to action:

  • Keep it simple
  • Make it clear
  • Deliver on the promise (don’t mislead people)
  • Don’t overload your email with too many calls to action
  • Use a button

Also remember not to overdo it and sound to pushy or sales-y. You want your audience to feel like they are getting something out of your email rather than just being sold to. Your focus should first be on being a valuable resource and providing something your audience wants/needs, and then serve up a relevant offer/call to action.

SUBJECT LINES

It doesn’t matter how great your call to action is or how beautiful your template is if no one opens your email, right? A strong subject line is what is going to cut through the inbox clutter and get people to open your email. It may sound crazy, but you really should spend as much time developing your subject line as you do on the email. If no one opens it, all the time spent on the actually email will be for nothing.

Spend time thinking about the emails that YOU open. What about them catches your attention?

The best subject lines spark interest and excitement and also make us curious about what’s inside. You can add personalization, ask a question, or share a headline. As with calls to action, you need to deliver on what you say in the subject line. Don’t just create a catchy subject line for open rates (you’re not the National Enquirer).

BE CONSISTENT

As with all marketing, consistency is key. If you plan to send 1 email a month, send 1 email a month. Don’t get overly excited and decide you are going to send weekly emails if it isn’t realistic. You’ll start out great and then get overwhelmed and quit all together. Be realistic about what you can do and then stick with it!

Video

Video is the most engaging form of content. Here are some numbers to prove the point:

  • Video gets more engagement (likes, comments, shares) than any other type of content
  • 90% of people say videos are helpful in making purchasing decisions
  • Video in email increases clickthrough rates by over 200%

Not sure what to film? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • FAQs: what questions do you get all the time? Create videos answering each of these common questions. You can sit down and film all of these at once, but make them separate videos. That way your followers can watch the ones that resonate with them, plus it gives you more content to post.
  • Employee bios: Film your staff answering a few questions. Mix in some lighthearted fun questions along with those relevant to your industry and business.
  • Tips and tricks: Position yourself as a thought leader in your industry by sharing your knowledge
  • Repurpose content you’ve already created: Work smarter, not harder. If you wrote a blog post, leverage that content to create a video (or two or three). Your blog post content doesn’t have to only live on your blog. Highlight a few key takeaways in a video and encourage viewer to go to your blog for more.
  • Go live:  Go live on Instagram or Facebook (LinkedIn has also started rolling out live video as well) to let people join you. You can also schedule live video Q&A sessions to engage live with your audience. This is a great opportunity to engage with your audience.
  • Product how-to: If you have a product, show it in action.

Things to Keep In Mind

Utilize Stories: Stories can take some of the pressure off. All you have to commit to is 15 seconds. It only lives for 24 hours (unless you add it to a highlight), and users don’t expect (or want) a perfectly produced video.

Be real, not perfect. Your followers want you and your content, they don’t need perfection. You don’t need fancy equipment or lighting. While lighting and sound quality are important, you don’t need to go crazy. Find a north facing window in a quiet spot, grab your phone, set it at a flattering angle, and hit record.

Show your team and behind the scenes glimpses at your business. Let’s be honest, we are all voyeurs at heart. We want to see behind the curtain and what other peoples’ days are like. Show your team and your company culture. This type of content always gets the most engagement.

Add calls to action. Ultimately, what do you want people to do? Buy something? Go to your website? Read your blog post? Sign up for your email list? Comment or share? Be sure to include that in your video.

Are you currently using video as part of your social media strategy? If not, what’s holding you back? 

Website

Do you have a website? When was the last time you updated it or added content? Now more than ever, people are looking for information online. Your website is a great way for them to find you, but you need to make sure that when they get there they are getting accurate information. In addition to helpful and up-to-date information, when someone lands on your website, it needs to answer these questions within seconds:

1. What do you offer? 

Don’t tell YOUR story. A lot of companies get into the trap of telling their story and why they are the best at what they do. Instead, be the best at illustrating what your product or service is. And remember not to suffer from the “curse of knowledge”. Don’t assume your customer knows something just because it’s common sense to you. You are the expert, not them. Simplify your message and what you offer.

2. How will what you offer make my life better?

Help people envision their life after using your product or service. Showcase other peoples’ experience with your product. How did it improve their life? You want them to see themselves as your customer and what that will look like.

3. What do I have to do to buy from you?

If you answer the first two questions, your customers are going to want to buy from you. Make it easier for them. Add a “Buy Now”, “Book Now”, “Whatever Action You Want Them To Take” button to the top right corner of your website. If you don’t, you are losing business.

Some other things to keep in mind:

  • Be detailed to engage your audience. If you are vague you will confuse and lose your audience.
  • Start with a problem. Think of your product or service as medicine. If you don’t define the pain, no one will know they need the medicine.

SEO

What do you think of when you hear SEO? Do you think of ranking #1 on Google? Do you remember those emails you would get all the time a few years ago with someone promising to get you to the number 1 spot on Google? That is not SEO. SEO is about making the most of your organic search presence to drive the RIGHT traffic to your website.

Successful SEO takes time and practice to get right. There isn’t a quick fix to magically appear first in search results. With constantly changing algorithms and rank factors, SEO is also always a moving target.

So what should you do? Should you just not worry about it and hope people find you? No. There are some simple, smart and easy things you can do to set yourself and your website up for success, and I broke it all down in this post.

Social

We are spending more time than ever on social media. To be successful in connecting and communicating with your audience, you need to be showing up where they are. And guess where they are? They are on social media. Are you showing up on social? How consistently and authentically are you showing up?

Social allows you to communicate in real-time and stay connected with your audience. Ways you can use social during this time include:

  • Product showcases: if you sell products (either online or in-store) use social media to feature products that your audience can either buy online or purchase a gift card now to buy later.
  • Teach something: whether you are a personal trainer or an accountant, you have something you can teach your audience. Most people have some extra time on their hands and are looking for opportunities to learn something new.
  • Customer service: if you are not regularly monitoring your messages on social media, you are missing out on your main source of customer service right now. People will be reaching out to ask questions now more than ever. And guess what? Even if all the latest and greatest information and updates are on your social pages and your website and have been sent out in an email, people will still ask. We have incredibly short attention spans, and people want what they want NOW. So there are still people that are going to ask even if the information is positive. The joys of running a business, right?! 🙂
  • Provide valuable information and content: what problems do you solve for your customers and clients? Focus on how you help your followers and start putting out high-value content around that. If you think you don’t have anything to say, think again. Things that may seem obvious to you or not a big deal are likely a big deal and not obvious to your target audience. I say it all the time…think of what you do as medicine. If you customer doesn’t know they are sick, they will never know they need your medicine.

How are you staying connected to your audience right now?

One thought on “Effective Ways To Stay In Touch With Your Customers Online

  1. I am an SEO consultant and I also enjoy email marketing. When you manage larger subscriber lists delivery issues can become more complicated and solutions like mailchimp may be preferred over dedicated hosting, even though they are more expensive. Thanks for sharing I like your writing style this was very well written.

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