Here at Rank Jane we have helped countless small businesses increases their business, up to a point where many of them are now large businesses. Over the years we have seen some businesses succeed and some fail, what is interesting is many times we will help companies that are in the same niche, only to watch one of them shut down in a few months while the other one succeeds.
So what makes the difference?
The answer is that the successful companies almost always reach out and connect with their customers. Their customers understand them, they feel like they are understood by the company, and they feel like they are part of something, not just buying a product.
A lot of people throw up just a basic website and expect their visitors to buy. While this may work, it generally will not get the best results possible.
Instead of having a generic site like everybody else imagine if you had something different, something that sparked interest and really fit in with your niche.
Now imagine how often they would share that site with others and how quickly you could go viral. The other plus is that connected customers are loyal customers. So how can you connect with your customers?
The customer is always first –
If you have done sales before you have probably heard this, and it’s because it is true.
Don’t put yourself ahead of your customer, if you feel like the product they want is too difficult to create, well than you probably shouldn’t be in that niche, and always give them what they are expecting and what they ask.
A happy customer is a talking customer, and the best kind of traffic is from referrals. It converts quickly and can create a large community of customers.
Do you understand your customers? Do you know what they want?
Have you talked to them?
Make sure you know and understand your customers, than this part becomes almost second nature in your marketing plan.
Emotional needs –
This is a big one, and ties in with number one. What are the emotions that drive your customers?
In sales you are taught to sell people on the emotions, not on the product.
What will your website or product solve for people? How will it make them feel?
Once you understand their emotional needs you will know how to connect with them. Consider telling them stories of how you have felt the same way too, or of why you came up with a solution for them.
Once you can connect with your customers on an emotional level you will find that you have created a powerful bond that will last for a long time.
Always understand the emotions that drive your customers. Without knowing what drives them you are flying blind. Before we write a landing page for our clients we always ask them what drive their audience. If they do not know we will spend a day researching and teaching them exactly what their audience is after. It is vital that you completely understand what your customers are after, and why.
Listen and respond –
This is a big one that some marketers don’t really do a great job with. When other people comment on your Facebook and Google+ shares do you comment back?
If not you are probably losing a lot of potential customers.
Listen to what your audience says, and write back to them. Customers absolutely love it when you take the time to respond to them.
It builds a lot of credibility and makes them feel as though they are part of a community, not just a guy who gives some money to you so that you can send him something.
A great little technique to quickly build a relationship with your customers and to get to know them is through a survey. This is also a great way to understand what drives your customers emotionally, and what they are looking for in a product.
It will make them feel like they are part of the creation of your product, and they should be, this way you can create a good product that they will be discussing with everybody.
You will be surprised at how much you can learn about your niche through a simple survey. Often they will feel like a part of your community, and they will excitedly share it with their friends. In fact I have seen some surveys go viral and receive thousands of visitors within hours. It’s a great way to really target your niche.
Really respond –
Some other great ways to respond to your customers is through a forum of your own. By creating a forum you will invite other customers to join in your community and they will really feel like they are a part of something special.
By participating in the community you will show your customers that you care, and that you are looking out for their needs. It also means that you can answer questions that they have and really reach out on a personal level.
Other things you can do to respond are going to be dependent on your niche. For instance ,if you are selling something, you may offer your skype or google + account so that you can speak one on one. This is a great way to really show them that you care about their needs and that you are willing to give them a service that is specific for their needs. It also means that you can give them the exact kind of experience they are looking for.
Quality product –
This is a huge one, sometimes we at Rank Jane feel like people don’t spend enough time on their products trying to make sure that they are up to standard with everyone else’s. A cruddy product gets bad recognition, and this is exactly what you don’t want for your business. Being well known for the scammers in the niche is a good way to lose customers fast.
On the other hand can you imagine what it would be like to be the industry standard?
If whenever someone wanted to get a product in your niche everyone would direct them to you? That is the kind of popularity that you want, and the kind of connection that you want with your customers.
Building up a good connection like we have talked about is a part of this process, but the end of the process has to be a good product. You will not be able to reach huge amounts of success without one.
Fast customer service –
This is a surprising one, but did you know that most customers would like a customer service response within an hour?
A lot of beginning businesses decide to do their own customer service which is fine, and may be fine with some slightly larger businesses as well. However, as your business grows you may want to consider hiring people to assist you with the customer service aspect.
It is important to make sure that as many customers as possible are happy with the results and service that you give them.
The worst thing you can do is wait too long to respond to a customer. I can give a real world example of this, I once needed to fix a computer and I took it in to a computer repair shop. They told me it would take one week which was fine, but then a week past and I got no email or phone call. I called in and there was no answer, I emailed and waited two days and no response.
Finally I went in there to talk to the store owner and got things worked out. It still took them four months to get the computer ready, that wasn’t what bugged me though. It was the complete lack of customer service, and now they have a horrible review left on Google from me.
Do your best to provide good customer service and your customers will quickly notice.
Always remember that the customers and visitors to your website are the key to success. Sometimes we can get bogged down with our advertising and trying to figure out the best way to bring out a good profit in our website. Many times we overlook our customers in this equation which is the exact opposite of what we should be doing.
Instead by focusing on customers, and their needs we will be able to create strong connections that will quickly make us an authority in their niche. This is why it is so important that you focus on these things, if you aren’t focusing on your customers who are you focusing on then?
Make sure you do surveys and read in forums, try to figure out what drives your customers and what they are really looking for. Once you do figure out these things make sure that you do all you can to fit their needs.
Quickly you will find that your product and business will be the industry standard, and that everyone else will be trying to live up to the high bar that you have set.
Creating connections in the end is the life and blood flow of a business. Whether online or offline, if your business is suffering, or if you are not growing as quickly as you would like; take a step back and ask yourself, are you really doing your best to connect with your customers?
Devise a plan to see what they really think of your business, and then do your best to continue to build credibility, over time you will see that your connections will build, and with it your traffic and conversions will increase as well.