You have a phenomenal product. Your service is second to none. You have so much to offer your customers, but where are they?
No matter how extraordinary your work is when you’re starting a business, one of the greatest obstacles you’re likely to face is customer engagement. With the advent of e-commerce, business owners no longer find themselves vying with the local mom-and-pop or the big box store down the street. Instead, you are contending literally with a whole world of competitors in an effort to capture your target audience’s attention, win their business, and secure their loyalty.
The good news, however, is that you don’t have to invest a king’s ransom in marketing to engage your market, cultivate a strong company reputation, and boost brand recognition. The key is to be strategic, proactive, and diligent. This article provides the tips you need to capture the attention of your target audience and convert them from prospects to paying customers.
Making a Plan
When you’re defining a marketing strategy focused on engaging your target audience, increasing brand recognition, and cultivating a stellar reputation, one of the first and most important things you can do is formulate a plan. Gather your staff and stakeholders and collaborate with them to determine who your target audience is and what methods might be most effective in reaching them.
You can use a number of decision-making methods to help you in this all-important planning phase. For example, consensus-based decisions can be especially useful if you are collaborating with those who best represent or understand the particular market you are targeting. A team comprised primarily of millennials, for instance, can provide superb insight and strong consensus on the best strategies for engaging young adults.
Unleash the Power of Social Media
Given that there are billions of active social media users online today, these platforms offer an immense pool of prospective customers. However, the sheer size and scope of the social media audience can make the ability to stand out among a virtual sea of competitors seem unlikely at best and futile at worst.
Luckily, there are easy and proven techniques you can use to capture your target audience’s attention on social media. This begins by understanding what platforms and pages your ideal customers are using and when.
Instagram, for example, is rapidly gaining popularity. This is particularly true among millennials and Gen Z — two of the most desirable market segments. However, it’s not going to be enough simply to promote your store or your products on Instagram. You need to be highly deliberate about what you post and when.
For instance, your social media marketing efforts will be most effective if you understand when your particular audience is most likely to be active on the platform. This not only increases the likelihood that your target customer will see the post but also that you will be able to respond promptly to any questions they may ask or comments they may make. Often, visibility and responsiveness are key to spurring Instagram engagement.
Get Your Video Marketing On
When you’re using social media to market your company, the platforms you choose and the timing of your posts are incredibly important. However, you also need to be mindful of the medium you choose.
If you want to produce truly attention-catching content, then you need to prioritize video marketing. Brief videos can be used to introduce products, announce promotions, publicize customer reviews and tutorials, and even tell your brand story. The more you can engage customers with rich audiovisual content, compelling demos, and an intriguing company backstory, the more your prospects are going to want to learn more about and interact with your company.
When you’re creating your video content, though, there are some things you will want to keep in mind. For instance, you need to ensure your content is optimized for diverse platforms, including mobile devices since your audience is likely to watch content on smartphones and tablets rather than on PCs.
Accessibility is another critical issue if you want to engage your audience and build a positive brand reputation. Providing closed captioning or a written script of your video content will help you expand your customer reach and enhance their content experience.
Manage Online Reviews
Whether you’re an established enterprise or a fledgling startup, you should never underestimate the power of online reviews to impact customer engagement and influence your brand reputation. Research has shown, for example, that consumers read 10 online reviews on average before they choose to support a local business. The overwhelming majority of consumers will not trust a company with bad online reviews.
It’s imperative that you closely monitor your company’s online reputation. You should always respond to negative reviews with respect, appreciation, and an offer to make things right for the customer, whether that be a product voucher or replacement item. It’s also important to respond to positive reviews, expressing your thanks for the client’s business and pleasure in their positive experience with your company.
By engaging with both positive and negative reviews in this way, you’re fostering a reputation for empathy, compassion, and a strong dedication to customer service.
Your new business is more than a job. It’s a labor of love. However, engaging customers, building a strong reputation, and promoting brand recognition can be a formidable challenge when you’re new on the scene. With a bit of planning, a dash of creativity, and a lot of commitment, you can ensure your startup stands head and shoulders above the crowd.