Attracting new customers is always the first step in building a new business. Here we expand on three components of how to attract customers: building trust, word of mouth (WOM), and building loyalty.
1. Building Trust
As you no doubt know better than anyone, trust is critical to attracting customers and retaining them. Let’s first explore a few avenues that help to build trust, which, in turn, makes it easier to attract customers.
Including customer testimonials is a quick and easy way to build trust. This comes from the basic concept that what others’ say about you will carry more weight. This is also sometimes referred to as “social proof’ People want to behave the way their peers are behaving. It’s the “If you’re doing it, I want to do it too phenomenon” and customer testimonials can cultivate that.
We explore social media in slightly more depth in other posts, but the opportunity it provides to interact and respond to your customers goes a long way to building trust. Furthermore, it’s a space where you are able to consistently set a tone that is specific to you and reveals the person behind the business. Social media because it is often in real time is also a great opportunity to utilize timing to your advantage in order to attract customers. For example, you could quickly communicate about a special deal you are having on Valentine’s Day.
Recent research suggests that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (BrightLocal, 2014). Whether you like it or not, people will be visiting third party review sites before (and after) they visit your business. Encouraging people to rate you an making your Yelp rating clearly visible on your website contributes a lot to transparency and trust.
With the rise of social media, e-mail marketing is easy to overlook, but research by McKinsey shows that e-mail marketing is almost 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Twitter and Facebook combined (McKinsey, 2014). It’s easy to understand why people are overwhelmed by e-mail: 91% of consumers still use e-mail daily (ExactTarget, 2012). This in turn has lead to companies sending more and more marketing e-mails customers feeling overwhelmed. This is why it is incredibly important to personalize your e-mail. Customized e-mails is more than a personalized greeting. That being said, e-mail with personalized greetings alone improve the click through rate by up to 7% (Hubspot, 2014). E-mail can be further customized with certain banners or recommendations based on their last purchase. Use customer history to your advantage. Special deals offered on the customer’s birthday is also a quick and easy way to deliver something that feels targeted and personal. Finally, recent research shows, 45.6% of e-mails relating to retail (non apparel) were opened on mobile devices (MoveableInk, 2014), so it’s important to optimize your e-mail content for mobile.
2. Building Word of Mouth (WOM)
First of all, what is “word of mouth” or “word of mouth marketing?” Word of mouth is basically when someone (who you are not paying to do so) is talking to people they know about your business or product. When a friend suggests to you to try out a new restaurant down the street because they went last week and enjoyed it, that is a form of WOM. It also often includes social media. It is, in essence, any advertising and brand awareness that isn’t paid for.
In this age of digital marketing, WOM is critical in attracting customers. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from family and friends more than advertising of any kind. (Nielsen). An endorsement from a friend can go a lot further towards attracting a new customer than paid advertising. Customer review sites such as Yelp are also a type of WOM so always encourage your customers to post reviews.
Social media is also an important generator of WOM. Responding to questions and engaging with customers on social media serves a few purposes. For one, it is incredibly easy on social media for customers to share your response or their experience with their friends and therefore potentially attracting new customers. It is also as we’ve said a great platform for engaging with customers one on one and developing a relationship that cultivates customer loyalty.
And, you guessed it: building WOM will go a long way in your mission to attract customers.
3. Building Loyalty
Since customers will inevitably come and go, building customer loyalty is important for the longevity of any business.
One of the more obvious ways to build loyalty is through a customer loyalty program. This creates a very simple incentive to encourage people to come back. Keep in mind though that not everyone appreciates the same perks and it can be worthwhile to have a few different loyalty options. Perhaps there are some people more annoyed by wait times than price or some who are more interested in one-time unique products. The best loyalty programs understand that people value different benefits
After someone makes a purchase, acknowledge through an e-mail that you appreciate their business. Not only is something such as an e-mail receipt the closing moment of a customer’s first interaction, it’s also the first opportunity to continue to build a relationship.
It’s no surprise that customer service is a large aspect of customer loyalty. People return because they know what to expect. Consistency not only applies to your service, (is it the same service , provided on time) but also increasingly to social media communications. Do I know who I am talking to? Do I feel connected to them? Are they responding to me in a timely manner? As you attract customers over time, your consistency is what will retain them.
It’s a competitive market out there, but using these tips to help you build trust, word of mouth and loyalty and enable you to stand out and attract customers.