Lots of agencies will tell you that the best way to get people to love your company online is to offer them free stuff.
Sure, freebies are great — who doesn’t love getting something for nothing? — but that’s not going to win you a loyal fanbase. (It’s also going to make a sizeable dent in your pocket if you carry on doing it, which is not what you need if you’re a budding business.)
To get your market to really love your company, you need to speak to their hearts. Win them over with your behavior online, rather than with scams or free gifts.
Below, we’ll take you through the best non-scam ways to get your customers to love you. Read on to learn more…
1. Let your market get to know you
Essentially, it all boils down to the ‘know, like, trust’ factor. Your market has to know you first, then grow to like you, and soon they’ll trust you — and buy your product or your service.
So first things first: if you want to become loved by your market, you first need to be known by them.
This starts at your website. It’s the online storefront for your business, and often the first impression people will form of you, so you need to make it a good one.
Be open and honest: this is where you can give them easy access to all the information they would want to know about you. It’ll also help your prospective clients to compare you with other businesses more easily (and if you’re good, you should come out on top!).
It’s also where prospects can take their first step towards a business by contacting you or requesting more information, so make sure it’s easy for them to do this — hard-to-find contact details will put them off.
Check out this post for 6 easy tips for improving the visitor experience of your website.
2. Be engaging on social media
This means investing time in your marketing strategy. In particular, your social media marketing strategy. (After all, over 26% of the world’s population are now on Facebook).
Start by identifying your target demographic and which social platforms they hang out on. There are all sorts of factors than contribute to your target market such as age, gender and location. By understanding this, you’ll be able to reach out to the right people with the right content.
Establish yourself on the most appropriate social media platforms, and get posting! Not just anything — this means posting interesting, relevant content that your audience will find valuable.
Your content needs to tick all of these boxes. It’s not always easy, particularly if your business isn’t a conventionally exciting one (for example, if you sell carpets. Sorry, but carpets just aren’t exciting).
It’s up to you to make your company fun and engaging. This can mean posting funny content, sparking debates (try not to be too controversial though), or holding competitions and giveaways. (Yes, we know we said you can’t make people love you with free things, but it can help to win them over to start with. The hard work comes after…)
If you need some help sparking your imagination, then have a look at hiring a marketing agency. They can come up with a range of awesome engagement solutions.
3. Be authentic
Being authentic and real is key to getting your market to love your company.
By communicating honestly with consumers, you can build trust and belief in your brand. And this naturally goes hand in hand with loving your brand.
This means sharing your story with your audience.They want to know the “why” behind you and your business. Why does your business exist? How did it come about? What’s your motivation?
Be honest — even if this means keeping the bad bits in there too. It’s important to commit to authenticity from the very beginning; your customers will appreciate this honesty too.
Yes, storytelling is a strategy often used in content marketing, but it’s also something that the human race has been doing since it came into existence. Each person’s story is unique; by being personal and passionate, your customers will feel closer to you.
4. Listen to your market’s needs
Making your business and your marketing customer-centred is a sure-fire way of making customers — and would-be customers — love you.
It’s easy to be present on social media and post fun, engaging content all the time. It’s another thing to actually engage with your market.
Customer engagement is vital to gaining and retaining loyal customers. You need to communicate with them, but it’s not enough to just talk at them — you need to start a dialogue.
Find out what your customers want; listen to what they’re telling you about themselves. What are their wants and needs? This will help you to direct your business in a direction that will benefit them — and, in the long run, you.
There are a number of ways you can learn about your market’s opinions and needs: through social media, surveys (you can use free online tool Surveymonkey for this), focus groups, or even forums.
5. Treat people well
For your wider market, this means being kind. If you’ve got potential consumers commenting on your social posts or your website, be polite and respectful. This will make them more inclined to use your company.
For your current customers, this means having great customer service. The kind that your loyal customers will shout about.
You need to have a support system in place that can provide great customer service all of the time. You decide on the type of service you want: phone support, email, having someone in your team (or a whole team) dedicated to social media… Chatbots are also becoming increasingly popular, so this could be something you want to look into.
Aim to respond to comments or emails within the hour or at least within the day. If these are negative feedback in particular, any delay in response from you will only make the customer more angry with your company.
6. Have consistency
It’s a simple one, but many business get so caught up with the big things that they forget to be consistent.
One easy way to get your market to love you is to be consistent and reliable. This means everything from maintaining a unique brand voice when you’re communicating with your audience, to keeping promises you’ve made.
Be consistent with your branding and marketing across your business — everything should match up, from your social posts to your emails and your website. Your market should be able to recognize your company instantly.
As an exercise, check out other websites for sale. See if they have continuity — do all of the site pages align? Have they stuck to a key theme and tone? Is this maintained in their social marketing? And as the viewer, do you have a clear idea of their value proposition? By reviewing what other companies are doing well or badly, you can apply this knowledge to your own business.
And when it comes to your product: if you’ve promised a certain level of quality, or for a product to be delivered within a set time, then you must hit this goal. Customers need to feel that they’re in safe hands.
7. Don’t ignore the negative
One of the worst things you can do customer-relation-wise is to shrug off any bad reviews and ignore negative comments.
Take time to get to the real root of the problem. What has happened? Why has this happened?
Be personal in your response and don’t fob off any complaints with a templated response, a lame excuse, or worse — an angry response.
Instead, be attentive and personal. Address the issue, apologise if necessary, and tell your customer how you plan to resolve the issue for them, and ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future. Use any failures as lessons in how to be better. Your market will appreciate your honesty and humility, as well as your desire to improve.
8. Be transparent
It’s really important to have transparency when dealing with customers. We’re not talking ‘full disclosure’ of all of the ins and outs of your business, but talking with clarity and honesty.
If you’re experiencing problems or delays of any kind, then provide regular, insightful updates. This is something your market will appreciate. Aim to be honest and speak simply; no one likes confusing jargon or being left in the dark.
So there you have it: 8 non-scam ways to get your market to love your company online.
If you practice all of these points, you’ll be well on your way to getting your market to love you. Be engaging, treat your customers with respect and kindness, and listen to them. Your customers will appreciate this, and knowledge of this will spread to your wider market. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, particularly online.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get your company loved!
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit the blog for inspiring entrepreneurial stories and the latest insights from top marketing experts. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.