How to Build an Online Customer Base & Retain It
With more and more online and eCommerce businesses emerging both nationally and internationally, it's no longer viable to simply set-up shop and wait for your customers to discover you. With increasing competition in the online sphere you need to be smart, efficient and regularly working on finding new custom and retaining it. Research, Research, Research There's no way around this, you have to put the time in to find who your customers are, where they're at and how you can attract them to your venture. Your first step in your research should be to identify who your industry commentators and direct competitors are. List these in order of activity and success and establish which seem to be actively engaging with their target markets. Those that are not engaging with their customers via online resources can be removed. You can then analyse what they're doing to achieve this - are they utilising social media, blogging, newsletter marketing, etc? Have they established Facebook pages and Twitter accounts? How conversational are they with their users? Are they running incentive-led campaigns? Are their users responding and interacting with the brand? Ideally you should also be looking at the topics being discussed, what they are talking about and which of these achieves high response rates and customer interaction. This will aid you in developing content that you know will be successful from the outset. Once you've established which channels you should be utilising and have identified the type of content and tone you should be achieving, you then need to apply these to the social marketing plan you've identified through your research. From Little shoots Great Trees Grow It may seem you are talking to yourself at first, but by spreading the word through existing contacts, you'll soon begin to notice your audience growing. You will need to constantly engage with your users, even if initially this is a limited number. Understand that this is your opportunity to try ideas out without a huge audience. Once your user list is established you'll have defined the correct methods to sell your product or service. Ensure your entries are topical and are interspersed with relevant keywords and phrases to establish high organic search engine rankings. Don't fluff too much about your product/service - web users have short attention spans and are used to sorting the wheat from the chaff. Just give clear, concise information that is useful to the reader. Also, giving them a voice through feedback, comments, etc on your chosen social media platforms will enable them to interact with your brand and will also provide some valuable information on how you're doing and what could be done better. Providing links to product/services you're discussing makes it easier for your customer to instantly find data or make a purchase. It also establishes linking as a trusted source, ensuring maximum cross-promotional opportunities. Providing them with options will will also establish a sense of control with the user, encouraging repeat visitations. Retaining the Numbers Your users will only become repeat business when they're established as regular customers. Making repeat visits easy is your top priority. This can be achieved through loyalty schemes where users build up points that can be used against future purchases, or even through simply enabling them to register their details, which will ensure they do not have to do so on all repeat visits. Keeping in constant touch is vital, but most of all providing an excellent service and ensuring your customer is kept happy will go a long way to reaping the rewards of a growing business. We can help you with the process of launching, growing and maximising your business. To get in touch, simply contact us here.

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