When it comes to your business, your consumers are the lynchpin to your success. Of course, you probably already know that, but do you know why?
More importantly, do you know how to show them that they are the most important people to you?
In this article, we’ll lay out why your consumers are the only people that matter, and how to show them you know it. By doing this, you can build a loyal customer base, attract repeat buyers, and grow your business.
Focus on the People Who Matter
Without your consumers, you have no one buying your books or reading your blog—it really is that simple.
You would have no one quoting your text, retweeting your offers, or giving you feedback. No one sharing the latest from you with their best friend. If you don’t understand your customer base and cater to them, you can’t reach the level of success you desire.
Now, keep in mind: you aren’t trying to please everyone, all the time. You are seeking the attention of people who want what you are selling, and working to keep them coming back.
In fact, if your customer base is not interested in something, you aren’t either—it won’t sell.
To do that, you need to know first who your consumer is. Second, you must get their attention, and keep it. And finally, you must know how you are going to handle it when things go wrong, because eventually something will. This is how you build customer loyalty, and repeat business.
Identify Your Consumer
There are several ways to really get to know your customer base.
InfoEntrepreneurs talks about three simple things you should be doing to understand the only people that matter: your audience. They list: “know who they are,” “what they believe,” and “their purchasing behavior.”
The infographic below shows some of the things you need to know about your customers.
1. Know your customer, when they can be reached, and where they are
Knowing the demographics and needs of your audience is essential. Are you reaching 18-30- year-old men? Are you marketing to 25-40-year-old stay-at-home parents? Millennials or Boomers?
Examine your current customer base. This could be as easy as using Facebook’s analytics tools. These let you see a lot of information about the people who are attracted to your page, such as location, age, gender, and times they are online, and that can be what you need to really get a handle on the next points.
Most platforms have tools like this, and if you want something different, there is surely “an app for that.”
2. What is important to them and what do they really care about?
This includes knowing where your particular demographic “hangs out,” such as Twitter or Pinterest.
Knowing what is important to your audience means that you can tailor your marketing strategy to be more appealing to precisely that group. It also means that you can also avoid costly PR mistakes, apologies, and bad press.
3. Tailor your product and vendor platforms to your customer
What products do they buy? Where are they when they do it, and how do they pay for it? Do they buy their books on Amazon? Should you have PayPal on your website, or cater to people who would rather pay with check by phone or even snail mail?
Get Them Looking
Nothing catches the eye like being offered something you need, want, or buy anyway for free. And while it may seem counterintuitive to give away your product, there are many benefits.
One of those is that customers who get free things will often come back and buy more stuff— which they are willing to pay more for.
But how do you do that?
You go to where your target audience is, when they are there, and advertise. This can be done on social media; with well-done press releases; or with paid radio, television, or billboard advertising.
The best method depends on your particular pool of buyers, of course.
But the most powerful method, even on social media, is advertising by word of mouth. When your happy customer tweets out her new favorite author, you win.
Consider using customer satisfaction feedback forms that provide your audience with some benefit, like 5% off their next purchase. These can be invaluable in understanding how your attempts to engage your audience are being received.
Keep Their Attention
So, you’ve got their attention. What’s next?
You have to keep it. Statistics say that happy customers will be back for more, so keep the value to them coming.
Consider offering “bulk discounts,” or customer loyalty programs. If most of your customers buy two books from you, consider an offer like: “Buy 3 books at cover price and receive a fourth book free.” That means that you increase your sales by 33%.
T-shirts or other small items that express how your customers think or believe can make for great customer gifts or prizes. They can also get your name and logo out there. It’s free advertising and adds value to your customer base at a small cost.
According to Shopify, 70% of customers “abandon carts” that they were considering. Send people offers to come back and complete their purchase. The discount you offer may lower your profits, but it is 100% more than a sale not made.
How to Build Customer Loyalty … And What to Do when Things Go Wrong
Start planning for a glitch before a problem happens.
Let’s face it: At some point in time, you will run into a problem. Either with shipping, availability, or, worse, product quality or service. You can’t fix everything every time, but you can be consistent in how you handle things. That is how you build loyalty.
The infographic below explains the role of emotions in building customer loyalty.According to The PR Authority, it is essential to “address negative feedback professionally.” Put simply, “don’t be mean.” Be consistent, and turn it into a learning experience:
“…it is expected that you will encounter contented customers who will appreciate your brand and dissatisfied customers who feel that you are not providing them with what they want. Business experts suggest that you should handle negative feedback professionally by avoiding an argument that can taint your reputation. Also use a negative feedback as a way to develop your product to meet your customer’s needs.”
If you have a team helping you manage your business, be sure that they’re cared for, too.
Well-treated employees, who have prior knowledge about how to address problems, will treat your customers well. That may sound trite, but poor customer service drives people from your brand. We’ve all seen the videos go viral of poor customer service, and that isn’t what you want for your company.
Word of mouth works both ways—and actually, negative word of mouth goes farther and faster. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, a “dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience.”
Handle complaints professionally, with courtesy, and sincerely. Apologize when appropriate, even if it isn’t your fault. However, train yourself and your crew to shut down toxic situations efficiently.
Putting It All Together
Your consumer is the only thing you can’t go without. They are the only reason you exist.
If you want to hook them in, and keep them, start with getting to know them. Then, offer them value. Give them quality customer service, and ask them how you are doing.
The rewards of repeat sales, word of mouth, and customer loyalty will be worth all your effort.
For more on finding your audience, read on: