Communicating Effectively With Your Audience and Customers
It’s the most important aspect of any business, one that can make or break it at every turn. Even if you have all of the other elements that you need in place for your Web Presence, you can wind up losing out for of lack of good communication. So Communicating Effectively With Your Audience and Customers is vital to the success of your business.
This goes for any stage of contact, from your audience, to those who choose to buy something from you or pay for a service (customers). Regardless of where people are in the process of their encounter with your business, you want that experience to be as good as it can be.
This means you need to make the most out of any connection you make with your customers and clients. And you want that experience to be congruent across every area of your Web Presence.
To communicate effectively you will need to help your audience, customers and clients get to know you. Help them understand your business, your goals for helping them, and what your products or services can do for them. Essentially, why they should choose your company over your competition.
Communicating this message effectively to your audience helps establish that all important connection that makes the whole world go around. And when it comes to your business, you want to make sure you are included.
You can do this basically by creating all kinds of content and spreading it around as much as you can. Your static site content, posts on your blog, videos on Youtube, top ranking directory listings, guest blog posts, classifieds, social networking, webinars and so on should all be focused on getting your message out there and making strong emotional connections. These pieces of content are the fuel that drives any successful business.
So that’s your “vehicle” so to speak, for getting your information out there. But you can put loads of content out there and get nowhere fast if it doesn’t resonate well with your audience. Fortunately forging strong emotional connections is more straight forward than you may think…
Give your audience accurate, honest, ample informative content. Content they will perceive to have value. Content that helps them solve problems. Content that makes them feel secure, and motivated to choose your company over others.
While this is a fairly simple concept, there are a few key details we’ll discuss now.
Since we have established that effective communication starts with accuracy and honesty, you want all contact with your audience to adhere to this simple rule. Be sure that everything you put out there is exactly what you say it is, that you are giving your audience the most accurate, up to date information possible. And be sure that you give them enough information about your business to make an informed decision about choosing your products or services.
This means clearly defining who you are, what you are about, what your goals are, about your message. Show them how you can help them solve a problem, or how you can improve their lives. Provide your policies and information about how orders will be handled; the promises you make to your customers.
Pay close attention to information about the products and/or services you are offering – basically provide everything someone would need or want to know about your business in order to become a customer.
Provide Accurate, Comprehensive Information Across Your Web Presence.
I can’t stress this enough. Though it may seem like overkill, and I know I’m repeating myself a bit here, you would be shocked at how many businesses fail miserably short on this. So show your customers and clients that you are different. Show them that your business is honest. That you are considerate about how your customers are treated, that you strive to provide a good experience for them. That you would appreciate their loyalty, and won’t let them down.
Since it’s always best to be honest with your customers, and of course no one is perfect, you should also address the possibility of issues. You don’t have to weigh heavily on this topic, or place it right out front. Simply add a reasuring statment and instructions on what they should do if an issue arises, provide support contact information that is easy to locate, offer a covenient contact form on your contact page. These things go a long way towards easing worries up front, and help those who need assistance should an issue arise.
Provide every detail about your business, products and services so that there is absolutely no confusion.
Provide an accurate, comprehensive description about your products (and be sure it is unique-don’t use the same description you get from your dropship or wholesale supplier). Include clear images of the item from different angles if at all possible. If you are selling jewelry for instance, include images of the piece on both light and dark backgrounds, or whatever gives the customer the best view of the product. You may even want to set up a great looking background to make your products stand out.
When it comes to your videos do the same. Keep in mind that even though written content is effective and essential, videos are a great opportunity to make an emotional connection with your audience. So be conversational. Talk to them just as you would if you had that person right in front you. You would talk to them in a way that is courteous, professional and helpful.
Spread this information across your entire Web Presence; your website, blog, social networks, articles and marketplaces.
Live up to those promises you make.
Do what you say you are going to do, provide the information, product or service you promised. You will gain the trust of your audience, helping them to make the decision to become a customer.
It will also help you avoid problems after members of your audience become customers. Good communication throughout the entire relationship will result in loyal customers who come back again and again for your products and services. Because they know you will do what you say you will do, provide what you told them you would, and give them the support they need to feel secure in buying from you. (And it will also get you valuable likes, shares and shout outs online which will in turn help bring more traffic to your business.)
Make sure that your information is well organized and easy to find.
Clearly list your company information on an about page that provides all those details about your company. Don’t just stop at listing your contact information and policies. Tell them your story, tell them who you are, what your business is all about. Be informative and professional, but be friendly; make sure they know who you are and what you are all about. Make sure that they feel comfortable. Make sure that your site is easy to navigate by creating well organized menus.
Your product or service pages should contain all the information we discussed earlier; product or service details, ample pictures of your products, or images that accurately depict your product. Do the same with services if possible. Organize these pages in your navigation menu or menus so they are easy to find. Provide a search box so visitors can easily find what they are looking for. And feature popular products, items that are on sale, or those you recommend most on your home page.
You get the idea, make sure they can easily locate any information they need to get a super accurate idea of what your product or service is. And make sure to clearly define what your product or service will do for them. Give all the details and information you can!
Never forget to double check your content for quality; spell check everything and make sure your grammar is correct. Have someone else check it over if needed. Just make sure that your written content looks professional, because people do notice. But don’t get fanatic about it, a few errors here and there humanizes your business, just as long as it’s not too often.
Make sure to follow best practices and talk to your audience on social platforms regularly. And do the same with other external areas of your Web Presence.
All of this effort will pay off. It will not only help you acquire customers and clients, it will also help you keep them. By giving them information of obvious quality that they can find easily. Provide them with information they can count on, and products and services they love, and you will gain valuable, loyal customers. You can even become an authority in your niche, which should be your ultimate goal. And that will bring you even more success.
Provide Excellent Customer Support.
Aside from it’s obvious benefits to your business, customer service is also one of the best ways to stand out among your competition. If you go look at your competitors’ online reviews, you are likely to find more than one getting reports from customers that were not satisfied with that companies’ service. Astonishingly enough, you may even find top competitors making this mistake time and time again. Even though they know that good support is vital, a lot of businesses simply don’t provide quality customer service. Do a better job than they do, and you can pick up valuable customers.
Some of the top mistakes you will see: they don’t respond to email inquiries quickly, they don’t return phone calls, or their support is not friendly and informative. In some cases, this is due to simple lack of support staff. If you encounter this problem, it’s best to outsource the job than go lacking for timely, quality support. And in a day and age where basic email support services can be put into place for around $20 per month, it’s just plain silly to comprimise on this critical aspect.
Think of all the information you provide online as customer support.
Because even before they went astray with their customer support, those businesses were failing to provide enough information for their customers. Perhaps they even gave inaccurate information. They don’t communicate to their audience and let them know who they are, what they are about. A surprising number of businesses don’t provide enough information right up front about their products and services either. And all too often customers find that what they thought they were buying isn’t all it was worked up to be. We all know this dissapointment first hand, and you don’t want to land yourself in that category.
For one thing, if you communicate effectively it reduces the amount of support customers need after purchase. Now, that’s not to say that you won’t get questions from customers or encounter some issues. But it’s a sure bet there won’t be as much support work to do because they were well informed before they chose to do business with you.
When Things Do Go Wrong…
You will have dissatisfied customers from time to time, no matter how on your game you are with your communication. The up side; issues like this are perhaps the best opportunity you have to make a powerful statement about your business.
People make mistakes; it happens. And for the most part consumers understand that. So when you encounter an issue do everything you can to work it out and make them happy. Make a happy customer as often as you can. You’ll find that in most cases all they want is to feel that their concerns are being addressed, that they are being heard. And that you are there, more than happy to help as much as you can to make them happy.
This starts with getting back to customers and clients immediately or as soon as possible if they contact you with a question, concern or an issue. Read their email all the way through a few times so that you can address each of their concerns directly and precisely.
Even so there will be times when there is just no fix, even if you offer a full refund. You just can’t make everyone happy all the time, and a certain amount of this is to be expected. Unless you have an oddly high rate of such instances, don’t let this get you down. Just work to remedy the issues you can. Sometimes you’ll even get high marks in online reviews for the fixes you worked hard to provide for those tough customers. Either way, this will reduce the number of permanently unhappy customers or clients significantly.
Cultivate Reviews Whenever Possible.
Todays’ consumer has a world of information at their fingertips. They are more well-informed than any time in the past, and they are apt to check company or business reviews online before they buy. This means that you should encourage customers to leave you reviews on Google and other high ranked review platforms, even your website, so that those prospective customers can see what others are saying they can expect from you.
Be sure to check your online reviews regularly, at least once a month or so. Sometimes unhappy customers don’t give you a chance to rectify an issue before hopping online and giving you a bad review. So you won’t even know that they were unhappy with their experience. If you find someone who was not satisfied with your product or service, respond to those people and do your best to see if you can fix things to their satisfaction if you can.
Now for some finishing touches.
Keep your information up to date. Don’t put out that initial information and forget it. When something about your business, products or services change, always remember to ensure that all of your information reflects those changes, across your entire Web Presence.
Refresh your content from time to time; return customers like to see well maintained information. They view new content or updated content as coming from a business that is on the ball. A company that is attentive and serious about their business. Meanwhile, search engines love to see fresh content at least once every six months.
Don’t let your information get stagnate. Rewrite some of your content, like your product or service descriptions, or update your images if you have some that could stand a makeover. Even if nothing has changed, fresh content is always a plus. And be sure to add new information on a regular basis.
Keep your information, images and so on organized and stored into folders so you can quickly and easily recover it if you need to. Sometimes websites crash, or something goes wrong and content gets deleted. You don’t want to have to write all that content, or take those pictures of products again. Keep your content safe with copies of everything stored in some different locations. You’ll save yourself huge headaches in the future.
Make customer support faster and easier; compile a collection of responses to common questions or concerns. When you get an email to your support inbox that you encounter often, you can simply copy and paste the response, make necessary adjustments to personalize them a bit and click send.
You can also list these responses on a Q&A section of your website for everyone to see. That way you can work smarter, instead of harder, and still come off with stellar support.
If you are just starting out, then this may seem like a lot to cover. It may seem even harder if you are already affected by communication blunders. Just take your time, tackle one area a day or perhaps one thing a week. For instance; work on your static pages this week, directory listings the next, set customer email support in place the next week, and so on. Keep going down through the topics we’ve covered here until you have the information in place for solid, effective communication.
Implementing the information and techniques we have discussed here will have you Communicating Effectively With Your Audience and Customers like a pro in no time. Your customers will be happier, and you will be happy because your business with grow and thrive all the better for it!