As we progress deeper into the realm of virtual businesses and digital communication, as a business owner, you may find yourself struggling to straddle the divide between technology and personal service. With so many online tools at a company’s disposal, how can you make sure you are reaching the individual customer and addressing his needs?
Believe it or not, a strong online extension to your company does not and should not overpower that person-to-person interaction. In fact, utilizing your digital tools appropriately can only enhance the personal experience for your current and potential customers.
So, how can you maintain your company’s reputation for quality service online?
1. Determine your company’s “personality”
- Before worrying about online services, pin down exactly what makes your company “individual.” What makes your company an integral part of its community?
- Ask questions like: How does your company interact with customers when they walk through your door? Are your employees funny or caring or quirky? Is the dress code formal or casual?
- Once you have answered some of these questions, you can apply that information to your online marketing plan. Come up with appropriate tag lines or messages that you can circulate online (remember to keep the tone similar to the one you and your employees use in real life!). Take descriptive photos of your location, staff, and community to share in the digital space.
- Research where your customers and potential customers might be engaging online (Blogs? Social Media?).
2. Decide what digital platforms work best for your business and commit to managing them on a regular basis
- Think about it: websites, mobile sites, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter… – there are myriad ways to represent your company in the digital space. When your company’s “personality” has been established, you can decide what channels best reflect that personality (and your audience).
- Many small businesses today have yet to harness the marketing and communication power that online tools can provide. What exactly are these tools? Click here for helpful insights.
- Peruse this helpful guide to choosing the appropriate social media channel(s). It’s important to pick social networks that not only suit your business’ products and personality, but also are relevant to your target audience. Certain social media outlets appeal to some demographics more than others (women, men, young people, etc.).
- Need an example of a company with a strong personality in action and online? Southwest Airlines is well known for its friendly and humorous flight attendants. The company chose Facebook as one of their primary online tools in order to continue informally interacting with their customers and communities.
- Still not sure what will work for the company? Don’t be ashamed to seek professional advice!
3. Keep the customer in mind when reworking your online marketing materials
- Once you’ve identified the appropriate online tools for your company and audience, work on writing appealing messaging and creating graphics that integrate seamlessly with your company’s character:
4. Create special incentives for online visitors and convert them into customers
- One of the great benefits of having a healthy online presence is that companies have the potential to reach many new people – people that might not have known about your physical location until they saw it represented online
- Harness this potential; reach out to those would-be customers and provide incentives for them to visit your business in person. Coupons, specials, or events can be effective ways to do this.
By taking the time to actively reach out to your company’s online community and providing useful resources for people (e.g. a navigable website, active social networks, online incentives, etc.), users are more likely to become in-person customers. By the same token, maintaining your existing level of in-store customer service (or amplifying it) and extending that effort to your company’s digital platforms can increase loyalty for your brand or product and improve your company’s referral rates (online and via traditional “word of mouth”).
Want to learn more about how Propel can help with this? Check out PropelSocial.