As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you know the uphill battle that awaits you. When you start a new business, it’s a struggle for attention from customers at the outset—you’ve got to stand out as something new and better.
Once you get your foothold, there’s a different kind of challenge. You want to build a base of loyal, repeat customers while bringing in new ones at the same time. Accomplishing that means turning customers into superfans of your company—it means doing what it takes to move people’s opinion of your brand from like to LOVE.
Getting customers to fall in love takes serious work, but small businesses and startups can make their jobs easier with these strategies for turning customers into passionate supporters.
Be more present than the big fish
Small businesses have an inherent advantage because of their size—they’re more approachable, more personal, and easier to get in touch with than their larger counterparts. Authenticity is important for businesses of any size, but small businesses can show their genuine nature more clearly.
Be quick to respond to customers reaching out over social media and don’t just give them a canned response. Address people by name, listen to their concerns, and be honest—admitting your mistakes and apologizing can undo most if not all of the negativity when a customer doesn’t have a good experience.
Let customers be a part of your development
Listening to customer feedback is a vital act for small businesses and startups. Listening becomes more potent when you take what you hear and actively incorporate feedback and ideas from customers into your business or product.
Smaller companies have more agility and can make quick, effective adjustments to their customer service or marketing strategies. Be proactive by directly asking your customer base what they would like to see you do in the future, change, or improve, then use that feedback to show them your business puts its customers’ needs front and center. Be genuine, engaging, and fun when asking for feedback and people will help you improve.
By taking your customers’ feedback to heart and using it to serve them better, you build a level of trust with them that most larger companies can only hope to achieve.
Find unique ways to engage customers
The most obvious disadvantage for smaller companies is lack of funds. Your bottom line might not allow for big, flashy marketing pushes, sponsorships, or massive sale events. With a little ingenuity, however, you can still find ways to create a meaningful relationship with your customers.
Be sure to choose customer engagement activities that fit your company’s goals and budget. Here are just a few examples:
* *Be active in your community*—participate in local events or host your own to make a real-world connection with your customers.
* *Foster local partnerships*—small businesses can band together and support each other while making their city, town, or neighborhood more vibrant.
* *Share your company’s story*—use social media and inbound marketing content to make your company’s values and culture known and celebrate the employees who make it what it is.
* *Reward your early repeat customers*—your initial customer base should feel appreciated for supporting you when you needed it most. Show them that appreciation through little giveaways, handwritten thank you notes, or access to new offerings before the rest of the public.
* *Start a loyalty program*—encourage new customers to become repeat buyers by giving them personalized incentives.
As you should have already noticed, every one of these methods puts the focus on your customers and treats them as more valuable than just the purchases they make. People notice that and, when you’ve done it well and authentically, they will come to love your company for it.
Find more tips for retaining customers and growing your business in Paycor's Entrepreneur's Resource Center.
To learn about the many ways Paycor can support your new or growing business, contact us today.
Sources: Inc., FastCompany, GeekWire, Huffington Post
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