No, I mean how well do you REALLY communicate with your customers?
A recurring theme in my blog posts lately has been the importance of keeping that customer coming back to your store after the initial sale. Sure we all want repeat business, but if you’re not engaging your customers to get that business, how can we expect additional orders.
Communication via email is obviously the most used means of speaking to our customers. Some are under the belief that these promotional blasts always need to have an offer in them. Sure it’s great to provide your customer with a coupon for 10% off, but if that’s all you do every two weeks, it’s not effective.
Email marketing doesn’t have to always be about discounts or free items. Use this form of marketing to educate your customers about your niche or about a new product you’re promoting. A great looking email about a hot new product on your store will drive traffic without digging into your pockets to give money off the item. If you have a gardening website, tips about spring planting with links to helpful products does the trick.
Lets be honest with each other here. We are creatures of habit and we condition ourselves pretty easily. If you’re sending your customers coupons every other week, they get conditioned to wait for that email to arrive to place an order. In the mean time, you’re wondering why sales are down on that “off” week. Couponing is good, but don’t over do it.
How often you email your customers is an important factor to consider as well. Killing them with emails several times a month may lead to unsubscribes. I feel that an every-other-week cycle of emails is best.
One form of communication that’s often avoided is the telephone. This relic of technology hasn’t been buried yet and can be an effective means of marketing for you. The Internet is a cold, lonely place. There’s not too much warm and fuzzy going on between customer and store. Imagine for a moment that a week after you place an order from XYZ Sweaters, Mary Jane calls you to check in and make sure your order arrived ok and that you’re satisfied with the piece of outerwear you ordered.
Score one for the team!
By using the phone to follow-up with your customers about their order, you’re surprising them because they weren’t expecting that level of service and you’re also opening yourself up to future orders by asking leading questions. “I’m so happy you like the sweater, did you know we just got in mittens to match?” Or, “I’m really happy that your sister complimented you on the sweater, do you know what size she wears, maybe she would like one in a similar pattern?”
There’s a lot of gold out there that can be mined through simple, relevant communication. What tools you choose to dig with determines if there’s color in your pan or not.