One-off marketing might have been the general trend decades ago. But thanks to the Internet, that isn’t the case anymore, especially with platforms such as social media. Customers are inherently different today. They expect their relationship with a brand to go beyond just purchases.
According to Mohan Sawhney, a Clinical Professor of Marketing at the McCormick Foundation Chair of Technology, Kellogg School, this dramatic change in customer behavior is a red flag. It indicates that companies should wake up and be ready to embrace change and develop newer methods of customer engagement. He calls it engagement marketing and it is a system devised to pull the customer in, unlike the age-old method of push marketing. What the pull method entails is more conversations, paying attention to customer needs and acknowledging their interests.
So, how can your business implement this approach, especially in the context of local customers? Well, here are a few suggestions.
Leverage social media
Millions of customers use social media and your local customer base isn’t going to be any different. Though a local presence may relatively be more limited, there are ways to engage them. For instance, you can promote check-ins, which is a feature often used on Facebook. When a patron or existing customer uses the check-in feature, they create more visibility for your brand. You can encourage this habit by incentivizing it. For example, if you run a restaurant, you can hand out a free cup of coffee every time a customer does this.
You can also share posts personally to reach a more specific audience. One thing you can do is share an update from your business page through your personal profile. This will help you reach out to a bigger local audience. In fact, you can even specifically select who you engage with.
Personalize your communication based on the demographic you’re catering to. For example, you can add something a little more personal in your e-mail subject lines. You can also tap into your demographic information to see if a local customer is part of your loyalty program. If yes, you can send an email clearly indicating that they’re getting benefits for being part of the loyalty program. Personalization plays a key role in engagement. The more personal you are with your marketing tactics, the easier it becomes to have an impact on your local audience.
Keep conversations alive
Make sure you never switch off communication with your audience, local or global. Always be responsive to their requests and queries. The more responsive you are, the easier it is to end problems before they snowball into something bigger. As for keeping the conversation going with local audiences, you need to create a platform where they can gather to voice their concerns and opinions. How about creating a social media page that caters exclusively to your area, town or city? This tells your local customers that they are valued and respected.
Another way to engage local audiences is by producing localized content. For instance, if there’s a retailer in your area that sells your product; ask customers how good the service is at that retailer, especially in the context of your own product. Suggest help or guidance based on the feedback.
Is there a local customer who really benefited from your product? Well, request him/her to provide a detailed feedback, citing real life examples where your product/service helped them. As they say, marketing thrives on peer encouragement. So, good feedback from a local patron can encourage others to respond as well. This will bring in more traffic and also help you determine if there are any pain points to be addressed.
Well, there you have it. 5 ways how you can engage the customers and reap the benefits.
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