Did you know that the average person spends more than 3 hours a day online? With digital consumption increasing year on year, it’s never been important for forward-thinking businesses to capitalise on the growth of the Internet and the incredible commercial opportunities it offers. If you’re looking to impress consumers, entice new clients and make your brand more customer-friendly, here are some tips to take on board.
Creating the right first impression
We all know how important it is to create the right first impression in business. It takes the average human being less than 7 seconds to generate an opinion. This means that you don’t have very long to lay the foundations and make sure you get off on the right foot. There are several ways businesses can ensure they get that all-important first meeting right, but what happens when you’re interacting with online customers? More and more people are discovering brands via digital channels, and this means that business owners have to ensure they impress on every level. There’s no point in having a fabulous looking store or restaurant and launching a digital marketing campaign to increase interest if the website is dated or there are no social media pages for potential customers to explore. If you’re trying to promote a business online, it’s crucial to put as much effort into impressing from the outset as you would with a physical store, for example. Consider your website your virtual shop window.
If your website isn’t up to scratch, don’t put off making changes. Even if you don’t sell products or offer services online, this is an incredibly valuable way to attract clients and put your business on the map. People often search for restaurants and look at menus before booking a table, for example. If you’ve got a dazzling website and an Instagram feed full of images of delicious looking dishes or indulgent desserts, this is going to stand you in good stead. If you’re not an expert in web design, or you don’t have marketing or design teams in-house, consider outsourcing this area of the business.
Ensuring your website works for your customer
As a consumer, there’s nothing more frustrating than being unable to locate a product, complete an order or find the answer to a question. If you want to buy something online, it should take a matter of seconds. Today, time is a luxury, and we live in an age where we expect instant results. As a business owner, you have to ensure that your website works for your customer. It’s not enough to look brilliant. While images and a great theme may entice customers, if pages or links are broken or slow to load, or the checkout process is convoluted, you are going to lose clients. Spend some time exploring your site, have it checked over by IT and digital marketing experts, and iron out any problems or issues. You want your site to be slick and seamless so that customers can achieve their objective with minimal effort.
One of the most crucial aspects of catering for modern consumers is recognising the importance of mobile technology. You only have to take a look around you at a coffee shop to see that we’re glued to our phones. Your site should be mobile-friendly, and any content you create and share should be visible to customers using tablets or phones. If you’re really keen to attract mobile clients, designing an app is a fantastic idea. Apps offer a host of benefits for both the brand and the user. If you have an app, your logo will retain a continual presence on the screen, and customers may be more likely to use your app rather than loading safari and potentially choosing a rival business.
Keep up to date with marketing trends
Marketing today is very different to how it was a decade, or even 5 years ago. New trends are emerging all the time, and it pays to be ahead of the crowd. Read up on innovative marketing methods, and listen out for headlines related to fresh trends. If you’re searching for an easy, effortless way to keep up to date, look into options like an Amazon Skill covering Internet marketing news. In seconds, you’ll have a succinct round-up, which will enable you to stay abreast of what’s going on in the world of digital marketing. Another excellent way to stay in touch is to keep an eye on what the competition is doing. How are rival firms promoting their businesses, and which kinds of techniques seem to be the most effective?
Many businesses use social media to attract customers and get their brand name out there. While social media platforms offer amazing marketing opportunities, they shouldn’t be used solely to advertise products or services. You can use your social media pages and feeds to do a lot more than up-sell specific items or share news of discounts or deals. Focus on the word ‘social’ and use these online areas to engage with your customers, to get to know more about them, and to establish a relationship with them. Chat online, take the time to respond to comments, and be present. If you’ve got a live chat feature, and people are asking you questions, don’t leave them hanging. Respond swiftly, and make your brand approachable. Research suggests that the majority of customers abandon their online carts because they have questions about the product. If you can provide answers or offer the option to chat, you should find that conversion rates improve.
Enhancing user experience
Every business wants to impress its customers. If you have a cafe, a hotel, a bar or even an office, you probably go out of your way to ensure that the premises look the part and that clients are treated to an enjoyable experience when they arrive. With online arenas, providing a pleasant, interactive user experience poses a different challenge. You’re not going to be able to blow clients away with incredible decor or decadent cakes that are presented on jaw-dropping table displays. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to take steps to ensure that potential customers enjoy every second they spend navigating your website or checking out your social feeds. The more time people spend on your webpages, the higher the chance of conversion, so how can you make users devote time to your business? Aesthetics will always play a role, but it’s also essential to ensure ease of navigation and to inject something a little different.
Web users may visit several sites in the space of an hour, so it’s important to be able to hold their attention, and to encourage them to come back again in the future. Be creative, and try and offer something that other sites don’t. Introduce features that are likely to appeal to your ideal customer. If you sell clothing or accessories, for example, there’s a good chance that your customer could have already browsed pages and pages of similar products. You can maximise your chances of them adding your items to their basket by offering features like size recommendations, styling tips, matching products and outfit builders and video clips that show the item from every angle. This package is so much more attractive than a single snap of a piece of clothing hanging on a rail, for example.
Collecting and using feedback for improved customer service
More than 90% of people now read reviews before buying products or paying for services. In the Internet age, feedback can make or break you. If you’re keen to prioritise customer service, ask clients and customers to leave feedback, and make sure you take comments, opinions, and ideas on board. It can be upsetting and distressing to read negative reviews, especially if you don’t agree with the comments, but you can learn from every single piece of feedback. Use reviews to iron out issue, make improvements and gain a better understanding of what your customers want. If you’ve got people talking about amazing food and a great atmosphere at an eatery, but there are comments about slow service, for example, this gives you an area to address. You might benefit from having more staff working at peak times, or from simplifying the menu, for example.
More and more companies are conducting business online. If you’re selling or promoting services via a website or social media platforms, you may wonder how it’s possible to improve customer service and encourage communication. The truth is that there are several ways you can ensure that your business is customer-friendly. Focus on creating a website that appeals to your target market and enables consumers to achieve their objectives, for example, placing an order or booking a table, in seconds, and make an effort to interact with clients or virtual followers and friends. Collect and use feedback, use social media to communicate with web users and try to offer your customers something different and original. You want your website to make a positive first impression, but you also want to keep customers on your site to increase the chances of making a sale. Aim to provide a brilliant, seamless experience, and make sure you cater for mobile users too. Keep up with marketing news and try and be a leader rather than a follower when it comes to consumer trends.