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13
MARCH 2014

The Importance of Connecting with Your Customers

The world we live in is filled with an overwhelming amount of advertising messages. Just taking a walk down to your nearest coffee joint you’ll be greeted with adverts at the bus shelter, promotional signs displaying in shop windows, and not forgetting mobile ads appearing on the little device in your hand while you’re browsing web content or using apps. Too many businesses are competing for a share of your time and attention. But the cold truth is- most customers do not listen.

 

There are a number of ways to break through this clutter, the two most obvious ways being:

Be useful or be amazing

Say you’re doing a business selling pencils. Well, pencils are useful so it shouldn’t be hard to reach out to your target audience right? But consider pens, markers and other pencil sellers that you’ll be competing against, how are you going to make your pencils stand out amongst all those other businesses? The key is to extensively connect with your customers so you always remain in their evoked set. What evoked set means is the group of brands in a product category that the consumers remember at the time when making a purchase. Take for example, what comes to mind when I say what would you like to drink? Coke, Pepsi, Sprite, Fanta. These would be the evoked set of brands of drinks in a typical consumer’s mind. Being in an evoked set is crucial to building brand loyalty in a long run.

 

The first step to take is to connect with your customers. These days utilizing social media is a popular choice because of its accessibility to the target audience 24/7, plus it is free (to some extent) to use. All businesses should use social media extensively to establish an online presence beyond a basic website. But this requires a consistent investment of time to build traction initially, and that momentum must be continued on a daily basis to grow your visibility. To be found online by the right people, you have to develop and share content that is popular with members of your target market. Different demographics exhibit different behaviours and interests in your published content, harness this advantage by segmenting your traffic and seeing what content is popular with each segment.

 

As you grow your following, keep your brand in the minds of your online community by collecting customer data to gain insights on how your customers use your products/services and view your brand. You need to know who is visiting your site, how they’re getting there, what they’re interested in, etc. to maximize performance of marketing efforts as well as make the necessary improvements to your products/services. But beware that passive data collection, although fast and convenient, can alienate customers. Passive data collection is when you capture user preferences and usage behaviour without involving any consumer interaction e.g. cookies to capture internet browsing history. So start involving your customers and provide transparency in your methods to learn more about them such as by using quizzes, polls and surveys with an email to follow up on the improvements you plan to make in time to come. When your customers feel like they’re being heard and that their opinions matter, you can be sure of their loyalty.


Pam Wong is the Demand Generation Executive at Globby (Global Blaze Solutions). She writes for the GBS Blog covering e-Commerce insights, fashion, online marketing strategy and business trends.