Your email recipients, social media followers, or website visitors may not be as tangible as a customer who walks into your business, but you can still win over your online audience in your email marketing, social media, search engine optimization pages, and content marketing pieces. Remember, these are people you are reaching; believe it or not a fair number of marketers have lost touch with that fact—and these best practices of online marketing.
You’re not going to win over your online audience if they don’t feel you can relate to them. Plan accordingly: what does your audience care about? What entertains them? What do they want to know? Choose subjects for your emails, social media posts, articles, and website pages that provide value and fit the pain points and voice of your audience. Pair those online marketing efforts with clickable headlines and you create a win-win situation for you and your audience.
Don’t ignore them.
This is one of the most common mistakes we see, and it comes in two forms: 1) by not answering emails and social media messages and 2) by ignoring negative responses and comments. If you receive an email off of your website, respond promptly. If you don’t have a full response immediately, let the customer know that you are collecting information and will get back to them—then follow-up as soon as you can. Not responding to customers with negative feedback can also back fire in another way, leading to a social media page full of negative reviews and angry comments.
Stop trying to trick them.
Sensational email subject lines, click baiting headlines, misleading social media posts…they give us shivers just thinking about all the different ways companies and agencies try to trick their customers. DON’T do it. You’re not going to build trust with your customers, and your time and efforts are a waste. Unless it’s April Fool’s Day and the trick is for fun, don’t destroy the relationship you built with your audience with underhanded tactics.
Provide excellent customer service.
Stop thinking of online customer service as different than in-person customer service. If a potential customer calls you on the phone, or walks into your office, they expect to talk to someone. An email from your website or a message (other than solicitation emails) through one of your social media channels deserves the same prompt customer service response. Respond quickly, and follow these other rules for excellent online customer service to reap the rewards. Remember, customers appreciate your efforts, and studies have shown they do choose a company that provides excellent customer service over another competitor—even when the product or service costs more.
Stop yelling at them.
No one likes an obnoxious jerk; that’s true for in-person and online marketing. Stop screaming only advertisements and start building trust. Give your customers, and potential customers, information that can help them (you get more points if you optimize your content for customers and search engines—here’s how here) and include strong calls to action. That doesn’t mean you should stop advertising, but it does mean that you are going to sabotage your efforts if your social media page is full of “buy this!” “buy that!” The same goes for your emails and content marketing. Win your audience over the same way you win a spouse over: with time and trust. Very few people are going to say “yes” to an obnoxious proposal on the first date.
Studies have shown that regular marketing gets regular results—if your marketing efforts offer value to your customers. Online marketing is a marathon. Create a marketing plan with regular touches (content marketing articles, social media posts, mail pieces, emails, etc.) and stick to it. If you can’t keep up with your marketing plan, partner with a company that can produce optimized, customized marketing pieces specific to your business on a regular schedule that reaches your audience—all the elements of a marketing plan that wins over your audience.