Advertising is always tough when you don’t have the resources necessary to pull of a big online ad campaign, but you might be forgetting one very important aspect of your advertising: your customers. The customer can act as a free advertising medium for you. People talk, and they like to provide insight into their experiences when they do business with someone else.
That’s a good reason to give them the best experience possible, of course. However, there are also a great many things you can do to boost the customer’s message, transforming it into advertising for your company:
- Give your customers rewards. When shipping packages to them or completing a sale, you can always give them a complementary gift. For example, for purchases over $50, you can give them a free mug. Be creative!
- Make special discounts. Ever had a customer that comes several times a month to make large purchases? I’d bet you can make his or her life easier with a special discount card. For example, you can give customer loyalty cards that will give them a 10% discount on any $150+ purchases. It wouldn’t hurt to set up a “customer of the month” program in your store!
- Show them they’re special! Every customer that completes a sale likes to be appreciated for their business. Instruct your employees to give them a sweet smile and say, “Thank you for choosing us and have a wonderful day!” The environment must laud the customer for his or her purchase, not the business for providing the products. Never forget that they are the biggest contributing factor to your business’ existence.
- “Got a problem? We’ll help you!” No one generally likes to hear bad things said about them. While customers might be able to relate wonderful experiences at your establishment, be ready for those who really weren’t happy or are just too pretentious to be pleased by anyone. Still, you can use this to your advantage! For example, if someone posts on Facebook that the software you develop is riddled with inconvenient features, you can reply with this: “We are very sorry that you aren’t enjoying our software as much as we would have hoped. You can request a refund for us, describe the problems you have had, and we’ll work on them as soon as we can. Have a great day!” This kind of response turns something negative into something positive. Some people do good reviews on vendors that do this because of the establishment’s seriousness in their particular problems.
- Join Social Networks Where People Are Looking Actively For Businesses. Facebook isn’t the ideal social network for businesses to be found, although it is a good way to get in touch with your customer base. Try something like Foursquare or Yelp, where you appear on maps that people use. You can also post great deals for customers that use these services to find you.
- Allow customers to talk for you in your site. If you really want to get customers to speak out in your favor, encourage them to do so by giving them emails after an online purchase that reminds them to fill out a testimonial or survey. Some of them will speak about your services and what they say will appear on your page. Just make sure that they have something positive to talk about!
It all boils down to this: If you treat your customers well, they’ll do some of your work for you without batting an eyelash. The more you focus on your customer service, the more likely your customers are to hop right on Facebook and talk about the awesome time they had at your place.