(a) who will continue to buy from you in the near future
(b) who would recommend your business to a friend or
(c) who might feel a sense of loss if your product/ service was no longer available
A truly loyal customer will check all these boxes. Besides being good for business, an engaged customer also serves as a brand ambassador, bringing in new customers without any additional advertising costs. This is why besides acquiring new customers, engaging your existing customer base makes such good business sense.
In many of our recent updates we have seen how social media marketing ,email marketing , mobile text campaigns, CRM systems, online surveys , online communities and other internet based tools have become increasingly accessible to small businesses as client engagement tools. So the next question that follows is which of these internet marketing methods is the most effective for engaging existing customers and acquiring new ones?
Constant Contact, the comprehensive marketing solution provider with special focus on small businesses, has conducted its second survey on the effectiveness of online marketing tools for small businesses. The survey covered 1305 respondents and comprised a mixed bag of U.S based small businesses and non- profit organizations involved in B2B as well as B2C industries. Here are the key results of the survey which provide an invaluable insight into the most effective online marketing tools for small businesses.
Trend 1: Online surveys, digital loyalty tracking systems and client relationship management systems were deemed to be the most effective in engaging existing customers by majority of the respondents
Trend 2: For all the criticism levied on daily deal offers towards eroding business value, the majority of the small businesses still view daily deals as the most effective way for acquiring new customers. Dave Gilberston, Vice President and General Manager, SaveLocal, recommends that small businesses should structure deals in a manner that allows them to control the volumes and discounts offered because of the smaller margins that they operate within. Interestingly, 82 percent of small businesses confirmed that referrals were the main source of new business and small businesses are increasingly using the internet to drive their referral model.
Trend 3: When asked which were the most effective tools for creating awareness and strengthening customer relationship, respondents chose a healthy mix of all available online tools from websites to email marketing.
While the survey on the effectiveness of these online marketing tools is a good indicator of strategies that may be adopted, small businesses must also continue to leverage other aspects of marketing such as in-person networking . Handing out business cards, attending local fairs and a cohesive visual branding are also important for bringing in new customers and can at times reap huge rewards. Also, depending on the resources available and the target segment, small businesses may have to choose an optimum mix of online marketing tools that works best for their business. Finally, a staggered approach to adding to the repertoire of online marketing methods makes a lot more sense than trying to do too much in one go and failing to have the desired customer impact.