Best of all, the opportunity to engage your target audience by way of “latest and greatest marketing” is probably nearly always right under your nose.
In order to take advantage of latest and greatest marketing for customer engagement, you’ll need a little thing that experts in the business call, “a plan.” That plan should have a list of items and a timeline of activities that occur before and after your latest and greatest opportunities.
Curious? Here are some of the latests and greatests that commonly – and repeatedly – occur in most businesses, and the types of plans you’ll need to surround them in order to intrigue and engage customers, prospects, employees and other important stakeholders:
Create Customer Engagement with Latest and Greatest Products and Services
All too often we demonstrate that we believe products and services are so obviously wanted or needed by customers that they will sell themselves. We don’t say that, but we demonstrate it through failing to:
- Survey customers ahead of time to see if customer need or want actually exists for the proposed new product or service (in-store, by mail, via email and online, using your website and blog)
- Test market or sample it to a focus group for feedback – feedback that can not only tell you whether the product or service is wanted, but can help you make improvements prior to launch and even provide you with the most important selling points – customer benefits – around which to base your introductory education and promotions
- Educate employees about the product or service and incentivize and equip them to enthusiastically promote it themselves
- Conduct a customer-education campaign through point of purchase and other in-store signs, direct mail, social media, email, blog and website to build demand ahead of product arrival or service option launch
- Strategically communicate the existence and benefits of a new product or service across all channels of communication including website, email newsletter, blog, social media, in-store signs and brochures
- Sample new products or create mini-versions of new services to give away or give as a gift-with-purchase in order to introduce it to customers and build demand
- Create thoughtful promotions based on adding value (rather than discounting) so that they don’t look desperate or like ‘clearance’ sales, when new products or services fail to magically “sell themselves.”
Create Customer Engagement with your Latest and Greatest Employees
Whether your business has new employees as a result of growth or turnover, the opportunity exists to tell customers, vendors and other stakeholders about new people you have added to your team. Introducing new employees to customers in mailings, email newsletters, on your website, social media and blog can help you avoid “surprising” them when a former favorite staff member has been replaced (for whatever reason). It also provides you with a great opportunity to make emotional connections as your audience learns things about your latest and greatest employee additions that they can personally relate to, themselves.
Create Customer Engagement with your Latest and Greatest Resources and Renovations
Did you add answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) to your website? Share them with all your customers in an upcoming email newsletter or plan to rotate the 12 most frequently asked questions on signs at your point of sale or use your FAQ as the starting point for blog posts and social media interaction.
Did you renovate an area of your store, your social media profile (a-hem, your Facebook timeline cover photo), or your blog? Tell people! Use this as the pretext for adding subscribers to your blog and email or connections to your Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media profiles.
Create Customer Engagement with your Latest and Greatest Suggestions and Complaints
Customer suggestions and complaints can be a big pain in the patootsie or they can become one of your richest sources of ideas for continuous improvements – improvements that actually matter to customers. Use social media, your blog and email newsletter and signs at the point of sale to share your latest and greatest customer complaints or suggestions, and what you did in response. Send a message to your customers that what is most important to them, is most important to you!
The point is, receiving and acting on a complaint or suggestion and making things right with that customer, if needed, is only part of the process. Demonstrating that you are transparent, honest, open to criticism and actually responsive is the other part of the process – and it’s the part that can help you to gain ground with not just one customer, but many.
Create Customer Engagement with your Latest and Greatest Activities
Your blog, email newsletter and social media are the perfect mediums to use to talk about how your business benefits your community in ways both big and small. Did you sponsor a canned food drive? Donate a portion of proceeds to charity? Sponsor a local school music or sports program? Volunteer to help tutor or read with kids at the local elementary school? Attend a neighborhood chamber of commerce, rotary or even just a networking event?
Tell customers (and employees) about the ways your business helps to strengthen the local economy, participates in civic projects or supports local charities. Give them more reasons to be proud of identifying themselves with the brand of your business and referring friends and family to you.
Create Customer Engagement with your Latest and Greatest Plans for the Future
People (a.k.a. prospects, customers and employees) want to be part of something greater than themselves. Be sure that you share your business vision statement (what your business will ultimately become by fulfilling its mission; and the greater good it will provide to its constituents when it is “all grown up.”) Talk about the changes you foresee to your organization and its structure, and the opportunities that exists for employees in the short and in the long run.
Your “latests and greatests” give you the means to reach out and communicate with employees as well as prospects and customers – and probably on a daily basis; are you taking advantage of all of them? This type of engagement breeds customer and employee loyalty, long term sales and referrals. Pepper your communications plan across all channels with coordinated educational information and announcements as the means of giving them reasons to want to identify themselves with you and the brand of your business.
- The Social Media KISS (business2community.com)
- Brand Loyalty Brings Businesses Closer To Customers (business2community.com)