For many companies who function predominantly online, face to face interactions with customers and clients seldom happen. Personal relationships are difficult to build when the individuals that your company targets are a demographic statistic rather a specific person with a smile and ambitions. So how can your company connect with individuals and form relationships that last when your business only has one brick and mortar store? Here’s a look at how your business can market to individuals and build the personal connections customers and clients crave.
iBeacons are a new technology that utilize a variant of Bluetooth technology called Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE. BLE lets your smartphone or other mobile device, like your Apple Watch Sport, communicate with other enabled devices over a short distance. It consumes considerably less battery than traditional Bluetooth, as its name implies. BLE uses are typically geared toward personalized advertisements. These are one-way transmissions from a beacon, like a computer that sends a message to a smartphone or other smart device.
What does this look like for a business? Let’s say a shopper strolls down the street, bag in hand. Suddenly their Apple Watch gives them a notification. The message you’ve set your iBeacon to communicate with mobile devices has appeared. For instance, if you have a vintage clothing boutique, you might program your message as, “Holiday sale, this weekend only, 20 percent off all items.” A moment later the potential customer walks into your shop and they already know why they want to enter your store.
Since most of your business is online, an iBeacon is a great way to make the physical interactions you have with customers count.
No matter what kind of business you have, your online presence is an essential part of your success. Build a community around your product or service with an online forum. A forum provides a communication hub for customers and clients. Many online forums serve community members in their search for knowledge when they trouble shoot a problem. Let the community you’ve created do part of the work for you in terms of customer support — and it’s a free work force. Of course, the most difficult part is getting this community started. Post exclusive information and materials on your forum, as this will make it an invaluable source of knowledge for your customers.
This isn’t necessarily face to face, but you can certainly reach your target demographic in other ways. Increase your visibility with social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Ask your customer or client base how you can serve them better. Listen. When those you serve see positive change come about from the input they’ve given, they will spread the word of your service. Never underestimate the impact of word of mouth, even if it’s online.
When you take customer input into account and make changes in how your business functions, let people know. A newsletter is worth the effort and reaches an audience that is less connected via social media. Include deals, information, customer success stories and updates to your business model. If these updates were brought about by a certain customer, give them credit or even feature them in the newsletter. This shows the recipients of the email how much you value input from those you serve.
About the Author
Alex Clark-McGlenn is a graduate of the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts Writer’s Workshop. His fiction has been published in the Best New Writing 2016 anthology, The Cost of Paper, Smokebox.net, and others. In his spare time he enjoys cycling, soccer, and reading. He lives the Pacific Northwest.