When we’re talking about acquiring new customers you probably think about creating funnels, considering paying to promote your social media profile or advertising locally. All of these things are important, of course, and should form part of your marketing plan.
But it’s only the first part of the journey, once you get a customer to sign up for your email list, like your Facebook page or even just go to your website, how do you make a good first impression? How do you build trust and encourage them to become customers without engaging in gross sales-y behaviour?
This is something that I learnt about when I was doing my degree - and it’s something I need to work on myself. As we move more and more of what we do on to the internet, it can (unintentionally) exclude people.
For example, I write this blog, which if you are vision impaired or don’t have strong reading skills, might mean you can’t access what I’m talking about. I’m planning to record all of my posts to help more people access my website and overcome this possible limitation in the future. Other things to consider might be:
Writing in multiple languages (depending on where you are based and where your target market is based)
Ensuring you don’t use colours that will make it difficult for colour blind users to navigate
If you need to use a CAPTCHA make sure it is a version that is accessible for all
Consider how easily your website can be navigated using just a keyboard
Some pop-ups are really hard to exit out of if you’re using a keyboard or if you’re using software that modifies your screen to make it easier to read. I know there’s a lot of disagreement about whether or not to use pop-ups - and this definitely adds another tick in the con column
If you need forms to be completed - make it clear what are mandatory fields.
Share (almost) everything you know
Content marketing is all the rage right now (do people even say "all the rage right now” anymore? Or should I be saying it's so lit? I'm old, help me), and for me, it’s not just another hot new strategy, it’s a fundamental shift in how business is done.
You shouldn’t hold on to your knowledge like it’s the eleven secret herbs and spices of KFC. Instead, you should give away 90% of what you know for free. It can sound scary because you feel like you should be keeping back more than you give away. I mean you’re trying to run a business after all.
It doesn’t matter if you are a service or a product business, sharing your knowledge is one of the best ways to help new customers to get to know you. By sharing so openly you’re showing potential new customers that your focus isn’t on the sale, your focus is on providing value.
Some suggestions for content marketing that you can share:
Answer common queries people have before purchasing from you
Provide any preparatory work they’ll need to do before working with you
Show them how they can do step one (or even a few steps) themselves
Share how to use your product
Interview other experts in your industry
Want to write a content marketing plan? >> Here is a fantastic guide that covers everything in a lot of detail
Show off your existing customers
People don’t really trust brands, but people do trust other people. So why not let your existing customers do the talking for you?
Of course, this means having customers who want to advocate for you, which is kind of the whole point of this website, so I have a few suggestions about how you can do that, and what you can do to show off your existing customers:
Once you’ve done that, here are some ways you can show off your existing customers:
Ask for testimonials from your customers and put them on your website or social media
Write a case study using one of your customers as the subject
Use customers photos - Patagonia only uses photos to advertise their products that have been taken by their customers.