By Jayne Blake - January 26th, 2016

The best way to cultivate loyalty is regular and meaningful communication.

Successful businesses know the value of strong relationships with their customers, and the best way to cultivate loyalty is regular and meaningful communication—that's why you should strive to stay in touch with your customers. Here are a few tips to help you interact with them in a cost-effective manner.

1. Copy their communication style

Take a look at how your customers choose to communicate with you. Do the majority of them rely on social channels, or do they tend to email you? Based on this insight, you'll know which communication channels to use. Mimic their communication style and interact with them in the channels they prefer. If a consumer sends you an email, respond with an email – if they reach out to you on Facebook, reply on the same platform. This demonstrates you understand what they want and are able to accommodate their preferences.

2. Make every interaction relevant

You’re busy, and so are your customers. Before you make the effort to call or contact them, take a moment to ensure that your interaction is relevant. Do you have anything meaningful to say? Are you wasting their time? When reaching out, try and incorporate context and meaning into your messaging. You can establish a Google alert for the names of your clients, as well as products or trends relevant to their industries, and use this information.

3. Be helpful

Instead of flooding your customers with messages about your latest products or changes in your services, take a moment to consider how you could help them –with no strings attached. If your clients have pages on social media or profiles on customer review websites like Yelp, think about leaving them a genuinely positive review. Don't ask them to return the favor either – they'll remember and their loyalty can be the best reward.

4. Encourage feedback

If you think that you know your products and services best, you're wrong. In fact, you might be too close to them to notice that clients might need something else. Before you start to develop something new, prepare a quick survey to ask customers for their opinion. Keep it brief and try to ask open-ended questions, providing stimulating thought-starters. Some customers might never respond to your request, but those who do can bring you a host of insights that may just turn into opportunities.

5. Be consistent and automate interactions

Developing a consistent response for all your communication channels is time-consuming, so it's in your interest to automate at least a portion of the process with one of the wide range of automated campaign management tools available. These tools will help you to produce and preschedule content, campaigns and promotional offers in various formats. Spend some time figuring out what you'd like to say, prepare your content and then allow the technology to do the rest, developing a consistent voice for your brand.

6. Create an online community

Create a forum on your website to provide your customers with a space for interaction. Ask your most loyal followers for help in managing the forum and assist new customers in making their way through your products or services. A loyal community is what every brand needs – your own participation will show that you're engaged with consumers and value their opinion.

Staying in touch with customers is essential for your brand to grow. By following these tips, you're bound to create a community of loyal followers who will spread the awareness of your brand all over the web.

Jayne Blake works as a Communications Manager at Prospa, Australia’s largest online business lender. She is interested in new marketing strategies and leadership trends. 

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May 2016, San Francisco

The Incite Summit: West is the USA's best brand-focused marketing conference. Taking place in San Francisco on 18th and 19th of May, we will bring together Chief Marketing Officers from major brands to debate one key issue. How you can get a more granular picture of your customer and then engage in "one-to-one marketing". We'll focus on perception, precision and personalization.

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