In the age of social media, it's become even more apparent that your customers want - maybe even need - a deeper connection with you. While it's been true for a while that most customers are looking for more than a purely transactional relationship, today it's even more apparent that your clients want to buy from companies and brands that they know, like, and trust. In an age where reviews carry more weight than ever, you must learn the importance of building trust and establishing strong relationships. Here are a few fundamental ways to deepen client relationships.
Keep your promises
This may seem obvious, but it's a mistake where I see even multi-millionaire creatives fall short.
I was recently part of an online community that promised to be an intimate group, limited to 300 people at it's opening. Not only did this entrepreneur over-enroll their membership, but instead of closing the doors as promised, the following month the enrolled upwards of 1500 people! Now, don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled they created an offer that was in such demand and had their first million-dollar month, but at what cost?
It may sound like this is a good problem to have, there were enough of those original members (myself included), who felt like they'd gotten the old "bait and switch" - promise them one thing, but deliver something else. NOT a good problem to have. Yes, you could probably burn a few thousand bridges in the online world without really jeopardizing your business, but when people come to you expecting one thing and you do something different, you're just not keeping your promises.
As a customer, there are few things more frustrating. You want to trust the companies you work with and know that you're going to get what you're paying for. Make promises only when you know you can deliver. Address problems as soon as possible, if there are issues that are beyond your control. Even when things are on schedule, keeping your clients in the loop goes a long way toward building trust and creating repeat buyers.
Protect your customers by protecting yourself
Up-to-date cybersecurity. Legal contracts. Producing safe, quality offers. Mitigating risk with product guarantees. These are all ways you help protect your customers - even if you don't realize it. Buyers want total confidence in you when they visit your website, subscribe, or buy.
Most of your security issues are invisible to your clients - and if you're using third party providers to process payments, manage your email lists, and whatnot, you may not need a bunch of IT support to manage it all. Making sure you've got the right supports in place not only protects your customers from a data breach, it protects you as well.
Show them you're human
All that protection, however, should be in the pursuit of building relationships, not building walls. Social media and email allow you to showcase the human side of your brand. There's a reason my Instagram followers like the photos of my breakfast or my bad hair days more than the photos of my latest podcast episode - because it shows I'm human!
Using online marketing (social networks, web pages and emails), you can introduce customers to your team, provide information about the company culture and ethos, and let people see how you work.
Engage with your followers, let them get to know you, and take advantage of the chance to get to know them, too. Forging stronger relationships with your clients can help you improve customer retention rates, but it can also provide an insight into changes you can make to optimize performance and make your brand more appealing to prospective customers. It’s a great idea to use multimedia content from time to time (video clips, images and live stories and broadcasts) to put names to faces and share news and updates.
In a culture that is growing more dependent on the online connections we make, creating strong relationships with customers is the heart of a healthy creative business. Most of your fans and followers are interested in YOU, so building relationships with your best clients can make a huge difference in the health and well being of your business.
Need support? The doors are open to the Creative Freedom Incubator. Let us help you grow your audience, make a bigger impact, and have the freedom to enjoy the income you're making along the way.