With advancing technology, it is becoming easier for businesses to do many activities remotely. In fact, ReachLocal reports that 85 percent of consumers search for businesses online. Though efficient, remote business activities make it difficult for people to attach loyalty to your brand. A person needing your product or service may find you easily on a search engine, but if you want that person to come back again, you need to show your human side.
Even if you are an all-online operation, there are some ways to infuse some personality into your business. Here are four:
If you are a one-woman show, reserve part of your website to tell your story. Of course current and prospective clients want to know your credentials and industry expertise – but don’t stop there. Let them in on who you are as a person outside of work too. Talk about your inspiration for starting your own business, your family life and your hobbies. Include at least one picture that best encapsulates your personality.
If you have employees, consider a permanent spot on your website where clients can “meet” them or even a monthly segment highlighting one employee at a time. In an age of automation, customers appreciate seeing the people behind your company name and then working with those employees.
Participate in Community Outreach
We’ve talked before on this blog about running a socially conscious business and part of that post highlighted the importance of community service and outreach. If you want your customers to have an inside look at what you believe in, align yourself with a cause that benefits your community, either locally or on a global scale.
If you can donate money, that’s always helpful but giving your time is even better. If you own a website or blog, consider dedicating some of the space to information on a charity or non-profit organization. If you specialize in Public Relations, volunteer to write free press releases for organizations near you. Think of ways to match up your own specialties with the needs of other organizations.
Networking remotely certainly has its perks and is easy to do. Don’t rule out the power of in-person encounters though. Make friends at Chamber of Commerce meetings or industry conferences. You may even want to hold a “customer appreciation day” with a catered lunch or desserts. If you do not have a brick and mortar location, consider renting a banquet room at a restaurant or hotel. Find ways to make human connections in your day-to-day operations. Customer loyalty will soar if those clients can put a face with your company name.
Laugh a Little
Personality, charm, and respect are how SMBs can make friends and influence people. Use your social media accounts to show the lighter side of your personality. If you watch a funny video, or see an interesting photo, share it. Even if it has nothing to do with your particular business or industry, you will likely see some engagement from your followers. The more customers engage with your posts that are unrelated to your business, the better the chance they see and respond to the updates that have a direct impact on your sales.
If you want a long-term marketing plan that works, just make your customers like you. When they have an emotional connection to your business, they will keep coming back.
How do you reach across the digital divide to connect with your customers?
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.