6 ways to attract customers to in-store shopping

Despite the growth of online shopping, there’s still value in the in-store shopping experience.

And if your business depends on actual foot traffic more than online sales, it’s important to attract customers to your physical store location.

After the COVID-19 pandemic (when online was the predominant way to shop), about 65 percent of consumers still prefer the in-store retail experience when shopping. In fact, impulse buying is more likely to occur in physical stores.

Because online shopping offers an easy, fast and often personalized experience, your in-store experience has to go above and beyond for consumers to see value in brick-and-mortar shopping. It’s about taking the opportunity to offer real-life, touch-and-feel experiences that build deeper relationships with your customers.

This need might feel overwhelming. The following are six ways to attract customers to in-store shopping rather than online shopping with you.

Invest (or reinvest) in-store design

Every store is different, but investing in thoughtful, memorable store design pays off. Of course, how you approach a redesign can range from hiring an interior designer to displaying visually engaging merchandise.

The key is that you’re elevating the in-store experience visually. Effective store design can lead to about a 40 percent increase in sales.

Even your lighting can make an impact on how your customers feel and the overall in-store shopping experience. One study cites a 12 percent increase in sales for one retailer in Germany that installed a new lighting scheme.

And it never hurts to think about which areas could be photo worthy for your customers, where if done right, your store easily could get posted and shared on Instagram and other social media networks. (You can then leverage this user-generated content on your own channels.)

Take a look around your physical store with fresh eyes. What do you see? You can even distribute a customer survey to find out what your customers think would improve your store design if you’re not sure where to start.

Become a community hub

Building a community out of your target audience isn’t just for social media. It can be done in your physical store as well.

If you can, create a space within your store that can host meetings, gatherings and so on, both formally scheduled and informal happenings. 

This gives you the opportunity to engage with new audiences (and bring in new customers) by hosting in-store events with various groups. And depending on how open and accessible the area is, customers may feel compelled to sit down and hang around longer as they talk with friends or work on their laptop.

Make sure that your community space is comfortable and accessible. It should be a space where people would want to spend some time. Of course, free WiFi never hurts either.

To take this idea even further, consider a dual purpose retail space. For example, this could be a cafe within your retail store. This does take considerable more work but could deliver bigger results if it’s right for your brand.

Offer customization, personalization services

About 62 percent of American consumers prefer gifts that feel more personal. By adding gift customization and personalization services in-store for customers, you may attract consumers who are looking for that something special for their loved ones.

What this looks like depends on the type of retailer you are and the products you’re selling. For example, a store with skincare products could offer the opportunity (and materials) for customers to put together their own gift baskets with whatever products they choose, walking out with a complete gift ready for giving.

Embrace all the senses

If you’re only focusing on what customers see while in-store shopping, you’re missing out on all the other senses that could compel them to not only stay longer but to return more often. And both actions can result in more in-store sales.

Creating a multi-sensory atmosphere specifically could encourage shoppers to spend an extra six minutes in your store and increase your sales by about 10 percent.

Consider the five sense:

  • Sight
  • Sound
  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Touch

Again, just like gift customization, how you embrace multiple senses depends on what makes sense for your brand, your store and your products.

What music are you playing? Does it create a positive atmosphere? Is there a comforting or invigorating scent to your store? Can customers taste samples of your products? Or, do you offer free mints at the door, for example? What is the seating like, or is there any seating at all? Can they touch your products?

Remember, you want to deliver a memorable experience that any customer entering your store would want to repeat. Start scanning your physical space for those opportunities.

Interact one-to-one with customers

Clearly, whether online or in-store shopping, the customer experience can make or break your business.

About 93 percent of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand again if they offer excellent customer service. And when it comes to in-store shopping, this is your opportunity to interact one-on-one with your customers. It’s inherently different than any online shopping experience. It’s all about that human interaction.

Customers feel special with undivided attention and personalized advice as they’re shopping. About 49 percent of consumers have made impulse purchases after getting a more personalized experience.

Think about how you can deliver a more personal one-on-one experience for your customers without being overwhelming.

Make your store pet-friendly

If it’s right for your brand, welcoming your customers’ pets into your in-store shopping experience can build a loyal and trusting connection with your customers.

Whether it’s a pet-friendly area or having some water bowls out, as well as treats available, for animals, it’s up to you.

Just keep in mind that you may have some legal limitations when it comes to allowing animals into your store. Check with your local health and safety boards to ensure that everything is on the up and up.

In conclusion

Technology will always be a factor for businesses, whether you have a physical store location or not. But with a store, you have the opportunity to level up the in-store shopping experience that your customers crave. You’ll build deeper connections and ultimately grow your sales.

While you’re evaluating how to best attract customers to in-store shopping, consider leveling up your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

8 tips to create a successful customer survey for your business

Customer satisfaction can make or break your business, so a customer survey can help you understand how your customers are feeling and where you could potentially improve.

Customer surveys are simply a method of soliciting customer feedback so you can measure your customer satisfaction, understand their expectations and conduct market research. (The principles of a successful customer survey can also be applied to employees.)

About 81 percent of companies that deliver customer experience excellence outperform their competitors, and 86 percent of consumers are willing to pay up to 25 percent more for a better customer experience.

When it comes to customer surveys, response rates can reach past 85 percent when respondents are motivated and the survey is well-executed.

The following are eight tips to create a successful customer survey that delivers actionable insights for your business.

Brainstorm the purpose of your customer survey

Of course, the first step to executing a successful customer survey involves identifying a clear purpose. Resist the temptation to dump every possible question and objective into a single customer survey. You’ll just overwhelm your respondents.

Instead, define your overall objectives, what you expect to get out of the customer survey and what you plan to do with the information you receive.

Some common goals include:

  • Getting feedback on your product or service.
  • Benchmarking customer experience metrics.
  • Improving your sales or customer support experience.
  • Testing your branding decisions.
  • Understanding customer satisfaction as it relates to customer retention.
  • Measuring interest in new types of products or services.

If you have multiple goals or objectives, prioritize them and decide which one you’d like to start with in a specific customer survey. You can always address other, lower-priority objectives in future surveys.

Check out our nine brainstorming techniques to help you generate clear, better ideas.

Choose your customer survey type

Once you know your objective, you need to choose the type of customer survey you want to create. This will also determine who you’ll want to survey.

The following are some of the types of customer surveys you can use:

  • Customer satisfaction surveys, where you can better understand and monitor how your audience feels about your products, services and brand itself. This includes New Promoter Score (NPS) surveys, Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys and Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys. Remember that each customer is at a different stage in the customer experience lifecycle, so there’s not a single type that will effectively offer the insight you’re looking for.
  • Branding surveys, where you can get a sense of how to move forward with branding decisions, especially if you’re rethinking the overall look and feel of your business brand. The insights you get can help you develop your marketing strategy and confirm whether your product or service experience is actually aligned with your brand values. 
  • Employee engagement surveys, where you can gauge the buy-in of your employees. Your employees are just as important as your customers, so their engagement is critical to your business results. This type includes Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) surveys, pulse surveys and 360-degree surveys.

Keep in mind that soliciting feedback in a customer survey (or even an employee survey) can feel unexpected or out of the blue for respondents, so regardless of the type of survey you choose, you’ll want to explain why you’re conducting the survey and offer clear instructions if necessary.

Keep your customer survey short and simple

The type of feedback you can generate through customer surveys is limitless, but this is not a one-shot deal. You don’t have to gather as much data as possible right away.

Think of customer surveys as a conversation, just like social media. Asking a ton of questions upfront will only overwhelm your audience. They’ll then lose interest and bounce. Then, you won’t get any of the feedback you’re looking for. 

Consider survey “fatigue.” You don’t want yours to take longer than five minutes to complete, with no more than about 10 targeted questions.

You can always follow up with future surveys. How often you survey can depend on your industry, but be wary of surveying too frequently as well. Fatigue can happen through surveys that are both too long and/or too frequent.

Keep everything short, simple and only as needed. No fluff.

Embrace questionnaire best practices

When it comes to the questions themselves, there are general best practices you’ll want to pay attention to so that you can solicit true responses that can be positive and negative. These include:

  • Starting any customer experience surveys with a question that asks for an overall rating of the interaction that’s being addressed. You can then follow up with an open-ended question.
  • Avoid any biased questions that can influence your respondents to answer in a certain way or make it difficult to respond honestly.
  • Vary the types of survey questions you use. Mix open-ended questions with multiple choice, scale questions and anything else so that feedback can be well-rounded and help get at the “why” behind it.
  • Only ask one question at a time. Simplify your question as much as possible so that you’re not inadvertently asking multiple questions within a single question. For example, “Was your experience fun and helpful?” You’d do better asking those two questions separately so that respondents can better express whether it was fun and then whether it was helpful.
  • Keep most of the questions optional.
  • Avoid complicated sentences or any jargon in your questions.
  • Do not ask overly personal questions. Consumers are increasingly more security- and privacy-conscious. Confirm that you’re not asking needless demographic questions or anything that could be considered offensive or embarrassing. Your questions can be perceived very differently across multiple demographics and culturally diverse backgrounds.
  • Check every question for spelling and grammar errors. You want everything to look as professional as possible.

Pick your customer survey distribution channels

How you distribute your customer survey matters. In general, you should aim for the channel or channels that your respondents use the most. This could be email or SMS text messages, but don’t be afraid to be creative.

For example, you could have a scannable QR code printed on your receipts or a sign in your physical store location that links to your customer survey.

The goal or intention of your survey could also impact your delivery method. For example, you would likely email an employee engagement survey directly to your employees. It wouldn’t be linked publicly. 

Of course, if you’re missing responses from a specific demographic, consider reaching out one-on-one in different ways, which can make a huge difference in your response rate. An incentive (like a discount or gift) can also help.

Test your customer survey with colleagues first

Before you send out your customer survey, you must test it yourself and by sending it to colleagues who can give you honest feedback. Select colleagues from various backgrounds to get the most perspectives possible. Encourage them to dig deep and challenge you on everything they experience in your survey.

You’ll want to confirm that every question reads as intentioned, that it takes no more than five minutes to complete and that the customer survey renders well across multiple devices. It also helps to read the survey questions out loud. 

You can never test too much because once you send your customer survey, it’s out there, and any issues will impact the quality (and quantity) of feedback you receive.

Prepare for feedback analysis

For a successful customer survey, you should consider how you’ll segment your feedback data and what comparisons you’ll want to make. 

Thinking about the analysis process while you’re drafting questions can help you get the most out of your survey. 

Some segmentations and comparisons you can consider include:

  • Customer segments, where there could be a difference in responses based on how much a customer has spent with you, what they’ve purchased and how long they’ve been with you.
  • Geography-based segments, where there could be a difference in responses based on the city, state or country of your respondents.
  • Interaction channels, where there could be a difference in responses based on how this customer has interacted with your business, whether that’s online or in-person.

Some existing data could be automatically imported into the survey interface depending on the platform you use, but you could also ask for it. Just keep the survey as short as possible if you do have to ask some qualifying questions that will help you better analyze your results.

Always thank respondents and inspire action

A simple “thank you” can go a long way. So, thanking your respondents after they complete your customer survey is critical.

Of course, when you’re thanking respondents, you also have the opportunity to inspire action. That action can be reviewing your business on a third-party platform with a direct link to make it easy. You also could offer direct contact information for your customer service team in case there could be an issue your respondent might want to resolve.

In conclusion

When creating your customer survey, keep your target audience and goals in mind. Then with enough testing, you can feel confident that your survey will generate the type of feedback that you’re looking for and can cleanly analyze.

While you’re crafting your customer survey or any other survey, consider leveling up your digital marketing process. DailyStory features automations, dynamic audience segmentations and more. We can help you get your survey to the right respondents. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 ways to connect with potential customers through marketing

As a marketer or business owner, you’re constantly looking for ways to find and connect with potential customers. Marketing is the answer.

Of course, this is easier said than done because you have so much competition, and they seem to be doing everything right. However, consumers are smart, and they no longer believe everything a company says about its brand, products, and services, so it’s up to you to find new ways to connect with customers and foster trust.

Your customers drive your business. Without them, you wouldn’t exist. Customer interactions are key, so instead of reaching out to them because you need them to buy something from you, you must continuously find ways to connect with them on a more personal level.

Here are a few ways to connect with potential customers through marketing.

Personalize it

The one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. Consumers want personal interactions with brands and to feel special. You can personalize your marketing by giving customers what they want.

Instead of sending email blasts for products customers might not be interested in, you can use your email marketing software to automate your marketing and send personalized emails to customers based on actions they’ve taken on your website.

For example, if someone purchases a toy for their dog, you can regularly send them emails about dog products instead of asking them to look at products for cats or other pets they might not have.

Dive deeper into how personalization is true one-to-one marketing.

Build trust

Your customers need to trust you before they make a purchase. Unfortunately, your first-time customers have likely never heard of your brand before, so they don’t yet trust that you’ll deliver on all the promises you made on your website.

Building trust is crucial, so consider adding testimonials to your site to act as word-of-mouth marketing and allow your customers to learn about the quality of your brand and products through other real people. 

Another way you can foster trust is by working with influencers and content creators who can be your brand advocates. Even though you pay these individuals to highlight the benefits and features of your products, your customers are more willing to listen to an actual human being than a business website or brand.

Respond to concerns

Always be available to customers to answer their concerns.

Even when customers have issues, quality customer service can improve their experience with your brand, making them more likely to come back.

For example, many businesses offer free returns for a set number of days with no questions asked. This means they’ll print the shipping label for the customer or even send them the packaging to put the products in to be shipped back out. By offering exceptional service, whether or not there’s an issue, you can improve your relationship with customers and begin fostering trust. 

Check out our 11 tips to best respond to negative reviews.

Be active on social media

Social media gives you the unique opportunity to showcase your brand in a more personal way.

While you might not want to put behind-the-scenes footage or images on your website to maintain its professional appearance, social media is the perfect place to show the people behind the brand to start building customer relationships.

Your social media platforms should be used to engage customers, not simply sell them products or services. Instead of making every post a post to sell more, consider asking customers to engage with your brand by hosting giveaways and contests or using social media as a way to highlight your expertise by offering valuable and educational content. 

Check out our 11 best practices to grow your social media followers.

Show customer appreciation

You’d be nothing without your customers, so show them a little appreciation once and a while.

You can show customer appreciation in several ways. Many customers would be happy to receive deals as a thank-you for their business. However, you can take it to another level by making the experience even more personal and rewarding for them. 

Writing personalized thank-you letters or birthday cards is one way to show customers how much you care about them. One company that excels at building customer relationships is Chewy, the pet product marketplace. Chewy sends cards to pets on their birthdays and condolence cards and flowers to grieving pet parents after learning a pet has passed away. This company excels at building relationships, so they’re never in the back of someone’s mind when they need something for their pet.

Have a customer loyalty rewards program? Check out our five tips to successfully promote it.

Survey customers

If you want to know more about your customers, send them a survey and reward them once they’ve completed it.

You can learn just about anything from a survey, including how customers feel about your products and brand as a whole.

It can also improve your marketing by helping your business understand what customers want, including when they want to hear from you and which types of deals are most likely to make them take action on your website. 

In addition, consider social listening, which essentially audience research where you monitor your brand’s social media channels for any customer feedback, mentions of your brand and discussions surrounding specific keywords, topics, competitors or industries that are relevant to your brand. 

Build your email list

email-subscriber-list
If you don’t have an email list, you can’t send out surveys or keep customers informed about their orders, deals, and new products.

The best way to build relationships with customers is through email. If you don’t have an email list, you can’t send out surveys or keep customers informed about their orders, deals, and new products.

Email marketing has one of the highest ROIs of any marketing strategy, so if you’re not using it to grow your business, you’re losing out on tons of sales. 

There are many types of email marketing messages to send, including:

  • Abandoned cart emails
  • E-blasts with deals
  • Customer appreciation emails
  • New product announcements
  • Company announcements

Each of your emails can be personalized based on actions your customers take on your website, improving your ROI and boosting sales.

Check out our 16 email marketing best practices that make an impact.

In conclusion

Connecting with potential customers isn’t difficult as long as you prioritize it.

Customers want to shop with businesses that actively show they care about them. If you’re not offering quality customer service or trying to build relationships and foster trust with customers, you’ll quickly lose out on sales to the competition that is doing all these things.

Consumers don’t want to be sold to. They want to be educated, informed, and experience personal interactions with brands.

Stop alienating customers because you don’t know how to market to them. They are the life of your business, so it’s time to start brainstorming ways you can begin building trust and improving your reputation. 

As you’re looking to connect more with consumers, consider optimizing your overall digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email and text message marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

About the author

Ashley-Nielsen

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music. 

6 tips to boost your customer referrals

Businesses invest a lot into marketing efforts that bring in new customers, but what are you doing to increase your customer referrals?

With more than 2.4 million brand-related conversations happening in the U.S., consumers are obviously already talking about their experiences with brands, for better or for worse.

Customer referrals are when existing customers introduce their family, friends and contacts to become new customers with your company.

After all, consumers view other consumers as about 14 percent more credible than a brand itself (or its employees).

If you’re providing great customer experiences with your products and/or services, then word-of-mouth customer referrals should be happening naturally. However, investing effort into encouraging referrals will only build on that.

The following are six tips to help you boost your customer referrals and grow your business.

Create a customer loyalty program

Your most loyal customers are the most likely to refer others to your business. You can embrace and nourish this with a customer loyalty rewards program, which is a marketing approach that recognizes and rewards customers who purchase or engage with a brand in some way on a recurring basis. 

As part of your progam, you would give out points, perks, free products and coupons, even graduating customers to higher levels of loyalty the more they buy if you want. However you structure it, the overall goal is to encourage the customer to become a more regular consumer or (even better) a brand promoter. Customers who are so loyal that they are actively promoting your brand are exactly what you want.

You also can have a very simple referral program (as opposed to a full customer loyalty rewards program), where your customer refers a friend in exchange for an incentive. And that’s it. Just think about what works best for your brand.

Check out our five tips to successfully promote your loyalty rewards program, and see our six tips to grow to create brand loyalty for your business.

Exceed expectations

While seemingly a general tip, delighting your customers during every step of their customer experience with your brand can play into your overall customer referrals.

Take the time to audit what your true customer experience is like for a brand new customer. Consider:

  • How easy your website is to navigate?
  • Is it easy to contact your business with questions?
  • How thorough and responsive is your customer service?
  • Is there a clear path for purchasing?
  • Are you offering a quality product or service?
  • What if there needs to be a refund or return?
  • How do you follow up after the purchase is complete?

The happier your customers are, the more they’ll tell others about your brand. And always remember that you never want any customer to be a “one and done.” Think through how you can keep bringing them back.

Make referrals easy

Your customers are busy people. The harder it is to effectively refer another to your business (especially in exchange for a perk or discount), the less likely that the customer referral will happen. (Even with an incentive offered.)

You can offer email templates for them to send, links to easy-to-fill-out web forms or fliers with QR codes that direct to an informative landing page. The sky’s the limit.

Just make sure to identify the best method that works for your customers and communicate it clearly.

Identify and target customer referral opportunities

If you’re interested in identifying key customers who are worth their weight in customer referral gold (rather than asking for referrals blindly and aimlessly), it’s helpful to start with a little research.

LinkedIn can be a great assist with this. At its most basic level, you can identify your customer, his or her company and other networked connections. 

By doing this, not only can you limit your targeting to the potential referrals that will have the biggest ROI (return on investment), but you can “do the work” within your ask by letting the customer know who and/or what you’re hoping to connect with.

Flip any negative reviews

Negative online reviews are a reality for every business and something that you already should have a plan for to monitor and address.

However, what’s important to remember is that every negative review is simply an opportunity to make that customer happy and hopefully that follow-up service not only converts them into a happy customer but a loyal customer who tells others about your brand.

Check out our 11 tips to best respond to negative reviews.

Offer different methods of customer referrals

Word-of-mouth referrals aren’t the only way your customers can help spread the word about your brand. 

Make sure that you’re encouraging a variety of ways that your customers can “refer,” including (but not limited to):

  • Writing a review
  • Submitting a customer testimonial
  • Serving as a case study

Of course, if you’re asking your customers for referrals of any kind, be respectful if they’re saying no or not acting on it yet. Space out your requests and continue to give different methods. No one reacts well to pushiness, and you’ll never know when it happens to be the right suggestion at the right time for the right customer.

In conclusion

Customer referrals are powerful. Take the time to ensure that you’re doing everything possible throughout your brand’s customer journey to delight and encourage your customers to spread the word.

As you begin evaluating customer referral opportunities, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

10 tips to improve your brand’s online reputation

If you’re not keeping tabs on your brand’s online reputation, you could be shooting yourself (or at least your brand) in the foot.

An online reputation comprises various strategies to shape the world’s perception of your brand online. If handled correctly, you’re able to build brand trust and impact consumers’ purchasing decisions in a positive way. In other words, a good online reputation supports your bottom line.

Think of it as your brand’s first impression for potential customers. 

In fact, consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before trusting a business, while about 79 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

If you’re not on top of how your brand is perceived online, you could be losing out on customers and sales.

The following are 10 tips to improve your brand’s online reputation and put your best foot forward.

Start with an audit

Before anything else, you need to understand where your brand’s online reputation stands right now.

Thoroughly review all online reviews, and while this can feel overwhelming with so many potential places for customers to review you, keep it simple by beginning with the top four review platforms where consumers typically do their research on you:

  • Google
  • Yelp
  • TripAdvisor
  • Facebook

If you’re in a specialized industry that has an industry-specific platform for reviews, include that as well. For example, home-improvement brands will want to keep an eye on HomeAdvisor.

Of course, we encourage you to also Google your brand to see where else it might be popping up, just to cover all your bases.

Once you’ve compiled all the review platforms and reviews, double-check that all business contact details, location information and operational hours are up to date. 

Then, look at what customers are saying. What is the ratio of positive-to-negative reviews? Are there far more positive than negative? If you have multiple locations, is one location standing out in a positive or negative way? Have you responded to all reviews? 

Really assess where your brand is at perception-wise. Knowledge is power, and this information will fuel your online reputation strategies moving forward.

Keep in mind that you can set up Google Alerts to inform you of brand mentions online and more.

Decide on a review strategy and start replying

Now that you know where your customers are reviewing you and what they’re saying, it’s time to implement a review strategy for all relevant review platforms.

Perhaps you set a weekly time to regularly check for any new reviews. This would be the minimum effort we would recommend. If possible, turn on notifications wherever you can so that you can reply to all new reviews as soon as possible.

In fact, about 53 percent of customers expect businesses to respond to their online review within seven days.

You should respond to every review regardless of whether it’s positive, negative or neutral. And timeliness is a factor to be aware of. You’ll want to thank customers for positive reviews, but you definitely don’t want to leave a negative review festering without some sort of response.

Not sure what to say when it’s negative? Always view it as an opportunity to deliver amazing customer service and turn that experience for that customer around. (It’s definitely not the time or place to argue with the customer.) See our 11 tips to best respond to negative reviews.

Encourage happy customers to review you

Unfortunately, a customer is about 21 percent more likely to leave a negative review after a negative experience than a positive review after a positive review.

You must consistently work against that tendency by asking your happy and satisfied customers to share their experiences online. There are numerous ways to do this. Here are just a handful of ideas:

  • Offer incentives, discounts or cash rewards for customers who write reviews.
  • Send email follow-ups to customers requesting a review with a link to make it easy.
  • Have your employees remind happy customers to review you and explain the benefit that positive reviews have for your business.

Monitor all relevant social media platforms

Of course, you can’t properly manage your online reputation without a thorough plan involving social media.

First, consider all the platforms where your brand has a presence (an account, in other words). Then, think about any platforms that might be used by your customers, where they can post about you regardless of whether you have an account or not.

For example, if you only have accounts on Facebook and Instagram, that doesn’t mean that your customers aren’t tweeting about you (for better or worse) on Twitter.

You’ll need to embrace social listening, which is not just about monitoring what is being said about a business, brand, person or topic on social media. It’s also about acting on it. This can involve engaging with commenters or even adjusting brand strategy.

Learn more about social listening and how it’s different from social media crowdsourcing.

Prioritize your SEO tactics

Search engines can be a huge source of organic traffic to your website, but they also serve as research vehicles for consumers to learn more about businesses, products, services and so on.

So, your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy must be on point.

Ideally, you not only want to rank for the keywords that would help drive consumers to potentially purchase from you. You also want to rank for branded keywords that reflect your online reputation for consumers. In other words, you want your brand’s positive mentions ranking above any potential negative mentions.

And remember that blogging regularly showcases your expertise that will only benefit your online reputation, especially in search engine results.

Dive deeper into what you can do with our 12 SEO marketing tips for beginners. You also can level up your SEO skills with these 10 free online SEO courses.

Develop a public relations strategy

Earned media definitely can improve your online reputation, but it can take a little extra effort. 

The extra effort involves a public relations strategy, which is all about promoting your brand’s inclusion in related articles, TV segments and more in the press.

Earned media is not to be confused with paid advertising. But leveraging press releases and connecting with local media outlets and reporters could lead to your brand earning some new coverage over time.

Work with influencers who have great online reputations

In the simplest sense, an influencer is anyone with a digital following (or audience) on a social media platform (but not necessarily) whom you’d like to attract.

The purpose of influencer marketing involves increasing brand awareness, targeting new and niche audiences and increasing impressions and reach.

This makes it a great vehicle to improve your online reputation because you’re leveraging the trust consumers have for an influence to boost your brand.

Check out our seven tips to know before starting your first influencer marketing campaign.

Monitor customer service complaints

Even though online reviews can take a lot of your focus, don’t forget about the complaints that are being given to your company directly.

How these complaints are handled can often impact resulting online reviews, though.

Depending on the size of your business, you may need a tool, such as Invoca, to help you stay on top of a high volume of call center or customer service department interactions.

Understanding what complaints are coming in can help you fix anything that isn’t working as expected as well (and prevent future complaints).

Keep track of your competitors

While it’s important to understand your own online reputation, you can take the next step by understanding that of your competitors.

Are they receiving mostly positive or mostly negative reviews? Are they responding to them? How are they responding? What are their customers saying about them?

Find out more about what a competitive analysis is and how you can start yours, as well as 16 tools to make your competitive analysis easier.

Commit to resolve recurring issues

At the core of successful online reputation management is the commitment to resolve any recurring issues to improve your brand’s buyer experience.

Consider the information (positive and negative) that you receive from customers as a critical piece to this commitment. If you keep your customers happy, you’ll prevent many negative online reviews from even happening.

It’s no easy task, but your responsiveness will serve your business beyond just your online reputation. Think about it: How many potential customers simply disappear because of a less-than-ideal experience and never return, whether they made a purchase or not? It’s important to get ahead of the issues and continually innovate what your brand can do better.

As you begin exploring your brand’s online reputation, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

8 ways to improve customer responsiveness

Your business can either thrive or barely survive based on your customer responsiveness in this fast-moving digital world.

How long does it take your team members to respond to a question from a customer or potential customer?

Simple answer: The longer it takes, the worse it is for your business.

Customer responsiveness is all about how quickly your business can respond to a query on any platform (social media, email and otherwise). On the flip side, it’s also about how quickly you can resolve an issue.

About 32 percent of customers expect a response from social media customer support within 30 minutes of reaching out, according to a survey, while 42 percent of consumers anticipate a response within 60 minutes.

Successful customer responsiveness leads to more sales and repeat customers who can ultimately become loyal brand ambassadors. Repeat customers are actually accountable for about 40 percent of an average business’s annual revenue. You definitely want your customers to come back.

The following are eight ways you can improve the customer responsiveness of your business.

Audit your current customer responsiveness

It’s important to assess the current state of your customer responsiveness and identify any areas in need of improvement.

You may want to test it yourself by sending an email from an anonymous account, asking an acquaintance to directly message on different social media platforms, etc.

The key is that you repeatedly test and document what is working to your expectations and what’s not.

You can’t fully improve or fix your customer responsiveness until you understand and identify the problems that need to be fixed.

Determine a customer response system

Every business is different, but it’s important to not only prioritize customer responsiveness but have a system for your team to address it.

For example, perhaps you know that most questions come through email, occasionally through your Facebook page inbox and very sparingly through your brand’s Twitter account (whether direct message or otherwise). You should then ensure that your team has time daily to respond to emails. For Facebook and Twitter, you confirm that your team receives notifications whenever there is a mention or message that needs to be addressed.

The more platforms your company is on (including Yelp and Google My Business), the more complex your customer responsiveness system may need to be. But it’s worth putting in the time and effort to think through what works best to achieve your improvement goals.

Keep in mind that the regular updating and maintenance of your knowledge base is critical to best serving your customers and keeping your team members all on the same page.

Embrace social media

Social media isn’t just a place where customers and potential customers can send your business direct messages. It’s also a place where queries can come in various types, depending on the platform.

On Facebook, for instance, a user can send you a direct message, comment on your post, tag you in another post or comment thread and even just mention you while not tagging you at all. While privacy settings may restrict what you can respond to or even see, it’s worth paying attention. Otherwise, you’re likely to miss something. 

Instagram, Twitter, YouTube—there are so many ways users could be engaging with you and asking you specific questions. For example, only 3 percent of Twitter users tag a brand to ask for help, while about 37 percent of tweets mentioning brands are customer-service related.

Of course, regular searches for your brand name (and common misspellings) on various platforms can help identify the posts where you’re not tagged.

We recommend using a social media management tool in order to pool the monitoring all into one place. Some businesses might also outsource social media in order to stay on top of all the dynamics.

Consider tech-based solutions

Customer responsiveness and service have long been considered a manpowered service, where you have to hire more and more employees to do it right as a business. But there are a number of technology-based solutions out there that could work for your brand.

These solutions can include chat software where automated responses handle the most common and basic customer questions. Find out more about chatbots.

Invest in a quality customer service team

Chatbots can’t do it all. It’s imperative to hire and invest in a responsive customer service team, even if that’s only one person.

No matter the size, you must have the right people with the right skills working for you and representing your brand. Regular training to continue to develop and improve those skills also is necessary.

Strive for:

  • Knowledge, where a customer-service representative understands your products and/or services well enough to address the questions that pop up.
  • Excellent communication, where a representative engages with any type of customer or potential customer in a positive, supportive way.
  • Patience, where a representative does not get flustered or short with the customer or potential customer no matter what.

Explore CRM programs

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. In the simplest terms, a CRM program uses your data to build a relationship with your customers.

The right CRM program will help give you useful insights about your customers and their needs, as well as streamline customer service between different teams within your business (such as sales and customer service) so that your customer gets a consistent experience with your brand. 

They’ll also often track pending and completed tasks by customer, so that you have an idea of what’s been done and what might still need to be done.

Get personal in your messaging

The further you can get from generic answers and messaging, the better. About 96 percent of marketers say that personalized messages and replies improve the brand-customer relationship.

To be more personal, use:

  • The customer’s name
  • A more informal, conversational and friendly tone
  • The customer’s native language

Strive for 24/7 customer support

This can be especially challenging for small businesses, especially if the only employee is you. (There is such a thing as work-life balance that every business owner should embrace to some degree.)

Options to be more responsive 24/7 include outsourcing your customer service, providing an easy-to-find and easy-to-understand FAQ section on your website and/or using live chatbot features that can then kick up more complex questions to a human. 

In fact, chatbots have come a long way. About 41 percent of customers now expect live chat on your website.

Dive deeper into conversational marketing and the value of engaging customers in real time.

In conclusion

Ultimately, customers want to feel important. Take the time to understand what your business is doing well and what can be improved to offer the best possible customer responsiveness. The more you can put yourself in your customer’s shoes, the better.

Looking to level up your digital marketing process as you improve your customer responsiveness? Consider DailyStory, which features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.