Connect with us

Growing a Business

9 ways to promote your Amazon listings and sell more products

Published

on

Get up to 30%* off! Get going with GoDaddy!

Increase your reach with a solid strategy

Amazon’s marketplace is as lucrative as it is crowded.

To profit as a seller, you have to stand out against over two million merchants. But if you do grab buyers’ attention, you’re bound to make sales since so many shoppers flock to Amazon. According to Seller App, a good conversion rate for Amazon sellers is between 10 – 15 percent, depending on the type of products listed.

The key to reaching Amazon shoppers is maximizing your listings’ visibility. There are so many products on the marketplace, and buyers don’t have the time or patience to sift through every single one. Make it easy for buyers to find your products, and you’ll be on track to win greater sales.

To boost your listings’ visibility, we’ll highlight nine key ways to drive external traffic outside of Amazon and internal traffic within the marketplace to your products. Using these strategies will lead buyers to your listings, so they can make their way down your sales funnel and become a customer.

What visibility means for Amazon listings

For products in your own online store, promotion is straightforward. You spread product awareness outside of your store through ads and other marketing efforts to drive traffic back to your listing pages.

Amazon listings are more complicated. They require both external and internal promotion. And with so much competition in the marketplace, sellers have to craft their listings to be highly visible on Amazon’s website, not just outside of it.

External promotion

External promotion for Amazon listing involves using outside channels to drive traffic back to your listing. It allows you to hook shoppers who aren’t already on Amazon to check out your listing.

Here are a few examples of external promotion methods for Amazon listings:

  • Social media: Create ads and connect with influencers to spread awareness of your Amazon products and link back to your listings on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
  • SEO: Include keywords your target buyers are Googling to have them rank high in search engine results.
  • Getting backlinks: Find opportunities to link to your Amazon listings — such as publishing blog posts — to increase your items’ visibility and drive external traffic to your products.

With external promotion, you can make your listings stand out to shoppers outside of Amazon and maximize your sales.

Internal promotion

Internal promotion on Amazon helps you get more eyes on your merchandise. The process involves you paying the marketplace to present sponsored ads for your products, which are higher in search results.

Say you’re an Amazon merchant and you want to sell women’s sunglasses. You won’t be the only merchant selling the accessory on the marketplace. As shown below, there are over 20,000 other listings offering “sunglasses for women.”

Amazon listings for sunglasses
Source

Sunglasses aren’t an exception — Amazon, across all products, is saturated with merchants. To beat the competition, you have to find ways to increase your product listing’s visibility on the marketplace.

Here are two examples of internally promoting your Amazon products:

1. Win the Buy Box. When sellers share a single listing on Amazon because they all sell the same product, there’s always a Buy Box — the first highlighted price option.

Winning the Buy Box means prime visibility, so it’s a key way of attracting buyers on Amazon. Amazon considers a multitude of factors to pick the Buy Box seller — mainly price, but also others like credibility, seller rating, and shipping type. For Mrs. Jessie’s Quick Curls, the hair product company themselves won the Buy Box. As you can see below, they are the seller boldly listed on the upper righthand corner. Competing sellers are listed on the lower right corner — receiving less attention.

Example of Miss Jessie's Quick Curls winning Buy Box
Source

2. Rank high on Amazon product search results. Most buyers won’t move past the first page of search results, so getting a high ranking is a critical way to reach shoppers. You can boost your product rankings on Amazon by applying our promotion tactics below.

According to Amazon Seller Central, the marketplace search engine considers text match, price, availability, selection, and sales history to rank listings. These internal promotion tactics ensure shoppers can easily find your listing in Amazon’s crowded marketplace and make a purchase.

9 ways to promote your Amazon listings

An ideal Amazon promotion plan has a mix of tactics — including internal and external methods. You have to understand both marketplace policies — Buy Box winning and search rankings — to maximize sales. Also, look at ways to drive outside traffic to your listing. In this guide, we’ve outlined nine strategies for driving traffic from inside and outside of Amazon to your listing.

Let’s dive in.

1. Optimize your listings with SEO

Search engine optimization attracts a wide range of buyers to your listing. Both shoppers who are already on Amazon and those who are using other sites can find your listing when you include popular keywords. With these additions, search engines — both Amazon’s and others — determine that your listing is a relevant result and rank it higher.

Two key tools identify the keywords your shoppers are searching for most frequently.

  1. Google Keyword Planner: This free tool indicates the monthly search volume of keywords on Google’s search engine. Since Amazon listings can rank on Google, this tool is especially helpful.
  2. Scope: This is a keyword tool specifically geared for Amazon. It allows you to track keywords’ monthly volume, ranking position over time, estimated sales, and more.
Example of Scope SEO tool
Source

You can learn more about other SEO tools for finding keywords using this guide.

Once you’ve collected your keywords, place them throughout your listing, such as in the title and description. Detecting these popular keywords, search engines will recognize your listing as a relevant result for your buyers’ searches and rank it higher.

2. Buy Sponsored Product ads

Even with SEO, there’s no guarantee your Amazon listing will be placed higher in search results. The marketplace’s engine considers other factors for ranking — selling history, price, and more — so SEO alone doesn’t necessarily lead to higher rankings.

To gain more control over their listings’ visibility, Amazon sellers can pay for the marketplace to sponsor their products and place them higher in search results.

Example of sponsored convection ovens on Amazon
Source

Sellers only pay when shoppers click on their ad, so the payoff with Amazon promotion is guaranteed. Your listings’ visibility is increased, so shoppers on Amazon can easily find your product and potentially make a purchase.

3. Share listings on social media

The average person spends nearly 2.5 hours per day on social media platforms. Given this popularity, sharing your Amazon listings on social media through your business’ accounts is a powerful way of getting your products in front of more buyers.

Since your followers expect to receive value from your posts, it’s best to avoid creating posts on your account that are basically ads for your listings. Instead, it’s better to share your listing in more subtle ways that are still helpful to your followers.

Here are three ideas:

  • Use a social media promo code. Merchants with a Professional Selling account on Amazon can create a promotion link to share through social media about a discount they’re offering. Unlike a traditional ad, sharing a promo code gives users value by helping them save money. For more details on setting up this promo code, check out Amazon’s guide.
  • Share content that includes your listing link. Post an informative, helpful blog post or video that includes a link to your Amazon listing on LinkedIn, such as a how-to video or listicle. It’s a great way to indirectly promote your products through social media.
  • Host a contest or giveaway. Announce on Facebook or Instagram that any user who posts your Amazon listing in their story will be entered for a chance to win a prize. This reward will motivate users to share your listing and spread the word about your Amazon products.

By creating exciting and relevant content on social, you can promote your Amazon listings in a way that feels natural rather than invasive.

4. Run competitor analyses

For internal visibility on Amazon, your listings need to stay ahead of competitors’ products. In buyers’ searches, your products will fall behind competitors’ items in rankings if you aren’t monitoring how those listings are engaging shoppers.

To keep your listings high in Amazon’s search rankings, here are three factors to monitor in competitors’ listings:

  1. Price. You want to keep your listings’ prices at or lower than competitors’. Not only because shoppers are looking for the best deals, but you also want to win the Buy Box if you’re sharing a listing with other sellers. Plus, Amazon highly prioritizes price in choosing the box winner.
  2. Images. When Amazon shoppers are browsing through search results, they’re not only looking at price — they’re also checking out images. Visuals can be a very persuasive factor in encouraging purchases, so make sure your listing has higher quality images than competing items.
  3. Text. If your listing currently isn’t ranking high for your product keywords, it might be because the listing text isn’t considered relevant by Amazon’s search engine. Analyze the text of the current top-ranking listings for potentially relevant keywords you can include to boost your product.

Finding ways to make your listing outshine competitors on Amazon will increase your product rank in the marketplace’s search results.

5. Partner with influencers

Just like products in an online store, Amazon listings can gain significant traffic through influencer marketing. When prominent individuals in your industry stand behind your product and link to your listing, it sends a message to communities of your key buyers that your listing is worth checking out.

To promote your listing through influencer marketing, start by coming up with a list of key individuals in your sector with a large base of social media followers. Brainstorm this list by considering your own personal network or use an influencer platform like Influence.co.

Sign up page for influence.co
Source

Once you have a list going, check out this guide to learn about the best ways to reach out to influencers and measure results once they share your Amazon listings.

6. Maintain strong product ratings

First impressions matter when you’re on a marketplace as competitive as Amazon. Buyers are browsing through thousands of products, so they won’t settle for items that seem to be low-quality.

A clear way to give shoppers a positive first impression of your Amazon listings is to maintain high-star ratings. When buyers are browsing through Amazon search results, the star ratings are visible for each product.

Amazon listings for wallets
Source

Along with the price, these star ratings are a major factor in whether shoppers decide to click on your listings. They can’t see your products in person, so this feedback from other buyers is especially meaningful to shoppers trying to make a purchase.

Here are three tips for maintaining high-star ratings on all of your Amazon listings:

  1. Describe your item exactly as it is in your listing. False product details and images may boost sales initially, but ultimately they only hurt your Amazon business. Buyers who receive a product that’s totally different from the listing are bound to leave a low rating in disappointment.
  2. Provide excellent customer service. If you don’t handle customer requests properly, such as shipping an item late or not being prompt in completing a return, you’ll upset buyers. Avoid receiving a low product rating by delivering the item as expected and promptly resolving issues.
  3. Reach out to disappointed buyers. When a customer leaves a poor rating, reach out to the buyer to see if you can still resolve their issue. If you can fix their problem, they do have the power to edit their review. And if they do, it’ll improve your product’s overall score.

Ratings are a key way for buyers to quickly assess your Amazon products. Make sure your items’ scores stay high to keep buyers interested in your listing.

7. Maintain strong shipping performance

Shipping, at first, might seem totally unrelated to promoting your products. But on Amazon, your shipping performance is a key factor in your listings’ visibility.

Amazon wants to keep shoppers happy, so they discourage poor shipping practices by making shipping a factor in winning the Buy Box and ranking high on Amazon’s search rankings. With consistent shipping issues, you’re less likely to win the Box or to rank high in search.

Instead of hurting your visibility, use these three tips to maintain a strong shipping performance on Amazon:

  1. Regularly check your shipping performance metrics. In Amazon Seller Central, you can monitor key shipping performance metrics — like on-time delivery rates — to ensure you’re consistently offering great shipping and pleasing customers.
  2. Use Amazon FBA. By signing up for Fulfillment by Amazon, sellers no longer have to worry about providing great shipping as the marketplace handles fulfilling your orders. If there are any complaints about your shipping from buyers, the marketplace will remove the rating since they are responsible for shipping issues.
  3. Use inventory management software. Adopting an inventory management program, like GoDaddy Marketplaces, keeps you on track so you can avoid understocking and being unable to complete orders. GoDaddy Marketplaces monitors when your stock is low across channels so you always know when to reorder.

Always provide good shipping, and you’ll increase your potential to rank higher in search results and at winning the Buy Box. With this visibility, Amazon shoppers can easily find your products.

8. Monitor your seller rating

Like shipping performance, your overall seller rating on Amazon also impacts your chances of winning the Buy Box and ranking high in Amazon’s search results.

Punishing low-rated sellers with less visibility is a measure to keep Amazon shoppers happy and sustain the marketplace. It ensures buyers are working with merchants who have a positive record and can provide great service.

To keep your listings visible on Amazon, follow these three tips to maintain a high seller rating:

  1. Monitor your seller rating. On Seller Central, you can view the factors that contribute to your overall seller ratings — such as Perfect Order Percentage and Late Response Rate — and determine which ones need to be improved to increase it.
  2. Be prompt in customer service. Set a daily reminder to resolve customer issues and respond to customer messages. The quicker you give buyers attention, the more impressed they’ll be with your service.
  3. Determine whether negative feedback could be removed. Amazon has clear guidelines for providing feedback. Review this post to determine whether any of your negative feedback from buyers should be removed.

Overall, make an effort to keep your seller rating as high as possible. You’ll help your listings stay visible through the Buy Box and Amazon search results.

9. Launch a Lightning Deal

Beyond convenience, many shoppers come to Amazon for the marketplace’s low prices. With this interest, a primary way of attracting Amazon shoppers to your listing is by launching a Lightning Deal.

Lightning Deals are time-based, marked-down products buyers can find in Amazon’s Today’s Deals section. They draw a lot of attention and sales from Amazon’s shoppers not only because they appreciate discounts but also because their limited time frame motivates buyers to make a purchase.

Amazon listings showing "Today's Deals"
Source

Sellers have to pay a fee, and Amazon has to approve Lightning Deals before they’re launched.

Here are three of the key guidelines sellers need to meet for their Lightning Deals to be approved:

  1. Lightning Deals run for four to twelve hours.
  2. Lightning Deals can only run once in a seven-day period.
  3. You should have your proposed quantity for the deal available at least seven days before the deal is expected to launch.

To learn more about Lightning Deal guidelines and setting them up, review this guide. With Lightning Deals, more buyers will come across your listings in the Today’s Deals section — driven to purchase within the limited promotion time frame.

Play with promotion to boost Amazon sales

Promoting Amazon products is unlike traditional marketing for a single store where you’re mainly focused on driving external traffic. You also have to find ways to increase your listings’ visibility internally on Amazon. The marketplace is competitive, so you have to find innovative ways to make products stand out against other sellers’ items.

To simplify promotion on Amazon, make the most of the nine key strategies here for boosting your listings’ visibility inside and outside of the marketplace. Experiment with these different methods, and track your results to see which ones lead to greater sales. The more you test these tactics, the better equipped you’ll be to win the attention of Amazon buyers — leading you to stay ahead of competitors.



Get Hosting for $1.00*/mo with GoDaddy!

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Growing a Business

In Business, Image Matters. How to Improve Yours?

Published

on

Your business may boast of excellent products and/or services. However, nowadays, excellent products and services simply aren’t enough to help a business survive and thrive in the long run. What your business also needs is a strong image – one that can help it stand out from its competitors.

But how exactly do you go about improving the image of your business? To know the answer to this question, read on as we take you through all the steps you can and must take to take your business forward towards success.

photo credit: August de Richeliu / Pexels

1. Face-to-face interactions with people

We may be living in the digital age, but nothing can beat face-to-face interactions when it comes to telling people about your business. Here are some ways through which you can inform people about your business and what it’s all about:

Meet people and start conversations

It’s unrealistic to expect that people will know about your business if you don’t reach out to them. So, start going out and attending events.

Business-centric open meetings and conferences would be the best place to start. At these events, you’ll run into several businessmen like yourself. You should make the most of these opportunities to start conversations with others from the world of business. This will gradually let people know about your business and the products and/or services it has to offer.

Prepare a pitch

When you meet potential customers, you have to be prepared to speak spontaneously about your business. At this juncture, it’s important that you don’t fumble or sound unconfident. After all, what you tell people about your business will form impressions in their minds – and you’d want those impressions to be positive, wouldn’t you?

This is where preparing a pitch can come in incredibly handy. Write it down first and then keep practicing it out loud, and make changes where necessary.

Participate in community events

Your local community is the first pillar of support for your business. So, get out there and try playing a role in all community events. At these events, you should promote your business in a friendly and welcoming manner.

This should encourage members of your local community to take an interest in your business and what it has to offer. Sure, this may not result in immediate sales, but it will definitely improve your business’s public visibility.

Businessman in a fancy coffee shop

2. Make your business appear professional

A surprising fact is that the modern-day consumer values professionalism more than the quality of products and services. Of course, product and service quality is important, but if your business lacks professionalism, it will lose out on customers.

So, to make your business appear professional, you can put the following steps into practice:

Invest in a business website

The internet is arguably the biggest platform for businesses nowadays, which is why you should invest in a dedicated website for your business. We recommend hiring professional web developers and designers to curate your business website. This will ensure that your website looks and feels professional.

Apart from setting up a website, you should also pay attention to its content. Quite simply, it should have all the information that your target audience may want to know, i.e., contact information and information about the business. Your business website should also have a blog with consistent posts. This can go a long way towards ensuring your expertise within your niche.

Set up a dedicated email account for your business

Using your personal email account as your business’s email account is nothing short of a criminal offense. That’s why you should set up a dedicated business email account. It’ll help you achieve consistency with your branding, and it’ll also allow your business to look professional to the people who subscribe to your business newsletters.

To set up a business email account, you need to first create a domain name and then get in touch with an email provider. Two of the best email providers out there include Office 365 for Business and Google Apps for Business. Both options provide business-class email along with features such as online storage and document editing. The best thing about these options is that they’re quite inexpensive.

Provide 24/7 Customer Service

These days, consumers expect the companies they buy products and services from to be available for them 24/7. Fortunately, the widely availble virtual assistant and reception services such as those provided by www.virtualreception.com.au can do that for you – both on and off office hours – to any types and sizes of business, from freelancing digital nomads to multinational corporations.

Social media manager

3. Set up your social media for success

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are excellent places to market your business and its products. Here are a few ways to make your business succeed on social media:

Create business profiles

On all major social media platforms, you have the option of setting up personal profiles and business profiles. It’s best to create the latter type of profile as it is designed specifically for business purposes.

During the setup process, make sure that you include relevant info in the bio sections. Don’t forget to add links to your official website and other social media handles as well.

Post relevant content regularly

All social media algorithms tend to favor accounts that post relevant content on a consistent basis. So, irrespective of the social media platforms you’re active on, make sure that you’re posting new content as much as possible.

Not posting regularly can limit your business account’s reach and stall its growth on social media.

Keep branding elements consistent across all platforms

If your Instagram page looks drastically different from your Facebook page, your target audience is bound to get confused. That’s why it’s vital to use similar branding elements across all social media platforms.

The branding elements you should focus on keeping consistent include your business’s logo, its imagery, and its voice, i.e., the tone of communicating with your audience.

Encourage users to engage with you on social media and interact with them: Through the use of call-to-action (CTA) messages, you can encourage your followers on social media to engage with your posts. You should also spare time to respond to your followers’ comments.

Business owner in the Portugal-based office
photo credit: Fauxels / Pexels

Takeaway

There are quite some things to consider in your endeavor to increase your buisness image. However, focusing on the three above is more than sufficient to get started: Meet people and tell the about your business; make an effort to be professional, especially in your online presence; and lastly, make use of social media platforms to your advantage.

Be sure to do a lot of trials-and-errors so that you can form the best practices for your company.

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Growing a Business

5 Ways to Control Your Inventory So It Doesn’t Control You

Published

on

Managing inventory is a task that can make or break your small business. With too much inventory, profits suffer and storerooms overflow. With too little, items get back-ordered, customers get frustrated and business is lost. And striking a balance is hard, especially with disruptions to the global supply chain in the last few years causing delayed deliveries.

While you can’t control the supply chain, you can take steps to prevent common problems like product shortages and excess stock. Here’s how.

1. Stick to the story

Donna Daniel owns and operates three connected small businesses in Claremont, California: The Grove Clothing, The Grove Home and The Outdoor Store, which sell women’s clothing, home goods and unisex adventure-themed gear, respectively. To run all three of her stores, Daniel needs to keep an impressive variety and quantity of inventory in stock — and ensure it moves quickly to make room for seasonal items and new shipments.

To keep her inventory cohesive within each store, she arranges it in themed displays — or what she calls “stories” — which tie together dozens of different items to appeal to a color, season or activity.

“I don’t buy anything outside of the stories,” she says, which helps her collect data on sales and seasonal trends, and keeps her stock to what’s most likely to sell.

She keeps most of her inventory on the shop floor, with stock in each store’s backroom and larger items in a nearby storage unit. In the backrooms and warehouse, she stores items according to product type and size — not by story — so employees can easily restock displays and substitute a similar item if necessary.

2. Double down on your reliable inventory

“Just-in-time inventory is much more difficult to do today,” says Mark Baxa, president and CEO of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, a global trade association for supply chain professionals. Baxa adds that since the supply chain is less stable than it was pre-pandemic, businesses may need to lean on their most reliable products and vendors.

Courtney Cowan, owner and founder of Los Angeles bakery Milk Jar Cookies, keeps supply needs and consumer demand stable with a very consistent product line. Her 16-flavor menu has “changed very little” in the bakery’s nine-year history, though she leaves room for a rare seasonal standout to join the rotation. Since her store pre-mixes and preserves dough in a deep freezer, she can ensure that her bestsellers are always in stock.

Though some businesses may prefer a bit more variety, in uncertain times — over-ordering on go-to products with a dependable profit margin can help fill the gaps and keep sales steady.

3. Keep products moving

Longtime retailers know that while running out of inventory is bad, having too much can be worse. “Too much backstock eats up all your capital,” Daniel says. She prevents this from happening by planning ahead and using sales sections to make room for new merchandise.

Daniel reorders seasonal inventory as far as a year ahead by using recent sales reports as a baseline. But with this commitment to hundreds of new products arriving every month, she makes sure that items don’t sit on shelves for more than a few weeks.

“I do not like merchandise hanging around,” she says, explaining that if an item isn’t clearing out quickly enough, she’ll move it to the sales rack and discount it until it’s gone.

Though selling an item for a fraction of its original price may seem painful, it may be worth doing to keep inventory moving and keep customers coming back for new products.

4. Get to know your supply chain

Especially in periods of supply chain disruption, getting to know your vendors can make a big difference in your day-to-day operations. “Hold your supplier base accountable,” Baxa says. He suggests finding the “shortest path” possible, including finding local and sustainable suppliers, to help ensure consistent, reliable supply.

Daniel follows the same principle, sourcing her inventory from mostly local vendors so she can pick up items instead of shipping. She weighs several factors, including production time, available quantity and shelf life to figure out how much to order and how often.

Cowan’s inventory is perishable, so she needs her wholesale ingredients to arrive on a tight schedule. Her bakery receives truck deliveries directly from the restaurant supplier Sysco and wholesale store Costco, which keeps her supply chain close to home.

“We keep it as centralized as possible,” Cowan says. For special ingredients like nuts and candy, she places advance orders with small online vendors.

Clear communication with vendors can help business owners figure out limitations, plan ahead and mitigate risk.

5. Use a point-of-sale system with inventory management tools

For the past five years, Daniel has been using Lightspeed, a POS system with standout inventory management tools. The software can track her inventory across all three of her stores, and it generates reports that help her analyze seasonal sales data and follow her businesses’ growth.

This data is essential for her to plan reorder points and determine which items will reliably sell. Especially with a small staff and multiple locations, an all-in-one POS system can help minimize costs and labor.

Best POS for inventory management

Lightspeed Retail POS

Cost: Software $69 per month (billed annually) and up. Hardware quote-based.

Lightspeed’s retail point-of-sale system is built for inventory management. It can keep detailed records of your products across multiple locations and set automatic reorder points, so you don’t run out. The software also offers employee and customer relationship management tools, as well as advanced analytics features on its higher-priced plans.

You have the option to use a third-party payment processor, or Lightspeed’s in-house processor with per-transaction fees at 2.6% plus 10 cents for swipe, dip and contactless payments and 2.6% plus 30 cents for keyed-in transactions.

Square for Retail

Cost: Software free and up. Hardware from free card reader to $799 terminal and up.

Square’s retail-specific POS software offers inventory management tools and multi-location capabilities as well. The free version has a variety of other useful features including reporting tools, customer and employee management. Email marketing, loyalty programs and payroll are available with a higher-priced plan or as a paid add-on.

Though its inventory management isn’t quite as deep as Lightspeed’s, Square’s user-friendly interface and accessible pricing make it a great choice for most retail businesses. Payment processing fees vary per plan, but with the free retail plan, costs are 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction, 2.9% plus 30 cents per online transaction and 3.5% plus 15 cents per keyed transaction.

Shopify POS

Cost: Software $29 to $299 and up. Hardware $49 and up.

Shopify’s point-of-sale system is geared for businesses that primarily sell online. The software tracks inventory, hides out-of-stock products on your website and offers basic inventory analysis. It also facilitates drop-shipping, curbside pickup and local delivery options, plus access to vendors and third-party applications.

Shopify helps businesses manage inventory across online and in-store locations. Its Pro version can create purchase orders, run inventory counts, perform advanced inventory analysis and generate low-stock reports. However, it’s not ideal for a business that only sells in store. Payment processing varies by plan, with in-person fees starting at 2.4% with Shopify POS Lite.

Advertisement

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Growing a Business

14 community management tips for meaningful connections with customers

Published

on

Get up to 30%* off! Get going with GoDaddy!

Community building blocks

The idea for sharing community management tips came to me about a year ago. That’s when I synced up with the GoDaddy Community team to host a webinar for small business owners. As hundreds of attendees rolled into the Zoom, I had a realization: “GoDaddy has a strong community.”

Behind every good brand and business, there’s a solid community of supporters, stakeholders, and sometimes, even haters.

But building a community and maintaining connections is one of the most misunderstood and least talked about topics within the small business world. For a business with fewer than five employees and a handful of customers, community building might seem like just another marketing tactic that is just out of reach.

To help small businesses build and manage an online community, I asked other business owners and marketers what community management tips they had for creating meaningful connections with customers.

14 community management tips to create meaningful customer connections

Given that creating and maintaining a strong community can help retain and attract customers, consider following these 14 community management tips:

  1. Be quick to address negative experiences
  2. Filter out spam
  3. Showcase success
  4. Send a postcard
  5. Get your customers involved in important decisions
  6. Bring Up topics that encourage engagement
  7. Provide talking points and engage with your community
  8. Engage regularly
  9. Be the face of your brand
  10. Choose a channel that works
  11. Create content that addresses customers’ specific needs
  12. Consider a brand ambassador program
  13. Reward loyalty
  14. Recognize the importance of inclusivity

Read on to learn more.

1. Be quick to address negative experiences

A bad customer experience can quickly escalate to a brand reputation crisis, and the company’s response must be fast to revert the situation.

Monitoring social channel mentions is an easy way to keep an eye on conversations surrounding your brand and detect potential concerns.

Once a customer posts a comment that threatens your brand reputation, listen, honestly apologize and be willing to solve the issue in the best possible way. Your unsatisfied customer will feel appreciated and perhaps even become a brand advocate.

-Rebeca Sena, GetSpace.digital

2. Filter out spam

The most important thing you should be doing in regards to community management is interacting with your community, and you cannot do that properly if you have to work through a bunch of spam. There are many programs out there, even some within the different social media sites, that can filter out spam in your comments and messages so you can focus on addressing your community. Plus, getting rid of the spam and moderating harmful comments creates a better space for your community to contact you through.

-Jacob Dayan, Community Tax

3. Showcase success

Develop case studies from your successful community members. This is a practical way of propagating the core values of your online community and encouraging new users to join your community.

The more these members contribute to the community, the more impact these case studies have. You can start by creating basic reports to identify the members who are actively contributing high-quality content, assisting other members, and elevating the community.

-Hasan Farahani, Yocale

4. Send a postcard

postcard with other travel items

Many of my customers spend $15–$20K on medical care in Latin America. I send my customers handwritten postcards to remind them of their journey, thank them for their business, and to stay engaged while they recover from procedures like dental implants or plastic surgery.

The cost in time and money is very low, but a human touch in the healthcare space is increasingly rare.

-Wesley Jacobs, Apollo Medical Travel

5. Get your customers involved in important decisions

Taking the time to follow up with your most active customers and getting their insights on important decisions makes them feel like their opinions are truly valued and cared for.

In the long run, this forges a strong connection between you and your audience that relies on more than simply a transaction.

An added benefit of doing this is that you may even get some eye-opening suggestions and creative ideas that could end up benefiting your business.

-Harry Morton, Lower Street 

6. Bring up topics that encourage engagement

Meaningful connections need to originate from a common source that offers a moment of relatability, which can further build brand trust. Social platforms offer numerous opportunities for these types of exchanges. When managing your social community, bring up topics that encourage engagement so you can connect on a level that goes beyond the basic company/customer relationship. In doing so, the consumer will feel more at ease to comment, ask questions and even provide more detailed feedback.

-Lindsay McCormick, Bite 

7. Provide talking points and engage with your community

It’s important to recognize that community management is an ongoing responsibility. If you want to see your community thrive, you must create opportunities for customers to voice their opinion, communicate with other community members and provide you with feedback. Finding success is contingent on your ability to encourage participation from users, so you must provide talking points and give them plenty of avenues to stay involved.

If you leave your community dormant without your administrative oversight, engagement will start to dwindle as fewer users initiate conversations and take part.

Communities rarely function autonomously, so be sure to play an active role as you connect with and safeguard your community.

This gives you a chance to speak with your customers on a personal level, helping you learn about their likes, dislikes, objections and pain points directly—all of which are crucial in building meaningful connections with customers.

-Mike Grossman, GoodHire

8. Engage regularly

The best community management tip is to engage regularly and don’t neglect questions or threads you didn’t start—even better if they aren’t getting a lot of feedback. If you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to regularly interact with your customers, make sure you’re commenting often and have a badge next to your name letting them know you’re a moderator or part of the company. That will really cement that feeling of connection and letting members feel heard. Plus, we’ve found that a community manager can really breathe life into a topic by offering input and pushing it to the front of that community for more engagement.

-Sylvia Kang, Mira

9. Be the face of your brand

Revealing the human side of your brand is without a shadow of a doubt an efficient strategy to boost your customers’ connection. It conveys transparency and accountability, building a stronger human bond. Consumers tend to trust people more than a company, and showcasing real people will make you and your brand easier to remember and trust.

-Chiara Sternardi, Passport-photo.online

10. Choose a channel that works

social media apps on iphone

The best way to build an authentic community is to have everyone communicate using the same social media platform. Make that a crucial part of your strategy.

If it’s a professional audience that you’re going after, choose LinkedIn. If it’s a broader audience, use Facebook or Instagram. If it’s a young audience, try Snapchat or WhatsApp. If it’s a politically charged audience, maybe try Twitter.

YouTube is a great way to encourage people to watch videos that provide clear instructions on how a product or service works.

Users flock to YouTube for instructions on everything from how to change batteries on a device to playing scales on a guitar. The comment section can be useful for feedback purposes, and it also can be a way for customers to communicate with one another.

-Joel Jackson, Lifeforce

11. Create content that addresses customers’ specific needs

By creating audience and buyer personas based on different client categories, content marketers can create social content that speaks to people rather than just industries. Learn where your customers hang out online using your social media demographics. Then, narrow those results using audience research to help you define a specific audience and channel. You can then customize communications by researching the LinkedIn profiles of potential customers. Doing so will allow you to identify different stakeholders within the organization and determine their pain points. You can then create better content that addresses their challenges. But it’s all about finding an interesting angle for each segment.

Content that is too broad won’t result in authentic engagement with your followers.

Social media posts that offer helpful information are guaranteed to stand out in your clients’ feeds, resulting in more likes, shares and leads.

-Daniel Tejada, Straight Up Growth

12. Consider a brand ambassador program

A great way to create authentic connections with customers is with an acquisition and advocacy program like a brand ambassador program. For example, if a user can get five people to sign up for a service or product, they become an ambassador.

These brand ambassadors can help your business acquire new users. You can reward them with swag and access to special products or services … maybe even a special event!

-Jennifer Pieniazek, Resume Now

13. Reward loyalty

You can create meaningful connections by rewarding loyal customers to show how much you appreciate them. Just like any relationship, whether it’s personal or professional, people appreciate rewards. Show your customers that they matter and are top of mind in your decision-making. That’s how you create a stronger, more loyal customer base—one that will continue to pay attention for new initiatives and future rewards.

-Alyssa Berman-Waugh, Level Home, Inc.

14. Recognize the importance of inclusivity

To create meaningful connections with customers, recognize and accept diversities within your community. Each of your customers will differ in terms of their culture, orientation, ability and life experience. It’s imperative that you celebrate these differences and welcome input from individuals of all walks of life as you advocate for equity and inclusivity. This will develop your community’s reputation and attract diverse groups in greater numbers.

Communities that cater to just one group of people almost always become echo chambers, creating a suboptimal environment for connections to form and important discussions to take place.

By listening, asking questions, and welcoming input from diverse groups of individuals, you’ll cement your community as a welcoming place for diversity and insight to flourish.

In doing so, your ability to build a rapport and create meaningful, lasting connections with your customers will blossom.

-Patrick Casey, Felix

The community management tips used in this article were gathered using Terkel.
Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published.



Get Hosting for $1.00*/mo with GoDaddy!

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Trending

SmallBiz Newsletter

Join our newsletter for the latest information, news and products that are vital to running a successful SmallBiz.