Finding potential customers to engage with is a major challenge, especially when your startup is still in its early days. Locating your target market, getting them interested and then turning them into customers rather than prospects is a difficult, but essential, task.
Use what you already have (experience, connections and a great product or service) to entice potential customers to try what you have to offer. The more you improve your ability to engage, the more customers you’ll have as your business continues to grow.
Customer engagement is simply getting people to connect with your company. You want people to try your products and services, and to be satisfied, so they return and turn in to repeat customers.
The experience that a person has with your startup determines whether or not they develop brand loyalty, and how they speak about you to others. When you’re starting out, finding people to engage with your company and creating positive experiences is incredibly important.
Reach out to your market
Don’t bother to waste your efforts on those who aren’t potential customers or partners. You want to zero in on your specific market and engage with people who are valuable assets, rather than simply warm bodies.
There are a lot of different ways to figure out what your market is. One way is to reach out through social media to see who shares interests that are relevant to your company. You can also collect information from potential customers in different settings, from conferences to surveys, and then contact people who showed interest in what you have to offer.
When you reach out, do your best to keep it personal. Use their name, and address why you reached out to them. This is easier when you’re just starting and have fewer people to deal with, but it’s one way to start developing a relationship that leads to brand loyalty and customer retention. People like to feel like they matter.
Work with partners
Reach out to companies that have complimentary goals and audiences. You might be able to partner with a like-kind company to get more visibility, for example, by counter-offering advertisement at your own location or on your own website. The more you use your already-developed networking connections, the easier it will be to find people who might be interested in your startup.
Offer something for free
People love trying new things, especially if they don’t have to risk anything to do so. Offering a product or service for free or at a discounted rate can help you engage with potential customers and convince them to give what you’re selling a try. Remember, every person you give a product to is someone who might come back for more based on their experience with your product or service.
Be open to feedback
Sometimes users might engage, but not be pleased with their experience. To keep the interaction positive, be open to any and all feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. Consider inviting feedback to get people more engaged. When users have to think critically about the experience, they might come up with something you haven’t considered, since you aren’t in the customer mindset.
Remember to keep the experience focused on the customer rather than on the needs of your company. When customers feel important, they feel more positive about the experiences they have. You want people to walk away from any interaction with your startup feeling good about the experience, regardless of their thoughts on the product or service.
Be present online
It’s essential that you have some kind of online presence in order to remain visible and improve your reputation. When someone hears about a business they aren’t familiar with, often the first impulse is to search for it online.
If you aren’t investing in SEO and improving your web presence, then you don’t control how people see your startup. Make sure that your website appears in relevant Google searches, consider starting a relevant blog and make sure you have an active social media presence.
Make people feel valuable
Whatever way you choose to reach out, make sure that your potential customers or partners feel valuable. Offer contact forms that users can fill out with their personal information, especially if they show an interest in your product or service.
Remember, when you engage with customers, you’re beginning to build a relationship that could last for years. Build a positive, professional interaction that will leave potential customers with a positive impression of your company and your brand. Personalization, aiming at the right market and being present online are all important ways to create and maintain customer engagement.