The 3 Steps of Building an Online Customer Base
When it comes to success in digital marketing, you can think of setting three distinct goals: In order for you to bring in new customers and retain old ones, you need consumers to know you, like you, and trust you. So how do you establish visibility, popularity and confidence around your brand? Here’s what you need to prioritize:
Getting to Know You
Because search engines are, in most cases, the gateways to the Internet, the best way to increase Internet visibility for your company is to increase your visibility on search engines (particularly Google, which owns 65 to 70% of the global search engine market). This can be done in one of two ways. The first is professional SEO, or search engine optimization, in which you work with a specialized, professional SEO firm to improve your rankings in the organic search results. This matters because about 70% of clicks on search engines go to these unpaid results.
The second is PPC, or pay per click advertising, which in the context of search engine marketing refers to paying for ads to appear when users type in certain keywords in their search queries. PPC and SEO are really two sides of the same coin, and many professional SEO companies will also offer PPC campaign management. Not sure that investment will be worth it? Keep in mind that search engines process an average of 12 billion queries per month in the U.S. alone — that’s a big pool of potential customers.
Building a Personality
OK, now consumers recognize your brand. But how do you get them to like you? That’s too big a question to fully answer in a single blog post, and of course you’ll need to take into account your industry and target demographic when building a personality for your brand. Nonetheless, there are a few strategies that are consistently successful:
- Be Consistent: Even though your business is probably made up of numerous individuals, make sure you have a consistent “voice” that’s carried throughout your blog posts, social media accounts and promotional materials.
- Be Timely: Whenever possible, insert yourself into the conversations that are already happening online, tapping into trending topics (just be careful that you don’t inappropriately newsjack tragedies, or something along those lines).
- Be Engaged: Don’t think of online channels as platforms for you to simply broadcast your perspective. Instead, engage in real dialogue with your customers, responding to any concerns in a genuine and personable way.
Earning Consumer Trust
No matter how likable your brand is, consumers won’t do business with you unless they trust you. Building trust has many components, ranging from securing your website so that hackers can’t access sensitive customer information to offering guarantees on the goods or services you provide. But really, there’s one surefire way to make sure consumers trust you: Always keep your promises. Whether you’re promising to answer their calls in a certain amount of time, provide them with the best products, or not raise rates, customers need to know they can take you at your word. And, of course, a sincere apology goes a long way when you do mess up.
Do you have any other tips on how to get consumers to know, like, or trust a brand? Share your thoughts in the comments.