How to Date Your Customers

Ah, young love. You see a cute girl from afar. Maybe it’s the outfit, or the smile, or the way she’s done her hair; regardless, you like what you see and you’re interested in learning more. If you’re lucky enough, she might even give you her number and agree to go on a date with you! It looks like the stars have aligned.How small business owners can nurture customers to purchase

Would you then ask her to marry you on the first date? Absolutely not!

It’s easy for us to recognize that great relationships take time. You need to earn trust with someone before you ask for a commitment.

In the same way, effective digital marketing requires a long-term strategy of slowly, but surely, building trust with your target customers before asking for larger commitments, like a purchase or regular donation.

Here are the four phases of dating your customers:

Make a great first impression.

Customers will often come to you with little to no context for who you are and what you do. The first thing they’ll see is your logo, your colors, your imagery; all of the external, peripheral and non-verbal cues we see before we get to know someone!

The goal in this stage is to establish consistent branding across your website, social media, print collateral, and client communications. Make sure that your brand personality authentically communicates who you are and what you do in all of the places your prospective customers might be looking. This includes your website, social media outlets, print collateral, and so on.

Strike up a conversation.

Invite your prospect to learn more about you by sharing high-quality content on your website, blog, and social channels. Let your personality and passion shine by offering valuable information, stories, downloads, etc. Whatever makes you “tick” as an organization should be included in in each of your primary outlets.

This is your opportunity to not only communicate who you are, what you do, and why you do it, but also to listen! Consider including a live chat on your website, or simply ask great questions in your blog posts that leave a reader wanting more.

The goal in this phase is to obtain the next level of commitment — whether a like, a follow, or the coveted email address, you want to secure more opportunities to develop a 1:1 relationship with your customer in order to continue building trust.

Consistently woo them over time.

How small businesses can nurture customers to purchase from themAt this point, you nailed the first impression and started the conversation with your ideal customer and have started to build trust. The next step in the dating phase of your relationship is to consistently connect and engage with them across your outlets.

Sending tailored content to individual prospects based on their interests, desires, and goals is how you develop long-term traction that earns their love over time. Ideas include monthly email newsletters, weekly blog posts full of insightful information, or captivating stories about the benefit your product or service is bringing to your community.

Over time, you’ll gain enough trust with your customer and have them on board with your vision and mission in such a way that you can start asking for bigger commitments.

Seal the deal

Now that you’ve defined the relationship with your customer, you can ask for more direct commitments, like donations or purchases. Be sure to test the waters by sending smaller offers or discounts before you pop the big question. For example, you might invite your prospect to an event you’re hosting before asking them to become a monthly donor.

Throughout this process, be assured that it might take a few small steps before your prospect is ready to make a bigger purchase. It’s easy to get discouraged and be patient in this phase of the customer journey, but as you continue creating high-quality content and staying connected with your target audience, the right customer will stick with you! Remind yourself that a little trust goes a long way. Who knows, your ideal customer might even introduce you to other friends and family members along the way!

Dating your customers and wooing them down the path to purchase helps you maintain a strong reputation that has lasting benefits.

This framework gives you the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with your customers that not only meet your immediate financial goals, but also shape the long-term health of your organization. Consider the peripheral benefits of developing raving fans, referrals, or even valuable feedback that shapes your business long-term.

By making a great first impression through brand consistency, striking up conversations through long-form content, and engaging with your customers consistently over time through your digital channels, you’ll gain the trust needed to ask the bigger questions.

From all of us at W74 Marketing, here’s to a happily ever after with your customers!