Posted by : Amanda Stein Sunday, May 12, 2013

With the main goal of attracting customers in an online marketplace your competition is every other business like yours. When the majority of businesses had a physical storefront worldwide competition was unheard of. Now businesses do not even need to have a physical storefront to be successful, which has allowed many people to start a business with very little cost. This has posed a challenge for businesses who can no longer rely on walk in traffic and local traffic which was the traditional way to get business with little or no advertising. So how do businesses attract and keep customers in this cutthroat environment?

Businesses now have a worldwide audience to speak to and in order to gain social acceptance and customers they are requiring much more from business owners than a monetary exchange for a product or service. You have to entertain, inform, and follow up with them. The key is that you need to have content and media and Dove has recently given a great example of video advertising in their take on body image that went viral. In order to build this relationship you should start even before your product launches.

Before Your Launch

A simple and free way to debut your business is to start a Twitter and Facebook page. These are great ways to start gaining a customer base before the business is started. You need to start creating interest and anticipation by talking about industry hot topics and getting customers excited about your products and services before they are available. When you have a launch date you should start building anticipation with the announcement of a Grand Opening offering exclusive deals to Facebook and Twitter fans, giving them exclusive offers makes will create loyalty and create a positive buzz about your brand.

During Your Launch

After you have launched your site you need to also have a blog that is promoted through your social channels. A big mistake that businesses make is thinking that the blog should be solely based on the products and services offered and the company itself, which can make coming up with topics a challenge. A great way to keep the blog posts going is to talk about industry news and general news. By doing this you are creating content that people want to read and want to share which will help you to gain more readership and will show up in newsfeeds often. Be careful you are not overwhelming people with your brand, but instead that you are keeping it fresh in their minds. Once you gain this large following your company and brand announcements are likely to be seen by more potential customers.

After Your Launch

After your product and service are launched and you have customers using the products it is a great opportunity to offer your loyal customers a chance to guest blog about their experiences with the brand. This gets them excited to be part of the company by contributing and gives them a moment in the spotlight. Another way to get positive customer feedback is through contests. You can have customers share pictures of them using the product via social media for a chance to win free products and in turn you are creating lots of social interaction and positive posts of your product being used in a favorable light.

Another great way to create a positive buzz about your product or service is to host a webinar or a Google hangout. You can offer training on an industry related process, give useful information, or have a Q & A session. This also puts a face to your brand which will reassure customers that you are a real person creating more trust in the brand. When hosting a Google Hangout or Webinar be sure to do the following: Have a high speed internet connection to avoid technical difficulties, Unclutter Your Surroundings, Have A Script so you can avoid looking unprepared, and Have Props to Illustrate Important Points.

By using these important engagement techniques from launch and throughout the life cycle of your business you will engage and grow your customer base. This will also create loyalty and trust which is what will keep your profitability growing through referrals and returning customers.

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