As a business owner, there are many tasks that you have to do to make your operation possible, but one of the most important skills you need is managing relationships with your audience.
Being able to effectively communicate with your customers is the backbone of the business that you run, and all business owners need effective ways of communicating with their customers and prospects on a daily basis.
How well do you communicate with your customers?
Your communication skills and ability can make or break the marketing campaigns that you run in your business. They are a major determining factor in how well you can optimize the experience of your customers.
It’s not enough to have an awesome promotion, product, or service. If you cannot communicate such things to your customers, then you will struggle when it comes to getting leads and sales.
Thanks to the advent of the Internet, most businesses and customers can contact each other from anywhere, anytime.
If you have not been leveraging this reality in your business, then it’s time to make a change. With the sheer number of distribution channels that you have at your disposal, it’s vital that you start applying your communication skills on the various platforms.
This is a particularly common problem with bloggers and online business owners.
Even though they may know how to craft the perfect email newsletter to get conversions, you find that their social media posts are awful.
Or they may have a great social marketing strategy, but they struggle with the blogging aspect of their business.
In order to be successful, you have to be able to effectively communicate with your audience on ALL of your distribution channels, and in this article, we are going to look at methods that you can use to make this happen.
1. You Need An Authentic Voice
Creating an authentic voice is the first step you need to take.
Your voice and your communication style need to be consistent on every channel that you use. This is a great way of creating authenticity.
Many consumers don’t believe that the content distributed by brands is authentic, and yet over 80% of all consumers rate authenticity as an important factor when they are deciding whether or not to support a brand.
But What Does This Mean To You?
This tells you that customers want authenticity from you and that by establishing a voice that is authentic, you will have a huge competitive edge in your particular market. All the content that you create and distribute needs to sound like it comes from the same person.
This is true even if it’s not created by the same person.
For instance, you might write your blog posts but have someone else create your email newsletters, and even a third person to handle the social marketing content side of things.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with delegating such tasks in this way, it can cause discrepancies when it comes to having an authentic voice.
One way to overcome such a hurdle is by establishing some ground rules and creating a writing guide for reference so that everyone who has a part in producing content can be on the same page.
Some examples of what you could put in such a guide include:
- Writing from a first-person perspective
- Always spelling out ‘percent’ instead of using the ‘%’ sign
- Using the Oxford comma and so on…
In fact, you could even take your guide a step further by saying, for example, that each piece of content that is produced (from emails to blogs and social media posts) should always start with inspirational quotes, or whatever works for your business – you get the idea.
Consistent writing creates authenticity, and it helps customers who are engaging with your brand on various channels to feel that they are listening to one voice.
2. Monitor All Your Comments Sections
As part of an effective communication strategy, you have to be active on as many different platforms as possible. By increasing your presence on social media, you make it much easier for your customers to reach you.
This is a good thing, but if you don’t monitor your comments section constantly, then you will be failing your customers communication-wise.
Most consumers use social media as their top channel for voicing their complaints.
You need to put yourself in their shoes and understand their mindset and thought process. The customers have just experienced a problem with your business, whether it has to do with your product, service, or employees etc.
On top of that, they have taken time out of their schedule to bring the issue to your attention via comments on your social media posts.
And even though the comment might be a negative one, it is still a good sign for you because you have not lost this customer yet.
According to research, almost 95% of all unhappy customers don’t take the time to complain about the issue, they just leave and you never see them again.
So, if any of your customers are complaining on social media, then you still have the opportunity to keep their business – just as long as you respond to their complaint in a timely manner.
Most consumers expect businesses to respond to their comments on social media within 24 hours after they post. But this changes on different platforms.
For example, on Twitter, over 70% of users expect businesses to respond in just an hour of posting.
I know what’s going through your mind right now…
How on earth can I keep track of all those social media comments every day while trying to run my business at the same time?
It’s not everyone who has the budget to hire a social media manager (particularly if you’re just getting started). But the good news is that you can take advantage of a lot of time-saving tools for your social media marketing.
There are tools that can notify you of any comments that are posted on your social media posts.
And instead of getting notifications on each of your social sites individually, you can get them all conveniently on one platform.
3. Segmenting Your Email Subscribers
In order for you to run successful email marketing campaigns, you need to ensure that the content you are delivering is relevant to each of your subscribers.
Your audience has different needs, wants, and preferences, all of which makes it nearly impossible to craft content which appeals to all of them.
That’s where segmenting your subscriber list comes in. It will help you to improve your communications with everyone.
There are some staggering facts that you have to consider:
For instance, a person who works in an office gets 120 emails daily (at least!), on average. If they work five days each week, it translates to 600 emails every week! Your emails are just a tiny fraction of the total number of emails that your customers receive.
This means that unless your content adds massive value to the lives of your audience, they will not engage with it.
Creating more engaging content is the top priority of the majority of marketers, and when you segment your email list, you make your communication with them more effective.
Here is an example:
Say you run a clothing business in the e-commerce industry, and you ship products worldwide but most of your customers are in the US. You have male subscribers living in New York and female subscribers who live in Little Rock, Arkansas.
These two groups of subscribers should not be getting the same emails.
So emailing a promotion for winter boots and jackets in July to everyone on your subscriber list isn’t an effective way of communicating with your audience.
But, by segmenting your list, you will be able to ensure that the emails you send will be much more relevant to everyone who receives them.
4. Add Live Chat To Your Site
Consumers simply love using live chat – there’s no need to pick up the phone, get put on hold, wait to talk to someone, and so on.
Live chat makes life easier for everyone and it’s fast becoming the preferred method of communication when it comes to customer service.
There are many reasons why people would rather use live chat, and if your customers prefer it, then why not use it?
For a lot of marketers, the reason they are not using live chat is simply that they don’t know where to start, which is understandable considering just how intimidating new technology can be.
But, if you want to succeed online, you need to learn to adapt and make changes.
Luckily, most live chat services are pretty easy to implement and use. Just ensure that your live chat feature is easily accessible on your site and that you respond quickly to those messages.
If someone else other than you will be responding to the messages, take time to make sure that they are properly trained to communicate with your customers otherwise this communication method will not be as effective as you want it to be.
5. Use Language That Your Customers Can Understand
This is important, and it relates to the concept of having an authentic voice.
Your audience wants to communicate with a person. No one is happy dealing with a robot or a nameless, faceless brand.
Your audience should be able to relate to your language. So, even if your content is coming from a lawyer or doctor, don’t make it sound that way.
Use terms that the people you’re talking to use every day. It’s possible to do this and still keep things professional.
This all comes down to what is acceptable for your own audience.
For instance, in some fields such as the health industry, it may not be proper to use slang, and yet if your audience consists of teenage gamers or Disney fans, then obviously you have to speak in a different tone that is acceptable to them as long as it fits with the overall image of your brand.
Either way, make sure it’s the language that they themselves use every day. Keep it casual and conversational in all your communication with your audience.
6. Make Sure Your Message Is Clear
Why do you do what you do?
Besides the obvious financial reasons, what are your other motives for operating?
You must be able to tell your customers exactly why you are in business, as well as how you can make their lives better.
You convey this in your brand message.
Your brand message shouldn’t be too ambiguous otherwise it won’t have a positive impact on your audience.
For instance, it could be that you donate a portion of all your sales to help the less fortunate with literacy or it could even be as simple as helping busy professionals to eat healthier diets if you’re in the meal delivery service.
After identifying your brand message, you must display it prominently on all of your various distribution channels.
7. Be Consistent In Your Efforts
When it comes to effective communication with your customers, consistency is key.
Before running any kind of marketing campaign, clearly identify your goals.
What results do you want from that campaign?
Whether it’s getting more website traffic, generating more social media followers, or driving sales to your latest product, the easiest way of achieving your goals is by remaining consistent on all of your marketing channels.
For instance, if you’re running a promotion on Facebook, make sure that the sale shows on your website, too, otherwise a lot of your customers may be confused.
Being consistent will help you to improve the ways in which you communicate with your audience and ultimately boost your conversions and sales.
The Bottom Line
In business, you have to have strong marketing skills, and communication is a big part of that.
As an online marketer, you have to be able to communicate with all your customers effectively on the various distribution channels that you use. Follow the tips outlined in this article to improve your customer communication techniques and outpace your competitors.
Feel free to post your comment below. An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!
Updated: Originally published October 4th 2018
This Post Has 14 Comments
Hi Steven, lots of ideas there for better communication. I can see now how consistent the overall message needs to be from everyone on the team. Unbelievable that office workers get around 600 e-mails a week – no wonder stress is a big problem today.
One issue for me is knowing which Live Chat tool to choose – do you recommend one in particular? Also what tool is your preferred one that would notify me of social media comments.
All the best, Alisa
I would start with one that is free, see what you can do with it, then research paid ones if you decide to move forward.
I haven’t put a chatbot to use yet myself. I’m not ready… I did the research and wrote the article in preparation for this down the road though.
Don’t be afraid to jump in and experiment. Grab a free bot and see what they can do, maybe they can achieve everything you need, maybe not. There’s only one way to find out!
Thanks for the comment Alisa!
I have just started my business and looking for tips how to make it successful. Your list is the best of all and I am going to print them out as well 🙂 Even though I have just started it, I see why you included each and every point here and I agree with them, now I just have to keep in mind and apply them. How long did it take for you to have all these? Do you think it is possible to work all on these alone even if my starting business is quite small?
Looking forward to other tips and saved your site!
You can just pick out the ones that apply to your situation and use those. I don’t use all of them myself.
Communicating with your customers makes them feel important. Everyone wants to feel like they are your only customer! If you can achieve this, you’ll do great.
Thanks for the comment Kisumu!
Hey there! Wow! These are some awesome tips about proper communication with your customers. I especially like the tip about replying to comments because I think it is something many business and website owners look over but is very important to their business’s success. We’re all people and like to know that the person on the other side is too and someone who cares. This simple act builds so much trust with that person AND thousands of others who visit your site
Thanks for sharing,
Reply to all comments!!!
It looks bad to users if you ignore your readers, you’re dead on about that. Besides, comments help your business in every way, so always reply.
Thanks for your comment Marlinda!
Being able to understand and to create a good relationship with your audience is the key to content marketing success. As you mentioned with simple practices like responding to comments and writing in a clear and understandable helps a lot. Another strategy that is useful for me is to create a persona of my audience. What I do is to create the persona with a good detail and when I am writing, I imagine that I’m talking to the persona. This is a good practice to have a more natural tone.
Good technique. I’ll keep this in mind next time I am writing for communication directly to the customer.
Thanks for the comment Albert!
Thank You for such great ideas and helpful tips on how to improve communication skills, this will come very handy! Good communication knowdledge is a key to understanding Your customer’s needs and way of thinking, therefore it’s crucial to invest a lot of time, work and give a good thought in developeing and fully undesrtanding that ”language” You create between You and Your customer. I truly agree with You that a person needs to be consistent in his (or her) efforts and make sure that the message to certain person or customer is clear and easily understandable, in order to make that communication with Your client effective. Thank You for such informative article, I will definitely use Your tips to improve my communciation skills and to overall enhance the quality of my daily work. Keep up the good work!
I’m happy the article was helpful.
Thanks for the kind words Evald!
I rarely post comments on the internet, but I couldn’t go without thanking you for this amazing article which contains a lot of helpful and valuable information. As a newbie in this field, I struggle quite a lot with communicating with my customers.. I mean I try but I’m not so comfortable. However, I must also say that I’m feeling it’s getting easier with time and little by little (as I’m practicing and reading articles like yours) I’m getting the hang of it.
One big THANK YOU,Nick.
Building relationships with customers takes some getting used to, it’s true. Sounds like practice is helping, which would be my advice anyhow. All of this gets easier with experience.
Keep working at it, building relationships is a lot of what online marketing is all about.
Thanks for the comment Nick!
Excellent Post! I think the importance of communication cannot be stated enough. The reason for most relationship breakdowns is communication failure. Many people take communication for granted and should realize the power of words and the effect they have on you.
I think that especially when interacting with visitors on your site, communication should be clear and concise.
Personalizing information is important in our automated world as well. The more personal you can be in your communication, the better relationships you will build.
Luckily, this is easier with the tools available these days.
Thanks for the comment Renton!