When Macy’s Inc. was established as a national brand in 2004, its leadership insisted that each store stay connected to its local community. The resulting “My Macy’s” localization initiative gives stores the latitude to be good corporate citizens in their communities while selecting merchandise according to local tastes, preferences and seasons.
The company took this “stay close to your customer” strategy to a new level in November 2010, when it personalized its direct mail marketing strategy to target regional preferences and individual shopper habits, too.
Want to sell more? Try building relationships with your customers. Yes, it really can be that simple. People like to do business with people. More specifically, they like to do business with people who care about them, who listen to what they have to say, and who are accessible and responsive to their needs. By using the variety of tools in your marketing arsenal, you can build relationships that keep your customers engaged and loyal.
What tools do you have at your disposal?
Print. Newsletters, direct mail letters, postcards, and other printed materials are great relationship builders. As you use these tools, don’t always be trying to sell something. Share information. Give advice. Provide useful resources so that your customers look forward to each communication. Consider selecting interesting or unusual substrates, folds, and bindings that take advantage of the unique, tangible characteristics of print. Data. Knowing your customers helps deepen relationships over time. You will speak differently to the Gen-X crowd than you will to Baby Boomers. You will speak differently to a recent college graduate than you will to the head of a household with children. Using data doesn’t have to mean full personalization, although it can. Segmenting into different target audiences can also be highly effective by allowing you to speak to customers based on their common interests.
Multi-channel marketing. Every marketing channel has its own sweet spots, so understand the power of each channel and maximize it. Print creates the sense of gravitas and trust. Email and mobile allow immediate communication and facilitate click-through feedback. Social media fosters long-term engagement and community building. Understanding the sweet spots of each medium and layering them over time reinforces your brand and helps you stay top of mind.
Personalized URLs. Personalized URLs allow you to connect with customers and get their feedback using a simple, personalized online interface. By asking their opinions on products, services, and their experience with your company, personalized URLs let people know that you care and that their voices are being heard. It also gathers additional information on those customers so you can better target and customize communications with them in the future. Relationships require two-way communication!
Social Media. Social media is not a sales channel. It is a relationship channel. Use social media to engage your customers in a larger community. Get your team members interacting with your customers as genuine, caring human beings. Have your team participate in discussions (whether on your sites or third-party sites) so your customers know you are really listening. Sponsor contests. Create discussions around the culture of your business, or fun and unusual ways to use your products. Regardless of the channels you are using, ensure that your phone number, Web address, and links to your Facebook page, Twitter account, and Pinterest boards are included and clearly visible. Give customers multiple ways to contact you and encourage them to do so in the ways they feel most comfortable.
As a marketer, you have tremendous resources for building long-lasting, positive relationships with your customers. Need help using them? Give us a call!