Six unusual ways to connect with your customers

Looking for a new marketing approach? Here are six unusual ways you can connect with your customers. 

Bored of the tried and testing marketing strategies? Looking for a new, more innovative way to engage with your customers?

The number of ways in which you can connect with your customers are becoming increasingly diverse and creative. But too often we’re stuck trying what we know and are comfortable with.

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Six unusual ways to connect with your customers

To help you branch out a bit, and experiment with more creative marketing strategies, here are six unusual ways you can connect with your customers.

1) Hold store events

Store events are a fantastic way for small and medium-sized businesses to showcase products and educate customers. How does it work? Let’s say you are an independent coffee blender. You could show-off your finest or most unusual beans, brew up some luxury sample-sized cups and offer a discount on the full-sized version.

A small presentation or projected video could easily be put together alongside the samples. Customers will then get a real feel for the effort, character and uniqueness of the beans – driving an emotional connection to purchase.

Use social media to create a buzz before the event, take snaps during and share afterwards. Or be a little more traditional and send out personalised paper invites to your regulars. Be sure to have many pauses for questions and comments. Set up a comments box or book for customers to share their thoughts, opinions and suggestions.

2) Record a day in the life vlog

Continuing with the theme of social media and online tools, why not vlog? Take a morning to live stream the various activities required to set up for the day. If you make the products yourself, put together a short clip on how it’s done! Customers’ interests pique when they can see just how their favourite products are made, and getting to know the great team behind them.

This one is a little tricky but with the right planning you can avoid an Office US-esque situation!! Viewers can watch and make comments on how to improve and what they are most looking forward to in the next season.

3) Use smart technology

Utilise the ease and convenience of voice-activated technology in stores and hotels. Using a virtual assistant shows that your business is forward-thinking but also makes the customer’s experience better.

As guests and customers put pressure on personalised experiences, it can be tough to capture that the right way every time. By having a voice-activated piece of kit like the Amazon Alexa, you open the door to a new, interesting and exciting experience, for very little cost.

Imagine you own a baking supplies shop and a customer comes in asking you what is the best flour for a torte. Rather than not be sure and risk missing out on the sale, you could ask Alexa! Keep your virtual assistant on the counter with a small sign encouraging customer to use the device for themselves. As this technology becomes more and more popular in the home, people will start to expect it in more places.

Hotels are using this technology to create a completely individual experience in the guests’ rooms. The voice assistants can help with providing information on the weather and local events, give directions, provide music and control the other devices in the room, like the lights! Village Hotels are the first in the UK to adopt an ‘in-room concierge’. It is a talking point for customers to remember and give great feedback on.

4) Make the most of Pinterest

If that technology sounds a bit too much for you right now, why not make more of Pinterest? By adding your products, inspiration or mini how-tos online customers can get a sneak peek of what is on offer.

Too many businesses now are overlooking Pinterest, so making the most of its features can give you an advantage over your competitors. But don’t just using it as a free advertising method. Instead, make sure you follow your customers’ boards back.

You can also use Pinterest to see what is trending and what your specific customer base likes, to help you develop next season’s ideas.

Read the advanced guide to selling on Pinterest

5) Have a front line lunch

If you have a more B2B business, or you own a store in a small town, why not get out there and do some face-to-face market research?

Go into your client’s workplaces for lunch and offer to buy them and anyone who joins in some welcomed grub. Listen to them, their pain points and expectations – if they are a customer that is likely to stick with you for years (depending on your product) this will be an invaluable learning opportunity. Your customer will also feel incredibly catered for and appreciated.

6) Feature your customers on Twitter

You may already be using Twitter for business. But, rather than promote your own products or services, have you considered showcasing your customers on it?

If you sell a tool that your customers use to keep their business going day-today, then ask if you can highlight their business and all the great things that they do for their customers. They will appreciate the coverage of their business and you can demonstrate the benefits of your offering.

Also use it as an opportunity for their honest feedback. If you get great feedback, then use it as a testimonial (don’t forget to add in the hashtag #customerappreciation to help people find your tweets). If not, you can make improvements your customers will appreciate.

And if you ever get bad feedback on Twitter, respond quickly and professionally, and show potential customers how well you deal with customer dissatisfaction.

Not getting the results from Twitter you want yet? Get the complete online course for small businesses

Don’t miss out on new opportunities to connect

While the above list may entail mastering new technology, it’s going to become increasingly essential for businesses to keep up with tech if they want to remain competitive.

As more and more social media, smart home and other online platforms enter the home, people will start relying upon these communication and resource tools. Get ahead now and start impressing your customer base.

Photo by Richard Kasperowski