Inform, Engage & Entice Your Business Audience
Communicating with your customers and prospective customers is probably one of the most important staples of good business...next to retaining and managing excellent staff. While there are more than enough ‘gurus’ out there to tell you everything you need to know about customer service and communication, I have to admit that for me...it is really simple: be just as genuine in your communicative transactions as you are with any other relationship in your life. (Unless of course you are about to spend time in jail for white collar crime...this article is not for you.)
My 3 Rules for Business Customer Communication are as follows:
Rule 1: Inform
Your customers and/or audience (your mailing list, attendees to your functions, social media networks, etc) listen to you for a reason – they value what you have to say. Do not take that for granted. There is nothing more annoying than being ‘spammed’ with over eager salespeople who think that you want everything they have to sell.
In fact...you can learn from spammers – they certainly do NOT know their audience. (Example: I keep receiving invitations to try new drugs that will enhance a part of the anatomy I simply do not have – hence...I will not buy their product.)
When I say ‘Inform’ – I mean take the time to educate your audience on a subject they know little about (which may well be your specialism) or, if you have learnt something that made a big difference about the way you see or do something, share it!
By sharing you are displaying value instantly and you are not asking for anything in return other than their continued loyalty in being your audience. From time to time you can also inform them about any client successes you have had. By sharing these in a very specific way, you are saying (a) I’ve just completed a fantastic project for a client, (b) this is how I did it, and (c) this is what they have to say about me.
Rule 2: Engage
Now this is a term a lot of people don’t really GET – engage means you are not only informing as I’ve discussed above, but you are also asking your audience to TAKE PART. The more you get your audience to TAKE PART or to give feedback, the more you will learn about what they need, want, desire and most of all – what their pains and frustrations are. What do you do with this information? You try to help solve those pains and frustrations by creating a product or service that they wouldn’t think twice about buying – because 1) they respect your knowledge and 2) you have hit the nail on the head about what it is that they need.
Within the context of Social Media, it is ever so easy to get your audience to actively engage with you, however as with most things in life there needs to be a ‘what’s in it for me’ plug filled. This is where rule 3 comes in.
Rule 3: Entice
In order to effectively engage your audience and ensure that you capitalise on the time you have taken to inform your audience, you need to think what will entice your customers or prospects to engage with you and indeed to continue to listen to you. This rule is a crucial part to communicating with your audience. You can only entice your audience if you are authentic about your history of ‘informing’ and ‘engaging’ them. I know it sounds like a circle...and it is...they all work together.
You really have to think about how you entice your audience because it is the important element that will be of commercial interest to you. The enticement (is that a word?) is what will bring the money in at the end of the day. Let’s face it – although we need to enjoy what we do – we are not running businesses just for the sheer joy of it!
Business communication and customer relationship management is an important topic. Make sure you are getting on top of what the burning subjects or pains are of your customer audience.
Copyright © Shelley Pearson 2010
Reprints are welcome, as long as the by-line and article are published in tact and all links made live
About the Author
Shelley Pearson, formerly an independent franchise consultant, created the Expert Franchise Guide business after identifying a serious lack of a provision of franchise business guidance products to small and medium sized business owners. She has developed her products in order to solve one of these business owners’ biggest operational obstacles: access to decisive, experienced and cost effective franchise business guidance. She is now an information marketer and has managed to attract both professional affiliations and clients who recognise and value her business acumen matched with a practical and empathetic approach.