Earlier this year, we passed the 10,000 unique customers mark with our business. How did we do it? Here are a few tips we’d like to share…
It’s About Customers
Put your customers first. We may hear that a lot but what does it actually mean?
You must find ways to connect with your customers. That doesn’t mean you have to email exchange with every customer. Instead, we connect with customers through social media, blogs, our website, and our mailing list. Each of these avenues provides something interesting that our customers want… such as tips, techniques, inspirational stories and photos, and other photographers’ work (don’t just post your OWN awesome photos). We strive for ways to make our customers WANT to come back and check in for content they find interesting.
Besides social media and blogs, we also engage our customers through community forums and Google Hangouts. The forums provide an opportunity for deeper interactions rather than more superficial engagements that occur through social media. In this environment, we provide monthly assignments and then critique them. Google Hangouts is used for short informative videos on a plethora of topics. Providing these more involved interactions makes customers want to come back again and again for more.
Remember… it’s not always about selling to your customers. It’s also important to produce value-added content. For us, this means teaching others how to become better landscape photographers. Not only does this provide customer loyalty, it also improves our customer retention rate. Our content provides a steady stream of blog posts that are less about “Hey! Look at our awesome photos!” and more about how we captured those photos. They are lessons on equipment and camera settings. Pointers on what to look for when you’re shooting a similar image. Information that helps our customers shoot better photos.
Identify with Your Customers
When building and supporting your customer base, the worst thing you can do is to portray yourself as the greatest photographer that ever lived or to put yourself above everyone else. We recommend that you show your humanness… admit your mistakes… and share them openly. Shared experiences (and shared mistakes) often allow customers to better relate to you. This type of sharing shows our customers that no one is born a great photographer – instead it takes a lot of practice AND a lot of mistakes along the way as we learn. And since no one is the PERFECT photographer, we can learn from our customers as well.
One more point – By sharing our experiences and mistakes with our customers, we can help them save time and money since they may then avoid the mistakes we made.
Make It Easy for Customers
The easier it is for your customers to connect with you, the more they’ll return to your world. Provide a variety of opportunities for this connection – a Youtube channel, social media, newsletters, blogs, website… let the customers choose. Our website content is syndicated to a number of different channels so our current and new customers can view the content on the media with which they’re most comfortable.
It’s also important to remember that your website must look good and should be professionally designed. Even more importantly, it must be FUNCTIONAL and easy to navigate.
Provide Diverse Product Offerings
When we started, we only provided eBooks. From here, we moved to offering workshops. Now we’ve started producing video courses. The cost of these offerings varies – eBooks are the least expensive and workshops are the most expensive. Providing a variety of opportunities at different price points allows us to reach customers from all income levels and across continents.
Following each of these tips is critical for the long-term success of your business – they help to build long-term relationships, to keep traffic on your website high, and to provide repeat revenue.
Do you have any additional tips and tricks for engaging customers? If so, please share them in the comments section below.