engage your audienceIt’s almost impossible to run a business anymore without an online presence. We all know how obsolete the phone book is and each year online marketing outpaces traditional media. It’s clear that customers look for websites that provide all of the information they need motivating a decisive call to action. The biggest part of motivating your audience to action is learning to engage your customers so they will become repeat customers.

Learning how to engage your customers online takes some planning but isn’t as hard as it may seem. You’re going to want to do many different things, but below you will find a few core elements that will help you engage your audience. There are certainly companies that can help you with this, but you know your business and product better than anyone, so you will want to work closely with anyone helping you regarding the upkeep of your website and social media to be sure your customers know you’re actually involved. Some of the things you will want to consider when you are trying to engage your audience are:

Why Do They Need You?

Are you the only person offering this product or service? Chances are you’re not, so what is it about you that a customer really wants? Perhaps, your customers need fast delivery and you can provide that. Perhaps, you offer much better price incentive for people to return to your site. Any business can see success by understanding who their customer is, what products they buy, where they shop and socialize you will be completing the first step of engaging your audience by understanding what will bring them to your website. You will then be able to engage them further by reaching out to them in places they frequent in order to foster a close relationship with them. Understanding how you can help your audience will build a much more personal engagement.

Help Them Learn

Most businesses have a hard time seeing beyond simply offering a product or service. It can be a difficult thing for a business owner to give away free information, but a customer usually begins a search online for a business by asking the search engine how they do something or who can do something for them. Your website needs to answer their questions. For example, if your business does electrical work, an average customer may want to know how to fix a broken light switch. When they search for this, you’re going to want your website to be the one that explains how to do this. They will then see that you do electrical work and, since you were so knowledgable about the light switches, they’ll know your business will be able to fix larger problems for them, such as rewiring an older home. They’ll be more likely to come back to your site to call you for help. The more they can learn from a website, the more they will return for more information.

Social Media

The number one way to earn more customers is through word of mouth. Customers prefer to work with businesses that have been recommended to them. With the online presence being important to customers, social media is the new way to get customers through word of mouth. Engaging them on social media helps to spread the word about your business. For example, if one person likes your business on Facebook, their friends who may not have heard of you will then see your business, and they may like your Facebook page so they can refer to it when they need your services. It can also be a helpful way to engage customers by asking and answering questions.

Asking and Answering Questions

On social media such as Twitter and Facebook, it’s important to ask your customers questions. When your customers see the questions posted they’ll not only be reminded of your business, but they’ll also engage by answering the questions. This can get conversations started and your business will begin to feel like an old friend, not a stranger they may be reluctant to work with. You’ll be closer to your audience and they’ll be more inclined to call you when they need help. On the other side, they’ll be able to use your social media outlets to ask their own questions, and answering their questions can also help foster the feeling of closeness with your business. Customers appreciate the timely answer to questions on social media sites, and chances are they aren’t the only one with the question.

Another way to help you build an authority presence through asking and answering questions is to use to make use of some of the most popular Q&A sites such as: Quara, Yahoo answers, Answers.com, and wikihow.

Learning how to engage your customers online is more than just building a simple website. By identifying, understanding and providing helpful answers to your customers, you can begin seeing an increase in your total number of customers. This entails using social media and adding new material to your site on a regular basis so that your customers can always visit your site to learn something new, ask any questions they may have, and most importantly contact you when they need the services you offer. By engaging your customers online, they will not only become repeat customers, but they will help to bring new customers to you. Creating content for your site is easy, creating content to build a truly informative and helpful website is the real trick. To do this your customers need to know that they can rely on you. Build trust and the word will spread.