When you’re choosing marketing channels for your business, it can be tempting to put any limited time and resources you have into acquisition tactics. At face value, these channels seem like the easiest ways to grow your business. However, while paid acquisition can help you drive more short-term sales they often attract customers driven by discounts and limited time offers.
That’s why the most successful ecommerce businesses invest in marketing channels that help them build relationships with their customers. These channels establish a two-way exchange of value between them and their prospective customers. Using these tactics fosters emotional relationships with new shoppers that help you acquire customers that see value in your brand that extends beyond a purchase.
Using marketing channels that help you build the emotional connections customers are looking for will help you decrease your customer acquisition costs by focusing on high-value customers that want to connect with your brand in ways outside of solely placing an order.
Here are the types of channels you need to prioritize in your small business marketing stack.
Marketing channels that start conversations
I want you to think about a time when you visited a store for the first time. Did anyone offer to help you find what you were looking for, or did you have to struggle through the store on your own?
This experience should be no different for your customers online. Both new and returning customers want to know not only that you can help them but that you want to as well. As a result, conversational commerce tools like live chat are extremely effective marketing channels for your small business. They’re visible, accessible, and familiar, opening up organic opportunities for customers to engage with you and your brand on their terms, not yours.
You can then build on these conversations outside of your onsite experience with social media marketing channels. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all familiar communication tools, making them the perfect place to meet your customers and get to know them.
Conversations build familiarity that leads to more conversions
Each of these conversational marketing channels make your brand more accessible and, as a result, more human. By creating an environment where customers feel they can get to know you, you break down the barrier of being separated by a screen and turn a potentially impersonal encounter into the beginning of a real relationship.
In fact, these marketing channels significantly increase the likelihood of a higher customer lifetime value. Forrester found that customers who engage with brands on live chat before making a purchase spend 10% more per order, with a whopping 40% conversion rate! On that same token, other studies have found that customers who engage in conversations are worth 4.5 times more than those that don’t.
Each of these statistics provide tangible evidence that these relationships and marketing channels are definitely worth investing in.
Marketing channels that give customers a voice
People love sharing their experiences with people. Whether it’s a new purchase, a trip, or exciting news, we can’t wait for others to hear about it. This is what makes social media so popular and, as a result, an even more effective marketing channel for every small business to take advantage of.
You can lean into your customers’ desire to share their lives with others by building on the conversations you start on your site with live chat. Moving your products outside of the confines of webpages and check outs with branded hashtags and user-generated content gives customers the opportunity to share their experiences with you and their friends. This not only increases your brand awareness but also shows potential customers how much people love you, increasing their desire to buy from you.
These natural sharing tendencies become even more powerful when you layer in referrals. Referrals encourage customers to talk about their experience with your store and bring more friends into the conversation, especially if you’re willing to reward them for it! With an incentive on the table, you create a positive experience that makes your customers want to return the favor. This reciprocity loop goes a long way to further developing the real connections you’re trying to build that could be otherwise difficult.
Inviting customers to share inspires reciprocity
By giving your customers the chance to share their stories, they’ll be much more likely to continue contributing to yours. The sense of ownership that comes from speaking publicly about your brand not only inspires a sense of reciprocity but also gives them a sense of importance that will draw them back to your store and help keep you top of mind.
Not only that, but the customers referred to your brand are also more likely to make a purchase. With real value on the table, they’ll be compelled to respond to your brand’s generosity by exploring your products and placing an order. This need to reciprocate, combined with how much they already trust the friend who referred them or told them about your brand, is why referred customers convert 30% better and have a 16% higher lifetime value than customers who discover you through ads alone. This will go a long way to making every referred customer a loyal member of your brand community.
Marketing channels that deliver more than a discount
When it comes to choosing marketing channels, discounts are always extremely tempting. Not only are they easy and quick to set up, but they’re also a surefire way to grab people’s attention. Unfortunately, they’re also just as easy to forget about and can actually detract from a positive customer experience while conditioning customers to expect discounts from you.
None of these things are profitable for you long term, which is why the most effective digital marketing channels for growing your small business are going to add value, not demand it from your new and returning customers.
This goal makes value-add marketing the perfect solution. When you invest in creating content that brings customers deeper into your brand story, values, and products, you open up a slew of marketing channels that otherwise wouldn’t be an option for you. From blogs to videos to webinars and everything in between, value-add marketing creates numerous opportunities for you to encourage customer engagement in low-touch but highly impactful ways.
Consistent communication keeps you connected
By creating content on a regular basis, value-add marketing also helps you stay connected to customers in between purchases. With tools like social media, email, and your existing website to incorporate into your content marketing strategy, you can use every piece of content you create to establish trust in your expertise that will compel them to revisit your store more often.
Each piece of value-add content you create also further enhances the emotional relationships you’re trying to build. No matter what form it takes, content gives you the chance to show off your brand’s personality and tone of voice, helping every customer better understand who you are and why they should invest in you. Each of these factors will not only help acquire new customers but also retain the ones you already have, setting you up for sustainable growth acquisition alone simply can’t achieve.