How to get and keep loyal, online customers

It’s one things to get people to visit your website, it’s quite another to convince them to purchase your goods.

And even if they’ve purchased products from you once, that doesn’t make them long-lasting or loyal. This complicated process of gaining and keeping online customers was recently boiled down to three steps by Court Cunningham, CEO of Yodle, an online marketing company.

1. Build a strong online foundation

It’s not enough to have a bare bones website with a couple drop-down menus and a pretty logo up top. You must provide customers with relevant, accurate information, make it searchable, and make it engaging. And it needs to be mobile compatible because, according to BIA/Kelsey, a research and advisory service company, “More than 50% of local search will occur on mobile devices by 2015, and . . . 67% of people say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy the product or service.”

2. Encourage online reviews

The Ipsos Thinking Exchange has found that 3 out of 4 consumers say their purchasing decisions are influenced when they read online reviews. People infrequently complete unsolicited reviews, however, and those who do of their own volition often have had an extreme experience with the product—either positive or negative. To get good, accurate reviews, it would be wise for businesses to solicit reviews frequently from customers, making the process quick and easy to complete.

3. Communicate with customers in meaningful ways

Communication with customers should occur both ways. Your website isn’t a monologue to a captive audience, after all. Cunningham suggested, “There are a number of different ways to communicate with consuemrs to attract both repeat and new business. One example is to engage through social media. 78% of consumers’ purchasing decisions are impacted by the posts made by businesses they follow on social media.” Consumers then interact by liking, commenting, or sharing the content they see posted by the businesses they follow.

Cunningham stressed the importance of succeeding in the online landscape, saying, “People have shifted away from traditional media and now increasingly rely on digital resources, such as mobile search, online directories, review sites, email, and social media.” If you don’t connect with your consumers online, you might not do so at all.

Source: Huffington Post

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