Capturing Customers in 2011

by Katie Essner on December 29, 2010

In an uncertain economy, the biggest challenge for businesses in the upcoming year will be to attract and retain customers. There is an ever-important need to be frugal with expenditures, and being able to reach customers in ways that are budget-friendly will be critical. However, adjusting to this “new normal” can easily be done by analyzing your key customers, integrating marketing tools, zeroing in on key messages and increasing brand experience.

First, take a look at what’s been done over the past few years in terms of reaching customers. Did your key customers respond to the marketing program as expected? Do you truly understand what compels them to use your services or products? Have you taken the time to research customer habits and attributes, and does this information provide you with clues on how to attract new customers?

Once you’ve analyzed your customer base, find ways to integrate your marketing materials so the message delivered to customers will have greater impact. Have you thought of new and more sophisticated ways to link public relations, websites, social media and advertising together?

To ensure a consistent experience with your brand, zero in on key messages that will be used in all materials. What will your focus be? What do you most want people to understand and remember about your organization? Key messages should always reflect your company’s overall goals and be relevant to your customers’ needs.

Finally, increasing brand experience is critical. Brand experience means finding ways to consistently engage and excite customers. It’s all the touch points of your brand – visual, verbal and written – that can be used to capture customers. To enhance your brand experience, walk through a customer’s experience with your business and search for new ways to appeal to them. You might be surprised to discover inexpensive yet effective methods to keep those customers loyal to your brand.

You might have to work smarter and leaner, but it is possible for businesses to keep their customers engaged in 2011. It just requires a plan, a little bit of creativity and sometimes looking at the obvious in a different way.