November 2, 2016

15 Tools to Help You Meet Your Customers Where They Are

BY Caitlin Delohery IN Prospecting, Relationships 0 Comment

You know when you’re at a party and your friend Bill stands in the coat closet because he’s so eager to make connections with everyone there?


If you are sending tons of messages out to your customers and you aren’t getting any responses, chances are you may be talking to yourself in the coat closet.

Don’t be like Bill. Come out into the living room, where the party is raging, and start making some strong connections. Here are 15 tools to help you make sure you’re meeting your customers right where they are.

Mobile-ize your website

So, where is this party of the century going on? At an iPhone in your next customer’s hands.

No matter what your business, it’s likely that your leads and customers are going to be interacting with you from their mobile phones. In fact, mobile devices account for nearly two of every three minutes spent online.

So, say you had a storefront that wasn’t dog-friendly, and it turned out that two of every three of your customers went everywhere with their dogs. Instead of hoping your customers would get over their pets, you’d put a water bowl out on the sidewalk and get a little candy jar of doggy treats for the registers, stat.

In the same way, it’s time to spiff up your website for your mobile guests. Here are some tools to help.

  1. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test will diagnose how mobile-friendly your website is. If you have small-screen issues, the test results will outline what they are and how to fix them.
  2. BrowserStack gives you insight into how your website will appear on specific iOS, Android, OS X, and Windows devices.
  3. MobiReady moves a step beyond appearances and provides in-depth technical information about how well your site performs on mobile devices.

Text like your livelihood depends on it (because it does)

What is everyone’s favorite thing to do with their phones? No, it’s not watching videos of unlikely animal friendships or scanning their Facebook feeds, though they like to do those things very much, too. The most popular cell phone activity is texting.

To take full advantage of mobile, you need to communicate with your customers the way they like best. So, if you’re just emailing and making phone calls to your leads and customers, you’re missing out.

People like texting because it’s unobtrusive, quick, quiet, and fun. Your customers can text you while waiting in line for their mocha frappuccinos, sitting in a silent library, or catching up in the few minutes between meetings.

Here are some tools that can help.

  1. TextUs is an app that allows your entire team to text message contacts using your business phone number. With Group Broadcasts, message templates, and scheduled texts, it allows you not just to engage over text but to create a powerful texting strategy.
  2. SimpleTexting is an SMS marketing tool that allows you to send mass messages using SMS short-code. It’s useful for offering contests, running polls, tracking links, and sending coupons.
  3. CallHub integrates your phone, SMS, and phone-banking efforts into a single piece of software.

Listen on social like you would IRL

Pop quiz! Say you’re courting a new friend at this party of the century. Which of the following strategies would you use to become buddies?

A. Abruptly approach him and start listing all your talents.

B. Talk to him in great, persistent detail about badminton, even if he expresses zero interest in badminton.

C. Say things, listen to what he says, and then say things in response.

D. Play hard to get and wait for him to come to you.

If you answered A, B, or D, let me suggest this book as required reading. Here, in his infamous tome, Dale Carnegie breaks down how, exactly, to win friends. And the first ingredient? Listening.

Many people forget that social media interactions are just as much a conversation as IRL interactions. And with many of your mobile-friendly prospects and customers finding their way to you on social media, you don’t want to make that mistake, too.

So, don’t fill your Twitter feed with all the reasons you’re an awesome company.

Don’t go on and on (and on) about a subject that your audience doesn’t care about.

Don’t use social media as a one-way platform to get attention.

Instead, take a page from Carnegie’s book and listen well on social media. Here are some tools to help you provide the right value, delight your social audience, and to make sure your message is on-point.

  1. Hootsuite is a great jack-of-all trades social listening tool that allows you to monitor keywords and hashtags in real time, follow your competitors, and explore what your target audience is paying attention to.
  2. Hashtagify lets you key in on what hashtags have an audience. You can search for related hashtags and get a sense for trends — this will help you reach out in just the way your audience likes.
  3. BuzzSumo ensures you’re talking about what your audience is interested in. You can analyze what topics and types of content perform best for your industry.

Meet them where they literally are

Speaking of IRL, you can still meet actual leads and customers in actual real life.

Most of us these days don’t consider in-person efforts, but that’s exactly the reason that they can make such an impression. Because it’s unexpected, in-person outreach can really solidify and nurture your customer and lead relationships.

Step away from the screen, and take a break from liking and retweeting. Go shake someone’s hand and have a cup of coffee with them.

Here are some tools to help.

  1. MeetUp isn’t just for painting parties and singles mingles. Use the site to invite locals to an industry get-together and chat with leads and connections over espresso or a beer.
  2. Bizzabo helps you battle that familiar feeling at conferences and expos that you haven’t met everyone you could. Network with attendees, virtually introduce yourself to speakers, and schedule lunches and drinks to make the most of your time all gathered together.
  3. Cityhour is a bit like Tinder for business. Have a free hour and looking to have a power lunch with a potential customer or business associate? Swipe right, so to speak, and Cityhour will connect you with anyone in a 50-mile radius who matches your interests.

Manage it all with your CRM

And, of course, whether they come in via web traffic, text message, social, or IRL, your CRM can help you manage all these touches and connections like a boss.

  1. Contact Notes help you keep track of individual communication preferences, from whether they want texts or phone calls to what time of day is best for them to hear from you.
  2. Reports keeps larger trends top-of-mind, too. What time of day do your emails tend to get the best response? What about your social posts?
  3. In-CRM Calendar manages all these meetings and follow-ups from within your CRM. Your calendar can even link your meeting reminders up with all that important info about your contacts.

There you have it — 15 tools to help you meet your customers where they are.

Looking to go beyond just meeting and get right into giving back? Check out our blog post on how giving helps you sell.

Caitlin got her roots in inbound marketing before it got its name. As a teenager in the 90s, she promoted her independently published magazines by writing about the importance of indie publishing all over AOL. Now, Caitlin is passionate about moving people and society forward. She follows thought leaders in the National Speakers Association, the staffing industry, and all human rights movements. She loves learning and helping people learn.

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