There’s something unmatched about finding a company that takes care of you and strives to meet your needs. When a customer does find that in a business, they’ll want to share their experience, whether through casual conversations or even in more formal forums like testimonial sections of websites.
Good service and standout business practices can help any company build an excellent business reputation.
If you’re working at a small business, your reputation is even more important. Why? Major chains may have thousands of regulars who swear by their service and would stay attached to them even in the face of several bad experiences.
However, the smaller business has to work harder. They have fewer relationships to manage and, thus, holding on to each is more important. Not only is it important for retaining business, but it is important for building a positive reputation to show off to new prospective customers.
Luckily, with email, it is possible to build a great reputation and spread the message of your brand. Even if you’re with a small team or a solo marketer, email marketing makes it possible to build the company reputation you want.
The hidden marketing benefit of being a small business
As a marketer, you know all about connecting with an audience. It can seem like the bigger businesses have all the advantages.
Their email campaigns go to thousands of inboxes and their landing pages get millions of clicks. They have monstrous budgets to dump into their paid ad campaigns.
While these are all advantages, they come at their own cost. Bigger brands with larger audiences sometimes have a harder time connecting with those audiences.
The larger the company and the more traffic they’re reaching out to, the harder it is for each user to feel engaged and appreciated. Smaller businesses can thrive here. What you lack in quantity, you make up for in quality.
Here’s where email marketing comes in. This form of marketing is tailor-made for a personalized, targeted, segmented approach. You can make each audience member feel like they’re the only one you’re talking to. Making everyone feel valued is the secret to business reputation management.
Read on to discover some of the specific email marketing techniques small businesses can utilize to create that 1:1 dialogue between brand and customer.
Automation is easier and more cost-efficient than you think
While large-scale automation efforts may seem like expensive tools reserved for only the biggest companies, automation has come a long way over the years, and companies of all sizes can now utilize this technique.
Only about half of email marketers use automation. However, with automation, you can trigger specific emails to automatically go out when subscribers take a certain action, such as those that welcome new subscribers.
Source: Really Good Emails
The above example is a great way to show how welcome emails can do more than just thank someone for signing up. Barnes & Nobles doesn’t just say thanks. They show their gratitude by presenting you with some of their best offerings, neatly categorized for your convenience.
Welcome emails are great to automate because you want to be quick when reaching out to a new subscriber. Can you imagine having to write all those emails manually? Set the signup as your trigger, and have your welcome message ready to fly into their inbox.
Welcome emails are also known for having some of the highest open rates: an impressive 50%.
Personalized emails make your audience feel connected to you
Your brand needs to make customers feel special. They don’t want to get the vibe that they’re a number or one entry of millions on an email marketer’s list. Instead, they want to feel like the content they get is tailored to them.
The key to giving them what they want is personalization. If you’re using the right email platform like Campaign Monitor, you can gather a large amount of information about your customers. With their permission, you can find out what it is that makes them unique: where they come from, their birthday, and most importantly, how they interact with your company and its content.
As you may imagine, integrating your email marketing strategy gives you an even better chance of building a positive reputation. For example, you can automate emails based on your personalization efforts for audience members.
Imagine a customer is examining a particular product line on your site for a long period of time. You could use this to trigger an email that offers them more information, provides them with helpful contact info to get their questions answered, or maybe even offers them a time-sensitive discount on the product they’re considering.
With personalized emails, you’re moving closer to that 1:1 conversation customers want. Business reputation management is ultimately about making sure customers are cared for. Personalized emails can also be useful for answering customer questions and resolving complaints.
Autoresponders help customers feel heard
If customers have a bad experience with your brand, imagine how much worse it could become if they are forced to sit around for days, waiting for a resolution. Now imagine how much better they’ll feel if they get a quick response. Even an initial response to let them know their inquiry is being processed is a huge courtesy and can sustain them until a final resolution has been met.
When customers are taken care of this way, they’ll remember it. The way they’re taken care of can impact the reviews they give you, and these reviews are proven to be important. 93% of people admit online reviews impact their buying decisions. 90% take the time to read through all those reviews, while 85% trust said reviews as much as personal recommendations.
When you’re looking to build a positive company reputation, personalized content that speaks directly to customers as individuals is hugely important. The question is: how can you keep this close-knit communication as your audience grows?
Segmentation simplifies the management of customer relationships
It’s true that, in many cases, you’ll be tailoring emails for one specific person. However, there are some cases in which the same email would work for a sizable percentage of your email list. What’s the answer to saving time and streamlining these important messages? Segmentation.
The idea behind segmentation is that every customer is an individual. However, their differences are also not necessarily unique to them alone.
Segment by common behaviors
Segments can be used for a number of different user characteristics. You could base segments off of customers’ buying behavior. For example, imagine you have customers who make a certain number of purchases within a short time period. You could put them all in a given segment, then send out a thank you message to that group. You could even include a discount to show your appreciation or ask for feedback on their experience.
The same technique could be used for retention and recovery purposes. If you have a group of users who haven’t made a purchase or haven’t engaged with your content in a while, send out an email to that group asking them to come back. You could even implement a survey to ask them what you could do better.
Segmenting for small business growth
Even if you are a small business marketer, your business won’t stay small forever. When your audience grows, the key to maintaining that personal business relationship is to maintain neatly organized segments. It makes managing your email marketing endeavors much easier and ensures your customers are still treated as individuals.
The key elements of your brand will shine through when you create personalized, targeted content among well-defined segments. Combine this with the technique of automation to streamline things, and you’ll become more efficient than ever with your email marketing. Your business reputation will show it too.
Building a good brand reputation takes time and effort. While it can be easy to envy the larger companies with their sprawling audiences, smaller businesses have an advantage.
Even with a limited audience, you can build a positive reputation for your brand. You can create and manage those 1:1 relationships much more easily, and make each customer feel like a valued individual who is connected to your company as more than just a buyer. The techniques you can use include:
- Automation: Useful for streamlining important emails and facilitating quick communication
- Personalization: Helpful for creating more relevant content and keeping your audience engaged
- Segmentation: Valuable for maintaining a good reputation as your company and email list grow
Once you see the potential your email marketing has to build your brand, the possibilities are nearly endless.
Looking to build your brand? Here’s how to use email newsletters to create an image your audience will gravitate to.