No.1 | Create and maintain a conversation with your customers.

When you think about communicating with your customers — how you do it, how often you do it, what you say when you do it — think about it as though you were communicating with someone near and dear to you.  That may sound a little warm-and-fuzzy, but here’s what I mean: You must invest time and effort if you want to generate a genuine conversation and relationship with your customers.  

The goal is regular communication about who you are and what you’re doing so that you stay at the top of your customers’ minds.  We in the business call it top of mind awareness.  When someone needs a new widget, you want them to think of you and your widgets first.  There are lots of ways to stay in touch with your customers — more than I have time to outline here.  So I’d like to talk about two ways you can do this in 2009 . . . and I’ll tell you right away that these are pretty much at opposite ends of the spectrum.  

Tweet (on Twitter)

Tweeting may be new to you.  I’ve known about it for a while, but I just recently started tweeting on Twitter.  It’s essentially a “micro blog.”  You can write about anything you want — what you’re doing, what you’re thinking about, what specials or discounts your business is having — but you’re only allowed 140 characters.  So it has to be short.  

Now, this may not be for you and your customer base (you have to decide if your folks are tech-savvy enough) . . . but it gives you another way to communicate with your audience.  If your business is built around your personality — maybe you’re The King of Widgets in your city — people can “follow” you and read about what The King is up to.  You can also tell people that your widgets are half-price during your Valentine’s Day Sale, that you just got the newest Widget ever, that you have a new blog post up, or that you’ve received yet another award for your excellent widgets.  

You may think Twitter is something for kids, or that you don’t have anything worth micro-blogging about, but this can actually be a great business communication tool.  Lots of businesses are using it these days to stay in touch with customers and generate buzz.  For a short list of people worth following to get started, leave a comment below or email me at tcolson@mercantilecc.com.

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