April Breakfast Speaker Answers How to Engage Customers Better in 3 Steps
The topic at the Greater Lexington Chamber’s monthly breakfast Tuesday morning was an attention grabber for most in attendance. John Farmer, general sales manager for WACH FOX 57, was the speaker, and he focused on how to increase revenue in small to medium level businesses through marketing.
Farmer, who has 17 years of marketing, sales and management experience in South Carolina, focused on “increasing revenue through effective customer communication” and how to do it in today’s marketplace.
The first step of the three-step plan is engaging the right people. The second step is sending the right message to those people. Finally, we want to choose the right place to put that message where we’re going to connect with our potential customers.
“We want to talk to our core audience and be very specific what we market,” Farmer said. “We don’t want to chase extremes. We want to reach our core.”
The common theme that runs through all of those things is an idea of consistency.
“We want to be consistent in the folks that we talk to. We want to be consistent in the message that we talk to them,” he said. “And we want to be specific in where we choose to talk to them, where they’re spending the majority of their time.”
Getting a clear message through to potential customers is both more difficult and more important than ever before due to how many products and advertisements are out there. According to Farmer, the average person sees between 5,000 and 6,000 advertising messages per day.
“You see them on coffee cups, billboards, television, logos on shirts. You can’t get enough messaging,” he said. “The brain is very overwhelmed with all the stimulants that we have today, so it’s very important for us to be consistent and try to break through the clutter of what’s out there.”
So, what do you need to know about your customer and what should your message to them look like? If you can identify those two things, your marketing and communication will become more efficient and effective, and it will yield results. That means sales and revenue back into your business.
The starting point is identifying the core of people you deal with and targeting them, rather than trying to reach everybody in the market. You need to figure out what 60-70 percent of your customer base looks like. That is the group of people you want to target. Focusing on that core will result in your advertising dollar being more effective and going a lot farther.
You need to answer questions like: What is their general age range? What is their career? Where are they located? And also things about their lifestyle like: What are their family values? What are their attitudes?
“All of these things will help us decide, not only where we want to put our message, but what we want to put in the message to be able to connect to that group and be able to talk to them in a way that they’re going to relate to the message and feel a connection to your business,” Farmer said.
The next key is determining what people use your product or services for. This will dictate how you want to communicate with them. You have to recognize what features and elements customers are most interested in from their point of view. Many times this can be determined by understanding what questions your customers ask you most frequently. For example, if customers want to know how quickly you can get a product or service to them, that’s something you should include in the message to them. That will answer questions the customer already has when they engage with your product.
The final piece of the puzzle is getting the customer from the trigger event where they might need your product to the actual purchase. Be specific about your area of expertise so that you associate a need with your business during the trigger event. Are you putting yourself in position to talk to people as they’re moving through the process? What are you doing to ensure potential customers have a perception of what it is you do with a feeling associated with it?
In large part, this is created by word of mouth, which can be the best, most effective advertising. In today’s world, people can communicate with everybody about your business immediately. You have to control and shape what that message is. When people buy your product or service, they have an experience, which creates real feelings. The perception formed by those feelings is what feeds word of mouth and what the message is going to look like.
“Customer service is the most important thing we can do as a small to medium business,” Farmer said. “That experience creates that perception of what our brand is and that gets propagated throughout the community.”
But customer service in marketing is not a differentiator, because it sounds the same from every business. “We have great customer service” is a cliché that needs to be avoided.
“You want to ensure the message you’re communicating describes a real benefit that becomes tangible,” Farmer said. “So when you say great customer service, tell me about an experience that a customer’s had with your business that’s demonstrated what that means to you.”
Farmer concluded by reviewing the three point plan to increase revenue.
- Engage the right people.
- With the right message.
- In the right places.
The breakfast was sponsored by LRADAC and catered by Crescent Moon Restaurant.