As a digital advertising agency, you’re handling small business clients’ most prized possessions: their businesses. Clients need to trust that you’ll take care of their brands — and it’s no secret that trust is lacking. So, how can you build trust and improve the customer experience? You should start by humanizing your brand, engaging customers throughout the purchase funnel, and personalizing the client journey.
1. Promote your personality
Small business owners trust people, not large institutions. Members of your leadership team (CMO, CEO etc.) or your client services team should connect with clients using personal blogs, social media posts, email and direct mail. If someone posts a complaint on your Facebook account, have your CEO reply with a personalized message. Post pictures of real employees on your website and social profiles. Personalize your automated marketing emails using first names and personal pronouns. And don’t just promote products, services or sales-heavy content-; instead, share stories about your lives and your clients’ lives. Let your clients see that you’re human, too…not just some faceless digital advertising agency.
2. Avoid industry jargon
In digital marketing services, we have a habit of using industry jargon to talk about our products and services. But our small business clients aren’t online marketing professionals; they’re mechanics, therapists, electricians, CPA’s—in other words, everyday people. When you’re communicating with clients or prospects it’s vital to be understood. So avoid acronyms like “SEM” or “KPI” or technical marketing terms like “conversion metrics.” Instead, use language that will resonate with the client and make them feel comfortable in the conversation. There’s a reason The New York Times uses an eighth-grade reading level.
3. Celebrate anniversaries, birthdays & other milestones
Sometimes the only interaction customers have with their marketing company is when they receive a report or an invoice. To stand out, send automated emails for every year your client has been a customer and use these opportunities to cross-sell, upsell or just say thanks. You’re fostering the relationship with your client and letting them know you care about their success.
4. Be a thought leader
Increase your influence in the marketplace by providing consistent, relevant information on digital marketing topics that small business owners can relate to. Don’t sell anything. Raise awareness of business topics and build consumer confidence by providing educational, easy-to-consume content in the form of blog articles, videos or whitepapers. House all of your content on one website or blog, and share it through social media (especially LinkedIn and Facebook) and other web properties. You’ll attract consumers in an early stage of the sales funnel, and when it’s time to make a decision, your agency will be top-of-mind.
5. Find out what clients really want
Digital marketing strategies should be based on data and insights, not personal anecdotes. But it doesn’t take a market research firm and months of double-blind focus groups to get the answers you need. A simple 20-question survey from a service like survey.com or SurveyMonkey should reveal everything you need in order to plan the right kind of content. For example, survey your clients to find out if they’re interested in social media tips; if they are, serve them content from your thought leadership blog regarding social posting schedules, content generation, and ways to cross-promote their social media profile. Use surveys to segment your audiences and deliver relevant information to the appropriate segments.
At the end of the day, your clients want to feel important — that they’re not just another payment metric to your company, but rather a supported partner. As a digital advertising agency, make sure to integrate all of your marketing strategies so that you’re creating a thoughtful, consistent and intimate journey for your clients.