With the growth of the internet the role of the consumer is changing. The abundance of information available at our fingertips means that consumers are better informed than ever, not only about products and services available, but also with regards to customer feedback. This means that they now have different parameters by which they are making decisions about what, when and whether to buy.
These changes mean that the most successful businesses are changing their marketing strategies to benefit from this customer empowerment. Whereas in the past, businesses have tried to limit choice for consumers, the opposite is now happening. Businesses are finding that the more that they empower their customers, the better results that they get. Human psychology suggests that the more freedom we are given, the better we respond and this is the premise behind consumer empowerment.
Here are 5 ideas about how to empower your customers in a way that will benefit your business:
1) Create an App
Giving people information can create a problem which you can then solve. For example, an app which gives nutritional information about food can be used to promote your healthy food company. By giving consumers more information they will seek a resolution and by building an authority in your specific area, your business will be the one that they turn to, to resolve their problem.
2) Give Information
Release a blog, podcast or video which gives vital information to the public. This could anything, from legal advice, to hotel reviews. By giving out knowledge for free, consumers not only will make the right decision about what to by (gaining your business respect) but also making your business their main source of information and the first company that they think of when looking to buy again or something similar.
3) Get Customers Involved
Businesses can spend a fortune trying to create and develop new products, but who knows better than the customers which will be buying them, exactly what they want. By involving consumers in the creation and development of products, and getting feedback, not only are you engaging with them, making them feel involved and creating the right products, you are also almost guaranteeing sales.
4) Be Consistent
Consistency is perhaps the most important factor in the success of any business’s online presence. By being consistent, the face of a company is professional and uniform, whilst maintaining the brand identity, and this makes customers know that they can rely on you. Reliability is very important in helping customers decide from whom they want to buy.
Consistency isn’t just about using the same visual, same slogans and same colours, it’s also about putting out content at regular periods, with the same tone and responding within set timelines.
By engaging and conversing with your customers, you are treating them like people, and they will react like people. Consumers these days like to see a human face on businesses. By showing them the respect of conversing with them and asking them for feedback, they will in turn show you and your business respect and loyalty that we all have towards our friends.
It can be surprising how much sway the consumer has on other consumers. Social networks have meant that it’s increasingly easy to see customer feedback, hence arming consumers with still more information. By engaging with customer and empowering them, their view and respect for your business will only grow and this can only be beneficial for you.
Head of Marketing
The Internet Marketing Academy