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March 6, 2019

How can I communicate better with my customers?

You work hard to make your business a success, and you likely interact with customers on a daily basis. But no matter what industry you’re in, there’s probably one area or another where you could improve the way you communicate with them. The good news is that you’re not alone! Virtually every business owner struggles with speaking to consumers at some point, but reaching your ideal audience more effectively may be easier than you think.

Below, we’ve outlined why speaking to the right people matters, and you’ll find five tips to communicate better with your current and future customers. Let’s get started!

Why does the right audience matter?

Understanding how to communicate better with your customers will help you form relationships with them, empathize with their pain points, and more.

A seemingly obvious (yet important) marketing trend that will never go out of style is this: knowing your target audience is vital to the success and growth of your business. This is why you can’t just send out a Facebook post to the masses and expect a flood of responses. Some consumers may be happy to engage with a generic social media post, but you’ll appeal to the right audience if you can speak to them.

To engage customers, you first must figure out whom you should be speaking to—that is, those who could most benefit from your product or service. Then, research this ideal audience, what problems they’re trying to solve, what emotions these issues stir up, and how they prefer to communicate problems and emotions.

How will this help my business?

When you determine who your ideal audience is, what they struggle with, and how you can speak to their pain points, you’ll be able to:

  • Create the right content for the right customers.
  • Communicate why your business has what it takes to help others solve problems.
  • Turn interested readers, viewers, and visitors into happy customers.

Five Tips for Speaking Their Language

Now that you understand how important it is to identify and understand your target audience for your business’ success, here are a few helpful ways to communicate better with customers.

1. Understand their challenges.

Many people believe you can’t teach empathy, but we know that you can! A great way to know what to be empathetic about is to ask your customers questions—and listen to their responses. Letting your consumers explain their point of view or describe an issue they’ve had allows you to understand their challenges. This, in turn, enables you to empathize with their frustrations, fears, and aspirations.

Try asking them questions such as:

  • What frustrates you the most when you’re trying to do X or solve problem Y?
  • What challenges do you face when wanting to accomplish that?
  • How do these frustrations and challenges make you feel?
  • How does the buying process for solving this problem make you feel?

Once you have a better grasp on your customers’ pain points, don’t be afraid to call out their struggle in writing. Doing this in your marketing and promotional materials will show that you understand the problem your target audience wants to solve. It’s also important to validate your customers’ concerns or objections; after all, a key element of empathy is recognizing someone else’s feelings. Once you do this, communicate how your business will help the customer find a solution that makes his or her life better.

2. Speak to their emotions.

Understanding how to communicate better with your customers will help you form relationships with them, empathize with their pain points, and more.

Emotional appeals consistently help businesses get customers’ attention and take action. This is because as consumers, we make decisions based on our emotions first, then search for factual evidence to back up why that decision is a logical one. In fact, getting an emotional response from consumers has been proven to create up to a 23% increase in sales. But, as a business owner, your job involves so much more than turning a profit. When you can elicit joy, anticipation, or even FOMO (the fear of missing out) in your customers, you’re connecting with them on a deeper level—making them more likely to believe in what you’re communicating.

It’s important not to inspire others just to get them to do something for you. So, how should you bring about emotions in your customers and motivate them to take action without being manipulative? With your content, you can genuinely empower customers to solve problems with your company’s help. For example, if you sell all-natural produce, you can communicate with your audience that they’ll actually know what’s in (and what’s not in) their food. This will empower and motivate customers to make a great choice for their family, which will, of course, bring them joy!

3. Stay positive and polite.

It’s tough to be “on” all day as a business owner, especially when you have to face less-than-agreeable customers. Fortunately, you may be able to handle these consumers more effectively by remaining positive. Try using encouraging language like “you get to do X” or “you have the opportunity” instead of “you have to do X” or “you should.” Saying “please” and “thank you” won’t hurt, either! While these seem like common-sense practices, it will let you provide a better customer experience and (hopefully!) make your interactions more pleasant.

Try to remain polite no matter who you’re working with. For example, a customer may find it rude and get defensive if you say, “The screen told you not to remove your credit card yet” (even if it’s true). Instead, you could say, “If you keep your credit card in the machine until you see the next prompt, you can soon have your payment approved.” Finally, use words and phrases your customers understand, rather than industry jargon. They’ll appreciate you talking with them, not over them!

4. Ask for their opinions.

Understanding how to communicate better with your customers will help you form relationships with them, empathize with their pain points, and more.

When was the last time you had a great (or terrible) experience at a coffee shop, eye doctor’s office, or another business? Did you keep it to yourself? Of course not! When we feel strongly about a product, service, or company, we share it with others. You should be asking your customers to do just that, whether it’s positive or negative feedback. This goes back to building empathy and listening to those you do business with.

So, how can you tactfully ask for reviews and testimonials? You can give them an in-store survey, message them on social media, or send them an email with an easy link to a review page. If you’re communicating well with your customers and providing quality service, they’ll be happy to write you a glowing review! And if you encounter a dissatisfied consumer who gives negative feedback, you have the opportunity to identify your misstep and improve your communication or process moving forward.

5. Be accessible.

As a business owner, you probably don’t have much time to ensure you’re staying in touch with your audience. But people can’t communicate with you if you’re not easy to reach! That’s why it’s important to check in with customers and make it convenient for them to contact you. You can do this by displaying your phone number, address, and hours of operation on your website and social media. And, sending out a personal follow-up (even an automated one) will do wonders for your customers’ perception of your availability.

When you’re approachable and your communication is helpful (both online and in person), you’ll build trust and form lasting relationships with customers. You know that your consumers are real people with real problems, emotions, and opinions. Keeping two-way communication open lets your audience know you empathize with their pain points and are here to guide them toward a solution.

So there you have it! By empathizing with customers, speaking to their emotions, staying positive and polite, asking for their opinions, and being accessible—you can effectively reach the right people at the right time and place. What’s more, you’ll get to form valuable relationships with others in your community and watch your business grow.

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Treefrog Marketing is an agency in Lafayette, Indiana focused on small business. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, graphic design, web design, social media, SEO, and more. For more information, please visit our website. You can also connect with us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram.

Leverage Kelly’s marketing experience, insights, and leadership to grow your business.

As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.

She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place. 

Still, many people undervalue the strength and ingenuity of small businesses, but not Kelly. She believes they deserve to have a marketing partner and strategy that works as hard as they do.

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