How to get in touch with your online customers

Customers are a funny lot aren’t they? Some want you to email them, others prefer letters in the post and some would rather have a phone call. Just what are you supposed to do for the best? And just when you think you have cracked it, everything changes and some bright spark introduces text messaging or instant messages or social networks. Gosh, life would be so much easier if it weren’t for customers existing in a changing world…!

Clearly, in order to be sure you keep in touch with your customers and potential clients you need to use the right communications tools. Luckily some new data from ExactTarget shows us what is popular and what is definitely “out”.

It appears that email is still popular, in spite of spam. In fact email is the second most popular communications method across all age groups, from teenagers up to those in their retirement years. However, when it comes to marketing messages the single most popular route for everyone was – wait for it – the regular post, snail mail. Even though there was an age related trend – younger people preferring more electronic methods of delivery – snail mail was still the method that six out of ten teenagers preferred.

In these days of social networking, instant messaging and SMS we tend to think that just because these are useful communications tools they are the ways in which we should deliver our marketing messages. Wrong. According to this study we should be using old-fashioned postal methods in order to get our sales messages across.

Of course it doesn’t mean we should give up on modern delivery methods; instead it means we should remind ourselves that using the post can be valuable. Many Internet marketers and online shops appear to think that the only way to communicate is via electronic means. By ignoring snail mail, these people are missing out on potential sales.

As ever, it’s all about variety and having the right “mix”. But how often should you communicate with your customers? More often than you probably do at the moment. Marketing expert Rod Sloane explained that in his recent thought-provoking article on business growth.

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