With all the extra time at home lately I’ve found myself fondly reminiscing of a time not too long ago where I could pack the car at the drop of a hat to set off for a weekend away in regional Victoria.
On once such trip in search of a little R&R, I quiet vividly remember a Saturday night at precisely 8.27pm where I had a very distinct desire for white chocolate and being on holiday, I wasn’t going to deny myself. With no internet connection, I couldn’t browse my options online, so I jumped in the car to see what I could get the old-fashioned way, and to my shock, not a single shop was open. I almost had a nosebleed – I couldn’t satisfy my need in real time and this felt very foreign considering the on-demand availability I’ve become accustom to as a consumer.
I’m not the only one either. One recent study on consumer behavior suggests that 51 percent of us think businesses need to be available 24/7, whilst Hubspot reports that 80% of customers expect companies to respond to their social media posts within 24 hours.
The advent of ecommerce and globalisation means there’s more expectation for you to be available to customers around the clock – and this means greater opportunities to market to them too.
You don’t have to be a large company with deep pockets to adopt an “always-on” marketing philosophy – here are six tricks to keep your customers engaged, no matter the time of day:
1. Use chatbots and live chat
I covered chatbots in a previous blog. These helpful little guys can “man” the fort for you online, responding to enquiries from customers at any time of the day or night. Chatbots are essentially software that can be simple (think pre-loaded answers to pre-loaded questions), or more sophisticated (artificial intelligence that responds to key words and phrases). Check out our Messenger one at the bottom of this page!
If you’re after a human touch, there are plenty of companies around that you can outsource live chat to. They’ll put trained people on the other side of your customers’ enquiries to answer basic questions and provide advice, and usually at a fraction of the cost of hiring in-house.
With customers preferring to type than speak, chatbots and live chat are more popular than ever.
2. Schedule your social content
Your social media platforms should be updating when your followers are most likely to be online – and that will be at varied times of the day and night, Monday-Sunday.
3. Hire a social community manager
Just think about those stats I shared at the start of this blog. People are increasingly expecting businesses to be available and responsive online. Social media community managers look after your accounts and are available to respond quickly to questions, comments, praise and criticism that might otherwise be missed. Some businesses outsource their social community management to agencies, whilst others assign the task to an employee in-house. In any case, make sure you’ve got an experienced and savvy social expert at the helm.
4. Create always-on resources
Providing customers with on-demand resources is an excellent way to achieve your always-on goals. For example, you might create a repository of educational and marketing videos on your website so that whatever situation a customer is in, they’ll have access to an in-depth “how-to” to address their needs at any time.
Bunnings offers their customers in-store ‘DIY’ classes and an extensive online resource hub.
The best marketing software these days works smarter, not harder. A big part of this is thanks to automation. For example, funnelling your customers through automated marketing communications might involve them receiving automatic (and personalised) messages 30, 60 and 90 days after they’ve purchased from you. Or they may receive specific tips or advice after subscribing to your database, or abandoning their shopping cart.
Automation can help ensure customers receive the right messages from you at the right time. You’ll also be seen as highly active and responsive (even when you’re not).
6. Incorporate marketing into your products/services
Always-on marketing should extend to your products and services – after all, these are probably in the hands of your customers – or impacting them in some way or another.
One iconic example that comes to mind is the Share a Coke campaign.
When Coca-Cola Australia printed the 150 most popular Australian names on Coke bottles and cans and invited Australians to “Share a coke”, it became a global phenomenon. The campaign has since run in over 80 markets for the last seven years – reversing an 11-year consumption decline in the US.
This clever marketing campaign used the product as its marketing vehicle – with the printed bottles carrying the marketing campaign into people’s homes, businesses and on their social media accounts. Genius!
Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ personalised bottle social media advocate campaign.
If one thing is clear, whilst we can’t always be on, the marketing we do for our brands certainly can be – and in today’s online-driven world, it should be.