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In order to build customer loyalty, it is first necessary to capture and retain their attention. Many business professionals rely on detailed reporting and data analysis, along with market research and consumer demand to make critical marketing and production decisions. While these techniques are proven, reliable ways of helping executives make critical decisions, businesses must not forget to get back to the basics if they truly wish to engage potential new clients while retaining their existing customer base.

By keeping your brand current and fresh, new customers can easily be attracted and existing customers will not become uninterested and bored with your products and services. Here are a few ways to help ensure a fresh consumer perspective:

Continue to Provide Value

Perhaps the best way to maintain customer interest is to provide something of value to them, in addition to your products. What can you help them with? What do they have questions about? How can you make their lives easier? These are important questions to take into consideration when attempting to give more value to your customers.

One way businesses are doing this is by establishing a blog on their company’s website. By implementing a public blogging platform, companies can give customers free advice by means of Top 10 Lists and FAQ posts. They can also increase corporate transparency and brand awareness by fully engaging their readers in the comments section. Not only can answers be given, but companies can gain real-time insight as to what consumers are truly looking for and implement the ideas into their products, services and/or marketing campaigns.

Keep Up With Industry Trends

Keeping up with emerging industry trends in your marketplace is essential for spotting marketing opportunities and keeping an eye on your competition, but it is also a great way to connect with your customers and establish yourself as an expert in your industry. By knowing what’s trending in your industry, and applying it to your outward-facing content, you can better tailor your products and services for your customer. This will increase their genuine interest and keep them coming back for more.

Thanks to the Internet, it is easier than ever to find trends that are emerging in your industry. There are thousands of websites online that reveal current trends in just about any industry imaginable. Start with Google Trends, type your industry in the search box at the top of the page and see what you can find. Or, visit your favorite search engine and search for trends in your specific industry. The information is out there and it’s free, so take advantage and use it to create up to date products, services and marketing material to establish your company as an expert in the industry, get more customers and keep your current customers happy.

Know Your Target Audience and Cater to Their Interests, Even If They Change

Knowing your target audience is essential for any business, and the more demographics you can gather the better. Find out where they hang out both online and off, where they shop, where they go to look for answers. You will also want to find out what their interests are and what they value in a product or service. It is important to get a clearly defined picture of your target customer and his or her behavior.

Once you have captured the demographic of your ideal customer, you can begin implementing plans to cater to their needs. Marketing campaigns can be generated which will appeal to potential new customers, and products and services can be tailored to your current customer base, based on demographics, previous purchases and communication, which will help preserve your current customer base.

Have an Active Social Media Presence

Today’s knowledgeable consumers are turning toward the Internet “en masse” for help deciding which products and services to purchase. By searching giant social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, consumers are doing their homework more now than ever – and businesses must leverage the massive influence that these websites can offer if they want to thrive in today’s marketplace.

If a business doesn’t already have a social media campaign, then it is missing out on an incredible opportunity to engage customers, both new and old. It is important, however, not to use the social media platforms solely for self-promotion. Simply put, it’s not about announcing products. Instead it’s about creating a community around a product or service where customers feel like they are a part of the business.

Facebook pages can be used to create communities, while Twitter profiles can be used to share insightful information and promote conversation. You can also use YouTube to engage customers through video and show your products in action. The ways in which you can use social media to benefit are truly endless. For some great ideas of how to use them effectively take note of these social networking tips.

Create and Maintain a Lasting Bond

Creating an initial bond with a customer is the easy part. Once you’ve established this bond you now have the tough assignment of actually keeping it. Fortunately, the cost of attracting new customers is much more than maintaining a relationship with existing ones.

Perhaps the most important aspect of building and retaining a customer bond is to establish trust through honest and effective communication. This can be done through social networking, as described above, offering company and industry newsletters, and creating special deals and incentives for repeat customers who are willing to provide feedback to your customer service team. Providing exemplary customer service is also a great way to build customer loyalty, so customer service training and supervision is essential in this area.

Make Sure the Customer is Satisfied

Unhappy Customers Lose Interest Fast. Above all, you have to make sure that your customer is satisfied before during and after their purchase, otherwise they will lose interest very quickly. Ask for future feedback from your customers at the time of purchase, or implement a callback program as a “courtesy” to your customer base.

Remember that bad experiences and poor feedback is going to happen. When you find yourself dealing with one of these situations, it is imperative to do anything you can to appease the customer. Even if you know they are not going to purchase from you again, the deal is far from over. As the Internet grows, so to do the complaint sites that encourage people to post their bad experiences with businesses, and inevitably the experience will end up on a Facebook or Twitter post.

If you do everything in your power to make the customer happy, while they may not ever purchase your product again, they will at least be given incentive not to post their experience for the entire world to see.

Keeping customer interest is a vital part of any business. Simply having a great product or service may not be enough to sustain a viable business. By implementing the tips discussed above, and knowing what your target audience is looking for, you can begin transforming your products, services and marketing campaigns to their liking, and be well on your way to growing a successful and profitable business.

Hopefully these tips by Villanova University will help keep your customers interested in the products and services you offer. Consider taking care of your employees as well. Giving them time to take their human resources certification or even their master’s degree in human resources can go a long way for them and for your organization.