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How To Make Your Customer Stick With You - Part 1

Aug 17, 2007
What is the best secret behind incredibly successful businesses? Is it keeping up with the trends? Having an excellent workforce who'll make sure that your company is working in tiptop shape? Or having loyal customers who not only keep coming back to you whenever they need your products or services, but also help your company get more attention from other people through good word of mouth?

This article will give you great advice on how to make your customers stick with you.

One effective and free technique is a Forum. It is a great way to make your customers stick with you. Forums are great for learning, sharing of ideas, and generally masterminding with peers, but give some thought to the impact they can have on your lead generation efforts, as well as on your relationship to your customers.

By joining an active forum, you can significantly accelerate your rate of learning whether you are a newbie or an experienced practitioner.

For newbies, even if you merely lurk in the shadows and don't post on your forums, you will learn a lot by reading questions from others and the helpful replies by experienced forum members.

Apart from the information sharing and networking that forums offer, they have the potential to both positively and negatively impact your marketing efforts, levels of customer satisfaction, and the overall sentiments towards your customer.

Here are some ideas as to how you can use forums in a positive way to improve your marketing initiatives.

Conduct market research. Simply type in the name of the product or service you want to research in the search engine; within seconds you will have a list of website reviews, blog postings, and forum comments.

If you get some glowing comments in public or in membership forums for your products, contact the individuals to see if you can post these as testimonials. Negative comments should also be reacted to as well; contact the individuals and see if you can rectify the situation. Often a fixed bad experience can convert a vocal detractor into a fan. Most people can tolerate a mistake; what makes them angry is when you ignore them or pretend that no problem or grievance exists.

Use for Satisfaction Tracking. If your business markets a product to quite a large user base, it makes marketing sense to set up a product-specific forum and actively promote the forum to your customer base.

The postings by your customers will give you a good indication of the overall sentiment towards your product, as well as your service levels. Prospects can also use the forums as a gauge of product popularity and level of active support.

Your forum will also provide you with a communication channel to your customer base. You can use it to conduct quick polls and as a free customer relationship management alternative to paid-for satisfaction audits by marketing research firms.

New product ideas. It is worthwhile to join a couple of the more active forums related to your market, whether your website has a forum or not. You can possibly identify the need for new products or services by monitoring questions, complaints, and cries for help. A forum can also be a no-cost way to launch a pilot for a new product or service. You can get some early sign-ups or purchases without a major investment in marketing, and at the same time, use the opportunity to get some quick testimonials.

Finding JV partners. Monitoring active forums has another positive marketing spin off. It will help you identify potential JV partners. In the same way you are being assessed in your expert know-how, you can use the postings by your peers to identify those with whom it would make sense to explore setting up joint ventures. This could get you access to mailing lists that you currently do not have.

If you are adding an online component to your offline business or starting to investigate an online business opportunity, consider how you can incorporate the points listed above. For those suggestions that have a nice fit with your market, make a decision to take action and include them in your marketing activities. By actively and consistently applying these forum tactics, you will find that both your lead generation and your customer initiatives will be far more productive.
About the Author
Don Resh is CEO of WebForce, Inc. A more detailed bio is available at:

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