One of the best ways for you to market your small business on a budget is by improving your customer experience. After all, happy customers will sing your praises and word of mouth marketing is, in many sectors, the holy grail of marketing.

So how exactly do you create a customer experience strategy that will blow them away and give you a boost in the marketing department? Here are a few strategies that may work for you:

Know Your Target Audience

The first rule of marketing and great customer experience is, of course, knowing exactly who they are. How old are they? Are they male or female? What are their politics? What kind of language do they speak? If you don’t know any of these things (and we’re really just scratching the surface here), then you’re going to find it really hard to give them a positive experience.

Play On Their Emotions

A really good way to get your customers interested in your business and, therefore, more likely to buy and spread the word is by appealing to their emotions. You know the old saying “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”?

That’s as true in the business world as it is in everyday life. The thing is, if your business is online, and you’re trying to convey much of your message with the written word, it can often be tricky to get the emotional tone of what you’re saying right. But, if you can make your customers feel something real, they will come away from their interactions with you happy, loyal, and ready to do business again.

The key is to work out what connects emotionally with your target audience and then come up with slogans that play to that; it’s not easy by any means, but a good copywriter or marketing expert should be able to help you if you’re struggling. This really is one aspect of the customer experience that you need to nail.

Predict Their Needs

Using CRM software to track purchases made by your customers and clients to then predict what they may need in the future is a great way to give them a good experience. Why? Because it enables you to be right there when they need you and more importantly, it gives you an opportunity to make a suggestion for a sale.

Allow Them to Connect Comfortably

Some customers like talking to someone on the phone, some prefer email, and others like to use social media or even Live Chat to get in touch and make a query or lodge a complaint. The more options you give them to do connect with your company, the more likely they are to get a happy resolution to their queries and the more likely they are to review and recommend you positively. Which brings us to…

Train Your Customer Service Staff Well

If you have customer service staff (and you probably should), then it’s vital that you take the time to train them properly. After all, if they don’t know what best practices in your industry are, what’s expected of them, and what they are and are not allowed to offer (compensation/freebies.discounts/etc.), then chances are they won’t exactly blow the customers away and you might end up being hit with the wrong kind of reviews – bad ones – which are every marketer’s nightmare.

Let Them Pay Anyway

Another way to build goodwill and make the customer experience a positive one is by offering numerous payment gateways. That way, customers can pay with whichever method they feel most comfortable with, whether that be their credit card Paypal or even Bitcoin. The more ways you make it possible to pay, the more likely you are to attract sales too.

Make It Convenient

Your customers should never have to be inconvenienced when doing business with you. Whether you accept electronic signatures, so that they don’t have to deal with paperwork (which can cause a delay), offer more payment options as mentioned above, or streamline your website so that it’s easy to navigate, anything that you do to make life easier for your customers will be appreciated, and your business will start to practically market itself via word of mouth. Well, it probably won’t be that simple, but it’ll do good things.

Be Authentic

I know this is fast becoming a cliche in the online business world, but being authentic really can make a difference to how you and your company are perceived. If you’re always honest, open and true to your core values, it will shine through and attract customers to you; if you’re insincere, you might fool some people, but you won’t fool nearly enough to keep you in business long-term. People are getting really good at spotting fakes, and that’s the last thing you want to be labelled as if you’re serious about building something successful.

Seek Immediate Feedback

The sooner you get feedback from your customers, the sooner you can tweak the experience so that you always blow them away. That’s why it’s a very good idea to use things like post-interaction surveys to see how well you and your employees are doing. Of course, you need to actually listen to what they’re saying and make the changes if you want this to be a worthwhile exercise.

Listen to Your Employees

Listening to your employees to see what they think about your customer experience and how your business is being perceived is equally as valuable as listening to your customers. After all, your employees are at the coalface listening to customer concerns, complaints and even compliments! You’d be foolish to bypass them when you’re seeking to create a better customer experience strategy. Again, don’t just listen though, act too.