Fast Company

Acquiring, connecting with, nurturing, and growing a customer base through technology

Technological innovation seems to be coming at us from every direction at an ever increasing pace. So how do you figure out what’s got legs and potential to help you succeed in business and what’s simply a waste of your time and investment? As we will explore in this blog on a regular basis, the answer will often depend on the type of business you are in and more importantly who your customers are. However, at the end of the day we will often be asking ourselves a simple question. Does this innovation make our personal or business lives easier or more efficient? Since we can’t hope to address all the different types of innovations out there that impact business owners, we will be focusing on those that address a challenge that every business, no matter its size, faces throughout its existence: How to cost effectively attract new prospects, make connections, nurture those connections into customers, and grow customers into trusted relationships. A technology that makes the customer acquisition and growth process easier and more efficient obviously delivers the highest return on investment and is sure to be a long-term winner in your organization’s arsenal. That said, one piece of technology is usually not enough for business to keep pace and remain successful. Take the world of online marketing: a company’s website, blog, email marketing, and social network participation can fuel the sales engine. Using one without the help of the others will result in minimal success, but when all are used together, you’ll drive sales and build stronger customer relationships. Social networking technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn give business owners a chance to make thousands of loose connections with prospects and customers. But what good are a thousand connections if none of the people ever make a purchase or refer business to the company? On the other hand, a small business may write a great blog and send engaging email content, but if no one is reading it, does it matter? Each facet of technology available to businesses today must be used in concert to drive customer acquisition: connect with customers through their preferred touch points, be it email, an RSS feed, social network, or some combination there of; nurture relationships through two-way communication that allows customers to provide feedback; and then continue to grow the relationships after a sale is made. Doing so can turn your customers into advocates for your business, driving more connections and starting the sales cycle all over again. Adding to the challenge of finding the right mix of technology to support your marketing and sales efforts is the ever-changing technological landscape. Twitter, Facebook, and iPhone applications weren’t even on the radar a few short years ago. Who knows what the next six months to a year will bring. In this blog, we’ll explore new and existing technologies and how they’re succeeding — or failing — in helping business to succeed in the one thing that remains constant for businesses of any size: The need to acquire, connect with, nurture, and grow their customer base.

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