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It's Halloween. Don't Scare Off Your Customers

Regular Advisor

Halloween is upon us again. It's a day for dressing up and acting a little silly, and (especially) overdosing on sugar. Here at Constant Contact, we're taking that maybe a little too seriously with our annual costume contest. People are dressed up in some wacky outfits (I'm dressed up like Santa Claus), and there's a ton of candy and snacks all over our offices. But it's all good; we're having lots of fun today, and tomorrow we'll go back to being our normal selves and things will be business as usual.


Can your customers, members, clients, supporters, fans, and followers say the same thing about your business or organization?


It's important to remember that while Halloween is a day for fun, scares, and surprises, you shouldn't treat every day like it's October 31. Things that are perfectly acceptable behavior today could turn off your customers once all the trick or treating is over. So with that in mind, here are three things to remember so you don't scare off your customers the rest of the year:


1. Forget the masks. Just be yourself. People get enough marketing and advertising messages these days as it is. And it's becoming increasingly true that people like to support brands they know and trust, rather than ones that come off as less personable and that only want to make a sale. That's partly why people join social networks and sign up for email lists: to communicate with other real people, minus the marketing. The more you can show off your true, authentic self (through great content and genuine responses), the more you'll make a true connection with people you're trying to reach. Then they'll be more likely to patronize your business, donate to your organization, hire you for your services, or volunteer their time to support your cause.


2. Keep giving out treats. When it comes to your online marketing efforts, you need to give your customers the kind of candy — er, I mean, content — they want, the kind(s) that will get them to engage with you. How do you find out what they want? There are a handful of ways: One is to ask them, in an online survey or through another feedback method. Another is to pay attention to your reporting data. Watching to see what gets your subscribers to open, click, and share will tell you which articles and types of content they value the most. A third is simply to see what's getting the most response on Facebook and Twitter. If asking a question and soliciting the thoughts of your fans and followers gets the most likes and comments, then do that more often. If sharing photos or videos works, then share more of those.


3. Don't be a ghost. Far too many businesses and organizations make the mistake of ignoring comments and questions posted by customers, members, clients, and supporters on social media. According to a recent study by Maritz Research, 86% of consumers expect a business to read a comment they've posted on Twitter. More important, according to InboxQ, 64% of consumers said they'd be more willing to make a purchase if a business responded to them on Twitter. The message is clear: Customers love to be heard on social media. Always be listening (using a tool like HootSuite or NutshellMail) and ready to respond when your customers, members, clients, and supporters talk to or about you.


What is your business or organization doing to keep customers and not scare them away? Share your thoughts here, or on our Facebook Page.


Martin Lieberman is Constant Contact's managing editor. He develops blog posts, articles, guides, and more about email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, and online survey best practices, as well as small business and engagement marketing trends. Martin has more than 15 years of experience writing and editing content for a variety of audiences. Martin's tips, ideas, and solutions help small businesses and organizations build successful customer and member relationships. Follow Martin on Twitter at @martinlieberman.