Have you ever gotten lost at a crowded concert or bar in the days before cell phones? The music’s blasting, the venue is huge, and you have no idea how to find your date.

Many of us face the same challenge with our online products. Once we’ve put our offerings into the loud, packed marketplace, it’s difficult to find our “dates” – the customers who are interested in us.

It’s important to stand out in the crowd.

You won’t find your date (or your customers) by standing still and hoping they’ll come find you.

You’ve got to do what it takes to stand out! Shout over the noise, wave your arms, and make it easy to be found.

There’s one other factor that makes it easier for you to be found in a crowd:

Your relationship.

If you get separated from your long-term significant other at an event, you have enough shared history to intuit where he or she is. Is she at the bar, is he taking a smoke break, is she waiting patiently for you at your seat? You’ll know far more about each other than you would on a first date.

Your customer relationships are the same. It’s simple to connect with a customer who has been with you for five years versus one month. You understand his or her wants, needs, and history. You know what product upgrade might interest them, or what new product they’re likely to buy.

There’s incredible value in established customer relationships.

Building a long-lasting relationship with your customer is no different than building any other stable relationship. You can’t expect to snap your fingers and find your soulmate. It takes time, effort, and attention to establish a quality partnership.

Here are 10 ways to woo your clients and build the foundation for a lifelong connection.

1. You’ve gotta have the goods.

Ever gone on a date with someone whose online dating profile was misleading? It seemed like they were the total package: attractive, interesting, funny. But in person, they were something else entirely.

Before you start wooing new prospects, make sure you have a product people will find appealing. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be “dateable.”

At the most basic level, you need to have:

    • A dedicated website that explains your product’s features
    • A secure, streamlined shopping cart and checkout process
    • Informative email communication
    • A product filled with useful content including videos, checklists, and worksheets

 2. Find your common ground.

Opposites might attract, but it’s unlikely someone will click on your online dating profile if it’s clear you have no mutual interests. Likewise, it’s integral to let your potential customers know you’re on the same page as they are.

    • In your marketing materials, explain the challenges your customers might be facing and offer your product as a solution to those problems.
    • Always use language that humanizes your product instead of jargon-y marketing speak that can disconnect you from your audience.
    • Don’t be afraid to share your personal story and passion in your own words. People want to relate to you and your product.

3. Show a little leg!

What photo would you use on your dating profile? Not the one of you at high school prom with unfortunate hair and an ‘80s outfit. You’d much rather use a photo that shows you at your best.

Similarly, make your product’s window dressing top notch.

    • Design your logo, website, and emails to be intuitive and attractive.
    • Use design layouts and styles that make your product feel current, not outdated.
    • Ensure that your branding is consistent across all your materials, so customers have a clear sense of your product and what it represents.

 4. Smile!

You wouldn’t sit through a date stone-faced and inexpressive (we hope), and you shouldn’t pitch your product that way, either.

    • Promote your product with positivity and enthusiasm.
    • Don’t focus on the negative aspects of your competitors.
    • Watch out for any “desperation” in your pitch, which is a total turn-off to new customers.
    • Focus on the valuable information your product provides, and how it can improve your customers’ lives.

According to KISSmetrics’ marketing research, “people who heard a positively toned pitch were TWICE as likely to accept the deal as people who heard a negatively toned pitch.”

5. Show you care.

Are you willing to go the extra mile for someone special? Of course. Your customers are ALL someone special, so treat them accordingly.

Your customer service experience should be impeccable at all times, and leave everyone feeling happy and well cared for. Sometimes, all your customer wants is to know that you’re there, accessible and available. Customers should be able to reach you through multiple methods, including:

    • Phone
    • Email
    • Online chat
    • Twitter

Try to emulate service-centered companies like Costco, Zappos, and SouthWest Airlines that go out of their way to make you happy.

SouthWest’s proactive (not reactive!) customer approach should be an inspiration for everyone. One flyer describes what happened when her flight was delayed:

    • She received a text message from SouthWest as soon as the delay was announced.
    • This was followed by a phone call from a human representative who explained the reason for the delay (fog).
    • She was offered an alternate itinerary that would get her to her destination even earlier than planned.
    • A new boarding pass was ready and waiting for her at the gate.

A potential crisis was averted, and the flyer didn’t even have to ask for help!

6. Aim for the long-term.

Retention and loyalty are far more valuable to you than “one night stand” purchasers.

According to Bain & Company, a 5% increase in customer retention can mean a 30% increase in company profitability.

And according to Market Metrics, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is just 5-20%.

Simply adjusting your mindset can help you secure more permanent clients. Think of every customer communication as a stepping stone to future business – not a “one and done” interaction.

With dates as with clients – keep ‘em coming back for more!

7. Bring flowers.

Well, not necessarily flowers.

But customer rewards and loyalty programs can go a long way in maintaining a long-term relationship. What are you offering your customers to surprise and delight them?

A few ideas:

    • Phone calls just to check in
    • Personalized handwritten letters (try a service like MailLift that makes sending handwritten letters a cinch)
    • Random acts of kindness like unexpected gifts or discounts
    • Invitations to attend events or webinars as your special guest
    • Early access to new products or beta launches

Or, follow Zappos’ lead and actually send flowers!

After hearing a customer explain how difficult it was to find shoes that fit after a series of medical treatments, a kindhearted Zappos rep sent the woman a bouquet of flowers and enrolled her into the Zappos VIP membership program.

8. Listen.

Who wants to go on a second date with someone who talks about themselves the entire time? That’s no way to get to know someone, and it’s no way to treat people who are interested in your product.

Before you jump in to your sales pitch, LISTEN to what your prospects want. Provide opportunities for them to communicate their wants and needs to you through:

    • Feedback surveys
    • Comment sections
    • Social media
    • Contact forms

Establish an “open ear” policy. In your regular communications, always indicate that you are eager to receive feedback and that people should feel free to reach out to you with any needs, questions, or concerns.

9. Communicate.

Communication is the key to any successful relationship.

It’s vital that you communicate your passion for your product and your interest in your clients’ needs. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds! Communication must be consistent to be effective.

Consider incorporating these things into your marketing plan if you haven’t already:

    • Send emails to your list on a regular basis.
    • Keep your social media platforms active and engaging.
    • Write frequent, relevant blog posts that will help new prospects find their way to your product.

10. Be patient.

Quality relationships take time to develop, in the dating world and the business world. That’s why they’re so valuable. They’re a culmination of time, mutual interests, and shared experiences that can’t happen overnight.

Have you ever known a couple in their 80s or 90s who have been married for many, many years? They’ll be the first to tell you they didn’t arrive there by chance. They suffered hard times together and experienced joyful times together. Their relationship is the result of continuous hard work. And even at an older age, they still continue to put in that work.

Is it worth it? You bet.

It’s up to you to keep your customers’ honeymoon going. Put in the effort, and you’ll be rewarded with their loyalty and patronage.

What better way to stand out from the crowd than with your devotion to customer satisfaction?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to learn how to build your online course.

About the author: