Any good relationship with your customers requires more than simply sending them mass emails. You’ve got to engage them somehow, turn the focus onto them, or even blow their minds once in a while.
1. First, the obvious: Listen to your readers, respond to their comments and emails, connect with them on social media and so forth. This is the stuff you already know – it’s simply a question of whether or not you’re doing it.
2/ Offer job leads. Adding a jobs board to your website might be just the thing to get some of your readers jobs – inspiring gratitude that will keep them coming back for more.
3. Ask your best commenters to guest post on your blog – you’ll make them feel like a million bucks. Offer to guest post on your reader’s blogs – you’ll surprise the pants off of some of them.
4. Hold contests. Weird contests. Crazy off the wall contests. Like having your readers send you a photo of your product in the strangest place possible. Then hold a skills contest, like who can write the best 25 words describing life before your product and 25 words about life after your product. Or hold a funny pet photo contest. Sure, it has nothing to do with your product, but it’s not always about your product – it’s about building relationships.
5. Skype people who have just purchased your product – or someone who’s just commented on your blog – or a reader in general. You’ll blow their minds.
6. Mention readers in your posts and podcasts. For example, “Joe Smith asked me a great question yesterday…”
7. Do live calls, podcasts and webinars to answer customer’s questions. Enjoy yourself on these calls and do your best to ensure your listeners are not just learning, they’re also having fun.
8. Send them stuff in the mail. Your typical reader might subscribe to 25-50 (or more) different newsletters, but receives a personal postcard (or anything else) from only ONE newsletter writer – you. Who will they remember? Whose newsletters will they open and read from now on?
9. Don’t finish your posts. Seriously. Title your post, “100 Tips to Do ___” and then write the first 20 or so. Ask your readers to comment with their own tips.
10. Place a forum on your site. Encourage your readers to become a community. Choose a few posters and get on Skype for your own personal sessions to talk about whatever you choose (Brainstorming? Goal setting? Whatever.)
11. Ask readers to answer a question, then take the answers and compile them into a great article or blog post. For example, “What one thing is more responsible for your success than any other?” Take it a step further and collaborate with your readers on writing a book.
12. Barter with your readers. Everybody’s got skills. Do you need a webmaster? Article writer? Monkey trainer? Ask your readers for their skills and offer to barter for them. You might even set up a barter center on your website.
Think outside the box to find new ways to reach your readers, and grow your business.