As most business owners know, the key to finding and maintaining success in the long term is to connect with your customers. Customers are the ones who will be funding the majority of your business and will keep your doors open. Don’t underestimate the value of knowing who your customers are and how to reach out to them. To get you on the right track, let’s look at how your business can better get to know its customers and connect over a wide range of media.

Provide Surveys

One popular method of collecting customer data is through customer satisfaction surveys. Rest assured, if you present your customers with the opportunity to tell you how they’re feeling, they’ll let you know. Suddenly you’ll get an influx of new information, and from there you can look at trends. Maybe you thought customers weren’t coming because of slow lines at the register, but dozens of surveys are coming back saying that your store is too dirty. Suddenly, you have a new insight into the priorities of your customers, and know how to address their needs.

Start an Online Dialogue

The internet is perhaps the best way to reach a wide array of people, and that can be crucial when trying to figure out who your customers are. Whether it’s starting a blog or running a virtual help desk, give your customers an opportunity to interact with you and your business. The comments section may be a dangerous area on many sites, but it can also be a forum for your customers to express themselves. If you’re worried about the price of outfitting your business with internet capability, don’t be. Plenty of providers offer great internet and phone services, so don’t miss out on this game-changing opportunity just because your pockets aren’t as deep as a Fortune 500 companies (business.frontier.com). You’ll more than make it back when you’re accurately addressing the wants and needs of your customers.

Hold Events

While the internet can be an excellent way to connect with a widespread customer base, you’ll get a deeper understanding of people through face-to-face communication. Try holding an event where you’ll get to interact with customers, like a “get to know the team” event. Personalize it, and if it makes your job easier, feel free to toss in a related sale to help move some products while you’re interacting with your consumers. This will let you know your customers on a more personal level, and will also make them more likely to buy from you in the future. After all, everyone likes to buy from people they know, rather than from nameless faces.

There is a nearly infinite number of ways to connect with customers, but these three strategies are a good place to start. Connecting to your customers is essential if you want to optimize your marketing campaigns and ensure you’re reaching the right people, so don’t be afraid to aim high. Customers are the driving force behind any industry, and the first step to succeeding is knowing who you’ll be selling to.

Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.