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Most brands today are looking to get closer to their customers. They want to know what makes them tick, their buying tendencies and frequency and what can make their product/service better.
And with all of the media channels in existence today, it’s a lot easier for them to make that connection with you.
Pros and cons of connecting with companies
Of course it’s easy to balk at this notion. Many of us are very guarded at giving out our phone numbers, email addresses or even zip codes when asked. And, with good reason. We hear about identity theft all over the news and other crimes against consumers when our personal information is accessed.
I think it’s good to be cautious.
At the same time, realize that many companies have adopted privacy and other consumer protection policies that are in your favor. Many state upfront they will never use your contact information other than for a stated purpose (for example, when you sign-up for their product enewsletter). Most of them can be trusted to use it for this sole purpose. If they go against their own policy – they can get into a heap o’ trouble.
I’m of the opinion that if by giving them my personal information (or opinions in a survey) will help to make the product/service better, so be it.
Ways to connect and save more money
Surveys. It’s no surprise in today’s competitive marketplace that businesses are looking to get the edge over their rivals. One of the most popular ways they utilize are surveys. Just the other day I went to a local Qdoba store (I think I’m starting to like these guys more than Chipotle!). On the receipt I was given a web address to fill out a short survey and then a coupon code offer for free chips and salsa on my next visit. I mean, how can you not like free! This whole survey didn’t take more than 2 minutes of my time.
- Mailing lists. I mainly mean email here (but many businesses still send out coupons and mailers through snail mail). Most good companies today have an email list that you can get on via their website. It doesn’t take long to locate them as they are typically near the top of the homepage or in their footer. Lately, I have been trying to get on all the email lists of products/services that I routinely use as I know they are going to be including coupons and other deals only available to those on their list. And if you don’t like all these emails going to your main address, feel free to grab a junk account via Gmail or another provider that you can use exclusively for company lists. The other day I got a 10% off coupon for signing up for one of the products I use almost every day. (HINT: If you aren’t on Redbox’s email list – get on ‘er now. We haven’t paid for a movie in almost 4 months as they routinely send out a free rental code almost every week!)
- Social media channels. Though I’m not a big fan of businesses using Facebook (I think it’s a little too cozy as they can see your likes, friends, updates, etc) – I am pretty fond of keeping track of brands via Twitter and other social media outlets. Twitter used to be a haven for companies giving out products and deals when it first started – but has since quieted a bit. Though just a quick search on Twitter for the words, “coupon code” and you’re bound to find a discount for something! Foursquare is another channel you may want to use when you visit an establishment as some offer rewards for so many “check-ins” or visits.
- Become an advocate. Since social media has become such a phenomenon the last few years – a lot of brands are listening to what customers are saying. If you are particularly fond (or not too fond) of a product/service, let your voice be heard via Twitter (make sure that company has an account first – otherwise it will be like the tree falling in the forest – will anyone hear you?). Your being vocal about a brand you enjoy is free advertising and sometimes will be met with a reward. ;)
- Chat ’em up! One of my favorite ways of cozying up to brands comes from Kyle at Rather-Be-Shopping.com. Today many retailers have a “chat” feature on their site. Before you go to check-out, hit the chat button and ask if they have any discounts you can apply to your order. You’ll likely be surprised at what they can offer.
Are there any ways you cozy up to companies you consistently purchase from to save more money?