The way you speak to your customers can make a big difference in your ability to get your products to stand out and ensure lasting customer loyalty. Traditional communication options like email marketing can certainly prove effective, but it can be all too easy for your message to get lost in a sea of other brands doing the exact same thing.

By being mindful of the unique nature of your target audience and exploring different communication options, you can find exciting new ways to better reach your buyers. A targeted approach that uses diverse communication channels can significantly improve sales and retention.

1. Take to SMS text messaging.

Pew Research estimates that 96 percent of Americans own a cell phone, with 81 percent owning a smartphone. That's more than own a desktop, laptop or tablet. Because of this, there is great opportunity in reaching out to customers via SMS text messaging, rather than email alone. According to Aaron Evans, the CEO of SMS marketing company Drips, text messages have a 93 percent open rate, compared to a 25 percent average for emails.

The most effective SMS messages are conversational and humanized, taking on a less formal and formulaic tone than standard email marketing. In one test Evans ran, a shift to a conversational tone immediately boosted conversions from 10 to 15 percent.

2. Employ digital seminars and video calls.

In-person meetings and presentations have long been the norm, especially for B2B pitches. However, even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many brands began shifting away from this approach to digital-friendly formats. Instead, they are using web chats and digital seminars to provide the same information in a more accessible way.

I recently spoke with the founder and president of Access Jet Group, Adam K. Hasiak, who arranges private jet reservations for high-earning clients from all over the world. With or without a global pandemic, Hasiak noted that most customers actually prefer digital presentations when making a buying decision, as they're more convenient.

Nowadays, Access Jet Group's experience is fairly commonplace: an online version of what was formerly an in-person meeting eliminates travel time, while still delivering the same level of service. Brands can set up one on one video calls with customers farther along in the buyer's journey, while using webinars to introduce their products or services to a larger group.

3. Incorporate web chat into the sales process.

Many companies leave money on the table by failing to add extra communication channels to their website to better reach their buyers. Web chat is frequently used in customer service, but it is often neglected in the sales process. Research from Forrester found that customers who interacted with web chat were 2.8 times more likely to make a purchase. Despite this, an analysis of 10 major retailers revealed that only one used web chat for sales.

The most effective sales chat tools are proactive. Initial outreach when someone first visits your site makes it easy for them to engage if they have a question about a potential purchase.

While chatbots can be helpful in addressing basic questions, be sure to have a living, breathing person available to address more complex inquiries. A positive chat engagement gives your sales reps opportunities to upsell and provide real-time engagement -- almost the same as if the customer were speaking to an employee in a brick-and-mortar store.

4. Go all in on customer feedback.

You also need to communicate effectively with your customers after they have completed their transaction -- not just while they are making a purchase. Savvy brands go beyond allowing customers to submit feedback on their website by also tracking brand mentions on social media and online review sites.

Using digital tools like Sprout Social or Mention to track comments and complaints across a wide variety of platforms will enable you to respond quickly and appropriately. It also showcases your dedication to your customers, which will go a long way in making a positive impression with current and prospective consumers alike.

When responding to negative feedback, don't get defensive or make excuses -- especially online, where your response is visible for all to see. Instead, acknowledge the issue and offer to do what you can to make things right or improve your services in the future.

In marketing, it's not always about what you say or how you say it. Quite often, your results are dependent upon using the right communications channels. Reaching your buyers in an easy and convenient manner will ensure that your messages are seen.

There's nothing wrong with continuing to use tried and true messaging platforms. But don't be afraid to try something new. It could make all the difference.