Thursday, April 12, 2018

Customer Loyalty and Relationship Marketing


This month is International Customer Loyalty Month.  It is said that it takes 5 to 25 times more time and money (depending on which reports you read) to gain a new customer vs. working to retain the ones we have.
Statistics say that if a business retains only 5% of their customer base, it can increase their business by 50%.  Why?  Because loyal happy customers will keep buying and will refer new business.

68% of all customers are lost due to perceived indifference! A customer who feels appreciated will not go elsewhere when the competition comes calling.  They will remain loyal rather than go shopping for price.

Repeat customers spend 67 percent more. They are your referral engine.  After 10 purchases, a customer has typically already referred up to 7 people.

Giving Great Customer service = Good Business
Having Customer Loyalty = Great Business!

So why work harder when we can work smarter by continuously showing our current customers appreciation.  To keep relationships strong, businesses need to regularly remind clients that they are important to them. They also need to remind them who they are, what they do, what services they offer, and why they are their best choice for their product or service. Busy people tend to choose the fastest solution to a problem. By keeping in touch, a company makes themselves stand apart from the rest of the crowd and their clients are more apt to call them the next time they need their product or service.  Social media is a good way to remain visible to prospects and clients.  Email marketing is also good way to remind prospects and clients you are still around and in business.  But doing something more personal sets a business apart from the rest.  From page 115 of The 29% Solution ..."Good follow-up is not just doing what is required or what you've promised to do.  It also involves going BEYOND what is expected. 


Tradition says greeting cards are personal. Greeting cards have a traditional feeling of warmth and sincerity; our culture maintains that greeting cards are personal and are sent from someone with whom there is a relationship. In a world of impersonal form letters and mass email, memorable greeting cards are a refreshing marketing tool that will add a personal and memorable touch to the interaction with clients. By incorporating greeting cards into a retention strategy, the message is being sent to the client that an important relationship exists.

I invite you to check out a true referral system that is simple and easy.  SendOutCards has completely overhauled their system adding many new features making it is easier than ever to follow up and show prospects and clients real appreciation.  No more points.  No more expense account.  Just pay for the cards and gifts you send.  Try it out today.  It now works similar to an ITunes account.  Set up a Free account and see all the new features.  Or if you’ve ever had an account, it’s still there.  Download the app and even send cards from your mobile device.  Here’s the link  www.RelationshipMarketingMadeEZ.com  Click on ‘Business’ to see all the new features, i.e. premade drip campaigns for various industries.  A contact manager system that is some people pay hundreds of dollars for and it doesn’t send cards.  Or I can send you a short video that explains all the new features.  And I would be happy to talk with you and show you all the new features.  What ever is easiest for you, I’m here to help.

“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”
                                                                                 - Marian Wright-Edelman

Happy Keeping in Touch,
Annette
‘Helping My Clients and Their Business Look Good’

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Social Media Platforms - Which Ones to Use


Why post on Social Media?  To create visibility and awareness about you, your products, and/or services.
Which platforms should I use?  It depends on your target market and demographics.  In order to know where to post, you have to know who your best clients are.  Who can use your products or services?  And don’t say anybody, everybody, anyone, everyone, because not all those folks have money to buy your products or services even if they could/should use it.  So, think in terms of age group, locale, industry, income, interests, etc.  The better you can narrow this down, the better you will know which platform to use for Social Media.
Let’s look at the major ones – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
According to a recent report by http://www.pewinternet.org, Facebook is still the leader with 68% of Americans having Facebook accounts.   74% of those with Facebook accounts say they check their accounts at least once per day.  51% say they check their accounts more than twice per day.
While not a traditional social media platform, YouTube is used by 73% of U.S. adults and 98% are 18 – 24 year olds.
For younger adults 18 to 24, Instagram is viewed as the platform of choice with 71% and 45% using Twitter.  And for this age group 78% use Snapchat.
Pinterest is substantially more popular with women at 41% and men at 16%.
LinkedIn remains popular with college students and high-income households at 50%.
The bottom line is seven of 10 Americans use some form of social media.  Defining your target market for your products and services will determine where to focus your social media efforts. 
Below are two sites with a more in depth look at the numbers/reports.
Fact Sheet from 2017 on Social Media use: http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/
My questions when determining which platforms to use:  Which ones do you currently use?  You’re probably interacting with friends and like-minded people already, so it makes it easier to post and manage.  If you can link other accounts to what you already use, that’s like getting a freebie.  For instance, linking Facebook to Twitter and/or Instagram to Facebook.  I say use what you can easily post to and don’t rule any out any just because the numbers may say differently.   
And/or if you’re outsourcing your social media, cover as much and as many as your budget will allow.  Personally, my favorites are Facebook (link it to Twitter), YouTube if you like to do/can and want to do videos, Instagram if you have a visual product/service, and LinkedIn to post your professional resume. 
I hope you have found this to be helpful.  Your comments are welcomed and appreciated.
Sincerely,
Annette
‘Helping You and Your Business Look Good’

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Starting a New Business

Tips, Tools, Recommendations, and Things to Consider.

So, you think you want to start a business.  Be your own boss. You have a great idea for a product or service.  Being your own boss can be fulling and satisfying, but before jumping in, here are some tips, tools,* and recommendations* to consider. 
(* I have referenced people, businesses, tools, books, etc. in this article which I recommend.  Also, see the reference list at the end of the article and yes some are affiliate links).
-        Do your due diligence.  Whether you think you have a new idea for a product or service or a new twist on a current product or service – Research.  Ask questions.  Talk to the business owners who are currently doing what you want to do.  Find out the pros and cons.  Especially the cons.  Perhaps talk to a business consultant or a business coach.

-       Target Market.  Who’s going to buy your product or service?  Not who needs it, but who has the money to buy.  There may be people who need your product/service, but not have the means to buy it.  Get very detailed and specific with the demographic you wish to target.  This will help you with your marketing plan. 
-        Create a business plan.  Think about it.  Would you build a house without a plan?  A business plan is creating your vision.  All the steps to get your business up and running to the day to day operations.  If you’re a ‘big picture’ kind of person, then have someone who thinks about the details to help you. 
-        All the Legal Stuff.  How should you set up your business?  What permits are needed?  Trademarks?  Copyrights?  Licenses?  Best to consult a business attorney or a CPA.
-        Company Structure.  Think of your business as you as the bus driver.  Where are you going, and do you need help and if so when and how much?  Will you need full-time employees or part time contractors?  Seasonal help?  OutsourcingVirtual help?  When considering who will help, consider what you do best and delegate the rest to the best possible source.  You can’t know it all or do it all.
-        Financing.  Whether you’re buying a franchise or starting from scratch, ‘it takes money to make money.’  How much is it going to take to get up and running?  How long is the expectation before the business shows enough profit to be self-sustaining?  Equipment cost?  Marketing?  Salary for yourself and wages for help?  Office space?  Merchant Services?   And the list goes on.  Even if you start out as a one-person solopreneur, all these costs need to be a consideration.  Talk to a financial advisor well versed in business startups.  Also, consider a business loan rather than use your life savings.  
-        Keeping it all Straight.  Bookkeeping is a must so that you maximize all your finances and take advantage of all tax benefits.  Intuit Quickbooks is great to ensure all the I’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. 
-        Marketing.  Getting ready to make your debut and putting your best foot forward.  It’s important to ensure all your marketing elements are in place, i.e. your website, social media, business cards, brochures, signage etc. Whether you are a brick and mortar business, or your office is in your home or your vehicle, you want to ensure your professional image is represented well across all platforms.
-        Networking.  Getting the word out and meeting the right people who want you to succeed as much as you do is very important.  In today’s market, it’s not enough just to build a website and hang out a sign, especially if you’re not the only ‘mousetrap’ in town.  And we would all prefer a warm referral rather than a cold lead.  One of the oldest and best networking organizations is Business Network International.   I also highly recommend ‘The Networking Guru’ by James Barber.  It is a good short read and explains the basics of networking to build relationships in order to build a business.  In fact, James has written a 2nd book, ‘The Networking Guru – The Next Level’ that also goes over some of the other aspects mentioned above, i.e. business plan, business coach, networking, etc.   I recommend reading his second book first.  It’s more about setting up the infrastructure for a business to succeed.
Yes, there are a lot of things to consider starting a business.  It can be very scary as well as exciting and rewarding.  Seek out those who are doing what you want to do and who are successful.  Pick their brain.  And be sure and ask the question, ‘What do you wish someone had told you before you started your business?’  Learn from those who have gone before you.
To Your Success,
Annette
‘Helping You and Your Business Look Good’

Resources Referenced in this article:
Business Coach – Russ Young with Action Coach
Virtual Assistant for Relationship Marketing, Social Media, Email Marketing, Admin Services, Basic WordPress Website – Annette Mason – Painted Lady Enterprises
Bookkeeping/Invoicing – Intuit Quickbooks
Merchant Services – Randy Amerson – Netcom PaySystem
Website Domains and Hosting – www.DomainsMadeEZ.com
Networking – Business Network International – BNI.com or for Georgia – BNIATL.com

Need other recommendations?  Please let me know.  I would be glad to provide a reliable source for you.

 

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