Executives these days demand that you prove your budget investments are working, however tracking the evidence is the difficult part. While follower numbers and number of times content is shared is at times enough evidence to track working investments but may still fall short. You need to quantify the ROI for your social media marketing tactics just as you do for traditional marketing initiatives. While social media marketing metrics are far from perfect today, you can collect the necessary data to support your current and future social media marketing spending. The following are a list of just a few key performance indicators: Lead Generation, Customer Engagement, Sentiment In Branding and even Customer Loyalty.
While content creation has become a major marketing trend, it also presents a challenge for organizations. As more high-quality content becomes available, supporters will become increasingly selective with what they choose to read and watch. Personalizing your communication with potential clients will set you apart from others who are also sharing content and showing up in their inboxes. It’ll also help you build relationships and humanize your brand. You want to be able to make a connection with your consumers and create impact.
Reports of the death of the desktop may be greatly exaggerated, but in 2014 it lost its place at the top of the e-commerce heap to the combo of smart phones and tablets. “Mobile-first design” caught on as one of the year’s buzzwords. “No longer an add-on to the marketing mix, targeting mobile users will become top-of-mind to a campaign’s success.” While consumers still primarily go online on a desktop (either at the office or at home), mobile commerce is gaining fast and marketers are shifting their attention to making everything mobile-friendly. Statistics show mobile advertising spending worldwide will grow 51 percent in 2014 and make up 31 percent of the spending growth for the year.
- Visual Branding Evokes Emotions
Images can instantly elicit emotions that connect consumers to your brand. Think of ads you’ve seen for charitable organizations, particularly those dedicated to helping sick or starving children and abused animals. Visual branding is a cornerstone of nonprofit branding, but it can be applied to any brand. Take a look at Nike ads. Even Google has embraced visual, emotional branding in recent years with marketing campaigns that focus on visual storytelling.
- Visual Branding Gets Noticed
People’s eyes are typically first attracted to motion (e.g. online video content or animated GIFs) or color (e.g., colorful images). A web page or print ad filled with words can be designed so white space and typeface draws consumers’ eyes through the copy. However, they’re far less likely to instantly click away or turn the page if a moving element or colorful image captures their attention.
- Visual Branding Drives Sharing
Did you know that online content which includes an image typically gets more social media shares, particularly on Facebook, than content that does not include image? There is a reason why sites and tools like Vine and Instagram are so popular. People love to share visual content. Make sure you offer some visual content from your brand for them to share, too.
- Visual Branding Is Memorable
Some images are hard to forget, but even the most mundane image increases memory and recognition for many people who are visual learners. If you rely on text alone, you’ll miss a segment of the consumer audience who is better able to recall images than words.
- Visual Branding Is Quick and Easy to Consume
As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” While text can give context to images and tell a more complete brand story, an image can communicate a great deal very quickly. Today’s consumers move quickly, particularly online. Visual branding provides another way to communicate your messages to an audience that might never stop to read your content or messages.
Oftentimes, a negative experience that a customer has with your business can be salvaged and turned into an opportunity to win them over for life.
But being able to handle negative feedback in a positive way takes plenty of practice. Your business can get a head start by following established advice on interacting with customers in these less-than-ideal situations.
Poorly handled customer complaints are one of the quickest ways you can destroy an otherwise stellar service reputation.
1. Time is of the Essence
I’ve made some pretty strong cases for spending more time with your customers, but you saw the data above … complaints are a slightly different beast that greatly benefit from being resolved quickly.
A customer leaving a feature request won’t sweat the fact that it took you a day to get back to them. However, unhappy customers want resolution yesterday, so you need to make responding to them a priority.
In almost every other instance I would encourage you to slow down your service, but in this case you need to make moves to right the wrong as soon as possible!
2. Verify the Resolution
Have you ever tried to contact customer service through an online form, and after you hit submit there wasn’t a single follow-up notification on whether or not action had taken place?
This is frustrating, because you don’t have a clue where your issue—and any hope of resolving it—stands.
The same thinking applies to resolving customer conflicts via email or phone. You want to be absolutely sure that the customer is clear on the resolution that occurred and that it met their needs. So if you’re not ending your responses with an inviting question to do more, then start now.
3. Drop the Formalities
Customers want to be treated with respect, but if you stop treating customers like regular people and start talking like a corporate stiff then they won’t interpret the interaction as genuine.
Research suggests that personalization is powerful when interacting with anyone, but especially with your customers.
Remember that you’re not speaking to the Queen of England, so refer to your “chat” with a customer rather than your “correspondence” with them, and speak as if you were talking with an acquaintance. A little familiarity can go a long way toward getting customers on your side.
4. Involve Them to Avoid Overcompensating
You already know that you don’t have to buy an amazing customer experience, so throwing freebies at customers over issues that could have been resolved in other ways is a surefire way to lose your shirt.
Instead, if a complaint is genuine and the mistake is on your end, involve customers in resolution decision-making through phrases such as, “What do you think would be fair?”
5. Don’t Drag Out a Lost Cause
If a customer wants to cancel their account, do it for them right away. Better yet, let them cancel without having to call your company at all. It should be just as easy to cancel as it was to sign up.
Winning customers back with exception customer service is an important aspect of your business that you should focus on (and the thesis for this whole article!), but when customers already have one foot out the door let the parting be as friction-less as possible.
Customers aren’t necessarily done with you for good just because they cancel their account once, so don’t hassle them as they exit. Remind them what they’ll be missing by simply being sincerely helpful.
6. Get to a Medium Where You Can Take Action
People love to complain on Twitter, but it’s hard to successfully resolve a complaint within that channel.
Instead, refer people to an email address they can contact with their issue and assure them that you are ready, willing and able to get this problem resolved right way.
Trying to achieve anything more in limited spaces like social media just results in a public back-and-forth that rarely goes anywhere productive.
- CARP Diem
- Problem solve
In other words, take control of the situation with language that shows you are ready to handle customer concerns and don’t intend to play any games. Acknowledge that you completely understand their concerns and won’t be brushing them off.
Next, refocus away from their emotions to the problem at hand, outlining how you’ll take care of it. Finally, solve the problem they initially came to you with, confirming that everything has been resolved to their satisfaction.
- Don’t Take it Personally
You and I both have bad days from time to time, and your customers do, too, so don’t hold it against them!
Even with the absolute worst barnacle customers, you need to practice pushing their mistreatment aside and recognize that you can’t control how miserable people act—but you can control how you react.
Consider the following statistics:
- Resolve a complaint in the customer’s favor and they will do business with you again 70% of the time
- Up to 95% of customers will give you a second chance if you handle their complaint successfully and in a timely manner.
The time has come, soon to be 2015. You’ve likely considered a number of resolutions you want to follow through with in the New Year. Maybe it’s to spend more time with family, or run more on the weekends, or try to cut pizza and other greasy foods out of your diet for a while (that’s one of mine — I doubt it’ll last long, but I digress).
So take the time to crunch the numbers, discover what is and isn’t already working for you, modify your campaigns accordingly, and 2015 is bound to be just as — if not more — successful than 2014.
1) Focus on Mobile
2015 is going to be all about mobile. As of February 2014, there were 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions, the International Telecommunication Union reported. Now, just imagine how much that figure has grown since then.
Smartphone’s and tablets are increasing in popularity by the day and we don’t just mean in terms of sales. Consumers are using mobile devices more and more to conduct transactions, research brands, visit their favorite sites, and read and reply to emails.
So, if you’re still under the impression that it’s absolutely fine not to worry about optimizing your email campaigns and websites for mobile, it’s time to modernize and make some headway in improving your mobile presence.
2) Responsive Websites
While we’re on the topic of mobile, this is as good a time as any to talk about responsive design.
Making the look and functionality of your site the same on both desktops and mobile devices can go a long way in bringing in new visitors and leads and bettering your bottom line and with 17% of global web traffic coming from mobile, as Statista reports, you’ll want to make your site is completely optimized for smartphone’s and tablets.
Given how relatively new the concept of responsive design is, we totally get it if you’re not up to speed on exactly how to get your site fixed up properly.
3) Content Strategy
Speaking of content, it’s only going to become more important over the course of 2014, given Google’s assertion that quality content will gradually have a bigger impact on SEO.
Because of this, it may be smart to evaluate a variety of types of content that could work for your inbound campaigns. You can determine what’s best for your efforts in several ways — chiefly, going over your analytic from the past several months and engaging in continual A/B testing. This post will help you get started with the former, and this one, the latter.
If you’re planning on taking on a bunch of content types and need some help organizing and structuring them, these numerous templates can come in handy.
4) Strategize your social media and email strategies as needed
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram — these are the undisputed kings of social.
While new, flashy social sites are bound to pop up over the course of the New Year, you’ll first want to ensure you master these aforementioned platforms that have proven to bring substantial ROI for marketers worldwide before putting all of your eggs in a new-and-unproven social media basket.
In other words, we advise you resolve to fine-tune your prospecting on these sites before diverting efforts to the “next big thing.”
Similarly, it may be wise to make one of your first priorities in 2014 to comb over your email marketing metrics to see what may need to be adapted or revised.
5) BONUS: Consider a homepage revamp
Although you may have already put in a great deal of time, effort, and resources to making a top-tier homepage, a change in buyer persona could mean it’s time to give it a face lift.
Even if you haven’t altered your persona, it may have been a while since the last time you made sufficient changes to your homepage to account for marketing new products or services, or even rebranding your company.
The stars are prominent. They’re more prominent than lots of other elements on a brand Page — including likes or the elusive “talking about this” metric. For pretty much all brands – big or small – this is a wonderful thing. Instead of competing with other companies for “likes,” brands can focus on getting a few qualitative, positive reviews.
They can focus on the quality of their business instead of the quantity of their followers — which is how brands should be thinking about Facebook, but some haven’t because of how prominently the number of likes were displayed.
Less focus on fluffy vanity metrics and more on true audience engagement and happiness is a good thing. Brands can prove real business ROI, and fans can actually be delighted by the company and its content.
The stars are prominent. And who knows if they will only appear on your brand’s Facebook Page? They could end up being pulled into the “like” box on your website or any other place where you’re promoting your brand page through embedded content. If you have great reviews, all of those worries are positive, but let’s face it — not all companies are going to have only five stars.
That is, unless companies start forcing employees to leave fake reviews, which will end up skewing the average rating. Bonus: It’s incredibly unethical to force employees to leave positive reviews. Even if the reviews are voluntary, the reviewer should be disclosing he or she is an employee. And even then, it’s still a tricky situation.
Right now, the most that companies really can do is force you to like their Facebook page — which is definitely unethical, but not quite as egregious as leaving fake five-star reviews. “Liking” something just doesn’t carry the same weight as a full-blown starred review — one new like adds onto a never-ending pile of likes, whereas a review gets factored into an average.
And I’m not going to get into math here, but really low and really high reviews could skew the average review displayed at the top of your brand page — which, regardless of whether the average is good or bad, is just plain inaccurate.
Besides the whole unethical employee reviews, you might get skewed results if your brand doesn’t allow people to write on its Timeline. When people want to communicate with your brand on Facebook, they’ll then have to comment on an individual post or better yet … leave a review. And if they’re trying to communicate with your brand about a customer satisfaction issue, chances are the reviews are going to be poor. Say bye-bye to your stars!
While your company should always be trying to delight customers — and should definitely be alerted when customer satisfaction is poor — a few bad support complaints could tank your Facebook Page efforts.
So all in all, this could be a great tool if people know how to use it properly,
Q: It seems harder these days to hang on to clients. What can a small business do to get new customers while on a tight budget?
A: Being different compared to other common tactics get the job done.
That said, there is no shortage of clever, inexpensive ways to drum up new business. Here are my top eight ways to get new customers.
1. Try a new marketing technique:
At CXC Dentist we try and keep our marketing techniques consistently fresh.
If you try something new, you will reach new people, and that increases your chances that someone new will check you out.
Print a flyer. Create a coupon. Have a sale. Start a direct-marketing campaign. There are many powerful marketing ideas that will generate more business.
2. Launch or offer a new product: Again, the idea is the same – if you keep doing the same thing, offering the same old products (and marketing them the same old way) it is the same group of clientele you will attract.
The trick is to get different people to check out your business. Offering a different product, or product line, and letting people know about it, does that.
3. Get more clicks: While you can’t man the business 24/7, your URL can. Whether yours is a fully-empowered e-commerce site, the secret to converting that Web site into money is all in the numbers. The more people who visit, the more purchases may occur.
The good news is that getting more people to your Web site is actually a fairly easy thing to do.
4. Launch a PR campaign: Advertising is great and can lead to new customers. The problem is that it is inherently biased; it is you tooting your own horn.
Far better: Have someone else hype your business for you. That is where public relations comes in.
By getting a TV or a radio station, or a newspaper or magazine, to do a story on your business creates immediate third-party, trustworthy, validation of your business. That you can use that story again and again is icing on the cake.
5. Ask for referrals:.
Creating an incentive referral program is simple and it can yield great results. The key is to give people a reason to refer business to you (aside from being a fine establishment) and to thank them for doing so. People like to be appreciated.
6. Smile and dial: Sometimes new business is simply a matter of prospecting. Whether it is making cold calls or sending out proposals, every so often you just gotta do it. Do some search engine research, get a list of potential leads, and get to it.
The important things I have learned when prospecting are two-fold:
- 1. Don’t take “no” personally.
- 2. Remember, it’s a numbers game. Keep on going!
7. Revamp your Web site: Did you know that 80% of Americans now spend as much time online as they do in front of the television? That means that you have to have a top-notch site.
8. Get (social) networking: More and more, people are going online to check out and chat about business choices. Indeed, according to a poll I just read of “active Internet users”:
- 72% of respondents checked out a company’s reputation on chat boards before buying.
- 74% based their buying decisions, at least partially, on what they read.
- 81% thought that blogs, online rating systems and discussion boards gave them valuable feedback.
What this means is that you have to nurture your online reputation.
The upshot of this all is that new tricks create new customers.
1) Be personal and authentic in your communication – With social media at the forefront of marketing and communications today, it is imperative that you communicate on a personal level. People are more inclined to participate with your brand if they know there is a real live person behind the brand identity who cares about them. Newsletters are more appreciated if they’re written from a personal perspective, addressing the individual with expert advice that can help the audience reach their goals.
2) Leverage your Network – your friends, colleagues and social network are your biggest asset. Ask for referrals and testimonials from people you know or have done great work for. We are more likely to purchase a product if our friends have had a great experience with it. Create a “Friend Referral Program” or provide other incentives — like deals, discounts and rewards on your services – when people say good things about your company. Doing this consistently will greatly expand your network reach to a genuinely interested audience.
3) Google rankings – As we all know, getting to the top of Google can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Have no fear: there are lots of ways to build your search engine rankings without blowing your budget. Our number one recommendations? Put your business on Google maps: this is a great way to get to the top of the list! Generate quality content that your target audience can learn from or be entertained by. Being consistently active on Twitter and Google Plus are fun, easy ways to increase your Google ranking, while adding shareable links to your Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest posts drive traffic to your website or blog. Today, the best way to rise to the top in search is to consistently produce content that is relevant (use your keywords here) and shareable.
4) Create your own TIPS – People like tips! A quick, fun list is a great way to provide useful information to your audience. If you want to kick it up a notch, create a video for them! Video is a great way to show the face behind the brand, creating an indelible personal connection.
5) Photos are king – People love to share inspirational, sarcastic and funny photos. Join the trend by putting together some current text and quotes that appeal to your crowd and the type of people you think would appreciate it. This is a great way to access your fans’ network without being “markety.” People will see who created the image and share it via the original source (you), creating brand visibility and adding a few likes along the way. Plus, you’ll probably make someone’s day!
6) Collaborate with the competition – Working with other like-minded business owners can help promote new ideas and products. Because your audience already exists on social media – and so does theirs – collaborating is a natural and friendly way to seek out social media users who are interested in learning more about the products or lifestyle you offer.
7) Create contest giveaways – People love to win things! Especially if those things are highly valuable, unusual or difficult to acquire. Make sure what you’re giving away is a conversation starter, something that people want to tell others about. Use Facebook ads to further promote your contest, as the ads employ a targeted tagging system to ensure you’re reaching the right people.
8) Knowledge is power – Know your audience and your competition. Follow the old corporate adage: don’t try to be something for everyone, aim to be everything to someone. Before you jump in the deep end, learn to understand whom it is you’re communicating to and what value your product or service can add to their lives.
To do: create online polls using Survey Monkey, pay attention to Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, and most importantly, listen carefully to responses. Offer an incentive for participating, like a free coffee or a gift card from Tim Horton’s. Speaking of listening, keep your ears open to what the competition is doing. Be bold and willing to stand out and strategize over the long-term!
9) Partner with a charitable organization – Choose a cause you love and partner up with an organization whose mission is similar to yours. Get your staff and team out there helping out with a soup kitchen, throw an event and split the proceeds, or host an auction. You’re already a good Samaritan, so why not share your social consciousness with others? This alone helps your brand stand out and become a valued part of your community.
10) Capture information – Almost every message you put out there should come with a call to action. Add a newsletter sign-up form to your website, make a database of loyal clientele, and reach out to them on a regular basis. Offering incentives – “Sign up to our newsletter and receive 10 tips to…” or “Share this contest for more chances to WIN..” – is the strongest way to get your audience to participate, and it lets you find out what works for different segments of your market niche. Show them that you are grateful: a simple reward goes a long way.
Many businesses tend to focus on building a new customer list and getting the new customers in for the first time. However, keeping those customers and getting their repeat business is often the hardest part. Here are some tips to keep your customers coming back for more business:
1. Be A Good Listener
Take time to identify what the customer wants and ask questions. It’s better to take a short amount of time and get it right the first time instead of throwing something together that they did not want. Consider using an estimate or quote that outlines their expectations and provides you the opportunity to present recommendations that maybe they had not considered.
2. What are their needs?
It is so important that you and your customers have the same understanding of what they expect from your product or service and identify their needs vs their wants. Communicating regularly can prevent problems from arising and also make the customer feel like they have your full attention.
3. Make sure your product/service represent you at its best
Find ways to personalize your product or service. Everyone likes to have something created just for them. Creating something special for your customer, like a repeat discount program, makes them feel important, and let’s face it who doesn’t want to feel important.
4. Aways give it 110%
This could not be truer when it comes to keeping your customers. Do your best and then give extra. Think about what will set you apart from the competition and make it memorable for your customers. It makes your customers feel like they got their money’s worth and they will remember this.
5. Keep In Touch
Check back regularly to see how things are going and encourage your customers to provide feedback on your business’s performance. You can do this with newsletters, holiday/birthday greetings, online reviews, surveys and many other methods.