During uncertain economic times, people are cautious where they spend their money. When they do decide to open their checkbooks, you want to be their first choice. Therefore, it’s important your current customers choose to stay with you. Even if your business is doing well, your customers can leave as quickly as they came.
There’s more to business than just a transaction. Building a relationship helps you establish a bond. Some customers are even willing to pay more for a product and/or service if they have a personal connection with a company. From a PR perspective, building relationships is cost-effective because the only cost is your time.
Here are eight ways to invest in these relationships:
1. Touch base frequently. If they recently placed an order or you provided a service, ask them for Read more
Something many small business owners don’t think about, especially if they don’t conduct business on the Internet, is their online reputation. Disgruntled customers, former employees, unscrupulous competitors have an easy, practically free, way of spreading untruthful, fraudulent information. This is not the way you want to be found online.
One way of monitoring what’s being said about you and your business is to use Google Alerts. Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, blog references, etc.) of whatever topic you choose.
Google Alerts can be used for: Read more
If you’re in business, whether or not you have a website, it’s time to establish your personal and professional presence on the Internet. Getting your business listed in as many places as possible on the Internet allows people who are interested in you, your products and services, to easily find you.
The once conventional means of learning about a person, a business, products and services are rapidly going by the wayside because printed material is outdated before it reaches the intended audience.
We’re all familiar with the recent news stories about centuries-old newspapers closing down. Yellow pages, the formerly definitive guide to local business, are now archaic texts in part due to the way in which their publishers require information to be submitted… up to 5 months prior to publication.
83% of all Internet searches are for local business. The Internet is how the majority of people now find local business. If you are a business owner who sells products or services to your local community, you need to be found online for two reasons. First, your competitors are. Second, they aren’t.
Here’s a short list of suggested actions to start you on the digital highway: Read more
It seems as if the world is going out of business (OOB). Investment firms, banks, automobile manufacturers, athletic associations, national retail chains, restaurants, airlines, car dealerships, jewelry stores, department stores, furniture stores, toy stores. Even governments, for crying out loud! Gone. Forever and ever.
The good news is that there are lots of us who are still open for business. Maybe we were smarter. Maybe we were luckier. That’s a topic for someone else to analyze and report on. My concern is to find ways for you to continue to be open for business.
When the “going out of business sale” sign is hung on a competitor’s front door or that of a related business in your neighborhood, think of ways to capture their customers. Here are some ideas:
If more prospects were converted to clients, your cost per acquisition would improve and your profits would increase. It’s as simple as that. Here are some surprising statistics:
- 97% of salesmen make no attempt to sell the prospect after the third attempt.
- It is also a fact that most prospects do not buy until after the sixth month from initial contact.
- One third of all buyers buy only after 18 months of the buying process.
- 20% of buyers amazingly buy 24 or more months after the initial contact.
People who have contacted you but didn’t buy did so for one of three reasons:
- They don’t want what you have to offer.
- They don’t like you.
- They aren’t ready to buy.
The vast majority falls Read more
Attracting and retaining clients is essential to the success of any business. Long-term clients are likely to feel more satisfied, are more likely to refer others, and are more likely to purchase additional products and services from you. Here are 10 solid strategies for retaining your long-term customers and making sure your new customers stick around.
1. Market to your existing clients. Your current customers are already doing business with you and are more likely to buy from you again. Focus most of your time, efforts, and resources on better serving your current clients. Go deeper instead of wider.
2. Be consistent in your approach and interactions. Treat your clients with honesty, humor, and respect — and maintain this over time. If you are consistent with them over time, they will see you as dependable, credible, and trustworthy.
3. Follow through on your commitments. If you promise to send information or to follow up, do it. You will gain loyalty and trust by always doing what you say you will do.
4. Connect with your customers. Find out about their lives, their hopes, goals, and desired outcomes. Ask questions that encourage a deeper sense of shared understanding. The greater the level of connection, the greater the mutual satisfaction.
5. Have fun. It’s easy to get caught up in goals, outcomes, and deliverables. Of course these are important, but clients also want to work with people who enjoy what they do. The more fun you can have while providing strong outcomes, the longer your clients will stay. Read more
For the past month I’ve had the privilege of participating in Rich Schefren’s Guided Profit System program. For those of you who don’t know who Rich Schefren is, it is my pleasure to be able to introduce you. But before doing that, I want to tell you that the first time I heard Rich speak I decided I didn’t like him. At all.
In September 2006 I attended an event in San Diego hosted by Ed Dale and Frank Kern for their Underachievers program. Rich was one of the internet marketing superstars who were presenting. As soon as he began his talk, I decided I didn’t like him. That’s not fair, I know. But it is the truth. This guy in a suit, with a New York accent, telling the audience about all his business accomplishments just didn’t sit right with me. This was about the time he released his free report, The Internet Business Manifesto. I hadn’t read it before I saw him speak. If I had, I would have been anxiously waiting for him to take the stage and would have hung on every word. Instead, my just punishment has been having spent two years trying to learn just part of what he’s taught me in a month.
When I went to vote yesterday I found that I was not a registered voter. This came as quite a shock because I’ve been registered to vote since I was 18. I’m now 55.
I moved to another part of the state about a year and a half ago. I registered to vote at my new (now old) location, but didn’t realize that I had to register again when I moved ‘back home’ (old, now new location). When they say there are X number of voters in the State of California, they really mean there are ‘this’ many voters in Los Angeles County, ‘that’ many voters in Orange County and so on. I thought I was a registered voter in the State, not the county. After talking to the examiner at the Registrar of Voters yesterday, I am now clear on this matter. I was advised the only way I could vote was to drive to Ventura County (where I no longer live), 120 miles one way, in rush hour traffic, which in LA starts anytime after 2:00 PM. It was, unfortunately, 4:00. On the best of days it would take about 2 hours to get there; at this time on a typical day, it was questionable whether I could make it there in the 4 hours until the polls closed.
As embarrassing as it is to share this mishap with you, Read more
All businesses have hidden assets. Hidden assets are the aspects of a business that would benefit the bottom line, but they haven’t been optimized. This series of articles will highlight some of the hidden assets that can be found in almost all businesses.
The first hidden asset to discover is your unique sales proposition (USP, also known as Unique Sales Point). USP is a marketing concept that was first proposed as a theory to explain a pattern among successful advertising campaigns of the early 1940s. It states that such campaigns made unique propositions to the customer and that this convinced them to switch brands. Today the term is used to refer to any aspect of a business that differentiates it from similar businesses. Read more
Today I received Direct magazine for August. The cover article is titled “Mad Money… The wealthy are still spending on luxury goods and services”. Does Dan Kennedy have his finger on the pulse of the economy, or what? (see yesterday’s post for more info on Dan’s take).
Click on the link to Direct magazine, then click on the August issue cover and you’ll be taken straight to the article. In the online issue there’s even a link in a sidebar to a related article: “Luxury Lists, How to Find High-End Buyers.”
According to Dan, the affluent class is expanding rapidly. He predicts that soon we’ll see demographics of the wealthy making up 1/3 of the population. The middle class will start to shift into the two categories. It doesn’t end there. Ultimately, 2/3 of the population will be affluent, there will be no middle class, 1/3 of the population will be poor.
I’m not an economist. Dan’s not an economist either. But, he’s a helluva marketer and when it comes to buying trends I’d put my money on a seasoned marketer any day of the week.
Thanks for taking time to read my blog today. I appreciate you spending some of your valuable time with me.
I specialize in creating customized marketing solutions for small business. Contact me at georgann at catchphrasemarketing dot com, or call me at 888-494-8445 to discuss how you can get more clients and increase profitability without increasing marketing expenses. Yes, you really CAN have it all!