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Tag Archives: Advertising

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Want your employees to voice suggestions when customers treat them poorly? The double-edged effects

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“The customer is not always right, but your job is never to show them how they’re wrong. Your job is to be professional, courteous, accommodating … even (and especially) under stress.” — Steve Dorfman, Driven to Excel

When consumers know they are always right, they may breed a sense of superiority or entitlement, expecting the frontline employees to comply with any customer behaviors. A report shows that 98% of service employees had experienced unpleasant customer behaviors; over 50% of employees encountered rude customers at least once a week. In a more recent case, a female customer pulled out a gun and fired shots at Burger King because she felt it took too long to receive the order.

In organizational research, consumers’ unpleasant behaviors toward the service staff are often referred to as either consumer incivility or consumer mistreatment. Current literature has identified customer mistreatment’s negative effects on employees’ psychological states and work-related intentions/behaviors. Still, the link between customer mistreatment and employees’ customer-focused voice behavior is under-researched. In the business setting, companies want to promote employees’ customer-focused voice behavior, through which they can gain first-hand knowledge about their customers and identify potential issues for service improvement.

The empirical study about customer mistreatment and employee customer-focused voice

I worked with Dr. Yung-Kuei Huang at National Ilan University in Taiwan on a project entitled “Customer mistreatment and employee customer-focused voice: The bright and dark sides of felt trust.” We published this study in the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management (free downloads for the first 40 copies).

The hypotheses being tested

H1: Customer mistreatment is negatively related to customer-focused voice

H2: Customer mistreatment is negatively related to organizational-based self-esteem (OBSE).

H3: OBSE is positively related to customer-focused voice.

H4: OBSE mediates the negative effect of customer mistreatment on customer-focused voice.

H5: The negative effect of customer mistreatment on OBSE is weaker for employees who feel more trusted by their supervisors.

H6: The negative relationship between customer mistreatment and customer-focused voice through OBSE is weaker for employees who feel more trusted by their supervisors.

In this research, OBSE is referred to as the self-perceived value that individuals have of themselves as important, competent, and capable within their employing organizations. Felt trust is about employees’ perception of their supervisors’ positive expectations and willingness to be vulnerable to their actions.

The data and the analysis

We collected 319 valid paired responses from 319 frontline employees and 118 supervisors from 33 four-star or five-star hotels in Taiwan. We asked frontline employees to rate customer mistreatment they experienced, their OBSE, felt trust by their supervisors (two dimensions of felt reliance and felt disclosure), and customer-focused voice behavior. Furthermore, employees’ customer-focused voice behavior was also assessed by their immediate supervisors. We tested the hypothesis with regression analyses.

The key research findings

Customer mistreatment and customer-focused voice

We did not confirm the direct negative relationship between customer mistreatment and customer-focused voice (not supporting H1). On the contrary, we observed a significant, positive relationship between customer mistreatment and supervisor-rated customer-focused voice after controlling for the effect of OBSE. Then, our sample rated “hotel facilities and amenities” as the most frequent cause of mistreatment incidents. Such findings suggest that customer mistreatment can inform frontline employees of the areas that need improvement. It is also plausible that frontline employees might want to speak out about facilities and amenities (instead of themselves).

OBSE’s mediating effect

OBSE indeed mediates the negative effect of customer mistreatment on customer-focused voice (supporting H2, H3, and H4). Frontline employees may perceive customer mistreatment as negative feedback or embarrassment that poses a threat to their OBSE. Lower OBSE may, in turn, discourage them from voicing the service issues or making suggestions for improvement.

Felt reliance vs. felt disclosure

Contrary to our predictions in H5 and H6, felt reliance intensifies customer mistreatment’s negative effect on OBSE and its indirect, negative effect on both self-rated and supervisor-rated customer-focused voice through OBSE. Felt disclosure marginally significantly buffers the effect of customer mistreatment on OBSE, but it does not affect the mediating relationship between mistreatment and either self-rated or supervisor-rated customer-focused voice through OBSE. In order words, H5 was partially marginally supported, but H6 was not supported. It can also be concluded that felt reliance and felt disclosure have different moderating effects on (a) customer mistreatment and OBSE and (b) customer mistreatment and customer-focused voice through OBSE.

The implications

Besides this study’s theoretical contributions to organizational literature, businesses can draw a few managerial implications from the research findings. For example, we recommend managers take the following actions (exclusive content that is not available even in the original research article).

  • Encourage employees to share their experience of customer mistreatment during daily briefing sessions or meetings to prevent them from building up their negative feelings (or OBSE) at work (drawing from the result of H1).
  • Acknowledge the negative impacts of customer mistreatment on employees to lower its negative effect on OBSE (from H2).
  • Educate employees that customer mistreatment might also help improve customer service (from H2).
  • Let employees know they should not take customer mistreatment personally (from H2).
  • Establish a support system within the organization that makes employees feel valued and appreciated, allowing them to feel more open to sharing their suggestions and feedback (from H3).
  • Solicit feedback and suggestions from the employees who demonstrate high OBSE (from H4).
  • Reassure that employees’ reputation is not judged based on isolated incidents (from H5).
  • Encourage supervisors and employees to share one or two critical life events during orientation or networking events to foster trust among them (from H6).
  • Organize socialization events among supervisors and employees to build personal bonding (from H6).

The conclusion

This research suggests that it is critical that distinguished the two dimensions of felt trust, including felt reliance and felt disclosure. Felt reliance refers to employee’s perceptions of supervisors’ willingness to depend on their work-related decisions and actions. Felt disclosure embodies employees’ perceptions of supervisors’ willingness to share sensitive information and personal views and work.

On the one hand, it can be beneficial for managers and supervisors to rely on frontline employees to make work-related decisions or actions. On the other hand, they shall probably not share too much personal information or feelings at work. Would you agree?

Meanwhile, what strategies does your organization employ to minimize the negative effects of customer mistreatment? What are the effective ways to promote employees’ customer-focused voice behavior?

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Infographic: The science of analytics

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Many marketing people favor the creative side of their minds over their analytical side. If you’re a creative type and go off instinct, you might be leaving a lot of good information (and revenue) on the table. It’s time to embrace the science of analytics. Marketers that are more analytical might be taking the right first steps in evaluating basic analytics, but many are not using all the data their analytics are telling them.

According to a NewVantage Partners study, incredibly, only 24% of executives had created a data-driven organization, and up to 73% of all data with an enterprise is never even analyzed. Google Analytics 360 may be the key to your success. You may need an analytics partner or a trusted digital media agency to get you started on your way.

Learn more on how to fully master insights one can gain using Google Analytics 360 in the visual deep dive below:

Infographic courtesy InfoTrust

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5 surprising ways your digital marketing consumers really think

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As a digital marketer, you are no doubt trying to get into the heads of your consumers as much as you possibly can. Reality check: you might be misreading them if you stick to customer feedback alone. Taking a deeper dive into the overall ways consumers think online can yield some pretty surprising insights — insights you can use to boost your bottom line, and give your customers what they truly seek. Use these science-driven tips to reboot your strategies as your company expands post-pandemic, and enjoy more success than ever:

Know that most of your customers don’t automatically trust social media in the first place.

With so much talk about misinformation campaigns and fakery on various platforms these days, it’s easy to assume that consumers are buying into the hype in huge numbers. Yet, a study from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development found that the concept of “nudging” people to factual information by spotlighting accurate content without banning more questionable material could be a true truth boon. Your audience is intelligent and discerning — always let them know clearly that you respect their intelligence by filling your copy across your feeds with straight-up pricing and product details, no hyperbole or unnecessary bells and whistles.

Know your customers use their sense of humor online.

A study from Victoria Goodyear at the University of Birmingham found that many teenage boys who access information on how to stay healthy on social media do so without risking body image issues–because they use humor and irony to take questionable or negative info they read with a grain of salt. The takeaway here: your audience thinks more critically than you might give them credit for. Incorporate ironic humor in your marketing campaigns to give them a wink — they’ll appreciate it.

Know that “confessionals” can be very powerful for consumers.

A study from the University of Gottenburg by Magdalena Petersson McIntyre found that female “housewife: bloggers on digital media rack up sales by “performing” personal issues and sharing private struggles in an inauthentic ways. Your audience feels empathy and wants to reward those who appear to need it — never exploit this very humane and kind quality for your own benefit.

Know that your customers want to like what you have to offer.

Your audience isn’t setting out to pick your products apart, despite what online reviews may appear to show. If your product is terrific, it will rise to the top — so focus on quality, then you won’t have to worry about people discussing your brand’s shortcomings online.

Know that your customers want you to surprise them.

Consistency is key when it comes to quality, yes. But don’t be afraid to tweak your products, or even to take on bold reinvention strategies. Consumers love growth, change, a sense of variety — it’s OK to change things up and to freshen their opinion of you. Don’t be afraid of what’s new — embrace different strategies, and your sales will soar!

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9 essential tips for managing customer data

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“Consumer data will be the biggest differentiator in the next 2 to 3 years. Whoever unlocks the reams of data and uses it strategically will win.”

–Angela Ahrendts (Senior VP of Retail at Apple Inc)

In this digital era, where there is an equal level of competition among business owners, the one who gains the maximum customers rules the digital market.

By studying customer anatomy, (i.e., their desires, interests and expectations about the company and its products), you are bound to yield extraordinary results for your digital business. There are multiple ways to collect customer data (i.e., forms, surveys, social media, transactions, tracking pixels, analytic tools, etc.), but positively managing all these factors requires customer data management in the best possible way.

What is Customer Data Management?

Customer Data Management (CDM) is the procedure of accumulating, organizing, scrutinizing, and later storing customer data to improve the company’s customer-centric focus, which in turn helps in the business’s success. Understanding customer preferences and buying patterns, paired with their expectations, makes you a leader in the digital market.

Importance of Managing Customer Data

Customer data is a major asset to a company, and hence it should be appropriately maintained. What is the use of data if it is misplaced, outdated, or not accurate? Inaccurate data can ruin a company’s reputation, whereas precise customer data can help promote products in a customer-centric way, increasing sales and customer relations. It helps in retaining customers, too.

In this article, we’ll discuss some tips to manage data effectively for soaring business profits.

Tips to Manage Customer Data

  1. Take Security Seriously:

    Shocking, isn’t it? It’s simple to collect sensitive information from customers, but the tricky part is maintaining data privacy by securing the information. The security assurance of information helps develop trust and improves customer relationships.

    Apart from the many web securities which help secure data, it is strongly recommended to use SSL certificate encryption security for data privacy. This digital certificate provides 256-bit robust encryption of data-in-transit between the browsers and servers.

    Encrypt all your credit card numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information of your clients and ensure that your customers know the same.

    Harden your servers, patch your software to escape security vulnerabilities and build a strong reputation for your company.

  2. Gather Information Ethically

    The expanse of digital technologies has encouraged many companies to gain customer data for their product promotions. Although many companies prefer to be transparent about their data collections policies, many companies have a concealed approach to acquiring customer data.

    Trust works wonders, specifically when private information needs to be extracted from customers. To build a robust company-client relationship, transparency of collection policies needs to be maintained.

    Tips to Collect Customer Data

    • Distribute survey forms to customers.
    • Google Analytics
    • Track social media likes, comments, etc.

    This ensures customers of their data privacy and keeps them loyal to the company.

  3. Decide What You Need

    Having massive customer data is not essential; what matters is the relevance of the data. Irrelevant or bad data may prove unfruitful for the company. They are responsible for wastage of funds and resources and can adversely affect your business, leading to losses.

    Studies indicate that 52% of the data collected by companies is unused and not valuable.

    Think of ways to gather relevant data which can be utilized in the best way.

    Tips

    • Only collect needed information, i.e., if an email ID is required, no need to collect the contact details.
    • Trace customer interactions.
    • Trace social media reviews about your company.
    • Update data regularly.

    A systematic, accurate, and transparent approach to data collection will help gain better conversions and ROI.

  4. Invest in Customer Database Software:

    In the past years, customer data was managed in Excel spreadsheets or physical papers. With the rise in digital technology and the rise in cyber-threats, businesses are storing their information in a secured Customer Relationship Management system.

    As the name defines, this system manages customer data by driving sales, delivering actions, amalgamating with social media, and communicating with the team.

    Many cloud-based CRM systems come with ample benefits, the main advantage being the single place for data storage. This helps in enabling strong security too.

  5. Back Up Your Data:

    The world generates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily. These massive amounts of digital data determine the success or failure of a company. Since sharing digital data is easy, the chances of its vulnerability are also high.

    Hence, backup of customer data or any other data is essential in case of contingencies or unwanted disasters. Depending on the security budget, please choose the best cloud backup services for your data and shield it against hackers.

  6. Train Your Team

    Your employees or your teammates need to be aware of the latest cyber threats to protect customer data. In the next stage, they need to be briefed about securely handling the customer data.

    Ensure that company policies regarding protecting sensitive information are strictly coordinated with employees, BYOD is implemented, and the concerned employees are penalized for the same in case of blunders.

  7. Allow Customers To Opt-Out

    Customers are moody and many times like to opt out of the company’s promotional mails or products. Though they have given a green signal for utilizing their data, sometimes they wish to opt out of the company.

    Keep the way clear for the customer by permitting them to unsubscribe emails or promotional fliers, or any other notifications if they wish to opt-out.

  8. Monitor Your Data

    Never leave customer data unattended. Delegate the task of monitoring customer data to an honest employee, who keeps a check on manipulating data or a deliberate or accidental deletion to prevent data loss.

  9. Limit Access of Database

    There is a well-known saying: “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Access to the customer database to all employees increases the risk of manipulating data or passing data to competitors. Corrupt employees are on the lookout for such loopholes to fulfil their evil desires. This, in turn, leads to the loss of client data.

    Limit customer data access to avoid these disasters. As said before, designate a trustworthy employee for data handling and give authorization rights to them only. In case data needs to be shared, ensure that the same is in read-only format.

Final Words

After the task of managing and securing customer data is successfully handled, try turning your customer data management plan into a profitable venture.

Your digital business is bound to succeed if you can convert customer data into a sales conversion to create a loyal customer.

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7 ways to create quality culture in your organization

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Is it possible to achieve a true quality culture in your organization? The simple answer is yes! To do this, however, you must first understand what quality culture is.

What is Quality Culture?

Quality culture is a working behavior or collection of behaviors encompassing every employee within a company. It is a way of working where employees strive for the best at every level. Having a strong structure in place is essential for creating quality culture. Being flexible within that structure is equally important.

For example, within the software development industry, you may wish to stick to strict methodologies to achieve accurate results. On the other hand, an exploratory testing agile method may encourage better collaboration and creativity. Establishing your company’s best practices is, therefore, the perfect place to start.

1. Establish a system that promotes quality culture

At the heart of any successful organization is a strong and clear structure. Company processes should be easy to understand and applicable across different departments. A strong governance will help to establish a quality culture. A flat hierarchy helps to empower employees and drive quality initiatives.

To establish a quality culture, some initial research is required. Carrying out performance analyses can help to identify any areas of strengths and weaknesses. Data can then be analyzed and reported upon to be used to improve the system. Carefully collated data can be a strong tool to improve performance and create quality culture.

2. Lead by example

A dedicated leadership team can be instrumental in creating quality culture. When a company leader is engaged, supportive, and dedicated to their staff, these qualities will be passed down and emulated by their team members. Proactive leadership is often cited as the most effective way of creating a sustainable quality culture.

A good leader will clearly articulate a company’s vision. They will seek to empower their workers through incentivization and people development. Any new employees will be quickly and comprehensively immersed into a company’s culture so that they are immediately part of the system. The quality culture will then become an organic part of the company as it grows and develops.

3. Focus on customer centricity

Your customers should be at the center of any company decisions. Your customers, after all, are your raison d’être. Routine activities should be carried out with a focus on customer satisfaction by all employees. All employees within an organization should also believe that customer centricity is an unwritten law within the company structure.

Understanding what a customer wants involves running functional tests to ensure that your products are as user-friendly as possible. Functional testing will often involve many members of your team. It can also include customer interaction in the form of surveys, questionnaires, and even promotional product testing using virtual reality interfaces. A truly customer-centric company will seek to exceed customer expectations to garner new customers.

4. Encourage collaboration

Workplace collaboration can help to strengthen quality culture across an organization. Regular cross-functional working is a great way to generate ideas through brainstorming sessions and working groups. Inter-departmental working has been proven to boost team morale and solidify a company’s culture by creating a unified vision.

Team leaders are instrumental in encouraging and developing workplace collaboration. Project leads must always be willing to share knowledge and promote learning across a company. They should also have a shared set of values which they apply to all areas of the business to help to nurture quality culture.

5. Strive for continual development

An organization is a constantly evolving entity. It should be adaptable, flexible, and ready to embrace change. This commitment to continual development should seep down into every area of the business. Employees should be encouraged by management to “think outside the box.” Senior employees should strive to create a culture where creativity is rewarded, and success is continuously developing.

Examples of continual development include embracing new ways of working and new technologies. If a company has been using a traditional CMS to manage its website, but would like a more collective approach, it may wish to try a headless CMS. A headless CMS will allow a company to create an omnichannel experience, which could help to improve business development through enhanced customer experience.

6. Offer financial incentives and financial awareness

Financial incentives are a great way to boost employee motivation. When an employee feels valued, they are more likely to embrace quality culture and work to the best of their ability. A structured and transparent bonus scheme is a great way to create quality culture, while a clear and structured pay scale can also be integral to the same goal.

Awareness of a company’s financial status can also play a part in developing quality culture. If employees are aware of the business’ gross profit and business costs, they will be more likely to champion quality when they see the direct impact it has on business performance.

7. Promote quality ownership

Quality ownership involves every employee taking responsibility for developing quality culture. This includes following all the procedures that the business has in place. It means that every action undertaken by an employee is done with quality in mind. And it requires that all employees ensure quality in the way they communicate and how they complete their tasks.

Employees can promote quality ownership by carrying out different types of manual testing on their products. By completing manual product testing, employees can identify potential issues which can then be rectified to improve consumer experience. By testing products and sharing the results with the wider team, quality culture becomes an integral part of the way the company functions.

Quality Culture: To Summarize

Creating quality culture within your organization is a great way to enhance any business. Quality culture helps to make employees feel happier in their work and to feel more like an integral part of the company. It can drive performance, improve results, and create a better working environment.

Most importantly, quality culture can have a direct impact on customer satisfaction. That’s something that all business leaders should fully understand.

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5 ways you can drive more traffic to your business’ website

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When you run an online business, it’s important that you drive high-quality traffic to your website. This should consist of an audience who might already be interested in your services or who have a problem you know you can solve. This will make them much more likely to convert.

In this article, I’ll give you five ways you can bring more traffic to your business’s website so you can make more sales.

Identify and target the best keywords

It’s important that you focus on targeting the right keywords with your website copy, as this will ensure your website ranks for the right search engine queries and you reach the most suitable people.

To identify the most relevant keywords for each of your web pages, you should use a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest or AnswerThePublic to discover which words and phrases your ideal customers are typing into search engines.

Choosing the right keywords for each and every one of your web pages is incredibly important for boosting your SEO, which can be one of the most inexpensive ways to advertise your business. Just make sure you don’t stuff your copy and content with keywords — only use your target words and phrases where they’ll still read naturally. Otherwise, you could be penalized by search engines like Google, which is the opposite to what you want. Focus on creating high-quality copy with a sprinkling of words people are typing into their preferred search engines and you’ll be rewarded with plenty of organic traffic.

Make sure your social media activity is consistent

If you’re active on social media, you’ll make your business a lot more visible online and will attract more of your ideal customers

The rules are slightly different for each social media platform, but the general guidelines remain more or less the same. Here are some tips for how you can consistently engage with your audience and improve your social media marketing:

  • You need to post relevant and interesting content that will catch the attention of your target customers.
  • Run contests or ask for suggestions on the types of content your followers want to see, so they feel like you’re engaging with them.
  • Create a social media calendar to ensure you post content frequently.
  • Use features like Instagram Reels, Facebook Stories, or Twitter Fleets to engage with your audience regularly.
  • Create communities like Facebook groups to further build customer relationships.

You might not have the time to create and publish a handful of social media posts every day, but you can save time by bulk scheduling them in advance. There are lots of tools that can help with this — for example, SocialPilot has a roundup of the best Twitter tools that will help you keep your profile up to date on that particular platform.

Just make sure you’re always making an effort to drive people to your website using your social media accounts, whether that’s by promoting your latest product line, sharing your helpful blog content, or providing a discount code your followers can use.

Boost your E-A-T with high-quality content

Search engines only want to point their users in the direction of high-quality and trustworthy content. Google even uses a specific ranking factor called E-A-T, which stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. That means, if you can create content that shows your business and website have all of these characteristics, you can improve your search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your website.

Plus, using content marketing to show you’re an expert in your field will naturally drive more people to your website. This is because it should be informative or help to solve a problem your ideal customers are currently having.

Here, we’ll take a look at some businesses that do a great job of creating high-quality content that positions them as authorities in their fields. These articles will do a fantastic job of driving the right traffic to their sites.

First up is Thiessen Law Firm, who have a guide to the penalties for intoxication manslaughter in Texas. This company provides attorney services for family, criminal, personal injury, and DWI cases. And, as an authority in this space, they’ve been able to put together a high-quality and in-depth article on this subject that’s very relevant to their niche. This makes it very clear that they know this area of the law inside and out, which is sure to appeal to both search engines and people who might need their services.

They define intoxication manslaughter, give details about the sentences and punishments related to these kinds of cases, and provide information on how these kinds of charges tend to be beaten. This is a great example of content that shows how knowledgeable this company is and it can help bring more traffic to their website when people are researching this area of the law.

Another interesting example comes from Best Nursing Programs. Their website provides detailed information about the best nursing programs that aspiring candidates can enroll in to become professional nurses.

They publish a lot of content that shows they’re experts and authorities in this area. Take their round-up of the best community college nursing programs, for example. The company gives a lot of information about each nursing school, the requirements, the average pass rate of their institution, and the tuition fee per credit hour. By giving such accurate and well-detailed information, they are providing tremendous value that will attract new readers and prospective students to their site. They also show they’re a very knowledgeable source of information, which can do wonders for their SEO and, again, lead more of the right people to their site.

Finally, let’s also take a look at a relevant piece of content from Rankings.io, an SEO marketing agency for personal injury law firms. They have a comprehensive guide to SEO for lawyers, which they’ve created to teach their target audience about this area of digital marketing, and also show that they’re experts in this very niche field.

As the company specializes in this area, the guide will help to show both search engines and prospective customers that they know what they’re talking about. This can then lead to better rankings, more click-throughs, and ultimately more sales for the business.

Guest post for high-quality websites in your field

There will always be websites that have a larger audience than yours. By writing guest posts for relevant websites in your niche, you can reach a wider audience and drive high-quality traffic to your website.

Guest posting is when you create content for other sites in an effort to spread the word about your business and potentially secure more backlinks for your website. This can boost your SEO and brand awareness. There are a number of ways you can find guest posting opportunities.

One is by simply searching Google for sites that accept guest posts. You can do this using a query like “write for us + [your niche]”. This should lead you to plenty of websites that might be interested in accepting a post from you. For example, these are the results you would get if you searched for “write for us + health”.

You could also look for guest post call outs on social media, reach out to websites you already have a relationship with, or simply get in touch with relevant sites that have blogs to see if they would be open to submissions.

Image: Google

Just remember that, before you choose a site to guest post for, you should use a domain authority checker like Loganix’s to work out how much authority a backlink will give you. A site’s domain authority (DA) is marked out of 100, and the higher it is, the more valuable its backlinks will be. For the best results, you should prioritize writing for sites with a DA over 50.

Publish content that answers common questions from your audience

Another way to drive high-quality traffic to your website is by creating content that answers the questions your target audience are asking.

There are a number of ways you can get inspiration for this kind of content: you could ask your customer service team if there are any common queries they get, you could conduct some more keyword research, or you could search relevant forums.

By creating content that answers FAQs from your target audience, you can boost your SEO, build trust with your ideal clients, and get more click-throughs.

For inspiration, let’s look at some examples of content created by companies that answer FAQs for their customers.

RMIT Online is a university that provides online courses. And, on their website, they have a post that explains what kinds of qualifications a project manager needs.

A lot of their courses center around marketing and business, so this piece of content is sure to address one of the big questions a lot of their prospective students might have. Not only will this make it easier for the online university to reach people who are researching the topic, but it will also help students to make the best possible career decision when they’re trying to choose their path. It’s sure to drive a lot of high-quality traffic to the site and provide value for their audience, which is what you should be aiming to achieve with your own content.

MultiBriefs also has its own example. One of their blog posts addresses how to boost sales with an improved e-commerce journey, which is something a lot of their target audience might have questions about.

This is going to be very relevant for their ideal readers, who are entrepreneurs and business owners looking to succeed. Plus, it could show up on the search engine results pages when someone is researching this specific topic. It will drive plenty of traffic to the website and build trust with readers, as it aims to solve a common pain point among the website’s audience.

Summary

Your audience is out there, but you need to make an effort to attract them to your website.

To do this, you should focus on answering their common queries, creating high-quality content, targeting the most relevant keywords, and making an effort to guest post on high-authority websites. It won’t be long before you start to see results.

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Is your local landing page helping or hurting your business?

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Your local landing page is one of the most common ways a local consumer will be introduced to your business — if your landing page has all the right elements to attract their attention. In 2019, 90% of consumers searched the internet to find local businesses, and this avenue of interaction has become even more important since the pandemic began.

In order to successfully get noticed in a search and gain enough interest to attract actual customers, there are several things your landing page needs.

Firstly, your local landing page needs to include elements that will give it a high rank in Google’s Local Pack. Google’s Local Pack is where your business will be highly visible, will be linked to Google My Business listings, and will be displayed above organic search results. Some of the ranking elements include Google My Business factors; backlink quantity, authority, and anchor text; and review quantity, freshness, and diversity.

Other important features to draw in potential customers are the contents of the body of your landing page, where consumers spend 74% of their viewing time; a clear concise headline; and mobile accessibility.

The local landing page can be the difference between a business that’s thriving or one that’s struggling.

Infographic courtesy Wiideman Consulting Group

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How to design and run a customer loyalty program for small businesses

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“It’s $10 per item, but we’ll waive $2 for returning clients or those who have a store wallet.”

You may have heard this sales strategy at some point by now. Or better yet, maybe you’ve taken advantage of this offer too.

You see, customer loyalty programs are all about retaining buyers through special discounts that offer rewards for return purchases. But how do you go about designing and running an effective customer loyalty program? Read on to learn more.

How to Design a Customer Loyalty Program for Small Businesses

Here’s a step-by-step rundown of designing a customer loyalty program for small businesses.

Step 1: Choose a Remarkable Name

You have to choose a name that incites interest and curiosity in customers. While it should clearly state that customers will get a discount for participating, it must invoke excitement in the participants.

Here are some of my top favorite names:

  • The North Face VIPeak
  • Sephora’s VIB Rouge
  • Workout Empire’s Sassy Army
  • Go Far Rewards by Wells Fargo
  • Diamanti Per Tutti Diamond Club

Step 2: Select Your Rewards Carefully to Show Appreciation

Customer loyalty programs can be expensive for small businesses. Therefore, it’s better to get it right the first time. That is why you should make your loyalty program diverse by offering different kinds of rewards.

You can reward customers who actually buy products from the stores in a specific way without leaving behind those who follow your brand on social media. Plus, if you offer valuable rewards, you’ll attract more sales. On the other hand, if you don’t offer valuable rewards, people won’t care whether they accumulate the points or not.

Remember: A customer who retweets your poster may bring in more sales than you can ever imagine. So make sure you reward them appropriately even if they haven’t bought anything. A 10% discount on the starting price of a certain popular product is a good start.

Step 3: Make Sure the Reward Points are Easy to Accumulate and Redeem

Making the program worthwhile for the customer means offering valuable points that are easy to accumulate. Your average shopper shouldn’t necessarily need to purchase products for an entire year to be able to redeem the points.

You can offer a customer loyalty card with a redeemable limit (say after 100 points). This may even encourage them to shop more! Custom coupons and discount codes can be used in loyalty programs, and even in retargeting campaigns to improve retention.

Step 4: Give the Program a Deeper Meaning

Let’s face it: People know many customer loyalty programs out there are just ploys by retailers to get people to spend more. This assumption is frequently true given that most discount programs lead to impulse buying.

Giving a program a deeper meaning increases the level of trust that customers have in the products or services you offer. As a professional, you’re tasked with the difficult task of showing the customers that you want to offer rewards to show appreciation and not to maximize sales — that’s just an additional benefit. That is where optimized content will come into play. The program shouldn’t have any distractions or frills since most people will notice such red flags.

Even your competitors should be worried about the popularity of the program once you launch it. If they don’t care, your customers probably won’t either.

Step 5: Add Multiple Enrollment Points for Your Customers

Your customer will appreciate getting several enrollment options to participate in the program. For example, if you sell both online and offline, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a customer loyalty program covering both areas.

Doing this will give your business a sense of consistency while keeping the shopping experience uniform across the different platforms.

You can also take advantage of the tools built into each domain. An online catalog, for instance, can benefit from indicators that show how many points the customer will accumulate with each purchase. Similarly, ecommerce paired with email marketing can be a great way to entice customers to further engage with the brand and get them more involved with the loyalty program as a whole.

How to Run a Successful Customer Loyalty Program

Once you’ve created the program, you’ll need to run it, and run it well. Here are four tips to set yourself up for success.

Create Multiple Channels

With most small businesses operating online and offline, there are multiple points at which your customers could use the program. For example, they’ll expect the service to be available at the physical stores, on the website, and across social media handles. If you’re hosting webinars or podcasts, don’t hesitate to mention your customer loyalty program.

Your job is to ensure your customers can use several channels to get loyalty points.

Back Your Program With Excellent Services

A common mistake that business owners make is using customer loyalty programs to make up for poor products or services. Customer loyalty programs should come AFTER an excellent and satisfactory transaction.

Don’t fall into that trap. Customers will see through the charade and you won’t like the result.

Focus on the Customer — Not the Competitors

A customer loyalty program isn’t the right tool for you to scope out the competition. Focus on rewarding your customers without necessarily worrying about the competition. This will give you a competitive edge since prioritizing your customer’s requirements will allow you to deliver unmatched value to your clients. At the end of the day, great customer experience is the winning factor in any business competition.

Share the Positive Feedback From Customers

If your customer loyalty program has a positive impact on your customers’ lives, let people know about it.

Keep in mind that despite how good your advertising is, a customer will trust other customers’ reviews more — even if they’re complete strangers. No matter how weird that sounds, it’s human psychology. Make a point to capitalize on positive testimonials and use it to drive more engagement.

Don’t also forget to work on the negative feedback to identify areas of weaknesses.

Final Thoughts

Creating an effective loyalty program shouldn’t necessarily be a massive project. If done correctly and customized to your customer’s experience, it’ll reap major benefits and help you establish a long-lasting relationship.

With the above information, there’s no doubt that you’ll create and run a successful customer loyalty program. You got this!

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5 common myths about social advertising

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Overall, social media advertising isn’t a costly expense. You can run most ads for just a few bucks, after all ­– and if you have your target audience pegged and choose the proper ad settings, those few bucks can get you pretty far.

However, if you’re not handling social advertising correctly, any amount of money spent is money wasted. Moreover, since digital ads can work wonders for your brand, it’s a huge opportunity to let go by.

In this article, we’re going to go over some of the biggest social advertising myths that hold brands back. That way, you can avoid the mistakes that far too many brands have made and come out on top from the beginning.

Myth: Having a Social Media Presence Is Enough

Some brands mistakenly believe that if they’re present on social media, the platform will do the rest of the work for them. You’re there, your audience is there – that’s all you need, right? This couldn’t be further from the truth.

There’s nothing worse than an inactive social media account, which screams, “We’re not professional, and we don’t care about our brand presence.” You’d be better off having no social media profile at all than an inactive one.

When it comes to social media marketing – advertising included – you can’t set it and forget it. You have to regularly engage with your audience and measure the impact you’re making with your posts and ads. Then, you have to make adjustments to your campaigns to fix your mistakes and try to do better. Rinse, repeat.

Myth: My Customers Don’t Spend Time On Social Media

While it’s true that some of your individual customers aren’t hanging out on social media, your target audience overall is likely on some form of social media – which means you should strive to set up marketing and ad campaigns somewhere.

For example, if your audience isn’t on Instagram or TikTok, which cater to younger users, maybe they’re on Facebook, which has a higher percentage of older users. Or, if they’re not on Twitter, maybe it’s because they prefer the video-first format of YouTube.

The point is that it’s likely your audience is using some type of social media. It’s your job to figure out which one and then create a presence there so you can reach them. Also, you may have to use different platforms to reach different segments of your audience, so keep an open mind when you’re starting out.

Myth: Running Social Ads Makes Newsletters Unimportant

Social advertising should be just one component of a greater marketing strategy. And part of that marketing strategy should absolutely include newsletter and email marketing.

Yes, social media may have more engagement opportunities since people can’t comment on newsletters. And some social media platforms have been more recently launched than, say, MailChimp. However, email marketing is still hugely beneficial – in some cases, it even works better than social media. Plus, you can do a lot with it. For example, by including affiliate links in your newsletter, you can use it for social advertising, not just sharing information.

One reason why email marketing is so worthwhile is that the subscriber has opted in to receive information from you. That means they’re more vetted than someone who happens to see your social media post or even someone who’s smartly targeted by the demographics settings of an ad. Plus, newsletters sit in a person’s inbox until they’re ready to open it, so they’ll receive it when they’re in a prime position to take in (and act on) the information.

Myth: You Have to Be Present On Every Social Platform

Nope! This one’s definitely not true ­– it’s not even suggested. Having a profile on every single social platform is the perfect way to spread yourself too thin.

Instead, a better approach is to only choose the platforms that are most relevant to your brand and audience. If that means you want to have an active account everywhere, at the very least, start slowly. Open and maintain one or two profiles, then only move on to the next when you have those down pat.

Also, when it comes to advertising, you don’t have to run ads on every platform you have a profile on. For example, you may find that you get fantastic organic traffic on Pinterest, but your Facebook posts don’t have a very impressive reach. In that case, focus your ad budget on Facebook Ads.

Sales Conversions Aren’t the Only Worthwhile Outcomes

Ultimately, you want your business to earn more money, which means making more sales is going to be a huge goal. But don’t underestimate the power of brand awareness. Even if some of the people you reach don’t buy from your company, the people they reach might.

For example, let’s say you post your products to Pinterest. Some of your followers re-post your pins, but they never actually buy. That’s okay ­– their followers will see your products, and they may become customers.

That’s why brand awareness ads exist. Yes, some of them will lead directly to sales, but the bigger idea is that the more your brand is out there, the larger your audience will grow. And as your audience grows, the number of people who actually buy from you will too.

Final Thoughts

Every brand is unique, and you may find that you don’t agree with every myth on this list. For example, maybe you sell such a wide variety of products that your audience does cover all of the social platforms out there. Or, maybe you market a service that appeals to non-tech-users, so your audience really isn’t online much at all.

You don’t have to blindly follow social media marketing advice simply because tips apply to the masses. Instead, select the suggestions that make the most sense for your business and leave the rest behind. That’s the way to create a truly tailored strategy that will garner the best results.

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Financial choices that will benefit your business

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Making sound financial business decisions can be compared to drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, and having a healthy diet. If you don’t do those things, your health will fail. Similarly, if you don’t make sound financial decisions, your business cannot succeed.

Half of small businesses fail within five years in part due to a lack of good financial decisions. The following are some financial choices that will benefit your business.

Decide on the Amount of Money Needed to Run Your Business

You must determine how much money will be needed to run your business. If you run an e-commerce business that relies on drop shipping, you might not need as much money to get started because you are not holding onto inventory and do not have employees. However, if you are starting your own law firm, you may need to have between $5,000 and $15,000 just to get yourself started. There is not a magic formula to determine how much cash you will need.

Consider the following equation. The net burn rate plus cash needed for 12 months plus the amount of time needed to make more cash will equal your total cash needs. Your net burn rate is the money you have left after you pay your expenses. If your e-commerce store makes $10,000 and your expenses are $3,000, then your net burn rate is $7,000.

Now, calculate the money you need for the next 12 months. If you are a startup, this information should have been built into your business plan. Next, determine whether it will take days, weeks, or months to replenish your money supplies. This will give you a rough estimate of the amount of money you need to run your business.

Decide to Hire Employees or to Outsource

As your business gets bigger, you are going to need to hire some employees. This is true no matter if you are the lawyer hiring a paralegal or the e-commerce business owner looking for professionals to help with your customer identity and access management (CIAM). The bigger your staff, the larger your payroll. It also means that you have to deal with people, which can be time-consuming and costly. Decide if you are going to hire more employees or if you are going to outsource everything.

Outsourcing is typically less expensive. Jobs like security guards, web programmers, accountants, human resources, and copywriters are relatively easy to outsource. Each dollar you save by not paying a salary is more money you can put toward working cash.

Decide What to Do If There Is an Emergency

It is easy to spend every penny your business makes. When times are hard, you will be spending money just to keep the doors open. When things are going well, you want to spend that extra money to grow your business. However, if you are going to make your business a success, decide to set aside money for the future. Your business may face emergencies that are outside of what you could have imagined. There could be a storm that rips the roof off of your building. A global pandemic can shut down business for months. You might get sued. All these things are unexpected and can happen.

Planning for an emergency includes thinking about the worst-case scenario. For example, you should know how to contact a bankruptcy trustee to evaluate your financial options if bankruptcy seems like the only option. It can be a hard decision to make, but if you plan for it in advance, handling the unforeseen becomes easier.

Decide on a Marketing Strategy

Believing that your business will grow without spending money on marketing is like thinking you can eat a ghost pepper and not feel the burn. Certain things are just required to run a business. It is hard to divert meager funds toward marketing. But if you don’t market, your company will always struggle with cash. It is recommended that you dedicate between 10 to 15% of your revenue to marketing. That might seem like a lot of money. If you don’t make that call, though, your business won’t be healthy.

Conclusion

To be a successful business owner, you need to make excellent decisions. Most of these decisions revolve around how you are going to make money, what you are going to do with the money you make, and how you protect it.

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