Tag: customer service.

Advertising just doesn’t work like it used to. It’s expensive and isn’t getting results. Worst of all it’s difficult to track. Businesses don’t know how to manage their marketing or advertising and don’t have time to do it right. Word of mouth works and can still be counted on. That’s why social media is growing fast.

Many small business owners would echo these sentiments. However, none of these statements have to be fact. While advertising can be expensive and time consuming, it has major benefits. On average, many small business owners cut marketing budgets first when they start having cash flow worries. However, it’s at those times that it’s even more important to keep your business brand front and center.

Social media is by far one of the most effective and affordable ways to reach your customers and build your brand, but it’s not the only way. Here’s our list of marketing tips and strategies to help you market your business the best you can, even when the budget is tight.

  1. The Elevator Speech
    An elevator speech is a 15 to 20 second description of what you do. The idea is that if you find yourself in an elevator with an ideal client, by the time you reach your destination, your prospect will have asked for your card. Start with your ideal client and determine the single most important thing you want them to know about your [product, service, brand, idea]. Then include what problems you can solve for them and what sets you apart from your competition along with a brief description of the results they can expect. Invest time in meticulously crafting your elevator speech. If you have a killer elevator speech, the return on investment will pay off big.
  2. Think Local
    You don’t have to market to the whole country, or even the state or region. Think local. You’re a small business; the majority of your customers and prospects live in your immediate area. Get involved in the community to get your name out there. Sponsor a little league team or a charity event. Hand out free paper fans at the 4th of July parade. Think about where and how your ideal customers spend their time and then find ways to get your marketing message in front of them.
  3. Collaborate and Network
    Round up a group of area business that are non-competitive and can easily work together and agree to cross promote. Collaborating can help you all reach an expanded customer base. Networking is one of the best ways to build your business. Get out there and meet people! Networking requires a time commitment, and it’s not always going to provide instant gratification, but it will easily become the strongest asset you can have. Just remember, its about building business relationships. Networking gives you the chance to help people know you, like you and trust you. When they do that, they will be ready to do business with you or refer someone to you. Which brings me to…
  4. Referrals, Referrals, Referrals
    The easiest new business comes from happy customers who send you referrals. Don’t be shy about asking for them either. Most people are willing to provide a referral, if asked, but very few will do it on their own. If your customers are truly content, they will be happy to help you and there is nothing more powerful than the recommendation of a happy customer. Don’t forget to offer up referrals for others when you can. Sometimes a successful referral from you for their business will result in a return referral from them.
  5. Keep Relationships
    This point ties right into numbers 3 & 4. It’s less expensive to keep a current customer than to get a new one. Establishing strong relationships with your current customers is vital. You can build these relationships by using social media, email campaigns and good old face-to-face conversations. Keep communicating!
  6. Speech, Teach!
    I know, I know, you hate public speaking. A lot of people do, but it’s a great marketing tool. Many organizations are constantly seeking qualified, subject-matter experts who can present to their groups. As long as your information is helpful to the audience – and correct – people won’t care if you’re a public speaking pro. Plus, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Check with your local small business administrations, colleges, chamber of commerce, even the library. These opportunities to teach and speak to groups of individuals will establish you as a credible authority in your field. They will also open doors for collaborating, networking, referrals and relationships. (See the snowball effect?)
  7. Get More by Giving Some Away
    If you test or experience a product or service and like it, are you more likely to buy it? Probably so. Your customers are the same way! Chances are they will purchase more if you give them the opportunity to try it. Don’t be afraid of giving someone a free trial or sample. But, don’t give away too much, just enough to bring them back for more!
  8. It’s Not About You
    What? Yes I said this correctly. It’s kind of about you – but mostly it’s about your customer. Sometimes it’s easy to just tell your customer all about your company and how long you’ve been in business. But honestly, most of the time, they don’t care about that. They care about how your product or service benefits them. If you answer that first, then they will start to care more about your company and you. Focus on the benefit and/or solution you can give your customers.

These eight tips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing. But they are enough to get you started and help you out if your budget isn’t that big. Just remember, engaging customers and building relationships are the heart of your business and will be vital in your business growth. You don’t have to spend outrageous amounts of money on your marketing for it to be successful as long as you put in the time and effort and focus on what’s important to your customers.

Infographic: Freepik.com; edited by Poole Communications.

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Photo Designed by Freepik.com, edited by Poole Communications.

88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours, according to a Google Mobile Movement Study.

70% of all mobile searches result in action within 1 hour.

Businesses are missing 70% of local content on sites like Twitter and Pinterest because they don’t have location-based sentiment monitoring set up, according to a recent study by Venuelabs.

These are some pretty staggering statistics. You spend lots of time and money building a website and optimizing it for search engines (SEO). But are you optimizing your business for local searches on mobile devices?

Half of mobile users use a local search/map to find businesses.

Let’s start with defining a local search.
Example:
An iPhone user asks Siri to find them a nice local restaurant, while visiting St. Louis. Local searches will include a specific location, city, ZIP code, etc.

Local SEO has one goal: to get to the top of the search results. In this case businesses want to rank on top for local geographic terms related to products and/or services that their businesses provide. The typical consumer performing a mobile search probably won’t scroll through pages and pages of results. They want fast, easy answers; they will likely make their decision based on no more than the first page of results.

So, what do you do?

Here’s a few tips to get you started:

Yelp
Yelp is a community driven review site that enables users to create locations, give details about the businesses, review them, and even post multimedia content.

It’s a major asset; you can thank Apple for that, and here’s why:
When an iPhone or iPad user uses Siri to search for a local business, the results are powered by Yelp. So, if you’re not on Yelp, iPhone users aren’t going to find you in local searches (unless they use their mobile browser and navigate to Google).

But there’s more. Yelp results returned to Siri are based on Yelp reviews. So, the top results returned are going to be the business with the most positive reviews.

But use caution, Yelp reviews can be tricky. If someone creates an account just to write a review for you, it’ll likely never be activated. Yelp likes reviews from active users. Ask your clients if they use Yelp, if they say yes, then ask for a review. Also, you can, and should, thank reviewers and invite them back for another visit, even offer a discount! That person, who’s already a fan, will often post a follow-up review, or answer others’ questions about your business. On the flip side, if someone posts a legitimate complaint, don’t be afraid to publicly apologize – but be sincere. Remember, a scorned customer doesn’t want freebies; they want to be heard.

Google Plus Local Pages
Google Plus Local pages are indexed in more than Android mobile searches. They’re also indexed in three additional types of searches:

  • Google searches
  • Google Map searches
  • Google Plus searches

Google Plus Local Pages are similar to Facebook business pages, but they have better SEO. You don’t have to post to your Google Plus Local Page as you would on a Facebook business page, although it doesn’t hurt. The essential elements include a complete bio, contact information and some photos.

You’ll also want to ask for reviews. Just like Yelp, the more positive reviews you have, the higher you will rank in searches. And responses to reviews are important here, too.

Other Searches of Note
Not all users search using Siri or Android Google searches. Many people have a favorite app. You should try to have listings on these sites as well. Other sites to consider:

  • Google Maps (all you need is a Google Plus Local Page from above.)
  • Facebook
  • MapQuest
  • Apple Maps (all you need is a Yelp account)
  • Bing
  • Yellowbook
  • YPMobile
  • SuperPages
  • CitySearch

Mobile Websites
To make the most of these local searches, your website needs to be optimized for mobile viewing. Here’s why:

  • 61% of mobile users are likely to leave a site that is NOT mobile friendly.
  • 48% of mobile users who visit a site that is NOT mobile-friendly assume the company doesn’t care about their business.
  • 40% of consumers will visit a competitor’s site after a bad mobile site experience.

There are plenty of apps, widgets and resources that can help you optimize your website for mobile viewing.

Now’s the time! Go mobile!

If you have more questions, or want to know more, give us a call!

Sources:
http://socialmediatoday.com/jonathan-long/2061506/importance-local-businesses-being-found-mobile-devices-infographic

http://www.inman.com/next/3-key-strategies-to-optimize-business-for-local-search-on-mobile-devices/

http://visual.ly/solomo-stats-no-business-can-afford-ignore-infographic

Here’s something to think about when planning for 2013. Many companies spend a lot of their marketing dollars talking about their company, products and services. That’s marketing from the inside out. Customers would rather know about how you can help them solve their problems, make money or save time. The most effective marketing is built by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. That’s marketing from the outside in. Focus on answering the needs of your customers first and then your products and services will sell themselves.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and call your own business. If your employees have a commitment to serve (like you do), you can hear it in their voice. I’m old fashioned, I believe phones need to be answered by people – with a friendly voice – and in less than three rings. I tell my people to smile when they are on the phone. Your customer feels it right through the phone lines. If you have people that are bad on the phone – don’t let them answer it. They’ll damage your business. Put great people on your front line. People that like people. Not only does your business need to be inviting – your people do too. This week and every week provide exceptional phone service.