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Thank you!

July 06, 2010 by Robert Craven

We do not say “thank you” enough.

Therefore we take people for granted. If people feel taken for granted they become less loyal. Is that what you want?

I don’t know why people don’t say “thank you” so much these days. Maybe it just isn’t cool to be seen to be thankful.

Maybe it shows vulnerability or frailty to acknowledge that you are grateful.

Or maybe the problem is that most words lose their value and their currency with over-use ("nice", "pro-active", "strategy" to name but a few).

Turning the situation around, I am constantly aware of how certain people seem almost incapable of saying "thank you". Why would that be? Maybe they aren’t grateful(?); but their inability to acknowledge my action actually hurts me.

So, when did you last say (and mean) the words “thank you”?

Your kids, partner, staff, customers, suppliers will all appreciate a sincere "thank you".

The cynical may say that I am just trying to put a deposit in the emotional bank account (or some similar weasel words), but actually I think that it is just basic common courtesy to acknowledge when someone does something for you.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Robert Craven of The Directors' Centre

Seven killer facts you ignore at your peril if you want to stay in business

June 14, 2010 by Drayton Bird
  1. If you don’t deliver a good product or service you won’t succeed for long. No matter how good your marketing or advertising, you can’t sell rubbish indefinitely. Think of any business that’s gone down the drain.
  2. The customer you already have will always make about 3 – 5 times more money for you than an identical prospect – so pay more attention to them than anyone else
  3. Advertising is not the only, and often by no means the best, way to build a brand. In fact it can cost you a fortune without achieving anything if you don’t have more money than God.
  4. Most mergers and acquisitions end in chaos, misery and unemployment for the poor employees — and don’t create value. That is, the two firms together end up worth less than they were separate.
  5. All available research suggests that recommendation from others – word of mouth – is the chief reason why people buy. So if you don’t have a customer-get-a-customer or viral marketing programme, you’re mad.
  6. Instead of worrying about talking to your prospects and customers too often, you’re better off thinking of reasons and interesting ways to talk to them more. One of my clients e-mails prospects as often as twice a week successfully. We mail our own list even more frequently. Very few unsubscribe.
  7. Never assume because someone doesn’t buy they’re not interested. They have many things on their mind besides you. Keep communicating till it doesn’t pay.

Drayton Bird is a renowned direct marketing teacher, speaker and author. Find out more about him on his profile.

Five easy performance metrics for measuring marketing

June 07, 2010 by Karen Purves

For many entrepreneurs and small business owners, performance metrics can be a bit of detail that feels like it gets in the way. But without metrics there is no way of knowing whether performance can be improved, repeated or discarded.

For the first time, including the internet in your marketing mix, measurement is easy and doesn’t need lots of technical experience.

Here are five easy performance metrics for measuring marketing activity:

Use vanity URLs

These can be short URLs used for specific reasons. You can buy short domain names for campaigns or add a short code after your normal name. For example, www.HaveMoreClients.co.uk goes to the Facebook fan page of Have More Clients.

Alternatively, there are the subscription based shortener URL services where you can assign a URL and the service tracks the number of clicks and where they came from. There are several services – budurl.com, cli.gs and bit.ly, for example.

Web and email analytics

Google offers free web analytics where you can monitor every page, as well as campaigns. There are other companies offering paid-for analytics and you would be best to review the different offerings.

Also, by using a good email marketing system, you will know who clicks on links and where they go. This information gives your sales team, whether that’s you or your marketing VA/assistant, something very specific to contact that person about. 

Brand monitoring

Sign up for Google Alerts and add in the keywords you wish to have information on. It's a good idea to include your company name and the names of key staff members so you can be contacted if something is going awry. Of course, then you need to take action – head in the sand is not the appropriate action.

Subscriptions to your blog feed, newsletter and downloads

If you have a blog, then linking the feed to Feedburner.com will mean people can subscribe to the blog and receive posts as they are published without ever going to the site.

Having subscriptions is just the start of the story; it's monitoring what happens to these people as a result of your activity that is important. This is linked to web analytics: for example, by tracking the behaviour of people and making appropriate adjustments, your headings improve, the content improves and the calls to action have more action straight to the bottom line!

Asking people

This may seem a bit old fashioned and off the wall against the hi-tech solutions, but the simplest methods can still be very effective. You can add a question to all the engagement points asking where they heard about you. This gives you feedback on which channel is working for you and which needs attention!

Adding a survey to encourage responses is helpful not only for the information gained, but it is an opportunity for your client and prospect list to engage – moving them from the passive to the active.

Once you have the measurements, set aside time to respond to this information and make changes to your marketing campaigns. Re-evaluate what is and isn’t working and improve. These techniques work whether you are tracking your social media, online activities or offline, too.

Karen Purves of www.HaveMoreClients.co.uk

Crafting the email

May 21, 2010 by Karen Purves

Emails are the lifeblood of your communications.

  • You want people to read your material and respond.
  • You want people to feel good about seeing an email from you in their inbox.
  • You want to give your readers a reason to open your email.

That is all your email has to do.

It doesn’t have to close the deal. It doesn’t have to take the payment. Leave that for your website to do.

Then your reader has the option whether to click on the link and take it further or just consume the information you have provided.

To test the sort of content that is right for you, call a couple of prospects or clients and give them the information you want to send in an email. If you find your hands going clammy at the thought, then perhaps your message is not right at this time.

People will buy when they are ready to do so. There is nothing you can do to get them to buy quicker or differently to the way they will do so. It is your job to understand how your prospects buy and map your communications accordingly. A couple of things will happen – less of your emails will be found in the spam box and the number of sales will increase.

This blog post by Karen Purves originally appeared at HaveMoreClients.com

Ten steps to creating a powerful Facebook page

May 18, 2010 by Wayne Smallman

Facebook won't suddenly transform your business into a superstar sales machine. But it can help you win friends and influence people. But like anything else in life, this is about commitment, effort and starting on the right footing.

A lot of people still get sucked into the idea of thinking "if we build, they will come". And doubly so with Facebook — just because there's a huge audience, it doesn't mean everyone is suddenly going to beat a path to your door!

So it's as well to begin with the basics — think long term, trust in your network of friends and stay focused. With that in mind, here's my ten steps to create a powerful Facebook page: 

  1. Start by creating a page for your business. If you're a business-to-consumer company and you have a product / service, you should create a page and build a community around your brand(s). There are different options for pages, so be sure to pick the right ones. You also have the option to add things like a discussions tab, which is ideal for managing customer feedback.
  2. People love photos, so be sure to post pictures of you and your team both at work and play! You want to connect with your followers, and this is a great way to demonstrate you're real folk, just like everyone else. Also, don't forget to tag your friends in those photos, which will help broaden the exposure of your page.
  3. Quality, not quantity. It's vital that you keep in mind that this is all about attracting the right people. So it's far better to have just 10 people join your page and have five comment and / or share than have 100 people join and only have the same 5 actually interacting. Be sure to focus on people who are relevant to your business and those that may benefit from your page.
  4. Make use of your contacts on Facebook. When you're looking to build up some momentum ahead of a release, use your presence to create buzz with small teasers with your status updates. If each friend or colleague has, on average, 100 friends, then just ten of them joining your page and sharing something you post means you are potentially exposed to a thousand more people.
  5. Generate some buzz and be a tease! Just won a new client? Build on that success and let people know. Be brief and quickly outline what you'll be doing for them. Who knows, someone might pick up on your message and call for more details. And when you've got that exciting new article lined up, post a teasing message and see who bites with an enquiring comment.
  6. Give praise and recognition to your Facebook friends who suggest news, related articles, or who have perhaps even written articles for your company blog. Even better, in the message part, use the @ symbol and then type their name to tag them in the shared item. That way, you're giving them some added exposure. You could score some extra points by tagging a Page of theirs the same way.
  7. If you can't be engaging, be informative. It's not easy being engaging, especially when writing. So if you struggle, make sure you're informative and helpful. Think of the people who are following your page and share relevant content. Also, consider adding a note in the comment area and ask a question or two, to encourage discussion and debate.
  8. Create your own page tab. This will stretch the skills of many, but it's easily accomplished with the help of your web designer. Perhaps you have a portfolio page and you'd like to show off your work? Or maybe you want a snazzy graphic to use as the default tab people see when they come to your page? Either way, you can do all of this quite easily, without too much fuss.
  9. Put a link to your page on your company website, ideally on your contact page or in the footer of your blog pages. This way, when people visit your website, you're driving them towards your page and your burgeoning community.
  10. Get your own page URL name. If you have a page with more than 25 fans, you can get a nice URL name, like the one for Octane, which is facebook.com/octaneinteractive. Just go to the username selection page and choose your name now. Why bother? Facebook is a hugely popular website and ranks very highly on the search engines. So there's a good chance people could find your page on Facebook when they're searching for your business.

Hopefully, that all makes perfect sense and you're inspired enough to venture forth and create an amazing page for your company. And be sure to come back and tell me how you got on!

Wayne Smallman of Octane

35 things I have found to be almost always true

May 12, 2010 by Drayton Bird
  1. Relevance matters more than originality
  2. The most important element in any creative endeavour is the brief
  3. Most clients focus on the wrong things
  4. The urgent takes precedence over the important
  5. The customer you want is like the customer you’ve got
  6. The product and positioning matter more than any other element in marketing
  7. Who you are talking to matters more than what you sell
  8. Database is the heart of marketing
  9. The internet is just accelerated direct marketing
  10. Emotion matters more than logic
  11. The simple letter or email gives the best ROI
  12. Long copy beats short
  13. Incentives always pay
  14. Segmentation is almost invariably worth it
  15. Hardly anyone budgets for marketing intelligently
  16. The customer you’ve got is 4 – 5 times more likely to buy from you than someone identical who is not a customer.
  17. A previous enquirer is about twice as likely to buy
  18. A past customer is usually your next best bet.
  19. After that comes someone who’s recommended
  20. It pays to say thank you
  21. Marketers are suckers for magic bullets
  22. Marketing experts complicate things needlessly
  23. If you say why you are writing, response goes up
  24. Questionnaires almost always pay
  25. Making people choose increases response
  26. Few marketers use enough testimonials
  27. Almost all meetings waste time
  28. Flattery and greed are the two biggest draws
  29. All successful messages solve problems
  30. Sincerity always pays
  31. Few messages ask forcefully enough for action
  32. Repetition pays
  33. People’s faces raise response
  34. The more you communicate, the better you do
  35. Research rarely predicts results accurately

Drayton Bird is a renowned direct marketing teacher, speaker and author. Find out more about him on his profile.

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