Relationship Marketing: Essential Key for Customer Loyalty and Retention

relationship marketingThe success of your business depends on customer loyalty and retention. If you have been in business for any length of time, or have been observing successful businesses, you recognize that relationship marketing is an essential key to customer loyalty and retention.

Television, radio, and newspaper ads all have their place, and are still effective for many businesses. However, for small businesses especially, impersonal advertising cannot be the primary way for communicating with your customers, and consumers in general. Customers do not want to be spoken to. They want to be spoken with and be made to feel that their voice is heard when they do business with you.

Large and small businesses recognize that having a personal relationship with the customer is what makes the difference in the results they experience. This, in fact, is what sets them apart from their competitors. The removal of “us” and “them” and replacing it with “we’ encourages a partnership so that customers feel they have a vested interest in the business.

3 Reasons Why Relationship Marketing is Essential to Your Business

Profitability:

  • In their book, Leading on the Edge of Chaos, authors, Emmet C. Murphy and Mark A Murphy noted, “Depending on the industry, reducing your customer defection rate by 5% can increase your profitability by 25 to 125%.

  • In a survey conducted by Dimensional Research key findings of the study illustrated that customer service not only affects revenue, but has a long lasting impact, with customer service ranking as the No. 1 factor influencing how much a consumer trusts a company.

Build Trust:

At a time when people seems to have lost trust in big businesses, it’s more important than ever to develop the personal relationship with customers so that they clearly understand that you, as the business owner, genuinely care about their welfare and not just see them as a means to a profitable end. Ian Gordon wrote in Relationship Marketing, “”A meaningful relationship starts … when supplier and customer see that it is in their interests to get together for the long term.”

When you make your customers feel that the relationship is one of a partnership and you depend on them for their support, it in no way diminishes your role. Instead you increase the level of loyalty that your customers will give to you. The reality is that in our social world, customers know the level of power that they hold, and if you can harness that power to support your business, it puts you in a favorable position.

Create Your Own Research Team:

Who better to get feedback from than the persons who are already using your products or service? Research can be expensive and time-consuming. It can also be less than accurate if you’re not targeting the correct demographic or pyschographic market.

Your loyal customers and clients are in the best position to share with you ideas and suggestions as to how your product or service could be better and the impact changes and enhancements could have on their lives.

This is not a new concept because large organizations are using this strategy. Starbucks, for one, created a website: My Starbucks Idea where their customers can share their ideas and comment on the ideas shared by others. Genius! They even show the ideas that are being implemented. Can you see how this type of relationship would endear you to your customers and build customer loyalty?

So, would you agree that relationship marketing is an essential key to customer loyalty and retention? It takes time to get a smooth-running system in place, but the returns will be worth it when your funnel is filled with loyal customers and clients.

I invite you to visit my website and download your copy of “STOP Losing Your Best Customers: Time -Tested Tips to Grow Your Business with Customer Retention.”

Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below this post. Thank you. 🙂

Why Define Social Media Goals for Your Business

social media plan for businessFor the most part, small business owners and entrepreneurs recognize that social media is no longer just an option; it’s a necessity.

One of the most significant benefits of social media is that it can be used as a marketing tool. However, in order for it to be an effective tool you must determine your purpose and define social media goals for your business.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is one way to attract customers and prospects and you can do so strategically by building a relationship with them and providing value. At the same time social media platforms allow you to deliver superior customer service in real time, and remove barriers to communication and problem-resolution.

Key Factors to Consider

1) What are the main advantages you want social media to provide for your business? For example, if your main objective is to increase sales and revenue, then your goal should be to improve your brand positioning and awareness.

Create consistent, authentic content that gives people an in-depth look at what you can offer. This will also help to build and improve your online reputation. Companies that consistently update their content and check in with their followers are typically thought of as a reliable business, and therefore are more likely to attract followers.

2) If you want to convert your social media followers into paying customers, you’ll not only want to provide valuable content, but consider offering incentives, such as free samples, service coupons, or anything else that would give people a reason to become paying customers.

Create a Goal List

A goal list may simply be a spreadsheet that you can refer to from time to time. This will outline the milestones that you want to achieve from using social media and a plan to achieve those goals or milestones.

Having this simple step in place before you get started will help you define your social media goals and the process of reaching those goals will be more clear-cut and attainable. While social media can be advantageous to businesses, without proper planning it can become confusing, unfocused, and a huge time-suck.

Do you have a Social Media Action Plan in place for your business?  Would you like help to develop a strategy to make the most of your time on social media and grow your business?  You’re invited to contact me and schedule your complimentary Breakthrough Strategy Session by filling out the quiz on the Home Page or through the Contact Form.

3 Ways to Know What Customers are Saying About You Online

 

know what your customers are saying about you onlineDo YOU know what your customers are saying about you online? It seems that the frequency with which small and large business are coming under attack from negative publicity is increasing. Perhaps they appear to be increasing because they make the news and spread across social media rapidly. How about the thousands of small business and entrepreneurs whose story may not come to light quickly?

Managing your online reputation is one of the most important elements of online marketing success. Small business owners from all different types of industries are realizing just how much social media and online reviews can affect their ability to generate new customers, as well as keep their existing customers.

It’s important to keep track of what customers are saying about you online so you can manage your online reputation and adequately adjust elements of your company to better fit the needs of your customers.

But how do you do that when the world wide web is so huge? It can be a daunting task! The good news is that there are ways to acquire this information through current technology.

Here are three of the easiest ways to know what customers are saying about you online so you can gain control of your reputation:

Google Alerts

 

Google has a powerful tool that sends you emails every time a new page or result is posted about you, your business, or uses certain keywords or topics. You can easily subscribe to Google alerts through RSS and track everything that comes up about your company. This will let you know when new information is posted that mentions your name, your company’s name (or any other parameters you setup), such new articles, press releases or reviews.

 

BoardTracker

 

As I dug deeper into the topic of Online Reputation Management, I discovered that large chunks of the information released about companies, include small businesses, come on message boards. It can be difficult to manage the activity on forums and boards, however, there is help. BoardTracker is an application that was created to keep track of any mentions of your company on any discussion board or forum. This will allow you to address negative complaints or posts and to build a better dialogue with your customers.

 

Remember that huge ‘snafus’ can be avoided if customer concerns are addressed promptly and in the correct way.

 

Social Media Alerts

 

With the increase in social networks, many business owners are finding that these sites are some of the most influential when it comes to their online reputations.

 

To stay on top of what people are saying about your business on social media, sign up for alerts for each platform that has this feature. You can also use hashtags to see what’s being said about your company on social media sites.

 

These are just three starting points for businesses that are serious about getting to know what customers are saying about you online. Keeping track or monitoring is an important element, right after you assess what, if anything is already out there.

The TRUE value in staying on top of what is being said about your business lies in how you handle your findings. Will you take actions that will further improve your reputation?… or will you simply ignore them?



These and other points will be discussed during my interview by Gary Loper on Thursday, April 24
th, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. To get the call details, register at http://ow.ly/vXCil. The title of the discussion is “Assess, Monitor, and Take Control – Strategies to managing your online reputation.

Relationship Marketing: How to Use Social Media to Build Relationships with Customers

relationship marketing on social mediaRelationship marketing is a strategy designed to foster customer loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement. Developing strong connections with customers is the goal of relationship marketing and this means that the information provided to customers and clients should be directly suited to their needs and interests so as to encourage open communication.This approach often results in increased word-of-mouth activity, repeat business and a willingness on the customer’s part to provide information to you the business owner.

How to Use Social Media to Build Relationships with Customers

Social Media Marketing is one of the many marketing strategies that small businesses should be engaged in, and when done effectively, can increase your customer base, give you a position of authority in the marketplace, and increase your brand recognition.

In all likelihood, your customer or clients and prospects are already using social media, sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, and Pinterest. The challenge for business owners is to identify where the majority of customers and prospects have an active presence so that they can be there as well.

The benefits to using social media to build relationships with customers are many.

1)      Businesses that are active on social media and are using effective social media marketing strategies are able to connect directly with their existing customers and work towards developing new customers.

You are able to connect with your customers in real time and in a more dynamic and personalized way.  Direct interactions and contact with customers that’s engaging, interesting and co-operative both help to build up customer trust and create customer loyalty.

You have the opportunity to make your customers feel appreciated.  When you do this on a social media platform that they use every day, you will see an increase in repeat customer transactions!

One of the purposes of any business marketing campaign is to reach out to as many potential customers as is possible. Social media websites are extremely popular with online users, meaning your business will have access to a very large number of people to market to.  It also means that your message can reach large numbers of prospects at the same time. Take a look with me at some of these statistics –

Recent studies have indicated that Facebook has more than 1.26 billion users and that more than 2.5 million websites have directly integrated with it. YouTube sees more than 1 billion unique users each and every month, and Twitter has more than 1 billion users itself! More than 525 million people are currently using Google Plus and that number grows everyday as well.

2)      Social media allows you to create attention for your services and products. Any time your business offers a new product or service you will want to bring as much attention as possible to it. Social media marketing allows your company to showcase your newest products or services all over the web. It also lets you create a vast network of interested parties, through which you can create this attention.

3)      Social media allows you to interact with your customers.  With social media you can do more than just showcase your latest advertisements to your customers. It lets you interact with them. Online users are always bombarded by banners and advertisements, so they want to see something different. You can update them on what’s happening in your business and how you and your products can support them.  This also provides you a forum to address customer service questions and address concerns before they become bigger issues.

Understanding how to use social media to build relationships with customers is an integral part of doing business and one that should be included in marketing your small business.  It can be confusing to do it alone.  If you’d like to get some help on using Social Media to build relationships, please go to my Home Page at http://yvonneajones.com and complete the Quiz. I will get back to you within 24 hours.

Build Relationships with Customers and See Your Business Grow

All lasting business is built on friendship” is a quotation from Alfred A. Montopert.  Do you agree?  Every successful business is built on relationships.  It may not appear to be a realistic statement, but in reality when you do a careful analysis, you’ll see that the gradual progression starts from when you build relationships with customers, become their friends, or at the least someone they trust, this opens you up to clearing a path that can lead to business growth and success.

This is the kind of relationship that businesses should seek to develop with their customers from the outset.  Small businesses especially can get an even greater handle on building relationships with their customers as they have the advantage of being able to communicate with a smaller group of people. If they are a brick and mortar business, they have the further advantage of face to face contact.

Loyal Customer and Raving Fan

Recently I was at a networking event and a gentleman began talking about his bank.  He went on and on and the expression on his face was a delight to see.    Read more>>>

How do you manage customer relationships in your business?  Do you have a system or do you just go with the flow?

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LinkedIn – Benefits of Publishing and Sharing Content on LinkedIn

LinkedIn recently announced that it was opening up its publishing platform to all of its users on a gradual, phased-basis.  Previously it was opened up to a relatively few Influencers, like Richard Branson, President Barak Obama, Bill Gates, and so on.

According to says Ryan Roslansky, Head of Content Products at LinkedIn, “One of our big, strategic bets for the company is for LinkedIn to become the definitive, professional publishing platform…  We do this because we want LinkedIn to be the place where members can become productive, successful professionals – not just when you’re trying to find a job, or search for another person.”

What are the benefits of publishing and sharing content on LinkedIn?

Some immediate benefits include: your posts will get in front of a larger audience.  If you’ve been struggling to get more readers to your blog, this should change things; especially if you’ve built a large number of connections on LinkedIn.  A follow-up to that is that your brand will get more exposure.
I found that this article, which made some great points on the benefits of publishing and sharing content on LinkedIn.   Why and How you Should Publish and Share Content on LinkedIn –  You’ll see that a few reminders are given, such as:

–  It’s important to know your audience

–  Why you should participate in the Network

–   How you can take advantage of sharing tools.

Have you thought about the benefits of publishing and sharing on LinkedIn?  Do you plan to start?  Because this is relatively new, I’ve not personally taken advantage of it yet, but it’s on my schedule to start this quarter.

Please share your successes and challenges in the comments area if you’ve already begun.  If you’ve not and you need tips and strategies, just leave a comment with your message and I’ll be sure to share them as soon as I get started.

 

 

 

Why Grow Your Email List Quickly

grow email list quicklyIf you have been around Internet Marketing for any length of time, you’ve seen promotions, or maybe even emails delivered right into your Inbox that proclaim the fortune that can be yours without having an email list. In some cases it is possible to make sales before you have your own list, but when those people buy they do go on someone’s list. Why not start to grow your email list quickly?

A responsive email list is a list of subscribers who have ‘opted-in’ to receive emails from you. They’ve signed up because they’re interested in the content and offers you can give them. This list is made up of people who’ve raised their hand to say that it’s ok for you to communicate with them in writing, and it’s a very valuable part of your business.  There is truth that “The fortune is in the (responsive) list.”

7 Reasons Why You Should Grow Your Email List Quickly

1.  An Entrance to Your Sales Funnel
When a person subscribes to your list, they’re starting a relationship with you and your business. This is a good way to draw prospects into your sales funnel. From here, you can engage your subscribers with valuable information and offers.

  1. Relationship Building
    Because email marketing is a more direct and personal approach, it’s a great way to build a relationship between you and your customers, which is what all businesses need and want.
  1. Educate your Contacts

In addition to you blog, your emails are valuable for educating your subscribers and responding to questions they may ask.

  1. Feedback

Email marketing isn’t just a one-way interaction. You also get feedback from your subscribers on how you’re doing. This feedback comes from your email marketing analytics and also directly when subscribers send you messages or when you ask them questions.

5.  Personalize Your Marketing
When someone opts in to your list, they’re making a mental commitment. It’s not the same as casually dropping in on your blog or website. A list creates a personal connection between your company and your customers.

6.  Exclusive Offers
The offers you make through your email list are valuable to your subscribers partly because they’re exclusive. That is, you can only get them by joining the list. This creates a special “club” for your customers, a kind of loyalty program.

7.  An Asset to Your Business
A list of subscribers adds value to your company. Your email list can be calculated as an asset belonging to your business. If you have a large and responsive list, this can help to boost your profits as you build the relationship then make them offers that you know will appeal to them.

Before starting your list, it’s important to decide exactly what you’d like to do with it. Is it going to be an entrance into your sales funnel, a vehicle to build your brand’s reputation, or a means of profiting directly? If you define your purpose well, you’ll better understand why you need to grow your email list quickly, and what you need to do in order to keep your subscribers looking forward to your emails.

Nicole Dean and Melissa Ingold have created an excellent training package on Growing Your List Fast on their authority site, and if you’re interested in how to grow your email list quickly, I  recommend that you go over to their coaching site and get that report then start growing your email list quickly.

Are you confused about the different areas of Online Marketing?  Do you have specific questions on how to market your business online? Go ahead and fill out the questionnaire and I’ll contact you to schedule your complimentary Business Breakthrough Strategy Session as soon as mutually convenient.

Do Your Milestones Support Your Destination?

road to destination; road to goalAs we drove across Florida from the east to west coast and back my thoughts were on milestones. The trip is approximately 150 miles each way, and my way of dealing with long trips is to break them up and assign various towns a milestone which I mentally cross off as we travel.

What is a milestone? Wikepedia describes  milestones as “…provide reference points along the road. This can be used to reassure travelers that the proper path is being followed, and to indicate either distance traveled or the remaining distance to a destination.”

What does this have to do with your business? A lot! Let’s explore this together.

  1. Starting Point and Destination: Every journey has a starting point and unless you’re the type of adventurous traveler who stops anywhere your mind tells you to, you will have a destination in mind and a planned route on how to get there.

As a small business owner or entrepreneur you must have a plan for your business. I’m not talking about the kind of plan you may need to take to a bank to seek financing. This kind of plan usually ends up in a drawer and is never looked at again.

I’m referring to a basic Business Plan that outlines your mission and your vision, your purpose, who your ideal clients are, how you will serve them…and your destination…your end goal.

  1. Your Road Map: This is the Action Plan referred to above. This document should include your short-term and long-term goals along with the steps to reach these goals.

Sometimes you have a route all mapped out, and along the way you encounter a blockade or an unexpected barrier so you may have to make a detour. The same is true of your journey as a business owner. How you deal with the detours and blocks that arise in your business will determine if you forge ahead with your goal or if you go out of business. This is where your Purpose will play a significant role as it is what will keep you going when unexpected negative situations arise.

  1. Milestones: The Milestones in your business are the steps that will take you to your goal. Just as milestoneI’ve associated certain towns with milestone numbers so I know that I’m getting close to my destination, you need written steps to lead you to your goal. Under each of those larger steps would be a breakdown of the smaller steps that support each milestone.

These milestones are the steps that what will let you know if you’re keeping on track to take you to your destination…your Goal.

  1. Your Destination – Your Goal: Your destination is your goal or finish line that allows you to live the dream that you have for yourself and your business. Keep in mind that your destination or goal can also have different levels of achievement. For example, a Solopreneur may have a goal of building a consulting business with 25 regular clients and an income of $150,000 per year. What if you achieved the goal of 25 clients but your income has not reached $150,000? You’d have to devise a new action plan with new milestones to arrive at this goal.

Remember that a goal is just a dream if you fail to write it down. Do your milestones support your destination? Do you have a clear destination or goal for your business?  If you need to stop and assess where you are and create a clear direction as to where you’re going, go ahead and complete the Breakthrough Quiz so we can schedule a time to talk.

5 Ways to Use Audio on Your Website

If you’d like to listen to this post, click here.

In my previous post regarding content creation with audio, we discussed several reasons why you should include audio on your website. These include adapting to your readers’ and customers’ learning style, and convenience.  What are some ways to use audio?

Ways to Use Audio

mp3 playerThe following is by no means a comprehensive list as you can use your creativity as well as do additional research to identify other formats and ways to use audio on your website.

  • Record a podcast. This is similar to blogging, only it is done in audio form. Users can subscribe to your podcast so that it is automatically downloaded to their feed readers or iPods. I love the fact that I can subscribe to podcasts in different ways.  For example, I can subscribe to iTunes, but many marketers have set up a non-iTunes RSS feed so that you can get their podcasts right into the Podcast app that comes on many phones as a standard feature.
  • Do a streaming talk radio show. This is a great way to get targeted visitors to your website, and it allows you to interact with your audience by accepting calls or answering emails while you’re on the air. I use InstantTeleseminar for my teleclasses and conference calls.  There is a feature that allows you to create links on your website so that your audience is actually listening and participating via the web form right from your website.  Think of the benefits that come from doing this as far as the overall time visitors stay on your website!
  • Offer recordings of online conferences or presentations for download. This gives visitors an incentive to come to your site, and it may well entice them to participate in future conferences.  Also, as they listen to the way you delivered your presentation, they can decide if they want to work with you further.
  • Record a message for visitors to your site. Tell them a little about yourself, suggest areas of the site to visit first, or just welcome them. This adds a unique personal touch.
  • Record some of your blog posts so that persons can listen as they read, thereby getting two senses involved – the eyes and ears.  This way the points with be even more effective.

There are a number of file formats that you can use when saving audio, but it is important ipod-video-490822-s earphonesto use popular ones so that your users will be able to listen to them easily. The most popular format for most types of recorded audio is MP3. It offers great file compression while preserving the quality of the audio. Just about every computer has an application that can play MP3 files.  There are also many free applications that you can download from the Internet, although I will remind you to proceed with caution, and make sure you download ONLY the MP3 player from a trusted source. The Windows operating system comes with Windows Media Player, which will play these and several other types of audio files.

Another benefit of the MP3 is its versatility. It can be easily converted  to a CD with most CD burning programs. Users can also put them on their iPhones or just about any other type of portable music player.

So, now that you know these ways to create audio, if you have not started yet, let’s get started creating audios for our websites!

What questions do you have about ways to create audio? If you already have audio on your website, what successes can you share?

 

 

Content Creation – Incorporate Audio Into Your Marketing

If you’d like to listen while you read the post, click here.

2014audio symbol will probably be remembered as the Year of Content.  The importance of content creation has been brought to the fore largely because of recent Google updates that place emphasis on good, relevant content.  The content needs to reflect what the people – your prospects and customers – who are coming to your website will be looking for.

In an article entitled, “Why Google’s New Hummingbird Algorithm is Good News for Serious Content Creators,” Copyblogger noted, “As a publisher, you should focus more attention on building pages for each of the different basic needs and intentions of the potential customers for your products and services…In other words, know your audience. Doing this really well takes work, but it starts with knowing your potential customers or clients and why they might buy what you have to sell, and identifying the information they need first.” (italics mine).

Content on your website is not limited to text.  In fact, it’s a good idea and strategy to have content in different formats on your website as people learn in various ways. Using audio has many advantages.

Reasons to Incorporate Audio into Your Marketing

The #1 reason I like audio, and also one of the main reasons why many people like audio, is for convenience.  Unlike video where, for the most part, you have to be in front of the computer screen, audio is more versatile and can be made available for download to an iPhone, iPod, or MP3 player.  It’s great for multi-tasking.  For example, your device can easily accompany you when walking or on a treadmill.  This is a great way to accomplish two essentials at the same time!

Reason #2 is that a large portion of the population retains information better when they hear it than when they read it.

Reason #3 is that audio can inject personality into your website in a way that text and graphics can’t. There’s just something about hearing someone’s voice that makes site visitors feel welcome, and hearing someone’s voice can help your visitors to decide if they like the sound of your voice to continue learning from you on a more regular basis.

Reason #4: Using audio can separate you from the competition. Many sites do not utilize audio, and if yours does, those who enjoy it will be likely to come to you instead of your competition.

So far we’ve covered four reasons why you should incorporate audio into your Marketing.  As a business owner who is interested in satisfying the needs of your customers and clients, it’s important to provide them with alternatives because different persons have different learning and communication styles.  By incorporating audio in your marketing you provide content in a way that meets the needs of many.

 

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