Archive for October, 2013

Connect with Your Customers

When interacting with clients online, over the phone, or in person it is important to ensure they feel connected to the business and its procedures. A customer feels connected when they are given personalized care and treated like a person instead of a number. Word of mouth drives business and when a client feels attached to company they are more likely to recommend your work to their friends and family which allows your business to grow and expand. It also helps to create repeat customers, if they enjoyed their first experience then they will most likely return for a second and third time. For most people even if they had difficulty with the product they will return if the service was excellent because they remembered how you made them feel and how you solved the issue for them.

Here are a few tips on how to ensure your client feels appreciated:

  • Answer questions and comments in a timely fashion and in the manner the client asks for. If they ask for an email, phone call, or letter respond in the manner of their choosing. If they do not specify respond in the same way they sent the question.
  • Repeat what you believe the clients wishes are before making recommendations or closing transactions. This allows you to gain agreement with them as to what they would like or to correct any misunderstandings. Even better this shows your active listening skills and proves you are paying attention to them.
  • Allow your client the time to make a decision. If your office is busy at the time be sure to acknowledge them and as they peruse help others and frequently check back in with them to answer any questions they might have. Let them know your product or service is worth thinking about and ultimately will be the best decision.

Last, but not least, treat every client the way you would like to be treated. It is the golden rule for a reason, everyone appreciates a friendly, “hello” and “goodbye” and to know you see them as a person and not a dollar sign. It may be time for you to ask yourself how you would like to be treated if you walked into your shop.

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How Social Media Can Generate Sales Leads

Social media is quickly becoming one of the fastest lead builders available to marketers. By using specific programs designed to weed out unlikely candidates, marketers can locate potential customers and create a list of possible clients without wasting their time on generalized lists that will gain them 10 out of a hundred possibilities at best.

Facebook’s new Graph Search is a perfect example of how social media can categorize people according to their interests, hobbies and careers. The program follows peoples’ search patterns and collects information that allows marketers to target those individuals with things they may be interested in. A person is much morel likely to click on a banner or ad if it pertains to something they have a direct interest in.

Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are designed to bring people together. Marketers who are savvy in following social media and the trends associated with them can generate a list of targeted leads that allow them to focus only on individuals who have an interest in their products. This eliminates wasted time and ensures that only the ones who may want the product are reached.

Another way to generate leads using social media is to create an account for the business. Business pages can be liked and shared repeatedly reaching thousands of individuals at once. Satisfied customers can share the page and give testimonials to anyone who asks questions. While this may seem a little backwards, one of the best ways to reach several people is to let one satisfied customers shout your praises. Social media is an exceptional outlet for that type of advertising.

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Can Your Business Benefit from Using a Packaging Company?

If you manufacture or plan to manufacture a product, one aspect of the distribution cycle you have to think seriously about is the packaging for whatever you manufacture. This is especially important if your distribution cycle is to include brick-and-mortar stores since the packaging also does quite a bit of marketing for you. So, the question will definitely come up, will a dedicated packaging company work better for your business than doing your own?

Control vs. Cost

It doesn’t matter if you’re manufacturing software CDs, homemade cookies or distributing herbs and spices, packaging is going to be a major concern. Not only do you have to decide what the packaging is going to look like, but you have to take into consideration what it takes to package your product. Two main factors will definitely come into play: cost and control.

The first factor, cost, essentially weighs out like this: How much will packaging supplies cost, how much does the equipment cost to package your product and how much will the labor cost to package your product? If you plan to package the product yourself, your company will bear the total cost of all of these aspects. You’ll have to buy whatever equipment it takes, you’ll have to buy all of the supplies and supply all of the labor. Depending on what your product is, the equipment alone can be prohibitively expensive, let alone the labor costs.

However, if you use a dedicated packaging company, they probably already have the equipment on hand to package your product properly. While you still have to purchase the supplies to package your product, since they’re in the packaging business, your cost per package for supplies is probably going to be significantly cheaper since they’ll be getting discounts on bulk purchases. Also, labor costs will be lessened as well since they can split labor costs across multiple jobs. This means you don’t have to purchase equipment and the other costs are essentially discounted to you because of the volume of work the packaging company does.

The second factor, control, can be a challenge either way you go. If you do your own packaging, you keep complete control over the packaging design, graphics, etc. However, most packaging companies are more than willing to work with a company to achieve the packaging design they want. This means that, even though you don’t have total control over the packaging designs, you do have major input. The control the packaging company keeps usually is only affected by the packaging process limitations.

Easy Decision

Unless you own a huge company that manufactures millions of products a year and having your own packaging department only makes fiscal sense, you should seriously consider taking advantage of the benefits a dedicated packaging company can provide. Not only can you save money, but you can save time, hassles and headaches as well.

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5 Ways to Easily Increase Web Traffic

Acquiring views for your website can be compared to a rolling snowball. The more you have, the easier it is to gain. The Internet is inundated with hundreds of millions of sites, all competing for those precious page views. Here are five easy ways to build this momentum up and increase traffic to your website.

Use Aggregate Sites: The most popular aggregate sites are user generated with millions of readers. Posting a link to your site on Reddit or liking it on Stumbleupon drives new traffic to your website with the potential to increase it dramatically.

Submit Your Site to Search Engines: People most readily discover useful sites through popular search engines. However, these sites aren’t omniscient. Your site needs to be in their directories for people to search for it. It’s a quick process guaranteed to bring new views in.

Use Relevant Keywords: If you want to gain new readers, you need to incorporate relevant terms in your content. Pull ideas from current events and popular culture to give a fresh, valuable perspective. Be sure to talk about how the topic and your product relates. This allows people extra opportunities to stumble across your site.

Social Media: If you don’t have a social networking outlet for your site, you’re missing out on a number of possible readers. But, above all, it gives current readers an easy way to share your site with their friends. Word of mouth creates significant increases in page views.

Focus on Your Presentation: Gaining a consistent readership means that you have to consistently meet their needs. You don’t need to have novel thoughts and materials. Instead, focus on giving good information in ways they can appreciate and easily digest. If you give them good information, they’re bound to return.

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Why Your Business Needs a Dedicated Printing Company

The New World of Printing

As the digital revolution reshapes many industries, the printing industry has undergone major changes. Virtually every aspect of the business now incorporates some form of digital applications. From graphic design, to proofs to the actual printing process, there are many new capabilities and efficiencies made possible by digital technology.

Anyone who used a print shop just a decade ago remembers that having even simple documents could be a time-consuming task. It often involved the cost of typesetting and could entail several trips to drop off copy, review a proof and make changes. Today, you can access the highest quality printing and never leave your home of office. Along with these changes, even the smallest companies can demand beautiful graphics and sophisticated layouts.

As branding becomes more important to all companies, consistency and quality in all printed media is more important than ever. Moreover, it is something that customers have come to expect.

Maximizing the Efficiencies

With these enhance capabilities, many business owners and print managers are finding that it is most efficient and cost-effective to deal with a dedicated printer. Because everything from logos to forms are now stored and manipulated digitally, your printer can build a portfolio of items needed to produce any type of printed materials.

Instead of attempting to communicate your look to multiple individuals, it is now most productive to find one competent printer with good design staff to establish exactly the image you want to present. All the elements that affect your brand are then ready to be used across whatever printing is needed. This cuts down on costs, makes response times very quick, and ensures a consistency in all printed media. It also makes it easier to hold one source accountable for quality and performance.

The new era of printing provides many advantages to today’s business owner, especially when using a dedicated printer.

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Benefits of Personalized Marketing Campaigns

You’ve seen the benefits of personalized marketing campaigns in the tailored ads that frequent your sidebar on social media sites. A better example might be on sites such as Amazon, where book recommendations are made according to your recent purchases. These tailored ads have a much higher probability of catching your interest than a list of every product that’s available. But how can personalized marketing campaigns benefit the smaller business?

Mass mailed (or mass emailed) advertisements are widely ignored. We all get junk mail obviously sent to every household on the block. You might give it a cursory glance and if it happens to land in your mailbox at just the right time, when you happen to be looking for that exact product, it might actually work. Otherwise, those flyers and postcards are tossed in the garbage. The emails addressed to “Dear Customer” are quickly deleted.

The simple act of utilizing a person’s name can have a direct impact on how much attention they pay to your mailing. When you open an email that’s addressed to you, you automatically start to read the material with a feeling of familiarity. You know there are programs that can input that information into mass emails, but you still give the sender the benefit of the doubt until it starts reading like a sales pitch. The opposite happens when the email is either not addressed or addressed in a generic way – you start reading with an eye to delete it.

If you can personalize your marketing materials more, mentioning their company or some specific thing you offer that they would be interested in, you have a better chance of reaching that audience – long enough for them to at least register your name.

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Importance of Consistent Blogging

In today’s interactive society, it’s necessary for a company to blog on a regular basis to remain competitive. Blogging is a way for you to build your business brand, establish yourself as an authority, provide value to the community and connect directly with both existing and potential customers. When you aren’t blogging consistently, your organization is not accomplishing any of these things.

The dynamics of business has changed. Back in the day, a company could set up shop, mail out a few fliers and throw an ad in the paper every once in a while. Now-a-days, clients expect organizations to engage them. Blogging provides a catalyst for you to accomplish this.

How Often Should You Post

Tumbleweeds are a big turnoff to readers. For this reason, you should post to your blog at least once a week. Anything less and it will be tough to get site visitors to return. Readers love predictability. So when you choose a posting schedule, stick to it.

Write your posts when you have free time and have them scheduled to post on different dates. If you don’t have the time to write the posts yourself, hire someone to do it for you. In addition, always update your blog when your business is about to have special events or offer special promotions.

When it comes to blogging, consistency is the key to connecting with your customers and building your business brand. The more content you have, the more visitors you are likely to get. However, never sacrifice quality for quantity. When readers visit your business blog, they want content that offers them something of value.

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Benefits of an Informative Business Card

Imagine for a moment that you have just returned home from a networking function. Within an hour and a half of “working the room,” you could have reasonably returned from the event with at least 30 new business cards. But in, let’s say a month or so, how will you distinguish between those companies, especially if you have cards from multiple organizations competing in the same industry?

The truth is–most small business owners get “carried away” by the design choices when creating a business card, forgetting that this tiny 2 x 3.5 inch card is, indeed, a marketing tool. Therefore, your business card should not only be attractive, it should also be informative. Following, we’ve put together a few benefits for taking time to create an informative business card.

  • Who Are You? Business cards provide a great way of telling potential customers what your business does and what you stand for.
  • What’s In It For Them? A well-crafted business card will go beyond telling you the business name and industry; it will delve answer the question most customers are asking themselves: “Why should I choose this company?” Your business card can eliminate the guesswork, explaining briefly what makes your company unique and what perks they’ll get by working with you.
  • Invite Them To Engage. Remember, people do business with other people. Therefore, if you’re active on social media, by all means invite a prospect to engage with your company. If you offer incentives such as coupons or special invitations for connecting socially, the business card is a great place to tell them that, too.
  • Give ‘Em Something To Remember You By. Your business card will often give a prospect their first impression of your company. It’s a perfect way to create a brief but powerful statement while leaving them wanting more, more, more.

In short, informative business cards separate you from the pack by answering the burning questions on your prospects mind, leaving them with a positive impression of your business, your mission and your message.

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