Archive for May, 2014

Marketing Automation and What It Can Do For You

It is more important than ever before to make your business competitive in any and every way possible. One of the best ways to increase the competitiveness of your company is through cost-effective marketing strategies. One area that has been gaining significant popularity in recent years is “Marketing Automation”.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is a blanket term used to describe software and processes that increase the amount of useful data companies have on customers and prospective customers. As the name would suggest, marketing automation is best utilized for processing large swaths of information while identifying data (such as potential customers or specific buying habits) that should be reviewed and analyzed by an actual person. Marketing automation is most commonly used in the sales process as a way to find, sort, and follow up on leads. It is also commonly used to in conjunction with social media platforms to find relevant data, trends, and statistics.

How can I use Marketing Automation in my Business?

There are several marketing automation software companies currently offering solutions to a wide range of companies, from small startups to huge conglomerates. At its core, marketing automation software should help identify which sales leads are most worthy of follow up by a company, and should provide a way to automatically remind those responsible for sales calls when to make such calls, as well as what information to bring with them to the call itself.

Marketing automation software should also integrate into a company’s existing social media platforms. Whether a company uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or any of the other smaller platforms, marketing automation software should be able to take data analytics from those platforms and condense it into a report that a company can use to make decisions about its marketing strategy.

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Customer Service Steps You’re Overlooking

Customer service is about more than just delivering the product while not being rude to the customer. To truly wow the customer and build brand loyalty, you need to create the image that you’re willing to go the extra mile on every transaction. Here are some simple ways to wow your customers and turn them into champions of your brand.

  1. Make how you deal with customers part of your business’s culture. Many people in customer service positions can turn downright rude when things get busy. You don’t necessarily need to create an overly cheery image — many businesses do just fine with a no nonsense approach that creates an image of efficiency. Whatever you decide the culture of your business should be, drill it into your employees so much that they won’t deviate from it even during the most stressful times.
  2. Create the perception that customers are getting something for nothing. 5 Guys Burgers and Fries famously dumps an extra scoop of fries into the to-go bag after filling their standard fries container. Customers think they’re getting something for nothing, but the extra “free” fries are already in the budget. Find something similar you can do in your business.
  3. Get feedback from your customers. Many people who aren’t completely satisfied won’t complain on their way out, but also won’t come back. Ask them how everything was and address any problems before they walk out the door. If the same complaints keep coming up, be sure to retrain your staff or find other ways to fix the problem.

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Content Marketing Tips for Retaining an Online Audience

For most business owners, building relationships is a lifetime learning experience. The skills may vary depending on geography, culture, business area and personal preferences; however, a successful result levels the playing field. A strong reputation for consistently achieving a healthy business-client synergy is usually synonymous with a stable revenue and business stability and growth.

Content marketing is an avenue of relationship building that emphasizes each communication delivered online as a step toward converting a prospect to a customer or retaining a client. Fortunately, most people already understand the business-client principles that govern the interaction, but applying them to content marketing is rarely discussed.

Trust

Building trust with a customer is essential and a product or service should be represented accurately by advertising and marketing. Content marketing can have a journalistic, or objective, style that relates facts, figures and statistics that explain a product or services details and compares the profile to a competitor or industry standard, highlighting a unique selling proposition that gives the buyer an advantage. If a content marketing article, blog post or email marketing campaign gives a prospect or customer a clear indication of the outcome of a purchase with evidence to support the claims, no buyers will be misled or disappointed.

Courteous Communication

Courteous and consistent interaction anticipating the needs of the client is also important because it reflects a strong business acumen and gives the potential buyer an opportunity to understand a business’s approach and product or service to fully explore the evaluation stage of the buying process. Content marketing should be released frequently enough to keep the business in the mind of the prospect, which is approximately weekly for an email marketing campaign and once or twice per week for a blog post or article.

Rewards

Rewarding loyalty and continued patronage is an important step for reputation management and client retention and referrals. An email marketing campaign could deliver a promotional offer, complimentary follow-up consultation or other type of bonus to a loyal customer, which simultaneously promotes retention and closes the circle of trust.

 

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What do Unsubscribes Mean?

In this digital world we live in, it is important to have the option to unsubscribe from different things online. This is why you should know what this means as well as how it will work. It will help you to improve your experience when using the Internet.

What Does Unsubscribe Actually Mean?

Essentially, the meaning of unsubscribing is opting out of information from someone. This could be a person on Facebook or a company that keeps sending you annoying junk mail. This is why if you find that you are seeing things that are frustrating or offensive, save yourself the time and annoyance and simply unsubscribe. You will no longer have to see the information which will make things easier on you.

How to Unsubscribe?

A common misconception people have with emails is that companies will continue to send them junk mail, even if they no longer want it. Companies are actually required to have an opt out feature where people can unsubscribe from future mailings. If you take the time to look at an email, you will see this feature somewhere. Often, you will have to look at the bottom of the email to find it in small print. Just click and follow the instructions.

When using sites, such as Facebook you will need to use their procedures for unsubscribing. Looking at the help feature on the website is a good way to find it. Otherwise, you can always contact support.

It is also important to note with this that the procedures for unsubscribing are different with each company. Some may take you off their list for future mailings immediately and others may take several days to do this. You will want to read the message that comes up after completing the unsubscribe so that you will know when the messages will stop showing up.

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Tips to Effectively Track Survey Responses

Tracking of survey responses enables connecting single responses to a particular person or demographic type (in the case of anonymous surveys). It is useful to track the answers to specific questions in order to manage the customer service relationship. Data gathered from surveys helps to maintain customer satisfaction and increase sales through the use of reminder messages, discount programs and customer retention campaigns.

Here are some tips to effectively track survey responses:

  • Ask for email – even if the email address is never used for any email campaign, it is extremely valuable to use as a customer identifier
  • Add a unique id to each responder by having a special webpage for each one to use for the survey
  • Use custom tags which are part of the URL that the respondent uses to complete the survey – these may include such things as email, ID of customer, ID of company, and ID of department.
  • Ask demographic questions
  • Track response rate – low response rates invalidate the survey results
  • Track response time – the amount of time taken to fill out the survey
  • Track response date and time of day the survey is taken
  • Track responses in real-time
  • Create an Excel database – code all responses, for example: 1 for yes, 2 for no so that the entire results may be tabulated and easily seen as an overview
  • Filter results based on isolation of key factors to make them more useful for analysis – filters include such things as removal of specific questions, cross-analysis, one question response, date, demographic or other data

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You Still Need Direct Mail

When you create a marketing campaign, you will need to make sure you have all the elements in place. As technology grows, many people think they can just stick with technology for marketing and forget about direct mail. While it is important to focus on technology, especially mobile technology, this does not mean that it is acceptable to forget about other forms of marketing. There are a few ways that direct mail can still be beneficial for your company.

Build Brand Recognition

When you use postcards, you are building brand recognition. Even if the person throws away the postcard, they still take the time to look at the advertisement that you have mailed. While this may be something they put out of their mind, it is still there. This is why repeat mailings are the best way to go.

Improve Sales to Your Campaign

The more you advertise, the better your results will be. Direct mail can be a great way to direct customers to where you want them to go. For instance, if you have a landing page where you want to capture their information, send them there with a link or QR code. This can help to improve the return on investment that you see. All your campaigns should work together so that they are cohesive.

The biggest thing to remember when using direct mail though is that you need to have the right format and layout. When you choose a company to handle this for you, they should be able to go over the right layout and format for your needs. This will help you to get just what you are looking for out of the direct mail marketing as well as your entire marketing campaign.

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Marketing Campaigns: Your Recipe for Success

The goal of every marketing campaign is to be successful. In order to actually be as successful as you would like, there are a few factors that you will want to think about. This will help you to have the best results from your next marketing campaign.

Diversity- the Heart of the Marketing Campaign

No marketing campaign can be successful when there is only one method of advertising. You need to find different ways to reach out to your prospects. This could be in the form of landing pages, Facebook advertisements, direct mail and many other aspects. The more you do, the greater your audience will be.

Make Sure You Target Your Campaign

The worst thing you can do with a marketing campaign is make it too generic. While this may seem that it will make your product or service appealing to more people, it can actually be detrimental. Think about who your target market is. The more detailed you can make this, the easier it will be to not only create a targeted message but find the correct ways to reach them.

Continuity

You also want to make sure that all the different advertisements you are doing for your marketing campaign work together. It can throw off the consumer if seems like you have different calls to action. By creating something that is uniform throughout the entire campaign, you will find your return on investment is greater.

Know What Success Means to You

Before you can determine the success of your campaign, you need to know how you will measure this. It is different for each campaign. It could be capturing information for leads, it could be sales or it could even be increasing traffic to your website. This will allow you to properly gage the success.

Professionals are Your Friend

The best thing you can do if you want to get the most success is find a marketing professional to help you with the campaign. Make sure they are knowledgeable with your industry so you can get the best results.

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Getting Referrals for a Small Business

Getting referrals for your small business is one way of growing your company. In order to benefit from referrals, you need to build your customer base. This can be accomplished by providing excellent services and products.

Building solid business relationships is the foundational block of any small business. Any one of your current contacts can refer you to others. Rather than wait for them to volunteer, make an effort to ask for the referrals you need. The following offers more practical advice on how to build your referral network.

Developing Referral Building Habits

According to Ray Silverstein, President of PRO (President’s Resource Organization), it’s to your advantage to develop good referral-building habits. You can do this by revamping your thinking about asking and being more aggressive in your referral pursuit. Proactive referral habits include:

  • Integrating referrals into your initial agreements with new customers
  • Asking for referrals every time you receive a customer compliment on your services
  • Using client meetings as opportunities to ask for referrals
  • Setting weekly goals for getting referrals
  • Being specific in the type of referrals you ask for
  • Capitalizing on your networking opportunities to get referrals
  • Give and it shall be given

As your small business grows, you will come in contact with highly potential people whom you can refer to others. Giving referrals generously yourself when the opportunity arises will open doors for others to respond in kind. Be on the lookout for occasions to bring contacts or business associates together for mutual benefit and see how it reciprocates in your favor.

Another way of giving is to offer rewards to customers who provide referrals regularly such as special discounts, free services or products, etc. Don’t forget to thank every customer and referral for their time, trust and support. Showing genuine appreciation to your customers and treating them with care will win their confidence and trust as loyal clientele.

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