Are You Neglecting This Valuable Source of Income?

When most people think of marketing, their minds automatically turn toward finding ways to attract new customers. In the process, they’re overlooking one key unnamed (6)customer segment, and that could be costing them enormously.

Who is this precious group? Their existing customers.

Why existing customers are so critical

It costs an estimated 6 to 7 times more to attract new customers than to retain existing ones. Neglecting your existing customers doesn’t just waste time and money; it cuts into the bottom line, as you continually search for enough new customers to replace those who leave.

Existing customers can be excellent resources for expanding your consumer base. Customers in general are much more trusting of referrals they receive from friends and family than they are of advertising produced by a company itself. This is also true of reviews on websites and review sites. Taking the time to cultivate a fantastic customer experience will not only help encourage customers to come back, but will also lead to more referrals and positive reviews, which can increase your customer base and improve your reputation.

Encouraging customers to come back

To encourage your customers to return to you time and again, you must create a superior customer experience from the moment they first interact with your brand. Part of creating an ideal customer experience means investing in your employees. Treat your employees well and cultivate a culture that works well with the brand. Happy employees tend to present the best possible image to potential customers.

Train your employees to exceed customer expectations at every turn. This often means under-promising what they can do for the customer, then over-delivering. It means personalizing communications from the company to the person, even in a mass email. Make sure the content is relevant by segmenting email lists.

Make sure the content you develop for your website and blog is relevant and valuable to those who have already purchased from you. While much of your content will be more oriented toward potential customers you’re looking to land, you should also have some content geared toward existing customers. This content might suggest ways for them to get the most out of the products or services they’re using, offer continued education, or provide other useful information existing customers might find interesting.

In the same way, you should also be paying attention to your existing customers when it comes to promotions and deals. Too many companies focus on special sales and discounts for first time customers. This can leave existing customers feeling annoyed, overlooked, and put off. Make sure you run deals regularly for loyal customers, too, such as milestone discounts and points promotions. Such deals will help to m ake your customers feel valued.

Your existing customers can be a fantastic resource for building your business. These are the people who have already trusted you enough to do business with you, so show them how much they matter. Demonstrate you care about your customers through outstanding service, valuable content, and relevant promotions. You’ll keep more customers around, build loyalty, and see a rapid impact on your bottom line.

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Translating a Study Abroad Experience Into Business Success

unnamed (16)Studying abroad is a popular and honored tradition for many students as they go through college. If you had the opportunity to do so, you likely reveled in the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture. But while you were busy learning about new cultures, you were also learning some valuable insight about business. You just might not have realized it. Here are three lessons you learned about being successful in business while you were studying abroad.

Jump in with both feet

When you find yourself studying in a foreign country, you don’t have the luxury of taking it slow. You’re living in a new land, completely immersed in the new culture. You now have to completely rely on your language and culture lessons because this is no longer just practice.

When you start a new business, you need to apply the same principles. You need to jump in with both feet and completely apply yourself to your new business and new industry. If you try to cut corners or resist investing the time and energy needed for the business, it’s going to be substantially more difficult to succeed.

Be assertive about learning

When you first arrive in a foreign country, the next six months or year feels incredibly long, but it’s actually quite short. Before you know it, you’re back on a plane coming home. You have only a matter of months to absorb all you can about your temporary country. This means meeting the people, trying the food, seeing the sites, and learning the language. You need to be assertive about learning to maximize your opportunities.

When you start a new business, you need to dedicate yourself to learning as well. Once your business officially opens, you only have so much time financially before you need to start having customers. Before you open your doors, you should have a very good understanding of everything there is to know about your customers, how to market to them, and what your appeal will be to reach them.

Surround yourself with helpful people

When you arrive in a new country to study abroad, you’re likely to experience some degree of culture shock. There will be a period, however brief, when you feel overwhelmed by the differences in how things are done in the new country versus your home country. One of the best ways to cope with these problems is to surround yourself with people who can help you. In a school program, this might be fellow students going through the same emotions as you. If language becomes a struggle, professors can offer some additional tutoring to help you communicate as well. Finding these key people who want to help you is enormously beneficial.

In business, you’ll also face difficult moments. There are going to be times when you feel overwhelmed with your ambitions and will wonder if success is possible or worth the effort you’re putting into the company. You also need to surround yourself with helpful people who can support you. These people can serve as your sounding board, helping you bounce ideasaround while also offering guidance when you feel like giving up.

Running a business is a challenging proposition for anyone. If you studied abroad, however, you learned some valuable lessons about success that you might not have even realized. As you begin to prepare for the future of your business, consider the lessons you learned and see how they might be applied to moving your new enterprise forward.

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Take the Time to Get Positive Customer Reviews

If you’re like most business owners, you love seeing positive reviews come through your virtual door, but you don’t really go out looking for them. After all, how many customers actually respond to solicitations for reviews? Is it really worth the effort?

It actually is.unnamed (13)

Consumers are depending more frequently than ever on reviews from people they know and from sources they trust. They don’t put much faith in the write-ups companies develop themselves. They assume the organization will present itself in the best possible light. Customer reviews, however, are seen as more credible.

With that in mind, here are three ways you can use customer reviews to support your business.

Improve customer trust on your website

Place customer reviews and case studies on your product/service pages, at the bottom of your home page, and anywhere else prospects might look on your website. Positive feedback from real, live customers will encourage visitors to take what you have to say seriously and let them know that you already have numerous satisfied customers.

Harness the bandwagon effect

The bandwagon effect describes the natural human desire to try things we see others using. It explains why we instantly want the newest and latest gadget we see our friends or coworkers using. Customer reviews are a fantastic way to tap into this phenomenon.

Use customer reviews to let other people know just how much past customers have enjoyed using your products and services. Invite new prospects to ‘join the club’ of satisfied customers.

Enhance your marketing campaigns

Since customers aren’t all that inclined to believe whatever you claim about your company, don’t use your own words. Instead, use the words of your customers. Add quotes from positive reviews to your direct mail literature, social media posts, and radio ads. Think about the quotes movie producers use to promote their films. Take a similar approach with your advertising campaigns.

Customer reviews might be one of the most valuable tools you have in your arsenal. People want to do business with reputable companies they feel they can trust, and customer reviews help to build that confidence. Take the time and energy to cultivate positive reviews. You’ll be happy you did.

How to Build a Company Culture that Helps Marketing

unnamed (5)As managers, we all strive to develop an atmosphere of success and teamwork. When you can develop a culture that respects those in your office and encourages success, you’ll notice many immediate benefits.

  • Workers will become more motivated.
  • Employees will feel valued and know the role they play in the success of the greater organization.
  • They’ll also feel more confident handling day-to-day situations and solving problems.
  • You’ll be able to spend your time more productively, too, by not having to handle issues your employees now feel confident dealing with on their own.

When your employees feel valued and content, the impact can stretch far beyond the office walls. Happy employees present a more enthusiastic and helpful face for your brand to potential customers. Your company’s reputation for caring for its employees and its customers will spread. Referrals will grow, and your marketing efforts will have a greater impact. In short, this type of fantastic company culture can help the bottom line.

So how do you achieve this type of business-friendly dynamic in your office?

During hiring

Building a fantastic company culture begins during the hiring process. Make hires based on two main factors: skills and how well the candidate will fit with the culture you’ve created or are trying to create. Many companies focus solely on finding the person with the best qualifications, without taking into account how well that person will fit in with the rest of the team.

Ask questions during the interview that speak to the values you seek. When you’ve found a candidate that appears to work well, consider having them do a trial project with your team to see how well they get along.

Among current employees

Educate and empower your employees so they feel confident taking control of their interactions with customers. Teach them how to delight customers not by just telling them or giving presentations, but through examples and demonstrations. Build a culture that focuses on under-promising and then exceeding customers expectations at every turn. Teach employees to focus on solving problems for their customers. Develop concrete buyer personas that employees understand completely, so they can quickly gauge what customers seek when they speak with them.

At the same time, empower your employees. Let them know they’re trusted and responsible for solving problems and finding new ways to help their customers. Have clear guidelines about when employees should ask for help and when they need to come up with their own solutions. This will help employees better assist customers and solve their problems. Customers will be happier knowing they’re speaking with someone who can actually do something, rather than just relay messages.

Creating a positive culture and work environment does more than make your organization a great place to work. It can also help boost marketing efforts and improve the bottom line. By helping your employees, you’re improving the face of the brand your customers see. You might be amazed at the impact it can have on your efforts.

How Much Value Are You Providing Customers Online?

Imagine you’re a student struggling to understand a difficult concept in one of your classes. A friend who aced the class last semester offers to help but ends up just regurgitating the same information you already got from your notes. Frustrated, you ask if they can give you any insight that might help you better understand the unnamed (4)subject. “Sure,” they reply, “but that wouldn’t be fair to the rest of your class because it would make it too easy for you.”

Sound far fetched? It probably is. After all, who would show such little interest in helping their friend succeed? Yet, for many companies, that’s precisely the attitude they take with their marketing content.

How helpful is your content?

We’re all turning more and more online to learn about products and make intelligent and informed buying decisions. In response to this trend, many companies broadcast themselves as the expert and want people to turn to them.

Their content, however, is far less than helpful.

Rather than actually answer industry questions or help customers learn about their products, these companies simply repackage the same general information found elsewhere online and remain vague about the advice they give.

They’re afraid that by ‘giving away’ too much information, customers will not have a reason to hire them. In the process, they’re missing a key part of the marketing puzzle: building trust.

Instead of giving customers a reason to hire them, they’re driving them away in frustration over the lack of information they provide. Potential customers end up visiting competitors’ websites and getting the information they seek there instead. The unhelpful content meant to entice customers actually destroys opportunities to build trust and credibility.

How you can avoid this scenario

The solution to this problem is straightforward: provide valuable content. Listen to the questions that customers ask and use them to generate blog posts. Write helpful articles that will actually inform the reader and guide them in making better decisions. Use the Internet to build a reputation as an approachable leader in the industry.

Consumers today want answers and help navigating your industry. Like a student seeking help in a school subject, these customers aren’t going to stick around someone who just tells them general information they already know. To convert your customers, you need to be the helpful authority.

Marketing Lessons from Iconic Rock Bands

Few entities can inspire the kind of loyalty rock bands do. Think about performers like the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, and Phish, to name just a few. Groups like these have entertained generations of audiences and encouraged strong followings among their most devoted fans. Sure, their music plays a large part in building and maintaining a fan base, but so, too, does great marketing.experience a concert

Bringing the content to the people

Most recording artists want to sell as many records as possible. That’s only natural, after all. So they focus on promoting albums and use concerts as a way to advertise their music.

The same idea is true in business, where companies often use their professional blogs and social media channels to promote their content and toot their own horn. They might provide occasional helpful information for followers, but their main purpose is selling, and their attitude reflects that.

Some of the more iconic bands, however, have taken the opposite tack. They place their primary focus on entertaining their fans. They want to provide an “experience” that encourages fans to spread their music and enjoy what they have to offer. Album sales grow naturally as the word spreads and more and more people are drawn to them.

That’s the same idea behind successful inbound marketing. It all starts with the experience. Great content draws customers to your sites and pages. Once there, you engage them, encourage them to spread your information, and watch your sales increase as your brand reach grows.

Staying dedicated to the goal

Success didn’t come overnight for most iconic bands. They had to tour constantly, often for years, spreading their music gradually from town to town and venue to venue. Their sound evolved naturally during that time, as they strove to meet their fans’ demands for entertainment. Eventually, they were able to reap the benefits of their dedication.

Once again, the same holds true with social marketing. When you begin using a digital marketing strategy, you have to be willing to give your efforts time before you begin to see a strong return. You have to regularly produce quality content that will bring people back and encourage them to become fans. You need to hone your voice and get to know your audience. Other websites need to find your content and begin linking to it. Search engines have to recognize your value as your popularity begins to rise. In time, you’ll begin to see positive returns for your effort, but only if you continuously produce high-quality, valuable content.

Creating your own voice

Of course, all the marketing in the world wouldn’t have helped these bands grow if they didn’t have something unique and worthwhile to share. They created incredible music that people love to listen to. For your marketing efforts to be successful, you have to be able to show your potential audience that you’re worth their attention, too. That means developing your own voice, creating new ideas, and building on your strengths within your niche. You want to stand out against the crowd and give people a reason to return to you again and again.

The next time you sit down to enjoy the music of your favorite artist or band, pause and consider the incredible marketing lessons these musicians have to share. If you’re ready to start taking your marketing campaign to the next level, let us know how we can help.

Instilling School Spirit at Your Company

Successful business teamMany factors go into the decision about where to attend college. While majors, location, and ranking undoubtedly hold a high place, the experience of other students and the school’s reputation also play a crucial role.

Schools must strike a careful balance between providing a rigorous academic environment, while at the same time offering an enjoyable experience that will make students talk about their school in a positive way to other prospective students.

Satisfied students can be the best brand ambassadors an institution can find. When students love their school, it emanates from everything they do.

  • The students root for the home team during sports matches.
  • School tour guides who speak about the university to groups of prospective students are enthusiastic and insightful.
  • Successful professionals who have ‘made it’ in their respective fields eagerly voice their support for their alma mater.

Such enthusiasm builds a positive culture around the school and encourages new students to come and try it out. Building a strong brand around any organization entices people to want to belong to that particular select group and culture.

What colleges can teach us about building a winning culture

Most professionals realize that employees are important for keeping the company running smoothly. They know that turnover is bad because it wastes time and resources. They also know that high turnover can damage their reputation among potential hires.

What they don’t realize, though, is the importance of employee satisfaction when it comes to the customer experience.

Just like the college student who loves their school so much they broadcast it to anyone who asks their opinion, employees who feel respected and appreciated help to broadcast a positive image of the company and can increase customer satisfaction rates.

Think about it.

Employees are the face of your company. When they feel valued, they take the time to invest their energy into the company and their interactions with customers. They also strive to embrace a culture of success, which can help inspire their peers to improve their interactions with customers, too.

Employees and brand advertising

Employees can be wonderful sources for building up your brand. Just as happy college students take the love for their school to every facet of their life, satisfied employees tend to bring their jobs with them wherever they go.

Think about the last time you heard someone complain about the company where they work. How did those complaints impact your perception of the company? Chances are, that negative feedback made you feel worse about the brand in question — and less likely to turn to them when you need products or services in their industry.

An entirely different experience, however, comes when an employee is positive and upbeat about their employer. When they tell you enthusiastically that they can help you solve your problem, you become inclined to trust them.

Treating your employees well can help boost their satisfaction and improve how they represent your company to the general public. Remember that your employees are the face of your brand. That means you need to select them — and treat them — with that goal in mind. Cultivating a great employee culture is a wonderful way to improve your brand’s reputation from the inside out.