Author: 25Penn Marketing

Simple Steps to Enhance Customer Loyalty (Part 3)

Oh the tangled webs we weave! For some business owners it may feel that some customers are continually going through a revolving door – they need your service/product, they come in and purchase, they don’t need your product for a length of time, they go dormant, then they are back again and you start over! This is not the end of the world… this is the nature of the sales beast. So, don’t beat yourself up over numbers and figures and that never-ending sales pitch. Instead, recognize these two facts and devise a plan to implement them into your marketing strategy.

Use multiple channels to serve customers well

This is a substantial point in marketing ANY product. Your customers are everywhere. Therefore, your customers are receiving messages everywhere. On average, your customer should hear your message SEVEN TIMES before they will act on it! Do you really want to put all of your eggs in one basket and only send a message on one platform?! NO! It just doesn’t make sense. Instead, diversify your messaging across multiple platforms in order to reach customers, remind customers, and get them to act now!

(Bonus: Research shows that customers who engage through multiple channels exhibit deeper loyalty. Isn’t that our whole goal here?)

Win back lost customers

Research shows that you’re twice as likely to sell to a lost customer as to a new prospect, which makes sense since your old customer knows what you do and/or what your product is. On average, a business can lose more than 20 percent of its customers every year. Create a strategy that not only for acquisition of new customers – but a way to win back old customers. You have already started a relationship with them. So, make a plan to get them back on the active customers list.

The bottom line is that customer loyalty is all about reaching your clients, getting them to recognize your brand, walking them in the door, and … Building. A. Relationship. If you want loyalty, start there – then work on the rest.

Simple Steps to Enhance Customer Loyalty (Part 2)

They say you can’t please everyone all of the time, but you can please someone some of the time … but in the case of sales and customer service, pleasing people is your job. So why is it so time-consuming, frustrating and difficult to find customers who stick?

Customer loyalty is a difficult topic in itself – given that customers and their experiences are so varied. It adds up to a potential headache for small business owners. But there are ways to make it more understandable and even, dare I say it … better.

Serve first, sell second

Customers are smarter and better informed than ever. They expect business with you to be hassle free and gratifying for them. If you don’t deliver, they’ll find another source.

Don’t forget to listen to the customers rather than talking at them. According to Leadership Mentor Michael Hyatt, we should always remember “Marketing is really just about sharing your passion.” When it comes down to it, the less you worry about the big “sell,” the more your customer will feel a connection. Conversation can begin – more you share your passion the more your customer wants to be involved, wants to buy in, and wants to be a part of it.

Seek out customer complaints

This may seem counterproductive but is truly a great way to build trust and head off any potential catastrophes. After all, bad news travels fast! Generally, only 10 percent of complaints ever get articulated by clients. And over time, complaints turn to resentments and become highly negative. Ask what you/we can do better and customers will appreciate it. communicate regularly with customers, weaving successes into case studies and other content that showcases exactly how their respective companies provides value and solves problems. Focusing on the problems customers are having emphasizes a your expertise in the field.

Stay responsive

Responsiveness is closely tied to the perception of good service and technology has grown expectations of immediate response. Quick response has become more critical. We are in a digital era and are expected to be available quickly – whether the customer has good news or a complaint. Make sure that you have a process in place to hear out the customer, make amends if needed (or accept praise!) and continue the open conversation. It is amazing what a difference just being available can make!

In fact, years of experience tells CEO Tom Cates that “Strong customer relationships drive sales, sustainability, and growth.” And isn’t every relationship full of ups and downs – but also is built upon trust. Get your clients and customers to trust in YOU and trust in your product. They will come back for more.

CVAEMA Website Has Officially Launched

When the board of Cumberland Valley Antique Engine & Machinery Association (CVAEMA) approached us to create a new website for them, they had a vision: a refreshed website with an updated look, enhanced functionality, the ability to showcase who they are and what they have to offer, and they hoped to attract both event attendees as well as draw in new members with an interest in agricultural history.

To do this, they were looking at becoming even more user friendly by highlighting their annual events. They wanted to make navigation easy for attendees andvendors to learn where to stay and what features to expect at the event.

We jumped right in to research, design, code, setup, and handle modifications for this amazing new vision. Our team wanted to give their website the “WOW” factor they desired– by using their organizations’ photos and a style to blend them into a retro feel that still felt fresh and exciting.

All of these components make for a complex project – how do you pull together years of information but make it look new? How do you make the site user-friendlywithout losing information necessary to the organization?

To create the new CVAEMA website we did our research, investigated the event-planning software they currently use and are comfortable with, and then started the fun part:

  • Design
  • Coding
  • Logo Design
  • Community Calendar Creation
  • Blog Integration
  • Content Management
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The end result is a fully responsive website with a modern yet classic feel that is simple to navigate. The NEW website for Cumberland Valley Antique Engine & Machinery Association (CVAEMA) is ready to serve as a valuable tool for the organization.

Need help?

Our team can create compelling and awesome graphics for your website that make your brand standout across all devices. We encourage you to visit www.cvantiqueengine.org on all devices to understand the improved responsive technology.

Have an idea or vision for your website but not quite sure where to start …let’s talk.

Simple Steps to Enhance Customer Loyalty (Part 1)

There is nothing more emotionally driven in our consumer-laced era than customer loyalty. It is a phenomena based on connectivity, friendship, and trust. And, according to the folks at BeyondPhilosophy.com, it is the result of consistently positive emotional experiences, physical attribute-based satisfaction and perceived value of an experience, which includes the product or services.

What all of this means is that your customers are looking at you (and, in effect, your business) as a friend. You have to prove that you and the customer have a connection, that there is some interaction that builds their trust to you and loyalty to your brand.

So how do we do this? There are some important things to remember about those oh-so-fickle customers:

Know your loyalty stages

Customers become loyal to a brand one step at a time. Understand their stage and move them to the next level. Prospect, first time customer, repeat customer, client, and advocate. Each step is an important part of the process and is a great opportunity to connect with them, learn their business, and anticipate their next need.

Steve Jobs explained it best when he said: “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”

(Remember: 42 percent of Americans will stop shopping with a brand after just two bad experiences – so you can’t mess up, or if you do, be ready to spin the bad experience into a good one! You can keep them on track, but you have to be diligent and aware.)

Practice the 80/20 rule

It is said that roughly 80 percent of revenue is generated by 20 percent of your customers. Monitor those customers to make sure they’re happy.

The fact is, customer engagement is what leads to customer retention. Customers who are engaged are five times more likely to remain loyal to you. Invest in your relationship with the 20 percent of revenue-generating customers and you will have loyalty for sure!

After all, wouldn’t you trust your friends? That is what your truly engaged customers react to – a friendly vibe that makes them want to be a part of your brand. And that is definitely worth your time!

Why Bother With Instagram for Your Small Business?

In our personal life, we can’t imagine social media without Instagram. What a loss – how ever would we get our daily dose of coffee memes, local hangout promos, silly kitty gifs, and inspirational #quoteoftheday ?

The trouble is, the only way to post to the beloved photo-dependent, meme-friendly app is to use the camera feature on your mobile device. Thank goodness this includes tablets and ipads! And while the platform has tried a few variations of theme -initially launching in 2010 (iOS) and 2012 (Android) followed by a very limited desktop app, it has remained steadfast as the go-to app for easy access to searchable photos and videos.

With over 600 million instagrammers to date and 400 million of them posting daily, who could deny it’s popularity?! That’s 95 million photos and videos per day!

What does this mean for your small business?  

Last year is said to be the first time more businesses used Instagram for marketing than Twitter.

More than 15 million registered businesses use this particular platform to date. Part of this popularity among brands is due to the platform buyout with FaceBook. Thanks to a solid decision by the-powers-that-be, FaceBook and Instagram can share ad space – that is, you can easily, simple, almost brainlessly post to both platforms at one time. Crazy, but what a time-saver for the busy business owner!

Better Posts = Better Engagement

Think about your business in a new light – or rather – think only in photos. What is the visual you want to portray? Color, casual, formal, dark, light, all of it plays a part in the visual brand on Instagram. More than 60 percent of the top brands on Instagram use the same filter for every post – hence the same look and brand!

Of course you aren’t competing with all of these businesses, but searching for your industry will give you an idea of how competitive you need to be.

#Hashtaglikecrazy

Secondary to this is your caption and searchable hashtags. These two steps go hand-in-hand. Write your caption based on your visual, then search out words to tag – sites like hastagify.com can help show you which hashtags are popular now (and can search demographically!). Start a hashtag directory as you do your search and you will have a cache of viable hashtags that your customers will be looking for! Now some folks despise hashtags, noting that they clutter the appearance of the caption, but if you want to raise engagement, you need them. (Plus  in-the-know instagrammers are well aware that the latest rules allow and ENCOURAGE hashtag following! What a great branding opportunity for your small business!)

In fact, just ONE Instagram hashtag can raise your engagement and visibility by more than 12 percent!

In a world that is fully dependent on mobile access, it is completely natural that an app for posting videos and photos (and is #hashtaghappy) would be mobile-dependent as well. If you business is ready to take the plunge, create your page, find your niche, and get those followers! Your brand – 600 million instagrammers – will thank you.

How Essential is Social Media to Your Small Business?

Many businesses jump into social media because they “have to.” So they hire an intern who kind of knows what their business is and who definitely knows the platforms they are using… and then wonder why they aren’t seeing more customers.

In this day and age, if you are not on social media platforms, then you are missing out on reaching a big chunk of your target customers. According to Social Media Today, more than 74 percent of social media followers looked to their networks for advice on making a purchase!

Engagement is Key

Most anyone can get his or her FaceBook page “liked” by an existing client – but to get that client to comment or even write a review is a different story. The fact is, yes, you do “have to” be on social media. But you also have to draw in your customers – you have to provide an area for them to converse, you have to show that your business is more than dollar signs, and you have to engage.

Bring your Personality

So how do you do that? Make the focus about you and your business by promoting your products with visuals. Add in a few blogs, articles from expert sources, or other social media posts that directly relate to your mission, vision, and values. This will solidify your clients’ idea of who you are. The more they like, the more they will want to engage, the more they engage, the more realistic it is that they will walk through those doors and spend in your store. Add a video to the mix and folks will notice, too – since more videos are shared on social media than any other type of post.

Share the Love

Social media platforms are a great way to take the pressure off of you, too – and put it on the client. Your customers LOVE talking about what they like, so why shouldn’t it be you and your business? Provide opportunity for folks who follow your social media pages to “share” with their friends and your reach can grow exponentially! You posted one great photo with caption – your client has 1,000 friends who she shares to, and if even one of them shares, you are golden!

Even the smallest mom-and-pop shop can benefit from a social media page. Reviews alone could bring in customers. In fact, 93 percent of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media – because 90 percent trust peer recommendations. With those numbers, why wouldn’t you jump into social media?

Four Tips to Encourage Event Success

The energy we put out is the energy we get back. (Rachel Bermingham)

When it comes to hosting an event, the energy we expend is tremendous. We not only have the idea for the event, but are also the sole promoter, planner, speaker, coordinator, greeter, host, and organizer. So how do you expend the least amount of energy to get the most amount of people to attend? Use your FaceBook connections of course!

Did you know in 20 minutes 1,484,000 event invites are posted on Facebook? How do you make yours stand out? Here are three easy (organic) ways to promote an event to success:

1. Create a FaceBook event, tag a co-host or speaker, and make sure the entire event is shareable.

Creating an event on FaceBook is the easy part – FB has a great format with simple-to-use instructions to keep you on track.* You can even add a link to sell tickets to your event if you need to! Plus, an event on FB gives you the chance to gauge interest/attendance beforehand, so that’s a major bonus!

Tagging a co-host/speaker will help your overall reach as obviously the post will be fed not just to YOUR followers, but also to THEIR followers. (Pssst! Be sure to ask the co-host first of course!)

2. Make sure folks who are interested in the event have the opportunity to share it with their friends/followers.

This is big! The networking opportunities are HUGE if you play your cards right – folks who follow you may

have hundreds of friends, they post to their page and it snowballs exponentially. In fact, people share 1.3 million pieces of content on Facebook every minute of every day – why shouldn’t your post be one of them?

(Tip: You can even encourage sharing in the discussion section.)

3. Speaking of discussion – start one!

When folks start expressing interest in your event on the event page, start a discussion. Add video if you have it, ask questions pertinent to the topic, call out folks who have an opinion – these posts then are fed to your “interested” parties who have not necessarily signed on to attend… yet. You got their attention with your blanket posts on your page, then pulled them in to click “interested” on the event, now you need them to feel like part of the conversation. Users spend 21 minutes per day on average on Facebook – which means they could easily watch your 30 second video!

(Tip: Video posts in this section also work very well to make attendees feel like they know the host – so speak to them with updates on numbers, attendence, the venue, or any other tidbit! Videos don’t have to be lengthy or involved, just sincere.)

4. The day of the event – POST!

Keep folks interested in what’s going on – drum up some excitement with a quick photo of the venue as it’s being set up, the refreshments as they are laid out, or the material that will be handed out, add a note about how excited you are as the host, tag a few folks who you are expecting to see and who will be willing to share their excitement. All of these things will make people even more anxious to be a part of your NEXT event as well.

Don’t forget to publicly thank attendees for their time at the conclusion of the event. Folks won’t forget the hospitality and sincerity behind your message however you deliver it.

*Also remember you can boost a post on your page or even boost the event itself and get even more reach!

3 Big Mistakes You Can Make When Going “Live”

Since its release over a year ago, live video has become all the rage across many platforms but, while it’s a great tool for your small business, it can be annoying to your followers if you do these three things:

1. …are unstaged.

You set up your screen and it works and sound is on, so you are good to go, right? Wrong! If your view is showing a half eaten pizza, two crushed soda cans, and a pile of recycling meant to go outside then you are definitely not ready! Do a test shot to see if your “stage” is set. Are you putting your best foot forward? I don’t mean that you should go out and redecorate your entire office but pay attention to what is in view. Maybe adding the plant from the conference room and moving the chair closer to the screen is a big enough change to make it better, maybe you like the blank canvas of white wall behind you, but I can bet you don’t want your audience to see your dirty laundry or trash can when you are discussing your expertise in financial planning!

2. …are inaudible.

So you set up your screen, checked the view, and are ready to rock! Or not. If your wifi connection is spotty or you have lawn mowers roaring in the background, your viewers will be s-t-r-a-i-n-i-n-g to hear what you are saying and they will most likely give up.

Make sure that while the space is not silent, it is at least audible. Again, a test run is a great idea.

3. …are unprepared.

Sound is great, video is great, and you press “go” and… wait. That’s right – most social sites have a buffer of time for when you start your live feed so that you can gather an audience. During this time, some folks are still setting up their space, messing with items on their desk, or just sitting staring at the screen! Bad news! Your audience may start to gather and then give up if they have to watch you do nothing for five minutes. Instead, try a countdown timer, start talking about general information (a kind of lead in to what your video is going to really dig into), or at least make it a nice view! Don’t look unprepared!

Video viewers account for 1.71 billion monthly active users on FaceBook alone! Can you imagine the reach that your videos could have if done thoughtfully? How are you using your influence to reach customers and tell your story?

For Best Practices directly from FaceBook, click here: https://live.fb.com/tips/.

Get Ready: Secure Your Websites With HTTPS

If you needed that extra push to switch your websites over to HTTPS, Google has once again stepped up to the plate. On approximately January 31st, the latest version of the Chrome web browser (version 56) will introduce a significant change in the way it displays non-HTTPS websites. Any website that is not configured to display pages over HTTPS will have a message appear in the address bar that says “Not Secure” on any page that collects login credentials or credit card information.
Non-Secure Login Example
This is the first step in a staged rollout to encourage website owners to discontinue serving pages over plain HTTP. The final stage will be that Chrome will label all non-HTTPS pages as “Not Secure.” If you have been on the fence about whether or not to serve your websites over HTTPS, now is the time to jump on board and help make the web a safer place for everyone.

So what should you do next if your websites are not using HTTPS?

First, you should consult your hosting provider’s official documentation to learn how to set up SSL in their environment. Whether your sites are hosted in a shared environment or VPS/dedicated solution with root access, setting up SSL is a relatively painless process. If you feel unsure, you should consult your system administrator or webmaster for assistance. 25Penn Marketing can also assist you in setting up SSL for your websites.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

Many hosting providers offer a free and easy solution for setting up SSL utilizing Let’s Encrypt. Some of which offer a simple one-click installation method via cPanel for installing Let’s Encrypt certificates. Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority provided by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG).
Let's Encrypt
Once your website has been configured to display content over HTTPS, you may want to consider implementing HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security), which is an opt-in security enhancement specified through the use of a special response header. What this does is prevents all incoming/outgoing requests from being sent over HTTP and instead communicates exclusively over HTTPS. We will go into greater detail in a future blog post and discuss the steps you should take to implement HSTS, and how to submit your site to the HSTS preload list. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: The latest version of the Firefox web browser (version 51), released January 24, 2017, will now display a warning when a login page does not have a secure connection.

The Importance of Getting Your Business Listed in Google Maps

If your business depends on customers from your local area, it has never been more important than now to claim and properly optimize your local online directories. The main player in the local listing scene is Google and when you have your listing claimed and set-up properly, your business will display to your local customers on the Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+ networks.

There are three main reasons to properly optimize your business information in your Google My Business.

  1. Show up across the Google network.
  2. Ensure your customers are getting the correct information about your business.
  3. Build and nurture better, longer lasting relationships with your customers.

Showing up across the Google network

When you have all of the correct information entered in the Google My Business portal your business will be displayed correctly across the entire Google Search network where customers are searching for your products or services. This includes the Google Search pages (google.com), Google Maps, and Google+. They also do the hard work for you, making sure it is accessible and easily viewed no matter what devices your prospects or customers are using.

Giving your prospects & customers the right information

By entering as much correct information about your business as possible, you will give your customers the exact information about you at the specific time they’re looking for your product or service. This information can help them quickly find your phone number, email your business for more information, or to find directions to your local store.

Building better, longer lasting relationships with your customers

When you’re business is properly set up on Google My Business and your profile is actively monitoring activity from your customers, you will be able to build a healthy base of loyal customers. The Google network of sites allows your business to interact with your customers and it gives your customers the opportunity to show your business some love with reviews, ratings, and the Google +1 button. Customers also have the ability to share what they love about your business and products with their friends and family.

Need help setting up your business on Google My Business?

We’re your local search experts and our team would love to help your business get set-up properly with a Google+ Business page. The advantages of properly claiming your business online and completely filling out your business profile far outweigh the effort and short time it takes to set-up your listing.

Contact us at 717.496.8302 to get help with your business listing in Google Local Search, Google Maps, and Google+.