Simple Steps to Enhance Customer Loyalty (Part 1)

Simple Steps to Enhance Customer Loyalty Part One
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?

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.