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.

How Essential is Social Media to Your Small Business?

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

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!