There are plenty of examples of businesses going above and beyond to make their customers feel special — mostly because when this happens, the results go viral. Customers love feeling appreciated, and when they are hit with a random act of kindness, they are more willing to spread the word. While businesses should always be appreciative of their customers, it’s not always easy to show it. Here are four easy ways that you can show customer appreciation to your most loyal patrons.
Send a thank you note. This “old-fashioned” gesture can still impact today’s customers. It doesn’t have to be long or fancy, but just a simple note to thank them for their patronage will go a long way. Handwritten notes are best, but if you don’t have access to your customers’ mailing addresses then email will work as well.
Happy New Year! 2015 began well, with a long weekend for most of us. Time to pause, ponder and strategize for 365 new chances to grow and succeed! 2014 was an exciting year for social media marketing, and 2015 promises no less. There are many predictions out there about what we’ll experience this year. Here are the four most important trends I think we should focus on this year:
Want to play? You’ve got to pay!
I am writing this article on a fine Sunday evening, while enjoying a delicious glass of cabernet sauvignon wine. I am on “vacation” (or something like that). As a small business owner, I never really go on vacation 100 percent, but I knew that was part of the deal when I decided five and a half years ago to become an entrepreneur. As I type these words I can’t hide the grin that has been stamped on my face for a few days now. I had a wonderful year – both personally and professionally - and 2015 will be even better, as long as I continue to do things right.
Do things right. Isn’t that what life is all about? You’re probably familiar with Confucius’s Golden Rule of Reciprocity - an ethical code of morality that states that “one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.” This rule can be applied in every single aspect of our personal and professional lives. As I grow older, I am becoming more appreciative of honest feedback, open conversations and blunt reality. The better I can see and understand my shortcomings (or those of my business), the greater my chances are to grow and better serve my clientele. As I take stock of my year and plan for 2015, five essential elements for success come to mind:
Contrary to popular belief, a marketing budget isn’t a luxury; it’s an essential investment into reaching your business goals. A precise marketing budget, with clearly defined spending strategies, ensures that your efforts make the greatest impact with the resources you have – and for that reason, it’s an indispensable part of a successful development plan.
A steady customer stream
With the flurry of year-end holiday fundraising, many nonprofits may not have much time to dwell on their development campaigns for the next year. To make a successful impact in 2015, however, it’s important to look ahead – and a marketing plan is the first step to keeping your campaigns on track. A well-defined strategy has the same benefits for nonprofits as it does for any for-profit businesses: it creates guidelines to set goals, organize resources and effectively reach out to your target audience.
It stands to reason that when prospects finally reach the sale stage after months of careful nurturing, they’re pretty well-informed (and confident) about what they’re buying. The trick, though, is keeping them satisfied after that first sale so that they keep coming back for more and become brand ambassadors.
Loyal customers stick around because they find value in their experience – be it the product or service by itself, convenience, price, customer service – or simply a combination of all the above.
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is this week! Thanksgiving can be the most stressful holiday for many people. There’s a lot of preparation, travel and anxiety surrounding this traditional American family holiday, plus the ensuing mad dash for holiday bargains before the turkey has even been properly digested. Gift shopping for everyone on our lists, planning the next holiday meal, decking the halls (and trees), all the while trying to keep up with our daily lives. It’s exhausting! One way to escape the stress of the season is to make your shopping experience more enjoyable. Why not skip all the crazy, middle of the night, mad sales at those big box stores and replace that chaos with the pleasure of shopping at local, small businesses this season? You’ll even have the energy left to savor a nice lunch or coffee out with a few friends and family members! Here are four great reasons to try a new shopping experience this year:
It’s definitely not too early to start thinking about your online marketing strategy for 2015. In fact, now that you have your holiday season strategy in place, it is the perfect time to define some objectives for the New Year. Here are a few online marketing trends that you’ll want to include in your strategy for 2015:
- 1. Social media diversity. Obviously social media isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, there are new social apps being created constantly. Some of them catch on, and some of them don’t. Chances are, though, if you’re only using Facebook for your business, you’re missing out on a large portion of your audience. Additionally, if you aren’t monitoring your brand mentions on other platforms, you could be letting negative feedback harm your brand, or missing out on an opportunity to enhance positive feedback. In other words, explore other social media channels like Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Pinterest. While they might not all be right for your brand, chances are branching out to these other platforms could give your brand a boost in 2015.
Cyber Monday falls on Dec. 2 this year, and online shoppers are already working on their shopping list. How about you, small business owner? Are you ready for the busiest sales day of the year? You better be, or you’ll be missing out on sales. Here’s a check list to help you get your ducks in a row:
- 1) Your website - How easily found is your website? Think about it, the busiest sales day of the year revolves around the internet, so your website is your store and it should be looking splendid (yes, decorate it, too!). Big brands have been working for months now to make sure they show up on the top of search engine page results (SERPs), their best sellers are easily found, and their conversion process is easily completed in just a couple of clicks. If your site is clunky and not easily found, spend some time on it right now (yesterday would have been better) to improve your content, navigation and SEO. Also, it’s a good idea to spend some money on Google AdWords to help you generate more traffic to your website. Trust me, people shop online for a reason – convenience. They really don’t want to work hard to buy from you.
- 2) Stock and delivery - If you did well last year on Cyber Monday, you should expect an increase this year as consumers get more adept at using their mobile devices to shop anytime, anywhere. In fact, retailers are expecting sales growth on Thanksgiving Day (while some nap after dinner, others watch football, and many shop!), Black Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Cyber Monday and Tuesday. That’s right, six days of sales paradise! Shoppers are armed with their credit cards and primed to buy, but if you run out of stock or fail to deliver on time, your brand will suffer dramatically, so make sure you’re ready to shine!
- 3) Have a sales plan - Shoppers will be looking for the best deals they can get, so spend some time to figure out how you can be competitive. Here’s an example of a six-day promotion to consider:
The holiday season means a spike in sales for most businesses. At the same time, though, honesty is never a more powerful marketing tactic. Customers often value a comfortable experience, with a brand they can trust, more than they do product features – especially when they’re already rushed during a busy shopping season.
How can honesty improve your marketing strategy?
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