For any business to thrive, it needs loyal customers. People who keep coming back because theyâ€™ve found a brand or service that they like and trust.
To earn customer satisfaction, businesses need to offer their customers not only a great product but also the best possible service. To be a pleasure to do business with. To make themselves useful – vital, even – to their customers.
As a business owner, ask yourself:
BoxStuff rapport makes all these things not only possible but easy. Both to use and to maintain.
With BoxStuff rapport you can:
You can also organise your contacts into different groups using tags, making it easy to target a specific range of customers (perhaps you want to invite local customers to a product launch â€“ thereâ€™s no point targeting your customers who live too far away to make the event).
There is no software to install (you just need a web browser) and you never have to worry about updates.
Facebook. Isn’t it just a time-consuming way of seeing terrible and/or embarrassing photos of old school friends and long-lost relatives? People that, lets be honest here, you lost touch with for a reason.
Certainly, that’s one aspect (we wouldn’t call it a use!) of Facebook. But just as there’s a big difference between tabloid newspapers and broadsheets, the social network page that your business projects can be as entertaining, informative and vital to your customers as you want it to be.
Social networking, in all its guises, is no longer just a token modern add-on. It can and should be an extremely cost-effective marketing tool. Not just another online presence but an engaging way of communicating with your customers. But don’t presume that just because it’s a free service, you don’t need to spend anything on it. The currency here is time – whether it’s you writing those regular updates or a content marketer who manages it for you. Facebook, like search engines and human nature itself, likes fresh content. It’s not enough just to have a page with your company details on and one or two dated photos.
Make your page useful to your customers and, most importantly, entertaining. Post photos of your new stock by all means but also update your followers with any exciting company news, product launches, dates of forthcoming events, thoughts of the day, and share with them other news articles, web links or photos that match your brand image.
People are more like to respond to posts that make them smile than bald facts or blatant adverts. And they’ll also be more likely to contribute their own comment if there’s a question somewhere in the post. Remember, it’s comments and ‘likes’ that increase Facebook interaction, by ensuring that post appears in commentators’ newsfeeds – and is consequently seen by their friends list. More worryingly, if there’s no regular interaction between your follower and your page, Facebook will simply filter you out of their daily newsfeeds. And if you’re not appearing in anyone’s newsfeed, then for all intents and purposes you don’t exist on Facebook. For more information on how Facebook operates its filter, see: http://socialmediatoday.com/augieray1/978431/complete-facebook-success-formula-every-marketer-should-know?ref=popular_posts)
Of course, Facebook may be the biggest social media site out there but it isn’t the only one. Twitter can operate either alongside your Facebook account (link them via your account settings) or independently. Twitter updates may only be 140 characters long but you can also add photos, video, links and articles to your tweets, making them another very useful way of getting your message out there. Here’s Twitter’s own take on how best to tweet: https://business.twitter.com/en/basics/best-practices/
Photo tagging platforms such as Pinterest are a great, visual medium for the time-poor. By creating online pinboards, your business can project a desired image. As well as featuring your own products, you can share images of things you admire, inspirational pictures, places, people and even recipes you like. Â Followers can then share your images on their pinboards and so with their followers. Â It’s quick and easy and instantly gives your customers a snapshot of who you are, what you do and why they should like you.
Quick and easy as all these platforms are in differing degrees, they do all take time. 43% of small business spend 6 hours or more per week on social media. If you were investing in any other marketing activity, you would no doubt allocate a schedule and budget to it. But because it’s easy, we make the mistake of thinking we can do it ourselves and try and squeeze it into our existing schedule. As www.socialmediatoday.com says: “Business owners shouldn’t do everything themselves” … “Too many small businesses that try social media marketing either don’t do it right or don’t do it long enough, or both, and then give up, thinking it doesn’t work”. (http://socialmediatoday.com/feldmancreative/984596/if-you-dispel-social-media-time-suck-you-probably-suck-it)
Whether you are a solepreneur, small business or a large corporate, social media can no longer be ignored. We’re not saying you can’t do it yourself but do take it seriously and set aside enough time to update regularly, keep content fresh and make it work for you. Or outsource to someone who can.
Once upon a time, if you ran a business, you focused on the product you were selling and the customers you wanted (or already were) selling to. Aside from the necessary running costs, that was pretty much all you had to worry about.
Now, every high street shop is expected to have an entire online dimension to its business that includes a website, Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest board and, yes, a regular blog.
Itâ€™s not only for big brands either. Just ask yourself when you last used the Yellow Pages over Google? Our lives are led, if not in front of a screen, at least heavily dictated by our smart-phones or tablets. If we need a service or product, we click on our nearest browser and start an online search. Even when looking for a local tradesman (not businesses typically associated with an online presence), an internet search is often the starting point.
And there begins the competition to attract attention. Search engines offer almost innumerable pages of information, with each subsequent page generally becoming less relevant to your search. If your business is not on the first page – and preferably listed in the top five search results – how likely is your customer to continue their search to pages 2,3 or 33?
Of course, there are plenty of things that a good website will contain that ensure its high-ranking visibility (thus Step 1 in any website appraisal begins with a technical diagnosis – more about this in a future post). But a blog is a simple and effective way of maintaining regular contact with your existing client base, as well as drawing new customers in.
Loyal customers who already know and love your brand will enjoy reading your blog to hear about new products youâ€™ve launched, upcoming courses you’re running and last minute-deals, not to mention associated products, brands or places that complement your’s.
But where a blog can really come in useful is attracting new customers who didnâ€™t know they needed you…YET! A blog Boxstuff provided for a seaside holiday cottage was a simple recipe for cooking sea bass. Seafood-loving, cooking aficionados searched online for sea bass recipes and, via the post, entered the holiday cottage website. Given the innate curiosity of us humans, theyâ€™d then flick through a few photos of the beautiful Grade II-listed cottage and its stunning Solent views. Of course, it didnâ€™t necessarily result in an instant holiday booking every single time a visitor read the blog post but it did put the cottage on their radar when they might never have thought to look for it before.
The alternative approach used to be expensive advertising or direct marketing that would generally end up in the recycling bin. And consumers are more likely to read and register interest with something they’ve found than something they feel they’re being sold.
So, the question is not ‘why have a blog’ but, can you afford not to?
Search Engine Marketing can save you money. Pay per click and display advertising can be effective in the short term but the Return On Investment from a sensible programme of search engine marketing can be much greater giving you better results over a longer period. The first stage of any campaign is Optimising your website for search engines and to do that you need to be able to measure past, current and future performance.
If you haven’t checked the SEO effectiveness of your website recently, do it now
You may be surprised and even disheartened, but a relatively small investment can change things very quickly….