Customer Loyalty: Does Your Small Business Have What It Takes To Keep It?

Customer retention is a difficult topic for a small business. It’s not that they can’t keep the customers, it’s getting them in the first place that’s often the problem. Small businesses often flounder before they have a chance to grow and a lot of that is to do with their placement as a small fish in an ocean of sharks. Whether you are running a small business store on Etsy, or you’re marketing yourself as a solopreneur who is offering a solution to a problem, you need to know how to retain your customers so that they trust your mini brand – even before it becomes a mega one.

Returning customers are crucial to the success of a small business and the way to get them coming back for more is in your retention strategy. You need to be so good, that customers see what you’re doing and fall in love with it. It’s ensuring that you work closely with IT experts to roll out your carefully crafted software to other companies, working with agile testing teams and pushing yourself to do more for your customers. Online customers spend three times more money than customers do in store, and if the service that you offer – or the solution you provide – is one that is effective and reeks of perfection, you’re going to see loyalty from your customers. You are the only one who can decide whether you have what it takes to retain your customers, though, and if you can’t, you’re going to sink. Here are four short ways to create that customer loyalty that’s going to secure your bottom line.

Experience Peaks. Customers will buy whatever they’re interested in, but you need to keep them hooked for more. If they’ve enjoyed the product that you sold in the first place, they’ll buy again. However, you need to keep the deal sweet. Maybe once customers have bought from you once, you then send a discount code to them to be able to buy again. The promise of the same product that they love being cheaper is a bonus and keeps the experience peaked for them.

VI-Party. Most people don’t like getting unsolicited emails, but customers who sign up with your product will expect to be notified of changes, upgrades and extras. Give them loyalty points and an early access pass to new releases. They’ll love the exclusivity and it keeps them coming back to you for more of the things that you offer.

Get Online. Whichever way that you do it, you need to be where your customers can connect with you. Get onto social media and be a part of the community. Having access directly to the people in charge of the product that has been sold is a bonus for customers and they can feel like they are heard.

Stay Passionate. You’ve made something successful enough for people to want to keep coming back for more. All you need to do now is ensure that you keep up the momentum that you’ve set for yourself.

Customers will always go with the popular brands; make yourself one of them and keep your loyal base coming back for more.

Start Spreading The News: How To Get People Talking About Your New Business

Are you preparing to launch a new business, or you are trying to find your footing in the market? Whether your business plans are still in the pipeline, or you’re already up and running, it’s crucial to have plans in place to get your name out there. If you’re keen to get people talking and start enjoying the sound of the cash register ringing, here are some tips to bear in mind.

Drawing up your marketing strategy

If you plan to take control of marketing your business, the first thing to do is formulate a strategy. Marketing isn’t as simple as designing a website or printing out some branded business cards. To succeed, you have to be able to communicate with, and appeal to, your target audience and find a gap in the market. There are myriad marketing methods out there, and often, it’s best to focus on a few platforms that are likely to attract attention from the right people. You want to ensure that you’re reaching out to customers who are going to have a genuine interest in your products and services and your brand. Covering every method may seem like a good idea, but you’ll probably find that you’re wasting money on avenues that won’t deliver rewards. Think about your ideal customer, the demographic you’re aiming at, and the kinds of products or services you’re selling. If you’re selling clothing online and you’re hoping to attract females aged between 18 and 35, you’ll find that social media, email marketing, and SEO are a lot more effective than flyers or press adverts, for example. Use market research to determine which methods would be most beneficial for your brand. Once you have a strategy, the next step is to implement it.

Picture sourced from https://pixabay.com/en/arrows-marketing-strategy-startup-2029169/

Considering outsourcing

If you run a business, no matter how large or small, you may find that there are certain tasks that match your skill set, and others that cause you concern. If you don’t have experience in marketing and you don’t have in-house marketing executives, it makes sense to think about outsourcing this element of the business. Marketing can have such a significant impact on the success of a new venture, and it’s crucial to get it right. If you’re not keen on recruiting members of staff with marketing expertise, working with an external company may provide the ideal solution. Look for digital agency value add services or think about hiring freelancers if you need help in designing and implementing an introductory campaign. Outsourcing enables you to access to skills you need, but it can also save you money, as you won’t be adding to the payroll over a prolonged period of time. When looking for agencies or individuals, take your time to look at portfolios, previous clients, and reviews.

Image via https://pixabay.com/en/businessmen-communication-community-786071/

Getting your name out there

Once your plans are laid out, the next stage is to get your name out there. Use the findings of your research to attract the attention of those who are most likely to be interested in your brand. Send out emails, set up social media accounts, and make sure you have a great business website, which has mobile capabilities. Consumers spend more and more time online, and if you can direct traffic to your website, you’ll have a better chance of converting leads. Share posts about your new business, encourage followers to share your links, and optimize the content on your website to drive traffic from search engines. If you’re launching a new product, or you’re opening a business like a salon, a store, or a restaurant, it’s a fabulous idea to plan an event, and you can share the details and send out invitations through your website and social media platforms. When your website is up and running, and you’ve got active social media accounts and an SEO campaign in force, make use of analytics to track your progress. If you’re covering all bases in terms of social media, for example, analytic tools can help you determine which channels are most effective, and which are falling flat. Be prepared to tweak your strategy to keep it relevant, to iron out teething problems, and to make sure you’re giving customers what they want.

Image credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/findyoursearch/5202301465

Are you about to launch a new business, or are you in the process of trying to build your client base and inform people about the services or products you offer? Marketing plays a key role in establishing a brand and attracting attention from consumers. Hopefully, this guide will help you make the right calls and get people talking about your brilliant new business.

How to Increase Exposure of Your B2B Content

Content is considered king in the marketing world for both B2C and B2B sectors. Many companies that provide special products or services to suit their clients’ needs, seek to help their audience better understand their offers. This is especially true if your company offers a wide variety of various services. The market is especially crowded and competitive, which makes it difficult for clients to choose which company’s services to opt for. That’s why  the goal of every company is to help their clients make that decision easier.

There’s no better way to achieve this than through content marketing. However, when developing content for your B2B marketing you must focus on making it highly relevant for your audience and ensure that it’s top quality as well. That way, you can ensure your content gets the required exposure and that your clients can easily familiarize themselves with your company through your well-placed content. Therefore, here are a few ways to increase the exposure of your B2B content.

Optimize content for SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become an integral part of every company’s content marketing. The main reason is that SEO helps you build more visibility, awareness and credibility for both your content and your company. It’s important to understand that B2B audiences differ from B2C ones.

That means that your clients are more likely to do some extensive research after reading your content and before they decide to contact you for business. That’s why it’s important to properly optimize your content, so that your audience can easily find and access it. Make sure you choose the right keywords to rank for and build your content around those keywords for more exposure. The better and more relevant your content is, the better your rankings will be.

Ensure brand consistency in your content

Branding helps companies elevate themselves on the market and differentiate themselves from other companies. Having  a strong brand image and consistent tone of voice online helps establish a more personal and long-lasting relationship with your audience.

However, maintaining a consistent brand image across channels, assets and markets is not an easy task. If you have difficulties in managing your content distribution and creation, you can always opt for content creation services which will not only help ensure brand consistency in your content but also yield the best results in terms of exposure.

Share content on social media

Social media platforms have become quite business friendly as of late. Having a good social media strategy will not only increase the exposure of your B2B content, but also help you build your online presence and reputation. What’s more, it helps you actively engage with your clients, in order to establish more relevant relations with them. However, not every social media network is best suited for B2B content distribution.

If you try to build a presence on every social network, you’ll only end up wasting both time and resources. Instead, focus on social media channels that your clients are present on. For instance, LinkedIn as a social network, is more suited for companies and business of every size. Their business-friendly environment will help you publish relevant content to your clients and ensure you favor good exposure.

Educate your clients

As mentioned before, helping your clients familiarize themselves with your services and your company in general is essential. Content can help you do that, but only if you focus on educating your clients in an interesting and relevant way. You can publish how-to guides and descriptions to help your clients understand your services or products. Including visuals is also a good way to ensure engagement and interest. For example, you can share product videos or demo guides for your audience to watch.

However, you don’t have to solely focus on explaining your products or services. Consequently, you can also provide educational content on important topics, problems or other industry-relevant information and news. That way, you’re not only helping clients understand your company better, but also helping them keep updated with the current industry trends. This type of content will help you position yourself as an industry expert, who provides useful and relevant information to their clients.

Share content through other media channels

Social media isn’t the only way to boost exposure for your content. Other media channels also present a good opportunity for your content to get the required recognition. For example, you can share content on your own blog and website. Moreover, you can engage in guest posting on other reputable sources. That way, you’ll gain more exposure and more credibility.

In addition, nurture leads from your email list of subscribers with content. Sharing content via email is a good way to send out personalized messages that will encourage your leads to consider doing business with you. Whichever method you choose, you have to make sure you have the right strategy in place. Building exposure isn’t easy, especially the kind of exposure your business needs, in order to grow and develop further.

When creating content for your B2B marketing, you have to focus on your clients and their expectations. The purpose of content marketing isn’t just promoting your company to clients, but also educating them and convincing them that your services are the right solution for their company. The more relevance and quality your content possesses the more efficient it will be in driving your business goals.

Guest author, Raul Harman, is a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. While he’s not enjoying football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com

 

 

Building Your Brand With Content Creation

We all know how important our branding is. It’s more than just a fun novelty, it’s integral to your business’ success. Treat it as an add on or a box checking activity and you will deprive your business of its myriad benefits. A brand is far more than a catchy tagline, a pretty logo or a unified color scheme in your physical presence. Sure, branding incorporates all of those elements but it goes much deeper than any of that… or at least it should. Branding has its cosmetic considerations but it is also an encapsulation of everything your business is, everything it does and everything it stands for.

Branding makes a promise to your customers. It sets out your stall and demonstrates the values and ideals upon which your business was built. As such it is represented in every aspect of your business; operations from the way in which your employees interact with your customers to the layout of your website and the speed with which you pick up the phone. It’s in the quality of the raw materials you use in your manufacturing. It’s in the appearance of your physical premises on the outside as well as the inside. Would you want to hang your sign on damaged or rusty steel pipes? Heck no! That’s why you go to VarnerPipe.com. It’s in the ingenuity of the creative solutions that you come up with to solve your customers’ problems. Think about when you meet someone special wither in the world of work, friendship or romance. What qualities make them attractive? Sure, their physical appearance may play a part but there are plenty of beautiful people with whom we’d rather not associate. It’s their deeds, their actions, their sincerity, their beliefs or their ideals. All of these things represent that person’s character and your brand is just that… A character for your business.

Character development

So… how do we go about giving our business character? Do we give it a cute mascot? Sure, that could work. Do we build the business around ourselves, tailoring its image to fit our own? That can also work, but be aware that if you take this step, your personal fate will be inextricably tied to that of your business. If something happens to tarnish your business’ reputation, yours will inevitably be tarnished as well. A big part of lending character and personality to your business is giving your brand a voice. That’s where content marketing comes in. here we’ll look at how content creation can help to build your brand while also improving your visibility by creating an organic boost in your Search Engine Optimization.

Quality or quantity… You pretty much have to invest in both

In order to boost your SEO and improve your online visibility it’s essential that your business posts regular content. And by regular we mean daily. Does this require care, effort, dedication and attention? It sure does! However, far too many small businesses including bloggers looking to turn pro place too much emphasis on quantity over quality. As such they outsource to dirt cheap overseas content farms for generic filler content written by writers for whom English is an additional language. As such the content you post on your site may be poorly researched, inaccurate, misleading or just poorly written.

In order to get content marketing right and ensure that your brand has a consistent, authoritative voice your content needs to be entrusted to someone with an intimate working knowledge of your business and familiarity with the principles behind your brand. That means paying a member of your staff to create content in accordance with a clearly defined content strategy. You should also make the time to generate some content yourself every now and then. After all, your unique experience, knowledge and insight are your USP, and the one thing that no competitor can ever replicate. Not only will you add depth and dimension to the voice of your brand, you’ll also establish yourself as an expert in the field. If you do choose to outsource, at least entrust your content to a company that hires talented writers who will write accessible yet factually dense content specifically tailored to the voice of your brand.

Tell a story with your social media

We human beings are psychologically predisposed to love stories. We literally can’t get enough of them. We lap them up on TV, in books, in movies and even in video games. As such, your social media presence can really win over prospective customers or clients if you use it to tell a story. Instagram stories are a great example of this. By using short vignettes of video clips and / or images you can give those legions of leads out there an insight into your working processes, life on your shop floor or the testimonials of happy customers. Instagram stories in particular are great tools for small business because they are short, easy to digest and rely on economy of narrative to tell a story that resonates with the viewer.

Lights, camera… traction!

Video may have killed the radio star, but it can breathe a whole lot of new life into your business. In an era where more and more of us consume digital content through mobile devices in short bursts, video is the perfect medium for gaining traction with decision makers who may not have the time to sit and peruse a lengthy blog post.

While video creation  may require a little more in terms of time, effort and resources than writing a blog post, now’s the time to get in on the ground floor. It’s estimated that by 2021 video will account for 81% of all internet traffic. Already, there are 100 million hours of video consumed every day on Facebook alone. If you expect to retain the attention of your audience now and for the next decade, video is a medium that you’ll need to learn to embrace.

When you create great content on a regular basis, users will get a clearer idea of what (and even who) your business is. When they invest in that persona, they’ll come back to you time and again!

Online Branding Is Critical for The Success Of Every Business

The Importance of Branding

You may already realize online branding is one of the most critical aspects for your business. It makes no difference if your business is B2B, retail, big or small. When you use an effective branding strategy, you achieve a significant edge in a highly competitive market. The best way to define the term branding is as the promise you have made to your customers. Online branding informs your customers as to what they will receive from your services and products while differentiating you from your competitors. Your brand is a reflection of who you are, who you want to be and the perceptions of your target audience.

The Innovation of Branding

The innovation of your brand is the defining factor in how you are perceived online. This can be as reliable, experienced, knowledgeable, etc. Your product perception will be low or high cost, low or high quality and low or high value. It is impossible to be everything for everyone. Your brand must reflect the desires of your target customers and your perceptions of what your brand represents. It is critical to understand your brand is responsible for the success and growth of your company regardless of what you are selling. Your customers need to understand your brand and your mission. This is a lot more than simply the colors you have chosen for your brand. The process of brand development begins with conducting research. Your brand values must be strategically developed and communicated to your target audience to be effective. A brand can be associated with the latest fashions or how to reduce car insurance. There are four critical components to effective branding.

The Competitive Advantage of the Brand

You will be competing for your resources, the attention of your audience, talent and funding whether you are for or non-profit. To be successful in your category you have to have a good strategy to implement and an organizational plan. Your goals require a detailed plan for outlining specific measures and actions. You can outmaneuver your competition by reaching these goals. When this is accomplished correctly, your brand will properly represent your company. This will promote initiatives and strategic areas to improve your company, aid in growth and set you on a path for the future.

Brands are a Stable Asset

Companies will always succeed and fail; some products will not achieve success and every day technology changes. Despite this, a strong brand has the ability to continue moving forward through all the inevitable changes. Your brand should be the most sustainable asset of your company. When your brand is combined with your overall strategy, it becomes the principle for decision making and organization. There are numerous brands that have been in existence for more than 100 years, are immediately recognized by consumers and have an astronomically high value. These facts become even more impressive when you consider the life of the typical corporation is only 25 years. Your brand is your company’s most stable asset.

The Economic Value of the Brand

Every business is segregated into tangible and intangible assets. Your brand is an intangible asset. A study revealed the brand of the company is responsible for over a third of the shareholder value. The greatest values of most companies are intangible. The most prominent asset is the brand. The brand for Coca-Cola is responsible for in excess of 54 percent of the stock market value for the company. Just the brand name is valued at $67 million. The value of a brand is a critical asset. The brand of the Red Cross enables the organization to attract both volunteers and donations. Your brand is exceptionally important for your company because of the unique impact on the consumers. Your online brand is the key to your business because it attracts and influences partners, employees and your target audience. Your brand can create awareness for organizations and consumers, cut through the clutter of the marketplace, attract and develop relationships mutually beneficial for the public, suppliers and customers to help everyone reach their individual goals.

The Expectations of the Brand

The basis for the world you live in is promises. The promise of the airline mechanic is to be thorough, check the aircraft numerous times and ensure the safety of the passengers. Restaurants promise to provide a clean environment and prepare fresh food. The consumer believes their children will be protected and educated during the course of the school day. These promises are not usually bound by legal repercussions. They are a vow based on the ethical and moral code of the business owner. When you opened your business, you assured your customers you would do exactly what you promised. This is an agreement encompassing your services, products and company. Your branding is based on any promises you made to your target audience. The promise of your brand tells your audience what you believe in, who you are and why your product is valuable and unique. When you make the effort to fulfill your promises throughout the relationship, you are helping your business grow and succeed. When these promises are not kept, the reputation of you company is in jeopardy. This often results in failure because your brand has suffered. Keeping the promise of your brand results in the affection and loyalty of your customers

The Bottom Line

People see the promises made by brands every day. Even purchasing a soda from a vending machine engages the promise of the brand. Despite the numerous options available, the consumer will choose their drink based on their past experiences with the brand. The selection has the expectation of receiving exactly what the consumer was prepared to receive. This involves the process of awareness, desire, interest and satisfaction. Many of the greatest influencers are not directly related to the service or product. The influencers are the association the person has with the specific brand. This makes your online brand identity, promises and advertising crucial for the success of your business.

7 Reasons Why Branding Matters

Despite what you might think, branding isn’t reserved just for Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and and it’s not just your logo or mission statement. Branding is important for your company. It defines who you are and what do you do; how you see yourself and how do you want to be seen; where do you want to be and how will you get there; and what makes your business unique out of all the others. Branding requires your attention since it can also increase the value of your company, help you grow, make it easier to connect with customers and determine your success. If you’re still unconvinced, here are seven reasons why branding matters in business.

1. Makes Companies Relatable

When people first heard Apple’s “Think Different” ads they were immediately able to identify themselves with the brand because they shared that vision. Even if most people at the time didn’t own an iMac, or didn’t want one for that matter, they could still relate to the brand message. Since a company is something artificial and distant, branding brings it closer to people, shapes their opinion and how they perceive it.

2. Delivers a United Message

Branding connects all aspects of a company. For example, a creative professionals from Studio X achieve this by developing brand strategies that combine physical features (interior and graphic design) with virtual architecture (web design and development). This consistent presence delivers a united message across all channels of communication. Everyone involved with your company, from clients to partners, will have a clear understanding of what your business represents.

3. Supports Marketing Efforts

Marketing plays an important role in building your brand. It allows you to gain visibility with key demographics and creates brand awareness. As your brand awareness grows, marketing can rely on that recognition to support its own efforts. This mutual dependency between branding and marketing will allow your business to grow. Once you start dominating one specific market, the reputation of your brand will make it easier to market yourself to target a completely different audience.

4. Drives a Premium Price Point

Brand awareness can increase the value of the products or services you sell. As people start associating your brand with quality and it starts trending, what you sell becomes more desirable to your audience. This allows you to increase the price of your products. Quality brands are able to put a price on their brand name because people are willing to pay extra to be associated with it. That’s one of the main reasons why Starbucks coffee is more expensive than regular java at your local coffee shop.

5. Encourages Employee Endorsement

A company can improve the extent of its reach if it encourages employee endorsement. Branding helps with this since employees will tend to be more productive and promote the company when speaking to others. By feeling the value of your brand, they associate themselves with its message. This makes them more likely to endorse a positive experience about your brand, and can even turn employees into brand ambassadors that regularly share the company message at their own free will.

6. Creates Trust Among Customers

A strong brand is centered around its customers. When you have your customers (and their desires) in mind first, and profit second, it creates trust among them and marks you as a professional. As customers perceive a company’s intentions as sincere, authentic and transparent, they will transfer those feelings to the products or services you offer. They will believe that what you offer has enough power to improve their lives, and that justifies their decision to buy from you, instead of the competition.

7. Builds a Loyal Customer Base

Branding can inspire loyalty among your customers. After they convert from prospects, customers will ultimately shape their future feeling towards your brand through their experience. If you do introduce the feelings of trust, they are far more likely to make a purchase again.

Not only that, but great branding values customer loyalty and will look to reward it. In turn, your loyal customers will want to repay for your care by promoting your brand. They will become brand ambassadors and will spread a good word about your company, even remaining loyal during bad times.

Tracey Clayton is a working mom of three girls, passionate about traveling, marketing and everything tech related. Her motto is: “Live the life you love; love the life you live.”

How to Keep Your Company On-Brand at all Times

Working toward brand excellence is so important as a small business owner, and this is something that you should be striving for every day when running a business. There are some excellent ways of enhancing and boosting your brand, and there are plenty of things you can do to help you make the company a little more on-brand as much as possible.

The best way of impressing your customers and taking your business further is to make sure you are always on-brand. Your company will have an ethos, and a way of doing things, and your daily activities must exude this at all times. So, these are some of the best ideas you can use that will help keep the company on-brand at all times!

  • Never Compromise

You must never compromise from what makes your business and brand what it is. You will have plenty of business ideals that you want to make sure are important parts of the business every day. Never compromise on your beliefs, your plans for the company, or how you want the business to come across. It is important that you stick to your beliefs and ideals, and always make sure they are a focal point of the business, as this is one of the great ways of staying on-brand.

  • Keep Your Marketing Consistent

Another way of ensuring that you keep the company on-brand at all times is to make sure your marketing is as consistent as possible. The best way to keep the business branding on the right track is to make sure you improve your customer service, and that the marketing has the right focus. Too many companies seem to have a disjointed marketing strategy, and this can be detrimental to the company.

  • Cohesive Content

One of the most important things when it comes to staying on-brand is making sure you have cohesive content. So much of the time, your content can feel disjointed and not representative of the way you want your brand to come across. This is the sort of situation in which you need to use sites like https://www.templafy.com to get the correct sort of document and content management. This is so important in ensuring you are able to keep things cohesive and on-brand.

  • It’s Easy to Describe Your Brand

You know when you have kept everything on-brand when it is easy to summarize your brand in just a few short words. This is the most important thing to remember, and you need to put yourself in the place of your customers. Can your brand be summed up in just a few words? If the answer is no, then you need to make sure you work on improving your brand identity and make sure you better understand how to get back on-brand.

This is such an important thing for your business, and you have to do what you can to ensure your company is going to improve and thrive as a result. There are so many things to consider when trying to keep your business on-brand as much as possible.