Archive for the ‘true customer’ tag
With the Olympics now looming large I am reminded of the motto
Now this makes sense for athletes but doesn’t it also make sense for business, for leadership, for social media?
To engage consumers, to engage employees we need to build strategies around faster, higher, stronger…
Faster – by removing anything that makes it difficult to work with us. If there is 3 clicks to a sale on the web…make it two….if there is a 40 minute wait on your customer service line, develop a twitter stream like BT Care (They gained me as a customer based on being able to use their twitter line rather than sat waiting for Virgin to answer)
Higher – by telling the truth but creating that truth to be aspirational. Think Nike +. It helps you achieve more!
Stronger – by accepting feedback and using it to create a true customer interface. By testing new things without the fear of failure, by demanding excellence in all we do
In my previous post, I discussed that social media channel growth is a key area of focus for small business marketers looking to reach niche groups. Today, I’m taking a look at specific tactics any small business owner can start using today to build social media presence and participation.
I would first like to address a seemingly “gray area” among small business marketers when it comes to social media. While the trend shows that small businesses are increasing their social media efforts, the question is whether they are tapping into its full potential? By this, I’m referring to a perception of social media as a low-cost or “free” marketing tool that requires minimal time, rather than utilizing it for the true customer engagement tactic it has the power to be.
The greatest benefit of social media for small businesses is the opportunity to have conversations directly with your audience. With paid media you are shouting your message out to the masses, but social media provides an in-road to your customers. You can hang out where they are online, listen to what they are saying about you and your competition and join in the conversation when the timing is right. And, naturally over time, you will build up your fan base with people following you for the resources you offer and access to promotions and special offers.
As your business increases its participation in social media, it is important to keep in mind these primary reasons for doing so: building awareness, building sales and building loyalty. Let these goals shape your messaging and outreach efforts.
Here are (10) action items to fast-track your social media participation:
- Start by making it easy for your company to be found through social media by creating profiles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+. Make sure to include keyword phrases that are searched by the audience you are trying to reach when optimizing your profiles.
- Create a blog where you can continually post updated content. This is where you will drive the followers and fans you interact with on social networks.
- Engage in targeted outreach by researching and connecting with bloggers and online reporters who might write about your company. Jason Acidre provides a great post on varied approaches to outreach.
- Set up Google alerts to start social listening and learn what others are saying about you and your competition.
- Now that you are monitoring what’s being said, it’s time for reputation management. Tackle questions, complaints and positive feedback by crafting well thought out responses on your Twitter and Facebook profiles.
- Build up your Facebook Fan Page with interesting posts, polls, likes, special offers and contests. A recent survey from Constant Contact showed that small business owners found Facebook to be the most effective social tool. Over 9 million small businesses are currently using Facebook to interact with their customers.
- Network with influencers in your industry through LinkedIn connections. Join groups and associations that your influencers belong to. This will help you to be seen as an authority in your industry as, over time, you offer expert solutions, information and resources important to your audience.
- Use Twitter to not only boost your visibility but as a great resource for blog content ideas. Monitor chats and trending topics among your audience then tailor your content accordingly. This will also ensure that the content you share is highly relevant with your followers.
- As you develop content, make sure that you commit to feeding all your social channels with information. Repurposing content is one of the easiest ways to provide fresh takes on subject matters for each of your networks. This post on Small Biz Trends by Susan Payton, gives five great examples.
- Test out paid advertising on Facebook if you are looking to reach consumers and LinkedIn for decision makers and target by demographics, interests, geography, etc.
As a small business, it may seem challenging to do all of these things effectively. It’s best to begin with a couple platforms, find what works best in communicating with your audience and adjust as you go. Often I’m excited to see a client with profiles set up for every platform, only to visit the site and find out their last engagement was 3 months earlier. As a best practice, keep your social profiles actively managed and in sync with one another.
So start small and make sure to commit to keeping conversations flowing once you get started.
I’m interested to hear other tips for small business marketers – please share your ideas below!
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Ok, you’ve been hearing about Judy, Jennifer and Jasmine for close to a month. You’re going to hear about them more in the future. My web analytics data on each persona reveals your perceptions about each individual.
In order, you prefer Jasmine first, then Judy, and Jennifer last. If I put Jennifer in the subject line, you tune out. This is so reflective of what we read in the trade journals and on Twitter, isn’t it? We’re either told that we have to be “multichannel” … which is ultimately a way of saying “we need to communicate with Judy”, or we have mobile/social/local shoved down our throats like a garden hose hemorrhaging water.
The folks who have a passion for Jennifer have a passion for tactics, and for good reason. Marketers speaking to Jennifer use tools like Google Analytics … and as we all know, this tool doesn’t allow us to do true customer-level research, so we never know the customer, we only know sporadic, channel-based facts about Jennifer. Facts like the search terms she uses, the affiliates she snaps up a coupon code from, facts like her love for email marketing that results in 1 in 400 people who receive an email campaign actually buying something that generates profit. When it comes to Jennifer, we only know tactics, we don’t know the lady. It’s the great weakness of the “Jennifer Generation” of marketers/analysts.
Many of you love Judy. I think this is because many of you can relate to her. This is also a weakness … many of you help run companies that cater to Judy, you are in her cohort, so you understand what motivates her. This deep, thorough understanding limits knowledge of Jennifer, and as a result, has some catalog brands on the verge of falling off of a cliff. Go perform a demographic analysis of your customer base. Is your average customer 59 years old, or 64 years old? If your customer is that old, ask yourself what you’re going to do in five years when this customer is now 64-69 years old, or in ten years when your customer is 69-74 years old?
I realize that you’re hoping that you’ll be retired by the time your customer falls off the commerce cliff into retirement, but somebody is going to have to deal with this. Don’t put this problem off for five years, why not start trying to relate to Jennifer today? I know, you don’t have a passion for Jennifer, for this iPad-toting 43 year old professional who desperately wants to purchase with 20% off and free shipping. You don’t have a choice, folks. Get to know Jennifer, start relating to her before it is too late. For many catalogers, we’re about to cross over into the realm where it is too late.
Your love of Jasmine is more of a curiosity than anything else. You click on all of the links, checking out the businesses I mention … whereas you don’t click on any of Jennifer’s links. Here’s where things get interesting … the feedback stops after the links are clicked. In other words, you want to know what Jasmine is doing, you don’t necessarily want to take advantage of what Jasmine is doing. You want to know that she likes buying a handbag for $99 on MyHabit instead of paying $399 at Nordstrom … but you don’t care about creating a business model to compete with MyHabit. This is important, folks. I get feedback like “but how do I get Jasmine to buy from my catalog?” or “nobody buys from social commerce” or “we can’t sell something below cost” or “this audience isn’t big enough to matter.” We won’t get Jasmine to buy from a catalog. And yes, almost nobody buys from social commerce today, and social commerce as defined today won’t be what it will be in five years so why invest today, and I realize you can’t sell below cost but maybe other companies have figured out different business models that allow them to cobble together a profit (or not), and yes, the audience isn’t big enough to matter today, but it will be big enough to matter in five or ten years … at the same time when the catalog generation retires.
So all of this is interesting, folks. Your clicks, what you choose to look at, what you decide to focus on, dictate what you get from this series. Your clicks suggest that you like Judy, you enjoy reading about Jasmine the most, and suggest that many of you really don’t understand or have a passion for Jennifer, fueled by a focus on the tools that you use to analyze Jennifer (i.e. Google Analytics).
We end this post with an opportunity for you to share your thoughts … what do you think of Judy, Jennifer, or Jasmine? What resonates with you, what doesn’t make sense whatsoever? Who do you like, who don’t you like? What am I right about, what am I off base about?
At first blush, a complaining customer is not something we have on our wish list of awesome things in the world.
But this type of customer contact provides a great opportunity to do something remarkable that will build loyalty and word of mouth. Research shows this to be true. Customer experience research firm TARP finds that customers who complain and are satisfied are up to 8% more loyal than if they had no problem at all (PDF).
My experience with Adagio Teas is a great example of this principle. I recently lost the little plastic disk that sits under its IngenuiTEA pot. (Seriously, this teapot for loose leaf tea is super cool. Check out this video.) I couldn’t find a replacement disk on their site and emailed them asking why I couldn’t buy one. They said there was no way to buy one and that the disk was a nice to have but optional piece of the teapot. I pressed again saying that I prefer to have the disk and how could I get one of them. They offered to send me one for free. Nice! When I received their package, there were two disks plus a sample set of teas and a nice handwritten note.
This was my first interaction with the company as I had received the teapot as a gift. What started out as a complaint about not being able to buy the disk turned out to be an experience worth blogging about. Adagio went above and beyond sending the one disk, and created a more loyal customer who is impressed with their service. That’s worth talking about.
BONUS READING: For more on this topic, see Janelle Barlow and Claus Moller’s book “A Complaint is a Gift: Recovering Customer Loyalty When Things Go Wrong“