The Three-Legged Step Stool of Maintaining a Lasting Relationship with Your Customers

There are three different but equally important aspects of any good relationship and must be the foundation for the rest of the relationship to be built on. Whether it’s a business relationship or a personal one.

Long-term customers can be a great source of repeat business and quality referrals to more potential clients.

If even one of these aspects is missing or weak, it’s unlikely that the other two will be able to support the relationship on their own. They are RESPECT, COMMUNICATION, and TRUST

RESPECT

You may have a flood of customers coming through your door, but if you don’t respect them, they won’t become the long-term clients that lead to long-term success. The best ways to let your customers know you respect them are through your actions.  Show them that you appreciate their business, care about their issues and try to make them feel special.

COMMUNICATION

As with personal relationships, communication is another key component to a good business relationship.  It is amazing how often I am talking to someone, or overhearing someone talk, about problems with their relationship and it comes out that all the issues they have with the other party they are talking about to everyone else BUT the other party.

Contrary to apparent popular belief, a serious relationship does not cause a sudden onset of telepathy.  In a business relationship, the easiest way to find out how you’re doing, or if you may need to adjust some of your practices, is to ask your customers.

Just as a significant other can’t fix something if they don’t know its broken, you won’t be able to either unless they tell you.

Once you’ve established a line of communication, make sure you actually listen to what they are telling you.  Be willing to compromise and adapt your practices to the customer’s needs.  While you may not be able to please everyone, you will be able to improve on your current business model and learn what works best.

TRUST

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People screw up, sometimes in a small way, sometimes spectacularly. Some mistakes cannot be forgiven. Most can be IF the work is put in on both sides.

When maintaining a level of trust in business, it isn’t just important to do what you say you are going to, but, if something goes wrong, make sure you handle it in a way that will keep your customers loyalty.

Be honest, this is the fastest way to build a trusting relationship with your customers and to rebuild one if something goes wrong.

If you make a mistake be prepared to explain how and why it happened and the steps you are going to take to fix it. Don’t delay in taking action, the more quickly you address the issue, the sooner it can be resolved. Be sure to be respectful and apologize, your customer will probably be frustrated or angry.  However, a truly loyal customer will understand in the long run that you’re human and these things happen.

A good way to show you are trustworthy is to be yourself. Being genuine makes you more approachable. Whether you are a little eccentric or straight-laced, you can show your customers who you really are as long as you maintain a professional distance and respect their personality as well.

The Step Stool That Keeps Your Relationships Up

So, like a three-legged step stool, each of these primary aspects of a relationship with your customers is equally important. If just one of them fails, the whole relationship can topple over.

Monitoring the social media marketing landscape is vital to your success. If you’d like to have access

to even more powerful marketing tips, as well as a way to generate conversion-ready Internet marketing prospects each month, click here to learn about my done-for-you system.

Improve Your Email Marketing with a Marketing Funnel

What is a Marketing Funnel?

The idea of a funnel is used to illustrate the process a potential client goes through as they become familiar with your products or services.

Visually, clients enter the funnel at the widest part, the top, then proceed to descend, stage by stage, leaving at the level they lose interest.  What you end up with at the bottom are the final few who have purchased and love your product or service.  These are the clients that will keep coming back

Your goal is to raise the number of potential clients that enter the top and lower the number that loses interest at each stage.

To accomplish this, you will need to have a conversion tactic for each stage.

There are a few different Funnel maps out there that vary in their vocabulary but each basically means the same thing, for the sake of this article, we’ll go with the following terms:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Conversion
  • Loyalty
  • Advocacy

Using Email Marketing to Get a Client All the Way to the Bottom

Now that you understand how a marketing funnel works, let’s discuss email marketing plans for each.

Awareness

The top of your marketing funnel is awareness.  This is when the potential client finds out you exist but doesn’t know anything about your product yet. At this level, you should start showing them the value of your product or service.  This can be done with free informative content, such as a free eBook on product related subjects.

Interest

At this level, potential clients are starting to show an interest in your company and products and want to know more.

You also know more about the client, which allows you to send them more targeted content that can relate how your product or services can help them.  This email could include specific items that you believe will be beneficial to them and even include an invitation to a free consultation or demonstration.

Conversion

Now you potential client is aware of the value of your product or service and it’s time for them to decide if they are ready to purchase.

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Here, you start communicating to the client why your product and service is better than your competitors’ and perfect for them.

Loyalty

OK, you’ve made the sale, your potential client has graduated to the title of actual client.  Your work is not over, however, not even close.

Now you need to implement your plans to keep them.

Repeat and long term clients are a wonderful asset for any business. Help keep these valuable assets by continually engaging them with fun and useful content such as educational emails related to upcoming products or surveys asking them their opinions on potential changes coming. Make them feel like their opinion really matters to you.

Advocacy

Advocacy happens when your clients turn into your biggest fans.

They’ve probably purchased or used your services several times because they adore you. The best part?  They start telling everyone about your and how great your products or services are!

Word of mouth, still the best way to gain more potential clients that will stick.

Now, as you start to recognise these special clients, you can start sending them special requests like emails asking them to refer you to their friends. You could even create a version of your initial email sent to the Awareness level that they can forward to friends and family they think would most benefit from your products or services.

Now you have the information you need to plan your own email campaign and begin to channel your potential clients all the way to being actual clients.

By developing your email strategy with the marketing funnel in mind, you’ll convert more prospects into customers and more customers into fans, which means more money for your business. Yay!

Monitoring the social media marketing landscape is vital to your success. If you’d like to have access

to even more powerful marketing tips, as well as a way to generate conversion-ready Internet marketing prospects each month, click here to learn about my done-for-you system.

The Perfect System for Beginners & Internet Marketers Looking to Scale Their Businesses

The Borderless Income System is perfect for beginners because all of the follow up work is Done For You.

It’s a proven sales system that works for anyone (even if you’ve never had an Internet business before) because the company behind it does most of the work for you.

And it’s perfect for people who want to scale their Internet businesses, because it’s a proven system that takes your leads and turns them into sales.

All you must do is send leads (we’ll show you how), and you can earn commissions ranging from $1,250 to $20,000 US dollars per customer!

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This company handles most of the work, and sends you commissions directly to your bank account every two weeks!

So if you want to change your life, and make up to $10,000 per month from home…

Click here to get the details.

Safety Practices for Small Business Social Media Use

No longer the “New Kid in Town.” Social Media and its marketing resources have gone from a compulsive form of recreation for many to a fundamental piece of any business plan, large or small.

What is still not readily known by many business owners and managers is that use of social media by companies and their employees can seriously compromise a businesses’ security.  Very often, when it comes to maintaining safety and security via social media, employees can end up being the biggest issue.

Whether it’s from posting on their personal page about things happening at work, or clicking on things they shouldn’t while using an office computer, employees can accidentally leak information or download mal-ware into your network without even realize they are doing it.

To help avoid the issues that can result in these seemingly small actions, here are some tips to assist you in keeping your business and your employees safe from social-media troubles, both at work and at home.

Advise Employees to Avoid Posting Info About Where They Work

Even though you can’t stop an employee from telling people where they work, explain that like giving out their home address and phone number online, revealing where they work can make it easy for people to find them and collect more info on their daily routine.

Employees should also be informed that associating the company with a personal account on questionable social networks could hurt the company and, by default, hurt the employee as well.

Keep Privacy Settings Updated

This is important on two fronts.  First, train your employees how to maintain their own accounts’ privacy settings, this will lessen the possibility of unauthorized info getting leaked.

On your businesses’ accounts, it’s likely you don’t know most of the followers you’ve cultivated.  Taking steps to secure those accounts as much as possible, with privacy settings that will work best for your company, will significantly add to your online security

Establish Work Place Use of Social Media

Most of us have done it, checked our Facebook page during lunch or a break.  Instead of trying to ban the use of social media on work computers, it may be better to create some policies on how to use it instead.

For instance, stating that visitation of these sites may only be made during breaks and that the use of apps like games, quizzes, or anything else that requires clicking on links, are prohibited on company computers. Putting these policies in place will assist you in avoiding issues that can affect your network.

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Make Sure Your IT Specialists Are Trained to Handle Social Media Specific Issues

Once you’ve established an office policy for Social Media use, it will need to be enforced.  This means ongoing surveillance of online activities.  To accomplish this, invest in consulting, and antivirus protection via software and hardware.

Additionally, the company’s technical staff will need to be updated about current social-media security risks.

A Word on Hacking

All businesses and their social media accounts are potential targets. Any compromise of these tools could result in irreparable damage.  Fortunately, the items we’ve already discussed can help prevent a hacker from successfully breaking into your account.

Additionally, use strong passwords with unique alpha-numeric combinations.  These days to create the best possible login security, you need to use upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and accepted punctuation as allowed.

Once you have one password, don’t use it for multiple logins.  If a hacker manages to figure one account out, you’ll have given up the keys to the entire kingdom.

A Little Prevention Can Go A Long Way

The most important way to prevent harmful issues from social media use is to educated and even provide training for your employees.

Whether this is via a workshop, meeting or included in a section of the employee handbook, be sure your employees have the knowledge that can save your business’ social media accounts and their own from unnecessary attention and use.

Monitoring the social media marketing landscape is vital to your success. If you’d like to have access to even more powerful marketing tips, as well as a way to generate conversion-ready Internet marketing prospects each month, click here to learn about my done-for-you system.

Find Out How One College Student Did Just That……….True Story.

 

Are you a parent with children in college? Are they wanting to travel abroad? Worried how they are going to pay for this expense?  Just the worries on how you are going to prepare your children for college is worrisome enough these days.  Am I right? Exactly I thought so.

With the Digital Age here why not put your college  kids to work for you.  If they are always running around with their cell phones attached to their hand as if there is Velcro permanently attached to both hands and their phones. They are the perfect candidates !

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Just find out how Stephen did just that! How he was able to pay off student loans, and secure his future for the rest of his life. All at 22! And did I mention help his parents?

To learn more how families can build a lifetime legacy.

P.S.  It’s up to you 40 years of what we know is not working or 4 years for the learning and education that is fitting for this day and age.

Knowing the How’s and Why’s of Your Blog Posting Options

These days it seems like everyone has a blog.  whether it’s an outlet to type out our inner musings of the world today or to let people into a part of our lives we would have difficulty discussing out loud, there a never-ending number of reasons to start one.

If you own a small business, there are even more reasons to have one.  While there are a few that would argue as to whether blogs are still applicable with the surge of social media marketing platforms that have taken the world by storm, it’s believed by most that blogging can be an integral piece of your marketing plan.

In case you are still waiting to take the plunge into the web log world, some reasons to consider moving forward with your own blog are:

  • They are a great way to develop better relationships with your current customers
  • They will increase your SEO on sites like Google and Yelp.
  • They can position your brand as a perceived industry leader, even if you are just starting out.

Types of blog posts: Articles on your own blog, mini articles on a microblog, and articles on other peoples’ blogs.

What is a Microblog?

Microblogging is a combination of blogging and instant messaging. It allows users to create short messages to share with an audience online.  Two common microblogging platforms are Twitter and Tumblr.

Benefits of Microblogging to consider:

  • Your content will take less time to create.
  • It’s easier to post more frequently.
  • It’s perfect for disseminating urgent information to a large audience.
  • Ease of access through mobile apps.

How and Why You Should Consider Guest Blogging

Guest Blogging is basically creating an article for a blog that is not your own.  It’s a way to share your knowledge with others while simultaneously increasing traffic to your blog.  This also means you will need to plan on featuring posts from other bloggers in the future. Featuring guest posts will give your audience a new perspective on your industry as well as help freshen your content if you’ve gotten stuck in a rut.

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To get started, first decide what benefits you are looking to get from the process of guest blogging. This will assist you in finding businesses you may be interested in creating content for and give you an idea of which guest bloggers would be good to invite to post on your site later.

Research is essential to guest blogging, begin by asking yourself some questions:

  • Do the businesses you are looking at have a large number of active followers?
  • Do these followers regularly participate by posting comments or sharing?
  • Do these businesses also have a Facebook page and Twitter account where they share their blog posts?

Focus on finding bloggers within your niche and market industry. You should agree with what they have to say, their opinions should match your own. If they don’t this could lead to content issues later if their content doesn’t line up with your business, personality, or tone.

Be sure to promote your guest blog posts on your own social media accounts and on your own blog. This will bring more traffic back to your guest’s blog and their business.  It should become a habit to share your content, plus it’s a good way to say thank you to your host for publishing your guest post.

Overall, blogging in each form is a good way to widen your reach and bring more traffic to your own web presence.

Monitoring the social media marketing landscape is vital to your success. If you’d like to have access

to even more powerful marketing tips, as well as a way to generate conversion-ready Internet marketing prospects each month, click here to learn about my done-for-you system.

Also don’t forget to visit my new business website @lisaashmaninc

Generate More Traffic Via Social Media Influencing

Word-of-mouth, 20-50% of all purchasing decisions are made from it.  Customers are more likely to respond to endorsements from a person they respect than to advertisements.  In the world of digital relationships, word of mouth extends beyond friends and family, and into the realm of influencer marketing.

 Twitter has shown that: 

  • 49% of buyers will seek advice from social media influencers.
  • 20% of users said that Tweets from an influencer motivated them to share their own product endorsements.
  • 40% of users claimed they made a purchase as a direct result of an influencer’s Tweet.

Who Is a Social Media Influencer?

 A Social Media Influencer is a user of social media who can show a level of authority in a specific industry. They have access to large audiences through their knowledge and scope of impact.

 So, what is Social Media Influencer Marketing?

 Influencer Marketing is the practice of creating relationships with people who can then build additional relationships for you in return. Whether the audience is small or large, an influencer can touch consumers via social networks and blogs, in ways traditional branding may not be able to reach.

 Influencer Marketing Strategy Components

 Celebrity endorsements were the original form of influencer marketing.  We’ve all see T.V. commercials where a well-known person takes 30 seconds to tell you how great a product is.

Now, with online media, regular people have become online “celebrities” with highly engaging social media followings.  A survey last year found that YouTube creators took eight of the ten top spots in a survey of influencers, outranking traditional celebrities.

 Increase Your Traffic by Becoming a Social Media Influencer

 Social Media Influencing has become very popular with blog enthusiasts to make passive income through affiliate marketing and utilizing these Influencers have become standard practice among many of the top companies selling on the market today.

But why stop there?  Why not generate even more leads and traffic to your Brand by becoming one of the Influencers yourself.  There are a number of recommended actions out there to become a social media influencer.  Here we’ve gleaned together some steps to help you to get started.

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Choose 2-4 social media channels you’ll use to cover your subject, taking into consideration what you excel at.  Are you good at writing engaging posts on Facebook and Twitter, or are you better at photography or creating and editing your own videos?  The type of content you want to publish should showcase your best skills.  If you’ve decided to be a platform-specific influencer, clearly, you’ll want to use that as your primary social network then utilize the others for greater exposure.

Create a strategy for your content. What are your information preferences? Try to imagine why people will be enthusiastic to follow you, then plan accordingly.  Try to plan for at least 3 months in advance, prepare the strategy, and then start posting.

The purpose of your content is to attract people.  To accomplish this, you must be publishing consistently. You know what message you want to convey so stick to it, but also make sure you are keeping a lookout for new info.

Promote yourself by guiding your audience to your content.  Share it everywhere it might seem interesting to other followers.  Build your community by going to forums, fan pages, and inviting new people to engage with them as well.

Contact other people and brands in your industry.  Chat, comment on other posts, exchange likes and ideas.  One of the fastest ways to gain status is to contribute your unique content to other blogs and publications.  Guest postings can improve your merit among peers and increase traffic to your own blog. Show that you notice other people and you’ll start to be noticed too.

Over time your efforts will start to pay off.  You’ll begin to cultivate an audience that will listen to and follow you. The more people that join your audience, the more seriously your views will be taken and the level of influence you create over others will increase.

Publish on LinkedIn.  People generally believe LinkedIn posts are from the most influential leaders in a particular subject. So, in addition to your own blog, create posts using LinkedIn’s publishing platform.  You can accomplish this most easily by cutting and pasting your previously published blog posts and add a headline with keywords and an image to draw the eye.  Consequently, when people in your network also see your articles on LinkedIn, they will start to view you as an authority too.

Finally, keep your content and sources organized for easy access.  This way if someone asks a question about a particular post, you can easily answer the question or elaborate. This will also assist you in giving the appearance of having a good knowledge base of your subject.  There is no reason to hold anything back.  Sharing your expertise is how you can truly be a good influencer.

So, make sure you interact and build meaningful relationships with your audience as well as your peers.  This way you can present yourself to brands as having a strong following in your subject.

For additional info on becoming a Social Media Influencer, check out this post at Marketingland.com

Choosing the Most Effective Social Media Posting Times

It never fails, you received a free eBook and get excited to read about the latest, and best, way to utilized Social Media posting for your business.  You hungrily tear through the information and then re-write your marketing plan to implement this new strategy only to receive entirely different information the next day, week, month, and so on.

Fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to CoSchedule.  In their great wisdom, they have put together information from a variety of reports to provide you with the last word in Social Media Post schedules.

We learned in school that there are 4 time zones in the U.S. So, with clients spread from sea to shining sea, what are the best times to post on the various social media platforms?

To decide this, we need to take into consideration where most of these clients are living.  According to Census records, 80% of those people living in the United States are found in the Eastern and Central time zones.  It would make sense, then, to focus our schedules on time as it is followed in those locations.

Facebook

As the platform that brought social media into the spotlight and taught us a new way to communicate and market ourselves and our businesses, it’s still the first account most new businesses, and 13-year olds, open when getting started in the Social Media universe.

Best Days: Sunday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
Best Times: 9 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm

Notes:  Posting at 1 pm gets you the most shares while posting at 3 pm will get you the most clicks.

 

Twitter

Best Day:  Wednesday
Best Times: Noon, 3 pm, 5 pm and 6 pm

Notes: Wednesday about Noon and between 5-6 are the peak moments of an employee’s break times.  Also, Twitter users are 181% more likely to be on their account during the commute home. Hopefully, for the rest of us, this refers to carpoolers who are not in the driver’s seat.

LinkedIn

Best Days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
Best Times: 7-8am, Noon, and 5-6pm

Notes:  Business people are most likely to peruse LinkedIn in the morning, in the same manner many (used to) peruse the paper.  Also, even though LinkedIn is geared more for the business market, the best time to post is still before or after work.

Pinterest

Best Days: Weekends (Saturday and Sunday)
Best Times: 2 pm, 9 pm, and 2 am

Notes:  The best window for posting is Saturday nights between 8-11pm. The worst time is during business hours.

Instagram

Best Days: Monday and Thursday
Best Times: 2am, 8-9am, 5pm

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Notes:  Avoid posting between 3 pm and 4 pm.  Posting a video at 9 pm can get you 34% more interactions.

Google+

Best Day:  Wednesday
Best Time: 9am, 11am, 12-1pm

Notes: 90% of people on Google+ are lurkers, people who are just looking and not wanting or perhaps not ready to engage with the content or a call to action.

Additional Notes for Each Platform

Facebook: Widely used both via mobile and stationary devices, at home and at work.

Twitter: Audience dependent, as Facebook is also. Often set up as an RSS feed and visited during commutes, breaks and other down times.

Pinterest:  Used mostly in the evenings after work and on the weekends during a viewer’s free time.

LinkedIn:  Designed for the professional world, viewers use it during work hours and in the mornings.

Google+:  Targets professionals in a similar manner to LinkedIn

Instagram: Designed for the mobile platform and therefore used at any time.

So, a special thank you goes out to CoSchedule for their tireless efforts to make scheduling social media posts across all platforms as easy as pie.  For this and more information on their services, visit them at Coschedule.com.

Monitoring the social media marketing landscape is vital to your success. If you’d like to have access

to even more powerful marketing tips, as well as a way to generate conversion-ready Internet marketing prospects each month, click here to learn about my done-for-you system.

How to Best Promote Your Sales Promotions

What is a Sales Promotion?

 When done correctly, sales promotions can transform a business.    Most of us these days know sales promotions are usually designed to increase sales or, encourage the use of a service. They are also often one type of marketing strategy confused with general advertising.  In fact, the two are different.  Because, each entices a different part of the buyer’s nature.

Advertising is emotional in nature.  It induces consumers to purchase products or services through images, sounds, and experiences. Sales promotions draw on a customer’s logic.

To get the most out of the efforts you put into creating a promotion, it’s important for you to promote your sales promotion. I know, that’s a lot of use of the base word promote, it’s confusing, but accurate.

Promoting Your Promotion

This concept is often where many small businesses and entrepreneurs come up short and, usually happened in one of two ways.

 The first way is that many businesses simply don’t let their customers and potential customers know there is promotion opportunity going on.

When it comes to small business marketing, the first thought is advertising, but this can add expense. Here are some optimal ways you can get the word out, without breaking the bank.

  • Highlight the promotion on your website home page.
  • Create a web page specifically about the promotion.
  • Post the info on your Social Media Pages and Blogs.
  • Where permitted, include it in guest posts on other pages and blogs.
  • Sent email notifications sent out to your approved email contacts.

These steps will go a long way in getting the information out there.

The second way many businesses aren’t successful with their promotions is that they, get the word out but, put out the wrong information.

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Your first instinct will probably be to make your message about your offer, and that is a good place to start.  But, your message should also be about your customer.  More specifically, how they will benefit from the offer you’ve taken so much time to plan and execute.

Let’s say an accounting firm decides to run a discount promotion on all services they provide, for a specific period of time.  To promote this, they start sending emails and posting on Facebook that for a limited time, clients can come in and receive a discount for any service they need.  Most people will see the post or email, make a quick mental note about it, and then move on with their day.

The communication aspect was successful, but the desired conversion wasn’t.  What you need to do next is persuade your client that this will make his or her life easier.

Persuasion begins with building a link into your customer’s head. Start by thinking about your service promotion from your customer’s viewpoint.  Then make a list of the things that may be on your customer’s mind.  Some examples could be, whether or not their job is currently stable, whether they should buy a new car or even, where they are planning their next vacation.

No matter what they have in their heads, there is a good chance they are not thinking about seeing an accountant.  It’s your job to put the idea in their head and then, attach it to the things they are thinking about:

“Want to fly during your next vacation instead of drive?  Let us help you find your maximum deductions and use your larger tax refund to start a vacation fund!”

Next, go on to explain the benefits of having a professional go over their taxes instead of doing them at home.

Last, include an effective call to action: “Call now for your appointment!”

Now that you know how to promote your promotion, take a look at this article on ThriveHive.com for examples of what kind of promotions you can consider offering.