Category Archives: Communication

Your Secret Weapon: Customer Feedback

When it comes to making improvements in your work, or how you make your products, or tweaking  the products themselves, who do you ask for help?

When it comes to improving yourself, how do you figure out what you need to focus on? It starts with the pain, right?

Usually we wait until the discomfort becomes too great for us to bear and then we start fixing things that are causing the pain, but sometimes we’re smart enough to ask for help before reaching that point, and when we ask, we turn to the people we trust. Don’t you ask your friends?

Unless you have very few competitors in your niche, you can’t rest on your laurels when it comes to keeping up with the changes that  innovations and time pushes onto any market. If you don’t push yourself to keep learning — making mistakes and adjusting for them along the way — you won’t expand your knowledge. You won’t be able to adjust when something new comes along that can impact you, your products, and your business.

Think of it. The things we’re capable of doing today — mobile banking, on-demand streaming services, seamless virtual conferencing, for example — didn’t exist two decades ago. The infrastructure and the technology simply weren’t there. Now that they are, look at the changes they made to how people manage money, music, entertainment and media, and how we communicate across borders and time-zones.

And even now, with all the advances in science and collaborative technology, we really have no way to predict with pinpoint accuracy what’s going to pop up in the next twenty years.  Entire industries got turned over since then, and long-standing business practices eroded and were swept away by the change brought about by new tech.

The speed at which we were able to generate and share our discoveries zoomed, and so did the amount of data let out into the world.  There’s too much information for any one person to get all sides and perspectives of issues.

And that means that you have to stay sharp — and staying sharp requires resources, time-management, and dedication. Working smart and working hard — and asking questions. Questions are a timeless way of getting more information, and with the apps and online tools we have at our disposal, well, we can all drown in looking for what we can use to make improvements.

Which leads then to this: Have you ever crowd-sourced brainpower?
Continue reading Your Secret Weapon: Customer Feedback

List-building: Your Strongest Tool In Email Marketing

List building is a necessary part of growing your online business.
It is permission-based marketing. In exchange for a valuable niche-related freebie, the people who sign up for your list give you permission to email them, and every sign-up that means that more people are voluntarily joining a pool of others who have expressed interest in what you offered them, and are okay with getting more information about your niche from you.

Having a robust mailing list –that’s a list of pre-approved voluntary customers, without whom your business would not thrive — means you have a key asset for online business. Having a list means you have a group of people already primed to be interested in what you have to say, and what you have to sell. The people on your list signed up for what you gave them, and for what you can give them in the future. They’re your voluntary army of readers and prospects.

The importance of this ‘army’ cannot be emphasized enough: When you take the effort to grow your mailing list, you grow an pool of casual supporters. Sure, it’s quite probable that not all of them will buy products from you immediately, or truly become ravings fans straight out of the gate, but over time, the effort you make to build trust and strong relationships will help you build a community of supporters, customers, and fans.

Why is it important to start and keep building your list?
Continue reading List-building: Your Strongest Tool In Email Marketing

Thinking Ahead in Marketing Communications

When it comes to internet marketing we have tons of tools available to help us, but without clear goals supported by solid plans, even the best of tools won’t do us any good. We need to have  compelling  goals and solid processes to help use leverage the tools and resources we have. To be successful at fulfilling our targets, we need the ability to make and re-make well-formed plans  that will  bring us closer to realizing the big picture that our goals paint for us.

What are the helpful tools, skills,  and processes that an entrepreneur should work to make their own? Continue reading Thinking Ahead in Marketing Communications

Boost Your Traffic With Product Reviews

After “How To Use Product Reviews As An Effective Sales Strategy,” here are more ways you can use product reviews to generate more traffic.

When it comes to making purchasing decisions, you really can’t tell how your customers decide to click on the ‘Buy’ button.

  • Someone in a hurry could have just picked the first few options presented on the search results page, and those results included your website (SEO).
  • Your website may have been recommended to a prospective customer by an affiliate or  a friend (word-of-mouth and affiliate programs).
  • A research-driven prospect found your product reviews and that convinced them to make a purchase (high-value content).

Of these three scenarios, we’ll focus on the last part.

The Internet’s influence has made us update-ravenous and habituated for more data. It’s not just the speed at which we can get it, it’s the  blatant promise of what we can do with it — the potential — that is addicting.  If you want to leverage your product reviews into getting more traffic to your website, it’s pretty hard to go wrong in providing too much data in this case.

What you want to do is present it well.

Rules of thumb:

  • Walls of text are generally visual turn-offs. Breaking information down into manageable bites  with bullets, subheadings and short paragraphs helps your readers quickly get to the salient points they need to formulate a decision.
  • To boost your search engine ranks, you can put information on individual pages.  This also gives your visitors the  option to just open new tabs instead of having to click forwards or backwards to read more.
  • Present different data differently: individual reviews on separate pages, product comparisons (in chart form, for example) on one page.
  • Optimizing all your products page reviews with focused keywords helps people find you faster:  ‘product review’, ‘product specs’ or ‘product specifications’,  etc.
  • If you offer tutorials on how to use your products:  using keywords  like  ‘product tutorials’, ‘DIY’, ‘step-by-step’ will also help.

Continue reading Boost Your Traffic With Product Reviews

How To Use Product Reviews As An Effective Sales Strategy

When it comes to making buying decisions, people want to make a good choice, and for that, they turn to the internet to get the the information they need. As a customer yourself, you want to make an informed decision, so you look around. You do the research.

If you want to keep things affordable, for instance, there are numerous tools you can use to track prices. For example: Lifehacker’s Five Best Price Tracking Tools article shows the top 5 price tracking tools as voted by their readers.

But the most effective way of getting all the information you need to decide is through looking at product reviews.  For that, simply look at Amazon’s rating system as the best example out there.

 

Amazon prides itself on keeping their product ratings and reviews honest because their reviews system is incredibly important to selling products –and as the world’s biggest e-commerce company, Amazon’s continued survival is all about the sales. Good reviews — and a cutting-edge review system– is good for their business.

Customer’s can’t touch or examine products displayed online, and so, keeping the reviews honest helps protect the reliability and trustworthiness of Amazon’s brand And customer-supplied proof of product quality helps support all  the customers and the marketplace. It’s social proof and information-sharing. Continue reading How To Use Product Reviews As An Effective Sales Strategy

How To Get High-Value Sales Leads from Your Opt-In Page

When it comes to online marketing, one of the key pillars of a building successful online business is having a healthy and growing mailing list.

It’s simple, very basic business advice for today. You establish a website, you give good, valuable content, relevant to your target market, and you build an email list.

  • You offer freebies, people sign up to get those in exchange for their names and email addresses.
  • You get names and email addresses, you build a  mailing list of people who have given you their permission to contact them and who have shown they are interested in your content.
  • You build a pool of subscribers, a group of people who have pre-qualified themselves to be your customers simply by signing up, whether to get notified every time you update, or receive a free report with relevant, valuable, helpful information.

 

That’s part of the basic practices. The further on you grow into managing your business and connecting with your customers, the more you can develop an eye towards spotting the nuances and driving needs of your market. You want to succeed, so of course you study better ways of monetizing your website, leveraging your content, and converting your leads into actual sales.

You study your customers. You study your conversion rates. You read customer feedback, etc.  and you act on what you learn, adjusting your actions to make the best next choice.  With this consistent study, the real-time analysis,  and staying on top of things…you  sharpen your business acumen. And you develop your gut instincts.

The further along you get, you can realize that some tactics or strategies need to be revamped or discarded entirely,  to make room for ones that work better. It’s at this stage that you can truly start taking counterintuitive-seeming steps that actually help maximize your work and leverage your mailing list. Continue reading How To Get High-Value Sales Leads from Your Opt-In Page

5 Reasons You Can Trust Content Marketing To Stay

Maybe as an average internet surfer you can claim to have seen just about everything on the internet, and then some. You have Google, YouTube, Instructables and Wikipedia. You have your RSS feeds, your podcast subscriptions and your favorite live-stream sources for the latest news. Why fork out money when you can get all the information you need for free?

The scenario above is from the vantage point of a consumer. Yes, there is good, solid information freely available on the internet on just about any topic you can care to name, so why pay?

Flip the view and look at it from the point of view of the content creators who make it to the top of their niche. Content marketing isn’t always or only about money, despite the ‘marketing’ part. There are things other than money you can accrue with good content.

Here, put the spotlight back on you: Why do you patronize the sites you do, or follow the bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and creators that you do? What do you do with the content?

You like the content provided. You trust that the content creators know their stuff , and trust the stuff they put out there. You follow them, ‘like’ them, recommend them, rely on them.

What do they get in return?

  • Followers. People who like their work and support it, and them.
  • The knowledge that people in their market — the audience they’re creating their work for– trust them and rely on their content.
  • The knowledge that their work is appreciated and helps make a difference.
  • A reputation for interesting, good work. For being an authority in their niche.

The list goes on.

Now do a little flip again, and put yourself into the role of the content provider. What do you get in return for the result of your determination, imagination and hard work? Continue reading 5 Reasons You Can Trust Content Marketing To Stay

Using Public Relations In The Internet Age

The “World Wide Web” is a very big place –so big that it that makes for a smaller world.

  • Even with filters, firewalls, deliberate blocks, denial-of-service attacks and the frequent outages, the always-connected nature of the internet makes for a really small neighborhood when it comes to publicity, reputation and public image.
  • You don’t know something, you google it. You want to find out about someone, you look them up on Facebook, on LinkedIn, or search for their blog or website.
  • Human nature being what it is, you take the first few results from the searches and go on from the information you get from these sources, rarely checking to see if these sources are truly reliable or not.

And when it comes to your business reputation, this is the part where public relations comes in.

Is it in your power to control the ‘image’ you have on the internet?

To a certain extent, no.

  • Rumors spread as fast as the common cold, and are just as hard to get rid of. Once people get a certain idea into their heads, hardly any logical or reasonable discussion, debate or explanation will ever get it out.
  • There will always be trolls, ‘haters’, and people spouting their opinions just to ‘hear’ themselves talk. Say something innocuous, and a few seconds later someone can accuse you of supporting things you never said, either outright or implication.
  • There are also those who will never be happy seeing other people’s success, or their sincere efforts to help others, or improve themselves.

Leave these people alone. They don’t want to and wouldn’t listen to anything you have to say. Direct your energies towards more productive areas.

To a more definite extent, yes.
Don’t think of it as a PR firm with nattily-dressed spin-doctors and image gurus and an Effie Trinkett clone or two wandering around around the hallways. In essence, public relations is information management. Continue reading Using Public Relations In The Internet Age

Investing In Customer Relationships

07 October 2013, by A. Cedilla

Permission plus access equals consent to email. That is permission marketing in a nutshell. The first step to starting a good customer relationships is getting consent. The other steps cover generosity, professionalism and providing value while building goodwill and trust.

Even family can fall by the wayside if you –and they– don’t keep in touch. Just think of Facebook:  while some people have mastered the art of keeping in touch via social media, it’s far too easy to rely on pictures and status updates and think you have the entire picture.

Face-time –or any constant, meaningful interaction, is necessary so you won’t be forgotten. Everyone has their own thing to do, and are busy doing it, and as a business owner it’s your responsibility to keep the flow of communication open and active. Whether it’s personal or professional, taking the effort to keep in touch matters. And business-wise, where does your most vital relationship reside? Between you and your customers.

Don’t be like the people who turn into slobs after they’ve got a commitment. Passive aggressive bait and switch and tactics like that will sink your business in the long run. Keep customers engaged and continue giving them great value. Surprise them. Go above and beyond once in a while to show you appreciate their presence in your life. That’s why people stay, they keep getting good value and they keep interested.

Kept these three words in mind: Invest, Customers, Relationship. Continue reading Investing In Customer Relationships

The Benefits Of Using Autoresponders

30 August 2013, by A. Cedilla

Auto-responders are computer programs that are set-up to respond to any outside emails by replying with pre-written messages. There can be just one message, or the initial query email can trigger a series of messages. Auto-responders are also known as mailbots and automailers.

Auto-responders are huge time and labor savers, taking the burden off your organization to handles the response load generated by incoming communication from customers. A well thought-out and well-written set of pre-planned replies and responses are a great set of tools for your business. Imagine paying someone just to handle the unsubscribe emails sent in….or writing an individualized letter to each and every email from scratch.

Auto-responders perform a pre-set series of actions in response to pre-filtered emails. For example, internal email filters can be set to separate billing, support and technical issues to different ‘in-boxes’ that give different auto-replies. With good information, data analysis and a good writing team, auto-mailers saves thinking and labor time when action is needed.

Communication is built-in even at all the stages of your business. You have a product, you have a market you aim to sell to. That market is composed of people who, sooner or later will want to talk to you about your product. Whether it’s to complain, compliment or ask for more information, you have to have at least some idea of what you want to say to them — and more importantly what impression you want to leave. Continue reading The Benefits Of Using Autoresponders