How to Build Customer Loyalty in 2013

Isn’t it the ultimate goal of every small business owner to make customers become slaves to their fashion. To have their clients tatoo their names? To become lifelong raving fans? Yes yes and yes. I really loved this very simple and short and kinda funny article about how to make that very thing happen.

1. Be more than just a vendor.

When building your strategies, start with the needs of your customers’ customers and work backwards to discover how you can be the most helpful.

2. Be more than just a vendor.

Provide such incredible service that your customers feel like they’d be crazy to even consider buying from anyone else.

3. Be more than just a vendor.

Find customers for your customers so that they can build their own business and thus give more business to you!

4. Be more than just a vendor.

Whenever possible, meet your customers in social situations rather than purely business ones.

5. Be more than just a vendor.

I think you get the point. Have a great 2013, everyone!

via How to Build Customer Loyalty in 2013.

Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Take a Guilt-Free Holiday Break

Conrad_Black_guiltyI have holidays on the brain. I’ve picked December to be the month of re-engaging with all my clients and important networks face to face for the first time this Holidays Season. No, this is not a new client aquisition strategy and it’s not a hard sell approach but it’s a building and nurturing relationships approach that’s more long term. When I saw this article about how to have a guilt-free holiday, my eyes went there. Hopefully yours will too. Here are some ways to do that:

Small business cloud accounting company FreshBooks recently offered some tips on its blog, ranging from the sensible but obvious (tell your clients you’re taking off) to the less expected. The advice from writer and entrepreneur Justine Smith includes:

Pay Your Bills in Advance. Who wants to pay bills while on vacation? I certainly didn’t, which is why I always tried to pay my bills before I took my time off. Besides the traditional bills, I also made sure to pay my contractors earlier so they too could enjoy the funds for their holiday needs.

Make Your List, Check it Twice. Before you officially leave, think about creating a schedule of projects and deadlines you have in the New Year so you can jump right back into work upon your return. You may also consider creating a hearty to-do list for the New Year so you can get all those gnawing tasks out of your head before you take time off.

via Take a Guilt-Free Holiday Break.

Some of my other ways to be guilt free while on holidays is to have a kick ass plan for January. Right now, I’ve got 3 big events planned to generate new clients for that month. Another thing I’m doing through the holidays is to draft the synopsis for my new book that I plan to publish in the first quarter of next year. There are so many things that I’m still thinking and planning all the while that I’m eating that turkey and sitting in the car through hours of travel out of town that by Jan 2nd, I’ll be raring to go!

So what are you going to be doing before you jet off to have a guilt free holiday this year?

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Best 3 Gifts You Can Give

My husband is out shopping with our 3-year-old as I work today. I have no doubt that he’s shopping for me. Here are 3 free and wonderful gifts you can give for the holidays or at any time. Not to be like a cheesy commercial but these gifts that are mentioned in the article are truly priceless because good ones are so very rare. Read on to see if you’ll be giving some this Christmas.

Compliments

When I was young and just starting my career, a manager told me that he had great respect for my work ethic and that he felt I had potential in the company. This one compliment had me hooked and motivated and taught me how inspiring and impactful a well-placed and well-timed compliment can be.

Credit

Give someone a little credit for a job or an accomplishment, even if it’s not completely deserved, and your next big idea may actually come from them.

Courage

In times of stress, people look toward stability. This is the time for leaders to take the stress upon their shoulders and say simply…everything is going to be okay. Whether it’s your employees, your friends, or your family, there has never been a more important time to be the rock.

via Best 3 Gifts You Can Give.

The  best gift of all though has been left off this list and that is the gift of forgiveness. This is the type of gift that’s both a gift to you and to the person you’re giving it. You can forgive contentious bosses and co workers, clients who’ve fired you, vendors who’ve gouged you and most of all, you can forgive yourself if you didn’t exactly achieve everything you set out to or do all that you promised yourself you would in 2012.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Why Shorter Is Sweeter (& Always More Efficient)

English: Danny DeVito at the 2010 Comic Con in...

English: Danny DeVito at the 2010 Comic Con in San Diego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m only 5’3″ so naturally I would subscribe to the notion that shorter is sweeter but even as a small business coach I think this idea is key to good communication. A client sent a sell sheet she’d made for a new program she was offering. It was pages and pages long. I kept scrolling and it went on. She said she’d learned it in a special online selling workshop. I don’t know much about the workshop but I know that as a consumer I didn’t have the time to read all that. As a marketer, I know that consumers of our information are bombarded by millions of other similar messages. The trick to getting the attention is to be short, interesting and relevant. Below are other tips to help you get more eyeballs and ears faster:

Get to the point. Now.  In a voicemail, just state your name, quickly explain your reason for calling and give the person a call-to-action.

Three is a magic number. Narrow everything down to the three most important points. Usually, once the top three points are listed, I realize the other info is extraneous or redundant anyway.

Use bullets. Tell the reader up front what the message is about and outline your points with bullets consisting of concise phrases, not complete sentences. Finally, close with a call-to-action — whatever it is you want the reader to do next.

Keep meetings focused. We’ve all suffered through endless meetings in which someone talks and talks and very little gets communicated. Make sure everyone is clear about the meeting goals and keep the time under 30 minutes to maintain a sense of urgency and focus.

via Why Shorter Is Sweeter (& Always More Efficient).

If you’ve been wondering how to increase your newsletter open rates or how to improve your ROI on your offers, take another look at how you’ve been presenting your stuff. Get real, get short and get going!

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

7 Steps to Become an Authority in Your Industry

Yoda

Yoda (Photo credit: Rhubarble)

As a small business marketing coach, I’ve been beating the drum of focused niching for as long as I can remember. Picking just one group of people to serve and to talk to them about only one thing I do, for most people is really really hard. The major reason why you should be talking to potential customers this way though is to position yourself as an expert and an authority in your industry so that customers are coming to you instead of you having to chase them. Here are 7 steps on how to become such an authority:

1. Think like a leader. Leaders aren’t focused on trying to maintain the status quo. They’re focused on doing what must be done to ensure growth and profitability in the future.

2. Innovate. New things get noticed. This means you can’t be afraid to present something new to your market, even if it’s just a variation or an addition to an already-existing product or service.

3. Keep the lines of communication open. Your clients are critical to your business. The moment you lose touch with your market, you’re done.

4. Publicly address industry changes. Detail your opinion, along with tangible ways to make the most of it. This can allow you to be seen as an industry leader and potentially increase traffic to your site as people begin to search out information and answers about these changes.

5. Respect your time. . Your main responsibility is to continue growing, innovating and sharing your knowledge. Don’t allow people to suck up all your time with their questions or problems. Continue reading

Too scared to lose your (video) virginity?

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you know that YouTube is now the #2 search engine after Google and feel guilty of still not having made your own video, you need help to lose your video virginity and I’m here to help!

Video’s the way

I don’t need to convince (I hope) that you need to put your mug on your marketing and show it to your business community to make a bigger impression.  You probably are aware of your competitors doing it. Video is the most cost effective way for you to reach complete strangers in large masses.  Visibility connects you to people emotionally (and to some pets).  There is no substitute for video except your actual presence and you’ll need a serious travel budget to see and talk to as many people as your video will online!

Why still a Virgin?

Just like Andy, the electronics salesman on the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin hilariously portrayed by Steve Carell, you probably never had the right setting, the right opportunity and the right time to actually lose your video virginity. I mean if you don’t have the toys or the knowhow, you probably think it will take lots of money and time to do it.

Hate your face?

The other reason why you’re still a virgin could be that you just don’t like your face, your voice or the way you talk.  Well, I’m here to tell you that whether you like it or not, it’s who you are and when you meet people in person, that’s what they get. What’s the difference if that same face you show in person is now talking to people who aren’t in front of you but are in front of their own computers?

Accept (if you can’t love) the limitations of your physical appearance and pretend that the camera is your best client who is in the throes of pain in relation to what you help them with.

Get cracking

Here’s your plan of action if you’re still a video virgin—get a 14 year old grandson or neighbour, doesn’t matter—and get them to show you how it’s done.  While together, record at least 3 different blog topics and post it on YouTube as soon as you’re done.  You will feel so much better for improving your marketing by 100% in just 1 stroke in exchange for 0$!

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!