We can be beholden to our customers, or we can be their cheerleaders.
We’re used to hearing (and saying) “Thank you for your business,” but what does this say to our customers? How does this set the tone for our relationship with them?
The words “thank you” following a purchase are so expected that they have lost their value. We’re blind to them. Our eyes actually scan over them looking for something different – looking for a piece of information that is unexpected or helpful. Furthermore, customers assume our gratitude, so it isn’t necessary to add it to an email following their purchase. Instead we should inspire them!
How many times have you deleted a post-purchase email because the first words were “thank you” and you assumed the rest wasn’t useful? Time is precious, and our inboxes are flooded with emails every day. We triage through them quickly and are apt to miss the “good stuff” if it’s hiding behind the mundane.
Instead of “thank you for your purchase” try one of the following on for size:
- Congratulations on your purchase of…
- We’re so excited that you’ve made a decision to…
- With (our product) you will find that…
- How exciting that you’ve taken the next step toward…
- Wait until you see what you can do with…
- Exciting things are about to happen for you!
Let’s say that I developed a WordPress plugin called “Read Their Minds” that could scan the browser history of the site visitor and suggest posts based on what was learned. Whether you’re selling products or services, this could be of great use to any business that wants to showcase the best match for the visitor, and engage them quickly. Let’s also say that I sell this plugin for $250. It’s not the most expensive purchase they will make, but it is still an investment in their business. (A single sale won’t make or break my business, but collectively it all adds up.)
Now – when someone purchased this plugin, I could respond in several ways.
Thanks for buying Read Their Minds. Your purchase will help you reach your site visitors and sell them what they want even faster.
Congratulations on your purchase of Read Their Minds! Get ready to engage your visitors quicker, and make sales even faster!
I’m so excited about how much more engaging your website is about to become! You are about to turn your site visitors into customers faster than you ever imagined!
In my opinion, the first response is a real snooze. The second is better. The third is the most inspirational. Of course, anything you send them needs to include good information on how to implement the plugin and make the most of it, and how they can leverage it to do all that you say it will.
Show them they’ve made the right decision in using your product instead of looking grateful that they keep you in business. By inspiring them and following it up with substance, you won’t just have customers, you’ll make evangelists who will inspire others.
Note: “Thank you” is entirely appropriate in certain circumstances. Thank your customers for: a great review, sending information you have requested, etc. Good manners still prevail!
Right Here and Now…
That’s how I begin a lot of Facebook posts. After the ellipsis I ask readers to respond to a question or statement, such as “Right here and now…tell us your favorite candy” or “Right here and now…tell us about a time you were really afraid.” The prompts are mostly ice breaker type questions — the getting-to-know-you first date kind of things.
You would be surprised at how many people respond to these prompts.
[Read more in my Democrat & Chronicle blog post.]
You network. You go to trade shows and vendor fairs. You attend seminars and conferences. But you don’t seem to get new business, or even get noticed at all. What are you doing wrong?
An elevator speech is a brief introduction to another professional in which you share your name and other business information about you and/or your company. It’s called an “elevator speech” because you’re supposed to be able to complete it in the time it would take an elevator to take you from the ground floor to the office floor…usually about 30-45 seconds.
OK, so you can use more than 140 characters, but you get the idea. Just like a tweet, an elevator speech should be carefully crafted to include all of the important information, but in a way that is engaging and MEMORABLE. So what should you include?
- Your name
- Your position
- Your business name
- What your business does
- What your business purpose is
- Something interesting to make it memorable
My elevator speech goes something like this:
I’m Michelle Ames, marketing diva at Marketed by Michelle. I do soup-to-nuts marketing including web design, social media, print advertising, logo design and more. I would love the opportunity to meet with you to see how I might be able to help your business be even more successful and stand out from the rest.
So what did I include?
- My name (Michelle Ames)
- My title/position (Marketing Diva)
- My business name (Marketed by Michelle)
- What my business does (web design, social media, etc.)
- My business purpose (helping other businesses be successful)
- Something memorable (my tagline: stand out from the rest)
And notice how I said “help your business be even more successful? That is purposeful. No one likes others to put down their business, or imply that they aren’t successful (and when you’re trying to sell marketing, that’s a dangerous line to tap dance on). By saying “even more successful” I acknowledge their current success, and let them know I can help take them to the next level.
There is safety in numbers. And power. And ideas. It’s easy to hide…and to find an audience. And sometimes it’s just plain fun.
In the last few weeks, I have seen many different forms of crowdsourcing on Facebook. Some of it humorous. Some of it heartbreaking. All of it engaging.
[Read more in my Democrat & Chronicle blog post.]
It’s true. There is marketing that money can’t buy. (And that’s not easy for a marketer to say.)
As a small business owner, it is important to spend your marketing dollars wisely. Great investments include investing in an optimized, user-friendly website; running social media campaigns; and using newsletters and other media appropriately.
But what else can you do on a limited budget that can have a big impact? Networking!
Networking is a great way for a small business owner/business person to make connections, build trust, and grow their reputation. By networking, you will meet potential clients…as well as others who can refer clients to you.
There are many ways to network:
- Organized, paid networking groups. Franchises like BNI and Tipclub exist to help you connect with other professionals. Usually they operate with one seat per category, meaning that no one else in your group will be from your industry.
- Organized, unpaid networking groups. Sometimes harder to find, these usually operate similarly to BNI or Tipclub, but do not require a membership fee. You can google networking groups in your area and check Craigslist for groups near you. (About half of my business comes through referrals in my networking group.)
- Check out Meetup.com for lots of different special interest groups. You might find clients in groups that aren’t directly labeled “networking.” Perhaps you’re into rock climbing or stamp collecting. You may meet people in those groups who would love to help your business or buy from you. You won’t know until you go. (I have gotten clients through my local WordPress user group.)
- Join your local chamber of commerce. Chambers of commerce are in your area to help businesses succeed. They usually have monthly meetings at which you will meet other area business owners. Their membership fees are designed to be affordable to any sized business. (I have many new clients through the two chambers I belong to.)
- Serendipity. Start conversations in line at the coffee shop. Talk to people at your place of worship. Mention your business at your kids’ schools. You never know who might be right in front of you (or behind you) that could be your next client.
Finding networking opportunities and taking advantage of them is paramount to growing your business. So get out there and make some connections!
Need marketing help? Contact us!
What if I told you that your free website may be the most expensive decision that you make? That the site builder you learned about on a television commercial promising to get you online fast and easy — and FREE — isn’t as good a deal as you might think? Let’s look at why your free website isn’t free.
A bad user experience will drive customers away from your website.
They say that the man who represents himself in court has a fool for a lawyer. The same may be true across other industries. And just like in court, where a little bit of knowledge isn’t enough…neither is it enough when building your online presence.
When you think you know enough to create your free website, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you understand how to optimize your site for search engines?
- Do you know how to backup your site in case something happens to it?
- Do you understand how to optimize your site for client use? For the best client experience?
- Do you have access to (and know how to use) developer tools for analytics, form creation, social media integration and more?
- Do you know how to change colors, fonts, image sizes, etc. for the best display — and to keep them consistent page-by-page? (Do you know what CSS and HTML are, and how to use them?)
- Are you prepared to make updates and even migrate your site if necessary?
- Can you make your site mobile responsive?
If your answer to these questions is no, or you’re not sure, it may be time to trust your online presence to a web professional.
Professional web designers integrate technology with design to create the best user experience possible for your customers. We listen to your needs and craft a site that not only meets your needs but does it in an aesthetically pleasing way, while complying with requirements for SEO (search engine optimization), mobile responsiveness (so it shows up correctly on phones, tablets, laptops), integration of additional components like forms, calendars, message boards, downloadable files, images, e-commerce, and more.
Your online presence is your reputation to every web user.
When it comes down to it, you are in business to supply a need to your customer. Hiring the right professionals to create your web presence, social media management, and general marketing will free you up to do what it is you do well, and allow us to showcase you in your best light.
Need help with your website and marketing? Contact us for a consultation.
(Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)