Learning to listen to your customers is essential to go above and beyond with your customer service. When you know how to listen, you’ll begin to hear about what they want and need from your brand. Getting your customers to talk isn’t as hard as you think.
You can use the ideas below for inspiration.
You want to send out a survey to your customers at least once a year. This allows you to track your industry’s growth, predict trends before they become hot, and see gaps in your niche that no one else is filling.
Be aware of the timing when you send out a survey. A survey sent in the middle of the holiday season isn’t likely to receive much attention, and you may only get a handful of subscribers to participate. But a survey sent out in the middle of January when the holidays are over will get a much better response rate.
Keep a form on your website open constantly just for suggestions. Your customers might suggest content ideas, feedback on a current product, or questions about your services. When customers take the time to fill out your suggestion box, it means they care a lot about your business. So let them know you value their thoughts and periodically remind them that you have a suggestion box if they’d like to share their ideas.
Set up a form on your website with questions to help you write a case study. Start by asking for some basic information from your customers. Ask for their names, ages, marital status, and location. Details like these help set the stage for writing your case study later.
Then go deeper by asking customers to describe their life before trying your product or service. What was their business, marriage, or life like before your brand? Were they happy? What was bugging them?
Ask your customers how their lives have changed since they implemented your product. Did they get out of debt thanks to your financial success product? Did they finally have enough for that dream vacation they always wanted, thanks to your work-at-home product?
Don’t forget to ask for a picture of your customer. Your case study will interest more people if you include your customer’s vision.
Case studies tend to be longer and more in-depth than testimonials. Both are good ways to generate interest in your product or service. But due to the transient nature of testimonials, it’s easier to gather these from customers than case studies. Customer service and your clients can provide you with referrals that will exponentially expand your business.
Make a testimonial form on your website. Ask open-ended questions that encourage more than simple ‘yes or no answers. For example, ask customers about their biggest fear before buying your product. Ask them why they chose you over a competitor or what other products they’ve tried previously.
Make It Beautiful
When a customer gives you a testimonial or provides a case study, turn it into a beautiful image. At the bottom of your image, include your website address. Then share the image on your blog, in your social media circles, and with your mailing list.
Your customer will be so proud to be featured that they’ll share it, too. This exposes your brand to even more potential customers and can help you grow your business in new ways.
Customers are eager to share their opinions when you give them the opportunity. Feedback forms like surveys and case studies show your customers that you care about what they want.
No Excuses! It’s time to take your customer service above and beyond. Do that now by downloading your free workbook.
You can add a personal touch to your customer service when you use postcards or greeting cards to reach out to your customers. They make your customers feel valued, and in an increasingly digital world, your brand stands out when you send a card or gift through the postal system.
Look for One of A Kind Cards
If you are sending a card, make it something special. Skip the cheap, blank notecards, and don’t go for bland. You want to send a card that your customers will pin to their bulletin board or share on social media. You want a special card. Once your customer knows it is not junk mail.
One place where you can find unique and original cards is Etsy. There are hundreds of hand-made greeting cards that you can search for on the site. You can even have one custom designed for your customer if you want.
Try Send Out Cards
Another option that you may want to consider is Send Out Cards. This is a website where you can select a greeting card you like and have it sent to your new customers. It works similarly to stock photo sites in that you buy credits for a certain amount of money. You use your credits to purchase cards and upload your signature, so it looks like you signed the card. Then it’s sent out like a regular letter to your customer.
Send Out Cards will let you keep a contacts database to send birthday cards to your customers. But it’s not just for birthdays—there are plenty of holiday-themed cards to choose from, too. Whether your clients celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah, you’re sure to find a card that’s right for them. Using postcards and Send OutCards makes it easy for your business to use.
Use Reminders to Make Personal Connections
Your new client just mentioned she’s expecting a little one in six months. Pause to add this info to your calendar and set a reminder ahead of time. You can put something simple like, “Jane’s baby is due in June. Send a card.”
Sites like Send Out Cards, have a gift area that’s perfect when you want to add something special to your card. You can send your customers a treat like a fantastic brownie or tasty fudge. Of course, you can opt for a non-food item if you prefer. You can include a gift like a necklace, a toy plush, a beautiful scarf, or any number of genuine products.
Sending out cards to your customers is a small personal touchthat will delight them. It shows that you care not only about their business but also their lives. When your customers feel you care, they are excited to work with you.
Today’s article is about conducting target market research. What am I talking about? Market research, that’s what. So what is target market research? Every business should be doing it, but unfortunately, they either aren’t doing it at all or aren’t doing it effectively. Without conducting detailed research about your target market, your business won’t reach its potential and will more than likely meet its demise. Oh oh, you say!
What is Market Research?
In order to tell you HOW to conduct market research, you must know what market research is. In a nutshell, market research is research that you do in order to determine what it is that makes your customers buy. Because for goodness sake, that’s why you’re in business. To make money right?
Here is a great list of things that you can do to conduct market research that will tell you what your customers want and need so that you can make more sales and grow your business. This is YOUR business purpose!
First, find the question or questions you want answers to. Be as specific as possible so that you have the answers you need. Going too broad may not really get to the answers you are really in search of. For instance, if you are thinking of adding a product to your line, is it something your target market is in need or want of? What would they most likely spend on a product or service such as the one you are asking about?
Methods of Research
Take the questions and get your answers by doing the following:
– Conduct a survey of current and potential customers. – Visit online forums and groups that include members of your market. Remember to build relationships in these groups. Don’t just go to the forums and post your survey or question. – Interview other business owners in your market. – Monitor business trends in your market by reading and watching various media outlets. – Research your competition by being a customer and/or inquiring about their products or services. – Mail or telephone interviews. – For those with online businesses, set up a test page revolving around the product or service you are thinking of offering. Give plenty of time to test the page and the traffic and activity of the visitors.
These are only a few of the ways you can conduct research for your target market. The key isn’t what research you do, it’s the fact that you are doing something to learn more about the habits of that market.
By taking the time to find out more about the people you are targeting, you’ll come to realize that knowing those in your market is one of the best things you can do for your business.
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Creating a one-page business plan is the topic of this article. Many small business owners get overwhelmed when it comes to the necessity of writing their business plans. It doesn’t have to be hard you just need to do it.
Unless you are looking for major financial funding from a bank or other loan institutions, a simple business plan that includes answers to the following questions will be perfect for your small business purposes.
The Simple Business Plan
1. Where am I now with my business?
2. Where do I want to be with my business? If you see your deadlines in front of you as you work your business, you’ll be more likely to meet them. Break this answer down into a timeline to make it easier, using 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, or whatever times work for your particular business.
If you are looking for a way to get a bit more detailed with your plan or you foresee needing it to request funding later, you may want to devote more time and attention. You can still easily do this by devoting no more than one page to each section of your business plan.
Creating A Detailed Business Plan
Page 1 – Overview
Include your vision for your company (possibilities), the purpose of creating your company (why you started your business), and the mission of your company (plans for achieving).
Page 2 – Business Information
Here is where you would include information about yourself including name, business name, and entity, address, and phone number.
You’ll also want to summarize your business objectives on this page. List your goals and how you plan to reach them. Including what you’ll do to create a profit and what tools and resources you plan to use to do so.
Page 3 – Market & Customers
Answer the following questions in this section of your plan.
Your target market – Who are they? Where are they? How many?
Give specifics about growth and spending habits. Do as much research on your market as you can and put it in this section, including any barriers or hard to overcome issues.
Page 4 – Competition
Who are your competitors? What makes you different and the same as those competitors? How are you competing with them? With price, quality, etc? How will your market feel about you compared to your competitors?
Page 5 – Marketing
This is a bit like your competition section because you’ll want to discuss how you will market your business products or services. What makes your business unique?
No matter which method you use to create your business plan, be sure you are answering each of the questions to make it efficient for its purpose. Whether it’s for you or someone else, the ultimate goal of a business plan is to keep you on track and focused, and working toward growth.
As your business grows don’t forget to update your plan to grow with it as well.
Your Business Plans Effect on Marketing is our topic of discussion today. Some people say you don’t need a business plan, some say you do need one. So, what is the real answer to this question?
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan serves as the guidebook to your business. Your business plan should communicate what your business is, how you plan on growing it, and what steps you are going to take to achieve your success. See? Easy answer! But, when you work online, your business plan might not look like a traditional marketing plan.
Your business plan also has a huge effect on your marketing efforts. Your business plan can help you decide what type of marketing will add value to your business and which types of marketing will simply be time wasters.
By writing out your business ideas and goals, you can determine your target market. Your target market is the group of people that you want to promote your products or services to. Determining your target market is the first step in planning your marketing efforts. See, this is the right answer!!
Having a business plan, and knowing who your target market is, will lead you to create your marketing plan. A marketing plan is similar to a business plan in the sense that it acts as a guide and helps you stay focused.
What is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan is a written plan of action that communicates how you are going to market your business. There are many ways to market your business, such as flyers, paid ads (newspapers, magazines, online), business cards, speaking in front of groups, becoming a guest on a radio show or television program, pay-per-click campaigns, direct mail, and more.
Your business and marketing plans serve as tools in deciding which marketing ideas will work best with your business and your particular brand. It can be easy to try too many different marketing approaches. Whenever you feel confused about your marketing efforts, take some time to re-read your business plan. This can help you decide if the new marketing idea will actually reach your target market and if it is worth trying.
A Few Ways to Market Your Business
Developing relationships with other business owners that offer complementary products is a great way to market your business. When you know which direction you plan to grow your business, you can start scouting out possible future business partners.
So, for instance, if you have created your own line of organizational handbags and would like to start offering diaper bags, you can start researching the top baby-focused websites and see if they would be interested in helping you promote your diaper bags. Doing your research is critical to figuring out who would be best to help you and your business.
Your marketing plan should also include information on how you plan on keeping your customers after the initial purchase. Some ideas include customer-only sales, backend sales opportunities, customer-only freebies, etc.
Now, what would you include in your marketing plan?
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