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marketing Tag

How to Lose the Trust of Your Customers

We don’t live in a very trusting world, at least at the moment. Cynicism abounds, and as soon as people have cause to doubt another person’s/company’s trust levels, they’re pretty quick to move on. That’s why it’s very important that you work hard to retain your customers’ trust. It can take years to establish, yet can be lost in a few moments – and for a number of reasons, some of which aren’t entirely fair. Below, we take a look at some things that will cause your customers to lose faith in your business, so you can avoid making these mistakes.



Squabble Over Their Complaints

Who’s to blame for the current emphasis on customer service? It’s not that it’s a bad thing in itself, but, like most things, it goes too far. Even if a customer is being ridiculous, and making demands that can’t be justified, do you have to give in? The simple answer, for keeping the piece, is yes. Of course, the ridiculous customers are a minority. Most people only complain when they have to. When that happens, it’ll be worthwhile swallowing your pride and admitting your fault. A company that tries to downplay a customer’s complaint clearly doesn’t have their customers’ best interests at heart!

The Disappearing Act

We live in an age where patience is in low supply. When your customers want to know something or get in touch, they don’t want to search too hard or wait too long. But sometimes, business’s inadvertently make them. If customers have a question about their order, and you’re not picking up the phone or responding to their messages, then doubts will begin to creep in. It’s even worse if they visit your website and it’s not working. That gets them very nervous indeed! Ensure these things don’t happen by replying promptly to messages, and by working with a company that offers managed IT services; they’ll ensure your website is always up and running. If you’re there when your customers need you, they will have little reason to lose trust.

Dreams v. Reality

Promising customers the moon and the stars is great for drawing them in, but if you can’t deliver, then it would have been better to have set realistic expectations. It’s a trick you can only play once. If you make grand claims about your products or services, and then they don’t live up to that expectation, the trust will be lost, and your customers will be gone. Instead, just be honest. If you don’t think people are going to be interested in what you’re offering when you’re telling the truth, then it’s time to rethink your business.

Online Reviews

People really do pay attention to online reviews. If you’ve received too many one or two-star ratings, then you’ll find it difficult to attract new customers. So to begin, listen to what those reviews are saying. And second, if you suspect them of being fraudulent – it does happen – then fight back.

Who You’re Dealing With

What you do behind the scenes of your business matters too, so do your due diligence to ensure that your supplies and other companies you work with are trustworthy. If they’re not, the public will find out eventually, and that won’t reflect well on your company.

What steps has your business taken to build a trustworthy brand? What have you learned along the way? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment!

How Public Relations Makes Advertising More Effective

How Public Relations Makes Advertising More Effective

When it comes to the relationship between Public Relations and advertising and how each impacts your business, they offer two contrasting, yet complementary opportunities. And when opportunity knocks – especially at two different doors – you are best to open both.

As a business owner you know that nothing should function within its own silo. Everything must be integrated and designed to work together to eliminate inefficiencies and to get the most out of the time and effort you put into a task. This is absolutely true of  public relations and advertising within any given business.

If you’re created an advertising strategy without including a PR component, or vice versa, you could be making a costly mistake that could hinder the effectiveness of the resources you’re pouring into these efforts. First, take a look at the reasons why public relations actually helps to make your advertising go further.

Leverage Relationships

When you’re spending a good chunk of change with any particular media outlet, you grow your relationship with that outlet. They’re there to serve you and make you happy as a customer. Any smart media sales person will do whatever it takes to ensure you’re satisfied so that you continue to come back for me. Use this leverage to your advantage! As a paying customer you have negotiation power to request to earned media in addition to your paid media. Ask your sales rep for the best contact within the outlet to pitch your story to. Ask for them to throw in a social media shout out for your business. Or ask for them to run an op-ed you’ve written. Think of what will be most valuable to you and your business – and ask for it! The worst they can say is no, but remember you hold the check book, and the leverage.

Stroke Egos

Public relations is a great way to stroke the egos of your stakeholders and decision makers. How? When you gain PR opportunities such as a guest spot on a television news show, you can plug in key people who love to be in front of a camera and give them a chance to shine – all while representing your business or organization. By pitching your story to the media and earning a feature story, you now bring real value to your business. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to give sponsors or investors the biggest bang for their buck. What better than to give them a media opportunity they simply cannot buy?

Guaranteed vs. Earned

There is a huge value in paying for your media placement. It’s guaranteed coverage you can count on. You know exactly what will be placed where and when. But this comes with quite a price tag. The beauty of incorporating public relations into your strategy is that this is earned media. If an outlet picks up your press release, does a feature story on your business or covers an event you’re hosting or associated with, you’re not paying for this publicity. Additionally, research shows that most consumers view earned media as more authentic, trustworthy and persuasive than traditional advertising. This isn’t to say one is better than the other. Really, it demonstrates why you need to use both public relations and advertising if you want to take your public outreach to the next level!

Greater Outreach for the Same Price

Another benefit of using both public relations and advertising tactics to promote your business is that you will reach exponentially more people for virtually the same investment. Why? Because advertising has hard costs, while public relations is the earned media aspect we discussed above. Aside from the time you, or someone you hire, might put into implementing public relations tactics to enhance your business’s advertising, there are no hard costs such billboard placement, printing of marketing materials, etc. Rather, the PR component utilizes media channels that are already in place to take your communications to the next level.

Go Deeper with Your Message

Let’s face it. Paid advertisements are very limited. For a billboard, you should really have fewer than eight words. And how much can you really say in a 15 second commercial or radio read? Really, you can only communicate just the basics. But people rarely buy on the basics. They want an emotional connection, and that is really hard to achieve with traditional advertising alone. When you include public relations as part of your overall strategy, you open up the flood gates to communicating your whole story. This can be achieved in a wide variety of ways from op-eds, feature stories, publicity events, community partnerships, blogs and social media and so much more. If you feel like you don’t have the platform to truly tell your story and have the masses hear it, it may because you’re lacking in the PR department. Give it a try!

Do your current advertising and public relations efforts work together to create more effective outcomes for your business? Why or why not? Share your examples by leaving a comment below!

Packaging Your Products Correctly

As a small business owner, you are likely to spend most of your time during the startup of your business focusing on the actual products you are going to supply to the consumer market. You spend hours mulling over the product development process – coming up with concepts, conducting market research to see if they are desirable and have selling potential, and manufacturing the product in order to bring it to life. But you can’t simply hand the product over to a customer as it is.

Nowadays, everything that is sold has some sort of packaging. Whether the packaging is absolutely necessary (in terms of cosmetics or pre-made food items, which wouldn’t be able to get from A to B without packaging) or a little less necessary (such as plastic toys for children that can survive the wear and tear of journeys to suppliers without any protection). Packaging can serve an extremely important role for any item – it offers a space where you can showcase your goods, protect them from the elements around them, and give a little more information about them.

So, let’s take a moment to figure out to package your own products correctly and effectively!

Conduct Market Research

You’ll have already conducted market research for your product. But you should remember to conduct market research around different types of packaging too. Packaging really can heavily influence a sale, so see what the wider market thinks about different types of packaging before settling on any style or design yourself.

Finding a Manufacturer or Supplier

Once you have an idea of the type of packaging that you want, you’re going to need to find a packaging supplier or a packaging manufacturer. A supplier will provide you with basic, unbranded packaging. It is generally best to go for a manufacturer who can provide you with custom packaging to meet your products’ specific needs. This will also ensure that your packaging isn’t the same as anything else on the shelf next to your products!

Be Environmentally Friendly

Packaging tends to be disposable. People will remove their item from packaging and throw the packaging away immediately, or use the product from the packaging and dispose of the packaging once the product has been used up. This, of course, creates a lot of landfill every year. So, you should try your best to make your packaging environmentally friendly. Avoid plastic at all costs, and if you need to use plastic for health and safety reasons, try to use a type that is easily and commonly recycled.

These are just a few steps that you should take when it comes to packaging the products that you are providing the consumer market with. For the best results possible, incorporate them into your business plan today!

7 Ways You Should Be Keeping Your Customers Happy

Keeping your customers happy isn’t as difficult as it may sound, and it’s absolutely essential if you want to build a successful business from the ground up. You can take a look at many businesses that have failed and you will likely spot things that they could have done much better when it comes to customer service and interaction with their audience.

If you don’t want to fall into the same traps as these kinds of businesses, below you’ll find 7 ways you should be keeping your customers happy. Take a look and see what you can implement today:

  1. Giving Your Staff Consistent Training

Training your staff is a benefit to both your business and your customers. Staff who are better trained provide a higher quality of work and service, and feel more confident when interacting with customers. You can then give them more power and flexibility to rectify any customer issues, which can leave your customers feeling like they have had all their needs met.

  1. Keeping Your Website Up And Running

Your website is your 24/7 storefront, so keeping it up and running is key to keeping your customers happy. However, it simply isn’t enough for it to be there. It needs to look good, be easy to use, contain relevant information, and more. You should have a simple check out process, and monitor the way your audience uses your site so you can make any appropriate changes. Having IT Consulting and Strategy talks with a reputable company will ensure you can avoid any downtime. Speaking to a marketing company with happy customers and experience should help you to ensure your audience can actually find you when they are looking for you.

  1. Going Above And Beyond To Fix Their Issues

Always go above and beyond to fix your customer’s issues. You don’t just want them to just be content, you want them to be ecstatic with the service they have received from you. One bad experience can stop a customer from ever coming back, so if they do come back and tell you about it, make sure you’re willing to do what it takes to keep them as a customer.

  1. Giving Them Incentives To Come Back

Make sure you’re giving your audience incentives to come back and work with you again and again. Not just by offering a great service, by by giving them things like loyalty points and discounts.

  1. Being Consistent With Your Service

Make sure you’re treating all of your customers fairly and equally. This is why consistent training for your staff is a must!

  1. Asking Them For Their Feedback

Ask your customers for their feedback and really listen to what they tell you. They will feel valued and like you truly care about what they think. If something is mentioned multiple times, you know it’s a trend you need to pay attention to.

  1. Providing Fantastic Communication

Communication is key. Keep your customers updated when they have made a successful order, when the order is on its way, if there are any delays, and even if you make a mistake. Admitting your mistakes makes you a much more trustworthy company than a company that attempts to shirk the blame.

What steps have you taken to make you customers happy? Maybe a better question is what more could you be doing to take your customers from content to loyal brand ambassadors for your business? Share your ideas – and questions by leaving comment below!

How to Stop Hitting That Brick Wall with Your Business Progress

So, you started the process of launching your business with such passion and motivation, and then all of a sudden your progress has come to a plateau. You seem to have hit a brick wall recently and you’re unsure how to gain the momentum back. You’re not sure whether you are losing focus when working from home or you are simply overwhelmed with your workload at the moment. Whatever has caused your halt in the road needs to be rectified as soon as possible because you want to make a success out of your business right now. Check out these ideas and see if they help you to get back on track!

Accept Help with Advertising

You could be approaching a dead end with your advertising strategies. Are you wasting money on campaigns that are never going to attract leads? Put your mind at ease as look into local advertising firm vistacomm. With their help, you can truly find advertising strategies that are going to be worth your time and money. You could be focusing on the wrong platforms or using incorrect techniques for your audience demographic; whatever the flaw in your system is, you will soon be able to straighten it out with the help of a professional agency.

Hire More Helping Hands

Are you becoming overburdened with work right now? Do you run out of time when trying to complete your daily tasks? You might benefit from hiring a handful of employees to lighten your load. This could help to bring some fresh eyes to a project and build up the momentum of your business strategy again. You might think you can get all of your tasks done on your own, but you can actually become counterproductive if you overwork yourself on a regular basis. Open up a job vacancy and hold interviews for your prospective candidates. You might find it a huge relief bring someone else into the team.

Rejig Your Business Plan

Your business plan holds the keys to all of your methods and strategies so you might want to rethink it sooner rather than later. Sitting down and tweaking your original plan might just set you off on the right track again. You might discover a flaw that wasn’t noticeable before or you could have a light bulb moment that completely transforms your business idea again. Open up your mind and don’t be afraid to admit that you might have made a mistake in the past; there is always time to rectify it now.

Scope out Your Competition

There are many ways that you can deal with competitors; the market has likely changed a lot since you started out so it’s worth re-evaluating everything. Take a close look at who your direct competition is and try to discover what their successful strategies are. Attempting to emulate some of their plans might just give you the boost you need to take a lead.

You can get back on the right track with your business’s growth and development if you just rethink your advertising strategies, recruit some help and take another look at your business plan. Use these ideas as a launching point to get started!

How to Stay Focused While Working from Home

How to Stay Focused While Working from Home

It’s becoming more and more common for people to work from home, either full-time or even just a few days per week. If your career allows you to work virtually, it’s likely you’ve found yourself trying to be productive at home only to be derailed by a myriad of different distractions.

For the last seven years, I’ve grown my public relations business while working exclusively from home. During different periods of time, that included juggling work with infant babies at home and trying to schedule conference calls around nap times. The good news is, I survived! And throughout my experience working from home, I’ve developed quite a few tips and tricks to that have helped me to stay focused and productive.

Here are my go-to tips for staying focused and making the most of your time when working from home. Take a look!

Make a Mental Commute

When you work from home you don’t have the benefit of a commute. Maybe you’ve never viewed a commute as a benefit, but think about it for a moment. Physically moving from one place to another gives you the mental separation of work and home. During your commute you can get yourself in a “work” mindset. When you work from home, however, you have to make a conscious effort to change from your “home” mindset to your work one.

One tip I highly recommend is having a dedicated office space that feels separate from the rest of your house. This allows you to “commute” to your office and on that commute you can clear your mental space and walk into your office ready to work.

Stick to a Routine

Sure, working from home gives you extreme flexibility in your schedule, but this can also be a trap. To be effective when working from home, it’s so important to stick to a routine. There will certainly be days where this routine will be disrupted, but for the most part you must establish a core routine and stick to whenever you can.

Pick a routine that fits your personality and workload. Are you more effective in the early morning or do you thrive in the afternoons? Unlike a traditional office environment with a strict 9-5 schedule, you get to set your own schedule. However, once you set one, let it give your day structure and stability.

Set Your Work Hours

Along with setting a routine, you also need to establish your work hours. When working from home, it’s easy for work and personal life to blend together. If you’re not careful, you’ll find that you’re never fully present in either space, because you can’t separate the two. By setting work hours, you’ll know that from 7am until 3pm (or whatever you choose) is the time to focus exclusively on work-related tasks. Outside of that time, you must train yourself to put work aside, stop checking emails and shift your focus to friends, family and yourself.

Resist Chores and Errands

During your set work hours, resist any and all temptations to dive into tasks that are not directly related to work. I’ll admit that when working from home, I’ll throw in a load of laundry, put away dishes and tidy up some rooms as I walk through. These are small and necessary tasks that shouldn’t divert you from more than a few minutes of work time. The tasks I’m addressing here are the ones that can sabotage your work productivity for hours. Tasks like sorting out your closet, reorganizing a room or running personal errands can steal hours away from your day and can reasonably wait until the evening or weekend.

Give Yourself Small Breaks

Although you want to squeeze the most you can out of every work day, you can only accomplish this by giving yourself small breaks. Why? Because no one can be productive 100% of the work day. We all need mental and physical breaks in order to return back to a task and be even more productive than we would be otherwise. Trust me on this one. Allow yourself short, timed breaks where you can get some fresh air, stretch your legs, get a snack or cup of coffee and then return to your desk ready to work again.

Close Up Shop!

Finally and most importantly, when you’re done for the day – be done! Don’t linger around refreshing your inbox and fishing around for people to ask you for something. Disconnect, go offline and enjoy your time off. After all, you’ve earned it! The best part of having a productive work day is that you can close up shop knowing the most important tasks are taken care of and everything else can wait until tomorrow.

Do you work from a home office? How do you stay focused throughout the day? Share your tips and best practices by leaving a comment below!

The Biggest Legal Battles That Companies Face

Looking in from the outside, you might think that it’s fairly straight forward to run a business. You just need to continually look for new clients while ensuring your products and services are kept to a high standard, right? Well, that isn’t always the case. In fact, there are often a lot of problems happening behind the scenes of which many clients and customers are unaware. For instance, if a company is in a legal dispute with another party, they don’t usually want anyone finding out, as it could damage their reputation.

In fact, there are quite a few common legal cases that companies face. It doesn’t mean they’re a “bad” business, per se. But they are something that must be dealt with swiftly and professionally in order to resolve the issue and save face. Here are some of the common cases you, as a business owner, should be aware of.

Employee Injury Compensation Cases

Any business that operates in a potentially dangerous environment, such as a factory or warehouse, will need to have adequate insurance coverage in case any of their employees end up hurt in an accident. In fact, it’s even worth it for office-based companies to take out plenty of insurance too as the compensation and legal fees could be extensive. It can be difficult to fight a great worker’s comp lawyer on your own. So, your company might want to hire a legal expert in this field just in case you are unexpectedly taken to court!

Immigration Audits

Whenever you hire an employee from a different country, you need to make sure that they have the right to work in the country. You will have to carry out a lot of background checks in order to try to find any potentially forged paperwork. It is necessary to be really thorough with these checks or else you could end up in a lot of trouble when you undergo your immigration audits. If you are found to have employed anyone who should not be working, then you will be the one that ends up prosecuted.

Angry Clients

Did you know that clients can file lawsuits if they are ever disgruntled with bad work from a contractor? It’s true, and these cases often end up coming out in the client’s favor. This can be especially troublesome for your company if a number of clients come together to fight your company. So, it’s always important to stay on top of your company’s output to make sure that the quality never dives. If you do ever get any complaints, be sure to deal with them as soon as possible in a very professional manner to prevent them from escalating.

Discrimination Cases

Discrimination is a huge legal offence, whether it is on race, gender, or age. It is of paramount importance that this never occurs within your company and that you never use any discrimination in your recruitment process. If you do, you will likely find yourself in court at some point in time. Not only that, though, but discrimination cases often attract a huge amount of publicity, which could spell the end for your business’s good reputation.

Hopefully, you and your business will never be affected by any of these big legal battles, but if you do find yourself facing a challenging case, be sure to seek professionalism representation first. Beyond legal representation, brand reputation is also important. An experience Public Relations professional can ensure your brand is not negatively impacted by what may transpire during your case.

Four Ways To NOT Drown When Starting A Business

Starting a business is no easy feat. From getting the finance that you need for your company to putting together a business plan, the work doesn’t stop from the moment you begin. If you’re ready to embrace that, you can stand up against the unnecessary, and often redundant paperwork and busy work that people mistakenly think they have to do to keep their business floating. Coping with a heavy workload is one thing when it’s not your business, but when the future of the company is on your shoulders, you have to do everything possible to keep your head above water and simplify your task list. Be a swan: paddle hard beneath the surface but glide just above it. The trick? Keeping on paddling, and know the direction you’re headed!

Trying to juggle priority tasks that are always changing can make you feel overwhelmed, like you’re struggling to keep going in your work. Stress at work is very real, but the stress level goes up exponentially when the future of the business is down to you. Recognizing the stress that you are in at work is important, because once you recognize it, you can learn to manage it. Here are some of the ways that you can manage your workload so that you aren’t overcome by it:

Outsource. There is nothing better than realizing that you can’t be everything to everyone. It’s always better to be the master of your trade, than a jack of all, but master of none. Using managed IT services for your cloud and a graphic design company for your branding alongside the cleaning company that you use for your physical office space is just smart! You are choosing not to do a good job badly, but to pass it to an expert who can do it better. There’s no shame in knowing that there are people out there that can do a job better than you.

Understand. Next, you have to look at what you want to achieve with your company, and match up those objectives to the team that you’ve put together. Be bold with your objectives and map out how those tasks align. Share it with the team and make a plan so that the work is evenly distributed among the management team. Less stress equals a healthier and happier workforce.

Break. Drowning under deadlines means pressure, which means you don’t leave the office for days at a time. While the logical thing to do is push on and get the work done, the best thing that you can do is to step back and take a break. When the pressure is on, you can forget what you’re doing next, which leads to mistakes. Take a break, collect yourself and go back to it with fresh eyes.

Communicate. No one is going to know that you’re struggling unless you tell them! Speak to your colleagues and set up a plan so that work is balanced and easier to handle.

You do not have to drown under the pressure of your business; think smart and take control!

Simple Ways To Refresh Your Brand

When it comes to updating your business to fit with the times and to fit with your taste, you might think that you need to completely overhaul your branding and start again. However, a complete rebranding effort can be a big task and you will always run the risk of losing followers due to them not realizing recognizing or resonating with your new brand. If you feel as if you need some fun and life injected back into your business, here are a few simple ways to refresh your brand.

Makeover your website

The easiest and one of the most effective ways of adding a bit of panache to your brand is to take some time to redo your website and make it a better place to visit. For example you can completely redesign the theme for better navigation, play with the colors and even add a blog section to create content which will pull even more people into your brand and to your website.

Create a new logo

Logos are a huge part of a successful business and they are like a little nugget of information which seems to get stuck in everyone’s heads as soon as they see it. This is why companies with the big M and that infamous swirl C design  can be pictured by people all over the world with a simple thought. You can make a big impression with a good logo and therefore it is always worth trying out new things and seeing if you can make it iconic. You can look at https://www.tailorbrands.com/logo-maker to make your own logo and stand out from the crowd. Though keep in mind, there is immense value in working with an experienced and professional public relations firm and graphic designer to determine the look and feel of your new brand. Not every job is best tackled as a DIY!

Create a fun branding event

When it comes to either rebranding or refreshing your brand, there are differences. You can read here https://www.templafy.com/blog/rebranding-vs-brand-refresh/ and see what it takes to rebrand entirely rather than refreshing which is much easier and carries less risk. For a branding event, you can create a giveaway on social media and invite people to share to enter. You could hold a competitor for designing your next logo or simply just post a few “teaser” messages to let your followers know you are about to update a few things. All of these things will get them involved in your refresh and it will make it much less risky for you to change because your followers will already know you are going to.

Get influencers to sell you

Influencers such as bloggers and celebrities are the perfect tool to use for your marketing, especially if you are looking to rebrand and change things up. If you are looking to change a logo, it can be easier to keep your following by asking an influencer to review something of yours. Make sure the product has the new logo on it and this will be seen by many and they will likely come to find out more about you and your business. It can be just the boost you need to set you up for rebranding success!

Giving Your Business The Edge: Simple Strategies To Outshine Your Competition

In business, you’re always in a race. It doesn’t matter whether you own a clothing store, an ecommerce empire, a medical clinic or an accounting firm. You’ll always encounter competitors. The key to success lies in being able to win the race, but how do you do this? If you’re looking to outshine the competition, here are some simple strategies to employ.

Customer service

There are few things more crucial in business than customer service. We’re all familiar with adages like ‘the customer is always right,’ but do you and your employees live by this rule? Outstanding customer service will not only increase the chances of clients returning and recommending you to friends and family, but it will also help you distinguish your brand from rival businesses. Focus on putting your clients first, go the extra mile to make sure every customer is happy and offer a personal touch. Every customer wants to feel valued. If they don’t, there’s every chance they’ll look elsewhere. One of the best ways to improve customer service is to ask for reviews and feedback. Take comments on board, listen to opinions, and work on bringing those review scores up. Listening is an essential skill in modern business.

Technology and equipment

Most businesses in this day and age are reliant on technology and equipment. When buying machinery, instruments or gadgets, look for quality, and focus your search on investments that will save you time, money and effort, and separate you from the crowd. Keeping up with new inventions and systems may enable you to produce better products or offer a wider range of services, for example. Whether you’re looking for new computer programs, medical supplies from sites like www.kempermedical.com or catering equipment, it’s vital to buy high-quality items that will improve the way you work. Buying is an excellent option for items you plan to use on a regular basis, while renting may be more appealing for equipment required for one-off projects. Keep an eye on emerging trends and an ear to the ground so that you’re familiar with innovations that may benefit your business.

Marketing

Marketing isn’t just about getting your brand name out there. It’s also about convincing buyers that your business represents the best choice for them. Your marketing strategy should highlight your USP, and provide answers to the question, “Why should I buy from you?” Tailor your strategy to the target market, make the message clear, and shout about your USP from the rooftops. You want everyone to know how you are different to your competitors. If you’ve got a campaign up and running, monitor its efficiency using analytics and market research. If the results aren’t as positive as you hoped or anticipated, consider making adjustments to extend your reach and make your campaign more persuasive. For more useful information about revamping an existing strategy, take a look at this article https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/03/15/15-tips-for-creating-marketing-content-the-resonates-with-customers/.

In business, you’re always going to be competing against other companies, and you need to make sure you give yourself the best chance of winning. If you’re keen to leave your rivals in your wake, hopefully, this guide has given you inspiration and ideas.