The Power Of Great Customer Service - Dennings Cars
I experienced some amazing #customerservice recently that I wanted to share with the world. Too many times (especially in Ireland) customers and consumers are short-changed by companies, so it was so refreshing to have a company go above and beyond to resolve a problem I had.
Well done #Dennings on your ability to understand the direct link between good customer service and marketing. You can read the full story here: http://www.thedggroup.ie/the-power-of-great-customer-service-dennings-cars.asp
Like and Share if you’re fed up of bad customer service!
Managing Your Web Presence In The 21st Century
Since the 21st Century began we have seen an enormous acceleration in the use of the web by consumers and the tools available to business owners to promote their businesses online. If I was to write an article covering all the things that website owners need to do to have the “perfect” website, it would quickly turn into hundreds of pages. So rather than focusing on the micro detail, I want to give a more macro overview of what I believe are the 5 key things that you need to work on to maximise your web presence.
- Put Your Website At The Centre Of Your Business
More prospects and customers will view your website than any other promotional material you create and in many cases it will be the first and only element they see. Give it the respect it deserves and dedicate some time to managing it and promoting it at least monthly.
- Update Your Website – Preferably Weekly
Visitors like seeing plentiful and useful content, but more importantly Google loves it! This in turn improves the visibility of your site online and therefore brings more visitors and ultimately more business. Create special offers, write an article, update the news, add some testimonials, add a case study, update your portfolio and add content to your Facebook/Twitter/Blog – the choice is yours.
- Focus On Creating High Quality Content
Poor content is unacceptable to many people and if your spelling mistake is in a keyword, then Google will not reference it properly and you’ll also lose visits. Be sure to check spelling, punctuation and grammar and ALWAYS use original content.
- Get A Mobile Website
Good marketing is about making your customers’ experience as pleasurable as possible and without a mobile website visitors will have to overcome numerous issues when trying to browse your website and that’s just plain frustrating. So with the phenomenal growth in Smartphone and tablet usage it just makes plain sense to provide them with a mobile website to view.
- Do What You Can – Outsource What You Can’t
Most business owners suffer from a lack of time and funds. However, before you sacrifice your precious time to save some money think carefully about whether you would be better off outsourcing. You could create that Adwords campaign yourself, but do you truly understand what you are doing? If not you could waste more than you’ll ever save. Instead you could use your precious time to create more content.
Click the link to read the full On-line Marketing Article
Avoid Surprises - Insist on a Requirements Doc for Your New Website
I have just finished writing the fourth website requirements document for as many clients in just a few weeks and am amazed by how important these documents are to the success of the overall web development process for both the client and the developer. While some websites are quite straightforward and require little more than the ability to change the content, other sites can be quite complex. Whether you are a large company or SME, if the website you want falls into the complex category (i.e., e-commerce, customer back end access, multiple levels of content management), then you want to be sure that the web developer you hire creates a requirements document that you can review together before they start to build the site.
A requirements document is intended to ‘protect’ both you and the developer. The last thing you want is an invoice for work that you didn’t approve or a website that has features you didn’t request. A requirements document will help to avoid these ‘surprises’ by clearly articulating all of the elements you and the developer have agreed to for the website.
From the developer’s perspective, the document is intended to avoid what we call ‘mission creep’. Mission creep refers to additional requests made by clients after they have signed off on a project. The problem with mission creep is that it affects both the timeline to develop the site as well as the total development costs. At the end of the day, we want our clients to be satisfied on multiple levels: timeframe for a site to go live, cost and end result.
What should you look for in a requirements document?
Click on the link to read the complete marketing article.
How Search Rank Beats The Brand
In the old days you had to spend money on marketing your business in order to have people find you. Therefore, by definition, your success was almost directly tied to brand recognition. Think about the Yellow Pages (Golden Pages in Ireland). In its heyday you open it up to find a specific company and you would be hit by full-page ads. You would flick through page after page of full page ads and then the half-page ads would appear, followed by the quarter-page and then the line listings. The bigger ads would typically get the most calls, but they would also be the most expensive. It wasn’t unheard of for companies to hand over €20,000 or more for one ad!
Then Google came along and something interesting began to happen. Slowly at first and then with increasing frequency Google’s search rank began to replace the need for us to buy from recognised companies. In other words, Google’s search rank became a de facto brand identity for unknown brands.
You might disagree with me and in some instances you’d be right to. However, the fact remains that these days most start-up businesses will spend more on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) than they do on brand marketing. Obviously the ideal is to have a well recognised brand backed by a first place, or at least first page, rank in search results. When you look at the Google search results, the listings are all the same. You might be on the same page as a major brand and visually you are both on a par. The Yellow pages approach of “bigger is better” is meaningless in Google’s listings. So, the question is ‘can having a good search ranking can be more valuable in this “search-engine” age than brand?’
Click on the link to read the complete marketing article.
Great Marketing - The Million Piece Jigsaw
I was just listening to the radio and came across a business discussion in which a branding expert was talking about marketing. I know the guy and he is a very knowledgeable and eloquent speaker. He was talking about how important perfection is in marketing. The importance of focusing on fonts and not using lots of them or choosing and sticking to a specific colour or colours for your branding, etc. Everything he said was correct but as he spoke, something struck me like never before.
Marketing is like a million-piece jigsaw and most people think that to be successful in business you need to finish the whole jigsaw.
The fact is that “finishing the jigsaw” is only possible for large corporate companies with hundreds of staff and huge budgets and even then they rarely get beyond the 900 thousandth piece! The reality for the rest of us is that we have to make do with completing a fraction of the jigsaw. So how can SMEs be successful without completing the jigsaw? Quite easily actually - stop worrying about the whole picture!
Just like a jigsaw, marketing is about the pieces. But each form of marketing is not a single piece, but a cluster of pieces that make up a small part of the picture. Therefore, don’t worry about the million pieces and simply focus on the 50 pieces that make up one recognisable part of the whole picture…
This is just a small portion of the Marketing Article on our main website.
Have You Heard About QR Codes?
Innovation is amazing! Just when you thought allowing people to find your business and contact you couldn’t get any easier, along comes a new innovation that makes it easier again.
Take QR Codes for example. They were invented in 1994 by a Japanese company(Denso-Wave) and like so many technologies now used for marketing businesses, QR Codes were originally used for tracking car parts through the manufacturing process. There’s a good reason for their initial use and it’s in the name – “Quick Response Codes”. They were designed to allow equipment to read them faster than traditional bar codes; a very important requirement in a manufacturing environment where time is money.
Fast forward about 15 years and some bright spark realised that these clever little codes could be used for marketing purposes because now literally everyone can have a QR code reader in their hands. No, I don’t mean that we would all walk around with those supermarket checkout readers in our pockets. QR Codes don’t need lasers to read them, just a simple camera – just like the cameras now built into virtually every mobile phone.
So the hardware problem was solved but you still needed QR code reading software and that problem was solved with the introduction of the IPhone and other smart phones. If you have one of these devices you can now download a free QR code reader app and once installed, you are free to scan every QR code you see!
Are you still with me? Because this entire preamble was important in setting the scene…
Read The Full QR Code Article Here
Attraction Marketing vs. Pursuit Marketing
I think every business owner would agree that it is far more pleasurable picking up the phone to someone who wants to do business with you than it is to make a phone call to try and convince someone to do business with you. It sounds like Nirvana to have customers ring you and say the magic words “can you help me with…” or “can you provide me with…”, etc. But actually it’s not impossible, it just takes thought, time, effort and in some cases a little money (but not as much as traditional marketing).
We all know what Pursuit Marketing is even if we’ve never heard of it before. You sell widgets, so you decide to run an ad to promote them. Being a smart business owner, you create a great design and include a compelling message plus an attractive offer. But here’s the problem; The vast majority of people who see the ad are not interested in buying widgets that day and the reader of the ad who is interested doesn’t know you and so doesn’t trust you. So even if he/she calls about the ad, you still have to “sell” to them! In short, pursuit marketing is every form of marketing and selling that pushes your services/products without giving knowledge or trying to build rapport and trust.
So in simple terms, attraction marketing is the exact opposite. Forget about directly promoting your products/services, forget about selling and simply focus on building trust and getting your customers to know and like you. The web is the easiest platform for attraction marketing, with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and E-Zines, you have plenty of opportunities to “connect” with your customer-base. But attraction marketing can easily apply to our everyday, offline world too.
Read the rest of the article and find out why you should implement Attraction Marketing and how.
The Importance Of God Smelling! (How Poor Spelling & Grammar Can Seriously Affect Sales)
If I had a Euro for every time I found spelling mistakes on a website, in a brochure or on a leaflet I wouldn’t be a millionaire, but I would certainly be a lot more comfortable. Unfortunately until the government creates the ‘Department of Literacy & Spelling’ I will have to make do with tutting.
However on a serious note, bad spelling is a real turn-off for many potential clients. Perhaps you don’t think it’s important, but according to research conducted in the UK by The Royal Mail (in 2005) an estimated £41Bn in sales was lost to businesses due to poor spelling, punctuation and grammar. It further showed that nearly three-quarters of all customers (74 per cent) said they wouldn’t trust businesses that used poor spelling or grammar, whilst almost a third (30 per cent) said they wouldn’t buy any product or service from them.
Anecdotally I hear the same message time and again from people I speak to; if they see serious spelling mistakes in company websites they leave. So if you don’t think good spelling and grammar is important, you are most definitely in the minority.
So why do so many mistakes end up in text? Well we all learn to read and write in school, so many people think that qualifies them to write their own content. A typical business owner has never had any graphic design tuition and would therefore not design his/her own brochure and is happy to pay a premium to someone who can deliver a quality design. However, since we all learned to read and write early in life we all somehow feel qualified to deliver content.
By the way, I am not suggesting that you should hire a copywriter for everything, most people can handle simple enough product/service descriptions, but if you know that writing is not your strong point, or you are contemplating a major web or print project, get a professional - or it could cost you more in lost sales.
Read the full article here and see examples of typical spelling and grammatical errors made on websites and in brochures every day!
The Power Of The Free-Trial
We have all been in a supermarket or shopping centre and been offered a taster of food by someone promoting a new product. The other day I received a small packet of breakfast cereal through the door! Whichever way it’s delivered, this is known as a free trial and it is most commonly linked to consumer products like food, face creams, toothpastes etc. and computer software. In essence anything that needs to be experienced through touch or taste or evaluated for its appropriateness. This can mean a free hair treatment if you run a salon, a free round of golf if you run a golf club, it might be a free sample platter of food if you run a restaurant/take-away. If you clean carpets, you might do a free sample clean of the smallest room in the house. A free trial is essentially the ultimate “special offer”. In other words I give you something completely for free. But do they work? Yes they do!
A recent study by a research organisation called “Marketing Experiments” showed that in a real-life test comparing two online ad pages (where one incorporated a 30-day free-trial and the other didn’t), the ad with a free trial offer delivered almost double the number of orders than the ad that had no trial offer (22 orders vs. 12). However, more interestingly the number of visits increased by a much smaller percentage (972 vs. 904). This seems to indicate that including a free trial offer brings a more targeted audience to your door, who are more likely to order. But they only work really well when they are implemented properly and there are a number of factors in promoting them:
1) Don’t Make It Too Hard…
2) Limit The “Catches”
3) Make It Habit-Forming
4) Optimise Your Advertising
The free-trial can be a very powerful sales tool, but you need to evaluate how/if you can implement it for your business and how you are going to exploit the opportunity it provides to its maximum.
Clink the link to read the full “Power Of The Free Trial” Article
What’s In A Colour - The Power Of Colour in Marketing
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to become a father to a lovely baby boy and suddenly the house was full of blue. Had the child been a girl it would have been full of pink instead. I was intrigued, never having thought about it before, to find out why these colours were associated with these genders. What I discovered amazed me!
In the Middle Ages boys were the dominant sex and seen as more important. As such they had to be protected. It was therefore believed that dressing them in blue rendered them invisible to the demons looking up from below. It wasn’t until much later that girls got their own colour and it is believed that pink was chosen because it was a readily available dye, i.e. watered down red and so inexpensive. Sorry, don’t shoot the messenger! There is also evidence to show that these colours reversed for a time and then switched again at the start of the 20th century, but this article is not about baby colours, so I’ll leave it there.
However, colours also permeate the business world and I regularly speak with people who are setting up new businesses, products or services and need to have logos and literature created. During the briefing process we will discuss colours and how it impacts on consumers.
Some people scoff at the notion that colour can affect their buying decisions, but to understand this you have to realise that colour permeates every aspect of our lives and even our language:
“Seeing Red” - You’re Angry
“Feeling Blue” - You’re Sad
“Green With Envy” - You’re Jealous
“Green Light” - You have the go-ahead
“Going Green” - You are making a more environmental choice
“Tickled Pink” - You’re very happy
“Black Market” - Illegal Sales
From this short list you see that colours can have multiple meanings and these are driven not just by the psychology of the colour but by the meaning given to them by society. For instance I am sure that “Getting The Green Light” didn’t exist before the invention of traffic lights, but “Black Sheep Of The Family” has probably existed since we domesticated the sheep. So in choosing colours you have to take into account how society sees the colour and this also comes down to the shades of colour. ”Royal Blue” is very different to “Sky Blue”, which is different to “Baby Blue” and each one invokes a different feeling/meaning.
If you’re interested in how colours affect our brand perceptions/buying decisions, simply click to read the full colours in marketing article.