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4 Tips for Handling Fast Business Expansion

Many businesses that operate online struggle to gain a stable foothold on the market. On the other hand, some businesses have trouble with scaling their operations. Needless to say, your business growth can vary based on your efforts, but sometimes circumstances may lead to rapid growth that will even take you by surprise. Extremely fast business growth can, indeed, become quite a problem if you’re not adequately prepared for it.

After all, you have to organize new sales, new customers and hire employees to help delegate the work before you can enjoy the benefits of the growth. Moreover, you’ll need to take care of additional issues that follow business expansion, such as more expenses, expanding the business infrastructure and handling new tasks. Simply put, you’ll have to get ready fast to face new challenges and find ways to overcome new obstacles. Here are a few tips for handling fast business expansion.

Focus on your customers

One of the first signs of rapid expansion is an increase in the number of customers. This can lead to demand being significantly higher than the supply. However, you must meet this new demand fast. Otherwise, your expansion will be short-lived and not as beneficial as you might have thought. Online consumers have high expectations and you must meet those expectations, in order to show that you’re capable of meeting other needs as well.

Supplying the new demand will most likely cost you a lot, but you must find the resources to meet this demand. If not, your new customers will abandon you. Moreover, you need to make sure that the quality of your products or services doesn’t decline while you’re trying to serve new customers. If you try to cut costs in order to improve production, your customers will notice the lack of quality and it will not bode well for you.

Get some assistance

Undoubtedly, fast business expansion will be very difficult to handle on your own or with your existing staff for that matter. You will have to consider hiring and training new employees to help you manage the additional work. Moreover, you can merge with another company to help improve business operations or you can purchase a smaller company and acquire their assets to gain a bigger market share.

Just make sure you have a clearly defined shareholder agreement to ensure that the acquisition is done the right way. That way, you’ll be able to balance out your fast business expansion and its new demands. The main benefit is that by acquiring another company, you come into possession of its assets, such as employees, products, shares and so on. These new assets can help scale your business in accordance with the business expansion and help you reduce costs, as well as help meet the increased demand.

Redefine your business goals

Rapid business growth will bring new responsibilities and you need to consider how your company will continue to move forward. That’s why you need to determine business goals and redefine the existing ones. That way, you’ll be able to identify the best course of action for your company, in order to make the most out of fast expansion and ensure that your business remains successful.

This is especially true if you haven’t planned for your business to develop this much in the next few years. As a matter of fact, most startups and small business scale slowly and try to manage their product-market fit for a while before they start growing. Therefore, if business growth came unexpectedly, you’ll need to adapt quickly and develop business goals for future endeavor.

 
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Company Expansion: How to Grow Your Business through Smart Software Choices

No matter what type of business you operate, choosing the right software is constantly becoming more and more crucial to the successful functioning of your business. Software can be tricky, especially given its often-high cost. In the right applications, nearly any piece of software can more than justify its cost, but understanding what those right applications are is key to finding the best software to grow and optimize your business. For a better idea of what software can do for your business, here are a few tips about what to look for to find the best business software for your specific situation.

Accounting

As a business owner, the complicated and detailed task of keeping track of your business’s finances is probably not on the top of your “favorite things to do list.” At the same time, this crucial function is at the heart of what helps your business operate effectively. That’s why selecting the right accounting software can be so beneficial as you seek to grow your business.

Good accounting software doesn’t merely track numbers so you don’t have to do it manually. Good accounting software also helps you make projections about costs, revenue, and inventory needs. By effectively utilizing this powerful information, you can be prepared to ride the next wave of growth, instead of watching it pass you by.

Hiring

If you’re like most companies, your managers are already overworked keeping up with the day-to-day functions of your business. Adding a task as complex and time-consuming as talent acquisition to their already-saturated schedules will cause them to be less effective at their core proficiencies, and ultimately lead to burnout.

By choosing applicant tracking software that allows you to automate key parts of the talent acquisition process, you free up your managers to do whatever it is that you initially hired them to do. Plus, with automated workflows that increase your productivity, you can filter through much higher numbers of applicants, enabling you to arrive at a highly-qualified candidate in less time than it would have taken you to do it by hand, which would have also introduced the risk of missing the highly-qualified candidate altogether.

Human Resources

Statistics indicate that across all businesses, the average business has at least 20 employees. Of course, your business may have far more or far fewer, but unless you have fewer than five employees, dealing with all the functions relating to your human assets can be quite time-consuming. Of course, you can’t neglect these functions, as keeping your employees happy goes hand-in-hand with keeping your customers happy.

To save time and remain effective, though, it’s important to find a solid HR management software program that can handle onboarding, payroll, time off, benefits, and all the other aspects of a smoothly-operating human resources department. With increased efficiency, you can expect to improve employee morale, as they will realize they’re being more valued and taken better care of, which will, in turn, help you grow your business.

Marketing

Marketing, in and of itself, is an obvious way to grow your business. What’s key is that you don’t allow marketing to take over all your time, which will actually inhibit you from growing your business because you’re unable to focus any attention elsewhere. That’s why powerful marketing software is essential to growing your business, as it does an effective job at getting the word out about what you offer, while freeing you up to focus on other aspects of the business.

Software that automates email, print, and social media marketing can help you create a cohesive message across all platforms, resulting in powerful and effective results no matter what you’re aiming to promote.

People First

As important and effective as software can be, one-on-one interactions still are the best way to grow your business. People understand people the best, and so as you are freed up from the more mundane parts of business growth by selecting the best software, you will have more time to engage in the types of interactions with customers and employees that made you want to go into business in the first place. Not only will you feel free and happy, but your customers and employees are sure to notice your improved attitude as well, propelling everyone toward more success, together.

 
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How to Design an Office to Impress Your Clients

You and your business space have only one opportunity to make a good first impression and stay in the pleasant memory of your clients. Of course, the best way to do so is to provide good service, have a welcoming and well-trained team and offer great prices for your services. However, your office can also make or break a deal, so make sure to pay attention to your office design and impress your clients in the best way possible.

Add color with textiles

According to The Psychology of Color, certain hues can have amazing results on your business. However, you don’t have to go and paint your entire office red to evoke excitement or black to say you mean business. Simple colorful decorative pillows or rugs can have a big impact too. They will also add to the feeling of comfort and make your clients feel relaxed.

Choose the right decoration

You can add color with textiles, but be careful with attention-seeking art pieces. The art you choose for your office should complement your color palette without drawing too much attention. Colorful wall art might look attractive, but it can also be quite distracting. However, do concentrate on finding original artwork. If you’re aiming towards a more studious design, you can install a bookshelf and fill it with classic works and useful books related to your business niche.

Introduce greenery

Plants, just like colors, have an amazing impact on people’s minds. They add life, fresh air and colors pleasing to the human eye. So, get a couple of indoor plants and impress your clients with your eco-friendly and well-decorated office. However, if you want to bring it up a notch and really leave a big impression, you can invest in green walls. They are growing in popularity quite fast and a lot of professional interior designers choose to incorporate them into office design. They will completely transform a boring indoor space, making it more inviting and fresh.

Smart and pleasant lighting

One of the main mistakes in office design is ugly fluorescent lighting. Instead, try to boost natural light in your space and spice it up with some stylish task lighting. Freestanding lamps are particularly interesting and useful, especially for lobbies.

Invest in good seating

Probably the most important part of every successful office is furniture. Sleek chairs and sturdy desks will give away the impression of professionalism. Furniture like high-quality Chicicat statement chairs will show your customers that you mean business.

Reinvent the reception area

Reception areas are slowly going out of fashion, especially for smaller companies that don’t have hordes of clients every day. However, companies that want to ditch the reception area are worried that their clients might feel confused and lost. But, you can provide your visitors with visual guides like wall signs or colored lines on the floor. These will make it easy to get around the office and you will impress your clients with your ingenuity.

Declutter for the win

Regular cleanups cost very little but leave a huge impact on your potential clients. A space that is clean and well-organized conveys a message that you’re a serious and responsible business that’s worth investing in. So, ban eating at the desk and provide the space with ample storage and garbage bins (recycling bins will additionally impress clients). Also, try to keep your cords in line with zip ties, Velcro strips and cord tubes for a completely neat and clean design.

So, don’t let your clients run in the other direction the second they see your workspace. Instead, welcome them with a beautiful, smart design and leave a long-lasting impression.

 
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Tips on Delivering a Successful Event Presentation

Planning a corporate event might be a daunting task. To make it informative, memorable, and fun, you need to make numerous decisions, from agenda constraints and printed materials to choosing the perfect location and menu. Still, this is a piece of cake when compared to delivering a powerful presentation that is supposed to boost your brand awareness. However, this shouldn’t discourage you. Even experienced speakers never feel 100% confident for the moment they step on the stage and start talking.

Here are several tips that will help you deliver a brilliant event presentation.

Rehearsal Makes it Perfect

No one appreciates speakers looking at the notes all the time. After all, the fact that you’re not prepared adequately indicates that you are not professional enough, as well as that you don’t appreciate your listeners. To ensure that your presentation flows smoothly, you need to rehearse your speech at least a couple of times. This helps you focus on your speaking style, body language, verbal cadence, and timing. By adjusting all these elements of your speech, you will establish better communication and look more confident.

Do your Research

To structure your presentation effectively, you need to do your research. Knowing the details about your target audience (their age, education level, industrial partners, and their niche) enables you to tailor your speech to their expectations. For instance, if your listeners come from a different industry field, then you need to start simpler than you would usually do and make sure that your speech is easy to follow. On the other hand, oversimplifying a particular subject matter when presenting it to the people from your niche might be annoying or even insulting.

Stick to the 20-Minute Rule

Have you ever wondered why TED talks last less than 20 minutes? Well, that’s how long people can stay focused on your speech. Of course, if you are allotted an hour, this means that you should divide your presentation into smaller units. By breaking down your speech this way and connecting its fragments with smooth transitions, you will deliver your key points as independent wholes and manage them according to your preferences. Transitions indicate that you’ve moved from one point of the speech to another and help your listeners focus on what you’re currently discussing. This could be a brief digression from the topic or a joke that might not even seem connected to the subject matter.

Never Miss an Opportunity to Raise Brand Awareness

Every event presentation is an opportunity for you to promote your business and connect with the influencers in your niche. First, you can include your company’s case studies. This will not only establish you as an expert in your niche, but also boost your brand awareness. Of course, to stay on track, you should never be overly promotional. Second, you could consult a graphic design studio and customize your printed materials, create authentic brochures and flyers, and implement your logo to both printed and visual resources. Finally, you could even give out something for participation, be it promo materials or a signed copy of your book.

Tell a Story

Every good story is based on several elements, including the beginning, the climax, and the end. The same goes for your presentation. To make your presentation relevant, you need to structure it like a fairy tale, gradually boosting the listeners’ interest. Here is how:

  • The opening is crucial for drawing people’s attention. Inexperienced speakers usually waste those first critical minutes of a presentation on detailed explanations. Don’t do that. Once you catch your listeners’ undivided attention, you should introduce the background, by telling them why they are there and what they are going to find out. Never communicate the most important information at the beginning.
  • The climax is the longest segment of your presentation. Here, you need to explain an issue in a way that is easy to comprehend. Add a pinch of tension and make your listeners frustrated about a particular problem.
  • The end. Just like in a fairy tale, this part brings the solution to a problem. This is when you should explain how your products or services may make your listeners’ lives better.

Use the Right Tools to Improve Interaction

We all know that content is king. But, to deliver a powerful event presentation, you need to focus on how this content is presented. This is exactly when the latest tech solutions shine. Apart from PowerPoint, there are numerous platforms that will help you deliver positive experiences and give your listeners a reason to come back.

  • Interactive presentation platforms provide you with a wide range of resources, such as embedded videos, registration forms, and 3D product demonstrations. This enables you to take your target audience to a visual journey, deliver easy-to-remember content, and take their engagement to a whole new level.
  • Touch screens serve as an outstanding alternative to PowerPoint slides. They help you navigate through your content faster and more effectively and display multiple resources simultaneously.
  • Virtual reality is basically the future of event presentations, offering a new level of engagement through gamification. It helps attendees interact with your products virtually and visit distant places, without leaving a conference room.
  • Maximize your Q&A section, which is the backbone of your presentation. By taking advantage of new technologies, such as Catchbox, a soft wireless microphone you can throw to your listeners, you will break down barriers and make people’s participation much simpler.

To Wrap it Up

Once you have a few event presentations under your belt, all these worries might seem ridiculous to you. Until then, you should stay calm and try to have fun. Don’t pay attention to your every word or move. Instead, do something totally spontaneous to boost the atmosphere. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to connect with those listeners who seem really engaged with your speech, just like you would do in an everyday interaction. Good luck!

Emma Miller is a digital marketer from Sydney. Works as a blogger, Senior Editor for Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends.

 
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7 Important Marketing Tips for Health Professionals

As a healthcare professional, you probably know the importance of attracting new patients. Whether you operate a family care practice, optometry, dentistry or any other medical practice, you need patients to succeed. Without them, you’ll struggle to generate revenue and keep your practice financially afloat. You can attract more patients, however, by using the seven marketing tips listed here.

Encourage Patient Reviews

When a patient is preparing to leave your practice, ask him or her to leave a review online. Statistics show that 92 percent of patients read reviews of local doctors and medical practices online before booking an appointment. As your medical practice generates lots of positive reviews, patients will feel more comfortable choosing it instead of a competitor.

Create a Google My Business Page

Does your medical practice have a Google My Business (GMB) page? If not, you should create one. Operated by Google, this online directory is designed specifically for local businesses. Adding your medical practice here will allow patients to get directions using Google Maps or services powered by Google Maps. Additionally, you can use your GMB listing to information about your practice like hours of operation, accepted methods of payment and more.

Publish Health-Related Content

You can attract patients to your medical practice’s website by publishing health-related content. According to the Pew Research Center, 59 percent of adults have searched for health information online within the past year. Whether it’s the difference between a cold or flu or how to treat a fever, prospective patients are always searching for health information online. Health professionals should capitalize on this trend by publishing health content on their website.

Paid Search Advertising

Another effective marketing channel for health professionals is paid search advertising. Also known as pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, it involves displaying custom ads in the search results. Both Google and Bing have paid advertising services, known as AdWords and Bing Ads respectively. Using these services, you target local users around your medical practice, paying for each click your ad receives. Since paid advertising platforms like AdWords and Bing Ads offer local targeting, it’s a cost-effective way to promote a medical practice.

Search Engine Optimization

You don’t have to necessarily pay to get your business listed in the search results. All major search engines display organic results, which are not part of their respective advertising service. Performing search engine optimization (SEO) on your medical practice’s website will encourage a higher search ranking. After you’ve identified the keywords for which you want to rank, you can begin optimizing your site.

Keep in mind that SEO is a longer and more methodical process than paid search advertising. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee that you’ll achieve a number one ranking. As long you use the right SEO tactics, though, you should notice an improvement in your site’s rankings.

Create an Email Newsletter

An email newsletter is an excellent channel on which to promote healthcare practices. If you run a dentistry clinic like Carolina Crossroads, you can send patients reminders about upcoming cleaning appointments as well as tips on how to brush and floss. Over time, an email newsletter will increase your practice’s brand visibility and help you attract new patients.

Incentivize Referrals

It’s not uncommon for patients to refer a medical practice to their friends or family. If you provided a patient with exceptional service, he or she may recommend your practice to family members in need of professional healthcare services. You can encourage even more referrals such as this, however, by offering an incentive. For example, you can reward patients with a 10 percent of coupon for every new patient they refer.

Following these seven marketing tips will set your medical practice on the path to success.

 
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Top Reasons Your Business Should Invest Heavily in Social Media Marketing

Marketing your business is a constantly evolving challenge. There are many advertising options out there, and all of them can get results. But very few of them offer the same advantages that social media marketing (SMM) offers. Here are the top three reasons why your business needs to be going all in on social media.

Drive Targeted Traffic to Your Landing Pages

Big media reaches tons of people and has its place in your overall marketing strategy, but there’s nothing better than going directly to your target market. Social media allows you to bring very targeted traffic to your website. Once you narrow down your niche and find which social media platforms your target customers use most, push heavily into those channels. If you’re using accurate client personas and are focusing your efforts properly, the traffic you receive from your social campaigns can convert at a very high rate.

Instantly Connect with Your Customers

One of the best things about social media is its ability to put you directly in touch with your customers and potential customers in a way that they feel comfortable interacting with you. They might not fill out a contact form. They might dread dialing your toll-free number and going through a million options with the chatbots. But they’ll leave a comment on a Facebook post or answer back to an instant message on Instagram. You can receive a lot of information about what your customers want from you based on your SMM campaigns, with every post giving you immediate feedback.

When customers leave comments on your social posts, respond in an appropriate way, even if it’s just to give their comment a like or to drop in on their page and like a few of their posts too. You’d be surprised at how much of an impact this can have on some of your followers and how they feel about your brand. This, along with help from a program like Shaw Media Marketing, can also improve your search engine optimization.

Build Your Brand Cost-Effectively

Let’s face it. For many small businesses, the biggest draw of social media is its low cost. Advertising through big media campaigns is simply not an option for them. Social media marketing is so much more affordable and more cost-effective than traditional media, making it a no-brainer for your business too.

But while you can set up accounts and use social media for free, that doesn’t mean that you need to rely only on sweat equity to accomplish your goals. Paid social ads offer a great ROI and deserve a large share of your overall marketing budget due to their ability to target your chosen demographics with laser-like precision.

If you’re still sitting on the fence regarding social media marketing, there is no better time than the present to make your decision and get started. Don’t be intimidated by your lack of expertise in all things digital. Just get started. Consult a professional if you need more info, but don’t keep sitting back watching the opportunities pass you by.

 
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7 Marketing Tools & Technology Tips for 2018

As we move into the New Year, thoughts inevitably turn to what we are leaving behind in 2017 – and what we can look forward to in the upcoming year!

In the Tech and the Marketing worlds it is usually a good idea around this time of year to peer at the horizon and predict a number of innovations and groundbreaking products in both of these worlds. After all, if you know in advance the tools and tech that will be lighting up 2018 then you are already a step ahead of the competition.

Apps

Downloading and use of apps is growing year on year. What’s more, because Apps are a medium people choose to download and use, they already come with a cachet of agreeability from the customer that is not typically generated by things like promotional e-mails.

These things in fact tend to alienate customers – reading rates for promo e-mails hover around 5% – so finding new ways to communicate with the customer is of growing importance – mobile apps may be just the things to do this.

Go Mobile

Very much in line with the above tip, it is worth noting that Mobile devices, mainly phones, are now the number one way that people browse the Internet. Around 51% of web visits are now performed on mobile phones – which also represents a year on year growth of 25%.

The savvy marketer therefore is going to be making sure his website is mobile friendly in 2018.

Visual

Experts are predicating that 2018 is going to be the year of the video. In an increasingly crowded marketing space, marketing experts are predicting that a into a more visual space is going to help some companies get the edge in garnering attention.

In a recent poll by HubSpot, some 45% of marketing pros stated an intention to add YouTube to their marketing plans in 2018.

Audio

Podcasts are big business – many of them achieve in excess of 100,000 downloads per week, and they can have a very loyal listening fan base.

What’s more you can tailor your advertising easily. Sell male grooming products? Get an advert into a sports based podcast.

Facebook – But Not as We Know It.

When it comes to marketing, Facebook is a giant and everyone wants to be involved. But, it’s very popularity, the sheer numbers of adverts and pushed posts can leave users immune to marketing via Facebook.

That’s why in 2018 smart marketers will be pushing Facebook Live. An Experiment at SearchEngine Journal found their Facebook Live posts received 178% more views that a normal Facebook entry.

Educate

No matter if you are making videos, podcasts or written articles the trend in 2018 will be toward education in your material. First it was inspirational themes, and then it was quirky and funny. Now the marketplace is clogged with these types of messages, consumers are looking for something else to engage them.

Educational material allows you to build a voice the customer trusts – and listens to.

Tell Someone Else’s Story

No wants to read your blog about your product.

They do want to read about your product can be used to save time for busy Mom’s, how it can help them relax after a hard day’s work or hw it can improve the lives of impoverished children.

Don’t push your product in 2018, push it’s story – and make it cross platform. Make videos, post blogs, create podcasts.

Integrate

That is our final lesson too – and it’s going to be a big part of marketing in 2018 – advertise across multiple platforms. The days of spending big on a TV ad and waiting for sales to roll in are over.

In 2018, the great marketing campaigns will generate word of mouth on Twitter, they will have Facebook posts carrying links to Youtue videos.

Jen Starr is part of the community team at Next Day PC. Jen enjoys staying on top of the latest tech trends and sharing how new tech can positively impact people’s lives.

 
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Things to Do Before Starting an Online Business

While more and more people are obsessed with the idea of starting an online business, a lot of them are still completely oblivious of all that it takes to succeed in an industry. There are some issues that need to be resolved beforehand and some infrastructure to be laid down. Nonetheless, this course of action often eludes new entrepreneurs, which causes a wide array of difficulties further down the line. In order to avoid this becoming a serious problem, here are a few things you must do before starting an online business.

1. Gather the funds

Although it is true that some online businesses can be started with as little as $500, this greatly depends on the industry you are in.

At the very least, you need to pay for website design, monthly subscription fees for software you use and the cost of registering your domain name. This is, of course, in a situation where you If, on the other hand, you are in retail, you also have to think about the cost of manufacturing/paying the supplier. Needless to say, you need to bear in mind that the less money you aim to invest, the more effort will be required on your part, which doesn’t always seem like a smart trade for those who are already preoccupied with their day-job.

2. Separate your personal from your professional life

Perhaps one of the hardest things for a first-time business owner is finding a way to separate their personal and professional lives. This needs to be done both emotionally and financially. When it comes to the former, you need to try and restrain yourself from trying to micro-manage everything, seeing as how your personal relationships might suffer because of it. Moreover, you are putting yourself at risk of burning out early, just when your business might need you the most. As for protecting your personal finances, you need to register a company as soon as possible, so that, in the event of failure, you do not lose your personal savings to repay the investors.

3. Postponing worries about customer services

Everyone knows that customer service is a vital component in the success of a company. What they disagree on is how early on you need to resolve this issue. A vocal minority argues that this is something best left for later on, while the majority of experienced business owners argue that this can be a devastating mistake leading to the inevitable demise of your company. Therefore, your customer service needs to be among the first things you deal with and if you don’t believe you can handle this adequately in-house, outsourcing might be a good idea.

4. Having loose hiring criteria

A mistake that is probably the easiest one to sneak up on you is believing that the talent will come later on and that, for the time being, you can loosen up your hiring criteria. Needless to say, the very launch of your company is where you are supposed to shine the most, which is why allowing just about anyone into the company may cause irreparable damage in the long run.

5. Spreading yourself too thin on social media

Even though there are over a dozen important social networks out there at the moment, you don’t have to be equally represented across all of them. Retailers of gadgets and software have the greatest odds of appealing to their audience on YouTube, while those focusing on arts and crafts might have better luck on Pinterest. Furthermore, teens are the most common audience on Snapchat, while Facebook is believed to be a predominantly female network. Overall, you need to identify your target audience and focus the greatest portion of your efforts on one or two channels.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the greatest problem with the above-listed tips is that not all of them are logical or intuitive, which makes them easy to overlook. Sure, everyone knows that hiring the right people and dealing with your customer service is important, but not everyone knows just how dangerous skipping any of these steps may turn out to be. If you’re lucky, you will never have to find this out the hard way either.

 
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Restaurant Owner? 3 Ways To Get In Touch With Customer Satisfaction

As a restaurant owner, you know that customers are the lifeblood of your business. If you’re willing to listen to those customers, you’ll be better able to respond to their needs and steer your business in the right direction. Unfortunately, it can often seem impossible to get accurate information on customer satisfaction from those who work for you. Instead of depending on employees for this information, why not get it directly from your customers? Below are three ways to help you keep an eye on the satisfaction of your customers.

Be Active On Social Media

If you want to stay connected with your customers, you’ll need social media accounts. These accounts will cost your business nothing, though you’ll need to spend time managing these accounts. Not only do they help give you a presence in the lives of your customers, but they give your customers a unique way to get in contact with you. It’s become increasingly common for customers to air their grievances and ask questions on social platforms, so you’ll want to be available to help them whenever possible.

Make sure you actively monitor these channels and make them useful. If you want customers to contact you, make sure someone is always standing by to answer questions. If you can be proactive, customers will actually go out of their way to let you know how your business is performing.

Cultivate Reviews

Customer reviews are a precious commodity these days. Not only do they help you get more information from your customers about what you are doing right (or wrong), but they also help provide valuable information for those who are thinking about visiting your business. If you really want to get in touch with customer satisfaction information, you must make sure to have a presence on major review sites.

At a minimum, make sure you leave a spot for customer reviews on your own website. You should also take advantage of Google’s reviews and Yelp. Make sure to boost customers who respond positively and to respond to anyone who responds negatively. In many cases, a respectful and helpful response to a negative review can still help you when it comes to customer satisfaction. Keep an eye on these reviews, as they’ll often help you determine how to steer your business going forward.

Ask

If you really want to know what your customers are thinking, try asking them. Having a survey made is quick and fairly painless but it can provide you with a wealth of information. Many customers may log onto a review site will still fill out a questionnaire in person, especially if there is a reward for doing so. If you format the questions correctly, you can even get good data.

Make it as easy as possible for customers to take these questionnaires. Provide an option for doing them in your place of business, but also give them the opportunity to do the survey online. If you do have an online survey, make sure it is optimized for mobile devices so that customers can do the survey on the go. If you give them the tools to give you information, you’ll find that most customers are happy to tell you what they think.

Keep track of social media, use review sites, and don’t be afraid to ask your customers for input. With the right tools at your disposal, you can gather information and help your business to focus on the areas that will bring in more customers. These tools require constant monitoring and updating, but they’re ultimately among the best ways to make sure that your customers are happy.

 
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Social Media Strategies: 5 Tips for Small Business Branding

Social media has changed the way business is done all over the world. Weary of advertising saturation in other media, the majority of social users prefer to do business with brands they’ve connected with on social networks. No matter the size of your company, the key to building your brand is following the right strategies on the major social sites. Those who fail to capitalize on this are missing many opportunities. For building up your small business’ online presence, it’s practically a necessity. Here are some strategies to use in social brand building.

Choose the Right Network

If you’ve tried several social sites already without much success, you’re probably squandering your time and effort. It’s important to discover which social network is right for your company. Pinterest, for instance, is visually oriented, while Twitter limits you to 140-character posts. First, you should identify which social site your market segment prefers according to demographics, then allow yourself time to learn the formats and etiquette that each particular set of users expects. When you feel you’ve got it covered, then create a profile on the next and start linking the two.

Create Visual Branding

If your visual look is too varied, people following you from one network to another may get the feeling that they’re dealing with a different company. Come up with a visual look to your brand that followers will recognize and become comfortable with. This is part of building trust. Come up with logos, image and media types, slogans, avatars, and color schemes that will give your social media posts a distinct look. Be sure to use the same photo filters, as well. Your visual style should reflect your official company site and be consistent across all your social media profiles.

Develop Your Character

Branding is also very dependent on the message you put out, or your brand voice. This also has to be consistent and appealing. Your company culture, philosophy, social causes, and everything else that makes up who you are as a company should be a part of your social posts. Discovering just exactly what your voice is could take some time. Be sure that it’s positive and expressed in an authentic manner. Finding ways to express it effectively will help audiences connect with your company at a more emotional, intuitive level.

Focus on Core Topics

No matter which social media platform you use, you’re liable to see many posts, even from your loyal followers, that you find objectionable, intriguing, or hilarious. Keep in mind that as a business, you’re best response is always to remain neutral and professional. Don’t get drawn into conversations on topics that might be offensive or that have nothing to do with your company or industry. Have a clear list of topics that you think will really benefit your business and your followers. If you have an employee or service manage your social activity, set clear guidelines upfront on what is or isn’t acceptable.

Use Digital Tools

Employ whatever analytic tools are available to track your progress. The relative success of each post could help you discover the content that works best on each social site. Particularly if you operate a B2B company, take advantage of other online tools to support your social branding. For example, add your company’s social information to Crunchbase. This site is a business data firm used by companies like Xyngular, investors, and more to track startup activity and small business growth. This can help key players in your industry find you.

It may seem like an uphill battle when you start out as a relative unknown. It will take some time and patience. But a strong social media brand can become the best and most productive marketing tool you have.

 
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