Tips on Using Technology to Improve Client-to-Business Relationships

HandshakeIf you’ve got your own business, you’ll know by now the importance of maintaining relationships with your customers. You may feel it’s a challenge to devote time to each customer as your client base increases as your company grows, yet you still need to effectively communicate and respond to all their needs.

You are not alone. Every business struggles with this dilemma. Luckily, technology most likely has a solution to help re-connect you with your clients.

Here are some tips on using technology to improve customer/client relationships.

Upgrade Your Phone System

There’s a perception that phones are no longer trendy. Many small businesses think the only way to reduce costs is to spend as little as possible on phone systems, forgetting that a good system is essential to their business. There are so many options: Multi-channel phone systems, call/contact centre technology, mobile and tablet video conferencing, VoIP… there’s definitely something that suits your needs and fits your budget.

To get the best advice about what system would work for your business, it’s best to speak with a company that specialises in small business phone systems, such as Com2.

Use Technology To Enhance The Customer Experience

Many companies make the common mistake of using technology or software, to try to create a NEW customer experience, rather than enhance or improve an existing one. Often, the focus is on the technology instead of making the customer’s experience better.

First, you need to define what your ‘customer experience’ is (this is a lot harder than it sounds!) then identify the tools and/or software you need to make it better. Don’t fall into the common trap of moulding your strategy around the latest technological fad.

Utilise The Best Tools Available

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are a great way to manage all communications and data involving your customers. A CRM will enable you to analyse your customers so you can target them more precisely in your marketing campaigns. This will save you time and money and improve your results. If you don’t have a CRM system in place, you are about a decade behind… Literally stuck in the 1990′s.

I doubt you can survive the remainder of this decade without a CRM. Sorry, but that’s the way of the world – innovate or perish. There is no excuse – CRM systems are affordable and web-based, so technologically easy to implement.

Make Your Website Interactive

There are many ways to create interactivity on your website. One option is to have online survey tools to solicit input and feedback that can help you enhance your customer experience. You can send  e-newsletters, provide feedback forms and keep your list of FAQs current with audio and video explanations.

Use Social Media

Everyone’s going social these days, so why don’t you? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are all free (unless you wish to pay to advertise through them), accessible and widely relied upon by the majority of the population. If you have a consumer client base it would be unwise not to use them. With social media you can easily keep people up to date and inform them of new products, recent achievements and upcoming events. Many businesses also use these networks as a base for promotions or competitions that keep their customers coming back for more.

Customers expect a high level of service. By staying current and utilising these various technologies, you’ll be able to personalise your service to each customer, thus creating a meaningful relationship that will keep them loyal on a long term basis.

A Christmas Gift For You

We know the adage about gift giving that it’s the thought that counts…

My gift to you is FREE space “in the cloud” on DropBox – click on the image below and you will access one of the best cloud-based storage services in the world – second only to Apple’s iCloud.

DropBox Referrals

Once you’ve signed up – it’s FREE, you can get your own affiliate code and get rewarded for YOUR referrals to friends, family and colleagues. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

This is exponential leverage at its very best, which is what makes the Internet the most powerful marketing tool ever created.

Learn to leverage the Internet to your advantage without needing to give anything away for FREE, but using other people’s FREE gifts to YOUR advantage with the Internet Sales Lead Generation Toolkit.

Top 10 Blog Posts For 2014

Here are my picks for my top 10 blog posts of 2014.

  1. Top-10-Blog-Posts-2014There is nothing more powerful than 20/20 Foresight to know what’s coming in 2015…
  2. This is my favourite YouTube video of the year – brilliant – Word Crimes are committed by too many people’s.
  3. Antimimeticisomorphism is easier said than done – this example is priceless – poo pourri.
  4. The privacy pirates are still at it in 2014, maybe this guy’s one step ahead of them with his amazing mind reading skills!
  5. We all love our iPads… Who knew they are this versatile and useful?
  6. A metaphor can be the difference life and death, success or failure. This is one of my all-time favourites.
  7. This cute video says a lot about teamwork – Together Everyone Achieves More.
  8. Looks do matter – even if you’re a shark.
  9. I hope your calendar doesn’t look this this! Notice the caribou? Another great metaphor!
  10. Somethings are better left unsaid.

Bonus Blog Posts:

An Oscar Award Winning Speech worthy of its own Oscar!

If Noah was alive today

Enjoy the best of 2014 and may 2015 bring you all the wealth, health and happiness you deserve!

Linked In And The Law

Porter Press -1 Porter Press -2 Porter Press -3

 

Thank you Alex Pataky of Opening Roof Specialists for forwarding this on.

I am sure several of our readers and subscribers will purchase the book!

Amazing mind reader reveals his gift in this 2-minute video

You need to watch the video first – it is simply AMAZING..

When you’re done, click to read more.

Continue reading ‘Amazing mind reader reveals his gift in this 2-minute video’

iPad German Commercial

This is just too funny – don’t worry, you don’t need to understand any German to laugh out loud at this hilarious commercial.

10 Things Not To Do On Twitter

I am not a fan of Twitter, but it does have its valuable use, like receiving all the posts from my blogs – automatically when you follow Marc Dussault… But there are some things you should not do on Twitter as this funny video reminds us…

Ten things not to do on Twitter:

  1. Don’t retweet a complement. Or, do it rarely. They say it’s the same thing as bragging. It is.
  2. Don’t promote something more than a few times. Don’t tweet endlessly about that new blog post you just wrote. It gets boring for your followers. I say the 80/20 rule works here. Only self-promote yourself 20% of the time and you’ll get great results.
  3. Go easy on the hashtags. Hashtags can be fun. If you don’t overuse them. Don’t. Tripp and Tyler also say you shouldn’t use the word “hashtag” in real life. I don’t follow this one. Because, of course, it’s just too much fun to say “hashtag parenthood” when my husband and I are cleaning up baby spit.
  4. Don’t tweet 200 times about the awesome thing you’re doing instead of experiencing it. Live your life, don’t just tweet it.
  5. Stop tweeting about things other people don’t care about. I think you’ll need to contact Tripp and Tyler directly to find out what they believe your followers care about. Or just do what I do, and constantly tweet new mother baby pictures showcasing the insane cuteness of baby @lucia and hope people will forgive you for it.
  6. Don’t follow thousands of people in hopes they’ll follow back. No really, don’t.
  7. Don’t use Twitter for your extended two-way conversations. Need to talk to have a long two-way conversation with someone? Get on email. Or text. Tripp and Tyler say to do it off Twitter. It’s minorly weird to talk forever with just one person as everyone else watches.
  8. Don’t think everyone see yours @replies. This is a tricky one that many don’t understand. Here’s the scoop: If you send an @reply tweet to @claire, it won’t show to all your followers. It will only show to me. If you want all your followers to see the tweet to me, put a period (or word) in front of your @reply, like this: “.@claire” or “hey @claire”. Then everyone will see it.
  9. Don’t tweet twice in a row to squeeze in more than 140 characters. Tripp and Tyler are deeply annoyed by this, apparently.
  10. Don’t tweet too many quotes. You may have heard that tweets with quotes get retweeted like crazy. They do. But not if you do them all the time. Vary up your tweets.

What other things should you not do on Twitter? I’m all ears.

Social Media Versus Traditional Media

Even though this is a study by Virgin Mobile, it still puts into question the true so-called value of Social Media… As you know from reading this blog, I am NOT a proponent of Social Media. I rely on RESULTS to direct my marketing and sales activities. If you do what everyone else does, you end up with the same results they get, which by definition is… AVERAGE.

Social Media - Virgin

Contact us if you want to learn the art and science of antimimeticisomorphism – how to have fun doing out-of-the-ordinary things that create extra-ordinary results with the least amount of effort and lowest cost.

If you would like to get a full media audit to determine how you can create more leads that turn into sales, contact Ultimate Edge Communications.

The Case Against Social Media

As a reader or subscriber to this blog, you know I am fundamentally “against social media” based on some fundamental business and online privacy principles.

The following excerpts from a recent study bolster my belief that the influence of social media is grossly overrated – IN MOST instances. yes, there are exceptions, but exceptions are NOT the rule!

The following graphics from a study from Dscout.com say it all…

Social Media - Phones

It’s not just phones that lack influence – it’s “social media” in general…

Social Media - Friends Influence

So where does the propaganda come from?

Think about it – the social media platforms and self-proclaimed consultants and advisors have everything to gain… THEIR model is to make money FROM you, not for you… Hmmmm….

Get connected: How networking services can help your business

Computer NetworkingExperienced business professionals know the value in networking – there is no better way to get work done and stay ahead than connecting and communicating with other sources of information and knowledge. Whether it’s within a group of industry professionals like the Women’s Networking Australia, or Connected Women, or just a bunch of friends, information works best when it can be shared, discussed and passed on.

Networking your business’s IT infrastructure has the same benefits – you and your staff will have better access to the key sources of information, knowledge and productivity. Setting up an IT network is easy when going through a professional information technology company such as Keyspace Australia.

Here’s why your business should get connected with networking services today.

What does it Mean?

Wireless, wired, cloud computing – sometimes it feels like a completely different language! But the truth is, networking is not a new concept. It’s just moving forward like everything else. The basics are still the same – systems work together to share information and knowledge, stay connected, and help grow your business. So what option do you choose? The best way to decide is to break down exactly what your work environment is.

  • Do you need completely portable devices so your staff can move around more easily?
  • Do you need access to a large amount of storage for emails and information archiving?
  • Are you concerned about security?

These questions will help determine the infrastructure you require.

Staying Connected

Whether your business is big or small, staying connected with the people you work with is vital for productivity. Networking services, whether wireless or wired, will allow you to do this. You can have every computer, laptop and mobile all working in sync so your workflow is rarely interrupted. It’s a dream for any business! Having your business and its devices set up on a network means you can make tweaks to that all-important presentation the moment you think of it – and you don’t have to make a trip into the office!

Share Your Information

The other bonus of having your business’s devices connected on a network is sharing! Everyone likes to share (most of the time), particularly when your business revolves around teamwork to keep it going. File sharing between laptops, computers and mobiles makes for a more efficient team environment. Nothing is missed and work can always be accessed if someone happens to be away. Other devices such as printers, scanners and webcams can also be added to the network and easily shared via a wireless connection. Because everything is shared on the network, growing your business is more convenient as devices are ready to go immediately for new employees.

Be Secure

Everyone can get a little slack when it comes to computer back-ups, and even if they are done regularly there is still no guarantee it’s safe. What if there’s a fire or a flood that affects your server room? By setting up a wireless network you will have more back-up storage and safer, multi-geographic places to keep it. Options such as the cloud means all your information is backed-up to a secure offsite location. It’s also the perfect solution for archiving too!

So whether you prefer the mobility of a wireless network, or the added security of a wired network, an expertly setup network will give your business more access and smoother productivity. This can keep your business moving towards the future and continued success. So what are you waiting for?

What have been your biggest hesitations about setting your business up with networking services? Let us know in the comments below.

This has been a guest post – if you would like to submit an article, please contact us for our publishing terms and conditions.

Smartphone Addicts – A solution

Smartphone cone

DropBox: Get more free space

We all need more free disk space – especially in the cloud. If you aren,t using DropBox, click on the hyperlink and you’ll instantly get 500 Mb of free space – need more? Invite more friends and you can get up to 16 GB of free space.

Dropbox is ideal when you run a virtual company with freelancers and contractors working around the globe. It is one of the many priceless web-based tools we teach our clients to use to leverage their time and resources – exponentially.

DropBox Sign up

5 Tips for Launching Your Own Online Business

Start Online BusinessAs a subscriber or reader of this blog, you know that I am not a proponent of the Information Product Millionaire “get rich quick” approach to Internet Marketing.

That being said, the Internet remains the most exponential sales and marketing tool available for brick and mortar businesses who want to increase their offline and online sales.

Here are a few tips to launching the online part of your business, to complement what you are already doing offline.

1. Invest in Your Website & Branding

This is a crucial step, no matter how limited your start-up capital is. For an online venture, the website is the business so it needs to not only look good, but also function properly on any device your customers are using (computer, tablet or phone). It needs to have the ability to take payments and of course be search engine optimisated (SEO) and more. You can do it yourself with our Internet Sales Lead Generation Toolkit or consider contacting a full service agency like 4040 Creative to help you in the early stages and get you online with a strong brand and modern, fully functioning integrated website solution.

2. Seek Professional Advice

Even if you can’t afford to hire your own lawyers, accountants and other consultants when you’re starting up, you should at the very least tap into resources like Small Business Development Centres, your local Chamber of Commerce or similar organisations in your region. Passion and talent can take you a long way in business, but being great at what you do doesn’t always translate to being great at running a business and some professional input can save you from making costly mistakes.

We have been working with groups like these – In Corona, California and in Bankstown, NSW, Australia, to help their members grow their businesses.

3. Have A Business And Marketing Plan

You can easily find free templates for both of these online if you’re not sure where to start. The old “fail to plan, plan to fail” adage definitely applies to running an online business. Spend some time doing your planning and then use it as a working guide to operating and growing your online business.

4. Network

This can be done both online and off, and is crucial to help grow your business. Reach out to complimentary businesses with whom you may be able to form mutually beneficial affiliate relationships. Join groups and forums that can help connect you with other solo business owners and be seen where your potential customers are likely to be.

Be careful not to get caught up in the Social Notworking Vortex –
where countless hours are wasted…

Remember to focus on building the relationship in the initial stages rather than going in for the hard sell and consider what you can do for others BEFORE you focus on what they can do for you. Pay it forward as much as you can – selecting those partners who are worthy of such an investment.

5. Diversify Your Income Streams

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Even if you are doing really well on a particular platform – don’t rely on it always being your primary source of revenue. Things can change quickly, particularly when using a third party application that you ultimately have no control over.

This is a guest post. If you would like to contribute to Australian Blogs, please contact us for our publishing terms and conditions.

Another Dream Dashed by Social Media Blunder

If you read this and my other blogs, you know I’m anti Social Media. The story of the pretty World Cup fan winning a L’Oreal modelling contract only to lose it because of an offensive social media post is just one of countless examples of how people are paying the price for being irresponsible with their own image, persona, online identity. It’s too bad, a contract of a lifetime is down the proverbial toilet.

World Cup Model - Loreal

Email Infographic – words to (not) use

This infographic has a lot of useful lessons for anyone using broadcast email marketing on an on-going basis.

Email Marketing Infographic

Microsoft’s piracy statement updated

As a reader or subscriber to this blog, you know I am not a fan of Social Media and the tactics used to steal your personal information.

Today’ I came across a message from Microsoft that I found truly surprising – read it for yourself.

The question is, will they be able to stick to it and remain competitive when their competitors keep stealing and monetising peoples’ personal details as rampantly as ever… Time will tell, but I have to give credit, where credit is due – well done Microsoft!

 Microsoft Piracy Statement

How to Harness the Power of Social Media for Your Brand

Social Media TreeWhile most organisations acknowledge having a social media presence is almost non-negotiable in the modern, connected world; not everyone fully understands how to incorporate it into the marketing mix with proven return on investment.

The social media realms can be difficult to navigate – it’s still a relatively new industry that is continually undergoing rapid growth and developments. What worked six months ago may have changed; or a brand may find itself with a strong following but low conversions.

Below are some ways you can get the most out of your social media activities.

Consider Hiring A Digital Strategist

For social media marketing activities to be effective, they should be carried out as part of an integrated marketing and communications plan and this is where hiring professionals, even if only in the initial implementation stages, can really help to maximise return on investment. A full service agency like Simple can ensure that an organisation’s social media presence supports overall goals and objectives and help to present a professional and results driven solution.

Choose Which Platforms To Be Active On And Commit To Them

Unless a brand has the resources to hire a social media team, choosing one or two key social media applications to focus attention on is often more effective than trying to have a presence on all of them. Go with what you know and where you know your customers and target audience are. It is really important that if a brand is going to use social media, they do so regularly and consistently. Only updating sporadically can impact the reach of social media posts and failing to check the profiles regularly may mean that a genuine customer enquiry has gone wanting.

Have Goals and Objectives

It’s nearly impossible to measure results and return on investment if social media activity is carried out haphazardly without purpose. Be wary of relying on numbers of followers and likes as a measure – while a business doing social media well should see genuine fan engagement and audience growth, it is better to have 500 passionate and interested supporters than 50,000 who aren’t interested. While competitions and promotions can be effective ways to build audiences, make sure that they are carried out in a targeted and calculated away to appeal to the people who want to do business with the brand.

Be Social

Social media is not the place to broadcast one-sided sales messages – the focus should be on building relationships and conversations that lead to trust and confidence in the brand. Interact with followers, encourage conversation and acknowledge their comments. Also seek to build rapport with like-minded brands and businesses. While casual communication is encouraged on social media platforms, ensure there is still a level of professionalism in all posts and responses.

Social media marketing can be an effective communications channel for brands when it is done well, and done with purpose. Embracing the fact that it is not like any other marketing medium can go a long way to ensuring that brand activities on social media platforms are effective.

This is a sponsored, guest post. If you would like to submit content to be published on one of our blogs, please contact us for our publishing terms and conditions.

Things not to do on Social Media – Employee guidelines

Social Media - LogosSocial networking websites have become a popular way to interact with people on the Internet. Thirty-five percent of adults on the Internet now have a profile on at least one social networking site, and 51 percent have more than one. Three-quarters of users between the ages of 18 and 24 have an online profile.

Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Friendster, Urban Chat and Black Planet are just a few of more than 100 Web sites connecting folks around the world who are eager to share their thoughts and feelings.

The use of social media at work presents new opportunities to employers, but also new responsibilities. One is how to manage the amount of time employees spend using the sites and how it is affecting workplace productivity.

Here are some recommendations relating to what employees should not be doing/sharing on social media sites:

  1. Don’t share too much information – It’s very easy to get caught up in the social aspects of sites like Facebook, but what you choose to share is there for all to see if you don’t limit who can view your information.  Sharing personal information with strangers can be dangerous business, and there are some things you should definitely put on your “do not share” list. With Twitter, you can tweet a half dozen times per day and be fine. With Facebook Business Page, once a day should be enough and the same goes for LinkedIn too.
  2. Don’t say you hate your job – You may not like your job or your boss but complaining about it on social media is not going to go down well when your boss finds out.
  3. Posting information when your profiles are linked to more than one site – You may post something innocuous on one site, but then it’s linked to your LinkedIn work profile and you’ve put your job at risk because of that posting.
  4. Failing to keep secrets – News about your workplace, for example, a planned expansion or project should be kept private and under wraps. For instance, broadcasting your visit to a competitor’s client might hurt your company’s chances of securing new business.
  5. Avoid being negative – Negative comments on social media about fellow employees, your employer or customers lowers the reputation of the company and its customers.  You should showcase the success of your colleagues, your company and not just your own achievements and accomplishments.
  6. Social Media - Anti SocialDon’t get into an argument – A difference of opinion is OK; a full-blown argument is definitely taboo. If you want to descend into mud-slinging, just remember, on the Internet, you can’t take it back – it’s permanent and will remain there… forever!
  7. Don’t boast – It’s OK to let people know you just got promoted or you just got a brand new car but be subtle – and grateful. Humility goes a long way on social networks.
  8. Don’t get personal – Just because you have some dirt on the office manager or another colleague, it doesn’t mean  you have the green light to share unflattering gossip online. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is the perfect maxim for social networking.
  9. Don’t share the fact that you are planning to take a sick day on social media! And don’t share photos of an event that reveals that you were not sick that day. (Note: What the $##@$#$ are you doing taking a (fake) sick day in the first place? If you want a day off, ask for it and schedule it with your boss. Have some self-respect!)
  10. Don’t use social media for posting defamatory or discriminatory messages – Be aware that social media can be used for cyber bullying and harassment purposes, so avoid posting offensive or threatening comments.
  11. Do not breach confidentiality – Unauthorised disclosure of company information via social media sites could include details relating to profit/loss, potential redundancies, employee personal information, client details, internal complaints or trade secrets.
  12. Do not repost articles – be careful about sharing posts you have not actually read because headlines rarely reveal the entire story. Read the article before you attach your reputation to it.
  13. Don’t compromise your organisation’s security – visiting social networking sites at work may expose company networks to malware and can help hackers steal identities and data. Hackers are attracted to networking sites because of the potential they see to commit fraud and launch spam malware attacks.

 LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a professional networking site and you should not be doing the following there:

  • Rapid posting – spamming the newsfeed. This is not the place to broadcast links to articles.
  • Post/participate in spam comments. This is frowned upon by all.
  • Participate in flame wars. The opinions on LinkedIn may not be the same as yours so while it may be difficult to hold back and express your opinion, do so in a professional manner.
  • Auto-post from another social channel to LinkedIn. You cannot sync LinkedIn with Twitter; it causes spam and clutter.
  • Auto-post from website feed. You should not auto share every post on social media. Everything you do on LinkedIn will always be taken in a professional way, unlike Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is not a publishing tool for broadcasting messages; it’s a networking tool for showcasing yourself as a professional and make people want to work with you, value your opinions and thoughts.

 Twitter is another social networking phenomenon you should be careful with.

  1. You are what you share/tweet – Just use good common sense when sharing on social networks. The Internet is now the track record of your life. Don’t share something that you don’t want to be left as a representation of you. But don’t let this stop you from making yourself known on issues and things that matter. Having no voice pertaining to certain things that your business stands behind could be worse than a few people disagreeing with your own beliefs. Be proud of who you are and represent as a business, but make sure that you know what image you’re crafting as a result.
  2. Don’t be needy – No one likes needy people on social media. So don’t ask your Twitter followers to “retweet this tweet please.” And don’t beg your Facebook friends to come “Like” your page. Get creative with the way you do things. You can still accomplish those tasks, but learn how to disguise them.
  3. If you misuse Twitter, let’s face it, everyone will see you for what you are – a TWIT!

 

 

Facebook Friends

This is from a parody Twitter account, but I thought it made the point quite succinctly:

Being popular on Facebook is like sitting at the cool table in a mental hospital.

Tweet - Facebook Friends

Bear in the woods

This is a metaphor that can change how you manage your Internet Marketing Strategies. Click on the image below to see how you can generate more leads for your business.

Bear waving - quote