Customer satisfaction isn't one single act, but a group of actions that work together to make their experience a pleasant and satisfying experience. You've probably eaten at a restaurant where the food was wonderful, but the service slow and unprofessional. Somebody was doing a good job, but your overall experience wasn't up to par. There are three areas of service that work together to impress your customers. Provide good service in these three areas, and they'll be back... time and time again. 1. Instant ResponseLet's face the facts... people just don't like to wait. When they walk out the door, they want to have the product at their fingertips. Hey, they may have taken weeks to decide on the purchase, but once the decision has been made, they want it NOW.The best way to make customers happy is to make the product available at the point of sale, but not all businesses are able to do that. Internet marketers obviously cannot provide immediate service, but can be sure to keep delivery time to an absolute minimum. 2. Make Buying SimpleKeep the buying process as simple as possible. Customers are just like you, they hate paperwork. To an online customer, clicking on 20 different screens translates as paperwork. It's annoying, time consuming, and a turn off.Use the "easy as 1, 2, 3" idea as a selling point in your advertising campaign. Busy and tired customers take notice, and you'll see results!3. Give Customers Personal AttentionGood listeners are hard to come buy. The world is full of people trying to sell us something, or trying to persuade us to their viewpoint. You want to make an impact? Learn to listen to your customers.Make it easy to ask questions. Yeah, yeah, I know. That's time consuming and you don't have time to spare. But listen, you'll find that a lot of questions are repeated over and over again. Create a frequently asked question form, and you'll be able to answer a lot of consumer questions without sacrificing as much of your time.
One of the biggest myths of the Internet is the good old line, If you build it they will come So many people throw up a website and sit back rubbing their hands with glee convinced they are going to become supremely wealthy.Months later they are wringing their hands with regret wondering why theyve had five visitors, four of which were their friends!A website does not just automatically appear high in the search engine rankings and get traffic, you have to do some work in order to get this traffic and start making sales. There are thousands, or even more of sites competing for the same traffic you want depending on your niche and keywords, there could be millions of sites!You need to promote your website and get it noticed not only in the search engines, but in other places where you will get targeted traffic who are interested in your website.Strategy 1 - DirectoriesThere are a whole host of directories on the Internet. Just search for your keyword and Directory or Link Exchange or anything similar and you will find hundreds of places to put your links. Yeah, it is hard work to do this, but you will get links and traffic to your site. If its too much like hard work for you hire someone to do it!Strategy 2 - ArticlesArticles are an excellent way to gain traffic and promote your site. Submitting your article to directories will get you backlinks and if they are quality articles, will get you known across the Internet as an expert. Newsletter and website owners will pick up your articles and use them as content. This will help to promote your site to a much wider audience.Strategy 3 Affiliate ProgramRunning an affiliate program for your product is an excellent way to promote your site. Instead of you working on promoting your site, you have all these affiliates doing the work for you. And the best thing is you dont pay them a penny unless they make a sale. Depending on how much you offer as a commission, you could have hundreds of hungry affiliates aggressively marketing your product all over the Internet.Strategy 4 Viral MarketingViral marketing is a concept that has been around for some time. Its a very powerful method of getting traffic to your site. You have all seen those cute or funny emails and videos that people send to all their friends? That is viral marketing. If you can tap into this through a book, a video, games or anything people will want to pass on to their friends, suddenly you have a whole lot of people promoting your site for free!Strategy 5 ForumsForums are an excellent way to market your website. As you participate in a forum so you can establish yourself as an authority and trusted expert on your chosen subject, which will make people come to visit your website to find out more information. Be aware though, that if you blatantly promote your business without adding value or spam the forums you will do more harm than good to your reputation and your business.Promoting your website will get you targeted traffic. It will also allow you to organically move up the search engine rankings through backlinks and the use of keywords. If you are someone who is serious about making money online, then you need to start taking your website promotion seriously. Remember though spam and other unethical practises will harm your business in the long term. Promote your site ethically and responsibly, and you can be reaping the rewards for years to come.
Nothing happens in business until a sale is made. Marketing is simply about getting new customers and keeping them. If youre not doing something everyday to market and promote your business, your competitors are. Here are ten easy-to-implement tips to effectively market and grow your business:1. Partner with large email database list owners and offer to cross promote each oher. The list owner will advertise your event, product, or service to their email database and youll offer to do the same to your list.2. Create your own blog which is an online journal with frequently updated posts to entertain and excite existing and potential customers. Its more personal and immediate then a website and keeps people engaged and hopefully coming back for more. You can even create one for free at http://www.blogger.com.3. If you want to increase word-of-mouth fast, do something beyond normal industry expectations. For example, Mr. Lube offers fast and affordable tune-up service to customers right on the spot, without having to leave the car, while offering coffee, cappuccino, and a fresh newspaper.4. Always ask happy clients for endorsements or testimonials and put them on your website and other marketing collateral. Theyre worth their weight in gold. Try to get some recognizable names in your community for additional cachet.5. Put a special offer or product advertorial on every invoice and statement you send out. Likewise, you can also negotiate a deal with another company to advertise your product or service on all their invoices for a percentage of revenues from placed orders.6. Make your business cards stand out and be natural keepers. Offer important information on the back such as emergency phone numbers, a map, or special dates to remember. Have a slogan that offers a powerful benefit statement to your prospective customer.7. Offer special bonus packages with your product or service offering. Get corporate sponsors to give away products as part of the bonus package in exchange for free exposure.8. Align your business with a cause or charity. Give back to your community. Customers appreciate doing business with companies that are bettering their communities and the environment and being good corporate citizens.9. Find an angle that makes your work controversial. The banning of Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, reviewed as "trashy and vicious," was a blessing in disguise. Twain made a poster advertising the ban, which significantly increased sales.10. Post frequently in online message boards/forums relevant to your business or expertise. Include your signature and offer tips and valuable advice. Eventually you will begin gaining word-of-mouth exposure as a leader in your field. Posting messages with your company information also helps to increase your search engine rankings and drive traffic to your site.[Excerpted from Sharif Khans new ebooklet: "101 Ways to Market Your Business," http://tinyurl.com/m2nsf ].
Copyright 2006 Joel SussmanOne of the least understood, most underutilized marketing techniques in the business world is public relations. That fact represents an opportunity for small business owners and managers who are willing to devote a little time to cultivating relationships with reporters and editors in their community.Advertising is the obvious approach to self-promotion, so a lot of your competition is doing it. Generating free or inexpensive publicity through press releases and media relations is not as commonplace, so it offers a much more uncluttered arena for gaining visibility and name recognition. The 'cost of admission' consists of a newsworthy story and a little insight into how the process works.Potential Pitfalls and OpportunitiesThe bad news is that editors, radio news directors, and other media gatekeepers receive dozens of "press releases" every day, and that's just in the small towns! Releases get tossed in the circular file for three primary reasons:1) They look unprofessional, 2) They're an ad masquerading as a news story, or 3) They have little or no news value.Three other fatal flaws in a news release are: a failure to get to the point right away, an abysmal absence of formatting, and glaring typographical mistakes and grammatical neglect.Although it may sound like there are 101 ways you can go wrong (so why even try?), it's actually more a matter of common sense, persistence, and following a few basic guidelines. It might take a little experimentation to discover whether you get better results working directly with specific reporters, instead of editors (and using email vs snail mail), but as you fine tune your approach and make yourself known to local media people, your success rate should rise significantly. You may ultimately find that "public relations" is the missing link in an otherwise lackluster media campaign.Cardinal Rules of Press Release WritingAs in any type of marketing, presentation and image can make a big difference in the quality of the results produced. Here are a dozen guidelines for putting your best foot forward with the media.1) In the headline and the body of the release, emphasize the news value of your story. If it fails to catch an editor's attention or sounds remotely like an ad, the odds of it being published or broadcast are slim. 2) It will have more of an impact if the first paragraph contains the most important information, with the rest of the material arranged in order of descending importance. 3) One simple, but useful guideline for writing a press release is the old journalism standard of focusing on the five "W's", namely: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and sometimes, How? 4) Write it from the perspective of an objective observer, not from the point of view of a business owner or manager 5) Use short sentences and double spacing between paragraphs. 6) The last paragraph should be reserved for a brief bio or a few boilerplate sentences about your company. Journalists know to look there for that information. 7) One page is the ideal length for a press release. The media will call or email you if they have questions or want to interview you. 8) Formatting elements: After the headline at the top, the following information is generally inserted: the words "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE", one or two contact names and phone numbers, and, right before the first sentence of the release, the location and date of the news story.9) Maintain an up-to-date mailing list of reporters and editors, and get to know them, whenever possible. Jot down a few notes about each one. 10) Suggest article ideas, occasionally, and let it be known that you're available for interviews. IDEA: One way to establish a reputation as a valuable resource for the media is by preparing for them a printed list of experts, spokespeople, and authorities on topics related to your profession or industry. 11) Emailing tip: Reporters and editors intensely dislike email attachments, as a rule. Get around that by including the press release in the body of the email. 12) Perhaps the most important consideration when working with the media is that they're always under an impending deadline, especially at daily newspapers and broadcast news departments. Among the worst violations of media etiquette is not returning phone calls promptly and requesting the chance to review articles prior to publication.Opportunities to Send Press ReleasesCountless opportunities to send out press releases and receive valuable, free publicity get missed every day. There are literally dozens of newsworthy opportunities for getting positive media exposure, including mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, office expansions, new employees, awards, workshops, speaking engagements, fund-raising campaigns, lobbying activities, the launch of a new web site, announcing survey results, sponsorships, or taking a public position on an industry-related issue. Business milestones are often a good reason to issue a press release, such as the grand opening of a new office or announcing a business's 25th anniversary.The bottom line is that being written about (or broadcast) in the media conveys more credibility than messages communicated through paid advertising; and it can be a vital element of any integrated marketing campaign. Although 'Familiarity breeds contempt', according to Aesop, the ancient Greek fabulist, one area in which that usually doesn't hold true is modern public relations and marketing. With few exceptions, the more ways people hear about you, the better.
Copyright 2006 Chris ZavadowskiIt happened to infomercials...It happened to fax broadcasting....It happened to emails....And now it might happen to direct sales and network marketing: The FTC, in it's infinite wisdom (think back to the "suppression lists" they were proposing 2 years ago), is attempting to create new regulations for the MLM/ "network marketing" industry. If this passes, they would make fast downline growth a thing of the past.This is vitally important, so listen up!Right now, there's a proposed new rule out (16 CFR Part 4370) that if passed would have a severe negative impact on your network marketing business. In fact, these new regulations would completely change the face of network marketing and recruiting. Now, the actual Federal Register document is 44 pages (you can download a .pdf copy here), but, according to the Direct Selling Association's website (www.DSA.org), it boils down to this:The FTC would require all prospective sellers to be provided with a "disclosure document". This document must include information including (but not limited to):1) YOUR associate/distributor information2) A list of legal actions (i.e. lawsuits or otherwise) filed against you and/or your company in the last 10 years3) Whether or not earnings claims are made. Under the proposed rule, an earnings claim can be considered ANYTHING from a picture of a boat or car purchased with earnings from direct sales activities, to actual dollar amounts. And get this: If earnings claims are made, additional information must be provided, including:a. The beginning and ending dates when the earnings were achieved;b. The number and percentage of all sellers represented by the claim;c. All special characteristics of those who made such earnings that may distinguish those sellers from others, such as geographic location. (In reality, the fact that anyone has created success in MLM is out of the norm anyway. Most people, in MLM or otherwise, never do anything with the opportunities they are given.)4) The number of all associates/distributors who have canceled within two years (which means your company has to constantly provide you with a new list)5) A list of the 10 closest current or past distributors/associates to your prospect, with personal information so that your purchasers may contact these references (something you would continually have to keep updated from the company)And the proposed rule would require that the disclosure document above be given to your prospect at least seven days before they sign any contract or give you any money. Talk about squashing weekly meetings, conference calls, three-way calls and more!And look at how many privacy violations (and safety issues) this rule would require: Sharing your downline's personal contact information, the company's "refund" percentage and even the lawsuits against the company. I agree that lawsuits against a company are important to consider, but merely having been sued is NOT the same as having been found guilty.Unfortunately, the FTC's proposal does not distinguish between this. If some wacko decides to sue you or your company for ANY reason - you have to disclose it.Plus, now someone you don't even know is being given YOUR personal information so they can contact you and ask you anything they want. Who is the FTC to mandate that your personal information (or ANYONE'S) be given to potential prospects? That's dangerous and irresponsible.But forgetting all of the privacy violations this ignorant rule would require, think about what this means to you: If you have a hot prospect (whether it be from a lead you generated, a lead you purchased, someone you just met), you basically have to give them a list of all the reasons everything you are telling them should not be listened to.In other words, the government is trying to require you to give them a list of reasons they should NOT consider becoming an entrepreneur (the FTC seems to forget that EVERY business venture has risk.) Then -- to top it all off - you'd tell them to take that document home and look it over for a week.You think after a week of staring at their list AND having been exposed to nay-saying family and friends...anyone would want to join? Heck no!I'll admit, there are many business opportunity scams online and offline, so the FTC is correct in trying to protect consumers and prevent them from getting duped. However, they are going about it in completely the wrong fashion.At what point do we let the government do our thinking for us?The people who are scamming aren't going to care about the regulations above anyway, and the average prospect won't even know about these regulations - so the only thing this ANTI-BUSINESS rule would accomplish is squashing the "good" network marketers. And there are MANY other discrepancies and even safety issues involved with this clueless proposal.Hopefully you're angered and fired up at this point (and if you aren't, you shouldn't call yourself a true entrepreneur). If you understand what I just said, and what the FTC is trying to do, then you need to take immediate action (read: TODAY) to voice your opinion on this. Until July 17, 2006, the FTC is accepting public commentary on the proposed, idiotic rules.So, I *highly* suggest you read the DSA's Q&A ( http://www.dsa.org/press/misc/index.cfm?documentID=692 ) and MLMIA's ( http://www.mlmia.com ) information about this topic, and then head over to the FTC's website to send a personal, from-the-heart letter voicing your concerns and what type of impact this will have on you and your businessThe comment form is located at https://secure.commentworks.com/ftc-bizopNPR/And if you're in the USA, you should also consider writing to your congressional representative at: http://www.house.gov/writerep/And/or your senator at: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfmPlus, your network marketing company should also be a source of actionable information.Make no mistake: Wherever you are in your MLM career or business - it's very important you step up to the plate and make your voice heard now.Just because you have independence and freedoms TODAY, doesn't mean they will be here TOMORROW. So keep your head out of the sand and take action when your liberties -- and livelihood -- are being threatened.