Tag Archives: customer interaction

#Hashtags, new found love

Hashtag is the new found love in the world of social media. Its coming across as over crowded but if used strategically, it has exponential benefits to brands. It unifies brand conversation across social media platforms harmonically. Hashtag is an opportunity to increase your brand’s visibility. Lets check out a few Dos and Don’ts while using the latest tool strategically.

DO it in a simple and precise way, choose a hashtag that’s easy to remember. A quality hashtag is short, catchy, and relevant to what you’re discussing or want to convey.

DON’T hashtag full sentences like in the sample below. People might take you for a spammer or an amateur. Shorter phrases like #January2015 or #WorldEconomy are apt.

DO pay attention to the hashtags, words, and phrases your followers and influencers use when they talk about your brand, and use them in your own tweets and posts.

DON’T include spaces in your hashtag. For example, if you wanted to hashtag Bravo India, it should look like this: #BravoIndia.

DO incorporate trending hashtags. #TBT is a perfect example. Many brands use #TBT when they post a fun, historic photo that relates to their brand.

DON’T hashtag every single word in a sentence.You may come as a spammer.

DO use your hashtag consistently across all channels. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram support hashtags so integrate your hashtag into your messaging. Your hashtag should make sense with the platform on which you’re using it.

DON’T use too many hashtags in a single post. Twitter recommends no more than two hashtags per tweet.

DO analyze your hashtags. Some social listening tools, such as Hootsuite and Sysomos, can measure the impact of your hashtag. These tools can also provide insight into your audience and the types of people using your hashtag. Use this information to focus your posts to support your brand positively.

DON’T use hashtags in real life conversations, enjoy life outside work.

With a smart hashtag strategy, your followers will recall your brand with ease. Be wise and make good use of the tool you got in your hand.

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Marketing Evangelists

What does the term marketing evangelists mean?
Evangelism marketing is more commonly known as word-of mouth-marketing, and relies on customers to deliver marketing messages to other potential customers. When someone recommends a certain pair of shoes that was comfortable, or a bakery that offers freshly baked breads at your door step, they are acting as “customer evangelists.” The challenge is convincing people to recommend a company in an honest way. Obviously, not every company can turn their customers into evangelists.
Marketing professionals are developing strategies to get others talking about their products and services in a positive way. These include everything from creating online communities for customers to interact, sponsoring events that help position a brand as part of a lifestyle. The goal of any evangelist marketing strategy is to find out how a brand fits into a customer’s life and making that fit as easy as possible. The more effectively a brand satisfies a customer’s needs, more likely they are mentioned to family and friends.

How does it work?
When customers are thrilled about their experience with certain product or service, they can become outspoken evangelists for that product or company producing the product.Such satisfied customers can become potent marketing force for the brand. In an already crowded market where dozens of companies sell similar goods, it is a joy to find a business that truly performs an exemplary service. Sharing shopping discoveries with a friend is like passing on secret knowledge, honestly.

How is it helpful for businesses?
Turning a customer into a mouthpiece for advertising is a marketing dream. As companies have grown and become more impersonal, marketers experience more challenges making meaningful connections with customers. Consumers want to buy products from businesses they can trust, and often turn to their friends for recommendations. This product “evangelism” helps businesses build their reputations and spread word of their highly regarded services.

Authors Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell explains how to convert already loyal customers into influential and enthusiastic evangelists. The research project led to Creating Customer Evangelists outlines the framework for developing evangelism marketing strategies and programs. The goal is to create communities of influencers who drive sales or membership for the company or organization. Following are the six basic outlines of creating customer evangelists:

a. Continuously gather customer feedback.
b. Make it a point to share knowledge freely.
c. Expertly build word-of-mouth networks.
d. Encourage communities of customers to meet and share.
e. Devise specialized, smaller offerings to get customers to bite.
f. Focus on making the world or your industry better.

Creating Customer Evangelists explains how organizations successfully built their customer base and created targeted marketing programs to involve their fans. These programs help produce unofficial sales people and a cost-effective and powerful marketing force. By deepening customer relationships, successful organizations create communities that generate grassroots support and value for their products and services.

Isn’t it a great way to market products?

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Branding exercise for startups

Should Startups Worry about creating a brand?

When you launch a company, you are likely to be busy with raise funding, figuring out what products to build, and recruitment. So when should you start thinking about creating a brand?

Erica Burnett, a designer at Zaarly said, ‘Focus your time and money on the most important and long-lasting pieces of your brand’.

So what are the most important and long-lasting pieces of your brand?

What are brand elements?
The problems you solve, the experiences you create, people you hire, valued attitudes are the core of your brand.

Focus on Improving the Customer Experience and solving real problem and try to find loyal future customers by building a product that offers real utility.

There are many pieces of your brand identity that your design will create before you launch? Your logo, your site, tagline, color selection, fonts, and countless other things. But make sure your team stays focused on what matters most before you launch, finding loyal customers. Once you validate your product and identify your customer demographic through engagement metrics, you can spend more time developing your brand.

Many a times startups worry about “Unimportant Brand Elements” before establishing a credible value proposition. By “Unimportant Brand Elements”, the reference is being made to anything that doesn’t create a better customer experience. Like printing t-shirts, caps, etc. before launch, it can be a huge distraction and will very likely be a waste of money.

Once you launch your product, you will probably realize that you were wrong about your target audience, and everything you designed will require revisions. Save your money until you solve a real customer problem and identify your core demographic.

“Important Brand Elements” create a superior customer experience and are responsible for driving repeat purchases or usage. The best example of “pre-product branding” is Lyft. Everything they did to prepare for their launch was genius. Lyft needed to differentiate themselves from other ride sharing providers and their brand defined the company on launch day.

Love it or hate it, the Pink Mustache serves as a “real life” feature that helps passengers identify their cars. Pink mustache is just a symbol of Lyft’s quirky, fun, confident, inviting brand. Your brand, in many ways, determines the problem you’re trying to solve. Lyft’s one of the most defining brand feature, ‘Pink mustache‘ improved the customer experience by making it easier to identify your car.

This is how you should prioritize brand development at early stage companies. By thinking about how you might improve the core Customer Experience. It was a fantastic and a memorable decision.

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How to attract customers?

- Launch a website, it provides worldwide exposure and give customers an access to the services and product offering by your organization.

- Host a grand opening event, invite local business owners and residents from surrounding neighborhoods. Provide freebies like merchandise samples, share business cards and company brochures.

- Monitor services and products constantly, satisfied customers who spread the word about your business are the best source of new customers. Keep a keen eye to pricing, customer service, product availability and prompt delivery, these are few nudge point to success.

- Visibility within your industry is crucial, participate in exhibitions, seminars, trade shows, attend community events.

- Explore various types of advertising opportunities such as classified ads, yellow page ads, sponsorship, television and radio spots, and display ads in magazines and on other Websites, keep tab of your budget and go with what meets budget and reach the target audience.

- Support local charity, sponsor fundraising event and arrange a local media to publish the event.

- Distribute fliers and business cards at various business gatherings.

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Customer relationship and marketing

Promote your business by building relationships. Yes, its true, customer relationships drive your business. It’s about finding right people who believe in your products or services. You can spend big bucks but its like rolling boulder up a hill. You want to drive your business into new territory, but every step is hard and expensive. But there are ways to achieve the goal.

Develop an army to help you push that boulder up the hill instead. How do you do that? You develop relationships with people who don’t just understand your particular expertise, product or service, but are equally excited about what you do. You stay connected with them and give them value, and they’ll touch other people who can benefit your business. Powerful relationships don’t just happen from one-time meetings at networking events. You don’t need pocketful of random business cards to clutter your desk. What you need is a plan to make those connections grow and work for you. Here are few pointers you remember while you are out on a mission.

Build your network, it’s your sales lifeline. Your network includes business colleagues, professional acquaintances, prospective and existing customers, partners, suppliers, contractors and association members, as well as family, friends and people you meet in your community. Contacts are potential customers waiting for you to connect with their needs. Ofcourse, you need to understand that networking is a long-term investment. Do it right by adding value to the relationship, and that contact you just made can really pay off. Communicate like your business’s life depends on it.

Communication is a key here, so do it early and often. Relationships have a short shelf life. No matter how charming, enthusiastic or persuasive you are, no one will likely remember you from a business card or a one-time meeting. One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they come home from networking events and fail to follow up. Make the connection immediately. Send a “nice to meet you” e-mail or let these new contacts know you’ve added them to your newsletter list and then send them the latest copy. Immediately reinforce who you are, what you do and the connection you’ve made. Its a fact, you rarely meet people at the exact moment when they need what you offer. If you stay on their minds, it’s easier to keep a connection warm than to warm it up again once the trail goes cold. So take the time to turn your network of connections into educated customers.

E-mail marketing keeps relationships strong on a shoestring budget. It is cost-effective and easy way to stay on customers’ minds, build their confidence in your expertise, and retain them. Build your reputation as an expert by giving away some free insight. You have interesting things to say! An easy way to communicate is with a brief e-mail newsletter that shows prospects why they should buy from you. And it’s viral, contacts who find it interesting or valuable might forward your e-mailer or newsletter to other people, just like word of mouth marketing.

Reward loyal customers, according to Bain and Co., on average, repeat customers spend 67% more than new customers. So your most profitable customers are repeat customers. Now the question is, are you doing enough to encourage them to work with you again? Stay in touch, give them something of value in exchange for their time, attention and business. It doesn’t need to be too much, anything of their use will suffice like notice of a special event, helpful tips, advice or news, can be effective. Remember, if you don’t keep in touch with your customers, you are loosing out because your competitors will.

Customers are best sales agent, so spend time to build your customer relationship and do the follow-ups. Make use of cost effective tools like e-mailers. Send out simple newsletter, an offer or an update message of interest to your pool of networks. If they remember you and your offerings they will deliver value to you with referrals. They are in the market, and are aware of opportunities you’ll never hear about. That is why it is very important to remain in touch with your customers.

Thus, in order to close this we cannot deny the fact that small business is all about relationships, relationships and relationships.

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