Building Customer Relationships That Last

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One of the ways a business builds its brand is to tug at the emotions of their audience.

"Building Customer Relationships That Last"The way a customer and client work together and communicate can build long-lasting, meaningful relationships that turn clients into fans, and fans into clients. You can actually set out to build these relationships by using emotional marketing techniques.

1. Show Them That You Know Them

The more research you do into the needs and desires of your target audience, the more your audience will be able to tell that you’re interested in them. When you show interest in them, it will make them interested in your business and you. When you discover something about your audience, let them know through your content and your actions.
2. Treat Them Right
So many times business owners have sales and special events to get new clients. What about the clients you already have? Keeping them is far more important than getting a new client, and less costly too. Do something special for your existing client base or fan base that shows them that you care about them. Give them a discount, or a special freebie, or something else that attaches them to you in a special way.
3. Be Transparent and Honest
One way to endear yourself to your audience is to always be transparent and honest. If you make a mistake, own up to it. If you change your views on something, it’s okay to admit it. Doing so will endear you to your audience and make you appear so much more trustworthy to them.
4. Put People before Numbers
While you do things to help promote your business, it’s important to keep your morals and remember that people are more important than numbers. If you put people first in your business, including yourself, you’ll find that you naturally improve your bottom line. The more people trust you, the more they’ll buy from you.
5. Be Fun When Appropriate
No one wants to feel as if they’re communicating with a robot or someone who is not real. Be funny when it’s appropriate so that you can show your humanity. Your humanness will shine through when you add some humor and fun to posts, emails, and even sales pages.
6. Be Responsive
Your customers expect to get an answer when they have a problem, and they expect it to be quickly. Provide many different ways for your audience to contact you. Explain to your audience at each method how long they can expect to wait for a response. Then follow up and do what you said you’d do.
7. Engage with Your Audience 
Find ways to engage with your audience. Ask for their advice or ideas when it comes to a new product or service you’re going to launch. They can help name it, help define what should be in it, and even how much you should charge for it. Your audience can also be your best source of word-of-mouth marketing.
8. Consider the Communication Format
Also, it’s important to try to get an understanding of how people communicate within their environment. Communication online in chat, instant message, Twitter, or a blog, is far different from communicating on the telephone or in person. Even email is different from other methods of communication. It’s imperative that you determine what is different and then make up for that with the type of communication they’re using.
Building customer relationships that last is part of the goal of emotional marketing. When you’ve formed an attachment with the consumer, they will stick with you for years – through price increases, trials and tribulations, and more. You can’t go wrong with building relationships.
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The Absolute Power of Mastermind Groups

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"The Absolute Power of Masterminds"“When two or more minds come together for a purpose, the purpose becomes greater than the being.” Napoleon Hill

Do you participate in an online forum, one that has a small but targeted group of highly motivated, successful individuals each with a similar goal of achieving great success?. These groups can have long term benefits because you come into contact with people you might never meet or have the opportunity to interact with, without the platform that social media offers. They too can offer similar outcomes of the more traditional masterminds; to learn from a variety of perspectives, to get ideas from more people, to brainstorm ways to tackle everyday challenges… and more.

My definition of a mastermind group:

A group of people who meet on a regular basis to exchange ideas, seek the advice of the group, be held accountable to following thru on your commitments and to share resources; a mastermind group can be the epicenter of new ideas.”

Many small business owners feel isolated and that no one really understands the challenges you face in your business. A Mastermind Group or Network will lessen that isolated feeling.

Over the years I have been involved in several masterminds. Some of them meet/met in person, some were and are online exchange between female speakers around the world. Some were started by others and I was invited to attend, some were co-founded by me.
Each of them have helped me both professional and personally, taking my businesses to new levels of success and helping me to crystalize what my purpose in life is. They have helped me to find out what it was I was really working toward, helped me set and achieve goals and offered the kind of encouragement that was necessary when things didn’t always go my way.

There are several benefits you can receive from participating in a mastermind group. Before deciding which group to get involved in or to start, you must first ask yourself what it is you want from a mastermind group and what you can contribute to the group.

Highly successful mastermind groups work best when you follow a few simple guidelines:

1. When deciding who would best fit in your group, choose people who have specialized knowledge you lack. Enlisting people with very different outlooks strengthens a mastermind group.

2. Make a time commitment and stick to it. It doesn’t matter if you meet once a week or once a month. The point is that when you decide the frequency, make the commitment, don’t allow anything except serious emergencies to interfere with your date.

3. Create an agenda to follow. This provides a sense of order during your meetings. Sample agendas might include open discussion at the beginning of the meeting and then focusing on individual challenges for about 20 minutes each.

One of my in-person group (of 6) focuses on one member’s challenge each meeting with the others offering their feedback or advice. Each member gets her turn to share. This is very powerful because each of us learns something from the other’s challenge. My online group meets in a “chat room” and we each ask a question (there are 5 of us). The other 4 offer their responses. We meet for approximately one hour and we have open discussion at the end of the meeting if there is time.

4. Our in-person meetings are fun and interesting and have built a camaraderie that can sometimes be lacking in a virtual mastermind. We meet in a different place each month, and it has become as much a social event as an educational experience.

5. Keep it Small and Simple. If your group is too large you run into the challenge of everyone not having sufficient time to present their own challenges. Groups of 4 to 7 seem to work best.

6. Decide on your rules of engagement in the very beginning. My in-person group openly discusses details of our companies with the understanding that our “inside” secrets” are never divulged outside of our group.

7. Depending on the nature of your group you might consider assigning a facilitator for each meeting to keep the group on target. You learn to facilitate by doing it.
Another key component I should mention is that a true mastermind has an accountability component – that means we help one another achieve our goals by asking how we are doing, offering encouragement and “holding our feet to the fire.”

I love the interaction and dynamic flow of ideas that occur during my mastermind group meetings, and cannot wait to get to work on everyone’s suggestions. It is exciting to see the results at the end of the year.

When you participate in mastermind group you will see an immediate change in how you approach your own challenges. And the other benefit is that it makes you really look at problems from a new perspective – you find that business owners are more alike than different even when we “sell” a different product or solution to our own target audience.
Being involved in mastermind groups for more than 15 years has been more rewarding for me than I could ever describe, in that I have received so much more than I could ever give back.

The trend these days is moving toward online or virtual mastermind groups. They have their benefits in that you have no travel time, making it easier to work it into your already full calendar. If you are not currently involved in a mastermind, a look at the Business Mastery Mastermind – to help your business grow. It may be the best step you take for your business this year!

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Want your Email Read? Follow These 7 Tips for Successful Communications

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"Want your Email Read?  Follow These 7 Tips for Successful Communications"Email was designed as a two way communications tool.  It is meant for quick, simple communication. First and foremost, make sure that email is the appropriate method for communicating your message.  If you have a sensitive or confidential matter for instance, email may not be the best method of communication. Once you have determined that email is the best form of communication for a particular issue, the following tips will help you get your email read and responded to.

Follow these 7 Tips for email success:

1. Be concise. E-mail is immediate.  The reader is more apt to scan a long message than read the entire thing.  This can result in miscommunication as well as missing important “action items” which you need responded to.  Keep your message to one screen or less.

2. Use short lines (65 characters or less) for the body of your message. Many successful ezines use this strategy with great results.  The authors know that longer lines are more difficult for the eye to follow, and in many cases, impossible for your reader’s display to accommodate.

3. Write in bullet points – this makes it easier for the reader to retain the information.

4. Give background information when responding to email.  By including text from the original message you let your reader know what message you are referring to. Be sure to only include the parts to which you are referring and edit the parts that are irrelevant or trivial.

5. Use a Headline in the subject line – one that grabs the recipient’s attention and tells her/him what the email is about.

6. Don’t overdo the icons – if your email is a business communication, smiley faces may be seen as unprofessional to the receiver.

7. Use spell check – to be seen as professional, check the spelling of your message before hitting the send button.

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Help! I’m Drowning in Email! 8 Tips to Get Your Inbox Under Control

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"Help! I'm Drowning in Email! 8 Tips to Get Your Inbox Under Control"If you’re like most people these days, you probably get between50 and 250 email messages a day, many of which are unwanted.  And some which are important.  Multiply that by the number of email accounts you have, and you could find yourself spending the better part of most days just deleting and/or responding to these electronic communications. The problem is how to clear out your inbox and better manage your time.

Here are 8 tips to get your email under control.

1. Keep your inbox empty. This is the key to managing you e-mail.

2. Put important email messages in a folder or folders and title the folders appropriately.

3. Answer important emails in a timely fashion at specified times of the day (you decide when it is appropriate to respond and schedule that as your email writing time.

4. Set your inbox to check for new messages only a few times a day. Turn down the “you’ve got mail” announcer so you can better focus on the job at hand.

5. Get a spam filter.  You may risk losing some email messages, however, you have greater control over what you allow into your inbox.

6. Put important email addresses in your address book so you won’t have to go searching for them when you need to send a message in a hurry.

7. Subscribe to mailing lists, listservs and the like at a new e-mail address. This will help with email overload and you can check these in your spare time instead of having to peruse them with your more urgent communications. Gmail may be a good choice for this.

8. Use your “delete” key (my personal favorite). Clean up your inbox and remove old, unused messages.

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Use the Stage to Gain the Inside Advantage

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"Use the Stage to Gain the Inside Advantage"To gain the inside advantage in your marketplace, it’s time to come out of your shell and start speaking! Find opportunities to speak in front of groups that can hire you. Speaking is an excellent way to gain credibility and visibility. Rotary clubs, Kiwanis clubs, Lions clubs and Chambers of Commerce meetings are good places to start.

Speak about something you are passionate about and that directly relates to your business. Provide everyone with a take home (handouts) that includes your contact information  so your audience can contact you later.

PopArt Diva asked: I would love to do some speaking engagements, just not sure how to get started.

My Reply: 

You could speak to Art & Culture Organizations, local colleges and art schools, culinary schools ~ with your expertise, you could teach them a few things.

Another resource: Community Colleges are always looking for adjunct professors, with your experience, you might even get a part time position.

Rotary clubs, Kiwanis Clubs and so many other non-profits would benefit from your wisdom. And for the most part they are likely your customers and you could sell your beautiful works.

Speaking topics don’t just have to be about business, however the way you run your business and get clients would certainly be interesting to many groups. Women’s groups all love having a diversity of topics.

One of my friends, Conni Gordon, does an art program where she teaches entire audiences how to paint a picture in less than an hour. She is amazing and in fact, has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Check her out at http://www.ConniGordon.com.

Because first impressions are very important, I also recommend reading my post:  Overcoming Presentation Anxiety found here:  http://heidirichards.com/overcoming-presentation-anxiety/

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How to Cultivate Profitable, Strategic Alliances to Increase Your Market Share

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IT TAKES TWO …

“Cross promoting with other businesses can give you a significant advantage over the competition, with many benefits and cost savings.”  ~ Heidi Richards Mooney

"It Takes Two - Cultivate Profitable Strategic Alliances To Increase Market Share"More and more competition in the marketplace is making it necessary for companies to find creative ways to connect with customers and prospects, to enhance brand identity and attract top-notch employees.  In order to enhance competitiveness in today’s marketplace, more and more companies are forming strategic alliances. Strategic alliances can maximize your position in the marketplace.  When you learn how to leverage partnerships you increase your market share.  It is also a very smart way to grow a small business.  Cross promoting with other businesses can give you a significant advantage over the competition with many benefits and cost savings.

A strategic alliance is based on an arrangement between two companies to combine resource that will help both gain a greater share of the market.  They are often formed when one business alone is unable to fill the gap in serving the needs of the marketplace.  Forming strategic alliances can save time and boost productivity.  It enables companies to be more efficient and concentrate on the core strengths in developing their products and services.  These alliances can be formal (partnership agreement is put in writing) or informal (a handshake is all that is necessary to “seal the deal”).

There are several ways you can collaborate with another business or individual to increase revenue, traffic, and even expertise to your business which ultimately will increase the value to the end-user (customer).

Find the Right Partners

Collaborate with a well-known company – Most small businesses benefit from partnerships that add value, prestige and greater credibility to their own endeavors.  Associating with a well-known business can give your company instant credibility and exposure.  It’s not always about the bottom line.

Collaborate with Your Best Customers – Look at the company or companies who do the most business with yours.  Work with them to solidify the relationship by offering them more than just good products and service.  Make it nearly impossible for them to consider going anywhere else.  Continually asking them why they do business with you and why they stay are the best ways to keep them.

Collaborate with the Nonprofit Community – Joining forces with nonprofits can increase your circle of influence and your visibility in the community.  For more ideas on cause-related marketing, send a message to Heidi@self-marketingnews.com with “cause-related marketing in the subject line.

Collaborate with a Former Employer – You offer a product or service the former employer needs and provide it to them.  You become a subcontractor or vendor to them.  One of my dear friends worked for a fast-food company as their corporate trainer.  When she decided to go into business for herself, they hired her to continue to provide training to their employees for several years.  As her first major contract, the collaboration they created started her company on the road to success, and she still travels and does work for them.

Collaborate with a Competitor – Believe it or not, competitors can be very good partners.  For instance, they may offer a service or product you don’t or don’t wish to and vice-versa.  They may also have the ability to handle a larger “job” than your company.  Joining forces with another business on a project makes you look good to the customer.  You become the hero.  In 1999, I had the opportunity to provide all the decorations for a HUGE Floral Fair in Miami, Florida.  I knew my small company alone could not handle all the business.  So I called several other florists in the community whom I admired and who did similar work.  I subcontracted them to do portions of the project and get a piece of the action.  Because these were floral importers we were serving, the other florists had the opportunity to network with and find new suppliers of product.  It was easy to convince them to participate.  It was such a success, that it has been an ongoing project for several of the shops over the years.

Think about the many businesses that are natural partners.  In the real estate field, realtors partner with one another when selling a house.  Florists partner with caterers, photographers and others in the event industry. Automobile insurance companies often partner with auto repair companies to insure their customers get the best service at a fair price.

In an issue of Entrepreneur Magazine, I read about a coffee company in New Jersey who became the ultimate collaborator.  The coffeehouse carries works from a local art gallery, has a reciprocal agreement with a local community theatre to offer significant discounts to their patrons, cross promotes with a local music store, book store, cigar shop, as well as many local nonprofits.

My flower shop has partnered with masseuses, welcome-to-the-neighborhood companies, travel agents, professional organizers, beauty salons, and realtors, and several nonprofits, to name a few.  We have collaborated on networking events such as business after hours and open houses.  We have promoted one another through door hanger campaigns.  We have given each other our coupons to distribute to other companies.  We have carried one another’s business cards and brochures to distribute to our respective clients and customers.  We have given away one another’s products to our customers.  We offer hyperlinks on one another’s websites to further promote each other.  The possibilities are endless.  Look for opportunities in your community that would be mutually beneficial to your partnership.

The real key to success in cross-promotion, is to collaborate with non-competing businesses that are going after the same client or customer base.  Choose businesses and people you trust.  The promotion should make sense to both partners.  It should be a true win-win for everyone involved. Plan the promotion and evaluate the Alliance on a regular basis.  Look for ways to expand your reach without increasing your overhead or debt.

©Heidi Richards Mooney – is a Professional Speaker, Business Coach and the Author of 7 books including: “Rose Marketing on a Daisy Budget ~ How to Grow Your Business Without Spending a Fortune.”  She is also the Publisher of WE Magazine for Women. Stop by http://www.speakingwithspirit.com to get a FREE copy of YOUR Marketing Calendar today!

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3 Tips for Marketing your Business in a Slow Economy

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"3 Tips for Marketing your Business in a Slow Economy"Need more ideas to market your business when times are slow? Here are 3 more tips:

Wear Your Company on Your sleeve – or chest or purse or back….  Logo wear is coming back in style and if you are proud of your company wear it!  You never know when you will be in the supermarket and someone will strike up a conversation and ask you about it.  I have found my Shaklee distributor, my Mary Kay distributor, my dentist and my dog groomer this way….. Think of McDonalds – it is no accident that everyone in the company wears McDonalds attire. Its branding – brand recognition is especially important in a down economy because you want people to remember your name.  I have had it happen over and over again where people have met me and forgotten the name of my company. So they called someone else.  Don’t let that happen to you.

In one of my groups we have a person who sells promotional items – I will never forget her name or her company ~ Promo Girl because she wears her name on her sweater which is part of her 50’s attire – poodle skirt and all!  When I need promotional items she is the first person to come to mind.

Take a class – something you enjoy and where you meet new people. When I took ballroom dancing a few years ago the instructor and every one in the class became a customer of mine. Many still are.  My daughter and I also took golf lessons for a season. Many of those students (and the teacher) are also customers of mine. Try belly dancing, motorcycle riding, reading groups, golf lessons, community college courses, etc. Find something that interests you and where you can also meet potential clients.

Cross promote – Recently a New baby store sent a letter announcing their grand opening. We contacted them and now we are trading ad space in each others ezine and handing out one another’s flyers, brochures and promotions.

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Marketing that Produces Tenfold Results

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"Marketing that Produces Tenfold Results"Last week on HER Mastermind Network  http://hermastermind-network.ryze.com/ Leah posed the following questions to the group:

What if all your marketing efforts and intentions were returned to you tenfold this week? What if this week was the next great shift forward in your business?

What would you feel like?

And, what would YOU do next to take action for your business?

HERE IS MY RESPONSE:

If my marketing efforts returned tenfold this week then I would have 11,840 new customers! Whoohooo!

Last week we sent out letters to 37 local restaurants introducing them to my company. In the letter we offered the manager a gift certificate for one dozen roses, we also gave them six certificates for half-dozen roses and included 25 certificates for a free bouquet of flowers.

We invited them to keep the dozen roses for themselves, give the six half-dozens to their best customers and the rest to any customer they choose. We also told them to call us when they ran out of the free bouquets so we could send them more. So 37 restaurants X 32 coupons = 1184 x 10 = 11,840!

I don’t know what the outcome will be because they will just receive them today or tomorrow. Will let you know.

I can tell you we did a similar campaign years ago to less restaurants with excellent results.

Which is why we are doing it again. You see, one of the things I teach my clients is to review their marketing and look for those things that have worked in the past with fair to good results. If the CAMPAIGNS paid for themselves and added to their customer/client base, then look at the campaign to see if it is something they could modify and replicate.

So we took our own advice. Our next action will be to follow up with the managers and listen to their thoughts about the offer. We will undoubtedly pick up some new restaurants and hopefully tap into their customer base as well

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Give Them a TASTE of Your Products

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"Heidi Richards Mooney New Profile photo"Florists Review Interviews the Chief Goddess!

Several weeks ago Glynnis Wright a journalist with Florists Review Magazine called me for a brief interview about how we market our gift baskets.

Funny, I had not thought about what we would be doing this year until she called.  Talk about perfect timing!  So I told her what we have done in the past and what we planned to do this year.

We use email marketing a lot. We send an email special to our customers at least once a month.  To market the gift baskets we will take a few photos, put them into an html email message with links to the product sales page and a teaser message about ordering gift baskets for the holidays.

In the past we have also created a brochure on CD to mail and pass out at networking events.  The CD has a variety of our gift baskets along with tips and articles we feel our prospects and customers would be interested in. These might include the Meaning of Flowers, Top Ten Gifts to Give for the Holidays, 101 ways to Say Thank you and more.  The reason we do our brochure on CD is that we think people are more likely to KEEP IT.  A CD has a higher perceived value than a simple brochure and even if they hold onto it and don’t look at it for awhile, eventually they will.  I know. I have received marketing CD’s from vendors and have a hard time throwing them away without first looking at them. And if I find information on the CD that I can refer to over and over I will keep it.  We plan to do the same thing this year and add a few things to the CD.

Another way we promote our gift baskets is by giving companies a taste of our product. For instance, when a new company opens or joins the local chamber of commerce we might put together a small fruit basket (we call it our nibbler basket) with a note that says – we wanted to welcome you to the chamber and give you a “taste” of our products.  It has worked extremely well to open more corporate accounts and close more sales.  We do this year round and plan to ramp it up during the holiday season by also sending these to our best clients with a note reminding them we carry fruit and gourmet gift baskets for their gift-giving needs.

What do you plan to promote for the holiday season? How do you plan to promote your products? Leave a comment and let me know what you do in your business and I will send you a link to what we include in our Holiday CD!

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What is Your CLOSING Statement?

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"Whats Your Closing Statement?"Sometimes called your USP or unique selling proposition; it’s your brand promise. While most marketers, call it a tagline, I like to refer to it as the closing statement. That little phrase that pays – that defines your company, your product, your service? The phrase that makes just the right client or customer stand up and take notice.

I call it a “closing statement” because if it works, it can close the sale and turn your prospects into buyers.

So what’s Your “Closing Statement?”

What sets you apart from all the whatahoozit manufacturers or consultants or companies in all the world (or at least your part of the world)? Are you having trouble trying to figure it out? Is the one you use not working for you? Perhaps you have not fully or clearly defined your market position.

Here are a few brand promises that work:

a. Florist: “When you have something to say, let our flowers second that emotion.”

b. BizJet Express Where Everyone Travels First Class

c. Life Coach: “People Want to be Optimistic”

d. Banking: “Small enough to know you, large enough to serve you”

e. Cosmetics company: “Beauty lies within”

f. Furniture Company: “Making America a great place to sit”

Here are Seven Tips to Help you Create or Recreate your ‘Closing Statement.”

1. Get your team (employees, staff, assistants, partners) together – those folks whose business acumen and opinions you trust.

2. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer/client. What is it she or he wants from your service? Ask them why they buy from you.

3. Make a list off the kinds of things these people might say about your products and services (that means YOUR products specifically, not your industry in general) including stereotypes, competitors, the global market.

4. Now take a look at the list from your own perspective. What makes your company different? Focus on what differentiates you from the competition.

5. Choose those words, phrases and descriptors that you can claim as truly describing your company and distill them down to a single message that you can use.

6. Put it in writing – look at it for a while, make sure it is understandable and then test it out on your current customers, if it works, incorporate it into your marketing. If not, back to the drawing board.

7. Protect it.  Register it as a trade mark, to stop others from using the same one. Think Nike’s – Just Do It!

Other tips:

a. Create a competition and give a prize for the one who comes up with the best “closing statement.”

b. Once you have come up with the perfect tagline or “closing statement,” publicize it. Use it in all your marketing materials, in your emails, on your social media channels and website – everywhere!

When you have come up with the perfect “Closing Statement” for your company you will notice that the right clients and customers start showing up.

Need help coming up with ideas? Here are 7 free sites you can use to kickstart the creative process and help you come up with a compelling closing statement:

1.   Shopify Free Slogan Maker

2.   The Advertising Slogan Generator

3.   BizCardCreator

4.   Sloganizer.net

5.  Free Slogan Generator

6.   Procato 

7.   Slogan Generator

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