Ten Tips for Marketing to Existing Clients and Customers

No doubt you’re familiar with the adage about a bird in the hand being worth two in the bush. Well, this old saw is especially appropriate when talking about customers. But you’ll have to adjust the math: on average, finding a new customer costs five times as much as keeping an existing one!

That’s reason enough right there to start marketing to your existing customer base. Here are 10 expert strategies to motivate your customers to keep coming back.

  1. Talk to them. How you communicate with your customers isn’t that important; what’s important is that you do it! Stay in touch with email newsletters, mailings, or a blog. These methods remind your clients and customers that you’re around when they need you. You can even call them to let them know about a sale, a new service you are offering, or just to ask if there’s anything else you can do for them.
  2. Get personal. If you want your company name to be the first thing people think of when they need your product or service, you need to build personal relationships with your customers. That’s why it’s helpful to call or send a card on special occasions — like birthdays, anniversaries, or promotions.
  3. Show your appreciation. Letting them know you appreciate them builds a personal link and can help keep clients loyal. Something simple like sending a $5 gift certificate to a coffee chain and saying “Have a drink on me” goes a long way in relationship building. You may consider thank you notes to be no-brainers, but you’d be surprised at how many entrepreneurs neglect to write them. Take the time to show your customers that you genuinely appreciate their business, and they’ll remember your thoughtfulness.
  4. Bring people together. Linking up your clients and referring them business is a powerful way to encourage loyalty. People never forget who referred them, and by helping them grow their business, they in turn might need your services and products more as well.
  5. Take them out. Regular face-to-face contact is critical. Get together over coffee or lunch regularly, and try to spend time in a non-sales capacity. Entertaining clients at home with a networking cocktail party, where you can introduce them to others who also might help their businesses, gives clients a sense of belonging to your business community.
  6. Manage your reputation. Just as an unhappy customer can cause a lot of damage to your business reputation, good customer service keeps people coming back and brings in new customers over the long term.
  7. Spread the good news. If an article is written about your business or you are quoted in a newspaper or magazine, send copies to your existing customers and clients. This will keep you in mind, bolster their confidence in you, and encourage them to recommend you to others.
  8. Ask for feedback. Ask your existing customers if there are ways you can improve your product or service. When you ask customers for feedback and take their concerns seriously, they feel a sense of ownership in what you’re doing and thus become more loyal to your products and services.
  9. Follow up. You can’t reach out to someone once and have a customer for life; you need to reach out to them regularly. Like anything worthwhile, consistent follow-up requires a lot of effort, but over time you’ll reap the benefits of a steady stream of repeat business and referrals.
  10. Get involved. It’s important to demonstrate your commitment to your community. If a client has a particular charitable venture, consider contributing time, money, or goods to the cause.

3 Ways to Use Hangtags for Your Business and Personal Needs

When people think of “hangtags” they picture clothes, but with a little creativity it can become so much more.

  1. Apparel

Of course you can use a custom full color hangtag to brand your apparel line. You can either use it as a form of branding with your logo, website, and phone number (or just logo for bigger brands like Levis), you can add a serial number for inventory purposes, and/or you can use it as a care tag. Whichever way you choose to go, it is a must for any apparel brand. They usually come in standard basic shapes such as a square or a rectangle, but you can also customize them into any shape you want by getting a die cut one in the shape of your logo, mascot, or anything you want and is a great inexpensive way to reinforce your brand.

  1. Business

They are a great and affordable way to brand and market your business. There are many ways you can use a custom tag in your business.

Gifting – The best use for business hangtags is gifting! You can use them for any occasion and for a very small investment it makes your marketing and brand stand out and shine. You are having a business open house and are giving away goodies, make it look better with a custom one. You can use it on trade show and raffle giveaways or during your holidays business gifting. They can be customized in the shape of your logo just to make it that much more impressive.

Product Information- Use it to display items in your showroom by adding product descriptions on one side or to display discount items in a more professional way.

Like any printed marketing material it is all in the design. Design your tags with your company’s information on one side, but basic only, and maybe a coupon on the other side custom with the trade show or event you are exhibiting at. Create a holiday background and use them as holiday’s thank you cards to personalize your business holiday gifts. If you are using them for an open house just attach them to your party favors with your company’s information on one side and details about your business open house on the other side.

  1. Personal

They are also perfect for all your personal celebrations in life. Use a custom one for all you events gifts such as weddings, Christmas, birthdays, bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs, baby showers, parties, and more. A custom tag is much nicer than your generic one from the store and won’t break the bank. Tie it to your customized guest party favors or your gifts. They are also great for craft handmade goods.

Their usage is versatile and like any printing materials it varies based on your graphic design. Design them to reinforce your brand if you are using it for business and if you are using it for personal purpose create the artwork to match the theme of your event. No matter what occasion or purpose you have for your custom hangtags, they are an affordable way to wow its recipient and make you look good!

4 Tips Improve Your Outbound Marketing Efforts

Introduction

Among the basic foundations of a thriving profitable business is an active, ongoing, and professional-looking outbound marketing presence. It does not matter if you are a home-based business, or one-person professional office, or a business with many employees. This list does not change no matter how small or large your company.

Improvement #1. Keep Website Current

Your website is your most essential marketing tool. It will be working for you 24/7/365. It is the first place that everyone will go to learn more about you and your business. You must always make sure that it is working at its peak performance. Every link must be active, and every picture and graphic must appear as it was meant to. Make sure that every pdf is working properly, and that the links inside each pdf are also working. Make sure that all of your dates, statistics, and facts are current and accurate. Be certain that your pages are easy to navigate and find. All of these details are very easy to overlook or forget about. But first impressions are extremely important, so make sure that every detail of your website always looks good and is working properly.

Improvement #2. Make An Emotional Connection

The most powerful and fundamental part of a successful marketing plan is one that can make an emotional connection with your prospects and your customers. Your company’s very survival and growth depend on it. The greater this connection, the greater your ability to beat out other companies for the hearts, minds, and dollars of the customers. So few companies, small or large, bother to try to make an emotional connection with prospects and customers. But by showing your customers how much you care about them, and proving to them that you really want to keep them as customers, you can build a base of loyal customers that will not be so quick to leave you for your competition.

Improvement #3. Build Your Lists

By lists I mean email list, direct mail list, and social-media list. Each can play an important role in your marketing plan. Some prospects and customers might prefer one format over the other. This will depend on your type of business, and what your customer demographics are. But whichever format your prospects and customers prefer, you need to constantly be building these lists. For example, your email list might be built up by offering a free pdf download. Your direct mail list might be build up by offering a free sample. Your social-media list might be built up on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. Although each list has its benefits, limits, and demographics, all can and should play an important role in your marketing plan.

Improvement #4. Shake It Up

Don’t be afraid to try something new or different. For example, if you are always the one that is creating and designing your own marketing materials, don’t be afraid to let someone else in your company, or family, or someone from Fiverr, take a shot at designing new marketing materials and copy writing. You might be in a creative rut, or possibly too close to the subject matter to create effective copy. Allowing someone with a fresh or outsider point of view might give your marketing materials a whole new life. Shaking it up might be the difference between your business thriving or dying.

Conclusion

These are some of the basic, but essential, marketing efforts that you should always be paying attention to and improving. You must never stop thinking about them, and working on them. Although improvements to just one of these outbound marketing efforts can enhance your marketing plan’s power – if you want to look more professional, and make more money, improve them all.

The 3 Main Ways Neuroscience Is Being Used in Marketing

There are a lot of big claims about neuroscience being the next frontier in marketing; one of the giants of the marketing world, Nielsen, just completed its acquisition of neuroscience firm Innerscope Research and last year Marketing Sciences acquired consumer neuroscience consultancy, Walnut Group.

In fact, neuroscience has become a marketing tool for the marketing companies themselves, as they announce their latest acquisitions in the field of neuromarketing and snag clients believing that they will be better able to target buyers.

What is the purpose of all this? How exactly is neuroscience being used in marketing? Is all neuromarketing based on the same approach?

The purpose of neuromarketing

Then main aim of neuromarketing, in its most basic sense, is the same as for all marketing: to help companies more effectively sell their products and services.

Neuromarketing professes to tap into the unconscious desires of buyer, as revealed by measuring brain activity. This not only more effectively speaks to the target audience but it can be done in a more exact, scientific manner.

But it’s not as simple as all that. There are actually several ways that neuroscience and marketing are coming together in campaigns…

  1. Market research into buyer behaviour

Underpinning neuromarketing is the study of how we make decisions. Cognitive neuroscience studies this and how it translates into human behaviour. In the case of neuromarketing, it is the way that buyers make decisions, and how this translates into buying behaviour that is of interest.

Neuromarketing is an emerging field, where measurements are taken of subjects’ exposures to certain stimuli – generally different aspects of a company’s offerings, like specific products, logos or branding. The effects on the electrical activity of different parts of the brain and eye activity (though that’s got nothing to do with neuroscience) can be measured using advanced imaging and computing, providing a ‘window’ into buyer responses to these stimuli. This enables companies to better target advertisements that capture buyer attention, or to develop their branding more in line with customer expectations and demand.

  1. Applying findings to improve customer relationships

This is a growing area, where the findings of neuroscience are built into frameworks that help organisations look after their customers better and improve the ‘customer experience’.

It is a specialist field that requires understanding of both the science and the marketing elements of the relationship to be effective. In truth, there are few companies doing it well. When applied successfully it can help organisations more effectively engage not only their external customers, but internal customers (the workforce) too.

  1. Raising credibility of a product or service

Thirdly, we are starting to see neuroscience being used simply as a ‘placement’ in advertisements in an attempt to raise the credibility of a product or service. In much the same way that a leading watch company will use Roger Federer to promote their watches, some brands use ‘neuroscience’ as a positive association with what they stand for. They might show labs, neuroscience experiments, and people wired up to all sorts of devices. This is a rather shallow use of neuroscience – but it exists nevertheless.

Your ability to distinguish those that understand the complexities of the neuroscience-marketing relationship from those that are just along for the ride will probably decide the success you derive from any neuromarketing activities you attempt; if you cannot, then you might as well stick to less expensive, more established marketing methods.

Why Do You Need to Create and Use Buyer Personas to Understand People?

You’ve perhaps heard of the buyer persona concept, yet it may still mystify you how such a thing works when it sounds so close to fiction writing. In the world of business, it’s the only time when the world of fiction merges with marketing reality. Nevertheless, the information you use to create a buyer persona still comes from real people who consolidate into a portrait of a prospective buyer.

An encapsulated way to describe buyer personas is targeting your content with a fine focus. This helps put it all in perspective of why you need to create buyer personas as a way of breaking down who you really need to target in your marketing campaign.

How do you gather the information, and what traits do you look for to create the perfect picture of someone who’s likely to buy from you? The sources you can use might surprise you. Also, you’ll be surprised at how much information you can find about buyers from your existing data.

Where Do You Find Buyer Traits?

If you know any fiction writers, one thing they’ll probably tell you about creating fictional characters is they frequently use real people for inspiration. Their world and your world can coalesce in this instance, because you can use information you already have on customers who’ve been with you for a while.

While you might find it invasive to search your own database for information about your existing customers, it’s there where you’ll find valuable information toward creating a buyer persona. Since your customers agreed to have their information in your database to begin with, don’t be afraid to use their info to scope out details.

It’s here where you can build a fictional buyer persona based on various strong points about what your typical customers do. As a result, it’s very much like what a fiction writer does where one character exhibits a dozen different traits from as many or more people.

What Kind of Traits Should You Extract?

In order to create the perfect buyer persona that represents the type of customer you need, you have to dig deeper than you probably expected. While you should always study the buying habits of your existing customers, you can find so much more based on whether they’re married, what kind of education they have, and even their age or gender.

The last two might sound like profiling, yet the customer information you already have tells major truths about which customers are more apt to buy from you.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to just dig into your customer database and other analytics to find buyer persona information. You can assemble these traits even faster through email surveys or direct interviews with your customers if they’re willing.

What Buyer Personas Enable You to Do

One aspect to look for in creating a buyer persona is finding out what type of digital media your customers prefer to use to find information. This is important because you’ll know where to target any marketing content in the future to attract your prospective buyers.

All marketing on social media is better targeted and focused so you won’t just guess who’s going to see your content and what the reaction is. Content like blogs and videos you create on your website also have a better shot of getting seen by the viewers that matter. Once you know who you’re creating content for, the creative process goes faster.

Overall, it does take time to create buyer persona, though creating content will go quicker when you’re not just marketing in the dark.

8 Ways to Change and Improve Your Marketing

How can you develop reach and resonance across social, digital, cross generational or cultural boundaries? How do you build the communication mindset and skillset that helps you inspire the best in yourself, your people and your audience?
Developing a message that stands out starts with changing your communication playbook. The goal of a communication playbook is to drive:

Reach: Opening the ears, hearts and interest of your audience
Resonance: Trust, congruency, purpose
Results: Engagement, buy in-the human factor that makes communication work and grow
Here are eight ways to change and improve your communication playbook, while building reach, resonance and results.
1. Less Is More. Short is sweet. Shorter is sweeter.
The plethora of information thrown at as before we eat lunch is extraordinary. People have less time, less patience and shorter attention spans than ever before. Making your case, connecting words that create value for the other party means fewer words that have more meaning, more impact and create value. Think about what you want to say, and cut down your statement, your message to three or four strong words that you want to get across with impact, and build your statement accordingly.
2. It is not about YOU, it is about THEM.
The size of your company, your bank account, etc., have lost their shine. Forty years of relentless advertising, vacuous messages have made the 21st century consumer wary of pitches, big companies, shiny objects and messages that talk about your power and clout. Communication is about empowering them, their clout, and their power to resonate with your message. It is a message that talks about them and to them.
3. Ask the right questions and you will get the right answers.
Your focus is finding the common thread, the shared objectives and values that transcend the noise, the stress and any cultural, general boundaries before you. Your ability to develop a ME to WE focus by listening more and asking questions that help your audience share their values and objectives is the first step in building communication and developing messages that stand up and out.
4. Stop talking at your audience and talk with them.
The new communication playbook is about developing communities of purpose, developing relationships that are held together by shared values and objectives that transcend social, digital, cultural/generational boundaries. Great communication is not about persuasion, it is about connection that occurs through transparency of communication, fluency of information and a spirit of collaboration.
5. Purpose equals profit.
Purpose equals profit on a multiplicity of levels. When our need for food and shelter has been met, human purpose our ability to feel needed, valuable and that we are contributing to a greater whole drives our most important decisions. If you want to build a message that stands out, and communicate in a way that builds a bridge, you must find words that open the ears of your audience and resonate with a purpose that ignites their head and heart.
6. Get over yourself.
Command and control communication may get the job done quickly, but the results you achieve will come back and bite you in the face. The new consumer, the new employee, and the new generation expect real, live news and communication for integrity and transparency.
7. Fail forward.
Take the high road by using conflict or misunderstandings to develop new ways to come to the center of the table. Use conflicts to build connections, because it is the human connection, the thread of shared values and objectives that can transcend the most difficult failure or conflict and turn it into an opportunity to connect and communicate.
8. Content is not king, communication is king.
The greatest content in the world is lost if it does not open the ears, hearts, and minds of your audience in ways that resonate with their purpose; and create a strong bridge of shared values and objectives.
Communicating effectively in a hyper competitive world is the litmus test of personal, business and professional success. The leader who communicates well succeeds well, but developing a message that stands up and out means rewriting your communication playbook. Doing so can be challenging, but it is also a new adventure that will help you grow, expand and develop new ways of thinking, doing and communicating.

6 Benefits of a Peer to Peer Customer Panel

Customer panels are built from lists of customers that have given permission and are willing to take part in research on an ad-hoc basis. This is invaluable to market research, especially in cases where data collection relies on access to research ready participants. Instant access to willing participants guarantees high quality research and ensures you are able to carry out research when you need it.

Panels provide a range of research benefits, but we have chosen our top 6 that demonstrate how the research method can have a positive impact on your business.

1. Insights into Loyalty

By engaging with members of a panel who frequently take part in your research, you are giving them a voice and reassuring them that their opinion counts. In turn, this influences the ongoing development and growth of your company. With their ongoing input, your organization can listen to consumer thoughts and better communicate, adapting to their needs and preferences. In doing so, customers will appreciate the impact their views have on your brand and remain loyal to your company.

2. Ease of Access

Panels guarantee a rapid turnaround of projects. As they are already set up with research ready participants, there’s no need to re-recruit for each future piece of research you undertake. This means that your company can react quicker in terms of delivering research and making use of its findings.

A peer-to-peer customer panel offers you instant access to customer feedback, ideal for when you want to understand customers’ initial reactions to a change made to your brand or marketing strategy. For example, if you’ve recently launched a new advert and need to find out what your customers think of it, a panel provides a quick way to send out a survey, target audience and acquire information instantly. Reduced timescales also mean you can carry out more research in the long run, leading to a greater overall understanding of your customers.

3. Measuring Longitudinal Attitudes

Since information on a consumer panel is collected about the same group of people over a relatively long period of time, you can track and identify any changes in consumer preferences, trends or behaviour. This isn’t simply a matter of comparing customers’ perceptions of your company now with those at an earlier stage. It is also trying to understand the mediating factors which may have led to any differences in opinion or habits.

For example, if your customers were previously satisfied with your organization but their feedback has become more negative, you can try to discover which factors have led them to feel this way and make changes accordingly. A customer panel gives you a much needed before and after picture of customers’ opinions. It helps you redirect your efforts, whether this is through changes to your customer service, marketing strategy or other aspects of your business.

4. Cost Effectiveness

Having your own customer panel is a lot cheaper than other methods too. As you already have a list of customers you’d like to target for research, you can avoid having to pay a large sum of money for a sample from a third party panel provider. The data is also better quality since participants from external sources may not always be as relevant to your business as your own.

5. Combining Qual & Quant

Within a consumer panel you have the opportunity to conduct both qualitative and quantitative research depending on your research needs. If you want access to quick customer feedback, you can send a survey out to your target audience and gain instant stats. However, if you’d rather gain a more in depth understanding of your customers’ behaviours and opinions, you have the option of inviting high value customers from the panel to take part in more qualitative research such as focus groups or interviews.

A customer panel also enables you to carry out personalised and targeted research as each member provides a detailed profile about themselves when registering for the research. You can therefore segment participants according to high or low value customers, gender, age bracket, products they use etc. and only research those most relevant to your project at the time.

6. Quality of Responses

One last great advantage of a consumer panel is that the response rate is likely to be high since members have already agreed to take part in the research. Participants are aware that they’ll be invited to various projects as they will have agreed to this when signing up for the panel. They therefore know what to expect and are more likely to opt in when receiving invites.

The quality of the responses themselves are also high, since participants willing to take part in research will feel comfortable and provide thoughtful, detailed answers. Delivering research online means that they can take part at a time convenient for them, when it has their full attention and they can focus on developing their answers fully.

These are by no means the only benefits that customer panels offer. What do you think are the advantages of using customer panels? Have they worked well at all for you in the past? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Understanding Cause Marketing

Cause marketing is a specific form of marketing that basically replaces the traditional and more expensive form of advertising. It is where a for-profit business and a non-profit organization form a formal alliance from which both parties benefit both financially, and by increasing their credibility in the eyes of the public. This is why it is often referred to as “Credibility Marketing”. This article explains in simple terms how such an arrangement is beneficial to both parties.

To understand cause marketing, and it’s benefit in promoting a companies credibility, it’s necessary to understand how the public’s interest in choosing products and services has changed over recent years. Since 2008, in America and the United Kingdom, buying the most expensive product is not viewed as having the same value as a status symbol that this type of purchase once offered. In many department stores, shoppers are clearly looking for what is practical, and cost efficient. They are also much more aware of the impact on the environment, their community, or the global community their purchase might have. This is the heart of cause marketing, as it offers the value of contributing to the larger goals that interest the public.

A Smaller World with Big Goals

In this day and age the drive to contribute appears to come through the ways people communicate. Since the 1950’s most families in the United States, U.K. and throughout Europe have enjoyed direct information regarding the state of their own community as well as the world at large. Seeing the news via previously filmed events gave way to an instant viewpoint through satellite news feed of video. The internet offered the world a direct and personal pathway in having the ability to directly write or text to almost anyone in the world. The result of this communication is the average person is more aware of the tragedies, wars, and natural disasters taking place thousands of miles away. This has led many in taking a financial interest in causes for the common good, whether this affects their own community or one thousands of miles away. Cause marketing philosophy allows those representing a product or service to align themselves with these shared goals. Further it gives a business increased credibility, which is why this type of marketing is often referred to as ‘credibility marketing’.

Identifying Community Needs

For the business wishing to engage the public, cause marketing is more than simply a part of public relations. Rather than simply having a drive or single event to raise public awareness of an issue or need, cause marketing aligns a brand or business with a worthwhile cause. This partnership then produces mutual profit and public relations benefits for both the for profit business and the non profit enterprise. Both the business and the cause will see an increase in public attention and in profit. Everyone in the community involved the business, including its employees will also see the benefits of social connection and community improvement.

Who Benefits?

Typically in looking at cause marketing most companies involved offered physical goods directly to customers. As markets have increasingly changed, and consumer’s preferences tend toward expecting extended value from their purchases, other types of enterprises have also tried cause marketing. This type of cause marketing works well for physical products as a company can donate a predetermined amount per sale of a product, or with the return of a proof of purchase by the customer. The companies involved have found increased sales of products with this marketing and subsequently increased profits, while still contributing more to a specific public interest issue.

Discovering a Cause

Any number of issues can affect a community at any time. Often, simply paying attention to news groups relevant to those who use a product or service will indicate which causes are important to them. However as cause marketing has evolved and companies see the benefits of increased credibility, causes are no longer always directly aligned to a company’s product or service.