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Showing posts from March, 2015

Planning a Meal, Planning a Marketing Campaign

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Imagine planning a special meal. You start by thinking about the different dishes you want to serve and how well they'll go together. You try to choose flavors that complement each other and fit well with the occasion. You hope to create a delicious feast people will love and remember for months to come. The same should be true of your marketing.

Understanding integrated marketing

Planning a successful integrated marketing campaign is a lot like planning a successful feast. Just as choosing various dishes that complement each other helps to create a memorable meal, using a variety of marketing platforms to create a single campaign will help to capture the story of your brand.

Too many companies try to create different marketing campaigns for each platform. The result is like a meal of random dishes that have absolutely nothing in common. Separately, each might taste good and draw compliments, but together they seem confusing and fail to provide the lasting impact you hoped to cr…

How to Handle Customer Complaints Effectively

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Few aspects of running a business can be more frustrating -- or more expected -- than customer complaints. It's impossible for even the most successful companies to please every customer every time. Knowing how to handle customer complaints effectively and professionally can improve brand reputation and turn a disgruntled customer around.

Listen and acknowledge the customer

It sounds basic, but a surprising number of businesses care more about defending their actions than listening to the customer. Remember that the vast majority of people who have a problem with your company won't bother complaining to you. They'll just complain to everyone else. Every customer who takes the time to complain directly to you should be thanked for the opportunity to make the situation right. This means listening carefully to everything the customer has to say about the experience and offering an apology for their discontent.

If you encounter a complaint online, reach out and publicly ackno…

What Gardening Can Teach You About Marketing

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Spring is in the air (or at least on the calendar), and people everywhere are starting to think about their gardens for the year. While gardening might not seem to have much to do with business, in reality, it has several lessons it can teach us about running a successful marketing campaign. Here are four to keep in mind as you prepare your yard this year.

Start with a plan

Any experienced gardener knows a garden must be carefully planned. From lighting and shade considerations to eventual plant heights, watering needs, and general arrangement, failure to consider the characteristics of each individual plant can easily result in a struggling garden that doesn't please the eye.

Marketing is the same. Randomly throwing together a variety of different strategies and hoping something sticks is never a good approach. You need to plan how each piece will fit together and serve your ultimate goal: getting your message in front of the people who are most likely to buy from your company.

P…

Take the Time to Get Positive Customer Reviews

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If you're like most business owners, you love seeing positive reviews come through your virtual door, but you don't really go out looking for them. After all, how many customers actually respond to solicitations for reviews? Is it really worth the effort?

It actually is.

Consumers are depending more frequently than ever on reviews from people they know and from sources they trust. They don't put much faith in the write-ups companies develop themselves. They assume the organization will present itself in the best possible light. Customer reviews, however, are seen as more credible.

With that in mind, here are three ways you can use customer reviews to support your business.

Improve customer trust on your website

Place customer reviews and case studies on your product/service pages, at the bottom of your home page, and anywhere else prospects might look on your website. Positive feedback from real, live customers will encourage visitors to take what you have to say serio…

Hitching a Ride on the Bandwagon

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Have you ever wondered why most brides wear white for their weddings? The white wedding gown became common after the wedding of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert in 1840. Before that, brides would wear a variety of different colors for their big days. Women would choose blue, yellow, black, or even brown for their wedding dresses. The primary consideration was finding the nicest dress the woman already owned.

In the mid 19th century, however, that began to change.

The queen's wedding was well-photographed, and the image of the white wedding gown intrigued people. Other members of the higher classes began to choose white wedding gowns as well. Etiquette books and advice began to speak about the value of wearing a white wedding gown, especially as it communicated the bride's purity. Although it became increasingly more common, it still would not become mainstream among all the social classes for another century.

After WWII, Hollywood and film became increasingly popular, and gu…

4 Ways To Boost Your Email Success Rates

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Email can be a powerful tool for reaching potential customers. After all, about 91 percent of customers have an email address they check at least one time per day. It's a consistently reliable way for getting in touch with people who might be interested in what your company has to offer.

Unfortunately, often one of your biggest hurdles is simply convincing people to open your email in the first place. You have to battle against being perceived as spam and being overlooked to attract the attention of your intended audience. Here are some tried-and-true techniques you can use to boost your email open rates and find success with your next email campaign.

Personalization

Do you like to open emails that come from impersonal companies or unknown senders? Neither do your customers. Make sure the emails you send are personalized for your recipient. A personalized email will include a specific person at the company as the sender, such as Janet Smith from XYZ Marketing, instead of just XYZ…

Translating a Study Abroad Experience Into Business Success

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Studying abroad is a popular and honored tradition for many students as they go through college. If you had the opportunity to do so, you likely reveled in the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture. But while you were busy learning about new cultures, you were also learning some valuable insight about business. You just might not have realized it. Here are three lessons you learned about being successful in business while you were studying abroad.

Jump in with both feet

When you find yourself studying in a foreign country, you don't have the luxury of taking it slow. You're living in a new land, completely immersed in the new culture. You now have to completely rely on your language and culture lessons because this is no longer just practice.

When you start a new business, you need to apply the same principles. You need to jump in with both feet and completely apply yourself to your new business and new industry. If you try to cut corners or resist investing the ti…

Finding Your Niche in a Crowded Industry

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The Internet has been an enormous asset when it comes to doing business. We now have the power to reach potential customers around the world. But while the Internet has given us incredible benefits, it has also produced one major drawback: competition.

Thanks to the Internet, you're likely competing with far more businesses than ever before. Today's consumers often research companies online before giving them a try, so avoiding the Internet altogether is not an option. Even local businesses must often compete with one another online, too.

To survive in this intensely competitive atmosphere, you need to carve yourself a niche. With the right niche, you'll have something unique to offer your customers and will know exactly what type of clients you're looking to reach. Thanks to modern technology, you can now find each other.

So, how do you discover your niche?

Start by focusing on what makes your company unique. For some, that might mean discovering a product or servic…

Mastering Business Strategy at the Chess Board

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The game of chess has a long and storied history. Early versions were played from about the 6th century, while the modern game has been played since the mid 15th century. Even as technology advances, chess remains one of the most challenging and educational games around. It's been used to teach military strategy and to improve critical thinking skills.

While most people are familiar with the intense challenge chess provides the brain, you might not realize how much it can teach you about marketing and running a business. Two key lessons involve pragmatism and playing the "long game."

Pragmatism

To be successful at chess, you must be pragmatic. You need to be able to think on your feet. While most successful chess players have concrete strategies they enjoy using, no player can completely predict the moves their opponent will make. That means they must be able to make decisions on the spot.

A good chess player also has the skills needed to read their opponent. Through e…