It’s a New Year.
A blank page lies before you, waiting to be filled. We often make resolutions that are quickly broken, but what if you decided to make some new innovations? It’s the perfect time to make adjustments to your marketing plans or implement new products or services to bring your business success in 2016.
Every business has to recreate and re-invent itself in order to stay relevant to its consumers. However the pressure of coming up with new ideas with a blank page staring back at you can be daunting. Nicole Baldinu reminds us that, “The idea that breathes new life into your business doesn’t have to come from you; it might just need to be discovered by you.” With that in mind, let’s look at some places you can discover new ideas and innovate your business.
- Ask your customers how you are doing. If you simply ask your customers how you could improve your product or service, they will give you plenty of ideas. Typically they will ask for new features or request that you make your product cheaper, faster, easier to use, available in different styles and colors etc. Listen to these requests carefully and choose the ones that will really pay off in the long run.
- Observe your customers. Do not just ask them; watch them. Try to see how customers use your products. Do they use them in new ways? How are they interacting with you online? Pull the actual numbers for the year, so you can see what the data tells you.
- Don’t fear complaints; use them to get better. Look at what customers complained about or had the most trouble with last year. In the coming year, how can you fix that, not just for one customer, but for all your customers?
- Ask your team. Give your employees permission to speak freely, and mean it. These are the people who are on the front lines with your customers. They see and experience parts of your company that you never will. Make sure that everyone feels safe offering his or her ideas because your best innovation for the next year could come from one of them. Encourage creativity and solicit new ideas from every level of your business.
- Look at past trends. While looking back seems counterintuitive to looking forward in a new year, sometimes it can actually glean new ideas. Marketing trends come and go and then come around again. What worked for your company (or companies like yours) in the past? How can you bring a successful idea of the past into the present, modern age?
Don’t be afraid of change.
Change is scary because it requires us to jump into the unknown. But change is good because it gives us the opportunity to experience new successes. You get to choose whether fear will keep you where you have always been or whether you will move forward in spite of fear. The gift of fear is that it causes us to make a plan.
You need a plan to implement new ideas because we know that just having a good idea isn’t enough. You also need a way to measure whether or not those innovations are successful. Remember that any goal you have for your company this year should be specific and measurable.
If you want to innovate, but feel overwhelmed by the blank page, call Riley & You. From designing customer surveys to looking at web stats, we can create ways for you ask and observe your customers. Once you have the ideas, we can help you implement them by looking at your overall brand strategy and creating an effective marketing plan.
Every successful venture starts with a well-developed plan, and your marketing plan is no different. As a matter of fact, better planning at the beginning often leads to a better payoff in the end, a dollars and cents kind of payoff.
Based on your marketplace opportunities, your brand alignment and your strengths, it’s important to build a marketing strategy that reflects your company needs and considers the following elements:
- Budget planning
- Goal setting
- Audience targeting
- Logo creation and/or brand management
- Graphic design and creative advertising
- Online advertising and AdWords management
- Website and SEO management
- Promotional product creation
- Co-op fund management
- Social media development and management
- Email Marketing
- Blog Development and management
- Media management
- Professional video and photography services
Riley & You has a team of professional who can build a complete marketing strategy that will guide your advertising and meet the objectives of your growth plans. We start with initial meetings by phone or via email. Next we meet in person to discuss the details of your current clients and brand alignment, meet your key people, and identify the challenges and opportunities that are part of your business. Our team then develops a detailed strategy, including the utilization of traditional media and online tools, integrated into one complete plan of growth.
One of our personal marketing consultants helps your company consider all of the elements we have listed above and many more. Riley & You also develops the plan for your comprehensive branding and identity systems to help you see how all the pieces fit together and benefit your company. Our consultant is there for you every step of the way, making sure that your marketing plan is executed flawlessly.
Riley & You not only handles this initial planning, but we also assess how well the strategies are working. We look at the execution of the plan and make follow-up adjustments to ensure that your targeted audience is reached, captivated, and converted into sales that help your company grow and thrive. Let us simplify your workload and grow your business at the same time!
You drive by them on your way to work every day. Communities full of people who could be potential customers. They drive by your business and don’t even know what you have to offer. Instead they are going home and shopping online from businesses that are outside your town and maybe even your country. But how do you connect with the local customers your business is waiting to serve? We have a few fresh ideas.
Draw people into your store with a special event that attracts people in your community to your business. Consider partnering with vendors to create an event that everyone can enjoy. For example, our Kitchen Master Series events invite potential customers to local appliance stores to learn about kitchen remodeling from local design experts.
Use your Facebook page and Twitter accounts to let your customers know about special events and sales in your store. Our client Merridee’s uses social media to promote their daily specials and weekly events.
Did you know that you can target potential customers online with specific ads based on their current location? Search marketing ads can have custom ad copy and bids based on customer location and device. Facebook ads can also be targeted to the city or zip code you are trying to reach. Advertisers can even limit their ads to potential customers that live in a specific area, excluding travelers.
A program that rewards local customers is a great way to keep them coming back to you. They have lots of choices, and finding a small way to thank them for choosing your business can make that choice easier. These programs are inexpensive to maintain and require very little time commitment, so they offer a high return for the effort you put in.
Partnerships with Other Local Businesses
You both want the same thing: local customers. Why not work together? You can double your promotion efforts and double your market reach. Plus your customers will thank you for introducing them to other quality businesses that they need.
Local schools or sports teams also make great partners for promoting your business. Being strategic about placement can keep your company front-of-mind for your local customers who need what you have to offer.
It’s time to connect with your local community so that your neighbors can benefit from the quality products and services you offer. If you are ready to try some of these ideas but don’t know how to make them work, call us at Riley & You. We have a team of experts who are ready to help you connect with your community.
Good communication is not just about what you say to your customers. It’s also about finding a way to communicate so they will listen and respond back to you. However before your customers will listen to you, you must listen to them. They can give you insight on their wants, needs and how they prefer to receive information. When they see that you’re interested in them, they’ll be more interested in you.
Here are some simple ways you can listen to your customers:
- Ask them how you can improve your services and make positive changes based on their feedback.
- Listen to their concerns and resolve them quickly and efficiently.
- Search social media channels to see what they’re saying about your business.
- Monitor online review websites closely.
One of the forgotten parts of good communication is listening. When your customers feel like you have heard them, you have found the key to opening their ears. It makes them feel like their opinions matter and that you genuinely care about them as a customer. It builds trust, which in turn builds loyalty. In your own life, you probably have some companies, such as electronic brands, clothing stores, restaurants or beauty products, to which you are loyal because of their consistently great service. Once you’ve listened to your customers, you are ready to get them to listen to you.
Here are some tips to get customers to listen to you:
- Go above and beyond to provide excellent customer service.
- Treat them genuinely and sincerely.
- Thank them for their patronage.
- Keep your content scannable and concise for easy consumption.
These tips can help you get more customers to respond your emails, engage with your social media posts and even into your place of business. Some may show their interest by calling you, visiting your website or buying your products or services, but not every single customer will listen because it’s virtually impossible to hit 100% of your target market. Instead of focusing on the small percentages that aren’t listening, focus on interacting with the customers who are. If you can gain their trust, they will keep coming back to you and help spread the word.
What image are you projecting when you email clients and prospects? How do they perceive you? Your emails are a representation of you and your company. Fonts, typos, incorrect grammar, emoticons and email signatures make a big impression. That’s why it’s so important to have proper email etiquette. Here is a list of important etiquette rules to follow when sending business emails.
Business Email Etiquette Rules:
- Use an email address that is professional and formal.
- Be sure to reply to emails promptly.
- Always include a clear subject line because this will determine whether the client will open it or not.
- Use standard fonts that are available on all computers.
- Don’t type in all caps or in all lowercase letters.
- Address the recipient formally and be sure that you don’t misspell their name.
- Include a greeting and closing to make the email courteous.
- Type in complete sentences and use proper punctuation.
- Don’t overuse exclamation points.
- Be careful with abbreviations because the recipient may not understand them.
- Avoid using emoticons.
- Proofread your emails to make sure there are no typos.
- Only hit “reply all” when it is absolutely necessary.
- Check the recipient’s name, so you don’t send the email to the wrong person.
- If you’re sending a mass email, use Bcc so your recipients’ email addresses won’t be exposed.
- Always add the email address last, so you don’t accidentally send an unfinished message.
- Create a standard email signature for all employees in your company to ensure consistent branding.
Following these simple etiquette rules when sending business emails will help you build better business relationships. You’ll make a great impression on your clients and prospective clients and help them have a positive perception of you. They’ll see you as professional, which will lead to more respect for you and your business. Make these rules standard in all your business communications and see how it strengthens your business.