How Do I Keep Customers?

Once you’ve got customers – whether you’ve got 2 or 202 – what steps need to be taken in order to keep those customers onboard?  You want to keep your customers interested in your product or service, and more ideally – tell others about your business. There are strategies out there, so let’s look at some of them now.  Adopt one or more to put to work to make your business stronger and more profitable.

Take a Look at Your Records

Here’s the essence of customer retention: it takes less time and money to encourage your current customers to purchase more than it is to get a new crop of customers.First, view the numbers.  How many of your customers have purchased in the past month?  Three months? Six months? Year? Look at patterns. Look at repeat sales.  How many of them keep coming back? It’s important to make this assessment to see how many of your customers are just one-shot deals or ones who have returned to buy more.

Get Cozy with Your Customers

Encourage conversation – whether it is face-to-face or online.  What do your customers like about your product or service? How do they use what you offer?  Customers become loyal to your brand when they feel connected to you and your business. Keep things fun and casual, letting customers know that YOU care.  When they sense that, they’ll keep coming back. In this electronic world of ours, sometimes people are lonely and miss the personal care and contact of businesses from yesteryear where customers were on a first-name business.  Tap into that and show them that you are there for them.

Provide a Before and After

Customers will often purchase because of hope.  They know their status quo and they hope to do better than that.  They often will base a purchase on results – how the product or service will make a difference to them and make CHANGES to them, for them, and in their lives.  Most people aren’t completely satisfied with who they are, where they are, or what they are doing – and by showing them what a difference your business will make for them, their interest is piqued.  Ask your customers for testimonials – and with pictures, better yet. Seeing is believing – and these will encourage current customers to take full advantage of what you offer.

Use Words that Work

Certain words work their magic when it comes to purchases.  How many people will buy 2 or 3 of something to save some money instead of just buying the 1 they need?  A sale – that word entices- free also stimulates interest.  The words newand instantly also appeal to the emotion and the logic of purchasing.  How can you encourage your current customers to purchase more?  They like promotions and seasonal sales and coupons.  Give them teasers.  Make it fun for them to visit your site or your website to buy things for themselves and others.

Create Excitement

Think of what changes have been made lately to your products or services  Make a big deal about those. Let customers know that you’ve heard their requests and tell them what has been changed and why.  Capture the momentum of newness! Show them how the latest features will make a difference to them. If you’ve got a new product, get your customers involved. Have a contest.  Have a few customers test new products and post reviews online. Get them involved and they won’t want to leave or let go.

A business will struggle with success if it is fueled just by new customers.  If your customers seem to come and go, adopt one of these strategies to revitalize interest in your product and service to keep your customers loyal and current.  Want an easy way to keep in touch with them? Send your customers direct news about your business right to their inbox. Join us atOnline Sales Pro and see how!

Where are my Customers?

As an independent business owner, one of your key interests is finding and keeping customers.  Successful businesses may proclaim that product-based strategies work the best; others tote customer-based strategies.  Let’s take a look at customers and figure out how a focus on them can bring more of them to you.

Identify your Customers

Think about the product or service you are promoting and determine who would make the best use of it.  What does that customer look like? Is it a he or a she–old or young–active or sedentary? Describe your target customer in as many words as possible, because those descriptors will become key when you are creating your marketing campaign.

Build a Profile

Using the description that you have created of your target customer, now you need to focus not only on WHO your customers are but WHAT they want and WHY.  Create a new list of the attributes of your product or service, described in as much detail as you did for your potential customers. What we want to find here is a way to match the two–the target customer with your product or service.  This will help you determine how to reach and engage those customers. You will need to figure out how the features of what you are promoting are tailored to these new potential customers. That match makes your customers like any other asset your business has–providing returns over time all because of the marketing investment you are making to attract them.

Now Let’s Strategize

You now have some fresh data–about your customers and about the features of your product or service.  It’s now time to apply the 4 P’s of marketing:  Product, Price, Place, and Promotion–and create those links between them. Look at your product and determine a fair price for it. You might want to drop the price for a promotion to encourage more sales.  You might want to have a contest to give an extra gift to the first 10 or 20 customers who purchase an item on one certain day or during a weekend. Allow yourself creative ways to connect customer and price. As for the place, how are you going to sell?  In person? Online? Now figure out how to reach out to have them come to you. Will you advertise locally with a flyer or an advertisement on Craigslist or Nextdoor?  Or will you create an online marketing campaign like the one Online Sales Pro offers with its Express Setup?

A business cannot run without a faithful base of customers, but initially that base must be built.  Focus on your customers and figure out the best way to reach out to them, so they identify with you and your product or service and purchase them and then tell others.  Want to learn more about how to reach customers?  Join us at Online Sales Pro and see how!

Landing Page No-Nos

Landing pages should be designed to work – and they will do that if you remember NOT to do these five things.  Be sure to take a look at each one of these no-nos closely as you examine your landing page to improve it. In a search about landing pages, you’ll find various articles about what to include on your landing page, but often it’s what you should NOT include that keeps customers from purchasing your product or service. Let’s learn from the experts!

Be Creative but NOT When It Comes to Testimonials

Look through what your customers say about your product or service.  What is it that they like? What keeps them coming back? If you have a very loyal client, you may want to ask that person for feedback – and explain why.  You want to feature those comments on your landing page. Do not ask Aunt Mildred to crank out some rosy words for you – and don’t you dare rewrite any feedback that may have had more negative than positive comments.  Aim for sincerity and truthfulness!

Be Inventive but Do NOT Forget About Mobile Use

Some of the nifty aspects that a desktop display will allow do not work on a phone. If something takes too long to download, or text or images get cut off, potential customers using their phones to visit your landing page may walk away from a sale. You don’t want that to happen. Make sure you test your landing page on your phone and anything that doesn’t work? Remove or adjust it.

Be Resourceful but Do NOT Lose Focus

You may think that a link to here or a link to there will increase the value to your landing page.  Not so! That distracts people. We want them to focus on one thing: to sign up potential customers to learn more – and buy more!  Your landing page is to capture leads – and that’s all you want it to do. Once they get to your website, they can go on an expedition and explore this and that – but before you get their information, cool your jets!

Be Inquisitive but Do NOT Ask for Too Much

What do you need to contact someone?  A name? A phone number? An email address?  Well, then, that’s all your capture form should include.  You don’t have long for someone to respond, and if you are asking for too much information, people may just cancel out, their interest in your product or service snuffed out.  Ask only for what you need.

Be Pleased but Do NOT Forget to Say Thank You

It’s encouraging to see your list of contacts grow.  People are responding to your landing page and providing their contact information.  They want to know more! Of course you are pleased. But remember what your mother told you long ago:  be sure to say THANK YOU! When someone has provided the essential contact information for you, respond with a thank you.  Send a creative note of thanks to the potential customer’s email address or route them to a web page that creatively says thanks!  We all like to be thanked – and let’s face it, the customer has just made the first step toward a purchase, so that deserves a smile and a nudge from you right away.

It’s important to learn from mistakes that others have made with their landing pages.  That gives you a chance to focus on what DOES work. Want to learn more?  Get started with Online Sales Pro today and look for this marketing guide:  Email Marketing Secrets, and read chapters 3 and 4.  A well-crafted landing page that does not include these five mistakes can certainly boost your sales!

Happy Customers

We all want happy customers.  By keeping them happy, they’ll spread the word, and soon we’ll have more happy customers.  How can we manage to build up a clientele that keeps coming back? Let’s look at some strategies to generate positive customer reviews.

Give Them a REASON to Review

First of all, you must provide a product or service that is the best you can offer.  Customers who need what you have to offer will notice the quality of it and be pleased with any customer support they may need.  Provide a 100% guarantee – no matter what. Talk to them when they have complaints and provide answers – or make changes. Business is an interactive process, so learn as much from your customers as you possibly can.  Also, remember that many customers try out a business based on comments by their friends and colleagues. A word-of-mouth campaign is one of the most convincing ones that can be launched. People seek out the experiences others have had with your business, so make sure that they have something to crow about.

Give Them a PLACE to Review

Customers can use various ways to “pen” their impressions of your business by posting Google or Yelp Reviews and others – but make sure that there is a place for customers to leave questions and comments on your website, too.  You’ll be able to use those reviews. Let others know what happy customers are saying – and why. Also, if you see customers face-to-face, ask them open-ended questions, encouraging frank responses. Create incentives.  Provide discounts on the future purchase of products or services for those who complete a survey about your business.

Give Them a RESPONSE to a Review

If a customer posts a negative review, respond to the post or, if you can, get in touch with them. Thank them for their feedback and let them know what will come of it.  Too often it’s the unhappy customers that yammer and complain, and the happy ones just smile and say thank you. Ask the happy ones for feedback and then respond to that, reinforcing the review of your business.  Your customers will respect you for the interactions and your responses.  The relationships you have with your clients will become stronger. Perhaps you will find out what they like best.  Maybe you hadn’t realized before what the most important element of your product or service is to them.  You may find ways that you can make your business run even more smoothly with their feedback and develop new products or services.

Potential customers often make purchasing decisions after reading reviews on the Internet.  When happy customers post positive comments about your business that can bring in new customers.  Just think – these reviews are effective and you didn’t pay anything at all for that kind of marketing and promotion!  Aim to keep your current customers pleased with your product or service and just watch while more customers join them.

Should you need some help drumming up business by yourself, we can help you by creating a marketing campaign focused on your product or service.  Contact us here at Online Sales Pro. Automated marketing messages will be set up and sent to those interested in your business – and we can do that all for you for less than $100.  When you visit our website, click on OSP Express for that customized service we offer to our happy customers.

1440 Minutes

We all have 1440 minutes in each day.  We tend to waste quite a few of those minutes by running from here to there helter-skelter – racing through the day’s tasks and often having to do them over again – and having unfocused time that we can never recapture.  Worse yet, we have trouble finding the time to make changes to make better use of those many minutes our days gift us. Do you have a few minutes to make some teeny tiny changes that will truly make a difference! Nod your head YES so we can look into this.

Focus on a Change

Is there a change you would like to make in your life that could definitely make a difference?  BJ Fogg, a behavior scientist at Stanford University, indicates that there are only three options that will make a long-term change in our behavior:  have an epiphany – make a change in our surroundings – or take tiny steps. The last option sounds much easier than the first two, so let’s continue with that one.  The Fogg Method focuses on three steps to take to change your behavior.

Step 1:  Get Specific

Instead of focusing on the habit or weakness that you have, focus on what behavior you would like to start.  What would you like to do instead? For instance, let’s say you would like to manage your time better. Think of yourself as someone who not only shows up on time, but maybe one who even gets there a little early.

Step 2:  Make It Easy

What can you do to make a change in your behavior so that it seems easy?  We tend to like easy fixes – something more challenging doesn’t interest us for long.  Think of a change you could make that would be simple but help you reach that outcome. We all do better with an easy change – something that helps us make the change, but not anything that is too oppressive, too stifling, too challenging.  How could we make that awareness of time a simple step?

Step 3:  Trigger the Behavior

Now consider what actions or reactions will encourage this new behavior.  It sounds as though someone who is often late probably has always been so.  Because of that, a trigger must be created to prompt this new behavior. How could we make that awareness of time a simple step?  Perhaps we notice the time and we think we can do just one more thing before the clock strikes twelve. If that is the case – here’s a solution, plain and simple:  change all of the clocks and watches in your house and in your office. Set them 15 minutes ahead! When you see the time, you’ll hustle, but you’ll be on time! If your brain won’t fall for such trickery, another change you could make is to set a timer to beckon you, letting you know that you have only 10 minutes more.  These are simple steps to help you change the behavior.

Perhaps you would also like to spend less time scurrying around trying to make connections and possible sales.  We have a simple step you can take to manage your business time better: Join us here at Online Sales Pro. With a few simple steps, you can set up automated messages with your sales page that will be mailed out every couple of days to potential customers.  Sit back, enjoy your time, and let automation do your work.

7 Reasons Content Marketing is Not Dead

Internet marketers delight in announcing that various methods of marketing are dead. Content marketing is one method of online marketing for small business that is definitely not dead and gone. In fact, it’s alive and well and something every business needs to be engaged in.

With that in mind, let’s look at the main reasons you should be using this method of marketing for your small business.

  1. Original Content Gets Results

The main issue with the blog posts and videos out there is that they are being broadcast on repeat. When one type of article goes viral, everyone writes similar articles…but what people are really looking for is brand new information. If you can provide that, you’ll see results. It’s estimated that roughly 5% of marketing content gets 90% of responses, so make sure yours is in that 5%.

  1. It’s Affordable

When it comes to online marketing for small businesses, affordability is key. It costs very little to write a blog post or article, or even to put together a simple video or infographic. Even if you hire the content creation out, you’ll still pay far less than traditional marketing methods.

  1. It’s Relevant

When you want to know how to do something or which product to buy, what do you do? Chances are, you check online. Reading a review or watching a video can give you valuable and instant information on whatever you need to know. That’s why content will never go away…it is an essential part of life at this point, and everyone uses it.

  1. Content Can Be Outsourced

Not sure you can come up with all that content on your own? It’s not a problem. There are countless experts available to create your blog posts, articles, videos, and even images for you. It can be quite beneficial to outsource this, since you can hire those who are experts in your particular niche, making it simple for them to turn out amazing content that will entice readers.

  1. People Share Content

What do you see being shared constantly on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest? Content. Whether it is in the form of a video, article, or infographic, the content is what connects with people enough to get them sharing. If you want to build up your brand and create a stronger following, you need more content.

  1. Content Evolves Over Time

At one point, most content was simply written text. That was useful, but then we expanded into images. Today, even though video is a viral form of content, images and text never actually went away. As people change their method of content consumption, content producers can change the way they present the same material. This ensures that it is always available in an easy-to-digest format that will appeal to anyone searching for information. You may have even noticed that there are a number of sites that offer both text and video versions of their sales pitches now, so that consumers can choose their favorite method of learning.

  1. Knowledge Will Never Die

There will always be a need for great content. Even if it’s been done before, you can offer an updated version of the information or add your own twist. The fact is, people seek out relevant, useful information when they’re in need of knowledge, and if you have it, then you are more likely to make a sale. This means there will never be a time when content is not needed. Content marketing is the way to go, because it will continue to be useful long after it is written or created.

Content marketing is most certainly not dead, and it likely never will be. There’s always an audience for those looking to learn something new or to find a specific product. As long as you are providing that content, you will continue to attract new eyes.  Want to learn more?  Get started with Online Sales Pro today and check out our marketing guide, Free Traffic Foundations, to learn more about getting traffic for your marketing efforts.

Internet Marketing is Like Sports?

There is a saying that goes like this: ‘practice makes perfect’ Athletes build their strength and skill by practicing. They reach plateaus and if they keep their momentum going consistently, they continue to move forward in their skill. It is the same with marketing as you are building and sustaining momentum by constantly taking action to promote your home business.

Artists also keep practicing and learning techniques. In the military they continually test their endurance and develop their skills using weapons and hand-to-hand combat. Marketing is very much the same in that the more we practice by taking action, the better we will get at doing what we must do.

In building momentum another way this is important is that most people will not respond. This is your challenge. Don’t become discouraged or give up. You have to increase your efforts and have enough volume that those people won’t matter. Eventually you will learn to focus only on the ones that do take action and respond. They are the ones that will help you build your business over time. In any case you just need to keep pushing forward no matter what it seems like.

It is easy to lose your way when you elaborate on that you may not see any positive results in the beginning (because you haven’t got the momentum yet). This is normal. However, normal is not always right – in fact often it isn’t right at all. Catching a cold is normal, but it’s not good for anything, and we just want to get rid of it because it is annoying.

Sometimes we must take special steps to ensure that we don’t allow ourselves to get discouraged and stop trying. We may have to talk to ourselves continually to guard against negative thoughts and feelings. If you don’t stop them they will become an attitude. If you make a conscious effort to combat them they will stop eventually. Replace them with something which is positive and focus only on that until you are feeling better.

You can visualize the beauty that is always here even when you are personally not feeling well. There is nature – the sky, the water, fresh air, the trees and flowers. There is much good for everyone to share. Think about how lovely it is. Think about people who make you feel good, or your family that love you. You can take a minute or two to remember things you have accomplished that made you a winner. Like starting an online home business!

Remain focused on your target goals. In this case it is to create a profitable business via Internet marketing. Realize that you may have to ‘wash, rinse, and repeat’ over and over and over again before you will start to see any results. Understand that is just how it is. It’s how it usually works and you shouldn’t get in a rush or feel that you are failing. It should make you try even harder.

Your Vision for Your Online Business

Visualization of your goals can’t stop in your imagination. For goals to become reality you need to make a concerted action now and into the future. That meansw-o-r-k to make it happen. There is no such thing as wealth without work. Day dreaming can be fun, but it can be counter-productive.

When we are not being logical or realistic or we have not really defined achievable goals, we can quickly become disenchanted when nothing works out as we thought it would. It is good to ‘aim high’ and ‘dream big’, but if we set unrealistic goals that may not be possible to achieve at this juncture, this can become discouraging.

This is sadly ironic if the person actually believed he could earn money instantly, without first building and developing a plan and then working it. Nothing will ever happen by magic or because we have a vision. It won’t happen unless we tune in to reality and do the work.

If you have never started a business before, there may be lots of false starts. Until we get real and create a plan with reasonable expectations, we are just wasting time and resources – ‘spinning our wheels’, never more than a wannabe. We need to make a commitment just as we would when we start a new job. I will show up and I will work to accomplish goals.

The key to success is to persevere. There will not be even a slim chance of accomplishing our goals if we give up and quit too soon. However, if we can just keep trying, even without seeing any tangible results, there is still a chance things will improve. You never know what is right around the corner so don’t miss it because you quit too soon. If we quit too soon without giving ourselves and the program a fair chance, we will never know what we might have achieved.

With all that said, everybody is not necessarily going to relate to this environment. We need to seriously admit that we do not like working online and do not want to do this — and then move on. There is no shame in this. Not everybody can ride a horse – or even wants to. What we all have in common either way is we need more money. We may as well find a way to earn an income that we enjoy and feel that we can succeed with.

Although it is important to take action while we feel inspired, it is super important to be logical about what we need to do and what we can realistically expect to achieve. If we can build on that, we will have the foundation for a profitable home business.

Where to Begin If You Are Thinking of Starting a Business Online.

To begin with, you need a real plan — a plan that would organize resources that you have to invest, as far as money, time and skills. Even if you have very few resources you can still start a business on the Internet. If you are determined, there are ways to make up for anything you feel you need but do not feel strong about.

If you have no money to work with then start to save a few dollars whenever you get money. You will be surprised that even a little bit of ‘spare change’ will add up if you don’t spend it. It is also a good thing when planning to take stock of what you spend your money on. If you are really committed to having your own business at home, you can make some small sacrifices as far as things in your life that are not essentials, for example – entertainment, trips, and luxuries.

You can be direct and for example when you would normally pay for tickets to an event, take that amount and put it away in a savings account for your business operating expenses. You can also help yourself to motivate your saving, figure how much gas you saved and the bridge tolls, etc. and put that away in savings too.

Time is a major concern especially if you have no money. You will need to spend more time researching and working in performing tasks for yourself. You can always learn how to do things if you feel you don’t have strong enough skills when you come to the table.

Rest assured though that you have access to major important, free resources, rich or poor. Search engines like Google.com are where almost anything you ask under the sun will be answered within minutes. It may take some time to go through all the results you get though, to decide on the best.

There are free courses online at organizations like W3schools.com. This is technical and provides just enough information that you can learn how to maintain and even build websites. There are also community colleges online where you can take excellent courses for just a few dollars and you can do it whenever you have free time.

Determination and sacrifice are key ‘skills’ that you need. After working all day, commuting, and family responsibilities, devoting yourself to starting a business may take your last ounce of strength! Many do it and it is very gratifying for them to know they have taken control of their own lives.

 

Safety in Numbers – Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is something that needs to be done aggressively and consistently over time to build and sustain momentum. Marketers can never rest on their laurels because they will quickly fall behind and go to the bottom of the pile. That’s marketing anything not just business opportunities or products online

There are many failures because people believe they can do something once or twice and that they are going to make a profit as a result. If they don’t see anything right away, they quit trying because they think it is pointless. It’s really sad that some people do not think things through. Other than a phony magic show where do they get the idea things just pop out of hats?

There is a list of reasons why people don’t try hard enough and most are avoidable. The reason that you always need to keep the volume of your promotions turned way up, is that marketing is a bit like ‘finding a needle in a haystack’. The majority of people around the globe are not interested in starting an online business or for that matter buying anything. It is just as likely there are those who are, and you just need to find them.

The statistic that is used for many marketing businesses is a 1-2% response rate being considered pretty good for example for eMail marketing. Note that ‘response’ can be just an inquiry and does not necessarily represent a sales transaction, so the percentage would be even smaller for actual sales.

Spammers have caused a huge problem for eMail services that are forced to use spam filters. Unfortunately the spam filters are frequently blocking legal bulk mail from businesses (and the spam is still in your inbox). The filters apparently often can’t differentiate between the two. They are amazingly unsophisticated for this day and age. Sadly your message may go to spam and never be seen.

Ethical online businesses would likely only use permission-based eMail . This means that you have to request a business to send their publication to you by ‘opting in’. Often blocked by spam filters but maybe not. eMail is invaluable to Internet marketers, regardless of the problems. You just need to allow that there is nothing we can do except accept that we are starting at a deficit thanks to evil spammers.

Don’t feel sorry for them – remember they are really not trying to do business with you. They are about disrupting business by creating chaos. Many people being inundated with spam after a while will realize it is futile to try to keep up with it and will stop opening most of their mail. Hopefully they will recognize your return address and since they signed up to receive mail from you, they will read it.

Hence, whatever you do in this regard, whether it is using list builder systems, sending solo ads, or buying leads, you should realize that you will need many on an ongoing basis to make up for those that will be lost. Remember not to get discouraged or blame the program or product you are advertising if you don’t get a response right away. Keep trying.