Archive for March, 2016

Designing Customer Satisfaction Surveys That Work

Designing Customer Satisfaction Surveys That Work

Why bother?

Good customer service is the life blood of any business. Although new customers are important, good customer service will help generate customer loyalty and repeat business. With each satisfied customer your business is likely to win many more customers through recommendations and remember, if you are not taking care of your customers, your competition will.

Online customer satisfaction surveys will help by not only identifying problem areas but show that you care and are proactive in looking for ways to improve the service that you provide.

Where do you start?

Objective – Before you start creating your survey clarify the objectives of the survey, in that way you will find it easier to decide what are the right questions to ask.

Analysis – Consider how you will analyse the answers having completed the survey.

Keep in mind that ‘closed’ questions (where a respondent is asked to choose from a limited number of responses) are much easier to analyze than ‘open’ questions (where the respondent can reply in anyway they want).

A lot will depend on the predicted volume of respondents, the higher the volume the more important it is to have an easy method of analysing the results.

Opportunity – As well as obtaining valuable market research data keep in mind that customer surveys are also a good way to publicise aspects of your service that your customers may not be aware of.

Before you publish the survey confirm that the questions you have asked will provide you with market research data that when analysed will help you make informed decisions.

Then, from a marketing view point read through the survey, confirm that you have phrased each question so that every opportunity has been taken to promote your business?

The ideal question will perform the following 3 functions:

  • Market research – provide valuable feedback to help you improve your customer satisfaction levels and in turn your business
  • Marketing – promote aspects of your business
  • Information/Education – advertise a service that you provide that your customers may not have been unaware of

For example: Do you find the in-store baby changing facilities useful?

By asking this question not only will the store receive good market research feedback on the facility they provide but they will also promote their facilities and advertise themselves as a family friendly store, even beyond those customers who have a specific need for the baby changing facility that has been provided.

Warts and all – to benefit most from a customer survey you need to be prepared to dig deep and accept the worst.

A customer satisfaction survey should be designed to identify any problem areas so that they can be fixed; conducting regular customer satisfaction surveys will help prevent complacency and will also give early warning on where you may be losing business to your competitors initiatives.

What are the questions you should ask?

Each business is likely to have unique factors in relation to providing good customer services however there are common areas that are going to be relevant to all businesses be they a physical store, online store or a service industry. The following are some key areas to providing good customer service.

Communication – What do you do to help your customers communicate with you?

When customers telephone are their calls answered quickly; are their enquiries about products or services handled properly? Good businesses will make every effort to ensure that whatever the customers query it is resolved by the right person, quickly, politely and fairly.

If customers reported problems that cannot be resolvable immediately do you promise to respond in a given time period and do you deliver on your promise?

Use a customer satisfaction survey to ensure that all your staff are considered by your customers to be knowledgeable, courteous and helpful.

Location – Are you doing everything you can to ensure that your customers find it easy to visit you, if a physical store, does it have good access and is it conveniently located?

Making it pleasant, making it easy – For an online business it is important to ensure that your website is easy to use and aesthetically pleasing.

Physical store or online website, is the store properly laid out, can your customers find what they need and is there sufficient information and help on hand to explain how a particular product works?

The right quality products – You should not only measure the quality of the service that you provide but you should also monitor that the products and services that you market are what the customer wants and closely match their expectations.

Value for money – Cheap or expensive is not always a good measure, value for money is.

Is your business associated with value for money by your customers, if not, why not?

Speed and attention – Customers want to be dealt with quickly but attentively.

Are you doing everything you can to avoid delays?

Good businesses will try to treat each customer as an individual, does yours? Customers appreciate attention but only if it leads to a quick and satisfactory resolution of the query.

Demographics and Specific issues – Take the opportunity to profile your customers, for example where do they live and what is their age group?

Understand your customers more and you will be able to better target your business.

As part of the survey allow your customers the opportunity to highlight any problems that they may have and provide you with contact details so that their problems might be later addressed and their concerns followed up.

What next?

Once the survey has been completed analyse the results.

Trends – Identify common and specific areas where the service needs improving.

Ask yourself honestly if any criticism that you receive is valid and if there anything that can be done to resolve or minimise the problem?

Training – Are all employees properly trained and do they have sufficient knowledge?

Where employee training programmes have been implemented have they made a positive contribution to the business and improved the customer service?

Follow-up – If a customer has raised a specific issue through completing a survey ensure that they are contacted and that their complaint is properly addressed.

Do not squander the opportunity to resolve a problem and keep a customer.

Continuously Monitor – Based on the survey results make changes and then re-measure by issuing further surveys.

Resources

Customer Satisfaction Survey Template

Customer Satisfaction Survey Questions: 5 Sample Templates You Can Use Right Away

7 Social Media Marketing Myths You’d Never Expect

7 Social Media Marketing Myths You'd Never Expect

Social media has become very popular in the digital marketing world. Brands cannot resist on using social media on their digital marketing initiatives. It has become a necessity to have a social media presence in order to reach out to the target customers.

Most digital marketers have used social media, however there are still some false beliefs that need to be cleared. Because of the fallacies and wrong expectations, digital marketers tend to believe that their social media campaigns do not work. If you are already using or considering using social media for your marketing campaigns, you should keep in mind these 7 social media marketing myths to set your expectations straight.

1. Social media marketing is free. Although social media signup and usage is absolutely free, using it for marketing purposes is not. Using social media in the leisure manner that you normally do will not give you the results you expect. You need to do social media advertising to reach the target audience. You need to post good content that is aligned to your marketing goals to entice your audience. You have to come up with a nice banner or image to make your post appealing. You may even need to create a video to make your content more interesting. All of these will cost you money one way or another.

2. You can easily make your content viral. Sure this happens sometimes, but very rarely. In order for your content to get a lot of attention, you have to work really hard on pushing it to your audience. No matter how good your content is, someone still has to see it and recommend it to others. Regular sharing and advertising are some of the things you may consider doing to promote your content.

3. You need to use all the big social media sites to succeed. This is not necessary. You should just focus your energy on 2 to 3 sites that you think are applicable. This all depends on your target audience. You have to figure out what social media platforms your target audience is in. For example, if your target customers are specifically professional marketing managers, LinkedIn should be the social media of focus here. Then consider 2 other secondary platforms that these marketing managers may be using.

4. Social media is only for the young ones. This might be true in the beginning but not anymore. According to a study conducted by iStrategyLabs, Facebook has 276% growth in users aged 35-54 in 2009 and is its fastest growing segment. I have a first-hand experience on this. My parents and all their friends are really into Facebook. They use it to reach out to their old friends.

5. You should make money on all the content you share in social media. In social media, the more you give, the more you receive. The main purpose of sharing content is not to make money out of it but to build credibility and trust. Once you have established yourself as an expert in your chosen business niche, then people will start looking for you to see how you can help solve their problems or challenges.

6. Social media is everything you need for your digital marketing. Though social media is a very powerful marketing tool, you should not forget about other marketing tools out there. Social media should be a part of your integrated marketing communications strategy whereby you use as many marketing tools you can leverage on as possible. There are other aspects of marketing that social media cannot cover so you should have other tools to cover the rest.

7. Social media results cannot be measured. New tools to measure social media results are popping up on a regular basis. There are tools that can measure blog comments, mentions in the media, traffic stats, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, comments on your content, real-time blog advertising results, click-throughs to your website etc. You just have to do more research to be updated on these tools.

There are other myths on social media that I did not cover. You will realize them as you progress in your journey with digital marketing.

How To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 10 Minutes A Day

Tweaking The Numbers In Google AdWords

Tweaking The Numbers In AdWords

Google AdWords is a simple and easy-to-use advertising program, offered by Google, which works on a pay-per-click principle. You pay Google a predetermined amount of money each time a person clicks on your ad.

Of course, what you pay for it determines where it will be displayed in the Google search results! The primary goal is to strike the best balance between the cost and the ranking. Here is some tips for you to minimize your cost in setting up your Google AdWords campaign and increase your revenue.

Placing The Right Bid

Just like you optimize your website for keywords, you have to optimize your AdWords too. This is done by “bidding” for the relevant keywords from Google; choosing the amount you are willing to pay per click for that keyword, which, in turn, determines the location of your ad in the search results. For U.S. customers, this amount can be as low as one cent per click and as high as the competition drives it! While it is not wise to set too high a price initially, it can also render your entire campaign worthless if nobody gets to see your ad! Finding a balance between the position of your ad and the CPC is your first step towards PPC success.

Analyzing And Modifying

Ideally, you should start with 1 cent CPC for all your keywords and gradually increase it by a cent each for those keywords which are suspended by Google because of being too low priced. Once you have more than half of your keyword list working, stop playing with the CPC for the keywords until you get at least 50-75 clicks. You can start analyzing which keywords seem to be working for you at the low CPC and which need further investment.

Testing And Tweaking

Once you manage to cross phase 2 of the campaign, now you need to keep it going by revising, testing and refining your ad. You need to adjust the header, the design and the bid value. You need to keep finding ways of improvement!

Once you develop a certain comfort level with AdWords, it can actually be quite fun! Whether you are a total novice in the field of Internet marketing or you have been around for a while, but not with much success, I am sure that if you keep the above few AdWords tips in your mind, you will be able to see a definite success in all your AdWords campaigns! Playing smart is the operative word here!

How Telemarketing Is Changing In The 21st-Century Marketplace

How Telemarketing Is Changing In The 21st-Century MarketplaceTelemarketing is a pretty old business. Telemarketing got its start in the 1950s and has not changed much since it began. The earliest forms of telemarketing were generally used to sell magazine subscriptions to customers through the phone, using a system of database marketing. Gradually, more soliciting was done over the phone, until it got to the point that telemarketing calls were being made at all hours of the day and evening.

At this point, the government stepped in and started invoking laws for direct marketing so that the telemarketing companies were not able to call as often. This was good for prospects, but of course, it was bad for the telemarketing companies. Some of the laws that were imposed on the telemarketing companies encompassed things such as the time when they could call, being required to stop calling if someone asked to be removed from the call list, and introducing the national do-not-call registry.

This enabled people to take themselves off any telemarketing list, making it illegal to call them for any kind of solicitation. With so many people taking themselves off of the solicitation lists, the telemarketing companies have had to turn to other means of income generation to keep themselves in business. Now, many telemarketing companies are adapting or integrating telemarketing processes into digital marketing to keep turning a profit.

The traditional telemarketing sales format is not used in a digital marketing strategy. Some companies are still using outbound telemarketing by having people set up appointments on the phone to be finished later over the Internet. Another way to bring telemarketing into the future is through the creation of the virtual call center. This saves the telemarketing companies money because people are working from home for a reduced salary, thus reducing their overhead costs.

A good digital marketing strategy is needed to play a larger role in the sales process for telemarketing to stay relevant. Some companies have completely switched to the Internet as a means of saving business costs by having people call from home through a virtual call center. Other marketing companies are changing their focus completely to address the new interests of today’s society. Overall, the world of telemarketing and direct marketing is changing and will never be the same again.

How To Conduct Social Media Monitoring

How To Conduct Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring has increasingly become a crucial practice in gauging who said what about your business and the degree of positive and negative sentiments associated with the opinions. As an integral part of prospect/customer engagement, marketers can harness SMM for improving customer service, minimizing damage control, projecting a better brand image, identifying potential brand influencers and advocates and basically keeping tabs on your industry or niche (for further information, read “6 Ways Social Media Monitoring Can Benefit Your Business“). The sentiment data acquired through SMM can also be analyzed to determine future improvement to social media marketing campaigns and the products/services themselves.

The metrics to monitor and measure are spelt out in “The Ultimate System For Tracking Engagement On Social Media“, but not all metrics matter to you until they align and contribute to your engagement goals.

Social media monitoring tools can run the whole gamut from being easy-to-use to being highly sophisticated, from being free to costing a monthly subscription (do a Google search for them). You can easily set up a simple tool like Google Alerts to notify you of certain keywords. These notifications will bring you to the keywords’ mentioning sources whereby you can respond to comments or opinions. For a start this is pretty straightforward for newbies. As you sieve through the data, it gets pretty interesting to learn what others have been talking about in relation to your business, products/services, niche or industry.

It gets a little heady if you need to canvass more data, but don’t worry. I list out 5 free ways you can monitor and act upon the data you are targeting in the major social networks.

1) Check Twitter for chatter about business (2 minutes): Use tools like TweetDeck or HootSuite to monitor conversations about your company in real-time. With these tools, you can save searches and react via the tool itself without needing to log into Twitter. Alternatively, since Twitter has discontinued its own native RSS feeds, follow this workaround to create your Twitter feeds and include them in feedly.

2) Scan Google Alerts (1.5 minutes): Check your Google Alerts for your company name, products, executives or brand terms. To set this up, enter your search terms and select to receive updates as they happen or once daily. Now, when people blog about your products, an alert will be sent to your inbox. You can read the articles and respond right away!

3) Check Facebook stats (1 minute): Visit your company page’s Facebook Insights. Scan your fans and page views count. If you are a member of a group, check to see if any new discussions started.

4) Answer Industry-related LinkedIn questions (3 minutes): Search for questions on LinkedIn that you or members of your company can answer. You can set up an RSS feed for specific question categories to go to your RSS reader e.g. feedly, as well. When you find a relevant question, respond and include a link to your website.

5) Use your RSS reader to check Flickr, Delicious, Digg and others (2.5 minutes): Also set up RSS feeds for searches on your company name and industry terms in other social media sites. Similar to monitoring LinkedIn and Twitter, your reader will serve as a great place to centralize your other searches too!

How To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 10 Minutes A Day

Ultimate Tips for LinkedIn Groups to Generate Sales Leads

Ultimate Tips for LinkedIn Groups to Generate Sales Leads

Are LinkedIn Groups effective for promoting your business?

My short answer is ‘yes’ and here’s why…

LinkedIn Groups are virtual meeting rooms (or forums) where people with similar interests can post and hold conversations around topics they want to share or learn more about.

For those of you who have been leveraging LinkedIn Groups for a while, you may be aware that LinkedIn recently made some pretty big changes. Groups are now private and membership must be approved (though once you’re in, your conversations no longer require moderation), and there is no longer a promotions tab or subgroups.

Participating in Groups allows you to show off your expertise around a subject and start to grow relationships with like-minded people.

Many of these people may be colleagues, who could offer solutions to certain challenges you’ve been facing, or could provide partnership opportunities to help you grow your business in the future.

Others could be potential customers, who are using groups to network and also find solutions of their own.

By sharing your expertise, participating in conversations, and being a reliable source of information within the Group—you’ll have the opportunity to build valuable relationships to help you do more business.

How do I find and join the right Group?

LinkedIn makes it easy to find Groups that are relevant to your business, or the audience you’re trying to reach. Within LinkedIn, you can perform a search based on keywords and filter to find the right Group.

For each Group found in your search, you have the option to view who in your network belongs to those Groups. Joining Groups that your connections are already members of can help you nurture the connections you’ve made on LinkedIn.

Take it one step further and reach out to your network to ask them what they think about the Groups they belong to. This can help to continue building the relationships you already have, while starting to understand what Groups may be right for you.

On LinkedIn there are both public and private Groups. If they’re public, all you need is to hit the ‘join’ button when you find a Group you’re interested in and you’ll gain access instantly. Private groups on the other hand, require you to request an invitation from the manager of the group to get access.

You can join up to 50 Groups, but be aware that many groups aren’t actively managed. Make sure to spend the majority of your time on the key Groups you find that are managed well and have constant interactions.

How do I participate in a Group?

When you join a Group, take the time to familiarize yourself with the content people are sharing, and types of questions that are being asked.

Relevant content is the only way to take full advantage of a LinkedIn Group. When you share content that others are interested in, your chance of ‘connecting’ with that person is much higher than if you just hit ‘connect.’ Use groups to strengthen relationships, with your ultimate goal of connecting on and offline with Group members.

Here are a few tips to remember when participating in a LinkedIn Group:

  1. Show off your expertise by answering questions that others have asked, and don’t forget to ask some questions of your own! Groups are meant to be a forum for like-minded people, so make sure you’re asking and answering.
  2. Post articles and ask questions. Share articles or blog posts you’ve found and ask the Group members a question related to the article.
  3. Don’t over-promote! Your goal when posting articles or answering questions is not to promote yourself or what you’re doing, but to build relationships. When you use the words ‘me’, ‘I’ or ‘my’, your content will more than likely get sent directly to the ‘promotions’ tab of the Group.
  4. Make that connection. Once you’ve been interacting with someone in your Group, and you’ve built up some familiarity, send them an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. Make sure to let them know why you want to connect, and remind them of your interaction in the Group.
  5. Don’t forget other networks. If you have been interacting with someone on numerous occasions in a Group, connect with them on Twitter or find their business page on Facebook. Most people are participating in a Group for the same reason you are, so they will be happy to connect with you and extend your relationship!

Are LinkedIn Groups really worth the time and energy?

Hopefully, by now, I’ve convinced you that the answer is YES! The ability to reach people you wouldn’t otherwise have access to is one of the main reasons that social media works, and LinkedIn Groups are no exception.

Get out there, begin by joining 3 groups and see what relationships you can build by engaging with the right audience.

How To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 10 Minutes A Day

3 Ways Quora Can Supercharge Your Business

What can a Q&A site do for my business, you wonder?

Promoting my business on Yahoo! Answers? Maybe that’s not what you had in mind.

Yahoo! Answers

Source: BuzzFeed

Quora? What’s Quora?

Quora is a community-based Q&A platform where anyone can ask and answer questions.

Quora

What distinguishes it from Yahoo! Answers, then?

Quora is one of the few communities that have founders of renowned companies like Wikipedia, Pandora and Craigslist as regular contributors. They also have representatives from other companies like HubSpot Singapore and Moz contributing their expertise and knowledge on their subjects for free.

The Quora community also covers a tremendous scope; from the digital marketing industry, entrepreneurship, the latest happenings in Silicon Valley to life advice. People actively ask questions and seek answers to these questions.

What do all these factors mean for you as a marketer trying to promote your business?

#1: Quora is a place to establish thought leadership for you and your company.

People on Quora actively ask questions and look for answers to these questions.

Browse, find and follow relevant topics to follow on Quora that your business is working in or have expertise in. For example, if you are a marketer in a digital marketing agency you can follow and monitor topics related to social media, SEO and marketing analytics.

Following these topics gives you access to the multitude of people looking for answers in your topic of expertise. These are opportunities for you to demonstrate your expertise, provide value to your prospective audience and get your brand name out there.

Two types of answers are especially popular on Quora:

  • Actionable strategies

Examples include: How to X, What is the best way to do Y.

  • Specific examples

Examples include: 21 Examples of Amazing Headlines, 3 Examples of Stunning Personal Websites, 5 Examples of Outstanding Resumes.

Providing concrete examples and visuals to answer a question makes your answer easier to understand and provide more value to your audience.

These strategies on Quora can help to establish you and your company as a source of strong, relevant information for your area of expertise.

#2: Quora can drive traffic to your company website or blog.

Use existing content on your blog or website to answer existing questions on Quora. As you answer these questions, include a link back to your website or blog with either a more detailed answer or more relevant examples that viewers can read more about if interested.

As your Quora answers gain in popularity, make sure you include a link to your website or blog post you are quoting to ensure it becomes a source of social referral traffic. The Quora community is made up of dedicated users and its carefully curated content ensures it is well positioned as a source of reliable, high quality information.

Establishing your brand on Quora allows you to build relationships and trust with prospects to organically guide them to discover your brand’s products or services. This process takes time, but will drive qualified and warm leads to your website as you nurture these relationships.

#3: Quora is a place to find, listen to and engage with an audience who is relevant to your company.

Quora is a wonderful way to learn specific details about your core audience. Its Q&A format allows your brand to discover the answers to the following marketing related questions.

  • Who are my customers?
  • What are their wants and needs?
  • What challenges / problems are they facing?
  • What are they looking for in potential solutions to these problems?
  • What are my competitors offering already and how can I differentiate myself from them?

Do your research on Quora! By focusing on what your prospects are saying in comments or what questions they are asking, your company can gain insight into your audience’s characteristics and more importantly, how to create appropriate content to address these needs.

Quora is one of those Q&A sites done right. Quora admins continuously ensure answers are of high quality and the community remains respectful in comments, questions and answers. Quora may just be that listening and traffic generating platform your business needs.

How To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 10 Minutes A Day

Article Marketing: What Makes A Good Article?

What Makes A Good Article

We all know the raw power and efficacy of online marketing through article publication. All of us can even claim without blinking that article marketing is the most powerful and cost-effective web advertising technique that has been conceptualized since the creation of the digital world.

To put it simply, if you own an Internet enterprise, you have to use article marketing.

However, one of the most asked questions I receive is this: how can I craft a good article?

What Makes A Good Article?

This indicates that though most Internet businessmen realize that they have to pursue article marketing, not all of them are skilled enough to write a web-worthy piece of informative content.

Therefore, I have prepared some easy-to-follow steps on how you can create the most suitable good article for online marketing purposes.

1. Determine the subject you want to write about.

2. Don’t attempt to write about a general subject. Break it down to a more specific subject that people will be fascinated with. Just to illustrate, don’t settle for the broad subject of ‘dogs’. Try to determine a sub-topic that will capture the interest of the prospects you will be aiming for. As is often the case, this sub-topic refers to a particular demand, like “dog training” for people who are experiencing difficulty when it comes to living with their unruly canine companions, or “dog grooming” for cleanliness compulsive dog owners who can’t live with the smell of their untidy canine friends. You need to find a sub-topic that will make people take notice. This is critical. Countless articles fail because they don’t serve a more tangible matter.

3. Because the sub-topic should indicate a need, your article must be able to provide a solution. However, depending on how the article will be used, the solution you will share will vary. By way of example, if you’re going to use the article to promote a product, then practice restraint on the remedy you will share. Your goal, in such a case, is to provide the impression that you are an expert in the field, and invite your readers to consider what you will be offering. Always remember this throughout the writing process.

4. Formulate an attention-seeking title that is dumbed down but exciting. People will visit your article if they will like its title. If not, no one will get to read what you have written.

5. Remember that every article has 3 basic parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The introduction will introduce what your work is all about. You can deliver a shocking fact, a revealing statistic, or a funny anecdote to jerk your audience into knowing that “Yes, the author is the real deal.” The body will discuss the information you want to share, of course. And the ending will summarize the problem, the provided solution, as well as interject some calls-to-action (i.e. “click my link”) if needed.

6. What is the right length for articles of this nature? It’s safe to say that 300 to 750 words would be fantastic!

These are just some easy tips for article writing. It is not hard to write a good article all it takes is a little planning and a little thought. With practice you will find it gets a lot quicker.

Article Marketing: Effective Website Advertising Tactic

Article Marketing: Effective Website Advertising Tactic

By using the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, you can see the thousands of searches done to a certain keyword. When these keywords are typed on search boxes of search engines, indexed websites containing articles with those keywords will be displayed. And this is what leads traffic to websites with keyword-rich articles.

Content is king. You can say that again. That is why articles are one of the most utilized digital marketing media today. Internet surfers just can’t get enough of information on various fields. Giving them the information they need is the most straightforward way to give your site free traffic.

Why is this so? Here are the benefits that writing articles can give your Internet business, and how a proper article marketing strategy can increase your website ranking faster than any other technique.

1. It’s absolutely free.

Too good to be true? Not. Alright, so you have pay your Internet Service Provider. That’s it. All you need is your thoughts, your computer, and your hands. If you have those, nothing will stop you from typing words that will make you complete that article for your website. On which aspect of that process did you really shell out any cent? Maybe later when your electric bills come.

2. Your website will be noticed in a short period of time.

Submit that article of yours to article directories that get the most Web traffic and in no time your website will be crawled. Just don’t forget to place your resource box or byline in your article.

3. Obtain back links automatically.

When you submit your articles to directories, surely, other websites will make use of your article too. With the copyright terms of your articles, the URL of your website will still be in tact and will subsequently direct more traffic to your website. So always keep in mind how important is to use a correct tool to submit your article to the proper sites.

4. Improve your reputation.

As an Internet marketer, if you plainly display your products on your website, you will not gain much conversion rate. Conversion only happens when your website visitors actually buy what you are selling. You have to show that you are knowledgeable on your field. Write useful articles to demonstrate your expertise to your website visitors.

Just make your creative juices flow and jot down or key in those ideas quickly to jumpstart your article writing momentum. With those benefits listed above, a writer’s block is the last problem you will ever be able to surmount.