How is your business perceived on Yelp? Facebook? Twitter? Google? Amazon? Managing your online reputation should be a priority for your public relations team. Setup a workflow to track – and most importantly – respond to online reviews, comments and ratings. Remember, just one bad review can be enough to sink your business. You can’t stop bad reviews, but you can lessen the negative impact to your online reputation through a series of steps.
What’s my….what? Your mantra, you know, the three or so words strung together in perfect harmony to describe the culture and philosophy of your company. It can be clever, catchy, funny, bold, provocative, or even silly as long as people remember it and attribute it to your company.
A motto, or mantra is an all-inclusive message that allows us to belong to something bigger than ourselves. It attracts our attention and joins us together. Your company mantra should be relevant, engaging and inspirational or thought provoking, depending on your business and the message you want to share with the world about who you are and what you believe, deeply and truly.
Let’s face it, lot’s of money is budgeted for sales leads generated from online advertising, print ads, radio, networking, Pay-Per-Clicks or whatever method your company uses to get them. Unfortunately most leads never materialize into a sale and the money spent to capture them is wasted. As an example, one of our local new home builders estimates each prospect who walks into their sales office costs an average of $700 to get them there! Your cost might be less, but the goal is the same for any business-to convert those expensive leads to sales.
Investing in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool
By no means are there only 11 good reasons to invest in a CRM, but we thought this list was a good start to show the importance of a CRM to help your team convert leads to sales. Let’s begin with what it does: the purpose of a business CRM is to act as a central hub for all of your company’s activities related to your customer interactions. It simplifies and organizes tasks such as customer follow up and notes, setting appointments, managing contacts, personalized steps required by your team for each prospect from start to finish, and monitoring any email marketing campaigns. A CRM pulls it all together in one place and provides you with analytics and reporting tools to oversee operations and to maximize your selling opportunities. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider choosing a CRM for your business in an infographic you can save for future reference or share:
The caveat before deciding on a CRM platform is that the returns will only be as good as the effort put into the program in the first place. Simply using a CRM as an address book is not a good return on your investment. There is a learning curve when implementing a CRM for the first time or when upgrading to a newer version, so training your team to properly utilize and maintain the many features a CRM has to offer your business is key. Once a CRM is utilized to it’s full potential, it can propel your company to a higher profit margin and surpass your competition with amazing customer service!
At Kompani Group we understand the importance of a strong business CRM, which is why we have helped hundreds of clients to integrate solutions such as Insightly and Salesforce to improve their sales process. We don’t just stop there; KG also trains and supports the sales team to optimize the many powerful tools these solutions offer. Are you interested in learning more? Get in touch, and we’ll tell you how we can get you started with your new CRM solution!
In this marketing world where things are constantly evolving, it is quite important to stay on top of new trends, technology, research and best practices. As marketers, we are passionate about our industry and all the fast and challenging changes that come with it. When you start diving into the universe of marketing methods, it might be hard to wrap your head around the available information.
A good start would be to look at some of most common myths related to email marketing and try to better understand them.
1. Subscribers who have opted-in will always want to hear from you
Regardless of the methods you are using to grow your email marketing list, the most important is getting your subscriber’s permission. Of course, we are happy when we see people subscribing via forms on our website or blog, but this burst of happiness can decrease when we see that there is no engagement after a few months. Statistics show that 20%-25% of your email list will expire after a year since people get new jobs, change their email provider or a host of other reasons. Further, people tend to subscribe rapidly when you offer an incentive in exchange of their information. Subscribers who once took the time to fill out your form will most likely end up in your inactive users list.
The good news is that before they become inactive or even when they are, there are actions to be taken to either bring them back, on board, or to continue to harvest marketing awareness value out of them. Some of your customers will keep you top of mind by simply looking at your subject line. We’ll definitely go through all that, and other examples, in a future blog posts.
2. CAN-SPAM compliant = inbox
In spite of being fully CAN-SPAM compliant, your email might not land in your receiver’s inbox. The main reason might be your sender reputation. A lot of factors such as frequency, volume, hard bounce rate or spam trap hits make a significant difference, and that’s why it is important to monitor your campaigns. Your emails might also not reach inboxes because they are full or the email address is simply invalid – all items you can monitor and correct with the right visibility.
It is important to understand that in addition to being compliant, there is a lot to manage and improve upon to increase the likelihood of successful delivery.
3. The best time to send email is either on Tuesdays or Thursdays
The day all companies will sell the same product to the same type of customers with the same routine all over the world is when we might be able to define the perfect day and time to send an email. Every industry, every consumer, every product, every service has it’s own set of trends. It’s easy to say that deliverability in general is better on a certain day, but that simply may not be true for YOUR product or service. What is true, is that sending the right content to the right people at the right time will make a significant difference in your ROI. Thus, you absolutely need to test what works for your company and your customers. If you are starting email marketing, be patient and test different days of the week and times of the day. Depending on the size of your list and your email frequency, it will often take a few months of testing to get enough data to define the best combination of day/time in terms of engagement quality.
4. The most indicative email marketing metric is your open rate
The open rate happens to be one of the most misleading email marketing metrics for the simple reason that it is unreliable. Here are a few reasons why:
- Because the open rate count happens when the graphic pixel inserted in your email is downloaded, a user that only has text format enable might read the email, but no open count will be registered. This happens with several email providers and it is frequent on mobile device. It might also be a personal preference.
- Some emails might only be read in preview which won’t trigger the pixel download.
That being said, don’t completely disregard opens. The open rate is a useful comparative metric for A/B testing different subject lines for example. But if you want to report to the CEO on the effectiveness of your campaign, you can skip the open rate metric.
5. It is not recommended to send the same email more than once.
Why not? It is a low cost practice that can easily drives sales and engagement. We would recommend you take the time to slightly tweak the message with a new subject line, add a new banner, rotate the products or modify the hero image. But why spend time on writing and designing a piece that has been working? According to The State of the Email Marketing by Industry 2016 report from Get Response, an email marketing and online campaign management, the open rate average for all industries is 21.73%, which also means that 80% of your subscribers are not opening and could possibly open the next email you will send them. It’s worth the try, and the money and time saving!
6. Unsubscribes from my email list are bad
As much as it can be heartbreaking to see subscribers leaving you, keep in mind that this is part of a natural list cleanser and that you’ll always get new (and hopefully more) subscribers. As we saw previously, some people will only provide their email in exchange for a discount, or some people might realize that your product or service is not for them after sign-up. Again, simply keep in mind that a healthy unsubscribe rate should be under 1% and that it is better that someone unsubscribes instead of marking it as spam.
There are many other email marketing misconceptions out there and we will continue on this topic from time to time. If you have some in mind that would like for us to “de-myth-ify,” then simply leave a comment and share this post if you liked it!
Election season is upon us and as I process the chaos, excitement, and diversity of the political landscape, I’m reminded of a fantastic political drama and one of my favorite television shows of all time – The West Wing. This is such an exciting time for our country, and I’d like to pay tribute to American politics and good television by sharing what I’ve learned from the show.
I loved The West Wing. It was funny, dramatic and intense. But, more than anything else, it portrayed a group of high-performing, highly intelligent individuals collaborating on important work. I found these distinctive characteristics to be stimulating because I, too, strive to be a high-performing individual and dedicate my time to important tasks. I was able to extract four key lessons from The West Wing that will contribute to performance and productivity in both your business and personal lives. These may be things you hear in business every day, and you can certainly witness them in action when watching The West Wing.
The first thing is the impact you can have on the world around you. The West Wing may differ greatly from your life experiences (obviously) because people are working in the White House and affecting policy change. Maybe that is your case, and in that case you should take that work seriously. But impact is also entirely relevant whether you are working in food service, packing boxes, or selling or delivering any product or service. We all have impact that we can make. If you want to explore this concept a bit more you can look at Steven Covey’s 7 Habits for Highly Effective People. He talks about our circle of influence. To understand your circle of influence is to understand what things you can impact. Make sure you focus your time elements that are within that circle. As you do that, your circle of influence will grow and you will have greater impact on more of the world around you.
The second lesson is cause. Find a cause. Commit yourself to your cause. Some people’s cause is finding lifestyle design and finding a way to balance family, play, work, and leisure. These are important causes and the same can be applied to those. However, my intent is to speak specifically to high-performing individuals, people looking to accomplish much with their lives, and folks committed to who they are personally. They commit to a specific goal or mission in life. They want to excel or be the best way they can be in something specific.
When you commit yourself to a cause, think of yourself as a professional athlete. Your cause is your sport. Commit to your sport. Athletes live, eat, sleep, and breath their cause. They are the first person on the field and last person off. Their diet is reflective of what they are trying to accomplish. Their sleep habits and the activities they engage in are indicative of their goals. Find your cause and commit to your cause. Are you working every day like you are committed both to increasing your circle of influence and to defining your cause?
The next thing is teamwork. It is such an important element. When you look at The West Wing, you’ve got these people – all in different departments, all doing different kinds of work, all high performing individuals – that are committed to teamwork. They always stopped when it was important, and they would come together with their team to decide the best course of action. Are we moving together in this? I want to bounce an idea off of you. This is what I’m thinking…Does that work? This is how I’m going to explain it to someone else. Shoot holes in my ideas and theories.
Just because you are dependent on other people doesn’t mean that you are any weaker. Covey talks about interdependence. This is where you are a fully independent person, strong and capable, able to accomplish things, but at the same time, you’re still improving the impact that you can have by working with others. So please, use teamwork. Take the opportunity to consider the thoughts, ideas, and perspectives of the people around you. It is to everyone’s benefit.
The last thing I will talk about is delivering solutions. This is one of the earliest lessons you can learn in your career, and it will carry you so far. People in all stages of their careers do not necessarily focus on solutions, and I’m specifically talking about bringing solutions not problems. If you are in business, education, politics – whatever it is – there are always going to be problems. There are always going to be fires that need to be put out, issues to deal with, and concerns arising. But rather than taking that problem and running to your team or supervisors, first, stop. Think about a solution to the problem. Use those creative juices. Everybody’s got them. Think about what you can do about this problem, and then deliver the problem and the solution to the team. They may not use your solution. Your idea may not be the best solution, and working with the team will help you discover that. But that doesn’t matter. The most important thing you can do is stop and come up with a solution. You may not find the best one, but come up with it. The intellectual dexterity that you will develop by starting to think through solutions on your own and taking those to the team not only will help you grow personally and professionally, but it will give you greater credibility with your peers in a professional environment. When you’re bringing solutions, again, even if they’re not the best ones, it shows that you’re thinking and trying to accomplish something. It will inspire confidence and creativity from others.
All of these lessons – impact, cause, teamwork, and delivering solutions – are really important. It’s not an exhaustive list, and they are certainly not the keys for every business. If you want to see these things in action, The West Wing is a great place to do it.
All too often customers are left with an uneasy feeling of frustration after speaking with a customer service representative. They hang up the phone and vow never to use your company again, and if angry enough they will tell anyone who will listen about their terrible experience. “Even bad publicity is good publicity” applies to actors, not to companies.
When companies are starting out it’s easy to think of customer service as a necessary evil to be executed with as little overhead as possible, because let’s face it, there are a lot of other things that require your attention and resources. But marketing and advertising costs are high, and finding new customers costs money. Your goal should be to keep customers loyal and hope they refer more people to you. It’s a more cost effective approach and will grow your company faster and with a stronger foundation.
Here are 7 important tips for a better customer service experience:
- Empower your staff with information they need to handle the call on their own. Being put on hold several times during a call creates distrust and a feeling your rep is not equipped to help the customer. They may hang up on the call entirely, or be left with a nagging feeling their problem is not yet over. This can result in multiple calls that will drain your resources. Get it done right the first time and leave the customer with a feeling of confidence in your company. Remember, stuff happens, and your customers will forgive you as long as your customer support can reinstate confidence during the initial call.
- Train your staff to be proactive. In any sales training we are taught how to overcome obstacles thrown at us by our customers. Depending on your industry you can compile a list of obstacles with solutions for your staff, so they are not caught off guard and forced to respond defensively to negative situations.
- Create a mission statement specifically for customer service. Simply saying you want to be “professional and courteous,” or “create a positive experience for customers” is not going to cut it. Focus also on the reality of some calls going bad and change the mission statement to something like: “Creating fewer frustrated Customer calls.”
- Complete the call with a “Yes.” Ask the customer if they are satisfied with the answers or solutions provided in that call. Do not disconnect the call until the answer is “Yes!”
- It starts at the top. Regardless of the size of a company, the commitment to excellent customer service starts at the top. CEO’s should still want to be in the loop.
- Your website should also provide help for your customers. Create an effective FAQ page to answer basic questions and provide solutions. A solid FAQ page can lower the number of calls to your company.
- Keep your customer service in house, or at least in the country! Outsourcing may cost you less, but in the long run may cost you customers. You want your customers to feel the people they speak with are connected to your company
In 1996, Bill Gates wrote an article titled “Content is King” about how content will be presented and delivered on the then-emerging Internet. His lede was simple, and, even twenty years later, accurate.
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”
Gates’ explores how Internet users will interact with content and how, as technology advances, content providers will have to utilize innovative design to keep the user interface fresh and engaging.
“If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will. They need to have audio, and possibly video. They need an opportunity for personal involvement that goes far beyond that offered through the letters-to-the-editor pages of print magazines.”
While “turning on a computer to read a screen” is clearly a dated reference in this age of screen overload, his sentiment on delivering content is the current rallying cry in the marketing industry.
Informed and engaging content keeps customers coming back to you as an expert in your field and builds brand confidence and recognition. But take equal care to develop the digital design elements that deliver your content.
Good digital design involves – first and foremost – understanding user behavior. Combining an understanding of behavior with compelling design can lead to an engaging user experience.
Why is user experience so important? Remember, every business has a bottom line. Driving sales with clean digital design that heightens the user experience should not be overlooked.
Kompani Group has spent years developing and optimizing e-commerce platforms for some of our clients in addition to designing engaging, functional digital resources for desktops, tablets and mobile. Read more about Kompani Group’s digital design approach in our complimentary white paper.
Content is still king, but digital design is the prince in waiting ready to take his rightful spot on the throne.
Snippets from Bill Gates’ article “Content is King,” which is archived here: http://web.archive.org/web/20010126005200/
Dear Clients and Friends,
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, remains one of the most misinterpreted and misunderstood concepts in the internet and marketing world. In simple terms, SEO is the process of structuring a web page so that it is found, read, and indexed by search engines in the most effective manner possible. While search engines change their algorithms for how they evaluate pages somewhat regularly, the purpose of that is to help sift through strategies and techniques and just find sites that are what they say they are, and to rank those sites according to the value those sites offer to web searchers.
We work with our clients to optimize their websites above and beyond a standard WordPress development in an effort to help web crawlers know what the most important elements of a the site are, and to help our clients know what other content may be valuable to add to the site. Both quantity and quality are important. Ultimately, where your site turns up in search results is a function of the volume of traffic that visits your site and the duration of time visitors spend there.
That said, Google recently announced that another factor that its web crawlers would include in ranking criteria is the security of a site. Read what Google has to say about SSL here. While not entirely specific, this announcement from a company who owns 68% of the search engine market share, strongly encourages website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS. Ultimately, purchasing and installing certificates is not overly costly, and it does add an additional layer of protection for all the data being transmitted through the web.
Other strategies to improve your rankings
While optimizing site content, adding metadata, and now installing a security certificate are all part of a strong foundation for offering your site to the world, additional content marketing strategies are becoming increasingly important. Producing new content that engages readers serves a critical purpose of helping people know who you are; sending that content out to people who will read it keeps them coming back; and driving those additional users to the site tells the web crawlers that people do want to come to your site and thus you should be higher in search so others can find you too.
There are numerous other strategies that can be implemented, and frankly, those outlined above can be refined and enhanced routinely. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself the same thing we constantly ask ourselves: How can we deliver even more value to those that would want to hear from us in the first place?
The use of the 3dcart shopping platform, more than just accommodating.
Fort Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB) July 08, 2014
Kompani Group has been building e-commerce solutions for clients for the past 10 years, and have tried almost every platform and custom code imaginable. When it came time to build a new site for their own http://www.BloomsByHeinau.com they knew they wanted to go with 3dcart for several reasons, among them “ongoing support and automatic updates, a devotion to “e-commerce best practices and intuitive user interfaces” which are standard, not multi-modular based on subsequent purchases, stated Adam Olen, Managing Director of both sites. From the basic tabula rasa, provided by 3dcart, Olen and crew were able to create a functional, aesthetic and customizable website in “Blooms by Heinau” a custom flower shop dedicated to excellence and distinctiveness with arrangements guaranteed to last a minimum of 6 months with no water and no maintenance.
As Olen described in a note to 3dcart: “As icing on the cake, the functionality you have provided, while in some cases is even more than we may ever use, has also proven to enhance our core business. Because of features provided by 3dcart, we are now launching a corporate gift program so businesses can easily sign up and receive discounts for sending our long lasting and beautiful arrangements to their customers/clients/contacts, and we are also beginning to offer affiliate opportunities. 3dcart has essentially created two new revenue channels just because of the functionality that is included with our monthly package.
“As Managing Director of Kompani Group, a firm of business strategy and brand development architects, neither I nor my colleagues took the selection of an ecommerce platform lightly. Our store is a strong reflection on our credibility in the industry and we felt very good about selecting 3dcart for one of our portfolio brands. Thank you for developing a great product and for your ongoing support.”
As Joe Palko reiterates; “We have come quite far, since 1997, in many ecommerce functions, uses & aspects, offering online store enhancements such as fraud watch, the addition of multiple and international pavement gateways, integration with eBay, outstanding merchant-focused customer service, content and social media marketing and a host of other benefits and advantages over the run-of-the-mill retail website shopping cart. We are pleased that Adam and Heinau Flowers have benefited from 3dcart’s platform.”
About Blooms by Heinau:
Blooms by Heinau, the direct to consumer division of Heinau Flowers offers 100% natural, fresh-cut blooms that last 6 months or longer and serve as decorative accessories in homes, offices, and 5 star hospitality resorts. For the first time, the pure and natural elegance of freshly cut flowers can be yours every day at a genuinely affordable price. If you buy flowers on a regular basis for your home or business, we can cut your annual flower budget by as much as 75%, without sacrificing a single sensory indulgence. Our blooms are 100% natural flowers – and will add a beautiful sense of subtle elegance to help color your life. Visit us at http://www.BloomsByHeinau.com to learn more. Call 786 594 0437 or e mail them at sales(at)BloomsByHeinau(dot)com.
About: Kompani Group
We are business strategy, branding, marketing, and web development architects. Our experience and expertise have been acquired from helping build and grow hundreds of companies across multiple industries, as well as from building our own portfolio brands. Our main focus is always to empower our clients and brands with effective solutions, know-how, improved processes, training and tools that immediately generate measurable results. Our core business philosophy is centered around the fact that our partners’ and associates’ compensation is solely contingent on how well our creative business and brand strategies perform for our clients and our own portfolio brands. We are hands-on involved in every aspect of implementing business and brand strategies for our clients and our own portfolio brands. We like to say that once we get involved “we live and breathe our clients’ businesses and brands.” We offer comprehensive strategies to develop and grow your business, but we are also prepared to take on specific projects such as helping you overcome your greatest challenges (one at a time). Place yourself in good Kompani and success will follow.