Build Customer Trust

Louvre Media Build Customer Trust

Managing your online reviews is an important part of maintaining your company’s reputation and cannot be ignored. Online reviews build customer trust and create the opportunity for a consumer to choose your business. It can also improve local search rankings and increase your exposure on the internet, but that’s another topic altogether.

We recommend responding to reviews within 24 hours, if not sooner. It allows a business to show they care. Period. Responding to both positive and negative reviews is important. Consumers who leave reviews typically are active online and will appreciate the quick feedback. Thanking someone for their positive review reinforces they reason they gave you a review in the first place. Addressing the issues on a negative review allows you the opportunity to have a conversation with the customer, rather than a one-sided story. You can also encourage them to contact you via other channels to address their issues or concerns. When responding to negative reviews, it is not only important to address their concerns, but also to work to resolve the issue. Sometimes good resolutions lead to a negative review being updated by the customer that left it. More importantly, when a potential customer sees that you are willing to fix issues and care about your other customers, it increases their trust and faith in you.

Managing online websites is easier than one may think. The top three websites where consumers leave reviews are Google, Facebook, and Yelp. All three of these pages can be easily claimed so you can see the reviews when they come in (you will have to set your notifications in order to know when a review has been submitted). There are companies which simplify the process and connect to more than these three websites and will notify you anytime a review for your business comes in across the internet.

References
https://www.revlocal.com/blog/review-and-reputation-management/2018-review-marketing-statistics-infographic
https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/
https://www.reputation.com/resources/blog/8-tips-for-responding-to-negative-reviews/

New Year, New Goals

Always Moving Forward

Whether you are the owner or a trusted manager of your company, how are your business plans looking for the coming year? Do you continue to do what you always have done or are you keeping it fresh and exciting? And why is this even a topic of a blog post?

Always Moving Forward

For your business, who is this person and how do they do at making a great first impression. Maybe more importantly, and as important – how do you know how they are doing? This may be the first person greeting you when you walk in a store and for other businesses, it may be the person answering the phone.

I’m sure you have called on a business as a customer and had to wait for minutes after trying to get through the dreaded phone tree, and then to only be disconnected somehow. How about walking into a business and looking for someone to help you? Both are experiences which are far below customer service levels of what you see as a great first impression.

As a passionate business owner or manager who expects nothing but the best, you can see the frustration as a customer in both of the scenario’s above. How do you make sure this isn’t your business? Here are some quick tips on how to check (and if it isn’t you doing the checking, follow up with the person who should be accountable for this.)

  1. Set standards, both for people visiting your business and calling your business. What type of experience do you want your customer to have with their first impression?
  2. If you are a retail business (customers come to you,) observe, from either the inside of the building or on the outside. How are they measuring up to your standards?
  3. If you are a service business or a retail business, how is the phone etiquette? Call your business as a customer or listen to incoming calls if you have some type of call recording system in place.
  4. Secret Shoppers – enlist some family or friends to shop your business. Ask them for a written report. Ask them to be as detailed in the report as possible. After reviewing the report, ask for clarification on any details and see how this matches up to your standards.

We know how this effects your business, but can you quantify this a bit more. Of course, and let’s look at the numbers. The numbers here is an example from the service industry and could be looked at for any industry really.

Real life example – We work with many clients who have great tracking systems in place. One of them measures conversions of calls coming in from new customers. Often new potential customers, typically the best schedule and service seven of the ten (some are price shoppers or are looking for service now and that may not be possible.) If a team schedules only 3.5 of ten calls, which is half of the best, then the cost to acquire a new customer doubled. Which means we have to spend twice as much in getting calls or we get half as many calls for the same amount of money – either way, it is costing us more to acquire a new customer if we are not doing the best job in scheduling the calls we have coming in.

If you need help in evaluating your cost per lead or how to make improvements to your first impression experience, the best place to start is to see how you are doing today and to work to make improvements to this in the coming months. A little time here will pay off big time in the long run.

Your Customer’s First Experience

You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression.

If you think about a time when you’ve gone into a nice hotel, you might recall a very friendly and professional employee opening the door and welcoming you to their establishment. There are certainly more than a few various types of businesses which have a greeter at the door, inviting you in, and making you feel welcome.

Make a First Impression

 

These are Great First Impressions.

For you, as a business owner, who is this person for your company? How do they rate at first impressions? More importantly, how do you know how they are doing? This could be the person who greets a customer when they walk into your store, or the person who answers the phone.

Do you dread calling larger companies these days, knowing the wait time will be several minutes, likely resulting in being disconnected? Have you ever walked into a business and had to look for someone to help you? Both examples are far below the levels of what you expect to see as a great first impression in customer service.

As a passionate business owner, or manage, who expects nothing but the best, how do you make sure your customers aren’t having experiences like both scenario’s above? Here are some quick tips on how to check (and if you aren’t the one doing the checking, make sure you are following up with the person who should be accountable for this):

  1. Set standards for people visiting your business and calling your business. What type of experience do you want your customer to have as their first impression?
  2. If you are a retail business (where customers come to you), observe. From either inside, or outside, the building. How are your employees measuring up to your standards?
  3. If you are a service or retail business, how is the phone etiquette? Call your place of business as a customer or listen to incoming calls (if you have a call recording system in place).
  4. Secret Shoppers. Enlist some family or friends to shop your business. Ask them for a written report, with as much detail as possible, about their experience. After reviewing the report, ask for clarification on any details you’re unsure about, and see how this tests up to your standards.

At first glance, it’s easy to see how this impacts your business. However, this can be quantified. Let’s look at the numbers. The numbers we are using are examples from the service industry.

Real life example. We work with many clients who have great tracking systems in place. One of them measures conversions of calls coming in from new customers. Companies that perform the best typically schedule (and service) seven out of ten new potential customers. When a company isn’t performing at it’s best they might schedule only 3.5 out of ten calls, the cost to acquire a new customer doubles. This means we must spend twice as much in getting calls, OR we get half as many calls at the same amount

of money. Either way it is costing us more money to acquire a new customer if we are not doing the best job in scheduling the calls, we already have coming in.

If you’re not sure what your cost per lead is, or how to make improvements to the first impression your company is putting out there, the best place to start is checking out how you are doing today. Moving forward from your initial findings, continue making improvements, and soon enough you’ll see. A little time spent here will be a big pay off in the long run.

What I Learned from Watching Television

What I Learned from Watching TV About Business

Reality TV shows are everywhere, and many people are addicted to watching them. This is an interesting phenomenon in our culture that cannot be ignored when it comes to marketing. While this may not be something you enjoy watching, there are a few reality shows which can add value to the business world.

These shows have the same main goal as all television shows. To sell ads to generate revenue in online and offline products. A couple of the shows that may have some business value are Shark Tank, The Profit, and the Billion Dollar Buyer. Each of these television shows highlight real-life businesses looking to fix, or grow, their business.

Entertainment value aside, each of these shows offer business concepts which can be helpful to any business owner. The value in these shows is learning about the process and concepts of the show hosts, who are also successful business owners. They offer guidance and help for their guests, who are usually business owners in need of extra help.

The main thing to gain from watching these television shows is growth. For many local businesses there isn’t a boss they can go to for advice, or development, and instead are left to find their own ways of increasing growth. It’s possible a good “self-help” book could help. However, seeing and hearing extremely successful business people, inspiring other struggling business owners to do better, may also give you some great tips to use, which would improve your own game.

Shark Tank – Business owners pitch their products to the “Sharks” in the hope of receiving an investment from one of the Sharks. Concepts learned from watching this show includes: knowing your valuation and knowing your numbers (cost per acquisition, sales trajectory, target customer, and the market you are in.) There are lessons to be learned on what you should do and what you shouldn’t do. In addition, the pitch itself has some strong lessons to be learned, including the level of preparation in a great pitch.

The Profit – This show has been on six years now and has Marcus Lemonis as the host and businessman. The show’s concept is he goes into a business to make an offer for partial ownership of the prospective company. One of his main thoughts to business owners is to know your numbers. During each episode, the show takes a detailed look at his (and his teams,) working with a business, not only in coming up with the initial offer but in his making improvements to the business for future growth and profitability. He spends a good amount of time talking about three things in the initial evaluation – people, product, and process. Lots of detail on these three throughout the episodes.

Additional Business Reality Shows include the Billion Dollar Buyer, Undercover Boss, Girl Starter, and The Apprentice to name a few. In addition to these, there are various bloggers and vloggers who may also have some value. We are not endorsing any of these shows or people on these shows, but rather presenting them as an opportunity to expand your current business knowledge.

How do I Choose the Right Target Market?

The Right Target Audience

Marketing dog food to a family which doesn’t own dogs would be silly of course. You know your target market is important in creating an effective marketing campaign. When business owners are asked who their audience target is, many businesses may say “everyone” or “anyone interested in our services”. These targets are too general and let’s face it, you won’t be able to please everyone. Targeting a specific audience means you focus your marketing dollars on an audience who is more likely to be your customer. A good starting point is looking at your current customer base and finding similarities, characteristics, and interests between them.

Audience choices are made based on your goal, If you are looking to build brand awareness, a wider audience is best along with a media platform which can reach a wide, yet relevant audience. If the goal is to launch a new product, engaging your current client base is probably your best bet. If the goal is to get new customers to make purchases, it is important to focus on the ideal customer. However, when choosing your target market, keep in mind your audience demographics; age, gender, income, education, marital status etc. Also, consider personality characteristics, including; behavior, lifestyle, values, and attitudes.

For example, a construction company could choose to market to homeowners between the ages of 34 and 54 with incomes of $90,000 – plus in Omaha, Nebraska. To define the market even further, the company could choose to target specifically those interested in kitchen remodeling and bath remodeling, and possibly even those in older homes. This market can be broken down further but, by doing so, the market could become too narrow and exclude potential customers.

 

What is your Goal?

You may be asking yourself, “Where can I find all of this information?”  Try searching online for research others may have done on your target market. Explore magazine articles, blogs or forums. These are all excellent mediums to discover the opinions of your audience. You may even consider looking at your competitors’ target market looks like, maybe based on their marketing creative, to narrow down what you are looking for in your ideal client or how you can differentiate your target market. Not finding the information you are looking for? Conduct your own survey, ask current customers for feedback.

Once you have defined your target audience, it is easier to figure out which media choices (link to Buying Media blog) will fit best to reach your market and how they will remember your brand. Nonetheless, having a defined target market will be a greater investment for your time, energy and money.

Evaluating Media Choices

Media Choices

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all the media choices available at your fingertips? How do I know which channel will be the most “effective”, will I reach the right target audience? If so, is it enough to offset the costs of the marketing campaign. The answer is maybe. There is no right or wrong answer in marketing, it is about research, trial, error and… more research.

Media Choices - Beaverton Oregon

 

Media Options

Because different media are effective for different purposes, it is important to research which media form will truly target your audience market. In recent years we have seen a shift from newspaper, magazine, radio, and billboard advertising to digital ads. Now, this is not a reason to think digital advertising is the way to go. As a small business owner, it may be more beneficial to advertise in your local newspaper, magazine, or radio. For an advertising campaign to be effective, it needs to reach the right target audience, your audience could be a daily city commuter who passes by a billboard multiple times a day or someone who enjoys reading the newspaper instead of surfing the internet.  Media sources should be selected based on your audience’s preferences to maximize your marketing investment.

Nevertheless, with media buying, there will be a “waste factor.” The key is to minimize the waste factor, meaning the percentage of the marketing which is not your intended market. For example, a newspaper ad can have 20,000 impressions but not everyone reading the newspaper may be a potential customer (Maybe you have a pool company and certainly there will be some people who don’t own a pool who reads the newspaper.) If the target reach is 50%, then the real value of advertising in the newspaper is 10,000 impressions. Understanding real value is as important as knowing the full reach a specific media may tout.

 

Budget

While choosing a media outlet, keep your budget in mind. If you have a substantial advertising budget, allocating your budget across different media platforms can be beneficial. If you are a smaller business, be mindful of your budget and compare prices. Looking to advertise in a newspaper? Call and research multiple newspapers, and don’t be afraid to negotiate fair prices to display your media! This is certainly an area where we may be able to help with.

 

Media Evaluation

Whichever media outlet you select, create a plan that will measure the success of the campaign. Disappointed in the results? That’s ok! Keep researching and improving the campaign, if it isn’t yielding the results you want, try another form of media. Measuring data will tell you what can be improved and what you should continue to market. Let us know, what media form is most effective for your business?

Did I Hear Someone Say “SWOT Analysis?”

Analysis

A SWOT analysis is something which has been around a long time and is nothing really new. But what is old is new again as a new generation of leaders comes into leadership. It is a term used to help a company, a specific project, or an individual evaluate in the effort towards improvement. And of course, improvements are key to growth, both personally and professionally, regardless of size.

If you have already done a SWOT analysis sometime in your past or you are doing it on a regular basis, then you already have a pretty good idea of the benefits this may bring. Like any other goal setting, if you don’t do the follow-up, then this would be a waste of time. The benefits of the SWOT analysis are to help in planning your goals for the coming months or year to provide direction on what is most important, allowing you to prioritize what should be done first.

One way to do this with your company would be to have all key members do a SWOT Analysis individually and then bring the group together to get everyone’s input. Once everyone has contributed, then everyone can agree on the priorities and work out a plan going forward. Getting the team involved is a great way to help drive improvements along the way. It is a good idea to define what is being looked for under each topic. Here are a couple definitions which may help for clarification.

SWOT-Louvre-Media

Strengths and Weaknesses are both internal factors, one being positive and one being the opportunities (negatives.) Looking at your strengths will help keep the focus on doing more of what you do well and may define some future actions to keep these strong. Looking at the weaknesses will help define opportunities for improvement and these should be prioritized by what will get the biggest results with the lowest amount of efforts. Getting big wins from doing this out of the gate will create a winning feeling among the team.

Opportunities and Threats are both external factors, one being positive and one being the opportunities (negatives.) In looking at the opportunities, this may be new legislation which affect your business in a positive way. It could even be a product or service you offer which is well needed in the marketplace, but not enough people know about it, or it could be a competitor closing shop. Threats could be things like increased competition, pricing of competitor’s, or things you aren’t doing which your competitors are doing, and could even be something like upcoming road construction, driving the traffic pattern away from your business for a while. Your ability to minimize the threats may be a big factor in your future goals and can be turned into a positive with the right plan of action.

These definitions will help you get on the right track in doing a SWOT analysis and gaining clarity to the process, and as important, the takeaways in doing this. Making it a team process with the key members of the team will create a better environment not only in getting more ideas but in working towards the key goal of making things better for your company.