Posts tagged Marketing
45 Ways to make your customers and your tribe feel appreciated

The people you write for or make videos for. The people you sell your products to. The people on the other end. They’re inspired by you. They love what you sell. They listen to you. I know, because otherwise they wouldn’t be there.

If you’d like to make them feel appreciated, I hope you’ll find inspiration in my list below.

If I had to sum this list up, I’d say: be honest, be kind, be transparent and remember you’re an uplifter. Because you are. And we’re all ready to be uplifted by you.

  1. A thank you just because email

  2. Secret updates about a new product you’re working on

  3. A special section on your website only accessible to customers, where you post additional content from what’s visible to all visitors

  4. A behind the scenes video

  5. Dedicate a new product to a customer who inspired you

  6. Limited edition products just for elite customers

  7. Thank you handwritten cards

  8. Gifts that don’t have your company’s logo on them

  9. An event just for customers

  10. A virtual club

  11. Ask for your customers’ vote about something you’re working on (and show them how you’ve used their vote)

  12. A multi city tour to meet your customers

  13. Donate to a cause that’s important to your customers

  14. Fix people’s problems quickly and seamlessly

  15. Follow up with people who had an issue

  16. Answer people’s questions on social media

  17. Ask for people’s feedback and show them you used it

  18. A free product day, where everyone gets a free sample (inspired from Ben & Jerry’s “free cone” annual day)

  19. A free workshop on a topic valuable to your customers

  20. Give a shout out to special customers on social media and/or your other marketing messages

  21. Gather and share “customer stories” (ex. a newsletter with customer pictures and stories)

  22. Offer a surprise upgrade

  23. A “Happy One” card on the customer’s one year anniversary with your business

  24. A separate phone line just for customers (or just for VIP customers)

  25. Pop up (virtual or in person) week where “product experts” (i.e. stylists, engineers etc.) answer your customers’ questions

  26. Wish them happy birthday and offer a gift

  27. Give an unexpected reimbursement

  28. Respond personally to some customer inquiries

  29. Create a “year in review” for each customer

  30. Empower your employees to spontaneously do special things for your customers

  31. Create personalized products for some customers (inspired by Samsung http://mashable.com/2012/08/30/samsung-dragon-phone/#U.Q3rP5lLgqV)

  32. A celebratory, thank you or get well card signed manually by your entire team

  33. Tshirts with your customers’ names on them

  34. A concierge service only for your VIP clients

  35. Jokes, mantras or words of inspiration customized with a customer’s details

  36. A special video message from your founder or team

  37. Different emails for customers (don’t just change the message, change the design too)

  38. A different package for repeat customers

  39. An AMA (ask me anything) day where your team is available all day to answer questions asked by your customers in real time online

  40. “How I built this” 100% honest and transparent training

  41. Celebrate your birthday with your customers

  42. Start an award for customers only

  43. Monthly digital art with things overheard in your tribe

  44. Gift books that inspired you in creating your product, content or business

  45. Say thank you to everyone who gives you a shout out on social media

They understand something that’s often forgotten in CRM strategies

Harvey helped me with several small projects around my home. He also painted my apartment.

This past week Harvey texted me to wish me Happy Holidays. He wrote that he’s grateful for the work he’s done for me and hopes I will always call him when I need work done.

Bella works in a beauty salon and is incredibly passionate about what she does for a living. I’m one of her loyal customers. Bella texts me every now and then to ask me how I am, if I’d like to make an appointment and to let me know when she’s away on vacation for a longer period of time.

Bella and Harvey don’t care much about marketing. Yet they always have customers. They didn’t purposefully implement a CRM strategy. Yet, they abound in loyal customers.

They understand something that’s often forgotten in meeting rooms in large companies. They know the relationships they build with their customers are the backbone of their business. When they talk with their customers, they’re genuine and authentic and eager to build a long lasting relationship.

Building long lasting and profitable relationships should be the goal of every CRM strategy.

CRM stands for customer relationship management. It’s about using meaningful customer data to create strategies and systems that maximize each customer’s lifetime value. To maximize value, you have to build and strengthen a relationship.

Unfortunately, CRM is vastly misunderstood. It’s not just about a sophisticated tool or about customer intelligence. But more importantly, it’s not just about making more money from the customers you already have.

How you make more money from your customers matters. You can make more money in ways that set you up for customer retention and loyalty, or you can make more money in ways that set you up for one time customers. It’s easier to do the latter. But in the long run, the latter will harm your business.

No matter how big your company will get, no matter how big your customer database will grow, all your CRM efforts should ultimately be about creating relationships with individual customers. Not about mass marketing, but about recognizing each customer as a unique individual with unique desires. Not about shouting the same message to all your customers, but about saying the right thing at the right time to the right person. Not about creating a sale, but about creating lifetime sales.

Here’s a little exercise. Take a look at your marketing calendar, at all the marketing emails and all other 1:1 communication you have planned for the month ahead. How many of them resonate with the customer segment that’s receiving them so much so that these customers think that message was created for them and only them? How many push a mass marketing event? How many build an emotional connection? How many were created to make a sale and how many were created to strengthen a relationship and increase lifetime value?

Perhaps the reason why so many of us can’t answer these questions in a way that feels good to us is because it’s not always easy to create marketing that generates maximum sales and that also strengthens the relationship with customers as much as possible. It’s a mix of art and science. However, when your objective is to strengthen the relationship with your customers, and when you stay grounded in direct marketing and CRM best practices, it’s my experience that you will gain all the sales you deserve.

Nine ways to avoid bad business decisions

A woman I love made a bad business decision several years back. She had a thriving online business practice. When her online popularity increased, a TV network approached her to star in a show. She was head over heels. A year later she was completely broke, utterly depressed and unable to take care of her kids.

Another entrepreneur I read about believed in his business and was determined to make it work at any cost. He had a great idea. Everyone around him told him the same. He didn’t want investors, so he took out a big loan to fund his dream. When his business collapsed, he had to move his family with kids to an unsafe neighborhood to be able to afford rent. He felt miserable and years later he’s still paying back that huge loan.

Both of these people made bad business decisions. I’ve made bad decisions too and perhaps so have you.

The first entrepreneur abandoned the most profitable part of her business when she got her big network gig. She didn’t maintain her email list and her online business, focusing purely on her TV dream. When the TV dream fell through, she had nothing to fall back on.

The second entrepreneur underestimated the importance of execution in growing a business. His idea was so good that he was convinced it will work. But nowadays ideas are just a starting point. It’s execution that determines success.

Both of these entrepreneurs are doing great today. They’ve learned from their experience and they now live fulfilling and successful lives. They didn’t die of heartbreak. In fact, from what I’ve seen, they became stronger and wiser.

But I sincerely wish you’ll never make a decision so bad that you’ll end up in depression or bankruptcy, or whatever feels like a dire outcome to you. They say mistakes are good because we learn from them. But I hope you can get to the same place of fulfillment and success without making any bad business decisions for yourself.

I can’t tell you what to do with your business. Only you can make these calls. But I can tell you some of the common pitfalls that cause big heartbreak in business:

1)   Not staying grounded in timeless, basic business principles, particularly marketing ones

Everybody wants their marketing to be “out of the box.” There's nothing wrong with that, but don’t forget about concepts that have been proven again and again - and that work, like:

  • Building and keeping a direct marketing customer list
  • Creating a strong offer
  • Giving people a good call to action
  • Creating marketing that breeds repeat buyers, not one time scavengers
  • Building a relationship with your list
  • Building a brand

2)   Not doing the right math before saying “yes”

Your heart is pounding and you feel so excited about this new business opportunity. You feel like it’s the right choice. To validate it, you make some quick assumptions on a napkin. You’re in for the long ride.

Then, 6 months later you’re hit with the harsh reality of (un)foreseen costs, churn and other outcomes that didn’t fit on that small napkin. All because you didn’t patiently consider realistic scenarios while doing your math.

Yes, I believe you should always listen to your heart. Do let your heart guide you. But after your heart has spoken, you'll want to open up excel or take out your calculator, and determine the best and easiest path to make your desire a reality. Your heart will thank you later.

3)   Not understanding what you’re selling

Are you selling a book or a better life? Are you selling a shirt or a lifestyle that elevates women and makes them feel strong and beautiful? Are you selling an app or a more productive life? Are you selling a toy or accelerated intelligence?

It matters how you define what you’re selling. Products die quickly, but human desires are eternal and universal. Blockbuster didn’t understand what it was selling, so it made some wrong decisions and lost a lot of money.

4)   Working more on improving your marketing than on improving your product

Marketing is a waste of money if the product it sells is not a product people buy again or refer others to buy it. The advice "spend 20% of your time on your product and 80% of your time on promoting it" is utterly wrong and is sure to cause a business to fail in the long term. The companies that last through recessions don't follow this rule. They obsess over their products and always seek to improve them, even when the market has spoken that it wants to buy them as they already are. 

5)   Not being selective with the advice you choose to follow

I personally believe the best advice comes from the people with the most life experience under their belt. They're simply the wisest. 

6)   Not listening to your customers

Your customers are always speaking to you, whether you hear them or not. For example, your current customer metrics are often the clearest point of communication you have with them. Yet, many businesses ignore their metrics and instead waste time and money on complicated survey funnels. If you want to know if people love your product, start by looking at your re-purchase and referral metrics, not by adding another survey. 

7)   Not building multiple streams of revenue in your business

When you make a movie, you can also make money from the merchandise associated with it. When you create a framework of ideas, you can also make money from licensing it to coaches, creating courses, books or experiences around it. When you have a physical store front for your business, you can also host classes. There are always additional ways to use what you already have to build additional revenue streams.

8)   Not making your employees feel proud to work for your company

The best work comes from people who would do it even if they didn't get a paycheck. People should feel a sense of purpose and emotional connection to be at their peak.

9)   Not continuing to learn

Read as much as you can. Have insightful conversations. Look outside of your industry for ideas. Never stop staying smart and becoming smarter. 

Photo credit: Pawel Nolbert