Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Impact of Reviews on Marketing Objective

Customer engagement is critical when working to develop brand awareness and increase sales. Negative customer reviews affect small businesses significantly more than larger businesses. Consequently, depending upon your business size, customer reviews may not always have a significant influence on your profitability. Additionally, reviews, whether positive or negative, do not have a significant influence on customers familiar with your business. Similar to a tree in the forest, a review alone is not going to gain or lose new business for a client, but can help to sway a potential customer to make a decision either way. Engaging with customers is a strategy recommended by marketing agencies to create a competitive advantage by building relationships with customers. If the objective of your business is customer acquisition, retention, or brand awareness, then customer reviews can affect your marketing strategy development.

Because of social media, customer feedback and reviews can quickly reach a broad audience and have an immediate effect on the success of your business’s marketing efforts. Due to the popularity of the internet, you can analyze and predict customer behaviors by using social networks and review-based websites. Your business should spend marketing dollars wisely, so gaining more reviews is not always as important as generating brand awareness through other reliable methods of marketing. Your marketing strategies should focus on relationship building with customers to better develop successful strategies for increasing customer loyalty and sales. However, you are likely not effectively accomplishing your marketing objective if you are receiving a significant amount of negative reviews.

Blogging Strategy

A blog or weblog covers a mixture of what is happening in the daily life of your business as well as new and upcoming events. A blogging strategy can be used to help determine how to engage with online users and generate website traffic. When designing your blog, be sure to create it so that it increases brand awareness and attracts readers.

Other benefits of blogging include:

  • Googleloves it! Blogs are great for increasing website indexed pages, and Google places value on websites with a high volume of indexed pages.
  • Customers can remain current with the status of your business events and updates. Additionally, a blog can define your brandas authoritative and help your business be seen as professional and knowledgeable.

E-Commerce

E-commerce and online transactions account for billions of dollars in sales activity. While e-commerce is a good opportunity for your business to expand online, it could be overwhelming if your business is not prepared for online growth. Initiating your online store is like opening a second location, so you will need to hire new employees and a new technology team to help manage the new location. Additionally, your online store will require top-notch security measures, privacy resolutions, and excellent customer support. You will need to define and understand your new online customer group which will be very different from those ordering by phone or shopping in-store. If your customers are within an older demographic group, you could find yourself having to create and market your new business service to a new user group from scratch considering disruptive technology is often influenced and adopted by younger demographics.

The benefits of e-commerce are based on the efficiency of the automated system. Benefits include a decrease in overall production and transaction costs if implemented properly which can help resolve business concerns regarding the budget. Ample stock inventories, proper notifications, timely delivery dates, and excellent customer support is key to achieving e-commerce success.

A drawback of e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar businesses is that with e-commerce sites it is difficult to generate a sale through user interaction with the business. To partially resolve this issue, you can implement a chat system and monitor the effects of your e-commerce strategies by using activity and traffic tools that monitor users visiting the website.

Customer Marketing

Purpose of Marketing

Without marketing, your business is taking the risk of losing customers and revenue. Think of your brand, website, or artwork as a resume. You spend hours or days writing, designing, and editing it to perfection, not to mention the years of enhancing and refining your background with experience and education. After you’ve culminated and perfected your resume, what next? What’s the next step to ensuring that you land that dream job? The appropriate response is to send your resume to employers. In the context of business, that’s called marketing. You must market yourself to win the job. A terribly unattractive resume sent to potential employers has a higher probability of landing a job over a superb resume sitting in a drawer. Without marketing, you will waste time and money creating a great brand that never gets noticed.

Customer Marketing

If your marketing strategy is not structured on the purchasing needs and wants of your desired customer, you are missing the mark in marketing. An effective campaign is one that influences customers to make a purchase. The secret is to build trust and positive brand awareness through attractive and targeted marketing. Additionally, the campaign should aim at solving the customer’s hesitation to purchase. As customers make purchases, a trend will develop, outlining likes and dislikes based on what sells and what doesn’t.

A Hesitant Customer. All customers experience some hesitancy before making purchases. They don’t simply walk into a store or view a website and make a purchase without thinking about it. How long they hesitate is where you should focus your marketing. For example, a product discounted with a “One day only” stamp will make the customer spend less time debating the purchase because of the urgency of the deadline. If you want a today purchase, you should try marketing your product or service so that it positively influences the customer to decide and act quickly.

As a business owner, you have the responsibility to provide customers with the information they need to make a purchase. If presented effectively, the information you provide customers can persuade them to believe they need what your business is selling, even if the product is outside of their immediate desires or needs. In this sense, information used within your marketing efforts are responsible for shaping the needs and wants of your customers. The implication is that, through marketing, you can capitalize on your customers’ internal weakness and persuade them to make a purchase.

A customer purchase is often based on one of three factors; (1) whether the product or service will help the customer be more productive; (2) whether the product or service can satisfy the things or people the customer cares most about; or (3) whether it fulfills a desire or need.

When marketing, you should understand how your product can solve your customers’ problem or situation. If you know your customers’ habits, likes, or dislikes you can market based on how your product will fit into their lifestyles. From there, the customer will be less hesitant to make the purchase and will have a solid answer as to why they need your product.

Reviews and Reputation Management

Monitoring social networks for customer reviews enables your business to develop customer relationships, which can enhance your business’s reputation and value. Customer reviews require an immediate need to respond, particularly when working toward preventing negative reviews from influencing potential customers.

To monitor and identify customer reviews, the use of a review monitoring tool that enables you to acknowledge positive reviewers and perform conflict resolution for negative reviews is a worthwhile expenditure. When a customer posts a review, that review has the potential to spread to a larger audience. There are services including Bazaar Voice and Yelp that help with monitoring customer reviews. You should use these review monitoring tools for proactive crisis management and conflict resolution for negative reviews, and to acknowledge and share positive reviews.

Reputation Management

Reputation management is an essential aspect of marketing, and the posted opinions of your customers on social media, and how your business connects with those customers, aids in generating brand awareness and marketing success. You cannot control customer reviews. Consequently, it is imperative that you continually monitor and manage social networks. To help maintain the reputation of your business, an automated system can be used to e-mail noted positive reviewers and request that they post reviews on multiple social media networks to increase the exposure of these positive reviews. You should also consider offering special status, VIP sales, unique merchandising promos, or other perks to these select individuals to retain their interest in championing your business within their social sphere.

In response to determining the management of customer reviews, you should not ignore the opinions of customers. Reviews are free pathways for gaining insights into customers’ perspectives compared to incentives, surveys, and focus groups. Unlike positive reviews, negative reviews have a greater likelihood of generating negative emotions and business perceptions. Reputation managers should have crisis management training for comprehending the proper steps for knowing how to de-escalate emotional situations that drive to the heart of the customer’s issues without the manager being emotionally invested. No matter the ranking or quality of the review, you should listen to the concerns of the reviewer, address the issues, and prevent customer dissatisfaction from happening in the future. When customers write reviews, particularly negative reviews, they expect a response from your business. Acknowledging customer reviews could benefit your marketing strategy by gaining insights into unforeseen problems within your business.

Pricing and Expectations

Framing Your Price. You need confidence to make a sale – and you need that same confidence in the product or service that you are selling. Most business strategies are designed so that customers are given the bare-bones option first, and then the business reveals what it can do for its Super Special, Super-Charged Retainer or its “Everything you ever dreamed of” package. By giving your lowest price first and then the higher price, you are cautiously approaching the customer with the idea that they should spend more for a complete service, but not convincing them which package is right for them or their business.

Consider this: which of the following statements is most impactful? You’ll save $1,000 if you buy marketing automation software. Or; You’ll lose 100 customers if you don’t buy marketing automation software. People feel much stronger about the thought of losing something. When you set up your business strategy, emphasize the possible loses if the customer does not take action now. In addition, set up your marketing so that the right package is presented first. Then, if necessary, outline what a stripped-down version of this would cost. Also, emphasize how much more difficult, time consuming, or unattainable achieving the customer’s goals will be if they choose the cheaper version. You’re not really changing anything about what you do. You’re just reframing the conversation.

Outline The Process. Every customer’s goals and challenges are unique, but that doesn’t mean you need to start from scratch when building a sales strategy. If you have a keen understanding of what you do, how to sell it, and how to package it, you should be able to create or customize an existing sales strategy to fit the needs of, and attract, any type of customer. However, this relies on your business having a repeatable and defined selling process. When questioning your customers, you should know:

  • The goals, plans, and challenges of the customer
  • Current customer metrics and key company information
  • The cost to the customer of not doing anything to meet their goals

When building a sales strategy to target your desired customer, the strategy should include:

  • Campaign goals
  • Scope of services and benefits
  • Reporting
  • Success Metrics
  • Timeline
  • Budget

With this framework in place and a defined process for gathering information, it will be much easier to put together a winning sales and marketing strategy.

Set Expectations. Once you have confirmed that the customer is a good fit for your business and the customer has requested more information and an estimate, you need to detail what the purchasing or contract phase looks like. The price estimate or sales collateral is the next step in the commitment process on the part of the customer. It should confirm everything you have already spoken about and solidify the deal.

There is no magic trick to selling. There shouldn’t be some big reveal. There is no tool for convincing and impressing. The price estimate or contract proposal is a confirmation, in writing, of what your business can do, how it will do it, when it will be completed, and why the customer specifically needs your product or services. It should be the final step prior to a contract being signed, and your business and the customer should both be confident that the deal will close – and soon.

Building Value and Retention

here are plenty of products and services on the market from which your customers could choose to make their purchases. Customers that select your business to purchase goods or services do so because of their overall perceived value of your business. Consequently, your business must produce value that connects to, and positively influences, the customer’s perception. If the customer has a positive perception of your business, they are more likely to make a purchase and promote your services or product, which can translate into future sales.

Like most businesses, I assume that the goal of your marketing strategy is to generate profit and brand awareness; which means it has to identify the right type of customer. From a marketing perspective, there is no better customer than a repeat customer. Considering the cost of maintaining repeat customers is less than gaining new customers, the additional revenue could be used for increasing your business’s competitive advantage. Consequently, building customer satisfaction and loyalty are paramount for retaining customers and increasing revenue.

Meeting and Exceeding Customer Expectations

Most 5-star hotels maintain customer databases detailing the room order choices of their guests. If a guest has asked for a particular beverage to be kept in the mini bar, the next time that guest makes a reservation at the hotel the staff ensures that the beverage is stocked in the room. Such small gestures go a long way in making customers feel important.

It is necessary to interact and communicate with customers on a regular basis if you wish to increase the satisfaction of your customers. In these interactions, it is required to determine the customer’s needs and then act to satisfy those needs accordingly. Even if you offer identical products within a competing market, satisfaction provides high customer retention rates. It’s no secret that retailers offer frequent shopper rewards to increase customer satisfaction. Retailers do this for a reason— because it’s a no brainer if you want customers to come back. Many high-end retailers also provide membership cards and discount benefits so that the customer remains loyal to their business.

Mobile Marketing – Why you need it

Case Study:

  • The goal of this marketing plan is to have potential and current clients subscribe to receive special discounts on products and services from CompanyEC via text messaging to their mobile devices.
  • Customers will be able to access the website either by clicking on a link within the text to go to CompanyEC’s website or they can access the website via another computer.
  • CompanyEC will create a mobile website where customers will be able to access from their mobile devices. This mobile website will have 3 buttons which consist of a portfolio, free quote, and button to dial CompanyEC’s phone number.
  • customers can subscribe to this marketing plan via the website where they will sign up by placing a checkmark in a box on the quote request form and the contact form.

 Why will customers care?

  • Customers will want to get involved with this marketing plan to find the best deals and upcoming events that that CompanyEC may be holding.
  • The idea of this marketing plan isn’t very original or unique from many competitors. However, it’s a marketing plan that works and currently doesn’t need a fix a better it.

 Contextual Relevance o Hard‐selling doesn’t work in digital channels. Bring to The time that these marketing messages will be sent to the subscribers phone will be approximately 3:00p.m. CST on selected Thursdays.

  • The reason for this timing is that customers of CompanyEC normally contact the company for their services at the beginning of the week and having this marketing plan later in the week will draw in customers at that time.

Using mobile marketing will allow CompanyEC to stay in contact with their customers and will allow customers to always consider CompanyEC when needing creative services as mobile marketing helps keep customers thinking of the company.

  • 100% of this marketing plan is focused on sales. The idea is to have subscribers receive a text message from CompanyEC and then either contact the company for more information or login to the website and gather further information on the company and then complete the “Free Quote Request” form.
  • All customers and potential customers who purchase the marketed product from CompanyEC will receive the discount with or without receiving a text message with the special.
  • The marketing text message is meant to be informative only and will also be posted on the home page of the website. The idea is to market to customers who haven’t been to the website on that particular date on which the special was started.

Staying Competitive

Businesses lose customers for various reasons. I once lost a long-time customer of over 8 years, finding out only after realizing I was locked out of their hosting account. These things happen, and they happen for several reasons, but mostly, customers discontinue business because they feel they aren’t satisfied with current results.

A competitor swooping in at a local event and making new promises becomes an easily tempting proposition for your customer who hasn’t heard from you in a while. Just think, if you aren’t providing for your customer someone else will. Just as in personal dating relationships, if you don’t show interest and pay attention, there is always someone else waiting to take your place.

Customers can also easily be attracted to another business who simply excites them because that business presents something new and different. Nearly every year, businesses and customers will want to change how they do business. They will have new resolutions, new plans, and new strategies for success, and they will want to partner with a company or individual just as excited to fulfill their goals and take their business to the next level. During this time, you can’t simply offer the same products or services that you have always offered.

Generally, throughout the year, or at least once a year, you should make certain that you introduce or update your customers on new services and offerings. At the end of the year, your customers will be speaking with family and friends during the holidays. Those family and friends will offer business references, discuss new trends, or may even offer to do the work themselves for a lower price. Customers will also be attending local business events and parties, and everyone at these events will have a million ways of convincing your customer that there is a better and cheaper solution for them.

Using Analytics

Analytics are not necessarily about numbers, but about processes. It helps to evaluate what hinders people from getting from point A to point B. This starts with segmentation. Numbers don’t show you the whole picture. Segmenting tells you the factors that lead to the actual data that you collect, which will then help you to adjust your strategy. Web analytics has many benefits. Some of these benefits include tracking website visits, hits, conversions, trends, ROI, goals, etc. With a web analytics solution, you can monitor:

  • Where your site traffic is coming from.
  • The IP addresses of your visitors.
  • The customer’s actions by sequence with a time stamp.

Analytics can also help measure:

  • How many users visit your site, how many return, and how often.
  • How users navigate through your website.
  • Where in the “conversion funnel” or purchasing process customers are getting stuck and leaving.
  • What content your visitors are looking for, and whether they’re finding it.
  • Exactly which form fields are driving people away rather than bringing them in.

With analytics, you can also monitor your visitors by seeing which browser type, operating system, and the originating country, state, and city from which they are visiting. This information is beneficial for creating an effective website and will help users gain the maximum experience while they are visiting your company site. With web analytics, being analytical is not enough, but it should also be combined with creativity and company knowledge. You may find that reading analytics is confusing, mostly because there is too much information to collect. As for where people originate from when they land on your website, there are many inlets. Trying to measure the effectiveness of each inlet is a daunting task, but worth the financial savings of having to market and research.

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