Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

The Customer Trigger Point

While working on my bachelor degree, I was employed as a student recruiter for a local college in Dallas, Texas. During sales training, I learned lessons that remain current in all my customer relationships: Never ruin a hot lead and know the customer’s trigger point. Finding the trigger point is as simple as asking “Why are you calling or meeting with me today?” Every customer has a reason for the decision to do business with you, at your particular location, with your price, and on that singular day. In education, reasons adult students chose to go back to school included that they wanted to do it for their family or kids, they wanted to change the world, or they wanted to go to school to prove to someone who said or believed they couldn’t achieve a higher education.

In relationships, you wouldn’t marry someone you just met. You date for a short while and get to know their likes, dislikes, and interests. It’s the same with customers. When you have found the customer’s decision-making trigger, you can easily put together a strategy that helps you get to the next stage of satisfying them. The goal of sales is to find and finesse your customers’ trigger point. If a customer wants to purchase your product or service because it would make them more productive, it is your responsibility to continually integrate that productivity trigger in conversations by noting how your product or service could help with their productivity. Once the trigger point is outlined, the sale becomes much easier. Your customer has a reason for doing business with you, and it is your responsibility to figure out what that reason is and make that trigger point your key to developing a successful selling strategy.

Trends and Innovation

For innovation to be advantageous within your business, you must have a strategy for informing customers on the specific benefits of the trend or innovation in relation to your product or service. Trends affected by customer choices, the internet, social media, and technology have a greater influence on customer behavior than conventional advertising. As a leader, you should develop strategies incorporating a knowledge of trends and areas identifying with technology, internet, innovation, and social media.

Technology Trends. Technology influences customers regarding business sustainability and corporate responsibility. Emerging innovative technology can propel your business to growth by providing a medium for evaluating choice patterns of your customers. The advancement of technology can additionally influence the value of your products and services. Moreover, by using technology, you could develop strategies that decidedly enhance your perceived product value. You can additionally utilize innovative technology to improve marketing research knowledge. For technology to remain beneficial within your markets, your business must have a system for effectively using technology to train and educate customers on the benefits of your product or service.

Technology in Marketing. Marketing is not shaped by what technology can do but instead centers on what the customer will accept, understand, and want. There are three changes that you must consider when creating successful marketing strategies using technology. The first is to move away from market research and instead look toward being able to interpret information extracted from your customers through databases of information. The second change is to move away from traditional advertising and placing more attention on social media for communication. The final stage is to stop looking at marketing as a means of mass markets and move toward building a personal relationship with customers through media outlets.

Mobile Optimization

Some businesses have websites but don’t have a properly built website that is optimized for mobile devices. Even if you do have a mobile website, customers may complain that the website doesn’t look as good or that the website’s performance on mobile devices is sluggish. When you’re building your mobile website keep in mind that it’s on a phone, or device smaller than a computer monitor, meaning your buttons need to be bigger, some content needs to be moved, and some content needs to be removed or blocked from being seen on the mobile version of the website. A mobile website should be a watered-down version of your main website and should include only key selling points and a call to action. Keep in mind that most mobile users aren’t on your website to view your special graphics or large photo gallery. If your site is not built or optimized specifically for mobile users, your bounce rate will skyrocket and you’ll lose a potential customer over a fixable problem.

Social Media

The development of the internet has created challenges for businesses who fail to grow with the technology or properly manage social media. Social media has opened a door for customers to express their concerns to or about companies and this method of communication gives customers the power of opinion and change. Customers are a significant factor in generating brand awareness for businesses. This is due to users promoting the brand as well as creating content and exposure through social comments, questions, and answers on forum boards and social media profiles.

Because of technology and social media, the customer has the power to help improve and enrich business activities as well as add value to brands. Considering customers are paramount to the success of your business, your marketing strategies must move away from traditional transactional marketing to facilitator marketing. Facilitator marketing focuses on sharing knowledge with your customers and being open to the opinions of your customers. This method will assist in promoting positive sales and satisfied customers.

Brand Evangelists

A happy customer is likely to tell their friends and family of the service they received. Creating brand evangelists doesn’t necessarily involve rewarding the customer with free products or services. The best method for building loyalty and creating brand evangelists is by letting the customer know that they are appreciated as a customer and that you enjoy referrals.

Satisfied customers are also likely to spread the word through social media about the service they received from your company without being asked. If they are happy, they will likely tell everyone why they are. Customer satisfaction goes a long way when creating brand evangelists. You can identify a brand evangelist by joining and staying current with social networks and watching for your business name to be mentioned on those networks. Another great opportunity for building evangelists is to get involved with customers online by incorporating widgets into your company website. These widgets can be used to allow for site visitors to communicate their thoughts and share them on their favorite social networking websites with the click of a button.

Email Marketing

When done correctly, email marketing serves as a tried-and-true way to get readers to download content, convert prospects with special offers, and upsell existing customers. It’s important to focus your time and attention on email marketing in addition to social media, paid advertising, and search engine optimization. It’s one form of marketing that’s not going anywhere any time soon, and rightfully so.

With emails, you can foster a deeper, one-on-one relationship with your customers. Your emails have the opportunity to appear more personal and authentic than any other marketing effort. This builds trust with your customers considering the message creates (or appears to create) a one-on-one dialogue. Email subscribers are 3.9 times more likely to share content via the social web. Plus, your target audience wants to hear from you via email. It was discovered in a survey conducted by MarketingSherpa that 72% of people actually prefer to receive promotional content through email from businesses they like, as compared to the 17% who prefer social media.[1]

When sending email campaigns, make sure your strategy, and your business, answers questions such as:

  • What are you trying to accomplish with the email?
  • What actions do you want customers to take?
  • How will you prompt customers to take this action (i.e., using buttons, CTAs, or by clearly spelling it out in the content of the email)?

Whether optimizing your email or just writing the content, you should always do so as if you were speaking directly to one person in your target audience. Use the same language in your email as you would if your ideal customer were standing in front of you. Speak (or in this case, write) to your one reader as if you already know them. This can be tricky at first, but it will get easier over time as you come to understand more about who your ideal customer is. One easy way to sound more conversational is to use second person pronouns — “you” and “your.” This is a simple adjustment that makes the email about the reader, not your company.

Personalize the Content. In the same way that you personalized your subject line, you should also personalize the content within your email. According to research conducted by Aberdeen Group, personalized emails showed an increase in click-through rates of 14% and an increase in conversions by 10%. To get started with personalization, the simplest thing to do is address your recipients by their first name in your email greeting. Your customers will also appreciate your efforts since 74% of online customers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g., offers, ads, and promotions) appear to have nothing to do with their interests. [2]

 

[1] http://content.marketingsherpa.com/data/public/reports/benchmark-reports/EXCERPT-BMR-2013-Email-Marketing.pdf

[2] http://www.aberdeen.com/research/4904/ra-email-marketing/content.aspx

Sourcing Workload

When it comes to lowering stress levels and accomplishing tasks within your business, there is the option to insource, selfsource, or outsource specific duties. Insourcing means to use capable individuals within your business to complete appropriate tasks. Selfsourcing is developing and utilizing internal IT systems that can be used by trained workers to complete a wider range of duties. Outsourcing is when you choose to use third-party companies or outside individuals to complete tasks.

Outsourcing is growing at an exceptional rate and businesses use outsourcing services provided by individuals throughout the globe. Outsourcing may be an effective solution that can save time and money by providing resources and capabilities outside of the business’s structure. In addition, outsourcing allows your business to potentially acquire leading-edge technology without purchasing needed software, updating your current systems, or training employees. Outsourcing allows you to focus your resources on the tasks that matter most and are indicative of your core competencies. Other benefits of outsourcing include lowering development costs, hiring the best talent for the job, and realizing a higher quality of work.

Short cycle time systems development involves utilizing methods including automation, outsourcing, and technology to complete tasks quickly. A benefit of this type of structure is that new products and innovation are brought to the marketplace sooner and benefits your business by having a competitive advantage. Concerns with outsourcing short cycle time systems include privacy, security, and potential loss of in-house resources.

The quick reaction of cycle time systems allow the development of new products and services to align with market and environment changes. A disadvantage of producing products or services quickly is that quality may suffer. Furthermore, using outsourced individuals could also present legal issues, financial setbacks, and provide limited control over outcomes. To try and mitigate the damages of outsourcing, you should use service level agreement (SLA) contracts with your vendors which ensure (with penalties) that you receive the desired performance and that expectations are met. Another disadvantage of outsourcing includes cultural differences. Outsourcing is often accomplished between organizations with different backgrounds, languages, and cultural differences. To outsource successfully, you should implement corporate policy that provides data security and protects the privacy of your customers. While cost reduction is a valuable benefit, you should be aware of outsource individuals who may have hidden costs associated with the work they provide.

 

Electronic Word-of-Mouth

Customers often use social media channels when purchasing products or services. Social media channels including Facebook, Amazon, and Yelp are greater influences than electronic word-of-mouth communication on business websites and testimonials. Electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) has a significant influence on the success of your business, and has become a major factor in customer decision-making processes.

The main contrast between traditional word-of-mouth and eWOM is that eWOM has a greater reach and accelerated interaction. Considering the simplicity of accessing eWOM reviews, your business should progressively seek to analyze related factors and outcomes influencing eWOM. Electronic word-of-mouth goes far beyond traditional word-of-mouth to include online communication and networking through social forums, review sites, and news sites. Therefore, your sales are highly dependent on eWOM influences. Moreover, eWOM affects the trust and perception of your business, and the products you offer. When there is a large number of positive eWOM referrals, sales and business profits are likely to increase.

Cost Per Click

Google’s Ad Rank program is designed to help you display the most relevant ad content to your customers and to provide an equal system that benefits both the customer and your business. The Ad Rank system is controlled by your ad quality, which is determined by the websites click through rate (CTR) and ad relevance to landing page content and keywords used. Ad Rank works by helping customers gain satisfaction through seeing more relevant ads to their keyword, and you get to show more relevant ads for your product or service so that you attract the right customer group. The result is that your business gains satisfied and relevant customers. Additionally, Ad Rank is used to determine where (and if) your ads appear and how much you pay each time a user clicks on your ad. The ranking system is created using a mathematical formula that decides which ads appear within the top positions of Google’s AdWords.

A cost-per-click (CPC) is the amount you choose or agree to pay each time a potential customer clicks on your Google ad in AdWords. A Quality Score is a numerical estimate based on the overall combined quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. The formula used to create your Ad Rank is: Ad Rank = Max CPC x Quality Score.

Example Case Study. Mike’s Biscuits (MB) has a current quality score of 3 for the keyword “Dog Biscuits.” To find the Ad Rank position, MB can calculate the Max CPC ($4) by the Quality Score (3), and the result equals 12. If MB raises its quality score to at least a 7, the company could easily lower its CPC to $2 and end with an overall rank of 14. With a higher quality score, MB can pay half the cost and rank higher than with its lower quality score of 3 and budget of $4. To raise its Ad Rank position, MB should focus on raising its quality score by increasing its click-through-rate (CTR), keyword relevancy to users’ search query’s, and by creating an optimized landing page that holds original relevant content. The higher the quality score, the lower the CPC. Ultimately, the Google quality score system allows for the prevention of advertisers to pay their way to the top of the search results within Google’s search engine. With this system, the higher quality score will save the advertiser money, create better placement, and increase the business’s revenue.

Website Marketing

While social media sites are great for blogging and news updates, you should also include the blog text and updates on your business website so that it creates more content and attracts attention from search engines. By utilizing blogs and newsgroups to attract website visitors, you can create an effective strategy which will help gain and increase website click-through rates and the length of time users spend on your website. This could ultimately help with increasing search engine credibility and domain authority. In addition, including keywords and descriptions in image ALT tags on your website will create an extremely effective strategy that is not only beneficial for improving content search results but will also boost your rank in image search directories.

You should additionally include an easy bookmark feature on your website. By including a bookmark widget, you can gain customer loyalty and rank better with search engines that index bookmark websites such as Del.icio.us and Google bookmarks.

To create a strategy that will encourage customer interactivity, you can also setup email marketing and newsletter campaigns along with creating polls and surveys to gain customer feedback and help enhance the experience of your customers. Newsletters could include information on upcoming specials, events, and changes in the business that could benefit the customer.

Links for allowing customers to opt out of receiving emails and referring a friend for discounts should also be included in each newsletter. Your business can benefit by tracking the results of email campaigns using newsletter and website tracking tools such as Google Analytics. By viewing monthly reports, you will be able to see which keywords, content, and paid campaigns are most effective. In addition, it will allow for you to see where visitors come from, how long they visit a certain web page, the last page they viewed before leaving your website, and how your stats compare to the industry benchmarks.

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