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Guest Post: 5 Ways to Build a Loyal Customer Following

No matter how big or small your business is, it won’t survive without customer loyalty. One study shows that the average repeat customer spends 67% more than the average new customer. Moreover, the cost of acquiring new clients is way higher than retaining cold ones.

By investing your time, money, and efforts into customer loyalty strategies, you will make sure that your business achieves steady, cost-effective growth. Here are a couple of tried and true ways that can help you achieve that.

Improve Dialogue

By talking with your customers often, you’ll always keep them fresh in your mind. That doesn’t mean you should pester them by constantly trying to chat them up. Instead, make it easier for them to come to you when they have any questions.

Your website and social media pages are your business cards. Make sure your customers can find your contact info easily and quickly.  If you’re not able to provide the answers within for hours, they may go somewhere else. Responding to social media inquiries can get you far.

However, installing live chat support on your website can get you even further. It’s all about offering quick help to your customers without imposing on them. Write a Frequently Asked Questions page (FAQ) that offers clear-cut answers.

Extra Perks

We all like to feel special. Your loyal followers are your VIPs. Treat them accordingly. Make sure to reward your most dependable customers. Discounts and gift cards will do the trick. You’ll spend a couple of extra bucks, but are sure to get a good ROI. Make sure that all promos are time-limited.

However, not all clients are looking to save a couple of bucks. And, not all perks require slashing prices for the most loyal. You can offer special “off-the-menu” services to more affluent customers. Such perks may include special meet-and-greets or the ability to skip the line.

What’s better than getting a little something extra? Getting a little something extra that money can’t buy! You can even make it a bit competitive. For instance, you can offer incentives for referrals.

A customer that brings in two friends can get a special reward. That way, you’re acquiring new customers, while ‘cementing’ your relationship with the old one. Two birds with one stone.

Building Trust Through Social Proof

The purpose of social proof is to build credibility and trust among customers, old and new alike. You’d want to make sure that your clients know they’re making the right choice by sticking with you. But, telling them that yourself won’t cut it.

Word of mouth has all the power here. Try to organically encourage your customers to write reviews and testimonials. You can publish customer testimonials on a regular basis.

When there’s a genuine user behind the words, they are much more reliable. In some niches, your whole business can depend on your credibility and reputation. For instance, game of chance platforms rely on genuine casino reviews as people want to make sure they can trust the platform before they even sign up.

However, by having a review section on your website, or even a forum, you’ll build a community of loyal customers. It brings in more transparency and gives them a chance to validate each other’s’ opinions and encourage each other.

Consider Different Payment Plans

Some endeavors are almost entirely seasonal. As such, they are at risk of running into cash flow issues during seasons when they’re not in full swing. For example, wedding shops do most of their business during summer. Winter come, the struggle starts.

You can allow the customers to shop earlier and set up a payment plan that enables customers to “pay the tab,” little by little, throughout the months leading to the big season. It will help your business bring in cash during sluggish months and the manageable monthly payments will keep the customers happy.

It’s a win-win situation that will boost your sales. Try to come up with new payment plans that will fit into your business model.

Challenge Your Talent

Don’t assume your hires care about the consumer. Chances are, they don’t. It’s on you to let them know that delivering great customer experience is a priority. Incentivize good customer service and employee behavior.

Do you attend trade shows and conferences? Next time, bring an employee with you and tell them to bring a notebook. Let’s say you bring a sales rep with you.

When they discover a new product that you can introduce to your line, they won’t just study it and examine it thoroughly. They’ll study it with your leading customers in mind – ones that could benefit from the new product. Once you’re back in the shop, the sales rep can make a better pitch to the customers they already have a relationship with.

Conclusion

Establishing a transparent relationship with your existing customers can take you far. Offer them the right perks and assistance, and you can rest assured they’ll keep coming back. Most importantly, strive to provide value to your community of followers. They will continue to reward you with their loyalty.

 

Anna is a tech writer and researcher interested in startups, web development and business innovation. She is passionate about motivation, self-development and yoga. A recent hiking enthusiast, she enjoys exploring new trails and breathtaking views.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Anna-Stinson/100011197362346

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anna_j_stinson

Guest Post: 5 Ways Video Can Give Your Advertising Strategy an Advantage

In the world of online marketing, there are numerous strategies that businesses employ to draw in customers. When it comes to determining the most effective format in regards to ROI, video tends to pull ahead of the rest. If you’ve been debating video advertising for your business, here are a few reasons you should really stop thinking about and do it.

People Are More Likely to Watch a Video Than Read

People are more likely to hit the play button on a video than they are to read text. That’s just the reality of the digital world that we live in. This means that it would be a wise investment to make some quality videos for potential clients to find. They’ll feel more engaged, so they’ll be more likely to consider your product.

They’re Sharable

A major bonus to choosing video as your form of marketing is that they’re easily sharable. People can post the video on social networking sites or simply email it to a friend. This allows you to easily get your business in front of more users without any extra effort on your part.

Users Are More Likely to Buy When You Give First

If you decide to make informative videos for users, then you can give them something for free, and people really like free things. When they get something from you before you ask them to buy, they’re more likely to return the favor and buy something from you. 

It’s best to use a video production company and high-quality cameras as people are less likely to watch low-quality videos. High quality videos will make you look more established and reliable than a badly lit or shaky video would. If your video is demonstrating a skill or technique, you should ensure that it’s not full of jargon. If the average Joe can’t understand it, they’ll click off your video, and you will have lost a potential customer.

Video Allows for More Clear Communication

While written communication can be powerful, it can also lead to confusion when the tone and ideas aren’t clearly expressed. Video allows you to more clearly communicate with your audience because it’s more versatile and you can more easily convey your tone. They can read your body language and words. While outlets like audio and content writing are still useful, users can’t always be clear about what you’re saying.

Search Engines Love Videos

If you do a Google search for any sort of ‘how-to’ topic, there will be a few videos that get returned on the first page along with the typical text results. This is because search engines have done the research and found out that people would rather watch a video on a topic than read a long webpage about it. If you make a video, it’s more likely to get put in front of consumers quickly

Video advertising is the newest craze taking over the online market. As consumers sway more and more toward videos than traditional advertisements, now it’s more important than ever before to produce videos. The above are just five of the many reasons that should give you the motivation to move forward.

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.

Guest Post: How to Create a Logo Using Placeit vs. Adobe Illustrator

If your business is growing or you just started a new project, you are probably thinking about your logo design. Why? Because it is basically the most important essential aspect of your whole business. So we can say with confidence, it is a big deal and you should think about it before developing any other thing. Maybe you don’t really know how to create a logo yet, but don’t worry, you are in the right place! Let’s learn how to design a logo with our tool that works as a Photoshop alternative.

Now let’s be honest, picking an app to make a logo may be overwhelming. So we will be comparing the all times classic logo software Illustrator with an online logo maker tool by Placeit. Don’t worry if you feel this is a work you can’t do, we will be guiding you step by step so you can easily make your own logo on either one of these apps.

The Wonders of Using a Logo Creator

Using an online logo creator for your logo is like magic. You don’t have to spend hours designing and you don’t have to hire anyone else to do the job because it is so easy you can really design it yourself! We do have to mention that making your own logo is way cheaper than buying one, but the most amazing thing about using Placeit is that you can make as many logos as you wish, plus other essential branding assets for your business like business cards, posters, flyers, social media posts, and even videos!

How to Make a Logo with Placeit’s Logo Maker

  1. Go to Placeit’s Logo Maker and type your brand’s name in the text box.

The Logo Maker will suggest an industry for your logo, if it’s the right one, click on “Let’s Go”. If it is not the right one, pick the industry you are working on.

2. Choose the template you would like to customize.

3. Customize your template by typing any additional info you want on your logo. Change colors, fonts, graphics.

*Pro Tip: You can move around your elements to play with your logo’s layout.

4. When you are completely satisfied with your design, click on the “download” button.

Also, if you need a vectorized logo for any further editing now or in your future, you can download it from Placeit as a PDF with your vectorized logo!

 

 

How to Design a Logo with Adobe Illustrator

So let’s try to make a similar design from scratch using Illustrator.

  1. Open a new document, for starters you can choose to use a template size or open a custom template with the exact size you need. For this test, we will be making a squared 1000pixels logo.
  2. 2. Select the “Type” tool. Click and drag your text box and type your text.

  3. Customize your text’s size, font, spacing, alignment, using the “character” window.

  4. With your text selected click on the color tool. Move the mouse around to pick a color or you can always type in a hex code with the exact color you want.

  5. To create an underlining shape for your logo’s name first you choose the shapes tool. In this case, we will be using a rectangle tool. Make the same movement as the Type tool, click on your board and drag your mouse until you get your desired size. You will be making a big shape in order to see all the commands inside your figure. At the corners, you will be seeing small white dots, click and drag on these to play with your corners and make the shape rounder.
  6. Change your shapes color.

  7. This part is tricky, it’s time to make your graphics, you can always search for license-free icons on the internet, but for this logo, we will be making the icon ourselves. The easiest way to make your icon is by using the pen tool.  Select the pen tool to create your design, to use it, you have to click on a point of your board and make a second click to connect a line. If you are making a curved line, hold on your mouse click and drag your line. To end your line, click on your last vector (the small white squares) while holding your Alt key.
  8. Duplicate your lines by clicking on your Alt key and dragging your line.

  9. Relocate your line and change its orientation by using the selection around it.

  10. Make lines and arrange them until you get the desired shapes. To group lines into one single object, select them and click on the “object” option on top of your screen and then select “group”.

  11. Next, you will be vectorizing your fonts. Select all your text by holding the shift key. Then on your upper screen click on “type” and then the option “create outlines”. If at any time you want to go back just click on “command” + “z” or if you are using a PC use “Ctrl” instead of the command key.
  12. Align all your elements, select everything on your logo and click on your align tool.
  13. Almost done! Click on “file”, “save as” and choose files locations and format. Always save your original design in Ai format and have a second format, most likely PDF, for easy sharing. You can also click on the “export as” options in order to get a PNG file or a JPEG.

    Compare These Logo Makers Pricing

    A Placeit subscription gives you unlimited access to all of Placeit’s mockups, design templates, and video makers as well as half off the logo maker to not only make your logo but also promote your designs, products, and brand like a pro. Easily create a logo for your brand with this subscription and use this tool from any computer, tablet or even on your phone!

    On the other hand, if you feel confident about your editing skills you can take a look at the whole Adobe suite pricing to get this software on your computer at once! Ask an expert so you know which version is better suited for your PC or Mac software update.

Let’s Wrap Up How to Design a Logo

The most important thing to consider is that you do need a logo to start your brand. So maybe play around with these tools or try other sites and choose the option that is better suited for your needs. All we can say about Placeit is that this is the option for the ones that are looking for something easy, affordable and quick but still need a professional hi-quality logo. This is why Placeit’s Logo Maker is always a great idea.

Valeria Santalla is a multi-disciplinary graphic designer and writer that loves to create branding images for local business, she currently collaborates at Placeit.net one of the largest logo maker and design template library website.

 

 

Guest Post: 4 Cybersecurity Myths Your Business Might Have Fallen For

The world of cybersecurity is new for many business owners. Without understanding how it all works, it can be very easy to fall for some of the most common myths thrown around about how cybersecurity works. Here are four myths that your business may have fallen for which you should remedy as soon as possible.

A Strong Password Will Protect Your Business

Just because you set password requirements to make it hard to guess, that’s not the only form of login authentication that you need. Rather, you should be utilizing two-factor authentication alongside data monitoring. This will ensure that if hackers can get through the initial password login, they can still be stopped by the second authentication step.

Only Specific Industries Get Targeted By Hackers

While IT companies do tend to target select industries when it comes to their services, it’s important to note that all industries can be targeted. As long as you have some sort of sensitive data, hackers are willing to breach your system. This could be sensitive data about your customers or your business itself.

Anti-Virus Software Is Enough to Keep Out Intruders

This is one of the biggest cybersecurity myths that is out there. While anti-virus software programs are a necessity for business owners, they’re one part of the entire cybersecurity strategy. Your business will need multiple tools to protect against online intruders. Don’t just purchase anti-virus software and assume that you’re fully protected from hackers. That’s simply not the case at all.

Small Businesses Aren’t Targets for Hackers

There are many fish in the sea and it’s easiest to go for the big ones instead of chasing the small ones. That is what we’ve all been mistakenly told when it comes to cybersecurity. This just isn’t the case. Rather, small businesses made up over half the data breaches for businesses last year. Hackers know that small business owners don’t typically take the security measures that big businesses do. Therefore, they know that they can breach small businesses with ease as compared to large businesses.

There are a lot of myths flying around when it comes to the concept of cybersecurity. Understanding what these myths are and what the facts actually are about cybersecurity, you can get a better idea of what your business needs to be better protected in the future. You should enlist the help of a professional IT consultant when it comes to understanding the truth about cybersecurity.

 

Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here. https://plus.google.com/u/0/110201410531526652293

Guest Post: Avoid Customer Friction Using These Slick Techniques

Regardless of what type of business you run, when it comes to generating conversions on your website, it’s important to make the process as simple as possible. A user may not take a desired action if doing so involves too many steps.

While you may not have a slick digital agency auditing your customer journey, there are some things you can do on your own to reduce “friction” for the user. To do so, keep the following tips in mind:

Improve Site Speed

The number of steps required to take a particular action isn’t the only factor that prevents users from converting. If your pages load too slowly, users will leave the site. In fact, Google research has confirmed that most mobile users leave pages that take more than three seconds to load.

Review your site’s code with your developer. They may identify areas where it can be cleaned up to improve page speed.

tablet showing graphsMake Recommendations

Artificial intelligence has made it easier than ever to provide users with personalized options when they visit your site. This can help you guard against the effects of decision fatigue.

Maybe you run an ecommerce shop. If your shop offers many different products, guests might feel overwhelmed. They won’t make a single purchase because they won’t know how to decide which product is worth their money. With AI, that’s not a problem. You can simply provide recommendations tailored to their specific preferences. With that being said, boosting some of your top performing products through an Amazon marketing campaign can capture the attention of a potential customer at the very moment they are considering and searching for related products. This helps remove decision fatigue from the equation.

Offer Multiple Payment Options

Don’t limit your payment options to one or two methods. Quite simply, the more options you provide, the more users you can appeal to.

Reduce Fields

With any sort of website conversion, whether it’s signing up for an email list or making a purchase, users will often be required to provide some information to complete the process.

Make sure you’re not requiring users to provide too much information. Again, the longer it takes to complete a task, the greater the odds a user will abandon it. Review all your website’s forms and look for ways you can simplify them to prevent this.

Offer Guest Checkout Options

You shouldn’t require users to create an account before making a purchase or taking a similar action on your site. While you may want to recommend creating an account, as this can boost the chances of a user becoming a repeat customer, you don’t want to prohibit users from taking action without an account. Make sure there is a “guest checkout” option for all conversions you wish to generate.

Of course, it’s also important to monitor your progress after making these changes. You need to confirm the steps you’ve taken are actually delivering results. Luckily, if you follow these tips, you’re very likely to generate many more conversions than you currently are.

 

Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing (of course).

New Video: Child and Family Charities – Igniting Hope

At this year’s Child and Family Charities Igniting Hope Fundraising Breakfast, we told three stories from three different programs, Behavioral Health, Gateway Youth Services and Child Welfare. We follow the stories of Lisa, Raquell and Cynthia as they sought out the help of these services and how they were positively impacted.

For more information: https://www.childandfamily.org/