All Aboard! Sync with Your Customer’s Train of Thought for More Repeat Customers

When a successful marketing campaign attracts new customers, do you spend a lot of time celebrating the win? We all do—it’s just human nature. But one great campaign isn’t really the big win. The big win is in developing that relationship with your customers over the long haul, creating more repeat customers. That’s why follow-up is so important: you need to continuously syncing with your customer’s train of thought before they switch tracks and leave you standing at an empty station with bags full of what-happened-to-my-business.

Nailing that first sale is expensive. It costs at least 6 times more to onboard a new customer than it does to sell to repeat customers you already have.

Too many businesses let existing customers get off the train without so much as offering a courtesy cocktail that might convince them to extend their journey.

 Too many businesses let existing customers get off the train without so much as offering a courtesy cocktail that might convince them to extend their journey.

How do you know what your customers want?

Believe it or not, it’s likely you already have the majority of the tools you need to sync with your customer’s mind and react in a positive and meaningful way. The more you sync, the more repeat customers you’ll gain. You just need to know HOW to keep that repeat customer feeling happy and good about their relationship with your business.

Ask. One of the most direct ways to reach your customers? Just ask! When a customer makes a purchase, send a follow-up email a few days later to ask how they liked your product or service. Ask how they think you might improve. Offer drawings or rewards to improve your response rates.

Respond. If your customer takes time to give you a detailed answer, be sure to respond. People feel best when they know their comments are heard. Even better: move the conversation from email to social media. To drive traffic to social, include an invitation in your email response, such as, “We loved your idea and we happen to be discussing that issue on Facebook. Come join us and post your ideas.” Allow your customers to share their ideas on social to encourage even more prospect and customer engagement.

Analyze. Carefully examine your customer interactions for patterns. Use a CRM to track your customer service activity. Are the same issues, complaints or compliments continuously cropping up? Analyzing your customer data is a great way to identify strengths and weaknesses—and your starting point for developing a plan to address the most urgent and/or frequent problems and issues.

Listen. Your customers are already all over social media expressing their likes and dislikes. You can use any one of half a dozen tools to monitor social media for keywords, your products and services, your brand or company name (include common misspellings), or even your slogan.

Growth Cycle Marketing: Free White Paper DownloadResearch. Let’s not forget online reviews. While you can’t control what people post about your business or products on Yelp, Amazon or TripAdvisor, you can research these services to understand how your customers use your products and/or interact with your business—not to mention, it’s a great way to keep tabs on your competition. Ensure your info is up to date so your customers don’t feel misled by an outdated menu or price list. You can even contact customers who complain to see if you can do anything to fix the issue. Hey, they might even update a negative review if your company goes above and beyond to fix a problem. You might also retain that repeat customer, so it’s win-win!

Your goal should be to enrich your customer relationships throughout all 5 stages of the Growth Cycle Marketing process, so syncing with your customer’s train of thought all along their journey is priority.

What is Marketing’s Impact on Innovation for Growth? Download this Free White Paper on Growth Cycle Marketing

Download our free Growth Cycle Marketing white paper for more ideas to develop awesome, long-term repeat customer relationships and keep your sales keep chugging along at full steam.

Instagram vs. Vine — Which Do YOU Choose?

Instagram vs. Vine by Cultivate CommunicationsAbout a month ago, I prepared a fresh blog post about the latest frenzy in mobile video called Vine (@VineApp). I began using Vine early on and thought about all the ways one could utilize it for business and how YouTube had better watch out. Little did I know that Instagram was about to release their own video tool built directly into their already monumentally popular photo-sharing service.

Boy, did I feel behind the wagon on that one. { forehead smack }

So I asked Zina, who manages our company blog, to pull my article. I didn’t want to see any snarky “We landed on the moon!” comments coming back at me on Twitter or LinkedIn for being “behind the times” on this issue.

Some days it’s hard to keep up when so much can change in an Internet minute. But now that we’ve moved ahead a few months into the reality of the situation in the video-sharing world . . .

Let’s talk about what’s happened since Instagram “peed in Vine’s Cheerios.” { Tweet This }

Instagram — already owning a massive piece of the mobile photo-sharing market — completely leveled the playing field on June 20, 2013, as you can see from this graph displaying link shares (orange = links to Instagram.com; blue = links to Vine.com).

Instagram vs. Vine by Cultivate Communications

I’ll admit that I, too, have since gone back to Instagram and don’t use Vine all that much anymore — primarily because Instagram’s audience is larger, and it has more options. However, in an effort to maintain a dynamic website, many businesses are still using both vehicles to:

  • Promote new products
  • Give consumers a behind-the-scenes look at their operations
  • Foster community and crowdsourcing engagement
  • …and more

The following infographic from TechCrunch.com displays a nice list of features from both Instagram and Vine, as well as what could be coming down the line from these two media-sharing giants. Check it out:

Instagram vs. Vine by Cultivate Communications

Even though I’ve been forced to revisit the topic of Instagram vs. Vine, I’m still of the mindset that YouTube had better watch out. The ease of use of both of these video-sharing channels makes it infinitely simpler and faster to share content.

Have you been using Vine or Instagram for your business? What do you think about the new and improved Instagram as it compares to Vine? Where do you see these apps heading in the future?

Contact me on LinkedIn and Google+ to discuss your predictions and your preferences. And, as Bob Wendt reminded us back in January, make sure you’re ready for the next big thing.

nick75

See all articles by Nicholas Putz
Connect with Nicholas online: LinkedIn

Top 10 Posts of 2013 (Thus Far)

Top 10 Posts of 2013 (Thus Far) by Cultivate Communications

Our staff is daydreaming about the long holiday weekend, fireworks, and the infamous Bacon Log-splosion. This week we slow down with a round-up of the top 10 posts of 2013 thus far. These are the Cultivate articles you voted for with LinkedIn shares, Facebook likes, Tweets, and good ol’ fashioned page views:

Content Marketing
  1. The Smart Money Is on Content Strategy | Read Article
    I speak to CEOs every day about marketing. It’s startling how many of them view marketing as a COST. They erroneously lump marketing in with their other “cost of goods” line items and commoditize it. They look for ways to cut corners, and they implement hit-or-miss tactics without putting in the proper think-time or strategies. It’s no surprise, then, when they don’t receive the return on investment (ROI) they expected. So, what should these CEOs do instead?
    Read full post - Cultivate CommunicationsTop 10 Posts of 2013 (Thus Far) by Cultivate Communications
  2. How to Kick-Start Your Business Blog | Read Article
    CONGRATULATIONS — You’ve taken that first, BIG step and created a hub for all your content. You’ve got a business blog! Now what?
    How to Kick-Start Your Business Blog
  3. Using a Team Approach to Content Marketing | Read Article
    Content marketing — It may seem like a simple task, but it actually has the HUGE role of reflecting the core of what your business stands for. You must be very careful how you leverage content marketing to position yourself in your industry.
    Using a Team Approach to Content Marketing
  4. 10 Resources to Inspire Your Content Creation | Read Article
    Creating engaging content is really hard work. Successful content marketing requires a long-term, dedicated team effort. Some days your thoughts and ideas come pouring out of you. Other days you just need a place to start. To help you through days like that (we’ve all had them), we’ve compiled 10 resources to inspire you in your content creation endeavors.
    10 Resources to Inspire Your Content Creation
Social Marketing
  1. Top 10 Posts of 2013 (Thus Far) by Cultivate Communications The First 3 Steps to Social Marketing Success | Read Article
    Social media aficionados have flooded businesses with so much information for connecting online that they’ve dazed and dizzied the very people they were trying to reach. Businesses who may have had plans to push themselves into this hot new realm of marketing are feeling overwhelmed. Nobody knows where to BEGIN to use social media in business.
    Read full post - Cultivate Communications
  2. My business is on Pinterest, now what? | Read Article
    If you are a small business or a blogger and you want to make the most of Pinterest, check out these 10 basic rules of conduct for this ever-growing social network.
    Read full post - Cultivate Communications
  3. 5 Tips for Making Your Social Marketing Bloom | Read Article
    Does gardening feel like social marketing to you? You imagine your content going viral and growing. Yet, if you cannot get your seeds to grow, you’re left with just dirt. Pop on over for five tips for making your social marketing bloom.
    Read full post - Cultivate Communications
Design
  1. Responsive Email Design | Read Article
    Responsive design is not a new concept, but with the explosive growth of mobile devices, it’s starting to get noticed again, especially by digital marketers. Cisco recently conducted a GIGANTIC report on global mobile data usage that predicts that by 2016 there will be over 10 billion devices worldwide…that’s 1.4 for every person in the world – WOW! So what is responsive design?
    Read full post - Cultivate Communications
  2. More Cowbell | Read Article
    When you review a proposed design, is your first thought “Make the logo bigger”? Are you looking for more pizzazz? Does the proof feel a bit dull or blah? If you are working on a website, a blog design, or even a template for an email newsletter, consider the following three points when discussing the proof with your graphic designer.
    Read full post - Cultivate Communications
  3. 5 Must-Follow Art & Design Pinterest Boards | Read Article
    Our Director of Digital Content Marketing is addicted to Pinterest. Stop by this post for 5 Must-Follow Art & Design Boards for creative folk. Three of our favorite boards are curated by MEN. Yes, there are men on Pinterest, including a few from the Cultivate Crew. Check out some of our unique collaborative boards, including Design is Everything & the Business Toolbox.
    Read full post - Cultivate Communications

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Top 10 Posts of 2013 (Thus Far) by Cultivate Communications

Every month our eNewsletter GROW compiles the very best articles, tips, statistics, and reports about inventive marketing ideas into a quick-read publication. Get on the information gravy train, friends.


Avoid “Digital Pollution” in Social Media & Email

How-to Avoid "Digital Pollution" in Social Media & Email by Cultivate CommunicationsYour business is a brand. It’s a living, breathing being that you’ve nurtured, raised, and carefully shaped to be a reflection of yourself, your ideals, and your goals — for the purpose (in most cases) of generating an income.

Your brand is no longer stationary and relegated to brick-and-mortar real estate. Today, your burgeoning ecommerce business model must also have adopted and integrated virtual real estate to stay competitive in our global marketplace.

Now, I think it’s safe to say it would infuriate most business owners if their property was littered with garbage.

Your property is an extension of your image —
of how you handle your customers, how you conduct business, and how you get things done. 

Most business owners work hard to build and project an image of trust for their customers, who have competing demands for their hard-earned dollars. You don’t want anything to detract from assuring your customers that your product or service is worth every penny.

If you were looking to contract out landscaping services, and upon driving up to their place of business, the landscaper had crab grass, weeds, dead patches of grass, and garbage on their lawn, would you trust them with your own lawn? I think not.

You also don’t send your sales representatives to potential clients every day, harassing them to the point that they refuse to even listen to you anymore.

Well, these same principles apply to your business and to its virtual real estate throughout the social media ecosystem, in respect to keeping it orderly, clean, and relevant to what your customers are looking for. In other words, you want to avoid a term called “Digital Pollution.”

You have to be conscious of what you’re doing with your virtual real estate and how it’s affecting others, as well as your business.

Do you perform regular email marketing in which you have attracted double opt-in readers who truly find value in what you’re doing? Be careful of sending them too much information. Flooding someone’s inbox is a sure way to see your unsubscribe list numbers reach all-time highs. And for those who may be more impatient (like myself) if you overwhelm me with messages, I’ll simply hit the Spam/Junk button in my email program to make your messages disappear for ever after.

So, be mindful of your subscribers, and don’t inundate them with marketing messages. Your brand/product/content should be about QUALITY, not QUANTITY.

Avoid Digital Pollution by Cultivate CommunicationsIn my opinion, acceptable rates for receiving eNewsletters or company information is once per month; bi-weekly; or at MOST, once per week. Any more than that, and I’ll disregard your brand message and content in a heartbeat.

Don’t pollute your readers’ inbox.

Twitter and other social media accounts have a sensitive group of followers as well, and you need to treat these properties as gently as you would your email subscribers. Your social accounts can potentially have tremendous value. Don’t ruin them by leaving your garbage lying around there, either.

One interesting thing about some businesses and their brands is how often they promote other businesses, especially those competing with them, throughout social media. Many do this to the extent that it has digitally polluted their virtual real estate and their brand isn’t recognized for its own content anymore, but for promoting others’ content and brands. Now, I have no problem with teamwork (in fact I wrote about it here). Creating valuable business partnerships is a key way to help an economy grow. However  a line must be drawn to control your brand messaging.

It’s easy to use your virtual real estate to send messages to the hundreds (if not thousands) of people who follow you, but you have to remember to keep it exciting, relevant, and most importantly — your OWN message.

Keep people coming back to YOU. Don’t send them away to others for a solution that you could be giving them. You’re the one with the great ideas and plans.

Don’t pollute your email, blog, or social media real estate with irrelevant links, re-tweets, shares, likes, pins, diggs, and whatever else you can do at such a high frequency that you lose your audience.

Those that may have been very loyal to you and your message may get lost in the clutter and potentially abandon your brand due to all your Digital Pollution. Share this insight on LinkedIn:

Worried you might be a Digital Polluter? Let me know in the Comments below, and we’ll give you an unbiased opinion of how your business is coming across.
nick75

See all articles by Nicholas Putz

Social Marketing with a Blueberry Mojito

I am one smitten kitten. I adore Blueberry Mojitos. Are you scared of veering from the classic traditional version? I understand. This has a lovely summer freshness that makes it worth trying.

Zina’s Blueberry Mojito

  • 1 heaping handful of fresh (or frozen) blueberries
  • 3 mint leaves
  • 2 TB simple syrup
  • 3 TB lime juice
  • Club soda or Sprite
  • Bacardi Rum

Directions: Smash the blueberries and mint together using the back of a spoon. I prefer frozen blueberries because the skins are softer. Add lime juice, simple syrup, desired amount of Bacardi (shot and a half or so), stir and top off with club soda or Sprite. YUM.

This recipe is “Mama’s Medicine” after a day of creative work during the dog days of summer. The catch? Fresh mint is quite pricey. Last year I decided I’d simply plant mint & enjoy leaves as needed. I was warned by multiple people to be cautious of where I plant because mint spreads like a weed.

My seeds never materialized. Does this feel like social marketing to you? You imagine your content going viral and spreading like a weed. Still, if you cannot get your seeds to grow you’re left with just dirt. I’ve got some tried and true social gardening tips to share with you.  Pop on over for 5 Tips for Making Your Social Marketing Bloom.


PS: This post is dedicated to the lovely Kate Scmitt for introducing me to this heavenly drink.