Category Archives: Uncategorized

Are Social Networking Sites Doing Us Any Good

It is not long ago when the only mode of communication was the snail mail way or the expensive Telephone. But with the advent of internet our lives have completely changed. We are now able to connect with anybody in any part of the world instantly and at a very low cost. This indeed has brought a pleasant change in our lifestyle. Internet has helped us so much that even organizations can employ a global workforce and they all can work together sitting in different parts of world as if they are sitting in the same building. Not only this the advent of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter has completely revolutionized the way we connect with people. We can get connected with our friends sitting in any part of the world and at the same time search our long lost buddy.

The immense benefits that have been brought by internet and the social networking sites sometimes downplay the negative effects associated with it. As it is an adage that excess of everything is bad, same holds good with these social networking sites. We are so much addicted to these sites that sometimes we forget to check the wellbeing of our near and dear ones but we never forget to check the latest updates on Facebook. 

Though it is not legal to create an account on social networking sites for a minor, but given its popularity, children are so tempted to use these sites that they adopt unfair means at such tender age and get themselves registered on these sites. These days we see lesser number of children willing to play outside as they are glued to the latest happenings in their virtual friend circle. And children here are not to be blamed because a child usually does that what he sees and when he sees that his father after coming back from a hectic schedule directly turns on his laptop to know the where about of his online friends rather that asking the child how was his day at school or without playing with him, he is also bound to check what is so interesting about these sites.

Therefore, instead of turning a blind eye and deaf ear towards this issue, it's time for us to awaken. No doubt we have witnessed a tremendous evolution in technology but to gain immense benefits from this new revolution, we have to make a judicious use of it. We are witnessing so many new diseases which were not even heard of because of our changing life styles. We prefer sitting for long hours in front of computers rather than taking a refreshing walk in the lap of nature. Therefore, it is time to act before we repent.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Get Inbound Marketing Tools at the lowest Price

First let me state that Internet Marketing Tools are now defined as Inbound Marketing Tools.

Who doesn't want inexpensive Inbound Marketing Tools that work? In this day and age when advertising your business online is must. It is also a must that you get these tools at the lowest possible price.

You may ask, how can I get them? Please read on to find out.

MarketHive

The MarketHive Inbound Marketing System is priced at a reasonable price (free) as compared to other Inbound Platforms from medium to large businesses that cost around $72,000 per year on average.

Unlike any of the other Inbound Marketing (automated marketing) platforms, the MarketHive is a vertical Social Network design for and by Entrepreneurs.

The following 31 minute video will give you a cost comparison between some of the top Inbound Marketing systems.


Click here if you would like to register for a free Inbound MarketHive System

Thank you,

Ida Mae Boyd
MarketHive Alpha Founder
Skype me at imboyd681
Please include in the Skype Contact message "Market Hive"

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Inbound Marketing Systems Compared

The MarketHive Inbound Marketing is priced at a reasonable price (free) as compared to other Inbound Platforms for medium to large businesses that cost around $72,000 per year on average.

Unlike any of the other Inbound Marketing (automated marketing) platforms, MarketHive is a vertical Social Network design for and by Entrepreneurs.

Free trial by invite only.

The following 31 minute video will give you a cost comparison between some of the top Inbound Marketing systems.

Free trial by invite only


Click here if you would like to register for a Free MarketHive System

Thank you,

Ida Mae Boyd
MarketHive Alpha Founder
Skype me at imboyd681
Please include in the Skype Contact message “Market Hive”

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Join the Rise of the Entrepreneurs

What is it?

The first and only Entrepreneur's Inbound Marketing Social Network.
Inbound Marketing Explained and Compared

 

Why you want it!

An Entrepreneurial Social Network integrated with an advanced Inbound Marketing platform is genius on steroids. Sharing up to 50% of the potential revenue with you is very generous and the potential of this combination is atomic!

Join the Rise of the Entrepreneurs with me!

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Using Inbound Marketing to promote your Company’s Business and Website.

Promotion using social links

Using Inbound Marketing as a means of promoting your Company's Business and Website.

Inbound marketing is a way of promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, e-newsletter’s, whitepapers, social media marketing.

Other forms of content marketing, lead pages, Search Engine Optimization which serve to attract customers through the different stages of promoting one’s own company fit “hand in glove” with the social engagement systems that is so prevalent in today’s market  

In contrast, buying attention, cold-calling, direct paper mail, radio, TV advertisements, sales flyers, spam, telemarketing and traditional advertising are considered "outbound marketing" and seem to be having a secondary role in a Company’s marketing activities.

Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects' attention. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easier to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content.


Many companies are now realizing that their technical documentation, often considered a "necessary evil", is now considered a way of producing authoritative and trustworthy content that can become a Company’s most effective inbound marketing channel, generating more than half of overall site traffic and over half of lead generation.

Once a website has been constructed and the content optimized for the chosen key words, the main objective or strategy of a smart webmaster will be to submit the Website to the Search Engines and obtain as many Social Inbound Links.

One-way Inbound Link is an external link pointing from social accounts to your website from another site. You need not reciprocate; in other words, you do not have to link back to that website. On the other hand, in Reciprocal Linking, to obtain an external link from another site pointing to your website, you have to link back to that site or reciprocate with a link from your website.

In recent times One-Way Inbound Links have received a lot of prominence and smart webmasters are spending their time, effort and energy in obtaining more One-Way Inbound Links rather than Reciprocal Links. The stampede to obtain One-Way Inbound Links is understandable once you know the facts and the benefits of having these links.

The Search Engines have begun to realize that many Webmasters have started adopting various ruses to artificially increase their link popularity and the page rank of their websites. Many website owners started manipulating the system to their advantage such as purchasing high PR links and adopting certain Black Hat techniques. This approach can be very detrimental to one’s business in the long term

Hence the Search Engines have now begun to consider One-Way Inbound Links superior to Reciprocal Links because, if a website links to your website without obtaining a link back, it clearly indicates that your site is a site of quality and that it is popular with a lot of other sites.

If your website has many One-way Inbound Links, especially links that are of quality and relevance then your website will be ranked higher than those sites with just reciprocal links. So it stands to reason that the more number of quality and relevant One-way Inbound links you obtain the greater and faster your chances of increasing your link popularity and page rank and the higher your site will rank in the searches for your keywords.

Smart webmasters soon began to realize the importance of one way inbound links and started adopting certain strategies to obtain them such as:

1. Submitting the website to high page rank quality social sites and to Niche or specialized directories.

2. Writing high quality articles displaying their Company’s expertise and submitting these articles to article directories, article banks and article distributors, thereby creating a viral effect with webmasters picking up these articles and publishing them.

4. Submitting articles to Social Bookmarking Sites. Most of these sites have a high page rank and are a valuable source for inbound links.

These Strategies not only help Webmasters boost the link popularity and page rank of their websites but also help the websites to rank high in the Search Engines for their keywords.

In addition to the above, Targeted traffic will soon start flowing from hundreds or even thousands of links in the Resource boxes of these articles, from Directories, Forums, Blogs and Social Bookmarking sites.

These are actually visitors searching the Internet for websites, products and services like yours or admirers of your expert articles who could end up as customers or members of your list.

Acting smart and adopting your strategies to suit the changing algorithms of the Search Engines is the best way to move forward and be ahead of the competition.

The ultimate goal is to obtain good Link Popularity, High Page Rank and substantial Traffic to your website. It appears that for all practical purposes, One Way Social Inbound Links have come to stay and the stampede to acquire these links will continue.

Article by:
Brian Walters SEO

Skype: tuneup_bj

Brian Walters MarketHive

Markethive

Markethive Promotion

http://brian-walters-online.com/

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

25 Creative Ways To Improve Internet Customer Service

Consider the competitive advantages of an online retailer. Customer service is usually not the first thing that comes to mind, right?. Many eCommerce websites, even the large well-known store, are infamous for impersonal, mediocre customer service practices. And yet, the few internet retailers that differentiate themselves on service become well-known case studies in client care. In this article, I'll share some of the best-practices I've seen over the years that serve to differentiate companies on customer service.

Upgrade Your CRM Tools: Proper technology can go a long way to improving customer care. At the very least, ensure that your staff has the ability to view the history of previous interactions with a customer. It's very frustrating when you have to repeatedly explain the situation to a representative.

Hand-written thank you on Packing Slip: Most packing slips are dull, impersonal, and useful only if you need to return the merchandise. On rare occasions, I've received orders where the packing list featured a hand-written, personalized thank you from a staff member. While this may not be practical for every order, it is a great way to impress select customers. Another idea might be to include the business card with contact info for a manager.

Assign Personal Customer Service Reps: Along with the order confirmation receipt that you send to your customers, also automatically assign each customer a personal representative that will field their questions. Send the email from this representative's name, and include their contact info. Customers will be impressed that they have a "personal" representative assign specifically to them.

Call Customers Who Abandon Orders: When a customer starts an order but doesn't finish it, follow up with a phone call to find out if there were any problems. Customers appreciate the gesture, and you will likely save many sales in the process.

Follow up surveys: Consider sending a survey email out with every order confirmation. While not every customer will complete it, your customers will know you care enough to ask their opinion.

Extensive FAQ Knowledge Base: Surprisingly, one of the easiest ways to improve your customer satisfaction may be to prevent needless customer interactions in the first place. No matter how friendly your call center representative, no customer will be pleased if they have to call you in order to answer a simple question like "how do I return a product?" Prevent situations like this by maintaining a searchable FAQ knowledge base that answers every reasonable question.

Live Chat: Many customers dislike the thought of sitting on hold for even a few minutes. Offering a live chat option can be an inexpensive way of answering questions for your visitors, and reducing the call volume for your call center.  Improve 

After Hour Call Center: If your business employs a 3rd party after hour call center that is off-site, make sure you frequently monitor the quality of care they are rendering. Make sure they are empowered to serve your customers as effectively as possible. If your primary call center is 3rd party, seriously consider bringing it in house. While this is not always the most affordable option, it's necessary if you desire to give your clients your absolute best.

Free Upgraded Shipping: Surprise select customers by upgrading their shipping to 1 or 2 express. If you do this, be sure to send them an email letting them know they have been upgraded. This strategy was pioneered by Zappos.

Same Day Shipping: Most websites have a policy of shipping orders 1 or 2 business days after they are placed. If possible, selectively ship some orders the same day. The speedy delivery will be appreciated, though not expected by your customers.

Prominent Customer Testimonials: Place customer testimonials on more than just the "testimonial" page. Zappos features them right on their main customer service page. A word of caution applies here though. If you're going to "brag" so to speak about your service, make sure you follow through!

Human Touch: Many online shoppers struggle with trusting an online merchant due to the lack of face to face interaction. Mitigate this weakness by showing pictures of your customer service staff.  Christian retailer C28 shows the picture of their customer service manager on the Help page as well as on every order confirmation email. In addition, below the picture is the manager's direct contact info. Something like this can go a long way to instill trust in your company.

Detailed Product Pages: Answer questions before they are asked by always having thoroughly detailed product pages. Include all the relevant info a customer would want to know about your products. For more ideas on this topic, checkout my previous post on 25 ways to improve your product page.

Automatic Price Protection: Always honor sale prices of items that were previously purchased by customers. They need to be able to shop with this confidence. Better yet, automatically notify customers when items they have purchased in the past go on sale. Offer to apply the price difference toward a future purchase or just refund the amount. Sound crazy? Maybe, but it's small cost that can win a customer for life.

Lenient Return Policy: Make sure your return policy is not unnecessarily complicated or rigid. How many times have you shopped at a certain retailer because their lenient return policy gave you the confidence you needed to buy? (Think Costco vs. Walmart!)

Thank You Calls: Call select customers and thank them for ordering. This personalized gesture will blow them away.

Thank You Emails: Email certain customers and thank them for their business. Be sure to include something personalized in the email that will convince them it's not just something generic sent to everyone.

Do More than Fix Your Mistakes: When your business makes a mistake, be sure that you exceed your customer's expectations when fixing it. If an item was mistakenly left out of a shipment, don't just a apologize, offer that item for free. Many businesses find their most loyal customers result from a highly satisfying resolution to a problem.

Fix Other's Mistakes: If a shipment is delayed or lost due to the fault of the shipping carrier, don't just blame UPS, offer a solution. Offer to promptly re-ship the item, or at the very least, offer to take care of the problem with the carrier so the customer doesn't have to.

Guaranteed Email Response Time: Most customers expect an email inquiry to be answered within at most 24 hours. If you can, guarantee a response time faster than this. Also, acknowledge the receipt of an email inquiry by employing an auto responder.

Secret Shopping: Used extensively by brick-and-mortar retailers, secret shopping is a great way to identify problems and keep your customer service staff on their toes.

Customer Centric Slogan: Show your dedication to customer care by prominently featuring a customer centered slogan that summarizes your company's practices. A great example of this would be Zappos' famous slogan on their home page: "We are a service company that happens to sell shoes."

Free Return Shipping: One of the greatest stumbling blocks to online ordering is the thought of having to return the product. Consider sending customers a pre-paid return shipping label in the case of a product needing to be returned. Because this is rarely done by e-commerce stores, you will certainly set yourself apart in the mind of your customer.

Personalize Everything: Always great customers by name on the home page, and offer them personalized product recommendations based on previous orders.

Increase Number of Service Reps: It goes without saying that if you have a higher representative to customer ratio, you will have the time to better serve your clients. While not every business can afford this, if you want to differentiate yourself with outstanding customer service, it's a must.

I once heard it said that "the enemy of good is not bad, it's mediocre." Too many online retailers struggle with mediocre customer service. Many businesses fail to realize their customer base is also powerful marketing machine. If treated right, they can become to most effective viral marketing campaign imaginable. Treated poorly, and they can become a PR disaster.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

10 Questions to Ask When Collecting Customer Data

When your customers disclose their personal and financial information to you, they're taking a leap of faith that you won't lose, abuse or otherwise mess with it — accidentally or not. Your customers don't want you to spam them every two minutes, hawk their info to third parties or, worse, expose it to cyber attackers. 
 
Collecting Customer Data 
 
 
Collecting customer data has been notoriously loaded with a tangle of privacy pitfalls. But when done right, the benefit to your bottom line could outweigh the risks. Leveraging customer data can lead to happier customers, reduced client churn and bigger profits. 
 
Gathering sensitive customer information isn't something business owners should just jump into and make up as they go. Get up to speed with these 10 essential questions to consider before you ask your customers anything: 
 
1. I don't have time to get anything from my customers but their money. Do I really need to collect data from them, too?
 
Without customers, you wouldn't be in business. Knowing who they are and what they want, particularly from you, can lead to more effective marketing, increased brand loyalty and the holy grail — more sales. 
 
"Collecting customer data helps you know each customer more individually and treat them that way," says Jeff Tanner, professor of marketing at Baylor University and director of the school's "Business Collaboratory." And the info you glean from them can empower you to "craft offers that increase purchase rates at higher margins while also delivering better value to the customers because they're getting things they want," he says.
 
2. What types of personal data should I collect and why?
 
Start with the basics, such as customer names and mailing and email addresses. These allow you to personalize your communications with them, directly market to them and follow up with them if there's a problem with their order. Other data points to collect for an overall demographic snapshot are age, profession and gender. 
 
As you develop trust with your customers, Tanner suggests going deeper and asking them for certain psychographic data points, like details about their personalities, values and lifestyles. For example, if you own a furniture store and find out your customer has children via a customer questionnaire, you might consider marketing children's furniture to them.   

3. What types of transactional data should I collect and why?

Recording and analyzing each customer's transaction history — what they purchase from you, when and how often — helps you know which products and services to offer them in the future. Companies like Amazon, and Zappos are some of the best at this powerful marketing practice, also known as "basket analysis," automatically delivering sometimes impressively personalized product recommendations based on past purchases.   

4. What are the best ways to collect customer data?

You can start by accumulating customer data every time they interact with your company — on the phone or in online chat with customer service, in-store with a salesperson or via online survey or contest, Tanner says.
 
It's important to note, though, that the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 prohibits procuring email addresses from certain online sources, including blogs and internet chat rooms, without the permission of site users and owners.  

5. How should I organize and store it?

Once you obtain the customer data you want, dumping it into a basic Excel spreadsheet won't do you much good. The best, most time- and cost-effective way to store, track and make sense of customer data, Tanner says, is to use an all-in-one customer relationship management (CRM) solution. 
 
He suggests trying CRM packages for entrepreneurs from Pipeliner ($30 per month with a 30-day free trial), Zoho ($12 to $35 per month with a 15-day free trial) or Teradata (prices available by contacting Teradata sales). 

6. How can I best protect my customers' personal and financial data?

 
Encrypting all of your customers' data is your first step in safeguarding it. This includes their names, email and physical addresses, credit card numbers, spending habits, social media logins and any other sensitive data points you're privy to.
 
Best practices for data encryption vary from industry to industry. Here's a guide to creating a strong cyber security plan for your small business, complete with expert encryption tips. You might consider hiring a data security specialist to take on the task for you. 
 
If you hire a third-party to collect and store your customer data for you, be sure that they use the highest encryption standards available. 

7. How can I be sure what I'm doing is legal?

All that's legally required of you when collecting customer data is to create a customer information privacy policy and give your customers access to it, Tanner says. 
 
In an ideal world, your privacy policy should closely follow the Federal Trade Commission's Fair Information Practice Principles, which are guidelines for securely collecting electronic consumer data, though they aren't enforceable by law. 
 
Clearly state in your policy exactly who is collecting which types of data, how it's used and with whom you share it with (and if you intend to share it at all). You also have to allow your customers to opt out of receiving marketing material from you.  
 
Specifically, if you own a business in the healthcare industry and gather patient information, you have to abide by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) laws. Or, if your company's target demographic is children and you interact with them online, compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is mandatory.  

8. Should I sell my customer's information to third-party marketers?

The choice is yours and plenty of companies do — and profit from it. But Tanner warns that doing so could alienate your customers. And they generally don't come back once they've gone. 
 
"If [business owners] use customer data like a mailing list, then they spam," he says. "If they use data to have an intelligent conversation that includes relevant offers, then they become a preferred partner. You might be able to sell access to your customer list, but no customer will want to stay with you once they figure that out."  
 
If you decide to sell customer data to third parties, clearly say so in your privacy policy.  

9. What's the best way to benefit from the customer data I collect?

Leveraging it to offer added value to your customer is the biggest advantage. Customer data helps you paint a clear picture of who your target customer is and how to best communicate with, advertise and market to them. 
 
When you know your ideal customer better and really understand their needs and wants, you can better craft offers to entice them, which should in turn boost sales.  

10. What are some common mistakes to avoid?

Perhaps the worst in the bunch, Tanner says, is asking for too much at one time and overwhelming your customers.
 
Other common faux pas Tanner suggests steering clear of are not using the data at all and making assumptions about customers based on collecting transactional data only.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Using Inbound Marketing Techniques To Convert Leads To Clients

Creating content for a website seems to be an endless task. Often times, businesses outsource to writers who can do the job efficiently. However, the job does not stop there. Efficient content requires more than skilled writing to convert leads to clients. Timing and placing with the right social media strategies also increase the likelihood of converting these leads to clients.

Inbound Marketing with MarketHive 

These strategies all fit within the inbound marketing technique, which has been the guide to great online marketing strategies.

Attract Customers

Customer attraction will turn strangers into potential leads. For businesses and blogs, enticing people to go to their website requires the following actions:

•             Blogs – Opening a blog will begin the journey to attracting customers to the business website. Add insightful information that answers questions and increases the attentiveness of the potential lead. A great business marketing strategy begins with blogging.

•             Using Search Engine Optimization ("SEO") – Clients will begin their search usually through online search engines. Using SEO techniques such as content building, link directing and finding optimal keywords and phrases will increase the overall inbound marketing strategy. Using SEO will help customers find out who a business is and make them the top of the search results.

•             Customized Pages – Website fluency is important for customers. Businesses who create websites that appeal to their intended customers will see more results than those who do not. Creating a great website with a user-friendly interface will be great for online marketing strategies.

•             Social Media Marketing – While great content will be the success of inbound marketing – social media marketing will help get this valuable content out. Social media marketing will help businesses succeed and – even better – it is one of the few free marketing tools. Engage with potential customers and post at times that will lead the business with the most results.

 

It is now important to convert these visitors to leads.

Converting Visitors to Leads

Content Marketing with MarketHive

 
Next step is optimizing a website enough to convert the visitors that great content brings in into leads. This requires a strategic method of creation and publishing.

•             Create Forms On a Website – Website forms will generate enough interest for a business to consider their visitor a lead if he or she fills out the website form. Usually name and email forms that popup on the website for a first-time visitor. Make this conversion process as easy as possible for visitors.

•             Generate Interest Through Call-to-Action – Creating a website where a business must have good call-to-actions is ideal. A lack of call-to-actions detriments the entire inbound marketing strategy. Buttons and links to other places and to sign up for webinars, free products or other interesting links will be great call-to-action.

•             Landing pages and contacts are also consistent in the conversion process. Now it is time to close the deal and turn potential leads to purchasing clients.

Close the Deal by Turning Leads to Clients

Turning leads to clients will be the "money maker" for the business. Through great content and conversion techniques, this step will be cake for most businesses.

•             Customer Relation Management – Also referred to as CRM, this strategy helps keep detailed information about leads' contact information and when the best time to facilitate a sale with them.

•             Use CRM to Figure out Team Efforts – Using the right reports, a business can see how well the marketing and sales team are working together to efficiently create a successful business funnel and great online marketing strategies.

•             Keep in Touch via Email – Sending relevant, interesting emails to clients may persuade them to purchase from the website.

 

Next, a business must can use clients as unpaid promoters.

Use Clients to Promoters

The next step is to get client feedback and persuade them to share a product with friends and families on multiple avenues, including social media marketing.

•             Send Surveys – Surveying clients will provide a business with adequate feedback to ensure the customer is getting what they want.

•             Updated Call-to-Actions – Personalize call-to-actions by presenting visitors, leads and clients with different, new call-to-actions varying on the buyers interest and step within the inbound marketing strategy. New call-to-actions increase the likelihood of turning one-time customers into long-term customers and promoters of the product.

•             Monitor Social Media – It's important for a business to know what their clients are saying about them and their product. Using social monitoring, a business can get the true opinion of their product and customer satisfaction and use it to readjust to be a better company.

Inbound Marketing Creates Great Online Marketing Strategies for Companies

Inbound marketing helps by providing businesses with free marketing tools that will enhance the overall effectiveness of the business' success. Each step is meant to help mold the content and products/services being sold and will generate more viewership than previously. 

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

3 Benefits to Delivering a Good Customer Experience

Delivering a good Customer Experience is all the buzz lately. It's discussed in all fields of business and is the topic of many a staff meeting and board of director's meeting. But is there really a good understanding of what it is all about? The benefits of designing and crafting a good experience are vague to some teams. So, why, other than it seems to be the latest business "should do" are we striving for that good experience?

customer service and satisfaction

Increased Profits

Let's face it, when you create an experience that your customer truly enjoys – they'll pay you for it. Are you aware that 70% of your lost customers left ONLY because the experience provided by someone on your team was lacking? Someone treated them rudely, with indifference, or just merely pushed them through the system in your company? It has nothing to do with the product or service you provide or the price you charge.

Customers are willing to pay more for a product or service that they fully realize is not the best available simply because they know they will receive better treatment and customer service. Are you prepared to continue to lose customers and revenue dollars by continuing with business as normal?

Customer Engagement

Engaged customers are your best customers. These are the ones that view you and your business as partners and a resource for their needs. People do business with those that they know, like, and trust. By providing a good customer experience each and every time they do business with you, your customers will become more and more engaged with your business. They'll know what to expect and be pleasantly impressed when they feel that you are actively working with them to solve their problems.

They'll trust you. They'll share their ideas with you and give you candid feedback as to what it will take to keep their business. They'll share with you what they want to see you provide and what they really don't care for in the way you do business. When you've gained the trust of your customers by working in their best interest, you've know taken the relationship to the next level.

Customer Loyalty

When you give your customers the memorable experience they are craving, they'll return to you time and time again and you'll become their sole resource for the product or service you provide. Today's consumer wants to find a resource they can stay with over a long period of time. With the instant gratification gains in today's fast moving world, they don't want to waste time and energy shopping around. They want to find a business that values them, their business, and will do whatever it takes to gain their repeat business. As soon as today's customer finds that, they will stay loyal for as long as that business is willing to create the experience that centers around them and works to earn their business time after time after time.

Customer loyalty is really another word for continued revenue stream. Suppose you are the owner of a local grocery store and I walk in your doors and spend $ 100 per week in your store. Do you see me as just a $100 customer, or the customer that could spend $ 400 per month, $ 5000 per year? Or, to take it to a reasonable long term loyalty example… If I live in the same neighborhood that is close to your store for 20 years, you stand to earn $ 5000 for each of those 20 years. Now I'm a $100,000 customer. If you treat me well, smile at me, show me where the products are that I need, engage in small talk while I'm making my purchase, and thank me for my business, chances are I'll return to your store again.

It All Comes Full Circle

When you create that experience that is different than what your competition delivers, people notice. When you create that experience that is BETTER than what your competition delivers, customers will come back for more. They'll pay you to treat them well and make them feel good. They'll trust you and engage with your company and team. You won't be viewed as a commodity provider, but as a partner with a relationship that is working to make the lives of your customers easier and better by solving their problems. They'll reward you by not even thinking of going anywhere else and giving you their loyalty for as long as you are willing to work to keep it.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

LinkedIn – To Open Network Or Not

As an avid LinkedIn user, and as a member of the LinkedIn Open Networkers group (aka LIONs), it is a question I see being asked on LinkedIn and at other social media platforms and services on a regular basis. I actually think that the answer is more varied than simply the two options of "open networking" or "closed networker," and your individual answer depends on you and your objectives in creating a LinkedIn profile.

linkedin training

LinkedIn system

The reason that the question exists to the extent it does, is that LinkedIn has created an online network which at its basic level is fundamentally different to any other Social Media network. LinkedIn positively discourages members to connect to those that they do not know and have not met. They even enforce the systematic structure by making supporting statements in both their terms and conditions as well as their User Guidelines. This is in stark contrast to the social side of others online networks which most will be more used to in the form of Facebook, where chatting and connecting to people who seem to be much like you is part of the whole ethos.

But, and here's the crucial difference: LinkedIn users have an average household income of over $140k, with 80% over $75k, the spammers would see an open network as list building shangri-la! Further, when 60% are senior executives and 90% are college educated, it would mean that any affiliate or direct sale would inevitably come with a high commission return.

LinkedIn market

Hence from a market trust view point, making it difficult to connect is ensuring just that: consistent, believable and hence trusted online networking. Further, that is what LinkedIn's target audience want. They are not used to the fast moving and Farmville-powered coffee corner that is Facebook. They want something more akin to a select and stable club, where one can mix with like minded people, and then be introduced by acquaintances when mutual needs which are mainly business orientated arise.

LinkedIn networking

So, what options are there between open networking and closed networking which can be adopted by LinkedIn users? Firstly, lets be clear here: there is no such thing as closed networking on any social network, including LinkedIn. If you choose to be wholly "closed" in your networking, then you wouldn't even have a LinkedIn profile, let alone connect to known friends whom you work with directly or meet with on a weekly basis. You choose to join a club or network and stay there because it gives you a professional marker post in a popular place, and opens up opportunity on both a personal, professional and business level.

But on the other hand, nor does truly open networking exist. If you were truly open, then you would accept every invite that any "profile" sent to you. The reason I mentioned those statistics about LinkedIn at the start of this piece, was because however difficult a systems designer makes connecting to others, those membership statics much like the challenge of stealing the British Royal Crown Jewels or the Mona Lisa from Paris will always attract ambitious opportunists.

While as a recruiter and CV writer I never encourage non-artiste job applicants to place a photo on their CV, in online networking one of the first signs of a spamming profile is the lack of profile image, or use of one that you may have seen once or twice before: its amazing how many photos of Rod Stewart, Bono and Sir Tom Jones are available! Then there are the names, most often three letters as that is the minimum LinkedIn will allow; or the incomplete profile records of both education and work history: one term at Harvard and a three months on Wall Street doesn't fool anyone!

So in reality, everyone is the same type of networker, but at different points along a line of how much trust they require to develop in others before they decide to offer to connect.

List of Social Networking Sites

This is a quick list of social networking sites, which can be used for traffic generation, or just getting your name out there for marketing and credibility.

Facebook – This was developed for the collegiate market and later expanded to professionals as these people graduated from college. The interface is clean and crisp, without a lot of extraneous stuff. It allows people to connect with others in their own network. It offers a profile and several ways to market yourself to your friends, although you are not allowed to spam marketing hype on your profile or elsewhere. It has many applications you can add to boost your profile or add marketing features to your profile.

LinkedIn – This social networking site has a far more business-like and professional flavor. It is noted for helping people network to find new jobs or business opportunities.

Squidoo – This site allows you to define your brand and even promote and market products. It is more of a marketer's social network and is based on the creation of lenses that are focal points of interest that you want to highlight about your personal expertise or your business.

Twitter – A social networking site with minute-by-minute updates, if that's what you like. It's unlike the other sites, but hugely popular, particularly for mobile phone updates.

By the way, do you want to add a LinkedIn coaching program to your business? If so, join me in Markethive and I will introduce you to someone who provides training. There is no cost to either of these. Good luck.

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Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member