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Business Solutions

How To Make Lasting Customer Relationships

July 17, 2019

The question is why is harder than ever for businesses to develop long-lasting customer relationships? The answer is because customers don’t just want a quality product. Now that customers can find dozens of your competitors with a quick Google search, it’s all about finding a customer connection. 

We live in a world where customers ask, “What have you done for me lately?” Customer connections override customer skepticism and encourage them to stay with you for the long haul. Personalization and engagement are key to turning potential customers into buying customers. In fact, research shows that one in four customers will pay more for personalized products. It’s clear that customers want personalization. That’s why businesses that want to create lasting bonds need to give it to them. 

Customer relationships are essential to building brand loyalty. When you invest in these relationships, you’ll not only see a happier customer base but a boost to your bottom line, too. Here are five strategies to build long-lasting customer relationships.

1. Create a retention-focused strategy

Brands often make the mistake of focusing on retention too soon in the buying cycle. You can’t expect a new customer to retain you if they just started using your brand. 

You aren’t going to create deep relationships with new customers. It doesn’t make sense to pursue new customers right now if a lifelong relationship is your goal. That’s why retaining existing customers should be your focus. 

It’s cheaper and easier to retain repeat customers. Those repeat customers spend 3 times as much as new customers and cost five times less to acquire

Prioritize repeat customers with your marketing efforts. With this strategy, you’ll see a better return on your marketing ROI. This means enabling remarketing campaigns, customer loyalty apps and exclusive discounts for repeat customers.

2. Track

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Three Leadership Podcasts You Should be Listening to

July 15, 2019

We’re neither here nor there; we’re on our way from one point to another, usually sitting in traffic, reading email on a train or bus, or simply zoning out in the back of a shared carpool.

In my opinion, this in-between time offers the perfect opportunity to brush up on your leadership skills, take on a fresh perspective, and really dig deep into the things that matter the most to you in business. The best way to do that is to find some great podcasts to listen to as you shuttle from one place to another.

Podcasts are booming

You have probably overheard all of your coworkers and friends talking about podcasts lately. That’s because podcasts have seen a significant uptick in popularity in the last few years. 

Podcasts are easily consumable when you are on the go. Whether you have 15 minutes or an hour-and-a-half, you can find a podcast that will meet your needs, feed your interests or teach you something new.

Podcasts also fit comfortably into our busy daily lives. On your way to pick up the kids after work? Listen to part of a podcast. Waiting for your train from the city? Dive into that article you couldn’t read by listening to the interviews on a podcast. Anytime you want to make the most of that in-between space, you can just plug in a pair of headphones or connect your smartphone to your car and take advantage of any sort of downtime you might have. You can choose an educational podcast, something light and funny, a dark mystery, or something that lifts your spirits. It all depends on how you want to spend your time.

Podcasts have also begun to help build communities of people who share similar passions and interests. In an increasingly separated, divided, …

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How to Be an Inspirational Leader

July 14, 2019

That’s it. Two steps that are recursive and endless. But, a lifetime of learning stems from engaging in these steps.

Step 1: Deconstruction

The first step to being an inspirational leader is to give up on the idea of being either inspirational or a leader. While counterintuitive, I believe the idea of being a quote-unquote leader misguides people and takes them in the opposite direction that authentic leadership requires.

Leadership, to me, is about authenticity. Consciously trying to behave in a given socially constructed way creates shallow inauthentic behavior that is readily perceived by those around us. It may not be at a conscious level, but I believe people do pick up on this. 

So there’s a socially constructed archetype for an inspirational leader: brave, decisive, tall, relentless, committed to the vision, charismatic, down to earth, thoughtful and creative. The list of adjectives could go on and on. The problem is that no one is entirely like that. We may behave ascribing to these adjectives occasionally, but no one is a robot who can fulfill all of those characteristics all of the time. And even if someone does manage to come across like that all the time, I don’t think that pretending to be beyond human comes across as inspirational. That’s just demanding and taxing of oneself and others. Ultimately, people will feel pressured rather than inspired by such behavior.

So how do you rise above this problem? Deconstruction. 

Real people are not at their best 100 percent of the time. Real people don’t feel like working all the time. Real people have shitty and panicky moments, and that does not make them less inspirational. Quite the opposite actually.

People become inspired by getting rid of the masks and the veils of obligation and stepping into a place of vulnerability. …

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How to Empower Your Team To Use Technology From Top to Bottom

July 12, 2019

After mapping out your business specifications, securing executive buy-in, and carefully managing the project, your work is still only half done. 

One of the biggest factors in successfully adopting technology occurs after the implementation itself: training. If you don’t have a training plan in place, your new solution is unlikely to be adopted across your company and you won’t enjoy all the benefits of the digital transformation.  

The key is to take a process-centric approach, which will allow you to cover all your bases and provide your entire team with training that makes them feel confident using your new technology.

Read on to learn how to develop your training plan – from choosing the right methods, materials, and resources, to facilitating your digital transformation into the future.  

Forming the outline of your training plan

You should start developing your training plan long before the technology solution is deployed. Ideally, your training plan will start to take shape as soon as the design for the new technology has been finalized. At this point, you will have a good idea of how the technology will function and how it will be used by your entire team, which is critical information for a comprehensive training plan. 

Now is the time to think about your employees – the end users. There are two important factors any good training outline must address: the technical skill level of the end users, and the array of learning styles of the end users.

Think about your end users’ technical skills

Your teams use technology in different ways and for different purposes. As a result, your employees will vary greatly in terms of their technological knowledge, familiarity, and comfort. Take all competencies, skills and use cases into account as you build an outline for the training plan. This …

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Experiential Marketing is the Future of Customer Engagement

July 12, 2019

By that, I mean that they base their core values on experiential marketing. The one thing that determines the success of a company is the fact that it delivers an exceptional experience to its customers.

Think about it. When was the last time you stepped into your favorite fast food joint, knowing precisely what you’re going to get? Moreover, you probably knew how the staff is going to treat you and how the process of ordering and consuming the food is going to look.

Real experiences have much more significant impacts on our senses than abstract ideas and, therefore, stay in our memory for longer. According to a study from the International Journal of Supply Chain Management, 100% of respondents (customers) said that brand visibility experiences induce curiosity in them about a particular product or a service that is being offered.

The definition of experiential marketing

Every marketer will give you their view of experiential marketing. It comes in many forms and sizes. It’s also called “live” or “engagement” marketing and serves as a tool that encourages the customer to take part in an activity your brand organized.

Those activities often look like random happenings. However, they are carefully-planned events to drive brand awareness and teach customers about your company and your products. Sadly, not every company knows how to deliver a top-notch event.

What’s more, a badly-executed experiential marketing campaign might look like a publicity stunt or a way to push your product to the customers. People don’t like brands pressuring them into making purchases. Even worse, such an event could damage your image in the industry.

The most critical factor in your customer reach is engagement, so if you still haven’t, start learning about your customers and tactics to create a successful campaign. Experiential campaigns take longer to …

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How to Use Conversational Interfaces to Build Websites of the Future

July 12, 2019

Have you ever wondered what the world’s first website looked like? Who created it and when? Well, the world’s first website was launched by Sir Tim Berners Lee in the year 1991. It was a simple webpage having some texts and hyperlinks. You can have a look at it by clicking on this link.

From that modest beginning back in 1991, we have come forward 27 years where some extraordinary transformations have taken place in the world of web design. Whether, it is the launch of the first browser in 1996 by Microsoft, or the introduction of CSS and Flash (both in 1996) and in the recent years, the need of responsive design, all played their role in the evolution of web design.

Now, we are moving into the future of web design and conversational interfaces will be the key that will power up modern mobile first websites.

What is conversation UI?

Conversation interface has been rightly referred to as the “UI of the future.” Global leaders like Google, Amazon and Apple are already developing smart websites that will handle customer queries using conversational interfaces.

In fact, a few years back Google developed a chatbot that could debate the meaning of life with users – its developers didn’t build it through code but used a machine-learning algorithm to study existing conversations – namely movie conversations to teach it to respond to queries from users contemplating the deeper meaning of life.

Conversation interfaces are platforms that have the power to mimic a conversation with a real human. This means, users can interact with a machine in the same language as though they are communicating with a human. This happens with the help of Natural Language Processing which allows the computers to understand, analyze and create meaning from the words entered …

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Why You Should Start a Podcast in 2019

July 9, 2019

Podcasts are one new outlet that is providing businesses an excellent way to connect with their audiences. The popularity of podcasts is on the rise and continues to grow as time goes on. Research by The Infinite Dial found that there are 51 million podcast listeners in the U.S. This type of media isn’t going anywhere and continues to be a popular method to speak to audiences about different niche and industry topics. 

Podcasts can turn even the most mundane topics into interesting learning experiences that people want to know more about. This is just part of the reason they’re so effective for businesses and brands alike. Research shows that 15 percent of people in the U.S. listen to a podcast at least once a week. With its audience continuously growing, there’s plenty of room for your podcast to gain traction and reach success.

Among the  reasons you should consider starting a podcast in 2019, include:

  • Capturing your audience’s attention

  • Creating a personalized experience

  • Building and maintaining important network connections

  • Capitalizing on the monetary value

  • Positioning yourself as a leader in your industry

Here are some specifics on each reason.

1. You hold your audience’s attention longer

If you have a blog post that takes any longer than, say, 10 minutes for people to consume, it’s not likely they’ll continue reading all the way to the end. According to Salesforce, three percent of listeners will only listen to the beginning of a podcast, whereas 42 percent will listen all the way through. People like to digest easily consumable information and don’t like to dwell on one piece of text for too long, which is one of the reasons why listening to podcasts allows you to engage your audience for much longer periods of time.

People are used to having …

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How to Keep Your Business Out of Bankruptcy

July 9, 2019

Research from the Supreme Court on federal court filings show that bankruptcy filings are at their lowest levels in more than a decade. However, at the same time that bankruptcies — legal processes involving actors that can’t repay their debts to creditors — are declining, business debt is rapidly rising. In fact, the Federal Reserve’s recent financial stability report shows that leveraged lending is 20% higher than last year and flags a decline in protections for lenders against default.

This is important to be aware of because debt and cash flow — more precisely, the inability to effectively manage debt and cash flow — are the principal drivers of bankruptcy. If you want to understand the risk of selling your goods or services to someone on credit terms, understand the credit report first. Pay close attention to the credit score and credit limit, both of which will tell you a lot about a company’s payment behavior and the likelihood of it becoming bankrupt in the near future.

Signs of trouble

 In my years helping companies manage credit, I’ve identified some red flags when it comes to debt management issues:

  • Changes in payment behavior: It’s a major red flag if a business has suddenly slowed payments to its primary vendors — or worse, to the utility companies in charge of keeping the lights on. While some businesses simply have a style of paying bills past due, it’s almost always a bad sign if they aren’t paying for water, lights or gas. This is by far the more predictive factor in business failures, as it indicates a real-time, looming cash flow problem.
  • Tax liens: If companies don’t pay government taxes, these liens can stack up quickly with local, state, and federal entities. Government agencies will always be first in the queue to
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How Data Analytics Impacts Small Businesses in 2019

July 9, 2019

  • Deep learning is helping small businesses enhance decision-making capabilities.

  • Machine learning is revolutionizing the way brands market to consumers. 

  • Dark data refers to information assets that companies collect, process or store, but fail to put to use. 

  • Data analytics provides SMBs with incredibly detailed insights into all aspects of operations

With many companies ramping up their digital transformation initiatives, there’s been a massive surge in the implementation of data analytics. Big data adoption increased from a mere 17% in 2015 to 59% in 2018 – a 42% increase in just three short years. 

Data analytics has a nearly-infinite number of uses and can help small businesses become smarter, more productive and more efficient. And when used correctly, it can create a noticeable competitive advantage, while boosting both conversions and revenue. 

Here are three data analytics trends that are having a major impact on small business in 2019. 

1. Deep learning

We generate a staggering 2.5 quintillion (that’s 18 zeroes) bytes of data every single day. Machines are becoming more and more adept at putting that action to use, with deep learning capabilities growing immensely in 2019. 

A subset of machine learning, deep learning utilizes artificial neural networks that learn from vast quantities of data in a similar manner to the functioning of the human brain. This helps machines solve highly-complex problems with incredible precision. As enterprise and cloud expert Bernard Marr says, “The more deep learning algorithms learn, the better they perform.” 

2019 marks a critical juncture where deep learning is helping small businesses to greatly enhance their decision-making capabilities and take operations to new levels. For example, chatbots are developing at an increasingly rapid rate. Through deep learning, they’re able to respond more intelligently to a growing list of questions and create helpful interactions with consumers. 

Deep learning …

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How to Create an Email Drip Campaign for Increased Engagement

July 8, 2019

Research shows that 61% of bloggers create an email marketing campaign to increase the number of views on their blog. 

One of the most popular ways businesses are keeping in touch with their customers is through drip campaigns. In essence, a drip campaign is a marketing technique that allows businesses to build a rapport with customers and prospects alike through a long-tail process involving multiple emails with content, conversations and calls to action over an extended period of time. 

If you’re thinking about creating a drip campaign to increase engagement on your website, we explain how to start and run this process using the following steps: 

  • Cultivate a high-quality lead list
  • Create stellar content for distribution 
  • Split test your email copy
  • Use customer service to keep customers engaged 

Start with a strong lead list

The first factor you must consider when starting an email drip campaign is your lead list. Every niche has a different type of customer persona, and it’s very likely that you’ll have multiple personas you want to target under the umbrella of one company. 

For instance, if you owned an online pet shop and wanted to create a drip campaign, you likely want to start with different pet categories based on consumer purchases. You would want to create a list for the people interested in content about dogs and create your emails around that niche. Similarly, you could strategize emails for people who have purchased cat products, bird accessories or rodent supplies – the list goes on. The more you fine-tune your email list, the more likely subscribers are to enjoy and engage with your brand. 

You’ll have a better chance of creating a reliable lead list if you begin gathering subscribers as soon as possible. Some business owners gather leads when their website goes …

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