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How to Raise Local Awareness for Your Business

Raising awareness for your business requires reinvesting money into the business no matter what you do or how you do it. That’s why it’s important to have access to fast… Read more » The post How to Raise Local Awareness for Your Business appeared first on

Lead Generation with Vanity Numbers: Do Those Still Work?

To stay ahead of today’s competition, every company needs to focus on making the right moves for their organizations. As a general rule, however, to plan the company’s goals and… Read more » The post Lead Generation with Vanity Numbers: Do Those Still Work? appeared first on

Bragging rights: What makes your business unique?

When it comes to marketing your business you must dare to be different. You don’t want to blend in: Your business needs to stand out from the crowd, and that’s where your unique selling proposition comes in. A unique selling proposition (USP) is the thing that sets your business apart from the competition. It’s a differentiation that you can use as a competitive edge.  If you’re thinking, “Great quality at a low price” is your unique selling proposition, think about this: Every business makes that claim. Remember the saying, “If you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll be nothing to no one.” You need to start bragging about what makes your business so special if you want customers to choose you. In other words, find your niche and start shouting it from the rooftops. Here are a few tips for developing your unique selling proposition, and examples from businesses that are putting their unique selling proposition to work. 1. Show off your winning personality: There’s only one you. Whether you’re drawing attention to your personality, your expertise, your excellent customer service or all of the above, a great way to demonstrate that your business is different from all the others is to showcase the people running and working for your business. Your business isn’t just some faceless corporate entity. Your company is made up of actual human beings with thoughts, feelings and knowledge that can help your customers. Here’s an example. Building trust and establishing authority is key in the auto repair industry. This is even more true for female customers of auto shops, who often feel that male mechanics try to take advantage of them. Luscious Garage in San Francisco tries to upend this assumption about auto shops. The business specializes in hybrid cars, which itself is a key differentiator. But part of its unique selling proposition is that the garage is owned by a woman, Caroline Coquillette, and there are several women on the team. Luscious Garage forms a connection with its customers by including photos and videos of its employees on the company website, which makes all customers…

10 ways to create word-of-mouth marketing for your business

Pssst! Have you heard the news? There’s nothing like word-of-mouth marketing to boost your business. Whether in the form of a face-to-face recommendation or a glowing online review, word-of-mouth marketing is a free, easy way to spread the word about your business and keep customers flocking to it. So, how can you make a powerful impression on people and get them talking? Create buzz about your business right now with these 10 tactics: 1. Turn unhappy customers into loyal fans One bad customer experience doesn’t have to result in a scathing review of your business. It’s the way you respond to unhappy customers that determines what they say about you. Turn the bad experience around by making the customer feel valued, and you’ll create a loyal fan who will tell others about your amazing service. First, listen to the customer’s complaint. Then do all you can to make it right, fast. For example, if a diner isn’t happy with their meal, offer to prepare it again or remove it from the bill. Or, if a customer orders a product from your online store and it arrives damaged, apologize and immediately ship a replacement product at no additional charge. 2. Get listed on multiple review websites The more places your business is listed, the easier it is for consumers seeking businesses like yours to find you. Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Local and TripAdvisor are just some of the top places your business needs to be listed online.  Online searchers most frequently seek business hours of operation, pricing information, business location and directions. Many also put great stock in online reviews by other customers, with 88 percent trusting these reviews as much as personal recommendations. Get your listings in order by scanning the dozens of websites where you could be listed, claiming your listings and verifying the information is correct.  3. Respond to online customer reviews When you respond to a positive customer review, it shows you care. Write up a thoughtful response to thank the reviewer for their kind words. A good rule of thumb is to spend the most time replying to those customers who spent the…

4 surprising ways you might be turning off customers

Exemplary customer service means different things to different businesses. Speedy customer service, luxury packaging, unfailing courtesy and graciously accepting client feedback are all ways businesses keep customers coming back. While these customer service tactics are each important in their own right, they’re also well-known and well-documented. What about the less-obvious ways your business may be turning off customers, without you even realizing it? Here are some sneaky, often-overlooked areas where businesses may want to sweep out the cobwebs and spruce things up to make a better impact on customers: 1. Could your bathroom be the setting for a horror movie? Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain once wrote about restaurant bathrooms, “I won’t eat in a restaurant with filthy bathrooms… If the restaurant can’t be bothered to […] keep the toilets and floors clean, then just imagine what their refrigeration and work spaces look like.” Although Bourdain later recanted this opinion, the sentiment is still valid for nearly any business. For restaurants, cafes and other food service providers in particular, a neglected restroom can create an emotional link with the rest of your business, casting unspoken doubts about every other part of the customer experience. At base, dirty bathrooms are gross, and no one wants “gross” affiliated with their brand. Even if your business isn’t in the food service industry, a less-than-pristine restroom can ding you in customers’ minds — and might prevent them from returning. How to fix it: Create a cleaning rotation among your team or hire a local janitorial service to take care of the issue on a regular schedule. (Get more tips about restroom sanitation at this link.)  2. Do your phone habits tell callers to hang up? The phone is a vital tool for businesses. Even in an increasingly online world, customers call to make reservations and book appointments, not to mention request product information or follow up on previously placed orders — and myriad other reasons. Smartphones have made it even easier for customers to contact a business from anywhere, at any time. But are your phone habits undermining your brand experience? Unanswered phones, ignored voicemail messages, rude…

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