Client Relationship Building

Lately we’ve been discussing the importance of branding and unity. Branding is how others perceive your business, the associations they make with you, especially your clients. Clients are vital to your business and your relationship with them should be treated as gold.

Follow up after a project is completed and client relationship building are both part of your brand identity. By thanking your customers or clients for their time and support, you show that you go the extra mile. You actually care about them. Follow up is all too easily forgotten or left off in the rush to start the next project.

At Designflair, we highly value our relationships with our clients. Follow up is a means for us to maintain and strengthen that connection.

Follow up takes place while we are working with a client and after a project is complete. Businesses are typically great at communicating while there is still a need on either end. However, once there is no longer a need, the ball is often dropped. Maintaining contact even after a product is sold or service is finished will make your company stand out. You will go from being the same as your competitors to being excellent.

The great thing about follow-up is that there are a variety of ways to go about it. Depending on the style of your company or business, as well as your budget, you can pick the way that is most ideal for you.

Personalized Email

  • Sending an email to say thank you will demonstrate your gratefulness. This is the most time effective and costs you nothing. There are an array of templates online but I recommend writing one from scratch. People can tell when emails have been previously generated or automated, and it feels less authentic.

Handwritten Letters

  • Handwritten letters take time but I guarantee your clientele will appreciate it. The personalization of handwritten letters is unequaled. Don’t have neat handwriting? Check out Handiemail, a company that you can hire to do handwritten letters for you!

Phone Call

  • What’s that? In a world of texting and e-mail, a good ol’ fashioned phone call means a lot.

Gift Basket

  • This is a bit more costly, but is worth it in the long run. People often go with food for baskets, but get creative! Office supplies are a great gesture. Be sure to include a few business cards or fliers for your clients to share with others they know! Have a theme that matches your services and continue the branding!

Follow up and follow up again. A simple “thank you” goes a long way.

Designflair has grown our brand and helped others grow through unique Thank You cards. Nothing shows commitment more than someone who is willing to spend money on their own business – people want to do business with successful people. A custom branded Thank You card is simple yet speaks volumes when sent to customers.

Get in touch with us today for your custom designed Thank You cards!

Social Media Comparison for Small Business Owners [Infographic]

Many small business owners feel overwhelmed at the thought of even starting their own social media profiles and activities and do not even know where to begin. This is completely understandable; technology is constantly changing  and trends fly by.

However, social media is here to stay and it should be a major part of your online presence and marketing strategy. Social media is just a tool and should be used in conjunction with other strategies: ideally, your website would encourage users to “Like” you or “+1” your website pages.

Once they are a fan on Facebook, connect and engage with your customers. Offer interesting information and become an expert in your industry so that they can come to you for help.

Run contests and competitions. Encourage users back to your website for free downloads. Bring customers to shows and events via social media and then encourage Twitter conversations at the event (webinars, trade shows, etc) through more competitions, treasure hunts, Q & A sessions and more.

Social media should be just another tool to engage with your customers…in order to increase sales. Don’t be overwhelmed by it and take each day one step at a time. Start out by creating an account where your target market is likely to be found. Spend an hour creating your profile then set aside time each day to nurture it – nothing major. 30 minutes a day is perfectly fine.

One warning: Don’t use social media just for the sake of it. Customers sense insincerity and it is a waste of your time and theirs. Do it right.

Some great places to learn more:

Mashable
Social Media Examiner
HubSpot

For more information on how you can use social media in your own small business, I will be running a presentation with fellow GNONers, on September 20th. We will take you step by step through the process of how to set up an account, how to set your privacy settings, best usage ideas – all in a small and hands on tutorial! Contact me to learn more.

Facebook Contest Rules That You Must Follow – Or Else!

Social media is the most obvious place to run a competition; it is about interacting with and providing value to your customers. What better way to encourage engagement and interest from them than with a free offer or fun contest? While the most obvious choice to run a competition would be to encourage your followers to “Like” your page and comment on your wall, beware! Did you know that Facebook has strict rules about how users and businesses can use their site when running a competition? If you don’t follow their guidelines they will close your account. Unfortunately, many of these rules are unknown or written obscurely, and even the big players have been known to goof up.

Facebook Contest Rules

This topic of Facebook contests has come up in conversation so frequently lately that I wanted to share this information with those who are considering it. Read the official Facebook Promotion Guidelines. Essentially, Facebook does not want any active or explicit involvement in your competition and does not want to be associated to it in any way. Facebook defines a competition as:
A “sweepstakes” is a promotion that includes a prize and a winner selected on the basis of chance. A “contest” or “competition” is a promotion that includes a prize and a winner determined on the basis of skill (i.e., through judging based on specific criteria)

Facebook Competition Rules

You cannot require competition entry based on Facebook features such as
  • Liking a Page
  • Checking into a Place
  • Being the first to comment on a post/picture/etc
  • Posting pictures to your Wall
  • Commenting on your Wall
  • Using the “Like” button as a voting mechanism
You can use a third party application to require users to
  • Post a Photo to the third party application
  • Submit an entry form with contact details
  • (Essentially you can require it as long as it goes through the third party application itself)
You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism.  For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.
Facebook Competition Registration Entry into the competition cannot require participants to:
  • Like a Page
  • Check into a Place
  • Connect to Your App
However, in order to access your contest rules and entry form you can require participants to
  • Like a Page
  • Check into a Place
  • Connect to Your App
You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app.  For example, you must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.
These are semantics and the best analogy would be that you can’t require a purchase in order to enter the competition, but you can require them to be a customer…. Essentially you are requiring them to already be a fan to access the contest information. How to Use Facebook to Run A Competition You have only one option here because Facebook wants no involvement in your competition. In addition, you must also:
  • Provide a complete release of Facebook by participants upon entry
  • Acknowledge that Facebook has no connection to your competition
  • Disclose that the participant is providing information to you (the recipient) and not Facebook
You CANNOT use Facebook to
  • Notify Competition Winners through a message, chat or wall post
Instead you must use a third-party app to collect contact details from the entrants so that you can contact them outside of Facebook. What Facebook Apps Can I Use for Running a Competition? One of the most widely used apps is Wildfire. There is a cost to using this service though. Wildfire offers you 10 different types of competitions or promotions. EasyPromos is free for first time users with fewer than 5,000 fans. Others include For more information on Facebook promotions (and the place where I got the list of Facebook competition apps above, visit Facebook Promotions: What You Need to Know  

What is a QR Code? How Can It Help Me Find My Customers?

What is a QR code?

A QR code is a type of barcode that stores small pieces of information, which a smart phone can scan to receive data from. This requires a special app, but once it is installed all you need to do is snap an image of the QR code while in the application and you will receive its information.

How Does A QR Code Work?

Designflair QR Code for my facebook profile
Snap this QR code and become my friend! 🙂

QR codes can work in several ways. They can hold information for a:

 

  • Website URL (it will take your phone to that website)
  • Telephone number (you can add the number to your contacts or call it)
  • Text Message / SMS Message
  • Email Address (you can easily add it to your contact list)
  • Email Message
  • Contact Details – VCARD (adds their details to your address book)
  • Event – VCALENDAR (adds the event to your calender)
  • Google Maps Location (easily find directions to get there)
  • Wifi Login (Android only)
  • Paypal Buy Now Link
  • Social Media (direct them to your page immediately)
  • iTunes Link
  • YouTube Video
  • Message

How Can A QR Code Help Me Find My Customers?

Display QR codes in your store to encourage customer use
I've used QR codes to encourage visitors to join us on Social Media

The correct question is actually, how can QR codes make it easier for customers to find me?

Either question is about increasing customers and increasing sales but the real purpose of a QR code is to put yourself right there in front of them, before you lose their attention.

Here are some great ideas to use QR codes.

  • Have a page of daily specials, link a QR code to this page. Print the code on your menu and in your window for easy access by visitors.
  • Place a QR code on your product packaging or label, when the product runs out the QR code will link your customer to your online store to purchase it again.
  • Print a QR on your business card so that customers can scan your contact details directly into your phone.
  • Use QR codes in your advertisements so that customers can go directly to your site, a special landing page, or else call you immediately.

Statistics About Mobile Usage

  • Comscore reported earlier this year that 63.2 million people have smart phones.
  • 80% of searchers research online before purchasing within a 10-20 mile radius.
  • Currently, half of connections to the internet are from phones.
  • The #1 access method for local information is the mobile browser with 20.7 millions users per month.
  • 32% of searchers with internet capable cellphones search for local business information.

Customer Service Makes The Difference in Marketing Your Brand

Do you realize how much customer service affects your reputation and brand?

Customer service affects your brandWhen a consumer purchases a product, and everything goes as expected, their view of the product brand is hardly influenced. If that same consumer purchases a product and then discovers an issue or defect with that product, their view of the product decreases of course. However, if that same company then solves the problem in a fast, easy and friendly manner, the consumer’s view of the brand increases enormously. This part of the sales process is called the “Follow-Up” stage (more about this in the future).

iPhone 4 dropped calls an example of Apple customer serviceWhile I am not suggesting that you sell a defective product or service that will invariably require repair work on your part, consider the Apple iPhone 4. The iPhone 4 had a hardware problem that resulted in dropped calls and reception problems. While Apple never wanted to admit there was a problem, it eventually offered a rubber bumper that helped prevent interference when touching the lower left hand corner.

When they finally offered a (free) solution, Apple had much happier customers. Imagine how much happier their customers felt about having an iPhone that now worked correctly when they used it, compared to the happiness they would have felt if it had worked correctly from the beginning. Consumers now perceive the brand in a much better image because when they DID have a problem, it was fixed swiftly and efficiently.

What incentive was there for Apple to fix their product (if they suspected there was a defect) when they knew that publicly having an issue and then solving it would have a much more positive effect on their brand?

I have experienced this interesting concept first-hand as well. Thankfully, when I purchased my car, I also bought the extended warranty through the dealership….

Recently, I had a bit of a problem with water leaking into my car, not a dealership fault, but not my fault either so it fell into the realm of the extended warranty. I took my car into the dealership on 5 different occasions and never once did they complain. (Yes, it was annoying that they couldn’t fix it the first time! But at least they kept taking it back until I was satisfied.) They have done their utmost to keep me as a happy and satisfied customer and even threw in a free service (even though I have never used them to service the car – in fact, I have never spent anything at the dealership beyond the initial purchase price of the car over a year ago).

Interestingly enough, I now have a more positive view of the dealership despite the issues that the car has had. This is because they have been so willing to take my car back, check it, and fix it without complaint. Even I laugh at how I now feel a greater sense of loyalty to them.