How to Make your Customer Service your Biggest Marketing Advantage

How to Make your Customer Service your Biggest Marketing Advantage

Now that so much interaction and business is being done online, it may seem that customer service has become a relic of a bygone era.

Many businesses once defined their success as a company by the excellent customer service that they offered. Companies like Nordstrom and Chick-fil-A come to mind.

Customer service has changed and it seems that many businesses have not adapted to offering a new more modern forum of excellent customer service, especially in the medical and health care fields.

All of this creates an opportunity for medical practices that do provide excellent customer service to not only be proud of what they're doing but also to use it as an excellent marketing tool to grow their practices.

Here are five steps to make customer service your biggest marketing advantage.

Step no. 1

Define customer service.

The first thing that you need to do is define what excellent customer service is in your practice. If your team doesn't know what's expected of them to create excellent customer service, then they can't be expected to do it and do it consistently.

Create a document that captures the spirit of what excellent customer service is at your practice, as well as specific steps to create an excellent customer service experience. Be specific and give examples of excellent customer service to help employees start to see opportunities.

You can even ask employees to think of a time when they received excellent care or service. Have them describe what happened, and ask how they think service like that could be implemented in your practice.

The first thing that you need to do is define what excellent customer service is in your practice. If your team doesn't know what's expected of them to create excellent customer service, then they can't be expected to do it and do it consistently.

Create a document that captures the spirit of what excellent customer service is at your practice, as well as specific steps to create an excellent customer service experience. Be specific and give examples of excellent customer service to help employees start to see opportunities.

You can even ask employees to think of a time when they received excellent care or service. Have them describe what happened, and ask how they think service like that could be implemented in your practice.

Step no. 2

Measure it.

If you're going to say that you provide the best service in your city, you had better be able to back that up. The way to back that up is to be able to measure the effectiveness of your customer service.

Of course, the way to do this is to find out what your customers actually think about your service. One of our favorite ways to do this is using what's called a Net Promoter Score. 

measure

The Net Promoter Score is a simple, consistent, very brief survey tool that gives you back statistically significant data to help you determine how you're doing with your customer service.

online reputation

You can also utilize our Reputation Marketing System. We've designed an easy-to-use system that makes it simple to generate a flood of 5-star reviews for your practice. We also syndicate those review across the internet so that everywhere a potential patient looks, they'll see real-life glowing reviews about your staff and services.

Whether it's Net Promoter Score or our Online Reputation Marketing System, make sure you have a way to consistently measure the feedback from your customers

Step no. 3

Number three is to report it.

Once you have that data, you need to use that data to help your team understand how they're doing and make adjustments so that they can improve any shortcomings that they have in their customer service.

It's our experience that by reporting this data to your team, your team gets very motivated to improve that data and define ways to improve that data, which creates a culture of improvement and accountability in your practice, which is what great customer service is all about.

report

Step no. 4

Compensate for it.

Compensation

Behavior follows compensation in business. If you want to make sure that something happens, pay for it. By tying compensation to excellent customer service, you can ensure that you'll have the attention and focus of your team.

This doesn't have to be a major change in compensation plans, it can be as simple as finding ways to offer fun bonuses like a gift card, based on customer service experiences and feedback from patients.

That alone can be enough to create a cultural shift to focus on customer service within your practice.

Step no. 5

The final step, and this is where the marketing comes into play, is to brag about it.

Once you have excellent data around your customer service that's worth bragging about, don't let it go to waste.

Excellent customer testimonials and feedback and specifically showing data that you're performing at top of industry levels is an incredibly effective marketing tool. Take that data and use it to create marketing campaigns.

You can also use it to create campaigns where you're bragging about your employees and the job that they're doing for your patients.

By humanizing the story around your customer service, you not only motivate your employees, who will appreciate the attention but also add more character to your company to show that you're human.

Most of all, it shows that you really care about the personal experience that your practice can offer to new and current patients.

That's five ways to make customer service your biggest marketing advantage. Look for opportunities to implement all five of these steps in your practice and turn customer service into your most effective growth marketing tool.

Best Strategies for Data Analytics

Best Strategies for Data Analytics

Segmentation Strategies for Higher Deliverability and Click-Through Rates

Email marketing is the best ways to build your business, boost sales, and create a business that continues to grow regardless of algorithm changes and marketing method updates. Email marketing is really where the money is. You’ve heard it before: “the money is in the list,” and they’re not joking. It can actually be argued that with any online business, the list is your entire business.

One way to ensure that you get the most from email marketing is to segment your list for higher deliverability and better click-through rates. Here are the ways you can segment your list to get the most bang for your buck. Today, you need to look at your audience as a lot of individuals who want you to speak to them one-on-one.

Which segments you choose depends on your audience, your niche, and your goals. Choose wisely, but don’t do them just because this says to do it. Do it because you’ve studied the situation and know that it will help in your particular case.

Demographics

This tactic is pretty obvious but may not have any use for you. It depends on what you’re marketing to them. If you have a lot of products that fit in with different age groups then this might work. You can change a campaign in very simple ways for the various demographics, such as simply changing out a picture.

Give Them a Survey

You can segment your audience based on answers to a survey. That way you know what they want to know about based on those answers. You can even create a special email marketing message or adjust them accordingly based on their answers.

Let Them Self-Segment

You can allow those who sign up for your list to choose how often they want to get email from you. If they’ve picked how often they want the info, they'll be more likely to open it.

Location

You can do a lot with location, depending on your niche. For example if you’re in the fitness niche, it’s good to know that 40 percent of your audience is from Australia while you’re in the USA. Why? It’s winter in the USA when it’s summer in Australia. This can be important to differentiate in fitness-related email messages.

Purchase History

Putting your audience member on a specific list based on what they’ve bought is a very important way to stop marketing to people who have already bought. If you move people to the right lists, you can market to them in a more targeted way, including offering companion products or services.

One On One

People like to feel special. If you can segment based on the individual behavior, likes and needs of the audience member, that’s great. Think about how Amazon does this. If you buy something such as a movie and a movie like it is released, they tell you.

Engagement

Your autoresponder software allows you to delve into what your audience does when they get your email. Do they read it all; do they respond or act based on your calls to action? Knowing who opened and clicked is powerful information that you can use.

It’s important to set a goal and develop your strategy around that goal. The more you know what you expect the outcome to be, the more you can plan ahead to target the specific segments of your audience that you need to in order to succeed.

Soft Bounces versus Hard Bounces

In order to improve delivery rates and click-through rates, it’s important to understand what “bouncing” is and the different types of bounces that you might experience when engaging in email marketing.

When an email bounces, it means that the email isn’t delivered to the recipient for some reason. Sometimes it is delivered, but it’s put into the spam folder and you still get a message that it bounced. In that case you’ll notice that you get a bounce notice for someone who did open the email.

Sometimes it isn’t delivered because the email address is false or it isn’t delivered because the server is down. In both cases you’ll get a notice that the email bounced. This notice might say something like “we’ll keep trying” on that delivery. Within each notice is information that will inform you about what type of bounce it is so that you can take appropriate action.

The two type of bounces that can happen are:

  1. Hard Bounce – This type of bounce occurs when the email address doesn’t even exist in the first place or the server has broken or no longer exists. It might also happen because the domain is fake to start with. The important thing to understand about a hard bounce is that it cannot be changed, or recovered, and is permanent. The only thing to do when you get a hard bounce is to remove that email from your list and block them from being able to rejoin your lists with that email address or domain.
  2. Soft Bounce – This type of bounce happens due to error and can be temporary in nature. It happens because the email box is full, the file might be too large for their box, and for many other reasons. Sometimes it is because your email triggers spam results and you get dropped into their spam box. You don’t have to remove these bounces immediately, but you should watch them and if it happens repeatedly, go ahead and remove them.

These two types of bounces are important to learn about because it will help you avoid deleting people for no reason. Sometimes people go on vacation and that can trigger a bounce due to their vacation autoresponder. It would be a shame to miss out. To deal with this type of bounce you could offer a 30-day break in emails to people. Email the people on your list who have this problem and let them know of the option.

Ideally you want to keep your bounce rate under 10 percent, if not lower. If you monitor your email autoresponder account and study bounce reports, you’ll be able to start identifying bounces and understand your bounce rate more. You’ll be able to lower your bounce rate substantially by monitoring and taking action.

Common Analytics Mistakes Beginners Make

Common Analytics Mistakes Beginners Make

When you first start out building a business, everything is so overwhelming that the last thing you want to think about is data, metrics and numbers. In fact it probably scares you to even consider that type of work needing to be done so you can have a successful business. But, it’s really not that terrible if you know what to do. These common mistakes can be avoided so that you don’t waste any more time than you have to.

Not Knowing What Data to Track

Before you even get started looking at the data, you need to know what you want to track. Remember that just because there is data doesn’t mean you need to track it. Some of the data that Google Analytics collects just isn’t going to help you. You have to figure out what will help you and what won't. Focus only on the data that will help you improve.

Not Knowing When to Track Data

When you look at the data is very important, because you have to look at it at the right time in order to know what the data affects. For example, if you have a launch on the 1st of July, you probably want to look at some data you’ve identified before the launch and then after the launch.

Not Understanding Your Objectives and Goals

It’s very important to know how to turn all your business objectives into workable goals. Remember a goal needs to be SMART. That means: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

Not Realizing What Problems You Want to Solve

Tracking data should be for a reason, such as fixing a problem. For example, let’s say you have a sales page that is getting a lot of traffic but there are no or low conversions. Do you know what data to look at so that you can fix the problem?

Not Understanding the Business You’re Analyzing

If you are looking at data for a business you’re unfamiliar with, you can run into problems. You will need to do some research to understand industry averages so that you know where the business you’re looking at stands.

Not Testing Different Methods

Whenever you are checking data up against the industry standards, it’s important that you test different methods to find out what works best. For example, you might test two or three different sales pages for one product or service at the same time.

Not Setting Up Analytics Correctly

If you’ve never set up Google Analytics, it would be a good idea to get some help with that from an expert. Once it’s set up it’s going to be a lot easier to track your work, because it’s set up right. It’s a waste of time to do it wrong.

Not Choosing the Right Software and Tools

There is a lot of software out there that isn’t worth anything, but that people try to use. Remember that sometimes free is good, and sometimes free is not so good. If you hire an expert, they’ll help you ensure that you start out right.

Don’t let analytics scare you away from doing business. As they say, nothing is done until the paperwork is done, and that includes online business. You need these numbers to make good choices about what to do next in your business. Knowing the numbers will help you avoid other types of mistakes that can be very costly.

Tips for Successful Business Networking

Tips for Successful Business Networking

Choose a Networking Group That Works for You

One of the most important ways to get ahead in the world is to make connections with other people. These connections can lead to opportunities and joyful situations for everyone. You might meet someone who can help you boost your business to the next level, or if you’re not married you might meet your future spouse. Here are some tips on how to choose a networking group that's right for you.

Ask Your Contacts

You already have contacts that you work with on a regular basis such as vendors, contractors and colleagues. Simply ask them if they’re part of any formal networking or mastermind groups that you can check out. Be sure to ask them what types of people are in the group, and what the goals of the group are.

Know Your Reason for Joining

Before you join any group, it’s important to figure out why you want to join a networking group. For example, do you want to find customers or do you want to find partners?

goal Set Goals

When you find a group to join, set some goals. For example, if you want to get new customers you’ll need to ensure that you talk to people who can become customers. Get them on your lists, and market to them via the list. What goals do you need to set to accomplish that?

Do Your Research

Check out the leaders of the group, what the group stands for, and as much as you can about the membership. The members are very important but so is the leadership, so leave no stone unturned.

Find out the Goals of the Group

Each networking group usually has a goal of some kind. Sometimes the goal of the group makes it impossible for you to make a name for yourself, because they don’t allow members to network freely.

Know the Costs and Fees

Many networking groups are free, but others have a cost to join. They may have membership fees up front, and then of course you may need to pay for other expenses such as travel, food, and so forth in order to fully participate in the networking group.

Try Out Some Events

When you’ve done enough research to feel that the networking group is a good one, try out some events. You might have to buy a membership in some cases in order to go to an event, but it will be worth it if you’ve done your research.

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask members and leaders questions about the networking group so that you can be sure it’s the right one for you. Ask members how long they’ve been part of the group. Try to identify the movers and shakers in the group, because you want to become one.

Participate Once You Join

The biggest factor once you’ve picked a networking group or two to join is that you need to participate in the group. Volunteer, host, talk to people, and do all you can to make yourself known within the group.

Networking is a very powerful way to make your world bigger and better. You can meet all sorts of people that will help you and that you can help on your journey in business and life. But, first you must choose the right group for your needs. You might even need more than one group based on your goals.

How Often Should You Attend Networking Events?

Networking events are wonderful ways to learn more about your industry, get to know movers and shakers, and even become a mover and a shaker. There are many reasons to attend networking events that you should consider. But, if any one event doesn’t fulfill at least a couple of these factors, then there is no need to go. Attend as many events as you can afford and that you’ve researched, to fulfill at least a couple of these reasons to attend.

To Increase Visibility

The more events you can afford to attend, the more visible you and your business will become. Visibility helps your business because the more known you are, the more people trust you.

To Be the Expert

As someone who is going to a lot of events, you can be the expert for your niche at the event. Answer questions, be open, honest and transparent, and people will start to see you as the “go to” person for that niche.

To Build Relationships

Knowing people online is great, but meeting them in real life is even better. Getting to really talk to someone in person, see their face, shake their hand or hug their neck builds relationships beyond what you may have thought a business relationship would become.

statistics-1020319_640To Stay on Trend

In-person events are usually a lot more up to date on the trends than other types of events. You’re going to learn so much about what’s happening right now, what’s in the news, what’s hot right now and more.

To Connect with Key Influencers

Most key influencers attend a lot of live events. They do it because it keeps them a key influencer. You can’t be a key influencer and remain unknown or anonymous. You must meet people in person and meet them a lot.

To Learn from Others

Most networking events offer some form of learning opportunity. If you open your mind and listen to everything anyone says, as well as the speeches given, you’re going to learn so much from others about your business.

partnersTo Find Partners

One really great way to find joint venture partners is at networking events. Most of the time a person who will spend money going to a networking event isn’t a scammer, is likely pretty honest, and could even be a potential serious partner for your serious business.

To Improve Your Marketing Message

When you go to a networking event you’re forced to work on your “elevator pitch,” know your value proposition, and talk about your business. Talking it out helps you make your message even better.

Attending networking events is a really great way to build your business, learn more about your business, and make the right connections. If the events you’re choosing from fulfill some of the reasons to attend and it’s within your budget to attend, you should do it.

Tips for Incorporating Native Advertising into Your Publications

Tips for Incorporating Native Advertising into Your Publications

If you’re going to use native ads in your publications, it's very important that you know what you’re getting into and you stay true to the ideas, morals and values that you want to project for your brand. The first thing to understand is the different types of native ads that you can use.

Within Feeds

Usually these ads appear on networks right in the information feed for users, with a label of “sponsored” on it. You can see a lot of these types of ads on Facebook, for example.

Paid Search

This is seen on Google where the paid results appear at the top or right side of the search results, but look a lot like the other results.

Recommended Widgets

You’ll see these on the right or at the bottom or side of other editorial content on CNN if you look. They are often pushed by a platform like Outbrain.com.

Promoted Listings

These are used on platforms like Amazon or YouTube. They usually appear to the right side of other listings that are similar, and state that they are promoted or sponsored.

In-Ad Units

These often appear near content and take users away from the page they are reading. They are considered relevant content.

Customsponsored ads

This might appear on iTunes, YouTube or other accounts that list sponsored content for very specific types of ads.

 

Create a Sponsorship Page

If you want to sell native ads, you’ll need to create a page that lets people know you want to accept sponsorships. You can create the page that allows you to control the user experience and ensure that any ad you accept meets your standards. You’ll want to list a publication calendar so that the businesses know what is coming up. This means that they will know what events, ideas, products, and content is relevant for your audience.

 

Practice Transparency

Ensure that your users know that you accept these types of ads and label them appropriately each time they’re included in your users’ experiences. Whether it’s a giveaway on YouTube, or a product haul, or mentioning specific ingredients for a recipe, let your users know that you’re being paid for that – or else they will grow not to trust you.

 

Say No

Sometimes you’ll get an offer that just doesn’t fit your ideals. It’s okay to say no. Money isn’t everything. For example, if you’ve tried a product and you don’t like it, it’s okay to tell the company that you’ve tried it and you don’t like it. They want to know the truth and will appreciate that. If a company sends you a free product unsolicited, it’s okay to show your audience and give it a bad review even when you got the product free. Say so in the review and be fair.

The important thing is to be sure that the product fits your ideas, morals, and goals for your business. If not, skip it. There is nothing wrong with making money doing what you love, and even for promoting products you will use anyway. But, don’t get carried away with the money and take on promoting things you don’t like and will never use.

The Ever Changing Face of Marketing

The Ever Changing Face of Marketing

Technology has been a huge influence on how people have marketed their goods and services ever since people have had goods and services to sell. Whether it was the printing press, the radio, television or the proliferation of trains and cars that made traveling easier, something new has always come along to change how marketing is done. But nothing has ever been as noteworthy as the internet.

Consumers Are Smarter Than Ever

buy-1299519_640Because of the internet, consumers have a lot of information at the tip of their fingers that they never had before in the history of the world. Now they can look up information about you, and whether it’s right or wrong they’ll learn something about you and your products before buying. It’s up to you to make sure the right information is out there for them to find.

Social Media Is Ubiquitous

Before the internet, stores had to host huge events that were quite costly in order to stir up conversation and social interaction. Today, they simply need to start an active Instagram account or Facebook group or page. Everyone uses some form of social media today to gather information and learn about your business and offerings. In fact, more than 80 percent of the US population uses social media.

Your Audience Is Starving for Content

It’s important to put content everyplace your audience likes to be. If they like Facebook, you need to be on Facebook. If they like blog posts, you need to supply them with plenty of blog posts. If they like getting information through email, then you need to accommodate them. It can be difficult to keep up at times, but with help you can work smartly and efficiently by repurposing content as needed.

SEO Is Here to Stay but It’s Changing Too

Due to the advent of the net, pulling your audience to your information requires knowledge of search engine optimization. This can include on- and off-page optimization of a website and blog, but also of article titles, social media posts and more. It’s all about attracting the right audience to your information.

The Customer of One Is Now an Imperative

Due to the ability to automate and personalize using technology that has been created since the advent of the internet, business owners can make their customers feel special and unique. Even though customers are smart and know a lot of it is automation, they do appreciate it and it shows in purchasing habits.

Inbound Marketing Has Taken Over

Bringing your customers to you is now how inbound marketing works best, as opposed to outbound marketing which was how marketing started. It was posters, magazine ads, commercials – these things all interrupted the consumer to give them the message. Now it’s less intrusive and all about bringing them to you with the right information.

Ecommerce Generates over 1.2 Million Dollars Every 30 Seconds

It seems like e-commerce has been around forever. In reality it has been around in a smaller way since the 60s, but it really came into being as it is today in the 90s when the first book was sold on Amazon in 1995. Nothing has ever been the same since, and it just grows and grows. Online shopping is bringing back grocery delivery even.

Augmented Reality Is Next

What you can look forward to is augmented reality. This will enable people to feel as if they’re in a store when they’re really online. Movies have depicted ideas of augmented reality, such as the Tom Cruise movie about virtual data called Minority Report in 2002. Now marketers are trying to figure out how they can work augmented reality into the everyday lives of consumers.

It’s imperative that you keep up with how marketing is changing in terms of the tools that are used. In many ways, the principles don’t change much. You have to find a way to educate your audience, inform them, engage them, and build relationships with them, so that they trust you enough to spend their money on your products or services.