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The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Customer Experience

THE COMPLETE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Customer Experience Small BusinessTrying to explain exactly what it is I do can sometimes leave people a little confused – usually because they assume that when I’m saying “Customer Experience” I mean “Customer Service”. Or because they hear the word marketing, and they automatically think advertising.

So, here’s a quick snapshot into why I believe that getting your customer experience right is at the heart of all marketing you will ever have to do for your business.

Customer Service = An event
The customer service you provide is basically about 3 principles – the people involved, the physical evidence of what you deliver and the process you use to deliver it. It’s finite. As a consumer, you can receive amazing service on one occasion, and next time around it might be a total disaster.

Customer Experience = A feeling
The experience your customer has may incorporate the customer service. But it is much more subjective and experiential. Even with all things absolutely equal, the experience two people have with your business may be completely different. In fact, the experience someone has with your business may not be due to a transaction having occurred AT ALL.

The experience we have with a business is more about how we feel about that business than the actual product or service itself. That being said, to ensure a great experience, we HAVE to ensure that our product or service is at least meeting our customer’s expectations.

As you can see, every single aspect of your business has the potential to impact on a customer’s experience. This is why it is now critical to make customer experience part of the DNA of your organisation – so that at each touchpoint you show your customers that you sincerely want to serve them.

I’m not sure where this quote came from originally, but it’s one I’ve used for a long time:

“Everybody who has an interaction with your business is a marketer of your business.”

Your own promotion – via blogs, social media, networking etc – is only a fraction of the marketing of your business that is going on. Every single person you come across is a potential marketer of you and your business. So it’s critical that you make the process of doing business with you a pleasure rather than a chore.

 

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Jodie PreissAbout Jodie Preiss
Jodie Preiss has walked her talk in all areas of customer experience through many different roles – both as Marketing Manager for two independent schools, and in a stint as a marketing consultant, when she wrote this blog post. Little did she know that her love of all things experience focused would lead her on another path. And in early 2019 she will officially launch the incarnation of that journey.

She has created Inspiring a Difference from one simple truth. That one person, one voice, armed with wisdom and the commitment to act, can make a very real difference.

Creating a methodology around challenge-driven impact has became her driving motivation, and the vision for Inspiring a Difference. Challenging herself, as well as those around her, to step out of their comfort zone and create a ripple in their world. The fundamental drive for Jodies is to show you that you can make a a difference. And that the ripples that we create individually, one day might move a mountain.

We turn drops into ripples into waves and then oceans of impact. One person, one challenge at a time.

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How To Create A Successful Facebook Advertising Campaign

HOW TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL FACEBOOK ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN

Angelique Petzierides, Social Media ManiaIt’s time to take control of your Facebook advertising and make it work for your business. We asked Social Media guru, Ange Petzierides, for her top tips to Facebook success.

Facebook advertising. How does it feel when you read those two words? Does it make your heart leap with joy or send you scurrying behind the sofa to curl up into a small ball?

If you’re the former – congrats! You’re way ahead of the game, and we salute you. If you’re more like the latter, don’t worry; we’re here for you.

To get a clearer picture of what Facebook advertising is and why we need it, we enlisted social media guru Ange Petzierides, owner of Social Media Mania, to help clear up our collective confusion.

Why do I need to use Facebook advertising?
Basically, everybody is on Facebook – whether they’re stuck in traffic, on the bus or their lunch break, almost everyone is scrolling through their feeds looking for entertainment. It’s where your audience hangs out, and it’s where they can find you.

It’s important to remember that FB advertising isn’t about reaching as many people as possible – it’s about targeting the audience who’ll be most interested in you. In marketing speak, you want  ‘leads’ and ‘conversions’ rather than ‘reach’. Approached correctly, FB ad campaigns can give you precious new customers.

For example, if you own a yoga studio, you can target your Facebook advertising to a receptive audience by narrowing down interests, demographics and physical location. If you target your ads accurately, your dollars won’t be wasted on people who prefer Zumba dancing in Tokyo to Yoga in Yarraville.

How do I target my audience?
The best way to target your audience is by thoroughly research them. By defining who you’re talking to, it’s easier to tell them how you’re going to solve their problem with your service or product. Start building up a profile of who your typical customer/client is.

Is FB advertising the same for a product and a service?
The targeting process is the same, but the action taken after seeing your ad will be different. Think about the objective of your ad; is it to get more traffic to your website, get more people to call you or attend an event? Facebook gives you all these options within ad manager, so it’s worth trying out a few different ad formats.

How do I know it’s working?
The good thing about FB ads is that you almost immediately know if they’re working. Over a very short period, you can try a couple of tests to see what works for your audience. Try a week-long experiment using $5 a day – if you’re not getting any leads, pause it, tweak it and test again.

Try out different images and copy or maybe use a video to see if it makes a difference. The aim is to create a ‘thumb-stopping’ post – something that makes your target audience pause their scrolling and go ‘wow, I actually REALLY need that in my life.’

What’s this Facebook pixel thing?
An FB pixel is a string of code that you embed in your website. It tracks visits to your website coming from your Facebook ads. The information that FB gathers from the pixel on your website will help you further refine your target audience.

What are the top four things I should do to create an ad campaign?
1. Research your audience – so important and absolutely the first thing you should do. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your hard earned cash.
2. Choose the right ad objective – decide right at the start what you want your ads to achieve; what action should people take when they see your ad?
3. Eye-catching imagery and ad copy – you need to create a post that will stop their thumbs from scrolling any further.
4. Pixel – get it embedded in your website! It will give you loads of great data for further refining your audience

It’s time to get out from behind the sofa – follow the above steps, and before you know it, Facebook advertising will be your new best friend.

 

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Take Your Social Media To The Next Level

TAKE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Angelique Petzierides, Social Media ManiaYour Social Media channels are coasting along nicely. So what’s next – how do you take your content to the next level? Social Media expert, Ange Petzierides, shares her wisdom.

We’ve got the social media strategy, the plan and the content. But where do we go from here? What’s the next step for elevating our social media activity?

There’s no shortage of options – from Facebook Live to Instagram Stories and all the hashtags in between – but it’s hard to know what’s going to resonate with our audience. Here to answer these question and help us pick our way through the crowded marketplace is our resident social media guru, Ange Petzierides from Social Media Mania.

How do I know my Social Media is working?
Start regularly looking at your insights to see what’s popular and determine which content is working and which is not; it could save you valuable time and money. If possible, try and look at how your numbers are tracking every week. If you find your content is getting lost, take steps to make it more effective.

If your content is resonating with your audience, the engagement rates will be high. When you’ve slaved for hours over some shiny new content, you want to make sure your audience appreciates the finished product.

How can I work smarter not harder?
Social media can be all-consuming for small business owners, so it’s crucial to have a plan for keeping on top of everything. Every week or fortnight, look at what events are coming up or what offers you have lined up; you can plan content around them in advance.

Try some time-saving tactics like scheduling your posts in advance. Facebook allows you to do this from inside the platform, but you can also use third-party apps like Iconosquare, Sprout Social or Buffer. That way you can spend a couple of hours scheduling all your social media content for the week and monitor your stats, making tweaks as necessary.

If you’re finding social media too time-consuming, perhaps consider outsourcing. Paying a professional who can confidently speak in your tone of voice could be the best way to optimise your social channels and free up your time.

Should I be using more tools?
Hashtags, Instagram Stories and Facebook Live, are all good tools to try out, but make sure they are effective for your audience before you spend too much time on them.

Hashtags categorise content and make it more discoverable. Be sparing though – using more hashtags doesn’t necessarily mean more people will see your post. For example, if you’re hosting a networking night in Melbourne for women in business, there’s little point in using #melbourne – so are millions of other Instagrammers. Instead, narrow it down to #NetworkingMelbourne or #womeninbusiness.

With tools like Stories and Live, there’s a tendency to use them simply because they are new. Keep content fresh, entertaining and relevant to your business to avoid diluting your brand.

Can I repurpose content?
Absolutely. If a post gets unusually good engagement, there’s no harm in saving yourself a bit of time by re-posting it. For example, you could change a photo gallery into a video slideshow. In fact, any posts you can convert into video will get greater engagement as Facebook currently prioritises this type of content over others.

What are the top three things I need to know?
1. Research your customer – find out who will be interested in your content
2. Define your voice – be instantly recognisable to build loyalty
3. Monitor your stats – keeping track of your stats leads to you posting the right content at the right time for the right audience.

With a few smart decisions, the right tools and a well-researched audience you can take your social media to the next level – without investing your precious resources.

 

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How To Create A Communications Strategy That Works

HOW TO CREATE A COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY THAT WORKS

Jacqui McCallum, Blue Budgie CommunicationsLove it or loathe it, Social Media is where you’ll find your audience. But where are they and how do you cut through the noise to grab their attention?

We asked Social Media Communications expert, Jacqui McCallum of Blue Budgie to help us out.

Here’s a crazy statistic for you – nearly a quarter of the world’s population uses social media. Just let that sink in for a couple of seconds. That’s over two billion people.

In this current climate of heavy social media use, it pays for your business to have a presence. But how do we find our audience among over two billion people? We asked our social media communications expert, Jacqui McCallum of Blue Budgie, to answer that question and a few more.

What is a Communications Strategy?
It’s about having a planned approach to your social media activity. A good communications strategy aligns with your business goals and works towards your main objectives rather than being an afterthought.

How does it help?
Many people upload content to social media without a purpose. For example, without a strategy, you might be creating a lot of content for Instagram when in reality most of your conversions are coming from Facebook. By studying the data and developing a strategy, you can make your resources work smarter not harder.

What does a strategy look like?
It can be one page or five pages; a word doc, a spreadsheet or a powerpoint presentation – anything that works for you. Whatever format you choose, it’s important to include the following elements:

  • Goals and objective
  • Key messages
  • Audience and their behaviours and preference
  • Recommendations
  • Tools and platforms
  • Budget
  • Timeline
  • Evaluation

In particular, a process of evaluation is key to a successful strategy; monitoring your results will keep it all on track. It’s not something you set and forget – a strategy is an evolving document that will change as your business grows.

How do I find an audience?
Base your strategy on the value proposition offered to your audience. Ask yourself what problem your business is solving. Then ask what type of people will benefit from your product or service.

Here’s an example. One of my clients is a construction company specialising in renovations in Melbourne’s Inner West. After some research, we found the people making decisions about house renovations were predominantly new mothers wanting more space for their growing families.

Normally, you wouldn’t expect builders to sit down and have a cup of tea with a new mum, but it’s become very effective! They also target social content to new mums and build a social media relationship with them.

When is best to post?
Again, this comes down to understanding your audience. There are many preconceived ideas about when to post on social media. The received wisdom is to post at 8pm, but it’s not always effective.

For example, I worked with a company that sells lactation biscuits. We found that the best time to post was around 2.00am, when new mums were breastfeeding their babies. By posting relevant content at this time, we got a spike in engagement.

What are the top three things I need to know?
1. A strategy isn’t scary! – it only has to be a one-pager or whatever works for you
2. Understand your audience – it’s all about knowing how you can add value.
3. Make authentic connections online – be yourself and your engagement will grow.

Creating an evolving strategy that’s directly targeted to your audience is the best way to cut through the social media noise. Give it a go and you’ll be much closer to finding your niche among the 2 billion social media users out there.

 

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Why Your Brand Should Distinguish But NEVER Describe

WHY YOUR BRAND SHOULD DISTINGUISH BUT NEVER DESCRIBE

Small Business BrandingOne of the most common mistakes businesses make when it comes to branding is to choose one that describes their products, services, location or industry. When I tell clients to steer clear of descriptive brands I see the same shocked expressions on their faces or hear it in their voices:

“What do you mean? How will customer’s know what I’m selling if I, my brand or business name is nondescript?”

Now, let me start off by saying that I am a lawyer and not a marketing guru by any stretch of the imagination. So, I can’t give you a lesson in the psychology of consumers. But, what I can say is that from an intellectual property perspective, a descriptive brand is a big NO-NO!

Why? To answer this question, let me start out by explaining what a brand is.

What is a brand?
In a nutshell, your brand is you and embodies your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services and conveys how you want to be perceived.

Put simply, having a brand is like having a personality for your business. Your brand will form an integral part of your marketing strategy and encapsulate you or your business’ unique identity. It will convey quality, type, and the kind of goods or services provided, and will become what your target customer base thinks about when they hear your name, read your Facebook posts, or see your logo.

A brand can consist of many elements, ranging from your business name, to your logo and tagline, and even the colours you use within your advertising materials.

So, why do you need a brand?
Many small business owners perceive the creation of a brand identity as a costly exercise best reserved for larger, global companies. In fact, the opposite is true. Effective branding can not only lead to increased sales, but establish your business as an authority within the marketplace, regardless of your current size or reach.

Your brand functions as the face of your business and is extremely important for creating awareness of your products or services and in establishing trust and loyalty amongst your customer base. A brand can also add value to your products and credibility to your services.

Your brand should set you apart from your competitors and create a “voice” that reflects your company ethos and mission statement. Think of your brand as your reputation – an invaluable asset that works on your behalf to attract and retain a loyal, repeat customer base.

Avoid descriptive branding
Descriptive branding (where a name and logo simply describe what the company or product does in a literal form) rarely succeeds in creating a strong, powerful brand. Before the rise of the internet, many companies used descriptive branding, but nowadays in the age of SEO (search engine optimization) with millions of companies vying for the top search results spots, naming your company “Best Budget Holidays” or “Designer Shoe Supplier” just won’t cut it. The more descriptive and generic your name and brand, the more likely you’ll get lost in a sea of online competitors.

The idea that a business name should be descriptive in order to inform the customer is wrong. A name rarely has to spell out in literal terms what the brand stands for; this will become clear through the brand’s overall context, conveyed through the many elements we’ve already mentioned above.

In addition, from a legal standpoint descriptive brands are much harder to enforce as you can’t stop your competitors from using similar words to describe their goods and services. Whilst descriptive branding can offer instant understanding for the consumer (“Traditional Sweet Shop”, for instance), it can become impossible to enforce the trademark rights and stop similar names being used (“Best Traditional Sweet Shop”, for example).

Stand out; be distinctive!
Okay, so now I’ve covered what a brand is, consider it in the context of existing brands in various industries. If questioned, most people would be able to recognise many of the so-called ‘brand leaders’ such as Coca Cola, Nike, Mercedes Benz, and even Veuve Cliquot champagne. Why? Because these companies have successfully developed brands that encapsulate their unique selling point, encouraging familiarity and trust, as well as instilling the concepts of quality, service, and satisfaction.

Using a brand simply to describe your goods and services is not an effective approach. Avoid falling into the trap of creating a generic, lack-lustre persona for your business by injecting as much personality as you can into your brand. Your brand is your business’ personality so make it unique and memorable, not generic.

So, despite the common misconception that descriptiveness helps to convey your brand message, good brand is distinctive and makes your goods or services stand out from the crowd. Having a strong, unique brand will ensure that your business will be instantly identifiable, whether it is through your company’s website, external advertising or social media. A good brand will be memorable and capable of conveying your unique selling points to your target customer base.

Getting started on your brand
Creating a strong brand takes time and effort, but as I’ve discussed, it is essential in setting your business apart from competitors and signifying the quality and value of your products or services.

If you’re unsure how a brand can work for you, or you’d like some help in getting started on creating and protecting your brand, then invest in getting a professional marketer and engage a trade marks lawyer. In my experience, the ideal scenario is to develop and protect the brand simultaneously by having a marketer, graphic designer and trade marks lawyer working together, with you.

 

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Kate Ritchie, EthikateAbout Kate Ritchie
Kate Ritchie, Principal Lawyer, Trade Marks Attorney & Brand Protection Specialist, Ethikate.

Brand protection is what we do best at Ethikate. We will work closely with you to develop your brand and create a tailored protection strategy that not only addresses your business needs and future plans, but is also cost-effective for entrepreneurs and small business.

If you would like to know more about brand protection and how Ethikate can help you to protect your brand, check out our website here.

Ethikate’s Principal Lawyer & Trade Marks Attorney, Kate Ritchie, has a strong commercial background acting in both commercial and legal roles, over the last 10 years. Kate has worked with high profile major event organisations, top tier and boutique law firms, small to medium businesses, government agencies and large corporates across a broad range of commercial and intellectual property law services.

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Is Your Website Speaking To Your Ideal Customer?

IS YOUR WEBSITE SPEAKING TO YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER?

Startup Small Business WebsiteSo you have put your own website together – fantastic work.

There is so much time and effort that goes into a website and sometimes we are just too close to the project to look through the forest to see the trees!

Before you launch your new website, you may want to be brave and ask a few people to take a look on each page and provide you with honest feedback.

If you have an online store, you could assign each person a task, such as “find and purchase a particular product” and ask them to write down how they found the whole process. A small thing like; see if they can find your contact details easily. Many sites do not have contact details at all and only a contact form. Think about your targeted audience and ask yourself, if you were them, would you want to call someone or email someone directly or is a contact form enough. Ask your testers if they know what your business is about from landing on your home page or was it a little confusing.

You can uncover some interesting things by asking people before your site launches rather than launching without any prior feedback. Your website is a tool to get sales from and inform your customers about your services and products. If this is not clear, then you are wasting your time.

Something that makes perfect sense to you can be confusing to people new to your site.

Your website will be something that needs to move as your business evolves and changes.
It is not something that should stay the same throughout the journey of your business. When launching my first site I thought “yeah, it’s done. So glad I don’t have to look at that again!” Who was I kidding; of course it was going to need to be changed. Don’t think once you’ve set up your website, that’s it! Your users experience needs to be slick and requires continual reinvestment.

To promote a website successfully you need various elements working for you. The key elements consist of; search engine optimisation (so they can find you), content marketing (relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience), social media interaction (talk to your facebook, instagram twitter accounts), conversion rate optimisation (process of improving your website to drive visitors towards desired actions — actions such as buying a product) and website usability. It is about making sure choices are in a clear and concise way and the placement of important items are in appropriate areas.  Consistently working on these key elements will help make sure you get both short and long term conversion from your visits to sales.

A business in it’s first year is most likely nothing like what it will be in its 2nd, 3rd, 5th or 10th year.

Two of these elements I would like to elaborate on are: USABLITY and CONTENT.

Usability
Firstly on the web, usability is a necessary condition for survival. If your website is difficult to use, people leave. If the homepage fails to clearly state what your business offers and what users can do on your site, people leave. If users get lost on your site, they leave. If your website’s information is hard to read or doesn’t answer users’ key questions, they leave. See a pattern here? There’s no such thing as a user reading a website manual or spending heaps of time trying to figure out how to move around. There are plenty of other websites available; so leaving your site is the first line of defence users will take if too many difficulties are encountered and worse still, it can just be one difficulty within a few seconds that will make them leave.

Content
Secondly, the content of your website needs to be reviewed and changed accordingly to meet the different stages of your business. It needs to be GOOD content and just what exactly do I mean by “good content”? If your content isn’t good – it won’t help you progress your business in the direction you want to take it or it won’t take your customers to where they need to go, to purchase.

Crappy content doesn’t get shared. It doesn’t get links. It doesn’t rank in search engines.

And it doesn’t CONVERT your visitors to paying business.

Everything you communicate to a customer or a potential customer is marketing and every bit of marketing is related to good content in some aspect. Your website isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do – like the quality of work you do, how you resolve your customer complaints (let’s hope you don’t get many or any), how you talk to your customers, how you relate and understand them.

Part of all communication is non-verbal and how your site looks, says a lot about you and the type of work you are able to produce. Your website design and content can pull your visitors in or totally chase them away. Will your website appeal to everyone, probably not but it NEEDS to appeal to your targeted audience. So not every visitor will engage with you and that is ok, as long as you are talking the language of the ones YOU DO WANT. And if you’re not sure, ask people that fit within your target market whether it speaks to them or not.

It can be difficult to get outside of your own head (where everything makes perfect sense about your business and website) and into the head of a customer, to see whether your content is working or if you’re losing them. This is where asking people for their opinions and taking them on board (and not taking it personal), WILL BENEFIT YOU HUGELY.

Remember your business is doing you no good, if you are the only one who understand and likes your website. It‘s also no good if it just looks pretty and isn’t clear about what you offer. Your site serves as a powerful tool to convert visitors to paying customers. If you want them to be returning customers and referring customers, you need to listen to them and make changes if necessary. You need to be able to say, “Okay, this isn’t working the way I thought’ and move on very quickly with another strategy.

And most of all ENJOY THE RIDE!

 

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Julie Allen, Biz YourselfAbout Julie Allen
Julie Allen is a Website builder and trainer specialising in WordPress. She has a passion for people, business, and finding solutions. When you engage Julie to get your website up and running, you’re also getting a cheerleader for your brand, a promoter to help you put your ideas into action and a small business owner who knows what it feels like to build a business from scratch.

She also provides a range of other support services, including web content writing, web conversion, email marketing and small business mentoring. Julie’s favourite part of each project is getting to know her clients and their businesses.

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