We have many articles, blogs and posts that give more detail on marketing, analytics, advertising, software, metrics and many other topics.
Look at the list below and click on any of the titles to read more about it.
If you want more information, then please read our articles listed below
5 Business Survival Tips for 2021 The pandemic and everything related to it caught many business owners by surprise and, even worse, caused some businesses to fold The pandemic and everything related to it caught many business owners by surprise and, even worse, caused some businesses to fold. Yelp reported that permanent business closures have reached 97,966, representing 60% of closed businesses that won’t be reopening. Imagine investing so much into an entity, and because of some virus, things start to slow down, till they eventually go under. It’s the new year, and nobody knows what it holds. But as a business owner, you have to plan and fortify your business against such problems. Every day, innovations are created which simplify the buying process for your customers. If your business isn’t doing anything new and making life easier for your customers, you may risk losing your customers to people who will. Steve Jobs said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Meaning, if you want to become a leader in your industry or niche, you have to innovate. This cuts across marketing, product delivery, customer retention, etc. 2021 is a different year and would most likely have new challenges, so here are five survival tips for your business. 1. Stay on your customers’ minds Marketing is very crucial for any business. Businesses that survived through 2020 were the ones that remained in their customers’ minds. If there are still lockdowns in 2021, that may cause your business not to operate normally, resulting in lower revenues. However, you shouldn’t stop marketing but instead, reduce your marketing budget. Marketing is how you understand your customers’ needs, educate them, attract new ones, and get them to keep doing business with you. All marketing strategies may not lead to outright sales, but sales will happen eventually if you’re consistent enough. Your social media platforms should be your best friends in the coming years. Studies show that “nearly 50% of the world’s population uses social media. That’s over 3 billion users worldwide.” Part of staying on your customers’ minds is being around where they can see you, and social media marketing is a marketing strategy that gives you that leverage. Whether you choose to use influencers or paid social, you have to put in the effort to remain in your customers’ minds. 2. Get the best hands for the job Great employees mean great business. If you want to give your business that competitive advantage, then you need to get the best hands for the job. You won’t give your customers the best if you don’t have the best staff. It goes beyond hiring the right people but also training and keeping your employees happy. This cuts across being understanding, ensuring that you create a healthy work environment, and giving them a purpose that contributes to their job fulfillment. How do you create that positive work environment? Everyone likes to feel heard. So, it’s your job as the business owner to create an environment that allows everyone to share their opinions and ideas about certain things. This can happen at weekly meetings. Implementing this can significantly increase their productivity, which in turn helps your business. 3. Asset protection As a business owner, many things can harm your assets, which can cause you to lose money. It won’t be nice losing your business assets in a legal case. Many entrepreneurs overlook this part, but it is crucial to secure your assets even if things don’t go your way after a legal case. Nobody starts a business and considers the possibilities of entering a court case; this is why many people get into trouble. Seventy-eight percent of lawsuit defendants in the US never thought it would happen to them. Sony lost 200 million in assets, which could have been avoided if they protected their assets. Interestingly, you can still get your assets protected online and offline no matter your enterprise’s size. 4. Financing and budgeting Your planning should also touch on finances because every business needs money to facilitate certain areas of business. Budgeting is like a roadmap for your business; you put your business at risk when you don’t have a budget. Riley Panko, in a report on budgeting, said, “Businesses of all sizes should create a budget if they don’t want to risk the financial health of their organization.” She said, “Businesses may create more challenges for themselves by skipping a budget. This is because budgeting helps small businesses focus.” Budgeting decides whether your marketing, asset acquisition, employee remuneration, and other parts of your business can go smoothly. You should anticipate all your long and short term financial needs. This may require hiring an accountant who will keep records of all the money going in and out of business. 5. Be ready to adapt to anything How adaptable are you? Patrick J. Rottinghaus defines adaptability as “The capacity to cope with and capitalize on change, and the ability to recover when unforeseen events alter life plans.” No one saw 2020 coming, but it came, and it was like everyone had to “adapt or die.” The usual nature of work we were all used to halted for apparent reasons. Everyone had to adapt to zoom meetings, online education, and social distancing. This alone affected many brick and mortar businesses whose primary service delivery was in-person. 2021 is uncertain, but what is absolute should be your ability to adapt to anything. Whether it’s in your service/product delivery, marketing, or engaging with your customers, you have to be ready to dance to the tune of whatever the market throws at you and attack it creatively.
Hospitality Industry: Tips and Trends For 2021 After a year of turmoil, change and challenges 2020 has finally come to a close. The last year has been particularly tough for hospitality businesses who’ve had to battle lockdowns and ever changing restrictions. After weathering the 2020 COVID storm, with many businesses coming out stronger and more resilient, it’s time to look ahead to 2021 and the opportunities it can bring. To help kick off the new year we’ve listed some of the top trends that are set to have a big impact and how hospitality venues can get behind these growing trends to boost sales and grow their business. Here are our top hospo trend predictions for 2021:1. War on waste2. QR code revolution3. Omnichannel ordering4. The rise of plant based diets5. Hygiene is king War on waste The war on waste, particularly food, plastic and paper, has gained significant traction over the past few years and 2021 is set to be no different. Food waste is a huge issue for the hospitality industry, with Aussie businesses throwing away around 1 million tonnes of food waste each year. Not only does this add up to millions of dollars in lost revenue, it’s also taking a massive toll on the environment. An increasing number of consumers are changing their purchasing behaviour to align with sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, and this is having a knock on effect for businesses. With 66% of consumers saying they are willing to spend more at sustainable businesses, it’s more important than ever for hospo venues to focus on sustainability by reducing the amount of waste they produce. What does this mean for your business? Taking steps to make your business more sustainable will not only make you more appealing to customers, it will also save you precious dollars. Wasted food means wasted money, no matter if it’s sent back by a customer or gone past it’s use by date, it’s cost you money that you can’t recover. By tracking how much waste your venue creates and taking actions to minimise this, you’ll be able to cut costs in the long run. Tips for reducing waste in your venue: Reduce your plastic consumption– provide guests with paper straws and avoid giving away plastic cutlery or packaging if you offer takeaway Cut down on food waste– invest in technology to help you track and minimise the amount of food waste you create Reduce paper waste– opt for digital alternatives to cut down on paper. Swap your kitchen printer for a bump screen and offer digital receipts as an alternative to paper ones Donate leftovers– if you have regular leftovers consider donating them to a charity like OzHarvest who distribute the donated food to those in need. QR code revolution QR codes have been around for years but 2021 is set to see a QR code revolution as they become part and parcel of our everyday lives. 2020 saw a revival in the use of QR codes across Australia as venues adopted them for guest check-in to assist with COVID tracing. QR codes can be used for so much more than this though, and hospo venues are set to capitalise on their versatility to promote their digital menus, website, social media and more. What does this mean for your business? An increasing number of venues are now using QR codes to facilitate contactless table ordering in their venues. With a simple scan of a QR code at the table customers can get instant access to your digital menu, place their order and pay directly from their smartphone. Replacing traditional menus with QR codes and digital menus is great for customer experience. Customers can order (and re-order) what they want, when they want without having to queue at the bar or flag down waitstaff. Plus, customers are more likely to spend more when ordering online from their phones. In fact, our data saw a 30% increase in customer spend for online orders. Omnichannel ordering The popularity of online ordering and food delivery skyrocketed in 2020 as a result of coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions. 2021 looks set to push this trend even further with omnichannel ordering. Be it ordering for delivery from a smartphone app, from a restaurant website for collection or via a QR code through a digital menu at a table – ordering food is set to look a lot different in 2021.What does this mean for your business?Consumers are expecting more and more from restaurants when it comes to convenient ordering solutions. A regular might love your ramen, for example, but are working late and can’t make it to your venue in person. Therefore offering options like delivery or order-ahead for collection means customers still get the food they love and you don’t miss out on any sales.Adding a digital menu to your website so customers can order-ahead, linking your menu to social media posts and partnering with a food delivery service are all great ways for customers to order from you at their own convenience. Offering alternative forms of ordering, not only keeps regulars coming back for more but also opens up a whole new pool of potential customers who can discover you online. The rise of plant based diets Plant based, vegetarian and flexitarian diets are on the rise in Australia. Consumers are becoming more conscious about sustainability and the food they consume and are opting for meat free alternatives on a regular basis. In fact, Australia was the second-most popular nation in the world for vegans in 2020, behind only the UK and this trend is set to grow even further in 2021.What does this mean for your business?With more people taking a close interest in what they eat and where their food comes from, it’s important for cafes and restaurants to adapt their offering to meet this change in demand. If your menu doesn’t have any plant based options, you could be missing out on potential sales from customers who otherwise would have come to your venue. To capitalise on this trend, try adding vegan and
5 Easy Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses in 2021 The way we do business changed in 2020. That’s true for just about every business regardless of size, but it’s especially true for small business owners, independent professionals and one-person shops. According to experts, we’ll still be living in this new, socially distanced normal for the better part of 2021, so any marketing plan or business strategy needs to factor that reality in. Thankfully, you have plenty of options when it comes to marketing your business in 2021, and many don’t require a huge investment of time or money. Use these example ideas as a jumping off point to build your marketing plan for next year. Without further ado, here are our five small business marketing ideas for 2021: 1. Use video to stay connected. How do you maintain a personal connection with clients and prospects in an age of social distancing? One effective way is to show them your face via video. Lucky for us, becoming a video creator is easier than ever. There’s no need to set a scene, carry around heavy equipment, or have a professional edit the footage. Our smartphones have high-quality cameras on them and the ability to share videos instantly, and these days consumers are used to watching videos on social media that are made with amateur equipment and skills. Authenticity matters far more than professional video quality—in fact, viewers have become savvy enough that they may be more suspicious of slick, overly produced videos that scream “marketing.” Try this: Use Facebook Live and stream a video of a short Q&A that you do with a client or colleague. Ask your network ahead of time what questions they’d like answered and then let them know when they can watch and engage in real time. 5 billion videos are watched every day on YouTube. And the average viewing session is 40 minutes per day, up 50% year-over-year. That’s a lot of hours logged per day. Live video is also super popular on other platforms, like Facebook and Instagram. In fact, Facebook Live videos have an engagement rate of 4.3% compared to 2.2% for non-live videos. Suffice it to say, adding video will likely lead to positive engagement with your content. And with more people than ever spending time on video-focused apps like TikTok, it’s time to get comfortable with the camera. 2. Add live chat to your website. Different professions have different schedules. Someone working full-time and going to school at night may do their search for an insurance plan at 10 pm or on weekends. A busy plumber may finally get a break at 10 pm to try and look at houses for sale. So, how do you help customers who operate outside of typical “normal business hours?” You can’t stay awake 24 hours a day, so a live chat service can be a way to keep a conversation going when you’re not available. Check out these stats from Inc: 51% of consumers say a business needs to be available 24/7. You read that correctly: need. Not, “would prefer.” That’s quite a demand! A chat service can help make this a possibility. 92% of customers feel satisfied using live chat. I’m sure we’ve all enjoyed being able to have an easy chat with a rep instead of sending an email, going through an automated phone menu, or having to wait to get a callback. 51% of customers like live chat for multitasking purposes, and 21% of customers like live chat so they can shop while they work. As previously mentioned, people are busy and chat offers a way to get questions answered and do more than one thing at a time. Beyond providing support coverage, live chat also acts as a sales tool for prospects who might otherwise leave your website without a trace. Chat can triple the rate at which visitors become qualified leads, but you’ll only get the most out of it if there’s a real person on the other end, not a robot. Learn more about human-powered live chat. 3. Make sure you’re findable on the most popular directories. In the old days, making your business findable was as simple as getting listed correctly in the phone book. In 2021, it’s a lot more complicated. You probably already know the value of a first page ranking for a popular search on Google, but did you know there are hundreds of other places your business can be found? Social media. Yelp. Map apps. Voice assistants. Review sites. Events directories. Potential clients are searching for businesses like yours in corners of the internet you may have never even heard of. If your business isn’t listed on every relevant directory, or if your information is incomplete or wrong, you’re missing out on opportunities. That’s why it’s so important to update your profile information everywhere, not just on Google and social media. This might sound like a huge, daunting task, but there’s a shortcut: use a listings management tool to simultaneously update your information everywhere. 4. Focus on your current and past clients. Here’s a challenge for small business owners: take a look at your marketing budget. What percentage of that budget is spent on acquiring new leads versus nurturing your existing book of business? If you were told that it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer than retain an old one, would that percentage change? Your current and past clients are your most important marketing resource. Beyond just retaining the direct revenue from those customers, they’re also your primary source of referrals and reviews. A referral from a current client is the best kind of lead you can get, and a positive review from that client can pay dividends for years. If you’re spending a lopsided percentage of your budget and your time on customer acquisition, consider shifting some of that spend and effort toward retaining and making the most of current clients. 5. Automate the important channels. When it comes
As you evaluate your hospitality business based on metrics centered around sales and marketing, there are actually other effective metrics that can easily be overlooked. One such metric is based on customer service, which may admittedly be harder to track and even be considerably immeasurable. However, with the aid of a POS, you can receive and correlate data that can take staff profit, which can allow you to see who is providing your customers with the best experience, thereby giving you positive customer service. This enables you to see the impact that your staff has on your business.
Digital marketing isn’t a one size fits all solution, but it is a necessary part of any marketing strategy. Local businesses often do not recognise the benefit of a digital marketing, or they restrict themselves to only social media. Yet, with the advancement of online ad capabilities, targeting and automation, digital marketing opens up a vast marketplace that cannot be overlooked.
25 Tips for Earning Customer Loyalty As most marketers have experienced at some point, it’s one thing to hook customers, another beast completely to retain them. Improving customer loyalty should be a priority, or those customers you worked so hard to convert could vanish before you even know what happened. To avoid that, here are 25 ways to better your company’s customer loyalty. Share your values. To build a strong relationship with your customers, you have to share their values. According to a study by the Corporate Executive Board of 7,000 U.S. consumers who said they had a brand relationship “64% cited shared values as the primary reason.” In fact, shared values are “far and away the largest driver.” If you want loyal customers, you need to tell them what your brand stands for. Provide excellent customer service. Sounds obvious, right? But, it deserves mention again because excellent service is what creates lifelong customers, avoids negative word-of-mouth and differentiates you from the competition. This is how a company like Zappos has created such a loyal following. But, how can you improve customer service? For starters, listen to customers and address their concerns a timely manner. Make it easy for customers to get in touch with a representative. Clearly display an email address, phone number and social media account. You have to “wow” them by going above and beyond. Be transparent. There will be days when things don’t go as planned. Instead of denying the problem, be honest with your customers about the bad news. When Buffer had a security breach in 2013, the company old their customers about the situation, provided updates and addressed concerns immediately. Create a sense of community. With so many social media platforms, there is no excuse for not creating a community. Communities are an effective way to start a conversation with your customers and encourage user-generated content. For example, you can ask customers to share pictures of them using your product and sharing it on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Get their email addresses. One of the easiest ways to keep in touch with customers is through email. Ask for addresses after completing purchases so you can keep customers updated on new products or follow-up with them after a sale to ask how was their experience. This information can be used to improve customer satisfaction and keep your current customers happy. Use social proof. Aileen Lee, partner at venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, describes social proof on TechCrunch as “the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something.” It’s a great way for new customers to learn about your product or company. Typically, brands achieve social proof in the following five ways: Expert – statistics that are shared by a credible source. Celebrity – celebrity endorsements, think William Shatner and Priceline. User – reviews left by customers on sites like Yelp or Amazon. Wisdom of the crowd – recall McDonald’s famous “Over 1 Million Served” sign. Wisdom of your friends – inviting friends to play a game on Facebook. Exceed expectations. You’ve probably heard the cliché that businesses should “under promise and over deliver”. You can accomplish this by simply exceeding expectations. If you state a customer service rep will get back to the customer within 24 hours, and the rep gets in touch within six hours, that’s exceeding customer expectations. As Noah St. John states perfectly on the Huffington Post, “Do what you say you’re going to do.” Don’t neglect existing customers. It’s incredibly easy to forget your existing customers when you’re busy trying to reach new customers. To avoid frustrating your loyal customers, make sure that your product or service doesn’t diminish over time. Admit when you make a mistake. Mistakes happen and customers have many platforms to share their experiences with your company. Don’t get defensive or sensitive if you get called out on something that was your fault. Instead, use these platforms to take responsibility and resolve the issue. Have the right employees. Employees are extremely important for improving customer loyalty. Employees who buy into the culture are more likely to share their excitement with friends, family and customers that they’re assisting – like this email from Zappos. Make sure your employees have the proper training and tools to enhance the customer experience. Get personal. Studies have proven that personalized emails have a transaction rate 6 times higher than impersonal emails. This could be addressing them by name, sending them a birthday greeting or an offering a coupon on the anniversary of when they became a customer. Customers appreciate the personalized messages that you send them because it can help create an emotional bond. Be an expert. Let’s say you’re buying a new television, but have some questions. Would purchase the TV from the company who answered all of your questions or the company who couldn’t give you an answer? You’re probably more likely to support the company who addressed all of your concerns. If you want to attract and retain customers, you should become a reputable and trusted expert in your field by making sure employees are knowledgeable and sharing your expertise on question/answer sites or writing blog posts. Say the right words. Research has proven the right words or phrases can help motivate customers. According to Kevan Lee, via Buffer, the five most persuasive words in the English language are: You, Free, Because, Instantly, and New. If you use these words in headlines, email subject lines or calls-to-action you can increase the chances of converting customers. Offer incentives. You want to give customers a reason to keep coming back. And, that’s when incentives come into play. It could be something as simple as a discount on their next purchase or giving them a free drink after their tenth purchase. Ask for their feedback. How do you know what customers like or dislike about your products? How do they feel about your customer service? If you aren’t aware of this information, then how can you