Blog

The Importance of Customer Feedback

Francesca
September 30, 2014

We regularly talk about the importance of customer feedback on our blog for two main reasons, it helps current and potential customers understand more about your business and search engines want to see reviews.

Your Customers Care About Reviews

Search engines, like Google, know that customers care about reviews and in an effort to provide customers information that will help them with their searches, have been building reviews into a more prominent placement on search results pages. This prominent placement is known as a Knowledge Card, seen on the right side of the image below.

Capture

Because the knowledge card is so visual, your eye is automatically drawn to the right side of the page. Think of yourself as a consumer, your first impression of this business is generally good, but you probably won’t order the chicken wings. If you don’t have a loyalty to them, or an incentive, you’re probably not going to try the chicken wings. Of course, chicken wings are a smaller ticket item, but put this into perspective for your own business. This is a specific example of how reviews impact current and potential customers.
(Side note: We did get permission to talk about the business example above.)

According to a survey by Dimensional Research, roughly 90% of respondents claimed that positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions, while 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews. Are your current reviews holding you back from selling products or services and therefore effecting your bottom line?

Search Engines Care About Reviews – But How?

Reviews should be important enough to your business because of the impact reviews have on customers, but there is also an SEO factor to consider. According to Moz’s 2013 Local Search Ranking Factors, online reviews make up 10% of your search engines rank your website.

What Can I do Moving Forward?

Make it a priority to work review requests into your everyday business practices. Of course there are right ways and wrong ways to go about this, don’t be too pushy with this request. Simply make it a point to email customers once the sale has been completed and ask them to leave you a review on a variety of accounts that you use, but remember, you can’t ask for a review on Yelp. Other than Yelp, most review sites are okay with you asking for a review, as long as you aren’t specifically asking for a positive review.

Once you start receiving reviews, respond to every single one! Don’t just respond to the bad ones. This shows current and potential customers that you are a human, it shows that you care to thank each customer for their feedback, the same way you would at the register.

Getting Customers Excited About Upcoming Email Blasts

Francesca
August 29, 2014

As a marketer who works online with websites, social media, and email marketing campaigns every day, you think I would be sick of this stuff by the time I get home!

But it’s actually just the opposite. I’m a marketer and a consumer, which means I also benefit from companies who use these tools to their advantage. There are a few companies that I regularly am waiting for their email blast to appear in my inbox each month. As a business, they have trained me to know when the email will be arriving and what I can expect when I receive it.

How did they do this?

This isn’t a crazy new concept, in fact, it may be simpler than you think. Businesses got me excited about their email list by talking to me where I was already engaging with them. This could happen in a variety of places, online, on social media, or in the store.

Email marketing is a great tool for businesses to use to regularly to contact customers, generate sales, and build relationships. You should be using it to your advantage and regularly talking about your email blasts to get people to sign up AND to keep people engaged.

It’s pretty common to talk to people about signing up for your email list. You can ask them at the register, put a sign up form on your site, and have a sign up form on Facebook. Great! Hopefully you are building your list and regularly sending emails to your customers who are asking for you to contact them (hey, that’s what it means when they give you their info!).

But we need to do a better job of reinforcing the value of our email campaigns to customers who have already signed up. Let’s make it a priority to build some hype around our email blasts! When you have a customer at the register about to check out, say to them “Hey, we sent out a 20% coupon yesterday did you get it?” Whether or not they have it is fine, give it to them anyway but make it a big deal. “I’d be happy to give it to you this time, but be sure to check your inbox before coming in next time for exclusive offers to save you money!”

You can use a very similar approach online! Start by creating posts on Facebook and Twitter a few days prior to your e-blast going out. Something as simple as “An exclusive offer will be sent to our email club this Tuesday! Sign up today if you’re not a member yet so you don’t miss this great deal!” Continue posting enticing messages once per day until the e-blast is sent out, but continue to change up the message to keep it exciting for fans of your page. This concept reinforces why people should be on your list and gives new customers a great reason to sign up!

Another New Social Media Site!?

Francesca
July 31, 2014

Remember when you could put an ad in one place and know your customers saw it? Sure, owning a business has changed, especially over the last 10 years! People are tweeting, hashtagging, reviewing, posting, snapping… don’t fret if you don’t know what half of those things are!

As a small business, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed trying to set up a profile on ALL of the available social media accounts.

But what if my customers are on there? I HAVE to be on there!!!

No, you don’t. You really don’t. But as a business in today’s day and age, determining which social media accounts you do want to have a presence on is a conversation and decision every single business needs to be making.

Wait, another social media site has been introduced? That reminds me, I haven’t posted on Instagram in weeks. Oh no, I forgot about my Pinterest account too! How can I do all of this at once?

As a small business, you are already pressed for time. We understand that. The key to determining which social media accounts are right for you, are determining which ones you can do well. Setting up a profile on a variety of different social media accounts and then never going back can actually do more harm than good for your business. If you set up an account your customers will assume you’re there, if they start talking to you and you ignore them, how will that make you look? You can’t be on every social media account out there, it’s just no reasonable.

New Media Retailer can work with you to keep your Facebook and Twitter pages up-to-date for you by creating posts for your business. We also call you to find out how we can add store related posts to make your page specific to you.

But what about the other available social media sites?

Be realistic with your time, like I mentioned above, it’s worse to try a bunch of sites and then leave them outdated. Especially if those sites are linked from your website. Think quality not quantity! Identify what strengths your store has, if it’s regularly taking pictures you may want to try Instagram, about 3-5 posts per week would be great here! If your customers are a lot of DIYers, project seekers, and crafters Pinterest may be good for you, but you’ll need to spend more time on Pinterest than other sites.

Just remember to take your time deciding. Don’t rush into anything. Know your audience and establish goals before you make your decision and you’ll be just fine!

Email Marketing Tips: Why It’s Important to be Consistent

Francesca
June 30, 2014

We’ve all struggled with email marketing campaigns. Just when you think you have the BEST offer to give your customers, only 5% of your list opens it! It can become frustrating and overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to. When it comes to email marketing, let’s go back to the basics and stick with what we know.

I still don’t understand businesses who choose not use email marketing. Whether you handle it yourself or have a company handle it for you, email marketing is absolutely something you should be taking advantage of. Unlike social media, you have flexibility and some power (for lack of a better word) over subscribers to your email list. Hypothetically, if a company like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. shut down (note to our audience: we obviously don’t see this happening any time soon!  -and yes, keep using social media marketing to connect with customers!) where would you be? You don’t have control over the likes on your Facebook page or to customers who follow you on Instagram. But your email list is something that you can have and hold for the rest of your life. You can export/import your email list whenever you need to, you can talk to your subscribers based on their interests, and you can see a lot more specific information about how your users are interacting with you. Email marketing helps your business grow by regularly reaching your customers in an easy, convenient way.

When creating your email blasts, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. But think about this, when you’re checking your inbox, do you prefer to get emails from businesses or friends? The response is probably friends, and if you’re wondering how that helps your business – it absolutely does! Talk to your customers like friends, you don’t need to sell them something in every single e-blast that you send. Use simple subject lines that don’t scream “I’M TRYING TO GET YOU TO BUY SOMETHING!” Especially for small businesses using email marketing, you have an opportunity to talk to your customers about so much more than sales. Give updates about your store, new products, new employee hires, DIY tips, etc.

Consistency with your sends will help users interact with you more regularly. If you only send one e-blast every few months you’ll probably get caught in spam filters or customers will unsubscribe from your list all together. If you’re open about the types of content you’ll be sending your customers when they sign up, then do your best to stick to that content each month.

If you’re looking for tips to build your email list, then check back next month! We have some creative tips ready for you!

5 Ways to Personalize your Facebook Page (without spending a lot of time)

Francesca
May 29, 2014

Competition for your customers’ attention on Facebook is pretty fierce. Not only are you competing with other brands, you are also competing with their friends for space on the newsfeed. In our conversations with dealers, this is often something we talk about so that we can encourage more personal content from the store. As you know, we take care of 15-20 posts for you on social media, but any page would benefit from more personal posts from the store! The number one hesitation that we hear is dealers know they should, but they don’t have enough time. Well, we’re going to make it easy for you! You don’t have to post anything if you don’t want to, just send pictures with a sentence of what’s going on in the picture to your Marketing Specialist, and they will take care of it for you! Below is a simple checklist of things that would be great to post, you can print this out and keep it hanging in your store so it’s always top of mind.

Text tip: Did you know that if you take a picture with your cell phone you can email it from a text message? Simply create a new text message, attach the photo, and instead of putting a phone number in the To: line, you can put an email address! This is an easy way to stay connected with your Marketing Specialist and keep them up to date with what’s going on in the store.

 

 

 

Sending a few of these a month will help take your Facebook page to the next level! While some of the post suggestions may seem a little vague, here are specific ideas that could go along with each:

1. Make an effort for customers to become aware of sales/products going on in your store to encourage them to come in and shop
a. Product Testimonials – share success stories with your Facebook followers. If you have a customer who used products from your store and give you a raving review – post it on social media! Ask the customer to give a small testimonial or take a picture and email it to you so that you can post it. Customers frequently have similar questions or are looking for similar products each season, this is a great way to promote products in a non-sales way.
b. Sale displays – If you have a sale display set up in the store, take a picture of it and post it on Facebook! This helps bring awareness to the sale and helps drive traffic.c. New products/inventory – Take pictures of new products/inventory you are bringing in to keep customers in the loop and share some exclusive content for fans!

2. Support the community that your store is in
a. Local fundraisers – Have you helped to support any local fundraisers? Continue your support and create more awareness for the fundraiser by talking about/posting pictures on social media.
b. In-store events – If you are setting up for an in-store event, take a picture of the staff hard at work and post the picture to Facebook! Make sure to include a little post with the photo about the event to get the customers excited! Take a few pictures during the event and post them the following day to thank customers for attending.
c. Community involvement - Congratulating local business! Ex: “Congratulations Lindy’s Ice Cream Shop for 30 years of business”
d. Is there anything unique going on in the area? A Farmers market or a fundraiser for the local football team? If so, bring awareness to these to show you are involved with your local community.

3. Product driven post – Is there a huge storm coming? If so, advertise products that will help customers prepare for it. Post a picture of the products to go along with the post.

4. Give your customers an opportunity to connect with your staff. One of the (many) advantages that local businesses have over big box stores is their amazing staff! Customers will drive further to get to your store because they feel comfortable with the staff, know they can ask any questions, and benefit from the personal touch only a local business can provide. For those same reasons, you should be posting about your staff on social media!
a. Introduce your new staff – any time you make a new hire, post a picture and short bio on Facebook so your customers know the new face before they come in!
b. Regular photos of staff in the store – Take pictures of employees in action: Stocking shelves or setting up displays, etc.
c. Staff announcements outside of work – If one of your employees welcomes a new baby to the family, post a picture and share a brief post. Post pictures of your four legged friend to share with your followers, etc.

5. In-store photos of customers – this one may not come up as often as the others, but it still makes for a great post! Something like “Starting off this Monday morning with Bryan, who has been a loyal customer for 20 years! Thanks Bryan!! It’s going to be a great week!” with a photo of “Bryan” at the register would be a great post and creates an opportunity to recognize your customers.

The good news is, we are constantly posting on your Facebook page without any of the above content. But adding personal content from the store would definitely help your Facebook page stand out, especially if your competition isn’t doing these things! As always, if you need help, reach out to your Marketing Specialist for ideas!

Get More Traffic to Your Website from Facebook

Francesca
April 25, 2014

Facebook offers many values to business owners, including opportunities to connect with customers, and reaching new customers! But let’s not forget that it’s also a great avenue to direct traffic back to your website!

A great way to create hype or excitement about a big sale, new product, or coupon is to post a teaser on social media and have customers click a link that brings them to all of the information they will need to see on your website! An eye-catching graphic is a perfect way to get a customer’s attention. But don’t just assume customers will know what you want them to do to find more information. Include exactly what you want them to do! If you want a customer to click a link to visit your website, then include an enticing call-to-action to get them to do so! Also, including social terms such as “like” or “share” to encourage customers to share this post with all of their friends is also a great way to have your post be seen by even more people!

The great thing is your Marketing Specialist can help you track if these posts are working for you! Google analytics provides this information and your Specialist can tell you exactly how much traffic you get from social media sites on certain days!

What do Potential Customers and Search Engines Have in Common?

Francesca
April 24, 2014

This just in! Potential customers and search engines have something in common: they both want more reviews from your current customers! Reviews will help to improve your local search engine results and help to improve your company growth through an online version of word of mouth marketing. But how can you get more?

For the most part, review websites are okay with you asking your customers for a review, as long as you’re not specifically asking for a positive review. The only review site that definitely does not allow this is Yelp. Other than that, you can ask that customers review you and you should encourage that they do!

When asking for reviews from customers there are some do’s and don’ts that you should know before your pages get flagged and potentially amazing reviews get deleted:

Don’t

  • Don’t send out a mass email to customers to ask people to review you – all of the sudden getting a review a day or a few a week is going to look suspicious and probably show they are not legitimate.

Do

  • Follow up with satisfied customers via email and let ask them about their experience with you. This is a great opportunity to hear honest feedback from your customers. Once you’ve opened up that communication, let customers know that you’d appreciate their feedback about their experience with your business to help future customers who may be looking for similar services.

Don’t

  • Ask for reviews all on one review site, such as Google. Although you may want to encourage more reviews than Google because it may be the most well-known, you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket. Also, the more variety of sites you have reviews on the better you’ll be in building search engine results.

Do

  • Let customers know which sites you are building your reviews on. Include links to your specific page on a variety of review sites and let customers choose which they would feel most comfortable with. It’s also better to have reviews on a variety of sites so that it’s easier for potential customers to use whichever sites they feel comfortable with and still get accurate reviews.

If you haven’t searched for reviews on your business, it’s definitely a good time to start. If you find that not all of your reviews are as positive as you’d like, you may want to make those pages a priority to improve. Just remember, slow and steady wins the race. It’s better to take time to build reviews than to get a lot at once and lose them in a filter to Google or Yelp! If you have questions, or are looking for more tips, reach out to your Marketing Specialist!

Introduce Your Employees on Social Media

Francesca
March 30, 2014

One of the many advantages of being a local business is your staff. Not only do you, as a business owner, have an opportunity to work one-on-one with your staff, but your customers do too. When customers feel comfortable with your staff they will begin to open up and share the things they love about your business, things they don’t like, and ask any questions they may have. This is a great opportunity for you to learn about your customers!

Social media can help your customers feel even more comfortable with your staff. Consider adding an album on your Facebook page that’s called ‘Meet the Team.’ In this album, you can put a picture of each employee with a short description! I have seen TONS of examples of businesses doing this. Some businesses get really creative and use the description to talk about everything from a particular employee’s dream vacation to pet’s name to their favorite kind of sandwich! Others just have the employees name and position with the company, which is okay too! The point is to take the staff-customer interaction one step beyond the store and open it up on social media. This also helps for customers who may not yet be familiar with your business; it helps new customers to understand the culture of your store and get to know some of your employees before they even come in.

I’ve had the opportunity to see customers really connect with employees on Facebook through the few hundred social media accounts at NMR. Whether it’s through a post, a review, or a photo, it adds so much value to your Facebook page to have customers personally thank an employee, wish them good luck at college, or specifically refer to them by name when asking a question on Facebook. Consider adding a ‘Meet the Team’ album to enhance your Facebook page today! Your NMR Specialist can help you create the album, upload the photos, and place any text that you send our way!

Encourage Positive Reviews About Your Business

Francesca
March 30, 2014

Potential customers are using the internet to research a product, business, or service before making any shopping decisions. When someone does a search on the internet, a customer review can go a long way in speaking for your business. Have you done a search to see what customers are saying about you? Potential customers are aware that not all customers are going to be happy all of the time, so it won’t come as a shock to see one or two bad reviews. What they are looking for are two things: 1. Did you respond to the negative comment? 2. Are there positive things people are saying about your business as well?

In today’s world, a lot of merit goes into a customer review. One of the most popular places for online reviews are on your Google Place Page. Be sure to check out your page today to see what customers are saying about you. If you would like to add some positivity (whether it’s currently there or not) to your page, try offering customers an incentive for leaving you a review. A lot of companies are trying this, for example, if I order something online, I’ll receive a card in my package that says “Write a review on this item and we will give you free shipping on your next order!” It’s a simple way to encourage reviews, but to not be too sales-ey about it. Why not try this at the store level so that you have an opportunity to interact with customers at the same time. Offer customers 5% off their next purchase if they write a positive review about you online. Here are a few sites that accept customer reviews to help get you started:

If you need help promoting this in your store, or on social media, contact your Marketing Specialist for some great getting started ideas!

True Value Service Vendor of the Year

Francesca
February 26, 2014

At New Media Retailer, we have a unique opportunity to partner with several corporate accounts to provide a variety of marketing services to their dealers. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have the blessing and support of tremendous corporate partners. Through each of our corporate partner’s hard work we have been able to offer unique content, resources and guidance to hundreds of small businesses.

We could not be more excited to announce that we have been awarded the 2013 True Value Service Vendor of the Year award at the ARA show in Orlando, Florida. We are so honored to receive this award. Thank you to everyone who has made receiving this award possible, including our dedicated staff, loyal customers, and to each of the corporate accounts who trusts us with their name every day. Specifically, we would also like to thank the True Value Corporate team and True Value members for selecting us as the recipient of this award. We look forward to a great year and much success in 2014.

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