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Friday, July 22nd, 2011
The Search Engine Giant Google has recently introduced a new credit card to select U.S. advertising customers. Following the traditional release pattern for Google products the Google credit card is currently in a beta test phase and is invitation only. Invitations to participate in the new AdWords credit card experience were sent out to a handful of businesses Wednesday July 20, 2011. Unselected users who are interested in obtaining the new credit card will need to wait until the conclusion of the beta test, similar to the launch of Google+ and Gmail.
from http://www.google.com/adwords/awhelpcenter/, July 2011
Although the Google advertising credit card is a MasterCard that that is issued through the World Financial Capital Bank it can only be used to purchase search advertising from Google. The new card is designed to help businesses relieve some of the financial burden of advertising costs. When unable to purchase advertising a business can lose their connection to their customers and often experience a drop in traffic or sales. Without that outlet to reach their customers and showcase their products they miss out on that opportunity to generate revenue. Consequently, without this revenue the business lacks the resources to purchase additional advertising and propel future growth, which is where the new credit card could make a drastic difference.
Google credit card is able to lend some support and prevent a business that is short on funds from missing out on potential sales during the heavy upcoming sales seasons. With this credit card Google advertising customers are provided a line of credit with a locked in 8.99% interest rate with no annual fees. Google expressed that they realize that AdWords provides tremendous growth opportunities for small to medium sized businesses and the goal for the new card is to provide those businesses with a more supportive and attractive way to pay. The number of customers chosen to participate in the beta period is unknown and like most credit cards the minimum and maximum credit lines will vary per customers.
Although the card was created with the customer’s best interest in mind, Google also has an opportunity to capitalize on revenue from the credit card interest payments. Google makes 96% of its revenue from advertising and by offering a credit card they are not only offering their customers extra support but they can also collect extra income.
Brent Callinicos, Google’s Treasurer states “Obviously we have a robust balance sheet, so this is a way for us to use that balance sheet to help our customers, It isn’t a financial engineering project that we came up with and said this would be cool to do. It’s a customer need”.
Missing from the credit card is any type of rewards or bonus points. The company feels that given a choice their customers would rather utilize a card with a 9% interest rate over one that has an 18% interest rate and offers some sort of reward feature.
For more information visit:
Reuters- Google offers a credit card to advertisers
Sign Up For Google AdWords
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Thursday, May 26th, 2011
Email campaigns may be a great way for a business to generate an increase in sales but they can also produce a negative effect on the business if poorly executed. Although email campaigns do not provide the same results as they once did due to social networking sites, if done correctly, an email campaign should not only increase company sales and exposure but should also provide value to the customers. Many companies employing email campaigns often fall short of accomplishing their goals because the emails appear too spammy, lack customer value, or fail to project any personality. The tips below serve as a rough outline to create better email campaign communication between customers and businesses. By using these outlined tips a company can improve their email campaign’s chances of appealing to their customers.
When it comes to email campaigns it is important to provide content that is actually helpful to your consumers. You don’t want to email them for the sake of emailing. Send out information that is promotional or newsworthy. Many companies use email to remind customers of their presence but tend to offer little to no true value with these reminders. The common response that most customers have when these types of emails are sent out is automatic deletion. Unless a customer feels like they will benefit from the contents of the email, it will probably remain unread and a wasted expense for the company.
When sending out emails try to give your customers something to care about and appreciate, rather than just bothering them with useless information. Only relevant and appropriate information should be included such as deals, promotions, events, product updates, business changes, and other information worthwhile for your consumers. Keep your email campaigns focused and remember that the purpose of your email campaigns is to attract customers not annoy them.
- Take Advantage of The Subject Line:
Do not overlook the power of the subject line, this part of the email provides the most influence towards the customers decision to read or delete the email. In the subject line it is important to create a short and sweet message that again appeals to the customer without trying too hard. Trying too hard will only appear as spam and will turn away readers. Find creative ways to capture the attention of email recipients while avoiding using all caps and word repetition to convey your message. The subject line should be used to emphasize why the customer should care and also provides an opportunity to add a touch of personalization.
- Don’t Blind Readers With Your Call to Action:
For email campaigns it is best to use a call to action that is subtle. Rather than forcing the reader’s attention to the call to action make it noticeable but natural. Customers are more likely to click on an appealing offer that seems more legitimate rather than one that dominates the page and is perceived as forceful.
- Remain focused on the Customer:
Avoid using words and phrases that are focused on your own business and instead use customer driven keywords. Convey your message without over inflating your sales pitch, express how the contents of the email will benefit the customers, be transparent, and authentic.
- Show That You Care, Personalize:
If you know the names of your customers take the opportunity to build a connection through the email. Customizing your email campaign with the names of your customers will show them that you put more effort into their future business and not just sending out generic emails. Along with the names of your customers you can also create quick messages that refer to previous experiences, products, or similarities. Birthdays are another great opportunity to build a customer relationship, for example sending out special messages or promotions on or around their birthday. Use an email format that is best suitable for your clients, do they like information in bullet form, pictures, and so on. These small differences might not seem like the most important details but knowing the likes of your customers is always a good start when it comes to business. No matter what, make your customers feel appreciated and take the time to customize their email, it will help them feel welcomed and more incline to use your business.
- Tryout Several Email Campaigns and Analyze the Results:
Try out various email campaigns and determine which of them was most beneficial to the increase in traffic or customer feedback. Test out newsletter frequency, personalization, email format, and find out what works best for your business and your customers. Analyze what was successful, what wasn’t, and learn from your mistakes. Continue to update and modify your campaign to get the best results.
- Provide An Option to Unsubscribe Not A Reason:
Don’t upset your customers by sending out unwanted emails, when performing commercial emails provide users with the option to unsubscribe. Not only can your emails be marked as spam by frustrated customers but it is also a law to provide an unsubscribe button. The CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business details a set of regulations for commercial email. This law establishes all the rules for commercial messages and according to the CAN-SPAM Act email recipients must have the option to discontinue any future emails. Failure to comply with these standards can lead to fines, penalties and wasted email campaign efforts.
Hopefully these tips will help with your next email campaign, for more tips visit Exact Target Email Marketing Tips and Improve Email Newsletter Open Rate.
For assistance with your email marketing campaigns you can also check out professional services like Constant Contact, Active Campaign, ExactTarget and Benchmark Email.
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Friday, April 1st, 2011
When considering the local presence of your business there are a couple key factors that will often play a vital role in how prominent you are in the local search results. When customers try to find your business by searching a service or product that you offer combined with the location of you business, is your business getting the necessary exposure?
One of the best ways to increase your local presence is to create and optimize a Google Places page. A place page is a profile of your business that incorporates crucial information such as your business’s phone number, map location, description, address, photos, videos, customer reviews, associated links, and any other information that is necessary for your customers to know.
Why should you have a Google Place Page?
Your customers are out there and are probably trying to find your business, make it easy for them to locate you! A place page shines a spotlight on your business and consolidates all of the important information that customers need or want to know about your company. In addition it also draws in customer reviews and your current reputation from third party sites. Also because a place page is a part of Google they will show your site more love and credibility when searches are performed in the Google search engine.
Establishing a Google place page provides an increase presence when customers perform local searches. For example when a customer searches for a product or service plus a location that your business serves users will receive a page place search result. These results will include the name of your company and the information you provide in your place page account along with a map image of your location. Along with having a Google place page some additional key defining factors that are thought to affect a business’s standing in local searches include:
- Having a business address in the location being searched.
- Volume and quantity of citation links which occur when other sites mention or reference your business across the Internet.
- Quality and quantity of structured and unstructured customer reviews that are from your business place page as well as third party sites.
- Appropriate keyword use in place page title and description. (Avoid overusing keywords)
- Quality, quantity, accuracy, and description of inbound links.
- Velocity of customer reviews or how frequently you are being referenced.
- The number of times that your business appears on other businesses map searches.
- And the photos and videos that you include on your profile page.
How to claim your business and establish a Google place page:
- Visit Google Places and click on the “get started” option.
- Create an account –although it is completely optional Google likes to see users create accounts with emails that match the domain to the website for their business because it increases the trust factor.
- Click on the button that says “List your business”
- Fill in the text fields for country, phone number, company name, street address, city, state, email address, hours of operation, customer payment options, business description, associated links, and your websites URL.
- Fill in the categories, Google offers five input boxes for categories and you should use all five category boxes although Google does not require you to do so. There is really no reason not to take advantage of all the category fields and if you don’t see a category that you want you can create one however it is advised that you use at least one of the ones that are provided.
- Select the service areas by determining a service radius or individually list specific areas that you serve.
- Once you input this information Google will automatically generate a map with your location and will also display all the information that you provided below.
- Add any additional information that you feel is important to convey to your customers.
- Add up to 10 pictures while complying with the Google image submission guidelines.
- Paste and attach any YouTube video URLs that you want to display.
- Click Submit, once submitted Google offers two validation methods the first being a post card which takes a week or two to arrive and provides a pin number to activate the place page. The second option is to receive a phone call that provides the activation code. Although the post card takes longer than the phone call it further builds trust from Google because it confirms that your business is at the location that you specified whereas a phone call would only ensure the correct phone number and not necessarily the location.
- Once you receive and enter the pin number you have claimed your business place page and can update it through the Google Accounts Dashboard. Another detail worth mentioning is that a user can have multiple place pages as long as each of the pages is associated with a different business.
Once you have created a place page for your business you should see your page results when performing a local search. By having a place page and taking into account the factors discussed earlier your business should be able to increase its local presence.
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Friday, February 25th, 2011
Customer relationship management (CRM) software like Infusionsoft can be great a way to manage the expectations of your clients. The Infusionsoft application is much more than just email and provides a fully integrated customer documentation center. CRM software creates an interface where you are able to store all the details concerning customer interactions including but not limited to their contact information, personal notes, and recorded conversations. Among the other well known customer relationship management companies are Salesforce, Constant Contact, and ONContact.
Going beyond the role of a traditional email account, CRM software not only compiles your company contacts but makes it possible for you to keep track of any information that could play a key role in your customer relationships. Almost working as a high powered client cheat sheet this type of software contains everything you need to know about your client, greatly benefiting your customer communication skills. When utilizing customer relationship managers there are three important phases acquiring, enhancing, and retaining. Infusionsoft and software like it are designed strictly to achieve success in all three stages. These types of programs attempt to acquire new customers, enhance the customer service experience, and generate a lasting impression on the customer in order to retain their customer loyalty.
With CRM software you are able to fully integrate your business’s website to gain leads, maintain contacts, and grow your client list. By using a built in form builder you can quickly establish submission forms for your website that automatically links potential client data to your Infusionsoft client database. The Infusionsoft application can play a powerful role in your email marketing campaign. In an attempt to increase the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign Infusionsoft facilitates the creation of professional emails, selection of targeted consumers, and the monitoring and tracking of all your business to client transmissions.
In addition Infusionsoft comes fully equipped with Smart automation that allows automated marketing, automated follow-ups, automated sales-cycles, and automated fulfillment. Not only does Smart automation enable you to save time but it also maintains contact with current as well as potential future clients. The automation is fully customizable for each individual client thus building a better relationship and establishing standards for each or your interactions. Auto responding prevents users of Infusionsoft software from missing important dates or losing key leads. By establishing the built in triggers you are able to follow the leads that are the hottest and remove the guessing aspect of your customer interactions.
All in all, businesses can certainly exist without using CRM Software as long as they find other methods of meeting the expectations and needs of their customers. However with CRM applications the basic groundwork is already provided and makes it that much easier to keep your customers happy and your relationships growing strong. So, why not utilize a customer relationship management program or an application like it to make your job a little easier and your business a lot better!
Among the advantages that Customer Relationship Management Software provides are:
- Increase in quality
- Increase in efficiency
- Decrease in cost
- Better customer support
- Swift business actions
To learn about additional features that Infusionsoft offers visit Infusionsoft Additional Features!
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Friday, February 18th, 2011
from http://www.squareup.com Feb 2011
To accommodate the businesses that are on the move a few companies have begun to stray from the traditional stationary credit card readers. Among the companies already offering mobile card processing is “Square” and “Intuit GoPayment”. Created in 2009, Square like the Intuit GoPayment system offers a device that works as an electronic card reader with the design purpose of accepting electronic payments without the inconvenience of traditional bulky equipment. Without the restrictions that cash registers, card readers, and receipt printers inflict, vendors can now be completely mobile and better serve their clients. The “Square” gadget is about the size of a quarter and plugs directly into a headphone outlet on devices like the Dell Streak PC tablet or the Apple iPhone. Currently the device and software are only supported by the Apple iOS and Google’s Android operating system. For a full list of devices that support “Square” visit this link is my device supported?
“Square” provides customers and vendors with a fast, simple, and safe buying experience. Both the software and the card reader are free and are available after establishing an account at SquareUp.com. Following the creation of your account, the Square application can be downloaded through your device’s app store and you can begin mobile card processing.
It appears that the only charges that an account holder will incur while using Square are a 2.75% + 15¢ charge for swiped transactions or a 3.5% + 15¢ charge for keyed-in transactions. Using Square allows individuals or businesses to side step activation fees, annual fees, early termination fees, customer service fees, statement fees, batch fees, monthly minimum fees, authorization fees and any other less obvious fees associated with credit card processing.
“Square” is extremely easy to use and only takes seconds to complete a sale. All you have to do is swipe the credit card, enter the amount of the purchase, fill in the details of the purchase, charge the account, and send out a receipt. Upon completion of a customer’s transaction a detailed receipt is stored on your device and can be sent to a customer’s email account. Additionally, cash payments can also be monitored using this software.
The mobile nature of this device can cause some concerns regarding its security, however all of data sent out of your device is kept in a monitored and secure location. All personal and vital information is encrypted following industry-standard security practices and is backed by VeriSign and the PCI Security Standards Council.
“Square” currently accepts most of the major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. In addition to swiping a customer’s card, merchants are also able to manually enter credit card information for phone or Internet orders. Whether you’re a new small business that can not afford the traditional equipment, or you need to accept payments while you are traveling, or if you simply want to cut down on credit card processing fees “Square” has you covered.
Establish your Square account today at SquareUp.com to receive your free device and software. Experience a new, fast, and efficient way of processing your customer’s credit transactions!
More valuable information:
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