Tag Archives: help business

Keep Your Clients Happy and Your Business Booming

Image via Wikipedia

Finding good clients and customers is can be difficult. Small business owners have to work intensively for their leads and to gain new clients. The most important thing to do to make sure that all your hard work does not go to waste is to cultivate a relationship with your client and keep them for a long time.

This is not a hard thing to do, but it can take a little forethought and planning. Looking after your clients is a way of looking after your business so here are some ways to help you keep your clients.

Be Polite

The way you treat other people says a lot about you. Treat people nicely – all the time, not just when they are potential clients. Try not to get pushy about sales, chill out and relax and make sure that you maintain the same easy tone when writing emails as well as on the phone. It is incredibly easy to be misunderstood on email, so make sure that your emails send out the information that you want them to, professionally and with courtesy.

Return Calls Promptly

There is nothing worse than sending an email or leaving a phone message and being left hanging. This is especially important if someone is waiting for important information. Try and get back to clients promptly with information as soon as possible. This can be difficult if you are waiting for a third party to come back to you. Even so, you should keep your client informed as to what is going on and do your best to press your person to get back to you asap. Keeping communications open keeps your clients happy.

Establish Project Parameters

Know exactly what it is your client wants. This applies particularly to businesses that offer a service such as copywriting and web design. Some business people ask clients to fill in a questionnaire to help explore their needs for the project.

Deliver Products and Services Promptly and on Time

This is one of the most important things that you can do related to customer service. If you can consistently deliver your work on time, or deliver your products quickly, then you will get a great reputation and recommendations from other people. When estimating service times you should include extra time to make sure the work is done.

Ask for Customer Feedback

If something went wrong, then you need to know about it. Encourage your customers to talk to you about your services and products. Hopefully you’ll pick up some nice comments and references. If something went wrong, then make sure you put it right.

  • 5 Smart Ways to Find Clients (blogs.sitepoint.com)
  • The caveat of a happy client. (xemion.com)
  • Client Retention is Easier with This 5 Step System (bettercloser.com)
Share

Which Do You Choose – Directory or Web-Based Advertising

Photo by Ian Britton and licensed under Creative Commons

It’s a new year and you have a limited marketing budget earmarked until the end of the financial year. You know that you want to promote your company to the widest audience possible and you are determined to spend wisely.

You have a number of choices – which way do you go?

Phone Directory Advertising

The traditional way of bringing in new customers was to pay to advertise in the local phone book. These are delivered free to the local area that they cover, although it is possible to order them for another area. You are listed alongside similar companies, which makes it easy for a potential customer to locate you but if you are not among the first five letters of the alphabet, then you may be at the end of a very long list. The directories last a whole year, which makes them very out of date by the time they are being replaced. Most directory companies are now offering online search services alongside their paper directories and this has more advantages in that the directory cannot get lost and that they may turn up in a search engine. If the companies are household names then this service may well offer more value for money.

In this blogger’s humble opinion, paper directories are on the way out like the Oxford English Dictionary and directory companies are more likely to focus their efforts on their websites.

Local Directory Websites

A number of companies have sprung up which use a national name offering a local service. The local website is usually a local franchise and so the service can vary with the franchisee. Some of them work on recommendations, which can help businesses build a good reputation, but most of them are still paid advertising. They are completely web-based and if well-promoted in their local area, may bring in some good results. It would be wise to ask around whether any in your network have had experience of using these companies and what kind of results they have had with them. It is also worth checking that they rank well in the search engines.

These kinds of websites include:

www.thebestof.co.uk

www.01527.com (or your local STD number)

www.upmystreet.com

Local Directory Franchises

There has been some anecdotal evidence that using local directories can bring good results. Unlike  a phone directory, the local directory contains a mish-mash of advertisers which is delivered through your door, either monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. Advertising is usually cheaper than in the phone directories and is linked to the size of the ad and the frequency it appears. The directory is usually an A5 size, and is easily kept to hand. I have known some to come with magnets attached to put on the fridge!

These local directories can be effective as long as they are reaching your targeted audience. Look at distribution rates and frequency of delivery. They also sometimes offer networked events for advertisers which can offer further opportunities for company promotion. The advertising offered is at reasonable rates which can allow even small businesses a chance to advertise.

These are just three ways in which you can spend your advertising budget. Which you choose can depend on your business and the money you have to spend. Whichever way you decide to spend your cash, it is worth researching the different options. The most important thing to look at is value for money. The cheapest option will not necessarily be the best for your business, so look into it all thoroughly before committing your cash.

Share

Helpful Business Blogs

I haven’t written a ‘helpful blogs’ post for a while, and I’ve been enjoying some new heights of helpfulness since my last one. If you’re running a business, then here are some blogs you may find helpful.

Photo by crystaljingsr on Flickr

I love Enterprise Nation! It has a great forum for asking questions, daily helpful articles and a twitter meet-up every day around the watercooler at 11 am.Particularly if you are a UK business, then do check it out.

I found Enterprise Nation from Startup Donut. Again it has a help forum and is particularly useful for information and help for newly formed businesses.

Karen Gunton’s blog, Build a Little Biz is a new favourite of mine. It is great reading for new business owners, or even those just beginning on the Internet. She writes well for Mum entrepreneurs but her advice would suit anyone looking for more information on running a business online.

Freelance Switch is a great site for web developers and designers, but it also includes writers in the mix. The articles are regularly added and very helpful, it has a great cartoon strip and advertises jobs. Well worth a look.

I have only recently begun following Freelance Folder. It is similar in style to Freelance Switch which is a clean professional look. The articles are just as good with lots of helpful hints and tips for business owners.

Finally, if you are looking for either a creative job or for creative workers, try CrowdSpring. It is a simple website that posts projects for a set amount, allowing simply the best proposal to stand out. There are jobs for graphic or web design or for writers. Check it out if this sounds what you are looking for.

We all have different websites that we regularly visit and enjoy. Recommend your favourites in the comments below.

Photo Link: 3D People and Internet Symbol

Share