Why Visual Content Matters –

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”

― John Lubbock

Why Savvy Marketers Use VISUAL Content ? [Infographic]

Digital Marketing: Why Customer Service Matters Part 2 – From Flower Seed to Local TV

My friend, Patricia has a mania for growing hollyhocks.  She had some bad luck with a packet of $4 mail order Red Halo seed. They didn’t sprout!

Before you think a $4 pack of seed is small potatoes – let me remind you that gardening is THE number one leisure activity. Which makes the mail order seed business a highly competitive industry.

Back to Patricia- disappointed she emailed the company with her problem. Almost immediately Summer Hill Seed, sent her a personal reply and included a list of possible solutions. And Patricia was ok with their response. She ordered a replacement and then a few days later this note arrived in her in-box.

Hello Patricia,

We packed your order today and I see that you ordered another packet of the Red Halo. I waited to send a replacement because we requested a fresh batch in case that germination wasn’t up to par.

I sent an extra packet of the Red Halo, a gift of the Lavender Halo (which is gorgeous!) and I sent a $10 gift certificate to help make up for the disappointment in germination of the Red Halo. You can use the gift certificate on anything at anytime. It does not expire.

I appreciate your business and you are important to us. We want all of our customers to have fun with their seeds.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.

Robin

Customer Service Priority Wow!!  Summer Hill not only responded in a timely manner but they had flagged her future orders.  Once they saw she had ordered more, Summer Hill made sure they sent a make-good plus two bonuses. In doing so, they transformed a good (but slightly disappointed) customer into a good customer for life.

With that being said – when I led the makeover of a broadcast TV website we took much the same approach to customer service.  Might I add that this website gets millions of hits a day.  So when it came time to go live you can imagine the pushback we received.

But all was not lost.

Each individual customer complaint (which there were thousands right after the launch) received an individual reply for their feedback. We did end up dedicating extra staff for this and used a great customer service cloud-based software, but I personally answered hundreds of emails in the first few days.

Nine times out of ten, the question “Is there something I can help you find?” solved the problem.

Within a week, the tide had turned. Many of our unhappy customers actually reconnected to let us know they had a change of heart and had come to like the change.

The takeaway here?

Simple.

Relationships matter just as much today as they did in my great-grandmother Ester Mae’s rural community store. People want to buy from people they know and trust. Good customer service not only keeps your customers happy, but it builds trust – fast!

What have you done lately to make sure your customers are happy?

 

Digital Marketing: Why Customer Service Matters More than Ever These Days: Part 1

It happens.  Things go wrong.

Deadlines are missed.  Projects go awry.

In this case, my client’s web redesign was behind schedule.  More and more deliverables were missed. Then, sadly, the project manager on the vendor side was fired.

At that moment, the vendors’ relationship with my worried client could have gone either way.

Unfortunately, it went downhill fast –

“We didn’t know that…we’re just hearing that…we’re doing that as fast as we can!”

The web company became increasingly defensive as the conference call went on.

That’s bad customer service.  Very bad.  Hard as it may have been, the vendor’s team should have been up to speed on the status of the orphaned account.   An apology and a confident promise to make things right, would have gone a long way!

The thing is, no one would have asked for their money back if that approach was taken – which the client ended asking for it in the end, BTW.

It all comes down to one key thing.

Relationships are what make or break us in business.   

We sit behind our keyboards and monitors so much that sometimes we forget those people skills that are critical in the business world:   Delivering on promises, accepting responsibility; demonstrating confidence in your team and their abilities.

Still not convinced?

A few years ago, I was working for the Fortune 100 tech giant Cisco.  This was during the beginning of the digital video boom.  Customers spent millions billions–on bandwidth and teleconferencing.

Why?  So they could look into the faces of the people they were working with, so they could see eyes, expressions, get the vibe-

Relationships matter and they matter a lot.

So let me ask you this, when the tough gets going what are you doing to maintain your business relationships?

Next time?

Part 2: Hollyhocks and local TV—two very different customer service case studies (in more ways than one).  Tune in, as they say.

 

What’s So Special About March? Women’s History Month for One!

You probably were thinking basketball, right?  Well that happens in March too, but so does Women’s History Month.

Last weekend was International Women’s Day and had I not been digging out of my inbox from being out of the country for 3 weeks I would have posted this sooner.

Take a look below at some astonishing feats women have conquered just in the past decade –

Pretty amazing!!  Of course women couldn’t have accomplished all these things without some progressive men too.  So cheers to you too!

If you would like to pay tribute to or learn more about the generations of women whose commitment to progress have proved invaluable to society take a look at the Library of Congress’ collection.

Monday Morning Motivation

When life gets you down, pick yourself back up and remember-

“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.

But sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.

That is the sort of bravery I must have now.”

― Veronica Roth, Allegiant

LinkedIn Is Not the Only Network Helping Business Win on Social Media

As you all know LinkedIn is my network of choice – but take a look at this infograph outlining a study of how the top brands that are using Twitter.

3 key take aways?

  1. If done properly organic growth will happen through engagement.
  2. There is still time to catch up.
  3. Visual content remains to out win any other sharable content.

Are you on Twitter?  What are some of the wins or challenges you have met?

Feel free to follow me @kmelissakennedy and be sure to give a shout out to @simplymeasured for the rocking info!

Working with a Web Vendor—One Thing Every Marketer Should Do to Stay on Time and Budget

Think of it like foreign travel.  Your college French/Spanish or Italian comes back to you and you can understand some of what going on. Besides you have a map, a guide-book, a list of places recommended by friends who have traveled the route before.

Just don’t relax too much.  Because I’m here to tell you this– you and your web vendor are speaking different languages.  Just like in a foreign country, things get lost in the translation—sometimes very BIG things.

Case in point:  A client recently asked me to sit-in on their web vendor meeting in hopes I could add value to the redesign that was already several weeks in the making.

Good move on their part, since the first thing I noticed was a big yikes!  The vendor’s design, would NOT work on the clients’ operating systems or browsers.

Compatibility is typically one of the first issues a vendor should tackle—but somehow it got lost in the translation.   And the client didn’t know that.  They were in a foreign country, after all.

So the take away here is simple:  You need a guide.  It doesn’t have to be an in-house staffer.  You can hire a consultant instead.  Just make sure someone on YOUR team has traveled the web redesign road before.  Make sure you have someone you trust.

Because a little adventure when you’re traveling is a good thing, but on the job, it can quickly turn in CRISIS.    And that’s a very bad thing.

Happy travels.

Three Reasons Your Business or Non-Profit Needs an ACTIVE Blog

Latte_Blog

So I’m rushing to get out of the house for a trip to the other side of the world (literally), and it’s not the packing, the pets, the house sitter, bills or business I’m fretting over most—it’s finding time to write this blog post.

Because there’s never enough time.

Never.

So if you wait for a FREE moment to update your blog, it will age as badly as holiday leftovers in the back of the frig.  And you’ll miss big opportunities, since blogs do 3 very important things to advance your cause:

  1. Get your name and service out there. Having blog that’s updated on a regular basis creates content that is fresh and keyword-rich. Search engines like Google look for this (at the expense of sites that sit unchanged for months). As a result, you’ll rank higher in searches and site traffic. A very good thing…
  2. Build a body of work about your business or service that is not only searchable but also meaningful. In short, blog posts add up. In time you will have a wealth of topics, key words, and links that will attract people who are looking for answers. Not only will this generate site traffic, but some of these people will also become followers, share your content, make comments, and develop a loyalty–actually giving you some brain space (powerful stuff), which leads me to my last reason for an active blog.
  3. Blogs create relationships. They show your authority,highlight your expertise, give you a personality and showcase your accomplishments. Readers get to know you and what you can do. Better yet, through the interactive nature of blogs, you’ll come to understand more about your readers (let’s call them potential clients or customers) and how your mission is playing to a wider audience. 

Convinced yet? It’s a rich topic and I could go on, but I’ve got a plane to catch.

So what does blogging do for you? And how do you find the time?

Can You Succeed Being Earnest & Positive and Tenacious – and Win!?!

Digging a little deeper into my post from last week, I wanted to highlight two extremely positive, earnest and tenacious entrepreneurs.

An inspired gal.

Kelsey Ramsden Founder of 4 companies and one of Canada’s leading female entrepreneur and recently shared her 8 Simple Tips for Entrepreneurs with Forbes.  The southern in me  instantly connected to her when she referred to herself as a gal in her bio!  Kelsey has survived ovarian cancer, managed to keep up a positive attitude and flourish and all in a short time.  I admire earnest people and to me her sincerity is infectious.

By sharing her personal story she manages to blur lines very effectively.  While vastly successful she manages to stay humble, seek advice from her peers and empower others to “live an inspired life.”

What’s in a nametag?

Meet Scott Ginsberg!  Author of thirteen self published books, creative writer with an ever so positive attitude.  An extremely tenacious self-motivated entrepreneur that proclaims everyone should wear a nametag.  He wrote a manifesto about why–worth a read.

Days this guy has worn his nametag? 4,848 and counting!

Scott’s philosophy? Empower people to become what they never thought they could be.  I can relate, this is one of the reasons I decided to become the President of TIMA this year.

P.S. He is a writing machine you should check out his early morning writing process.

To answer the question –

Can you succeed being earnest, positive and tenacious?  Here are just two examples.

Who are some of your colleagues that inspire you?

My Year at the Top of TIMA – How to Balance Time and Still Make an Impact Serving on a Volunteer Board

You can’t do it all –

Oh gosh, how many times have I learned and re-learned that cruel lesson.  So as I begin my year of service as incoming President of the Triangle Interactive Marketing Association (TIMA), I think a critical step is to set obtainable goals and limits.

First some background – 

TIMA is the organization for digital media professionals in the North Carolina’s highly innovative, rapidly evolving Triangle region.  TIMA members are skilled, creative, cutting edge marketers and content producers: freelancers and entrepreneurs.   In short, TIMA speaks the future.

We are busy and that’s a good thing – but more often than not we are too busy and that is not such a good thing.  As with any “extra-curricular” activity members and board members do not have time to waste.

With that in mind here are my 3 (yes, just 3) goals for TIMA in 2014:

  1. Create consistent, relevant, repeatable events and modes of communication.  Volunteer boards like TIMA often recreate the wheel every year. This is not only a big time-drain for the board, but confusing to members.  As my legacy I want to put an infrastructure in place. By doing so I believe  that TIMA will be able to run smoothly from year to year – focusing on things that really matter.
  2. Link educational opportunities to local non profits.  During the year, I hope to create programs linking TIMA members educational outcomes with community non profits. Members will be able to build their resumes, expand their skills, and try new ideas.  All while giving back – non profits can reap the free benefits and get much-needed help and marketing advice.  It’s a big win-win for both.
  3. And I want to engage local business leaders and entrepreneurs with TIMA membership.  Again, it’s an exchange of ideas and experience, another highly relevant win-win.

We started the New Year with an open house.  Not just another party (marketing associations are good at those), but a community driven event.  TIMA attracted more than 40 new members, and several new volunteers.  We asked our members what they wanted out of us, how they’d like to see TIMA deliver value oover the next year.

So the stage is set.

In a few months I’ll check back with another post on how my volunteer year is progressing.

In the meantime, if you’d like – come be a part of TIMA.  We’ve planned some awesome things for 2014!  Be sure to check our website, follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook or hop in our Linkedin Group .  And don’t forget to check out our current February e-vent!  #TIMALove

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