Reciprocity is a word I didn’t know I knew. The definition of reciprocity according to Google: is the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country or organization to another. So it seems to be a concept that we are all familiar with to some degree. I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine sort of outlook. Which interestingly enough is one of the basic social psychological laws. The reciprocity principle as stated in an article by Nielsen Norman Group “It says that in many social situations we pay back what we received from others.”
Think of all the ways that this principle is used in marketing efforts. The first thing that comes to mind for me, is when companies hand out free samples or offer a membership for a trial period. The idea is that you can enjoy something for nothing but you are more likely as a consumer, to remember that experience and that particular product and feel loyal or even obligated to purchase those products later. This is an effective way to gain new customers and maintain customer loyalty~Incentive.
If you have an online business how could you apply the reciprocity principle to your business? Ask yourself what the customers want from you? What can you provide to them to guarantee they will be back? You would want to choose something that aligns with your business and brand. An example might be, if you sell food products, maybe post recipes and other food related information or kitchen tips. The goal is to offer something that is valuable to the customer in order for them to return to you, building trust and loyalty.
Whatcha Gonna Do Elliot Orange?
Elliot Orange specializes in Halloween and holiday inspired whimsical ornaments and home decor. Elliot Orange could post festive decorating ideas for upcoming holidays and events. She could host a free online class on glass cutting, or share her own favorite paper mache recipe for others to try.
The customer is always right. Right? Maybe yes, but that would mean that the business was wrong. Right? If someone is right, than someone is wrong. Riiiiigght.
Ok! What if no one was wrong and instead everyone was right? What if everyone won? I believe that achieving this is what it means to have great customer service! Any business is dependent on clients and customers and customer service is also part of what they are selling. So, doesn’t it make sense to have a strong relationship and partnership with who makes you successful? Id say Yes!
It is easy to feel overwhelmed as a small business or a micro business, especially when you are doing everything alone or with very little help. But that is no excuse not to provide your customers with great service. I recently read a very straightforward article from Crowd Spring providing simple, not to mention easy ways to tackle customer service and save precious time and avoid headaches. Less is more. You can artfully provide the attention needed in ways in which are helpful, short and sweet. Because we all value time! Here are 3 mentioned from the article.
Often sites have an F&Q section of commonly asked questions. Of course you can’t come up with everything in the detail some topics may need but its a good start and could cut down on multiple phone calls or e-mails that require a response. Make sure that you have set in place standard ways of dealing with certain aspects and situations.
Read the e-mail you just received and make sure you are understanding the question or concern being expressed. Reply accordingly. A back and forth e-mail chain of asking questions and clarification can be time consuming.
Make good use of visuals to interpret information when ever possible. We understand images and illustrations faster and easier than reading or skimming through a lot of text.
Some of these tricks can save time and still make the customer feel as if their needs have been met either directly or indirectly, leaving them satisfied and confident in your brand and business.
What do you do when you come to a dead end? What if you were a web designer who was dedicated to making a user friendly site for a client, who was unwilling to fix the issues that you find necessary to achieve the intended goals?
Do you turn back? Fight your way through it? Kick, scream and cry until someone hears you? Probably not. But what are the options to deal with a situation like this?
On one hand the client has hired you because they needed you and your expertise, they are paying you for a completed project. You pride yourself on the quality work you provide, this could potentially harm your reputation. At the very least leave a bad impression of the level of work you provide. One the other hand you could just drop it and move on and write it off as their problem, and this maybe the only option you are left with.
Explain and remind your client that the project is important to both of you. The client hired you because they had an ultimate goal that they wanted to achieve for their business website. To leave it “unfinished” or neglecting to resolve fixable issues that you are both aware of does not leave either of you in a positive or competent position. This would be a good time to mention the importance of a clearly outlined contract that you and the client have agreed upon prior to starting any work. A contract binds both of you to the responsibilities and expectations that have been agreed for a specific project. It will protect both you and your client not to mention the project that you both have a common interest in making successful.
I can pull a rabbit out of a hat!
Actually, no. No, I really can’t. But….I can make something from nothing! No magic tricks here, no sleight of hand, instead a little secret. My secret to editing photos and making flyers, newsletters and postcards is free editing software.
There are dozens of free editing programs out there but, I always fall back on PicMonkey. I find it really easy to use and it offers a lot of fun photo effects. And…did I mention that it’s free!? PicMonkey also offers a Royalty package that you can purchase which then unlocks additional features and editing options. Even this option is affordable.
I love creating something from nothing. I like the freedom of not being locked into software I have to pay a fortune to use and dedicate a ton of time to learning. For example Photoshop is amazing but, I don’t have the time or the money to invest in it right now. This is why PicMonkey is so convenient and user friendly. Across the site they offer templates, tutorials and suggestions to help in your editing process.
PicMonkey does a lot for nothing, and I have found that it has been perfectly acceptable for practically all of my editing needs. What’s better than that?
I don’t need magic to pull a rabbit out of hat but I do need a secret monkey!
Attracting, gaining and keeping clients its kinda important. Let’s face it, clients and customers are the life of your business and it depends on them, heavily. I have chosen to look at the e-commerce business based in Seattle, Zulily.
Zulily is known for their minimal marketing efforts. You won’t see commercials on T.V. or billboard ads while driving cross country. Instead you will see them almost daily in your news feed on social media mainly Facebook. I suppose this approach has been successful to their business because this is the route they still take.
Zulily is using social media to attract their target market women and mothers between 25-45 years old. Zulily spends their marketing efforts and budget, marketing to past customers. By sending e-mail newsletters daily to notify them of the newest sales and items available. This is great use of e-mail newsletters but not an efficient way to gain new customers.
When you visit the Zulily site you are required to start an account by entering your e-mail address. This is not a very good way to gain new customers, most people don’t like having to provide information without getting something out of it. I would suggest that the Zulily allow users to browse first and possibly require an e-mail address at check-out instead.
If they were to continue requiring the e-mail in order to enter the site they should offer an incentive to do so. My suggestion would be to have an option to provide email and when you do you receive $5.00 off your first purchase.
Additionally, Zulily has a referral page, where you can send an invite to a friend, so they can check out the site. I think they should also implement some sort of incentive to do so, for example you and your friend get free shipping on $50.00 purchase.
I believe by making it worth while they will gain customers and loyalty. People will feel like they got something out of it and will be more likely to refer friends and make more purchases. Unfortunately I believe they are missing out on potential customers because they are asking customers to give them something for nothing. Its a turn off.
Do you love managing the finances of your small business? The typical response to book management and finances is enough to put a small business owner into something that resembles a small child, hands over ears “I can’t hear you…”
With all the reading and research I have been doing on the subject this seems to be the general feeling regarding finance management. Its complicated, its stressful, not to mention time consuming. I know, I know, you have so many things to do as a business owner, you just don’t have the time or patience and you’ll look at it later with an accountant. I am here to tell you, I read a great article about what we dread as small business owners and why we shouldn’t.
Xero had a really well outlined plan as to how to stop ignoring your finances, how to plan ahead for the ultimate success of your business and your sanity. One particular thing that really made it all make sense and drive home the importance of being proactive was this direct quote,
“Put financial management at the heart of your business”
If you love what you do, than it is up to you to keep it alive, and not just alive but thriving! One of the biggest reasons that businesses fail is because they don’t plan ahead, or have realistic financial goals or know how to meet them. By taking time weekly, fifteen minutes or so, to assess the current financial status, allows you the opportunity to adjust situations accordingly, and you won’t be surprised if you stay on top of what is happening. This article is a great straightforward resource.
Disclaimer: Oddmall is a real event but Elliot Orange will not be attending. I urge you to check it out.
Come out and play with me! I’ve created a newsletter as an invite to come to show that Elliot Orange will be participating in. Subscribers to the newsletter have shown interest in being notified through e-mail for up-coming events and promotions. I wanted the newsletter heading to grab the reader by saying Come Out and Play With Me, that the e-mail newsletter was going to offer something fun for the subscriber to do and see.
Getting to the Point
Everything Elliot is Halloween so the background image represents that style, staying consistent within the branding theme. I immediately state in the newsletter the title of the event, in which people may already be familiar with and have an interest in attending. The following information is the time and dates and all the fun stuff the event is offering. I also wrote a little personal note from Elliot that she is excited to see you there. I incorporated the Oddmall website with a side note redirecting subscribers to their site for even more information and details. What is cool about this event and newsletter, is that Elliot Orange is not the main focus. Instead its kind of like an invitation to come hang out, making Elliot Orange a little more human and personable. There will be lots of things to see and do. The Elliot Orange newsletter is not about pushing products or selling, its about getting people out to enjoy themselves and have fun.