Dazzle Them with The Experience

Do you provide great customer service or a great client experience?

Do you have a business, resimg_7967taurant or store that you enjoy visiting or supporting?  It may because of the products they sell, or it could simply be how the establishment makes you feel when you visit  Our emotions and our experiences play a huge role in branding and marketing.  As brand owners, we cannot ignore the power of creating a great and memorable experience for clients and customers.

Why is Client Experience (CX) Important? 

If a customer has a great experience with you, he/she will likely be a repeat customer and will tell others about your business, service or product. If they have enough good experience, they will be a loyal customer.

Customer experience is NOT customer service.  Customer service is often that point of contact your customer may have your business.  Customer experience embodies every experience, from digital awareness/media until after the transaction or service has been provided (follow-up or surveys).

Below are a few things to consider with creating a strategy for a wonderful and consistent customer service experience.

Keep It Simple 

Unfortunately, I’ve seen businesses or organiations make this too complicated, and then not able to maintain a consistent customer experience plan.  You have your core business – the service or product that you provide – therefore, be careful not to overthink providing a good client experience.  Think about your current client interactions on a daily basis.  How can you improve it?  How can you make it easier or more efficient for your clients or customers? Is there another small way that you can make them feel appreciated?

Ask Them

We often underestimate the power of simply asking our clients/customers how they feel?  If we remember that ultimately marketing is about creating and building relationships, we will keep in mind that in every relationship people just want to be heard and validated.  Are you listening to your audience?  Do they know you are listening and that you’ve heard them?  Are you addressing concerns and issues?  Ask. Listen. Respond.

Look at the Big Picture 

Be careful that you don’t judge your client’s experience on one touchpoint.  They may have a great interaction with you and your service or product, however,  the payment process may have been complicated.  Or they may have tried to order something from you online and it wasn’t clear.  Or someone from your accounting department was rude.  Be sure to step back and look at all touch points and the WHOLE experience of your clients/customers.

Don’t Forget Emotions

Emotions play a big role in marketing and branding in a myriad of ways.  With client/customer experience, you must know your audience and what is important to them.  When we know what is important to them, we understand more of the emotion to connect to and better able to make the the client experience relevant. Always know your audience and what is important to them.

If you need assistance with creating a client experience vision or strategy, feel free to contact me.  I would love to answer any questions that you may have or help you create an amazing strategy.

 

Building a Brand or a Movement?

Creating a movement or a brand-Starting a business is hard work. The hours can be grueling, along with the emotional and mental stamina needed to stay focused and innovative.  One thing that helps with turbulence and challenges of starting a business or organization is to understand if your business or organization exists for more than just paying bills.  It’s always exciting when you are brand is also a movement.  When the company or organization is more than about a product or service, but you are wanting to create change.
Brand vs. Movement
So what is different about creating a movement?  Movements are built on the things that make us human, which is ultimately that we want to be a part of something greater. Connecting to something to believe in and follow.  Movements are about creating a change.  This doesn’t mean that brands won’t do that.  However, the goal of a brand is about telling the story of your business, organization or product and allowing people to experience and follow that brand.  Movement is about transformation, where brands are often looking to dominate and compete in the marketplace. The goal of a movement is to change lives. Both are needed and critical, however the strategy and tactics needed with each are different.
Which are you doing?
If you are interested in creating CHANGE, if you have a message, if you want to go deeper, bigger and bolder, it’s important to see yourself as creating a movement. Movements build momentum and loyalty.  Movements offer hope…
 
Are you creating a brand or a movement?
Below are some key elements to creating a movement:
  •  Inspire.  You can’t get away from it.  If you want to create a movement, you have to inspire people to love something or hate something.  You have to tell the story in such a compelling way that you tug on the emotions of your audience.
  • Experience.  Stories are great; they keep us engaged and help us to think.  However, experiences make us FEEL something.  When creating a movement, you have to create an experience for your audience.  The experience you offer will depend on your industry and the vision for your company.  But don’t ignore it.
  • Live it. Whatever you are asking people to do, you have to be already doing it.  It needs to be ingrained in you and what you believe and do .
  • Create a call to action. What do you want your followers to DO?  Do you just want them to share the information? Donate? Follow? Attend?  Buy?  Whatever it is, tell them what you need for them to do and engage them to be part of the project. You have to show people how to follow.
  • Build a Tribe.  In order to build a tribe, you need to build trust.  Trust allows you to ask people to do some amazing things.  When creating a movement (or building a brand), you need trust.
Again, some brands are both.  They are about telling your company story, creating a following and proposing change.  Whichever you are doing, know the difference and tweak your business model accordingly.  If you need assistance in this area, feel free to contact me at lee@ashbyandwatts.com.  Or attend my next workshop Strategy & Stilettos- The Workshop.

Think Big, But Go Small

Developing a strategy is important in any business and marketing endeavor.  Often business owners or brand owners want to jump right into marketing, with very few plans and absolutely no strategy.

But, strategy is important. img_7842

Strategy is about creating an action plan and implementing it; a critical mistake with
planning is often going too big.  I know society tells us to “dream big” or “go big, or go home.”  I definitely don’t want to limit anyone’s dreams or plans.  However, creating big plans often paralyze or delay action plans. An effective strategy is to learn the skill of going small with your big plans, i.e. FOCUS.

I’ve seen it time and time again… the plans are so big, with no focus and action items. Below are some steps on how to still think big, yet go small with your marketing initiatives.

1.) Know your marketing goal for next 3 months. Choose just one marketing goal for the next 12 weeks and focus on that.  Try not to take on too many initiatives.  Just focus on one thing and know it inside and out.  If you do this every 3 months, you will have accomplished 4 marketing goals by the end of the year.

2.) Know your target audience.  We can never get around this. No matter what your business or organization, you must get serious about knowing your target audience.  This doesn’t mean you ignore others, but knowing your target audience helps you to develop a tone and voice, as well as plans on how and where to market to this audience.

3.) Develop keywords and phrases. Once you know your brand and your goals, it should be easy to develop the keywords and phrases that should be throughout your marketing materials.

4.) Know the value you bring and the problems you solve. Very critical when it comes to focusing and going small.  Don’t try to solve problems that are not your speciality or strength.  This spreads you thin and takes you away from “going small.”  Stick with your strengths and where you add value.

5.) Talk about your results. We could talk all day about ourselves or the business or organization.  Instead of spending too much effort focusing on yourselves, focus on talking about your results.  Testimonials are powerful.  Sharing client quotes or experiences with potential customers or clients are effective in creating a marketing strategy.

Thinking BIG is great!  We need big thinkers and dreamers.  But make sure you know how to go small and focus so that the big things get done.

For more information on creating an effective marketing strategy for your organization or business, contact me for a 10 minute complimentary session.

 

 

 

 

Finish Strong, but Start Stronger

We have all read so much information about finishing the year strong. Finishing strong is admirable and should be a goal for any business owner or leader. However, STARTING off strong should also be our focus. With just a few days left in 2016, our focus should now be shifting to how to start off strong and remain focused in 2017.

I believe in the power of momentum. What is in motion, often stays in motion. This is why morning rituals are so critical. It is often a predictor of how you spend your energy the rest of the day. The same theory applies with your year. Plan the first quarter of your year now, if you have not already. Create an undeniable momentum and see how your year takes off.

Below are 6 recommendations on how to start your year off STRONG in marketing your business or organization:

Develop Your Theme: Even if you don’t externally promote your theme for the year or the quarter, you should have it as part of your marketing plan for your or your team to remember. Having a meaningful theme helps to focus marketing efforts. Anything that does not help build or sustain your internal theme should be considered random acts of marketing. Discover your vision for the year, develop a theme that everyone can quickly remember and put your energy toward your theme.

Create Boundaries: This is a big one for me. I’m learning this as I’m type this blog. But I year 2017 written with sparkles, silhouette of a boy jumpingcan also write about it because I’ve experienced the detrimental effects when a business owner or leader does not create boundaries. In 2017, decide the type of boundaries you need to have a more successful and less stressful year. Will it require saying “no” more often? Refusing to work with certain clients that drain your time or energy? Creating specific work hours or days? One boundary I was proud of this year, is that I said no to work on Sundays. I broke that rule once and I felt horrible and somewhat resentful toward my client. She didn’t know and it was not her fault. It was up to me to establish that boundary. What are those things that brought you stress? Discover how to create boundaries around those issues.

Know Your Leads: If you are not focusing on leads, then you are not focusing on growth. Leads are your prospective clients or customers. Develop a plan on how to turn your leads into clients. Often we are so proud of our prospective clients or our followers, but we are not thinking strategically about how to turn them into loyal clients or customers. It is also important to know how long it takes your typical lead to make the decision to convert to a customer or client. For some industries and businesses, it may be just a few minutes, for other industries it may take several weeks. Normally the higher the risk or cost, the more time it takes to convert them. Know this and develop a plan.

Test and Measure: ROI (Return on Investment) is important. Sometimes it is difficult to measure, but think about what you can measure that will show some accomplishment or movement of some key goals. Marketing or branding is often hard to measure ROI, however, there are components that you can measure depending on your goals. For example, you may measure how your mailing list grows or the analytics of your newsletter. Are more people opening or clicking on the articles? How many people are calling per month? How many people have attended or visited your business or organization?

Don’t Discount… but Add Value: This was also a hard one for me. Discounts are sometimes necessary or can spark activity. However, don’t get into a perpetual cycle of discounting. This diminishes your value and sets the wrong expectations with your clients and customers. Some professionals never discount their services, the same with some products such as Apple. But, making sure you have value propositions is important. You can’t stand your ground on no discounts, but not add any significant value. The better you are, the more you KNOW how good you are, the fewer discounts you need to give.

Brainstorm Big: I LOVE brainstorming. When I meet with my clients, they will often hear me say “I’m just thinking out loud, you may not like this…” Brainstorming is not meant to perfect or right, but to expand your mind and take you down different paths. If something doesn’t feel right to you or you need a breakthrough….start brainstorming. I encourage you to kick off your year brainstorming and exploring the possibilities with your business or organization.

I hope this gets you started on a phenomenal year! Yes, end your year strong and do everything you can to feel proud of how you said goodbye to 2016. But don’t get too caught up on 2016. One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 43:18: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” Or another version says: “But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.” (NLT). The future is bright. Enter into 2017 with great expectations for your business or organization.