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5 Customer Appreciation Tips For 2017

penWhile a simple gesture, saying thank you is a sign of respect, appreciation, and gratitude. As a business owner, you can’t afford to overlook the importance of these two little words. Thanking customers is a huge factor in customer retention, as well as your online presence. Below are 5 creative ways to express gratitude. Not only will the following techniques make your customers feel appreciated, they also ensure your marketing efforts don’t go to waste.

Discounts

Who doesn’t like saving money? Offering loyal customers discounts via email is a great way to show that you are thinking of them. Make sure the content of the email is well-structured, playful, and fun. This is a chance to display a creative edge over your competition!

Freebies

Many businesses are beginning to see the value of saying thank you in the form of a freebie. Take advantage of holidays and clients’ birthdays (if you have that information), by offering a free service or product. This will make your customers feel valuable and appreciated.

Trials

When people are on the fence, a free trial can diminish any worries they may have about your company, products, or services. By doing so, you’re saying that you appreciate their interest. Thanking someone for even expressing interest may seem odd, but it says a lot about how far you will go for your customers.

Showcase

Brining attention to your customers on your website or social media pages will make them feel special. Let others know how much you appreciate their loyalty by being as specific as possible. This is a great way to reach a wider audience, as your customers will likely share your words of praise, if they haven’t already been tagged.

Refer

As a small business owner, you have the amazing opportunity to work with people in a wide range of industries. A great way to show them that you appreciate their business is by sending business their way. What goes around comes around.

Closing

It can be tricky for new businesses to find a creative, genuine way to express gratitude, but don’t let that discourage you from venturing outside of the box. Giving thanks will become more intimate and refined as you build stronger relationships with your customers. Understanding your audience is the key to making the most of the after-transaction phase.

Who to Thank During the Holidays

cinnamon

With the holiday season in full swing, it’s high time to express gratitude to the people who help strengthen your brand and build your business. Rather than send a generic season’s greetings email to every person in your database, you should consider sending a thoughtful, personalized message. While it would be nice to send unique content to each your clients, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. The best way to personalize your messages and still have time for holiday shopping and festivities is to divide your customers into groups and create different content for each. Of course, we’re looking at this from a marketing perspective.

Potential Clients

Potential customers are people who have shown interest in your product or service, but will need an extra nudge to follow through on the purchase. Here’s where bottom of the funnel type of content comes in handy. To convert these potential customers, you will need to diminish any concerns they have about getting on board. Put yourself in their shoes. Do they need more information about your company? About how they will benefit? Is money the problem? Address these concerns in the form of a thank you. Thank them for showing interest by offering a free test-trial or a discount, in the spirit of Christmas.

Existing Clients

Existing clients don’t need more information about your company history, services, or pricing. They’re already sold. You likely already have an established relationship, and now is the time to strengthen this relationship. A good way to do this is by boosting what they already have, or cross-selling. Cross-selling is the practice of selling a different, but related product or service to an existing customer. If you are a company that sells different tiers of packages, give them the gift that keeps on giving by offering a discount on upgrading.

Collaborates

No company is without business partners and suppliers. Whatever yours provide you with, display your gratitude by sending a gift. You can do this via email with a digital gift card or via mail. Keep in mind that the businesses that you work with have employees too. Express your thanks with a company-wide lunch on you. This is a surefire way to show that you appreciate everyone and all they do to help your business grow and succeed.

Employees

The holiday season is a wonderful time of year, but it can be stressful  for employees who are scrambling to complete work tasks before break, while juggling Christmas shopping, cooking, and planning. Show your employees you appreciate all the work they do by organizing a holiday office party with food, beverages, and fun presents. It’s a great way to destress, rejuvenate the holiday spirit, and display gratitude.

Closing

Many businesses are seeing the benefit of creating separate messages for different clients and business partners. It allows for deeper relationships, without sacrificing precious time, which, let’s face it, can be scarce around the holidays. It’s not too late to send off some holiday emails, but you’ll want to be creative. Businesses everywhere are taking advantage of the season by offering special deals and promotions, so you’ll need to find a way to stand out. Think outside the box when it comes to subject lines, and keep the body of the email concise!

 

3 Mistakes You Need to Stop Making When Saying Thank You

chalk boardThis week we’re looking at the technical side of things when it comes to customer appreciation. Whether you’re giving thanks via a handwritten note or email, errors can detract from the sincerity of your thank you. Not to mention, you run the risk of looking less professional. Don’t let a silly mistake get in the way of your thank you! Keep these points in mind when expressing gratitude:

Check for Grammar Mistakes

There’s no doubting you’re busy. You need to get your message across, and you need to get it across fast. But as the old saying goes, haste makes waste. It pays to double check your work, even something as short as a thank you. Here are some of the most common grammar mistakes to look out for:

  • Their vs. there vs. they’re
  • Your vs. you’re
  • Affect vs. effect
  • Who vs. that
  • Then vs. than
  • Assure vs. ensure vs. insure
  • Complement vs. compliment

If you ever have a grammar question, Grammar Girl is a great source for grammar tips and rules.

Avoid Passive Voice

Passive voice is one of the most common mistakes people make when writing. Many people don’t realize they are writing in passive voice, so it is an important point to keep in mind when proofreading.

A sentence where the subject performs the action expressed by the verb is considered to be active voice. Passive voice, on the other hand, occurs when the subject is acted upon. See, we did it right there – is acted upon!

The Hemingway App is a great tool to check for passive voice. It also checks for the level of readability and for phrases that have a simpler alternative. Clear writing made easy!

Keep an Eye on Tone

Have your target audience in mind. This is true for all forms of content, including thank you notes and emails. Are you thanking a new or long-term customer? Casual language is OK for someone you’ve established a relationship, but aim for higher diction when thanking a business partner. It’s also important to consider the deed at hand when writing. An over-the-top thank you for a small favor, is, well, over-the-top.

Closing

These points might seem small, and they are – but when it comes to saying thanks, it’s the little things that count. Errors like these will take away from your message, so it’s worth having a second pair of eyes look over your writing.

Behold: The Power of the Handwritten Thank You Note

pen

We dedicate a lot of time talking about new and innovative ways to say thank you to customers. This week we’re ditching the new and turning to an old-school form of saying thanks. That’s right, we’re looking at old-fashioned pen and paper. Many people will tell you that the handwritten note is a thing of the past, and we couldn’t agree more. But that’s what makes writing by hand such a powerful way to say thanks.

Handwritten notes are at the top of the list with other ways of demonstrating customer appreciation, such as giving a freebie or showcasing a loyal customer on a social channel. In many cases, the pen is mightier than the keyboard, so to speak. Here’s why:

Increased Intimacy

In today’s turbo-charged world, it can be difficult to find a free block to get anything done. Even setting aside 5 minutes to give a simple thanks can prove difficult. This is where turning to the screen can save you a whole lot of time and energy. If this is how you currently communicate with your clients, it might be hard to imagine doing anything otherwise. However, you’d be surprised by how little time it takes to write a thank you note. Since writing by hand is a heartwarming gesture in and of itself, keeping it short and sweet is totally OK.

Improved Personalization

There is no doubting that the digital world makes communication a whole lot more convenient, but be careful – convenience can quickly move into generic territory. After all, who’s to say that the email is written by the person who is actually giving thanks? A handwritten note is as intimate as you can get, without going overboard. A handwritten note also offers the opportunity to be creative. Even if you’re not an artist, you can add a touch of quirkiness with a small doodle.

Closing

Saying thank you is huge part of maintaining a loyal client base, so taking the time to write by hand may be worth it depending on your audience. It will be evident to your customers that you took time from your busy day to say thanks, and this will make them feel special.

What is your company doing to ensure your customers feel appreciated? Let us know in the comments section below!

Show Your Customers They Are Appreciated, In A Creative Way

thanksAs a business owner, you should always be looking for opportunities to enhance your brand, even when it comes to the small stuff. Something as simple as saying thank you can show just how innovative and creative you can be. Expressing gratitude in an outside-the-box kind of way not only makes your customers feel special, it also helps your brand gain momentum. We’re not saying that saying thanks should be a self-serving act, but it’s important to keep in mind that small deeds are part of a bigger picture. Here are three creative ways to say thanks:

Use A Freebie

Easier said than done – this is true in many cases, but not when it comes to saying thank you. If you can’t find the words to tell a customer how much you appreciate their business, why not give a gift? Actions speak louder than words, after all. Your clients will love a personalized gift bag, and you’ll benefit from giving, too. Have you ever wondered why you get mints with the dinner bill? Studies have shown that by leaving customers with mints, waiters are more likely to get a better a tip. In the long run, you’ll reap the rewards.

Showcase A Customer

Displaying appreciation makes your loyal clients feel valued, and thanking your customers on your social media platforms is a great way to do that. Don’t be shy to give a shout on Facebook or Twitter to customers who have supported your business along the way, and don’t forget the little guys. Acknowledging your smaller customers shows a deep level of appreciation, and it will come to them as a pleasant surprise. Showing your gratitude publicly goes a long way.

Hold an Event

Hosting a free event at your business location is a great way to give thanks to familiar faces as well as bring in new customers. When it comes to event themes, keep your target audience in mind. If you run a clothing boutique for example, a book signing from someone in the fashion industry is an awesome way to bring in a crowd. You can then take advantage of the number of people in your store by offering discounts on selected items. Something like this can be applied to nearly any industry.

Closing

Don’t worry about how long or how grand your thank you is. They key thing here is sincerity. If your thank you comes from the bottom of your heart, it will come across as authentic any way you slice it.

LinkNow Media Ranked Number 27 on The PROFIT 500 List of Fastest-Growing Companies

profit csToday, PROFIT 500 and Canadian Business unveiled their 28th annual list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies, which will be published in the October issue of Canadian Business and PROFITguide.com. We are honored to announce that LinkNow Media ranked 27 on the list with a five-year revenue growth of 2,755%. We also ranked as the 5th Fastest-Growing Company in Montreal, and the #1 Fastest-Growing Marketing & Media Company in Canada.

“Companies become a part of the PROFIT 500 through innovative thinking, smart strategy and sheer grit,” says James Cowan, Editor-in-chief of PROFIT and Canadian Business. “These firms demonstrate what Canadian entrepreneurs can achieve, both at home and across the globe.”

A Long-Standing Commitment to Excellence

As a small company, we are thrilled to be on the list, and even more excited to have ranked number 27 on the 28th annual PROFIT 500. We know that this wouldn’t have been possible without our loyal clients. Some of you have been with us from the very beginning and some of you are new to our family, but truly, without any of you, LinkNow Media wouldn’t have obtained this level of success.

We’ve written in previous posts about ways businesses can say thank you to customers, so we would like to take the opportunity to do that. From everyone here at LinkNow Media: thank you! You are without a doubt the backbone of our business, and the reason for our tremendous growth. Your success is our success, and we are always looking for better ways to serve you.

As an internet marketing and website design company, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to connect with our clients on a very personal level. It wasn’t too long ago that we were only building websites for plumbing contractors. Today, we are proud to say that we are building websites for more than 70 industries, from interior designers, to auto mechanics, to lawyers. It’s a pleasure working with and researching for varied occupations, from the CEOs to guys out in the field.

Let LinkNow Help You Succeed Online

If you are a small business owner looking to improve your web presence, our team of experts would love the opportunity to talk to you about how we can help grow your business online. Get in touch with us and learn why we’re the #1 fastest-growing marketing and media company in Canada.

About PROFIT and PROFITguide.com

PROFIT: Your Guide to Business Success is Canada’s preeminent media brand dedicated to the management issues and opportunities facing small and mid-sized businesses. For 34 years, Canadian entrepreneurs across a vast array of economic sectors have remained loyal to PROFIT because it’s a timely and reliable source of actionable information that helps them achieve business success and get the recognition they deserve for generating positive economic and social change. Visit PROFIT online at PROFITguide.com.

About Canadian Business

Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-serving, best-selling and most-trusted business publication in the country. With a total brand readership of more than 1.1 million, it is the country’s premier media brand for executives and senior business leaders. It fuels the success of Canada’s business elite with a focus on the things that matter most: leadership, innovation, business strategy and management tactics. We provide concrete examples of business achievement, thought-provoking analysis and compelling storytelling, all in an elegant package with bold graphics and great photography. Canadian Business—what leadership looks like.

 

 

3 Reasons Why You Should Share Yelp Reviews on Facebook

yelp yelpFacebook is a great platform for enhancing your brand image, sharing ongoing promotions, and building meaningful relationships. If you manage your company’s Facebook page and post regularly, you are likely already doing these things. However, can you be doing more? If you have a Yelp profile, you should consider sharing your customer’s positive reviews with your Facebook friends. This is one area that many businesses shy away from because it involves tooting your own horn, but you shouldn’t be afraid to share what others are saying about you, especially words of praise.

If you don’t like the idea of boasting your achievements, here are three reasons that might change your mind:

Your customers will love it!

Yelpers take writing reviews very seriously. They see it their duty to help others by sharing their experience with your company, regardless of if it was positive or negative. So, what’s in it for them? Besides perks, like free food at restaurants, Yelpers don’t really get paid. Putting a Yelp reviewer in the spotlight is like giving them a virtual slap on the back. They will love the limelight, and this exposure has the potential to opens doors of opportunity.

It’s free and easy advisement!

Word of mouth is still the best form of advertisement, and it won’t cost you a cent! Plus, Yelp makes sharing reviews via Facebook as easy as clicking a few buttons. All you need to do is log in to your business account, go to “Account Settings”, click “Change Settings” in “External Services,” then click “Connect to Facebook.” From there, all you need to do is log in to your Facebook account and click the “Allow” button. Now, all of your Yelp reviews will post to your Facebook wall. That means negative reviews, too. This something that every business will have to deal with at one point or another, even businesses with high ratings. Look at it as an opportunity to show your customers that you will go the extra mile to find a solution and fix a problem.

Others will follow suit!

Sometimes all it takes is one happy customer for positive reviews to spread like wildfire. A positive review can encourage a Facebook friend to comment or head to Yelp to share a similar experience. Sharing your Yelp reviews on Facebook grants you access to an audience you couldn’t reach on Yelp alone. Keep in mind, if you don’t want to automatically share reviews, you can always copy and paste the review as a status.

Closing

While Yelp may be more popular for those in the food and beverage industry, any business of any size can benefit from creating a Yelp profile. Once created, your customers can easily find your business location, post reviews and photos, and rate your business! Let them do most of the legwork. You work hard enough!

 

 

3 Ways to Attract Online Customer Reviews

email 2Positive customer reviews are important. How important? Consider this: 88% of consumers are influenced by online reviews. That means what your customers are saying about you online plays a HUGE role in the buying process, for better or worse. The key to getting positive reviews is, well, doing a good a job. It’s that simple. Put your customer first, deliver excellent service, and offer excellent products. Many business owners tend to overthink getting positive reviews and will go to great lengths to get them, even if that means going against Google’s guidelines.

Here are three legitimate ways you can attract online customer reviews:

Make forms easy

People like writing reviews. Whether sharing a good experience or bad experience, a majority of people will take 5 minutes out of their day to let others know if your company is worth their time or money. So, throw them a bone. Make it easy for them. Unless someone has something really bad to say about your company, no one is going spend time looking for a place to write a review. Create profiles wherever you can: Yelp, LinkedIn, Yahoo Local, Google Local, Trip Advisor, and Angie’s List. It’s also helpful to integrate a testimonials page on your website. This will allow a customer to leave a review with ease, and it’s a great way to boost your ranking on search listings.

Offer incentives

When it comes to online reviews, you need to be ethical. If you’re a startup, you may be tempted to buy positive online reviews. Quick word of advice: don’t. If your customers can’t spot the fakes, online review sites will. Not only will that cost you your reputation, you’ll also have to pay a hefty fine. Fake reviews are fraud. Why shoot yourself in the foot? Sometimes, all your customer needs is a little push to write a review. Offering an incentive, such as a discount on a future service, can be that extra thing that gets them sharing their thoughts about their experience. If you have a physical storefront hang up posters to let them know about the contest, or you can share it on social media.

Share reviews

Creating a company Facebook page is free and easy –  there is no reason why your business shouldn’t have one. It’s a great way to enhance your brand, share ongoing specials and promotions, and build and maintain relationships with your clientele. It can also be used to share positive reviews. Your customers will love being in the limelight, and their good word will motivate other satisfied customers to follow suit. It’s a win-win.

Closing

Online reviews are the new word of mouth. The more positive reviews you have, the more likely people are to choose your company over local competition. Keep in mind, that you will get a negative review from time to time. That’s life. See it as opportunity to show your clients that you care about your company by finding a solution to their problem.

3 Reasons You Should Not Buy Fake Customer Reviews

3 reasons you should not buyPositive customer reviews greatly impact the purchasing process and are essential in running a successful business. 92% of consumers read online reviews when searching for a service or product. What customers are saying about you on Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Amazon can be a deciding factor in whether or not you’ll be getting a phone call. The more positive reviews your company has the more likely a consumer is to choose your services or products. Not to mention, they help to move your website up on search result pages.

Given all that good stuff, it is not surprising that there are a ton of fake customer review writing companies for hire. If you’re a startup, you might be tempted to pay for such a service to get the ball rolling. Here’s three reasons why you shouldn’t:

Your Customers Can Spot Fake Reviews

Your customers are on the ball when it comes to reading online customer reviews. Fake reviews sound fake. They tend to be short, generic, and not at all helpful. A phony comment isn’t hard to spot, and it can wind up costing you your reputation. If you have glowing reviews about your customer service, but the beat on the street is otherwise, something clearly isn’t adding up. Lying to your customers is not a good way to earn their trust. You’re setting yourself up for failure.

Review Sites Are Smarter Than You Think

As much as it might hurt to see the dozens of online reviews your competition has, the age-old adage applies here: quality over quantity. It’s better to have a few real positive reviews than a hundred fake positive reviews. If your customers can’t spot the fakes, online review sites will, and that’ll cost you much more than your reputation. Fake reviews are fraud. Getting caught writing fake reviews comes with a pretty hefty fine. Why risk it?

You Miss the Opportunity to Have a Conversation

Reviews come in all types of flavors, both good and bad. Your job is to respond to them. A positive review is an awesome opportunity to provide your customers with a thoughtful thank you. And, while negative reviews suck, they’re a chance to show that you care about your company and will do what you can to find a solution to their problem. This type of engagement and interaction isn’t possible with fake customer reviews.

Closing

Making a good name for yourself can take time. If you are a new business, don’t get discouraged. Reviews will come. Negative reviews, too. See them as an opportunity to improve. It’s better to be flawed than fake.

 

 

3 Simple Ways Small Businesses Can Say Thank You to Customers

3 Simple Ways Small Businesses Can Say Thank You to Customers by LinkNow Media

Customer retention is one of the most important aspects of running a small business. With increasing competition in many sectors of the market, it’s even more important to display your creative edge over your competitors to show customers why they should do business with you. It has been found that 68% of customers switch between businesses because they feel under-appreciated. Here are 3 simple, but often overlooked, techniques to show your gratitude.

1. Handwritten Notes

Showing gratitude after a customer completes a purchase is one of the most effective ways to show appreciation. Handwritten notes, unfortunately, have been lost to the past due to technological advances like email and text messaging, but that doesn’t mean they are any less effective in terms of showing gratitude.

Be sure to send the note in a timely manner, as promptness will help solidify your stance in the mind of the consumer. This will ultimately put your business at top of mind next time that consumer has a need to be filled. Although handwritten notes may take longer than an email or text, customers often take this into account when receiving them, and the commitment to showing gratitude does not go unnoticed.

2. Exclusive Sales

Offering customers exclusive offers via email, or regular mail is a very effective way to increase customer retention. It’s simple: people love to save money. But, one way to take it a step further is to offer more exclusive offers and coupons to loyal customers.

This can be a surprise email, postage coupon, or a simple discount at the conclusion of the transaction. If you can make the customer feel valuable in more ways than one, they will feel appreciated. This is technique has become somewhat less popular with the introduction of loyalty clubs, but it can still create the same effect as those programs.

3. Personalized Interactions

Many businesses today are reaping the benefits of social media exposure as it is allowing their businesses to grow and flourish online. This is a direct result of low-cost advertising and public customer interaction. Many customers interact with companies via social media, both before their transaction and after.

The most important aspect of this is the after-transaction phase. In this phase, businesses should interact with customers more personally on social media to create a deeper customer relationship, making the whole consumer experience more memorable. Thanking customers for their business and addressing them by first name is among the best ways to do this. Make a point to personalize each interaction.

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