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How to win your customers' loyalty back!

The other day, I was listening to a friend of mine vent about her "horrible" experience with the local oil company. She was running low on oil at home, and with a snowstorm coming, she wanted to fill her tank to make sure it didn't run out.


However, when she tried calling the company, she was placed on hold for what felt like an eternity. She then tried getting in touch with someone on Twitter and Facebook, and low and behold, the company had yet to set up an account.


"I'm never doing business with them again," she vowed. Just like that, a nearly two-decade relationship was terminated. 


Do social media well or don't do it at all

You've probably seen the flashing lights and heard the emergency warnings by now about the importance of social media: You absolutely need to have a Facebook and/or Twitter account going forward if you want to be able to compete.


Yes, it's true that you will need to implement some form of social marketing strategies, but keep in mind that's far from the entire truth. 


Social strategies can affect your sales - both ways

Whether you're a social media fanatic or not, chances are a large portion of your customer base is. 


Social networking sites, from the aforementioned Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Pinterest, have essentially become regular mediums of communication. People use them to stay in touch with relatives, friends who have moved away, former colleagues and, apparently, their favorite brands. 

Don't miss the boat: Market to your mobile audience

Many, many years ago, marketing experts and analysts were declaring that you needed to launch a website, as online shopping was going to be the next big thing. 


They were right. A recent eMarketer study revealed that the global ecommerce market surpassed $1 trillion in 2012 - and it isn't even close to peaking just yet. 


Nowadays, the focus has shifted to deploying a mobile site, as - you guessed it - mobile shopping is going to be the next big trend to take off. 


The notion of a full-functioning mobile ecommerce market might be a bit of a fantasy right now for some, but its potential isn't. If you want some proof, look no further than a recent study, which found:


Use new Twitter tool to improve targeted marketing strategies

If you're involved with your company's marketing campaign in any way, one topic that's bound to come up is how you can ensure your messages are reaching the right audience. 


Unlike giant corporations, small businesses don't have the luxury of developing large-scale ads that will reach the majority of the population. It would be nice to produce a minute-long commercial that appears at 7 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, but for most companies, that's slightly outside their budget constraints. 


If you fall into this category, you really have no reason to worry. Through the use of innovative technology, you have more effective channels than ever by which you can reach your customer base. Better yet, you have more effective tools at your disposal to determine what those channels are.


Want to reach the mobile workforce? Advertise during working hours

Most of the time, business owners have very little tolerance for employees getting distracted during work, and understandably so. Personal phone calls, fantasy football emails and, especially, shopping during work are all sanctionable actions.


If you're a small business owner, however, you should be excited about the fact that consumers are increasingly shopping during their day jobs - provided it's not your own employees, of course. 


Rising mobile workforce providing advertisers with golden opportunity

Over the past year, the mobile workforce has exploded, as approximately three-quarters of organizations allow their employees to use personal laptops, tablets and smartphones on a regular basis. 


Digital marketing's big taboo

Every company has had to deal with angry, pesky and persistent customers at one point or another. As a business, it simply comes with the territory.


But can you ever, in a million years, imagine you or one of your fellow workers ignoring a customer? Or more extreme yet, hanging up the phone on someone? Regardless of how difficult that person is being, ignoring them is simply not an option in face-to-face and over-the-phone encounters. 


Guess what? It's also an unacceptable practice in the digital world. 


Shoppers these days don't just appreciate a rapid response when a company delivers service to them online - they expect it. Ignore my Twitter or social media complaint? Fine, I'll take my disposable income elsewhere. Take too long to answer my question via chat? I'm gone before you can say, "I'll be with you in minute."


The vital organs for business success

If you're struggling to decide whether investing in your website or advertising is more important, I'll save you the trouble: the correct answer is that you need both. 


If the website is like the heart - in that you need it to survive - your marketing campaign is like the brain.


Much like our neural system controls the way our vital organs operate, an effective advertising strategy makes everything else work the way it's supposed to. It's what gets customers interested in your product, enticing them to locate your website and, ideally, to make a purchase.


But like the brain, your marketing campaign can never, ever stop working - not even for a brief time period. 


Starting up a business? Use social media to target customers

The past few years have been less than ideal for those hoping to start a business, but those who did knew the company's survival would depend on its marketing strategy because reaching customers was going to take some smart planning. 


So what do you do? Depending on your business, you could host do-it-yourself workshops, send out a mass email for a grand opening, and more than anything else, employ Facebook and Twitter to develop a targeted marketing campaign.


In addition, Facebook ads really allow you to drill down into your demographics. As a result, I recommend setting up multiple ads targeting different people and then watching the results.


Utilizing local marketing for a competitive advantage

By now, there's a good chance you've visited one of the many frozen yogurt chains that have popped up nationwide. 

You know the ones I'm talking about - where you get to pick the flavors and toppings of your choice, and by the time you check out, you've spent 10-plus dollars on frozen yogurt.

Two frozen yogurt chains have opened in my town in the past year alone. More recently, a local gelato parlor opened up that's located within walking distance of its competitors. 

So how exactly can a private small business expect to compete with the big bad frozen yogurt chains? Employing an effective local marketing campaign will likely be pivotal. 

Boost your revenue with email marketing

As a small business owner, you're probably glowing at the newfound opportunities of mobile and social marketing - and you should be.


But while you're focusing on implementing these new technologies into your campaign, don't forget about the benefits of more traditional methods - notably email advertising.


If social and mobile marketing are infants, email advertising is a mature adult. The strategy is developed enough that businesses of all sizes have figured out what works and what doesn't, but young enough that it still has a substantial effect on modern-day consumers.