For the past few years, I’ve started the year thinking about a theme that captures where I think we need to focus to help our customers reach the next level. In the past, these themes have included Give Your Customers a Great Experience, Tell Your Story Online, and for several years running, Go Mobile (here, here, here, and here).
Each of these still ring true, and if you aren’t doing these things – you should be!
This year I am thinking about time. We all have 24 hours in a day, but some people seem to accomplish much more than others. Is it because they spend time more wisely?
In the digital marketing area, there are constantly new social networks, media, advertising platforms, and marketing tools to try; and new content is needed for all of it. It is a challenge to find the time to transition to digital marketing efforts, especially if you have been in business a while and are used to doing things a certain way.
You may have heard me say that if you try to add these new tools and strategies to what you are currently doing, you will never have enough time. How can you integrate digital marketing into your daily activities? What can you replace? Planning and scheduling your digital marketing efforts can reduce the time it takes to do them, but can you do more? Can you use your digital marketing efforts to also streamline your operations and give you more time?
Let’s look at some examples in the context of previous year’s themes.
Give Your Customers a Great Experience
Much of customer experience is delivering what the customer wants, when they want it, and as simply and easily as possible. Here are some things you can do to give your customers and prospects a better experience while also streamlining your operations.
- Set up an automated email sequence for new customers or prospects to make sure that everyone gets the information they need when they need it.
- Set up online forms to capture information to make it easier on your customers. Nobody wants to print out and manually fill in a form. Take it a step further, and make sure that form results are not manually handled the old way in your office too.
- What repeatable processes can you automate while giving a better experience?
- Where can you take steps out of your processes?
- What can you replace?
Tell Your Story Online
Customers want a personal relationship, especially with the small businesses and non-profit organizations they deal with. Telling your story online helps you develop those relationships. Here are some ways you can use those stories to save time and amplify your efforts too.
- You already provide valuable information and advice to customers and prospects. Video that product demonstration, for example, and you have a reference to share with multiple customers and prospects. Expand your reach to expand your business.
- Create online resources for your most commonly asked questions. Customers will find the answer themselves, or you or your staff can answer an email or call quickly by sending a link to the right information.
- What information are we telling customers over and over again?
- What advice and tips are we telling individuals that can be shared with more people?
- How can we develop better relationships with more people in the same amount of time?
So you’ve made your website mobile responsive, but is that enough? Here are some ways to take advantage of mobile within your organization.
- Make your organization’s email, calendars and shared files securely accessible to employees from their mobile phones. Make it easier to collaborate and act on the information they need wherever they are.
- Accept payments anywhere with Square or PayPal Here which are credit card readers that plug into a smartphone. Get paid faster and handle your customer’s credit card information more securely.
- Does it make sense to move to a cloud-based system for scheduling, project management, or appointments to give employees and customers added flexibility and time savings?
- What processes involve too many emails or phone calls back to the office?
- Are there things that can only be done at your place of business or work computer only because you’ve always done it that way?
Each of these things require some up-front time. You must take the time to consider how you are doing things now and how you can make it better. You might have to invest some time in creating some content, but know that you will save more time later by using it over and over again. You must be willing to take the time to change.
Sometimes you have to spend some time to make some time.