There’s a social specialist on every corner!!

As a digital strategist and chief of digital experiences I immerse myself in the world of digital every single day. After many years working in all facets of the industry I consider my ‘bullshit radar’ highly tuned.

But lately it seems every second person is a so called ‘social media expert’. No one can claim to know everything in this fast paced ever evolving industry. If they do, then run a mile. As much as I tell my hubby I know everything (and yes I’m perfect) J I know very well I do not and on a professional level I do not pretend to know everything either. No matter what you level of knowledge in any industry you should be constantly learning and updating your skills.  And doing a one day course does not quality you to be an expert. I met a man at a networking last year who worked in a totally unrelated industry but proceeded to tell me he was an expert because he’d helped his mate Bob so he was qualified to help other unsuspecting business owners with no experience whatsoever.  Cowboy alert!

My pet peeve is people proclaiming that if you did ‘x’ you will double your sales, or triple your followers or have leads literally pouring in the door.  I have seen some outrageous claims that gullible and unsuspected business owners fall for. It just makes me angry when dodgy operators with fancy landing pages, fool unsuspecting business owners that believe their outrageous claims.

There are some well respected and very talented digital marketers out there, so follow them on their networks, get to know them virtually, ask questions, interact and talk to industry professionals before engaging someone that claims they can transform your business overnight (because they cannot).

TRUTH
There is no quick fix that can miraculously transform your business overnight – digital or traditional.

Digital is no different to anything else in your business. Like a plant you have to feed it (invest time & resources), trim it back (tweak & make changes) and nurture it (be realistic in your expectations) as it grows stronger and stronger and can finally stand on its own two feet.

Beware of dodgy claims: If it sounds too good to be true it IS.

I met a guy at a networking breakfast last year who when he rudely interrupted a conversation I was having with another person, claimed that we should talk more as his search & video company could have me number 1 on Google within the month. I called Bullshit and did not return his calls.

Implementation and action are key

Fact: If you don’t do the work you won’t make progress! Do you think you are going to lose weight if you eat KFC & Maccas and don’t exercise but because you have some magic pill so the weight will fall off you. Please!!  You can have a strategy but if you don’t put this into action then it is a waste of time and money. And the excuse of not having time, is exactly that. If it is important you will make time, even if it one tactic or task a week, that is progress.

Work with suppliers that have a good wholistic understand of how the pieces fit together and most importantly, what are the best tools and channels for your business. Ask questions and look at their experience. If they are genuine they will have no issue with answering questions, talking about their work, offering insights and giving you genuine testimonials.

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Digital customer service – do you pass or fail?

Often a digital channel will be the first interaction with a potential customer so it is vital that you give a great first impression.

Most of your digital enquiries will come via email and social media so regular monitoring of these channels is the first step in digital customer services and should form part of your sales process. You need to set up systems and processes to make the customer experience one that is enjoyable and fits with your brand’s personality. Start with these steps:

  1. When you get an email enquiry, DO NOT just answer an email with only what someone asks. Take it the next step and give them additional information. Plus don’t send a form or automated response. (automation is OK as a first email but it needs to be clear they will you will be giving a personal response to their enquiry). Go above and beyond and really listen to what the customer is asking. Ask more questions if you need to in order to answer. And whatever you do, do not call someone Babe or Honey (yes has happened to me with the company in question not understanding their audience at all)
  2. Reply quickly. Sending an automated reply that says you’ll respond in 3-4 days is NEVER EVER acceptable and just bad service (something I recently experienced with a well known fitness company) We want information fast, because we can and should get it quickly now so taking days to respond is a sure way to lose this customer for life.
  3. Don’t ask them to contact you on another channel. The reason they are contacting you on email for example is because 1.they are comfortable with it or 2. You haven’t responded on another channel (such as Twitter or Facebook).
  4. Consider the overall customer journey. Put yourself in their shoes. Would the journey from query to purchase make you comfortable? What would you want? What would make you a raving fan? What is the wow?
  5. Don’t send a copy & pasted form response. Unless you want to lose the customer forever. LISTEN and PERSONALISE your response. I see this constantly with large companies that think a form response is OK when it is not (hear that Telstra)

digital customer service

Remember that when a prospect is sending you an enquiry email they are ready to buy. These digital enquiries should take priority and you will see a return if you think of them as customers walking through your door, not annoying emails.

Digital is 24/7 and being able to do business in a global economy is amazing if you understand that simply being responsive from Mon-Fri 9 to 5 is no longer acceptable. You need to commit to monitoring all your channels outside of hours?

Digital customer service is particularly important in the lead up to Christmas as online shopping continues to increase. By not responding you handing sales to your competitors on a platter, literally!! As a consumer if someone doesn’t respond, I go to their competitor and buy from them within 24 hours. And not only have you lost the sale, you have pissed me off to the point of not wanting to do business with you in the future.  I’ve had companies contact me 3 weeks (and one took 2 months) after I had sent an email enquiry and were surprised by my response.  C’mon get with the program.

I see companies spending thousands of dollars on advertising then committing the cardinal sin of not replying to their sales enquiries that come via digital channels. Crazy!!

This is a no cost tactic that will increase your sales & conversions. Do it and stop making excuses!!

The 1% strategy

As high achievers, entrepreneurs and busy corporates we are often goal focused right? What are our goals & milestones for the week, month or year? How do we get there? Where do we start? It often seems overwhelming and like everything in life, if it’s too hard, then we often give up or choose an easier path.

I have discovered a new strategy and way of thinking that I am applying to business and life in general. It is called the 1% strategy. It is very simple and just wanting to improve by 1% each day, month or year, depending on the goal. Breaking it down feels more achievable and realistic but adds up over time.

Relate this back to your digital strategy or education and measure it weekly to see the results. This could be as simple as:

  • Adding 1% off new fans on Facebook or Twitter
  • Add 1% of newsletter subscribers a day to build your database
  • Increasing engagement levels of your Linked in posts by 1% each week
  • Increasing website visitors by 1% each day
  • Increasing ecommerce store sales by 1% a day

And of course each 1% increases your base so the 1% actually gets bigger each week.

So rather than getting overwhelmed with the big picture break down your goals using the 1% strategy and see what difference it makes to your mindset and results.

My second favourite F word (the one that every business should use) is…

Before you start thinking about the inappropriate use of language think again and get your mind out of the gutter! There are thousands of words that start with F and have more than 4 letters. This particular F word has five letters and is one that every business owner, CEO or even a startup should know. It is Focus!

Focus is easier said than done. With so many distractions in life (and that’s even before you turn on your laptop), it is no wonder we are guilty of starting one job then getting distracted and moving onto another before we finish the first one. And the cycle continues all day right?

The definition of focus is the centre of interest or the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition. It is important as staying focused on one task = greater productivity (more important that just being busy) which equals better results and a faster growing business. It is a matter of building good habits, setting clear goals and having priorities

This is particularly true when it comes to the digital world in which we live. We are overloaded with so much information which we are told we need to know. We could all be full time students and still never keep up. As a digital specialist I understand that keeping up with a fast paced ever changing environment can be hard however here are 3 tips to successfully navigating the digital world and staying focused at the same time.

  1. Find relevant information & prioritise – Filter out the information that is not relevant to you or your business. You don’t need to read every EDM, blog or post that you see. Instead choose the most relevant to what you need currently, that aligns with your goals and diarise time each day or week to read them. Once you’ve got the relevant digital information, then prioritise what you watch, read, learn, implement.
  1. Align your digital channels to your audience – You cannot possibly use every digital platform and do it well so the key is to choose the ones that align with your audience. Eg: if your audiences doesn’t watch video, don’t spend time creating You Tube videos. Common sense prevails. Do you actually think you can maintain Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, G+, Pinterest, Instagram and You Tube accounts effectively (without having a massive team of people)?? Be realistic in your expectations and always focus on what your audience needs.
  1. Outsource – It is impossible to do everything yourself. Look to engage experts in their fields to help implement while you stay focused on the task of running your business day to day.

To help you stay focused during the day block time in your calender for various tasks, including actual implementation, research & responding to emails.  I have been (and still often am) guilty of getting distracted by emails and social media so TURN THEM OFF. Schedule email or social breaks to respond and you find yourself being more focused and productive during the day.

And for the record my favourite F word is FABULOUS.

Hope you have a very FOCUSED and productive week. Let me know how successful you were.

focus

 

How answering your email can increase your sales

One thing that always baffles me us why businesses spend thousands of dollars on advertising then can’t even answer a customer enquiry via email. Why, why, why??

This makes absolutely NO sense. These are the businesses that complain that their ad campaigns didn’t work when it actual fact the received leads and traffic that the business didn’t convert because they didn’t do the simplest thing and answer the customer enquiry.

Digital advertising Rule 101 – answer customer queries. If someone is taking the time to email you they are genuinely interested in buying your product. Answer them!! Promptly!!

email-marketing

This one simple thing can add thousands of dollars in sales to your bottom line each year. It baffles me why so many businesses ignore email queries. Someone please explain it to me? If someone walked into your store and asked about a product would you ignore them? I don’t think so. So why do you treat them differently online?

I experience this every single day and it baffles me constantly.  And guess what, when someone doesn’t respond I wipe them forever and buy from the competitor. So you’ve not just lost this sale but future sales as well. Pretty damn stupid marketing tactic if you ask me.

Don’t be dumb. Respond to your emails and watch your sales increase.

What role the C suite plays in the digital disruption of their company

The evolution of digital into business is not just the domain of your marketing and digital teams.

Innovation comes from the top. The C suite need to be on board and fully support the digital strategy and direction if the company. This needs to filter down to the middle management and the attitudes of your customer facing stuff. So as a C level exec, what can you do to ensure that your company is digitally savyy and wont get left behind.

  1. Share the vision with the entire company

Communicate the digital direction with everyone. Having all your staff understand what you want to achieve only benefits your company. You never know where opportunities present themselves and they can often come out of left field.

  1. Think wholistically

Digital should be an integral part of your business strategy- not an afterthought or an add on. If a clear digital strategy hasn’t been established you are already behind. I guarantee your competitors are all over it. In fact I will bet big bucks that they are.

  1. Get everyone involved

It doesn’t matter if they are your COO, your digital manger or the cleaner. Get your entire team involved and on board with the vision of what you are trying to achieve on your digital channels. Your staff are your internal influencers and the power thy have to leverage your brand is huge.

  1. Encourage an innovation culture

Put initiatives in place that foster intrapreneurs, outside the box thinking and ongoing education. Create special projects with rewards that include team members from different departments and with a reward worthy of putting on your CV. If your staff know the big bosses encourage and reward innovative thinking they are more likely to go the extra mile which adds hundreds of thousands in added productivity to your bottom line.

There are no excuses for the C level not driving & encouraging their teams to be digitally savvy and find innovative ways to improve efficiencies and enhance customer experiences. It’s a triple win with the outcomes being happier staff, customers and shareholders.

Clevel