Make Your Customers Love You

From the site, Customer Love.

 CustomerLove is a bi-monthly challenge, a movement, a community of solopreneurs. For 29 days, we vow to follow the advice of our marketing Fairy Godmother, Naomi Dunford: “Spend the first 28 days being totally, ridiculously awesome. Plan to make 100% of your money on the 29th day.”

Hand Written Customer Thank You Notes

The first sale is so exciting! Now once you have calmed down, check out the transaction page and make sure your buyer has paid. Package up your item and get it ready to ship (a hand written thank you note is always good customer service!). Send your buyer a quick little convo (or conversation)  thanking them for their purchase and letting them know when you are going to ship.

via A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Shop on Etsy | The Etsy Blog.

A basic thank you goes a long way. I haven’t done a lot of shopping online but each time I am impressed and get a little happy feeling when there is a note from the seller. Not something that feels like a form letter or too short and not so sweet, but something that makes it seem they connected with me in some small way. You can give that connection in one sentence. You need to find something to connect with, something you have in common.

You already have something in common if you are selling something the buyer wanted. Whether it’s a handmade craft, a book, or a service by selling something you create yourself as an authority on whatever the topic is. So just add something related to your note. A tip about using the service. Another book in the series or one due out later in the year by the same author. Information and resources about the craft or art involved in making the product they bought from you. Pretty simple if you think about it and well worth it to put some time into thinking about.

Further resources for starting an online store:

A Testimonial

A testimonial is given as acknowledgment of quality service or product. A testimonial is given by someone who has benefited from the service/ product and is willing to write (and have it published) a tribute to the quality of the product or service which they received. A testimonial needs to be sincere/ genuine and written clearly. Testimonials are valuable as word of mouth marketing.

If you write a testimonial, be honest and sincere and use your own words. Think of specifics rather than generic or multi purpose meanings. Don’t try to be too kind or flattering. You shouldn’t try to sell the product or service, instead, write as if you were telling a friend what you found useful, good or above your expectations about the service or product.

Keep the testimonial short, sometimes a sentence is just fine. It shouldn’t go beyond a paragraph. That’s enough to write and enough for someone else to give a quick read.

When a testimonial is published the person who gave it should have credit for it. Link to their site, or write the name of their own business, something that turns them into a creditable source and gives a point of reference. Also, if you wrote the testimonial you should ask where it will be published and check it once it does become available.

When you are actually asked to write a testimonial the simplest thing is to speak it out loud and write down what you said. If that doesn’t work for you try a structured approach:

  • Why did you need the product/ service?
  • Why did you choose that product or service?
  • What were your concerns as you began using the product/ service? What did you think might not work, or might not work for you?
  • What were the results that you did get from the product/ service?
  • What did you especially like about the product or service, was there a feature that really stood out or an extra benefit which you had not expected?
  • Who would you tell about this product/ service and what would you want them to know?
  • Will you use the product/ service again? Why?

An effective testimonial is in the customer’s own words but may have edits (which should be approved by the customer) to make the meaning clear or to add the name of the product or service. You want the testimonial to be sincere but you want it to be clear as well. Also, specifics are important, rather than something ambiguous like “the service was great!”.

Don’t write your own faked testimonials. You will end up sounding phony and insincere. In the end you will lose more than you will gain. When someone else writes a testimonial their perspective is not the same as your own, it will have more truth than advertising.

Don’t be shy about asking for a testimonial from someone who lets you know they are pleased with your service. People like to be asked for their opinion, to feel important. Also, as bloggers, they may be glad to have a link back to their own site.

Extra Resource:
WikiHow: How to Write a Personal Testimonial About Yourself?

A real testimonial as an example and an actual testimonial:

UP to the DL has a fresh, new white paper for sale, written as a guide to new and not so new bloggers who are getting into running and accepting ads on their sites.

“I’ve read the ProBlogger book, from the perspective of a long time blogger I didn’t learn many new things. However, reading “Passive Income” an article from Deanna I found at least two new things which I had never thought of before. I was impressed and I came away with something new to try in my own advertising and money making efforts online. Yay me!”

Testimonial by Laura, of and Word

Cre8Buzz and Word of Mouth

Do you remember Cre8Buzz? It was a great idea, using WOM (word of mouth) to promote deserving, worthwhile, unknown bloggers. To help each other, essentially. It is a shame the plan stalled out along the way.

WOMMA – Word of Mouth Marketing Association

The first post from the original Cre8Buzz blog:

My name is Jim Keenan, this is Mike Ratliff “hello” and this is Gabe Orvis “hello my friends”.  We are the founders of cre8Buzz!  We started this crazy venture because we felt that too many good, talented people and ideas where not getting the exposure they deserved.  Each of us had stories of impressive people we have met in our journeys who were not getting more “press”.  These people had great products, or ideas, or were just extremely talented at what they did yet few people, if anyone, knew who they were.  It’s for this reason we set out to build a WOM (word of mouth) engine to cre8 a way for talented people, businesses and ideas to be seen.   We like to think we are on to something so stay with us.  We launch Q1 2007.

We bet you’re asking what is up with the ant?  Ant’s don’t“buzz”! That is correct.  We would like to give thanks to Chris Anderson, Author of “The Long Tail” for the inspiration.  Thanks Chris!!!!

“For a generation of customers used to doing their buying research via search engine, a company’s brand is not what the company says it is, but what Google says it is. The new tastemakers are us. Word of mouth is now a public conversation, carried in blog comments and customer reviews, exhaustively collated and measured. The ants have megaphones.” Chris Anderson – “The Long Tail”

Our goal or mission is to provide everyone with a megaphone for themselves AND for others.  As Chris says we are the new tastemakers; therefore we should have a bigger hand in what we see, listen to, read and rank*.   So stay tuned and join us in our efforts of getting bigger megaphones into the hands of the ants!

Oh yeah, what can you expect from this blog?  I guess you could say it is our megaphone.  We’ll be talking about WOM, marketing, customer service, and most important; great ideas and people we happen to come across.  You can also expect a good rant everyone once and a while as well.

We’re looking forward to it!

Many regards; Jim, Mike, Gabe and of course . . . Antman!

*a not so small hint

I found BzzAgent which is also based on WOM (word of mouth) campaigns. Are you using or involved with a service like this? How is it working for you?

Promoting Criminal Acts is Not Acceptable

I am not printing the name of the book (an ebook) or the name of the online retailer who has the book for sale. Both have been given plenty of viral publicity in the past couple of days. I first read about it on TechCrunch and I won’t link to them in this post either. I choose not to promote the book instead I am going to speak out about the issue and the fact that people still need to be responsible for their actions. Giving rights and freedoms does not mean we should become permissive, allowing everything and anything rather than using common sense and our own censorship.

We live in a great big world, with a lot of people. Some feel different about issues than we do ourselves. Some are smokers and some are non-smokers. Some are abusive to others and some are too kind. Some believe in sexual freedom and some believe there is too much promiscuity. Some are fond of violence and horror as entertainment and some prefer to give up everything, even their own lives, in order to keep peace in the world.

There must be some lines drawn. We need to protect ourselves, from ourselves. Absolute power corrupts and absolute freedom does about the same. For each issue there is another side. For each right and freedom given there is another taken away or restricted in some way. Everyone can not have everything they want all the time.

The government has put some rules into place. We push the government to make these decisions about morality, what is wrong and what is right. Then it us up to everyone to support the laws created by government. We can protest them, ask for changes. But, mainly, it is the government which must make these decisions for all of us. It is their responsibility.

In turn the media, the businesses and everyone putting information out into the public is responsible for the message they give, sell or promote. Outside of their own personal/ commercial interests must be the standards set by our community via the government.

In the end, we are each responsible for the issues we promote and the standards we maintain. For an online retailer to take standards into their own hands and promote something against the laws of the country they reside in, is not acceptable and should never be acceptable. There is a group of people who do not deserve to be made victims to the rights and freedoms of another group of people who are stepping outside of the government written laws.

I think the online retailer in this case is thinking about their sales, the promotion of their site and not thinking at all about the victims to this activity being promoted by the book they are selling. They fluff off their responsibility by claiming freedom of expression, the rights of those committing criminal activities. This is dangerous. The needs of our community must take precedence over the needs of viral marketing, sales and even freedom of expression.

Be Silent About This, Please

I just can’t be silent about this. I hope you won’t either.

As good or important as a cause may be I am getting tired of people who constantly push causes. I don’t have the resources to help every cause and I have to admit I don’t have the interest in doing so either.

Do you also get a little annoyed when you see another post to Facebook or another show on Oprah or Ellen or etc with some cause they want people to champion? It’s fine for celebrities to take up a cause, they have staff, bags of money and people who listen to them. I don’t have much of any of those and I’m tired of being asked to give and give and give.

The quote above came from a post to Facebook by the Ellen Show, about bullying. You are supposed to drop everything and watch a video and then do something I’m sure. I didn’t watch the video. I just felt annoyed. For one thing, unless you go and watch the video you don’t even have one clue what the cause is! That is annoying. Why does the Ellen Show think so little of me that they want to lead me around this way? Someone else did watch the video and happened to post that the cause was bullying. Why did the Ellen Show make this post about marketing as much as about the cause itself? Why push more advertising, marketing hype at me. Are they really interested in the cause or are they just finding new venue to advertise their show and display their power in the media?

It’s not about the cause. Yes, bullying, cancer and etc are bad. But, I am doing my part. I’m not a bully, for one. I feel like I am being bullied, told to give more than I have to give by people who have a lot more to give and aren’t really giving all that much. Who are supporting causes for subtle, underhanded reasons of their own.

Anyway, that is the soap box rant for today. What do you think? Are you feeling over burdened by people who want too much? Are you tired of celebrities with causes?

The 1A Post Title Here

A Book Inside has written about How to Write a Great and Effective Title:

Keep in mind; starting with the letter A is not mandatory for higher placements in listings online. For instance, starting with the letter D is good, C is better, B is great, but A is the best. Also, numbers generally precede letters in Web listings. 101 Ways to Learn the Game of Golf would be listed before An Easy Way to Learn the Game of Golf.

It may help you get ahead in a list of titles but choosing a title for your blog, your book or anything else is not really in your best interests. Think about it. What kind of quality information is going to be in a book where the marketing is more important than the book/ information itself.

Even in a blog or book about marketing I don’t think a title based on being first in a list or using keywords is a smart choice. To me it shows a lack of real integrity and gives the impression of insincerity and artificialness. I would not want to put my time into writing something I had put my heart into only to show it off as something that looks like a marketing campaign, fluff.

Decade of the Internet Marketer?

Will this be the decade everyone became an Internet marketer? I get less calls from telemarketers than I get promotional spam from Internet marketers. Yet, it’s still the telemarketers who get the worst reputation.

When I read blogs about Internet or online marketing I can’t really take any of them seriously. If they really were smart marketers they would have stepped out of the blog world by now. For one thing, it’s flooded. There are far too many bloggers and few readers/ subscribers/ buyers. Now that so many people have a blog it’s getting to be a pretty crowded pond. The only way you can still be a big fish in this pond is to hop out and create a new pond.

The only blogs still interesting enough to notice are those who have real, original content. I don’t include any blog about Internet marketing or related topics in this list. If one does find a new thought it will soon be posted to death through blogs and social networking. Their pond is more like a goldfish bowl so stuffed with fish there are only a few drops of water left in the bowl.

What is the last blog you read and actually liked enough to go back and read again? In my case it was a blog about recycling furniture, clothes and etc. I found it when I was looking for ideas to use buttons. (It had two).

What is the point of this post? Not much really. It’s not going to change anything. Just made me laugh today when I heard someone cursing telemarketers, Avon sales people and all those others when in fact they themselves run a blog promoting themselves as an expert on Internet marketing and offering their services. Funny that the very people most likely to be reading that blog are people who already offer the same services themselves.

I don’t offer a great solution. Just seems to me that as flooded as things are online, it may be time for people to consider going back to door-to-door sales again, local and in person. A live person who lets you sample the wares actually rather than virtually. Someone who will deliver your order or let you pick it up cause, after all, they live just down the next block. Don’t you kind of miss human contact and the feeling of dealing with a local business, someone who really does care about the product they sell?

Hyperlocal, What is It?

I’ve seen the term hyperlocal come up three times lately. I decided to spend some time to find out what it is exactly and how it is being used.
Of course, Wikipedia comes up first in the results I get from Google. : Hyperlocal –

refers to the emergent ecology of data (including textual content), aggregators, publication mechanism and user interactions and behaviours which centre on a resident of a location and the business of being a resident. Hyperlocal content, often referred to as hyperlocal news, is characterized by three major elements. Firstly, it refers to entities and events that are located within a well defined, community scale area. Secondly, it is intended primarily for consumption by residents of that area. Thirdly, it is created by a resident of the location (but this last point is discussed because for example a photo can be hyperlocal but not locally produced).

Hyperlocal World – Developments in news, people and the first law of geography. – Tips and discussion for local bloggers.
Hyperlocal 101 – Tools and technique for the hyperlocal revolution.

Blog TO is a hyperlocal news blog from Toronto. It comes from a network, (site is not up).

Other hyperlocal blog networks:

Individual hyperlocal content blogs:

If hyperlocal blogging is interesting you take a look at TwitterLocal, which gives you a Twitter feed by location and LocalTweeps which is a directory built with zip codes. Also, look for blog directories based on regional locations, each blog you find there is a possible source of news and events locally. You may find other locals to post their perspectives, advertising, photos and news stories on your hyperlocal blog. Of course everything local is a marketing/ promotion resource for a hyperlocal blog. You don’t need to be in to top rank of international lists for blogs, keep your focus on local in every way.

The links for networks and especially those for individual hyperlocal blogs are just a few I found when I went looking. There are masses of sites once you know what to look for. Some don’t use the term hyperlocal, they may call themselves citizen journalists, or maybe cell journalists.