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By Debbie Gregory.

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Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful advertising methods.  People highly value and trust the opinions of those they know and love. If you can get them to speak positively of your business, odds are good their friends and family will be knocking at your door as well.

 

Even word of mouth from strangers can have a huge impact on a person’s buying habits. Online reviews are very important with approximately 9 of 10 people reading and being influenced by online reviews. Most people use online reviews to determine whether a business is trustworthy and deserving of their business. This is consistent with all types of businesses including doctors, attorneys, restaurants, tradespeople, brick and mortar retail stores, E-Commerce stores and more.

 

What can you do to get people to talk positively about your business? Below are some ways to help you foster more positive word of mouth endorsements and grow your business.

 

Ask for Testimonials and Display Them Prominently:

Customer testimonials are powerful endorsements. Make sure that your business is in the habit of asking for testimonials and make sure that you display prominently where others can find and read them. Share the testimonial on your website, on your social media channels and you can even print and post them in your place of business.

 

Make It Easy for Your Customers to Contact You:

Poor communication will frustrate people and drive customers away from you. You need to be reachable across multiple platforms and in multiple ways. Make sure that your website is easy to read and navigate.   Being responsive can make a huge difference. Make sure contact numbers, emails, or a contact form are all easy to access and use. It is important that your phone connects, that someone answers courteously, and that your voicemail has space to receive new messages if no one can pick up the call. Answer all voicemails, emails, and messages received through social media in a timely and professional manner.

 

Provide Excellent Customer Service:

Excellent customer service is the most important thing you can focus on to gain positive word of mouth as well as set yourself apart from your competition. If someone is unhappy with your customer service, they are even MORE likely to tell their friends and family than if they have a positive experience with your business. They will also take their own as well as the business of those near and dear to them elsewhere.  It is critical that you demonstrate to your customers how important they are to you. Treat them as you would want to be treated, with kindness, courtesy, respect, and show that you are interested in their needs.

 

Stay tuned for the second part of this series which will discuss engaging people on social media, monitoring your online reputation, maintaining a positive image both in person and online, and how giving your time or and/or donations that can greatly improve your business reputation.

An Effective Competitive Analysis : Part 3 of 3

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By Debbie Gregory.

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In Part 1 of our Competitive Analysis Series, we reviewed the basics regarding the analysis; In Part 2, we covered the information you need to collect; and Part 3 will provide you the rest of the information you need to collect as well as tips for sorting and utilizing the information in order to grow your business.

 

Social Media:

Social media is a fantastic tool to see what your competitors put out there as well as find out what real people think about the products and services that your competitors offer.

 

On Your Competitors Social Media, Look For:

  • What platforms do they use?
  • What types of posts do they post?
  • How frequently do they post?
  • Who do they talk to, if anyone?
  • What kind of language do they use?
  • What is the tone of their posts?
  • Are the conversations they have different on different platforms?
  • Are they working with influencers and is that successful for them?

 

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Analysis:

It is important to know where your competitors rank. When you Google your competitors’ business name, where do they rank in the search engine results? When you Google your relevant keywords, where do your competitors rank in the search engine results compared to where you rank? The results of your search should provide you a fair idea of the effort your competition is putting forth into their online content and SEO measures.

 

Check out the following:

  • What keywords give your competitors search engine rank?
  • What keywords do your competitors rank for that you don’t?
  • What content ranks well and attracts links?
  • How often are competitors releasing SEO-focused content?
  • What sites link to your competitors’ site(s)?
  • How have your competitors gained their links (paid for, trade, guest author, etc.)?
  • What content on your site is in direct competition with theirs?

 

Using any search engine, even in Incognito mode, will not be entirely accurate when it comes to rankings. Search engines personalize your results based on your usage, profile, location, and quite a few other demographic items. Do not take these results at face value.

 

Putting It Together & Using to Grow:

When you look at all the information that you have gathered, you may feel a bit overwhelmed.  Pause for a moment and then get to work sorting the information in a format to make it most valuable to you.

  • Place each item in order based on importance to your current business goals
  • Categorize and sort your findings to determine where they fit into your strategy.
  • Work through the findings with your co-workers so that everyone is on the same page. You can put together quick cards or a single sheet with your competitor’s major strengths and weaknesses so your team can quickly reference them as needed.
  • Utilize the data to leverage your own marketing.

 

It is imperative that you put all of your hard work to good use helping to grow your own business. Make sure the information is kept up-to-date and is easily accessible by everyone in the company.

 

A good competitive analysis does take a lot of work, but the rewards can be massive. It helps you removes blind spots, helps you improve your overall business, strategy going forward and offerings.   A good competitive analysis is essential for excelling in your industry. Take the time and energy to do it right.

Fostering Success

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Some success is carefully and meticulously planned for over the long haul.  Other successes can come unexpectedly in the form of surprises. Either way, success in any part of your life, requires that you work hard both to achieve it and to keep it going.

 

Ways to Foster More Success in your Life

 

Be Open Minded and Optimistic:

This can be very challenging especially during times when you are going through a rough time.  We all often tend to feel a somewhat negative or defeated when things aren’t going our way. However, if you work at being both open minded and optimistic it will assist you to see opportunities and attract these opportunities that you might have otherwise overlooked.   There is nothing closer to attaining success than a positive attitude and being open to new things.

 

Ask for A lot but Expect Nothing:

In order to get what you want; you need to be bold enough to pursue opportunities.  You also must have the ability to be able to ask for more opportunities from those who can offer them to you.  At the end of the day, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.   At the same time, do not have huge expectations and expect anything to come from it. Just because you have asked doesn’t necessarily mean that you will receive.

 

Add Greater Value:

You cannot sit around all day wishing for opportunities to drop into your lap and expect that they will.   This is not reality. You must consistently demonstrate your value to others in order to be rewarded with better opportunities. Give more, do more, say more.  This means staying connected and networking most of the time.  Sitting on autopilot and hoping for something to plop into your lap does not work.

 

Become an Expert:

Not every path to success is clear or easy to figure out the route. If you excel at something, invest the time and energy to become the best at it and an expert and/or authority. Share your expertise with others. You never know what opportunities can come from it.

 

Generally speaking success = opportunity + preparation. Success can also be achieved through personal growth which in turn invites unexpected success into your life. Put in the work to create more opportunities for success in your life and you will never regret it.

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