At just about every dollar store in the country you'll find Address books for about a buck, sometimes less. These are one of those items that everyone walks by thousands of time every year and never puts in the buggy. Well, the next time you head to the store, make a point to find one you like.
Why? Because an Address Book is a HUGE asset to your business, one that is usually over looked and forgotten about. How is something that costs about a dollar such a big deal? Well, if for no other reason, because it will help you keep all your customers, potential customers, up line, down line and who ever else all organized.
Now, if you're super anal about things like yours truly, you'll get separate books for all these areas, but there really isn't any need for that.
Keeping your customers and everyone else in order is an asset for many reasons, but mostly because if you can contact them quickly and when ever you choose, it means you never forget them when it's time for sales, new catalogs, specials or other times when it's important to remember them - which means you never miss a sale!
Simply make a point to write down the Name, Address, Phone & Email information for everyone you come in contact with in your business. And DO NOT forget to make down where they stand - Customers, Up-Line, Down-Line, Advertiser, Other Contact... That way you aren't sending your New Spring Catalog to someone who sells the same thing you do.
You also want to make sure that you make a note of everyone's Birthday's, Kids Birthday's, Wedding Anniversary and whatever else you can fit in there. This way you can send cards (from your business) for the appropriate events. And don't ever forget to send good customers extra savings whenever you have an opportunity too! A "Happy Birthday here's $5 in savings" card will almost always get you a sale, just because "you remembered."
It's a very simple thing to do. Yet it's something that people tend to forget to do, and they loose business because of it! Think of how many times you have lost a potential sale because you lost their number... Or how many times you wanted to do something or call someone and couldn't figure out where you put their number. Do you think your customers don't do the same thing? SO, never loose another sale! Make a point to jot down contact information, and send cards, letters and catelogs to those who need them - when they need them.
One last tip - If you haven't heard from a "good customer" for a few weeks/months, it's always a great idea to call and see how they are. Even if they don't order, the fact that you called to check will open the door for future orders, or will let you know if they aren't interested any more.
Facebook is the largest social media site in the world at this point. However, just about any social network site can be used in the same way as Facebook can. So if you are a member of just about any other network out there, you can take and tailor this information to fit... I am, for the most part though, going to focus this article on Facebook itself.
For those of you who follow me or keep up with my business, you know I have quite a few Facebook pages. But why do I have all these pages set up? What is the benefit of having multiple pages? And how do I keep everything flowing?
Okay, so first, lets tackle the "WHY." It's really a fairly simple answer! If you have a business, you want people to know about it! With Facebook being as big as it is, it's nearly impossible to do any type of promotion on there without having people who will be interested see it. It's also a wonderful was to keep current customers up to date on specials, sales, new products, events, recipes and so on. If you do trade shows or something Facebook is without a doubt the best way to let people know where you will be and when! Plus, when your friends, family and customers "Like" you on facebook it will show on their activity and gain you more people who are interested in your business... And as we all know - More Eyes = More Sales!
One common question is why not just promote my business on my personal Facebook? Why do I need to set up an actual Page for my business? Well, again, it's simple. IF you are going to use your own personal page for anything other than business you don't want your unrelated posts to confuse or "turn off" your potential customers. If you have a food based business, simply mentioning that you own a dog could be enough for customers to stop following you.
Also, in order to "Friend" someone on facebook takes time, while a Page can be kept 100% about your business and related information and it's easier for someone to follow. Simply by clicking "Like" they will be updated on everything you say and do! If they "Friend" you, you need to both monitor everything you say and others say to you AND make sure you are logging on several times a day or week to approve all the friend requests.
Also, because facebook is a social site, people talk, lots of people! And you don't want to have to worry about some crazy memory or dream that a friend had about you coming up in on of their posts being seen by your potential customers... No one needs to know about that guy at the mall when you were in Highschool when you're trying to sell them lipstick!
So simply put, creating a "Business Page" is going to be healthier for your business image, easier for your customers to find and easier to keep monitored. Plus business pages get options that regular personal pages do not - like store hours and mission statements!
It's also worth stating that if you have more than one venture you should set up more than one page. Why? Well because if you're selling Avon & Ameriplan you will have those who are only interested in ONE of the two. You would HOPE that if you kept them both on one page that those people would ignore the posts made for the other business so that they can see the ones for the one they want. But unfortunately it doesn't happen that way.
I'll use myself as an example. I follow lots of pages! And some of them overlap. So when I see a page that's posting on things I'm not interested in, I simply stop following it. Do I assume that I'm going to miss out on something from time to time? Yep. But if it means my wall isn't clogged up with fish recipes when I want to read about cloth diapers, I'm happy to miss the good so I don't have to see the bad. And I know many people are like that! So having separate pages is definitely a benefit!
But who has the time? I know I don't have hours a day to sit here and create post after post every hour of the day to keep my readers interested... Do you? Well, not if you're properly running your business you don't! But there is good news out there! You don't need to sit for hours or even log on every day to keep the posts coming!
I have started using a program called HootSuite. There are quite a few options with the program. I use the free one. It allows me to schedule posts for Twitter, Facebook, Facebook pages, Linkedin and more... So rather than sitting and making posts every hour or so for all my pages, I take an hour in the evening and schedule posts throughout the next day... Then, even when I can't be on, I'm on... It's a great way to keep people visiting, chatting, and most importantly buying!
So lets break it down. First, using social media is a great asset to any business, blog, cause or group! Second, social media is the best and cheapest way to keep customers informed of everything you, your business, cause or group are doing, as well as sales & specials. And Third, with programs like Hootsuite using social media couldn't be easier!
What do you say in your updates though? Everything and Anything! Let people know where you're going to be, what events you have, when orders are due, what you're working on, featured products, recipes, product reviews, sales, specials, coupon codes, articles on related subjects and anything else you think fits. Doing things like a "featured products" or simply making a point to say "good morning" and "good night" or "Hey, breaking for lunch, what are you all having" is enough to get people on your page, and from there on your site... Which of course, is the goal!
So now there is only one question left to cover...
Why are you still reading and not setting up your pages?
Okay, branding is a HUGE thing when it comes to business, charities or even people. If I show you a yellow smiley face, what do you think? WalMart? Yeah, me too. So why? Well, because they know how to brand! Now it's your turn. Once you have a blog or website set up your next step is to create a banner that you can exchange with other, similar blogs or websites - or with forums or anyone else that will post it... But how do you do it?? It's much easier than is sounds - I promise!
Step One - Creating Your Banner
If you have a logo for your company, business or site, you don't need to worry about creation, but you do need to make sure it's the right size.
If you don't have a logo already, you can easily make one. Start by taking a photo or finding a picture that will go with the theme of your site or blog. You can easily do an image search on most search engines or you can look on Photobucket.
Once you find one that you like, right click and choose "Save Image As..." on the menu that pops up. Make sure you know where you save it and what you call it. - just makes things easier...
Open the file in your Paint (or comparable) program and use the "Letter" option to put the title of your site or blog on to it. Once that's done, resize your logo to 125 X 125 pixels.
Your Button is now complete!
Step Two - Creating an HTML code for your Button
Upload your Button to Photobucket. If you don't have a Photobucket account, open one.
Once you have uploaded your Button to Photobucket you will see a number of choices for Sharing it. Choose the one labeled HTML code and copy it.
Open a Note Pad, NoteBook or other word processing program and paste it there so you can make changes to it. It should look something like this:
Now that you have your codes you cam use the HTML "Gadget" option on Blogger or your website to add this to your blog or site. When you visit other blogs or sites similar to your own, contact the owner and offer to exchange buttons! Now you're reaching not only your readers, but theirs as well!
**NOTE: If you use WordPress.com, you will not be able to display the codebox. WordPress.com does not recognize the code! To get around this I recommend doing a blog post announcing your new badge and providing the code to your readers that way. Then you could create a widget on your sidebar, linking to that post.