Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Are you struggling to create and keep profitable customers? Columns for Sales and Marketing Management who wants to build business relationships.
I frequently talk about producing more profits for your business, often this upsets readers. Some say it's greedy to measure individual customer profitability and work to gain the most out of each transaction. Sure, It it might be greedy if you aren't providing excellent value for your customers dollar, and making sure they have exactly what they desire.
Shel Horowitz, publisher of the Monthly Frugal Marketing Tip newsletter and author of "Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First" demonstrates you can be both profitable and ethical in practice. In fact, Shel Horowitz says "the businesses ... that stake their marketing strategy on building positive long-term relationships ... will be around for the long term."
I agree whole-heartedly in what Shel has to say. By putting honesty, integrity, and quality in the forefront of the actions you take in business, you can be profitable. Your business relationships with customer, employee, suppliers, and even competitors will grow. In fact, you can position your company to be well respected in your field of business.
Some points covered in the book include:
- Market share is irrelevant; the world is abundant and there's room for everyone to succeed
- You can actively profit from your competitors' success
- Honesty, integrity, and quality are far more important than quick profits�the Golden Rule actually WORKS in business
- As you create value for others, you build value in your own business
- The most important sales skill isn't even about selling
You don't have to go the way of Enron, Worldcom, and Tyco to get ahead. Good'ole fashion principles can produce profits.
See also: Facts about Profitable Customers, Strategies for more Profitable Customers, More about Principled Profit
Justin Hitt, with over 10 years of experience in business to business executive relationships and strategic business intelligence; has reduced costs and improve customer loyalty for professional services and numerous other technology companies. Call +1 (877) 207-3798 or visit his website at https://iunctura.com/
5 Key Questions (You've Been Dying) To Ask About Business Blogs. 'Nuff said! Well, really the whole article has some good things to say about business blogging and why you might choose it over an email newsletter. [Boyink Interactive, LLC]
I highly recommend every Debbie Weil has to say. I've been following her through her WordBiz newsletter and found it very useful in improving my marketing copywriting. Your company should be seriously considering the use of weblogs for internal knowledge management.
Blogging serves as a useful way to discuss abstract information while capturing the thoughts in writing. It provides individuals a way to express their views on individual topics without direct real-time conversations. If your people are busy, blogging can help them stay in touch without the risk of losing information laden email messages.
How to use make weblogs useful for internal discussions...
- Provide the tools. Two software packages I recommend (both very moderately priced) are Radio UserLand and MovableType. Both allow multiple users, and both are very flexible. You should be testing this concept with one of these tools today.
- Categorize by function unit. Build discussion categories around topics that make sense for your company. This can be as simple as naming projects per functional work group, or open as topical channels.
- Encourage participation. A few minutes a day reading other peoples project comments, and sharing your own can grow your companies knowledge base around a certain topic. Since employees can do this anytime they want, it makes it easier to put all your experts together.
- Utilize news aggregation. Blogging tools like Radio UserLand have built in news aggregation tools that let you see headlines from other blogs in a simple easy to follow format. This facilitates the level of communications and commenting on each others work.
- Integrate into website. Use a flexible interface like Netscapes My.Netscape to let employees customize their intranet home page, let them display the headlines relevant to their job. Dashboard tools are available, and XML is simple to integrate into most web servers via CGI.
- Use communications guidelines. Make it clear what can and can't be said on a web logs, for internal systems this really isn't much of a problem. If you ever plan to share weblogs with other companies (very valuable) you want to at least be consistent.
- Improve individual skills. This doesn't mean a creative writing class, but each employee must have a certain proficiency in written communications. Choose tools with spell checkers, and when one isn't available use a dictionary.
Justin Hitt teaches executives how to create strong business relationships that can increase profits while improving customer loyalty. To learn more about business relationships visit Inside Strategic Relations or call +1 (877) 207-3798
Web Site Design Matters when it comes to Internet Marketing. In a new survey conducted by Genex it reveals that 65% of consumers do not shop from poorly designed web sites, while 30 percent say an inferior site can also keep them away from an offline store. [Marketing]
While Laura Schneider's advice is spot on, the About.com website that host her is horribly designed. I cringe every time I have to visit About.com for the following reasons,
- Too many advertisements. It seems About.com is about advertising more than it is about providing useful content to visitors or even featuring authors materials. What is the real purpose of their website?
- Annoying Pop-ups. A pop-up should be reserved for something very important, not an advertisement on every page. No body likes pop-ups unless they enhance the customers experience.
- Cluttered Content. Only a little strip down the center of the page is reserved for the content that attracted me to the site, even that is hard to read because it's wedged between piles of advertising.
- Jumbled search results. When someone uses the search feature on your website they expect to get back something useful, not more advertising. It seems the first screen of search results are paid advertisements.
If you are operating a portal to serve your industry, or even as an exchange for business partners learn from About.com's waste of Internet space. I'm not usually this harsh, and in this case they may be pursuing a low-end consumer market -- but About.com's web design actually deters visitors from quality content.
How would I redesign About.com (from a visitors prospective)?
- Segment the content by desired audience. By separating the consumer content from the business content About.com could better serve each audience. Right now it is all jumbled together. Make it clear who your site serves.
- Change the content-to-advertisement ratio. Right now 80% of a page is advertising and 20% is content, by changing this ratio the site will attract more visitors interested in returning and the pages would be less cluttered.
- Feature the author, not the advertiser. Focus on the value to your visitor, not the visitors value to your check book. If you want to build a customer relationship, you have to give something first.
- Topically focus adverting by target audience. When I visit a page about marketing, I might like advertisements that pertain to the topic of the page. Googles AdWords program presents an example of great contextual advertising methods.
- Drop advertisers who use jittering advertisements. Nothing irritates a visitor more as to see an advertisement that jumps all around the screen like it's shaking. This distraction makes me want to go to another page.
Justin Hitt helps executive build stronger relationships that can increase profits and create loyal customers. For more information visit Inside Strategic Relations or call +1 (877) 207-3798
Last update: 04/08/2004; 2:30:50 PM.