Archive for October, 2012

How I Used Online Marketing Education and Support to Grow My Business

When I started my consultancy business I soon found I needed marketing education and support to survive. It was a shock to learn that over twenty years experience in a corporate environment was not applicable to my new situation.

Although highly experienced in marketing strategy and business development, in the corporate environment I used outside agencies to implement plans. Of course, I understood enough of the basics of websites, SEO, PPC and other online and offline marketing techniques to be able to brief my suppliers and ensure I obtained value but I did not have a grasp of the detail.

As a new consultancy business I could no longer afford to employ outside agencies to implement my marketing I needed to do it myself. The traditional methods used by many start up consultancy businesses of networking and telemarketing were successful to a point but my marketing background told me I needed a consistent pipeline of opportunities and that using networking and some telemarketing alone meant I was invisible to a large proportion of my potential market.

I decided to build a marketing process which would deliver a consistent supply of new leads. With the plan in place I then needed a rapid education in the detail of how to implement a range of marketing techniques including building websites, SEO, PPC, social media to name but a few. I tried reading books but in the fast moving world of internet marketing realised many were out of date the day they were printed. I therefore turned to blogs only to find many who claimed to be experts were nothing of the sort.

Over time I was able to filter out the so called experts and find those who provided high quality information via blogs, YouTube and websites which actually helped me implement the techniques I needed to grow my business. Of course it required hard work, ongoing commitment and a thick skin to deal with the disappointment when results failed to show initially but the work was worth it as my business has grown to cover much more than simple consultancy.

There are many good learning resources online including some dedicated online marketing education and support tools populated by people who had been there and done that and are prepared to share their knowledge. All that is needed is the dedication to carry that education through into action and a few months grace for the hard work to show results.

Could My Business Benefit From Implementing a Service Management System

An increasing number of businesses are now offering after sales service with their products and equipment in order to take advantage of new markets. In such a competitive industry, efficient service delivery is essential to acquiring and retaining valuable customers. As the volume of service requests fluctuate from one day to the next, service providers need to be prepared with the latest tools to facilitate agility ensuring they always provide consistent service.

Implementing a web based service system provides your business with the very latest tools to manage customer servicing, resources and complex workflows. With so many parameters to consider, automating this service is vital for maximising the efficiency of your operations.

Improve Customer Service

Customer satisfaction is the number one priority for the majority of businesses and this is just one area where a service management system would help. The key to satisfying customers is communicating with them effectively. Utilise accurate data captured by your service management system to provide updates on the progress of a customers’ service or repair for a consistent and memorable customer experience.

Save Time & Reduce Administration Errors

Historically field based staff completed manual forms onsite and upon returning them to the office data would be rekeyed into back office systems. An effective service management system automates data capture and workflows using mobile devices and removes the need for time consuming data entry which is often vulnerable to errors, saving you time and money.

Job Costing

Visibility of all stages of your service delivery process via a service management system can ensure that all servicing and repairs are profitable. Identify components that may be costing you money and implement changes to prevent profit leaks ensuring each stage of your operation is cost effective. A central service management system will highlight your most valuable customers helping you to prioritise accordingly.

Service Lifecycle

An effective service management system will streamline your business processes to make your service lifecycle as efficient as possible. Removing unnecessary tasks and travel from your daily routine can help improve response times, first time fix rates and customer service. The service management system will automatically allocate each customer service or repair to the resource with the right skills and parts to fix the problem first time. Cutting down on disruption to your customers’ time not only keeps them satisfied it also saves you time and money.

Improve Sales

Creating a fantastic customer experience increases the chances of repeat business. In addition, your existing customers become your best advocates and word of mouth referrals result in new business enquiries. Referrals are the best quality business leads your company has when it comes to conversion rates.

Copyright @2012 Small Business Ideas.