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PSPinc will help your business thrive by providing for all of your technology needs. We offer a wide array of products, including Web & Email Hosting, Website Development, Email Marketing and Data Storage Solutions. Visit pspinc.com to learn more.

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How to Stay Connected to your Customers

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How to Stay Connected to you...
Many smaller businesses will have one interaction with a customer, but after the transaction is complete, customers go their own way and forget about the company. An important piece of customer retention is communication and reminding the customer what you can do for them. As mentioned in our previous article, with the omnichannel approach, today’s media allows for a variety of ways to keep the business-to-customer relationship going strong.

Here are some easy ways to stay connected with your customers:

Follow-Up Email

Following up with customers via email is easy. If they ordered online, it’s likely you already have their email address. Following up after the transaction to ask about their experience is not only a nice touch, but also an easy way to reinforce your brand.

E-Newsletter

In your follow-up email, ask your customers to subscribe to your e-newsletter where you can update them on new products, tips or promotions. The key is to send the newsletter on a consistent schedule, but not too often. Once or twice a month is a good amount.

Surprise Offers

Everyone loves a good surprise so why not offer one to your customers? Unexpected discounts, “just for you” type of specials, and birthday discounts are some of the ideas you can expand upon to surprise your customers with a “unique” offer. Making them feel extra special never hurts.

Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram keep you connected with customers and grow your followers. We recommend you mix in some fun, funny or lighthearted social media posts that your customers may enjoy, like, or even share. Photos of pets in the office, a fun trivia fact, or good advice on your products or services – things like that should go over well. Remember not to make your posts too long on social media. Videos and photos are usually a good means to deliver your content.

Request Help

Engaging your customers by asking for participation is always a good idea. You can ask them to post images of your products on social media, or give reviews on Google+, as an example. Perhaps you can do a giveaway or a contest. Customers who participate create a great deal of buzz marketing for you for free. If you deal with negative feedback or reviews genuinely and sensitively, those too can turn into something positive.
#PSPinc #Blog #SmallBusiness #WebMarketing #OnlineMarketing #SocialMedia

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The Omnichannel Communication Approach

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The Omnichannel Communicatio...
Modern communication channels have us talking with businesses via websites, email, and more recently texting, messaging and social media. Welcome to the 21st century communication approach called “omnichannel.”

According to wikipedia.org, omnichannel is “a cross-channel business model that companies use to increase customer experience."

Before the internet, brick and mortar retail stores or mailed catalogs along with customer service hotlines were the means to make a purchase. With the introduction of the internet and digital commerce, we now have a variety of ways to place our orders and communicate with retailers.

In the 90s, we used to call into the bank to see if a check had cleared from our bank account, or to check our balance. If we didn’t call in, we had to physically go to an ATM to get the same information. Today we can login to the bank’s website, or install the app on our smart phone, and easily initiate transfers, deposits, withdrawals, or even pay bills online.

The new conveniences for banking and doing business online has made for a highly accelerated rate of e-commerce. With faster transactions but less human interaction, communication with the customer needs to keep up, hence the need for omnichannel.

Companies may choose specific channels to communicate with customers based on the need for more or less communication, what their client demographic responds to, and so on. Omnichannel will look different for different types and sizes of companies. But for the sake of customer satisfaction and the customer’s desire to get information promptly, having a variety of communication channels is a safe bet regardless of your company model.

Starbucks Coffee is one of those companies who has been investing a lot in omnichannel. With the prepaid card, to a mobile app, Starbucks has been trying to demonstrate and deliver the coffee experience digitally to enhance the in-store experience.

Not all of us have a Starbucks budget and resources, but utilizing channels such as text messaging and incorporating it as a means to communicate with customers is much easier today with more tools available to small businesses.

So what’s the best way to stay in touch with your customers? The easiest way to think about this is to put yourself in their shoes. What channels of communication does your customer demographic use? Take it from there…and take advantage of having a closer relationship with your customer base.
#PSPinc #Blog #SmallBusiness #WebMarketing #OnlineMarketing #SocialMedia #Websites #Omnichannel

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How a Customer should Experience your Website

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How a Customer should Exper...
A good customer experience requires your site to be user friendly with easy-to-find resources and easy-to-take actions. And it’s very important that your website is easy to navigate and functions just as well on all different web browsers and devices. This will benefit your site’s search engine optimization (SEO) as well.

Answer the questions below to find out if your website is optimized for a good customer experience:

Is it mobile friendly?

Having a mobile-friendly website should be a top priority. You never know if a website visitor is using a smart phone, a computer, or a tablet, so you should have your site built with a technology called “responsive design.” If you have not updated your site in the last five years, the chances your site is responsive is very slim, and it may be time for an update. The quickest way to test this is to visit your site using your mobile device. If you have to enlarge the page to view your content, you should contact your web designer (or call us at PSPinc) to ask about getting a responsive website re-design.

Is your site viewable on different browsers?

Internet Explorer by Microsoft, Safari by Apple, Chrome by Google, and Firefox by Mozilla are the top four internet browsers used today. Unfortunately, each browser handles your website HTML codes differently and sometimes the pages will not show well or have broken links. Be sure to check your site (or ask your web designer to test your site) using every popular browser.

How does the site display information on different screen sizes?

Depending on the type of computer (PC or laptop) and display size, a website can appear differently, with more information being displayed on large monitors versus small laptops. As a business owner, your website should display the most important messages, menus, and buttons no matter what the display type and size. Test view your site on varying displays to find out if all the important features are showing up. If you have lots of information you wish users to have at first, you might want to consider videos as well.

Can visitors navigate to other pages easily?

Once users come to the home page of your website, they may want to go to a specific information page right away. How are you placing the menu (or navigation) on your site? In what order do you have your menu? Are you navigating visitors to the pages you wish them to view? Be sure to review how you structure your menu items, how you label them, and where you place them.

How do you tell your story?

The most important thing to remember is the very first webpage people land on gives the first impression for your business. The first impression represents who you are. So how do you tell your story through that experience? Having a clean and straightforward landing page will give a great first impression and a positive customer experience.

If you would like a second opinion, PSPinc provides free website analysis. Contact us and we will take a look at your site and give you valuable feedback at no cost to you.
#PSPinc #Blog #WebMarketing #OnlineMarketing #Websites #WebDesign #SmallBusiness

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How to Gain Customer Trust in your Company

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How to Gain Customer Trust i...
If your company isn’t widely known yet, it’s important to let potential customers know you are a legitimate business and you will take care of your customers. Here’s how you can do that:

Show them you’re a legitimate business.

There are so many fake websites in the world, people have begun to question what’s real and what’s fake. To ensure customers you exist and they can trust your website, you should make sure you state your address and a phone number. Not knowing where your company is headquartered adds doubt and may prevent potential customers from taking the action you hope for. On your website, include a telephone number, your business address, and the story or history of your business on an “About us” page, or on your social media site linked to your home page.

Have a means to contact you.

If you do not have a “Contact us” page or a link to contact your business, visitors will hesitate to connect with you. If they don’t believe they can follow up with you for help or questions about a purchase, why would they trust buying from you? Just as it’s important to get your business presence online via social media such as Facebook, Twitter and others, it’s also important to have your contact information out there on each site, as well as on your home page so visitors can contact you with inquiries.

If you want visitors to subscribe to your company newsletter, be sure to have a means to unsubscribe in the email. People don’t wish to get spammed when they are no longer interested in receiving your emails, and it reflects poorly on your company if they start complaining about it or writing bad reviews. Also, if you have an online form where visitors can make inquiries, prepare a privacy statement so they feel safe giving you their information.

State your policies.

Whether you are selling a product or a service, be sure to state your online and offline policies. If you are selling products online, state your policies for payment, shipping, and return procedures. Having these policies and procedures clearly stated will help garner customer trust in your company’s stability and credibility while reducing any misunderstandings that could arise from a customer’s shopping experience.

Larger online companies have very clear statements about their policies. You might want to review some of those to get ideas for your own, however, it would be worthwhile to talk to a legal advisor that can help you prepare statements that reflect specifically who you are and what you do.
#PSPinc #Blog #SmallBusiness #WebMarketing #OnlineMarketing #SocialMedia

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Lessons Learned from a Poor Customer Experience

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Lessons Learned from a Poor...
In my previous post, we defined the customer experience. In this article, I want to show you an example of a poor customer experience I had recently so we can all learn a lesson from it.

Two weeks before Christmas I decided to purchase a few items from a company in Hong Kong. The prices were very reasonable and from the photos they appeared to be well-made. I placed my order and then I received a message from the shop the next day that the items would take 2 to 4 weeks for delivery. I asked to cancel the order. The very next day, the store replied and said it would ship the package via DHL that day, so I thanked them and politely asked for the tracking number.

After two days passed, the online status changed to “shipped” and I sent them yet another message requesting the tracking number. They replied that one of the items was sold out and they would not be able to send the package out for 2 to 4 weeks. Remember where we started two days ago?

I requested to cancel the order again and they replied that if I pick another color they could ship my order right away. To make it up to me, they even offered to double the product. I picked another color and thanked them again.

A day passed, and I still had not received a tracking number so I reached out again. Eight hours later, they finally sent me a tracking number. By then we were headed into the weekend, and I went online to track the package – which stated a shipping label had been created, but nothing else. The shipping status sat like that for two more days without any updates.

Three days after I received a tracking number, the system finally gave me an update that a package had been received for shipment. So much for a smooth shopping experience!

Here are the lessons I learned:

1) Keep the customers in the loop.
2) Never promise something you cannot deliver right away.
3) Don’t lie.

Treat your customers the way you would like to be treated – the golden rule of life is also applicable when it comes to providing a good customer experience.
#PSPinc #Blog #WebMarketing #OnlineMarketing #CustomerService

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Understanding the Customer Experience

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Understanding the Customer Ex...
Our day-to-day shopping experience is becoming much more removed from any human contact. Even “Live Chat” on many commerce sites are driven by artificial intelligence rather than an actual person on the other end. For this reason, it’s critical that business owners evaluate their “customer experience” to make sure it’s still a pleasing and easy one. Even if customers never actually engage with a human during their purchase experience, it’s important to remember that human emotion is what will make the final purchase decisions.

According to Wikipedia, the “customer experience” in commerce is “the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship.” So, as business owners we should evaluate the interaction we have with our customers as it pertains to three key elements: Customer Journey, Touchpoints, and Ecosystems.

Customer Journey

This is the complete story customers will take away from their experience: from initial contact, through the process and into the future relationship. Almost like laying out a map of before, during and after the purchase took place and identifying the flow of the customer behavior.

To analyze the customer journey is to understand their motivations and interactions from beginning to end. For example, if you own a car dealership, you may map out a customer’s journey by understanding their motivation to buy a car, find out what influenced them to contact you (e.g. commercial, billboard, website), learn about the interactions you had with them (e.g. phone, email, social media) and how long the process took. Mapping out your customers’ journey can help you understand what you’re doing right and where you need improvement.

Touchpoints

These are the points in which you present your business to potential customers, and even interact with them throughout the customer journey. It is the varying ways your company displays information to a prospective customer. For example, a retail store window display will be a touchpoint where your brand is represented. A TV commercial for a car dealership, an interaction with a sales person, or a simple e-newsletter you send out to your subscribers are all touchpoints where you are interacting with your customers.

The Environment

Some call this the ecosystem for the customer experience; it’s the space where the customer ends up and he or she can be highly influenced by things like design, features the user-friendliness of a website. Or how about the lighting and ambiance, music and signage within a store or office space. What kind of emotional response will the customer have to these things? Will it be a pleasurable experience for them?

You might think you don’t need these “corporate” lessons because you are running a smaller business, but that is simply not true. Regardless of the size of your business, or type of business, understanding your customer experience, especially if there is very little human contact, is a necessary way to evaluate how well the engine is running.
#PSPinc #Blog #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #WebMarketing

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Larget Minority-Owned Business List

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Larget Minority-Owned Busines...
PSP inc has once again made the list for Largest Minority-Owned Businesses. The list is compiled by the Puget Sound Business Journal - PSP is ranked 35th this year.

We are very thankful for the growth we have had in 2016 and look forward to a strong 2017. Thank you for your support and your business.

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The Constant Cycle of Online Marketing Strategy

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The Constant Cycle of Online M...
Once you have your website and social media sites up and running, it’s just the beginning of a constant cycle of strategizing, reviewing and re-evaluating what works and what doesn’t. Since the New Year starts very soon, we’ve compiled a list of things to do during each phase of your strategic cycle this coming year. We’ve listed these phases for you, including steps to help you evaluate and elevate the success of your online business...

1) Strategy

Determine what your internet marketing goals are and then set your objectives to achieve them. Make sure your goals and objectives are measurable, and do not use any subjective words such as “more” or “bigger.” By measurable, we mean being able to score how well you did to meet your goal and complete your objectives.

2) Design and Development

Design and develop your website and social media according to your goals and objectives. List the key elements you want to include in each, such as keywords, your brand messages, and your tone of voice.

3) SEO, Social Media and Blogging

Have a means to stay connected with your customers and audience on a regular basis. You can use a blog and social media like Facebook to do so. Make sure you inter-link your blogs, website and social media sites for search engine optimization purposes. Use them to promote each other! And your website should be updated regularly so search engines will crawl and re-index your site often, which is good for SEO.

4) Analytics

Implementing the analytics tools we discussed previously, let your site run for a while. Once you have a little time and enough data under your belt, you should check to see how things are going, web traffic wise. What you assumed would work while designing and developing your site may or may not be true, and analytics data will give you that insight.

5) Maintenance

Based on your analytics data, adjust your site and media accordingly. A/B (and C) Testing mentioned in my previous blog post may come in handy when it comes to analyzing and adjusting your content and strategy. Without any maintenance, your strategic plan for online success will fall short.

6) Re-strategize

After completing phases 1 - 5, you need to circle back and review your strategy again, completing the cycle. This is the best time of year to do that since you only have a few days left before starting fresh in 2017. And remember, there is no one way to do things right so have a few different objectives this year, take a leap of faith and try something new!
#PSPinc #Blog #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #GoogleAnalytics #WebAnalytics #WebTools

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How to Evaluate your Web Content

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How to Evaluate your Web Con...
After you get a chance to evaluate how your website and/or social media efforts performed in 2016, it is time to reassess your content. After all, the message you have on those websites is the key to conversions and the success of your online business.

So how do you do that?

One way is to see where you appear in Google search results. Simply search keywords relevant to your business to see if your website shows up anywhere in the first 10 pages or so. If you did not show up, you might want to narrow your search by including your city, state, or even a region within your keyword phrase to see if that works. For example, I would look for PSPinc by searching the keywords: “web hosting company Bellevue.”

If you did show up, that’s great, but there is usually room for improving your position in the search engine results (SER). There are a couple things you should also consider.

First, you need to make sure you are logged off from your Gmail account. If your browser knows who you are, it will display ads that are very specific to you (based on your past searches and web behaviors), so you may not get the same SER as your potential customers. You could simply click on the tiny globe icon towards the top right of your Google search results page to see the “global” results. Just make sure your search results are not biased to you only.

Second, look to see how many results you get with your keyword search. After you plug in your keyword and search, the number displays at the top of the search results page above the first listing in small gray font. If you search broad keywords with lots of listings, you might want to narrow down your search. It is said people are using longer keyword phrases to be less competitive while targeting a more specific audience with specific interests. So we suggest you try that with three or more words in your search term.

If your website doesn’t show up at all in the SER no matter what you search, we need to figure out if your site has been “indexed” by Google - meaning registered into their database. The simplest way to find out is to enter your domain name, or URL, in the search field. If your site is still nowhere to be seen, maybe we can help. Just call us at PSPinc so we can analyze your website for free and give you more specific feedback.
#PSPinc #Blog #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #BrandMessage #WebContent #ContentMarketing #GoogleAnalytics #WebAnalytics #WebTools

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What to Know about A/B (and C) Testing

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What to Know about A/B (and ...
What is A/B testing, also called “split testing”? It’s another way to test your marketing strategies, or web campaigns side by side to see which one performs better and converts into the action you want taken, such as a sign-in, an email lead, or sale. Let’s say you want to know which day of the week an e-newsletter will get opened by the most people. You can send similar emails on different days (or different times of day) to see if the timing impacts the open rate.

A/B testing will allow you to make more fact-based decisions rather than guessing about what works and what doesn’t. It’s another way to review the performance of your marketing strategy.

But I would even go further. What if your less successful case of A/B testing can be improved to exceed the conversion rate of your more successful case?

I suggest doing A, B and C testing:

You start with three test cases: A, B, and C.
Let the campaigns run for a duration of time.
Compare the result of A, B, and C.
Drop the worst performer and add case A+ (assuming A did the best) to see if you can do even better with the best case.
Now you have A, B and A+ to compare.
Repeat this cycle until you figure out the top-performing case.

Sometimes you won’t narrow it down and make a final decision on which test case works best. You may end up increasing your budget and efforts to include all three marketing strategies, or you may decide to do just one or two on a larger scale. Whenever you reach the comfort zone of good results, you can increase the budget to launch the full-scale action.

The point is this: Analyzing your marketing strategies and actions, and readjusting them over and over must be performed in continuous cycles. Never stop this process if you want to keep learning and marketing your products and services successfully. A/B/C testing can help you continue this cycle.

With online marketing tools such as Google AdWords, Facebook, etc., you can easily manage and control your test cases until you figure out your perfect (or nearly perfect) formula.
#PSPinc #Blog #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #GoogleAnalytics #WebAnalytics #WebTools #ABTesting

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