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Brands go out of their way to develop amazing products and services that they know will be hit with their market, but very few take the time and exert the effort to ensure that their customers actually want to do business with them. Brands who don’t invest in creating the ultimate customer experience won’t be able to produce sustainable growth for their business.

1. Develop A Strategy

Just like everything else in business, customer experience requires a strategy. (And a good strategy at that.) It all starts with a thorough understanding of your buyer persona and moves past the buyer’s wants and needs to the anticipation of their desires. This is the first step toward sustainable growth.

The customer experience starts with content, as content is usually the first touch point on their path to purchase. This is where a brand needs to develop a voice and give their readers something to get excited about. Content can be tough; there needs to be a comfortable balance between entertainment and information, all while dealing a healthy dose of SEO.

Next comes the social media marketing. Most brands take for granted how incredibly important this aspect of the customer experience is. It’s not the first touch point, it’s not the last touch point—it’s the all the time touch point. Social is a place to consistently connect with customers in a speedy and friendly manner; it’s a place where customers should always be able to rely on your brand for great customer care.

Customer experience, of course, also happens off of the web. Create strategies and policies for handling both happy and disgruntled customers at physical locations so employees are prepared to handle any situation that they are confronted with.

2. Test The Results

In marketing, there isn’t just one type of test. A/B testing is used to find out which one of two strategies is converting the most leads. (Text on a call to action, for example.) Analytics are used to determine which blog posts, landing pages, etc. are seeing the most traffic. When we look at these numbers, we have a clearer picture of what elements of our content strategy are working best.

Marketing without testing is like throwing a dart blindfolded and hoping it sticks to the right place. You may be facing the right direction, and you may have a killer throw, but in truth, you have no clue where to aim. Every now and again, you’ll have a great shot, but the majority won’t be anything worth bragging about.

Unhappy customer in airport
When you spend the time testing your results and also listening to customer feedback, you are able to retarget your marketing efforts and create a customer experience that truly speaks to the wants, needs, and desires of your audience.

3. Make Everyone Responsible

It’s not just your marketing team’s job to manage customer care. It’s not your customer representatives’ job either, nor is it the job of your CEO. It’s every single person’s job from the administrative assistant to the president of the company.

Make sure that policies and strategies are put in place for dealing with customer issues so every person on staff understands their specific role, responsibilities, and abilities when it comes to the customer experience. Some team members are certainly able to do more than others, but while they are in charge of the experience, a smile and a kind word can go pretty far.

4. Create The Experience Together

Customer feedback is a powerful thing, yet an incredible number of companies don’t actually ask the customers what they think. How crazy is that? If you don’t know what your customers think, then it’s completely impossible to create a customer experience around them.

A few problems arise when you build the customer experience solely around your perceptions of what they want and need. For starters, what you think they need and what they actually need don’t always match up. Most importantly, the customer is likely to have an innovative idea for serving them that you may never have even considered as an option.

One Way sign against brick wall
Your way isn’t the only way. The bottom line is that you should always let your customer be your guide.

The Ultimate Customer Experience Is A Fluid Thing

The most important thing to remember about customer experience is that it’s fluid. What works for your customers today might not be what works for them tomorrow, which is why keeping in touch with customers is key. With the right digital marketing strategy and good connections to your customers, your brand can create the ultimate customer experience.

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Creating Community

The 6 Things Your Customers Really Want Besides Your Products and Services

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The Modern Marketer Blog

One time I heard Gary Vee say that Uber doesn’t sell transportation, Uber sells time.

What he means is that Uber provides a means to give people their time back, which happens to be a human’s most valued asset (whether they realize it or not).

This concept sent me down a path of  thinking about what customers TRULY want beyond our products and services.

After digging deep, talking to a few influencers, having several conversations with The Modern Marketer community, and evaluating the hundreds of interactions I have had with clients and customers, I narrowed it down to 6 things.

…6 things that our customers truly want, besides our products and services.

Customers want collaboration

A few months ago, I read a book called “The One Minute Negotiator.”

It was a very eye opening book that caught me by surprise. At first, I didn’t really think I would care much about ‘negotiation skills.’

Man, was I wrong.

Almost everything in life is a negotiation when other humans are involved. Period. Everything from choices in your household, to situations with employees, to business decisions, to buying and selling and everything in between.

I started to realize that there was a lot more to learn about the subject of negotiation.

The first mindset I had to break was that when I think of negotiation, I tend to think about the fact that someone has to come out on top. That’s the biggest myth of negotiating.

There is no winner in true negotiation.

This book split negotiation into a quadrant of Negotiation strategy:

  1. Competition
  2. Avoidance
  3. Accommodation
  4. Collaboration

The book went through each quadrant and explained that when you are competing, avoiding, or accommodating, someone loses which means everyone loses.

But when the negotiation reaches collaboration, that’s when growth, opportunity and peace happen.

Everyone wins.

I’ve really been taking this same principle into all areas of my business. Finance, HR, sales, and marketing.

Whether big or small, you have to learn to be a collaborator. To have enough emotional intelligence and self-awareness to create situations where the parties involved collectively win.

Customers want positive interactions

One of the things I strive for in my content is to use words like “we, us, ours” instead of “you, yours” etc.

My reasoning is simple.

…I know, it sounds silly.

But, I know plenty of businesses and organizations off the top of my head who are trying market but every time they have any public facing marketing message, they talk AT their audiences.

…and often in a negative tone, without even realizing it.

Their content is titled “why your _____ doesn’t work” or “5 ways to stop sucking at ______” or “my beef with _______” and on and on and on.

Their brand voice talks about why a customer needs something, or doesn’t realize something, or is missing out on something.

Their conversations with customers on social media give off the vibe that the customer or client is an inconvenience to them and a waste of their time. Short answers. No enthusiasm.

I get it, you need to sell. But you don’t have to have an “I am doing you a favor” mindset in marketing.

I urge you to stop talking to your audience like you have the solutions and are on a higher level than they are.

My mentor once told me that true professionals don’t give advice from the perspective of always being on top–the truth is that even when you have a better product, service, perspective or experience, your tone should always be positivity.

So, if you are a bakery, a kids clothing brand, a pool installer, a consultant, a publication or any business in any industry use positivity in your content. Change your headlines, your content, your ads, and your emails and shift it all to a positive light.

Yes, there is a certain ‘stickyness’ in blunt, solid value that has a little spritz of friction here and there. I get it. But, don’t adopt an approach or tone of negativity.

Positivity breeds virality. Remarkability breeds virality. Practicality breeds virality. 

Not negativity.

Customers want to be a part of something big

Of the consumers in our study who said they have a brand relationship, 64% cited shared values as the primary reason.

This was an awesome statistic coming from Kapost’s website that really hit me hard because I know that many of the hard core Modern Marketer fans share similar values with us.

Our team cares deeply about our customers’ and clients’ success, about the people in our circles, about our audiences and ultimately about providing products, services and business that people CAN TRULY believe in.

Because of that authenticity, we are able to have deep relationships and influence with our customers and audiences.

So let me ask you this.

How do you plan on sharing your values with customers? It’s not a trick question. The answer is content. The answer is media. The answer is storytelling.

At this point in digital marketing, how do we still have entrepreneurs and business owners that don’t understand content is the only way. Literally. Tell me 1 other way that you can sell people without content.

Go ahead… try to sell one thing without a single piece of content.

Other than being spammy or using black hat techniques.

You can’t.

Let your consumers have relationships with you on an intimate level and share the values, mission, vision and objectives of your company. Market with purpose.

Customers want to be loyal to brands

Building loyalty with 5% more customers would lead to an increased average profit per customer of 25-100%.

Vertical, vertical, vertical, vertical.

You need to think vertical instead of horizontal.

  1. You need understand that growing vertical with 5% of your customer base is better than growing horizontal with 95% of your customer base.
  2. You need to understand that it’s better to have 100 people follow you on social media that care, than 10,000 that kinda care or don’t give a crap.
  3. You need to understand that it’s better to have 1 brand advocate, than 10 customers who are decently satisfied but probably won’t buy again.
  4. You need to understand that it’s important to prioritize what actually matters in your business and ignore the rest until you have so many customers and so much revenue that your only play left is to look horizontal.

Some of you spend day after day after day reaching wider and wider. Instead of spending your time going deeper.

You are about to start video marketing when your blog sucks.

You are about to start going on Snapchat when you haven’t figured out how to leverage Facebook and Instagram.

You are about to implement a new product when you have figured out how to maximize the funnel of your last product.

You are about to run a mail out campaign when you haven’t figured out how to make customers stay with your brand.

You are about to run advertising dollars when you haven’t satisfied the people who are ALREADY giving you money.

You’re thinking wide-wide-wide-wide when you should be thinking deep-deep-deep-deep.

Trust me. I see you. And I want this to empower you to take a different direction with your efforts.

Customers want community

One of the things that I’ve seen over and over again is the power of community.

  • The first business I started in my career was a music education community. 1,000,000 views on Youtube in 8 months, tens of thousands across social media, tens of thousands in unique traffic per month
  • The business I currently run has a brand called The Modern Marketer with tens of thousands in the community and is already one of the fastest growing marketing brands on social media.

If you think of the top brands that you purchase from, or pay attention to, there is a community behind that brand in most cases.

Communities are powerful because the driving force behind a good community is value.

Building a community is another one of those marketing approaches that a lot of small to medium sized owners and entrepreneurs don’t think they are qualified to do. If you have a product or service that has purpose, vision and passion behind it (which you should) it’s possible that creating a community is exactly what you need to reach that next level.

Again, the first business I ever built was 150% reliant on the community we built behind it. Our most successful client accounts have active communities behind them. The Modern Marketer is great because of YOU the community. Not because of me. Because of community

Yes, I personally provide the daily value, but all of you provide the amazing stories. The great businesses. The insane perspective on social media and so much more. I’ve learned just as much from all of you by creating this community as you’ve learned from my team and I, and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

So, I encourage you to evaluate if you have what it takes to build a community, where that community would live and what type of value you would continually serve to them.

Side-note: To close this section, I will name some companies/brands with an awesome “community” behind them. Frank Bod, Foundr Magazine, Adobe, Warby Parker, Dollar Shave Club, Jack Threads, Birch Box, Fight The New Drug, Harley Davidson, Playstation.

Customers want to help YOU grow

I am very self-critical—overtime, however, I’ve learned a little trick about feedback simply by pulling from two sides of the same spectrum.

  1. My significance as a human and a business owner isn’t predicated on customer feedback, good or bad.
  2. Customer feedback is authentic and raw and it’s exactly what I need to become the best version of myself.

I had an instance recently where I knew that I was a little behind on something for a client. There was no way I could have gotten ahead because I am a human and only have so many hours in a day.

The client wasn’t even upset, but I reflected internally and thought to myself “do I just want to have clients that aren’t upset, or do I want to have clients that are raving about my work?” So, I corrected the situation, communicated, and moved on.

We need to have the self-awareness first to understand that customer feedback is necessary and second understand that even when a customer isn’t “mad,” if they aren’t raving about you then you need to improve something.

Oooooh man.

That last statement was for someone out there reading this.

Let it sting and go make some changes.

You can’t scale a business with satisfied customers. You scale a business with raving customers. People who just can’t get enough of you and your brand.

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Creating Community

How to Serve Your Customers with Humility

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how to serve your customers

Good customer service is an essential part of business both online and off, but we’re not all doing it in an smart way. Businesses need to have effective strategies in place for handling customers, both happy and upset, in order to effectively serve those who are patrons of your business and keep your business running successfully. The “customer is always right” mentality has clouded our judgement and confused customers and employees alike. What is really needed is the proper mentality and willingness to serve.

The Customer Is Always Right

This phrase has been around for quite some time. The idea is that you take care of the customer no matter what, that you make them happy with the outcome no matter what, but some employees take a step back when they hear it. Customers, of course, aren’t always right, so that kind of thinking can make things difficult on your employees—and the customer.

It gives those employees the wrong idea about how to handle things when a difficult situation may arise. What they really need to know is what the rules are, what it is in their power to do for a customer, and that they should always serve your customers with humility and respect.

Serving With Humility

It doesn’t matter how well you handle every business transaction, there will always be someone who isn’t impressed. You’ll get negative reactions, you’ll get bad reviews, you’ll get angry customers—it’s just a part of doing business. It’s important that while you take these grievances seriously, you don’t take them personally.

A personal reaction is usually a defensive reaction, which puts everyone on edge and makes it less likely that you will end up with a happy customer at the end of the day. What you need to do and what your employees need to be trained to do is to always be a servant of your customer, and to serve them with humility. It’s not about “the customer is always right”, rather it’s about the modest way that you approach your interactions and how you work to serve your customers.

Using Customer Feedback To Enhance Your Brand

You may not realize it in the moment, but those times when you have to deal with a customer’s dissatisfaction are very helpful for growing your brand. Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” and we should always remember that. You can’t always foresee the best option for your product, user experience, and customer service, but the feedback you get from your customers is authentic and raw. It may not be what you want to hear, but it is certainly what you need to hear to help your brand become the best version of itself.

Your ability to be humble and make yourself a servant to the customer is going to be a very large determining factor not only in the success of your brand, but also its ability to grow. So take a step back from any tricky situation and cool off. Think about putting the customer first and how you can approach the problem before you in a humble way—and train your employees to do the same.

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Creating Community

Leveraging The Power Of Why in Your Marketing

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Leveraging the Power of Why in your marketing

In sales, we concentrate very heavily on the Who; after all, if you are directing all your efforts at the wrong person, your business is going to fail. There’s no question that finding the Who in a very specific way is essential, which is why we encourage everyone to take some serious time to build strong buyer personas. However, the next step is definitely the Why.

What Is The Why?

Too many businesses go straight from the Who to the What and just expect their buyers to figure the rest out. This isn’t a strong strategy because we, as salespeople, are responsible for showing prospective buyers why they want or need our product. No doubt, some will figure it out on their own, but that’s not always the case.

Take a saas company for example. When a company buys their product, they already know that they need a solution. They are provided with all the how-to videos, tutorials, and tech support they can imagine. They’ve been given all the tools they need to make this software work well for their business, but alas their productivity remains exactly the same. We’ve told them how this product should work for them, but not why their business must change productivity. Therefore, the company has been using this incredible software ineffectively.

The Why is more than just telling the customer , “Hey, you need this!” It’s about making the customer thoroughly understand their needs and why they need change.

Why We Need The Why

If you have a stellar product or service, chances are that customers will buy. They’ll come up with a “need” whether it actually exists or not. Sounds like a win-win situation, right? Wrong. If your customer doesn’t actually understand the Why, chances are that they aren’t using your product properly, which means that they won’t be using your product for long.

Eventually the nuance will wear off and they will discover that your product doesn’t work well for them. You know that your product will work perfectly for them, but without the Why, that personal reason that they actually need your product, you won’t be able to keep them as customers. That’s a killer for businesses everywhere.

The Why Is Your Job

This is one of those situations where the sales and marketing departments need to work closely together, especially in digital marketing. The Why holds a great deal of power, and when both teams work together, you’ll be better equipped with the Why to attract customers. It’s going to take some time and effort to determine what the Why is for certain types of consumers, but being able to leverage that Why will make your business much more knowledgeable and useful to prospective and current customers.

It’s your job to determine the Why for customers and help them stay informed about your product so that new customers quickly become existing customers and your business can continue to grow.

Have you identified your Why for your customers? What can you do differently in your marketing efforts to promote the Why?

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