The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Online Business 32

The Worst Advice We've Ever Heard About Online Business - let's reach success

This is a guest post by Anakha, a content writer at PaperMarker. She is well-experienced in software design and passionate about music, reading and writing non-tech articles.

Online businesses are flourishing immensely.

But even when most of the businesses are on the verge of getting online, there are some devil’s advocates that give you such advice that’s definite to backfire.

The worst part is that many people end up taking their strong, confident but awfully wrong advice, which is actually how not to build a business.

Here are some such bad tips about online businesses and the reality about them:

1. Do your website yourself, there’s so much information available online.

While the second part of the advice that there’s a lot of information available online is true, how and where to apply it can make a huge difference.

A website which is not done professionally can cost your brand reputation. You may be tech-savvy, but would you let your business suffer because of incomplete knowledge?

If you want your website to be designed and developed by the experts, you better let the experts do it.

2. Just upload your products online and start selling.

This can be fatal! If you have your own website, it is your responsibility to upload your product details and then market the site decently.

You can adopt a combination of traditional and modern marketing techniques to become successful.

Social media marketing is one of the most popular internet marketing methods that work well with SMEs as well as large organizations.

Unless you promote your product, it will not reach the target customers. SEO, CMS, and social media marketing involve some basic techniques, which you need to learn and work on. But the best part is that you can outsource these aspects to the specialists to deal with them every day.

3. Market your business on social media yourself, why pay unnecessarily.

Social media marketing is a lot more than posting your products and services on Facebook and then sharing it with your friends.

Targeting the right audience is essential for your social media efforts to succeed. That involves a lot of aspects to be analyzed and monitored such as the gender, age, location, demographics, and many behavioral patterns online.

What is being posted and when also matters a lot in making sure that it reaches out to the target audience to the maximum.

4. Offer and bargains are a great way to attract customers.

While offers and bargains do attract a large number of customers, discounts can backfire too.

If your brand targets premium customers, they would never consider products and services on discount.

Frequently offering discounts on your products and services can also jeopardize your brand reputation. People will wait for the offers endlessly and you will end up selling most of your stock only on discount.

This affects your reputation and margins adversely. Moreover, you will lose your premium customers who would lose interest in your products.

5. Do not accept returns, it can affect your sales adversely.

Easy returns of products sold online will make your brand more credible among the customers.

They will feel more confident buying the products online since they can return them in case something goes wrong.

The more stringent your return policy is, the more the customers will also be reluctant to buy your products.

To earn your customers’ trust, you must make your quality policy more stringent so that your customers will never get sub-standard or damaged products (which are usually returned). This will let you ease your return policies, which builds trust.

6. Your business is too small to go online.

This is the worse advice to take. No business is too small to go online.

While some of the businesses do not need an online presence, every business will gain a lot of brand recognition and wider audience online.

A website with crisp and competent SEO content, which is kept up-to-date, will attract many customers to your site. It will also prove to be helpful to gain a larger local audience, as the local pages (geo-tagged and search engine optimized) will be more visible on the search engine result pages.

Never doubt the potential of your business or any business for that matter. Global attention will help you flourish even better.

Now that you know all this, do some research to decide what advice to take.

The world has become quite competitive and the smallest mistake can take a huge toll on your brand reputation. When you try looking for the one who gave you the hapless advice that put you in trouble, though, they will be nowhere to be found!

Trust your intuition and get expert advice on such suggestions before you decide on them. Online businesses have a great future as they help to cut the cost considerably and let you break the boundaries.

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 6

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

***
Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.