Why You Should Network with Current Customers

One of the best ways to get new customers is to network with those that you’ve  done business with. Your previous customers are valuable to the life of your future business.

As you get each new customer, you want to network with that customer again in the future to keep your business in their mind and to keep them on as a walking and talking billboard for your business.

The future of your business needs to evolve to include repeat customers and referral customers, both of whom are vital to the ongoing relationship of your business, the consumer, and the local surroundings of your business.

So now you ask; “How can I network with previous customers?” It’s easier than you might think!

Read: How to Network Like a Boss

Even if your customers are online, you can still network with them. A simple note, or email will do the trick. Refer to them by name, and offer helpful, metered advice. Chat with your customers about the care and maintenance of what they have purchased from you, or what work you have done for them. Ask if there is anything that can be done to improve the process they went through while dealing with your business.

Network with your clients by taking them to lunch, or doing something out of the ‘ordinary’ to express your appreciation for their business. As you continue to acknowledge those clients, they’ll keep you fresh in their minds. They’ll tell others about how you thanked them, and how they feel about your business.

The internet business is going to use newsletters, emails and special offers sent to previous customers as ways of networking and keeping in touch with those customers. Keeping the lines of communication open with a customer is going to increase awareness of your products and services. This in turn is will increase sales, one repeat customer at a time.

In business you can network with previous customers by creating mailing lists and using them with a great CRM to stay in touch. Offering helpful tips about the care and maintenance of a product they purchased with you, or making helpful recommendations for its use are great ways to stay in touch, and your customer will greatly appreciate the effort.

Learn more on how you can maintain good relationships with your previous customers through follow-ups using email automation at www.smallbizdream.com.

Simple Ways to Increase Your Website Sales

If you’re looking for simple ways to increase your business bottom line, you’ve come to the right place.

You might think that you already know what your customer wants. But how sure are you? Instead of assuming that you know, why not listen to the customer and ask questions to find out what it is that he REALLY wants.

1. Tell your customers about benefits, not features.

Your customers don’t want to know the ins and outs of your products or services, they want to know how those products or services could benefit them! Save the details of the product for a secondary page on your website that’s NOT on your home page. You can give some main selling points, but keep the minor details off of the home page. This spot is reserved for benefits of your products and/or services.

Let’s say you’ve got a strategy to get your clients out of debt. Don’t give them the nuts and bolts on the front page on how it works. Instead, give them the abbreviated version and save the small print for another page. Tell them the specific benefits of a life with ample funds and freedom from debt. Would that get YOUR attention if the shoe was on the other foot?

2. Keep communication consistent with potential buyers.

They say that it takes at least 7 views of your products or services to get interested parties to buy them. They’re obviously interested if they’ve managed to get to your site and request information, especially if they’re checking you out more than 7 times. So why not inform them regularly about your news and updates to the site? You may already have a future customer.

It’s also a good practice to use a “bookmark this page” and “tell a friend about this page” tool, to make it easier to get potential buyers in the future. Just because they’re not buying yet doesn’t mean they’re not coming back.

3. Encourage your site visitors to ask questions.

Some people might think you’ll be bothered by them or waste your time answering their questions. Extend your arms to each and every visitor that comes into your site, and encourage them to ask questions.

If you see the same question coming from those visitors over and over again, you should probably create a “Frequently Asked Questions” or “FAQ” page. People usually want immediate answers to their questions, and a “FAQ” page keeps your site visitors from having to ask the same questions over and over again.

4. Make the buying experience easier.

Don’t ask for information that you don’t need. Ask for the bare minimum information from the customer so they can ‘get in, and get out’. Then later on, you can send them a quick ‘thank you’ note and a follow up to see how they liked your website.

5. Don’t make your customer jump through hoops to buy your products.

It will only frustrate them, and make them put off buying for later – and that ‘later’ may never come!

6. Use a good CRM tool to help keep customers in the loop with your business.

Utilizing a good Customer Relationship Tool goes a long way to keep you organized when it comes to communicating with your customers. If you’ve got a sale or special on your products or services that you want them to know about (and they should), your CRM is an invaluable way to bring customers to your business with the click of a button.

Going one step further, utilizing a powerful mobile customer relationship tool like Small Business Dream will allow you to keep in touch with those valuable customers on the fly!

By keeping these lines of communication open with your site visitors and potential customers, you’ll find it easy to gain more trust and credibility with them and in turn, more sales!

4 Ways To Become an Email Marketing Ninja

Despite all the other methods of marketing and selling, email is still king of the road. It’s what drives a lot of businesses, both online and offline. And if you’re not using email to communicate and sell to your customers then why the heck not?

It’s probably because you’ve never really considered the power of a consistent, follow-up email sequences. Or maybe you don’t know how. It’s actually a lot easier than you think.

But first let’s take you back a bit. I’m going to take you back to the time you were overjoyed when you got email. There was that ping of anticipation, the little swirly icon, and then you’d click on it, and wait for it to open.

Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case. Fast forward to present. Answering emails is probably the last thing you want to do.

The average person gets 84 emails a day, not including the Facebook Messages, the LinkedIn Messages, the Tweets, the Snapchats, and whatever else there is. There are probably a million things you prefer to do than wade through email wasteland.

It’s almost impossible to respond to 84 messages a day, let alone read them, so you have to be a ‘marketing ninja’ to stand out. You just need to train to do those back flips and karate chops!

How do you do that? I’m glad you asked. Luckily I’ve come up with a number of things you can do to become a master.


Before you send a single email you need an overall strategy. Like anything else, if you fly by the seat of your pants then you’re not going to be effective. You have to always ask how it would benefit your audience. What message are you trying to send? Take your time to stop and think about your approach and execution.

It may help to first draw out the sequence of emails on a piece of paper, detailing every one you want to send to your customers or potential customer. Then write down the action you want them to take. You should strategize at least three months in advance and know exactly what you want to say. As your business changes, it’s possible to change your strategy. But as they say ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’


Obviously the content of your email is the most important part. Starting with your subject line. If your emails are boring, nobody will read them.
I know, the truth hurts sometimes. But if you train your customers that you’re awesome and your writing is going to be entertaining then you’ll have people salivating over your email content.

Another thing you can do is what in the ‘biz’ is called the open loop. That is kind of like writing an episode of Game of Thrones. And it can be that much fun to both read and write. The point of the open loop email is to keep your reader engaged and to end with a ‘cliffhanger’. Of course you want your readers to come away with a great story but there should also be a business moral that will lead them to buy for you.

The open loop is an extremely effective way of being a email ninja and one that most businesses don’t deploy effectively. Of course it’s just one type of content you can use. There are far too many to cover here.


The more you know about your email list, the better and more ‘valuable’ it is. The more you can customize it to a specific person the better. If you know a particular person likes a certain beer, then you can craft a message around it. The same for coffee, restaurants or sports. Segmented lists and dynamic content really show your audience that you’ve thought about their needs and care about building a personal relationship with them, even if it’s automated. We’ll get into it next.

There are a couple ways of segmenting your email list. You can send your existing list a survey and then record those responses. You can create different landing pages each with a different message. Or you can run different contests to see which people respond to. Be creative!


This is by far my favorite tip. I love automation! Why? Because it makes life so much easier. Why do all the work over and over again when you only have to do it once? Your customers won’t know the difference unless you do it poorly. Remember to personalize it! (Hint we just talked about it!) If you personalize and segment your list correctly, then your customer will feel special and privileged.

There are many ways to do this. Most email marketing companies have a way you can create auto responders that will automatically trigger when you add somebody to a list.


With only 39% of retailers send personalized product information to their customers there is obviously great room for improvement! Just by adding good email strategy and follow up, you can double or triple your sales!

How to Use Hashtags for Your Small Business Marketing

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ve probably noticed that the number of businesses who utilize social media as a marketing medium has grown in massive numbers.

Now…for the purpose of our business, we’ve found that there are a couple of mediums that give us greater latitude, and much bigger “bang for our marketing buck” with regard to creativity than do others. And you might find the same goes for your own business social media purposes. In trying out the various platforms, we generally suggest that you find out which works best, and focus on those.

Twitter for instance, utilizes text to 140 characters, so if your message is text focused, and you can get that message (or a tantalizing part of that message) across in less than that, it’s a kick ass way to go, but creativity still rules. Simply said, the fact that you’re only ‘allowed’ 140 characters on Twitter can create the need to include links to whatever website or blog the rest of your information is located on.

What exactly IS a ‘hashtag’?

Hashtags have become so common these days that people have started using them outside of their intended purpose. People use them in text messages, chats, songs, and advertisements.

A “hashtag” is more simply described as a word preceded by the number sign (#).You’ll see them across a variety of different social networks like Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and occasionally on Facebook. When Pinterest first came out in 2010 there was a lot of confusion about hashtags and how they were being used on that platform.

Hashtags (#) are used for the purpose of locating people/industries/topics that you and/or your company might be interested in following/communicating with, etc. Whenever a user adds a hashtag to their post, it is immediately indexed by the social network and searchable by other users. Once someone clicks on that hashtag, they’ll be brought to a page that aggregates all of the posts with the same hash tagged keyword in real-time.

Those hashtags in the Instagram platform serve the same purpose, even though it’s primarily an image driven vehicle (no pun intended there). Using hashtags within those messages also brings WAY more eyeballs than those posted without them (it’s astonishing just how much traffic a simple hashtag can bring).

So now you ask, “how do I know which hashtags I should be using for my business?” There are a couple of really simple answers to this question;

1. When it comes to hashtags, common sense generally prevails. Using a business related word and simply prefixing it with a “#” is generally one of the best ways to start testing out some favorites.

2. When it doubt, Google it. Search for popular hashtags related to your business on Google! Google is a super helpful resource, and you can find any number of hashtag lists for use on your preferred social media platform, for just about any business you dare to search. Do some testing and tweaking. Figure out which hashtags work best on which platform for your business, and get to it!

Despite the problems I have outlined in this book, I believe that the future of small business is bright. Regardless of what your customer’s needs are, there’s one universal way to explode your sales, and keep that customer coming back, and/or referring your business; Keeping in touch. By ‘keeping in touch’ I’m not saying that you should badger your customer incessantly with mindless chatter. By “keeping in touch”, you’re simply, periodically putting yourself at the forefront of your customer’s mind with timely, helpful, metered communication.

Now you ask, “what exactly IS timely, helpful, metered communication”? Well ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to tell you. Go grab a java, take a seat in a big comfy chair, and read on.

Let’s say you’re in the real estate business. Obviously your customers aren’t buying real estate the way they’d buy say…socks (or maybe they are). Just because a client makes one real estate purchase doesn’t mean that the ‘sale’ is done when your commission cheque clears, but your client very likely has friends. And what do you think happens when those friends are buying property? They ask a friend for a referral. And if you don’t position yourself in such a way that there really ISN’T anyone else that your client can think of when asked for that referral, your sales, and therefore your commissions will have no other avenue but to jump exponentially.

Sounds great, right? I mean, who doesn’t want to make more money, while helping a client remember to do helpful things with regard to their real estate purchase? If you could in addition, have those helpful reminders to go out on a set schedule, so much the better, right?

Implementing a simple ‘system’ for reaching out to those customers automatically makes the task of keeping in touch one of the more simple tasks that you undertake in your business, instead of one that you dread for how difficult it can be.

If your business is a restaurant, keeping in touch is even more simple, by sending out ‘reminders’ of regular specials and special events happening in your establishment. It’s easy to keep your income pipeline full, when you’re at the forefront of the minds of your customers, regulars or not.

Making the task of staying in touch even simpler, why not implement a mobile CRM to your marketing strategy? That way your business doesn’t need to rely on you having time to sit down at a computer to do your ‘staying in touch’ tasks.

Cool, right?

What is Wrong With Twitter

We’ve all heard Twitter being likened to a cocktail party, in which you can mill about and join in on any digital conversation that you feel is interesting, and it might have started out that way.

But now it seems that Twitter has turned into a cocktail party in a football stadium, during the Super Bowl game.

Here’s how I see Twitter working if you follow most of the Twitter gurus, Twitter e-book publishers, and self-professed twitter list building experts. Let’s follow through on that cocktail party concept, and assume you’re there for the purpose of finding a date, and eventually a girlfriend/boyfriend, leading to a husband or wife.

The intent seems to have become to say “HI” to everybody at the party as fast as possible (loosely translated, this equates to randomly follow all of them), in as loud a voice as possible (meaning, use some automated tool to follow them), and try to get a first date with everyone you said “Hi” to within 5 minutes (or get them to follow you back).

Is it me, or does this seem delusional?

You know nothing about the people you said Hi to (or followed), nothing about what they are talking about, or what they do, or what their interests are, nothing about whether or not you have anything in common, (didn’t even look at their profile)

Due to having such a huge list of people that you know nothing about, but expect them to agree to your first date request, you have no time at all to take the actions that could actually EARN you that first date.

You didn’t listen to what they are talking about (actually read what THEY post), you didn’t show any interest in them by being interested in anything they said (“Like” something they post), and you didn’t brag about how cool you thought they were and how much you have in common by telling others about them! (“re-tweeting a post or giving them a “Mention”)

You then show your impatience by waiting only a day or two, with no further communication from you to them before you ex-communicate them for not accepting your date offer! (“un-follow”).

Then you brag about your conquests by advertising to the world how many first dates you have had! (I grew by 595 “followers” today) And of course you keep secret how many never called you back. (“un-followed” you) As long as you go on enough first dates, you will continue to grow your ever so valuable list of like minded folks.

It’s noisy, misdirected, misunderstood and even rude. So, even though you have such a misguided approach, you manage to find a few to AGREE to have that first date (or they “followed” you back).

Of course, even though you don’t even know if you like or are interested in them, and they likely have no idea about you as you are both likely following the same misguided technique, you have your robot secretary (or auto reply tool) show up for you (“direct message”) as you are far too busy with your HUGE list of unqualified date prospects to show up in person to explore the possibilities with the one who said they are interested!

If the most common thing to happen, which is your robot secretary (or “direct message”) shows up to find out that they also sent their robot secretary (auto reply to “direct message”) vs. showing up in person, doesn’t happen, there are two ways this seems to go, and the first is almost laughable.

Your robot secretary (or your “direct message”) sits down, but rather than give a compliment, or engage in a meaningful two sided conversation to get to know you, you quickly tell your date (or your “follower”) they have not connected to you the right way to create the most favourable first impression, and you suggest that they re-schedule to a different venue, which you conveniently give them the address to (you telling them to ‘follow you on Facebook or Instagram, or join your newsletter by the link you’ve so graciously included, etc.)

Why wouldn’t you just engage with them in the medium they FOUND you on FIRST? Warm them up to you, t h e n suggest you have other places they can learn more about you after the first date is over, or in order to agree to that first date. Twitter recently took the 140 character limit off the Direct Message feature, for goodness sake.

The second way we are taught to teach our robot secretaries is even more damaging if that is possible.

Your robot secretary sits down at the date, and gives a pre-recorded generic message that doesn’t acknowledge you even read your potential date’s profile, or that you learned anything about them, vomiting your information all over them being convinced they (as a non-curated follower) are totally into you!

Let’s say you fooled your date, they didn’t realize it wasn’t you, or they knew it wasn’t but actually their intention for meeting you was NOT to care what you say, but try to force you to hear what they had to say, so they agreed to a second date.

The better robot secretaries will help this. They will automatically follow up with some equally random, off-putting self-promotion a few days later. This usually guarantees your date will stop returning your calls (or not read, like, reply, or retweet), or worse yet, EX-COMMUNICATE YOU (or “un-follow” you). Either way, you’re NOT getting a second date.

Welcome to Twitter. Everybody talking AT each other, instead of WITH and TO each other.
Now the idea is to get your first dates to turn into second dates, and second to third, to boyfriend/girlfriend, to marriage.

Let’s consider marriage to be the sale.
This to me is Twitter done WRONG! How do we do Twitter the RIGHT way?