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5 Effective Ways to Keep Clients Happy

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In any business, customers are the most significant asset. Having a huge client base translates directly to high sales, which consequently result in high revenues. The ultimate goal of all businesses is to make a profit, so as a businessperson or an entrepreneur, you must endeavor to keep your clients happy. You need to devise creative ways to uphold a high customer retention rate and brand loyalty. Here are a few strategies you can apply to keep your clients happy and content.

Deliver beyond your customers’ expectations

Consider occasionally surprising your clients by over-delivering. This does not, however, imply over-stretching your resources; rather, it simply means that once in awhile deliver your promise to the client a few days earlier than agreed. If you had promised delivery of a service or product in a week, you could surprise them by delivering the same after four days or so. This way, they will certainly come back for more goods or services.

Communicate effectively with your customers

Communication is vital in all relationships, including business. You should never keep your clients’ calls waiting or have their calls go unanswered as this will frustrate them. If there is no one in the office, divert the calls to a cell phone. Similarly, ensure you reply to their emails promptly and if you are not available to respond immediately due to an out of office commitment or an extended leave, set an autoreply and provide them with an alternative channel or phone number to call. Most importantly, be a good listener and let your clients know you value their concerns and input. Encourage them to provide feedback on your products to make them feel valued and keep them happy.

Uphold integrity

Your customers need to view you as trustworthy, reliable, and transparent. The only way to foster this trust and confidence is by delivering on your promises. Set realistic goals that you can meet and be consistent in excellent service delivery. If you do not deliver as promised due to some unavoidable reasons, own up and apologize to your client for inconveniences that may ensue, and then proceed to fulfill the obligation.

Maintain professionalism

You should always maintain the appropriate level of professionalism when dealing with your customers. If you scheduled a face-to-face meeting, be prompt to avoid wasting their precious time. Dress neatly and carry yourself well to win your clients’ confidence. Be polite and patient, and learn to take negative feedback gracefully. Remember your customers are your brand ambassadors so you need to win their confidence and trust so that they can market your products to their kin and friends. A happy and satisfied customer will certainly bring you more referrals and more revenue.

Show gratitude

Your customers need to know that you appreciate them for their crucial contribution to your business success. Send thank you messages or even thank you cards when applicable. After every interaction, remember to say a simple ‘thank you’ and wish them well; this gesture goes a long way to make the clients happy and feel appreciated.

The secret to keeping your clients happy is consistently upholding exemplary customer service standards. Treat your customers as a priority in your business and let them know you appreciate doing business with them. Always strive to keep your customers loyal to your brand by meeting their expectations and they will certainly help your business grow tremendously.

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Podcasting Corner: Advertising FAQs

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Last month, I attended Podcast Movement in Anaheim, CA, joined by TWiT.tv founder Leo Laporte and Jerry Wagley, Creative Director at TWiT.tv. Podcasting conferences are a wonderful opportunity to meet with fellow podcasters and agencies we work with – in many cases for the first time! If you were unable to attend this year’s Podcast Movement, be sure to sign up for next year’s conference and check out other conferences happening this year.

Podcasting continues to rise and several panel discussions focused on monetization and podcast advertising, creating a perfect opportunity for industry professionals to share best practices.

Podcasters often inquire about the process and ad-model established at TWiT.tv, and I am happy to share what works for our networks. Listed below are a few of the frequently asked questions we receive regarding podcast advertising.

Please feel free to reach out with additional questions at @ArtisanalLLC.

Am I ready for sponsorship?

Advertisers want audience reach, and the most successful podcast sales are for shows with over 50K downloads per episode. The smaller the reach, the harder the sell. Podcasters should have a minimum of 25K downloads per episode before considering sponsorship. In short, if you want to have a successful ad-supported podcast, focus on growing your audience and sales will follow.

How often should I record and publish my podcast?

We have found that weekly over daily, bi-weekly, and monthly podcasts are more successful. However, reliability is key. Set a publishing date and time and keep to it.

How do I decide on sponsorship rates?

Once you are ready for sponsorship, be sure to create a rate card and offer the same rate across the board. Do not update your rates more than once a year unless there are major changes in downloads.

Your CPM, or cost per mille, is the cost for one thousand views/impressions. The total price paid is calculated by multiplying the CPM rate by the number of impressions divided by one thousand. For example, if the CPM is $15 and there are ten thousand impressions, the total price paid per show/episode is $150.

Cost per acquisition (CPA) or cost per conversion (CPC), will require the advertiser to pay for a specific acquisition i.e. a sale, click, or sign up.

How should I decide what advertisers to work with?

It’s essential to take the time and carefully vet all potential sponsors before signing them on. Do their products and services make sense for your audience? Is this a product you are familiar with? Do you have current sponsors with similar product or services? It goes without saying: do your research and never book competitors. Always put your content and your audience first.

How many ads should I have per episode?

Our ad model consists of two host-read ads per advertiser because the unaided recall is 80% greater than a single ad read. We recommend two ads, a short billboard and a 1-2 minute long interstitial ad, over one interstitial or pre-roll ad. We also recommend fewer ads per episode for increased effectiveness – no more than one ad per half hour.

Should I pre-record ads or do them live?

We highly recommend live, authentic host-read ads as your listeners want to hear product and service recommendations directly from the people they trust. Remain true to your show and let your personality shine through the ad read – don’t just read the script.

Something else to consider: live ad reads give co-hosts and guests an opportunity to chime in and share their experience with the product/service. So be sure to take a conversational tone, but always disclose an ad read.

Most importantly, honesty is key; do not endorse a product or service unless you’ve used it and genuinely recommend it.

The 6 Top Books for Entrepreneurs

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No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, you can always benefit from more advice and guidance. You may be running a successful business and at the top of your game, but finding fresh ways to approach business is always a good idea. One of the best ways to tap into new knowledge is through reading books by top entrepreneurs or some that are just generally beneficial. Reading has lots of benefits, least of all the fact that you’ll learn something from the text. Here are some of the top books to read if you want to improve your entrepreneurial game.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

One of the most helpful books you can read, Manson offers advice on how to avoid getting caught up in what people think or their perceptions of you. Instead of worrying about things and people that don’t matter, focus on what you need to do and where you’re going. Learn who does and doesn’t matter in your life and use this information to benefit you in all areas of your life.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

In this book, Ries discusses the difference between a startup that fails and one that succeeds. So many new companies never make it past the beginning stages, but Ries believes many of these failures are preventable. This book offers a new way to develop a company and make sure it stays afloat.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Carnegie published this book nearly 20 years ago, but that doesn’t stop it from still being applicable to people today. As you read this book, you’ll realize there are plenty of methods to use when it comes to advancing in your career or even improving your personal relationships. Carnegie’s advice has been tested over and over again and holds true.

The Third Wave by Steve Case

Steve Case is the co-founder of AOL. In this book, he discusses the rise of AOL and the internet in general, then Facebook and Google, and finally what is considered the Third Wave. It’s the period we’re currently in, when tech startups utilize the internet and provide more and more ways our daily lives change in relation to tech.

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss is one of the best known entrepreneurs in the game today. He’s been involved in many endeavors, including his wildly successful podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. In his most recent book, he discusses his years of experience and what he’s learned, compiled all together, for other people to reference in order to gain useful knowledge.

Disrupted by Dan Lyons

Lyons uses his book to talk about what you do when tech has made your job obsolete. In his case, he adapted to the change and moved on to a small startup tech company. As the company gained more and more success, Lyons witnessed the journey of a new startup from the beginning to its time at the top. If you ever wanted an inside look at what it’s like to work for a small startup, this book provides that insight.

How to Choose a Topic to Create a Podcast About

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Once you decide that you want to start a podcast, it can be difficult deciding exactly what topic you want to talk about. Maybe you want to do a podcast to cement your personal brand or spread awareness about your business. Maybe you have a general idea of what you’d like to focus on in your podcast, but you aren’t really sure what the overall theme should be or where to start. Many people think running a podcast is simply talking for a certain amount of time about something, but fail to realize how much work actually goes into a podcast. The first step to beginning a podcast is choosing what topic you’re going to build it around, so here are some tips on how to achieve that goal.

What’s your goal for a podcast?

Your first step when deciding to begin a podcast is to think about what your ultimate goal is. Why do you want to start a podcast? What are you hoping to accomplish? You need to form a deeper goal than simply making more money or advertising your business; think of something specific and attainable. Write down different goals you may have, even unrelated to the podcast, and then see if there’s a way running a podcast can achieve those goals or if they can be combined into one goal related to the podcast.

Who’s your target audience?

Once you’ve decided what you want to achieve with your podcast, it’s time to think about your target audience. You’re most likely going to have a specific group of people you want to influence. Whether you’re looking for more people to patronize your company or you want to impart knowledge about a specific topic, not everyone is going to be interested in whatever you’re discussing. Once you visualize your target audience, you’ll have a better idea of what to talk about.

What are you knowledgeable about?

As you think about what your topic will be, consider what topics you know a lot about, what you have experience with, or what you’d like to learn more about. No matter what you choose to focus on with your podcast, it needs to be something you can talk about at length. The last thing you want to occur is that your podcast only lasts for a few episodes.

What will engage people?

You might know an incredible amount of information about a single, obscure topic, but you need to be honest and ask yourself whether or not people will truly be interested in that topic. It doesn’t matter how knowledgeable you are about something if there are only a handful of other people who are interested in it. Think about your goal and what topic is related to it. Try to make the theme of your podcast more general, so you have a variety of possibilities to talk about over the course of your podcast.

How Secure is the Internet of Things?

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As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more and more popular, there are lots of questions being raised about its security. While yes, it’s incredibly convenient to have all your devices connect to one another so seamlessly, the question occurs time and time again about how secure the IoT actually is. Instead of stressing out and avoiding the IoT all together, here are some of the real facts about IoT security and steps you can take to protect your devices, but still utilize this incredible technology.

Is security actually a concern?

While I am the last person who wants to convince you to stop using technology, there have been a few incidents that raise concerns over the security of smart devices. Within the last month, a family in Washington reported that a stranger had hacked into their child’s baby monitor and was speaking to the child at night, making some disturbing statements. Officials looked into the incident and determined that someone had used a laptop or smartphone to hack the monitor. However, the family changed their security preferences and were able to stop the hacker.

This incident is just one of many that have occurred, including various breaches of company databases that led to people’s private information being taken. Just think of the Equifax scandal a few weeks ago. I believe there is a very real security concern, but I also think that it shouldn’t be a deterrent to using new technology. I believe these issues show that more needs to be done to improve security and that we need to be cautious with our devices and information, but not shut ourselves off from technology.

What steps are being taken?

As people realize that cyber warfare is a very real threat, the necessity for greater security measures is quite clear. Companies responsible for creating smart devices are working on finding solutions and many other companies are trying to find ways to protect users’ privacy and information. It’s great news that so many companies are making IoT security a priority, but enough is not being done. Most businesses focus on how many new devices they can sell, rather than making sure current technology is secure.

What can you do?

Even if progress is not being made as quickly as we’d like, there are lots of steps you can take to keep your devices secure. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not using sophisticated passwords that vary for each device. The first place to start is with your WiFi network; if you have a weak password set and never change it, hackers can easily get into the network and connect to any devices using it. Changing your WiFi password once a month is a good place to start, though even more frequently may be advised. You should also regularly change passwords on your other devices and find a secondary source of security you can install that helps prevent people from accessing your networks.

Why You Should Automate Your Social Media

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While you can certainly automate personal social media posts, and you probably should if you’re a social media influencer or are use social media in a business capacity as opposed to a personal one, this post is mainly directed toward businesses and marketers. In just a few short years, social media has become one of the primary methods of marketing and can make a significant difference in the kind of exposure a company receives from consumers.

You’re ensuring consistency

A huge part of creating a strong social media presence and effectively marketing your business is consistently posting on your sites. Whether that means your website or social media platforms, consistent posts are key. If you want to engage your audience and make your brand stand out, you want to post consistently so you can prove your content is worth following. Without regular posting, it looks like you do not really care about your audience and image.

You’ll have a clear strategy

Social media strategy can be challenging, especially if you’re new to this type of marketing. Luckily, there are plenty of tools out there to help you create a social media strategy and then successfully automate it online. When beginning to automate social media posts, it’s important that you do your research. Instead of simply setting your posts at a basic level, learn which platforms will benefit you the most and what times gain the most engagement, then automate using the information you’ve gathered.

You’ll save time

A huge bonus of social media automation is that it saves you a significant amount of time. Anyone who’s in charge of a business knows how limited time can be. For many people, social media feels tedious and like a waste of time because you rarely see instantaneous results. Once you begin automating your social media, you’ll realize how much time you save and the less you have to worry about it. You’ll have so many less small tasks to remember throughout the day or week and you’ll be able to take care of nearly everything at once

Something to keep in mind

Finally, while automating social media is incredibly beneficial and something all businesses should certainly do, you need to remember to not automate everything and leave room for organic social media usage. When scheduling posts, it’s important to be aware that an emergency could arise that would make your post irrelevant, or worse, inappropriate. Remember to regularly check your accounts to make sure they’re posting the way you want them to and be aware of any issues with timing or emergencies that crop up.
When it comes to automation, it’s important to also still take time to interact with your audience. Instead of automating responses and posts, craft some authentic replies and make sure any complaints or questions are being correctly answered. There have been plenty of times when automation for a business’s social media hasn’t gone the way it was intended to, so learn from these mistakes and remember to occasionally check up on your automated posts.

First, Self-Driving Cars, Next? Self-Flying Planes

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By now, most people are accustomed to the concept of self-driving cars, even though they may not feel entirely comfortable riding in them. However, estimates show that millions of self-driving cars could be on the road in a few short years. Other studies reveal that self-driving cars are much safer than those controlled by human drivers. Most of us have become resigned to (or even excited about) the fact that it’s only a matter of time before self-driving cars are prominent on the roads.

However, it was recently revealed that Boeing is planning on testing out self-flying planes. Though the reality of self-driving cars has been widely accepted, this announcement was not met with a positive response. To many people, the idea of a plane flying itself without a human monitoring it is not something they would be comfortable experiencing.

What was the announcement?

This summer, the vice president of product development at Boeing, Mike Sinnett discussed the reality and need for autonomous planes. He predicts that based on the current growth of the airline industry, there will be a need for more than half a million more pilots in twenty years. Sinnett does not believe that airlines will be able to find enough properly trained pilots to fill these roles, leading to the need for self-flying planes. A significant amount of money could also be saved by using artificial intelligence to fly planes as opposed to human pilots; you don’t need to give the AI a paycheck. This reduction of cost could lead to lower ticket costs and the ability to spend money elsewhere.

Other experts confirm that there will likely be a worldwide shortage of pilots. Because of this anticipated issue, Boeing has begun testing out AI flying technology using a simulator. As early as next year, they anticipate being able to test out the technology using actual planes.

What was the response?

The response from the public was not overly encouraging. A recent survey found that only 17 percent of respondents said they’d fly in an autonomous plane. Even though there’s plenty of room for human error, most passengers feel safer having an actual pilot than trusting AI to safely fly the plane.

Safety of self-flying planes?

While the statistics for the increased safety of autonomous cars are clear, it’s not the same for self-flying planes. Since 2007, there hasn’t been a fatal jet crash in the United States, which is drastically different from the statistics on car related fatalities. The people working on self-flying planes fully recognize the high standards already set by airplane safety requirements and they wouldn’t release AI technology for planes until they were sure it was as safe or safer than human pilots.


Why we shouldn’t really worry

Right now, self-flying planes isn’t something people should worry over. It’s taken years for self-driving cars to get to the stage where professional drivers can test them out and they still aren’t commercially available. Autonomous planes will never be put into the skies until they meet all safety requirements. Even once self-flying planes are regularly used, people do not need to seriously worry because planes are already mostly automated. There are a few decisions that pilots must make on their own, but most pilots simply set autopilot once they’re in the air and let the tested technology do its job. Steps have already been taken toward autonomous planes, so it’s only a matter of time before they’re actually in the air.