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How to Handle Customer Complaints About Your Local Business

Customer complaints are a reality of running any business. While receiving negative feedback can be unpleasant, it is essential to make noticeable improvements to your company and hold onto customers.

One way you can mitigate the sting when people take time out of their day to complain about your product or services?

Acknowledge them!

When they feel heard, more than likely, they will go away happy- even if not satisfied with what was done in response. In the best-case scenario, your customer may even have a more positive view of your business after a complaint is resolved than before they even had an issue.

What Are Customer Complaints?

There’s always a chance that a customer can be disappointed with the product or service delivered, even if it matches your expectations. That can lead to customer complaints and unhappy customers overall.

Customer complaints demonstrate a mismatch between the product or service delivered and the customer’s initial expectations.

When complaints are one-off occurrences or mistakes, they can be interpreted as negative feedback, and the relationship between the business and customer can usually be recovered. However, when they’re consistent trends, they need to be addressed at a more fundamental level.

This conflict in expectations and results can be associated with several different reasons:

  • Unreasonable expectations that are hard to meet. Occasionally customers have a long list of demands that are difficult for any business to meet. For example, they may have unreasonable expectations regarding pricing, the level of service, or they may have misunderstood the product’s purpose.
  • Scenarios that are outside your control. Sometimes things go wrong, and they have nothing to do with your business or its offering.
  • Misleading marketing around the businesss offering. Sometimes businesses misrepresent their products or services through marketing and social media campaigns, and customers may feel that they’ve invested in an offer that didn’t meet their expectations.
  • Operational failures. Sometimes businesses may have a great product or service but fall when it comes to fulfillment. For example, this can happen when businesses don’t fully train employees.

Where Are Customers Most Likely to Complain?

Depending on your business model and location, customers may have multiple options for lodging a complaint. In addition, customer feedback can appear in two different ways, public and private.

Naturally, if you’re providing channels for private negative feedback, you’re more likely to be able to handle these issues outside of the public eye.

Here are some of the top ways customers usually choose to complain:

  • Frontline staff. If you own a customer-facing business, your customers may be more likely to complain in person to a staff member who happens to be on duty.
  • If you send out regular customer satisfaction surveys, they may use it as an opportunity to share complaints about your business or offers.
  • Online reviews. Sometimes dissatisfied customers will use 3rd party review sites for complaining about your business. If you do receive online negative reviews, remember it is really important to acknowledge the feedback and be empathetic.
  • By phone or email. Businesses that provide a more personalized service to a smaller group of customers may receive more complaints directly to their phone lines or through email.
  • Social Media. It’s becoming more common for customers to leave comments and reviews on businesses’ social media profiles. It’s critical to have a policy in place because social media is so public.

 

What Do Customers Typically Complain About?

Regardless of industry, businesses will be met with some form of customer complaint at one point or another. Whether it’s as a result of an error you made or due to something they felt was impossible for your customers to overcome, certain scenarios tend to provoke complaints the most.

Having an awareness of what your customers typically complain about will not only help you improve your business’s offering but also help your employees prepare for handling common complaints.

If you want to save time and make your customers happy, then don’t hesitate to collect feedback from them. It takes just a little bit of work every day for both the customer and business owner alike to avoid confusion or conflict.

Here are some areas that customers typically complain about and plausible solutions to those complaints.

Slow Customer Service

Whether you run a restaurant or plumbing business, customers appreciate efficient customer service. Customers like to feel that their time is respected, and they don’t want to waste any of it waiting in line while talking on the phone with your company’s team.

Long wait times mean that your business does not prioritize customer experience and may not deal with customers efficiently.

Heres what to do:

  • Training! Helping your staff understand how to communicate with customers when wait times exceed expectations can decrease complaints.
  • Improve your operations! Adjusting processes, adding staff, being aware of inventory or signage are also good ways to pre-emptively address potential bottlenecks.

Out of Stock Inventory or Unavailable Services

In the world of marketing, an out-of-stock product or fully booked service is better than a sold one. Your business must be doing something right if customers are willing to wait for you without purchasing what they want from your store.

However, outdated inventory and no available services can make potential clients lose interest in your company quickly, so these items must stay on hand at all times.

Customers may keep calling and emailing your business for updates about these unavailable services and products.

Ultimately they may leave you negative feedback either online or in person.

Heres what to do:

  • Training your staff to communicate empathetically with customers for the inconvenience is a good start…
  • Setting realistic expectations by communicating when you next expect to have these products or services available is ideal.

Low-Quality or Defective Products or Service

All too often, people are left disappointed after buying a product that breaks shortly afterward. When this happens, and customers will complain about it.

When customers lodge a legitimate complaint, and they don’t receive any kind of suitable solution, they may feel doubly frustrated and lodge a second complaint.

Here’s what to do:

  • Apologize for the slow response and explain that the team recognizes the problem searching for a suitable solution.
  • Clearly communicate the expected timeline for follow-up communication and the final resolution…and follow it!

No Follow-up

Even if you have the best intentions of resolving a customer’s issue, they may feel anxious about your progress and want to know how it is going.

If customers require help with time-sensitive requests or complaints, then they’ll be looking for updates on what information you’re able to find.

It’s important to be upfront about expected response times and stick to them. This way, you can give all customers the best service possible without disappointing some people because their expectations are too high.

Here are a few follow-up best practices:

  • It’s ok not to have the solution right away. However, it’s a good idea to communicate with the customer that you are actively solving the issue.
  • Set customer expectations with realistic timelines for resolution. Don’t promise a solution for the next day if you know it will take a few days to resolve the problem.
  • Think about the channel through which the customer made the complaint and the acceptable response time. 24 hours is acceptable for a negative online review or an email, but a few hours or less is generally expected for an in-person or phone complaint
  • If a complaint is time-sensitive, reassure customers by providing a few regular updates.

How Should Local Businesses Handle Complaints?

Your business will be able to turn complaining customers into loyal advocates if you are aware of the issue and resolve it and effectively communicate throughout. This is a great way for both sides to win!

  1. Make it Easy for Customers to Complain

Customers will not feel inclined to go through the hassle of complaining when they know that their feedback will only be met with a formality.

To help create a solid customer experience, customers need to feel that they care about their thoughts. Therefore, when customers complain, it should be easy to share their honest opinions and thoughts with a business.

You could encourage customers to share their thoughts by:

  • Putting a form on your website to encourage feedback and complaints.
  • Posting a feedback link in your newsletter, social media platforms, and in-store.
  • Actively ask your customers for their opinions.

Proactively asking your customers for honest feedback is a great way of preventing complaints from escalating. In addition, sending out customer satisfaction surveys at regular intervals helps you gauge how they feel about your business and if any problems need to be addressed before it’s too late!

It can be used as an opportunity for uncovering valuable insights such as what may not be working for your business.

When customers complain, ask valid questions to dig deeper into what caused the issue in the first place.

When a customer registers a complaint, consider asking the following questions:

  • Could you elaborate on that point more?
  • Could you clarify what you mean by that?
  • Help me understand how we can meet your expectations?

Here’s the thing, although customer complaints are never comfortable, it’s also a good time for some self-reflection.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I need any further details?
  • Why is this complaint significant for my business?
  • What happened to cause the customer to complain?
  • How can we prevent this from recurring?

Asking the right questions will help you uncover the root of a problem so that it can be resolved. Depending on how your business is structured, you may assign one team member as a customer complaint specialist who handles complaints and uncovers insights about what needs improvement for customers to have an even better experience with your company.

  1. Respond Proactively and Efficiently

Acceptable response times depend on the nature of the complaint.

Here are some complaint response time best practices:

  • Respond promptly. Negative feedback requires a swift reply and resolution to show care and action from your business.
  • If the feedback is public, respond publicly. It’s an opportunity to show future customers you’re responsive, capable, and willing to right a wrong.
  • Read through the complaint thoroughly. Then, use the customer’s own words to personalize your reply. This goes a long way to display empathy!
  • Offer a solution. Showing empathy for the situation and being respectful is vital to successful response management, but a solution is at the customer’s core. Providing a solution appropriate to the complaint, whether that be compensation, a refund, or replacement.
  • Put the right person in charge. Make sure that the person replying to negative reviews has the authority to offer solutions.

Taking time to regularly monitor your customer complaints is important to ensure you don’t miss one.

  1. Follow up-to Verify You’ve Solved Their Problem with a Suitable Solution

When you’ve found the cause of a customer complaint, identified an appropriate solution, and proposed it to them, don’t forget about follow-ups. It can be hard for customers to let go so make sure they feel heard by following up on your proposal to see if their problem has been addressed or not.

Customers appreciate businesses that care about their experience and their overall satisfaction.

You can then follow up with customers by:

  • Asking them if there’s anything else you can do to help them.
  • Simply asking if the solution worked out for them.
  1. Record the Complaint and Analyze Patterns

When you receive a complaint, it’s important to record the type of complaint and who it came from.

The complaint could come from:

  • A regular customer
  • A one-off customer
  • A high-value customer

If you receive multiple complaints about the same issue from a similar customer point, you can identify trends in your operations!

It’s important to identify high-volume complaints as these can point to dominant issues throughout your business.

Identifying repeat complaints and addressing the root cause will make it easier to prevent future complaints!

Here’s How You Can Support Your Employees to Properly Handle Customer Complaints?

Business managers should provide employees with the proper training to help them resolve customer complaints promptly.

Clear guidance and policies will help ensure that each customer complaint gets a standardized level of attention from staff members, while those complaints are recorded properly.

Create a Clearly Written Complaint Handling Document

Writing a guide to handling customer complaints professionally and effectively is a good idea. This document should be comprehensive so employees know how to deal with different situations as they come up, both on the job training-wise and in a pinch when no one else is around for guidance.

As we mentioned earlier, if you’re consistently collecting feedback, you should be familiar with common customer complaints and have a specific way for your employees to handle them. That way, employees will understand what’s expected of them as complaints arise.

Try to guide how they should react, how to escalate the complaint, and provide possible solutions.

To avoid complaints, make sure your complaint handling document is easily accessible to all staff members. After reading the document you should feel confident in making judgment calls and tackling different situations independently.

Give Your Staff Resources to Resolve Complaints

If you want to make your employees feel confident in handling complaints, consider providing interactive training sessions. For example, you could incorporate role-play situations where we show them the potential set of customer problems that can occur and force trainees to come up with solutions on their own.

Re-evaluate How Your Business Handles Complaints Routinely

Handling customer complaints is one of the more difficult aspects of working in a customer-facing role. It’s important for employees to feel well-equipped when handling these cases, so managers must check on their staff quarterly and provide high-quality training sessions if needed.

Final Thoughts On Customer Complaints

Complaints are inevitable when running any business but they can also provide useful information about where improvements need to be made which will ultimately benefit customers!

Customer Support is a big part of your businesses’ marketing! It tells a story of how your business values your customer’s sentiment. Take it seriously!

It is important to make the effort to work on the issues that customers complain about, and proactively improve how your business deals with negative feedback. You might want to try implementing a few of our suggestions for handling complaints and see if you can retain more loyal customers.

 

5 Social Media Statistics All Small Business Owners Should Know in 2020

5 Social Media Statistics All Small Business Owners Should Know in 2020

If you plan to stay competitive with your small business in 2020, then you should be tapping into the power of social media. Social media is a great way to find and engage with your target audience, promote your brand, and make sales — and all this within your budget!

But where are you at when it comes to strategic social media marketing?

If you have found a way to make social media works for you, then that’s great news! However, are you maximizing the power of social media marketing efforts?

Statistics gives you the power to make complex decisions. From your choice of social media platform to how you plan your social media strategies, statistics have a role to play

What are the most important social media statistics to know in 2020? As a small business owner, I’ll walk you through some of the essential statistics you should be very familiar with.

  • The Total Media Users

More than half the world’s population uses social media in 2020. In actual numbers, over 4.57 billion people use the internet. Out of that number:

  • Over 3.96 billion people are active on social media. That’s about 51% of the world’s population.
  • There has been a 10.5% growth in the number of social media users between last year and this year.
  • When broken down by age groups, 48.2% of baby boomers use social media, 77.5% of Generation X uses social media, and 90.24% of Millennials use social media. 
  • About 99% of people who use social media access it using their mobile phones
  • However, three-quarters of social media users still access social media using laptop and desktop computers.
  • On average, users spend about 6 hours and 43 minutes on the internet daily
  • Each of the internet users spends an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media daily.
  • Facebook is the most used social media platform, with an average of 2.7 billion monthly users. 

Why not take this all a step further by looking at the statistics per social media platform.

 

  • Facebook Statistics You Should Know

By the end of the second quarter of 2020, Facebook was the leading social media platform. It has over 2.7 billion monthly active users — 1.79 billion of those are active daily. Let’s crunch the numbers even more:

  • 51% of people aged 13 – 17 use Facebook.
  • 76% of people aged 18 – 24 use Facebook.
  • 84% of people aged 25 – 30 use the platform.
  • 79% of people aged 30 – 49 use Facebook.
  • 68% of people aged 50 – 64 use Facebook. 
  • 46% of 65+ year olds use Facebook. 
  • Indians are the leading nationality on Facebook with over 290 million users
  • They are followed by the United States with around 190 million users.
  • More women (75%) use Facebook than men (63%)
  • 74% of Facebook users log-in once a day.

Facebook education demographics 

  • 61% of people with just high school education or less use Facebook.
  • 75% of people with some college education use the platform.
  • 74% of people with college degrees use Facebook. 

Facebook Income demographics 

  • 74% of people making over $75,000 use Facebook. 
  • About 72% of people making between $30,000 and $75,000 use Facebook.
  • 69% of those making less than $30,000 use Facebook. 

Other statistics to consider

  • About half a billion people view Facebook stories daily.
  • 15% of Facebook users shop on the platform.
  • On average, Facebook users click on about 11 ads each month

There is a high probability that your ideal customers are on this platform. You just have to find them and connect with them.

 

  • Instagram Statistics You Should Know 

Instagram is one of the leading social media channels, and while its reach might not be as wide as Facebook’s, the numbers are still quite impressive: 

  • 43% of women are on the platform, while only 31% of men use it. 
  • About 72% of 13 – 17 year-olds are active on the platform. 
  • Only about 8% of 65+ year-old people use the platform. 

As you can probably already deduce, younger users are dominating this particular social media platform.

Instagram Income and Education Demographics

  • The United States has the most users on the platform with about 130 million users. They are followed by India with about 100 million users
  • 42% of people making over $75,000 use the platform. 39% of people making $30,000 – $75,000 use the platform and about 35% of people that make less than $30,000 use the platform.
  • 43% of people with more than a college degree, 37% of people with some college education, and 33% of people with high school education or less use Instagram.

 

  • Twitter Statistics You Should Know 

While Twitter statistics are a little lower than Facebook’s and Instagram’s, the platform still makes an excellent choice for your growing small business. Here are some stats to know:

  • 38% of Twitter users are ages between 18 – 29 years old while 26% are aged 30 – 49.  
  • Only about 7% of 65+ people are on Twitter. 

Twitter is, much like Instagram, targeted mostly towards younger generations. Other Statistics to be aware of include:

  • While the USA is the country with the highest amount of Twitter users, most Twitter users are outside the United States; specifically 262 million out of the 330 million global users.
  • More men (24%) use Twitter than women (21%).

Twitter Income and Education Demographics

  • 31% of people on Twitter that make over $75,000, 20% makes $30,000 – $70,000, and another 20% is making less than $30,000 a year. 
  • Only 13% of people with high school education or less are on Twitter. 24% of people with some college education and 32% of people with more than a college education are on Twitter.
  • LinkedIn Statistics You Should Know 

Although LinkedIn is more professionally-oriented and has fewer users than Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, there are still some useful statistics to know about the platform as they may need to be taken into account when deciding on your social media strategy: 

  • 51% of LinkedIn users have at least a college degree. While 26% of people on the platform have some college education while only about 9% are those with a high school education or less.
  • More men (29%) use Twitter than women (24%).
  • People aged 25 – 30 are the highest on the platform at 44%. Only 17% of 18 – 24 year-olds use LinkedIn, 37% of 30 – 49 year-olds, 24% of 50 – 64 year-olds, and 11% of people aged 65+ use the platform.

 

Having trouble making sense of all these stats? Unsure how to apply your social media strategy and cater to them? You may want to consider hiring an expert social media manager.

I’m happy to take it all off your plate for an affordable monthly fee. If that sounds good to you, call me now / visit my website.

5 Types of Social Media Content Your Small Business Must Post Daily

5 Types of Social Media Content Your Small Business Must Post Daily

You keep hearing about it— Social media marketing.  It is essential to your business, especially if you’re looking for a way to increase your brand awareness, customer engagement, lead generation, and more. 

But how do you actually do all that in practical terms? 

To tap into the real potential of social media, you need to have an effective content strategy. It’s not about posting whatever comes to mind each time you log in to your account. Posting relevant, strategic content that helps boost your engagement and exposure is key to a successful social media presence for any kind of business, big or small. 

So what exactly do you post on social media to achieve this?

With experience, you will get the gist of what content works best for your business. Alternatively, you can hire an expert to give you a few pointers or handle your presence for you. No matter what you decide, here are some content-posting ideas you can implement RIGHT NOW to give your small business’ social media presence a real boost:

  • Engaging Questions

Asking questions or asking for advice can help enhance your business page’s social engagement, create a means to have conversations among your followers, and receive valuable feedback from your customers.

When you engage with your followers and care enough to ask how they think and feel, it exhibits transparency and shows them that their opinions are valued. It also fosters a sense of familiarity between your business and your followers who will, eventually, come to trust your brand more and more.

You can utilize the comment section under your post to interact effectively with your audience. Another way to engage with them is through replying to their direct messages. If it sounds like much work, hire someone to get the job done for you. It is like merely hiring a customer service, who plays a crucial part in any business.

  • Videos

Many social media platforms provide the option of posting video content. Utilize that option as often as you can.

Videos engage the user quicker than any other form of media. If they’re of good quality, brief, and to-the-point, your followers will most likely sit through the whole thing and react with a like or comment at the end. 

If you’re wondering how to use video content for your business, consider the following ideas:

  • Showcase your new products
  • Take a tour of your workplace
  • Shoot videos of happy customers and their testimonials
  • Create a short trailer of your new product or service launch
  • Show how you make your products
  • Create a flash sale or promotion ad

Short videos have been proven to have more engagement than either photo or text posts. Whatever kind of video content you choose, make sure it is quick and sweet.

  • Behind-The-Scenes Photos

Sharing content that your followers wouldn’t usually see is an excellent way to give them a clearer image of your business and the processes behind its success.

Post pictures of your workspace, production area, employees, warehouse, or any other thing you wouldn’t usually post on your social media platform — that’s what makes this kind of content so enticing. 

Remember all those dancing doctors and nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic? Those videos went viral for a reason—social media users like glimpses into real life, not just what is on display. Make a difference in social media by being transparent, emotional, and objective

  • Product Photos

It may go without saying that a commerce business should post photos of their products, but there’s more to it than just that. Find creative ways to share your product photos online. 

A business’ product photos should generally be:

  • Branded (use your logo and color palette)
  • Consistent to one another as far as style and branding go (while individually unique, each product photo should blend into each other)
  • Simple and straightforward
  • Unfiltered and as realistic as possible (though you can enhance the colors, contrast, and brightness)
  • Unique
  • Aesthetically pleasing, with simple backgrounds and well-coordinated colors

Your product photos should be able to sell your brand as well as themselves. They should be eye-catching while not going overboard on color and graphic elements. Followers should be able to look at one of your product photos and then instantly know it’s yours, share it, and comment on it. Try not to deviate from your brand aesthetic since this would make your page look shabby and unprofessional. If you’re in doubt, always consult a professional.

  • Previews, Sneak-Peeks, and Teasers

Sharing a preview or sneak-peek of your business’s upcoming product or service is an excellent content idea regardless of what social media platform you’re on. You are essentially advertising the product or service before it is available – and you’re doing it for free (unless you wish to sponsor your post and boost its visibility). You can use this tactic as a means of building excitement and warming up those potential customers.

Big brands love their teaser content and utilize this strategy regularly on their social platforms. They build curiosity around a new product and rouse discussion about it even before its launch. So, why not try it out yourself? Here are some things to keep in mind when you do it:

  • Do not give too much information away about the new product/service.
  • Start with small tidbits of information to build tension (words or images out of context, intriguing questions, etc.)
  • Do not give too much information away about the new product/service
  • Start with small tidbits of information to build tension (words or images out of context, intriguing questions, etc)
  • When it comes to product photos, why not use only a fraction of your product in the images until the full reveal
  • Don’t be afraid to be a little mysterious!

 

Does  social media posting sound a bit too daunting? How about I take most of the work off your plate for a very affordable monthly fee? 

If you are interested in an offer, then call me now  or visit my website.

5 Tips on Landing a Google Featured Snippet

The goal of any legitimate SEO strategy is to funnel more traffic to your website. But instead of seeking to rank high on the first page of Google Search’s results (which is important in its own right), today, I’m going to go over 5 tips for landing features snippets on Google Search.

A featured snippet is that first box that pops up in a Google Search just above the ranked results. Also, it provides information or answers a question that users commonly ask. This answer could be a picture, video, list, or text explanation relevant to a question or topic that the user has typed into the Google Search bar. Essentially, Google searches for the best, most appropriate answer, and places it in this coveted spot. Technically, if you land a featured snippet, you’re in position 0 because it pops up ahead of position 1, which is the top of the ranked results. What a place to be!

Is It Really Possible To Get Featured?

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Even though there’s no guarantee that your page will be used for a featured snippet, there are some specific steps you can take to optimize your pages and increase your chances. And there’s even better news. It doesn’t matter if your business is big or small, new or established… anyone can land a featured snippet with a little bit of focused work.

Tips for Landing a Featured Snippet

#1 Review Your Website Content

Take a look at your website content with an eye for how you may or may not be helping visitors when they peruse your pages. Do you provide answers to commonly-asked questions? Do you have detailed content that informs readers instead of just persuading them to buy? If you do, then you’ve got an excellent foundation to start with. If not, then Tip #2 becomes even more critical.

#2 Make a List of Questions to Answer

No matter what your website content looks like currently, this tip is critical to increasing your chances of landing a featured snippet. Spend some time in the shoes of your potential customers. What kinds of questions do they need answers to? What advice can you provide? What how-tos or steps or definitions can you offer? Come up with as many items as possible (the more specific, the better), and move on to Tip #3.

#3 Answer Them Clearly and Concisely

Now that you’ve got your list of questions, look at your existing content and polish it up to answer them clearly and concisely. Or, if you don’t have content that answers these questions, it’s time to start writing. For example, if you own a pest control company, create a blog post that answers one of your questions, like “How can I tell if I have bed bugs?” or “Why do I have cobwebs in my basement?” Providing a short, specific response to these types of questions increases your chances of getting featured.

#4 Say It Better,And Say It With Keywords

Make sure you incorporate relevant and competitive keywords into the text that you’d like to have featured. Take a look at what your competitors are saying and create a better, more specific snippet. Make every word count. In other words, no generalities or meaningless terms like “good,” “great,” or “better.” Another quick tip: use Heading 2 and 3 tags. This small addition helps Google identify relevant information within your broader content.

#5 Create Summaries or Lists

Summarize longer content into a short paragraph, bulleted list, or steps and place this summary at the top of your content. For example, if you’ve got a lengthy how-to on how to remove wine from the carpet, then consolidate the steps (1 sentence each) at the top of your article to increase your chances of getting a featured snippet (and make sure you use Heading 2 or 3 for each step). Then, when the reader wants to learn more, they will click on the link to your full article.

When Will My Snippet Get Featured?

As I said above, there’s no guarantee that your content will be featured in a snippet; however, the tips above will get you closer than you are today, and it’s definitely worth the effort. If, after some time, you find that your content isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it up. If you’re answering the right questions, your likelihood of snagging a featured snippet will increase. Simply, it’s all about getting into your potential customers’ shoes.

Remote Marketing Management

Chances are, you and your marketing team have had your world turned upside-down due to Covid-19. But although you may have had to adjust to remote work, there are some ways to make your “new normal” more productive and efficient. Let’s go over 7 tips for productive remote marketing so you can get back to killing your marketing efforts no matter where you are.

#1 Set Up Your Workspace

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Distractions are an all-day affair at home, and it’s hard to stay focused when you’re right in the middle of all the action. From kids eating snacks and watching cartoons to dogs barking at passing cars, you really can’t get a break. That’s why it’s crucial to find a workspace that allows you to get away as much as possible. Your dedicated office space will allow you to focus on work, stay in a daily routine, and communicate effectively with your colleagues or clients without distractions..

 

That being said, it’s impossible to eliminate every distraction when you work remotely. So, don’t be too hard on yourself (or on the kids or the barking dog). Most people understand that these times are difficult and will cut you a little slack if the occasional distraction happens, so don’t let it get you flustered.

#2 Stick To A Schedule

Take a look at your work duties. Create a feasible schedule that helps you reach your goals. Make sure to prioritize the more urgent items on your to-do list. Then, incorporate break time (lunch break, water break, etc.) to give your brain the rest to lead to more productive work. Then, input your schedule (work hours versus off time) on your Outlook calendar and share it with your colleagues. This proactive communication will keep you from straying from your plan.

#3 Communicate With Your Team

When speaking of communication, there’s no such thing as too much of it, especially when it comes to remote work. You’re already removed from the typical work environment — one in which you would be able to lean over your desk and ask a colleague a question or add your opinion to an ongoing discussion. Now, you find yourself on the periphery of the business’ goings-on, which is to be expected if you’re not physically near your team. To fix this issue, frequently communicate with your colleagues. Use video conferencing or pick up the phone and call, but resist the urge to email and text your way through the workday. So much is lost in written interaction. Keep that vital connection with colleagues alive, even if it takes more work on your part.

#4 Rehash Your Marketing Strategy

Because of all the unexpected twists and turns, your 2020 marketing strategy has probably needed a few tweaks (if not a complete overhaul). Instead of just charging forward, spend some time conferencing with your team about what needs to change to be more effective. How have your roles or duties changed? What are the next steps for implementing the strategy? What aspects of the strategy need to be changed to meet new challenges? These questions must be discussed and firmly decided upon before a marketing team can move forward effectively.

#5 Schedule a Daily Check-In Meeting

If you’re leading a marketing team, consider scheduling daily check-in meetings to start the day. In these meetings, you and your team can get on the same page by confirming the day’s goals, priorities, and obstacles and troubleshooting any issues that have arisen over the past couple of days. Not only will you stay connected with daily meetings, but your team will also remain on-task, leading to better efficiency and productivity.

#6 Don’t Neglect the Small Talk

Even though you’re not in the same physical location as your team members, keeping the fun alive is still essential. The interactions that would occur at work — the jokes, the banter, and socialization — can even happen when you’re working remotely, albeit in different ways. For the sake of levity, schedule a short meeting where everyone can talk, vent, joke about their day. Host a happy hour on Zoom on Friday night after the workweek is over. Start a contest, like the best work meme or GIF or this week’s funniest distraction.

#7 Celebrate

It’s hard to be positive when the news spouts fearful pandemic predictions, and you’re all alone in your home office. That’s why it’s so important to celebrate you and your team’s wins, no matter if they’re big or small. When you’ve reached a goal or milestone, celebrate! This focus on positivity is essential no matter where you work, but especially when we feel alone.

The Bottom Line

It may be a hard adjustment, but it’s all about the right perspective. If we can approach remote marketing with positivity and take advantage of the tools that will keep us connected, we can still reach our goals.

5 Ways that COVID-19 has Reshaped Consumer Behavior

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work, and play. For those of us in the marketing field, we’ve seen countless challenges to our pre-pandemic methods for reaching our audience. So many that it’s hard to know where to start. But with a little bit of insight into five ways that COVID-19 has reshaped consumer behavior, we can figure out fresh, exciting ways to reach our customers during this “new normal.”

Read on to learn more about the impact that COVID-19 had and will have on your potential customers.

#1 Buying Local

As communities watched small mom-and-pop businesses struggle to stay above water during the initial pandemic, many banded together to support them through “buy local” efforts. You may have seen your Facebook or Instagram feeds filled with this message as these local small businesses fought unexpected shutdowns in March and April. And as the pandemic continued to gain strength, so did the “buy local” movement. Consumers were living in unprecedented times, and they wanted to support the local economy and do business with brands they can trust.

 

So what does this mean for your business? It’s time to increase brand awareness among your community, no matter how prominent your business has become. Customize your product or service to meet the needs of those closest to you and engage in your city in ways relevant to your industry and the difficult times we’re facing.

#2 Focusing on Needs

When the pandemic began rearing its ugly head, people tried to predict the potential impact on the economy and, ultimately, their families.

  • Would there be a food shortage?
  • Should we add more per month to our savings?
  • Should we cut non-essential spending?

 

No one knew what was coming, which caused a shift from buying non-essential or even luxury items to only buying “the basics,” all in the name of financial security. If you sell a non-essential product or service, you most likely saw a dip (or maybe even a scary decrease) in demand.

To combat this challenge, businesses that sell non-essentials need to pivot to stay afloat. In this market, you’ll need to make your product or service irresistible. It could mean lowering your prices or offering additional, more essential products until the pandemic is over. Some companies just switched up their products or services altogether, and who knows if they’ll ever return to the business they had in mind when they first started.

#3  Increased Online Shopping

With quarantine forcing most of us indoors, e-commerce became our only choice when it came to shopping. Of course, some companies did well with this conversion — namely, those already making most of their sales online. However, other businesses scrambled to get organized and make way for customers to buy online. Several months in, most companies who survived are characterized by their ability to switch up their game when it comes to how to deliver their products or services. Those who refused to change, unfortunately, have struggled to make ends meet or have closed altogether.

 

Once consumers have realized the relative ease of shopping online, we will probably see an uptick in their engagement with e-commerce brands. Even when the pandemic finally comes to a close, brands can expect a higher consumer dependence on online shopping. It means that, if they haven’t already found ways to sell online, businesses will need to do so soon or risk closure.

#4 Increased Focus on Personal Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has understandably caused consumers to take a good hard look at their health. Of course, as people have begun to prioritize healthy living, we’ve seen an increased focus on brands promoting physical and mental well-being.

Businesses that can offer products or services that can contribute to their customers’ health will set themselves apart from the pack, especially during and post-pandemic.

#5 Experiencing Brands

Forced inside and isolated from their communities, most consumers agree on one thing: the boredom is real. That leaves brands an open opportunity to differentiate themselves by offering experiences and inspiration where others don’t provide as simple products or services. Consumers are looking for more than just a “scroll and shop.” They are now expecting to be drawn in with more than just a good deal.

Brands should take advantage of their potential customers’ new need for entertainment and motivation. Emotional engagement leads to sales, and online experiences are the new key to drawing a crowd.

Changing With The Times

As COVID-19 shifts consumer needs, and mindsets, successful marketing teams must make the shift as well. In light of the 5 ways that COVID-19 has reshaped consumer behavior discussed above, what changes should you make to your marketing strategy to maintain and increase your customer pool?