Iterative Improvement Is No Substitute For Creativity bit.ly/1dpyjG2
August 16, 2012
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. After spending a lot of time and money trying to get your small business noticed, prospective customers are finally starting to reach out. But instead of embracing the opportunity to strike up a conversation, all of their social media comments and emails are met with stone. cold. silence! Of all the mysteries of small business marketing, this one definitely has to be right up there. And unfortunately, it happens all too often.
I’m sure the excuses are many but none are acceptable. As a small business owner, you’ve got to care enough about your customers to make responding to their comments a priority. Not when you get around to it. Not two weeks later. Not never. You need to respond promptly and that means the same-day whenever possible. In a world saturated by social media, your customers expect it. They deserve it.
By responding to emails and social media comments, you’re helping to create brand champions—loyal customers who are going to tell everyone they know about how awesome you are and how you followed up so quickly—and that’s worth far more than any paid advertising campaigns. You’re also starting a direct dialogue with your target audience and that can lead to some incredibly valuable insights. But following up isn’t just about your customers; it’s also about your small business.
Media outlets often look to local sources for upcoming articles and blog posts. When you don’t respond, you could be missing out on the potential for some great exposure not to mention hurting your chances for future consideration. Just yesterday, I was speaking with a local writer who contacted 10 small businesses and only ever heard back from 1. That’s 1 as in 1 more than zero. What happened to the other 9? Who knows—but they totally blew a chance to be featured in a really cool publication.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A few sentences are usually more than enough. I received the email below from a startup I’d written about after I reached out to them to let them know I included them in a blog post.
They didn’t have to respond, but they did. And that’s one of the things that makes them awesome!
When you have a lot on your plate, it can be tempting to want to put off responding to your messages until later. Unfortunately, later usually never comes. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to engage with your small business customers and colleagues. Following up usually only takes a few minutes and the benefits will far outweigh the investment. Even a “Hey I have a lot going on right now can I get back to you in a week or so?” is ALWAYS better than no reply at all.
By: Shawn Graham
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Hall of Fame
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My Fast Company Blog
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- Get Your Own Badass Business Cards @Moo
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