What Business Owners Want

Total Broadcasting's Picture/Quote Service is great at improving interactivity between businesses and their customers.

Total Broadcasting’s Picture/Quote Service is great at improving interactivity between businesses and their customers.

My personal habits, likes and dislikes provide for some interesting contradictions. One that I admit to is the fact that I like quality service and products for myself and for my customers. In the eyes of many my other more overriding quality is that I am quite thrifty. Not cheap. I just don’t like spending money unnecessarily.

As with many I have translated my personality and preferences into what is offered my clients through Total Broadcasting Service, my video and audio production company in Seattle. I could get into great detail, but I won’t. Simply put, business owners want quality and lots of money-spending customers…but they don’t want to pay for it. Business owners want marketing exposure and the results good marketing and branding provides…but they don’t want to do a darn thing to facilitate this marketing. They want you to do it for them.  And far too many don’t want to pay you for the work you provide.

Hmmm….so as an owner of a business-to-business company with a goal of pleasing our customers and helping those business owners achieve their business and personal goals how do we overcome this clear contradiction in business owners wants?

Here is our personal example. Total Broadcasting Service was a pioneer in the video-marketing for the web services that are growing exponentially now. When we added video to our menu of services nearly 5 years ago our primary goal was to provide the service inexpensively, thus complying with this authors personal beliefs and desire to be thrifty. We worked hard to get early customers in a field for which we had nearly no experience. Upon reflexion I can say our videos weren’t very good. But they were cheap. Our practice was to get a customer, take their money, produce their video and provide it to them and then thank them, hoping they would use their videos well and call us again in the future with orders for more work.

You can probably guess what happened. The business owners took the videos and (presumably) stored them in their computers never to be seen again…by anyone…most notably their customers or potential customers. The business owners didn’t have the acumen or the time to acquire it to post their own marketing videos anywhere on the internet including their Social Media (“What’s that? Oh you mean Facebook and Tweeter or whatever its called?”) or their websites. As a result few of them called us back for more work and some looked at their time and money invested in the creation of the video as a waste.

Graphic Facebook Insights shows tremendous improvement in customer interactivity while employing added services, and a decrease when not.

Graphic Facebook Insights shows tremendous improvement in customer interactivity while employing added services, and a decrease when not.

So, we had some work to do. We chose to improve our services. Going forward, anyone we sold a video was going to have us post that video onto their own YouTube Channel, and if they didn’t have one we would create one for them; and we would post that YouTube video onto their Facebook business page, and if they didn’t have one we would create one for them.

Simultaneously while assuring that the videos we produced for our customers would at least have a chance of being seen or found we worked diligently at improving the quality of our videos. We learned better editing and production techniques and programs. We learned better methods and got better equipment for when we shot video.

The results were wonderful. As expected our customers benefited from the changes we implemented and didn’t mind the slight increases in pricing these changes required. And they showed their pleasure by routinely renewing their orders with us and keeping us growing as a company.

Skip forward a couple of years to 2014. The internet, marketing, search engines and social media are all constantly changing. What worked yesterday may no longer be a best practice. So it was with our video, social media, and internet marketing service. We added services since it became apparent our customers needed those added services to best market themselves and grow their business. With the added services our prices increased.

The good news is we made more money with a few customers who added these extra services and we were quickly able to graphically show results for our customers. The added services and expenses were proving to be worth it. The bad news…not enough business owners wanted or could afford to pay for the added services we felt would be necessary in today’s world of internet advertising. So we lost out on too many customers we otherwise might have been able to sign-up had we been offering them the earlier diminished services at lower prices.

The lesson learned; a lesson that is an age-old lesson in business, don’t give the customers what you think they need. Give the customers what they want. But we don’t have to be so cold about it. There is good news on the other side of this seemingly dark lesson. Once you give the customer what they want, you earn their trust. Upon earning their trust…you can add to the services you provide and grow your business with the customers you already have. After all, it’s an age-old business adage that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. In following this method everybody wins. And isn’t that what you were shooting for to begin with?

Make providing your customer what they want your top priority, work your butt off to make it serve them as best possible. Upon earning their trust and serving their wants…approach them again…give them what they need…and subsequently serve them better.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Call for Video Production Services: 425-687-0100

Call for Video Production Services: 425-687-0100

 

Word of Mouth needs a hand.

This article was originally written and published in October 2010. It has been edited and made current.- M Schuett

Michael and his OLD computer

Get to know the internet

I’m going to make a statement that will send shivers down the spine of long time business people. It’ll cause concern and disagreement and it will do so primarily because it will cause all business people to rethink and renew how they go about maintaining their business.Word of mouth advertising doesn’t work any more. At least it doesn’t work without a little help. But fortunately help is available.

Many longtime business owners have always relied on word of mouth advertising as their vehicle to drive home to them new clients. They worked hard to provide good service and a good product and relied on customers to tell others of how wonderful they were. Word of mouth advertising was the best marketing conversion tool they had.

For many or most of these businesses recent years have seen a drop in business. We’re in a national recession (or technically, WERE) so a drop in business can be expected, right? In the mind of the old-time business person all they need to do is hang on and keep providing good service and the economy will bounce back and things will be good as new. But as we emerge from this significant economic slow down anyone who relies only on word of mouth advertising is going to be disappointed to find out that their business may never bounce back to where it was and may eventually suffer enough lack of new business that the business as a whole will fail.

When a referral for a business service comes my way more often than not I’m given little more than a person or companies name and maybe a phone number or a location of business. In determining whether I use this referral my first step is to look them up…on the internet. If out and about my Galaxy Tab tablet computer gives me instant internet access and I punch in what info I have into a Google search

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

. If it can wait until I’m home (or if I’m there already) I do the same. I take the referral information I have and conduct a Google search for the business or service referred.

Now pretend with me for a moment what happens when that business or service cannot be seen or found in my Google search results.

1. Do I call that business anyway?

2. Do I conduct another search using keywords I think might bring the referred business to Google’s attention?

3. Or do I click on a link to another business who has caught my eye in the Google search results?

Option number 1 happens seldom. Option 2 occurs with more frequency. But when it does I’m often still left unsatisfied. Option 3, in which I begin the process of taking my business elsewhere happens more often than the others and with increasing frequency. This process is repeated by normal Americans everyday. And every day business with no internet presence lose that business to those who have an internet presence.

Word of mouth needs a hand because the process I just described is so easy for everyone. Google searches at home or at the office and now out and about on your smart phone or tablet allow all of us to quickly check on all referrals to determine their validity and whether we want to take the next step and call them.

Websites can be the answer to your lack of search engine results. Even a small and undistinguished website can be found by Google. But if you don’t have the time or money to develop or maintain a website, or if your site doesn’t come up first in a Google search the above stated scenario can be repeated.

Word of mouth advertising needs a hand.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

When you open a YouTube account for a company profile video, or a Facebook Fan Page, or a Blog on WordPress or similar site, or you Post a profile page on LinkedIn.com

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

you can spend zero dollars and only a small amount of time. But the results are instantaneous and the problem of having zero internet presence is solved immediately.

Besides the business and social media sites mentioned above, there are an ever increasing number of directories on the internet that may already have some information on your business. But a lot of that information may be wrong and may be minuscule. Sites like Citysearch, Manta, Merchant Circle and others are out their with your information; but unless you claim them and expand on that information they are not likely to appear high in a Google search result. Claim them, and even if you have little else on the internet you can at least count on being found on a first page Google search when someone types in your specific name.

So here is what you do to help your word of mouth advertising. Get a presence on the internet. Start by conducting a Google search for yourself or your business or both. Visit every link in which your information appears; and don’t stop on the first or even the second page. Claim the pages you find with your basic business information. Usually its little more than a name an address and a phone number. Claim it by clicking on the link on the page that reads “Business Owner?” or “Is this your business?” or something similar. Then follow the steps to fill in the information it asks. If it allows you to upload photos, then upload photos. If it allows you to upload video…you’ve struck GOLDUpload a video. No video? Get one.

Fill out all the information completely and thoroughly. Then move on to the next search result, and repeat the process.

Lastly, if typing your name and business produces nothing on a first or even second page Google search result. Do nothing else until you have opened a Fan Page on Facebook, a Google email account and business profile, and a free LinkedIn and Biznik account.

Now you’ve done THE MINIMUM. Now you’ve given word of mouth a fighting chance.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

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