Branding, Business, Tech Tools

Customer Loyalty Program during COVID-19? YES.

Should you start a Customer Loyalty Program during COVID-19? 

The answer is yes, the minimal investment now will have an immediate and long-term benefit for your business.

It may not seem like the right time to invest money into anything but keeping the lights on, but starting a Loyalty Program can assist in doing just that.

It is 6-times more expensive to win a new customer than to retain an existing one. (Parature)

A 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-100% increase in profit for your company. (Harvard Business Review)

How much time are you spending on Facebook trying to get your adapted business info seen while Ads are flooding into everyone’s news feeds, and people are inundated with email?

The average small business advertising on Facebook spends around $1,000–$2,000 per month (2019 Fit Small Business)

Don’t have that kind of budget? Keep reading for more economical solutions. 

Because of COVID-19, there are numerous Facebook groups started by people for people to connect but also to find out how to have some normalcy in their lives and to support #LocalBusiness. 

They are getting in their cars, going to necessity businesses, e.g., food-to-go for their families, and they are falling in Love with every place that is open right now.

Emoji

People want to find ways to share the Love and starting a Customer Loyalty Program is a way to do just that!

As a business owner, get-off Facebook, stop writing those emails that no one is reading (they are too busy reading teacher emails for their three-kids).

Let your customers do the work for you. After doing the initial program launch steps, you will be able to go back to focusing on doing what you love. Making the Customer know that you appreciate them, too, that you understand their needs and are willing to make them feel special while giving back to the greater community.  

What if every Customer that felt a connection with your business shared your details with their friends, and those friends did the same?

Just by simply asking your customers to do this makes a remarkable difference, and even giving them a VIP treat for being a Brand Ambassador (discounts, free goodies, early access) ensures they know you appreciate their help too.

This type of Human-Connection Marketing is Priceless, and no paid Ads will ever compete with human ROI, which is nothing but sharing passions and why you started your business to begin with?

But you are in business, so you do need some ROI right, you can’t just live off LOVE?

One study showed that 82% of Loyalty Program members referred to at least one person, which means that if you have 100 loyalty customers, 82 more customers will visit your business.

Loyalty members spend an average of $2.14 more than other guests based on the figures above: 182 x $2.14 = an average of $389 more in revenue.

68% of millennials wouldn’t be loyal to a business that doesn’t have a good loyalty program (Loyalty Report). Only 17% of customers wouldn’t be devoted due to customer service. Of course, you already offer excellent service, but what a contrast?

Research shows that 57% of customers sign-up for a program to save money, could be anything from a free upgrade to a discount just for them not available to anyone else.

30% of Restaurants have Loyalty programs, so there is room to be ahead of the curve in that particular industry.

Save Local Economy

Loyalty Tools

Customers Emails

How are you keeping track of your regular customers? Do you have a way for them to sign-up for more info via email on your Facebook page or website?

This is FREE, and for customizable forms, be sure to also ask for your Customer’s birthdate for birthday treats.

Data is King 

As you collect more data, you will need a way to keep it organized.

You can maintain a spreadsheet for a few hundred people, but as you grow, which you will with a Loyalty Program, you will want to start using an Email List tool, like Constant Contact or MailChimp (free up to 2,000 emails).

This also can double as a fundamental CRM tool (Customer relationship management). But for any business that is looking for ongoing growth, you should choose a full-service CRM tool; there are free ones out there like Hubspot and ones with affordable monthly plans.

You can create specific fields to keep data about your customers, how often they are in, personal notes about them, adding in their partner or children’s names to recognize them personally when they come in again.

Email, Social Media – what’s best in reaching your Customers?

One of the key phrases all of your staff should have in mind is HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT US? Create a system for your team to note this. Why Guess how to reach your Customer, have them tell you! 

We already reviewed how much competitors could be spending on Facebook.

Email Newsletters

Here is the truth about email, email averages only a 13% open rate, and if you all remember when SIP (Shelter in Place) started, you were personally inundated with tons of emails from businesses telling you what they were going to do. Plus, you’ve got all the political emails coming in.

When you write an email, which you should still do since 13% is better than Zero, you need to stand out! There are numerous articles on how to write the perfect email and subject lines to increase your open rate. My personal favorite, for the subject line of an email, is to always ask a question, it makes people’s minds activate, it can be as simple, as “how are you? we miss you!” or “want to save money on your next order?”

Email Engagement 

Even if you are not open physically, it is still important to maintain connections; it is essential to stay in contact with Loyal Customers and check in on them. But remember your emails need to stand out, so engage them to do something.

I have been suggesting to all of my friends to jump on their favorite businesses YELP pages and post great reviews and let them know how much they appreciate their local businesses. You can also encourage your customers to do that via your email newsletter (and via Social Media). Google Reviews and Yelp Reviews with 5-stars will give you a leg-up when business is fully open.

You can also do survey questions to help understand your customers, ask them what their favorite item is, what they wish you could add to your offerings. If you have a small email list, you can just ask them to reply, or if you have a much larger program, you can use tools like SurveyMonkey.

Ensure your emails include a link-back to further Blog stories on your items and to your Social Media outlets.

Ask people for their own stories on what they love about your company, post them on your Blog and social media, ask for pictures if they have them, or even to make Tik Tok or YouTube homemade videos telling the world how much they love you. People have got the time and are looking for meaningful activity.

Mobility 

It is essential for your Loyalty Program to be mobile-friendly and interactive to maintain a cutting edge with all the noise from the world right now.

My favorite Loyalty Programs are hosted on SMS (Short Message Service) or simply known as Text.

97% of people are within three feet of their mobile phones at all times.

Text message opt-in Loyalty Programs have a 98% open-rate within minutes of receipt of special offer. 

88% of businesses with Loyalty programs are more successful.

The average text program costs .02 cents a message and an average 4-6% redemption rate of special offers. More tailored offers, for, e.g., birthdays, have even higher returns.

Robust SMS services even allow for Auto-set and go Marketing Drip Campaigns to create a full customer service-centric buyer journey. From their first visit to followup text messages and check in’s when you haven’t had a recent interaction with Customer.

Since this is my most favorite tool right now, I am going to dedicate a future Blog to it!

In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for any questions on anything that I have offered tips on.  I am giving FREE small business advice during SIP. 

Email me at jeanavive@networkgirl.com 

Business, Tech, Tech Tools

Bridging the internet divide for event planners – by Jeanavive Janssen

(Download PDF of Full Article Here)

The difference between good internet and GREAT internet could be just what you are looking for — An event planner joins the internet world and tells-all.

“Internet access has become a basic utility like electricity and running water – ease of connectivity is a priority. After that, having adequate Bandwidth matters, but it’s important to know what attendees will be using the connectivity for in order to plan properly.”Michael Judeh, Regional Director of Technology NYC IACC

I have witnessed events where day-of livestream testing on the in-house internet worked just fine. However, no one planned for the three hundred attendees logging onto the WiFi network at the same time. Online registration and online badge printers suddenly failed, causing lines, confusion, and concern over the pivotal livestreaming scheduled for later in the day.

Think of this like water in an apartment complex when everyone is home at the same time. People are washing clothes, taking showers, flushing toilets, etc.–you’ve suddenly got no water pressure, and you’re taking a cold shower! If an apartment complex is not designed for 100% capacity usage at once (which is usually not the case, because it’s expensive), this is precisely what will happen.

It’s the exact same thing as what happens when the internet goes awry at your event. So, let’s help you construct the perfect “home” for a successful tech-related event …aren’t they all these days?

First off, it is essential to know who is calling your event “home.”The Attendee: The average corporate event attendee has two devices (phone & laptop/tablet). You should have a minimum of 30 Mbps per every one hundred attendees for basic standard internet browsing, checking email, and social media (this does not account for video and large file uploads).

In your post-event surveys, rather than asking if the attendees enjoyed the food–which they rarely do anyway–ask them how their internet experience was!

If they didn’t rate the internet highly, include sub-questions:

• How many devices were they using? (A number of people still carry a personal cell and company cell.)

• What were they using the internet for? (e.g., downloading a presentation, checking email, streaming video) Apply this data to help planning for future events and also to audit the internet service that was promised by your provider.

(January 2020 Panel on Technology & Events Speaker Jeanavive Janssen)

NasDaq Jeanavive

Your Event Production:

Have a separate login for attendees separate from the production internet circuit. Make it crystal clear that anyone who has the password and is on the production circuit is only using the network for its intended usage. At one venue, the internet was severely lagging for the production circuit. All of the internet bandwidth provided was tested, and the client was on the internet vendors’ case.

However, pulling reports showed that one of the IP addresses associated with a vendor’s laptop was downloading unnecessary files over a time that correlated with their other vendors’ breaks. The refund request conversations ended quickly–responsibility was most likely traced back to the individual who found an interesting way to entertain themselves over their break.

Make sure you provide your production schedule to the internet vendor and IT specialist at your venue of choice.

What’s that, you say? The venue doesn’t have an IT Specialist? Uh-oh, do you? Hold that thought for later.

Include in the timing anyone from your company or vendors who will be in the venue. It may be enough to tell an internet vendor that production is testing at 3pm, but you may want to cross-check to see if the CEO is arriving an hour beforehand to use the space as an office–or whether the other twelve people on event staff are planning an 8am start to blow up balloons while checking for last-minute registrations–or other scenarios that may require further bandwidth.

Some venues don’t have any internet service in certain spaces. If they are using a remote service provider, they may have to call a helpline number to try to get the internet turned on earlier, or they might have to deal with different time zones. This is a day-of hassle that can be avoided with ample communication of the timeline.

Is your event an annual event or roadshow? Don’t play guessing games on internet needs. Ask the internet service provider or venue for a “Usage Report” post-event, and be sure to do your speed testing during rehearsals! Time is of the essence if the provided service is under par; if a venue is using a 1-800 number service provider, don’t hold your breath on getting a quick-boost to rescue the event. In other words, don’t wait until the last minute.

Your Exhibitor or Sponsors:

Don’t forget exhibitors or sponsors! Define what is available in advance if you are opting for “free internet” from the venue, and advise vendors not to use “hotspots”–which could interfere with the venue-provided WiFi.

If you don’t want to foot the bill for added internet services (but it is available), add that information to your exhibitor kit, or learn what tech exhibitors need for their area (such as for doing live demos, etc.). Find out from the venue or vendor the costs of the upgraded service, making sure to add it to the booth or sponsor package cost.

In-House Internet Compared to Outside Vendor Internet

Event attendees expect high-speed free WiFi as a standard at corporate events. If you don’t ensure they get it as part of your planned event, you may find that your event is trending on Twitter’s #WiFiFail. Search the hashtag and learn why having adequate WiFi is as vital as having enough bathroom stalls and toilet paper.

The internet is a requirement for your event production: for registration, web-demos, video streaming, video conferencing, crowd polling, and other cloud-based tech that is at the forefront of all significant events. Even non-profit fundraising events make use of hefty internet traffic.

However, in most instances, it doesn’t make sense for venues to pay for a colossal internet bandwidth if their daily events don’t have major tech requirements. Hotels might, but unique, stand-alone venues (that your attendees are going to love!) do not require that type of monthly bandwidth, so they likely will not have it on hand. An outside vendor can bring in additional bandwidth on a private circuit for production needs; it could just be a hard-wired handoff, and your company’s in-house event IT team can build the network out while preserving the venue’s internet for attendee use.

Related to in-house WiFi, you have to consider several questions:

What kind of security is there?

Is there a password posted around the venue? Is it changed for every event?
Open public WiFi with no password is an enormous security concern.

FREE WiFi? Planners keep asking for it, but is that really what is best for the event?

Many RFPs (Request for Proposal) reach venues with bolded, underlined, and over-emphasized requests for complimentary WiFi. Seasoned venues can choose to become an internet service vendor, assuming that value-add will win the event business. Free WiFi may be nice for your hotel-room guests or speaker-ready rooms for people kicking up their feet, watching streaming TV, video chatting with their kids, and checking emails– but do you really want to have a venue act as your internet service vendor for your CEO–standing on a stage, in front of hundreds of people, with another thousand watching online–for the most significant announcement your company has ever made?

Again, I’d like to refer you to Twitter’s #WiFiFail. I prefer that my venues to ensure that the space is clean, that the staff is friendly, and that their core services are their number-one priority.

The most important venue internet questions for your RFP:

• Is the venue internet managed in-house or by a third-party?

• Who is the internet bandwidth provider?

• Do you have a schematic of Access Points (APs), or can locations be reviewed during walk-thru?

• When was the last time Access Points were upgraded?• Will there be onsite venue IT support?

• Can internet bandwidth be increased during the event?

• Is there a service center constantly monitoring the WiFi usage during the event onsite or remotely?

• Can the venue or service provider share usage reports post-event?

Tech support! Does the venue have it? Do you have it? Someone needs to have it!

Discuss with the venue up-front about what IT or AV tech support they offer with your contract. This is VASTLY MORE IMPORTANT than free WiFi. If it is free–and your only support is a sweet event manager who knows how to “service” the internet by unplugging a little black box and counting to ten before plugging it back in–free is not what you want.

Find out exactly how tech issues are handled. If there is a 1-800 number to call, try it yourself and see how long it takes to get a live person. If you are using your own equipment, can you set it up on a new network without someone familiar with the onsite system? Laptops that are not configured correctly could eat up hours of event setup, which may be needed for other event to-dos.

If it costs more to have an onsite tech available for the duration of the digital density times, pay it. If you are prepared to “hold your nose” and jump into free WiFi to preserve your budget, at least speed check during your walk-thru and, personally, see what is provided the minute, you walk in the venue for your setup. “Trust, but verify” is more validating than just being told what is available and believing it.

Speed Test Tools:
http://www.speedtest.net
http://www.speedof.mehttp://www.speedof.me

Do you need to stream your event?

Try to budget for it for a year-one event, research pricing, make it a line-item, and try to sell it as a sponsorship: Livestreaming is becoming essential for increasing brand awareness and ROI.

According to Livestream’s research, “live video is more appealing to brand audiences. Eighty-two percent of people prefer live video from a brand to social posts. Livestreaming and videos are effective means of promoting your business, conference, or products and perform better than many traditional marketing methods.”

If recorded, it also makes an excellent B-roll for your next event! Additionally, there are companies that can help you monetize sign-ups to access your conference remotely via live stream.

Upload and Download Speeds for Streaming:

When it comes to streaming, upload and download are equally vital: the higher the upload speed, the more data that can be streamed. The download is relevant to the audience. Higher bandwidth can eliminate buffering and lags.

This is where symmetrical bandwidth plays a vital role, which most 1-800 number providers do not offer. Standard 1-800 number internet providers may provide the venue 100 Mbps, but you may not receive that dedicated bandwidth since it a shared circuit, let alone symmetrical. For example, most of these providers bill for 100down/25up; when they are speed tested, they only deliver 72down/15up.Multi-bitrate streaming requires more upload bandwidth than conventional streaming.

Each stream requires separate bandwidth; a 4k stream needs an average bitrate of 15 Mbps for both download and upload for a minimum of 30 Mbps, and, as mentioned earlier, you need another 30 Mbps for every 100 attendees.

(January 2020 Panel on Technology & Events Speaker Jeanavive Janssen)

Nasdaq 2 Jeanavive

Glossary

Bandwidth – The max data transfer rate over an internet circuit. Measured in Mbps–megabits (million bits) per second (Mbps). Also measured in Gbps (gigabits per second) for faster speeds. Two usages define bandwidth need: the number of devices using the bandwidth and what the devices are used for (i.e., social media and browsing compared to streaming and gaming ). Shared bandwidth is living in that apartment complex again, while dedicated bandwidth is like living in your own private house–but you have to be prepared for your guests in your house on occasion, too.

Speed Test – determines if you are getting the bandwidth promised by the provider.

IP Address – serves as an identity for each device using the network.

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) – assigns dynamic IP addresses to devices on a network, giving the device a different IP address when it reconnects to the network.

Wireless Network – allows devices to stay connected to the internet without plugging into hard-lines.

Access Point (AP) – creates a wireless local area network. It’s an excellent idea–just like in a construction plan–to ask your venue for an access point layout map or to have them point them out during the site visit so that you can ensure you know where the coverage is light. This will ensure that you don’t plan a vital tech demo in the furthest low-bandwitdth corner of their WiFi network coverage area. Third-party providers can add free-standing access points to ensure the success of your tech-related needs if you bring it up from day one, not as an afterthought!

Router – sends data traffic to access points and provides security protocol for the network.

Switch – sends and receives the data to the device(s) that requested it.SSID – the name of your wireless network, which could be a sponsor’s name or name of the conference; keep it short enough to read when pulling it up on your WiFi device.

Symmetrical WiFi – has the same download and upload speed.

Hotspot – designated access point or location where WiFi is available. Attendees may use WiFi Hotspots at events; this may cause interference with the hosted event WiFi.Open Network – an unsecured network that is not safe to use when working with private data. Open networks do not require a WPA/password, so it does not encrypt data. This could make it easy as pie for hackers/data thieves to access data information on ANY device connected to the network!

WiFi Protected Access (WPA) – WPA is an encryption tool that scrambles your encryption key and also checks to make sure it wasn’t altered during any data transfers.

Millimeter-Wave Antenna Internet – the line of sight is required and delivered by point-to-point antennas. It is built over a redundant mesh when provided by an established provider with very low latency, which is ideal for livestreaming.

Metro Ethernet – this is an Ethernet transport network that provides point-to-point or multipoint connectivity services over a metropolitan area network (MAN).

Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) – a fixed amount of bandwidth always available that does not fluctuate, even during peak usage times.

Service Level Agreement (SLA) – Dedicated bandwidth providers commonly offer 99.99% SLA, 5-minutes per month downtime over fiber cable, or through point-to-point microwave antennas.

For more internet tips, feel free to reach out to Jeanavive Janssen by email: Jeanavive@gmail.com

Misc. Blogs, Tech, Tech Tools

Want “More Tech” to assist your Role? Here is how to get it. By Jeanavive Janssen

Want “More Tech” to assist your Role? Here is how to get it…

by Jeanavive Janssen aka the NetworkGirl

Are you an employee who wants “More Tech” to support your Role? Here are a few tips on how you can effect change as an employee or perhaps you are an outside influence with a Tech product/SAAS you want to have championed?…the stakeholders aren’t always the same.

Who are the stakeholders in the Tech Decisions? What do you need to know to Champion the Tech you want?… (this, e.g., Is for SAAS that effects the sales team)

  • The CEO – needs the big picture info if a large company and not a user.
  • Who is in charge of the Budget? Finance/Accounting? They will need to know; what are the costs, initiation fees, monthly fees/user fees, cancellations terms/costs….
  • The sales staff who will use the software – how does it help them?
    • What other teams may be affected by implementation? Eg. Marketing?
  • The VP of Sales – They will need to know; what kind of reporting or service does it offer them to increase productivity and support of their teams?
    • Who else will need reporting or access?
  • Who will do the training/implementation – is it you?
    • Does your company have a division that does the training?
    • Do you have an IT* department that can do training?
    • If not, who is a stakeholder prepared to learn and train? Is it you?
    • How much time is genuinely needed to implement? Who can be affected if the implementation is delayed or the team doesn’t learn it quick enough?
  • Do you know what IT* means? (if not, we may need to take a big step back, and the first questions should be are you Tech-Savvy?..if, yes, keep reading)
    • Do you have an in-house IT department? Are they employees or contractors?
    • Are they too busy fixing printers?
    • Are they the type to embrace more work?
    • Or are they early adopters and want to be ahead of the curve in Tech?
      • They will need to know, quality assurance issues, debugging, scalability, programming language security, and so much more – your Tech will need to talk to their Tech.

If you do have an IT department you will need to get to know how they function before you align the users, the IT can be your ally or hold up the process if there is a lot of work on their end to launch the new SAAS.

Take a walk to their department one day (are they even onsite?). Don’t engage; just investigate …don’t make any sudden movements and scare them off.

If it is a small department or a contractor, they may not have the time to embrace ideas that have not been handed down by C-Level.   If it is an in-house IT department with tech adopters, they may be more inclined to assist.  Do not try to work this change thru IT first, but be aware of how it affects them in the long run when it does get past down from the top, they could be the final cross-check as the experts in their field and they could “stone-wall” it. Most often, companies selling SAAS will work the IT department first, but there still has to be a real good reason for them to care to make a change; and that is where the user’s buy-in is essential.

If you don’t have an IT department and if the SAAS guarantees plug and play (with a certain amount of internet bandwidth to users), you may find that aligning the users and getting their buy-in influence over the CEO for the Tech change may be a more straightforward process.

If you are the Champion of the Tech, align yourself with a good partner on the Tech side before you go in the ring, they need to make it easy for you to understand the big picture, the bottom-line, and ROI.   If you are not getting what you need from your assigned salesperson at the company – not just an “order taker,” ask for them to supply additional people who may be able to break it down in a different way so that you understand completely what you are championing. Also, are they prepared to take on the IT Dept.? with your groundwork, you will be able to provide insight into how they function.

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What SAAS do you want to Champion?

 

 

 

Business, Tech, Tech Tools, Women

#NetworkGirl: What the PBX? @!*

What the PBX? @!*, you may hear some rumblings from those guys in tech or glaze over when you see PBX, and mix it up with PBS when it reminds you that you haven’t had time to watch Downton Abbey…and progress to start to think what happened to your work/life balance?…

PBX is a part of that answer… Perhaps you don’t work for those perk companies who offers unlimited time off (but it isn’t all roses at those companies either)… A PBX can allow you to do your job wherever you are, so you really don’t need to take all that time from your job!

Example Day with the Magic PBX:

Working for a MadMen #NetworkGirl Working for a MadMen #NetworkGirl

  • Your MADMEN boss out “hitting balls”
    You’ve been given strict instructions on how to manage his calls, specifically his wife…
  • You get a call from your daughter, your ex can’t get out of work to pick her up from Ballet, he says it is a very important call… You can’t believe of all days this happens, but you have PBX!
  • Log-on quickly to your admin panel and set the office calls to seamlessly transfer to your cellphone, they won’t know they aren’t calling your desk phone (they legacy phone)…be sure to keep a ear piece in the car, don’t want to get a ticket! Phew, now relax and go about living and taking care of your family…
  • RING RING, it is your boss’s wife calling! (make sure your PBX, has and is set-up for Caller-ID) …Breath, picked it up in your professional voice and take it from there… oh, yes, MRS. MADMEN, it is an emergency! certainly I will get him for you, please hold the line…your heart races, no worries you already put him in your Quick-Dial list, time for a CALL FLIP (and fingers crossed he is done “hitting balls”).
  • You have your daughter in the car, you need to get back to the office and wrap up, your boss calls your office line (and reaches you on your cel. in the car)…he thanks you for the call, doesn’t know how you managed it, that she didn’t realize he wasn’t in the office but thanks you…she is on her way to the hospital to have their baby, he starts rambling a list of things for you to do, you can’t write anything down…you get back to your office, he is still talking, you need to free a hand, so you CALL FLIP back to your desk phone…he is still going but there is no way to remember everything he said prior…you get off the phone, and realize you had your “auto call recording” on…you set-up your daughter on your cellphone to play her favorite games and you play-back the recording and SAVE THE DAY, SUPER #NETWORKGIRL.

PS after work call your ex, the CEO of XYZ company and ask him why they don’t have PBX, no excuses why he can’t take care of family and business.

Was that a good laugh, take some more laughs home tonight, buy this:

Inspired?

Now, what, how do I get one of these PBX things, it sounds awesome!   Well, the Elephant in the room needs to be addressed, the LEGACY PHONE, stay tuned for more:

Meet your Elephant!

#NetworkGirl Legacy Phones and PBX communications Telecom RingCentral

Wikipedia Definition of PBX: (you can just call it awesome for short!)

A PBX (Private Branch Exchange) is a system that connects telephone extensions to the Public Switched Telephone Network and provides internal communication for a business. An IP PBX is a PBX with Internet Protocol connectivity and may provide additional audio, video, or instant messaging communication utilizing the TCP/IP protocol stack.

Take your business anywhere with RingCentral Professional. Try it Free