5 Tips to Control Your Business Finances

No matter what kind of business you run, managing your cash flow is crucial for your operation to survive and grow. While there are many benefits that go hand in hand with running your own company, unless you stay in the know of the financial side of things, you could find yourself racking up debt before you know it. To help you stay in control, here are five tips on how to manage your business finances correctly.

Understand Your Financial Responsibilities

As a business owner, there are various financial responsibilities that you will be held accountable for. The type of business you run, as well as how many people are in your operation will reflect on what is required of you, however, one of the most important responsibilities is to pay your taxes. It’s crucial that you find out what your tax obligations are so you can be sure you’re doing everything above board. Repayments and reports are other responsibilities that you may need to carry out, especially if you have stakeholders to engage with and investors to repay.

Make an Accounting Schedule

Any successful accountant will tell you that the key component to good financial management is staying in control. If you begin to lose focus, mistakes can be made, which can cause disastrous consequences for your business. To help you manage your business finances, creating an accounting schedule is vital. Setting aside time each week to go over your financial tasks such as recording all transactions and filing all invoices will help keep things clear and manageable.

Use Accounting Software

While you may not be an accountant, that doesn’t mean you can’t make use of their tools and software. If you are the owner of a small business, you may be inclined to use basic spreadsheets like Excel, however, this kind of software isn’t designed to manage your accounting processes. There are lots of accounting software that is better suited, such as FreshBooks and Xero, both of which have features to help you manage your finances better.

Take Onboard Expert Advice

To help manage your business’s money better, doing your research and getting expert advice is important. Reading articles written by business owners who have been in a similar situation to yourself will help you come up with strategies to conquer your financial mountain. There are many resources available online that you can use to brush up your knowledge and get better at accounting.

Know When to Get Help

One of the traits that many business owners share is stubbornness. While being stubborn can be useful in some circumstances, if you’re facing issues with financial management and accounting, it’s important that you know when and where to seek help. For example, if you’re struggling financially, rather than taking out a business loan, which can be hard to obtain, merchant cash advances may be the better option for you.

Being out of your depth can cause the day to day operations to slide, so whether you’re making frequent mistakes or you’ve lost control of your cash flow, knowing when to seek help is important.

For day to day operations to run smoothly, it’s important that you have a solid grasp of your business finances. Whether that means overseeing proceedings or hiring an accountant to take care of your cash flow, keeping in control will avoid you running out of funds and getting into debt.

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4 Jobs You Can Do Full Time From Home

Are you bored of your 9-5 job and want to make a change? Many people start to work from home full time. This will bring them a stable income while reducing the costs for commuting to work. Some people have it like a side hustle first, but then quit their initial job to work from home.

According to Overheard on Conference Calls, you need to stay organized and plan your time when working from home. Especially when you are working full time. But, which are the jobs that you can go for? Be sure there are lots of jobs that offer you the possibility to work from your home.these are the top jobs that you can do full time!

 

Proofreading

Proofreading includes checking for any errors connected to grammar, syntax, and spelling. Or some jobs, you aren’t required to have a college degree. All you need are excellent grammar skills. Your client will send you a text, and you need to make sure that it is completely error-free. This work gives you flexibility and freedom, so you can work from home easily. Another good thing is that the job is strictly defined, so you won’t lose time on video calls.

Transcription

Working as a transcriptionist means that you will turn all sorts of video and audio material into text. It can be legal, medical, or technical materials that you should type in after listening. You will be listening to reports, interviews, conferences, phone conversations, and create a document file. It is a fun job to do, but you need to make sure that you have a quiet space in your home. You should determine your rate per minute for this work.

Flipping

This is a perfect job for all the passionate DIYers. If you don’t want to work on the computer for the whole day, a flipper is a perfect job for you. It means that you should find good pieces of furniture or other items in thrift shops, auctions, or flea markets. Then, you restore the items and make them look like new. It allows you to express your creativity and skills in a whole new way. Then, you can sell the items for a higher price. You have the freedom to choose your sales methods and strategies.

Blogging

Nowadays, blogging has become an important part of our lives. We all follow our favorite bloggers and read their useful tips. If you think that it is time to give up your 9-5 job but don’t feel so confident, then try with blogging as a side hustle first. Many bloggers started like this and then continued to work full time. You can earn money from google ads, sponsored posts, or even join affiliate programs. Keep in mind that blogging can be a complex job, as you need to produce good content for your readers. You will also need to invest in photographing equipment, props, and other things according to your specific niche.

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Top 5 Trends that Shaped SEO in 2019

SEO made a big impact in 2019 with new trends.

These trends helped shape SEO to where it is today. If you haven’t been applying these trends to your website, better jump on board now!

1)    Understanding your audience

One of the biggest trends of the year was learning what your audience wants to see from you. Do they prefer text? Or do they want to see more visuals such as images and videos?

Figuring out what your audience is wanting to see from you will help your rankings.

Even if you have stellar content that is correctly optimizing, you won’t see any benefits if it is geared toward the wrong audience.

2)    Exceptional content!

With all that said about catering to the perfect audience, you still need to provide exceptional content.

Especially with Google’s new algorithm BERT, you will want to create conversational and natural content for high rankings.

Since Google is constantly adding and changing their algorithms, good content is more important than ever. To rank higher, you want to provide clear answers to what people are searching for in the form of high-quality content.

The better quality content, the better the chance of acquiring links, which can improve your ranking on Google.

3)    Technical SEO

In the past year, more companies have put a major focus on technical SEO.

Did you know that the faster your site is, the higher Google ranks it? Because of this, more sites have become faster. If you haven’t improved the speed or simplicity of your website yet, don’t get behind in the game and check this off your to-do list.

Google and other search engines also cater to JavaScript-driven websites. Meaning if you don’t already have a JavaScript-driven website, you should work with an SEO  firm that is familiar with JavaScript to get this done.

4)    On-page Optimization

Yes, on-page optimization has ALWAYS been important, but it definitely became more relevant in 2019.

Aim for content that answers common questions in easy to read and short conversational pieces.

You may even want to consider chatbots. Now, not EVERYONE is a fan of chatbots, but for users, it is a very helpful tool that can improve your on-site SEO.

Don’t forget the simple stuff like websites that are appealing and easy to navigate.

5)    Machine Learning

2019 was the year for machine learning. With Google consistently releasing algorithms, this was the year to crack down and figure them out.

By testing new strategies, companies have been able to successfully optimize for these new algorithms.

It sometimes takes time to figure out if implementing new changes help you rank higher due to new algorithms, but while doing this, you are creating unique content. Which in the end, will improve your SEO.

Remember, there is no harm in trying new things to see if it help you rank higher. If it does end up working, it is well worth the effort.

Want to stay ahead of the game for 2020? Consider working with a Phoenix SEO agency to optimize your website in the new year.

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Cash Doesn’t Grow On Trees: Expanding Your Home Business In A Budget Friendly Way

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Large companies looking to expand have a luxury of being able to throw money at certain problems when growing. A smaller home-based business usually cannot do this due to cash flow and the need for a cost-efficient expansion. The good news is that expanding can be done with very little spending if done in a clever manner. The advantage a smaller company has is there are not multiple approvals that need to be received before starting out on a growth project. As the founder of your home business you can grow as quickly or slowly as you deem necessary with regards to the business’ health. Below are tactics that will help keep costs low when expanding so cash flow of the business is not decimated. 

Create Content Daily 

Creating content daily for social media accounts, the company blog, and offsite publications is important. Being able to rank higher on the search engines can be something that increases leads and sales immensely. If you are running some sort of drop shipping business then you understand how important online marketing is to generate sales. 

On social media you should be promoting content that is created as well as engage with followers. Not only engage with followers but also related social media accounts as this can generate followers in the company’s target demographic. Replying to customers about comments or complaints can also be quite useful. Salvaging a customer simply by acknowledging they might not have been happy with a product or service is at times enough. 

The company blog should be used to educate website visitors as well as be used as a resource by others in the industry. This can also host content like that of podcast, video, or a piece of interactive media. This is not the place to write up clickbait type articles as it is just a waste of time and money if you are paying a writer. 

Offsite publications can be a great way to increase brand awareness and showcase the knowledge of the company in an article. This is going to take outreach for a publication to accept a topic that you will write. Most publications are willing to give you a link in the article or in the author bio. Increasing your search engine presence as a company will end up helping with growth immensely. 

Sales Materials Mailed Can Increase ROI

Getting sales materials into the hands of a client with a custom proposal is important to say the least. Your company could be in competition with others that might be able to meet the client in person due to their proximity. To even the playing field getting sales materials to the client and trying to close a deal quickly can help salvage a sale that could have been lost to a competitor. Mailing 5X7 envelopes to “invite” the potential client to work with your company can be a touch that helps close the sale. Small details can make all of the difference so investing in print sales materials and the right custom envelopes will deliver on ROI. A sales prospect receiving sales materials the next day after a call will also feel like their business is valued which can be positive for your business. This type of diligence will have a potential client thinking that even if you do run a small company, the company will deliver high quality work. 

Ask Your Current Customers For Referrals

Incentivizing customers to refer your business to others can prove quite fruitful as far as sales go. Those that are proficient at sales just need an introduction from the right person to instantly have rapport with the sales prospect. If you feel uncomfortable asking current customers then asking former colleagues or reaching out to a former client that has moved on in their career can be effective. Reaching out on LinkedIn is a wise approach but not everyone monitors this platform so an email or direct call will get the job done in a faster fashion. 

Have Other Companies White Label Your Services 

The chances are that if you run a home based business is that your prices are lower than larger competitors due to having little to no overhead costs. Having a company sell your services as their own or white labeling them will not have an impact on your margins. Larger companies will set prices on your services to make sure they are earning without having to do any work besides sell the services. Hitting deadlines is far more important in these cases as the company selling your services has to worry about their reputation if a deadline is missed. 

Growing your small home based online business can be done without a large financial expenditure on your part. Track the ROI on all money spent as you might find putting money into a certain area yields great results. Grow your business without impacting your quality of product or service as this healthy growth ensures future success. 

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Ways to Prevent Fights from Escalating in a Brainstorming Session

When brainstorming for the next marketing strategy to use, it is inevitable for people within the marketing team to fight. Everyone has great ideas, and no one would want to give up. It is okay to have different views on what to do next to advertise the products you sell, but it does not mean you can allow fights to continue. If you fail to control the situation, it could get too personal. These tips will help ensure a healthy discussion.

Find a facilitator

You can facilitate the discussion, or you can have someone else in the team do it. The role of the facilitator is like a referee, to determine who will speak first and who will speak next. If someone is interrupting the other, the facilitator can step in. This person needs to be in control of the situation and pause the session if it gets ugly.

Avoid shutting people down

When someone says an idea is terrible, you need to step in and prevent it. The session needs to be open. At this point, you cannot judge one idea to be awful in favour of another. Brainstorming is useful to ensure as many ideas as possible come out before you start delving deeper into each suggestion. It also needs to be clear to those participating in the discussion that shutting an idea down is a big no.

Set rules

Even before the brainstorming session commences, it is crucial that you talk about what will happen and what the rules to follow are. You will have a smooth discussion if everyone agrees to the rules. You can even include the members of the team to determine the rules to follow to allow ownership.

Invite the right people

You need different views for the next marketing campaign. If you intend to use a trade show stand since you received an invitation to join a trade show, you need various viewpoints. You can invite someone from your marketing team. You can also have another one from your production team who knows the products well. You can also have some of the most senior employees who might have a different take on the ads along with the newest employees since they might have opinions that are without bias as they do not yet feel a strong attachment to the company. Hearing different voices could help promote a more productive discussion.

Set an agenda

You need to let everyone know what to talk about. You can even inform them before the session date so they can prepare. You would rather have people come with ideas than telling them on the spot. They can research the topics to discuss. They can also look for trade show stand samples and trade show displays that could work if you are taking that route. If you start the discussion, and no one has anything useful to contribute, the meeting will be useless.

Making a successful trade show display along with other marketing campaigns could be challenging. It helps if you listen to different people and respect what they have to say.

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Why Freight Factoring Has Become So Popular

If you are the owner of a trucking company, you need to make sure that every vehicle in your fleet is well-maintained, and that all of your drivers are paid. This is why cash flow is so critical to both truckers and trucking companies, as it not only keeps the business in operation, but it allows for growth opportunities as well.

This is why so many companies in the trucking industry rely on freight factoring to stay in the black month after month. Factoring continues to be one of the best options for truck drivers to collect money faster — because it generates the funds you need when you need them. Factoring freight invoices allows trucking companies of every size to receive immediate funding in the form of advances on unpaid invoices from a third-party factoring company.

The first step of the freight factoring process is quite simple, and as a trucking company owner you’re already doing it — you deliver your load normally. The second step is to submit a copy of the freight bill and other supporting documentation to your factoring company. This can be done digitally and instantaneously.

As a carrier, you will then be given an advance typically between 90% to 95% of the value of the invoice. A top-tier factoring company such as Accutrac Capital will advance carriers up to 97% of the value. The remaining 3% is kept in reserve and is remitted to the carrier once the customer pays on the original invoice.

You can see why this is such a popular financing option. Not only do trucking companies have access to a generous advance, but the actual job of collecting on the invoice now shifts to the factoring company, freeing up trucking company owners to do what they do best — track down leads and generate new contracts.

Freight factoring is so appealing because it offers a great deal of advantages that other financial solutions simply can’t. Factoring your freight bills is a great option because:

  1. It’s easy to receive your funding when you need it. Traditional loans from banks and other lenders are often very difficult to secure. If you don’t have the best credit in the world, or you’re a startup without a considerable amount of collateral, factoring invoices is going to be easier than securing a loan.
  1. Factoring speeds up your cash flow. Anyone in trucking knows that carriers need to be paid, and if they have to wait 30 to 90 days to receive their payment, it will detrimentally affect their bottom line — sometimes even to the point of bankruptcy.

Rather than waiting 90 days to receive payment for a service you’ve already rendered, freight factoring allows you to turn your accounts receivable — which would otherwise be sitting uselessly by — into the funding you need when you need it. With all the work you do as a trucking company owner, there is no reason why there should be a waiting period standing between you and the money you’ve already earned.

  1. Factoring gives you money to spend on growing your trucking business. When you are routinely stuck waiting for payment, it can become more and more difficult to take on jobs because cash flow is tight and you don’t have the cash on hand to pay for your drivers or maintain your fleet. Freight factoring alleviates this issue because you can receive payment upfront for invoices often within a day, allowing you to move seamlessly onto the next job.
  1. Factoring is not debt. Because you are essentially selling something you already own at a discount in the form of an unpaid invoice, factoring is not a loan and therefore there are no interest rates or hidden fees. Carriers simply pay a small one-time factoring fee when they receive their advance.

In order to stay afloat in the choppy waters of the trucking industry, consider freight factoring as an option for your business. Whether you have a fleet of four or four hundred, factoring can help you manage your cash flow, so you can keep your head above water.

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3 Training Courses That Every Entrepreneur Can Benefit From

Starting and running a business can be incredibly rewarding in more ways than one, but it also places a lot of demands on an entrepreneur. That’s why everyone who starts a business must be prepared to work longer and harder than ever before if they want it to succeed. A successful entrepreneur also has to be multi-skilled and to be aware of where their weaknesses lie so that they can take positive action to improve in those areas. Thankfully, training courses allow you to learn new skills or hone existing ones, so here are three training courses that can be especially useful.

1. Sales Training

It’s great to have a high-quality product or service on offer, but that won’t get you anywhere unless you achieve good sales figures. That’s why every great business owner has to be a great salesperson too, and even if you have a dedicated sales team, it’s an essential skill for every entrepreneur. There are plenty of training options in this sector, so you’ll be able to find sales training that’s right for your level of experience and your budget. Course search portals like findcourses.com allow you to compare options from multiple providers to help find the right course for yourself or your business. By signing up for a sales training course, you’ll be able to find the theory behind different selling techniques and put them into practice, whether you sell face to face or online.

2. Management Training

Many entrepreneurs start their business as a one-person concern, but as it expands and grows, there comes a time when staff will have to be recruited. This brings with it a host of new opportunities, but to make the most of these opportunities, it’s essential that the business owner possesses excellent management skills. This isn’t something that comes naturally to all people, but management training can bring vast improvements in how you manage people and get the best out of them. A management training course will teach you different types of management and the theories behind them, allowing you to select the one which is most suited to you and your company.

3. Communication Training

One of the secrets to being a good salesperson and manager is to be an excellent communicator, but this has a vital skillset of its very own. Most people think they can communicate well, but in business, it’s as important to be able to listen well as it is to be able to speak well. Communication training will teach you how to communicate face to face, via a telephone, and online. In today’s fast-changing technology driven world, this last skill is becoming ever more important. When you can communicate effectively, you can inspire your workforce, negotiate with potential clients, and create customer loyalty, so taking training in this area can bring rich rewards.

A good entrepreneur must always be looking for ways to grow themselves and their business, which is why they should always be prepared to undertake personal training programs that can help them become an even better business leader. Training courses can also be a perfect way to improve the skills that staff possess and training existing staff can be much more cost-effective than hiring new employees.

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Top tips to run a remote team

Remote working is a growing trend within UK businesses, with more companies allowing employees the option to work away from the traditional office environment. This can bring many benefits to both the employer and employee, which can increase overall productivity within the business. To run a successful remote team, a lot of planning and skill is required, from hiring the right team, using the best tools available and creating good processes within your company.

Find the right candidates

When looking to hire an employee for your remote team, you are no longer restricted to finding someone local to the area and you can search globally for the right person for the job. The ideal candidate will need to be self-motivated and disciplined to ensure that work is completed and deadlines are met. Conduct a range of interviews by email, phone and Skype and set the candidate a small task that will reflect the work they would be doing if they were hired.

Use effective management processes

Remote workers need to know what exactly is required of them, for example, if they’re expected to be online at certain times of the day or if they have to reply to emails promptly. By establishing clear guidelines and giving your employees instructions, this will ensure the productivity levels are kept high. Access to training opportunities is vital and you can provide relevant eLearning courses through places like EssentialSkillz, in order to ensure employees are able to perform their roles in a safe and effective manner.

Provide workers with the best tools

Having the best tools available is vital to ensure your employees can be as productive as possible. Google Hangouts is a great way to communicate with colleagues and clients as you can message and video call anyone in your contact list who is online. A great tool for project planning is Pivotal Tracker as you can easily manage team projects and stick to deadlines. Another tool that is useful is Google Drive, as this allows colleagues to share and collaborate on documents and spreadsheets at the same time.

The benefits of remote working

Remote working is beneficial to the employer and employee. Without having to commute to an office every day, the employee has more free time meaning they can spend time with family and friends, go to the gym or take on a side project. This leads to improvement in their health, wellbeing and stress levels.

A company can save a significant amount in costs by operating from a smaller office, saving in heating, maintenance and electricity bills. Productivity would increase as remote workers are generally more productive than employees who work in an office and are less likely to take sick days. Remote workers are proven to be hard working and loyal to their employer.

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7 Essential Tools for Business Success Today

Starting a business is one thing. Growing the business is another, while keeping operations from becoming unwieldy is a different ballgame.

Business owners must build systems and explore how to operate them more efficiently. There are tools to help budding businesses focus on what matters most. We look at a few here, which we use in our own operations at HomeBusinessWiz.

  1. Organisation

A business can easily become overwhelmed with meetings and deadlines. Google Calendar makes it easy to schedule meetings and share events. It is excellent for internal and external appointments. It also provides a way to monitor your people, so booking team meetings doesn’t get to be a hassle.

  1. A comprehensive business plan

Doing business without a plan is akin to going to war without a strategy. You need to pull away from the competition. Your business plan sets the focus and tone of your operations.

It is self-defeating to toy with your operations even if your business is a hobby. Many home-based business owners show this inclination. It is a path to frustration and failure. Get a business plan right away.

  1. Education

You do not need a PhD to run a successful business, but you must be thoroughly versed in your chosen niche. There are numerous online courses available online. You can audit (take for free) many of these.

The insight will help you rethink many aspects of your business and inject ideas that customers will yearn for. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) from the world’s top universities are available. The most popular MOOC sites are Coursera, edX, and Udacity. You won’t get a certificate but the content is priceless.

Other avenues for continuous learning include video outlets, Youtube and Vimeo.

  1. Project Management

As a budding business, reliability should be your watchword. Do this enough times and the word goes around. But, how do you manage all the madness in the face of changing project requirements? Use Trello, the famed project management tool.

Trello is adaptable to teams and one-man operations. You can keep track of marketing or promotions using this nifty tool. Everyone on our team, for instance, can log in and check our blog’s progress. They can also tag other staff for their opinion.

Trello does not cost you a penny–it is free with premium pricing plans for teams, but you’ll likely do great with the free option. Find Trello here.

  1. Networking with Social Media

You probably have an account on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. These social media platforms have tools and features to cater to business needs. You can chat with and pitch old acquaintances, join common-interest groups and engage industry thought leaders. If you are active enough, you will grow a large following.

An up-to-date profile is important on social media. Regular post updates or tweets tells your audience what you are up to and has been effective for product launches and press releases.

Social media is also an excellent outlet for repurposed content. The fun aspect of social media remains attractive to millennials, who are likely your target audience.

  1. External and Internal Communication

You typically want to explore every avenue that makes it easy for clients to stay in touch with you. You also want to have robust internal communication systems.

Zoom can be used to engage clients and prospects and has seen plenty of adoption in enterprise and small businesses. It has greater utility than phone calls and email because you are face-to-face with the client or associate. With Zoom, you can share schematics with them without the risk of ambiguity.

Internal communications can also use Zoom, but since many things are on-the-fly, rather than resort to email, the workspace tool, Slack, excels at offering an instant messaging service for teams. File sharing in Slack is a breeze, and there’s room for plenty of fun while at it.

  1. Payment Systems

Doing business online has become the new normal. But how do you receive payments? There are services you can incorporate on your website for low fees per transaction to ensure you get paid even before you deliver the service. Two of the most popular ones are Stripe and PayPal. Many existing banks have their own financial apps to make the payment process easier as well.

This is merely a small round-up of tools you need to get your business running until other tools become essential.

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The Big Brand’s Top Secrets to Building Customer Loyalty

There’s a reason big brands have attained success–they know how to keep their customers happy. Is your business losing customers to competitors? If yes, learn how to keep your customers loyal to you by taking advantage of how big brands build customer loyalty.

1.       Avoid Disappointing Customers

If you’ve set a bar on the quality of your service, never let it drop. This is because your customers will come to expect nothing short of quality. Inconsistency in quality or performance will lead to disappointment and your customers would rather patronise a business they trust.

2.       Be Transparent

Always tell your customers the truth. Customers are never more disappointed than when they find out from elsewhere that a brand they trust has made a mistake and tried to cover it up at the expense of its customers or other stakeholders.

3.       Be Responsible and Noble

The nobler your brand is, the more loyal your customers. This is because people want to be associated with a brand that stands for something “good”. So take advantage of the Noble Edge Effect, by running a more socially responsible business and engaging in philanthropy.

4.       Build Your Brand on Customer Service

Customers love a brand that not only listens but also acts on what they have to say. If a single customer says there’s something wrong with your product or service, don’t brush it aside. Communicate with the customer and remedy the issue. You can even capitalise on this by sharing with other customers how you improved the brand experience of the complainant. It shows that you care.

5.       Provide Value

Offer your customers products and service quality they can’t get elsewhere. This is a key aspect of building loyalty in the long term. If you offer a level of service to your customers that can’t be matched by your competitors, you can be sure to enjoy their custom over the course of a good many years, as you build a valuable level of loyalty.

6.       Incentives

You might have loyal customers but make them excited about patronising you by offering incentives such as discounts and promotional offers. The more incentives you have and the more frequently you offer them, the more buzz you will generate about your brand among your actual and potential customers.

7.       Personalise Your Marketing

Customers appreciate it when they are given the personal touch treatment when communicating with a brand they patronise. If you want your marketing campaigns to be successful, you have to personalise your marketing communication to each target customer. Addressing a recipient by name yields more results than a general address such as “Dear Recipient” or “Dear Shopper”. You can get the data you need to personalise communications through data that your customers have already shared with you and use it to create customised offers.

8.       Anticipate

The needs and wants of your customers will always evolve. To keep your loyal customers, it is important that you can expect what your customers require of you and offer it. This will make you a proactive brand that is in tune with its customers rather than a reactive one that acts too late.

Apply the above tips and you can expect the loyalty of your customers to grow.

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