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We are the proud owners of a very new home!

Visit us at http://www.horizonbrands.co.za and we will continue to dazzle you with our wisdom, expertise and marketing tips.

~ Sam

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HOW CAN COFFEE HELP YOUR BUSINESS DELIVER TOP NOTCH CUSTOMER SERVICE?

Every morning without fail I make a cup of coffee as soon as I get out of bed. It’s my morning fix and even though I have tried to replace it with Rooibos Tea and Lemon Water, coffee helps to get my day started in the exact way I need it to.

How can the simple routine of a morning cup of coffee help your business deliver effective customer service? I call it the S.M.I.L.E Train and will be sharing a few tips on how to implement it in your business. Regardless of the industry your business is in, a checklist needs to be completed every morning to help get the day started. Trust me, it works, so encourage your Management and Staff to get involved!

– INSPECTION POINTS ( These may vary depending on the layout of your office/store/ working environment)
Entrance – Is it clean, clear of obstructions and inviting?
Windows – Are they clean and open?
Aircon / Heater – Are they set at an appropriate temperature?
Aisles – Are they clean, clear of obstructions and neatly packed?
Till Points – Are they tidy, card machines in place, promotional advertizing displayed neatly?
Desks – Are they clean, diary refelcting the correct date, stationery easily accessible, notepad open and ready for messages?
Telephones – Check that they are working BEFORE you receive a complaint that they are not.

– STAFF
Personal Grooming.
Correct uniform.
SMILES!

– MANAGEMENT
Check for any stock shortages or predicted price changes and inform staff accordingly.
Ensure all routes for deliveries or cold calls are planned correctly so as to avoid poor time management or fuel wastage.

– SOCIAL NETWORKING
Respond to all queries that may have come through during the night.
Schedule tweets, statuses and blog posts for the day in advance just incase you forget to post during the work day.

Most importantly, make sure the coffee machine or kettle is working!

To receive more information on S.M.I.L.E Training please contact us via our Contact Page or email us via portelizabethhorizon

GET MORE FACEBOOK LIKES!

The question Marketing Managers across South Africa ask frequently is, How do I increase our Facebook Likes? I have come across this blog post from http://www.socialable.co.uk/want-to-be-facebook-liked/ and just had to share!

“Ok so you want to be liked. Who doesn’t? But I’m not talking about any ‘like’. I’m talking about Facebook ‘like’. Well if it’s the latter that you are after then you have come to the right place.

But before I give away my secrets of how to be ‘liked’ on this powerful social media platform lets remind ourselves why you want to be ‘liked’.The power of the ‘like’ lies in its viral nature. When an existing fan ‘likes’ your content their non-fan friends will see it and can comment on it and like it as well. As they can see their friend is a fan, they are more likely to trust the source as worthy/credible and something they wish to be part of. Your current fans may also click the ‘Share’ button underneath the post and post it to their wall giving you instant exposure.

So how do you increase your ‘likes’ on Facebook?

Well probably the most important thing to remember is that you need to live up to the likeable status. You also need to make visitors feel like your page is a community worth being part of. How do you do this?Let’s have a look at how you can how you can improve your likeability and your chances of being ‘liked’ on Facebook.

* First impressions count. If your page is messy you will scare visitors away before they even have had a chance to browse through. So it’s important to develop a well-organised page with good layout and attractive design. Also bad spelling or grammar will send out a very unprofessional image.

* Create a community page that is attention-grabbing and engaging. Consider providing original content that is interesting or adds value. Also consider using controversial or humorous content. Even if you’re an expert in your field, use a variety of sources to make your content more varied and wide-ranging.

* Present your material in a variety of formats e.g. links to YouTube videos, photos (including those uploaded and tagged by your fans), etc. Most importantly, provide quality content that is highly-targeted to your niche.

* Create catchy titles. Ensure they are engaging and relevant to your market. Whilst you should try to make them keyword rich, don’t be overly constrained by this – it’s the title content that matters most. If you are stuck for inspirational title ideas, see what others in your niche have written.

* Regularly update your page with new content.Give users a common cause to gravitate towards. If it’s worthy or in alignment with their beliefs, this gives them a reason to like you.Have consistent active engagement with your visitors/ fans.

* If people ask questions, provide answers – Don’t follow Autotraders strategy by not responding to your many comments. Also, leaving interesting comments on other fans pages will make you more popular with them and widen your exposure to their fan base.

* Reward loyal supporters with customizable badges/tabs, special deals, freebies and fan-only contests. Include posts with special offers exclusive to your Facebook community.
* Make use of your existing social networks e.g. if you have a strong following on Twitter or Linkedin, use it to promote your Facebook page and vice versa.If you have a subscriber list, email your subscribers to inform them about your Fan page, and include a link to the fan page in every email.

* Encourage your loyal customers to be fans. This is fairly easy, as they already like your product/service.
* Promote to your friends – They are more likely to pay attention and less likely to be irritated by your promotions. Use the ‘suggest to friends button’ to suggest your fan page to all your friends. Ask your friends to help out in discussions and return the favour by doing the same for them. Mutual gain makes it an attractive offer for you both.Remind your fans to like and share with their own friends. Place a shout-out or reminder to ‘like’ your status updates and tell fans to click on the share button next to your message to alert friends about the update.

* Attract the attention of others by tagging an author or a popular Facebook page. But don’t just tag randomly. Ensure you have good reason to tag them.Use Facebook search to locate other pages in your niche. Seek public discussions related to your business. Add value to popular pages and build relationships with admin/members. Ask the admin of other pages to post your link.

* Network with other page admins to establish a special event. Work closely alongside one another to ensure it meets everyone’s business objectives.Search for groups in your niche, join these groups, and promote your page to them. Make sure the interests of the groups that you join align with that of your own page.

* Integrate Facebook social plugins to your website to encourage connections.Create a Facebook like sign to help promote your Facebook page.
* Consider buying Facebook advertising. This can be a great way to generate more likes. It helps if you have a likeable brand or good value proposition. There is a fee, but it’s relatively cheap. If you use this method remember to ensure your ads are attractive, attention grabbing and relevant to your target audience.There are a lot of techniques here.

If you are new to Facebook don’t try and implement them all at once. Only do as many as you can successfully handle. As you develop your skills branch out into other methods.”

FOUR CHRISTMAS MARKETING MISTAKES TO AVOID

Yup! It is that time of the year again, Christmas time! Those annoying Christmas commercials are playing on your way to work and the temperature has dropped dramatically. Everyone seems to be a little more cheerful and considerate that the holidays are close. Christmas is after all the time to reconnect with all your clients, customers and prospects, but as any person would know, the holidays can also be disastrous.

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Instead of paying a web marketing services company to tell you what not to do for your next campaign, actually pay attention to what others are doing! Below you will find four Christmas marketing mistakes your business should avoid so you can be far from a Christmas marketing disaster!

1. Running The Same Campaign Each Christmas: Having a picture of your employees and you at your last year Christmas party all wearing the same ugly sweater was pretty funny the first year considering everyone had way too much to drink. In fact, it had the same impact with laughter the second, but after that you should really consider something newer and more original each year. Christmas campaigns are perfect for your business to have a chance at grabbing all the people’s attention that put the idea of your product or service on the back burner. But, why? It is because these campaigns will remind them that you are a wicked company doing different things that deserve their attention. So do you not think it would be a good idea to get creative with Christmas campaigns each year and not be so afraid of thinking outside the box? When you kick off a campaign that has many components it is a perfect way to keep your content new and fresh.

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2. Forgetting To Reach Out To Your Network: Are you not sick and tired of trying to come up with a lame excuse to give a lead a call that you have not spoken to within a few months? Or even you just want to reconnect with all of your customers? Perhaps you want to increase your employees engagement and get the whole gang into a holiday spirit. Regardless, it does not matter who you want to connect with; Christmas campaigns are a perfect way of doing it! It will remind people that your company is out there and will give them a sneak peek into a wicked campaign that is if it is actually interesting! So do not miss out on this valuable marketing opportunity your company can have this Christmas!

3. Forgetting Not Everyone Celebrates Christmas : When the countdown begins it may almost feel like everyone is celebrating Christmas and Christmas only, but you as a business, you need to know that you will also be marketing to various people with different religious beliefs and backgrounds. Remember even though the majority of people celebrate Christmas, there are other holidays being celebrated too such as Chanukkah and Kwanzaa so be sure to be sensitive about other holidays when working on your Christmas marketing campaign.

4. Neglecting To Make Your Campaign Strategic : It truly is easy to create a Christmas marketing campaign. However, developing a strategic marketing campaign to reach your target market, engage with them, and achieve your goals is a lot more difficult. Planning three months in advance, yes in the summer time, is the best way to kick off an amazing, results-driven Christmas campaign. But, first you need to figure out what your objectives are, how you are going to measure your success and who you want to reach out to. Then you will need to develop deadlines to make sure you campaign achieves everything you wanted it to.

Now that you have just read what to avoid when developing your Christmas marketing campaign, what are some campaigns you have seen in the past which you think are the best?

Source – See more at: http://www.bentourage.com/business/four-christmas-marketing-mistakes-to-avoid/#sthash.5wpyDq8g.dpuf

FUN FRIDAY!

It’s FUN FRIDAY! We are looking for customer-service stories & marketing blunders to share on our website.

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Funniest / strangest / most popular story receives a free BizBuzz Networking Breakfast Ticket and a Business Feature on our website (Home Page).

Share your experiences via https://horizonbrands.wordpress.com/contact-us/ – Winner will be chosen Monday afternoon 🙂

HOW TWITTER IS CHANGING CUSTOMER SERVICE AGAIN 2013

Many thanks to  Quentin Fottrell for writing this informative article found via http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-twitter-is-changing-customer-service-again-2013-10-16?link=MW_latest_news

Twitter provides consumers a way to publicly air customer service grievances, forcing companies to consider not only the complaint but how it will play among the millions of users listening in. But the social media site is now helping companies make some of those conversations with angry customers once again as private as a call to an 800 number.

For most Twitter users, it’s only possible to send a private “direct message” to a Twitter account that follows them, but the site has slowly been rolling out a way to allow anyone to send a direct message.


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U.K.-based marketing consultant Jim Connolly was one of the latest Twitter users to be offered the service. Under his account settings, he was given the option to click a “Receive direct messages from any follower” box. If it becomes standard, consumers will be able to contact customer service departments, politicians, public advocates and even journalists privately to discuss issues of a sensitive nature — in 140 characters or less. On the upside, “it makes it harder for customer service staff to say, ‘We didn’t see your tweet,’” Connolly says. (A spokesman for Twitter declined to comment.)

It may distinguish real complaints from trolls, Connolly says, and encourage more companies to set up dedicated customer service handles — especially as Twitter prepares to go public. Only 10% of brands respond to public complaints within an hour, a recent survey by data analysis firm Simply Measured found, and the average response time was 5.1 hours. Although 90% of major brands tweet, only 30% have a customer service handle. Connolly liked the option so much, he clicked it himself. “I’ve had about 500 direct messages and only one funny weirdo,” he says.

Also see: Martha Stewart and how not to complain on Twitter

Allowing more direct messages from consumers also gives companies an incentive to deal with a problem promptly — before a disgruntled customer goes public. “Companies really don’t want to get yelled at in public,” says Scott Kurnit, co-founder of TheSwizzle.com, a service that works to remove email spam. “It will be interesting to see how much of the negative traffic goes private or whether people will still enjoy ratting out bad service and products in public.” That said, even private conversations can become public with one screen-grab of the conversation posted as a tweet.

Airing some dirty laundry in public, however, could alert other consumers who are having the same problem, says Kristina Durante, an assistant professor of marketing at theUniversity of Texas at San Antonio. Going public with problems related to your wireless carrier or delivery service, she says, can help drum up support among other users who are having the same problem. Connolly recently used Twitter to deal with a problem with his cellphone service — and had no option but to make his complaint public: “That means that the 7,800 people who follow me probably saw my tweet.”

5 GENIUS EXAMPLES OF QR CODES IN MARKETING

Many thanks to http://blog.kissmetrics.com/genius-qr-codes/ for this post, just had to share it with you!

QR (Quick Response) codes are starting to pick up steam among the growing smartphone-browsing crowd – a statistic that has marketers brimming with creative ideas and promotions.  Still, no one wants to open their device to a glut of text messages and alerts from codes they’ve scanned.

Fortunately, these companies have found innovative and unique ways to not only get you to scan their code, but boost their brand awareness in the process.  Here are a few of the most memorable ones – and a few examples to get your mind stirring.

Who’s Using QR Codes?

Nearly half of all smartphone users have used their phones while shopping in brick-and-mortar stores – 40% of them to compare the competition’s prices.  Statistics for who’s scanning QR codes and with what device appear to be mixed, although most data places iPhone users at the top, with the user age range being 25-34.  Japan and the U.S. are currently leaps and bounds ahead of other countries in QR code scans (around 60% approximately) – with Canada and the U.K. trailing dozens of percentage points behind.

Still, QR code creation jumped a whopping 1,253% in 2011, with two million of them created in less than three months. By far, most were used to lead users to a web address, but they can also store vCard details, Google Maps info and even Youtube video links.

1. Creative Ads for Apps

Even though QR codes in marketing are just starting to gain traction, there are still companies and individuals making their message loud and clear to early adopters.  Here are two eye-catching ads, for Instragram and Angry Birds, both created by U.K. Ad Agency “Made by Stupid”. Both QR codes take you directly to download the app, and are a great showcase for both ad creativity and self-explanatory promotion of the apps themselves:

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Instagram and Angry Birds QR codes highlight their respective apps while taking users directly to the download page

2. Greeting Cards and Mixtapes

Here’s a creative and interesting thought – what if you combined greeting cards with playlists? It’s the new generation of mixtape and the QR images, as they’re called, were developed by the same U.K. agency that did the aforementioned unofficial ads for Instagram and Angry Birds. If the user has the premium Spotify app on their phone, they can scan the barcode and instantly start the playlist. Music in the playlists spans nearly every interest and occasion including music for geeks, music for cooks, and everyone’s mixtape favorite – love songs.

 

3. Breathe New Life into Boring Places

When was the last time you went to a museum? If you responded “on a grade school field trip” or “only old folks go to museums”, you’re in for a treat. Sukiennice Museum in Poland has added a whole new dimension to their paintings to turn each one into a series of stories about insanity, intrigue, deception, war and much more. Sukiennice Museum brought reenactors to tell the “Secrets Behind the Paintings”. Visitors scan the QR code for a particular painting, and get the inside scoop direct from the “painter” themselves.

 

4. Get Festive with Personalized Gift Messages and Wrapping Paper

Although the holidays are behind us, you can’t help but admire the clever ways in which marketers have attracted holiday shoppers using QR codes.  This past year, JC Penney released “Santa Tags” which would let the gift giver record a personalized message that would be played when the recipient scanned the QR code:

 

If that isn’t enough, you can always wrap your gifts in QRAPPING PAPER – wrapping paper printed with your custom QR code.

5. QR Codes Share Your Life in a Single Graphic

Funeral QR Codes

While we’ve yet to see any QR codes on tombstones, they can be used to check in at the funeral (much like Foursquare) and notify the family who was in attendance.  Currently, most of the older generation doesn’t exactly know what they are, but once they’re told about how the QR codes (or Remembrance Codes as they’re called in the industry) work, they’re amazed.  Who else thinks that in the future, names and dates will be eclipsed by QR codes that share a story about a loved-one’s life?

How to Get Your Own QR Code

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An example of a stylized QR code by Custom QR Codes

The fastest way to get a QR code (for free) is over at QR Stuff.  For a price, you can also get scan analytics. If you’re looking for something a bit more stylish,Custom QR Codes designs the codes in much the same way as a logo.  In fact, up to 30% of a code can be distorted or purposefully left out and it will still be readable by most scanning devices.

Potential Pitfalls of QR Codes

Before you jump on this new trend, be aware that there are some potential issues with QR codes.  For example, spammers are now using QR codes as a way to flood smartphones with their gunk (you knew this was coming, right?) Savvy hackers and scammers can use them to disguise malware downloads and force your phone to send premium text messages non-stop at $1 each.  Because some QR code scanners will let you use shortened URLs, there’s currently no telling where those URLs could point to.

That’s why, like with your computer, it’s important to know how your QR scanner works, what’s being downloaded, and whether or not you trust the source.

Action Steps for Working with QR Codes

So how can you take advantage of this growing trend for your business?  Keep in mind that much more than web addresses can be scanned. For example, you could:

  • Direct employers to your resume, your LinkedIn profile or your Vcard
  • Use a QR code in a direct mail piece, business card or postcard to provide a discount
  • Give customers an inside look at your new Facebook promotion
  • Take them to a page with more detailed information that wouldn’t easily fit in a print ad
  • Use them to deliver step-by-step instructional videos or a printable setup sheet
  • Have the QR code send a tweet when scanned, or check in with Foursquare
  • Let them enroll in an event such as a webinar or teleseminar
  • Use the QR code to let customers send themselves a reminder via SMS
  • Link them to a special “Exclusive” YouTube video

What are some of the most creative uses of QR codes you’ve found?  Have you used a QR code yourself in a promotion? What sort of results did you get?  Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversions with website reviews and SEO copywriting.  Download a free conversion checklist and web copy tune-up at iElectrify.com or get more from@sherice on Twitter or Google+.