We have a new home!

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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Customer Service Bootcamp BIZ BUZZ!

You are invited to the last BIZ BUZZ of 2013!

All delegates will receive a Customer Service Bootcamp Manual and open Business Networking Platform. The Bootcamp is free of charge – fabulous coffee, muffins, scones and cupcakes will be available to purchase from The Cake Corner and Coffee Shop, thanks Sheree!

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Marketing and Business Tips will be shared by GET STEVE and EASTERN CAPE SMALL BUSINESS NETWORK.

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Bring your business cards, best smiles and warmest handshakes and let’s get PE Buzzing about your business! RSVP is essential as each guest will receive a Bootcamp Manual showcasing Customer Service Tips from 2013 and Trends for 2014. Included is an SEO start pack, geared to kick start your Marketing Campaign! Manuals need to be printed so our RSVP approach is a simple one, NO RSVP, NO MANUAL 🙂

Date : 21st November 2013

Venue : The Cake Corner and Coffee Shop – 52a Bitro House, 4th Avenue, Newton Park, Port Elizabeth

Time : 9am – 11:30am

RSVP by 19th November 2013 via the following :

Email

Facebook Event 

Looking forward to seeing you then!

Sam 

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.”

Rest on your laurels and lose your edge!

 

Rest on your laurels and you’ll lose your edge.

 

Are you the top of the food chain in your industry? Perhaps you own a monopoly or are a forerunner? The best of the best; a giant amongst your rivals?

Are you a Blackberry?  A Sega?   Perhaps you have as much market share to lose as Kodak did to Fuji. Where are the giants of industry from the past? Is there a hall-of-fame for the “ones that were”?No.

Complacency is one of the direst threats to a business, and it is just as relevant a threat to multi million corporations as it is to small business owners. Once you believe yourself untouchable, you are vulnerable to your competitors; and in a market built on competition, your days therefore are numbered.  Your best innovation is only another stepping stone to the next-best-thing, and if you’ve thought of something new, the chances are that someone can think of a better, faster, cheaper way of doing it. Well, that’s the doom and gloom of it all.

On the bright side, if you are the new entrepreneur with grandiose ideas, the gap between you and the top isn’t as wide as some would have you believe. And if you already have your slice of the pie,  your continued success relies on your ability to mitigate complacency in your business.

The 5 major warning bells of complacency are:1

1.  Resistance to change.

2.  Being unfamiliar with the competition.

3.  Extended period since your last internal product, service and procedure review.

4.  Lack or decrease in new business/clientele.

5.  Loss of market share.

So what can you do? That’s easy. Here are the top tips to battle complacency:

1. Always be learning. Know that there’s always something new to learn and be humble enough to admit your weaknesses.

2.  Always adapt. The digital age has heralded unprecedented innovation so be sure to remain ahead of the marketing game and abreast of new developments. Online shopping can contstrue an extinction event to proprietors relying solely on the walk-in customer in certain industries, and are your competitors exploiting social media to gain an edge over you?

3. Think ahead of your competition. If you’re reactive to their innovations, the opportunity cost in getting up to speed with their products or services might mean your demise. Be proactive.

4. Time spent thinking is not always time wasted. Spending too much time pushing out product in a frenzy can muddy the waters of what’s going on around you. Take a step back every now and then, look ahead and decide if you’re going in the right direction.

5.  The bottom line is not the only thing that matters.  If you’re just a report-reader chances are you’re missing out on ways to better your business. Know your people, processes,  and product as far as is possible, especially if you’re a small to medium enterprise.

6. Don’t procrastinate. Nobody got ahead by simply thinking about it. Plan and implement. Exercise caution where caution is due, but if you find yourself procrastinating, stamp it out. Life’s scary, deal with it.

7. Judge ideas on their merit and not their source. A good idea can come from anywhere, and even the most experienced business men and women may give poor advice.

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

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.”