30.9.11

The little white marketing lie you're probably telling yourself

This week I had the opportunity to record a teleseminar which will soon be available to you courtesy of The Hair Artist Association. In the seminar, I spoke about 5 little white marketing lies that beauty industry pros and business owners tell themselves all the time -- little white lies that, far from being harmless, inhibit your ability to grow and succeed. Here's a small taste of the first little white lie, stay tuned for the seminar link!

Little white lies are falsities we tell people (and sometimes tell ourselves) that we believe to be benign, harmless. But there are little white marketing lies we tell all the time that may be hurting our businesses.

Little White Marketing Lie #1:
“We provide extraordinary (exceptional, excellent, etc.) customer service.”


It’s a lie when you say it, it’s a lie when your competitor says it. Why? Because of exactly that: everyone says it. When I ask a business owner about the customer experience, it’s usually the first thing that they say. Obviously, it can’t be true of every business, and if it is true of most businesses, then it’s still not true. Because by definition, in order to be extraordinary requires something to be unusual, remarkable or surprising and outside of the established order. By definition, if everyone is “exceptional,” then no one is.

The real question is, what about your customer service is surprising or remarkable – so extraordinary – if you will – that clients walk out the door and are compelled to tell other people about it? If you can’t pinpoint how the customer service your business provides to clients, day in and day out, is truly outside of what they expect, then it’s probably not exceptional.

I would argue that most of what occurs in the vast majority of businesses merely falls within customer expectations. They expect to be treated like guests. They expect to receive a great service or buy a product that does what was promised. They expect for you and your employees to be cheerful and helpful. They expect you to be knowledgeable about your work, your products, new techniques and trends.

So even if you do all these things, you’re doing no more than meeting your client’s basic expectations. There is nothing exceptional about simply meeting expectations.

What’s more, even when it comes to meeting customer expectations, many business owners are lying to themselves. Take the results of a 2011 Customer Satisfaction Barometer, conducted by American Express:
According to the study, 70% of Americans said they would be willing to spend almost 15% more with businesses they believed (really) provided excellent customer service.

With such an indicator, you would think that businesses would make customer service a top priority; but in the same survey, 60% of respondents said they don’t believe businesses are making customer service a high priority.

In fact, 26% said they think businesses are actually paying less attention to service. Only 29% of US consumers said that recent shopping experiences exceeded their expectations.

Only 24% of US consumers believe that you value their business and will go the extra mile to keep it.

48% of those who said they would not pay more for good service said it’s because they expect good service, every time. (And why shouldn’t they?)

Why is there a disconnect between what business owners believe to be true about their businesses and what their customers are saying? It seems to be in interpretation. Most business owners who claim to be providing extra-ordinary customer service are really just meeting client’s basic expectations. They believe they provide an extraordinary experience, but only about one fourth of their customers agree. Guess what? That’s why customers aren’t telling their friends and family about your business, and that is why your books are not full and your retail shelves are.

Customer service is not contained in the actions of a person taking or fulfilling an order, receiving a return or complaint, performing a service or selling a product. Customer service isn’t an action, it’s a process—an intentionally designed system—meant to enhance the customer’s experience and which influences whether a customer feels satisfied or dissatisfied by a product or service.

It’s not just about making the customer experience “better.” It’s about making it greater in value, bigger and/or more sophisticated – more than that of the competition and more than the customer expects – so that it stands out to the customer as inherently and uniquely extra-ordinary. To do that, you have to truly understand your customers—you have to go beyond guessing what they might want and find out what they really do want. And you must train, educate and empower employees to respond to requests, complaints, unique situations and individual customer’s needs and desires. And most importantly, you have to build the unexpected into client experiences. Your customer's experience must in some way be outside of the normal, expected order of things.

If you're stuck here, scratching your head about how to do this, maybe it's a good thing. If it were easy and obvious, everyone would be doing it – and then you'd really be behind! But the fact is, few businesses are serving their customers in an exceptional way, so the field is wide open for you. Do market research. Survey and solicit feedback from your customers. Form a focus group. Do secret shopping. Brainstorm with your employees. Analyze each customer touch point from a purely customer-centric point of view.

If you wonder why people don’t always agree with the claim you make that your business provides “exceptional customer service” or why the customer experience at your business is not helping you gain and retain clients, it’s because what you have in place is not actually enough to influence the customer to feel exceptionally satisfied!


[ Subscribe ] to my e-mail newsletter to receive notification of when the 2012 Marketing Calendar becomes available, to catch next Monday's newsletter or to make sure you don't miss this series on little white marketing lies. It's going to be a great year!



Elizabeth Kraus is the author of the newly released 365 Days of Marketing and
Make Over Your Marketing: 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa, available on amazon.com or 12monthsofmarketing.com.

Friday's 5 - Salon and Spa Marketing Shorts and Sweets

Last night I went to a Keith Urban concert in Seattle with my mom. To say that she's one of Keith's biggest fans is to understate. I don't even like most country music but now after my 3rd Keith Urban concert in 4 years it's clear that he has some amazing gifts — not the least of which is his ability to sing to a crowd of thousands but still make you feel he's singing just to you. Not the least of which is his ability to write songs that make you feel GOOD every time you hear them. Not the least of which is his humility and the humble gratitude he shows toward his fans.

If you've not been to a Keith Urban concert, from a marketing point of view alone, you should go. He puts it all out on the stage, every time. He gives the audience every penny's worth of music and singing and dancing they could ask for, and then some. His fans A.D.O.R.E. him. People of all ages, engaged in the city's biggest sing-along with one of the most talented musicians around. Ah, Keith, now I understand why my mom loves you so!

Here are the short and sweet marketing tidbits I've picked out for this Friday's 5 -- now, back to the music!

[READ] 7 Ways to get more value from your values
If they are to help you build and grow your business, your values need to be reflected in everything you do, as the leader of your company.

[READ] 8 Nuggets of advice for business success
Normally I view people’s unique experiences and advice as – well – unique, but these are some good ones to remember as you launch into or continue to grow in your professional leadership role.

[READ] Crazy people think differently
Neither Steve Jobs nor Apple nor any other high-profile innovator or company has a corner on the think-different market. In fact, a study of over 5,000 entrepreneurs and executives shows the opposite: almost anyone who consistently makes the effort to think different can think different.

[READ] Beauty business bright spots in a down economy
Consumers’ discretionary spending may have suffered a big blow during the Great Recession, but that doesn’t mean every indulgence went out the window. Two companies in the beauty industry are proving that, by targeting a niche customer base, maintaining attractive price points and sticking to what they know best, a downturn can be an opportunity for growth.

[READ] Are consumers buying American again?
In a recent poll, 97 percent of people have a favorable view of goods made in America. Approval (for American products) has skyrocketed, and part of the reason is safety. American brands stand for higher product quality, and now the average person understands that if a product is made here, it supports the economy.

Beauty BONUS [READ] Read this article for a great technique for creating a marbled finish on nails.


The 2012 Salon and Spa Marketing Calendar is done and will be released within the next two weeks. It will be available on my website at www.12monthsofmarketing.net and amazon.com.


If you're not a beauty industry pro -- take heart! A 2012 Little White Lies of Marketing Calendar (for any type of business) will be released in October as well.

[ Subscribe ] to my e-mail newsletter to receive notification of either 2012 marketing calendar release or to catch next Monday's newsletter. It's going to be a great year!


Elizabeth Kraus – 12monthsofmarketing.com
365 Days of Marketing is available on amazon.com in book and digital formats.

28.9.11

Coming Soon: The 2012 Salon and Spa Marketing Calendar

I'm asked for copies of the 2011 salon and spa marketing calendar all the time, but 2011 is almost over! The 2012 Salon and Spa Marketing Calendar is done and will be released within the next two weeks. It will be available on my website at www.12monthsofmarketing.net and amazon.com.


If you're not a salon or spa pro -- take heart! A 2012 Little White Lies of Marketing Calendar (which will be helpful for any type of business) will be released in October as well.

[ Subscribe ] to my e-mail newsletter to receive notification of either 2012 marketing calendar release -- it's going to be a great year!


Elizabeth Kraus is the author of the newly released 365 Days of Marketing and
Make Over Your Marketing: 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa, available on amazon.com or 12monthsofmarketing.com.

23.9.11

The Best Tools In Your Electronic Marketing Toolbox

Long gone are the days when your marketing could be confined to the occasional postcard, flyer and yellow pages listing.

It's never been easier to get your marketing messages out into the public sphere; but for the same reason, it's never been more difficult to get your messages noticed.

You can't afford to believe that you don't need an electronic marketing toolbox stuffed to the gills with hard-working tools in prime condition; tools that you'll take out and put to work nearly every day.

Here are the basics plus an overview of the 4 most popular forms of social media marketing, so that you'll know where to start:

  • A website. You need your own domain name and your own website. Contrary to popular myth, neither a blog site nor a Facebook page are substitutes for having your own domain name and your own website. You need to own your own electronic space, even if it's no more than a few simple but well-designed and engaging pages.
  • E-mail marketing. Again, social media is not a substitute, it's an alternative. E-mail marketing is powerful; it gives your business a voice and the means to send your customers valuable information as well as compelling offers.

Confused by all the options when it comes to social media?

Take heart: in 2011, Social Media Examiner (www.socialmediaexaminer.com) published a social media marketing industry report which demonstrates the usefulness of social media for business. Findings showed that these are the 4 most popular, effective social media sites for business:

  1. Facebook. Check out these stats from hubspot.com: 1 out of every 8 minutes spent online, is spent on Facebook, and 93% of US internet users are there. Especially for B2C (businesses that sell directly to consumers), your marketing plan must include a Facebook presence and strategy.

    A "hard sales" voice is likely to turn off your audience, big time. As you use social media tools, remember the key word: social. It's a privilege to engage with people on social media; they are, in essence, inviting you into personal areas of their lives. It's as though they've invited you into their living rooms or you've met at a party at a friend's house. They want to get to know you, but they aren't there for a sales pitch.

    Use Facebook to engage people who like you, share expert information, make announcements, solicit feedback and use the personality of your business to attract prospects. Use giveaways and contests to spark engagement, increase your following and viral "shares," improve business during slow hours and stimulate event RSVPs.

    My recommendation is that you update your business Facebook page at least once a day (twice would be better, more if you want) with things like links to your blog posts, your e-mail newsletter, useful information or changes on your website, links to online resources relative to the products or services you sell (such as manufacturer links and news), community resources and events, fun facts, trivia and other entertaining items.

  2. Twitter updates are like social media posts with A.D.D. With just 140 characters per post, it's likely that most of your updates will consist of a short headline and a link to a post on your Blog, useful information on your website or to other articles and online resources that would interest your customers.

    Twitter won't take up a lot of time and helps to share your website, blog,
    e-mail marketing and social media posts farther and wider. And you can use contests and giveaways to help motivate people to 'retweet' your posts and to build a following.

  3. LinkedIn is the tool of choice when it comes to networking with peers and professionals. It doesn't have to take up a lot of time and you can (and should) cross post from your website, e-mail newsletters and blog.

    Focus on building your reputation as an expert in your field, and on linking to others in your industry (customers, suppliers, educators and experts). In updates, link to your blog posts, useful information on your website, invite people to follow your Blog, Twitter or subscribe to e-mails, or post links to other interesting articles.

    Having an active presence on LinkedIn is especially important for those in B2B (business to business) sales because of its effectiveness in targeting your news feed to and from business owners and other professionals in your own industry. You build a network by requesting and responding to friend requests, and LinkedIn helps you out by suggesting other people you might want to connect with based on your own connections.

  4. Blogging is a great way to build your reputation as an expert and to educate your customers and prospects about your business and the products or services you provide.

    Focus on building awareness and enhancing your expert reputation. Write about things that would be of interest to your customers and prospects who fall in your ideal target market(s). Write blog posts to give people the skinny on new products, services, trends, fads, how-to and step-by-steps, and do it all in your own voice.

    After you add a post to your blog, put a teaser line and link to it on your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter status updates. Try to add interesting information to your blog at least once a week, twice is better, and a few paragraphs is plenty!

Any time you add social media tools to your toolbox, add links to your social media profiles on your website and include them in your e-mail newsletter. Make it as easy as possible for those who are interested in you and your business to learn more about you, follow your business and engage with you online. Build a bigger role for your business in the lives of your clients!



Subscribe to have next Monday's newsletter delivered right to your email inbox. It's free, you can opt out any time, and I probably won't bother you more than once each week!

Elizabeth Kraus is the author of the newly released 365 Days of Marketing and
Make Over Your Marketing: 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa, available on amazon.com or 12monthsofmarketing.com.

Friday's 5 - Salon and Spa Marketing Shorts and Sweets

Say it isn't so! If I was whining last week, I'm whimpering this week about needing more day in my days and more days in my week. We'll see if I can't sprint through today to catch up, in the meantime I have 5 great links to share with you to put a bright little happy face right at the end of your week!


[READ] 1 of every 8 minutes spent online, is spent on Facebook
Facebook dominated headlines this week, so you can't expect me to do any different. With stats from HubSpot like these, every business should be figuring out how to leverage the Facebook crowd.


[READ] Not Google+ : The world's first anti-social network
I don't watch a lot of videos online, but this one is worth it — especially if you're hankering for a Facebook-free weekend. Just think: what could you do if you joined not?


[READ] Top 5 hairy fairy tTales (even kids appreciate great hair!)
Ok, so one of these 'fairy tales' is actually a Bible story, but I'm glad they didn't leave out the men!


[READ] Most patriotic cities in the USA
Rankings achieved through such factors as volunteer rates, spending on vets, voter turnout, flag sales and (of all things) fireworks spending, Portland, Salt Lake and Kansas City round out the top 3. Find out who else made the list and check out some of the country’s most iconic landmarks.


[READ] 10 things you need to do more of, right NOW!
Do these 10 things more and right now — or right after you read this post, whichever comes first — because tomorrow might be too late. (Thank you for this one, Peter Shankman!)


Subscribe to have Monday's newsletter delivered right to your email inbox. It's free, you can opt out any time, and I probably won't bother you more than once each week!


Elizabeth Kraus is the author of the newly released 365 Days of Marketing and
Make Over Your Marketing: 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa, available on amazon.com or 12monthsofmarketing.com.

19.9.11

This week's style, strategy and marketing savvy newsletter

In this week's style, strategy and marketing savvy newsletter, you'll find:

Original Content:
- Niche marketing ideas that should be music to your ears
- The one competition you can't afford to lose

Plus more success strategies:
- Show us your red lips (4 Facebook contests that worked)
- How consumers are interacting with brands on Facebook
- The four P's of a fully-alive business
- Five reasons why websites still matter
- I already know you're an expert
- Ten principles to live by in fiercely complex times

[Click here] to go to the newsletter and read the articles.

Find more ideas and inspiration, subscribe to e-mails, read my blogs, connect with me on Facebook or visit 12monthsofmarketing.com.

It's going to be a great year!
Elizabeth Kraus

16.9.11

Friday's 5 - Salon and Spa Marketing Shorts and Sweets

I'm in denial, and I will thank you to let me live in a space where it cannot possibly be Friday, because I did not get enough done this week. I once commented to a boss that I wished I had 36 hours in each day, so I could get more done. She pointed out that even if I had 36 hours every day, I'd only take on more so it would never be enough.

Point made! So to help you make the most of the hours you have today, here are 5 short and sweet marketing treats for one last bit of inspiration or a head start on the week to come.

[READ] Thanks for the Ideas, Google+! Facebook's New Subscribe Button and Friends Features
Facebook has launched a Subscribe button that lets you follow the public updates of others, regardless of whether you’re “friends.” What’s more, they’ll soon be rolling out new ways for you to manage your contact lists.


[READ] Top 10 Trends from Fashion Week
No matter what line of work you're in, getting a bead on current fashion isn't about vanity, it's about building your personal brand and reinforcing your role as an expert, advisor, mentor and influencer in the lives of your clients and staff. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you dress for success in the coming months.


[READ] "No" -- and 7 Other Things You Shouldn't Say to Customers
Great customer relationships: Hard to establish, easy to ruin — especially when you say the wrong things. Here are eight things you should never say to customers (even if you would secretly love to!)


[READ] 20 Ways to Promote Your Facebook Page
Unless you have a built-in audience like big-boy brands Coke or Red Bull, you’ll need to educate your fan base on how to find you on Facebook. Even if you only put a few of these ideas into action, you’ll start seeing growth and increased conversation on your fan page.


[READ] Facebook vs. LinkedIn Smackdown: You Make the Call
This social media “smackdown” infographic can help you decide where to invest for your B2B or B2C focus.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
(T.S. Eliot)

What risk will you take today?


Subscribe to have Monday's newsletter delivered right to your email inbox. It's free, you can opt out any time, and I probably won't bother you more than once each week!


Elizabeth Kraus is the author of the newly released 365 Days of Marketing and
Make Over Your Marketing: 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa, available on amazon.com or 12monthsofmarketing.com.

15.9.11

The One Competition You Can't Afford to Lose

Sometimes we fear the competition, sometimes we hate them and sometimes we may forget they are even there. But one thing is for sure: just as iron sharpens iron, competition forces us to do more, to do more with less, to do more and do it better than before, sometimes better than we’d even thought possible.

Whether you’re on the top, the bottom or somewhere in the middle, analyzing the competition must factor in to any successful business plan. In most cases, you don’t want to go head to head with competitors in their areas of strength, instead, you want to identify areas where you have a unique advantage, and work to increase the gap.

But there is one area where you can’t afford not to compete, and this one area can help set you apart more than just about any other.

The competition you can’t afford to lose and can’t afford not to engage in is the competition your business is in with itself. Every day and every customer interaction is a new opportunity for you to do better than before.

Lessen the gap between ‘where you are’ and where you ideally want your business to be by pursuing strategic education and training and by building a culture of excellence where staff members are encouraged not only to do their best, but to do even better than that.

Failure is not the enemy of success, complacency is. By continually challenging yourself and every member of your team to best themselves tomorrow, next week, next month and next year, you can create a climate of continual improvement, purposeful change and innovation.

In the coming week or at your next staff meeting, take an honest look at the current benchmarks in your business – where your business is right now. Then talk about what would be different in your business in terms of ideals in each of these areas. Set goals and challenge employees to strive for mastery in their areas of responsibility, excellence in how they deliver each client experience and in their own personal and professional growth and development.

It’s the one competition you can’t afford to lose, and the one that can bring you the most success. It’s going to be a great year!



Subscribe to have next Monday's newsletter delivered right to your email inbox. It's free, you can opt out any time, and I probably won't bother you more than once each week!

Elizabeth Kraus is the author of the newly released 365 Days of Marketing and
Make Over Your Marketing: 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa, available on amazon.com or 12monthsofmarketing.com.

13.9.11

This week's style, strategy and marketing savvy newsletter - September 12

View the newsletter online and get all the article links here:
www.12monthsofmarketing.net/sept12.html

In this issue, enjoy original content:
- 13 ways to strengthen your customer relationships
- How to build a better image
- Buds, blooms and becoming the person you're meant to be
- Niche marketing strategies to reach out to the music community

Plus more success strategies
- With all due respect, what are you waiting for?
- Turn your blog into a lead-generating machine
- The positive way to deliver negative feedback
- 11 radical slogans that will change your business
- Street smarts are the entrepreneur's best friend
- The science of scent branding

Plus, a free excerpt from Make Over Your Marketing by Elizabeth Kraus with marketing ideas for Classical Music Month and National Piano Month:
[Click Here to Read] 9 Ways to Use Music to Market Your Salon or Spa (or any business)

Subscribe to have next Monday's newsletter delivered right to your email inbox. It's free, you can opt out any time, and I probably won't bother you more than once each week!


Elizabeth Kraus is the author of the newly released 365 Days of Marketing and
Make Over Your Marketing: 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa, available on amazon.com or 12monthsofmarketing.com.

12.9.11

Niche marketing ideas for salon and spa that should be music to your ears!

(Excerpt) September is Classical Music Month and National Piano Month
from Make Over Your Marketing by Elizabeth Kraus


If you think about it, your community as a whole is made up of many hundreds (if not thousands) of mini-communities comprised of people connected by family, friends, common interests, hobbies, entertainment, sports and by so many other circumstantial means. Here are nine ways to reach out to musicians and music teachers in your community to help build your business:

  • Partner with local music studios and piano teachers for cross marketing. Create special offers just for music teachers or create special offers which teachers or music stores can pass on to their students and patrons.
  • Work together to hold a joint demonstration event for your customers and other members of your
    community who might be interested in learning to play the piano or another instrument.
  • Feature live music in-salon at a special event or during special times throughout the month.
  • Hold a contest or drawing, taking nominations for the best area music teachers, and reward one of more of these with a gift card and pampering product reward. After the contest, use e-mail or direct mail to extend a special offer to all nominees and to those who nominated them.
  • Tell music students in your community about the benefits of massage for themselves or what a great gift it would make for their music teachers.
  • Add pre-recital and pre-performance hair color, styling, manicure and/or makeup services to your menu.
  • Add post-performance de-stressing massages, manicures, pedicures or other services to your menu.
  • Set aside space on your website to help promote local school, amateur or professional concerts, recitals and musicals. Help promote ticket sales. Purchase tickets to local events to give away on Facebook or as prizes in in-salon drawings. Post display sheets or posters promoting local events.
  • Create a gift basket with gift card and pampering products and a favorite music album or a musical movie and promote it to clients as a gift for music teachers, dance instructors and other music professionals.

This is just one of the dozens of topical ideas contained in the September chapter (which focuses specifically on making over your communications) of Make Over Your Marketing: 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa, which is available on amazon.com in book and digital formats as are 365 Days of Marketing and the original 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa.


Find more ideas and inspiration, subscribe to e-mails, read my blogs, connect with me on Facebook or visit 12monthsofmarketing.com. It's going to be a great year!

Elizabeth Kraus

10.9.11

Beer Me! 13 Ways to Strengthen Customer Relationships

“Beer Day” is a US Naval term, so named because it’s the one day that crew members at sea are issued and allowed to consume beer (usually just one or two). Way back in 1794, the US congress set a daily ration for alcohol for sailors and in 1914 a general order was issued which ended all alcohol consumption. The only exception that is made occurs when a ship has been out to sea for at least 45 continuous days without a port call, at which time the Commanding Officer can call for a Beer Day. Once had, another 45 day interval must pass before another Beer Day can be authorized.

With that bit of history in mind, establish some of your own 45 day rules to renew your relationships with customers and employees. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • If you have not heard from a customer in 45 days: make contact, send a postcard, extend a special offer, e-mail or text them — let them know that you miss them.
  • Make some kind of contact with all of your clients at least once every 45 days. An e-mail newsletter, a postcard announcing new services or products, a letter introducing a new associate or to connect customers with other community resources or city events, an invitation to “like” your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter — send them something!
  • Don’t go more than 45 days without reviewing your marketing reports; find out whether your efforts are working and what the return on your investment is for direct mail, e-mail, social media and the other forms of marketing in which you are engaged.
  • Don’t go more than 45 days without changing your marketing offers, updating your website or changing window and in-store displays; as human beings, we tend to ignore and tune out what we feel we have seen and heard before, but are naturally drawn to what our minds perceive as "new."
  • Don’t go more than 45 days without touching base with prospective clients by personal note or e-mail. Send them a link to an article relative to their business or personal interests, tell them about an idea you had, tell them about any new features, products or services you can provide, or simply let them know you’re available if they have any questions.
  • Don’t go 45 days without visiting the blogs and/or social media pages of your clients. Share their links and ideas via social media, “like” their posts and status updates or post comments to blog articles.
  • Don’t go more than 45 days without having a one on one conversation with each of your employees, or at least with each of your direct reports. Conversely, don’t go more than 45 days without meeting one on one with your own immediate supervisor, investors, etc.
  • Don’t go more than 45 days without meeting with key members of your team to ensure a shared understanding of and passion for your business’ mission, vision, values and current goals.
  • Don’t go more than 45 days without learning something new about and/or getting feedback directly from customers (and/or employees) through the use of surveys or polls.
  • Don’t go more than 45 days without investing in you: read a book for personal or professional development, take a class or attend a seminar or webinar.
  • Don’t go more than 45 days without holding a brainstorming session with employees, distributor sales consultants or other stakeholders in order to make improvements to the customer experience, become more efficient or productive, or to innovate.
  • Don’t go more than 45 days without touching base with businesses with which you partner with for cross marketing or work with on events and promotions. Discuss ways to generate more referrals, refresh your joint marketing collateral or extend a special offer to their customers or employees.
  • Don't go more than 45 days without interacting with influential members of your community (such as city leaders and members of your chamber of commerce or civic organizations). Inquire about new community initiatives, urban planning or upcoming legislation that might impact your business.


Actually scheduling reminders and setting aside work time for tasks like these can help ensure these important marketing activities don’t fall off the map. I'd love to hear from you — what other 45 day rules can you think of to help strengthen your business and your relationships with customers and employees?



Elizabeth Kraus is the author of the newly released 365 Days of Marketing and
Make Over Your Marketing: 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa, available on amazon.com or 12monthsofmarketing.com.

9.9.11

Friday's 5 - Salon and Spa Marketing Shorts and Sweets

Ever notice that when a week starts with a Monday holiday, the rest of the week goes all to heck? I can almost hear the more organized among you tsk-tsking me and murmuring something about better time management and self-discipline... why is it that you sound like my mother?

Here are 5 short and sweet tidbits to end your week with or to help you get inspired to do one more marketing activity this week (or at least think about it!)


Ponder this:
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short;
but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. (Michaelangelo)


[READ] 5 Signs your logo needs a facelift
It’s a smart idea to take a periodic look at revamping your logo. But, it’s a careful process. If you’re feeling iffy about your logo, here are five signs it’s time for a facelift.


[READ] The shelf life of social media
New research from URL shortening service bitly focuses on how long a link is "alive” before people stop engaging with it and whether it matters what kind of content it is or where it was shared.


[READ] The single word that is stealing your future
I wish I had written this! No doubt about it, words have power, and this one has the power to steal your future.


[READ] 3 eyeliner tricks to try
Ok, this isn't marketing, but it's still good to know. Open-edged, thick and squared off or a double-sided cat eye; dialing up the drama with eyeliner is in this fall.



If you like this, subscribe to have Monday's regular newsletter delivered right to your email inbox. It's free, you can opt out any time, and I probably won't bother you more than once each week!

Elizabeth Kraus – 12monthsofmarketing.com
365 Days of Marketing is available on amazon.com in book and digital formats.

7.9.11

It's Build a Better Image Week!

In contrast to self-improvement, which often involves changes we desire to make for ourselves, building a better image is about making improvements in order to change the way we appear to others. In business terms, “branding” includes the activities and changes you make in order to change how your customers and prospects perceive your business.

Because your image, or brand, is really just that: perception. It’s not your logo, mission statement or décor—although all of those items are part of your brand identity. At its most practical and useful level, your brand image really consists of the perceptions that exist in the customer’s mind about who you are and the benefits your business provides that is established and either reinforced or undermined, each and every time they come in contact with you or with any facet of your business.

Building a better image is about putting the stamp of the personality, values, culture, beliefs—the very essence of what you really want your business to be—on every possible customer touch point. Why is this important? Without a strong brand image, you have to build a case for why you deserve someone's business, every single time you get ready to make a sale. Businesses with strong brands are closing deals while others are still introducing themselves.

Key to any brand improvement or overhaul you want to make to your business are authenticity and employee buy-in, from the top down. Why? Because, while you can refine any of the components of your brand identity (your logo, mission and vision statements, tag line, décor, customer guarantees and assurances, and even your product and service mix) to their ideal best, if the customer experience in your business doesn’t line up with the promises you are making, that image will be shattered. And once lost, it can be next to impossible to regain the customer’s trust.

You can’t control other people’s perceptions, but you can thoughtfully design all of those elements of your brand identity which are under your control in order to build the best possible image in the mind of your customers and prospects—and that’s what branding is all about. You can download a free branding checklist from my website at this link.

Build a bigger role for your business in the lives of your clients – it’s going to be a great year!




Elizabeth Kraus is the author of the newly released marketing guide 365 Days of Marketing and
Make Over Your Marketing: 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa, available on amazon.com or 12monthsofmarketing.com.

6.9.11

This week's style, strategy and marketing savvy newsletter - now online!

Get the article links online at www.12monthsofmarketing.net/sept6.html

In this issue:

Original content
- Why Old-Fashioned Customer Service is Still the Key to the Customer's Heart
- Build Business by Going Back to School
- Do you believe in magic?
- September is Courtesy Month (excerpt, 365 days of marketing)

More success strategies
- "Shop Small" resonates with local consumers
- 4 steps to a timeless business strategy
- The best employees are the most unusual
- Where your brand lives
- 5 keys to a solid brand identity
- 10 step double-dip survival guide for entrepreneurs

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”
Michael Jordan

Elizabeth Kraus – 12monthsofmarketing.com
365 Days of Marketing is available on amazon.com in book and digital formats.

4.9.11

September is Courtesy Month

Think about how many people in your organization have the ability to impact the customer experience; not just in direct provision of services or products, but who simply personally interact with customers, inside or outside of the walls of your business. People who interact personally with your customers and prospects for any reason: casual meetings, taking orders, completing sales, answering questions, fielding complaints or giving directions.

Sales, growth, customer relations, loyalty and retention — with so much riding on the outcome, can you afford to assume that everyone in your organization knows what constitutes courteous behavior? It's vital that all of your employees understand how they have the ability to impact the customer experience in even the most casual interactions. Set expectations relative to interpersonal interactions and behavior toward customers and co-workers.

You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.
(Michael Jordan)

Provide training as part of new employee orientation and employee development programs. During the hiring process, ask references whether candidates were courteous toward co-workers and customers. Demonstrate the importance of courtesy by bringing in guest speakers to enhance employee training and development.

Tie performance expectations and salary reviews to your standards of interpersonal behavior and hold employees accountable. Ask employees to agree to uphold the promises you make to customers. Show your commitment to courtesy by recognizing employees who demonstrate consistently high levels of customer service in this area.

Most importantly, demonstrate courtesy yourself in all of your interactions, from customers to vendors to employees.

Once you have the internals in place, tell your customers what they can expect in terms of courteous behavior each and every time they interact with you or any of your staff. Ask customers to share examples of extra-ordinary customer service, those times when employees go beyond the call of duty. Conduct customer feedback surveys to find out if you are keeping your promises and making the grade.

Remember, unless you are the only business who provides a particular service or product, it's not what you sell that sets you apart. What sets your business apart from the competition and creates the customer perception that you cannot be replaced, is how you make them feel, each and every time they do business with you.



365 Days of Marketing is now available on amazon.com in book and digital formats as are my other books, Make Over Your Marketing and 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa. Find more ideas and inspiration, subscribe to e-mails, read my blogs, connect with me on Facebook or visit 12monthsofmarketing.com.

It's going to be a great year!

Elizabeth Kraus

2.9.11

Friday's 5 - Marketing Shorts and Sweets

I presume (and hope) that many of my regular readers will be off enjoying this summer-but-end-of-summer day, especially with the long weekend coming. My guess is that there will be little going on online after mid-day, or even mid-morning today -- and that is not a bad thing!

I'm going to hold my Monday newsletter for Tuesday release instead - [click here] if you want to be on the receiving end of that one (it's going to have some really good article links!)

Here are today's 5 short and sweet bits of marketing fun - enjoy, and have a great weekend!

[READ] The Best Customer Service Tip Ever
October is Customer Service Month, so you can expect to hear a lot on this topic from me. Here’s the real key, by way of Drew McClellan, but you have to “pinky swear” to do it!


[READ] 10 New Words Every Business Owner Should Know
I’m not sure whether this article meant to be funny or thoughtful, but it turned out a little bit of both for me. See what you think: Entrepreneurs need to keep up with the new business-related words and lingo that pop up almost every day. Here are ten “need to know” new words from the 400 recently added by the publishers of the Concise Oxford Dictionary to their 12th edition.


[READ] Pencil Shavings as Jewelry
If we remember correctly, one of the best timewasters in elementary school was getting up to sharpen your number-two pencil. Dublin-based Etsy shop KarolinFelix Dream has seen the value in these shavings, rescuing them from the garbage pail by making trippy accessories out of them. Consider these the perfect vicarious accessory for those of us sad about not going back to a campus this fall.


[READ] 8 Ways to Conquer Facebook Status-es
The most interesting status updates are likelier to make it into people’s Facebook news feeds thanks to the Edge Rank algorithm — simply put, the more likes and comments on a post, the greater the visibility. There are eight ways to increase your status updates’ visibility, according to Post Planner.


[READ] The 15 Wackiest Things People Listed on Their Resumes
Given that 45% of recruiters say they spend less than a minute reading a resume, it’s understandable that some people go overboard trying to bring some individuality to their work history. Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder’s VP of human resources, says to skip this kind of differentiation, saying that, “many times, it’s a disqualifying distraction.” See what HR professionals submitted as the wackiest things they’d seen on candidate resumes.


"Do Lipton employees take coffee breaks?" (Steven Wright)


Elizabeth Kraus – 12monthsofmarketing.com
365 Days of Marketing is available on amazon.com in book and digital formats.