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7 Frustrating Things Your Visitors Hate About Your Website

Why Your Business Can’t Ignore the Importance of Providing a Positive User Experience (UX)

7 Frustrating Things Your Visitors Hate About Your Website User Experience

Does your site provide the best user experience?

Bad website usability is not only bad for your users; it’s bad for your business too.

What exactly is website usability? It’s definitely one of those industry jargon terms that many entrepreneurs and business owners might not be familiar with. But should!

Website usability means: how easy is it to use your website?

If you’re unsure of what that is, then chances are you may need some help building a strategy for your website.

Your website’s use is how well it accomplishes the reason you built it. Is it to generate leads? Get someone to make a purchase? Direct people to something else? Each page of your website needs a purpose and if that purpose isn’t clear, then the usability is diminished.

A website's usability is gauged by how well it accomplishes your site's goalsClick To Tweet

When web marketers look at usability they’re looking to see whether or not a user can complete a defined task with little to no confusion or frustration.

So how do you know if your customers are finding your website easy to use?

Measuring User Experience and Usability

There are many services that have come and gone when it comes to measuring user activity and a site’s usability.

Heatmap services such as Hotjar or Crazyegg have been semi successful though woefully abused in the hands of those who don’t know what to do with the information. These types of services give the website owner a birds-eye view at where their website visitors are focusing their attention.

Testing groups can be a great asset but at the same time these are closed, controlled groups so they often inadvertently present misinformation by way of not being an accurate representation of the site’s actual target market.

The best way to check your website’s usability is your Google Analytics. Google offers its analytic web-based software for free for many reasons. One is so you can make your website better.

Within Google Analytics site owners can check things like how long someone is on a page, where they entered the page from, what they did on the page, and when they left.

If someone lands on your page and leaves nearly right away you have what is called a Bounce. If the majority of your users are bouncing (called a high bounce rate) then you have a usability issue and are offering up a bad user experience where they have left too quickly to take any action.

Another way to check is to set a conversion measurement. This is when you input information into Google Analytics that triggers a signal when someone completes a task as defined in there. You can even assign monetary values to the conversion if you want to measure the revenue generated through the conversion.

This type of analysis is best left to professionals so get in touch with my team if you need any help.

But Google doesn’t stop there with its free offerings! Try checking things like your site’s speed or mobile usability using these free tools:

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Find helpful tools to assist in your website's usability hereClick To Tweet

Measuring usability is as complicated or as easy as your website is. Larger projects with many types of users and conversion types will have more complicated ways to measure usability but the overall message here is: does your website accomplish your business goals set for it?

Are Your Users Having A Bad Website Experience?

If you’re looking at the overall stats and the numbers are not good then it’s time to look at why your users are having a bad website experience.

Here’s 7 questions to ask yourself about your website to avoid frustrating your users:

  1. Have you clearly defined what your business does and is it appealing to the right audience?
  2. Did you make it as easy as possible for users to find the information they’re looking for? Typically there should be no more than 3 steps between landing on the site and finding what the user wants.
  3. Can a customer contact you easily if they are stuck or have any questions?
  4. Do you have any broken links on your site that will lead users to a dead end?
  5. How fast does the site load (see test above)?
  6. Is your website mobile responsive?
  7. How transparent is your About page?

Nothing can be more frustrating than a dead end so make sure you don’t have any. Users need to have trust established by a website if they’re going to commit their time, money, or both to it.

This is where user test groups can come in handy. Universal website staples that often get forgotten are there so someone who has never been to your website before can have a good experience on it.

Check the few points listed above and if there are areas you haven’t covered or you need help with then get in touch and we’ll be able to break it all down for you.

Is User Experience Really The Same As Usability?

The experience and expectations will vary greatly between websites depending and their purpose.

For large scale big businesses, user experience transcends platforms and current award winners are melding online with offline in attempts to boost both point of sale ‘conversions’ on site and web conversions.

For anyone working in small to medium sized businesses usability is your website’s user experience so focus on that. Make sure when someone lands on your website searching for something, they find what they were needing as quickly and easily as possible.

And don’t forget your user experience doesn’t end there!

A Conversion Is Not the End of the Road for Good Website User Experience

Provide Great Support

Your user experience doesn’t stop when the conversion does.

Think about the process of your conversion from the perspective of someone performing the conversion.

Once you’re done, are you coming back to the website? If you do, are you going to be able to get the support you need right away?

Not having a support channel or any indication of one is a big negative for any user. They likely won’t buy from you if they don’t think they can contact you afterwards regarding any problems.

Refine Your Website Based on Feedback

Make sure you respond to negative feedback with more than dismissive apologies or a canned ‘thanks for the feedback we’ll work on it’ email. Users who have a bad experience during a conversion but a great experience with support can be recovered customers who will likely buy again.

Accept negative feedback as an opportunity to improve even if you disagree with it.

Take what you learn from the feedback as a gift. If a user takes the time to complain about something, treat it seriously and remedy the situation (within reason).

Maybe they completed their task but have feedback on how easy (or not) it was?

In addition to analyzing your Google Analytics, you can follow up with surveys for customers (if they opt in for having one sent to their email of course) to help refine your user experience.

If you need help drafting a survey try this list of some basic website experience survey questions to ask.

I hope you found this all helpful in ensuring your website provides a great user experience. If you have any questions about user experience and usability please post them in the comments below or on our social media or of course feel free to reach out and contact us at any time.

Thanks for reading,
Mark Hare

P.S. For more tips on how to make your website get you the results you’re looking for, sign up for my free website guide plus weekly newsletter for entrepreneurs and small business owners today.
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7 Frustrating Things Your Visitors Hate About Your Website User ExperienceClick To Tweet

About the Author, Mark Hare

Mark Hare

Mark has been working in search engine optimization, paid online advertising, content marketing, and usability since 2005.

He has worked with hundreds of clients on a wide range of web based projects and is a strong proponent of white hat SEO techniques and link earning over building.


Website Planning: Why Strategy Beats Design Every Time

Website Planning: Why Strategy Beats Design Every Time

What to Do First Before Designing Your Business Website

I see it all the time.  People are excited about their business.  They set out to hire a web designer.  They share their vision for their website and excitedly wait for the big reveal.

Then, disaster strikes.  “You got it all wrong.”  they say.

Design dollars are wasted.  Revisions begin.  Everyone scratches their heads and wonders where it all went wrong. And before you know it what should have been a simple project becomes a nightmare.

This doesn’t have to happen to you. 

Without a map, it’s easy to get lost in unfamiliar territory.  The same is true of website development. Before you begin you really need to have a solid plan in place.

Avoid website design disaster by having a plan in place firstClick To Tweet

That’s the real difference between working with a full-service marketing firm or a solo website developer.  A marketing firm can help you do the proper due diligence and analysis needed to make sure the website designed for you truly meets your business needs.

Much of the design process breaks down to a few simple steps:

MESSAGING

Who do you serve? Defining your ideal client is one of the most important steps before building a website. The more specific you are about who your ideal client is, the better you’ll be able to speak to their needs when they visit your site.

Here are some questions to ask yourself while doing an ideal client analysis:

  • Who do you have a passion for serving?
  • What are their biggest pains?
  • Are they men or women?
  • What level at they in their business or situation: newbies, established, or experts?
  • What are their values?
  • What are their biggest goals?
  • What is their personality?

This clarity helps you laser-focus your messaging to speak directly to their needs.

Being clear on your ideal target market will ensure your website messaging speaks directly to themClick To Tweet

Everyone has the same basic human needs.  Knowing and understanding the pains of your target market is critical.  Tell them how you will help them overcome their challenges or how your products will alleviate their concerns.

Having credibility is also important.  Most prospects haven’t heard about you upon their first encounter with your website.  So it’s your job to build trust that you have knowledge and experience and proven results.

Credibility comes through testimonials, media clippings, blog articles and sharing results you have achieved with clients. Showcasing the education, training and credentials you achieved also shows prospects you have expertise in what you do.

FUNCTION

Another critical part of the web design and development process is being clear on the website’s function.  The layout for your website will vary greatly depending on your business goals.

  • What is the goal of your website?
  • Will it be an online store?
  • Do you want to build a list and online community?
  • Will it serve as a free information site where you gain revenues on advertising and affiliate sales?
  • Are you selling services?
  • Is your website an online brochure?

Once armed with this clarity, your designer will know if you need a landing page, chat tool, email list management software, online booking tool, or other special features in order to support your vision.

Knowing the path you want visitors to go and take the desired action helps your designer put the right elements in place to accomplish that.

LOOK AND FEEL

If you have ever gone shopping in a store with a friend you have probably experienced that we all have very different tastes.  The same is true when you design a website.

Even though you have described what you envision, the web designer may have something entirely different in mind. The goal for both of you is to create a visual brand that is appealing to your target market. It needs to immediately say to them they are in the right place.

Before sending your designer a bunch of colour swatches and other websites you want your site to look like, the better approach is to create a brand standards guide first that encompasses the colours, fonts and style of your overall business brand. This process should be done at the time of designing your logo since your logo functions as the basepoint of your brand.

The key is to remember you are designing a website for your target audience in relation to your business, not for you personally.  Yes, for many entrepreneurs, your personality is directly infused into your brand but it is possible the look and feel could be quite different from your personal taste.  It all depends on who you are trying to attract to your business.

Website design is for appealing to your ideal target market, not for your personal tasteClick To Tweet

In saying that, it doesn’t hurt to still send your designer sample websites that you like and be specific about what exactly you like about them. That kind of feedback is very valuable especially with the layout and overall messaging of the site.

THE DO IT YOURSELF DILEMEA

It’s easy to think when you start out doing it all yourself is a better way to save money.

But how much is your time worth?  How much do you know about copywriting or effective marketing strategy or design?

How much more revenue could you create if you focused on business building and outsourced your web design and marketing?

Finally, you can’t put a value on the insights and expertise that a marketing team brings to the table.  It’s well worth investing in a polished website that converts clients.

Whether you are building your first website or redesigning your existing one, taking time to carefully plan it will save you time, headaches and money.

If you’re looking for a qualified web design and marketing team to help you with your website development project, let us know and we’ll go through the above process with you.

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Website Planning: Why Strategy Beats Design Every TimeClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Communicating to maintain effective client relationships

Communicating to maintain effective client relationships

How you communicate directly impacts your client relationships

How often do you get yourself in trouble because a situation has been misunderstood?

How often do you have to tell people what you “really” meant or that you didn’t like how you learned about a situation?

How upset do your clients and customers get about a product being unavailable?

How much do you dread letting them know that the product isn’t available because of how they will react?

All these scenarios often have nothing to do with what you need to communicate but rather with how you deliver the message.

How you deliver the message plays out both in what I like to call big “C” communications – big corporate announcements and organizational strategy – and in little “c” communications – emails and difficult conversations for example.

Believe it or not, much of the way we think and behave is unconscious. What we value, what we believe, our memory of a situation and past behaviours all feed into how we receive and deliver information.

When we become aware of how we come across we can take control of how we communicate with others.Click To Tweet

And this isn’t just the “soft stuff” of business.

Neuroscientists have been studying human behaviour for decades. I turned to Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton to provide some scientific backing for what has been intuitive for me for a long time.

Here are four ways neuroscience tells us we can help our audience be receptive to our message. To conclude, I’ll give you five practical tips to put this science into use.

  • Mirror your audience’s actions and behaviours

    Have you ever walked into a restaurant or bar and noticed how people are interacting with each other?

    Have you noticed groups of people who seem to dress similarly, or how married people seem to come to even look alike over time? Matching and mirroring is when you take on someone else’s style of behaviour as well as their skills, values, or beliefs in order to create rapport.

    This will make your audience feel comfortable and more likely to listen to what you have to say. You can deliberately match and mirror someone by:

    • Body postures and gestures
    • How quickly you breathe
    • How quickly you speak or move
    • How your voice sounds

    CAUTION: You don’t want to mimic people. There is a fine line between moving in rhythm with someone and fitting in, or mimicry. People will know if you are being insincere.

  • Listen so you know what people are looking for

    If you want to really have people buy into what you are saying, then you must truly be present and LISTEN. And that means making sure they know they have been heard.

    Acknowledge their point of view, understand where they are coming from and above all, be patient.

  • Build rapport when communicating virtually

    To build rapport in today’s age of virtual offices, make sure you:

    • Speak more slowly to ensure people can hear you
    • Make sure you have people’s attention before you make your point
    • Use people’s names more often than you might in face-to-face meetings so they feel included and heard
    • Visualise the person at the end of the phone line as you listen to the conversation
    • If you are in a video-conference, look into the camera and appear to be visually present (no escaping to Facebook during teleconferences here!)
    • Summarise the meeting afterwards and confirm via email what was decided upon
  • Use multiple ways of communicating to make sure your message gets across:

    Find out who your audience is. If they are audio listeners, the words you use will be important. If your audience is more visual, then graphs, charts and pictures will help them remember information.

    Kinaesthetic audiences will focus on the tone of your voice and the feeling they experienced upon receiving the information.

So what does this mean for your daily interactions with your clients?

  1. Ensure you have their attention before sharing your message.
  2. Did they understand what you had to say? Ask questions to probe their response to your conversation.
  3. Use language and mannerisms your clients can relate to – use mirroring to deliver messages in a way that makes them feel comfortable.
  4. Follow-up with email after decisions are made to ensure you’re both on the same page.
  5. Have you inspired them to act? Find out what they care about so you can better motivate them to participate in your desired outcome.

Following the tips included in this article will shape how you deliver your message and guarantee improved communications with your clients.

Take some time to truly understand and internalize these techniques and you will be well on your way to avoiding difficult situations.

About the Author, Susan Elford

Kathryn Wilking

Susan Elford, PR Strategist & Leadership Coach, works with start-ups and seasoned entrepreneurs to help them get real about their strengths and celebrate them so they get more of what they want; clients, exposure and success, while living a life of balance.

Visit Susan at www.elfordcommunications.com for traditional PR support and www.susanelford.com for a look into how she works with her coaching clients.


5 Useful Decision-Making Steps to Buying Your Next Business Program Sold at an Event

5 Useful Decision-Making Steps to Buying Your Next Business Program Sold at an Event

How to Avoid Making Impulsive Purchases from Success-Promising Gurus

I recently attended a 3-day business conference in Vancouver. There were about 500 people in attendance, all business owners and entrepreneurs who where there to network, learn and be inspired.

All in all, it was a great event that resulted in my meeting new people and gaining valuable insights that I brought home with me to infuse into my business.

The conference boasted nine high-profile speakers including thought leaders like Jack Canfield, Dr. John Gray and James Malinchak. Their talks were entertaining, insightful, informative and motivating.

They certainly learned the craft of being an influential presence on the stage well.

But make no mistake, each of these speakers were there with the sole purpose of promoting their wares and influencing the audience to purchase their key strategies, programs and courses that promised business success.

And they succeeded.

The volume of people that ran to the back of the room to grab their limited-time, extraordinary low-cost offering before it was sold out was mind boggling.

As a member of that audience, I was fascinated by what I was witnessing. Perhaps it was my state of mind or the confidence I already felt in my capabilities of achieving further business success, but I was not at all tempted to be a part of the crowd to run to the back of the room and grab a purchase.

I looked around and saw men and women who were involved in a variety of different businesses and industries. Many of whom where desperate to get that SECRET FORMULA that would transform their struggles into riches.

And the speakers on the stage knew this and played right into their hands.

Throughout the 3 days, the audience was presented with lots of solutions, advanced systems and formulas on how to achieve success in their business. But the problem is, not all proposed solutions were ideal for everyone.

But what is a business owner and entrepreneur to do?

They are attending such events to help them with their business so are naturally attracted to the offers made up on the stage.

To help you avoid making irrational and emotionally-based decisions when faced with the pressure of live event and even free webinar offers I have put together 5 steps on what to think about first before jumping in with the crowd and grabbing your purchase:

  1. Think things through first.

    Ask yourself if this opportunity is truly going to get you a return on your investment if you make the purchase. What are you willing to commit to in order to get the most out of that investment?

    The key here is to understanding success is not just going to happen by signing up but actually doing the work. Are you realistically willing to do the work? Are you going to be 100% committed to this or will you get home, set it aside, and promise to get to it when you get a chance?

    None of these programs will get you the results these presenters are talking about if you’re not committed enough to follow through on every single step provided.

  2. Be objectively critical.

    When these speakers are on the stage, they are sharing their best success stories possible – the cream of the crop. Often this reflects only a minor percentage of those who have taken the program.

    Be objective. And don’t make emotionally-based decisions that compel you run to the back of the room and purchase. This is exactly what they are counting on.

  3. Decide if your business can truly benefit from what you will learn.

    Just because they are telling you this on stage doesn’t mean it’s a perfect fit for you, your business model, and your goals.

    As an example, if you have the gift of service and support, then more than likely you will not do well learning to be a speaker on stage despite that presenter saying “anyone can do this using my system and processes”.

    If you have the gift of, say, music, then being a published author is probably not something you should pursue despite being provided with a “fool-proof, iron-clad method that will get you on the Amazon best seller list”.

    Ask yourself if what this presenter is offering is exactly what you need to learn in order to reach your business goals or is there something better suited for you available elsewhere? Do you really need to learn all of this yourself or is hiring someone who is an expert in that area a better decision that will help reach your goals quicker without having to become an expert in that field first?

  4. Recognize the emotional manipulation that’s happening.

    We see this all the time. Whether you’re attending conferences or online webinars there’s always a “limited time offer” that makes it irresistible to pass up.

    Don’t let these “one-time-only” offers lead you into thinking this is the only chance you’ll ever get to take advantage of what’s being offered. It simply isn’t true. It’s a sales tactic that preys on people who make emotional decisions and don’t want to be left out or miss out on an incredible opportunity.

    These programs will all still be offered after the hype ends. Even if that means paying $50 more, so be it. Give yourself time to objectively work through the pros and cons and decide whether it’s worth your investment or not.

    Don’t let your emotions be triggered by the slick sales speech or written sales copy on a page.

  5. Do your research.

    This may not necessarily be the case for headliner speakers we see on the stage, but sadly, there are a lot of very smooth-talking “gurus” out there who are nothing but smoke and mirrors. They offer a lot of hype but little substance.

    Do your pocketbook a favour; before investing in any kind of program or product, research the person selling it first. Do a Google search and see if any bad reviews come up. Ask people in your social media groups if they’ve had any experience with that person and what were the results.

    Your goal is to make an informed decision, not an emotional one based on the promises of the sales copy. And if you do encounter negative reviews – listen to your gut. So many times wrong decisions are still made because, as human beings, we’re highly influenced by emotions and we can easily justify our actions based on those promises despite finding evidence to the contrary.

After reading this, you might think I’m against purchasing programs and courses all together but that’s not the case at all. I’m not saying not to invest in business growth strategies, but instead to make informed, objective decisions on which investments to make in the first place.

The sad fact is that marketing can be a very manipulative process that is meant to create fear- and lack-based, emotional responses. The people we see on stage, as well as those that do highly visible free webinars, are masters at pulling these emotional triggers.

Simply be aware of that manipulation and follow the guide I outlined above to help you decide whether or not your business can truly benefit from that investment you’re being asked to make.

Do you have any stories of acting on impulse and regretting the purchase later?

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

5 Useful Decision-Making Steps to Buying Your Next Business Program Sold at an EventClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Easy Project Management Tips for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Get It Done Right, Right Now

Easy Project Management Tips for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Get It Done Right, Right Now

Using these project management concepts will increase your chances of success

Entrepreneurs, by their very nature, are big thinkers with big plans who want to make a big impact in the world. As an entrepreneur / small business owner, I get it – I do too. I also understand how many distractions there can be vying for your time every day.

After a long career with large corporations and earning my Six Sigma Green Belt, I realized that many of the things that worked well for me work equally as well in small businesses. 

Investing the time upfront to prepare your project plan and get everyone onboard is time well-spent.Click To Tweet

Project management is one of those critical skills that I believe every business owner should learn to do well.  I know how many distractions come up that could easily derail your goals if you don’t focus on doing the important things first.

Let me explain how you can utilize this skill to grow your business.

  1. Decide on your next big project goal

    Write down the name of the project and create a charter. The charter describes briefly what results you expect to accomplish.
     
    One of the many advantages of preparing a charter is that it forces you to clearly articulate what you really want. Once you know what your goal is, plan the steps to get there rather than just “winging” it and hoping for the best.

    For instance, is your project designed to:

    • Save money?
    • Increase sales?
    • Increase the number of email addresses you have in your management software?
    • Get more speaking gigs?
    • Write a book?
    • Increase the number of high-paying clients?
    • Create a new group or online program?
  2. Identify the scope of this project

    Keep the project small, focused and manageable. If it’s too big, chances of success are lower because there are so many moving parts that might compete for your time or resources. When you write your scope, list what you will do — and what you will not do.
     
    For instance, if you are working on increasing your visibility to your target audience you might consider a project around Facebook or LinkedIn. I recommend that you pick just one of them and knock it out of the park. In this case, if you picked Facebook, then state that this project does not include LinkedIn.
     
    Then you can do a separate project to work on LinkedIn with its own timeline and deliverables when you are ready.

  3. Define your baseline and your goal

    This will help you know where you are today and where you plan to be upon completion of this project. For instance, say you want to increase the number of people whom you can send marketing emails to.  
    You need to know the number of contacts today as well as the number you want to have at the end of the project. If it’s annual sales, then it’s easy to look at the past 12 months to get your actual sales. Then just set your goal as a dollar or percentage above the baseline.

  4. List each major step of the project.

    Include the name of the person responsible for completing each major step, and when each step will be accomplished.
     
    Oftentimes, one person cannot complete their step until someone else finishes theirs, so it’s important to understand the interdependencies.

  5. Determine the start and completion dates.

    Once you will have the start and completion dates, you will be able to identify milestones along the way.
     
    This will help you stay on track and accomplish your goal without a lot of stress, wasted time or forgotten steps.

  6. Prepare a budget

    The budget will define how much you will spend to accomplish the goal and when the money needs to be available. Your project may be designed to save money, such as taking on the marketing of your program yourself or changing vendors.
     
    In this case you would list when the savings will start showing up and how much more you will have in your bank account at the end of the project.

  7. Make a list of resources

    These are the resources you will need to accomplish the project. Are you going to do everything yourself or will you have a virtual assistant?
     
    Will you hire someone to prepare marketing materials, or to create your website, Facebook posts or a LinkedIn profile?

  8. Communicate clearly to everyone involved in the project

    And by clear, I mean precise, with no room for guessing or individual interpretations about what others think you want. Draw pictures, share examples and learn to speak their language if you are talking to technical people.
     
    Once you know who’s on your team, make sure they have an opportunity to provide input. One of them could hold that one big idea that will take your project from good to great.
     
    Have a brainstorming meeting – it’s is a great way to get everyone’s ideas and come up with a plan better than you could ever do on your own. After all, that’s why you invited the best & brightest to join your team in the first place, right?
     
    This process also guarantees that you have buy-in on the project and that everyone knows the objectives and their role in accomplishing them.

  9. Set up regularly scheduled meetings on your calendar

    This schedule will help you review progress, clear up any confusion, remove any barriers and provide direction.
     
    There is nothing worse than getting close to your project completion deadline only to realize that what you are getting is not at all what you expected! Especially if it all could have been avoided if you had set up the time to check in on the progress. Inspect what you expect!

  10. Set up team ground rules

    The ground rules can include frequency/length of meetings, notifying you in advance if they are going to miss the meeting, how conflicts will be handled and agreement by all that they will show up to the meetings prepared with their deliverables or notifying you well in advance if they are at risk of missing any critical milestones.

  11. Sign your charter

    I know – this might sound cheesy. But it really isn’t. This is a commitment you are making to yourself and the simple act of dating it, signing it and putting it up on your wall where it is literally in front of you all the time will make it much more likely that you will follow through and reap the benefits.

  12. Celebrate your wins along the way

    This doesn’t have to be at a high cost – it can be a simple “Thank You” card to one of your resources who delivers on schedule or a group dinner or pizza or a Starbucks gift card.
     
    A little goes a long way in motivating yourself and those on your team when appreciation is shown.

Your chances of reaching and most likely hitting it out of the park increase dramatically. And remember, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

About the Author, Katherine Hartvickson

Kathryn Wilking

Katherine Hartvickson is the founder and president of Hartvickson & Associates, Inc. dba Quantum Ascendance. She is an experienced business consultant and success coach. Since leaving the corporate world in 2009, her clients include business owners and other seriously committed professionals and entrepreneurs who want to gain the confidence and skills to break through the barriers of success and achieve their ideal life.

What separates her service from others is her experience in leading large teams and developing top performers in corporate environments and because of this, clients achieve individual & financial rewards and the recognition they earned without sacrificing their personal life. If you are interested in knowing more, she can be reached at www.QuantumAscendance.com.


How Great Customer Service Gets You Business Referrals

Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of customer service from another company and vowed to never do business with them again? And most certainly never told anyone else about them?

This is why customer service is so vital to business success as I explain in this eTip episode on why it’s the primary reason we have such a high referral rate.

We get a lot of new customers based on the quality of our customer service.

Our referral rate is around the 90-95% range so I wanted to share our secrets for good customer service.

For us that means things like answering our phone, responding to emails quickly, and making sure our customer’s needs are taken care of.

Obviously you can’t do that 24/7 but having a solid response time is good business practice and your customers will appreciate you for it.

Respond to them in a timely manner and appreciate that their brand may be affected by what service they need you for.

People want to get information fast so making them wait is not good customer service.

If you don’t respond in a timely manner you risk pushing them towards your competition.

By providing a high level of customer service you demonstrate to the potential client that they can expect good work out of you if they commit to your business.

Sometimes your needs might need to be set aside while you put the customer first.

Dealing with difficult clients and mistakes wisely

No matter how much someone upsets you always make your best attempt at being professional and polite.

Even if you’re having a bad day consider they may be as well and the additional stress of bad customer service can really put them off your business.

If you do make a mistake own up to it and make it right. Mistakes happen and if you take responsibility for the error and solve the issue then your client will appreciate you more.

Let them know what steps you’ve taken to ensure those mistakes don’t happen ever again.

People don’t get mad about mistakes.

Your customers won’t get mad if you make a mistake. They will get mad if you don’t acknowledge the mistake or don’t take steps to address the mistake and prevent it from happening again.

Don’t lay blame with somebody else and by taking responsibility you show the customer you respect them, which will go a long way when they start looking for who to refer their friends to.

If one of your team members makes a mistake it’s still a reflection on you and your business.

Let them know you’re tackling the mistake and you’ll find they respond well to your professionalism.

When you’re in business you are in the people to people business so the more respect you pay to them the better. Treat your customers with respect and they will in turn refer their friends to you because they’ll know their friends will experience the same high level of customer service that you’ve provided to them.

If you have your own stories about how providing great customer service has helped you or has gained you a great new lead that turned into a client then please share them in the comments below.

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

Social Blast for Entrepreneurs

What If You Could Learn Social Media and Online Marketing Each Month With Ease?

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  • Uncover what it takes to execute a successful, revenue-driving social media strategy
  • Learn how to build relationships, trust, and brand awareness with your ideal customer
  • Discover actionable strategies to engage followers online
  • Master creating compelling content that’s always on target
  • Discern how to authentically differentiate your brand in a crowded marketplace
  • Find out the best times to post for higher readership
  • Stay abreast with the latest prospecting techniques to grow your list, groups and more…
  • Learn ways to engage through social media monitoring and listening

It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.

› CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Is Jealousy the Biggest Culprit in Thwarting Your Business Growth?

Why Gratitude is One of the Biggest Keys to Success

Jealously the Biggest Culprit in Thwarting Your Business Growth

No magic pill, wand or formula was applied in creating this success story.

While Social Media can have many benefits to business growth, there’s an underlying, negative-based energy many people experience that could very well be contributing to the lack of their business growth.

And that energy is jealousy…

For us on the West Coast of Canada, we only get to enjoy a few months of summer warmth and sun each year. This is the time we make plans to get out and enjoy the weather as much as possible.

So it stands to reason many of the posts shared on Social Media are fun-related. After all, who wants to share posts about the hours they spend behind their computer working 15 hours a day?

Relaxing at Kingfisher SpaWhile away on holidays recently, it occurred to me there may be some who would look upon my holiday-infused Facebook posts thinking this is my life – doing nothing but having fun and going on holidays.

And when I thought about it, I’ve given them no reason to think otherwise. If a new Facebook business-owner “friend” only saw holiday-related posts, then that’s the impression they would have of me – I never seem to work!

For those that know me, this assumption is far from the truth but nonetheless, for those that don’t, I can see how they would come to that conclusion.

And the interesting thing is, that kind of conclusion has a far-reaching result that could very well be affecting their business success.

That’s because instead of being happy for me, they are feeling a twinge of jealousy.

Jealous they can’t take holidays…
Jealous they can’t go for spa treatments…
Jealous they can’t relax poolside at a resort…

And so on.

Jealousy is a very insidious thing that can sneak up and snare the most unsuspecting person.

Jealousy is a very insidious thing that can sneak up and snare the most unsuspecting personClick To Tweet

How many times have you looked at someone’s success or witnessed all of the wonderful travels they’ve been on and secretly wished it were you instead of them?

When this happens we nosedive into a lack and scarcity mindset. Our ego kicks into high gear and we get into competition mode. Comparing what WE DON’T have to what THEY DO have.

And when that happens, we’re not in an expansive, abundant state of mind. Instead, we’re stifling all energies needed for growth, which can ultimately result in a lack of success.

I did it too. I would see people like Mari Smith travel the world doing keynote speeches or private consulting gigs and think how lucky she is to live such a magical life!

But then I realized magic has absolutely nothing to do with it!

When we see people like Mari, or me for that matter, reaping the rewards of our labour, we fail to realize the labour part of that equation.

The ability to take time off, travel, go to spa appointments or relax at resorts is a product of hard work. It didn’t all happen magically, or effortlessly for that matter.

What does gratitude have to do with success?

I’ve talked before about my keys to success and aside from working long hours, having a team and building a business wisely, the biggest key to my success is gratitude.

I’m thankful every single day even if a client is upset with me.  Gratitude can still be found in the lessons learned to avoid that incident from happening again.

I’m thankful for the hard-working, integral employee giving their notice.  Gratitude can still be found because I was able to have them on my team as long as I did and look forward to how that person’s replacement will make a positive impact on my business.

I’m thankful for the deadbeat, non-paying client.  Gratitude can still be found knowing what kind of client to turn down in the future, seeing the signs ahead of time they will be a challenge to collect from.

This is what I do every day where it’s well documented in my gratitude journal I write in every night.

Success is what you want it to be. You are in control.

Despite the one-sided impression Social Media provides, there is no magic program, product or formula that will create success for you.

But with having an attitude of gratitude, a strong commitment to success and not letting jealously prevent you from thinking you can have that too, you can be successful.

I’ll let you in on a little secret…. many don’t know that not long ago Daniel and I were quite destitute. We were on the verge of losing our home and had a $24,000 credit card debt (due to identity theft but that’s another story). So I know what it feels like to be on the other side of the pasture thinking everything was so green over there and completely unattainable.

However, what got us through to the other side is we never gave in to victimhood. We believed things will get better, focused on being grateful for what we had, and worked towards what we did want.

Law of attraction expert Dana Smithers has a great solution to when things are not going perfect and that’s to ask yourself, “what do I really want?” (Watch this quick video where she explains how this works.)

So the next time you feel a pang of jealousy when you see someone post about their wonderful cruise, their world-wide adventure or their spa treatment, remember there was no magic involved in that person’s success.

Only hard work, commitment and a whole lot of gratitude for hills and valleys that was overcome along the way to that success.

Take a moment now and no matter how shitty of a day you’re having, what can you be grateful for? Ask yourself what is it that you really want? Share below, let’s all celebrate with you.

Are you willing to make a commitment to celebrate everyone’s success? Take responsibility for your actions and do what it takes so you can reap similar rewards of success?

Don’t let jealousy be the biggest culprit in the lack of your business growth. Show it who’s boss instead!

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Is Jealously the Biggest Culprit in Thwarting Your Business Growth?Click To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Team Building Tips to Help Grow Your Business

We’ve talked a lot about things this summer like video marketing and using Twitter to grow your business. Today I’m going to talk about the importance of using a team to build your business.

 

Build your business right by hiring the right people

Many years ago I was a one woman operation. I did it all.

The designing, the programming, the marketing; I was taking everything on myself.

At a certain moment I realized in order to build my company while providing my clients with what they needed, I would need to expand and start adding on some team members.

There are many different kinds of employees you can hire. Some may be temporary or freelance talent, some could be outsourced, or you can even hire on student interns from local schools to help. It doesn’t always have to be a full-time salaried employee.

The important thing is to focus on what you excel at and hire on people to help offset your weaknesses.

Hire an Expert

My biggest weakness was my understanding of how web technology had evolved. It had changed so quickly that my own skills had become a little dated even though they were only a few years old!

My first hire was a programming ace from a local university and he and I got to work. Once I saw his talents, I started delegating more and more of the tech work to him.

I let him work and I listened and learned. Together we really took eVision Media to the next level.

So hire yourself an expert even if it’s one in something you feel you’ve mastered. You might be surprised at how much else there is for you to learn.

Hire a Money Maker

You also want to hire someone who is profitable for you. Hire someone who makes you money!

Yes it’s nice to have help with your own tasks in the same way it’s nice to have a cleaning lady but look for people whose skills and background will make you money so you can pay their wages.

This is especially good advice if you’re struggling to stay ahead. Hire a sales rep, a product engineer, or some other type of employee where the financial return is immediate.

The more money-makers you have the better your business is going to be.

And make sure you are comfortable delegating the responsibilities too!

Lead by Example and Learn from the Feedback

Set standards for the employees to adhere to when delegating the work. You know how you prefer it done so write that out clearly and because the employees will bring their own knowledge to the project you may find, as I have, they often exceed those standards.

I myself have a team of designers, programmers, SEO experts, and more and I have to trust their expertise when assigning duties. Hiring experts is great and when you are comfortable they know what they’ve claimed to know you’ll be in a position to trust their expertise more, which takes pressure off of you.

Don’t Try to be an Expert in all Things

You can’t possibly hope to know everything about running a business – whether it the legal work, the bookkeeping, or any of the other many essential elements of running a business, and know everything about your internal roles and industry as well.

Take for example marketing. You can spend tens of thousands of dollars on marketing courses trying to being an expert in marketing yourself but while you’re doing that you aren’t focusing on all the other elements of your business.

Using the same money to pay someone to market your business while you focus on other aspects of it like cultivating leads or working with clients to make sure they’re happy makes much more sense and will help you grow your business instead of just your personal skill set.

It’s far too difficult to grow your business without building a team.Click To Tweet

I wouldn’t start self-funding multiple courses on contract law if I needed a lawyer so why would you attempt to become a marketing expert when you need marketing?

This rings true for bookkeeping as well. My time is simply better spent running my business than trying to become an expert in all areas of the business. Hiring a bookkeeper makes more sense financially and professionally since I then have someone with experience in the role as well.

It’s far too difficult to grow your business without building a team. When you plan your business (and you should) and invest in your business include what you need experts for and budget for hiring professionals to help you grow.

If your business is really a supplemental income and you’re not full time then this may not be your approach but if you’re serious about growing your business into a solid company then you will need a team to help you.

Hire My Team

The take away is of course that you need to hire the right people to help you grow. If your business requires website development, branding, logo design, online marketing, social media management, or something else related to digital marketing and the online presence of your business then get in touch.

My team that I have cultivated myself are great so feel free to get in touch if you find yourself overwhelmed and need help with any of the services we provide. I don’t work with just anyone since experience has taught me to consider who I hire carefully. My team deliver and we do it with smiles on our faces that translate into smiles from our clients.

Check out our website at www.evisionmedia.ca for more and by all means if you have questions or comments post them to any of our social media channels or contact us directly via our website!

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Team Building Tips to Help Grow Your BusinessClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Time Management Tips for the Busy Business Owner

Earlier this year, I had a quick conversation with friend and client Yvonne Hogenes while at the WOW (women of worth) Conference in Vernon.

Yvonne is a very busy business owner who provided some great tips on time management.

 

Yvonne wears many hats and wasting time is not an option for her.

20 years ago Yvonne opened Malarys Fashion Networking Cloverdale.

She’s thoroughly enjoyed evolving her business as the industry grew.

For 15 years now she has designed custom fitted bras she then has manufactured and distributed all throughout Canada and the US!

Then 7 years ago she began her journey in making smart, shape tech/apparel with Firma Energywear.

This product is sold in Canada and all over the US.

So how does she do it?

Not alone.

She has an amazing family business with her husband and two sons supporting her.

Get over thinking no one can do the work as good as you can.Click To Tweet

Her team is important and then comes delegation.

Yvonne has learned to offer autonomy and trusts those she delegates to.

She has learned the hard way that balance is important since she has burnt out multiple times. Some quick tips she shared were:

  • Learn to say no!
  • Learn to filter out what is important from what isn’t.
  • Hire your weaknesses to offset what you’re good at with what you’re not.
  • When in control mode you’re not doing anyone any service.
  • Get over thinking that no one can do it as good as you can.

Yvonne agrees the key to balance is to let go at times and trust.

I want to really thank Yvonne for sharing her insights with me (and you) and if you’re looking to get a hold of Yvonne the easiest way to find her is at Malarys.com

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

P.S. Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Our “All Under One Roof” boutique web development and digital marketing firm can help you make your vision a reality.
>> CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Time Management Tips for the Busy Business OwnerClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Customer Service Strategies in a Digital World

Customer Service and PR in the Digital World

How to get your social media presence set up right so you can deal with customer complaints like a Pro

With social media being so prevalent, users often take to their favourite channel with their complaints.

75% of users surveyed said they include social media when evaluating a purchase.

32% want a response within 30 minutes and 42% expect a response in under an hour!

When you set up your social media keep that in mind.

How to use social media for customer service

Using social media to manage customer complaints may seem like a burden but the payoff is repeat business and happy customers.

Users often take to the majors like Twitter and Facebook.  Don’t shy away from either even if you’ve received some nasty feedback in the past.

When you initially set up your accounts you entered an email to register and you’ve probably noticed unless you changed the settings you get an email every time someone is active on your page/profile.

If you find this bothersome try creating an email like customerservice@example.com that forwards to your own account or the account of an employee whose job it is to monitor your online presence.

If it’s directed to your own email create a folder or label specifically for customer service or PR that these emails automatically go to. Don’t let it get lost in your emails though or you’ll miss alerts.

*Depending on your email setup this will vary in execution*

These alerts will let you know when you have a new comment or message on your profile.

When you get one have a response protocol ready. You don’t want to jump on a complaint and then have to wait 2 days for a decision-maker to draft their response.

One single meeting with your team on customer service/PR protocol on social platforms can save you a lot of headaches.

Have canned responses ready

Use Social Media to make your customers happy. Learn how to use social for customer serviceClick To Tweet

Canned responses refer to an automatically generated response that is prompted by the user contacting you. You may have seen these in the past and wondered how they get set up; now you get to set them up for yourself:

Twitter

Twitter rolled out some great tools last year for users who operate their business online:

https://business.twitter.com/i/settings/support

That link allows you to upgrade your account with messages that will automatically send to anyone who messages you directly and will show users that you provide this option.

You account will show your support hours and users will see that you take their feedback seriously.

This is a great signal to Google too – that you’re serious about your business and helping customers.

If you want more help using Twitter try our section dedicated to using Twitter for business.

Facebook

Facebook also allows you to set up your account to help communicate with customers via instant messaging. To turn on instant replies to any instant message to your business’s page follow these instructions:

To turn on Instant Replies for your Page:

  1. Click Settings at the top of your Page
  2. Click Messaging in the left column
  3. Below Response Assistant, click to select Yes next to Send Instant Replies to anyone who messages your Page
  4. To change your instant reply message, click Change, update the message and click Save

To turn off Instant Replies:

  1. Click Settings at the top of your Page
  2. Click Messaging in the left column
  3. Below Response Assistant, click to select No next to Send Instant Replies to anyone who messages your Page

You can direct users in both instances towards a contact email or simply let them know you’ll review their message within the next 24 hours and respond.

Once you have these set up, how you use them is entirely up to you. Each were only available within the last 2 years so not all businesses have adapted yet but those that have done it have set user’s expectations.

For more tips on using Facebook look at our section all about using Facebook to grow your business.

Monitor your reviews

Whether it’s Yelp (who’s results are now actually trending in SERPs) Google reviews, or Facebook reviews (if you have them turned on) it’s very important to stay on top of your reviews. There could be even more players in your niche so be on the lookout for sites dedicated to reviewing your products or services.

If you get a bad one you don’t want to remove it. That would defeat the purposes of the reviews.

Instead use the platform’s response option to address the reviewer’s concerns.

By demonstrating to users you take their feedback and complaints seriously you show them they can trust they’ll be treated with the same respect should things go wrong between you and them.

The point of PR and customer feedback should not be to defend yourself outright.

While some users may be serial complainers or even thieves always assume the best in the customer.

Use their complaint or question as an opportunity to possibly address something within your business you should have paid attention to a long time ago.

Often you’ll find the customer has either made an error or there’s a genuine issue you need to address with your business.

Whatever the case, keep in mind what you post will be what users see when reading up on your company. Not only that but Google looks for signals of a bad business in online engagement and reviews as well.

Position yourself as a responsible business owner who will address their concerns, so whenever someone reads about your business they get the right impression.

Just because a lot of customer service has moved online doesn’t change the fact that your business needs to give a good impression to potential users/customers. Put a smile on people’s faces as much as possible and your social media can really help you grow.

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. New to Social Media and online marketing or find it overwhelming and confusing? Check out Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs. It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.
>> CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Customer Service in the Digital WorldClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".