Why to your retail store foot traffic is dropping and how to bring customers in

Getting foot traffic to retail stores is harder than ever. These are unique ways to attract customers to your shop.

Chocolate cookies can increase retail store foot traffic.
Chocolate cookies can increase retail stores foot traffic.

You know your sales go up the more your retail store foot traffic increases, but store visits are at an all-time low? Is everyone shopping for everything online now? Yes, they are.  71% of shoppers believe they’ll find better deals online.

The good news is that shoppers do still want an in-person experience as part of their buying process. And 94% of retail sales are still credited to brick-and-mortar stores. The bad news is that most retail shop owners are failing to create the experiences that attract customers to their location. With over 5,000 stores closed this year, can local retailers compete with e-commerce giant Amazon?
Want more creative ways to attract customers to your retail store? Download this free guide.

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Everything is different now. So here’s a list of unique ideas for retailers to boost foot traffic and increase sales in their brick-and-mortar stores.

Create curb appeal that increase retail store foot traffic

Humans are visual beings and it’s no secret that attractive and well-kept spaces invite people in, literally and figuratively. Use flowers and landscaping to create a store front so beautiful, people stop what they’re doing to come inside and check it out.

A compelling window display, like showing how a product is made can do wonders to grab the attention of people walking or driving by. The human brain is trained to detect movement, so an active demo can draw consumers into your retail store.

Bricks and mortar stores can offer amenities that online stores cannot

We’ve all had the experience of our phone charge being on single digits with no charging options in site. A unique, inexpensive and extremely valuable service you can provide customers is a charging stations. Promote this outside with a fun sign and you’ll draw people in easily. Plus, they’ll stay until their phones get a decent charge and the longer customers spend in your store, the more likely they are to purchase.

Offer ways your customers can recharge their personal “batteries” with a hydration station. Everyone needs water and if you add more options, like, tea, coffee and snacks, people will naturally want to step inside your shop. Attract more retail store foot traffic with chocolate chip cookies, granola and hot cocoa.

Have you ever been to a luxury car dealer and visited the customer lounge? Acura offers Starbuck coffee, water, sodas, fresh cookies, chocolate, chips, fruit and more. Lexus kicks it up a notch with a customer lounge experience that feels more like the VIP Admiral’s club than a car dealership. They have lots of seating with charging stations and a coffee and pastry bar that rivals any patisserie. Customers order the beverage and baked goodies of their choice and receive them at no charge. Sometimes there’s even a charming gift shop available for perusing while you wait.

The secret to increasing foot traffic to your retail store is to provide an amazing experience that makes customers want to come in and stay. It is all about creating incredibly positive customer experiences. And retail stores can do that so much better than e-commerce stores. Are you up for it?

Get the secret recipe for bringing more foot traffic into your retail store. FREE Guide!
Get the secret recipe for bringing more foot traffic into your retail store. FREE Guide!

Why a Lack of Good Corporate Social Responsibility Is Killing Your Business

Good Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer a nice-to-have. In fact, companies who want to grow MUST practice good Corporate Social Responsibility, aka, CSR. Those brands who don’t face losing sales.

Driven by millennials who prefer to do business with brands who have ethical and sustainable business standards, the recipe for sales and marketing success changed dramatically. So now, all generations have an increased expectation that companies who want to earn their business must practice sustainability. Is your brand adapting, or dying?

Millennials (and other generations too) are looking for four major qualities in socially responsible companies. Download the checklist here for free.

According to findings from the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, “More than nine-in-10 Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91% vs. 85% U.S. average). Two-thirds use social media to engage around CSR (66% vs. 53% U.S. average).” Because of these factors, companies not yet engaging in good corporate social responsibility are losing sales.

Practicing Good Corporate Social Responsibility Is Great for Business

In 2015, Nielson published its annual Global Corporate Sustainability Report. It indicated that, globally, 66% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. 73% of surveyed millennials indicating a similar preference. Additionally, 81% of millennials evexpect their favorite companies to make public declarations of their corporate citizenship.”

As John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods puts it:

“The whole corporate social responsibility ideal is trying to graft something onto the old profit maximization model. Now more than ever, we need is a transformation [in] the way we think about business, what it’s based on. People want businesses to do good in the world. It’s that simple…. We now need a deeper, fundamental reform in the essence of business.”

So, traditional advertising won’t work with Millennials. Conveying CSR efforts to Millennials requires authenticity, and a unique approach. Since Millennials grew up with the Internet, they want their voices heard. And they expect a two-way, open dialogue with companies and their brands.

Millennials and many of the customers from other generations want to buy from companies who give back.  As a result, brands who want to attract more customers and keep existing ones need to have a good corporate social responsibility program.

Good Corporate Social Responsibility - Free Checklist Download
Good Corporate Social Responsibility – Free Checklist Download

 

How to accelerate lead nurturing and turn on the flow of referrals

Part 2 of the Secret Weapon: Referral partners can amplify your sales.

You’ve asked, listened and begun nurturing those new contacts. Awesome! Want to learn what will speed the relationship developing process along faster so you can convert contacts into referral partners?

Here’s how to crank up your list of referral partners: Follow up until they “Buy or Die”!

80% of sales require seven follow-ups (and that number keeps climbing)   [Source: Scripted]
44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up  [Source: The Marketing Donut]

So, if you’re an entrepreneur looking to attract more clients, these numbers are eye-opening. This means it’s likely your competition won’t follow up as often as you will if you commit to five times. BOOM! Advantage, you!

Download the free 3 Step Plan to get more referral partners.

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If you’re a job seeker, this underscores the importance of persistence. While no one wants to be a pest, it’s in your best interest to follow up multiple times. Some HR experts say, “Follow up until they buy or die.”
People are just too busy to remember who they talked to and what action they promised. Those who rely on new contacts to do the follow-up are guaranteed disappointing results. Instead, proactive professionals who make a point to reconnect after introductions impress and succeed.

Staying connected is how you’ll nurture and build this relationship, so call or email with a brief message about how much you enjoyed talking with them and that you’d like to stay in touch. Mention something specific they talked about. Ask what social media they prefer and connect with them on those channels. LinkedIn is a given for most professionals, but find out if they like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest also. Most people have a couple of go-to channels they like.

People are more likely to respond to social media than an email, so take advantage of that and meet them where they are. Showing social love to your contacts will accelerate you rapidly towards your goal of accumulating referral partners to grow your business. Public admiration and validation is pure gold!

Check out my post “5 ways to get free leads on LinkedIn” and “Promote Your Business with Instagram” for specific tips.
You now have a platform for nurturing that new business relationship and expanding your network. Repost things they post, make comments (positive and insightful) and make sure you do it within the first week, and then every couple of weeks after that.
Network like a pro and watch the job opportunities and sales flow in, right? There’s a little more to it than that, of course. Once you have the strong referral network in place, you need to know how to ask for the referrals.

When you’re ready to build a full pipeline of referral partners, consider a the RAISE online sales course.

Learn more about RAISE online course

Follow up is the gold – From cold to sold to convert leads to sales

6 step process for follow-up after meeting a new contact
How to follow-up after making new contact.

Nice to meet you, now what. The steps you need to take to follow-up and convert those new contacts into customers produce the gold.

Well done. You went out there and connected with some new people. Networking can feel daunting and you did it anyway! And, now what? What’s the secret to converting that new contact into a referral relationship or customer? Knowing what to say and how to say it without sounding cheesy can be a challenge too.

Download this free eBook to get more ideas on how the pros follow-up and get more customers. “From Cold to Sold” 17 sales secrets for converting more leads to customers.

If you need to repeat it, automate it, as they say. So here’s the 6 step process I use and can recommend for you.

Follow-up is SO valuable for converting sales

  1. Always send a quick thank you email or text the same day or the next day at the latest. This shows respect for the other person’s time by prioritizing a follow up to the conversation right away. It is more important to send this quickly, rather than for it to be a comprehensive or long email.
  2. Be yourself. Authenticity is always a good approach. To pretty much everything. So, it’s not surprising that follow-up emails are no different. Since people feel good when you listen to them, include something key you heard the contact you just met say. Use your own “voice” and keep it professional. That doesn’t mean uptight, just respectful.
  3. Make a positive observation about the person, company or project that this contact mentioned. For example, comment on how you can see this work achieving the goals or being successful. This is more good evidence of your effective listening skills and which creates the know, like and trust factors
  4. Summarize the action items you agreed to do and include any you can in this email. So, if your follow-up action requires more time or a separate email, outline how and when you will complete it.
  5. Thank your new contact for the action items they offered. Because appreciation is always smart and it can be a helpful reminder to busy people who’s intentions are good and who’s schedules are full. They feel valued. And that is more know like and trust development:-)
  6. Connect with your new contact on LinkedIn, Twitter and perhaps Facebook. You’re building your network and broadening that connection to social media channels is too important to miss. 

Ready for more ideas on how to use follow-up to close more sales?

Need more customers? Download free! “From Cold to Sold”, the ebook with 17 secrets for getting more customers.

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Now that you know the 6 steps to turn your follow-up into gold, go out there and convert more sales!

Do you have suggestions for making the follow up after making a new connection even better? Bring it! I’d love to see it, so share your comments below.

Ready to give yourself a RAISE?

I recently presented my R.A.I.S.E. method for relationship building to increase income at the Texas Women in Business meeting at Austin Country Club. Get out your pen and get ready to take some notes. This is a really powerful system that works outrageously well to increase sales revenue, so you can give yourself a R.A.I.S.E.! Discover how to build relationship and financial wealth.

Schedule your FREE sales coaching session!

So if you’re wondering how to increase sales or give yourself a RAISE, watch this 3 minutes video and take me up on the offer for a free coaching session.  Investing even 15 minutes in your success can have a massive impact on your business and your life. YOU are worth it!

5 steps to get new customers on LinkedIn – FREE!

Finding new customers with LinkedIn is actually fairly easy, especially with the new user interface. This social media platform is an incredibly powerful tool. Because most of us don’t know how to use the LinkedIn search tool, we miss out on finding and connecting with new prospects.

So, Here Are My Top 5 Tips for Using LinkedIn to Get New Customers on LinkedIn.

1 – Define Ideal Customer

Your your company’s success depends on how well your understand your ideal customer. In order to communicate the value that your product or service delivers to your customers, it’s essential to understand their pain points and how they seek to solve them. Sometimes this is called a persona or an avatar.

It doesn’t really matter what you call it as long as you identify who you’re targeting, so you know which prospects you’re looking for on LinkedIn.

2 – Start with clicking in the “Search” field. For example, if you sell a service to videographers, type “videographer” in the search box. With no other qualifiers in the advanced search, over 100,000 results come up. Now, you can narrow your focus by adding specific locations, like cities, states and countries.

After focusing on a specific location, I recommend adding the connection qualifier to see who you and your contacts know who meet your ideal customer profile. Connections with people you already know are warmer and easier to nurture.

3 – Narrow results with additional qualifiers. You can narrow the results down by the location by typing in the area you want to search in the location field. Below that field, you’ll see the check boxes for first, second, group and third and everyone else. You can further narrow the field of prospects by selecting these. Select third and everyone else for the broadest list of results. You can get more specific and with other details as well, like industry, past or current company, school and more.

4 – Create your hottest leads list. You can message first connections directly through LinkedIn. You can also access contact info for first connections. Often, they will have email, website and social media details listed.

You can connect with second degree contacts, so go ahead and click the “connect” button next to their names.

Sending an “Inmail” through LinkedIn is an option for reaching out to second connection. I find that it’s not as efficient as some other ways to connect.

Insider’s secret! #5! —> You can connect directly with people who are in groups with you! That’s right! You can connect with complete strangers if you share membership in th same LinkedIn group!. As of this post, LinkedIn allows membership in up to 50 groups. 

A quick message saying you look forward to hearing more about their business and would like to stay in touch is all you need. Finding something specific in the contacts profile or group discussion to mention will make your message stand out.

The easiest way to discover some interesting details, is to look at the contact’s LinkedIn profile and review what they have posted recently, where they have worked the past few years, school they attended and even nonprofits they like. Using a bit of a personal connection goes a long way to begin the conversation and start a potential relationship. Other ideas are to watch videos, view SlideShare or samples of work to get some insight about the new contact. a look at any of these videos like this.

Connecting with the new contact on Twitter or other social networks can be really useful for starting a conversation. Approaching people them from multiple platforms can increase your success rate. and reach out to

Success tip! –>  Making a positive comment about a prospect’s work or post can increase their response rate! Click here to download email templates that work great to connect with new prospects on LinkedIn.

“I deliver a service that helps videographers edit and deliver their videos quicker and more cost-effectively and wondered if you’d be interested in hearing more about this. ”

“I’m a fellow Tarheel and wanted to reach out to you to talk about a tool that I’ve got that will help HR managers work more productively. I went to that Final Four basketball game and it was crazy!

As you can see, researching on LinkedIn can be very powerful! The amount of information you can discover takes a little bit of time but can be like uncovering gold. It’s always good to know people who are successful, so it is extremely valuable to take your time to do your research to uncover the riches available to you on LinkedIn.

I’m looking for specific companies and want to find the contact I need to approach. I may find a contact of mine is connected to the person I’d like to reach out to. I could send him a message asking for an introduction.
“I’d like to meet x and it looks like you and I are both connected to him or her. I’d love to talk to her about what it’s like so you could I could have absolutely do that I could also i wanted to warm it up.

Some more I could look at the organizations and the groups and I could do all kinds of research on where people are what they’re doing and find ways to reach out to them and connect with them

Now we’ve looked at different ways to use LinkedIn’s advanced search to find prospects – people who meet your profile an ideal customer.

  • Jobs
  • Title
  • Geography
  • Group memberships
  • Post and activity
  • Company – past and current
  • School

 

5 Tips to Promote Your Business with Instagram

It’s not too late to get in on using Instagram to promote your business. There’s been lots of buzz about this fast growing social media platform and there’s still time to take advantage of all the good Instagram can do for grow your business.

Promote your business with Instagram
Promote your business with Instagram

Some companies have already done well with it, but it is my opinion is that Instagram has more big growth waves coming.

Use these Instagram tips to bring major growth to your business

Some techniques may #surprise you. Thought hashtags were so 2012? They’re back!

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#1 Use More Hashtags

Max Woolf studied 120,000 photos and likes on Instagram and discovered that using more hashtags actually does correlate to more reach and likes. So, spamming is good?!?! Well, not exactly. Spamming isn’t considerate of others and tends to annoy people. But using many hashtags that are closely related to your post on Instagram is worthwhile. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags and it’s unclear how many is too many. My advice? Test what works best for your business and use keywords efficiently and liberally. Since long tail keywords tend to be the best, try a few of those first.

#2 Identify Instagram Influencers

In her post “How to Promote Your Business on Instagram“,  talks about collaborating with social media influencers. “As a small business, you should actively research which Instagram influencers are a great fit for your products. Chances are, their followers have the same interests and are potential customers”, Danielle says.

#3 Collaborate with Influencers

Have some fun brainstorming about partnership and collaboration ideas. Are there influencers who could benefit from your service or product? Could the followers of those influencers benefit from what you offer? If not, there may still be a way to nurture a relationship with them. You may be creating content for your own marketing that could be very useful to a potential social media partner.

For example, I have a client who films weddings and is looking to build his referral business with venues and event planners. These businesses want to show the world how beautiful their events are. Since many of them have a lot of followers on social channels, my client upped his social media game to increase his brand recognition.

Because he is one of the first certified videographers in his area to use a drone to shoot aerial footage, he is promoting this market differentiator across Instagram. Also, he noticed that very few venues and almost no planners have any video of their events on their websites or social accounts and even fewer have aerial video.

Recognizing a great opportunity when he saw one, this videographer uses drone footage he already had to help his potential referral partners so that they could market their businesses. As a result, they are blown away by the gorgeous video they have to use on Instagram and Facebook. Also, they are extremely appreciative of the wedding filmer’s generous gift.  Relationship nurturing is easy when we help others achieve their goals.

#4 Share Marketing Content

He has a library of stunning drone video from several weddings at a wide variety of venues. We created a business development program for him to reach out to these prospective partners and offer to provide them with this gorgeous aerial video to share across social channels and websites. It gives them a beautiful piece of marketing and sales content to share, it nurtures the relationship for my client and it cost him nothing. This is all goodness for his brand. Helping his customers grow their digital presence increases the value of his relationship to his customers and prospective customers.

#5 Use Apps to Simplify Posts

Who’s got time to schedule posts on a bunch of different apps? Instagram doesn’t play as well with social media scheduling tools. Grum is a fun app that allows scheduling Instagram posts from a desktop. About time! I like how Grum makes it easier to manage followers and following. Plus, the app provides an easy way to deliver scripted direct messages to new followers. Grum has a cute little messaging like interface.

Social media and live video are changing fast! Subscribe and stay up to date on the latest social media marketing trends.

The 1 social media thing to do today to grow your business

How to get social media focus
Knowing how to get social media focus so you can grow our businesses can be overwhelming.

How to get social media focus – We are faced with endless options for posting on several social platforms.

Easier said than done, right? Raise your hand if you feel overwhelmed by social media sometimes. It’s SUPER common!

There’s so much we CAN do on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn (to name a few social platforms) that entrepreneurs can feel paralyzed, like a deer in the headlights. How do we get social media focus?  Building a network of referral partners is one smart use of social media.

And this can be a really good use of your social media time, depending on your business. Download my free 3-step plan for getting more referrals.

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Just because we CAN do it, doesn’t mean we SHOULD do it. The key is social media focus. I like to use lists to visualize and prioritize my tasks.  Whether you like lists, graphics or some other way to organize your “To Dos”,  I highly recommend you do that so you can get clarity on what social media activity is most important for driving growth for your business. What’s the one thing you can do that will attract more customers today?

I’ll give you some help. You’ve heard it said often that brands need to deliver value with their content. That’s true, no matter what form the content takes. Social media is included. Entertain, inform or do both is the content marketing credo. Since the goal of content is to build the know-like-trust factor, I suggest you run each post you’re considering through that filter.

Does the social post help audiences to know, like and trust you? If so, is the content valuable and/of entertaining.

My suggestion is to put all of your social media focus on post ideas. Look through these filters and then you’ll have a short list of good branding, rapport-building and value-adding content. Once you have the short list, review it to determine which social post is most likely to attract new clients. That’s the one to post.

Declutter your mind and calendar by focusing only on this one post. Use your favorite social media management app (I use Hootsuite) to optimize when you post on each social platform. Remember to answer questions and like and reply to comments to get the most mileage out of your post too.

Download my free 3-step plan for getting more referral

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Live Video Streaming is How Michael Phelps Announced His Retirement – Not TV

Live video streaming is beating out cable and network TV for celebrity announcements. That’s not all. Life and business is changing radically.

Michael Phelps showed the world how game-changing live video streaming is by announcing his retirement on Facebook Live this week. His fans loved the feeling that they were right there with him and his teammates hanging out in between races in the Olympic village. We loved watching him talk with us as if we are his friends and as he bared his soul, announcing that Rio would be his last Olympics. This illustrates how authentic live video makes the experience feel for the broadcaster and their viewing audience. The unscripted and conversational style allows the viewing audience to connect with the people they watch on live video. It is so comfortable, natural and easy. Of course we love it!

Live video is on fire. Like, white hot fire! I feel like a kid in a candy store because we are at the beginning of a new wave of communication that changes, oh, just EVERYTHING! How lucky are we to live right now!?!

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If the internet was the greatest invention since the car and social media was the great democratization for people across the globe, then live video is the paradigm shift that empowers everyone to become their own broadcast stars. Talk of content being king has been around for years now and recently, video content has become most effective at garnering our ever-shortening attention spans. But live video broadcasting is a whole new and exponentially more captivating dimension.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video may be worth a million and live video is worth a trillion words. Don’t quote me on the math, but there plenty of studies that show our brains are wired to detect and focus on movement. So, while I view all content as having intrinsic value (I myself love painting and drawings), it depends on the context. Of course video content grabs out attention more quickly than still content. Of course it’s more compelling for our brains to watch moving pictures and action than read words. (Sorry, my dear talented writers. People do still love to read. It’s all about context and right now we are talking about the digital screen context.)

Instapage

Moving images + real time live action = incredibly compelling content. Plus, thanks to camera phones and social media, anyone, anywhere with a smart phone can be a live video content creator, aggregator and publisher. How cool is THAT?!?!?

Google introduced video conferencing with “Hangouts” in 2014. Twitter launched Periscope as their live video streaming platform in spring of 2015. Also in spring of that year, Blab went live with their beta version of live video. Facebook Live launched to celebrities in the summer of 2015 and rolled out to most members with fan pages in April of 2016. Less than five months later, Blab shuttered their platform in the same week that Google announced it’s closing down “Hangouts” next month. Google wants everyone to migrate over to YouTube for live video. YouTube has some work to do to make that platform more user friendly.

Now there’s a mad scramble to claim the live video streaming territory. Blab and Hangouts both allowed multiple video hosts to participate. That was really compelling because humans like to watch interactions between other humans more than watching one human monologuing.

Instagram added live video recently. Huzza has emerged as a live streaming platform that offers multiple video feeds and hosts, plus it’s is more stable than Blab ever was. Huzza recently added a beta feature that allows live video broadcasters to connect and stream over Facebook Live simultaneously. It has a few bugs so we’ll see how that works out. Meanwhile Facebook attempted to launch 2 person live video, but it was nothing more than glorified Facetime. Wah-wah-wah. Periscope continues to thrive, since people all over the world can “scope” live to anyone who who wants to watch. It’s easier to get discovered on Periscope than on Facebook. IMO, Facebook might wanna close that competitive gap.

Whatever the live video streaming platforms do this year, this is going to be a fun and wild ride!

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