Do you know – Lifetime Value Of A Customer

Do you value your customers?

We all appreciate our customers, but do we really value them?  There’s a huge difference there and we’re not just talking semantics, we’re talking about the lifetime value, that customer, provides to a Maine small business.  Most small businesses don’t even know what the lifetime value of a customer is, never mind how to calculate it.

Calculating the Lifetime Value of a Customer

Some Maine website design companies may say that “break even” is the most important metric of a business, but we believe “lifetime value” is perhaps the most significant measure. We also know it’s one of the most overlooked and least understood metrics in business — even though it’s one of the easiest to figure out.

So what, why is this metric so important?

Once you figure out this number, it should help you decide how much you must spend to “get” that customer, for example by getting a fanpage or blog. After you know how often a customer buys and how much they spend, you’ll know how much you must spend towards gaining new customers online, growing your company, and keeping your existing customers happy by giving them a direct link.

The simplest way to estimate lifetime value

(Average $ of Sale) X (Number of Repeat Transactions) X (Average Retention Time in Months or Years for a Typical Customer)

An easy example would be the lifetime value of a gym member who spends $20 every month for 3 years. The value of that customer would be:

$20 X 12 months X 3 years = $720 in total revenue (or $240 per year)

Now you can see even from this example why many gyms offer a free starter membership to help drive traffic. gym owners know that as long as they spend less than $240 to acquire a new member, the customer will prove profitable in a short amount of time.

How much should you spend now?

Now, figure out your lifetime customer value, how much are you going to spend on webpage design or seo services to get that customer? The point is, you’ll never know how to budget for an online presence, unless you know what you must spend to get that customer. This knowledge is vital because it will help you make marketing decisions based on your own numbers, rather than the promises of some new media.  And don’t forget, YOUR time is money too!

Don’t discount Discounts

Knowing lifetime value lets you see how much, or any, you can discount. With that number, you will be able to run cross-promotions, online give-a-ways, online or offline discounts for action (visit business, referrals, etc) knowing that what you spend will be less than what that customer will spend with you. From there, you will be able to see what online methods work for gaining customers, what media has the best return on investment, and what online presence management serves your customers best.

The bottom line is, it’s the lifetime customer value that will determine the ultimate success of any Maine small business’ website, social media, and online presence.

10 Things That Should Be On Your Website

10 things that should be on your website

In business, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and your company’s website is no different. When customers arrive at your site they should instantly have a clear understanding of who you are, what you do, and what you offer. An old-school marketing rule was the “30 second elevator pitch”.  If you had a potential client just step into an elevator with you, could you describe your business in the time it takes to get to your floor?  Could you close the sale in that amount of time?  Your website should do that with the very first page someone lands on.

Contact information

A recent survey by Chantilly, Va.-based local media and advertising research group BIA/Kelsey indicates that nearly 75 percent of small-business websites don’t have an email link on their homepage. And six out of 10 don’t have a phone number.  At a minimum, your website should have a clear link to a “Contact Us” page. If your business has a physical location, the front page should include the full address as well as a map.

Images that represent what you do

If you sell widgets, the first page should have a picture of one of your widgets. As basic as this sounds, many business sites use irrelevant graphics and generic stock images, or worse, none at all.  Don’t make them spin or shake or do anything else that can be distracting or irritating!  If you have multimedia, sound or video, don’t automatically start playing it when the page loads, let the visitor decide!

Clear, simple navigation

The front page, and really all, of your site, should have an easy navigation system.  Usually this is across the top, or along one side of the page or the other.  Make your navigation identical on all pages so that visitors don’t get lost.  The links should be clear wording that corresponds to the content on your site and helps visitors quickly find what they’re looking for, ideally within 3 clicks.

About Us page

Part of your navigation system should include an “About / About Us” page.  Describe yourself and/or your business.  Personalize it, explain WHY you own or started the business, show your passion, tell your visitors what it is that makes you different than others in your particular business category.  You’re probably not in a business that you hate, or doing something you don’t love, tell your visitors why it is you love it so much, and why you do what you do!

Unify your look

If you have one logo on your business cards, another for your invoices, and a completely different “look & feel” on your website, visitors are not going to look favorably on you and your business.  Make sure you have a unified look so you can begin building “brand recognition” in whatever form someone sees your business.  Think how many logos companies like Nike or Chevy have!  Insist your website using the same logo, fonts, and colors as your business cards and other forms of advertising.

An email signup box

One effective way to encourage customer loyalty is with a regular newsletter. Put a signup box on the front page of your website and offer rewards, such as a discount on a future order to anyone who submits his or her email address.  Services such as AWebber or ConstantContact offer cost effective ways of doing this.

Social media links

Everyone knows social media is crucial to small businesses right?  Make sure your front page has links to the social media sites that you actually use.  Don’t put a link to Twitter if you never Tweet.  Likewise, if you link to a social media account, take the time, DAILY, to put something there for your customers to read.  Don’t just re-broadcast links and Memes, actually TALK to your customers, converse with them, don’t bombard them with more useless information, talk about current trends, techniques, or even tech in your business.  Teach your customers!

Update your copyright notice

Nothing says lazy & careless more than a website that has a copyright notice that is four years old!  Make sure YOU visit your site regularly, checking for outdated material and copyrights.

Updated content

Your website’s front page should be refreshed once a year.  Make sure you have a clear and concise navigation structure that allows a returning visitor to see what’s new.  New visitors should be able to see you’ve added something new within the last year, even if your product or service doesn’t change, re-write your content to freshen things up.  If your small business website is blog based, they should be able to see if you’ve posted something recently, if you haven’t posted anything new in the last year or more, they will probably turn away!

Pricing

Have a clear, simple link to your pricing page.  For some small businesses pricing may not be the competitive advantage over their competition, however most consumers today know that you often get what you pay for.  If you sell widgets slightly higher than your competitor, tell your visitors why they should pay your price (better service, better quality, etc.).  Even if your business is quotation based, give your visitors a starting point for pricing.  If they’ve found your site, it’s because they want to know more information, what you offer, what you can do for them to solve a problem, and how much it’s going to cost.  Even if it’s only a rough estimation of costs as examples, give your visitor a starting point.  It will also help weed out those that are shopping purely on price alone which you may not want to deal with anyways!

Testimonials / referrals / reviews

Make sure your front page links to, or has testimonials or referrals.  Today’s consumer is much more inclined to purchase from a business that has good, honest, reviews and testimonials than one that doesn’t.  Even if your business is “brick and mortal” based, take the results from your customer feedback surveys and get them on your site (you DO survey your customers don’t you?!?).  Prospective customers want to know what kind of service and/or product they can expect when they purchase from you!

 

Yes, that was 11 things wasn’t it?  Good for you for paying attention.  We did it on purpose, it’s just one more way we exceed your expectations!

Contact Us Today!

Maine Small Businesses Don’t Need A Website!

“Google commissioned an independent study on small businesses and the internet this year, and its findings might surprise you.”

I have to compete against large CORPORATIONS

You’re probably thinking “I’m just a small “Mom & Pop” operation, how many customers could I really expect compared to all the big businesses in Maine?

“According to the Small Business Administration, more than 97% of Maine’s employers are small business owners.”

Well, if 97% of employers in Maine are small business owners, then the odds are extremely good that your competition is a small business too, right?  You’re probably not trying to create a completely new market that has no demand!  So you need to be able to reach more of your potential customers to inform them of the goods & services you have to offer, but where can you gain any real market share with your dollars?  Print? Radio? Television?  Maybe spread some dollars across all of them in the hopes of getting another percentage or two “in the door”?

I already have a great customer base

What if I told you, your business only has about 40% of it’s potential?  In other words, do you think your customer base would grow if you could reach almost 60% MORE of the market than your competitors?  Can you AFFORD to ignore that many potential customers?

“59% of small businesses in Maine do not have a website. And that’s about average for states around the country. Overall, according to Google, 58% of small businesses in the U.S. don’t have a website.”

Read that quote, again.  Seriously, think about that… if you don’t have a web presence, you are LOSING almost 60% of your customers!  That means if your competition has a website, and you don’t, they’re getting 40% more customers than you!

Having an online presence & website isn’t critical

Maine Senator Olympia Snowe recently asked Google to come to Maine and hold one of its small business seminars because she sees building Maine’s small business presence online as critical to the growth of the state’s economy.

“Sen. Snowe said, “Small businesses are, certainly, our economy. They’re our lifeblood, and our heart and soul. And so when you have so many businesses that do not have an online presence, not having websites, that is clearly putting them in a position of being less competitive.””

Can your business really afford being less competitive?  Do you have enough customers and business that you don’t need to worry about attracting more?  Can simply having an online presence REALLY reach enough people in Maine to make it cost effective?

“a study from Boston Consulting Group last year, found that small businesses with an online presence grew 40% faster than those that aren’t online.”

Creating an online presence is difficult, expensive, and time consuming

Not when you talk to us!  Contact Us today to get your online presence started before you lose more money!

Online presence – Why it needs to be managed

 

Online presence management is the process of presenting and drawing traffic to a personal or professional brand online. This process combines web design and development, blogging, search engine optimization, pay per click marketing, reputation management, directory listings, social media, link sharing, and other avenues to create a long-term positive presence for a person, organization, or product in search engines and on the web in general

Web Design and Development

Web design ensures that the brand is visually attractive through web site layout, logo, image placement, and other strategies. This may include establishing a consistent graphics scheme to use in establishing brand consistency across online platforms. Web development includes programming sites, creating mobile versions or apps, and related activities. A developer can tie branding into navigation and integrate search engine optimization into a brand’s web site. Security configuration is also important to ensure brand reliability online.

Blogging

Blogging can promote a brand through consistent, interesting content generation associated with a particular brand. Microblogging through services such as Twitter may be particularly effective for establishing and maintaining name recognition. Blogging is also a quick way to respond to brand-related complaints and maintain a positive focus around a brand.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the use of keywords in a web site to increase its ranking and thus visibility in the organic, crawler-based listings of search engines. Search engines use a spider or a crawler to gather listings by automatically “crawling” the web. The spider follows links to web pages, makes copies of the pages, and stores them in the search engine’s index. Based on this data, the search engines then index the pages and rank the websites accordingly. Major search engines that index pages using spiders are Google,Yahoo, Bing, AOL, and Lycos.
Some methods to optimize a web page in search engines are:

  1. Using keywords in a domain name
  2. Strategic linking (quantity of links per page, target, and keywords in link text)
  3. Keywords used in headings, page titles, and image descriptions
  4. Title tags
  5. Meta description tags (not relevant for all search engines)

Internet Advertising

Internet advertising is a form of broadcasting and promotion of products, ideas, or services using the Internet to attract customers. A 2011 advertising industry survey found that 21 percent of Internet users consider online advertising to be the most relevant advertising system. Internet advertising has overtaken other traditional advertising media such as newspapers, magazines, and radio.[5] Internet advertising targets users interested in relevant keywords and displays a text or image ad next to search results or within social media.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing uses social media platforms to create and foster communities and relationships.  Social media marketing is focused on creating content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share content with their social networks. Social messages are effective because they come from a trusted, third-party source, rather than the brand itself.

Social Media – Why you MUST be social!

Social Media

Social media includes web-based and mobile based technologies which are used to turn communication into interactive dialogue between organizations, communities, and individuals.

If your business never interacts with customers, never communicates in any form, or doesn’t have ANY customers at all, then you don’t need to worry about Social Media.

EVERY OTHER BUSINESS SHOULD BE SOCIAL

  • According to a Nielsen poll, Americans spend 25% of their online time on social networks. Facebook dominates those networks, taking the lion’s share of 85%.
  • Over 250 million people engage with Facebook every month via external websites.
  • 71% of recent respondents say reviews from friends and family exert the single greatest influence on their buying decisions (Booz & Co., 2011).
  • According to a recent Facebook survey, 49% of users say they feel better about brands that have a presence on the social networking site.
  • In a recent study, users who ‘liked’ a Houston-based coffee chain made 36% more visits to the brick-and-mortar business than their non-‘Liking’ counterparts and claimed to have 41% greater loyalty to the brand (Rice University and Dessert Gallery research).

 

WHY WOULD YOU IGNORE ALL THOSE CUSTOMERS?