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Secure customer loyalty

Your challenge in these difficult economic times is to drive traffic to your store

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Your challenge in these difficult economic times is to drive traffic to your store by staying in touch with your customers, communicating with them about new products, trends and colors. Doing these things will help you to build loyalty and increase sales.

Anyone remotely involved with contacting customers is aware of the cost, but you can keep up your marketing and build loyalty while maintaining brand identity without a lot of cost.

Develop one-on-one relationships with customers — You know that targeted communication brings stronger results than marketing to the masses so consider utilizing one of the most highly touted features of the Web 2.0 era — blogging. First, take a step back to understand the meaning of Web 2.0. Defined in Wikipedia, this is a living term describing trends in the use of World Wide Web technology that aim to enhance creativity and information sharing. Next, consider the significance of a blog, which is very much like a personal diary or daily opinion column positioned in chronological order. Keeping in mind the environmental impact of traditional print advertisement this new technology seems like an inconsequential marketing tool, but it attracts a different audience while conveying a green effort.

Add value to build clout with your customers — Blogs allow you to directly communicate with your customer, enabling you to build long-lasting relationships that foster trust. Blogs articulate your knowledge and expertise on products, trends and design for the casual furniture market.

Low cost, high return — Blogs are inexpensive to set up, operate and maintain yet give you the opportunity to tell your story over and over. This creates better communication and helps you grow your business with a competitive edge. You know a great deal about your business, and share that knowledge with your customers. This will help set you apart from the competition and show your expertise within the casual furniture industry niche.

Raise the company profile — Blogs serve as another channel on which to promote your brand and company. Consistency along with quality will be your best public relations tool.

Start by building your network of customers’ e-mail addresses. Ask permission to include them on an e-mail journal that will provide useful how-to tips, decorating ideas, design trends, color directions, entertaining suggestions, maintenance instructions, new products, special offers, seasonal products, sales, coupons, pictures, outdoor living solutions and much more consumer-friendly advice.

Ask your customers what they would like to see in the blog and encourage their participation via comments and questions for you, the expert. This is a way to connect with your customers on a personal level, educate them and stay connected.

Take the plunge by implementing a more contemporary marketing strategy.

Use blogging as a marketing tool. If you were doing a direct-mail campaign, you would not expect to make money from the mail. You expect to make money from the sales it would generate.

You can start your own blog even if you don’t have your own Web site by going to www.blogger.com, where you can quickly post thoughts and interact with people, free of charge.

All creative solutions begin by challenging your assumptions. The world is changing. We have changed and evolved to meet new challenges, and now it’s time to try something new.

What do you think of it?

For answers to questions on how to start a blog, e-mail me at mblake@outdoorinteriors.com

Check out my blog on www.casualliving.com/blog/1980000398.html



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