Monday, August 29, 2016

10 Ways Small Businesses Can Retain Customers

A 2015 survey conducted by Constant Contact reveals that retaining customers is one of the top three concerns small businesses deal with. If you feel like you’re struggling with customer retention, you are not alone!

Regardless of your business’ age, demographic and location, customer retention is vital to the longevity and overall success of your business. So, what can you do to show this group of people how important they are? Treating customers like royalty will make them feel special - and can go a long way.

Here are 10 ways to increase your customer retention by showing your customers how much you care:

  1. It all begins with a firm handshake. Whether you’re meeting a potential customer in person or over the phone, first impressions are crucial. Strive to create a positive interaction in their memory. A good, strong introduction can go a long way.
  2. Help them feel at home. Developing a welcome packet or program is an essential step in building your relationship with your customer. An introductory phone call or email shows that making customers comfortable and welcome is a part of your brand.
  3. Don’t go anywhere. Competition is fierce, no matter the market. Remind your customers of your value with periodic phone calls, emails or even a newsletter. A visit can also send a big signal that you personally want to know how they are doing.
  4. The easier, the better. Make working with your business simple and painless. Customers don’t like to jump through hoops, especially when paying for a service. Remember to keep things simple when it becomes time to renew. The easier it is for a customer to stay loyal, the more appealing it will be.
  5. Be personal. A birthday email or a small discount regarding a certain milestone with your business lets customers know you’re thinking about them. Be creative with how you’d like to show your customers that you care!
  6. Be present. Be active on social media channels, and easy to get a hold of via email or phone call. Remind your customers that you are here, accessible and active in your community.
  7. Open communication is key. Offer office hours for meeting with clients. Put as much information as you can on your website and consider a FAQ page. Make sure that your contact information is available and have a quick turnaround time if you happen to miss a call or an email.
  8. Celebrate your consumers. When your customers show their loyalty, consider rewarding them. Offer a rewards or referral program to encourage consumers to be more invested in your business. Discounts, coupons or added perks are all exciting things to offer to your customer base!
  9. Be open to evolving. The world constantly changes, and your brand may have to change with it. Understand that adapting is necessary, although sometimes uncomfortable. Look at how your competitors are marketing themselves and brainstorm what you can do to stay relevant and be noticed. For example, 80% of internet users own a smartphone. Is your website mobile friendly?
  10. Get everyone involved! Customer retention is a full team effort. Everyone is a part of your sales staff, constantly working to contribute to customer satisfaction and your mission. What your employees do count! Teach them the value of your customers and the importance of retention.

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This post was written by your BBB Serving Central Ohio's Content & Communications Coordinator, Jordan Abbruzzese.

Monday, August 15, 2016

5 Reasons Women Entrepreneurs Are Thriving

Are you a woman thinking of starting her own business? Here are some quick statistics for you:

  • According to The Business Journals SMB Insights, women-owned businesses are one of the largest and fastest growing sub-segments of the U.S. business market.
  • The Guardian Small Business Research Institute projects that women-owned businesses will generate five million new jobs by 2018.
  • A report from the Institute of Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) shows business ownership for minority women has increased by 265 percent since 1997.
  • Currently, minorities account for one in three female-owned businesses, up from one in six less than two decades ago.
  • Growth among African American and Hispanic women has been particularly rapid, with both segments making up 14 and 11 percent of total women-owned businesses, respectively.

In other words, women are changing the game. So why are women so successful? They hold a unique balance where they strive for financial success but also look for an inherent meaning in their work. Women business owners have the need to be fully engaged in work that is personally satisfying and fulfilling. “Respect” and “ethics” are important standards in their brand and decision making processes. Furthermore, their ethical perspectives often extend to the environment, including “green” efforts and sustainable products and services.

FOX Business suggests five reasons why women are thriving as entrepreneurs based on data from the Women in Business Report:
1. More women than men attend and graduate from college, helping them to collect credentials and experience for running their own businesses
2. Costs of launching a business have significantly decreased
3. Ability to work from home helps ease the balance of work and family
4. Promotional costs have decreased because of digital marketing and social media
5. Technology has quickened the process and lowered the cost of acquiring capital

If you’re interested in joining a community of trustworthy businesses, visit to get started.

This post was written by your BBB Serving Central Ohio's Content & Communications Coordinator, Jordan Abbruzzese.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Think Before You Post: 5 Questions To Ask Before You Hit Publish On Social Media

When social networking first started gaining popularity, it was hard to imagine a company losing business or someone getting fired over a Facebook post. Now, if you search the phrase “fired over a Tweet”, you will find over 30 million results on Google.

There is not one magical way to publish the perfect content on social media every time. Depending on your industry and type of businesses, your company could post different things from another business depending on your audience. But if you want to avoid getting in trouble with your boss, your company losing a following, or potential legal fees, it could help to set up a short editorial process before you click “post”.

Here are 5 things to think about before you publish content on social media:

  1. Will this be valuable to my followers? We already know not to spam our audiences with too much content, so the content that we do post has to be immediately and obviously worth it. If you are retweeting or sharing an off-brand post from another content source, ask yourself the same thing: How will it relate to your followers?
  2. Is this post contributing to our mission? Know your company’s mission and live it out through the work you publish. Everything that you do should have a point and a goal. If your boss or a consumer were to ask you why you posted what you did, you should be able to defend it and how it aligns with your business.
  3. Is this the right channel? If you have multiple social media platforms, determine the right channels to publish on depending on the content. A picture of your employees at an event might do better on Instagram than on Twitter.
  4. Am I optimizing this network’s capabilities? Does this platform allow you to use hashtags to gain more attention? Can you upload a high resolution photo to accompany the text? Find out how to tag other companies or people relevant to your post so that they can “like” and “share” it to their followers.
  5. Am I posting this at the best time? You should have a plan for the types of post you want to publish in advance. Take into consideration what day of the week or time of day your posts have the most engagement. Also think about what timezone your audience may be in. It is helpful to look at other competing businesses to see what type of content they’re posting, and when. Finally, pay attention to the world around you and current events in the news. Don’t post something that could be offensive or insensitive.

Always have someone else read your post before you publish to get a second opinion and to help you find any mistakes or typos. If you’re in doubt, ask. Look to those around you for guidance, and happy posting!


This post was written by your BBB Serving Central Ohio's Content & Communications Coordinator, Jordan Abbruzzese.