If you want to improve your business’s sales in today’s online marketplace, your website must feature highly targeted content. Especially since your website is likely the first touch point a potential customer will have with your business. As a result, it must be optimized to the buyer’s journey to usher your leads from the beginning to the end of their purchasing process.

Is your website using these resources to nurture and convert leads?

Blogs

The most commonly used resources used in the awareness stage are blogs or articles. Blogs are the perfect format to write purely informational copy that help answer common questions and solve problems. They are easy to understand and comprehensive enough to answer initial questions. Educational and informative blogs also showcase your business’s industry expertise and positions your business as a leader, demonstrating why customers should trust your business.

Your business can use blog posts for every stage of the buyer’s journey. However, the content and tone looks a little different for each stage. For buyers in the awareness stage, blogs should be free of sales-focused copy and unnecessary brand acknowledgements. Why? Because in the awareness stage, buyers are simply looking to educate themselves about their problem or need. They are not ready to be “sold” yet. In the consideration stage, blog posts should have more in-depth content on different solutions that can solve the buyer’s problem. In the decision stage, blog posts can become sales-focused and discuss why buyers should choose your business over competition.

Educational Guides & Infographics

Educational written guides and infographics are also ideal for the awareness stage because they are highly informative, easy to consume, and easy to share. Infographics in particular are visually engaging and relay information in a fun, interesting way. In addition, infographics do especially well on social media. Both the written guide and infographic should remain focused on providing educational content that matters to their audience, not on selling your products or services.

In the consideration stage, buyers have a more complete understanding of their problem or need, but they have not identified a specific solution. As a result, they need resources discussing the pros and cons of various solutions. After reading an educational blog or watching an explainer video, solution-focused guides, eBooks, and whitepapers that customers can freely download on your website are the perfect next step. You can even link these consideration stage resources in your awareness stage blog posts to gently usher your leads to the next buyer’s journey stage. .

Videos

Video is an incredibly popular format to consume content. Videos are visually engaging and deliver information in a fraction of the time it takes to read a blog. Like blogs, videos can deliver purely informational content to answer common questions and solve initial problems. How-to videos and Q&A videos are great types of content for the awareness stage while comparison videos (in which your products or services can be directly compared to your competition) work well in the consideration stage. However, in both the awareness stage and consideration stage, it is important to remain authentic and not salesy. These videos are not meant to be commercials or advertisements, but helpful resources for potential customers.

Product Photography & Product Demos

Custom photography allows customers to get a close-up look and accurate depiction of a business’s products. Product photography is especially important in the decision stage because the quality of the images will directly influence a buyer’s purchase decision. If your business features low-quality product images, buyers will directly correlate the image quality to the product quality. The opposite is true as well: high-quality images suggest high-quality products. Consequently, low-quality product imagery deters buyers from entering in your sales funnel.

For the consideration stage or the decision stage, product demo videos or live demonstration webinars allow your potential buyers to see how your product compares to your competitors. Buyers want to learn how to use your product and all of its features and see how it stacks up to the competition. Product demos and webinars allow your business to educate your audience about your products, show how your brand differs from competition, and give a sales pitch.

Case Studies

In the decision stage, buyers want to know why they should choose to purchase from a certain brand. As a result, they are most interested in seeing how your business has solved other people’s problems and met their needs. Case studies provide a great format to show your leads how your business has achieved positive results. In addition, case studies don’t always have to be written—they can also be done as videos.

Customer Testimonials & Reviews

In the decision stage, the buyer is finally ready to make a purchase. At this point, the buyer has completed extensive research, understands their problem or need, and has an ideal solution in mind. Now, they may seek additional information on why they should choose a particular brand.

Your business’s goal in the decision stage should be to answer final questions, address common customer concerns, and ultimately convince buyers to choose their brand over the competition. As a result, customer testimonials and reviews are essential additions to your website. Buyers will seek out customer reviews to evaluate a brand, select a product, and feel confident about committing to a purchase.

Let your clients tell the story. Every potential customer wants to know the experience others have had before committing to a brand. Whether it is a written review or a video testimonial, your customers can powerfully endorse your business and establish your credibility by sharing their personal experiences.

Tailor Your Content to the Buyer’s Journey

We will help you tailor your marketing strategies and content to hook your customers at each stage of their buyer’s journey. Contact Sun Sign Designs if your business is ready to create a compelling content experience that engages your audience and makes you stand out from the competition.

Content plays an essential role in moving people through the buyer’s journey and successfully through your sales funnel.

It helps your prospective customers learn about your business and gather relevant information about your products or services while learning more about their problem or need. In addition, content positions your business as an expert in your industry, earning customer trust.

Plus, content is much more than blogs. Businesses have endless content options these days, including: videos, podcasts, images, social media posts, educational guides, infographics, interviews, surveys, email newsletters, landing pages, and more.

However, your potential customers need the right content at the right time to move them through their buyer’s journey and motivate them to convert with your business. The buyer’s journey consists of three main stages: the awareness stage, the consideration stage, and the decision stage. Let’s look at the best types of content needed for each stage.

Awareness Stage Content

In the awareness stage, the buyer becomes aware they have a problem or need. As a result, their awareness jumpstarts a research process for more information on their problem. The buyer will go to search engines to research their problem and educate themselves on a particular topic.

At this early stage in the buyer’s journey, content doesn’t need to be sales-focused. Buyers are not ready to make a final decision or purchase yet. People are looking for answers, resources, research data, opinions, and insight.

As a result, content in the awareness stage should be educational and informative as well as comprehensive and easy to understand. Content types that works well in the awareness stage includes: educational blogs, videos, social media posts, webinars, articles, infographics, and podcasts.

Consideration Stage Content

In the consideration stage, the buyer has a more complete understanding of their problem or need, but they are still not ready to buy yet. Instead, buyers evaluate potential solutions and look at their best options. Since buyers have a better understanding of their problem or need, the consideration stage introduces the research of specific types of products and services in more detail.

Content that is useful in this stage includes: free eBooks, downloadable guides, white papers, free trials, quizzes, and explainer videos. Blogs are still effective in this stage. However, the tone and topics used will differ from the awareness stage. For example, blogs in the consideration stage are more sales-focused, concentrating on the brand’s products and services in comparison to competition.

Decision Stage Content

After extensive research, the buyer is finally ready to make a purchase. At this point, the buyer has completed their research, understands their problem or need, and has an ideal solution in mind. Now, they may seek additional information on why they should choose a particular brand.

The business’s goal in the decision stage should be to answer final questions, address common customer concerns, and ultimately convince buyers to choose their brand over the competition. Content needed to convert customers in this stage includes: product demos, case studies, FAQs page, product landing pages, customer reviews, and customer testimonials.

Why Should You Create Content for the Buyer’s Journey Stages?

The prospects and leads attracted through your business’s marketing efforts usually don’t come to your website ready to buy. Though you have captured their interest, many are still gathering information. With the right types of content available, your business can give them the answers and solutions they are seeking and gently usher them to convert without overwhelming them with sales-focused copy or ads. As a result, content creation centered on the buyer’s journey allows your business to constantly nurture your prospects and convince them to convert.

Tailor Your Content to the Buyer’s Journey

We will help you tailor your marketing strategies and content to hook your customers at each stage of their buyer’s journey. Contact Sun Sign Designs if your business is ready to create a compelling content experience that engages your audience and makes you stand out from the competition.

Understanding the different stages of the buyer’s journey is crucial if your business wants capture potential customers and successfully propel them through your sales funnel. When you fully understand each stage of the buyer’s journey, your business has the opportunity to better position your products or services at each stage.

Becoming intimately familiar with who your buyer is, their pain points and needs, and what kind of journey they take on their path to purchasing is the most successful sales tactic in a day and age where buyers hold all the power.

What is the Buyer’s Journey?

The buyer’s journey describes each phase a buyer goes through on their pathway to purchasing. Buyers do not often purchase on a whim. Plus, even when customers do make impulsive purchases, it is difficult for businesses to track and market to spontaneous buyers with no clear purchasing patterns. These days, customers are flooded with options, so they take their time researching before making a commitment. This includes researching, evaluating, and weighing each option.

Understanding each stage of your customers’ buyer’s journey is incredibly valuable to businesses because they can clearly see how buyers progress from one stage to the next—which will be an important framework for crafting a successful marketing strategy. The three stages of the buyer’s journey are awareness, consideration, and decision.

Stage 1: Awareness

The first stage of the buyer’s journey is the buyer becoming aware that they have a problem or they are experiencing symptoms of a pain point. The buyer’s goal in the awareness stage is to clearly identify their problem and give their problem a name. As a result, buyer’s enter into an initial research phase (usually using a search engine) in which they may look for informational resources like white papers or blogs to clearly define and better understand their problem.

Example: Laura is experiencing itchy, red skin and rashes. She knows she has sensitive skin but hasn’t experienced this before. After researching her condition and reading many articles, she determines that she is most likely experiencing a reaction to her new laundry detergent.

Stage 2: Consideration

In the second stage of the buyer’s journey, the buyer has given a name to their problem and clearly defined their situation. In the consideration stage, the buyer enters into more rigorous research to understand all available methods or approaches to solving their problem.

Example: Laura is now interested in how she can solve her problem. After more research, Laura learns about many laundry detergent ingredients that could be causing her skin reaction and about skin lotions that could soothe her inflamed skin.

Stage 3: Decision

In the third and final stage of the buyer’s journey, the buyer has chosen and decided upon the method that will solve their problem. They will now search and make a list of businesses that align with their chosen method and make a final purchase decision with one of them.

Example: Laura decides to change her laundry detergent rather than buy a soothing lotion. She narrows down her list to businesses that have fragrance-free, hypoallergenic laundry detergents. After perusing each brand, she makes a purchase decision and buys a new laundry detergent.

Buyer’s Journey Insight

The common phases of the buyer’s journey show you that making a sale takes time. In fact, if your business zeroes in on prospects and tries to close the sales loop too early, you will most likely scare them off. Why? Because buyers want to trust your business before making a purchase with you.

As a result, businesses must tailor their content to build customer trust at each stage of the buyer’s journey. For example, if Laura saw educational content from a certain brand in the awareness stage and consideration stage, she is more likely to make a purchase with that brand in the decision stage. Brands that tailor their marketing to be solution-focused make their sales process more efficient and effective. Consequently, by the time a potential customer is at the end of their buyer’s journey, they recognize and trust your brand.

Tailor Your Marketing to the Buyer’s Journey

We will help you tailor your marketing strategies to hook your customers at each stage of their buyer’s journey. Contact Sun Sign Designs if your business is ready to use customer-focused digital marketing tactics that earn customer trust and loyalty.

Your business’s digital marketing decisions need to be backed by data. Otherwise, without objective analytics, your business risks throwing your time and marketing budget into strategies that don’t give you the desired results.

What is Marketing Analytics and Why is it Important?

Marketing analytics measure the performance of marketing efforts from multiple data sources. By studying the data gathered, businesses can find patterns between customer behaviors and conversion rates. The goal of marketing analytics is to use these findings to optimize future marketing strategies. As a result, businesses have data that improves marketing decision-making and helps them achieve a higher ROI.

Digital marketing analytics are crucial for assessing your progress and fine-tuning your approach for the best possible end results. By using analytic tools and techniques, your business can see which content performs well, where you’re reaching your target audience, which marketing channels have the best engagement, and the journey your target audience is taking before converting into paying customers. What else can marketing analytics do for your business?

Understand Your Target Customers

Every successful marketing strategy relies on the strong understanding of your target audience. Customer analytics are like cheat codes your business can use to better connect with your target consumer. These analytics closely examine customer information and customer behavior to uncover the characteristics that make your business’s most profitable customer.

Customer analytics create a single, accurate window into the best practices businesses can use to acquire and retain high-value customers. The better understanding businesses have of their ideal customer’s buying habits and lifestyle, the more specialized the customer experience can become. Successful businesses know the personalized messaging, ads, and content that resonate the most with their customers. Put simply, insightful customer analytics lead to more effective marketing campaigns and stronger results.

Find Areas That Need Growth

If you don’t know what’s broken, then you can’t fix it. Marketing analytics plainly show you where your business is performing well and which areas need improvement. For example, if your nurture emails are not driving engagement and leading customers down the sales funnel, then marketing analytics can help you pinpoint where the problem lies and why.

Metrics like open-rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates help businesses understand how engaged current email subscribers are. These metrics provide quantifiable answers to questions like: Why didn’t certain subscribers click the link with the special offer? Was the written call-to-action effective or not? Did my subject line follow best practices? Was the digital banner eye-catching enough for subscribers to pause and read it?

Discover New Opportunities

Sustained growth and profitability is never guaranteed. Businesses cannot remain static in their marketing approaches and expect exponential growth. There are always optimizations to be had and changes to be made. Data is central in providing fresh perspective and new approaches. It helps businesses find new, profitable angles to explore and experiment with.

Data unlocks discovery—your business can discover trends and patterns it has previously overlooked. For example, through a complementary product analysis, a business may find its customers typically purchase one product with another. As a result, the business may create an exclusive members-only bundle that leads to an increase of member sign-ups.

Fine-Tune Marketing Campaigns

With marketing analytics, your business doesn’t have to wait to see how your marketing campaign is doing until after it’s over. Analytics can help your business identify and solve problems in the midst of a campaign to improve your performance and maximize your results. Essentially, it takes the guesswork out of trying to figure out exactly where you are going wrong. Instead, the data shows you, and your business can take immediate action.

For example, a business may find its email marketing campaign to increase website visitors isn’t converting. Why aren’t people clicking the link to their website? Is their call-to-action ineffective? Is their digital banner unattractive? So they turn to the data to pinpoint the problem, and their analytic tools reveal that their email open rates are low.

Knowing this, the business now has several options to fine-tune their campaign. They may further segment their email list or personalize the email’s subject line to increase the email’s relevancy to the customer and, therefore, increase their chances of opening the email.

Leverage the Power of Marketing Analytics

Regardless of your business’s size, marketing analytics provide invaluable data that can help drive growth. Most likely, you know the wealth of benefits marketing analytics has to offer. However, like many businesses, you may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of analyzing massive amounts of data. Sun Sign Designs has the solution to make marketing analytics far less daunting.

Marketing analytics software automatically collects, organizes, and correlates relevant data to unlock the constructive insights needed to improve your marketing performance. These analytic tools can report on the past, analyze the present, and predict the future. As a result, your business can understand and optimize every phase of a campaign lifecycle.

Interested in how marketing analytics software can improve your digital marketing strategy? Contact Sun Sign Designs today.

The truth about loyalty programs is that not all of them will work for your business. You need to find a program structure that aligns with your business’s needs and your target audience’s desires and behavior.

Once you have a good understanding of who your customers are and what motivates them, you can then begin designing an effective loyalty program. Let’s look at the 7 most common customer loyalty program structures.

Points Program

Point-based customer loyalty programs are among the most popular, common types of loyalty programs. They are incredibly useful because they offer low barriers of entry  and are low commitment. Customers can immediately start earning and redeeming points for credits toward their next purchase, discounted services, free shipping, and more. Customers can keep track of their points through an online account, mobile app, or loyalty card, keeping them continuously engaged, connected, and committed to benefiting from the brand’s added value.

Since points programs are so common, customers recognize the format and understand how to take advantage of the rewards, making for an uncomplicated experience. As a result, people don’t need to be “sold” to see the value of a points program. However, some downfalls of points programs are: they are purely transactional and acquisition-focused without much differentiation between members.

Tiered Program

Tiered loyalty programs are similar to points programs because they usually allow customers to gain points with their purchases. However, the key difference between the two programs is that tiered loyalty programs offer customers status. Tiered programs create an aura of exclusivity and competition among customers, generally motivating members in lower tiers to make an effort to get to the next level of spending and rewards. The more restricted the reward, the greater the appeal. Moving up the loyalty ladder is exciting and makes customers feel elite.

Unlike points programs, tiered loyalty programs work better for businesses that want high commitment and frequent purchases from their customers. Tier programs focus on creating high-value customers and reserve the best rewards exclusively for the best customers. However, tier programs also require a certain level of commitment from consumers, and the program will not be as attractive to lower-tier members who aren’t willing to spend to increase their status and rewards.

Game-Based Program

Who doesn’t love a fun game? Game-based loyalty programs play on human reward-seeking behavior, natural competitiveness, and the fear of missing out on something fun or valuable. Customers are motivated to earn virtual badges, accumulate points, or advance levels. Like a video game, they can then “trade” points for rewards or unlock new benefits when they earn new badges or advance into a new level. Gamified loyalty programs are vibrant and highly engaging (even addicting) to customers, encouraging them to frequently “play” and purchase with the brand.  However, before implementing gamification, businesses must determine if their audience is willing to engage in it and determine the right rewards to motivate them.

Coalition (Partnership) Program

Do you want to team up with another business? Coalition loyalty programs use strategic partnerships with other businesses to acquire new customers and grow. In these programs, customers can earn rewards more quickly and have more choice on where to use them. As a result, each business gets access to an expanded customer base. Another benefit is that the partnered businesses can split the operational costs of running a joint rewards program.

However, some downsides to coalition programs are: an inability to stand out and differentiate the loyalty program from the partner, no distinct competitive advantage, and the risk of customers redeeming points more so with partner brand. Coalition programs may work best as short-term solutions for businesses who want to quickly access a new customer base and gain increased brand awareness.

Fee-Based, Paid Program

More and more businesses are implementing paid loyalty programs. Whether it is an annual fee or monthly subscription, these programs require customers to pay upfront to unlock rewards and benefits. Paid loyalty programs offer customers instant gratification; customers do not have to wait to accumulate rewards.

However, premium paid loyalty programs are not for everyone. These programs create a high barrier of entry for the average customer and convincing customers to pay a membership fee can be challenging in the beginning.

Value-Based Program

Value-based customer loyalty programs are less about monetary rewards and more about connecting with your customers on a deeper level. It usually involves donating a percentage of purchases to charity or welfare programs your target audience is interested in helping. Although this program doesn’t actually reward customers with discounts or cash back, the donations hold emotional value for customers. Customers appreciate that  their purchase can benefit society.

Hybrid Program

There is no one right way to build a loyalty program. Many businesses will combine two or more loyalty programs until they have a structure that works for them. A common hybrid is one that involves points, tiers, and gamification. Picking out the loyalty strategies that best suit your business helps you customize and create a unique customer experience. This mix-and-match approach allows for increased personalization, control, and flexibility.

Which loyalty program is right for your brand?

Ready to Build a Unique Loyalty Program?

Just like other marketing efforts, there isn’t a one-shoe-fits-all solution. If you’re ready to craft a unique marketing strategy that builds loyalty while fitting your business’s needs and goals, contact Sun Sign Designs for a consultation. We love solving difficult marketing challenges.

A hard reality for businesses to swallow is this: customer satisfaction doesn’t always equal customer loyalty. A happy customer may contribute to a good review or two, but it doesn’t guarantee repeat business.

Satisfaction is fleeting. Loyalty is enduring.

A satisfied customer may enjoy your product, but they’re still interested in experimenting with different brands. A loyal customer is more than just temporarily satisfied—they are devoted to your product and your entire brand identity. They are not swayed by your competitors’ marketing efforts despite convenience or pricing.  They choose your business over and over again and encourage others to do so as well.

Loyal customers are high-value customers that sustain businesses and keep them growing. These types of customers are priceless. How do you create them?

What is a customer loyalty program?

A customer loyalty program is a consistent marketing effort designed to encourage repeat purchases and engagement with a certain business. At its most basic level, it is a continuous connection between a brand and a consumer. It is a long-term mutually-beneficial relationship, in which businesses are constantly nurturing their customer base and developing meaningful customer relationships.

These programs reward loyal purchasing behaviors by offering consumers increased value and spending power. The rewards could include: exclusive products or offers, special discounts or pricing, promotions, money rewards, and more.

These money-savings benefits motivate customers to return to the brand again and again. As a result, these customers not only feel valued and appreciated by the brand, they also implicitly trust the value of the business. Customer loyalty programs are most successful when businesses focus on building a consistent loyalty lifecycle. Customer loyalty programs fall short when businesses treat them as a short-term solution with one-off giveaways or promotions.

Loyal customers aren’t easy to come by, but they are worth investing in. Where should your business start?

What does your business want to achieve?

First, business’s need to understand and define the goals they wish to achieve by introducing a customer loyalty program. You want to create loyal customers, but what else? What is your business’s reason or need for creating a loyalty program? Does your business want to increase sales, boost website traffic, enhance brand experience, or all of the above? Whatever your business wants to achieve through the customer loyalty program, it’s important to understand these goals prior to developing a specific plan.

Who is your target audience?

Before starting any type of customer loyalty program, your business must know its target audience. Is your business attempting to engage a new audience or attract a segment of your current audience? If your target audience is too broad, your business runs the chance of creating a generic loyalty program that engages no one. The more segmented your target audience is, the more tailored and unique your customer loyalty program can be.

Study your customers’ behavior

Once you have locked in your target audience, you need to gauge their expectations and their willingness to participate. Analyzing your consumers’ behavior plays an important role in understanding what they want from your business and how your business can provide it. Whether you undergo a series of surveys, interviews, or rewards test-runs, businesses need to understand the purchasing behavior, needs, and wants of their target audience.

What actions do you want to reward? What rewards do you want to offer?

Actions businesses commonly reward include: making purchases over a certain dollar amount, buying a specific product, referring a new customer, leaving a review, or mentioning its product or brand on social media.

The actions a business incentivizes will determine what kinds of rewards are offered to its customers. Discounts and coupons are the bread-and-butter of customer loyalty programs, but they may not be the right fit for a business if its focus is on increasing website traffic and content engagement. For example, if a business wants to reward customer site engagement, they may offer experience-driven rewards like virtual badges, points, or advancing tiers. If a business wants to increase purchases over $50, they might offer free shipping once the purchasing threshold is achieved.

Choose a type of customer loyalty program

Find a structure that aligns with your business’s needs and your target audience’s desires. Do you want a “members only” mentality that creates an atmosphere of exclusivity with “insider” benefits? Or do you want to gamify your program with points, tiers, and badges for a fun customer experience?

There is no one right way to build a customer loyalty program. Check back with Sun Sign Designs as we continue exploring loyalty and how to build it.

Ready to Build a Unique Loyalty Program?

Just like other marketing efforts, there isn’t a one-shoe-fits-all solution. If you’re ready to craft a unique marketing strategy that builds loyalty while fitting your business’s needs and goals, contact Sun Sign Designs for a consultation. We love solving difficult marketing challenges.

Even when customers find a product that meets their needs, they may still be interested in trying out and experimenting with other brands. What can your business do to make them stay?

What is Brand Loyalty?

Simply put, customers who are loyal to a brand will continue purchasing from the business and will likely try new products from the brand. Customers who are loyal to certain brands will be more likely to leave positive reviews, to encourage others to try the brand, and to be an invaluable word-of-mouth brand ambassador. Customers who attach positive experiences to a product or brand are devoted and unlikely to be swayed by your competition’s marketing efforts. In the day and age where customers have endless choices, it is priceless for businesses to have customers who repeatedly choose their brand over others, regardless of convenience and price.

Brand Loyalty vs. Customer Loyalty

Though closely related, there are key differences between brand loyalty and customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is the commitment from customers to continue purchasing from the business based on the value and money-saving benefits received from their purchases. Customer loyalty is largely dependent on price, money benefits, and rewards as opposed to positive experiences and relationships.

It is chiefly based upon value and customer spending power; the more value the customer receives, the more they will shop with your brand. As discussed in the last section, brand loyalty is built upon positive experiences and positive perceptions of the brand. These customers will return again and again because they value the positive experiences and the subsequent gains from their relationship with the brand. Brand loyalty is based upon emotion while customer loyalty is based upon tangible or quantifiable value.

However, both brand loyalty and customer loyalty can cause customers to eschew other brands and stick by yours. Brand loyalty and customer loyalty are equally important. As a result, businesses should aim to target both in their marketing strategy. Why?

The Power of Loyalty

Businesses are often unsure whether they should invest more in customer retention or more in new customer acquisition. Which is better for their business? Far too often, businesses choose to focus on attracting new customers rather than nurturing their relationship with existing ones. It is completely understandable for businesses to want to grow their customer base. However, by focusing all their attention on new customers, they lose the opportunity to build lasting loyalty—which sustains brands for a lifetime.

At its core, a powerful brand is built upon loyalty. Loyalty builds a solid foundation for long-term, sustainable success. Businesses with loyal customers can withstand just about anything. Not only do they continue their operations, but they continue to grow and thrive. Brand loyalty and customer loyalty retain current customers, create lifetime customers, increase the lifetime value of each customer, and turn customers into invaluable brand advocates. Loyal customers will invariably attract new customers as they spread positive word-of-mouth and social media reviews of your products and services, majorly reducing marketing costs and giving your business more leads.

How is Your Business Building Loyalty?

Loyalty isn’t easy to come by, and it can easily evaporate if you aren’t nurturing customer relationships. What is your business doing to build meaningful relationships with customers?

Are you ready to learn ways you can invest in your customers? Check in with Sun Sign Designs next week as we continue exploring loyalty and how businesses can build it.

Just like other marketing efforts, there isn’t a one-shoe-fits-all solution. If you’re ready to craft a unique marketing strategy that builds loyalty while fitting your business’s needs and goals, contact Sun Sign Designs for a consultation. We love solving difficult marketing challenges.

Inventory management can make or break a business. It is much more than simply having the right products and maintaining accurate stock counts—it is having the right products at the right time in the right amount. For product-based business owners, this is a difficult tightrope to walk. Not having enough stock on hand runs the risk of losing sales while having too much stock ties up funds and can cause business owners to lose money.

There is no shortage of challenges when it comes to inventory management, but business owners introduce more problems when they manually manage it. Manual stock counts and spreadsheets may work in the early days, but as sale volumes and inventory increase, it becomes unfeasible for a business’s long-term growth and success.

Manual inventory management not only takes immense time and effort, it is also prone to error, slow to update, and doesn’t give business owners analysis on performance. Even the smallest mistakes or misjudgments cost valuable time and money when it comes to inventory.

What is the solution for business owners who need to unlock more time and money to invest in their business?

Automated inventory management software can help businesses majorly optimize and streamline their entire inventory process and easily integrate into their accounting software.  Not only do businesses benefit in terms of time and money saved, there are now opportunities to improve every phase of your inventory’s lifecycle.

Keep Accurate, Real-Time Counts

Inventory is constantly changing. Throughout each day, there are sales, returns, exchanges, and damages to log. Keeping accurate counts of all your stock and balancing orders with returns can quickly become time-consuming and error-prone with spreadsheets. Irregular inventory management and human error leads businesses to lose track of the units they have. This can result in ordering too much or too little, which are both costly in their own ways.

Using an automated inventory system keeps accurate counts of your stock for you, updates your inventory as soon as orders are placed, and notifies you when you need more. Business owners can quickly see what products they are running low on, see what’s been selling well, and place orders before they run out. As a result, businesses can detect problems and opportunities early on.

Prevent Excess Stock and Dead Stock

No business wants to see their products languishing and collecting dust on their shelves. Automated inventory management alerts businesses to low-turn stock early on and gives them the best chance to sell it before the product becomes outdated or expires. For example, businesses can employ sale strategies, such as special promotions, and give the product extra marketing attention to turn the stock without incurring a loss. This improves the lifecycle of every product, saves money, prevents waste, and avoids costly cuts into profit margins.

Avoid Missed Opportunities

Nothing hurts more than missing a profitable opportunity, especially for growing businesses. A business finding itself in a stockout situation hurts for many reasons. Not only do they lose valuable revenue, they also risk backorders, canceled orders, customer dissatisfaction, and their customers turning to competition. Maybe the business missed a reordering point or didn’t realize how fast units were turning over. Either way, a simple mistake can lead to a domino effect of problems and loss. Automated inventory management helps business owners stay on the pulse of consumer demand and aware of popular products that need to be reordered.

Forecast and Anticipate Needs

Demand forecasting is an important part of successful inventory management. What do your customers want and when do they want it? Sales statistics and analytics allow businesses to make more data-driven decisions. With easy and quick access to reporting and metrics, businesses can anticipate customer needs, forecast their sales trends, and make strategic decisions that give them an invaluable competitive edge.

These actionable insights are priceless for growing businesses. Knowing the seasonality of your products and leveraging the customer trends unique to your business ensures that your investment pay off.

Improve Cash Flow

Cash flow is especially important for small-to-medium-sized businesses and emerging businesses. Having cash tied up and sunk in dead stock can, unfortunately, be the beginning of the end. An optimized inventory management system ensures working capital is not restricted, so these businesses can continue to keep up with costs and grow.

Plan and Be Ready for Growth

Spread thin by spreadsheets? Spreadsheets are outdated and will not be able to handle the demand and complexity of your inventory management. Plan and be ready for your business’s growth. Contact Sun Sign Designs to discuss and find an automated inventory management software that will work best for your business.

Business owners know all too well how a pile up of back office work can provide serious setbacks for them. Instead of getting to focus on core business activities, they are forced to pause and complete all the necessary operational work that still exists behind the scenes.

Accounting and bookkeeping activities are fundamental to every e-commerce business, but business owners manually managing them can quickly become frustrated, especially as their business grows and their financial data becomes increasingly more complex. While this work is vital on an operational level, there is a problem if business owners find it is consuming all of their time.

From basic invoicing, billing, and expense sheets to more complex financial analysis, reporting, and tax prep—there are many facets to accounting that need to be consistently and meticulously updated daily, weekly, and monthly. What’s the solution for business owners who want to unlock more time to invest in their business?

Using an automated accounting software allows all financial processing to proceed faster and become less demanding to the business owner. Automation unlocks valuable time for business owners to focus on new projects, products, or service offerings they have long put on the back burner due to the toll of administrative work. Let’s look at the major ways automated accounting can improve every business.

Major Time Savings

Perhaps the greatest benefit of automated accounting for business owners is the time saved. Automation eliminates those time-consuming, repetitive bookkeeping tasks, such as recording transactions, sending invoices, creating detailed spreadsheets, managing and storing important financial documents, and more. These tasks are critical to the success of every business but become low-value in comparison to the work that advances a business’s mission and growth.

As a result, these business owners have much more time to focus on high-value activities, such as meeting with clients, researching and developing new products or services, or creating content that engages their audience.

Increased Productivity and Efficiency

Accounting tasks that may have previously taken business owners hours, days, or weeks to complete can now be done for them to save considerable time. Time-consuming but necessary activities like month-end reporting or expense reporting can now be expedited with automation. With more time freed up to focus on core business tasks, owners can optimize their workflow. Instead of putting off new projects to complete administrative accounting tasks, business owners can now prioritize and actually accomplish the creative projects that add value to their business.

More Accurate Records

Completing accounting work manually opens the door to human error, which can cause timely and costly mistakes. These mistakes can lead to hours of work pouring over finances and correcting the errors, which can result in lost revenue or even fines. Automated accounting eliminates the potential for human error. A computerized system inherently means fewer mistakes and more reliable bookkeeping, so business owners can rest easy.

Unlock New Data and Valuable Insights

Financial data fuels the modern business, but it can be increasingly difficult to unlock, especially when financial analysis and interpretation isn’t your expertise. However, knowing this data is essential to understand what is the driving force of your business’s success or what is the obstacle that is blocking progress.

Automated accounting helps business owners unlock these answers quickly and easily. There is more data to review and understand, which gives business owners more context to learn and grow. Perhaps most importantly, it saves business owners the headache of compiling data and analyzing it themselves. Instead, the data, numbers, and financial insights are readily available. Business owners then have more time to formulate strategies and put them into action.

Your Business is Ready to Benefit from Automated Accounting

Manual accounting and bookkeeping is only putting more work on your plate and slowing down your productivity. Harnessing automation in your accounting and bookkeeping lifecycles will save your business valuable time and give you the opportunity to move forward with creative projects that will grow your business. Are you interested in automation and what it can do for your business? Contact Sun Sign Designs today.

Nonprofits are made up of passionate, dedicated people who want to make a difference in the world. These organizations have big goals to achieve and complex problems to solve, but they often work with a limited pool of resources. The staff of these incredible organizations knows all too well how repetitive manual tasks can take time and effort away from mission-driven activities.

Instead of devoting time to high-value, mission-critical work, staff members, volunteers, and even executive directors are forced to wear many different hats and complete time-consuming, repetitive tasks, such as performing data entry, sending invoices, sending donor emails or newsletters, requesting information for forms, and more.

How can nonprofit organizations get more time back for mission-focused work while still completing these necessary tasks? Many nonprofits are now turning toward automation to streamline routine tasks and focus on what really matters for their nonprofit: their service offerings and their relationships with clients, customers, donors, and the community.

Automation tools increase the resources available for a nonprofit’s core mission. As a result, nonprofit staff members are supported and empowered to complete higher value activities, such as improving current service offerings, developing new products or services, or meeting with potential clients, customers, donors, or community leaders.

Prospect List Management

Nonprofits depend on their list of donors and volunteers. In a nonprofit’s early days, managing all the information about contacts, client lists, and customers isn’t too difficult. But as the organization continues to grow and acquire more donors, volunteers, and clients—it can get increasingly chaotic and confusing to manage. Automated list management can save nonprofits from major headaches by organizing all of this for them. In addition, these automated systems can also filter through customer interactions to find quality leads the nonprofit should spend time on.

Form Management

If there is one thing all nonprofits are familiar with, it is forms! Whether it is an application for membership, volunteering, or participating on the board, it will most likely require some tedious data entry. Using an automation tool that specializes in data entry can smooth the entire management process, reduce manual error, and save staff members valuable time.

Email and Marketing Campaigns

With automated email marketing, nonprofits can prearrange settings that trigger email communications after a certain action is completed on the part of a donor or customer. For example, if someone signs up for your nonprofit’s newsletter, they may automatically receive a welcome email. Or, if a customer leaves an item in their cart, they will get a reminder email. In addition, nonprofits can break their audience into segments and customize their communications, send out different content based on each subscriber’s preferences. Automation means much less time spent on formatting emails and more time spent on improving your nonprofit’s service offerings or meeting with clients.

Personalized Communications

Receiving a birthday message or a special thank-you after making a donation is an easy way to make donors and members feel special. However, without an automation tool, this is a task that quickly becomes unmanageable and time-consuming. Using a software that does this for you can help your organization make thoughtful personal connections with your donor base and community without detracting from your core mission.

Social Media Scheduling

Nonprofit organizations can save major time with automation tools that schedule their social media posts and automatically deploy them. This hands-off approach allows nonprofits to curate all the appropriate content in advance, schedule it out for the right times, and sit back and relax. As a result, nonprofits do not have to manually post the same content across all of their social media channels, which can save them up to 6 hours per week! Scheduling posts on service offerings, special announcements, or industry news means nonprofits can stay in continuous conversation with their audience and stay in the forefront of their mind.

Data and Analytics

Analytic tools are essential to measure the success of communications and campaigns. With automated analytics, nonprofits can obtain fast and accurate reporting on the impact of these communications. These analytics provide crucial guidance on what is and isn’t working for the organization. Data and analytics tools allow nonprofits to easily manage their database, build relationships with members, non-members, and donors based on the data collected, and ensure each relationship is being approached in the right way.

Platform Management

Is your nonprofit ready to benefit from automation but concerned by the prospect of managing these tools? We understand. With so many new ways to engage your audience, it can be overwhelming. But your nonprofit doesn’t have to do it alone. Sun Sign Designs personally consults and manages these automation platforms for your nonprofit, so you can focus on the work that matters.

Is Your Nonprofit Ready Benefit from Automation?

Running a nonprofit organization requires a lot of manual work, but implementing digital tools that automate this manual work is what takes the excess work off your staff’s plate. Automation tools improve nonprofit efficiency and help organizations overcome resources barriers. As a result, your nonprofit can focus on mission-related activities and explore meaningful avenues of growth.