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Month: July 2012

Customer Satisfaction – 3 Simple Retention Tips

The longer I’m in and around small business it amazes me how customer satisfaction seems to becoming a thing of the past. A matter a fact it seems to vary like the wind, depending on which business you’re dealing with.

As much as I travel and since one of my love languages is acts of service, I’m more sensitive to this, combined with the simple fact that I have always worked to provide good to great service with my prospects, customers and clients.

Thus I believe that it all starts at the beginning and the customer service that you provide should not fluctuate like the price of oil. Because customer satisfaction leads to repeat and referral business, if you and the people who work you understand how to connect and build relationships.

Continually creating new business without a plan to retain customers is like having a revolving door where a customer comes in through your marketing efforts and then never or rarely comes back.

If you are going to invest in the barrel of advertising, marketing, and promotion, then shouldn’t you have a simple working plan to retain customers, clients and subscribers?

It should all start with the initial prospect connection. Yes you heard me right on this comment – the initial connection, wherever that may be.

The connection may be live and in person or it may be through a phone call, live chat, email, article or even social media.

Let me give you an example: This past week I initiated a call to a local water sports company to inquire about watercraft. Upon taking my call the receptionist passed me onto a sales person who answered all my questions, but didn’t ask my name, where I was located or anything about my needs. He was simply uninterested in connecting, satisfying me or making the sale.

All he did was answer questions and then hang up the phone. Thus a potential satisfied customer just kept on searching and didn’t purchase from him or the business he worked at.

Customer satisfaction starts with the first connection and this business didn’t do anything to satisfy me and due to the size of the purchase, I just kept shopping.

Want to retain more customers and create satisfied happy people that will refer you to their friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances? Then look no further than the first connection and use these three simple Customer Retention tips:

1. Create and Implement a Simple Plan to keep those that you bring into your world in your world. The first thing to do is to put reminders or cues on an index card or piece of paper. This reminder should be used during interaction with new prospects or existing customers. It’s a way to keep you on track during phone, email and e-chat conversations, plus can also be utilized in live scenarios, if used discreetly.

2. Ask Questions, Survey and Track as many conversations as possible. This way you can see progress and what you need to work on to increase customer satisfaction and retention. The survey questions should be asked during the conversation or interaction, but only when appropriate. Tracking is key so you can tell what kind of questions are being asked the most and how people are responding to you and the people you work with.

3. Make sure to Test, Add and Adjust your reminders to ensure that you are doing everything possible to stay on top of customer service and satisfaction. In some cases you may need to add something into the mix in order to increase responses. In other situations you may have to adjust the way questions are asked and even phrased.

The bottom line is that if you serve your customer (like we did at The TIny Store), then his or her satisfaction could show up in a testimonial, comment, feedback, referral or repeat business in the near or distant future.

So serve your customer (or client), even though you won’t be able to please all the customers all the time. It will be worth it and their satisfaction will benefit your business in the short and long-term.

Dave Krygier

Local Search Marketing & Your Small Business – Beyond Getting Listed

Have you been working hard to get your company listed in all the directories and search engines but the flood of new traffic & sales still seems to elude your small business?

Today I want to dig into the topic so you can use local search marketing in your small business and go beyond just getting listed.

Local search marketing has come alive in the last five years and with all the new web tools at your disposal it’s so much easier than what we went through during the first ten years of the Internet.

Back in the beginning at The Tiny Store we didn’t have the entire local channels that you have access to today. It was the old search engines and it was quite a different game.

Today you have lots of options and opportunities that allow your small business to be visible and accessible, but the real question is this; are you capturing, connecting and cultivating every possible prospect in your target market?

As a small business owner you want solutions and results with any thing you do with marketing. You need results and not some guessing game, right?

Well, the great thing about the web is that it has evolved to the point where you as small business owner can micro-target your market. This means that all the local listing work you’ve been doing can be put to good use if you setup and establish what I refer to as a Lead Capture Funnel.

So for the remainder of this post I want to share how you can go beyond getting listed in the directories and search engines and target market, so you can see some sales coming your way.

After all you are in business to make a profit and you need sales to see one.

So let me share just one way to go about doing this…

Send out a simple survey to your existing customers and offer a gift or incentive to increase their response rates. Ask your customers a series of short questions, like do they use their mobile phone for web access and how often do they do it?

Now you’ll have to get creative and come up with simple questions like these so you know what your customer is thinking and this will allow you to better target your market.

This information is so critical to have and can bring little gems and nuggets that will prove to be very valuable in the short and long-term.

On another note:

Having a solid grasp about direct response marketing will take ‘Getting Listed’ to making sales and developing a list of subscribers.


You can get listed everywhere and be visible like the tallest building in the city, but this doesn’t guarantee that you will make a nickel or see a prospect walking through your front door.

What you have to do is attract the searcher, have a way to capture him or her and this is where direct response marketing comes into play.

So my recommendation to you is to study and learn direct response marketing and implement as much as you can in your small business.

The web is one big direct response ocean, so get listed, start fishing and capture as many new customers as you can afford to sell and service. And by the way – if any of the above is making sense but you need help putting all the pieces together – connect with The SmallBiz Mechanic. It will be worth it.

Dave Krygier


Content Marketing for Small Business

Content marketing for small business is one of the best ways to generate targeted traffic if you know how to do it and understand the ins and outs of content creation and distribution.

Recently I was meeting with a client and he was struggling to put all the pieces together for his small business. The thing is he really understood the big picture and where he wanted to go, it’s just that he was overwhelmed and needed some direction with how to do content marketing and make it pay off.

I then proceeded to work with him on his content strategy and blueprint so he could better define his objectives and get the work done sooner than later.

Just to clear the air about content marketing:

1. Content marketing in and by itself will not make you one red cent, unless someone pays you for your content on a fee or royalty basis.

2. Content marketing for small business is just one way to generate traffic, but you need to monetize that traffic through products, services and/or information. These products, services and/or information can be your own or someone else’s through an affiliate program.

3. You must Create the Content and write up a storm or hire others to do the leg work for you and then edit till the cows come home. If you don’t like to write then hiring writers through outsourcing sites can work to your advantage, but I suggest you test every writer that you decide to work with.

4. Content marketing is not going to be the right fit for some small businesses.

On another note: Info Overload can rear its ugly head when you dig into content marketing so make sure to watch for this time waster and be aware of distractions, especially when you are writing and editing.

It’s recommended to have a simple a plan and not over complicate the processes. That’s right – keep it simple and remember that your plan is designed for you and not someone else.

It is as simple as A, B, C…

A. Create the outline of the articles and content that you are going to write.

B. Determine where you are going to post your content.

C. Write original content and distribute it according to your plan.

Here are some suggestions to get you started posting your content:

  • Your Blog that connects to your site, social media and article directories.
  • Guest blog on niche specific sites that relate to your business or niche.
  • Article Directories – lead generated articles that point to your various sites.
  • Your Website pages – content that directly relates to your business and niche.
  • Other Niche Websites that relate to your business – you provide the article content.
  • Social Media Bookmarking sites – Post your content here to gain visibility.

Content marketing is really not that tough, but it does take time and effort to put it all together. So if need a simple content marketing plan for your small business The SmallBiz Mechanic may be able to help you put it together.

Dave Krygier

PS – One of the Secrets of The Tiny Store was the content we added over the months and years. This might interest you if your small business is looking to grow and expand on the web.

Offline to Online Marketing

In today’s post I’m diving into the topic of what I call Combination Marketing. So if you are involved in a small business that has been using traditional media and you desire to jump online and combine the two, this might be just what you need.

Combo Marketing is a mix of using online and offline marketing methods to attract and reach your target market.

If this is new to you then let me give you a brief example:

Let’s say you own and operate a small restaurant that currently uses direct mail but also has a simple website with menu, about us and contact info.

You would simply start using your website and a social media site like Facebook to get started. Once you are ready to go you would place specific response mechanisms on your direct mail pieces that direct people to your website or Facebook.

Once the searcher clicks and takes action, you end up with a new reservation, a take out order, an inquiry, a new subscriber or a phone call.

This is a simple explanation and one of many roads that you can take, but it gives you the basic idea of offline to online marketing.

But even though combo marketing allows you the small business owner to possibly get more traction and results faster, you still need to pick your battles and focus, especially if you are on a limited or restricted budget.

Here are a few of many different strategies that you might consider using when implementing offline to online marketing:

Strategy #1
One of the strategies I like is to use a Dedicated URL that is short and relates to your business, products or services. URLs have become so inexpensive that for as little as $10 a year (and sometimes less), you can test a URL to see if it pulls and has any weight. This simple test will show you if it pays to expand and put more money behind the URL.

I also recommend that you combine this URL with one offline channel at a time, like a direct response postcard or classified ad.

If you want to take it a step further and dig down one more level, create a separate landing page for each and every ad or promotion that you create.  This allows you to create and track individual pages to see which ones are performing and which ones aren’t.

Strategy #2
The second strategy is what I refer to as the ‘Mobilizer Campaign’ and it’s whole purpose is to drive traffic and leads through a mobile website. The idea being that mobile users will search and arrive at your mobile site that directs them to specific pages that you have created for them to see and take action. These pages are response driven and need to have incentives and reasons for the searcher to click and take action.

For more information about these and other offline to online marketing strategies, along with the ‘BITS Program’, contact The SmallBiz Mechanic and get started today.

Dave Krygier


Increase Sales to Your Website

When I hear the term increase sales to my website this always brings to mind the response  if we can help you increase sales to your website, can you really handle the sales and back end service?

Increasing sales to your website really means that you have to increase the targeted traffic to your site or social media sites, and then convert that traffic through a sales funnel or sales page, if you only have one product. 

In my previous post, Increase Sales the Soft Sell Way, I mentioned the methods that we have used for many, many years. This is the method we used at The Tiny Store and I still use to this day.

Here are three ways that you can soft sell your way to success and increase sales to your website using web-based tools:

1. Create & Place Lead Generating Magnets and bring new leads and prospects your way. These magnets are designed to attract people who have a real interest in what you have to offer. A magnet can be a dedicated web page, an article, a pay per click ad, a classified ad or even a video. The idea is to create powerful, focused, lead generating magnets and then place them in areas where your target market hangs out. This is a great way to increase qualified traffic which in turn should bring you more leads and sales, if you have a product funnel in place.

2. Use Capture Mechanisms – which could be an email auto-responder, standard email, the phone or combination of the above. If you are socially savvy then utilize social media sites to connect, captivate and capture leads. The key here is to be available and willing to communicate when the prospect raises his or her hand and says I’m ready! The more leads you capture – the higher chances you have for converting them into new customers which = sales and $$$ in your bank account.

3. Study Direct Response Strategies & Tactics – If you are going to increase sales to your website you need to know the basics about direct response marketing. So read, learn, study and then apply the basics to your small business. If applied properly these strategies and tactics can help you increase sales to your website and whatever business you are in. Note: always use best practices when it comes to sales and marketing. Leave the short cuts and phony baloney to the amateurs and those that don’t want a long-term business.

Increasing sales is one thing, but taking care of customers is altogether a whole other story. When it comes down to it, you need to be able to handle the sales, service the customers and grow the relationships so you can continue to increase sales with what’s called the backend.

As I have stated in so many different articles, posts, tele-calls and products; increasing sales comes from bringing in new customers, taking care of them and also marketing to existing customers. 

How to increase sales in small business is not difficult. Online or offline all you need to do is find the need, fill it and then continue to build on the relationships that you create. 

Now go increase the sales in your small business and if the times comes that you need a little assistance, contact The SmallBiz Mechanic and maybe he can help you work out the kinks.

Local Search Marketing

This post is focused on the search side of local Internet marketing and I want to start out making sure you understand the difference between the two. Local search marketing is really focused on the search side of the equation – both paid and organic. The key here is to be visible to your searcher when they come looking for you on their desktop pc, tablet or mobile device.

Local Internet Marketing is the entire package that includes paid advertising, PR (news and press releases), social media, organic search, email marketing, and anything else the web can do to help your business.

If you are like most business owners I’ve come across, all they want to do is sell their product or service and if the Internet can help them do that in some way, shape or form – then make it so!

For many small business owners the Internet (especially local search marketing) really seems to finally be catching on. This is especially the case for those enterprises that realize how important the web has become to people who are searching for local goods, services and information.

If you have chosen to market your product or service locally to people in Spokane, Spokane Valley or in Posts Falls and Coeur d’ Alene, then putting some time into local search marketing will increase your visibility and allow more searchers to find you.

If on the other hand you have a desire to make your gadget, widget or info available to anyone, anywhere, anytime – then you’ll need to take a different road and use a much more broad ‘SEO for business’ plan. More on this in a future post.

Ok – let’s get back to local search and how this can help your small business.

There are three different channels to market to and you need to determine which ones are most important to you and your business. I have listed them out by order of importance based on a retail/service operation that relies on foot and phone traffic to keep the doors open.

Channel#1 Is the Local Community (like Spokane or Spokane Valley), so focus on this channel first and work on driving as much traffic as you can handle to your location and phones. As of this writing this is primarily done through Google, Yahoo and Bing. So make sure your listings are current and all pertinent info is accurate with active links. Note: email and social media are important and I’ll dig into this later so you can see how these two interact with your local search marketing plan.

Channel #2 Is the Tourist and Visitor. If your business is more reliant on this channel then we bump it to the first slot and focus more on attracting people to your company through local, regional and targeted search. You can also use third party sites to gain more visibility so always consider what sites you can link to and which ones will link back to you. Note: Think like a tourist when developing this channel. How do you search when you travel?

Channel #3 Is the Regional Community which shops, visits family and may utilize medical facilities and other companies to service vehicles, electronics, appliances and more. This channel is one that you need to think out side the box and network as much as possible to gain additional links to the web pages and social media sites.

Remember, the search engines, directories and social media sites create the visibility so searchers can find you. So basically you have to list your business in directories that show up in the search engines and also optimize pages on your website, so these rank for certain keywords and key phrases. Add Google + Local, Maps, Phone Links and Video to the mix and your local search marketing will come together.

As always keep it simple, stay focused, be persistent and keep in touch with the SmallBiz Mechanic if you get stuck or need help.

Dave Krygier



How to Market a Small Restaurant

How to market a small restaurant is not as difficult as it seems and in this day and age if your food is really good and the service is good to great, then your chances for success will most likely increase.

It all starts with the vision of the owner. If this is you and you aren’t skilled and experienced with marketing, then find someone (a solo-specialist) or a team to develop a plan and help implement it.

The restaurant business is tough as it is and you need every advantage to make your establishment grow and prosper. So the people that you surround yourself with are very important.

So here are the real basics of how to market a small restaurant:

1. Planning: You can wing it or you can plan it. I prefer the plan it method. Just like you plan your menu and the ingredients that you put in your food. Keep the plan simple while being flexible enough to adjust where and when necessary.

2. Operations: Always remember that you need a certain number of customers coming through the door every day that you open. Plus you need a certain income per day in order to keep the establishment open for business. Make sure you know what these numbers are including food costs and daily labor, otherwise it’s really hard to test and invest in marketing. Without tight controls all the marketing and promotion will go up in smoke.

3. Service: Once customers arrive in your world – treat them like friends and make their experience so enjoyable that they want to come back and will refer their sphere of influence your way. I call this ‘breaking into the sphere’ and it’s pretty easy to do if you have good to great service. This ‘BITS’ program builds repeat business and grows the small business clientele.

Ok – enough of the basics – now let’s get down to brass tacks:

Wanna know how to market a small restaurant? Here are a few out of the box ideas to help give you a boost:

1. The Bait: Do what this owner did and go around to all the local businesses and give away free sandwiches or whatever you offer on the menu. Along with the free food make sure to bring some menus and an incentive card that gives the prospect a reason to come visit your establishment. Now some will say that’s a lot of money, Dave! That’s the wrong attitude to have my friend. Remember, it’s all about getting to your customers stomach and there’s no better way to do this than through a personal visit with free food or beverages.

2. The Survey Method: If your small restaurant is located around other businesses, take a day or two and go meet and greet the owners, managers and employees. Take a survey with you and if possible some food samples. Ask simple, direct questions and be friendly. The idea here is to find out what your potential customer’s needs are and what they would be interested in. The survey is powerful and will tell you a lot if you line up the questions and keep it informal.

3. PR & The Local Media: Use your local media outlets to help promote your small establishment. Remember – everyone needs to eat, even the gal on TV and the guy who writes his column in your paper or news website. Make a connection. Get feedback. And customize a sandwich or appetizer just for the individual.

How you market your small restaurant doesn’t have to be through conventional methods or channels. The bottom line here is that the more you think outside the box and test, the more you’ll learn about your customers and be able to market to them.

Need more marketing food to bring those hungry customers into your small restaurant?
The SmallBiz Mechanic may have just what you need. Touch bases and see what he can cook up for you in his customized marketing kitchen.

To your small restaurant success,

Dave Krygier

Increase Sales – The Soft Sell Way

In part one How to Increase Sales in small business I wrote about the existing customer side of the increasing sales equation. In this post I want to cover how you can increase sales using what I call the soft sell way.

This soft sell process is one that I started implementing many, many years ago, prior to the world wide web. You see, I was never really interested in sales per say, but it seemed that no matter what I did in small business, I always ended up being in sales and thrust into the biz dev role. So the soft selling process evolved over the years and I really believe that it contributed to my ability to increase sales and develop new business.

The thing is, there are many different ways that you can increase sales including hard driving tactics that many businesses still use today and maybe you’ll even see results and maybe you won’t.

It’s a sad state of affairs to see so many small businesses with no clue as to how they can drive more traffic and increase sales. They think they need to reinvent the wheel with some new ‘salesy’ tactic that will bring droves of prospects through the door, yet they continue to struggle and fail not knowing what to do next.

How did I increase sales using this so called soft sell approach? I simply worked hard and studied from the greats like Dale Carnegie, Frank Bettger and Og Mandino. I also attended live seminars and trainings and then I implemented, tweaked and adjusted over the years.

Notice I wrote implemented, which means action was taken and the information put to good use in my various businesses. If you study and learn but do not put the information to good use, then it’s wasted time and money.

One other thing to mention here – I still research, study and learn as much as I can about the topics that have to do with sales and marketing. I am continually in the hunt and keeping my eyes and ears open for anything that can help further my business and my client’s businesses.

Let’s get down to it:

The bottom line is that you have to sell something in order to have sales revenue come your way. Whether you are selling on the internet or selling offline, you are still selling.

To increase sales in your small business you don’t need to be pushy. A matter of fact, pushy will usually get you less sales and more un-subscribes, if you use email.

Think about it – do you like sales people who are pushy and over the top or the
sales person who takes the offer off the table or even let’s you make the decision when the time is right?

Maybe you’ve been subscribed to some marketer’s email lists that are all about sell, sell, sell and not a lot of content? Maybe you’ve been approached too many times by salespeople who are pushy, overly talkative or just plain rude?

You see most people will put up a wall and turn the opposite direction when these kind of salespeople enter their world. It’s a turn off and they feel kind of dirty.

By the way – what I’m writing about here also applies to online marketing and list building. Because the sales/persuasion tactics you use to attract people to your squeeze and landing pages directly reflect on you even though you’re not there in person.

Here’s my suggestion to you; instead of the hard sell, sell, sell – you take the soft sell approach, throw out the bait and then let the person warm up to you. This keeps them in your world until he or she decides to purchase, stay around or just plain exit at their leisure.

This way you have a higher retention rate and in the long-run you maintain credibility and close more business.

This is the way we did it at The TIny Store and how I still work with clients at SmallBiz Mechanix.

To your small business success,

Dave Krygier

Advertising Agencies – a Small Business Dilemma

What a day it is that I’m writing about the topic of Advertising Agencies and The Small Business Dilemma.

So if you own an ad agency, even if it’s you inc. or you employ an agency that works for your small business – here’s my take after 26 years of day in day out experience in the trenches, with two stints at small agencies and running an in-house agency for six years.


I believe many small business owners make it tougher on themselves than it really has to be when it comes to advertising. Why is this?

There are many different reasons but the one that sticks his head out above the rest is S&W.

In my previous post Strengths and Weaknesses, I mentioned that working in ones area of strengths can lead to a more productive working environment and have many positive side effects. Weaknesses on the other hand need to be delegated and left to those that excel and enjoy working in the specific area or areas.

When it comes to advertising and marketing:

If one is working on and in advertising and this individual should really be focusing on a different area of the business, this can put a huge kink in the works and cost the business owner money.

This leads me to the other side of the dilemma where we have the small business owner who goes back and forth between in-house agency to outside agency.

Many small businesses I’ve worked with over the years have gone back and forth between outside advertising agencies and inside advertising agencies. They work with an agency for months to years and then for any number of reasons (or excuses) decide to go ‘in house’ and either hire a do it all person or split up the workload amongst existing staff and contractors.

Either way works but having an outside ad agency that understands today’s online and offline advertising arena is a huge benefit and feather in the client’s cap.

In my opinion it also comes down to ROI plus the owner’s knowledge and grasp of advertising, marketing and sales and how they interact with each other.

Let me further expand on this last sentence and say that it’s really deeper than that. It’s the owner’s understanding or lack of understanding of ‘Current advertising and marketing channels’ and how they impact and affect his or her particular business.

Let’s wrap it up…

Ad agencies in many cases are small businesses and sometimes even one person shops that also have overhead to meet. They need clients and sales just like their clients do. But what they forget (and I have seen this time and time again) is that ROI is really the key.

Yes, return on investment for the small business owner is very important and in this day and age even more so due to the tightening of the economy. If the small business is seeing ROI and it’s directly related to advertising, then all parties should be happy campers.

So for the small biz ad agency hunting for new clients I say -” Show your prospects how you can deliver ROI.” And once you do this, share the testimonial with all who will read, listen and view.

This is where SmallBiz Mechanix comes into play for the solo-preneur and small business owner who needs guidance and direction when it comes to driving new business, increasing sales and navigating the web. Whether you’re a one-person show or team of twenty, The SmallBiz Mechanic may be able to help you drive more business and increase sales.

But you’ll never know until you take the first step and make contact.

Dave Krygier





What is Click and Mortar?

When asked what is Click and Mortar I say, “it’s where a business that still has a physical presence (meaning location) that serves the community or region and utilzes the web to drive traffic, connect, communicate and offer goods and services to people.

Click = The Web.

Mortar = The Physical Business  – retail, service, distribution and manufacturing.

Combine the two together and what do you get? Nothing! Unless you develop a plan and implement the plan.

As I’ve written about in past posts…I coined the phrase click and mortar in either 96′ or 97′ and used it when describing to others what we were doing at that time in our business, which I refer to today as The Tiny Store.

Back in the 90’s ‘the click’ was a static web presence that enabled our small business to expand and grow over a 6 year period.

You know what our simple plan for using the Internet back in the 1990’s?

It was this – create an online catalog so our prospects and customers could see all that we offered. This way we didn’t have to mail physical catalogs and brochures to those in Alaska and Eastern Washington.

In the beginning it was never about ‘driving traffic’ and increasing page rank, because the web was so new and so were we.

Now I caught on really quick and we did develop ways to capture, cultivate and communicate with the people who found us through the old search engines – Yahoo!, Alta Vista, Webcrawler and Lycos.

And we did have a huge advantage being first to the party and adding a ton of content to our site. We also utilized email, the phone and ye ole’ fax to get the job done. Had I had access to an email auto-responder, life would have been quite a bit different, but that wasn’t the case, so I dealt with the slew of email that crowded my inbox every week.

Auto-responders were just getting started and quite honestly I didn’t know they existed. My bad for not researching and looking into it.

The click for us was a great lead generating tool. The only problem was that the leads came from all over the world and we just really wanted to serve Washington and Alaska.

For some small businesses they still don’t understand how to use the click to drive business to the mortar.

Today’s web offers so many ways to drive traffic and you can target your market and be as creative as you want to. It’s a marketer and biz dev person’s dream, yet so many miss the boat and go another year without doing anything. Or they just add a couple of social media buttons thinking that this is what everyone else is doing and we need to be doing what they are doing.

I say that you do what’s best for your small business. Use the click so it benefits your company! Use the click so it does what you want it to do for your small business.

What is click and mortar? A smart way to do business combining the online with the offline.

If you are a retailer, service business, distributor or manufacturer and desire to develop and grow your business using the click so it can help your mortar based business; then get on over to SmallBiz Mechanix and waste not a moment more.

Dave Krygier