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The first thing I am going to assume is that you have Facebook Business Page. Providing that is the case, I can show you how to maximise its potential to help increase your market share.

If you read these blogs regularly, you will have heard me say this before – everything you do is about marketing your business so your Facebook cover photo needs to be saying something positive about your company.

Take a look at yours now. Is it a random, stock photo? If it is then it’s doing you no good at all. It needs to be interesting, informative and increasing brand awareness to drive people to your page to learn about your products and actively engage with you.

If you are looking for some quick and easy ways to increase the number of enquiries you receive and sales you achieve, I have got some tips for you.

1- Be there when they want you. This might seem a no-brainer but you would be surprised at the number of businesses who set their working hours by the strictures of their own industry and merely copy competitors. That is making life easy for yourself, not necessarily for your customers.

2- Flexible payment methods. It has never been easier for companies to accept payment via credit, debit or charge card and from services such as PayPal. Providing you factor any charges into your prices, these transactions won’t cost you anything.

I am convinced that word of mouth recommendations are the lifeblood of many businesses and I make no bones about going back to basics this month.

Your potential customers want to believe they are making the right choice by choosing your product or services. Hearing people say good things about you increases their confidence in you and helps persuade them they haven’t made a mistake.

Here are 10 really easy ways to provide good customer service and get people saying good things about you and making recommendations.

1. Provide excellent value. It should go without saying that your product or service should be first class and competitively priced.
2. Provide first class customer service. Think about how you like to be treated and treat your customers in the same way.

Do you want HSTS for your website?

I thought not. What about better security, faster load times and increased SEO?

So you do, eh? Have a definition to start with:

HSTS – HTTP Strict Transport Security. This is a response header that tells your browser that it can only connect to a website using HTTPS. HSTS increases the speed and security of HTTPS websites.

Want another definition?

HTTPS – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. If you connect to a site using HTTPS the site encrypts the session using a secure sockets layer (SSL naturally). This is obviously useful for sensitive transactions such as banking and payments.

I expect you know from your own experience that reading online is different from reading print. It therefore follows that writing online needs to be different to the way you were taught to write for print.

To get technical for a moment, research has come up with the concept of the bi-literate brain. This describes the differences between reading print, known as deep reading processes, and online, described as non-linear reading.

So how do digital readers differ from print readers?

I read the other day that nearly a quarter of the world’s population use Facebook. That’s a huge potential market and while I don’t expect you to reach those figures it shows the potential audience social media has.

So what can you do to increase your share of the social media market? Here are 10 tips to get you thinking:

1. Outsource. You’ve got plenty on your plate already without adding the time needed to market successfully on social media. You need a specialist to help you. You could hire someone to dedicate themselves to your social media marketing but it might make more sense to hire someone who is an expert, such as an agency or freelancer.

I know that many of you use the free Instagram app to upload photos to social media. However, the app is designed for taking, editing and sharing images on mobile phones and devices rather than computers.

Consequently, you cannot use a PC or Mac to enhance your pictures by using the filters and special effects of the mobile app.

This has disappointed many users. Ideally they would like to take pictures with a high quality digital camera, plug the memory card into their computer and upload images to Instagram, using the app’s special effects to enhance them. Unfortunately this simply wasn’t possible, until recently.

I expect you have heard the saying “the customer is always right”, but is it true in all cases?

Obviously, if you tell a client they are wrong you run the risk of them taking their business elsewhere. However, there are instances when if you do not point out your client’s errors you could be harming not only your business but also theirs.

Here are a couple of examples from my own business of marketing:

• A client wants a brochure produced but provides a complicated brief that is bound to result in an ugly end result. It won’t help sell the product and it won’t reflect well on the designer.

I am going to take a backseat this month and let you do the thinking for a change. Below are six seeds to help your business grow to success but you have to come up with the actual examples.

Once you do, make sure you blog about them, tweet, make them articles in your email newsletter or put them on your Facebook page. Just make sure you get them out there for people to see, read and pass on.

I know the feeling. Your business has completely taken over your life, you find yourself working every waking hour and your health and home life are suffering.

Take a deep breath and consider these six ways of taking back control of your life while still managing your business effectively.

1. It’s not all about ‘You’. You may have started out on your own and built the business up from scratch so that you think it cannot possibly survive without you. Yes, you may possess a unique skill or talent that the business revolves around but there are still plenty of things you personally don’t need to take a hands-on approach to.

I went to the supermarket yesterday and saw something that really made me think.

I parked up next to an estate car which had the logo and contact details of a local cleaning company on the side. All well and good, you might think, taking an opportunity for some highly visible marketing.

I know that we’d all like more new clients and customers. However, there are two other quick and easy ways to make more money using the customers you already have.

Firstly, look at increasing the value of your transactions. This doesn’t necessarily mean increasing your prices or fees, although you should always ensure you are not selling them too cheaply. I am talking about confirming the needs of your customers and ensuring you are meeting those needs with products they actually want.

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