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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.

I understand that some people find it really difficult to say “No”, especially if it means turning down work. On the other hand, if you say “Yes” to everyone you leave yourself wide open to all sorts of problems.

You can soon find yourself bogged down with too many tasks to do, not able to prioritise them and ending up making a poor job of most of them. In the short term you may make plenty of money that month but longer term your clients and customers will be taking their business elsewhere.

I think we all experience this at some stage – I know I have. You reach a certain point and think that it is just too painful to go on.

Have a moment’s reflection and think about what you are doing. Are you doing it because:

• Everybody else is doing it so it must be right?
• You feel you ought to?
• Just for the money?

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