The Law of Reciprocity

As an entrepreneur, you have countless relationships you need to manage on a daily basis. There are your employees. There are the vendors who provide needed support services to help you run your business. And of course, there are also your customers.

Maintaining quality relationships with each of these groups will prove vital for your lasting success. And perhaps the best way to ensure that you enjoy strong relationships is to make ure that you always follow the law of reciprocity.

As sales training authority Brian Tracy wrote in a blog post, the law of reciprocity is “considered by many to be the most powerful law of human nature. Basically, it states that, ‘If you do something nice for me I’ll do something nice for you. I feel obligated to reciprocate.’”

So, how exactly do you put the law of reciprocity into real-life practice?


Start by building trust.

Building trust with consumers, particularly those who have never interacted with your brand before, is key By giving something of value away for free — as the law of reciprocity details — you establish your industry authority and demonstrate that you have your customers’ best interests at heart.

This is why you see so many startups, (particularly SaaS companies), offer free trials that allow users to try those companies’ services before buying. It’s why many industry authorities post a wealth of blog posts sharing actionable information, or share free ebooks with their users.

As Impact BND’s Ramona Sukhraj highlighted in an article, “GoToWebinar reportedly sees around 40 percent of its free trial-users convert into paid plans, while the best-in-class softwares see more than 60 percent.”

As Sukhraj continued, a free trial for SaaS prospects lets them “see behind the curtain.” It lets them experience what your product looks like, how it functions and how they personally will interact with it.

This builds trust in potential customers because they know exactly what to expect from your products or services. With other business relationships, a similar strategy of offering advice or assistance free of charge will go a long way in building a positive foundation for your relationship.

Continually show appreciation.

Building trust at the beginning of a customer relationship is vital. But to continue to enjoy that strong relationship for many years, you must periodically show your appreciation.

As Satwick Saxena of EvaBot, noted, “According to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration, 68 percent of customers end a business relationship because they don’t feel appreciated or cared about. That’s a lot more than the 14 percent who ditch a business because they don’t like the product.”

Added Saxena, “When you show appreciation to your customers, it humanizes you. It makes them realize that you know them and they matter.” And that humanizing builds loyalty, which may give you a life-long customer, Saxena said, as well as bring you a referral or recommendation.

Loyal customers often appreciate special offers or discounts — especially when these offers are personalized based on previous purchases. This can greatly increase the likelihood of these customers making additional purchases.

A CMSWire case study is relevant here.  It revealed that “in a recent 12-month period, businesses with a 40 percent level of repeat customers generated 47 percent more revenue than similar businesses with only a 10 percent level of repeat customers.”

The same principles are vital for retaining your most valued employees. While positive affirmations and words of thanks can help employees feel appreciated, tangible items like a promotion, raise or bonus can foster greater loyalty among your top performers. 

Incentivize your audience.

Sometimes, you can be up-front with how you use the law of reciprocity and still go a long way toward strengthening your brand. Your current customers are often willing to do something that helps that brand when they know they will receive something of value in return.

Few examples of this principle are better than that Dropbox. As a case study reported on by Overthink Group revealed, Dropbox used its referral program to grow from 100,000 to 4 million users in a 15-month period. The key to this success?

“Referring your friends and family to DropBox makes your account more valuable,” the case study reported. “Free users automatically get 2 gigabytes of cloud storage, and every referral earns you an additional 500 megabytes … the referral program is framed as a benefit to the user.” 

Highlighting the free storage space users would get for each referrals created a highly engaged audience willing to invite others to join Dropbox. Today, Dropbox has over 500 million users — not a bad result for a company that gives away some free storage.

Give before you receive.

At the end of the day, the most important element of the law of reciprocity is that you be willing to give away something of value without expecting something in return. 

Whether you choose to use words of affirmation with a top employee, offer meaningful gifts to a loyal client or demonstrate added trust with a business partner, you will strengthen the relationships that matter most for your business’s growth and build a positive brand image.

You won’t always get something tangible in return. But by increasing customer loyalty, employee productivity and more, your company will get the growth it needs to succeed.

Source: Entrepreneur Inc

2018 SBA South Florida Small Business Awards

Congratulations to Orlando Espinosa, co-founder of Emineo Media! Orlando was recently announced as winner of the 2018 State of Florida Small Business Advocate of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Florida SBDC at FIU was proud to have nominated him for this well deserved honor.

Read about some of the other winners here:
SBA

MIAMI – U.S. Small Business South Florida District Office recently announced the winners of the SBA’s 2018 District and State of Florida Small Business Week Awards.
Rockledge, Florida-based SeaDek was named the SBA 2018 Small Business National Exporter of the Year. The company, nominated by the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida, will be travel to Washington D.C to receive their award during the 2018 National Small Business Week Awards Ceremony.
“This is a celebratory announcement for the entire South Florida region,” said Lynn Douthett, interim district director for the South Florida District Office. “First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the entire SDBC at UCF team for their contributions towards SeaDek’s success. Rewarding this company on a national stage for their hard work and dedication will help to inspire other entrepreneurs considering expanding their business into the international trade marketplace.”
Exporter of the Year (National, Region IV, State of Florida and South Florida District)
Serenity Gardner, chief operating officer and Jason Gardner, vice president of marketing for SeaDek in Rockledge, Florida
Women’s Business Center of Excellence (Region IV, State of Florida and South Florida District)
weVENTURE at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida
Small Business Person of the Year (South Florida District)
Anais Badia, chief medical officer and owner of Florida Skin Center in Fort Myers, Florida
Minority-Owned Small Business Person of the Year (State of Florida and South Florida District)
Brian Butler, president and chief executive officer of Vistra Communications – an 8(a)-certified and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) in Tampa, Florida
Community Partner of the Year (State of Florida and South Florida District)
The Miami Bayside Foundation in Miami, Fla.
Small Business Advocate of the Year (State of Florida and South Florida District)
Orlando Espinosa, co-founder of Emineo Media and 2016 SBA State of Florida Advocate of the Year, located in Miami, Florida
Young Entrepreneur Small Business Person of the Year (State of Florida and South Florida District)
Luisa Santos, founder of Lulu’s Nitrogen Ice Cream in Miami, Florida
Veteran-Owned Small Business Person of the Year (South Florida District)
Moises Montañez, owner of Alta Quality Builders and SBA Region IV Regulatory Fairness Board member, located in Miami, Florida
Woman-Owned Small Business Person of the Year (South Florida District)
Karen Viera, owner of The Med Writers and 2016 SBA Emerging Leaders graduate, located in West Palm Beach, Florida
Winners will be presented with their NSBW awards during various ceremonies throughout the District.

Digital Marketing Changes Quickly

Digital marketing has taken the marketing industry by storm. While print marketing still holds power within the industry, it’s the digital marketing trends that are proving to hold precedence. While Web Strategies reported that in 2016 the five digital channels that saw large gains were email marketing, social media, online display advertising, mobile marketing and search, you’re likely wondering what this year will bring. After all, the internet and all of its trends are constantly changing and what was a marketing powerhouse last year could very well be old news this year. To help you strategize a marketing plan that will take your company to the next level, here’s our list of the digital marketing trends anticipated for the rest of 2017.

Live Video Streaming

Without a doubt, live video streaming will take off fully this year. Facebook and Instagram have already integrated live video capabilities into their channels, and other platforms are expected to follow suit. From the presidential debates to the Oscars, local news stories and personal experiences have been shared online via a live stream. It’s a trend that has the potential to draw in millions of people who are eager for a look at something that is happening right now.

People are drawn to the idea of seeing someone else’s perspective first hand and now live videos cater to this desire. This can significantly improve the way you build brand awareness and customer loyalty as you form a personal relationship with your customers. You’re offering them an exclusive look inside that not everyone will see. That is unless they’re online at that exact time.

Augmented Reality

The Pokémon Go trend may have died just as quickly as it grew in 2016, but it showed marketers the power of augmented reality. It proved that people are enthusiastic to indulge in AR experiences. The trick is to find out why Pokémon Go wasn’t successful for longer. Once you’ve figured that out and made the tweak, augmented reality could very well be the key to success in 2017.

The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to figure this out yourself. App developers and marketing experts are already working on this. On the other hand, you may want to start thinking of ways to can incorporate AR into your business, whether it’s with an advertisement, game or application.

Virtual Reality

Continuing from the previous theme, virtual reality is expected to be just as popular as AR in 2017. However, there seems to be some confusion over AR and VR, and in order to capitalize on these trends, you need to understand them.

To put it simply, AR is where you use technology in the real world, such as Pokémon Go to distort or add to what they are actually experiencing. People are able to interact with a different world within their own. VR is putting your consumers into a different world, using technology to escape reality.

As such, it’s predicted that companies will start to provide VR experiences to reach a wider range of consumers. Real estate agents can provide various property showings all in one place with VR and consumers can interact with other people from their living room. It’s a marketing trend that is inarguably going to change the industry in 2017. It’s the next step in evolution and because it’s so different from what companies, marketers and consumers are used to, it will be important to capitalize on it before you’re left behind.

Viral Marketing

“Viral” is one term that has flooded the internet as of late. Everyone wants their content to go viral. Whether it’s a video, article, status, photo – companies are now focusing on producing quality and catchy content that has the potential to go viral instead of producing batches of smaller, generic content. It’s about quality, not quantity.

Google’s algorithm considers the social status of your content to determine the ranking in the search engine. So the more likes, shares and engagement you have on your material, the better your search engine ranking will be. It’s a new twist to SEO that is expected to hold precedence over other SEO tactics.

Behavior-Based Email Marketing

Some countries, such as Canada, have an anti-spam law which has changed the way businesses interact with their consumers via email. This law has been in place since 2014, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, consumer behavior continues to change, which results in the need for email marketing to also evolve and adapt to the trend.

Although consumers may have opted for your newsletter campaign, irrelevant content is now causing them to unsubscribe. As a result, behavior-based email marketing is expected to trend. Just like the ads on Google, emails are now tailored to what the consumer is doing online. For example, if your consumer is searching online for content marketers, your next email to them should be about content marketers. Generic emails are no longer a success and spam emails will jeopardize your marketing success, whether the anti-spam law is active in your country or not.

 Visual Content

Forget about long social media statuses and blog posts; 2017 is the year for visual content. While you’ll still need to produce written content for search engine optimization, visual content will be the main source for driving traffic and leads. Everything from infographics to photos, digital guides, presentations and graphics will become the ultimate way to generate new leads.

Let the visual content captivate your audience and your written content keep your audience.

Digital marketing trends are constantly changing year by year. What’s popular at the beginning of 2017 may be old news come the end of the year. It’s important to always stay current with any changes within the industry to ensure an optimal marketing strategy throughout the year. However, these top digital marketing trends are looking like they will not be going anywhere anytime soon. They’re a big hit with consumers and can be an even bigger success for your company.

Source Forbes