Tag Archives: websites

James Q. Wilson, Broken Windows, and Your Business

Laurel Tielis

James Q. Wilson died this week, but he left behind a legacy of getting it right from the beginning. A social scientist, he was a proponent of the “broken windows” theory of crime, which focuses on maintaining order, and calls for stopping minor infractions before they lead to major crimes. Acting on the theory, and using community policing, New York, Los Angeles and other cities improved their crime statistics and their quality of life.

How does this relate to you? By taking care of the little things, you’ll find the big things will fall into place. So if you want a bigger, more successful business, you’ve got to make sure that you pay attention to detail.

In a physical sense, if you’ve got a store, there’s no doubt that you’ll take care of an actual broken window. But are you as responsive to doing anything and everything to make it attractive and inviting?

For example, is the entranceway clean and clear, so that potential customers feel welcome? Are the aisles easy to navigate, and have you put forethought into making sure the merchandise display entices shoppers? How about the lighting? Is the restroom spotless?

Do you have staff? How do you behave to them? Do you trust them and give them the authority to make decisions? The more you show confidence in them, the more that confidence will be repaid. By treating them with courtesy and compassion, you’ll find they behave that way to your customers or clients. Again, it’s the broken windows theory. Get it right from the get-go, and everything will follow through in the same pattern.

Then there’s your website. Do you maintain it and update it regularly? Is it clear to anyone viewing it that it’s important to you, and that you value it? Because, frankly, if it’s not important to you, why should a buyer find it of interest?

How about your social media efforts? When was the last time you sent out a tweet or wrote something for your FB wall? If you’re not keeping up to date with social media, you’re missing opportunities to show potential buyers that you’re someone with whom they want to work.

Most importantly, do you tell the truth, or do you over promise and under deliver? Can your clients or customers rely on you? If you disappoint just one person, shrug it off and think no one else will know, you’ve underestimated the broken window theory. People do tell other people–they do it through word of mouth and media. One way or another, word gets around.

When you’re making decisions about how to go forward in your work, keep James Q. Wilson and his broken window theory in mind. Get the small things right, and you build a strong foundation for a big business.

If  you want more ideas about bringing in business, I can help. I’ve been a retail reporter at Women’s Wear Daily and Home Furnishings News, a columnist at the Miami Herald and a correspondent at People.

I’ve also handled the marketing and public relations at major corporations and small businesses. Need a speaker or a consultant? Connect with me at LinkedIn, or follow me on Twitter @laureltielis.

You can also get in touch at Ask Laurel (one word) at laureltielis.com. For easy and effective ways to bring in more business, read my book Ka-Ching! How to Ring Up More Sales.

Copyright © 2014 Laurel Tielis

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Five Fast Ways to Wake Up Your Website

Laurel Tielis

If you’re like most small business owners,your website probably took a lot of time, money, and energy to create. It may have been an exhausting process. But the truth is, the real work only begins, after it’s up and running.

If you want your  site to work for you, you have to work on it. You need to update it frequently, and promote it as a matter of course. Unless you do, visitors will feel that you’re not interested in it. And if you’re not interested, why should they be?

Here are five ways you can show visitors  to your website that you value their interest in your business.

Web Site Success Strategies

1.  See your home page as your store window or storefront

It’s your brand online, so make sure it looks like you. You bring passersby into your store with a compelling window; you bring browsers to your site with an alluring home page.

Just as you create a theme and tell a color story in your window, do the same here. Also, think about what interests you when you “window shop,” and then offer that kind of information to your readers.

2. Keep it current

You change your windows regularly to attract new business; do the same with your site.

One way is to put a box on your home page—it can feature new merchandise, list sale items, highlight industry information, note upcoming in-store events or those that you sponsor in the community. Another is to feature an item or a customer. Update this space daily or weekly to create maximum impact.

  3. Use landing pages

You know the applause a pilot gets when the plane comes in for a landing? That’s the passengers saying they’re exactly where they want to be.

Your landing pages tell visitors just what they want to know. And what they want to know is, What’s in it for them? Do you have what they need? Because as an early jazz song says, If you don’t give me what I need, I’m gonna get it somewhere else.

If you serve different groups–perhaps women in business, at-home moms, grandparents, and others—you should have a variety of landing pages, each focusing on those customers specific needs.

4. Engage browsers to turn them into buyers

Start a dialog with your current customers, former clients, and new  prospects. Entertain them, educate them, or give them information that’s pertinent to their lives.

I’m a fan of fun quotes and one of my favorites would be perfect for anyone working in home or design. Oscar Wilde last words were reputed to be. “Either this wallpaper goes, or I do.”

Ask your customers for their favorite quotes, jokes, or stories. Or start a contest and offer a prize. Post a photo and bio of the winner. At a minimum, she’ll send the link to your site to friends, family members, and colleagues. If he’s on a social media site, he’ll post it there as well.

5. KYSS–Keep Your Site Simple

Save the bells and whistles for training your dog, because frankly, no one has the time or the patience to wait for your site to download. You make more work for yourself, and you lose potential customers, when visitors can’t find what they want quickly and easily.

Suit Your Site toYour Customers

Remember, a static site seems like you’re not involved. You lose buyer interest and ranking on search engines with one. Frequent changes, and attention to customer needs, show that you take them, as well as your business, seriously.

Want more ideas about bringing in business? I can help. I’ve been a retail reporter at Women’s Wear Daily and Home Furnishings News, a columnist at the Miami Herald and a correspondent at People magazine.

I’ve also handled the marketing and public relations at major corporations and small businesses. Need a speaker or a consultant? Get in touch at ringupmoresales@gmail.com. Or, for easy and effective ways to bring in more business, read Ka-Ching! How to Ring Up More Sales.

Copyright © 2011 Laurel Tielis

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