Creating a Stable, Friendly Fish Tank

A Quick Rundown of What Your Fish Tank Is

Remember from before that a fish tank is your business. Actually, it is can be any generic business out there. The fish in this analogy are the customers. They should be your customers but only if you create a comfortable environment for them. However, there is one small caveat with this analogy. Unlike a real fish tank, your business will be open to customers at any time. This means they can visit, make a purchase, and browse. But this ability cuts two ways. Not only can they come but they can leave also. Some will leave and never return if your business (the tank) is not a good place for them. So this is why you want to offer a good buying experience day in and day out. You want those fish to come to your tank and willingly buy from you, refer you to their friends, and return later on. So how do you ensure this happens?

You Can Start By Adding Value

Adding value is one of the best (if not the best) ways to start off a relationships on a positive note. And make no mistake, business relationships with your customers (customer-merchant relationships to be exact) are paramount. They will form. No matter what, a relationship will form. It is your most important duty as the carer of your tank to please your fish. Now, this does not mean allow them to walk all over you. It has been said many times, but we will repeat it here. Some relationships are not worth the effort. There are those that will try to take advantage of your hospitality and good nature. Or they'll take advantage of the "customer is always right" adage. This is a good guideline, but cannot cover every scenario. 

Back to the point, though, the best way to ensure a positive relationship forms between you (or your business) and your customer is to add value. Right from the start, add value. This can be as simple as greeting your customer as soon as they come in and asking if you can help them find anything. Or you can get a bit more creative. Consider offering free samples where applicable. Or if you run a service business, offer a few free tips and advice. You can even refer prospective customers to web pages that can add value themselves. A good opportunity is to use your online tank as a method of adding value. 

Many businesses feature beginner content on their websites to give a little even before their customers come in. When the customer acts on a recommendation from your site and the result is positive, they will visit your store or make a purchase online having already been positively framed. Even still, there are tons of businesses that do not add value before a customer buys. Applying this technique will help your tank stand out from the rest and draw your fish back every time.

Be as Visible as Possible

Being visible is a practice of patience and steady work. There are definitely benefits of being visible that are obvious. If customers can see your business or they know where to find it when they want to, that leads to more visits. More visits in turn lead to more sales. Of course, the more sales you get, the better your revenue. But there are other, less known benefits. Such as simple word of mouth or brand recognition. These can help a business through individuals and organizations that are not affiliated with you or have no intention from buying from you. For instance, do you ever see movie posters, trailers, or even movie-themed merchandise? Of course, you do. It's everywhere. But it would be a safe bet that you do not buy that much of it as a whole. Perhaps some things here or there, but as a whole, not that much. But consider the power of merchandise, trailers, posters, and other branded things. What do they do even if you don't invest in them? They spread a message and they improve the visibility of their brand. Through simple being out there in front of people their message and brand visibility improve. If you don't believe it, consider how often you hear about something you don't have much interest in. Or even better how often you simply speak of something you have no interest in--just to make conversation. That is it right there. That is the power of visibility. And that is the power of increasing visibility for your business. With countless (uninterested people casually talking about something, it's message gets spread. Eventually, someone who is interested will hear and this benefits the brand/owner. 

Now, a few good things to keep in mind. You must come up with an effective branding solution, your tank must be comfortable for customers when they get there, and you must retain them. These processes all help to strengthen each other over time. We'll start with your online tank first.

Internet Visibility

In a way, visibility on the Internet works much of the same way as it does in real life. However, those are the core working or the ideas behind it. When getting into the specifics, you will see that the method of gaining online visibility is different. 

Improving Your Brand Awareness

  1. Creating original content: This is important to your tank because it if you simply copy content from another business, you will not stand out. Also, it will make you appear untrustworthy. Original content on your online business helps set you apart from the others. If you ever wonder why name brand items in the store seem to make more money and have more prominence than generic brands, it's because they appear to have some degree of difference and uniqueness. 
  2. Search Engine Marketing: SEM or search engine marketing is a kind of marketing that happens only online. Using the power of search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, your site and services can be shown to potential customers when they run a search for them or related topics. Using a web marketing firm such as Move You Up, found at http://moveyouup.com, you can optimize your online tank to show up in search results for customers already looking for your products and services.
  3. Participating in Blogs: Such as our blog, www.myfishtanks.info, itself, there are plenty of quality blogs out there to read and post on to help spread the word about your business. A good business owner will become active online and interact with others in their niche in order to network, add value, and receive value. Unbeknown to many, a good percentage of customers can be acquired through these same blogs. When looking for a good product to buy, many people do some research about the product and similar ones online. There is a good chance they will discover you through the blogs you participate in.
  4. Charitable Events: A sometimes lesser-known method of getting your brand our there and increasing its visibility (online and off) is participating in charitable events. Without getting too deep into the "spiritual" aspects of both business and charity, it is important that goodwill be established for your business. Giving to organizations that support the less fortunate is a great way to represent your business as a positive force in the market. Furthermore, this turns the organizers of these events into champions of your business. How? By getting them to talk about your tank positively. They meet with more people on a monthly basis than most of the other people you know. So they will have the most chance to spread the word about you. Furthermore, these charitable organizations have online presences too. Often times, they will mention you in some credits page, giving you a good place to recommend your customers who are interested in your charitable contributions.

Bringing It Together

These topics covered in this post are only the very basic ones we intend to discuss. It is important that new business owners tend to their tanks as if they were children. Every day you must be working on improving it, your reputation, and the experience of your fish. 

Return soon for updates.

Business Online Intermission

Online Business (Tank) Preliminary

We are still getting everything ready to officially start. This series of posts will be all about your website. As we have discussed previously, your website is like your online business. Actually, it is your online business. So it's important that it represents you just as well as your physical one (if applicable). So we are going to be going over how to improve the reputation and visibility of your online business, what to do to make it as user-friendly as possible, and how to get your customers leaving with a good opinion about you. The last one will help the other two goals because you can turn those customers into repeat customers if you treat them right. And they will recommend you to their friends and family. Your ultimate goal should be turning your customers into reliable heralds of your business and what it offers. When your heralds have a good experience, often times it's the new customers they themselves attract that are the real rewards. We will get into more general business best practices later on.

Now, we already know there is a bit of confusion among the newer members on how our businesses are related to fish and fish tanks. The answer is simple (hit that slider button at the top on the school of fish to see a hint). We like to use the analogy that the "fish" are your customers. The sea is the world/market. And the tank or tanks are your businesses. You want to handle every customer with care so that they will no longer wish to swim aimlessly through the market. Your tank is where you want to attract them into (your store), and where they will remain . . . and happily. This last part is provided that you take care of them and make your store environment friendly. We will get into this later on when we post more about conversion, relations, and promoting. For now, we are leaving you with this video. It should help give you pointers on basics business practice in general. Not simply what we are posting about in this category. We hope you find it motivational. Even when you become successful, there come times when you need a little extra push to keep moving forward in business. These are good times to reflect on the greats and what motivated them, what continues to motivate them, and what trials they faced but overcame. Until then, check back for updates.