The Marketing ROI Guide to Delivering Smiles

\"SmilingMarketing is and will always be about making an emotional connection with the customer.

You think to yourself, this thingamajig cracks eggs, pours in flour, sugar, baking soda, chocolate chips, ices my cake and writes a message with icing on top. It’s going to pay for itself in 6 months.

Then we think “oh my” this is going to make me feel…

so unbelievably happy!

I can just put in my ingredients and out pops the most amazing cake and I can write whatever I want in purple icing? So easy and delicious! I can’t wait to try this out this weekend. I’ll never have to bake again. I’ll be able to just kick back and watch a movie and eat it when everything is ready.

You’ve already bought it in your mind, and now you need it.

Your Goal

You buy because you are looking for a certain feeling…You want to smile and feel happy

That’s what your business needs to be doing too. You are aiming to communicate that when a customer uses your software, buys your shoes, reads your book, the end result is:

You (the customer) will be happy!

The disconnect comes from companies that deliver this message, but don’t follow through on their promise. This all stems from their core values.

When you walk into a pleasant looking restaurant, you expect an enjoyable meal. But if your waiter is rude and inattentive, your experience is ruined because just one part of the experience is broken. The food might be fantastic, but you probably won’t go back because of the lousy waiter. The restaurant didn\’t put the time into training their staff to deliver smiles. This lack of training kills their marketing ROI.

You must learn how to use the psychological triggers in your business so you can use every customer interaction as a part of your domino marketing effect.

Employee Choices Vs “Have To\’s”

I\’ve worked for large companies I had to memorize company missions and visions. I felt very controlled.

I didn’t believe in the vision and just because I memorized it, I didn’t feel any closer to helping fulfill their ideals.

37 Signals wrote a cool blog post about turning culture into policy. In essence, whenever you are forced do something, it\’s policy. If all the Google employees were forced to play ping-pong, it would lose its luster. Forced ping-pong playing just isn\’t as much fun. 🙂

Why does employee happiness matter?

People pass on their feelings to the people they interact with. Think of the different roommates you’ve had in your life from your parents to your college dorm. When your roommate was happy, it was easier for you to be happy.

The same emotional transfer occurs with customers. When an employee is happy and kind, the customer feels this and picks up on these positive feelings.

Your company needs to have all its dominoes lined up so they all tip into each other to create the desired effect when a potential customer heads your way.

To get your whole company functioning well, you need to ask yourself 10 very important questions.

1. Are we encouraging our people to have good relationships with each other?

If you encourage people to connect with each other at work and outside of work and create friendships, they will stay with the company longer and deliver better results.

Gallup observed that employees who report having a best friend at work were 43% more likely to report having received praise or recognition for their work in the last seven days.

Finding ways to help employees to connect with each other goes a long way to creating a happier work culture.

2. Do our people understand why we do what we do?

Your employees need to have an emotional connection to their work. If they don’t care about their work, they won’t be getting the type of results that you would like.

Every individual has a different reason for doing the work that they do. Helping people understand their personal reason for doing their tasks will make it easier for them to create an emotional connection to their work. It’s this emotional connection that will help keep them motivated through their workday.

3. Does everyone understand what is expected of them each day?

Making sure people know what is expected of them is one of the weakest links in employee relationships. If management creates an outline of tasks that employees need to accomplish, but not how their results are measured, it leaves the results to chance.

The clients that I work with try to make their expectations clear, and include the employees in the process. When you have employees help define what is expected of them, you help them create the job this is most motivating and enjoyable.

4. Do we encourage constant improvement?

Toyota popularized the concept of constant improvement (Kaizan). They believe every employee is a resource that can potentially make the company better.

Creating a feedback loop at your company is maybe the most important tool you can use to create a happier place to work. The hard part is making the time to listen, making sure that employees know they are being heard, and taking the best ideas and actually implementing them within the company.

5. Are we helping people function at their optimal level?

To help people function at their optimal level, the best advice is to reduce stress and remove barriers so people can accomplish their goals. Too often, companies don’t encourage people to take breaks.

“We know that chronic or uninterrupted stress is very harmful. It is important, therefore, to take breaks and decompress. Take a lunch break and don\’t talk about work. Take a walk instead of a coffee break. Use weekends to relax, and don\’t schedule so many events that Monday morning back at work seems like a relief compared to the weekend. Learn your stress signals. Take regular vacations (or even long weekends or mental-health days) at intervals that you have learned are right for you.” – Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

You also need to remove obstacles from people’s day to day lives. The more red tape they have to go through to get things done, the more likely you will decrease their motivation to accomplish that task.

6. Do we celebrate our people’s hard work?

Celebrating accomplishments is nice, but can actually be demotivating. People want to know that their hard work matters, even if you don’t get the results that you hoped for. If the boss still shows appreciation, they are more likely to work even harder on the next project.

7. Are our people happy?

This goes back to the first 6 ideas that we talked about here, but still needs to be separate because if you find out people are unhappy, you need to ask why and what you can do to solve the problem(s).

8. Are our customers happy?

You need to make it easy for customers to complain. You can’t fix every complaint, and some are very extreme and not worth fixing, but it’s fixing the complaints that keep popping up again and again that will make your customers happy.

It’s caring enough to fix these mistakes to reduce customer unhappiness that is going to show people that you care about how they feel. When they see you actually care about how they feel, they are more likely to stick with you.

9. Do we share our story, experiences and values with our customer?

Every company has a story of how they started, what they value, and the great work that they’ve done. This matters because it goes back to the emotional connection customers have with you. You want them to appreciate everything your business is now and is working to become. It makes it that much easier for customers to tell their friends about you if you share core values.

10. Do our people have the autonomy to do great work?

As more and more younger people enter the workforce, the more employees value their autonomy and flexibility in the workplace. If they don’t have to worry about asking for time off to see their son in their kindergarten play, they are happier and more productive.

Asking These Tough Questions Is a Great Start

These 10 questions will help you create a foundation for your company to succeed. All great marketing stems from a company’s ability to develop a deep connection with their customers.

You choose to buy from Amazon because they make you happy. People buy from you for the same reason.

Every financial institution knows the value of adding a young customer. They stay loyal to you as long as you don’t abuse them. It’s too much of a pain to switch financial institutions, that’s why they covet young people.

You need to encourage developing a deep connection in your marketing too. That’s why your employees\’ happiness is so important. If they are happy they will make the customer happy.

Developing a Passionate Marketing Plan

You know you are good at what you do. Your service is fantastic. Your products are high quality. Now you have to earn customer\’s trust through marketing channels.

1. Engaging Website

The first step to creating a passionate marketing plan is having a home base that performs well for you. For every online business, that means having a great website.

The most three important aspects of an engaging website are:

1. Good Design – Structure that is easy to navigate

2. Compelling narrative – Copywriting that sells

3. Creates a Domino Effect – Builds trust as they click around

The last one is one of the hardest for people to create because they create their services or product sales page and then just hope it does well.

Most of my traffic arrives from links and Google search. My home page is not my most visited page. It’s my quality blog posts that people find and first arrive at on my site.

The thing is, once they land on my site, where are they going next? It’s these pages where I get a chance to deepen my relationship with potential clients.


You need to think of your website as a treasure map. Each page leads to something better until they get so close they can\’t but contact you.

Look at your website and ask yourself, “What is the most important first step I want my visitors to take when they arrive on my site?” When you can answer this, then you can begin to create your own Domino Website Effect.

2. Show Your Passion

The old marketing adage of “know, like and trust” will continue on far past the time we are all dead. The way to earn this trust is to show people that you believe in yourself. This confidence is built from delivering great results.

That’s why keeping track of testimonials is so important to proving to people that you are good at what you do. If they see you’ve helped people who they know or who are similar to them, then your trust factor goes up. Daniel Scocco, over at Daily Blog Tips, has a helpful post about asking for testimonials.

Danielle LaPorte is a master of generating passion in her readers. Just listen to this interview and you\’ll find out why.


Think about the last time you were in a sales process. If the experience was good, you felt safe and quickly developed a trust for the person you were talking with. If the experience was bad, there was a personality disconnect and you didn’t buy.

Your site starts the conversation, then it’s up to you to continue earning their trust and hopefully the sale.

3. Tune into Customer Feedback

Your customers are talking about you. They are either calling you out for being an asshole, or they are singing your praises. It’s the emotional extremes that get people talking.

You can listen in on this using some great tools. My favorite is Talkwalker Alerts. Anytime someone writes your company’s name in the web, you get a notice. After you receive a notice, you can choose to engage or just listen.




It’s this feedback that will allow you to find out what is working and what isn’t. I always send a survey to my clients after we’ve worked together. I ask for honest feedback because if there is something I could improve, I want to know about it.

4. Create Marketing Plans that Excite and Delight

I get excited about helping companies create deeper connections with their customers. The best part is helping them figure out how to excite and delight. \’Cause isn’t that what good marketing does?

Creating something fresh and fun is the type of marketing that spreads. I’ve helped clients develop products and create a marketing plans like video contests, virtual conferences and Twitter parties. Each one has to be tailored to what the audience wants and that’s how you will get the best response.


Look at the type of interactions you have liked with past clients. Ask yourself three questions:

1. How do I and my employees like to connect with my customers?

2. What type of event would they find valuable enough to share with their best friend?

3. Who would be able to help me make this event something special?

The key is to not just do something that you or your employees would like to do, it’s important to listen to your customer\’s feedback so their needs are met, and the event is successful the first time.

5. Create Multi-use Marketing Plans

Very often, marketing plans are expensive and time consuming. This can be viewed as a good thing if it\’s done right and helps your business grow in a couple different ways.

I worked with a music company that wanted to engage with a younger crowd and also use the content in other areas. We had their students create videos to win tuition, and people voted on their favorite video. This drew traffic to the site and increased their subscriber rate, which is good.

The best part is they were able to repost these videos on their blog, and share their teaching chops with future students.

You may be thinking “my business doesn’t work that way”. This may be true right now, but I bet there is at least one way you could create some kind of marketing event and use the content as a way to attract more customers.

Another example of this is creating a free webinar for your customers, sharing your expertise, then using a video of the webinar as an opt-in bonus for people who sign-up for your email list.

There are over a thousand good ways you could create a spreadable marketing event or product that gets people talking about you. It’s important to create something that can also help your business create long term growth.

6. Teach Instead of Convince

When we talked about creating webinars in the above example, the purpose was to attract customers  sharing your expertise. In today\’s client-savvy markeplace, it’s good to think of yourself as a teacher first and a marketer second. I say this because many of my clients have complained about not wanting to do marketing. They want to create a great experience for their customers, but don’t want to toot their own horns.

Marketing doesn’t have to be about tooting your own horn. I believe the best marketing is an offer wrapped around quality education. Look at Whole Foods\’ business model. They believe that offering only the best quality foods keeps people coming back, not the cheapest.

They teach you about quality foods in their store. They explain where their fish comes from and why they don’t buy low grade fish (which of course hints that other stores do this to boost their profits).

They have healthy recipes in their flier and in their opt-in email newsletter. They are teaching you about good food, and when you want to make a quality meal for your family, you think about shopping at Whole Foods.


For every company, you have an opportunity to teach people about your expertise. Sharing this information will help you earn your clients\’ trust. Every time you teach them something new that they value, there is a good chance they’ll share it with their friends and come back for more.

Marketing Smiles

Many companies have core values that can make marketing fun. For example, I love shopping at Amazon because they give their employees perks that help build their culture.

Amazon will give up to 95% of tuition reimbursement to full-time employees who choose to take their career in a new direction.

“Unlike traditional tuition reimbursement programs, we exclusively fund education only in areas that are well-paying and in high demand according to sources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and we fund those areas regardless of whether those skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. In addition, the Amazon Career Choice Program will pay tuition and fees in advance rather than reimbursement after the completion of the course.

I don\’t know about you, but I WANT to give my money to an organization that supports the growth of their employees.

In terms of marketing “smiles”, it’s pretty easy to ask your employees to focus on making your customers smile. It’s tangible and real. Asking them to make your customers happy is much harder. It’s too large or intangible of a concept to implement.

So keep things simple and ask your employees one key question. “Will this make the customer smile?”

If the answer is no, then don’t do it. But if your employees focus on bringing a smile to the customer, it’s this extra attention of going a little above and beyond that can make the difference between a customer leaving a great review or no review at all.

Your Turn

Think about the companies that you choose to buy from. Why do you choose them? Can you give an example of a company\’s marketing that makes you smile?

* Are you looking to bring more smiles to your customers? Then reach out and let’s talk. I\’ll send you a short form and we can set-up a time to talk about how you could turn your customers into loyal fans.

4 thoughts on “The Marketing ROI Guide to Delivering Smiles”

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