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Connect with Customers in Five Easy Steps

Suggestions to improve recognition and increase traffic.

Five Stars Card  (File photo)
Five Stars Card (File photo)
Small businesses need all the help they can get, and expertcircle.com and docstoc.com are combining to offer five easy steps to increase customer loyalty and build a reputation.

Step One: Use a loyalty program to reward the customers who spend the most money with you. There are many loyalty programs available.

One of the more established programs began in Palo Alto: FiveStarsCard (http://www.fivestars.com/), which was featured in Patch (http://paloalto.patch.com/groups/business-news/p/five-stars-helping-to-form-a-small-business-community)  last October and had 33 businesses signed up.

A newer program, Belly (www.bellycard.com), has several businesses down the peninsula signed on, which can be located through the website.

Step Two: Jazz up your brand with fresh, customized business cards, posters, flyers and even T-shirts. VistaPrint (www.vistaprint.com) is the recommended site.

Step Three: Test your business slogans, name changes and value props before you spend a lot of money with SurveyMonkey (www.surveymonkey.com).

Step Four: Start a blog to connect with users, boost SEO and update customers on special offers. There are a number of sites which hosts blogs. Zemanta (www.zemanta.com) is a blogging tool that helps you find and link to related content in blogs everywhere.

Step Five: Create or polish your logo so it grabs attention while fostering credibility. 99designs (www.99designs.com) was created to facilitate the connection between client and designer, making it easy to quickly and cost-effectively source custom design work.

The loyalty programs have been shown to help small business interconnect with each other to form a community.

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