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We are Fame Foundry.

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We love our clients.

Fame Foundry seeks out bold brands that wish to engage their public in sincere, evocative ways.

WorkWeb DesignSportsEvents

Platforms for racing in the 21st century.

Fame Foundry puts the racing experience in front of millions of fans, steering motorsports to the modern age.

“Fame Foundry created something never seen before, allowing members to interact in new ways and providing them a central location to call their own. It also provides more value to our sponsors than we have ever had before.”

—Ryan Newman

Technology on the track.

Providing more than just web software, our management systems enhance and reinforce a variety of services by different racing organizations which work to evolve the speed, efficiency, and safety measures, aiding their process from lab to checkered flag.

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Setting the pace across 44 states.

With over 1100 locations, thousands of products, and millions of transactions, Shoe Show creates a substantial retail footprint in shoe sales.

The sole of superior choice.

With over 1100 locations, thousands of products, and millions of transactions, Shoe Show creates a substantial retail footprint in shoe sales.

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The contemporary online pharmacy.

Medichest sets a new standard, bringing the boutique experience to the drug store.

Integrated & Automated Marketing System

All the extensive opportunities for public engagement are made easily definable and effortlessly automated.

Scheduled promotions, sales, and campaigns, all precisely targeted for specific demographics within the whole of the Medichest audience.

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Home Design & Decor Magazine offers readers superior content on designer home trends on any device.

  • By selectively curating the very best from their individual markets, each localized catalog comes to exhibit the trending, pertinent visual flavors specific to each region.

  • Beside the swaths of inspirational home photography spreads, Home Design & Decor provides exhaustive articles and advice by proven professionals in home design.

  • The art of home ingenuity always dances between the timeless and the experimental. The very best in these intersecting principles offer consistent sources of modern innovation.

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  • Post a need on behalf of yourself, a family member or your community group, whether you need volunteers or funds to support your cause.

  • Search by location, expertise and date, and connect with people in your very own community who need your time and talents.

  • Start your own Neighborhood or Group Page and create a virtual hub where you can connect and converse about the things that matter most to you.

December 2016
By Kimberly Barnes

Going the Distance: Four Ways to Build a Better Customer Loyalty Program for Your Brand

Loyalty programs are no longer a novelty. That means that yesterday’s strategies won’t work moving forward, so look for ways to rise above the noise, setting yourself apart from the cloying drone of countless other cookie-cutter programs.
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Going the Distance: Four Ways to Build a Better Customer Loyalty Program for Your Brand

article-thedistance-lg It’s easy enough for a customer to join your loyalty program, especially when you’re offering an incentive such as discounts. All your customer has to do is give out some basic information, and voila! They’re in the fold, a brand new loyalty member with your company. From there, it’s happily ever after. You offer the perks; they stand solidly by you, bringing you their continued business. Simple. Or is it? In reality, just how many of those customers are act ively participating in your loyalty program? Do you know? Sure, loyalty program memberships are on the rise according to market research company eMarketer, having jumped 25 percent in the space of just two years. However, that figure may be a bit misleading. The truth is that, while loyalty program sign-ups may be more numerous, active participation in such programs is actually in decline. At the time of the study, the average US household had memberships in 29 loyalty programs; yet consumers were only active in 12 of those. That’s just 41 percent. And even that meager figure represents a drop of 2 percentage points per year over each of the preceding four years, according to a study by loyalty-marketing research company COLLOQUY.

When discounts just aren’t enough

So what’s a brand to do? How can you make your loyalty program worth your customer’s while—as well as your own? After all, gaining a new loyalty member doesn’t mean much if your customer isn’t actively participating in your program. Consider this: Does your customer loyalty program offer members anything different from what your competitors are offering? Chances are your program includes discounts. That’s a given. And what customer doesn’t appreciate a good discount? But when every other company out there is providing this staple benefit in comparable amounts, it becomes less and less likely that customers will remain loyal to any one particular brand. Frankly, it’s all too easy for customers to get lost in a sea of loyalty member discounts. They’re everywhere. In fact, just under half of internet users perceive that all rewards programs are alike, according to a 2015 eMarketer survey. The key to success, then, is to differentiate your business from the crowd. If you can offer your customers something unique and valuable beyond the usual discount, chances are they’ll be more likely to stick with your brand. Here’s some inspiration from companies who get it.

Virgin: Reward more purchases with more benefits.

That’s not to say you need to get rid of discounts entirely. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Customers still love a good discount. The goal is to be creative in terms of the loyalty perks you offer. Take the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, for example. As part of its loyalty program, the airline allows members to earn miles and tier points. Members are inducted at the Club Red tier, from which they can move up to Club Silver and then Club Gold. Here, it’s not just a discount. It’s status. And people respond to feeling important, elite. Still, even where the rewards themselves are concerned, Virgin is motivating loyalty customers with some pretty attractive offers. At the Club Red tier, members earn flight miles and receive discounts on rental cars, airport parking, hotels and holiday flights. But as members rise in tiers, they get even more. At the Club Silver tier, members earn 50 percent more points on flights, access to expedited check-in, and priority standby seating. And once they reach the top, Club Gold members receive double miles, priority boarding and access to exclusive clubhouses where they can get a drink or a massage before their flight. Now that’s some serious incentive to keep coming back for more. Discounts are still part of the equation – but they are designed with innovation and personal value in mind, elevating them to more than just savings.

Amazon Prime: Pay upfront and become a VIP.

What if your customers only had to pay a one-time upfront fee to get a year’s worth of substantial benefits? It may not sound like the smartest business idea at first glance. But take a closer look. Amazon Prime users pay a nominal $99 a year to gain free, two-day shipping on millions of products with no minimum purchase. And that’s just one benefit of going Prime. It’s true that Amazon loses $1-2 billion a year on Prime. This comes as no surprise given the incredible value the program offers. But get this: Amazon makes up for its losses in markedly higher transaction frequency. Specifically, Prime members spend an average of $1,500 a year on Amazon.com, compared with $625 spent by non-Prime users, a ccording to a 2015 report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Patagonia: Cater to customer values.

Sometimes, the draw for consumers isn’t saving money or getting a great deal. The eco-friendly outdoor clothing company Patagonia figured this out back in 2011, when it partnered with eBay to launch its Common Threads Initiative: a program that allows customers to resell their used Patagonia clothing via the company’s website. Why is this program important to customers? And how does it benefit Patagonia? The company’s brand embraces environmental and social responsibility, so it was only fitting that they create a platform for essentially recycling old clothing rather than merely throwing it away. The Common Threads Initiative helps Patagonia build a memorable brand and fierce loyalty by offering its customers a cause that aligns with deep personal values. OK, so their customers get to make a little money, too. Everybody wins.

American Airlines: Gamify your loyalty program.

If you’re going to offer your customers a loyalty program, why not make it f un? After all, engagement is key to building a strong relationship with your customer. And what better way to achieve that goal than making a game of it. American Airlines had this very thing in mind when it created its AAdvantage Passport Challenge following its merger with USAirways. The goal: find a new way to engage customers as big changes were underway. Using a custom Facebook application, American Airlines created a virtual passport to increase brand awareness while offering members a chance to earn bonus points. Customers earned these rewards through a variety of game-like activities, from answering trivia questions to tracking travel through a personalized dashboard. In the end, participants earned more than 70 percent more stamps than expected – and the airline saw a ROI of more than 500 percent. The takeaway: people like games.

Stand out from the crowd.

Your approach to your customer loyalty program should align with your overall marketing approach. Effective branding is about standing out, not blending it. Being memorable is key. To this end, keep in mind that loyalty programs are no longer a novelty. That means that yesterday’s strategies won’t work moving forward, so look for ways to rise above the noise, setting yourself apart from the cloying drone of countless other cookie-cutter programs.

704 Why your customers are like Gary Busey

Apparently Gary Busey likes talking to things. Chances are, your customers do, too. So let them have a conversation during online transactions – with helpful, friendly live chat.

June 2016
By Jeremy Girard

Small Changes, Big Impact: 5 Things You Can (and Should!) Do Today to Boost Your Website’s Performance

There’s no time like the present to implement these quick fixes and reap the rewards for months to come.
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Small Changes, Big Impact: 5 Things You Can (and Should!) Do Today to Boost Your Website’s Performance

artice-smallchanges-lg Every spring it happens like clockwork: the temperatures get warmer, the days get longer and everything in nature becomes more vibrant and colorful. Along with these changes in the great outdoors comes the irresistible urge to clean house and embrace a fresh start. Why not keep that motivational momentum going and apply it to your business – and, more specifically, to your website – as well? After all, there’s no time like the present to sweep away the old and outdated and bring in fresh new ideas and technologies. But you don’t necessarily need to dive head-first into a full redesign and all of the time and expense that entails to reap measurable results. Instead, here are five small steps you can – and should! – take today to ensure that your site is up-to-date, relevant and doing all it can to bring you new customers and grow the community around your brand:

1. Reposition your contact form.

For most website owners – especially those in service-based businesses such as law, accounting, consulting, real estate, etc. – the key “win” for their site is when it motivates a visitor to request more information or schedule a meeting. Contact forms are a ubiquitous website staple intended to provide a convenient – and highly measurable – avenue to initiate communication between an interested prospect and a company. However, perhaps because they are so commonplace, all too often these forms are given little strategic thought, resulting in a cookie-cutter name/email address/phone number format that yields more bogus spam submissions than legitimate new business opportunities. However, there is one simple change you can make that has been shown to get better results: reposition your standard “Contact us” form as an “Ask our experts” feature. By doing so, you shift the focus of the form to providing your visitors with an opportunity to submit a question that is specific to their needs and concerns. Rather than feeling like they are opening themselves up to an endless barrage of solicitation calls and emails, your visitors will sense that they are initiating a dialogue with an expert who will help them solve their particular problem. Make sure to respond to all inquiries within 24 hours, provide helpful advice that is free of charge and tailored to your prospect’s situation, and leave the door open to continue the conversation in a future meeting or phone call. By doing so, you will establish an important foundation of trust and confidence with your potential new client that will make them more inclined to engage your professional services. expert I have personally seen the submission rates on these types of forms increase dramatically. On one site where this small change was implemented, form submissions jumped from one or two per week to one or two per day – all legitimate business opportunities that were sparked simply by repositioning the focus of the form.

2. Productize your offering.

Another challenge that professional services organizations face in creating a website that works as an effective customer conversion engine is that they do not sell a specific product but rather a suite of services that can be customized to each client’s specific needs. This makes it terribly hard to market to visitors who come to their site and simply want to know “What exactly does this company sell, and how much does it cost?”. Because there are so many variables to the company’s offerings, there is not a quick and easy answer to these questions. If this challenge sounds familiar to you, one approach you can try is to “productize” what you have to offer. Create a bundle of services with a fixed price, and market that package on your site in a simple, straightforward manner that makes your offering easy to understand and helps visitors feel like doing business with your company is as simple as buying a product off the shelf at a store. package This is exactly what my company did with some of the technology consulting services that we offer. Instead of only listing the array of services we provide, we also created a product that representing a very specific offering. This made it so much easier to answer the “What do you sell?” question, and it gave us something tangible to promote in our marketing campaigns. In reality, this approach in no way limited the range of services we are able to offer our clients; rather, it merely served as a vehicle to open doors to new opportunities and made it easier to start conversations with new customers for whom we could ultimately provide a custom-tailored solution. Examine the services that you offer, and work with your marketing team to create an appealing package that you can market – understanding all the while that this “product” is really just a means for you to connect with customers and begin the sales process with something tangible that they can easily understand.

3. Lose your home page carousel.

One simple change that I have seen many websites make in the past year or so is to remove animated image carousels from their home pages. These carousels have long been a popular fixture of website design, but the reality is that they can sometimes do more harm than good. Home page carousels typically feature giant, screen-spanning images which carry with them heavy download requirements both for the images and for the scripts that power the animation sequences, thereby creating a potential stumbling block in performance for users on mobile devices or with slower connections. Additionally, studies have shown that click-through rates on animated carousels are extremely low, and they drop significantly from the first slide to the subsequent ones. This is why many companies are replacing rotating carousels with a singular static message instead. This one change can greatly reduce a page’s download size (when my company did this on our home page, its file size decreased by 75 percent) while having little to no effect on actual user engagement or click-through. In fact, because the page now loads more quickly, many sites actually see an uptick in user engagement because fewer people are abandoning a site due to poor performance. image Do you have a carousel on your website? If so, do you know whether or not it is working well for you? Your marketing team may be able to do some A/B testing between a version of your site with this animation feature and one without it to see which performs better. Since carousels do work well for some sites (like news organizations or sites with lots of frequently updated content), having this data can help you determine whether or not it’s time to ditch the carousel.

4. Update your image(s).

Stock photography is something of a necessary evil of website design, as more often than not, companies don’t have the budget to execute a full-fledged custom professional photo shoot. However, not all stock images are created equal. Stock photos that are overused or that look so obviously staged that they scream of their “stockiness” can cheapen a site’s design and leave visitors with a negative overall impression of the site. Replacing those images can make a big difference in a site’s visual appeal. If your site’s imagery is stale, you can make some simple image swaps to freshen it up. If you are going to change out old stock images for new stock images, make sure to seek out photos that feel fresh and that are not terribly overused (most stock photo sites will tell you how many times an image has been downloaded). An even better option is to try to add some unique imagery to your site. This could be photographs that you hire a professional to take or – in keeping with one of this year’s hottest trends – custom illustrations that you commission from an artist. illustration If your budget is tight, incorporating even just one or two such one-of-a-kind images in key spots on your site can really boost its visual impact. For instance, if you lose that aforementioned carousel on the home page and replace it with one truly compelling static image and message, it can make a really powerful first impression on your visitors.

5. Publish less.

Most experts agree that publishing original, value-add content on your site on a regular basis is key to optimizing its success – both from a sales and marketing standpoint and as an advantage in the never-ending battle of SEO. While I agree with this approach in principal, for many companies, the drive to publish regularly has resulted in putting out mediocre content simply to meet an inflexible standard of frequency. This is often an entirely counterproductive effort, as content that lacks in quality, original thought or value for the reader reflects poorly on the organization and its perceived level of expertise. Publishing original content to your site on a regular basis is still a best practice, but that content must offer value for it to succeed. Let’s say a visitor comes to your site and is impressed to find that you publish new articles weekly or monthly; however, once they click through the headline to see what they can glean from your writing, if what they find is mediocre at best, what motivation do they have to return to your site again in the future, let alone entrust you with their hard-earned dollars? If, on the other hand, you publish new content less frequently, but everything you produce is of the highest quality, then that same visitor will know that the time they spend on your site will always be worth their while, and they will look forward to the next time you post something new. Re-examine your current content marketing strategy, and ask yourself whether you are focused on quality or frequency. If it’s the latter, commit instead to writing less but to improving the quality of what you offer on your site. While this change may not have an immediate impact, it will absolutely yield long-term results that your visitors will appreciate and respond positively to.

In closing

Eventually, your website will need a redesign, but in the meantime you can make small, strategic, surgical changes that will pay immediate dividends in your site’s success. This approach of implementing gradual but regular modifications will also benefit you when it does come time for that full redesign. By making intelligent improvements over time, you will ultimately be closer to your end goal, leaving less to accomplish with the redesign and thereby paving the way for a smoother and less costly project.

775 Boost email open rates by 152 percent

Use your customers’ behavior to your advantage.

October 2014
By Jeremy Girard

Four Ways to Delight – Not Annoy – Visitors With the Element of Surprise

As Apple discovered with its recent U2 album giveaway, not every surprise is a welcome one. Here’s how to ensure that your efforts to wow your customers with unexpected value will leave them wanting more.
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Four Ways to Delight – Not Annoy – Visitors With the Element of Surprise

During its most recent keynote event, Apple announced that it had a surprise in store for their customers: every iTunes accountholder in 119 countries would receive a free copy of U2’s latest album “Songs of Innocence.” This giveaway translated into over half a billion albums given away, representing the largest release in history in a deal that is speculated to have cost Apple $100 million dollars. U2-AppleIt would be easy to assume that Apple’s customers would be thrilled by this generous gesture. While many certainly were, there was also a very vocal segment who were not so pleased to see this album suddenly appear in their music collection. Many of these naysayers took to social media to express their concerns, which were centered not as much on the album itself but rather on the way that its delivery had been handled. While Apple undoubtedly thought that they were providing a convenience by automatically pushing the album out to all iTunes accounts, in doing so, they took away the customer’s ability to choose whether or not they wanted to receive this gift. What was meant to be a nice surprise came across as an act of overstepping the bounds of privacy for some customers – definitely not what Apple was hoping for when they conceived this promotion. Employing the element of surprise in marketing and in web design is tricky business. When done right, it can delight your customers, but if handled incorrectly – as with the Apple giveaway – it has the potential to frustrate and alienate them instead. Let’s take a look at four ways to use the unexpected to make a favorable impression on your website visitors and leave them wanting more – and the pitfalls to avoid along the way.

Surprise! Here’s a free gift!

Freebies have long been a staple of marketing and promotion. From product sampling to contests to incentives for joining a mailing list or sharing contact information, they are an effective way to break the ice when building relationships with new customers. There’s nothing wrong with a good giveaway – as long as you obey the fundamental rule of trustcasting, recognizing that all promotional efforts must be founded first and foremost in building trust with your customers and website visitors. As we touched on above, the problem with Apple’s U2 album promotion had nothing to do with the giveaway itself but rather with its delivery. Permission is a key element of trust-based marketing, and Apple’s circumvention of the act of permission seeking was perceived as a violation of trust by some iTunes customers. A direct contrast to this is MailChimp’s free t-shirt promotion. When a new customer opens a paid account and sends their first email campaign, they receive a message of congratulations along with the offer of a free t-shirt. In order to receive the t-shirt, however, the customer must select the size they would like, thereby accepting the offer; the shirt doesn’t simply turn up unexpectedly in their mailbox. Mailchimp Of course, we have no way of knowing how many people actually decline this free gift, but regardless of whether it’s zero percent or fifty, the most important aspect is the respect for the customer demonstrated by the act of seeking permission. MailChimp allows the customer to maintain a sense of control over the transaction rather than removing that control the way that Apple did. As this comparison shows, permission is a make-or-break element between a surprise that delights and one that compromises trust and goodwill.

Surprise! You’ve got mail!

Email is definitely an area of online marketing that’s fraught with pitfalls. You can be a welcome presence in your customers’ inboxes, or you can be a nuisance that’s banished to the junk mail heap. One way to practically guarantee that you’ll end up in the latter category is by “surprising” your customers with a flood of emails that they did not expect to receive. Undoubtedly, you’ve experienced this scenario at some point: you make a purchase from a website or register for an account, and all of a sudden your inbox is overrun with promotional emails from that company trying to get you to come back to their site and buy, buy, buy. Make no mistake: the simple act of placing an order is not an invitation to unleash a deluge of spammy messages. Again, returning to the theme of permission, the first step to ensuring that your emails are welcome is by allowing your customers to explicitly request to receive them. A common way to accomplish this is by including a mailing list opt-in on your site’s checkout form accompanied by a message affirming that the customer wishes to receive updates with special offers and future promotions. In and of itself, this is a fine practice. If someone wants this information, allow them to receive it! The problem is that many companies have this option selected by default, and as a result, in their rush to complete their transaction, many customers will overlook this feature entirely and will unwittingly opt in to the series of emails that will follow. Again, this is an unpleasant surprise that does not contribute to improving the customer’s perception of your brand. If you are going to employ a mailing list opt-in checkbox anywhere on your site, make sure that it’s unchecked by default and that customers must actually see, read and make a conscious effort to elect to receive ongoing communication from you. Your mailing list won’t grow as quickly this way, but you will avoid surprising unwitting subscribers with emails that they did not expect or want. But obtaining permission to send these emails is only half the story. You also need to make sure that the content of your messages is designed to delight. Anything that is purely self-promotional in nature will be regarded as nothing more than an annoyance. You must use your carefully garnered inbox privileges to provide value to your customers – whether that comes in the form of special offers, fun promotions, reminders about upcoming events or just plain useful information. Your focus should be on crafting email campaigns that leave your customers looking forward to seeing what you’ll send next – not hitting the “spam” button as soon as it lands.

Surprise! Let’s watch a video!

Video content is a great way to engage with visitors to your website. As much as we writer types are loathe to admit it, people don’t like to read. They like to look at pretty pictures, and even more, they like to be entertained by videos. If you can create compelling videos – whether they demonstrate your products, offer helpful tips or are just flat-out amusing – your visitors will be delighted that you’ve gone the extra mile to give them the kind of content that they prefer rather than forcing them to wade through page after page of written text, and you’ll be head and shoulders above your competition. But there’s one important caveat to video content: never, ever, ever set your videos to auto-play on your site. Uncued audio, video, animations and pop-ups are completely taboo in modern website design, and if you use them, you’ll provide an unpleasant surprise that sends visitors scrambling for the back button to get away from this sensory onslaught. Don’t insult the intelligence of your visitors by forcing content upon them. It’s the online equivalent of having a pushy salesman pounce on them the minute they walk in the door and hound them into looking at products or services that may not be relevant to their interests at all. Instead, provide contextual clues on the page that indicate what your video is about, and allow your visitors to decide for themselves whether or not they wish to view it. This removes the element of unwelcome surprise without eliminating the value of the video content itself.

Surprise! We’ve made changes to our website!

Inevitably, there will come a time when it’s necessary to make changes to your website. These changes could be as minor as adding new types of products or services or as significant as a complete redesign. The problem comes when regular visitors return to your site expecting one thing (the site that they have become familiar and comfortable with) but receive something else instead (the new site). Of course, it goes without saying that any changes you make to your site should be driven by the objective of creating a better experience for your users. Make sure you carry this objective through to the launch of your new site or its new features by smoothing the transition for your regular visitors. After all, every website comes with an inherent learning curve. If you’ve done your job right, that learning curve should not be very steep; yet, it will still exist as visitors determine where they need to go and what they need to do to accomplish their goals. Therefore, when you make a change, you can ensure that it’s well received by visitors simply by alerting them to these changes and guiding them through the process of navigating them. One example of how to execute a re-launch right is Citizens Bank. Weeks before the release of their new site, they posted a message on their existing home page announcing that changes were ahead and signaling the date when the newly overhauled site would launch. They also offered a preview of the new site complete with an overview of new features and instructions for where to find commonly used tools. Did every customer see this message and take the tour? Of course not, but many did, and as a result, they were not taken aback by a jarring surprise on the day of the new site’s launch. Instead, they were already acclimated to the new features and functions, thereby maintaining a sense of certainty and control throughout the transition process. By demonstrating to their customers that their needs and desires were an important consideration in the bank’s plans for their new site, Citizens Bank was able to create a positive experience out of their redesign and avoid the potentially hazardous pitfall of forcing their customers to stumble unassisted through the process of re-learning how to use their site.

In summary

Going above and beyond to provide customers with unexpected value can be a powerful way to separate yourself from the competition, but if done incorrectly, it can also backfire in a big way. In the case of Apple, the company had to release a tool to allow customers to remove the free U2 album that they had been gifted – something they clearly did not foresee as necessary when they conceived the promotion. When you are considering how to implement the element of surprise in your marketing and website design plans, remember never to lose sight of your customers and their needs. Always ask their permission, keep the power in their hands and allow them to remain in control of the process as much as possible so that your surprise will be welcomed with delight and satisfaction.
January 2012
By Jeremy Hunt

Seven New Year's Resolutions to Become Indispensable to Your Customers

2012 is a challenging time to be a small business owner, but in the battle for your customers’ loyalty, nothing trumps good, old-fashioned hard work and dedication.
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Seven New Year's Resolutions to Become Indispensable to Your Customers

resolutions In today’s challenging economic landscape, certainties are few and far between. However, one aspect of business growth that will never change is the importance of maintaining strong relationships with your customers and clients. Even as technology evolves at lightning speed, there’s no device or platform that can take the place of the human element. When you invest time and hard work into demonstrating your trustworthiness and providing value beyond compare, your clients will realize that you’re not just another vendor but an integral element of their success. Here are seven new year’s resolutions you should make today to ensure that you’ll be indispensable to your customers in 2012.

1. Be early.

Being on time is good and well. But being early – whether it’s arriving at a meeting a few minutes before it’s scheduled to begin or finishing a project ahead of the deadline – speaks volumes to your customers about where they stand in the order of your priorities.

2. Be prepared.

An impromptu phone conference with your client, an unanticipated sales opportunity, an unforeseen emergency or technical glitch…the rule of business is to expect the unexpected. By staying well organized and on top of your game, you can approach any situation with a sense of self-assuredness that inspires confidence and builds trust.

3. Be agile.

The ability to adapt and evolve is a critical element to maintaining your competitive edge. For example, let’s say your client asks for your help with a project that falls outside your core capabilities. Do you turn them away, or do you draw upon your team’s creativity and technical expertise to provide an innovative solution? No matter your background or past experience, if you can readily adapt to new challenges and respond to new opportunities, you’ll become the go-to resource for your customers whenever a need arises.

4. Be curious.

Being curious goes hand-in-hand with being agile. You should be a perpetual student of your field. By staying on top of the news, trends and ideas that are shaping your industry, you’ll always be ready with an answer or solution when a client needs your help. Developing your own knowledge and skills translates directly to increasing your perceived value to your customers.

5. Be responsible.

How hard is it to simply admit that you’re wrong? Based on the number of celebrities and politicians who issue vehement denial after denial only to get caught red-handed, apparently it’s really tough. But if you can willingly admit your mistakes and take ownership for making them right, you will gain respect as someone who is always dependable and accountable, even when the chips are down.

6. Be creative.

Some say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but in reality, there’s always room for improvement. Don’t let your business get stuck in a rut. Every now and then, allow yourself time to step out of the daily grind and examine the big picture with fresh eyes. Sometimes a break in routine is all that’s needed to discover solutions that will help you and your team serve your customers better, faster and more efficiently.

7. Be humble.

Above all, be humble. All the talent and skills in the world don’t mean jack if you’re a jerk. Be confident in your abilities but realistic in your promises. Work hard without stopping at every milepost along the way to blow your own horn. Deliver consistently and let your record speak for itself. Remember: you’re nothing without your customers. If you put their success first, your own success will be multiplied exponentially by their lasting loyalty.

Here’s to your best year yet.

Certainly, in the world of business there are no guarantees, and sometimes you’ll lose a customer for reasons that are beyond your control. However, there’s no better way to stack the deck in your favor than by honing the skills and traits that make you and your company an invaluable asset to your clients. Commit to these resolutions now, and no matter where you stand today, you’ll be ringing in 2013 with happier customers and a brighter outlook.