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8 Customer Engagement Tips to Unlock Growth

Here’s a surprising fact – one which anyone in today’s highly competitive, globally-connected economy should know:

80% of customers believe the experience provided by a company is just as important as its products and services.

That’s an eye-opening statement. It’s no longer enough to have the item someone needs and sell it at a reasonable price. These days, people prefer businesses that make them feel good, and this often comes down to customer engagement.


Customer Engagement Revolves Around Your Brand

Customer engagement is created by the connection between a customer and a brand. It’s the relationship a customer has that keeps them coming back. In order to maximize an organization’s results, maximizing this relationship is key to sustained growth.

There are customer engagement best practices related to marketing, sales, and service, with plenty of nuance in each segment. But in a nutshell, the whole idea is to improve a customer’s experience through positive interactions. 

In the old days, this was mostly done at the point of purchase. But now customer engagement also happens digitally with advertising, social media, blogs, surveys, and more. Remember, you are up against sellers on the other side of the planet, so a great experience can separate your business/non-profit from the pack.

Take a look at these two figures for more insight into why this matters:

  • 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.
  • 95% of customers say trust in a company makes them more likely to remain loyal to that brand (OutGrow).

The truth is that engaged customers are more valuable, so customer engagement is a powerful business driver which should be a priority. But maintaining this great experience is an ongoing process. It begins long before the first purchase and continues long after. 

Today we’ll present eight tips to help improve customer satisfaction and loyalty–if you’re a small business operator or a super-sized organization. Remember: Great customer engagement doesn’t happen by accident, after all.


8 Best Tips to Increase Customer Engagement 

1. Know Who You Are, Know Who Your Customers Are

The best customer experiences start with a clear message. Build a strong brand voice for your organization, and strive to maintain it at all times. If you know who you are, customers will know, too. And when you feel like you know someone, it’s possible to build trust. For your customers, start with a Customer Journey map to clarify the steps customers take when engaging with your business or organization. Build your service and product to serve their realized needs.


2. Stay In Front

Once people know who you are, it’s important to stay in front of them. Make the customer life cycle as long as possible – and you can do that with follow-up on social media, online ads, blogs, great email marketing for returning customers, and much more. Figure out where your customers are, and go to them. 


3. Track Preferences

In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s easier than ever to collect useful data that can help with decision-making later on. Things like Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, or even surveys are invaluable tools for learning what customers prefer. But even so, 39% of companies don’t regularly ask for feedback!


4. Trigger Warning

Another powerful use of data is to determine the “trigger” that convinced a customer to engage with your organization or buy that product. There’s often a reason, whether it was an advertisement, a social media post, or even word of mouth. Try to identify these triggers and put them into practice when possible.


5. Be Personal

Despite the power of data, there’s still no replacement for a personal touch. Almost 40% of customer interactions will be automated through AI and machine learning by 2023. But, 49% say that after getting a more personalized experience, they have splurged on an impulse buy.


6. Be Honest

No one is perfect – and even though businesses try hard to make themselves seem that way, they aren’t either. A big part of customer engagement is owning up to mistakes and making things right, with personal communications when possible. This is often easier for a small business, so take advantage!


7. Use Everything You Know

Just like navigating the news, it’s best to never rely solely on one source of information. Be flexible in where and how you get customer engagement details, and then try hard not to cherry-pick data points that confirm what you already thought. Learn to be ok with learning.


8. Punch Above Your Weight

Finally, outstanding customer engagement will often mean your little operation seems like a much bigger one. Using a combination of data, flexibility, and a personal touch, it’s possible to make decisions like a big business – and tailor the experience like a mom-and-pop shop.


Grow Customer Engagement With Cause Machine

Starting with a community engagement strategy is the secret to building a successful platform in the long term. Cause Machine helps customers build the plan of engaging a community well and then begin mapping out the technology to help support that strategy. We’re certain that you’ll find some great resources and powerful tools in Cause Machine to better engage your customers. Learn how it can work for you here.

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8 Best Website Builders for Small Business 

Even for the smallest of businesses, a quality website is a non-negotiable, a sort of must-have. 

But what's the best website builder for small business?

There’s plenty to consider. But first, you need to identify your “why?”

According to Forbes (and countless other business experts), websites make or break companies every day. A good one will lend you credibility, expand your market and save you time on basic customer service issues. 

A bad one will be a waste of money (at best) – or at worst, drive business away.

Ultimately, your website will help build your brand and make you money, and for most small businesses, it’s totally within reason to create one yourself.

We’ve researched the options for the best website builder for small business and narrowed down the results so you don’t have to.


8 Best Website Builders for Small Business.


1. GoDaddy – Best for First Timers

GoDaddy is one of the oldest games in town, and they’ve ironed out most of the kinks for first-time website builders. With a bunch of design tools that don’t require experience to use, you can create a professional-looking website (often for free).

  • Free plan suitable for first-time website builders
  • Professional looking templates
  • Mobile friendly-design space



2. Shopify – Best for E-commerce

best website builders

Many of today’s small businesses are geared toward e-commerce, and if that’s the case for you, it makes sense to use a website builder like Shopify. Over 1.5 million companies use it to create a top-notch online store, especially small to medium-sized fashion or retail businesses.

  • Basic plan for $24/month
  • Excellent for online stores and drop shipping
  • Internal apps for email marketing and advertising



3. Squarespace – Best-looking designs

Website builder

If you want your small business to be seen as cutting-edge, this one might be for you. Squarespace pairs excellent brand awareness with all the features of other builders, plus a reputation for sleek design choices. To be your best, you’ve got to look your best!

  • Plans for as little as $16/month
  • Easy-to-use drag-and-drop design tools and built-in e-commerce capabilities
  • Bold, modern templates that are also customizable



4. Cause Machine — Best all-in-one

Best Website Builders

With so many different tools to make use of, sometimes running a small business can be improved by simply streamlining things. Cause Machine is designed for that, letting you build a website that integrates all aspects of what you do. Blog, membership site, forum or online store, marketing, advertising, social media, Cause Machine puts it all under one digital roof, making it one of – if not the best website builder for small businesses. 

Schedule a free demo to amplify your small business mission today.



5. – Best for Control Freaks

Best Website Builders

But not in a bad way! WordPress already powers almost 40 percent of all websites in the world and for good reason. It’s a content management system (CMS), which gives users total control over the design of their website. Most of the basic stuff is easy for beginners, but you’ll need some skill for advanced ideas.

  • If you can dream it, you can build it
  • Drag and drop for basic design, great SEO tools, and free to get started
  • Need some know-how to create advanced designs



6. Canva – Best for One-Page Website

Of all the best websites for small business options, Canva is great for basic needs. If you just need a one-page website that answers questions like what, where, and why, this one can get you up and running in minutes. It’s got simple templates to ease design decisions, and it’s free to start.

  • Very user friendly
  • Quickly build a one-page website
  • Fewer options mean easier decisions



7. Pixpa - Best for creatives

For visual-based small businesses like photographers, videographers or digital artists, a website builder like Pixpa might be ideal. It puts an emphasis on elements like photo galleries and client testimonials, helping you show off your skills. And you don’t need to know how to code to do it!

  • Great design for visual arts professionals 
  • Motion responsive templates 
  • But no free version



8. Wix – Best for Design Choices

website builder

Wix is one of the well known in the world of best website builders for small businesses, and a big part of the reason for that is its huge menu of design templates. There are over 500 to choose from, and with drag-and-drop editing, you simply plug in your content and go. An ad-supported version is free.

  • 500 design templates to choose from 
  • Streamlined drag-and-drop editing 
  • Free with ads

Even though websites hold such an important place in the business world, you can still make one yourself. Start with these if you’re looking for the best website builder for small businesses.

Get Started With Cause Machine

Starting with a community engagement strategy is the secret to building a successful platform in the long term. Cause Machine helps customers build the plan of engaging a community well and then begin mapping out the technology to help support that strategy. We’re certain that you’ll find some great resources and powerful tools in Cause Machine to better engage your community. Learn how it can work for you here.

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13 Non Profit Blogs Worth Following

The non-profit sector is a huge and vital part of the economy. Doing serious work on serious issues, nonprofits help underpin what we think of as a civil society, often tackling the issues that private businesses or government agencies can't.  

Unfortunately, trust in institutions continues to fall, making it harder than ever to run a non-profit – just when we seem to need them most. Luckily, there are many non-profit blogs out there that share tips and generally help organizations do their best, and even the average, caring person can benefit from reading.


What is a Non-Profit?

This might sound like a silly question, but it's worth defining. A non-profit organization is operated for "collective, public, or social benefit" as opposed to a business aiming to generate a profit for its owners. Any money taken in is used to run the organization and pursue its goals, and as such, nonprofits are accountable to their donors, team members, beneficiaries, and the public at large.


What Kind of Impact Do Non-Profits Make?

A pretty big one. According to the most recent Health of the U.S. Non-Profit Sector quarterly review (released in January 2023), there are 1.8 million nonprofits in the U.S., and combined, they contributed $1.5 trillion to the economy in just the third quarter of 2022. Their "gross value added makes up 5.6% of Gross Domestic Product," a figure which is outpacing the U.S. GDP growth as a whole.

A Zippia research study says nonprofit revenue has grown at almost 8 percent annually since 2000. But, involvement in the sector is in decline. The number of U.S. volunteers declined by 19 percent from 2019-2021, and donors decreased by 7 percent in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the year-ago period.


13 Nonprofit Blogs to Follow Now

Stay up to date with industry news, react to trends, and get the most out of your own nonprofit in a challenging environment. You might even have a little fun, and those looking in from the outside? You might find yourself inspired to help reverse the downward trend.


1. Chronicle of Philanthropy

The Chronicle of Philanthropy can help nonprofits and average citizens alike stay up to date on industry news.


2. The Nonprofit Times

Using a paid model, The Nonprofit Times reports breaking nonprofit news and offers in-depth industry. It's a full-on newspaper dedicated to the nonprofit space.


3. The Fundraising Authority

If you're running a nonprofit, think of The Fundraising Authority as customer support. They are dedicated to helping nonprofits get better at raising money, communicating, and impacting their mission.


4. The Storytelling Nonprofit

This one is great because of the pictures! Run by nonprofit pro Vanessa Chase Lockshin, the blog is built on short posts with lots of videos, often told in story form. It's a refreshing option.


5. Charity Navigator

If you are looking to donate or partner, Charity Navigator can help evaluate the decision. But it also covers legal issues and offers paid content like online training.


6. Double the Donation

As the name implies, this nonprofit blog is focused on maximizing revenue by patterning organizations with corporate partners willing to match donations.


7. Get Fully Funded

Through easy-to-read content, Get Fully Funded helps nonprofits understand the complexities of getting and managing funds without running afoul of the law (or going broke).'


8. Bloomerang

Those in need of help engaging the public and then managing the results can find it at Bloomerang, along with advice geared especially toward smaller operations.


9. Nonprofit AF

Nonprofit expert Vu Le writes this blog, which covers all kinds of ways to improve the function of any nonprofit. Fundraising, executive board management, finance, etc.


10. Nonprofit Talent

The mid-Atlantic region is a hotbed for nonprofit activity, and this blog functions as a job board and recruiting site for local talent.


11. Stanford Social Innovation Review

The SSIR is a well-known magazine and website covering big problems and solutions. All with a global reach and top-level experts.


12. TechSoup

Many nonprofits can be optimized with the right tech solutions, and TechSoup helps make that happen – both with advice and by actually selling discounted technology.


13. GuideStar

Finally, GuideStar is like the Google of nonprofit blogs, so if you don't know where to look for a specific topic, just check here. Over 250 categories are included.


The U.S. nonprofit sector is huge and plays an important role in society, but despite growing revenue, involvement is down, and many other challenges remain.


Get Started With Cause Machine

Starting with a community engagement strategy is the secret to building a successful platform in the long term. Cause Machine helps customers build the plan of engaging a community well and then begin mapping out the technology to help support that strategy. We’re certain that you’ll find some great resources and powerful tools in Cause Machine to better engage your community. Learn how it can work for you here.

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5 Best Coaching Platform Solutions of 2023

With the explosive growth of the personal development industry, an online coaching platform is a great way for people to add a side gig for extra income – or even start being their own boss entirely. 

Almost anything can be taught, and if you have a skill, there’s probably someone who would like to learn it. The key is to find the best coaching platform.

Not convinced? Here are some hard numbers:

The global personal development market is currently worth over $41 billion and projected to hit $71.42 billion by 2030. Meanwhile, online learning represents a third of that total.

There are literally millions of courses and coaching programs people can choose from, and an existing pool of students who want to learn everything from songwriting, and money management, to sports betting or even sewing. If you’re good at it, you can probably turn it into income – with a quality coaching platform.

There are countless options that provide tools for course building, marketing, sales, scheduling, and more.


5 Best Online Coaching Platforms (Ranked from 5-1)

5. Kajabi – Spread the Word

Kajabi is a well-known brand and coaching platform that pairs course-building with great marketing tools. Even without technical know-how, you can build course modules including text and video, and then utilize a marketing funnel that “includes email campaigns, welcome flows, and landing pages.” 

  • Build standardized course modules 
  • Excellent marketing tools
  • Community-building elements could be stronger 

4. Thinkific – For WordPress Websites

Thinkific is another well-known brand in the online learning space, this time geared toward users who already have a WordPress website. Since WordPress powers about 40 percent of all websites, that is a lot of potential coaches. Its drag-and-drop course builder is simple for basic coaching platform functions, and it comes with some marketing and online payment options.

  • Plug a coaching service into your existing WordPress website 

  • Drag and drop course builder, with the ability to do more if you can code 
  • Doesn’t have scheduling tools 


3. Satori – For One-on-One Teaching 

Some skills are not well suited for one-size-fits-all coursework – things like personal development, business coaching, or even physical fitness. With a coaching platform like Satori, you can set up and support one-on-one video appointments with automated scheduling tools, invoicing, and more. It’s kind of like having an administrative assistant, but it doesn’t help you build course modules.

  • Great for automated scheduling of one-on-one video calls.
  • Manages invoicing and other customer payments.
  • Can’t build course modules. 

2. Nudge – For Keeping Students on Track 

Just like some coaching is best in a one-on-one setting, sometimes the initial meeting is just a start. Nudge is designed to keep students on track as they put your teaching to use. After setting up a video call, it features a “full suite of client tracking and coaching tools” to help you give attention where it’s most needed, which is great for fields like nutrition, mindfulness, and social development.

  • Schedule group or one-on-one appointments, then track student progress via the app.
  • Set up monthly step challenges.
  • Simple messaging to encourage interaction.

1. Cause Machine – For A Custom Fit

One coaching platform is designed for total flexibility, and that’s Cause Machine. It’s a simple-but-powerful community-building platform that can be customized to match your needs – whatever they are, from creating traditional course modules, hosting live virtual events, and spreading your cause word far and wide. 

It’s not limited to one kind of website (you can even build your own, and host your coaching service there), and with Cause Machine, community is always a primary function. It can help coaches tailor their skills into a meaningful, scaleable service, maximizing reach and revenue – all with a custom design that stands apart from the templates found elsewhere. 

  • Fully customizable coaching platform 
  • Course builder with great marketing tools
  • Community-building mindset, aimed at helping you make a difference


Get Started With Cause Machine

Starting with a community engagement strategy is the secret to building a successful platform in the long term. Cause Machine helps customers build the plan of engaging a community well and then begin mapping out the technology to help support that strategy. We’re certain that you’ll find some great resources and powerful tools in Cause Machine to better engage your community. Learn how it can work for you here.

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Grow a Digital Community, Build Revenue

A successful community looks very different than it did years ago. Whether you’re an aspiring influencer, an artist, an entrepreneur or you run a non-profit, today’s success is often made online – and almost always goes hand in hand with a thriving digital community.


Why Start a Digital Community?

Just like building a community in the real world, a digital community is just a group of people with a shared identity. But this group is different. In a digital community, members can easily join or leave the group, meaning they only stay with the ones they like. It’s not as simple as being born into a neighborhood, and forever being part of that group. 

Digital communities are created by people with a shared goal or interest, who take that commonality and make it the center of a whole online ecosystem. They interact, build friendships, debate, celebrate, support and even shop, all while keeping the common core in mind. These digital communities are vital to modern businesses and organizations and should be skillfully cultivated.


A Digital Community Can Mean More Revenue

A thriving digital community can drive sales, strengthen name recognition and get people involved with a cause – but those people are more than just customers or fans. When healthy, members act almost like ambassadors, carrying a message out into the world, and helping brands achieve goals and grow bigger. 

It involves capturing attention and earning respect and trust. Communities can do this by making self-expression feel safe and making it worth while for community members to get involved. That involvement should be something that signals passion –  making a purchase, signing up for a volunteer opportunity, or even just sharing a post with the group. Hopefully, it will create enough goodwill and loyalty to keep the community members engaged over and over. 

Ultimately, all modern brands and missions need a digital community, but if creating one sounds scary, don’t worry. It’s not nearly as daunting as it seems. It should be noted that the most effective examples are not always the ones with the most followers – they’re the ones whose members feel most comfortable engaging.


3 Steps to Building a Successful Digital Community

1. Know Your Role

First things first, and you need to get real about what you want from this digital community. Consider why you are starting it, the needs of the brand, and who you are serving. That last one is a biggie – you have to have an ideal member in mind and prepare your messaging for them. What do they like? What are they against? Only by knowing your users can you find something in common with them, which is your core community bond.

  • Imagine your ideal member, and try to be as realistic as possible.
  • Find something in common, and be prepared to highlight that.
  • This will begin to generate a shared identity.

2. Give Ownership to Members

Here’s a secret: Just because you built the community, that doesn’t mean it’s yours. A true digital community belongs to the people, and people value a community most when they connect, engage, and feel encouraged to share. Whether in an open forum, live event, or even a digital community around learning through online courses. Always listen to the community members and consider their suggestions; this will give them a sense of ownership. And when you do start sharing content, be human, and be vulnerable in what you express (this isn’t the place for corporate business-speak).

  • Listen to your community and give members a sense of ownership.
  • Focus on solutions (not problems), and be human (not HR).
  • Offer something of value.

3. Share the Wins

This may come as a surprise, but there is evidence that a digital community is at its most active when celebrating success, even if it’s a small win. According to a study by The Visual Capitalist shared by Rolling Stone’s Culture Council, even the world’s biggest influencers see peaks in interaction when they announce milestones like new albums, endorsements, or personal achievements – you can do this, too. Is a longtime team member getting married? Have you reached a sales goal or some other marker of progress? Share it with your community, because they just won, too. That’s the point of community to begin with. In the immortal words of Billy Dee Williams, “Success is nothing without someone you love to share it with.”

  • Share your goals and achievements.
  • Celebrate them like family.
  • Ride the wave with follow-up posts.

Get Started With Cause Machine

Starting with a community engagement strategy is the secret to building a successful platform in the long term. Cause Machine helps customers build the plan of engaging a community well and then begin mapping out the technology to help support that strategy. We’re certain that you’ll find some great resources and powerful tools in Cause Machine to better engage your community. Learn how it can work for you here.


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