Monthly Archives: September 2016

Why segmenting email lists makes sense

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image-1000pxMany marketers understand the importance of email marketing as a key component to an overall marketing strategy. But when it comes down to utilizing best practices within email marketing, it seems as though many have room for improvement.

One of those best practices is segmentation, a technique that breaks down your general email list into tailored, customized content targeted at groups within your list.

It’s common knowledge for many marketers that segmentation produces better open and click rates. And it makes sense – the end result is sending potential customers relevant content (and no other content) that they care about. By narrowing the focus, customers are much more likely to find your campaigns and content more relevant, thus driving stronger results and ROI.

If you haven’t completely bought-in on email segmentation, there are several compelling factors to consider. Many businesses sell one product or service to many different types of customers. With several types of ideal customers, do you treat them all the same? Another reality is that within your customer list, your contacts are all at different points of the sales cycle with your company. And while your email and brand reputation will also improve, the final proof is in the statistics. According to data from the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report , the top three results of segmented email from marketers were higher open rates (39 percent), greater relevance (34 percent), and lower unsubscribe rates (28 percent).

Many email marketing programs will segment a list, but the options of how to slice down a list is essentially pretty endless. Here are some popular segments:

Geographic area – Create geographically-specific offers to tailor highly-targeted promotions toward locals in certain areas.

Purchase history – Consider creating a list to reward those who buy – or buy regularly – with special offers to strengthen relationships with your best customers.

Abandoned shopping orders – Reach out to those who abandoned digital shopping orders to offer special incentives to come back and complete an order.

Loyal and engaged users – Determine your top and most loyal customers and offer special “VIP” recognition to create a feeling of exclusivity.

Event invitations – Create special events – physical or digital – for customers in specific areas.

New subscribers – Segment by date to determine who are new customers and send special welcome offers.

Do you utilize segmentation in your email marketing campaigns? Click here for more.

What do you think are the top benefits of email marketing segmentation? Click here for more.

Does your company need better results from email marketing? Click here to learn about segmentation.

Tips for body language and public speaking

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Inevitably, many of us will have to speak in public. Some of us much more often than others, whether it comes via conducting a meeting, giving a presentation, leading a small group or speaking to a large crowd.

You might be the nervous type, or you might feel completely comfortable. But everyone should know that to be an effective public speaker, body language matters. After all, the visual given to the audience is you. The business world is full of lists of things that you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to public speaking; the essential focal point is to replicate the natural and authentic state you would have during a one-on-one conversation.

The most effective public speakers use authority, energy and audience awareness to influence their crowd, the three main themes which influence these seven helpful tips:

  • –      Remember facial expressions. Not only do they augment the meaning of your words, they help the audience feel comfortable. Start with a simple smile.
  • –      Impact of eye contact. Don’t worry about the amount of eye contact, think about its effect. People will naturally pay attention and become engaged when they feel connected.
  • –      Bring your energy. Is it as simple as not being boring? Get invested in your topic and show the audience you actually care about whatever it is you’re talking about.
  • –      Be aware of gestures. Vary your gestures, keep them small, and don’t be repetitive. Your gestures should be a natural compliment to your voice to help keep your audience’s attention.
  • –      Use space and movement. Occupy the space you have and project power by standing and moving. Showing you are comfortable projects confidence. Use open gestures and movement to accompany your words.
  • –      Simple as breathing. Don’t forget to breathe, which keeps you relaxed. Allow yourself to pause and breathe slowly for effect or when answering questions. Stay open and keep your back straight.
  • –      Think of your voice as an instrument. The five traits of a powerful voice are breathing, articulation, downward inflection, pauses and projection. Think about meaning and intention while using your voice.

What is your favorite body language tip for speaking in public? See if it made this list.
Are you afraid of public speaking or have a bad experience to share? Check out these tips on body language while speaking.

What body language trick best gets your attention from a public speaker? Check out these tips.

2603 Should your business sign up for Yelp?

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Attention local businesses, Yelp is here to Help! Putting your business in the hands of every customer that walks through your door can be nerve-racking. However, word of mouth is the best kind of advertising a business for which a business could ever ask. Here are some Pro’s and Con’s of using Yelp.

Cons

Once you Yelp, there is no turning back. Your account on Yelp cannot be deleted once it is activated. So if you have un-happy customers leaving you negative reviews, they are pretty much there forever. Negative reviews on your Yelp account can definitely hurt your business. Yelp is free, but if you pay for your Yelp account, you can conveniently hide these negative reviews.

Pros

Yelp is used by all different kinds of businesses. The site receives over ten million visitors a month. If your business is not included in these customer searches, you are missing out!

Everyone is looking online for recommendations in their area. Many tourists search Yelp when visiting a new area. Tourism has actually become a large portion of Yelp searches, which can tremendously boost a business’ appeal. As for your loyal customers, just ask them to write a nice review for you. This can help promote your business and stay on top of your customers wants and desires.

Another great thing about Yelp is that it is simple and free to use. Visit http://www.yelp.com/business/unlocking to make a free profile and begin showcasing your business to potential customers.

Social Post 1: Here are the main reasons your business needs to be on Yelp.

Social Post 2: Here are just a few reasons why Yelp can help your business grow.

Social Post 3: Yelp has become a great way for local businesses to grow and gain exposure.

Tips to Improve Your Company’s Business Logistics

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Many in business who concern themselves with logistics understand the benefits of managing, controlling and improving business logistics.  A goal of continuous improvement is critical to the overall health of a business and can have a significant impact on the bottom line.

In business, the category of logistics refers to the network of systems that control how resources flow through a company, as well as from one firm to another, over the course of a supply chain or production process.

Regardless of what might be happening in other areas of a business, implementing efficient logistics strategies will help keep service levels at their highest performance. But what exactly should owners, managers, and logistics professionals focus on to improve their business’ effectiveness? What methods and strategies can impact the major areas and help control costs, utilize production capacity, improve quality, and compete in the marketplace?

Identify your inefficiencies. The resources needed to hire an experienced systems expert now to fix your areas of inefficiency will save money in the long run and create long-term advantages.

Use multiple communications tools. One of the most overlooked ways to improve logistics is to improve internal and inter-department communication. Utilize tools (video chats, live messaging, Yammer) to facilitate seamless communication in the entire organization.

Meet customer expectations.Logistics is about optimizing costs while providing outstanding service. Every new strategy or tool (such as upgrading management software) should be designed within the overall objectives of the business to achieve excellent service and customer satisfaction.

Outsourcing can be an advantage. The awareness to understand your core competencies is important. Focus on your strengths and outsource what you’re not good at to avoid reoccurring issues and minimize inefficiencies.

Learn how to delegate in-house. While you might outsource much of your logistics, it remains important to have managers and internal experts within the organization who fully understand the moving parts and every step of the process.

Build long-term relationships. Logistics is a very complicated business, and it’s vital your company surrounds itself with experts and experienced partners throughout every step of the process – even if they are outsourced – who are invested in the relationship.

Utilize the technology available. Businesses, especially small firms, can dramatically reduce costs by utilizing technology to consolidate and automate processes across multiple departments, reduce overhead, cut out middle men, and eliminate repetitive work.

Does your brand or company struggle with logistics? Click here for improvement tips.

Does your company need help controlling costs or quality? Click here for tips on business logistics.

Knowing your core competencies is a key to business logistics. Click here for tips on logistics.

Marketing your business through a story on your website – the secret to case studies

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Case-study

Many successful businesses use case studies to record  the details of their research process and showcase the development of a particular project until its completion. A good case study tells a convincing and engaging story through both content and imagery, permitting viewers to read project goals and view the results simultaneously. Learn how stories and case studies can help build trust and establish you as a leading expert in your industry!

Client consent and participation

One of the more challenging aspects of creating a case study is overcoming client wariness towards releasing potentially sensitive information to the public. Although valid, you can ease your client’s concerns by outlining the case study process clearly from the get go and getting their nod of approval on each draft. Be sure to do what will make your client comfortable, which may include using percentages to illustrate ROI and lead generation growth rather than specific figures.

The cornerstones of a successful case study

Once you have client consent and participation in providing any relevant information, your case study will require the following three cornerstones:

  1. Context – Here you will elaborate on who your client is, the relevant trends, the scope of the project, and so on.
  2. Organize your story around your readers’ needs – While the client is providing you with information to use in your case study, you are addressing your readers whose needs are the backbone of your case study. All your information should be used to address your readers’ needs.
  3. Objectives – Here you will list ROI and lead generation percentages or other values to the solution you provided. Request that your client provide you information as to who they are and why they chose to work with you. This will help encourage prospective clients.

The essential format elements to a successful case study

For a case study to be successful, several format elements are essential including the following:

  1. An intriguing title– This should convey the answer to a need you know your readers have. The title should also contain a keyword which can be shared on social media with a hashtag.
  2. A lead quote or testimonial- It can be repeated or used several times throughout your case study.
  3. Summarize the problem- This can be used to empathize with your readers and illustrate that you understand their needs.
  4. Summarize the results– Use this to showcase how you successfully helped your client. This may include three to four benefit statements to explain the case study and appeal to the readers’ needs.
  5. About us paragraph– Write one regarding your company and contact information
  6. A call to action- This accompanies any good case study to encourage readers towards becoming new clients.

Make the most of the Internet

Once your case study has been published, share it on various social media platforms such as Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, etc. This will help create backlinks to your company website which may help push your site up on Google ranking and entice prospective clients your way!

Understanding non-pushy sales

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With a few simple tips and techniques, learn to continue with your sales endeavors without worrying about sounding overly “salesy.”

Pressure’s off

Although your company needs sales to be successful, the pressure is not on you to get every prospective customer to buy from you. Remove the pressure off yourself and you may be less likely to make mistakes or rush into a sales pitch.

Build rapport

An excellent salesperson knows that their emphasis needs to be on the customer and their needs or problems. As such, take your time to talk to build rapport with your customer by smiling, staying relaxed, and adding humor where appropriate.

Become an attentive listener

Your understanding of a customer’s needs and problems is irrelevant to your interaction with each new prospect. Take the time to listen to your customer. Allow them to tell you what problems they are facing. When your turn to talk comes around, show your attentiveness by rephrasing what they said and ask for confirmation that your understanding of their situation is correct.

Use stories

The saying “facts tell, stories sell”,  is true in the sales world. People enjoy hearing success stories, ones that illustrate how your product or service helped someone else in a similar situation. Stories help people visualize how your product or service can help them.

Give a guarantee

One of the characteristics of a strong sales person is understanding that they are selling results. Products or services are a means of obtaining results. Customers enjoy the security that comes with a strong guarantee. It lets them know that you believe in your product, and safeguards them against financial loss if they don’t see results.

Ask for the sale

In the midst of trying to secure a sale without launching into an elaborate sales pitch, it’s easy to forget to ask for the sale. Ask your customer for the sale. This is the one of the quickest way to get the rewards of your hard work. A customer who has felt listened to, understood, and helped is more likely to buy your product. The sale seals the deal, and follow up customer service can convert a once-off customer into a loyal customer.

Accept “no”

After giving a prospective customer a fantastic “non-salesy” conversation, they may still refuse your offer. This is part of the sales industry; not every person is going to close the deal with you every time. Remain professional and friendly by thanking them for their time, offer them your business card and express an openness to assist them in the future if need be!

A refresher on handling a phone call at work

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Regardless of the industry, how phone calls are conducted can shape customer perception of your company. Here are a few tips on telephone etiquette that can help anyone approach general business calls with poise, professionalism and efficiency!

Be prepared

Whether answering a call or making one, know what you are going to say beforehand. When answering a call, your greeting should be standardized but professional, polite and informative. Stating your name will create a point of reference. Similarly, when making a call to customers be sure to have written down your answers to their questions (or draw reference from a FAQ list).

Create a good impression

Answer a phone call quickly to keep customers from hanging up or creating a negative first impression.  If you’re with a customer when the phone rings, politely ask if you can answer the phone.  If you are unable to answer a phone call, make sure that your voicemail is properly set up with someone available to take the call on your behalf.

Respect their time

Be time conscious of both your time and that of your customer. Share the reason for your call. This will help direct the call, keeping the conversation on track. Regularly seek feedback from your customer to confirm they are still engaged with you.

Guide them to the solutions

If you are unable to help a customer further, let them know that you would like to connect them to a different department or another employee.  Ask them if they wouldn’t mind being put on hold while you contact the relevant person or department, and always wait for your caller’s response before placing them on hold.If the employee you’re contacting is unavailable, return to your customer. If need be, take a message and reassure your customer that they’ll be contacted shortly by the relevant person.

Wrapping it up

When you’re ready to end your call, ask your customer if you can assist with anything else.  Once that has been established, thank them for their time and wish them a pleasant day. Allow the customer to hang up first.

Having good telephone etiquette will create an impression that your business cares about its customers and their needs.  You’ll help them feel welcomed and respected, thus increasing the likelihood of future business.

Can brochures make your digital marketing more effective?

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brochure

For years, brochures have been used far and wide as a means of effectively showcasing business products and services. This printed material provided the necessary information on company brands, products and services to inspire people towards making a purchase. Today, the role of the brochure is changing. What is the future for brochures, and how are they still being used?

Brochures and the engaged customer

The brochure can be a trusted sign that a customer has become an “engaged” customer. This means that the person who took the brochure is interested in sourcing more information other than that already available on a website.

Supporting purchase decisions

Brochures are popular among companies who advertise high-value and high-risk purchases, in contrast to your everyday products which use online reviews and product descriptions as advertising.

According to market research, brochures play a role in supporting a customer’s decision to purchase, specifically if the item being bought is deemed high value and/or took considerable time to purchase. As such, a brochure has become a way of justifying a purchase, thus reinforcing the emotional reasons behind a purchase.

Complement to digital marketing strategies

An A-5 sized brochure provides people with sufficient content on a business or product that can inspire them to seek more information online. This smaller size ensures that the brochure can be tucked into a bag or pocket for later reading material when the person has time to spare.

Another use for brochures today is to provide the sales team with all relevant major talking points for people to review at a later stage. For those people who prefer to read the paper than stare at a computer screen or tablet, a brochure is a handy way of giving them relevant information.

When all is said and done, the brochure is a tool that complements other digital marketing strategies. Together they can help add value to your business marketing efforts!

Hire seasonal staff now to beat the rush

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seasonal-staff

For many hiring managers, holiday seasons are stressful as they search for qualified candidates to meet their seasonal staff volumes. With a few simple tips, you can get started on finding the seasonal staff before the holiday season arrives!

Hire early

With most companies hiring in November, beat the holiday rush by posting your seasonal openings in September or October. Doing so will give you more time to find those employees who are more qualified and meet your company standards.

Use the right sources

Find the recruiting channels that are the most successful in targeting seasonal job seekers. This may be a career site, niche boards, referrals, college recruiting, or display ads.

Update your job postings

If you’ve previously used written job postings, edit the information to ensure that the job description is accurate and current. Specify the job as seasonal or temporary. Be sure to give clear expectations and other job information.

Prioritize previous seasonal staff

The previous seasonal staff may plan on working for you this season, so let them be the first candidates you contact. This will help streamline your hiring process while providing ample time to recruit similar quality candidates.

Invest in talent community tools

For those businesses who recruit a lot of seasonal staff members, investing in software to help hiring managers organize their candidates will streamline the hiring process. Such software will assist managers or recruiters in collecting and managing candidates’ details in one location, making it easier to contact previous seasonal staff or leverage them for future referrals.

What to look for in candidates

Although you may have decided to begin hiring early, carefully scrutinize each candidate and look for the qualities that best meet your criteria. As you assess the candidates, evaluate their personality style to ensure that the person you hire has the right personality for the job and company culture. Also, be sure to check references. Those who have had previous work or internship experiences should be able to give you a list of previous employees who can confirm their performance, character and professionalism.