New service: Video Creation!

I created my first video for YouTube about seven years ago.  They are rather time-consuming, but I find them a lot of fun.  They also are a wonderful way to showcase your products/services and bring value to your customers or clients as well as your social media fans.

Here is the very first video in question. It was called Plumeria: The Princess of Purple and it was a story I wrote and illustrated for all the other purple lovers out there.

Since then, I’ve done a TON of them for various websites and issues from showcasing new websites and products or services to funny skits.  I’ll be sharing some of them here because it’s a brand new service that I will be providing to my Unique Copywriter clients.  Here’s one I just did for a client who has a TV show for women over 50:

Here’s a similar one I created for another client:

If you’re interested in having me create one for you, contact me!

Is it Time to Fire Yourself?

I once received a junk mailer that said: “Is it Time to Fire Your Maid Service?”  My response was, “I’ve been meaning to have a talk with me about that!

You see, I was my maid. I did my own housework.  Was it because I loved cleaning toilets? Was it because I thought only I could clean my toilets well? Then, why?

It was because I didn’t think the value of paying someone else to do the things I didn’t want to do (or didn’t have time to do) would be of greater benefit to me than the money I would have to pay someone else to do it.

However…having said that, consider this:

There are dire consequences for not keeping up with your blog and social media fans!

If you don’t clean your house on a regular basis, what’s the worst that could happen? It may get a bit dusty and a tad dirty.

What happens if you don’t regularly post to your company’s blog or manage your social media accounts for your business on a regular basis? You don’t grow your customer base! You don’t make as much money!!  You have to work harder for each sale or client!!!

Two things happen when you don’t manage your blog and social media well:

1. Readers and fans will go away!
All that work you put into your blog and social media presence will be for naught.  Do you know how much effort it takes to build momentum? Once you have it, it doesn’t necessarily stick with you when you ignore them.  If they don’t see you posting, fans figure you’re no longer active and unsubscribe.  Once you miss a few weeks of blog posts, readers conclude your company isn’t feeding their interest and stop going back to your site.

What happens when readers no longer find value in your site and fans no longer find value on social media?

2. They don’t purchase from you because you are no longer Top of Mind!
Customers are a fickle bunch. Studies show that 96% of customers don’t buy the first time they encounter a company.  The internet is CHOCK FULL of information, so to keep their interest, companies MUST continue to be Top of Mind by offering value to their audience both on their site and on social media.

* Did you know that 56% of people feel more inclined to buy from a company if they have seen a recommendation on social media?

* Did you also know that it takes between three and six (3-6) times for the average customer to purchase from a company?  

Information Overload is rampant in the Information Age.

Your company needs to keep offering your potential customers value if you expect them to keep you on the top of their mind when they need what you offer and are ready to purchase!

So, what you really need to ask yourself is this:

Is the small investment of hiring a unique copywriter, who LIVES to write and LOVES social media, worth it if it frees you up to do the things that will make you even MORE money?

If you answered yes, contact me!

Ghostwriting Blog Articles Half Off!

It’s that time of year again. Whether or not you have ghosts in residence for the festivities later this month, I thought you would all appreciate my ghostwriting special offer!

If you’ve been thinking about freeing up your time to do more business in your company, I have a fabulous offer for you!  For the first ten people, I’ll write your blog article or create a social media meme for you HALF PRICE!

But in order to stand a ghost of a chance, you’ll need to contact me soon! If the spirit moves you and you’re one of the first ten people this month, I’ll write if for you half price! No tricksJust treats!!

Contact me today!

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Does your blog need a personality?

Blah blah blah…

That’s what your customers will think when they read a dry post every once in a while whenever you get around to writing it.

Your blog is an extension of your business!  It should function as a sales rep for your company, one who takes the time to bring prospective clients the information they need until they know they need your services.

Unfortunately, most blogs (or rather, blahgs) bore the reader to tears until he clicks off your site.  To be top of mind, you need to give your customers value, so they keep coming back to your site until they know they need YOUR products.

But it’s not only the value you bring to your reader; it’s the experience they have while reading your company’s blog.  Ideally, your blog article should inform in a way that brings a smile to your reader’s face.  For that to happen, you need to give your blog a little personality.

The words you use, images you share, and stories you tell should all reflect your business and your customer’s expectations.  Here are a few examples:

1. Humor
Life can be a solemn road filled with financial issues, health problems, and loss.  Tragedy can bring doom and gloom to your customer who is looking for a reason to feel good again.  If your product/service and ideal customer works for this approach, it can be such fun!

2. Integrity
Honesty and integrity may be something lacking in your industry. Taking on this characteristic may be a fresh perspective for your blog. It can draw in customers who are tired of being treated with sleazy sales pitches and tired slogans.

3. News
Some people are looking to be the first to know. If you can deliver your industry’s news items, they’ll come back again and again.  And they’ll be more likely to share your posts to inform their friends and be counted as the first in the know.

There are many others, but you get the idea.  Pick a personality for your blog and write from that perspective.  And if you don’t have time, call me!

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Marketing Myths Part 1

I’ve been around a long time and have heard some incredible marketing myths told by the Gurus over the years.  I’m going to talk about them periodically on the blog here so stay tuned.  You might want to subscribe. <WINK> It’ll keep you from some monster marketing faux pas!

The first one in the series is something I heard a while back.  While it’s not as popular to do intentionally, it is done by accident and through laziness ALL the time. Especially on social media!

Several years ago, a few Marketing Moguls made it a practice to intentionally spell words incorrectly.  The idea was to appear as if the owner of the business was just “one of the guys.”  Marketing materials can often come across as slick, “hypey,” or even sleazy.  So, to sound more down to Earth, the sales copy was peppered with some misspelled words and grammar errors.

At one point, I was convinced this was done as a way to avoid having to spell check all those long sales copy squeeze pages that were so popular at the time. However, whether you are doing it in an effort to come off as honest, to avoid hiring a copywriter, or because you’re just lazy, it’s not a good practice.  Here’s why:

1. Language Nerds
They are everywhere and in every market.  What’s more, they will NOT purchase from a company that spels words incorrectly, insert’s appostrophe’s where they don’t belong, and doesn’t corect typos!

2. Grammar Nazis
There are is a large customer base out there that has a problem with those social media memes that share how LOL Cats has poor grammar. They don’t think it’s cute, they are actually annoyed.

3. Sophisticated Buyers
If your company sells to a more sophisticated clientele, they’ll notice, and it probably won’t give them the warm fuzzies. It will, more likely, make them highly suspect of the quality of your service and the integrity of your company.

Your sales copy should reflect not only your customers’ expectations but your company’s image. If you’re not sure you want to take the time to write it all yourself, call me!

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Three ways your business is probably sabotaging your company’s image!

Does your business rely upon emails as a way to correspond with customers or clients? If it does, here are three ways you may be sabotaging your relationship with your customers, and you don’t even know it.

Almost all businesses use email as one of the primary ways to interact with customers.  Here are three of the most important things companies do that can destroy your company’s image or relationship with your client/customer:

1. Not reading before you answer
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sent an email off into the interwebs and was disappointed to find that the answer that came back didn’t address the issue I had raised. It was obvious that the company’s representative read only as far as the first sentence before pasting in the canned response.

Don’t be that company! Make sure to read the customer’s entire email before you answer to make sure you understand their exact problem.  It may take you more time now, but it will save your company time in the long run as well as your image and customer service reputation.

2. Not answering each question
Before you hit that send button, make sure you have answered each one of your customer’s questions.  It has become common practice to answer one or two questions and leave the customer wondering about the other two.

It takes more time in the long run for you to play email tag with your customer.  In addition to taking more time to answer two or three emails where there should have only been one, the emails will become longer and more hostile should the need arise.  Make sure you get all their questions answered the first time!

3. Not reading between the lines
Most of your customers won’t know enough to ask you the right questions.  Make sure you are reading between the lines and anticipating what your customer or client is REALLY asking.

It goes without saying that NOT ANSWERING a customer email for a long while is a huge no-no. Most customers will understand if they don’t get a reply for a day or so (or over the weekend), but please don’t make them wait a week or longer to hear from you…or you’ll be hearing from them!

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Are You Listening to Your Customers?

Have you taken the time to find out what your customers want?  How they feel about your company, product or service? Why not?

It may seem like something that would take up too much time, but it can help you avoid launching a product or service doomed to failure.  It can also help you improve a current product, service, or even your social media presence.

Here are a few ways in which you can listen to your customers in order to improve your image and then your bottom line:

1. Surveys
Put a survey out to your past customers, on social media, or blog.  Ask them about their experience with your company, the impression of your product, or issues with your service.  Use that information to better your company’s image, products, and services.  Most people love to be asked what they think and you’ll move forward knowing what worked and what didn’t.

2. Poll your employees
Ask your employees for ideas about how to better serve your customers.  Ask them what things they like about working for you and ask them what they feel could be improved.  The more involved your employees are in the process, the more valued they feel and the more loyalty they will have. Happy employees usually service your company and customers better.

3. Poll your customer service team
Your customer service reps work more directly with your customers than you do.  Ask them what they’ve heard the customers rave or complain about.

 

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11 Hidden Reasons Why Business Owners Need Excellent Communication Skills

At the corner of Marketing Street and Strategy Avenue, there is communication, and it’s either working for your company…or it isn’t!

You might never have to make a speech, but there are 11 ways in which your communication skills, and that of your employees, play a vital role in your business!  Why? Because business is about relationships and relationships are built on communication.

Whether you are developing your company’s relationship with a customer, a supplier, or its employees, here are 11 ways in which your communication can either make or break your company:

1) How to save time and money on your supplies
Before you ever have your first customer, you’ll need to develop a relationship with your suppliers.  Building good relationships with them will give you an advantage when it comes to price and problems.  It is worth some time and effort to get to know the companies who supply your business.  It’s also worth your time to do little things for them.

While most large businesses have the money and staff to do this with relative ease, small to medium size companies often justify not doing so by saying they don’t have the time or money to do it.  I’m here to tell you that it will cost you more in the long run if you don’t.

2) Creating a communication package for your business
Think long and hard about what kind of image you want your company to have and then make your communication congruent with that image.  You don’t want your logo saying that you are the company who cares if your customer service says you don’t.

3) How to present yourself as an expert in your field
How you present yourself is important, but not only because of the suit of clothing you wear or the logo on your website.  How you position yourself in the marketplace with your website, blog, and social media will either reflect your company as an industry expert or not.  Be careful not only in your sales copy but in what you blog or tweet about!

4) How to effectively handle customer service, complaints, and returns
How you handle customer issues can make or break your company.  If you don’t answer the phone quickly, allow the customer to run circles in your phone tree, or make it easy for the customer’s issue to go unresolved, word will get around.  An upset customer is much more likely to tweet how upset they are than is a happy customer to post how much they love your product.

5) How to make contacts
It goes without saying that the better you are at communicating, the better those contacts will be.

6) Effective use of social networking groups
Making effective use of social networking groups is also all about how you come across.  Effective communication comes in handy when you’re at a social event representing your company.

7) Balancing family and business
How you tell your spouse about a last minute business meeting is just as important as having to broach the subject of postponing a meeting with your client.  If you aren’t precise and gracious with your family, they won’t be as supportive.  If you aren’t clear and respectful to your boss or client, well…

8) How/when to share your faith or talk about politics in business
There may be times when it is necessary for you to share issues of faith or politics with a client, a customer, or your employee.  How and when it’s done can be crucial.  Not something we usually think about, but something that is important.

9) How to gain support from family and friends
If you are starting a business, it is important to gain the support of family and even friends.  They are usually your biggest supporters and, without them, you can’t build it big.

10) How to motivate your employees
Most business people don’t think much about motivating their employees, but the biggest growing companies do.  You should too.  What would keep them working when things get difficult?  What would keep them loyal?

11) How to train your customer service staff
Customer service almost doesn’t exist anymore.  With the invention of the phone tree, a customer can be busy for an hour trying to reach the right party to get their issue resolved.  When customer service staff is hired, almost no training goes into them.  They are given a script and good luck!  Make it a point to train your customer service staff to respond to the customers as individuals instead of problems.  Give them some leeway to get the customer the help they need.  Keeping the employees loyal can help here too.

There are many situations in business when good communication can either fix the issue or avoid it altogether.

 

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Social Media Political Rants: Should You Go There?

If you’re on social media to promote your business, you’ll need to make a decision about what types of information you will share there.  I recently came across an article that didn’t surprise me much, because I’ve reported on a similar topic over on Art of Eloquence before.

Article Overview:
In a nutshell, the article says that precious few are persuaded to either side of the political aisle by rants on social media.  I went a bit further in my commentary and said that almost nobody is persuaded by a debate.  That debate could be an argument or a formal public debate.  Most people polled after a number of political/religious debates said that they were not inclined to the other side.  It usually takes one on one communication with give and take discussion and an open heart to share issues such as these.

This article reported that only 14-20% (depending upon the wording of the poll) were persuaded by the other political side after a social media rant.  That brings me to a critical question you need to ask yourself about your politics on social media: Should I go there? The answer is, it depends.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you do go there:

1. Am I on social media for business or personal reasons?
2. If for business, will my customers/clients see value in political posts?
3. Is the subject of politics irrelevant or even counterproductive to my business purpose on social media?
3. Is my business intertwined with my political views such that it would actually benefit by sharing them on social media?
4. How can I word my political posts in a way that I will gain a willing ear even if my subscribers don’t agree with me?

Even if you are on social media purely for personal reasons, that last question is vital.  As someone with extensive training in effective communication, I’m here to tell you that no matter how right you are about something, you will need a willing ear if you hope to be heard.

My Thoughts:
Some businesses thrive on politics even if their product/service has nothing to do with politics.  Chick Fil A serves chicken.  However, their Christian stance has actually helped them.  Though they do have dissenters, their customer base has grown as they have responded to criticism.

Even if you don’t go looking for political or religious battles, your core values will play into how you conduct your business.  How you respond is equally as important as what you respond.  Take some time to ponder these questions before you set the tone for your business social media platforms.

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If you’re on Instagram, you might want to read this!

Whether you love or hate Facebook, there is no denying that it is the largest social media platform out there.  However, there is something to be said for the others.  I recently shared about the changes that Facebook made on August 10th of this year, but I found that they aren’t the only ones making some changes.  Instagram is as well and here’s what you need to know.

According to this article on Digital Trends, Instagram is now allowing more users to apply for their blue verification badge.  It was specifically designed for public figures who have a large following so followers could be sure that the account they were following was the Real McCoy.

However, as someone who understands how a brand can be copied (our family business has had our product pages cloned on Amazon), I appreciate them allowing this for those other than Donald Trump, Sandra Bullock, and IBM.  If you have a smaller brand, you too may want to protect it from counterfeiters.

Facebook has had a rash of faux profiles hack into a personal Facebook account and clone itself.  These fake profiles then lure your friends and family.  You may want to protect your brand from counterfeiters or even from others who don’t know they are using your name.

If you feel you have a large enough following on Instagram, you might want to click the above link and find out how to apply for your own blue verification badge.

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