My Grandmother grew up as a sharecropper’s daughter on the West Coast, moving from farm to farm wherever hired hands were needed. With grit and perseverance that matched her fiery, tousled locks, she pulled herself up from her roots, graduating from college with a degree in education.
She was always trying something new, insatiably curious and intelligent, though her career as a teacher was undeniably, well, lackluster. However, she reared four amazingly gritty, intelligent children who multiplied that influence with large families. To date they’ve reared dozens of doctors, musicians, entrepreneurs, and skilled artisans. She certainly left her mark on my life!
“Learning a new skill is never a waste of time, Julie!” The gusto in Grandma’s tone made her voice tremble.”You never know when that skill will come in handy.” She may have been referring to my efforts at piano or perhaps to my budding sewing abilities at the time. Her underlying message came through loud and clear — no slackers in this family!
She and Michelangelo had this in common, according to Jeff Goins, author of Real Artists Don’t Starve. Always be learning something new. Michelangelo segued from sculpting abilities into architecture and engineering. As Goins puts it, “One skill sets into motion the need for another.”
Which is why as a business blogger and writer, I’ve been challenged to continually learn about sales and marketing. Words like sales funnels and target market were formerly bridges into unknown territory for me. I had to embark on a new learning adventure.
Here’s what I discovered. Warm, friendly words that sell helpful products and services benefit both the target audience and the professional service providers. My tools are the 26 letters of the English alphabet.
Now I’m learning to keep my ear to the ground as to what works best on which social media platform.
In this rapidly morphing world of tech and marketing, however, some basic skills and values never go out of style. Treat your clients the way you want to be treated. Always show up when promised. Do your best!
What about those piano and sewing skills? I shake my head when I think about it. Handmade wedding gifts, dresses for my only daughter, and tons of mended clothes later — yep, that’s a skill well worth the time.
Teaching private piano lessons has unbelievably paid over half of our bills for the past dozen years. Who would’ve guessed? Plus, I’ve had the sheer delight of investing in a future generation of musical literacy.
In a few of my students, I’ve seen that inner spark ignite. I sit in awe as beautiful music flows from their fingertips. Who knows? I may have had a hand in molding a future Great Artist. The thought gives me goosebumps.
Meanwhile, as I keep building my own skill sets, I’m in search of my own inner Michelangelo. Thanks, Grandma, for your example of grit that never quit.
“Patients are partners with their health care providers, and providers treat patients not only from a clinical perspective, but also from an emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and financial perspective.” Catalyst
Your “gatekeepers” should embody all that is wonderful about your wellness practice.
Yes. I deliberately placed a small ad for writing work that would make me happy. Not that I don’t enjoy learning and writing about many different topics. I’m a self-confessed word nerd. Think insatiable curiosity like “The Elephant’s Child” who visited the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River to satiate his curiosity. His curiosity drove his relatives batty. If you’ve never read Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, you’re really missing out, “O Best Beloved”.
I wanted to reach out to new potential clients and jazz up my business. January and February are survival months. Seasonal slump, anyone? Grin and bear it. If you’ve saved up for a trip to a sunny island, well, that’s warm and wonderful. I just wanted business — happy business!
Also, I wanted to make someone else happy. If you meet someone else’s needs, surprisingly, you often find your own needs met. That’s exactly what happened for me. I ran a crazy discount. Got a lead. The lead became a client, and I solved a problem for her — polished happy client stories i.e., mini case studies.
I stepped outside of my comfort zone and met new people. I chatted on the phone with a business owner while she was walking home in NYC. How cool is that for a small-town gal? The wellness therapists that I interviewed for my client’s customer success stories are amazing, successful business owners in unique niches. Helping others. Meeting genuine needs.
Along the way, I rediscovered how much I appreciate the wellness industry and an integrated approach to medicine. Researching different therapy options was just plain fun and positivity rolled into one. Positivity is a rare find in a doctor’s office, just sayin’.
Even better, my client was over the moon with the final product — polished happy client stories with quotes she can use across all of her marketing platforms. She already knows she does good work. But it’s hard to to “toot your own horn” and even tougher to put it into writing yourself. Anyone agonize over writing their About Me page or personal bio? When someone else gushes for you — that’s some serious sweetness for your brand. Happiness for myself and my client? I’d say it was a win-win.
If your business or mindset is in a seasonal slump, celebrating client wins is a sure-fire way to put some spunk back into your step. Happy clients remind you of the basic WHY of your business.
Brainstorm with your sales and marketing departments. Do you have some happy clients you can reach out to for case studies or happy client stories?
If you’re a sole proprietor, go hang out with some other small business owners, perhaps at a local Chamber of Commerce meeting. Is there a special package deal you could run that includes other small businesses? Get the juices flowing and create some good buzz!
Highlight other businesses that have served you well on your website or email newsletter. Give them a shout out on your Facebook or LinkedIn page.
Look at your online reviews. Screenshot the great ones (funny ones are even better — How So-and-So Saved My Bacon) and put them up on your business Facebook page.
Don’t forget current employees or freelancers that serve your business. You’d be scrambling on a hamster wheel without them. Make them happy. Write that recommendation already! Include a tip or a bonus.
We’re up to our ears in negativity in real life, in business, and in the news. Even the gritty, persistently curious Elephant’s Child needed some kind help (no thanks to his relatives, hmmm) along the way to save him from the Crocodile at the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River! (Curious yet? Need a fun weekend read?)
Be the difference you want to see. If you’re just “in it to win it” for your bottom line, you’ll end up being the loser in the long run. I LOVE seeing businesses big and small that have a mission statement of kindness and fund charitable works with their profits.
Treat others with extraordinary kindness — don’t just talk about it. Do it! Sooner or later, that kindness boomerang’s gonna come back to you. A true happiness project will make you AND your client smile. That, my friends, is the Golden Rule.
Here’s where I offer to help YOU in exchange for a helping of happiness (and some cold, hard cash, too). I create warm, friendly words that sell your business solutions. Need some polished happy client stories? Need marketing blog posts that improve your business visibility and reach your target market? I’m here to help with your content writing and marketing — Call me at 443-362-8789 or email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Maybe your business is going through trying times? Maybe you’ve hit a wall with growth.
It’s time to scratch, hunt, and dig up some happy client stories. Don’t invent them. Sooner or later you’ll be seen for a fake. I’m sure you’re not.
What about a quick exit survey on your website?
What did you like about us? Did you like our service? Please leave us feedback and an email. This may generate a client you can actually talk to in the world of online sales.
Other ways include in-office surveys and asking happy clients in person if you can share their story.
Good feels. We all need them. An ancient Proverb compares pleasant words to honeycomb, sweet and healthful. How you spread your news is up to you. Facebook is a quick hit and an instant share. This will mean an abbreviated happy client story, so shrink that case study down to one paragraph with a quote!
If you’re a B2B company, then you can share the love. Even a small business can feature another small business. Life gets more beautiful.
Your generosity in featuring another business will not go unnoticed. Generosity breeds generosity.
For longer-term impact, you will want to use your full-fledged 500 word or more case study as a printable sell-sheet for your sales reps. Your in-house marketing and design team create an attractive format that your sales reps hand to a client. Or you can ask your freelance content writer who their favorite designers are. They often work hand-in-glove.
You know the drill. B2B clients stop by your booth. You want quality brochures or fliers to hand them as they move along to the next vendor. Attractive stories are a quick way to get your company remembered. At end of the day, your case study flier may be the first thing your potential client wants to read.
Updated information on your website keeps the SEO rolling. Is your web copy boring and bland. Add some zip and zing to your content. A happy client story? Bingo!
Old-fashioned emails are not dead. In fact, I just bought a small item recently from a small company that emails me regularly. I may skim most of them — truth– and don’t read every word. Some get trashed. Still, the word SPECIAL caught my eye.
Offer a discount with this teaser — an abbreviated case study or a happy client story. That’s a winning combination!
B2B customers hang out on LinkedIn. Why not put your best foot forward? You need to publish regularly to get seen on LinkedIn. No fairy dust here. Just a steady drip of attractive information will do.
If you’re ready for a new lead magnet on your website, a great case study could fit the bill. Maybe you are shifting your target market. New client case studies based on this specific market might be just the ticket. You can include the link in business emails with clients. Boom! They have something attractive to print off for their boss, or whomever is in charge of the buying decisions.
Ready to invest in quality case studies for your business? I’m here to help strategize, interview and write, polish, and write!
As a professional service provider, your clients want to hear from other folks just like them. How did you solve their problems?
Now that’s a story worth telling. Let’s get started today! I’m talking to clients every single day, so please leave a message on my cell 443-362-8789 or email email@example.com Your story is important to me!
Why? I can’t give one good reason to use their services after I read their website. It’s such shame, because I know most businesses care about delivering a great quality service or product.
Fuzzy, unclear web copy is like getting the wrong prescription in your new glasses — you can’t see and those glasses will collect dust!
Your potential client wants to know ONE thing — what’s in it for me? Before you can answer their burning questions, you need to answer this question : WHO is your ideal potential client?
What do your current clients look like? Are they your ideal clients?
Small town? Big city?
Deep pockets or tight budget?
Most importantly, what are their specific needs or “pain points” that you can solve?
This is called creating your ideal client avatar. Flesh in as many juicy details as you can.
Young urban professional. Gen X, Y, Z or Millenial? Married? Kids? Home-owner or renter? Sports car or SUV owners? Both, hopefully!
Now hang this up in front of your eyeballs and talk out loud.
Write as you talk. This is time to put on your “Super Business-Person” cape. What would you love to tell your ideal client?
Here’s a brief sample of how this works for me:
My ideal client: a successful business owner or professional service firm/provider who already understands the importance of marketing content and is willing to pay accordingly. They have a budget set aside for marketing. Bing!
They want words that shine, client success stories, warm email marketing, regular blog posts, and web copy “makeovers”.
They let me talk to their clients for them, but will jump on the phone to tell me the latest and greatest about their business. They take pride in their work.
My ideal clients are successful and know they need to delegate their content marketing.
Writing about themselves is hard — sometimes painfully so.
Having an objective outside set of eyes and voice for their business brings much-needed clarity to their business voice.
It’s the power of brainstorming or a mini-mastermind session.
Finding time to create quality content is also painful for them.
Maximizing their time and business productivity is their Mount Everest. It’s a constant challenging climb to the peak!
When they get home, they want to leave work behind, take those weekend trips with family or friends, and let their content do the work while they play! (SUV owners for family trips, and sports car owners for fun, right?)
They “get” it. Words sell for them.
Get talking! Hone your core business message. Ask your fellow business friends: Do you understand clearly what I do?
Ask them about their business. Find out what makes them shine.In this process you may discover more about your own business.
Next, write like you talk. Write a paragraph. Shrink that paragraph into one short sentence that describes your business in a nutshell. This is your core business offer or message.
Do they state their core offer clearly? What do you offer that is different and unique from theirs?
I recently researched the eye doctor I’ve used for the past four years. The online reviews were dismal! I wasn’t surprised.
I asked questions of his staff. They don’t perform quality control checks on their newly-prescribed glasses. If their lab makes a mistake, no one cares unless the client complains.
When I called a local competitor, I was blown away by how much warmer and friendlier they are on the phone. I would switch eye doctors in a heartbeat if my insurance allowed based on this fact alone.
Maybe you’re small but super-helpful! Get some great client success stories online, pronto!
Make a list of all the search terms your competitors rank for. This is one way to find out what your ideal clients are looking for.
Be sure to include these key words in your online marketing content. Your clients can find you and your SEO will improve!
As you talk out loud, write things down. Look at your client avatar and talk.
Selling insurance, for example? Talk to the hard-working couple just making ends meet. How would their world crumble if either one was killed in an accident with no insurance to cover burial expenses let alone living expenses?
Provide a simple survey for your current clients. Ask them what problems sent them your way.
What are their biggest challenges?
Did your business provide the solutions they were looking for? If not, why?
This survey can be sent in email or as a simple form in your business office.
Some doctors’ offices are using an iPad or a touch screen at the checkout desk for their clients to provide feedback.
The fast food industry has been doing surveys on receipts for a while. It’s an effective information gathering tool.
Get your clients talking to you!
Even a small act of generosity can create connections with potential clients.
After all, our clients all share one thing in common — what’s in this for me?
Feel free to print and share this little guide, by the way!
If you’d rather just pay someone and get your business content written clearly and promptly, I’ll be happy to “talk” to your clients for you.
Everyone and their momma needs some good news. It’s a bad news world most every day. If you don’t tune it out you go around feeling like you drank a belly-ful of lemonade without any sweetener!
I’ve met and interacted with some of them on their blogs, LinkedIn pages, and Facebook pages. Guess what? I’ve even listened to their advice. And it works. In an impossible year, my business has moved slowly forward. The odds have definitely not been in my favor.
I want to share. I’m taking a page from their books. In fact, some of my friends have already been the, ahem, beneficiaries of my free, unsolicited advice. Sorry about that, guys! But you know that I care about you if I share my good news, right?
The best news is this: these business-builders share freely. Yes, they offer high end services. But they’re always giving away good, actionable advice for free. So I made a list of expert business-building mentors I think you should link up with and follow. Only buy what you can afford. Definitely glean from their wisdom.
In particular, four of these individuals have responded to me personally.
Where do they find the time? Ah, ask Michael Hyatt that question. I’m still working on my personal productivity levels. Work/life balance, too.
Obviously, these folks are not the only voices of business humanity. The human, personal touch is how many small businesses survive and, hello, THRIVE! If you shop local, you see this more often.
“If you want to be more successful, be more human in how you market to and engage with your target audience.” John Nemo
My private piano practice has survived and thrived in a very small town, because I’m “that fun, friendly” piano teacher.
I listen and communicate with a broad spectrum of people and age groups day after day, year after year — people just like your clients. We’re a bedroom community of Annapolis, D.C., and Baltimore. Literally all walks of life live here.
Most notably, I don’t verbally “bite” kids or wallop their knuckles when they miss a note. (Um, yes, I’ve heard the stories from parents who quit piano lessons for that very reason. Yikes! The “good old days”, anyone?) I listen to my student’s struggles and find ways to help them succeed, targeted help for their needs.
Listening and learning about your business is my top priority.
Your business content will receive the same loving care and warm communication that I give to all my clients. I’ll even write your email communications for you! Do I hear a sigh of relief?
Maybe you already have a well-established clientele. But what business doesn’t need to grow? LinkedIn can become a powerful networking and growth tool. Here’s why.
While Facebook is still a bigger pond with 800 million plus users, LinkedIn is very much a mega pool to fish from for helpful business connections. With a clearly defined professional profile, your ideal clients can also locate you. Since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016, it’s also bound to continue growing as a professional networking pool.
Generally they don’t post about their personal feelings or what they ate for lunch! If you join LinkedIn groups, you can learn about the latest business best practices. Or, you can share your business expertise on topics.
Let’s talk about Facebook for a minute. I avoided it for years, personally, because I saw all the online drama that people choose to post. Reading the comments sections of many news articles, and even personal posts will make your stomach turn.
Yuck! It can also easily become a major source of personal information gathering for friends or foes. Basically, unless you are super careful with your settings and the groups you participate in (which can change overnight from private to public), it’s a massive “people-stalking network.”
That being said, I’m not advocating ignoring Facebook advertising.
I just think a business will need to exercise greater caution to keep their noses clean on Facebook. Once I had to disable my comments on my business page because some troll decided to have fun on my page.
It’s certainly a platform for “people drama”. By the same token, I’ve done a great deal of profitable learning and connecting in Facebook business groups and forums. I’ve gotten more likes and shares on this platform thus far.
You can post relevant business articles. If you are a creative, you can post samples of your work in slideshare.
In short, you have a platform, a way to build credibilty, and a huge networking tool!
Seriously, the Alexa ratings for LinkedIn lists it as the 10th most popular website in the US. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/linkedin.com.
Globally, LinkedIn rates 22nd as of the writing of this article. Either way, these statistics mean that it’s a massive search engine that can be used to showcase your successful products or services. It’s also a publicly traded company. #LNKD
Better than a comment section, your business profile can receive professional recommendations from those you have served well. Unlike Yelp, you have some control over what is posted there, too. A real name and face on these recommendations adds to your business credibility. This builds the “know, like, and trust” factor which is every marketer’s goal.
Professional practices and networking, huge pool of potential clients, and a way to be taken seriously in your market — have I convinced you yet? Let’s get your LinkedIn growing.
Be sure to put your best foot forward with a professional headshot, client-facing profile, and professional connections.
It did grab your attention, right? Now is the time to grab your favorite writing tool or dictation app and do a brain dump.
What went well for your business this year? What areas need some love? What specific steps can you take to improve your business this year? Goal-setting, anyone?
To help with this process, I’m highly recommending a free download from Michael Hyatt. You can get this by visiting http://www.bestyearever.me
The free ebook is called:
Achieve What Matters in 2017: 8 Strategies Super-Successful People Are Using Now to Accomplish More This Year.
I hope to reread this before 2017 begins. I have some huge goals this year. I may post a few of them just to hold my feet to the fire. Not today, though! This post is for you.
Everyone, every business needs a website! Just look around. Every handyman’s van, every delivery truck, every service vehicle almost without exception has a website listed on it. Just because you have one doesn’t mean it’s a good one, though.
Short sentences. White space. Uncluttered webpage. Not a huge bunch of ads and affiliate links.
Your massive list of credentials may be impressive. Ask yourself this question. Does it focus clearly on how you can help your client succeed with their business needs? If, so, good. It’s okay to state what you’re good at if it helps others. If not, cut it down to what matters most to your client.
Your web visitors need a clear nudge to try out your product or services. The digital marketplace is noisy and crowded. Your website needs to be warm, friendly, and inviting. You also need a compelling reason for them to click and try what you have to offer.
Folks are looking for social proof these days. Ever read Amazon reviews before you buy? Recently we tried out the auto maintenance services of a local shop because of the awesome reviews!
Make sure you highlight happy clients or character references on your website. Consider hiring someone to ghostwrite these so you don’t have a sloppy success story that fails to showcase your best business solutions!
If you sell a more complex product or service, an in-depth case study or success story complete with a professional interview by a writer will grab your client’s attention. Reviews are great, but a success story clearly focused on your business solution is even better.
This year I spoke to a highly frustrated business co-owner of a consulting service. Her partner had hired a marketing manager who wrote web copy that was full of errors and wildly disorganized.
I had to ask, what exactly is it that you do, after reading their website.
The same held true of the marketing materials and business emails being distributed. Their target market is highly skilled professionals! Epic business fail! This consultant firm was in serious need of a second set of eyes.
Maybe your website looks sharp. However, fresh web copy could boost your web traffic and SEO. Your content copywriter may even suggest a new marketing theme or strategy. Two pairs of eyes are better than one.
Oops! That is my business goal, too. Let the cat out of the bag, didn’t I?
Providing free, helpful information through a blog or an email newsletter is a great way for your target audience to get to know you.
The consistent “drip effect” is a proven marketing strategy.
Along the way you may find yourself reaping the kindness you have sowed by gaining new clients.
Offer a reward system for loyal customers. The small gifts are a surprisingly effective way of saying thank you. This could be an extra product or an extra service. Serve the extra five minutes, say, as the extra mile.
Take the heat gracefully. Mistakes and misunderstandings happen. Figure out a fair way to compensate your client. This is far less costly than “reverse referrals”.
Simply say the words “thank you for your business”. In a world of constant negativity, these words are a day-brightener when spoken warmly and sincerely.
Take a page from Chick-fil-a. Little things like, my pleasure, create a crowd of loyal fans.
Thank you for reading this, by the way.
Perhaps you already have a grateful fan club? Spotlight your happy client stories to breed a circle of gratitude!
Now that’s a smell that’s warm, spicy, and very attractive.