Success tips –why search for your inner Michelangelo

Be like Grandma.

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.

Stay curious.

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!

New skills matter.

“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.”

Learn a new language.

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.

Always apply the Golden Rule — some things don’t change.

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.

Stay the course for the pay-off.

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.

 

What can I help you with today? I’d love to apply my own brand of insatiable curiosity to your business marketing needs. Contact me here: julia@marketingcontentsolutions.com

 

Wellness providers, a number one tip for patient-centered care

Wellness provider, your front desk staff may be one of your most important hires. Why?

Let’s start with a basic question. What is your business mission statement? If you’re reading this article and your bottom line is your biggest WHY for your business, read no farther.

It’s okay with me. This article is not for you. However, if happy, healthier clients are your focus (along with that necessary bottom line), then you’re in tune with patient-centered care.

Patient-centered care is making a slow, but certain come-back.

According to this article in Catalyst (https://catalyst.nejm.org), how you make your clients feel is an important part of quality care.

“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

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) also lists patient-centered care as one of six markers of quality health care. In fact, all six goals could be summed up by saying, “Do your best for each client. ”

  • Safe care
  • Effective care
  • Patient centered
  • Timely
  • Efficient
  • Equitable

Patient-centered care starts when your client picks up the phone to call your office.

How many of us actually look forward to picking up the phone and calling a doctor, dentist, or other wellness provider? Ladies, how about getting the man in your life to schedule his own appointments? Is it like pulling teeth? Healthcare is a very emotional and personal experience for most clients.

While you as the wellness provider bear most of the responsibility for safe and effective care, your office staff will make or break patient-centered care with a tough-as-nails or a sour lemon approach.

Your “gatekeepers” should embody all that is wonderful about your wellness practice.

Face it — most of us hate calling certain businesses. Why?

  1. We feel like a number when the voice on the other end is obviously rushing or bored to tears to be talking to us. The message we hear: we are NOT welcome. Instead, we want to hear a smile in the voice of the staff member who answers our call. Yes, you can smile when you talk.
  2. You don’t value our time. You immediately put us on hold when we call.  We wait for a long time. No one loves this!
  3. Scheduling an appointment that works with our schedule is a chore! (Either your office needs to hire more help, or refer folks to another wellness provider.)

Here’s a secret tip for finding out if your office staff is doing well in the patient-centered care department.

If you’re as healthy as a horse, you can’t understand your clients. You need to hire a secret “quality control” agent to discover how it feels for your new potential to phone or walk in the front door of your practice.

Don’t hire your best friend. Don’t even hire an acquaintance. Hire someone who has a sick loved one and experiences doctor’s offices ALL the time. Have them call your office at different times with “new patient” questions. Pick the busiest times. Here are a few suggestions — keeping it simple is great!

  • What insurance do you accept?
  • When is your next available appointment?

SURVEY QUESTIONS SHOULD INCLUDE:

  • Was the voice on the phone warm and friendly?
  • IF a walk-in, were you greeted promptly with a smile and courteous greeting?
  • Were you put on hold? For how long?
  • Were your questions answered in a prompt and friendly way (no snotty attitude)?

So can we get a smile already? Illness and pain is incredibly stressful. Ease that stress, and your clients will love you.
Amazing office staff make a real difference. Every. Single. Day.
Need some warm email newsletters for your wellness practice? Call Julia 443-362-8789 or email: http://julia@marketingcontentsolutions.com

Why every professional service provider needs a “happiness project” (or, how to create happiness in your business)

Happy with your business marketing yet?

This past month I started a “happiness project” for my content writing business.

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”.

Why did I want a “happiness project”?

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.

What happened next? Did I get rich? (I know, right?)

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.

Did it work?

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.

What’s the point? How would this help my business?

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.

  • Why did I start my business in the first place?
  • Who am I here to help?
  • What problems do I solve for my clients?
  • How can I better serve my clients?

What kind of happiness project would suit my 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.

Basically, a happiness project is a Golden Rule Marketing project.

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 : julia@marketingcontentsolutions.com

Business story that sells? Service with a SMILE

I know, I know! I just broke the rules and used all caps in my headline. Sorry about the drama.

 

Naw. Not really sorry. I was treated so very well by a major corporation this week that I have to toot their horn for them.

You know those pesky online surveys? The ones Amazon sellers send you after EVERY. SINGLE. PURCHASE?

I rarely ever fill them out any more. Do you? Just don’t have time for that. However, I broke my “no survey” rule this reason for a good cause. Wanna know why?

Well, my credit card account got hacked.

Some loser started by stealing $40 bucks. Not a big amount, but what else they planned to steal I can only imagine!

I was dreading the tug of war to prove this wasn’t my purchase when I picked up the phone to call my credit card company. Why the dread? My typical life experience with large companies just stinks.

After all, I had recently called the electric company to question charges. They talked down to me — treated me like I was stupid. I ended up having to ask for the manager after the customer service rep downright insulted me.

I am SO done with our electric company! I hate to pay them another dime.  I do pay in full. Writing that check every month? Grrrr….

 

Using major service providers and having few options to switch providers feels like wearing a ball and chain! I’ve already chatted about our former satellite internet provider.

We ended up paying them an extra $400 just to break our contract after almost 2 years of terribly unreliable, expensive service.

No apologies offered ever. No response to my unhappy client letter. Nothing! They simply didn’t care.

We paid to end our slavery. Yep. Don’t even get me started about our medical insurance!

 

When I called Discover, you could hear the friendly smile and concern in the rep’s voice.

She promptly and politely transfered me to the fraud department.  The fraud rep was equally kind and efficient. Instead of treating me like “the customer is always wrong”,  I got the “let’s bend over backwards to fix this for you” treatment! AMAZING!

It was kind of like dining at Chick-Fil-A. “My pleasure.” (No wonder they often have a line around their building.  I also need to eat at Chick-Fil-A once in a while just to prove that average folks can get treated well, too.)

So when that “please fill out our customer satisfaction survey” hit my inbox? Well, YES! Yes, I did.

  • Thanks for treating me like a valued human being.

  • Thanks for actually solving my problem.

  • Thanks for solving my problem promptly and efficiently AND not charging me a gazillion bucks to do so.

Professional service providers, do you offer award-winning customer service?

Are you prompt and polite?

Do you actually provide excellent solutions?

Well, then! Don’t be shy. Send out that customer satisfaction survey email. Put those survey forms by your front desk! Do something!

Folks like me are SO traumatized by terrible customer service, that it’s a relief to have something good to say. Your clients must feel the same way!

That’s what I loved about working at small businesses in the past. Our customer service shone. We rarely had complaints, but when we did, we did our best to fix things! It’s called the Golden Rule.

I’m happy to see large companies also using the Golden Rule. Now that’s “attraction marketing”!

New slogan? “DISCOVER the card that treats you well.” #Discover.

I also noticed Discover employing a very smart marketing tactic — prompt follow-up with request for feedback.

Never got one from my former satellite internet service. Strange?!

For some strange reason, I’m seeing small, excellent professional service providers reluctant to ask for feedback.

What about failing to repurpose and use feedback effectively in your content marketing?

Need some feedback and insight on your content marketing strategy? I can help with that. Try this article on for size. 7 ways to use case studies to grow your business

I offer a free initial content marketing consultation.  I promise you strategy and business content writing with a smile! Call  me — Julia Daniels (443)362-8789.

 

7 ways to use case studies to grow your business

www.marketingcontentsolutions.com

Who doesn’t want to hear some good news?

Disasters, hate, and violence are what we hear about every single day.

Shining stories of good will and kindness keep us afloat. It’s what makes movies like Schindler’s List so very gripping. Good and evil. These exist in business, too. You want to be the good, right?

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.

Highlighting happy past client stories gives your future potential client some tantalizing news. Like instant oatmeal, Facebook is a quick fix for this kind of 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!

Give your clients some time in the limelight — in print.

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.

Trade shows are another perfect venue for a printed case study.

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.

Post case studies to your website.

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!

Send out your case study to your email newsletter list with a “special” discount.

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!

Post your best case studies on LinkedIn.

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.

Have your designer create a downloadable PDF version of your case study.

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.

These are just a few strategies among many for using the handy, dandy case study to its best advantage.

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 julia@marketingcontentsolutions.com  Your story is important to me!

 

 

 

 

 

How to create business content that connects with your ideal client

You create great connections in person. How about your business content?

Are you passionate about your product or service? You love to help others. You share your message well face-to-face. But, do you love to write about your business?

What a disappointment when I read business web content that makes me yawn!

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?

1.) Create a word picture of your ideal 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.

2.) Brainstorm with other business owners.

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.

3.) Research your competition online.

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!

4.) When you research your competitors online, write down the alternate key words that pop up.

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!

5.) Now talk to your clients.

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?

6.) Finally, just ask!

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!

As a bonus benefit, depending on your industry, you can create free, downloadable content for your potential client.

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.

Helping you succeed with the written word is my business mission! Call Julia at 443-362-8789 or email at julia@marketingcontentsolutions.com  I’d love to chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Must-follow mentors for busy professional service providers

Busy professional service provider? I’ve got good news for you today!

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!

Here’s the good news: there are warm, friendly, honest folk who want to help you succeed in life and in business. They’ve worked hard and paved the way for other professional service providers, entrepreneurs, and solo business owners.

 

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.

 

I know it’s a small list! These are my TOP picks at the moment. I am not an affiliate for any of these links. It’s just my very small way of saying thank you for their great mentoring content.

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

https://www.inc.com/john-nemo/how-a-top-consultant-for-google-disney-and-ibm-uses-email-marketing-hint-its-not.html?

Humanity is alive and well in the business world. I thought it was about time to spread the word.

Helping YOUR business create that warm, human touch (even if you sell O-rings or fork-lifts) is also why I’m here.

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?

Hey, I understand if you’re a very small business starting out. You don’t have the budget yet to hire a content writer.

You can learn to write your own clear and warm business content from folks on my list just by downloading their freebies. So what are you waiting for?

Either way, you can get to business-building today with the help of a mentor. Sometimes the best things in life are free.

Need a free consult? Julia 443-362-8789. Leave a message to schedule, please.

 

3 Reasons LinkedIn is VITAL to Professional Service Providers

LinkedIn3 Reasons LinkedIn is vital to professional service providers


Are you ignoring LinkedIn? Originally it was more of a job-seeking forum. Not anymore!

Today it is as much a global networking system of professionals as a place to post your resume.

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.

 1. LinkedIn has 467 million users as of 2016!

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.

2. In contrast to Facebook, though, LinkedIn is a very positive network of professionals.

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.

3. LinkedIn is practically a second website for your business!

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.

Too busy to write your own profile? Let’s chat! Call and leave a message for me at 443-362-8789. Let’s connect and help each other grow.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliadaniels/

 

 

Two sets of eyes on your business prize

Cheesy headline — I know!

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.

Suggested business goal number 1: Take a close look at your web copy and business marketing materials!

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.

Let’s run through a little checklist here:

~Is your unique business value as clear as a glass of purified water?

Short sentences. White space. Uncluttered webpage. Not a huge bunch of ads and affiliate links.

~Is your business message client-focused? Who wants just a bragging-rights list of wonderful you? The bottom line for your clients is what you can do for them.

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.

~Do you have a clear call-to-action?

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.

~ Speaking of warm and friendly, what do others say about you?  Do you highlight this on your website?

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.

Suggested business goal number 2: Have a second set of eyes look at your web copy and marketing materials.

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.

Suggested business goal number 3: Invest in building client connections through a regular email newsletter.

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.

I would love to help you meet your business goals this year. Second set of eyes, anyone? I respond to email at  julia@b2bsuccesscopy.com. Leave a phone message for me at 443-362-8789.

GRATITUDE — a best business practice

www.b2bsuccesscopy.com

You always know when a business gets too big for its britches.

It’s the burning smell coming from a series of unhappy clients. Paying clients, not deadbeats.

  • Complaint letters never get a personal response.

  • Contracts get broken in spite of the “punishment fees”.

  • Worst of all, there is no acknowledgement of an unhappy client who has always paid their bill on time. Now the smoke is pouring out of the kitchen.

 

Failure to delight clients is a business failure.

 

  • On a personal level, I’ve been a client of a growing number of large businesses that have failed to follow the “pillars of delight” as a business model.

  • They have so many clients that they take them for granted. Clients feel like bugs to be squashed when trying to address a real problem or concern.

Customer satisfaction and appreciation is a number one best-seller.

Here are some ways to clearly express appreciation:

  • 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.