Category Archives for Business communications

What precision medicine and a freelance content writer have in common

Life gets really twisted when you’re ill and no one can pinpoint why. I’ve lived it. That’s why I was amazed to learn a little bit about precision medicine this week.

A chronic illness that lingers gradually strips the normalcy from your life. It steals your dreams, your friends, your finances, and your loved ones.

Or an illness like cancer can suddenly attack and suck the life from you overnight. Instead of a rags-to-riches story, you endure the reverse tale.

When you’ve been shuttled from doctor to doctor to get answers, you cheer (maybe) when you finally get a diagnosis.

If you get a diagnosis, you and your medical team can start working on a solution to those health problems with a real sense of understanding, right?

Loving a child with an undiagnosed illness — that’s a heartbreak that the Might family experienced.

Imagine running medical test after test, brutal blood-draw after blood-draw, chasing clue after clue, and not getting the answers you need to help your suffering child.

The Might family never gave up. Finally a research team from Duke contacted them and asked them to join a study on illnesses with no diagnosis.  Why?  To see if exome sequencing, a cutting-edge DNA research, could lead to answers. Exome sequencing, a less expensive option, only deals with one small portion of a person’s genetic coding. In the case of the MIghts, researchers compared a small amount of DNA sequencing from their son’s DNA to each of his parents DNA.

About two years into the study, the Mights discovered that their son had a previously unheard of disease with no known treatment plan. He inherited an extremely rare glycosylation disorder caused by NGLY1 mutations. Precision medicine at work — so amazing! My hat is off to those researchers devoted to helping those with rare medical needs.

On with our (true) story. With a combination of perseverance, brains, grit, and social media networking, Matt Might went to work to find other NGLY1 victims.

Why? According to Seth Mnookin’s article (see link above) in The New Yorker, “… without additional cases, there was virtually no possibility of getting a pharmaceutical company to investigate the disorder, no chance of drug trials, no way even to persuade the FDA. to allow Bertrand to try off-label drugs that might be beneficial.”

Precision medicine doesn’t work without finding the precise drugs needed. What the Might family needed was a drug or drug combination that would be effective and currently FDA-approved to use for their son’s condition. Relief could not wait for years of drug-testing and research.

Enter Might’s viral blog post!

He did it! He found other sufferers with NGLY1 disorders. Most importantly, the Might family improved the quality of life for their son AND others with the rare NGLY1 disorder. Their research led them to FDA approved drugs within a few years.

This beautiful story also illustrates the need for precision writing.

It’s not the kind of precision achieved by AI, bots, or any computer-generated copy.  I’m a firm believer that no robot will ever fully replace passionate human creativity! Technology should forever be a helper but not a replacement for the human touch.

Matt wrote from an intimate understanding of his son’s need. He also wrote his story from his heart —  full of love, compassion, and urgency. His story, though technical at times, was not stuffy.  I got choked up reading it. I cheered him on in his search. It sounded like a mini-stadium in my living room!

Writing without a heart is like being the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.

You need someone who cares about your business to write about your business — that’s heart.

This includes questions. Research. Share your story and solutions with those who need it most.  Connect with your client’s needs and wants.
Matt’s story was clear and compelling. He shared gripping human interest facts to reel his audience in.

Sharing his unique challenge in a personal way hooked those might also be facing some other sort of unknown genetic nightmare.

Precision writing. Targeted writing. Writing with a heart!

That’s what I’d love to do for your business today.  You can reach me 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!

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

What B2B marketing shares with Eddie the Eagle

eddie-the-eagle-screening-header

When you need marketing inspiration, watching a great movie is just the ticket. #RayEdwards

Who doesn’t love a great underdog story? Spoiler alert! In case you haven’t yet watched Eddie the Eagle — you may want to pause here and go watch the movie first. There’s some inspiration for all ages here.

So what I did find for marketers? Let’s jump off a cliff together with some Eddie pointers.

  • Eddie set a firm goal. He wanted to be an Olympian. Clearly-defined goals remind me of the acronym FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Success. 

  • When Eddie narrowly missed qualifying for downhill skiing, he pivoted his focus. Successful businesses will find themselves pivoting their marketing strategies. 

  • Eddie found an untapped niche. Britain in the 1980’s had no one competing in ski-jumping.  Focus on an unmet need and dominate your market.

  • Eddie was refused funding by the British Ski Federation. He resourcefully found a way to fund his dreams with an old camper van, used equipment, and whatever he could cobble together to make things work until success! Resourcefulness is key to success.

  • Inertia did not hold Eddie back! I cringed as I watched him take the 40m jump with NO proper training. Bruised and battered, he was not beaten. But he did get a mentor. Sometimes the most valuable lessons are learned by jumping in with both feet and getting out of the comfort zone. 

  • His celebrated his personal success. Never mind that he came in last. He did his personal best. Everyone around was attracted to his joy! Celebrate the business stepping stones! Positive client? Highlight that.

  • Eddie called a press conference. He knew how to leverage his moment of success. Seize the opportunities. No regrets, right?

Which marketing cliff should you attempt  today?

 

Why the sunflower logo?

I know, really! It isn’t your ordinary business theme, is it?

Sunflowers rank high with me.

Sunflowers, to me, equal uncommon, high-value success.

From one lone packet of seeds planted in 2007, I have had an ongoing crop of sunflowers. Every. Single. Year.

They grew and thrived in sandy soil many other plants could not endure. Optimistic persistence!

The year my husband’s beloved grandmother died, my sunflowers generously supplied a full, lush bouquet for her.

Their shining faces reminded us of the beautiful gift of life.

Sunflowers create warmth and connections with others. I cannot tell you how many blooms I have given away.

Sunflowers naturally dominate their whole landscape with great generosity and beauty.

Little creatures are fed.

Toxins are cleaned up.

From the Farmer’s Almanac (farmersalmanac.com, June 11th, 2012), Sherie Blumenthal states:

“The sunflower is one of many plants that are now known to aid in “phytoremediation,” a process that employs various types of plants to remove, transfer, stabilize, and/or destroy contaminants in the our soil, water and air. Compared to other cleanup methods, such as soil excavation or pumping polluted groundwater, phytoremediation has become a clean, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way to reclaim and reuse land that has been tainted by poisonous chemicals and heavy metals.”

Business can be a highly toxic environment. Stress induced by a high-pressure atmosphere. Negativity. Poor economic performance. Chaos caused by disorganization. Terrible customer service.

Sunflowers always give back.

Copywriter, sunflowers — what’s the point here?

Benefit-focused copywriting!

  • Serve up success to others with your powerful communications — web copy that grabs your readers’ attention.
  • Shine the light on how you can help your client with the best possible words. Clearly state the value you offer.
  • Warm up and brighten your business atmosphere by creating personal connections. Regular email communications with your current clients build long-term relationships. I still read emails from companies that have served me well in the past!
  • Grow some love for your company by cleaning up communication toxins. Don’t leave your clients unsupported. If you tantalize but don’t deliver the promise…Well, that’s some business poison.
  • Give them clear-cut, reliable information about your product or service.
  • Share your success stories — true stories of real people and specific ways you solved their problems. Someone is certain to need your business solution.

Communicate clearly. Grow. Give. Succeed.

Sunflowers = Success