Category Archives for business content writer

3 lessons from Gillette for content marketing

marketing cat 
julia@marketingcontentsolutions
LOVE it? HATE it?

Marketing hit the news this week with a whiff of aftershave. Shaving? Controversial? That male rite of passage that often starts around 12 years old? I remember my brothers’ sudden interest in shaving apparatus and the creams and lotions that accompany it. New smells from the bathroom!

Now everyone’s talking about shaving. At least for the moment in certain contexts. We’ll come back to this thought.

CNN for business reports crowding in the men’s razor market. According to CNN, the new controversial Gillette shaving commercial was spawned because Gillette had to do something to stand out. They’re re-branding due to the fierce competition in their market. True and true.

CBS chimed in with their own take. So have thousands of other people. I first noticed the buzz on my LinkedIn feed this morning. A fellow marketer put up the YouTube ad link and posted a question. Love it? Hate it? Within an hour 65 comments had been posted! Being curious as a marketer, I skimmed all 65.

Here’s a link to the Gillette ad that’s generating so much buzz about life, marketing, and especially #metoo. https://youtu.be/koPmuEyP3a0

Lesson 1: Good marketing starts a conversation.

Gillette sparked a conversation. Look who’s talking! Major news sources are. Social media is. Your friends and coworkers are. You can’t reach clients without talking to them in some way, shape, or form.

Lesson 2: Good marketing tries to step into the shoes of the target audience.

Someone in Gillette’s marketing department has been researching their clients’ challenges. When you find you’re in a hot mess, you appreciate someone who’s willing to step in it with you. Misery still loves company. Bullying. The #metoo movement which has been shaking things up for fathers, grandfathers, bosses, and co-workers. Love it or hate it, you ignore this issue at your own peril.

Lesson 3: Good marketing focuses on the power of ONE. One big idea.

Gillette’s marketing is short and sweet: We Believe: The Best Men Can Be. It ties into their tagline -The Best Men Can Get. I have formed my own opinions on this topic. I’m sure you have, too. Nevertheless, if Gillette had tried to also include something about the controversial wall or the environment, they would’ve lost their audience’s attention. Too many ideas confuse. You confuse, you lose. I’m betting Gillette is on the right track for more sales this quarter!

Take a page from Expert Secrets. Throw out ONE marketing hook at a time.

Do you need help with storytelling that starts a conversation? Need clarity finding your audience’s challenges or pain points? What about content marketing that focuses on ONE big idea, ONE hook at a time? Let’s do some powerful business brainstorming today. Or just throw the idea at me, and I’ll run with it for you! julia@marketingcontentsolutions.com

#contentmarketing #goldenrulemarketing #marketing #freelancemarketingwriter

12 Ways to Make {sweet} Lemonade As A Small Business Owner {or how to juice up your business mindset}

I’m an old hand at lemonade stands. Maybe that’s where my gritty business mindset was born. Hot, humid South Carolina summers in “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” with several busy siblings — it’s prime recipe for an age-old kid-preneur business plan — a lemonade stand. Ours stood under a giant mossy oak tree.

Fast forward twenty years. My cutie-pie, blueberry-eyed daughter with long blond braids wanted some pocket money one summer. Without scrubbing Mom’s windows, sigh. Selling lemonade seemed SO much more exciting — until she spent hours in the humid shade of a tree with very few sales.

This time of year, you might be dreaming of sunny summer days with a hint of lemon in your sparkling water and LOTS of clients in 2109. You’re planning and getting your business in order. Or making a valiant effort?

2018 was a tough year for small business owners wiped out by the fires in California or the hurricane damage and flooding in Florida. Maybe it was a tough 2018 for you due to personal losses.

Personal loss and tragedy can be especially hard to work through when you run a small business and don’t have the perks of paid time off to recover and refocus. How can you bring your A-game to your business when your mindset is out of kilter?

I can relate. I’ve been hands-on caring for an immediate family member recovering from stroke and cancer. Then there was the sudden, unexpected cross-country move of another close family member, as well as two not-at-fault car accidents this year. I’ve felt like I could barely come up for air before the next wave washed over my head.

Yet somehow, I’ve been blessed with some sweet, sweet lemonade. I’ve worked with wonderful clients this year. I’ve interviewed and written about some amazing humans that inspire me to tiptoe in their GIANT footsteps. Their accomplishments are such a dose of positivity that I tell myself: Pick yo-self up! Shake it off! Move it, lady!

I had some help! Looking back on 2018, I made a list of a dozen favorite tools and tips for inspiration that helped me keep moving and not drown in a sea of lemonade. If sharing these can help you persevere in your business or even in a stinky job, well, I’d love to pay it forward right here.

3 Books That Inspired Me in Business and Life.

Just three, folks! Anyone can do this. I read more books than these on a personal growth level, but these three really applied to my business mindset.

1.) Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins was my top favorite business book. I bought in on a flash sale off of Amazon, and read it on my Kindle app on the go. If you’re on the verge of quitting on your talents — don’t!

Read this book first. Please. We’re not factory machines. You’re not a cog in a wheel. You have unique gifts and talents to use for the good of others and your own paycheck. “A laborer is worth of his hire.”

2.) Eat That Frog! 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done In Less Time by Brian Tracy. I so needed this book. By the way, Michael Hyatt and Brian Tracy must share ideas. They both talk about getting your BIG THREE out of the way first thing each day.

Writing down my BIG THREE each day has been a huge benefit to my productivity and a boost to my morale and mindset. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK. Whew! I did it. This is only one of 21 wonderful tips that make total sense when your life doesn’t.

( If you’re thinking I’m hooked on the number three, you might be right. The artist side of me knows that a good composition often consists of groups of three.)

3. ) Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson. Entrepreneur extraordinaire, Russell Brunson has helped internet businesses catapult with his SAAS-type offering at ClickFunnels. I’m still on the fringes, figuring this out, but I can say I’ve talked to two people personally whose small businesses have grown exponentially by using ClickFunnels.

One thing Russell has inspired me to do is to be authentic in my business. Like today. I’m telling a bit of my story, because I’m a human interested in helping other humans. He didn’t quit, either, when his story got very tough. Lotsa lemonade to be sipped while reading Russell’s story.

3 Podcasts that Motivated and Kept the Wheels Turning In My Brain (cause business mindset matters).


Photo by Daniel Brunsteiner on Unsplash

Personal challenges can suck the brain cells right out of you. You get a sucker-punch in the gut, and yet somehow you have to get on stage with your business and perform. That’s when nothing in life makes sense, right? So here are my podcasts of brain restoration in the order of MY personal favorites.

Ed Gandia of www.b2blauncher.com hits it out of the park with practical, useful topics for business writers. However, often his topics overlap and apply to any small business owner — such as a podcast on health insurance for freelancers. Or how about a podcast on using LinkedIn to grow your business? Ed’s been podcasting for a while. With a wealth of topics to choose from, you can choose ones that interest you and apply to your business. Check out the link below. You’re welcome, too!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/high-income-business-writing/

I was first introduced to Michael Stelzner after reading his book on writing white papers. Very, very B2B!

So imagine my surprise when I found out Stelzner now heads up Social Media Marketing World conference and offers his expertise at www.social mediaexaminer.com. His podcast is chock-full of interviews with experts on the ever changing world of — you guessed it — social media marketing! Cause pretty much every single business is on social media now. You need this shot in the arm!

https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/tag/social-media-marketing-podcast

Since I’m a business writer, the next podcast is my cuppa tea. Steve Slaunwhite is an excellent teacher on all things practical for business writing. Maybe you want to handle more of your own business writing? Check out his short, informative podcasts!

https://mytuner-radio.com/podcasts/b2b-writing-success-podcast.

3 of MY Favorite Facebook Business Groups of 2018

Now, to be clear, I’m biased. I’m a business WOMAN. I’m also a writer. So I’ll forgive you if you tune me out here.

However, my top favorite FB group is run by a woman, the inspiring Julie Christine Stoian, but many men are in this group: Living the Laptop Life: A Group for Online Service Providers and Marketers.

Such a plethora of amazing professionals hang out here and help one another. Plus, you get to drop a link to your business on Mondays and Fridays (with a $50 offer that can lead to MUCH better money). It’s been good for business, folks. If you don’t get a bite, keep throwing out different hooks, a.k.a, Russell Brunson.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/LivingTheLaptopLifeCYLL/

I was so delighted to find The Freelance Content Marketing Writer group on FB. Jennifer Goforth Gregory has a good thing going here. Though the job postings have not yet hit “gold” for me, I’ve gotten answers to business questions.

Writers let down their hair and ask for advice about tough clients or prospective gigs and pricing questions. The professional insights are just what the doctor ordered to ramp up my business mindset. It’s a good, safe place to go when business from home gets tough or lonely. https://www.facebook.com/groups/FreelanceCMW/

For networking purposes, I’ve been pleased with Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs FB group. I haven’t really done a lot on this group, but I find the quotes to be inspiring, as well as the large group of women working from home. https://www.facebook.com/groups/womenbizowners/

3 More Tips for Squeezing Lemonade When You Have a Bucket of Lemons

  1. Hire a coach or business mentor. If you’re stranded beside the highway, you call a tow truck. So why not hire a professional to help you get “unstuck” in your business? Business mindset is tough! The hardest part is finding a good one, right? That’s where a Facebook group could be of service. For example, dozens of coaches hang out in Living the Laptop Life. Post a few “I’m stuck” questions. See who bites. Go bold and ask for recommendations.
  2. Take an online class. I’ve taken a few good ones from Hubspot. They offer some great marketing advice. Even better, I’m in the
    julia@marketingcontentsolutions.com

    Here’s to raising our glasses of lemonade and welcoming 2019! Because when life gets tough, the lemonade you make tastes that much sweeter!

    I have a few openings to work with quality, caring professional service providers. I can help you attract and connect with your clients through regular blog posts, email newsletters, or a THAT ebook download you need. Maybe you need a refresh on your web copy? Let’s make some sweet lemonade with your content marketing! Call me or email for your free initial phone consult.

    Julia 443-362-8789 julia@marketingcontentsolutions.com

The five-second rule {for marketing, not food}

man looking at watch
Wildly successful marketing expert and ClickFunnels founder Russell Brunson asked a million  dollar question in a recent podcast — How do you get your target market to FOCUS on your message for even five seconds?

It’s a CRAZY noisy world.

We’re constantly bombarded with marketing. Instagram. Facebook. Twitter. YouTube.

If you’re a professional service provider dead-set on doing your best for your clients, it doesn’t seem fair that the biggest, loudest, flashiest voices get the “worm”.  (You know, “the early bird gets the worm”).

Maybe you only have five seconds or less to capture your target audience online. 

Or maybe not. Maybe that climb to the top will take T.I.M.E!

climb to the zip line

My take? Perhaps great marketing for quality service providers is a combination of the five-second rule AND the story of the tortoise and the hare.

If you’ve never heard this Aesop’s fable, here’s my five second version: It’s the ultimate practical joke in the Animal Kingdom. Everyone knows the outcome, right?

The race is set between the flashy, fast-talking, handsome Hare and a slow-moving, heavy Tortoise. BANG! They’re off.

Hare prances, dances for his audience, and zips off at lightning speed, leaving Tortoise to eat his dust.  Once he’s far enough ahead, he decides to take a short snooze.

Tortoise crawls along lifting one cumbersome, heavy leg at a time. He never stops moving slowly but surely.

Along the way, he passes the sleeping Hare but does not pause until he crosses the finish line!

The Animal Kingdom gasps then raucously applauds, waking up Hare.

“Slow and steady wins the race.”

Ever heard that line before? I’ve repeated this hundreds of times as an educator, encouraging my students to persist, to keep climbing, to take one small step at a time.

Content marketing needs both elements — pizazz and persistence.

Here are three ideas for pizazz:
  1. Real photos and stories of real people in your business.  Give some inside glimpses of your business. Tell your story in your bio, and add personal touches of who you are outside of the office. People want to do business with real people, not just a long list of accolades.
  2. Client success stories. You can hire a writer to interview and highlight your happy clients in your email newsletter or company blog. Stories are huge credibility builders. If you are a B2B company, a fresh, full-fledged case study may be just what the doctor ordered.
  3. Go LIVE. Whether it’s Facebook or LinkedIn, give it a try. Just chat with your potential clients. Always provide a bit of helpful information. If you’re a lawyer, share how to avoid getting that into that hot mess in your area of law. If you’re a doctor or dentist, perhaps it would be sharing the most common ways people sabotage their health or their teeth.
How about three ideas for persistence marketing?

Why do I call it “persistence marketing”? Most content marketing is effective as a steady drip. You have to show up regularly to build confidence and trust. We’ve seen more than one shop in town end up closing due to irregular hours.

  1. Start or revive your online newsletter or blog. Treat it like a brief bi-weekly chat with your current or potential clients. Always be helpful and friendly. Don’t be long-winded and boring. Unless you’re speaking to a very technical market, save the long posts and in-depth explanations for a rare occasion. Make sure your content is shareable! Happy clients will spread the word for you.
  2. Post on Facebook and LinkedIn regularly. Here’s where you and your freelance content writer can strategize. You can repurpose blog or email content. Share local events.  Make connections to news events that tie in to your services. This is also shareable content.
  3. If you mail monthly bills, include a brief, friendly bit of helpful news in the mailing. Perhaps include a helpful checklist or an informative brochure.  Again, a content writer/marketer will know your target market and help you strategize for success.
  4. Automate some of your marketing using The Attraction Marketing Formula. Instead of driving clients away with TOO much noise, woo them with small bits of digital marketing. For FREE information, click this link.

How will you add pizazz and persistence to your content marketing plans today?

I offer a free 30 minute content strategy session for new clients only where I look at your business online and discuss ways to improve your copy or content marketing. Julia, at your service! Call 443-362-8789.

Piles of content to write? “Eat that frog!”

When you need fresh inspiration for your business, read a new book!

Here’s what I’m dipping into between doctor’s appointments, end of summer activities, and writing web pages for a client. Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done In Less Time by Brian Tracy.

Now, I really don’t think procrastinating is my biggest problem, but getting more done in less time? Well, I’m all over that one.

Some tasks I need to automate. Some tasks I need to delegate. Some tasks I just need to throw onto next month’s or even next year’s pile.

As Tracy puts it, you just cannot get it all done. You never will. But what’s the most valuable thing you should be doing each day? That’s the frog you need to eat.

WRITE IT DOWN! As he puts it, think on paper.

The most important tasks I need to tackle first thing. Every. Single. Day. Eat that FROG!

What things in your life and business are so important that only YOU and your special gifts can accomplish them?

Another question to ask yourself is this: What do I stink at or hate doing that I can delegate to someone else? (Someone who adores those neat calculations and entering data — well, that’s their zone of genius, not mine!)

I’m loving this book. Tracy writes with such clarity that I can read for ten minutes and take away something actionable. That’s value.

Hello! How clear are you on the VALUE you offer your clients? Are you timely, accessible, the best in your field?

So let’s “eat that frog” together.

I’d love to help you clarify your unique value. Whether it’s a friendly, monthly voice in an email newsletter or blog post, your personal web bio, or your needed web copy makeover, I’m your writer gal! Let’s talk: julia@marketingcontentsolutions.com or 443-362-8789

 

 

What my mom friends and I REALLY want from our medical providers

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Do YOU shop for doctors who practice patient-centered care?

If you’re shopping for a big ticket item this week, chances are you’re going to ask some BIG questions. At the very least, you’ll read online reviews, maybe check out Consumer Reports, and do a bit of “Google” searching. If you can, you will definitely talk to a real live sales person, too. Along the way, you will ask friends and neighbors about their experiences with the product or service provider in question, right? It happens all the time.

My mom friends and I are no different. We are always asking each other questions. Whom do you recommend for a doctor, a dentist, an orthodontist? Why? Did you like your HVAC company? Why not?

Why should this be any different for our medical providers — from our family practice doctors to the different specialists we need?

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had a few questions for our future pediatrician. Our hospital at that time required you to have one lined up before giving birth. Momma bear went into research mode.

Guess which pediatrician I chose? The doctor who called me back and allowed me 5 minutes of his valuable time to answer my few questions. He soothed a momma bear’s heart. He is excellent at patient-centered care!

Funny thing — I tried this same tactic very nicely at our local primary physician’s office this week. I walked in. I waited patiently for a receptionist to finish a call. She then asked if I was there for an appointment.

No, but are you currently accepting new patients? Yes? Great! Would I be able to ask a doctor just a few questions before I make an appointment as a new patient? She can call at her convenience any time. No rush.

The receptionist actually told me, Oh, you’re shopping for doctor? Well, you can’t do that here. I smiled, said, Okay, that does answer my question, and left.

My daughter’s outgrown her pediatrician, and she’s really nervous about seeing a new doctor. I’m still the momma bear. I’m out to protect my cub. It’s my right.

You can guess the office I walked into obviously got a big fat “F” in the realm of patient-centered care.  Maybe that receptionist was just having a bad day. She needs to practice a new line, though, or undergo more training. Wonder why I wrote this article about a medical practice’s most important hire?

I should know, because I spent a few years being that front desk lady. As I learned later, our optometrist’s office had gone through quite a few hires to find a multi-purpose receptionist (greeter, appointment-setter, eye-care coaching, insurance and financial data gatherer, and eyewear sales, anyone?)

Who says you can’t shop for a doctor? Yet the system makes it crazy hard to do so.

You’re only permitted one shot at a doctor for a yearly routine appointment covered by insurance. Otherwise, you have to pay out of pocket for a second visit to another physician, and the cycle could repeat itself until you find someone you like and trust.

Why wouldn’t there at least be a representative nurse to answer a few questions? After all, whoever helps you take care of your health is actually one of the most valuable purchases you make in life.

Consider this, too. For most folks, medical insurance is one of their larger monthly bills. So why wouldn’t you ask questions and invest in yourself wisely? Who has the gall to say they won’t talk to a potential buyer? Really?

Something similar also happened this week to another lady friend of mine as we shared stories. She went shopping for a doctor and asked the same question I did. Truly reasonable question, I think.

“May I talk to the doctor a few minutes before scheduling a first appointment?”

Happily, she received a slightly-altered, but much more patient-friendly response.

“We don’t offer a meet-and-greet session with our doctors, but we do have a nurse that knows each doctor very well who can answer your questions.” Ahhh! Your nurse is your salesperson. That works. Yes, I’ll be happy to talk to your nurse.

As it turns out, my friend who also asks annoying, intelligent questions has some very unique and serious health issues. She simply wanted to learn more about this doctor’s level of experience with her specific needs. It was vital!

Her next doctor would affect the quality of her life. She’d been down a long medical road, knew what had helped her, and what didn’t. She didn’t want to go back through all of the “experimental stages” with a new doctor in a new area.

My mom friends and I — well, we’ve heard this run-around from medical practices before, so we compare notes. We chat about our various doctors, because it’s often the only way to get information.

One friend has been so perturbed by her experiences that she refused to hire a primary care physician for several years. She would just go the the walk-in emergency medical clinic if she was sick, instead.

There’s a simple answer actually. What we all want is genuine transparency from our medical providers with a touch of caring.

And that may take more than 15 minutes of scheduled time.

We don’t just want to read about you on the web. We want to get a feel for your practice, and have a few personal questions that may be quite private.

Just a little bit of time goes a long way. If you don’t allow “interview questions” you’re really not being fair to us your consumer. You’re asking us to hire you blindly.

Do you practice patient-centered care?

Even if it’s just your trained staff responding knowledgeably to our questions before we hire you to protect our most valuable commodity, that counts.

“Golden Rule Marketing” — life’s really golden when you apply it. Very simple, actually. You treat others the way you want to be treated. I’m excited that my friend found a doctor who sounds golden. It’s good to know you’re out there.

If you’re interested in growing your wellness practice with patient-centered care, then you should also try patient-centered content marketing. I’d love to help you make friends with your clients using email newsletters or friendly, helpful blog posts on your website.

Fill out the contact form below. I will be happy to help!  Or call me directly at 443-362-8789

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.