My Grandmother grew up as a sharecropper’s daughter on the West Coast, moving from farm to farm wherever hired hands were needed. With grit and perseverance that matched her fiery, tousled locks, she pulled herself up from her roots, graduating from college with a degree in education.
She was always trying something new, insatiably curious and intelligent, though her career as a teacher was undeniably, well, lackluster. However, she reared four amazingly gritty, intelligent children who multiplied that influence with large families. To date they’ve reared dozens of doctors, musicians, entrepreneurs, and skilled artisans. She certainly left her mark on my life!
“Learning a new skill is never a waste of time, Julie!” The gusto in Grandma’s tone made her voice tremble.”You never know when that skill will come in handy.” She may have been referring to my efforts at piano or perhaps to my budding sewing abilities at the time. Her underlying message came through loud and clear — no slackers in this family!
She and Michelangelo had this in common, according to Jeff Goins, author of Real Artists Don’t Starve. Always be learning something new. Michelangelo segued from sculpting abilities into architecture and engineering. As Goins puts it, “One skill sets into motion the need for another.”
Which is why as a business blogger and writer, I’ve been challenged to continually learn about sales and marketing. Words like sales funnels and target market were formerly bridges into unknown territory for me. I had to embark on a new learning adventure.
Here’s what I discovered. Warm, friendly words that sell helpful products and services benefit both the target audience and the professional service providers. My tools are the 26 letters of the English alphabet.
Now I’m learning to keep my ear to the ground as to what works best on which social media platform.
In this rapidly morphing world of tech and marketing, however, some basic skills and values never go out of style. Treat your clients the way you want to be treated. Always show up when promised. Do your best!
What about those piano and sewing skills? I shake my head when I think about it. Handmade wedding gifts, dresses for my only daughter, and tons of mended clothes later — yep, that’s a skill well worth the time.
Teaching private piano lessons has unbelievably paid over half of our bills for the past dozen years. Who would’ve guessed? Plus, I’ve had the sheer delight of investing in a future generation of musical literacy.
In a few of my students, I’ve seen that inner spark ignite. I sit in awe as beautiful music flows from their fingertips. Who knows? I may have had a hand in molding a future Great Artist. The thought gives me goosebumps.
Meanwhile, as I keep building my own skill sets, I’m in search of my own inner Michelangelo. Thanks, Grandma, for your example of grit that never quit.
“Patients are partners with their health care providers, and providers treat patients not only from a clinical perspective, but also from an emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and financial perspective.” Catalyst
Your “gatekeepers” should embody all that is wonderful about your wellness practice.
Yes. I deliberately placed a small ad for writing work that would make me happy. Not that I don’t enjoy learning and writing about many different topics. I’m a self-confessed word nerd. Think insatiable curiosity like “The Elephant’s Child” who visited the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River to satiate his curiosity. His curiosity drove his relatives batty. If you’ve never read Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, you’re really missing out, “O Best Beloved”.
I wanted to reach out to new potential clients and jazz up my business. January and February are survival months. Seasonal slump, anyone? Grin and bear it. If you’ve saved up for a trip to a sunny island, well, that’s warm and wonderful. I just wanted business — happy business!
Also, I wanted to make someone else happy. If you meet someone else’s needs, surprisingly, you often find your own needs met. That’s exactly what happened for me. I ran a crazy discount. Got a lead. The lead became a client, and I solved a problem for her — polished happy client stories i.e., mini case studies.
I stepped outside of my comfort zone and met new people. I chatted on the phone with a business owner while she was walking home in NYC. How cool is that for a small-town gal? The wellness therapists that I interviewed for my client’s customer success stories are amazing, successful business owners in unique niches. Helping others. Meeting genuine needs.
Along the way, I rediscovered how much I appreciate the wellness industry and an integrated approach to medicine. Researching different therapy options was just plain fun and positivity rolled into one. Positivity is a rare find in a doctor’s office, just sayin’.
Even better, my client was over the moon with the final product — polished happy client stories with quotes she can use across all of her marketing platforms. She already knows she does good work. But it’s hard to to “toot your own horn” and even tougher to put it into writing yourself. Anyone agonize over writing their About Me page or personal bio? When someone else gushes for you — that’s some serious sweetness for your brand. Happiness for myself and my client? I’d say it was a win-win.
If your business or mindset is in a seasonal slump, celebrating client wins is a sure-fire way to put some spunk back into your step. Happy clients remind you of the basic WHY of your business.
Brainstorm with your sales and marketing departments. Do you have some happy clients you can reach out to for case studies or happy client stories?
If you’re a sole proprietor, go hang out with some other small business owners, perhaps at a local Chamber of Commerce meeting. Is there a special package deal you could run that includes other small businesses? Get the juices flowing and create some good buzz!
Highlight other businesses that have served you well on your website or email newsletter. Give them a shout out on your Facebook or LinkedIn page.
Look at your online reviews. Screenshot the great ones (funny ones are even better — How So-and-So Saved My Bacon) and put them up on your business Facebook page.
Don’t forget current employees or freelancers that serve your business. You’d be scrambling on a hamster wheel without them. Make them happy. Write that recommendation already! Include a tip or a bonus.
We’re up to our ears in negativity in real life, in business, and in the news. Even the gritty, persistently curious Elephant’s Child needed some kind help (no thanks to his relatives, hmmm) along the way to save him from the Crocodile at the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River! (Curious yet? Need a fun weekend read?)
Be the difference you want to see. If you’re just “in it to win it” for your bottom line, you’ll end up being the loser in the long run. I LOVE seeing businesses big and small that have a mission statement of kindness and fund charitable works with their profits.
Treat others with extraordinary kindness — don’t just talk about it. Do it! Sooner or later, that kindness boomerang’s gonna come back to you. A true happiness project will make you AND your client smile. That, my friends, is the Golden Rule.
Here’s where I offer to help YOU in exchange for a helping of happiness (and some cold, hard cash, too). I create warm, friendly words that sell your business solutions. Need some polished happy client stories? Need marketing blog posts that improve your business visibility and reach your target market? I’m here to help with your content writing and marketing — Call me at 443-362-8789 or email : email@example.com
Everyone and their momma needs some good news. It’s a bad news world most every day. If you don’t tune it out you go around feeling like you drank a belly-ful of lemonade without any sweetener!
I’ve met and interacted with some of them on their blogs, LinkedIn pages, and Facebook pages. Guess what? I’ve even listened to their advice. And it works. In an impossible year, my business has moved slowly forward. The odds have definitely not been in my favor.
I want to share. I’m taking a page from their books. In fact, some of my friends have already been the, ahem, beneficiaries of my free, unsolicited advice. Sorry about that, guys! But you know that I care about you if I share my good news, right?
The best news is this: these business-builders share freely. Yes, they offer high end services. But they’re always giving away good, actionable advice for free. So I made a list of expert business-building mentors I think you should link up with and follow. Only buy what you can afford. Definitely glean from their wisdom.
In particular, four of these individuals have responded to me personally.
Where do they find the time? Ah, ask Michael Hyatt that question. I’m still working on my personal productivity levels. Work/life balance, too.
Obviously, these folks are not the only voices of business humanity. The human, personal touch is how many small businesses survive and, hello, THRIVE! If you shop local, you see this more often.
“If you want to be more successful, be more human in how you market to and engage with your target audience.” John Nemo
My private piano practice has survived and thrived in a very small town, because I’m “that fun, friendly” piano teacher.
I listen and communicate with a broad spectrum of people and age groups day after day, year after year — people just like your clients. We’re a bedroom community of Annapolis, D.C., and Baltimore. Literally all walks of life live here.
Most notably, I don’t verbally “bite” kids or wallop their knuckles when they miss a note. (Um, yes, I’ve heard the stories from parents who quit piano lessons for that very reason. Yikes! The “good old days”, anyone?) I listen to my student’s struggles and find ways to help them succeed, targeted help for their needs.
Listening and learning about your business is my top priority.
Your business content will receive the same loving care and warm communication that I give to all my clients. I’ll even write your email communications for you! Do I hear a sigh of relief?
It did grab your attention, right? Now is the time to grab your favorite writing tool or dictation app and do a brain dump.
What went well for your business this year? What areas need some love? What specific steps can you take to improve your business this year? Goal-setting, anyone?
To help with this process, I’m highly recommending a free download from Michael Hyatt. You can get this by visiting http://www.bestyearever.me
The free ebook is called:
Achieve What Matters in 2017: 8 Strategies Super-Successful People Are Using Now to Accomplish More This Year.
I hope to reread this before 2017 begins. I have some huge goals this year. I may post a few of them just to hold my feet to the fire. Not today, though! This post is for you.
Everyone, every business needs a website! Just look around. Every handyman’s van, every delivery truck, every service vehicle almost without exception has a website listed on it. Just because you have one doesn’t mean it’s a good one, though.
Short sentences. White space. Uncluttered webpage. Not a huge bunch of ads and affiliate links.
Your massive list of credentials may be impressive. Ask yourself this question. Does it focus clearly on how you can help your client succeed with their business needs? If, so, good. It’s okay to state what you’re good at if it helps others. If not, cut it down to what matters most to your client.
Your web visitors need a clear nudge to try out your product or services. The digital marketplace is noisy and crowded. Your website needs to be warm, friendly, and inviting. You also need a compelling reason for them to click and try what you have to offer.
Folks are looking for social proof these days. Ever read Amazon reviews before you buy? Recently we tried out the auto maintenance services of a local shop because of the awesome reviews!
Make sure you highlight happy clients or character references on your website. Consider hiring someone to ghostwrite these so you don’t have a sloppy success story that fails to showcase your best business solutions!
If you sell a more complex product or service, an in-depth case study or success story complete with a professional interview by a writer will grab your client’s attention. Reviews are great, but a success story clearly focused on your business solution is even better.
This year I spoke to a highly frustrated business co-owner of a consulting service. Her partner had hired a marketing manager who wrote web copy that was full of errors and wildly disorganized.
I had to ask, what exactly is it that you do, after reading their website.
The same held true of the marketing materials and business emails being distributed. Their target market is highly skilled professionals! Epic business fail! This consultant firm was in serious need of a second set of eyes.
Maybe your website looks sharp. However, fresh web copy could boost your web traffic and SEO. Your content copywriter may even suggest a new marketing theme or strategy. Two pairs of eyes are better than one.
Oops! That is my business goal, too. Let the cat out of the bag, didn’t I?
Providing free, helpful information through a blog or an email newsletter is a great way for your target audience to get to know you.
The consistent “drip effect” is a proven marketing strategy.
Along the way you may find yourself reaping the kindness you have sowed by gaining new clients.
Offer a reward system for loyal customers. The small gifts are a surprisingly effective way of saying thank you. This could be an extra product or an extra service. Serve the extra five minutes, say, as the extra mile.
Take the heat gracefully. Mistakes and misunderstandings happen. Figure out a fair way to compensate your client. This is far less costly than “reverse referrals”.
Simply say the words “thank you for your business”. In a world of constant negativity, these words are a day-brightener when spoken warmly and sincerely.
Take a page from Chick-fil-a. Little things like, my pleasure, create a crowd of loyal fans.
Thank you for reading this, by the way.
Perhaps you already have a grateful fan club? Spotlight your happy client stories to breed a circle of gratitude!
Now that’s a smell that’s warm, spicy, and very attractive.
I know, really! It isn’t your ordinary business theme, is it?
Sunflowers rank high with me.
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.
Can your potential clients see what you have to offer in three seconds or less?
If not, you need a copy makeover!
Words with focus and clarity will grab your reader’s attention and keep them on your website. Great graphics help but powerful words win the day.
Maybe you just have ONE too many projects on your desk right now.
You need a copywriter who is timely and dependable — something my clients love about me!
Need to grow those client connections?
A weekly or monthly email communication builds relationships.
Whether you need original emails or would like to write the first draft yourself, I will be happy to help with the writing process.
Speaking of building relationships with your clients…
If your clients are over the moon about your products or services, let me ghostwrite their testimonials, success stories, and case studies. Happy client stories do the selling for you!