Author: poolecomm.

Engage in more meaningful conversations

The back and forth between a business and customer on social media can sometimes feel like the old school method of passing notes in a classroom. Do you like our new spring clothing line? Check yes or no. If you like it, please share it with Susie in the next row. Of course, it’s important to get likes and shares on social media, but savvy business owners might want to seek something more than a classroom crush.

To build a lasting relationship with a customer you need to engage in more meaningful conversations. In dating terms, you need to put a ring on it. Take the time to engage with your audience on social media. Pay attention to what they need, when they need it, and why.

Here are a few tips to move your social media engagement to the next level:

Create polls to obtain information from customers
Rank their favorite product.
Rank the various ways they use the product.
Vote for the time of day/year they use the product most.
Rank why they use the product – give three options and an open comment box.

Run contests to learn how customers interact with your product

and provide a discount or valuable item to the winner.
Most creative or best photo/video of customers using the product.
The best success story of how a service helped them.
Most loyal or longest-standing customer.

Research your ambassadors

All businesses will have loyal customers who consistently like, share, and comment on your platforms. So, thank them for sharing, give them a head’s up on sales and offer advice on making the most of the product. Then, take a few minutes to look at their personal pages to get more of a feel for their lifestyle, needs, and friends.

Be responsive

If someone sends a message or posts a comment, respond as fast as possible. Because many customers view social media the same as an in-person encounter, treat social interactions in the same way.

Ask questions

Pose open-ended questions about your product or service on social accounts. What do you like best about our business? What do we not offer that you would use?

These tips will have you well on your way to walking down the social aisle with customers. Still, you should be ready for those members of the congregation who just can’t seem to hold their peace. View negative comments as opportunities rather than irritants to be ignored. Everyone sees the negative comments and a lot may ride on how and if you choose to react.

Steps to keep the peace:

1. Thank them for the comment, acknowledge the issue, and apologize.
2. Ask what you can do to make it right.
3. Offer what you can to make it right, plus a little extra.
4. If you cannot make it right, tell them how you will work to make it better in the future.

However, there may be cases when a courteous approach isn’t effective. For those situations, a general statement acknowledging the issue and an offer to resolve it offline with an email or phone call may be a good compromise.

Finally, like any relationship, staying engaged takes time and effort and a willingness to learn from the good and bad comments.

When businesses create a social media page, they may believe the hard part is over. Actually, it is just beginning. Once a social media page is created, the real work of increasing social media engagement begins.

Use Images
One thing we have learned over and over again at Poole Communications is that social media users like images. A post containing a photo or image will be seen by more users than one that does not. Post a video to your Facebook or Twitter page, and you may be surprised to see how many more people respond to your post. We are becoming a visual society. A picture or video is always more likely to catch the eye than just a text. Free picture sharing sites such as Pixabay and Pexels make it easy to find stock photos to make your posts appealing to the eye.

Live Video
Live video is another way to rapidly increase social media engagement. We would strongly caution businesses to be prepared when doing live video though. Once you say something “live” it is out there, and there is no taking it back. Live video definitely has its advantages though; it gives you an instantaneous connection to your social media followers. You can answer their questions and engage with them. Special events, a product unveiling, or a new food item are all reasons to try a live video. The effects may be far reaching and last longer than just the minute or two your video goes live.

Get Personal
Another way of increasing social media engagement is to personalize your business page. Give a virtual tour of your office. Introduce your employees using their pictures a short description of their educational background and job duties. Celebrate work anniversaries with a post. Introduce a new product by having an employee showing its uses in a video. Social media is about being “social.” People do still want to feel connected to other people. Introducing your staff adds a personal touch to your social media pages. We have learned from our own experience it also leads to much higher engagement.

Remember Reviews
Reviews are another way to see your engagement improve on your social media pages. Ask past customers to share their opinions. Invite them to review your business and their experience. This will allow potential customers to learn more about you through the experience of others.

Ask Questions
We have seen an increase of engagement on company pages when a product or gift card is given away. Who doesn’t like free things? If there is information you want to elicit from your social media followers, think about a question that is pertinent to your business when you conduct the giveaway. For example, a restaurant may ask followers what their favorite dish is. This helps them to see what is popular and what new dishes they may want to introduce. While your engagement increases, so will your knowledge base.

Don’t forget there is also power in likes and comments. To see engagement increase, businesses must be involved. Like comments made on your page. Comment back to a potential customer when they ask a question about a product. This is vital to keeping up your engagement and increasing your brand awareness.

As a business owner, it seems like media love from any platform comes with a price tag.

If only you could become the media’s valentine. Wouldn’t it be nice if they pursued you for something other than a monthly advertising invoice? Or maybe you have dreamed of a reporter showing up at your storefront with a bouquet of free air time to spotlight your business.

Be Prepared
That dream date can happen if you are prepared with the right content at the right time. Content is the heart of every story, blog, and social media post. Reporters need quick access to experts, facts, statistics, trends, and testimonials to tell stories that are meaningful to audiences.

Your expertise, industry knowledge and experience could be the perfect match for a reporter on any given day, but you have to get in the dating game to start building the relationship.

Here are a few ways to get your business noticed by the media:

Create an expert profile

Example:
Amy Smith, owner, Smith Heating and Air Conditioning (Phone, email, web, social contacts)
Ten year’s experience in residential and industrial HVAC systems
Expert in electrical safety, home energy efficiency and indoor air quality

Connect with local journalists

Identify a few journalists in your area who report on topics related to your industry and send them your expert profile through multiple channels. (Social media, email, hand-written note, phone call)

Create content

Use facts and figures about your business and create brief, but meaningful tip sheets or infographics. Focus on ways to help the public save time or money, prepare for the future or avoid a crisis as it relates to your product or service. Periodically share your tips with media contacts. Use social hashtags and tag reporters. Example: 3 Ways to Save Money on Energy Costs #energysavings @nbcreporter

Look for trends and national stories

Find out what is trending on Twitter, look at what others are talking about in your own social media feeds and track stories in the national news. Connect your expertise with those topics and ask the media to consider you for an interview to share how the topic may impact your community, customers or industry.

Be ready and responsive

Journalists have very tight timelines. If a reporter calls for an interview, that interview may need to take place on the spot, or scheduled in one to two hours. If you ask for time to prepare, you may miss your opportunity. By having topics and tips ready you can quickly accept the request. Reporters will remember your responsiveness and likely reach out to you again, which will help build your reputation as a thought-leader in the industry.

It Takes Time
It takes time and effort to get noticed by the media or build media love, but creating connections and content could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship with no price tags attached.

Today we’re looking at the simplicity of six words. Let me give you some examples.

Can you write your company story in six to ten words? This isn’t a new idea. Ernest Hemingway wrote a famous six word story. “For Sale: New baby shoes. Never worn.” Often we make things much harder than they need to be. This is the elegant simplicity of six words.

Carefully Define Your Business
First, implement this same six word idea with your business: define your company and culture in six words or less.

For example: at Poole Communications, we are client-focused, ethical, creative, self-motivated and passionate. When hiring new employees we look for those same characteristics. Even while interviewing a potential new client, we look for those same qualities. (That’s right, we don’t accept all new clients; we really want a good fit.) The result is that we have a better fit with ALL the people we work with, that means more enjoyment in our work – and lives – for every participant.

We’ve found that whenever we deviate from this principle there’s trouble: a unhappy client who doesn’t fit, or a disgruntled, unproductive employee. I’ve learned over the years how important it is that we let our values guide us.

Next, Define How You Work
Six simple words can help us define our logos, our slogans, how we work – and even who we work with. Those same words help you in planning and creating work or providing service. We don’t want to sell ourselves, our products or services; we want to educate in an ethical way. Let’s make the world a better place. Everyone wants marketing material that are simple and easy to understand. The little amount of time each have makes it mandatory. Word choice and communication is extremely important. It’s critical to be clear about who you are and how you work; and it’s equally important to be quickly understood.

Finally, Simplify Your Life
Our world is fast paced, we all have a lot on our plates. How can we work to simplify our work and yet make things better? Here’s one small tool you can implement and use. Define your business and how your business works. Get your team involved and get their input. Empower them to help grow your company and make it better.

©2018 Poole Communications

When your new company is created, there should be a strong emphasis on business
cards. Business cards are a tool to let others know what your company is about and what it
provides. A plain white business card does not portray the mission or creativity of
a person or a business. Your cards should help make you stand out and be easily
recognizable. Bright colors, a distinctive logo, and an easy to read font will make
your card stand out from the rest.

Be Creative
Business cards do not have to be boring. They should not look like everyone
else’s. Think about ordering square or round cards instead of rectangular cards.
Use the front and back of your card to share your mission. If you are an eco-
friendly business, buy business cards made from recycled paper. There are so
many ways to make that card work for you!

It Works
Business card marketing is a real thing. It’s effective, and it does lead to new
customers and new leads.

Here are some suggestions for using your business cards to maximize your customer base:

• Post your cards on community bulletin boards. Restaurants, libraries, community
centers, churches, gyms, and stores often have bulletin boards. All you have to
do ask to post your card.

• Think about the waiting rooms in your area and leave cards for those waiting for
appointments. Doctor’s offices, hospitals, salons, auto shops, restaurants, and
government buildings all have waiting areas.

• If you want to expand your reach, consider asking local hotels if you can leave
business cards at their check in counter.

• Ask if you can leave your cards at your local Chamber of Commerce office or
your local Tourism Office.

• Use your business cards as a direct mailer. Target your audience and send out
your cards with a note to potential customers and clients.

• Send out cards with every item you ship or every promotional item you produce
for a customer.

• Hand out business cards at local events or at networking opportunities.

• Create a photo or video of your business card and upload it to all of your social
media pages.

I live in the Midwest. Luckily for me, I have family and friends on both the East and West coast. So when I’m visiting the coasts I can see what trends are likely to occur in the next 3 to 5 years in the Midwest. This is kind of like a mini time travel advantage that I can use to help clients. For instance, we recognized the importance of websites and began building them before any of our competitors in this region.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that Pinterest is gaining popularity on both coasts. Because of this, you may want to consider opening a Pinterest account and allow it to help promote your business. Pinterest for business is a growing trend that you may be able to take advantage of.

What is Pinterest?
For those of you who don’t know Pinterest, it’s a social media tool allows you to share images. You can save your images in boards – kind of like albums or scrapbooks – to help you organize your images, and to help others find what they are looking for. This would be perfect for a construction company, a retail store, an artist, or a restaurant.

Image Sharing
As far as collecting images, you may want to collect images of advertising campaigns you like and may work for your company. You may want to collect what the competition is up to. You may want to collect ideas of things you want to implement at the office, or ideas collected for blogging about. On thing that is really neat about Pinterest for business is that you can have private and public boards. So you can choose what you share.

Business Sharing
Sharing images can help build your business. You can share product photos, focus on services you provide, show work you have completed, or illustrate your processes. It can provide clients with an inside peek of how your company operates. This allows potential clients to become more comfortable with you and more likely to contact your company when they are ready to buy.

Call To Action
Speaking of contact, don’t hesitate to include a call to action. What do you want people to do? Call you? Come by? Like your post? Make it simple for people to text, call or email. Use Canva or some other free image building software to build colorful graphics to share on your Pinterest page.

Pinterest is great for collecting and sharing ideas — just don’t forget to implement. Coming up with ideas is fun and creative, however you have to implement to get results.

Open a Pinterest account and play with it a little. You’ll probably think of other ideas of how to promote your business. If you do, mention them below and help other business owners.

©2018 Poole Communications

Today we’re sharing Peter Rosengard’s 26 tips on sales and life. Peter is one of the best salespeople in the world. Here’s why:

1.   Be enthusiastic

2.   Be persistent

3.   Have courage

4.   Behave with integrity

5.   Have chutzpah (if you don’t know what this is, look it up – it’s worth knowing)

6.   LISTEN

7.   Don’t take rejection personally‎…’next!’

8.   Make the calls

9.   Ask for referrals‎ from clients. (‘Can you help me?’ – four very powerful words.)‎

10.   Make a goal

11.   PREPARE

12.   Know your product

13.   Keep sales production records

14.   Use storytelling

15.   Think big

16.   Be self-motivated

17.   Be self-disciplined

18.   Think ‘out of the box’

19.   Be serious AND fun!

20.   Service your clients‎

21.   Smile – if you see someone without one, give them yours!

22.   Be active – action cures fear

23.   Believe in your self

24.   Be persuasive

25.   Be self-motivated

26.   Have a positive attitude

Are you a small business struggling to find time for marketing and attracting the right customers to your business? We’ve met plenty of other small businesses that are in the same difficult position you are in. So we came up with a solution: the Business Builder Marketing Workbook.

This easy to understand workbook leads you step-by-step through the marketing process and will help you identify your perfect customer, your unique selling point and so much more. TheBusiness Builder Marketing Workbook is divided into 12 sections. You can complete them all in one sitting for those of you who are high achievers, or you can do one chapter a month to let it really sink in for those of you who are focused on working IN your business.

Our workbook gives you the opportunity to work ON your business allowing you to leverage your time and make you more profitable. Over two years in the making, this well thought out manual will provide you with tools to grow your business — and it’s not complicated. You’ll find worksheets that add to the information in each chapter. We recommend doing the lessons in order, and doing each step in order because one lesson builds on the next.

To get more information visit: www.BusinessBuilderSeries.com

You can order a hard copy workbook, a digital copy or both — all for less than you’d pay an agency for one hour of work. Start working with our simple Business Builder Marketing Workbook and start attracting more customers into your business today.

Start with your own. From cleaning up your office to working on your own life, it’s so tempting (and easy) to focus on other people’s messes and problems. The other person’s problem and solutions are so clear and obvious to us. Their mess lures us into a false sense of a simple answer and quick solution. We are so tempted to say, “Why if you’ll only do this, everything will be fine.” Solutions aren’t always as simple as they appear — especially in other people’s lives.

What is difficult and far more bold is to start with your own mess. Start making changes in your own character. Start improving your own attitude. Start that habit at work that you want everyone else to emulate. Start cleaning your own desk and taking control of your own life.

I’ve been working on paring down and simplifying at the office and at home. It feels really good to be organized and uncluttered. In the process, I’ve noticed my tendency to want to “help” others with their difficulties, their messes, and their problems. That silly desire sidetracks me from what I really need to be doing. That distraction stops me from working on my own problems. It prevents me from thinking about and solving my bad habits.

Please don’t think I’m saying don’t care for others or help others. That is not what I mean at all. I’m specifically talking about focusing on others when we seriously need to focus on ourselves.

Often when someone else’s behavior or mess bothers me, I look to myself as quickly as possible to see if I’m guilty of the exact same behavior.

Leave other people’s messes for them. Allow others the joy of solving their own problems. Focus on your own. It may just start a chain reaction of change at the office, at home and in your own heart.

Here is a solution to stop the decline of newspapers nationwide.

• Make every newspaper the same size.
• Make all ads the same sizes.
• Use inches and not “column inches.”
• Make it simple to buy an ad – have a human answer the phone.
• Make sure the ad prints well.
• Make sure the invoice is correct.
• MOST IMPORTANT: Cover the news in your community. You’re not a national or world news source. Your a community news source. Be just that, and do it well.

We would still have community newspapers that thrive.

For those of you that would like a little more information:
All newspapers are different sizes. This means advertisers must alter each ad to fit each newspaper. This is a lot of work and makes buying and placing newspaper ads really troublesome and time consuming. Then newspapers have their own sizing system called “column inches” – NO ONE knows what a column inch equals because it’s different with each newspaper. So that’s why I suggest standard newspaper sizes and ad sizes. An advertiser (who is the newspaper’s main source of income) can then place an ad easily in New York or New London, MO. The same ad would fit in all newspapers.

Hire people that know what they are selling. Hire people that understand print quality and will work to get good quality. The print quality and sales quality has dropped off dramatically. I frequently cannot get someone to answer the phone when I want to place a buy or have a quick question before turning in an order. Then when I do place a buy, I have orders lost and ads not run. To top it off, the billing in most of the regional papers is terrible. We need to double check everything to ensure it’s accurate. Sometimes a newspaper will run an ad all month when we wanted it to run once. Too frequently we have to call and ask for our invoice.

The newspaper industry is killing itself with poor service, poor print quality and poor content. 

The last suggestion is the most important. Content must be derived from the community the newspaper resides in. Skip the national and world news. Focus on what is going on in your community – and not just events that have occurred – but what is coming up too. Look for and report real news.

My suggestions are simple. Fairly simple to enact and would save small newspapers.