Category: Advertising.


Use a Chatbot to grow your business

Meet Cathy. She is cheery, has the patience of a saint, is freakishly knowledgeable about your business, works 24/7, anticipates customers’ needs, and knows when to ask questions and when to leave people alone.
Right now Cathy is charming the pants off your competitor’s customers. Darn you, Cathy!
Whoa, no need to get chippy. Cathy can work for you too. In fact, Cathy is in the market for a new gig and you can snag her for free.
Cathy is a Chatbot. And in an hour from now, she can be chatting with new leads on your website and Facebook page.
Really. No heavy tech lifting or pricey software. And P.S., customers expect Chatty Cathys. 
Sixty-three percent of people surveyed by Oracle said they prefer to message with chat bots and it’s because of the many benefits Cathy offers including 24/7 service and instant answers.
In 2020, chatbots will drive 85% of customer service, and why not? Just think of it, while Cathy is chatting up customers, answering routine questions and presenting new products and services based on their needs you are planning and developing new product lines.
And, oh yeah, Cathy is doing all of this at an hourly rate of $0. 
Wondering what Cathy should be talking about with your customers? Simple things like:
“What brings you to us today?”
“Can I interest you in a discount?”
“I see you are looking at this service, we can tailor it to your schedule and deliver it for free!”
With time, Cathy can even get into some deep conversations with customers. Check out some other messages for chatbots and how some big time brands are using their own Cathys to increase the bottom line.
Now’s not the time for chatting, though. Now is the time to learn how to use Facebook’s free messenger chat bot to benefit your business. Cathy is waiting to serve you.
Need help with Chatbot Charm – use a chatbot to grow your business. Set up a chatbot on your site or social media page, or give us a call: 800-900-3635. While not free, it may be much quicker than setting it up yourself… and we’re happy to help.

It’s the wild west out there.  Semi-closed to the public, small businesspeople everywhere find themselves in a new frontier.  Today, we’re marketing in COVID territory.  Saddled up in their horse and wagon, otherwise known as the internet and delivery, options seem slim and consistent revenue streams a distant mirage.

The challenges are there, but so are the opportunities.

Here are some ways for marketing trail blazers to land the loyalty of current customers and stake claim on new ones in COVID territory.

Care
Contact customers and show you care.  Ask how they are coping and how your business might help. Use phone calls, hand-written notes, chats, and emails.  You’ll learn about their worries, needs, and support each other in the process.  Create a weekly live social media check-in to show the inside of your business, new items and ideas.

Outreach
Access your community’s resources to find ways to connect your product or service with those in need. Think about how your offerings could be modified to meet a whole new audience you might not have envisioned previously. Create content that presents the benefits of your company on a personal level.  Consider reaching out to your local television stations and share your story.

Visualize
Look ahead and visualize what your customers’ needs will be in our new normal.  As your community phases in businesses, where will yours fit?  How can you merge and maximize your current COVID tactics of internet sales and delivery with limited in-person service?

Identify
Adapt your current operations and identify ways to expand future revenue streams.  Take the “slow-down” and turn it into an efficiency injection. Deluxe Small Business Revolution offers 10 ways to maximize downtime.  They advise to refresh your website, seek different ways to share your message, and look for partnerships to leverage resources.

Dare
Reimagine your business.  Use the time to plan and develop a new product or service.  Consider rebranding and developing new messaging for the new world ahead.  Check out Wordstream’ s advice on how consumer behavior has and will change and ways to adapt your online marketing and advertising strategies.

By showing you care and thinking ahead, your business will be ready to claim success when we make this virus wave the white flag of surrender. Do it right when marketing in COVID territory!

There’s no denying it, marketers are diving into digital advertising – the deep end of digital advertising.

Recent surveys of business owners and ad buyers spanning multiple industries show that everyone is swimming away from traditional media like print, radio, and TV into the streaming current of digital channels.

First Time for Everything

According to eMarketer.com, digital advertising accounts for 54% of ad budgets. That’s nearly $130 billion in the United States alone. That figure is expected to grow to 67% by 2023.

Notably, this marks the first time marketers are spending more on digital advertising than traditional options. Take a look at the figures:

digital ad spend

Search and Social Sharks

While print and radio were the first to feel the drowning effects of digital, television is also getting swept up by the growing digital tide. Even Google and Facebook are watching their backs as reports indicate Amazon is swimming into their territory with rapid speed.

Clikz Marketing Technology Transformation and Marin Software took a deeper dive into the specific digital advertising channels used; which shows paid search and paid social accounting for nearly 60% of advertising spending.

Paid digital media

Source: Marin Software

Catch and Ride the Wave with Video

As marketers dive into digital advertising and ride digital tidal wave, video will be their best surfboard.

Emarketer.com shares that video will continue to drive the growth of digital advertising spending, particularly in social media and through the use of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms like Hulu and Roku.

A Forbes.com article shared a report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau indicated that 41% of United States consumers over the age of 13 watch online and streaming videos daily.

The report also shared that 75% of digital video viewers are willing to watch advertising in exchange for content. Not only will they watch the ad, online viewers pay more attention to video messages and prefer to learn about new products through video.

Impact Learning Center and Wyzowl also provide compelling digital video statistics:

  • 70% of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video
  • 72% of businesses say video has improved their conversion rate
  • 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions

The Sea Still Needs Stories

As marketers are swimming in the deep end of digital advertising ocean, it may be comforting to know they all have a familiar lifeboat.

Good storytelling remains at the heart of any campaign. Without it, consumers won’t get on board with a product or brand, no matter how often they see it on their channel of choice.

Finally, if marketers stick with good stories and surf all channels with video, they can ride the wave of digital marketing to success.

Thinking of diving into digital advertising? Need help with your story or social media? Give Poole Communications a call. We can help provide strategies and tips to get the most from your digital advertising. 800-900-3635

© 2019 Poole Communications

Tuning up your marketing should be like maintenance on your vehicle. Marketing is the fuel that keeps the customer engine running. The good news is that unlike vehicles, marketing inspections don’t have to come with a hefty price tag. Here are 5 tips to tune up your marketing:

Take a Test Drive

When was the last time you viewed your messaging, processes, discounts, service and overall company experience from a customer’s point of view? Click on your ads, sign up for offers, send a family member into your business, email a staff member and review the results. You may find some small tweaks to help you pick up more miles per gallon.

Employ Digital Diagnostics

Digital advertising campaigns pinpoint the customers most likely to connect with you based on their online behavior. Combined with relevant offers, creative ads and corresponding landing pages, digital advertising is the best way to diagnose if your campaigns are running smoothly or need some tinkering. Check to see if you are getting the impressions, clicks, website visits and leads you deserve.

Marketing is now more science-based, and while it’s still also still an art, you can count on the numbers for truth and finding the best path to success for your company.

Street Race the Competition

Next, review your competition’s website or walk-in to see what gets their sales motors running. Compare price points, review their discount and take an inventory of where, when and what they are marketing. You are sure to find at least one idea to beat them to the finish line.

It’s pretty simple to set up a search that flags you whenever your competitors name in mentioned in the news. Set one up today and start tracking.

Buff the Exterior

Look at your business’s exterior touch points. Do your ads, website and displays have a cohesive shine or are their a few chips in the paint? Maybe a quick run through the branding car wash is all you need, or perhaps you can buff a few images to freshen up your look.

Chips or dings? Address them immediately. Don’t cover them up. Fix the trouble and polish out the finish.

Listen to the Engine

Finally, ask new and old customers some key questions.

  • Why did they choose you?
  • What do they like best about your products?
  • What do they wish you would start, stop, or continue doing?
  • How did they find you?
  • Why are longtime customers loyal?

Finally, listen and respond. Use their responses to inform new offers, events and products so they know you made all the right fixes.

Use this five-point inspection any time you need to tune up your marketing and keep your sales engines humming. Need 5 tips to tune up your marketing? Contact us today or call 800-900-3635.

© 2019 Poole Communications

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 and really become the media’s valentine. Here are a few ways to get your business noticed by the media:

First, Create an expert profile

For 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

Next, 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. This will help build your reputation as a thought-leader in the industry.

It Takes Time

Finally, it takes time and effort to become the media’s valentine, 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. 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.”

Too often we make things harder than they need to be. Use the simplicity of six words.

Carefully Define Your Business

First, implement this 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 when 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 everyone involved.

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 to let our values lead the way.

Next, Define How You Work

Next, 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.

Simplify Your Life

Finally, the world is fast paced, and we all have a lot to do; work to simplify your job and make your company function better. The simplicity of six words is one small tool you can use. Define what your business is, and how your business works. Get your team involved and listen to their input. Empower them to help grow the company and help make it better.

Need help? We can help you with strategy, writing, planning, budgeting and media placement. Give us a call at 800-900-3635.

©2018 Poole Communications

When your new company is created, there should be a strong emphasis on business cards. Make business cards work for you. Business cards are a tool to let others know what your company is about and what services 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! Some people purposely leave a space on the back to write notes or provide other contact information.

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. And don’t forget to ask for other’s business card.
  • Create a photo or video of your business card and upload it to all of your social media pages.

Finally, make sure your business card is professionally printed on high quality heavy weight paper. You don’t want to skimp here. Having trouble coming up with a design or getting your design ready to print? Need help with marketing? We can help. Make business cards work for you. Come by or call 573-221-3635 and we can help you with your business card and any other promotional material you need for your business.

© 2018 Poole Communications

As a small business owner or manager, are you facing common problems that most small companies face:

  • Struggling to find time?
  • Having trouble marketing your company?
  • Difficulty attracting the right customers to your business?
  • So busy working IN your business you don’t have time for much else?

We’ve worked with plenty of other small businesses that are in the same tough position. After 30 years in the marketing and advertising business, we developed an elegant solution sharing our strategies and methods. We wrote a book called the Business Builder Marketing Workbook. This in depth workbook will walk you, the small business owner or manager, through the steps you need to take to market your company in a way that will grow your company.

Simple Step-By-Step Process

This easy-to-understand workbook leads you through the basic marketing process and will help you:

  • identify your perfect customer
  • find your unique selling point
  • target the right region around your company
  • develop a marketing plan
  • and MUCH more

Next, the Business Builder Marketing Workbook is divided into 12 sections. For high achievers, you can complete all the lessons in a few weeks. For most however, most will find it easier to go through one chapter a month. In this way, you can let it really sink in, and have the time to apply what you learn. For those of you who are caught up working IN your business, you’ll find enjoyment in planning and working ON your business. Making a strategy and a plan will ensure you’re headed in the right direction.

Time to Work ON Your Business

Our workbook gives you the opportunity to work ON your business. Enabling you to leverage your time and make your company even more profitable. Over two years in the making, this well thought out Business Builder Marketing Workbook will provide you with step-by-step tools to grow your business . It’s not complicated and is written in an easy to understand style. You’ll find worksheets at the end of each chapter that are tailored to your company and build on the information you read in each short chapter.

Finally, we recommend doing the lessons and each worksheet in order because each lesson builds on the next lesson.

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.

Act Today!

Start working with our simple Business Builder Marketing Workbook and start attracting more customers into your business today.

For more information contact us during business hours at 800-900-3635 or email us at Poole Communications.

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:

First, as you may know, 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.

Second: 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. 

Finally, 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.

FAKE!

You’ve heard about “fake news” a lot lately. Well there are plenty of fake invoices out there too. This short article tells you how to spot them.

My clients call on a regular basis saying, “I thought we stopped all yellow page advertising? I just got another bill in the mail today!”

I ask them to send me a copy or if I’m there I ask to see it. It usually looks something like the graphic above. The amounts vary dramatically, but they are usually somewhere near what you have paid for yellow page advertising in the past. The customer name is filled out and it looks like a real invoice.

Imagine how many companies around the country are just paying these invoices. You might be thinking, “What could it hurt? You’re getting yellow page advertising somewhere, aren’t you?” The answer is; maybe. You may be getting in a national advertising book somewhere.

But consider the fact that AT&T sold off their yellow page division years ago. AT&T is a progressive company. Keep an eye on them to figure out what you should do with your company. They sold the yellow page division for a reason. They projected customers would find information in a new way and that division would no longer be profitable nor viable.

Now take a look at the size of your local yellow pages. You’ll notice it’s remarkably smaller – and you can’t find local business numbers. Another thing you might notice is that hardly anyone is using it. Just ask around.

So if your local yellow pages are not working, how do you expect a national yellow book to work for your company?

Don’t fall for fake invoices. Here’s what to look for:

The return address is nowhere near your location. Normally your local yellow book will be located in a community near you, and have an address that is reasonably close to your location.
Somewhere on the invoice it will say, “This is not a bill.” This is required by law and sometimes it take a few minutes to locate it. But it will be there.
When in doubt, do a quick internet search of the company or call a trusted marketing advisor.

A reputable marketing professional is there to help you build your business. Fake invoices don’t benefit your company, they drain your profit. Be on guard.

© Sally Kintz, Poole Communications