Category: Business.


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.

The 3 Levels of GOOD Employees:

Level 1 — You do what you are asked to do.
Level 2 — Level 1 + You think ahead and solve problems before they happen.
Level 3 — Level 2 + You proactively look for areas of opportunity and growth in the business, and figure out how to tap into them.

Here are the the 3 Levels of GOOD Employees. Let’s see all of us thinking and purposely working at Level 3.

Source: James Clear

The fastest growing generation of consumers – Generation Z – is defined by those born after 1995. This demographic is known for its constant use of smartphones and social media. Here are the keys to Generation Z.

Based on research from the State of Gen Z 2018 by the Center for Generational Kinetics. Almost all of Gen Z – 95% of the group – has a smartphone. Over half of the age bracket uses a smartphone more than 5 hours each day and 65% of the squad grabs their smartphone after midnight.

The same research shows that the majority of smartphone use is for tailored social media tasks. Instagram is used to follow brands and influencers. Snapchat is the place for posting selfies and videos and Facebook is where Gen Z goes to create and check out events.

The doorway to Z’s kingdom is obvious, but making connections inside their mobile land of mega information takes a strategic approach and a dash of their unique lingo.

Here are a five keys and some slang to open the door to Generation Z’s purchasing power.

First Make it quick and sick.
Vision Critical’s Generation Z Characteristics found that Gen Z has an attention span of 8 seconds and prefers creative “sick” visual storytelling to learn about and connect with products and services.

Then Help them build their own biz, bruh.
After graduating college, 61% of Gen Z would prefer to be an entrepreneur rather than an employee based on State of Gen Z 2018 by the Center for Generational Kinetics. The report also shared that 75% of teens want to turn hobbies into a business and 71% of high school students want to start their own business in the future.

Next, Get some clout. 
Reviews are king with Gen Z’s pocketbook. The State of Gen Z found that 68% of the group read at least three reviews before making a purchase.

Don’t be basic.
Based on Vision Critical’s Generation Z Characteristics research, Gen Z wants functional, unique, quality products that look expensive for less money. If those products reflect their personality and their friends don’t have them, you’ve struck gold.

Finally, YouTube is dope.
Both Vision Critical and the State of Gen Z reports share that YouTube ads are trusted by this youthful clan more than any other media channel in existence.

Use these five keys in your business marketing and you’ll slay in Generation Z’s kingdom.

© 2020 Poole Communications

Consumers are looking for an experience and they want it to not only be good, but to be outstanding. How can you make your customers’ experience outstanding? From the bank that provides fresh baked chocolate chip cookies to the custom coffee at your local Starbucks, it’s all about you and your customers’ experience in your business. You control this.

How can you offer more? In what ways can you make it better? Figure out how you can you wow your customers.

As I am constantly saying to my staff, “Under promise and over deliver.”

“Experiential and event marketing are seeing a big resurgence, and brands will lean in even more to those types of marketing activations. I think that music tour sponsorships will have new life because of this — brands can do even cooler venue activations that audiences interact with, and they’ll get broadcast out to a much larger digital audience.”
– Sherry JhawarBlended Strategy Group

What can you do?

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Walk into your office like you’ve never been there before. What needs to be changed? The unsmiling receptionist? Maybe she’s a better fit in bookkeeping. The smudged windows and leaf strewn sidewalk? Tackle them now. These are the simple things. They can be easily changed.

What else?

What is more difficult is to hire people who really think of others and try to do what is best for each one. I like people who think ahead to the next step, people who own their projects and feel gratitude toward the person bringing the work into the office.

Summary

Finally, what is the experience at your office? Now is the perfect time to clean house, clean up your staff and make your office run light a tightly run ship. Take the helm, be the captain and steer that ship in the direction you want. Make your customers’ experience outstanding.

©2020 Poole Communications

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.

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

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.

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