I'm advocating for each small business out there to ditch their ridiculous and irritating voicemail system. Unless you are a super large company, quit pretending to be larger than you are - or more important than you are - and just answer the phone.
You'll stand out from the crowd and most likely offer MUCH better customer service. Your customers will be happier as well. NO ONE likes to wade through the slog of your voice mail prompts and the offer of other languages. Just pick up the phone and say, "Hello, this is Susan, how can I help you?" Then actually HELP someone find what they need or who they want to talk to and do it quickly. Time is money and you are wasting client time and not making any friends, by making them wait endlessly to speak with someone who can help them.
Granted, there are probably a few companies that really need a voicemail system...but thinking about it more carefully... AT&T didn't have one for decades. They used live operators. It worked for them and it can work for you. Next, put a person on the phone who is pleasant and helpful. We all understand that employees are hard to find, but surely you can find someone with a clear voice, level head, and a smile in their voice.
In the future, perhaps AI will help us here. We can then ditch our voicemail system because it's antiquated and never has worked well. We can get a computer to answer the phone in any gender or accent we'd like. Personally, my smart phone uses a British male and I like to pretend I have this super smart guy at my fingertips who is always willing to help.
Here's a perfect example: calling a television station recently, I knew my brand new representative's first name but could not remember his last name. I got their voicemail system and it fed me into their employee directory and guess what, you were to plug in the first few digits of their LAST name to get through to them. I wanted to buy advertising on their station and could not get through to anyone and ended up hanging up and sending an email. It took twice as long if not longer.
Consider the fact that this same station used to have a wonderful receptionist who knew everyone and everything at the station. I often wonder what happened to that brilliant woman. I'd like to have her working at my place.
Finally, call your office and listen to your voicemail system and think of ways you can improve it. Surely you can find someone in the organization who can answer the phone as you ditch your voicemail system.
© 2023 Poole Communications
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What are Google Ads? I don’t know, Google it! The majority of consumers find themselves doing research online before purchasing a specific product. The benefits of an optimized Google Ad campaign compared to a newspaper or Radio ad is that it can target a wider demographic and the specific target audience for your business. According to Google, “Google Ads makes it easy to show the world what’s unique about your business, so you can reach customers searching for what you offer.”
One of the advantages to Google Ads, compared to other advertising options, is Google’s flexible marketing platform. This means that it is suitable for all sizes of businesses. You can set your budget based on business type and zip code. The budget is based on how many estimated client clicks your ad will receive based on the budget you have for the ad.
One of the key factors of a Google Ad is keyword themes. When someone searches for a keyword or phrase related to your business, your ad will show up in their search. When you create your ad, you will select a few relevant keyword themes that will help increase your advertisement reach.
In order for your ad to reach the correct audience, Google lets you choose the location where your ad will appear in relation to your business. You can target potential customers from within walking distance to even the whole country. The possibilities for your Google Ad are endless.
Google Ads specifically targets and selects the potential client for you. It has something for any size of business with different budgets, goals and target audiences. This is why if you are wanting an Ad that will reach your target audience, Google Ads are the way to go. If you need help with your Google Ad, give us a call and we will get you set up for success!
Now more than ever people are searching for meaning, right down to what they buy and why. To connect with consumers in 2022, businesses must lead with values. Consider a plan and strategies to partner with like-minded organizations and individuals to show your customers how their buying power benefits the community and not just your bottom line.
First, make a partnership plan. Partnership by its nature is a win-win. However, it is important to plan exactly how and why a partnership will benefit both sides. This builds clarity, goals, and authenticity into the partnership. Review your company's mission and values and identify a non-profit organization, event, and influencers or affiliates that mirror your aspirations. Take the time to sit down with the non-profit director, event organizer, or influencer to talk about their objectives and needs to plot a course for how your two entities can work together. This can provide a framework and goals for both entities to implement the following strategies:
Intentionally choosing to put profits where your heart is will not only build business in 2022, but trust and community too. Poole Communications has built-in opportunities for any business to partner within the community. Contact us today to put your values into action.
© 2022 PooleCommunications.com
“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” – Sir Winston Churchill
The COVID crisis will position every business for the "Next Normal". Will the position be positive, status quo, or negative? Visionary companies will use specific strategies to use any crisis to their advantage. According to research by global leaders like IBM, Deloitte, and McKinsey & Company, businesses that turn COVID into a (non-virus) positive will approach the future in these five ways:
A crisis is a magnifying glass. The people, products, processes, and relationships that are essential come into sharp focus. So do gaps in service and opportunities that may have been overlooked before. Businesses should enhance and elevate the “essentials” and find ways to:
It’s no secret that COVID has accelerated the use of digital or virtual channels and products. Companies positioned to advance will expand these opportunities, specifically after reviewing data on how and when they can increase efficiency and links to customers. This analysis, combined with anecdotal feedback will determine when to dial back on digital expediency and when to tune in to more authentic, in-person methods.
Finding a balance between virtual and in-person operations may be the biggest way to succeed in the long term. According to April 2021 business findings by McKinsey Management company, 60% of companies said that remote sales operations were 30% more effective than traditional face-to-face methods.
Companies that waste a crisis will slowly return to the status quo when it comes to operational pace and job descriptions. Businesses that refuse to return to life before COVID will:
McKinsey found that many leaders will check in more often with their teams to learn what is working and what is not. In a matter of hours, they will solve problems, pivot, and create new ways to deliver better service and more valuable products.
Many traditional processes and organizational charts are far from nimble. Even how companies match talent with tasks should shift to ensure a competitive advantage in the future. Deloitte, a global consulting group, shared that organizations are learning to connect the right employees to the toughest challenges, regardless of where they fall on the employee chart. According to both McKinsey and Deloitte research, successful leaders will:
5. With a Distinct Human Touch
If COVID taught us anything it is that we need thoughtful human connection. McKinsey and Deloitte share that progressive companies will use this lesson to focus on employees and customers. They will take the time to ask, consider, and review how employees perform best. In fact, 61 percent of CEOs in a 2021 Deloitte survey said they will re-imagine how employees work compared to just 29 percent the year before. People-centered companies will:
An IBM study showed that 80% of CEOs and 46% of employees shared that supporting the emotional and physical health of the workforce was important.
74% of leaders indicated to the IBM Institute for Business Value that they will invest in employees to help them learn the skills needed for the future of work.
To stay on the positive side of any crisis into the "Next Normal", it all comes down to perspective. Approaching the future in the five ways listed above will help any business turn any unforeseen circumstance into far-reaching and creative opportunities.
Need help planning for your future? Give Poole Communications a call. For less than 1 full time employee, we can handle all of your marketing needs. Let us be your Marketing Department and grow your business to the next level.
You’re doing digital advertising. You have a website, use some cool graphics, email customer lists, post regularly to social channels, and run some paid online ad campaigns.
Great, can you confidently answer the next four questions?
If your answers are like the ones provided, then what the digital are you doing with your valuable time and hard-earned ad budget?
Deep down, many small business owners feel the same way. They are all “doing the digital things,” but do not have the time to plan and connect the dots to see what is going well and what could improve.
The good news? You can remove some digital doubts with a little more time and organization.
Here are three tips to clear some doubts and maximize digital dollars:
2. Set up and check Google Analytics. If you are not sure how to start, Google can help.
3. Combine your Google Analytics and Google Ad Words. Not doing Ad Words or want to check your skills? Yep, Google can help with that too.
Love the tips, but still spinning from all the data, analysis, and acronyms? Here’s some more good news – you can call your digital expert friends at Poole Communications to help. Ask them to look at your website and Google game. They can access or create the necessary Google and web accounts to streamline your strategy: 800-900-3635.
© 2021 PooleCommunications.com
Sustained survival mode can shift anyone’s creativity and drive into neutral. To flip off fatigue and move forward when others are stagnant, tune into purpose and realistic goal setting. Here's how to make the S.W.I.T.C.H out of survival mode:
S - See what is working. Moving from a day-to-day approach to our next normal is daunting. Instead of allowing the enormity of tasks paralyze you, observe what is working right now. Write down some small tweaks that can be made to expand and improve those processes, products, and services that are moving in a positive direction.
W – Wonder about the greatest possible outcome of each task. Juliet Funt calls this approach laddering up. When confronted with something you aren’t wild about doing, ask yourself, “What is the best possible outcome of that?”
I – Insert Incremental goals. For those small tweaks to the processes, products, and services that are working – set one or two small goals to put incremental changes into action. How can you gain one more customer? What is one step you can take to deliver a service just a little better? Consider what new markets or customer options have developed while we have been in our "survival setting." What is one way to build on those markets or options for future benefit?
T – Take stock. Take the time to write down what has been accomplished and overcome in the last several months. The list will be long and is guaranteed to switch your team from stagnation to inspiration.
C - Connect with others. When possible, find your way out of zoom rooms and make a connection with a colleague or trusted mentor - in person. You'll find strength and energy in strategizing with others who understand our challenges and view things from a different perspective.
H - Hurry. When setting realistic, incremental goals, set a quick timeline so you can experience immediate results. Then set more short goals and claim your victory by achieving sustained success.
Switching out of survival mode may be easier than you think.
"Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi
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As the Zoom Brady Bunch squares pop up one-by-one on screen, the vibe of any virtual meeting hangs in the balance. To make sure your next online gathering becomes an oasis of energy instead of black and white name tag portal of doom, observe the following 10 Do's of Zoom:
Turn on your camera. Your meeting mates deserve to see your reactions and contributions. Appearing on screen shows that you are ready to contribute and your colleagues matter to you. They can visit an art gallery if they want to see portraits, avatars, or sunset landscapes. If there are legitimate or technical reasons for not using your camera, consider catching up later or share the reason why your video is off through the chat or an email prior to the meeting.
Show up early. Make time to log in to the Zoom at least five minutes early in case of technical glitches. If you are the first one in the meeting or placed in a waiting room, it shows you are eager and prepared.
Avoid distractions behind you. Your spouse scanning the fridge or curious child peeking around your shoulder are unwanted distractions. Others joined the meeting to see you, not random surprises in the background.
Keep it short. The average zoom meeting lasts 31 to 60 minutes and today business people spend about 23 hours a week in virtual meetings. Shoot for meetings that are 30 minutes or less, action-focused, and packed with value.
Get into work mode. Perhaps your top half is dressed for business and your bottom half looks ready for bed, but your demeanor, tone, and topics of conversation should be focused on work, not on what is happening at home.
Mute yourself. No one can predict who or what noise may pop up during a meeting. Focus on the speaker, raise your hand through an icon, post a question in the chat, or patiently wait your turn to talk. (Pro tip – hit the space bar to unmute yourself for a quick response.)
Stay put. Resist the urge to rock back and forth in your chair, get up to grab a drink, and no matter what, don't take your laptop or phone with you to a bathroom break.
Be engaged. Virtual does not give anyone permission to be void of energy. Be engaged in the conversation even if it is through non-verbal reactions. Look at the speaker (not yourself in the camera), ask questions, and prepare points to share with the group. Be the reason someone was glad they joined the meeting. Plus, being plugged in means you'll never be serenaded with a chorus of, "You're on Mute!"
Avoid eating. Meetings are not lunch dates. No one wants to see you munching on a muffin or chomping on chips, and they certainly don’t want to hear you doing either.
Forget Fido. We all love our four-legged friends, but they weren’t invited to the meeting, so don’t show up with a plus one.
Put on a pleasant face. I know this sounds odd, however how many meetings have you been to and it looks like folks are just mad... or sleeping? Put on a pleasant face and pay attention. There just may be something you learn and you want to portray a pleasant, professional image.
Follow these 10 Zoom Do's and save as many colleagues and clients as you can from the black and white name tag portal of doom.
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© 2021 Poole Communications
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If you’re reading this, you are clearly acquainted with blogs. What you may not know is how to park your expertise, personality, tips, and tricks into an online space where new and loyal customers stop by for advice they enjoy and trust.
And, if you build this blog will it bring business or just bystanders?
A blog will do both and is one of the most cost-effective ways to turn bystanders into customers. According to cbo.me, there are five key business benefits of blogging, they include:
Perhaps the most relevant blogging statistic is that posting your expertise online can be more effective in promoting your company than investing in paid advertising.
Statistics also point to the big-time benefits of blogs. The SEO Tribunal shares the following data on the booming blogosphere:
It’s clear that opportunities abound in blogging, but where do you begin?
How to start writing a blog:
Where to post your blog and how:
So, what are you waiting for? Turn that blank page into a blog – it might be your business’s best friend. Need a little help? We have writers who can provide you with blog material on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Give us a call at 800-900-3635.
© 2020 Poole Communications
First, According to 2020 data from SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Businesses), companies with above-average diversity earned 45% of revenue from innovation. Those that had diverse management teams achieved 19% higher revenue based on their progressive leadership.
Because diverse teams focus on facts, SCORE’s data found that such teams make decisions twice as fast in half the number of meetings. Plus, the decisions made in those meetings deliver 60% better results.
Second, the size of a company or its location may appear to be a roadblock to achieving a diverse workforce. However, planting the seed of creative thinking can yield new options, products, and results long term.
An article by Takeflyte.com asks businesses to consider age, race and ethnicity to encourage diversity. It also challenges companies to widen the definition to realize that existing differences among employees can bring value to the organization.
Third, many small businesses may not be able to hire a more diverse workforce right away. However