“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 IBMDeloitte, and McKinsey & Company, businesses that turn COVID into a (non-virus) positive will approach the future in these five ways:  

1. Purposefully 

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:

2. Virtually

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.   

KEY FINDING 
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. 

3. Urgently  

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.  

4. Nimbly 

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:  

KEY FINDING 
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. 

KEY FINDING 
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. 

©2021 PooleCommunications.com

This past week Ray Harvey, muralist and owner of Ray Harvey Art in St. Louis got started working on his latest mural on the building just North of our office at 108 N 3rd Street in Hannibal. Ray is one of the artists who has been painting murals all around Hannibal. You can pick out his bold colorful style when you drive around town to visit some of these pieces of art.

I love Hannibal
6/7/2021 Hannibal Mural progression

His closest mural to this new project is the mural located on the East side of Hannibal's city hall. Ray Harvey did his first ever Go Fund Me page to fully fund the mural project through donations. It was amazing to see the people from all over the country who donated to the mural. No city funds were used to create or fund the project.

This project will honor all the people who immigrated to Hannibal to work at Continental Cement. We all love Hannibal and how it has been a place of inclusion and acceptance.

Ray Harvey
Ray Harvey working on his latest mural in Hannibal. He really does love Hannibal.

The next photo is of the mural close to being finalized. Ray has been a delight to be around. Look for him in your neighborhood and offer him a cup of coffee or lunch. He is good company and a talented artist making a living at something he loves. Look for the dedication and unveiling coming soon.

©2021 Poole Communications.

As our country grapples with social unrest, now is the time to remember that welcoming diverse points of view. Diversity is not only the right thing to do, it makes businesses more successful. So, keep in mind that open minds lead to opportunity, and here are a few ideas to make your business more diverse:
Diversity Drives Innovation, Efficiency, and Revenue

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 meetingsPlus, the decisions made in those meetings deliver 60% better results

Grow Diversity in Small Places

Second, the size of a company or its location may appear to be a roadblock to achieving a diversworkforce. 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.

Consider the following ideas from Thrive Global and Takeflyte.com to open the doors of diversity for your business:

Find Diversity Within Current Staff

Third, many small businesses may not be able to hire a more diverse workforce right away.  However, diversity can always be found within your existing team, if you listen for it.  

Here are ways to find diversity from Inc.  and the Young Entrepreneur Council:

Finally, keep in mind that open minds lead to opportunity. Companies can choose to conduct business as usual or open the door to a more inclusive and diverse team. We hope you choose to step through that door to experience the growth and opportunities that diversity can bring.
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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!

When you're done go to our Insights and pick up some quick tips for your business. Subscribe to our newsletter to be sent regular tools and tips.

The 3 Levels of GOOD Employees:

Level 1

You do what you are asked to do. You take orders and do what you are told with a good attitude.

Level 2

Level 1 + You think ahead and solve problems before they happen. You are always future oriented and thinking about how things could go wrong to plan for potential issues and problems. Then you are not at all rattled when things do occasionally go wrong because you have a plan and are ready to implement it.

Level 3

Level 2 + You proactively look for areas of opportunity and growth in the business, and figure out how to tap into them. Not only do you plan for potential problems, you are always aware of opportunities to grow the company and do better work for the clients you work with. You find pain points and solve them. Then you leverage what you've learned with other clients.

Here are the the 3 Levels of GOOD Employees. Get thinking and purposely working at Level 3 all the time.

Visit our Insights and pick up some quick tips for your business. Subscribe to our newsletter to be sent regular tools and tips.

Source: James Clear and his book Atomic Habits.

When you're done go to our Insights and pick up some quick tips for your business. Subscribe to our newsletter to be sent regular tools and tips.

Here is an example of my video conferencing set up at my office.

Below are some video conferencing best practices to help you look good on camera:
SHINE, and be concise!

Download a printable copy here: PCZoomWhitePaper

When you're done go to our Insights and pick up some quick tips for your business. Subscribe to our newsletter to be sent regular tools and tips.

© 2020 Poole Communications

Just when you think you have the current social media scene figured out, a new platform, updated feature and enhanced algorithm makes you feel like you are in the dark again. Instead of searching around the social world with two hands and a flashlight, try using five W’s and an H.  Find out the WhoWhatWhyWhen and Where of each of the six significant social channels’ key audiences and How you can create content to make an impact with them.  Search no more.  Here’s the current social media scene. 

Facebook  

Who: Two billion users are active on the platform each month, with Generation X and Millennials leading the way according to the Spredfast Social Media Audience Guide 

What: According to the same research, Facebook is the best platform to grow a small business and is most useful to retail, media, financial services, and healthcare industries.   

Why: The audiences on Facebook go there to discover new products.  In fact, 30% of retail shoppers who recently made a purchase discovered a new product on Facebook. 

When: On average, the Spredfast guide says that users hang out on Facebook 35 minutes per day and Sprout Social shared that by far Wednesday is the best day to post on the platform. Specifically, businesses should make their move at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on hump day.   

Where: More Facebook users view content on mobile devices than they do a desktop.  

How: Based on Spredfast and Sprout Social research on the 5 W’s covered above, businesses can reach Facebook’s key audience base by launching new products on the site through images, videos, concise descriptions and links to buy within the same post.

Instagram  

Who: Of the 800 million monthly active users on the platform, ladies and teens comprise the majority of the Instagram crowd according to Spredfast’s research. Females between the ages of 18 to 29 make up the largest demographic and 53 percent of teens use the platform to learn about new products.   

What: Retail, sports and automotive businesses can find their niche with Instagram.  

When:  According to Sprout Social, the best times to post on Instagram are Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday between 10 and 11 a.m.  

Where: Most users view Instagram on mobile devices. 

Why: This highly visual platform is the place audiences look to learn about new products, follow brands, and check in with influencers to see what they are saying, learning, doing, wearing and buying. 

How: Announce new products, show influential people in your industry and community using and talking about those products.  Better yet, become an influencer in your industry by sharing how your products and services make their lives better.

Twitter 

Who: There are 317 million active users tweeting, and the majority of them are men.  

What: Best platform for sports, media, financial services and healthcare industries, but not the place for retail.  

When: Businesses will have the best results by tweeting on Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m. according to Sprout Social. 

Where: Contrasting with its social cousins Facebook and Instagram, Twitter faithful tend to check the site on desktop devices more than they do on mobile screens.  

Why: Audiences head to the platform to get scores, news, reviews, deals and ideas.  

How: Post coupons and news about your business and link to your website.  When they have more time, they may switch to your Instagram and Facebook feeds to buy your products

Linked In  

Who: LinkedIn is the place to reach other businesses, business owners and professionals.  The largest demographic on the platform is between the ages of 25 to 34. 

What: A key industry served well by this professional platform is financial services.  It’s also the place for business to business marketing and not so much for retail traffic.  

When:  According to Sprout Socialthe best times to post are Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to10 a.m. and at 12 p.m.  

Where: Given its professional niche, more users check the platform at home or work, which means their use is on desktop rather than a mobile device. 

Why: The audience links in to make job searches, research companies and network.  

How:  Connect with this platform’s users by posting open positions and sharing research on your product or service.  While you are at it, link up with like-minded businesses or research your competition.

YouTube  

Who: This is the space to connect with the guys.  Males between the ages of 35 to 44 are the largest user group. Another fun fact Spredfast found is that YouTube’s channels reach more 18-49 year olds than any cable network in the United States.  YouTube is second only to Facebook in monthly active users boasting a healthy 1 billion each month.   

What: Industries related to media, sports and automotive sectors are served well by this platform.  

When: YouTube’s myriad channels draw in users an average of 40 minutes a day.  

Where: People are tuning into watch on mobile devices more than desktop computers.   

Why: Tubers hang out on the site to interact with brands and follow content creators. 

How:  Businesses can publish video content showing the benefits and uses of products and services to directly engage with audiences and push them to a website to convert into sales.

Snapchat  

Who: The ladies love Snapchat. 

What: Retail, media, and sports sectors should snap away with this platform’s audiences. 

When: The ladies (and others) open the app 25 times each day.   

Where: Snapchat only lives on mobile devices. 

Why: Snappers use the platform for its privacy - they control how long and who sees their posts - and of course for the pretty filters and lenses.  

How:  Use filters for your business and create quick and fun content that is lighthearted and hip. If you want more tips, follow Snoop Dog and Spencer Pratt, they seem to have it all figured out and have the largest following. 

Need more help with the current social media scene? Need a strategy or ideas for posts? Give Poole Communications a call. We can help. 800-900-3635.

Sources:  

https://assets.khoros.com/content/tipsheets/2018-Social-Media-Demographics-Spredfast.pdf  

https://sproutsocial.com/insights/best-times-to-post-on-social-media/#times-fb  

When you're done go to our Insights and pick up some quick tips for your business. Subscribe to our newsletter to be sent regular tools and tips.

© 2019 Poole Communications

Lots of social media buzz but still no business?  Everyone’s talking about your latest ad campaign. They’d better, you spent a lot of time, money, and energy creating it. You agonized over every word. Sorted through dozens of visuals. Finally, it all came together perfectly and now your biz has the buzz of your dreams.

 But now the buzz is fizzling out and all the hype didn’t translate into actual biz.

Instead of asking WTF (Why the Fizzle?), you should be thinking CTA (Call-To-Action).

Unless you are content with the warm and fizzles, insert a specific call-to-action on every ad within a campaign regardless of marketing channel.

CTAs compel the customer to do something that indicates their interest or need. Ask them to click, download, subscribe, like, take the quiz, share, learn more, get started, and then provide meaningful content when they answer the call to take action.

Calls-to-action:

Connect the value of your product with customer needs.

Learn the Top 3 Products Used by Millennial Moms

Communicate useful information.

Download 5 Tips to Save on your Energy Bill

Convert prospects into leads.

Subscribe to Earn 15% Off Your Next Purchase

Confirm the effectiveness of your creative and return on investment. CTAs help track how many clicks, downloads or forms you receive based on your message and campaign timeframe.

And, most importantly CTAs are EXPECTED. Consumers are barraged by hundreds of ads a day. Everyone loves a good cat video, but at the end of the day people have less time and more choices.

Educate them on how to make the best choice by offering ideas, tips, discounts, solutions, and ways to make life easier.

The CTA game takes thought, trial and error, and a healthy dose of patience. It is not enough to add an arrow and “click here” to visit your website. (P.S. They need to know what to do when they get there!)

Think about the buyer’s journey and create links to content for each stage of the process – from awareness and research to prioritizing and purchasing.

Finally, businesses who develop CTAs that connect and communicate value will convert customers and confirm that all the buzz will translate into real biz.

Lots of social media buzz but still no business? Need some help, give us a call at 800-900-3635 and we'll turn your fizz into biz.

When you're done go to our Insights and pick up some quick tips for your business. Subscribe to our newsletter to be sent regular tools and tips.

© 2019 Poole Communications

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.

Visit our Insights and pick up some quick tips for your business. Subscribe to our newsletter to be sent regular tools and tips.

Poole Communications
108 North Third St, Suite 100
Hannibal, MO 63401
573.221.3635
info@poolecommunications.com
 ©2021 Poole Advertising, LLC DBA Poole Communications
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