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.

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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.

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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

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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