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? 

  1. Do you know about SEO, SEM, SERP, PPC, CTA, CTR, Google Analytics, and AdWords? Uncertain?  
  2. Is your digital dossier integrated to impact your overall lead and sales return on investment (ROI)? Yes, and no? 
  3. Do you think your ROI is on par in your industry? Maybe so?  
  4. Are you paying too much per click or lead? How do I know? 

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: 

  1. Review and update your website to ensure pages have good Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  This means many things, and all are about playing nice with Google. If you want the complicated details, check out the 200-plus ranking signals.  Make sure that: 

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.

Source/Reference links: 

Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List (2021)

© 2021 PooleCommunications.com

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Businesses can track when customers vote with their feet but may struggle to find the why behind the walk away. One reason that once-loyal customers disappear is more likely about a conscious choice than fickle buying habits.

These Conscious Consumers make buying decisions based on the positive social, economic, and environmental impact of a product or service.

From Gen Z to Baby Boomers, many consumers care more about the why and how a product is made than the number on the price tag. If a brand doesn’t intentionally connect with followers’ values, it’s likely sales may drop as much as forty percent according to a study by IBM Institute for Business Value.

Conversely, conscious companies that communicate their authentic focus on natural, organic, or sustainable products and practices have opportunities to build revenue. Nielsen findings show the trend in eye-opening numbers:

To communicate to this conscious crowd, share early and often the following about your product or service:

Local companies are at a distinct advantage to sync with these seekers of sustainability. Here are 10 ways to make the conscious connection:

  1. Share your founding story and the relationships within the community.
  2. Show how you give back to the community — its schools, non-profit organizations, and employees.
  3. Watch for a shift in community need or focus for a certain purpose such as poverty, pollution, school supplies, or mental health, and direct additional resources to help in the effort.
  4. Highlight your quick and mindful distribution of products.
  5. Ask customers how they would like to see your company give back.
  6. Promote a give-back connection. For each $5 spent, your business gives a percentage to a local organization.
  7. Seek input from loyal customers on new products in which they have gained interest. Sell those products or highlight how yours connect with the same value.
  8. Highlight your people, their values, and why they support your business.
  9. Serve on community boards that serve a wide range and age of people and purposes.
  10. Actively and consistently promote the how, why, where, who and what of your company.

Another tip to attract local, regional and global-minded group from the IBM study:

Conscious consumers shop when and where the mood strikes them, in what are called “micro-moments” while performing other tasks when they may discover a “micro-need”.

Let Poole Communications help connect your company to these mico-needs at the right micro-moment to achieve macro results! We can help you maintain and grow your relevance with the rising opportunities among conscious consumers.

©2021 Poole Communications

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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

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

©2021 PooleCommunications.com

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.

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

© 2021 Poole Communications

For more reading:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/seven-rules-of-zoom-meeting-etiquette-from-the-pros-11594551601

https://hbr.org/2017/07/stop-the-meeting-madness

If you really want to get to know your customers, walk a mile in their shoes. Not ready to lace up your sneakers for that tall task? Consider penning a persona instead. Before you start this process, please make sure the time you are spending will result in REAL value to your company or your project. We have seen an over use of personas that end up being more busy work that real research. If you are going to do this, do it right and realize that it will take some time. 

Businesses can mine existing data to craft a short story about a customer to unlock new ways to present messages, products, and services to gain better leads and increased sales. Research shows that 71% of companies who have personas exceed prospect and revenue goals and 36% of companies reported shorter sales cycles. Again, exploring and using the data you’ve found is critical. We’ve seen quite a few companies go through the work of building personas and take the additional time to think the process through and apply the data to real customers.

Persona Defined
A persona is a summary or fictional story of someone who represents your target audience. It documents the specific characteristics of your best customers beyond their buying history.

How to create a persona
Using customer and product data, write a few sentences describing key aspects of a model customer’s lifestyle that add personal context to the basic demographics of age, income, education, and location.

Here are seven key components of a customer’s persona and examples for each:

  1. Roles- Single-mom, teacher, accountant, uncle, kid chauffeur, student, volunteer, salesperson, manager, retiree, or go-to co-worker.
  2. Goals — A better job, more time with family, more confidence, financial security, service to the community.
  3. Challenges — Making ends meet, juggling responsibilities, health concerns, getting kids through college.
  4. Frustrations — Has trouble finding affordable products and services that she can access after she works all day and runs the kids.
  5. Interests — Children’s activities, reading, sports, art, family time, binging Netflix, volunteering.
  6. News — Local news (traditional TV, radio, or newspaper), national online news sites, social media, news digests like The Morning Brew or The Skimm.
  7. Communication preference/use — Email, direct mail, text, phone, in-person, social media.

How to find the data to build persona components:

After gathering the data for a customer persona, add a catchy name, brief description, and a stock photo to bring the story to life. Here’s an example using basic demographics and sample data components from above:

Mama Michelle
A single mom on the move personally and professionally.

Michelle is 38, has an estimated income between $40,000 and $55,000, has completed some college, and lives in a rural area. She is a single mom, works at a medical office, and hopes to get a promotion to gain confidence and be an example for her two kids who she transports to and from soccer and school activities. In her limited free time, Michelle checks Twitter for news; Instagram and Facebook to catch up with friends and family; and Pinterest for dinner recipes. She watches Netflix late at night while checking emails after the kids go to sleep.

The power of a persona is using the information to drive marketing and product decisions from “Mama Michelle’s” perspective. Before launching a new campaign, ad, or product line, businesses might ask:

“What would Michelle need?”

“Would Michelle see this?”

“What image or message would resonate with Michelle?”

“Will this product be accessible to Michelle at the time she needs it?”

“Could Michelle afford this?”

Poole Communications can help you dive into the data and develop personas to connect with your customers’ perspectives to make more impact with your marketing.

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

Research

Research: http://www.itsma.com/importance-of-developing-effective-personas/Buyer Personas - 33 Mind-Blowing Stats - Boardview
Buyer Personas drive sales. Early adopters of Personas are showing a significant boost in ROI, and we've collected a…boardview.io

© 2021 Poole Communications


Use Chatbots 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 chatbots 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.

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 are the keys to Generation Z. 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.

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 the keys to Gen Z in your business marketing and you’ll slay in Generation Z’s kingdom.

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

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

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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