Are your meetings killing your business?

Meetings are a necessary part of doing business. Some even call them a “necessary evil.”  

Business meetings often have little return on a large time investment. Try these tips to make sure your meetings are productive.

  1.     Read and study Patrick Lencioni’s book Death by Meeting.
  2.    Communicate a clear objective for the meeting in advance.
  3.     Create and send out an agenda with the meeting invitation.
  4.     Make sure all, and only, necessary individuals are included in the meeting.
  5.     Stick to start and end times.
  6.     Have a clear leader.
  7.     Take notes.
  8.     Follow up.

Paul J. Meyer said, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” Try these 8 tips for your next meetings and see how much your productivity increases as a result of intelligent planning.

What’s the best way to acquire desperately needed customers?

Rapid and continued customer acquisition is one of the biggest challenges business owners and managers face.

Using a combination of traditional and new digital strategies may be the best way to find new clients.  Here are some tried and true suggestions for increasing your customer acquisition…

  • Ask for referrals. It may sound old-fashioned, but referrals from satisfied customers can be an effective customer acquisition strategy. Consider creating a system for gathering referrals from customers after the sale, and making asking for referrals a part of your sales team’s process. Ask me about a great program that “automatically” brings you referrals.
  • Use content marketing. The way B2B buyers search for products and services has changed. Today’s buyers may do a great deal of research online before ever reaching out to prospective vendors. Customer acquisition may include doing some inbound marketing—that is, drawing prospects in by providing content that answers their questions and solves their problems. We can help you with quality content marketing.
  • Maximize your website.  Your website can be a vital element in the customer acquisition process. Use appropriate call to action buttons/links and update your keywords regularly to help keep pace with customers’ interests and searches as well as industry trends. Websites are just one of our key specialties. Email me at
  • Partner up. Working with a complementary business can be a great customer acquisition strategy. The partnership may enable both of you to expand your network of prospects. Consider hosting a webinar or creating an e-book that could be distributed to your partner’s network.

Attracting new clients is an absolute necessity to keep your business alive and thriving. If you’re struggling to keep your pipeline full, talk to us about updating your website or creating a print campaign to draw in new customers. 615-893-4290

Is your heart focused on delivering a great customer experience?

Customer experience is a top-five area of technology investment for chief marketing officers.

56% of these decision-makers prioritize it ahead of advertising operations. And it’s no wonder, 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better experience. Here are a few ways technology can help improve your customer’s experience.

  • 50% of smartphone users would prefer to use a mobile customer service application instead of calling a help line to resolve their customer service issues. Consider adding live chat to your website to help capture the users who don’t want to make a phone call or send an email.
  • Social media gives business owners the ability to share timely news, tailored offers and build a brand profile. Social media can connect you to your customers around the clock. Merchants can now open the conversation to a larger audience and poll their customers. Who doesn’t want to hear direct feedback and user-generated content? These capabilities give small businesses greater access to their customers. More importantly, this access can build stronger and more meaningful connections.
  • Arm your whole team with the ability to make a sale. Most shoppers want to find what they are looking for, buy it, and go. Getting stalled by crowds, unavailable inventory, or lack of customer assistance are classic examples of a disrupted shopping experience. If technology can streamline these issues with features like self-checkout, product locators or store associates that can check them out on a tablet, they will keep coming back and spending.


Creating a good customer experience can keep a good customer coming back. And then they will tell their friends about you.

Is Instagram the best bang for your precious marketing bucks?

pexels-photoWith over 200 million active users, Instagram is one of the 10 most popular social media sites.

Even though Instagram is wildly popular, many small businesses aren’t utilizing Instagram to its fullest potential. Just like Facebook or Twitter, your Instagram strategy will require careful planning before you post.

Here’s how to get the best bang for your buck with Instagram:

  1. Use Hashtags – Hashtags make it possible to associate groups of images or a series of photos related to a central topic. Using popular hashtags relevant to your business is a useful tactic to gain visibility with your target audience.
  2. Create Contests – Encourage your followers to regram (repost) your photo or have them post a photo of themselves using your product or service to be entered to win a prize. Make the prize truly worthwhile.  Do a bit of figuring and tell them the chances of winning. If you make the chances relatively favorable, engagement should go up.
  3. Be authentic – Instagram allows marketers to build connections, not based on words and one-way communications but on the development of visual connections. Over time, these connections can help build understanding, loyalty and advocacy.

Even if you aren’t ready to start using Instagram today, you should at least secure your handle (ID name) before someone else does. Getting your company name or product name as your Instagram ID will help people find and follow you on Instagram.

Is there an easier way to get good customer feedback?


It may sound simple, but the easiest way to get customer feedback is just to ask.

Whether the feedback will happen by phone, email, mail or social media, create a process that sends an email or letter after a purchase to start the dialogue. Getting customer feedback is an underutilized marketing tool that could help you unearth product or customer service flaws, areas of excellence and fantastic verbiage for marketing materials. It can be scary to open yourself and your business up to unfiltered reviews, however, the learning that comes from this feedback can be invaluable.    

Ask me about a service we’ve been using for years to get GREAT customer feedback. Email me at and we’ll talk about Net Promoter Scores and the ONE question you need to ask every one of your customers.

So my marketing budget is minuscule? What, me worry?


What happens when times get tough?  

What’s the first place to cut? Many people opt to cut their marketing budget. Unfortunately, since marketing your business is essential, this short-sighted approach can kill your business–especially in tough times.

Try these tips to create ‘buzz’ even when you don’t have a pile of cash to spend.

  • Social Media. Devote time to setting up or improving your Social Media footprint. SocMed requires little in terms of financial investment. However, SocMed does require a time commitment when you’re providing high value content and frequent updates.
  • Public Relations. Getting PR for your business does not require paying a PR firm. Check out local journalist gatherings or contact media directly. Get to know your contacts and help them learn about your business and how you provide value to your clients. Come up with your own questions and answers to make their jobs easier too.
  • Network.Expanding your circle of professional contacts can help drum up more business. Consider bartering your services for services you need but do not have adequate skills to perform.
  • Increase your community involvement. Get involved and get your name out by renting a booth at a local event or by donating your products or services to a local charity. Not only will you meet new people but the publicity will be good for business as well!
  • Try Direct Mail. Direct mail has been producing solid returns for years. If you haven’t sent a mailed piece to your list in a while, it might be time to consider sending a campaign via mail to help support what you are doing online as well. We’re direct mail experts; we’ve been working with the USPS for 20 years this October!

And remember… testimonials and word of mouth marketing from great customer service is the best form of advertising you can get!

Does your Mobile Website have these 5 Key Items?

By 2017, it is expected that 64% of users worldwide will access content via their mobile devices instead of personal computers.

This change in access is necessitating a “mobile first” attitude when creating or editing your website. When you are reviewing your site on a mobile device, be sure to check for the following items:

1.     Fast load time – improperly sized images often cause a delay in loading. Watch this short video for a tutorial on how to resize your images for use on the web.

 2.     No pop-ups or flash – pop-ups can be difficult to close on a small screen. Try to avoid using anything that would cause the user to be unable to view your main content.
3.     Easy to find information – the most important and relevant information should be easy to find
4.     Prominent calls to action – whether you want someone to buy now, or sign up to your e-newsletter, calls-to-action should be easy to spot, click on and complete.
5.     Design for the fat finger – reduce accidental clicks by making links and buttons obvious. There is nothing more frustrating than accidentally clicking on a link or button that you had no intention of clicking on.
A little effort and planning can go a long way when you take advantage of the mobile web. Think Mobile First to gain a clear advantage over those who are not quite as swift.

Need Just One Powerful Tip to Boost Productivity?

Productivity is critical to your success.
If you need to boost productivity in an increasingly busy workplace, try planning out your day the night before.  Prioritize the tasks that MUST be completed. When you are interrupted by unexpected assignments or emergencies, you’ll know exactly what needs to be done when you return to your desk. Not only will a schedule help keep you organized and focused, you’ll get the satisfaction of crossing items off your “to do” list once you complete them.
I remember many days where I would chat with Rhonda about the accomplishments of the day.
Sometimes, I would come home exhausted, but could only recall one or two salient activities or interactions. Keeping and crossing off items on a to do list really helped me gain some satisfaction from the day. And the unfinished to do list from today became the basis for a new to do list for tomorrow.
A quick review of the past day and what is ahead the next day could be the key to making a positive impact on your productivity.

Are You Using Pokemon Go to Capture Awesome New Customers?

Over 30 million people have downloaded the new Pokemon Go game.
You’ve probably seen groups of people moving past your home or office in search of game pieces at “PokeStops”.  The game is fairly simple; players walk around an area, the game alerts them when Pokemon are near and players have to try to capture them. “Lures” can be purchased for about $1.19 per hour, bringing Pokemon game pieces to a specific location.
Food establishments, retail stores and convenience stores are increasing business by purchasing “Lures” to bring in new customers. One pizza restaurant in NY saw sales increase by 75% last weekend after the manager spent $10 to have a dozen Pokemon lured to the location.
Even if you don’t sell a product, offering your office as a “charging station” for Pokemon Go players could be another way to attract more eyes on your brand.  And if you’re thinking you don’t need an office full of pre-pubescent teens standing around charging their devices on your dime, know that the average Pokemon Go player (according to Forbes) is a 25-year-old, college educated woman making over $50,000 per year.
We can help you design/print/mail flyers or cards to hand out to people who need to visit your location during the Pokemon Go craze. These tools can be used to invite them to come back again and again.

What’s wrong with this email?

100 billion spam email messages are sent every day.

Even with the best email filters, you are still going to end up with some in your inbox. Trust me, I’ve been refining and tending to my Gmail filters for three years now, and I still end up with apx 10 spamessages a day. Take a look at the example message below to see how you can identify a spam/phishing message in your inbox.

 One notorious type of phishing email is The “Your Mailbox is Almost Full” email.
This email comes from “IT Support” and states your email account is over limit. In the email image below, I’ve pointed out three places to look for to see if this email is legitimate or not.
First, I look to the “to field”. My name and email address are not in the to field. In fact, no email address is listed in the to field. This leads me to believe that I was BCC (blind carbon copied) on the email along with many others.

Second, I look to the from name and email address. The email address is not one that I recognize. The URL is not known to me and neither is the person’s name. I also happen to know that we don’t contract with a company called ICT, so there is really no reason they would be sending me a support email.

And third, when I hover over the link in the email (Clean-up system) I see the URL is questionable and built on a free site that was likely put up just for this scam. Now, I didn’t click on the link, so I don’t know what is on that site, however, I can guess at what I would find. It would likely ask for my username and password at which time they would have all the info they need to hack into my email account.

So what should you do when you get an email like this? Delete it.

If you aren’t sure whether it is legitimate or not, forward it (or a screen shot of it) to your actual IT person to have them verify the contents of the email.