Here’s How to Communicate with My Business

Here's How to Communicate with My Business

Does your business have a system for receiving, organizing, and processing inquiries? This is vital for converting your content marketing, SEO, and social media into profitable outcomes.

How a business communicates with its communities is marketing. Tweet this

The smart ones use it to distinguish their company as professional, caring, and easy to work with.

Since every business is unique, I’ll share key elements of our process that you can adapt to yours.

I’m confident you will learn new ideas for improving your communications, while also helping you get more of what you need from me.

Provide Communication Options and Why They Work

Many companies design a system that works for them, but that either challenges the patience of prospective customers, or fails to give them the confidence their inquiry will receive the attention it deserves.

For example, if your customers prefer to use the telephone and your business does not publish that number online, it has a problem. This is a shortcoming for many businesses.

Your telephone number should not only be listed on your primary website, but your social media networks too – at least the more trustworthy ones, such as LinkedIn. More than one colleague of mine has missed an opportunity because I could not easily locate his or her telephone number to then refer them.

The telephone is for urgent business. This is why my telephone number is clearly listed on my Speaking page, and referenced on the Contact Us page, along with guidelines for when to use it. Many meeting planners or speaker bureaus use the telephone for a quick response, because they may be competing with other companies for the same opportunity.

For many of us a cell phone is our primary point of contact. Therefore, I do not answer most calls, preferring instead to group them together for responding during a designated block of time, unless of course the call happens to be urgent.

How do I know that? Google Voice receives my voicemail messages and transcribes them to me in a text message. This at-a-glance message allows me to quickly respond to what is urgent. Give it a try; it’s free.

On the other hand, coaching and other inquiries are best handled with a contact form that allows for determining if there may be a good fit. That too is noted on my Coaching and Contact Us pages. If there is a fit, I then use ScheduleOnce to arrange a 15-minute telephone conversation to learn more.

The point is to provide options that work for you and your community, while also educating everyone about why your system allows your business to function better for them.

Track Everything and Don’t Forget Social Media

Regardless of your company size or capabilities, it is vital to have a system for tracking inquiries. There are many CRM’s that will help you to do this. All you have to do is build the discipline for consistently using them well.

When I started my first business inquiries were limited to the telephone, then email, and now social media. It is not easy to manage it all, but technology will help. Most important is to build a system, use it, and refine it over time to make it better.

Every business can save time by using email better. This means your business has to not just request, but require email addresses for responding to inquiries. Include your business email within your voicemail system, and be sure your social media accounts offer an email point of contact.

In regards to email, you can and should be personal, but also to the point. To save time, use a service like TextExpander to send prepared responses that graciously dismiss unwanted inquiries, or to initiate your process for pursuing more promising ones.

Finally, if you are not using social media to engage with your communities, you are missing the opportunity to nurture relationships that lead to new business. If you think social media takes time, imagine using the telephone or email to do this!

While you are there, use your social channels to teach your community how to communicate with your business for getting more of what they want from it.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

Photo Credit

3 Content Marketing Planning and Productivity Tips

Content Marketing Planning and Productivity

As we cross the annual midpoint, many businesses experience a transition period, making this an ideal time to assess marketing effectiveness to make the necessary adjustments for finishing the year strong.

However, unlike the obvious transition to a new calendar year, this yearly midpoint often passes by with the lazy summer that accompanies it (here in the northern hemisphere).

That is unfortunate, because now is the time for ramping up to still accomplish annual objectives, or even raise targets if everything is working out well.

Planning and productivity is always relevant, because time is the one obstacle small businesses most frequently give for failing to consistently build their content marketing assets.

So, let’s take a closer look.

#1 – Plan Your Timelines

Planning gets a bad rap for being a time consuming activity. The truth is planning gives back time.

When you plan ahead you are investing in your future accomplishments; and just a few focused minutes every day will pay huge dividends well into the future.

Many of us are guilty of underestimating the time necessary for getting things done. The solution is to write out a timeline for each and every day, thereby giving you and your team checkpoints for staying on schedule.

This is as simple as jotting down the time you plan to awake, depart for work, arrive at work, start the first project, finish it, and so on. The idea is that having a planned timeline that can be modified at any moment gives you a sense of control.

Priorities often do require change, such as the need for setting aside a project to work on one that is more urgent. However, planning for interruption makes it just another ordinary occurrence.

Also, the sense of accomplishment for completing that important project will often give you a mental lift that makes everything else work out more smoothly.

#2 – Finish What You Start

Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”  Tweet this

When Eisenhower said planning is everything he was acknowledging that plans often change. So, don’t get married to them. It’s the thought process that goes into the planning that makes it invaluable for adapting to unforeseen conditions.

One application of this is planning to finish what you start. The mental and physical mobilization required for virtually any activity is at least partially lost when it fails to go to completion.

For example, as a content creator you understand it is best to get the first version of your writing, audio, or video completed in one take to capture the initial flow of thoughts and energy. After that, the editing process naturally shifts to a new mindset, one with more emphasis on curation than creation.

Plan to finish and you will. Anything finished is usually better than unfinished, especially if it can be upgraded later.

#3 – Save Time on Transitions

Following a daily timeline will not only build the habit of focusing on key activities, it will also make you more aware of the hidden pockets of time between them.

For example, as we transitioned to a new month I simply pulled up my editorial calendar to be reminded of the topic for July.

The planning for it was completed long ago, thereby making the transition seamless. That initial investment in time is recovered today as I work on implementation only, without the need to revert back to planning mode.

Most small businesses know to focus on their core activities. The smart ones also study the gaps between activities where valuable time is needlessly leaking through.

Construction companies appropriately refer to transition time as downtime, because it is costly.

If you put your attention to applying some of these practices, you will regain control of your day, your content marketing, and your business.

Looking for more? Then have a look at these recent and related articles:

The Planning Paradox: How to Create Higher Value Content in Less Time

27 Writing Productivity Tools, Techniques, and Resources

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

Photo Credit

Marketing to Be a Distinctive Business

Everyone is on a journey. Our job as businesses is to make the journey of our potential buyers better in some way. We have to be THE preferred solution – the oasis in a desert of clutter that inspires them to action. This means becoming a distinctive business. Failing to distinguish your business is to […]

Read the full article

Markets are Lazy and Forgetful

Is your business one of the best-kept secrets in its industry? Assuming your general capabilities are in order, the reason for this is more than likely your marketing. #1 – It lacks clarity and is therefore confusing. #2 – It is inconsistent and therefore not memorable. Both challenges are easily resolved Tell the Market Only […]

Read the full article

Marketing to the Worldview of Your Customers

A worldview is a philosophy or set of values through which people interpret and interact with the world. Do you understand what this is for your ideal customers? Communities align with businesses and brands that reaffirm their worldview. Tweet this This is the power of your story. The Market Shapes Your Story When you launched […]

Read the full article

27 Writing Productivity Tools, Techniques, and Resources

When it comes to tools and techniques, writers are much like golfers: Some of our trusted tools are practical, while others are pure superstition. It doesn’t matter. Even when you master the fundamentals, it’s comforting to know you have a few tricks in your bag for creating content that helps your communities. While this list is […]

Read the full article

3 Tests for Digital Business Media Success

Looking up the definition of media reveals it’s Latin derivation to be: middle layer. That middle layer used to be the television, radio, and newspaper media that was necessary to reach a targeted audience. Now we are the media. Tweet this The middle layer still exists, but its utility for most businesses is limited at […]

Read the full article

New Media Training for Every Small Business

Does your business have a process for training its team members to be media savvy? Media training was once reserved for corporate executives that had to skillfully handle mass media interviews, especially television. These days just about anyone can find themselves in front of a video camera, and what is said or not could prove […]

Read the full article

Stories Are Valuable Marketing Assets

In a world in which content is clearly king, one of your most valuable business assets are stories that validate its capabilities. Stories can not only express how your business can help potential customers, but also the vital human qualities that differentiate it from look alike competitors. Consider that your business made a considerable investment […]

Read the full article

State of The Social Marketing Industry

We’re almost at the midpoint for this year, making this an ideal time to assess your social marketing efforts and reallocate resources as necessary. To give you some benchmarks, I’ll be sharing research results from the 6th Annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Michael Stelzner and our friends at Social Media Examiner. This is […]

Read the full article