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How Human Is Your Business?

Human EffectAre you depending on technology or the human approach to marketing your business?  Content, particularly in the B2B market is often clinical, crammed with facts and technical words.  Although it’s important to share your knowledge, are you connecting with your customers on a human level?

For B2C, it’s just as important to have that human interaction.  Don’t get me wrong – technology has its place in notifying you of upcoming appointments and flash sales, but it’s the human experience that converts to referrals.

Are you giving your customers that personalized experience or are they just a nameless, faceless purchaser?  Your job is to figure out how to differentiate yourself from your competition.  Why do people want to work with you or buy from you?

Givers Gain is the underlying philosophy of BNI. Be open to helping without expecting anything in return. Think about this: A prospect or a business colleague contacts you with a problem they can’t solve. You freely offer advice, which they implement. Soon, they begin to see positive results. They now have proof that your service is worth investing in, so they purchase it, and hopefully recommend it to a friend or give a positive review which others can see.

When meeting with a potential client for the first time, do you ask questions to understand their problem?  Do you take the time to get to know them and their story, or are you already steps ahead “selling them” your solution?  By investing time on the front end, it allows both parties to see if they are a fit for one another.

An integral element of human-to-human H2H marketing is the art of conversation.  The dialog can uncover potential business opportunities you may not have realized existed.  Conversations lead to conversions.  Conversions lead to business growth.

Here is a personal example of H2H experience.

Our long-time insurance agent, as well as his in house support person both retired at the same time.  I always told my agent that he was the only reason we remained with the company.  We had his cell phone and when I needed him – he answered.  Our son also had him for his agent and when he needed someone in his corner for a house claim the agent responded resulting in a positive outcome.  Great H2H experience right?

The agent personally called me and told me of his upcoming retirement.  What we have received since the agent’s retirement was a letter stating whom we were assigned to.  Not a phone call of introduction, only a letter.  We don’t feel special anymore and guess what?  We’ll be shopping our insurance.

At the end of the day, people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.  In business, as well as your personal life are you striving to raise others up to make them feel special?  I challenge you as we begin a new year to spend the time to develop and nurture relationships with your employees and your customers.  Technology has its place, but the humanness of these efforts will shine through.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

Utilizing Editorial Calendars to Help Guide Your Marketing Strategy

Editorial CalendarIt’s a new year and often business owners take this time to reflect and set new marketing strategy goals for the upcoming year.  An often overlooked tool in business growth is an editorial calendar.  Not only can it set the path for blogging, but it can also be the guide for social media as well as other marketing activities.

Editorial calendars mean a couple of things to a business owner.  But first, you must identify exactly who your ideal customer is.  Why is this important?  Because it also determines where to put advertising dollars.

The owner of a construction company I work with asked about advertising in a high-end community magazine.  The magazine went into an upscale neighborhood, but this client doesn’t build high-end homes, rather they build manufacturing facilities, strip malls and office complexes.  Although someone in the neighborhood might hold a decision making position, we determined it wasn’t the best use of his advertising dollars.   However, advertising in a different publication that targets property managers, land developers and commercial real estate professionals was a good fit.

Another client is a B to C.  We advertise in a digital publication that also allows us to publish monthly articles along with our advertising.  This publication is sent to thousands of potential customers that are his target market.  By utilizing an editorial calendar, we know when certain things happen during the year and target ads, as well as articles to that topic.

Monthly magazines and business publications have an editorial focus such as Real Estate, Summer Camps, Women in Business, Weddings, etc.  Knowing what is being published helps to plan your advertising budget and/or pitch a story to the editor.  It’s important to note that these publications work 4-8 weeks ahead, particularly for feature stores.   For example, as of this writing, all ads for February have already been submitted.

There are certain appreciation days and awareness months throughout the year.  Understanding when these times occur allows you to plan special events around those times.  Did you know that May 4 – May 8, 2020, is Teacher Appreciation Week?  If your business served teachers, what could you plan special for them?  Perhaps if they come to your business they receive a free gift or a percent off their service.  This works particularly well in the B to C market.

There are National Fun Days throughout the month.  Having a calendar with those days noted will enable you to plan and preschedule some of your social media posts.

What if you are a B to B business?  You still can partner with a cause.  The Southwestern Pennsylvania United Way sponsors a Day of Caring on September 13, 2020.  Can your businesses partner with that cause?  Perhaps you can participate in a build with Habitat for Humanity.  Consider a care box drive for the troops.  There are over 4,000 nonprofit organizations in Pittsburgh.  Be a business that gives back.

What does this all boil down to?  PLANNING.  If you’d like a copy of our 2020 planning calendar email Autumn Edmiston or call 724-612-0755.  Don’t know where to start?  The Edmiston Group can customize a yearly calendar specific to your business.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

HOW TO GET MORE CUSTOMERS

How To Attract New Customers

I hear time and time again – “How do I get more customers?” My question is…”Who is your ideal customer?” Can you respond in specifics – type of business, revenue, male, female, household income? Without knowing who your ideal customer is, you are unable to attract more of them.

Now that you have identified WHO your ideal customer is, WHAT does your product or service offer that meets those needs? WHY do customers buy from you over the competition? WHERE do your customers hang out? Are there specific Meetup groups, Facebook groups, or LinkedIn groups where your ideal customers are? That’s where you want to be engaging in conversations and activity.

Have you reached out to your current customers to thank them for being a customer?  Do you ask for referrals or testimonials? How often do you receive an automated review request built into a business CRM? You visit the dentist and receive a request to review us on Google or have your carpets cleaned and receive an email about your experience.

Outsourced services can be utilized to interview and draft ta customer’s experience in working with you. People often won’t take the time to write praises, but if they can chat with someone and be provided a draft for them to copy and post – that takes away the process of looking at a blank screen. This process works great when you’re updating testimonials on your website. We have helped many clients update their testimonials section on their websites.

Blogging is a highly recommended acquisition method for businesses of all sizes, industries, and audience types. Running a blog allows you to explore different topics, flex your knowledge in your industry, and build authority among your readers. Blogging also continually gives you new opportunities to engage with your audience, whether through a graphic they can bookmark for later, a question they can answer in the comments, or an enticing call-to-action they can click.

Blogging can also add to your SEO. When I start working with someone one of the first things I look at is if they have a blog and the last time it was updated. Tying the blog to a newsletter will allow you to reach out to the contacts on your list. By effectively segmenting customer lists, you can see who might be interested in a given topic.

A client we have worked with segmented their list to businesses, government, nonprofits. Yet another client’s list is segmented, architects, engineers, and business. A third client has their list segmented by office locations.

Planning monthly blogs to various times of the year, community events and national awareness months allow customers to receive timely information. For example, an insurance company may talk about winter driving tips in January, but shift to drunk driving awareness near prom time.

What does all this boil down to? Planning. As we move into the last couple of months of the year, businesses are budgeting and planning for 2020. Want to grow your business, but aren’t sure how. Let the Edmiston Group help you plan for 2020. Email us or call 724-612-0755 to learn more.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

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