Texting can Help Internal Communication

marketing_stuffIt’s quite easy to bash Coca-Cola. Health advocates are concerned about the sugar and chemicals. Others are concerned about the beverage company’s political and environmental footprint.

But among technology fans, Coke is always a winner. Beyond helping many a developer stay alert through the day and/or night, it also was one of the largest companies to collectively say “text me.”

In late 2014, employees at the company’s Atlanta HQ voted to keep texting and dump voice mail, a sign that modern employees prefer quick, easy interactions via smartphones, and preferring being connected everywhere, vs. traditional voice-to-voice or voice-to-voice mail conversations.

Businesses that want to communicate better internally can keep this in mind, especially since more and more of the population including most of your workforce owns smartphones and is also quick to respond when they get that buzz or chime when a text arrives.

Try these strategies to keep your employees in the loop via texting.

  1. Make texts appear personal. Though you may send out the same note to hundreds or thousands of employees, it should read like it’s intended just for the recipient, using a light, conversational tone.
  2. Make them aware of upcoming events. If there’s anything that employees might be interested in attending, share it in a text. Maybe it’s a company official giving a presentation. Maybe it’s an interesting city event. Maybe a holiday party. Instead of including all the info in the text, provide a link for more details.
  3. Offer opportunities for input. Employees might like being part of major or minor decisions, especially if it’s a call to submit a creative name for a new initiative or volunteer for a project, rather than providing constructive criticism. Some texting software allows people to text back a simple yes or no. Make sure to remember to credit any suggestions that are used.
  4. Don’t get political. As tempting as it might be for a company official to express an opinion about a local or national political issue that’s dear to his or her heart, it’s all kinds of wrong. It might violate campaign laws, but it also might make employees who don’t feel the same way uncomfortable. Even though his or her political leanings may already be known, it’s different when it comes through as an official company text.
  5. Create groups. If you’re planning to text regularly, separate your database into categories like all employees, employees of different branches or teams, managers, union members, or different employment status (full-time, part-time.) This will also ensure that topics stay relevant, you may not be interested in hearing what other groups are doing.
  6. Avoid group conversations. Your texting software can help organize your database so everyone gets one individual text, and they can respond back to you. But unless you have a small company, or at least a small group, you don’t necessarily want them all to responding back in the same conversation, this can get hard to moderate.
  7. Make automatic tasks. Save yourself some time by associating an activity with each employee, such as sending them a congratulatory text on their birthday or work anniversary. Remind them of the upcoming enrollment for health benefits if it’s the same time every year. This depends on your size, of course if you have less than 50 employees, it might be easy to compose and personalize the note yourself. But larger than that, then automation can be your friend.

Texting can be an excellent way to improve internal communication. Employees who may not get or check emails regularly, or miss bulletin boards, may still read a text that comes right to their phone.

Guest Author Sophorn Chhay is an inbound marketer, specializing in attracting targeted visitors and generated sales qualified leads. Through Trumpia’s SMS and marketing automation solution he helps businesses and organizations communicate effectively with their customers or members. Trumpia is offering a free Mobile Marketing Success Kit so don’t forget to grab your free copy. For more information on putting together effective internal texting solutions visit Trumpia.com.

Is Your Organization Properly Coaching Sales?

coachingIn a perfect world, your sales team would run effortlessly. You would hire only the best salespeople with the top sales records. They would know exactly what they were doing at all times. They would keep track of cutting edge lead conversion and collaboration tools, and deliver consistent results.

Just like a sports team performing in perfect accord, your sales team would dominate the industry. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.

You can still do your utmost to hire the best salespeople you can find. However, that team of salespeople will need to be managed and coached over time.

You can’t expect your salespeople to stay on top of cutting edge sales technology on their own. You can’t expect them to stay motivated during a flagging economy or a dry streak.

Finally, you can’t expect them to stay with your organization unless you provide a positive and supportive environment that enables them to outperform the competition.

Make Time for Coaching

Most sales managers have little extra time to incorporate extra training for their sales staff. Time is usually tight, and client needs always have first priority.

But if you as the sales manager don’t make time for coaching, you’ll fall into a spiral where sales are dropping, you’re treading water as far as your own precarious position in the organization, and salespeople are jumping ship.

To make time for coaching, consider dropping some other item in the daily agenda.

If you invest in a collaborative software platform where all your sales staff can log in and get up to speed on projects and clients, you might be able to drop your weekly sales meeting. Substitute the meeting for a coaching session.

A second way to make time for coaching is to invest in a recurring sales team outing.

The focus can be on the coaching, but the overall event can take place in a venue that demonstrates your sales team’s value to your organization.

You could rent rooms at a hotel in an exotic location, bring the sales team out to enjoy a day at the ballpark, or throw a company dinner in a nice restaurant’s banquet room just for sales team members.

For more thoughts about the importance of fitting in time for coaching, check out the article “What if Dean Smith Didn’t Have Time to Coach?”

Hire Outside Coaching Help

You don’t have to do all the coaching yourself. Get creative with your coaching leaders. Bring in top performers in different fields, such as sports, entertainment and business leaders.

Everyone who has made it to the top of their field will have something valuable to share with your sales team.

Whether they talk about motivation, client behavior, available technology or dealing with stress; your sales coach’s message will be well-received by your sales team.

When you go out of your way to coach your team in addition to managing them, your salespeople will be more inclined to go beyond what’s expected of them.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about marketing and best business practices.

Going Down the Aisle with Marketing for the Big Day

weddingThe wedding industry is huge in the U.S. The average cost of a wedding is $26,000. That means that vendors everywhere across the country are making out on nuptials.

All told, the wedding industry is over $50 billion. That’s a whole lot of confetti, and smart companies are willing to go after all the little pieces.

If you’re a company that sells anything that can be related to the wedding industry, it pays to pursue it.

What are some ways you can get in on this billion dollar industry?

Beauty Treatments

Brides always want to look their best on their wedding day.

As the article, “look your absolute best on your wedding day with the help of liquid collagen supplements” proves there are many lengths that brides will go to in order to look as young as possible on their special day.

If you’re in the business of physical enhancements of any kind, including liposuction, collagen injections, plastic surgery, breast augmentation or any other, then you should do yourself a favor and market to the billion dollar bridal industry.

Hair Styling

Just as brides want their skin and body to be the image of perfection when they walk down the aisle, they also want their hair to be special.

Brides will go to great expense to make sure their hair – and their bridesmaids’ hair – is absolutely perfect.

If you own a hair salon, you can really sweep up profits when you specialize in getting the entire wedding party ready for the big day.

Manicures and Pedicures

Of course, when the bride gets her hands photographed along with her new husband’s she wants to show off more than her giant ring. Her nails have to be just as lovely as the rest of her.

Manicurists and pedicurists can ring in the New Year with big sales when they market to engaged women who are seeking to make their nails look as polished and put together as the rest of them.

Gowns and Tuxes

Brides and grooms not only need to think about their own garments on their wedding day.

They also have to make sure their entire wedding team looks good, including the bridesmaids, the groomsmen, and even the parents of the bride and groom.

For every one bridal gown that is sold, up to 30 more garments can be sold to the rest of the wedding party.

If you’re in the formal wear business and you’re limiting yourself to outfitting high school students for the senior prom, you’re really missing out on some amazing sales possibilities. If you offer rentals as well as sales, you have the chance to double your potential.

Not only is the wedding industry a lucrative one to market to, but it is a fun one, too.

Brides and grooms are always in a happy mood when they are shopping for their big day.

It’s always a pleasure to service customers who can’t stop smiling about their good fortune in meeting their soul mate.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about marketing and best business practices.

Partner Social Media and Sales for a Winning Brand

communicateHow is your business leveraging social media to drive sales? Oh, it’s not?

Well, now is the time to get onboard the social media train to success.

These days, it seems like almost everyone is on social media in one way or another and social media companies continue to refine how their platforms can be used by businesses to drive revenue.

Although many business owners are skeptical of bringing social media into the workplace, it actually has many benefits, including:

Social Media Provides Feedback

One of the best aspects of using social media to reach customers and consumers is that it can provide you with feedback about your business.

For example, suppose your company rolls out a new product and you feature it on your business’ Facebook page.

There, consumers can ask questions, share their experiences with the product, and interact with the company and other consumers. This can help in a big way to see where your marketing efforts are paying off.

Keep in mind, however, that you need to reply to questions quickly, and never engage is arguments with customers.

Social Media Can Be Used for Learning

While the consumer is at the heart of using social media for business, these technologies can also be used for learning and training at your company.

Sites like YouTube provide excellent opportunities to host webinars, and through webcams, employees can even participate.

In the article, “Can Social Media Tools Be Effective in Pharma Sales Training?” the author notes that you can also create virtual communities through social media where information can be shared.

These communities can be accessed by employees to receive updates about changes in the workplace, to share their feedback, and to work on projects together from home or the office.

Social Media Keeps Consumers Coming Back

Another benefit to using social media is that it can keep consumers coming back, eventually converting them into customers.

When you provide valuable, relevant content on your social media channels, you have a chance to connect with consumers, giving them a reason to subscribe to or follow your channels.

This means that even if someone is not currently a customer, that person may become a customer over time due to the connection you develop with him or her.

This is even more so the case if people begin to share your content with others in their personal and professional lives through social media.

About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include social media and digital marketing.

Is Your Business Giving Consumers Their Best Buys?

Interest & Risk ResizeLook…there’s no easy way to put it…as of October 2015, the United States economy is still in a state of flux.

While news reports tout record levels of the stock market, the truth is that the average American consumer is still squeezed to the limit and business owners are still scratching their heads while trying to figure out how to fix things.

The good news?

If your business is willing to take a short-term financial hit, it may just come out on top.

Giving Consumers Deals They Can’t Refuse

In a stable economy, providing deals, whether through coupons, online incentives, or previous-customer discounts might work best, but these days, business owners will need to go above and beyond to win a customer’s business.

The reason? Consumers are still fearful of spending funds and many are concentrating on saving and investing with any discretionary money.

It’s true that some wealthy Americans are able to spend at will, but these consumers are few and far between right now. The middle class, or most of America, is having a hard time paying bills, let alone buying things.

This is where providing special deal options come in.

How Used Car Prices Are a Demonstration

Due to the continuing financial stress that many middle-class Americans are feeling, used cars seem like a better deal than purchasing new, but used car prices have been rising for years.

In the article, “Used Cars Prices Expected to Finally Drop,” the author points out that several factors have caused an expected drop in used car prices.

First, the supply of used cars may begin soon as lease vehicles are beginning to be turned in.

Next, trade-in values are on the rise, so if you’re considering purchasing a new or used vehicle, now is the time to do so.

Remember, as inventory climbs, trade-in values will drop, so if the aforementioned lease vehicle trend continues, your trade may be worth less.

In a nutshell, dealerships are in the perfect position to offer great deals by working with economic factors and consumer wallets.

Take a Thorough Current and Future Inventory

In order to offer consumer deals at a temporary cost, take a current and expected inventory of products, revenue forecasts, growth potential, expenses, and anything else involving cash flow.

These figures can provide your company with an average profit margin that is acceptable when discounting products and services.

Keep in mind that these figures will need to be analyzed and adjusted regularly until the economy becomes normalized so that you don’t continue to provide unnecessary discounts in the future.

About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include economics and business development.

Should You Put Some Humor in Sales Training?

humorAlmost everyone loves a good joke, but should humor be used in your sales training? Well, it depends.

First, humor is not universal. This means that what’s funny to you may not be funny to someone else. Secondly, your brand’s identity may be at risk when you encourage humor in sales training.

For example, Geico is well-known for using humorous ads to sell their insurance services, but they are still considered a reputable company.

However, a company such as Bank of America typically presents itself as a serious company, and therefore, using humor in sales training may taint the brand.

How Much is Too Much?

The key to injecting humor in the sales training process is to know how much is too much.

Including too much humor may make trainees feel that they can’t take the training seriously, while no humor at all might make trainees feel that your organization is stiff, rigid, and devoid of personality. In order to find the right blend, you might want to have various members of your team look over your materials before actually presenting to trainees.

In fact, an even better idea might be to present a mock training to a group of team members so that they can provide feedback.

Using this method, you have the added advantage of receiving constructive criticism from a variety of different personalities and senses of humor.

Making Humor Work in Sales Training

In the article, “Do Humor and Sales Training Go Together?“, the author discusses how the healthcare industry, while serious, can benefit from a bit of humor in the training process.

Points made include that humor can reduce boredom if a lead is seeming disengaged, shows humanity when connecting to a prospect, and in many cases, it can increase interest in a product or service.

Remember to Keep It Clean

Although this should be self-explanatory, it’s important to note that humor used in any type of business setting should be kept clean.

Off-color jokes can not only land you in trouble with your company, but they can also cause a very difficult situation legally if someone in your training class feels harassed.

In addition, if word gets out that you’ve used off-color humor in your company’s sales training; your brand may suffer dearly as a result, even if no legal or civil action is taken.

The bottom line?

Only use humor where appropriate for all audiences.

One final tip: if you are considering using humor in your sales training, pretend that a child is in the room at all times and only use humor that you would use in such a circumstance.

This should help you to avoid using inappropriate remarks.

About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include sales and marketing.

Do Attorneys Get Marketing?

marketing_everythingAs an attorney, you know that there are many moving pieces when it comes to running a successful practice.

Aside from time spent in court, you’re reviewing documents, collaborating with clients, communicating with local officials, discussing scheduling with paralegals, and more.

With all that’s going on day to day, have you put marketing on the backburner? If so, it’s time to reconsider your options.

These days, digital technology makes it easy to market services of all kinds, and by taking just a little bit of time, you can get your practice in front of people who need legal services.

Social Media Made Simple

One convenient and effective way to market yourself online is through social media. Create accounts with sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and then post content. It’s that simple.

Encourage sharing of your content in order to get a wider audience, and try to post original content when you post.

Anything from legal tips to articles about the legal process to instructional and entertaining videos would be perfect. Don’t forget to update your social media channels on a daily basis.

You can also purchase ads on social media that can be targeted to specific demographics in specific locations.

Think About Your Image

It’s also important to think about your image when marketing online.

In the article, “Expert Interview Series: Tommy Richardson on How Attorneys are Portrayed,” the author mentions that the portrayal of attorneys is often a mixed bag. For some people, attorneys are thought of in a negative light and portrayed as greedy and calculating.

For others, attorneys are thought of as distinguished professionals who care about helping clients achieve justice.

As a result, you’ll want to think about how people in your area perceive legal professionals and craft your online content accordingly.

Your Website Matters

As mentioned, attorneys are often busy, so many don’t take the time to check out their own websites. This can be a real problem because your practice’s website may be the first impression potential clients get of you.

The design of your website, its functionality, and even the colors it uses can all make a big difference in whether someone will choose to contact your firm or go to your competition.

If you haven’t done so lately, take a moment and look through all of the pages and content on your site.

You should also have a design and development professional take a look so that you can get expert advice on what is working and what is not in regard to how your website is marketing your firm.

About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include marketing and legal services.

Electronic Health Records Changing Doctor-Patient Relationship

medicineMaybe you noticed something a little different the last time you visited the doctor. Was there a computer in the room? Did you get a message after you left letting you know your records were electronically filed?

Lately, many doctors are shifting towards electronic health records and these are providing a better relationship between patient and doctor, which in turn means better health care.

Benefits of Electronic Medical Records

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) can provide better health care by being accessible to the doctor at all times.

For instance, a doctor can come in the room and pull up all the patients’ records and history on the computer. Everything is there in front of him, including drug allergies, past histories, past symptoms and problems.

Another benefit of EMR is that electronic records (properly backed up) can’t be lost or destroyed. If there is a fire or water damage, records are still safe.

Doctors can also reference your records when they aren’t in the office, like after hours, which can be helpful if a patient needs something in the middle of the night.

EMRs can be shared with the patient as well. Many doctors now are encouraging patients to create electronic portals to view assessments, diagnosis and follow up after a visit. This keeps communication clear and confusion at a minimum.

With EMR’s, multiple people can work on them at once, so things can be done more efficiently. This helps get patients get taken care of better and faster. There’s not paper shuffling and handing off records from one person to another.

Another benefit is EMRs are easier to share than paper records. If you need to get your own or your child’s records to another doctor, records can be sent electronically rather than paying for and delivering a copy. It’s just another facet of convenience.

There is also less chance for mistakes with EMR. Files will be less apt to be lost, confused or mixed up. Allergies can be clearly marked. Mistakes can cost lives in the medical world, and electronic records can help prevent them.

Transfer from Paper to EMR

When doctors switch from paper records to EMR, there will be some transition time. At some point, though, doctors will be able to get rid of paper records, which mean no more fat files in space stealing filing cabinets.

In the meantime there will be training within the office and a search for finding the right EMR service.

As the article, “Finding the right EMR for pediatrics” looks at, doctors will take some research and investigation, but it’s all part of the transition.

When it comes to medical issues, the easier something is the better.

If transferring records to a specialist is a little easier or faster, it makes the whole process more bearable. If appointments can be more thorough and follow up clearer, medical care can be better. With EMR, this is possible.

Doctors can have information at their fingertips, and everything from updating records to prescribing medicine and requesting follow up care can be easier and more convenient.

It’s a win-win for doctors and patients alike.

About the Author: Heather Legg is an independent writer who covers topics related to social media, small business and health and well-being.

Make Your Clients Lifetime Customers

customersDid you know that it takes up to six times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one? Study after study upholds this statistic.

Keeping your customers happy should be the number one priority in your business, no matter what kind of business you run.

Take the time to find out how to build lasting relationships with customers, and how to adapt to them and the changing environment to keep them happy over the long run.

Prioritize Customer Service

Customers still respond to excellent customer service in an instinctual way. Humans like to be treated well.

Make sure that your employees who interact with customers first observe the basic standards of etiquette. Greet customers when they come in the door. Treat everyone will respect.

Look customers in the eye when conversing with them. Listen while the customer is speaking. Don’t interrupt the customer. Smile. Be friendly and professional.

Aren’t these all things that every customer would like, no matter what business they are shopping at? Yet, many business employees fail to deliver on many of these points.

Employ a Secret Shopper Service

If you suspect that your employees aren’t delivering on every single one of the standard points of etiquette outlined above, you might want to employ a secret shopper service.

A secret shopper service sends in undercover people to visit your store or restaurant. They pretend to be regular customers, but all the while they are taking note of how they are treated at your business.

When they leave, they submit their notes to the secret shopper service, which complies the data, and prepares a report for your review. You can then analyze the findings and make employment decisions based on your review.

The beauty of secret shopping service is that you can ask the secret shopper to look for anything in particular you’re interested in. You can even have them focus on a single employee if you’re worried that one person is causing your customers to leave.

As the following article looks at, every employee needs to understand why a one-time client is something more – that they are an opportunity to have a lifetime customer.

Use Surveys

Customers relish opportunities to share their opinions of your business. Provide the chance for them to do so with surveys.

Surveys can provide insight into what your customers like most about your business, as well as what they don’t like.

You can put any question or group of questions in a survey, and you have a wide range of options as to how you get your customers to participate. The most traditional survey is the customer comment table card, which restaurants began using years ago.

If you own a restaurant, these inexpensive index cards are still a viable option.

Social media surveys are another choice.

You can post a message with two options and ask your customers to weigh in on their favorite products/labels/uses for the items.

Whatever business or industry you’re in, making lifetime customers out of every single customer will improve your overall odds of success.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about marketing and best business practices.

Is Your Career Getting Enough Social Attention?

communicateThere’s no doubt that social media is here to stay. In the early development of social media, BBS sites and AOL Instant Messenger ruled, then Myspace came along and changed everything.

From there, the rise of YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and more have taken over, leading people to share more about their lives in the public eye than ever conceived of before.

Today, with all of the social media choices and pressure, it’s important to realize that potential employers are also vetting candidates based on social media.

Keep It Clean

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to treat your social media profiles like an online resume and personality introduction.

You may want to share that political meme that decries and idea, but will it help your career aspirations? Probably not.

Additionally, that post you made a few years ago discussing how awesome the raging keg party was last night … yeah, you should probably delete that, or at the least, make it “friends only”.

Potential employers, for better or worse, will judge you based upon social media information, and without the chance to explain, you might be passed over for a position simply because you’ve overshared.

Once You’re Hired

After you’ve attained a position with a company, social media then needs to transition from resume-mode to promotion-mode.

While your employer may no longer be keeping an eagle eye on your social media profiles, your customers or clients might. This is especially true in careers such as cosmetology, where cosmetologists and their clients often have very close relationships.

In fact, in the article, “How Social Media Can Take Your Cosmetology Career to the Next Level,” the author demonstrates that marketing one’s skills by providing creative content while engaging with clients is a surefire path to success.

Keep Updating

Once you’ve been hired and acquired clients, it’s also a good idea to keep updating your social media accounts with content-rich post.

This means photos and videos to continue to engage with clients and potential clients. Also, encourage sharing of posts as this will potentially bring in more clients for you and for the company.

If you take pictures or videos of clients, always get their permission beforehand prior to posting, and when possible, have them sign an agreement that allows for Internet sharing. You never know when something will go viral and be spread by millions of people across the world.

The last thing you need is a lawsuit due to someone who didn’t want his or her image associated with your company spread across the Internet.

About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include social media and business development.