Grow your business or it will shrink.

Chart showing increasing business growth
Chart showing great business growth.

There is an old adage that if your business isn’t growing…it’s shrinking.

Holding your own doesn’t count… Inflation, overhead, staff all continue to increase. If your revenues aren’t at least keeping up with overhead and expenses, then you’re shrinking. And shrinking is something no business wants. Shrinking leads to a devaluation of the business value, lower profits, and generally a deteriorating work atmosphere.

All your staff senses it and it makes them… well, nervous. If no changes are made, it can lead to layoffs and heavier workloads which actually impede growth.

For most businesses, labor is the most expensive factor…so they try to cut corners. They end up standing in their own way.  Without the “right” team, it’s hard to move forward, as business owners, we need their input and insights. None of us is an expert in every aspect of a business – vision, development, operations, and execution.

Are you stretched too thin for your business to grow?

Every business can get caught in the stretched-too-thin matrix. When you’re busy…like we all are, it’s easy to forget to get creative and think outside the box.

Some owners try to do it all themselves. With over 25 years as a business owner… I can understand, but it’s not the path to the quickest growth and best outcome. I know this from personal experience.

When you’re that busy, and that stressed, you can’t see the big picture and the quality of your output declines. It goes back to we all excel at somethings, but none of us can excel at everything.

There’s another side effect…work-life balance. It becomes tipped in favor of work and your personal life and family suffer.

Or you ignore certain aspects of the business, hoping to get buy via lots of referrals. 

In the long run, you never experience the growth and success that you could.  You may do okay, but with your mind doing all that multitasking or ignoring, you just don’t get as far.

What about outsourcing to grow your business?

Some companies have tried outsourcing but the marketer never seemed to “get” their business. Been there had that experience too.  You need to make sure any marketing person is well-versed in your market niche.  Would you hire a contractor to handle medical issues?  Of course not.

Look for someone who has some background or experience in your industry segment. It may increase your investment, but it the return on that investment will be far greater.

Do in-house staff have time and skills to grow your business?

Many times the in-house staff is inadequate to handle all forms of marketing that you need.

A staff of one may be trying to handle web content, print materials, social media, email funnels, newsletters, and trade shows… In addition to the time demands, each of those takes different skill-sets and a lot of that is developed through field experience.

Too small a staff increases the multi-tasking just as in the do-it-all-yourself scenario. Quality of results drop and portions of what needs to be kept up to date get ignored.

Because of the time-sensitivity of trade shows, they often get attention while the website and every other point of client contact suffers.

Fresh customer-focused materials whether print, video or digital, never get updated. And in a time where quality “User Experience” is what the customer wants and needs…you’re headed for shrinking.

Experiencing rapid growth?

If you’re in a rapidly growing segment of wellness… just the speed of change can make it difficult to keep up.

We are seeing this with the explosion of CBD products across the country. Rapid growth can have a big impact on the quality of marketing.

User-experience focus can grow your business

When was the last time you visited your own web page? Read one of your own e-newsletters? Reviewed your print materials or support materials for user focus and readability? If you’re like most business owners or marketing managers, the answer is way too long ago.

Today’s prospect is focused on what you can do for them, the customer. Why are you their best choice? What makes you unique and special that will benefit them? If your material isn’t up to date and focused on their needs, you’re likely to lose them.

In my years in the spa-wellness industry, I’ve been your customer.  I know many of my vendors NEVER stayed in touch.  They just waited for me to order again.  That’s not smart business. Not in an industry where there are lots of competitors who would be happy to connect with your client and woo them away.

Here are some tips to get your marketing working to help you grow.

  • Focus your marketing where your ideal customers are.
  • On your website – new content or updates at least monthly. Product content, events, blogs.
  • E-newsletters to nurture and connect – at least monthly.
  • Email responders – at least one series of 5-7 to nurture new leads.
  • Print brochures – update at least annually or when there are changes that impact the content.
  • Trade show materials – current with offerings.
  • Landing pages – up to date with current offerings.
  • Facebook and other social media posts – at least daily if not multiple times daily. The most successful businesses have many posts a day.
  • LinkedIn profile – keep it current to nurture professional relationships.

Need help to get growing again?  You need an industry-specific business builder. Want to know more?

Click on the home page and send me a message. Let’s build your business now.  Say you saw this post and receive free 15minute introductory consultation to assess your needs. In a hurry? Leave me a message: 541-485-1004 Pacific time zone.

Visit our home page here: https://www.jculpcreativecopy.com/

Learn more about Judith: https://www.jculpcreativecopy.com/about-jc/

How Easily do You Ask for Help?

For most, asking for help is a challenge
Asking for help may be a personal challenge.

Answering the question, How easily do you ask for help? can be tougher for most of us than we want to admit.

In this fabulous revealing article by Judith Sherven, PhD, an executive coach, she talks about asking this question in workshops.

Turns out, the answer for most people, is not that easily. Asking for help exposes our vulnerability. We’re afraid of looking stupid or needy.

But exposing our vulnerable side, allows people to connect with us better. It shows our willingness to learn, grow and be part of a team. It helps us grow professionally as well as personally.

In a book I’ve been reading, Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, PhD, he describes our need to interact and reciprocate.

People like to say yes, they like to be helpful. It’s actually a gift to someone to ask for their help.

If you find yourself needing someone’s help but blocking asking for it…it’s time to figure out why, then just go do it anyway.

Asking is a win-win situation and a natural part of our human interaction.

P= S-E to Improve Profitability

P= S-E for Improved Profitability

Bags of coins showing less to more profits

Money growing plant step with deposit coin in bank concept. Isolated in white.

 

This formula is all about your business success because it focuses on profitability. Work the formula and you’ll have amazing profits. Ignore it and your business can go under quicker than you ever imagined.

It’s a simple formula – one I can’t take credit for. But I’ve seen it in action over and over and it’s never wrong.

P= S-E stands for profits equals sales minus expenses. Sound simple enough? It is, but there are tons of business out there who are failing. Others struggle along unsure why they are having so much trouble. Let’s look at it.

P for Profits or Profitability isn’t the amount of money you bring in. It’s the amount you have left over after you’ve paid out all your expenses.

S = Sales or revenues. It’s all the ways you bring money into your business. Product sales, services, training – whatever you offer. You can make more money by generating more sales.

E = Expenses. This is the magic area that makes or breaks you. If you can control or reduce expenses you increase your profit margin. Many businesses do things in an expensive way – or a non-profitable way. You want to maximize sales and minimize expenses. If your expenses are greater than your sales – you may have lots of money coming in, but you’re not making any money. You may actually be bleeding it out.

So how do you control expenses? Starting at the beginning is the easiest. Build your business right and it will flourish. If you already have a business but see a low profit margin it will be harder… but not impossible to fix.

Here are some considerations:

Balance scale showing profit and loss over a question mark

Bright, gold “PROFIT” and dark, gray “LOSS” sit on opposite ends of a gray board balanced on a red question mark. Isolated on white.

  • Location – Is your rent/lease going to eat all your profits? Is there a way to control or reduce it?
  • Pricing – Price products and services based on your location and the kind of client you want to appeal to. If you’re looking at a high end location but a budget or modest client base that’s a giant red flag. Either raise your prices or change your location.
  • Labor – staff is your most expensive overhead. Don’t add more staff members until the existing staff cannot keep up with the demand. Book farther out instead of adding more staff. Make sure your pay scale is within your budget. You may need to nudge prices up to make labor costs fit into your cost-of-goods-sold formula.
  • Consider virtual assistants or freelancers for bookkeeping, web related work, or legal services. They have their own office space, supplies and equipment. And you only pay them for services rendered.
  • Be very aware of marketing costs. Marketers are always happy to help you. You need to know where/how clients find you and focus on those. People get duped into adding every paid form of web support out there: Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc… It gets expensive fast.
  • Focus on evergreen content. This is marketing information you can use, cross-post and re-use.
  • Consider investing in a Key Message Copy Platform. This document provides you with a diversity of customized messages. It may include articles, emails, etc that you can implement into your marketing. You buy it once and can use and re-use.
  • What will it do for me? Ask yourself this for any upgrade or purchase. How will it enhance your profit margin? A fancy new home office isn’t going to do a thing to bring more clients in your door.

Focus

Focus on controlling expenses for increased profitability

Profits Green Road Sign With Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

Focus on building the sales and controlling the expenses. The enhanced profits will surprise and delight you.

Need help? Judith Culp Creative Copy specializes in digital content and marketing. Contact us via email: judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.

blog blundering and not enhancing your website?

Is Your Blog Blundering?

Sad business woman needs help with blog

Is your blog working for you?

 
When did you last update your blog? Last week? Last month? Last quarter?… Maybe last year???
 
If your blog isn’t getting a fresh post at least monthly…it’s not helping you. You won’t be getting a return on the time you are spending on it. And…your customers aren’t getting a very good user experience.
 
They notice those published dates…and wonder.
 
Why do you need a blog anyway? Because it’s a way to build trust with your prospective customers. It’s also a great way to keep existing customers interested and engaged.
 
But you can’t dump words out there. Content needs to be helpful, informational and address the interests/concerns of your readers.
 
If you’re selling direct to consumers, B2C, you need to focus on the benefits of the item. What’s in it for them? Why should they buy it? How will it help them? Many times I see blogs that focus on the features of the product or service rather than the benefits.
 
Features are nice to back up the benefits. But buyers first push the buy button because of how it will be beneficial. That it has good features reinforces the buying decision but it doesn’t trigger it.
 
A blog with only old entries may make the prospect wonder why? Are you still in business? Ditto for an events page with no entries. It’s better to hide those pages until you can invest the time to make them interesting.
 

Blogs are multi-useful.

You can cross-link your blog to social media for wider exposure. For B2C use Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Your individual demographics will guide what works best.
 
If you are a B2B, business to business seller, you may have found LinkedIn a great way to spread information. Take that web blog and convert it into a LinkedIn article.
 
Take your blog content and use it as a monthly e-newsletter article to your list. Informational, informative, engaging… and tag it into an offer or monthly special.
 
It can be helpful and speed up your blog writing process to create a calendar with seasonal themes. Or focus on trending products or offers that may vary through the year. Use them to educate clients to new products, packaging or classes.
 
Want the benefits of a hard working blog but don’t have the time, staff or skillsets to write a good engaging one? Time to out-source. Find a skilled content writer who understands your industry segment and… “gets” your business. Their help can be worth its weight in gold.
 
Confused? Need help? I help get businesses…and blogs…back on track. Email me: judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.

TryInteract Quizzes

TryInteract Quizzes Get Results

Quizzes are a fascinating and hot topic in the digital marketing mix. They should be short, fun and useful for both the person taking the quiz and the business offering it. Most frequently, they are used to build an email list of people with a shared interest or concern.
 
I’ve tried quizzes in the past but found them frustrating to set up and the results didn’t achieve what I hoped. Recently, TryInteract reached out to me. They offered the opportunity to try the program for free.
When they took me on a guided “tour”, I got excited about what they were offering and eagerly said I’d give it a try.  It was as much a test for them as a test for me as I’m not the techiest person out there.
 

Helpful guides

TryInteract Quizzes step by step guides

Tutorials

 
The first thing that impressed me was the details in the step by step creation guides. The videos are well done. Also, they provided written steps you could follow as you worked your way through the process.
 
They have over 100 quiz templates so it was easy to find something all ready to go, or easily tweakable. Graphics were great quality, customization was simple.
 

When you upgrade from a free to a paid version you can insert your logo so your

TryInteract Quiz templates speed up your job

Step by step guides lead you through quiz creation with over 100 ready-to-use templates

brand is the only one guests will ever see.

 
Their online chat is a quick way to get an assist if you get stuck.
 
Every email program is different
I’ve used two different email programs over the years. MailChimp is free so popular with smaller clients. This was my first quiz with it and it took me a bit to get it set up. Now if I start another quiz, Mail Chimp automatically populates… so easy.
 
Before starting, familiarize yourself with the mail program you plan on using. It will speed up getting the system up and running.

Autoresponders included

TryInteract Quizzes Control Panel

Control Panel

This was a big bonus for me. I didn’t have to start from scratch to incorporate client nurturing. Interact provides templates with each quiz to copy/paste into your mail system. This makes it quick to set up a series of autoresponders. All you provide is the link to the bonus associated with the email and your call-to-action.
 
You can follow their suggestions for what to offer as a benefit. Or use what you know works well for your target market.
 
You also have the option of sending quiz response category specific answers. Say you’re a vacation planner… you can send information on the specific type of vacation the quiz taker favors. This type of target-specific information is a big bonus for lead nurturing.
 
If they don’t respond to the fourth email, move them into your monthly client e-news. It’s smart to nurture them long-term, You never know when their needs will change. It’s good to be already on their mind.
 

Pricing

TryInteract has a pricing structure from free, through several levels of professional use. Free is free forever but does have limitations. New businesses can upgrade to the Lite version for about $17/month paid annually. They also offer monthly payment plans. This lets you try the benefits of the paid version before you make a long-term commitment.
 
From Lite you can move up to one of two higher levels depending on your needs. Considering all that they offer, and the level of support, pricing seems quite reasonable.
 
You can also quickly offset the fees if you have a monetized website. Whether you sell services, programs, books or products, it won’t take much to have you in the black.

Quiz Conclusions

In addition to quizzes, Interact also allows you to create Give-Aways and Polls. Their integration with Facebook ads is easy. Their diversity is robust, the support extensive. I give them a definite thumbs-up and am sharing with all my colleagues.
Want to take advantage of their Free Trial?

Readability sells

Readability Sales or No Sales

Frustrated administrator viewing webscreen

Poor readability is stressful

Keep your copy readable to increase sales!

Recently, I received a product promotion from a spa supplier.  I knew the product was a performer, but the description was hard to read.  Readability was at the post-college level.

This prompted me to go online and look at descriptions of the same type of product marketed by department store brands. Their descriptions were much easier to read and focused on what their customer wanted to know.

Readability sells and lack of it hinders sales.

Readability refers to how easily a sentence is read and understood.  Originally, it was used to evaluate educational materials.  Today it is used by well-trained professional marketers.

In today’s world, we are bombarded by electronic marketing. Junk mail, emails, newsletters. We go online; lots more marketing.  Sensory overload.  We are in a hurry. We want what we are looking for quick and easy.  Your potential customers want the same thing.

Every written piece put out there needs to be easy to read.  Website pages, emails, newsletters all need to be visitor friendly and quick to read.

Get their attention fast…

In 2014, Hubspot Marketing reported that you have less than 15 seconds to engage your reader. A surprising 55% of them will click off your page in that period.

If the reader is on a page that doesn’t answer their question or meet a need – they are going to be gone. They are in the wrong place.  But if they are looking for what you have, we need to help them stick around and find it.  We need to make what we have written simple, clear and readable.

Think about opening your email box first thing in the morning. There are probably at least 30 new emails waiting.  You have the time it takes for that first cup of coffee, or whatever before you have to get on with the to-dos.  If you’re like most of us, you look for the obvious ones to delete.  Check, check, check, delete – done.  Then you start with the rest.

Keep it simple and readable with a clear message…

You don’t actually read most emails completely. You quickly skim them to determine their importance and your interest. If they are hard to read, it bogs you down. The more you have to “work” to read the information, the more apt you are to think, just stuff it, and hit delete. The sender loses a potential client. You may miss important information, but it wasn’t presented in a user-friendly way. We are so pressed for time it doesn’t seem worth it to try.

There may be a few you will flag to read later. But later may never come. You see that file still sitting in your inbox several days later. Without reading beyond the subject line, you hit delete. Lost potential sales.

Our potential clients are doing the same thing with what we send to them and when they visit our web pages.  Help them with simplicity, clarity, and readability.

 

Judith Culp Pearson is a trained marketing specialist with over 30 years in the Spa/wellness industry. She specializes in web copy for Alternative Health & Wellness.  If you’d like to improve the return on your business marketing: judith@jculpcreativecopy.com