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5 Referral Marketing Strategies

5 Referral Marketing Strategies

As a service provider/business owner, I understand the importance of gaining referrals from my clients. Referrals lead to new clients for me. I love making my clients happy and when they refer me, it expands my network. Check out these strategies to generate referrals..

5 Referral Marketing Strategies

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Referrals should be one of the top marketing strategies professional service providers focus on.

Why? Because referrals are likelier to translate into more clients than leads generated through other marketing methods. According to this study, the two biggest factors that increase the probability of referrals are visible expertise (34.7 percent) and a professional relationship (24.4 percent).

There are two types of referrals — experience and reputation — and your marketing strategy should target both.

Experience referrals are a direct result of working with your business. A previous client is a prime example of an experience-based referral.

Reputation referrals come from people that have heard of your business. Someone who has previously seen your advertisement or engaged with your content online is an example of a reputation-based referral.

Here are five marketing strategies to help generate more referrals for professional service providers.

1. Become an industry thought leader.
Many professional service providers have experts on staff, but they are not known names outside of their own firm. There are a few simple things you can do to position yourself as an industry thought leader.

Start by contributing consistent content on your company blog. Most service businesses will have several team members — those that take the initiative to publish helpful content can use it as a stepping stone to secure contributor and guest blogging positions on relevant industry websites. The exposure these websites provide will often be your number one source of reputation-based referrals.

2. Publish case studies and results.
Publishing case studies and results on your company’s website is an easy way to increase referrals two ways. First, the subjects of the posts will often want to share it with friends and family members, which can spark instant referrals. Second, when someone visits your website but doesn’t convert, there is still a chance they can be a valuable asset in terms of future referrals. They might not have engaged with your company, but if your published results and case studies were impressive, they might refer your business to someone that needs your service in the future.

“Publishing our case results directly on our website shows potential clients that we are results-driven, and it also helps attract referrals. If someone lands on our website looking for representation in a practice area that we don’t focus on, there is a good chance they can provide us with a referral down the line if they are impressed with our published case results,” explains Marc C. Brotman, Partner at Brotman Nusbaum Ibrahim.

3. Make your client list public.
Many people don’t want to list their clients publicly or simply can’t because of non-disclosure agreements. If the only thing preventing you from making your client list public is fear of your competition attempting to poach them, you need to reconsider.

When someone is deciding whether or not to do business with your company, a client list can give them the confidence to move forward. Also, a potential customer might reach out to a client on the list and ask them about their experience with your company. This is very simple to implement and it can be an easy way turn your client base into a referral machine. Make sure you receive written permission from any client you add to the list.

4. Focus on your specialty.
You will attract more referrals if you focus more of your marketing and branding efforts on your specialty, rather than a wide range of services. When I first launched my marketing agency more than seven years ago, we did everything under the sun. With dozens of services, we were not known for one specialty over another.

Over time, we reduced the number of services we offered, and today we only do one thing: performance-based digital ad buy management. We were also heavily involved in influencer marketing from the beginning, so we launched a separate agency to handle that part of the business. Our referrals have increased dramatically now that we have two agencies, each specializing in one thing.

5. Feature your clients in your marketing.
Steve Kappel, President of Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty explains the benefit of client-feature marketing, saying, “Including a client success story in your marketing can send you referrals two ways. First, the client will typically share the marketing piece on social media, introducing your company to his or her friends and family. This can send highly qualified leads, in the sense they are already comfortable with your company because of the close connection. Second, success stories show that your company is good at what you do. In our case, someone might see our marketing and refer a friend to use that is in need of a real estate agent.”

Featuring clients and sharing your company’s success shows that your service solves the problems a potential new client is facing. You can attract reputation-based referrals from people you don’t even know if the marketing featuring previous clients is done right.

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Posted by on August 15, 2017 in Marketing and SEO

 

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The Top 5 Myths of Mobile Apps — And Why Believing Them Will Hurt Your Business

The Top 5 Myths of Mobile Apps — And Why Believing Them Will Hurt Your Business

As an Online Business Management and Virtual Assistant Network, I can testify that I use several great apps for not only managing my business but also managing the business for my clients. Some of my favorite apps are Pages (for FB), Groups (for FB), BaseCamp, DropBox, and QuickBooks. Of course with all the travel I do, there are apps I love for that as well, such as AllStays Camp & RV, Hotels.com, GasBuddy, and a couple of weather apps. Check out my website for more helpful resources.

Here’s an article about apps that I really enjoyed and it even made go hmmm…

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Myth 1: Consumers no longer download apps.
Rumor has it that the app economy has peaked and that downloads are on the decline.

The Truth: In 2016, global app downloads surpassed 90 billion across iOS and Google Play. This represents 15 percent annual growth — an annual increase of more than 13 billion. In the U.S., consumers downloaded 12 billion apps last year, an average of roughly six per month, according to App Annie data. Businesses that buy into this myth will lose to competitors and tarnish their brand. The app stores are alive and well, so every brand needs to have a robust app strategy in place.

Myth 2: The app store is only for big publishers.
The assumption here is that big players like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are dominating app stores, and new players have little to no shot in such a saturated market.

The Truth: Our data shows the app economy experienced 20 percent year-over-year growth in new apps — more than 2.2 million last year — capturing consumer attention across verticals and countries. Look at the gaming space for instance: Within the last year, Pokemon GO and Super Mario came out with a bang, giving long-standing games like Clash Royale increased competition and opening the door for AR. Verticals like retail, banking, travel and foodservice have seen huge growth. The app economy and the app stores present a huge opportunity for new and emerging apps to make their mark, as long as they have the right strategy.

Myth 3: Downloads = dollars.
Many believe downloads are the most important metric when determining the success of an app. They assume that if downloads decline, the app is not performing well and conversely, that downloads are a measure of engagement.

The Truth: Usage is the new currency of success, and Americans on average spend well over 2 hours per day in apps. Usage metrics that track engagement are more indicative of an app’s success than downloads alone. What happens after the download is what ultimately matters: Are users engaged, or do they download and dump? How much time are they spending in the app and how often? What’s your retention rate look like? These metrics can guide businesses to optimize the experience to capture more revenue and increase customer satisfaction.

Myth 4: Bots will overtake apps.
The rise of bots brought forth the idea that apps are old news and chatbots are the “next big thing.”

The Truth: Apps aren’t going anywhere. App Annie data shows that average consumers use more than 35 apps per month, and time in apps has nearly doubled over the past two years. Conversational products simply cannot compete with the breadth and depth of value provided by visual experiences. We are still at the beginning stages of bots. Though bots and conversational experiences may play more of a role through integrations in time, they will not displace apps all together.

Myth 5: Apps are a “nice to have” not “need to have.”
Though we know consumers are primarily mobile-first, some businesses still don’t see mobile — let alone apps — as a necessity, but rather as optional, if budget permits.

The Truth: No one can question the importance of mobile as a critical tool for business success. In today’s market, we’re not only seeing digital-first apps compete with incumbents but also long-standing businesses are implementing mobile-first strategies. In order for any brand to successfully engage its audience, it must meet customers where they are, whenever they seek to engage. Apps uniquely enable this and are fueling this mobile first transformation.

The amount of success we’ve already seen in the app market makes it impossible to dismiss this industry as a “novelty” or “optional” any longer. With the maturity of the market, businesses of all types can reap the benefits of a well-designed app. However, by heeding these misconceptions, many are missing out on the opportunity at their fingertips. Armed with these truths, any business — from games to banks — can be transformed into long-term success.

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10 Marketing Questions

10 Marketing Questions

10 Marketing Questions

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Every business should be in-tune with their unique marketing needs. This article was shared privately so there’s no link, but I sure hope you enjoy the content. And remember if you need help with your marketing, your online presence, accounting, or other services; keep our Online Business Management and Virtual Assistant Network in mind. At The Write Hand, LLC we strive to be your one-stop for all your business needs.

10 Marketing Questions

Here are 10 questions to consider before writing a marketing plan. Even if you have a marketing plan it is a good idea to review these questions on a regular basis. Hopefully, you’ll be able to make time to at least consider the questions, or better yet write the answers down. This week engage your employees and others (not necessarily customers) who know your business well. Take particular note of differences of others’ responses to your own.

We’ll take a look at 10 more questions next week.

1. Describe your business in 30 words or less.
Listen for: Other adjectives that you didn’t think of and specific skills/abilities that may make you unique.

2. SWOT Analysis – Outline your business’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Listen for: Contradictions or misconceptions from your own perspective. An outsider’s view can be very helpful.

3. What is your mission statement/vision?
Listen for: Your employees to either mimic or say the opposite of your vision. This is an opportunity to get the staff on the same page.

4. Where was the business 10 years ago and where do you envision it 5, 10 and 20 years from now?
Listen for: No one can predict the future. What are your managers and personal contacts thinking?

5. Who is your clientele?
Listen for: Again, another point of view. Maybe your counter staff sees your typical customer very differently than you do.

6. What was is the best thing you have heard a customer say about your business?
Listen for: Something you’ve never heard before.

7. How about the worst thing you have heard?
Listen for: The thing you don’t want to hear.

8. How have you obtained most of your business?
Listen for: The unexpected. Unless you have been proactive in tracking new customers, you may be surprised.

9. How frequently do you communicate with your current customers and how?
Listen for: The comment that you don’t communicate enough and through the right channels.

10. Who are your competitors?
Listen for: Another surprise. It may not be the drycleaner down the street. It may be that there are consumers out there that don’t understand the benefit of using a professional clothing care specialist.

 

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4 Marketing Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From April the Giraffe

4 Marketing Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From April the Giraffe
I’ll be honest and tell you that I had not heard of April until I saw this article. Scratching my head at the title referencing a giraffe and entrepreneurs; I just had to click the link out of pure curiosity. Sure enough, you can take some good lessons away from April’s story.

In particular, this quote really grabbed me and made me knod in appreciation. “…from the seed of an idea through execution, do what you do well. You never know just how many people will be watching.”

Most folks know I lost part of my leg in a motorcycle accident. Social media in many forms have taken me farther than I ever could have imagined. From folks following the dream I live, to folks supporting my struggles, and from making my Online Business Management and Virtual Assistant network thrive; I have been down before, but never for very long. The internet and the people behind the screens have truly inspired, supported, and sought my advice in many capacities.

4 Marketing Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From April the Giraffe

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The internet has recently been taken over by a very tall and overly pregnant lady.

You may have heard of her. Her name is April. April the Giraffe. This chick has taken over the internet, with pregnant human women going viral for impersonating her.

April is a powerful woman, as I assume most pregnant women are.

Almost 100,000 people are tuning in on YouTube at any given minute to see if she’s birthed her fourth calf yet. When someone or something can garner the accumulative attention of millions, it’s worth taking note.

And while April is undeniably powerful, she is not nearly as powerful as the creative team behind her at Animal Adventure Park. Here are four lessons you can borrow from Animal Adventure Park to spark your own sensation.

1. Your ordinary is someone else’s extraordinary.
You frequently forget there are things you find common and ordinary that others simply find extraordinary. This is the main basis for why Animal Adventure Park’s livestream has captivated so many, hitting headlines daily for over a week. Giraffes give birth on a regular basis. Or, at least I assume so.

Since April has been livestreaming, two other baby giraffes have been born stateside. For zookeepers, a giraffe having a calf is ordinary. Yet, for the general population, a giraffe having a calf is extraordinary. What is your ordinary that others would find extraordinary?

2. Utilize the tools you have at your fingertips.

I imagine it went something like this: April’s caretakers were talking about the upcoming birth, and someone nonchalantly mentioned, “Perhaps we could livestream it for people to see.”

The tools were already there to livestream. They just decided to use them unlike any other zoo had. Well played, Animal Adventure Park. What tools are you not taking full advantage of?

3. Start before you’re “ready.”

What I don’t think many people understand is that Animal Adventure Park isn’t even open yet. It’s bloody brilliant! There is so much press and news coverage about this business, and it hasn’t even opened its doors for day one.

That’s solid proof there is business genius in starting before you feel ready. With a well-thought out plan, anything is possible. It’s not about waiting until it’s perfect. It’s about knowing how to execute effectively. Where can you begin executing while still perfecting?

4. Don’t forget a call to action.

An imperative part of doing business is making it extremely easy for people to buy or support you. I was so impressed to find in the description on Animal Adventure Park’s live stream video that they did not forget a call to action.

Even better, they gave two! Take your pick to support the organization: Download GiraffeMoji for $1.99 from the App Store, or simply donate to the organization’s GoFundMe page. (As of this writing, it’s just shy of the $50,000 goal.)

What a failure it would have been to have that many people at your fingertips without an easy way for people to engage with the business. Yet, it’s a common business mistake.

Animal Adventure Park, well, they hit it out of the park with April. I doubt they thought it would blow up quite like it has or that there would be April the Giraffe memes, pregnant women imitating April, or people actually angry because her labor is taking “too” long. Cut the poor lady a break!

Here’s what they do know. First, pregnancy is magical, and it can captivate any mammal. Second, from the seed of an idea through execution, do what you do well. You never know just how many people will be watching.

 

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Marketing 101: Metrics

Marketing 101: Metrics

With an Online Business Management and Virtual Assistant Network like The Write Hand, LLC; you get top quality services that produces results you can see.  We hope you enjoy this article’ it could be quite useful across most businesses.

Marketing 101: Metrics

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In today’s world, nearly everything can be measured by metrics: Facebook likes, Twitter followers, YouTube views, etc. In a world of big data, metrics drive our behavior, but in sixteen years in business, “metrics” is a word I’ve come to hate. Although metrics can be great in determining ad or website performance, when it comes to overall marketing efforts, focusing on metrics alone may be what kills your marketing plan.

In fact, focusing on metrics can make you lose sight of your overall goals. Most great marketing successes, regardless of your product, are the cumulative result of multiple actions. You can’t depend on a direct measure of success from every single action, otherwise you would get stuck in your tracks early on. Planting and cultivating seeds takes time.

If it’s not working, maybe you’re doing it wrong

Something important to keep in mind is that sometimes marketing efforts don’t work because they are not being done correctly. You may need to put some time and effort into researching the meaning behind your dismal metrics. Could your blogging be ineffective because you have misidentified your potential audience? Have you run out of things to say? If that’s the case, start researching four to six successful companies with a similar audience. Whether you’re researching the kinds of questions they answer with their blog or what they’re doing in terms of their blog and social media, you may find some great information. Maybe there are social media sites that you should be on and aren’t, or vice versa. If you look at four to six companies in your market, you’ll start to see a trend of what’s working for them.

Bottom up marketing

Another problem with blindly following metrics can be saying no to opportunities that may benefit you in the long run. One of my favorite strategies is “bottom up marketing.” Mark Victor Hanson, one of the master minds behind the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, is a great example. He did every radio interview and never turned down a single opportunity; he and his co-author built an entire empire through bottom up marketing. It’s worth your while to allow exposure to build on itself and lead to success. Say yes to every opportunity that comes your way (within reason), no matter how small the blog or podcast. We all want to be on The Tonight Show, but let’s face it, everyone has to start somewhere.

Stop doing stuff that doesn’t matter

Focus on the most effective ways to spend your time and money. Often, we fall into the habit of implementing marketing efforts because they’re easy. Running ads, for example, can be easy, and may feel productive. But ads should be compelling and give the viewers something to act on. The same is true for press releases.

Be realistic with your pitching efforts. Put plenty of effort into crafting a pitch that shows you researched the outlet, and have carefully considered how your product fits. Pitching yourself to national shows when you are just starting out may not be the most efficient use of your time. Remember what I said about bottom up marketing.

Coordinate your marketing efforts

One of the quickest ways to kill a product is to not promote it; the other is to only do one thing at a time to see which one gives you the most bounce. Although testing your efforts separately to see how effective they are can be appealing, the problem with this is that it’s all metric-driven instead of building momentum. Marketing by doing one thing at a time and then waiting to see what comes of the action you took is the surest way to fail. Do a lot of things (or several, if you’re short on time) and do them consistently.

Slow and steady wins the race

Inconsistency is one of the big reasons for failure. It goes back to my “say yes to everything” advice; let your marketing efforts build, understand what your audience wants, and be consistent. If you’re short on time, find a few things that are an effective use of your time and do them well.

People like what other people like

Reviews are something you should always pursue, no matter how old your product or service. Testimonials and reviews are almost as good as a personal word-of-mouth recommendation. Why? Because people like what other people like.

Ultimately, metrics are a powerful tool, but instead of focusing on each effort’s individual metrics, it’s best to take review your metrics with some perspective. When planning your marketing efforts, I urge you to emphasize consistency. Use metrics as a tool to identify areas that can be improved, and allow some time for your marketing efforts to build on one another. Success is rarely the direct result of one action, but rather the accumulation of many efforts.

 

 

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Is Ghostwriting Ethical???

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In researching some business information I was derailed momentarily when I came across an article in Forbes that proposed the question: “Is Ghostwriting Ethical?” In all of my works as a ghostwriter, I never once thought I was unethical. Of course, that is because I collaborate with my clients to ensure the message they want to convey is reflective of their thoughts, lingo, and experiences. In the case of writing informational blogs for clients; I research a topic that the client dictates and then write an article accordingly. It’s so very true that not everybody has a firm grasp or passion for writing such as I and other writers do. In the case of The Write Hand, LLC and the ghostwriting services that I provide as a Virtual Assistant; I can always ensure my clients that my work is original and well crafted.

In the article from Forbes, authored by Cheryl Connor on 3/13/14; I have to say that I agree with the manner in which she lays out what she feels is ethical or unethical when it comes to ghostwriting. In particular, these two paragraphs summarize the jest of the question/answer; but to read more on the subject from Cheryl, please visit the article in Forbes by clicking here…

Quoted from Cheryl’s article in Forbes on Ghostwriting:

Collaboration with a professional writer is a wonderful concept and a tremendously effective means of getting the great thinking of a great leader into the words and format that will be interesting to readers, and will make the material memorable and compelling to share. In the world of communication, it’s an extremely valuable service, whether for a book, an article or a speech.

However, Ghostwriting, when it means the creation of material without the participation of the represented author, or without disclosing having utilized a ghostwriter, is a terrible idea, and in my opinion, an ethical breach, especially when non-transparent ghostwriting is used to promote a leader’s or public figure’s image or brand.”

Ghostwriting

Ghostwriting

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2015 in Ghostwriting

 

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