Promote Your Business With the Spirit of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all we are grateful for, and it’s a great opportunity for businesses to show appreciation for their customers.

This Thanksgiving, take a few moments to add that personal holiday touch to your marketing efforts. Here are five suggestions that can get your name out in front of your customers and also promote goodwill and the spirit of the season:

#1. Add a Thanksgiving image to your website and social media accounts. Updating your website, Facebook cover page or twitter profile picture with a holiday graphic is a great way to show your holiday spirit. You are also demonstrating that you are updating your website regularly and are active in your social media accounts – all things your customers will benefit from. Don’t forget to change it to something else on Black Friday!

#2. Ask your employees to add a message to their email signatures. Ask each of your employees to write a short sentence about what they are grateful for this season, and add it to their email signature. Every email they send will include this personal message that customers will read and appreciate.

#3. Send out Thanksgiving cards, e-cards or emails. Whether paper or electronic, a Thanksgiving card is a nice gesture, and not many businesses send them. Your customers will appreciate that you took a moment to thank them for their business this year. You could also remind them of any sales or special hours you have over the holiday weekend.

#4. Free giveaways. Everyone likes to get something for free, so develop a business related e-book, white paper or helpful checklist that your customers can download as your gift to them – just for being your customer.

#5. Run a food drive that benefits a local charity. Organize a special food drive where every can your customers donate to your business will earn them $1 off the purchase of a product or service. This is a great way to support local charities, gain exposure for your company and increase the traffic into your business.

Customers like to feel appreciated, especially by businesses they frequent and support on a regular basis. Be sure to incorporate special giveaways, sales, recognitions and other customer service strategies into your overall marketing plan. Reward your customers for their business, not only at Thanksgiving, but also all year long.

If you need help with your content efforts or would like to learn more about how it can benefit your business, feel free to contact me, or join my email list below.

Marketing Lessons from Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner, and soon (if we haven’t already), we’ll be shopping for costumes, planning parties and buying candy to give out on one of our kids’ favorite holidays of the year.

As I reflect on the traditions and customs that come with this time of year, I’ve identified some parallels between the fun events of fall/Halloween and the marketing of our businesses.

Here are a few business and marketing lessons we can all learn from the fun, scary and sugar-filled holiday of Halloween:

Being present makes a difference. If you have multiple kids going in different directions, you may have to chaperone the beggar’s night and leave a bucket of candy on your front porch. It’s better than not participating at all, right? You may include a note that says something like, “Happy Halloween! Take two treats!”

And while it does the job, it’s not quite the same as being there personally handing out candy. It’s much more fun for the kids to say, “Trick or Treat!” and watch as you place a few pieces of candy in their plastic pumpkins or pillowcases. There’s always the conversation, comments about the costume and other personalizations that make it fun for the kids.

The same holds true for your business. When you, the owner, are personally present in the day-to-day operations, it makes a difference to your customers. You are the one they deal with. You are the one that hears their needs or concerns. You are the one that helps them solve a problem.

Employees, managers and buckets of candy with notes all serve a purpose, but they can’t hold a candle to your personal involvement with your business.

If you have a unique or quality product, people will talk. One of our old neighbors used to wheel a movie-theater style popcorn machine to the end of their driveway and pop fresh popcorn as a treat on Halloween night. The warm, buttery smell called trick or treaters (and parents) from blocks away. Everyone talked about it how good it was. All the parents would ask which house was giving away the popcorn they saw everyone else walking around with. There was often a line of kids and parents all the way down the sidewalk waiting for their small bag. It was popular because it was delicious and it was different.

If you have a product that stands out in front of your competitors’ products, customers are going to talk about it and they will come back for more. How can you make you product different? How can you entice your customers to walk past the other businesses and stand in line on your sidewalk?

Make it easy for your customers to find what they are looking for. A corn maze at a local pumpkin farm is fun to get lost in, but no one wants to struggle to find what they are looking for in your business. Whether you have a store with products on shelves, or you rely on your website to provide information for your customers, they won’t tolerate dead ends and walking in circles.

Be sure the information in your business and on your website is presented in an organized, intuitive manner. Don’t make your website copy so heavy that they have to read long paragraphs to find what they are looking for. There should always be a call to action and an easy way for your customers to contact you, ask questions and get more information. Your customers are busy people, and they need to get their information as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Who knew there were so many marketing lessons in Halloween?

If you need help with your content marketing efforts or would like to learn more about how it can benefit your business, feel free to contact me, or join my email list below.


Study Shows That Spelling Still Counts

LOL, IDK and BRB mean more than just “laugh out loud,” “I don’t know,” and “be right back.” They are symbolic of the shortcut to communication many millennials are using in their text messages and emails. But as it turns out, these trendy communicators have little tolerance for spelling and grammar errors.

In an online Harris Poll conducted from July 31 to August 4 of 2015, reports that responders in the 18-34 year age group were bothered – more than any other age group – by spelling errors on social media.

The study cited the types of misspellings, commonly confused words and grammar rules that bothered respondents of all ages the most.

As a writer, it’s nice to see the value of the written word hasn’t diminished by the shortcuts and abbreviations most of us use today to communicate. In our world where cell phones and tablets are with us 24-7, responding to messages or posting updates has never been faster and easier. We are always reachable, and replying is as quick as a few finger strokes. With that kind of volume, speed, and accessibility we are bound to make mistakes.

Mistakes make an impression about you and your business, so when you are composing or responding on the go to text messages, emails, or messages on social media, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Slow down a little. Devoting a few extra seconds to composing a message isn’t going to take up that much of your life. Editing will go faster if you haven’t made any mistakes to begin with.
  2. Proofread everything at least once before you send it. Even the shortest texts and emails. Be on the lookout for spelling errors, grammar errors, and words that auto correct guessed wrong. The Internet is full of embarrassing examples of auto correct’s well-intended suggestions that changed the meaning of a message entirely.
  3. Don’t rely on spell check. It’s a good first line of defense, but it’s not foolproof.
  4. Read each word individually. This will help you identify words you have left out because you couldn’t type as fast as you were thinking.
  5. Don’t get comfortable. While texts and emails can’t be retracted, most social media outlets allow you to edit your post or update. Don’t slack off on composing or proofreading because of this. You may not catch the mistake before someone else does.
  6. Be polite. Don’t forget your manners when you’re in a hurry. An abbreviated “pls” or “thx” for please and thanks goes a long way toward making an impression with your recipient.

Technology is a wonderful thing that allows us to be connected to each other and our customers more than ever before. The study proves that no matter what the age, most people still value accuracy when it comes to the English language. So get back to the basics. Proofread your work, even your shortest and fastest compositions, and make sure your message is received the way you intended it.

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My Inbound Certification

Last month I earned my Inbound Certification through HubSpot. I’d like to tell you what I thought about the program and the value it has added to my business.

HubSpot’s website claims that its certification keeps you current with the latest inbound marketing trends. The certification has credibility, as HubSpot is a well-known resource for marketing information and software. They frequently update the certification curriculum to provide you with the most up-to-date and valuable information. Once you earn the certification, it is only valid for 13 months. Then you have to retake the updated program in order to get recertified.

The certification is a combination of 11 online classes/videos and a timed 60-question test. The slides from each of the classes are available to download, and there are additional resources at the end of each class, such as blogs and ebooks, that relate to the topics if you want more information.

The certification is free to anyone willing to invest the time and pass the test. It won’t cost you monetarily, but there is a time commitment to the program.

Each of the eleven classes is 35-45 minutes long. And while the concepts may not be new to veteran marketers, their approaches and terms, like Inbound Methodology, Buyer’s Journey, and Buyer’s Personas, are very specific. They are referred to throughout the program, so it’s best to start at the beginning and watch each one in order in its entirety.

Once you’re certified, HubSpot will give you a personalized badge and certificate. You can print the certificate, and place the personalized badge on your website, in an email signature, or on your LinkedIn profile.

Overall, I was impressed with the program and thought it was well worth my time. While I knew much of the general content, HubSpot’s approach made me consider marketing processes and best practices differently. The certification gave me a broader understanding of the Inbound Methodology (i.e. sales cycle) and a stronger foundation for my work with clients.

If you are thinking about taking the class, here are a few benefits that earning the certification will have on your business and your clients:

  • It shows that you are serious about your work
  • It demonstrates that you are committed to growing in your profession
  • Your increased knowledge makes you a better resource for your clients and customers
  • It proves that you finish what you start

Please contact me if you’d like to learn more about my experience with HubSpot’s certification program or how I can help your business with its content needs.