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Build Top of Mind Awareness With an E-Newsletter

enews_newsSome things never change, even in the fluid online world. One thing that we have always thought important, and will always believe in, is the e-newsletter. A few years ago we wrote the below article – “Build Top of Mind Awareness With an E-Newsletter,” and we still think the information in this article is useful – probably more than ever.

In a market driven by meaningful content, producing an e-newsletter with solid articles that help your customers and prospects is one of the best ways to build the relationships that will foster trust in your brand. There is no question – content is king, and if you position yourself as an expert by creating good content, you will win the trust of clients and prospects.

 

There are some kinds of businesses that are a part of their customers’ weekly, if not daily routine—grocery stores, drycleaners, and gas stations to name a few. Other companies, such as clothing and hardware stores or even restaurants, also typically attract mostly repeat business. As long as these operations offer competitive prices, good service, and are conveniently located (with no new arrival in the market appearing significantly better on any of those points), customer loyalty should remain fairly strong. But how can businesses instill loyalty when clients may need their services on an annual basis at best, or perhaps only a few times during an entire lifetime? This is the common situation for many professional service providers such as attorneys, CPAs, medical specialists, IT solution providers, or architects to name a few. An e-newsletter may be an economical and effective way to maintain top-of-mind awareness with prospective clients during those long stretches between having a need for the provider’s services.

Simple name recognition is good way to initially differentiate your business from others in your market. But more importantly, an e-newsletter emphasizes the expertise that’s available from professionals at your company.

The greatest challenge associated with producing any e-newsletter – one distributed via email – is getting an audience to read it. And even when a recipient originally made a conscious decision to request the newsletter, it’s not unusual for that person to soon find himself deleting the communication unread, marking it as spam, or taking the final step of asking to removed from the subscription list.

Here are few dos and don’ts that will help maintain reader interest in an e-newsletter from a professional service organization.

Do offer news the reader can use. For instance, attorneys might offer tips as to what to do when starting a business and accountants could point out frequently overlooked tax deductions. Make the articles memorable, pithy and to the point.

Don’t make the publication just another advertisement. In fact, it will enhance the credibility of your e-newsletter if you don’t overtly “sell” anything at all. While articles can address issues that readers may be facing as well as the available solutions, avoid talking about your own company’s specific offerings. Consumers are savvy. If they read about a problem in your newsletter, they’ll assume you have a product or service to meet their needs.

Do make it plain that you’re local. People are more open to information that comes from a “neighbor.” Work references to area landmarks or events into the various articles. As silly as it may seem, people enjoying saying to themselves, “I know where that is.” Referring to local places and events will make your business seem less abstract to potential customers.

Don’t pontificate. A “message” from the company president or CEO is generally bad enough as a reader turn-off, but it may be forgivable if that message offers the “news you can use” component mentioned earlier. Observations about the state of the union, environmental policy, what’s wrong with kids today, or any other topic outside of the author’s professional expertise however, is a definite no-no.

Do keep it brief. While you may have articles that link to your Web site for more additional (non sales) information, the amount of content visible at first glance, should not take up much more room than one screen length. The format should also make it easy for the reader to scan for topics of interest, and quickly glean the facts.

Don’t overload your readers. Make sure the people to whom you send your newsletter have a reasonable chance of being interested in the information you’re providing. And your total number of broadcast communications (the e-newsletter plus any other announcements, alerts, sales promotions, etc.) should appear in their inboxes no more frequently than twice a month. Once a month or once every three months is probably often enough for your newsletter to make an impact without becoming an unread annoyance.

Do encourage reader interactivity. Solicit and make it easy for your audience to provide feedback about your newsletter. Not only is this good PR but their ideas could very well have great merit and can enhance your publication. Also make it easy for audience members to introduce people they know to your newsletter. And finally, make it easy for readers to unsubscribe if they wish to do so.

Properly executed and written with your audience’s interests in mind, an e-newsletter can help keep your business in the minds of potential customers for that specific moment when they may need your services.

Pinstripe Bookshelf: Uncommon Service

bookshelf_news

Some colleagues and I recently shared a lively discussion about business and management books we defined as professional game changers. Many titles sprang to mind, with one clearly standing out: Uncommon Service by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss (Harvard Business Review Press).

Each of us had devoured its simple brilliance and intriguing premise.

uncommon_serviceFrei and Morriss maintain that companies must “dare to be bad” in order to be great, choosing highly strategic ways to “underperform while fueling a winning service advantage.” But first, they say, you have to have the stomach for it…

The authors pose compelling arguments surrounding the art of making competitive trade-offs to build a sustainable business that’s profitable, scalable and able to deliver service excellence every day. They deliver practical insights into service innovation and actionable ways to win by putting customers at the core of your business.

Case studies across a variety of sectors showcase four dimensions — or “service truths” — to illustrate a powerful approach to uncommon service. Truth No. 1? You Can’t Be Good at Everything.

Explore this and the other dimensions in the book. It’s a must-read in our service economy.

Order Uncommon Service from Amazon

Trade Show Checklist from ADM Two

Tampa custom trade show booth design

ADM Two is the premier trade show display and museum exhibit company in Central Florida – and we are proud to call them a client, a vendor, and friends. Whether we need a quick banner stand or pop-up trade show booth, a one-of-a-kind custom display, or design and construction for a corporate interior, they have the talent and resources to make it happen. They’ve helped thousands of clients effectively design, build, set-up and tear-down trade show displays – and more than anyone else – they know how to stay organized to make the most out of an industry show. They’ve shared their tried-and-true checklist with us so we can share it with you.

And if you need assistance with a trade show booth, museum display or custom corporate interior, give them a call!

Trying to Remember it All

The moment you decide to participate in a trade show, start your trade show checklist. There are so many things to remember that the trade show checklist is not just important – it is essential for success. Failure to adhere to the trade show checklist could be disastrous.

We recommend breaking the trade show checklist down into sections. Below is a sample that may help you get started. Depending on your industry, you may need to add and subtract items and sections, but this list will give you a general idea of what your list will look like.

 

Marketing Materials

  • Method to collect leads (scanners, card collection, etc.)
  • Business cards
  • Brochures
  • Rack cards
  • Folders
  • Giveaways
  • Prizes

Staff

  • Business attire
  • Dinner wear for after parties or dinners during the event
  • Casual clothes for down time
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Workout clothes and/or swimsuit
  • Toiletries
  • Itinerary
  • Computer and charger
  • Cell phone and charger
  • iPads or other devices to be used on the trade show floor

Trade Show Checklist

  • Graphics are professionally designed and exemplify your brand
  • Wires are hidden for aesthetic and safety purposes
  • Fabric signs are level and not wrinkly
  • All elements of the booth are where they should be
  • You have an area for storage space
  • Lighting, computer/television screens and all electronics are functioning properly
  • All equipment is safely in place
  • All electronics are either plugged in or fully charged

 

You can start to see that it is easy to forget small items. Your trade show planning should include a revisitation of the trade show checklist periodically, to ensure that you are covering all corners.

 

Check out some of our other articles to get ideas for trade show display graphics.

Tips on Using the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress

yoast_newsThe Yoast plugin for WordPress is an incredibly useful tool that helps you improve SEO on your website. If used properly, in conjunction with great writing and relevant content, Yoast will assist in increasing the findability of your website and blog based on your chosen keywords for each page. Below are a few tips to maximize your use of Yoast.

 

  • Nothing can replace excellent writing and content. Google has somehow, incredibly, learned how to distinguish bad writing from decent writing. When you are creating blog posts and content for your website, “keyword stuffing” no longer suffices for Google. Not to mention that you gain potential customers’ trust when you deliver well-written, great content. If you publish nonsense, a well-informed customer will detect your “keyword stuffing” technique, and everyone else will simply think you are not to be taken seriously. Content marketing is no longer an option – it’s a necessity, and creating or curating excellent content is the crux of it.
  • The Yoast fields are found below the body of your blog. The tabs are General, Page Analysis, and Social.
  • The focus keyword serves as a guide only. When you enter the focus keyword, it has no effect on the page you are creating. It simply gives Yoast a way to assess the SEO on your page based on your chosen target keyword. This will assist in your writing process, as Yoast uses this keyword to score your SEO and make recommendations on how to improve it for that page.
  • Check the Yoast Page Analysis periodically. It will keep you on track and urge you to refine your writing according to your focus keyword.
  • Make sure to fill in your meta description at the bottom, and include your focus keyword in that description. This is an easily overlooked field, but Yoast will remind you if the keyword does not appear here.

 

Yoast is not a difficult plugin to use. It can be powerful if applied properly, and it is unparalleled in functionality. We use it for all of our clients’ blogs, and with the help of Yoast, we have created successful content marketing campaigns that drive website traffic, and, more importantly, return on investment.

Tampa Bay public relations

 

Cushman & Wakefield’s Byron Moger comments on student housing trends

luxurydorms_newsluxurydormsCushman & Wakefield’s Byron Moger is the firm’s expert in student housing projects, so when University of South Florida announced plans for an upscale, mixed-use housing village, he was the perfect person to comment on the project and growing trend in dorm living.

Universities nationwide are building luxury dorms that compete directly with higher cost, off-campus housing with amenities found at resorts and spas.

“Clearly universities are competing for students, and they can’t really compete on price,” said Moger. “They can compete based on the quality of services they offer to students.”

The Pinstripe PR team connected him with Anastasia Dawson, a staff writer at the Tampa Tribune, to discuss the trends and what we can expect over the next several years as campus life continues to evolve in this Sunday cover story.

Additional student housing stories featuring Byron Moger:

Tampa Tribune: New dorms – Florida universities building plusher digs to lure students

CIRE Magazine: Student Housing Stats – Demographic and economic trends point to continued growth in this nice sector

Housing Industry Forum: Amenity-laden student housing market growing fast