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Your Best Client is the One You’re With

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You’ve seen the meme. A young couple is walking down the sidewalk and he spins around to take a look at another girl walking by. The meme is funny because … well there is truth in the attraction to something new. The grass appearing to be greener on the other side of the fence. Of course, most of the people reading this article would never behave so atrociously. We would never fail to appreciate the wonderful person we’re already with. Or would we?

How much attention do you devote to your existing customers versus prospects?  It’s very easy to become so focused on new business development that we ignore the great catch right in front of us.

No one likes to feel unappreciated, but rather than sending you a meme (You. Me. New Business.), that customer will more likely decide to finally take that sales call from one of your competitors. And where does that leave you but frantically “wining and dining” a new prospect to bring a new business relationship to the level of the one you just lost.

The good news is that your customers know you have other clients. Our business relationship vs. dating analogy only goes so far, and rational people understand this. Most estimates are that the marketing effort necessary to retain a customer is only about 20% of that needed to land a new account.  Why not resolve to give your current customers at least that minimal amount of attention necessary to keep them satisfied and feeling “loved.”

Now you could assess your marketing budget and say one in five dollars needs to be devoted to existing clients, but it may be just as effective to look at the issue from the standpoint of hours rather than hard currency. Devotion doesn’t have to be measured in cash.

If you think it may be time to put the spark back in your existing relationships, here are a few tips presented as phrases that you’re probably familiar with. (And you’ll notice they aren’t costly at all.)

“How was your day?” Find out what’s new with your customers’ businesses, what changes they’re experiencing, and what trends they see. You may find an opportunity where you can help (or know someone who can – see below).

“You were on my mind.” Reach out to old clients you haven’t heard from in a while. It’s possible they’ve found someone new, but it’s more likely they just haven’t required your services. Ask them the same questions as those directly above to find out what is going on in their worlds. You’ll be surprised how often you hear, “I’ve been meaning to call you.”

“Let’s go out on the town.” For those of us in sales, we spend a lot of time at networking events. Ask your clients to join you and introduce them to the people you know. Networking isn’t always about what you can get, it’s also what you can give. Give the gift of new connections, and your clients will never forget it.

“This made me think of you.” Books, magazine articles, blogs or videos … there are likely dozens of things you read on a weekly basis that could be of interest to your clients. Pass them along.

“Have I told you lately …” We purchase a lot of goods and services in our daily lives — for work and for business. When was the last time you were thanked? A sincere ‘thank you’ or a handwritten note goes a long way.

As long as you are in business to make money it would be ridiculous to “stay true” to just one customer. Unfortunately, what’s expected is even tougher. You need to remain true to all of them. Love the one you’re with.

SEO Tips Introduction

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a moving target with a mysterious algorithm that no one seems to be able to define precisely. While this fact can be frustrating, if you can look at it from a positive standpoint, it can be to your benefit. Why?

No One Else Has the Exact Answer Either

We are all at the same disadvantage in our inability to crack the Google SEO code. You can count on the fact that no one else knows the code, so if you stay up to date on SEO techniques like the ones we are about to discuss in this series, you will stay on top of the SEO game.

There Are Ways to Stay at the Top

There are many techniques to staying at the top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP), though you’ll never find the exact formula. Let’s say you’ve been blogging for a couple years, continuously creating new content and seeing engagement with your blog. All that content does not have to have an expiration date. Take some time to review your collection of blogs and see if there are any particular articles that received more traffic than others. These articles will be the starting point for a blog refresh and update, which can yield a significant increase in website traffic.

Now that you have this list of top performing blogs, look to see if there is a relationship between any of these articles. If there is a relationship, can you seamlessly combine these articles into one longer-form, more in-depth article? Find a common thread to connect a few of your blogs, especially if they are around 250-400 words each. You want to combine them to make a longer blog of at least 1000 words.

What’s the reasoning behind this? User-generated content has become prolific ever since we all figured out that generating fresh content is one of the best ways to receive a thumbs up from Google. Look how far we’ve come! From the days of totally useless, “keyword stuffing” articles that had no value other than attracting Google’s attention, to the days of more valuable, readable and meaningful articles, to today. Google has essentially learned how to read over the years, which forced businesses to start writing that real content. And now that real content needs to be even more meaningful and in-depth to offer users and searchers even more valuable information. Google’s reading level is rising.

Now, think about it – this is not a bad thing! Who needs loads of shallow content that offers readers no insight or useful information? While more thoughtful, in-depth content takes longer to create, it is more helpful to your audience. At the end of the day, helping your customers and potential customers is, simply, the right thing to do. They are the lifeline of your business!

Check back monthly during 2019 to receive more SEO tips to improve your organic search traffic and add value to your customers’ experience on your website. Click here to signup for our monthly newsletter to receive the tips directly in your inbox.

Pinstripe Team: Early Influences

In my experience, successful entrepreneurs and business leaders had someone or something that influenced them. Mentors are often pointed to as being the most common influencers, while others have had amazing experiences with a company that promoted growth and autonomy.

The Pinstripe team has decades of experience, and, early in their careers, there was something that guided each one through the challenges of everyday life. So, I wanted my team to share what or who were influences early in their careers.

What Was a Major Influence In Your Career?


Nikki
:

When I was working as an instructional designer at Suncoast Hospice, I was surrounded by incredibly supportive women who helped me to recognize my potential and value my own skill set.I began to see myself through their eyes: as a computer whiz, a creative guru, a natural leader, and even a kind-hearted, intuitive listener who was sensitive to others’ needs.Before I met these women, I didn’t realize how valuable my intelligence, creativity and soft skills were, and how much of each I possessed. Ever since then, I’ve made sure to be more self-aware and appreciate not just what others around me have to offer, but honor the gifts that I bring to the table as well.

Evie Larson - art director
Evie
:

Early in my career I worked with a young lady named Marlenys Rojas, who taught me so many valuable lessons. From Marlenys I learned the importance of connectedness and collaboration with other creatives; to vibe off other designers’ energy during brainstorming sessions; to be more inquisitive, rigorous and experimental with each project I tackled. She instilled in me a desire to be enthusiastic and present to the process of graphic design; to love the craft; to obsess over my craft; to make it personal; to give a shit.

Heather Christman - art director
Heather
:
My first influence and appreciation for art comes from my Dad who is a talented and accomplished fine artist. I don’t recall having a specific mentor during my career but did enjoy learning from many different people, all of whom contributed to my career as a graphic designer.  As for many, my most significant lessons were learned at my first job in the industry which was at a small family owned advertising agency. They included me in every facet of the business, not just in my area of design. I learned the ropes in account and project management, art direction, photo shoots, and vendor relationships. Those experiences helped me later in various career moves as I was able to adapt more easily in various work environments throughout my career.


Michael
:
My first advertising gig was with an established boutique firm in Central Minnesota. I was the assistant to one of two account executives, Ronn Paulson.I learned from his Norwegian honest and authentic demeanor; his amazing project management skills and sense of organization that had been honed during the height of print marketing; and his work-life balance, juggling two young children and a career. He taught me many of the fundamentals that became the bedrock of my career.

This article is part of a series on getting to know our team a little more. Throughout the year, we will be featuring more on this topic. Can you relate with any of our influencers? Got a mentor story to share? Let us hear about it in the comments section below!

Public Relations: Be Honest, Be Authentic

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In the past few years, we’ve seen a whole bunch of public relations disasters. Hollywood has been wracked with them, from famous celebrities to powerful executive producers. Some were handled quickly and with compassion, while others not so much. We have also seen major corporations suffer the fate of PR mismanagement. Some are still trying their best to regain consumer confidence.

You may be wondering why all of this matters. Well, it’s because consumers say authenticity is important when choosing the brands they support. This means that any missteps by their PR departments can derail their fiscal goals. We’ve got some great examples that any business, big or small, can learn from.

The Need to Be Honest

In 2016, Wells Fargo had a crisis of major proportions. When the public learned about employees at the bank creating over 2 million fake accounts, customers and shareholders felt betrayed. What made this crisis worse was the PR nightmare that followed. Executives tried to cover up the problem. Then, they couldn’t get their story straight. It was obvious that they were lying to our faces. Today, the bank’s stock is rated as “Sell” and their current campaign to build trust is having little impact. Too little too late.

Had the company been open and more transparent about their problems, they could have stopped the bleeding immediately and worked quickly to gain consumers’ trust. When a company appears to be covering something up, or being dishonest, that’s when the media really takes an interest and starts digging into the story—often making more trouble than usual. Honesty and authenticity are the best policies in public relations.

The Need to Be Authentic

In April of this year, Southwest Airlines suffered an enormous setback to their reputation when an engine blew up mid-flight, killing one person onboard. Luckily, the airplane landed safely and the entire fleet was grounded.

At the time of the accident, the Southwest crisis communications team went into action, communicating brief statements on social media and online networks. When they had the complete story to share, they provided the media and the general public with a written statement and a heartfelt video statement by their CEO. Both have a conciliatory tone and avoid the boilerplate tones we so often hear in media coverage. Both are authentic and reassure future passengers that they care about getting them safely to their destinations.

The Same Goes for Smaller Business

Reputation management is much the same for small and midsized businesses. There will always be threats to reputation from within as well as outside the company.

One of the best ways to prevent a PR nightmare is to be proactive. This means showing all of the good things that happen in your organization on a regular basis (not just as a reaction to a crisis). Show how your employees engage with clients and the community, because these can help drown out that one, unexpected bad thing that comes along to damage your hard earned reputation.

When a crisis does occur, take a hint from Southwest Airlines’ CEO. Respond as soon as possible after you are completely informed about the situation, respond in a sincere manner on an appropriate platform (sometimes video makes sense, sometimes written), and promise that you are doing your best to rectify the issue and prevent future issues (because you are and you should be).

The Pinstripe PR team can answer any questions you may have about PR crisis preparedness, so reach out if you are interested in planning ahead.

Marketing with Video Content

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Engaging your audience with video content is essential in today’s content rich, image rich environment. It’s also important to note that our workplaces will soon be flooded with true digital natives—people who grew up with smartphones and tablets. These communicate in a seemingly endless array of images and videos on platforms like YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and using emoji, sometimes without any words at all.

It’s not likely that a professional services or B2B business will ever communicate to its audience without text, but we need to approach marketing from the perspective of an image rich background in order to capture the widest audience. And, when all is said and done, image and video rich content is simply more interesting to digest – we can all agree on that.

Video marketing comes in an array of styles and forms. Below are just a few types of video content that will contribute to a well-rounded video marketing campaign.

 

Video Interviews

Planning is essential when filming video interviews, so it’s recommended to work with a marketing agency to strategize about the goals for these videos, especially the final edited clips and multitude of applications for them. Plus, organizing a media library with your video content can maximize its potential.

You will need a list of questions that garner answers to generally describe your business and some deeper questions to cover the more complex aspects of your business. These will speak to the segment of your audience who is most knowledgeable and deeply engaged. Covering as much ground as possible during these interviews will pay off in the long run. You will spend a day or more of setup and filming, but end up with many options for arranging different interview clips for different purposes.

 

Environmental Video

Also known as “b-roll”, these short action clips are of your employees at work, interacting with clients, product demonstrations and applications in the “real world,” and your office as well as the city in which you are located. These capture the personality and essence of who, what, and where your business is, so plan on brief, dynamic shots that will captivate your audience. These clips can be used for website headers (without sound or music is recommended–it can be annoying to visit a website and have unwanted music blast suddenly), in conjunction with interviews to create more interest (rather than just a talking head), and as brief clips for social media ads or posts.

 

Event Video

These videos are usually a combination of both interview and environmental. For those businesses that have an annual or quarterly event such as corporate sales meetings, trainings, trade shows, workshops, etc, don’t miss the opportunity to capture video and record the event and your interactions. During events, there is usually a lot of interaction between your staff and clients or prospects, your employees collectively, and your products. These are perfect opportunities to capture environmental video of organic interactions with your business. Also consider preparing a list of questions to ask people you encounter—whether they are clients, prospects, or simply people passing by. You may be able to capture video testimonials that are invaluable.

Strategizing about the goals of your video campaign will maximize the use of your time and budget. This will help you create evergreen content that you can repurpose for other aspects of your content marketing. Pinstripe Marketing can create and execute a video content strategy that will enhance the visual content of your business and engage your clients on a deeper level. We’d love to hear from you if you have a project in mind and are interested in learning more.