The Fortune is in the Follow Up

The Fortune is in the Follow Up

Do you know how many companies lose touch with a client before they even begin collaborating with them? And, do you know the cost of letting that happen? In the world of business, you already know how important it is to make a good first impression. However, following up in a timely manner on a first inquiry or email introduction is just as essential (if not more so) than the initial meeting. And when you neglect possible customers, you may miss out on valuable opportunities. According to a recent study from LeadConnect Marketing, as many as 78% of customers buy from a company that responds to their inquiry first.

Think of it this way – when a client requests a quote from you, they are shopping! They have decided to start researching before committing and making a purchase. A quick follow-up response is your chance to show that you care about more than just a sale and are interested in building a relationship. This shows potential clients you have not forgotten about them and that you are available to them should they need additional assistance.

Also, when you follow up with them right away, they are more likely to trust your brand. Simply following up with a potential client might be what entices them to do business with you. On the other hand, a lack of communication or negative interaction could influence a customer to choose a competitor instead.

When you receive an inquiry, you should contact the person or business as quickly as possible to ensure they feel you have noticed them. You can think of following up as a form of customer service since doing so improves the flow of communication and allows you to address their concerns upfront.

Have you ever responded to an inquiry immediately with a quote or proposal and not received a response from your potential client? If you shrug and move on, the possibilities end. There could be a fortune in this follow up! So many things could happen to derail a prospective buyer from responding and your cheery follow up email or call, could spark the action to close the sale!

Many businesses who schedule appointments for their clientele have learned that sending reminders and following up to confirm the scheduled appointment a few days before, will result in less no-shows because people do forget and do get busy. Incorporating this customer service follow up is a win for your business to stay booked and busy!

Here are some simple things to consider when following up:

  • Take a few minutes to send an email, text, call, or even send a handwritten note.
  • Treat everyone with respect. Listen to what they have to say.
  • Quickly respond to an inquiry or introduction but be sure to use a message that doesn’t seem canned or meaningless.
  • Don’t assume you are being ghosted. Reach out to keep the conversation going and build the relationship.

Over to you

The bottom line is that prompt follow-ups are essential to your business’ success, both now and in the future. Effective and timely communication, especially at the beginning of the relationship, goes a long way toward a successful future working together.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

What is at the Core of Your Company’s Culture?

What is at the Core of Your Company’s Culture?

What is it about your company that makes it unique and distinguishes it from others in your industry? It’s likely that your messaging and branding are the first things that come to mind. However, it’s actually your core values that defines the framework for your company: what you believe in, stand for, and aim for. They are the guiding principles that your company uses to manage its internal processes as well as its relationships with current and potential customers.

Let’s look at why it is important to determine your core values and what it means for your business.

What are core values?

Core values are the fundamental beliefs that guide a company and its staff. They set the standard for your organization. The caliber of your products or services, the quality of staff and clients you attract, what your business does and why: every single one of these aspects of company culture are influenced by your organization’s core values. They also communicate to potential clients that doing business with you is more than “simply “business.”

Why do you need core values for your business?

In a nutshell, a purpose-driven culture with engaged staff is needed for your company’s overall performance. Having well-defined core values will make this a reality. WordStream shares a list of the benefits of having all your people in alignment:

  • Improves output
  • Encourages better decision-making
  • Motivates action
  • Boosts customer services
  • Builds your company’s reputation
  • Creates resilience and confidence among your staff

Source: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2021/06/09/company-core-values

How do you define your company’s core values?

Defining your core values should start with a thorough evaluation of your company’s culture and vision. Think of how you may use your values to show what your organization aspires to accomplish and represent. Be sure to ask yourself questions such as, “What is important for my business and to me,” and “What do I want my business to be known for?” to help guide you.

When you’re ready to begin the process of determining your company’s values, consider the following guidelines:

  • Keep them short
  • Be specific
  • Address both internal and external objectives
  • Make them unique

MYOB’s Core Values

Here at MYOB, our core values guide everything we do and allow us to “RISE” as an organization. The following defines what is important to us:

Respect:
Communicate with clients, respond to emails and messages as promptly as possible, keep staff and coworkers in the loop and updated as a courtesy – check in with each other.
Be on time for zoom calls and dressed appropriately to show respect to whomever you are meeting.

Integrity:
No excuses, step up and take responsibility, be accountable and reliable.

Service:
Give a little extra attention, answer the phone, make time to listen.

Ethic:
Confidentiality is critical, work hard, don’t waste time, be professional.

Over to you

Your company’s core values are its foundation. They are the enduring principles that show the world who you and your business are. They have a consistent impact on accountability and decision-making. And finally, they are extremely significant since they influence your company’s overall success. So, when deciding the core values for your business, be sure to do your research and remember to have fun when implementing them.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Podcasting 101

Podcasting 101

Since its beginning in the early 2000s, podcasting has developed rapidly and steadily. So, by now, you are probably aware of podcasts. You may even listen to at least one of them on a regular basis. Check out these statistics from 2021 to get a better idea of the popularity of podcasting:

  • Nearly 12 million Canadian adults (38% of the 18+ population) have listened to podcasts in the past year.
  • Nearly 9 million Canadian adults (29% of the 18+ population) listen to podcasts at least once a month.

Source: The Podcast Exchange (https://www.thepodcastexchange.ca/research)

Have you been thinking about starting your own podcast? Although it may seem complicated, podcasting is simpler than it appears!

What is a podcast, exactly?

A podcast is essentially a collection of spoken articles or audio episodes that are all centered on a single topic or theme. People can subscribe to the podcast using a podcast listening app on their phone and listen to episodes on their headphones, in their car, or on smart speakers anytime they choose. Podcasting allows you to take your favourite show with you and listen to it whenever you want. It personalizes shows and makes them available on demand.

This is what distinguishes podcasting from broadcasting and is one of its benefits. Unlike broadcast media, a podcast listener will not hear messages from your competitors. When they tune in to your podcast, they are solely listening to you. And, unlike other kinds of media, listeners typically devote their full attention and time to podcasts since they deliver your content in a way that is easy to consume. This can certainly help strengthen brand loyalty for businesses in highly competitive industries.

Podcasting provides a unique way to expand and engage an audience along with numerous other benefits. Podcasts are helping businesses from around the globe with boosting revenue, increasing brand awareness, and providing an updated content marketing channel. Now is an ideal time to start a podcast, whether you’re a brand, a hobbyist, a non-profit, or someone with a message to share.

How does one get started with podcasting?

Before you begin your podcast, take a step back and consider “why”. Ask yourself questions such as what do you want the world to know about you? What are you hoping to motivate your audience to do?

Here are a few reasons why people start podcasts:

  • Thought leadership
  • Create fresh content
  • Brand awareness
  • Grow a new or existing audience

Once you have determined your “why”, it’s time to find out if there is an audience that is interested in your podcast idea. What type of podcast listener are you looking for? What demographics, hobbies, social media platforms and behaviors do they have? This will help you decide what type of content you wish to share and whether you are sharing it with the right audience.

When it comes to the length of a podcast episode, there is only one correct answer: it depends! There is no “one-size-fits-all” duration, and the length will be determined by a variety of factors. Podcasts can range in length from a few minutes to a few hours. Most podcasts, though, are between 20 and 40 minutes long. But remember, you can do whatever seems appropriate for you and your listeners.

Other steps to launching your podcast include choosing a cool name for it, deciding on the format (episodic or serial), and obtaining your recording equipment. Although podcasting equipment can seem intimidating, a professional-sounding recording does not require a sophisticated setup. You may be surprised to learn that all you’ll probably need is a laptop, an internet connection, a USB microphone, headphones, and free recording software.

How do I determine and target my demographic of listeners?

Your first step is to consider your podcast’s niche when identifying your target audience. For example, podcasters within a specific industry will find that their target audience is easy to determine. What types of people work in your field? Is there a certain set of people who would listen to your podcast in that industry? That’s your target market.

If you already have a few listeners, try to learn more about them. If you can figure out what they have in common, you will have a better idea of how to define and expand your audience. If you have social media followers, you can quickly define your target demographic.

Podcast surveys are another excellent method to gather detailed information about your listeners. Nearly every well-known podcast conducts annual listener surveys, and you should as well. Using Google Forms, Survey Monkey, or other similar tools to collect surveys is a quick and easy method to see who is listening to your podcast. Knowing the key demographics of your podcast listener is usually one of the easiest and most accurate methods to define your audience.

Where do I post my podcast?

When it comes to podcasting, it’s not as simple as recording your audio and uploading it to iTunes or Spotify. You will first need to choose a podcast hosting service, which is similar to the process of choosing the best hosting platform for your website. Platforms that host podcasts, however, store and broadcast your audio content while helping you grow your audience.

TechRadar shares a useful list of the top podcasting hosting providers of 2022. Among these are BuzzSprout, which is a top platform for new podcasters and is one of the easiest to use. Podbean is an excellent choice for price conscious users. Libsyn offers unlimited bandwidth and is one of the oldest podcast hosting services. Learn more about these and other top podcast hosting services on TechRadar’s website: https://www.techradar.com/best/podcast-hosting.

What topics are most popular?

As of 2021, over 850,000 podcasts, totaling over forty-eight million episodes, were available online. With that in mind, it is reasonable to assume that there is a podcast for almost any topic you can think of.

Disctopia, a podcast hosting platform and streaming service, lists their top 100 podcast topics and ideas of 2022 on their site (https://disctopia.com/top-100-podcast-topics-and-ideas-of-2022/). The top five are as follows:

  1. Advice
  2. Celebrity Interviews
  3. Q&A (Ask me Anything)
  4. Celebrity News
  5. True Crime

As a small business owner, you may be interested in subjects such as brand building and company management. Of course, there are dozens (if not hundreds!) of business-related podcasts as well! Feedspot provides an up-to-date list of the top business-related podcasts from thousands of podcasts rated by traffic, social media followers, domain authority, and freshness. Here are their top five recommendations:

  1. HBR IdeaCast
  2. The $100 MBA Show
  3. TED Talks Business
  4. TED Business
  5. After Hours | Harvard Business Review

You can find the rest of the best on their site: https://blog.feedspot.com/business_podcasts/

Over to you

Anyone, regardless of experience level, can start a podcast. All you need is real enthusiasm for your subject and something useful to offer your audience!

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

A Blog About…Blogging!

A Blog About…Blogging!

People once thought of blogging as just another trend for creative individuals to dabble in and to keep up with personal online journals. Let’s fast-forward to the 2010’s. We have seen blogging evolve into something entirely different from its humble beginnings. We also know that blogging has been more than simply another trendy “thing” for quite some time.

In all reality, blogging is serious business these days. Your company’s blog serves as a major marketing tool, but it can also be much more than that; a blog can also educate your readers, provide a platform for you to share your company’s experiences (both good and negative), and more!

Are you thinking about having a blog on your website? Here are four benefits and reasons why companies should establish and maintain a blog.

Why blogging is beneficial to businesses

#1. Blogging as a business is an excellent way to boost your company’s online presence and to help it grow.

Blogging is one of the most effective ways for businesses of all sizes to attract organic internet traffic to their websites. Regularly updated sites with new content receives higher rankings from search engines like Google. So, by consistently publishing content that adds value to your website, you will begin to see a rise in traffic that also includes new prospects and leads. Most importantly, publishing fresh content for your site on a regular basis helps potential customers find you, remember you, and keep you in mind when they are ready to purchase your company’s products or services.

#2. Sharing your area of knowledge through a blog allows you to establish trust with your audience.

Writing useful blog posts for your target audience goes a long way toward helping you establish yourself as an industry expert or thought leader and thereby gaining their trust. Having others see you as a trustworthy and dependable source of information is an important first step toward building your current customers’ loyalty along with attracting new customers.

#3. A blog provides a platform for you to reinforce your company’s brand.

Every business has something that makes them unique, and blogging provides a terrific way to introduce yourself and to showcase your company’s personality. Your blog provides you with a unique opportunity to shine and to set yourself apart from your competition. One goal of blogging is to cultivate a personal relationship with your audience. Once they develop a sense of connection with you, their loyalty will often follow.

#4. Another important benefit of blogging for businesses is the development of new relationships.

Connections are frequently created not just with your consumers, but also with other business owners. Think of your blog as a networking tool, as you are contributing to your industry’s community. As such, participating in your industry’s community will help you build trust with clients AND create key connections for future business prospects.

What platforms are available to help promote my blog?

Now that you have a business blog and you are publishing great content, you are probably wondering how to spread your message far and wide. This is a vital factor to consider, particularly if you wish to realize the benefits outlined above.

You may find it a bit intimidating to learn that each month, users produce about 70 million new blog posts and over 409 million people view more than 20 billion pages worldwide. (Source: https://wordpress.com/activity/)

Housing a blog on your business’s website is the best place to start. However, you should also consider posting your blog content on websites beyond your own if you are to get any genuine traction. For example, sharing your content on industry or niche sites helps amplify your posts, allowing them to reach a wider audience. Interested readers will then find their way back to your own website.

Are you ready to boost your content and increase your website traffic and conversions? This list from Search Engine Journal (https://www.searchenginejournal.com/content-marketing/places-to-share/#close) offers a fantastic variety of free sites to choose from!

  1. Medium
  2. LinkedIn Publishing
  3. E-Newsletters
  4. BizSugar
  5. Twitter (Personal and Business accounts)
  6. Facebook (Personal and Business pages)
  7. Pinterest
  8. Flipboard

Over to you

Business blogs are essential tools for any company wanting to boost its online presence. A blog can boost your SEO, highlight your expertise, enhance your brand identity, cultivate customer relationships, and provide a venue on your website to publish shareable material.

As you can see, there are numerous advantages to business blogging. If you have not already begun blogging, now is a perfect time to do so! We have a dedicated staff of writers and editors at MYOB with many years of expertise producing content for a wide range of industries. Contact us today to learn more.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Grammar & Brand Messaging for Your Business

Grammar & Brand Messaging for Your Business

Is it possible that a typo – or a series of them – can turn off a potential customer? You’d better believe it! These days, many people begin their purchasing journeys online, so a flawless website that grabs and keeps their attention is critical. Remember, first impressions matter.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation on your site can negatively influence how people see you or your brand and may even damage your or your brand’s reputation. And, with so much of a business’s communication tied into branding, marketing, and emails, improper grammar can completely affect the interpretation of what you are trying to communicate.

Here are a few reasons why proper grammar in your brand messaging is so important to your company’s success.

#1. Without proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, your brand’s message is at risk of being confusing and even completely misunderstood.
You have most likely spent a lot of time and effort to decide on the best message for your target audience. Producing content that contains mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and even style may significantly dilute the message you worked so hard to establish. Your brand does not benefit from confusing messaging.

#2. Poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation alters the consistency and impacts the trustworthiness of your brand message.
People look for brands on which they can rely. Trust is earned. By delivering a consistent message, your business becomes one they can trust. Consistency can refer to several things, but it is especially important when it comes to your wording.

#3. Your brand’s credibility is at stake if your content contains grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes.
As we mentioned earlier in this post, typos are one of the key reasons why people may become turned off by a brand. Attention to detail is critical. People simply do not trust brands that seemingly fail to put in the time and effort to create error-free content.

#4. Poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation can negatively affect user accessibility.
It is important to keep in mind that not everyone who reads what you have written will easily ‘get’ what you are saying. Some people are attempting to figure out the meaning of every word, regardless of whether it is correct or not. In addition, English may not be the native language of your potential customer. Grammatical errors and other typos may result in potential customers being unable to understand your message. Or, even worse, they may misinterpret you completely.

How can I avoid grammatical errors in my brand’s content?

When creating content for your brand, it is inevitable that you will commit a grammatical error at some point. Fortunately, there are a few ways to help you avoid, or at the very least catch and modify, these errors before they are published.

To avoid grammar errors in your business content and correspondence, consider these tips:

  1. Make edits as you go. If you start editing straight away, you will save time later because you will have fewer edits to make at the end.
  2. Use digital tools to help streamline the editing process. With a quick Google search, you can easily find a variety of free online spelling and grammar checkers. Some of these tools also provide synonyms, allowing you to use a broader range of words in your content.
  3. Double-check your own work for typos. Even though your work may be reviewed by an editor before final approval, it is still a good idea to do your own proofreading before submitting it.
  4. Outsource it to a team with writers and proofreaders. By hiring a specialized group to create and review your material, you can drastically reduce the grammar errors on your website and on your social media pages.

Over to you

All businesses, regardless of their size or industry, should understand the value of using good grammar, correct spelling, and proper punctuation in their online content. Whether it’s a quick tweet or status update, an email, or the more involved writing of a blog or a company page, you want to make a good first impression to people who are interested in your brand.

At MYOB Inc. we have several content writers and proofreaders on our staff to help you present your best messaging to represent your brand.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Talk to Human!

Talk to Human!

Have you noticed that a lot of businesses are willing to engage through online channels yet fail to provide any phone support these days? All too often, the online chat supports those businesses offer are auto-generated generic answers that are less-than-helpful. Let’s say you’re unable to log into one of your social media networks, either because you’ve been locked out or because the platform is down. Having the option to speak with a live person and resolve the issue over the phone would be helpful, right?

Research shows why people are becoming increasingly frustrated with online support:

  • 55% of customer requests for service on social media are not acknowledged.
  • 72% of Facebook interactions are never completed, in any channel.

Source: Huffington Post (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/50-important-customer-exp_b_8295772)

Why going back to the basics to develop relationships can humanize your business?

In the long run, the ability to humanize your business through live phone support can certainly help your company stand out from the crowd. Human nature dictates that people prefer to do business with real people rather than logos and bots. And although face-to-face meetings and phone calls were once the norm for business representatives, artificial intelligence (AI), email and social media have contributed to a decline in personal human interactions over the last decade or so.

As well, too many companies are overlooking a key aspect when prioritizing the digital experience: talking on the phone with a real person is faster, easier, and more effective than typing messages back and forth. It may seem old-fashioned, but in reality, most people still want to talk to a knowledgeable human being – especially when they have customer service issues or are making major purchasing decisions.

Businesses may be losing potential revenue by hiding their phone numbers and making it nearly impossible to reach a live person. Customers who are irritated have little patience for automated support, and even those who aren’t irritated will notice when your company interacts with a human touch. However, savvy business owners understand that relationships are the true currency of business. And, amongst the rise of AI, humans now have the advantage of offering something unique and compelling to customers.

Ready to provide a “Talk to Human” option? Proper phone etiquette will go a long way

If you are ready for your business to be more “human” again but haven’t picked up the phone in a while, then you may need to brush up on your phone skills. Having a repertoire of good customer service terms on hand will help you communicate with your current and potential customers more effectively.

Here are a few impactful customer service phrases to consider:

#1. “Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”

In fact, the customer who reports the flaw is actually assisting your company with quality control. In these cases, the very least your company can do is express gratitude through this simple phrase. Being courteous does not cost you anything. It is important to be genuine with this as people are smart and can detect if you’re being insincere.

#2. “I will look into this for you.”

Even when you are unsure of the outcome, it is essential that you express a willingness to find the answer. Because one of your goals is to boost your customers’ trust in your brand, this helps demonstrate to them that you’re a professional who gets things done.

#3. “I apologize for the inconvenience.”

If a customer is dissatisfied, it is critical to demonstrate empathy, validate their complaint and let them know that you understand their concerns. Apologizing to a dissatisfied customer and admitting the error is preferable to making excuses.

Source: Qminder (https://www.qminder.com/blog/customer-service/customer-service-phrases/)

Over to you

At the end of the day, it is important to provide your customers with as many contact channels as you can effectively manage. Consider having a “talk to human” as one of those options; it will likely result in a positive experience for both sides!

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger