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Utilizing Facebook and Instagram Stories 10 Ways to Improve Your Business Emails Ten Email Content Ideas to Reduce Unsubscribe Rates

Exploring HeartBased Leadership with Best-Selling Author Mark Crowley

MotivationandSuccess.com April 2020 FREE

7 Ways to Promote Your Small Business 7 Simple Ways to Build Credibility in the Marketplace 7 Ways to Provide Excellent Online Customer Service

Infographic: 2020 Small Business Trends


INSIDE THIS MONTH’S ISSUE Marketing Calendar- pg. 3 Utilizing Facebook and Instagram Stories - pg. 4 Exploring Heart-Based Leadership with BestSelling Author Mark Crowley- pg. 7 10 Ways to Improve Your Business Emails - pg. 14 7 Ways to Provide Excellent Online Customer Service - pg. 17 7 Ways to Promote Your Small Business - pg. 21 7 Simple Ways to Build Credibility in the Marketplace - pg. 23 Ten Email Content Ideas to Reduce Unsubscribe Rates - pg. 26 Infographic - 2020 Small Business Trends - pg. 30

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Marketing Calendar Plan your marketing messages around these upcoming holidays and proclamations.

April Autism Awareness Month National Humor Month International Customer Loyalty Month Lawn and Garden Month Stress Awareness Month Physical Wellness Month April 1st - April Fool’s Day April 10th - Good Friday April 19th - Easter Sunday April 22nd - Administrative Professionals Day (US) April 9th - 16th - Passover April 22nd - Earth Day 1st - Walking Day 2nd - Peanut Butter & Jelly Day 2nd - Burrito Day 5th - Caramel Day 6th - Hostess Twinkie Day 7th - No Housework Day

7th - Beer Day 9th - Winston Churchill Day 10th - ASPCA Day 10th - Golfer’s Day 10th - National Siblings Day 11th - National Pet Day 12th - Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day 13th - National Scrabble Day 15th - Tax Day 15th - Titanic Remembrance Day 16th - Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day 16th - Get to Know Your Customers Day 19th - Pet Owners Day 20th - Look Alike Day 22nd - Jelly Bean Day 23rd - Picnic Day 23rd - Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day 26th - Pretzel Day 28th - Superhero Day 30th - Adopt a Shelter Pet Day 30th - Bugs Bunny Day

May Mental Health Awareness Month Military Appreciation Month Employee Health & Fitness Month National Pet Month National Barbecue Month National Blood Pressure Month National Hamburger Month May 1 - May Day May 5 - Cinco de Mayo (US) May 10 - Mother’s Day May 25 - Memorial Day (US) 1st - Batman Day 1st - National Space Day 2nd - Free Comic Book Day 2nd - Fitness Day 3rd - Two Different Colored Shoes Day 4th - Star Wars Day 5th - Teacher Appreciation Day 3

5th - Hoagie Day 6th - Skilled Trades Day 6th - Nurses Day 8th - Military Spouse Appreciation Day 9th - Miniature Golf Day 9th - Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day 10th - Shrimp Day 11th - Miniature Golf Day 13th - Apple Pie Day 15th - Dinosaur Day 15th - Pizza Party Day 15th - Bike to Work Day 15th - NASCAR Day 16th - Armed Forces Day 24th - Scavenger Hunt Day 24th - Neighbor Day 24th - Indianapolis 500 25th - Brown-Bag It Day 25th - Wine Day 25th - Hamburger Day 25th - Missing Children’s Day


Utilizing Facebook and Instagram Stories

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By Argenysse Raia

Social media stories are the new “it” thing when it comes to social media marketing. According to Statista, there are 500 million daily active users that use Instagram stories in 2019. Some might ask themselves, “What are social media stories and why should I bother using them?” Believe it or not, these stories helped businesses increase their numbers and rates.


What are stories?

announced a change in their Facebook and Originally made famous Instagram newsfeed by social media platform, algorithm where posts Snapchat, stories are will not be shown in content that someone can chronological order. put on their profile for only Instead, this new 24 hours. It’s a fun and algorithm will show more brief way to interact with content from users’ friends your followers without and families and less having to commit that public content. This puts content into your profile. businesses and brands at This feature has made a disadvantage. However, its way to other social most have gotten their media platforms, such as way around by using Facebook and Instagram. stories. By posting stories that last 24 hours, this Each platform provides creates a sense of urgency their own special features for your followers to look that users can utilize to at your content (thanks, make their stories fun FOMO). Therefore, it helps and memorable. For maintain your content’s example, Snapchat offers exposure. geofilters where users can swipe to put filters There are about 1.66 on their snapchats at a billion Facebook users that specific event or location. flood their timeline and Businesses can utilize this stories daily, as stated by to promote their event the company’s Q4 2019 or increase awareness report. With that number, (over a certain radius and it can present businesses period) by customizing an opportunity to increase their own geofilter. As for their brand awareness and Instagram, features such engagement. Companies as polls, location stickers, use the platform’s “Swipelivestreams, boomerang, up” feature to lead their Q&A stickers, and audience to the desired highlights are available for webpage by just swiping users to play around with. their finger upwards. This Facebook, Instagram’s can increase your website’s parent company, offers traffic by providing them a similar features as well. clear call-to-action. Just be sure that your Instagram As of 2018, Zuckerburg profile is switched to a 5

business account, or the swipe-up feature won’t be available. Increase your engagement There’s no doubt that Facebook and Instagram stories are a fun and dynamic way to interact with your audience. Stories can be a way to increase your business’s engagement. Features such as polls, livestream, and Q&A stickers all provide an opportunity to increase those numbers. It can provide a more genuine way to connect with your followers as well. A way that you can use these features at your advantage is by hosting a fun poll with the poll sticker. You can ask your followers any question with two answers for them to choose from. A smart way to utilize this feature is by recording the results for any future reference. Maybe the answer with the most results might be featured on a future post or it might provide you with ideas for your product or packaging. Another feature that businesses can utilize is livestream. This feature allows users to hold


livestream sessions through their profile. In the feature, people can send in questions that the user can answer to and their followers can react in real-time using the preset emojis. Another neat tool is the view count, where both parties can see how many people are watching the livestream. Instagram and Facebook will notify a brand’s followers about livestreams, so they know when to tune in. After the session, users have the option to save it to their story for 24 hours, just in case anyone missed out on it.

provide insights in the website and app. From this, businesses can see which posts had the most reach and engagement, as well as which time and day it’s best to post. Furthermore, your marketing department can conclude which posts followers engage with more and use that data to improve your Facebook and Instagram.

Connect and share Think of Facebook and Instagram stories as an opportunity to form a stronger connection to your audience or following. An instance The livestream feature lets where a brand or business businesses take advantage uses stories to strengthen of real-time marketing. engagement is featuring Whether it’s to advocate people for takeovers. The customer service, to brand essentially picks an provide behind the scenes employee or an influencer look of the company, or to take over their to simply interact and Facebook or Instagram increase your audience for a certain time and connection, this tool post content. It’s like a allows businesses to not curtain is peeled back just focus on the width of from to the outside world your audience reach, but to peek at the company also the depth. life or product. This also presents a chance for the Take note - When it comes followers of the featured to anything your business person to discover your does, always make sure profile. All you have to you’re recording data. This do is mention them includes anything social using the “@” followed by media. Luckily, Facebook their profile name. The and Instagram already favor is returned when 6

that featured person mentions your profile on theirs, and when your followers go to their profile. Another feature that helps you connect with your followers is sharing another person’s Instagram story to yours. You can only do so when they mention you on their stories. When they do, you will be notified, and Instagram will give you the option to add it to your story. Once it’s added to yours, the user with the original content will get a notification that you shared their story. This gets your everyday followers a shoutout by featuring them on your profile. Have fun! - Utilizing Facebook and Instagram stories doesn’t have to be daunting. This gives your business and your marketing department a chance to be innovative and creative, as well as an opportunity to diversify content. You don’t only widen your social media reach, but also create depth and deepen your connections within your following. As a result, your followers will truly care about your content. If you have fun with your content, your audience will see the authenticity.


Exploring Heart-Based Leadership with Best-Selling Author Mark Crowley. Today, we’re talking to leadership consultant, professional speaker and bestselling author Mark Crowley. About six years ago, I found Mark’s book, Lead From the Heart: Transformational Leadership for the 21st Century, and I can’t give it enough accolades. Anybody who’s in a leadership role or preparing for one needs to read this book. Mark was gracious enough to answer some questions about his leadership theories and how he developed them. 7

Dennis Postema: In your book, and in the essay you contributed to my book, Stories of Perseverance, you talk about your childhood and how it profoundly impacted your leadership approach. Can you give our readers a quick understanding of what your childhood was like?

my father’s influence, but what he was really determined to do was to cripple me in every aspect. He wanted my self-esteem to be depleted. He kicked me out of the house right after I graduated from high school, with no financial or emotional support. Despite this, I made my way through college, but it was a brutal experience. I had a very deep sense of insecurity about myself and my abilities.

Mark Crowley: My mom died when I was very young. I was raised by a psychologically and emotionally abusive father. Dennis: How did you go I don’t want to take up all from being profoundly damaged by your father of our time talking about


to building your way up through the corporate world? Mark: The good thing was that other people saw things in me and kept moving me along. After graduating from college, I got into a management training program. I don’t know what they saw in me, but they continued to promote me and give me opportunities, and my career in financial services just took off. They kept giving me bigger and bigger jobs.

woman I’d hired named Cecilia. She worked for me in three different organizations and said, “You know you manage people very differently, right? You get results from people in a very different way.” I asked her to tell me what I did differently, and she said, “Everybody’s managing with fear, intimidation and abusiveness. It’s: Get the numbers or you’re out. Fear.” She continued, saying that what I did differently was to lead through inspiration, love, care and support.

doing amazing work and that I appreciated them greatly. I wanted to teach them, and coach them, help them grow, and see them maximize their full potential. And all of that was what I didn’t get growing up.

You see, when I started managing people, completely unconsciously I made a decision to give people what I had always wanted and never had. I wanted safety. I wanted somebody who saw something in me and told me so. I wanted trust. I didn’t want people going home on Friday night not knowing where they stood. I wanted them to know that I was grateful for them, that they were

Dennis: How did you take this information and purposefully begin to work it into your leadership process?

As a result, everywhere I went, I had success leading people. Not because I was a brilliant leader but because I was a caring leader. Because the people who worked for me often weren’t getting that caring anywhere else, and we don’t outgrow our need Before Cecelia said this to for it. We never outgrow neediness. So everywhere me, I think I just took for I was always thinking, granted that everyone was I went, I turned these They’re going to find out teams around, and I’m not that guy. I had very leading the same way. I wasn’t looking outside my they did extraordinary deep insecurity because work, regardless of age, lane to see how people my father drilled into me nationality or gender. I were driving, but then I the idea that I’d never realized the difference had finally realized this is a amount to anything and everything to do with how human thing. This is what that I’d be a complete we all need. I was raised. failure. So there was this inconsistency. I’d hear my inner negative voices, but then I’d see what other people saw in me. I was inspired by what I heard from others. I decided that I could actually be that person rather than the one my father tried to convince me I was.

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The impact of this didn’t really hit me until 20 years later, from the time that I started, thanks to a

Once Cecelia told me that, I started to refine the ideas. I tried different things with my team to see what worked better, never thinking that I was going to end up writing a book. I just wanted to perfect what was really working for me. The


organization that I was working for gave me this big job as national sales manager for investment products. My first year, I’d never sold a stock in my life, but they said, “You’re the guy. We want you to go in there and run that team.” I did, and we had record revenue, record profit. I was named leader of the year. Then the bank was sold the next year, and I stayed with the new company for about six months, but I was so repelled by how they were managing people, I said, “I’ve got to go.” So I left, and then made the decision to write. In the process of writing the book, I found all this profound validation for everything that I was doing, which led me to call it Lead From the Heart, because it’s all about the heart, something we don’t really think about much. Dennis: In the book, you preface with a short history of your childhood. How was it to write that?

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Mark: Just writing the preface of my book was a painful experience. At one point, I honestly didn’t think I was ever going to get through it. Having to revisit what I went through and then condense that for a reader was extremely painful.

experience or a spiritual But I got through it for two breakdown?” They never understood that this reasons. First, because I philosophy was nothing have forgiven my father. new; it’s what I had been And second, because I came to realize that I never doing all along. would’ve been doing what Dennis: For those who I was doing, and never haven’t read your book, would have written the how do its leadership book, if I hadn’t had that principles differ from upbringing. So, I think I what we might consider was put here to do that, the “norm”? and in order to do that, I had to have this brutal Mark: Start with the experience. question: Why would we manage people with In the end, when I saw that my methods worked, fear and intimidation? it was profoundly healing My methods are really predicated on a very for me, because even ancient idea that people though I never got that love or support, by giving want to work. When I was on the banking side, we it to other people, I saw hired a medical doctor them thrive. Within who created a company— months, you could it’s called Cohen Brown. just see people being And they were one of the transformed. I had this largest training companies reputation for elevating in the United States for people and bringing financial institutions. They out their greatness and went from bank to bank getting them promoted and the premise was into bigger and bigger this: you as a manager jobs. But no one ever can’t make people work looked under the hood. No one ever asked, “What as hard as we can make them work. So what is he doing?” It was all did this company do? It sort of like, “Well, that’s micromanaged to the interesting. A lot of his people, they keep getting nth degree. People had to make commitments promoted.” Monday morning regarding what they were When my book came going to do, and then out and was called Lead Wednesday, they had to From the Heart, people check in and disclose how who used to work with me (not for me) were like, they were doing and how “What happened to him? close they were, and then they’d be reminded of the Did he have a religious


commitment they’d made on Monday. On Friday, if they hadn’t hit their goals, they’d get scolded on the conference call with everyone. The following Monday morning, they had to start this cycle all over again.

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America, and have been for the last 18 months, every single month. People are like, “I can’t live like this. I don’t want to live like this. I don’t want to be managed this way.”

No matter what your job is, work is hard. You’ve got to get up in the morning, Now, this does drive get yourself dressed, get results in the short-term in the car or a train or because people respond to that fear. But long-term, a bus. Then when you get into work, there are it’s the most debilitating, meetings, expectations, destructive thing you difficult people, customers can do. But since it lifted and obligations. Overlay performance so quickly, companies would hire this all that with fear and intimidation, and we make company and pay them that environment even all this money to come worse. in and manage people with fear and intimidation. So heart, and the They’d get the results, so kindness, support and everyone thought it was encouragement—these a brilliant solution, but nobody looked to see how might sound soft to some, but they’re a necessary sustainable it was. offset. They make such a difference to people and The truth is, people want because we’re hard-wired to work, and they want to be fulfilled by the work to reciprocate, if you’re they do. We want meaning generous with them, their inclination is to be and purpose, and this is generous with you. where we find it. But we don’t trust ourselves, so It’s genetically imbued in we resort to fear. We end up shutting people down, us to reciprocate. So if I’m because we don’t believe supportive of you—if you in ourselves well enough. know you can trust me, if I sit down with you and As a management help you plan out your technique, fear does career or partner with you work, and it’s easy. It’s on some projects that just an easy way to go might grow your skills, to about doing it. But it’s help you get to the next just destructive. It harms level, or acknowledge people. It’s why more people are quitting jobs in and appreciate you in a

meeting—you’re going to feel that in your heart, and your inclination is going to be to work your ass off for the person making you feel that way, because you see that this person cares about you. Dennis: How do we deal with employees that make mistakes when we’re leading from the heart? Mark: By simply trusting, rewarding and training. You know you have people capable of doing the job. It’s not like you’re just putting anybody in there. You’re putting in highly motivated people. So if you make one mistake, I’m not going to pick up the phone and go, “Well, tell me what you did there.” Instead, I approach it like, “I got it. I see what you did. Let’s move on. Let’s learn from it.” If you’ve made somebody feel embarrassed and ashamed, all you’re going to get is people who are defensive, unhappy, wanting to get out. It completely dispirits and discourages people, and that’s the opposite of what you want. Dennis: Do you think some leaders or managers have an aggressive, pushy, forceful method of


treating people, and, because it works once, they fall into the trap of that being the only way they can manage?

Mark: If I go speak at an organization, I don’t really know whether I can shift somebody in one speech. I think in many cases, I’m speaking to people who Mark: We have two forms are already interested of intelligence, maybe in this. But within the even more. Our bodies are audience, you’re always intelligent. We say trust going to have cynical your gut, follow your heart. people. There’s intelligence there. But the intelligence that One of the guests on my we look for in business podcast talked about how is in the brain, and this is to actually get people what’s got to change. So a to change. He said that system that is very rational instead of thinking that and sequential is great for convincing somebody is someone who lives their your goal, see it as moving entire life in the mind. For small rocks. So instead them, you don’t need to of one big boulder that be inspirational. You don’t you’re trying to move, need to elevate. you’re trying to move small pebbles. Let’s say But what’s amazing to that I love lemons and you me is that this type of love oranges. I’m never leader often lacks the going to convince you to sensitivity to see how love lemons, but I can get harmful that is to people you to think about lemons in the long-term. They differently. I can say, “You don’t open themselves to know why lemons are the possibility that maybe great? You can put them there is a better way to in tea. You know another manage, maybe there’s thing about lemons? a more effective way of They’re really great for leading. They can be so your throat. Just think rigid in their thinking, they about that.” I’m not going can’t see that there might to convince you today, but be a more empowering now you’re thinking about way. it, and I think that’s kind of the way it has to work. Dennis: Have you ever been able to change To change leadership somebody who is stuck in style has to ultimately be the rut of that old-school someone’s idea, but if I leadership, to where can plant the seed, then they’re leading from the people start thinking heart?

about it, and then they start to look for more ways to cultivate an understanding of how to do it. Leadership is already a journey. We try things out, we make mistakes, we learn and we grow. But to lead the way I’m talking about makes it a different journey, a compounded journey, simply because I’m asking you to learn things that you may not have ever thought to do. So it takes time. Dennis: One thing I’ve noticed as an entrepreneur is that you can get away with being a timid leader for a long time and still run a successful business. But eventually, as you grow, leadership has to become truly assertive and effective for continued success. What advice do you have for those who might be more timid? Mark: I don’t think being nice is ever going to backfire on you. I think being nice to someone, being kind to someone, is a behavior people respect. It makes them feel safe, and safety is one of our fundamental needs. So if I know that every time I see you, you’re going to be consistent in your behavior, that your personality isn’t going to


be Jekyll and Hyde, I feel safe. When you flip back and forth, one day you’re nice and one day you’re not nice, and I don’t know which one you’re going to be, that creates all sorts of uncertainty and disruption, and people lose trust in you. It’s fearful. Being nice and holding people accountable for their work is a perfect balance. It ensures that people know what their goals are, what the organization’s goals are, what your values are, and what you’re trying to achieve. To do that, you need to meet with people and review their performance to hold them accountable, to celebrate them when they’re achieving, and to coach them through it all. If you’re doing all of that, being nice is an asset. If all you do is nice, you’re going to be out of business. If you were to go out to people who used to work for me and ask them what one word they would use to describe me, the answer would be: demanding.

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And I think people are surprised when they hear that, wondering how I can be demanding when I’m the heart guy. It’s because I’m the heart guy that I can be that demanding.

Because I’m supporting people so deeply by caring about them, by teaching them, coaching them, encouraging them, making them feel safe, and expressing appreciation, by the time people come into work, I’ve met all of their psychological and emotional needs. What this does is elevate the platform so that they’re better off with me than they would be anywhere else. They’re not worried about where they stand with their boss, so that energy isn’t there. You take all that away, and people don’t have to put all this energy into thinking, “I wonder if my boss likes me. I wonder if they think I’m doing a good job. I wonder if I’m going to get fired if I don’t hit this goal.” You take all that out, and all people need to do is focus on their work. Then they’re set up to do great things. But there is something called “ruinous empathy,” a term coined by Kim Scott. Ruinous empathy is knowing there’s a problem. So, for example, you have an employee who is routinely sending out unclear emails. You get it and you’re like, “I’m not really sure what she means.” And this thing is so long, and it’s not to the point. But you really

like the person, and you don’t want to hurt her feelings, so you never call her attention to it. That’s ruinous empathy. That’s like taking empathy and turning it into a bad thing. It’s more empathetic to say, “She’s embarrassing herself. She’s doesn’t look professional. She’s making other people upset. It’s in everyone’s best interest to sit her down.” When you do, you say, “Suzie, I want to talk to you about your emails and how you communicate. And I would like to give you some coaching on how to make them more effective. Are you open to hearing that?” Then you can discuss methods to improve her communication and tell her what you want to see changed. Doing this, you change the


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employee’s behavior by having this conversation, and you’re making them accountable. Too often, out of fear of having these conversations and people getting upset, we just continue to push it off.

was thinking about you. I was thinking about this behavior, and I’d like to spend some time talking about it, to help you get better. Are you okay with that?” That’s how I would do it.

Dennis: What do you do with an organization if you’ve allowed too much or given too much ruinous empathy?

Dennis: What kind of advice would you give people as far as hiring with the heart?

for the job and do they have their heart in the job. Why do they want to do this specific kind of work? What is it about this that would make them happy? We can find people who can do the job, but finding someone who will put their heart into it takes extra time.

You also want applicants to meet with people who Mark: Sometimes we are actually doing the make the mistake of just job they’ve applied for. Mark: I would say you filling a position without It’s not just me being in evolve. Get your team really thinking through control of whether you together and say, whether this is the best get hired or not. It’s me “Leadership is a journey, possible person for it. Most making sure that when and I’m recognizing that managers take the best you get here, you’re going there are some things candidate out of those to be happy here. That that I have done well, who applied and move also means making sure and there are things I’m not pleased with. I’ve had on. They don’t realize that they understand some they’ve just locked down of the less pleasant tasks these epiphanies where I’m realizing I’m not really their first baseman for the they might be expected rest of the year. And if their to do, like working every that good at _______. first baseman can’t field other weekend or cleaning One of the things I need the position, or makes a toilets. You want to very to improve on is giving thoughtfully cultivate a people feedback that will lot of errors, or can’t hit, that’s going to affect the team of people. help them grow.” Some people call it constructive whole team performance. You can listen to Mark’s feedback. I don’t like to use It’s better to wait and keep trying, or to grow that language. It’s really podcast by visiting http:// somebody into a position. markccrowley.com/ just giving guidance and So having a high standard podcasts/. direction on how to help somebody perform better. and not buckling is one. Buy his book, Lead From The other is that we have the Heart: Transformational Tell them you’re this very ego-driven hiring Leadership for the 21st committed to doing process, where we ask Century, on Amazon. better, and set the stage applicants why they want You can also reach for when you have to work for us rather than Mark on his websites, meetings with people to asking them what would leadfromtheheart.com and confront performance make them happy. So we markccrowley.com. issues. Tell them, think it’s a one-way street. “Remember when we were having the meeting A better way is to discover if an applicant has a talent a couple weeks ago? I


10 Ways to Improve Your Business Emails

Business emails differ from all other forms of written business correspondence. We all tend to use much less formal language in emails, and emails are instant. Gone are the days of drafting a letter, proofreading it, and then having it typed.

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We can now fire off important business correspondence with ease. The spontaneous, instant nature of emails, though, can be a minefield. It’s easy to make mistakes, and it’s easy to send emails that we live to regret. So, don’t send out another email without thinking it through first. Read these ten tips on writing better business emails before you press send.


1. Think About the Purpose of the Email Before you compose a business email, think about what you want that email to achieve. If you are emailing a prospective customer, for example, don’t forget that the email is a sales document. It’s another opportunity to convince the person to buy. Emails may seem like a throwaway form of communication, but they can be as important as any other type of document. 2. Use the Subject Line Wisely The subject line of an email is like the headline of a newspaper article. It should tell the reader what the email is about, and it should encourage them to read the contents. Avoid using vague subject lines, such as “Re our meeting.” If you have something important to say, include it or hint at it in the subject line. 3. Keep Emails Short and to the Point Emails are for short, concise messages. If you want to send a lengthy document, it would be better sent as an 15

attachment. People get a lot of emails at work, so they tend to skim-read them and then move onto the next one. If your emails are too long-winded, the recipient may miss the important points. 4. Keep Business Emails Professional The language used in emails can be less formal than it would be in a letter. Even so, emails are still business correspondence, so keep the language professional. Avoid using slang words and be careful about using inappropriate humor. Remember that business emails are often copied to other people. 5. Get the Important Points Across in the First Paragraph Forget the long preambles and get to the point straight away. If you have lots of points to cover, bullet point them first. Then, you can cover the details of each point further down the page or in an attachment. Many people won’t even skimread the rest of an email if the first paragraph contains nothing of importance.

6. Make Sure That You Get People’s Names Right Always double-check the spelling of people’s names. And, don’t shorten people’s names unless the person has done that themselves. Calling Robert Bob is presumptuous. Misspelling someone’s name looks careless and unprofessional. 7. Don’t Use all Uppercase or Lowercase Emails may be informal, but you should still follow the usual writing conventions. If you write an email all in lowercase, it will look lazy. If you use uppercase, it will look like you are shouting. Avoid using SMS shorthand in business emails as well. Not everyone knows what JK means. 8. Only Use Email When it is Appropriate Before you send an email, ask yourself if an email is an appropriate medium for the message that you want to convey. If you are trying to build a relationship with someone, a telephone call might be more effective. An email can also be too distant and


impersonal for some types of messages. If you are firing an employee, for example, that ought to be dealt with in a face to face meeting. 9. Never Send a Business Email in Anger Never fire off an email when you are angry. Give yourself time to calm down and think things through. The potential ramifications of an angry business email are major. A business email sent in anger could lose you a major customer or cost you your job.

10. Always Proofread Business Emails Always proofread your business emails before you send them. Check spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Be brutal with your editing as well. Make your emails concise, punchy, and persuasive. People will judge you and your brand based on the content and style of your emails. So, remember that you are conveying more than a simple message in your business emails.

to say that emails have revolutionized the way that we do business. We can now send everything from contracts to meeting appointments via email. The problem is that many people don’t put enough thought into their emails. But emails can have the same impact as any other type of written communication. So, if you want to get ahead in business, think about your emails before you send them. They are more important than you think.

Conclusion It is no exaggeration

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7 Ways to Provide Excellent Online Customer Service Amazing online customer service is essential to the success of your brand. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have changed how brands interact with their customers. When a brand has an interactive social media presence, it feels relatable and more like a person rather than a soulless, inanimate entity.

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This also means that your brand’s reputation is much more vulnerable as social media makes it easy for customers to speak their minds. When customers have a negative experience, they are likely to post about it on social media, especially if they felt that their concerns were inadequately handled or completely unresolved.

importance of customer needs. Correspondence must reflect that the interactions with customers are valued and taken seriously.

One of the ways you can do this is by personalizing the customer service experience. To start, make sure that the customer service team addresses customers by their name. This sets a positive tone from the very beginning Someone with a lot of as it infers that your brand followers could make a post about a mishap with cares and notices personal details. Another way to your brand which could not only result in financial add personalization is to implement a loyalty losses but reputational harm as well. All the more program where customers reason to ensure that your can earn points for the purchases they make brand’s online customer service is always on-point. that can be used towards discounts or free products Fortunately, there are and services. If you have a many ways to develop newsletter, ask customers an efficient customer service team with effective for their birthday so when they sign up, a coupon policies. Here are seven ways to provide excellent for a discount or free product or service will be online customer service sent to them during their every time: birth month. Customers love these programs and 1. Personalize the they have been proven to online customer service create repeat sales. experience. 2. Use casual language Automatic responses across all platforms and may be convenient, but interactions. they come across as uncaring and cold. Generic One of the reasons why messages that are sent Instagram influencers to everyone who reaches are so popular is because out do not convey the they feel like real, 18

everyday people. It is easier for customers to imagine themselves with the product or service if they see someone who looks similar to themselves talking about it. The casualness of the influencer is what makes them feel trustworthy to customers. This same effect can be had if casual language is used by your brand’s customer service team. Casual language makes interactions feel genuine. This translates into trust from the customers as they won’t feel hesitant to reach out and engage with your brand. Encourage your customer service team to use casual language while interacting with customers, whether it is through live chat, email, text, phone, or social media. Your team must be approachable because you want customers to feel that they can trust your brand with their problems. Trust is essential to brand loyalty and this should be kept in mind at all times when delivering customer service. 3. Engage across multiple social media platforms. Social media can be a useful tool for online customer service, which is


why your brand needs a presence across multiple platforms. This way, customers can easily get in touch and interact with your brand in the ways they prefer. You should stay up to date with the latest in social media technology so that you can quickly establish your brand’s presence when new social media platforms arise. Public interactions between your brand and customers on social media can showcase your brand’s online customer service. The online customer service team should respond quickly to comments and questions posted, as this shows potential customers the quality of service and interactions they can expect to have with your brand. The way your brand is perceived handling problems is an advertisement in itself. Reward customers when they follow your social media accounts or write a review. Post discount codes and sales exclusive to social media followers. Contests are another way to engage with customers and reward them for their loyalty, as well as to encourage followers. 19

4. Incentivize customers to send feedback. When it comes to obtaining customer feedback, incentivization is key. Generally, customers love the opportunity to speak their minds, but they are more likely to do it if you give them a reason. This also makes the customers feel appreciated and rewarded for their input. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a followup email after every purchase that contains a link to a survey with a reward to be granted upon completion. This reward can be a coupon, free item or service, or sweepstakes entry. Keep the questionnaire short as this should not feel like a laborious task. About four to six multiple-choice questions and an opportunity for open-ended feedback is generally a safe format. Make sure that every customer who submits feedback receives a response addressing what they said. This makes customers feel heard, respected, and trusted. Even when they have a bad experience, a genuine response of concern might

be the reason why they give your brand another chance. 5. Make sure your brand’s website functions smoothly. A website full of errors and broken links comes across as careless and lazy. Frustrating user experiences will chase off customers as well as your profits. This is also a symptom of poor customer service, as usability is a major part of the online customer experience. Investing in a professional web developer will make it certain that your website is running properly. If a problem comes up, be sure to address it quickly. An easy-to-use website with quick and uncomplicated processes means that customers are more likely to spend money on your brand’s products and services. Also, consider the accessibility of your website for people with disabilities. Those with hearing impairments need subtitles, so this option must be available on all posted video content. Use image tags on all photos and graphics so


that people who use screen readers for visual impairments can also access your site. Work with a professional web designer to ensure that your brand’s website is accessible to everyone. 6. Provide accurate and detailed descriptions of products and services. Customers do not like it when the product or service they purchased did not live up to their expectations. No one wants to deal with the time required trying to get a refund. One of the ways you can provide good online customer service is to make sure that all product and service descriptions are as detailed as possible.

You can also encourage customers to leave reviews and rate products or services. Allow customers to upload photos, videos, and speak using their own words so that future customers can better imagine themselves using the product or service. Additionally, these reviews can make customers feel more trust in your brand as it shows confidence in the brand’s perception and quality. 7. Make it easy for customers to get in touch.

It should not be a hassle to get in contact with the customer service team of your brand. This is why you need to have more than one way for customers to get in touch. Aside from social media, Reducing the rate of returns means a reduction other avenues of contact are phone, email, and of the workload on your live chat. Having many customer service team. options available across By giving customers multiple time zones allows adequate and highly customers to reach out detailed information, in a way that is easiest for they can make the best consumer choices to bring them. themselves the most satisfaction. Keep in mind Try to offer 24/7 support whenever possible. If this that the best customer is not feasible, you can service is a smooth accomplish this with a transaction without any problems in the first place. self-service help database that allows customers 20

to look up answers to their questions. You can even let customers submit questions that can be answered by other customers, as long as your customer service team can oversee these answers. Multiple means of support make your brand look trustworthy and professional. The live chat options should involve speaking to a person and not a bot. When customers have problems, they want to be assured that they will be solved and taken seriously, not that they are going to get the runaround. While most may see the product or service as the brand’s star-player, the customer service team does very important “behind the scenes” work. Not only will these tips improve the trust customers have with your brand, they will also lead to profit increases and future successes.


7 Ways to Promote Your Small Business Running a successful small business requires more than being good at creating a product or providing a service. It also means being savvy about promoting yourself. Traditional advertising can be more expensive than some small business owners can afford, but there are many ways of publicizing your business that will cost less and be just as effective. Here are seven ways of promoting your small business. Create an e-newsletter. Creating an e-mail newsletter is a good way of keeping your customers informed about what’s going on 21

at your small business. Start by collecting e-mail addresses from your clients, customers, and people who are interested in what you do. Make sure you are clear that you will use the e-mail addresses to sign people up for a newsletter. Let them know if it will be monthly, weekly, or just occasionally. When you get a group of e-mail addresses together, you can create your newsletter. There are websites that allow you to do this for free and some that will help you put together a professionallooking newsletter for a small cost. Include news about the business, interesting and relevant links, and

news about coupons or discounts. Offering special promotions or discounts through the newsletter only is a great way to get people to sign up. Publish a catalog or brochure. If you have several products to sell, a small catalog can help you stand out from the crowd. Print something with pictures of your products and information about where to buy them. Then you can hand this out to friends, clients, and the public. Online printing companies are usually inexpensive. Consider hiring an experienced designer to make your layout look professional.


Give away samples. Everyone loves to get something for free, so it makes sense to hand out a free sample of your product. This is an especially good technique if you sell food, soaps, or beauty products. By offering a small sample size of your product, you encourage consumers to want to buy more. There are many different places to give samples away. You can offer free samples at your business or at an event where you are selling your products. You can also pair up with another business to offer samples to their clients. For example, the dry cleaner down the street might be interested in providing samples of your homemade cookies. This brings more customers in for them and creates new customers for you.

float in a parade. Showing that you are part of local life will help endear you to your neighbors, especially in small towns. Order promotional merchandise. Promotional merchandise is a fairly cheap and effective way of promoting a small business. Choose a product that is relevant to what you do and have your name and contact information printed on it. This can be anything from pens to magnets to ballcaps. If you have a dog walking business, print your business information on tennis balls. If you sell food in a bag, print personalized chip clips. Unlike a business card that people might throw away, a useful item will ensure that potential clients see your name again and again.

Take advantage of social Attend community events. media.

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Make sure the name of your business sticks in the minds of community members. Do this by being part of community activities like local parades or craft shows. You might sponsor some part of the celebration, rent a table at a fair, or even have a

While not everyone likes to use social media, it is undeniably important in promoting a business. You need to have a presence online, and you need to use that to reach out to your customers. Have at least a one-page website where people can land if

they search for you online. Then create at least one social media account. What you choose will depend on the age and interests of your potential customers. Try to post something at least a few times a week to stay fresh in customers’ minds. Sponsor a local team. Local recreational teens need businesses to sponsor them. It’s a great way of getting your business recognized for something positive and for lots of people to hear your name. Sponsorship usually requires buying t-shirts for the team with your business name printed across them. It may also involve paying some fees for the team, and you can take everybody out for ice cream at the end of the season. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to promote your small business. Get creative and do some research to find where you can best reach your potential customers. Then make a multi-faceted plan that puts your business front and center. Use these promotion tips to help your small business grow.


7 Simple Ways to Build Credibility in the Marketplace

If you’re a start-up or established business and feel you lack credibility in the marketplace, there’s good news. First, you’re not alone. But that’s a challenge you can easily overcome. Other than updating your bio to showcase your skills or chatting yourself up at the water cooler, you probably haven’t been spending massive amounts of time promoting yourself. But through the magic of the internet, you’ve navigated your way here. In less than six minutes, you’ll acquire the knowledge you need to begin developing credibility in the marketplace. Utilize these seven credibility-building 23

strategies that cost you Credibility: absolutely nothing and are • Builds trust between available at the scroll of you and your your mouse. customers • Allows you to Why you absolutely, strategically position positively must do yourself in the everything possible to marketplace build credibility • Offers you a competitive advantage So, what’s all of this talk over the zillion of other about building credibility businesses offering in the marketplace really services similar to yours about? • Earns you referrals • Leads to invitations It’s about success and to speak and teach at failure. With credibility, industry-specific events you’re ready to strike out • Builds a pathway to on your own and soar expert status and even with the eagles. Without more success credibility, you’re stuck in a nest of flightless emus Why you absolutely, waiting for momma to positively must do deliver a worm every now everything possible to and then. avoid destroying your credibility


Don’t accidentally put a hit out on your own credibility. If you think that statement’s a bit harsh, keep reading - it’s easier to scramble and fry yourself than you think. Take a friend’s advice and avoid these all-too-common credibility assassins: • Grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes, in addition to overall amateurish writing, sabotage credibility. If all that textbook grammar stuff isn’t your thing, ask a friend to proof your work or hire a proofreader to point out and correct mistakes before you publish.

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• Never take credit for other people’s work. It’s not only sleazy; it’s unethical and quite possibly illegal too. And remember, at the end of the day, the only reputation you’re damaging is your own. • No web design experience spells disaster. Nothing extracts more from a business’ credibility than a “House that Jack Tried to Build” website. Do yourself a favor hire a professional web designer, move on and continue to do the things you do well.

Now that you understand the importance of • Passing blame to your building credibility and printer, the mail service, how to avoid sabotaging an internet connection it, it’s time to get down in and anyone and the trenches and dig into everything else on the the nitty gritty details (and planet for your mistakes methods) you can employ leaves a sour note in today on your quest everyone’s mouth. Own toward credibility up to what you do well and own up to your The benefits of putting blunders. a credibility-building strategy in place are • Avoid belittling other endless. As you learned professionals and earlier, credibility builds delivering public trust between you and put‑downs. Focus on your clients, enables yourself, your abilities you to strategically and your values and let position yourself in the the universe take care marketplace, gives you a of the rest. competitive advantage,

earns you referrals, gets you invites to speak and teach at industry-specific events and builds a pathway toward expert status and more success. But, all of this won’t amount to a hill of beans until you put what you learn into action. Post these seven credibility-building strategies on your wall, your fridge or your pet panda as a reminder to take some type of action every day as you formulate a plan to strategically position yourself in the marketplace. #1 - Keep your promises. Repeat three times - keep your promises, keep your promises, keep your promises but don’t overpromise. If you’re tempted to overpromise, focus on what you can do and admit what you can’t. Sometimes you don’t have an immediate solution. Admit that you don’t and formulate a plan to follow up with your client or refer your client to an expert in your network. And, for Pete’s sake, don’t leave the prospect hanging - follow up regularly so your client knows you’re still working


on a solution. #2 - Be present, show up and position yourself as the go-to person. Attend in-person events, publish scheduled blog posts, reach out on social media and keep connections in your network buzzing with activity. Diligence pays off when responding to questions, email requests and phone messages, even when tactfully averting requests for free service. And, unless earth has somehow become unhitched from the universe, never, ever cancel a commitment. That’s how go-to people do business. #3 - Prepare yourself before meeting with prospective customers and offer rock solid results. Clear values and a mission statement prepare you to showcase the skills you bring to the table. One-pagers and other marketing tools give your presentation focus and speak directly to your prospects’ needs and challenges. In fact, they’re designed to illustrate 25

how you’ve already solved problems similar to what your prospect is experiencing in the here and now. You can’t get more rock solid than that. #4 - Show your clients you care. Listen to their needs and challenges and offer solutions. Challenges are typically the reason clients need services in the first place. Ask questions about the prospect’s business, actively listen and keep an ear out for inroads and appropriate lulls in the conversation and step in with solutions. Listen, respond and care. #5 - Earn certifications and professional credentials, then show them off (just a little). Offering credentials isn’t an in-your-face kind of thing, but credentials do prove you’re actively engaged in your field and can back up your claims with proven knowledge and experience. List your certifications and credentials on the “About Me” section of your website, on your business cards and in your marketing materials as

appropriate. See how easy it is to show off a little without nauseating your prospects? #6 - Build strong relationships through networking and volunteering. Join professional associations related to your field and, circling back to #5, look into certifications offered through those associations. Network inside and outside of the association, attend conferences, get to know organizers and decisionmakers, market yourself as a speaker or course leader in your local area, publish e-books and keep an eye out for industry-related volunteer opportunities. #7 - Name your price, set boundaries and stick with your values. Don’t let your customer drive all of the negotiations especially when it comes to setting your prices. Never agree to a lesser fee unless there’s a clear future benefit attached to the compromise. If and when issues arise, tactfully take a stand and never apologize for your pricing scheme.


Ten Email Content Ideas to Reduce Unsubscribe Rates

Creating consistently engaging email content for your audience isn’t easy, especially if you’re sending frequent emails. Every reader has their own content preferences, so it’s good practice to offer a wide range of content to keep engagement levels high. This way, you can reduce unsubscribe rates and at the same time track which content types perform best. So, beyond your welcome emails and discount emails, what kinds of email can you deliver? To help, here are 10 email content ideas that should ultimately keep more of your subscribers engaged.

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Content Highlights

email marketing tools to help you get customer Not all of your audience feedback. For example, will be able to catch every free tools such as Google new blog post you upload Forms or Zoho Survey to your website. Give a allow you to embed brief summary of a new surveys within your emails. blog post and include a call-to-action to direct Industry Studies readers toward the full post. You could also send Search online for a recent out a monthly roundup of study or survey that is related to your business in your most popular blog some way. Take key facts posts to make sure your audience doesn’t miss out from the study and share on all your great content. it with your audience in an original email. As well as being educational, it will Customer Stories also boost your credibility Testimonials are important by showing you’re at certain stages of the following industry trends. customer journey, but You could even include frequently including this an infographic or chart type of social proof in to highlight important emails can come across points. as too self-promotional. Instead, ask customers for Company Spotlights their positive experiences Adding a more personal with your products or touch to your emails services, and then use these “customer stories” in is a great way to build emails. These types of real- brand loyalty. Readers are life anecdotes are great for more likely to trust your business if they can see building brand trust. the more human side to your business. Use your Surveys email newsletters to show Sending out a survey is photos of your team not only a good way to members, showcase new show you care about what employees, or interview an your audience thinks, it’s executive. also an effective market research tool. What’s Product Focus more, many people enjoy If you sell a variety of the interactive nature of surveys. There are various products, use your emails 27

to highlight certain products at different times of the year. For example, you could list your best-selling products of the summer. This way, you can draw attention to some of your most popular products without sounding too promotional. Remember that most customers don’t know your business like you do - there are probably products and services they are unaware of. End of Season Announcements Is there a particular product or service that you want to push at the end of a season? Let your audience know when a certain item is in limited supply. Include special deals and time-sensitive offers to encourage subscribers to take action. Guides and Advice Emails are a great way to educate your audience about common issues related to your products or services, and this will also help to reduce the number of people contacting your business for help. Send out an FAQ page answering the most common customer questions, post links to product guides, and


highlight third-party tools that could help your customers.

Product Updates

boost engagement and encourage action, you Your email subscribers need to deliver a range will appreciate it when of content types to keep Company you give them exclusive people interested in your Announcements information about your business. While you can’t products or services. Give prevent anyone from As your business changes your audience interesting unsubscribing, you can and grows over time, you’ll and informative content, reduce the number of opthave plenty of reasons to such as product guides outs by delivering great reach out to your audience and useful tips. Use photos content. to share company news. and videos to add more Tell your audience about impact to your email It can be challenging to recent milestones, awards, marketing. deliver engaging content and good press to keep to your audience month your company top-ofOver to You after month, but hopefully mind. You can also inform the ideas listed here will your readers about Email marketing is still one help you retain and grow upcoming events and new of the most cost-effective your subscriber list for job opportunities. ways to get messages years to come, no matter to your customers and how small or large your prospects. However, to business is.


April was formerly the second month in the ancient Roman year, when March began the calendar. The real origin of its name has been lost • April 1, 1976 - Apple Computer Company was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak • April 2, 1973 - The first portable cell phone call was placed in New York City • April 4, 1975 - Microsoft was founded as a partnership between Bill Gates and Paul Allen • April 12, 1955 - The polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, was declared safe and effective • April 14, 1912 - The famous ship “Titanic” sank • April 17, 1937 - Daffy Duck made his first appearance. • April 17, 2011 - Game of Thrones premiered on HBO • April 20, 1926 - Western Electric and the Warner Brothers film studio officially introduced Vitaphone, a new process that would enable the addition of sound to film • April 24, 1990 - STS-31 - The Hubble Space Telescope was launched from the Space Shuttle Discovery

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