Author Archives: Chuck Sink

Affiliations get you found online!

Most people in business today want to be found online by people searching for their unique products and services. A great website with strong SEO efforts is the foundation for this but there’s a lot more to developing business online, especially if you’re a highly experienced professional.

You need to have your own name and hopefully links on other great websites, and we’re not talking about social media pages. We’re talking about your credentials, independently validated and promoted by respected organizations and companies.

For example, a custom builder of a featured home in an architectural magazine’s website is contacted directly by a wealthy prospect looking for artisans capable of creating similar features in her dream home. A link to the builder’s website further demonstrates to the prospect that she’s found the right construction partner.

Build up the flanks to bolster your online marketing campaigns!

I had the recent experience of noticing a slowdown of new business leads. On that very day I received an email from someone who found me through her online research. I was first found by this person on my faculty page through my affiliation with Plymouth State University. She had to read through my CV before finding my business name and then Google searching for my website, which further demonstrated our professional work. It’s a nice new opportunity for my business and we have a kick off meeting scheduled very soon.

Believe it or not, there are people who research and thoroughly read things on the internet, and take what they read seriously. If you’ve been written about on a site with much higher traffic than your own, well, that’s good right? Then get your name out there in some juicy, high traffic places like universities, respected media outlets, trade associations, established customers and the like.

Hitch your star to some high up wagons and make sure your own website experience is great when people link off the affiliate site to yours.

Specialize to better affiliate.

Developing a niche or sub-specialty in a specific industry is a great way to affiliate your brand name nationally or globally with industry leaders. People from every business category are always looking for the best quality, or that perfect-fit vendor. So I’ll close with one more example.

A local promotions company I’m familiar with took themselves out of the advertising specialties (commodity) business and positioned the brand in a couple of niche industries that happen to be easily penetrable. The product focus is very specific and now they are known nationally as leaders in this field, even though any of their thousands of competitors could readily produce the same products. Thanks to their affiliations in these industries, they are the nationally recommended suppliers and their corporate sales soar above their generalist local competitors.

If you’re really great at something, team up with the people, businesses and other organizations that you can help most. Then work reciprocally in your affiliation links to help users of your products and services find the very best of what they’re searching for.

Stop Riding The Marketing Cycle!

A sales and marketing phenomenon I call the “marketing cycle” is similar to general economic cycles as dictated by the law of expansion (growth) and retraction (recession). In economics, business activity ebbs and flows, not always in a predictable way as the global economy is endlessly dynamic. The only thing predictable is that the cycles will repeat eventually over time. In sales and marketing, it’s a bit different in that the cycles are more predictable and result more sharply from specific actions or lack of actions. The challenge is to manage your team’s actions against the headwinds of human nature.

The marketing cycle for most businesses is far more manageable than the overall economic conditions in the country but it is extremely hard to get a handle on, and this is because, well, we’re all human. We tend to concentrate our time and effort on either the most urgent situations or else what we feel like doing; what seems the easiest route to ‘get it done’ in the moment or for the day.

Unpacking the Marketing Cycle

The marketing cycle looks like this:

Business is great. New customers are responding to an effective and sustained marketing campaign. The sales team has been “crushing it” from several months of highly motivated prospecting and lead generation, meetings and closed deals. Business is so good in fact that it’s all hands on deck to service customers and snuff out the fires from so much growth and not quite enough hands to go around. Everyone is busy and cash is flowing.

At this point, management decides it’s better to back off on the marketing campaign a while to better manage growth. This is human nature and seems logical. It’s also the exact moment at which the inevitable ebb in sales that’s so predictable in the marketing cycle begins. But we always fail to grasp it at the time! I’m speaking from my own experience and I’ve witnessed it working in several companies over many years.

When business is great, you focus everything toward serving your current customers, even your marketing messages focus on current users, because it’s the natural thing to do. It’s as if we have “built-in forgetters” concerning new business development when customers and their cash are flowing in volume. And so, the wider market ceases to hear from you and your brand fades from awareness.

At first, you notice that business volume is steady rather than rising. Then you might lose a customer or two through attrition of some kind, maybe to a competitor, and you suddenly realize you and your team have more time on your hands and margins are thinner. Uh oh, Time to fire up the forgotten marketing and selling machines again, with increased urgency and limited funds. And so it goes…

End the Cycle of Sales Urgency (and Stress)!

A few things can be done to minimize the stresses caused by drops in sales that occur as a result of being a victim to the marketing cycle.

  • First thing is your product and service quality. You must fulfill your promises or your brand will lose precious market trust. Referrals are precious and result from real quality.
  • Second, you need to resist the temptation to focus on operations and production at the expense of keeping marketing campaigns funded and managed. You also need to direct your sales force to keep hunting when business is great, trusting customer service to others in the company.
  • Third, if business is good, invest in a new employee or subcontract the support that can dedicate their efforts specifically to the growth side of your business, and don’t back off when business is booming, for a change! You will need all the brand awareness you can get next recession. If sales slow down and revenues decline, keep the marketing and sales effort at full pitch, for a change. Find less critical areas in the business to cut costs, for a change.

Implement these three strategies and see what happens to your revenue curve over the next 2 or 3 years.

Rather than rearranging the deck chairs every time you get really busy, try adding another chair to increase and sustain your crucial marketing activities, for a change!

Applying discipline to managing the marketing cycle in this manner will have the happy effect of keeping business and cash flow strong enough to avoid the anxieties of economic hardship during those inevitable slow periods. You’ll have the assurance that market share and top-of-mind awareness are always in your favor.

Is Social Media Dead?

It’s been a while since I’ve written about social media (and it feels gooooooood).

One headline I just saw in my newsfeed was “Is Social Media Right for Your Business? The short answer was “YES.” Their point was that every business MUST have an “online personality” represented on Facebook, Instagram, etc. or they’ll lose to competitors who do.

I immediately pondered and thought, “What about the companies not using social media who win business from companies that do?”

I can think of too many examples including clients and other successful businesses I work with. I just pulled a job from a business swimming in a rich Social Media broth and gladly gave it to one that still uses dialup internet on an as needed basis. Landline phone only. The owner is eyeing a nice retirement soon, BTW.

For good reasons, many businesses don’t want social media and don’t need it, at least for now.

Expert Advice or Sales Pitch?

Despite what you may hear from some marketers out there (who sell social marketing services), having an “online personality” on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other other platform is not a marketing necessity today. You may choose to position your brand in a manner that works better in other media, including online, such as your own great website and a strong trade presence. Maybe a top-notch personal selling organization drives your growth.

Pay the freight or nothing gets delivered.

The truth is, your customers find your business and come to you primarily through channels other than social media. It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of time posting a bunch of quality content on social media unless you pay for people to see it, and have a strong value proposition,  just like any other advertising. Then you may gain sales opportunities from the added brand impressions. You know the advertisers courting you on Facebook if you spend any time there. They’re paying and you’re noticing.

So, unless you plan on budgeting for advertising, think of social media as a sidebar in your overall branding and public relations efforts. You want to keep an eye on it and pay to boost it when you need to see results from it.

Now that some of the dust is settling, we’re understanding Social Media’s marketing limitations and weaknesses as well as its continuously fluctuating opportunities.

One thing I’ve learned as a veteran professional user is never expect anything of great value to come out of free or public media space but expect great results from earned relationships.

CEOs and Consumers Decide Differently

B2B and B2C Marketing target the same emotions but different motives.

Does your company sell mostly to individual consumers? If so, your customer targeting can get complicated and may require a high degree of personalization. Consumers’ tastes and preferences in features/benefits run in multitudinous different directions and with choices at their fingertips, you need to build customer personas and tailor multiple sets of messages to different groups or individuals today. That is if you want your brand to stand out and lead your consumer category.

Does your business sell mostly to other businesses? Then your target audience is easily defined! You sell to the CEO or the business owner, often the same person. Simple. And how nice that is for helping you determine your branding and positioning strategy!

This approach is fundamental to having an authentic and effective brand in the business products & services (B2B) world. But some salespeople and even some business owners argue that end users of equipment, software or services highly influence decisions and must be sold first. Engineers, specifiers and purchasing managers are the ones who do all the “shopping” and make the final recommendation and therefore, can seal the decision – or so you may think.

The target of ALL B2B marketing is the CEO.

CEOs and senior executives have a unique mindset and language. CEO’s don’t think like everyday consumers when making business buying decisions. They wear a very different hat for that. Business buying decisions are just as emotion-based if not more so, but for very different reasons.

Think of the business meetings you’ve had with CEOs present. They cut through the minutia and get to the key points fast (even when being patient with others out of courtesy). They are starved for new information that can guide their decisions.

Consider what a respected millennial digital marketer, Miranda Casey, has to say. “Working in the tech industry and targeting CEOs, I’ve come to understand the importance of getting to the point fast and ‘proving the why’ as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s not every day that a company decides to make a thousand or million dollar decision…”

Additionally, the CEO may have his or her own personal motives for choosing a supplier for their business, and nobody can know exactly who else the CEO knows or what else could motivate their decisions. Remember that “blood runs thicker than water” and relationships make a difference, sometimes all the difference — all things being equal, or even not so much. The lesson here is to take the time (and be patient) to build relationships with the CEOs in your target market.

Talking with End Users only FEELS like sales work.

Seasoned B2B salespeople know that top-down selling works much better than the bottom-up approach. Business owners and executive leaders are constantly on the lookout for the best suppliers and partners to help improve their companies and gain competitive advantages. Sure, they are loyal to proven providers but keep an eye on the consistency of quality and value received. If it’s clearly demonstrated to the CEO that replacing a supplier can solve real problems and increase profitability, the old one gets the boot and the new supplier celebrates a business win

Marketing:  Your Intangible B2B Sales Force 

The same principle applies in B2B marketing. Position your brand only for the CEOs in the industries you serve. Don’t try pushing your list of features. That’s a consumer-based commodity approach! Explain, rather, the actual and differentiated results your solutions provide clients, maybe even their competition.

As your messages get through to your CEO targets with the ringtone of relevance, your brand will begin to develop a subtle (even if at first subconscious) mental interest. Then a natural value-focused curiosity will make learning more about your product/service part of their to-do list.

With a continued consistency of strong messages, your pricing and business model will be investigated or directly inquired of – your opportunity to close new business.

Demonstrate category leadership to your target company CEOs and they will wonder if they should be doing business with you.

Incremental Marketing over Capitalized Marketing

I can understand the value in publicity that an appearance on the TV show Shark Tank gives to small businesses vying for capital to expand. Even if the company makes no deal, they come away with brand impressions in the millions. Those who score a business deal, however, just took on a demanding new “boss” with enough equity to call some of the shots, including profit distributions.

What if these same entrepreneurs continued to ramp up sales work, implemented whatever marketing programs they could afford and then applied patience? Would more time and incremental growth render their quest for venture capital obsolete, giving them greater command of fulfilling their business vision? Experience tells us yes.

I believe financial expert Dave Ramsey who says “cash is king and debt is dumb.” Of course, there are exceptions to such truisms and I’ve used credit card debt in the past to successfully leverage my way out of near-bankruptcy, but I believe I was blessed along the way. I paid off the cards as fast as possible and one day I was able to wipe out that debt completely. That very day, my cash flow and profits began to improve dramatically! Since then I’ve accrued some working capital to keep business humming and growing, thank God!

Goal Achievement through Strategic Patience

Mine is a micro-example of many healthy companies that have chosen organic growth over partnered or capitalized expansion. Many of my clients and associate firms have been doing very well without implementing fully integrated and comprehensive marketing campaigns, which can be rather expensive. Instead, we execute affordable, strategic and incremental marketing steps that, over time, provide the building blocks for more comprehensive marketing programs with the firepower to significantly increase sales and grow our businesses all the more.

I want to do more with my website! I want to increase the frequency and value of my newsletter. I want to spend more strategic time on LinkedIn. I want to produce a new brochure and direct mail piece. I want to attend more networking events. I want to start a formal PPC and SEO campaign. I want to advertise more… But I have tons of client and administrative work that must get done, so I’ll only do one out of 6 things on my marketing want-list today.

Next week, I’ll get to one or two more marketing executions as I can afford the time and money. I’m reasonably sure there will be tangible results with each new marketing step I take, as they have consistently produced leads and new business over the months and years – 6 years and counting!

A few of my clients are going through exciting growth periods and this has fueled more comprehensive marketing programs to spread our messages out to additional media channels. This kind of incremental approach over time reduces the stress of “burn rates” and high expectations from partners, banks and investors. The cash in your bank account has no strings and can be more freely spent on the right priorities – yours!

Executive commitment is marketing gold!

Just a decent photo and two or three bullet points… I’m begging you!

Is this too much to ask a man or woman with some authority and resources? For some business owners and executives, it may seem like a nagging request. Why should they take time away from their important work to jot down notes and hunt for files? Important work. Hmm…

Is marketing communication vital to growing and sustaining a business? In other words, are your product features, pricing strategy, distribution channels and promotional messages important to your business? Marketing is all of those things so why not give it the time and attention it deserves?

But you have “fires to put out!”

Why is that? Maybe some of the fires result from misfired marketing communications or not enough communication. If you own a business, your input and decisions mean everything! If you want high-quality brand, product and direct marketing communications to consistently work for you, you need to consistently contribute to the marketing effort. As the company leader, you hold the keys to what your company can faithfully and consistently deliver to customers, therefore the keys to messaging accuracy and consistency. Realness sells!

Why Me?

For marketing communications to deliver results, two things happen. 1) Appropriate resources are allocated and 2) the business owner leads the marketing team. If there is a marketing committee, the owner or CEO should lead it, not a staff marketing director. You might think, with all this work and commitment, what am I paying a marketing agency for?

Here’s what for: To nudge you toward greatness in branding and sales results; to request and gather the shy pieces of accurate, relevant information you keep hidden – to make them into attractive and vibrant messages that look and sound great in every different media format.

In order to execute an effective campaign, all an agency really needs is about 20 minutes (maybe an hour) of executive time devoted to jot down a few key points, and maybe hunt for a photo (with help) or authorize a photo/video shoot. That’s all it should really take for the company leader. What’s nice is that as the owner or chief executive, you have a phone number and voice to which people answer.

Leverage Your Knowledge and Directives

Once you make relevant facts and images available, the real work begins with the creative agency people who are very eager to please! We direct, we write, we design, we produce, we enhance, we refine and make attractive the raw facts about your value proposition. Executive input and decisions enable all of this to happen!

With the right amount of executive input, professional marketers can execute stronger campaigns. We can nimbly make adjustments to our tactics from marketplace feedback, ever striving to improve and authenticate the brand experience for customers & prospects.

The most successful companies in any category have authentic and refined brands. They produce the most successful marketing campaigns. These campaigns succeed because the company leader is engaged in the marketing effort, devoting thought and directing resources toward successfully delivering their own key messages.

Advertising and Marketing: The Real Deal or Fake News?

Still tasting the raunchiness of some phony baloney served up to me as legitimate business fare, I felt motivated to tackle a controversial yet in-your-face-everyday topic, and an important one in business: attempted consumer manipulation. You can even call it fake news.

Now well past the Industrial Age, we’re neck deep into the Information Age which has devolved to the era of “Fake News.” Media in every form is being used in an attempt to manipulate rather than inform. While this has always been true in advertising, it is now the purview of most mainstream journalism and corporate public relations. Just look at your newsfeeds and ask yourself, is there unbiased veracity and relevance to this information or is it agenda-driven? If the latter, who’s agenda and why? The answers lead either to money or politics or both.

Media today are being weaponized against business and I’ve seen competitors smell blood in the water and attack cowardly from behind concerning some made up accusation of social injustice. And the fact is, most corporate reactions to fake news leveled at them are pathetic. They fold like cheap suits at false claims when any pressure group attempts to slander and shake them down. Why? Because they’d rather allow a lie to propagate if bowing to it makes brand controversy blow over. They unwittingly damage their integrity and lose brand loyalty with every cave-in.

Truth is an awesome differentiator!

Ironically, as an advertiser, you now have the opportunity to stand apart from all the phony baloney being distributed from the manipulative minds of so many “journalists” and marketing writers – your competition for time/space and audience attention. All you need to do is tell the truth in every communication that your organization publishes, including every advertisement and promotion. You will rise above the fray because truth in media is no longer a predictable commodity, but a highly valued communication specialty.

Do you want to distinguish your brand from the competition? Get real now!

Advertising and Sales Veracity Audit

If you tell simple truths about your products and services in every message emanating from your business, consumers will take comfort in the absence of brash claims and hyperbole. Truth has the ring of truth to it. Truth in advertising quietly stands out because of its automatic differentiation from mainstream message clutter. Put every promotional message through the veracity test. Can all your claims be backed by multiple testimonials?

“Seek first to understand…”

How do you figure out the truths that you need your target audience to understand and believe?

Stop thinking about your stupid solution for a minute!  Ask customers and sales prospects what’s really important in a vendor partner who provides what you do. Ask only to listen, not to respond. Just listen and really understand what’s important to your customers, putting any solution response off to the side while you walk in your customer’s shoes and feel their cramped feet. Then, having a better understanding of what shoes will fit, you can become their personal cobbler, helping them take bigger strides forward in their own business by delivering customized value with consistency.

When you know what’s important to your customers, it’s easy to shoot straight with them and you become their trusted, go-to resource. They will even ask your advice before making some of their purchase decisions. Keep listening to customers on a daily basis so you can respond to your market with honest advertising and promotional messages that matter to real people including your friends and neighbors.

Congruence of Branding and Experience is Sales Power!

“Do this and you will succeed.” That’s the general implication behind just about every performance coach’s or personal trainer’s program. Following the suggestions in this post may be as close as I can come in a marketing blog to saying: Do this and you will succeed!

Consistency is a term very often used by marketers who may sometimes need to chide their writers and designers to keep their messages on the strategic track. We’ve heard that consistency in messages across different platforms and media is one of the fundamentals of marketing and it is. But another word, congruence, more precisely relates to excellent branding and marketing, even if figuratively. The congruence of customer experience and brand promise first creates, and then fortifies customer loyalty. Going further, this congruence of branding and the real value that customers experience generates advocacy and referrals. There is nothing more powerful in sales and marketing than enthusiastic “word of mouth.”

Really Different?

There’s a common marketing dilemma. You need to differentiate your brand from loudmouthed competition but you should never make claims that you and your company can’t always fulfill for every customer. The only way for your brand to boost sales and add equity to your business is for it to be authentic. The product or service must be every bit as sexy to the naked eye as it is in pictures. It should do what you promise it will and more. Your team needs to show up and step it up!

Never bloviate, always DEMONSTRATE!

Here you can begin to realize that there are no advertising, marketing or SEO best practices that can substantially increase sales and grow your business without a foundation of product and service integrity. We’ve all heard it, “Under promise and over deliver.” This is a tall order and well worth fulfilling!

Now you can sound off!

Once you have firmly established excellence in whatever your business does (which is only one thing), you’re in a position to communicate it creatively, boldly and loudly in multimedia – over and over, everywhere your message can be seen and heard. And when new customers try you out, they’re sure to be satisfied or very pleased with their experience because of the excellence in your delivery. “If you can do it, it ain’t bragging,” said a Major League Baseball player of the past.

The most powerful new business development combination is brand messaging across multimedia congruent with product/service excellence and customer experience. When someone gets a referral from a friend – of the same brand they’ve been hearing about in various media – the sale is made, the deal is closed, there’s no comparison shopping or haggling.

A point should be made here about the word “excellence.” Excellence can be attributed to low price/value. It isn’t necessarily about being the “Rolls Royce” in your category if you strategically differentiate on price (Walmart hasn’t fared so badly).

The Real Bottom Line

Your Website, social media, print, advertising, signs, business cards, office space – all the channels that carry your sales messages – need to say the same thing, in the same style & tone, and most importantly, they must speak the truth!

 

Your Website’s Hook and Anchor

What are you looking for?  You’ll know when you see it!

Great marketing design, whether digital, print or environmental, has one thing in common. For your marketing messages to be effective, all you really need to start with is this one thing. Without it, people will gloss over your web pages, eblasts, brochures social posts and ads without caring whether your message registers in their mind or not.

But you care!

You can put a ton of effort into writing your messages but you need the key supporting element to give them enough life to make people stop and interact – to engage or be called to act. Your brand needs this desperately and so does mine; bright, high quality, high-resolution visuals – Photographs and Videos!

homepage-slider-image

Through the eyes is where most marketing magic happens. So it doesn’t help when you cut corners on photography and video production.

Impressive cameras on phones are a blessing and a curse to marketers. While you can sometimes capture a great image just by pointing and shooting, people become convinced that they’re great at DIY photography. As they scroll through nice photos they took on vacation or out on a walk, they think they can shoot pictures of their location, people and products for their website. The odds are very low that you’ll get anything truly marketable with an impromptu session using your phone.

Caught you looking!

Now you know this is true about pictures. When you “see what you’re looking for” what do you do? The right image tells a story in proper context within the viewer’s mind. When you are perusing anything, it’s the most striking and high-quality images that arrest your attention; make you stop, look and pique your interest.

One of the fundamental reasons that iconic brands are successful is they take their image seriously and they execute visuals with consistency. You’ll notice how leading companies that you can immediately recognize, whether local, national, B2B or consumer, all invest in creating great looking images and they produce them professionally across all media.

The Social Classroom

The quality photography phenomenon is demonstrated over and over in Social Media. I was recently trying to figure out why a self-promotion post on LinkedIn got so much more interaction than most of my other “interesting” stuff. Then it hit me. It was the beautiful picture. That is all. The link content wasn’t really all that impressive so I’m convinced that people just liked the photo, so they hit the like and share buttons. Social metrics always prove that pictures and videos draw!

About 5 years ago on Facebook, I shared a beautiful bed image with a giveaway promotion for a furniture store client. It went viral! The Facebook Page went from just over 200 Likes to over 20,000 Likes within 2 weeks. To this day, they enjoy a very large Facebook following originating from the impact of one high-quality photo!

If you must do this…

When you decide to go Do-It-Yourself with website and promotional photography, take the time on every snap to be happy with what you see on the screen. Shoot each subject at various angles and keep lighting bright (or focused) and above as well as behind you. Sometimes a good designer can work with non-professional photography as long as it has high resolution. Zooming and cropping can be beneficial here.

zooming-and-cropping

Do you want your website or print designer to wow you? Provide excellent photography and graphics or else let them help direct a professional photo shoot. The best way to distinguish your brand in website and marketing design is to start with high-quality visuals.

Remember that video adds another dimension and it’s just as important to keep video production value up to your audiences’ expectations. For more about implementing video in your marketing, click here.

If you don’t have a big photography budget and you still need a great website design, have no worries. There is a superior approach to website design that creates an excellent user experience even if your graphics and photo assets are limited. Read about this extremely cost-effective approach.

We’ll close with a sincere wish to you and everyone in this audience: Thank you for reading this post about photography. I hope your day started out pretty as a picture and ends in a photo finish!

The Secret Weapon in Your Communication Tool Box

Emails are focused, written communications that are easily searchable and provide a permanent record of discourse. Email is also a handy tool for file and link sharing but emails are woefully ineffective in a very important area of business communication; impetus.

Emails lack the moving energy to solve problems or improve situations. They become buried, static messages that seem to give the sender permission to set aside important business until a response email is received, especially when there are unknowns or questions between the parties.

Clearly, we’re not talking about email as a secret weapon in communications. There’s a much older tool that works business magic.

How many times have you become deeply engaged in an email thread that lasted several days or weeks? The subject line may have nothing to do with the last several emails. Each party is busy with multiple things and the discourse is interrupted by hours and days of delay. Situations on both ends are always changing in the meantime.

A project gets stuck, so finally, you pick up the phone and call your fellow emailer to figure out what’s going on in real time. A few simple questions are answered on both ends and the project is full steam ahead! That was easy! When analyzing the whole thing, you realize an earlier phone call or two would have eliminated days of back & forth emails.

The telephone is the next best thing to being with another person face to face. The telephone encourages and requires dialog. There’s no visual body language so you must rely on a 2-way conversation to make a phone call have any effect. It requires active listening for not only words but vocal tones, breath & sighs, and other audible cues.

Leaving new business on hold? Pick up the line!

Your most vital source of business, both new and sustaining, are the customers you already serve. It’s crucial that they keep getting the value they pay for. If important work and deliverables are stalled from lack of written communication, spoken communication like a phone conversation gets things back on track or even ahead of the game. There’s also the opportunity to expand business with customers by talking with them about how upgrading may suit their growing needs better than their current service level.

Call your customers when you need more impetus behind your messages. Your marketing alone may not be enough. Customers often request something in writing after you’ve had a discussion over the phone. If you don’t hang up with an agreement, tactfully recall the key parts of the phone conversation, emphasizing where there was mutual agreement, and respond quickly in written form perhaps both print and electronic formats. Then pick up the phone and start the conversation where you left off, this time with a concrete offer that they can readily commit to.

More Email Busting Tactics that Work Wonders

Ever play phone tag? Sometimes it takes keys in the ignition to put you in front of a person you need to talk with. It’s hard to ignore the person who physically shows up in your office or job site.

Remember that not everyone likes using the phone. Boomers and Gen Xers tend to prefer phone calls over emails. But there are plenty of Millennials and Generation Z people who actually get annoyed by voice calls. Text them and start counting to 10. Your phone will vibrate or ping by 7 or 8. Text messaging gets through instantly and with an air of urgency. And most folks, young and old, don’t want a bunch of unanswered text messages piling up so they respond fast.

Use the Insider Network

You may have been thinking of your business connections on social media, particularly Facebook and LinkedIn. Direct messaging through these channels, especially Facebook, reminds people that you’re friends too and can be very effective. I’ve had fine results reaching business associates on Facebook when other ways failed to get a response. All generations who are active on Facebook tend to like using it for instant messaging and it’s a robust application for file sharing as well.

I feel it’s only fair to add a final word in defense of good old email. I don’t know if this company would exist without it. If you got to this post through an email newsletter, thank you!