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Top 5 Priorities for Client Communications in Times of Crisis

Top 5 Priorities for Client Communications in Times of Crisis

Whether your responsibilities lie in communicating to your client or on behalf of your client, a time of crisis is going to put your capabilities to the test.

1. Take extra time to personalize your communication strategies to match each audience you are interacting with.

For example, an email to clients or stakeholders might contain information about what methodology you have in place for customer outreach or how you intend to retain a surge of new customers that may drop off once the crisis dissipates. Outreach to a client’s customer base might alternatively focus on the plan to keep business operations going with minimal disruption or targeted training videos to help users self-teach. Because consumers generally react better to content they can understand, making the extra effort to customize messaging will pay off long-term.

Tip: Do something different or special to make your message stand out. Go ahead and use your electronic newsletter templates and social media channels. But maybe a personalized email from you to your clients (employees or volunteers) – without all of the graphics and polish – will let them know you are making a special effort to reach out to them.

2. When a crisis situation is ongoing, there really is no such thing as over-communication.

No matter which audience you are communicating with, maintaining a clear, consistent message is important. Let your audience know you are there to help in whatever capacity you are able. Remind customers or clients of how you’ve altered your business model to better assist everyone affected by the ongoing situation. Also, it is important to keep communicating with clients and/or customers even if your business is inactive; if your goal is to have an active, thriving business again long-term, you need to maintain those key relationships.

Tip: In a time of crisis there’s a lot to communicate in a little amount of time. Create an information hub so your audience can find all information related to the crisis in one place. Once you’ve established an information hub, update the content regularly or as new information becomes available.

3. If you must make budget cuts, be kind to your big picture bottom line.

Realistically, spending ad dollars to sell gym memberships isn’t a responsible expense when the whole state is under stay-at-home orders unable to frequent crowded places like a gym, for example. So, we understand making cuts here and there during tough times. Having said that, reallocating all your marketing dollars or thrashing your overall budgeted expenses prematurely isn’t a smart business decision. If your business weathers whatever storm it is going through, you’ll be in a better position to recover if you can hit the ground running again with some planned expenses rather than have no budget to work with and no way to reach your audience to bring them back in. The point is, try not to make decisions out of panic; think you business strategy through.

4. Keep employees and volunteers feeling in-the-know and valued.

The way leadership communicates (or doesn’t communicate) to employees and volunteers will directly impact loyalty, which can lead to a loss of talent. Employees remember how they were treated during the worst of times much more vividly than during the best of times, so it is important to allow employees as much empowerment as possible during crisis situations. In some cases, your organization will be responsible for communicating with employees or volunteers, including volunteer board members. It is important not to overlook this hugely important aspect of successful crisis communication management. Remember, you can do all the right things on behalf of your client’s brand and budget, but if you don’t treat (or help them treat) their employees with respect and kindness during troubled times, the whole structure will collapse.

5. Give good business advice without taking advantage.

It might feel like an easy upsell to encourage a client to add on social media services and an extensive SEO package to boost their business during a time when face-to-face commerce has minimized and digital marketing is critical, but who are you really serving? While your ultimate goal as a business owner is to make money, you need to be realistic and be loyal to the clients who are being loyal to you. If your team is stretched due to economic hardship, there is nothing wrong with changing price points to help your business model move forward. But pushing services on struggling clients is only appropriate if you are actually helping your client by doing so. For example, if a local restaurant doesn’t have an online presence, it is absolutely appropriate to ask the question, “How is your community going to support you if they’re unable to find you?” However, the answer isn’t necessarily to start a website, a Facebook page and an Instagram account all at once. You can give good advice without taking advantage. You can give a customer what they need without giving them everything they need at all at once.

How is Enterprise Iowa handling the COVID-19 crisis?

Like most other businesses nationwide, our team is doing the best we can to minimize the risk we put on each other and put out into our community. We’ve taken measures to work from our homes, serving our clients through Adobe Connect meetings, Slack conversations and more. While most businesses can’t have a perfect plan in place for a situation like this, our team has done well adapting to our new working normal. We feel fortunate to be able to continue to serve our clients and do our part to help stimulate economic prosperity in Iowa during this low point. For any businesses struggling to get through the economic hardship inflicted by COVID-19, reach out to see how we might be able to help revise and rejuvenate your business strategy.

How Hosting Webinars Can Improve Client Retention

How Hosting Webinars Can Improve Client Retention

Creating proper technical documents and training videos to educate your customers is an important component in your business model. But, your efforts shouldn’t be a one-time deal. Offering ongoing opportunities for customer support and learning could be what sets your company apart from the competition.

Because webinars are an online-based form of learning, individuals can attend from anywhere, making them convenient for customers. If your business product or service requires education or training for customers, consider hosting webinars. While webinars may not be as personal as one-on-one training, they may be able to help your goals by allowing you to educate customers with ease, connect with customers more directly and establish your authority as a local industry expert.

1. Educate with Ease

Hosting a webinar is simple; all you need is a strong internet connection and access to a hosting service, such as Adobe Connect. There are plenty of additional platforms perfect for hosting webinars that you can choose from, making it a simple and efficient method for connecting with and educating your customer base. Tip: If you’re not concerned with publicizing your content, try a Facebook or Youtube Live Stream, encouraging viewers to interact with “likes” and “comments.”

While there are often costs associated with creating an account for various webinar hosting platforms, free options are available to take advantage of as you get started and grow your audience. Depending on which platform you choose to work with, your costs will vary, but it is nothing compared to what you’d spend traveling to various locations around the state – or even nationally and internationally. The only additional cost incurred by your company would be spent in time spent preparing for and hosting the webinar. However, if you incorporate webinars into your workflow regularly, you will be able to more effectively analyze the cost and benefit over time.

2. Connect with Customers

An added bonus of hosting webinars is gaining the opportunity to connect directly with your customers. Generally speaking, attendees of a certain webinar topic all have a common interest, which gives you the perfect opportunity to collect focused feedback. If you’ve got a new product or service you’d like to gather input on, incorporating a questionnaire component into the webinar is a great method for measuring responses.

Another important benefit to connecting directly with customers is that you can address questions and concerns head-on and with transparency. In addition to helping your customers succeed, directly responding to concerns can help boost your reputation and credibility as an organization. Plus, by encouraging participation, you may receive a question or comment you weren’t anticipating, sparking an idea for a follow-up webinar.

3. Establish Your Authority

Humble bragging is the bread and butter of smart business men looking to bring in new customers. In today’s digital culture, widely establishing yourself as an expert is best done online. You have the opportunity to use current and emerging technologies to establish yourself as a thought leader on various topics. For example, a financial adviser might host a webinar titled “Preparing a Budget and Sticking to It!” The idea is to give away some of your competitive secrets to further establish your business as the most knowledgeable on the topic, deepening the trust needed to bring in new clients and retain existing ones.

Give Enterprise Iowa a Call to Plan an Effective Webinar Strategy

Whether you offer a product that requires customer training or want to establish your organization as an industry expert, webinars can be a hugely effective strategy. While making technical documentation and video training available can be beneficial, webinars offer a level of direct connection with clients that can really make your organization stand out. However, there are a lot of business leaders who are camera shy or simply too inexperienced and insecure to take the leap into these live training.

If you work for an organization interested in expanding into the field of webinar-based training but don’t know how to begin, give our team a call. We can provide you with information, guidance and support as you branch out into this new technological venture.

Understanding SEO and How It Can Help Better Your Business

Understanding SEO and How It Can Help Better Your Business

Whether you own a small business or lead a large organization, finding new ways to meet objectives can be challenging. Developing a marketing and communications plan can help you identify creative new sources of revenue. From targeting new customers to reeling in potential donors, your marketing strategy is key, and incorporating web services into your overall plan is crucial – after all, your website is the unsung hero when it comes to boosting your brand and increasing earnings.

In today’s digital age, most people rely on the internet to gather information about a potential vendor, investment or product. In many cases, when a user doesn’t know where to look, he or she will engage in a Google search, entering key words to lead them in the right direction.

According to Moz, the average Google search session lasts just under a minute. This means your website needs to appear high in the Google search results listings in order to gain new views, which means paying attention to your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization is the practice of writing and posting web content in a way that encourages search engines to promote it to searchers. Because search engines like Google use an algorithm that helps connect users to content that best matches their search criteria, writing content with this algorithm in mind can be a highly effective marketing and communications strategy for bringing in new business.

Search engine optimization is a complex process that aims to put your company’s name and website in front of more potential customers. While this may not seem like a top priority but instead like a complicated way to spend man hours, it is actually an important strategy for successful online marketing. As a business owner in the Des Moines metro area, this is just another way for you to stay ahead of the competition and see more dollars.

Why Should Your Business Implement an SEO Strategy?

Enhance your company’s web presence by incorporating SEO into your marketing and communications plan. Search engine optimization is a the process of raising your online visibility, and a detailed strategy can help you get the attention and results you need to bring in new customers and encourage repeat clients.  In fact, there are three main reasons to implement this type of content strategy: (1) to improve search engine results rankings, (2) to connect with customers more effectively and (3) to establish local authority.

1. You Want to Rank Better in Search Results

Typically, a person uses a search engine to find businesses, choosing — whether they realize it or not — based on rankings. If you’ve performed a Google search for your services and location and noticed your business’s website didn’t show up on the first page of results, you should start looking into SEO strategies. Think about it logically: How are potential customers supposed to find your company when most internet users don’t look beyond the first page of search results? This is where an SEO strategy can make a big difference.

Additionally, by designing content specifically for a local audience, a strategy known as geo-targeting, you can better hone your strategy and bring in more business. Search engines like Google take geo-targeting into consideration when displaying web pages, meaning your company’s website could rank higher with a local-based strategy. An experienced blogging team can not only boost your website’s traffic by increasing visibility with searchers, but also keep up with algorithms, relevant industry topics and local keywords.

2. You Want to Connect With Customers More Effectively

Without the right SEO strategy, it can be difficult to reach your desired audience. In the Des Moines metro area, there is a lot of competition, so you want to have a strong, professional web presence that encourages potential clients to choose you. But if they can’t find you on the web, then they can’t choose you. With a detailed marketing and communications plan that includes SEO, you can better reach your audience and hopefully convert curious searchers into clients.

3. You Want to Establish Your Local Authority

Potential customers want to know that the business they are researching is trustworthy and competent. As a part of search engine algorithms, a large emphasis is placed on having authority as a business, including knowing what you’re doing and providing information to customers effectively. Additionally, if your content uses proper geo-targeting for the Des Moines metro area, for example, people living in Des Moines will see you are knowledgeable on the area and have experience in the industry.

Establishing trust and local authority through SEO can directly influence how your customer base grows. The more content you produce, the more trust you develop with the search engines and the better you will rank, giving your company a competitive edge when it comes to a potential customer’s first impression. In fact, “72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles,” according to a 2017 study by iMPACT.  This means that ranking higher for a local Google search for your local services could significantly improve traffic to your website – and hopefully help bring in new revenue. Through detailed web pages, blog posts, and more, you can build a relationship of trust and authority, not only with search engine algorithms but also with searchers.

Should You Hire an Outside Company for SEO?

If you own or operate a business, your time is likely stretched thin already, and curating new content on a regular basis would only further stretch that time. Hiring a company that specializes in web content and maintenance can help you improve your website’s visibility in a simple Google search, as well as posture your business as a local industry expert. Among other things, a company experienced with writing for SEO adapts your website to increase visibility.

If you need help starting a blog or improving SEO on your current website, contact Enterprise Iowa. We help clients generate new, engaging blog content to entice new customers and retain existing ones.

Top 4 Tips for Engaging Social Media Photography

Top 4 Tips for Engaging Social Media Photography

When it comes to promoting your business, a picture really is worth a thousand words. Whether your goal is to recruit new members, entice donors or sell more pizzas, authenticity is a powerful and effective form of persuasion. Engaging social media photography provides a boost to your brand’s authenticity.

According to Marketing Sherpa, the average online adult user is between the ages of 18 and 34, and these users are most likely to follow a brand via social networking (95%). In basic terms: If your brand isn’t social, you’re already failing. Getting your brand, product or services in front of this key demographic is easiest through engaging social media content.

Unfortunately, not all of us are naturals when it comes to figuring out which visuals are best for showcasing on social media or how to do it. If you’re someone who is struggling with capturing eye-catching images for your feeds, take these tips to heart and start snapping.

1. Pick an Interesting Subject

Images are the first thing people notice about your social media post, so it is important to engage them instantly. Crafting visually exciting images that focus on what makes your business or product special and different is the best way to captivate audiences from the get-go. Think: happy, engaged employees; a delicious, juicy cheeseburger; a gorgeously adorned conference room full of board members as they make critical decisions. What makes your business unique and worthy of public interest? That’s what you should be including in your social media feeds.

2. Keep It Simple

You don’t always need several people, multiple props, and elaborated staging to get an engaging photo. In fact, the most effective images are often the simplest ones that capture genuine energy and action. Put yourself in the average scroller’s shoes – because let’s face it, you’re a frequent scroller in your downtime as well. Are you more likely to engage with content that has been carefully curated from a collection of stock photos or has been created using a series of images showing actual volunteer activity and community giving? Better yet, are you more likely to apply for a job at a company that advertises using photos with big branded logos over happy-looking models in work spaces or the one that shows diverse employees engaged in a creative brainstorming session? Would you rather stay at a hotel that boasts an Olympic-sized pool without showing any pictures of guests enjoying it or one with a playful Instagram showing real faces and real relaxation taking place? To put it in simpler terms: You know what intrigues you about company-produced content, so recreate the same vibe with your own uniquely branded twist.

3. Try a New Perspective

social media photography

Any good photographer knows that you’ve got to think big to get a perfect shot, meaning contorting your body or climbing on tables to get just the right angle. So, when you feel like showcasing your award-winning strategies or reaching a new demographic, try doing it in a new, exciting way. Stand on a chair in the back of a classroom to get the perfect overhead shot of a keynote speaker addressing seminar attendees; get a closeup of the technology that makes your organization stand out and thrive; or broadcast live from an important event to show the real-time energy and enthusiasm of participants.

4. Get Outside Help and Perspective

No matter how many photos you take, sometimes it takes an expert marketing eye to know just the right shot to choose. Even more importantly, sometimes it takes a creative wordsmith to sell the photo. If you’re a small or large business owner who wants to create an engaging social media presence, without having to take on all the work and creative-thinking yourself, outsourcing your social media marketing strategy is the way to go. You know how to run your organization, but professional social media consultants know how to market it.

At Enterprise Iowa, we know that time is limited for most business leaders. Whether you’re operating a restaurant in your local community or managing various clients at your brand new accounting firm, fitting in time to successfully plan and execute a social media strategy often just isn’t feasible. That’s why we work with clients to identify opportunities on social media and implement with content that invites lots of likes, comments and clicks from your customers. Send us a message if you’d like to set up a meeting to talk about how we can help elevate your social media strategy to better meet your business objectives.