Category: Business Solutions

Why Your Business Needs a Newsletter

Why Your Business Needs a Newsletter @ SarahWritesStoriesThese days, blogging, twitter and facebook are all the rage when it comes to helping people find and interact with your business.  But there’s one more tool in your social marketing toolbox you might be forgetting — the newsletter.

Three Reasons Your Business Needs a Newsletter

While email can seem a little old school in these days of instant interaction on the likes of twitter and facebook, it still serves a great purpose for you and your customers.

Newsletters Create Added Value for Valued Customers

A newsletter positions you as an expert in your industry in a similar way to your blog.  The difference is a newsletter can offer exclusive content to folks who want it — and it’s a great way to give a little something extra to your valued customers.  A newsletter is the truest form of permission-based marketing — if you offer something that people actually request to read, you’re on the right track.

Newsletters Let Customers Share How Great You Are

Newsletters are unique when it comes to sharing.  A retweet or a share on facebook goes out to a person’s entire network of friends, but a newsletter is more easily forwarded specifically to friends and family who might benefit from what your company has to offer.  This is targeted marketing done for you!  And the bonus is it comes from a vetted, impartial source of information.

Newsletters Trigger Repeat Business

While a solid blog, website and other social media are fantastic for helping people find your business, a newsletter does a wonderful job of creating repeat business.  Social media helps people find you, but a newsletter reminds your customers to come back.  Newsletters are especially great for service-based businesses because they act as periodic reminders for folks to take advantage of your services.

Newsletters at Sarah Writes Stories

If you’re ready to start taking advantage of the benefits of a newsletter, I can helpI’d love to work with you to create an informative newsletter that creates loyal, repeat customers and helps them share how great your business is with their friends and family.

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Case Study: How Scrivener Turned a Potential Snafu Into a Customer Service Showcase

How Scrivener Turned a Potential Snafu Into a Customer Service Showcase @ Sarah Writes StoriesSoftware updates are a part of life in this day and age, but they don’t always have to be painful.  Case in point: during a recent update to my favorite writing software, Scrivener, a known issue popped up during installation.

How Scrivener Did It Right

Instead of having to google the error, hunt down the solution, and then follow a lengthy list of instructions to delete the appropriate file, Scrivener walked me right through the entire process.

First, it notified me of the issue — and that there was a simple solution.  Second, the program  walked me through deleting a framework file on my Mac through a short series of prompts that were so well-designed that they included buttons to “Open Folder” rather than telling me to hunt for it.  The entire process took about 10 seconds, and then the install completed successfully.

I already loved Scrivener, but making this process so easy made me love it even more.

Learning from Scrivener’s Customer Service Performance

Here’s what we can learn from Scrivener’s performance.

Do Your Research

It’s no accident that Scrivener programmed this solution right into the installation itself.  I stay on top of updates, so there was no lag time to my knowledge between users being affected and the solution being provided.

If you’re getting ready to introduce a new product or service, run through as many scenarios as you can to ensure all your bases are covered and that you know how to handle issues if and when they pop up.  Not even the big wig companies succeed at this all the time (ahem, Apple Maps, anyone?), but the better prepared you can be, the better.

Develop Solutions and Make Them Easy for Customers

If you do foresee problems — even minor ones — develop solutions and make them as easy as possible for your customers.  Ignoring the problem and leaving the hunt for the fix to your customers is a surefire way to engender their frustration at best and to lose them entirely at worst.

However, showing your customers that you care by responding with correct, quick and easy-to-use solutions can actually improve your position.

Admit When You’re Wrong

Now, because Scrivener did everything right in this case study, I’m going to point to the Apple Maps issue again.  When the product came out and users found it to be extremely subpar and sometimes even completely wrong, CEO Tim Cook responded quickly with an apology, a promise to do better, and recommendations for other apps to use in the meantime.

It was a bold move that Steve Jobs probably wouldn’t have made, to be honest, but it created goodwill within Apple’s already loyal user base.  No person is perfect, and neither is any business, but we can all make strides to turn less than ideal situations into opportunities.

Effective Communication is Key

If you’ve got a public relations problem on your hands, it’s important to make sure you respond to your customers correctly.  There are plenty of corporate social media horror stories out there, so it’s worth hiring a professional to help you tell your customers the right story when there’s a snafu.

If you need help responding to your customers via your website, blog, email or social media, I can helpLet’s chat about how we can work together to help you and your business keep your customers happy and loyal.

Three Ideas for Great Blog Content

So, now that you know you need a blog, you maybe wondering what the heck you need to blog about.  It’s not as hard as you might think.  There are three sure-fire ways to provide solid blog content to your current and potential customers.

3 Paths to Great Blog Content @ Sarah Writes StoriesThree Paths to Great Blog Content

All good blog posts should do at least one of these three things:

  • Inform
  • Entertain
  • Persuade

And the secret to creating a great blog post is to combine them.  Here are three topics that do just that.

Tell People How To Do Something

If you have a special skill set, use your blog to share some of that knowledge with your customers.  This not only builds credibility and positions you as an expert, but it also helps build trust with your customers.  Don’t worry about giving away trade secrets.  For instance, even though I understand what happens during an HVAC tune-up and have even written about it for clients, I’m still going to turn to the pros when I need the job done.

Tell People Why To Do Something

Along with telling people how to do something, you should also tell them why they should do something.  For instance, if you’re in the gutter-cleaning or chimney-sweeping business, tell people WHY these tasks are so important.  If you’re in the cupcake business, give people a list of occasions for which they should send cupcakes to friends, family or coworkers.  These posts are especially great for including a call to action to turn your past customers into repeat customers and your potential customers into new ones.

Tell People About Your Business

If you’ve got something special going on at your business, like a sale or promotion, a new product or service, or a special event you want people to be aware of, then blog about it!  Your blog is a great place to showcase new and time-sensitive information — and a blog post is easy to share with your other social networks, like twitter and facebook.

Make Your Blog a Priority

Remember, you don’t have to be a great writer to ensure your blog has great content.  Writing a blog takes time and effort you may want to devote to the parts of your business you’re passionate about.  Working with an experienced SEO copywriter who can take your ideas, style and voice and turn them into Great Blog Content is one of the best ways to take your business to the next level.

Blog Writing at Sarah Writes Stories

I’d love to work with you to come up with Great Blog Content that will inform, entertain and persuade past, current and potential customers.  Having worked with more than 40 clients in the past year alone, I know how to adapt to each client’s personal needs and goals.  If you’re ready to get your blog started or make your current one more effective, let’s chat about how we can work together to make that happen!

Friday Link Round-Up: So You Messed Up Edition

Sad Lilo by Elizabeth Ditty

Let’s face it: none of us are perfect all of the time.  And unless you have a puppy dog face like my dog Lilo up there, there’s a lot to be said for learning to firstly take responsibility for our errors and secondly do what it takes to make it right.  That’s what this week’s round-up is all about — what do you when you mess up.  (Pay no mind to the fact that this post is going live the day after Valentine’s Day.)

Lesson of the Week

An apology is only worth the amount you mean it.  Here are three perspectives on how to apologize.

Product of the Week

You know how I’d like someone to apologize to me? With cupcakes.  This $11 cupcake pan comes ready to transport with a cover.  So simple, yet what a difference it makes!  (And as an FYI for any sometimes or frequent bakers out there, I’ve had nothing but wonderful experience with Wilton products for baking.  They’re entirely affordable and super high quality.)

Recipe of the Week

And speaking of cupcakes, if anyone has any reason to apologize to me and wants to take my suggestion of sending me cupcakes, these carrot cake cupcakes with maple-cream cheese frosting from Smitten Kitchen are a fantastic choice.  I made them for T’s birthday (along with How Sweet Eats’ Angel Food Cupcakes — also very good), and I think I ate at least 80 percent of them. (Can I blame that on being pregnant?)

Thought-Provoker of the Week

“Compassion has enemies, and those enemies are things like pity, moral outrage, fear.” That’s a quote from Buddhist roshi Joan Halifax in her TEDTalk on compassion.

Laugh of the Week

When all else fails, sometimes the best way to say you’re sorry is from the inside of a box.