Monthly Archives :

May 2021

4 Spring Cleaning Data Tips for More Sales

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

While we are quickly heading toward the heat of summer, there’s still time to do some spring cleaning with your data. A nice clean email list can help you make the most of your ecommerce and increase summer sales.

Let’s get started.

Ways to Spruce Up Your Digital Marketing for Increased Sales

Customer data is great but only if you know what to do with it. Many businesses moved to online sales with COVID and, in turn, received a lot of good data from customers. But it’s time to get in there, do some spring cleaning of your database, and a few other things to position you for a hot summer sales season.

Did you get every name on your list the same way? Or did they get added through a variety of sources including ads, referrals, point of sale signups, and other ways? Likely, it’s the latter.

If you acquired your list members in various ways, take a moment to look into what each way tells you about them. Did they come to you after an e-commerce transaction or sign-up as part of a contest? How you got them is as important as how they continue to interact with you.

Look for ways to give them more of what they want in a personalized way by understanding what brought them to you in the first place.

Remove Non-Deliverables
You know the bounce backs you get every time you send? Look at the list and check for any obvious problems. Sometimes people hit the wrong key and you end up with .cmo instead of .com. Many bounce backs are due to key errors and are easy to recognize. Fix them. If it’s not obvious why they aren’t going through, get rid of them. You don’t want to pay for contacts that aren’t valid.

Get Rid of Dupes
Sometimes people get on lists from multiple ways, or they use different email addresses without realizing it. Take a quick scan for duplicate names. Do they share any of the same info? Could they be the same person? If so, do them a favor and merge the contacts. No one enjoys receiving two emails from you on each send, no matter how riveting the emails are.

Add Some Summer Spice
Depending on your business, you may see more visitors in the summer than during other parts of the year, on e-commerce or in-person. Since we’re talking about digital marketing here, look for ways you can add some summer spice to your website content, your newsletter, your landing page, and your email messaging. People are ready for fun times. They want school to be over and—unlike last summer—be able to do something. Play to that interest when creating or tweaking your content.

There’s an excitement in the air that has not been there for a while. Use this renewed energy to take a second look at your digital marketing. Make some quick tweaks and get ready for summer and increased sales.


Building Trust in a Post-Pandemic World

150 150 Pat Monacelli

By Christina R. Metcalf

If you were paying attention this week, you undoubtedly heard about the “gas crisis” where a cyberattack crippled a major pipeline. As if that wasn’t bad enough, consumers across the country panicked, running to the gas station to fill up whatever container they had, creating a gas shortage that was reminiscent of the toilet paper crisis of last year.

The media did its best to combat it by telling people in states like Florida, that its citizens were largely unaffected. However, few believed the reports and filled up anyway causing thousands of gas stations to run dry.

Trust Is a Valuable Commodity

According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, “A majority of respondents believe that government leaders (57 percent), business leaders (56 percent), and journalists (59 percent) are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false.”

Why should that matter to you?

This environment of distrust may (eventually) mean people are less likely to buy from you. If you do not establish the concepts of “know, like, and trust” with your audience, you may find sales and interest in your business diminishing.

So, what can you do?

Here are a few ideas.

Building Trust in a Post Pandemic World
These tips were written for a business that’s reputation is in the neutral position and may not apply if you are trying to recover from a public relations issue.

1. Practice transparency. Let customers behind your curtain. They will enjoy the opportunity and by more trusting. If you have a vested interest in something, be honest and upfront about it. This also includes admitting when you mess up.

2. Open the conversation up. Social media should never be a one-way announcement. Look for ways to ask questions and get people involved. Think about what business decisions you can crowdsource.

3. Bring your customer service online. In 2021, how someone gets answers or help from you shouldn’t be on your terms. A phone number is only the beginning. Incorporate other avenues like chat, email, or text. If you’re on Twitter, help people through that platform as well. If someone has an issue or question, they should be able to get in touch with you through their preferred method of communication.

4. Give them an expectation and exceed it. When someone has a question or is waiting on something like a delivery, “soon” doesn’t cut it. The technology exists these days for users to be able to pinpoint exactly where their items are on a map. The generic answer of “soon” as to when something will get to them or when they will hear an answer makes you look old-fashioned and uncaring. Instead, give them a time when you will get back to them. It is better to get back with them at that time and tell them you have nothing new to report than it is to tell them “soon,” and then they wait days to hear from you. Plus, the more communication you have with them, the less they will feel forgotten about. You want them to feel like their question, issue, or concern is on the top of your pile and consistent communication helps.

5. Be honest with information/data use. 46 percent of people who left Facebook admitted they did so because they didn’t trust what the company was doing with their data, or they were concerned over privacy. Make sure you follow the proper opt-in procedures and are transparent about how you will use information collected. When I worked in politics, a senator added his mother to a doner list for the party but changed her middle initial. That way whenever he received unsolicited mail, he knew if it came from that list because of her mistaken initial. People pay more attention to privacy these days. Don’t give them a reason not to trust you.

Trust is hard to build but easy to destroy. Think about your interactions with businesses and what made you feel distrusting then do your best to be as open as possible with the people who want to do business with you.

Master the Basics of Good Content to Increase Sales

150 150 Pat Monacelli


By Christina R. Metcalf

Writing is difficult for a lot of people. You may worry about your mastery of grammar or vocabulary. Maybe you just don’t think you have anything interesting to say. But if you have something to sell, you need to learn the basics of good copy, at least until you can pay someone to do it for you.

These basic tips can (and should) be used when writing your web copy, social media posts, newsletter, emails, or anything you’re using words to grab attention. Keep in mind that whatever you are writing you should always aim to be at least one of the following:

• Interesting
• Entertaining
• Educational/informative

Copywriting Tips for Beginners

1. Get Human: share what’s going on in your life
You are interesting and someone out there can identify with you and what you’re doing. Even if it’s just that you burned toast this morning, there’s someone who is nodding their head as they read your post. These types of human connections make people want to read more and get to know you which leads to potential sales.

2. Tie Your Product/service into Your Narrative
As you are “getting human” and sharing your stories, think about what types of skills or qualities go into making a good <insert your type of business here>. For instance, I follow a writer on social media. I didn’t follow her because I read her books and loved them. I followed her because her daily life stories are so funny and mirror mine that I wanted them to show up in my stream. She never even mentions her books. But because she entertains me, I am going to buy her books because I can tell from her posts that she’s very skilled at what she does.

Look for ways you can exhibit the skills people would associate with the type of business you’re in and tell stories around those things. Don’t tell people you are those things. Show people you are.

3. Ask Questions
The easiest thing you can do to get people talking is to ask them about their own experiences. It makes them feel valued and it may help connect your audience to one another as well as to you.

Use Assumptive Agreements and “Are You with Me’s”
I know, right?

This is an example of a popular assumptive agreement. So is “Nobody wants that, right?” It invites people to agree with you and leaves little room to do otherwise. These types of phrases are also good ways to break up paragraphs, create white space to make pages scannable, and keep your reader with you.

4. Good Visuals
Good visual aren’t words, but they draw people to read your words. In those cases, pretty pictures are nice but interesting is better. An interesting image forces people to read the text around it because they are trying to figure it out. A pretty image can stand alone; no further explanation is needed.

5. Notice What You Like Online
If you are in your own target demographic, pay attention to all the “junk” marketing you get and all the social media business posts you see. What do you like and what doesn’t work? Make a note of these things and use them to shape your own posts. The other day, just before lunch Chick-fil-a sent me a notification asking me if I wanted some of their golden nuggets. I thought about it for several hours. Guess where my kids ate last night?

6. Spend Time on the Headings and Titles
These lines are valuable. Titles will convince people to read. Headings break up text and are excellent places for keywords. Creating these is not a timed race. Since there are very few characters (you want to keep them short and punchy, for the most part), you want every word to serve a purpose. Headings and titles should:

• Tell the reader what the writing is about
• Use powerful words that are in keeping with your business’ personality (don’t use “awesome” if you’re a conservative investment firm, for instance)
• Use keywords
• Spur interest

Write your title. Then ask yourself, “so what?” or “and.” Revise to add the “so what” and ask it again. Eventually, there will be nothing left to ask. At that point cut any extra words, switch out boring words or add some exciting ones, and you have your title.

For example:
5 ways to make people like you
-So what/when?

5 ways to make people like you during the hiring process
-So what/why should the reader care?

5 ways to make people like you so you get the job

5 ways to “win the work” at your next job interview

Writing does take time but if you think about your audience, their needs, struggles, and interests and how your own might mirror those, you will always have content topics and intriguing angles.

3 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid as We Move Toward Recovery

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

COVID numbers seem to be going down and vaccine administrations are going up. That’s allowing people to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. If you have weathered the storm so far, you know your business is not completely in the clear. There are always unexpected challenges like freak snowstorms and mass electrical outages that are keeping us all on our business toes, regardless of where you sell or operate from. Nothing will tell you faster how interconnected we are than understanding how weather in one part of the country can stimy business operations in another.

But as we begin to see COVID numbers drop and (eventually) restrictions loosen, there are several common marketing mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

Just Getting the Work Done by Putting Out Fires
“The world hates a vacuum.” Have you ever heard that phrase? Said another way…wherever there is emptiness, it will become full. The same is true of your business day and marketing. You can be busy putting out fires, doing the busy work, or you can grab command of your day and insist on purpose.

If you come up with and commit to accomplishing 2-3 things for your marketing each day, you’ll get more done each week and start to really see a difference in your business. Many people will argue that they come up with goals but are then derailed by more important things that need their attention.

If you find this to be true, you’re either not prioritizing well or you’re letting the demands of others derail your business goals. Always ask yourself with each activity you take on during the day, “Is this moving me closer to where I want to be in my business or is it setting me adrift from my goals?” Once you begin framing everything that way, you will find it easier to stay on task.

That is not to say, your marketing goals never need to be adjusted. If there’s one thing COVID has taught us, it’s agility. We need to be able to bend and redirect. But always do so with the business in mind. If you’re going to rebalance your goals, do so with the destination in mind, not as a reaction to a “squeaky wheel.”

Being All Things to All People
“Everyone” is not an ideal customer. Even if you think “everyone” loves your product and service. Case in point, let’s say you’re in the business of making really wonderful coffee, and you charge $6 a cup for it. First, everyone doesn’t love coffee. Secondly, not everyone sees the value in a $6 cup when there are options at lower price points. Yes, some people understand that you roast your own beans and that makes a difference in the flavor and some people will love you have six different types of organic creamers. Those people are your ideal customer, not people who buy $.59 cups of coffee at the gas station.

But if you think all coffee drinkers are the same, you could spend a lot of money trying to reach the economy buyers who will never spend anything with you. Instead, focus on reaching people who will appreciate your home-roasted beans and fancy creamers. They’re more likely to convert when you get your messaging in front of them.

Ignoring Analytics
We get it. Numbers are scary. But you’ll never know how you’re doing if you don’t look. Check out your Google Analytics but don’t get fixated on today’s (or even yesterday’s) data. This resource is most effective when you use it to track changes and notice what moves the meter over time.

You can use data to tell you what content topics resonate with your audience, what referral sources are your most lucrative, and whether you’re spending your ad money wisely. Let’s face it, no one has money they just want to throw away, especially now.

So, take a look at those numbers and the trends. They’ll become a good road map for you going forward.