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August 2021

Attract Customers with Fall Business Themes

150 150 Pat Monacelli


by Christina R. Metcalf

Fall is a favorite among many people. The temps are enjoyable, weather is crisp and clear, and the smell of leaves can be intoxicating. That’s what makes this season such a hit with marketers. Here are a few fall themes you can incorporate into your business for more engagement with your target audience.

Fun Fall Marketing Themes

Use these themes to inspire your newsletter, blog posts, contests, social media posts, business interior, offerings, and more.

Pumpkin Everything
It seems like every year it starts earlier and earlier, but people really clamor over pumpkin. From coffee creamer to cake, people can’t get enough of this colorful gourd.

Incorporate pumpkin flavoring, host a pumpkin design contest, or even make fun of the fact that you’re offering a pumpkin option (like pumpkin rinse for clogged pipes, if you’re a plumber).

Hate pumpkin? That’s okay too. Share that with your audience and invite them to ring in. You may be surprised on the level of engagement you receive.

Back to School
There’s more to back-to-school then just the first day. As students get settled in at all levels, it’s a good way to connect with students or their adult guardians.

Play up why your business is a favorite among students or their parents. Host a back-to-school bash, sale, or image contest or join in during homecoming festivities.

Harvest Time and Gratefulness
Whether you’re celebrating good harvests of local food, the hard work of the agriculture industry, or how important it is to feel grateful, there are many ways to use this theme to get your audience’s attention.

Share what you are grateful for. Ask questions about favorite foods. Tell the story of where your food comes from (if that’s what you sell). Highlight the farm-to-table story.

From tailgating to homecoming, there are many ways to celebrate this sport and the excitement that goes along with it.

Spotlight local players, ask people who they think will win, rename some of your offerings (temporarily) based on team names, be a sponsor of a local team. Run specials and discounts based on game points or wins. Give your audience something (else) to cheer about.

The Colors
Fall colors are amazing. There are vacationers who plan trips around those magnificent oranges, reds, and yellows. Plus, there’s the inviting glow of the hearth. Fall makes for great decoration ideas for your business as it’s a very cozy time. Fall is an invitation to come in and you can use the same in your marketing.

Share recipes, favorite scents, favorite books, and color updates of the leaves in your area (if applicable).

Fall is a beloved season, and you can use it to get closer with people in your ideal market. There are many options under each of these themes. Brainstorm some creative uses and you’ll make a big impression on your customers and future customers.


13 Important Things You Need To Hear As A Business Owner

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

Our metal has certainly been tested this year. Many are fatigued and stressed juggling responsibilities, worries, and fear like they were part of the job description.

But this is not sustainable.

You may feel crushed by the weight of the world right now. Maybe your friends and family don’t quite understand what you’re going through because they aren’t a business owner. Perhaps you’ve created the perfect life on social media, and no one knows the struggles that make up your day and eat away at your confidence and security.

But your chamber of commerce does. They’ve been there. They are business owners/business professionals, and they know what you’re going through. Most people think about the business resources and networking they provide but forget that they are always looking out for businesses and the struggles of businesspeople. Being the voice of business also means understanding the internal hardships of business owners. The chamber’s vast business experience may help you feel more part of a tribe.

The chamber is also here to remind you that as a business owner, your skills, drive, and knowledge are critical to your business but so is your health and wellness.

13 Things Every Business Owner Needs to Hear

All business owners need to hear these things, especially now:

1. It is okay to put yourself in time out. Use this time to recharge or think about the direction of your business. You can’t do either of these things under pressure. You are not a diamond. Schedule time away, off the grid, even if only for an hour. Focus on one area that’s not working and how you might improve things. Then create an action plan and schedule your tactics that will get you to your goal. Or better yet, take that time and decompress by doing absolutely nothing.

2. Trust your intuition but weigh all sides. Discuss it with people who have experience in the area or the things you are considering. That generally means not your spouse, nor your friends.

3. Take the calculated risks. No risk, no growth.

4. You can make a living doing anything if you take the right approach and the timing is right. Choose what you love, and you will have a more fulfilling career. Never choose safety as a career path because sometimes the safe path isn’t safe. And if that’s the only reason you chose it, you’re left with nothing.

5. If you need help, ask. But you’ll be more successful if you ask the people who are able to help.

6. “No” is an acceptable answer. No excuse (or reason) required.

7. Timing is important but persistence usually pays off. Hang in there.

8. You set your priorities. If you feel out of control, and someone else dictates everything for you, you have given them that power (that includes your kids and pets).

9. Schedule time for “oxygen” moments that provide the breath that fuels the fire in your soul. Recharge with the care that you give your cell phone.

10. Everyone is on their own path. If you don’t declare them as a dependent on your taxes or you can’t be held accountable for their actions in a court of law, respect their process and respect yours also.

11. You can’t make everyone happy, but you can exhaust yourself trying. Pick what you’re good at, who it serves well, and do that. Don’t be a salad at McDonalds.

12. You are always in control of how you respond to a situation even if you can’t control anything else.

13. If it’s important to you, find a way. If it’s not, be honest about that with others and with yourself. Admit that it’s not on your life’s “strategic plan” and move on.

Remember, mental health and wellness are not luxuries. You deserve them. Just as you take care of the tools you need to conduct business, you need to take care of yourself.

Keep this list and refer to it. There’s nothing on here that isn’t common sense but sometimes you just need to hear it from someone else.

How to Take Your Customer Relationship to the Next Level

150 150 Pat Monacelli

By Christina R. Metcalf

Do you want to wow your existing customers? Are you ready to take your “relationship” with them to the next level? Then it may be time to grab your data and do some personalized marketing.

What You Need
To get your customers’ attention, you need to have tools in place to measure things like buying frequency and purchase history. You’ll also want your customers’ email addresses.

If you don’t have that, start collecting it. If you do, let’s talk about how you can use it to drive additional sales.

Selling to existing, repeat customers is one of the easiest ways to increase sales. They already love you. But even people who love you and your products/services can forget to buy from you, especially if you sell a product or service that is want based, not need based, like a restaurant.

You will find it necessary at some point to remind your customers of their love for you. A personalized email is ideal for this.

Components of a Standout Personalized Reminder Email
When some business owners think about “personalized” emails, they think of form fields that insert names.

But we’re moving beyond that.

This type of reminder email speaks to your personalized relationship with your customer, making it a whole lot more effective in driving sales than simply referring to someone’s name. In addition to using their name, you want to include:

Purchase History
Don’t include everything they’ve ever bought. That may be overwhelming, and they may decide they’ve spent too much money with you. Instead, highlight what they bought most often.

“You sure do like our decadent chocolate shake, maybe almost as much as we like having you as a customer. Wouldn’t today be the perfect day to order one? Mmmmm. Chocolate.”

Drive those impulse buys.

Upsell Opportunities
Suggest other things they may love next time they’re buying from you. Point out how convenient, popular, or valuable your other offerings are.

“You know what one of our most popular services is? Eyebrow waxing. We tame most of the brows in town and that service is the perfect complement to the highlights you already love. In fact, the waxing can be done while your color cures. That way you leave with gorgeous hair and a refined look with no additional time out of your day. Just what you need, right?”

More Ways to Love You
In the email, suggest more ways to love your services or products. End the email with a call to action. This could be an invitation to stop in, coupon for their next visit, an invitation to try a new location, sharing ways to connect on social, or a picture of their favorite item or service and a “we miss you” invitation. This message will get them thinking about you again and drive more sales. Remember to use evocative imagery in your close so that they can’t help but come see you soon.

Remaining top of mind is critical to getting more sales from loyal customers. Giving them a little “friendly reminder” email is free and will help you stay connected.

4 Practical Subject Line Ideas to Get More Opens

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

Email subject lines are one of the most important things to master because they directly affect your open rate. And more opens means more possible action. They can’t do what you’re asking if they don’t open your email.

The average open rate for emails is between 15-25%. If you’re above 25% you have a great open rate. But let’s assume you wanted to get even better.

This article contains simple email subject line ideas that work. But before we get into those examples, let’s talk about something else you should be doing….

The Sender
There are two main components people assess before opening an email: the subject line and who the email is coming from. If people know you, or they recognized the name, they are more likely to open it.

Whenever possible use a name as the sender, not noreply@yourcompany. Using a sender’s name, even if it diverts to a mailbox on your end that multiple people can access, goes a long way in building a relationship. Some companies use the president’s name, while others use a customer support name that’s easy to remember. The emails I received from Trello, for instance, were always sent from Taco@Trello. Is he a real person? It doesn’t matter. It’s very easy to remember.

Again, don’t feel like you have to pick someone on your business roster to field all those replies. Work with your IT department to create a group inbox that multiple people can access.

4 Practical Email Ideas that Drive Clicks

The following ideas have been taken from real, successful emails. In order to make them more universally applicable, I replaced the product or service in < > so that you could see an example and how you might tailor the details to your own needs. In most cases, you can add products or services from your business or other concepts that your audience will find value in.

# <items or services> we’re obsessed with
Why it works: this stirs a natural curiosity. Being obsessed with something is a very strong endorsement. People will want to click through to see what you’re obsessed with. Not only should you tell them but remember to tell them why as well.

It’s not too late! <insert action verb> now for the…
Often people put things like registering or RSVPing off. It’s not until they’re cleaning out their inbox or it crosses their mind that they panic. Then they tell themselves it’s too late to do anything about it.

Why it works: An email like this reminds people they still have time to act. it’s the ideal subject line for a warm lead.

Try Our 30-day <Product or Service> Challenge for <Insert Result>
These days it seems like there’s a challenge for everything. The reason why marketers use these challenges is that they are highly effective in getting attention and collecting potential data.

Why it works: If you have a product or service that you can arrange a challenge around now is a great time to do it. You don’t have to stick with a 30-day challenge either. You can do something as small as a 3- or 7-day challenge. Get people to sign up for it by giving their email, then send them a new component of the challenge every day, and invite them to a community on Facebook where you discuss their participation and results.

Hey <Insert First Name>, Are You Still Awake?
This email was sent to me by Kim Garst, a marketing expert for small businesses. She sent at 11 p.m. While some people may not appreciate an email at that hour, Kim works with a lot of small business owners and solopreneurs and let’s face it, we don’t sleep much. As a matter of fact, she was right on. I was awake and I was working.

Why it works: This email didn’t have to compete for my attention because there aren’t a whole lot of people sending me emails at 11 p.m.

50% Off 🍕 Means More Time Out of the Kitchen
Okay, so this subject line is designed for restaurants and food places but iit can be quickly tailored to other industries. It’s just a simple equation of “we’ll give you X = a benefit beyond savings for you.”

No one can argue getting takeout isn’t quicker than cooking. However, it’s not in everyone’s budget to do so. So while it’s very efficient, some people don’t get takeout due to budget constraints. This subject line gets right to their concerns about money and tells the recipient that there’s a discount so money is less of a concern…and there’s something else. You get your time back.

Why it works: Who isn’t interested in saving time if you can do it cheaply?

Another thing they use in this subject line was a pizza emoji. The 🍕 allows the audience to very clearly see that the 50% off reflects the price of pizza without the marketer using 4 additional characters (to spell out the word) in the subject line. The number of characters you use is very important as most phones truncate messages in order to fit on the screen. Using an emoji is a way to say more in less space.

No matter what approach you take in drafting a subject line, the one thing to remember is what your audience values. View the subject line as bait or a teaser. It’s important people know what they’re getting (if they open the email) without actually getting everything they need by reading the subject line. After all, you want to drive interest and compel them to click.

Take the Friction Out of Doing Business With You

150 150 Pat Monacelli

By Christina R. Metcalf

Do you want more customers? Then you need to remove the friction behind doing business with you. Even if you have great customer service, support, and sales, you may have unknown friction that exists before you see the face of your customer. Luckily, you can smooth that out with content. Here are two problems you need to solve for to take the guesswork out of doing business with you.

Problem 1: You Don’t Know They’re Interested

There are several studies out there that will tell you anywhere from 40-76% of a buying decision is made before a potential customer visits your business in person. The average person performs virtual research on your website, review sites, social media, and a host of other places before they even consider doing business with you. They’re performing this same due diligence with your competition.

Content Solution: You want to identify the potential customer as soon as possible so you can start interacting with them. The easiest way to do this is through a downloadable lead generator. The lead generator must be something they need/want because they will be providing their email to receive it and will have to agree to receiving marketing messaging from you.

If you can nurture them (with additional valuable content) and help them get to know your business, you’re more likely to entice them into wanting to buy from you.

Problem 2: The Unknown

I have always wanted to do aerial yoga, but several things have stopped me. I don’t have the grace and strength of a gymnast and I’m closer to 50 than 40. I’m a warm lead for an aerial yoga studio because it’s something I’m interested in. But I could easily become a hot lead if someone could ensure a beginner like me won’t get laughed out of the studio.

It’s likely you have potential customers out there who feel the same. They may be interested in your offerings but there’s some hesitation. There’s something they’re worried about. Most people aren’t adventurous when it comes to spending money.

But this hesitation can easily be smoothed over with some content.

Content Solution:

  • Be honest about who your business serves. This is not a call to appeal to everyone. For instance, I don’t want to go to an aerial yoga studio that caters to 18-year-old Olympians. None of us will enjoy ourselves. You don’t want to give the impression your business or service is perfect for everyone, and everyone is welcome. While everyone may be welcome in a legal sense, there are some types of people who will love your business and others that won’t be a good fit. Don’t feel the need to cater to this latter group because if you do–and they don’t enjoy themselves—they may give your business a bad review. If your gym caters to ninja warriors, don’t market to couch potatoes.
  • Offer testers, trials, and other ways to try you out. Sometimes people need a freebie or deeply discounted opportunity to try out your offerings before they can commit to writing a check or handing over their money. Make sure that your trial or sample comes along with next steps and sets expectations for them if they choose to be a customer/client.
  • Go for feeling. It’s not (just) about what you’re selling. It’s about how people feel when buying from you. The experience is as important as the good or service. It’s also (often) the differentiator or unique selling proposition. For instance, many people felt good about buying from TOMs shoes because they donated a pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair sold. (It looks like these days they give 1/3 of proceeds to “grassroots good.”). People didn’t buy them because they were the most beautiful shoes, nor the cheapest. They made the purchase because it made them feel like they were doing something for someone else. But you don’t have to be super altruistic to encourage people to buy from you. However, you should provide them with some emotion or experience. “Squad shopping,” for instance, became popular during COVID. Many online merchants encouraged people to shop with their friends online giving them the experience of going to the mall together. This not only makes people feel good about your business but encourages more sales (hurray peer pressure!).

If you want to increase your sales, you need to remove the friction behind doing business with you. Thankfully, it’s easier than you think when you create content around addressing major concerns.