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December 2021

Move Your Business Story Beyond the About Page

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

If you spend any time speaking with copywriters or website writers, they will tell you a lot of businesses understand the importance of an effective About Us page on their website. As there’s been a lot of information written about telling your business story over the last decade and how customers want to do business with people they know, like and trust, many realize the value. You likely know that the About Page has the potential to become one of the most heavily visited pages on your website.

However, that’s where most businesses miss an opportunity.

They stop at the About Us page. Their business story never moves beyond it. But for the story to be believable, understood, and remembered—and thus effective—it has to spring off the About Us page and into these other places.

4 Places You Should Be Telling Your Business Story

Stories are more memorable than marketing or sales copy. But if you’re keeping your business story imprisoned in your About Us page, you’re losing an opportunity for a larger, more loyal audience. If you’re hoping that telling your business story will create more sales, you need to use it everywhere including:

Your Onboarding
Every new employee should hear your business story. Employees should experience the story as part of their onboarding training or first day on the job. It’s a great way to get them excited about where they work. Plus, you want to encourage them to tell your business story in the future so sharing it with them right away will highlight its importance.

Your Social Media Channels
Since you also want to ensure your new customers know your story, you want to tell it on social media. There are several ways to do this. You can create a video, use image quotes, write it in a social media post, write a blog post, and tell your story through images. You can also tease your social media audience by telling part of it on the page and directing the audience back to your website for the remainder of it.

Donations or Growth That Corresponds with Your Story
Your business story cannot exist on “an island,” meaning it must be exhibited in other spots besides your About Us page and be part of your culture. You achieve that by continuing to exhibit and embody the spirit of your business story. That can mean supporting nonprofits that reflect your business vision and story or volunteering with groups that share your vision. You can also partner with like-minded businesses that share a similar story.

By helping to bring your business story to life and continuing it through your culture, people will begin to understand it better and it will resonate with them on a higher level. After all, people remember actions far more often than words.

Your business story should be fresh in every employee’s mind and so it should flavor all of your business communications, even emails. However, that doesn’t mean you repeat it word for word. People will grow tired of it. Instead, think about your favorite musical group or singer. Often, without even knowing a song, you can pick out your favorite just by their “sound.” Think of your story the same way. Your audience should be able to hear undertones of your story in all of your communications.

If your story isn’t told in these spaces consistently, there will be a disconnect with your customers. They need to hear your story and see it on a regular basis to believe it, and thus, become emotionally invested in it. Once they do, you’ll see it in your sales and your repeat business.

Money-Making Email Subject Lines for Small Business Season

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

There are just a few days left before Christmas, and it’s one of the busiest shopping weeks all year. Sure, Black Friday and the Saturday before Christmas are the busiest days (spots 1 and 2 according to Sensormatic), but many of the other top 10 busiest shopping days in the U.S. are still on the horizon such as:

• #3 – Thursday, December 23 – Thursday before Christmas
• #5 – Sunday, December 26 – Day after Christmas, aka “Boxing Day”
• #6 – Wednesday, December 22 – Wednesday before Christmas
• #9 – Tuesday, December 21 – Tuesday before Christmas

If your small business is ramping up for those last-minute shoppers, don’t forget email. Email marketing is an effective way to reach your ideal audience and help them come up with ideas for last-minute and/or hostess gifts. This can be a frantic time of year so any assistance you can give those struggling for the perfect gift will likely result in more sales.

Email recipients can’t respond to your call to action if they don’t open the email. The easiest ways to get them to do that is by creating subject lines that inspire action.

Here are a few tips on how to write effective subject lines to win over last-minute shoppers. The examples below are all basic ideas. Add your own flair to fit the tone of your business.

If you’re giving something away for free with a certain purchase, make sure your audience knows about it. Lead with the item in your subject line. For instance:

Free Dessert with Meal Purchase

Or use a discount instead like:

40% off perfect last-minute gifts

The word free (or mention of the discount) will get their attention, while the rest of the subject line tells them what’s required to receive the free item or discount. You don’t want them to assume they can walk in and demand a free dessert or think the entire store is discounted. Always be as clear as possible.

Sound Like a Friend
You’re not the only one using email to drive business this holiday. People are receiving tons of deals via email right now. You want to stand out. Using congenial language can help you do that. For instance:

Pizza sounds awesome tonight, right?

This could easily be an email from a friend. It’s warm and casual and puts an idea in their mind that is hard to shake. Mmm, pizza.

Solve a Problem
Busy times call for easy solutions. If there’s a way your business can make someone’s life easier, tell them. For instance:

Less mess, less stress. Order in.

Not only does this subject line provide a solution it lures the reader in. After all, most people would love less mess and less stress this time of year especially.

Create Excitement
People who wait until the last minute will often feel overwhelmed by all they have to do. A positive message that creates excitement can be very uplifting and stand out in their inbox. For instance:

Congratulations super smart, last-minute shopper!

The subject line is positive, creates excitement, and drives curiosity. The recipient will want to know why they are being congratulated and they’ll click.

If you want to capture those last-minute sales, don’t forget to reach out to your email list. Email marketing is a strong way to connect with your audience while they are out and about. Getting opens on those emails is essential to shoppers following your call to action. Never disregard the importance of great subject lines.

4 Things You Must Be Doing This Small Business Season

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

We’re down to the last two weeks before Christmas with some of the biggest shopping days of the season still ahead of us. Since every sale can help your future marketing, it’s essential that over the next few weeks you think not only of the money, but the data you can garner from each sale as well. But don’t stress. You still have time to implement these important activities for big results.

Things You Need to Do During Small Business Season
Don’t let the biggest sales season go by without gathering this data and implementing some of these activities to help with future marketing:

Build Your List
You have a lot of people interested in what you sell or the service you provide. When people buy from you ask them if they’d be willing to sign up for a VIP list that will give them special discounts or coupons. They get savings, you get a way to stay in contact with them.

Notice the Also-Boughts
Ideally, you have a point-of-sale system that could quantify the sales data you’re gathering to tell you what people who buy from you often buy together. But if you don’t have that in place, you can do it manually by paying attention to items or services that sell well together. Then get that information to your staff so that they may make satisfying suggestions to customers.

Email Last-Minute Offers or Deals
If you already have an email list of past customers, send out a discount or last-minute offer email to them. People who have purchased from you before are more likely to buy again.

Buy one, get one offers are particularly beneficial in driving sales because they allow people to buy for two people inexpensively, get more for less, or keep a special something for themselves. Who doesn’t love that?

Excel in Social Media
Now is the time to blow up your engagement on social media. Search on social for hashtags of things you sell or specialize in. If you find someone looking for those things, you can start a conversation about it.

If you’re sold out of the item they want, suggest where they might be able to find it. They’ll appreciate the help. Post funny videos. Interview people about their holiday shopping (don’t forget that media release!). Highlight some of your more unique items/services or your best sellers.

Analyze what gets results and do more of it. Tag the Broomfield Chamber in these posts and they might share your content as well.

This is a critical time to get sales, but revenue isn’t the only benefit to your business. Every sale provides critical information about your ideal client. The more information you have for analysis, the closer you are to the kind of personalized marketing that gets results.

Cross Promotion Opportunities for a Stronger Small Business Season

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

This holiday season, we want to celebrate the uniqueness of small business as well as the treasures and exquisite services that can be found in our backyard. But small businesses have challenges as they market themselves alongside larger, national competitors. The perception that the larger businesses have better deals, more attractive hours, and more selection, can be strong. That’s why it takes a creative approach to be competitive. Cross promotion can be a very effective way for small business to stand out during the holiday season.

Why Cross Promotion?
Small businesses have the agility to do some creative things when it comes to promotion both within their own businesses and in partnerships with others. Cross promotion can be lucrative and draw in new target audiences. With cross promotion, you can also show support to other businesses and create partnerships that will help increase sales long past the holiday season.

Examples of Cross Promotion
If you’re considering cross promotion as part of your sales and marketing efforts this year, check out these ideas:

Partnering with a complementary business that provides products or services. For instance, a gym may partner with a juice bar or an athletic clothing business to provide discounts for members. The juice bar or clothing store may, in turn, place coupons for a free gym session in all of their bags or as part of their sales.
Reciprocal agreements. If you don’t want to enter into a formal cross promotional offer with another business, you can (and should) agree to mutually support one another. For instance, innkeepers could agree to refer visitors to local restaurants, while wait staff at local restaurants could refer people to nearby independent shops.
Ads. Ads can help you reach a large audience and build name recognition. But they can be costly. Splitting the cost with neighbor businesses can help you afford a larger ad in a newspaper, mailer, cable TV spot, or even a billboard. Your local chamber may have some ideas on how you can defray advertising costs by partnering with other similar or nearby businesses.
Run a contest. If you’re planning on running a holiday contest, you could approach nearby businesses to see if they will donate a prize and partner with you for even greater reach.
Pop-up shop. If you have businesses next door to you, you may be able to create a pop-up market and split the costs of tents, entertainment, etc. For even more cross-promotional power, bring in a food truck or home business for entertainment or additional draw.
Use social. Creating videos, reels/tiktoks, and other valuable content takes time. You could partner with another business so that you can increase the amount of content you produce. You also will have access to each other’s following for even greater reach.
In-store. You can also benefit from in-store or business cross promotion. Online they’re referred to as “also boughts.” Structure your business so that things that are purchased together are cross promoted either on display or verbally by your staff. You can increase your sales with very little effort this way.

This holiday season, consider exploring the opportunities in cross promotion. Cross promotion can help you reach new audiences, build relationships, and spread good cheer. And couldn’t we all use a little more of that?