The days are over when marketers can rely on grabbing customers online with well-worn phrases like "act now," "satisfaction guaranteed," and "for a limited time only." People have seen those words so often, they're invisible. Instead, try these 10 fresh ways to pull customers into your blogs, social media posts, emails, and website.
1. Stop selling. People today don't want to be hustled or sold. They want to be informed. The more you inform them, the more often they'll visit your platforms, and the sooner they'll buy.
2. Educate them. Come up with information your readers don't have. As a professional, you already know more about your field than the average person. Offer advice, product and service reviews, industry news, and primers for newbies.
3. Enrich them. Create funny, cute, inspiring, or even critical posts that add value for the reader and might be shared over social media. Focus on creating an emotional attachment and you'll get some attention.
4. Engage them. Go beyond what you sell and what customers need to buy and key on some things you may have in common with your prospects and clients. Stay away from sensitive subjects like politics and religion and go for music, sports, entertainment, cultural topics, and events going on in your area.
5. Don't be self-centered. Post about other people and businesses. Experts say you should post about others seven times for every one time you post about yourself. Draw from news, events and the word on the street, anything that shows you're not just into selling yourself.
6. Be consistent. For example, post serious content on Monday morning, humorous items on Thursday. Then stick to the schedule, so people looking for a particular type of content will check in, comment, and share.
7. Read relevant blogs. See what others in your field are posting and then add your comments. Talking about related material from others is a great way to get people to look into what you have to offer online.
8. Write in three lengths. Start with a 500 to 700 word post for your blog, shorten it to 200 words for social sites with a link to the blog, then do a Twitter version you can also use on LinkedIn.
9. Use a content calendar. This is a great way to create and keep up with your strategy of posting to your customers and prospects. Look online for examples you can follow.
10. Be funny when you can. Everyone enjoys a good laugh now and again. Naturally, make sure you don’t offend anyone!
Communicating with customers and prospects on a range of online platforms is key to marketing today. Just think of all the things your target audience might like to hear. Here's to your continued success creating online communications that engage people, and may even go viral, as you keep putting together your best year ever... Enjoy a great month!
If your garage has become a glorified storage shed, here are 4 steps to clean it out.
1. Empty it. Take everything out and, starting with the first item you remove, sort each one into piles that will: 1. stay in the garage, 2. be put elsewhere in the house, 3. go into a garage sale, or 4. get thrown out.
2. Clean it. When the garage is completely empty, use a shop vac. Then hose the floor with the nozzle on its most powerful setting. Start at the back and spray into the driveway. Push pooled water out with a broom. Leave the door open and let the place dry.
3. Add storage units. Look at the pile of things going back into the garage and install the shelves, bins, drawer units, bike racks, and hooks you need to store them. Create a place for everything. Just your car and heavy equipment like a lawnmower should take up floor space.
4. Bring in only what's necessary. Put back the things that truly need to be there. Be merciless. If you think "maybe I'll want this someday," that item should be thrown out or go into the garage sale. Make sure things you use often, such as tools, are more accessible than seasonal items, such as holiday decorations.
9 WAYS TO CLEAN UP AT A GARAGE SALE
After you clean out your garage, you can then clean up by having a garage sale.
1. Schedule smart. June through October is the best time. A one-day sale over 5 or 6 hours is enough to get rid of lots of stuff and let shoppers know they have limited time.
2. Advertise. Take out a classified ad in the local paper and on Craigslist. A few days before the sale, post several large signs around the neighborhood. Make all signs the same color and be brief: "Garage Sale (or Yard or Tag Sale), day, date, hours, street address, and an arrow pointing to your home. Make sure to catch traffic in both directions and put a sign at your driveway.
3. Prep the merchandise. Clean items, press clothes, wash glasses, china, etc. Put a circle sticker with a price on each item. Mark cracked or chipped items "as is," so buyers know you've priced it with the condition in mind. Group items for adults vs. children, and don't forget shoppers looking for tools, sports and camping gear, electronics, used tires, and lawn equipment.
4. Price to sell. This is a garage sale, not an estate sale. Generally, price items for $5 or less, most for $1 or $2. Price more expensive items at 1/2 to 1/3 of the retail cost if in good condition. Leave room for haggling, setting prices 20%–30% above what you'd like.
5. Have a free pile. Nothing stops people like the word "free" and many will stay and buy.
6. Take care with the layout. Arrange tables so people have room to pass. To avoid theft, rope off the sale area, put the payment table at the exit, and have a family member or friend help out.
7. Be ready with change. Get lots of ones, fives, and coins, and carry them in a carpenter's apron or fanny pack. Have bags or boxes available.
8. Offer refreshments. Sell lemonade, snacks, and baked goods–you'll make some money and people will stick around longer.
9. Get rid of it all. Take any reasonable offer. In the last hour, have a "fill a bag for $1" deal. Put whatever doesn't sell out on the curb for free, throw it out, or donate it.
When you're ready to upgrade, downsize, or buy your first home, we can help with the financing. We're happy to answer any questions, as soon as you're ready to take advantage of the opportunities in today's housing market. We can also help with refinancing your current home, or funding home improvements. Please call or email us any time. We're always here for you... Have a great day!
P.S.: When buying or refinancing, it's smart to start the process early. Please call or email us to explore the appealing options available now.
1. Bed linens. These can hold germs, grime, and allergens. Wash at least once a week using the hottest washer and dryer settings. It takes extreme heat to kill most bacteria.
2. Pet toys. These can be a source of staph, as well as coliforms, yeast, and mold. Hard toys should be cleaned once a month with hot soapy water, rinsed, disinfected with a mild bleach solution, then rinsed again. Sanitize soft toys with laundry on the hot water cycle.
3. Refrigerator ice and water dispensers. A recent study found these can be loaded with yeast and mold. Clean the ice dispenser monthly. Turn off and wash the bin with dish detergent and warm water, then dry with a clean towel. Every six months, pour 3-4 cups of distilled white vinegar into the water supply tube and let it run through to sanitize. Wipe water spout once a week with cotton swab and a dry cloth.
4. HVAC ducts. In a year, a 1500 square foot home's ducktwork can collect 40 pounds of dust containing allergens, bacteria, dirt, fungi, mold, and about 40,000 dust mites per ounce. When you turn on the system, all this circulates, causing fatigue, sinus problems, and asthma. Have a NADCA-certified company clean ducts every 2 years.
5. Sponges. Unless disinfected, a sponge is a prime place for germs to grow, and then spread around the kitchen. Clean a nonmetallic sponge by completely wetting it and placing it in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. Throw out sponges after two weeks. Better options are towels, dishcloths, and rags you can sanitize with bleach in your washing machine's hot water cycle.
6. Ceiling fan blades. These are home to dust mites which the fan then circulates. Put a pillowcase on each blade and pull it off while wiping the dust into it. Empty it outside, and then launder the case inside out on your hottest washer and dryer settings.
7. The dishwasher. Mold can form here when moisture lingers after the heat cycle ends. Run your dishwasher only when you can empty it soon after it stops.
8. The washing machine. Mold and staph can grow here. Once a month, use the self-clean cycle or put a cup of bleach in an empty machine and run on the hottest setting. Leave the door or lid open when not in use.
When you're ready to upgrade, downsize, or buy your first home, we can help you with the financing. We're happy to answer any questions, as soon as you're ready to take advantage of the opportunities in today's housing market. We can also help with refinancing your current home or funding home improvements. Please call or email us any time. We're always here for you... Have a great day!
P.S. Mortgage rates are still at historically attractive levels. When buying or refinancing, it's smart to start the process early. Please call or email us to explore the appealing options available now.
These are the home improvements experts say will return more of their cost when you sell:
1. New exterior siding. Upscale fiber cement siding pays back an average 78% of its cost. Foam-backed insulated vinyl siding and standard vinyl siding pay back almost 70% of their cost.
2. New entry door. A midrange 20-gauge steel door pays back 73% of its cost and boosts curb appeal.
3. Attic bedroom. Pop out a dormer, add a 5' X 7' bathroom with shower, insulate and finish walls and ceiling, and bring in heat, a/c, and wiring. You'll get almost 73% back on your money and an attic remodel is the least expensive way to add living space and a bathroom.
4. A simple kitchen remodel. Keep this under $20,000 and you'll get back an average 72% of your investment. Include upgrades like new sinks, faucets, appliances, and laminate countertops. Keep the floor but reface the cabinets with new hardware.
5. New garage door(s). Believe it or not, garage door replacements pay back over 71% of their cost if you install a midrange or high-end product. They also instantly up your curb appeal.
6. New wood deck. This earns back over 70% of its cost at resale.
7. Upscale vinyl replacement windows. Change out your old windows with ones with low-emissivity glass and insulation and you'll enjoy a payback of over 69% of the cost.
Despite all the hype about social media, a recent report revealed email is nearly 40 times more effective at getting business than Facebook and Twitter combined! The problem is, another study found the average person gets more than 70 emails a day. So even though email can be highly effective, you have to make sure your subject line stands out from the pack. Here's how to create the kind of perfect email subject lines that will boost your open rate.
1. Shorter is sweeter. Studies show shorter subject lines get higher open rates. Lines with less than 10 characters have the highest open rate, but that's pretty short. Go for a 40 character maximum. Short lines also appear as one line on smaller devices.
2. Cut to the chase. Use the subject line to tell readers the benefit they'll get by reading your message. Tell them how their lives will improve by opening your email.
3.Put in a call to action (CTA). CTAs such as; "call" you, "click to visit" a site, or just "read" the email, tell the reader what to do to get the benefit you're talking about.
4. Get the reader to act now. Add a deadline if you can: "Get 50% off until June 15." The longer an email sits unopened, the more likely the recipient will trash it. So adding a time limit helps to increase your open rate.
5. Check each word. Make sure every word in the subject line is providing information or motivating readers to open the email. Look on the Internet for sites that list spam trigger words. Cut them out where you can to avoid being caught in a spam filter. Click here for a list of trigger words.
6. Be clear. Quick and direct beat cute or witty every time. Tell readers exactly what your message is about: "Cut your time for that XYZ task in half."
7. Play the numbers game. "5 Ways to Save on Car Insurance" is a lot more enticing a subject line than "How to Save on Car Insurance." Readers want to learn the five ways. Just be sure to use numerals to cut down your character count.
8. Tailor your messages. If you can, segment your email list and tailor your emails to highlight specific needs or interests. This will help you create subject lines that are more interesting for each segment of your audience. For example: "3 ways to simplify your record keeping," or "Taking care of the yard just got easier."
9. Put in your name or company name. Readers tend to open an email when they know who it's from. If you have a good relationship with them, they already see value in you and your organization.
10. Use your own experience. You get emails every day too. Use this experience to your advantage. Which subject lines did you notice? How did you choose which emails to trash and which to open?
Another research study says knowledge workers spend around 28% of the day managing emails. The challenge is to make sure your email is one of the ones they pick to read. Here's to your continued success crafting emails that get opened, as you keep putting together your best year ever.... Enjoy a great month!