ENTICE ONLINE ENGAGEMENT BY MAKING IT WORTH THEIR WHILE
A newsletters (ahem) can be a valuable part of an organization’s overall marketing plan. It portrays confidence, competence and relevance. But few people jump to sign up for a newsletter; the specter of repetitive contacts doesn’t build excitement. To really spur engagement, you need to lure them with something they value. You want their data. But that data isn’t free.
You can go about this a variety of ways. You could provide a white paper with “56 Industry Secrets” that can be instantly downloaded when the customer fills in their contact information. You could run a contest or giveaway that requires an email. You can tease “subscriber-only” benefits to encourage folks to sign up. Whichever direction you go, remember that the promise of a newsletter probably won’t whet many appetites. As with most relationships, you’re going to have to give before you get.
GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH ONE SIMPLE QUESTION
Does your mouth suddenly go dry at the thought of asking your clients and vendors for a—gasp!—referral? Perhaps you don’t want to be rejected after asking, or maybe you assume your connections already recommend you in their daily interactions. Truth is, no matter how highly your clients speak of you, a recommendation falls short of a solid referral. Plain and simple, you have to ask for referrals. And you have to be specific about what you’re asking for.
“Could you introduce me to a couple of people like yourself, with needs like yours, who could benefit from our services?” Chances are, you’ll need to ask more than once, as your clients and customers are constantly meeting and making connections with new folks. Again, use specifics when you ask. Which industries are you targeting? Or is there a particular business you are pursuing with whom your client has a connection? Make sure to get the name of a decision-maker. Ask them to make an email introduction or, better still, set an in-person meeting for you. People, for the most part, are hard-wired to want to help. If they believe in you and your work, they’ll likely vouch for you.
Once you get a referral from someone, make sure to thank them appropriately, and reciprocate the gesture when possible. This customer has put their name on the line to endorse and refer you, so show your appreciation.
If you want to grow your business, put a plan into place to ask every customer for referrals.
Columbia agency recognized for work with McDonald’s®, Columbia Public Schools, A1 Party and Event Rental, and Child Development Center
Columbia, MO – The Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts has awarded Visionworks Marketing Group four 2017 Communicator Awards for work on behalf of various clients across Columbia.
Visionworks received an Award of Excellence for a half-page magazine ad on behalf of McDonald’s® Restaurants of Columbia. A1 Party and Event Rental’s radio commercial, Columbia Public Schools’ Spring Quarterly Connection, which is distributed to 68,000 homes in the Columbia school district, and a brochure for the Child Development Center also won Awards of Distinction.
The 2017 Communicator Award competition received more than 6,000 entries from across the U.S. and around the world, making it the largest and most competitive awards program honoring creative excellence for communications professionals. In the past five years, Visionworks has won nine Communicator Awards for eight clients.
Celebrating 22 years of business, Visionworks has developed powerful and effective marketing strategies for clients across multiple platforms. The agency’s core competencies include strategic planning and consulting; creative services; audio production; and media planning and placement. Owner Lili Vianello leads a dynamic, creative team who craft engaging messages and strategic plans to make a difference for clients with local, regional, national and international interests.
For more information about Visionworks Marketing Group, visit Visionworksgroup.com or call 573.449.8567.
McDonald’s® Corporation recognized McDonald’s® of Kingdom City general manager Dean Davis as an Outstanding Manager. Robyn Shire, the operations supervisor for the Kingdom City location, nominated Davis for the award based on his people skills, leadership and service to his restaurant and community.
The annual award commends the top 10 percent of restaurant managers across the nation in regards to sales, customer service and operations. In order to be eligible for the award, a general manager must have at least one year of experience and be a graduate of Hamburger University®, McDonald’s® global operations training and leadership development program.
“Dean is a great brand ambassador that truly cares about his customers and team,” Shire said. “He’s a positive role model that really goes the extra mile to assure everyone feels like they’re part of a team.”
Davis became the general manager in Kingdom City in June 2014 and has been with the company for 11 years. His store’s 2016 customer-service scores ranked well above regional and national numbers, as his team has embraced table service at a busy highway location with vigor. Davis also provided a steady hand during a hectic major remodel process in December 2015.
“Dean and his team represent outstanding hospitality in taking care of their guests,” Shire said. “He is a champion manager and it shows in his results.
McDonald’s® is the largest and best-known global foodservice retailer, with more than 30 stores in the Columbia-Jefferson City area. More than 85 percent of McDonald’s® restaurants in the United States are owned and operated by independent, local businessmen and women. The Kingdom City location is owned and operated by Mark and Kate Mehle. It is managed by Dean Davis and supervised by Robyn Shire.
Some things in life don’t have extended expiration dates. Fresh raspberries. Taylor Swift’s romantic relationships. Websites. Yes, unfortunately, the biggest window into your business must be updated regularly and ultimately replaced every few years. It’s true—what looked great and inspired customer engagement five years ago looks archaic now. Haven’t we all seen some terribly dated websites? Be honest—they affect how we feel about the company in question.
How fresh is your website?
It’s not easy, or cheap, to build a quality website. Sitemaps, content, search-engine optimization and other factors all determine how well your site functions. If you don’t have rich, frequently updated content to lure readers to revisit your website, you will likely lose that consumer (and her wallet) to a company who does. Having a visually pleasant website is important; just as crucial is having the content to keep the customers coming back.
Visionworks Marketing Group builds and maintains the websites of several clients and has a proven track record of improving digital engagement. Enlist a trusted partner to build a fantastic website and keep it running smoothly. You’ve got enough on your plate as a business owner. Contact Top Dog Lili Vianello today to find out what’s possible with Visionworks.
Chances are, you’ve used a search engine before. Whether looking for a new pizza joint to try out or researching the best carpet installer in town, most people understand the concept of an internet search via Google, Bing, etc. But what goes on behind the scenes to make a list of websites appear on your screen in a matter of moments? The answer lies in SEO.
SEO = Search Engine Optimization
Simply put, SEO makes your website easy for search-engine robots to understand and users to find. Search engines have become increasingly sophisticated. SEO helps the engines figure out what each page is about and how it may be useful for users who are conducting a search.
If your SEO isn’t good or current and your company is listed deep in the search results, the user might not ever get to you. Worse, a website can be completely invisible to search engines if you don’t have any SEO in place—which can be tricky if you don’t know where or how to start.
Visionworks Marketing Group is well-versed in SEO and can improve your website’s functionality for less than you might think. Relax and let the professionals sweat the details. You’ve got more important tasks to tackle.
Contact Visionworker Melissa Boukezzoula today to learn more about how we can make sense of your SEO and get more eyes on your business.
What does branding really mean? Is it your logo, colors or the language you use? Is it the ad campaign you are currently running or the slogan you’ve utilized for years?
According to Rob Frankel, branding expert with Frankel & Anderson, Inc., branding is more than just your company name or logo. It’s the reason why people evangelize you. Your brand is a gut feeling, a distinct understanding of a product, service or company that exists in the mind of the consumer. A brand is the relationship between the product or service and the user. Understanding the brand in the context of the user’s life facilitates defining the essence of the brand. Frankel points out that branding is not about getting your prospects to choose you over the competition—it’s about getting your prospects to see you as the only solution to their problem.
The world has certainly changed. Instead of being a society of mass production we are a society of mass customization. Purchasing choices have multiplied and consumers are faced with many more options for the same product or service than a generation ago. Purchases are made now based on more symbolic and, sometimes, subconscious reasons, rather than by comparing features and benefits. Some consumers ask themselves, “What kind of people buy and use this product? Do I want to be associated with this group?” Apple, McDonalds®, the St. Louis Cardinals, even Pepsi are great examples of successful brands that evoke passion. A brand is about how consumers feel about themselves when they use a product or service.
Others evaluate their willingness to make a purchase based on the degree of trust they have with a company. Trust is the most direct route to a buying decision – and the foundation of successful branding. Ted Leonhardt with Leonhardt Group puts it succinctly: “A brand is the emotional shortcut between a company and its customers.”
So, a disciplined focus on the target audience is an essential element of successful brand management. How does your brand touch a basic, human need such as popularity, security, comfort, convenience, attractiveness or status? The most successful brands begin the marketing process with genuine consumer insight gained via robust customer research. Strong brands are successful because of a disciplined focus on a core customer. For many organizations, this segment represents no more than 15–20 percent of the customer base. But this segment, the core customer, represents a significant percentage of total business revenue.
Another component that needs to be part of the strategy is operations. The role of branding has shifted from a marketing function to a central organizing principle. The goal is to make sure all consumers have a consistent, positive experience. Branding is about building an organization’s capacity to deliver on its brand promises across all aspects of the organization, from the receptionist to the mailroom to the CEO. That’s what Ray Kroc accomplished when he started a little chain of hamburger restaurants called McDonald’s®.
It is also a philosophy that the Disney® Corporation keeps front and center. Paul Pressler, former president of Walt Disney Attractions, put it this way: “A great brand stays close to its customers. Strong brands keep close study of every aspect of the customer experience to ensure it is always a positive one.” And the corporation knows the value of delivering on that promise. Disney estimates the lifetime value in residual sales of a person having an outstanding first time visit to one of its properties to be $50,000. Going back to that one consumer, time and again, branding and reinforcing the Disney experience has obviously produced amazing results.
SEDALIA, Mo. – JobFinders Employment Services recently expanded into Pettis County when it opened an office in Sedalia. Today, JobFinders is pleased to announce the hiring of Nancy Grey as District Manager, which includes Sedalia and Jefferson City. Cathy Schlup has been hired as an Administrative Associate.
Established in 1986, JobFinders Employment Services provides cost-effective staffing solutions for client businesses while affording solid career opportunities to employment candidates. Whether you seek temporary, contract-to-hire, healthcare or direct professional hiring, JobFinders is the expert source for matching the right people to the right jobs. JobFinders recruits talent for local to national job openings and has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the country for three consecutive years. In 2014, JobFinders was named a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Small Business of the Year.
Owned by Anne Williams, JobFinders is a Certified Women-owned Business (WBE) in Missouri, as well as a proud member of the American Staffing Association, Missouri Kansas Staffing Association, National Association Personnel Services and the Chambers of Commerce in Sedalia, Jefferson City, Mexico, Fulton and Columbia, Mo.
COLUMBIA, Mo. – If all goes well, a pair of local high-school basketball players may gladly forfeit thoughts of a warm-weather Spring Break for the lingering winter chill of Chicago.
Rock Bridge High School seniors Elle Brown and Madison Treece were nominated to be considered for the 16th annual McDonald’s All-American® Girls Game, a prestigious honor for prep basketball players around the country. The list of nominees will be pared down to a 24-person team on Sunday, Jan. 15 on ESPNU, airing at 9:30 p.m. central time.
Nominations were gathered from Sept. 6-Dec. 1, 2016 from approved nominators, including high school principals, athletic directors and head varsity basketball coaches. Brown and Treece represent two of the five girls from Missouri that were chosen for consideration. Brown is a 5-foot-10 shooting guard who has committed to play collegiately at the University of Missouri beginning in 2017. Treece is a 6-foot-4 post player who received many offers but ultimately chose to play college ball at Duke University in Durham, N.C.
The finalized team will participate in a game in Chicago on Wednesday, March 29, which will air nationally on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. central time.
McDonald’s® is the largest and best-known global foodservice retailer, with more than 30 stores in the Columbia-Jefferson City area. More than 85 percent of McDonald’s restaurants in the United States are owned and operated by independent, local businessmen and women. The Rock Bridge store in Columbia is owned and operated by Mark and Kate Mehle.
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Columbia LandCare LLC continues to grow forward.
Mid-Missouri’s premier commercial landscape design, maintenance and installation company had already acquired or merged with four other businesses in five years before Creative Surroundings Inc. caught and held its attention. A phone call in May 2016 led to a September handshake. Columbia LandCare officially acquired Creative Surroundings and absorbed all of its full-time staff on Dec. 30, 2016.
“Our interest in Creative Surroundings was really three-fold,” Columbia LandCare owner Jed Taylor said of the 34-year-old company just acquired. “One, their horticulture expertise with regards to annual flowers and overall plant care is second-to-none in the industry. Two, we wanted the remarkable staff at Creative Surroundings to join our team. And finally, Creative Surroundings had great clients and it was apparent they put a lot of value in maintaining long-term relationships. It was too good to pass up.”
The acquisition was made possible when Creative Surroundings owner Gloria Gaus expressed interest in retiring. Gaus will remain on board for 2017 as the transition takes place, and all other full-time staff have begun working at Columbia LandCare’s headquarters, located at 7105 Henderson Road. This move adds to Columbia LandCare’s fluctuating roster of approximately 100 staff members.
Columbia LandCare has roots in mid-Missouri that trace back more than 20 years, when it was founded as Columbia Turf. Jed Taylor became majority owner in 2012, three years after his company Missouri Mowing merged with Columbia Turf. Columbia LandCare provides year-round landscape maintenance services, including snow removal, mowing, irrigation, floriculture, landscape design and installation.