Thursday, December 22, 2011

What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?

Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first. You are all probably familiar with the Christmas time story of Dr. Seuss', The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Dr. Seuss was a favorite at our house and as my family gets a little bit older, we find we all need a break from the commercialism of the holiday season. In moving some boxes recently I came across a copy of the now famous Dr Seuss tale and in reading the book it brought back great memories of watching the original show on TV with my daughters. There is a part near the end that has always moved me and I trust this holiday season it will help you with what’s really important!!! From Dr. Seuss: And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more? As the holiday season approaches, we at Floodlight would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. It is business associates and customers like you who make our jobs a pleasure and keep our company successful. We value our relationship with you and look forward to sharing our business thoughts with you in the year to come. From all of us at Floodlight we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with peace and prosperity. Donald Robichaud - President FloodLight - Build Your Business  1-888-768-9415

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Build your Business with a Brand Update Strategy

Summer, finally! For many businesses, summer is the ideal time to get ready for fall. September is too late. Back-to-school is back to normal for so many of your customers. Holidays are over. Routine replaces freewheeling. Unless your business is seasonal, then your sales cycle should be swinging to the high point of your year as fall becomes Christmas.
What is brand? Great question! Brand is reputation. It develops at those crucial moments in the relationship between you and your customers where they judge your worth or your value in the transaction. It’s the customer experience that builds or destroys customer loyalty. How you touch your customers will determine if they walk away satisfied - will they recommend your business or service to their friends? Will they help you build your business? Risk or reward Are your products or services the best they can be? No amount of marketing, no amount of staff training will mean a thing if you don’t have what the customer wants in your category. Always remember, in the Internet world, an unhappy customer can damage your brand reputation with the click of a mouse by sending an e-mail to a friend or by posting negative comments to their Twitter and Facebook communities. What now The business has had success in the past, but now you want to grow for the future. The responsibility falls on the business owner to invest in the time required to work on the business. Are you focused? Are you ready to do what’s necessary to grow your business? In a previous post, we discussed your 10 Point Communications Strategy. Your updated or new website will soon launch. You have learned to blog. Your newsletter strategy is in place and your business profiles on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are polished. So take the time now to update the rest of your Brand strategy. The in-store experience - a check list
  • Does the paint on the walls appear tired, discoloured, chipped, faded or out of date? Does the colour compliment the display of your products?
  • Inspect the door frames, baseboards and window sills for signs of wear, excessive dirt or mould.
  • Inspect all counter tops, shelving and display cases for chips, cracks, glue or sticker residue.
  • What about your washroom or washrooms? Whether for staff only or available to the public, have you made all necessary repairs?
  • Is your furniture in good shape or does it need to be replaced?
  • What about your lay-out? Is there logic and flow to the placement of furniture and the efficient use of space? Remove clutter.
  • How good is your lighting?
  • Is your window display inviting? Does it represent the essence of your business?
  • Is your place of business pleasing to the senses? Visual, smell, and, don’t forget, the ear?
  • If you play music or have some sort of digital display with TV capability, who controls what the customer hears or sees, you or your staff? Be sure the customer experience is the first consideration in every audio or video decision.
  • Are all signs and point-of-sale items up to date? Is your technology reliable and in good working order?
Staff training – a check list
  • Have you identified and addressed any personnel issues? In other words, do your staff members take care of your business the way you want it done? When was the last time you reviewed your sales system with staff? Do they know what to do and when to do it? Are they good at problem solving? How are their sales closing skills?
  • How good is their product knowledge, are they able to easily answer questions, discuss key properties of each product?
  • Are required documents and forms up to date, are supplies ordered and does staff know how and why they are important?
  • Are all staff members comfortable with your technology?
  • Dress code: do you demand a certain look from each employee? Do you have compliance? Does your dress code include shoes, their cleanliness and state of repair?
  • Do those who require business cards have a supply?
  • How do you want your phone answered? Does each staff member know the drill?
  • How do you want your customers greeted? Does each staff member know the routine, or does that part-time kid on the weekend still call your customers "dude"?
  • When customers have questions, in person or by phone, how do you ensure the proper follow up?
  • Is there a smile in every transaction?
Every one of the items on the above check lists can be adapted to any business setting. As a business owner it is vital to pay attention to every detail because your customers do. The old adage speaks to the impossible task of pleasing all of the people all of the time: can’t be done! However, you can reduce the risk of losing a customer with a focused Brand Strategy. The Floodlight Business Solutions Group is here to help you Build Your Business. This article is contributed by Ted Farr - Floodlight Business Consultant Ted Farr Communication Specialist Floodlight – Build Your Business Kelowna – Ottawa – Kingston – Toronto 1-888-768-9415

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Build Your Business -The Brave New World of Content Marketing

The Brave New World of Content Marketing Content marketing is not a new concept!!!

Since the dawn of the search engine, internet users have been on a quest for information in the Brave New World of Content Marketing.

The idea is simple really!!

Consumers want to know more before they buy. They want answers to their questions, solutions to their problems. They want to be engaged, informed and entertained. Back in the day, if I can use that well worn phrase, the on line sources of the information were often in other cities, even other countries. They were the corporations and institutions with the money to spend developing an on line presence. Thank them because they made all the mistakes as they evolved so you can begin where they left off. The critical difference in today’s internet world is that consumers are searching for retail businesses and services that live where they live, shop where they shop.

Local is once again key to success. Just having a website is no longer enough. It is now vital for businesses to have a content strategy where the goals are:

1. “to be found” by both current and potential customers

2. to build a relationship with users

In addition to content strategy, the website design must include the carefully managed process of search engine optimization. Of course, the most desirable result is face to face conversation. The customer who found you on line comes to your office or store to buy what you have to sell. Because of content marketing and purposeful website design, the user already knows you, your reputation, the quality of your work, the reliability of your products, your phone number, email address and a map showing where to find your office or your store. They know you because of the stories you tell and the information you share. Content marketing is a magical world. To emphasize the obvious, one of the best and most efficient marketing investments a business can make is a website and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It’s not as daunting as many business owners believe. Old, tired or out of date websites damage the reputations of any retail outlet or service. Not having a website at all guarantees limited or no growth. A website must be dynamic and useful. It must be properly designed and robust enough to achieve the goals. The clincher is that the business owner must commit the time personally or have the budget set aside specifically to create and maintain the required content. Make your website valuable to your customers by offering reasons to come back again and again and it will become the heartbeat of your marketing. Are you ready to explore content marketing? Here are five common questions. How do I get started?
  • Seek advice
  • There are many companies in the business of providing solutions for the problems of businesses
  • Find the people you trust and engage their services. Use a search engine just like your customers
  • Discover for yourself why content marketing and search engine optimization are so important
  • An expert will understand your needs, work with you to describe your goals, assess an existing website if you already have one, work with you on the development of a new web presence, provide ideas and solutions and help you devise your content strategy along with the systems required to achieve desired results
  • You must have a realistic goal, a defined strategy and a workable routine in order for content marketing to be the critical weapon in your business building arsenal
Who is my audience and why my business?
  • Discover what your customers want to know and develop that as your content
  • Be entertaining and educational. For example, if your category is natural foods, how can you provide recipes and or content around making healthy choices?
  • Learn how best to educate your users. Identify their problems and provide solutions
  • Bring your brand to life with content and personality
  • Use the on line tools that suit your budget and your time
  • Look for topicality in current events every day. How can you capitalize on the Canucks run to the Stanley Cup or the return of NHL hockey to Winnipeg or a new product or innovation in your particular content category? How can these events inspire your content?
  • Content must be engaging, sticky, relevant, useable, entertaining, educational
What content tools do I require?
  1. A blog with photos and/or video whenever possible
  2. A forum for the presentation of related content through re-purposing in-the-news items, related articles, research studies and papers from other bloggers, re-post relevant YouTube videos
  3. Video may include interviews with experts, staff talking about their expertise, visual examples of your products in action, vodcasting how-to tutorials
  4. The creation of video content is determined by your personal ability to shoot and edit or your ability to hire someone to do it for you
  5. Create an online community for your customers to share their knowledge and experiences
  6. Create an interactive module for users to ask questions and get expert answers
  7. Make it easy to share your content. You want your users to re-post, re-tweet, email to their networks
What integrated social media links do I need?
  • It is important to understand and employ the big three, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin
  • Use permission marketing by having users register to receive a weekly or monthly newsletter via email
Should I use a call to action? – A tip worth every penny!!!
  • Users have to know, like and trust you before they will tolerate a sales pitch
  • Your call to action is vital as you convince readers, viewers, visitors to take the next step in your marketing process
  • Afterall, when you users need what you have to offer, you want them to buy
This article is contributed by Ted Farr - Floodlight Business Consultant Donald Robichaud is the President of the FloodLight Consulting and can be reached at For help and advice on Content Marketing to Build Your Business contact Floodlight Business Solutions Group.

Kelowna Business Coach - Branding Consultant - FloodLight Canada