How to Energize Your Professional Services Marketing

Actionable tips to elevate your marketing efforts and drive business opportunities.

Professional services firms are different than typical retailers in that they do not sell a tangible product per se; you aren’t walking out the door with the keys to a new car or the latest designer suit. Instead, they provide customers with valuable services such as legal representation if you are going through a divorce, consulting as you start up a new business, or financial guidance to maximize your investments.

MindTools.com describes professional services as the following:

“Professional services firms exist in many different industries. They include lawyers, advertising professionals, architects, accountants, financial advisors, engineers, and consultants. They can be any organization or profession that offers customized, knowledge-based services to clients.”

These firms generate around $1.8 trillion in combined annual revenue and account for around 900,000 businesses. Professional services providers work with people from all walks of life, and businesses large and small. But depending on their geographic location and their specific offerings, they can experience fierce competition in acquiring and maintaining customers. Additionally, today’s consumers are technology-savvy and know how to research their options, turning to social media, industry-specific rating websites, and referrals from family and friends, before ever reaching out to a business.

Because competition is high within many of these services industries, professional services firms must have a marketing plan that clearly defines the essential components, including target demographics, competition, marketing and promotional strategies, budget, and a clear understanding of the customer’s decision-making process.

8 Tips to Take Your Marketing to the Next Level

  1. Embrace social media. Social media is no longer a new trend; it has become the norm. According to Statista.com, around 3.6 billion people worldwide were using social media in 2020. Facebook alone has approximately 2.5 billion monthly active users and reaches more than 60% of Internet users globally. Additionally, 80 million businesses maintain a Facebook business page. If your business doesn’t have a presence on at least a few social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, now is the time to start. If your services lend themselves well to instructional or informational videos, consider hopping on YouTube or creating an informative podcast.
  2. Identify where and how your target audience searches for your service. Not every social media platform will provide the same “boost” when marketing your business. Familiarize yourself with each platform’s demographics to determine the best fit for your business. All professional services will benefit from a strong LinkedIn presence, but other media can also be useful in branding building. Facebook’s reach is universal, while Twitter relies on concise posts of 280 characters or less, and Instagram leverages the power of images, photos, and videos. As noted above, conducting market research about your target audience will provide valuable insight about which social media platforms are best suited for your marketing strategy.
  3. Get to know your audience through search listening. Search listening enables you to see how individuals are searching online; think keywords and phrases. Pay attention, then tailor your messaging to what customers truly want to know, rather than guessing or assuming you know their interests and concerns.
  4. Polish up your website. Think of your business website as the best representation of your company. Make sure your site projects a professional image, evokes confidence, and is easy to navigate. Post information that users want and need to know to not only position yourself as a leader in the industry, but to reassure potential customers that you understand their concerns, why they’re coming to you for service, and what you can do to solve their problems.
  5. Be genuine in your messaging. When content feels “salesy” and pushy, it is off-putting to customers. Treat your audience like you want to be treated. Build connections based on trust, honesty, and authenticity. Customers can see through an act, so provide a meaningful experience that motivates them to learn more about your services and continue the buyer’s journey.
  6. Incorporate infographics to explain how your service solves a customer’s problem. The adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” still holds true today. Engaging visuals capture the reader’s attention and are an easy way to describe a complex concept. Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter; have you heard of the 15-second rule? So give your audience a reason to stay on your site. Focus on your business’ value proposition. How will you save your customers time and money? How does your legal approach differ from the competition? How will your engineering software accelerate a company’s launch of new product lines?
  7. Always be networking. Attend professional association events where your target audience is likely to be. Make an effort to introduce yourself, then ask questions, and take the time to listen to their answers. Incorporate this feedback and make meaningful changes based on what customers want. Do they want the option of virtual consultations? A variation on a service you already offer, or a new one altogether?
  8. Recognize the stages of the buyer’s journey. A customer may not be ready to sign on the dotted line after the first time they meet you. They go through three distinct stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. Tailoring your marketing activities to each step of the journey will keep you top-of-mind when they’re ready to hire a lawyer, contractor, or accountant.

Customers have a wealth of information at their fingertips, so your business must clearly and consistently define and promote its unique value proposition through targeted marketing strategies. YGL Enterprises can help you ensure your marketing strategy is the best fit for your business goals and objectives, and that it targets your desired audience. Contact us today to get started!


Driving Business Growth Through Referral Marketing

One of the most powerful marketing tools your business can use is generating positive “word of mouth.” Think about how often you share your opinions with others when it comes to the best restaurants, doctors, financial advisors, salons, schools, or events. A friend asks, “Where did you get that suit?” and you happily tell your friend, colleague, or family member about the vendor and your experience. You may also go so far as to write a review online. These actions are the foundation of referral marketing.

What is Referral Marketing?

Simply put, referral marketing is a tactic that leverages recommendations to grow a business’ customer base through its network of existing customers, brand advocates, or other service providers, who can vouch for the businesses’ products, services, value, and reputation. If they’re happy with their experiences, they are much more likely to recommend your company to others, and this action can quickly expand your reach and enhance the quality of your leads.

Why Do Referrals Matter?

For one, referral marketing is cost-effective. Start with your Brand Promise. At the core of every successful business is the promise to develop trust with your customers by providing them with a superior experience.  Consistency and commitment are the drivers of referrals. Once you build trust and gain their loyalty, your customers will happily spread the word about their experience to others. Because your business has made them feel like a valued customer, when they hear someone else asking for recommendations, your business becomes top of mind.

Referrals are also valuable because they not only generate a higher volume of leads, but these leads tend to be of better quality because they are connected with people who already know about and use your products or services. This connection can make it easier to convert a lead into a customer. According to a Marketo report, “B2B marketers said the average conversion rate (from generating lead to converting sales) was 11% for referrals. Referrals beat all the other marketing channels by big margins when it came to conversion rates.”

Trust Can Make or Break a Referral

It all comes down to trust. Before you can expect referrals to start rolling in, you have to cultivate trust with customers and demonstrate that your business is true to its word and delivers on its promises. Once they are excited about your product/service and see how it has impacted their operations or life, then they are more apt to share their satisfaction with others. According to a Nielsen study, “84% of people trust recommendations from people they know. Making them the most influential form of advertising.”

Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t be afraid to ask existing customers for referrals when they show gratitude for the results you have produced. Encourage them to think about others who could benefit and share contact information.

Offer up a simple email template they can use when connecting with clients or colleagues who may be interested.

Educate your client base. Keep them informed of new products and services and, more specifically, how you help solve problems.

Check-in periodically to ensure that they’re still happy with your service and thank them for any referrals they have sent your way. Show appreciation for their efforts, whether it resulted in a sale or not.

But DON’T forget that trust can be easily broken and turn a loyal customer into an unhappy former supporter.  For instance, if an existing customer recommends your business to a friend or colleague, you had better be ready to deliver. If you miss a deadline or turn out an inferior product, not only does your company look bad, you’ve also made your referral source look bad, and you risk losing business from both parties. It also makes your current customer more cautious about whether or not they decide to refer your company to anyone else.

Part of the Bigger Picture

While referral marketing can generate significant returns, it should not be the sole source of marketing and new business development. Instead, it should be one piece of a broader strategic plan. A marketing strategy should encompass referrals, but it should also incorporate a mix of paid, owned, and other earned marketing. There is still value in designing targeted email campaigns, promotions, social media posts, advertisements, and other collateral. These pieces can help with growing brand awareness and developing trust and loyalty to stimulate continued referrals. Don’t underestimate your employees as strong brand advocates and referrers as well; have an internal marketing program in place to capture this business.

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to developing a solid marketing strategy that fits your business’ goals and objectives. YGL Enterprises can ensure that you take all of the right components into consideration by auditing your current practices and designing a tailored plan moving forward. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can support your business today and in the future.


Search Listening: Exploring What Customers Truly Want to Know

Customers engage with content that interests them. Consumers are also fickle. Whether scrolling through social media, scanning news stories, or looking through search results, they click on headlines and topics that catch their eye. Therefore, businesses need to have a solid understanding of their customers' interests, concerns, and desires to develop a trust-worthy relationship. Unfortunately, businesses waste significant time and money creating social media and content campaigns that attract little interest and engagement. As I've noted in a previous blog, content marketing can be an effective way for businesses to expand their reach, increase brand awareness, drive leads, and position themselves as thought leaders. Still, first, companies need to leverage available data to their advantage.

That is where search listening comes in.

What is Search Listening?

search listening /ˈsərch ‘lis-​niŋ/ verb

  1. The monitoring of Google searches for thoughts and searches around your brand or specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries, followed by an analysis to gain insights and act on those opportunities. "We need to understand our customers better. Let's do some search listening."
  2. An under-utilized method for gaining consumer insight, which can complement other more established methods. "We're kicking off our next project with a research phase, comprising a survey, focus groups, social listening, and search listening."

Searchlistening.com (2020). Retrieved from https://searchlistening.com.

Every day, Google logs more than 3 billion searches on a myriad of diverse topics ranging from "benefits of an electric toothbrush," to "where can I find the best sushi?" Search listening provides insights as to what people desire, fear, and aspire to be. By implementing a consistent search listening plan, companies can better target their marketing efforts, as well as provide higher-quality, better-focused content that matches their audience's interests. Also, search listening can uncover topics that marketers may not have thought of on their own, but that add value to the information they are sharing with customers.

How is Search Listening Different than Social Listening?

Social listening has been a trending buzzword recently, whereas search listening has not received as much attention – but that does not make it any less relevant. What makes search listening so valuable is that it provides authentic insight into the consumer's mind.

Social listening evaluates what people post on social media regarding their thoughts about a particular brand or product. Marketers can track viewers' feedback, engage in discussions, and ask questions to gather more information. However, what people share on social media is not always how they honestly feel. They often portray a finely crafted version of what they think people want to hear, or what they think makes them look good.

Search listening, on the other hand, relies on data from Google searches. People tend to be more honest and open when typing a question into a faceless search engine as opposed to asking for advice or answers from actual people. Businesses can use search listening to see the most common search queries related to a specific keyword or phrase. As a result, this puts keywords in a broader context and builds a clearer picture of their audience's thoughts and concerns.

For example, SEO may show that "savings account" is a frequently searched term, but what does that mean? Do people want to know how to open a savings account? How to close a savings account? How to transfer money from their checking account to their savings account? What is the interest rate on different types of savings accounts? Search listening offers this level of detail by showing entire search queries that allow businesses to drill down into data.

Harnessing the Power of Search Listening

Uncovering this data is simpler than you may think. One of the best search listening tools is Answer the Public. Users can run three free searches per day, or upgrade to pro, which offers more searches and features. The tool creates easy-to-understand visuals regarding search information that marketers can use to develop more effective content strategies and content calendars. Searches are categorized by type of question, such as how, why, when, which, who, where, or are, and they also show changes over time.

Another free resource is Google trends. This tool allows marketers to see what terms or topics are currently trending and also provides simple graphics to portray data. It shows how trends have changed over time, related topics and queries, and what parts of the world are searching the term the most.

With search listening, businesses can gather more detailed insight into their audience and provide content that aligns with what they genuinely want to know. Social listening and asking customers for feedback still have their place, but search listening complements these efforts and adds a new perspective. YGL Enterprises can assist you in doing a deep-dive into your marketing strategy and initiatives to uncover new opportunities, gaps, and areas for improvements to meet customer needs and business objectives better. Contact us today to get started!


Don’t Let Your Personal Brand Suffer During Self-Quarantine

As I look back over the past three months, I realize that the way we work is forever changed due to the restrictions of the global pandemic. Most of us dislike change, particularly when it is forced upon us, but we adapt. The ways we market our businesses and ourselves are part of the mix. Unfortunately, many of us have taken the “casual approach” now that we are stuck at home, relegated to a small converted workspace in our house in less than ideal conditions. Your business self and your personal self are no longer distinctly defined, but rather a blurred and somewhat messy version of the two.

So, why does this matter?

Because we still need to put our best self – our professional self – forward when conducting business. This means making an effort with our personal brand. If you go to an office or attend a client meeting, you want to present yourself professionally. You want to be taken seriously. You want to close the deal. You want people to respect you. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to invest time and energy into your personal brand. As I’ve noted in a previous blog, your personal brand is a collective perception of your professional assets and your reputation.

Zoom pulled back the curtain.

Blurred Lines

I’ve worked from home since 2008, so self-quarantine was not a big deal for me. Like most of us, when I’m at home, I like to be comfortable. If I don’t have any outside meetings, I’m in my yoga pants and t-shirt; no makeup, my hair has good days and bad. However, Zoom was a game-changer! I’ll never forget the first time that someone scheduled a Zoom meeting with me. I accepted but gave little thought to the mechanics of Zoom, i.e., visual vs. auditory-only. Ten minutes before the meeting, I realized that I was not the best, most professional version of myself. So, what did I do? I put a piece of tape over my computer’s camera and apologized to my prospect. We had a good laugh, but the experience taught me a valuable lesson: I need to be more aware of my personal brand when I’m in business-mode.

Another example of blurred lines occurred when I scheduled a #Zoom-meetingZoom meeting with a vendor who I felt could help one of my clients. I had met him previously and like his approach. When we met via Zoom, my immediate reaction was, “Dude, could you have at least combed your hair?” Here he was sitting in front of the camera, wearing a sweatshirt, and looked like he just rolled out of bed. On top of that, the room in the background showed junk piled everywhere! Yes, it was distracting, and it did give me pause about hiring him to work with my client.

Perceptions Matter

Seven seconds. That’s how long you have to make a first impression. While you can change someone’s perception of you over time, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that is usually the one that sticks. Therefore, we all need to be aware of which mode we are in, business vs. personal when we are meeting and interacting with others.

For professionals such as entrepreneurs, freelancers, and consultants, a  prospect’s or client’s #first-impressionfirst impression determines whether you secure the business or not. Think about what it says to you when you see someone wearing clean, pressed business attire with combed hair and a smile versus seeing someone wearing a wrinkled t-shirt, messy hair, and a tired look on their face. Who are you more apt to want to do business with based solely on your first impression?

Working from home and holding meetings over Zoom is not an excuse to be lazy or unprofessional. Get ready as if you were going into the office or meeting the client at their place of business. Make sure you look presentable and have your materials prepared so you can speak professionally. Pick a spot with a clean background, even if that means working against a blank wall. If your makeshift home office leaves something to be desired, consider uploading a general office background to use on Zoom so your client isn’t distracted by anything they may see around you and can focus on the discussion at hand.

Be True to Your Brand

You have a short amount of time to capture your client’s attention and make a positive first impression. Now that you’ve established yourself as a consummate professional – even when working from home – focus on continuing to present yourself in the best light possible. Preparation is key. Know the facts about what you are discussing and what sets you or your business apart. What story do you want to tell? Reassure clients through your behavior and conversation that even in these turbulent times, you have not lost focus and are still committed to your mission and vision. Be authentic and genuine in your approach to build trust and credibility.

And, one last point, you can still wear your yoga pants unless you are making a full-scale presentation.

Times are changing, and you must learn how to change with them. If you’re struggling to keep up and your personal brand has become fuzzy (or lost altogether), don’t dismay. There is still time to turn things around and get back on track. YGL Enterprises has a wealth of experience assisting professionals in building (or re-building) their brand and determining how they want to be seen. Pandemic or not, who you are and the message you convey matters. Contact us today to develop a clear strategy for the future.


Why a CRM is Essential for Businesses

If the Coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be prepared for the unexpected. As businesses scrambled to adapt to the “new normal” of selling and promoting their products and services under restrictive guidelines, those companies who had invested in Customer Relationship Management tools (CRMs) were able to communicate valuable information to their customers immediately. We all experienced the plethora of emails from companies that “they were open for business,” but in a new way. While the constant barrage of information was sometimes annoying, we were comforted to know that we could still purchase our favorite goods and services, just in a new way or during certain hours.  However, many businesses were scrambling to communicate with their customers due to a lack of an organized system of customer contact information.

Regardless of the size of the company or the product or service offering, all businesses need to invest in a customer relationship management system. There are numerous reasonably priced options available to meet any budget. Check out Business News Daily’s recent blog that details several choices.

While the primary #benefit-of-using-a-CRMbenefit of using a CRM system is the ability to quickly and efficiently communicate information to all or specific segments of your customer base, additional advantages include:

  • Building relationships and increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction
  • Serving as a management strategy that allows businesses to scale
  • Maintaining a record of conversations, purchases, and marketing material can be associated with leads and customers
  • Increasing customer retention and profits
  • One-stop access to organized data about their customers and prospects

Ultimately, CRMs help businesses learn about their customers, what they purchase, how they move through the sales process, and which marketing initiatives are most successful.

Improved Organization

Strong customer relationships are crucial to the ongoing success of any business. A CRM system is the cornerstone of those efforts.  So, what does a CRM program do? At a basic level, it manages the interactions between a business and its current and potential customers. By inputting customer data into a CRM, organization is a snap. Not only is your CRM a repository for client contact information and client purchasing history, but it also allows you to nurture leads and build customer loyalty. You have a wealth of knowledge in a single location, where marketing and sales employees can easily access real-time client information and respond accordingly.

Targeted Marketing

Additionally, CRMs allow businesses to segment their customer base and customize marketing approaches. By evaluating a customer’s purchase history or service history, you can more effectively determine what other products or promotions may interest them. Rather than wasting time and energy sending emails that go unread and make your customer feel as though you don’t know their needs, you can zero in on what is most important to them and where you can add value.

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction

Understanding your customers’ preferences and buying habits allows businesses to build long-lasting relationships by tracking trends and anticipating your customers’ exact needs. A CRM system also enables you to spot issues and respond quickly to customer inquiries. Today’s savvy customer expects businesses to react in real-time to their ever-changing needs. Whether a customer contacts your company via “live chat,” email. or by phone, the customer expects that they will be speaking to someone who is knowledgeable about their situation – and by opening their file in the CRM platform, you have access to everything you need to know right in front of you.

Adaptable to Any Business

Whether you run a large company with hundreds of customers, or a small mom-and-pop boutique with just a handful of clients, you can benefit from investing in a CRM. Systems are scalable to fit your needs and activity. It is a good idea to implement a system on the front end, not when a crisis is imminent.  Why waste your time trying to organize everything by hand or on an Excel spreadsheet, when so much can be automated for you? Save yourself time and money and have the peace of mind knowing that all your customer interactions are conveniently stored together.

As you develop or refine your marketing strategy, your CRM can be invaluable in providing information and insight for planning and tracking results. Know precisely which customers you are targeting and their latest activity. YGL Enterprises can help you make the most of your CRM and leverage this data to grow your business and drive profitability. Work with our skilled team on marketing strategies and solutions that fit your goals. Contact us today to get started and be on your way to CRM success.


Making Sense of Content Marketing: Developing a Strategy That Works

These days, everyone talks about content marketing; however, many businesses rush the process without careful planning. So, let’s begin with what content marketing is and why it’s an essential facet of your marketing strategy.

Let’s start with the definition.

content marketing (noun) – marketing that tries to attract customers by distributing informational content potentially useful to the target audience, rather than by advertising products and services in the traditional way: content marketing through blogs and email newsletters

Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/

More businesses than ever have embraced social media as the “go-to” marketing tactic, creating visuals and stories to share information and engage consumers. However, there is a lot of poorly written and irrelevant content floating around the internet. Done correctly, content marketing can be an effective way for businesses to expand their reach, increase brand awareness, drive leads, and position themselves as thought leaders.

The key to effective content marketing originates in the creation of a strategic plan. If you’re simply sharing information for the sake of sharing, hoping something will stick, you’re likely missing the mark. Yes, your content may reach a few customers or prospects, but not as many as anticipated.

With a well-defined strategy in place, you can focus your efforts to target those individuals or businesses that are truly important to your success. Here are a few ways to improve your approach.

Post with a Purpose

Instead of haphazardly posting any content that seems slightly interesting, review each piece, and then ask yourself, “Why does this matter?” to my target market. What benefit will it have for your customers or followers? What is your goal in sharing that information? Align content with your business goals and always be looking to educate or engage your customers. You may come across a great article, but if it doesn’t fit with your brand or doesn’t provide your audience with relevant information, you’re taking away from the positive momentum you’ve been striving to build.

#Know-your-Audience

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Concentrate your efforts on who your target audience is and what interests them the most. It’s not about you; it’s about them. Build loyalty. Whether you’re appealing to young professionals, car gurus, or savvy investors, use your customer personas to shape your strategy and messaging. Take the time to review website and social media analytics to see which previous posts have gained the most traction and engagement. Leverage customer feedback and social listening to find out what is top of mind. Then you can begin organizing your content calendar.

Plan in Advance

Rather than having multiple people writing blogs and sharing posts on whatever topics interest them, put an organized plan in place. Break down content topics by week or month and select a theme. But, be flexible enough to change your topic depending on current events. For example, the effect of COVID-19 has impacted how we all conduct business. A timely podcast on “How to stay in contact with your clients during uncertain times” is more relevant than “Event planning tips for your next social gathering.”

Sit down with your team and brainstorm a list of blog topics, assign writers, and determine deadlines. Identify reliable resources. Brainstorm keywords that your content will fit within. Having an organized calendar will make creating and sharing content easier, and it will help position your business as a thought leader in your respective industry.

Find the Right Medium

People respond differently to different mediums. Ask yourself, what is the best format for conveying the message? Is it through an article or blog, a podcast or audio clip, a video, or an infographic? Using different mediums will generate responses from different sectors of your readership. Change things up from time to time to keep your audience engaged and the content interesting. Pay attention to how your audience reacts to the different formats and track what generates the most activity.

#Make-use-of-SEO

Make sure your intended audience can find your content by incorporating keywords and phrases that align with common search terms. Using Google Analytics is an effective way of tracking keywords and guiding search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Try adding popular hashtags and note the response. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new approaches until you find what works. And keep in mind – as industries evolve, so do trends and buzzwords, so stay abreast of what is happening in your target market.

Partnering with a marketing strategist can help your business get on the right track and improve your content marketing efforts. Stop wasting time with haphazardly designed marketing initiatives and zero in on what tactics align with your business’ goals, objectives, and audience. Start putting out content that matters and that your clients want to read. Contact YGL Enterprises today to learn more about how we can help. With our “focused strategy – marketing solutions realized” approach, we guide you in taking your business to the next level in a systematic way.


Pandemic Marketing 101: Marketing (and Adapting) in the Age of COVID-19

As I sit at my desk and reflect on how much the world has changed in such a short amount of time, I recall the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s classic song, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” The song is a call to action that summed up the feelings of the anti-establishment generation of the 1960s. I think the lyrics are still relevant in today’s COVID-19 world.

What does this mean as it relates to marketing? Whether we like it or not, we are ALL adapting to a new world—one that is vastly different from just a few months ago. It’s a world where we are still figuring out how to conduct business meetings, promote products and services, and position ourselves as marketable professionals as many jobs disappear, and new ones emerge.

Are You Ready?

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about taking control of your personal brand. I believe this subject is more pertinent than ever as we push forward in the “New World of Business.”

We all have a personal brand. Just like a product, your personal brand is the world’s collective perception of who you are. It comes from all the information that is available on the Internet, whether you put it there intentionally or it stemmed from other sources. By taking control of your personal brand (brand management), you shape how others view your professional assets, i.e., your reputation. You are not leaving it to others to tell your story. Personal branding becomes even more essential as you try to set yourself apart from others and want to remain competitive in the job market, advocate for a promotion, or simply change the narrative.

Find Out Where You Stand

Start with a Google search. You will likely be surprised about what you find. Usually, the information is either inaccurate or incomplete. Then move on to your favorite social media platforms. Is this the brand that you want to project to potential employers, colleagues, and friends? It’s crucial that you not only know what people and professional websites are saying about you but also take charge of your narrative. You may also find that you don’t have much of an executive presence at all; therefore, you need to establish your brand. Or, you may find that you need to bolster certain areas to position yourself for advancement or change the story altogether so you can shift your career in a different direction.

Decide Upon and Chart Your Path Forward

As noted above, taking the time to research yourself, so you have a solid sense of how others perceive you in the marketplace, will provide you with the perspective to then proactively create your narrative. What is your story? What traits or accomplishments make you stand out? If you’re not sure how to differentiate yourself or what you should be emphasizing, it can be beneficial to work with a brand strategist. This professional can help you see the “big picture” by asking probing questions that get you thinking about how you view yourself, your professional goals, and how best to achieve those targets by clearly articulating your personal brand.

And Now…Execute

Now that you know where you want to go, you must put in the effort. This is where partnering with a brand strategist can pay off. A brand strategist can help you:

  • Identify and focus on your target market and audience
  • Access effective channels for promotional and marketing activities
  • Leverage social media to maximize your brand and increase awareness
  • Create on-target messaging to build or pivot your brand
  • Monitor performance to assess strengths and areas for improvement
  • Capitalize on opportunities to grow your professional network and expand your reach

It can be challenging to look objectively at your brand presence in our current environment and see what is working and what is not. That is why YGL Enterprises takes the guesswork out of building your brand by conducting detailed assessments and developing strategic plans to position you how you want to be seen—even in a time that is as uncertain as right now.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re an established CEO or an emerging leader trying to get a leg up; your brand has an impact and determines your competitive advantage. Stand out for the right reasons and position yourself for success by teaming up with YGL Enterprises for all your personal branding needs. Our “focused strategy – marketing solutions realized” approach is just what you need to get ahead in today’s tight market, so contact us to get started.


3 Common Marketing Mistakes that Could Be Hurting Your Business

In this new world of social-distancing and other preventive measures, the way we conduct business has been changed for the foreseeable future. No one knows what that means for the long-term, but, at the very least, companies need to take a deep breath and focus on how to adjust their marketing strategies.

Regardless of current events, having an effective marketing plan is vital to growing and retaining business. SMART goals should be the cornerstone of every marketing strategy. (A SMART goal is used to help guide goal setting; SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.) More on this topic later.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at three marketing mistakes that could be negatively impacting your business’ bottom line.

  1. Not having a solid marketing plan.

All businesses, regardless of size, should have a documented and organized strategic plan for their marketing initiatives. Unfortunately, many companies tend to put this task on the “back burner.” Even those who have a plan may not designate a primary point person or committee with authority to make marketing decisions. This inaction can lead to wasted and misguided efforts if too many people within the organization can make marketing decisions on a whim.

For example, if vendors can call on anyone within the company, and the company has not communicated a policy about who has the authority to vet marketing-related products, the results can be disastrous! The least of which is wasted time and resources.

You wouldn’t ask your production manager to handle your accounting, so don’t allow your sales staff to make your marketing decisions. Businesses need to thoughtfully determine who in the organization is best suited to make marketing-related decisions. This can be one person or by committee. Take the time to develop sound policies, and then communicate the information throughout the organization. Ensure that everyone is on the same page with how to achieve goals and objectives, including branding awareness, lead generation, customer satisfaction, and positive ROI.

  1. Being too impatient.

Today’s society expects immediate results. And “Why not?” Advances in technology have streamlined many activities, where with one click, we get results. This leads to unrealistic expectations, particularly related to marketing activities. As with any endeavor, marketing tactics take time to generate results. A business cannot expect to put a social media plan in place and then expect inquiries to pour in within a matter of days or weeks. Growing your audience and increasing awareness takes time and consistent evaluation, regardless of the product or service.

Therefore, have a plan in place (see point #1), know your target customer, measure results, and be patient. As noted earlier, using SMART goals will lead to greater success, but it’s a success that takes time. Realize that it may take six months or more to see the desired change in customer behavior. Engaging a consultant who can take a deep dive into your marketing strategy and help monitor trends to identify opportunities for improvement can keep you grounded throughout the marketing process.

  1. Jumping on the latest bandwagon.

Just because a specific marketing trend is popular right now does not necessarily mean that it is a good fit for your business. Podcasts and video marketing have been all the rage in recent months, but if your target customer does not use these platforms, you’re wasting money. For instance, businesses that are marketing to older adults need to be mindful of their awareness and comfort level in using newer technologies. On the other hand, if your audience is young business professionals who listen to podcasts on their commute to keep up with industry best practices, a podcast could be a worthwhile pursuit.

Just because you are sharing content, doesn’t mean your target customer is consuming the information. Invest in marketing platforms that your customers do connect with, and that will catch their attention. Do your research and then determine if the latest marketing fad is right for your business.

So, what can you do to avoid some of these common mistakes? Make it a point to get everyone on the same page when it comes to marketing plans and strategies. Have a solid plan in place first, and then you can figure out which tactics to use to implement it. If you do not see the results you expected, consider working with a consulting firm like YGL Enterprises to refocus and assess your current strategies. Optimize your resources and develop a focused approach to put the most effective marketing solutions in place. Contact us today to get started.


Start from Within: Selling Employees on Your Brand through Internal Marketing

Businesses spend an exorbitant amount of time and money, selling their products and services to customers. After all, this is what keeps the revenue flowing and drives business growth. But a critical aspect of marketing that many businesses overlook is marketing to their employees. Business owners should view their employees as the best and most-accessible advocates for the business’ products or services. As the primary ambassadors of the business, they must have a solid understanding of the organization’s mission, vision, values, and goals to project this in everything they do.

Why Internal Marketing Matters

When employees truly believe in the business, and what it is selling, they become more engaged, provide higher quality service, and are often more satisfied with their jobs. Plus, they become brand representatives and advocates of the business when speaking with others. Whether interacting with family, friends, clients, or people they have just met, they can proudly and confidently promote the business and what it stands for. They can talk about what makes the products or services so great, reliable, functional, convenient, or whatever the benefits may be – its unique value proposition.

Internal marketing also plays a key role in attracting and retaining top talent. Not only can HR departments enhance their recruitment efforts by advocating for why the business is a good place to work, but employees can do the same and drive referrals. They’re more likely to encourage others to work there if they enjoy it themselves.

Creating an Internal Marketing Program

Now that you understand why internal marketing is important, it’s time to develop an effective plan. Decide who will lead efforts in educating employees, creating materials, building a strong culture, and providing consistent communication. This is not a one-person or one-perspective job. Consider creating an internal marketing team that includes both employee leaders and management.

  • Gauge current knowledge. Find out what employees already know and think about the business. Develop a survey where they can rank their understanding of the organization’s mission and vision, its value proposition, and its products/services. Ask about whether they believe in the mission, if they use the business’ products/services, and if they would recommend the business to others. Asking questions on the front-end will provide the answers that focus your efforts in crafting materials and training.
  • Develop education and training opportunities. Invite employees to attend meetings and open forums to discuss what is happening within the business, as well as the future goals. Offer training sessions for new products or services where they can ask questions, provide feedback, and try out products themselves. Distribute a monthly newsletter with updates, statistics, opportunities, and fun facts.
  • Make information readily available. Have an internal webpage that employees can use as a resource when they want or need more information. Use videos and graphics to increase engagement and present content in a meaningful way. Post the latest updates on changes within the organization, the launch of new products/services, and how the business is performing against its goals.
  • Leverage social media. Make it easy for employees to share press releases, product information, new developments, and external marketing initiatives with their connections through the business’ approved channels or platforms. Keep the business’ social media pages updated and encourage employees to like and share content. However, ensure that there is a social media policy in place to protect the organization’s online reputation and set guidelines for employees’ online activity.
  • Keep going. Internal marketing is not something that is ‘once and done.’ It should be ongoing. Integrate messages into daily meetings, monthly trainings, and business communications. Building employee engagement and support is something businesses should always be striving to do. If efforts become stagnant, a lot of momentum can be lost.

Every single employee from the custodian to the administrative assistant to the CEO should know what the business’ brand stands for and be able to speak positively about it (and want to do so). Having a strong internal marketing plan is just as important as the external marketing plan.

Start creating a strategy that transforms employees into natural ambassadors and advocates for your business by partnering with YGL Enterprises today. You’ll receive guidance tailored to your organization, its goals, and its employees to help you be as successful as possible. With YGL Enterprises, you get a focused strategy that leads to realized marketing solutions.


Keeping a Pulse on the Client: The Importance of Surveys for Small Businesses

When you buy a product online or take your car to the dealership for service, almost immediately, an email or text pops up, asking you about your experience. Large businesses are always asking for feedback to gauge how they are doing and where there are opportunities for improvement. And yet, small businesses seldom follow suit. This is a missed opportunity that ultimately impacts long-term client satisfaction, as well as the company’s bottom line. Today, we explore why small businesses are hesitant to ask for feedback and how they can overcome their fear of the process.

Here are just a few common reasons why companies fail to survey their clients:

  • The client won’t respond, so why bother?
  • Fear of what clients may say, and uncertainty of how to respond.
  • Customer feedback programs are too expensive to implement.
  • Assumption that, because the company is small, it already knows what its clients think or need.

All the above are common myths. Every business should actively and regularly seek client feedback about its product or service. If businesses are not asking for feedback, they are missing out on major opportunities to:

  • Improve business operations.
  • Enhance customer loyalty.
  • Turn a negative experience into a positive outcome.
  • Remind customers to share their experiences on online reputation platforms.
  • Tweak product or service offerings to better align with their customer base.
  • Identify areas of opportunity to reach new customers or fill a gap in the market.

Online, Email, Paper or Face-to-Face

There are a multitude of resources that businesses can use to solicit feedback, such as:

  • Automated online surveys such as SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, or Polldaddy
  • Face-to-face surveys
  • Telephone surveys
  • Hard copy surveys with a personalized letter from senior management
  • Any combination of the above.

Businesses should carefully reflect on which option will likely generate the most participation and what is the overall goal. Are you surveying a multitude of clients about their general perceptions of the company, or is the survey targeted to a handful of “key” clients who represent a significant portion of the business’s revenue? Complex services such as legal or accounting will benefit from using face-to-face surveys or telephone surveys. Additionally, experience shows that clients are more likely to respond when going through a neutral, third-party source where they feel they can give honest responses, or if there is a small incentive included such as a discount on a future purchase.

Keep your expectations realistic – you’re unlikely ever to get 100% of clients to participate, but that’s okay; even a 10% response rate can provide valuable information.

Rather than asking vague, generic questions that have little value when it comes to measuring satisfaction or how to improve, focus on specific, targeted questions around key aspects of the business. For instance, break down experiences into important points, such as:

  • How easy it was to check out online
  • How quickly someone responded to inquiries or problems
  • How they found out about the business or what brought them there
  • What other services or products they are interested in
  • How likely they are to recommend the company/product/service to others

Have a plan in place for what information you want to collect and how you will respond.

*Remember to keep the survey short; six to eight questions are the right length for optimal client response.

Managing Feedback

A critical factor to keep in mind when implementing a voice of the customer program, however, is that the business must be committed to accepting and acting upon ALL feedback. Just because a business doesn’t like a response doesn’t mean it should be ignored or swept under the rug. Clients want to see that their opinions and concerns are being heard and acted upon. Ignoring negative feedback can result in the client airing the grievance online.

For example, if several people respond that the business is not responsive to returning phone calls or emails, be prepared to execute change quickly. This could mean implementing a policy of a 24- or 48-hour timeframe for replying – and sticking to it! Note the change on the company website, and other social media venues, so clients know that you listened to their concerns and care. Implementing positive changes can mean not only a greater financial return but also improved customer loyalty.

If a specific client has an issue, senior management should be ready to step in and personally address the problem promptly. This simple act by small businesses can go a long way in forging improved relationships because there is a personal connection and emphasis on doing what is right. It shows clients that they matter.

Implementing Client Satisfaction Surveys

Are you ready to take the next step? Implementing a plan for a client feedback program can be easier than you think. Working with a marketing professional such as YGL Enterprises can allow you to put in place a program that fits the unique needs of your business and generates the type of feedback you can use to drive continued success. Contact YGL Enterprises today to learn more and develop a focused strategy to realize marketing solutions.