Metrics Matter: How Are Your Communications Measuring Up?

Posted on Feb 23, 2016 | 0 comments

With the development of easy-to-use, free communication tools it has become easier than ever to send a message to your audience at the drop of a hat. We’ve read varying reports that say the average American sees anywhere from 3,000 to 20,000 media impressions per day. We aren’t sure which end of that wildly varying spectrum is right, but we are clear on one thing —regardless of the actual number, your audience’s attention is hard won these days. Which is why it’s so important to be able to gauge the response your communication efforts are garnering. “How do we know if they read the newsletter?” “How will we know if anyone is even going to come to these health screenings?” “Could we get away with sending just one email instead of four?” These are the things that keep you awake at night if you’re in charge of a communications budget. You feel hard pressed to prove that your communications are being read and making a measurable impact. But you can’t quite seem to wrap your head around how to track that desired outcome back to any specific piece of communication. If you haven’t been strategic about goal setting and incorporating tracking mechanisms into your communications, you’ve probably been ‘proving’ your value anecdotally through qualitative data that’s easy to refute. That’s a miserable place to find yourself when you’re trying to prove the value of what you do. So, let us address the juiciest of our Seven Secrets of Strategic Communications:   Secret #4: Measure Everything Communicating strategically requires that you set goals and measure outcomes for your communications. Gone are the days of canvassing all employees with the same messages via the same channels and hoping that they’ll engage. From QR codes to Google Analytics, we can now track every move our audience makes online. We can assign our communications unique codes at various stages of outreach to gauge precisely how many impressions it takes before someone finally clicks the call to action and follows through on our desired behavior. But metrics aren’t exclusive to the online or multimedia realm. Employees don’t have to have smart phones or work at computers for you to track their responses to your communications. Simple calls to action can be linked to pieces in the physical world to measure their response rate just as effectively. We recently helped a client boost enrollment in their new health coach program by offering a free gift for employees who brought our promotional coupon with them when they signed up. We promoted the program through a variety of channels (coupon, tent cards, posters, employee newsletter and break room plasma screen ads) but we only tracked the response rate to the coupon because we wanted to measure how incentives drove participation. We made no mention of the incentives in any of our other communications. HR managers were able to collect data simply by counting the coupons they received in exchange for the free gifts. Thus, we were able to measure the role of the incentive by comparing total number of sign-ups to total number of coupons redeemed. At the end of our communication cycle we were able to look at the quantitative data and conclude that twenty-four percent of the employees who enrolled did so in direct response to the coupon promotion. Gathering data on your communications’ response rate can seem tricky if you’ve never done it before. But a little creative thinking can go a long way towards answering the question of “what’s working and what’s not?” If you don’t know what’s working, then it’s time to...

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Three Simple Tips for Creating Employee Communications That Connect and Engage

Posted on Oct 28, 2015 | 0 comments

Most of us are over-extended at work and at home. It takes a near miracle to get our attention in this day and age of non-stop advertising. Our clients are increasingly aware that their employees are just not absorbing the information they put out there. Simply having the information “out there” is no longer enough.  Your message must be easy to find, memorable, and available at a moment’s notice. Here’s how we’ve helped our clients break through some of today’s most common challenges with employee communications. Problem #1: Your Intranet should be on an episode of TLC’s Hoarders. Sadly, it’s not just your Intranet. Our entire lives are cluttered with information. It’s impossible to tune in only to the information we’re seeking when our lives are littered with print ads, emails, internet ads, radio, tv, billboards, in-app ads, etc. Your job as Leaders of your organization is to ruthlessly summarize and organize important information for your employees. You must commit to removing extraneous and outdated information that’s obscuring the path you’re trying to lay. We help clients clean up and replace online content monthly. We go in again annually to do a deeper purge. This little bit of consistency pays off big time by keeping this task from being both costly and overwhelming. Problem #2: You sound like the adults from every Charlie Brown special ever. Remember that awful “wah wah wah” voice? That’s what you sound like when you slip into autopilot to just get a message out there for your employees. As leaders in your company, it’s not likely your first time at the communications rodeo. So it’s easy to fall back on your old tricks in an attempt to quickly check one more thing off of your to-do list. It’s important to remember that you’re not just trying to get the information out the door – you’re trying to connect with people. Boring old corporate memos and boilerplate language do not create connection. They create disengagement. When you’re communicating, remember that you hired PEOPLE. People remember stories. They remember moments. They remember novelty. A little bit of humanity, humor and storytelling go a long way towards winning your employees’ attention. Before your next urgent memo races out the door, ask yourself, “do I feel connected to the value of this message and its role in improving the business or my life?” We work in an era when businesses can be warm, emotional and vulnerable. Your humanity is the scary magic place where engagement is lurking. Problem #3: You’re out of sight and out of mind. Like it or not, smart phones are here to stay. Increasingly, employees who have no computer access at the office rely exclusively on smart phones as their connection to the Internet. If you’re only publishing newsletters, posting information on your Intranet, or leaving flyers out in the break rooms then you’re missing out on most of your employees’ primary gateway to information—smart phones. Even employees with regular access to a computer in the office are looking for answers to questions about benefits or other work-related programs and services outside of the office. We continue to guide our clients toward the use of public-facing, mobile-optimized websites to make sure that employees and their families have easy access to the information they need. Our Mobile Benefits Connection™ app is helping employees and their covered dependents access important benefits information in the moment when making consumer decisions about their health, insurance, and retirement. Getting employees to absorb critical information will always be a challenge. We’re competing with too many other mediums and messages. Wherever we can simplify,...

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5 Rules for Writing Website Copy that Works

Posted on Jun 16, 2015 | 0 comments

When it comes to writing for the web, the rules you learned in English 101 no longer apply. Web copy eschews flowery language in favor of persuasive language that addresses your readers’ needs, prioritizes key messages, and a promotes one specific goal for each page of your website to build traffic, engage visitors, or convert sales. Writing compelling copy doesn’t come naturally to most people; however, it is a skill that can be learned with practice. To get you started, here are five basic rules for writing for the web: – Ensure your copy speaks directly to your readers. Write your copy as if you are having a conversation with your ideal readers. Acknowledge them by using the word “YOU,” instead of the more abstract “our clients” or “customers.” – Be brief, but clear. Use concise, short paragraphs and clearly labeled sections of information. Remember the three “R’s”– Rambling Repels Readers. – Put the focus on your readers’ needs. Avoid focusing on the product or service you sell. Every reader comes to the page asking, “What’s in it for me?” They are more concerned with solving their problems and easing their pain than they are about the widget you are selling. Remember, first focus on awareness; next focus on engagement; then comes the sell. – Make your pages skimmable. Studies show most readers scan web pages, so make sure your most important words and concepts pop out. Don’t bury your best ideas “below the fold” or deep in your page’s content. Format your copy with bullets, bold text, sub-headlines, and white space to give your readers’ eyes a break from walls of words. – Ensure every page/every section of your site includes a clear, interactive call to action. For example, ask readers to comment; to take a quiz; to click here to set up an appointment; to download a free worksheet, etc. Never leave a reader guessing about the next step to take. Forget everything you learned in school about writing essays and term papers. When you write copy for your website, your goal is to eliminate confusion, build trust, encourage referrals, and transform skimmers into devoted fans. We created the Websites That Work Quiz to help identify which sections of your website need to be rewritten with the rules of the web in mind. After you take the quiz, we will send you the Watch Your Words Worksheet to clean up your website’s copy and ensure your key messages stand out. Take the quiz to get started. Share...

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Web Design Principles that Boost Engagement and Interaction

Posted on Jun 10, 2015 | 0 comments

Good web design conveys a message without ever saying a word; it either instantly engages visitors or turns them away. When web design works, it pulls your visitors in and makes them feel at ease. Think of your website the same way you’d think of your workspace: Are visitors distracted by clutter and eager to run out of there, or do they want to relax, spend some time with you, and make a purchase? A quick design assessment can help you recognize your visitors’ knee-jerk reactions to your website. Start by reviewing each page of your site, then ask yourself the following questions: What grabs your attention —irrelevant, secondary content, or the clickable link to your best selling product or service? Does the page feel noisy and distracting, or open and inviting? Does it feel cluttered and crammed with too many words, images, and links? One way to avoid distraction and direct your visitors’ attention is to strategically use negative space (or white space) in the design. Great designers are skilled in creatively balancing your need for MORE content with the appropriate white space; however, even the most forgiving design will eventually crumble beneath the burden of too many words, images, and calls to action. To ensure your site’s content and white space ebb and flow together harmoniously, try using the Add/Remove Principle. Here’s how it works: Before you add new content to your site, look for places to remove outdated content to keep things balanced and tidy. Every piece of new content you add to your site is another opportunity for a customer to get distracted. Be sure all additions drive your site visitors to the same end goal or action. Streamlining your content puts you in the driver’s seat. Fewer distractions mean visitors don’t have to figure out what you want them to do on your site. Clicks go up. Purchases increase. Your business grows. We know for non-designers, web design best practices can seem arbitrary and baffling. That’s why we created the Websites That Work Quiz. We want to help you identify the areas of where your website that could use a little support, and guide you to the next steps to take. As a bonus, after you take the quiz we’ll email you tools like the Design Clarity Worksheet to guide you on the fixes your site needs. Web design help is just a click away. Take the quiz to get started. Share...

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Is Your Website Sabotaging Your Business? Take the Websites That Work Quiz to Find Out

Posted on May 21, 2015 | 0 comments

Back when you launched your website, it was the flagship of your brand. Your logo was fresh, your content was clever, and the design was innovative. Your cutting-edge website helped your business flourish. But that was several years ago, and a lot has changed since then. You and your business have grown and evolved, and so has technology. What was once pioneering is now passé. Lately, it feels more like your website is sabotaging your business, not supporting it. It no longer shows up in search engines, and your competitors outrank you in your most desired search rankings. You rarely refer people to your site because it no longer represents you or your brand. You feel helpless, frustrated, and overwhelmed at the thought of another website re-design. What you really want — and need — is a website that works. How do we know all this? We talk to business owners like you every day. Some of them come to us knowing their sites need immediate fixes, but they don’t even know where to begin; others are simply too busy running their businesses to take time out to fix their websites themselves. Either way, we get it. We know exactly why your site no longer generates follow-ups, phone calls, or email inquiries about your highest priority products and services. And the good news is, we know what to do to fix it. We help business owners develop and implement simple action plans that solve their websites’ most pressing problems. We consistently see five key areas that trip up our clients and keep their sites from running like the business-building machines they should be: Bad visual design that’s cluttered and distracting; Confusing calls to action with too many choices and no clear path for visitors to follow; Compatibility issues with mobile platforms, resulting in problems with Google and other search engines; Dead sites, i.e., their sites lack fresh content and haven’t been updated within the past 30 days; or No analytical data, which means they have no idea who visits their sites, what people do once they’re there, or how people find their web sites in the first place. Which one of these problems keeps your web site from attracting new visitors, converting them into engaged buyers, and helping you build the business of your dreams? Our Websites That Work Quiz will help you identify areas where your web site could use a little support. After you take the quiz, we’ll send bonus materials direct to your inbox to help you create an action plan to tackle your website’s most pressing problems. We’ve used these same tools to help our clients create websites that drive traffic, convert visitors into buyers, and build their businesses. Share...

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Value Positioning: Feel Better. Work Less. Sell More!

Posted on Apr 23, 2015 | 0 comments

Can we be real for a minute? Sometimes marketing feels like an exercise in futility, doesn’t it? You hire the best employees, craft the perfect solution or create the best product out there, then you lob it over the fence to your peeps only to watch it die a slow, painful, unnoticed death as people fail to trip over themselves in a frenzy to buy from you. You email them. You send them postcards. You blast it all over social media. You email them again. But the sales just fail to manifest and no one seems to be paying any attention. You start to doubt yourself: “Did I do something wrong? Am I over-pricing? Is this product a big waste of everyone’s time? Should I even be promoting this stuff?” You start to hate your customers: “What is wrong with these people? Why don’t they just get with it already?” It’s enough to make you cash in your chips and call it a day. The frustration you feel is real. But, the good news is that there’s an easy fix. The best way to sidestep marketing burn out is to ensure every conversation positions the value you deliver. People want easy solutions. They want instant results. They want to feel or look one hundred times better. They want a glamorous transformation made easy. They don’t want 6.4 fluid ounces of organic shampoo — what they want is shiny, shimmering hair that’s the envy of everyone. The impetus is on YOU to infuse your marketing with value-based propositions. Make it easy for your readers to see WHY they should open your emails, visit your web site, or stop by your store. Here are some solid tactics to help focus on value first: Avoid concentrating ONLY on the details/logistics of your offer. Instead, engage your readers first by showing them you understand how they feel. Spend less time talking about yourself and more time talking about the RESULTS they will get when they work with you. Share social proof and success stories that illustrate WHY your clients really love your services or offerings. Solid value positioning helps your best-fit clients see your brand as a place that understands their challenges and knows how to fix them. Prospective clients know they can get products and services anywhere. But, the rare find is a company that listens to their needs and delivers the results they are looking for. Value positioning ensures your marketing gets noticed. And more importantly – it becomes the effective means of selling your products and services, and changing the lives of the people you love to serve. Did you enjoy this post? If you’d like to get more valuable content like this delivered straight to your inbox, simply subscribe to our email newsletter. Click here to join our tribe. Share...

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