The Great Hailstorm of 2019

When the hail started to hit the metal top of our tent trailer, the sound was deafening. 

At first, we laughed somewhat uproariously. It was exciting!

But then as the storm continued — and the hail started to accumulate, rivers started to form on the roadways and the melting ice chips started to drip inside our tent trailer — we all fell quiet.

After all, a violent hail storm was the last thing our group of family and friends was expecting. When I booked this summer camping trip in Bend, Oregon, my biggest worry was that it would be too hot to do anything.  

And it was incredibly hot that first day — and most of the next. 

But then that afternoon, the sky started to darken. We could hear a distant, almost continuous rumbling, and the temperature quickly dropped.

The wind suddenly picked up. And then the hail hit. 

Continue reading

The Phone is Still King

When was the last time you used the phone… to get transit directions?

And I don’t mean texting or using an app!

I mean actually placing a call and talking to a live agent. 

The other morning, I was taking the bus from downtown to my home office. 

I had been at an early- morning Vancouver Board of Trade event. These events usually start early (around 7:00 am) and finish by 9:00. This particular event featured a BCIT professor speaking on the topic of different generations in the workplace. 

After the event, I jumped on a bus and mulled what I’d learned—while carefully shuffling my feet out of the way of fellow passengers.

How to communicate with your audience
Continue reading

How to NOT Be Forgotten

I’m a bad cat mom. 

My daughter informed me of this yesterday when she opened her closet doors after returning from school… and the cat strolled out.

Since I work from my home office, I’m technically in charge of the cat during work hours. 

This isn’t a big responsibility. I merely give her food and scratch her ears when she wants attention.

But mostly, she sleeps in a chair in the living room. And I don’t see much of her until the kids come home.

But on this particular day, the cleaners had come by to clean the house. 

How to NOT be forgotten by your prospects
Continue reading

That Guy in Shorts

The guy at the bus stop wears shorts every day. No matter what!

I pass him in my car two or three days a week, when I drive my teenage son to school. 

It’s not a long drive. Maybe 15 minutes at most, through some of Vancouver’s gently sloping, cherry tree lined streets. (Beautiful in the spring!) 

Our journey intersects with a couple of busy bus routes. We leave around 8:00. By then, many of the bus stops we drive by have small groups of people lulling about as they make their way downtown. 

And almost every morning, we see the same guy at the same bus stop waiting for his bus.

And every time, he’s wearing shorts!

Is that guy in shorts your client?

Continue reading

8 Types of Headlines You Should Know

Headlines are the most important part of any piece of writing. 

Because if your headline doesn’t grab readers’ attention, they’re not going to keep reading. 

Most writers get comfortable with one or two types of headlines and stick to them. 

Sometimes this makes sense if you’re getting good results. 

But often, it just becomes a habit. 

This is a topic that copywriter Bob Bly explores in The Copywriter’s Handbook. In it, Bly outlines eight different types of headlines that writers should know. 

I’m going to walk through his list here and provide examples using a combination of sources.

8 Types of Headlines You Should Know
Continue reading

One Way to Get Great Client Testimonials

Client testimonials are an important part of building trust and demonstrating expertise to existing and future customers.

But how do you get them? Especially when all your clients are super busy?

One of my clients recently faced this challenge. He’s a consultant in the enterprise software space, with an emphasis on financials and accounting. 

He’s recently narrowed his market to focus to nonprofits and social service agencies.

Rather than ask these customers to write something up for him, we decided to use a different process. 

Client testimonials
Continue reading

Takeaways from Google’s “Marketing in the Age of Assistance”

A couple months ago, I attended the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade event “Marketing in the Age of Assistance.” The guest speaker was Meagan Tanner, Strategic Partner Manager, GMB Americas, Google. 

It was a very pleasant morning of networking, croissants and marketing talk.

And Meagan’s presentation was a good reminder that marketing fundamentals remain just as important today as they were five, ten or twenty years ago. 

Takeaways from Google’s “Marketing in the Age of Assistance”
Continue reading

Top 6 Podcasts for Business Owners and Marketers

I’m addicted to podcasts. It’s true! I’ll happily listen to them any chance I get, whether it’s walking, driving, making dinner or folding laundry.

I listen to a wide variety of podcasts (with a slight bias towards movie reviews and comedy), I have a number of business podcasts in my regular rotation.

In this post, let me recommend a few of them to you.

Podcasts for business owners

Continue reading

How Fortune 500 Companies Use Blogs and Social Media

In a recent post, I provided some statistics on corporate use of social media.

I wanted to add to the pile of stats with this University of Massachusetts study on blogging and social media.

In this study, researchers examined the blog and social media presence of companies on the Fortune 500 list for 2018.

(Fortune magazine compiles a list of the top 500 companies by revenue every year—as it has done for the past 64 years.)

Fortune 500 companies blogs and social media

Continue reading

Which Social Media Platforms Should Your Business Be On?

Not all social media platforms are the same. In fact, each platform tends to attract a unique mix of users.

Which presents a problem for marketers and business owners. You know you want a presence on social media—but which platform(s) should you choose?

Because you have to pick. You can’t do them all—at least not well—unless you have significant resources behind you. Which is why most small businesses choose to have a presence on only two or three platforms.

Social media platforms

Continue reading