Author Archives: The Running Start

About The Running Start

B2B Marketing Strategist and Corporate Storyteller

B2B Video Marketing Best Practices: How to Say Happy Holidays Like a Pro

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Do you see what I see? It’s everywhere you go online. By now, your email inbox and social media streams are filled with B2B holiday greetings videos and messages from businesses and colleagues.

Not only is this time of year full of hope and cheer; it’s also a great time to remind everyone about how great it is to work with you and your company.

Want to strut your corporate stuff this holiday season? Have a look at these shareworthy B2B holiday greetings videos that caught my attention this week.

We all need IT

Can’t afford real celebrities to sing holiday jingles? Why not hire an impersonator. This “We are the World” inspired holiday music video from Sophos Labs is both entertaining and funny with the use of Pop-Up Video style blurbs about how celebrities use IT.

And for more IT-related music fun, check out the company’s 2016 video below entitled “The Sophos Christmas Album”

Holiday Gifting Gone Wrong

You wouldn’t ask a friend, colleague or family member for their email address before giving them a gift. No, that would be annoying. So why do marketers always ask for it when giving away free content? And is that strategy even effective?

LookBook_video

LookBookHQ explores this concept in a holiday video series (see screenshot above) that inspires marketers to share content like a holiday gift or greeting. Check out all of the tutorial/satire videos on the LookBookHQ blog here.

Mashable Holiday Beard DIY

Do you often feel festive on the inside, but just don’t know how to show it to the world? If you sport a long beard, Mashable has some suggestions for how to make it sparkle like a Christmas tree. These glittery, glistening beard creations stood out to me as I was scrolling through my Twitter newsfeed:

Warmest wishes with a charitable twist

Do some of your employees have hidden talents? Want to showcase just how creative your digital agency can be? This year, Klick Health created its first holiday single and music video showcasing all of its employees to wish its customers a happy holiday season while inspiring them to download the song in exchange for a donation to “operation warm to buy new winter coats for children across the U.S. and Canada.” Here’s the video:

The takeaway from these videos is to create something that is not only memorable, but catches a customer’s eye in their inbox or social media newsfeed. And if it strikes the right tone (or note in the case of Klick Health), your prospective customers will happily share it with their friends and colleagues.

Have you seen any other share-worthy business holiday greetings videos this year? Please send them to me and I’ll add them to the list. I hope you and your family have a very warm and happy holiday season! See you in 2018.

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You’re in the Business of Happy

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It doesn’t matter what business you’re in; your number one goal should be to make customers happy. Happiness brings customers back again and again. It makes business relationships easier and makes your work more meaningful. It gets people to talk about your product or service with others.

In turn, it means higher profits for you and satisfied customers who are grateful to you for making their jobs easier, more efficient, and profitable.

It sounds so simple and straight forward. But how do you know if you are doing a good job at making your customers happy?

For large corporations, you can measure happiness through customer satisfaction surveys, CSAT (customer satisfaction) scores and Net Promoter Scores (NPS). You can also monitor customer sentiment on social media, via your customer service team, or online user forums.

But for small businesses, especially if you are selling a service, these best practices can be costly and require resources that you just don’t have right now.

Instead, the fastest way to measure if you’re customers happy, other than repeat business, is through word of mouth.

As a freelancer, my business is 100% reliant on my clients being happy with my work for them. The best leads I get, no matter what other marketing initiatives I am working on, come from my happiest customers — simply passing my name along to a colleague.

Positive word of mouth is paramount. If you have to prioritize one marketing initiative above all else while you boot up your business, start there.

It costs a lot less than investing in social media and a beautiful website. Yes, you need a web presence but it doesn’t have to be perfect to start making money. And you can grow a lot faster as a small services business if you just make your existing customers happy.

So, if you are getting calls from your customers’ contacts, you know you’re doing something right. If not, it’s time to start asking yourself and your customers (an old school phone call or face to face meeting will do the trick) what’s up?

If they are happy but not passing your name along, you can be so bold as to ask them to do so. Just be sure to reward them in some way for their efforts. A Starbucks gift card, thank you note, or lunch will all do the trick. It doesn’t have to be fancy or cost a lot.

If they’re not happy, it’s time to rethink how you run your business. Can you scale down services to focus on what you do best? Can you do more to make your customers feel valued? Again, simple and scrappy solutions to determine how to fix them problem are fine in the beginning.

Nothing is perfect when you first launch a business. But you’ll be a lot happier, and less stressed, if you focus on what’s most important. After all, “happiness is a by-product of an effort to make someone else happy.” — Gretta Palmer

 

 

My Post-Mat Leave Plan

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Going on mat leave for the second time this past winter was bitter sweet for me. On the one hand, I was very excited to meet my new daughter and looked forward to spending time getting to know this brand new person. On the other, I was anxious to leave a business and job/clients with whom I loved to work.

Would my clients be angry that I was going on leave? Would they be willing to take me back after almost a year off? How would I cope with two kids this time around? All of these questions were swirling around in my head.

Well, it’s been almost 8 months since my daughter was born and I am so thankful that self-employed women in Canada are able to contribute to EI (employment insurance) and take mat leave just like women who work for someone else. I have truly enjoyed this time with her and with my son who is so proud to be a big brother.

So, now I’m facing another bitter sweet moment. I am planning to start working again in a few months and have a million more questions about how things will change for her and for me.

To prepare my family and my brain (which I feel like I haven’t used in a while) for what’s to come, I’ve devised a strategy to make the transition smooth for everyone.

Here it is for other self-employed moms to see:

  1. Make a plan with my child care provider for how I’d like the transition to go with my kids as I build my business back up.
  2. Reach out to clients a few months in advance of my return to work — so they have time to figure out if, how and when they’d like to begin working with me again. I’m happy to say that one of them has already confirmed that we’ll be working together again. I want to give them enough time to get budgets approved so I can hit the ground running as soon as my mat leave is over.
  3. Develop a new marketing strategy to get my name “out there” again.
  4. Work with my accountant to plan for the year ahead and develop a budget for future expenses.
  5. Build out a schedule for how I’d like my workdays to flow — knowing that things need to remain flexible because, let’s face it, life is unpredictable when you have kids.

Since this is the second time I’ve built my business back up after a mat leave, I feel more confidant this time around that I can make it work. The biggest challenge is always managing my time wisely and ensuring I build in enough of it to spend with my family and integrate my home life with my work life.

Do you have any tips for transitioning from mat leave back to work — especially as a small business owner? If so, I’d love to hear it. Please share your sage advice below.