Harvest Is Over – Better Get the Ladder

When business is good and customers are eager to buy, it sure is a great time. Business seems bountiful and everlasting. You’re hot. The phone is ringing, orders come through a cornucopia of the internet, customers stand in line… easy pickings… like harvest time in an orchard and all you have to do is just walk over to a tree and pluck another apple… one customer after another… you feel that you are a business genius. Here’s some advice from someone who has been there: better enjoy it while it lasts.

Because, after a while, the orchard is picked over. Sometimes there is a drought. Insects or disease or a frost attacks the crop. Customers now are standing in line somewhere else for the next shiny thing. The market swings in other directions away from you. The easy pickings are long gone. Customers have dwindled. You are no longer a genius, what oh what to do? Wringing your hands doesn’t help.

In the orchard, some starve because they can’t get to the harder-to-reach fruit, even standing on your tippy-toes, sigh, and give up; survivors build ladders to climb higher. In business, some give up and close shop. Those who have the resources and the gumption to survive evolve by changing product, marketing harder and smarter, perhaps even changing their business model. They change their offerings and bring out new, improved colors or sizes or capacities or groupings. They take groups of products or services into and put them into different combinations or bundles with new pricing.

Survivors have a way of going after an increasingly more elusive harvest. They have larger crops in good times when the picking is easy and can sustain themselves when there is a drought or other calamities. Whether the tool of survival is a ladder, a marketing plan, a customer retention plan, customer service training, sowing, fertilizing, weeding, pruning, and harvesting… it all needs to get done year after year.

Increase your reach now, plan your evolution when business is good, before the drought, before customers defect for the latest fashion, before the next shiny thing comes and replaces you in the marketplace, before something else gains favor. Always be aware of events that arise and affect your market and circumstances beyond your control. Keep your eyes and ears tuned to the changes happening around you and your business. Do that and you will survive and prosper in good times and bad.

The King James Onlyists’ Nightmare

Last Sunday night’s big event came as a shock to the small church – the St James Congregational Baptist Church in Silock, Alabama. An elderly group of five men and women were participating in a Bible class when a young preacher ran and told them to leave their class and walk with to the nave.

“What is it, Pastor?” one of the ladies asked the question everyone was wondering. “Just follow me as quickly as you can!” he said urgently. “You’ll be in for a shock.” As they approached the door to the right side of the nave, everyone could see a bright light beaming radiantly from the square mirrors.
As they went in, they looked and saw a bright angel. Everyone fell on the floor and began worshipping him. “No!” the celestial being said in a booming voice. “You must not worship me for I am only a servant of the Lord, much like yourselves.”

The angel turned down his brightness gradually so that he appeared as a human being. “Is this better?” he asked the stupefied congregation. “Please. Everyone sit. I have come on a mission. Your little group has been chosen to come with me in a time machine to watch some of the greatest events in the Holy Bible.”

Everyone sat up in astonishment as a large translucent box gradually appeared behind the angel.
“I know all of this is hard to take in, but the Lord has scheduled three events of the Bible that you as a group must choose… What scenes do you want to see?”

Although the five people and the pastor still had their mouths and eyes were stretched open as wide as possible, one of the elderly women asked, “Can I see when God found out Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden?”
“So be it,” the angel said.
“I’d like to see is Moses parting the waters.”
The angel said, “So be it!”
Then a man said hesitantly, “Can I see Jesus as He was being tempted by Satan?” “So be it,” said the angel. “Now, let’s all get into the time machine and watch these scenes.”

All five parishioners and the pastor got into the machine together with the angel and they suddenly vanished. In a matter of moments, the time machine arrived in the Garden of Eden. They stepped out into the garden, they saw Adam and Eve looking down in shame before God who was in the form of a mist. The angel told them they would be invisible where they went.

As the scene unfolded God spoke to Adam and Eve in a language, the elderly travelers couldn’t understand the language that they were speaking. The angel knew what they were thinking and said to them, “They are speaking in an ancient form of Hebrew.” Suddenly, the group stared at each and they looked upset and the angel knew why.

Thirty minutes later, after they saw the two other Biblical scenes, they looked extremely discouraged and all looked a little depressed. One of the elderly ladies got angry and said, “Why wasn’t everyone in the scenes speaking in English straight from the King James Bible?” An elderly man shouted, “This setup must have been a scam! Those people from the Bible must have been actors!” “Everybody knows everyone in the Bible spoke old English from the King James Bible – the perfect Word of God!”

5 Effective Ways to Reduce Field Service Costs

There are five ways an organization can reduce their cost of field operations and delight the customers at the same time.

1. Go Mobile:
According to a recent Mobile Analytics Report released by Citrix, the total number of enterprise mobile devices worldwide had increased by 72% last year. Without mobility, service organizations can’t overcome some of the critical challenges like lack of real-time information, reduction in productivity, profitability and overall customer satisfaction. Customers, service managers, and field technicians can effectively use a single mobile platform for raising a case, managing work orders and invoices and get a real-time visibility of field support processes. Developing a customized app can streamline the workforce and push the productivity even further. Internet connection is mandatory to get the real-time visibility through mobile.

2. Minimizing fuel cost:
Fuel price is increasing every year globally. Every time a field technician covers longer distance, organizations have to bear the cost of fuel which reduces the profitability. With map integration, technicians can prioritize tasks based on distance, which helps to cut down on fuel costs. In a day, field technicians have to visit multiple places depending on the task assigned by service managers. Map integration not only helps field technicians to track the locations but also it helps customer and service managers to track the particular technician on the field as well. Map intelligence makes a big difference in travel optimization and cost reduction.

3. Knowledgebase integration:
It’s quite possible that field technicians may not be aware of a particular issue every time raised by any customer. Any unresolved issue generally leads to lower customer satisfaction. Organizations should integrate a knowledge base with the present application to look at similar issues and see how they were resolved. This knowledge base can be enriched every time when technicians face a critical and unique case and share their experience in the portal. Parallelly, customers can also have access to the knowledge base which helps the customer to resolve the less critical cases by themselves. It eventually leads to the reduction of service requests and overall cost.

4. Parts Management:
Effective parts management also plays a crucial role while it comes to the reduction of costs and productivity improvement. Most of the spare parts used in the day to day field service are quite expensive. A parts management application integrated with the current application can help organizations to enlist the relevant parts related to the particular products. It can also help to get the list of available parts of the warehouse, enable the field technician with the right tools and skill required. A knowledgeable and skilful service technician makes all the difference when it comes to customer delight and ensures service department with high first-time fix rate.

5. Timely alerts and notifications:
Alerts and notifications feature should be there in service manager console of the particular application which organization is using currently. It can play a major role when it comes to cost reduction and overall customer satisfaction. A manager should be informed of the cases which are not been resolved or an SLA is not met. It should also notify technicians when a new task is assigned or the task priority is changed. It helps to save ample amount of time and increase the overall service efficiency.

The key to managing service operations effectively is to assign the right technician with the job. Mobility can help with faster issue resolution, reducing time and cost for the organization. Customized solutions with the consideration of the above factors can improve the response time. It creates a positive impact for service managers, technicians, customers and overall organization.

Product Design and Development Firms

There is a common saying about the devastating loss that strikes when an idea dies in the mind before its actual fruition. It is, therefore, largely advocated that all ideas must be put into action and with the help of product design and development firms, individuals have been able to realize their dreams.

Who are these product design and development firms? These are designed to help turn ideas into tangible products. Many brilliant minds choke with ideas that they cannot bring to reality simply because they lack the manpower, the resources and the maybe lack some few essential basics. Product design firms help you design the product to meet the taste of the consumers as well as compete well market wise.

Benefits of hiring a product design and manufacturing agencies

Some of the innovators as discussed above lack some key essential requirements to manufacture their products. These firms take away these troubles and guide you all the way to the end to see your brilliance in action.

For a new product to succeed in this competitive market certain factors must be considered and this requires professionals to conduct market research and other studies. Product design and manufacturing companies carry out these market studies and provide strategies that help the product do well and be as profitable as possible.

In the manufacturing process, certain requirements must be met such as engineering and prototyping the product before the actual final product. This is one of the key roles played by these firms.

With the right firm, certain future problems may be avoided as they help with projections and prediction of the market and will help in redesigning the product to suit the market at all times.

Lastly, these firms help you deal with patent issues and offer guidelines pertaining to the set regulations on your product. This can save the innovator from a lot of legal issues that may arise along the way.

What to look for in a great product design and development company

Their client base, this helps you to know a lot about their level of professionalism and how great they are. The testimonies and reviews can help you make an easy judgment.

The number of years that the firm has been in operation, this helps you to understand its ability to give right market projections.

The company workforce, they should comprise of all the necessary minds such as market researcher, engineers, and all the right professionals. The right firm will always have the right people for you with experience and workmanship that complements your ambitions.

How To Use A Call to Action for Better Advertising Response

Wouldn’t you like a simple but extremely powerful way to pump up sales, get better quality leads, and practically eliminate advertising waste?

Here’s an insider tip.

Hey, you and me… we’re in the marketing trenches together. Every day. And we’ve lived to tell about it.

But what may surprise you is that very few business owners employ this simple but powerful “tool” in their advertising.

This tool I’m hinting at is called… tada… a call to action.

What? Yes, it’s a call to action.

If you don’t ask, then you don’t get. Sounds reasonable, right? But very few business owners (or their creative staff) use this simple tactic to boost sales.

All… and I mean all the marketing pieces that I write, and this includes white papers, print ads, landing pages, emails, you name it, includes some sort of call to action.

It’s the very core of the type of advertising I use. This is called direct response marketing. And it works… like gangbusters, if done correctly.

Why Use A Call To Action (CTA)?

First of all, it works. It’s a great way to move people down the sales funnel.

Second, it measures the effectiveness of your copywriting.

Think about it. The more responses you get directly indicates how compelling your copy must have been. In other words, your copy message is doing its job.

Now that you know the advantages of using a CTA, let’s look at a few examples. They’re not as difficult to come up with as you may think.

When you think about your “call to action” think about what objective you want the reader to do…

… sign up for a webinar, download some information, visit your store or call now.

Pretty simple, right?

If you’re stuck or just can’t find good ideas for your call to action, then start an advertising swipe file.

I’ve talked about this before but as a reminder, a swipe file is a collection of good ads that are producing good results. And how you’ll know that these are “good” ads is that you’ll see them running over and over again.

Savvy marketers do not like to spend money on advertising that is not producing. It’s all about a good ROI (return on investment). And only good direct response marketing gives you this opportunity.

Now while I’m on the subject of putting together your CTA, it’s only natural to talk about your writing style. Specifically, the words you choose.

According to social-media-scientist Dan Zarrella, verbs outperform adverbs, adjectives and nouns when eliciting ‘shares’ on Twitter.

This is true not only for Twitter and other social media but nearly any media outlet.

Here’s a few bold verb examples that produce results:

Register

Subscribe

Buy

Download

Donate

These are much better than the plain old vanilla ‘click here’ and be sure to tell your reader what benefits she’s getting, for example…

Download your free copy of our business survival guide

Subscribe to get your free reports

Register now to get in on this webinar

And so on.

Now let’s add some urgency to the mix.

We humans sometimes need a bit of pushing sometimes. Adding some sincere urgency to drive the funnel can be just what’s needed to get us moving.

Here’s a few examples to get your creative juices flowing…

Offer expires

First 50 people only

Hurry, the price goes up at noon today

While supplies last

And one of personal favorites is ‘Immediate Download.’ It’s a great call to action because folks like downloads and they like immediacy. Bam. Here you got both.

Last, let’s talk about risk. Actually, let’s talk about reducing removal or removing risk from your offer or call to action.

As you can imagine, risk removal or reversal is a powerful marketing tool.

How do we lower the risk?

Oftentimes doing business for the first time with a new company is a scary deal. After all, you know or trust this “new company.” And who hasn’t been burnt before. Heck, these days trust has flown out the window, right?

So why not start by truly focusing and empathizing with your prospect and clients. Put yourself in their shoes. Again, they do not know you and they don’t trust you. Make a point to earn their trust… and keep earning their trust.

Prove that you truly care by showing them you’ll shoulder the risk. Communicate this in all your marketing messages.

Here’s a few examples…

“Start your no-obligation 30 day free trial”

“You have a no-hassle, no-questions asked, 100% money back guarantee”

“Not Satisfied? No Problem! We’re double your money back immediately”

You get the idea.

Use these ideas to create a strong “call to action” in your next advertising pitch.

Yours for bigger profits,