Tag Archives: listen

What You Need To Know About Conversation Marketing

Conversation Marketing Book Cover alongside words: listening, feedback, like, and trust

This post is based on the excellent book, Conversation Marketing: How To Be Relevant and Engage Your Customer By Speaking Human by Kevin Lund. You can deliver the right kind of content to the right audience at the right time when you have a deeper understanding of who they are, what they want to talk about, and how they want to be spoken to.

 

Conversation marketing adds value to your business. It promotes engagement since it allows you to connect with your customers on a deeper level. It adds a personal touch since you can make your customer feel valued, special, and appreciated. It also maximizes conversions by letting you develop a lasting connection which ensures that they respond positively to your product or service. According to Lund, when customers trust a brand, they automatically gravitate toward the company.

This book discusses 10 ways to be relevant, engage your customer, and speak human to them. We will briefly look at each way.

How You Can Earn Attention For Your Brand

  • Develop your brand’s voice: your brand’s content personality and style
  • Choose your brand’s tone: your brand’s attitude; be interesting and engaging
  • Be clear: plain, use language your audience will understand
  • Be clever: memorable, amusing, heartfelt, and/or captivating
  • Be concise: sometimes it is the shorter messages that have more impact
  • Be consistent: your brand voice and tone should be consistent for your audience
  • Regularly publish: useful, memorable, and shareable content

Tell A Story

Good storytelling lets you hold someone’s attention long enough to break down a topic, engender his or her trust, so that he or she remembers you and is left feeling smarter. Good storytelling presents facts in a compelling and meaningful way. Benefits to telling stories:

  • Translates complex data through a narrative lens: appeal to their mind and heart through feelings and emotions, not facts and data
  • No one can argue with a story: a story is processed completely different than data
  • A story elicits an emotional response: they remember how you made them feel
  • A story touches the hearts of the audience: we are reminded in a positive way every time we hear it

Stay Humble

  • Be approachable and relatable
  • Focus on your audience’s pain points
  • Know your product/service/industry
  • Do not talk about yourself
  • Don’t pitch–teach
  • Show how your company makes a difference in the lives of others
  • Write to your audience to address their needs

Pick Your Party

Content is created to attract and retrain your customers. Conversational content includes: blogs, videos, social media, podcasts, native advertising, digital newsletters, white papers, print magazines, digital magazines, books, e-books, and webinars. The audience is your first priority. Stay focused on their needs. Be able to answer the following questions:

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • How do we want to get there?
  • Where are our customers hanging out?

Be Relevant on a Molecular Level

  • Make sure you are talking about topics that interest your audience
  • Address their pain points in a language they understand
  • Make sure relevant content gets to each individual at the right time and place
  • When you solve problems and provide easy-to-find answers, you’ve become a resource to them
  • Build an audience with good, relevant content
  • Give that audience a reason to buy from you
  • Know how you can address, answer, or solve their pain point in a relevant, unique, and useful way

Open Up and Listen

  • To be a good conversationalist, you have to be a good listener
  • Listening validates the other person
  • What do customers/prospects need right now?
  • What are the topics they want to talk about?
  • What is being said about your brand?
  • What are your audience’s pain points?
  • How can you take care of their needs right now?
  • How can you make them feel connected to you?

Start the Conversation

  • What is your unique selling point to your audience?
  • What does your target audience need to know about right now?
  • How can I talk about it in a way that hasn’t already been talked about?
  • What do you want them to do?
  • Captivate your audience with content that explains how to accomplish one task activity, goal, or result

Know When to Stop Talking

  • Know what your audience is saying, not saying, and what needs to change
  • Use tools like Google Analytics and Hootsuite
  • Look at blog and video comments and survey responses
  • Interpret the data correctly, make sure you have enough responses

Get Your Customer Involved

  • Find influencers, fans, and brand ambassadors
  • Generate content from fans and customers
  • Monitor what customers say online and respond
  • Always respond to what is being said by your customers
  • Encourage them to share your content

Ditch the Checklist

  • Ask bigger questions about your company and their ultimate goals
  • Make sure your unique marketing strategies align with a deeper motivate than earning money
  • Every brand has its own personality and mission
  • The mission needs to be a goal, task, or endeavor you feel passionate about and are willing to stand by
  • Forget about what everyone else is doing
  • No two content marketing strategies will work exactly the same
  • The difference today often comes down to content

I highly recommend this book since it shares excellent examples of real companies and brands. Their successes as well as lessons learned. How can you relate more to your guests? What kind of content are they looking for? How can you stand out from other accommodations? What are your guests saying about you online? These are all important answers to learn for the success of your hospitality business.

Feel free to comment below about what you found to be most helpful from reading this. Also, if you have any questions, I am happy to respond.

 

Katie Couric: The Best Advice I Ever Got

the best advice I ever got

 

The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives by Katie Couric is full of practical information for people from all walks of life. Each chapter features a famous person who gives us a sneak peak into what they have learned from their own experiences. At the end of this post is a YouTube video of Katie talking about how she wrote the book and which celebrities contributed their stories.

Comedian and Actor George Lopez: “If you quit, you’ll never find out what could have happened.”

Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur Mario Batali: “As you cook up your own life, never let anyone else’s recipe for success intimidate you…”

 

Emmy Award-Winning Television and Radio Host Larry King: “Learn how to listen.  You don’t learn anything when you are talking.”

Emmy Award-Winning Television Broadcaster, Journalist, and Co-Host of Good Morning America Robin Roberts: “Be patient and persistent.  Life is not so much about what you accomplish as what you overcome.”

Professional Football Player Drew Brees: “What is meant to be will happen for me, and all I should concern myself with is the things I can control.”

Figure-skating Champion Michelle Kwan: “Your finest moments in life aren’t necessarily those in which you finish first but, instead, the times when you know you simply gave your best–when you did it heart and soul, and held nothing back.”

Co-founder of Twitter Biz Stone: “Think about what is valuable before thinking about what is profitable and know that there’s compound interest in helping others–start early!”

Professional Psychologist, Bestselling Author, and Television Host “Dr. Phil” McGraw: “Instead of ignoring these dreams and hoping you can get around to them later on, you have to be committed to developing an action plan, to creating a “life script” with measurable goals, and to building a core of supporters around you to keep you going in the right direction.”

Grammy Award-Winning Artist, Musician, Entrepreneur, Actress, and Activist Alicia Keys: “When you make a decision because you really love what you’re doing, because you’re really passionate about it, believe in it, and because you’d do it no matter what the outcome–that’s when you become most successful.”

Bestselling Cookbook Author and Television Host Ina Garten: “You can’t figure out what you want to do from the sidelines.  You need to jump into the pond and splash around to see what the water feels like.  You might like that pond or it might lead to another pond, but you need to figure it out in the pond.”

Sixty-sixth United States Secretary of State and Stanford University Professor Condoleeza Rice: “The point is that life is full of surprises and serendipity.  Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success.  If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns.”

Four-Star General and Sixty-Fifth United States Secretary of State Colin Powell: “So it doesn’t matter where you start in life but where you finish and, along the way, whether you do something that you love and enjoy doing.  Never settle for anything less than what you love doing and do well.”

Olympic Speed Skater Apolo Ohno: “It’s not really about the destination, but about what it took to get you there.”

Taking Larry King’s advice to learn how to listen, identify at least 3 people who have achieved success and ask them to share their thoughts.  Possible questions could be:

  • What was your greatest challenge?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What do you know now that you wish you could have known earlier in life?
  • Was there anyone who mentored you?
  • How did you become so successful?
  • Is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
  • What are you most excited about for your future?

Essentially, informally interview them (much like Katie Couric interviewed these people) to gain more insight.  If the person you are interviewing knows you well, they will be able to relate this to your goals.

While we each need to do something that aligns with our own personal interests, passions, and goals; we can benefit by the wisdom and experience of the successful people around us.  In addition, we should all be open to sharing the lessons we have learned with those who come to us for advice.

Here is a YouTube video of Katie Couric talking about how she wrote this book!

The Art of Social Selling

the art of social selling

 

I highly recommend Shannon Belew’s book called The Art of Social Selling: Finding and Engaging Customers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Other Social Networks. Belew says the power has shifted from the brand to the consumer.  Marketing has become a two-way conversation with the customer. The art of social selling is based entirely on your ability to build relationships.

 

Did you know that over one BILLION people are active on social networks? Thus, it is extremely important that you know where your customers are hanging out.

Shannon Belew defines “social selling” as the identification, targeting, and reaching out to prospective and existing customers through social media channels and social communities in an effort to engage them in conversations that result in a potentially mutually beneficial relationship.  This means being more social (listening and conversing about the customer’s needs) and less traditional selling.  The heart of social selling is relationship building.

This book reveals Belew’s ten most important rules for online social interactions:

1) Be genuine: your social networking persona should be an extension of your real persona

2) Listen, listen, listen: to truly hear what the customer is saying so you can present a viable solution you must find and monitor conversations that relate to your prospective customer’s needs, concerns, and interests with the goal of remaining relevant to your customers

3) Be responsive: to customer-related complaints and concerns voiced across social media channels

4) Follow the leader: follow group guidelines, watch how members participate and interact with one another

5) Tailor the conversation: find common ground and share information relevant to your audience

6) Be helpful: offer educational opportunities, general support, and even inspiration

7) Identify the enter and exit signs: know if it is polite to enter the online interaction and make sure to exit gracefully

8) Maintain separation of professional and personal: make sure what you share is suitable for both audiences

9) Be consistent: give people a clear expectation of who you are and what your area of expertise is

10) Admit when you are wrong: be willing to apologize, it is a sign of strength and goodwill

Shannon Belew’s concept of “unselling:

  • Unselling is a process that occurs over time
  • Requires consistent interaction with your prospects via social media
  • This establishes your credibility as a good resource
  • Identify and interact with industry influencers
  • Be a thought leader to build social influence
  • Embrace consultative sales in which you are developing conversations that educate and assist the prospect through the buying process
  • This opens the door to an increased amount of sharing
  • This increases the comfort level of prospects as well as puts you in the role of expert

Belew talks about word of mouth marketing.  Social shoppers are not only influenced by their friends and family, but by perfect strangers, too.  Encourage your happy and satisfied customers to provide online testimonials.  Include your links on thank-you pages and emails. Respond to negative reviews quickly.  Thank customers publicly for their positive reviews.

In this book, Shannon Belew cites a Technorati Report that stated that blogs are the third-most influential digital or online resource and the fifth most trusted resource on the internet.  Blogs are great for sharing on social media.  Plus, points made in a blog post can be posted or tweeted on social media.  Later in the book, Belew gives specific tips about using each of the major social media channels.  This is an incredible resource for business owners.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year 2014! I love New Year’s Day! We all have a fresh start to accomplish and achieve our goals.  More importantly, to grow closer to becoming the kind of person we would want to be around.

There are so many individuals that come through the doors of bed and breakfasts.  Each one is special and every person has a story.  If it is appropriate and the guests are talkative with you, take time to listen to them.

They will remember you as the innkeepers who were very hospitable, went out of their way to serve them, and cared enough to hear what they had to say.  As innkeepers, you have an opportunity to bless your guests with the most positive lodging experience ever.

Happy New Year 2014 from Kristi Dement and her team at Bed and Breakfast Blogging!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography