Think long-term when recruiting new members to your team. Make sure you choose candidates that want to learn, candidates that you can nurture and grow within your organization. Of course, people will come and go, but if you can create a culture that encourages long-term growth, your team members will want to stay because they will see opportunities for their future. . .
Engage Webinar coming to North America
Big news revealed by Matt Ley of Wish Collaboration today. Engage Webinar coming to North America starting NOW!
Creating Content, More Than Marketing
Smart business owners, especially those in the B2B space cannot continue to shelve the importance of content marketing. Since it is one of the most time consuming items on a company’s marketing list and one that requires constant dedication, content marketing unfortunately ends up on the back burner on a list of ‘to dos’.
As an entrepreneur, you have tons unique content, input and insight that can be used to develop content marketing pieces. We have focused a lot more of our efforts on this here at the companies under the Wish Group. Each new piece of content is not only aiding in achieving content marketing goals like becoming thought leaders and a key source for information to help move prospects through the buying cycle but is working internally to create a new stream of momentum and excitement within the teams. Sales teams are excited to have something new to share with their clients and prospects as well as on their social media. Marketing is motivated to continue putting out pieces that teams can get behind, and finally the business owners and managers themselves are inspired to review, and compile valuable content to share with the market.
A recent review of The Streaming Network, the virtual events specialists here at the Wish Group revealed a high performance year overall with some amazing numbers with regards to webinars run and engagement. The statistics were turned into an easy to read infographic which will become one of the new pieces of content for the upcoming website as well as something that can be shared by the Sales team s when speaking to prospects and clients.
If you’re still a bit behind on content marketing find the key people on your team that can help formulate the structure of your strategy. From there you’re going to need to start compiling and organizing useful, helpful and marketing related material to start sharing. There are a number of ways to do this, here are a few that have proven successful for us.
Infographics are a great and simple representation of basic to very intricate statistics that otherwise may be overwhelming for your audience to engage with. I find that they are also great pieces of visual support for presentations used across the organization.
We use a lot of case studies for work at the Mike Agency where the information lends itself to the format. Showcasing our skill set at the agency by focusing on how we were able to take a client from step one to completion is another piece of content that not only serves its purpose for digital marketing but also for pitches and presentations.
As you saw with The Streaming Network infographic, webinars are on the rise and Canadian companies are beginning to use them to deliver even more categories of content including training and corporate communications. Webinars are another popular form of content marketing for us here at the Wish Group.
Once you have your content, finding the right medium to deliver it with becomes an easier task. Good luck with starting, nurturing and growing your content marketing strategies and have a great week!
Your website is your best friend
Whether you’re an entrepreneurial start up or been in business for generations, having a clear, concise and easy to navigate website can be the deciding factor for a customer considering your product or service.
Now, I’m sure while many of you are likely thinking, “that seems pretty obvious”, the fact is that there are many businesses that continue try and get by without optimizing their sites whether it be with regards to SEO, mobile
compatibility or simple navigation.
The most common issue seems to still be relevancy and updating of sites. I’m not talking about changing an address or adding a new executive I’m talking about keeping up with changes in SEO, updates with social media platforms and the most important, ensuring your site is responsive to all devices including tablets and mobile devices.
Although having to keep a keen eye on your site can seem tedious keep in mind it is still your most effective tool when competing in today’s global environment. Here are some key reasons why.
Maximize Your Spend
There are limited surprises when it comes to the cost of your website and web updates. Unlike day to day business a quote on building your site or hours required by internal resources remain fairly steady once you’ve been presented with the work back plan and overall strategy. Further to that you can also cut costs with an effective website whether that is in marketing, sales, communications or HR by ensuring key messages are clear and concise and your SEO strategy provides high ranking in searches.
Never Close the Doors
While your business may close at some point each day, your website provides 24/7 visibility. This means that your company can be researched when a potential client is ready to find out more. If online sales are part of your strategy, you’re basically never closed and your overall increase in revenue is a direct result of your effective site.
This is where transparency can lead to the credibility required to help increase your overall sales. You may have a stellar product with star sales and implementation staff but the problem could be as simple as website not telling this story effectively to the market.
As you all already know, word of mouth is a huge driver of business and your site is a great place to house this actual feedback from customers for other potential customers to read. Although it may take a bit of work, working with key clients to build testimonials and reviews for your site will help increase your credibility while also further helping to boost your online rankings.
Right, so your Marketing department likely has tons of content. The trick becomes balancing this content with a budget and trying to get it into the hands of your potential client base. Your website however, provides an unlimited amount of space to share this content and also to garner leads with both gated and ungated content. Allowing visitors to share content on social media via your site can take your engagement up tenfold and in turn open the door to an even larger potential customer base. Blogs are also a proven tactic to help increase sales via content.
The Mike Agency, the design agency here at Wish Group continues to now work with clients on the next phase of blogs –vlogs.
According to GlobalWebIndex, 42% of internet users say they have watched a vlog within the last month with the majority of vlog viewers( 93%) watching them on YouTube.
All in all, it cannot be ignored. If you’re a business that wants to increase sales, you need an effective website. If you’re a business that wants to educate the public, they want to consume this information online. If you’re getting business in the door and feel that you don’t need a site, think about what you’re missing out on. The question is no longer “do we need a site?” but rather “how are we going to get the most out of our site?”
Have a great week!
When speaking to new recruits what do you tell them about your company? While you may talk through structure, history, clients, products and services during your interview process, one of the main sections that seems to be left out is the discussion on culture. If someone is willing to make your business part of their lives, and spend the majority of their time in your offices, what can they expect to be walking in to?
The idea of all work and no play is best left to scary movies while the thought behind what makes your organization unique, attractive to new prospects and a great place to work for your current teams is something that should be addressed if not already.
One of the most competitive factors for recruitment in the past few years has been flexibility. Things like summer hours or working from home have been around for years but the bar has risen once again. The most recent example of flexibility has come from companies like Netflix with regards to maternity and paternity leave. Aside from making huge splashes in the media and garnering new recruits through no additional costs, the company also made a large statement about what it means to work at the company and how they value their employees and their families. With collaboration services, like the ones offered here at Evolve Collaboration, one of the Wish Group companies, joining calls from the road, vacation, or home are a no brainer and where required video conferencing is also available. Offering the right tools to allow for increased flexibility can work together to create a very distinct cultural change for an organization.
I remember about ten or so years ago when getting your company to pay for your MBA or professional accreditation was a huge incentive to join an organization. In today’s environment there are a number of other ways to also build professional development into your culture. Showing the importance of developing your teams speaks volumes both internally and externally and can create a powerful team of loyal team members in the company. Some great ways to do this include lunch and learn series’, employee presentations, paid external workshops and also taking advantage of membership perks from associations the company is part of that may be offering up similar learning opportunities.
One of the main reasons for anyone staying with an organization is the personal pride they feel when telling others where they work. Social responsibility is huge here at Wish Group and plays a big role in bringing the team together outside of work related projects. I had posted about our Holiday Wish initiative in December which is just one example of how employees can get involved in something bigger that ends in a positive feeling that is created from working together. You can go as small as organizing a day of volunteering at a local food bank or not for profit event, to raising funds as a team for an upcoming marathon to building out a full not-for-profit arm of the business.
Your organization is like a country and your employees its citizens. We’re proud to be Canadian for number of reasons and unique for those same reasons. Similarly in your companies, I think that it is critical to foster the same identity allowing for not only a balanced environment that encourages growth, competition and rewards but also one that provides an additional level of personal pride for coming in and contributing to the vision day in and day out.
Until next week.
Power of Video for Your Business
The strength of video has been ever present, but it is only in the last few years or so that I began to actually see the powerful presence that video holds with regards to social media marketing and promoting a brand, company or service.
While I find videos generally interesting as a medium to share life stories I began to really get interested in how video was able to boost my business here at the Wish Group. The reports and surveys that have been done by various market experts continue to surprise as not only do videos continue to prove to be effective with B2C businesses but are just as important to B2B businesses.
It seems like a no brainer given the accelerated ramp up of Youtube and advertising spend on the online property but I am constantly floored by the number of colleagues that I talk that either haven’t embraced the power of video or like many, may understand the need for more video content but don’t know where to get started.
It has been this trend and growing popularity that led to the recent launch of our newest endeavour here at the Wish Group, specifically with The Streaming Network. The Streaming Network Studio was built to provide these short format videos to businesses looking to address a number of video content needs. Aside from being a full production house that can take clients from concept to production and final product in about 48 hours, they also provide a the full experience at one flat rate making this a hugely budget-friendly option for any business.
Cisco recently reported that by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer Internet traffic and that consumers who view video ads on a mobile device are 3 times as likely to click through. When considering video in your business the question is no longer if you can afford to create good video content, it’s more about how and when can ensure to get this done?
Aside from these growing trends there are a number of other facets that video content can address for a business.
Word of mouth has always been the best source of business. I actually have business partners and contacts that rely almost entirely on referrals to drive their small businesses. Taking it to the next level can be done with video testimonials and focus on what one single person truly enjoyed about your particular service or product. Reading a 300 word post will receive much less attention than a 30 second video that is easier to digest as well.
All of the social media platforms allow for video and there’s a reason for that. Again there is a huge benefit available to businesses that get on board.
A Great Way to Tell A Story
While the market place will be seeing a lot more video content coming from the companies here at the Wish Group I have been using the tactic in segments to tell the market about what we do here and have seen a much higher engagement than when I send out an email campaign or create a post.
I also use video internally to share the month’s review and key notes with the entire team –making it easy for employees to catch up on what’s happening across the company without having to read through a 500 email. In the last six months of introducing this to the teams we’ve seen an instant increase in open rates and engagement!
The numbers clearly speak for themselves, and clearly they are not to be ignored. If there’s one thing I want to stress this week it’s to really think about building a video content strategy into your business and when considering budget, don’t bulk this into marketing alone. There is so much more value available here. From recruitment, to public relations to building corporate culture and social media value there are endless opportunities to grow your business with the power of video.
The Right Fit
Every enthusiastic business owner wants to hit the ground running as they serve up their new product or service to a market place of hungry consumers.
One of the most critical aspects to ensuring a smooth run is having a team of key players on board. This however, is much easier said than done.
Attracting prime talent is something that many entrepreneurs may find themselves patiently waiting on as they continue to build the reputation of the company across relevant stakeholders and the market at large.
Our staffing agency Peoplesource, part of Wish Group, focuses on taking care of this onerous task for thousands of employers and even top recruiters agree that timing is key.
When your company hits that ‘sweet spot’ however, you’ll start to see the shift take place. The once highly sought after contacts that you spent your time trying to convince to join your vision will be the ones that begin to take notice and reach out to you.
With that said, getting to his ‘sweet spot’ however, takes time and persistence. Remember you’re building a business, building customer and you’re also building an image in the market. There are a number of tactics you can actively apply as you continue to grow into the company that you want to be.
It’s All About the Employee
Successful companies actively invest in building out their employee programs and experiences as well as build a full PR plan behind promoting it. Google is a great example where you can find posts and articles around their incentive programs or read up on the positives of working for them on their Careers page.
LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to networking and recruiting. Taking the time to search out best in class performers for specific areas requiring growth or leadership in your organization can present a very short list of potential candidates that are worth connecting with personally.
I’ve had a lot of success with this and have recently seen the time I’ve spent over the last ten years speaking with one such individual come to fruition.
After many years of informal discussions a good friend and colleague, Ben Lirangi has joined us as Director of Business Development. The Streaming Network offers leading technology marketing tools to the Canadian market place and is ready to move to its next level with Ben coming on board to address a new vertical for the organization.
Create a Positive Image
Aside from talking about how great it is to work at your organization a lot of your prime talent is going to consider the overall image of the company in the market. Large companies like Volkswagen who is still dealing with the emissions scandal or Chipotle Mexican Grill under fire for E. Coli are not likely to see a line of talent knocking at the door. Big or small, the day to day operations of your company will inevitably affect the type of talent you’ll be able to bring in the door-something additional to consider when allocating budgets to marketing and advertising as well.
As you continue to grow and create positive engagement with the market and key recruits you’ll find the momentum building. My one piece of advice is to never stop trying to find the right people to fit – they’ll eventually see the light!
Persistence -Easier Said than Done
Many of you likely have New Year’s resolutions. Statistics show that of the 3 in 10 Canadians that made resolutions this year, that a whopping 73% will actually break them.
The key issue with setting resolutions, regardless of how simple or daunting they may be is that lack of persistence, especially in the first few months. This is no different than the day to day life of an entrepreneur.
Does this look familiar?!
Well rest assured you’re not alone! Where you will stand solo however, is if you’re actually waiting for motivation to find you and toss you back on the path to persistence.
My recommendation-create your own ways to ensure that you stay on path and keep looking at the big picture even on the the hardest of days. Trying to get to your end results by shortcutting or trying to rush through something is not going to necessarily satiate your appetite for success. Think about trying to lose weight and instead of staying the course of eating right and excersing that you start taking the latest weight loss pills. Sure you’ll see results in the first few weeks but that’s likely your water weight. What happens after that?
Here are some ways to stay focused and persistent in your day to day efforts of reaching your bigger goal.
Birds of a Flock Fly Together
There’s a reason for this. People with the same mindset, work ethic, motivation and positive attitude as you will help keep you afloat on the days where you can hardly keep youself above water. In many cases these are also the type of people that will actually be able to understand what you’re talking about! Seeing what others like you are doing in the market, industry or world at large can serve as inspiration for other great ideas as well as possible synergies down the road. I had mentioned the importance of networking in a blog a few weeks ago and how doing so can also work to align you with people of the same mindset.
Learn Something New Every Day
I am hard pressed to go a day here at Wish Group without learning something new. Some of it may not be business related but you’d be surprised how much can be applied to busienss in some way or another!
No real surprise-the best way to learn especially for a busy entreprenuer like you is to read. Anything can be sourced at the tip of your fingers and much of this content is free.
Finish Lines Are Important
While you may be very focused on one major business goal – launching a new product, attaining a new client or creating a new campaign, I find it extreamly beneficial to have more than just one goal on the horizon.
One of the major reasons for losing momentum and persistence is that the win is far from being realized and motivtaion is based on wins. I try and set other goals, smaller or different in nature that I can feel good about realizing as I continue to make my way to the pot of gold.
Many entreprenusers find satisfaction in simply attaining a goal but something that can acutally be phyicslally enjoyed never hurts whether it be a new suit that you’ve been eying or something as simple as a night off with your signficant other and a good bottle of wine.
Plan To Succeed
Although excitement can take over, don’t over promise in hopes to win faster. This is a trap many people I speak to fall into even before setting out on their goal.
Think through the various aspects that will affect each of your dates like deliverables from external resources, market changes and yes, even holidays (just because we never stop working doesn’t mean the rest of the world doesn’t!)
Once you’re comfortrable with your schedule work towards attaining those dates but as you know, likey too well, things change every day. Try and stay flexible where it makese sense so as to not lose your persisitence every time a challenge presensets itself.
Last but not least –
Have a great week.
What’d You Learn Today?
We recently celebrated our 2016 kickoff event where everyone at Peoplesource, Mike Agency, Streaming Network and Evolve Collaboration joined the Wish Group corporate team for a two day getaway.
During this time we not only celebrated milestones and discussed targets but more importantly began to learn how each individual employee could personally improve to not only benefit the company but themselves.
The professional learning this time around focused heavily on the undeniable power of social media and how it fits into the content marketing strategy for each company for the year ahead.
For months we have been trying to get the team to buy in and my frustration with why we hadn’t been harnessing the fairly low cost and highly targeted tactic to form a larger network on LinkedIn was growing. It wasn’t until getting in a room and prepping for kickoff that it was suggested that a tutorial style approach may be the way to go.
Post kickoff and that very session, it became apparent that the issue wasn’t that the team thought it was a waste of time, the issue was that they didn’t understand just how effectively it could be used to inevitably save time as well as meet overall organizational goals.
This is just one example of the importance of building learning into corporate culture, especially in a small and medium size business where everyone is sitting in the same office space day in and out.
Taking away the expectation that everyone should simply know how to conduct certain aspects of business puts the team at ease, allowing them to let their guards down and open their minds to learning something new.
Regardless of what you need your employees to learn about, building a full plan for execution will ensure that you or your senior management team has a flushed out path to follow, pulling team members on as they move forward.
With the crazy environment that is characteristic of any small business it becomes extremely easy for something like learning how to optimize social media engagement to fall down the list of priorities behind sales calls, meetings and fulfilment of orders. Ensuring that employees continue to hear more about the topic that you’re trying to teach them about however, ensures that this remains top of mind even though it may not be the most important thing on their list. Down time and off time become easier to fill now that they recall the need to update themselves on the latest installment of information sent around. Secondly, keeping consistent shows legitimacy with regards to the importance that it holds within your organizational plans. People start believing in things the more they hear about it and it’s your job to make sure it doesn’t fall off the wayside.
Why Should I Care
As with anything else in business, the real question is “why should I care?” Your marketing messages answer that question for potential customers. Your Sales team is trained to answer that question for leads. You ask it of suppliers almost every day, so why would it be any different in this case? Build in the benefits of the new learning initiative and explain how your employees are not only going to be able to operate better at their jobs but how this will help them on a personal level as well.
Once you have people on board show wins to keep the momentum going. Results that reflect either a happy customer, an employee accomplishment or a change in the overall company’s performance are great ways to show the learning in action. Spending time on something that works becomes an easier sell down the road and acknowledging these wins will in turn build learning ambassadors down the road to help integrate learning throughout the organization at the peer level as well.
Best of luck and I hope the year ahead is full of new lessons learned.
Networking. Worth the Investment.
It seems that with small businesses that the costs of investment never ends. Equipment, technology, human capital, and so on. The one thing that doesn’t show up on the income statement however, is investment of your personal time towards growing your business. The line item I like to attribute to this is networking.
Taking the time to attend business networking events that may follow seminars, conferences or be held as one offs by various organizations opens the door to a number of gains that extend way past the obvious which is increasing your pool of potential clients.
If you consider the gains and weigh them against the costs which in most cases is mainly your personal time, why any business owner would not actively plan for networking events is beyond me.
Like Richard Branson said, “Succeeding in business is all about making connections.”
This is true with anything in life but especially so with businesses and entrepreneurs. Connecting with colleagues within in the same market space as you enables you to learn about other technologies, products, services, best practices, trends and both wins and losses as experienced by those in the same boat as you.
The Mike Agency, a Wish Group company recently created a program directed specifically at promoting this basic idea amongst its client base. With the Get Connected program, clients are showcased monthly and encouraged to share a product or promotion with other clients that are part of the agency. It’s a great way to start a conversation in a relaxed environment amongst a tight group of potential connections.
What better way to sell your company or learn about other investment opportunities than with conversations amongst those that literally live and breathe their business day in and out? Sharing stories, outlooks and broad strategies in a relaxed environment over a glass of good wine is a great way to drive new business opportunities for your organization while also identifying synergies that can make sense to build on in the future.
The more you attend industry specific or related events, the more you’ll become part of the patchwork that makes the market what it is. Remember, business owners are not the only ones attending these events. In many cases you may see media, industry watch dogs and government officials as well which inevitably means more face time for you to sell your business as the best. The long term goal is to be regarded as an expert in the field and eventually be the person they come to for their content, ideally boosting your profile further while building your network base even further.
As we all gear up for a fresh and exciting year ahead, take the time to think about how you can plan to allocate some of your time to networking events. Take a look through and try and diversify by type of event as well to optimize the diverse groups of people that you’ll be spending your time with.
Good luck and hopefully we’ll run into each other sometime!