NATSO Analysis: Joint Employer and the Nature of Employment

As NATSO has previously reported, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in December reversed the controversial Obama-era standard for "joint employment" under the National Labor Relations Act. This was a positive development for employers, particularly in the travel center industry where contract workers (such as equipment inspectors and delivery personnel) and franchise relationships are ubiquitous. However, businesses must remain vigilant of these issues because joint employer liability remains a fact-specific, often state-by-state issue.

NATSO members have grappled with uncertainty about the definition of "joint employer" since 2015, when the NLRB issued a decision known as "Browning Ferris." In that case, the NLRB ruled that by merely exercising indirect control, or by possessing unexercised potential control over work conditions, one could be a joint employer.

As a joint employer, a company may be held liable for labor violations committed by other employers with whom they contract. A company would also assume collective bargaining responsibilities if the other employer was unionized. This had the potential to inject serious complexity into travel centers' business operations: Some companies feared that they would be considered joint employers with all of their contractors, franchisees, etc., and decided to enhance their control over those entities' day-to-day operations in order to mitigate liability exposure. Some NATSO members feared that they would have to get more involved, for example, in who equipment inspectors hired and how many hours those individuals worked per week. They also feared losing control of their franchisee operations (e.g., quick-service restaurants in their facility) if the franchisor elected to impose near total control over their franchisees.

On the other hand, some companies took the opposite approach under the expanded joint employer standard and tried to exert significantly less control over their contractors and franchisees, neglecting to assist counter-parties on certain matters for fear of triggering joint employer liability.

The uncertainty surrounding the issue created much confusion and higher operational and legal costs.

NATSO welcomed, therefore, the NLRB recently reviving the much narrower, easier to understand and implement, pre-Browning-Ferris NLRB joint employer standard. Specifically, the NLRB clarified that going forward, "a finding of joint employer status shall once again require proof that putative joint employer entities have exercised joint control over essential employment terms (rather than merely having 'reserved' the right to exercise control), the control must be 'direct and immediate' (rather than indirect), and joint-employer status will not result from control that is 'limited and routine."

For example, now, merely telling employees what work to perform, or where and when to work, would generally not satisfy this narrower joint employer standard. Rather, to create a joint employer relationship, the putative employer must also have directed the employees on how to perform the job.

Although this is a step in the right direction, there is still no guarantee that the narrower "direct control" standard will be permanent. For this reason, NATSO continues to support the Save Local Businesses Act, which the House of Representatives passed last year. The legislation, which faces an uphill battle in the Senate, would cement the more favorable joint employer standard into law and eliminate the prospect that the standard will remain fluid as presidential administrations change.

The labor community will continue to push back on efforts to undercut the joint employer standard, however, and employers should be prepared for much fluidity in the months and years ahead.

There has been a consistent trend in recent years where employer-employee relationships are being abandoned in favor of more contract / free-lance work (think Uber's relationship with its drivers). The labor community strongly believes that formal employment is preferable for a variety of reasons (access to unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, overtime pay, healthcare benefits, anti-discrimination laws, and the right to form a union, to name a few.) There will be much pushback if employers continue to gravitate away from these relationships.

That trend will only be exacerbated by a provision in the recent tax reform law Congress passed that allows sole proprietors -- along with owners of partnerships or other so-called "pass-through entities" -- to deduct 20 percent of their revenue from their taxable income. The tax savings may prove enticing to employees who would choose to set out on their own and function as outside contractors. The provision may also be a boon for employers who are trying to reduce their payroll costs. Workers hired as contractors, who tend to be cheaper, may be less likely to complain about their tax status under the new tax law.

In the meantime, it appears clear that the Trump Administration will continue to exercise its authority to alleviate some of the expansive, labor-friendly measures taken by the Obama Administration. In December 2017, for example, the NLRB's General Counsel issued a sweeping memorandum signaling the agency's new approach to many controversial rulings and interpretations from the Obama-era board. The memo indicates the NLRB is likely to continue reconsidering and reversing course on key issues under the National Labor Relations Act.

The Department of Labor, meanwhile, has already set in motion plans to update the rules governing employee Overtime pay in a manner that is far less expansive than what the Obama Administration envisioned. The Obama Administration's controversial rule would have more than doubled the threshold under which workers must be paid overtime. How the Trump Administration resolves this issue will be the primary labor issue to watch in 2018.

NATSO's most recent comments to the Department of Labor on the Overtime issue are available here.



via Business Feeds

How to Gain Customer Appreciation – And Why You Should

4 Ways to Show Clients Your Appreciation this Year

While it’s easy to view customers as just another business account, you must remember they’re people with very real thoughts and emotions. Keeping this in mind, let 2018 be the year that you show better appreciation for your loyal clients.

The Significance of Customer Appreciation

For all of the time and energy businesses pour into product development and other important business tasks, the reality is that everything pales in comparison to the significance of customer appreciation.

According to data collected by the U.S. Small Business Administration, 68 percent of clients leave because they feel the business doesn’t care about them. Compare that to just 14 percent that blame product dissatisfaction and you’ll see how critical customer appreciation is to a company’s overall health and well-being.

Customer appreciation can be defined as the measure of a company’s efforts to show customers their value and importance. It’s the way in which businesses show customers they’re grateful for them. The benefits of high customer appreciation include:

  • Higher retention rates. As the previous data point shows, customers who feel appreciated are much more likely to become repeat customers. They have a positive association with your brand and will come to you with their future needs.
  • Increase profits. It’s not just that these customers come back and do business with you again — they also spend more. Research shows loyal customers purchase products and services 90 percent more frequently, while spending 60 percent more with each transaction.
  • Positive word of mouth. As you know from experience, customer acquisition can be expensive. There are multiple stages involved in moving people from awareness to purchase and the dollars quickly add up. But do you know what doesn’t cost a thing? Positive word of mouth. When your customers are satisfied with the value you offer and feel appreciated, they’re apt to tell their friends and generate organic referrals and leads for you.
  • Benefit of the doubt. Finally, customers who feel appreciated are much more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt in situations where you fail to meet expectations. Whether it’s a late delivery, order screw-up or an interaction that’s uncharacteristic of your company, they’ll give you a second chance (as opposed to immediately going to your closest competitor).

The desire for appreciation is in our DNA. “As human beings, we long for connection. During that precious moment when someone sees us, praises us, or validates us, there’s a spontaneous connection that can arise — if we’re open to it,” psychologist John Amodeo explains. “Feeling appreciated strengthens the bond between people. It helps satisfy our longing for healthy attachment.”

While customers certainly seek and find more meaningful benefits in the relationships they have with family, friends and romantic interests, the appreciation that your business exudes goes a long way towards establishing a profitable and sustainable business connection.

4 Ways to Show Clients Your Appreciation

Every customer is different. Some people find meaning in tangible expressions of appreciation, while others simply want to hear you say a kind word.

Regardless of who your customers are and what they prefer, here are some practical steps you can take to show your clients that you appreciate their business in 2018.

1. Host an Event

There are plenty of subtle things you can do — and we’ll discuss those in further detail in the following points — but sometimes the best strategy is to do it big. In B2B companies, or small businesses that have a very specific and localized customer base, hosting a customer appreciation event is an awesome way to leave a lasting impression.

The key is to look at customer appreciation events in the same way that you would a dinner party you’re hosting in your own home. Guests are to be viewed as special friends, not customers you’re trying to close.

When asked about her New Year’s resolutions to be a better party host in 2018, For Your Party’s Rachel Anderson says, “Be better at following up with guests after the party and thank them for coming.” Anderson’s coworker Emily believes you should, “Put effort into the details, such as handwritten place cards or thank you notes to make guests feel special.”

Execution is the most important aspect of hosting a customer appreciation event — and success is found in the details. Be intentional about every little aspect and leave nothing to chance.

2. Personalize Your Services

Personalization of products and services is another way you can show your customers that you appreciate them. Not only do personalized features play to a customer’s likes, interests and needs — but the mere fact that you went through extra effort says a lot about your brand.

Personalization can happen in a number of ways. It could be something as simple as creating a custom color scheme that coincides with a client’s logo, or something as complex as tweaking software code to integrate a custom feature that doesn’t exist in the standard product offering.

3. Send Hand-Written Notes

“In today’s world, instant communication through emails, social media and text messages is commonplace, while receiving a handwritten card or letter in the mail is rare,” one customer engagement expert believes. “Even though technology has changed the way we communicate, receiving a handwritten, personalized note still touches our emotions in a way instant communication tools can only dream about.”

This year, make it a habit within your organization to send handwritten notes to customers. While a long, detailed note is sometimes useful, you don’t have to spend a ton of time on them. A simple note like this works well:

Hey, Dave! I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your business. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work alongside you this year and I hope we’ll continue to do so for years to come. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you.”

The process of writing this note, sticking it in an envelope, and dropping it off in the mailbox takes less than five minutes, but imagine how much more appreciation your customers would feel this year if you wrote one handwritten note per day.

4. Launch a Loyalty Program

While loyalty programs ultimately end up benefiting your business more than anything else, they also have the added advantage of making customers feel appreciated. As you look for unique ways to engage your top customers this year, consider launching some sort of loyalty program that rewards them for their repeat business.

What you don’t want to do is blindly launch a loyalty program. You’ll waste a ton of resources and do very little to move the needle on customer appreciation. Take your time and study what successful brands like Starbucks and Amazon do and you’ll learn a lot.

Make 2018 the Year of the Customer

If you’ve been in business for any period of time, you’ve had years where you look back and realize that everything you did was about you. You’ve also had years where you came to realize that you did a pretty good job of prioritizing customers. Almost certainly, the years when you put customers first were more successful and profitable than the ones when you were self-centered.

Now’s the time, while we’re still on the front end of 2018, to make a pact with your team to prioritize customers. As part of this shift, you need to develop a concrete customer appreciation strategy that allows you to engage and connect with customers on an intensely personal level.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "How to Gain Customer Appreciation – And Why You Should" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

How to Gain Customer Appreciation – And Why You Should

4 Ways to Show Clients Your Appreciation this Year

While it’s easy to view customers as just another business account, you must remember they’re people with very real thoughts and emotions. Keeping this in mind, let 2018 be the year that you show better appreciation for your loyal clients.

The Significance of Customer Appreciation

For all of the time and energy businesses pour into product development and other important business tasks, the reality is that everything pales in comparison to the significance of customer appreciation.

According to data collected by the U.S. Small Business Administration, 68 percent of clients leave because they feel the business doesn’t care about them. Compare that to just 14 percent that blame product dissatisfaction and you’ll see how critical customer appreciation is to a company’s overall health and well-being.

Customer appreciation can be defined as the measure of a company’s efforts to show customers their value and importance. It’s the way in which businesses show customers they’re grateful for them. The benefits of high customer appreciation include:

  • Higher retention rates. As the previous data point shows, customers who feel appreciated are much more likely to become repeat customers. They have a positive association with your brand and will come to you with their future needs.
  • Increase profits. It’s not just that these customers come back and do business with you again — they also spend more. Research shows loyal customers purchase products and services 90 percent more frequently, while spending 60 percent more with each transaction.
  • Positive word of mouth. As you know from experience, customer acquisition can be expensive. There are multiple stages involved in moving people from awareness to purchase and the dollars quickly add up. But do you know what doesn’t cost a thing? Positive word of mouth. When your customers are satisfied with the value you offer and feel appreciated, they’re apt to tell their friends and generate organic referrals and leads for you.
  • Benefit of the doubt. Finally, customers who feel appreciated are much more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt in situations where you fail to meet expectations. Whether it’s a late delivery, order screw-up or an interaction that’s uncharacteristic of your company, they’ll give you a second chance (as opposed to immediately going to your closest competitor).

The desire for appreciation is in our DNA. “As human beings, we long for connection. During that precious moment when someone sees us, praises us, or validates us, there’s a spontaneous connection that can arise — if we’re open to it,” psychologist John Amodeo explains. “Feeling appreciated strengthens the bond between people. It helps satisfy our longing for healthy attachment.”

While customers certainly seek and find more meaningful benefits in the relationships they have with family, friends and romantic interests, the appreciation that your business exudes goes a long way towards establishing a profitable and sustainable business connection.

4 Ways to Show Clients Your Appreciation

Every customer is different. Some people find meaning in tangible expressions of appreciation, while others simply want to hear you say a kind word.

Regardless of who your customers are and what they prefer, here are some practical steps you can take to show your clients that you appreciate their business in 2018.

1. Host an Event

There are plenty of subtle things you can do — and we’ll discuss those in further detail in the following points — but sometimes the best strategy is to do it big. In B2B companies, or small businesses that have a very specific and localized customer base, hosting a customer appreciation event is an awesome way to leave a lasting impression.

The key is to look at customer appreciation events in the same way that you would a dinner party you’re hosting in your own home. Guests are to be viewed as special friends, not customers you’re trying to close.

When asked about her New Year’s resolutions to be a better party host in 2018, For Your Party’s Rachel Anderson says, “Be better at following up with guests after the party and thank them for coming.” Anderson’s coworker Emily believes you should, “Put effort into the details, such as handwritten place cards or thank you notes to make guests feel special.”

Execution is the most important aspect of hosting a customer appreciation event — and success is found in the details. Be intentional about every little aspect and leave nothing to chance.

2. Personalize Your Services

Personalization of products and services is another way you can show your customers that you appreciate them. Not only do personalized features play to a customer’s likes, interests and needs — but the mere fact that you went through extra effort says a lot about your brand.

Personalization can happen in a number of ways. It could be something as simple as creating a custom color scheme that coincides with a client’s logo, or something as complex as tweaking software code to integrate a custom feature that doesn’t exist in the standard product offering.

3. Send Hand-Written Notes

“In today’s world, instant communication through emails, social media and text messages is commonplace, while receiving a handwritten card or letter in the mail is rare,” one customer engagement expert believes. “Even though technology has changed the way we communicate, receiving a handwritten, personalized note still touches our emotions in a way instant communication tools can only dream about.”

This year, make it a habit within your organization to send handwritten notes to customers. While a long, detailed note is sometimes useful, you don’t have to spend a ton of time on them. A simple note like this works well:

Hey, Dave! I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your business. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work alongside you this year and I hope we’ll continue to do so for years to come. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you.”

The process of writing this note, sticking it in an envelope, and dropping it off in the mailbox takes less than five minutes, but imagine how much more appreciation your customers would feel this year if you wrote one handwritten note per day.

4. Launch a Loyalty Program

While loyalty programs ultimately end up benefiting your business more than anything else, they also have the added advantage of making customers feel appreciated. As you look for unique ways to engage your top customers this year, consider launching some sort of loyalty program that rewards them for their repeat business.

What you don’t want to do is blindly launch a loyalty program. You’ll waste a ton of resources and do very little to move the needle on customer appreciation. Take your time and study what successful brands like Starbucks and Amazon do and you’ll learn a lot.

Make 2018 the Year of the Customer

If you’ve been in business for any period of time, you’ve had years where you look back and realize that everything you did was about you. You’ve also had years where you came to realize that you did a pretty good job of prioritizing customers. Almost certainly, the years when you put customers first were more successful and profitable than the ones when you were self-centered.

Now’s the time, while we’re still on the front end of 2018, to make a pact with your team to prioritize customers. As part of this shift, you need to develop a concrete customer appreciation strategy that allows you to engage and connect with customers on an intensely personal level.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "How to Gain Customer Appreciation – And Why You Should" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

How a Famous Robot Test Can Help You Beat Impostor Syndrome

Have you ever had that nightmare where you’re sitting in an examination room in front of a panel of experts watching a timer count down to zero? You’re being asked a series of critical, complex questions, and you’re running out of time to answer. In fact, you haven’t answered one correctly, or at all, and
Read More...

The post How a Famous Robot Test Can Help You Beat Impostor Syndrome appeared first on Copyblogger.



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Implementing Facilities Management Successfully in 7 Steps

Handling the management and maintenance of facility operations is a mammoth task. Thanks to facilities management software like CMMS, the face of facilities management has changed significantly and the overall performance of maintenance departments has enhanced.

Businesswomen using CMMS

Here are 7 steps to successfully implementing facilities management.

1. Effectively Manage Spare Parts Inventory

Start by managing the spare parts inventory. Imagine not finding a critical part when you need it urgently. Not only will it delay your processes but there will be wastage of time and money. When the maintenance unit is well organized, the maintenance supervisors can easily locate the parts needed at any time, at any location.…



RSS Business Feeds

53 Percent of Small Business Owners Pessimistic About Trump Legislation Helping Them

Rocket Lawyer 2018 Small Business Index: 53 Percent of Small Business Owners More Pessimistic About Trump Legislation Helping Them

Small businesses aren’t feeling especially optimistic about the Trump administration’s ability to enact policies that will help them, according to Rocket Lawyer’s 2018 Small Business Index. Or at least, the optimism that many of them were feeling last year has waned a bit.

Rocket Lawyer 2018 Small Business Index

Rocket Lawyer’s annual survey, which includes responses from 500 owners of small to medium sized businesses in the United States, found that 53 percent are feeling more pessimistic about the administration’s ability to enact helpful policies than they were at this point last year.

Heathcare and taxes seem to be the biggest concerns for small businesses heading into 2018, followed by infrastructure, immigration and trade issues. Though Republicans recently passed a new tax bill, small business owners don’t seem totally sold on that either. Forty-eight percent of respondents reported feeling pessimistic about tax issues, while 31 percent said they are taking a “wait and see” approach. Though, many of the responses were collected before the bill officially passed.

Despite those concerns, the index did find that small businesses tend to have a fairly optimistic outlook about their current and future opportunities for growth. In fact, 80 percent of the small businesses surveyed reported growth in 2017. And 63 percent believe their sales will increase again in 2018. Twenty-three percent even have plans to hire new employees within the next six months. So this feeling of optimism could continue leading to benefits for the U.S. economy as a whole.

So it seems even though businesses aren’t as optimistic as they once were about the current administration’s policies, that’s not having much, if any, negative impact on their plans for growth. Even without seeing as much progress on things like healthcare as they might have hoped over the past year, plenty of small businesses remain upbeat. And this outlook seems likely to continue into 2018, regardless of the laws and policies enacted.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "53 Percent of Small Business Owners Pessimistic About Trump Legislation Helping Them" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

53 Percent of Small Business Owners Pessimistic About Trump Legislation Helping Them

Rocket Lawyer 2018 Small Business Index: 53 Percent of Small Business Owners More Pessimistic About Trump Legislation Helping Them

Small businesses aren’t feeling especially optimistic about the Trump administration’s ability to enact policies that will help them, according to Rocket Lawyer’s 2018 Small Business Index. Or at least, the optimism that many of them were feeling last year has waned a bit.

Rocket Lawyer 2018 Small Business Index

Rocket Lawyer’s annual survey, which includes responses from 500 owners of small to medium sized businesses in the United States, found that 53 percent are feeling more pessimistic about the administration’s ability to enact helpful policies than they were at this point last year.

Heathcare and taxes seem to be the biggest concerns for small businesses heading into 2018, followed by infrastructure, immigration and trade issues. Though Republicans recently passed a new tax bill, small business owners don’t seem totally sold on that either. Forty-eight percent of respondents reported feeling pessimistic about tax issues, while 31 percent said they are taking a “wait and see” approach. Though, many of the responses were collected before the bill officially passed.

Despite those concerns, the index did find that small businesses tend to have a fairly optimistic outlook about their current and future opportunities for growth. In fact, 80 percent of the small businesses surveyed reported growth in 2017. And 63 percent believe their sales will increase again in 2018. Twenty-three percent even have plans to hire new employees within the next six months. So this feeling of optimism could continue leading to benefits for the U.S. economy as a whole.

So it seems even though businesses aren’t as optimistic as they once were about the current administration’s policies, that’s not having much, if any, negative impact on their plans for growth. Even without seeing as much progress on things like healthcare as they might have hoped over the past year, plenty of small businesses remain upbeat. And this outlook seems likely to continue into 2018, regardless of the laws and policies enacted.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "53 Percent of Small Business Owners Pessimistic About Trump Legislation Helping Them" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

How to Write Copy People Notice, Read, and Trust: Lessons from "The World’s Best Copywriter"

The phone rang a couple times before he picked up.

“Hello?”

“Hi,” I said. “Is this Pat Corpora?”

“Yes, it is.”

“It’s Eddie Shleyner,” I said. Silence. “I sent you a message on LinkedIn … about the Sampler. You replied with your number … told me to call.”

In 1995, Pat published The Doctor’s Vest-Pocket Sampler of Natural Remedies, a piece of direct response mail designed to sell a bigger, more complete book called New Choices in Natural Healing.

In other words, the free “sampler” book was designed to garner the attention, engagement, and trust necessary to sell prospect’s on the real product, the money-maker.

“Oh!” he said. “Hi, Eddie.” He sounded enthused. I could tell he was a nice guy. “How can I help?”

“Well,” I said. “I’m sure you know, the Sampler is famous.”

Pat smirked. “Okay.”

“At least it is among copywriters,” I said. “That’s why I’m calling: I’m writing an article about the Sampler -- because it’s a master class in written persuasion -- and I want to make sure I get the facts right.”

“Sure.”

“Well, first of all,” I said, “how many did you send out?”

“Oh, I’m sure we mailed 50 million copies,” said Pat. He paused. “Yeah, about that many.” He paused again. “It was a huge number.”

“And how many books did that sell?”

“Oh, millions.”

“Millions?” I said.

Millions. It was our most successful mailer ever.”

How did Pat sell all those books?

He hired Gary Bencivenga to write the copy.

Bencivenga is a Hall of Fame copywriter. He’s on par with John Caples and Eugene Schwartz, David Ogilvy and Joe Sugarman. He knew what he was doing. That is, he knew how to write copy that captured attention, garnered engagement, and drove readers to take action.

Like any effective copywriter, Bencivenga was part writer, part psychologist. As a writer, he was able to produce clear, concise sentences. As a psychologist, he excelled at thinking like his prospect. He understood her, empathized with her. And that’s what this article is about.

It’s about the big-picture concepts you can learn by studying one of Bencivenga’s most successful controls. In other words, this article won’t teach you how to write like a copywriter as much as it’ll teach you how to think like one.

You’ll learn the rules of the trade, the fundamentals of crafting ad copy people notice, read, and trust.

How to write copy people notice, read, and trust.

If you don’t already own The Doctor’s Vest-Pocket Sampler of Natural Remedies, you can buy one on Amazon for a buck or two plus shipping. If you’re a serious student of copywriting, I recommend ordering your copy as soon as possible, reading it daily, and transcribing it often.

When you receive it, smile. You're holding one of the finest direct marketing assets ever created.

What makes it great? It follows three important principles:

1. It hones in on a single, primary desire.

That’s why people notice it in the first place.

People buy things to achieve their desires. Period.

“Every product appeals to two, or three or four of these mass desires,” writes Eugene Schwartz in his classic book, Breakthrough Advertising. “But only one can predominate.”

The Sampler’s target audience was older, likely suffering from an ailment, likely fatigued from the side-effects of conventional medicine, and likely eager for alternatives. Natural alternatives. Bencivenga honed in on this.

How to Hone In

Once you know, with absolute certainty, what it is your prospect desires:

a) Make the desire plainly visible and unmistakably clear.

This will ensure that the prospect sees it.

The Sampler displays the words “NATURAL REMEDIES” in big, bold, capital letters on its cover. In fact, those words appear twice, which brings us to my next point …

b) Repeat the desire over and over, using synonymous terms.

This will keep the prospect engaged without wearing her out on the same verbiage.

The Sampler alludes to the concept of “natural remedies” using many different terms, including “self-help remedies” and “non-surgical remedies” and a half-dozen others. Each is a new and engaging way to remind the prospect about the same thing. Each variation whispers, “This is what you want, Dear Reader. Remember? This is what you need!”

c) Sound realistic.

This will allow the prospect to take your copy seriously.

The Sampler doesn’t over-step its product’s promise. For instance, the word “antidotes” sounds more compelling than “remedies” but it’s also less plausible, which is why Bencivenga never uses it. After all, he’s selling a book with thousands of medical suggestions. They’re not all winners. Reasonable people know this.

If you say something that plants doubt in your prospect’s mind, even once, you might lose her. Fantastic claims are risky because they're hard to believe. Temper your promise to give the message a chance.

2. It doesn’t look like an ad.

That’s why people read it.

The Doctor’s Vest-Pocket Sampler of Natural Remedies doesn't look like a mailer. It looks like a book:

The cover is card stock and paper inside is thick, too. The back is blank, clean, except for the publisher’s mission statement: “We publish books that empower people’s lives.”

The Sampler is also 50 pages long, neatly organized into four enticing chapters:

Chapter 1: Natural Remedies for Whatever Ails You …

Chapter 2: Secret Healing Triggers …

Chapter 3: How to Instantly Get a Second Opinion, or a Third, Fourth, or Tenth!

Chapter 4: For a Lifetime of Greater Health, Try This …

Each chapter is well-formatted and written in plain English that’s scannable and digestible, peppered with bolding and italics that highlight value. Bencivenga gave the Sampler all the characteristics of a real book, which is why Debra-from-Nebraska pulled it from her mailbox, then sat down, put on her glasses, and actually took the time to read it.

“Allow the reader to enter into your ad with the least possible mental shifting of gears from ‘editorial’ to ‘advertisement’,” writes Schwartz. “A single change in format can add 50% to your readership, and your results.” Schwartz calls this concept Copy Camouflage. It refers to taking elements from trusted mediums and using them to lend clout to your ad. This is also known as “borrowed believability.”

Online advertorial articles, or “sponsored” posts, are a good example of this: they look and read like typical articles but have a hidden sales agenda. Bencivenga uses the same tactic, except he camouflaged the Sampler to look and read like a book.

How to Camouflage

Once you know the medium your prospect recognizes, likes, and believes:

a) Borrow the format.

This will help your promotion look familiar to the prospect.

The Sampler looks like a book because it was published before the internet took root (circ. 1995), when physical mediums (e.g., books and newspapers) were among the only recognized, credible sources of written information.

b) Borrow the words and tone.

This will help your copy sound familiar to the prospect.

The Sampler sounds comprehensible, colloquial. It uses simple words -- not medical speak -- to convey clear, concise advice that makes sense to people. And that brings us to the final principle …

3. It’s valuable.

That’s why people trust it.

Bencivenga packed the Sampler with advice that can help people live more comfortable lives:

  • On page 14, he shares a juice recipe that treats asthma.
  • On page 15, he shares a tonic recipe that quells cigarette cravings.
  • On page 16, he shares a cocktail recipe that relieves leg cramps.

In fact, almost every page lends a valuable suggestion, something that makes the reader feel excited about the future, hopeful. Something that makes her say, “Wow, I had no idea ...” Over time, these feelings compound and intensify in the reader, engendering trust.

“Couldn’t it be that if someone took care of you, very good care of you; if this person would do anything for you; if your well-being was his only thought: is it impossible that you might begin to feel something for him?" - Bob Benson, Mad Men

How to Deliver Value

Once you know what your prospect values:

a) Highlight it.

This, again, will ensure that the prospect sees it.

The Sampler is full of bolded, italicized, and underlined words and phrases. It’s full of headlines and subheads, sidebars and images. Remember, people can’t begin to draw value from information if they never even see it.

b) Make it clear and concise.

This will fill the prospect with hope and excitement over her newfound knowledge.

The Sampler uses clear language and short, crisp sentences. Even though it’s a medical book, a native English speaker will comprehend every word. Remember, people will only get value from information they understand.

c) Make it actionable.

This will satisfy the prospect, making her happy.

The Sampler tells readers what to do but also explains how to do it. For example, want to treat asthma? “Blend two ounces of onion juice with two ounces of carrot juice and two ounces of parsley juice, then drink this blend twice each day,” writes Bencivenga. “Of course, use this remedy in conjunction with proper medical treatment.”

Remember, people will get the most value from information they can put to use.

“So, what did working with Gary teach you?” I asked.

“Well,” said Pat, “like many other tests I was involved in, it proved the power and importance of copy.”

I nodded, silently, on the other end.

“When we launched new titles, we always tested two or three different copywriters, “ said Pat. “Sometimes the different approaches were close, within 10 percent. But sometimes, it was a 100 percent difference in response rate. That’s what it was with the Vest-Pocket Sampler. That’s the power of great copy.”



via Business Feeds

How to Make a Great First Impression in 30 Seconds or Less

How to Make a Great First Impression in 30 Seconds or Less

If you think you have at least a couple of minutes to make a first impression, you are wrong! According to the On Stride Financial infographic below, you only have at most 100 milliseconds to form an initial impression. What this really means to small business owners is that the way you evaluate potential employees, business partners and personal acquaintances on your first-time encounter with them, is the same way other people evaluate you and your business, relying mostly on how you conduct yourself.

So how can you ensure people are judging you accurately and also seeing your best side in just a few milliseconds? Atalanta Beaumont, a psychotherapist, says: “Humans can work like a wolf pack when in groups, and if they get a sniff of desperation they will either ostracize the perpetrator or target them unkindly.”

Tips on How to Make a Great First Impression

You can, however, avoid getting devoured by considering the following tips.

First, you need to offer a firm, 3 to 4 seconds long, handshake. University of Alabama researchers found out that a good, firm handshake indicates that you are outgoing, positive and an emotionally expressive person.

You also want to wear more conservative clothes in simple colors when going or your first business meeting.

And besides clothing, your business meeting might just become a little better if you could just dedicate a few minutes to peeking at the profiles of the people you are meeting at your business meeting. According to Dorie Clark, author of “Reinventing You: Define your Brand, Imagine Your Future”, finding common points of connection will help you create emotional connection and even build rapport.

And while at the meeting, resist any urge to cross your arms. Opening up your “body windows,” according to body language expert Patti Wood, will make you appear more approachable.

You also need to make sure you smile throughout your conversation, and also remember lean in just enough during conversation as it makes others feel safe and understood.

The tips don’t end here. View the infographic below for more.

How to Make a Great First Impression in 30 Seconds or LessImages: OnStride Financial

This article, "How to Make a Great First Impression in 30 Seconds or Less" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

How to Make a Great First Impression in 30 Seconds or Less

How to Make a Great First Impression in 30 Seconds or Less

If you think you have at least a couple of minutes to make a first impression, you are wrong! According to the On Stride Financial infographic below, you only have at most 100 milliseconds to form an initial impression. What this really means to small business owners is that the way you evaluate potential employees, business partners and personal acquaintances on your first-time encounter with them, is the same way other people evaluate you and your business, relying mostly on how you conduct yourself.

So how can you ensure people are judging you accurately and also seeing your best side in just a few milliseconds? Atalanta Beaumont, a psychotherapist, says: “Humans can work like a wolf pack when in groups, and if they get a sniff of desperation they will either ostracize the perpetrator or target them unkindly.”

Tips on How to Make a Great First Impression

You can, however, avoid getting devoured by considering the following tips.

First, you need to offer a firm, 3 to 4 seconds long, handshake. University of Alabama researchers found out that a good, firm handshake indicates that you are outgoing, positive and an emotionally expressive person.

You also want to wear more conservative clothes in simple colors when going or your first business meeting.

And besides clothing, your business meeting might just become a little better if you could just dedicate a few minutes to peeking at the profiles of the people you are meeting at your business meeting. According to Dorie Clark, author of “Reinventing You: Define your Brand, Imagine Your Future”, finding common points of connection will help you create emotional connection and even build rapport.

And while at the meeting, resist any urge to cross your arms. Opening up your “body windows,” according to body language expert Patti Wood, will make you appear more approachable.

You also need to make sure you smile throughout your conversation, and also remember lean in just enough during conversation as it makes others feel safe and understood.

The tips don’t end here. View the infographic below for more.

How to Make a Great First Impression in 30 Seconds or LessImages: OnStride Financial

This article, "How to Make a Great First Impression in 30 Seconds or Less" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Scoping Out the Competition Doesn’t Have to Be Hard, Check These 5 Sources

5 Tips for Scoping Out Your Small Business Competition

Some of my best ideas have come from my competitors.  Think about it…as entrepreneurs, we’re constantly networking and looking for best practices and inspiration.  And sure, we can learn from people in every industry.  But each industry has its special concerns, the things that are unique and don’t necessarily translate well for outsiders.

Scoping Out Your Small Business Competition

That’s where your competition can be so useful.  Rather than developing solutions to every problem all on your own, take a peek at your competitors.  You’ll uncover all kinds of useful information from the following sources.

1. Their website. You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn from your competition’s website.  In addition to the obvious things, like pricing and special offers or sales, there’s even more to be learned from how they’re marketing themselves.  Are they appealing to a different niche than you?  Do they use an interesting approach to connecting with your prospective customers?  Everything from font to color choices matters on a website, and you should absolutely be checking the other guy’s frequently.  Don’t forget to sign up for their email list so you can receive regular updates!

2. Reviews.  Yelp, Facebook, Google… the sources for customer reviews are practically endless.  I’ve found two primary uses for reviews.  First, they give me insight into ways my competitor is failing.  If there are lots of reviews about missed deadlines or slow service, that lets me know just how important those things are to my customers.  Second, it gives me ideas for marketing.  If I advertise speedy service, that’s going to appeal to dissatisfied customers who left reviews for my competition.  Basically, you’re learning what you can do better by mining the other guy’s complaints.

3. Job advertisements.  Not only is it fascinating to take a look at how your competition describes themselves to applicants, but you can also learn a lot from the kinds of positions being advertised.  Maybe they’re adding a new manufacturing shift.  Perhaps they’re opening a new location.  Look for signs of growth that can signal their intentions and give you time to prepare for market changes.

4. Conferences and trade shows.  Industry events are outstanding opportunities to take a look at the competition.  You’ll discover trends and identify who’s driving them.  You’ll find chances to pick up ideas for marketing and defining your niche in your market.  Taking cues from what’s working and what’s not for you competitors lets you learn from mistakes without having to make them yourself.

5. Google.  Don’t overlook the obvious.  See if you can uncover new ways to reach out to your ideal customers.  Has your competition been featured in an article?  Are they sponsoring a community event?  Is there a review site you weren’t aware of?  Spend a few minutes investigating all the ways your competition interacts with customers online.

There’s so much we can learn from our competition, and we can absolutely do it without jeopardizing what makes us unique.  I’m not advocating being a copycat, but there’s no sense reinventing the wheel.  Use all your available resources.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Scoping Out the Competition Doesn’t Have to Be Hard, Check These 5 Sources" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

Scoping Out the Competition Doesn’t Have to Be Hard, Check These 5 Sources

5 Tips for Scoping Out Your Small Business Competition

Some of my best ideas have come from my competitors.  Think about it…as entrepreneurs, we’re constantly networking and looking for best practices and inspiration.  And sure, we can learn from people in every industry.  But each industry has its special concerns, the things that are unique and don’t necessarily translate well for outsiders.

Scoping Out Your Small Business Competition

That’s where your competition can be so useful.  Rather than developing solutions to every problem all on your own, take a peek at your competitors.  You’ll uncover all kinds of useful information from the following sources.

1. Their website. You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn from your competition’s website.  In addition to the obvious things, like pricing and special offers or sales, there’s even more to be learned from how they’re marketing themselves.  Are they appealing to a different niche than you?  Do they use an interesting approach to connecting with your prospective customers?  Everything from font to color choices matters on a website, and you should absolutely be checking the other guy’s frequently.  Don’t forget to sign up for their email list so you can receive regular updates!

2. Reviews.  Yelp, Facebook, Google… the sources for customer reviews are practically endless.  I’ve found two primary uses for reviews.  First, they give me insight into ways my competitor is failing.  If there are lots of reviews about missed deadlines or slow service, that lets me know just how important those things are to my customers.  Second, it gives me ideas for marketing.  If I advertise speedy service, that’s going to appeal to dissatisfied customers who left reviews for my competition.  Basically, you’re learning what you can do better by mining the other guy’s complaints.

3. Job advertisements.  Not only is it fascinating to take a look at how your competition describes themselves to applicants, but you can also learn a lot from the kinds of positions being advertised.  Maybe they’re adding a new manufacturing shift.  Perhaps they’re opening a new location.  Look for signs of growth that can signal their intentions and give you time to prepare for market changes.

4. Conferences and trade shows.  Industry events are outstanding opportunities to take a look at the competition.  You’ll discover trends and identify who’s driving them.  You’ll find chances to pick up ideas for marketing and defining your niche in your market.  Taking cues from what’s working and what’s not for you competitors lets you learn from mistakes without having to make them yourself.

5. Google.  Don’t overlook the obvious.  See if you can uncover new ways to reach out to your ideal customers.  Has your competition been featured in an article?  Are they sponsoring a community event?  Is there a review site you weren’t aware of?  Spend a few minutes investigating all the ways your competition interacts with customers online.

There’s so much we can learn from our competition, and we can absolutely do it without jeopardizing what makes us unique.  I’m not advocating being a copycat, but there’s no sense reinventing the wheel.  Use all your available resources.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Scoping Out the Competition Doesn’t Have to Be Hard, Check These 5 Sources" was first published on Small Business Trends



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