Tag Archives: writing

Your Secret Weapon: Customer Feedback

When it comes to making improvements in your work, or how you make your products, or tweaking  the products themselves, who do you ask for help?

When it comes to improving yourself, how do you figure out what you need to focus on? It starts with the pain, right?

Usually we wait until the discomfort becomes too great for us to bear and then we start fixing things that are causing the pain, but sometimes we’re smart enough to ask for help before reaching that point, and when we ask, we turn to the people we trust. Don’t you ask your friends?

Unless you have very few competitors in your niche, you can’t rest on your laurels when it comes to keeping up with the changes that  innovations and time pushes onto any market. If you don’t push yourself to keep learning — making mistakes and adjusting for them along the way — you won’t expand your knowledge. You won’t be able to adjust when something new comes along that can impact you, your products, and your business.

Think of it. The things we’re capable of doing today — mobile banking, on-demand streaming services, seamless virtual conferencing, for example — didn’t exist two decades ago. The infrastructure and the technology simply weren’t there. Now that they are, look at the changes they made to how people manage money, music, entertainment and media, and how we communicate across borders and time-zones.

And even now, with all the advances in science and collaborative technology, we really have no way to predict with pinpoint accuracy what’s going to pop up in the next twenty years.  Entire industries got turned over since then, and long-standing business practices eroded and were swept away by the change brought about by new tech.

The speed at which we were able to generate and share our discoveries zoomed, and so did the amount of data let out into the world.  There’s too much information for any one person to get all sides and perspectives of issues.

And that means that you have to stay sharp — and staying sharp requires resources, time-management, and dedication. Working smart and working hard — and asking questions. Questions are a timeless way of getting more information, and with the apps and online tools we have at our disposal, well, we can all drown in looking for what we can use to make improvements.

Which leads then to this: Have you ever crowd-sourced brainpower?
Continue reading Your Secret Weapon: Customer Feedback

The Benefits Of Using Autoresponders

30 August 2013, by A. Cedilla

Auto-responders are computer programs that are set-up to respond to any outside emails by replying with pre-written messages. There can be just one message, or the initial query email can trigger a series of messages. Auto-responders are also known as mailbots and automailers.

Auto-responders are huge time and labor savers, taking the burden off your organization to handles the response load generated by incoming communication from customers. A well thought-out and well-written set of pre-planned replies and responses are a great set of tools for your business. Imagine paying someone just to handle the unsubscribe emails sent in….or writing an individualized letter to each and every email from scratch.

Auto-responders perform a pre-set series of actions in response to pre-filtered emails. For example, internal email filters can be set to separate billing, support and technical issues to different ‘in-boxes’ that give different auto-replies. With good information, data analysis and a good writing team, auto-mailers saves thinking and labor time when action is needed.

Communication is built-in even at all the stages of your business. You have a product, you have a market you aim to sell to. That market is composed of people who, sooner or later will want to talk to you about your product. Whether it’s to complain, compliment or ask for more information, you have to have at least some idea of what you want to say to them — and more importantly what impression you want to leave. Continue reading The Benefits Of Using Autoresponders

Using Signature Files For Promotion

23 August 2013, by A. Cedilla

You might brush these things off as simply being those annoying mini-essays tacked onto all the emails cramming your in-box, but that probably comes from being exposed to people who didn’t understand the principles of having a professional signature file

Even in interdepartmental communications, we can get the TMI-version from some of our co-workers, but in a professional setting, you shouldn’t brush off signature files (also known as “sigfiles.”) They are still a way to spread the word about your business.

Business card rituals happen in a professional setting, and there are even protocols for giving them out, especially in Japan. The key thing is to be professional. There should be a clear distinction between work email and personal email. For example:

  • Links in your sigfile should lead to good sites, not elicit a “What the hell is this?” reaction. Rickrolling is not work-appropriate behavior.
  • Put nothing you’d be embarrassed to be admitting to in public, in front of lawyers and your family.

In a nutshell, a signature file takes the place of a dead-tree business card, but with more space. It is attached to the end of your email messages. Just as a blank wall can inspire people to scribble all sorts of things on it (“Kilroy was here!”), this blank space can inspire you to ways you can push your business. Continue reading Using Signature Files For Promotion

5 Basic Things To Include in Your Newsletters

In a previous article, How To Engage Your Newsletter Readers , we went over important factors to consider when you want to keep the people on your hard-earned mailing lists. In this installment, we’ll share 5 of the basic bits of information you can share with them.

Aside from the worry about the time you need to invest in setting up and creating engaging content for your newsletter, even if you think you’re gong to run out of things to share, there are very basic (some may say essential) subjects you can stick to that can help you greatly in keeping your readers reading, and save you work in plotting out what to say.

If you only share information that helps them, the scheduling can be adjusted to whenever you have useful information, like software updates, special offers and ‘Coming Soon’ events. You don’t need to flood your mailing list with updates on everything you’re doing (you can use Twitter for that) and there’s less pressure on keeping to a hard schedule of ‘publication’. Continue reading 5 Basic Things To Include in Your Newsletters

Writing Articles For Your Business

“Oh, no. Not another business-writing article…” Stop right there. You won’t be graded. There’s no one with a red pen waiting to slash your work to ribbons, no essays and fancy compound-complex sentence construction expected. We’re not expecting you to write The One Article To End All Articles. Relax, stop twitching and just be open.

You’ve been communicating all your life, growing up, getting educated, socializing with other people. You know how to communicate, i.e, to listen and respond, to reason out things and get your point across. Article-writing is just another extension of that process, one you store on paper, or digitally. It’s easier than you think. You don’t have to be a ‘guru’, or ‘An Expert.’ You just have to be yourself.

When you decide to use articles to promote your self and your business, always keep a capture journal within reach. Write down the ideas that pop up as they come to you. Don’t edit, don’t filter, just write them down. The creative process needs lots of ideas to keep it bubbling, and judging ideas as ” …just too far out, what am I thinking?” weakens the momentum. Continue reading Writing Articles For Your Business