<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=118316065439938&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Deep Dive » Latest Articles
Browse All Categories
David Mills
By David Mills
on October 06, 2021

Why review the top staffing agencies' digital candidate journey?

Staffing agencies and staffing intensive businesses like homecare, healthcare, and skilled trades deliver one primary value to their customers - skilled people. For most, attracting and winning that talent is their greatest challenge (75%+), with the candidate journey almost always starting and then progressing online. The quality of that experience is one critical part of what sets winning staffing agencies apart from those who are struggling with enough candidates to keep up with placement opportunities.

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on October 06, 2021

Emotional decision-making influences the way you reach families. Here's how:

Did you know that 95% of decision-making is unconscious?

David Mills
By David Mills
on September 04, 2021

More isn't a strategy. It's just how you turn on an endless budget-draining spicket of costs, often without a benefit you can track. Learn more about websites that don't suck, and marketing that elevates you above invisibility.

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 18, 2021

The Lord of the Rings has one ring to rule them all, but finding that one plugin has been a big challenge for WordPress users who rely on way too many plugins. Recent changes have presented an opportunity, and a single WordPress plugin can now cut down your reliance on the code-heavy, website slowing, high maintenance parade of plugins you might currently be using.

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 17, 2021

Marketers and sales teams have to be free to make a website update quickly and effectively

For lots of businesses and nonprofits, a website update is a painful and challenging process. They have to reach out to their developer and designer, or find one, create a scope of work, and then get the project into the development queue. Unless of course, they have a developer and a designer on standby with nothing else to do.

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 05, 2021

How the WordPress HubSpot integration can supercharge your website performance
Have you ever noticed a button in your car or on your computer that you've never really used? Unless you actually read the manual , it's easy to miss some of the best features that technology can deliver. It works that way when you have added the WordPress HubSpot integration to your WordPress website, too. There are lots of features that may have never explored. With the right approach, you can turn the WordPress HubSpot integration into an effective growth engine for your business or nonprofit.

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 04, 2021

 

Speed up WordPress and Reduce Upkeep with the HubSpot Plugin

With Google's Core Web Vitals making an impact on search rankings, website page load speed for WordPress has become a primary concern for people that want their website to show up on the top of search rankings. The HubSpot plugin is a key part of the solution for this challenge.

David Mills
By David Mills
on July 15, 2021

A buyer's journey is something we normally use in marketing to customers, but it also has a lot to do with how well we can recruit quality caregivers and healthcare workers, and keep them. In the highly competitive world of healthcare and home care recruiting, it's an advantage that you don't want to miss. Adding an employee journey to your marketing can be a powerful way to build a competitive advantage in recruiting.

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 25, 2021

Your marketing plans probably need an answer - "how long does it take to build a website?"

If you haven't had a website redesigned recently, you may not have a good handle on how long it might take. The time required certainly varies, and the one answer you may hear, that really isn't helpful is,

"It depends."

A better grasp of the likely timeline is helpful when you're working on marketing plans and marketing budgets.

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 17, 2021

Knowing how to buy the right website design packages is an important key to business growth

No one wants a website design package that reduces their visibility, damages their brand, or frustrates their customers. Shopping for a website package is not the same as looking for a TV, buying a car or shopping for a new washer and dryer. Why? Because all of these things have standard measurements of volume, size, speed and they come with warranties. Almost none of those things are true of website design (👎 bummer).

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 09, 2021

Stronger recruiting has become a make-or-break issue, with both B2E Marketing and B2E websites now an essential focus.

Home care agencies are already business-to-business companies (B2B) if they work with institutions to receive referrals. They are also business to consumer (B2C) since they market directly to consumers who need care for themselves or their loved ones. B2E websites and B2E marketing is a critical focus for growth.

But what is B2E?

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 07, 2021

For staffing intensive businesses, passive candidates represent a big growth opportunity in 2021. Following the disruptions of 2020, the number of job changers has risen. According to a Harris Poll, 52% of U.S. workers are considering a job change this year, and as many as 44% have actual plans in place to make the leap. 

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 02, 2021

 

Three ways you maximize job listings on the best job posting sites.

Job postings are a critical part of recruiting, but the way they work can devalue the jobs you need to fill. Understanding the ways that your job posts lose their value, and taking steps to stand out, can help you attract and win more great employees.

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on June 01, 2021
Have you ever priced what it would cost to make your website accessible for the hearing or visually impaired?

I have. And I didn’t like the answer.

Have you ever seen the price of litigation if someone with a disability decides to file a complaint with the federal government under ADA Title III?

David Mills
By David Mills
on May 19, 2021

Learn how digital marketing recruitment can give you a competitive advantage in hiring

The focus of recruitment marketing and hiring has always been on managing the process. In the world of the big job boards where large numbers of resumes are delivered quickly, the challenge used to be sorting through all the resumes to filter out the ones that didn't fit to find the gem in the list.

But that has all changed in a scarce labor market. Now instead of relying on an ATS to manage the crowd, the need for filtering has been replaced by the need for better recruitment marketing.

David Mills
By David Mills
on May 01, 2021

How Email and More Referrals Go Together for Home Care Marketing

The value of referrals for home care agencies is a proven way to build the business and a primary goal of all home care marketing.  Your former customers along with their family members and the professionals that you interact with are a great source for new business.  The challenge is finding ways to stay “top of mind” with all of these people and the time required. 

Chad Alexander
By Chad Alexander
on April 29, 2021

Story Collaborative was named the "Most Outstanding  Growth Marketing Consultancy 2021" by Corporate Vision.

We're honored to make this distinction, and we relish what this means for the company this year and beyond!

Part of the reason we were chosen for this distinction is because of a belief that we hold. And we aren't the most outstanding growth marketing consultancy because of what we do, but what other agencies do, or rather, don't do:

We believe that the current marketing agency model is unfair, and we believe there is a different way.

And here's where we stop talking about us, and start talking about the problems we have encountered with traditional agencies and even inbound agencies.

David Mills
By David Mills
on April 22, 2021

Understanding digital marketing agency cost drivers

Cost is almost always a question when you are thinking about finding digital marketing help, whether you're just thinking about it or actually having conversations with prospective agencies. And the answers vary. Understanding what goes into those costs can help you to make a better decision. 

Chad Alexander
By Chad Alexander
on April 19, 2021

In the last quarter of 2020, our team escaped below freezing temperatures as we traveled down the East Coast, researching the "best of the best" in Google business listings. We've helped many funeral home and home care business grow, so we focused our Google My Business data on keywords in these industries. 

David Mills
By David Mills
on April 13, 2021

Learning from the Best Career Pages in Homecare

 

In a tight job market, staffing agencies like those in homecare recruiting and healthcare recruiting have to shift their focus from just filtering out applicants to winning them. That's the job of a career pages on websites- to engage prospects by helping them experience the culture and the unique value that the company offers. It has to reach beyond the mechanics of presenting the open positions and receiving applications. These pages fill a critical role in supporting company growth. There's lots to learn from those who are doing it well. Here are our picks for best career pages in homecare.

David Mills
By David Mills
on April 10, 2021

Whether you are in healthcare staffing, homecare, skilled trades staffing, or have another recruiting focus, your ability to recruit effectively in a scarce labor market determines whether you’ve got the talent to fuel your growth or a lack of new hires that stops it cold. You need your system - your recruitment pipeline - to give you a competitive edge. Some call it a hiring pipeline or a candidate pipeline, but no matter the label, it’s the way you win and nuture opportunities with new hires.

Missing elements in the recruitment pipeline 

Recruitment pipelines come from the same concept as marketing funnels - they are designed to take a large number of people and filter them down to just the right few. The right few to hire, or the right few to sell.

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on April 07, 2021

See How Coke and 6 Other Big Brands Utilize HubSpot CMS

You might be surprised to hear that Coca-Cola, among other major brands like Nextdoor and Oregon State, have built attractive websites on HubSpot CMS. If you’re looking into this solution for your own company, it can be helpful to see the breadth of the platform's capabilities.

David Mills
By David Mills
on March 10, 2021

The market is like a basket of crabs. Whenever a home care agency tries the climb out and be different, the other crabs in the basket grab hold with their pincers and drag it back down. It's another version of the blue ocean vs. red ocean strategy - differentiation is what makes you stand out, and the market will work against you.  

David Mills
By David Mills
on February 23, 2021

The effects of COVID-19 reduced demand for in-home care due to fears about the disease and increase of care being provided by family members, while at the same time sidelining scores of caregivers due to the lack of demand, and the alternative - getting paid more by taking unemployment. These twin impacts have created a down-turn for many home care providers that most want to overcome in 2021.

David Mills
By David Mills
on February 22, 2021

The impacts of COVID-19 and 2020 have disrupted almost every sector, and nonprofits haven't been spared. Current research available early in 2021 shows that about 70% of nonprofits lost revenue in 2020, with one-quarter losing between 26-50% of their revenue.

Those who work for and support nonprofits of all different types know all too well the impacts of forced program closures, distracted or economically challenged donors, and the loss of fundraising events as a staple for funding.

David Mills
By David Mills
on February 11, 2021

Retail, especially it's local expression, has been one of the last to get relief from COVID shutdowns. Almost every town and city now has boarded up or vacant retail. We know from news and our own conversations that many of those stores aren't coming back. While big box stores have continued in-person and added lots of delivery and pick-up options, the smaller stores that give personality and social context to our communities have been shuttered.  

David Mills
By David Mills
on February 09, 2021

The way customers view your organization determines everything. From your reputation to their price sensitivity, length of the buying cycle, and willingness to commit to you as a business, employer, school, nonprofit, or church. That lens (the one that customers used in 2019 to search, consider, and commit) has been swapped out for a new vision of the world. What they see today is completely different than the vision that moved them to respond to your old messaging and brand story.

David Mills
By David Mills
on February 02, 2021

 

 

Making the right pivot at the right time is what allows companies to thrive in the midst of big market disruption. Elisabeth Sanders-Park shares insights from her journey in this video interview.

Chad Alexander
By Chad Alexander
on January 31, 2021

Story Collaborative was named one of the top "30 Most Reputable Companies of the Year 2021" by The Silicon Review. We're honored to have this distinction and excited for what it means this year and moving forward. Part of the reason we were chosen for this distinction is because we believe that the current marketing agency model is unfair.

David Mills
By David Mills
on January 26, 2021

Many businesses that are still open have been living in crisis response mode since March of 2020. By making rapid adjustments to product or service delivery, they have been able to track with the massive buyer shifts that have been occurring. Moving from responding to crisis to making intentional and strategic changes allows the organization to shift from simply staying afloat to seizing opportunities that create strength and growth.

David Mills
By David Mills
on January 01, 2021

Mission, vision, and values are standard fair for organizations that want a strategic focus. These are important elements that should guide a mission-minded organization.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 19, 2020

Renting online traffic by purchasing ads is one way to acquire new customers. However, the cost of ads in the online bidding used by digital ad markets is being influenced by something you can control --  your website. Your website plays a major role in how much you will have to spend in order to bring in the right flow of reliable, quality leads. In most cases, websites aren't doing their job to keep ad costs down, and usually do the opposite by driving up your ad budget. It's a much better investment to use low cost website data and update strategies, than to continue being dependent upon ads.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 16, 2020

We seem to be back in the soup again. Different states and cities are experiencing different levels of restriction. It's exhausting for everyone, and those who came through the first wave of COVID-19 successfully are now looking at renewed restrictions square in the eye. Here are some tips to avoid allowing the ongoing COVID saga from creating long-term damage to your brand story.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 10, 2020

We're hearing about story selling, why stories, and story-based marketing. A brand story is more than the application of story telling to your brand. Here's the difference. The use of stories is a technique or an approach in sales, marketing and communication that is certainly effective. But without a careful process, it won't ever rise to a brand defining level.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 10, 2020

Story branding is a shared adventure between you and the people that you serve. Your story brand will always be found in the place where your passions and values overlap with the passions and values of your audience. This alignment is what takes a simple brand offering a product or service, and elevates it into the status of a brand story. Instead of a commodity to be price-shopped, your offering is celebrated, shared and recommended. As a result, your cost of reaching customers goes down, your sales cycles become shorter and customer retention goes up.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 05, 2020

With all the pressures on health care, to which COVID-19 added, it seems like piling on to raise the issue of cyber security. But in part because of COVID, it's on the rise in a significant way. Health care is a primary target because of the amount of patient data and the financial value of operational records. 

You've seen the headlines, but you probably aren't aware of the unintentional insider threat that healthcare providers, hospitals, home care providers and others have left open for the hacker- poorly secured websites.

David Mills
By David Mills
on October 28, 2020

It's always a shock to see yourself on public display, especially on the cover (here's the magazine so you can be shocked too).  It raises obvious and immediate self-doubt about needing better photos and the ongoing battle for the receding hairline. While it's much better than being put up on the post office wall, it's still a pretty humbling experience. But if you're working to build a company, a little boost always helps. Here are some lessons about being on a magazine cover: 

David Mills
By David Mills
on October 01, 2020

It's a famous story- George Parker used to sell NYC landmarks from a fake office. He sold the Statue of Liberty, Madison Square Garden and reportedly the Brooklyn Bridge (about twice a week). The buyers would then discover that for some reason the police wouldn't let them set up a toll booth in the middle of the bridge! It all ended after his third conviction for running these cons in 1928.

David Mills
By David Mills
on October 01, 2020

Your home care website is an essential part of your marketing. It's the place that seniors and their families first experience the difference that you offer. Like a salesperson that's available 24/7, your website is the hub around which you should be building both marketing and caregiver recruiting. If that critical online resource becomes a risk for seniors, it threatens their security and your business.

David Mills
By David Mills
on October 01, 2020

The massive number of details that you're managing to launch a new service line or office location can crowd out one important area - marketing. Great healthcare offerings need great patients. Starting the marketing process early and ensuring that you cover the essential elements will make the investment in clinic space, and time pay off earlier.

David Mills
By David Mills
on September 28, 2020

Attracting the right number of caregivers to meet client demand is challenging. Your growth is limited by not having great caregivers available when the client is ready. And, keeping those caregivers requires that you've got a job they want when they're ready.  Growing agencies are figuring out how to keep the right supply of caregivers to meet client opportunities. An insight from the 2020 Benchmarking Study points out a critical way to boost your effectiveness.

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on September 23, 2020

I imagine you have heard of arachnophobia (the fear of spiders) or claustrophobia (fear of confined or crowded spaces). But have you ever heard of a pseudo phobia, called Ostrich Complex? 

Chad Alexander
By Chad Alexander
on September 23, 2020

The questionWhat would you tell your boss if they asked you, “Why aren’t our videos working?”

 

The answer:

"That’s a great question, boss lady!

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on September 23, 2020

The questionWhat to tell your boss when they walk in and say: “how much is it going to cost us to get our website ADA compliant?"

David Mills
By David Mills
on September 23, 2020

The questionWhen someone asks in a coaching session: “What’s your favorite sales hack of all time?”

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on September 16, 2020

No Leads To Your WEbsite, AKA: No-Date-For-Prom-Itis

Does your website lack any return visitors, or have your site visits fallen off? Is it failing to get any lead conversions from real people? Has it been more than 3 years since you have had real work done on it? Has it been built by a do-it-yourself solution, or did Jonas in your uncle’s basement design it for you? 

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on September 16, 2020

The questionhow to help your boss understand that your brand needs time and investment.

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on September 16, 2020

The questionWhat to tell your ceo when they ask: "why do we have a blog? Isn't that a bunch of musings from one of our staff?"

Chad Alexander
By Chad Alexander
on September 15, 2020

The questionhow do you respond to a client when they ask: "What's the best video editing tool?"

The answer:

"for high-end editing, it's DaVinci Resolve. But, there are some other great choices, too. You need to discover the best video editing tool for you and your needs. Here's how..."

David Mills
By David Mills
on September 09, 2020

I'll admit it. I'm a recovering DIY addict. Some of the most humorous words spoken in our home are, "I can do that." The DIY resulted in my purchase of a 1960's Triumph Spitfire which broke more clutches than it got oil changes, and too many other projects to name, all completed with low to moderate success. But does the duct tape and baling wire (you know, the wire for hay bales) approach work in 2020 for marketing?

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on September 08, 2020

Have you noticed a strange pattern of inappropriate, rude or vulgar language in random places on your website? Are you seeing strange tics like popup messages or changes that you did not make? 

David Mills
By David Mills
on September 08, 2020

What is choice paralysis?

Choice paralysis is the inability to choose, or being frozen in the process because of mental or emotional overload. This can impact your website, the services or products that you sell, and all of your marketing. The last thing we want our marketing to do is to paralyze decisions! We want to help people make good ones!

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on September 08, 2020

an ad strategy based on tigers

Since 2018, Cheetos has been the target of a new major competitor: PeaTos. These pea-filled copy-cats have one goal: be moderately more healthy than Cheetos. They've stripped out the common junk-food culprits, like artificial flavors and genetically modified ingredients, and they've replaced corn with peas. Their ad strategy -- rubbing it in Frito-Lays' face -- is nothing short of hilarious.

Chad Alexander
By Chad Alexander
on September 08, 2020

The questionhow to help your boss feel at-ease in front of the camera, when they say: "I'm terrible at this!"

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on September 08, 2020

The questionWhat is your answer when a client asks: “How can I get more good content on my website?”

 

The answer:

Gary Vaynerchuck is famous for having said: “Every one of you is a media company.” 

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on September 08, 2020

The question: what to say to your intern when they ask: "what's the first thing I can do to seo my articles?"

 

The answer:

"Oh hey intern, thanks for asking about optimizing your content!

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on September 02, 2020

The question: what to tell your boss during a rebrand, when they ask: "how can we choose the best logo?"

 

The answer:

“So glad you asked! When looking at comps, ask yourself:

Chad Alexander
By Chad Alexander
on September 02, 2020

The question: How to respond when asked: "what's better? YouTube or Vimeo?"

 

The answer:

Well, one isn’t better -- they’re just different! In general, YouTube is the place that the average business can build an audience, gain SEO value (since it’s owned by Google), and expect consumer interaction. Vimeo is really the filmmaker’s platform. This is a place you can host videos that are embedded on your website, or share edits with clients. Vimeo provides unique control of your content that YouTube is not designed for. But, don’t forget! Platforms like Facebook typically require you to upload your video there as well for the best shareability and visibility.”

David Mills
By David Mills
on September 02, 2020

The question: How to respond when your CFO walks in and says: "We're going to cut your marketing budget, unless you can prove that your methods are working."

 

The answer:

You can't say: “Yikes! I need a rain check." 

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 25, 2020

Personalization vs. de-personalization

Understanding Personalization

In order to understand de-personalization we have to understand personalization. This is the use of data to deliver messages and information to the right person at the right time. This can put the right kind of data in front of the right person at the right time. 

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 25, 2020

Since recruiting and retaining caregivers is the lifeblood of homecare recruiting, healthcare recruiting, and other industries facing a shortage, finding the right approach to the recruitment funnel is critical. With in-person events off the table right now, job listing services might seem like the only viable option. The 2020 Benchmarking Study highlights an important recruiting difference between agencies that are growing and those that struggle to grow.

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 18, 2020

You need people to find you online, but somehow you got voted off the island called the internet.

We've all seen that tribal reality TV moment when all the contestants meet by torchlight and vote to exile others with their votes written on a piece of bark, and put it into the giant tiki head. Someone is always getting voted off the island - does that apply to your website too?

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 18, 2020

Best Kept Secret-itus is a tricky website illness. You or other leaders in your organization might think or say, “I feel like we’re a best kept secret.” This is the first sign that you may in fact have this website illness. To know for sure if your website has this illness, you must be able to define your target audience, because the disease occurs when too few people in that audience know that you exist.

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on August 18, 2020

What happens when an ad campaign goes totally wrong? I mean, the ad campaign actually sends their potential customers running for the hills, wanting to jump off a cliff or even better: “climb Mount Everest in flippers,” as one commenter put it. 

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on August 18, 2020

Rebranding? Relaunching? New the the scene? Likely, you're going to sort through logo comps from a designer, but you'll do so without any really idea about how to choose the right thing. You'll look with your feelings or with your gut response. But, you won't inherently use logic or business sense in choosing the right logo.

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 17, 2020

This is a common question for many marketers. You look at your site, and it's been a few months (or a few years) since it was revamped. You start to wonder... "Do I need a new website?" Sometimes, it's not a question you're asking. In some cases, your boss walked into your office in the middle of a busy day and asked, "Hey, do we need a new website?"

Chad Alexander
By Chad Alexander
on August 13, 2020

Here’s the thing guys. We understand that COVID-19 has changed the way we interact and conduct meetings. With companies like Amazon allowing remote work until next year, and Uber even extending that period until at least June of 2021, being on a video call is here to stay. But there are some rules of engagement for video. And you could be breaking them.

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 12, 2020

Story-based marketing is a growing, dramatic change in the way that brands are connecting and building loyal relationships with their customers. This approach is more powerful than you might think. It's developed beyond simply including stories in the engagement process. Four characteristics help define the difference between traditional and story-based marketing.

A common (but outdated) definition of story-based marketing goes something like this:

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 11, 2020

Single Point of Failure: this is a concept in IT, business, and manufacturing planning that says: there are some things in our business that can shut us down. If they fail, we fail... As marketers, we are often subject to these single points of failure that stop us from getting things done. We get stuck, because of a single point of failure. Our marketing relies upon a single resource that is either expensive, hard to get, or slow to respond (this is a bottleneck point of failure).

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on August 11, 2020

I don't know if you've noticed, but... your consumers are at home. You know this because you're at home, too! But, it's easy to forget that everyone across the globe is at home in a way they were not previously. The continued behavioral changes of people on YouTube actually hold unique insights into how people are feeling, what they are needing, and how their life is changing. These 8 YouTube stats will remind you of the needs of your consumer. They might even launch your marketing team toward an empathetic strategy that hits a home run (no pun intended).

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 10, 2020

The recent 2020 Benchmarking Study demonstrated the dramatic revenue difference between those who use a CRM and those who do not (if you didn't know, CRM stands for customer relationship management). For those who have feelings of dread about trying out a CRM, or memories of CRMs before the modern email and mobile integrated versions, it's easy to have completely the wrong idea about the about why am I doing this?

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on August 04, 2020

As people begin the long road toward whatever their new post-COVID, at-home, foundationally-digital life will become, new research has emerged about consumer behavior. Ketchum's research, which surveyed consumers in mid-June, tells us a lot about how people will move forward in their buying habits.

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on August 04, 2020

Let's talk about the power of the value proposition - as it's that one powerful statement that clearly defines the benefit of a product or service. 

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 03, 2020

The reports from home care agencies make it clear - agencies that put a CRM to work are driving more revenue. The 2020 Benchmarking Study shows that Agencies that use a customer relationship management system (CRM) enjoy a strong financial and practical advantage because they market more effectively, get more done in less time and ensure that prospects don't slip through the cracks. 

David Mills
By David Mills
on July 29, 2020

Managed service providers, or MSPs, are trusted partners for millions of organizations. They hold the keys to almost everything of value within a business from access to banking and client records, to eCommerce and personal information. Since nailing down security issues is an important role for most MSPs, the potential that an MSP could become an insider threat is a potential reputation wrecker for these businesses.

Chad Alexander
By Chad Alexander
on July 28, 2020

There are many occasions as a marketing professional that call for pulling out your iPhone and capturing something. It could be your product, your customer having an awesome experience, or even in internal team challenge that has potential create amazing recruiting footage. For the next occasion, here are the top three things you can do (or tell you underling to do) to capture the best possible footage.

David Mills
By David Mills
on July 27, 2020

If you need a recruiting advantage, borrow the inbound marketing approach that works with customers and apply it to employee recruiting.

What is inbound marketing? Inbound marketing has become a powerful tool in the effort to win customers. At its heart, inbound marketing is the delivery of value through content that builds trust and leads to a loyal buyer. Valuable content helps the customer throughout their entire journey from exploring a need all the way to making a buying decision. This approach is highly effective with home care marketing because it addresses the whole customer journey as well as the what's required for for search engine optimization (SEO). Those that find you through SEO are often the most qualified customers and employees.  

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on July 22, 2020

Hungry, hungry, hungry...

Did you ever notice that the ads you experience on vacation affect you differently than in every day life? That's the experience you might have when you are super hungry and see commercials for food! With a lot of stay-cationing going on and people choosing to travel by car instead of plane, this canned soup commercial couldn't be more timely - it will actually make you feel hungry after a long day's travel, or if you are thinking about meal prep for your stay at home crew.

David Mills
By David Mills
on July 16, 2020

How Microsites are Delivering a Competitive Advantage Across Industries

Microsites are becoming a competitive strategy in a number of industries. Put simply, a microsite is a focused group of pages that provide information that is designed to serve a unique audience, location or product/service. It wraps the sales and value message up in a focused package, along with critical information and answers to questions so that when a prospect visits the microsite, they are able to learn what they need to and move to the next level of the buyer's journey.

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on July 16, 2020

In 2020, I think it's clear that "everyone" is on Facebook. But, even so... the question remains: who is actively using Facebook and what are they doing while they scroll? These insights can help us better target our ads, and develop more relevant organic content.

David Mills
By David Mills
on July 15, 2020
It's an early childhood lesson - share your toys and play nicely with others. Amidst all of the valuable information available to every consumer online, there are some who haven't learned to share. They will provide a paragraph of the information that you wanted, but after that...
David Mills
By David Mills
on July 15, 2020
The Type A personality is legendary - hard-driving, focused and competitive. But, Type A's are known to be impatient and even aggressive. What does that have to do with your website's personality? It's all about the experience that your website delivers to the visitor. 
David Mills
By David Mills
on July 15, 2020

Website evaluations give us insight into the performance we are getting in return for our marketing investments

With the whole population shifting their communication, shopping, and sharing to online, your website is more important than it's ever been. And while most websites have a large banner that speaks to immediate COVID-19 measures, that won't be enough to keep up with the pace of change that is occurring online. Taking stock of your website anytime there is a major market disruption is a good practice, with digital change fueling social change at such a rapid pace.

David Mills
By David Mills
on July 15, 2020
The Champion Website Personalty has grown past all of the dysfunctional website personality issues that stop others from performing. This is truly a high-performing website in the making, and the business or nonprofit that benefits has a real asset in place. 
David Mills
By David Mills
on July 12, 2020

Most websites are carrying a heavy burden. It's not just the need for high-performing lead conversion, it's the massive amount of dead-weight content that simply doesn't perform. If you run a page count on your website, and compare it to pages or articles that people never visit, you'll see just how much content falls into the category of "no visitors."

David Mills
By David Mills
on July 09, 2020

Is your website someone you'd like to go to a party with? How about on vacation? You may not think of a website as having a personality - but your customers and prospects see your website as an extension of your brand. If the website is friendly, personal and efficient, that's what they think of you too. 

David Mills
By David Mills
on July 08, 2020
Have you ever been in a used book store that has books everywhere? They are on shelves, stacked on tables and in boxes on the floor. Everyone is pretty sure there is some good stuff in there, but finding it? That's almost impossible. Is that a good description of your website?
David Mills
By David Mills
on July 08, 2020
The Intimidator Website Personalty tends to develop in two scenarios: First, it happens to people who are in very serious business settings. They provide services or products that are no laughing matter, and their websites let you know that. Second, it happens when people use old website technology and out of date graphics that make their sites look like cold-war relics.
David Mills
By David Mills
on July 08, 2020
The Dreamer website personality is big on dreams, but a little low on application. Even the most inspiring website can have a very high bounce rate and low conversion rates (i.e., it doesn't accomplish much).
David Mills
By David Mills
on June 04, 2020

Almost every business and nonprofit has experienced some level of market disruption. And it’s lasted longer than anyone thought. What comes along with these market disruptions is something that every leader has to pay attention to - change. 

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 04, 2020

Among all of the important technology tools for getting online is the Content Management System (CMS). You might think of it as simply your website, but it is part of what should be "under the hood" of an effective online presence. Your CMS is what allows prospective customers to discover online the experience, talent and value that you offer.

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 04, 2020

We tend to think of our websites in the singular. You may think that you “have a website” (i.e., one) and that one site is where everything has to fit. It’s easy to think that one business or organizational website is the single container for all of your online presence, but that’s not the reality for effective web marketing. Effective web marketing includes multiple landing pages, sub-sites or micro-sites for specific purposes all with the goal of giving people the exact information and opportunities that they need to become our customers.

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 01, 2020


Sometimes change occurs slowly, other times it accelerates due to events and human culture. Up until 2020, the digital revolution has been slowly developing in the funeral industry, with many elements like websites, sales processes and video lagging behind many other industries. It is understandable, since so much of the work of caring for families during loss is was done in person by professional funeral directors.


David Mills
By David Mills
on May 23, 2020

How your sales activity can help seniors during the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.

No other group in our society has been affected as deeply as seniors during COVID-19. In addition to the associated health risks, seniors are experiencing the greatest amounts of social isolation and will remain isolated for a longer period of time. Social isolation, whether it is a result of physicial limitations, or the shelter in place requirements, is strongly linked to depression and anxiety in seniors. A large percentage of those who are sheltering in place (47%) are reporting that they are experiencing anxiety and depression - that's a jump of 30% over those who aren't stuck at home.

David Mills
By David Mills
on May 20, 2020

While there are many challenges that organizations are facing as a result of COVID-19, there are also opportunities to come out of the other side as a stronger business. Resilience as a business means reaching deep to rely upon existing and newly acquired competencies to move through a season of challenge. One important area is accelerating as a result: virtualization and Revops.

David Mills
By David Mills
on May 12, 2020

If you are in senior sales, in order continue closing sales right now, you have to find new ways to walk seniors through their decision journey. The salespeople that we talk with report that using the phone to navigate the details of complex and emotional decisions is difficult. Understanding the value of moving to video vs. phone is vital for senior salespeople that want to retain and build their closing rate.

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on May 07, 2020

When we hear from our clients that some marketing information needs some input, we often record a live video. (Check out S+Marketing LIVE's "3 Marketing Things" Series). Our latest Marketing Roundup includes advice from all of our super talented team members on the topic of email. Yes, email still has value!

David Mills
By David Mills
on May 06, 2020

People used to believe that seniors couldn't really be reached online. That's one reason that funeral preplanning and senior living still relies upon postal mail and expensive mass media. Along with everything else, times have changed. Now it's easier than ever to reach seniors online.

The trends toward online participation among seniors have been consistently growing for a number of years, but along with the rest of the population, they've gone more digital in 2020 that anyone could have imagined.

David Mills
By David Mills
on April 09, 2020

We're starting to hear the whispers of going back to work. It's a welcome discussion. Leaders at all levels of government are starting to work through how we will start to recover. Have you started thinking about your bounce-back?

David Mills
By David Mills
on March 26, 2020

We are in a moment right now, that presents a unique opportunity to your business or nonprofit. Whether you are a school, a healthcare practice, a senior living facility, retailer or service provider, there are things that you can do right now which you may never be able to do again.

David Mills
By David Mills
on March 24, 2020

When lots of things are shut down, inaction can be the greatest frustration. Here are steps you can take as a nonprofit or business right now to make the most of a challenging season.

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on March 23, 2020

Values.
For many organizations, this is a concept passed around during high-level board meetings, or developed in the strategic planning or story brand process, but quickly forgotten. Even in a workplace that has their values displayed and posted for frequent employee review, company values still often feel dusty and inanimate -- not active verbs as much as required reading once or twice a year.

But now, more than ever, your corporate values are on display.

COVID-19 is boiling your Brand Story down to values.

David Mills
By David Mills
on March 17, 2020

Once they get past the health-concerns and medical response, leaders are beginning to wrestle with the immediate and short-term impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on their organizations. Protecting, closing, canceling and postponing is just the first step. Beyond the first, somewhat shocking and challenging parts of the process, it’s critical to get a handle on ways that you can approach the large scale changes that are occurring in and around your business or nonprofit.

David Mills
By David Mills
on March 10, 2020

 

The use of all types of video has increased consistently dramatically year over year for the past decade. In 2015, marketers reported that 78% felt that video was important and in 2020 that number is 92% (Wzowl 2020). Many businesses, schools, and nonprofits have incorporated video to a limited degree in their sales and marketing, but much of that adoption is falling far behind the way that both consumers and business buyers behave.

David Mills
By David Mills
on March 05, 2020

It's the stealth applicant season when those who aren't on your radar submit an application without warning. It's always great to get an unexpected application, but there's a downside to these surprises, too.

The challenges that the stealth applicant brings are important to consider. You can't get a handle on what enrollment "might look like," if you have a large number of people who don't give you advance signals. You also don't know if they are just submitting a safety application, or if they are a good mission fit at all.

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on March 03, 2020

A Story about Stories that Aren't (Only) Told in Words

Leisure reading is at an all-time low. Did you know that? Even Steve Jobs pointed out back in 2008 that people are reading less than one book per year. But this article is not going to be about leisure reading or the decline in our literary culture.

David Mills
By David Mills
on February 24, 2020

Millennials have a nose for what’s authentic, how is your brand story doing?

Millennials are the emerging consumer powerhouse - $600 million in 2019. Their values come through loud and clear in how they shop and what they buy. One value you need to know about is their strong preference for authenticity. It impacts the way they see your business.

90% of millennials say that brand authenticity is important to them. They prefer the “real and organic” over the “perfect and packaged.” They are seeing your business or nonprofit brand through that unique lense - and it creates a bigger impact than you might think. Their reaction can range from mild-distaste all the way to “this is obviously not for me,” and immediate departure from the website or other collateral. We've interviewed millennials who took one look at a website and concluded they'd never return.

David Mills
By David Mills
on February 10, 2020

A three-part series: How to own your brand story, align your team, and multiply your impact

Part 1: Own Your Brand Story

Anyone who works in a service-related industry knows the challenges of serving people, satisfying budgets and regulations, and doing all of that with a team of humans. Our experience often lines up with the title of the great book by Charles Swindoll about personal perseverance, Three Steps Forward and Two Steps Back. Sometimes it seems that just about the time we start to see our numbers climbing, we face a set-back due to customer service, a staffing issue, or even both. When you own your brand story it can help propel you to stronger growth, better staff retention and customer service.

In 2020, we’re convinced that taking three steps forward and no steps back, revolves around learning how to own your brand story, align your team, and multiplying your effort. We’re seeing these outcomes in the clients we work with and want to share them in this three-part article that will introduce the kinds of change that will create momentum that you can sustain.

David Mills
By David Mills
on January 29, 2020

It's easy to get excited about the latest "shiny object." We're excited about robotics, machine learning and creating computers that will be doing a variety of human tasks. We're even making quantum particles work for us in computing, and hopefully, they'll deliver value in the future. Software is making it possible for us to take what was available previously only to the mega-corporation into even the smallest start-up or to the individual home.

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on January 24, 2020

It's happening again. Your ability to finish a sentence has become difficult, it doesn't seem like you are getting anywhere on completing one simple task, and you are becoming easily distracted. Did you guess it yet? That's right... these are the symptoms of burnout!

The truth is it's not the first - or the last - time that this will happen. But your project isn't done, and you have to keep going.

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on January 23, 2020

Sometimes, clients want to know if we’ll work on spec. Or in other words: do we have enough faith in our product to bring a finished marketing program to the table before anyone agrees to pay for it? The quick and short answer is: no. Our team doesn’t work on spec.

In some ways, this question comes down to trust. As a prospective buyer of marketing services, if you’re asking this question then you do not trust us or another agency enough to pay for unseen results. And, we can understand that feeling.

The truth is, marketing has become the car salesman of B2B careers. We make big claims about growth, but many times don’t come through. And business owners feel as if they’ve been manipulated into wasting money.

So, let’s dive into the meat of this question, and explain why we don’t work this way.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 19, 2019

(5 Minute Read)

What do Disney+ streaming, robotic automation and desktop video communication all have in common? We’re in an age of digital disruption. Entrepreneurs and savvy business owners alike are looking for competitive advantages and often find them in digital solutions. Your industry is no different with lots of disruption occurring now with even more to come in 2020.

What is Digital Disruption?

This is the effect of technology that changes the basic expectations and behaviors throughout our culture. Market disruption can cause whole industries to radically change and long-standing companies to disappear in very short periods of time.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 01, 2019
To all of those who serve in health care, funeral care, therapeutic services, homeland defense and senior services, our community owes you a debt of gratitude for the selfless way in which you serve. Whether it is diagnosis or prevention, supporting families in the loss of someone they love, or protecting our communities or supporting our seniors, you make a world of difference. Our community and our nation would not be the same without you.
David Mills
By David Mills
on October 29, 2019

For a funeral home owner, there is probably not an asset that is more valuable than the funeral home’s reputation. Yet, the emergence of social media has changed the way that people evaluate the businesses that they should trust for important family needs.

85% of Americans report that they trust online reviews more than what their friends or family say about a business. (Brightlocal)

David Mills
By David Mills
on October 24, 2019
You may think that just “having a Facebook page” and “a website that serves as a digital billboard” is enough to grow a funeral home. That approach might allow you to “check the box” about being online, but it will actually work against the growth of your business.
David Mills
By David Mills
on September 20, 2019

It’s a familiar story. The local hardware/barber/drugstore/physician/funeral home is bought out by a large corporation or is simply run out of business because they cannot compete. It’s the “big boxing” that has taken over so much of the business fabric in almost every community, including the funeral home industry. It’s important to ask whether it matters and if local funeral homes can compete in a sea of big corporations.

David Mills
By David Mills
on September 10, 2019

The longstanding tension between marketing and sales is no secret. One side (marketing) runs great campaigns and is disappointed by the way sales teams put those leads to use. The other side (sales) doesn’t think the quality of leads is high enough and responds to marketing generated leads with a less than enthusiastic attitude. Story Collaborative recently joined the elite group of “Sales Lions” after completing the transformative Pipeline Generation Bootcamp provided by our partner, HubSpot. We learned better sales-marketing alignment through smarketing.

David Mills
By David Mills
on September 02, 2019

Who is your number 1 sales person? Your website.

A lot is riding on your website. What used to be an online support to sales has now shifted to become our number #1 sales person. How so? Consumers spend at least half of their time online before they talk with anyone in your business. The wrong choices on how you approach your website can have the same affect as firing your best salesperson, or closing your most profitable storefront.

David Mills
By David Mills
on September 01, 2019

Story Ecology is the analysis and development of intentional strategies to bring health and vitality to the complex network of stories that surround every organization. The interaction of these stories, their impact on both the organization and the individual groups. Story ecology combines elements of cultural anthropology, communications theory, systems thinking from ecology, narratology and communications best practices to enhance prosocial values and interpersonal health in companies and nonprofits.

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 20, 2019

On Facebook, the past and the present are separated by just a swipe of the mouse. People can share grief and remember loved ones at the same time. They become digital memorials in which people are able to share memories and support. And these memorials are not restricted to physical presence at a funeral service - instead, they connect people who cannot be present with those who are grieving. All of this helps those who have suffered loss to make sense and meaning out of loss in the thoughts of others. This also provides a unique opportunity for funeral service marketing.

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 18, 2019

The pressure to compete on price is mounting, but consumers want services beyond cremation too.

Consumer groups and low-cost providers are making price a focus for cremation. However, when we marketing cremation services on price alone, we risk becoming just another commodity like everything else that you can buy online with a coupon or an "on sale now" tag.

What is a commodity? Something to be traded and purchased based upon price alone. Commodities are things for which a special description is unnecessary because the service or good is always the same. The market treats commodities as essentially the same, measured in a standard unit and interchangeable.

How do funeral homes respond to families concern about prices without allowing themselves to be shopped on price alone?

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 07, 2019

Online search is the new yellow pages. Even older adults rely upon web search to find important information about healthcare, finances, travel and funeral options. With 75% of those who are age 70 to 74 relying on search, it is no surprise that the decision makers for many funerals, who are Baby Boomers or younger, rely almost entirely on searching online to find funeral resources. A key business decision is how to reach them using digital ads vs. SEO?

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 06, 2019

If you wonder whether healthcare marketing should focus on digital ads or organic SEO (search engine optimization), the right answer is often - "yes." Making a choice about how to prioritize ads in your healthcare marketing can pit your efforts to create the content required for effective SEO against digital ads. The digital ads vs. seo decision should be based on your current business needs, and balanced against long-term goals. Healthcare marketing, done well, can address both long-term and short-term business goals.

David Mills
By David Mills
on March 25, 2019

If you wonder whether inbound marketing can focus on digital ads and organic SEO (search engine optimization), the right answer is often - "yes." Making a choice about whether to include ads along with inbound marketing and its native SEO vs. digital ads is based on your business needs. Inbound marketing, done well, can address both long-term and short-term business goals.

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on February 19, 2019

Develop a more powerful brand with a genuine brand platform

Brand platforms are all about capturing the existing spirit of your company. The personality, goals, and driving force of any brand should be somehow expressed in a genuine brand platform.

David Mills
By David Mills
on February 11, 2019

Solving the Marketing Challenge for businesses with small prospect pools.

We’ve come a long way from the days when all marketing was distributed to the entire available audience - true mass marketing. The development of technologies like targeted cable and retargeting (serving ads to people who have visited your website), has allowed more focused and cost-effective outreach. But these approaches still don’t meet the need for the many businesses, sales teams and nonprofits who need to reach a very small pool of prospects.   

David Mills
By David Mills
on October 30, 2018

It hardly seems fair.  First, consumers use democratizing technology to change everything,  and then the state of change puts employees in the driver's seat too. We're hiring at Story Collaborative, and like many other employers, want to find the right person. Here is a chance to catch your breath and look beyond our now Uberized world as it relates to hiring and keeping great team members.  In this guest post, we are joined by Jonathan M. Mills, Founder of Corporate Culture Specialist with important insights into how your brand  can adapt and thrive in an employee's market.

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on September 20, 2018

How Healthy is Your Brand Story?

Brand stories help organizations grow more quickly and with greater sustainability. Complete the checkup to find out how yours might be working.

David Mills
By David Mills
on September 18, 2018

Why is there such an obsession with stories in marketing? The answer - organizations that are powered by a well-crafted brand story grow more than those with any other communication approach. Brand stories aren’t just a method; they connect to the core of how the human mind works. When we connect with people using a brand story, the message stays with them longer and moves them to take action more quickly.

David Mills
By David Mills
on September 06, 2018

Def: hac·tic
ˈhaktik/
noun

  1. Marketing tactics that create busy work instead of saving time or providing shortcuts to a growth goal.
  2. Blend word from Hectic and Hack, i.e., Hactic: Hectic with Marketing Hacks.

Everyone loves a shortcut—but as you know from sitting in the back seat while people refuse to use a map—they don’t always lead you to where you thought they would. It’s easy to get busy with lots of tasks that others have used, or that have been suggested to us as shortcuts for growth. When you begin to dabble in marketing, you can start to get a dozen emails a week with “marketing hacks” (read that as quick shortcuts) with each one promising to address every challenge you are facing.

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 09, 2018

Authenticity is now a core concern of growing companies. Millennials and consumers want to see true integrity and are pushing for real experiences. They want long-term relationships with organizations that bring meaning to their lives rather than simply a paycheck or something delivered in a box. This goes beyond commodities—they want to be connected to organizations with a purpose that anchors the very center of their story.

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 28, 2018

Does all of your effort on search engine optimization, help or hurt your brand? It’s easy to miss the brand impacts of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) while you are working to ensure that customers can find you online. Search strategy is deeply interwoven with the experience that potential customers have with your brand.

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 01, 2018

Keywords are like VHS Tapes; if that’s all you have, you’re going to miss out on better opportunities.

Some things that you thought you knew about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) aren’t true anymore.

Chad Alexander
By Chad Alexander
on May 10, 2018

Business growth is a difficult thing at times with so much to accomplish in terms of marketing, sales, and cash flow. One thing you can do with inexpensive equipment, a little know-how, and good stories is to create business growth through video. By 2019, most content consumed online will be video. Videos can help solve problems that crop in a person’s life (like the Dollar Shave Club intro video or the Chatbooks mom video). Videos can also tell amazing stories that people want to hear more about (think Red Bull’s Digging in the Carts series or Blendtec’s Will it Blend?).

David Mills
By David Mills
on April 03, 2018

In the beginning, there was only one form of marketing. This marketing focused on pushing out advertising that interrupted people (think TV commercials, radio/magazine ads). Called outbound marketing, it used interruption as the primary tool and placed a product or service in the way of the actual information or entertainment that people were consuming. This form of marketing began to shift with the introduction of the internet. In 1999, Seth Godin published a book called, "Permission Marketing," during the era in which search engine optimization (SEO) and inbound marketing began to take shape. But is inbound marketing alone, enough to create growth?

David Mills
By David Mills
on February 27, 2018

The promise of technology for business is its ability to make big resources available for everyone. It’s an equalizer. The personal applications have changed entertainment, personal networking, finance, job hunting, and many other parts of our lives. In business, we look to technology accelerators in ecommerce, cloud services, software that is developed through broad crowdsourcing, and other systems that allow us to do more with less time and money.

David Mills
By David Mills
on December 24, 2017

You have many choices for marketing and advertising - social networks, digital ads, print ads, email, direct marketing. Which one rises to the top?  If you are in healthcare, technology, education or just about any industry, you may have thought your website was not that valuable because it hasn't been bringing you customers. If this is you, you need to think again.  2017 research reinforces the fact that people who are on their way to becoming customers because they want to expand their learning will go to your website more than any other resource.

David Mills
By David Mills
on December 07, 2017

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room,” - Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos

A company's online presence has become vital to how its customers and potential employees perceive their brand. From the look and feel of the website, to its content, to where your company come up in their Google search results, people care how you present yourself. So just how are home health and home care agencies doing online? Numbers don't lie, so let's take a look at some statistics on the subject. Do you know where you stand as a company? The results might surprise you.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 23, 2017

There are more than 5,000 options for Martech (marketing technology).  Add that to what you need for customer service, CRM, scheduling and payment systems and it creates a dizzying array of options. Growing companies have large tech stacks and need a complex set of strategies to compete. But how do they integrate the technology and the information in a way that creates business growth?

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 17, 2017

What people see when they search for a term that has local services attached is different than what they get when they are searching more globally. Local and global search are both beneficial, and it's important to know how they work to connect someone to your home care marketing. Think of this as two kinds of web searchers:

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 16, 2017

SEO brings you “organic traffic,” which delivers to customers who are searching resources that solve their challenges. At the top of the same page that the organic listings appear are both the local SEO results and paid search ads. Paid ads are marked with an advertisement symbol, and people know they are click-us ads that appear on the top of the search page. While these ads are working better than they used to, people still trust the organic listings and the local listings more than they trust paid advertisements. But that does not mean they have no value. For most home care agencies that want to grow, a combination of paid and organic listings is most effective. However, reliance on paid ads only is not a good strategy for sustaining business growth.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 15, 2017

On the top of many agencies lists is the opportunity to drive additional visitors to their websites. This is done using search engine optimization, which is a series of steps that have a simple goal - place your website on the first page of as many search engine responses as possible. Since the dominant search engine is Google - we can simply say that SEO is designed to put you on the first page of Google searches.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 14, 2017

Both customers and employees go through a journey before they contact a home care or home health organization. Like a good story, the customer journey in home care marketing begins with a challenge or a need that has to be overcome. The presence of that need is what sets the journey in motion.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 13, 2017

Customers and search engines have one big thing in common - what they want is answers to questions and solutions for their needs. Google’s primary job is to deliver the best information for the question posed. Customers reward valuable information by staying on websites longer and sharing it with their friends (which also tells Google that they should send more traffic). This is all wrapped up in the digital content that you make available online on your home care website and through social networks. Make your home care marketing content online both intentional and functional for your business with these insights.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 09, 2017

Reach the audience you need more quickly... and then keep them.

Opening new services, locations, and any kind of business growth requires an investment balancing act. You ask, "which marketing spend will create a return most quickly?", and,"how can I minimize risk and reduce the “burn rate” as the business grows?" Reaching break-even isn’t the goal, since total profit at break-even is zero. The goal is to get beyond break-even to profitability.  

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 09, 2017

Whether you are expanding to a second (or third, fourth) location, or adding a new service line to your business, seasons of growth take your business into new levels of risk that require innovation. And beyond just the opportunity for new revenues and profits, the innovative thinking that goes with the expansion process and your business marketing strategy is actually important to the rest of your business too.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 07, 2017

It can be a challenge to know which communication channels or networks you should use for effective digital content. Do you want to use email, text message, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, Slideshare, Quora, or any number of other choices? There are two ways to know which communication channels will serve you best:

David Mills
By David Mills
on October 30, 2017

Recruiting employees is the major barrier to growth for many home care and home health employees. Some are even calling it a crisis. In a supply and demand world, when you have demand for care - you also need a great supply - of caregivers. The challenge is no secret, but the answer might just be.

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 30, 2017

What your employees say about your company matters. If a brand is the sum total of customer experiences with a company or organization, then what is an employer brand?  It’s the total experience of an individual as an employee.  The employer brand sums up their experience beginning from the first moment they learn about your company, through the process of applying for work, and then their experiences within the company culture.  Just like a customer, employees have a story to tell about the company. Your customers are telling your brand story, but so are your employees. 

David Mills
By David Mills
on June 02, 2017

You might know about brand platforms and even have one that you use, how about a brand story?

It’s easy to get confused about brand stories, so it helps to define what they are not. Brand stories are not the historical version of how your organization got started, nor are they the collection of marketing lines and images that you use in your marketing mix.

David Mills
By David Mills
on May 16, 2017

"What to Do with Your Outdated Website," Reprinted from May 16, 2017 Fredericksburg Regional Business Magazine.

David Mills
By David Mills
on April 04, 2017

Every year, more than a million millennials become parents for the first time. This means that there are currently around 13 million millennial parents in the U.S. who have school-aged children. In order to engage this market, private schools need to understand the unique values of the millennial generation. The way that Christian school marketing reaches millennials matters, and insights into this generation make effective inbound marketing possible.

David Mills
By David Mills
on February 27, 2017

Informative Isn't Enough: Private School Marketing has to Connect

Most people today wouldn't go to a new restaurant without checking it out online first. So why would parents send their children to a private school that has a weak web presence? Having an informative website is no longer enough. Parents and students want to feel a sense of connection. With an inbound private school marketing approach, you can build rapport with new families before they even set foot on your campus.

David Mills
By David Mills
on February 24, 2017

Inbound marketing for private education makes sense. But it takes the right strategy to make it perform at its best. Here are four questions your strategy must address to make your content marketing work.

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on February 20, 2017

The reasons to upgrade your website’s look, layout, and content are obvious: to create more visitors, more leads, and more customers. Right?

David Mills
By David Mills
on December 07, 2016

Most private schools don’t have the budget for a full-time recruiter. That job gets shared by staff, board, and enthusiastic parents--often with mixed results.  What most leaders don’t understand is that they already have a full-time recruiter who just isn't showing up for work.

David Mills
By David Mills
on December 03, 2016

Your school is unique, with great faculty, carefully selected curriculum, and rigorous academic programs. Yet, without the right kind of private school marketing that builds enrollment, none of that matters! Using an inbound marketing plan allows schools to consistently grow - and that can make the difference between thriving and barely surviving in the competitive world of private education.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 18, 2016

I used to use 8-Track cassettes as a training prop - illustrating how obsolete technology impacts our businesses and organizations (here's the -->wiki on 8-track in case you've never seen one). I'd almost always get a laugh just by holding one of these bulky music storage devices up to the crowd. If the inventors and marketers of the 8-track, and so many other technologies, knew how short lived their strategy might be, maybe they would have made different decisions.  Building an obsolete website is a real pitfall in growth marketing, especially given the pace of technology change.

David Mills
By David Mills
on November 15, 2016

Buyers today, including private school families, do at least 50% of their purchase consideration by looking online, before talking to anyone at your school.  What they discover on your website can help them through the decision process and establish a relationship of value and appreciation even before they schedule a visit or attend an open house.  Inbound marketing for private education is a potent strategy that positions your school for success in the new world in which consumers own the process.

David Mills
By David Mills
on September 23, 2016

Story Collaborative recently completed a series of focus groups comprised of millennials (ages 18-35) with the help of one of Honestly Magazine and Workforce & Community Education at Germanna Community College. The insights these millennials provided into their habits, preferences and challenges offer important clues to businesses that want to sustain and grow their brand. This is one article in a series of insights into business growth among millennials.

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 17, 2016

Story Collaborative recently completed a series of focus groups on millennial with the assistance of Honestly Magazine and the team at Workforce & Community Education from Germanna Community College. Focus group participants provided insights into their habits, preferences and life challenges which we combined with other research to shed light on strategies for effective business communication. This is the first of several articles.

David Mills
By David Mills
on August 03, 2016

If you listen to what Jeff Bezos of Amazon says about our brands, you’ll probably agree: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Your Brand Story

The story part of the brand is important too because the impressions that people have and share about our companies aren’t just fleeting observations-- they are stories that get told over and over again, woven into the broader life narratives that people remember and take with them into all of their relationships.

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on June 21, 2016

 

In a world with endless marketing opportunities, your budget has to be strategic. Having a smart marketing plan involves investing in marketing assets you own, like your website and email list.

A smart marketing plan invests in a website.

Your website is full of owned assets, especially if the content is ranking high in Google search. Since the content you write on your website is entirely your own, and AdWords are merely rented for a premium, this makes your website very valuable. If you don't have a good SEO strategy, that's the first place you can invest for a return. Remember that relevant and fresh content should be part of any SEO strategy.

David Mills
By David Mills
on May 12, 2016

We live in a visually demanding world -- we need graphics for almost everything in marketing. That means involvement with designers is a part of daily life. It's especially true if you're committed to keeping on-brand web content, emails, and social posts. I've learned a few things about working with designers in the last 10 years. (At least they don't laugh at me quite as often.) In this short video, Amy Alexander, our brand guru (not self proclaimed), shares some of the common questions that she gets working with business and organizational leaders.

David Mills
By David Mills
on May 06, 2016

The web marketing world is full of SEO (search engine optimization) offers. They often tell stories of wild new amounts of business using back room magic. One that was shared recently promised 111% more traffic in just 14 days! Usually more web traffic is better, but SEO packages that deal only with structure and links miss the reality of customer behavior---especially if they resort to risky or unethical tactics. Without addressing what the web searcher finds when they arrive on a site, SEO can miss the main point of building valuable web traffic that creates real customers. Both the search engines and potential buyers are looking for valuable content.

David Mills
By David Mills
on March 28, 2016

We need marketing that truly connects in order to deliver qualified customers. An effective sales funnel that doesn’t feel like sales at all comes from the warmth of an engaging story. In turn, those story-based activities deliver customers who are engaged with the experience. With so many media choices, allowing customers to experience your brand story from the beginning—while still ensuring the greatest number of qualified leads from our marketing investment—can be a challenge.

David Mills
By David Mills
on February 20, 2016

Our assumptions about how to manage sales and marketing, along with our sales funnel, have to change to fit new buyer behaviors that have been shaped by technology.

Amy Alexander
By Amy Alexander
on February 17, 2016

Writing a great set of brand guidelines is well worth the effort. Guidelines surrounding your identity are unique because they provide an opportunity for employees, designers, writers, stakeholders, and outsiders to interact with your brand. Suddenly, an employee can be your greatest promoter, catching the vision of your organization.

Jennifer Bailey
By Jennifer Bailey
on February 16, 2016
These days everyone seems to offer website services. You might get phone calls, website comments, or emails from random companies in different states or countries. They will offer you guaranteed placement on Google… and sometimes they will use the term “Search Engine Marketing”  instead of “Search Engine Optimization.” But, how do you measure value in full scale and local SEO services?

How do you know what you are spending your money on, or how you can measure your return on investment? Sorting through the offerings can be difficult if you aren't a SEO  expert. Here are five ways to know that current or potential services aren't up to par.

David Mills
By David Mills
on February 16, 2016

The SMART acronym has been applied to objectives in a variety of fields. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely goals have made project management, performance evaluation, and even marketing more effective. When you are setting goals for your marketing, "SMART" is the way to go.

David Mills
By David Mills
on February 15, 2016

Local search services allow businesses to meet customers in the "magic moment of search." Searching online may no longer seem like magic to the customer who has become accustomed to using their phone, tablet, or laptop to shop or find services, but it is magic when a business finds a ready customer through local search. Google's mission is to match up consumer intent in the immediate moment of their search, and local seo services can help organizations meet the consumer in that moment.