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2 min read

way-forward personas:marketingto a changed globe

By Amy Alexander on August 4, 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.

Topics: marketing plan growth marketing business growth strategies
2 min read

value propositions that win: Ads in the Wild

By Jennifer Bailey on August 4, 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. 

4 min read

Missed Revenue Opportunities in HOME CARE CRM

By David Mills on August 3, 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. 

Topics: home care marketing
3 min read

When an MSP becomes an insider threat

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.

2 min read

top 3 tips for filming on your iphone

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.

Topics: Facebook Video Killed the Radio Star Video social media
5 min read

How Inbound Marketing Helps you Win at Home Care Recruiting

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.  

Topics: Home Care inbound recruiting
1 min read

Ads in the wild: Campbell Soup for the hungry soul

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.

Topics: ads adsinthewild
5 min read

Snacks, Home Care and Hopped-Up Food Delivery

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.

Topics: Home Care microsite multi-location
3 min read

[Infographic] Who is on Facebook, and how should we advertise?

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.

Topics: Facebook social media infographic
5 min read

the what's mine is mine: Therapy for Websites that haven't learned to share

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...
Topics: Web Design websites Website Therapy conversion optimization
4 min read

The Type A: Therapy for The website that Might be driving too hard

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. 
Topics: Web Design websites Website Therapy
6 min read

4 Ways to Self-Evaluate Your Website Right Now

By David Mills on July 15, 2020

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.

Topics: Web Design How to websites Website Therapy
5 min read

the Champion: websites that don't need therapy

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. 
Topics: Web Design websites Website Therapy
3 min read

Growth Driven Websites - No Dead Weight

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."

3 min read

Some websites have Great personalities, how about yours?

By David Mills on July 9, 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. 

Topics: Web Design websites Website Therapy
3 min read

the disorganized: Therapy for The website that creates confusion

By David Mills on July 8, 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?
Topics: Web Design websites Website Therapy
3 min read

the intimidator: website therapy for sites that scare people

By David Mills on July 8, 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.
Topics: Web Design websites Website Therapy
3 min read

the dreamer: website therapy for a site that doesn't convert

By David Mills on July 8, 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).
Topics: Web Design websites Website Therapy conversion optimization
1 min read

Value Based ads bring out the best in Americans

By Jennifer Bailey on July 1, 2020

There’s nothing quite like getting the feeling of pride and patriotism from your fellow countrymen to pull on your heart strings and remind you of whats important. Thats exactly what some American companies have accomplished throughout the years through their advertising.

Topics: marketing growth marketing social media adsinthewild s+marketing
1 min read

[INFOGRAPHIC] Marketing to a 2020 Consumer: Pandemic Personas

By Amy Alexander on June 24, 2020

Topics: marketing COVID-19 Training Business to Customer
8 min read

6 Things Modern Websites Must Achieve

By Amy Alexander on June 9, 2020

Topics: marketing automation Web Design marketing plan brand story education marketing Content Management System SEO Answers websites
6 min read

Four Keys to Help you Rebound Faster Online

By David Mills on June 4, 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. 

Topics: Growth Driven Design growth marketing
4 min read

What is a Content Management System (CMS) and do you need one?

By David Mills on June 4, 2020

Topics: Web Design Content Management System Business to Business Answers Business to Customer business growth strategies
6 min read

Do you need a second website or microsite to boost your marketing?

By David Mills on June 4, 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.

Topics: school marketing healthcare marketing Productivity education marketing funeral home marketing inbound marketing Home Care growth marketing
2 min read

The Emerging Role of the Digital Funeral Director

By David Mills on June 1, 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.


Topics: funeral home marketing
5 min read

How the Pandemic Has Changed Three Attitudes about Funerals

By David Mills on May 29, 2020

Topics: funeral home marketing COVID-19
3 min read

How Preneed Planning Helps Seniors Regain a Sense of Control

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.

Topics: funeral home marketing Senior Living
4 min read

Business Improvement in the Crisis - Virtualization and Revops

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.

Topics: marketing automation Agile brand story COVID-19 business growth strategies
4 min read

Video vs. Phone for Senior Sales

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.

Topics: Sales Funnel Sales funeral home marketing
3 min read

Marketing Advice Roundup: Do's and Don'ts of Email Marketing

By Jennifer Bailey on May 7, 2020

Each week here at Story Collaborative we do a live video for our Facebook viewers. (Check out S+Marketing LIVE's "3 Marketing Things" Series). Today's Marketing Roundup includes advice from all of our super talented team members!

Topics: email Business to Business Business to Customer
2 min read

Seniors are Easier than Ever to Reach Online

By David Mills on May 6, 2020

Topics: funeral home marketing assisted living
4 min read

Mastering Virtual Sales with Seniors

By David Mills on May 4, 2020

Topics: Sales Funnel Sales funeral home marketing Senior Living business growth strategies
5 min read

How to Leverage Virtual Learning Photos Being Taken of Your Students [video]

By Amy Alexander on May 1, 2020


 

Topics: Branding brand story education marketing marketing How to COVID-19 Business to Customer Christian School
3 min read

How Much Does a Virtual Tour Cost for My Campus?

By Amy Alexander on April 17, 2020



Topics: healthcare marketing education marketing funeral home marketing COVID-19 Answers Christian School
11 min read

The Why & How of Facebook Live: Embracing Your Humanity on Camera

By Jennifer Bailey on April 13, 2020

When social media erupted ten years ago, something major happened between people. As 6 degrees of separation began to shrink, so did true human connections. Face to face interactions joined the ranks of slang acronyms like LOL, JK, BRB, and IRL. Text messaging and Facebook Messenger took the place of a good old fashioned phone call.

Topics: Facebook Video social media
2 min read

Leaders Are Starting to Think Recovery, Are You?

By David Mills on April 9, 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?

Topics: marketing plan COVID-19
2 min read

Marketing in Jeopardy: How to Change Your Stories' Ending

By Jennifer Bailey on April 6, 2020

Alex Trebek, the Frozen 2 Soundtrack, and all of History have this in common:

If you answered in the form of a question, “What is: some things never change?” then congratulations! You win 400 points from the “Social Distancing” category.

Topics: COVID-19 business growth strategies
16 min read

We're in a Moment that Needs Your Response

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.

Topics: education marketing Home Care Senior Living COVID-19 Christian School
4 min read

A Missional Moment for Christian Schools

By David Mills on March 26, 2020

Topics: school marketing brand story education marketing private school Christian School
1 min read

Online Reviews Quick Guide for Senior Living

By David Mills on March 25, 2020

Topics: Senior Living assisted living
5 min read

What you can do right now - Make a personal connection

By David Mills on March 24, 2020

Topics: brand story COVID-19 business growth strategies
1 min read

8 Things You Can Do Right Now

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.

Topics: brand story business growth strategies
9 min read

Values on Display: the Affect of COVID-19 on Your Brand Story

By Amy Alexander on March 23, 2020

Topics: marketing plan Branding brand story Storytelling marketing COVID-19
5 min read

Getting Perspective on COVID-19 and Your Business or Nonprofit

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.

Topics: school marketing healthcare marketing education marketing business growth strategies
5 min read

Importance of Video is Accelerating in 2020

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.

Topics: education marketing funeral home marketing employer brand growth marketing business growth strategies
3 min read

How to Un-Stealth Your Applicants During Enrollment Season

By David Mills on March 5, 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.

Topics: private education Christian School
4 min read

Why "I read an article..." is the #1 Most Often Told Lie

By Jennifer Bailey on March 3, 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.

Topics: Growth Driven Design Answers websites content writing
5 min read

What is a branded photo shoot? Plus, four times it's a bad investment.

By Amy Alexander on March 3, 2020



Topics: Branding brand story Storytelling Pricing
3 min read

How to tell if you have a brand story [video]

By David Mills on February 29, 2020

Topics: brand story Answers
6 min read

The Great Debate: a Story about A/B Testing

By Jennifer Bailey on February 27, 2020

Topics: marketing Metrics
4 min read

Can You Pass the Millennial Reality Test

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.

Topics: Branding brand story Business to Business Business to Customer business growth strategies
3 min read

Millennials demand authenticity - how's your brand?

By David Mills on February 24, 2020

Topics: school marketing Storytelling
4 min read

SEO Magic Tricks that Win Every Time

By Jennifer Bailey on February 19, 2020

Topics: SEO websites
5 min read

How much does it cost to make your website accessible?

By Jennifer Bailey on February 13, 2020

Topics: Answers websites
4 min read

You Might Need a New Marketing Plan if…

By David Mills on February 11, 2020

Topics: marketing plan Answers business growth strategies
5 min read

Your Brand Story - 3 Steps Forward and No Steps Back

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.

Topics: Branding brand story Storytelling business growth strategies social media
7 min read

Capturing your brand story in photos: How to choose the right marketing images

By Amy Alexander on February 5, 2020

Topics: Branding brand story Storytelling assisted living
3 min read

Stories are the Ultimate Human Technology

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.

Topics: Storytelling inbound marketing growth marketing
4 min read

Using your Strengths to Work through Exhaustion

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.

Topics: Agile Get Stuff Done Productivity How to Virtual Office
6 min read

Why Most Marketing and Creative Agencies Do Not Work On Spec

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.

Topics: Pricing Answers
1 min read

Get More Reviews Quick Guide for Funeral Homes

By David Mills on January 16, 2020

Topics: funeral home marketing
4 min read

Why First Calls Go to Another Company

By David Mills on January 9, 2020

Topics: Sales Funnel Sales funeral home marketing
6 min read

Three Ways that the Care Sector Can Level the Playing Field

By David Mills on November 25, 2019

We all love a good match-up. Teams that are evenly matched are a joy to watch compete, with both teams challenged to perform at a higher level. Uneven teams--on an uneven playing field--create big winners and big losers which no one except the winner finds amusing. Local care companies like independent funeral homes, therapeutic providers and assisted living facilities have to find ways to level the playing field with corporate providers. 

Topics: funeral home marketing therapy providers care sector assisted living
5 min read

Protecting Your Company from Digital Disruption

By David Mills on November 19, 2019

Topics: Growth Driven Design Business to Business Account Based Marketing growth marketing business growth strategies
3 min read

Should I be taking Facebook Seriously as a senior services growth tool?

By David Mills on November 6, 2019

Topics: Sales Funnel Sales funeral home marketing Senior Living Answers

Thanks for Those Who Care

By David Mills on November 1, 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.
Topics: healthcare marketing Home Care
3 min read

What Communities Can Learn from Dia de los Muertos

By David Mills on October 31, 2019

Topics: Storytelling funeral home marketing Business to Customer
4 min read

Your Reputation. Your Stars are in their hands.

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)

Topics: funeral home marketing
4 min read

Disconnected - How Your Website and Facebook are Costing you Business

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.
Topics: funeral home marketing
5 min read

3 Ways for Local Funeral Homes to Compete with Corporate Providers

By David Mills on October 16, 2019

Topics: Sales funeral home marketing Business to Customer business growth strategies
1 min read

Social Media Quick Guide for Funeral Homes

By David Mills on September 25, 2019

Topics: funeral home marketing
6 min read

How the Big Boxing of Funeral Home Ownership Impacts Local Communities

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.

Topics: funeral home marketing
4 min read

Marketing that Actually Empowers Sales - Smarketing

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.

Topics: growth marketing business growth strategies
1 min read

Story Ecology

By David Mills on September 1, 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.

Topics: brand story better storytelling story
4 min read

Three Types of Funeral Home Social Media Users

By David Mills on July 25, 2019

Topics: Sales Funnel Sales funeral home marketing soclal networks social media
1 min read

Should I be using digital ads?

By David Mills on July 1, 2019

Topics: marketing plan Answers social media
3 min read

How Facebook is Changing Grieving and Funeral Service Marketing

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.

Topics: funeral home marketing
5 min read

6 Steps to Marketing Cremation Services without Becoming a Commodity

By David Mills on June 18, 2019

Topics: funeral home marketing
9 min read

Digital Funeral Home Marketing - Getting Started

By David Mills on June 18, 2019

Topics: funeral home marketing inbound marketing
6 min read

Making Sure They Find You Online - Digital Ads vs. SEO

By David Mills on June 7, 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?

Topics: funeral home marketing
3 min read

Healthcare marketing - Digital Ads vs. SEO

By David Mills on June 6, 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.

Topics: healthcare marketing SEO
2 min read

Inbound marketing - Digital Ads vs. SEO

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.

Topics: marketing plan inbound marketing Answers
6 min read

How Do Businesses Grow When the Prospect List is Small?

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.   

Topics: Sales Funnel school marketing Sales Answers Account Based Marketing
4 min read

Reaching More Donors and Parents at Year End

By David Mills on November 13, 2018

Your donor and enrollment messages are up against a stack of competition. As you reach out for year-end donations and begin the enrollment season, lots of others want your prospects attention too. Your brand has to push through the massive volume of advertising (both digital and postal) during the holiday season, plus loads of direct mail appeals. Lots of others are investing big budgets in getting the attention of consumers - but to you, they are vital communication moments that need to result in action.

Topics: Nonprofits private education Christian School
5 min read

Is Your brand helping you to compete in an employee’s market?

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.

Topics: Branding brand story employer brand Answers
1 min read

Is your brand story working?

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.

Topics: Branding brand story Storytelling Nonprofits Resources marketing Answers business growth strategies
3 min read

Harnessing the Power of YOUR Brand story

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.

Topics: Branding brand story
3 min read

The Word They Forgot to Add to the Dictionary - Hactics (and how to know if you are doing it)

By David Mills on September 6, 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.
Topics: medical marketing school marketing Nonprofits education marketing growth marketing business growth strategies social media
3 min read

A Hollow Core, or a Story of Purpose for Your Organization

By David Mills on August 9, 2018

Authenticity is now a core concern of growing companies. Millenials 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.

Topics: Branding Storytelling Nonprofits business growth strategies
2 min read

Does Search Engine Optimization - SEO - Help Your Brand?

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.

Topics: Branding inbound marketing marketing Answers growth marketing business growth strategies
2 min read

Keywords Are like VHS Tapes

By David Mills on June 1, 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.

Topics: seo inbound marketing keywords
1 min read

KISS, YAGNI, and the '80s classic, The Goonies

By Chad Alexander on May 24, 2018

Hello everyone! It's another week and another blog.

This week, I thought I would share a few things. First, how many here have seen The Goonies?

Topics: better storytelling Video Killed the Radio Star Metrics
3 min read

3 Video Ideas for Business Growth

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?).

Topics: Video Killed the Radio Star Video growth marketing business growth strategies
3 min read

How Blade Runner Should Change the Way We Approach Multiple Cuts

By Chad Alexander on May 10, 2018

Hello everyone!

 
Topics: Video Killed the Radio Star Video
2 min read

Ultra HD 4K Blu Ray runs only at 2K. Do What?!

By Chad Alexander on May 2, 2018

Let me make sure I'm doing this right:

Topics: Video Killed the Radio Star Video
3 min read

Is inbound marketing alone adequate to create growth?

By David Mills on April 3, 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?

Topics: inbound marketing marketing Answers growth marketing marketing agency
4 min read

Finding the Silver Lining in Facebook

By David Mills on April 2, 2018

When you look at the statistics, it’s easy to see that the majority (if not all) of the parents who might want to enroll their children in your school, as well as their friends, are pretty addicted to Facebook. Facebook is smart, and they’ve made it possible for the average American to make sharing family photos, playing games, checking in, and messaging a normal part of their daily operating system.

Topics: school marketing education marketing private education private school inbound marketing marketing Christian School business growth strategies social media
3 min read

Agile Marketing Can Accelerate Business Growth

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.

Topics: agile marketing marketing business growth marketing business growth strategies
1 min read

Checklist - Why Your Website is Still Important for Business Growth

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.

Topics: medical marketing growth Growth Driven Design marketing business growth marketing
2 min read

How Are Home Care Agencies Doing Online with Patient AND Caregiver Recruiting?

By David Mills on December 7, 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.

Topics: Branding Home Care growth marketing
2 min read

3 Steps to Prepare for 2018 Growth Marketing

By David Mills on December 4, 2017

December is a great time for businesses that aren’t consumed by holiday sales activity to get ready for growth in 2018. Here are three smart investments you can make now to get ready for growth next year.

Topics: Business to Business growth marketing business growth strategies
1 min read

For Business Growth, Inbound Brings All Your Marketing Together

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?

Topics: marketing plan growth marketing business growth strategies
3 min read

A Tale of Two SEOs: Understanding Local and Global Search in Home Care Marketing

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:

Topics: seo marketing Home Care SEO
2 min read

SEO vs PPC: Are Paid Advertisements Right for Your Home Care Marketing?

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.

Topics: health care seo inbound marketing marketing Home Care SEO home health ppc
3 min read

Driving Traffic to Your Website -  Crucial for Home Care Marketing

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.

Topics: marketing Home Care SEO
4 min read

Understanding the Customer Journey & Home Care Marketing

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.

Topics: Storytelling marketing Home Care
3 min read

How to Make the Most of Your Home Care Marketing Content Online

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.

Topics: inbound marketing marketing Home Care
4 min read

In Business Marketing, Always Opt for Growth First

By David Mills on November 9, 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.  

Topics: inbound marketing Growth Driven Design Business to Business Business to Customer business growth strategies
3 min read

Growth Marketing Strategies - Finding Audience Velocity

By David Mills on November 9, 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.

Topics: inbound marketing Growth Driven Design Business to Business Business to Customer business growth strategies
2 min read

Selecting Channels for Your Marketing Strategy

By David Mills on November 7, 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:

Topics: marketing plan marketing
4 min read

A Powerful New Way to Win at Home Care Recruiting

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.

Topics: inbound marketing marketing Home Care
3 min read

The B2B & B2E Challenge in Home Care Marketing

By David Mills on September 8, 2017

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. But what is B2E? Business to Employee represents companies that rely upon a reliable flow of quality employees  - like others in medical staffing, that clearly fits both home health and home care agencies.  Navigating the relationships and various marketing channels makes B2E, B2C and B2B a challenge.

Topics: medical marketing Branding inbound marketing marketing Home Care
1 min read

Christian School Marketing Tip #5 Use Inbound Strategies

By David Mills on July 21, 2017

Topics: education marketing Christian School
1 min read

Christian School Marketing Tip #4 Link Marketing and Admissions

By David Mills on July 18, 2017

Topics: education marketing Christian School
1 min read

Christian School Marketing Tip #3 - Authentic Content

By David Mills on July 12, 2017

Topics: education marketing Christian School
1 min read

Christian Schools Marketing Tip #2 Connect with Parents Early in Their Process

By David Mills on July 5, 2017

 

Topics: education marketing Christian School
3 min read

Employer Brands for Home Care, Healthcare and Staffing

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. 

Topics: medical marketing inbound marketing Home Care
1 min read

Getting Found Online Tip #1

By David Mills on June 25, 2017

Topics: education marketing private education Christian School
4 min read

In Home Care Marketing Email can Equal Referrals

By David Mills on June 13, 2017

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 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.  One solution is the combine traditional referral approaches with a marketing automation approach.  Using the right approach it will still feel personal, offer value to those you’ve served and keep you in their thinking as they interact with friends and others who need your services.

Topics: Home Care
4 min read

5 Steps to Sync Up Your Brand Story and Brand Platform

By David Mills on June 2, 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.

Topics: Branding
4 min read

Healthcare Marketing Strategies - 2017 Award Winner

By David Mills on May 19, 2017

Helping consumers make good healthcare choices is the driver behind the best healthcare marketing strategies.  Medical professionals have long avoided types of consumer marketing that some other professions have adopted - the marketing that healthcare delivers has to result in positive health seeking behavior without reducing it to a commodity that is “now on sale.”  Consumer confidence and trust in both the professionalism and value offered have to be central to every effort to increase service delivery metrics.  Winning healthcare marketing strategies include both.

Topics: medical marketing News inbound marketing
4 min read

What to Do with Your Outdated Website

By David Mills on May 16, 2017

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

Topics: Web Design Growth Driven Design websites
5 min read

Why December and May are the Most Important Months for Christian School Marketing

By David Mills on May 2, 2017

Admissions and marketing directors are busy from January through May working to market the school, re-enroll students, meet new families and build enrollments.  Tours and visits continue through the summer with late enrollments in August. For many schools the tour and open house starts up again in the fall.  Somewhere in the process, there might be a chance to catch a breath.  The seasons can be so busy that we miss the most important moments in the year and end up with less effective school marketing.

Topics: education marketing Christian School
3 min read

Improve Christian School Inbound Marketing with Insights about Millennials

By David Mills on April 4, 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.

Topics: school marketing marketing Christian School
3 min read

Private School Marketing that Wins New Students

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.

Topics: school marketing private education inbound marketing Christian School
2 min read

Inbound Marketing for Private Education: Does Your Strategy Do This?

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.

Topics: education marketing inbound marketing Christian School
4 min read

The Threat of Outdated Websites

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?

Topics: Web Design marketing plan education marketing funeral home marketing Growth Driven Design Christian School websites
5 min read

Admissions Directors in the Middle - 5 Tips for Private Schools

By David Mills on February 15, 2017

Admissions directors are stuck in the middle between the school community and prospective families and students. Their work is to create bridges that line up family and school values to help grow enrollment. Not only do they foster connections to new students, they also have to bridge the gap between marketing, admissions, financial aid, and internal communications. Getting all of these systems to line up is challenging.

Topics: admissions private education marketing education Christian School
3 min read

Growth Driven Design to Improve Enrollment (i.e. Unleash Your Full-Time Recruiter)

By David Mills on December 7, 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.

Topics: education marketing Growth Driven Design Christian School
3 min read

Strategies for Private Christian School Inbound Marketing

By David Mills on December 3, 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.

Topics: education marketing inbound marketing Christian School
3 min read

Grow Your Private Christian School With 5 Powerful Inbound Marketing Principles

By David Mills on November 22, 2016

As you market your private school, you know that no school holds a monopoly. Research says it this way: "there are no companies with a dominant market share in this industry." This is an even playing field where approximately 30 thousand schools are all competing for students. While school options in your location are a small subset of that larger number, people have many choices, just the same. Since competition for enrollment is a fact of life, using the right marketing approach can help you share the things that make your school unique, and help you reach your enrollment goals.

Topics: education marketing private education inbound marketing Christian School
3 min read

Growth Marketing Pitfall - an Obsolete Website

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.

Topics: Growth Driven Design
2 min read

High Performing Websites through Growth Driven Design

By David Mills on November 18, 2016

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.

Topics: Web Design Growth Driven Design
4 min read

Using Inbound Marketing for Private Education: Three Keys for Content

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.

Topics: education marketing private education Christian School
5 min read

Risk or Opportunity? 3 Risks of Ignoring Millennials

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.

Topics: Sales Funnel marketing
4 min read

Millennials Want Stories Not Just Ads

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.

Topics: Branding Storytelling marketing
3 min read

4 Ways to Make Your Brand Story Count (Start with Employees)

By David Mills on August 3, 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.

Topics: Branding brand story marketing Business to Business Business to Customer employee branding
2 min read

Why An Interruptive Business Story Isn't Worth Telling

By David Mills on July 22, 2016

The aim of marketing is to place your business story in the thoughts and conversations of your buyer (in a way that creates sales).

It used to be that the precursor to an effective business story was pushing out a big and brassy advertisement right in the middle of whatever consumers were enjoying. If they were listening to radio, you made them stop for the commercial break. Same thing with TV; you gave them eight minutes of viewing and then made them wait through several minutes of ads before they could see the next section of their show.

Topics: Storytelling marketing Business to Business Business to Customer social media
2 min read

Smart Marketing: Building Your Buyer Persona

By Amy Alexander on July 19, 2016

 

Topics: Branding inbound marketing
2 min read

Smart Marketing: Rented vs. Owned Assets

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.

Topics: Resources inbound marketing marketing email SEO Video websites
1 min read

Working Well with Your Designer

By David Mills on May 12, 2016

[cs_content][cs_section parallax="false" style="margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;"][cs_row inner_container="true" marginless_columns="false" style="margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;"][cs_column fade="false" fade_animation="in" fade_animation_offset="45px" fade_duration="750" type="1/1" style="padding: 0px;"][cs_text]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.

Topics: team work Storytelling Nonprofits marketing Business to Business
3 min read

SEO Packages Need Content to Thrive

By David Mills on May 6, 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.

Topics: inbound marketing Content Management System SEO Metrics
4 min read

A Powerful Sales Pipeline is Driven by Brand Stories

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.

Topics: Sales Funnel Storytelling Sales marketing email SEO social media
3 min read

Your Sales Funnel and the Smarketing Method

By Amy Alexander on February 23, 2016

Marketing and sales departments don't always get along.

I'm a marketer at heart. I like colorful collateral and edgy marketing headlines placed over beautiful photography. But, it's no secret that direct mailers, digital banner ads, and expensive ad placements can't always be directly connected to ROI. And, sales and marketing teams like to blame one another when revenue is on a downward slope. In fact, 87% of the terms sales and marketing teams use about each other are negative (Hubspot: The Power of Smarketing). In the end, however, a sales team needs their sales funnel full of qualified leads.

Topics: Sales inbound marketing marketing Business to Business Business to Customer
4 min read

People Keep Breaking My Sales Funnel

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.

Topics: Sales Business to Business Business to Customer
4 min read

Developing a Genuine Brand Platform

By Amy Alexander on February 19, 2016

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.

Topics: Branding Storytelling Resources marketing
3 min read

The Do's and Don'ts of Brand Guidelines

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.

Topics: Branding Storytelling Resources marketing
4 min read

5 Signs of Amateur Optimization and Local SEO Services

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.

Topics: SEO websites
2 min read

Another Take on SMART Marketing

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.

Topics: inbound marketing marketing Business to Business Business to Customer
2 min read

Growth Marketing and the Magic Moment of Local Search

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.

Topics: inbound marketing Business to Business SEO Business to Customer websites
2 min read

Why Mobile Ready is Key for Local SEO Services

By David Mills on February 15, 2016

Local SEO services help your business appear at top of the page for the large percentage of searches that Google tags as "local." But here's the kicker--the majority of those searches are being completed on mobile devices. Google's explanation goes like this, “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, including the US and Japan."

Topics: marketing Business to Business Business to Customer websites
4 min read

3 Ways to Own Your Smart Marketing

By David Mills on February 15, 2016

Finding the right mix for your marketing budget requires ongoing vigilance and regular adjustments. The shift toward digital media has pushed many organizations into a significant learning curve that can result in smart marketing.  Much of the decision-making ends up being a wrestling match between "what we’ve always done" and attractive new opportunities. Beyond the tactical decisions over how much to allocate to various media, there lies a bigger opportunity.

Topics: inbound marketing marketing email websites Metrics social media
4 min read

Getting Found with Local SEO Services

By David Mills on February 12, 2016

Understanding how to evaluate and plan for local SEO services is an important part of digital marketing strategy for companies with both B2B and B2C products and services. Local search has become a big opportunity for any business that can define where their target customers live and work.

What is local SEO?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is continuing to change as the primary search engine providers (Google, Bing, Yahoo) make changes to their search results, which are all based in complex algorithms. SEO is really the art and science of presenting your product or services, while helping people who are searching for what you offer. One of the most important recent developments is the shift to localizing search results—the search engines now prioritize information that is geographically closest to the searcher.

Topics: inbound marketing marketing Business to Business SEO Business to Customer websites
4 min read

What is story-based marketing? Plus, four best practices.

By David Mills on February 12, 2016

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 sales process. Four characteristics help define the difference between traditional and story-based marketing.

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

Topics: Storytelling marketing
3 min read

KISS Your SMART Marketing

By Chad Alexander on February 7, 2016

Let me start by saying that I tried to fit three acronyms into this blog, but just couldn't make it happen. As you likely know, SMART is an acronym for defining how to create rock solid objectives, goals, targets, etc. So, how do we get SMART marketing? Getting SMART about your next big marketing push can help you out tremendously.

Topics: marketing Metrics
4 min read

Nine ways to get a return on your email investment.

By David Mills on October 8, 2015


THE LONG STORY, SHORT

Email is not dead. It may not be as cool, trendy, or techy as the latest social network. But, it has higher click-through rates. And, companies that use it can generate twice the number of quality leads at one-third of the cost. As a way to tell your story and empower customers to share your message, email is hard to beat.

 

Topics: email How to Business to Business Business to Customer Metrics
3 min read

Mentoring: Pass It On.

By David Mills on September 28, 2015


THE LONG STORY, SHORT

Mentorship is about lending your story to help write a new one. Whether it's the smooth on-boarding of a millennial, or the strengthening of your overall employee base, mentorship fosters powerful stories. Organizations are given incredible depth as a result of mentoring.

 

Topics: customeradvocacy Storytelling mentoring mentorship employeeadvocacy
5 min read

Understanding Marketing - Who is Your Brand Storyteller

By David Mills on September 15, 2015

No matter how much effort or money we invest in building our brand, there are two groups of people who ultimately decide how a brand story is shared. Employees and customers are the real brand storytellers. They define the value, reach, and impact of a brand. Success is achieved when we understand the role they play in our company narrative.

Topics: Branding brand story employee advocacy soclal networks
3 min read

The Internet called your website. But, no one answered.

By David Mills on July 15, 2015

Yes, the Internet called. And it got smarter.

It wasn't really the internet, as a whole. It was web browsers -- namely Google, Bing, and Yahoo -- that were looking for real content on your website.  As you know, these powerful search engines "crawl" your website on a regular basis. They are constantly indexing its content and structure. Since the end of 2013 search engines have learned something new, they want content that looks a lot more like a real conversation (its called "semantic search").

Topics: Web Design brand story Storytelling websites
4 min read

The Story Your Website Is Telling

By David Mills on May 15, 2015

Your website is telling stories about you.

Digital storytelling reaches beyond the news and content that you post, to the web technology that delivers your brand.  A web or social encounter is often the first experience your customer has with your business or nonprofit.   Visitors to your digital properties are not just reading or seeing your story, they are experiencing it through the medium of your web properties.

Topics: Web Design brand story Storytelling websites
3 min read

One Step at a Time: Agile Web Development

By storycollabora on April 7, 2015

One Size Does Not Fit All

When you purchase a new car, with the exception of the color and available options, you get something almost identical to the one in the showroom.  Effective websites should never be like that; a "one-size fits all approach" in websites usually means that it won't really serve any of your needs. Your brand, your logo and graphic elements, photography, videos and content along with the unique needs and preferences of your customers should shape the way your website works and feels. So while we benefit from the use of large scale open source software, what a customer finds on your website should be unique to your business.  Their web experience is often the first impression of your company, and for most businesses, you need that impression to lead to customer action that results in an appointment, sale or visit.

Topics: Storytelling
3 min read

How to Make Your Brand a Story

By David Mills on March 5, 2015

Culture Shift

You don't have to look far to see the shift toward story-based marketing. A quick glance through a magazine, prime-time television, even the latest Super Bowl ads makes it clear – stories are working as a way to tell brand stories. This is an important change in marketing trends, part of it due to the power of social marketing.  Significant industry experts report that multiple corporate brands – ExxonMobil, Dow, Google, and IBM to name a few – have all upped the messaging related to their corporate story.

Topics: brand story Storytelling
2 min read

Why Social Media Matters

By David Mills on March 2, 2015

Social Media. It Matters.

The average person will tell forty-two people about a great social media experience (1). Forty-two. And yet, only 36% of people report their problems being solved when they inquire via social media (2). Most marketing and sales specialists understand the power of a conversation. From the first time a customer encounters your brand -- maybe it's a billboard, an article in a magazine, or a post on Twitter -- your brand is beginning a conversation with that customer. So, where is the disconnect?

Topics: Storytelling social media
2 min read

Wordpress: Top Five

By David Mills on February 27, 2015

1. GET SECURE

The first thing you should know about security for Wordpress, is that you should never use "admin" as your username. That is the first thing a hacking bot will try, and if they get your username, they just have to hack your password.

Topics: Storytelling Resources Business to Business
2 min read

Facebook, Thanks for Reminding Me to Be Human

By David Mills on January 5, 2015

The coming Facebook changes

If you are a small business or a nonprofit, you may be aware of the changes that Facebook is making to the way it distributes posts into our follower's news feeds. If your posts have been promotional in nature, even those that were intentional and creative, Facebook changes will result in "organic distribution" that will "fall significantly over time," starting in mid-January. That means that business and nonprofit pages will reach fewer and fewer of those who follow us if we are using language that looks or smells like advertising. Facebook's solution for that is simple, if it is advertising, then they want you to pay them for it.  Some painfully respond that they already "paid" with significant effort to build the "likes" on their pages, but those complaints aren't getting much response.

Topics: Storytelling
1 min read

Scrooge's Specters in the Night: A Timely Story

By David Mills on December 24, 2014

I recently watched the classic Dickens Christmas Carol, the one with George C. Scott.    I feel moved every time I watch it-- it touches on something that is a deep part of our human story.   The  various characters speak to the hopes and struggles of our lives-- the desire for closeness, challenges with money, health issues and interactions with powerful people.  A rich contrast plays out between someone who has everything but is miserable, and those who have little but who are generous and joyful.  The core message of this story is timeless.  It asks, can people change?  Can they awaken from lives of cruelty and selfishness to care deeply about the welfare of others?  Unlike Scrooge, I am afraid that we may not get the benefit of a visitation by ghosts, offering a more eternal perspective that allows us to see the world in a new light.

Topics: Storytelling
2 min read

Make Your Business a Gift: Unleash Your Storytellers

By David Mills on December 16, 2014

I grew up watching a local car dealer advertise with a big white cowboy hat and a parade of farm and zoo animals.  He was giving us the gift of amusement.   It was memorable, but I was dubious about the kind of car buying experience I might have on his lot, because the elephant wasn't telling a story that created confidence in his auto expertise.   When we come to realize that we need to use a story-based approach for our organization, we can feel pressure to put ourselves in the movie business, or recruit a family member to become our amateur (and often ineffective) television spokesperson.  Storytelling should be a priority for every business in the this era of social media, but it doesn't require filming your own reality TV show, because an army of storytellers are already available to you-- they are your customers.

Topics: Storytelling
2 min read

Insights into Story-Based Marketing

By David Mills on November 25, 2014

Story-based marketing is a primary focus of the Story Collaborative.   Story-based marketing includes skills, practices and technology, but more than anything else it moves us toward a new way of thinking.  As we undergo a story paradigm shift, we can transition from antiquated and ineffective approaches of marketing, based in a rapidly expiring perspective about people and communication, toward a viral and powerful approach that places our goods, service-- our value-- into the lives of consumers directly through their story.

Topics: brand story Storytelling
2 min read

Demystifying Story

By David Mills on November 25, 2014

The word "story" has become a buzz-word in the last couple of years. Everyone seems to be using the vague concept of story in reference to marketing strategy and brand equity. But, what is story in a professional context?

Topics: brand story Storytelling
3 min read

Is Failure in the Story You Tell? Maybe it Should Be.

By David Mills on June 24, 2014

You can get to know a company, department or organization by the stories they tell.

Failure isn't usually the topic of most organizational stories, but maybe it should be.

Topics: Storytelling social media
3 min read

Best Day and Time to Post on Social Media in 2020

By Amy Alexander on June 17, 2014

[ Updated July, 2020 ]

What is the best day and time to post on social media? Wednesday. On Facebook, it's Wednesday at 11 a.m. or 1-2 p.m. and on Instagram it's Wednesday at 3p.

 

But wait!

There is more to the story...

Best day and time to post on social media? Great question! I would love to say that the answer above is the perfect formula for publishing. I would also like to say that hours of our research resulted in a simple way to ensure engagement. But, the truth is: there is no perfect day and time for every audience.

Topics: Storytelling Metrics soclal networks social media
1 min read

Marketers Ruin Everything: How to Become a Storyteller

By David Mills on May 13, 2014

Being in business or organizational leadership doesn't leave us room to be romantic about the way we wish the world would behave. That romantic view of the world causes us to hesitate in moving into new marketing and communication realities because we are too busy observing how we wish things would "not be." We want the methods that we have learned to work and continue working. But the truth is, things have changed.

Topics: Storytelling