A Good Cause for Client Feedback

The results from our annual customer survey are in, and we’re proud to report another great year of client feedback. This was our 10th Annual Bottom Line Customer Survey.  It’s been an invaluable tool to help us learn and understand how to produce more effective and creative work for our clients. You can see the entire survey results at http://www.blmpr.com/about-us/customer-feedback-2/.

This year we added a little something new to the process. We wanted a good cause to benefit from the good feedback we get from our clients every year. So we randomly selected one of the survey respondents and agreed to make a $250  donation to the charitable cause of their choice. It also helped us boost our response rate.

The winner is Chris Kleine, product director at Physician Compass. This healthcare technology company was started last year and helps providers navigate the computerized, on-line reporting of quality data required by the Center Medicare Services (CMS) and to improve patient care.

We enjoyed working with Chris and the company’s owners to develop a new brand, value proposition, name, logo, tagline, sales materials and two websites in a short four-month time frame in 2015. 

Bottom Line will donate $250 to the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MACC) Fund in the name of Chris Klein and Physician Compass. The MACC Fund is a nonprofit organization raising funds to support research for pediatric cancer and blood disorders like aplastic anemia and sickle cell disease. 

What’s the good cause behind your client feedback?

Making Your Own News

It’s no secret journalists are busier than ever. Publication lead times are longer and the media relations world is more crowded, making it harder for your stories to get noticed. So, what’s a PR pro to do? When the pitching gets tough…make your own news source.

Brand Journalism isn’t a new concept, but it’s definitely seeing a resurgence and fresh twists lately. Just like Netflix decided to bypass broadcast television by producing its own shows direct to consumers, more and more companies are bypassing traditional media to create news hubs of their own. These websites feature:

  • Content written by internal on-staff writers about news and topics relevant to the organization
  • Stories housed in one, easy to find place that allows editors and reporters to re-use content as they see fit
  • A great way to tell the brand story for journalists and the public alike
  • The ability to connect disparate pieces of news under a common theme or brand umbrella to strengthen the organization and its brand

By taking over the content-writing process, companies that create their own news hubs are simultaneously making life easier for reporters and fostering their own buzz. It’s a great way to capture the best of your organization’s stories without needing to earn placements or purchase advertising.

Check out a few examples:

Is Your Website Missing Out On Mobile?

According to Mediative, over 6.8 billion people use mobile phones – that’s roughly 87 percent of the world’s population! We are at the tipping point where people actually spend more time on their phones than on desktops. KPCB mobile technology trends indicate adults spend 51 percent of their time using mobile media compared to desktop at 42 percent. What’s more, Google Research found that 72 percent of consumers want mobile-friendly websites.

Whether you’re B2B or B2C, the implications are clear – if you don’t have a responsive (mobile-friendly) website, you are missing out.

Responsive websites not only allow consumers to easily view your site on their phones, they also improve your mobile search ranking, which is typically different than your desktop search ranking!

Not sure if your website is responsive? Enter your URL into Google’s mobile-friendly test.

Google’s test may tell you whether or not your site is mobile-friendly, but it doesn’t give you a rating on how good, or bad, your website performs on mobile devices. Here are a few tips to make the most of a responsive website and ensure your customers enjoy using your website on their phones:

  • Test your website’s usability on mobile devices. Ask users how easy it is to use the website, if everything is readable, how long it takes to load, and how easy it is to navigate (find what they are looking for/accomplish a task).
  • When writing copy for your website, keep mobile usage in mind. Short, summarized content and bulleted lists work best for those using their phones on-the-go.
  • Many still feel nervous when buying products directly on their phones, even on a website they have used on their desktops before. Be sure to use transparent language to explain your mobile site is secure.
  • On your mobile website, work to include the same content, images, features and functionality as your standard website. People expect full functionality when using their phones.

Looking to update your website? Contact us. Here are a few examples of the responsive websites we’ve recently helped create or update: Mosaic Family Health, Mallery & Zimmerman, and Physician Compass.

Make Your Proposal Stand Out

Got an intriguing RFP in your inbox? You can develop a written proposal that will open the door to an in-person presentation by paying attention to a few key ideas.

  • Keep it short. A proposal that’s too long is unlikely to be read. It also likely demonstrates loose thinking. If you can describe what you plan to do clearly and succinctly, you demonstrate you know what you’re doing.  
  • Ask questions. Most RFPs offer an opportunity to submit questions. Take advantage of that. At Bottom Line, we often ask specific questions around objectives, tactics, review and approval processes, timelines and budgets. We also ask big picture questions like, “What does success look like at the completion of this project?” and “Why are you seeking a partner to help with this project?”
  • Demonstrate expertise. Visual elements are a great way to show you know what you’re doing because you’ve done this before. Charts and graphs that show results of similar work, photos of completed projects, and graphics that help explain steps or components of the proposed project further demonstrate your expertise and experience. Testimonials or case studies may also be helpful.
  • Clarify deliverables. Tell the client exactly what they can expect from you at each stage of the project and at the end. Include a timeline as well.
  • Introduce your team. Clients want to know who they’ll be working with and the expertise your team brings to the project. Increase their confidence in your team by briefly introducing each one.
  • Outline your terms. In addition to a budget estimate, include information about expense reimbursement, time constraints, expectations you have from the client (you need access to administrative support, for example), and billing.
  • Eliminate errors. Please, no typos or misspellings. A single misspelling may disqualify your proposal.
  • Make it look good. While you want your content to tell the story of what you’re proposing to do, help the client make sense of it all by thoughtfully organizing that content and adding a bit of flair. Maybe you use color. Maybe you treat section titles differently. Maybe a graphic designer pulls the whole thing together. Whatever you choose, remember that a visually appealing proposal will catch your client’s eye – and help keep it.

How confident are we in these tips? Very! We recently used them ourselves to revise our proposals. We’re enjoying a better process for developing proposals, and more importantly, clients and prospects are more clearly understanding our projects and what they can expect from us.

Join us on the proposal improvement journey. We predict you’ll be glad you did.  

Making Employees Feel Appreciated

What do employees want from their employer? Sure, a decent paycheck, health insurance and vacation days are important. But the ABC Company provides these benefits, and so does the 123 Company.  So what makes one company more appealing to employees than the other? It’s the little things that show employees they’re appreciated. When comparing one company to another, the company with a culture of appreciation usually wins.

There are many ways to show appreciation that don’t require much time, money or effort. Take for example a simple verbal acknowledgement for a job well done. As the CEO or manager, taking a moment to speak directly with your employee to acknowledge his or her work can make a huge impression on that employee. It shows him or her that you’ve taken notice of the employee’s work. Employees, especially millennials, want verbal acknowledgement and feedback, and this is one of the best ways to show appreciation.

A handwritten note or an email is also effective if you make it personal to the employee. “I really appreciate the work you did to clean up the database. It’s not a fun job, but our next mailing will be more efficient thanks to your efforts.”

Other ways to show your employees you appreciate them include:

  • Unexpected time off. Consider giving an employee or the whole office a few hours off once in a while. For example, the first nice warm weather day or an afternoon in December to do some holiday shopping.
  • Bringing in treats, coffee or lunch. Food is always a hit, especially in our own office.
  • Inviting employees to sit in on planning sessions.
  • Holding frequent state-of-the-company meetings to keep all employees appraised of what’s going on in the workplace.

For some employers, it’s a big deal if their employees simply show up each day, dressed appropriately and use the tools they have to connect with customers. Appreciating your employees for being part of the team is also worthy of an acknowledgement.

We recently helped a banking client develop and execute a brand recognition campaign. As the new brand was rolled out over a six-month period, so too were small, but impactful, ways to acknowledge and recognize employees. One month employees received pins to wear at work. The pin had the new slogan on it, and if a customer asked the employee what it meant, it gave the employee the opportunity to explain the new brand and interact with the customer. Another month, each employee received a branded pen. The next month each employee received recruiting cards he or she could personalize with their name and hand to prospective employees. Employees loved the cards and felt empowered to help find the next great job candidate. These cards were tied to a refreshed employee referral bonus. Employees were rewarded with candy bars in November with a message that said the company was “thankful” for them.

The immediate impact of this overall campaign resulted in a lower employee turnover rate. Employees felt like they had ownership in the company and knew they were appreciated. It was a win-win. 

Check out our case study!

If you’re not already acknowledging your employees, consider putting together a small internal focus group to solicit input on ways to start recognizing employees. A little effort goes a long way to differentiate your company from the competitor, helping you recruit and retain the best employees.

If you were CEO for the day, what would you do to show appreciation?