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10 Inspirational Thanksgiving Quotes to Fuel Your Holiday

10 Inspirational Thanksgiving Quotes to Fuel Your Holiday

Thanksgiving Day can be an emotional holiday. You may have a hilarious list of Thanksgiving quotes from prior family dinners that aren’t quite suitable for publishing. Those are memories you get to keep forever. But if you’re looking for a little inspiration to help you make it through the day, here are 10 of my personal favorite Thanksgiving quotes about sharing the love and feeling gratitude. May you all have a blessed day filled with joy, laughter, family and friends!


Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

– Marcel Proust


The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.”

– William Blake


Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

– Buddha


As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

– John F. Kennedy


Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.”

– William Faulkner


There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

– Albert Einstein


Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

– Oprah Winfrey


Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.”

– Henry Van Dyke


I’m thankful for every moment.”

– Al Green


Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song.”

– Konrad von Gesner


Happy Thanksgiving


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A Wonderful Thanksgiving Story With 10 Morals to Live By

A Wonderful Thanksgiving Story With 10 Morals to Live By

I stumbled across this wonderful Thanksgiving story earlier this week and felt compelled to share it. I don’t know who wrote it, but it moved me.

It vaguely reminded me of what we all strive to achieve from a marketing campaign, but more importantly, who we strive to be as human beings. Spin changes how we feel about products and people, but sincerity, kindness and generosity will always shine the brightest. As Ellen DeGeneres says at the close of each show,

Be kind to one another.

Whenever you’re having a particularly bad day, count all of the reasons you have to be thankful and let your gratitude speak louder than your grief. Enjoy this tale and take its 10 morals to heart.


A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet.  He held up a sign which said:

I am blind, please help.”

There were only a few coins in the hat.

A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat.  He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy.  That afternoon, the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were.

The boy recognized his footsteps and asked,

Were you the one who changed my sign this morning?  What did you write?”

The man said,

I only wrote the truth.  I said what you said, but in a different way. I wrote:

Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it.‘”

Both signs told people that the boy was blind.

But the first sign simply said the boy was blind.

The second sign told people that they were lucky that they were not blind.

Are you surprised that the second sign was more effective?

The moral of this story is tenfold:

1. Be thankful and grateful for what you have
2. Be creative and innovative
3. Look at things from new and different perspectives
4. Share your knowledge and experience
5. Face your past without regret
6. Handle the present with confidence
7. Prepare for the future without fear
8. Keep the faith and have hope
9. Stay positive in the face of adversity
10. Persevere – never give up

Make someone smile today. Today is beautiful.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

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Three Marketing Tips to Harvest a Higher ROI

Three Marketing Tips to Harvest a Higher ROI

Marketing is a lot like harvesting the fruits of your gardening labors to gather new growth opportunities for your firm. Updating your marketing goals and strategic plan is as important to your business as tending to the soil and plants in your garden. Here are three marketing tips to help you harvest a higher ROI from your marketing efforts.

1. Reap What You Have Sown

Rethink your marketing message with a focus on addressing the problems you help solve.  Too often marketing is inward-facing, promoting a firm’s services, industry expertise or great client service. While all important, these are secondary at the initial stage of a prospect’s search. Plant the seeds in your prospects’ minds by being ever-present with knowledge and solutions to help them thrive.  Marketing is a year-round effort because it is impossible to know when prospective clients may be starting their search for a new service provider. During the course of the year, decision makers may not even consider the problems you can help solve a high priority. Your email newsletters articles should focus less on services your offer, and more on solutions to the problems you see your clients facing every day. Your marketing should continually spotlight these problems and offer practical solutions that help bring your firm to the top of the list when decision-making time arrives. In this way, you will be able to harvest the fruit you have ripened through your content marketing activities.

2. Sample Your Produce

Take a look at your marketing initiatives from your prospects’ perspective. Many prospects will begin their search by talking with people they know, and then doing their online homework after they receive their initial referral. If you were looking for a firm to help you solve a problem, would the online footprint of your firm indicate that you are a credible resource? Your online marketing presence should be a beacon that pulls them in with effective and interactive elements. Be sure to address your prospects’ problems with useful information. Many websites go into too much detail about firm services and don’t address any specific problems prospects face. The content on your site should effectively illustrate that your firm has the experience to help them address their specific needs. Your calls to action should also encourage prospects to identify themselves and reach out to learn more. Calls to action can include a free consultation, free white paper on a specific problem or situation, detailed reports or other compelling content that provokes a response from a qualified prospect to reach out to learn more. Sampling your online footprint from the perspective of your prospects can give you a taste of how well your content is meeting their needs. Hearty content resources can be great sources of new opportunities for your firm.

3. Bloom and Harvest

Mine the data. If new business is part of your marketing plan, now is the time to put your team together. Determine who will be the point person or people to respond to prospect’s inquiries. Identify each of their roles and specify how they will manage the new opportunities. Planning this in advance will insure no time is wasted when the opportunities begin to come in and will help your impress the buyers with your efficiency. Obviously these strategies are just the beginning. Autumn is a great time to evaluate your marketing plan, but a healthy marketing strategy is one that is tended to all year long.

Written by David Ross, Marketing Communications Specialist

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Posted in: Content Marketing, CPA Firm Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing

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Integrate Email and Social to Reach Beyond the Inbox

Integrate Email and Social to Reach Beyond the Inbox

Customized and targeted email newsletters are a great first step in any marketing strategy. Every time you publish an email newsletter or send out an email blast, you are putting your brand in front of your clients, prospects and referral sources. But, consumers and businesses today gather their information in more places than just their inbox.

Today’s technology make access to social media more accessible than ever, and many social networks continue to grow in popularity as a regular source of information for consumers. Here’s how you can begin to integrate email and social media to expand the reach of your firm’s messaging through multiple platforms:

Reach Out

Expand the reach of your e-newsletters by re-posting important, timely content items on your social media sites so that even if clients and prospects are away from their inboxes, they can still keep up with breaking news from your firm through their social sites.

Expand Your Presence

Maximize your online presence, grow your newsletter list, and inform and educate readers and visitors by integrating social media with your email newsletter platform.

Gain Enhanced Exposure

  • Boost
    Feature a regularly appearing banner in your e-newsletter to let readers know how to find you on each of your social media sites. Encourage them to “like” you, follow you or join your online networks.
  • Repurpose
    Repurpose content from your email newsletter by posting it to your social sites. Choose an email platform that allows you (and your readers!) to share any or all of the articles in your newsletter directly on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social platforms via a simple “Share This” link.
  • Connect
    Include ways for new social visitors to sign up for your newsletter on your social sites. Consider including a newsletter sign-up form to the bottom of your articles so that when your articles are shared, viewers have the option to subscribe. Using a form that syncs automatically with your newsletter database makes the process that much easier.

While email newsletter marketing is still the heart and soul of effective B2B email campaigns, don’t forget to integrate your efforts with other online opportunities to grow and enhance your brand. Your email newsletter platform should be able to incorporate these social media strategies with your newsletter campaigns. If it doesn’t, or isn’t as easy as it should be, consider making a change.

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Posted in: Branding, Email Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Newsletters, Online Marketing

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Gratitude Marketing: It’s All About That Thanks

Gratitude Marketing: It’s All About That Thanks

This is the perfect time of year to employ gratitude marketing.

You’ve probably heard Meghan Trainor’s delightful song, “All About That Bass,” and you might have even seen the delectable Thanksgiving song parody “All About That Baste” from the oh-so-adorable Holderness Family, but when it comes to professional marketing, your client messages should be all about that  “thanks.”

Marketing really is all about that “thanks.”

This time of years sheds light on a vital component of your  marketing strategy: gratitude. Let’s face it. Your business would not function without your clients. Your clients fund your efforts. They have chosen to invest in you, so rewarding them for that investment is simply fitting.

Go Beyond the muffin basket.

It is important to let your clients know that you are grateful  for their business, but are you communicating your appreciation throughout the year, and not just in your annual gifts and  holiday greetings? Baskets full of goodies and annual calendars are great, but what about the rest of the year? December and January may sometimes bring a bit of client attrition, and a more aggressive client appreciation marketing strategy can offset losses by helping keep your existing clientele happy and satisfied.

Show your clients that you value them.

Take up a strategic approach to showing your clients some love through nurturing campaigns. Be sure the underlying tone or focus of your client messaging is one of appreciation and genuine gratitude for their business. Here are a few ways you can show clients you care:

1. Reward

Let’s face it. People love perks. A  freebie can help you bring in more business  and keep existing clients happy. If you only meet with your clients once a year, you might as well have a coffee cup, pen set, notebook, thumb drive, ball cap or smart-phone cover available to give to your client as you wrap up the meeting and make plans to meet again next year. After all, you probably need (or already have) a stockpile of giveaways for conferences and events. Fun gifts can be great client loyalty tools as well. Why do giveaways work? Well…

You’ve been given something, seemingly for nothing, and now you feel obligated to reciprocate…” – Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Psychologist

2. Educate

As a professional service provider, it is your obligation to help inform your clients about changing regulations and laws that may impact them. Sharing information has become a competitive necessity. Show your clients you value them and want to partner in their success by keeping them well-versed on issues affecting them. Your website, online guides, email campaigns and social media outlets can  work together to provide educational resources for your clientele. Your messages could also offer a freebie in the form of your latest report or whitepaper download. But clients won’t know about your informative updates if they haven’t opt-ed in to your email program. Catch clients at the front desk, in meetings or during phone calls, and let them know you’re committed to making sure they will be grateful for their subscription to your client email newsletter.

You might also choose to educate your clientele through  events, seminars and webinars. Your client email and social media campaigns can promote these sessions, but what about after the event is over? Follow up with event attendees with a thank you email, and perhaps also provide a link to additional resources that attendees would find useful.

3. Refer

When a client refers your services, you definitely should take the time to  thank them. A thank-you gift, client spotlight article on your blog, reciprocal referral or other offering could adequately demonstrate your gratitude. An even more effective approach would be to instill a referral program, and give your clients the incentive of a cash reward in exchange for legitimate referrals.

You might offer payroll services, but your payroll client could be looking for a new local accounting firm. You are probably intimately familiar with the outstanding CPA firms in your community. It is helpful to have a referral list assembled and ready to share with clients who come asking. You could also get some marketing reciprocity rolling, and reach out to the top four accounting firms on your “favorites” list. Offer to feature one firm per quarter in your client communications in exchange for similar promotions to their clientele. Clients who know you and trust you will appreciate genuine recommendations and referrals from your business.

Say, “Thanks.”

No matter how you choose to reward your clients,  appreciation marketing is all about a genuine, heart-felt approach to letting your clients know that you understand their worth and care about their success. Take some time this holiday season to get creative and find new ways to use your client communications to say, “Thank you.” Don’t forget to keep the gratitude flowing by offering little displays of client appreciation throughout the year.

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Posted in: Client Retention, Communications, Content Marketing, CPA Firm Marketing, Email Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Best Practices

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INFOGRAPHIC: The Importance of Visual Content Marketing

INFOGRAPHIC: The Importance of Visual Content Marketing

A picture is worth a thousand words. When used in the right way, an image can have an impact like no other medium of communication.

Visual content marketing is more successful than any other form of communication. Marketers who embrace visual content reap the rewards of higher returns – in terms of more fans, followers, readers, leads, clients and, of course, revenue.

If you are not yet focusing on visual content in your marketing strategy, whether on social media or in your email campaigns, it’s time to re-imagine your plan. Visualize the benefits of incorporating stunning imagery and visuals to increase your reach, enhance your brand and earn more new business.

We are visual beings.

According to psychologist Albert Mehrabian, 93% of all communication is nonverbal. Consider how we react to body language or why silent movies are so compelling despite the lack of verbal dialogue. What we see has a profound effect on what we do, how we feel, and who we are. How you use graphics greatly affect how you and your business are perceived.

Visual content drives engagement. Neuromarketing science confirms it. Do you need some hard evidence to buy into the visual content marketing process before you’ll commit?

Review these fascinating statements based on case studies and experiments from psychologists, scientists, neurologists and other experts*:

1)  Graphics expedite and increase comprehension, recollection, and retention

2)  Visual clues help us decode text and attract attention to information or direct attention increasing the likelihood that the audience will remember

3)  Pictures enhance or affect emotions and attitudes

4)  Graphics engage our imagination and heighten our creative thinking by stimulating other areas of our brain (which in turn leads to a more profound and accurate understanding of the presented material)

5)  In a normal conversation, the importance of words is 7%, voice tonality is 38% and of body language is 55%

When you are ready to begin focusing on visual content marketing, remember to be consistent and innovative throughout your campaign.

Show, don’t tell.

The infographic below by Kwikturn Media provides additional details about why visual content is absolutely essential to your ongoing marketing success.

Visual Content Marketing is Essential to Marketing Success

Tweetable Take-aways

Engage your social followers with these interesting statistics:

90% of information transmitted to the brain is #visual

The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text

40% of people respond better to an image than 1,000 words

46% say a website’s #design is the Number 1 criterion for discerning a company’s #credibility

Posts with #infographics grow traffic an average of 12% more than those without

700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute

Pinterest generates more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn COMBINED

Photos on Facebook garner more interaction than text, videos, and links

Visitors spend 100% more time on pages that have #videos on them

Consumers who watch a product #video are 85% more likely to purchase that product


M. Parkinson, “Do-it-Yourself Billion Dollar Graphics”.

H. van Oostendorp, J. Preece and A.G. Arnold (guest editorial), “Designing Multimedia for Human Needs and Capabilities,” Interacting with Computers Volume 12, Issue 1 (September 1999): 1-5.

J.R. Levin, A Transfer of Appropriate Processing Perspective of Pictures in Prose, (in H.Mandl and J.R. Levin [eds.]) Knowledge Acquisition from Text and Prose (Amsterdam: ElsevierScience Publishers, 1989).

W.H. Levie and R. Lentz, “Effects of Text Illustrations: A Review of Research,”Educational Communications and Technology Journal 30 (4) (1982): 195-232.

D. Bobrow and D. Norman, “Some Principles of Memory Schemata,” (in D. Bobrow and A.Collins [eds.]), Representation and Understanding: Studies in Cognitive Science (New York: Academic Press, 1975), 131-149 and D. Rumelhart, “Schemata: The Building Blocks of Cognition,” (in R.J. Spiro, B.C. Bruce and W.F. Brewer [eds.]), Theoretical Issues in Reading Comprehension (Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associate, 1980), 33-58.

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Posted in: Branding, Communications, Content Marketing, Imagery in Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Best Practices, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing

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Lights, Camera, Action! Use Video Marketing To Enhance Your Brand, Grow Your Audience & Earn More Business

Lights, Camera, Action! Use Video Marketing To Enhance Your Brand, Grow Your Audience & Earn More Business

Video has stolen the scene from the written word. In our high-tech world where information is only a click or a swipe away, we seek content that is instantly engaging, concise and interesting. Short videos are hogging the content marketing spotlight. Videos trump blogs. If you are not video marketing, you should be.

Reading is becoming too cumbersome for our modern society. As a culture, we simply do not have the attention span to read anymore. News flash: video is once again taking center stage over other mediums. Including video segments in your professional email newsletters is a great way to jazz up your newsletter content. If high production costs and lack of technological skills have been on your list of excuses for putting off the inevitable, get ready to start shooting (video, that is).

Here are three great reasons why you should incorporate video into your marketing strategy immediately:

1) Video is easy

Using a simple handheld video recorder, you can capture great content that visually conveys the sincerity, casualness, humor or whichever tone and attitude you wish to impart. People like people. They appreciate messages they can relate to. And they are far more likely to pause and check out a visual (video) than they are to read an article. Use a company spokesperson, or film yourself, to engage your audience. This will help your brand stand out among the competition.

2) Video equipment is cost-effective

For less than $300, you can own a simple-to-use high definition Flip Video™ camera.  That’s less than you’d expect to pay for an SLR or high-res compact digital camera and it comes with editing software that is easy as pie to operate. There are other inexpensive options on the market as well; just do a little homework to see if you’ll need to buy additional software for editing before making the purchase.

3) Video is engaging & better at conversion

Videos allow for the expression of nonverbal cues that the written word simply cannot convey.  The average Internet user is likely to watch roughly 206 videos each month. Nearly 70% of marketers now incorporate video into their marketing campaigns. Video is four times more engaging than static content and drives conversion faster. Let this sink in for a second: the amount of information your brain retains in 60 seconds of video is the equivalent to 1.8 million words. #mindblown 

Before you start shooting your marketing video

Most often, what you shoot is of greater value to your audience than the quality of your camerawork, so shoot first and ask questions later. That said, you should put some effort into producing relatively high quality “homemade” videos. Consider these tips for successful video production:

Script and Content

Develop content that you find interesting. If you are interested in the topic, it will show through loud and clear on the screen. Great videos are often scripted and rehearsed in advance, but spontaneous and impromptu reactions from staff, clients or strangers frequently have the highest online appeal. A solid strategy is to do a combination of both formats. Interviews of company executives are an excellent way to grant your audience “behind the scenes” footage – be the first to break the news about upcoming changes to your viewers. Consider taking the most important piece of an article (in one minute or less) and discussing its implications on screen. Or reviewing the highlights of a current event or pending legislation. Take your video camera “on the road” and report back from industry trade shows, seminars or company retreats. Grow your video channel with timely and informative updates about what’s happening in your industry and with your company.

Lighting and Direction

Your video should be shot with the best available lighting, sound, focus and steadiness of the camera.  If you’re capturing video outdoors, be careful not to shoot facing the sun and consider shooting during the “magic hours” – the periods of time shortly after sunrise and prior to sunset when natural soft light is abundant.  Be mindful of controlling background noise when you can, such as turning off a television or radio if it’s not part of your scene.  When possible, use a tripod or other stabilizing device to help control the solidity of your video.  Most video cameras have some stabilization and auto-focusing software built in, but you will not regret having a tripod on hand. Have fun with the creative aspects – put on your Director’s cap when determining what to capture and how to capture it. See an example of how my colleague, Becca Fieler, shot her office in a video blog about productivity.


Brevity is the gold standard. One minute and thirty seconds is the optimal length for web videos, and less than one minute is usually even better. If you have five minutes of high quality content, it will likely be more appealing if published as multiple shorter productions. A series of brief, concise and compelling videos will help your brand more than one long video that won’t be able to maintain viewership and attention. Don’t get too fancy with editing tricks, like fading in and out and moving type, which can distract your audience from the more important content. Because the success of low-tech documentaries, such as those created by filmmaker Michael Moore, your audience will forgive amateurish aspects of your video production, provided that the content is interesting and engaging. Be sure to publish video that makes you smile and makes you proud.  What is in your video is more important than how flashy it is. Never publish just to publish. No matter how intricate and showy your video is, it will not help you grow and persuade your audience or boost your brand if it doesn’t contain compelling content.

Embrace Serendipity

One thing to remember when developing your own video content is that you just never know how good it may turn out. Sometimes, you get lucky and unintended circumstances contribute to your content having such wide appeal that it gets passed along and shared by many people. Embrace the idea that your videos need not be “perfect” and that you may not fully understand the elements that help a video “go viral”. If you boil your video production down to a simmering science, you may lose the creativity that sparked interest in your early videos. If your videos are too predictable, the video campaign won’t have long-term appeal. You may not win a Shorty Award, but your creativity will help you connect with your prospects and grow your online presence.

One final tip:

Share, share, share!

The point of video is to share it with an audience – your clients, staff, prospects, friends, colleagues, family. Once you’ve developed content and produced a video that you’re happy with, upload it to YouTube, your company’s blog page and Facebook page. Then link to the video from your email newsletter and other email campaigns as well as on Twitter and LinkedIn. The more viewers you get, the more you can grow your audience and, ultimately, your brand and business.

With all of the upside and so little that can go terribly wrong, shooting video will certainly help contribute to the success of your company’s brand. It’s never been easier, less expensive or more fun to capture video.  Lights, Camera, Action!

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Five Reasons for Holiday Video Marketing

Five Reasons for Holiday Video Marketing

Holiday videos are a great way to reach your clients, prospects and referral sources through seasonal messaging. Most of us count our blessings and find reasons to be thankful in November, celebrate a season of light in December, welcome the New Year in January, find someone we love on St. Valentine’s Day, and (whether we are Irish or not) don green attire on St. Patrick’s Day.

Holidays are relatable. Holidays are also predictable. We all know when they are coming, we all know what they are about, and you can easily utilize holidays to add instant appeal to your marketing and communications strategies. Holiday video marketing can bring cheer to the spirit, warm the heart and help personalize your messaging in a way that no other form of communication can.

Still not convinced? Here are five great reasons for holiday video marketing:

1. Video Helps Build Relationships

Video connects with your contacts for the same reason that some folks prefer to visit a brick-and-mortar establishment, or attend events, conferences and classes hosted by live presenters. People prefer human interactions, and video is the nearest online equivalent to the face-to-face interaction. A video message wrapped up in a warm, touching, cheerful or otherwise entertaining holiday theme boosts appeal and is guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of your contacts. Engage your target market with seasonal appeal, while sharing your passion for what you do. Your viewers will see that passion in your face, hear it in your voice, and catch that sparkle in your eye, which will help them relate to you and boost your credibility.

Holidays also often tie into philanthropic opportunities. Video can help showcase your firm’s involvement in the community. Food drives, toy drives, local charity events and other community activities could be featured in a holiday video. People get caught up in stories. Showing your viewers how they can get involved in the same charitable endeavors that your firm is participating in offers them the opportunity to become part of the moment and opens the door to new business opportunities as well.

2. Video Gives You A Chance To Talk About Your Firm In Your Own Words

A holiday video greeting can give your interested prospects the chance to virtually “meet you” prior to meeting you. In your next video, think about running through a checklist of documents or information that your client should bring before coming in to meet with you for the first time. Tell them why this information is important to provide. This helps your client to be prepared for your next interaction and also reassures them that you have a well thought out process and plan in place even before they walk in the door. Simply wear a festive holiday hat, and your pre-meeting or other business video communications could go from bland and lackluster to fun and engaging. What better way to kick off a new client relationship than with personality and insight?

Service and product overviews can also take advantage of the holiday theme. Utilize video to introduce special offers, talk about changes at your firm or spotlight new additions to your team. Keep in mind that video content that is unique, memorable, edgy or unusual will always garner a better response than content that leans toward the mundane. Think about what you can do to grip your audience and provide information about your firm in a way that is out of the ordinary. Injecting elements that are shockingly creative, such as an impromptu gleeful holiday song or surprising holiday wardrobe, will entice your audience and leave them at the edge of their seats. They will enjoy every moment of your holiday video when you offer a bit of ingenuity.

3. Video Can Show Your Clients And Prospects “How-To”

How-to videos are among the most heavily searched content on YouTube and other video sites. You can use your holiday-themed video to educate, inform and instruct your viewers.

More often than not, your prospects and clients will need more complex interaction and services than what can be obtained in a two minute instructional video. Even though you are satiating a momentary need with how-to video content, you are simultaneously building the bridge toward future paid interactions when viewers come knocking on your door for deeper insight.

Think about incorporating year-end charitable giving strategies and best practices into your next holiday themed “how-to” video segment. Using the seasons for a little inspiration helps your viewers relate. When you provide an interactive, instructional video for general public consumption, you are not giving away your expertise. Instead, you are building credibility by demonstrating that you are the go-to resource with a full understanding of your chosen topic.

4. Video Can Help You Stand Out From Your Competitors

Have you seen many other professional service providers in holiday video content recently? Chances are that you have only seen a few, if any. Your competition might be afraid to venture into video, particularly video with a theme, but you don’t have to be.

Video builds a relationship in a way that no other online impression can match. Utilize video as a means of demonstrating your expertise, but don’t forget to occasionally offer up those fantastic heartwarming moments that make life worthwhile. Share the story of how your firm got off the ground, or how you’ve helped a client save money, or highlight each of your key team members using a holiday theme of thankfulness, joy, peace (think peace of mind) or some other uplifting emotion and your prospects will be hooked. You will stand out among the competition in your marketplace by showing off your firm’s personality and connecting with your target market with holiday-themed content.

5. Video Can Be Fun – And Video Can Be Shared

Holiday videos are less focused on the sale, which encourages viewers to share it. Your holiday video could feel more like an online greeting card than a marketing message but still feature your firm’s branding and contact information. Giving the gift of video can add a bit of fun and increase the likelihood of your message going viral. During the holiday season, your contacts are already thinking about giving and sharing, and video is the gift that keeps on giving.

Keep things light, and keep them real. One of the most important factors in a viral video is the feeling that you are watching real people just being themselves. It draws you in. The fact that viral video “stars” are not professional actors, but are actually average Janes and Joes doing captivating and interesting things, elicits a far more positive response from viewers than professional productions. Viral videos are accessible and have an element of imagination to them. They make viewers feel as if they could join in on the fun.

Lay your inhibitions aside and let go of the idea that video aficionados will expect you to kick out a professional production. Many of the videos that go viral tend to be simple videos captured on someone’s mobile device or hand-held video camera that just happened to grab a unique moment in time. In order for your holiday video messaging to be effective, it simply needs to come from your firm and your staff in a spirit of enjoying the holidays and wishing the same to all of your clients, prospects and referral sources.

Some tips for helping your holiday video to go viral:

  • Share your videos through your email newsletter
  • Post your video to your blog
  • Post your video to your social media sites, and ask your friends, fans and followers to share it
  • Remind your YouTube channel followers that you have posted fresh content
  • Ask your staff to share the video on their personal social media pages

Remember to keep your holiday video joyful, accessible, full of story, and creative. Enjoy the experience of creating the video, and your viewers will be enthralled.

Holiday Video Can Be A Great Way To Warm Up Winter Messaging

Video offers a way to connect your audience with the human presence behind your firm. Your contacts enjoy a bit of levity from time to time, and holiday messaging with video can add that lighthearted appeal that can push your email click activity through the roof (or at least boost it up on the rooftop where sleigh bells ring). Audiences tend to be more receptive to holiday video messaging and are more likely to share these messages with friends and colleagues. Give your contacts the gift of holiday video this season, and you will find business relationships and revenue growing as a result.

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Blog Roundup: 5 Marketing Thank You Ideas

Blog Roundup: 5 Marketing Thank You Ideas

Using your marketing messages to offer a genuine thank you to clients, prospects and referral sources is one of the smartest (and easiest) ways to nurture your contacts and build relationships. Here are five marketing thank you ideas to help you send out your gratitude this month:


Tip 1: Say Thank You for Subscribing


6 Emails You Must Send to Remain Top of Mind and Earn More (New) Business

6 Emails You Must Send to Remain Top of Mind and Earn More New BusinessOne tip to help you create an engaging and effective welcome email: thank new subscribers in your welcome emails. The most important element of a welcome email is the “thank you”. They have subscribed to your emails, indicating that they are interested in you and your services. Thank them. Consider offering them a small reward, such as a relevant whitepaper or report or a link for them to sign up to receive a free promotional item by mail… READ ON.


Tip 2: Thank Your Clients for Their Referrals


Your Clients Might Be Your Best Referral Sources

What is your best source of referrals? It could be your clients.When you receive referrals from your clients, make a big deal about it. Thank them. In addition to thanking clients, consider highlighting their businesses by profiling them on your website, or at least including testimonials from the individuals who made the referrals. If you make your clients feel good about giving you referrals, chances are you’ll get more than one from those who do… READ ON.


Tip 3: Thank Your Contacts for Participating in Surveys


Learn Your Business from Your Clients

Learn Your Business from Your CustomersOpportunities for client contact and customer service are everywhere, and it’s critical to tap into all of them to create lasting loyalty. One of the best ways to do that is to teach every employee in every department how to recognize these opportunities and what to do with them. Your customers can provide valuable input. Be sure to thank them when they do.. READ ON.


Tip 4: Thank Your Event Attendees


If You Plan Right, They Will Come

If You Plan Right, They Will ComeWhat’s the difference between a well-attended client seminar that produces revenue-generating leads and one in which members of your firm outnumber participants? Usually, it’s not the weather or some event beyond your control. It’s planning. Location, timely topics, engaging presentations, great networking and pre and post-event messaging (like thank you’s) all factor into creating a winning event. Here’s how to turn your seminars into business-makers… READ ON.


Tip 5: Take a Seasonal Opportunity to Say “Thank You”


It’s Time to Give Thanks

It's Time to Give ThanksYear-end finds many of us reflecting on the past year, both from a personal as well as a professional perspective. We look forward to celebrating the holidays with our family and friends, attending parties, exchanging gifts and giving thanks for even the smallest blessings we’ve received. We also think about Thanksgiving messaging and other holiday greetings… READ ON.


This month is the perfect time to say, “Thanks.” No matter what marketing strategy you use to say thank you to your clients, prospects and referral sources, you’ll never regret sending a message that shows your contacts just how grateful you are for their interest in your firm. When it comes to reputation management, thank you communications are genuine tools that help you build rapport with your audience and grow your business in the process.

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Posted in: Communications, CPA Firm Marketing, Email Marketing, Email Newsletters, Event Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Best Practices, Online Marketing, Reputation Management

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Ideas for Your 2014 Thanksgiving Marketing

Ideas for Your 2014 Thanksgiving Marketing

It’s time to give thanks.

Year-end finds many of us reflecting on the past year, both from a personal as well as a professional perspective. We look forward to celebrating the holidays with our family and friends, attending parties, exchanging gifts and giving thanks for even the smallest blessings we’ve received. We also think about what may have gone wrong, and what changes we want to make in the coming year to live better, be happier and get healthier.

At work, we go through many of the same thought processes. Are we satisfied with the results of our marketing efforts? Which strategies were more successful than others? How do we improve upon our methods and conversions? Did we cultivate the kinds of relationships we wanted to achieve? What can we do to increase our market share? How do we thank our existing clients for their loyalty and our prospects for their interest?

Think about your 2014 holiday marketing strategy.

Right about now, you have probably begun the search for the best holiday cards to mail out and are trying to figure out how to get your firm’s partners and key team members to personalize them so they send the right message – that you care. Many firms combine a holiday greeting with a “thank you for your continued patronage” note in an attempt to reinforce that one-to-one relationship that client retention (especially for CPA firms and other professional service providers) depends upon.

Some firms may opt to send out thank you emails for Thanksgiving or as electronic supplements to print greeting cards during the holiday season. And those emails will be well-received and should absolutely be a part of your communication strategy. They help you solidify relationships with existing clients and nurture budding relationships with prospects.

But did you know that thanking clients and prospects throughout the year could pay out greater dividends than any other type of email marketing?

Thank you emails are twice as nice.

It should be fairly obvious why the thank you email is effective… but did you know that it is twice as effective as the general email?

HubSpot conducted a comprehensive analysis of open rates and click through rates (CTRs) on automated thank you emails (auto-responders) and then compared those statistics to those reported on general campaign-driven marketing emails. Guess what they discovered?

Thank you emails generated a 42% open rate and 14% CTR on average, while generic campaign emails generated a 12% open rate and a 6% CTR.

WOW! Even automated emails that were sent out in response to subscriber/website visitor behavior generated more than twice the click through activity than campaign-driven marketing emails. Apparently, people like to be thanked. Saying thank you is not only nice, it’s nice for business.

What can you learn from HubSpot’s study? Clearly, saying thank you more than once a year will be beneficial to your marketing campaign. Here are some tips for how to implement strategic thank you emails into your strategy:

1. Set up auto-responders.

If you aren’t using auto-responders to thank newsletter subscribers and website visitors who take advantage of an offer (such as a whitepaper download, free consultation, webinar or seminar event, etc), you should be. Once set up, your auto-responders require little maintenance and are a marketer’s dream tool.

2. Keep your thank you emails simple.

Your auto-responders need not be fancy or particularly creative. Although there is something to said for well-designed emails (and you certainly wouldn’t want to send out an email that does not complement your brand), a thank you email can be simple. Thank your reader/visitor for whatever they did that triggered the auto-responder, give them something else to consider that is relevant to their demonstrated area of interest, and provide your contact information in case they have any questions. That’s it.

3. Give them more than they asked for.

If they downloaded something from your website, provide a direct link back to that same product for their records. This is particularly important if your auto-responder is based on a form that was submitted, as you want to make it easy for them to review your content again in the future without going through the process again. But then give them something more. They should have already received a copy of whatever it was you were offering, so the direct link is just a nicety. Now ratchet your niceness quotient up a notch. Your thank you email should include a secondary call to action, such as a different article, e-book or whitepaper on a similar subject as the one they downloaded, or a complimentary consultation with a tax advisor, or a case study of how your tax return reviews have uncovered significant savings. Offer something relevant to their area of interest, which you should be able to identify based on their initial action.

4. Be nice about sharing your email.

We’ve talked about how word-of-mouth referrals are the very best type of referral you can get, especially in professional service industries. Don’t squander an opportunity to reach new prospects when designing your thank you auto-responders. Include social media sharing links and encourage your recipients to share your email with their friends, family and colleagues – anyone who might value and appreciate the message and content you provide. The more people who see your quality content and your affable attitude about helping others by providing it with no obligation, the more you raise your thought leadership, expand your prospect pool, and increase your potential for new business.

Random-by-design thank you emails

You might also consider using non-automated thank you emails every once in a while, just to say “thanks”. The basic rules for the non-automated thank you email are essentially the same as those for auto-responders, although you might want to be a little more creative with your email design to let it stand out in the inbox.

There are dozens of opportunities to thank clients and prospects throughout the year. Some of the most common (and yet highly effective) thank you emails are:

  • Thank you for subscribing welcome emails
  • Thank you for choosing our firm new client emails
  • Thank you for visiting our website emails
  • Thank you for meeting with us emails
  • Thank you for registering for our webinar emails
  • Thank you for attending our webinar emails
  • Thank you for updating your contact information emails
  • Thank you for participating in our survey emails
  • Thank you for not unsubscribing nurturing emails
  • Thank you for being a client emails
  • Thank you just because we’re grateful emails

Review your Editorial Calendar and see where and when a thank you email might be appropriate. Develop a few different Thanksgiving marketing (and holiday marketing) designs and content options and test them to see which design inspires the reaction you desire.

While you’re thinking about it, design a lovely thank you email that you can send out to your newsletter subscribers before Thanksgiving to let them know how much you appreciate them. Be nice. Give thanks. Get more business.

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Posted in: Branding, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Best Practices, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing

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