My Job When I Was 16…
When I was 14, my very first job was bagging groceries at a local grocery store. I was responsible to greet the customer, move their groceries from the cart to the conveyor at the register, bag everything up and even take it all out to their car if needed (sometimes getting a small tip for loading the bags into their trunk). We offered a full service and we took pride in the fact that we were the only grocery store in the city that did that. I learned at an early age what excellence in service looked like and how a customer loved being catered to.
When I was 16, all that customer service experience landed me a new job: bus boy at a 5-star restaurant in the city’s largest hotel casino called MGM. The restaurant served gourmet Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine and it was called China Seas. Many celebrities that performed at the casino showed up with their entourage to dine, as well as local and international businessmen and women who came to enjoy dinner after gambling or watching a show. It was an awesome experience. The level of service was at such a high standard, so even bus boys like me were very involved in actively conversing with the customers as well as making sure their needs were met at all times.
These experiences taught me some life lessons about business and the importance of customer service. If done correctly, it can be a powerful tool that sets your company apart from the rest. Trust me – as someone who became used to offering such a high level of service, I often get disappointed as a customer seeking to be taken care of (I think that’s why my wife still calls me a princess when we go out to eat. lol)
I thought it would be fun to list some of what I learned to help re-define what customer service can be for us as business owners who continue to serve our customers on a daily basis.
1. Acknowledge their presence. Have you ever walked into a restaurant and no one was there to greet you right away? You stand around for awhile with no one noticing you; they just seem too busy and you start to wonder if you are even welcome there. At China Seas, their number one priority was to create the best first impression and for this very reason, we had two maître d’s. One was always there to greet and acknowledge the customer as soon as they walked through the door, and the second was a backup if the other maître d’ was busy doing the rounds or sitting someone. Our main maître d’s name was George – the friendliest and classiest guy ever (complete with a bow tie), and he never forgot a name. He treated everyone like they owned the building and he always made sure any guest they brought knew it. This simple value alone turned many visitors into repeat customers to eventually regulars.
2. Meet their basic needs first, then go beyond. As a bus boy, we had two main jobs: water and hot tea. I was assigned nine tables per night, and my job was to walk around and make sure their water did not fall below 1/2 full. If the boss saw the water glass empty, we got in trouble…if anyone asked for water because we forgot to fill it, we were dead…and if it occurred often, we would eventually be fired. The hot tea on the table was always filled up to the rim – even if they took 2 or 3 sips, we’d fill it back up to make sure it stayed hot. At the end of the night, they’d inevitably tell us to STOP filling up the cup – that’s when we knew we’d gone beyond their expectation.
3. Make eye contact. This doesn’t seem like much but it makes all the difference in the world. When we were walking around the tables to fill up the water, we looked at each customer to make eye contact. This avoids the frustration of the customer trying to get our attention. If the customer needed something, all they had to do is to make eye contact back at me. I’d be running over to see what I could do. I didn’t realize how important this was until I became a customer and needed my beer asap. The waiter walked by me three times without looking at me; I almost cried.
4. Execute quickly. When something is asked of you, act quickly to ensure they know you haven’t forgotten about them. It shows their immediate needs and wants matter to you.
Of course not all of us are in the food service industry, so this list may look a bit different for you. But I think there is some fundamental truth in each one that can be implemented in every context.
I would love to hear what you do in your business that goes beyond the norm to offer true excellence in customer service. I hope you fill the cup of every customer you meet today!
Marketing Redefined: SEO
What’s the last thing you googled today? Wanna know mine? I asked Google why a washing machine smells like it’s burning. This was after my son texted us, “Hello, parental beings, my washing machine smells like it’s burning, what should I do?”
Well, Google immediately displayed a page full of resources and possible answers. Each resource led me to a webpage, which provided an article or a video. I spent about ten minutes searching, reading and looking through some of the pages, then came to a conclusion: call for service. I don’t want to attempt taking it apart to change out the belt (which I could do by just following the steps on the YouTube video it pointed me to). But, like I said, I don’t want to.
This story demonstrates one moment in the life of SEO – the next term to be highlighted in our Definitions series.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s the very process that happens every time we do a search. The engine scours billions of pieces of content on the internet and evaluates thousands of factors to spit out the most relevant and the most likely answer to my question, almost like magic.
So, how is this done? More importantly, how can my website be so loved and adored by Google that it will spit my link out to whoever is searching for the answers I can help them with? And how can my business get that distinguished rank of being displayed on the first page of the Google search outcome?
These are amazing questions. And if I knew the exact answers, I would tell you and we would all benefit from hundreds of people coming to our website everyday to read about our company and be convinced to do business with us. The truth is, given that Google handles over 2 trillion searches per year (40,000 searches every second), they have incredibly brilliant people outlining over 200 ranking factors (called algorithms) that help determine the best answers to the first pages of search.
The goal for every website owner that wants more traffic is to figure out what those 200 ranking factors are and try to implement them to your own website.
When Google is scouring (indexing or crawling) the content on your website, you want to be noticed and for Google to find your website credible – that’s when they start ranking you higher. Fortunately, Google is somewhat transparent about how they rank the sites, but also, there are some secret aspects of the algorithm that can penalize your ranking as well.
As we educate ourselves and continuously work to bring relevance to our own sites, there are 3 things to keep in mind when it comes to SEO:
1. SEO is not magic. It’s not something that you swirl your wand once and all the work is done. It’s a constant process that involves research, strategy, dedicated time and hard work. It takes patience, but it’s worth it to understand the full picture.
2. SEO is changing and updating with time. There are constant updates to the algorithm – they are always trying to improve and keep from people cheating the system. You’ll obviously need a successful strategy for your SEO efforts, but it’s also important to know that old and obsolete SEO tactics that used to be effective before might not be effective now. In fact, if you continue to use a dated strategy, you may hurt your SEO more than help it. You need to be constantly learning and evolving.
3. SEO loves valuable content. Content is king. Even after all these years, one thing still remains at the top of the priority list for SEO. Fresh content is still believed to bring more value to your site than anything else. Take your thoughts and ideas and put them into action with regular content creation. Not just content for content’s sake, but real, authentic and valuable content that will help others. Like answering why a washer smells like it’s burning.
I hope this gives you a good foundation of what SEO is and how important it is for our business. Because I’m literally about to call for appliance repair to whichever company has the best SEO strategy.
Top 3 Website Design Tips
First impressions are crazy. I read about a Princeton research project where people watched a video of political candidates for a microsecond, and then they were asked to predict who would win the election. Turns out the subjects correctly guessed the winner 70% of the time.
We make millions of snap judgments throughout the day, and once that impression is formed, it’s very hard to change it.
I know what you’re thinking: “Hanju, why are you talking about first impressions? I don’t need your help with my online dating!” But here’s the thing: this same thinking actually applies to our professional lives as well.
The big question is, what do you think is the first impression of your business? Nowadays, (much like dating), people are probably making their first impression before they even meet you based on what they see online. So… what would be their first impression of your website?
I wrote a guide to help businesses consider the 3 aspects of your website design that are absolutely essential in creating that perfect first impression. Here’s a link to the guide – but if you don’t want to download it and read through 11 pages, here’s a quick summary.
It all starts with the HERO IMAGE.
- The hero image is the first image or message (or both) that people will look at when they arrive at your website. If it doesn’t make an impact in the first nanosecond, you may have already lost the customer. How do you make sure it connects?
Glad you asked – here are my top 3 tips:
- Evoke Emotion: The image or the message should make you “feel” something. There’s a much greater chance that they will be intrigued and moved to continue reading.
- Be very clear: Your message, and how it introduces who you are/the services you offer should be obvious. Don’t make them try to figure it out or be too clever – it will just frustrate them. Tell people exactly what you do and how it benefits them.
- Tell them what to do now: This is called the “Call To Action” or CTA. Every website should have a CTA to help direct people toward eventually becoming your customer.
In the guide, I also include some great examples and visuals so you can see what others have done successfully if you want to learn more. Here’s that link again.
I hope this helps you think through how you can make a positive first impression on all the potential customers that come to your site. And if you’re single… I hope they also swipe right.
Top 3 Tips To Boost Your Instagram Engagement
I used to travel a lot for my business. And, as a total extrovert, I so much enjoy conversations with complete strangers on the plane. My own personal captive audience stuck next to me for 3-4 hours, might as well get to know each other, right? Well, not always. People love to avoid talking to me. They have their headphones on, they close their eyes, they pretend to be reading something, they don’t make eye contact, etc. I make it a game to see what opening line I can present to either make them laugh or put them at ease so we can get the ball rolling.
Over the years, I’ve heard enough stories to write a book. Something about meeting a stranger who seems very interested in you, that you feel safe with and that you’ll never see again – it allows them to share their deepest and most private information with me. I remember crying with a young woman who had just lost her husband, advising a young and brilliant woman who was in a middle of an abusive relationship that she’s worth more, even a 14-year-old kid flying to his dad’s house for the summer sharing about how to make ton of money picking up golf balls from the course next to the house. I even helped him make a list of brand names and showed him how to categorize them and what to charge people.
What does all of this have to do with Instagram engagement?
Too often the mentality behind social media posts is that as a business, we will post something educational, informative, entertaining, or even just brilliant and we wait for everyone to flood in, make comments, share my information, click on the like button…etc. But, in reality…crickets. What are you doing wrong?
You might be acting like the passengers on a plane. Not actively trying to make eye contact. Not actively figuring out the opening line to start the conversation. Not interested in others (just yourself). Not allowing other people to feel safe. It’s funny, when I tell people of all the amazing folks I’ve met and talked to over the years on the plane, they’ll tell me that they’ve been traveling for business for years and never once had a conversation with anyone. And they wonder why they might be having trouble engaging online!
So, how do you organically grow your Instagram following and engagement? Here are some practical steps to add to your daily social media processes:
1. Engage with other similar accounts everyday. Help promote them, encourage them and develop an online relationship with them. When you engage their posts, it helps them become more visible. Also, other visitors will see you active on the accounts they follow, and they might end up following you as well.
2. Write great captions. This is your opening line to start a conversation. Ask intriguing questions, state interesting facts, be funny, be real, be authentic, be human, share your pain, share your solutions…you’ll be amazed at how many people want to engage with you as well. Oh, and if someone does make a comment, reply as soon as possible. Tag their account as you are replying – this pushes the posts to the top of their followers’ feeds.
3. Post more photos of people including yourself. Sharing information about yourself builds trust and makes it safe for people to get to know you and for them to open up with you as well.
Don’t get discouraged when you are not getting a lot of likes on Instagram – it doesn’t mean people aren’t seeing and engaging. Instagram has found a new algorithm that’s redefining what “engagement” really means. For example, here are some insights for each post that help paint a bigger picture: comments, shares, link clicks, bookmarks/saves, reach, impressions, and followers. Bottom line, if you keep engaging with others, you will eventually reap the benefits from the effort you invested in the relationship.
Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. Give me a call, or even better – let’s sit next to each other on a flight sometime soon!
Top 5 YouTube Channels To Help Your Business
We know you’re busy, and you don’t have time to explore the entire ocean of YouTube to find the resources you need. That’s why BOS Media is here – we’ve done the research for you, and we’re using these emails to deliver the knowledge.
Knowledge gives you power. Simply knowing how to do something can create momentum, ideas, confidence and so much more for your business. Watching someone do something you’ve never done might inspire you to say, ”I think I can do that too.”
Through my continuous education in YouTube University (LOL), I’ve come to rely on a handful of tried and true content creators out there that I’ve learned so much from. So, why not share?
Here are the top 5 channels every business owner should follow:
1. Perfect place to start: Sunny Lenarduzzi has been my own personal go-to for learning about everything YouTube. From growing traffic to increasing subscribers to watching how she creates honest and vulnerable content that shares her life and teaches us how to grow our business. She’s the real deal with over 500k subscribers. Here’s one of her great videos about growing your subscribers from 0 to 100 in 90 minutes. Whoa. Check it out below.
2. I have been following Pat Flynn ever since he started his podcast over ten years ago. His pure desire to truly help others succeed has been so refreshing. He’s authentic. One of the latest contributions he’s brought to my own life is teaching me how to successfully launch a podcast. Below is his tutorial on how to record, edit and publish a podcast in GarageBand. Which is still what I use to this day. Thanks Pat!
3. This dude seriously feels like my close bro who just loves to teach. He knows how to break down complicated technical tasks into an easy step-by-step process. He teaches all things online marketing and growth. He’s actually my go-to for Facebook marketing techniques, tips and strategy. For those of you interested in doing your own Facebook ads, click below for Wes McDowell’s instruction on how to do it right. It’s super current so just follow his advice and you’ll be a Facebook ad expert in 20 minutes. 🙂
4. Neil Patel. You might have already heard about him but if not, this guy is pretty legit. I know this because he not only has a huge following, but everyone I follow keeps talking about what they’ve learned from him. He talks a lot about SEO and how to drive traffic to your website. He’s a bit of a tech nerd, so his content involves some technical mumbo jumbo but it’s still not hard to follow. He loves giving tips and tricks, his content is short and sweet but very, very helpful. This will be a great introduction to some of his content that can help you right away if you want to do some SEO work on your own.
5. Have you ever been on a tutorial site and the person that’s teaching is either too slow, talks too much or takes too long to get to the point? Nathaniel Dodson (tutvid) is anything but that. He’s so efficient in teaching you how to do everything you’d ever want to do on photoshop, lightroom and video editing. He teaches how to photo manipulate, how to do color correction right, how to add sun flare, how to remove background…so much more. You can’t appreciate it fully until you see one of his tutorials. Here’s one on changing colors on apples. So cool.
|I hope this inspires you to KEEP LEARNING even in the midst of your busy schedule. If you want to talk more about any of these topics and how they can help grow your business, give me a call!|
Top 5 Books Every Business Owner Should Read
Top 5 Podcasts To Help Your Business
BOS Media wants to see your business shine. Last week, we started sharing some of the resources and tools that we’ve found to support you in that.
For today, we’ve got some podcast recommendations. We know there’s so much noise out there – who can you listen to that is trustworthy and genuinely interested in helping you grow your business?
Here are the top 5 podcasts we suggest:
1. How I Built This (Guy Raz) He just knows how to interview successful entrepreneurs, asking them simple, human questions that I really want to know. You get to hear the guests narrate their journey from the beginning, from when they were just starting their business to when their company gets sold for billions of dollars. Great stories and lots of inspiration!
Favorite Episode: the Kenneth Cole interview. He has some profound ideas about branding.
2. Business Made Simple (Donald Miller) We use his resources as our BOS Media Group playbook and I pretty much buy everything they sell. I truly believe in their business model and soak in what they teach as far as marketing and business growth.
Favorite Episode: #189 Three Ways to Grow Your Nonprofit with Storytelling. Emphasis on how storytelling continues to be the biggest and the most important aspect of marketing.
3. Online Marketing Made Easy (Amy Porterfield) Her gift of teaching makes it very easy to follow and you just get a sense that she’s on your side. She shows people how to create courses and how to market them. She’s very down to earth and I really learn a lot from her. I will be following her lead to release our own online course someday.
Favorite Episode: #366 How to Turn Your Expertise into a Successful Course. Testimonial of one of her students following her instruction to launch a successful course.
4. The Tim Ferriss Show (Tim Ferriss) He’s the author of the book The 4-Hour Workweek. He has high-profile guests who seem to take it to another level when they talk to him, going deeper into their expertise and craft. Highly technical and philosophical as well as inspirational.
Favorite Episode: “Getting Punched and Picking Winners” You just have to listen to figure it out.
5. Armchair Expert (Dax Shepard) Okay, this doesn’t have a lot to do with business growth, but it’s super entertaining and intriguing.
Favorite Episode: #290 Adam Grant. This episode is epic in discussing Adam’s new book “Think Again”. You might not know this but Adam Grant is one of my favorite authors (as you can see in the bonus podcast episode below).
6. Make it Matter (Hanju and Bru). This is our Podcast…lol…BOS Media Group. This podcast is really about finding meaning in what we do and really making our life/work matter.
Favorite Episode: #7 Give and Take. We talk about the best practices of doing business that’s worth following and how it can change not only your business, but your life as well.
Hope this inspires you with new learning and growth. Please feel free to reply with any questions – I would love to talk more and support you however I can!
Top 5 Resources To Help Your Business
It’s the ultimate catch-22 for entrepreneurs: being so busy that you don’t have the time to research hundreds of business tools and software that would best meet your needs for productivity and efficiency. Which in turn, makes you even more busy!
Don’t worry – BOS Media is here to help. We did a ton of research and tried a lot of different solutions before we found the tools that we use. Over the next few emails, we want to share them with you.
Starting this week: here are the TOP 5 tools we use to create productivity for our business:
1. Slack: https://slack.com/
When it comes to internal communication, slack really comes in handy. I look at it like text messaging on steroids. It provides quick communication to teams and/or individuals and offers awesome organization as you can create multiple channels for different projects or groups. You can also easily send all types of files, up to 5G in size.
2. Teamwork: https://www.teamwork.com/
We use this as our project management tool due to its intuitive functionality in communicating with our clients. Unlike other project management applications, it offers a very unique and versatile security within a project to control who gets to be part of what conversation. So, within a same project, there could be many different group conversations and sharing of data that others cannot access. This is really brilliant as your internal team can discuss project details before presenting it to the client.
3. Hubspot: https://www.hubspot.com/
Yes, marketing companies needs marketing tools too. We use hubspot to capture leads, track leads, manage our contacts, and analyze and run reports on our marketing efforts. We have only just begun to scratch the surface on the tools available for growth.
4. Freshbooks: https://www.freshbooks.com/
This is our accounting and invoicing software. We use Freshbooks to create all invoices and receive payment. The feature that helps us most is the way it automates the monthly subscription invoicing as well as the reminders for unpaid invoices to our customers. It also captures all the accounts associated with our business, while providing P&L reports and all the business analytics we need to oversee and manage our finances.
5. 17 Hats: https://www.17hats.com/
This is our Quoting and Contract software. We use it to send out all of our proposals and contracts, along with questionnaires. We love the digital signature feature as well as it being the single place where all our signed contracts and proposals are organized and located.
Hope this helps you become even more productive! Reply with any questions, I would love to share in more detail our findings.