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Toilet spiders and short copy

Did you realize that medical students in New Orleans are drugging visitors and stealing their kidneys? Or that the toilets in a major U.S. airport are full of venomous spiders? Or that people don’t read anymore, so you need to keep copy as short as possible? Looking for a common thread? It’s simple — all […]

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Signs of trouble in your business

A recent visit to a healthcare provider provided an excellent example of how bad customer service — even before an employee opens their mouth — can undo the most carefully crafted business image. The facility for this healthcare provider is brilliantly designed. The interior décor is tasteful, with many deliberate touches and special finishes creating […]

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When employees get in the way of messages

Most people don’t agonize about how communication works. We simply do it. If we leave agonizing to the academics, we can break communication into three parts. There’s the composition of what’s going to be communicated, the delivery of that message, and its reception by another party. As a writer who helps companies and other organizations […]

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The best way to structure white papers

Deciding how to structure white papers is important before you begin to write them. While blog posts these days are typically between 700 and 1000 words, white papers are generally between 1500 and 5000 words. That typically works out to 6 to 20 printed pages. However, you shouldn’t set an arbitrary length. Instead, focus on […]

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Advertising doesn’t have a Holy Grail

If you bring a group of business owners or managers together and ask them the most effective way to promote their organizations, you’ll get a wide range of answers and little agreement. One may insist on blogging, another on radio spots, a third on coupon envelopes, and a fourth may affirm billboards are the only […]

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How a kid kept my business

We enjoyed the quick-service restaurant’s food, but their service was often way beyond poky. That evening, I called in our large order and was told it would be ready at 5:45. Arriving at exactly 5:46, I discovered that only was my order not ready; nobody had even begun to prepare my food. The manager shrugged, […]

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The secret to cloning your customers

There’s a way you can “clone” your best customers, so you’re able to do business with more of them. It starts by really getting to know your current customers. The more you understand the reasons your customers chose you and what they really think about you — as opposed to what you believe they really […]

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Accentuate the positive, but own up to the negative

Long before Norman Vincent Peale penned the book that uncovered the power of positive thinking, advocates of similar philosophies promoted positive attitudes and messages as a critical component of success. As the Second World War drew to a close, Johnny Mercer’s “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” dominated the airwaves and jukeboxes. Even today, you’ll hear people urge […]

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Survey says: now I hate your company

I admire companies that make the extra effort to survey customers of their products and services. That is, except when their approach to surveying makes me never want to do business with them again. Taking the time to follow up with the people who buy your products or use your services, gauge their satisfaction, and […]

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