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5 Emails All Mobile Apps Should Be Sending

5 Emails All Mobile Apps Should Be Sending image FivePush notifications are a very important part of customer retention, but they can also be over-used and abused. If you’ve launched—or hope to launch—a mobile app, consider other advantages email offers.

Pre-Launch Email Updates

Why launch your mobile app into a great big void when you could unveil it to excited crowds? From the moment your app moves from the idea stage into development, you should already be garnering interest online with a landing page that captures email addresses.

As people hear about you via blogs, press releases, or other marketing strategies and drift over to your website, you can (wisely) collect their info. Send these interested folks regular pre-launch updates keeping them informed and building excitement. When you finally launch, you’ll have a customer base of early adopters ready to download your app.

The Walk-Through Email

Even the most brilliant UX design will have features a customer might miss, especially at first. Set up an autoresponder campaign for the first few days after download to walk new customers through the beauty, power, and subtlety of your app.

The result? Customers who understand the complexity of your app and can use it to the fullest. The more benefit they get, the higher your retention rates will be.

Also if you know your top customer’s leading indicators, you can use email to encourage that behavior in everyone.

The Email Alert aka the “Push” Email

Customer retention is significantly higher for users receiving notifications. However, blowing up a customer’s phone at 3 a.m. with alerts they didn’t request is a good way to get your app deleted (as detailed in Urban Airship’s Bad Push Booklet).

Email offers a lower impact way to keep your customers informed and actively engaged with your app.

Also, because opt-in rates for push notifications can be less than 50 percent, it’s vital to offer another channel for engagement, alerts, and notification.

The Email Newsletter

Well, this concept requires little explanation, but most mobile apps don’t bother sending newsletters, while almost all web apps rely on newsletters.

That disparity is simply silly. With more than 50% of all emails being read on mobile devices anyway, it’s a natural form of communication and an important way to keep your customers engaged and informed about your app, your industry, and you.

Retention Emails

So what do you do about those customers who haven’t logged in for two weeks? Push notifications have been disabled or ignored and there’s no way to reach out and let the customer know you miss them and want them back.

Oh, wait! Of course there is. Email!

Reach out to those folks who drifted away. Offer them an incentive to come back or just remind them of the reasons they downloaded your awesome app in the first place.

By | 2017-11-15T23:05:46+00:00 February 14th, 2014|Social Media|0 Comments

Investment Expenses: Three Ways to Cut Them

Investment Expenses: Three Ways to Cut Them image 140214 DL zulfiqarLong-term investing and growing a portfolio over time isn’t an easy task. It requires a lot of planning and a significant amount of research. While doing this, many investors tend to forget one very important aspect: the costs associated with investing in their portfolio—the commissions and fees. If investors control the commissions and fees paid to their brokers and elsewhere, they can save a significant amount of money and have a bigger portfolio in the end.

For those investors who have resolved to invest money in their portfolio in 2014, the following are three ways to add more wealth to your portfolio over the long term.

Use Discount Brokers vs. Conventional Brokers

If an investor opens an account with a discount broker—often referred to as online brokers—they can save a significant amount of money in trading fees compared to a conventional broker, who they have to call to place a trade. Discount broker commissions are much lower than those charged by conventional brokers: a discount broker’s fees can go as low at $5.00 per trade, while a conventional broker’s fees can be 10-times that amount or more.

Consider, for example, that you have an account with a conventional broker who charges a commission of $50.00 per trade, and you make about 30 trades on an annual basis. At that rate, your commission charges will amount to $1,500 per year. With discount brokers, these commissions can be as low as $150.00 a year. With the extra $1,350 you saved by switching to a discount broker, you can invest more capital in your portfolio.

Buy Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) vs. Mutual Funds

Holding ETFs in your portfolio can yield greater benefits than holding mutual funds, because ETFs tend to have lower fees and expenses compared to their counterparts. For example, ETFs like SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEArca/SPY), which tracks the performance of the S&P 500, has a net expense ratio of 0.0945%. (Source: “SPDR S&P 500 ETF,” State Street Global Advisors web site, last accessed February 11, 2014.)

On the other hand, a mutual fund like Fairholme (FAIRX), which is focused on long-term growth, has a net expense ratio of 1.01%. (Source: Yahoo! Finance, last accessed February 11, 2014.)

Enroll in a Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP) vs. Buying Stocks

If you have chosen to buy dividend paying stocks as part of your portfolio and have made the decision to reinvest the dividends in the stocks again, you will be better off by enrolling in the company’s DRIP. By using this plan to add to your portfolio, you’re essentially buying commission-free stocks. This can save you money over time, and the majority of big-cap companies that pay dividends, like General Electric Company (NYSE/GE) and International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE/IBM), have DRIP programs for their investors.

Consider this: if you aren’t enrolled in a DRIP, and the company pays dividends four times a year, this will mean that you will make four purchases throughout the year to reinvestment your dividends. If you have a discount broker, you might pay $5.00–$20.00 per trade in commission fees; if you have a conventional broker, you’ll be looking at paying closer to $200.00 in fees. These costs add up in the long run. Clearly, a commission-free DRIP program is the way to go to save capital and boost your portfolio.

This article Investment Expenses: Three Ways to Cut Them was originally published at Daily Gains Letter

By | 2017-11-15T23:05:46+00:00 February 14th, 2014|Social Media|0 Comments

Top Job Interview Tips From Love Hearts

I was inspired to write this blog as I was stuffing my face with Love Hearts this morning, and I noticed how the messages on these little sweets are actually quite relevant to an interview!

A job interview is a bit like a date, so I thought I’d give you some helpful tips on Valentine’s Day – all in the name of love!

So, forget your roses, diamonds and chocolates – and enjoy some sugary, sweet job seeking tips for Valentine’s Day!

Top Job Interview Tips From Love Hearts image keep cool1

1.) Keep Cool

There’s nothing worse than an obviously nervous and rambling candidate in an interview. Avoid coming across like a bumbling mess by preparing answers to questions prior to the interview or practice with a friend by getting them to ask you questions.

Also, give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview – the worst thing you want is traffic stressing you out before you have to go in and be grilled.

Finally, make sure you have a good breakfast at least an hour before the interview – hunger can make you anxious and this will come across to the interviewer.

Top Job Interview Tips From Love Hearts image Dont Cry1

2.) Don’t Cry

To be honest, this one just made me giggle, but there is an important message in there somewhere!

If you feel like an interview is unraveling and not going well at all, don’t just give up and break down – try and steer it back on track and focus on your good points.

This will show the interviewer your ability to transform a situation from a losing one into a winner.

Top Job Interview Tips From Love Hearts image its true1

3.) It’s True

This should really go without saying, but don’t lie! Whether it’s on a CV or in an interview – just don’t do it!

While it might be tempting to embellish the truth a little (or a lot) when you’re interviewing for a role you really want, it’s never, ever a good idea.

If the hiring manager finds out that you have lied, they will question how they will be able to trust you if they did take you on, and chances are you’ll be thrown straight into the “no” pile.

Top Job Interview Tips From Love Hearts image for keeps4.) For Keeps

Companies try their hardest not to hire people who are just going to leave after a couple of months – where’s the sense in that?

So when you’re interviewing for a position, make sure that you emphasize how much you like the company and how dedicated you are to progressing through the ranks.

Showing off your loyalty will impress the hiring manager and you will be viewed as a safe choice.

Top Job Interview Tips From Love Hearts image Email Me5.) Email Me

A great way to stand out among other candidates is to send a short, polite e-mail to the interviewer thanking them for their time.

Perhaps refer to a particular topic you discussed with some further information, or to reiterate an answer you gave that you weren’t too sure about.

This will make you seem proactive, professional and on-the-ball – three great traits to have!

Top Job Interview Tips From Love Hearts image try me

6.) Try Me

If you didn’t get the job due to a lack of experience – don’t stop there!

If you’re not in employment at the moment, then offer to do some work experience to showcase your skills in a real office environment.

Your willingness and how you perform in the office might just sway them, or at the very least keep you on their books should another position open up.

So there we go, some romantic job interview tips for you to take away. Now that you’ve read this, go and cuddle up on the sofa with a rom- com and chocolates!

Do you agree with these points, or have any of your own to add? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @BubbleJobs! 🙂

By | 2017-11-15T23:05:47+00:00 February 14th, 2014|Social Media|0 Comments

Work Stress: You’re Not Fine. Stop Saying You Are

I’m honestly scared of what’s going on in the world today.

Far too many people are unhappy, and there is a real sense of anger boiling up, that is set to explode at any moment.

Stress levels are at all time highs, and employee engagement is at an all time low.

There are also many factors outside the work environment that leads to this increase in stress and unhappiness. Poverty is on the rise, Unemployment all over the world is at an all time high, and the global economy is still in a lot of trouble, regardless of what you hear on the news.

Inflation is another major problem, because it makes things more expensive, so the money you earn from working is worth less, so it makes you feel even worse about your job. All that hard work, and you’re still struggling.

I can go on and on about inflation and the problems that it causes, but maybe we’ll save that for another post.

It’s a bit of a vicious cycle, because even though we might not like our work, we need the money, so we keep going back, but is this really healthy? Is it sustainable?

Too Many People Are Unhappy At Work

If you look at the data around employee engagement and stress levels, you’ll understand what I’m so scared of.

People hate their jobs, it’s really that simple.

According to Gallup 87% of employees worldwide are disengaged. Think about that for a second.

That’s an insane number. How did we allow ourselves as a society to get to this place? Yet most of the time when you ask someone how their day is going, they usually have a positive answer.

Are they lying to us, or are they lying to themselves?

The world is a different place now, and the way that work gets done is different.

Obviously not enough companies have picked up on this, and they’re not adjusting to meet this new demand. More companies need to learn to embrace change, instead of fighting it.

What I find interesting is whenever I talk to someone about their work, they get very passionate. It’s either a good passionate, or a bad passionate.

If it’s a good passionate, it’s likely because they love what they do, they work for an incredible company (or themselves), and are truly successful, happy, and relatively stress free.

On the other hand, I have so many friends that talk passionately about how bad their job is. How much they hate their boss, or how much they wish they could find another job.

What worries me the most is how this gets repressed and bottled up.

People seem to ignore the fact that they’re disengaged, and they tell themselves that everything is fine. That’s a recipe for disaster.

This has a very serious effect on your health. In a study of 120 managers and engineers at an aerospace company, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that the repressors had higher blood pressure and reacted with an even greater rise in blood pressure to a simple stress test than did non-repressors.

Another thing that’s worrying is that this trend doesn’t seem to be going away. In fact, it seems to be increasing over time, and Millennials are the ones that are the most stressed. This is terrible news, as Millennials will make up about 40% of the workforce by the end of this year.

A Work Stress survey shows that 83% of Americans are stressed out by at least one thing about their jobs.Poor pay and increasing workloads were top sources of concern reported by American workers.

What To Do If You’re Unhappy At Work

So what can we do about it? There’s a part of me that wants to say “just quit your job!” but sometimes that’s much easier said than done.

It might not be possible, especially for workers that have to support a family, to just up and leave. It’s too risky.

The one thing I will say though is that sometimes it’s easier than you might think, and you might not be unemployed for very long if you’re good at what you do.

They say “no risk, no reward”, so you should think long and hard about how realistic quitting your job really is.

If quitting your job is not possible, there are 2 things that I would recommend doing:

1. Keep your Linkedin profile up to date, and take advantage of all of their great features and ask friends for recommendations and endorsements. You’d be surprised at how many recruiters use Linkedin to screen candidates, and you can easily hunt for jobs privately.

2. Find something (or things) that make you happier and do more of them. Spend more time with your family, exercise more often, learn a new skill, whatever. It really doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you’re getting some enjoyment out of it.

Another tip is to remember that your life isn’t so bad.

I know it sounds weird to think about all the hardship and suffering of the developing world, but it might make you feel better about yourself.

I use this technique all the time, and it works for me.

The message that I’m really trying to get across is that you can’t go on like this forever. If you’re unhappy, you need to make a change. For your mental health, physical health, and overall well-being.

Do you think too many of us are stressed at work?

Let me know in the comments.

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By | 2017-11-15T23:05:47+00:00 February 14th, 2014|Social Media|0 Comments

Now Read This! Does Email Marketing Still Work?

Now Read This! Does Email Marketing Still Work? image email marketing 300x225If your inbox looks anything like mine, you spend the first half-hour of your day deleting unwanted emails. Sometimes they’re spam. Sometimes they’re from well-meaning businesses. But they’re all unwanted.

I have to admit that some of this is my fault. I often don’t take the time to unsubscribe from spam emails the first time I get them. I just hit delete and move on.

Of course, I’m eager to open emails from many businesses. When I’ve subscribed to their newsletter and I get useful information once a week (and no more than once a week), I often read through their entire email and may even click on a link. I may even go to their website. It happens. Good email marketing works on me.

This gets at the heart of the email marketing problem. How do you get someone to not only open your email, but also read (or at least skim) your message? Better yet, how do you convince them to take action and visit your website?

Step 1: Grab Their Attention

First of all, you need to clearly understand your goals and the purpose of the email. Is it an educational piece? A notification for an event? A promotion for a product? (I don’t mind the occasional promotional email from a company as long as the vast majority of them aren’t blatantly selling.)

Next up, write a great subject line. “Great” is subjective, of course, but . . . See what I did there? I tried to be clever. And it didn’t work. The tone of your subject line should reflect your brand. If the rest of your company’s messaging is playful, by all means, be witty with your subject lines. If not, stick to your own brand strategy.

Deliver on your promise

Regardless of your tone, be creative while using tried and true attention-grabbing language. For examples, see this MailChimp article for some of the best and worst subject lines. It includes open rates and comments about why each subject line is effective/ineffective.

A good rule of thumb is to be specific and clear about what your reader can expect when he or she opens the email. If your subject line promises “3 tips to get more leads through LinkedIn,” your email better not be a promotion for your lead generation software. The old bait and switch is a good way to increase your unsubscriber rate.

Step 2: Get to the Point

Now that you have our full attention, it’s time to craft a compelling message. Although the body of your email will obviously depend on a broad range of factors, generally speaking, you want to keep it short and sweet. Get to the point quickly. At best, your casual readers are going to skim it, so they better see the value right away.

Integrate email into your content marketing strategy

When your goal is to keep prospects and clients engaged with your brand, integrating email into your content strategy can be very effective—if you do it right. This is especially true for attracting more qualified traffic to your blog and increasing the reach of your articles.

You can improve everything from email opens to click-through rates to engagement by using this simple but effective strategy. We use it with clients in our content marketing program to leverage the articles we write, optimize, and post on their sites.

Here’s what to do once a new article is live on your blog:

  1. Assuming that you’ve already written an intriguing headline for the article, you should be able to reuse it for the email’s subject line. Easy enough.
  2. Write a short introductory paragraph for the email. This “teaser” should concisely describe the article, providing just enough information to pique the interest of your readers. Follow this with a call-to-action that includes a link to the article on your blog.
  3. Don’t forget to include the image you used for the blog post as well.

This approach lets your subscribers quickly digest the reason for your email, and then decide whether to click-through to read the entire article. Even better, rather than just giving everything away in the email, you’re encouraging them to interact with your website. If they find your content to be valuable, there’s also a good chance they’ll browse other blog posts. Plus, they’re much more likely to dig deeper into your site to view products and services pages.

Give your prospects what they want

Repeat this process once a week as you continue to grow your subscriber list. It’s a sure-fire way to attract your target audience to your website and encourage prospects to interact with your content. It won’t take long for you to become a trusted resource and even be seen as a thought leader in your niche—all while shortening the buying cycle.

Do you use email marketing as part of your larger content marketing strategy? Share your experience and results in the comments section below.

You can learn more about our content marketing program and setup a consultation over at www.ContentMarketingProgram.com. You can also give us a call at 310.792.8888. We’d love to hear about the email and content marketing goals you want to achieve this year.

By | 2017-11-15T23:05:47+00:00 February 14th, 2014|Social Media|0 Comments

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Focus Keywords For Your Content

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Focus Keywords For Your Content image 11002543044 fa35ee112eWriting helpful articles and publishing them on your website is a great way to generate more targeted traffic organically. This strategy, better known as content marketing, is helping thousands of small businesses compete with their larger counterparts. Content marketing has leveled the playing field.

Every great small business content marketing campaign should start with one thing: a solid keyword list.

The list should contain at least 100 keywords you know your customers are searching for and are relevant to your business.

These keywords describe your unique products and services, alert potential customers of your competitive advantages and product benefits and tell the search engines/searchers where you are located. If you don’t know what keywords you’re focusing each and every piece of new content on, you should start keeping track of it right now.

If you need help coming up with this initial keyword list or you already have your list but need to add to it/remove from it, I have some common mistakes to alert you of. Be sure to avoid these items next time you’re working on your keyword list.

1. Focusing on general or irrelevant keywords

Whenever I talk to small business owners, I always check out their website pages to see if they contain meta keywords. These keywords should give me some sort of indication regarding what the focus of the page should be. However, I usually see two glaring issues immediately; general keywords and irrelevant keywords.

Let’s say you’re a fictitious lighting company for example. You wouldn’t want to focus on the keyword “lights” or “lighting”. These keywords are far too general, meaning they’re extremely competitive. So when you target them in your content you have a very low likelihood of appearing on the first page of the search results amongst the larger players in the market who have more pages and more inbound links (read: more authority).

Even worse are irrelevant keywords. How would you feel if you searched for “doughnut place nearby” and the search engine retuned a baking store where you could buy ingredients to make bake bread and a confectionary store where you can pick up a can of candied nuts? You would feel confused, which is why you’ll want to make sure your keywords are relevant to the page content. The doughnut store wouldn’t use the keywords “dough” and “nut” because those are irrelevant to the actual product offering (and they’re too general!).

2. Focusing on multiple long-tail keywords

Usually long-tail keywords, or individual keywords that have been put together to form a phrase, are great keywords to focus your content on. Going back to the lighting store example, a good long-tail keyword would be “track lighting installation kits”. The query is more specific and can be added to phrases like “Where to find track lighting installation kits?” or “3 track lighting installation kits for do-it-yourselfers”.

A unique situation where a long-tail keywords can get you in trouble is when you try to focus more than one on any page. Looking at the lighting store again, you wouldn’t want to try to plug in multiple iterations of a long-tail keyword on the page like “awesome track lighting installation kits”, “easy track lighting installation kits”, and “discount track lighting installation kits”.

Just stick with the iteration you know matters most to your target customers. If they’re mostly concerned with quality, use “awesome”, if they’re concerned with time-management and ease, use “easy”, and if they’re concerned with price, use “discount”. Don’t try to use all three on the same page or squeeze all three adjectives into one like “awesome easy discount track lighting installation kits”.

3. Choosing similar keyword iterations

The search engines are smart enough nowadays to tell the different between abbreviations, acronyms, and plurals, so don’t be extremely concerned with getting every single different iteration of a single keyword on a page to cover the bases.

Looking at the lighting store example, if you’re located in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can use NC or North Carolina but you don’t need to use both because the search engines know the difference. Same thing with “ceiling fan light” and “ceiling fan lights”. There’s really no difference between the two in the search engines’ eyes. They also know that “DIY” is the same as “do it yourself”.

The key with all of these tips is to just stick with one long-tail keyword per page that you can easily wordsmith into your page title, meta description, h1 heading, URL, and body content a couple times. If you start focusing on 3 or more keywords per page, there’s no way you’re going to be able to add all of those keywords to all of those areas without sounds robotic or even worse, idiotic!

Have you ever done any keyword research for your small business? How long were the keyphrases that you used in your content marketing? What did you hate or love the most about the process?

If you want to know which of your keywords have the most opportunity for optimization in new content on your site right now, you should sign up for your free BoostSuite trial and add them in your Keywords interface (Boost>Keywords>Add Keywords). We’ll then show you how to start increasing your website traffic for those keywords immediately!

Image via Flickr

By | 2017-11-15T23:05:47+00:00 February 14th, 2014|Social Media|0 Comments

Now the Perfect Time to Get Back into Oil Stocks?

Now the Perfect Time to Get Back into Oil Stocks? image 140214 DL whitefoot 262x300The price of light crude oil recently broke through the $100.00-per-barrel mark for the first time this year. Oil prices had been on the decline since early September 2013 when they touched a high of $110.00 per barrel. By early January, oil prices had dropped more than 17%, hovering around $92.00 per barrel.

Thanks to the frigid weather blanketing much of the U.S. and improvements in the country’s oil infrastructure, oil prices have since climbed more than nine percent.

In late January, a new oil pipeline opened that connects Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast refineries and export terminals. The pipeline is made up of a combination of the original Keystone pipeline running from Alberta to Cushing, Oklahoma, where it then connects with the new Keystone XL South pipeline, which carries on to Texas. (Source: Philbin, B., “Oil Pipeline Opens, Prices Surge,” Wall Street Journal, January 26, 2014.)

Cushing is the pricing point for the New York Mercantile Exchange’s West Texas Intermediate (WTI) contract, North America’s benchmark oil price. It is also America’s biggest oil storage hub. The southern extension of the contentious Keystone XL pipeline is expected to help eliminate the glut of oil in Cushing that has artificially skewed U.S. oil prices for three years, keeping it trading well below crude oil prices based on the European Brent benchmark.

Interestingly, the abundance of oil and increased flow of crude oil from Cushing to the Gulf Coast does not translate into a drop in oil prices. That’s because some of the so-called “extra” oil making its way to the Gulf Coast is being processed into fuels and shipped to other countries.

In fact, the recent increase in oil prices is considered a healthy sign that the crude oil bottleneck in Cushing is opening up. And even though oil prices are currently above $100.00 a barrel, oil prices are expected to average $93.00 per barrel in 2014 versus $97.91 in 2013. (Source: “Short Term Energy-Outlook,” U.S. Energy Information Administration web site, February 11, 2014.)

At the same time, the Energy Information Association (EIA) forecasts global oil consumption will grow in 2014 to 91.62 million barrels per day from 90.36 million barrels per day in 2013. The EIA also estimates that this number will increase to 92.99 million barrels per day in 2015.

OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) echoed the EIA’s sentiments and said world consumption of crude oil will rise to 1.09 million barrels per day in 2014—a 40,000-barrels-per-day increase from its previous forecast. While not committing to any numbers, OPEC also said it sees potential for further increases in the supply of crude oil. (Source: Reuters, “OPEC Joins U.S. In Predicting Stronger 2014 Oil Demand,” Gulf Business web site, February 12, 2014.)

As the global growth leader in crude oil production capacity and the largest producer of natural gas, the U.S. has been fast-tracking its capital spending on oil and gas infrastructure. Between 2010 and 2013, oil and gas infrastructure spending increased by 60%—from $56.3 billion to $89.6 billion. Over the next 12 years, infrastructure spending is expected to top $1.15 trillion. (Source: “Oil & Natural Gas Transportation & Storage Infrastructure: Status, Trends, & Economic Benefits,” American Petroleum Institute web site, December 2013.)

While oil prices are expected to average $93.00 per barrel in 2014, the increased demand for oil (driven by China and a rebounding U.S. economy) points to long-term growth. That means now is the perfect time for investors to start looking at oil and gas producers again.

Rosetta Resources Inc. (NADSAQ/ROSE) has operations in the Eagle Ford Shale region in south Texas. In 2014, Texas is projected to produce more than three million barrels a day; making it the eighth-largest oil producer in the world—ahead of Kuwait, Mexico, and Iraq. (Source: Jervis, R., “Lone Star state could become one of the leading oil producers on the planet,” USA Today, January 15, 2014.)

Oasis Petroleum Inc. (NYSE/OAS) has properties in the Bakken field in Montana and North Dakota. The company produces 25.5 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day and has proven reserves of 143.3 million barrels of oil equivalent.

This article Now the Perfect Time to Get Back into Oil Stocks? was originally published at Daily Gains Letter

By | 2017-11-15T23:05:47+00:00 February 14th, 2014|Social Media|0 Comments

11 Tools That Will Help Streamline Emails Among Your Team

Q. What tools (analog or otherwise) are you using to avoid email backlog among your team members?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Skype

11 Tools That Will Help Streamline Emails Among Your Team image Marvin AmbergBecause half of our company is based in Berlin, our European headquarters, we rely heavily on Skype as a key source of communication between team members. We’ve found it to be much more efficient to conduct Skype calls, chats, video calls and even conference calls than to exchange five to 10 emails on one topic. My co-founder and I have even had several 2 a.m. Skype business calls.
Marvin Amberg, Caseable


2. FuseDesk

11 Tools That Will Help Streamline Emails Among Your Team image Kelly AzevedoAll of our customer service emails are flowing through FuseDesk, which links to our CRM Infusionsoft. This keeps complex, long-running discussions with clients out of our inboxes. As a bonus, we can track responsiveness to clients and see the conversations, so our message is always clear and consistent.
Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems


3. Basecamp

11 Tools That Will Help Streamline Emails Among Your Team image Patrick ConleyWe use Basecamp to manage projects, which keeps our collaboration on projects “in the cloud” instead of needing to search through and reply to endless emails. If needed, team members can still receive email notifications, but we have the information stored in Basecamp to ensure that we don’t lose important communication in the trenches.
Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes


4. HipChat

11 Tools That Will Help Streamline Emails Among Your Team image Aaron SchwartzWe started to use HipChat a few months ago. It’s a very simple messaging service, and the app is available on mobile too. It has helped limit the amount of emails, and more importantly, it’s enabled us to speed up the process of finding solutions to issues. Being able to quickly ask for feedback has helped us cut down on the amount of meetings we have too!
Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches


5. Boomerang

11 Tools That Will Help Streamline Emails Among Your Team image Andrew SchrageBoomerang lets you delay sending an email response. This limits the amount of back and forth in email conversations.
Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance


6. Yammer

11 Tools That Will Help Streamline Emails Among Your Team image Bhavin ParikhWe encourage our team to post any non-critical messages on our internal social network, Yammer. This helps us avoid email clutter and gives us an opportunity to share links and testimonials from customers as well as praise each other for a job well done.
Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Inc


7. A Private Facebook Group

11 Tools That Will Help Streamline Emails Among Your Team image Sarah SchuppWe use a private Facebook group to share non-essential information among our team, such as announcing an upcoming party, sharing good news about the company or celebrating an employee’s birthday. This way, urgent emails are in the inbox, and the fun stuff is on Facebook.
Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent


8. Confluence

11 Tools That Will Help Streamline Emails Among Your Team image Charlie GilkeyConfluence is a fantastic wiki application built by Atlassian. We use it rather than sending team emails because information can be liked, commented on and archived within an external email system. Because it’s much more searchable than email, information that needs to be asked about doesn’t live in email — if you have a question, you check the wiki first.
Charlie Gilkey, Productive Flourishing


9. Yammer and Hall

11 Tools That Will Help Streamline Emails Among Your Team image Maren HoganWe have found in our office that tools like Yammer and Hall are far more effective and efficient than long, chaotic email strings. Actually, we encourage our employees to steer away from email. It is my biggest pet peeve when someone loops me into a 25-page email string and gives you no clue why. Am I supposed to read all of this? There’s no way that’s happening.
Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media


10. Asana

11 Tools That Will Help Streamline Emails Among Your Team image Ronnie Castro2Asana is a great tool to track goals and manage tasks. It lets everyone know who is in charge of what and helps with accountability and scheduling.
Ronnie Castro, Porch


11. Honey

11 Tools That Will Help Streamline Emails Among Your Team image Derek FlanzraichOur newest obsession is Honey, a compelling internal forum for anything that isn’t time sensitive. Imagine Reddit for your company, but prettier!
Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

By | 2017-11-15T23:05:47+00:00 February 14th, 2014|Social Media|0 Comments

Getting Back to Marketing Basics

Getting Back to Marketing Basics image 320px SWOT en.svg

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the rush to implement the latest social and digital marketing programs, many marketers appear to focus on the communication aspects of their initiatives, often without much thought about the underlying strategy. They cite increases in followers, likes and visits and celebrate their successes. But while increased reach is important, if one is not focused on reaching the right target audience and providing a product or service that actually satisfies some stated or unstated need, they may be investing in something with little chance of a return. Just because this is the digital age does not mean that the marketing basics do not apply.

Taking a step back and creating a marketing strategy with clear objectives is one way to avoid this issue. Is the goal to increase market penetration, thus increasing market share among existing customers, or is it market development, otherwise known as gaining new customers? Too often this distinction is not thought through. Achieving both is possible, but sometimes one’s objectives are better served by a more narrow but stronger focus.

A similar phenomenon happens to many start-ups. The start-up founders are so intent on getting their product to the market and making their first sale that they often fail to understand the difference between sales and marketing or the distinction between a niche marketing strategy and one that is more inclusive. Success in one area is no guarantee of success in another. Few do market scans or fully understand the competitive context they are operating in. Most do not understand the market position they will occupy or the various scenarios that may play out once they enter. While their excitement about their product and/or service may help them move forward against all odds, a realistic understating of the market or a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) might enable them to be more effective in driving their business forward.

Even in the digital age, understanding market forces and one’s customers is critical. While social sites can be a wonderful place to listen and engage in the conversation, focusing only on the “squeaky wheels” can lead one astray. When in doubt, it is prudent to conduct either informal or formal market research among one’s key target segments. Data is great, but having the right data will help one to make better decisions and avoid costly mistakes.

It is also important to remember that marketing communications/promotion is only one of the levers in the marketing tool kit. Price, Place and Product/service round out the 4 “P’s” of marketing. Without understanding competitive advantages and disadvantages in all aspects of the marketing mix, one might fail to benefit from an existing market advantage or come up with a plan to fix a potential market shortcoming. Even with a new product that has unique market positioning, there are always competitors out there waiting to enter. A first mover advantage is very good, a sustainable competitive advantage is even better.

A social media marketing program that is creative and fun will get you noticed. Having the right program for the right audience with an appropriate product, pricing and channel strategy will actually keep you in business!

By | 2017-11-15T23:05:47+00:00 February 14th, 2014|Social Media|0 Comments

What Are You Really Telling Customers? 13 Touchpoint Translations

Language barriers can be confusing. And when interacting with someone who speaks a different language or uses a different dialect, we have to be careful. The same is true for customers. After all, it really isn’t what they hear, but what they feel that will affect the outcome of their journey.

So we decided to share some sample touchpoints and translate them for you.

1. We’re way more interested in selling you new services than helping you with the current one.

What Are You Really Telling Customers? 13 Touchpoint Translations image LFhelp

2. We totally know what’s wrong, and we’re totally not going to fix it.

What Are You Really Telling Customers? 13 Touchpoint Translations image toilet

Apparently the last person did not read the sign. Surprise! 😛

3. Finally, an answer to the old tough-skinned monkey conundrum.

What Are You Really Telling Customers? 13 Touchpoint Translations image peeler

4. In case this is your first visit to planet earth…

What Are You Really Telling Customers? 13 Touchpoint Translations image button

5. We respect your pet about as much as we respect the flag.

What Are You Really Telling Customers? 13 Touchpoint Translations image pet spa

6. We never employ females. BTW ask (discreetly) about our “other services.”

What Are You Really Telling Customers? 13 Touchpoint Translations image moving men1

7. You will spend your your eternity right here.

What Are You Really Telling Customers? 13 Touchpoint Translations image inside out

8. This could go horribly wrong, but live a little! RGB-PC means yes!

What Are You Really Telling Customers? 13 Touchpoint Translations image enjoy this

Was it good for you?

9. Gender stereotypes should be learned at a very young age.

What Are You Really Telling Customers? 13 Touchpoint Translations image gender

Not now, sweetheart. Men are talking.

10. Just figure it out, moron.

What Are You Really Telling Customers? 13 Touchpoint Translations image visual ly

11. Whatever you’re trying to do, just stop it.

What Are You Really Telling Customers? 13 Touchpoint Translations image just no

12. Are you sure installing our software was really a good move?

What Are You Really Telling Customers? 13 Touchpoint Translations image success error

13. If you can’t configure it yourself, your customer journey ends here.

What Are You Really Telling Customers? 13 Touchpoint Translations image configure

Are you aware of all the little things your customers come into contact with? There are most likely many that you are not aware of. Until you can truly walk in your customers’ shoes and feel what they feel when they encounter every touchpoint, you’ll never know how these microinteractions translate to the customers, and the worst ones are often invisible from the inside.

Unfortunately, most business leaders do not have the time or resources, and no suite of software can really be capable of finding these things. As you can see, our Customer Experience Investigators™ live for finding these things! Contact us to find out how to start your own investigation and take the first step towards being a truly customer-centric organization.

By | 2017-11-15T23:05:47+00:00 February 14th, 2014|Social Media|0 Comments