mardi 30 septembre 2014

6 Ways To Destroy Your Email List

6 Ways To Destroy Your Email List image bigstock D Colorful hot Burining email 14481902 600x600

One of the biggest issue email marketers have is simply making the email subscriber feel connected. So I will show how 6 little things could eventually hurt the efforts of everyone with a list.

Writing from an email reader’s view, you are sure to get a laugh from this article.

If you’re looking to destroy your email list within 30 days, than this article is just for you. If you want to prevent that from happening, than this article is for you too!

So let’s learn the 6 Ways To Destroy Your Email List, written from an email subscribers point of view.

1. You’re emailing me at night

Your email just went out and 10,000 people got your email. 11PM at night. You’re thinking “Success!”, but they’re thinking “How Rude?”. If you want people to click the UNSUBSCRIBE button like it’s Family Feud then do this often.

You’ve got to understand, scheduled post and auto responders don’t exist in the subscribers mind. They want something live straight from you. And we all know you didn’t just finish writing that 11PM at night on a Saturday. You may not see it, but potential customers are going bye-bye because you woke them up late at night with an email titled “20 Reasons Why You Need More Sleep”. Not good. This breaks the feeling that you care.

So please, email during the daylight. Your list will be happier.

2. You’re more generic than Walmart

Walmart is great when you need something because they have a touch of everything. They’re known for being generic, it’s why it’s so huge. But if I need a specific smartphone, I’m not going to Walmart. Instead I go to a store that specializes in that field. It’s human instinct. I don’t care how big Walmart gets, I’m not calling them to service my house for pest control, or to deliver my baby. I’m going to people who specialize in that field.

I know Mashable is known for writing about a lot of things, but even they specialize in the technology field. You must have a target, and you must know your audience. When you shoot your emails out, you should hit bullseye every time. This means, you’re helping that reader somehow every time you send them an email. So the generic emails like: “I have the purpose to life blah blah blah” or “ “How to achieve anything you want in life” isn’t going to be opened as much. It’s okay to be inspirational, but being generic makes the reader feel disconnected.

Always stick to the topic.

3. You email just to email

People say that you must email your subscribers every week no matter what. It doesn’t matter that you have nothing of value to give them. You have nothing to excite them with. You have no solution to their problem.

If you have nothing to give, don’t email. I’d rather skip a week instead of looking stupid every week.

You want that feeling of excitement to bubble when they see your email. I receive emails like that and it’s amazing to think you can have that kind of affect on people.

So make the email count every time.

4. You write like I’m the size of a barn

If you’re saying stuff like, “Hope ya’ll are doing good” or “You guys! Guess what??” You’re basically making that person feel so unconnected. Possible even like their fat.

What if a guy walked up to you and said, “Hey Guys!” You’d look behind you to see who he was talking to. You’re thinking he’s either crazy, or high, when you realize he’s talking to you. People won’t see you as crazy when you email like this, but they won’t connect with you as much either. You must treat your email writing like you’re writing an individual.

You want that person to have personal connection with you. They want to feel close and to share with you their problems. So when you’re emailing solutions to their problems, and talking about things you have in common; you’re establishing a relationship. They will feel like a close friend. Which is what you want. You want to keep everything natural.

I don’t know why this is so hard for some, but it is.

5. It’s just another RSS feed

RSS feeds are great, and some like to get in their email. But the email open rates are very low with RSS emails. After awhile, people drift to find something else to read. People won’t stay committed to an RSS feed like they will a real person. Making that email format more like a conversation instead of a blog post will increase your open rates tremendously. Understand too, that GMAIL is now sending all RSS feeds to Promotional tabs. Which means you may receive them for awhile but soon they will disappear in the Promotional tab.

Hopefully you still love me:)

I talk more about how to increase open rates here in a article I wrote, The #1 Reason Why Your Email Open Rates Are Diving.

6. You’re all about money

If that reader even smells that you’re only about padding your wallet, you can say adios to that reader. Your email strategy shouldn’t include punching them 3 times with a pitch about your eBook. It should be about delivering value that melts their problems like butter.

Once they realize you have the power to do that, they will be emailing you for a job, contract, or even a book deal. If you had 100,000 people who knew that you had the answer to their problem within one eBook, money would never be an issue. Do you know why spammers slap people with their products all the time? They’re not making money. All it takes is one good launch to get the ball rolling. Selling isn’t hard, it’s simply showing people that you have the answers. Once they realize this, Paypal will be your best friend.

So there ya go! 6 ways to destroy your email list. I hope this made your day and possibly made you laugh. More emails like this are sent than not, but that’s hope for you. Why?

You will stand out brighter and you’ll be seen as the authority in your niche. So use these tips to take you to the next level.

6 Ways To Destroy Your Email List

Global Expansions – An Infographic Of Tech Tools To Manage Your Global Presence

The most basic tenet of globalization states that the world is gradually becoming one all-encompassing economy, thanks entirely to the technology that we use on a daily basis. While many of us surf Facebook, send work emails, and text message friends, the ability to do all of these things breaks down the barriers that once defined culture.

For businesses, this global marketplace is ripe for the picking. Creating a global presence, however, is the name of the game here. Knowing which technologies to use can cut costs, while maximizing presence, leading to a streamlined company that operates on a more efficient level than the global powers. For a business to sell its product or services to people in a different location, they first must earn the potential consumer’s trust. This infographic explains the vital role that technology plays in creating a global presence. Whether it be website localization, maximizing the efficiency of low cost, cloud-based collaborative software, or multi-person video conferencing, breaking down any sort of barrier that would negatively influence communication can be done for low costs, allowing funds to be reallocated to areas where they are needed. It’s an interesting discussion of the power of technology, and how to best use it.

Global Expansions – An Infographic Of Tech Tools To Manage Your Global Presence image GlobalTechTools

Global Expansions – An Infographic Of Tech Tools To Manage Your Global Presence

3 Refreshingly Simple Steps to Boosting Registration Conversions

The competition for audience connections is fierce — and that’s an understatement. While human attention spans are getting shorter, the world wide web is still as massive as ever. Banner blindness — the fact that people ignore anything that looks like an ad — is the new norm, and forward-thinking companies are coming up with increasingly creative ways to captivate and engage their web visitors.

It’s tough to keep up. It’s even tougher to stand out.

That’s why today’s most successful brands are connecting with prospects on a 1:1 basis. Marketing teams are joining forces with innovative IT leaders to analyze and act upon user-level data at unprecedented levels of scale. The idea is simple — the more than you learn about your audiences, the more you can empower them in their buying journeys. In other words, marketers and IT leaders are wielding a blend of empathy and technology to drive revenue.

A key example of this concept in action is Amazon. Recommended products are a key part of the ecommerce giant’s value proposition. Amazon can study their customers’ patterns and reach them with the right message at exactly the right time in their buying journeys.

3 Refreshingly Simple Steps to Boosting Registration Conversions image 3stepsblog 600x188

Source: (my homepage)

Technology giants like Amazon make this process look easy. But it’s not. Product recommendations and personalized website features arise from volumes upon volume of data. It can take years to develop a 360-degree view of your customers.

That’s why it’s important to boost registration conversions — and engagement — as soon as possible.

Why Registration Data Is the Ultimate Customer Story Tool

User registrations are the ultimate tool for optimizing ROI because they allow marketers and IT leaders to form a complete customer picture — on an authentic, human level. Unlike web cookies, which are browser based, user registrations are people-based. This is important for two reasons:

  1. The digital landscape has quickly evolved into a cross-device, cross-platform world. Your website visitors are engaging with your brand across a variety of devices. Web cookies fail to capture this full customer journey.

  2. Registration data allows brands to create comprehensive historical records about what their audiences care about most. While web cookies — through Google Analytics, for instance — expire, registration data lives in.

The first step to building these customer story involves — well, getting users to register. Here are 3 refreshingly simple tips to guide you.

Step 1: Provide a Clear Value Proposition

As Susan Kuchinskas puts it, “consumers care about privacy, but they’re also willing to share information with brands — as long as they get something in return.” According to a recent Accenture survey, consumers are open to having their buying behavior tracked in exchange for offers and promotions.

When asking audiences to register as a user on your site, you need to make the value proposition crystal clear. Remember that at the end of the day, consumer behavior revolves around one fundamental question — “what’s in it for me.”

Your messaging should answer this question directly, in a clear and compelling way.

For inspiration, check out National Geographic, which offers free subscriptions. Not only can audiences see what they’re going to get from signing up — they can also see which of their friends are already involved with the site’s community.

3 Refreshingly Simple Steps to Boosting Registration Conversions image 3stepsblog1 600x337

Source: (Homepage)

Similarly, Angie’s List — a paid subscription service for authentic user reviews — communicates exactly what the site’s audience is seeking out: great deals, support, and unbiased customer reviews. Angie’s List has positioned itself as a concierge to make it easier for consumers to research service providers.

3 Refreshingly Simple Steps to Boosting Registration Conversions image 3stepsblog2 600x355

Source: (Sign Up Flow)

When you have something compelling to offer, audiences will respond. Long story short, your messaging should communicate how your brand can help audiences (1) save money, (2) make money, and (3) make more out of their ever-limited time.

Step 2: Reduce Friction

Consumers don’t have the time or energy to deal with complicated sign-up processes. Their attention is already spread thin, with memberships with a variety of other platforms or services. Signing up should — literally — be as simple as one click.

One way to streamline the new user registration process is through social logins. Forbes, a web publisher that reaches 30 million visitors each month, deployed an experience that allows audiences to sign up using their LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter profiles.

After implementing this feature, Forbes experienced an immediate, 100% increase in new sign-ups — of which, 67% came from registrations through social accounts. Now, almost half of Forbes’s audience base uses a social identity to log in.

3 Refreshingly Simple Steps to Boosting Registration Conversions image 3stepsblog3 600x542

Source: (Homepage)

Social Logins reduce friction by allowing customers to sign-up with already existing accounts. Instead of creating a brand new profile, audiences can ‘connect the dots’ between their favorite web experiences with one consolidated identity.

Step 3: Don’t Stop With Registrations

Sign-ups are only part of the monetization equation. To drive conversions, grow revenues, and create a well-defined analytics strategy, brands need to keep audiences engaged.

The process starts with answering the simple question — ‘what happens after the sign-up?’

For instance, Verizon created a gamification platform to incentive users with badges and points. More than 50% of Verizon’s visitors engaged with the gamified environment — with Social Login users spending 30% more time and browsing 15% more pages on the site (than audiences using regular login features).

3 Refreshingly Simple Steps to Boosting Registration Conversions image 3stepsblog4 600x307

Source: Verizon Smart Rewards

People registered because they were excited by the prospect of what would happen after the registration process — a fun, community environment.

Final Thoughts: Never Stop Learning

Every brand’s conversion strategy will be different. The key to getting started is to learn as much as you can about your audience. What do they value? What are their biggest pain points? What inspires and delights them? The more you listen, the more empowered you’ll be to stay creative, ahead of the curve, and connected with your audiences.

3 Refreshingly Simple Steps to Boosting Registration Conversions

The Challenges of Account Planning in Word, PowerPoint or Excel

The Challenges of Account Planning in Word, PowerPoint or Excel image outdatedtech

One of the biggest complaints about account planning is that it takes too much effort. So, it’s no wonder that nearly half of companies see it as an area for improvement (CSO Insights). For starters, many are still using Word, PowerPoint and Excel to design and “execute” their strategic account planning, and frankly it’s like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Here are a few just a few of the challenges:

A Glorified Form

From the perspective of the account manager, an account plan inside this type of “virtual paper tool” looks just like a form. Usually one with too many pages and fields to complete. Like most of us, account managers and sales reps hate to fill out forms! I’ve never seen an account plan that was 1,000 pages long, but I have seen some that get close to 100 pages. I’m not sure how a person filling out such an account plan has any time to actually manage their account.

The Lost Update Scenario

As the account manager, you bring everybody together to create the account plan. You fill it out, email it out to your team, and ask them to provide any final updates. Now you have a huge manual effort to correlate and rekey all the changes when the updates are returned.

Even if you are using some sort of content management system, repository or file sharing device to save the account plan, there is little integrity if multiple people are making updates at the same time – Or, if somebody starts to edit but then gets on an airplane without saving the changes. All you are left with are lost changes. When your boss starts reviewing the plan and asking questions, you spend hours researching only to discover that your boss is looking at an old version of the plan. Sound familiar?

The Manager’s Perspective

The manager is responsible for evaluating the account plans, providing feedback, coaching, and periodic reviews of the plans. The problem is that there is no easy way for the manager to evaluate the plans for each of your accounts, those of your peers, and so on. Time out! This creates a huge waste of very valuable management time, plus the time of the account managers who are now doing a lot of low-value data entry, fixing errors, searching for the latest version, and managing a collection of PowerPoint/Word/Excel documents. This time could be spent generating revenue and building strategic relationships.

The CEO/CFO Conundrum

The last challenge lies with the CEO and the CFO. These are key accounts, your largest and most important customers. They generate a huge amount of your revenue, and you have aggressive revenue targets to hit as a company. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to manage what you can’t measure. So how does the CEO/CFO measure the quality of the plans, the progress against the budgeted revenue, and identify the customers at risk? Has anybody seen that movie where the big ship hits the iceberg and then sinks? We need to stop the madness that is account planning in Word, PowerPoint or Excel.

The Solution

So what does the other half of companies do to be successful at account planning? They leverage the power of technology to alleviate some of the effort and to eliminate the challenges that exist with old-school office tools. They automate the plans, as well as the execution against the plans. What exactly does this look like? Stay tuned for our follow-up post: Key Attributes of an Automated Account Planning Tool.

The Challenges of Account Planning in Word, PowerPoint or Excel

Want to Drive Innovation? Technology is Critical

People are the lifeblood of any enterprise — even more so when it comes to initiating change or actually implementing an innovation process. Any change or innovation would fall flat on its face without the wholehearted support and acceptance of those who are supposed to bring in the new order. However, the role of technology is equally important when it comes to innovation. Without a seamless IT system and infrastructure, especially with an innovation platform to back up and complement the role of the people, innovation would falter.

Organizations need to not just invest in a smart innovation platform, but they also need to use it in the right way. Here are 5 ways enterprises can leverage technology to drive innovation.

1. Embrace Equal Opportunity

It is important to collect and consider every idea from the smallest and most tentative suggestions to the biggest and most elaborate plans. The ways ideas are gathered have considerable influence on the quality and schedule of a project. A good innovation platform ensures that all voices are given equal prominence and/or due consideration. It also facilitates seeking out ideas proactively on specific topics, such as identifying areas for improvement to drive efficiency.

2. Avoid Common Mistakes

Presumptions and assumptions are the biggest enemies of innovation; ideas are potential game-changers. However, the innovation team may be swamped with ideas, making it physically impossible to consider each for its individual merit. This is where a good innovation platform pays for itself. An effective platform filters all ideas through an automated idea graduation threshold, and then selects ideas that fit into what the innovation team is trying to accomplish. The innovation team is then able to review five to ten ideas for implementation every week, depending on their capacity and workload.

3. Employ Innovation Inception

Innovation doesn’t always have to be the end-goal in and of itself. Innovation within innovation — such as more effective ways to spread the message and initiate discussions — helps. A good innovation platform facilitates the rolling-out of flexible methods to elicit wider and more effective participation from the team. Some recent examples of this kind of “internal innovation” include a multi-media approach to disseminating innovation ideas, an “innovation update” newsletter that showcases hot ideas, two-minute videos that deliver information quickly and more effectively, and regular, structured online meetings to keep tabs on current and new ideas.

4. Open the Gates

Even as the implementation team propels innovation, it is important to be clear on the role of the innovation team as a unit. Teams that get carried away and become the sole arbitrators of ideas and processes do a disservice to themselves and the organization. They need to act as facilitators, not gatekeepers — and wise enterprises should make clever use of the innovation platform to ensure that it stays that way.

5. Be Customer-Centric, Always

No innovation would succeed without putting customers as the number one focus. It is possible to use innovation platforms to offer a reality-check; by reconciling ideas and suggestions with customer experiences and expectations, it’s possible to inspire innovation within the confines of organizational objectives.

Want to Drive Innovation? Technology is Critical

The “StealthGenie” Complaint May Not Accomplish Anything

Two US Assistant United States Attorneys, Kevin Mikolashek and Jay Prabhu have filed a civil Complaint (Civil No. 1:14-ev 1273) against Hammad Akbar for selling a spyware product called StealthGenie. StealthGenie is an APP that works on a variety of smartphones. The APP surreptitiously records incoming and outgoing phone calls, allows the purchaser to intercept calls in real time without the knowledge of the smartphone user; allows conversations in a boardroom or bedroom to be recorded without the knowledge of the smartphone user, allows incoming and outgoing email, SMS (text) messages and voicemail to be recorded and read; steals the user’s contact list, photos, videos and appointments.

StealthGenie works through a commercial server. StealthGenie used Amazon Web Services located in Ashburn, Virginia. All the intercepted information from StealthGenie is stored on Amazon’s server.

Hammad Akbar and his employees are Pakistani citizens and Akbar lives in Lahore. The chances of catching up with him are precisely zero. Amazon is not a defendant in the case, although clearly Amazon Web services facilitated StealthGenie operations.

The US government view is this kind of APP is an “interception device” under US Code and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the sale, marketing, advertising of mobile spying applications is illegal. The US Attorneys evinced specific concern that the spread of this kind of APP would help stalkers, although as the Complaint says, the product was advertised as a means of dealing with spousal cheating, which according to StealGenie’s owners, a company called InvoCode Pvt. Ltd., constituted 65% of the purchasers of the APP.

This is the first case brought in a Federal court against spyware APPS. It is unlikely to ever be successfully prosecuted, so the civil Complaint really amounts to a warning to others who make similar products.

Today there are hundreds of companies in all parts of the world producing products that resemble StealthGenie. These products are available on the Internet. Some of them are free; others can can be purchased. The simplest of them require physical access to the target’s phone to install the malicious APP. More sophisticated stealthy spyware can get downloaded on a phone without the need for physical access. One way is to embed the spyware into a legitimate product and offer it to the user. Another is to plant a Trojan or other bug in the hardware of the device. Recently some Chinese phones have been found to have built in spyware. There are plenty of other techniques available for professional spies. StealthGenie was meant for amateurs.

Whether the government’s legal argument is sound is less than clear. There are many cases where intercept software can be sold where its use is legal. Two examples come to mind: the sale of intercept software to law enforcement and government; the sale of intercept software to business. Business has a right to monitor its employees, and this right has been generally supported in US courts. This right extends to smartphones, computers and other electronics (such as GPS trackers). It would seem, therefore, that if StealthGenie advertised its APPS for certain business spying, there would not have been any grounds for an indictment.

Another use of spyware APPS is for parents monitoring children. The US Government Complaint does not address this point. But, again, if an APP is advertised for this purpose, is it legal?

Spyware is also extensively used by companies spying on their competitors. Certainly this is not legal, but the government has not bothered to act on such spying? Why?

One thing is certain, the government’s action, no matter how well-intentioned, misses the mark in important ways. The widespread spying going on in our society, some of it easily accomplished by monitoring social APPS like Facebook and Twitter, is a real scourge. So too is the monetization of personal information by many of the tech-giants, who are making a fortune exploiting our privacy. We have a very long way to go before any of this is brought to a halt.

The “StealthGenie” Complaint May Not Accomplish Anything

How To Build A Perfect Backlink Profile For Your Website

In the world of modern SEO, many online businesses know that their website should follow SEO best practices in order to win and maintain keyword rankings that can drive traffic and revenue for their online business. Obviously this means steering clear of things like buying links, link directories, and spammy blog content, but often many companies think about each individual link instead of how each link makes up a larger backlink profile. This can prove problematic for businesses that have started to amass tons of links, as your business website’s backlink profile is something that needs to be carefully monitored.

How To Build A Perfect Backlink Profile For Your Website image Comparative Link Analysis

More than any other single element, a website’s link profile is the most important part of an SEO effort. Both ranking well for targeted keywords and racking up penalties from Google due to bad link practices are potential options based on the quality of your website’s backlink profile. The many choices you make across a long period of time when it comes to building your links will either help your website rank better overall for a slew of keywords or make your website consistently find itself on the wrong end of Google algorithm updates like Penguin, Hummingbird, and Pigeon, as well as potentially getting penalized by Google’s Manual Penalty team.

Obviously every business owner wants the best for their site, so how exactly can you build the best overall backlink profile possible for your website? Let’s break down what you need to have.

Authoritative Links

The first (and most obvious) thing that a good backlink profile needs is authoritative links. This means having websites that boast high domain authority linking to your website. Having these links in your link profile show that you are a website that is trusted by well-respected sites and helps you to build your own authority in the process. It is sensible then, that these links provide the most SEO value for your website.

By contrast, you want to make sure that your website is not chock-full of low authority links, as having tons of spammy links can lead to lower keyword rankings and manual penalties. While not all of these links can be avoided, not actively building them through bad SEO is paramount to building a strong backlink profile.

As a rule, you want to make sure that your website has a very low percentage of overall links to your website that could be considered spammy – if this number starts to comprise a large percentage of your backlink profile, you need to take immediate steps to either disavow them or step up your efforts to win more authoritative links to counteract the garbage links that are negatively impacting your website.

Anchor Text

One of the biggest problems of looking at linkbuilding on a link-by-link basis is that you can’t see overall patterns in your links. The most important trend to spot is the anchor text you use to link back to your website. A number of links with keyword-rich anchor text pointing to a page is widely regarded as the most powerful way to get a page ranking for a targeted keyword. However, if this is all you go after when trying to get links you’re ignoring the bigger picture and setting yourself up for failure.

Just like the sources where the links are coming from, anchor text should have some diversity. Your link profile should certainly consist of keyword-rich anchor text, but that there should also be different types of anchor text throughout. This means having a link profile that features branded anchor text, diluted anchor text that has a keyword but also a variety of other words as well, and semantic keyword text that has words that are closely related to a keyword. There should be no single anchor text that accounts for huge percentages (over 20%) of your backlink profile’s overall links.

Follow vs. Nofollow

Another easy mistake when engaging in link building on a link-by-link basis is to concentrate solely on links that provide direct SEO equity (also known as “follow” links) to your website. However, if you take a second to step back and look at the bigger picture of your overall backlink profile, it becomes a lot easier to notice that links that reduce SEO equity (also known as “nofollow”) need to be included as well. A backlink profile needs to look “natural”. If it is comprised entirely of equity-passing links to your website, it comes off as manipulated and can lead to lower ranks in search engine results. Between paid PR placements and advertisements that link to your website (which should be nofollowed), there should be at least a few nofollowed links to your website.

How To Build A Perfect Backlink Profile For Your Website image Follow vs. Nofollow Links

As a result, sometimes when you’re reaching out for guest blogging opportunities, PR placements, or other link building opportunities, getting nofollowed links is not necessarily a bad thing in the overall scheme of your backlink profile. Particularly if you’re getting a link from website that has a domain authority that is toeing the line into spammy (personally, I’d say domain authorities in the high 30s), it is often safer to just nofollow the link back to your website if you can. Your backlink profile will become stronger overall, and you’ll also keep yourself from running into any issues if the website does indeed turn out to be considered spammy by Google’s algorithms.

Keep Links Fresh

When trying to build the ideal backlink profile it is important to understand that you need to constantly be winning new links to your website. This is because much like a car, links begin to depreciate in value over time. This phenomenon has been dubbed the “freshness factor.” If your website’s link profile consists entirely of links won years ago, you’ll start to find your keyword rankings slipping if you don’t keep getting new ones.

This is sensible if you think about it – Google wants to make sure that is has the most authoritative websites ranking for individual keywords. If your website suddenly stops getting links from respected sources, something has probably changed – whether that is that you are no longer actively trying to get good mentions or the quality of your business is slipping. Regardless of the reasons, truly authoritative websites should be continuously receiving links. This is why it is so important to keep engaging in SEO even once you’ve initially achieved the rankings you’re going after.

Link Relevancy

There was a time when building a lot of random links from high domain authorities would be good enough to get your website ranking for your targeted keywords. This is no longer the case, as a good backlink profile now needs to contain links from sources that are relevant to your domain or page.

This means that an ideal link for a business trying to rank for website design is very different from an ideal link for a company that is trying to rank for lawn furniture. In some unique cases, this means that links with slightly lower domain authorities are going to be more powerful for a business if they are more relevant to what you are trying to rank for.

How To Build A Perfect Backlink Profile For Your Website image CareerGlider Keywords

The keywords from indicate that it would probably be a relevant link if your website is discussing jobs or careers.

When looking for link relevancy from sources, consider what most of a website’s content is talking about, and what keywords they are already ranking for. More often than not, doing a simple search to see what keywords a website ranks for using a tool like SEMRush should be enough to inform you as to whether or not the site in question is contextually relevant to your own website.

Context is Key

Going along with the relevancy of the domain linking to you is the context of the link in question. In order to help build the perfect backlink profile, each link your website gets needs to be relevant within the greater context of where it appears on a site as well. This means that optimized anchor text and a relevant domain isn’t necessarily enough – sometimes the link needs to be surrounded by text in an article that is talking about subjects that are relevant to the keyword you are looking to rank for.

While this might sound problematic, it actually solves a lot of issues surrounding anchor text and, to a certain extent, relevancy. This is because by taking context into account, Google can better understand when a link from an otherwise unrelated domain might happen to be discussing something that is relevant to you and reward you accordingly. Similarly, it means that worrying about keyword-optimized anchor text is slightly less important (although it still holds a ton of weight), than a branded or natural link that is surrounded by other text that is contextually related to your keyword will provide more value than it has historically.

Create Link Opportunities Through Content

While doing outreach to create content that links back to your website is a huge part of building a great link profile, one of the best strategies to achieve perfection is to create content on your website that people actively want to link to without you having to do any outreach at all. This might lead to some links that are less than ideal, but often it will provide a very strong mix of different links from different domains with different anchor texts. This will help take care of a lot of the headache that comes with trying to build a natural, perfectly proportioned backlink profile manually.

Trying to build the perfect backlink profile is actually almost impossible for this reason. The “perfect” backlink profile includes natural links, and unfortunately you can’t really control what links are included. You can get very close, however, that takes work. If you take the above tips under consideration as you build your website’s backlink profile you’re sure to get close to perfect – hopefully at least closer than your competition, which means you’ll rank better for keywords that help your business’ bottom line.

How To Build A Perfect Backlink Profile For Your Website

Alzheimer’s: Can Young Blood Help Cure Older People?

In early October, a team of scientists from the Stanford School of Medicine will transfuse blood from those aged 30 and younger to older people suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

Evidence supports the hypothesis that transfusing the blood of younger mice to older ones can improve the cognition and health of the latter, according to The Washington Post. The idea is if young blood helps older mice, the blood of younger people can help improve the cognition of older people with Alzheimer’s.

Another bonus is that the blood made older animals look younger. Maybe Elizabeth Báthory, the first prolific serial killer, was onto something when she would drink and bathe in the blood of young girls to keep her youth and beauty.

Additionally, reversing the process yielded similar effects. Young animals that received old blood started to age prematurely. Also, sometimes the animals’ injuries wouldn’t heal as quickly as they normally would because their organs had deteriorated in health.

To get into the specifics of the science behind the idea, a protein in blood plasma called GDF11 decreases with age in both animals and humans. When mice received daily injections of the protein in experiments, their brain function improved.

Alzheimers: Can Young Blood Help Cure Older People? image medium 1971826491

Now the Stanford team wants to know if increasing GDF11 will have the same effect on humans suffering from Alzheimer’s. The preliminary results suggest human blood rejuvenates as well. The leader of the team, Tony Wyss-Coray, explained, “We saw astounding effects. The human blood had beneficial effects on every organ we’ve studied so far.”

Wyss-Coray elaborates that getting approval for the experiments has been pretty easy. Blood transfusions have a long-standing record of safety. Though he warns against swapping blood at home or drinking it (which kills the fun of the vampire theory entirely).

Even with the evidence behind the research, Wyss-Coray cautions that the experiment is still in its early stages. It will take months to follow through with patients to determine results and see if the hypothesis is worth pursuing further.

The team agrees GDF11 isn’t the only factor that keeps organs healthy. Ideally, the researchers would like to determine several factors that produce these effects. That way, instead of always having to draw blood from younger people, they might be able to create a drug that does the same thing.

If the experiments go well, younger people could have the potential to help find a cure for older people who suffer from Alzheimer’s, a heartbreaking and devastating disease. And all it would take is some blood.

Alzheimer’s: Can Young Blood Help Cure Older People?

The Top 20 Most Effective Holiday Subject Line Words (Infographic)

With the increased number of emails hitting everyone’s inboxes during the holidays, having a subject line that gets readers to open your email is more important than ever. To help make your emails stand out in busy inboxes and get acted upon, consider testing the inclusion of one or more of these top-performing words for your next holiday email.

The Top 20 Most Effective Holiday Subject Line Words (Infographic) image topsubjectlinewords infographic 1

For more holiday email marketing tips and ideas, grab our Complete Guide to Holiday Email Marketing and get started using VerticalResponse for all your email marketing today.

The Top 20 Most Effective Holiday Subject Line Words (Infographic)

Pleased To Beat You: Customer Service Needs Better Rivalries

Pleased To Beat You: Customer Service Needs Better Rivalries image customer service rivalries1 300x203“Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.” – Dr. Tony Alessandra, Author and Consultant

It’s football season people, and one of the best things about football season (college or pro) is the opportunity to compete against your rivals. Cowboys vs. Redskins, Raiders vs. Chiefs, Alabama vs. Auburn, Notre Dame vs. USC, Army vs. Navy, the list goes on and on….

Owners, coaches, staff, players and fans alike take rivalries personally, investing emotions, effort and dollars in the belief that their team is number one, and to make their team number one – or at the very least, better than their rivals.

While rivalries may be associated with brawls between teams on the field and brawls between fans in the parking lot, rivalries also bring out the best. They inspire:

  • Passion

  • Loyalty

  • Competition

  • Team Effort

  • Best Effort

  • An Analysis of Strengths and Weaknesses

  • And a Desire to Keep Improving

Some brands overall have had competitive rivalries in sales and marketing (think of the great Cola Wars of the 1980s), but what if customer service teams, or better yet, customer-obsessed brands began engaging in this type of competitive rivalry?

In a September 2014 CMO Council Report titled Mastering Adaptive Customer Engagements, survey results show that most brands need something to sharpen their competitive edge:

  • Only 14% of respondents rated the customer-centricity of their organization as high; and only 11% believe their customers would say the same.

  • Only 12% feel their brand’s heads of operations, line-of-business leaders, finance, marketing, sales, and customer service team are strongly aligned around their customer experience strategy.

  • Just 1 in 10 are highly satisfied with their company’s ability to listen and respond to the needs of the customer.

Complacency isn’t something any team or its fans are excited to be a part of.

Get your game-face on CEOs, CMOs, CIOs and Chief Customer Officers. The customer service and engagement playing field still looks pretty even. Choose a rival brand. Be secretive in your competition, or call them out. Invest in your customer service and engagement strategy and the tools needed to succeed.

Find and exploit your strengths and differentiators. Engage and empower your team.

Nine in 10 respondents to the above survey said that customer-centricity is critical to the success of their company. Make your customer fan base proud and inspire brand loyalty. If we make customer service and engagement more competitive, it’s pretty certain: everybody wins.

Pleased To Beat You: Customer Service Needs Better Rivalries

6 Things You Forget About When Building A Personal Brand

6 Things You Forget About When Building A Personal Brand image shutterstock 212286967 Most professionals know by now that a strong personal brand is the foundation for a successful career.

Whether you use your personal brand to find jobs, promote your freelance business, or build your professional network, it’s important to create a brand that illustrates your professional experience and personality. Your personal brand can also help you stand out from professionals in your industry and make a name for yourself as an expert.

While you might understand the basics of personal branding, such as building a blog or connecting with people on LinkedIn, there are a few things you’re forgetting to include. Here are six things people forget about when building a personal brand:

1. Create a personal mission statement.

Before you can position yourself as an expert in your field, you need to have a mission for your brand.

Your personal mission statement defines what you want to accomplish as a professional. Whether you want to become a thought leader or help people reach their dreams, make sure you incorporate your goals into your mission.

2. Develop a lesson to teach your audience.

Do you have a unique story to share with your audience? If so, this is your opportunity to shape it into a lesson to teach your audience.

For example, if you’ve managed to have success breaking into your industry at a young age, share some of your tips with young professionals who are trying to follow your path.

3. Connect with influencers.

If you want to become known for your expertise in your industry, connect with influential leaders. By building a network of influential people in your industry, you’ll learn from their success and discover how you can become of value to them.

4. Create an email list.

Whether you’re networking with employers or reaching out to professionals in your field, it’s a good idea to create an email list. This list will enable you to keep track of important contacts and know who to contact when you have a question or need advice.

5. Help others.

An excellent way to build your personal brand is to help others. You have a variety of skills, knowledge, and relationships you can share with others.

For example, if you find a job opening that would be perfect for one of your colleagues, share it with them. This gesture shows that you genuinely care about their success.

6. Ask questions.

When building a personal brand, it’s essential to ask questions. Ask people for advice. Ask others to tell their story. By asking questions, you’re able to learn more about your field and gain valuable lessons from your networks.

What are some other things people should remember to include when building a personal brand?

6 Things You Forget About When Building A Personal Brand

A Clown With a Smile Upside Down

With the airport travel delays this week, I was able to conduct my own bit of marketing research.

At Baltimore-Washington International Airport, I noticed the customers in line to buy food.

A Clown With a Smile Upside Down image Chipotle 300x224

The adjacent options in this one particular area of the food court, according to the overhead signs, were Arbys, Chipotle and McDonald’s. Or rather, there had been three options. Apparently, travelers at BWI had gotten over their infatuation with roast beef because, as you can see in the photograph, that option was now boarded up.

So that left Chipotle and McDonald’s. No matter when I passed by the two food stands during my three-hour delay, I noticed the same situation. The line at Chipotle was long, maybe even too long, while a patron could get almost immediate service at McDonald’s.

Here are three reasons:

1. Product - There was a time when McDonald’s included the word HAMBURGERS on their outdoor signs. No longer. In fact, the burgers that made McDonald’s famous had been deemed this past summer the worst-tasting of all the major U.S burger chains by the readers of Consumer Reports.

So, if you don’t go to McDonald’s for hamburgers, what exactly do you go there for?

Could you just imagine if Starbucks were ranked dead last . . . for coffee?

Rather than fix the food, the company invested considerable time and effort on developing tie-ins to popular movies and Happy Meals toys. Even now, the company is spending millions of dollars to design and open up sparkling new facilities complete with flat-screen TVs. But the food is still apparently broken.

(Of course, I never understood why McDonald’s feels compelled to include their name under the symbol for the Golden Arches. Apple has been around for a far briefer time than the Golden Arches, and the company seems to be doing just fine without having to remind us that their logo stands for “Apple.”)

USA Today also reported, “McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson finds himself under increasing pressure to turn the burger behemoth around – and soon – as the company reported a 3.7% decline in global same-store sales. That ranks as the company’s worst global same-store sales results in more than a decade. McDonald’s last posted a 3.7% decline in sales at stores open at least one year way back in March, 2003, the company says.”

2. Service – Further, according to USA Today, “For the 20th year in a row, McDonald’s ranks dead last in customer satisfaction in a national survey of patrons of 12 major fast-food chains by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.”

The reason I go to McDonald’s is not for their hamburgers but for their hot fudge sundaes. (With this small, inexpensive treat, I doubt that I am the type of customer McDonald’s is trying to court.)

The last time I went to the airport location of a McDonald’s, the person behind the counter just glared at me. I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was bored, irritated and disengaged.

“I’d like a hot fudge sundae, please.”

She shot back, “No ice cream! Next!”

3. Employees - At Chipotle, the employees work as part of a team. A usually successful, busy team at that, and it typically shows in their attitudes as each one down the line performs his or her job with pride and efficiency.

On the other hand, during another recent visit to McDonald’s, I noticed an unusual separation of duties. A cashier took my money, read the number off the receipt to me, and then directed me to “go stand over there until your number is called.” So I did. And waited. Finally, a counter person arrived to fill my order. The cashier then showed her displeasure for the other employee’s tardiness in completing the order.

Needless to say, it was the opposite situation of a meal that was happy. In fact, even a popular clown, encountering that situation, may have had a smile that was upside down.

The question is, “How do product, service and employees come together in your organization?”

A Clown With a Smile Upside Down

5 Best Project Management Tools for Small Businesses

If you run a small business, you know just how tough it can be to do everything on your own. But, it is also expensive to hire staff, and a lot of the other project management tools you may need are just beyond your budget right now. Here are some tools that are going to help you with your business, and they will be well within your budget. In fact, some of them are absolutely free.


This is a project management tool that can be used by up to 15 people at no cost to you. It is as easy to use as Facebook, and allows you and your teams to have real-time interaction. This tool will let you track time, visualize goals, prioritize tasks, get project updates, and more. There is even a calendar function that allows you to display the tasks for your entire team on the dashboard. Not only is this a great project management tool for small businesses, it is also a great tool to use in your personal life so you can stay organized. A really neat feature is being able to use the TAB key to create “hot keys”.

5 Best Project Management Tools for Small Businesses image Asana 600x287


This is a neat tool that is visual without being color coded. It tracks all of your projects, and is easy for anyone to use. There are all kinds of great features that you get with this tool. It has drag and drop interface, and it can link tasks and show which ones need to be done separately and which can be combined. It will create groups of tasks within projects, and you will have an overview to see where you are at with your projects and which things are due now. You can try this project management tool for two weeks for free. After that, plans are reasonably priced, starting at just $9 per month for two users.

5 Best Project Management Tools for Small Businesses image Casual 600x284


This is a web-based project management app that is loaded with features for project management tasks and communication. You can do everything from one page, including discussions, note taking, due dates, tags, and a whole lot more. You can get this tool for as low as $20 per month, and there are different packages and prices available. You get SSL data encryption and daily backup with any plan you choose.

5 Best Project Management Tools for Small Businesses image basecamp 600x284

Apollo HQ

You don’t have time to waste, and the creators of Apollo know this. That is why they came up with this awesome project and contact management tool. You can work quickly and efficiently, and always know what is going on with your projects at any given moment. You can use it anywhere, even when you are on the road, and take care of all of your tasks. You can even let external workers access the projects. New features are always being added, and you can submit ideas, requests, report issues, and more. Packages start at just $23 per month, with the most expensive being $148 per month. This tool is considered to be the next best thing as Basecamp.

5 Best Project Management Tools for Small Businesses image Apollo 600x284


This is a great tool for teams. You can plan and execute projects, create tasks, make comments, add to lists, tag tasks, assign tasks, and much more. There is also an iPhone app that has regular updates, and a Mac companion app. You get all this for just $99 per year, and you can try it for two weeks for free before making any final decisions about whether or not you want to continue using it. But, with such a low price, it is definitely worth it to have an annual subscription.

5 Best Project Management Tools for Small Businesses image Flow 600x286

5 Best Project Management Tools for Small Businesses

5 Compelling Social Apps

There are both a number of applications I use every day and several I have played with that I thought I would share with you today. I have paid for some of these apps and others compel me but I don’t really have a use for them yet; that said, I keep on returning to them.


5 Compelling Social Apps image CircloscopeAfter complaining about Google+ in such articles as Google+ on Its Third Birthday and Is Google+ the Antisocial Network?, a number of Plussers came to my aid, telling me what a mess my Circles were. Everyone recommended trying out Circloscope but at $47 for an annual license covering one Google+ personal profile & three business pages I was hesitant. When I looked around I couldn’t find a test drive but there were so many people on Plus who crowed about the app, which downloads and installs as a Chrome browser extension, so I paid for it. As it turns out, however, there is a free version that does everything the premium version does, except the mass adding & removing of people — so you don’t have to go in blind, though the it’s the mass adding & removing of people that’s the most compelling, but that’s not all it does. Here’s what it says it can do for you, from the website:

  • Quickly and easily create circles of engagers from any Google+ post – those that commented, shared, and +1’d the post.

  • Create circles from those that engaged with the most recent posts of any Google+ profile, and those that have been circled by others.

  • Easily create circles of those that have commented on your event, and those that replied Yes, No, or Maybe.

  • Know exactly who is following you back and who isn’t, plus how active and popular they are. Unfollow by any metric you choose.

I am still trying to get a handle on it, but it seems like the only way I can undo quite a few mistakes I made when I joined three years ago and didn’t spend any time at all being smart about Google+ Circles. So, instead, I had just suffered regrets. Circloscope make the promise of allowing me to simply and easily undo those mistakes.


5 Compelling Social Apps image fullContactI don’t know about you but my contacts have taken over my entire life. I have to share my contacts over my iPhone 5, Android Nexus 5, iPad Air, Nexus 7, and across my social networks, my Google Apps mail, and who knows what else. I have had terrible problems with duplicates (so many duplicates) and bad merges and out-of-sync issues. It easily allows you to merge dupes as well as use the power of all my social media platforms to update all of my contacts with their social media profiles, up-to-date contact info, and lovely profile photos. I pay for premium which costs either $9.99/month or $99.99/year. FullContact is worth it.


5 Compelling Social Apps image logo2 Before I discovered FullContact I periodically used Scrubly as a way of doing a power-wash of my contacts. It does the same thing as FullContact does, I think, but it takes a lot longer and is a lot funnier (they keep it charming and silly while the app goes through your contacts and social media accounts) but when it’s done, everything is tidy, neat, and updated. It’s $19.95-per-scrub (or $39.95 for the year) and that’s what I used.


5 Compelling Social Apps image bufferApp Buffer’s so cool. It makes Content Marketing Automation easy. It can embed itself into your browser and all your images to easily share content inline with Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and just about everyplace else. You can also queue up lots of content that you can then share over all of your social platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ as well as Facebook Pages, LinkedIn Company Pages, and Google+ Pages (and maybe even LinkedIn and other Groups, maybe?). And, as if that weren’t enough, you can plug in all your RSS feeds and they can then get buffed into your buffer queue. I even use buffer as a way to retweet from Twitter instead of that ugly and awkward “quote tweet” — Buffer does everything better. I am a premium member — I use the Awesome plan.


5 Compelling Social Apps image gaggleAMPWhat does GaggleAMP do? Well, it’s tough to explain. It’s like a social media listserv. My Gaggle is comprised of people who have subscribed to my social media feed. So, when you subscribe to my Gaggle, you can easily retweet the tweets I place into my Gaggle queue and share any of the LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+ content I place into the queue. I also automatically queue up all of my blog posts and articles via RSS. And Gaggle allows subscribers to set up their Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to AutoAMP my content so that it gets automagically shared onto their profiles. It’s set up more for business than personal, but branding and sharing is what it is. Even if you don’t have a company, you can become a valuable content curator. Prices start at $50/month but then top-out at $150/month — but so worth it! GaggleAMP is a true social media secret weapon.

That’s all for now. I will share another 7 apps next week. Please let me know what you think about my list so far. Which ones have you used and which ones are you still using. Which ones have I missed and which apps should I really check out? Please make those recommendations in the comments and you know what? Go git ‘em, Tiger!

5 Compelling Social Apps

The Top 4 Secrets to Working at Home Successfully

The Top 4 Secrets to Working at Home Successfully image homework 300x162For some reason, working at home to many people means you’ll be able to relax, work when you want and bake potpourri on the stove.

For the people who do work at home, you know this to be extremely untrue. In fact, you don’t even have time to bake potpourri on the weekends when you’re not working.

Working at home takes a lot of time, dedication and focus. Whether you’re running your own business, a startup founder or simply a freelancer, the workload can still be as overwhelming as it was at the office.

There are four secrets to working at home successfully that every entrepreneur should know.

Start a Normal Work Day

As tempting as it sounds to wake up slowly, enjoy a nice cup of coffee and watch a little bit of television, working at home should be no different than a regular day at the office.

Everyday should begin early and with a cup of coffee, if your taste buds require it –then off to the races. Hop in the shower to help wake yourself up and continue your morning routine like you would if you had to commute.

Once you find a routine that works for you, beginning your workload promptly at the same time every morning can ensure you will have a successful work day. If you get your body into the same schedule, allowing yourself to become distracted will be more difficult. If you do things different every day, then you may find it harder to bring yourself to get any work done.

Have an office

If you don’t have the extra space to necessarily dedicate a room to your office, a work space should be enough.

Having a specific area to work in can ensure that you’re only working in that area. For example, working in the living room where the television is located is not only distracting, but you will not associate that room with work. An office will allow you to change your mindset into work mode only and begin generating ideas in a quieter area.

It’s important not to engage in any other activities but work-related ones in your work space. Avoid playing computer games or texting on your cell phone – treat it like your office cubicle. The upside is that you can design it in any way you choose, so if your ideas flow more freely when you’re lounging in a hammock – invest in a hammock.

Keep in touch

It’s okay to take breaks. Sometimes working at home makes you feel disconnected from the world and while you may get a little bit extra done because you aren’t distracted by coworkers, it can be quite lonely.

Keep contact with the outside world as much as possible. Send emails to coworkers, employers or friends and family to keep in touch and see how things are going or what is going on at the office. Make phone calls to other people you know who may be working at home, or simply take a few minutes to make a phone call to a friend and get a little socialization going. All work and no play will drive you absolutely nuts.

Leave work at work

This may be more difficult to associate where work stays because you do work from home, but a dedicated office or work space is where it should remain.

It’s easy to work all through the day and night because you’re at home. You may simply think that taking an hour break every so often is enough to relax, but it isn’t. Once your work day has ended, close the door or shut the computer off and spend time with your family or do something for yourself. It’s a healthy part of living and you certainly don’t want to become a workaholic just because it’s convenient.

The Top 4 Secrets to Working at Home Successfully

4 Companies that are Doing Social Media Right

4 Companies that are Doing Social Media Right image social media awards 600x213

As most business owners know, social media is not just a passing phase; it’s a phenomenon that gives them plenty of ways to advertise their products, reach out to customers, and to deal with any possible customer service related issues as quickly as possible.

As Online MBA Page notes, social media can help make a faceless company seem personal and engaging , and encourage people to become loyal customers. In addition, social media savvy companies can keep tabs on current trends and news and mention them in their updates, which may end up being shared or re-tweeted over and over.

While the vast majority of large companies have developed social media pages for their businesses on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more, not all pages are created equally.

In order to really nail the immense marketing power that social media has to offer, businesses must use the medium to do a lot more than disperse generic information about the company, website URL and phone number.

The following four companies have embraced the concept of social media with open arms, and have created a successful presence their customers truly appreciate.

4 Companies that are Doing Social Media Right image social media monitoring 600x213

Whole Foods Market

This company, which is known for its outstanding selection of healthy foods, is a social media champion. As Fortune notes, the grocery chain is present on at least 7 social media sites, including Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

In 2013, Whole Foods Market decided to really take the customer service bull by the horns and dedicate time and resources to reach out to loyal customers .

In order to do this, the company created a team that is devoted to closely watching all of Whole Foods Market’s social media accounts, looking for customer comments of all kinds.

The team also keeps tabs on Whole Foods Market’s local social accounts, which means if someone in Phoenix, Arizona posts a question or comment about the store he or she frequents on that store’s Facebook page, the team of social media monitors will see it and reply.

This approach has helped Whole Foods Markets to create a truly personal and meaningful connection with their customers, who appreciate that their messages are being read.

Whole Foods Market has also used social media to help teach customers about current issues relating to food; for example, when the grocer announced it would start labeling foods that contained GMOs, hundreds of customers responded with questions. The team used this opportunity to educate shoppers about GMOs and answer the commonly-asked questions.


Social media can be used in extremely clever ways to not only advertise a company’s product, but also to touch upon the values and personal beliefs of its customers, Buzzfeed notes.

The Dove company took this concept and hit it right out of the ballpark recently when it created a 3-minute “Real Beauty Sketches” video that featured an FBI-trained sketch artist drawing unseen women based on their own descriptions of themselves, as well as a stranger’s description.

In every case, the sketches based on the stranger’s words were prettier than what the women described, which showed quite poignantly how hard women can be on themselves and their appearance. The video went viral and was posted and re-posted on social media; so far, it has been viewed over 114 million times.

The underlying message of “you are more beautiful than you think” was brilliant. Not only did Dove manage to show women how they can be their worst critics, the social media campaign reassured them of their beauty and also managed to get their company name into the mix.

Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants

Similar to Whole Foods Markets, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants created a “social listening desk” with a small team of people who spend their time monitoring the company’s numerous social media accounts and watching for ways they can “talk” with customers online. The approach was so successful, the company ended up adding to the team.

As a whole, the team tries to spot posts from guests that they can reply to in a very personal and meaningful way. For example, when a guest at a southern California location mentioned in a Tweet that she loved the Kimpton Hotel she was staying at but was bummed because she didn’t feel that well, the social media team forwarded the post to that hotel, and employees came to her room with hot tea, soup and a get well card.

The hotel also posts secret codes and passwords that guests can use to get a free upgrade or other extra amenity when they check in, and it also regularly posts job openings. This trio of approaches encourages people to be active participants on Kimpton’s social media pages.

For business owners who are considering following Kimpton’s lead and wish to post enticing secret codes their customers can use to get great deals on their purchases, they should take precautions to protect sensitive data, which might become more susceptible to hacking as the social media pages start to get more traffic.

By working with a company, business owners can make sure their important data is safe, as they enjoy a surge in their social media success.

The Walt Disney Company

When it comes to offering a huge variety of social media, The Walt Disney Company truly delivers. Rather than just having one large social media page on Facebook, the company has separate social media accounts for its movies and characters.

For example, the wildly popular movie “Frozen” has its own Facebook page that has been “liked” by more than 17 million people. The page provides fans of the movie with updates about Frozen-related apps, photos, quotes and more.

By branching out and creating 600 separate accounts, Disney is reaching even more people who don’t want to wade through one giant company page.

Business owners can use this tactic to create separate pages for different facets of the company; for example, a landscaper could have a Facebook page devoted to gardens and plants and an Instagram account that focuses solely on photos of its tree trimming services.

4 Companies that are Doing Social Media Right

Why Authority Marketing Will Replace Reputation Management

In today’s business world, maintaining a good reputation is crucial for success. Moreover, thanks to the presence of social media and the speed in which news makes its rounds, ensuring your company maintains a good reputation is more difficult now than ever before.

In the past, businesses relied primarily on word-of-mouth to form their reputation.

However, today, it takes much more than word-of-mouth to manufacture a good business reputation.

That is why as a business owner, you should seek to manufacture a good reputation using authority marketing instead of simply managing whatever reputation your business has.

Why Authority Marketing?

In essence, authority marketing helps entrepreneurs leverage their knowledge to gain authority status in their industry. This authority status then allows them to dramatically amplify their message and convert their new audience into higher paying customers.

Reputation management is a term first coined in the public relations industry. It includes the understanding and influencing of a businesses reputation. It used to be based primarily on word-of-mouth as that was a how a businesses reputation was built in years past.

Today, reputation has less to do with word-of-mouth and more to do with what type of nationwide reputation a business has, which is usually formed through management efforts and publicity of various types.

Read below to learn how you can manufacture, or create, a positive business reputation for your company:

Create an Authoritative Online Presence

Having a strong online presence is crucial to creating a good business reputation. You can accomplish this by simply constructing a Facebook page for your company, creating a quality blog or a website, starting a podcast, writing a Kindle book, or all the above.

This online presence for your company allows customers to easily find you and voice complaints or praises.

Although you may feel giving customers the ability to complain would not be a positive aspect, it actually is because when they do express concerns, you then have the opportunity to correct the issue, thus improving your image and reputation.

An online presence also gives you the perfect platform to let your customers know about new advancements in your product or inform them about products soon to be released.

You should also regularly put out press releases optimized for your company name, so Google’s search results always have the freshest news about your business.

Embrace Your Weaknesses, Don’t Try to Cover Them Up

If you ever find yourself faced with a problem regarding your product or business, it is always best to be honest and try to deal with the issue head on, instead of denying a problem exists.

Remember when Toyota owners began having problems with their pedal sticking?

Toyota denied the issue, which is never a good idea. What they should have done was to come clean and admit the problem existed, before any issues came up.

That is how you keep a reputation intact, by admitting to your weaknesses and owning up to your shortcomings. Usually, people admire you for being honest and will give you the benefit of the doubt.

However, if you lie to them or tell them they are crazy for having the issues they are having, that won’t help your reputation at all.

Listen More Than You Respond

You could plug the adage, “measure twice cute once, “ or “listen twice, act once” in here. The premise is the same.

Do not give knee jerk responses to anything and everything you hear about your company, whether it be in person or online. You should give twice as much effort in listening to your customers than you do in responding to their accusations.

It can be really tempting to jump onto Facebook and issue a heated response to a customer who has wrongly accused your company.

However, instead of responding immediately, you should listen to them, look for trends and investigate the validity of what they are saying. Then, you can respond in a calm, rational manner that will help build up your reputation as a professional company instead of tear it down.

Be Aware of Your Reputation and Don‘t Wait till There‘s a Problem

Since you are reading an article about manufacturing a good reputation for your business, you probably don’t have to worry about this point.

However, the importance of actually monitoring your businesses reputation is worth stating. After all, you cannot create a positive reputation for your business without being aware of its reputation to begin with.

Don’t wait until a problem arises to deal with your businesses reputation, because by then, there is usually some damage done, which is often next to impossible to undo. Instead, stay on top of your businesses reputation and ensure it takes the correct path.

To accomplish this, stay informed about your businesses online presence, read reviews, listen to customer feedback, complete studies or surveys and pay attention to the data you acquire.

In Summary…

As a business owner, you know there are so many issues to worry about it regards to running a successful business.

However, you must never overlook the importance of manufacturing and monitoring your businesses reputation, because without a good reputation, your business will more than likely fail to excel. Using authority marketing is a good strategy to maximize effect of creating a positive reputation.

Why Authority Marketing Will Replace Reputation Management

Windows 9 No, Wait A Second, Windows 10 Is Unveiled

Windows 9 No, Wait A Second, Windows 10 Is Unveiled image MS Windows 10Yesterday Microsoft got a little crazy and decided to shake things up for the unveiling of their latest OS by taking us straight from Windows 8 to Windows 10, leaving 9 out in the cold. We saw a preview of their Windows 10 operating system with some very welcome changes. The move back to a traditional start menu is certainly the biggest difference, showing that Microsoft is actually trying to ensure user satisfaction with this next release.

I must say though that, while Windows 8 was nowhere near the most successful OS ever sold by the software giant, I applaud them for their effort to be forward thinking and attempting to be innovative even if it failed. Windows 8 is not completely removed from the upcoming Windows 10, the live tiles in the start menu are a nice merging between Windows 7 and 8 that still show Microsoft is looking forward to the days of touch, but that they are also tailoring their strategy a bit more around it.

Microsoft is claiming that Windows 10 will be the new development platform for everything from 4 inch cell phones to PCs with wall-sized displays. This creates a potentially exciting proposition for the tech world as it may allow developers to create a single app that is available on all different devices. I question how much work will have to be done on the part of development organizations to create apps for all devices on a single platform, especially with the ever rising usability expectations of today’s users. However, if it can be done, it is an extremely exciting development innovation by Microsoft that will help enhance their app ecosystem.

Giving users back the familiarity of Windows 7 is not exactly a shocking decision in this latest release, as Microsoft tries to show that it still knows what it means to make an OS that users want. Microsoft will also be giving up on the less than spectacular navigation paradigm of duality, meaning it will stop automatically moving users into the Metro interface if they launch a Metro app.

Microsoft has also clearly realized the need to get back to their roots and make sure that they remain a productivity driving platform. Microsoft dominates the business world but it had a very lackluster performance with Windows 8, which never really penetrated this key segment. Most organizations are still relying on Windows 7 and it is incredibly crucial that Microsoft get it right for their business users.

After the unveiling there was one thing that has really stuck with me, and that is how much Windows 10 kind of just feels like a Frankenstein between Windows 7 and 8. I don’t mean that in a bad way.

I think that this will be the next OS that many companies and users wind up jumping to because it certainly won’t be Windows 8. What I’m really getting at is that Windows 10 doesn’t seem like a whole new world for Microsoft, one that justified a change in naming convention. It really seems like it is what Windows 8 should have been and maybe the Metro interface should have been left strictly for tablets and phones until it proved out a bit more. Either way, overall I think it’s great that Microsoft is getting the feedback cycle going early around this OS. They are going in the right direction by starting the conversation about what people really want now.

For more on this topic, read the Aberdeen report The End of Windows XP and the Beginning of the Post-PC Era

Windows 9 No, Wait A Second, Windows 10 Is Unveiled

Slut Shaming School District Shows ‘Pretty Woman’ Clips And Bans Tight Pants

Slut Shaming School District Shows Pretty Woman Clips And Bans Tight Pants image dress code no tight jeans for girls

A North Dakota High School has reportedly taken ‘slut shaming’ to incredible lengths, as staff not only implemented a new dress code limiting female students’ clothing choices, but supported it by showing clips from the movie Pretty Woman. While school dress codes, which often seem to focus closely on how much girls’ bodies are covered, are always a hot-button topic, a direct comparison between a prostitute in a 1990 movie and girls’ daily attire makes this case, at Devil’s Lake School District, stand out.

Valley News Live reports that after a tip from a parent, they called the school, where a vice principal confirmed that girls have been forbidden to wear leggings and tight jeans to school. He also confirmed that the students were shown clips of the Julia Roberts movie, Pretty Woman, in which Roberts portrays a prostitute hired to play escort to a wealthy man.

Some female students have complained that the newly-implemented dress code rules out most of their wardrobes.

It’s long been a complaint that the usual way of implementing dress codes has a heavier effect on girl students, and in essence, tells them that providing boys with a distraction-free environment for learning is more important than providing girls with a safe and comfortable learning environment, and freedom of expression.

A recent Think Progress piece used another school’s new dress code to illustrate the disparity in effect of these rules. In that case, 200 students received detentions for their clothing, and 90% were girls.

Students defying these clothing rules are often made to leave class until they are provided with different clothing, suggesting to teenagers that their schools would prefer for girls to miss class entirely than for boys to have to struggle through with distractions.

Girls are also being given the message that they are responsible for the actions of boys in their presence — a strong, early message that they are at fault if they are the victims of someone else’s sexual misconduct.

[photo credit: Matthew Kenwrick]

The message is even stronger when, such as this case, a dress code is clearly, explicitly, and overtly directed at female students only.

Slut Shaming School District Shows ‘Pretty Woman’ Clips And Bans Tight Pants

How Subscriber Engagement Impacts Your Deliverability

Every few weeks, we have a customer reach out to ask asking about declining email open rates and what’s going on with their deliverability.

The process for identifying a potential problem is always the same and usually involves looking at factors such as spam complaints, number of bad addresses/bounces, content, etc.

However, there’s another piece of the puzzle that is largely ignored for one reason or another, and that’s email engagement. (And it’s the piece that MOST marketers are extremely resistant to addressing).

Let’s talk about how this piece impacts your overall email marketing program and cover a little bit of backstory and look at some of the trends relating to how ISPs (like Gmail, MSN, Yahoo, etc.) look at email and change their algorithms to reflect availability of data, changes in the industry and so forth.

Several years ago, if Subscriber Sam clicked the spam button, it had little effect on your overall email program.

But, as time went on, the ISPs began to look at that as an indicator as to how subscribers view your messages in general. “Too many spam complaints likely means that subscribers don’t really want these messages, so we’ll just send them all to the spam folder in order to help improve the customer experience.” The small percentage of people that do want the messages can always dig them out of the spam folder.

Remember, the ISPs are concerned about the experience of THEIR subscribers, NOT whether or not YOUR email messages make it through. Their goal is to provide subscribers with the email messages they actually want and they do their best to filter out unwanted mail.

The ISPs don’t know whether or not your list is 100% opt in or if whether your subscribers have confirmed. It’s possible that you have 100% confirmed optin list and still receive high complaints due to message content, message frequency, etc.

Fast forward a few years and we’re seeing a similar pattern with email engagement.

The fewer people that open your messages, the higher the likelihood that your email messages will start trickling into the spam folder more and more. This happens for a few reasons…

One… the ISPs can see that Subscriber Joe, for example, is no longer opening your email messages and after a certain period of time simply drops them in the spam folder for that ONE subscriber as not to clutter his inbox with unwanted mail. The ISPs are learning from the individual subscriber behavior.

Keep in mind that this is absolutely natural. People lose interest in things, changes phases in their lives, etc. List churn is a normal part of the marketing life cycle.

Two… When TOO MANY people stop reading your messages and engaging with your content, the ISPs see that and assume that the majority of people don’t want to receive your messages, so they send more and more of the email addressed to the unengaged users to the junk folder.

NOTE: Keep in mind that subscribers open different messages based on time of day, subject line/interest, and so on. Some subscribers check their email only every so often while others are going through email all day every day, reading and responding to messages as they come in and what’s considered a “good” open rate varies by industry and even by list.

So, while you may THINK that it doesn’t cause any harm to continue to email subscribers who no longer open your messages, the contrary is true. The fewer people that are engaging with your emails, the higher the probability that the ISPs will filter more and more of your emails to the spam folder.

What this means to you:

1. You simply MUST clean out the unengaged users. PERIOD. If people are not opening your emails, it’s time to do something different.

Start with a re-engagement campaign and try to get them back on board. If they don’t bite, move to other methods to reach them or, at the very least, mail MUCH less frequently.

(See: How to Get Your Email Opened First)

2. The marketer with the best list segmentation wins.

Not every offer appeals to every subscriber. Start segmenting based on behaviors and send offers that subscribers are more interested in hearing about.

While this means you may not be sending a specific offer to your full list, it does mean that you can send multiple offers to SEGMENTS of your list.

3. The old philosophy of mailing until they dropped off or bought is not longer healthy for your email program. The cost of mailing to unengaged users is too great.

How Subscriber Engagement Impacts Your Deliverability

Is Your Brain Hard Wired To Ignore Irrelevant Content?

The popularity of content marketing continues to spread like wildfire among corporate marketing departments. Every year, the amount of content available online is growing exponentially. A lot of potential buyers today feel like they are drowning in it.

This presents a problem for marketers. The more content that gets produced, the harder it becomes for them to gain and keep the attention of the readers we want to attract.

So what’s the lesson for content marketers? Relevance matters.

No, scratch that. Relevance is critical. If you are going to win readers’ (your potential customers) interest in spite of the tsunami of content on the web, you must grab their attention by being relevant to them.

A Formidable Content Marketing Obstacle

We face a lot of obstacles on our journey to content marketing success. One of the most formidable is posed by the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS helps you focus your attention on certain things, while helping you to ignore others.

This is the part of your brain that acts like a switch or gatekeeper for relevant information. It filters out information you deem to be irrelevant. On the other hand, it immediately focuses your attention when it becomes aware of something that’s important to you.

When you are trying to appeal to your target audience, the RAS can work for or against you. Use it to your advantage. You do not want to bombard your potential readers with irrelevant content. You want to get their attention with valuable information that resonates with them and is important to them, or else risk be filtered out completely.

Do You Know Your Audience Well?

It’s imperative to understand your audience intimately. Conduct extensive research and put together a profile of your “ideal reader”. What’s his world view? What does he like? What does he dislike? What does he respond to? What does he ignore? Tailor your message to appeal to your readers. Use this detailed profile to guide how you write your content and the way you market to your audience.

Remember that people are profoundly interested in themselves, so use your content to talk to them about their problems and circumstances that relate to your product. Offer them solutions to nagging problems they are struggling with, persuade them that you can help them overcome these problems and you’ll have their attention. Their RAS will let you in.

Avoid Marketing Narcissism

People don’t want to hear marketers talk in a self-centered fashion about their products and their company. If you use your content as a platform to do nothing but talk about yourself, you may very well be guilty of an objectionable practice that has been referred to as marketing narcissism.

If your audience thinks this is the case – if they think you only care about your company and telling everyone how wonderful your products are – your credibility with them will plummet. To them, your content will feel as relevant as an old, beat-up minivan is to a single guy in his twenties who is itching to buy a new sports car.

Instead, focus your message on your reader, not on you. This will help you in your quest to remain relevant in your reader’s eyes once they are engaged with your content.

First Impressions Count

How do you stand out from the crowd and capture the reader’s initial interest considering the overwhelming content deluge he is faced with?

One way is with your content’s headline or title. Your title is critical for grabbing your reader’s attention and focusing them on your message. Make your title stand out in a big way. Keeping in mind that your readers care about their needs and wants, use the headline to boldly promise, or at least imply, some kind of benefit.

Solid titles are important. You can have the world’s greatest, most value-packed, compelling white paper or case study, but if your title doesn’t strike a chord with your intended audience and if they don’t see it as being relevant to them, your content will be ignored.

Content marketing is challenging. And it’s getting tougher because our audiences are being bombarded with more and more content offerings. In an effort to prevent sensory overload, the RAS works to filter out such stimuli viewed as unimportant. Use it to your advantage by appealing to your audience in a relevant way to win their attention (and hopefully the sale).

Is Your Brain Hard Wired To Ignore Irrelevant Content?