All posts by Wendy Dessler

Wendy is a super connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized marketing plans depending on the industry and competition.

Digital Branding

Five Tips for Building a Credible Business

One of the most important factors that separate successful companies from the ones that nobody has heard of is credibility. For example, compare a new entrepreneur who’s trying to get people to believe in a product that has no track record to a successful businessperson who runs into issues with the production process and needs credit to be extended for a few days or weeks.

Of course, there are many characteristics that can help you personally become better at manoeuvring these types of situations, but having a reputation as a business owner that stays true to your word, gets things done, and has a history of success will ensure better credibility for your company. Here are some top tips on making your business more credible in today’s fast-paced and competitive world.

Tip #1. Hire Professional Help:

Whether you are looking for web design or graphic design, hiring a professional, experienced company to do the work for you will usually always be a better option than going down the DIY route or hiring somebody who isn’t that experienced with what they do. In general, when looking for web design, you should try and find a company that also appears to be highly credible and with a good reputation, as they will be able to create the same for your brand.

Tip #2. Be Honest:

When it comes to building credibility, one of the most important factors to consider is honesty. Whether you’re communicating with customers, site visitors, clients, suppliers or even other businesses that you are working alongside for a common goal, being dishonest is a sure-fire method of killing any credibility that you have, and quickly. Telling straight-up lies should of course always be avoided. However, bear in mind that misrepresentation of information due to unnecessary embellishment or failing to provide context can also crush your efforts at making your company more credible.

Tip #3. Be an Established Expert:

In considering your brand’s online presence, don’t forget that hiring the best company offering graphic design Farnham and ensuring a good visual first impression is important for credibility. However, what your website looks and feels like isn’t the only factor important to visitors today. In fact, the sooner you are able to share your industry knowledge and establish yourself as an expert in your field online, the better. Customers that are able to gain answers to their questions and solutions for their problems from your website are more likely to trust what you have to say and come back again in the future for more advice.

Tip #4. Promote Achievements:

Although you may not want to overdo it and look like you’re bragging, promoting anything that your company achieves is a sure-fire way to build credibility with your target audience. For example, let’s say that you’re mentioned in a popular business publication about being an excellent company to work for – why would you not want to shout about this a little bit, so that not only your target audience but also potential future employees can find out more about the achievement. One good way to share your achievements with the world is to put them on your website; companies such as designbypelling.co.uk offer branding in Surrey, and so will be able to help by integrating your achievements and build your brand into a flawless web design.

Tip #4. Ask for Endorsements:

As a general rule of thumb, others will find your brand to be more credible if it has been endorsed by somebody who they already trust and look up to. Asking others in the business world who have had more experience than yourself and are better known to endorse your company can be a massive move in gaining further credibility, whilst asking celebrities to endorse your products via reviews, blog posts and social media postings can also instill more confidence about your brand in your target market. If you need help, contact a branding Farnham expert.

Tip #5. Be Sensitive:

Lastly, you’ll want to build credibility with the people who are working directly with your company every day, from your employees and freelancers to the companies that you work in conjunction with to meet your goals. Being sensitive to the needs and requirements of others is an essential trait as an entrepreneur, which will help you to build personal credibility. This will, in turn, affect the credibility of your brand.

For example, if you are running a low-cost startup, it’s important to practice what you preach when it comes to emphasizing to your employees the importance of keeping expenditure low. In addition, taking the time to get to know your target audience and what makes them tick will not only help to make your company more credible but also more successful through knowing exactly what to offer.

Did you enjoy these tips? Let us know in the comments.

Digital Branding

4 Ways to Make Client Hospitality Easier

Client hospitality, sometimes known as corporate hospitality, is all too often seen by some of its critics as needlessly expensive and an indulgence.

In reality, however, this is far from the case.

Client hospitality is an effective means of fostering relationships with clients, new and old alike, and gives you the opportunity to show important clients how much they are valued by your company.

There is no reason that providing your clients with a little hospitality should cost a fortune either, in fact, some of the most effective corporate hospitality programs are relatively cheap to run. There is an ever-growing number of smaller businesses which are embracing the opportunities presented by corporate hospitality; a reflection of the growing awareness of the practice as well as the multitude of businesses and organizations who can be hired to put together a hospitality package for your clients.

The main reason that many businesses cite for not engaging in the practice is that they either feel it would be prohibitively expensive or because they don’t feel that they have the necessary planning and organizational skills to pull it off properly. Both of these assumptions are nearly always wrong.

In fact, with a little bit of planning and forethought, it is perfectly possible to offer clients a respectable level of hospitality without putting a huge dent in your annual budget and with no prior experience in organizing these kinds of events.

In this article, we will be looking at four things that you can do to make offering client hospitality a stress-free experience for all.

Keep it Informal

This is particularly good advice if you have had only limited, if any, contact with the clients up until this point.

By sticking to less formal activities and settings, you will make the clients feel much more at ease and consequently, both they and you will find it much easier to communicate. Creating the right atmosphere is essential to a successful client hospitality plan.

In some cases, a more formal approach might be better suited but for the majority, you want to keep things as relaxed as possible.

Sticking to more informal settings makes it much easier to bond and to build a personal, as well as business, relationship with the clients. When deciding on corporate hospitality and entertainment for your clients, consider how formal it needs to be.

Plan Beforehand

In order to ensure that your hospitality plans go off without a hitch, you should make sure that you take the time beforehand to properly plan out your itinerary. If you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re going to be doing, then you will be flying blind.

Similarly, if the client thinks that you are stumbling and bumbling through events without a clear direction they might assume that this is a reflection of your professional attitude.

Ease into Things

Many people find the whole experience of being responsible for client hospitality significantly easier when they take things slowly. By easing into things you will give you and the clients time and space to grow accustomed to one another.

First impressions are important, so it is important that the first activities you plan revolve around making introductions and settling your guests into their new surroundings.

Relax!

This is the most important thing to remember, if you aren’t relaxed then, of course, your guests won’t be either! Take a deep breath and try and trust your own judgment. As long as you have planned things efficiently you should find the whole experience a piece of cake.

Client hospitality is an excellent way of forming and fostering relationships with other businesses and individuals. Wherever possible you should try and offer client hospitality, it is one of the smartest investments a business can make.

Legal Branding

Professionals Discuss How Is Airbnb Affecting The Real Estate Industry

According to Inc., the vacation rental market will be worth roughly $170 billion in the next two years. As for Airbnb, Fortune projects that the community marketplace will go up in 2020 to $3.5 billion. Still, Airbnb has made tremendous growth this year; Fortune further indicates that Airbnb spent $300 million on expansion efforts. While this could be seen as a positive sign for a booming real estate economy, some say Airbnb could reel in suspicious individuals and activity.

Nonetheless, this could be a key investment opportunity for individuals looking into breaking into the industry—as well as for landlords looking to up their game. With Airbnb’s expansion, landlords may have to turn to the third-party housing rental company to bring in more cash flow.

With Airbnb expanding across the real estate market, it is looking like the monopoly could push out their smaller competition or force them to consider including the third-party community company in their efforts.

Will regulations stop them from expanding? According to Inc., it is not looking like it. The company continues to grow despite regulations—such as, as Inc. reports, rental companies needing to register with San Francisco (should they want to provide rental services to customers).    

Not sure if Airbnb’s efforts are great for the real estate industry? Can’t make a decision? Are you considering on cashing in on Airbnb’s expansion efforts? In this article, you’ll learn 6 different opinions from real estate professionals (spoiler: be prepared to be surprised by how diverse they are). From reading this, we hope you gain a better perspective on how Airbnb’s future expansion will affect the real estate industry, and whether this is seen as a welcoming sign or a future pain in the neck.

Read on to learn what real estate professionals are saying about Airbnb’s expansion impact.

www.appfolio.com

“AirBnB is definitely growing in the industry as tenants try to make additional money on the side. That said, large MFRs are cracking down on this as they find it disrupts the resident’s experience at the property and leads to higher turnover of units. Virtually across the board this type of sub-leasing violates the signed lease. I anticipate Airbnb continuing to struggle to gain traction in the MFR space.” – Nat Kunes, VP of Product

www.authoritypm.com

“We own and operate a property management company in Redding, CA that offers long-term rentals but stays out of short-term rentals such as Airbnb. We have seen a huge spike with regards to people looking to have a single family home rented out under Airbnb and managed by a third party such as a property manager. In our community, we don’t have any third party companies that handle management of Airbnbs, leaving property owners to handle them on their own. Vacation rentals require much more energy to manage than a traditional rental. In recent times, we have experienced several property owners converting AirBnB rentals to traditional rentals. Many have expressed frustration due to the much smaller cash flow on a traditional rental vs. Airbnb. We believe the Real Estate market has had additional players picking up investment properties as vacation rentals that may not have jumped in the game otherwise.” – Aaron Robertson, Authority Property Management

www.rpmservice.ca

“Recently, the Ontario marketplace has seen a lot of changes around the laws and these sort of disruptive technologies like Airbnb. People are taking residential suites and making them something they are not setup for and this causes a lot of problems for neighbours, property managers and the facilities, while offering no protection for these parties. Some of the municipalities are setting up rules and regulations, however, enforcement will be a very difficult course— how long till the next UBER comes along.” – Jason McGuire, Owner at Real Property Management Service

www.barrettpm.com

“I think this question must be answered with a specific community/county in mind due to the dramatic differences Airbnb could have on certain areas. Some factors that play into whether Airbnbs affect a community can include: Is tourism big in the community? Are there vacation destinations in the community? Does the community have recurring annual events that attract a large crowd? And does the city/county government allow for Airbnbs? The more “yes” answers to these factors, the more Airbnb will affect the real estate industry in that community.” – Amelia Barrett,President at Barrett Property Management, Inc.

www.sparkrental.com

“In larger cities and destinations with heavy tourist traffic, some homes can earn significantly higher returns on Airbnb than through long-term leasing. That’s good news for landlords (and some entrepreneurial tenants), but it can mean even stiffer competition for limited long-term rental housing.

One problem is that the areas with perfect conditions for Airbnb leasing are also usually those with already-tight rental markets. These tend to be the most desirable urban neighborhoods, with the most competition for housing supply. Airbnb rentals pull more inventory from that supply, constricting supply even more.

With that said, the market will fix this problem over time. For example, some not-as-well-managed hotels will likely go under due to the loss of business to Airbnb, and that space will likely be converted into additional residential housing supply. Or consider the retail apocalypse – this is more valuable real estate that can be rezoned to its highest and best use (in many cases, residential). It may also push lumbering city bureaucracies to approve more new housing permits to increase supply.” – G. Brian Davis, Director of Education

www.skypropertiesinc.com

“As a management company, we are both for it and against it.. For it, because our clients make money doing it. Against it, because it may bring unknown people who could cause a noise disturbance, have criminal intent, or even be a criminal, into an unsuspecting apartment community.” – Kari Negri, Chief Executive Officer at SKY Properties, Inc

Digital Branding

Four Top Tips for Making Sure Your E-commerce Store Stands Out

With online shopping booming, there have never been so many online stores available. Whether you’re looking to buy a new outfit, health and beauty products, Christmas gifts, electronics, novelty items, or even things for your pet, you can guarantee that you’ll find a range of options to choose from online.

For anybody who is considering going into business with an e-commerce store, the growing popularity of online shopping can only be a good thing.

However, the biggest drawback is that standing out from your competition has become more difficult than ever before.

So, we’ve put together some top tips to help you ensure that your e-commerce store is grabbing attention for all the right reasons.

Tip #1. Quirky Labels

When you order something online, you’re usually more interested in your product arriving rather than whatever the store has sent you in terms of flyers and other advertisements.

But, as an e-commerce owner, there are several things that you might want to consider doing for your customers to change this.

For example, printing quirky and unusual labels for your parcels using Dymo Shipping Labels from Label City can be a good way to make them sit back and notice. Or, why not send them a small free gift as a token of your thanks?

Tip #2. Offer Something Different

With most e-commerce stores operating in much the same ways as each other, one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd in online business is to offer something different to your target audience.

For example, ASOS have recently achieved this fantastically, offering the never before seen option to buy now and pay later through Klarma, without the need for customers to borrow money. Previously, any ‘buy now and pay later’ options would require the customer to open a store card or borrow credit.

Think about things that are missing from the market and what you can offer your customers that nobody else does.

Tip #3. Go the Extra Mile

When you’re buying items in-store, customer service is easy – all you need to do is visit the customer service desk or information point and ask the assistants for help.

However, when shopping online, getting good customer service isn’t always so simple. As an e-commerce store owner, it’s down to you to understand the importance of good customer service and go the extra mile for your customers.

Whether it’s offering a live chat service twenty-four hours a day, having a member of staff manning social media at all times to send replies, or offering a generous return policy, putting your customers first is a sure-fire way to ensure that your company stands out.

Tip #4. Offer Great Deals

Lastly, bear in mind that many people who shop online do so because it’s cheaper and there’s more chance of them bagging a fantastic deal.

So, wherever possible, make sure that you are offering exclusive deals to your customers that they wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.

If you enjoyed these tips, we’d love it if you shared them with your friends and followers. 

Digital Branding

6 Digital Branding Cliches That Are Way Overdone

The road to branding excellence is littered with cliches, and while there is a time and a place for these overused staples of digital communication, they should be used sparingly and with careful forethought.

As they say, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” but when it comes to digital branding, it can definitely go too far.

It doesn’t matter if your company sells bespoke products, sources goods from a third party, grows them, blows them up, or consults on technology; when it comes to your branding, following the herd is NOT a good idea.

Here are six of the most overused and overdone cliches of digital marketing, and how to navigate the temptation to use them in your own branding.

1. The World’s First

Okay, if you really are the first, then you might just be able to get away with this one…

Unfortunately, this phrase is so overused that, even when true, it just comes across as being insincere. And if you decide to use it, you’d better make sure to have done your research.

The internet loves to point out a marketing fail, and if it turns out that your world’s first is actually a second or third, you’ll either appear silly or dishonest.

This problem is easily avoided through thorough and creative research – there will almost certainly be something more informative and relevant that you can use in place of this tired cliche.

After all, getting somewhere first is not a guarantee of quality, or anything else for that matter…

2. Generic ‘Hipster’ Logos

Your logo should evoke your brand, and be both distinctive, and recognizable.

A smart font with a colorful accent might look quite professional at a glance, but if it is too generic, it will be forgettable, and easily confused with other brands. There are a ton of ‘samey’, vaguely ‘hipster’ logos flooding the market right now: from tech companies to coffeeshops, everyone seems to be doing it! The same aesthetic is being used to sell tea, shorts, software, beard oil, and a plethora of products. But in the end, it’s all just one big sea of aesthetic blandness.

You can, and should, do better.

3. Bespoke Next-Level Solutions

All of these things. See how vague that description is? Yet this phrase, with varying synonyms, can be found throughout the digital marketing world.

Yes, you may offer a service that is tailored to the customer, and solves their problem using brand new technology. There is nothing wrong with advertising that.

The problem arises when you give no further details. If someone tried to sell you “next-level” cheese, you’d want to know what made it so special. It’s the same thing here: the lack of descriptive words makes the statement sound empty and hollow.

Solutions can hide many sins, so be more specific.

Don’t assume that your audience will simply take your claims at face value. Instead, give them some genuine, relevant information that will help them decide whether your service is for them.

4. Shame-Based Copy

Have you ever been to a site that boldly proclaimed you were not a real athlete/book-lover/human being unless you bought their product? Or that tried to niggle at your insecurities before offering the solace of their premium service?

Just don’t do that.

You don’t need to make your audience feel awful about themselves to convince them to buy your product. The same applies to those annoying CTAs, like those mailing list pop-ups that make you click “No, I’d rather be a failure” in order to get back to what you were reading.

You should be able to sell your product or service on its merits, convincing your audience that whatever their life is like, you will make it even better.

While there’s nothing wrong with a little humor at the expense of your audience, shaming and diminishing your customers with is just not cool.

5. Awful Brand Videos

There are plenty of examples of video marketing gone wrong, and you don’t want your brand to be added to the long list of painful brand videos.

You know the ones; the director of the company delivers a jargon-heavy marketing spiel, while moving through a featureless office space.

It’s hard to come across at your best in video content if you’re not used to being filmed. But that doesn’t mean you should just accept the results and release bad content.

Your audience want to get to know the personality behind the brand, not simply be told things they can read on your website.

In less time than you think, you can create excellent video content that really grabs your audience’s attention. Put some personality into your brand marketing and give your customers a glimpse behind the scenes of your business. Don’t settle for a stiff showreel.

6. Keep Calm

Sure, it was good while it lasted, but we’ve seen quite enough of the “Keep Calm And Please Share My Content” offerings.

Of course, if it turns out that your audience still loves that sort of thing, then maybe you can make it work – perhaps your brand lends itself particularly well to the cliche, if you sell carry-on luggage, for example – but there’s almost certainly a better option.

Jumping on similar phrase bandwagons can make your brand seem imitative and unoriginal.

Establish your target audience. Then do some in depth research and find out what makes them tick:

  • If you’re selling cars then maybe your audience want to keep going fast, whilst being safe
  • If you’re selling winter clothing then maybe your audience want to keep warm, without sacrificing fashion
  • If you are selling art supplies then maybe your audience want to keep being creative alongside their busy day jobs.

Whatever it is they want, make sure that’s what you give them – not tired phraseology.

Did any of those sound familiar? If so, don’t freak out — it doesn’t mean you need to go back and rehash all your content. The reason cliches come to being is that for awhile, they worked.

Remember, you don’t need to do what works for others, you need to do what works for you. So cut the crap and don’t be slack; get into the mindset of your audience so you can represent your brand in a way that both you and they will love.


Victoria Greene is a branding expert and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on ecommerce, how writers can hone their craft, and how companies can improve their digital reach. She is passionate about using her experience to help brands improve their marketing.

Create an effective Instagram profile
Digital Branding

Is a Business Loan the Best Financing Option for Your Start-Up Company?

When asked what the biggest hurdle is when starting your own company, most people are going to respond, ‘the finances’. It’s no secret that starting your own business requires a lot of cash up front. You need cash to pay for equipment, inventory, overhead costs for space (renting or leasing business space), employee’s wages, and so much more. There are fixed and variable expenses involved, and these need to be covered. In the end one of the most common reasons new businesses end up failing is because they struggle to cover start-up costs.

Unless you happen to have a trust fund, or have been saving your entire life, chances are you’re going to have to look into financing options. One route that many start-ups end up going for is a business loan. Now with that said there are a few different types of business loans available to you, more specifically secured and unsecured business loans. Are either of these right for you, if so which one? It’s important to look at them closer.

What is a Secured Business Loan?

A secured business loan is a very common type of loan. With this loan you will be borrowing money and you will put up collateral in return. Should you default on paying back the loan, the bank or lender can then take legal action against you so that they can take the collateral you have put up.

This type of loan allows you to borrow the maximum amount of money since the bank doesn’t see it as risky. They know they have the collateral to fall back on. Because the loan is less of a risk, you’ll be rewarded with a lower interest rate.

What is an Unsecured Business Loan?

An unsecured business loan is money that is borrowed from a bank or other lender without any sort of collateral being put up. In this type of agreement the lender is taking all the risk. Should you default on your payments, there is nothing that they can take ownership of. For this reason you may be approved to borrow less money, and the interest rate tends to be higher.

For a new business just starting out, an unsecured loan is often the only solution available. If they had access to collateral, they would probably use that to finance the business. Sometimes the lender may ask for a “director’s guarantee” in these unsecured business loans. What this means is that if you default on paying back the loan, they can then take legal action against the company’s director. Clearly this is something you will want to establish before signing anything.

Don’t Just Focus on the Banks

If you are going to go ahead with a business loan, it’s important you keep in mind that banks aren’t the only ones able to help you out. There are other routes such as trustworthy loan companies like Aspire Business Loans that specialise in both secured and unsecured business loans. You can apply for a loan anywhere between £1,000 and £300,000 and they will search a number of lenders to ensure you get the best deal possible. Often you’ll get a decision that same day.

These companies are brokers, meaning that they will have experience dealing with lenders and therefore the likelihood of the lenders trying to take advantage of you is much smaller.

The Right Solution Exists

The good news is that even if you don’t have the start-up cash required for your new business, there are plenty of solutions out there that can provide you with access to the cash you need. It’s a matter of finding the one that best matches your needs. Remember, starting a business is a long term commitment – finding the funding may be difficult, but it might not be one of the hardest things about starting a business. Once the costs are covered, your business will only be a success if you’re willing to put in the effort to make it one.

Busy bloggers
Digital Branding

Hacks And Tips To Keeping Your Focus

 

 

Many people have the dream of being an online entrepreneur. Way too often the demands of work, family, and social responsibilities seem to overwhelm us, convincing us to give up that dream before we really learn to manage it.

For thousands of people, that dream is their reality. They have learned to balance their lives and to carve out the necessary hours to invest in themselves and their businesses. They have learned to focus on creating the life they want. This gives them the super-ability to get more done in less time.

Take these tips from very busy bloggers who are succeeding and thriving with their entrepreneurship. Choose the ones that will work in your life and adjust them as needed to make them fit. It will take work and commitment. The payoff is freedom to live the life you want to live and give your family the best of you.

Planning, Prioritizing, Writing it down

These pros share with us the need to use a calendar, diary, and list to keep things moving in the right direction.

Karen Houghton, atlantatechvillage.com shares with us, the following:

Running the 4th largest tech hub in the United States means there is always work to be done. Atlanta Tech Village is open 24/7, houses over 300 startups, and we host over 400 events a year. It can be easy to live each day from a reactive place. Instead, I live by my calendar and intentionally plan time and space each day to create a rhythm of work that allows me to be my most productive. Times I will take meetings, when and how many events I attend, office time to answer emails, and even time for reading and writing are planned for and time blocked accordingly. I even schedule buffer time in case there are fires to put out, which there always are. By scheduling my time and using tools like Calendly, I am able to protect my time and make sure I have space to prioritize important things and make sure I get done what needs to get done.

James Kelly, from thelifeofluxury.com, uses a to-do list to prioritize his day.

Each day, we are bombarded with an avalanche of work.  It can be quite stressful. It’s important to start your day with a to-do list. Prioritize them by importance and fully understand what is required.  Knocking off a few “low hanging fruit” provides a sense of accomplishment. The key for me is to avoid distractions, such as limiting cell phone use. I also like to block out a meeting time, so I can focus on the project. Be sure to recognize what you finish and not dwell on tasks that roll to the next day.

Using a diary allows Laura Martin, www.missljbeauty.com to always be prepared.

My tips for productivity are quite simple. I love to have a diary. I set aside time to blog and time for ideas. Carrying a notebook while, on the go is a great way to write down ideas and thoughts. The best advice I received is to be yourself and find your love.  Yes, that Sounds strange in regards to productivity but if you need a break have one. Your brain works better when you are not stressed. If you don’t love what you do. You will not find time to do it. Remember passion is key to success.

Stewart Smith, mkremodeling.com, finds mental preparation keeps him focused.

I’m a stay-at-home dad, so my time window for working is as long as my daughter is napping. Once that window closes, it’s gone until the next day, so I have to hit the ground running. To counter the time limitations, I try to not open my laptop until I have something already written in my head. Usually, it’s a sentence or two, or maybe it’s a cluster of keywords, but as long as I’m not staring at a blank screen, I will find the spark to get going. That, and coffee. Always coffee.

Divide and conquer – taking small bites

Breaking the day into manageable time frames helps Maureen Anders, www.arworkshop.com

I schedule myself in 30-minute time increments throughout the day.  In those 30-minute increments, I list out several “to dos” to be sure that I stay on track.

 

Amber Shawver, www.FourtoAdore.com, finds it easier to break projects into phases.

After I take photos for the blog, I use apps for photo editing, watermarking, and archiving pictures, which I upload directly to the WordPress app as a draft.  Then, I designate time to write pieces corresponding with my photos.

Kerry Bergeman, www.shopfrulu.com & www.new2two.com, grabs minutes daily.

For me, it’s about being organized and surrounding myself by a supportive network. I set aside time every day. I try for the same time, but that never works with two sets of twins running around. I do try to write for at least ten minutes a day and spend ten minutes networking. That is at a minimum. Additionally, I like to engage with people who will support and help me grow. No nay-sayers in this life!

Pam Kocke, pyjammy.com combines, mental preparation with list building.

Challenge yourself to post on a regular schedule. And make sure your readers know about it, so you’ll be accountable. Serial posts work well – document the growth of your garden (or children) or do a countdown to a special event.

Write posts when you’re inspired, and then schedule them for the future. That way, if you can’t think of anything to write about, you’ll always have something on hand to post.

Keep a list of post ideas in an app that you can access from anywhere. (I use Simplenote.) Whenever I am feeling uninspired, I just read through that list and pick something.

Josh Anderson from https DIYactive recommended to trick our minds when it comes to daunting tasks:

“Many people put off bigger projects because they are daunting. One way to overcome this is with your own version of the 10-minute-rule. Find a quiet place, set the timer on your phone for ten minutes and then get to work. Mentally you think that you will only have to work on the project for 10 quick, painless minutes, but the beauty is that you actually start your project and once you dive in you’ll realize it isn’t as daunting as you thought. Ten minutes every day, which usually goes longer once you get in the zone, will help you beat procrastination, distractions and get your projects completed!”

Focus and Focus-Breaks

Focus is a must for the blogger. You have to do the best you can with the limited times you have. But sometimes you have to use tools to break your focus so you can dedicate time to every project.

Deane Alban, founder of BeBrainFit.com believes in the Pomodoro technique:

My favorite way to get into a state of deep concentration is with productivity hack known as the “Pomodoro Technique.” First, proactively remove all distractions that are under your control. Turn off your phone, close your door, and tell those around you not to disturb you – unless your hair is on fire! Be very clear on what you want to accomplish and challenge yourself to get as much done as possible. Then set a timer for 25 minutes and give it your all. If your mind starts to wander, simply bring it back to the task at hand. When the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break. Repeat as needed. Each 30-minute set not only puts you in a state of deep concentration, it actually trains your brain to learn how to block out distractions and focus for extended periods of time.

Ally Gonzales, RunningSoleGirl.com refuses to give less than 100%

A big part of staying productive for me is focusing on one task at a time. In my experience, when people try to multi-task they end up becoming distracted and their work suffers. In any business, especially blogging; you’re always being pulled in multiple directions to try and get everything done. It’s a constantly evolving world, and by focusing on the task at hand you know you’re putting out your best work.

 

Breaking focus to be more effective is important to Mary Ann Zimmerman, www.mindability.com  

Use An Alarm! Personally, a phone alarm helps me regain control of those minor issues that crop up, keeps me from being distracted, and helps me stay ahead of the daily deadlines. Beyond using alarms for getting up in the morning, a basic phone alarm also helps me depart a meeting that runs longer than planned, which automatically increases my productivity and positively impacts the day’s schedule.

 

Doing it all, and doing it healthy

Yoga helps Kim France, girlofacertainage.com stay sharp and relaxed.

I am currently writing a memoir, which I work on during the week, so I do my blog posts on the weekends. I wake up around 6:30, have coffee, walk the dogs, go to an 8:30 yoga class, come home and get right to work. If I’m really cranking, I can get most of the week’s posts done by the end of Saturday.

 

Mila Chervenkova, www.milaonsupplements.com, knows health is the foundation to success.

Keeping my head above water and multitasking could be a difficult thing to complete when my main goal is productivity. Here are a few things I do at the beginning and the end of each day: 1) Plan your day, always have something to do, 2) Always write down your thoughts, 3) I have a daily calendar on my desk, and I fill it with all of the things I want or need to accomplish that day or the other one, 4) Take breaks. Go for a walk. Do some yoga, or my favorite kill the weights in the gym. 5) Take your dietary supplements such as fish oil, vitamin d and some nootropics known as “smart drugs.”

Darrell Grable, neurohacker.com insists on balance:

You must be mentally and physically organized. You do not have to do the same thing every day at the same time, but you must know what you have to do, and when it has to be done. Use your smartphone, calendar, computer, or a pen and paper. But whatever you use, unplug before you do the task.

Fazal Mayar, richerornot.com, however, puts his health and life-work balance first:

You will rarely have entire days to contribute to your work. So, use your minutes wisely and let the hours take care of themselves. Being healthy means having energy, eating well, getting in exercise, and maybe even taking supplements to improve your abilities. You cannot take care of everyone else unless you first take care of yourself.

Todd Middlebrooks, President discusses how technology significantly helped his team be more productive:

We live in an age where technology can significantly improve our daily lives if we know how to use it. At CSII, we’ve helped many physical offices go either partially or entirely virtual.  Seeing employees and managers improve their productivity and efficiency and increasing their overall level of happiness is why we get up in the morning.

Jose Rosario, Owner of SELAH BODYWORKS, states on his productivity:

At times we can confuse being busy with being productive.  As an owner of a small business, it happens all the time.  I always have to implement compensatory strategies to make sure I stay productive. Alerts on my phone, google doc alerts or even the good old yellow sticky reminders. All three come in handy to keep me on track!

Jake Fisher, the owner of Bridges Strategies, talks about cutting distraction with some apps:

Writing valuable content often requires long-term focus to “get into the zone.” A distraction-free writing app is crucial for staying focused. We use the HubSpot Composition Tool but there are plenty of options including stand-alone apps like WriteMonkey and FocusWriter.

Scott Harris, President, and Founder of Mustang Marketing says:

I’ve found that when you consistently deliver engaging and relevant content, your readership will grow organically. While factoring SEO into the equation is important in order for readers to find your writing and services, readers will become loyal subscribers when you provide quality material that is educational, drives the conversation and promotes engagement. Treat content as king and respect your audience by avoiding writing shallow and gimmicky posts or blogs that offer little benefit to you and them.

Jessica Maria from Intelisys shares:

 

As someone whose job description includes social media and media communications, it’s hard to tune out. I love the mac app SelfControl when I have to get into, and stay in, the zone. Making time on my calendar and setting time limits on distracting tasks (email, social media, phone calls, etc.) also helps minimize the distraction, when I don’t want to go fully into the dark. 

 

Bryan Hardy believes in activating your body, freshen up a little to get into the Zone:
Take a minimum of 5 minutes every hour to stand up, walk, stretch, bounce, and breathe deep into your diaphragm. I like to do some jumping jacks, squats, lunges, push-ups, and hangs off a bar or tree branch when there’s one available. The purpose is to completely let go of work, activate your body, and let your mind wander/relax before refocusing on the task at hand.

 

Conclusion

These professionals have found their own paths to success. There are many avenues to explore. Some will work for you and some will not. You may rely on project management tools, your will, ability to cut distractions, or whatever works for you. You may even come up with some of your own to share. There are a few things we can all agree on.

Find or create the formula that works for you and work it. If you do, you will make it.

Appeal to your mobile customers
Digital Branding

How to Get Your Business Mobile App Right First Time

When it comes to engaging with your customers, creating a mobile app is one of the top methods used by many brands today. With an increasing number of web users now preferring to log on via their smartphones and tablets, adding a mobile application to the customer experience makes sense in today’s fast-paced business world, where keeping up is paramount.

So, you’ve decided that a mobile app is just what your customers need to improve their experience with your brand. But, what can you do to ensure that your app isn’t a flop? We’ve listed our top suggestions.

Tip #1. Hire the Right Professionals:

Chances are, you won’t be creating your business’ mobile app all by yourself. If you’re going to be hiring a mobile app developer to help you with putting your app together, then it’s important to invest some time in conducting thorough research beforehand. Getting recommendations from contacts that you trust, reading online reviews, and searching through portfolios of developers’ past work will certainly pay off in the end. Go for a company that has extensive experience when it comes to creating business and marketing apps, such as this mobile app development London company; https://www.lexel.co.uk/mobile-app-development-london.html.

Tip #2. Testing is Key:

Testing should be an integral part of the app development process, since the last thing that you want is to roll out an app to your customers only to find that its riddled with bugs and other issues that could have been fixed had you tested it beforehand. One good way to do this is to get unbiased reviews of your app before releasing it, by allowing a select few customers to download a beta version. Once they have done this, they can send you information about what’s working well and what needs improvement. You can reward their efforts with discounted products, vouchers, or a free gift.

Tip #3. Understand Your Users:

Before you even start planning your app development, you’ll need to know exactly what it is that your users will want from it. Bear in mind that your users’ motivations to use the app will always matter much more than your own, so it’s vital to get their opinions on your ideas before going ahead. Conducting intensive market research to determine what your target audience require and want from the apps that they use will get you on the right track to developing an app that goes down incredibly well and produces excellent results.

Tip #4. Keep Ease of Use in Mind:

Although millions of people today use smartphones, bear in mind that not everybody is extremely technologically savvy. Along with that, your average app user today will place a lot of value on convenience. Because of this, your top priority when designing an app should be the ease of use; ensure that it has a user-friendly interface, simple navigation system, and a seamless design flow. Make sure that it’s easy for any potential user to find exactly what they need when using your app.

Did you enjoy these tips? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Digital Branding

How Do You Choose a Leaflet Printing Service for Your Traditional Marketing Strategies?

With more and more printing services setting up shop on every street corner, it’s becoming much harder for businesses to choose a reliable service to cater to their needs. It’s easy to go and choose a printing service and get what you need. But, the reality is, it’s not that easy. There are many services out there that provide an excellent service. However, there are also many others who’re looking to take your business for granted. With that being said, by taking advantage of the following tips, you’ll be best able to choose a printing service that perfectly suits your marketing strategies.

Ensure They Offer Varied Products

Firstly, look at some of the products on offer. If the business in question only offers postcard and leaflet printing services, then you’ll end up having to find another printing service in the future that can offer more business branded accessories to suit your needs. Try to find a business that can offer your business a varied product catalogue from the get-go so you don’t have to waste time finding a supplier in the future. For example, try to find a printing service that not only offers leaflet and flyer printing services, but a business that can also offer pencil, pen, apparel, and the many other businesses branded accessories that could help your business thrive.

How High-Quality Are the Products?

The next thing you’ll want to consider is the quality of products on offer. Some businesses are much greener than they were 5-10 years ago, so you’ll likely want to settle for a business that uses recycled paper and the like for your cheap leaflet printing requirements. However, you’ll also want to consider how professional you want your flyers to look and feel. Many services, one example can be seen through the leaflet printing at print24, offer you the chance to select different paper weights and types to better suit your requirements. Customers could well be pulled in by the use of cheap paper flyers, but investing in something of much more quality could be the difference in your marketing campaign being a success.

What’re Their Previous Clients Saying?

Next, look at the printing services current and/or past clients to see what they think/thought of the services they received. This is easily done now thanks to Google. Simply type in the company’s name and it’ll come up with a host of links with regards to testimonials and reviews they’ve already received. This will give you a good idea of customer service, quality of products and overall how good the service was. If you’re seeing more problematic reviews than you are positive, it could be a good idea to look elsewhere, otherwise, you could end up with losing out on a good service. Also, check out reviews for all their services (leaflet printing, flyer printing, print flyers, cheap leaflet printing, print leaflets) to ensure you get the best service.

Toot your corporate horn with workplace branding

What’s It Going to Cost You?

While the cheaper printing services are still reliable, the best ones are usually the ones that don’t have pricing structures that seem too good to be true. Always judge a business on their pricing structure to not only ensure it meets with your marketing budgets but also to see if it sounds too good to be true. This will give you a better idea of where they are and, more importantly, how they can realistically offer you the reliable printing services you crave. Again, you’ll want to look at all their services and pricing lists at this point, just to see if they’re realistic in all services they offer.

Delivery Terms

Delivery is also vital when it comes to hiring printing services. The last thing you want is your leaflets to turn up two weeks after Christmas when all your leaflets are merry and Christmas-based designed. Always consider the delivery terms of any printing service, otherwise, your marketing strategies could take a monster hit.

What About a Bulk Order?

If you’re a big business, you’ll likely have a bigger marketing strategy in place. Therefore, you’ll need to invest in accessories and leaflets in bulk. Remember, all printing services are out there to compete for your custom, so always choose a service that can offer your business a bulk discount to better suit your budgets. Of course, you’ll still want to take their pricing structures into account as stated above, but searching for a business that offers good bulk discounts should also be considered, especially when it comes to a fruitful long-term relationship.

There’s plenty to do when it comes to hiring a printing service. You could be one of the lucky ones that gets a reliable business from picking their first printing services. But the reality is simple, if you don’t spend the time in researching a business or by implementing the above tips in your search, you could end up wasting time and money on planning business marketing strategies that you don’t get your accessories for to help promote them.

Digital Branding

The Impact of Financial Dependence on Your Brand

What brands do you respect and like? Companies like Coca-Cola and Apple have brand images and assets that are recognizable worldwide. These strong, and often positive, associations have a value which cannot be measured. The value of a brand may help or hurt a company, depending on the identity of the brand. Stay realistic about your brand image, understand your financial dependence on the brand, and learn ways to save, in case of brand-related financial setbacks.

Understanding Brand Identity

By definition, brand identity is how a company wants to be perceived by customers and includes components a brand presents to the world including a logo, font used, a mission statement or tagline, and a company name.

A strong brand identity builds your business’s reputation in the market. Think about airlines and what they each stand for in your mind. Often your perception of them is because you’ve formed an opinion based on brand identity. Southwest is known for not adding fees and has a heart as its logo. Delta is known for a range of options and itineraries to suit all travel needs. What brand identity do you want for your company?

Financial Benefits of a Great Brand

A great name may have economic advantages in the billions. For example, Four Seasons Hotels, which is a five-star hotel management company, was recently purchased not for its locations, property, or even its staff but its brand. There are many other examples, including the purchase of Cadbury, Budweiser, and even Volvo.

The financial benefits of a great brand impact your company in some crucial ways. These include:

  • Increase the perceived value of your business to customers with a strong identity. Customers think they are getting a better product or service, and your company grows.
  • A strong brand identity means you can ask a higher price for services rendered. Think about the Four Seasons again. They command a higher price because of their association with sophistication and elegance.
  • A higher perceived value boosts your company’s return on investment in the marketplace. A better ROI means you get more out of your marketing, sales, and advertising dollars as well.

Implications of Brand Dependence

At times, dependence on one brand is a tough area to navigate. If you are dependent on one brand’s identity, it leaves your business in a difficult financial position. Just ask United Airlines. They had a reputation for quality service, but when a video of an employee dragging a passenger off of a plane surfaced, their stock prices plummeted by $1 billion. There are negative implications if you financially depend on a brand too much:

  • Losing actual value of your company if your brand goes out of favor with the customers
  • A public relations issue impacting the company’s financials negatively
  • Delay in product or service offerings leaving the company without a financial cushion
  • Problems in your supply chain harming the entire organization
  • Loss of morale among employees
  • Making a change in your brand that isn’t taken well could leave your company crippled financially

How Can I Measure Brand Value?

As brands become more valuable in the marketplace, ways to measure brand value, also known as brand equity, were created. This valuable nontangible asset needs to be evaluated on a regular basis to get a better understanding of your targeted customer base, to further meet the needs of your clients, and to improve your company’s marketing strategies.

There are three metrics used to evaluate brand equity: the financials, the knowledge pieces, and customer preference. Financial metrics analyze your company’s financial situation, knowledge metrics track the popularity of your brand, and preference metrics show how customers perceive your brand. Pay attention to the following:

  • Analyze what is your brand’s truest strength
  • Determine your brand management performance
  • Add a dollar amount to the value of your brand
  • Look for trends in your industry then evaluate yourself against those trends
  • Pull numbers on market share, price premium, growth rate, revenue generation, and transaction value
  • Find anomalies in your services and potentially conduct customer surveys for your brand

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that a strong brand is a key to financial success. Your business needs to stand for a set of values, principles, and concepts. It takes time and potentially years of service to do this. As a general rule, follow these pieces of advice:

  • Build a strong brand that you will be proud of for years
  • Educate your team about the value of branding in every interaction
  • Measure brand success frequently
  • Realign branding as necessary to meet business objectives

Conclusion

There is a unique balance your company must maintain with your brand identity. Its strength adds value to your business but also can leave you in a precipitous situation if your brand goes out of favor. While building a brand, be sure to set aside money for a rainy day in case you need it to keep your business going. Brand identity is an asset as well as a risk factor but a strong brand is key to financial success.