Common sense says you should never workout when you’re not feeling well, but there are a few exceptions. If you’re worried your illness is taking you off track of your fitness goals, here’s what you need to know.
Hitching a ride from a complete stranger doesn't have to be scary or terrible.
In fact, if you know some of the unwritten rules of ride-hailing apps like Uber or Lyft, you can all but guarantee a pleasant journey.
To find out just what passengers can do to ensure they have the best ride-sharing experience, we asked Uber and Lyft drivers to weigh in with their advice.
Here are 11 things that could help make your next Uber or Lyft ride easier and more enjoyable:
Make pickups easier
"Don't trust your phone to drop your pin in the right place. Always double check before requesting the ride."
Have a more festive ride
"Use the app to play your own music. We want you to enjoy your ride."
"Just sit back and trust your driver. The map knows where we're going."
—Lyft and Uber driver
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Welcome to the latest installation of our weekly blog series – Psychological Hacks for Marketers. Each week we will introduce a new shortcut that the consumer’s brand takes and how the crafty marketer can take advantage. Last week’s topic was Anchoring.
This week we are discussing:
Human beings are predominantly risk-averse. We intentionally seek out things that maintain the status quo. Sure we want to grow, personally and professionally, but we don’t want to risk losing anything in order to do that.
Loss aversion is psychological phenomenon that best explains this. Years of studies have proven that the feeling we get from losing something we already have is much stronger than the feeling from gaining something new.
Imagine losing $100. Now imagine finding $100. The sadness, anger and discomfort you would feel in the first situation is far stronger than the joy you would feel in the second.
So how can marketers use this to help them sell products and services to consumers?
- In promotional material, it is always a good idea to create a marketing message around loss, or potential loss from not buying your product. For example, if your solution saves them time, don’t stress the gain in hours of their day. Instead, show them how many hours they are giving up by not buying from you.
- Free trials are another great way to take advantage of loss aversion. When you give something away for free, you are letting consumers experience life with your product. When the free trial expires, they are forced to either give that up or pay to keep it. And we don’t want to give something up that makes us happy.
- Show people using your product or language that lets the prospective customer imagine themselves with the product already. If you can create in them a feeling that the product is already theirs, they will be more likely to complete the purchase.
- Using time or quantity limits, where prospects are notified that if they don’t act fast they will miss out on an offer forces them to view a decision in terms of gain/loss. Even losing the ability to choose is something we don’t like. So if you tell me that I have 10 seconds to make up my mind, I will do anything not to lose that chance.
There are several very powerful ways that companies and marketers can use the concept of loss aversion to their advantage. Doing so can create demand in the consumers mind that was not already there before.
Business strategies have evolved immensely over the years. This has been made possible by the swift integration of various technological tools that have automated tasks and made the business processes simpler and more efficient, thus increasing productivity.
Mobile technology has been one of those trends that have taken the business world by storm. Mobile device penetration has been rapid and monumental. In fact, the number of mobile phone users is estimated to rise to 4.77 billion by 2017. The shift towards mobile has been transforming the economic landscape over the years. Mobile communication and connectivity have been changing the way business communicators create, plan and distribute messages.
Recent developments in the mobile communication technology have generated massive improvements in numerous business domains. Let’s take a look at how mobile technology has been driving business communication.
Improved Customer Experience
With the rising importance of mobile devices in customers’ lives, businesses are constantly seeking new and improved ways to leverage this trend. A large percentage of consumers perform their searches on mobile devices. Therefore, businesses have started investing in making their websites responsive.
Apart from that, mobile apps have turned out to be the norm nowadays. For example, mobile apps have spawned an entirely new market for retailers. In addition to that, the real estate industry has also implemented this trend by introducing 3D mobile apps. These apps help in conveying the concept and the layout of a property to prospective buyers way before the construction process has even started.
Additionally, customers can convey their concerns and feedback about the products and services easily with the help of mobile technology and expect quick responses to their doubts and queries. Such interactive methods help in maintaining a clear communication channel with the users, thus improving productivity.
Enhanced Collaboration With Colleagues
Today’s workforce has become mobile. The mobile technology has also enabled companies to expand their workforce to a global network. Mobile devices allow colleagues to collaborate from anywhere in the world, thus removing any hindrance to clear communication.
Smart mobile devices coupled with Internet facilities have made it possible to conduct teleconferences, online meetings, video calls and so on. Mobile users can join group meetings and conference calls and contribute to the discussion as if they were physically present. This can help in eliminating any lag in work and would also help in meeting deadlines, thus improving workplace productivity.
Such improved scope of flexibility can help in motivating the employees to put in more effort and collaborate well with their colleagues.
The mobile trend has turned business operations smoother and swifter than before. With the evolution of technology, business processes have been streamlined. Cloud computing has been one of those technologies that have helped in this.
Mobile technology has helped immensely in accessibility. For example, an important file stored in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere. Customer care executives can also access this data at any time and stay updated about the customer requirements. As a result, they can provide accurate and relevant services to clients. This helps in speeding up processes considerably and increases accuracy, thus making the communication process even more efficient.
Better Marketing Strategies
Mobile marketing has gained momentum recently with more and more customers turning to their mobile devices for their requirements. For example, beacons are increasingly being deployed in stores for this purpose. These devices use Bluetooth to deliver personalised discounts and offers to customers’ mobile phones.
According to Lauren Foye, research author at Juniper, “For retailers one of the major tools is knowing their customers. Tracking user movements in store via beacons allows for targeted marketing and offers. This can also aid in providing invaluable data and statistics to a company. This then drives sales.”
Additionally, offering free WiFi to customers can help in collecting valuable customer data which can then be utilised to provide personalised services to them. When customers are satisfied with the services, it is highly likely that they would recommend your business to others.
Implementing mobile technology has become a norm nowadays. It is important to plan ahead to make informed decisions about the strategies you plan on implementing. Tracking the results will help you get an idea of what works and what doesn’t and make the necessary tweaks for increased productivity.
Does the mind use fibre optics? Calgary team floats ‘out-there’ theory of light communication in the brain
Ask any high school biology student and they’ll tell you: brain cells communicate through electrical impulses, a current that flows from neuron to neuron, delivering messages in a flash.
But scientists at the University of Calgary have theorized a radical addition to that picture, suggesting the brain also uses a system of light-based communication, a sort of fibre-optic network for the mind.
Using sophisticated computer modeling, they suggest in a new journal article it’s at least plausible that photons – light’s fundamental particles — zip back and forth along biological cables linking parts of the brain.
If true, the existence of optical communication channels could help unravel some of the vast unknowns about the organ, including the mystery of how collections of molecules manage to generate consciousness itself, the Calgary teams says.
It’s definitely in the category of things that would be awesome if true … It would open up a whole new window on the brain
“It’s an idea that is a little bit out there,” admits Christoph Simon, the quantum physicist who spearheaded the study. “(But) it’s definitely in the category of things that would be awesome if true … It would open up a whole new window on the brain.”
Simon says the idea came to him after learning that certain brain cells – and some cells elsewhere in the body – actually produce photons through normal metabolism.
And it seemed that axons – the thread-like part of a nerve cell that transmits signals to other cells – and their protective myelin sheath could act as the conductor for those “bio-photons.”
The model developed by Simon and his colleagues – who include a biophysicist in the university’s oncology department – tested whether it would be physically possible for the axons to conduct light, and concluded it would.
Whether it’s actually happening has still to be proven. But a light communication system could transmit information tens of millions of times faster than the electrical sparking between neurons we already know about, Simon says.
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And more importantly, he notes, it could allow for the transmission of quantum information. That’s the basic stuff of quantum theory, the Alice-in-Wonderland world of atomic and sub-atomic particles, where the classical laws of physics go out the window and something can be two things at once, or two places at the same time.
Such wild and wooly qualities have fueled the race to try to create hugely powerful quantum computers. Maybe nature seized on the same potential, Simon speculates. If so, it might hold the clue to how the brain produces the state of consciousness, a riddle that has so far stumped researchers.
“We know that the photons are there, and photons are really good for sending signals,” he said. “It would seem kind of natural for evolution to have found that, too.”
Outside experts admitted to being fascinated by the theory, but say they’re not convinced.
The Calgary team has compellingly shown that it is possible for axons to conduct light, says Ravi Menon, a medical biophysicist at Western University and part of its BrainSCAN project.
But the brain’s production of photons is “weak,” so it seems doubtful that it is actually using optics as a form of communication, he said.
“It’s obviously going to be controversial,” said Menon about the theory. “But that is good … Controversy is good.”
Even if there is no optical communication network in the brain, the research does suggest those theoretical “light pipes” could be used for research into neurological structures or even treatments, he said.
“It opens the possibility that you could shine light in one area and that light could be piped via the axons to another area … and excite or inhibit other areas,” said Menon.
The Calgary work is definitely “intriguing” and seems to have established the physical feasibility of optical communication in the brain, echoed Nancy Forde, a biophysicist at Simon Fraser University.
“Whether or not biology may exploit this photonic — light-based — communication is a completely different question,” she said via email.
Simon and his team suggest a number of experiments that could be conducted with brain matter to try to prove the theory, the simplest being to illuminate a brain slice at one end, then see if corresponding bright spots appear at the other end of the axons.
He said he is discussing with scientists in various fields taking the work further.
A thought leader is very innovative, respected and well connected. Given the fact that thought leaders’ views are influential and authoritative, it makes sense that most freelancers and business owners can benefit from taking on this role. The best thing about thought leadership is that you don’t need to go to school to become a thought leader or earn any special credentials (although having certain credentials could work in your favor). Here are 5 quick ways to reach thought leadership status and enjoy benefits like increased brand awareness, profitability, value, and even a competitive advantage in your industry. 1. Determine
The problem with choosing to compete by having the lowest price is that it eliminates the ability to compete on anything else.
You Can’t Be Best and Cheapest
You can’t innovate and create new products without capturing enough of the value you create to make the necessary investments. You can’t create experiences, or compete on exceptional service and legendary support, without being able to put money into achieving those outcomes. And you can’t create the kind of solutions that come from a relationship with a strategic partner, because that requires people and money.
You can’t be better and cheaper. You have to pick a lane. By choosing price, you have eliminated other choices.
Pick a Lane
With enough money, you can be better and faster. Without the investment, you can only be cheaper. If you choose to be better, you have to charge more so that you have the ability to create greater value.
Most sales organizations don’t spend enough time explaining to their sales force the competitive strategy they have chosen and why they have chosen it. This leaves many salespeople with the belief that they should have the best product, service, or solution while also having the lowest price. This mythical and unobtainable competitive strategy exists in only two places on earth: in the minds of some clients and some salespeople.
The truth is, you have to make a choice of strategies, and choosing one eliminates the other.
The Truth About Low Price
The truth about low price is that it doesn’t make selling easier. It makes selling more difficult. Once you have eliminated the ability to be better, you’ve lost the ability to compete by solving the problems and eliminating the risks that come with choosing the lowest price. When you can’t be better, then there is only one way to compete, and that is by being even cheaper still.
The lowest price is often called “value,” but the only real value being created is the low price of acquisition, for the sales organization and the client. You don’t value what is cheap. You value what is exceptional, what is precious, what is worthy of being valued. The lowest price produces none of these, and so you aren’t valued either.
Technology surrounds us in every field of our existence and it seemingly has a cure for every tangled situation that we might come across in our day to day lives. Starting from the smartphones we use to the high- end, self-driving automobiles we drive around, everything surrounding us is designed as well as operated in such a way so as to boost our productivity many folds. Even though an entire series of smart devices and technological wonders have made their way into our professional scenarios, we have not yet been able to increase our productivity by any means, whatsoever!
Be it our short attention span, the usual distractions or any other factor, the truth is that we largely fall behind in the productivity department. Luckily, there are some very useful technology hacks which can once again rejuvenate us with the energy and will to become most productive we know. If you consider yourself to be one of the least active people who are always on the verge of procrastination, take a look at the 5 best technology hacks for increasing productivity.
5 less known technology hacks to increase productivity
· Sanebox for Email Processing
Email popups are probably one of the biggest distractions we have at workplace. For efficiently managing your emails, you can make use of Sanebox. This technological wonder makes it possible for you to regulate the amount of emails that you receive in your mailbox. Sanebox makes use of algorithms for determining the relevance as well as the usefulness of emails. Based on this research and calculation, it prioritizes and moves all the less relevant messages into a separate folder altogether. Not only this, it also summarizes these emails for your quick action afterward. Sanebox runs across all platforms including desktop computers and smartphones.
· Chrome Remote Desktop
Access your mailbox from any other computer and vice versa with the Chrome Remote Desktop. The next time you forget a file at work, access it using Remote Desk! It also enables you to share your screens with other remote users.
· Stay Focused with ‘StayFocusd’
If you find yourself wasting a lot of your valuable time across sites like Facebook and Instagram, then StayFocusd is one very useful technology hack that can help you save time. Using StayFocusd, you can set any particular amount of time for which you can browse these websites and in case you go overboard, it simply blocks them! It also allows you to block certain websites and content based on your preferences.
Increase space in ‘Write protected’ drives
How many times have you stumbled upon a pen drive or SD card that has automatically been bricked due to being ‘write protected’? While the manufacturers include this feature as a boon for the users, it often gets in way of proper functioning of the pen drive/ SD card as they can now only read the contents of their pen drive. So what can you do in case you encounter a write- protected error? Luckily, there are several technology hacks which can help you to format write-protected drive errors. One of the tried and tested hacks is to use the Registry Editor. Here, you will have to check the registry values of your PC and also see if the pendrive/ SD card has overwritten its value in the registry. In this case, the default value gets changed and the storage device in question gets bricked beyond any usage.
· Todoist for managing tasks
If you have the habit of preparing to-do lists, then Todoist is undoubtedly the most remarkable tool for getting all your tasks done well in time! Todoist is basically a Google Chrome extension and runs efficiently across all desktop and handheld device platforms. You can manage all tasks straight from your toolbar, while also saving different web pages as separate tasks. It comes with Gmail integration and allows you to pick up emails to add to the to-do list.
A new bundled energy system was unveiled by Totem Power that aims to give smart cities a suite of location-based energy services through cyborg palm trees.
Greentech Media reported on the recent emergence of the Bedford, N.Y.-based startup from stealth mode.
Key to Totem’s vision is its 18-foot solar-powered poles festooned with technology to boost smart city energy access and communications.
Totem towers include smart lighting, electric vehicle charging, 4G and Wi-Fi communication capabilities powered by solar energy and battery storage.
While other firms currently provide all of these services separately, Totem’s platform aims to increase value to smart cities by offering them as a holistic system.
“The combination of communications infrastructure and energy infrastructure provides the foundation for smart city services, and provides a platform for long-term growth and evolution of a whole host of capabilities that will become really important for the cities of tomorrow,” said Totem CEO Brian Lakamp.
Raises public awareness of clean energy
Not only are the towers jam-packed with technology related to communications and energy but its intriguing design is meant to raise public awareness about clean energy issues. Each pole is capped with a solar canopy designed to emulate the shape of a palm tree.
“We’ve had the same utility poles for 50 years, and we think that there’s an opportunity to bring that type of infrastructure forward by applying our product design and making something beautiful that inspires people and engages them,” said Lakamp. “It drives energy literacy and, of course, provides a whole host of services.”
Totem Power’s electrified stanchions arrive just as the industry experts try to wrap their heads around what electrical systems will be needed to power the smart cities of the future.
Indeed some pundits are suggesting microgrids are an important energy innovation that could become vital to the growth of smart cities.
In particular it is microgrids’ ability to operate autonomously from larger grids that could prove to be a major driver of IoT adoption in smart cities of the future.
The post Totem’s poles to power electric car charging in smart cities appeared first on ReadWrite.
Just as your target audience are all individuals who need individual approaches, strategies, and motivation, so are the many ways you can create the irresistibility factor in your service.
Create a Price Point that is Irresistible – Both to You and Your target customer!
The price point of your service can make or break attracting the right customer – but plunging your prices isn’t always the big draw you might think. In fact, you might actually need to raise your prices in order to land the customers who will get the most out of your services.
Think about it: Would people who normally drive a Corvette Z06 drive a VW bug and expect the speed and handling of the Vette? Of course not. And if Volkswagen provided it, how could they afford to do so for an adequate (ROI) return-on-investment?
Your price point has to balance with the clientele you want to attract. It has to align with their goals, expectations, and budget. And it has to be worthwhile for you, otherwise, you’ll start to resent them.
Make sure you pay yourself well – so you’ll have less stress and more energy and joy to give your clients. And don’t reduce your rates: Offer installment-based payment plans instead, if you must.
Remember, give extra value – not half-price discounts.
Learn From your Mentors
Be observant. Think about your mentors. What did they do that you absolutely loved? What did they do that you weren’t so keen about?
Make an actual, two-column list with the two questions as your headings: Then decide which technique, action, marketing method in the “Absolutely Loved” column would work well with your service offering. (Make sure you’re absolutely clear on why these things would work for your customer.)
Analyze your current service model – and make sure it contains no habits from the “Weren’t So Keen About” column!
Be Prepared to Learn Something New Every Day
Take courses. Go to workshops. Train with your own mentors. And read, read, read.
Top business leaders are never complacent. While being well aware of their own assets and skills, they never assume they have nothing left to learn. They are able to put ego aside while looking for new methods, new opportunities, new tips and new ways of doing things.
They are innovative, open-minded – and they keep on top of their industry and niche.
Hire the Right People
Would a neurosurgeon wash his own scrubs? Would an astronaut source the best and most cost-effective rocket fuel?
No. He leaves these sort of tasks to experts in those fields, leaving himself one hundred percent free to focus on what he does best.
If you try to do everything, you’ll burn out – and when it comes to tasks you’re not expert in (like manning a customer service portal or perhaps creating your own sales page) it makes good economic sense to outsource to a professional who is an expert in those tasks – and who loves doing them as much as you love what you do.
Reward Your Contractors
If they provide vital support for your business, reward them. Let them know they are appreciated. Pay them well – so they can outsource unnecessary parts of their own business – and spend more time (stress-free) on yours.
There’s a horrible trend in the upper halls of internet marketing, and it spills out even to small business providers: And that’s under-paying people who deserve to make a living as much as anyone else.
Value is always good – but not at someone else’s expense. Underpaid contractors are stressed contractors. They work long hours to compensate, burn out fast, and lose heart for your business.
Recognize that Owning a Service Business is a Lifetime Commitment – and Journey
You are on a journey: To be the best entrepreneur you can be and achieve your goals – your definition of success.
Your customers are on a journey too, and you’re there to help them. Sometimes that means you’re the wise guide, but other times it involves picking up a pair of oars and helping them get through the rapids.
You need to be committed to your customer – and that commitment will show. Their success is your success. Their dreams might as well be yours, you understand them so completely.
To be a successful service provider, listen well, always be learning – and be sure to enjoy the ride.
Try New Things
Trying new things means taking risks: And taking risks will help keep you alert, focused and analytical.
Trying new things helps you hone your service. It keeps your business fresh and innovative. You won’t get stuck in ruts, or grow complacent – and you won’t stop listening (really listening) to your customers because you’re operating on autopilot.
The best entrepreneurs aren’t afraid of taking informed, calculated risks.
And sometimes, doing so results in huge, unexpected pay-offs in areas such as improved systems, better communication, a fresh audience – and amazing results.
Love What You Do
There’s nothing more infectious than enthusiasm. If you’re having the time of your life, helping your target audience improve or succeed, they are much more likely to love working with you.
If you don’t love what you do, figure out why not: Then fix it – in whatever way feels most honest and positive for you.
Follow the Masters
Stay on top of what the most successful businesses in your industry are doing. Follow their blogs and connect on social media, see what gets them success – and see, of course, if you can identify any gaps they are leaving that you could fill.
Nothing breeds success better than being immersed in success – and this will spill over to your customers.
Make Regular Time for Learning New Skills
It’s one thing to be committed to learning new facts, and methods – and it’s quite another to regularly and habitually make time for this. Many entrepreneurs are highly open to learning, even committed to it: But they do it “on the fly”, as time – and business demands – allow.
This can be exciting, but it brings an element of reactivity into your business at odds with most business professional’s missions.
Develop Good Habits
Entrepreneurs have to be highly disciplined people who are always one hundred percent reliable. Consciously developing good habits is one way to become the sort of entrepreneur who walks the walk.
When you adopt and develop good habits, your customers feel reassured. Trust is built, enthusiasm is kindled and results abound – for both of you.
Apply and create good habits in every area of your personal and professional life.
- Be a good listener
- Get into the habit of challenging yourself
- Keep good records and logs – and update them regularly
- Be proactive
- Put your customers first
Enable Your Customer to Succeed
You’re not the captain of the ship: You’re the first mate, making sure everything runs smoothly, facilitating the captain – your customer – to run his own ship.
Realizing this is the first step towards developing an irresistible service. Show your customer how to analyze, assess, strategize, focus – and steer straight to the shore.
Keep Yourself Balanced, Healthy and Fit
If your own health is less than optimal, your faculties won’t be as sharp and you won’t have as much physical and emotional energy. Take care of your own needs and create balance in your own life.
Do yoga, meditate, go for walks or take up running. Don’t indulge in excess, eat healthy, listen to music. Take breaks, and learn to play as joyously as you work. All these contribute to keeping you stress-free, balanced, centered – and focused.
This will give you all the energy and clarity you’ll ever need, freeing you to create a truly irresistible service.
It’s easy to think about the app landscape as largely consumer facing. And that’s because for the most part, apps started out this way. Applications are meant to help the end user complete a task, and so in its infantile stages, this easily translated into simple productivity apps or games.
Fast forward to 2016 and we are in a brave new world where mobile is now considered first-screen and mobile app usage has increased by 111% since 2013. And with the recent launch of the iPhone 7 and Google Pixel, that number will continue to grow.
Mobile In The Working World
One area that is sure to see an uptick in development is B2B apps. Why? Because mobile is now an essential part of modern day business. Gone are the Mad Men days where you left your work at the office. Thanks to technology, we can now complete tasks from virtually anywhere as long as we have a mobile device and a signal.
Forget to send that email while at work? No problem, that’s what the Gmail app is for. Need to get ahold of a co-worker about a deadline? Slack them. Trying to access the latest draft of your Mobile Marketing eBook from the train? Thank you, Google Drive. Mobile grants us the ability to be productive anywhere, at anytime. And thanks to the aforementioned apps, our expectation is that we can carry out virtually any work-related task via mobile.
Because our work habits have shifted, it should be no surprise that B2B companies have started to invest heavily in mobile. A Think With Google study found that 75% of users prefer a mobile friendly site. But despite this fact, it’s surprising to me how many businesses still refuse to create a mobile-friendly version of their site. Mobile friendly doesn’t just mean responsive for mobile, but rather a simplified, task-oriented version of your site that someone can easily consume on the go.
Your Users Want An App
More importantly? If two-thirds of your audience is accessing your information via a mobile device, it’s foolish not to consider investing in a mobile app. Not only is it a much better user experience, but it grants you the ability to tap into valuable insights about your users to build stronger relationships with them and strengthen your product offerings. Furthermore, because of the very nature of many B2B products, having an application is the only way for users to tap into key functionality.
Take DropBox, for example. While in theory, you can upload, sync, and share files via a mobile site, the lag time alone would be killer, never mind the sizeable amount of data you’d burn through in the process. Plus? None of the documents would be easily accessible via your phone.
B2B companies realize this, which is why a recent study by Smart Insights showed that 65% of B2B companies have mobile apps or believe it is a crucial part of their overall strategy.
Another crucial part of the modern day marketer’s strategy? Individualization. It’s no longer beneficial to know your users, it’s a requirement. We expect our experience with brands to be catered to us. We want to access information with just a few swipes of our finger and to seamlessly bounce between our laptop and mobile phone without missing a beat.
If you look at some of the hottest B2B companies in the world right now, they all have incredibly powerful apps (Slack, Expensify, DocuSign) and it’s because they’ve learned what the rest of the B2B world soon will: a website optimized for mobile can’t create the individualized experience B2B companies need to thrive.
While a majority of B2B companies understand the importance of having an app, checking the box isn’t nearly enough. Successful B2B apps must follow the same best practices as B2C; they must be highly personalized and provide value to the user. In other words? They must know their users.
A word of advice to B2B companies looking to invest in a mobile app: If you want to succeed in the app world, make sure your mobile budget accounts for investing in the right tools to allow you know your users, and create the individualized experience they’ve grown to expect.
I never speak to companies that have the lowest price in their category. Instead, I spend time with companies—and people—who have a higher price than their competitor’s because they create greater value. Some of the people who work for these companies are totally confident in their price and the value they create. They lead with their higher price, and they have no fear. Others are afraid of their price, and try to keep from discussing it until they are deep into the process, hoping against hope that it doesn’t come up.
Here are four truths about your higher price and some notes on how to think about them.
- You transfer your doubt or your belief to your prospect: Your dream client is not going to pay more for what you sell if you aren’t confident that you deserve to charge more. If you don’t believe you are worth paying more to obtain, neither will your prospective client. However, if you believe you are worth more, so will your dream client.
- A fear of talking about your price looks sketchy: If you are afraid to discuss your higher price, you look like you are hiding something. What might you be hiding? The fact that you are not really going to create more value than an alternative. Or maybe you project that even you don’t believe you are worth paying more to obtain.
- If you are better, you have to charge more: You might feel as if your higher price makes selling more difficult. The truth of the matter is, it makes selling easier. What makes selling more difficult is not being better than the alternatives. A higher price is a shortcut for determining the value of something. If you are cheap, it’s because you aren’t good enough to charge more. If your price is higher, then you must be worth more.
- It’s your responsibility to justify your higher price: You are always going to be asked about your price. Your prospective clients are doing their job by making sure that they get the most value for their investment. They don’t know how to justify the delta between your price and the alternatives. You have to be prepared to justify your higher price, and you have to be prepared to teach your prospective clients to defend it.
If your price is higher, you must be better. What do you do that makes you worth paying more to obtain?
Do you have the courage of your convictions when it comes to discussing your price? What belief or doubt are you transferring to your prospective clients?
If I had a nickel for every time a CEO told me that their business was different. That their products and services were sold based on relationships, well I’d have hundreds of nickels I guess. But I bet that if I could speak to thousands of owners and CEOs they would tell me the same thing and then I’d have thousands of nickels. Everybody thinks their products and services are special. That the clients buy based solely on the relationship. Heck this belief is propagated by the salespeople themselves. They stake their claim. Forge the relationship and then hunker down. They want everyone to think that the only reason the customer buys is because of them. I suppose it is possible, but the ability to build relationships is not unique.
Another illustration of this belief is that a relative of mine has been interviewing for a sales position. He has interviewed for 5 positions and has been offered all 5. In each and every company, he was told by an executive that their sale is a relationship sale. What does that even mean? And more importantly, why does it matter? Should CEOs even care about this? I believe many unsuccessful salespeople are hired based on the belief by upper management that the individual will be able to execute a “relationship” sale. Let me tell you why it doesn’t matter.
I evaluated data provided by Objective Management Group on over 300,000 salespeople from every industry imaginable and from all over the world. I sliced and diced the data based on one specific trait – whether or not the salesperson was a good relationship builder. The Objective Management Group data provides an overall rating called a Sales Quotient about each salesperson that gets evaluated. There are four buckets on the Sales Quotient scale in which a salesperson can fall:
- Elite – the best of the best, rarified air, truly consultative salespeople – only 7% fall in this category
- Strong – able to execute more complex or difficult sales, probably able to differentiate well
- Serviceable – okay for transactional sales or selling situations without much competition
- Weak – the vast majority of salespeople, frequently those without experience
So, I looked at these four categories specifically for the trait of Relationship Builder expecting to find a big difference between the Elite and Weak. And here is what I found. Drum roll please…there is basically no difference between any of the categories. On average the Elite salespeople have 54% of the traits of a Relationship Builder and the Weak salespeople have 53% of the traits of a Relationship Builder. This is an imperceptible difference. Hmm. So why do we place so much emphasis in our hiring on this trait? I suppose it is important as a baseline.
Check the box on the individual being able to build relationships, but don’t stop there.
Look for actual traits and Sales DNA that will separate the Elite from the rest of the pack, such as Consultative Seller skills or the fact that the salesperson has No Need for Approval.
Don’t allow your salespeople to hold you hostage based on the fact that they own the relationship with the client.
Build repeatable sales processes to ensure that your salespeople can execute based on the client’s desires not just on a personal relationship.
If your team is just selling products and services and is not talking about business problems with their clients and prospects, then train them up. They might have a strong personal relationship with the buyers but without creating true value to the client, that relationship can be shaky.
Companies trying to execute a B2B solution or value sale must overcome selling problems that start at the prospecting stage and persist to the end. Symptoms include too few quality additions to the sales pipeline, protracted and lengthening sales cycles, and low win rates. A significant cause is sellers haven’t realigned messages, sales conversations, and sales process to the way buyers buy. This situation becomes more pronounced when selling to prospects who aren’t in an active buying process. We call this a “Find vs. Create Opportunity” situation. (See Find vs. Create Sales Opportunities) When I speak with B2B sales professionals they readily acknowledge there are not enough active buyers to meet quotas. In most organizations sales people tell me 80% of sales prospects have to be “created” as opportunities. But even with active buyers there are opportunities for B2B sales professionals to up their game. After all, they are often not the first sales person vendors have called. Sales Success Crisis Point This scenario afflicts even the most successful companies. In fact, often they are most challenged. What worked successfully for the past 5-10 years, now doesn’t. These companies might have been first movers with the best product in their industry. They had no or weak direct competitors. There was significant, eager demand for their products. Selling was a product-focused approach. It required moving quickly and efficiently to capture market share before new competitors arrived. I was working with clients in Texas for a couple of years and observed […]
The post The B2B Value Sale is Actually Three Distinct Sales appeared first on Avitage.
Sales is a tough job.
But when it's done right, it can make you rich.
We took a look at Salesforce’s latest annual State of Sales report and a separate survey of 280 salespeople to find out what the best performing salespeople and teams do in common to sell more and make tons of money.
Here’s what we found:
Sales has become more important across all companies over the past five years.
It’s partly because more buyers are finding it “absolutely critical” to have sales reps who are personally engaging before signing a deal.
Unfortunately, most sales reps aren’t spending most of their time selling.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Harry Smith has built a $35 million (sales) business over the last 30 years. He is now thinking about retirement and wants to sell the company.
He’s talked to several investment bankers. All of them have told him The Harry Smith Company (HSC) is not worth his asking price.
Harry has a couple of problems. One, HSC’s sales are stagnant. Two, Harry dominates the company. This is especially true in the sales area.
How can a new owner be confident that customers will remain loyal after Harry leaves?
To get his asking price, Harry must build a sales organization that can (a) grow the company and (b) run without him.
Harry has a sales manager and five salespeople. But he is a key rainmaker.
He has strong relationships with HSC’s four largest customers who generate 40% of the company’s revenue. Many of his relationships go back more than twenty ears.
Harry’s sales manager, Mary, nominally oversees the five-person sales team and a marketing manager. However, Mary has extensive sales responsibilities and does relatively little managing. Harry runs the show.
HSC has about 15 customers. The customers are based in the Northeast and most have sales of $500 million or more.
HSC’s sales team develops deep relationships with customers via face-to-face selling. The sales team focuses on HSC’s higher-end products―$100,000 plus. The company’s sales cycle is usually six to twelve months.
The company faces several sales challenges:
- Competition―More competitors are entering HSC’s market. Traditional barriers to market entry have eroded over time
- Concentration―HSC generates most of its business from a very small number of customers.
- Consolidation―HSC’s customers are being acquired by larger companies not likely to buy from HSC
- Relationships―Harry and his sales team have their primary customer relationships with executives nearing retirement age.
Harry is aware of his problems. He is willing to invest a lot of money to make HSC more salable.
He plans to take the following steps:
- Set aggressive but realistic revenue goals.
- Create a sales strategy to achieve those goals.
- Determine what kind of sales organization he needs to implement the strategy.
- Create the sales organization.
Here is what that process looks like:
He realizes that it will take three years to years to build a sales organization that can penetrate new markets and another two years to make it truly effective.
Step #1―Set Sales Goals
HSC’s sales have been flat for the past three years. The investment bankers told Harry that to attract buyers, HSC needs to generate at least $50 million and grow by at least 5% a year after that.
Harry’s goal is to get from $35 million to $50 million in five years. That’s a compound growth rate of 7.4% a year.
Harry commissioned a market research study which suggests that there is a very large―and growing―market for HSC’s lower end products. Those products now represent only about 15% of HSC’s current sales.
The market consists primarily of smaller companies with sales of $5 to $25 million. Whereas HSC’s current target market includes some fifty large companies in the Northeast, the new market has hundreds of companies across the US.
Step #2―Develop a Sales Strategy
Now comes the hard part. How will Harry reach his new market?
His key tasks are:
- Identifying the best market segments.
- Developing a message and compelling offerings.
- Designing a sales organization to reach the market.
- Developing a plan and time line to attack the market.
Step #3–Designing the Right Sales Organization
To implement its sales strategy, HSC needs a completely different sales organization.
HSC’s sales team now focuses on face-to-face selling to a relatively small group of customers in a relatively small geographic area, the Northeast. That won’t work with the new sales strategy.
Trying to reach hundreds of companies around the US with a field sales force would be prohibitively expensive. It would also be inefficient.
HSC needs to build an inside sales team which can reach the target market effectively. This means selling primarily by phone and email.
Harry can’t create a new sales organization overnight. He must find a way to maintain his existing customers while he builds a sales organization to service future customers.
He needs two parallel sales efforts: a field sales team focusing on the larger accounts and an inside sales team focusing on the smaller accounts. Harry also needs to drastically reduce his involvement in sales.
Step #4―Building the New Sales Organization
Harry will need three years to build his new sales organization and get it up to speed. And he’ll need another two years to build sustainable growth.
Here is the timeline:
- Year #1―Develop strategy, design the sales organization and processes and begin implementation.
- Year #2–#3―Continue to build the sales team.
- Years #4–#5―Strengthen team and expand markets.
Creating Value Isn’t Easy
Harry realizes that making his company more valuable will take a lot of time, effort, and money. But he is willing to make the investment.
There could be a huge payoff for building a growing company with an effective sales organization. The alternative for Harry is continued stagnation and a declining valuation.
What is Product Marketing? Why is such an important function so misunderstood?
One of the biggest challenges for marketers today is that we are too often focused on the most tactical aspects of the job: promotion, contacts, reach, social marketing, etc.
We forget that the most important part of marketing, the source of value, is our understanding of customers, what customers want, and how to align your products to their needs and how they buy. Most marketing teams don’t have anyone dedicated to this function.
This is especially important in B2B because buying processes are more complex, there are usually more buyers involved, and products tend to be more technically complex. To solve this problem, a relatively new function has been created, which is often referred to as product, audience or solutions marketing.
Does your company have a Product Marketing discipline?
I have observed technology companies start by creating a product management role, which is also responsible for the product marketing function. They don’t want to be called marketers, so they call themselves Growth Hackers. Only when these companies achieve critical mass, they realize there is a gap in their understanding of the market and their ability to connect the product with customer needs.
There are clear signs that indicate the way your organization could use help in the product marketing function. Here are a few:
- Product strategy and roadmap discussions are made without someone whose main job is to understand the market, customers, competitors, and how to influence them.
- Decisions to invest in a product do not include a product launch plan and budget.
- Product Marketing is seen almost exclusively as a content shop that owns collateral, website updates and sales training.
- Demand generation, marketing and customer growth plans are not being guided by product marketing, as the team who most deeply understands customers.
- The product marketing team does not have the right skills, time, and resources to develop understanding of products, competitors, markets and customers.
Let’s start with a definition.
What is Product Marketing?
Product Marketing is the function accountable for the success and growth of a product by connecting customer needs to product capabilities. The value of Product Marketing comes from its deep understanding of markets, customers and their needs.
For a more information of the Product Marketing function and the specifics in terms of day-to-day activities, I suggest reading this slideshare presentation.
When Inc. Magazine asked Mozilla’s CMO what is the most critical hire in marketing? Jascha Kaykas-Wolff answered “Without question, product marketing…. If I were a marketer re-starting my career, I would start in product marketing.”
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker
How successful Product Marketers think about their role
Becoming a successful product marketer and establishing the function as the value and growth engine for the company starts with you. Here is how the successful ones think about their role:
- There are no boundaries. This job is what you make of it.
- Take ownership of the long term success of your products. You are accountable for everything that impacts growth. Think like a business person.
- Balance long-term goals with short-term objectives.
- Lead by influence. Product Marketing teams are small. Their influence should not be small.
- Product Marketing is the most cross-functional function in most companies. You are the interface between customers, your marketing team and the product team.
- Customer knowledge and insights is job #1. Knowledge is your power. Understand who is your customer, and who is not. What problems customers need to solve and what drives value for them. How they make decisions and who influences them. How they perceive your company and alternatives. And how to influence their choices and preferences.
The value of Product Marketing in the early stages of a company
Earlier this year, a startup founder asked me if an early stage company should prioritize hiring a demand generation leader or a Product Marketing leader. My response was that hiring a good product marketer would help the company in many ways, for example:
- Ensure product-market fit, with better understanding of customer problems
- Hone in your perfect customer via segmentation, targeting and personas
- Help the company understand competitors, alternatives, and validate competitive advantages
- Ensure all communications, from PR to the website to sales conversations, are consistent in message and aligned with the value you bring to the market
- Determine the best way to capture the value the company creates, in turn adjusting the pricing model
- Build the programs to generate demand, based on how the customer buys, the CPCA, AOV and other key business factors
- Determine the role content marketing, PR, analysts, influencers, partner marketing, community marketing or demand generation should play for the company, its priority and overall strategy
“Marketing starts before there is a product. Marketing is the homework the company does to figure out what people need and what the company should make” Philip Kotler
It’s important to have a dedicated sales force, however all of your sales reps do not have to be internal hires. Three major benefits to outsourcing sales include:
- Outsourcing sales allows you to start off with a qualified and experienced sales staff without having to hire or train them.
- It gives you access to talent you might not be able to attract otherwise. This is especially true if you are a small business; a star salesperson would attract more competitive job offers.
- The outsourced sales team will also have the ability to support and train your management team, helping you develop internal sales competencies.
Of course, there are some disadvantages to outsourcing your sales force, too. While a third-party sales force will be full of expert salespeople, they won’t have expertise in your particular products. They might also have difficulty positioning it or explaining the ins and outs of your benefits or features. Additionally, these third-parties rarely work with just a single client. Most likely, you’ll be one of many products or services that they’re pitching. Because of this, you might not see the same results that you would with a dedicated team.
Weighing these advantages and disadvantages, it’s clear that there is indeed benefit to outsourcing sales efforts, as long as you’re selective. To do this successfully, here are four helpful tips:
1. Start with cold calling and lead scoring
One great way to optimize the talent and time you have on-hand is by recruiting a sales agency to take over one of the many responsibilities that make up the sales process such as finding qualified leads. That way, you can kickoff an outsourced sales relationship with a small engagement, allowing you to conservatively manage your budget and test the waters with your outsourced team. In this scenario, your outsourced sales reps can cold call targeted customers on your behalf, and then pass on qualified leads to an internal representative at your firm who has deep knowledge of the product and can successfully close the deal. You can lean on your outsourced sales firm’s expertise to start the sale, and your employee’s product knowledge to close it.
2. Focus your training
One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing sales is being able to hit the ground running. That means your training process for your outsourced reps needs to be quick and efficient. The best way to do that is by following the Pareto Principle, and revolving the small bit (20%) of knowledge that’s required to do the majority (80%) of the work. In other words, you will want to avoid obsessing over sales cadences for unique client situations that reps would only encounter once a quarter. Instead, give your outsourced sales team enough information to be effective the majority of the time, and let them pass customers onto your internal sales team if those prospects have more specific concerns.
3. Look for industry experience
Although an outsourced sales firm may have been successful in doubling sales for another company, a critical shortcoming that could compromise their effectiveness may be their lack of expertise in your industry. There’s a huge difference between selling to companies in the manufacturing sector versus selling products to software firms. Lacking certain industry-specific language and vocabulary may also mean your third-party sales reps will struggle when engaging potential customers.
Keep in mind that you also do not necessarily have to find a local outsourced sales team to help you out. Technology has grown to the point where freelance and third-party services can easily be offered globally. Instead of limiting yourself to a small geographic region, take a broader look and find the best fit firm to partner with.
4. Establish your own sales processes first
One big mistake many companies make is hiring a third-party to not only outsource their sales, but to create and document new sales processes. This is problematic because, internally, you have the best idea about who your customers are and what triggers them to make a purchase. Although an outsourced team might be able to provide valuable input on the technical parts of the process, you need to document enough customer-specific information to properly guide them.
Outsourcing any part of the sales process can be a frightening prospect. After all, you’re relinquishing control of critical operations to an external vendor. They’ll be interacting with your customers and prospects on a daily basis. By following the information above, however, you’ll be able to hand off certain processes with peace of mind. You’ll save time and money, and together you’ll grow your revenue and your bottom line.
Batteries lie at the the heart of a device you likely never leave home without. Here are some easy and efficient ways to milk your cell phone's battery for all its worth, so you can worry less about demanding apps.
A Walmart employee pulls fresh baked rolls out for sale during the grand opening of a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. location in the Chinatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA. ( Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)
Last year, Walmart decided to give its associates a 10. In return, they gave it a serious high five, as in $5 billion.
That’s the amount by which Walmart’s sales rose in the first six months of 2016 after it boosted hourly pay to $10 in 2015. Revenue advanced to $149.5 billion from $144.2 billion in 2015, according to its second-quarter earnings report. The company attributes this gain largely to the ‘positive customer traffic’ that followed the pay increase as well as the creation of 200 management-track training centers.
Put another way, better-paid, better-trained workers are creating a better in-store experience for Walmart shoppers. Today, the world’s largest private employer reports its non-management workers make an average of $13.69 an hour, up 16% from 2014, according to The New York Times.
Combined with the training centers, the investment has cost Walmart about $2.7 billion, a bet that many retailers are eager to see played out. Will paying workers more and offering them better opportunities result in higher profits?
Higher Service Scores, Lower Income
The answer is… possibly. Since Walmart increased wages and invested in better training it has recorded the following:
- A reduction in employee turnover almost from the outset, according to RetailWire.
- An increase in the percentage of stores that meet the company’s internal goals for customer service, to 75% in 2016 from 16% a few years ago, according to the Times story.
- An improvement in customer surveys, with “clean, fast, friendly” scores rising for 90 consecutive weeks from early 2015, according to the Times.
- A rise in spending at stores by its own employees, the Times reports.
- A decline in operating income in the first half of the year, to nearly $8.8 billion from $9.5 billion, due to higher labor costs and other investments, according to Walmart’s earning report.
“During this time of increased investments, operating expenses may grow at a rate that is greater than or equal to the rate of our net sales growth,” the report states.
On the other hand, as it points out, operating income may grow at a rate that is less than or equal to the rate of net sales growth.
Other Ways To Measure Success
This of course should not mean all bets are off when it comes to investing in worker compensation and training. It takes time to recoup a few billion dollars, after all.
Further, it’s possible to record the return on investment in ways that can’t be accounted for in pure dollars. Following are five key return-on-employee investments that won’t make it to the financial report.
A better caliber of workers: Before adding its dedicated training centers, Walmart did not provide its employees a clear structure for achieving management status. This would be like treading water just out of sight of land. It’s not surprising, then, if a lot of workers were less motivated. Since investing in the centers, Walmart has begun attracting a higher standard of worker. “We get more people coming in who want a career instead of a job,” one manager told the Times.
More orderly stores: Hourly employees generally are not likely to make workplace cleanliness a priority, unless they are properly trained, experts say. Using Walmart as a case in point, the retailer said its customers are reporting higher satisfaction rates in store cleanliness, as well as speed and customer service. Clean stores not only are more attractive to shoppers, they make for healthier workers and require less frequent asset replacement (flooring or carpeting, for example).
Brand loyalty: Consumers are drawn to brands that share their beliefs, and most believe in a better living wage. Three-quarters of Americans support increasing the minimum wage to at least $12.50, according to a 2015 report from the Hart Resource Association. There is plenty of evidence that Walmart’s choice to raise employee pay has captured it positive media attention.
Further, better-paid employees are more likely to be brand loyal because the company has made them feel financially secure.
Friendlier environments: Workers who feel appreciated are more likely to seek camaraderie with others (and would be less likely to gripe). The more friends an employee makes at work, the more she is likely to love her employer. More than 70% of employees who have 25 or more friends at work (71%) love their employer. Of those with no friends, 24% love their companies, according to research by the Ohio University. As we know, love means never wanting to hand in your resignation.
Less shrink: OK, this is arguably a bottom-line figure but it gets back to sentiment. Unhappy employees, who are often stressed, underpaid employees, are more likely to take from the company. Also, they are more likely to care less if its products are inadequately cared for – whether the fresh produce is quickly stocked, for example. Employees steal an estimated $50 billion from companies every year, representing 43% of total retail shrink.
It should be noted that not all of Walmart’s 2.3 million employees are paid a minimum of $10 an hour. Those who joined the company since the beginning of 2016 started at $9; they get a buck-an-hour raise once they complete the chain’s skills and training program.
Which reinforces the overall “its pays to pay” strategy. Once trained, workers will be better engaged and worth every penny of that hourly wage, and then some. That’s worth a hive five.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com, you can view the original story here.
Terms of service? Are they really important? Actually, yes. If you plan to establish a successful eCommerce business, your customers need to know what to expect (and not expect), and that means knowing how to write the legalese that defines your obligations as a service provider.
And yes, it’s a little boring. Entrepreneurs look forward to this process about as much as a five-year-old looks forward to eating a plate of steamed broccoli. Or at least that’s how it usually goes. So let’s switch it up and give you a handful of best practice tips for what to include in an effective terms of service while also injecting some humor and humanity into what you write.
The 6 Must-Haves
First, while the terms statement does need to be fully accessible by any customer who shows up at your store, it shouldn’t be the first or even fifth thing your customers see. Instead, include a checkbox at checkout that allows shoppers to signify that they agree to your terms before they buy.
1. Using the services
A fundamental component to a terms document are basic stipulations about the services you offer, and the requirements for using them. Is there an age requirement? Spell that out. Is there a Q&A functionality, or some other user-generated content component? Be crystal clear about the fact that you will own the rights to that content. In general, just state clearly that you own the intellectual property generated by the services, as well as the services themselves.
2. Explain the purchase and return policy, if there is one.
Whether your business sells a product or service, it’s crucial for your terms to spell out what you’ll deliver, when, for how much, and what your policy is for returns and refunds. If items can’t be returned after being unwrapped or used, say so and explain why. “We’d love to take back that toothbrush you bought from us, but that would be, well, gross” isn’t exactly the right phrasing, but you also don’t have to be robotic. Instead, follow the legalese with something like this: “And if our product isn’t working the way you expect? Give us a call at 800-HELP-ME or write to us at email@example.com. We can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to fix the problem or get you exactly what you’re looking for, but we’ll do our best to meet your needs.”
3. Define what amounts to abusive or unacceptable behavior.
No one likes a bully, and you needn’t tolerate them at your website or store. Make it clear what legally rises to the level of abuse and then be specific about the consequences for engaging in unacceptable behavior. Then, make it real with language anyone can understand. Something like this should suffice: “So, yes, if you’re trolling us or other users in the comments or using profanity or other rude language, we reserve the right to kick you out of the club. Be nice and we’ll be cool. Cool?”
4. Limit your liability. Frivolous lawsuits do happen, unfortunately.
Protect yourself by including in your terms legal language that indemnifies you and the site in the event of errors or unanticipated events, such as outages. Also, if you offer a warranty on products you sell through the site—and you should—this section of your terms is where you set reasonable limits. Include some plain language to put it all in context. “We’re only human and we’ll make mistakes. So please, don’t ask us to take back the product you bought two years ago and broke yesterday. We’re not going to do that. Our kids have to eat, too!”
5. Pick who gets to decide if there’s a dispute.
This is where you discuss what’s called governing law. Usually, it means if your business is located in a certain state, that the laws of the state where you’re incorporated will “govern” any dispute. You can also choose to include a clause that says disputes will, by default, skip court and instead be resolved through arbitration. Add some reassuring language so that customers who’ve taken the time to read this far don’t see you as a bully. Something like: “Obviously we don’t want it to get to this point. Let’s agree that it would be just better for us to get you something you love—and we’ll try our best to make that happen, OK?”
6. Explain who owns what.
You own the content of your website and all the intellectual property that went into building your products and offering your services. Place copyright notations and trademarks where necessary and then be clear about the protections you’re claiming in your terms. Follow it with a kind but unambiguous warning: “We love you for being a customer. Don’t ruin it by stealing our stuff. Let’s all play nice.”
This Is Easier Than You Think
Now, ready for the best news of all? You don’t have to write your terms of service from scratch! Avvo has a terms of service form available for download if you’re just getting started. Or, if your business is taking off and you need more expertise, you can have a lawyer review or help you customize terms and conditions and fix whatever holes might need plugging.
Happy terms writing!
Personal finance is, well ... personal.
That's why the answers to money questions can seem so complicated, and why so many people find it helpful to work with a financial planner. Everyone's life and situation is different, and it's the same for their money.
That said, just because the answers to money questions may be different depending on who's asking doesn't mean they're always complicated. Below, find nine basic money questions that can be answered in 30 seconds or less (although, if you want, we've included links to 90-second explanations, too).
One for every reason you're saving.
Since savings accounts are free — and sometimes even incentivized by the bank where you open them — the only reason not to have multiple is if you find that you're unable to keep track of them. Otherwise, keeping an account per savings goal accomplishes two purposes:
1. It gives you an exact count of how much money you have allotted for a specific goal.
2. It keeps you from dipping into savings you've mentally, but not technically, attributed to one goal for another (like "accidentally" using your emergency savings for a mid-winter trip to Barbados).
At least two.
Let's go ahead and assume you're already on board with the need-a-credit-card-to-build-credit-and-make-major-purchases rationale and that we're all clear on the fact that a credit card does more harm than good if you don't pay your bill in full each month. Having only one means if your card gets lost or stolen — which is more common than you might think — you'll be in a tight spot for a while.
After two, it's up to you to decide how many cards you can handle responsibly.
20% of the house price.
By putting down 20% of the price, you avoid the monthly cost called private mortgage insurance (PMI), which the bank requires in the case that you aren't able to meet your payment obligations. This means you will pay more over the life of your loan than if you didn't have it.
However, if putting 20% will wipe out your savings, it's less risky to accept paying PMI until you can refinance when you have more cash. "I would much rather see people put 5% down, wipe out all their other debt with cash, and still have three months of emergency savings versus putting 20% down on a house," writes CFP Sophia Bera.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The battle for Canadian loyalty and expiring points: Consumers will fight hard for what they’ve collected
It didn’t take long after Loblaws Cos. Ltd. bought Shoppers Drug Mart in a mega $12.4 billion deal before some consumers settled in on what the “important” part of the transaction was.
“What’s going to happen to my Optimum points?” In online chat rooms and discussions, people fretted that all their accumulated purchasing power would be wiped out — a fear that has so far turned out to be unfounded as the loyalty card for Shoppers Drug Mart, with an estimated 11 million users, has gone nowhere.
“Some people were worried (about Optimum ending) but it’s just too popular,” says Lynn Wiegard, a 45-year-old shopper from Cambridge, Ont., who can quote her shopping stats pretty quickly. “I just love the game aspect of collecting points. It’s a strategy game. You can’t play a strategy game by just sitting there and hoping for the best.”
The points game has become part of the Canadian shopping fabric. A 2015 study from Colloquy Loyalty Census Canada, run by LoyaltyOne — the operator of the Air Miles program — found Canadians have almost 130 million memberships, or an average of more than four per person. The retail sector accounts for the biggest chunk of membership at 48 per cent and it grew by 12 per cent in 2015.
“Canadians love their points programs. I spend a lot of my time travelling the world meeting with other program operators and looking at the structure of loyalty programs in different countries and Canada is probably one of the most developed loyalty program markets in the world,” says Bryan Pearson, chief executive of LoyaltyOne.
But Wiegard says there’s more than fun to points collecting. In an economy with low wage growth, people need the extra cash breaks wherever they can get them. Her 2016 gross purchases at Shoppers would have been $1,746 she says, but the coupons and redeemed points cut her spending to $1,078.
“I love the (Shoppers) program because I’m doing the best with that program as far as the money that will come back,” Wiegard says.
Consumers vary widely in how they collect points, some treating it, like Wiegard, as an exercise in strategy, while others are more passive about collecting the points. Navigating the divide, and pleasing all its customers, is the great challenge for loyalty providers.
“I once took a group of collectors out for dinner and I was talking about our program relative to others and I had this one guy who knew the terms and conditions and specifics of our program better than (I did),” Pearson says.
The other side of the coin is people who just swipe and collect points, figuring one day they’ll cash them in.
“The spectrum is similar to how any consumers react to different brands that are out there,” Pearson says.
If you have to trace the origin of the loyalty program in this country, it probably begins with Canadian Tire whose famed bills, adorned with the fictional character Sandy McTire, first appeared in the 1950s. The Canadian Tire money bore a resemblance to real Canadian currency and helped the retailer create strong loyalty with customers.
When Air Canada rolled Aeroplan in 1984 as an incentive for frequent flyers it was one of the first real points-based programs. Coalition programs, which team up with multiple retailers and allow businesses to collect user data, started in 1991 with the introduction of Air Miles. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, single retailers like Shoppers started introducing their own brands.
But, that loyalty comes at a price.
Air Miles has come under fire for its redemption program and some people maintain it is difficult to cash in the points that will begin to expire at the end of this year. At the end of 2011, Air Miles issued a five-year expiry date on reward points and, with the date now upon us, it somehow has caught some off guard.
“The biggest thing you can do is try to be clear and communicate in the best way possible whatever changes are coming along,” Pearson says. “The biggest problem in the reward program is you have undeclared intentions from the consumer because there is no signal to say ‘I’m interested in a flight to Paris or four grocery certificates.'”
If an offer disappears, the risk is an angry consumer.
Companies have been rapidly changing their programs as they compete for customer attention. Starbucks recently overhauled its reward program from one that gave consumers points based on each purchase or visit to a program that reflects what the consumer actually spends at the coffee chain. The latter model seems to be catching on across the rewards industry because it favours customers who are willing to spend more.
“The hotel model programs are shifting from a program that was (based on) a night stay and if you get, say, 35 stays you were a super elite customer. Now they are rewarding on what customers are actually paying,” Pearson says.
Some of the changes are to close loopholes where consumers had gamed the system. One trick employed by airline consumers to achieve a certain status was to load up on cheap short-haul flights at the last minute.
“They’d be six segments away from achieving top tier status so they book a ticket where they go Toronto to Chicago to Washington to New York to Boston to Toronto. They get their six segments and secure their top tier status on one Saturday,” Pearson says.
Naturally, any change to a loyalty program risks challenging the very nature of why it exists — namely, to keep customers coming back to a certain brand.
Ken Wong, a marketing professor with the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., figures Loblaw probably wanted to roll the Optimum program into its own PC Plus rewards program, but realized it was going to face some backlash under a single banner.
That concern is not without precedent. When Air Canada swallowed up Canadian Airlines in 2000, it rolled its points program into Aeroplan and made the transition more palatable by including some elements of its formal rival’s Canadian Plus features, like the concierge program for its top tier flyers, while also respecting their status level.
“I think it’s a bit like the TD Canada Trust situation where everybody thought (TD Bank) would drop (the) Canada Trust (name) from the banner but found they couldn’t do it,” said Wong, adding the efficiencies from joining two programs together can be achieved without completely eliminating the brands. “The unification of the back office to get scale efficiencies, you don’t lose that. You don’t lose the analytics. Sure, the advertising goes up, but you were going to spend some money on that already.”
Shoppers officials say there are no plans to end the Optimum loyalty program despite the recent changes in the terms and conditions that have some consumers convinced its future is limited.
“Yes, we revised the terms and conditions in September to make them more reflective of other loyalty program standards. As a result, there is no longer an end date of Dec. 16, 2016. The new terms and conditions indicate there will be a 45-day notice period should the program end. We understand the value of our customer loyalty program and this continues to be a major focus for us. There are no immediate plans to end the Shoppers Optimum program,” said Tammy Smitham, vice-president, external communication, Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart, in an emailed statement.
There’s another reason points program can’t simply just end — they are a legal and financial liability. Lawyer Sylvie De Bellefeuille with Option Consommateurs, an association that advocates for consumers and has launched a class action against Pharmaprix, Shoppers Drug Mart Corp., over points, argues you can’t just change the points structure either. Her case is still winding its way through the courts.
“What (the lawsuit) is based on is there was a contract for a certain period amount of time and it said your points had a certain value and what they did is lower the value of those points,” says Sylvie De Bellefeuille. “Now you need more to get the same thing.”
The argument by some is that points are giving you something for nothing, but the Montreal lawyer says your data or information about yourself is what you are giving. “No company is there just to give gifts,” she says, adding sometimes consumers also shop at a slightly more expensive store because of the points.
The reason to devalue the points is plain and simple, she says.
“It’s a liability, when you lower the points you don’t owe people as much,” De Bellefeuille says. “It becomes a question of how many consumers you will lose versus how much you will lose in your books.”
Jeff Novak, brand director for RedFlagDeals.com, said every time someone tries to change the terms and conditions on a plan they risk major backlash.
“Aeroplan made an announcement they were going to start expiring miles and there was a massive uproar. There were threats of a lawsuit and they decided to reverse course,” Novak says.
Patrick Sojka, the founder of Rewards Canada, says that ever since Air Miles announced points would start expiring people have become “jumpy” about all of their rewards.
“Loblaws knows they can’t just end the program,” Sojka says . “They all put these terms in (saying they can end the program), but it doesn’t mean they will,”
LIMA, Peru – The latest on the summit of the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru (all times local):
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has promised his Chinese counterpart that he will align his foreign policy toward China-led Asian economic development, further reinforcing his shift toward China amid his hostile stance toward the U.S.
Duterte met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the APEC summit in the Peruvian capital of Lima. He also talked to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, whom he has called his political idol.
Duterte first met Xi in a state visit to Beijing last month, where their governments forged mostly trade and economic accords. They also discussed longstanding territorial disputes in the South China Sea. After his China trip, Filipinos were allowed back to fish in the disputed Scarborough Shoal, which Chinese coast guard vessels have guarded since seizing the rich fishing area in 2012.
In their meeting in Lima, Duterte told Xi that “we will co-operate with you.”
He added: “With my thrust of an independent foreign policy, we will find ourselves mutually agreeing in so many things and align our foreign policy towards the development of Asia, strengthening of ties among the countries in the region, with China leading the way in the economic development.”
APEC summit host Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has managed to win a smile from the normally stern-faced Vladimir Putin by speaking to the Russian president in a foreign language the two leaders share: German.
With cameras rolling at the start of their one-on-one meeting, Kuczynski asked the Russian leader: “In what language should we speak?” Putin suggested the two speak in their native languages and use translators.
Kuczynski replied, “But you speak German.” That got a gleeful Putin to say, in fluent German, “Then we can speak Deutsch, if you prefer.”
Putin worked for the KGB in East Germany before the collapse of the Soviet Union, while Kuczynski is the son of Jewish doctor from Germany.
Peru’s almost octogenarian president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, has had his first experience with virtual reality, trying it out during the annual meeting of the 21-nation Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Lima.
As he emerged groggy-eyed, he told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: “I didn’t like the Tyrannosaurus Rex.”
Kuczynski tried out Facebook’s Oculus Rift virtual reality device headset in which dinosaurs, debris and crashing cars jump out at the participant.
It was an “incredible” experience, according to Kuczynski, who is better known for more sedate tastes like playing the classical flute and reading history books.
A video of the encounter posted by Kuczynski’s office on his social media site has gone viral, attracting more than 368,000 views. That is the most replays of any video provided by the president since he took office in July.
Afterward Kuczynski and Zuckerberg posed for a selfie, with the Facebook founder promising to help Peru boost internet connectivity in far-flung, rural parts of the South American country.
And they’re off to Vietnam.
President Tran Dai Quang of Vietnam closed a meeting of business leaders in Peru by inviting them to his Southeast Asian nation in 2017 for the next meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum nations.
Leaders from APEC’s 21 nations have finished their speeches for Saturday and will gather later for a dinner at a downtown Lima park. But with the closure of the APEC CEO summit, most leaders will hide themselves in bilateral meetings and Sunday’s closed-door sessions.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key says that if Donald Trump tries to withdraw the U.S. from trade deals, he shouldn’t expect the rest of the world to follow suit.
Speaking to business leaders, Key said he had sensed “tremendous despair” among attendees of the APEC summit about Trump’s position on trade. He said it’s still possible to save the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated by the Obama administration by introducing cosmetic changes making it acceptable to the incoming U.S. president or crafting a more limited pact among willing signatories that leaves out the U.S.
“Even if the United States doesn’t want to engage in free trade, President Trump needs to know other countries do,” said Key.
Mexico’s president is taking a cautious approach to Donald Trump’s pledges to break up the North American Free Trade Agreement and build a wall to keep out millions of Latino immigrants.
Addressing business leaders at APEC, President Enrique Pena Nieto refused to antagonize the incoming U.S. president even as he strongly defended trade between the two countries.
He said the United States and Mexico ship to each other $1 million worth of goods every minute, generating benefits to companies and workers on both sides of the border that must not be jeopardized.
“In the face of Trump’s positioning, we’re now in a stage of favouring dialogue as a way to build a new agenda in our bilateral relationship,” Pena Nieto said. “Mexico, like the entire world, is about to initiate a new stage with the U.S. and in commercial terms we want to give the right value to this strategic relationship between Mexico and the U.S.”
China’s President Xi Jinping is calling for a free trade agreement across the Asia-Pacific region to promote more equitable global growth.
Xi made the forceful call against protectionism in a keynote address to business leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Peru on Saturday.
Xi said that China has contributed to 40 per cent of global growth since the global financial crisis. China’s economy is now cooling as it seeks to rebalance growth away from exports to more domestic sources of growth, but it remains an engine of global growth.
Xi said that more than 700 million Chinese tourists will fan out across the globe in coming years and the country will invest billions abroad.
Still, he said the measure of globalization has to be an improvement in peoples’ lives and a reduction of poverty. He said a proposed free trade area encompassing all 21 APEC members can contribute to that goal.
The post The Latest: Philippine leader looks to China-led development appeared first on Canadian Business - Your Source For Business News.
However, to affect a large-scale transition from coal to natural gas in China will be far more difficult than it has been in the U.S., where the price of natural gas per unit of energy output is much lower than that of coal. In China, the situation is reversed.
One approach that’s likely to significantly reduce coal use is China’s upcoming national carbon emission cap-and-trade system, a key enabler of its pledge at the 2015 UN Paris climate talks to hit two targets by 2030: to peak CO2 emissions and decrease carbon intensity (CO2 emissions per unit of GDP) by 60-65 percent below 2005 levels. But because the cap-and-trade system penalizes carbon emissions, which result from the combustion of natural gas (albeit about half as much as coal per unit of energy output), it would have the effect of decreasing natural gas consumption as well. And at the current relative prices of fuels, the policy would not result in a switch from coal to natural gas.
An integrated strategy combining the cap-and-trade policy with a natural gas subsidy (an estimated $5 billion paid for through the sale of emissions permits under the policy) would enable China to reach its 10 percent natural gas target in 2020 and further reduce coal use, keeping the nation on track to meet both its climate and natural gas promotion goals.
Climate Change Economics - The future of natural gas in China: Effects of pricing reform and climate policy
China probably does have the world’s largest shale gas potential with 1,115 Tcf of technically recoverable resources, but future production doesn’t seem as promising as it was just a few years ago, constrained by geological complexity, shortages of water, land access, and the limitations of infrastructure and the service industry.
Read more »
Image via Unsplash
Let’s say your product is ideal for travel—hiking boots, maybe, or one of those folding toothbrushes, a pair of awesome hiking pants, or the most durable suitcase in the world. You want everyone to see it in action, watch it hit the road, and get honest and genuine feedback from the influencers using and showcasing it.
In short, you need travel influencers. Who better to tell your brand’s story than an influential traveling power couple who can write, take great photos, and showcase that toothbrush to thousands of followers that have grown to trust them? Good news: These people do exist.
Travel Bloggers With Lots to Share
Meet Hannah and Adam from gettingstamped.com, two thirty-somethings that busted out of the corporate world and decided to travel the globe, all while writing about and photographing everything they see, do, and use. Over 100,000 people see where they go, what they pack, and how they use it every day.
If you’re a smart marketer, you’re probably craving a chance to showcase your brand in such an authentic and organic experience. We recently talked to Adam of Getting Stamped, and he told us exactly how to do it.
Choosing Products for Authentic Fit
As with all types of influencer marketing, being authentic and complementary to your brand are key components. If it isn’t something your audience would use, forget it. Unless a blogger is a true brand fan, it’s not a post that would do your brand any good, anyways. Always use authentic brand fits as your first filter when vetting.
Adam says, “Brand and blog mismatches are one of the biggest causes of failure with influencer campaigns. Many bloggers don’t see the downsides and take the projects anyways. This can cause blogs to lose credibility and brands to waste marketing dollars. It’s a lose/lose.” (highlight to tweet)
In short, don’t stretch. The blogger will feel uncomfortable trying to include the product, and the audience will sniff that out. If another influencer can better integrate your product into their lifestyle, it’s a better choice—even if they have fewer followers!
Following that train of thought, it makes sense to have, say, your new toothbrush in a list of must-haves, rather than an individual review. Featuring one item on its own can seem a bit forced. If you include it in a list, or a kit of travel essentials, it has context, and its utility is much more obvious—and it will almost certainly get more clicks. If you want interactive feedback and engagement with the consumer, it’s sometimes best to be a part of one of these lists.
Adam explains it like this: “We always try to give some real inspiration on why someone would want or need a product by talking about it in context or wearing/using it in some great photos.”
The Power of Relationship Building
Really getting to know the influencers is one of the more overlooked aspects of this type of marketing. Notice on their blog that they’re heading to the Maldives? Maybe hold off on shipping them the flannel shirts, and send the bikinis instead; it’s much more likely to be appreciated and, most importantly, used and reviewed.
Likewise, thinking through their travel plans and sending something versatile that is likely to be used every day would make that campaign that much more effective. One of Adam’s favorite campaigns did just that.
“If I had to pick just one memorable successful project, it would probably be the ‘7-day Stretch‘ Campaign with PrAna. We had to wear their pants for seven days and take Instagram pictures and share our experience. We took the pants on a road trip full of hiking and outdoor activities that paired well with the brand and our style. It felt natural and unforced, and we got plenty of great shots and a bunch of comments on the clothing in the pictures and posts.”
Don’t ever underestimate the value of creativity in the campaigns you set up and the way you engage your influencers on a community level. Ask your influencers questions, and get a feel for what they like and need. The return on this simple investment of time and effort can be incredible.
The travel lifestyle has a lot to offer influencer marketing: exotic locales, gorgeous settings, and the unique opportunity to showcase your product as indispensable. In the hands of folks like Hannah and Adam, your single piece of gear becomes essential in the eyes of thousands. Check out their site at gettingstamped.com, and who knows? Maybe your brand’s folding toothbrush is all they need.
Have you come across any travel bloggers you’ve loved? Share in the comments below!
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You might think life would be easier, happier, and infinitely more fulfilling if only you could rack up a few more IQ points.
But that's hardly the case, as evidenced by the 100-plus answers on a Quora thread titled, "When does intelligence become a curse?"
Users wrote about everything from the absurdly high expectations that people place on them to the trouble of constantly being perceived as a braggart.
Below, we've rounded up some of the most thought-provoking responses and explained the science behind them.
You often think instead of feel
Quora user Marcus Geduld says he generally understands his emotions really well and can tell other people about them — but he never feels the relief of expressing them.
"This is a common problem for smart people, especially ones who are highly verbal. They use words as a smoke screen, and it's all the more effective when their words are true. Less articulate people tend to vent through physicality. They yell, punch, kick, run, scream, sob, dance, jump for joy... I explain. And when I'm done explaining, everything I've explained is still stuck inside me, only now it has a label on it."
Geduld's observation highlights the distinction between cognitive and emotional skills.
Scientists can't say for sure whether and how the two factors are related, but some interesting research suggests that high emotional intelligence compensates for low cognitive ability, at least in the workplace. In other words, it would seem that people who are super smart might not need to rely on emotional skills to solve problems.
People frequently expect you to be a top performer
"You are automatically expected to be the best, no matter what," writes Roshna Nazir. "You have nobody to talk to about your weaknesses and insecurities."
What's more, you're panicked about what would happen if you didn't perform up to snuff.
"This makes you so cautious about your failure that you cannot sometimes afford to take risks just fearing that what would happen if you lose," writes Saurabh Mehta.
In an excerpt from "Smart Parenting for Smart Kids" posted on PsychologyToday.com, the authors write that parents are generally most anxious about their kids' achievement when those kids are smart and already doing well in school.
Unfortunately, they write, "sometimes that can lead to too much focus on what they do rather than on who they are."
You might not learn the value of hard work
A number of Quora users mentioned that intelligent people feel like they can get by with less effort than other people. But a high IQ doesn't always lead directly to success, and highly intelligent people may never develop the perseverance required to succeed.
According to Kent Fung, "Intelligence becomes a problem when those who have it discover early in life that they don't need to work as hard to keep up, and thus never develop a good strong work ethic."
One study found that conscientiousness — i.e. how hard you work — is in fact negatively correlated with certain types of intelligence. The researchers propose that highly intelligent people might feel like they don't need to work as hard to accomplish what they want.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Unless you are Coca-Cola or Frito-Lay, you will probably not be developing creative advertising for the Super Bowl commercial slots. In fact, both have reduced their outbound marketing strategies in favor of social media campaigns (“Share a Coke;” “Do Us a Flavor”). They are now engaged in inbound marketing by getting consumers to actively participate in their campaigns – attracting people through inbound marketing.
Businesses that want to generate leads would do well to take their cues from these “big boys.” Today’s consumers do not want to be found and sold to – they want to do their own research and participate in finding you. Once they do, it is your job to develop the relationship that nurtures that lead into something more.
Effective lead generation through inbound marketing, then, becomes the primary task of marketers. Here are six strategies to generate those leads and begin the relationship-building process.
1. Content Marketing
By now, this term has become a “household word” among marketers. They know they have to generate lots of content that engages the right audience, keeps them engaged, and provides enough value that targets move to landing pages on the business site, trust the company, and then provide their contact information as a result. In fact, they do not even have to provide their contact information. Based upon their behavior on your site, you can then re-target them with content that speaks specifically to their needs and interests.
When content is consistent and relevant and valuable to the target market, they will come.
Traditionally, marketers have thought of blogs as the only and most important place for content. Not so. While popular blogs certainly attract readers and followers, other content venues are just as important – e-books, guides, how-to and explainer videos, podcasts, and obviously social media posts – all comprise methods by which content can be delivered. Smart marketers use them all, because they:
- Attract targeted visitors to their sites
- Engage visitors and entice them to provide their contact information
- Allow marketers to nurture leads on a personal level
- Promote social sharing, which brings in more leads
- Improve brand awareness and trust
Creating the Right Content/Choosing the Right Distribution Channel
This of course is the crux of the matter. If you have defined your target audience, and you know where it hangs out online, you should know what it values, what information and education it wants, and what will entertain and inspire, then you will know the type of content to produce and where to publish or offer it. The key to content is not to sell; it is to build interest and foster relationships. Research your demographic, check out your competition and give your audience what it values and needs.
Each piece of content should have an objective. Before you create any content, define your objective – are you going to educate? Tell a story? Inspire? Entertain? All of these are worthy objectives. What is not a worthy objective is selling your product or service.
2. Your Website
Your website should be a lead generation tool in itself. All content you post elsewhere should drive people to your site, where lead generation can occur, if done right. And if your SEO strategies are effective, traffic comes from organic searches. Here is all that your website should be doing to generate leads:
- If you rank well in SEO results, inbound traffic comes – your job then is to hold them there.
- Grab attention as soon as visitors hit your landing page
- Have forms that are easily completed with as few fields as possible, yet enough to use in your nurturing process. Have a goal for each form on your site – a valuable download, an email/newsletter subscription, etc.
- Provide a blog as a source of great information, entertainment, stories, etc. Engage with visuals and videos amidst broken text.
- Create engaging calls to action for your conversion buttons. The words “Click Here” are boring. Entice with something like “Get Your Guide Now.” Your goal is to give the visitor a reason for clicking the button.
Now, about the site itself. If visitors find it appealing, they will tend to stay awhile; if visitors find it easy to navigate, they tend to stay awhile; if visitors can get a form filled out quickly, they will tend to do it. If visitors are not asked for too much information, they will fill out a form (e.g., email addresses are usually happily surrendered; phone numbers are not).
SEO is a topic for another blog post – however, if you do not feel as though you are effective in SEO strategies, get a good guide that will walk you through the best tactics.
3. Email Lists
Of course, you already have conversions from visitors if they have signed up for your mailing list. But how you use these leads in your email campaigns will make all of the difference in nurturing that lead through the process of becoming a customer. Your email campaigns can do two important things:
- Build relationships with existing subscribers so they stay with you and choose you when they are ready to purchase.
- Provide shareable content that your leads will then send out to their communities and generate more leads.
Here are just a few tips:
- Give your subscribers share buttons within each email
- Use CTA’s to drive readers to landing pages for value that you offer (only one per email).
- Create subject lines that scream “Open Me.” This is surely an art, but one that you must master.
4. SMS Marketing
Like email, if you have a lead’s phone number, you have already achieved a great conversion. SMS lead nurturing is rapidly becoming an amazingly effective marketing tool. In fact, they are beginning to replace email campaigns. When smart phone users can receive a quick text message from you regarding some new of value that you are offering, along with a link to the landing page to get that value, they are far more likely to link over to you. Why? Because research is now showing that texts are far more widely read than emails. They are fast and recipients can respond just as fast.
5. Using Your Landing Pages
Your website may have several landing pages, dependent upon where the visitor is “inbounding” from. The purpose of every landing page is to generate leads, and they must focus on that above all else. In exchange for surrendering their information, the visitor receives something of value.
Here is how to optimize your landing pages:
- Connect with that visitor within the first few seconds. What value or benefit are you offering? Make it attractive and a means by which that visitor can solve a problem.
- Each landing page must be for a specific purpose. Visitors who want a “how-to” video are not the same visitors who want a list of websites on healthy diets. Making multiple landing pages takes work, but having a single, generic lead generating page with multiple purposes will turn people away – fast.
- Make your landing pages very simple. The visitor has landed there for a purpose. Provide the value, present the lead form, and leave it at that. Design should be minimal with only what is required, and yet it should be attractive and at least contain your logo and brand name. In short, restate the problem to be solved, present the solution (download, etc.), show the value, and deliver what you promised. Include a privacy statement and any guarantees that might generate more trust.
6. Deploying Social Media Marketing
If you have been in the marketing business for any time at all, using social media is a “no-brainer.” It is how you develop relationships, followings, and shares. It is also a lead generation tool, because it drives traffic to your site, specific landing pages, and your blog. Marketers who use social media to promote products and services fail; marketers who use social media to establish trust and relationships succeed.
- Create shareable content. It can be humorous, inspirational, provide value of some sort, etc. – posts must be something that readers want to share. Foundr Magazine, an online publication for startup entrepreneurs, tweets several times a day with photos and inspirational messages, contests, etc. ModCloth features its customers as its models; Toms Shoes pulls at heartstrings with photos and videos of needy children being fitted with new shoes.
- Use the right platforms. You cannot be everywhere. Choose carefully based upon the research of where your demographic is.
- Post at the right times. Again, the research has been done. Use it.
- Track the popularity of your posts and the amount of inbound traffic you are getting from them. Google Analytics will provide the reports to you.
Plenty to Chew On
This is an information-filled post, to be sure. Many of these strategies you may already be working, at least to some extent. Hopefully, though, you will have some new information that you can use to improve what you already do. And one last piece of advice? Keep current with the research, think about branching out into SMS, and be as creative as you can.
Welcome to the fifth and final part of our five-part series on creating and sending effective personalized cold emails. Today we’ll cover how to handle responses, and tips on boosting response rates.
If you missed them, check out our previous posts on choosing the right tool for your cold email campaign, defining campaign goals, effective email copy and campaign set-up and execution. We want to hear from you! Please email us your questions and share your cold email experiences with us on Twitter.
Post-Launch Campaign Management and Strategy
So you’ve launched an email campaign. Work is done, right? Wrong.
Studies show that if you don’t respond to an email within 90 minutes the likelihood of getting a response drops drastically.
Handling replies is your top priority (yes, even the negative ones). Try calling positive replies as soon as you get the email back! If you don’t get a response from a follow-up email or call, set a task to follow up again in another day or so.
For negative response, send a quick “thanks for your consideration” note — and let them know that if anything changes in the future that they should reach out to you.
A rejection is a great opportunity to share a piece of helpful content, so make sure you take advantage of it.
Most people think that their sales approach should be either cold calling or cold emailing. The truth is that the best practice is to do both. Having access to click and open rates data is a tremendous advantage when cold calling. These email tools give you insights into who knows your company, your name and what you do. These will be the warmest “cold calls” you’ll ever make. You should plan to call within 28-48 hours of the click or open.
After your campaign goes live, the metrics will provide important feedback for next steps. Open rates measure how good your subject line is, and replies measure how good your overall messaging and CTAs are. High open rate and low replies is an indication that you need to work on improving the CTA or the main value proposition of your message.
It’s important to track clicks, but beware of click-tracking features. Email service providers are catching on to click-tracking techniques, so including them in your messages can cause your emails to get caught up in spam filters.
“Always be testing” and use the data to your advantage.
Click To Tweet
A/B test your messaging whenever possible and follow the template that performs better for you. Each time you launch a new round of emails, replace the underperforming message with an updated version of the top performing version.
And lastly, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! At a certain point, the metrics won’t budge any higher.
X number of leads = Y number of responses = Z number of opportunities = predictable revenue.
We hope you have enjoyed and benefited from this five-part series. Personal, cold email outreach is a powerful tool for building a predictable revenue engine. We’d love to hear from you, so please drop us a line!
What’s the difference between highly effective marketers and those who are struggling to increase their impact?
Since we came into a treasure trove of data — The State of Pipeline Marketing Report 2016— we’re able to dig into this question. We segmented the survey data to only show respondents who reported marketing ROI greater than 2x, which was about one-third of the respondents. To see how they differ, we then compared them to the overall average.
Here is what we found:
Out of the 15 marketing channels included in the survey, high performing marketers are more likely to use 11 of them. The four channels that high performing marketers are less likely to use are PR (-5.1 percentage points), video advertising (-5.1 pp), outbound calling (-2.9 pp), and conferences / trade shows (-0.5 pp).
On the other hand, the three channels that had the greatest positive difference between marketers with ROI greater than 2x and the average are SEO (+10.7 pp), word-of-mouth / referrals (+6.8 pp), and content marketing (+6.1 pp).
When it comes to top performing marketing channels, the same three channels stand out. High performing marketers are more likely to say that word-of-mouth / referrals, SEO, and content marketing have the greatest impact on revenue.
We also found that while high performing marketers and the average marketer had largely the same top marketing priorities — to generate more leads/demand (48.3% vs. 45.7%) and then convert those leads to customers (35.0% vs. 34.1%) — they did differ in how they prioritize marketing metrics.
In other words, while the overall goal is similar, the metrics that they are accountable to — how they achieve those goals — offer a little more insight. High performers are more likely to say that down-funnel marketing metrics (opps, pipeline, customers, revenue, and ROI) are their primary metric by about 10 percentage points.
High performing marketers rated their ability to measure their marketing performance much higher than the overall average. Marketers with ROI over 2x are nearly twice as likely to rate their ability to measure marketing performance a 4 or 5 out of 5, compared to the overall average (55% vs. 28%).
Let’s dig into why they may be able to better measure marketing performance.
The survey data also shows that high performers are about 25% more likely to use multi-touch attribution than the average (a 6.2 pp difference). They’re also 20% less likely to not have an attribution solution at all (a -7.4 pp difference).
Furthermore, the survey also gives us data on why they are using their attribution model. High performers are using their current attribution model because 1) it accurately gives revenue credit to marketing activities, and 2) it is easy to implement and set up. They’re about 15% more likely to give these reasons compared to the average (a 4.4 and 6.0 pp difference, respectively). They’re also 30% less likely to use their current attribution model because it was the default option (a -7.6 pp difference).
All of this results in greater confidence in the accuracy of their marketing data. On average, high performing marketers rated their confidence in the accuracy of their marketing data 0.6 points higher than the overall average (3.52 out of 5, compared to 2.92 out of 5).
Sales and Marketing Alignment
Sales and marketing alignment is a fundamental element of pipeline marketing. When there is alignment, marketing is no longer throwing leads over the wall for the sales team to try to close. Instead, they are working together to target the right prospects and nurture them with a unified and coordinated message.
Looking at the data, we see that there is a correlation between high marketing performance and alignment. High performing marketers, on average, rated their alignment a 3.75 out of 5, which was 0.59 points higher than the overall average (3.16). High performers were also more than twice as likely to rate their alignment a 5 out of 5.
So what do you do if you want to give yourself the greatest chance of being a high performing marketer?
According to the data, there are several things that you can do.
- Use as many marketing channels as you have the resources for
- But specifically focus on SEO, word-of-mouth referrals, and content marketing
- When it comes to marketing metrics, you need to be prioritizing down-funnel metrics, like pipeline and revenue
- Measure your marketing efforts with multi-touch marketing attribution
- Tighten your alignment with sales — both in team culture and process
The State of Pipeline Marketing Report 2016 is filled with dozens of stats and insights about how B2B marketers drive growth. We will continue to publish deep dives on the data, so subscribe to the Bizible blog, and be sure to download the report below.