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Personal development is often thought of as a serious matter, especially when it comes to career advancement. But, maintaining a serious attitude isn’t appropriate in all situations. If you truly want shoot the moon, pairing your career (and life) with a knack for being funny will definitely get you the extra (s)miles you want for personal growth.

 

Humor will enhance your personal development

Why should you want to be funny?

What’s the biggest advantage of having a good sense of humor? It helps both your emotional and physical well being for starters. While it has been taught for years that having a nice laugh is a good stress reliever, it is only now that research shows that is indeed the case. Laughter helps the body relax by releasing endorphins, your body’s natural pain reliever. It also helps increase brain activity, which is great in those situations where you need to think a lot. Lastly, laughter boosts your body’s immune system and helps in fighting illness.

And this is not all! A good sense of humor also does wonders for the personal development of your interpersonal relationships. Being able to laugh off the stress of work easily makes you approachable to co-workers. Also, your relaxed attitude will eventually rub off on them and will help them feel more comfortable working with you. And as already mentioned, the increased brain activity you get will be indispensable when managing and working with other people.

How do you develop your sense of humor?

Now that you know the benefits of a good sense of humor for personal development, the next step is to know how to develop yours. Note that there is really no clear cut way of learning to be funny. It is really something that you have to grow into along the way. But there are a few handy tips to help you get a feel for it.

One thing in particular that you need is inspiration. Each of us has our own share of funny moments. Just recalling yours is often enough to put a grin on your face. Going on comedy sprees by watching comedy films and standup acts on Netflix, Comedy Central or visiting comedy clubs also help in maintaining your smile.

A good exercise to apply your new found knack for comedy is finding the lighter side of things that happen around you. For instance, if something annoying occurs in the workplace, think about why you feel that it is annoying. Chances are, you’ll find the annoyance overblown and you will start to see the funnier side.

A little advice (to help you advance your personal development)

Each situation and each person is different. As such, how well your jokes are received will also differ. Take a short pause and think what would be the best punchline for a given situation. Also keep in mind that certain topics, such as family issues, religion and politics may be off limits.

Finally, remember that everyone tells a bad joke now and then. Don’t be hard on yourself. It’s all part of the training. It’s only after you’ve made a few mistakes that you’ll likely find your groove. Soon you’ll know the best time and place to insert humor into any situation, and you’ll find that humor has become a significant contributor to your personal development bringing you the success you’ve been looking for.

Do you need graphics or a web design team that can add that fun twist to your company? Contact us today and we will gladly be of service.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Making the Most of Today’s Marketing Tools
4 Ways Business Blogging Helps Build Trust In Your Business
Will Your Website Be A Success Or A Failure In The Coming Years?
Grow Your Business With Email Marketing
Combining Blogging and Social Media into a Truly Effective Strategy
5 Ways You Can Benefit By Using LinkedIn
How To Amp Up Your Visibility With Facebook

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

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Three quarters of small business owners say their biggest problem is finding new customers, according to a poll conducted by email marketing firm Constant Contact. This article can help you make the most of today’s marketing tools.

 

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Finding new business represents a major marketing challenge, especially since a Staples survey found that the average business only has a $2,000 marketing budget available to solve the problem. Such limited resources mean that implementing smarter marketing is essential for companies trying to make more sales in today’s economy. Making the most of these key tools can help marketers accomplish this task.

Mobile Marketing

Goldman Sachs market research projects mobile commerce will represent nearly half of e-commerce within five years. Accordingly, half of retailers who sell online plan to make mobile marketing a priority this year. Companies reaching out to the mobile market are centering their focus on two overlapping areas: mobile website optimization and responsive web design.

Google Developers provides webmasters with a checklist of items to ensure optimization for mobile devices. For ideal optimization, Google recommends using a responsive web design that serves the same HTML code for one URL and uses CSS media queries to adjust how users see content displayed. Alternately, Google also supports dynamic serving of different HTML for different users or a separate site for users with mobile devices.

Visual Content

Visual content, especially photos, generate the most user engagement on social media. A sample by Social Bakers of 5,000 brands’ Facebook pages found that among posts that generated the most likes, comments and shares, 93 percent were photos while another 2 percent were videos. Knowing this makes it possible for web designers to increase their sites’ social media clout by using resources such as royalty-free Shutterstock footage and images to enhance their content’s visual appeal. Another useful strategy is using infographics to give textual content a graphic component.

Niche Marketing with Analytics

Smaller companies facing larger competition can use analytics data to seek out untapped niche markets. This is generally sound advice in any industry and can be implemented by using analytics software. Google Analytics and Facebook Insights are two of the most fundamental and readily-available analytics tools. Other social media sites such as Pinterest have their own specialized analytics tools. For in-depth training in the use of these tools and others, Jigsaw Academy provides online courses, including coverage of tools specific for niches such as retail and finance.

Extending Customized Sales Offers

Another efficient application of analytics is using collected customer data in order to extend customized sales offers. For instance, in-store analytics providers such as RetailNext help stores use smartphone tracking data to identify customers as they enter the store. It will track their aisle movements, analyze their purchasing history and deliver customized assistance based on the results. Other providers such as Coupons.com are offering customized coupons and purchasing recommendations for customers based on their analytics data. Such strategies refine niche marketing down to the level of the individual consumer, optimizing sales efficiency.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

4 Ways Business Blogging Helps Build Trust In Your Business
Will Your Website Be A Success Or A Failure In The Coming Years?
Grow Your Business With Email Marketing
Combining Blogging and Social Media into a Truly Effective Strategy
5 Ways You Can Benefit By Using LinkedIn
How To Amp Up Your Visibility With Facebook

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?

With 80% of traffic coming from outside of the United States, 60% of viewers on YouTube come from countries whose primary language is NOT English. Where do they all come from?

 

YouTube statistics for Saudi Arabia
YouTube statistics for the United Kingdom
YouTube statistics for Germany
YouTube statistics for Australia
YouTube statistics for Japan

This awesome infographic is presented here thanks to Jeremy Siegfried and his team at Altervista.org.

Here are YouTube’s current statistics on Viewership:

  1. More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month.
  2. Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube. That’s almost an hour for every person on Earth.
  3. 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  4. 80% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US.
  5. YouTube is localized in 61 countries and across 61 languages.
  6. According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network.
  7. Millions of subscriptions happen each day. The number of people subscribing daily is up more than 3x since last year. The number of daily subscriptions is up more than 4x since last year

Contact me to learn more about using YouTube for your business.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

4 Ways Business Blogging Helps Build Trust In Your Business
Combining Blogging and Social Media into a Truly Effective Strategy
4 Ways To Grow Your Business Using LinkedIn
How To Amp Up Your Visibility With Facebook
Grow Your Business With Email Marketing

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

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Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?

Inbound marketing utilizes any or all of the forms of “pull” marketing (blogs, SEO, events, social media, content marketing, etc.) to attract new business and create brand awareness.

 

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Why should you care?

Because inbound marketing is hot. So hot that in 2013, about 60 percent of 3,300 marketers surveyed worldwide use the practice. So what’s all the buzz? Read on to find out more.

According to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing, inbound marketing yields a stronger ROI than traditional marketing and has grown around 50 percent for the third consecutive year, according to the annual report.

Given this information, your emphatic social media presence and captivating blog posts aren’t futile. Hubspot’s report also found that last year, inbound marketing produce 54 percent more leads compared to outbound sources. Keep in mind, although inbound marketing is hot, not all subsequent inbound leads are hot as well.

Qualified Leads Vs. Dead Leads

An expert marketer doesn’t believe all inbound leads are warm. Sales reps and marketers commonly mistake inbound leads as warm leads because of a person’s initial inquiry or sign of interest, which aren’t necessarily substantial lead qualifiers. If you treat an unqualified inbound lead as an automatic easy sale or quick conversion, you could waste your resources. Once you qualify the lead, you can effectively nurture it and start the selling process.

All inbound leads aren’t equal. Each is valued differently, and you need to gather more information about the person before you work the pitch. One lead who was redirected to your landing page from a blog post may be ready to buy. One lead may just want the free giveaway offered on Facebook and have nothing to do with your products and services thereafter. Someone may have genuine, but long-term interest that’s not immediately actionable.

Qualifying separates the dead-end inquiries from the real potential buyers. Discard dead leads with zero potential and focus on qualified real buyers by immediately engaging with hot leads and moving warm leads into a database. A sales and marketing team can even using a scoring system to determine the value of a lead from warm to hot, recommends ReadyContacts.

Determining a Qualified Lead

Communication determines the quality of your lead. Ideally, wait no longer than a few hours to follow-up and call your inbound leads, recommends McCarthy & King Marketing. Assess their potential as real buyers by asking lead-qualifying questions. Your goal is to gathering information about the following:

  • What motivated the person to act on a post, article or piece of content?
  • What is the level of need the person has for your product or service and can he or she afford it?
  • Does the lead have an influence in the purchasing decision?
  • Is the lead interested in other similar products or services (competitors?)
  • What does he or she like so far?
  • How long has the person been interested in this product or service and what’s held him or her back from purchasing or investing?
  • How long will the lead need to make a decision?

Inbound + Outbound Marketing

Sales reps and marketers may be less inclined to cold call an inbound lead because of telemarketing’s bad reputation. Email or direct mail can serve as a follow-up technique, but are easy to dismiss. A phone call and personalized conversation completes the lead-qualifying process. Attracting a lead through inbound marketing tactics and securing the lead through an outbound marketing tactic (cold calling) maximizes the marketing strategy.

Before dialing, know your online consumer. Information about your prospect and consumer context can help you sell smarter and respond effectively to customer preferences. QuoteWizard, an auto insurance leads company, breaks down the online consumer into five online personality types. The online consumer can be a passive user, proactive protector, solely shopper, open sharer, or simply interactor. After you’ve identified your lead, you can determine its value and make the pitch if you qualify it.

Along with a phone conversation, sales reps and marketers can also qualify a lead with incentives and email. Offer a special discount or giveaway for completing a survey. Use a perk to encourage a lead to fill out a contact form. The more you learn about your prospect, the more effectively you can use his or her needs to optimally sell.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

4 Ways Business Blogging Helps Build Trust In Your Business
What Makes The Perfect Blog Post? [Infographic]
Why Should You Care About Starting A Blog?
Will Your Website Be A Success Or A Failure In The Coming Years?
Grow Your Business With Email Marketing
Combining Blogging and Social Media into a Truly Effective Strategy
5 Ways You Can Benefit By Using LinkedIn
How To Amp Up Your Visibility With Facebook

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?

Probably the greatest asset of any business is the trust of its employees and customers. Without trust, you’re leaving money on the table, and business blogging is one of the best trust builders available to you in this digital age.

 

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Blogging has always been a great way to increase your search engine rankings. Now, here are 4 ways business blogging can help build trust in your business:

1. Business Blogging Helps Show Your Business Personality

There is only so much information you can provide on your company website. In addition to your blog being an extension of your site, it can be the most valuable website promoter you can have. By publishing a profile photo on your blog, you have made your introduction to your audience less formal. By taking the time to create unique content that informs, educates, or entertains, you have shown people the human side of your business.

2. Business Blogging Helps Place The Interests of Your Readers First

When you bought your last car, were you more concerned about the make of the vehicle or its safety, comfort, and economical features? You probably bought the vehicle that delivered the most benefits to you, right? Your current and potential clients and customers feel the same way – “What’s in it for me?” They may already recognize your brand, but they are looking for a reason to make your products and services the best alternative for them. By giving your readers information that answers a question or solves a problem, you earn their confidence and they will be more likely to turn to you to provide the products and services they need.

3. Business Blogging Helps When It’s Not Be All About Selling

People usually don’t visit your business blog or site to buy something. They are most frequently looking for information. By providing quality blog content that is unique to your target audience, you can let people know that you are more concerned about building relationships than you are about selling something to every person who visits your blog.

4. Business Blogging Helps Your Company Be Transparent

The easiest way for a business to lose prospects and customers is through deception. If you are offering a FREE product or service on your blog or website, make sure there are no hidden costs lost somewhere in the fine print. If you market a product or service that is experiencing consumer-related problems, tell people about the problem and also tell them what you are doing to correct it. Today, people have access to more information than ever before. If they feel they aren’t getting the total picture, they will go somewhere else.

If your readers don’t trust you, it’s almost impossible to convert them into subscribers, clients, or customers. By placing the needs of your audience above your own interests, you’ll be right on target.

Contact us today to learn more about creating useful and informative web content to deliver your message in the most effective and successful way available, through business blogging.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

What Makes The Perfect Blog Post? [Infographic]
Why Should You Care About Starting A Blog?
Will Your Website Be A Success Or A Failure In The Coming Years?
Grow Your Business With Email Marketing
Combining Blogging and Social Media into a Truly Effective Strategy
5 Ways You Can Benefit By Using LinkedIn
How To Amp Up Your Visibility With Facebook

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?

It is the quality of your content that will ultimately determine your website success or failure. Obviously, people must be able to find your content, which brings in the SEO techniques used in website design. However, it is the combination of these two elements that will have the most impact on your site’s popularity with current and potential customers.

 

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Here are seven questions to ask yourself:

1. Does Your Website Load Quickly?

In this age of instant gratification, most web visitors won’t wait more than a few seconds for a web page to load before moving on. Even though a lot of video, large files and other elements of web design seem to make your site more interesting, they may slow down the load time. Use only those elements that add real value to your site.

2. Is Your Website Compatible With Multiple Browsers/Devices?

People may be viewing your site on a variety of web browsers, as well as on smartphones and tablets. It is important to test your site on a number of different browsers and devices to make sure everyone has access to it. One way to help assure the latter, is to use a responsive web design so that your website is accessible on all mobile devices.

3. Is Your Website Easy To Navigate?

When people visit your site, they are looking for specific information and they want to find it quickly. If the navigation is too complex, it will only cause frustration and your visitor will leave. Even though you may have heard or read that a sitemap is only important for search engines this isn’t true. A simple HTML sitemap enhances the user experience by providing a one page source for all information contained on your site. The sitemap can be an especially crucial element if your website is very large.

4. Does Your Website Provide Real Value?

If you are in a competitive industry, what makes your website any different or better than your competition? The answer will lie in its presentation and content. Your website will be more successful if everything is arranged in a logical sequence and your web design is consistent on all pages. The content on your site must answer questions or provide information that will allow your visitors to make better informed buying decisions. It’s not who you are but what makes you better.

5. Does Your Website Have A Hidden Agenda?

Successful online relationships are built on confidence and trust. You must be totally transparent in all information provided on your website. The easiest way to lose a prospect or customer is for them to feel like they’ve been tricked into doing something. Be totally honest and up front with everything.

6. Is Your Website Balanced Between Value and Marketing?

Does the content of your website actually solve a problem? Your visitors come looking for information and most of them have no intention of buying anything right now. They would really like to find a reason why they should do business with your company. Efforts to constantly sell is a major turn off. By showing that you place the customers’ interests above your own, you are giving them the best reason to buy from you.

7. Is Your Website Content Easy to Read and Understand?

Most people seem to be always in a hurry. They will not read every word you place on the page. They will look for a headline, a caption or a word, and if they don’t find it, they will move on to another site. Your content should focus on short sentences and paragraphs written in plain English so the average person understands what you’re talking about.

Remember that your website is your business in the minds of the online community. If people don’t like your website, they will most likely have little interest in any other areas of your business. You must design a site that is search engine friendly, but more importantly, it must be designed through the eyes of the consumer.

Contact The Sherwood Group today to learn more about creating a website that is appreciated by search engines and read, linked to, and shared by consumers and other businesses.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Grow Your Business With Email Marketing
Email Marketing: How to Keep Your Messages Out of Your Customer’s Spam Box
Why Should You Care About Starting A Blog?
Combining Blogging and Social Media into a Truly Effective Strategy
5 Ways You Can Benefit By Using LinkedIn
How To Amp Up Your Visibility With Facebook

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?

Chief Marketing Officer Council World Wide reports that U.S. marketers spent only 10.4 percent of their budgets on marketing in 2012. That figure doesn’t just represent marketing campaigns and social media outreach initiatives. It also counts toward client prospecting expenses like data collection, inbound marketing, client entertainment costs and business gifts to name a few.

 

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With shrinking marketing budgets, it’s important to quickly convert potential customers into loyal clients. Come up with a game plan of how to expand upon your existing database to grow your business and land new clients.

Create an Inbound Marketing Campaign

If you want to hook potential clients, inbound marketing generates leads for your business through brand awareness. Launch a blog, release a white paper or create a social media campaign that utilizes specific keywords to attract an audience. Now that you have an engaged audience, you can drive them to a landing page offering a free detailed report in exchange for their emails. Consider including a survey to collect even more information. Inbound marketing can take the guess work out of what your potential clients want and how to warm them up into paying clients.

Upsell Your Leads

Giving potential leads free business tools, research or a consultation can help reel them in to spend money. But you can also think bigger to capture a wider audience that’s vested in your services. Holding a networking event that helps your clients solve a problem is an innovative way to collect more data and close sales. If your company helps small business owners launch social media campaigns, create a free seminar offering classes, keynote speakers and a Q&A session. The event can be held in-person at a conference center, or as an online webinar where members must RSVP in advance.

Such events can tell your company the exact needs of potential clients and how you can help them overcome their frustrations. Once you have an engaged audience, introduce them to your paid services, packages or products. If those leads still need more work to foster a relationship, move their names into a warm leads folder to follow up with at your next event.

Saying Thanks in Style

Leveraging the data you already have to engage potential clients and close leads isn’t enough. You also need to follow up and show your appreciation and gratitude for their time. Consider sending a gift after a significant meeting or during the holidays. Are business gifts or flowers appropriate? Lavish, over-the-top business gifts packaged in giant cellophane-shaped gift baskets aren’t appropriate as they can be seen as a bribe and a cheap attempt to influence decision rather than a sign of good faith. A business gift should simply symbolize your thoughtfulness and eagerness to secure their business and keep in touch. A tasteful flower arrangement or gourmet snack delivery can send a message without overwhelming your leads.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
The Correct Way To Use LinkedIn To Grow Your Business
Grow Your Business With Email Marketing
How to Keep Your Messages Out of Your Customer’s Spam Box
Why Should You Care About Starting A Blog?
Combining Blogging and Social Media into a Truly Effective Strategy
How To Amp Up Your Visibility With Facebook

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?


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