Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Should There Be A Trade-off Between Good Data and Productivity?

There is an old Zig Ziglar quote that says: “The top salesperson in the organization probably missed more sales than 90% of the sales people on the team, but they also made more calls than the others made.” As motivational as this can be, it sounds more like something a sales rep would say to get out from administrative work, such as adding data to your CRM system.

This is something that sales managers have dealt with time and again. Data input, crunching numbers, reporting and the like are deemed as secondary tasks that only keep sales reps from doing their actual jobs, which is to sell.

Arguably a sentiment shared by a lot of sales professionals, it is best articulated in a comment to CBS News Geoffrey James’ question regarding the sales process. BNET member “dawngio” wrote:

“I agree that customer information needs to be accessible and kept up to date for the benefit of both sides. On the downside however, sometimes a company will institute what is euphemistically being called a ‘Sales Process’ comprised mostly of some expensive CRM software… to ‘make the sales process more efficient’ which, in my experience, only leads to two things….

“1. It sets up an environment of Big Brother micromanagement. Reps (especially good ones) HATE to be micromanaged. Will it weed out the ones who are not making the minimum or quality calls? Yes, but it will also tick off the best reps and decrease their productivity managing minutiae instead of doing what they do best, which is SELL.

“2. It is not likely to provide Management with the data for analysis that they were hopeful of when purchasing the magic CRM system – Garbage in, Garbage Out – the reps will input what management wants to hear whether it is reality or not. (Sorry, CRM Sales Reps, but I’ve been doing this for a ‘lotta years).”

The article and comment came out in 2008. And, while a lot has happened in CRM technology’s decade, attitudes and sentiments don’t always follow.

The State of Sales Productivity

In 2015, Docurated conducted a survey among 127 marketing and sales executives regarding sales productivity.

It found that many believe their reps to spend only up to a third of their time doing actual sales. The rest is spent looking up or creating usable content (31 percent) and administrative work, such as updating the CRM system and reporting (20 percent).

Despite these findings, many of these executives still hold sales productivity as the top driver for reaching new revenue targets (79 percent). And, they are actually investing in tools that are supposed to improve this. Companies typically spend around $24,000 per person, in bids for better productivity. A gap lies in investing in tools that actually measure their progress, with 49 percent of respondents having zero to limited productivity measuring capabilities.

Where Does This Leave CRM?

All this puts CRM in limbo.

On one hand, your CRM system is central to your sales operations. It is a technology that has matured through the past decade, and is no longer a glorified rolodex. This is true across CRM products, from enterprise-scale to even lower end options.

With CRM, you get a gamut of advanced features, such as opportunity and contact management, integration with third party applications, and comprehensive communications across different channels, such as email and social media. When it comes to improving sales productivity, it is one of your crucial tools.

However, on the other hand, it is still an investment from which a good number of companies fail to get a return. In the worst cases, some have even lost money on their CRM system, which can run up to $8.2 million per year. Studies point to ‘bad data’ as the cause.

How Do You Solve a Problem like Bad Data

“Garbage data in, garbage results out. Whether you do inbound or outbound marketing, the quality of your database and lists has a huge impact on your results.” – MECLABS Executive Director Brian Carroll

Experian, a business services company, conducted a 2013 survey of multinational companies and found that 91 percent were beset by data errors. These errors include incomplete, inaccurate and duplicate data.

Within a small sector of a company, such data errors may seem negligible – something you can just ignore. However, when this data travels through a multinational company’s massive hierarchy, its damage becomes massive, as well.

Remember too that bad data is one of the top contributors to your sales team’s performance. It could lead to missed opportunities and inefficient sales processes. It could also be the observed trade-off. After all, your CRM system is a good thing. But, it remains a tool that you need to use properly if you want to reap its benefits.

The Costs of Bad Data

There are several possible causes of bad data. This includes:

  • Human error

  • Faulty communication among stakeholders

  • Faulty management strategies

  • Lack of relevant data

If you are to make the most of your CRM system investment and improve sales productivity, alleviating these causes is crucial.

Flawed business intelligence: Forecasting and reporting using bad data will skew the results. Your executives then have to base decisions on flawed intelligence reports, which defeats the point of having these reports in the first place.

Faulty sales and marketing automation: A lot of the automated work – such as follow-ups and marketing campaigns – depends on having a reliable database of contacts. With bad data, you end up using your automation and sending content to wrong format email addresses and the like.

Increased frontline errors: Your customers might also witness bad data-driven errors, such as wrong product pricing, wrong customer information and faulty loyalty incentive programs. This is a turn-off, at the very least. You might also end up losing customers.

Wasted opportunities and time: 77 percent of the respondent companies in the Experian survey claim to have fallen short of their targets because of inaccurate data. They missed opportunities, and underperformed in sales and other aspects of their operations. In the long run, they miss out on the expected returns from their CRM investment.

Fixing Bad Data

The first step to fixing bad data problems is to keep yourself from putting blame on anyone in particular. Bad data is an organizational fault, so responsibility is not just on one person or team. In the same way, addressing bad data is an organizational responsibility too. Here are a few basic steps to take:

Address errors generated by your team within your team: It is important to take ownership of errors generated by your team. Acknowledge your responsibility and then implement controls that minimize future errors and track compliance. Team members need to be trained on data entry best practices and acceptable standards.

Implement strong organization leadership when it comes to data quality: The initiative towards good data and data integrity should be top-down. It is not just about key executives lending support to initiatives that fix bad data and implement reforms. There should be a recognized leader. Traditionally, this has been the role of the Chief Information Officer. However, of late, appointing middle management as data officers is also being done. The appointed head of data quality should lead by example, demonstrating best practices and implementing monitors that ensure compliance.

Make the most of built-in data control automations: Many of today’s CRM systems include the ability to customize data entry rules and standards. You can define required fields, auto-population rules, field dependency rules and more. Likewise, make sure to implement acceptable parameters when it comes to web-to-lead data. Limit data entry/editing access to authorized personnel only.

Implement an organization-wide quality control process: The first step here is to pinpoint your CRM system’s entry points and utilize data cleansing tools at these points. This ensures rich information as the data enters the system. To date, around 23 percent of businesses still opt for manual data checking, which exposes organizations to more errors.

Then, schedule batch data cleanses that check for duplicates, obsolete data and the like. There are applications that can automatically do this, such as UnDupe.

The initial process that you implement might not the best for you so consistently monitor for data integrity. Tweak your process where necessary.

Big Data: the Next Frontier in Productivity

A study by the IDG points to an investment of $8 million on big data by 2014. It also claims that about 70 percent of enterprise companies and big organizations are ready to or have plans of engaging in big data initiatives.

Today, we know that big data is big. It helps executives make data-driven decisions. When integrated with your CRM system, it can predict the behavior and needs of your customers, and improve customer engagements.

We also know that this starts with the good data that you can guarantee today.

What Exactly is Big Data?

Big data has taken on a catchall status, and is used to describe the massive volume of data, made possible in today’s information age. In business however, it more specifically refers to the storage and processing of large amounts of transaction and analytic data, in both structured and unstructured formats.

The goal, of course, is to help businesses become more data-driven, efficient and effective, relying on accumulated information at all operational levels. An impediment here, on top of security, privacy and complexity, is bad data.

The Value of Big Data

There is great value in the move to acquire and use big data for businesses. For one thing, you can be accurate to the very detailed level on all aspects of your operation, including customer engagement and product inventories. You can then be more responsive and make better real-time decisions. You are also able to see a more accurate customer segmentation, which allows you to develop products and services that they really want.

Big Data and Your CRM

Your CRM system and big data go together, especially since this is the system that processes some of the most crucial information within your operations.

When you integrate big data with your CRM, you get access to new tools that allow you to identify new marketing and sales opportunities, integrate internal data with external transactional data (such as those from your social media presence and websites), and better manage your customer engagements.

Here are some benefits from integrating big data with your CRM system:

Improved customer-centric operations – With big data, you get a clearer picture of the performance of teams that directly engage with customers, such as marketing, sales and customer support. Using these performance metrics, you can implement adjustments where necessary. You can accurately predict the returns from these improved engagements and invest more where there is greater returns.

Benchmarking – Through more accurate metrics, you can implement benchmarks that become operational standards within your organization. These benchmarks are based on key indicators, such as customer retention, and cost vs. revenue. Through benchmarking, you can focus on the aspects of your operation that needs improvement.

Better customer knowledge – Through big data and CRM, you can know your customers better since you get your analyses from across all customer touch points, such as inbound calls, social media, websites and email. You can map trends that help you predict customer behavior and needs, and develop content, products and marketing campaigns that are responsive to these behaviors and needs.

Improved decision making – As long as you have a customer-centric/ customer-facing operation in place through CRM and big data, you can make better decisions.

Predictive modeling – One of the key advantages of big data is that it gives you the ability to accurately model customer behavior. Through demographics, engagement and behavior histories, and other accumulated data, you can develop a model of your ideal customer and accurately predict their future behaviors and needs.

So, Is There a Trade-off Between Good Data and Productivity?

The top names in CRM have begun their investment in big data. This includes Oracle, Salesforce and Microsoft. They’re hard at work at developing the capacities and technologies that are capable of processing massive amounts of data.

According to a Gartner-led research, there is currently a glut in unstructured and unprocessed data. This is set to increase by 800 percent come 2020. This represents a challenge, yes – but also, potential for improving a company’s bottom line.

Big data, good data, data… when used optimally and intelligently increases your overall productivity. There’s no need to wait for big data technology to mature. You can already see this in model organizations that have learned to engage their employees in complying with strict data standards and best practices, and are able to use the results in becoming more efficient, effective and profitable.

Source: B2C

Alabama Legalizing Recreational And Medical Marijuana Is A Hoax

GAD-BM / Pixabay

Alabama Govenor Kay Ivey passing a law legalizing recreational and medical marijuana in the state is false. There is no truth to the report that the state of Alabama would be allowing the use of recreational and medical marijuana. Alabama has some of the harshest marijuana penalties in the country.

Possession of even a single joint is punishable by up to a year of incarceration. It is clear these laws have not been successful, and new evidence shows that Alabama’s laws are not being evenly enforced.

Where did this fake news originate? Prank website React365 posted the fake news article reporting that marijuana was legalized in Alabama. You can read the fake news below.

Govenor Kay Ivey passed a law legalizing the use of recreational and medicinal marijuana for the state of Alabama

As of November, first 2017 marijuana will be legal

Overall support for legalize marijuana has hit 64 30 states in the district of Columbia currently have laws broadly legalizing marijuana

I knew Gallup poll released earlier this month shows that a record high percentage of Americans now support legalizing marijuana

For the first time immaturity of Republicans are in favor of legalizing marijuana as well

Update coming soon

However, there is no truth to the news, according to Hoax Alert. If the poor grammar and typo-laden story were not enough to indicate that it was a hoax (despite referencing a real Gallup poll), React365’s disclaimer clearly states that articles should not be taken seriously:

This website is an entertainment website, news are created by users. These are humourous news, fantasy, fictional, that should not be seriously taken or as a source of information.

In fact, the above story, is an exact copy save some minor changes from a hoax involving Virginia legalizing marijuana. exact same article appeared but about Virginia and it wasn’t true either:

Govenor Terry McAuliffe passed a law legalizing the use of recreational and medicinal marijuana for the state of Virginia

As of November, first 2017 marijuana will be legal

Overall support for legalize marijuana has hit 64 30 states in the district of Columbia currently have laws broadly legalizing marijuana

I knew Gallup poll released earlier this month shows that a record high percentage of Americans now support legalizing marijuana

For the first time immaturity of Republicans are in favor of legalizing marijuana as well

Update coming soon

Currently, 29 states and Washington D.C. have laws legalizing marijuana in some form, according to Governing.com. Neither Virginia nor Texas have any such legalization laws at this time.

Here are some examples of people sharing the hoax story on social media:

Hoaxes created on React365 often end up attracting a lot of attention because they look genuine when shared on social media. Users simply produce a fake title, write a short description and select a relevant image to create a prank, which is meant to trick family and friends.

Have you seen the hoax story about Virginia legalizing marijuana circulating social media? What are your thoughts on prank news websites? Let us know in the comments section.

Source: B2C

A Software Company’s Guide to More Software Clients and More Sales

Companies in the Software industry often struggle with marketing their products and services. Much of this struggle involves applying the appropriate strategies to attract more clients and win more sales. Easier said than done, but it largely entails implementing the right process for converting site visitors into leads.

For enterprises in the software business, this remains to be a challenge as increased competition over the years has encouraged important players in the industry to increase their marketing budgets and pursue more aggressive campaigns. This situation has, in fact, become a caveat for newcomers in the software industry. We all know that good ideas are just not enough to entice Software buyers and secure a competitive edge and that the real score is about using the best techniques for promoting a product or solution.

Fortunately, there are tons of methods for software companies big and small to secure higher quantities of leads and better revenue numbers. We just so happen to list down some of them below:

#1. Offer discounts


Credit: https://www.slideshare.net/199design/effective-marketing-strategy-for-a-new-startup-business

Who doesn’t like discounts, anyway? The word itself gives off a good ring to the ears of both vendors and buyers alike. For sellers of software solutions, discounts can open up opportunities for higher sales appointments. In fact, KissMetrics states that companies offering discounts are in a good position to increase revenue by at least 500%.

A word of caution though: Not all discounting campaigns and seasonal sales will result in higher profits. There will always be a tendency for customers to make purchases only when there are discounts.

Another issue to keep in mind is how much you are going to slash from your product’s price tag. You only want discounts because you want to attract even more customers without affecting your profit margins.

#2. Make your site visitor friendly

Your brand’s official site should always work towards increasing revenue and not to turn away potential buyers. Most initial engagements happen when a prospect enters your site and scans through its contents – in much of the same way as a tourist hunts for bargain souvenirs. Being the owner, you should always think of improving your store’s ambiance and make a good impression on anyone that enters.

This is the same thing you need to do with your site. Make everything accessible and easier for your prospects to navigate and browse through your offers. You can always start with responsive design elements. From the placement of buttons to the way you build your fill forms, these elements are essential to help your customers decide faster.

#3. Practice ad retargeting

One thing’s for sure, not all site visitors will end up actually buying a software product from you. Still, it is highly important to understand how most of them will return to the site and make a purchase. For all we know, they were just making shortlists of possible vendors and would eventually come back to get a better glimpse of what you are capable of delivering.

Knowing for a fact that bouncing visitors do not amount to rejections, you need to push ads that will continually remind them to come back and eventually make a purchase.

This is where ad retargeting comes in. Rather than let them go, you need to track their journey through the buying cycle. More importantly, you need to take a closer look at how they interact with your content.

Using these techniques will help you craft better messages that resonate well with your audience. However, you should always be mindful of the most effective timeframes for publishing your ads. Doing so, your software products will be able to win more buyers and lead to a huge spike in your revenue.

#4. Emphasize value

It may seem cliché to some, but in terms of generating plenty of software leads, you will have to demonstrate how valuable your products are to your prospects – even before they make inquiries.

In this vein, you need to make use of content such as reviews. These reviews will add to your brand’s authority, thereby giving prospects a very good reason to make a purchase. You can also solicit testimonials from previous and existing clients to provide your products with enough power to reel in new customers.

This post originally published at The Savvy Marketer.

Source: B2C

How to Present Effectively

robinsonk26 / Pixabay

Presentation skills are essential in today’s business world. If you work for someone else, at some point you will probably need to make a presentation. When you own your own business, you definitely have to make presentations. Knowing how to present effectively is a soft skill that can help you excel in almost any field.

Here’s how to take your presentation game to the next level:


A few weeks ago, I helped my son put together a presentation for school. I told him if he wanted to present effectively, he would need to be ready to practice. It takes practice to excel at anything, and presentation is no different. My son practiced in front of me several times — and he also practiced on his own. He even ran the presentation by two of his friends.

Get in the habit of practicing, and your presentations will be much more effective — especially since when you know the material, you are more likely to project confidence.

Choose a Message to Present to Your Audience

Next, you need to make sure you have a message you can present to your audience. What is the main takeaway? You don’t want to muddy the waters with a lot of different messages and information overload. Instead, think about three key points you want to make that emphasize your core message. Your presentation should focus on those items.

Start by Drawing the Audience In

If you want to present effectively, you need to start by drawing the audience in. There are different methods of doing this. Some ways to grab attention right from the start include:

  • Tell an engaging story that is related to the point you want to illustrate.

  • Share an interesting fact that supports your presentation.

  • Ask a question to get audience engagement.

Don’t start with who you are. That backstory isn’t something many people want to hear. Instead, they want to be engaged from the beginning. Find a way to begin strong so the audience is ready to listen to your message.

Use Your Voice and Body Dynamically

Do you like it when someone stands at a podium and drones at you in the same tone of voice all the way through a presentation? Probably not. It’s boring.

To present effectively, you need to keep the audience engaged. You can do this by changing the speed at which you talk, incorporating meaningful pauses, and even varying the pitch of your voice. You want to make sure you don’t overdo it, and it sounds natural. But using your voice can be a good way to hold an audience’s attention.

Your body can also add to your presentation. Make gestures that are open and inviting. If possible, move around on the stage. It’s even better if you are equipped to actually go among the audience. Make eye contact with audience members and smile.

Bring it All Back

Finally, at the end, bring it all back to the subject at hand. Make sure that you have gone through a natural progression and now your audience is ready to receive your message as you finish strong.

Source: B2C

Protect Your Email Account Against Password Theft With Google Authenticator

Amid threats of hacking and password theft, Google has introduced a free security app to protect your email account.

Google Authenticator generates 2-Step Verification Codes on your phone. You can learn more about the 2-Step Verification here.

The 2-Step Verification is offered on Gmail and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.

The app is compatible with all devices – iOs and Android.

Stronger Security

Google said 2-Step Verification “provides stronger security for your Google Account by requiring a second step of verification when you sign in.”

In addition to your password, you’ll also need a code generated by the Google Authenticator app on your phone.”

Mashable said the code generated by the app “is used to verify the identity of the email account owner when logging into various services.”

The code can technically be sent to your phone via text message every time – but the Google Authenticator app provides an extra level of security.”

Since SMS-based 2FA has a known security flaw, according to Mashable, a hacker can attempt to engineer an attack against a phone company.

But Google Authenticator eradicates the chance of an SMS-based attack with the use of algorithms to generate the codes on your phone.


Among the features of 2-Step Verification is generation of verification codes even without data connection, support for Android Wear, and automatic setup via QR code.

A phone camera is needed to add accounts using QR codes.

Setting Up Google Authenticator

You can download Google Authenticator from either Google Play or Apple App store.

Just follow the step-by-step installation of the app here.

Time-Based Option

Make sure that that the “Time-Based” option is “On” to ensure that the code is aligned with the Google Authenticator’s most recent passcode generation.

Each time a Google account user is logged on, the user is connected with Google Authenticator, and the account will ask the user to enter a six-digit verification code.

The user opens the Google Authenticator app, which will generate a new, random code for the user to enter.

A user who stays logged in won’t need to go through the 2-Step Verification process with each login.

What’s Next?

Google Authenticator is an added layer of protection to an email account. What are your thoughts about the feature? Share them by commenting below.

Source: B2C

How to Tame the Cryptocurrency Monster

The dynamic nature of technology results in new inventions and innovations daily. The fintech world, in particular, has seen more than its fair share of disruptions in the recent past. The birth and growth of cryptocurrency is one such creation. It has increasingly become a significant defining aspect in this domain.

Cryptocurrencies are encrypted digital currencies destined for a predicted era of cashless transactions. Bitcoin was the first innovation in this line. Ever since its introduction, almost 900 other virtual currencies have come into existence. Some of the most successful virtual currencies to date apart from Bitcoin include Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and Dash. Bitcoin and Ethereum have market capitalization figures above $65 billion and $25 billion respectively.

Each of these currencies offers a solution to a problem in the legacy frameworks. Any new coin’s success depends on how well it addresses its target problem. This implies that there can be no limit to the generation of new currencies. For as long as problems and loopholes emerge, there will always be a new innovation to handle them.

The Unique Advantages of Cryptography and The Digital Currency

There are some notable benefits that set digital currency apart from regular or fiat currency. Encryption or cryptography is the most outstanding common factor for all digital currencies. This is an advanced security system that limits access to sensitive transaction information. They use a system of private and public keys to secure transactions. This allows only the intended parties to access sensitive information. These transactions are very difficult to fake and once they are confirmed they cannot be reversed.


A single central government entity generates and manages fiat currency. But the industry offers unlimited access to all. There are no third parties monitoring activity. Transactions are open-source and based on P2P networks. This means that no bank or government can interfere with or affect in any way these currencies.

Fast Settlements

The fact that there are no central bodies monitoring transactions really simplifies everything. You waste no time waiting for approval of funds to become available. Sensitive accounts that usually need a lawyer’s oversight are also simplified. This is because they feature automated smart contracts.

Cost Effectiveness

There are no transaction fees on transactions. This is because there is no oversight authority needed. Further, interest rates and exchange rates do not govern the currency’s use. This saves the users significant expense. It also makes this a viable alternative to fiat currency.

Problems Facing Virtual Currencies

Looking at all these benefits one might wonder why virtual currency has not replaced its fiat predecessors. According to TechCrunch, “So the question is, why do the prices change so much in the first place? It comes down to supply and demand: Most cryptocurrencies have only a fixed total supply, and yet demand for the coins is uncertain and constantly fluctuating thanks to speculation.” In other words, the major factor of hampering the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies is price volatility.

Lack of Security

The fact that confirmed virtual currency transactions are irreversible is a major issue. It means that if at all hackers access your account and transfer funds, there is no way to get them back. Once they are gone, they are gone. There is no central entity to investigate these incidences and to take action against a scammer.

Limited Scalability

When the industry launches a new coin, it is impossible to predict what the market reception will be. Bitcoin is a fine example in this regard. The platform started out with a few dozen users but has now grown to hold over 10 million. The number of transactions per minute is much higher than the platform can handle. The flaw limiting its processing speed is built deep in its design and structure. This makes it very hard to make the necessary adjustments.

Liquidity Problems

To date, over 900 cryptocurrencies hold more than $137 billion in total market capitalization. The tender’s liquidity is quite limited. At times, reserves run out before a transaction runs its course. This could change the original transaction value by a considerable amount. This at times reduces viability as it too costly to complete a deal.

Source: Pexels

Unprecedented Growth and Proposed Solutions

The number of altcoins launched daily, and the user influx are taking a toll on the platforms. The structure is not set to handle this level of growth explosion. The different currencies might also be incompatible. This forces users to operate several wallets to carry out transactions.

Cryptocurrencies are crucial players in the financial revolution. But in order to contribute to the ongoing financial revolution, there is need for solutions to address the previously mentioned challenges. In this particular scenario, the Fintech industry has identified this growing need and made interesting proposals.

Payment Processing Platforms

These are smart payment platforms loaded with convenient features for digital currency users. They enable easy conversion within the virtual coin framework and offer high protective measures. Orio.io is one such platform. It makes it possible to use and convert the different currencies within the framework.

It has some patent-pending innovations that if realized could offer a welcome absolution. One benefit is the Zero Volatility Reserve, which guarantees stable value for its token. It has also taken advantage of the Shapeshift concept to enhance liquidity. In case of a currency shortage, this concept makes it possible to cover deficit using any other altcoin. The model is also designed to handle expansion as it can handle over a million transactions per second.

The wallet is designed to enable transactions even with merchants who do not accept virtual money. And its security system uses Artificial Intelligence technology to trace and restore stolen funds to the original owner.

Segregated Witness (SegWit) and Bitcoin Unlimited

These proposals introduced in 2015 were both aimed at solving the scalability issue. The main reason why blockchain transactions are big and take up a lot of space is the signature data each one carries. SegWit therefore offers to handle the scalability issue by separating this data from the transaction block. This would free up about 65 percent of space and allow for higher flexibility.

Bitcoin Unlimited on the other hand, proposed that the one-megabyte limit be removed. Instead, transaction sizes would be determined by consensus. These two concepts got a split reception from industry enthusiasts. While both solutions hold merit they are only short-term measures.

Asset-Backed Tokens

The main reason behind digital currency volatility is that there are no stringent regulations. Asset-backed tokens offer some stability. Their value is linked to physical assets, blue chip shares, fiat currency and precious metals. LAToken is one such example. It trades in blue chip companies’ tokenized shares like Apple and Amazon as well as commodities and real estate.

Goldmint is yet another example using gold to stabilize its token value. Every token is equivalent to an ounce of gold. It can therefore be used as a financial tool for making payments, purchasing actual gold or hedging gold investment funds.

Cryptocurency Management Solution Required to Shape the Industry’s Future

Digital currency as a whole and the technology behind it is set for great heights. Despite the challenges facing the domain, it holds serious significance for the future of the financial industry. For as long as the wheels of change keep on turning, solutions will be propelled to address the crippling factors effectively. When that is realized the world will be a lot closer to the predicted cashless era as it so anticipates in the very near future.

Source: B2C

Monday, 30 October 2017

6 Video Design Tips the Pros Don’t Want You to Know

Hiring expert videographers and video editors is insanely expensive. This means that most small and medium-sized businesses are left to handle the video creation process on their own.

While we’ve shared plenty of tips on the Shakr blog about how to save money with the right tools, we haven’t talked a lot about how to actually design those professional-quality videos you need to elevate your brand. Now we will.

In this post, you’re going to learn the 6 subtle but crucial video design tips that the pros don’t want you to know. Using these tips, you’ll be able to create stunning, professional videos without any previous experience.

1. Don’t Just Play an Unedited Video Clip

This is a trap a lot of small businesses fall into. They reshoot a video clip over and over until it’s perfect, and then upload it exactly as-is. There’s no editing; even the two second pause at the end where the person on camera is standing there awkwardly makes it into the video.

Editing your video can do a lot, even if you’re just cutting out the awkward pauses. You can also add in title images, end screens, text overlays, captions, subtitles, and even special effects. You could use an app to turn a regular video clip into a time-lapse video (pictured above), and then add music to it.

All of these are small touches that are surprisingly easy to incorporate and take your video from “I shot this with a four-year-old iPhone” to reputation building.

2. Carefully Choose a Color Palette

This can be difficult to do if you don’t have a natural eye for it; I definitely don’t. Ideally, your videos should stick to a single color palette. This color palette should coordinate well with your logo and any branding content you’ll place on the video.

The coordination of a color palette can help your video to look crisp and clean. It also helps you choose the right text colors to ensure that they have enough contrast on the background to stand out.

Image source: Canva

These color palettes will come most heavily into play with screens of text or text overlays, but you should consider how they go with the actual video itself.

Pastels, for example, are gentle and soft. They’ll work well for businesses like a chocolatiers’s small business, or a design company trying to appeal to women (like Lauren Conrad’s content, pictured below).

Cold colors are demanding and attention grabbing, but the simplicity of monochrome-styled schemes often work best for most B2B businesses. They look simple, clean, and professional.

Need some color palette inspiration? Check out this amazing post from Canva.

3. Keep the Colors Simple

You’ve chosen your color palette, but you still want to limit the number of colors you actually use in your videos. You don’t need to use every single color in Canva’s recommended color palette if you don’t really need it.

Choosing more subdued colors for large spaces, like background or text overlays, will typically work to your advanced instead of bold bright colors. Bright colors can look heavy-handed and overwhelming depending on their use, so be careful with these. In the example color palette below (also from Canva), you’d want to use one of the top two colors as a background color instead of the bottom two.

The exception here would be for high quality background images, especially for title images; in this case, bright colors can be fine. Just make sure that the background isn’t overwhelming any content. The home screen example from a Mashable video is fantastic of how to strike that balance:

4. Use Easy-to-Read Text

We’re not even talking about the Webdings fonts here; fonts as abstract loopy cursives can make your video more difficult to view, and they’ll look less professional as a result. Choose clear, block texts that contrast well with the background image for optimal legibility.

Ideally, your text should also be formatted to fit the video screen in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye. This might mean centering the text, or moving it to a different position on the screen. In some cases, it will mean breaking up the text into several lines, even if you can fit it on one. A video that does all these things well can be seen below, thanks to Cuisinart:

5. Use Textual Cues

As you may have picked up from the above section, adding a few quick lines of text can make your videos look more professionally edited. Adding text just takes a few seconds (especially when using Shakr’s templates), but it can make a big difference.

You can use text to accomplish a number of different things, like introducing people on screen, establishing the context of the video to tell users why they need to care right away, and even break up the video into a stronger organizational format. And, as always, you can use it to create a powerful CTA at the end of your videos.

To add text to your video, you can use text overlay apps, or any number of Shakr’s video templates.

6. Create Your Own Thumbnail Before Uploading

You know how when you pause your TV, the person on it never, ever looks good? That stunning actress has her face twisted, her mouth hanging open, and is somehow hunched over. The last thing you want is to have that pause effect wreaking havoc on your video’s thumbnails. If your video thumbnail doesn’t look professional, the rest of your video will be judged harshly from the get-go.

video design tips from the pros

If Jennifer Lawrence isn’t immune to awful pausing, your thumbnails won’t be either.

The automatic thumbnails most sites generate themselves are all typically awful. Make sure that your video looks professional from the very beginning with a specially-created thumbnail. Many sites, including Facebook and YouTube, let you upload choose your own thumbnail.

Ideally, your thumbnail should be a clear, high-quality still image that demonstrates what the video will be about. You can use text to help with this. An excellent thumbnail example (which was custom-uploaded) is pictured below:

video design tips

Shakr makes this easy for you, with all title cards in our video templates making the perfect instant video thumbnail. If you want to create your own, though, you can see some great tips on how to do so here.

Final Thoughts

If you want to get the most results from your video marketing campaigns, you want to ensure that you’re producing the most high quality videos possible. These design tips will help you elevate the aesthetics of your video content, getting stronger results in a quicker time frame. Whether you’re posting your ads onto your Facebook timeline or running Instagram video ads, keep these video design tips in mind and watch the conversions come rolling in.

Source: B2C

How to Have a Successful Product Launch

rawpixel / Pixabay

Launching a new product for your business or personal brand can be exciting even though it’s a lot of work. Once you’ve finalized your product however, you must realize that all your hard work is not done. to have a successful product launch you must work your tail off!

You still need to prepare for a successful launch. Without a successful launch, you won’t be able to reach your target market and see a return on your investment. Here are 4 things you can do to make sure you have a great product launch.

1. Improve Your Sales Copy

Take your time when writing the sales copy on your product page or you might even want to consider hiring a professional copywriter. You want the copy to be thorough and convincing while addressing any objections or questions potential customers might have.

Make sure you also create an email sequence to send to your list when the product is ready to be released. You can make announcements ahead of time and even set up a preorder page or waiting list so people can sign up before the official release date.

2. Round Up a Launch Team

Don’t feel you have to launch your product all by yourself. Consider rounding up a launch team of people who can help you spread the word. For example, if you’re publishing a book, you may want to reach out to blogger by sending them a free copy so they can review it on their site and promote it to their followers.

You also might want to create an affiliate program so others can help you sell the product or you can partner up with another entrepreneur to host a giveaway.

3. Promote Across a Variety of Platforms

This is super important. You don’t just want to promote on one platform. You want to promote your product across several different platforms in order to see the best results.

I’d recommend trying a combination of notifying your email list, and making an announcement on your website or blog. Always engage your social media, investing in advertising, creating a free webinar as a sales funnel, and even trying some local advertising as well.

To figure out which channels are working and which aren’t, you can check the performance rate and referral history of the online tools you’re using and you can ask customers for feedback so you can find out how they learned about your new product.

4. Make Sure Your Payment System is Properly Set Up

Your launch week can get pretty busy and hectic. This is why you want to avoid having technical issues like payment problems which could cause you to lose out on quality customers and sales.

Plus, troubleshooting is not the most exciting experience.

If you’re accepting payments online, make sure you’re using a system that is secure and meets all your needs. Consider what forms of payment you want to accept and how many payments you’d be willing to process per month.

Getting prepared with the right tools ahead of time can save you a lot of stress during your launch and help things run smoothly.

Summary to Having a Successful Product Launch

No matter what product you’re creating for your business, make sure you carefully plan out a launch strategy that includes several different aspects. It will make your life much easier when you start to sell your product and even ensure higher profits for you down the road.

Source: B2C

Is YouTube Right for B2B Businesses?

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and has more than one billion users. While this is a platform commonly seen as a video tool for amateurs, over the last few years, YouTube has truly become a media powerhouse. B2C companies have embraced this platform, but B2B businesses have been slower to jump on board. In the video below we will take a look at why YouTube is a powerful medium for B2B companies as well.

Video Transcript

Today on Hack my Growth we’re going to be talking about the power of YouTube marketing and whether or not this channel and powerful medium is right for the B2B audience.

Hey, thanks so much for stopping by. If you like our videos and you’ve connected with us in the past, or maybe this is your first time, and you like this video, please hit the subscribe button. We would love to have you as a part of our community.

Let’s talk a little bit about YouTube. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. It is an amazing tool to disseminate your message to a specific group of people who are looking to connect and interact with you. It’s an essential tool in today’s marketing world. A lot of people in the B2C community use it very well. There’s a lot of music videos available. The entertainment industry has done a very good job using YouTube, and as we know, YouTube also has a lot of fun videos and cat videos and silly video and videos that are just absolutely random.

But is it really worth a B2B industry investing in this video platform? Well, my answer is absolutely yes. We’re going to talk a little bit about why it’s such an essential part of anybody’s marketing strategy and where there’s a lot of opportunities today for B2B businesses to capitalize by using YouTube.

70% of marketers are now using online video. It’s growing in popularity, but the problem is not everybody is using it effectively. Not everybody knows how to do so in a way that’s going to drive interactions. So if you can do a better job of telling your story, video is a powerful way of really bring more of the emotion and tangible elements back to your marketing. 70% of marketers in B2B space plan to spend more time on YouTube because they’re starting to see the value of real human connection that video brings. It’s really just visual storytelling that allows people to engage on a deeper level.

Now major brands like HP, Microsoft, Cisco, and Adobe are investing in their B2B side with YouTube. They’re creating digital content that is very specific. Maybe it’s tutorials, maybe it’s education videos, maybe it’s product demos, maybe it’s a culture video, but these major brands are really starting to invest in video and specifically on YouTube to ensure that they’re providing continuous value. It’s not just for people who are looking for products and service, but for people that are also part of their community that also want to learn a little bit more about their product service and go deeper.

Tutorials are a powerful way to help people engage better with your product. People get to see how things work instead of having to read it. A lot of times that really connects with certain types of personality traits. Look to some of these big players in the game and big players in the industry and see how they’re using B2B on YouTube.

Another fact is executives are drawn in by video. 75% of Fortune 500 executives view videos online. They’re checking out videos online. They’re looking up product information. They’re looking up tutorials and how to use different things. There’s a lot of ways to capture high-quality sea level leads by using video and again, YouTube is the number two search engine in the world. You’ve got Google, and then you’ve got YouTube. They both obviously work together, but YouTube’s a different beast. It’s people looking for a different type of content that is going to speak to visual needs but also allow them to be a little bit more conversational with the person that they’re looking to maybe doing business with or buying a product from.

48% of B2B buyers us their smartphones to watch videos. YouTube’s mobile usage is through the roof. People are using YouTube on their mobile devices more than any other device, even in the B2B space where typically we see most of the B2B transactions still happening on a desktop. Overwhelmingly, most of the business and most of the organic searches still are done on a desktop, but when it comes to video, we have a number of people, 48% of B2B buyers are using their smartphones.

More than 70% of B2B buyers view new product demos before making a purchase. This is another opportunity if you’ve got a new product coming out. You’ve got a new line of products coming out that are related to a B2B audience; video is a great way to introduce them to that product. To show them the details of that product. This is why live video stream has worked really, really well for Apple and they’re now going to be featured by Google at their next conference. It can work really well for smaller B2B businesses as well. It allows people to engage with you and feel like they’re present and being able to see the product in real time.

Now 65% of senior executives have visited from a vendor after watching a video. So executives are searching. They’re finding content they like. They watch a video and then right after that they go and check out that vendor’s website.

Video is a powerful way just to initiate that first interaction, and then it can actually help position your business and your company in a better light because you’re giving really good detailed quality content. Here’s the kicker; when you use video in your B2B landing pages, conversions have been known to increase up to 80%.

Video is a great way to do things that text can’t. Now text is important, and you want to have blogs, and you want to be able to write good content, but when you can show good content it really flips the scale and allows you (as a B2B vendor, as a B2B product designer, as a B2B business) to have the conversation with that potential client.

Really at the end of the day it’s those conversations that lead to sales. YouTube is an amazing platform for people to find you that might not have even known that your business was out there. And, if you could really champion your cause or your industry in the B2B market while using a platform like YouTube, you can benefit greatly. So if you’re not using YouTube, I would highly encourage some of you to do some investigation of people in your industry that may be using it and if they’re not that’s even a better opportunity. That means you can be the first one. You can lay the groundwork to start creating great video content, publishing it on YouTube and start getting found. People are looking for the solutions that you are providing.

Well, I hope you liked this video. If you’ve got questions, please comment below and please subscribe and be part of our community. Thanks again for watching and until next time happy marketing.

Source: B2C

Launch Your First Podcast With These 4 Tools

Use These 4 Tools to Start Your First Podcast

Launch Your First Podcast With These 4 Tools to Build Audience


Launching an entertaining and informative broadcast for your business is easy to do with the right resources — you don’t need to be an expert in order to be successful. Easily craft your content and produce an informative and engaging first podcast that your listeners and viewers will love. Are you ready to reach your audience in a whole new way? Take advantage of these podcast resources, and let me know how they work for you!

1) Audio editing and creation – GarageBand

When hosting a podcast you want the best quality recording available. GarageBand is a great tool that is included for Mac users, and is like having your own studio right inside your computer. Got a show that you want to break up into bite-sized segments? Then cutting audio and adding the right music is as simple as clicking a button. Import existing audio files or create a new one from scratch.

2) View and edit tags on audio files – EasyTAG

Choose the right keywords for your audio broadcast. There is a great online software tool that you can use to edit embedded tags within your podcoasts. EasyTAG makes the task of viewing and editing simple so that your files appear exactly the way you want them to. Choose specific keywords for each show so that listeners can easily find your content.

3) Store your podcast files – Amazon S3

Not all web server providers can handle the large data files produced with podcasts. That is where this great tool can help. Amazon S3 is a specific media hosting service offered by Amazon for a low fee each month. This is especially good to use if you are producing multiple podcasts each week. The setup is not as simple as a host provider; however, Amazon offers many helpful tutorials to get started.

4) Low cost cover art – 99Designs

Are looking for an affordable design for your podcasts? 99Designs has been around since 2008, and offers great pricing for a variety of budgets. The service includes branding, logo design, website design, and more from top, professional graphic designers. Choose exactly what you are looking for and select from several choices before making your final purchase.

Hopefully you will find these tools useful to your business branding strategy and to create your first podcast. Are there any that you would like to add as well?

Source: B2C

Shark Tank: Qeepsake Digital Baby Journal Fails to Get A Deal, Despite Offers from Kevin O’Leary and Chris Sacca


Last into the tank is Jeff McNeil of Qeepsake, seeking $350,000 for 10 percent equity.

Qeepsake makes collecting memories of your baby effortless. Their digital baby journal replaces traditional baby books by utilizing text messaging. The company texts questions and the responses are then added to the parents’ private baby journal. The entries and photos, which can also be sent directly from a parent, can be viewed any time on Qeepsake’s website—and later printed into a book. Prices for the journal range from $29.99 to $44.99, depending on the length of the book.

(function(d, s, id) var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);(document, "script", "facebook-jssdk"));

Posted by Qeepsake on Wednesday, June 8, 2016

They have sold only four books, but the sharks are intrigued. Qeepsake, which has thousands of users, has done $255,000 in revenue in four months. Barbara Corcoran doesn’t know how she would help McNeil and goes out, as does Mark Cuban. O’Leary offers $350,000 for 20 percent. Lori Greiner doesn’t see herself as the right partner and goes out, increasing the chances of O’Leary further decreasing the valuation.

McNeil admits that he doesn’t like O’Leary’s offer and counters 12 percent. Guest shark Chris Sacca likes the idea, but is worried about the pushback O’Leary received given that he would have offered the same valuation of $350,000 for 20 percent. He counters Sacca at 14 percent, which causes O’Leary to go out.

Ultimately, Sacca stays at 20 percent, which McNeil says he would accept if there was more money involved. Ultimately, he declines the offer and walks away without a deal.

Social Media Reacts to Qeepsake’s Appearance on “Shark Tank”

Each week on “Shark Tank,” budding entrepreneurs have the opportunity to pitch their emerging businesses to multi-millionaire and billionaire investors, known as sharks: Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks; Daymond John, fashion mogul and founder of FUBU; Kevin O’Leary, self-proclaimed Mr. Wonderful and founder of O’Leary Financial Group; Barbara Corcoran, real estate maven; Lori Greiner, queen of QVC; and Robert Herjavec, technology guru and founder/CEO of the Herjavec Group.

Philanthropist and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Spanx founder Sara Blakely, Skinnygirl Cocktails founder and Real Housewife Bethenny Frankel, Vitamin Water founder Rohan Oza and former MLB player Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez are also slated to appear as guest sharks this season.

“Shark Tank,” which is based on “Dragons’ Den,” is produced by Mark Burnett and first debuted in 2009. To date, the sharks have invested more than $100 million in various companies after engaging in numerous bidding wars and shark fights. A new episode airs each Sunday at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Would you use Qeepsake? Sound off in the comments section below!

Source: B2C

How to Use Halloween to Increase Email Opens


With Halloween just a few days away, companies will be trying different strategies to use the holiday to their advantage. It’s no secret that holidays help bring in more leads. Really, any holiday can be used to have a special promotion or incentive for customers to get more interested in your products or services. Even if your company doesn’t sell Christmas decorations, Halloween costumes, or turkeys for Thanksgiving, you can still find ways to get creative. And, the more creative you can get with your email campaigns, the more email opens you’re likely to have.

According to a study done by Growth Business UK, companies who used “Halloween” in their subject lines had 68% more opens than those who didn’t. Of course, this number comes from the U.S. market, but that didn’t mean this strategy didn’t work elsewhere.

So, how can you incorporate “Halloween” into your email campaigns?

Offer a Sale

As mentioned before, any holiday is a good opportunity to bring in more leads. Why? Well, if you can find a way to create some kind of sale based on the holiday, the people will come to you. Generally, the holidays are always a time to buy something – whatever it is. Most people are already in the mindset of buying something. This means you can have a promotion even if what your company sells has absolutely nothing to do with Halloween! However, if you can find a way to connect what you’re selling with October 31st, it’ll certainly help. Do you sell shirts? Have a sale on orange shirts. Do you sell books? Give a discount on mystery series.

Other Incentives Work, Too

Are you not really in a place to have a sale right now? Or, you’re having a hard time figuring out how to tie in the Halloween theme before the big day? No worries. You can try some different incentives. For example, you could do a “refer a friend” and offer the person who made the referral 31% off their next purchase of $100 or more! (Okay, that may be a little high, but you catch our drift.)

Ask Your Followers to Get Involved

Another good way to acquire an increase in email opens during Halloween time is by getting your followers involved in the festivities. You could host a contest to have followers send their best Halloween Instagram photo with one of your company’s products. You could prize the winner with a giveaway. Or, you can set up a Halloween-themed survey that could help you understand your target audience a little bit better. You can use this information to your benefit, and reward those who participated with something like $5 off their next purchase.

Most Importantly, It’s All in the Subject Line

Remember, when you write up and send out an email campaign, the first things your subscribers see are who the email is from and what’s it about. While the content of your email should be just as inviting, the subject line is ALWAYS what gets them to open the email in the first place. And, not just on Halloween, but every other time you send out an email. The difference is when they see “Halloween sale” or another holiday message in the subject line, they are more inclined to click simply because they are excited and interested. So, no matter what you decide to offer, find a way to add the “H-word” to that line.

Source: B2C

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Don’t Solve a Problem That Doesn’t Exist

Photo provided by RXBAR

Photo provided by RXBAR

This interview publishes just days after the announced acquisition of RXBAR by Kellogg’s for $600 million. It’s illustrative of the awesome potential created when good products, good people, and unmet demand collide.

Peter Rahal, co-founder, and CEO started RXBAR with his friend Jared Smith. Together, they wanted to bring a clean protein bar to CrossFit athletes. With that simple and narrow focus, selling gym to gym, they built a business and a brand.

In my opinion, RXBAR did something else to disrupt the industry. They veered from the norm on their approach to packaging. Their packaging hero wasn’t a logo or a product shot. It was, in very simple terms, what the product delivered: protein in the form of three egg whites, six almonds, two dates, and no B.S. I have a feeling that more brands will be following in their footsteps.

I spent time talking with Peter about leadership, entrepreneurship, company culture, and lessons learned. I found him to be passionate and insightful. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Why do this crazy thing?

“I had a job, and it was with a startup, and I was totally miserable. I realized this is miserable. That misery really was the stimulus for, I’ve got to get a new job.”

He explained that he and Smith were childhood friends and different in a complementary way.”

“We’re total opposites. He’s pragmatic, cautious, needs stability, takes time. I’m reckless and aggressive. The opposite, right?”

“I had two failures. Two ideas then tried to begin to execute them, and … One thing I learned from both of those was your partner, who you get in bed with, is everything.”

“We were both 26, no family, so we had nothing to lose. We’re both athletes, and bars save time.”

Rahal said that they kept being told that “the world doesn’t need another protein bar.”

“We went to my father, who’s very traditional, an immigrant, old school. Straight business fundamentals and he’s an entrepreneur himself. ‘Dad, we need to raise money. We need packaging. We need a designer. Do you know anyone?’”

“He says, ‘Peter, you need to shut the &$#$& up and go sell a thousand bars.’ … We were making excuses to go have coffee and talk about the business when all we needed to do was design it, make it, and sell it. Take action rather than just talk.”

“The idea of buying a mixer, of manufacturing, design, the unknown, is scary. It’s much easier to get money and hire people who have the experience to do it.”

“We took my father’s advice, and we started, literally, making bars in the kitchen, and then bought packaging from China and printed labels at FedEx.”

What have been some of your toughest challenges?

“Tactically, taking a product from your kitchen and commercializing it. Then finding the right partners in the supply chain, doing business with the right people. We basically interview every supplier, every vendor, everyone we touch. The same principle of who you get in bed with, in business, it’s the same thing with who you sell to and who you buy from. All that stuff matters.”

“On the emotional side; starting a business with your best friend, managing that relationship, and growing and adapting.”

What have you learned about leadership?

“Simon Sinek talked about this, and I think it’s so true, between health and leadership. So, for example, Elliot, if you want to be healthy, you sleep well one night, and then you eat an egg white omelet, and have an avocado, and go for a run. So, you do that Monday. You’re not suddenly healthy, right? You must do it every single day, it’s healthy habits. It’s the habits you create and do every single day.”

“Leadership’s the same way. It’s habits that you form, and do every single day, and you’re consistent. To be a great leader, you can’t just go speak in front of the company, and communicate where we’re going, and be a great leader. You got to do it every day. It’s helping people. It’s asking what their problems are. It’s being present. It’s having a vision, being decisive, too.”

“Organizations won’t perform well without great leadership. It’s not just the top. It’s all throughout.”

“I always tell people this. Jared and I totally underestimated entrepreneurship and even business. I remember thinking to myself, if I start a bar company and start selling it to gyms, I can go to the gyms and work out, and sell bars. I thought I could just do whatever. Flexible schedule. No clue. Totally underestimated leadership. It didn’t trigger for us until we went from like seven people to like 12 people.”

“In the beginning, you’re in the bar business. You make bars, and you sell them. Soon as you get beyond the survival mode, and your company’s healthy, the business literally changes, and I don’t care what business you’re in. When you get beyond the survival phase, literally, you’re in the people business.”

What would you tell your former self?

“Two things: [First,] be proactive and not overly reactive.”

Rahal explained, “Follow your plan. Actually, plan. We talk a lot about strategy. Strategy, is a word that’s really thrown around. It’s hilarious. Strategy just means … planning. Planning’s super important. So, plan and stick to it.”

I asked about the other thing he’d tell himself.

“It would be to align with values. I don’t really care what those values are.”

“Align the organization on those values and make sure your actions reflect those values.”

What would you tell aspiring entrepreneurs and leaders?

“Don’t start a business because you like the idea of it. Don’t try to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. I see that a lot. People like the idea, they want the outcome of being an entrepreneur. It’s miserable, I would say. It’s terrible. I bet if you look at Elon Musk, and he’s this icon, I guarantee he has a miserable life by normal people’s standards. You must be super-passionate and have total conviction around the purpose in what you’re doing. Because it’s too brutal. Take a step back and audit it. Be super self-aware, and make sure that you’re solving a problem that exists, and that you’re totally aligned on the real purpose of what you’re doing.”

Would you do this again?

“Yeah, for sure. I would do it differently, but I would do it. This is a DNA thing.”

Source: B2C

How to Measure the Quality of Your Content

how to measure content quality

A while ago I posted a video by Rand Fishkin on how to create 10X content- content that is 10X better than your competitors. So how do you know if your efforts are working? Can you measure the quality of your content?

The quality of writing and visuals is very subjective. I may love something that you think is awful

But there are several indicators that can tell you how well your content is doing:

  1. The Google Quality Guidelines

Google has been kind enough to provide us with a list of their quality guidelines, so you can check all you content against this list and see if you are at least in the ball park as far as Google is concerned. See the checklist here

2. Research

Is your content based on research or did you just have a “bright ideas” and dash off a blog post or news item? Monitoring your audience and discovering what they’re interested in and what they respond to can give your content a real boost.

3. Facts and Figures

In the world of Fake News, fact-checking and getting it right is vital. It builds trust and credibility. Alwasy quote your souces and make sure that those sources are valid and reliable.

4. Develop a Voice and a Perspective

There is a flood of content published every day. To attract an audience and earn good rankings in Google you must stand out in the midst of all that noise. Your content doesn’t have to be totally different or new, but it must offer a new angle or perspective. Tie two pieces of research together and make the connection. If you audience can read the same content in five other places, they won’t become loyal readers.

5. Make it Valuable and Applicable

The most important of all, does this content help your audience in some way? Does it answer a question, give them direction, or make their lives easier in some way. It might be as simple as you finding the news they need to read each week and saving them the time of searching for those gems of knowledge.

Tracking Success with Analytics

Google Analytics can help you discover how well your content is performing. The landing pages report can tell you how much traffic comes to each page or item of content. You can also segment your visitors into audiences, so you can see how well you are reaching your target market with your content.

For example, a financial services firm was eager to reach women over 45 in a specific area who are interested in financial planning and retirement. In the audiences section you can segment the traffic, so you can see exactly who is looking at your content.

Google anl;analytics segment audiences

Now you can track exactly how many of your visitors fall into this segment. and how many go to the goal page you set up for this content campaign.

The days of saying, I know half of my content is working, but I don’t know which half are over. With digital analytics it’s possible to know exactly how effective your content is.

Source: B2C

Overweight German Man Who Joined ISIS And Was Used As Sex Slave Is Fake News

An overweight German man who joined ISIS and then was used as a sex slave is fake news. There is truth about a 28-year-old German man having been recruited by ISIS; however, a fake news site took that information further and created a more exaggerated version involving that German man.

Where did this fake news originate? World News Daily Report published the fake news article reporting that the German man found himself as a sex slave after joining up with ISIS, which aims to create an Islamic state called a caliphate across Iraq, Syria and beyond. You can read the fake news below.

Berlin | A 28-year-old German man who had officially joined ISIS forces in 2015 has recently escaped from Syria after he was allegedly turned into a sex slave by ISIS forces.

The young man, who had converted to Islam in 2014, had pledged allegiance to ISIS hoping to become a full-fledged soldier in its war against Western civilization.

Instead, he was rapidly turned into a sex slave for ISIS combatants, spending most of his time in captivity chained to a bed, dressed up as a Western-style woman and performing sexual services on ISIS soldiers daily until his recent escape.

“I went there to fight but I guess they had other plans for me,” he told reporters, visibly ashamed.

“Upon my arrival, they kept pinching my ass, rubbing my nipples across my shirt and whistling at me,” he said.

“At first, I thought it was all fun and games until I woke up one day chained to a bed, dressed in a robe with makeup and lipstick on my face,” he recalls in horror.

However, there is no truth to the above story, according to Hoax Alert. The image used in the fake news article does show Christian Emde, a German ex-protestant who converted to Islam and joined ISIS. For further information on Emde’s foolish decision, you can watch an interview with him here: https://www.facebook.com/JuergenTodenhoefer/videos/10152723644955838/

Here are some examples of people sharing the fake news on social media.

Finally, World News Daily Report carries the following disclaimer on their website:

World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle.

What did you think of the fake news that an overweight German man joined ISIS and was used as a sex slave? Did you believe the fake news or see people sharing it falsely on social media? Let us know in the comments section.

Source: B2C