Monthly Archives: July, 2015

Singletask your way to efficiency

July 31st, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Singletask your way to efficiency”

multipurpose businessman

Devora Zack, author of Singletasking, says that multi-tasking is really just task switching. Multi-tasking seems more efficient, but moving from task to task can zap creativity and reduce your efficiency.

Zack provides the following tips to increase productivity and improve the quality of your work:

  • Commit to one task at a time – Eliminate or ignore distractions.
  • Practice “clustertasking” – Planning chunks of time dedicated to grouped activities (such as email and returning phone calls) will alleviate the need to take care of everything immediately.
  • Divert competing thoughts – Write down unrelated concerns as they crop up, so you can focus on them later.

Stopping multitasking may seem stressful at first, but the benefits of “singletasking” will make you a believer.

Why not give it a try?

Kevin's Sig

5 types of visual content

July 24th, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “5 types of visual content”

Photo collage from cubes with pictures

Visual content is becoming more and more popular because of its ability to quickly communicate a concept; images are more shareable than text. Here are five types of visual content that resonate best with customers and prospects.<br />
<strong>Comics</strong> – can be a fun way to talk about a complex problem. Comics can be a great ice breaker to talk about bigger issues. A comic that identifies a problem can be an engaging way to introduce a whitepaper or a new solution.<br />
<strong>Memes</strong> – are phrases or sayings that are tied to an image. This can be used in a humorous manner, or can be more serious with a customer testimonial and image. Memes can be used as invitations, to share facts, to poke fun or to help customers digest small bits of information.<br />
<strong>Infographics</strong> – are a great way to summarize an issue or findings. Whether its survey results or showing two sides of an argument, a well-crafted infographic can help the reader understand the issues at hand and the possible solutions. We’re working right now on an infographic that is a key part of a non-profit’s fundraising campaign.<br />
<strong>Photos</strong> – are an often overlooked marketing tool. Cameras are ubiquitous. Almost everyone has one in their purse or back pocket. Don’t just throw event photos up on Flickr or Facebook. Take one of your event/meeting photos and use that to convey or promote your message.<br />
<strong>Videos</strong> – can be a challenge for a lot of companies. Often the cost to produce can be prohibitive for a small business, however, video is one of the most widely consumed forms of content on the internet. People will often rather watch a 30 second video than read a page of content. A video does not have to be a professionally produced piece of art. Segments of a webinar or a short video taken with a HD phone camera will often convey the message you need in a short amount of time.<br />
Marketers who are leveraging visual content are seeing significant increases in their blog traffic, social media engagement, visitor-to-lead conversion rates and inbound customer acquisition results.

Breathing life into dead leads

July 17th, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Breathing life into dead leads”

Cardiogram

At one point or another, every salesperson comes across a prospect that shows a high level of interest and then, seemingly out of nowhere, drops off the face of the earth. If you are looking to resurrect a dead lead, try some of these tips:

  • Create an engagement oriented offer. Maybe your lead needs a little more information before they make their decision. Try an offer of a helpful whitepaper, a new point of view, an infographic or experiment with a conversational call to action or a survey.
  • “Dear John.” It may sound counter-intuitive, but if your lead won’t return your calls or respond to your emails, try sending one last email to let them know that while you’ll always be there for them, you’re taking them off the top of your list. It may just provoke them to respond.
  • Keep them on life support. Try creating a “no person left behind policy.” Something inspired them to reach out to you in the first place. You just need to rekindle that interest again. Marketing automation makes it possible to put your dead leads into a recycled lead-nurturing track that can go on from here to the hereafter. Don’t give up—keep at it.

Persistence and the right message can really pay off for marketers. Try mixing up your delivery too. Email is great; email plus a phone call is even better. Add a compelling direct mail piece or hand written note into the mix and get ready to watch your dead leads live again!

Kevin's Sig

Email marketing by the #’s

July 10th, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Email marketing by the #’s”

 

 

Email marketing

Email marketing is an effective and popular way to reach customers, if they get read. These tips can help keep your subscribers engaged:

  • The best time to send emails is in the morning between 9am – noon.
  • Targeted emails’ open and click rates see a 14% improvement relative to general emails.
  • 52% of people use their cell phones for sending and receiving email. Make sure your emails are mobile friendly.
  • When it comes to purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message, email has the highest conversion rate (66%), when compared to social, direct mail and more.
  • 33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone and subject lines with fewer than 10 characters had an open rate of 58%.
  • 7 in 10 people say they used a coupon or discount from a marketing email in the prior week.

Quality communication with your prospects and customers can get you closer to that sweet spot of people actually looking forward to and reading your messages. Try testing subject lines and different offers in your email to see what is most effective with your clients.

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Hackers: How to protect your data

July 3rd, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Hackers: How to protect your data”

Who has your data?

Hackers. This word strikes fear in the mightiest and tiniest of companies. Everyone is at risk. Security protocols are paramount. Your employees need to know the do’s and don’ts to make sure your sensitive data is protected.

Recently, an attempt was made on our bank account. Fortunately, our bank was on top of the situation, and we worked together to quickly shut down access to any and all potentially vulnerable data. According to an IBM study, 95 percent of business cyber-attacks are caused by human error. Reducing these errors can mean the difference between being exposed and being protected:

  • Click cautiously: Hackers are creating more believable emails and landing pages, enticing you to click and give up credentials. Always hover over the button to see if the URL matches the site it’s claiming to be before you click.
  • Take precautions: Web browsers have features (check the preferences) that flag fraudulent sites—use them.
    Protect passwords: Seems obvious, but we often get password-lazy. Don’t re-use them. Don’t share them. And make them challenging. Passwords are your first line of defense. I highly recommend 1Password. I wrote about 1Password in my blogpost These are a few of my favorite apps.

Remember, even with security software and processes in place, protecting data has to start with your people. Make sure you’re covered. And then double check again.

Kevin's Sig

 

Are your images horribly scrunched and skewed?

July 1st, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Are your images horribly scrunched and skewed?”

Bad news on laptop screen

We have all visited websites where the images load very slowly one line at a time or we’ve seen horribly scrunched and skewed images being forced into some weird size. Using properly sized images on your website makes your website look more professional, and it loads faster! This is crucial when visitors are looking at your site on their phones. Here’s what we look for when we are resizing images for use on the web; file size, file type, desired dimensions and cropping.

File Size

Most photographs taken with a phone or digital camera are well over 1 MB (megabyte) in size. While 1MB isn’t extraordinary in size and likely wouldn’t take too long to download on a high speed connection, having an image that large on your site is not necessary. An image that is a MB (or 1024 kilobytes) can typically be resized using an image editing program to be much smaller (usually less than 100kb). Resizing your images before you load them on to your website will keep the site loading quickly and keep the quality of your images in tact as the browser won’t have to resize or reshape the image to fit the location.

File Type

Images come in many formats; jpeg, gif and png are a few of the more common file types. So how do you know what to use and when?

  • Jpg or jpeg – typically when we are using a photograph on a website, we will reduce the file size and save it as a jpeg. Jpegs were designed to make detailed images as small as possible by removing information that the human eye won’t notice. Jpeg is a good file type for a photograph or an image with a gradient. However, jpeg is not good for logos and line drawings as it tends to make them fuzzy.
  • Gif and Png – Gif and png files use lossless compression, meaning that you can save the image over and over and never lose any data (unlike a jpeg). This makes gifs and pngs good for logos, line drawings and other simple images that need to be small and crisp. These file types can also be transparent which makes them useful on websites when designing layered files. Depending on how your image was created and how you will be using the image, a png and gif file can be larger in size than a jpg.

Desired Dimensions

Creating an image to fit an exact area can be tricky. Typically when we are talking about dimensions for a website image, we are speaking “pixels.” A really wide website image might be 1900 pixels wide while your standard “about us” profile picture would be closer to 250 pixels wide.

A custom home builder recently sent us a group of photos to use on their homepage slider. The slider has fixed dimensions of 1000 pixels wide by 350 pixels tall. The images they sent us were taken by a professional photographer and they were huge (roughly 7MB each and approximately 6000 pixels wide by 4000 pixels tall). If we had loaded the images in their native file format, with no reduction, the image quality would have suffered when it rendered on the website. Here’s what we did: first, we reduced the image file size by running it though an image resizing program. The program we use is called PixResizer by BlueFive Software. It is freeware and can be downloaded from BlueFive Software. When we resized the images provided to us by our client, we chose to reduce the width of all the images to 1000 pixels which would fit our slider perfectly. However, the height of the image was still too tall for our slider. In this case, we also had to crop the image to make it fit our exact dimension.

Cropping

In our example above, we had an image that was the correct width, however, the height was too tall. The image was 1000 pixels wide by 667 pixels tall. We needed an image that was 1000px x 350px. For this group of images, we needed to crop them in order to make them the right size for the slider we were using. Cropping can be tricky as you are actually cutting out part(s) of the image in order to make it a specific size. To do the cropping to specific dimensions you can use an online source like PicResize or a software program like Photoshop.

Properly sized images can make your website look and function better. If you aren’t sure if the images on your site are sized correctly for the location you can check it by going to your website and then right clicking on the image in question. Select the option to “View Image Info.” Under dimensions, you’ll see a pixel skewedpicsdimension (for example: 1,000px x 471px). If it shows that the dimensions have been scaled to a certain pixel size  you may want to resize the image outside of the website and then re-upload it with the proper dimensions. In this example a very large, 10MB 4,000 px wide picture has been forced into a tiny 152px wide space. Resizing this image and then re-uploading it to the site will increase the load time of this website.

 

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