Thursday, 31 August 2017

Unified Customer Identities: Better Customer Experience and Increased Sales

PIRO4D / Pixabay

The growing importance of customer experience is forcing organizations to become focused on improving that experience. Processes, offers and content need to be tightly aligned with the customers’ likes and interests. Organizations need a solution that can help them collect customer profile data so that they can improve the customer experience, generate additional revenue, and increase the overall lifetime value of the customer. The solution to this problem is Customer Identity Access Management or cIAM. cIAM platforms improve the customer experience by generating customer-friendly processes. Be it…

  • Creating super-easy registration processes,

  • Managing customer profiles,

  • Providing a secure environment for authorized customers.

Because they provide an integration with social media and a robust platform for managing your customer data, they are uniquely positioned to help solve your customer experience problems. They can help you augment your customer data with social media insights:

  • What are your customers’ likes and interests on social media?

  • Where do they like to vacation?

  • What are their hobbies and pastimes?

  • Which brands do they interact with?

This is all additional data that you can use to build out your customer’s’ profile to properly segment your customer base and better target your offers and content. It’s pretty simple stuff and not hard to implement.

What do you do if your ecommerce business has multiple properties and channels? How do you leverage this augmented customer profile in an omnichannel world? The answer again lies in a foundational concept of cIAM called the Unified Customer Identity.

What is a Unified Customer Identity?

Unified Customer Identities Increase Ecommerce Conversions & Revenue

A Unified Customer Identity is an encapsulation of customer data from all available sources:

  • Data you collected at registration

  • Insights added from social sources

  • Progressive profile data collected over time

  • Purchase history

  • Content engagement history

  • Subscriptions history

LoginRadius consolidates this data into a single profile, stored and available within your cIAM platform. This Unified Customer Identity is then connected to your entire digital ecosystem using integration APIs. A good cIAM platform will also offer a wide range of integrations with other platforms such as: ecommerce, CRM, marketing automation, CMS and data management platforms. Now, no matter which channel you choose to interact with your customer you will have access to a complete customer profile.

What are the Benefits of a Unified Customer Identity?

Centralized customer data, allows you to offer targeted products and services based on customer preferences and interests. Following this practice will create higher customer engagements throughout the customer’s journey.

High Customer Engagements And Increased Revenue Using Unified Customer Identities help you better target and segment your customers based on their interests and needs. Unified customer profiles ensures that your messaging and offers are always on target and can help boost sales.

Increased Customer Loyalty Better and more finely-tuned segmentation that results in a great customer experience keeps those customers coming back. Having a unified view of your customer means that no matter the channel, you always knows your customer.

Eliminate Customer Data Silos Having a single, comprehensive view of your customer’s data across your organization rather than getting partial views in bits and pieces can eliminate issues such as, inappropriate or off-target offers, content that is not relevant, a poor customer experience and a customer support backlog.

Source: B2C

Photo of Women Protesting the Observance of Father’s Day Is A Digital Fake

An image purportedly showing two women protesting the observance of Father’s Day is a digitally-manipulated fake. The photo, which has ties to a bogus #EndFathersDay campaign, originally featured signs from an anti-abortion in 2013.

According to Snopes, the Photoshopped image has been circulating social media since March 2016. The signs from the actual photo were edited to read, “Fathers Don’t Deserve A Day” and “End Father’s Day”—making it seem like there was a real campaign to end the celebration of the annual holiday. However, neither the photo nor the #EndFathersDay campaign is genuine. The fake movement was created in 2014 by a 4chan troll but quickly became a trending topic. It was later revealed to be nothing more than a hoax.

The real photo was taken in 2013 at an anti-abortion protest on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. The thousands of participants in the annual March for Life rally carried signs that read, “I Regret My Abortion” and “I Am Pro-Life Generation.” The caption from Getty Images states:

These women hold signs that tell people they regret their abortions near the Supreme Court in order to turn over the Supreme Court decision Roe Versus Wade on the 40th anniversary date of that decision. This protest occurs annually drawing large crowds even though the decision to grant a woman the right to choose to have an abortion was made long ago.

The genuine sign can be seen below:

No one was actually protesting the observance of Father’s Day and the #EndFathersDay “movement” itself was a viral hoax.

Here are some examples of people talking about the fake #EndFathersDay campaign on social media:

Social Media Discusses the Fake #EndFathersDay Campaign Following Photoshopped Image

Have you seen the fake photo of two women protesting the observance of Father’s Day circulating social media? What are your thoughts on the holiday? Sound off in the comments section below!

Source: B2C

Demystifying Big Data and Data Science [Infographic]

Knowing the software tools and analytic skills that have emerged to handle massive data volumes will help you navigate today’s technological landscape.

In only a few years, Big Data has moved from just Gigabytes to whopping Zettabytes! But what is behind the hype and what characteristics make regular old data become “Big Data”? What type of data is Big Data? And, given these characteristics of Big Data, how is useful information extracted from this tremendous growth in data?

The 5 Vs of Big Data:

The characteristics of Big Data are succinctly described using these concepts:

  1. Volume: just moving data files of 10s of Gigabytes or more around will require non-traditional methods.

  2. Velocity: Data streams are enormous, so network and processing speed is critical

  3. Variety: There is no definite structure; data can be anything from audio & video to unstructured text

  4. Veracity: if we hope to learn something from the data, it better be right; remember – “garbage in – garbage out”

  5. Value: captures whether the data actually increases information content and therefore providing downstream inferred correlations

Big Data and the emerging Science of Data

Dealing with all these Vs of Big Data involves a wide mix of Technology Skills, summarized as:

  • Data Analytics, Warehousing, and Database engineering

  • Programming languages

  • Statistics, machine learning modeling, and algorithm testing/tuning

  • Data visualization

Those possessing these broad skill set are called Data Scientists. This new brand of scientists are discovering deeply hidden relationships from the constant streams of data produced every day.

Are you confused about which tools and platforms to use in order to get started as a Data Scientist or a Big Data Engineer?

Don’t worry, because here is a simple infographic that explains all you need to know about Big Data and Data Science together with tools and platforms.


Infographic brought to you by Digital Vidya

Source: B2C

B2B Marketing Research: What You Need to Know

There’s a lot of interest these days in marketing research. And nowhere is research a hotter topic than in the business-to-business world, where it’s a substantial factor in many firms’ prosperity. In this post, we’re going to explore this powerful marketing piece by piece, breaking down B2B marketing research into a series of questions and answers. Chances are you’ve been mulling some of these questions, too.

What Is B2B Marketing Research, Anyway?

B2B marketing research is the process of uncovering insights into your marketplace by surveying a representative sample of its participants. Participants might include existing customers, former customers, prospective buyers, lost prospects (buyers who chose to buy from another company), and influencers. And in a competitive employer market, research might even include current and prospective employees, as well.


Typically, the research process consists of two parts: data collection and analysis.

Let’s start with data collection. There are two broad approaches you can take to collecting your data:

  1. Qualitative. In this approach, researchers talk directly with people to gather their experiences and opinions about your business, product or other aspects of the marketplace. Because it involves live conversations, this type of research takes more time and effort and it can be trickier to analyze. On the plus side, qualitative research provides unmatched depth and it allows you to ask open-ended questions and pursue new lines of inquiry as opportunities arise. Phone interviews, face-to-face interviews and focus groups are the most common ways businesses conduct qualitative research.

  2. Quantitative. If qualitative research allows you to dive deep into a relatively small sample, quantitative research derives its power from volume. Using a standardized survey questionnaire, the researcher asks everyone the same set of questions (though branched questions, in which an answer determines what question comes next, are also an option). While open-ended questions are certainly possible in quantitative research, they are used less frequently so that it’s easier to analyze the large quantity of data. The more rigid structure of quantitative research lends itself to a different range of formats, including online, mail and telephone surveys.

Which is better, qualitative or quantitative research? Really, there’s no right or wrong answer. Each serves a different purpose. At a very simplistic level, quantitative research is useful for understanding what is happening in the marketplace, while qualitative research is good at exploring why.

Qualitative research offers a great deal of flexibility, and it provides a rich body of information. Quantitative research is highly structured, which makes it easier to recognize patterns and draw broad conclusions from the data. Because of the amount of labor and cost involved in doing qualitative marketing research, it often addresses a small sample — sacrificing some statistical confidence for a deeper dive into the subjects.

The process of identifying whom to interview can be a difficult task, and usually only a fraction of those people will be willing or available to join the study. Qualitative research, on the other hand, can often reach a much larger audience, so it’s sample may be more statistically representative of the group you want to understand.

Some studies include both quantitative and qualitative research. That way, they gather a more complete picture of the audiences they are investigating.

What Are the Benefits of Marketing Research?

Our own research of professional services firms has shown a strong correlation between research and growth/profitability. In fact, firms that conduct frequent research (at least quarterly) grow almost 12X faster and are almost twice as profitable as firms that do no research.

Firms that conduct frequent research grow almost 12X faster and are almost twice as profitable

Here’s the data:


The most successful companies understand that the market is in constant flux, and the only way they can keep on top of all that change is by doing research on a regular basis. Up-to-date intelligence allows them to adjust their messaging and services to meet the evolving needs of their audiences.

How Can My Business Use Market Research?

There are an almost limitless number of ways you can use market research to improve your business. Here are 25 to get you thinking about your own situation:

  1. Discover who you really compete against in the marketplace (you will be surprised, I promise)

  2. Uncover your differentiators

  3. Find your competitive advantage

  4. Learn what services your clients appreciate most, and why

  5. See emerging opportunities in the marketplace

  6. Adjust your marketing messages to reflect what customers really want to hear

  7. Find out what your customers think about you

  8. Discover which weaknesses you need to fix right away

  9. Get your Net Promoter Score and find out whether your customers are likely to recommend your company to others

  10. Learn how well known your business is in the marketplace

  11. Explore why some customers chose to buy from another company, instead

  12. Find out how your pricing compares to the competition

  13. Find out how important price is to your buyers

  14. Discover whether there is demand for your new product or service

  15. Recognize emerging trends in the marketplace

  16. Demonstrate that you care about your customers — the act of doing research shows that you are interested in them and their opinions

  17. Discover the one thing your customers would change about your business

  18. Find out if you are well positioned to enter a new market

  19. Determine what issues you should be writing and speaking about to engage your audience and build your visibility

  20. Find out whether internal perceptions about your company match external perceptions

  21. Learn how your customers find you

  22. Find out why your customers chose you over a competitor

  23. See if your customers are aware of all of your key products or services

  24. Find out what you are known for in the marketplace

  25. Benchmark your business against competitors in your industry

Can I Do the Research Myself?

Yes, you can do it yourself. But in most cases, I recommend against it. Why? Three reasons.

First of all, designing a valid and insightful survey questionnaire takes skill. A professional survey designer has the experience to write a questionnaire that will achieve your goals — and avoid the leading questions and biases that can produce ambiguous, misleading or invalid results.

Second, most surveys, even those with small samples, can generate a lot of data. The way you categorize, roll up and score the data can dramatically affect the results. Best to leave that to an expert, if possible.

Third, you will get more honest answers if an impartial third party conducts your research for you. If you conduct interviews yourself, people may be reluctant to be critical of your business — precisely the stuff you need to know if you want to make course corrections to your marketing or operations.

What Types of B2B Marketing Research Are There?

There are many ways to approach marketing research. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Brand research — Learn how you are perceived in the marketplace and where your opportunities lie. Use this information to differentiate your business and strengthen your brand.

  • Client research — Discover what your clients and prospects want and how you can deliver it. Use this information to adjust your marketing messages, services and operations to meet the changing needs of the marketplace.

  • Market research — Find out who your true competitors are, what services you should be offering and what opportunities you can take advantage of.

  • Client satisfaction research — Answer the question, “how happy are your clients with your work and service?”

  • Client journey research — Map out the path people take to find, learn to trust and buy your products or services. Use this information to reduce friction in the buying process, improve you closing rate and raising your service standards.

  • Client persona research — Who are the people that buy your services or influence those who make the final decision? What messages do they need to hear? Persona research will identify and profile them so your marketing and sales can be more persuasive.

What Questions Should We Be Asking?

What questions should you ask? This question is difficult to answer without first identifying the type of research you will be tackling and the goals you are trying to achieve. Also, the way you word the questions can have a real effect on the way people answer them. So I’m going to avoid prescribing specific questions here and talk about general strategy, instead.

Of course, if you engage a marketing research partner, they will work with you to develop an appropriate set of questions that get to the heart of your issues.

First, let’s look at some of the different ways you can pose questions.

  • Multiple choice — Use this when you want to limit the answers to a specific set of possible answers. You can introduce flexibility, if you like, by allowing respondents to choose more than one answer, select “Other” as their answer, or supply a custom answer that wasn’t prompted.

  • Yes-No — Use when you want a definitive binary answer to a question.

  • Scaled — Use when you want to gauge responses on a continuum. 3-, 5-, 7- and 10-poing scales are common. A 10-point scale, for instance, is used to determine customer loyalty in the Net Promoter

  • Matrix questions — These close-ended questions are used to evaluate multiple items using the same set of criteria. The result is a matrix table of results. Here’s a simple example:


  • Open-ended questions — Use when you want respondents to provide their own answers. In qualitative research, an interviewer might ask a respondent to elaborate on an aspect of his or her answer.

Okay, now that you understand the types of questions you can ask, you need to clearly define your goals.

Are you trying to get a better understanding of your target audience and their needs? Do you want to know what buyers think of your flagship product or service? Do you want to measure the strength of your brand?

Each of those questions would require a very different questionnaire, so before you can begin designing your survey you need to spell out what it is you are trying to learn. This may sound obvious, but it’s all too easy to jump right into writing questions without setting any boundaries or goals. You’ll also need to decide whom you will ask to participate in your survey — again, your overall goals will directly affect your choices.

Next, you’ll determine whether qualitative, quantitative or a combination of the two is most appropriate for your study. If in doubt, choose qualitative. In my opinion, it offers the most value for your effort.

Only after you’ve completed the previous steps should you begin developing your questions. As you write questions, test them in your mind (or better yet, run them by others) to make sure they aren’t confusing in any way and that they don’t accidentally reflect any biases or assumptions you may have about the answers.

It bears repeating: you are more likely to get accurate results if you work with an experienced research partner. That said, it’s certainly possible to do it yourself.

How Many Participants Do We Need?

How many people do you need to include in your research? Well, that depends on your budget and whether you want bullet-proof data or good-enough results. If you want a high level of confidence that your research represents the entire population you are studying, you will need a statistically significant sample size.

In other words, if you want to be confident that your results have, say, less than a 5% likelihood of being wrong, you would need a truly random sample that is large enough to represent the full range of people that make up your audience. That could be a lot of participants.

If you have a large budget, you may be able to achieve such levels of certainty. But if your budget is smaller, you may need to lower your standards and settle for a “non-probability” technique called “convenience sampling.”

This common approach to research is used when it is very difficult (or expensive) to obtain a statistically significant and/or random sample. It is often used in university research settings — for instance, small studies in which students are recruited to take part in experiments. It is also common in business research when it is impractical to identify a large enough sample, much less a truly random one.

While the results of convenience sampling can’t be assumed to apply to the entire study population, they can provide useful, actionable information so long as you keep in mind the limitations of this approach. In convenience sampling, the sample should be as large as is practical. If that means six people, so be it. It’s better than nothing. You just can’t assume that these six subjects will accurately reflect the mindset of your broader audience. At Hinge, we like to include at least 10 people in one of these studies, and that’s a bare minimum. 20 is even better. The more, the merrier. If you are working with a small sample, I recommend that you conduct qualitative research so that you can extract the most information from your limited sources.

How Often Should We Be Doing Research?

As the chart that I shared earlier illustrates, businesses that do research at least quarterly tend to be high-growth, high-profit businesses. But even those that do it infrequently (say, once a year or so) significantly outperform companies that do no research at all.

So my advice is to dive in now and do something — even if you don’t think you’ll be able to conduct additional research again for a while. A little information can be a powerful thing, and it can be a great motivator to make changes in your business. Changes that will make you more competitive and aware of your strengths, weaknesses and blue-ocean opportunities.

How Do I Get Started?

To do research right, you should seek out an outside research partner. Even we at Hinge, use a third party to interview our clients and prospects. It’s the only way to minimize bias and convince people that your survey is confidential and impartial.

Look for a firm that knows your industry. And if they have worked extensively in it, ask if they have industry benchmarks to which you can compare your results.

Be prepared to provide a list of clients and prospects. A good firm will help you develop a letter or email you can use to reach out to these people. Depending on the situation, they may supplement these lists with their own prospecting.

Most importantly, have an open mind. Some of the findings may take you by surprise. Those are often the most valuables insights — whether they are positive or negative.

If you prefer to do the research yourself, that’s okay. Just be aware it comes with limitations and caveats, some of which I’ve addressed above. You may want to keep your survey to a handful of questions to avoid being overwhelmed by data. Do your best to select a broad sample of your audience, and try to include people who had different experiences (good and bad) with your firm.


Conducting marketing research can make your B2B company more self-aware, attuned to the marketplace and better prepared for change. If you haven’t done this kind of research before, don’t worry. A qualified research partner can handle the heavy lifting and deliver a more nuanced interpretation of the results — results that you should be able to act on right away.

Marketing research is a powerful and often underappreciated tool. Whether you are wondering how to build your company’s momentum again, what’s going on in the marketplace, why your top competitor is winning all the business or how you can keep your competitive edge, the answers are out there. You just need the will and the way to extract them.

Now go do it!


Source: B2C

112 Intriguing Questions to Ask Your New Hire

At Red Branch Media, we love to get to know our new hires with a game we call New Brancher Trivia! Usually, we try to pair new Branchers up and have the existing employees try to guess which answer goes with who. Besides helping us make our new hires feel a little more at ease, this has the added bonus of occurring at the end of their first week. This means our employees spend the first week really trying hard to “get to know” the new hires, which has the added bonus of making the new hires feel even more comfortable.

While only some of the below questions are really great for a new hire, they can break the ice with a new colleague, work friend and yes, cribbed to use when you play your own version of onboarding trivia. Start your onboarding process off right by engaging and getting to know your new team members:

If you could have one food for the rest of your life what would it be?

If you were an animal, what would you be?

What was your favorite childhood toy?

If your house was on fire, what possession would you save?

Name one odd skill that you have (but most people don’t)

Name a class you took when you were little.

What is your very favorite book?

There’s a movie quote on your grave. What is it?

We’re moving the Red Branch Media office to your dream location? Where is it?

You got your dream job. What are you doing?

What was the name of your childhood pet?

It’s ten years ago, who was your big Hollywood crush?

And today?

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own/owned?

What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?

What would your perfect room look like?

How often do you play sports?

What fictional place would you most like to go?

What job would you be terrible at?

When was the last time you climbed a tree?

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal for?

What is the most annoying habit that other people have?

What job do you think you’d be really good at?

What skill would you like to master?

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?

What’s your favorite drink?

What state or country do you never want to go back to?

What songs have you completely memorized?

What game or movie universe would you most like to live in?

What do you consider to be your best find?

Are you usually early or late?

What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?

What is something that is considered a luxury, but you don’t think you could live without?

What’s your claim to fame?

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?

How often do you people watch?

What have you only recently formed an opinion about?

What’s the best single day on the calendar?

What are you interested in that most people haven’t heard of?

At which store would you like to max-out your credit card?

Which storybook/cartoon character turns you on the most?

What was your favorite TV show when growing up?

Choose a movie title for the story of your life.

What was your favorite toy as a kid?

How old is the oldest pair of shoes in your closet?

Can you play any instruments?

What is the oldest thing in your refrigerator?

What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?

What is your favorite cereal?

What, if anything, have you ever re-gifted?

What was the worst punishment you received at school?

What’s the strangest talent you have?

What was your childhood nickname?

Do you have any strange phobias?

What’s your favorite flavor of Pringles?

Have you ever had a poem or a song written about you?

Which way does your toilet paper hang on the wall – over or under?

What, or who, are you a “closet” fan of?

When did you accept a dare that you later regretted?

What is one thing that all of your love interests have had in common?

Where and when did you have your first kiss?

What are three things still left on your bucket list?

If you could have any one superpower, which would you choose?

What is the worst pet you have ever had?

What was your favorite food when you were a child?

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

What is one of your favorite quotes?

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

What is your favorite form of exercise?

What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?

What’s your least favorite mode of transportation?

What is your favorite body part?

What sound do you love?

If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?

If you could paint a picture of any scenery you’ve seen before, what would you paint?

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

If you knew the world was ending in 2012, what would you do differently?

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?

If you were immortal for a day, what would you do?

If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

If you were reincarnated as an animal/drink/ice cream flavor, what would it be?

If you could know the answer to any question, besides “What is the meaning of life?”, what would it be?

If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?

What would you name the autobiography of your life?

What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?

Have you ever had something happen to you that you thought was bad but it turned out to be for the best?

What was one of the best parties you’ve ever been to?

What was the last movie, TV show or book that made you cry or tear up?

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

What was the last experience that made you a stronger person?

What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

When was the last time you had an amazing meal?

What’s the best/worst gift you’ve ever given/received?

What do you miss most about being a kid?

What is your first memory of being really excited?

What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

When was the last time you were nervous?

What is something you learned in the last week?

What story does your family always tell about you?

At what age did you become an adult?

Questions of any form are a great way to get to know your new hires and your team in general. After all, you spend 40+ hours a week with these people – you should probably get to know them! But, the process for onboarding and engagement doesn’t stop there. Put in the work to make them feel like a part of the team and work family. It’ll pay off in the end.

Source: B2C

How to Grow Your Email List in 5 Easy Steps

TeroVesalainen / Pixabay

There is no doubting that we live in the social media age. Personal and business accounts invest a lot of time and money into growing their social media channels, yet it is not so much about the numbers of followers you have, but how many people engage.

However, social media platforms are congested. Because of the myriad voices attempting to get their message heard, it can be easy to go unnoticed, even if what you’re saying is topical and relevant. Don’t get me wrong: social media is fantastic, but when it comes to growing a business, building an email list is more important than how many followers you have.

Let me explain.

Let’s say you have a large number of followers on Instagram and via this channel you do everything; you communicate, sell your services, engage with customers and drive traffic to your website. What happens if the powers that be at Instagram decide to update their rules tomorrow, meaning only a handful of people can see your page. Or perhaps the changes could even see you run into legal issues. Remember Napster? These things can and do, happen.

Creating an email list is building a database of ready customers that want to hear from you, want to engage, and want to buy your products or services. And the best thing? You own this.

So, if you already have list of email addresses, but it’s not growing, or you feel clueless and don’t know where to start, here are my five top tips to help you jump on the mail list wagon:

Step 1: Create amazing opt-in forms

When someone lands on a website, they’re generally there for a specific reason. They’re already engaged, but you need to get them to interact. By having a nicely designed opt-in form on your homepage you will instantly grab the attention of your visitors. Make sure you have an opt-in form that is visible and easy to complete; that way, the user will be far more willing to jot their email address down.

You can create opt-in forms as a pop up on your homepage, as a footer on your content pages, on side menu bars, or at the bottom of your contact page. Don’t be shy; make it easy for your reader to find your opt-in forms and don’t be afraid to have a few strategically dotted around your website.

Step 2: Think carefully about your opt-in form content

I often see opt-in forms that just say: ‘Sign up to our newsletter here’. That’s not good enough, guys. You need to entice your customers by making it clear what they are signing up for. Tell them what to expect, and what you have to offer. You’re asking for something from them, so you have to give them something in return. Think about how you can help them and why they should sign up, but refrain from asking for too much information.

Opt-in forms that ask for details like addresses and phone numbers are more likely to fail, as most people don’t want to share too much personal information online. Adding a mini privacy statement can make your audience more willing to subscribe.

The bottom line is this: keep everything simple, clear and to the point.

Step 3: Create the perfect offer (and give them something for free)

Creating a perfect offer is a solid approach. For example, offer them a free download when they sign up. Everyone loves a freebie! A free guidebook, for example, can be very tempting. It doesn’t need to be long, but it does needs to contain valuable information that your audience will find helpful. Make sure the content is well written, but also ensure it’s beautifully designed. You want your audience to see the quality of your work immediately.

Step 4: Design an engaging call to action (CTA)

Design a CTA for use on all of your social media channels that links to your chosen offer. Then link your social media CTA to your opt-in form, and invite people to subscribe and download your free content. The more exposure your CTAs have, the more subscribers you’ll accrue.

Step 5: Utilise your email signature

A great little trick is to create a CTA on your email signature that links back to your opt-in form. Think about how many emails you send on a daily basis, and then realise that each of them is an opportunity to gain additional subscribers. Design a beautiful CTA, place it in your signature, and watch your mail list grow.

Source: B2C

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

4 Steps in Blending Customer Behavior and Customer Analytics for Better Insights

customer analytics

Image courtesy of ExasolAG

Customer analytics come from a variety of sources:

  • Google Analytics – which becomes more robust every year

  • Primary research

  • Internal sales databases

  • Login databases

  • Customer service

  • Potentially other sources specific to a particular company

Harvesting this data and successfully utilizing it relies on doing 4 things really well:

  1. Understanding concepts of consumer (customer) behavior

  2. Gathering data across functional silos and disparate sources

  3. Gleaning insights from a blending of data and relevant concepts from consumer behavior

  4. Implementing change based on your insights

And, based on a survey of marketing managers, alteryx finds more than half feel these challenges keep them from optimizing long-run ROI. So, let’s take a look at each of these challenges and ways to overcome them. See the infographic they produced based on this survey at the bottom of this post.

Customer analytics problem 1: consumer behavior

I’ve been a marketing professor for over 20 years. Most of the schools that I know of require marketing students take a consumer behavior course or, at least, strongly suggests they take one. So, marketing students come out knowing a lot about the decision-making process that ended with consumers either buying or not buying their products. They understand how peers and other influencers, memory and learned behaviors, and cultural beliefs impact this decision-making process. Thus, they know what variables likely impact purchase decisions, so they know which data is important and which has little to no impact on buying decisions.

Even price is a poor predictor of purchase behavior. For instance, Apple sells a ton of PCs, tablets, and other devices despite pricing their products substantially higher than competitors. And, the decisions have little to do with other factors we commonly think of as driving customer purchase, such as quality, availability, etc. And, Apple isn’t the only case where consumers make decisions that don’t fit with our economic notions of what drives behavior.

The problem occurs that these same marketing students who have such a clear grasp of the consumer behavior process as it relates to purchase decisions have poor analytical skills and lack skills in related aspects necessary to derive meaning from data, such as SQL, which we’ll discuss in a few minutes.

The same is true for folks trained in analytics, only in reverse. They’re trained in deriving business intelligence (BI) from data, but, because they have no clue about consumer behavior, they have little clue about what to look for, beyond superficial types of data like demographics, which often explain little of why consumers made specific decisions. Without this information to guide their queries, they’re ill-prepared to develop actionable insights that improve ROI, even in the short-run.


The obvious and most practical solution is to train marketing students more thoroughly in customer analytics. We could think about integrating customer analytics into existing marketing courses but, there are a couple of problems with that solution. First, students self-select marketing, at least in large part, because it’s not reliant on math. A related problem is that most BI courses don’t include enough on customer analytics, instead focusing on finance or operations. A second problem is that there’s already a lot of material in these courses, which we already have problems covering in sufficient depth.

We may have to think about adding an additional required course that teaches marketing students how to derive insights from customer data, including issues of how to manage the data, itself.

Customer analytics problem #2: Gathering data

Here again, we have 2 related problems; 1) generating the right data and 2) gathering data across different functional areas.

Generating the right data: solution

If you don’t have the data in the first place, it’s impossible to generate consumer insights. That means you have to work backward from the insights you hope to generate the data necessary to garner those insights. That might mean using tracking codes across different campaigns and channels so you know which translate most effectively into sales. Tracking codes must record actions within a page, not just page views, which is standard in Google Analytics. Other tools may also be necessary to generate the right data.

Gathering data across functional areas: solution

This is actually a two-fold process. First, analysts must know what data exists across the organization and have access to that data. This is challenging in hierarchical organizations where someone else “owns” the data. For instance, I worked with a glass maker to help improve their ROI. Within a few days, it was obvious that a major problem interfered with optimizing profitability, the marketing people had no idea how much it cost to make any product on their product line. That’s because the acquisition information belonged to the accounting department and the production department controlled information about how much material and labor was used to make a particular piece of glass. Thus, pricing was a guess rather than being based on ABC (activity based costing). The company found it was selling some pieces for very little more than it cost to make them.

The solution is to flatten organizations and transfer data ownership to the organization rather than holding it within a particular functional area.

Customer analytics problem #3: Generating insights

True customer insights come when you blend data and consumer behavior knowledge. You need to know what to look for (not all data is equally valuable). Conversely, you need to understand what the data means by comparing it to what you know about consumer behavior. We already talked about this earlier.

But, often, databases have different formats and a key is required to link databases together. This may mean using SQL to link data from different databases together before running customer analytics to gather insights. Again, most marketing students don’t have this skill set and programs must develop to teach this skill.

Customer analytics problem #4: Implementing change

Implementing change may be the most difficult, time-consuming, and expensive task related to customer analytics. It’s also where improved efficiencies and ROI emerge. Without effective implementation, the data is a meaningless exercise. Again, this is 2 related problems; 1) knowing what the data tells you to do and 2) implementation.

Again, this is 2 related problems; 1) knowing what the data tells you to do and 2) implementation.

Some changes are obvious. If one type of offer works best or one channel seriously outperforms others, the solution to implement change is clear. In most cases, the data don’t tell you exactly what to do. For instance, an increase or an already high level of returns and/ or service calls tells you something is wrong, but a deeper investigation is needed to figure out what change is required. Similarly, finding unmet customer needs suggests introducing new or improved products, but finding these unmet needs is partly data, but more critically, being able to find and interpret statements reflecting unmet needs.

Even once you find opportunities in your metrics, it isn’t always easy to implement change. Sometimes there’s internal resistance to change. For instance, I visited a company who recently implemented a computerized order system (EDI), yet observing operations it was clear that employees didn’t trust the system. Thus, they were still doing manual order entry and processing, using the computerized system to record what they did rather than to optimize order processing as it was intended.

Implementing change may also require some hard choices. Sometimes, it may mean firing long-time employees in favor of new ones with skills that map better to the skill set required after the change.

Source: B2C

Binge-Watching: Do We Lose Something in the Process?

Since early 2013, Netflix has produced shows that can be binged. This new wave of entertainment has streaming websites, like Netflix, releasing shows by the season. ComiConverse contributor Joseph Gioeli determines whether or not we are losing something in the process of watching our favorite characters on the small screen in a new way.

In the past 3 years, Netflix and Marvel have partnered to bring us unique takes on some of Marvel’s most popular heroes. They began this joint venture in 2015 and by the end of this year, they will have their sixth show streaming on Netflix.

In April of 2015, Netflix aired season one of Daredevil and it was an immediate hit. Many did not think that it could get better than Charlie Cox’s Daredevil battling Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, but in 2016, season 2 pitted him against Jon Bernthal’s near-flawless portrayal of Frank Castle. A portrayal so powerful that it sprung its own spinoff show, The Punisher, set to release later this year. This series also brought solid supporting characters such as Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, and Elektra into the Netflix portion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Credit: Marvel Studios

About seven months after season one of Daredevil premiered, Jessica Jones began streaming. This series featured Krysten Ritter as the title character battling arguably the best villain to date in the Marvel Netflix shows, Kilgrave. David Tennant’s thought-provoking performance as instilled genuine fear into anyone watching. Season two is set to premiere sometime in 2018.

Almost a year after Jessica Jones, Netflix began streaming the Mike Colter-led series, Luke Cage. Luke had already been a major part of Jessica Jones the prior year, but by getting his own show, fans got a look into the origins of Luke and a more complete understanding of the character.

Most recently, Netflix began streaming Iron Fist in March of this year. This was a highly anticipated release, but was met with poor reviews. Whether it was claims of whitewashing, a weak storyline, a poor villain or a less-than-stellar supporting cast, Iron Fist had many areas of complaint. Regardless, it still introduced Danny Rand into this universe, which was the final piece needed to move forward with The Defenders. In mid-August, we saw all four heroes come together for an eight-episode miniseries as they attempted to dismantle the Hand for good.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Most fans have watched, or will watch, these shows within days of their release. For decades, television shows followed a formula: every week, on a certain day and at a certain time, that show would air and viewers would tune in. Now, it is becoming much more difficult to continue this way of releasing shows since websites like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are creating their own shows and releasing them by the season.

Some people like binging because they don’t have to wait a week to watch the next installment of their show. Now, they can watch as many or as few episodes as they would like, plus the episodes cane be longer since there are no commercials included and no scheduling restrictions to influence run time.

Some are not as fond of this new method since after they watch the newest season, they are forced to wait at least a year for the next chunk of episodes. This causes many fans to feel that they are not as invested in a series as they once were. Shows like Lost (2004), Breaking Bad (2008), and Game of Thrones (2011) have been and still are popular to a point of obsession with some fans.

The question remains, are we losing something watching shows a season at a time?

The answer: Absolutely

The beauty of shows that had weekly installments was every episode was its own individual story; there was character development and relationship building that took weeks to form.

Although, there is a difference between binge watching a “bingeable” show and binge watching a show meant for weekly installments.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones were made for binge watching. They keep the pace moving because they know most people will burn through the entire season within a week, so they create relationships and develop their characters in a more fluid way that is built for a streaming show.

This is not meant to knock comic book-based shows that are not streaming via Netflix. Shows like Arrow (2012), Flash (2014), and Supergirl (2015) all air on networks, but are still popular among fans.

Regardless of how these shows are structured, I’m sure most fans would agree that we are just happy to see these characters being portrayed in media, some of them for the first time, and most of them in an accurate way.

Do you agree? Do you think something is lost in bingeable streaming shows? Let us know in the comments below!

Joseph Gioeli is an Expert ComiConverse Contributor. Follow him on Twitter: @joegioeli

The post Binge-Watching: Do We Lose Something in the Process? appeared first on ComiConverse.

Source: B2C

Are You Charging Enough For Your Product Or Service?

It’s quite difficult to decide what to charge, especially when you’re first starting out. Here are my 5 top tips to ensure you are charging enough

It’s quite difficult to decide what to charge, especially when you’re first starting out. If you under charge you run the risk of being overloaded with work and not making enough profit. Overcharge and you might not get any work. If you charge the same as your competitors then you wonder why buyers should choose you. And if you aren’t that unique then why should they buy from you? It’s like a never ending circle of questions and choices.


Back in the day, many, many moons ago, when I was a market stall holder and making my own smelly soaps and bath bombs, pricing was always an issue. Take a 100g bar of soap. To the average buyer, it’s just a bar of soap. It smells nice. It might also be a pretty colour or novelty design. Added bonus that it’s handmade. Another bonus that it was handmade by a local. But not many people would ask about the ingredients and what went into making it. The quality of handmade soap, and bath bomb ingredients can vary. A lot! As does the price of such ingredients. Using the nice little extras such as an SLS free base, perhaps a bit of shea butter or aloe vera all added to the production costs.

I used to attend various craft fairs and farmers markets events and it was an endless battle of being undercut. Anyone who has ever dabbled in the craft fair market will know this only too well. If you’re doing things right then your product will be priced accordingly. And then you would have the hobbyist. Not that I’m knocking anyone side hustling because you know how much I love a good side hustle. But still, for something like soap, you need a cosmetics license and insurance to be able to make and sell such items. Many of the hobbyists I encountered didn’t have such things, thus didn’t have the costs either. Often they would forget about tax, NI and paying the electric bill all has to be factored into your pricing. They would sell their products, often similar to mine at £1 cheaper. Naturally, the unsuspecting buyer would always go for the cheaper product.


It’s much the same in my business today. There is always someone willing to do the job cheaper. I see so many adverts for people willing to sell social media management for £50 a month! And there will be a never ending supply of people happy to pay that. Which makes my job harder when I have to tell these people that £50 per month is an unrealistic figure for me to work for. At Socially Famous PR we also have to deal with the willing volunteers that will do it for nothing. Managing a celebrities social media is very different to a business account and requires a different approach. There will always be a super fan or random admin person in the agent’s office who is willing to do the job for free.

As I’ve talked about before, cheap or free is not professional. It’s not what a professional business or public figure should be looking for.

Business costs are real. Overheads don’t go away simply because you drop your price. You may well miss out on some business because you won’t drop your price to below a reasonable profit level. But you’re not a charity. Or at least not for now anyway. You will be if you keep on cutting your prices though!

So with all that in mind I’ve put together a list of 5 things you need to consider when setting your prices. And undercutting your competitors isn’t one of them!



In my soap making days I did not sleep in December. Christmas was my pay day and every day was busy. That meant after a full day on the stall it was back home to make more stock for the following day. In retail, having well-stocked shelves in a must. So, every day my stocks needed replenishing. And since it was December I never had a day off. With soap and bath bombs you can’t just throw all the ingredients in and they are ready. They need time to cool and set. Every night this meant making several batches and leaving them to cool over night to then have to be up super early the next day to package them.

If I had factored in my hourly rate for doing this, my bars of soap would have been selling at £10 each. There is no way they would sell for that. No amount of sales patter and pretty packaging would make up for it. So, my time had to take the hit. The craft makers amongst you will understand this pain.

Now, because what I do requires very little in the way of physical stock, then essentially I am charging for my time. For some work, I do charge an hourly rate and for others, it’s a set price. But that set price is made up of a good estimate of the time it will take me to do something. I monitor my time very closely to ensure that I’m not spending too much time on things that have no value to me. And I allow myself a set amount of time to work on the things that will grow my brand, be it this blog or active promotions. They are, hopefully, the pay days of the future.


It stands to reason that the longer you do something the better you get at it. My prices now reflect that I am a lot more experienced than when I first started out. There’s also no standard hourly fee regardless of the work. SEO prices tend to be higher than social media management because SEO requires a broader understanding and skill set. Likewise, if a client also wants specific content creation then that is charged higher than standard social media management. Again, it’s all down to the skills required to do the job. I value my skills and know the time and effort that has gone into acquiring them. Therefore my pricing reflects that. If I was to undercharge for my work then that would be under valuing my own experience and skills.

When people tell me they can do it better or cheaper themselves, I just tell them to go ahead. Chances are they can’t and won’t.


Such a dreaded word. But sure enough, taxes are a burden we all have to carry. And so does your customer. Don’t drop your price to incorporate your tax. Add it on. Once you’ve accounted for tax, national insurance and maybe even VAT that’s a fair chunk of your profits gone. Not only that there are your insurance costs too. Your insurance should always be covered in your costs. After all, it’s your customer who is most likely to sue you!

Whilst I’ve just mentioned VAT there is one point that many miss. In the UK and Ireland, we have VAT turnover thresholds that you can hit before you have to register for VAT. You can voluntarily do this before you are anywhere near the threshold. Whether you do this will probably depend on how much VAT you could potentially be claiming back off your purchases if your sales aren’t that high. Best to speak to an accountant on that one. But one VAT you can’t dodge is the VAT MOSS payable within the EU for the sale of digital goods. This is not voluntary. It’s mandatory and even if you only sell a £1 ebook to someone in France, you have to pay. Sorry. I know it sucks.

There are plenty of shopping cart plugins that can do all the calculations for you and make sure that your customer is paying the correct rate. Don’t leave it to chance and don’t absorb the cost.


Have you ever been in a shop and seen the sign where they say there is a minimum spend for card payments or they add a 50p charge? That’s because it can be quite expensive to process card payments when you are just a small business. Similarly, PayPal has different charges for different things if you are using them for online transactions. Keep an eye on the small print.

Likewise, banks love to lure you in with their free banking periods when you first start but after the initial 12 months, you’ll soon realise how banks are making their money. When you can be charged for just depositing money into your account it’s worth keeping an eye on ways you can keep these costs down.

These are just another forgotten costs that many small business owners forget about so make sure you are incorporating them. You don’t want a surprise bill for bank or card fees taking away your hard-earned profits.


It’s the little things we tend to forget. Do you work from home? Are you factoring in your home offices fair share of the gas and electric? Or even the council tax? You can claim business rates against your home office if that is all you specifically use that room for. For many though it’s not really a suitable option and the council will want to come out and inspect your premises.

If you use your car for your business are you taking all the costs into account? Or are you offsetting the depreciation at year end if you own the car outright and it’s a business asset? It’s not just the fuel you put in. What about the oil? The headlight bulbs? The valeting? It all mounts up.

Computers can be costly little items when you add in all the software, apps, subscription services. Are you accounting for them all?

It’s important that you know every single cost for running your business and keep track of them. Not just for accounting purposes but for pricing. When you do a costing exercise like this you may find there are many things you’ve been absorbing rather than adding on to your price.

And don’t forget inflation is real not just a news headline. Keep an eye on your costs as the years go by. I’ve noticed the past year that the cost of many of the subscription services I use have gone up quite a lot. This is due to the poor exchange rates we now have to suffer in the UK. Granted we don’t have a crystal ball so we don’t know what the future holds, but as Brexit looms, I suspect these rates will change a lot. Keep an eye on anything you pay in dollars or euros.


What hidden costs have you found in the running of your business? What have you suddenly realised you haven’t incorporated into your pricing structure? Let me know in the comments below.

Source: B2C

How to Build Relationships With Guest Bloggers

As an early stage startup, leveraging every possible marketing channel is key to both testing your product and getting feedback, as well as driving traffic to start making sales. It is critical that your mindset is both thinking of the most efficient and effective techniques.

“Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.“ Tim Ferriss

If you are thinking about ways to drive more traffic to your site and how to raise awareness of your product, interacting with guest bloggers is a sure way to be both efficient and effective.

Step 1: Leveraging

With a new business, you will be determined to try and create a social ‘buzz’. Therefore, you will be pushing Twitter for more followers and retweets, Facebook for more likes and shares, and Linkedin for more connections. However, if you analyse your own account, you will realise how inefficient it is to think that these channels will bring any success short term. As a longer term strategy I agree that it is in your best interests to be building all the foundations of social media accounts, but short term you need to be thinking of what is going to bring you instant results and spikes in traffic.

As an early stage startup (less than 1 year old) let’s presume the following figures are your social media stats:

2000 Twitter followers

800 Facebook Likes

1000 Personal Linkedin Connections

In terms of a routine let’s presume you do the following:

Create social media posts for the week ahead which include 3 tweets per day and one Facebook post per day

You write one blog post per day

You connect with 25 people per day on Linkedin

In theory, all of this is brilliant, you feel like you are active, you are working hard, you are getting some likes of your posts and the odd person comments on a tweet. However what is the actual effect of all of this?:

When posting on Facebook, only a very small percentage of people who have liked your page will actually see your posts on their feed:

“You used to be able to access your Facebook fans by creating really good content that got likes and shares from users. The more likes and shares you got, the more likely it was that the post would be seen. Now, you not only have to create compelling content, you also have to put advertising dollars behind it to ensure it’s seen in News Feeds,” Kurt Merriweather.

This means that although you are spending lots of time trying to come up with unique Facebook content, nobody is actually seeing the posts. If we have a look at DJ David Guetta Facebook page, he has over 54 MILLION likes:

 How to Build Relationships With Guest Bloggers

However, when he posts something on his page, like a competition which you would expect to be lots of engagement. Again I stress that out of 54 million likes, he gets 748 shares and 17K likes.

How to Build Relationships With Guest Bloggers

The point I am making here is that David Guetta’s marketing team have obviously spent a huge amount of money to build that many likes, but still only 0.03% of his audience actually likes his content. If you are a startup trying to gain traffic from your site and you only have 800 it’s probably just as effective to open up the window in your office, and shout as loud as you can, “I’ve written a new blog post, does anyone want to read it” – You will probably have the same response that nobody hears you.

I slightly digress here but I hope it is clear that trying to push all your own social media when you are building your business and expecting great results at the same time is almost impossible. Therefore, I always recommend you try to leverage the social media accounts and traffic that bloggers are getting.

Step 2: Why Guest Bloggers

If you have ever written a blog you will understand the time it takes to research, write, edit, find images, optimise, post and then interact with any comments once the post is live. It takes a lot of hard work and effort but the outcomes are great. Now put this in context of popular blogs such as Startacus. The owners of this blog have worked tirelessly for years to build an active following with some key characteristics that are ideal for any new startup:

1. They are passionate about helping startups and have gradually built a loyal and engaged following over a number of years

2. They have 12.9K Twitter followers / 3500 Facebook likes. These numbers may not seem huge at first glance, but this is an active audience that is very responsive and passionate about all things startup related

3. They are always open for new content and new material to keep their site active

When helping a startup with their marketing, I always want to push them to try and do a guest blog outreach.

Step 3: What is the goal?

When contacting bloggers, always think of what is to be gained for you and more importantly what is to be gained for them. If you can build up a healthy relationship with a popular blogger you can benefit from a range of things:

1. They could feature your startup on their site / social media and newsletter

2. They could provide backlinks from their site to yours

3. You could have an ongoing relationship with them where you could write for them on a monthly basis

However also consider the time restraints the owner of the blog will have and how to make things as easy as possible for them when you contact them. The most popular sites will get lots of submission and emails and so how do you make sure that your content stands out?

Step 4: Who do you want to contact?

My aim for a blog outreach is to do things in bulk where I can contact up to 250 blogs at one time, but every blogger feels like I have written a personalised email. The way I do this is broken down into a number of steps and all data is added to a google doc with the following columns:

How to Build Relationships With Guest Bloggers

Some boxes are self-explanatory:

Blog Name (Eg: PatrickPaulCollins)

First Name (Eg: Patrick)

Blogger Website



Within the research there are also other data that I collect to make the campaigns more personalised:

Featured Blog Title

When contacting the blog I always want to make sure which blog I liked of theirs and to show them that I am fan of their work. For example with my own site, the featured blog title could be ‘how to create leads for your sales team’’ and then in the featured blog link I would add this link ‘’

Especially the Idea of

For this section, I want to let them know that I have actually read their blog and found something in the article that has helped me. With the context of ‘how to create leads for your sales team blog’ that I wrote, the especially the idea of text could be ‘using Tag Rules’

Once you have researched all the data, the fields will look like this:

How to Build Relationships With Guest Bloggers

Step 5: Creating and sending the Emails

I use Woodpecker to send all emails and it has some great features to help you with a blog outreach.

How to Build Relationships With Guest Bloggers

The first thing you need to do is to create the email templates. I like to send a series of three emails and Woodpecker will automatically stop the campaign if someone replies.

Email 1: Introduction

The following is the template I will use to contact bloggers:

How to Build Relationships With Guest Bloggers

In this context, ‘snippet 1’ is a merge tag that relates to ‘Featured Blog Title’ and ‘snippet 2’ relates to ‘Especially the Idea of’.

Using this blog template it shows that it is personalised with both the blog we like and also what we learnt/liked from the blog, an introduction to why we are getting in touch as well as why we are passionate about the same topics that the blogger writes about

Email 2: Follow up

If the blogger does not reply, 3 days later another email will automatically be sent out:

How to Build Relationships With Guest Bloggers

In this second email I reference again the blog post that they have written and why I am getting in touch. I also try a different tactic here to ask if I can feature them on my blog. The reason for this is that from reading the first email, they may not know me well enough to want to feature me on their site. However, from asking to feature them on your own site, it helps to build a relationship that in the future they could reciprocate and feature you on their site.

Email 3: Final Follow Up

It is important that you can be proactive to chase people up but not too pushy or annoying. I will send one final follow up a week later just to make sure the blogger has had a chance to read my email:

How to Build Relationships With Guest Bloggers

The main goal here is just for me to have some clarity. If the blogger is interested but very busy then that is no problem and I can get in touch in the future, however, if they are not interested that is also fine and I know not to contact them again.

Step 6: What to do if the blogger is interested?

After all of the hard work to get in touch with a blogger, you need to be prepared for when they show interest. My advice is always try and arrange a call as it is the best form of building a relationship. In this call try to:

– Show your personality. They will speak to 100’s of startups but what have you done that is very interesting and that is unique

– Complement the blogger and highlight what you like about their style, their content, their site etc.

– Be completely open and say you are passionate about growing your startup and you would love to help create content that will add high quality material to their blog

If everything goes well, the outcome will be that your content is featured on their site, drives traffic back to you and raises awareness of who you are, like in this example where it was featured on Teamgate CRM as well as causing lots of comments on Linkedin

How to Build Relationships With Guest Bloggers

Step 7: Outsourcing

This blog started on being efficient and effective and so needs to finish in the same way. If the goal is to leverage your time and resources to help raise awareness of your startup and drive more traffic, then I understand you will be concerned how much time all of this will take to create.

Don’t worry there is a solution to all of this: OUTSOURCE IT ALL!!

1. Find a freelancer who will do all the research for you. Give them the spreadsheet with all the fields I have mentioned, add 5 examples for them and say you need the top 250 most popular blogs within your target market.

2. Create a Woodpecker account to upload the data into

3. Use the email templates that I have provided and make them relevant to your product

4. Launch the campaign and ask the freelancer to filter all of the interested people for you (maybe adding to a CRM with a task for you)

5. Speak to the bloggers and agree to do guest blogs for them

6. Find a freelancer again to write the guest blogs for you

I have been using this approach for years helping startups and it is an instant way to create long lasting relationships with blogs that can help to drive traffic to your site as well as raise exposure of your product.

Source: B2C

Do the Old Thoughts Still Hold True When It Comes to Business Wear?

Free-Photos / Pixabay

He looks trustworthy. She couldn’t hack it. He lacks class. She looks efficient.

Humans possess an armoury of instincts that keep us alive. We also use these to make snap judgements about people based on the clothes they wear. In the workplace, especially, we are conditioned with preconceived ideas of what is appropriate and what to expect. These ideas, after all, are the result of years of so called “tradition”. It’s for this reason that when I was to meet with the CEO of a high-profile company I donned a suit and tie for the visit but more on that later.

The Science

Neuroscience research tells us that we are more likely to tune into a person we view as authentic subconsciously. Couple this with research showing clothing has a significant influence on perceptions of credibility and intelligence and it becomes apparent why business attire remains traditional. However, the landscape is shifting on old beliefs, do the old traditions and thoughts still hold true?

Changing landscapes

Last year PriceWaterhouseCoopers ditched the rules instead issuing employees with a new dress code. It’s simple; dress in a way that is respectful to clients and colleagues, makes them feel great and is safe and appropriate for the working environment. Their idea- unlock hidden creativity and diversity.

A suit has its advantages

Doing away with dress codes may take some convincing from the other side – their clients. Could an unaware visitor be personally affronted by the casual attire of the office? Yes, it’s a possibility but would it be a catalyst for the immediate withdrawal of any future business relationship? Unsure; remembering that our perceptions of credibility, a potential deal-breaker in business, can be based entirely on clothing albeit.

A traditional salesperson

Let’s picture a traditional salesperson. What would they look like? Clean white shirt, black pants, tie, sleek compendium and clean shaved. I bet you’ve met and brought from a salesperson in a casual shirt, sporting a beard and armed with a laptop-no briefcase in sight. The notion of the neat, conservative salesperson image will continue to be challenged.

The future is flexible

Considering the future, 10 or 20 years, what can we expect. We know fashion will progress and the army of Stay-At-Home-Entrepreneurs will grow and the younger generation will rise to exec status. Skype calls in pyjamas, holographic clothing or even holding meetings by the pool in swimwear- all possible.

The questions

In the 21st Century do we have the right to tell adults what to wear? It could come down to a question of trust, execs asking whether employees should be trusted to make the right decisions about how to dress.

As much of Australia sweltered through a weekend heatwave, it evokes another question. Is upholding traditional values worth the ill-effects of uncontrollable factors such as the weather. Particularly in my home state of Queensland, where it’s hot one day, hotter the next. Should we be expected to feel hot under the collar or just outlaw the suit between the months of December and March?

You’ve probably guessed the ending to the story of the meeting with the CEO. My suit and tie efforts were met with a casual top and pants- his and his employees’ norm. He put it down to his company’s culture. Raising even more questions:

  • Should outsiders match the company’s expectations?

  • Would we be expected to change?

  • Ought we be told prior to meetings what to wear?

Is this the end?

I’d love to hear your opinion- are we entering the slow demise of the suit and tie?

Is the upkeep of tradition more important that the results we achieve?

Originally posted on LinkedIn

Source: B2C

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Joel Osteen Sailing Luxury Yacht through Flooded Houston to Pass Out Copies of His Book Is Christian Satire

Wikimedia Commons

Reports that Joel Osteen sailed through the streets of Houston on a luxury yacht to pass out copies of his book “Your Best Life Now” are false. Rumors that the celebrity televangelist distributed his 2004 self-help bestseller to those affected by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey stemmed from a satire website.

According to Snopes, the fake claim originated on The Babylon Bee, which describes itself as a “Christian news satire” website. The article claimed that Osteen hurled copies of “Your Best Life Now” at Harvey victims in order to make amends for the controversy surrounding his Houston megachurch. It purported:

Although Joel Osteen took flak over the weekend for closing up his church to flood victims and all but disappearing during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the megachurch pastor reportedly returned to the city on his luxury yacht “S.S. Blessed” to make amends Tuesday by tossing copies of Your Best Life Now to stranded flood survivors.

Osteen had his on-call yacht captain steer the large vessel through the flooded streets of the city, pulling up to survivors stranded on their roofs and on the roof of their cars as the prosperity gospel preacher smiled, waved, and threw out signed editions of the bestselling positive thinking book.

The ridiculous report, however, is entirely fabricated. Not only do the story’s comical details indicate that there is no truth contained in the text, The Babylon Bee also states simply in their disclaimer that they publish satire:

Osteen faced backlash this weekend after closing his Houston megachurch as a result of the catastrophic flooding, which remained closed through Monday. The doors to Lakewood Church were finally opened to evacuees on Tuesday after Osteen, the church’s pastor, came under intense scrutiny for not doing more to help Harvey victims.

Osteen tweeted Tuesday morning, “Victoria and I care deeply about our fellow Houstonians. Lakewood’s doors are open and we are receiving anyone who needs shelter.” Lakewood representatives disputed claims that their doors were ever closed to those affected by the floods.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on Friday night. It was later downgraded to a tropical storm over the weekend. At least nine deaths have been reported in the aftermath of the catastrophic flooding, according to the Washington Post.

Here are some examples of people talking about the satirical story on social media:

Social Media Shares Satirical Story about Joel Osteen Sailing Luxury Yacht through Houston to Distribute His Book

Have you seen the satirical story about Joel Osteen sailing a luxury yacht through Houston to pass out copies of his book circulating social media? What are your thoughts on the controversy surrounding his megachurch? Sound off in the comments section below!

Photo credit: RobertMWorsham, Wikimedia Commons

Source: B2C