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online marketing

The Best Digital Marketing Ideas 

Was boosting your digital marketing strategy part of your business resolution list for 2020? If so, you may want to get started working on your new digital marketing ideas to drive more traffic to your website or increase your online brand awareness. 

Don’t quite know where to start? It can be a struggle since digital marketing strategies seem to be constantly evolving each year. Whether you plan to engage more in social media, email marketing, reputation building, or content building, any steps you take can help solidify your business’s name in the online universe. Here are a few ideas to point you in the right direction. 

online reputation managementMonitor Your Online Reputation 

While many businesses can claim that they are online with an easy-to-navigate website or have a strong social presence on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, not all of them remember to practice reputation Management. 

This means that you need to maintain your business’s good name by checking online reviews and answering comments or criticisms head on. Resolving problems shows that you are a responsive company and that you care about maintaining good customer service.

Set up a Google alert for your business so you know when new articles that mention your business are posted. It’s also a good idea to engage in social media monitoring as well, since one bad comment can be shared thousands of times before you get ahead of the issue.  

Try Online Advertising 

You would be amazed at how cost-effective online advertising can be, especially if you have a PPC campaign you only pay when a customer clicks on it. Facebook has many ad types that can be used to help you build more local awareness, drive to targeted landing pages and even get you more followers. Be sure you consult your marketing team because they may have specific guidelines on what audiences they would like to target and why. 

online marketingInvest in Digital Marketing Tools 

As with anything in business, it is a good idea to use a tool that is meant to help you in a specific area. Digital marketing tools such as: Google Adwords, Google Analytics, HubSpot, MailChimp, and Hootsuite, can help you define your brand online, and keep you connected with your customer base.  Finding the right tool for your business can help you define your keywords, track metrics, and post on social media in an organized manner. 

Add Valuable Content 

We’ve all heard that content is king and your digital marketing strategy can prove that. Adding content to your website via a blog, adding new service or product pages, or “How To” videos can not only stimulate interest in your brand offering but also provide some value for your site visitors. In addition, content is recognized as powerful SEO markers that tells the search engines that your site is alive and active. 

Do you have questions about your digital marketing strategy? Check out our workshop on “Innovative Marketing Ideas” on Feb 28th. 

website design

5 Tips to Improve Your Website 

A company’s website is generally the hub of any marketing strategy. It’s where you direct traffic, inform visitors of your products and services, and where deals or discounts are offered. Does your website have a clear message, clear branding, and easy-to-follow navigation? If not, you may lose customers within seconds of landing on your page. 

Did you know that within 5 seconds of landing on your website, visitors can determine what your company does, how to navigate the site, and whether the page is loading too slowly. In addition, visitors will not be sticking around to read all of your amazingly composed content either. According to Nielson Norman Group, users will likely read only 20% of the words on a page. If your website is cluttered and doesn’t have a clear message or call to action, folks won’t be sticking around for the main course.

Knowing these few tidbits, here are our 5 suggestions on how to improve your current website, keep visitors around longer, decrease your bounce rate, and improve navigation. 

mobile site design

Add Fresh Content 

Adding new and valuable content is essential to growing your website, keeping visitors coming back, and improving your SEO. The search engine and tech giant Google rewards websites that continually add fresh content. This may be in the form of a blog, client testimonials, “How To” Videos, or even an added page that explains new services or products. 

Include Social and Share Buttons

Most websites offer social media buttons that link to the company’s pages on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube. Depending upon your industry, you may offer only one or all of these. Be sure that your button is correctly linked and that you ask visitors to share and like what you are posting. Shareable blogs, posts, and graphics will spread your name and brand. 

social media buttonsUse High-Quality Images 

Avoid using stock photos that most internet surfers recognize as “over-used” or “disingenuine” for selling your products or services. These images do not need to be super expensive, but high quality, especially those that are on your website. An iPhone is fine for social media images and in fact, images of your day-to-day running of the business are the most shared and liked photos. Try to purchase a library of custom images that showcase your products or services for your website and then add in your own images to social media. 

Create a Call To Action 

You’ve probably heard this a million times. Tell your viewers what you want them to do. Use easy-to-understand language and call to action colors that get the attention of the viewer. Some good examples of call-to-actions are: click here for more information, download our sample, sign up for a webinar, watch the video, see all inbound marketing services, read our blog on this topic, and see pricing.

Remove What Is Not Needed

Is your website cluttered? Stand back from your monitor about ten feet and see if you can tell what your website is all about just by looking from a distance. Can you determine the purpose of your site or is it filled with extraneous info? Remove all images, content, and videos that distract the viewer from your message. 

Do you need more help with improving your website? Check out our workshop on Simple Tips to Improve Your Website on Feb 27th. 

 

growth and positivity

Promote Positivity at Work 

When you walk into your office, what’s the general feeling? Is it a warm, welcoming environment? Is it a place where team members feel supported or encouraged to take risks? Or is there a sense of drudgery and doom? Obviously, business leaders hope to encourage the former, more positive work environment, but how to achieve that can be a struggle. 

This blog will explore some simple, yet effective ways to promote positivity in your work environment. Since building positivity can boost employee wellness, it is well worth the effort to inject and promote some of this attitude in your workspace. 

Think about how many hours you log at work in a given week, month, and year. The numbers can be staggering, especially if you are the one who tends to get in early, and stay late. These exorbitant number of hours mean you should make every attempt to add some positivity to your work environment so the hours you spend there can be less stressful and more enjoyable. 

celebrate

Celebrate Wins 

Whenever something good happens in your office, take the time to celebrate the moment. This could be a birthday, anniversary, engagement, gaining a new client, a successful project completion, or any small moment that means something to your team members. 

This does not mean hold a big party. It could be a simple shout-out at the end of a staff meeting, springing for pizza for lunch, or letting everyone leave an hour early for the weekend. Just recognizing the achievement or moment can go a long way toward building a positive work environment. Everyone loves to have their hard work appreciated and recognized. 

Give Positive Feedback 

As a business leader, it is important to give feedback to your employees on a regular basis. It could be a quick comment here and there or something more formal such as a note left at a desk or email saying something positive. Here are a few openers to get you started. 

  • I appreciate the way you…
  • I’m impressed with…
  • I really enjoy working with you because…
  • Your team couldn’t be successful without your…
  • I admire the way you take the time to…
  • You’re really good at…

work relationshipsDevelop Relationships 

Encourage your team to develop relationships which means giving time for them to get to know each other on a personal level. Take the time to ask what a team member did on the weekend or how their vacation was. This forging of a team can take the form of formal team building or just little moments throughout the course of the day when employees get the chance to put aside work for a moment and check in with each other. 

Some businesses are switching to open workspace arrangements to encourage this type of relationship building. With the walls down, employees can chat throughout the day, collaborate on projects, and get to know each other better. All of these acts add to the positivity of the office. 

Are you looking for ideas on how to foster positivity at work? Check out our calendar of workshops that can help you in this endeavour. 

 

business growth

Steps to Help Your Business Grow

Are you a young company hoping to grow your business? Or, are you a well-established company hoping to expand your customer base and delve into new areas? Either way, you are probably looking for strategies to help your business grow. Here are a few ideas from other business leaders that can help you achieve this goal in 2020. 

Take Inventory 

In order to make a business grow and measure that growth, it is important to understand where you stand right now. Take a quick inventory of your products, services, clients, website traffic, and other key metrics. This assessment will help you in the months ahead to analyze whether you have indeed seen growth and whether your efforts are successful. 

Ask managers to assess their areas of expertise and report back on indicators that will help you determine if you are growing. These indicators could include: financial data, website traffic, marketing strategies, new clients, and retention of loyal clients. 

business growth

Use Social Media 

One exceptionally easy way to see growth is online, specifically on social media platforms. The creation and sharing of content that is valuable and original can cause a spike in sales or, at the very least, an increase in brand awareness. 

By building a following on your social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, you will potentially see some viewers become customers. This is especially true if your content is meaningful and therefore “shareable.” The more shares you promote, the more you will expand your customer base. 

Social media is also a great place to do something called “social listening.” This means you can hear directly from clients and customers about your services or products. Through social listening you can find out what customers are saying about you, gain insight into their behavior, identify keywords and trends that appeal to your target market and so improve your customer service.

Attend Networking Events and Conferences 

In order to become an expert in your industry and grow your client base, it is a good idea to attend networking events and industry conferences that can help in this goal. By attending these events, you can learn what is new in your area of expertise, meet potential competition, and track the latest trends. All of these things can help you become more in tune with your audience. That attention can help your business grow. 

Networking also allows you to build relationships with other people and encourage them to refer customers to you through word of mouth.

communityGet Involved In The Community 

While your company was just starting out, you may not have had the time or overhead to give back to the community. Now that you have established yourself, giving back to the community can help grow the business. Taking part in community events, pledging support, or even donating to a cause can help solidify your place as a valued member of the business community. It can also grow your business. 

Establish Loyalty

Your business is currently successful thanks to the clients or customers you have now. Reward current customers with a loyalty program or referral program that can help grow your business via word-of-mouth. Retaining your loyal customers while you gain new customers is vital to seeing your company grow and expand. 

Need help growing your business? Check out our workshops online. One of our February 13th workshop entitled, “Tame Your Inner Critic and Move Your Business Forward,” could help. See our site to register today. 

preparing a presentation

How to Make the Best Professional Presentations

Unless you are naturally comfortable in front of a crowd, speaking at length about your industry, product, or services may be a daunting challenge. Keeping it all together, knowing your audience, and nailing the slides can seem a bit overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to help. Here are just a few ideas on how to make your slides professional looking, easy-to-read, and, dare we say, interesting. 

It may seem like a tall order to be able to reach everyone in your audience, especially professionals that have to listen to convention speeches, pitches, and seminars all the time. There are some things you can do to perk up your presentations and make the whole process easier. 

man presentingChoosing the Right Presentation Tool

There are so many different platforms and apps that you may choose from. Here is a great article that can help you choose which one may be best for you and give you an idea of the main cost or advantages of each. We suggest you choose the one that you are most comfortable with and that allows you to the ease to work on the project from many locations, share with others, and create an easy to follow series of slides. 

Get Organized

Before you even begin to write your presentation or collect your slides, decide on your goal. What three main messages do you want the viewers to glean from your presentation? Start by telling the audience in the first few slides (and seconds) of the presentation what they will learn. There should be no mystery in what you want them to take away from your presentation. Once you know what you want them to learn, organize your slides and presentation accordingly.

audience at presentationKeep Your Presentation Slides Uniform 

Once you start organizing your presentation slides, use a uniform font, size, and color palette. Try not to have every slide take a different form. This will let the audience know what to expect from each slide without distracting them with extraneous colors and images. This includes having every slide either “landscape” or “vertical” orientation. Too much switching around can take away from your message. 

Limit Bullets and Text 

Presentation slides are really meant for the audience to know what you want them to learn or the key takeaways. Do NOT clutter your slides with too much text or too many bullets. Not only will this clutter your slides, but it may indicate that you need the bullets as reminders of what you want to say. The only thing on the slides should be main ideas. 

Use Charts and Images 

This suggestion comes with a caveat. Only use charts or animation images when it helps explain your point. Too many charts tend to turn off audiences, especially if they are hard to read. 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Even if you think you know the information well, practice it in front of team members or colleagues to be sure you have hit on all the main points you want to hit. 

Need help preparing a professional presentation? Check out our workshop, “Present Like the Pros” on Feb 6th. 

 

leadership

Do You Have the Mindset to be a Good Leader? 

Some say that great leaders are born while others believe that they are made. No matter what the case may be, whether nature or nurture, it is true that most leaders have a common set of traits that determine their level of success. Let’s take a look at the characteristics and mindset that it takes to be a leader in any industry. 

Leaders come from all walks of life and can be found in every industry. According to Lolly Daskal, a designated Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine and honored by Huffington Post, “Everybody has within them the potential to be a great leader. But it all starts, and ends with mindset.”

Great leaders seem to share common traits that have allowed them to be successful in their business or goals. Some of the more important characteristics include: communicativeness, positive curiosity, openness to change, empathy, and the ability to listen. These are not, by far, the only traits, but some of the more important ones that help a great leader succeed in whatever task lies before them. 

Curiosity 

Great leaders are always looking to learn from a situation regardless of the positive or negative outcome. Every instance can become a learning opportunity. 

Communicativeness 

Some of the best leaders in history learned to communicate their vision and the ability to explain to others how to accomplish it. Being able to communicate clearly and concisely is a hallmark of a great leader. 

Ability to Listen 

Going hand-in-hand with communicativeness, is the ability to listen and learn from others. Too many leaders have become complacent with the listening portion of communication, and become too focused on the speaking aspect. A good leader can do both well. 

Openness to Change 

Far too often we fear change. Good leaders know that change is inevitable so they might as well embrace it. It may mean changing course, learning new technology, or adopting a new way of thinking. 

Empathy

One of the more important traits of a great leader is the ability to connect with others and tune into their feelings. Having this can mean the difference between leading with care and compassion and just leading the way with no concern for others. 

What kind of leader do you hope to be? What sets you apart? Check out our Leadership Mastermind workshop on January 29 for more information on leadership with a purpose. 

 

business leadership

Common Leadership Mistakes 

Being a leader comes with a huge set of responsibilities. The fast-paced world we live in means quick decisions, handling weighty issues, and recovering from failure quickly. Unfortunately, leaders are constantly on display, so the missteps, errors, or mistakes made in this environment seem to be on display for all to see. 

Most great leaders will take the opportunity to learn from a mistake, whether big or small. So let’s take this chance to run down the most common leadership mistakes and how to learn from each. 

Delegating Mistakes 

One of the most common leadership blunders made is in regards to delegating. Good leaders are able to assess the skill and ability of those around him/her. For some leaders, lack of delegating altogether can create a situation where they are overwhelmed with work and fall behind. In other circumstances, mistakes can be made by delegating to the wrong person. For example, asking an employee with no experience to run a meeting or take on a role they are ill-prepared for. 

Avoid delegating mistakes by understanding the interests and skills of the people you work closely with. Trust in those skills instead of taking on tasks that will weigh you down and cause a slow down in your business. 

Communication Mistakes 

This common error by leaders usually has something to do with a failure in both speaking and listening. Good leaders can do both well. Be sure to follow up with assignments to make sure your employees are understanding your instructions. Give good feedback at varying points of the project and be sure to listen to concerns from the people doing the work. 

Make it a priority to be clear and concise in your instructions, follow up, and create check-ins so that if an employee is misunderstanding your assignment, you can catch it before it goes too far. Regular meetings to get updates on the project can help clear up any communication confusion. 

Management Style 

While every leader has a different management style, there are two common errors when going from one end of the spectrum or the other. The styles I am referring to are the micromanager or the hands-off manager. Neither one proves to be very successful. 

On one hand, if a leader practices micromanagement then you may be showing employees or team members that you don’t trust their skills or abilities to get the assignment done without peering over his/her shoulder. On the other hand, being too hands-off means that a leader failed to conduct regular check-ins to be sure the project is headed in the right direction. The goal of a good leader is to find a balance between the two. 

If you are looking to fine tune your leadership skills, check out our workshop on Introduction to Supervision on January 31, 2020 @ 8:30 am – 3:00 pm. 

 

computer resume writing

Make Your Resume Stand Out

With the dawn of a new year and decade comes the yearning for something new and exciting. For some that might mean traveling the globe, while for others it may mean starting the hunt for a new job or even a new career altogether. If the latter describes your situation, you will want to take a look at your resume and start fine tuning it in order to land the job of your dreams in 2020. 

According to Workopolis,  companies receive between 75 and 250 resumes per open position and, on top of that, hiring managers spend just 11 seconds or less looking at a resume before deciding to move on. That means your resume needs to be easy to read, clear, and concise so that it catches the attention of hiring managers who are already overwhelmed with a pile of resumes to review and candidates to interview. What can make your resume stand out? 

resume writing

Don’t Forget the Basics 

It may sound absurd, but you would not believe the number of resumes that appear without contact information including a phone number, email, and mailing address. Put your contact information up top, where they can’t miss it. Also important is to mention what specific position you are applying for since many Human Resource departments deal with multiple open positions simultaneously. The last thing you want is an HR professional or hiring manager to remove your resume from consideration because they can’t find your contact information quickly. 

Customize Your Resume 

While it may seem convenient to make a hundred copies of your resume and send it out to multiple listings, you may be passed over because the business may be looking for specific skills you did not spotlight on your resume. 

It’s a good idea to customize your resume for specific positions. For example, if a position is looking for a certain technical expertise, then place that at the top of your resume under skills. That way the business won’t miss it and you may get called in for an interview. From there you can talk up your experience and knowledge. 

resume writing

Be Organized 

Resumes can look different depending upon the position or field of work. One thing that all resumes should have is a sense of organization. For instance, you may want to organize your resume in chronological order showing what companies and positions you held in the past. Or possibly, you may want to forgo the chronological order and focus on accomplishments and skills. Whichever way you decide to organize be sure it makes sense, has pertinent dates, and summarizes with key words they may be hunting for. 

Proofread

Hiring managers have seen it all from grammatically incorrect resumes, to those that spell multiple words inaccurately. Be sure to have your resume proofread before you send it. 

Need help with your resume? Check out our programs and workshops that can help you write a resume that will get you noticed and may even land you a coveted interview. 

 

performance evaluations

Preparing for Performance Evaluations: An Employer Perspective 

In continuing our two-part series on performance evaluations, we take a different point-of-view today. Last week we examined the perspective of how an employee should prepare. Now we are taking a closer look at what managers and business leadership should do to make these evaluations productive, effective, and if possible, a positive experience. 

Let’s start by saying that performance appraisals should not be a stand alone event. Instead, feedback should be given throughout the year, whether it is in writing or in discussions held at regular intervals. The annual review, therefore should just be a formalized way of talking about an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. 

reviews

Document Performance 

Just as an employee should be documenting their achievements throughout the year, you should also be keeping track of what you see as “above and beyond” efforts including client feedback, completed projects, ability to evolve and learn, any skills training that occurred, and general demeanor in the office. 

In keeping your documentation on each employee, you should be sure to note where the employee improved and where he/she could improve more. These notes will help you give both positive feedback and constructive criticism during the review meeting. 

Plan for the Future 

Most employees envision a review as looking back on what happened in the past year, but as an employer, you should be thinking ahead as well. Use the review to find out what goals your employee has for the future, whether it is specialized training, a degree, or to gain a promotion. Set aside some time during the meeting to explain what you would like to see as goals for the employee and get feedback on your thoughts. 

lightbulb

Make it “No Mystery” 

Performance reviews are sometimes shrouded in secrecy and the office may take on a different feeling during the days and weeks of reviews. Make your reviews less mysterious by having your team members fill out a self evaluation. This way they know exactly what will be discussed. 

Some managers find that using performance review software can take away some of the secrecy and mystery surrounding these yearly appraisals. 

In addition, some companies find it helpful to have more than one manager in the review to make things more comfortable for all (This is especially important if you are a new manager, or the employee is completing his/her first review process.). 

Most importantly, go into the review with your ideas and thoughts prepared. Be sure to listen as much as you speak. Interested in learning more about performance reviews? Check out our programs and workshops that often include information about performance review and techniques. 

 

business review

Preparing for Performance Evaluations: An Employee Perspective  

As a hard-working employee, there are almost no events at work more nerve wracking than the annual performance evaluation. How can you prepare for this evaluation both professionally and emotionally? There are a few things you can do in the days and weeks leading up to your performance evaluation that may help calm your nerves and help your professional outlook. Let’s take a look at this first from an employees perspective today and in our blog next week we will look at how business leadership should also prepare for this annual milestone. 

Before you begin to prepare for your annual performance review, it is important to put yourself into the right mindset. Yes, it is hard to take criticism. Keep in mind, however, that this constructive criticism is meant to help you grow as a professional in your field. It is an opportunity to connect with your direct manager and let him/her know what you have learned, how you have grown, and the hurdles you have overcome this year. Once in that right “headspace” you can begin your preparations. 

gathering notes

Gather Your Notes 

It’s a really good idea before you head into your review to compile your notes from the year. Create a list of major accomplishments, goals that were completed, projects that were on schedule, positive feedback from clients, and any awards or recognition that your received over the past year. Keep a list that your can refer to as well as pass on to your manager. You would be amazed how some accomplishments are quickly forgotten after the next project has started. It is always a good idea to remind leadership how much has gotten done under your guidance. 

Be Realistic 

In gathering your notes you will want to also be realistic. There were probably some “pain points” during the year or difficulties in some aspect of your job whether it was staying on-time with a project deadline, technical difficulties, or maybe a problem that had to be solved. No employee is perfect, so be ready to talk about these issues and how you handled them, or possibly what you learned from them and how you would do things differently. Employers can’t ask you to be perfect, but they can examine what you learned from the situation. 

Do Some Comparison Shopping 

If you plan to ask for a promotion or raise, be sure to do your homework. Do salary comparisons online before you ask for something that is not feasible. Research current salaries for your position on sites like PayScale or Glassdoor.

Head into your performance review with a positive attitude, your notes, and reasonable expectations of whether you will see a pay raise or not. Need help preparing for your review? Check out our programs and workshops that can boost your education and skill level.