Shopify - How To Hire Virtual Assistants to Make More Money Online

Shopify – How To Hire Virtual Assistants to Make More Money Online

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Zoho Social For Agencies Streamlines Management of Outsourced Social Media Marketing

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Zoho Social For Agencies Lets Managers Control a Company's Social Media Presence and Advertising
Zoho Social for Agencies allows smaller advertising agencies the ability to manage several client accounts from one platform. These agencies can collaborate with clients and make reports using customized aggregated statistics.

The new service from Zoho provides a way for small businesses to be more hands on in their marketing too. Not every small business has the resources to handle social media marketing. So they often outsource the work  instead. But the new platform allows small businesses to maintain more say in important aspects like publishing and scheduling posts and engaging with customers.

Zoho Social for Agencies Eliminates Emails

One advantage becomes immediately clear. Social for Agencies eliminates sending emails back and forth between the agency and the small business. Praval Singh, Product Manager for the parent product, Zoho Social spoke with Small Business Trends about who benefits most from the new product.

“Zoho Social is geared towards digital agencies that offer social media marketing as a service to their clients, with the help of a team of social media and content marketers. Most agencies are small companies, but they do manage social media for large clients,” he said.

Using Zoho Social for Agencies to Publish and Schedule Posts

“Since Zoho Social for Agencies helps with publishing and scheduling posts, listening to mentions and keywords, engaging with prospects and customers in real-time, and creating custom reports to measure performance, it is a complete social media management tool for digital agencies,” Singh explains.

The Zoho Social for Agencies edition has a number of features.

First, the tool allows agencies to manage their brands and clients from one place while also specifying distinct rolls for different team members. The built-in cooperation feature means small businesses are always kept in the loop.

New Discussions

Team members can start new discussions and collaborate with clients or among themselves. A tagging feature facilitates the process allowing you to invite clients or team members to specific discussions. Not only does this improve the overall decision-making process,  according to Zoho. It preserves a record of the process as well.

The tool can also be customized for branding with logos on reports and invitation to clients is included.

Integrating Zoho Social for Agencies with Facebook Lead Ads

Zoho Social for Agencies can also integrate with Facebook lead ads. Agencies can generate leads from these Facebook campaigns and slide them right into the Zoho CRM system for their clients with no need to download leads manually from Facebook. Zoho argues this  feature becomes a time and cost saving measure promoting quicker decision-making.

Zoho Social for Agencies has two different plans, an Agency and Agency Plus version based on the number of brands each can accomodate. The Agency version costs $1000 a year for 15 brands and the Agency Plus costs $1500 a year for 25 brands.

Zoho Corporation is a business management software (SaaS) developer and information technology company with 5,000 employees and offices in California and India.

Image: Zoho

This article, “Zoho Social For Agencies Streamlines Management of Outsourced Social Media Marketing” was first published on Small Business Trends

Shopify – What You Should Learn Now To Crush 4th Quarter

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The post The Science Of Posting On Social Media #infographic #socialmedia #socialmeditips… appeared first on Newline Marketing.

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Which Microsoft 365 Platform Is Right for Your Business?

Microsoft has four main Office products for business – Office 365 Essentials, Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Premium and Microsoft 365 Business. Despite the similar names, each plan comes with vastly different features at very different prices. Microsoft outlines some of these differences in a few charts on its website, but trying to determine exactly which plan is best for you can involve a lot of thinking and figuring out exactly what you are getting for each plan.

When deciding whether to sign up for or upgrade to a new Microsoft plan, remember that you should be choosing a plan that can grow with your business. One of the biggest advantages Microsoft provides with these plans is flexibility. Use it wisely, and sign up for a plan that fits your business now, because you can always change your plan. Most deals are signed on a yearly basis, but Microsoft provides the opportunity to switch your plan with the Switch Plans button in the admin center.

What Microsoft offers

Here is a quick, very basic overview of what each plan includes, how much it costs and why it could be good for your business.

  • Office 365 Business Essentials ($5 per user per month)
    • Includes only web-based Microsoft services
    • Great for extremely small businesses or businesses with a high-speed internet connection looking for fast performance with few desktop apps
  • Office 365 Business ($8.25 per user per month)
    • Includes only the core, downloadable Microsoft desktop apps, with no online services or business-class email
    • Great for small businesses looking to only use the core Microsoft apps and OneDrive
  • Office 365 Business Premium ($12.50 per user per month)
    • Includes all the desktop apps and all the web services Microsoft offers
    • Ideal for small businesses with large teams that need serious file management and access to Microsoft’s collaboration tools
  • Microsoft 365 Business ($20 per user per month)
    • Includes all the features of Business Premium
    • Builds on these features with mobile device management and IT security features

The 365 Business plans

Office 365 Business Essentials

Microsoft Essentials provides only the web-based services for small businesses. This includes web versions of the core Microsoft apps – PowerPoint, Word, Excel and Outlook – as well as OneDrive and Skype for Business. In addition to these collaboration tools, Microsoft provides SharePoint for team file sharing, Microsoft Teams for intra-office chats, and Yammer, a companywide social media network. Essentials is a great tool for very small companies – maybe only a few people total – looking to keep everything web-based. This service is comparable to Google’s G Suite, which features similar web-based apps and email clients for communication, although it lacks collaboration programs like Teams and Yammer.

Office 365 Business

This plan features only downloadable core desktop apps. Users have access to PowerPoint, Excel, Word, OneNote, Access and Outlook, but that is basically it. Despite having access to Outlook, you won’t have a business-class email client through Microsoft. That service, which is included in all the other plans, is a part of Microsoft Exchange, a web-based Microsoft program for email.

The only web-based service that Office 365 Business subscribers have access to is OneDrive. OneDrive, unlike SharePoint, is only focused on storing documents in the cloud and sharing them with co-workers. While SharePoint can also be used for this function, there are additional features in SharePoint, like the ability to set up Workflows, which notify members of a team when documents are edited. Without a lot of the web-based services, the 365 Business package is best for business owners looking to only use the core Microsoft apps on their desktops.

Office 365 Business Premium

This plan takes all the features of Essentials and 365 Business and blends them into a full-featured service. In addition to the full range of web-based services and desktop apps, Business Premium members have access to apps geared toward small businesses. These additional apps include Bookings, an online appointment scheduling service, and Connections, an email marketing client. This subscription plan is ideal for well-established businesses that need access to the full range of Microsoft services and collaboration tools.

Microsoft 365 Business

This service, which was released at the end of October 2017, has all the features of Business Premium, plus access to new IT security and mobile device management features. Business owners can control access to different levels of information for employees and groups of employees within the business through the admin dashboard. Microsoft 365 Business users are automatically upgraded to Windows 10 when they subscribe, and Windows Defender is automatically turned on and set to auto-update.

The Microsoft package includes some mobile device management tools as well. Workers are prompted to enter a PIN to access work accounts on personal devices, and the program prevents copying and pasting between work and personal email accounts. Business owners can remotely wipe company data from lost or stolen devices. These features can be used with or without a full-scale IT department, making it a great option for businesses looking to scale up that area. In addition to Bookings and Connections, users have access to Invoicing, an app that syncs with QuickBooks and can be used to create custom-made, professional company invoices, as well as other small business apps in the Microsoft Store.

Which is right for your business?

Choosing the right plan means figuring out exactly how big your business is, what kinds of services it needs and how much it is projected to grow. The benefit of these subscription packages is that you can change whenever you’re ready. This means you can choose a plan and grow your usage with your business, instead of trying to fill the shoes of an expensive, over-featured plan like Microsoft 365 Business. Programs like Yammer or SharePoint do no good if they aren’t used, so if you don’t need these programs, it’s worth it to choose a subscription package without them at a lower rate.

It’s also important to note that these packages come with access to apps for download in the Microsoft Store as well. While different plans may provide access to different types of apps, you can still find add-ons that fit your business. If you’re a Business Premium subscriber, for example, you can still use apps like Invoicing or Connections by downloading them from the Microsoft Store. This provides a lot of flexibility.

Bottom line

One of the benefits of Microsoft’s small business packages is that they all include a lot of variety. While it can be hard to distinguish the plans at times, Microsoft has come up with a plan – or different options included in a plan – for a full range of small businesses. Flexibility is one of the best aspects of Microsoft’s plans, so be sure to use it to your advantage.

 

Google Docs Outage Highlights Need for Backup of Online Business Services

Google Docs Down Just the Latest Major Outage of Relied Upon Small Business Tech

Google Docs went down for a significant number of users Wednesday. The outage lasted for just about an hour and didn’t impact any other tools within Google Drive or G Suite. But because Google Docs is such a major tool for a lot of businesses and professionals, the outage had a major impact.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) didn’t share the exact number of users affected. But it did confirm that a “significant subset of users” were unable to access their docs during the outage, which started around 4 p.m. ET and lasted until around 5 p.m. ET. During this time, the affected users were locked out of their documents, unable to make changes or even view their content.

Frustration High While Google Docs Down

It might not have lasted for an especially long time, but the outage was still frustrating to a lot of users who rely on Google Docs for important productivity and collaborative functions. Many users even took to Twitter to complain.

And this is just the latest in a long line of popular business tools and services to experience issues over the last year. Comcast suffered a major outage earlier this month. And Skype, Slack, Verizon, Facebook and Instagram have all experienced issues of varying degrees in recent months as well.

All of these issues highlight the importance of having alternative options and plans just in case there are outages with the platforms and tools you use on a regular basis. Custom software could be one great solution for businesses that want tools made specifically for them rather than relying only on popular platforms with tons of users.

Even if you do only use big name platforms for your everyday business functions, it’s a good idea to have backups of all your important documents on other platforms so you can still access the data you need even in the case of an extended outage.

Google Drive Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Google Docs Outage Highlights Need for Backup of Online Business Services” was first published on Small Business Trends

Microsoft is Previewing Skype Professional Account to Use Service as Business Platform

Microsoft is Previewing Skype Professional Account to Use Service as Business Platform

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has revealed that it is creating a unique Skype version for freelancers and small business owners.

Called the Skype Professional Account, the new offering is designed to consolidate everything from billing to scheduling tools into one app.

Skype Professional Account Preview

“From French tutors to yoga instructors, you’ll be able to book lessons, accept payments, and give lessons all from one place, seamlessly,” said the Skype team in a blog post announcing the new feature. “Plus, we’ve added an enhanced profile page to help improve your online presence and a dedicated website for your small business right in Skype. Your contacts will be able to see pertinent info like your hours and business offerings.”

The Skype team also added that it will be extremely easy to port across a list of contacts, but what’s even more interesting is that Skype users can use their regular Skype to search and find businesses. How cool is that!

The tech giant says a Skype Professional Account desktop client will soon be released for preview in the U.S. The preview version should include all the aforementioned services including note taking, payment acceptance and client bookings, all from within the app. The new offering will also certainly still support Skype’s bread and butter — its calling feature.

Microsoft says there will be limited slots available for interested people to try out the preview. It is not yet clear if the company intends to make the new offering a paid or a free service. However, in the meantime, if you would like a chance to test out the preview, just head to the Skype Professional Account homepage and fill in the survey.

Image: Skype

This article, “Microsoft is Previewing Skype Professional Account to Use Service as Business Platform” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Google Docs Outage Highlights Need for Backup of Online Business Services

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Google Docs Down Just the Latest Major Outage of Relied Upon Small Business Tech

Google Docs went down for a significant number of users Wednesday. The outage lasted for just about an hour and didn’t impact any other tools within Google Drive or G Suite. But because Google Docs is such a major tool for a lot of businesses and professionals, the outage had a major impact.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) didn’t share the exact number of users affected. But it did confirm that a “significant subset of users” were unable to access their docs during the outage, which started around 4 p.m. ET and lasted until around 5 p.m. ET. During this time, the affected users were locked out of their documents, unable to make changes or even view their content.

Frustration High While Google Docs Down

It might not have lasted for an especially long time, but the outage was still frustrating to a lot of users who rely on Google Docs for important productivity and collaborative functions. Many users even took to Twitter to complain.

And this is just the latest in a long line of popular business tools and services to experience issues over the last year. Comcast suffered a major outage earlier this month. And Skype, Slack, Verizon, Facebook and Instagram have all experienced issues of varying degrees in recent months as well.

All of these issues highlight the importance of having alternative options and plans just in case there are outages with the platforms and tools you use on a regular basis. Custom software could be one great solution for businesses that want tools made specifically for them rather than relying only on popular platforms with tons of users.

Even if you do only use big name platforms for your everyday business functions, it’s a good idea to have backups of all your important documents on other platforms so you can still access the data you need even in the case of an extended outage.

Google Drive Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Google Docs Outage Highlights Need for Backup of Online Business Services” was first published on Small Business Trends

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5 Science-Backed Hacks to Boost Your Team’s Work Performance

Are you looking for ways to motivate and inspire your employees to greater heights? How to engage your employees is always a hotly discussed topic in HR circles, but it can be difficult to determine what employees really want and what will make a genuine difference in productivity.

Below are five tried-and-tested techniques, backed by science, to help you spur your company to greater heights.

1. Give feedback more frequently.

Millennials and Gen Zers have grown up with regular – if not instant – feedback on nearly everything they do. Though we associate instant messages with social media, this comfort with communication and frequent feedback has changed the way we operate in the business world.

As years go by, we have seen a shift away from annual performance reviews. To ensure employees are progressing with their development objectives and SMART goals, and that they are confident and happy with their workload, it’s important to give feedback often. After introducing frequent, meaningful check-ins, you’ll undoubtedly see an increase in work performance and employee engagement. In fact, according to Gallup, regular performance reviews can more than double employee engagement among millennials. Another survey revealed that 85 percent of employees believe frequent performance conversations with their manager would make them more confident.

These feedback sessions don’t need to be long. In fact, given that they take place so regularly, they can be quite brief, but ensure they are meaningful and helpful to everyone involved.

2. Bring the outdoors indoors.

If we think about it objectively, it might seem strange that we subject ourselves to hours inside every day. We’re animals, after all, and proximity to nature can have a huge impact on our morale and performance. In fact, nature can actually make us “kinder, happier and more creative” – so how do we replicate this in a sterile office environment?

Even small gestures can make a big difference. A study by the American Psychological Association found that, when exposed to plants in an office, employees showed a 15 percent boost in productivity. Offices can also open windows and let in natural fresh air, which makes our brains function more effectively and improves our concentration levels.

3. Reconsider the layout of your office.

For a long time, open-plan offices have been the norm. Those in favor of open office spaces say that they encourage communication and creativity, but recent studies suggest otherwise. One study by Gensler showed 53 percent of workers were regularly distracted or annoyed by the activity around them, which impacted their overall performance. This same study showed that 69 percent of the respondents were unhappy with the noise levels in their open-plan offices. Another study also found such offices were related to an increase in absenteeism.

For the sake of effective performance management, it might be time to rethink the traditional open-plan office. After all, human beings, though social creatures by nature, also require a degree of privacy to perform at their best.

4. Make use of modern technology.

Employees won’t be able to perform at their best if they are forced to operate with outdated technology and software. Software can be used to ease communication, improve collaboration, boost employee engagement levels and track SMART goals. There are many solutions out there to suit your needs, whether it be team collaboration tools or performance management software. Paper-and-pen systems are things of the past and will only slow down your employees and your company.

5. Remember to express appreciation.

I’m sure by now you’ll know that just a paycheck isn’t sufficient to keep employees engaged and motivated. To perform well, they need feedback and recognition. A Harvard Business Review study found workplaces that emphasize respect and gratitude saw greater levels of productivity and performance, not to mention customer satisfaction. If you’re a small or midsize company, you should know that recognition programs don’t need to come at great expense. You simply need to make it clear to your employees that all of them are valued members of your team and their efforts and hard work are all appreciated.

There are, of course, a number of other techniques that can inspire great performance. For example, it could benefit your company to implement a policy of no lunch breaks at the desk. You might want to encourage regular breaks so employees have time to refresh their minds. You could also have a renewed focus on employee development to really motivate your employees to excel. Whatever you try, it’s important to keep up to date with performance management trends, experiment with them and remain flexible. With this approach, you’ll have no trouble retaining your best players and recruiting top performers.

 

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The post Killer Resources for Freelancers … and an Option for Those Who Don’t Want to Go It Alone appeared first on Copyblogger.

Zoho Social For Agencies Streamlines Management of Outsourced Social Media Marketing

Zoho Social For Agencies Lets Managers Control a Company's Social Media Presence and Advertising
Zoho Social for Agencies allows smaller advertising agencies the ability to manage several client accounts from one platform. These agencies can collaborate with clients and make reports using customized aggregated statistics.

The new service from Zoho provides a way for small businesses to be more hands on in their marketing too. Not every small business has the resources to handle social media marketing. So they often outsource the work  instead. But the new platform allows small businesses to maintain more say in important aspects like publishing and scheduling posts and engaging with customers.

Zoho Social for Agencies Eliminates Emails

One advantage becomes immediately clear. Social for Agencies eliminates sending emails back and forth between the agency and the small business. Praval Singh, Product Manager for the parent product, Zoho Social spoke with Small Business Trends about who benefits most from the new product.

“Zoho Social is geared towards digital agencies that offer social media marketing as a service to their clients, with the help of a team of social media and content marketers. Most agencies are small companies, but they do manage social media for large clients,” he said.

Using Zoho Social for Agencies to Publish and Schedule Posts

“Since Zoho Social for Agencies helps with publishing and scheduling posts, listening to mentions and keywords, engaging with prospects and customers in real-time, and creating custom reports to measure performance, it is a complete social media management tool for digital agencies,” Singh explains.

The Zoho Social for Agencies edition has a number of features.

First, the tool allows agencies to manage their brands and clients from one place while also specifying distinct rolls for different team members. The built-in cooperation feature means small businesses are always kept in the loop.

New Discussions

Team members can start new discussions and collaborate with clients or among themselves. A tagging feature facilitates the process allowing you to invite clients or team members to specific discussions. Not only does this improve the overall decision-making process,  according to Zoho. It preserves a record of the process as well.

The tool can also be customized for branding with logos on reports and invitation to clients is included.

Integrating Zoho Social for Agencies with Facebook Lead Ads

Zoho Social for Agencies can also integrate with Facebook lead ads. Agencies can generate leads from these Facebook campaigns and slide them right into the Zoho CRM system for their clients with no need to download leads manually from Facebook. Zoho argues this  feature becomes a time and cost saving measure promoting quicker decision-making.

Zoho Social for Agencies has two different plans, an Agency and Agency Plus version based on the number of brands each can accomodate. The Agency version costs $1000 a year for 15 brands and the Agency Plus costs $1500 a year for 25 brands.

Zoho Corporation is a business management software (SaaS) developer and information technology company with 5,000 employees and offices in California and India.

Image: Zoho

This article, “Zoho Social For Agencies Streamlines Management of Outsourced Social Media Marketing” was first published on Small Business Trends

All Your Employees Want for the Holidays is a Little Time Off

All Your Employees Want for the Holidays is a Little Time Off

You may be starting to think about what to get your employees as a nice holiday gift.

Cash? Gift cards?

What Your Employees Want for the Holidays

According to a just released survey from Randstad US, the one thing employees loved most about the holidays was having some time off from work. In the survey, 70 percent said they love the time off they get at the holidays.

So, if you’re already wringing your hands wondering what to get your employees for a gift, consider letting them stay home a couple extra days. Though it might be a challenge with the busy season, try to offer time off as near the holidays as possible

Yes, you may be busy but consider how busy their lives are at home, too.

More results from the Randstad US survey also emphasize the importance of finding some way to give employees that time off at the end of the year.

According to the data out today, 62 percent of employees already plan vacations during the holiday season. And half of those surveyed say their company gives them no extra time off during that time.

Want to wow those who celebrate Christmas? The holiday falls on a Monday in 2017. That’s a baked-in 3-day weekend but how would your employees react to having off the Friday before or the Tuesday after Christmas — or both?

Otherwise you’re likely going to field a call for at least one “sick” day. Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed say they use paid sick time and not vacation time at the end of the year.

Of course, this doesn’t mean employees don’t love an old-fashioned cash bonus. They’d much prefer that over an old-fashioned office party. Of the 1,232 employees over the age of 18 surveyed, 34 percent look forward to getting a bonus at the end of the year.

And overall, 90 percent say they’d prefer to get some extra time off or extra vacation days or a bonus than have an office holiday party. Older employees feel obligated to go to such a party and younger employees feel pressure to go. That’s a lot of uncomfortable people who’d rather be somewhere else.

Only 33 percent told Randstad US that they look forward to a holiday party the most. Just 22 percent said potlucks are the best. A lowly 11 percent really want to participate in a cookie exchanges and 9 percent get excited about gift exchanges more than anything else. So these holiday traditions should probably be low on your list of priorities.

All Your Employees Want for the Holidays is a Little Time OffImages: Randstad US

This article, “All Your Employees Want for the Holidays is a Little Time Off” was first published on Small Business Trends

How Law Firms Can Increase Their Organic Social Media Traffic

As the lines between organic search, social media and content marketing traffic continue to blur, it has never been more critical to find strategic ways to increase your organic social media traffic. This ensures that you’re not only generating traffic but traffic that leads to results.

Why is it important that your social traffic generates results?

If you want to make your social traffic generate results – whether it’s new clients, followers, etc., – you need to integrate your content marketing, SEO and social media practices so they feed off one another.

Traffic is not the be-all and end-all of social media marketing. Traffic has to turn into a sale, subscription or some other kind of conversion.

Below are strategies you can use to combine search, content and social to amplify your social reach and traffic.

Identify high-value keywords that drive traffic

One way to streamline your social media marketing efforts is to identify high-value keywords that drive traffic to your site. That means digging into your Google Analytics to do some keyword research.

Remember, keywords aren’t just random words and phrases – they’re the search queries people use to look for information about your products, services and industry. That being said, you want to cover your bases by looking at broad and specific keywords – for example, “NYC Attorney” versus “Manhattan aviation accident lawyer open 24/7.”

Once you’ve identified these keywords, you can weave them into your social posts. This is a great way to leverage how your audience is looking for you and then amplifying your firm through optimized social posts and content.

By now there’s a good chance you’re already creating content your audience found, read/consumed and shared thanks to your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. The next step is to identify content assets that are driving organic traffic to your site. This will allow you to understand how and where you’re answering your audience’s questions and needs without paying for ads.

Look at each top-performing asset and determine what words and phrases people are using to land on your content – these are the search queries they’re using to find answers to their questions. Because a search engine like Google has found these keywords and your content to be a suitable match, you can replicate its effects in a more efficient way on social.

Here are some ideas you can try:

  • Use your most popular content topics to optimize your target audience, narrowing them down by interest.
  • Weave keywords into social media posts to improve their searchability. Remember that social networks also have built-in search engines.
  • Use top-performing keywords as hashtags to efficiently capture audience attention.

Conduct a competitor content and keyword analysis

Aside from evaluating the keywords and content generating results for you, it’s a good idea to conduct a competitor content and keyword analysis to identify how your competition is drawing in organic traffic. By looking at what they’re doing right in SEO and content marketing, you can understand how they’re answering their audience’s questions, which you can then replicate in your social media marketing campaign to boost engagement.

If you’re already monitoring your competitors on social media, integrating your insights from their search and content marketing campaigns is a great way to turn these topics and keywords into relevant discussions on your social channels.

Either way, continually keeping track of any brand you share the same audience with is something you should be doing anyway, so it shouldn’t be too hard to plug in these insights into your analysis.

Use different content types across your social channels

For many marketers, it makes sense to use different content types depending on the social channel in question. Infographics go to Pinterest, 1:1 (aspect ratio) photos go to Instagram, videos on YouTube, and text snippets go on Twitter. But these are by no means hard and fast rules, as there are many ways to integrate different content types into your social channels beyond accepted norms.

For starters, you can monitor trending topics relevant to your brand, creating content assets based on the same keywords but in different formats on different channels.

For example, while LinkedIn has traditionally been the best channel for white papers, there’s no reason why you can’t share a link to your Twitter account. Likewise, infographics can still generate engagement on channels other than Pinterest, like Instagram.

Bottom line? Don’t be afraid to offer your followers different ways of consuming content on your social media channels.

Final thoughts

If you’ve yet to integrate your search and content insights into your social media marketing campaign, now is the time to start. Consider working with a social media strategist to apply the tips in this guide and watch as your social media activities get enhanced engagement and amplified reach.

The need for integration highlights the importance of sharing insights between content marketing, SEO and social media. Putting your marketing team members on the same page allows your firm to benefit from an organic marketing environment fully.

Editor’s Note: Looking for a social media management solution? We can help you choose the one that’s right for you. Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

 

6 Marketing Tactics You Can Use to Boost Email Subscribers

If you’ve been involved in marketing for a while, you’ve probably heard the phrase: “The money is in the list.”

With new technologies on the rise, email marketing can feel antiquated. In reality, email marketing is still incredibly effective – both in terms of long-term brand building as well as generating profits.

In a 2016 study, 86% of marketers stated that they were planning to increase their upcoming email marketing budgets.

For those willing to take the time to grow their lists and regularly craft high value, personalized messages for their audiences, the rewards can be exceptional.

According to DMA, email has an average ROI of $38 for every $1 spent.

For online services and ecommerce businesses alike, growing your email list as quickly as possible should be a priority.

Here are some of my favorite growth hacks that you can immediately deploy to increase your list of email subscribers.

1. Content Upgrades

Oftentimes, marketers will create useful lead magnets in the form of ebooks, webinars and checklists. All of these things are great, but it’s hard to create a lead magnet that resonates with everyone.

For instance, look at the huge umbrella of internet marketing. A visitor that would be interested in a free ebook about infographic design may not care for information about longtail keyword research, and vice versa.

In order to capture the maximum amount of leads, it’s important to think about context. Instead of offering a one-size-fits-all lead magnet, consider including a content upgrade at the end of your most popular posts.

A content upgrade is simply a lead magnet that relates to an existing article and delivers extended information and value in exchange for contact information. They look like this:

The highlighted box is an example of a content upgrade

Content upgrades are laser-focused on the reader’s interests. If someone were reading an article about DIY whiteboard explainer videos, then a checklist containing useful resources about video design would make an excellent content upgrade. Or if they’re viewing an article titled “5 Google Analytics hacks” then the content upgrade may offer “Download these 3 super-powerful hacks that have been a secret until now.” You’ll then ask for name and email and in return they get a PDF containing those 3 hacks.

Consult Google Analytics and identify your most popular posts. Next, think of a way to enhance the informational value of the post by including a content upgrade at the end.

If you add a unique content upgrade to a handful of your best posts, you’ll dramatically grow your list. If you can aim for a 5% conversion rate, this can have a big impact on your email subscriber list.

2. Leverage Instagram

Thanks to the rapid rise of mobile internet access in recent years, photo-sharing platforms are more popular than ever before.

Marketers are very aware of this trend. According to Emarketer, 70.7% of US businesses are now using Instagram, compared to just 48.8% in 2016.

In my opinion, Instagram is a great platform for engaging your audience with compelling imagery, but it’s also extremely useful for converting your audience into email subscribers.

The following Instagram tactic is ridiculously simple, yet underutilized.

Instead of using your Instagram bio to link to your homepage, link to a landing page containing a lead magnet that users can download in exchange for contact details.

It’s important that your lead magnet is something that provides genuine value to your audience. Hopefully you’ve done some buyer persona research and know exactly what frustrations and pain points people have – so you can offer a solution with a free ebook.

Given Instagram’s significant mobile user base, it’s important to ensure your landing page is optimized for all devices.

Next, visit the Instagram pages of competing brands in your niche (or any accounts that would have followers who would be interested in your brand) and start following everyone who leaves positive comments.

A percentage of people who you follow will follow you back. If you spend several hours per day doing this and you’re regularly posting high quality images to keep people engaged, you will notice a consistent stream of Instagram users clicking through to your landing page and hopefully, converting.

3. Retargeting

If someone arrives on your website and doesn’t make a purchase or subscribe to your email list, it’s easy to assume that they’re simply not interested in what you have to offer.

In my experience, this is often not the case.

We’re living in a world of perpetual distractions, and there are millions of reasons why a person wouldn’t engage with your site on their first visit. For instance, I notice that conversions are very low during the night hours, yet if the same person arrived on my website during the afternoon, they’d be much more likely to sign up to my list.

Fortunately, you can use Facebook retargeting to reconnect with these lost visitors and give them a second chance at subscribing to your list.

First, you will need to create a pixel in Facebook ads manager.

Next, install this code onto your site so that you can track the interactions and movements of your visitors.

Next, click on the “Audiences” tab in ads manager and create a new custom audience.

I recommend creating one audience for all website visitors, then a separate audience for all the people who have visited your lead magnet landing page but who haven’t converted.

This can be achieved by including people who have visited the URL of the landing page, but excluding people who have seen the thank you page for your email list subscription.

You can fire off adverts promoting your lead magnet to both audiences, and see which converts better. In my experience, retargeted visitors always convert at a higher rate than cold traffic – since they’re already familiar with your brand.

4. Cross Promotion

The quickest way to grow your list is to grab people from someone else’s list.

Make a list of other companies who serve a similar demographic, but who are not competitors.

For instance, if you sell dog training books and courses, a company that sells dog food and accessories would be a wise choice.

Next, get in contact and suggest a mutually beneficial agreement where you recommend each other’s products and services to your own lists. You can promote special deals, free giveaways or even just a lead magnet if you think it will entice people to subscribe.

When people receive an email from an unknown brand, they’re immediately thinking: “What’s in it for me?”

Begin your email by mentioning that you want to promote their products to your list for free, and then you can ask for something in return afterwards.

5. Contests and Free Giveaways

You know who likes something for free? Everyone.

As a consumer, I always feel a sense of excitement when someone offers me something for free – even if I probably wouldn’t have purchased it in the first place.

Running a contest can be a great way to build a sense of community around a brand, but it’s also useful for generating email leads that you can market to at a later date.

So long as you promote your contest properly and the prize is something that is genuinely valuable to your audience (hint: you should know your audience intimately), you’ll definitely receive an abundance of entries.

Obviously, it’s important to ensure that people submit their entries via email so you can add them to your list.

Alternatively, free giveaways can be a great way to get people on your list. However, it’s important to have a good understanding of your customer lifetime value (CLV) before you consider free giveaways.

If you know that your average email list subscriber is worth $30 in revenue for the first 6 months they’re on your list, then it’s a no brainer to send them a free product that costs $5 to manufacture in exchange for their contact information.

So long as you keep tabs of the numbers, this tactic will scale your email list rapidly. The more money you put into free giveaways, the more money you generate on the back end.

6. Exit Intent Popups

Exit intent popups are used to capture leads that are about to leave your website.

This technology works by monitoring mouse movements. If it appears that the user is likely to leave the page, then a popup will appear imploring them to sign up for a free lead magnet.

When using exit intent popups, it’s important to keep user experience in mind. When done poorly, a popup can look spammy and annoying.

Google is already penalizing mobile sites with spammy pop ups. This change may occur for desktop as well in the near future.

An exit popup should be displayed clearly and in an unobstructive manner. Remember, it’s there to provide something of value to your audience, not just to acquire an email address by any means necessary.

Concise copy with a clear call-to-action is recommended. Also, you may wish to incorporate colors that contrast with the rest of your site in order to grab attention (think about the neutral themed ecommerce site which feature bright orange “Buy Now” buttons).

Here is an example of a nice concise exit intent popup by Wishpond, which ironically corresponds to the subject of creating a great exit intent popup.

Conclusion

While there are many marketing techniques that promise a faster ROI than email marketing, it’s important not to neglect one of the best methods for staying in contact with your audience.

Techniques for acquiring customers come and go, but building a relationship with your existing customers is essential if you want to stand the test of time.

If you’re serious about building a long-term brand rather than a short-term money making enterprise, growing your email list must be a priority.

Can you think of any other growth hacks to boost your email subscribers? Please let me know in the comments below.

About the Author: Mo Harake brings over 12 years of ecommerce and digital marketing experience leading brands like FIJI Water, 7Diamonds, Kill Cliff and venture-backed startups to his work as Managing Director of Stray Digital. For more on his approach to ecommerce, content marketing and growth hacking, visit him on LinkedIn or at the Stray Digital blog.

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