Why motivation is broken



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How do we reward people that are intrinsically motivated? First of all, we need to know how not reward them.

We don’t reward them by offering them incentives, because that’s an IF/THEN reward – IF you do this THEN I’m going to give you that.

So, you might say, what if I give them an unexpected surprise reward.

That is a NOW/THEN reward. NOW that you’ve done this THEN I’m going to give you this.

Would you agree this is a reasonable way to reward someone unexpectedly. It is – until – it becomes an expectation. Does this make sense to you?

If you’re going to engage in NOW/THEN rewards, they must be sporadic, and there must be no structure or order to them.

It’s very easy for a NOW/THEN reward to flip over and become a IF/THEN reward because an expectation has been built. Does this makes sense?

Again, how do we reward people that are intrinsically motivated? Well, we can do that through ‘social acknowledgement’.

Or, you might say through their ‘love language’, whatever language that they prefer.

We use a form of love language, but the love language we use is based on herd behaviour. If you consider mammals, what do you think mammals are constantly looking for?

They’re looking for acceptance and recognition from the alpha mammal. They’re looking for recognition from the herd leader.

Social Acknowledgement

It’s important to realise when you’re using ‘social recognition’ what is it that you give the recognition to.

We want to be acknowledging the effort, not the outcome. If we acknowledge outcome then we’re literally setting up – rewards.

An example: ‘You know what, I just want to say thank you. I really appreciate the amount of effort you put in here. And I want everyone in the company to know that you’ve put in an enormous amount of effort here. You have worked really hard to do this, and I just want to say thank you in front of everyone. Can we all be upstanding and give this person an enormous round of applause for the effort they’ve put in’.

When you get that social acknowledgement, it literally creates what? Bingo – Drive! It’s that social acknowledgement, not for the outcome, but for the effort.

What do you think is the most practical application for that concept, that research?

YOU! YOU…Mother f***er!

If you’ve been brought up to be an extrinsic puppet, who is constantly constantly focussing on what is ‘outside’ and asking…what do I get?

If you want to change that motivation – you need to change the way you are driven.

When you are an intrinsically motivated person…what do you think an intrinsically motivated person is constantly thinking about?

What can I GIVE. What can I DO.

They are not thinking about what can I get, because they are thinking about what they can GIVE and what they can DO based on what they like, what they love, what they’re passionate about.

It’s not about what they get, they’re doing it because they love it.

Would you like to know the hidden secret of staying motivated in business?

Do what you f***ing love…and you will be DRIVEN!

Kerwin Rae

Kerwin Rae

Kerwin Rae is a businessman, investor, strategic advisor, author and international speaker. He has studied and observed the psychology of influence for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on influencing human behaviour and how it relates to sales, marketing, fast growth business principles, leadership and personal transformation.
Snapchat: @KerwinRae
Kerwin Rae

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Deciding Whether to Mix Personal and Business Brands Doesn’t have to be Hard, Read This


For both businesses and individuals, a consistent online brand is essential for attracting the right audience and establishing expertise in their industries. Corporate brands and personal brands are often distinct, but when you are the face of your business, as many entrepreneurs are, you’ll have to decide how you want to integrate the two – or if you want to integrate them at all.

In order to get some perspective on the issue, a group of Young Entrepreneur Council members were asked the following question:

“Branding is an exercise most of us engage in, both in our businesses and in our personal lives. How does your personal brand intersect with your company brand online, if at all? If the two don’t intersect, why don’t they?”



Should You Mix Personal and Business Branding?

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Keep Them Separate

“I keep my personal brand separate from my company brand because of the fact that I operate more than one business and brand. It would get too confusing to audiences if I blended them all together. Also, not every audience member is interested in my personal or company brand.” ~ John Rampton, Calendar

2. Core Values Are the Only Intersection

“The only way my personal brand intersects with my company brand is through the core values. There is no other intersection; I’d like my personal brand to stay focused on my personal lifestyle and who I am as a person. At the end of the day, people don’t buy your product, they buy from the people they like. It is an emotional buy. When people know me, they are far more enticed to buy my services.” ~ Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing

3. Personal and Professional Brands ‘Seed’ Each Other

“We believe strongly in the integrity of our businesses brand, it’s a reflection of us as people. For us, it all has to be related. There cannot be a separation between business brand and personal, the personal has seeded the brand and then as the business grows and hires, the brand “seeds” the personal brand of everyone it employs.” ~ Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

4. A Personal Brand That Reflects Professional Expertise Drives Business

“A lot of my personal posts are related to the field of startups or tech, which has helped both myself and my business. When I have a tech company, many people remember this because it’s the topic of discussion that I’m continually bringing up in my personal social media pages. This has led to investments, sales and a plurality of other beneficial deals just from people connecting the dots.” ~ Andy Karuza, FenSens

5. Remember: Everything Can Potentially Become Public

“In theory, you and your business are separate entities, but in today’s interconnected world, it’s getting harder and harder to separate them. Everything you do, either as a person or a business, reflects on your reputation. That’s why I keep in mind (and remind my employees) that everything we say and do can potentially be public knowledge, so awareness and integrity are more important than ever.” ~ Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

6. Brand from the Top Down

“It’s important to have your personal values carry over into the workplace. A workplace should have respect, honesty and commitment. A business with no values will not be able to keep up with a business with values especially if the leaders are not following them. Values work from the top down.” ~ Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

7. Use Personal Social Media as an Extension of Company Accounts

“As the CEO and founder of my company, my personal and professional brands intersect regularly on social media. My personal accounts are primarily a behind-the-scenes look at projects my company is involved with. On both Facebook and Instagram, my personal accounts are an extension of our company accounts.” ~ Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

8. Put Your Personal Brand First

“Over the years, I made the mistake of focusing on building my company’s brand before mine. What I’ve learned after 20 years in the digital space is that you create companies, sell them, move to others, run multiple simultaneously. The only constant is you. Therefore, your personal brand should always come first, and be a unifying factor between your company brands.” ~ Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance

9. Maintain Integrity in Life and Business

“As the face of my business, I believe my personal integrity feeds into the brand integrity of the business. In my industry, I do my best to make my name, and my company name, synonymous with integrity and doing business the right way. This applies to the way we treat our clients, our vendors, our employees and our lending partners. When you’re known for your integrity, you’ll attract the like.” ~ Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

10. Your Personal Brand Supports Your Business

“I look at personal branding and thought leadership as a valuable marketing tool for my business. Besides, my business is such an integral part of my life, I can’t help but write and speak about topics relevant to our audience. I use my personal brand to express my own voice and as a way to build relationships and get to the point where they inevitably ask, “So what do you do?”” ~ Robby Berthume, Bull & Beard

11. Be Modest in Your Personal Brand, But Let Them Overlap

“In this day and age where competition is high, it’s probably a risk not to intersect your personal and business brand. These days, consumers want to know a bit more about your company, and that there’s an actual human being running it. It can be done in a modest fashion for those who might not be that comfortable doing so, and you should see some tangible benefits.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

12. Keep It Real in Both Your Personal and Professional Lives

“Sincerity, humility and authenticity are all keys to successful longevity. If you keep real with yourself throughout your journey, both as an individual and a business, you make your marketing efforts much easier. For example, as an industrial designer, much of my work entails product development. Translating that into content becomes an extension of my company’s branding and vice versa.” ~ Andrew Namminga, Andesign

13. Merge Personal and Professional to Boost Community Engagement

“I’ve had a company brand for the past 5 years, and 1.5 years ago, I launched a personal brand. All of my social media is now branded under my name, Jean Ginzburg. I, as the person, speak at events, appear on podcasts as a guest and write articles for publications. From the results I see, my community is more likely to engage with me because I am a person, versus engaging with a company.” ~ Jean Ginzburg, Ginball Digital Marketing

14. Create Content That Combines Your Personal and Professional Image

“For me, it’s important for my personal brand and business brand to intersect, and you can do this in several different ways. The best way I’ve found to do this is by becoming a contributor to content sites that you feel fit both your personal and professional image. You can then write pieces that intertwine the two, for example running a remote team and being a digital nomad.” ~ Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.

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Best Carry On Luggage for Business Travel


If you travel for business, then a good carry on bag is a must. Currently, you’re allowed to carry bags measuring up to 9 inches deep, 14 inches wide and 22 inches high onto commercial flights with most U.S. airlines.



Best Carry on Luggage for Business Travel

There are plenty of different styles, brands and special features to choose from. So if you’re in the market for new carry on luggage for your business travels, here are some of the top options to choose from.

AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage

Best Carry On Luggage for Business Travel

For a solid rolling carry on without a lot of flare, this suitcase from AmazonBasics includes a protective shell, lined dividers and double spinner wheels for easy transport. At $50, you can get a size that’s TSA-approved. Or you can purchase a matching set for those times when you need a bit more space.

Travelpro Maxlite International Spinner Suitcase

Another solid option, this rolling suitcase from Travelpro features spinning wheels and an expandable polyester exterior that’s also stain-resistant. You can also customize the height of the handle for comfortable transport. It normally retails for $260.

TravelCross Boston Carry On Lightweight Hardshell Spinner Luggage

For a lightweight options that still keeps your belongings protected, this TravelCross roller is just 19 inches tall and includes a separate compartment for you to keep your laptop or tablet. You can get it for just under $70.

Bluboon Ladies Canvas Weekender Bag

For a feminine option with some style, this shoulder bag from Blueboon is sized as a carry on and comes in a number of colors and patterns. For $35, it’s large enough to carry your laptop and a couple of clothing items and toiletries for a quick business trip.

Kenneth Cole Fifth Avenue Metallic Carry-On

Best Carry On Luggage for Business Travel

For a stylish taken on carry on luggage, this option from Kenneth Cole has a unique look that is still sleek and professional. Made with a lightweight textured case, the suitcase is currently priced at $95.

Travelers Club Polaris Collection

Another hardshell suitcase, this option from Travelers Club features metallic silver, gold and copper exteriors with spinning wheels and expansion capabilities. It’s also relatively affordable at $40.

Rockland Luggage Charcoal Set

This luggage option from Rockland actually includes multiple bags that could work as carry ons. You could use the larger rolling bag and/or carry the smaller one on your shoulder. At $40 from some retailers, you get quite a bit for the money.

American Tourister Moonlight Spinner

This suitcase from American Tourister features a hard case but is still expandable. It also comes in a variety of colors and patterns, so you don’t have to sacrifice style for function. It retails for under $70.

Crew 11 Expandable Spinner Suiter

Best Carry On Luggage for Business Travel

This suitcase from Crew is actually made for flight crews and pro travelers that has been adapted for civilian use. It has smart features like a USB port and power bank pack to keep you productive even when traveling. It goes for $230.

ZEGUR Quilted Rolling Underseat Carry On Luggage

If you prefer to keep your bag under the seat in front of you rather than in the overhead compartment, this Zegur quilted bag could work. For $70, the quilted back offers sufficient storage that still fits in that smaller space, while also offering wheels for easy transport.

Delsey Luggage Chatalet

This suitcase from Delsey offers a sophisticated look, hard exterior, silent wheels, and even a locking system to keep your suitcase from rolling away. It is priced at around $200.

iLotusBAG

If you prefer a duffel bag format, the iLotusBAG is a waterproof carry on that comes in multiple colors and can be easily folded to fit into other compartments when not in use. At just $12, it could be a decent options to bring on trips where you might have to pack extra items on the way home.

AmazonBasics Travel Backpack

Best Carry On Luggage for Business Travel

If you’d rather carry your luggage to your destination instead of roll it, then you might consider a large backpack like this one from AmazonBasics. Reasonably priced at $50, this model features multiple compartments, padded sides, removable straps and plenty of other functional features.

Samsonite Omni Pc Hardside Spinner

A solid option with hard sides, this suitcase from Samsonite comes in a few different colors and retails for between $70 and $110. It also features expandable sides and pockets for easy organization.

Goplus GLOBALWAY Expandable ABS Carry On Luggage

This luggage from Goplus offers multi-direction spinning wheels, a water and scratch resistant exterior, an elastic belt and zipped dividers on the inside. It also comes in a few different colors, with pricing around $40.

Olympia Denmark Carry-on Spinner

For a retail price of $140, this Olympia wheeled suitcase has an aluminum locking handle system, spinning wheels and a padded interior to keep all of your belongings safe.

Modobag

Best Carry On Luggage for Business Travel

Want a bag that does all the work for you? Modobag is a carry on that actually rolls on its own. You can even ride the motorized suitcase through the airport if you want. But it’ll cost you nearly $1,500.

Cowarobot R1

Or perhaps you prefer to walk — but you still don’t want to cart a suitcase around. Cowarobot R1 is another motorized suitcase that can actually detect your movements and follow you through the airport. Coming soon, this model is expected to run for about $500.

SwissGear Travel Gear Spinner

A rolling suitcase from SwissGear, this option is made with a durable nylon material and includes multi-directional spinner wheels, a locking telescopic handle and reinforced carry handles. You can get it for between $70 and $110.

Travelcross Philadelphia

A lightweight suitcase from Travelcross, the Philadelphia model has a hard shell, spinning wheels and a TSA-approved locking system for practical security. At $55, it’s also a relatively affordable option.

Photo via Shutterstock


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Fall in Love with Managing Virtual Teams Using These Simple Strategies


Virtual teams are the way of the future. Slowly but surely, businesses of all sizes are waking up to the tremendous potential that remote hiring brings.

When location itself is a non-factor, a business can hire the best from anywhere around the country, indeed the world.

It works well for employees, too. People are increasingly insisting on work-life balance in their lives, and no one is a fan of rushed mornings, daily commutes, or being chained to their desks for long hours at a stretch. According to at least one report, millennials prefer working remotely. Digital nomads dislike the conventional way of working and rely on remote work to earn a living as they travel around the world.

But managing virtual teams brings with it its own set of challenges. You may be a traditional business with a few virtual employees, or an entirely virtual company. Regardless of whether you are fully or partially virtual, here are some of our tried and tested tactics to streamline work across continents and time zones and make sure the employees remain happy and motivated.



Tactics for Managing Virtual Teams

Keep Productivity and Accountability on Track

This is the biggest challenge in managing virtual teams. Your team is not physically present for you to monitor. And employees don’t like being frequently interrupted via emails or chat so that you can learn the status of their work.

Putting structures in place can help things move along smoothly, reducing frustration on the part of the employer while providing clear guidance to the employees.

Productivity tools such as Trello, Asana, Basecamp, and ClickUp are proving to be wildly popular for a reason.

These tools are rich in features and easy to use. With Trello you can create personal boards, add members, assign projects, and set due dates. All the team members can access the dashboard and be apprised of the changes.

Files can be uploaded for reference and conversations carried out around projects to make sure everyone is on the same page. Team members are notified when they are mentioned in a task, which saves time since you don’t have to switch to a messaging app or shoot an email to get the point across.

A Kanban-based tool like MeisterTask can further simplify tasks and help with team management.

This feature-rich project management tool is aesthetically appealing and gets a ton of work done. Creating tasks, assigning them, and following up on the progress – all is smoothly executed. Members can convert tasks into discussions of sorts by uploading their files as relevant reference material or personal input. It’s easier than ever to see who has been assigned what and the status of their work.

Its integration with widely-used cloud storage apps such as Dropbox, Box, Bitbucket, and Google Drive makes it even more useful. For those who believe in the power of mind maps will be happy to know that MeisterTask is brought to you by the same folks who gave us MindMeister, the award-winning mind mapping software with fans across the world. Brainstorming across teams and locations is easy, fun, and productive with MindMeister, and now it comes integrated with MeisterTask, so that the ideas produced in the mind maps can be right away moved to the project management tool. These ideas will show up as tasks in MeisterTask for all to see and for the assigned people to act upon.

A good project management tool functions in a way that imparts clarity to employees and promotes accountability. With all the directions clearly presented on the dashboard, there is little scope for excuses or miscommunication. More importantly, it helps teams take their projects forward in a cohesive manner. Do your research before deciding on the tool for your remote team but do get one.

Hold Regular but Productive Meetings

Meetings are even more important when dealing with virtual teams, as that may be the only time you get together, so to speak.

This is a very important (and humanizing) step in the management of remote employees, or you risk alienating them. Besides, regular meetings also finetune matters and help keep things on track. They may also be the one time when team members actually speak to one another.

However, to make the most of these meetings you need them to be guided by clear agendas, which are also clearly communicated to the participants. Unplanned, ad hoc meetings only lead to more confusion.

A tool like Pinstriped can be of immense help. It helps you prepare for the meeting by creating an agenda and bringing together all the relevant content so everyone has the information they need to be ready for the meeting. The tool also helps you run the meeting, as it makes it easy to keep the meetings on track, record actions and decisions and share the information with the participants so that everyone is in the know from start to finish.

Explore similar tools to find your best fit. You don’t necessarily need a tool in this regard, it’s just that having a good one makes it so much easier for everyone involved. And think about all the time you would save!

Make Brainstorming Fun

It is said that families that eat together, stay together.

One could say that companies that brainstorm together, grow together.

Why not rope in everyone when looking for breakthroughs? Whether it’s about designing a new website, a new logo, or planning a new campaign, there is something about visually laid out content that triggers insights and ideas. Online whiteboard tools such as Stormboard or RealtimeBoard can be helpful for businesses that need their team members’ input on a regular basis.

These tools allow for remote collaboration where individuals can access the whiteboard from various locations and contribute ideas as if they were in the same room. Editing and tweaking concepts and designs is straightforward, as is having related discussions. It’s a fun and productive exercise for everyone involved.

Managing any team is a challenge, whether physically or virtually. But with a little bit of planning and the right tools in your arsenal, you can harness the full potential of your remote team. Employees who feel useful and appreciated are motivated to give more. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

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Publicity and digital marketing working together


On June 1st, AdVisible excitedly partnered with MINT and Google to host a roundtable discussing the importance of earned and paid digital strategies working together. In attendance, we had leading companies, including ASOS, Pier One Sydney Harbour, IWC Watches, The Star Sydney, Serv Corp, St Hugo, and Byron Bay Cookies.

With some seriously valuable lessons taken from the event, we have put together the key takeaways to help you wrap your head around this multi-channel world of marketing to help you to get the customers you’re seeking.

What is earned and paid media?

In case you aren’t familiar with the terms, earned media is media spread through word of mouth. In the digital landscape, that means people are sharing and interacting with your online pages, posts, and content in a way that increases your brand’s share of voice in the online world. Earned media is achieved when your brand has credibility, and your content gives them something valuable which they want to engage with or share.

Paid media is the promotion of your media across channels that will get you the exposure for your content — whether new or existing — in the hopes that it will create awareness of your brand and products or services. Paid media has many forms from celebrities sponsorships or more direct marketing such as paid ads on Google.

Insights from MINT, Google and AdVisible

As specialists in the world of digital marketing, MINT, Google and our team here at AdVisible, know a thing or two about balancing these two strategies to achieve powerful results. Here are the main takeaways from our talk:

#1 Have a consistent message in your content

Describe your brand in one sentence. Is this description of your brand reflected in all interactions with existing and potential customers? Consistency and repetition across all your social media, website content, as well as paid search and image ads is what builds trust with a brand. Consider consistent keywords and phrases, think of the voice your brand has and the tone in your communication.

#2 Combining earned and paid strategies is the secret to success

Be prepared for what your potential customer will be searching for online after hearing about your brand through the earned strategies by using paid strategies such as Search advertising, Social Media advertising, and Google’s Display Network.

#3 The 2018 Digital Landscape involves many devices and channels

In the world of websites, social media, search engines, and audience targeting, there are a lot of signals and channels available for advertising, all enhanced by data. You can leverage data and these channels through paid advertising campaigns such as remarketing. It is time to be both creative and data-driven to ensure you stay ahead of the competition.

#4 The changing nature of online customers

The folks at Google brought some telling insights to the conversation about the changing nature of online customers. Imagine that in 2002 Google measured 4 to 5 touch points on the consumer path to purchase. By 2017 these measurements increased to 11 to 12 touch points on the consumer path to purchase. Today there are over 4.15 billion internet users with the average person owning 3.6 connected devices. Between 2015 and 2017 there has been more than an 85% increase in searches for “where to buy (product)” as well as a 200% increase in same day shipping searches. In 2017, 53 per cent of websites that take longer than three seconds to load are abandoned.

Customers expectations are increasing exponentially. They are more impatient than ever, and brands have to meet them at more touchpoints to bring them to sale. The way to achieve this is through combined Paid and Earned strategies.

Think of it like this:

Imagine you own a boutique luxury hotel in Sydney. A potential customer is searching for “luxury hotels Sydney CBD” and visits four sites including yours as part of their initial research. Because you have a remarketing campaign active as part of your earned and paid strategies, you can continue to advertise to them, and after five different interactions turn them into a customer.

Here are the multi-channel steps that may have lead to this customer’s booking:

  1. They read an article online about top hotels in Sydney (Earned)
  2. They searched related terms online and saw your ad on Google (Paid)
  3. While browsing online, they saw your Remarketing ad on a display-network site and visited once again (Paid)
  4. Read reviews about your hotel on other publications and social media  (Earned)
  5. And finally went to the website directly to make the booking

Conclusion

Through all the noise and distractions, it is essential to understand what your target market is doing online and how you can get their attention. Traditional marketing and their measurements such as reach and recall hold some value, but data points such as clicks and conversions are ultimately more meaningful for your business. Combining Earned and Paid media strategies is the best way for you to increase your competitive advantage, as well as your sales.

If you would like to learn more about paid and earned strategies or want a digital marketing agency in Sydney that can tell you if you’re doing it right, contact the team at AdVisible; one of the best digital agencies in Sydney for paid and earned media services.

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How to Craft an Email Newsletter That Gets Marketing Results



You thought email newsletters were a marketing tool of the past? Replaced by social media? Think again. Newsletters can be highly effective—much more so than social media—especially for B2B audiences. So don’t leave them out of your media mix.

Why do newsletters still work?

Social media is passive. Even if your audience members do visit a social platform, they may or may not see your posts, especially at the rate messages fly by. Email, however, is more active. Everyone checks email, and the reader must actively choose to ignore, delete, or open your message.

So if you’ve got a catchy subject line and interesting lead article, you have a much better chance of engaging your audience through an email newsletter instead of a social media post. Unless your top prospects and customers happen to be Twitter-holics, anxiously awaiting your next tweet. Doubtful.

In addition to being seen by businesspeople, newsletters are a great way to drive traffic to your site (which Google loves, and so will reward you with better rankings). Google uses traffic, engagement, and conversions on your website as part of its ranking algorithm. That means if you’ve posted new content to your website, such as an article or resource, emailing your customers and subscribers and linking them through to it is a great way to drive people to your site, resulting in brownie points from Google.



Your number-one email marketing strategy must be to deliver value

I’ll give you some other pointers about newsletter structure and content; however, your number-one goal should be to deliver value. If it doesn’t add value, don’t include it in the newsletter.

Keep in mind that different things catch different people’s attention. Some people will be looking to learn something new. Others might be looking for something free. Still others are nosy, like Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched, and want to hear all the latest gossip about your team. So, for a general newsletter, the best content strategy is to have a mix of content that will appeal to a wide range of people.

Just because I said a mix, however, doesn’t mean you should write a three-page email. It means short teasers, or blurbs, that cover the above topics. Each blurb should have a button that links to your website so the recipient can read more or download a free resource.

Create a content blueprint

Before you hire a designer and programmer to create a custom branded HTML email template, you’ll want to develop a general content blueprint.

You can type it up, or hand draw it as I have (see image) to give your designer and programmer a visual representation of the bits of content and functionality you want in your newsletter.


Source: Studiothink

Many email marketing programs now let you design and build your own email newsletter. However, it’s still a good idea to get your ideas on paper (or screen) first, so you have a gameplan. (We prefer to use Campaign Monitor because it’s always provided us with more custom design capability. Here are some other top-rated email marketing platforms.)

In all your excitement to launch your first newsletter, don’t forget the importance of brand. Ensure the look and feel of your design is consistent with your existing branding and your brand voice comes across—loud and clear.

Here are some other ways to make your email newsletter more effective

And here’s what not to do

  • A sales pitch: Leave that to your salespeople.
  • Articles that are all about your products or services: If people like the content they’re reading, they’ll click around to see what you offer.
  • Obscure headlines: Let people know what they should expect.
  • Fluff: Make sure there’s enough meat in your teaser to generate a clickthrough.
  • Overly frequent emails: Don’t send for the sake of sending… If there’s no valuable content, send nothing!
  • Super-long emails: You have only seconds to get people’s attention, draw them in, and engage them… so practice your storytelling skills.

* * *

A strategically designed newsletter will not only drive traffic to your website (which boosts your SEO) but also keep your brand top-of-mind and reinforce your authority in the industry. Relationships with customers and prospects will be kept warm and will flourish (and your sales team will love you, too). And your emails will generate inquiries and sales (that are easier to track).

So if you gave up collecting emails as a result of all the anti-spam legislation going into effect around the world, I suggest you get back on the bandwagon. The email addresses you have are like gold. Keep digging.

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10 Ways Your Small Business Can Save Money When Gas Prices Are High


Gas prices have hit a four-year high in the U.S. Fueled by increasingly expensive oil, the cost of gasoline has been steadily increasing in recent years. In May 2018, the price of premium gasoline averaged 50 cents higher than regular gasoline in 2017.

Rising gas prices can have a negative impact on small businesses that rely on vehicles to conduct business operations. The rising cost of filling up company fleets is coming at the detriment to small business owners, forcing many to cut costs in other areas of the business. As Jason Boyne who owns three Goodbye Graffiti franchise businesses says:

“The biggest cost for us is filling up the trucks. The rising price of gas means the costs get translated into higher costs for consumers.”

“It also affects my ability to give raises to my staff,” the small business owner added.



How to Save Money when Gas Prices Are High

If rising gas prices are negatively impacting your small business, take a look at the following ten ways your small business can ‘fight back’ and save money when gas prices are high.

Promote Sensible and Conservative Driving

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), driving aggressively and erratically can lower gas economy by up to 33% at highway speeds and by 5% on urban streets. By informing drivers of the pitfalls of aggressive driving and promoting sensible driving will help your business make vital savings on gas consumption.

Keep Tire Pressure at Optimum Levels

The EPA also notes the importance of tire inflation in vehicle inspection programs. The simple task of keeping the tires of a company vehicle inflated to its proper pressure can improve gas economy by up to 3.3%. If your business operates a number of vehicles, this can equate to a significant sum of money. The solution is simple – keep tire pressure on business fleets at optimum levels.

Make Routes More Efficient

Are your drivers using the most efficient routes to deliver goods and conduct business? The shortest routes don’t always equate to the most efficient in terms of fuel consumption, particularly if the route is through an urban area and involves a lot of stop-starting. Taking the time plan efficient routes can be an effective way to save on gas consumption and thereby save money on this business expense.

There’s numerous apps available to help you plan the most efficient routes, such as Speedy Route, an app for optimized driving directions for delivery route planning.

Avoid Heavy Traffic

A car is at its least efficient when it is going nowhere. Being stuck in heavy traffic or at traffic lights will mean your drivers burn more gas, costing you more during a time when gas prices are high. Encouraging drivers to use traffic alerts such as on local radio stations or via traffic notification apps, will help avoid the curse of ‘going nowhere’ gas consumption.

Regularly Maintain Your Vehicles

As well as keeping tire pressure at its optimum, you should maintain your fleets regularly, as poorly-tuned engines, and clogged air filters will hinder the fuel economy of your vehicles.

Only Carry What is Necessary

The heavier a vehicle is, the more gas it will burn. Ask drivers to get into the habit of only carrying the payload they need to carry and remove surplus tools, equipment and parts to reduce weight and improve gas economy.

Make Use of Cruise Control

Utilizing the cruise control function on company fleets will mean you save on gas as the feature keeps a vehicle moving without the driver having to step on the gas pedal, which consumes gas. Cruise control also creates safer driving conditions, including reducing fatigue of the driver.

Ensure Wheels are Properly Aligned

Incorrectly aligned wheels put unnecessary drag on a car, which, in turn, reduces its gas efficiency, meaning your gas bills will be higher. Simply by checking your fleets’ wheels are properly aligned will help improve the gas efficiency of your business.

Switch to Electric Vehicles

Switching to an electric fleet comes with a myriad of business benefits and none more so than significantly lowering running costs. Statistics show that powering an electric vehicle can be up to 90% less expensive than powering conventional combustion car engines.

Purchase Gas from Lower-Cost Gas Providers

It may sound obvious but how many times do we use gas stations with more expensive fuel, purely out of convenience? Taking the time to identity and locate gas stations that offer gas at lower prices, is a sure-fire way to help your business make savings on this inescapable expense.

Photo via Shutterstock


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VFXShow236: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom


In this episode, Matt Wallin and Mike Seymour look at Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

It’s been three years since theme park and luxury resort Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs. ILM was tasked with returning to the now abandoned Isla Nublar. In the overrun Jurassic Park, we find the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves as the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life.

The fxguide story is here.

Velociraptor Blue in “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

VFX primarily by ILM. 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was directed by J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls). It was filmed in the United Kingdom and on the Hawaiian islands. The Production Visual Effects Supervisor David Vickery, on loan from ILM.  The dedicated ILM VFX Supervisor was Alex Wuttke. They were joined by Paul Corbould as the Special Effects Supervisor. and Neal Scanlan as the Special Creature Effects Supervisor.

Director J.A. BAYONA with the Indoraptor on the set of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”

The ‘hosts’ this week:

Mike ‘Ankylosaurus’ Seymour @mikeseymour

Matt ‘Stygimoloch’ Wallin    @mattwallin

Jason ‘Triceratops Diamond  @jasondiamond      www.thediamondbros.com

Special thanks to Ryan Pribyl for technical assistance, Matt Wallin for editing.

Matt’s conspiracy of the week: The idea of human clones will feature strongly in the next film. (Although as Jason is a twin – I think he is the closest we have to a clone expert on the show !)



Thanks so much for reading our article.

We’ve been a free service since 1999 and now rely on the generous contributions of readers like you. If you’d like to help support our work, please join the hundreds of others and become an fxinsider member.

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Is Your Content Strategy Heading in the Right Direction? Four-Steps to Make Sure It Does.



Let’s pretend your marketing team survived a plane crash and washed ashore on the warm sand of a Pacific island. You have no map, compass, or GPS. You’re not sure where to find fresh water, kindling, or shelter. As you trudge uphill into the jungle interior, one of your companions asks, “Are you sure we’re going the right way?”

How would you know?! What’s the “right” direction when you’re lost on an island?

The situation reminds you of all the content your team was cranking out before your fateful trip. The content read well. It looked sharp. Sometimes it racked up LinkedIn likes…

But was the content heading in the right direction? How would you know?

My team at Widen recently explored our jungle island of content data—safely from Madison, Wisconsin—to find a right direction. When visitors enter an email address to download content from our website, that action kicks off a multiweek email nurture campaign with one email per week. But, like many B2B tech marketers, we support a long sales cycle, and knew we could do better with our nurture campaign. So my teammates Nina Brakel-Schutt and Nate Holmes led a content audit.



Initially, we wanted to see what our data says—as if 0s and 1s would tell us where to go. But there’s way too much data to review! And its interpretation is only as good as our questions.

We devised a new content auditing approach using data from CRM, marketing automation, and digital asset management (DAM) tools. Other stacks would work too. That content audit saved our content and email marketing strategy from perishing on a desert island—and it might save yours, too.

1. Form your question

Form a question that challenges your most entrenched assumptions. For example, B2B marketers take pride in understanding and serving their buyers. No marketer brags, “We have no idea who’s buying our stuff and why!” Lead with a question such as, “Who are our buyers and what content would answer their questions throughout the buying experience?”

Start the inquiry by mapping the journey of the last 10 customers you signed. Here’s what one of our maps looked like:

Let’s note a few things:

  • First, the buying cycle was longer and more unpredictable than we had thought. We had content queued up for 12 weeks, but the journey lasted nine months.
  • Second, different buyers jumped in at one month, six months, and eight months, so we couldn’t have delivered the right content at the right time. The photography producer would have received content on the basics of DAM just before signing the contract.
  • Third, because the content was static and directed toward marketers, the buyers who are IT folks had to search or ask for technical content if they wanted it.

Across prospective buyers, the open rates on this email campaign declined by one-third between the first and twelfth week. That held true even after we improved performance with new creative and messaging (reflected in the blue trendline):

Declining open rates certainly weren’t the right direction. We had to re-examine what we delivered, whom we delivered it to, and why.

2. Uncover your content

The next step is to uncover what content you use and how it performs. For a given campaign, paste the names of each piece of content (with hyperlinks) in a spreadsheet in chronological order. Then, categorize each piece of content by its stage in the buyer journey: awareness, consideration, or decision.

Let’s unpack those three labels. At the awareness stage, buyers try to define their challenge or opportunity. At the consideration stage, buyers have distinct goals and explore how to achieve them. By the decision stage, the buyer has chosen a category of solutions and evaluates them to find the best fit. The driving question flows from why to how to what.

After categorizing the content by journey stage, add your engagement data. That could include downloads, views, organic searches, gated (y/n), social shares—it depends on your marketing stack. A template might look like this:

After prepping the spreadsheet, you’re ready to investigate whether your content met buyers’ needs.

3. Evaluate strengths and weaknesses

In a mature B2B martech stack, you generally evaluate engagement metrics such as views, social shares, organic searches, and downloads. Those metrics may capture an audience’s reaction to content, but they miss other characteristics.

Everyone in our email campaign received the same content at the same pace. Thus, the winners in the spreadsheet had appeal across personas (more on those soon). However, it’s extremely hard to pin down cause and effect in content data. The top-performing pieces seemed to have self-explanatory value, but maybe that had nothing to do with their success.

When evaluating content, try to capture qualitative attributes in numbers. Using the engagement metrics and your own reading of the content, you can rank the following on a 1-5 scale or use letter grades. Add these to the spreadsheet:

  • Brand. Review the writing style for voice, tone, and messaging. Check the visual expression for photography style, colors, and fonts. How well do they reflect your brand?
  • Clarity. Do the writing and layout present the information clearly and concisely?
  • Accuracy. Does your content reflect the current state of your industry and company? Is the information accurate and up-to-date?
  • Business value. How closely does the content relate to your business objectives?
  • Utility. How much value does it provide to the reader?

Look for patterns. Maybe your best content ranks high on utility yet seems off-brand. Perhaps clarity separates your best-performing pieces from the worst. Those patterns inform the content strategy you’ll create in the next step.

4. Update as needed

The content that excelled should continue to reach every persona. Update it as needed and keep it in play. However, it’s time to replace the content that performed poorly.

Personas will help you find a right direction for the new content you’ll use. Personas are caricatures of your ideal customers or target audiences. They are like maps in that they’re not “reality.” By using personas we try to anticipate who buyers are and how they participate in the buying process so we can gear content to their needs.

My team used to focus on three personas—Creative, IT, and Marketing—but they were too broad. We extrapolated eight personas from those three, but creating tailored content for eight personas was too burdensome for a company our size. So we started our “persona-off” with this data (gathered from marketing automation, CRM, and DAM tools):

  • Current personas visiting our website
  • Job titles among those going through our buying process
  • Our primary point of contact at each buyer organization (name and title)
  • Average customer close time
  • Content fed by Sales versus content buyers consume on their own

From that data, we identified the four most valuable personas. We then interviewed people in the buying process about their roles, goals, and pain points. We had two objectives: compare reality to our personas, and identify what content each persona would want. We asked questions about the following:

  • Work goals
  • Daily tasks and responsibilities
  • Challenges at work
  • Favorite information sources
  • Personality traits related to our products and services

The interviews gave us the material to create empathetic profiles and content strategies for each persona. Each persona profile covers six points and answers each point with two to six bullets:

  • Who are they?
  • How do they find us?
  • What do they want to know?
  • What don’t they want?
  • What are their pain points?
  • Why do they buy from us?

From that information, we created a content strategy for each persona. The template is divided by stage in the buying journey and looks like this:

* * *

Our content audit has answered who the buyers are and what questions content should answer throughout the buying experience.

Is our content heading in the right direction? We now have a way to check before we invest time and resources in creation.

The audit prepared us to (re)create email nurturing campaigns for each persona and start them wherever the buyer stands in the journey.

Rescue yourself

If your content strategy feels lost, use a similar content audit to find a right direction (there’s never just one).

“Is our content heading in the right direction?” will become easier to answer over time. In the first round, you might overhaul personas or create them from scratch. In subsequent rounds, once you know the island terrain, look for new shortcuts and hidden gems. Try to get lost again (safely, in your office).

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What is a Microloan and Where Can You Get One for Your Small Business?


Microloans are small loans which are issued to businesses by individuals opposed to credit unions or banks. The concept of microcredit originated in the developing world, as a means of helping people in smaller economics have the ability to launch their own business. Microlending subsequently took off around the world, and today, small business microloans are an effective way to lend entrepreneurs and small businesses in the U.S. with the funds they need to start and develop their business.

General Terms of Microloans

The maximum amount a microloan will typically lend is up to $35,000. However, in some instances, lenders will lend up to $50,000. The average amount microloans lend is around $10,000.  Businesses can use microloans to borrow as little as $500, making these types of loans a good option for small businesses needing to get their hands on smaller funds.

One of the key attractions of a microloan is that they are generally easier to qualify for than a traditional small business loan. Specific eligibility criteria vary from lender to lender, and can be influenced by the type of industry the business operates in.

Rather than being solely about credit scores, microloans work more closely with the small business owner applying for the loan, to find out about the business and its goals and objectives. The lender uses such information to determine whether they will lend the applicant the funds.

The maximum repayment terms for small business microloans is generally six years, giving small businesses sufficient time to pay back the loan whilst they get their business up and running and make it profitable.

Why Small Businesses Might Need a Microloan

This type of loan is usually borrowed by a startup to help them fund the items required to get the venture up and running, such as equipment, the lease of an office, or employees’ salaries.

Microloans are also sometimes used to provide small businesses with working capital to enable them to manage cash flow more proficiently, such as to cover outgoings as they wait for invoices to be paid, to develop a comprehensive marketing program, or to stock up on inventory when it is at a reduced price or in time for a busy holiday season.

How Your Small Business Can Get a Microloan

Before applying for a microloan, you should carry out some research and shop around to see the different criteria of the different microlenders to help determine which lender might be most suitable for your specific requirements and objectives. Check that your small business is likely to be eligible for the microloan. Look for certified and reputable lenders that come with praiseworthy testimonials from other small business owners.

It would help if you draw up a comprehensive business plan , which defines how you plan to use the loan. Once you believe you meet the criteria of the loan, you should make the application, which can typically be done online. Answer the questions as accurately and honestly as possible. The lender will then decide whether to proceed and lend you the funds you are looking for.

To give you a helping hand in your quest to find a reputable microloan lender to provide the finance you need for your small business, here are three credible microloan lenders in the U.S.

Microloan.org

Microloan.org is dedicated to enriching communities by providing small businesses with the funds they need to create a high-quality business development, which creates sustaining jobs for the community. If you are looking for a strategic partner to help you find the best borrowing option to help your business grow, Microloan.org would be a good place to start.

Kiva

Kiva is an international non-profit based in San Francisco. Kiva offers microloans which are crowdfunded, where backers can donate as little as $25 to borrowers. Kiva’s microloans are typically used to start or grow a small business. You would repay the lenders the money back through Kiva.

Accion USA

Accion USA is a non-profit organization that provides microloans of up to $50,000 to low and moderate-income entrepreneurs. Accion looks at a business owner’s individual circumstances and strengths to determine whether to provide them with a microloan.

Photo via Shutterstock

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