‘Why Leadership Sucks’ eBook Free For a Limited Time

Learn the truth about what it really means to be a successful and influential leader. Grab your free copy of “Why Leadership Sucks” eBook and jump on the path to selfless, gratifying leadership.

How do we define leadership? What is “servant leadership”? What are the most effective leadership characteristics? Do you wish your company had a leadership development program, or are you frustrated with organizational leadership? Do you wonder why some leadership styles suck? You are not alone.

 The book is divided into four parts:

1: To serve or not to serve. Effective leadership characteristics require servant leadership.
2: Do what’s best for your organization. Discusses various aspects of organizational leadership and culture
3: Humility 101. Leadership principles of self-examination, apologies, authenticity, controlling and displaying emotions, and handling adversity.
4: Specific management situations, focusing on business leadership competencies

Discover why servant leadership is frustrating and learn practical leadership principles for your leadership journey.

Note from the author: What’s ironic is that in serving others selflessly, elevating their needs in place of our wants, our own self-fulfillment arises as a natural byproduct. Yet when we attempt to “climb the career ladder” by tearing others down to achieve this shallow version of success, a negative sum game ensues, and everyone loses. With a consistent, persistent commitment to the right kind of learning, anyone can become a better leader. This book will hopefully give you a lot of ideas for better habits and attitudes.

Disclosure: This is brought to you by the Entrepreneur Partner Studio. Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Original Article:www.entrepreneur.com

How Transparency Can Slash Your Churn Rate by 89%

If you run a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business, you probably know how difficult it can be to achieve a low and stable churn rate. Simply put, a business’s churn rate is its average customer lifespan. A low churn rate means your customers typically stick with your software for a long period of time. Alternatively, a high churn rate may be the reason you tend to end each month with a bunch of new customers, but about the same revenue. Despite it being a crucial performance metric, not only for SaaS companies but also any B2B service-oriented business, a high churn rate is incredibly difficult to overcome.

SaaS businesses are constantly trying to improve their customer acquisition percentages and decrease customer churn rate. Google the term “churn rate,” and you’ll pull up a slew of advice on how to lower your own rate: provide consistent value reminders, perform cohort analyses, and more. These are all great suggestions, but some businesses prefer a different type of solution, like Boaz Grinvald’s BrightInfo — a content personalization tool.

Recently, leadership at BrightInfo performed research that revealed that while many customers loved their product, many were under the false impression that the product was delivering diminishing value over time.

Boaz and his team decided to do something extreme in turn. They injected “radical transparency” into their product. They wanted to make sure that the BrightInfo experience would be infused with irrefutable evidence that it was driving ROI.

Now, every BrightInfo account automatically runs A/B tests, comparing KPIs for site visitors who don’t see BrightInfo’s content recommendations with those that do. The product dashboard demonstrates the lift that BrightInfo drives. As a result of this change, they reduced churn from 4.4 percent to .5 percent.

I was fortunate to be able to speak with Boaz about his software, which has helped increase on-site engagement and conversions for companies like HubSpot and Cisco. Here Boaz talks about the relationship between transparency and churn, the state of the SaaS industry, and more.

What do companies get wrong in curbing churn?

When looking to curb churn, it all comes down to the delicate balancing act of the three value elements that resonate with customers: product, user experience and level of service.

The problem starts when you need to prioritize resources: for example, when releasing a new feature that a major customer is requesting. You make sure it works perfectly, you pay attention to the usability and you communicate the value this feature brings to your services and accounts team. That’s how you minimize the gap between true and perceived value, or better yet, increase the perceived value.

For us specifically, we lost sight of the gap between perceived value and value delivered. When we realized our customers were under the impression that we deliver less value than we actually do, we rolled out the ongoing A/B testing as a constant proof of value.

What is the relationship between vendors and value?

The honeymoon effect (the novelty of something exciting and new) definitely plays a role, but that’s not all. Each company, with its own unique product, faces different obstacles in this regard. By recognizing these obstacles, you can start to figure out how to hurdle them.

We are in the business of personalized content recommendations, and the end result of what our algorithm does is an increase in engagement and conversion. So, after a few months of using our product, customers tend to forget the numbers pre-BrightInfo and this becomes their new baseline. On top of that, our customers are often busy with various inbound marketing efforts. At the end of the day, how can you distinguish between the different drivers of growth? Many of our customers used to ask us, “How can we attribute the growth in leads to you? It could have been our new Instagram campaign.

This is the obstacle we recognized. By running continuous A/B tests, we’ve been able to overcome this obstacle — we’ve made sure our customers are always reminded of the real baseline performance of their website as far as conversion rate, and who gets the credit for conversion growth.

How do you inject value transparency ?

Transparency works for both sides. Sure, our A/B testing program has helped us reduce churn in a big way, but we have gained much more from it. We are constantly on our toes, facing the performance of our product head on — no filters.

The best example for me is the finance industry. Whether it’s your pension, your investments or any other financial portfolio you hold, when these reports arrive every month, they always compare their own performance to that of the market or their competitors. It’s a fantastic way to communicate your value in the most transparent, direct manner.

FairFly is another great example. Their value is brilliantly and inherently a part of their product: after you purchase an airline ticket, they will find you a cheaper one and reimburse you for the difference. You are literally getting the value in the form of money.

Why is it easy to forget about demonstrating value?

It’s potentially a combination of two factors: the desire to make a profit and SaaS being more on the affordable side of the tech industry. It’s about combining the pressures of unit economics with SaaS revenues often based on monthly billing, which means potentially low margins, especially for companies focused on consumers or small businesses, where the per-month revenue is the smallest.

I believe that’s where the impression comes from. Being optimistic, I see lots of efforts in SaaS to improve perceived value, exactly like we’re doing with our ongoing proof of value and sharing this story.

What value can service providers demonstrate?

Here I would go back to the three elements of a value: product, experience and service. If, as a company, you are able to effectively communicate to your customers on these three levels simultaneously, then you have it. And these are the three stories that companies (also outside the SaaS space) need to tell their customers.

And by the way, I think that overarching value statements are a thing of the past. Don’t just tell me you’ll improve my life — tell me how you’ll do it.

What’s next for your “radical transparency”?

We are moving our offices to a glass house. Just kidding.

Look: we’re measured by raw leads. So the next logical step on our path to complete transparency is to be measured by the quality of our leads. Today we offer integration with marketing automation solutions like HubSpot, Marketo and Act-On and soon we’ll expand to Pardot and Eloqua as well. But in order to really make headway, we are looking into CRM integrations, with Salesforce obviously at the top of the list.

Our aim with this follows the industry trend of closing the loop of the entire buyer journey. We want to be able to report to our customers not only the number of leads we generate, but their quality as well. We want to break it down completely: how many eventually converted from leads into marketing-qualified leads, opportunities, customers; what content along the journey made them convert; what is the best nurturing content for each persona.

We are even tuning our algorithm from leads to deals.

There’s one more thing behind door number two. We believe that by doing this, we’ll also assist marketers to deliver better results internally. The same way we are measured by leads, so are they. Sales departments are breathing down marketing’s necks. Well, this is our way to not only prove our value, but also help marketers prove their own.

One of the hardest things about running a SaaS business is curbing your churn rate. With a little trial-and-error, A/B testing and the right software, you can lower your company’s churn rate and convert more leads to customers on your website’s front page.

Original Article:www.entrepreneur.com

‘Digital Unicorn’ Is the Next Big Marketing Hire You Want to Make

I was meeting with a marketing professor recently and she asked me about my prediction on the next trend within the digital marketing industry. I responded with a simple answer: the digital unicorn.

If you are unfamiliar with this term, it is someone that has a public relations background but a firm grasp on digital. If someone in HR is nervous to post an advertisement on Indeed seeking a Digital Unicorn, “Digital PR Specialist” would be the safer route.

He or she is familiar with backlinks, search engine optimization and implementing the proper title tags on the site. Yet, this unicorn also has connections within the PR industry, can make new reporter connections on Twitter, knows how to write compelling blog content and can promote blogs and articles to be seen by the masses on social. Don’t forget, this unicorn knows how to shoot and edit videos, has a keen eye for photography and can code HTML.

For all of the naysayers who assumed PR was dead, think again, this skill-set will continue to be in demand as marketing departments and agencies try and snag these well versed individuals.

SEO benefits.

If you follow the SEO industry, you are well aware that Google values quality content. Long gone are the days where you can manipulate Google’s search engine with low quality content. You need to constantly be increasing your domain authority, which is something this unicorn can spearhead.

For example, if you work in the apartment industry, contributing content on sites like Apartment Finder and Apartment Guide can not only help establish your credibility, it can also increase a metric that is called domain authority.

Google’s core algorithm, PageRank, is predicated off of backlinks. The more credibility a website has, the higher its domain authority.

Think of the Apartments.com website. Thousands of apartment related websites link back to this domain, which over time has given this site a very high and credible domain authority. When you search for apartment-related search terms apartments.com frequently populates.

When a high quality site within the same industry or the same city links back to your site, it can drastically improve your SEO.

If you have a Digital PR Specialist, you can not only forge the relationships with these sites through outreach, but he or she can write the articles and promote them on social. Over time, this can lead to more referral traffic, brand recognition, more valuable keywords ranking on the first page of Google and more revenue for your business.

Quality is king.

Sharing your company’s story in a compelling fashion seems simple, right? I can’t tell you how many times business owners and marketers completely drop the ball on their content execution, which leads to a failed marketing strategy.

It is important to realize that compelling content is the backbone to marketing success. About 350 million new photos are added each day to Facebook, and 100 million hours of video are consumed daily on the social channel. If your content doesn’t kick ass, nobody will pay attention to your brand.

A digital PR specialist can help you hit a home run with your content strategy. This will actually make your advertising budget work more effectively in your favor while getting more people to talk and pay attention to your brand.

You see, Facebook has a metric called Relevance Score. Without even putting a penny behind a post, their algorithm will be able to detect based off of the interaction of your post along with the engagement how well your post is performing. The more high quality content you push out, the more likely your content is going to crush it from a performance perspective.

Digital unicorn.

If your digital PR specialist can improve your search engine ranking position, write amazing copy for Adwords and churn out quality content, you have found an extremely valuable asset for your business.

To find the ultimate digital unicorn, this digital guru would be able to create graphics using Photoshop, be familiar with WordPress and basic HTML and be proficient with FinalCut for video editing and Google Analytics.

2020 prediction.

The trend continues where brands are shifting ad spend away from traditional television and more towards digital. By 2020, companies will have their own digital content teams producing videos, writing articles and pushing out Facebook live stories. Some brands are already ahead of the curve.

For the entrepreneurs that are hustling on their own and are working on a shoestring budget, it is time to become your own digital unicornso you can get found and talked about online.

Original Article:www.entrepreneur.com

3 Compelling Reasons to Adopt Agile Marketing

Is “agile marketing” on your to-do list for the coming year? If not, it’s time to get up to speed: According to a 2016 survey by Workfront and MarketingProfs, 41 percent of marketers either already use or plan to use an agile approach over the next few years.

Workfront defines agile marketing as “a tactical marketing approach in which teams identify and focus their collective efforts on high value projects, complete those projects cooperatively, measure their impact and then continuously and incrementally improve the results over time.” It’s a process designed to enable rapid iteration, testing, and learning and the ability to change course quickly. In an agile marketing framework, decisions are based on data and results, not opinions and conventions.

Adopting agile principles and practices in your marketing “capitalizes on value that has been proven through the software delivery industry and that closely aligns with needs of marketers,” adds Roy Huhta, chief product officer at digital media and marketing agency West Cary Group. “Building an agile foundation of practice ensures that you are continuously maximizing and optimizing the marketing investment.”

Here are a few more reasons to consider an agile marketing approach in the coming year:

1. An easier time keeping up with the market.

It certainly would be nice if the market and our competitors moved on a quarterly planning cycle, but of course, this isn’t how it works — and marketers know it. In fact, in a recent agile marketing survey by project management software provider Wrike, 26 percent of marketers said keeping up with changing market dynamics and competitors is one of their biggest challenges.

Companies who adopt an agile marketing approach find that it allows them to adapt and move faster. With agile marketing, the planning horizon is shortened to weeks rather than months or years. Instead of building rigid plans that are hard to change, agile marketers develop flexible road maps of projects and tests. Projects get broken down into smaller tasks and prioritized by the team. Teams have frequent (often daily) meetings to reprioritize work as market conditions change or new learnings are achieved.

“The appeal of agile marketing is the ability to readjust, refocus and recalculate the direction of our marketing strategy at a pace much more like real-time, as opposed to having a traditional 6-month or annual review of what worked and what didn’t,” says Ken Wincko, senior vice president of marketing at Cision and PR Newswire. “We’re changing our strategy on a weekly basis based on our analytics to enhance our content and channel performance.”

Jason Weamer, founder of digital agency Visual Identity Group, likes that agile marketing reduces the risk of making just a few big bets.

“The ability to test and iterate reduces the need for heavy investments into a single idea or campaign where all your eggs are placed into a single basket — instead, you’re placing them in many smaller baskets, and learning valuable lessons along the way,” says Weamer.

2. Have a better scope and prioritization of work.

By breaking down projects into smaller tasks, and meeting frequently to evaluate what’s working and what’s changed, an agile marketing team can make trade-offs and reprioritize their work based on new information. This approach also makes it less challenging to manage urgent work requests; these simply become part of the regular prioritization process instead of a fire drill.

“Being agile in marketing helps us to better plan and prioritize. It also helps to sync the most recent information between team members, while identifying the obstacles before they become major problems,” says Olga Noha, head of marketing at CRM software provider bpm’online. “The team understands the priorities and a scope of work that’s been planned and evaluated for the entire week, which helps them to be more focused and efficient.”

Communication and project scoping also become easier in an environment where work is mapped out and reviewed as a team.

“The agile method helps improve two very distinct communication challenges nearly every marketing organization has: we don’t share our priorities clearly, and we don’t estimate how much time it takes to work on specific task well,” says Mozilla CMO Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, author of “Growing Up Fast: How New Agile Practices Can Move Marketing And Innovation Past The Old Business Stalemates.” “Being a discipline rooted in product and engineering, the agile system is built to make it easier to share priorities among teams and stakeholders, as well as help train marketers how to estimate the time needed to complete each project.”

3. Your team will be happier.

According to a report by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, an agile software development approach can increase employee satisfaction by 20 percent or more; agile marketing is no different. In fact, Wrike’s study found that heavy agile marketing adopters are significantly more satisfied with how work is managed on their marketing team than non-agile adopters.

Agile marketing doesn’t just improve work management and make it more collaborative — it also sets up many opportunities for regular “wins.”

“Employees receive the gratification of getting their work out quickly and seeing it in action, versus long projects that continually creep in scope and drag on,” says Weamer.

Want to learn more? Here are some great agile marketing resources to help you get started.

Original Article:www.entrepreneur.com

4 Steps to Creating Great Blog Posts When You’re Pressed for Time

Having a company blog is really important. But if you’re anything like me, you’re often pushed for time, and writing new content sometimes doesn’t get the time or attention it deserves.

That needs to change.

Done right, business blogging can help you establish yourself as an expert in your industry and give you the authority to pull in customers and cement their loyalty. Guest blogging, for instance, exposes you to a new audience and helps you connect with influencers in your industry.

Over the years, I’ve discovered some simple habits that help me write great blog posts in less time, allowing me to create content consistently without sacrificing in terms of quality. I’d like to share them with you.

Step 1 — Be systematic.

For effective blogging, you need to have a plan. You need to adopt the mentality that blogging is a powerful marketing tool rather than a leisure activity.

Assuming you’re starting from scratch, the first step might sound a little trite, but you really have to know your audience. This helps youset the general tone for your posts. Would they prefer it formal and professional or informal and chatty?

Your industry can help you predict the kind of tone you should use, but generally, a mix of formal and informal makes for the most impactful content. Whichever tone you use, you won’t be read by everyone — and that’s okay. The goal is to create a loyal fan base.

You also need to be clear on the type of content you publish. Choose a specific niche — your niche — and stick to that. This will help you stay focused and appeal to a specific audience. After all, you don’t have enough time to write across industries.

The third most important thing is to organize your time. Stick to a writing and publishing schedule. If you can only write two days a week, do that consistently. Writing and publishing randomly will not only reduce your effectiveness, but also deter your audience.

Step 2 — Use outlines.

Do you ever find yourself moving from one idea to another and then back up to the first idea. In the end, you have a post with a flow so poor that not even you can read it without wincing? It might be because you didn’t set an outline first, or you set it poorly.

Creating an outline makes it easy for you to think through a certain topic by helping you visualize a post before writing. That way you know which ideas you’ll be presenting and in which order. Outlines also help you avoid writer’s block by breaking down the subject into more manageable chunks.

By creating outlines, you can easily tell if you’re communicating your point as clearly as it sounds in your head. For instance, you can have an outline where you explain a point in three sections — introduction, supporting facts and conclusion. Once all three sections are sufficiently filled, you can comfortably move to the next point.

Also be on the lookout for inspiration. It’s the middle of the day, and a prospect just asked you a question you think could make for a great blog post. Jot it down, and get back to it. By using a tool like Evernote, or just creating a note in your smartphone, you can create an outline and continue building it up on the go. This reduces the amount of time needed when you actually sit down to write.

Bottom line — more time on preparation means less time writing and editing.

Step 3 — Keep it simple.

People want access to as much online content as they can get in a day. They want to wake up the next day and find more. For this reason, most people who come across your blog post won’t read it in its entirety.

So, how do you use the blog post to provide value to the same people you know won’t read it from top to bottom? Simple — be brief. Always go for the least number of words to make a point. Clear and concise writing requires frugality. This saves time for both you and the reader.

Also, practice writing in the active rather than the passive voice. For instance, say “police raided the premises” instead of “the premises were raided by police.” The active voice is shorter than the passive by two words. When you add it up it really makes a difference.

Another way to keep things brief is to use visuals like images, video and infographics in your text. People love visual content, especially on social media.

Step 4 — Repackage existing content.

Sometimes you’ll momentarily run out of blog post ideas. It happens. At such times, repackaging existing content, especially by industry experts, is a good idea.

As the name suggests, content repackaging means changing the format of existing content and republishing it in a new format. Sometimes it involves updating it without changing the format.

Think about all the blog posts you don’t read because they’re too lengthy and simply because you don’t have the time. You’re not alone. There are readers out there who wish they could find shorter versions of certain online content. So why not create a condensed version? Just remember to give full credit to the original author. For instance, you could have the headline that reads “6 Key Takeaways From XYZ.”

You can also republish SlideShare presentations, videos or infographics as blog posts. The opportunities are endless. However, unless you’re running a content curation site, don’t overuse this tactic as you might lose credibility or misrepresent the real purpose of your blog.

I can’t overstate the benefits of business blogging. It doesn’t necessarily need a huge investment of your time. Sometimes it takes under an hour to write an insightful blog post that will keep bringing traffic to your site day after day, month after month.

Original Article:www.entrepreneur.com

4 Reasons Your Personal Credit is Killing Your Business

There’s a common misconception that your personal credit isn’t going to impact your business. After all, your personal credit, is well, personal. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, when your personal finances get out-of-control, it can be extremely detrimental to your business. Here’s how:

1. You won’t receive loans

This is the most obvious reason. If you have a bad credit score because you have a lot of debt, failed to make payments on time or just haven’t paid your bills, that can lower your credit score. That means that when you apply for a business loan or credit card, you’ll get denied.

Even if you attempt to secure a favorable SBA loan and have a FICO score of over 700, you’ll be denied.

 What about alternative sources of funding? Friends, family and crowdfunding sites may not examine your personal credit, and most responsible business revenue lenders “will look at the past 6 months or so of a business bank account and determine if the business is an attractive lending risk based on the consistency of deposits,” says Nick Bentley on Ventury Capital.

2. Wages could be garnished

When you fall behind on your bills and aren’t able to make monthly payments, your account could be handed over to a collection agency or debt collectors who may choose to sue you. When that happens don’t be surprised if the collector tries to take a piece of your paycheck.

Now, garnishing wages isn’t allowed in every state and it can get complicated for those who are self-employed. Freelancers, for example, are exempt. However, if you receive an actual paycheck the creditor may try to take a piece of your pay.

Another thing to consider is if you’re side hustling to help you keep up with your expenses or invest back into your company. If wages from that side gig are getting taken out, that could prevent you from meeting your financial goals.

3. You won’t get approved for leases or business accounts

Think about the times you attempted to rent an apartment or get a new cell phone plan. Chances are that the landlord or phone company did a credit check. And, because you’re credit wasn’t in tip-top shape, you were denied.

The same is true when looking to rent an office space, lease equipment or secure something like a phone plan for your business.

This isn’t always a deal killer. However, if you have a low credit score you may be able to find some companies that will work with you. In most cases, if you have a score lower than 650, you may not be able to rent that sweet office space that will hold all of your new team members.

And if that wasn’t enough, your credit card can also be used to determine things think your car insurance rates.

4. You don’t have peace of mind

Finally, swimming in debt can be a stressful experience that can distract you from work and lower your productivity. Additionally, constantly worrying about your personal finances can result in loss of sleep. And, even worse, lead you to make poor decisions like raising your salary or using your business as collateral.

Another way that your poor credit score can occupy your mind is by causing a rift between you and your business partner. Even if they have excellent credit, your credit score could still bring down the amount of money that the business is loaned.

How to get your personal credit under control:

Despite having personal finance concerns, there are several ways that you can get it under control and improve your credit score.

Here are some of the top recommendations to accomplish that:

  • Establish a budget so that you can clearly see where you money is going each month and make the appropriate cuts to curb your spending.
  • Always make sure that you pay your bills on-time.
  • Pull your credit report so that you can resolve any outstanding balances or despite late payments.
  • Cancel recurring payments properly, like gym memberships that require you to sign a paper.
  • Don’t co-sign loans for other people.
  • Keep your debts low.
  • Apply for a D-U-N-S number to help improve your credit score.
  • Frequently monitor your credit to make sure that there aren’t incidents of identity theft.                                                                                                               original article:www.entrepreneur.com

10 Online Marketers to Follow for Inspiration and Growth

No matter how seasoned you are in the world of online marketing, it’s always smart to surround yourself with other pros. The good news is that there are countless marketers online who are willing to share their advice. The bad news, of course, is that it’s not always easy to distinguish between the true gurus and the wannabes.

And that’s where this list come into play. The marketing experts that follow have met at least the following criteria:

  1. They get results for their clients.
  2. They’ve been around longer than a year or two. No fly-by-night marketers on this list.
  3. They contribute to the marketing industry by consistently offering advice and new ideas for other marketers.
  4. They’re trusted and respected by other top marketing experts.
  5. They contribute something unique to the marketing industry. Each of the experts below are marketing innovators in some small (or big) way.

Ready to expand your marketing knowledge every day? The following 10 experts won’t steer you wrong.

1. Neil Patel.

The co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and Kissmetrics, Neil Patel, a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, is recognized as one of the top 10 online marketers. His client list is impressive: he’s helped grow the revenues of renowned brands such as NBC, Amazon, Viacom, GM and HP. Whether you want to grow in your knowledge of Web analytics, marketing or conversion, you’ll learn a great deal from him daily.

Where to find him:

Notable quote: “Don’t expect things to be handed to you or for doors to open up when you want them to. You have to be a go-getter and if you aren’t one, you better learn how to become one.”

2. Avinash Kaushik.

Avinash is an entrepreneur, author and speaker with a depth of knowledge that even the most seasoned marketers can learn from.

The digital marketing evangelist for Google, Avinash helps marketers understand the complex world of data analytics. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Market Motive, and the author of two bestselling books: “Web Analytics 2.0,” and “Web Analytics: An Hour a Day.”

Where to find him: You’ll find a treasure trove of Avinash’s knowledge on his blog, Occam’s Razor.

Notable quote: “Data is important. I believe it can help drive your business strategy smartly. But, a data-first strategy, defined as above, is nuts. It will only slow down your progress and allow your competitors to crush you like a bug (even if you are a top player in your market today.) You should reject data-first. You should accept data-with strategies.”

3. Melissa Mackey.

A marketer since 1988 and a PPC practitioner since 2002, Melissa’s got a whole world of online-marketing knowledge to share. She’s currently the Search Supervisor at gyro, the largest independent B2B agency in the world. Her expertise helps clients achieve maximum ROI from paid search.

Besides busily serving gyro, Melissa has spoken regularly at marketing conferences such as PPC Hero’s HeroConf, Search Engine Strategies and SMX Advanced. In 2015, she became a Microsoft MVP for Bing Ads.

Where to find her:

Notable quote: “I do this as well — at a minimum, I’ll visit competitor landing pages and take screen shots to share with our clients. Often, we get ideas from competitor landing pages — or at least we learn what not to do.”

4. Nadav Dakner.

Nadav is a veteran online marketer and the founder and CEO ofInboundJunction, an Israel-based content marketing company. He helps well-known brands boost their online visibility through the latest PR, SEO and social media strategies. Nadav specializes in influencer marketing and performance PR and also gives back to the marketing industry by sharing his knowledge of things that work, and things that don’t.

Where to find him:

Notable quote: “As your audience faces this sea of information, what they’re looking for isn’t more. Instead, they’re looking for trusted and knowledgeable guides who can navigate them through the stormy, unorganized mess.

In other words, showcasing other people’s content cements your own website as an authoritative voice. Not only that, but curation is one of the most effective ways to build relationships and generate influence within your industry.”

5. Ian Cleary.

Ian is the founder of RazorSocial, a provider of online training in content marketing and social media. With a focus on using the best tools and technology, his training helps companies and marketers achieve better social-media results.

Ian is a regular speaker at marketing conferences around the globe, including Social Media Marketing World and Content Marketing World. He’s known as one of the leading social media specialists worldwide.

Where to find him:

Notable quote: “Influence is the new online currency. You build influence in your niche and you generate more money. It takes time to build influence, but it’s worth it.”

6. Syed Balkhi.

Syed was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by the United Nations. Specializing in viral growth, social media, lead generation and conversion marketing, when Syed has something to say, marketers listen.

Syed founded WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site on the planet. He’s also the co-founder of OptinMonster, WPForms and List25. His focus is on using his success and experience to help others build and market businesses online.

Where to find him:

Syedbalkhi.com blog

Notable quote: “I often get asked about how many internal links should I have in my blog post. At minimum, it should be between two to three. You don’t want to force the internal links in your articles, but really there is no limit to how many internal links you can have. If you have a lot of content on your site, then go for 10 to 15 internal links. As long as it’s helpful for users, you’ll find it beneficial for SEO.”

7. Sujan Patel.

Sujan Patel is the motorcycle-racing, skydiving cousin of Neil Patel. An inspiring workhorse, he’s known for his 80-hour work weeks.

Sujan co-founded Web Profits, an innovative growth-marketing agency that helps clients gain more customers and grow brand awareness. He is also a partner in several software companies, including ContentMarketer.io, Narrow and Mailshake.

His more than 13 years’ of online marketing experience has earned the trust of clients such as Sony, Intuit, Turbo Tax and Sales Force. Sujan’s book on growth hacking, “100 Days of Growth,” sold over 35,000 copies.

Where to find him:

Notable quote: “Successful companies aren’t the ones with the infrastructure and campaigns to quickly attract lots of new customers (even though, on the surface, they might seem enviable). Instead, it’s the companies that are able to keep those customers, long-term, that eventually win.”

8. Andy Crestodina.

A Web strategist who believes in “doing great work for people you love,” Andy Crestodina has worked in Web design and interactive marketing since January of 2000. He’s known as being an evangelist for content marketing and ethical digital marketing.

Besides co-founding Orbit Media, Andy also founded Content Jam — Chicago’s largest content marketing conference. His book, “Content Chemistry,” is currently in its third edition. He’s also contributed his advice to practically every highly-read marketing website.

Where to find him: You’ll find a large collection of his articles and podcasts on Orbit Media.

Notable quote: “To be successful, websites must do two things: 1. Attract visitors, and 2. Convert those visitors into leads and customers. In order to do this, Web marketers must do two things: 1. Create content and 2. Promote it. Content makes the difference between success and failure on the web.”

9. Heidi Cohen.

As chief content officer of Actionable Marketing Guide, Heidi’s mission is to simplify the complex concepts behind today’s evolving marketing challenges. In her consultancy, Riverside Marketing Strategies, she builds on her clients’ competencies to “turn constraints into opportunities.”

Heidi has taught graduate level marketing at a variety of universities. She’s a sought-after speaker at marketing conferences around the world, and takes part in top events every year. She has spoken throughout the U.S., Europe and South America.

Where to find her: Find valuable insights with practical marketing tips and tactics at Actionable Marketing Guide.

Notable quote: “Use your video content as audio content. It already exists. Strip the audio out of your existing video. Voila, new enhanced content marketing. This is an easy way to extend the lifetime value of your existing content. It avoids the problem of once and done content.”

10. Mari Smith.

Nicknamed “The Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is known as one of the world’s most trusted social media marketers. She co-authored “Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day.” She also authored “The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web.”

Facebook recently selected Mari to hire and partner with as the company’s leading Small Business and Facebook Marketing expert. Forbes named her as one of the Top 10 Social Media Power Influencers four years in a row.

Where to find her:

Notable quote: “More than 89 percent of users access Facebook on their mobile devices and they check Facebook 14 times a day. Those people have an intimate relationship with Messenger. When your company starts conversations with users, you’re befriending them on that level. This is how to change business relationships into personal ones.”

original article:www.entrepreneur.com

Begging for a Return to Respectful Communications

Because we are each a unique human beings, it is not surprising that most people are not going to see things exactly our way. Very few of us hold the same view on almost any subject. We express opinions like they are fact. Opinions, however, are often built on unsubstantiated facts with a not-so healthy dash of bias.

We hold onto these opinions as tightly as possible and as if any sane person universally agrees. If you don’t agree with me, there must be something dramatically wrong with you. This is where arguments start. If something were easily and universally provable, we would hardly have any arguments. Why do we argue? It’s in our belief that our opinion is provable even though it’s most likely not.

The argument creep.

We will continue to argue until one of us gives up. This does not mean that the person who gives up has changed their mind, but rather they are just tired of the never ending onslaught of verbal abuse. I have never seen an argument end up without hurt feelings.

 When arguments get heated, bad things will happen. Road rage is an argument in an expression. There is no such thing as a good argument. Versus an argument, a discussion is a much healthier, rationale way of working through an issue or issues. A discussion is the airing of different points of view where we get things out on the table without them getting heated. It is only going to become heated if the discussion turns into an argument.

Best practices in discussion.

The best way to have a discussion is to set the rules up front as to the desired outcome. Keeping voices moderate — and not harsh — will help ensure a proper tone. When tensions rise, voices become harsh, loud and inflammatory; the neutrality of a healthy discussion has entered argument territory.

Another guidepost in fostering discussions without it turning into an argument is to ensure that opinions or statements do not go as far as to infringe on the beliefs of the other person. Beliefs can be deep rooted and actually define who we are as individuals. Therefore, they are more likely to elicit emotion, passion, frustration and other types of feelings that can impact the otherwise neutrality of a discussion.

If someone wants to understand your beliefs and is generally interested in how you believe in a particular area, it’s okay to bring them up as long as the interested party is not bringing them up as a means to deviate into an argument.

The role of body language.

Body language is far more expressive of emotions than voice or words. With this in mind, good tips for laying the foundation for healthy discussions are pretty simple. Smile. Nod. Lean in. Use your hands for animation. Raised voices — while expressive of passion — can also lead to confusion as to the tenor. Avoid cutting people off. Uncross arms. Be very present to your body language and tone and the impact these can have on managing towards the aforementioned objective of the discussion.

Know when to say when.

It is human nature to enjoy a good and healthy debate, but it is good to keep in mind that most debates are masking a fundamental argument. It’s important to remain conscious if a discussion is a means to blow off some steam and let go of energy positive or negative. When this becomes the case, it’s the responsibility of those involved to call it — better to conclude the communication than to continue on as, in my experience, neither party walks away well. The debater might feel good about expelling the energy, but most likely will later regret how the communication went. The recipient surely didn’t benefit from the energy. Better to have the discipline to conclude and regroup at a later time.

Do as you say, not as you see.

The 2016 presidential election is quite possibly the best expression of why arguments are simply the worst. Barbs and shots and low blows command our daily headlines. We wouldn’t tolerate this level of name calling or blame from our children, yet those vying for the most important position in our country, if not our world, are not above holding adult-size temper tantrums. My advice is to be responsible in your words and your language and not follow the actions of our elected (or non) officials. Find the good in others versus immediately seeking the negative.

I beg for a return to decency.

We all have faults and shortcomings. Rather than breathlessly seeking these out in those around us, we ought to prioritize ourselves to rectify the characteristics and bad habits that keep us from living our most worthwhile lives. If I have learned anything from this current political debate, it is that is possible to operate at the least common denominator of character and not be held accountable for it. To be a happier people, we need to lay aside our differences, consciously avoid unnecessary arguments and simply aspire for healthier discussions and communications. Enough already.

original article:www.entrepreneur.com

5 Financial Mistakes Most Employees Make When Starting a New Job

It’s easy to get excited about the opportunities that come with a new job. The job comes with a paycheck — and sometimes even a much bigger one than you have had before. However, it’s easier than you think to make some financial mistakes when the prospect of a paycheck is right in front of you.

Here are five common financial mistakes that include a few errors I once made myself, but now know better:

1. Immediately making a big purchase.

I remember my first big promotion in my job. It came with a huge chunk of change that I never had before. I was so excited and felt so rich in that moment that I went out and leased myself a pretty cool sports car that came with a hefty monthly payment. However, with the new raise, I figured it would be no problem. It was okay at first but then there were repairs, more expensive auto insurance and extra pricey gas (premium only) that I had not accounted for. Before I knew it, any of the extra income that I had gotten from the promotion was going into that one big purchase, leaving me right back in the same tight spot as before.

The moral of the story here is — don’t rush out and immediately make a big purchase like a car or a home. Wait and see what that raise means to your monthly income and research all the costs associated with the purchase beyond just the main ticket item to see if you can actually afford it. And here is a novel idea: why not just save this raise for a while — say, six months?

2. Turning to credit.

While it would seem that people would turn to credit when they don’t have enough money, the most common behavior is to go get more credit when starting a new job or getting a raise. It must be the feeling that since they have more money, they can spend more money upfront and pay for it later when that new paycheck comes. However, it’s a huge financial mistake to get caught up in the web of credit card companies that offer you rewards, mileage and points just because you think you can now afford to use credit.

This financial strategy should only be used if you can pay off the item within the same period so as to not incur interest charges or carry a running balance. Don’t turn to credit when you get a new job. Instead, know that you most likely can save up for that item faster with that larger paycheck now on its way.

3. Not saving for retirement and emergencies.

The new job or raise sends some kind of message to your brain that is often a little inaccurate. You think that now you have more money, you’ll be fine should an emergency occur, or you can make up the difference later if you don’t put money aside for retirement now. What tends to happen is that no additional money is saved despite having more of it. There is still a short-term mentality in place that deals with only the day-to-day expenses rather than looking at the costs on the horizon. There’s a false sense of security that can really hurt you in the long run.

I see every new job as an opportunity to put more money aside each month into various savings and retirement accounts. It’s important to have the money there for what is always going to be an uncertain future, including the potential layoff or urge to create your own business. There won’t be any money to catch you or encourage you to leap if you haven’t already started setting aside a specific amount of money each month. I recommend personally that you have 12 months of cash set aside that you don’t touch.

4. Not assessing any additional tax burden.

Whether it’s a new job or a raise, it’s important to calculate what the additional money means to your income taxes and what you may possibly owe or need to cover in estimated tax payments. You may not realize that there will be extra tax and invoicing expenses related to the rise in income. It’s important to know what you are faced with before your accountant surprises you right before taxes are due in April. This will help you know how much to save each month to cover those additional costs rather than worrying about a strategy to pay Uncle Sam.

5. Not revising your personal budget.

Every time your income changes, you need to revise your personal budget. Or, if you still haven’t made what some consider a death threat, this is the time to get your budget put together. It’s one of the biggest financial mistakes all of us make regardless of whether we got a new job or a raise. We don’t realize that every new cost or income stream dictates a revised budget to stay on target and properly manage our finances. A budget is not a threat — but a gift you give yourself.

I used to take the approach that I’ll make a budget when I have time but then the budget never got done. Stop what you are doing and put it together right now, so you understand where and how you are spending money. You want to account for all of your money so you understand what expenses can be reduced in order to add to your savings and retirement, or to reveal to you exactly where you can cut your budget in the case of an emergency.

It’s easy to make these financial mistakes when you are sitting on Cloud 9 with that new job or promotion. However, it’s almost as easy to fix those financial mistakes now and not let them get in the way of creating greater personal wealth for yourself and your family.

original article:www.entrepreneur.com

14 Easy Ways Authors Can Promote Their Books

In the book marketing world what works today can be considered old news tomorrow and won’t work because ‘everybody’ is doing it. Some tactics continue to be effective over time. As a book publicist I keep an eye out for the latest tips and techniques. Here’s a list of ‘easy’ ways authors can promote their books.

  1. TV news. Few mediums reach as many people as TV news. I’ve spent the better portion of my life placing clients on TV news programs and interview shows. It’s extremely effective in letting people know about your book. The easiest way to land a TV interview is to send your book with a personally addressed cover letter/pitch and press release about the book to the news director of the station. Provide your photo and send it in. Do that for every TV station you want to appear on. Start local first then go after the big shows.
  2. Talk radio. Listeners turn to talk radio to be fully informed on topics that are not covered completely in newspapers or on TV and to have an actual conversation with the host and you, the guest. Talk radio show hosts will in most cases ask you to share your website, e-mail address or toll-free phone number or they’ll mention it themselves. Use the same methods discussed to solicit TV News above.
  3. Kickstarter. Need money to promote your book? Many authors have successfully turned to Kickstarter to fund their book marketing.
  4. Goodreads. 50 Million readers find books to read onGoodreads so it makes sense for authors to find out as much as possible about how it can help sell books. One way is to make sure reviewers post their reviews on Goodreads. Also ask readers to add your book to Listopia lists where books are grouped together by genre and subject. Get active on Goodreads. Write reviews of books you’ve read and add books you’d like to read to your ‘Want to Read’ list. Buy an ad on Goodreads. Target your ad by book genre, location, gender or age.
  5. Amazon Author page. Make sure you are utilizing your Amazon Author page. Are all your books listed? Have you added your author photo and bio? What about including your book trailer, blog and tour schedule? Take advantage of all the tools you can that cost nothing!
  6. Amazon KDP Select. This is where you give away your ebook on Amazon for up to five days. When this first started it was amazing how effective it was in getting exposure for authors. While not as effective today, it’s still worth doing.
  7. Book awards. You have to enter to win. It’s well worth your time and money giving you media opportunities as it distinguishes you when you become ‘an award-winning author.’
  8. Book Fairs. Meet fellow authors and readers who love books. It’s where the rubber meets the road in the book business. You’ll find out what readers like and what’s on the mind of authors. You may find out some good info about effective marketing methods. Make it a point to hit a few during your next vacation.
  9. Writer’s Conferences. Where serious authors go to hone their craft, meet fellow authors and listen to experts in the field. Well worth your time to find out how others are progressing in the writing field. Writers are quite nice people so you’re bound to make long term friends who collectively can change your life for the better. When you look back after a few years you’ll remember bits of advice that made all the difference in your success.
  10. Social Media. Become active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Create specific content for each of the mediums using blurbs, your book trailer, memes and book reviews. It’s a major project no doubt, but it’s one of the best low cost ways to reach readers. Plus, Facebook offers advertising directly to fans of authors in your genre or specific authors themselves. Get busy and just do it!
  11. Book trailer. Just as a movie trailer is used to get consumers interested in a movie, a book trailer does the same for a book. If a picture is worth 1000 words then a book trailer must be worth 100,000 words! Get one for your book and post it to social media and include the URL in all pitches.
  12. Read a book. You want people to buy your book then go out and buy and read books about book marketing. You can’t know everything on book promotion so read books to find out what you need to learn.
  13. ProfNet. A reporter, freelance writer or television producer is assigned a story and places a query on ProfNet requesting an expert who could speak to the topic. Queries come from the NY Times, Good Morning America, Women’s World Magazine, NPR etc. Authors are perfect for ProfNet because of their built-in credibility since they wrote about the subject matter covered in their book. The media likes people who have credentials and are authorities and experts.
  14. Book signing event. Often we’ll land a media interview because we have an event such as a book signing. The event gives the media a ‘reason’ to talk about your book right now. Since book stores are solicited by authors and publishers incessantly, try another retail outlet. One client of mine set up a book signing in a bake shop. We got TV and newspaper coverage for that one!

The Bottom Line: Authors, recheck your marketing mix and take advantage of all the ‘easy’ ways to promote your book. Do it today!

original article:www.entrepreneur.com