If You Want To Be A Great Mentor Do These 5 Things – Carrie Kerpen


While having a mentor can make a significant difference in your career, being one can also be a valuable experience—that comes with a lot of responsibility. A great mentor doesn’t just provide guidance and answers during career transitions or sticky situations; she also provides motivation and inspiration to help her mentee get to the next level and fulfill her potential.

Want to be a great mentor? Consider these five key skills.

  1. Listen.

“Listen first,” says Whitney Gonzales, marketing manager at Liingo Eyewear. “Think of yourself as a life coach. A good mentor always navigates the mentee to a solution or a next step; they don’t solve it for them. Help to remove roadblocks for your mentee, and alternatively, create bridges for them. Also understand that your mentee is not you, so they will want or need to carve their own professional path. You don’t need to be a perfect, shining example either. Your failures and hardships throughout life and your career are just as valuable to your mentee as are your successes. And realize, sometimes you are just there to listen.”

A good listening tip is to take notes during your mentoring sessions to stay actively engaged. If you can give your mentee some direction, make sure to follow up on that direction the next time you meet: “I remember you were going to ask for the promotion. How did that go?”

  1. Deliver honest feedback.

“I love mentors that keep it real and give honest feedback, including pointed criticism,” says Coral Chung, co-founder of luxury handbag brand Senreve. “While it’s wonderful to get support and be cheered on, it’s also important to hear things that other people are not willing to say. In the early days of Senreve, some of my best mentors were also my harshest critics, but that was okay because it helped me improve, and it showed that they have high expectations from me. Ultimately, their early feedback allowed me to have a very successful launch and first year of the company.”

“A mentor’s job is to provide knowledge, inspiration, and feedback to help light way,” adds Demi Marchese, founder of 12th Tribe. “You have to be comfortable enough to be constructive and not be afraid of critiquing their work. Don’t beat around the bush. Understand who you are speaking to, their needs, their strengths and where they want to go.”

  1. Motivate and inspire.

“The key for me personally is to influence and inspire the next generation to become strong, motivated, confident, and thoughtful leaders,” says Laurel Berman, founder and creative director of Black Halo. “If I’m able to accomplish that, I consider the mentorship a success.”

Adds Marchese, “Part of your role is inspiring your mentee to reach their fullest potential and challenging their comfort zone. Help them achieve the uncomfortable.”

Pro tip: A little goes a long way. Send an article when you see something relevant for your mentee—you’ll see how a small act can have a tremendous impact.

  1. Establish mutual respect.

“The relationship should be based on mutual respect, trust and support,” says Maryann Bruce, former president of Evergreen Investments Services. “The partnership needs to foster acceptance and safety where both parties feel safe enough to communicate openly and take risks without the threat of being judged, ridiculed or condescended to.”

One of the biggest ways to show respect for someone is by valuing their time. When you mentor someone, the truth is, you may be in a position of power and your time may be in fact more valuable—but that’s irrelevant. To you, this may be a quick call, but to your mentee, this may be the most important meeting of the day—so treat it as such.

 Be present and open.

“Show up, engage and participate,” says Berman. “They say that showing up is half the battle, but when you do show up, it’s crucial to be fully present, proactive and take initiative. Be prepared to share your experiences, both positive and negative.”

“Mentors should be open and honest with their mentees,” adds Melissa Musgrove, vice president, head of social media at Regions Financial Corporation. “Be willing to make time to offer advice, but also realize that no two career paths are the same, and the mentee’s decisions and career path are ultimately up to them. Oftentimes, mentors have just as much to learn as mentees. So look not only for what advice you can give, but also use it as an opportunity to learn from someone who has a different perspective and background.”

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7 Forms of Content Marketing That Can Help You Generate More Sales Leads – Chirag Kulkarni


According to a study by Media Dynamics, Inc., customers are shown more than 5,000 ads and brand messages per day, so it’s no surprise that content marketing is becoming one of the most successful strategies for reaching the consumer. People are tired of having traditional outbound ads forced on them, so when a brand steps in with authentic, useful content, consumers can’t get enough. That’s probably why content marketing generates six times the conversion rates of traditional marketing methods.

It’s easy to segment your content marketing to maximize your own conversion rates. Start by creating content based on your product or service, and then use content to target each of your strongest-performing buyer personas. To get even more specific, focus on the various pain points that these buyers are looking to address. According to Curata, 41 percent of marketers have increased the number and quality of their sales leads by utilizing content curation.

While there’s no denying the effectiveness of content marketing, it’s a broad term. Content comes in many different shapes and sizes and can require varying degrees of upfront investment. To improve your reach and generate more sales leads in 2018, focus on these seven forms of content.

1. Create a company blog. You should already have one, but if you don’t, then join the club and make 2018 the year you finally start that company blog. HubSpot notes that 53 percent of marketers cite blog content as their top priority for inbound marketing.

Putting blog content to work is a great strategy. Content Marketing Institute reports that more than three-quarters of all internet users read some form of blog, and they aren’t just passive observers. When given a recommendation by a favored blog, 61 percent of U.S. consumers made a purchase, which is probably why small businesses with a blog enjoy 126 percent more lead growth than their peers that don’t.

2. Use brand journalism. Part of what gives your brand a sense of authenticity is a strong focus on storytelling. Brand journalism is simply about keeping your audience up to date on the story of your company.

Companies such as PowerPost are making brand journalism easier by providing software that coordinates content publishing across a wide range of channels. They also help with content creation so it doesn’t take up your or your employees’ valuable time. After all, content marketing isn’t helping your bottom line if it gets in the way of running your business.

3. Add video content. According to Cisco, 82 percent of all internet traffic by 2021 will be video. It’s taking over the internet, but it’s especially significant in the social media sphere. When it comes to content, an Animoto survey found that customers prefer viewing a video 4 times more than reading text. This hasn’t escaped the attention of marketers — almost 70 percent say they’re ramping up spending on video production.

4. Curate content from influencers. Word of mouth is one of the most effective types of marketing, and online influencers can amplify that approach with powerful megaphones. YouTube is an especially effective means for influencers to reach their audiences — 70 percent of teenagers on YouTube relate to their favorite influencers better than conventional celebrities. According to a 2017 poll by PMYB, 28 percent of marketing managers reported that influencer marketing was their fast-growing method of acquiring customers online.

5. Spice up statistics with infographics. Customers prefer video over text, but an infographic allows information to be digested even faster. Infographics draw customers in quickly while communicating several paragraphs’ worth of messaging in a single visual, and the appeal is undeniable. On social media, infographics are shared and liked three times more often than other content varieties, according to research compiled by Lucidpress.

6. Employ Google AdSense. This advertising tool from Google puts display ads on websites that pay a commission each time they’re clicked. Google automatically scans your website content so it can display the most relevant advertising, meaning some ads are worth more than $1 per click for the website owner. AdSense is a great way to monetize a blog, yielding dollars that you can then reinvest in content generation.

7. Create an online course. If your business has expertise in a particular area, sharing it with your audience will help you gain a loyal following. If you’re not sure where to start, there are a number of marketplaces for online courses worth checking out, and certain software solutions can make the process of putting together a course simpler for you and your students.

Whether you rolled out a content marketing strategy for the first time in 2017 or you’ve been utilizing this marketing gold mine for years, there are many ways to optimize your content marketing performance in the coming year. Using some of these tools and techniques can help you generate more leads and acquire more customers, but remember that consistency is crucial when it comes to content marketing. Put in the time and effort, and you’ll reap the rewards.

 If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

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Was Starbucks’ Racial Bias Training Effective? Here’s What These Employees Thought


One Northern California-based Starbucks barista said she contemplated leaving her job after the controversial arrest last month of two black men sitting at a Philadelphia location of the coffee chain for several minutes without having purchased anything.

That employee, an African-American woman who asked TIME to remain anonymous due to concerns of losing her job, was angry. And when Starbucks later announced more than 8,000 stores across the country would participate in racial bias education training, she didn’t understand why.

“I was angry we had to educate people on how to not be racist,” she recalled in an interview with TIME Tuesday night shortly after attending the hours-long training that shuttered nearly all of Starbucks’ U.S. locations.

But, after completing Starbucks’ racial bias training program Tuesday afternoon with her coworkers, the California-based barista felt her perspective had changed. “I’m a black woman; I’ve already known all of this,” she said, referring to one section of the program that detailed living day-to-day in public spaces as a person of color. “But the fact that it was a video all employees had to watch, it really warmed me.”

More than 175,000 Starbucks employees participated in the mandatory racial bias education program Tuesday afternoon at thousands of U.S.-based locations as part of an initiative spurred by the high-profile incident in Philadelphia last month. Gathered around a few iPads at locations around the nation, Starbucks employees watched nearly two dozen videos featuring the rapper Common, documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson, Starbucks executives and other prominent figures, while participating in wide-ranging discussions about race and identity with their colleagues.


The curriculum, released in full by Starbucks online Tuesday night, placed an emphasis on encouraging some employees to become “color brave” instead of “color blind” and meditated on the Starbucks’ responsibility as the “third place” for some members of the community, akin to a home and workplace.

TIME spoke with five Starbucks employees on what it was like to attend Tuesday’s training sessions. These employees shared differing perspectives on the impact of the curriculum and detailed how effective they each thought it truly was.

Jason, the only African-American employee at his Hollywood-based Starbucks location who asked TIME to identify him by his first name out of concerns over job security, said the program reiterated common conversations surrounding race like inclusion, acceptance and understanding.

But he said the training failed to address how to end instances like what happened in Philadelphia from occurring in the future. While a number of the videos featured the perspectives of people of color — and particularly African-Americans — Jason wrote in a message to TIME that “there were times where I felt they missed the mark.”

“It seems like a lot of talking from the videos,” he added, “and not enough discussion from us.”Employees said they were also given workbooks that included prompts for them to discuss their first experiences with racial identity and discuss in pairs questions like, “What makes me, me? And you, you?” The company also gave employees personal journals to write in and keep for the months ahead. The curriculum as a whole, Jason said, could have used some improvement.

“Helpful? [I don’t know],” Jason wrote. “It kinda reaffirms things that I know already.”

Jason was not alone. Mohamed Abdi, an employee at a Starbucks location in Alexandria, Virginia, told TIME he wished the program featured more discussions between coworkers as well. “Honestly I think they should have more hands-on courses speaking to different people and customers to figure out where they’re coming from,” he said. “It’s easy sitting through something and saying you learned something than actually learning something from the course,” he added.


His reception of the course, however, was generally positive. He particularly enjoyed the documentary produced by Stanley Nelson that displayed “the different things people of color go through just by leaving the house day by day.” That video featured an array of people of color who discussed how they access and experience public spaces than their white peers. (“When I go into stores, sometimes I get followed,” one woman said in the video. “Especially being a teen of color, they assume that you’re doing something bad.”)

The California-based, female employee told TIME that same video strongly resonated with her and — at one point — almost drove her to tears. “I often find myself even at other Starbucks locations where I don’t work at, and when I say I’m a partner, they look at me a certain kind of way,” she said in a phone interview after her store’s training session Tuesday night. “Just the fact that they really touched on that, it definitely made a lot of people in my job who work with me understand better.”

Ryan Curran, a white employee at a Sewell, New Jersey, location, said he and his coworkers learned a lot from the Starbucks training and wouldn’t change anything about the curriculum. “It would be helpful to continue the program when needed, for example, if a problem occurs in a certain store,” he said.

However, an Arkansas-based Starbucks employee who asked to remain anonymous out of concern over her employment, said she couldn’t imagine the curriculum would have much of an impact. “While this may be the most cost efficient way to handle the situation, I don’t feel like it will change much of anything,” the employee told TIME over text message before the training started.

She added that the store she works at initially didn’t plan on closing for Tuesday’s training, but eventually did once Starbucks’ higher ups stepped in. “Just driving an hour down the road takes you to towns where racism is alive and well,” she added.

According to estimates detailed by USA Today, Starbucks likely lost around $12 million by closing its U.S.-based stores on Tuesday afternoon. Since announcing it would close down the afternoon of May 29 for the training, Starbucks has emphasized the session was just the beginning of a long-term commitment to diversity and combating racial bias.

Researchers and social scientists recently told TIME that a one-time education program isn’t enough to combat racism and eradicate the use of racial biases. Hours before the programs began on Tuesday, Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz said the company plans to globalize these efforts and make similar initiatives part of the on-boarding process for new employees.


Indeed, in the weeks after Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson were arrested at the Philadelphia location, Starbucks implemented new policies that allow people to sit in stores or use their bathrooms without purchasing anything. Hakeem Jefferson, a political science doctorate student at the University of Michigan who will join Stanford University’s faculty in the summer, told TIME ahead of Starbucks’ training day that structural and systematic changes like these policies could help prevent “negative outcomes” of unconscious biases manifest themselves

Starbucks’ curriculum, the company has said, is a launching pad for further initiatives as well as a tool for other companies to refer to and a program that may be used in the on-boarding of new employees in the future. But while movements within a company like Starbucks come as the result of a high-profile, racially charged incident, “I think we should worry that that doesn’t lead to the kind of change that we might want,” Jefferson, the social scientist, said.

“This has to be a core component of every company’s mission, particularly in an increasingly diverse world.”

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Neuro Marketing Web Design: 7 Ways to Connect With Visitors Brains – Chloe Smith


Neuromarketing is the practice of applying insights from contemporary neuroscience and psychology in the field of advertising. It incorporates principles from social psychology, behavioral economics, game theory and other disciplines used in the study human behavior. It relies on the fact that human sensorimotor, cognitive and affective responses to marketing can be measured and turned into data.

Marketers use it to design more effective marketing strategies. The term ‘neuromarketing’ has only recently gained wider acceptance. The psychological principles this practice relies on have their roots in the early days of the 20th century. Curious readers might find the works of Sigmund Freud and his nephew Edward Bernays, known as fathers of psychoanalysis and public relations respectively, to be particularly stimulating.

Neuromarketing techniques are used in all areas of business related to customer service, including web design. For example, the effectiveness of conversion funneling, the dominant marketing theory in e-commerce, relies on neuromarketing a lot. Neuromarketing is pervasive in modern web design, but this does not mean that marketers use it appropriately and effectively.

Even large websites such as Facebook, YouTube or Reddit can stand to gain from extra neuromarketing optimization. Imagine what it does for smaller sites struggling to get ahead in search rankings. For businesses looking to optimize their online presence through scientific means, we have compiled a list of ways in which well-known psychological principles can be used to boost the neuromarketing potential of a website.

Picture-Superiority Effect


One of the oldest instances of neuromarketing is within the phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. This common saying is based on the phenomenon called the picture-superiority effect, which just means that pictures are more likely to be remembered than words. All websites built on Web 2.0 standards use this effect to some extent. In recent years, using images when designing websites became a necessity as visitors now have shorter attention spans. With only about 8 seconds to catch their attention, modern websites have to condense information, and images are the best way to do this.

Social Proof

When people are unsure how to act, they are likely to mimic what others are doing. This is the logic behind social proof, the psychological principle where people tend to follow the crowd when feeling uncertain. Web designers implement this principle by featuring reviews, comments, testimonials, social media stats, etc. throughout a website. The process of guiding a visitor through the conversion funnel is way more efficient when designers include social cues in each step of the process. Satisfied customers are more likely to add to the commentary themselves. This enhances the effectiveness of social proofing in the future.

Functional Fixedness

Humans are creatures of habit, and this characteristic extends to the way they browse the internet. When visiting a website, their expectations on how it is supposed to function are based on previous browsing experiences. If these expectations are subverted, you are likely to confuse and frustrate your visitors. The psychological principle that explains this is called functional fixedness.

It relies on the observation that people encounter a mental block when they should use objects in unexpected ways. When applied to web design, functional fixedness dictates that elements which form the core functionality of a website, such as store interfaces, social media plugins, navigation menus, etc. should be designed to work in a familiar way. Sometimes, doing things the old-fashioned way is better than needlessly innovating.


Anchoring or focalism refers to the psychological principle which states that people tend to base their decisions on how to act on a single piece of information. In web design, this principle can guide the user towards a preferred call-to-action without directly suggesting it. For example, using the landing page to highlight that a service is usually available at a certain price range, contextualizes the visitor’s expectations when he sees an offer of this kind while browsing the website. Web design based around anchoring ensures that the context for evaluating an offer is determined in advance, leading to a more stable conversion process.

Scarcity Heuristic


The perceived value of an item is dependent on the difficulty of obtaining it. This is the principle of scarcity heuristic, a cognitive bias where an item with limited availability is more desirable. Whether the sought-after item is actually scarce or not is irrelevant, as long as the implication exists. Web designers can leverage this psychological quirk by using alerts mechanisms to highlight the limited nature of the services they offer. Countdown timers in the header of a page and brightly colored inventory counters are an example of this kind of design at work.

Peak-End Rule


Visiting a website is an experience that lasts a certain amount of time. During this period, the intensity of the experience can rise and fall. Visitors might like the discounts you are offering, but hate how sluggish your store page is. The structure of these fluctuations is what determines whether the experience will be remembered as a positive one or not. Research has shown that there is a pattern in the flow of experience that determines how it will be remembered.

What people experience at the peak, as well as at the end, is what determines their feelings as a whole. This so-called peak-end rule is an indispensable tool in website development, as it allows designers the optimize the UX of a website for the most impact. In other words, make sure that your highs are really high, and that your lows are unnoticeable.

Rhyme-as-Reason Effect

Taking a cursory glance at the history of advertising, you will surely come across many examples of marketing slogans. These short rhyming phrases tend to become annoying after many exposures, but their efficacy as ear-worms is a well-documented fact. People are more likely to believe a statement if it is in rhyming verse. Maybe because it’s easier to processes, or because people tend to judge statements more favorably based on their aesthetic features. Using rhymes when designing the textual content can give a website a unique twist that separates it from rest of the competition.

Subliminal Logos

One can use neuromarketing even when dealing with logo design – something that seemingly presents a minutia when it comes to designing a website. However, it is a great way to solidify the importance of your brand in the brains of your customers. Research has shown that a clever logo with a subtle message, that communicates your brands identity and purpose, can be processed by our brain without us being consciously aware. Take for example the logo of FedEx, when you look closely, there is an arrow between “E” and “x”, obviously, it’s there to represent the speed of their service.


Despite what it sounds like, neuromarketing is not an esoteric discipline with limited application in the real world. It is based on well-known psychological principles with a wide range of applications. Designing a website with neuromarketing in mind is no different than setting a price of a service based on market research. No matter what kind of business you are practicing, using neuromarketing principles is indispensable.

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How to Develop a Positive Relationship With Failure


Entrepreneurs love few things more than their own ideas. These sparks of inspiration fuel the endless hours entrepreneurs devote to their businesses, and they compel investors to open their wallets in the hopes of making these ideas come to fruition. But even the greatest ideas can’t overcome fundamental flaws.

In 2017 alone, many concept-fueled businesses have shut their doors. Beepi, a used car marketplace, was founded on a great idea but stumbled under bad prioritization. Quixey, a digital app assistant, folded as competition flooded the market. Yik Yak, an anonymous social network whose popularity was underscored by its young user base and a valuation nearing $400 million at its peak, shut down after cyberbullies ran rampant.

The failures of these well-funded companies sent ripples throughout the startup world. But failure itself isn’t the problem — the inability to let go of a beloved idea is. Being an entrepreneur is all about having a healthy relationship with failure.

Failing to fail.

Many entrepreneurs are so fearful of ultimately failing to create a profitable and sustainable company that they overlook the smaller failures that litter the path to success. Failure can also be found in the lackluster marketing campaigns, ill-conceived software updates and rushed hiring decisions that occur while trying to realize an idea.

I’ve fallen in love with a lot of ideas, but I eventually gave up or put on hold the ones whose weaknesses became so noticeable that even I couldn’t deny them. For example, my company, ONTRAPORT, held Implementation Days to provide strategy, copy and design services to support our clients in launching successful marketing campaigns. We knew small business owners would benefit from this additional insight on top of the capabilities our software tools offered.

This concierge service program met with some real success; we had a few deeply happy customers who were thrilled with the above-and-beyond efforts of our staff. A few cried while talking to our employees.

Meanwhile, we had thousands of people waiting. We had let the program veer off course while trying to serve individuals instead of our broader audience. I looked at the numbers and had a hard conversation with myself, concluding that although I loved the program, the business was suffering. These few happy people weren’t covering our costs.

To deliver on our mission, I had to serve thousands and that required putting Implementation Days on the chopping block. I now make a point to cancel programs at the end of each year if they don’t make business sense or don’t result in worthwhile ROI. Determining which ones make the cut, as well as how to rebound from such a loss, isn’t easy, but a few steps can soften the blow.

1. Clarify why an idea must be abandoned.

The financial devastation of throwing good money after bad can’t be overstated. If an idea was once successful but is now struggling, its owner must attach a dollar amount to its current failure. To come up with the full cost, determine how much each stage of the process costs, how much it costs to pay your employees to do that work and how costly it would be to replicate the process in the future.

Then, ask yourself, “If I have $1,000 to spend, what will truly get me closer to my goal?” You may determine that it’s worthwhile to have your designers and writers implement marketing strategies for your customers because the results will outweigh the labor costs. Or you may, like me, come up with an alternative that still supports the goal. In our case, we decided to offer templates with guidance about copy and design strategy, allowing us to provide similar value to our customers, but at scale.

2. Don’t abandon the lessons hidden in the experience.

Failure is hard, which is why most people don’t want to go through it. Even watching other people fail is hard. My 1-year-old nephew is on the verge of walking, but he keeps losing his balance and falling. But he’d never learn to walk if people kept grabbing him before gravity took hold. There’s a payoff to his pain.

Likewise, if you’re going to fail, you might as well make it worth your while. Write down the skills you obtained as a result of your failure. Get competitive with yourself: Compare the current version of yourself to last year’s model. What are you now capable of doing differently to lead your company? What do you know now that makes you more valuable?

I did this at the end of 2015, a challenging year for my business. I found lots of problems, all of which were our own design. I could see exactly why we’d managed to find ourselves in the position we were in. However, we escaped layoffs and grew the company by 3 percent. Looking back, I realized that I hadn’t prioritized data and analytics in my decision-making; I had failed to incorporate the right KPIs and how they were reported.

Today, everyone in the company receives a Daily Stats email first thing in the morning with what we call “cash the plane” KPIs. We then set up better weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting for each of our teams during our weekly leadership meeting.

3. Develop a grateful mindset toward failure.

The idea of thinking of failure with gratitude may feel like salt in the wound. But without the failures of 2015 that forced us to look at what we were doing, our company wouldn’t have uncovered and resolved so many issues that would have prevented us from becoming the scalable business we are now.

I didn’t just get comfortable with the list I’d made of the lessons I’d learned. I sat down with a colleague and put our lists together. There was overlap, but we’d each zoned in on different failures and overlooked others. That meant there was even more learning to be done. We adjusted our perspective and began embracing a new attitude: “How can we be open to that?” There’s no longer a penalty attached to failure.

We also put our work in perspective. In our line of work, unlike that of doctors or firefighters, people’s lives aren’t in danger when we fail. Remembering that makes it easier to absorb the beauty of failure — it’s part of the cost of learning, and it’s why you’ll be paid more down the line. Failing as an entrepreneur is a lot like surviving the grueling rigors of a difficult college program: You pay thousands of dollars, get no breaks and endure lots of pressure. But the “Is it worth it?” question is answered at the end, when you wear that experience like a badge of honor.

Failure resembles grief: The only way out is through. And that makes sense because failure means grieving an idea that didn’t pan out the way you’d hoped. But evaluating the data, embracing the lessons and adjusting your attitude ensures that your failure will pay off with a much stronger company that can take a few blows and remain standing.

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New Technologies Allow You to Do Business (and Compete) From Anywhere – Amarillo


Everyone knows just how much of an impact technology has had on global business, but if there’s one segment that has benefited the most from technological innovation it’s entrepreneurs. With mobile phones, cloud computing, do-it-yourself accounting software and ubiquitous connectivity, business owners can now create successful companies quickly and from anywhere.

However, with so much technology out there, it can be hard to know what programs and tools are essential for getting a company off the ground and growing. There are some must-haves, though, including these five types of tech.

Super-Size Your Storage

In today’s world, most budding businesses need far more storage than their computers can provide. Things like high-resolutions photos, data-heavy PowerPoints and an endless stream of documents will max out CPU storage in no time. Fortunately, cloud-based companies like Dropbox, Box, Apple and Google offer several terabytes of data for a reasonable monthly cost.

These programs also make collaboration easier as you can quickly share files and folders with contractors and employees. Thanks to these storage sites that many small companies can create a global workforce from the start.

Keep Up With Collaboration

Whether you’re in an office or have a remote workforce located in different cities, being able to collaborate and connect with staffers quickly is a must. Over the last few years, sites like Slack, Basecamp, Trello and others have revolutionized the way small business employees interact with one another.

Forget e-mail–you can now send messages to individuals or teams in an instant, you can work together, in real-time, on complex projects, and you can even build camaraderie by creating “channels” dedicated to more social communication. Messages and files are also easily searchable, making it difficult to lose something important.

Crunch The Numbers

As excited you may be about your brilliant idea, you still need to run a business. That means keeping receipts, adding up bills, doing taxes and other more mundane work. While it may still be a good idea to have an accountant nearby, technology can, and should, take care of most of this work.

Quicken, the classic accounting software, is still popular for tax work, but other programs like Wave Accounting, Xero and Zoho Books come with a variety of features like invoicing, payroll, bill payments and other mission critical applications and fall well within the budgets of most small businesses.

Show Your Face

Instant messaging and email only goes so far. In many cases, you still want to see clients or employees face-to-face–maybe you have to walk them through a presentation or just want to catch up. That’s why having a good video program is critical for small businesses today.

You’ll want to find software that allows you hold meetings with multiple participants, share files with people on a call and you may want to be able to record conferences for future viewing. Google Hangouts, Skype for Business, Zoom.us and GoToMeeting are just some of the popular video conferencing sites to choose from. While it may not be quite as good as a face-to-face meeting, it saves a fortune in travel costs and wear and tear.

Set Up A Store

There was once a time when creating a consumer-focused e-commerce website was a painstaking process. Now, though, sites like Shopify and Tictail let even the smallest companies create sleek websites with all the e-commerce fixings. Companies like these have been a boon to entrepreneurs-

They let users create online shops in snap and take a variety of payment options, such as credit card and PayPal, so that every potential customer can buy what you’re selling. It only takes a few hours to get a store up and running and turn your company into a potentially global business.

While there are plenty of other useful technologies out there–security software, customer relationship management programs and so on–incorporate these five tools into your budding business and you could find yourself ahead of the competition in no time.

If everyone who reads our articles, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $5 you can donate us – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

9 Marketing Metrics Every Business Should Use

In the first quarter of 2009, total ad spend in America fell by more 10%. That was the midst of the recession. Those two things are not unrelated.

Marketing and advertising budgets are often the first things cut during tough financial times. During hard financial times, individuals cut costs on things deemed “not necessary,” and it turns out, businesses act the same way.

The reason marketing is often filed under “not necessary” is that it can be incredibly difficult to measure return on marketing spending. If you show an ad during the Super Bowl, where would you even begin when trying to attribute subsequent sales to that ad? And how about all of the non-revenue value it creates, like brand awareness?

It’s not that marketing is not valuable, it’s just incredibly difficult to quantify its value.

The good news is, we’ve been getting better and better at quantifying it. Thanks, in part, to the internet and the increased ease of attribution, but also due to the recognized need for it.

If your marketing team is struggling to quantify its value, there are a number of go-to metrics you should start measuring. It’s worth noting, there are countless metrics you can choose from, so I’ve narrowed it down to 11 that are easily generalizable regardless of your business industry.

Let’s get started.

#1: Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)

Okay, I’m putting this metric first because if you can calculate it accurately, it’s the most important one. On its face, it’s a very simple metric and is measured by the sales growth during a marketing initiative munis the marketing costs and then divide that number by the marketing costs.

To make this less abstract, here’s an example.

Before a Google AdWords campaign, a used bookstore had sales of $4,000 per month. After the campaign, sales bumped up to $5,000 per month, making the sales growth $1,000 per month. The campaign cost $100. So, the calculation would look like this:

(($1,000 – $100) / $100) = 900%

Here comes the but:

First of all, these returns shouldn’t be expected from an AdWords campaign, this was just an example.
Second of all, this example doesn’t consider the numerous other potential moving parts that could have an effect on sales growth. This would really only work if you did everything the exact same before and during the campaign (except for the campaign, of course), and even then, it wouldn’t account for some external factors.

Changing your hours of operation, hiring a new cashier, changing the sign in the front of the store, or even HBO’s upcoming Fahrenheit 451 movie inspiring the country to start reading more could all impact your sales and throw a wrench in your ROMI calculation.

The point is, you can try to control for as many factors as possible to get an accurate ROMI number, but it’ll never be perfect. This is not to say you shouldn’t track it, but rather just be aware that it has its flaws and should be just a part of your marketing reporting and not the whole thing.

#2 Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Customer acquisition cost is simply the amount of money it costs to acquire a customer. Divide all of the costs spent towards getting new customers—these are largely, though not necessarily exclusively, marketing costs—by the number of customers you’ve acquired.

Voila! You’ve got yourself your CAC.

This is a crucial metric as it tells you how effective your marketing efforts are. Generally speaking, the higher your CAC, the less efficient your marketing is.

This rule of thumb does not apply equally to every company of course. Typically, CAC is going to be higher for companies that sell things that are worth more.

And while CAC is an important metric on its own, its real value is apparent when combined with another crucial marketing metric…

#3 Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

This is another somewhat self-explanatory one. A customer’s lifetime value is the projected revenue that a customer will generate will generate during their lifetime. You can take the average revenue generated by all of your customers and use that to tell you how much each customer (on average) is worth.

It might be obvious, but the reason this metric and CAC are so useful when combined is it can serve as a guide for how much you should be willing to spend to bring in new customers. Also, the bigger the gap between your CLV and your CAC the better (assuming the CLV is the higher number).

Kissmetrics provides a nice infographic to help explain how to calculate CLV:

++ Click Image to Enlarge ++
How To Calculate Customer Lifetime Value
Source: How To Calculate Lifetime Value

#4 Churn

Churn is as much a customer service metric as it is a marketing metric, but it’s certainly worth mentioning, as the organizations are often intertwined. Churn tracks the number of customers that you are losing and can be viewed from the total customer or total revenue perspective.

This metric isn’t going to be useful for every kind of business. It’s often used in subscription-based businesses and wouldn’t be particularly useful for, say, an e-commerce company (although e-commerce companies could use this metric to measure things like churn as it relates to an email list).

Here’s the formula for calculating customer churn:

    (Customers at beginning of month—customers at end of month*) / customers at beginning of month = customer churn rate

*The customers at the end of the month number should not include any new customers gained during that month.

You can also use different time periods to calculate this—maybe quarterly or annually.

Revenue churn functions differently from customer churn, and in many organizations, it is the more valued number. It’s a tad more complicated. Here’s the formula for calculating revenue churn:

    {[monthly recurring revenue (MRR) beginning of month – (MRR beginning of month – MRR lost during month)] – MRR in expansions} / MRR beginning of month = revenue churn

Let’s clarify this formula with an example.

Your MRR at the beginning of the month is $100,000. You lost $10,000 in MRR from customers leaving or downsizing. However, you had $20,000 in expansion revenue from people upgrading their subscriptions. That leaves you with:

    {[$100,000 – ($100,000 – $10,000)] – $20,000} / $100,000
    [($100,000 – $90,000) – $20,000] / $100,000
    -$10,000 / $100,000 = -10%

As you can see, in this example, we’ve come out with negative churn. This is a good thing. Since expansion revenue outweighed the revenue lost, you’ve got negative churn, signifying a growing business.

If there was only $5,000 in expansion revenue, your churn would be at 5%, which would be an issue.

The reason revenue churn is often more valued than customer churn is it accounts for customer size. You can lose five customers, but if they’re your smallest customers, it may not be all that big a deal.

#5 Take Rate

The take rate is a very simple metric that does an great job of measuring the effectiveness of a particular campaign. Put simply, it is the percentage of people you contacted who accept an offer.

We can look at a practical example of deriving this metric by looking at when auto mechanics leave fliers under windshields.

Let’s say a mechanic printed 1,000 flyers advertising a deal for a discounted oil change and left all of them on cars. 25 people come in with the flier to get the discounted oil change. This means, of the 1,000 people contacted, 25 accepted the offer, making the take rate 2.5%.

You can then use the take rate to measure CAC for a specific campaign. If the fliers cost $.25 each, the cost of the campaign was $250. Since 25 people became customers, you can divide $250 by 25 to get your CAC for this campaign of $10.

#6 The Test-Drive

In Mark Jeffery’s book Data Driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know, Jeffery outlines the story of a Porsche ad campaign during the peak (or valley) of the recession. In 2009, the luxury car company delivered “more than 241 million online display impressions and 17 million in print” aimed at getting potential customers to take a test-drive.

Given the state of the economy, many met this campaign with pessimism, especially considering the primary call-to-action was to just test-drive the car and had nothing to do with buying it.

Soon, however, dealers changed their tune, as they were making sales they wouldn’t have under ordinary circumstances. They realized how crucial marketing for a test-drive was.

The test-drive metric is simply of the people who take a test drive (or trial whatever your product is), how many make a purchase. If you give 100 test-drives and 20 people make a purchase, your test-drive conversion rate is 20%.

Once you know your test-drive conversion rate, you can more easily predict total conversions when marketing for a test-drive, or free trial.

#7 Transaction Conversion Rate (TCR)

People often look at traffic and clicks when evaluating the success of their website. Nobody would be wrong to use those metrics, but unless it’s for a website that makes the lion’s share of its revenue from advertising, those numbers leave a lot to be desired.

If you’re bringing people to your site with the hopes of selling them something, it doesn’t matter how much traffic you generate if nobody is buying. You could have a million unique visitors per month, but if 0% of those million result in a transactional conversion, you might as well pack up your things and go home.

This is why your transaction conversion rate is so important. It’s easily calculated as the percentage of customers who purchase after clicking through to your website. So if you get 100 visitors, and 10 of those visitors make a purchase, you have a 10% TCR.

It’s hard to say what a good TCR is because it really depends on your industry and what your selling. However, by knowing what your TCR is, it becomes much easier to predict the value of a marketing campaign.

#8 Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

These last two metrics are a little different from the first seven because they’re much more difficult to measure and sometimes rely on things like surveys.

CSAT is a measure of how likely a customer is likely to become a product evangelist and help you sell by recommending your product to a friend. CSAT is derived from surveying customers and the question behind it is “how likely would you be to recommend [product] to a friend or colleague?” You might also know this metric as the Net Promoter Score.

We all know the value of word-of-mouth, so it’s no surprise that the higher this score, the better. However, obtaining this metric is a little tougher than the others. You can’t just look at a spreadsheet, make a calculation and have your answer.

Getting your CSAT score means actively surveying customers, but if you can do it well, you can get valuable insights about future sales, as well as identify trends. If your CSAT score is trending upward, good news, you’re doing well. If it’s trending down, you need to identify the problem and find a solution.

#9 Brand Equity

I don’t think there are too many people out there who would question the value of a strong brand, but you might find a fair amount of people who are skeptical about measuring the power of a brand.

Their skepticism is not unfounded. Measuring brand equity is very difficult, but not impossible.

To drive home the point that brands matter, Mark Jeffery, in his book, takes a look at water.

“Pure water is an odorless, tasteless liquid made from molecules of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom,” he writes. “So why spend $2 a bottle for the brand and not 25 cents for the generic grocery store brand when the products are identical?”

Right now you might be shouting that Dasani is different from Aquafina. This just demonstrates the power of a brand.

But how do you measure a brand? Well, there are several ways to do it.

One way to do it is to subtract all the tangible assets of a business from the total market valuation of the business. The remaining value is the brand. This is probably the most black and white measurement, but it’s unreliable because it relies on so many approximations and assumptions.

The other approach is to use surveys.

Brand equity surveys are simple but can be laborious. They’re often based on two questions (with several follow-ups meant to refine the answers depending on the product/industry).

  • Question 1: “For [category of product], what is the first [product or company] name you think of?”
  • Question 2: “For [category of product], what other [companies or products] have you heard of?”

Again, these two questions are a great jumping off point, but they are not the finish line. Other questions like “How much more would you be willing to pay for [brand x] than [brand y]?” can help you refine your brand equity.

Conclusion: Using Key Marketing Metrics

Remember, there is no magic bullet when it comes to measuring the success of your marketing campaigns, but that’s no reason not to do it. By using a combination of different metrics, you can get a good view of not only the success of individual tactics but also a holistic view of your overall marketing performance.

By: Kevin Armstrong |  May 17, 2018

What is Growth Hacking and Why is it So Popular for Twitter and Instagram




If you are a latecomer to using social media marketing for your business, then you might feel a bit overwhelmed at the task ahead of you. You may have checked out the Instagram and Twitter accounts of your competition, seen their large following and wanted to give up before you started. Or maybe you’ve been using channels like Instagram and Twitter for a while now, but aren’t seeing much growth from your efforts.

All of you are the reason I wrote this article.

Because you really need to know about growth hacking.

What is growth hacking and why do I care?

Wikipedia always seems to say it better than I can. Wikipedia defines growth hacking as a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most efficient ways to grow a business. This process involves marketers, engineers, and product managers. Their job is to focus on building and engaging the user base of a business. Through a variety of non-traditional tactics such as rapid follow-to-follow-back campaigns, new and small businesses can quickly gain traction and find new customers. When it comes to growth hacking, the costs are low and the results are fast.

eady to master Twitter? How about Facebook? Google+? We’ve got that too! Take a look at more great resources to increase your social media presence.

Growth Hacking and Instagram

Airbnb, Hotmail, Dropbox, Youtube and Paypal are all brands you know. They also all happen to be growth hacking success stories. These companies used smart growth hacking tactics to emerge out of seemingly nowhere. On Instagram, growth hacking can have similar opportunities. An Instagram account with only a small following can quickly become an Instagram hit by playing your cards right. Let’s look at how.


How To Grow Your Instagram Account


  • Take the time to edit your photos – With modern camera phones, it seems like anyone can be a photographer. But editing can go a long way to help your photos stand out. Download a photo editor and get serious about your photos. Make sure you keep your style consistent, including the filters you use. If you are looking for an easy photo editor try VSCO, Afterlight, or Aviary photo editors.
  • Only upload your best photos – Don’t post every picture you take. Go for quality over quantity. Go back through any old photos and remove the ones that are not part of your defined brand.
  • Pick your niche – Don’t try and be popular on Instagram for everything. Whether you are representing yourself or your business, choose what it is you want to influence and stick to it. As a brand, you might be trying to drive certain products. Or, you might be focused on hiring, company culture, and career growth. Decide early what it is you are trying to accomplish.
  • Hashtag hacking – This point is so smart it almost feels like cheating. List up to 30 hashtags as a separate comment. Then, delete them after 24 hours and add a second set of 30 hashtags. This allows you to stay at the top of 60 different hashtags and also keeps others from stealing your best hashtag secrets. After another 24 hours, delete your second set of hashtags to increase engagement from followers you already have. If you’re wondering how to know which hashtags to use, read all about the art of the hashtag here.
  • Engage with other accounts – A big part of growth hacking is making friends. Like and comment on other photos. Your comments and likes will always appear to people that already follow you. Even when it’s not your own content, being active on social media keeps you fresh in others minds.

Bots & Tools

You aren’t left to tackle Instagram growth hacking all on your own. Different social media marketing services are out there to help you succeed. Experiment with growth hacking bots for Instagram. Most of these bots help you to mass follow and like photos, so that you can spend less time checking out other accounts but still boost your own in the process.

  • Instavast ($10/month) – Helps you to also mass unfollow people, which isn’t normally offered. You will also be able to schedule your posts in advance. And even at such a cheap price, you’ll be able to track which of your hashtags are working best so you can keep improving your strategy.
  • Archie.co ($19-$29/month) – A generally good and easy-to-use deal. The main appeal of this service is how easy it is to use for even the least experienced Instagrammer.
  • InstaMacro ($59.99/month) – More of the same, but faster and better. They’ll find you the best followers and take over all your tedious tasks.
  • Boostly.io ($150/month) – If the price already is making you fidget in your seat, let me calm you quickly be assuring you you’ll get what you pay for. Boostly is a social media marketing service, and they promise to take as much work out of your hands as possible.

Of course, no matter what bot or tool you were to use you are going to have to put in some level of effort. These are tools, not finite solutions, and it will take a bit of time to get the results you want.

Growth Hacking on Twitter

Growth hacking isn’t just for Instagram, you can also use it for Twitter. Again, even a seemingly quiet Twitter account can suddenly gain a large following thanks to growth hacking techniques.

Why Grow Your Twitter Account?

Twitter is a powerful tool for business when used correctly.  Twitter takes pride in real-time news feeds, allowing conversations to naturally take place around important topics. It’s kind of like a live chat session the whole world can be in on. This allows brands to get involved in relevant conversations. It also allows them to post frequently (note: frequently doesn’t mean the same thing over and over again) about the same topic, bringing it to the forefront of the conversation wherever it naturally can take place.  If you were to post multiple times a day about the same general topic to Facebook, that wouldn’t go over so well. Twitter is an entirely different world and one that few businesses have learned how to take advantage of!

While Twitter can help you generate more leads and drive clicks to solidify your brand awareness and increase brand visibility, you can’t build these connections if you have no followers in the first place.


How to Grow Your Twitter Account

A growth hacking twitter strategy is going to come down to getting more followers (and good followers) and increasing engagement with them.

For more followers and more engagement:

  • Tweet consistently – A good following and active engagement will require that you post often. You’ll need to pay attention to what is going on in your industry and stay involved in the conversation. Sporadic tweets every week or two aren’t going to cut it.
  • Share quality content – This can be your own well-orchestrated tweets, as well as retweets from industry influencers. Content also doesn’t have to be actually tweets themselves, but materials such as blogs, with the option to tweet certain quotes.
  • Pay attention to timing – Take the time to see how you are doing with tools like Twitter Analytics. This will help you to see which timing is getting you the most engagement, so you’ll know when to continue to post in the future.
  • Post images with your tweets – By now we all know that people are more likely to respond to an image than words. Bufferapp blog says that using an image with a tweet doubles its likelihood of engagement. So find good, relevant images and use them!
  • Use Twitter for customer service – As a business, when you respond to customer needs via Twitter a lot of great things happen. If you respond timely, the customer is usually pleased. They are also more likely to continue to engage and use you for customer service in the future. Seeing your past customer service responses also creates an incentive for other customers to start following you. Wins all around.


There’s pretty much a social media service out there for everything nowadays. We’ve already gone over what tools can help with Instagram, now let’s look at Twitter.

  • Jooicer (0-$99/month) – This is a tool that helps with following and unfollowing accounts, as well as setting up tweet scheduling. The variation in prices relates to how many accounts you will follow and unfollow per month.
  • TweetFavy ($9-$29/month) – This tool is less about followers than it is about impressions. Which, of course, can lead to new followers. The most basic package aims at 140-420 new followers a month. Which for $9, isn’t bad.
  • Tweepi ($10.75-$24.99/month) – Tweepi stands out as a Twitter tool because it helps you sleep with one eye open. Meaning, it helps monitor your competition and analyze their success so you can make it your own. And like the previous tools, it will help you gain new followers.

The What, The Why, The How

So now you know what growth hacking is and why it’s important for your business. And with a better idea of how to use growth hacking for your Instagram and Twitter, it’s time you stop reading this article and start growing your followings.

 About The Author

Caz Bevan

Caz is the Director of Marketing for Boostability and has deep experience blending business goals and marketing tactics into comprehensive company strategies. Her creative innovation and expertise has helped shape customer experiences and drive continual engagement for a variety of companies and products including Sony Music Entertainment and SpeedTV. Connect with Caz: @CazBevan | Linkedin

ect with Caz: @CazBevan | Linkedin