It’s hard to believe, but we have around 50,000 thoughts a day! And a lot of these thoughts are on the same subject, with a lot of negative self-talk. It’s no wonder people need to quieten their minds and give their brains a rest. Humans have big brains, but that’s still a lot of thinking for one day, and while it is a beautiful creation, your brain isn’t your boss; it’s only there to keep you alive. Its fabulous circuitry and neural plasticity are designed so you can function and survive.
Everything we do each day channels into one operating system - it’s called the fight or flight response, and it’s a function we share with lizards, crocodiles and all mammals. Experts tell us the problem with our brilliant fight/flight mechanism is that it was designed back when humans became bipeds and stood upright some 300,000 years ago. Back then, people had to fight or flee from wild animals that would eat them. If a monster appeared, the person’s brain sent a message to the adrenal glands, which released adrenaline to raise the heart rate and blood pressure to prepare to fight or flee. When the crisis was over, the adrenaline lessened, the heart rate slowed, and the blood pressure went down. Phew!
We still possess the ancient fight/flight mechanism but there’s more to our minds than mere survival. Our minds are a natural wonder; the result of brilliant circuitry and the creations that are produced by the computer in your skull. The mind is full of dreams, memories, hopes and desires, passions, sorrows and joys that make up your individual life. The operative words are Your Life. Finding happiness in today’s world may depend on learning to quieten your caveman brain so your 21st Century mind can blossom and bring you happiness and success.
Your brain creates emotions such as hate and fear, pain and love to keep you out of harm’s way and to help you grow. This is why these emotions play such a major role in your life. Also, there is a psychological phenomenon called ‘pacing. If you’re around a very anxious person for too long, you begin to match their pace or anxiety. Learning how to quieten your mind and practising daily can help you both quieten your own mind, and the minds of those around you.
The following tips may show you how to quieten your mind:
1. The Negative Voice
We’re not talking about the symptoms of a major mental illness, just that feeling or small voice that sounds like a critical classmate telling you that you’re doing things wrong all the time. That voice is your 40,000-year-old brain talking, catastrophising, searching for trouble, and if there are no monsters near, it turns inside and picks on you. If you can learn not to listen to that voice, it will fade away in time.
2. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness is focusing on what is happening right now, this second, and it can help reduce stress levels. Most people live in the past or the future rather than the present. Focusing on or obsessing about what might happen tomorrow or what should have happened in the past is a waste of time and causes anxiety. There is no future or past, they are only thoughts. There is only ever now. To practice mindfulness, you pay full attention not only to what is happening outside of you but inside as well, moment to moment, without judging. You simply observe your thoughts and sensation of smell, touch and taste, sight and sound and touch. Mindfulness comes from Buddhist meditation practices, but anyone can get into the healthy habit of being mindful to improve their wellbeing, memory and self-awareness. Seek out a meditation teacher or find a group that meets every week to get you started on your quest to quieten your mind.
Other ways to quieten your mind
At Out of the Box Consulting, we have the creative flair that helps us to think out of the box. This is the kind of innovative thinking that gets results that helps your organisation or business thrive. If you need a marketing strategy we can work with you to reach your goals, gather research, organise discussion groups. We look forward to hearing from you, so call us on 0407 642 995 or email email@example.com.
It’s almost like magic – You type in a search query and Google returns millions of pages in a fraction of a second. All the results are organised in a clean format starting with the most relevant at the top. The entire process works largely the same whether you’re searching from a desktop or mobile device.
If you’ve ever wondered how Google search works, the following breaks down its major components. We’ll also look at how you can use that information to improve your own site rankings.
How Google Crawls the Web
There isn’t exactly a central registry for the web so it’s up to Google to find new pages and add them to the search index. This first step is known as crawling.
The crawling process starts by Googlebots that follow links across the web starting from a list of known pages from past crawls. New pages that are discovered during this process are then added to its massive search index. Algorithms determine which sites to crawl and how often. As the Googlebots crawl new pages, they take note of key signals from the titles you use to how recently the site was updated.
If you have added new information, you can ask Google to recrawl your site using the URL Inspection tool but it can take a week or two to process. If you have a larger site, you’ll want to create a site map (a file containing a list of pages on your site) instead and submit it through Search Console.
Organising the Search Index
The search index is estimated to contain hundreds of billions of web pages. Sorting through that information on your own to find what you’re looking for would be an impossible task. To deliver relevant results, Google relies on complex algorithms that evaluate hundreds of different factors.
The search algorithm can be broken down into two major components:
The Search Query
The algorithm works by first trying to understand what you’re searching for. With major updates like Hummingbird, the algorithm is able to consider the overall context of a query over individual keywords. If you’re searching for “locksmith near me”, then Google knows that you’re looking for a locksmith in your area and not one across the country.
The algorithm then gets to work on finding the pages that best match your query. It does this by examining pages in its index and returning those it deems most relevant. Factors like whether the keyword appears in the title and how many links it has from other sites are all considered. Other aspects like loading times and if your site is mobile friendly also determine where sites rank.
By following the basics of SEO (search engine optimisation), you can greatly improve rankings for your own pages. These include:
Optimise individual aspects of your site to increase rankings for relevant keywords. As more people turn to Google to search for information from product reviews to the latest updates, you simply cannot afford to miss this opportunity. Higher visibility in the search results ultimately means more traffic to your landing pages. And that in turn means more revenue to your bottom line.
Experiential marketing is all about the customer experience, and how the customer interacts with your brand. It is potentially the most powerful marketing tool for your business. In most cases it is the main thing that influences word of mouth or what people say about your brand or business. This means, the experience you provide your customers every time they deal with your business has to be excellent.
If you run a café or restaurant your customers may have come across your business online, either through Facebook, your website, or perhaps they’ve seen an ad. Another instance may be that they were walking past and have decided to visit. Whatever the case, the customer experience begins at that first point of contact with your business. Once they’re physically inside your business, it will be the customer service staff, waitresses or waiters, the people on the frontline who must ensure a fantastic experience.
The problem some businesses face is that their frontline staff are not properly trained, and they may not even realise that they play such an influential role in the customer experience. It’s all well and good if you have a great website, thousands of Facebook likes and Instagram followers, but if the people within the customer service role don’t deliver upon the expectations of your customers, then it will let your brand down, and could potentially have a negative affect on your business.
The same could be said for the online experience. If people can’t find what they want easily, the check out process is difficult, they’ve tried to contact you via Facebook messenger and have had no reply, then it is likely that they will give up and decide to purchase from another online store.
With all this in mind, the main points to remember are:
If you would like any more information or help regarding customer experience or experiential marketing please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We offer in house training as well as Skype or FaceTime consultations. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lots of businesses rely on emails as part of their regular marketing activities. E-mail marketing in conjunction with other forms of marketing is an effective way to reach your customers, and should not be discredited. It’s a great way to keep in touch with your customers, let them know what’s happening, and provide special offers or discounts.
One thing I’ve been asked by a few clients lately is "how do I grow my database?" As a result we’ve developed some great strategies to help increase their mailing list, and here they are.
Tip 1. Have a sign up form on your website
One of the most important things is to have a sign up form on your website. This can be done fairly easily by embedding some code into your website. You don’t have to know code to do this. If you’re using a tool like Mailchimp for example, you can simply copy the code provided within the ‘Lists’ section and paste it with in your website. There’s also a code for a subscriber pop up if you want to have a pop up on your website. Just be mindful that not all people like to be annoyed with pop ups.
Tip 2. Add a link to your email signature
Your email signature should have links to your social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, so why not add a link to entice people to sign up to your e-newsletter as well? The set-up for your signature will depend on what you use to manage your emails. If you’re not sure, ask your IT adviser, or take a look on Google or You Tube to see how this is done.
Tip 3. Place a hard copy sign up form in store
If you have a physical presence, not just an online one, then make a point of enticing people to sign up in store. Place sign up forms at your cash register, train staff to offer the sign up each time they put a sale through. If you have a restaurant for example, add a sign up form to your menu. You can also place a QR code on the sign up form leading people directly to your website or MailChimp sign up form. Although QR codes are not as trendy as they once were, if it makes it easier for someone to sign up then it’s been beneficial and provides an easy alternative rather than filling in a form.
Tip 4. Create a competition or incentive
Competitions or discounts can be a great way to entice people to sign up to your database. Offer an in store discount, special offers for your birthday or Christmas, VIP nights and shopping deals, or enter to go in the draw to win something of value.
Tip 5. Have a social share button in your e-newsletters
Make sure your e-newsletters have a social share button included. This is a simple drag and drop into your newsletter template and allows recipients to click to share on Facebook, Twitter or send to a friend through email.
Tip 6. Create awesome content
If people enjoy your content and get value from it, they are more likely to read, share and interact with your business. Provide your followers with something for nothing, like special offers, free advice, or a free e-book. Add value to someone’s day, make them happy and see the effects this will have on your business.
Tip 7. Use your social media platforms
Encourage people to sign up to your database through your social media platforms. Regularly post links to your sign up form and remind followers of incentives to sign up. You can also create links on your social pages too. For example, on Facebook you can add a button to your page asking people to sign up, book now, visit your website or send a message. You may also choose to link your Twitter and Instagram accounts to your sign up form instead of linking to your website.
Tip 8. Advertising and Lead generation
Finally, if you are really serious about growing your database and want to put some money into a campaign, you can look into advertising and lead generation options through digital advertising on Facebook, Google, LinkedIn or Instagram. Ensure you have an amazing image and a great call to action. There are great tools available to easily capture people’s information. Once they’ve signed up be sure to follow up with a fantastic email and offer to attract and maintain their interest.
There you have it, some simple tips to growing your database. If you would like to know more please do not hesitate to get in touch. I’m happy to conduct one on one or group tutorials, or Skype/Facetime sessions. Please email me at email@example.com.
Too much to read, watch the video here....
Facebook changes constantly, however, the latest changes, made public early in 2018, will have the greatest effect on businesses to date.
The changes to be introduced early this year include:
Image courtesy of Facebook
Tip 1. Go Live
In order to break through the noise, we are being encouraged to develop video content for Facebook and Instagram. The use of Facebook Live continues to grow and it is recommended to create regular videos, or use Facebook Live to engage and interact with your audience. It is not recommended to post links to third party sources like YouTube.
Image courtesy of Facebook
Tip 4. Use Facebook features
If you have set up a third party social media management tool such as Hootsuite, Buffer or Later to help schedule your posts to Facebook you will need to make some serious changes. It’s fine to use these sites for other platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn, but if you haven’t already, please stop using them for Facebook. Set up your posts and schedule directly through Facebook, use the features provided to business pages such as audience targeting, and links to messenger.
Tip 5. Consider advertising
You may have been fortunate enough to avoid advertising on Facebook up until now, but it is possibly something to consider in the future as it will be the only way your business will be featured within the friends and family feed.
If you’re going to advertise, set a daily budget, create a call to action, target your audience and make your ad count. Whatever you do, go through the proper advertising process, do not simply boost a post as they do not have the same targeting options as ads do, and will not give you the results you’re after.
Tip 6. Be Strategic
I’m sure you’ve always had a plan for your social media content, but the goal posts have changed, therefore the plan must change. Remember although Facebook is a highly used platform, it is not the only platform. Investigate other platforms where your audience may be frequenting and start using these to your advantage. In the meantime, by using Facebook in a less promotional, more socially engaging manner your followers will appreciate it, after all, that’s what they want, which is why these changes have been made in the first place.
If you have any questions or concerns and would like to discuss how these changes will affect your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m happy to conduct one on one or group tutorials, or Skype/Facetime sessions. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch the video here.
In the world of marketing for small business, I often get asked about e-newsletter campaigns. The best thing is, it is relatively easy and straight forward to put an e-newsletter together using online templates.
There are various systems available such as Vision 6, Constant Contact, Mailchimp and more. While I have used all of those mentioned, I find Mailchimp is the easiest to set up and use.
If you’d like to set up a Mailchimp account I have created a short video to talk you through it, so please follow the video to help you get started. However, if you would prefer to read along as well, below are the steps that we go through in the video. Also take a look at our blog on How to Create an Effective Mailchimp Newsletter.
Step 1. Log in
Visit www.mailchimp.com and create your account using your email address and a password.
Step 2. Create a contact list
Once you’ve logged in you will see the Mailchimp dashboard. Here you’ll see campaigns, templates, lists and reports across the top of your screen.
The first thing to do is to create a list using your database of contacts. If you don’t have a database already you can add contacts individually.
Give your list a name and add in details such as your default email, default from name and a reminder of how they signed up to the list.
Step 3. Import your contacts
You can import contacts by uploading a CSV or txt file, or you can copy and paste from an excel spreadsheet. Your list may contain as many details about each subscriber or contact as you like. However, it should at least contain their first name, last name and an email address. Any other information that you would like to include is entirely up to you. You can always add or delete people from your list at any stage. Plus, you can create a sign up form which you can embed into your website.
Step 4. Create your template
Now it’s time to get creative and create a branded template for your business. You will see a range of layouts and themes which you can select and use. Select your desired layout and start designing.
You will need to drag and drop the images form your desktop that you wish to use.
There are text boxes within the template, however you will see a range of options on the right-hand side of the screen, which is your control panel. You can drag and drop any of these blocks to help create your template. For example, you may like some boxed text, or you may wish to have a button to click to for further information. It’s all there, simply drag and drop and start playing to get the look you desire for the newsletter.
Step 6. Create your campaign
Now your contact list and template is complete it is time to create your first e-newsletter campaign.
First of all, give your campaign a name, this name is only visible to you. However, the subject line should be catchy as this is what your subscribers or contacts will see. You can also add in some preview text which is a sneak peek about what’s in the e-newsletter. Plus, you have an option to add in emoji’s just for fun ☺️.
Tick to personalise the ‘to field’, that way you can set up the e-newsletter to say the name of your subscriber.
Now select the template you've created from your saved templates and start modifying it to suit the campaign.
Once you’re happy with the newsletter you can preview and test it and see how it looks on the desktop and on the mobile. Be sure to send yourself and a colleague the newsletter to make sure there are no spelling mistakes.
When it’s all good to go, hit next and either send or schedule the campaign. Make sure all the details are correct before you his send. Or if you’d like to send later, select schedule and set the e-newsletter to go out at a later date and time.
That’s a quick overview which will help you to get started. If you would like any more information or additional detail about setting up a MailChimp account and creating a campaign, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m happy to conduct one on one or group tutorials, or Skype/Facetime sessions. Please email me at email@example.com.
Videos are being used more and more when marketing to consumers. And it’s little wonder, given the fact that videos are now easier to create than ever before.
With most people having access to a smart phone, you can create your own videos on the fly. Editing is fairly easy too, there are plenty of apps available for your phone or computer that can help you look like a pro in no time.
With approximately 45% of people watching over an hour of Facebook or YouTube video per week, it would be in your best interest to jump on the bandwagon and start creating video content for your own brand.
First things first though, make sure you have a video content strategy. Much like having a strategy for your social media, you need to have a strategy for your videos. Set an objective, work out what you want to achieve from your video content, and craft your content accordingly.
The shorter the video the more likely it is to get better engagement with your audience. Most people don’t want to watch more than two minutes of video, so the trick is to keep it short and sweet. Much like a blog, introduce your topic, discuss your topic and then develop a conclusion.
If you’re using Facebook as your main medium, try using Facebook Live. Live videos have even better engagement than those that have pre-recorded. If you’re not keen on going live, then the next best thing is to upload your video directly to Facebook as opposed to posting a YouTube link. Facebook videos will generally start playing automatically within the feed, so you don’t have to click on them to start them, this way you will get more engagement.
Create a series of videos, to help tell more of your brand story. Develop different content for each video, but keep them short and to the point, and be consistent with your messages.
If you would like advice about creating video content for your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via social media. We’re more than happy to help you through it, either in person or via Skype or FaceTime.
Let’s face it; once you’re in business you have competitors. So, the first thing you need to do is to identify who your competitors are.
Knowing who your most direct competitors are will be a huge advantage for your business, and will help you to work out your point of difference and how you can stand out from the crowd.
Take a look through Google or your local business network and look up ‘like’ businesses within your local area. If your business is larger, for example, national or global then you will need to broaden your search.
Once you have identified who your main competitors are, you should take a look at what they are doing differently or better than you, who they are marketing to, and what makes them stand out from yours and other businesses.
Think about how you can make your business stand out from the crowd. How can you create a point of difference for your business? It might be offering free delivery, it might be in regards to the product or service that you offer and how you provide it.
exact time it will be ready for pick up. Maybe you could offer free coffee delivery to offices within a 2km radius.
Create a point of difference that makes your business stand out from your competitors and ensures that customers continue to use your service and recommend you to others. That way you will continue to succeed and your business will continue to grow.
If you have just started a business, chances are you are thinking about all the things you need to do to get your business up and running.
First thing most people think about is a website. Finding the right website designer for your business can be difficult. There are a lot of designers around and not all are going to be able to offer you what you want or need.
My advice is to do your homework. Take a look at the web designers website, this can be a good indication of their capabilities. Find other websites that they have built for other businesses and also look on Google and other sites for online reviews.
They may seem like a large company, they may advertise on radio, or they’re all over Google, but that doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for your business. You can often find with some of the larger companies that you are just another number and you won’t get the personalised service you deserve.
Some of these companies will offer to build a website for you for a small amount of money, and then charge you additional fees to make your site responsive to various devices, or to add a clickable phone number. Neither of those features should be an add on in this day and age, they should be a given.
You may find that although the designer can make claims about how good they are and what they can do for you, these claims may not always be backed up with evidence.
If you can’t find website reviews, then ask other businesses who have had their website built by the company. Find out about what their experience was like and if they would recommend them.
Unfortunately I’ve found there are a number of ‘dodgy’ operators around. In recent months I have noticed website developers adding SEO features to help their own business, which is not helping the business they have built the website for. There have also been developers who have not added the SEO that they said they would, unbeknown to the business that they have done the work for. There are also operators who are building very old-fashion looking websites and constantly charging additional fees.
I don’t believe there is any governing body monitoring this type of behaviour within the industry, so it is a buyer beware situation.
Here's a quick checklist to help you out.
1. Do your homework, suss out the company before you sign up with them.
2. Check online reviews on the website developer.
3. Take a look at their website and websites they have built for businesses.
4. Check what the additional fees and charges they may have, read the fine print.
5. Call around and ask other businesses about their experience with the company.
If you’re unsure and would like further advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by email to email@example.com or via social media. We’re more than happy to help you through it, either in person or via Skype or FaceTime.
MailChimp, Survey Monkey, you could be excused for thinking we’re talking peanuts with all of this monkey business going on.
In fact, we’re talking about some seriously good online programs which just happen to be named after primates.
This blog will focus on MailChimp, an effective communication tool which allows you to create a database and distribute electronic newsletters to your subscribers.
There are numerous other e-newsletter campaign management tools available, and I’ve used a few of them, however I’ve found MailChimp the most effective and easiest to use.
Step 1. Identify your objective
Before you create an e-newsletter ask yourself, what is the objective of the newsletter? It may be another way of communicating to your clients to let them know what’s happening. It might be to promote your latest workshop or event, or perhaps an avenue to post your latest blog, create links back to your website and help with SEO. Whatever the case may be, MailChimp will be a great way to get your messages across.
Step 2. Create a free MailChimp account
Once you have identified your objective you will need to create an account. MailChimp is free to use if you have under 2,000 subscribers, paid accounts will start after that.
If your database is in an excel spreadsheet it is easy for you to upload it into Mailchimp and get started. You can also create simple sign up forms which you can add to your website or share the link on your social media pages to encourage people to subscribe.
Step 3. Create an e-newsletter template
The next step is to create a template for your newsletter. Mailchimp has a wide range of pre-designed template themes for you to choose from, or if you’re really clever you can code your own. Choose a theme or layout that you like and get started. You can add your branding style, your colours, your logo, your own images and make the theme your own. Create a style that suits you, then simply save as a template so you can use it to create your first e-newsletter.
Step 4. Create your first e-newsletter
Creating your first newsletter is a big step and can be daunting for some people, but it is not difficult. Mailchimp helps you through each of the steps from naming your campaign, to creating an effective headline and even personalising fields.
Once you get through the set-up stage, select the template you’ve just created and start adding your content.
The trick here is to make your content short, sharp and to the point. You can add buttons or links to read more on your website if need be. Make sure each article in your newsletter has a catchy headline and a relevant image.
Step 5. Add some optimisation
To help optimise your website, make sure you link as much as you can back to your site. It’s not hard to do, simply highlight the text and click on the link button to link it back to where you want people to head. See our blog 7 Steps to Enhance your online presence without spending a cent, to help you understand how to make the most out of your SEO.
Also, make sure you set up all your social links so people can find you and follow you on social media or email you directly.
Step 6. Preview and test your e-newsletter
Once you’re happy with your e-newsletter you can preview it and send a test email to yourself and a friend or colleague so you can make sure everything reads well and there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
Step 7. Press Send
Finally, it’s time to send the e-newsletter out to the masses. Do one last check to make sure everything is correct and then hit send. My favourite part is when MailChimp gives you a virtual high five. I always high five him back, just for fun!
Step 8. Track your stats
Now your e-newsletter is out in cyberspace you can keep track of how many people have opened it, what they’ve clicked on, and get some good stats to help you with your next campaign.
There you have it. A simple and effective way of communicating to your audience with using MailChimp.
If you would like any more tips and advice regarding MailChimp or how to set up an e-newsletter campaign, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or social media. We’re more than happy to help you through it, either in person or via Skype or FaceTime.