Gboard for iPhone adds drawing, Maps and YouTube

Gboard for iPhone adds drawing, Maps and YouTube

To all the Gboard fans out there: we’re adding some clutch additions to your favorite keyboard companion. Now with a tap of the G button, you’ll have access to both Maps and YouTube, making it easier than ever to share location and video content in any messaging app.  

Whether you’re coordinating a rendezvous point at the park or dinner plans at a nearby restaurant, meeting up with friends and family has never been easier. Just tap the G button then “Maps” to share your current location or a local address.

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You’ll also see a new “YouTube” tab to make it easier to send YouTube videos—like this toddler busting his brother out of a crib or classics like Charlie bit my finger—right from Gboard.

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For you artists (or doodlers!), you can now use our new Ink feature to draw and share your creations right from your keyboard. Just tap on the emoji button followed by the pen icon and get to to work!

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And as an added bonus, we now support three new languages: Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi.

To start using these updates, make sure you’ve got the latest version of Gboard for iPhone. We’re always working on new features and languages, so please keep sharing your feedback in the App Store.

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Careful When Sleeping with Elephants – Are Google Websites a Threat to the Agency?

Careful When Sleeping with Elephants – Are Google Websites a Threat to the Agency?

+Scott Davis

as it is currently configured and construed, this product is designed and targeted at the Indias of the world where very few businesses have websites and where very few businesses can afford websites.

That being said it does demonstrate the power with which Google can release and get uptake in a DIY world…

Typically these Google efforts start out lame… sometimes its just s%!t thrown at the wall and someone ultimately cleans it off. Sometimes they are fixed frequently and often and become market dominating products.

Click to view larger. Cartoon created by Margaret Shulock
Adwords Express is an example of that… When first released it was very, very lame. It has gradually become a very good DIY product… to the point where a small agency selling $300-600 adwords packages can’t really compete. Will Google keep improving it and go after the $600-1200 a month level? I think so.

Can the same thing happen with Websites?

Interestingly Google bought a company called Appetas in 2014. Appetas had a very sophisticated, build your own website for the restaurant industry that had multiple pages, decent SEO, tight integration with reservation tools, payments, delivery etc. There is a lot of DNA shared between the 1.0 version of Website of websites and that product.

As to your original question, I am not saying that you currently can’t out SEO them, I am saying keep your eyes open and realize that you are sleeping with elephants…. elephants are generally benign but when you and they are sleeping be very careful that when they roll over that its not you they crush.

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Custom Queries in WordPress: Creating a Button That Runs a Query

Custom Queries in WordPress: Creating a Button That Runs a Query

One of the things I love about WordPress is the way you can use the WP_Query class to create your own custom query. This can query anything you want for the database – and I mean anything. Posts, custom posts, taxonomies, authors, custom fields, user login status: you name it, you can include it in your query arguments.

But imagine you want to give your site visitors the option to run, repeat or update a query that you’ve added on your site. Is it possible to provide a button that lets them do that?

The answer is yes.

In this post, I’m going to show you a really simple technique for adding a button to a page in your site that runs a custom query. I’ll use the query I created for an earlier post which queried custom fields and output a list of random “favorite things”.

The query as it stands is already an interesting one, that uses the 'rnd' argument to find and display custom fields values at random. It also uses an array of variables to store data from three posts and then output them all together in one paragraph.

I’ll show you how to add to that query by creating a button on the page that lets your users run the query again and display more random favorite things.

What You’ll Need

To follow along with this post, you’ll need the following:

  • A testing or development installation of WordPress and
  • A code editor.

This post is quite advanced, so if at any point you get stuck, you might want to pause and spend some time on our Academy courses in WordPress development. My intermediate course gives you a good grounding in all of the code I’ll be using in this post.

Note: The code to accompany this tutorial is available on GitHub.

A Recap on Our Code So Far

Let’s recap on the code so far. In my earlier post I showed you how to write a plugin that does a few things:

You can find the full plugin code on GitHub (and in my earlier post), but in this post we’ll be working on the last function in our plugin, that outputs the query:

And here’s what’s output on the site:

So what we’re going to add is a button beneath the “favorite things” paragraph that lets users run the query again and see some more favorite things.

This will consist of two stages:

  • Editing the query in our plugin
  • Adding styling for the button (including enqueuing the style sheet correctly).

Let’s start by editing that query.

Editing the Query

Adding a button consists of adding a line to the query arguments, and then adding the markup for the button beneath the paragraph with the favorite things list.

Let’s start with the query arguments.

Find this section of your plugin’s code:

Below that, add this line:

That checks if the button that we’re going to create has been clicked and if so, updates the query. Now let’s add the button.

Find this section of the same function:

Add a new line to it so it reads like this:

This adds a button which links not to another page on your site but to a function to update the query arguments. So when the button is clicked, it updates the query arguments and runs it again.

Now save your file and take a look at your site. Mine looks like this:

My link is there and if I click on it, it refreshes the query. But it doesn’t look like a button. So let’s add some styling.

Creating and Enqueuing the Stylesheet

In your plugin folder, add a new folder called css. Inside that, add a new file called style.css. This will contain all the styles for our plugin.

For the stylesheet to work, you need to enqueue it correctly. In your main plugin file, add this function:

This correctly enqueues the stylesheet in your plugin.

Now to add some styling.

Adding Styling to Our Button

Open the stylesheet you just created. You’ll need to style the .button class as well as the link it contains. My styling is below, but you might want to amend your colors:

Now my button looks like this:

That’s better! You might want to spend some time tweaking your CSS, adding hover effects or changing the color of the text. But I recommend keeping it simple.

Letting Your Users Refresh a Query is Simpler Than You Might Think

The code we added to our query to add that button consisted of just two lines. As you can see, creating a button so that your website visitors can refresh a query is very simple. Add those two lines of code, create some styling and you’re all set!

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6 Strategies To Boost Ad Revenue For New Publishers

6 Strategies To Boost Ad Revenue For New Publishers

boost-ad-revenue

One of the most profitable modes of income for the online publishers today is the revenues from the ads that they feature on their sites. The publisher-brand bonding is becoming stronger by the day as more and more marketers are queuing up for securing an ad space on the publisher’s website.

Publishers are now shifting from the age old print media to the digital platform to make exploit the current online marketing trend. According to PWC, digital advertising spend has managed to hit 25% of the total ad revenue in 2013 from just 14% in 2009. This trend is to continue and if the PWC forecast is to go by, it will reach 33% by 2018.

Most of the traditional online marketing platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc. have almost reached a saturation point. So, publishers have to look for ways to make their websites more appealing to the advertisers / brands.

How Should New Publishers Boost Their Ad Revenues?

Just like there is an unprecedented rise in the competition between advertisers for the publishers’ advertising inventories, the publishers are also trying to outwit each other in providing value to their readers. Greater the usefulness, better the flow of traffic and higher the demand among the advertisers.  Read on to find out how new publishers can increase their ad revenues;

1. Header Bidding

Header bidding is one of the many and the most effective techniques applied by publishers to increase ad revenues. However, if it sounds like a familiar term but you’re not quite sure what it means here’s a small description;

The publishers puts up their reserved or unreserved ad inventory for auction or bidding outside of their ad servers to more than one advertiser at the same time. This increases competition between the advertisers leading to a higher revenue for the publisher.

In this process of header bidding the publishers auction their ad spaces to both programmatic and traditional advertisers. Programmatic advertisers are mainly softwares that the marketers use to buy ads. Traditional advertisers are persons who take care of the entire negotiations.

The biggest advantage of header bidding is the yield it generates. It is in fact possible to increase the yield by 10% with just one header bid source.

Major publishers like CNN International, Mail Online or Trinity Mirror admitted that they experienced a major boost in their programmatic revenues after they shifted to header bidding.

2. Audience Extension

Six major publishers, namely, Facebook, AOL, Google, Microsoft, IAC, and Yahoo swallow 30% of the total ad revenues. However, publishers can effectively increase their appeal to the brands with the help of audience extension techniques.

It is a technology used by publishers to earn a regular income from the traffic to their sites. Audience extension helps publishers in the following manner;

  • Audience extension help publishers can track their audience using a javascript code throughout the internet.
  • This allows the publishers to extend their digital reach, and also they are able to tap into the growing demand for a segmented audience without having to rely on data from a third party.
  • The publishers sell this data to the advertisers, who are looking for a relevant audience. The advertisers in turn can serve ads to those websites frequented by these visitors.
  • Audience extension allows publishers to earn revenue off their website traffic irrespective of their on-site ad inventory.

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3. The Ad Placements

Publishers looking to increase the click through rate of the ads featuring on their websites should consider the ad placements carefully. The location of the ad units makes a huge difference. Some of the most common practices put the ads in the following locations;

  • Above the fold.
  • Right next to the calls to action.
  • Mere the ads with the content.
  • However, while placing the ads, publishers should not compromise with the overall user experience of the site. For example, the users should not confuse the ads with the calls to action.

Below is an example of above the fold ads;

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4. Compare The Advertising Networks

All ad networks are not pay masters. Some are good with the pay while others are not. Therefore, it is always a good idea to compare the ad networks before allowing them to start placing the ads on your website.

However, payment is not the only reason why you should be comparing the networks. Relevance and quality of the ads are also necessary considerations. It doesn’t matter if you have used the perfect size and chosen the most appropriate location for an ad, if it is not relevant it will not yield any result. Moreover, the CTR will suffer if the ad hasn’t been suitably designed, like if it has no clear call to action.

5. Stay Up To Date With The Trends

Earning revenues from ads is a continuous process and your responsibility as the publisher is to constantly review the website for any loophole. The main idea is to keep up with the trend, which is constantly changing. Keep a track of the behavior of your visitors and you can use tools like clickmaps, scrollmaps or heatmaps to monitor the audience interaction with the site.

6. Native Advertising

Native advertising is one of the key techniques which not only allows the publishers to earn revenue but also offer value to the advertisers. These are typically paid content that blend so well with the site’s content that it looks a part of the website itself. Following are some of the features of native advertising;

  • These paid contents include suggested Facebook posts, recommendations of editorial-based content by content discovery platforms or tweets that are promoted on Twitter.
  • Native advertising is being increasingly targeted by advertisers over the traditional banner ads for its ability to build trust and improve engagement with the target audience.
  • Sponsored content is another termed being used synonymously with native advertising as it is one of its six advertising formats.
  • When it comes to native advertising publishers should refrain from using misleading, inaccurate titles for the ad contents.
  • Native ads are also always properly labelled, so that the viewers are not misled into clicking it.

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Conclusion

Advertisement and paid content are the major sources of revenue for the publishers. However in order to attract advertisers, publishers should also pay attention to increasing the traffic flow to their websites. Building a strong presence on the social media, optimizing the website with relevant and targeted keywords, creating a smooth UX and high quality, original content help to improve the website’s search engine ranking and lead to an increased traffic to the site. Websites getting a high volume relevant traffic attracts more advertisers.

* Adapted lead image: Public Domain Dedication (CC0) Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com

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10 Apps That Will Help You Achieve Digital Marketing Wellness by @lisabuyer

10 Apps That Will Help You Achieve Digital Marketing Wellness by @lisabuyer

A lack of work-life balance is one of the top sources of stress today for digital marketers.

The struggle is real in our mobile-first digital world.

The lines between professional output and personal input have forever been blurred because of the ubiquity of smartphones and today’s 24/7 on-demand work culture.

Where does the digital marketer’s day start and stop for the search and social marketing community?

Whether you’re a social media strategist, search marketer, data scientist, PPC manager, or in-house marketing team, you can probably relate.

The challenges of managing productivity, creativity, and strategy planning creep up on us daily.

Check if this is you:

  • I switch between multiple social media profiles hourly
  • I check on personal Facebook status updates more than 5x a day
  • I get push notifications from my smartphone from at least three social media profiles
  • I respond to emails from multiple devices every waking moment
  • I manage multiple marketing campaigns using both mobile and desktop apps
  • I skip lunch to catch up on social media updates and notifications
  • I take my mobile device to the bathroom “just in case.”
  • I refresh email more than three times per hour
  • I stop in the middle of what I’m doing to answer an email or read a social media notification
  • I scroll Twitter whenever I have a free minute or two
  • I bring my smartphone to all meetings and keep it facing up so I can see the screen
  • I answer all smartphone calls, no matter who I’m with or what I’m doing
  • I have multiple chat platforms open not to miss out
  • I read emails and respond to text messages while on a conference call
  • I create Snapchat or Instagram stories daily
  • I miss personal commitments to “catch up on work.”
  • I answer questions without fully paying attention to what you said because I was reading an “important message”
  • I stop what I’m working on to read a push notification
  • I work on multiple things at once
  • I underestimate the amount of time something will take
  • I hold my breath while reading stressful messages
  • I have more than 10,000 unread emails in my inbox

Did you check more than half of these scenarios? If so, you’ll be happy to know there’s an app for that.

Are We Digitally Doomed?

If you’ve chosen digital marketing as your career, it can sometimes feel like you’re doomed. You get a double dose of social media and smartphone exposure.

Today’s average consumer spends about five hours a day on their smartphone. That puts digital marketers average mobile radiation pushing six or seven hours a day.

You are targeting, retargeting, and the ones being targeted. You’re always holding a device, wearing a device, or looking at a device.

The faster we go, the more we do. But why does it seem the more we do, the less we get done?

Also the less we seem to have left over at the end of the day for what is most important to friends, family, and downtime.

Multitasking and productivity are hitting a wall, and the results are not adding up in anyone’s favor.

While some might brag about being expert multi-tasking digital do-ers, the reality is this: studies show our brains function best when fresh, calm, and focused on one thing at a time.

We’re Literally Addicted to Technology

Smartphone addiction is an actual condition called nomophobia. It means we literally can’t live without our phone in hand or in sight without breaking into a cold sweat.

It’s no coincidence or by chance. It’s by design.

Brain hacking is an intentional strategy orchestrated by Silicon Valley.

The tech giants behind the alluring apps we can’t live without are hiring developers to study the neuroscience behind what triggers us to become obsessed with our apps.

In a recent “60 Minutes” interview, a former Google product manager shared how Silicon Valley is engineering your phone, apps and social media to get you hooked.

Brain Time

Most of us have no idea how much time we spend on our smartphones since it practically entered into human science as a new body part.

Unfortunately, the time we do spend on our devices ends up being in the wrong place for the wrong reason.

So what are the options or app-tions?

Ironically those smartphones that bring us pain and distraction can also reconnect us by bringing insta-inspiration, and transformation.

Whether you have an Android or iPhone, most of these apps can take your brain on a mini-vacay so you can keep your digital marketing sanity.

Here are the 10 best apps for digital marketing wellness.

Get hooked on these digital detox apps to bring more Zen and balance to your life.

1. Onward

With the help of a “coach,” Onward helps you realize how much screen time you spend each day by category.

This app then guides you with the aid of artificial intelligence to guide you in limiting the additional screen time while still achieving your same goal.

Try a digital marketing wellness check up with these apps

Are you spending time in the right apps for maximum productivity and purpose?

2. Space

Using neuroscience and artificial intelligence, the Space app helps us combat social media and smartphone addiction by adding space between you and your social media apps.

The same types of developers app developers are using to get us hooked in are also reverse engineering the brain.

3. Buddhify

BuzzFeed named Buddhify the number one app to ease anxiety, and I agree.

Buddhify comes with a beautiful user interface packed with more than 80 meditations including a track called “Work Break.”

One of my favorites in that category is “Ready.” It’s a perfect guided meditation for those times when you need to be at your best (e.g., when you’re getting ready for a public speaking event such as a conference, presentation or meeting).

In just eight minutes you can go from frazzled and scattered to calm, balanced, present, and laser sharp.

Other tracks for the digital marketer in mind include: Being Online, Waking up, Going to Sleep, and Feeling Stressed.

Digital marketing wellness apps such as Buddhify help reset your brain.

Buddhify app comes packed with more than 80 meditations including a track called “Work Break” and another called “Being Online.”

4. Jiyo

Jiyo is a well-being social network and powerful app by Deepak Chopra and co-founder Poonach Machaiah.

This app uses artificial intelligence to make your well being personalized and give you tips on what you need most.

Let’s say you get off a red-eye. Jiyo can tell you have traveled many time zones and might assign you a certain stretch to help offset a lack of sleep. It’s designed to help you be your best selfie – or, as Jiyo calls it, wellfie.

Jiyo works through an app that analyzes your data such as movement and sleep. It then assigns you a task each day and offers curated content on nutrition, sleep, and wellness.

5. Calm

Calm is a book, blog, and an app ready to do just that: calm you down.

Bubbling brooks, campfire sparks, and chirping birds come to the sensory rescue so you can reset the brain.

In case you need some coaching with healthy breathing, calm gives you a visual to follow.

6. Fitbit

I’ve had a Fitbit since the first one came out in 2007.

Today Fitbit is not just a product but part of the wearable movement and on of the devices that sync with Jiyo.

Digital marketers are notorious for sitting in front of the computer all day. Having a Fitbit or the Apple Watch can help remind you to move more.

7. Yogaglo

When I go to a conference or on a business trip I have all the best intentions of working out at the hotel gym. Inevitably work life gets in the way.

Using the Yogaglo app, you can find a class that is as short as 5 minutes, any level, any style yoga or meditation – no mat required.

Just five minutes is better than nothing when trying to get your groove back for an early morning marketing workshop in Vegas! Deep breathing exercises help, trust me.

8. InBoxPause

What if your went to check your inbox and heard: “I’m sorry the inbox you are trying to reach is currently not available. Please try again in about an hour.”

Digital marketing wellness starts with inbox sanity.

The InBoxPause  app is by the same team who brought us Boomerang. Check it out, and your inbox will start giving you the space and time you’ve been asking for.

9. Slack

For in-house emails, I checked out of email hell and text message mania about three years ago thanks to Slack.

Setting up teams on Slack helps you eliminate unnecessary digital marketing communication, declutter your mind, and regain creativity and focus.

10. Breathe

If you have the latest Apple Watch, then you have the new app designed to be your coach.

This healthful app makes sure you are not holding your breath while reading emails.

The mindful app assists with breathing, meditation, and stress reduction.

Final Thoughts

Coming up with novel ideas, brilliant strategies, and off-the-charts campaigns typically doesn’t happen in the middle of chaos. Our digital lives are fixated on Google calendars, running from one meeting or Skype call to the next, and thinking about the next tweet we’re writing or responding to.

Studies show that silence and clearing of the mind increase our chances of coming up with big ideas and bursts of inspiration and motivation.

How do you measure the ROI on adding these apps to your mobile device portfolio? Digital marketers can rejoice at the fact most of the apps come with analytics and reports to help you benchmark your progress and stay on a balanced track.

The digital marketing world keeps getting complicated, as professionals, we can use old school techniques to reduce stress with an intentional swipe and scroll to the right digital marketing wellness app.


Image credits

Featured Image: Unsplash

Screenshots taken by Lisa Buyer, July 2017

via Search Engine Journal Read More…

6 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Get Great Results With Your Facebook Videos by @PromoBySlidely

6 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Get Great Results With Your Facebook Videos by @PromoBySlidely

This post was sponsored by Slidely.

Facebook hit 2 billion users in late June. This unprecedented growth offers more opportunity to reach a larger audience with your videos and a chance to grow your business dramatically.

However, with all this growth also comes some serious challenges. More people means more marketing noise, which means more advertisers bidding on the same users.

How do you get the results you want?

Getting great results with your Facebook videos can definitely be difficult. After analyzing and using thousands of video ads on Facebook and social media, we put together this list of quick wins. You’ll be surprised at how much small adjustments can help improve your performance.

1. Invest in the First 3 Seconds

According to Facebook, 65 percent of people who watch the first three seconds of a video will watch for at least 10 seconds, and 45 percent will watch for 30 seconds.

Track how long your audience watched your videos by checking the “Video Average Watch Time” metric in your Facebook Insights. It shows you the average time each of your videos is watched. You’ll notice that watch time likely does not exceed five seconds.

In order to ensure that your audience watches your video from the beginning to end, keep your video short and simple. Appeal to the emotions and curiosity of your audience.

2. Always Use Text

Text is super important to the success of your videos – especially considering that 85 percent of Facebook videos are watched without sound. It shows that audience’s don’t need sound or noise to understand or make a decision about the brand.

Make sure your audience gets the most out of your video by adding some sort of text to your video from the beginning. You can use subtitles (which you create through Facebook and disappear once the viewer turns the sound on), general captions, or text that brands your message coherently.

Video made with Promo by Chubby’s American Grill

3. Focus on One Important Point Only

Before you actually create your video, think about your audience and ask what would make them share it? What will make them comment or like it? Create a video to achieve some of the following goals:

  • To be simply social and entertaining or get a laugh
  • To express a feeling about a particular topic/speak for your audience
  • To show off
  • To prove they were the first ones to find something

4. Write Facebook-Specific Copy for Your Post

While you may be posting to the same video to all of your social media accounts, remember to alter the text you use in the post to suit the outlet and your audience there.

Use these tips to improve your results with the copy of your Facebook post:

  • Ask a question
  • Experiment with text length
  • Use the text or a quote from the video
  • Add emojis

5. Repurpose Your Best Performing Video Posts

When you’re looking to reach a brand new audience, it’s best to repurpose your best posts (in terms of engagement and reach).

To do this, start by reviewing all of your video campaigns to find the video posts with the most engagement and save each post ID. Then, when you’re in the ad creation phase for your new audience, instead of creating an ad from scratch, simply choose “use existing post” and insert the original ID you saved.

Repurposing your posts like this will give you a boost right from the start that can quickly snowball into even better results.

6. Choose the Right Video Creation Tools

Thanks to the evolution of video, technology, and social media platforms, there are endless options for tools to create videos that work.

If you’re looking for a more personal feel, Facebook Live or YouTube Live are great options.

To make professional videos perfect for marketing on social media or adding to your landing pages or blog, look no further than Promo by Slidely. It’s a super easy video maker that provides users with a catalog of over 3 million video clips, a library of music, and a simple text editor.

Video made with Promo by Symetric

The more and the better the videos, the better the results you’ll see

When it comes to video marketing, it requires commitment and consistency (meaning several videos) to see mind-blowing results. Remember to keep your audience at the top of mind when you create videos.

People love watching videos – especially creative, interesting, and well-made videos. Keep that in mind, as well as all of these tips, and start creating videos that get great results now.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by Slidely. Used with permission.
In-post videos and images by Slidely. Used with permission.

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The Journey to Sales 3.0 [Podcast]

The Journey to Sales 3.0 [Podcast]

Gerhard Gshwandtner is the Founder and CEO of Selling Power Magazine, the leading media property that provides senior sales managers with high-quality content. Selling Power Magazine delivers content through print, audio, video, webinars, and sales leadership conferences designed to help sales leaders create a more efficient and effective sales organization on their journey to sales 3.0.

Originally from Austria, Gerhard worked with a French multi-national company training their 1,600 salespeople before moving to the U.S. and starting his own business. In 1981 he morphed that business into Selling Power Magazine. Gerhard established The Sales 3.0 Conference in 2007 to help sales leaders integrate people, process, and technology. A year and a half ago he created the workshop Peak Performance Mindset. 50 trainers have already been certified, and 5,000 people have gone through the training. 

On this episode, Gerhard opens up about the three biggest trends in business all leaders must understand.

3 Major Trends in Modern Business

The Waves of Change

The sales profession has changed over the years. Gerhard says, “The changes have gone from ripples to big waves.” Sellers no longer have the advantage – buyers do, and as each new wave crashes, it washes out what has worked in the past.

Gerhard mentions that productivity is elusive and our minds are easily distracted. We’re living in the now culture and need to focus more on the present moment. He referenced the acronym WIN – What’s Important Now – to help people distinguish between trivia and treasure. When you’re in the present moment, you listen better and can spot more opportunities.

Each generation has their own culture and language requiring different methods of communication and engagement. For example, Millennials want to understand the higher meaning of the company they work for, not just the monthly Profit and Loss statement. Gerhard says the older generations should attempt to understand their values.  

Sales 3.0

Before jumping into Sales 3.0, let’s look at Sales 1. 0 and 2.0 first.

Sales 1.0 involved face to face interactions. Salespeople with the best presentations closed the most deals. Sales 2.0 incorporated CRM systems, social media, mobile, big data and cloud. New technologies required the sales professional to become a better listener, much of it happening through online channels.

Gerhard says Sales 3.0 enables salespeople to be more efficient. Software powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other cognitive computing tools are directing salespeople and managers on how to be more productive. SAP’s Digital Board Room is an excellent example of Sales 3.0 in action. Executives can instantly receive responses to questions that would typically entail a delayed response from staffers.

Digital transformation is happening everywhere, and Gerhard says that those who resist will become roadkill, obsolete. He postulates that 50% of Fortune 500 companies will be gone in ten years due to the influx of innovative companies that are disrupting every industry. According to Michael Dell, the rate of innovation is ten times what it was only three years ago.

Leaders should embrace digital transformation to help their salespeople to learn faster. Taking advantage of the technologies will provide your team with actionable insights. Gerhard recommends conducting your own research to strategize for the future. You can find information and studies from McKinsey & CompanyGartnerAltimeter Group and thought leaders on YouTube.

Adaptation, innovation, and integration

To be successful in the chaotic business environment of today, review the business perspective and personal perspective. A business perspective questions the following:

  • People: How can I adapt my employees to new realities of selling?
  • Process: How well are the processes integrated with my people?
  • Technology: How well is technology integrated with processes and the actions of my people?

A personal perspective includes three factors that lead to personal success:

  • Mindset: Keep growth in mind, embrace change and the available tools.
  • Skillset: You must do better than the best to be the best, and constantly be looking for ways to improve how you do things.
  • Toolset: Exploit technology and quit wasting time on technologies you aren’t using.

Gerhard says there needs to be more integration to help people grow. People aren’t changing from sharing ideas and thoughts with them. Their self-limiting beliefs hold them back, and leaders should work to help them replace those with self-empowering beliefs so they can reach their full potential.

Gerhard closed the podcast with this question for you to ponder – “technology is constantly getting better, what are you doing to get better?”

via Social Media Today Read More…

Put Dust on Your Call Center Headphones with a Knowledge Base

Put Dust on Your Call Center Headphones with a Knowledge Base

Back in the day, the arrival of cheap call center solutions has revolutionised the world of customer support. It became more accessible, people started to have more faith in their providers, and customers were able to resolve their problems a lot faster.

However, the world moves on and advances. Today, more refined and advanced methods to help the users are available, and one of the best customer support tools you can have is knowledge base software.

Here we are going to discuss why the call center is slowly being abandoned, and why a quality knowledge base tool is a superior method of customer service. Not only does it increase your availability, but it is also preferred by the customers and cheaper to implement. So, get ready to say goodbye to your call center headphones and take a bold step into the customer service of today with a knowledge base.  

1. More customers want self-service

Yes, believe or not, customers don’t want to call their providers if they don’t have to, as people feel silly knowing that they made a mistake with something that is supposed to be easy to understand. So, self-services is the preferred approach to handling the situation, and with a good knowledge base you get the opportunity to make this possible.

The major trait of any knowledge base is that it supports different formats, so you can use text, images and videos to equip your site with content that users will find helpful. Also, a quality knowledge base is easily searchable, which makes it possible for the users to find the specific information they were looking for with no trouble at all.

Basically, once you create a thorough FAQ page, you can handle the vast majority of customer questions and concerns with little if any involvement from your support team.  

Here’s an example of an FAQ page created with ProProfs Knowledgebase

2. It’s more convenient for the customers

Another reason why knowledge base trumps call centers is simple convenience. Even though people could reach you and talk with employees over a call center, a knowledge base simply eliminates all of the drawbacks of a call center.

There were no costs for using a phone for starters and for business that run on a global or international scale, this was an important trait. In other words, customers who didn’t live in the same town, or country were charged more for calling, which made providers a less likely option for the users.

Knowledge Base Tool

Cost effectiveness is not the only advantage of a knowledge base, at some point call centers become too busy and too complex. So, aside from waiting for the other party to pick up the phone, they needed to redirect to the support team that is responsible for handling your problem.

With a knowledge base ticket system, you are immediately connected to the support team member who can solve your problem, and that is only in the event that there is no solution on the FAQ page, or if no online tutorial for the problem exists.  

Here’s an example of user guide created with ProProfs Knowledgebase   

3. It makes the customer support’s job easier

Your customers are not the only ones who benefit from a knowledge base solution, your support team will be happier with their job as well. They will have a set of prepared answers available for some of the most common questions. In other words, if a customer didn’t take some time to search the website for the answer, an employee from the support center can easily give them a link that leads to it.

Furthermore, it speeds up the pace of waiting queues, so more customers can be served in a shorter time frame. So, the support team gets to be more efficient and finish their job quicker. A really good advantage is the ability of one support team member to talk with multiple customers at the same time.

What made this possible is the integration of the Live chat feature, which gives users the opportunity to communicate via synchronous chat. This again increases the availability of the support center, and it allows for multiple customers to receive help.

4. More satisfied customers

Finally, this only leads to more satisfied customers, considering how their issues are dealt with more efficiently, or how the majority of customers has no need for contacting the company at all. This only leads to better brand loyalty and to more positive reviews, and better customer acquisition.

However, this does not imply that you need to get rid of the call center if your users prefer this way of communication. In fact, there are still customers who prefer to use a phone rather than a computer, and it is important to be there for those users as well. The point is, if you have a large number of customers overseas, and all of your users opt for contacting you online, then you can easily cut back on the unnecessary costs and leave it behind.

To sum up, it is necessary to move forward and adopt new and improved means of communication. Your call center is slowly becoming obsolete and you can do so much better by adding a knowledge base to your customer support arsenal. If you are planning on expanding, and are going to have many more people from all over the globe asking for your products or services, you will definitely need this highly effective solution.

This guest post was kindly provided by ProProfs Knowledgebase – it lets you create help sites, knowledge bases, user guides, manuals, wikis & more.

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Google Will Punish Websites that have Intrusive Interstitials with a Ranking Penalty in 2017

Google Will Punish Websites that have Intrusive Interstitials with a Ranking Penalty in 2017

When Google began its Mobilegeddon in 2015, its intention was to reduce drastically the number of websites that were not mobile responsive from its Search Engine Result Pages (SERP). It did succeed to a large extent. In fact, Google recently announced that up to 85% of its web indexed pages are now mobile responsive. As […]

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Want To Grow Your Business? 10 Hard Questions You Need To Ask

Want To Grow Your Business? 10 Hard Questions You Need To Ask

Want To Grow Your Business?

Fixed mindsets irritate me.

You know what I mean. Heard the conversations.

We have always done it this way.

It is just a fad.

As we reinvent business and try to change, the foibles of the habitual human become evident. Calcified thinking.

The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones“ – John Maynard Keynes

The pace of change today has accelerated from the era of train and coal to the generation of rocket ships and robots. Being trapped in old habits that aren’t working well anymore stops us innovating in a digital age.

We need to let go of the past.

The thinking and practices that no longer serves us. A flexibility mindset is essential.

So….here are some of the hard questions you need to be asking to grow your business in a digital world and invest in the future.

1. What are your digital assets?

As visual creatures and hard reality infused homo sapiens, the world is often viewed from the perspective of what we can see and touch.

The ephemeral is often not valued. Maybe we can blame the accountants for that.

The digital world has assets that are hard to see and value. These are the hard digital assets we can measure.

  • How much traffic to the website?
  • What is your social network reach and distribution.
  • What’s your search engine authority?
  • What is the size of your email list?

Then there are “soft” digital assets. These are hard to quantify. The digital skill sets, attitudes and mindsets of your people.

Time to put a value on this new age equity.

2. Who are your companies thought leaders?

Command and control corporate thinking doesn’t like the notion of allowing its silent experts to become visible. To give them permission to be thought leaders.

The recent Edelman Trust Barometer – 2017 shows that  the CEO’s trust  level is plummeting and its employees credibility are rising. Employees are trusted 16% more than their CEO

It is time to make our in house corporate stars shine. Let them reveal their story and expertise. There is an added benefit amongst others. Make the corporation more human.

Do you let them shine to build credibility and trust?

3. Have you adopted marketing tech?

Do you own your marketing?

Just handing over all your advertising to an agency is dangerous.

The web tech of apps and platforms on the social web has put the power in your hands. To publish. To advertise.

Invest internally.

But you will also need marketing tech to do that.

4. Are you transforming dinosaurs into unicorns?

Most knowledge professionals attend annual training to keep their credentials updated. There are all sorts of acronyms for this. CPD (Continuing Professional Development) and even MAT (Mandatory Annual Training).

Nothing wrong with that but that is not even close to what is needed in today’s business environment.

What is required today is “continuous learning”

Accenture is evaluating ts leaders based on innovation and spending $900 million in education (some are spending 80 hours in training a year) to deliver the technologies

Google gives its staff 1 day a week to work on their passionate ideas. Researching passionate ideas is a powerful way to learn, grow and innovate.

What is your approach to learning in your business?

5. Is your communications strategy digital?

PR is becoming content marketing. Is your PR company still sending out old school press releases.

Are you building out your digital communications networks that allow you to get your message out without begging gatekeepers?

Are you using the new emerging channels. Webinars, Podcasts and “Live” streaming?

6. Are you thinking global?

Skype, Google Docs and a social web have removed borders. But most of us still think local. Their is now a “world” of opportunities.

Time to re-think the current attitudes? Where your customer is and how you can reach them and work with them.

7. How many of your company’s board “gets” digital?

Paul McCartney was seen recently using an old Nokia phone. You know the ones I mean. The ones you can send a text with.

Maybe he can afford to be a bit old school.

But can your company?

The average age of independent directors in the USA is 63. There lies much valuable experience.

But is that enough?

Many need “unlearning” to take their companies into the future So the challenge to reinvent a business for a digital world is not to be underestimated.

What directors are using smart phones, tablets and apps and how are they using them?

Do they get it?

Are they open to the new opportunities? Digital thinking.

8. How many of your leads are generated from digital marketing?

Attending networking events with a stack of business cards leaves me cold. Cold calling disturbs me.

Digital networking and online lead generation needs to be part of the mix.

9. Are you treating small start-ups with respect?

Digital disruption is real.

Millennials dreaming of making it big with an app start-up are sometimes scoffed at. But we are in a generational shift of what business is and how we grow.

The start up scene rolls on and big brands have three options.

Ignore them, start your own or invest in them. Ignoring this shift could be dangerous.

What are your plans?

10. Do you hire the best talent even if its not in the right city?

Finding the right talent for this brave new world can be hard.

The culture of sitting everyone in the same room and making sure they are productive (and not on Facebook) is still hard to shake.

New thinking on where your best talent needs to be is summed up well in a book by 37Signals. The company behind the software “Base Camp”.

Many companies now have staff working in home offices and coffee shops.

The book “Remote: Office Not Required” is maybe worth a read.

The process

So here is a simple process worth contemplating to become digital to the core.

  1. Build digital awareness – You don’t know what you don’t know.
  2. Reflection – reflect on where you are in world of mobile apps and platforms.
  3. Continuous education – Build a program and culture of learning. Implement internal online training.
  4. Upgrade talent – Bring in new digital talent that has fresh eyes and attitudes.
  5. Prototype and iterate – Start creating and testing new digital tactics.

Over to you.

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