Friday, April 17, 2015

Impersonal Communication Annoys Your Customers

Consider the following email marketing statistics from a recent consumer research study of British consumers:

The average person's inbox has 260 unopened emails, 56% of which are from brands.
60% of those people who never open brand emails admitted they would if the subject line were personalized.
The above facts tell us that consumers find impersonal marketing communications—let's call it "brand spam"—irrelevant as well as annoying.

Often, unread emails from brands are those the consumer initially elected to receive, a process we call "self-selecting." Self-selecting is defined as ignoring emails originally requested but no longer relevant by the time they reach the individual's inbox.

The solution to eliminating brand spam is to provide greater context for improved personalization.

Read more from MarketingPros

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How to Choose the Right Business Name

Choosing the right name for your business is really important. Not only should you pick a name that reflects your brand identity, but you also need to ensure your name is properly registered and protected for the long term. And be sure to give some thought to whether it's web-ready. Is the domain name even available?

Here are some tips to help you pick, register, and protect your business name.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

5 Marketing Mistakes New Entrepreneurs Make

by Lisa Furgison

After years of working for micromanaging bosses, working ten-hour days, and feeling completely drained at the end of a workweek, my husband and I decided to call it quits. We left our jobs in the media world and started our own business, McEwen’s Media.

While I’m happy to report that it pays the bills, it didn’t start off with rainbows and lollypops. At the beginning, we made some marketing mistakes. I started talking with other entrepreneurs and quickly learned everyone suffers from a case of the “marketing hiccups” at the beginning.

In an attempt to help other entrepreneurs, I’ve put together this list of avoidable marketing mistakes.

More from

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April is National Financial Capability Month

According to the findings of a 2014 Intuit study, more than 40 percent of U.S. small businesses consider themselves financially illiterate. Yet, 81 percent handle their business’ finances. April is National Financial Capability Month, so now is a great time for small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs to brush up on their financial literacy skills.
Whether you are a seasoned small business owner, a new small business owner or have dreams to be a future small business owner, it is inevitable that you will at some point have to deal with securing the capital to fund and/or expand your business venture.
There are several financing options to explore when funding a small business such as loans, grants, venture capital, angel investors and crowd funding, but most small businesses rely on lenders to obtain the capital needed to open a business or to finance capital improvements.

Monday, April 13, 2015

How to Use Quizzes for Lead Generation

Bringing in new leads is a huge part of our job as marketers.

Lately, a lot of emphasis has been placed on using content marketing for lead generation, putting pressure on us to create amazing whitepapers, case studies, videos, blog posts, and other forms of content that effectively convert content seekers into warm leads, who might then be nurtured into becoming lifelong customers.

Creating content that actually converts is a constant struggle, and even if new pieces of content attract lots of views or downloads, that doesn't guarantee new subscribers. Which is where quizzes come in: A well-produced quiz can achieve opt-in rates north of 50% and improve lead generation.

This article will break down how three businesses used a quiz to pull in huge amounts of new leads

Read more at MarketingProfs

Friday, April 10, 2015

Top 10 Oddball Interview Questions for 2015

Job candidates must be prepared for anything during an interview. That's why Glassdoor has combed through tens of thousands of interview questions shared by job candidates over the past year to compile its annual list of the Top 10 Oddball Interview Questions.

These are the toughest and most bizarre questions you may have to answer when interviewing for these top jobs or any job this year.

"What would you do if you were the one survivor in a plane crash?"

(AND it includes some of the creative ANSWERS to these questions!)

More from Glassdoor.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

B2B Buying: Millennials vs. Gen X and Baby Boomers

Millennials B2B buyers want to interact directly with vendors' representatives far more than Gen X or Baby Boomers buyers when researching products and services, according to a recent report from IBM.

The report was based on data from a survey of 704 people who influence or are responsible for B2B purchasing decisions of $10,000 or more for their company. Respondents came from 12 countries and 6 industries.

The researchers compared the responses of Millennial employees (born 1980-1993) with those of Gen X (born 1965-1979) and Baby Boomers (born 1954-1964).

Millennial buyers rely most heavily on information provided by vendors when researching products and services, the analysis found.

In contrast, Gen X buyers rely most on third-party articles/blogs/reviews to research vendors, and Baby Boomers rely most on tradeshows.

Read more from MarketingProfs

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Don't Kill Your Sales! Top 3 Shopping Cart Turnoffs

You've spent time and money designing the perfect marketing campaign. You've designed a flawless strategy to drive customers to your awesome sales page and you know it will convert. You've thought of everything...

Except your shopping cart process.

When you design a marketing campaign, you're focused on selling a solution or understanding the motivation for buying a product. You're thinking about what makes someone click on the "buy" button. But until the last "confirm order" is clicked, the sale is in jeopardy.

Shopping cart abandonment can be as high as 75%! At any point in the checkout process, customers might get turned off; they'll then simply click away from the site.

In short, your checkout process is just as important as your marketing strategy.

More from MarketingProfs

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Starting a Web Business with Less than $4,000

Every entrepreneur has heard of the Lean Startup methodology; it’s a great way to prove demand with less time and money and to prevent building a product that no one will want.

In practice though, the Lean Startup methodology is hard to figure out. How do you develop, and what is the minimum viable product? How can you iterate while absorbing a user’s real-time input? How do you get people to even give you input?

As a New-York-City-based startup founder, I’ve been asked these questions many times. And thus, what follows is a simple step-by-step guide on how to validate your web business with as little capital at risk as possible—in this case, one month of rent. You’ll get real guidelines on getting something off the ground, driving traffic, and evaluating whether you have a business or a hobby.

Read more from BPlans

Monday, April 06, 2015

Avoid These Toxic Trademark Mistakes

Your trademark is your brand identifier. You can trademark anything from sounds to smells to colors to holograms. In essence, your trademark is just another way of referring to your brand...

Little things I've learned over the years is that it can take over 12 months to complete the trademark process. According to the USPTO’s 2014 report they now have over 605,000 unexamined trademark applications on file. When you get ready to get your trademark, make sure you look out for these toxic trademark pitfalls:

1. Avoid generic words.

More from Entrepreneur.

Friday, April 03, 2015

E-Verify: Know Your Employee Rights and Responsibilities

U.S. law requires companies to hire only individuals who may legally work in the United States. E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows these businesses to determine an employee's eligibility. This verification process matches records from the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration with an employee's I-9 form.

This USCIS video on E-Verify introduces you to the process and your responsibilities and rights as an employee; including what to do in the case of a Tentative NonConfirmation.

Information on E-Verify is also now available in: SpanishChinese (traditional)FrenchKoreanRussianTagalog; and Vietnamese

Thursday, April 02, 2015

How much business is your profanity costing you?

A majority of people swear from time to time, but it’s recently become far more prevalent in public. Why? One of the main reasons in the business world is creating an edge.

Most speakers and bloggers I know who use profanity do it for this reason. It’s part of their personal style, meant to set them apart from other communicators. But like anything, there’s an opportunity cost involved in dropping F-bombs and using blasphemy.

I want to focus on three simple reasons cussing might be costing you more than you think.

More from

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Digital Business Era: Stretch Your Boundaries

The digital era not only makes big bets possible but increasingly necessary. The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming a force that is driving innovation and new opportunities by bringing every object, consumer, and activity into the digital realm. At the same time, leading businesses are making similar changes within their enterprises by digitizing every employee, process, product, and service. This year, we conducted our first Technology Vision survey, polling more than 2,000 business and technology executives across nine countries and 10 industries, in order to understand key technology challenges as well as priority investments. Our survey revealed that 62 percent are investing in digital technologies, and 35 percent are comprehensively investing in digital as part of their overall business strategy.

Taken in aggregate, enterprises find themselves connected to a digital fabric that has the potential to touch all aspects of their business, their customer relationships, and the world around them. Already, this fabric has provided enterprises with an ability to connect and scale up in unprecedented ways. Companies routinely deal with hundreds of business processes, thousands of employees, and millions of consumers. Many large companies are at a scale where they touch billions of lives....

This grand network of connections and its transformational power introduce a new era in the digital age—the age of “digital ecosystems.”

More from TechTrends.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Why My Crowdfunding Campaign Failed

Crowdfunding has a reputation as an accessible way to secure funding for startups and small businesses. It’s quick and easy; just throw up your video, backers start investing their money, and you’re set. Anyone can do it, right?

The truth is, it’s far from that simple. For every story of someone whose project went viral and exceeded its goal in the first few hours, there are several from earnest entrepreneurs whose crowdfunding efforts missed the mark.

So, why do more crowdfunding campaigns fail than succeed? What can you learn from a crowdfunding failure? I talked to entrepreneurs who’ve made crowdfunding mistakes, and got their perspective on what went wrong with their initial campaigns, and what eventually led them to success.

Read more from BPlans

Monday, March 30, 2015

Make Your Phone Presence a Key Driver in Your Marketing Mix

As marketers, we read, think, and talk a lot about Web presence—whether social media, content marketing, search, or other digital medium—and we put a lot of time and effort into perfecting our brand's image, messaging, and positioning. As we should. However, when was the last time you considered "phone presence" during your branding refresh exercises and marketing brainstorms?

Traditional telephony may not be one of the first agenda items that come to mind in a content planning meeting, but perhaps it should be. More than half of consumers still prefer to pick up the phone and talk to a person when they decide to interact with a business, according to Actionable Research's June 2014 survey of consumers in the US and seven other countries. That's huge!

Also, although soaring smartphone penetration makes apps a viable channel, many consumers still find it more convenient to use their mobile phone to talk with an agent than to peck out their contact information and questions on screen, the Actionable Research survey finds.

So, why is it that so many marketers tend to overlook the branding opportunities in voice communications?

Read more from MarketingProfs

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Top 8 Most Distressed Industries

The following list comprises the most distressed industries in the US economy, curated using IBISWorld’s proprietary database. The industries are ranked by the fastest anticipated annualized rate of decline in the number of industry enterprises over the five years to 2020. Operators in most of these industries contend with mounting pressure from disruptive technologies, overseas competition and shifting economic forces. In turn, a pronounced number of companies in each industry have opted to consolidate or end operations entirely. This cursory overview of IBISWorld’s Top 8 Most Distressed Industries demonstrates the qualitative and quantitative application of IBISWorld’s research reports for investors.

DVD, Game & Video Rental Industry

Projected annualized enterprise decline (2015-2020): -15.1%

IBISWorld expects operators in the DVD, Game and Video Rental industry to experience the greatest number of business closures of any industry within the economy over the next five years. Companies within this industry have been pummeled by competition from rental kiosks, mail-order subscriptions and the growing popularity of streaming media. In the five years to 2020, industry revenue is forecast to plunge at an annualized 20.2% to $999.7 million. This represents a fourfold decline from 2015 levels and a tenfold decline from prerecessionary levels.

More from IBISworld.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Why You Hate Work

THE way we’re working isn’t working. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning, you don’t feel much appreciated while you’re there, you find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished, amid all the distractions, and you don’t believe that what you’re doing makes much of a difference anyway. By the time you get home, you’re pretty much running on empty, and yet still answering emails until you fall asleep.

Increasingly, this experience is common not just to middle managers, but also to top executives.

More broadly, just 30 percent of employees in America feel engaged at work, according to a 2013 report by Gallup. Around the world, across 142 countries, the proportion of employees who feel engaged at work is just 13 percent. For most of us, in short, work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and in some obvious ways, it’s getting worse.

Demand for our time is increasingly exceeding our capacity — draining us of the energy we need to bring our skill and talent fully to life...

More from the New York Times.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Most Americans are moving farther away from their work

Proximity to employment can influence a range of economic and social outcomes, from local fiscal health to the employment prospects of residents, particularly low-income and minority workers. An analysis of private-sector employment and demographic data at the census tract level reveals that:

*Between 2000 and 2012, the number of jobs within the typical commute distance for residents in a major metro area fell by 7 percent. Of the nation’s 96 largest metro areas, in only 29---many in the South and West, including McAllen, Texas, Bakersfield, Calif., Raleigh, N.C., and Baton Rouge, La.---did the number of jobs within a typical commute distance for the average resident increase. Each of these 29 metro areas also experienced net job gains between 2000 and 2012.

*As employment suburbanized, the number of jobs near both the typical city and suburban resident fell. Suburban residents saw the number of jobs within a typical commute distance drop by 7 percent, more than twice the decline experienced by the typical city resident (3 percent). In all, 32.7 million city residents lived in neighborhoods with declining proximity to jobs compared to 59.4 million suburban residents.

*As poor and minority residents shifted toward suburbs in the 2000s, their proximity to jobs fell more than for non-poor and white residents. The number of jobs near the typical Hispanic (-17 percent) and black (-14 percent) resident in major metro areas declined much more steeply than for white (-6 percent) residents, a pattern repeated for the typical poor (-17 percent) versus non-poor (-6 percent) resident.

* Residents of high-poverty and majority-minority neighborhoods experienced particularly pronounced declines in job proximity. Overall, 61 percent of high-poverty tracts (with poverty rates above 20 percent) and 55 percent of majority-minority neighborhoods experienced declines in job proximity between 2000 and 2012. A growing number of these tracts are in suburbs, where nearby jobs for the residents of these neighborhoods dropped at a much faster pace than for the typical suburban resident (17 and 16 percent, respectively, versus 7 percent).

More from the Brookings Institute.

However, Albany (NY) area commuters are getting closer.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why enterprise social initiatives still fail

Many companies are rushing headlong into using enterprise social networks to keep up with the Joneses, experts say.

Enterprises blindly believe that they should implement social initiatives simply because others have. But they need to determine how social connections can make work tasks more efficient. As a result, companies often fail in their strategies because they haven't put enterprise social projects in the context of how their businesses operate.

"There is no app for this."

More from TechTarget

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Happy Employees = Higher Stock Prices?

Companies trying to decide whether it’s worthwhile to create a friendly workplace could do well to consider this: Companies that employees report to be a good place to work have significantly outperformed the S&P 500 over the past six years.

The data comes from Glassdoor Inc., an online job and company information website, which solicits employees to post anonymous reviews of their employers. The employee ratings are aggregated and analyzed to produce an annual list of the best places to work, published since 2008.

More from AIER