- Reverse the threat of cybercrime – Stay Smart Online Week 2019
- Reverse the threat of cybercrime – Stay Smart Online Week 2019
- Users of older versions of Windows urged to update their software immediately
- Users of older versions of Windows urged to update their software immediately
- Watch out for myGov tax scams
- Watch out for myGov tax scams
- Beware of scam emails threatening to reveal intimate images
- Beware of scam emails threatening to reveal intimate images
- Agent Smith malware infects 25 million Android devices globally
- Agent Smith malware infects 25 million Android devices globally
- ‘Agent Smith’ malware infects 25 million Android devices globally
- ‘Agent Smith’ malware infects 25 million Android devices globally
- Australians losing money to investment scams
- Australians losing money to investment scams
- Fake recruitment ads targeting jobseekers for money laundering and possible identity theft
Many professionals face a huge pile of confusing jargon when first exploring online marketing. Acronyms like SERP (search engine result placement) and SEO (search engine optimisation) cause confusion. Content marketing can seem like just another phrase among many. Yet content marketing can be a vital element for a vibrant online presence. Modern audiences and search engine algorithms make having good content a necessity. This is rings true for small or Medium-Sized Businesses looking to reach broader audiences.
A Definition Of Content Marketing.
Content marketing is the creation and curation of articles, email newsletters, and other content. Businesses us content to attract, keep, and grow sales from a targeted audience. That sounds like a mouthful, but it is an elegant concept. Providing relevant, informative, and engaging content related to your business and expertise is key. You draw an audience that is inclined to buy goods and services from you.
This is an age old concept. Broadcast television is a solid example of such marketing. They produce content to attract audiences. The viewership is then monetised through advertising, merchandising, and other avenues. Attracting people to the content; a dedicated audience of customers available to market to. You can determine the rough demographic and buying habits breakdown. Achieve this by what material attracts the viewers.
Directing Client Behavior.
A major part of such marketing plans is crafting and selecting articles. You can encourage followers to make certain purchases. They may be more likely to indulge in certain buying habits. An example of this: a Small or Medium-Sized Business may run a series of article related to the benefits of their product or service. Others may curate entries from a particular interest or industry. It comes together to paint a picture of the pain or problem you solve. Potential customers can then buy your services in an organic, low pressure way.
Establishing Your Expertise And Reputation
Successful marketing efforts are enhanced by an authoritative voice. Producing a steady stream of topical information, cultivates expert reputation and proves your knowledge. Conversion rates will be much higher conversion with providers that have a professional voice. It is better to show possible customers your experience and ability than to tell them about it. People believe what they see.
Connect With Your (Potential) Clients
Do not be afraid to engage reader comments and discussions. Engaging with your audience and participating in their community will have a positive impact. It is also an extra opportunity to tell your story by posting small pieces of advice in forums and discussion boards.
It is generally wise to avoid hot button political issues and similar controversial topics. Staking out a position on such topics can alienate a swath of potential customers. Remember, the point is to emphasise your expertise and positive reputation. The exception is any differences of opinion and point of view in the area of your product or service.. You should embrace the philosophy and approach that defines your services.
Search Engines Adapt To Spam And Poor Content
In the Wild West days of the Internet, spam clogged search engine results. This lead search engine providers, lead by Google, to develop more sophisticated algorithms. The result returns better targeted sites. Google are doing a great job to ensure a relevant, safe user experience. As content and visitors became more important, spammers posted low quality articles and links. to overwhelm search results. The response lead to more complex methods of selecting which sites to return for search queries.
The current algorithms place a lot of weight on well-written, well-researched content.
Repeat visitors with decent dwell times are also important. Good SERP (search engine result placement) will be the result. The best way to attract return visitors and keep them on your site is through attractive content. The browsing habits of visitors can make an impact to your SEO (search engine optimisation).
Search engines no longer rely on human signaling, even though links and browsing patterns are important. They have become more sophisticated and use complex programs and huge databases. These determine the value of articles and other links. The results are close to humans about facts, quality of writing, and similar factors. A proper marketing and search engine optimisation plan will take this into account. Make sure you budget for proper article and blog writing.
Internet Clients Respond To Good Sources
Many Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube personalities earn income. They are good sources in the eyes of their followers. While their main activities, producing articles and videos, income derives from commissions and sales. They might be into comedy, food activism, or sport, audiences drive their income. They create this with their community of followers. These media personalities produce entertainment and information that people want to see. They generate a positive reputation. Once a person or outlet is identified as a good source, marketing reach and returns increase.
Part of it is just common sense. Get Clients to trust you and they will respond better to your calls to action. It also helps to provide solid groundwork for a relationship. Everyone values a trusting client that listens to the knowledge offered.
Publishing Quality Information Provides Free Marketing Returns
Facebook shares, Twitter mentions, and other social media signals from certain sources can be valuable. People often share many articles and videos from the same sources over time. Cultivating a loyal audience creates a great source of marketing for your business.
It is the rare article that goes viral. Yet going viral is not necessary for the value of social media exposure. Every single share and mention helps. If you produce the kind of articles and other content that people want and like, they will share your content. Their social media connections will see it at no further cost to you.
Producing Well-Designed Content Demands Experts
Having domain expertise is not enough to succeed at content marketing. A good understanding of marketing demographics, advertising language, and public relations is important. Messages need to be relevant. They need to adapt to maximise the impact. It starts with a sound strategy.
While an experienced nurse may be a talented expert, you would better trust a carpenter to build your house. In the same way, you should be entrust your online reputation and marketing plan to experts ready to help your enterprise shine.
Get ahead of your competition and get online
It is not enough to just have a simple website or local business listing in today. It is not enough for readers accustomed to a content-rich Internet. It is not enough for the search engines coping with an ever-increasing number of such entries. You need to have a vigorous content marketing plan to compete in the current marketplace. It also serves to build a following of loyal readers, raving fans if you like.
Online Journey makes it easier for you and your business to get found online. When a visitor hits your site/blog, we work with you to ensure there is enough interesting, fresh and relevant content. Enough to compel them. Your content will speak their language, talk about things they care about and answer their questions. Apart from anything else you will earn their trust. You can prove you have their interests at heart. Your brand is right in front of them. You will be top of mind for consideration when the time comes for them to engage in your product or service.
First of all, what is social engineering?
Let’s think about it in the context of information security. It refers to the manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. Social engineering is a type of confidence trick that gathers information, fraud, or system access. It differs from a traditional “con” in that it is often one of many steps in a more complex fraud scheme.
Email compromise seems to be on the rise in the B2B space.
It is hardly surprising. This is a low-risk, high-reward for the scallywags who commit this crime. In recent times personal data records have been stolen from healthcare providers, retail outlets and government departments. Is there a big question small businesses should be asking. What can businesses do to protect themselves?
Email compromise, a form of social engineering has netted cyber criminals over US$2.3 billion (A$3 billion). This has been since October 2013 to February of this year. Over 17,000 businesses reported as being affected so far. Attacks have occurred in at least 79 countries. These are only cases the FBI is aware of.
The hard fact is that many cybercrimes go unreported, both in large and small businesses. You might expect that small businesses won’t report it. Where the loss is insignificant, such as a $200 fee to get data back from a successful ransomware attack. Big businesses are not reporting either. Maybe for fear of public embarrassment or in an attempt to avoid regulatory scrutiny.
Why email compromise?
Over recent times, we’ve seen successful attacks compromise millions of records from large companies. Companies such as Target, Sony, Anthem, Talk Talk in the UK, and Kmart and David Jones here in Australia. But these enormous hacks are just the ones we hear about. There have been tens of thousands of attacks that didn’t make the headlines.
Besides in every case, almost without exception, the thieves were targeting customer data. These massive treasure troves of data are worth a lot of money on the black market. Consider the Anthem attack, where thieves took off with over 80 million healthcare records. Each one of these on the is worth around $10 on the black market. The bad guys could have sold the entire database for big money. The records could end up in the hands of an organised crime syndicate. This leads us to consider not the breach itself, but the use of the data once sold.
Hackers want to pass this data onto a buyer as quick as possible. There is a slew of unscrupulous organised crime mobs, terrorists who have the means to buy the data. Furthermore, they intend to use it. There are many reasons why Anthem’s data may have been purchased.
Getting your identity is top of mind when entering personal details online. Tax file numbers, addresses, names, dates of births, etc. are all hot property. It is all information that helps convince credit card companies that the criminal is actually a legitimate citizen. Other uses are to authorise credit agreements for mobile phones, cars, new bank accounts etc.
Yet, business email compromise is another mode of operation that organised crime may be using these data breaches for. They’ve got a lot of useful data to masquerade as a legitimate partner. Imagine how convincing these charlatans’ are. They own a few stolen healthcare records. They conduct research on LinkedIn and plan social engineering attacks on the target company.
It is little wonder these targeted attacks are on the rise. The amount of data that is now circulating and available on the black market is increasing. Just have a look what’s available on social media.
What can we do?
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about the origins of the attack. Leave that for law enforcement to coordinate. The threat is real and getting worse every year. Social engineering is still by far the best way to attack an organisation.
The only way to protect yourself is to educate staff, especially those in roles considered a high risk target. Security training is the best control you can put into an organisation to create a curious culture. One that is instinctively suspicious and willing to question.
The second thing to consider is the process you use for release of capital funds. If an email is enough justification to have your payroll send funds to a creditor, it’s time to upgrade your workflow. This basic process would need to include extra checks and balances.
Adding a couple of phone calls into your process is a good layer to add. This is where you check a transaction number or secure passcode. There are many cryptographic technologies that add transparency to the originator of the message. This shows who they say they are, based on signing the message with a key that you have provided them.
There are many ways to increase the security of these kinds of workflows. It’s a matter of seeing their weakness today. You can then engage with an expert who can design the security architecture of the process for you. Banks do this. When you request a payment from your account to a third party, you use your RSA token plus PIN to authorise. This authenticates that the transaction is being set up by the account holder.
The bottom line is if you’re hacked you only have yourself to blame. There is plenty of information available. The technology and evidence of criminal intent is at your disposal.
If you don’t believe you are a target, it is time to look in the mirror and change your ways before it is too late.
Let Online Journey know if you have any questions or concerns about your business or personal online security. We are here to help. Your one stop digital shop in Banyule.
So you’ve had the meeting, written the email and completed a blog post. But have you conveyed what you were trying to say clearly and concisely? Are you clear with your communication?
What process do you go through? What are the checks and balances you use before publishing?
Are your sentences long and confusing? How many acronyms do you toss in there? What is the subject? Is it too technical? Is there too much jargon?
How about the audience? Where are you taking them from and where do you want them to go?
A lot of the content we read here at Online Journey is just way to confusing. It takes too long to understand and doesn’t convey the essence of what the author is trying to get across. This also applies to face to face conversation.
I was at an event last week. There was a chap who was part of a five minute pitch fest. It seems to be the new black for the startup entrepreneur. You get your product or service out in the open in the hope that the story translates. It was an arena style setting. It seemed a daunting task to speak in front of this knowledgeable business type crowd. Our French friend got to the stage and did a pretty good job. Furthermore, the app his company had developed solved a real problem. It was not just another game, productivity or comparison app destined for Crap Brapps.
I was eager to chat with the gentlemen during the last breakout session of the day. We got chatting and one of my questions was around security. Before I got to the end of my sentence he blurted out, “We have end-to-end security (device and server and communications). This includes encryption, SSL/TLS, 2048 bits RSA certificate, forward secrecy, certificate pinning, passwords hashing and salting.
He spoke pretty fast too. Accent aside (my guess he was from the South of France, Antibes or close by) he could have throttled back just a hair. How about something like; “Your data is safe. We work with accredited partners who specialise in the security field. This minimises the risk of a data breach. It will allow you to rest easy in the comfort that your personal and private information will be secure.
Had I leant towards a technical discussion, acronyms and jargon may have been relevant. But this wasn’t the case.
It’s little wonder the person we are speaking with or the audience we write for is at risk of switching off. They stop listening, stop reading because we confuse them.
Let’s stack the odds of getting them doing what we want them to do back in our favor.
Don’t you love when someone asks you “so what is it you do”? There is often an enormous amount of indigestible answers given…..why? It doesn’t matter if you’re at your mates place or in a formal setting. People use fancy terms, trying to convince or persuade you. In the end it is not even clear what it is that they do, what the value proposition is or how is it even relevant to you? These are pretty crucial items don’t you think?
Let’s get simple, let’s get exciting and let’s get compelling. Why not weave a story into the mix. Story telling is a wonderful way for people to remember what it is you have said.
There are a couple of guidelines to storytelling. Be conversational. This applies whether you are telling a story or if it’s written. Don’t worry if you wander off-piste too much. A bit of color adds a dimension to your story. This helps paint a picture, visualisation if you like. Finally, don’t dive straight into your narrative. Lay a foundation. This adds congruence to your story.
How do you know you have succeeded? It’s when the person you have been telling the story/pitch etc, tells another person. They tell it in the exact same way as you did. It is so simple they can repeat it.
These days we live in a world of tools. There are some terrific tools out there to help you write in a clear, concise compelling copy. One we use is The Hemingway App.
It is most helpful if you want to make your writing clear. The Hemingway editor helps you focus on several key areas. Complex words or phrases, long sentences, adverbs and instances of passive voice.
Using simple language and having your purpose in mind helps.
Are you looking to get to the next step in conversation?
Try dumbing down your next piece of communication, see if it hits the mark. We love using content marketing as one of the pillars of your online presence. If you want to know more about how Online Journey can propel your business in the online world, get in contact.
Fill out our contact form and our team will nearly always get back to you within 24 hours?
- Image Credit – Alejandro Escamilla – alejandroescamilla.com
Digital is a large part of our day-to-day lives. Staying one step ahead of would be attackers should be more about prevention than cure. The defensive mindset is now thinking, when you are going to suffer a breach. Musing that “it only happens to others” (loss of data or stolen identity) is fraught with danger.
Social hacking is the first way hackers try to get your information. Unfortunately most of us are leaving the door wide open for the bad guys. We leave ourselves vulnerable to the would be attackers or anybody trying to steal our data. They try to get into your bank accounts, email, personal records etc.
There’s no way that we can cover every single thing, every single vulnerability.
We deconstructed some vulnerabilities in systems from a number of recent case studies. These are from people whose systems had been compromised. We have learnt a few things.
The way social hacking works is that hackers study your public information. You post a share on Facebook, the snippets on Twitter, the latest Instagram pose. What about the public records stored throughout the Internet? We all have information stored in Government files. Where you live, your property information for example. The hackers are chasing it all. The hackers collect as much information as they can. When they’re ready to guess, the profile makes it so much easier to break into your information. The bad guys go after your passwords. They go after your money or break into your website. They can narrow it down to a set group of parameters.
They look up things like your mother’s maiden name. If you’re friends with your Mum on Facebook, it’s not hard to figure out your mother’s maiden name. Other easy picks, your kid’s names, we all share pictures of our kids on Facebook or Instagram. Our birthdays seem such public information and common knowledge these days. It is like a game to tell people “Happy Birthday” on Facebook. Crazy things like your brother’s middle name get noted to make up a profile. They just study you and your friend’s list and they go out and “crawl” that information. A quick Google search can give these would be villains a ton of private personal information. This is information you hold close to yourself but allows them to break into your system.
Do this if you can tonight, take an hour; it will take you one hour. It will be one of the most important hours you spend keeping your online footprint secure. Don’t let convenience be one of the excuses that gets you get hacked.
Change all passwords tonight to something that’s cryptic. Your passwords should be scrambled and at least 12-15 characters long. We recommend using the longest allowable. If they let you use 21 characters, use 21 characters. The length of your password will protect you better than anything. Do not use any real words, real names or English language words in your passwords. Random.Org is a password generator that can help with non-predictable, sophisticated passwords.
Now we are aware that you all have a stack of passwords. If we make them even more complex how do we manage this? Be sure to check out Lastpass. You only need to remember one master password and you get access to your passwords anywhere you work. Only you know your master password so only you can access your encrypted vault. Online Journey uses Lastpass to help store all passwords and secure information.
The other quick win is to enable two-factor authentication. Most of your banks have this as an option, even Facebook have it. Some request that you use Google Authenticator. Use this where it is on offer.
Change your password and enable two-step authentication. By doing these two things, you’re boosting the way you protect your identity.
There are many areas you need to focus on when it comes to online security. These steps are a great start to help protect you with your online journey.
Food for thought:
- 47% of Australians had their data compromised in the last 12 months
• 600,000 unauthorised Facebook logins happen every day
• Identity theft happens every 2 seconds
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at Online Journey.
- Image Credit – LoboStudio – Hamburg – www.lobostudio.de
Have you ever wondered whether it would be a good idea to produce one of these content packed murals. Why bother? What is the point? Well here are the reasons that Online Journey thinks these poetic graphic masterpieces are a worthwhile project.
A Visual Playground
25% more consumers look at infographic placements more than standard banners.
People Look At Them More Than The Editorial
Consumers look at infographics two percent more than standard editorial content and spend the same number of seconds viewing.
Branding Opportunities Galore
93% of communication is non verbal. Hubspot presented a compelling infographic showing the effectiveness of these great tools.
They Drive Purchases
Infographics registered 18% higher lift in purchase intent than banner ads.
Infographics Are At The Heart Of Social Media Advertising
The largest social networks – from Facebook to Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr – have developed their business model around infographics.
Make sure your business understands the power of infographics so you can speak with your audience with maximum impact. With effective, high impact infographics that grab the attention of the people, you can sit back and watch as the magic of internet conveys your message in a unique and compelling way that strengthens your brand and identity online.
If you would like to explore the possibilities of designing your very own Infographic, get in touch now with Online Journey content services
Photography by: Jeshu John
Whether you are dealing with a web designer or an online marketing professional, your trusted digital partner should know which strategies are the most valuable and pertinent to use in your business.
One common mistake that online professionals make, including web designers and marketers, is to confuse demand generation with lead generation. This leads to marginal returns for their time and effort. But what exactly is the difference between the two?
Lead generation refers to activities that are utilised with the end goal of building a database which can be used for marketing. Essentially, your goal in lead generation is to attract new contacts.
Demand generation, on the other hand, entails the use of strategies toward generating a demand for your products or services. In short, the goal of demand generation is for customers to buy your products or services. It’s not a quick fix such as an email blast, a banner ad or a full-blown telesales campaign. Your demand generation strategy should be well supported by interesting, emotive, compelling content.
Many online marketers use content marketing for lead and demand generation. However, in most circumstances, using a single plan to achieve two different goals does not work. But what exactly are the errors to avoid when using content marketing for lead and demand generation?
One of the key mistakes is to create demand for content instead of creating an actual demand for products or services. Many businesses give access to their content by using registration forms. Narrowing down the number of potential customers who can gain access to content only limits the visibility of your products and services. This is the very content which should do the hard work of creating demand for your offerings.
Gain maximum opportunity from your content by eliminating the barriers between your content and prospective customers.
Another common mistake some marketers make is to expect their strategies to generate both demand and leads. Although this is possible, it is preferable to focus on one area: either lead or demand generation.
If your primary goal is to generate leads, you can create and deliver well-crafted content through email, telephone and other channels. You can also create industry analysis with limited branding to generate leads.
On the other end of the spectrum, if your goal is to create demand, the focus of your content should be shifted toward providing as much information about your offer as possible, ensuring value for the audience as they consume it(the content). Demand generation often comes after lead generation. With these leads, you’d want to follow up as quickly as you can.
Promoting your products or services the smart way gives you more opportunity to convert, which is the name of the game, helping to contribute towards your success.
Why bother putting much though into a domain name? More importantly, why should you give it more thought than your competition? For starters, your domain name is your opportunity to put your mark on the Internet; it can propel your online brand.
Choosing your domain name should be part of your strategy to building the visibility of your business on the World Wide Web. Keep it simple, short, easy to spell and memorable A well-chosen domain name can help your target audience find you easily and attract new customers. It is a factor in driving traffic to your sites. Not all prospective clients are search engine driven centric to find products, services, and businesses. The ideal domain name will have an impact on the success of your digital marketing strategy.
Your new domain name is going to be effective for not only your online brand but integrate with SEO and social media marketing? It is an integrated approach. So when the time comes to spin up a catchy and relevant domain name here are some things to avoid.
Don’t sit around and wait for the perfectly composed domain name.
It would be great to get, an exact-match domain name for your coaching practice, preferably dot com. unfortunately, the matching domain names for single words have already been registered. Purchasing an exact match that is already registered may cost you five or six figures.
You should always consider the pros and cons in reasonable detail before deciding on your domain name. When you’re launching a website, you don’t want to overlook certain fundamentals. If you agonise for too long deciding on what name to use and register, you can lose countless hours that could be better spent on building your business.
If a domain name is ready for the taking and it fits most of your criteria (e.g., relevance, simplicity, length, easy to type etc.), then own it. If you don’t, some other enterprising coach, business or individual might come after it, buy it, and sell it, seeing you go back to the drawing board.
Registering just one TLD.
Anticipating what your competitors might do is also something to consider. I am seeing a lot of the brands do this successfully; it is a defensive approach, securing IP that may slip into someone else’s hands. Some savvy businesses might buy your domain name with another TLD, or top-level domain. TLDs are the .com, .net part of the domain name that comes after the “dot”. Consider registering your domain in a few other TLDs, just to be sure competitors do not get the traffic intended for your site. The new domain name extension program is another option, .coach, .consulting, .services etc. This topic is another blog post, a very interesting area.
Putting hyphens in domain names.
When you have to add a hyphen to your domain name, it means you’ve waited too long to register and because someone else has possession of your domain, you now have no other option but to add a hyphen to distinguish it. Know that hyphens can have a negative SEO ranking, and they are often left out by web users.
Not reading it as one word.
Some domain names look innocent enough, separated by space. But once it’s on an SERP (search engine results page), it might read funny or unintentionally inappropriate as one word: penisland.net (for customised pens), mp3shits.com (for mp3 downloads), whorepresents.com (database for talent representatives), and speedofart.com (an art website).
If you need help with domain names for your coaching business, get in touch with Online Journey today. I’ll help you take the guess work out of choosing a great domain name so you can get coaching sooner rather than later.
For all businesses these days, big or small, whether they are a coaching practice, a traditional bricks and mortar business or exist entirely with web-based operations, it’s crucial to utilise various online marketing techniques to ensure success. Online marketing is deemed one of the most effective ways of communicating business messages and brand awareness. The group which you target are spending more and more time online. A recent study showed that most people these days spend at least seven hours a day online and a large chunk of that time is dedicated purely to checking social media accounts. Needless to say, if coaches want to target a market more precisely, they cannot do without underutilised, powerful digital marketing strategies.
A Facebook post or YouTube video may play a part in the conversion of a lead, but more often or not a phone call or form filling gets the credit for the sale. New research suggests that this is changing. The research conducted by Social Media examiner indicates that sales attributed to social media rose 7% to take the global figure to 3.3 billion in tracked social media sales. Other trends to come out of this research noted the continued rise of mobile social networking, the rise of video and the big impact the podcasts are having. It’s worth noting that trends in social media open new opportunities for coaches to really get the most out of their marketing initiatives.
And speaking of trends, they can definitely work to any coach’s advantage. But to edge out the competition and optimise their benefit, staying ahead of social media trends is key. How to do that? Here are five quick and easy tips.
- Use your current followers to obtain a solid idea of what they want, what they need, and what’s present (or not) in your social media service menu. Conduct surveys, read through the comments, track levels of engagement and satisfaction through likes, retweets, regrams, repins, etc.
- Stay updated with the changes that popular social media sites are about to implement. Facebook releases news about new functionalities months before the changes are implemented. Examine these changes and determine how you can work them into your marketing strategy and reinforce your brand.
- Establish relevance in all types of media. Always remember that despite the changing trends and search engine requirements, compelling content cuts through the noise. Make sure that however you present your content; it is evergreen or can stand the test of time in terms of importance and usefulness.
- Be consistent with your output. If possible, release new information through social media every day; you can automatically “lock in” your target audience so that any transition you make can be done smoothly. Tools such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social or Post Planner can help save time when working on the art of consistency. Also, with this tactic, your audience may even become oblivious, over time, to new things that others are doing. Be relevant, be different.
- Be creative, think outside the box. Utilising social media in a clever way could propel your business to the next level. We see a lot of examples out there. By taking your existing content and presenting it in a different way on the various social channels could be just the cut through you need. Smaller digestible content, 15 seconds, 1 – 2 mins. Use Slideshare, post a video on Vine, and look at new networks such as Snap Chat for opportunities.
Consider the trends in the ever changing landscape of social media. There is no room for complacency. Keep practicing, keep measuring. No one knows this better than a coach running his/her own practice. Remain on trend or ahead of the curve, complacency is not an option.
Times may have changed, but it does it constitute any excuse for people to ditch traditional business etiquette? Maybe because of cultural and technological trends, people can be more casual and wrapped up in themselves, even in a professional environment. This shouldn’t be the case. Businesses with people who know how to observe etiquette are able to stand out from the crowd and get ahead, demonstrating a professional manner which builds credibility. Meanwhile, those businesses and individuals who lack appropriate etiquette run the risk of putting off future or losing existing clients and surviving in business altogether.
Have you come across some people in business that seem to be deviating from proper business civility? It can be detrimental. The following are some of the most common misses in the etiquette department:
- Failing to observe introduction etiquette. – Do you stand and offer to shake hands when being introduced? Do you make a point to introduce your companions when you meet someone they don’t know? When being introduced to someone, do you make eye contact and concentrate your attention on the other person? If you fail to do these things, then you may be perceived as ill-mannered.
- Being impolite and arrogant. – It may seem trivial but as the saying goes, “treat others the way they’d want to be treated” Manners are free, use them. Do make the effort to be nice and respectful and not just to your colleagues and customers, but to absolutely everyone.
- Being late. – When you fail to show up on time, you imply that you have very little regard for the person you’re meeting and their time. It’s rude and annoying. What it can suggest is that you deem your time more important than the person you are meeting, how do you think they would feel? Being punctual is a wonderful trait that is sure to always win points in your favour.
- Failing to RSVP or return calls and emails. – If you miss a call, make sure you return it as promptly as you can. If you get an invite, RSVP even if only to send your regrets. Doing this shows that you place importance on a person, something that is always appreciated. Whether you follow a guide, 12, 24, 48 hours for example, always respond to any sort of communication (unless it is spam of course) the rise of social networks such as Facebook may have blurred the lines, make sure you stick to the high ground.
- Using phones and mobile devices while in somebody’s company. – It is obviously the age of digital communications, so fiddling around with a device has become so commonplace that people tend to brush it off as normal when they do it in different social situations, even at the dinner table. Contrary to popular belief, this is considered ordinary behaviour. That aside, you fail to be 100% totally present and miss out on the conversation.
- Failing to observe good table manners. – If you don’t want to turn people off, everyone, not just potential clients, you need to keep an eye on this area. Observe and ask about, it is an area that is slipping away in society.
- Being too self-absorbed – Businesses tend to do this both offline and online. Many small business websites make the mistake of focusing on the company instead of the potential client. Instead of going on and on about how great you are, emphasise how you can serve other people, solve their problems and create amazing value for them.
- Forgetting to be thankful – The art of appreciation is a powerful influencing factor in making a good impression. On the other hand, a sense of entitlement is very unattractive.
- Failing to reciprocate good will – I am sure you see it all the time, people always out for themselves? Having a reputation as a taker and not a giver is not good for business.
- Using texter abbreviations and failing to spell check – Business communication should always of the highest possible quality. If you think it’s okay to use SMS slang or to make grammatical or spelling errors, no matter how minor, then you may very well be driving people away.
In this day and age, it’s really hard to determine what the rules of conduct are. It’s important to keep in mind though that good manners never go out of style. When it doubt, stick to the traditional code of behaviour. A little effort goes a long way.
Fact: 80 percent of people read the headline, but only 20 percent will actually take the time to read the entire article.
If part of your digital communications is writing or having articles written for you, what does this mean? It tells you how important it is to invest in creating headlines that capture the interest of your target audience. When you fail to engage the reader with your title, you lose the opportunity to deliver your message.
But here’s the thing: Because of the promise and value that a headline carries, that headline may be the smallest part of your content, but it can be the trickiest to produce. Some seasoned copywriters admit that they use half of their time for writing the material and the other half on coming up with the most compelling headline.
So how do you create the right headline? No matter how many tips and tools you see around, there’s no single right or wrong way. Like any other content you write, your approach is dictated by your audience and your overall marketing strategy.
Here are a few proven and tested guidelines to live by, because they are universally effective:
- Catch their eye with figures. Use numbers in your title to get their attention. Numbers are helpful for readers as it forces you to explain your content in a way that’s simple and easy to understand.Samples: 5 Easy Ways to Write Better Headlines, Top 3 Tricks for Creating Great Titles
- Use power words. Some words have an emotional pull for most readers. Use these words wisely in your title to connect with the reader: Free, Fun, Easy, Essential, Hate, Love and Now.Samples: Fun and Easy Headline Writing Methods, Free Tools to Create Catchy Titles
- Use the pull of “now.” Create a sense of urgency when structuring your headlines to pull your readers into action (in this case, read your content).Samples: Headline Tricks You Should Use Now, Title Tips to Apply to Your Posts Today
- Optimise your headlines. Don’t be afraid of Small business and solo marketing teams can benefit from learning how to use keywords in an organic, authentic manner as part of an effective marketing strategy.Samples: (Keyword: digital marketing) The Digital Marketing Leader’s Guide to Writing Effective Headlines, Headline Formulas that Digital Marketing Winners Use
- Test, test, test. There are numerous headline-writing tips and tricks you can find if you do your research. Some have been affirmed and championed by the most successful digital marketers. But the only way to know if it works is to put it out there. Publish your headlines and see how they stand in the real world, and what kind of response they get from the audience you write them for.
Starting out with new clients’ needs some thought and preparation behind it or it could be all over before you even hit green for go. Your initial meeting dictates how well your business relationship will begin. For coaches, this first meeting is an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism, expertise, credibility and to show the client exactly how you working with them will help their journey toward a much brighter future.
To ensure that your meeting goes off without a hitch, it will help if you consider more than just dressing your best to impress the client. You should prepare before the meeting takes place so you can give your full attention and energy towards the meeting. Some corporates like to call these initial meetings “kick off “or “launch meetings” although I suspect you will be keeping things a little less formal.
Here are key things you need to keep in mind for a fruitful meeting with your new client:
Learn as much as you can about the client. Your goal is to show your client that your services will meet their needs —demonstrate to them that you have the ability to see beyond what the client can see. Before you can accomplish this, you need to know their goals and motivations inside and out — their past and current situation, their relationships etc.
By doing your “homework” before meeting the client you’ll be well prepared to frame the meeting and address exactly what the client needs. Your client will appreciate how you’ve dedicated time to understanding their concerns.
Pay sincere attention to what the client says. 85% of what we know we have learned through listening. This was one of the statistics found in a recent study by Forbes Magazine.
Another interesting statistic from the study was that humans generally listen at a 25% comprehension rate. Listening should be a top priority during your first meeting with a new client. This is, once again, a demonstration of your professionalism and commitment to your client. It shows integrity.
The other area we struggle with in today’s modern world is the desire to multi task. Put your mobile phone or other device away, or even better, shut them off. Of course eliminate any other distractions. You’re just trying to jam in new behaviors and not giving your client the respect time and attention they need.
Get everyone in your team on the same page in terms of the meeting’s agenda. Every member has to be informed of all the main points that will be covered during the meeting, as well as assigned their specific tasks, if any. This creates a smooth flow to the discussion, allowing it to proceed without delay. If you are working solo or you have some of your work outsourced, note taking will be the key to ensure message transfer.
Follow up the meeting with a short summary. When the meeting has concluded, it’s always diligent to send the client a brief report of the key points that were discussed during the meeting — it can be sent on email, not too long, bullet points are easy to read. This email is also an opportunity to thank the client for their participation and input, to send a pricing for services (if it is at this stage), and to agree next steps to be taken and how they will be accomplished.