Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Leaders Go First


network-of-business-leaders

We have all had the unenviable experience of dealing with leaders who lack integrity and, at the very least, it can be frustrating and more likely demoralizing. There again, great leaders have the ability to inspire us, and nothing is more inspiring than a leader who walks their talk.

In 2005, I was invited to speak at a global sales conference. I don’t often get the opportunity to do last-minute gigs, but that is exactly what this was. An executive I was mentoring at the time had apparently been speaking with someone they knew at this company and found out that their speaker had bailed. My client recommended me.

The gig was going to be taking place at the end of the week, and I had a rather unusual opening in my schedule. There seemed to be a synchronicity that made it work, so when the call came, I took the opportunity. Because I didn’t have my usual prep time, I only knew the most basic of information about this company and that it was a global sales conference.

Arriving at the venue that morning, I have to tell you, I was expecting a considerably larger group. But no matter. I was introduced to the global sales team leaders, who each ran their own division in different countries. I was also introduced to the CEO, a man by the name of Graham Kill. Graham clearly had the poise of a leader, while at the same time the people around him seemed to have an obvious respect for who he was as an individual. Graham seemed both grounded and approachable, and I took an instant liking to him.

As I finished my presentation, Graham approached me and thanked me; then he asked if I would like to join the team for dinner that night. I was honored, and I replied that I would. Entering the restaurant, I was motioned by Graham to sit next to him. After a day of team-building exercises, my morning presentation, and the first sips of wine, everyone was in a great mood, making for a dinner that was lots of fun for all. During dinner, Graham and I got to know each other a little better. He and I got into some meaty discussions about a range of subjects including our thoughts about leadership in general and personal leadership styles. I clearly remember a point of real rapport came as we both spoke of how the foundation of great leadership was reliant upon self-knowledge and the necessity to lead one’s self.

Graham, being a true leader, had done some self-inquiry. However, as a quality leader, he understood that there’s always another level of depth. He began to inquire about the strategies and processes I offered. We spoke about how I could come in and work with his C-suite executives, and how I have worked with companies who were discovering the power of Vulnerable Leadership in generating Fierce Loyalty in their own teams.

Even though he can be very playful, Graham is the CEO of a multi-national organization. As such, he’s a fairly cool, calm, and collected kind of guy, with a James Bond-esque demeanor. In his calm but nonetheless warm manner, he began to inquire whether I did this kind of work one-on-one or only with teams. I shared with him that I have an exclusive and extremely intensive process where I work one-on-one with a leader. This process is called The Personal Excellence Architecture for Leaders. It requires that individual to be with me exclusively, without interruption of any kind, for up to twenty-four hours straight. The process demands a level of open vulnerability that most people, let alone leaders, are unfamiliar with. Following that initial process, there is a further six months of mentoring and coaching for integration.

As you can imagine, that level of intensity alone is enough to sort out those who are genuinely committed from those who are merely interested. It clearly shows which true leaders are all about action and which are just interested—“the tire kickers” who will have a myriad of reasons why they can’t do it. Within a week, I received a call from Graham saying, “Let’s do this thing.” Within a month, we had set up to meet on neutral ground on his way back from some other destination and go through his PEAL (Personal Excellence Architecture for Leaders).

I, of course, won’t go into the specifics of the process, and I can’t share what Graham discovered. However, what I can tell you is that Graham became both deeply aware and extremely mindful of the beliefs and thought processes he had been having and the behaviors he had been doing that were either limiting or expanding him: the things that were either creating distance and disengagement or connection and engagement with others. And now he had the tools to focus on and use to move toward the latter.

The following summer, Graham brought us to Europe to work with his executive leadership team, who were flown in from their different countries. This would be my opportunity to see the true level of integration Graham had applied around those he was leading. In the lead-up months before, Graham and I had discussed the outcomes he was looking for. Right at the top of the list was something so many leaders in his position face challenges with: silos.

As a company grows, it’s natural to go from everyone wearing multiple hats and communicating about everything, to the development of departments and teams. As exciting as this can be, one of the most common challenges is that internal departments become adversarial, in essence building silos around themselves. As a result, departments stop communicating with each other. Graham had made it crystal clear that he wanted me to find a way to pull the silos down and open up fluid communication between departments and the leaders that ran them.

As we set up that morning, Graham and I took some time to sit and catch up. He asked me, “What can I do to assist so that this training will have the best possible outcome?” My answer was short and to the point: Leaders go first! So when asked to be vulnerable and open up, leaders go first and lead by example.
Without hesitatio
n, Graham agreed to do so, and then did it. In doing so, he assisted me in creating the safety needed for his executive team to embrace the power of vulnerable leadership. People began opening up about the challenges they faced with their teams, with each other, and most importantly, with themselves. However, it should be noted that this was not about finger-pointing at others or even self-berating. This was about vulnerability and sincere accountability.

So when a team member was struggling with another team member’s way of being or leadership style, instead of making the other person wrong, the first person voiced it as their own challenge, a challenge that they themselves were responsible for resolving.

At the end of the five-day retreat, not only were the silos down, but each person felt they genuinely knew the other members of the team. And it went further. Certain members of the team who had simply resigned themselves to the idea they would never get along with another particular team member found themselves connecting so deeply with that person that they felt like this was someone they trusted, respected, and even considered a friend.

Caring, Compassion and Vulnerability
As I said earlier, the capacity for genuine caring, compassion, and vulnerability will define the leaders of tomorrow. As much as one of the major roles of a leader is to inspire and motivate people, that inspiration will wear off faster than a fake tan in a bubble bath if the leader hasn’t had the courage to go through—and continue to go through—a process of self-inquiry. In other words, they must be willing to look under their 
own hoods. By virtue of that, it was Graham’s willingness to get comfortable being uncomfortable as leader and step forward into the power of vulnerability with me, and then his team, that made the training we did a raving success, every bit as much as my leadership of the group.
 
Why? Because genuine courage is contagious.

Key Point To Remember In Training Others:
  • Great leaders go first. They bypass “interested” and go straight to “committed.”
  • Vulnerability and accountability are best friends
  • Get comfortable being uncomfortable
  • Self-knowledge is the cornerstone of emotionally intelligent leadership
  • Commit to becoming brilliant at working out why you are actually upset about any given situation. (Alternatively, get help in learning how to do so.)
  • Emotionally intelligent leaders don’t play the blame game, nor do they let rambling, negative self-talk take control of their minds.
  • Make finding your drivers, motives, and moods an adventure.
  • Courage is not only inspiring, it’s contagious.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

5 Steps to Improve the Quality of Your Content

 

Image courtesy of (Jomphong)/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 
To stay relevant in any industry, you have to create and distribute content as often as possible. But how much is too much, when it comes to delivering your words of wisdom to your audience?

These days, there is a very fine line between any type of method of self-promotion conducted online and the purest form of spam, if you want to send out content regularly without offending any spam haters. Naturally, you should do your best not to cross this line. At the same time, you also have to monitor and improve the quality of the ideas that you’re generously sharing with your public.

The biggest issue with quantity is the poor quality. Run-of-the-mill, inaccurate or poorly written content will only jeopardize your good name in your industry, making your readers question your capabilities and reliability.

Quality vs. Quantity: Which One Should You Sacrifice?
Researching, writing, editing and posting every piece of content takes time. Every single step involved in this process is extremely important and should not be eliminated or compressed to preserve your resources. According to a post on Business to Community, brands that produce more content have a greater chance of making their voice heard and establishing a deeper connection with their fans, followers, evangelists and other important groups of people.

5 Steps to Take to Improve the Quality of Your Content
At the same time, if you were to choose between quantity and quality, you should always choose the latter. Lowering the bar for content quality is never a winning strategy in the long run. On the contrary, this counterproductive tactic can only affect your brand’s reputation and impact your marketing goals. If you’re striving to improve the quality of your web writing, here are five easy steps that could help you reach your target.

  1. Refine Your Definition of Quality Content. What does the concept of “quality content” actually mean to you? Naturally, when it comes to defining this term, you think about compelling writing that sells, sells and then sells some more. But undoubtedly, this interpretation is a bit vague. When in need of a more detailed explanation, go back to your previous content analysis and extract the numbers that interest you the most (shares, conversions, number of views and so on). This will help you differentiate high-quality content pieces from the ones that have performed poorly. What are the attributes of your written masterpieces? What kind of message do they convey? What is the writing tone? What topics are covered? What kind of calls to action are included? Use the answers to these questions to perfect your definition of quality content and come up with a series of guidelines meant to improve your writing. To make sure that everything goes as planned in the long term, don’t forget to audit the overall performance of your web content on a regular basis.
  2. Do Your Homework and Do Not Neglect the Tiny Details. Research is the key to success in any field of activity; therefore, always try to find out everything there is to know about a certain topic of interest before putting pen to paper. As Content Marketing Institute indicates, a clear insight into a high-interest matter, correlated with in-depth keyword research and an understanding of your audience and main competitors can help you raise the quality of your content pieces virtually instantly. Also, no matter how little time you have, don’t overlook the aspects that you may be tempted to think of as insignificant details, such as distributing keyword terms across your web content, tweaking those long paragraphs or tightening a title to amplify its power of seduction.
  3. Monitor and Support the Efforts of Your Content Creators. Raising the quality of the web content that you publish regularly is no easy task. As a matter of fact, this process involves several important steps, like having an editor look over your content, scheduling with editorial calendars and brainstorming topics with your team. Quality content involves teamwork at its finest. A word of advice here: don’t look at your content marketing as the last thing to do on your marketing agenda! According to Hubspot, a proactive attitude and proper planning can help you motivate and educate your contributors and lay the foundation for a stronger, more successful content team.
  4. Emphasize Quality over Quantity. Some business owners are far from being consistent. They stick to a tiresome, predictable and unsuccessful one-post-per-month routine and wonder why they constantly fail to achieve their objectives. Others fall into a different kind of trap: they are unable to filter, prioritize and materialize their ideas. At the end of the day, they “infoxicate” their followers with dozens of tweets, at least ten Facebook posts and a plethora of poorly written blog entries every single day. In reality, both extremes can be dangerous, so it would be best to take the middle course. To make matters even more complicated, some businesses blog every day (or vlog, or photograph) – through some content medium – and never spam or over post. So the question is this: how often should you actually post on social media platforms without annoying the people who follow you? Although there is no exact formula that you can apply to come up with an accurate answer to this question, you can get an idea of how often your audience would like to hear from you by taking a closer look at the infographic published by Buffer. According to this source, 5 posts on Pinterest, 3 tweets, 2 Facebook posts and 3 Google+ can become the main ingredients of your own customizable recipe for success that you can apply when it comes to distributing your content through social networking websites.
  5. Try to See (and Write Down) Things from Your Readers’ Perspective. Need another great piece of advice to elevate the quality of your writing? Cultivate your empathy. Brands that stay self-centered have minimal odds of survival in overly competitive markets where companies basically fight for the same pairs of eyeballs. As Advertising Age points out, businesses that won’t stop talking about themselves are running in circles without getting any closer to their most ambitious goals. The same goes for companies that automatically try to force feed their readers with the same kind of content, over and over again. Would you eat the same meal three times a day, every single day? After the first week, you would practically be begging for a change of menu. When it comes to crafting content, keep in mind that location and timing are everything. Also, invest in research that will highlight the likes, dislikes, needs and expectations of your targeted audience. By putting your prospects exactly where they belong, in the center of their unique online experiences, you can elaborate higher-quality content that manages to establish an emotional connection with your readers.

Can Quality and Quantity Be Considered the Perfect Halves of the Same Whole?
In an ideal world, quantity and quality should be a part of the same picture. But sometimes reality slaps any business owner in the face, reminding him that staffing shortages, an overcrowded schedule and budget limitations stand in the way of content creation efforts. In this context, should you lower your quality standards and publish recycled content as often as possible hoping that your readers won’t notice or should you take the time you need to produce, edit and deliver truly amazing written materials?

Quantity is a key factor that you should consider while creating and setting up your content strategy. If you want your writing to appear in search engine results, attract more visitors and perform better online, you have to churn out web content on a regular basis. But at the same time, you should be willing to sacrifice quantity for the sake of quality at any given point in time. High-quality content is the reason why your prospects are landing on your page in the first place; this is also your strong point allowing you to build credibility and trust, two invaluable assets that define your position in your market. Why choose between quality and quantity when you can have both in the very same package with a cherry on top? By hiring a team of professional writers you could prevent any potential quality and frequency issues and surprise your readers with fresh writing that is easy to read, informative, educational and entertaining at the same time.

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Budding New Role for the Internet of Everything

 

Internet_of_Things

Even vegetables can be smart in the Internet of Everything (IoE). Amid the massive growth of connected devices expected between now and 2020, a small but increasing number of sensor technologies are being put to agricultural or horticultural use.

Stroll through the leafy boulevards of Mollet del Vallès in Catalunya, Spain, for example, and what you may not realize is that the health of the trees around you is being monitored through a smart system installed by the Spanish public sector services firm Urbaser.

In Avilés, northern Spain, a similar system allows Urbaser technicians to take ultrasound ‘x-rays’ of tree trunks to check the plants are well. Spotting early signs of rot or other problems is not just important for the health of the plants.

If undetected, a rotten tree could break or fall and potentially hurt people nearby, particularly in an urban setting. A similar problem can occur when a tree becomes too top-heavy for its roots, so that it becomes more likely to topple over in high winds.

An Australian firm called ENSPEC has come up with a smart sensor system designed to overcome just this issue.

Its Treesensor system is “the only method available to measure root-plate stability using natural wind forces, scientifically,” according to Craig Hallam, managing director.

“Treesensor is designed to read accelerometers,” he explains. “The data is stored on memory cards then uploaded to Treesensor in the cloud. There is also a software version to load on computers. It allows the arborist to determine if a tree is within the limits of stability.”

These arboriculture applications are still in their infancy. In agriculture, though, the use of wireless sensor technology is already popular.

Sol Chip, which makes power systems for IoE devices, says: “The use of sensors helps to monitor nutrients in the soil, humidity, temperature, density of weeds, and factors affecting production.”
The application of technology to farming has even led to the rise of new disciplines such as precision agriculture, where crop growth is carefully monitored and controlled through the use of satellite imaging and sensors.

This transition from ‘green digits‘ to ‘green digital’ in agriculture is credited with helping to get young people back into farming. Rural youngsters are returning to farmsteads because of the intellectual challenges arising from the use of new technologies.

Another big area for IoE in agriculture is traceability systems. To date, RF identity tagging has been most extensively used to track livestock, but recently the Indian government has been studying the possibility of introducing a tracking system for mangoes.

‘Mangonet‘, as it is being named, is designed to help India circumvent a European ban on mango imports that was introduced in May 2014 because of fruit fly infestations.

Indian farmers resorted to technology to control the outbreak in their crops, logging field notes on iPads and introducing a pest surveillance system called HortiSAP (for Horticulture Pest Surveillance and Advisory Project), developed by the Indian National Centre for Integrated Pest Management.
Even so, nowadays you don’t need to take a trip to India, or even to your local farm, if you want to see plants benefiting from network technology. With Parrot‘s Flower Power sensor system you can offer a dose of IoE to your floral friends at home.

“Flower Power monitors the four parameters that are crucial for your plant’s health: sunlight, soil moisture, ambient temperature and fertilizer levels, parameters people cannot really verify by themselves,” says Parrot’s PR director, Vanessa Loury.

“Via this application, you’ll be able to associate the sensor to the plant you’d like to monitor, out of a library of 8000 plants, trees, and vegetables. This means the sensor will know exactly what your plant requires to grow.”

Loury says Flower Power was originally designed for “rookie gardeners, expert gardeners, or involuntary perpetual plant killers,” but the company now wants to “make precision agriculture and horticulture accessible to everyone.”

Whether it is in the field, roadside, or living room, what is clear is that the trend for Internet-connected plants is set to blossom.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

5 Digital Payment Portals for Businesses

 

money

Over the past 20 years, technology has morphed in countless ways to integrate with the daily lives of the average consumer. As time hurdles forward, more and more of the transactions and
communications that used to take place in the physical world are moved into the digital space. Today, with every 30 seconds that pass approximately 1.2 million dollars is spent online. These numbers are a true testament to just how immersed people have become in the digital world.

The explosive expansion and deep interconnectivity brought on by these technological advancements has spawned a new kind of digital currency that will more than likely one day replace physical monies completely. As society continues to move to all things digital, it has become more important than ever for businesses to keep pace and implement an online payment portal to manage all of the ingoing and outgoing transactions between organizations and their consumers.

The big problem that most run into is which payment method is most suitable for utilization with that company’s needs.

To ensure that your business is not left in the proverbial dust, here are 5 of 2015’s most notable and watch-worthy digital payment modalities:

PayPal
Paypal is without a doubt the world’s single most popular and widely used payment platform. The massively recognized method of payment, although not new to the game, is the largest in the market with 153 million accounts across 203 countries that span the globe. Within the past year alone, PayPal has processed roughly $203 billion in payments, only attributing $67 billion of which to eBay.
The payment goliath that is PayPal is now poised to grow even more massive as eBay sets it free to be an independent company. PayPal’s growth was stunted for years due to its association with parent company eBay, which was often viewed as a competitor by potential prospects. With this barrier removed, PayPal is free to expand its services to companies such as Alibaba, Amazon.com, and many others.

Optimal Payments
Based in the Isle of Man, Optimal Payments is a trusted online payment portal currently utilized all across the world including places like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The efficient currency gateway is used by consumers and organizations alike to safely process payments in over 200 countries and territories, allowing for billions to be managed by the company every single year.

Last month, Optimal Payments announced the acquisition of rival competitors the Skrill Group, which is one of Europe’s foremost electronic payment processing platforms. This acquisition allows Optimal Payments to continue expansion of the service into new markets and areas of the globe. With the ability to now process payments in 41 different currencies and a new combined company annual revenue of $697 million, Optimal Payments will continue to explode with widespread utilization in 2015.

Bitcoin
Bitcoin has had somewhat of a controversial ride since its conception and that trend continues to this day as the currency ends the previous year at just 39% of the perceived value that it began with. This, however, is not nearly as bad as it sounds when put into context. It is true that the value of the bitcoin conversion to U.S. dollars has dropped 67% in the last year, however, the value of the digital coin is up overall by 1,879% when compared to the previous two years. Additionally, Bitcoin has seen substantial growth in several sectors, including the number of bitcoin related jobs and startups that have emerged.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive number that surrounds exactly how many startups were created. However, data provided by AngelList to Fortune confirmed 566 registered startups in 2014. In 2012 only 13 bitcoin startups were listed on AngelList. This massive boom in the startup sector means just one thing for Bitcoin; the digital currency will experience massive growth over the next couple of years.

Apple Pay
Since its release back in October of 2014, ‘Apple Pay’ (https://www.apple.com/apple-pay/) has had a swarm of companies eager and willing to pledge their allegiance to Apple. Banks, retailers, and other companies are continually jumping on the bandwagon on what seem like a daily basis. The payment portal for Apple provides iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and Apple Watch users the ability to pay for items quickly and digitally via a technology known as NFC or near-field communication.

Now Apply Pay is set to expand its services to the north in Canada this fall. Canadian bankers, however, are concerned about fraud protection issues after earlier this year unusually high fraud rates occurred from thieves using stolen information via Apple Pay.

Apple and several other banks insist that this situation was blown out of proportion and have dismissed any concerns surrounding the matter, according to CNNMoney. Whatever the case may be, rest assured that one of the largest tech companies on the planet will undoubtedly find a way to keep their customer information safe and make Apple Pay a success.

Facebook Messenger Payment Feature
As reported in this column last month, social media platforms are now starting to enter the payment processing arena. One example of this is the official announcement that Facebook has added a payment feature to the already hugely popular Facebook Messenger application.

Now users of the communication app can link a debit or credit card directly to the service and utilize it to send money to one another just as easily as a message is sent. These “peer-to-peer payments” as they are called will initially only be able to occur between individuals who are currently friends on the social network. Given Facebook’s reach, however, and its associated application, this portal is sure to open up to many other organizations and markets within a relatively short period of time.
Payment processing via social media is sure to provide a level of convenience and versatility that will continue to evolve social platforms into overall lifestyle platforms.

The digitalization of currencies has already begun and it is only a matter of time before all of it is digitized. When there is no more physical money to be dealt with, the only question that will remain is which platform to utilize for you and your organization’s transactions. Implement one of these payment portals for your organization and keep up with the world that is quickly becoming electronic through and through.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How to Get Your Website Ready for Google’s Major Mobile Update

 

Google search

Google is at it yet again. The search engine giant is rolling out a huge update and causing major waves in the content world!

I’ve talked about the various coming changes and even given suggestions on how to do a content audit long before Google does it, to keep your site clear of any penalties. Just like before, I am attempting to update all of you all on the Google changes to help you prepare your websites before it hits. Let’s take a look at just what this update is, how it will impact you, and how to prepare your website to meet it.

What’s the New Google Update This Time?

It does seem that Google is always updating, but really in the end it does come out being for the good of websites and searchers alike. This particular update seems to be similarly beneficial, but just what is it? Google is going to be issuing a new update in April that focuses completely on mobile users and searchers. More people seem to be checking their favorite sites on their smartphones or tablets, which is making Google realize just how important an update is for mobile users.

This is an incredibly large update – so large that Google wants to make sure everyone knows and can prepare before the change is issued! Let’s take a look at this mobile update in detail to help you know what to expect and how to prepare your site for the impending changes.

Why is Google Focusing on a Mobile Update?

I already covered this briefly above, but the reason they are focusing so hard on mobile is because mobile usage rates are growing quickly. Take a second to think about it. When you go on the subway, stand in line at your favorite eatery or go to a concert, what do you see? People on their smartphones with their faces lit up eerily by that blue light. Google wants to make sure its users can have a great user experience when searching on mobile devices, and, therefore, are making it imperative for your site to be mobile-friendly.

Will this Impact Your Site?
It will only impact your site if you are not already mobile-friendly. However, according to the Moz article I shared above, this update should not and will not impact your desktop rankings if someone searches from their computer. You’re in the clear with that! You will get penalized when it comes to mobile searches, though, which will steadily become detrimental as time progresses.

An interesting aspect that Search Engine Land points out is that you need to make sure all web pages on your site are mobile-friendly. This algorithm will go page by page, and if you have ten pages that convert to mobile and ten that don’t, you will see penalties for those ten non-mobile pages. This is quite disconcerting to many different businesses, especially if they don’t know if their websites are mobile-friendly.

How to Know if Your Website is Already Mobile-friendly?

It isn’t difficult to find out how mobile-friendly your site is because Google is helping in that regard. The search engine giant has provided a Mobile-Friendly Test for web pages but remember to enter in all of your company pages to ensure they are all mobile-ready and friendly. You can also do a basic experiment on your own mobile device by going to your web page and seeing if it converts to mobile or not. Many web page hosting sites do give you the ability to choose a plug-in to help convert your pages, but you need to ensure it is working if you use one. You can also check out a few other mobile test tools provided by Hubspot!

How Can You Prepare Your Website for this Mobile Update?

So what can you do to prepare your website for the Google mobile update? I am going to take a look at a few ways that can help you create a great mobile-friendly website, helping you beat yet another Google penalty.
  1. Use Mobile-Friendly Plugins to Convert Your Page. Most hosting sites allow for businesses to transform their website from a desktop version to mobile through plugins. The most common is the responsive design plugin, which is both affordable and the best one for Google’s update. One of the main reasons Google prefers and recommends responsive mobile design is because it helps them to assess the mobile friendliness of your website, and makes things easier overall for all involved.
  1. Create Mobile-Friendly Images. When you add images to your website, you should make sure that they are mobile-friendly. This means that they shouldn’t be too large, because that can take a significant amount of download time or distort the page once it loads. A great way to do this is to follow this guide from Site Point, which discusses how to make sure your images stay a decent size when people come to your mobile site.
  1. Fix Basic HTML for Smartphone Usage. In the Site Point article mentioned above, the author also states that fixing basic HTML on your mobile site will significantly help with smartphone usage. When someone is using a smartphone to access a web page, he/she will use your website differently. We never use keyboards with our smartphones and many like to tilt their screen to get a better view of a website in landscape mode. If your site is not prepared for any of this, it could be problematic for your users.

Get to Work: Become Mobile-Friendly!

While this update might seem overwhelming since it is so large and impacts a huge number of websites, it is still a great move on Google’s part. It doesn’t look like mobile technology is going anywhere any time soon, and we all need to make sure we are prepared for that, providing excellent access to our customers. If you are looking to help improve your site to get it mobile-friendly through content, then look no further. Express Writers can provide you excellent content that can work for both desktop browsing and mobile. Take a look to find something perfect for your business!


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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Five Tips to Take Content Viral

 

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net
 

Going viral is a huge goal for many brands. It is the dream result every time we hit the ‘post’ button on our social media status updates. With billions of users online each day, the possibility is always there. Yet so many entrepreneurs never see more than a few hundred likes on their content. What is the key to getting your content to reach a larger number of people and ‘go viral?’

There are hundreds of thousands of different brands online, each one trying to be seen and heard by a large audience. The competition for followers is a heavy one. A single piece of viral content can take an unknown person or business and place them in the spotlight.

The result would be a flood of new followers and, among them, new customers.

Many people are searching for the right formula to instantly produce a piece of viral content. There are plenty of blogs and websites that claim to have the answer. But the truth is that getting content to go viral is not an exact science.

A lot of it is pure chance. But there are things that you can do in order to give your content the best chance to be shared across a larger, more widespread audience.

Be more personal
Even though you want to reach a large number of people, you should post as though you are trying to speak to a single person. Focus on the conversation that you want to have with that one individual.
Do not be broad and general with the content you are posting. That is the kind of content that is quickly passed over in a news feed.

Do the split test
Not everyone in your audience is going to respond to the same headlines. This is why doing a split test is helpful.

Come up with a few different wordings for a headline. Do a poll to see which of the headlines is the most enticing. When you know what is going to draw the reader in, then you will know how to post it in a way that is more likely to be shared.

Give them something they can use
Do not use your posts as a place to ramble on about yourself. People want to gain something valuable from your content. This could be something as simple as having a good laugh. Maybe they are hoping to learn something important from what you post. Do not disappoint your audience by making them read content that gives them nothing at the end. This will keep them from reading and sharing anything else you post in the future.

Trim the fat
Are you guilty of going a little overboard? Maybe your Facebook posts are more like blog posts. Or you upload YouTube videos that last about an hour. Do your Twitter followers have to click a link in order to read your entire thought?

People are busy. They do not want to cut through a lot of fat just to get to the meat of your content. Get rid of any unnecessary parts in your posts. Give them what they need and don’t worry about surrounding it in fluff.

Cross your mediums
This is what going viral really means. You surpass one platform and reach across many.
If you have some solid blog content and a large readership, try to write a piece for an authority website. This gets your name out there as an authority and you reach a new audience.
Share your posts on more than one social network. Tweet your links, share your videos on Facebook. Get your fans involved in sharing.

Good content does not go viral on its own. It needs to be cultivated into something worth sharing. You need headlines that will spark an interest and produce a reaction.


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Friday, April 10, 2015

How to Calculate Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC) in Ecommerce




Coca_calculatorThe cost of customer acquisition (CAC) means the price you pay to acquire a new customer. In its simplest form, it can be worked out by:
Dividing the total costs associated with acquisition by total new customers, within a specific time period.
 
Do not get this metric confused with cost per action (CPA), as there is a strong distinction between the two. In ecommerce, cost per action is typically the amount you pay to convert a customer - i.e to make a sale - but this relates to both new and returning customers.
 
CAC is all about acquiring new customers. See how even Google refers to CPA as ‘the cost you are willing to pay to make a conversion’ NOT to acquire a new customer.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

How To Avoid the 5 Most Common Mistakes Causing Claim Denials

 


Top 5 Claim Mistakes

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) found that better-performing medical groups average just a 4.05% claims denial rate.

Is your practice’s denial rate above four percent? If so, it could be time for a checkup of your internal claims processing. Manual errors, input oversights and timing issues create more denials than many practices realize.

Keep an eye on the following common reasons for insurance denials to see if you can tighten up your billing approach and lower your denial rate:

Claims with Missing InformationIf your staffers leave certain encounter data out of a claim, it could come back to haunt you in the form of an insurance denial.

A detail-oriented payer will notice omissions and count such errors as reason enough to deny a claim. Claims missing a modifier or other information, such as prior authorization, rank as reasons #6 and #9, respectively, in Medical Economics’ 15 Common Reasons for Claim Denials.

Make sure your employees fill in all required areas on your claim forms. Have your billers double-check commonly missed fields, like patient subscriber number, and rectify such errors before transmittal.

Claims Not Filed on Time
Timely filing denials
are probably the most frustrating kind. Because every payer operates on its own filing schedule, it can be easy to miss a timing window if you’re not careful. Track and document each payer’s receipt of claim submissions when possible.

Sometimes claims are unfairly denied for timely filing, like when you submit a claim properly but the insurance carrier says they do not receive it before their deadline. Hold payers accountable for their timely receipt of your transactions.

Non-Specific ClaimsIt can’t be said enough: Coding to the highest level of specificity remains the best way to reduce denials.

A diagnosis must be coded to the absolute highest level for that code, meaning the greatest number of digits for the chosen code. If the medical billing requires a five-digit code and you send a four-digit code, you may get back a denial.

Facilitate a dialogue between your billers and coders. Make sure your billers know what truncated codes look like so they can catch them before claim submission.

Illegible ClaimsEven if most of your payers accept electronic claims, a few probably still cling to paper and require manual submissions. Focusing primarily on electronic claims might cause you inadvertently to overlook those paper forms.

Any messy or illegible print claims become problematic for payers who scan them into their systems upon receipt. Make sure your billers always look over claims and make sure they’re readable before sending them off.

Claims Below Payer Standards
Some payers may be more demanding and sensitive to the claim issues we outlined so far. Although ideally every claim you send is perfect, paying particular attention to the requirements of your pickiest payers helps you elevate the quality of all of your claims. You can also group your transactions by payer to figure out which insurers deny your claims most often.

Claim was Denied… Now What?Appeal! The MGMA found that only 35% of providers appeal denied claims. Because payers often make mistakes and deny claims in error, that percentage should be much higher.

Inspect every single denied claim to make sure it’s correct and develop a denial management system in your practice. Task an employee with appeal duties. Otherwise, you could be allowing 4% or more of the money you’re owed to slip through the cracks.

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