Tag Archives: Tips & Tricks

How Businesses Are Wasting Money on Marketing That Doesn’t Work

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Businesses Are Wasting Their Money Marketing That Doesn't Work - Eminent SEO

This is probably the conversation I have the most frequently with marketing industry peers and clients. It is just a repetitive chat; the subject gets people animated, agitated, confused and eyes-bulging, vein-popping frustrated. Why? Because nobody listens.

Here’s one note of caution for starters: If you think you know marketing because of a Google search or two, you don’t know squat!

Marketing and Sales People Are the Biggest Suckers on the Planet

We’re in this conundrum together – because there isn’t one answer on how to do marketing. Instead, it’s essential that you understand the options and how they work together (or fail).

Even with the best industry gurus on your side, watching the SEO analysis month over month and staying current with the latest Google and Facebook algorithm shifts, there are no guarantees that your creative campaigns or media placements are going to work. Depressed yet?

Here’s what I can tell you. Marketing, just like people, shifts. What works today can be gone with the wind of tomorrow’s latest and greatest trend. Yaaass. This business is not for the emotionally thin-skinned. In other words, grow a pair, do some due diligence and have fun.

Beware of Snake Oil Yes Men (and Women) That Guarantee Anything

Recently, I had a client call me on the phone (old school, I know) to share his excitement. He’s got a handful of websites and just got a call from this guy in Chicago who swears he can deliver a branded TV commercial and media placement on 30 some odd stations. Wait for it… all for 1,000 bucks.

You’re laughing, right? It gets better. This guy also says he will guarantee 300 leads, calls that will go directly to my client’s call center.

Remember what I said earlier about there being no guarantees? Yeah. It applies here. So I called the guy in Chicago. I told him that if he wanted to swear to God that 300 leads are guaranteed, it was on him. I wouldn’t bet on that and I don’t think the Lord would appreciate being the brunt of a wager in futility.

How did I call him out? With one easy question: “Can you send me the list of media channels where the commercial will run?” I asked with a snarky smile. He replied, “No.”

This was a sketchy operation with phony leads that would undoubtedly go nowhere. Trust (sort of), then verify. Works like a charm.

Businesses are wasting money on #marketing because they do not think QUALITY over QUANTITY.Click To Tweet

Secret Keywords Are Like a Losing Game of Hide and Seek

Ever since Google has been cracking down on those who try to outsmart it (some do so successfully, but it’s temporary) one such solution appears as a “miracle grow” for SEO rankings. Watch out for the companies that say they will boost your presence by using targeted keywords strategically placed and hidden within your fine print of terms and conditions or right-hand-side testimonial content, for example.

Do really you think this is smarter than the peeps and tech that crawl websites for Google? Naw, probably not.

Marketing That Doesn’t Work: More Isn’t Mo’ Better

Marketing Tactics To Use In 2018 Keywords Video Content - Eminent SEOOverconsumption comes by us honestly. We’re Americans. It’s what we do. While some people have an issue with taking in excessive amounts of food, alcohol, drugs, toxic relationships or shoes (yes, shoes), many business owners believe that a handful of websites to represent their product offerings are better than just one.

Moreover, these duplicate (basically that’s what they are) sites house essentially the same content as one another. Not only is this so passé and ineffective; it’s naughty.

Why the marketing tactics mentioned so far don’t work isn’t just about cheesing up our industry standards. Our core audience detests it. Millennials are now the largest group of consumers. If your business doesn’t understand this audience, you might as well hang it up right now.

If you’d rather get a clue as to what you should be doing to get their appeal and more accolades for your product or service, keep reading.

Pander (I Mean Cater) to Your Audience

Millennials can be cruel. Maybe not cruel, but brutally honest. They don’t understand the merits of privacy (thank you MySpace, and now Twitter and Facebook) and believe that everything is subject to discussion, rant and opinion on the web. If your product or service doesn’t cut it, you’ll know, quickly. Here’s what to do to angle it all in your favor.

Invite the Criticism

Take a deep breath. Swallow that lump of insecurity in your throat. Be bold enough on social media to have a unique presence and put posts out there that speak to who you are and what you stand for. Take the heat that comes.

Pay attention; it’s the most inexpensive way to get an understanding of what’s working or not…and it’s ideal for discovering gaping holes of opportunity. Although, social media is not the place for ongoing product pitches. It’s about having a personality and building a following.

Make Millennials Matter

Leveraging the right social media platforms is essential to owning the millennial market. How you position your profiles is even more important. Make sure your content doesn’t talk down to them, as it needs to include them.

Position this audience as instrumental in your success. They must be part of your conversation. If your brand strategy allows them to lead the conversation, that’s golden.

Create the Experience

Product and services aren’t flat surfaces (though many smart devices are pretty close). The world isn’t flat either; it’s full of dimension. Enter marketing and editorial content.

What resonates with people today is a full-bodied experience with your product, service or brand. It taps on the emotion, the most powerful place your marketing can target. People may not remember what you said or did, but it’s how you made them feel that matters.

Provide Information That’s Unique and Individually Topical

The definition of an information junkie = millennial. From their childhood, web surfing was the only way to get the answers they needed. Ask a question of their parents, and “Google it” was the go-to response. As such, the information you put out must be accurate, relevant and thought-provoking, which gives them a reason to investigate further (they will) and respond.

Build Your Brand with Integrity That Is Globally Relevant

Long gone are the days where providing a free product offering would win over potential customers. Today’s consumers are cynical, and for good reason. With the onslaught of cyber theft and security breaches, people understand that if it says it’s free, there’s probably a cost.

If your product or service doesn’t provide global impact by its very existence, then your company brand should. If it doesn’t – to a millennial – you don’t exist.

Top 6 Marketing Angles Worth the Expense

Sales, web development and marketing firms will try to entice you into needing what they offer. With all the choices, it’s difficult to discern between necessity and fluff. Use this list of must-haves to position the marketing of your business well.

2018 marketing angles that work:

  • Quality content – original copywriting and optimized alt tags for imagery should rank organically
  • Video often – boosts viewership and experiential marketing
  • Cause marketing – brands your business with emotional substance
  • Niche campaigns – all media outlets, segment your audiences
  • Embrace the screens – use cross-channel marketing to increase impressions
  • Long-phrase keywords – catches the low-hanging fruit of search engines

Final Thought on Marketing to Your Audience

Not every business can claim millennials as its target audience. True. However, early adapters of web use and the culture of instant gratification aren’t merely for the young. This is how every generation under 65 years of age consumes.

Today, we are all millennials. Your marketing efforts need to align with our new, collective behavior.

See How to Appeal to Generation Z Online

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Body Language Tips: How to Carry Yourself in Job Interviews and Professional Conversations

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Body Language Tips For Job Interviews Professional Conversations - Eminent SEO
You walk into a meeting room with an interviewer. From that moment, the person is unconsciously noticing the expression on your face, whether you are slouching or standing tall, what you are carrying in your hands and what you are wearing.

While we rarely consciously think about body language cues, we recognize when someone is demonstrating positive business etiquette, showing confidence or communicating weakness. Carrying yourself well in interviews, business presentations and other professional conversations gives you an advantage in how you are perceived.

The Handshake Is Your First and Last Impression

The first and last contact you have with an interviewer is the handshake. What you convey in that handshake is vital to creating a positive lasting impression. A handshake, when it is done well, conveys a sense of trust. A firm grip conveys confidence, while a weak handshake conveys weakness.

Ironically, a painfully firm grip conveys that you are compensating for a lack of confidence. Combine a firm handshake with a smile, and look directly into the other person’s eyes. Altogether, this gives a sense of a confident, likeable, trustworthy person.

Use Mirroring to Rapidly Create Rapport

Psychology tells us that we tend to like people who like us and share similar beliefs and attitudes. Two people who are sharing a similar emotion will tend to mirror each other’s gestures and postures. When you intentionally mirror the body language of the person you are talking to, you create an unconscious assumption in the other person that you agree with them and are “in sync” with what they are saying. This creates a positive feeling for you.

Another benefit is that the effect also works in reverse. When you mirror an interviewer, manager or colleague’s body language, you come to experience the same emotions he or she is experiencing, thus deepening the unconscious bond between you. If you both are seated, sit at a slight angle from the individual so you both aren’t directly facing each other, which can get uncomfortable. You’ll also want to make sure to situate yourself at a comfortable speaking distance from him or her.

The key to using mirroring in a professional conversation is to avoid crossing the line into mimicry. Your mirroring should be a sincere expression of the fact you are in agreement and share similar thoughts on a subject. When used well, mirroring rapidly creates a sense of rapport between you and an interviewer.

Hand Gestures Facilitate Convincing Speech

Many of us are prone to fidget when we’re nervous. We may play with our hair, click on a pen or crack our knuckles. Nervousness also shows in our speech with the “um’s” and “uh’s” we insert without thinking about them.

Incorporating hand gestures into your speech not only gives you something productive to do with your hands, but it also facilitates the area of the brain responsible for speech. This helps eliminate many of the empty filler words we say while searching for the right phrase to say.

Make sure your gestures aren’t wild. Keep your hands close to your body and don’t overuse them in conversation. When the other person is talking, place your hands flat on the desk or in your lap if you have a tendency to fidget.

Finally, don’t overuse gestures, or rely on them as a substitute for having something useful to say. In general, making positive use of body language opens up a new channel of communication to convey positive feelings, create rapport and build professional relationships.

Body Language Tips: What NOT to Do

Now that you have ideas on how to carry yourself in a business environment, please peruse the following infographic for body language habits to avoid in interviews and other professional conversations. The infographic comes courtesy of The Website Group and Swiss Canadian Capital.

Read How Rudeness in the Workplace Can Sabotage Company Culture

See the Consequences of Workplace Incivility

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Vol. 73: Revamp, Recharge, Rebuild Your Website

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Newsletter Vol 73 Revamp Recharge Rebuild Your Website - Eminent SEO

Out with the Old and in with the New?

At Eminent SEO, we are already feeling the effects of having modernized and refreshed our website, and man do they feel good.

Our new-look website is already drawing in a number of new business leads, and it has us wondering, “When are you going to do the same?”

Even if you launched or redid your website a couple of years ago, it may have already fallen behind the curve. Yes, the internet moves that fast. Trust us, we redesigned ours not even four years ago, and it was already feeling long in the tooth prior to relaunching it last month.

If you’ve been looking for website redesign help or you just want a second pair of eyes on how your site can look or function better, reach out to us anytime!

See Our Design Services

Good to Know in SEO

From updating your website’s user experience (UX) to some recent search engine changes, here are the latest stories you’ll want to pay attention to so you can stay at the forefront of your industry:

  • Speaking of website redesigns, Marketing Land recently offered three valuable tips on maximizing your website UX for better engagement.
  • Google search results pages are now featuring more knowledge graphs and fewer rich snippets, but are rich snippets going away? A Google executive suggests they won’t.

Our Holiday Message

May your holiday season be merry and bright! Happy Holidays from us here at Eminent SEO.

Christmas Eve Checklist Max Stocking - Eminent SEO

Highlights from the Eminent SEO Blog

Take a look at last year’s holiday season sales stats as well as this year’s projected numbers, and then review these 19 tips on how your company can cash in during the eCommerce craze this month and into the new year.

Read more…

Ecommerce Competition Win More Sales Holiday Season - Eminent SEO

What does rudeness look like in the workplace? What could be causing these uncomfortable interactions? Take a lot at the consequences of workplace incivility, and then try out these 7 tips on cultivating a more civil work environment.

Read more…

Workplace Rudeness iMac Computers Open Desks - ESEO

Happy Holidays again from Eminent SEO! If you’d like to keep up with us until the next newsletter edition, find us on social media using the icons below, or look for new articles posted to our blog.

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Google Knowledge Panel and Rich Snippets Updates, Based on Recent Holiday Changes

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Google Neon Lights - ESEO

If you are a member of the SEO community, or if you spend your time searching lots of keywords and phrases using the Google search engine, you may have seen the appearance of more knowledge panels on the right-hand side of the results in the past week or so.

Google Knowledge Panel for SEO November 2017 - ESEOThe above screenshot shows an example of the knowledge panels that are now showing for certain keywords. In this case, a search for the keyword “SEO” brings up a SERP with a knowledge panel for the phrase “search engine optimization.”

Much like the knowledge panels that show up when you search for a business by its brand name, the knowledge panel gives a definition of the word you are searching (as defined by Wikipedia) and suggestions of other related terms.

While these knowledge panels started showing up just before the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and started with very general terms and keywords, the number of keywords and terms that now have knowledge panels associated with them has been growing exponentially in the past week.

So what does this potentially large change mean for SEO?

How Will Keyword Knowledge Graphs Affect SEO and Rankings?

Being that this change (a 30 percent jump in knowledge panels, as of Nov. 27) happened over a holiday weekend, it signals that not only does this appear to be a big change that will cause mixed reviews among users, but it appears that Google may be determined to keep long term. The company slipped the update under the radar while many were traveling, visiting family and enjoying their holiday meals.

Is the Google Knowledge Panel Replacing Rich Snippets?

One way that this has already affected SEO is with rich snippets – those little answer boxes that show up above the organic results that are supposed to offer the best or most concise “answer” to a searched term or phrase.

As Dr. Peter J. Meyers noted in his excellent initial article on the recent knowledge graph changes, the rollout of these knowledge panels has already started to “eat” existing rich snippets that were in place for the same keyword SERPS just a week before. While this is an immediate change that may cause traffic or ranking losses for some keywords, the impact doesn’t seem to be wide at this point.

It seems the biggest concern that the changes created was about the appeal or long-term worth of optimizing for rich snippets – concerns that rich snippets might be going away or diminished in the future. However, since the terms affected are very general terms and it seems that most of the “replaced” snippets were definitions of the term, we don’t believe that there will be a widespread negative loss of snippets at this point.

Product Knowledge Graphs

Google Knowledge Graph HDMI Cable Definition - ESEOThe changes that certainly got those in the SEO community worried and confused have to do with the knowledge graphs for products.

The appearance of a knowledge graph defining a product caused many to wonder if Google was losing the “intent” of the user searching term. How many users that search the term “HDMI cable” do you think are looking for the definition of the product?

Regardless of whether you were seeking the definition, shopping deals, videos about, or manufacturers of the product, the definition is currently firmly planted on the SERP. While this may seem unnecessary, it does also make sense, seeing as how there is usually a Wikipedia definition within the organic search results for most searchable terms.

This change simply takes the wiki out of the organic search results – which, in many cases, means the Wikipedia article wasn’t a helpful search result and took up one of the precious few first-page positions.

How Granular Will Knowledge Graphs for Terms Go?

General terms that generate a knowledge graph may be bothersome for a few users, but we can see how having one makes sense in most cases. The remaining question is how deep and detailed will Google go with the knowledge graph?

And, will having knowledge graphs for the most detailed search terms cause negative effects for SEO strategists and businesses targeting those terms? At what point is a search detailed enough to not need a definition?

Once this line has been drawn, we can understand better how this will warrant changes to one’s SEO strategy – if changes are even needed.

Until we know more about how far these changes will stretch, I think it is too early to be making long-term strategy changes. However, if your SEO campaign relied heavily on traffic coming in from the definition of certain terms, I would say that this type of strategy was on its way out anyway.

In the meantime, the best way to protect your SEO strategy from being heavily impacted by across-the-board changes like this is to have a diverse strategy. Don’t put all your keyword portfolio eggs in one basket: Focus on long-tail keywords, go after low-hanging-fruit opportunities, and don’t let your strategy get stale.

Multi-Channel Marketing Can Be the Answer

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Zachary Ankeny

Zachary Ankeny is Fulfillment Manager at Eminent SEO with expertise in content writing and marketing, local and organic SEO, and data interpretation. An integral part of the Eminent SEO team since 2012, Zach's interests include music, art, animals, and technology.

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Since When Did ‘Rude’ Become Acceptable in the Workplace?

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Workplace Rudeness iMac Computers Open Desks - ESEO

Whether your company consists of thousands of employees or a handful of team members, it’s important to foster a strong company culture where your people can produce great results.

Most owners and managers think that the way to boost company morale and build a strong culture is through fancy perks and team builders. But what they often overlook is the damage that is caused by small problems that over time eat away at a company’s culture, and ultimately its bottom line.

Rudeness in the workplace is becoming increasingly common, and it is taking a big toll on businesses large and small. Let’s look at what you need to know to rid your company of this pernicious monster.

Causes of Workplace Rudeness (Hint: It’s Not Just the Big Jerks)

A poll on workplace civility in 2016 found that in 62 percent of employees were treated rudely at work at least once a month. That’s up significantly from 49 percent in 1998 when the annual poll was first conducted.

While overt rudeness is obviously a problem, it’s often the more subtle forms of rudeness that go unchecked and wear on people over time.

Types of rudeness commonly seen in the workplace include:

  • Replying to comments, emails or texts in a condescending or hostile tone
  • Ignoring communications altogether
  • Interrupting the person who’s talking
  • Belittling a person’s ideas, skills or contributions
  • Hostility in response to reasonable, constructive feedback
  • Taking credit for someone’s work or ideas, or minimizing that person’s contributions
  • Checking phone or working on the computer while others are talking

Left unchecked, these small but grating offenses wear down employee morale and motivation, especially as this type of behavior becomes the norm within an organization.

Stress at work also plays a big role. Being the victim of rudeness can cause stress, and so can difficult work circumstances.

And let’s face it – some people seem to have just never learned how to behave in socially appropriate ways. As with a physical illness, these few socially underdeveloped individuals can quickly spread the rudeness plague far and wide within your organization.

The Consequences of Workplace Incivility

Workplace Poll Treated Rudely At Work 1998 To 2016 - Eminent SEOIncivility in the workplace affects employees in the following ways:

  • Decline in work performance
  • Choosing to spend less time at work
  • Reduced commitment to the organization
  • Taking frustrations out on customers, colleagues, vendors, etc.

Both the quality and quantity of an employee’s work can suffer either deliberately (as the employee’s revenge for being mistreated), subconsciously (due to low motivation), or due to loss of focus on work as the person spends time and effort trying to avoid or appease antagonizing colleagues.

This, in turn, leads to consequences for the organization, such as:

  • Increased employee turnover
  • Losing the best and brightest in the organization, who have many options and don’t have to put up with such nonsense
  • Greater occurrences of stress-related illness and sick leave
  • Damage to the company’s reputation and brand when rudeness is experienced by employees, vendors or customers

Workplace Aggravation Is Literally a Brain Drain

The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain responsible for concentration, self-control and decision-making: These are known as “executive functions.” Basically, it’s the CEO of the brain.

While extremely powerful, this part of the brain is a limited resource in the sense that it can only function at peak performance for a limited amount of time. This is why people can usually concentrate better at the beginning of the day, need rest and breaks to regain focus, and become more emotionally sensitive to antagonizing situations as the day wears on.

When people use up their executive-function brainpower in exercising the self-control needed to deal with rudeness, the amount of energy they have left to focus on doing their job well decreases.

And when that self-control dries up altogether, they lash out at whoever is in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is one way that the cycle of rudeness perpetuates itself.

30 Rock Rude Meme

7 Ways to Cultivate Civility in Your Workplace

Overall, there are two types of strategies for reducing rudeness in the workplace:

  1. Establish a culture of professionalism
  2. Reduce stress

Reducing stress allows people to focus on what’s important: doing their job well. Establishing a culture of professionalism means putting policies into practice that quickly correct unacceptable behavior, which in turn helps prevent it in the future.

Here are some specific steps you can take to establish a culture of professionalism and reduce stress in your workplace.

1. Call out unacceptable behavior – even the little stuff. Especially the little stuff.

Ironically, because people prefer to avoid conflict, they often don’t call out rudeness when it happens. And the few who do call out rudeness are often accused of being rude themselves and are likely to be targets for retaliation.

This has got to change. The only way to address inappropriate behavior is to recognize it – and for everyone to know that certain behaviors will get called out. This can’t just be a policy; it has to be put into practice and modeled at every level of the organization.

2. Model the kind of behavior you want in your workplace.

Owners and managers set the tone for everyone else. One rude or insensitive manager can damage an entire department.

A person’s direct supervisor has the most influence over their work satisfaction, both because of how they are treated and because of what kind of behavior the manager tolerates in his or her peers. Even within a great organization, a bad boss can ruin an employee’s experience of the company culture.

3. Make civility in the workplace equally important to achieving results.

Yes, results are important, but the results come from people living daily in your company culture. If you culture starts to sour, so will your results. It’s important to reward processes and behaviors that will lead to the results you want.

If you have a merit-based pay or bonus structure, do results trump all other considerations?

If other factors aren’t taken into account, like civility, then there’s a good chance people will do whatever it takes to get the results, including:

  • Dismissing the ideas and contributions of others
  • Taking credit for others’ work
  • Publicly belittling others
  • Cheating or shortcutting important processes

4. Look for ways to reduce stress in your organization.

Company Workplace Incivility Consequences Infographic - Eminent SEOTreat habitual stress like public enemy No. 1 in your workplace. Sure, a certain amount of stress is inevitable in business and in life. Things happen.

But your team should only experience stress when the unexpected happens. If stress is a daily part of life, look for ways to eliminate stress and conflict.

If you know a certain situation is a constant source of anxiety for your people, then make it your mission to find a way to eliminate, or at least reduce, the stress that this circumstance causes.

Common causes of workplace stress – that managers have control over – include:

  • Unrealistically aggressive timelines
  • Workload or performance metrics that are too high
  • Internal competition for limited resources and manager approval
  • Long work hours (especially when combined with not taking adequate breaks and neglecting proper nutrition)

External factors, like the competitiveness of an industry or a demanding client, can also increase stress. While management has less control over these sources of stress, they can control policies on how they are handled internally, including:

  • Firing difficult-to-work-with clients
  • Standing up for employees to vendors and clients
  • Focus on personal-best performance rather than beating industry measures

5. Create systems that support your employees every single day.

Quarterly team builders are nice, but they won’t make up for the fact your people have to come into a toxic environment day after day. And if there’s bad blood between your employees, a team builder won’t make it go away. It will actually highlight the hypocrisy of such an exercise.

As an example, a friend of mine worked as a customer service rep at a company that had a billing policy that upset customers, so she had to deal with angry customers all day, while being expected to hit unrealistic call quotas. Meanwhile, her management thought they had a good culture because they had a game room in the employee lounge and other such perks. They talked about wanting to have a positive company culture, but their billing policies and performance metrics counteracted their supposedly good intentions.

Bottom line: If your employees are unhappy every day, then you don’t have a strong company culture, regardless of the “cool” benefits you provide.

6. Pay your people better.

This also falls into the reducing stress category. People come to work already unhappy when they feel they are working hard for not very much compensation. Or they may simply reduce how hard they are working to match their compensation.

Wages in the U.S. have not kept pace with inflation for many people, so stress from financial difficulties at home can bleed into the workplace.

Pay is also a sign of respect from employer to employee. Paying at or above market rate can go a long way to make people feel valued. As the saying goes: Put your money where your mouth is. You say you value your team members, but does their paycheck reflect that?

And if your company truly can’t afford to pay more at this time, then factors like the quality of the work environment are even more important to reducing employee turnover.

7. Encourage employees to take vacation and sick time.

People need time to recuperate physically, mentally and emotionally. You’ll be rewarded with more patient, focused, happy employees.

That’s assuming they actually use that time to relax. Some people might need help learning how to do that, since many people are so used to the constant stress of life that they don’t know how to break out of the cycle and really relax.

People often are afraid to ask to take time off. Making it a policy will make it easier for them, and it will force your company to figure out how to shift work around when people are out – which is bound to happen anyway due to unexpected circumstances.

Employee Rudeness Hurts Everyone: Make it Stop!

Workplace incivility can slowly eat away at your company culture, reputation and effectiveness. As a leader in your organization, it’s up to you to be an advocate for greater courtesy in the workplace. The rewards are worth it: a boost in employee morale, greater productivity and a more cooperative company culture.

Employees and Managers Could All Benefit from a Little More Mindfulness on the Job

See 10 Tips for Mindfulness at Work

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Sara Korn

Finding creative ways to give both readers and clients what they want is why I love being a writer! As a Content Strategist at Eminent SEO, I listen to clients and put myself in the shoes of their customers to create compelling marketing messages that drive engagement.

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Ecommerce Competition: Win More Sales This Holiday Season

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Ecommerce Competition Win More Sales Holiday Season - Eminent SEO
The holiday season can bring a nice boost in sales, but it can take a lot of work and extra expense to make it happen. We’ve compiled this guide to help you get the most sales possible from the time and money you invest in your marketing this season.

First, let’s look briefly at what last year’s holiday season sales stats can tell us about the market, and what to expect this year.

A Look Back and Ahead at Holiday Spending

It’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. Before we tell you how to make a holiday season marketing push, let’s take a quick look back at last year’s sales numbers as well as some projections for this year’s November-December rush.

2016 Holiday Season Sales Stats

Last holiday season, online sales in the U.S. raked in a total of $80.2 billion, according to marketing data and analytics firm comScore. When broken out by desktop and mobile purchases, the holiday sales came out to:

  • Desktop purchases: $63.1 billion (12% increase over 2015)
  • Mobile purchases: $17.1 billion (44% increase)

And worth noting is that the National Retail Federation estimated that nearly 10 million more people shopped online on Black Friday in 2016 than those who shopped in stores that day. The breakdown on Black Friday shoppers last year comes to:

  • Online shoppers: 108.5 million
  • In-store shoppers: 99.1 million

Black Friday is usually all the talk when it comes to shopping this time of year, but Cyber Monday has actually emerged as the biggest spending day of the year. More shoppers seem to be avoiding the in-store stampedes in favor of the comfort of buying online from home. In 2016, Cyber Monday accounted for $3 billion in online sales – $2 billion via desktop and $1 billion via mobile.

2017 Projected Holiday Season Stats and Trends

With the economy on the rebound, experts are projecting holiday sales this year to grow substantially. Research marketing firm NetElixir predicts a 10 percent increase over last year, which would take total sales from $80 billion to $88 billion. Projections by Deloitte suggest that retail holiday sales in 2017 could exceed $1 trillion.

Online purchases continue to grow compared to in-store purchases. However, many brands are creating campaigns that integrate the online and in-store experiences for customers.

A higher percentage of online purchases are being made on mobile devices. However, desktop sales continue to account for a larger share of the pie, so it’s important that websites are optimized for both types of online buying experiences.

Know What Works

Black Friday Shoppers Stats In 2016 - ESEOThe first step to creating a successful holiday marketing strategy is to know what works well already – both in terms of year-round sales and holiday sales specifically.

There are a ton of different ways to promote your products during the holidays, so narrowing down your options will help save you time and money and allow you to focus on doing a few reliable things well rather than spreading yourself too thin.

Make a list of best practices in the following areas:

  • Audience targets Which audience segment is your best customer? Where and how do they typically do their shopping during the holiday season?
  • Popular promotions – Which products sell well all year? What promotions do your customers always respond well to?
  • Previous year’s promotions and sales stats What worked last year during the holidays, and what didn’t? How can you double down on last year’s successes?
  • Best traffic sources Which lead-generation strategies already work well for you? How can you increase your budget in those areas to gain additional traction during the holidays?

Specific Dates to Target

It’s also a good idea to capitalize on industry-wide shopping dates/promotions that shoppers will be actively looking to take advantage of. Start preparing special promos to meet their needs.

The dates to remember are:

  • Thanksgiving Day (Dec. 23 this year)
  • Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving)
  • Cyber Monday (first Monday after Thanksgiving)
  • Green Monday (second Monday in December)
  • Free Shipping Day (free shipping with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve – Dec. 15 in 2017)
  • Holiday weekend (Dec. 22 to 25 in 2017)
  • Post-Christmas shopping (Dec. 26 to 31)

Do More of What Works

Once you know what works, it’s time to take those strategies and put them on steroids, so to speak.

Rerun Successful Campaigns, with a Twist

Do what you know works, but try to add a new dimension to it or combine it with other techniques that work to give it a fresh feel.

Highlight Your Most Popular Products and Upsell

Lead off with specials on your most popular products, and offer upsells and add-ons that make sense to increase overall order amounts.

Increase Your Budget for Best-Performing Ads and Channels

Be present on multiple platforms and channels, including social media, PPC, banner ads, emails, radio, TV and print ads. You don’t need to do all of them, but pick a few and do them well.

Optimize for Mobile

Make sure your website is optimized for both mobile and desktop viewing, if it isn’t already.

Set Yourself Apart from the eCommerce Competition – Especially During the Holidays

Differentiating yourself from the competition is always important, but especially so during the holidays when the communications channels are saturated with promotions.

It’s a good idea to know where your products stand in terms of price and shipping cost compared to major competitors like Amazon, as well as compared to more direct niche competitors.

With this information, you can find ways to stand out, including:

  • Offering niche products that aren’t easy to find elsewhere
  • Combining a service (such as assembly or installation) with certain products
  • Loyal customer discounts/benefits
  • Top-tier service
  • Greater shopping convenience
  • Free or upgraded shipping

Time Is Better Than Money

“Time is money,” the saying goes, but for many busy holiday shoppers, time is even more important than money. As you develop your holiday marketing plans, ask yourself:

How will we make it fast, easy and convenient for customers to make gift choices, complete their purchase, and move on to the next item on their holiday to-do list?

19 Quick Holiday eCommerce Sales Tips

Make Your Company Stand Out Online This Holiday Season - Eminent SEOWe’ve put together this list of ideas and best practices to help you rejuvenate your holiday marketing plan. Check to see if there’s anything important you haven’t considered yet:

    1. Customize offers as much as possible to the individual.

 

    1. Consider a special landing page of holiday products and special offers. You may want to A/B test offers – for example: price discount vs. free shipping.

 

    1. Optimize your content and metadata for holiday keywords and write seasonal blog content.

 

    1. Consider a holiday gift-giving guide, with recommendations for people new to your products (such as friends and family of existing customers) and special or advanced items for loyal customers looking for something new.

 

    1. Consider creating a limited-run holiday version of a popular product.

 

    1. Throw in free shipping or upgrades to faster shipping at certain order price points.

 

    1. Have relatively short windows on specials in order to promote a sense of urgency. Have multiple specials over the course of the season.

 

    1. Tease special offers and major shopping days a week ahead of time, a day or two before launch, and send emails at midnight on the day of so that they’re in inboxes when customers wake up.

 

    1. Have a few amazing price deals, but don’t discount so much that it cuts too far into profits. While shoppers are looking for discounts, they’re also looking for convenience. Look for other ways to stand out and win the sale besides simply discounting.

 

    1. Create specials that encourage upsells and add-on purchases. Throw in free shipping on larger orders.

 

    1. Let customers know what is the last day to order and get delivery by Christmas. Display this info prominently in website and in email communications.

 

    1. Incentivize last-minute shoppers with upgrades to faster shipping on large orders.

 

    1. Use abandoned cart emails to remind them to come back and complete their order.

 

    1. Encourage people to order early by offering bigger discounts on orders in November and early December. (You may want to share your entire list of holiday specials to prove that the early birds are truly getting the best deals.)

 

    1. Consider offering specials that allow people to shop from home on Black Friday and even Thanksgiving so they can skip the lines and hassle of brick-and-mortar shopping.

 

    1. Since Cyber Monday is the biggest day for online sales, offer significant specials and encourage your customers to “buy local” or “support small businesses,” if these descriptions apply to your business.

 

    1. For last-minute shoppers who’ve missed the by-Christmas shipping window, offer gift cards that can be delivered digitally or printed at home.

 

    1. If you’re a small business with limited website traffic and marketing budget, consider listing your products or services on major sites like Amazon, Groupon, etc.

 

  1. Have a special offer for those looking for post-Christmas deals as well.

Bonus: Tips for Service Businesses

If you’re a B2B service organization, encourage businesses to buy now for 2018, so they can get the tax benefits of purchasing in 2017.

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C service company, considering offering gift cards for future services.

If your services align with things that are typically part of New Year’s resolutions, such as health, love and finances, consider providing a service package that helps them get off to a strong start in the new year and continue their progress through the whole year.

Gift Yourself with Peace of Mind This Holiday Season

Develop a robust marketing plan for the holiday season that will keep you top of mind during this busy buying season while setting you apart from the competition. Don’t leave holiday sales to chance.

For small and mid-sized companies, the key to success during the crowded holiday season is smart marketing and sales strategies that:

      • Capitalize on your company’s strengths
      • Target the right prospects
      • Allow you to get through to the right people with the right offers

You can do all of this even on a limited marketing budget.

Need to get your website ready for what’s left of the holidays? Need help executing a robust holiday campaign? Contact us now to learn how we can help. Time is running out, but it’s not too late to position yourself for success before the year runs out.

See Our Ecommerce Marketing Solutions

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Sara Korn

Finding creative ways to give both readers and clients what they want is why I love being a writer! As a Content Strategist at Eminent SEO, I listen to clients and put myself in the shoes of their customers to create compelling marketing messages that drive engagement.

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How to Stop Your Desk Job from Killing You: 8 Tips

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How To Stop Desk Job From Killing You 8 Tips - Eminent SEO

Most people probably assume that office workers have it easier than blue-collar workers. After all, we work in enclosed air-conditioned buildings, get to do our work sitting down and follow safety procedures consists of holding onto the handrail when you go down the stairs – if you take the stairs at all.

But, in fact, working at a desk job can actually be very hazardous to your health. It turns out that some of the very things that make office jobs seem safe and comfortable – like enclosed offices and sitting down all day – can actually be the most detrimental to your health.

5 Ways that Office Jobs Are Bad for Your Health

First, let’s look at how your cushy office job may be slowly killing you.

Light and Technology Pollution

Many office lights are too bright, which can lead to headaches, stress and fatigue, as well as interference with the body’s natural sleep cycle.

Photocopiers emit ozone, which is dangerous to inhale. Even though copiers have a filter to catch it, the filters often aren’t replaced and lose their effectiveness. Laser printers, in addition to emitting ozone, also give off tiny particles of toner that make their way into office workers’ lungs.

Toxic Air in Poorly Ventilated Buildings

Did you know that the air inside office buildings can be up to 100 times dirtier than the air outside? This is due to the fact that modern buildings, in an attempt to be energy efficient, are tightly sealed, preventing proper air circulation.

If anyone is sick in your building, the air they’re coughing out is getting recycled to the rest of the office. Those emissions from printers and copiers are getting recycled throughout the building. Even when buildings pull air from outside, they may be pulling it from a parking lot or another less-than-pristine source of air.

Sitting Too Long

Sitting for most of the day is extremely bad for your health. Your body needs to move around to stay fit. Sitting for long periods leads to increased blood pressure and blood sugar, since it is more difficult for your body to metabolize sugar and fat when you aren’t moving around. Your digestive system also doesn’t work as well, which can lead to constipation.

Plus, you burn very few calories sitting at a desk typing all day, which can lead to obesity. Obesity can lead to a whole slew of health problems.

Employers in the U.S. are required to allow 15-minute breaks in the morning and afternoon. People whose jobs require a lot of moving around tend to take their breaks so they have a chance to rest a bit in the middle of their shifts. But office workers routinely skip their breaks – and that’s bad for the workers, whose minds and bodies need the break, regardless of how many pressing deadlines are looming.

In fact, the more stress a person is under, the more important it is to take breaks to recharge.

Poor Eating Habits

Due to heavy workloads and high stress, many salaried workers are even skipping their lunch breaks or eating at their desks. Not giving the body a chance to get up and move around is one problem with this habit.

The other problem is that many office workers in a hurry don’t prepare healthy meals, opting for convenience instead. While this is certainly understandable, it further weakens the body by depriving it of vital nutrients.

Long Hours

Working longer than eight hours a day has become increasingly common, especially for salaried employees who don’t get paid overtime for working more than 40 hours a week. This has many negative consequences for both physical and mental health, including:

  • Lower productivity and ability to focus, especially at the end of the day
  • Not getting enough sleep at night, which leads to less time for the body to heal
  • Being more tired at work due to lack of sleep, which reduces energy, focus and productivity even further
  • Developing a caffeine addiction due to attempting to work long hours on little sleep

Overwork creates a dangerous cycle of stress and fatigue that take a toll on the body and leads to higher rates of disease. Stress is also a major cause of addiction, as people turn to substances and unhealthy behaviors as coping mechanisms.

Employers who try to squeeze more work out of their employees end up paying the price in terms of:

  • Lower productivity among staff
  • Reduced creativity among staff
  • More workplace accidents and conflicts
  • More sick days
  • Larger health insurance costs

If you want an easier way to remember the five ways that your desk job harms your health, check out the following image (and feel free to share it with your social media followers):

5 Ways Desk Job Is Killing You - Eminent SEO

8 Tips to Keep Your Desk Job from Killing You

Now that you know the many ways a desk job can threaten your long-term health, here are several steps you can take to mitigate the damage.

In an ideal situation, you would have total control your environment. In fact, this is why many professionals are turning to work-from-home jobs that make it easier to prioritize health while working.

But even if you can’t entirely control your work environment, you can at least control how you work in it. Here are some ways to create a healthier situation for yourself, wherever you work.

Take Breaks

Take your 15-minute breaks, and take your lunch break – away from your desk. The physical walk – even if it’s just to the break room – is good for your body. Changing the scenery and focus also helps refresh your mind so that you’ll be better able to concentrate when you return to your desk.

An easy way to get up and walk, even when you’re not on break, is to walk to people’s desks to talk to them. Sure, email, phone and IM are quicker, but if you need an excuse to leave your cubicle for five minutes, talking to a co-worker may be just what you need. And you’ll probably find that some discussions happen better in person than in writing anyway.

Leave your desk every couple of hours at least. Your brain can’t focus for more than an hour or two at a time anyway. So when you find your thoughts drifting off to other topics, or realize that you’ve simply been staring off into space for who-knows-how-long, call it quits for a few minutes and recharge.

Stretch Frequently

Even when you’re not leaving your desk, it’s still a good idea to get up and do a few stretches. These can be done right next to your chair.

Just do a web search for “desk stretches” to find simple stretches you can do to help prevent carpel tunnel syndrome, keep your back and neck muscles from getting tense, and generally improve your flexibility and relieve tension.

Using the Pomodoro Technique is a great way to remind yourself to take stretch breaks, while also helping you increase focus and productivity.

Leave Your Desk for Lunch

As tempting as it is to work through lunch to try and tackle the overwhelming amount of work you have, this is a dangerous habit to get into. Your body needs to get up and walk around, eat a solid meal, and take a mental break from work.

Lunch is also a great time to socialize with your co-workers and build work relationships. Or, if you’re not feeling social, put on your headphones and do something fun on your smartphone for a little while.

Walk Around and Get Fresh Air

Find opportunities to get outside and walk. You don’t have to work out and get all sweaty. Just a nice stroll around the office building can be refreshing. If the weather outside isn’t good for walking, try to walk more inside. Take the stairs now and then for a super-quick mini workout.

It’s especially good for your health to take a stroll after eating a meal. This helps your body metabolize your food and keeps things moving in your digestive tract.

Lastly, you can also get a desktop air purifier to help make the air in your immediate vicinity a little healthier while you work.

Avoid Meetings as Much as Possible

Meetings can be a huge waste of time, not to mention boring. When you’re bored, your body thinks it’s time to sleep. This can throw off your natural body rhythms and makes you less productive at work.

And the more time you waste in meetings, the less time you have to get your actual work done, which can lead to longer hours and higher stress. So as much as possible, try to get out of unnecessary and unproductive meetings.

Many people just assume they have to go to meetings they are invited to. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that you can find ways to uninvite yourself.

Get Plenty of Sleep

What’s the No. 1 thing you can do to improve your health right away? Get enough sleep. This allows your body to repair itself, and gives you more energy for the next day.

Getting enough sleep can allow you to do away with your caffeine habit. Or, notice how much more energized the caffeine makes you when you are already rested.

While this advice is simple and effective, many people don’t do it because there’s simply so much to get done, and taking time away from sleep is the easiest way to get more hours in the day. But the truth is you can’t actually get more hours in the day; there’s always 24 hours – no more, no less. When you steal time from sleep to do other things, you are paying for those tasks with your health.

Stop Training Your Boss to Overwork You

One of the reasons that people have too much to do and aren’t prioritizing their health is because they’re not comfortable saying NO right now in order to protect their health in the future.

Unfortunately, many employees have trained their bosses to expect them to not take breaks, to work through lunch, to work long hours, and to respond to work-related emails and texts from home.

Think about it: It’s not like your boss is ever going to say, “You’re working too hard. Stop it!” Most companies prioritize results and productivity over employee health. This means you have to safeguard your health and your rights as an employee.

Stop trying to compete with the workaholics. The race to work longer and harder is one that every employee loses, even when they win. Especially when they win.

Here are things you can start doing now to train your employer to have more realistic expectations of your work availability:

  • Leave at the end of the workday.
  • Don’t work over 40 hours a week on a regular basis – only in emergency situations.
  • Take your full lunch break.
  • Take your 15-minute breaks.
  • Don’t work from home or answer work-related messages at home, except in rare cases where it really is urgent.
  • Take your vacation time.

If doing these things would mean that the work won’t get done, then it’s your employer’s responsibility to hire enough people to do the work that needs to be done.

Have you tried exercising mindfulness at work? Here are 10 ways you can do just that:

Mindfulness at Work Tips

Work from Home

Ask your boss to if you can telecommute part-time or full-time. Even one or two days a week working at home instead of in the office can remove you from the many hazards of the office, both physical and mental, including:

  • Distractions and time-sucking small talk
  • Endless meetings
  • Being stuck in a cubicle
  • Toxic recycled office air

Working away from the office has several benefits, including:

  • Being able to sleep in and commute to your office across the hall in your pajamas
  • The ease of getting a healthy snack or meal simply by walking into the kitchen
  • Taking much-needed breaks without worrying about anyone criticizing how long you are away from your desk
  • The freedom to get done when the work is done, rather than based on the current time on the clock
  • Peace and quiet

Share Your Workplace Health Hacks

OK, now it’s your turn: What strategies do you use to combat the physical and mental effects of working in an office? Please share in the comments.

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Sara Korn

Finding creative ways to give both readers and clients what they want is why I love being a writer! As a Content Strategist at Eminent SEO, I listen to clients and put myself in the shoes of their customers to create compelling marketing messages that drive engagement.

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Climbing the Ladder with Grace: A ‘Game of Thrones’ Approach to Conflict Resolution

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Game Of Thrones Approach To Office Conflict Resolution - Eminent SEO
A large majority of the violence that takes place during HBO’s mega-hit “Game of Thrones” does not revolve around armies of the undead or wars of succession. In reality, most of the drama that drives the show has less to do with grand battles between good and evil and more to do with people not getting along at work.

Take the early adventures of fan favorite Jon Snow, now King in the North but once an entry level employee at The Wall. It was Jon’s ability to rally his fellow new hires that caught the eye of the C-Suite and eventually catapulted him into management. Ultimately, Jon envisioned a different direction for the company than his board of directors did, and he was unceremoniously let go:

Jon Snow Game of Thrones SnowEven in an organization headquartered on a giant wall that is meant to protect all of humanity from a daunting, supernatural threat, the people working there still have time to bicker and be petty with one another. So it’s not that surprising (or a big deal) if you don’t like everybody at work. Your only responsibility is to be civil, play well with others and not let your disagreements become a distraction.

Here’s a few tips on how to do that. We’ll use the very worst that “Game of Thrones” has to offer as examples of co-workers you can’t stand.

The Waif aka The One-Upper

The Waif Game Of ThronesSeasons 5 and 6 of Thrones saw Arya accept an internship in Braavos with The Faceless Men, where she had to work directly under a sour, dour young woman known only as The Waif. Ostensibly, The Waif was assigned to watch over Arya’s assassin training and act as a mentor. Instead, she routinely talked down to Arya about her performance and beat her up after work.

As Arya got better at her job, The Waif began to bug out. Her passive-aggressive behavior suggests that her whole demeaning attitude is deeply rooted in insecurity. This is the case for most co-workers who seem obsessed with proving their superiority to everyone around them. Their go-to solution for puffing themselves up is bringing other people down.

How Do I Deal with The One-Upper?

The best way to resolve conflict with The One-Upper is to avoid playing their game. If they feel the need to show you up in a conversation or in a meeting, just ignore it and power through.

The more you feed into their cycle, the more you come off looking like the smaller person. Everybody knows The One-Upper can’t help themselves. You demonstrate your professionalism by not letting their self-promotional ways affect your demeanor. That’s a good look, even for an organization called The Faceless Men.

Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish aka The Hater

Littlefinger Baelish Game Of ThronesIf you’re a fan of the show, you were probably waiting to see the enigmatic Littlefinger make an appearance on this list. The All-Star schemer isn’t just on this list because he likes to play politics, however. He represents that co-worker who can’t help interfere when he sees relationships develop without him.

During season 7, Petyr impulsively begins to attack the burgeoning mutual respect formed between the recently reunited sisters Sansa and Arya Stark. After all, any consolidation of power that doesn’t involve him needs to be undermined. Around the office, The Hater can be found popping into your cubicle for a quick chat that starts something like this:

“I’ve noticed you’ve been talking to the boss a lot…”

“I didn’t think you’d have much in common with Karen…”

“Were you having lunch with Jason? Huh…”

Co-workers who trade in these kinds of non-secrets are frustrating to work with because the bonds they see as a threat are actually great for your organization. This is another example of a co-worker whose insecurities drive counterproductive, unprofessional behavior around the office.

How Do I Deal with The Hater?

Just keep doing what you’re doing. The best way to resolve conflict with The Hater at work is to continue to develop the bonds you have that are real. If necessary, emphasize to your co-worker that you’d like to limit your conversation to matters directly related to your work. Start logging incidents and report the behavior to your manager if the behavior continues.

Theon Greyjoy aka The Apology

Theon Grayjoy Floating Game Of ThronesOver seven whole seasons of Thrones, Theon has proven time and time again that for every occasion, he will find a way to avoid rising to it. Whether it’s crumbling under the pressure of leadership after a poorly executed coup or abandoning his sister on the field of battle, Theon is a constant screw-up with as many excuses and apologies as there are swords in the Iron Throne.

That might be a little harsh. Theon finally seems to be coming around just in time for season 8. Regardless, he gives us a distinct example of a co-worker who consistently drops the ball during collaborative projects. What can be even more frustrating than these individuals’ inability to come through in the clutch is their long list of excuses for why they couldn’t have been successful in the first place.

How Do I Deal with The Apologizer?

The Apology’s self-pitying behavior wouldn’t be so bad if the solution to the problem wasn’t to affirm them as much as possible. It’s hard to be in the mood to keep supporting a co-worker who constantly lets you down, but confronting them too directly may only make it harder to build their confidence the next time you need to rely on their expertise.

Instead, continue to assert that they are a capable contributor to the team and cross your fingers. Maybe also assign them fewer vital tasks.

Samwell Tarly aka The Two-Face

Samwell Tharly Game Of ThronesSam started off as Jon’s pudgy co-worker at The Wall, but these days he’s defeating ancient snow demons, curing diseases and doing important work as a Westerosian history post-graduate. This all to say that Sam is quite the capable individual, even if his cherubic face and ho-hum demeanor might suggest otherwise.

Whether it’s sneaking peeks into The Citadel’s forbidden library or straight-up swiping the family sword from his jerk dad in the middle of the night, Sam has proven he will lie to your face and just do what he wants anyway – if that’s what it takes to get his way.

You may be having flashes of that time a co-worker agreed to your strategy in a meeting before they immediately proceeded to implement their own plan instead. Maybe you know a fellow employee who spoke poorly of you to a supervisor but acts like your pal at lunch. There are plenty of people like that in the workforce, and few of them have as heroic intentions as Sam.

How Do I Deal with The Two-Face?

This one’s tough because people who systematically lie are usually A) pretty good at it and B) know how to work the system. Accusing them of being dishonest straight up won’t work. They’ll claim miscommunication and that they’ll “try to do better” next time.

Instead, anticipate and plan around them. Take advice or input you get from The Two-Face with a grain of salt; get confirmation from fellow co-workers if necessary.

Rickon Stark aka The Guy Who Can’t Run in a Zig-Zag Pattern

You’d think that if your captor had told you to run across a big field to safety, you might suspect something was up. You’d think that running in a straight line is probably foolish, especially in an era where ranged weaponry is limited to arrows of various sizes. You’d think to occasionally change direction, perhaps multiple times, forming a sort of zig-zag pattern, as to protect yourself from any income projectiles.

You’d think that. I’d think that. Rickon didn’t think that. Rickon got shot by an arrow.

At the office, The Guy Who Can’t Run in a Zig-Zag Pattern is the employee who is unfortunately both underqualified for his position and can’t think outside the box enough to compensate. They’re probably great at paperwork? Hopefully.

How Do I Deal with a Non-Zig-Zagger?

I mean, this person is probably a nepotism hire in the first place. Not really much you can do except wait for them to screw up really, really badly. If they can’t figure out how to run in a zig-zag pattern, the problem will sort itself out sooner than you might expect.
Rickon Stark Running Game Of Thrones

M’Lording Your Manager

Most of this advice has revolved around managing peers who get on your nerves around the office. But what about your boss? In many cases, there isn’t much to do when you and your superiors have a personality clash. Mitigating your expectations and looking for ways to become essential to your boss are the most effective responses outside of finding another position.

Here are a few quick tips based on dealing with a frustrating supervisor, based on the show’s trio of kings from House Baratheon.

Stannis aka The Family Man

Stannis Baratheon Battle Game Of ThronesStannis would be a great boss if he didn’t let his family drama impact the workplace daily. Who can concentrate on winning a war of succession when the boss’ wife and girlfriend are having an awkward spat in the company kitchen? It’s just not a good way to do business.

Your best bet is to be as firm about setting boundaries as possible. Your boss knows he or she is not supposed to bring their personal life into the office; they just can’t help themselves. They can’t hold it against you for not wanting to deal with it either.

Robert aka The Old Buddy

Robert Baratheon King Game Of ThronesEddard Stark found himself in the unfortunate position of being the president of a company owned by his roommate from college, good ol’ Robert Baratheon. Working with friends or family can be a great opportunity, but also invites challenging work dynamics when personal feelings get in the way of the work. Robert could never bring himself to take advice from Eddard, so why empower him to make decisions?

If you find yourself in this type of position, your best bet is to be honest about your feelings. It’s either be open with them when you feel like the personal is interfering with the professional or suffer working in a toxic environment and threatening a friendship. Your friend-boss can’t have you beheaded, so relax and start a conversation.

Joffrey aka The Big Man

Joffrey Big Man King Clapping - Game Of ThronesWho could forget the short but spicy reign of boy-king Joffrey Baratheon? Prior to being poisoned at his own wedding, Joffers made a habit of having his political rivals murdered in front of their children and turning servants into pin cushions with his trusty crossbow. His famously thin skin also made it easy to get fired from a position at Westeros, LLC. Any perceived sleight could lead to a date with the executioner when Joffrey was CEO.

If you’ve got a boss who’s easily threatened and likes to take it out on subordinates, you probably know what it’s like to work for a Joffrey-type firsthand. The Big Man is only satisfied when his importance is on the top of everyone’s minds. Honestly, the only way to deal with these types of supervisors is to prove your usefulness. They’ll leave you alone if they think your success reflects positively on them.

You Win By Not Playing

At the end of the day, the best way to manage, respond and resolve your conflicts with co-workers is to avoid escalating the problem. You may have to swallow a bit of your pride, but that’s a small price to pay for a peaceful work environment.

Want more advice about managing difficult personalities around the office or other conflict-resolution tips? See our tips on curbing workplace incivility or bookmark our blog for several new updates every month.

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Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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How to Write High-Quality Blog Posts to Woo Google and Real, Live People

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This is part two of a two-part series. In part one, we covered the pre-writing process you can use to set up your blog post or content piece for success online.

In this article, I’ll show you how to take all that information and turn it into a compelling, high-quality article that people want to read and share, which will also help it rank better in organic search.

If you’ve done the planning process for a blog post and are feeling a bit overwhelmed, maybe wondering what to do with all that information now that you have it, no worries – I’ll walk you through what to do next.

This Is a Guide, Not a Formula

First, let’s talk about an important mindset to have as you go through this process.

Even though I’m sharing my secret writing recipe with you in these two articles, it’s important to not think of this as a formula, but rather as a guide. Even if you’re writing for business purposes, writing is still a creative endeavor. This process helps you balance the practical and artistic aspects of writing blog articles.

Use the Outline to Structure, Not Stifle

Your Target Between What You Say What They Want Learn - Eminent SEOThere’s really no one-size-fits-all formula you should follow when it comes to writing. It’s OK if your writing is loose and free when you start, because you’ll go through and revise it to give it structure.

The key is to allow the structure of your article to be determined by the flow of ideas. This way, it has structure and readers feel like they are being led through a logical progression, all without stifling your creativity or turning out cookie-cutter content.

For instance, you can begin writing the article in a narrative, story-like format to engage the reader, and then build to the main message and the supporting details.

Or, for more informational articles, you may use a structure more like you learned in school – where you start with the main message in the opening, list the supporting ideas, and then close by reinforcing the main message in the conclusion.

So take a deep breath and relax as you move forward with writing and refining your blog article.

Headline Hacks for Beginners

You may write the headline first and use that to help you decide what to include in the article, but it’s also fine to write what you want to say first and then come up with the headline that best encapsulates what the article covers.

If you already have a great headline that you wrote during the planning process, great. If not, make sure you spend some quality time working on the headline.

The headline serves two main purposes:

  1. It entices the reader to click on the article and read it (so it should be enticing!).
  2. It promises the reader what he or she will get from reading the article.

It’s important when you’re writing a compelling headline to make sure that you can deliver on what the title promises. It’s also a good idea to verify that your finished draft will fulfill your audience’s expectations, based on the headline.

When brainstorming headline ideas, try this process:

  1. Write several headlines meant to be enticing to people.
  2. Write several headlines that have the keywords people will search for when looking for information on this topic.
  3. Review both lists of headline ideas and look for ways to slip keywords into your favorite people-friendly headline.
  4. Copy and paste your headline into an internet search and see what kinds of articles it will be up against. Is it the right topic, and is your article better than the ones that are already ranking?

If you’re new to writing headlines, Jon Morrow’s Headline Hacks is a good place to start. It lists the types of headlines that have been most successful over decades of use (they’re timeless) and how to use them, with examples.

You can download it for free on his website if you’re willing to submit your email address. You can unsubscribe from his list anytime, but if you’re serious about improving your writing skills, you won’t want to; he has great resources on writing for online audiences.

Begin with the Reader in Mind

I always recommend that you open your article by connecting emotionally with your audience and stating the problem or situation from their point of view. This communicates that you are going to talk about something relevant to them, and that you understand their feelings and the situation they’re in.

This can happen in the first sentence, or a few sentences in, depending on what makes sense. You’ll notice that in this article, I start of very practically by stating that this article is part of a series, but I still end the opening section by acknowledging that the reader may be feeling overwhelmed about what to do next, and providing reassurance that I’m going to make things easier for them.

Know Where You’re Headed

Think of writing as connecting the dots. You’re going to start with the audience’s problem/experience/feelings and then lead them through what you want to communicate to them, and finally to your call to action at the end.

When you sit down to write, review the information in your planning doc, and get a sense in your mind of how you want this article to unfold. Imagine yourself in the audience’s mindset and the journey of enlightenment you want to take them on.

For a refresher on the pre-writing steps I outlined in my previous post, here’s the 10-point checklist:

Pre-Writing Checklist For Writing Viral Blog Post - Eminent SEO

Get On Your Soapbox and Be Vulnerable

You may find it useful to write your article in chunks, and then piece them together in the revision stage.

For example, after you write a section connecting with the audience and what they need to get out of this, you can write a section that gets out what you need to say.

These days, people want more than information. They want expert opinions about the information as well. Unlike news stories that strive for objectivity, you can be as opinionated and emotional in a blog article as you want.

The key is to give compelling advice while also being authentic and personal. When done well, this leads people to trust you and like you, and want to hear more from you. The tone is totally up to you. It can be aggressive or compassionate, optimistic or cautionary, highly emotional or highly rational – as long as it reflects your genuine feelings on the topic.

Here’s an list of what to address when you write out the Writer’s Stance paragraphs:

  • Your stance on the topic and why you feel strongly about it.
  • Why you disagree with other approaches.
  • A passionate plea not to make the kinds of mistakes you see people make in this area.
  • An admission of mistakes you’ve made or misunderstandings you’ve had about this topic.
  • What people absolutely must know to avoid the same mistakes.
  • Compelling reasons why people should listen to you and follow your lead.

You can then either include these points all in one section, or spread them throughout your article. For example, if you’re writing a 10-point how-to article, for each step you might explain how to do the step and then why you believe it must be done that way.

Close Like a Pro

When you’ve made all of your important points, wrap it up with a closing paragraph or section that:

  • Summarizes your main message and perhaps a key supporting point or two
  • Has a call to action

If you began your story as a narrative, it is probably more appropriate to bring the story full circle and provide a satisfying conclusion to the tale. Articles that are more informational will summarize the main idea, yet still sprinkle in a compelling emotional component.

Post-Writing Checklist

Once you’ve written your draft and revised it to tighten up the structure, run through this checklist to make sure you covered all the key elements that will help it be successful:

  1. Did you start out by empathizing with the audience’s current situation?
  2. Did you say what you needed to say and take a stance, hopefully one that sets you apart?
  3. Did you make sure your main message is clearly stated, preferably more than once?
  4. Did you answer the questions the audience will have, especially if they are new to your topic?
  5. Did you explain things in layman’s terms, or at least define any industry jargon you used?
  6. Did you close with a clear CTA that flows naturally from the topic, fits with the buyer stage, and aligns with your goals?
  7. Did you do a search to make sure your keywords are included in the headlines and body copy?
  8. Does your article fulfill the promise your headline makes to the reader?
  9. Did you proofread for spelling, grammar and capitalization?

Tip: Have a coworker do the proofreading if it’s not your strong suit.

In fact, I highly recommend that you have someone else read your article before you publish it. A fresh pair of eyes will catch errors that you miss because you’ve been looking at it so much. And a fresh perspective may bring questions that you hadn’t thought to include, but should have.

It’s Your Turn!

Writing a blog article that gets read and shared online isn’t an easy task, but it’s worth the effort if you’ve got something of value to share.

Keep in mind that for an article to get traction online, it needs to:

  • Resonate emotionally with your audience
  • Provide excellent content (be helpful!)
  • Use keywords selectively

Now that I’ve shared my process for creating compelling online content, I’d love to hear from you…

What is your biggest frustration when it comes to writing online content?
What comes easily to you, and where do you get hung up?

Share in the comments!

Avatar for Sara Korn

Sara Korn

Finding creative ways to give both readers and clients what they want is why I love being a writer! As a Content Strategist at Eminent SEO, I listen to clients and put myself in the shoes of their customers to create compelling marketing messages that drive engagement.

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Why You Need Multichannel Marketing More Than Ever

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Why You Need MultiChannel Marketing More Than Ever - Eminent SEO

I know what you’re doing right now. If you’re reading this on a smart device, you’re either in the car or somewhere that has another media channel turned on. Radio, television, laptop, maybe your buddy’s phone.

So while you’re scrolling down this content, there are other media impressions close by, bombarding every fiber of your being, whether you like it or not.

According to statistics, we like it. A lot.

Today, All Consumers Have A.D.D.

In fact, media multitasking continues to drive media exposure up because it’s just how consumers spend their time. While older generations have modified their singular focus thought patterns to adjust to the new norm, those who only know digital media are naturally wired to divide their attention simultaneously.

Less Is NOT More

To align with consumers, marketing efforts need to maximize exposure and strengthen the impressions made through multiple channels of media communications. Multichannel marketing reaches more people because the premise involves the use of multiple media distribution touch points that can include digital, direct mail, broadcast and physical stores that together are meant to expand the audience reach.

But multichannel marketing has changed recently. It had to. Early multichannel marketing often dropped the ball on consumers, forcing them to put two and two together.

Our Product Your Interest Equals Sale - Eminent SEOAh! Not so fast. In life and marketing, you may assume NOTHING. The word “assume” broken down makes an ass out of u and me. So where was the disconnect?

The buying life cycle is ever so longer, thanks to the digital space. The gaping hole that businesses need to address in their multichannel marketing efforts was and remains the impetuous, demanding nature of customers and how best to get them to give a damn about your product.

Simply and silently your audience cries, “Convince me.” Hence, multichannel retailing was born.

Why does the multichannel marketing model fit now more than ever? It matches consumer expectations and behaviors.

No one wants to work more than they have to, especially online.

Multi Channels Turn On Your Audience

US Consumers Spend 12 Hours Day In Front Of Media Channel - Eminent SEOEvery media channel used to promote your business should provide something that inadvertently says, “See me, feel me, touch me!” Websites, offer videos, downloadable eBooks and case studies are prime examples of this.

If it’s a social media ad or post, ask users to speak their mind or visit your latest and greatest upcoming event. If it’s an email, entice them with a special promotion or webinar – the dangling carrot – that can only be bitten by filling out contact information and/or a three-question survey first.

Make It Move in 3 Ways

Here’s how to connect with consumers through a multichannel approach:

1. Keep It Pretty

Even though people are searching for quality content, what gets their attention are quippy headlines and killer design.

2. Keep It Real

People love the notion of getting what they want in real time, wherever THEY are. Mobile rules the multichannel mainstream. Google continues to strengthen a mobile-friendly ranking system that penalizes websites that aren’t mobile-optimized. Also, Google announced last October that it would further favor mobile search by splitting off desktop and mobile into separate search indexes, favoring mobile as the primary index.

3. Keep It Profitable

In the past, social media was all about getting people to see you, feel you, relate to you and build an ongoing connection. Your business’ social presence was to be nothing more than the resource ‘go-to’ – never to ask for the sale. But now, who has time to waste time?

Make your move as soon as possible by subliminally asking for the sale with a redirect to another channel that provides a shopping cart or a direct link to ecommerce. There’s a saying in sales, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Facebook, Google/YouTube and Pinterest have already positioned themselves within the not-so-free market.

If You Aren’t Competitive, You Have No Business Being in Business

This multiple platform concept might seem too busy, let alone too expensive, for your marketing budget. On the contrary and here’s why.

If you don’t update your communication strategies to follow consumer behavior:

  • Marketing campaigns will have minimal effect.
  • Marketing effectiveness will equate to missed opportunities.
  • Marketing reach and conversions that shoulda-woulda-coulda been yours will go to your competitors.

Multichannel Marketing Can Actually Increase ROI by Cutting Costs

If Customer Is Here There Everywhere Thats Where Marketing Should Be - Eminent SEOSpread the quality content you generate thin to increase market reach. What? If your content is good and relevant (and it better be) why wouldn’t you want to use it over and over again?

Remember, a consumer needs to be hit over the head by your message before it resonates and sticks. This happens with multiple touches. So why reinvent the creative wheel if you don’t have to?

Repurpose Your Content. Really. Just Hit Repeat.

To writers, designers and any creatives with artistic integrity at their core, the very term repurpose would make their innards recoil at the sound. To repurpose content was the lazy man’s (and woman’s) way to put out more marketing, with less than half the effort, often at the client’s full expense. A cheap shot? Well, yes.

But now with multichannel campaigns, repurposing breathes new life into existing ideas, with a simple twist of forethought.

How Many Impressions Does It Take to Get to the Center of Your Buyer?

Let’s get to the Tootsie Roll center of multichannel responsiveness: the sale. What exactly do marketers need to do to increase the likelihood of making the sale happen? Let’s find out.

Let’s take a step back in time when marketing was simpler. You can build on the complexities from there. Your multichannel creative and messaging should embrace the following in every medium used:

Give some special attention to pay per click. Categorically, dollar for dollar, it’s the best marketing investment you can make as long as you know who your audience is and target them. Sometimes, you gotta pay to play.

So now that you know the markers needed to hit your audience effectively, don’t forget to make your campaigns memorable and shareworthy. You’ll get even more bang for your buck.

Solid Multichannel Marketing Isn’t Random; It’s Native

Native Ads Visual Focus Stat - Eminent SEOIf you ask yourself, “Do I enjoy being ‘sold’ on something,” thoughts of greasy car salesmen wearing checkerboard polyester slacks waiting to pounce on you the moment you arrive on the car lot might come to mind. Yeah. Being blatantly and shamelessly coerced into buying something is creepy.

Marketing can be like that, but there are more approachable ways to speak to your buying audience.

Keep it native, because your audience won’t really know what hit them. Native ads are, in most cases, advertorial (remember that word?). The content is created to mirror the surrounding media.

If it is for a print placement, the native ad will be designed and written to mirror editorial. The same goes for online advertorial and video. And not so conversely speaking, television and film showcase native ads through cleverly orchestrated product placement.

Why do native ads work? They provide a seamless experience that meets customer expectations, providing the information they need through user-friendly outreach. Nothing over-the-top, just a natural progression of what’s already in front of them.

How Do You Know What’s Working?

Multichannel marketing campaigns are like reconnaissance missions. They’re only as effective as the results they bring in. But if you’re not monitoring, tracking, managing and updating strategy and responsiveness, how would you know? You wouldn’t.

But that’s a whole different story. Literally. Find out how A/B tests disclose the truth in your marketing by reading my previous blog post.

When You Cross-Channel Your Multi Channels, It’s Marketing Nirvana

Cross-Channel Multichannel Marketing City Highways - ESEOImagine the power of the same message connecting all the right channels to all the right people. It happens by using the benefits found in tracking consumer behaviors, readily available, through online intelligence.

When you segment your consumer data, by demographics or psychographics for example, you can take your multichannel marketing campaigns and direct them, cross-channel them, to the individuals that would more likely respond to your specific messaging.

Or to turn it another way, take your audience-specific messaging, identify the cross-channels, and make that marketing campaign meet that audience face to face in the media channels they use most, but let’s take that one step further:

  1. Each media channel will either redirect them to another channel through a link or other prompt, or
  2. Each media channel ad works as a standalone but is strengthened if each channel crossed is part of the same cohesive campaign strategy.
  3. What do I mean in #2?

Here’s an easy, “old school” illustration of the concept. Note the images below in support of Greenpeace. (No, I’m not getting political.) The first page shows a lush, healthy tree. We know that Greenpeace is all about supporting the environment. Because their brand presence is so strong, the first image as a standalone ad tells their story.

So, as you’re looking through this magazine, you come across the first ad and you “get it.” Then…

Greenpeace Tree Magazine Ad - ESEO… you turn the page to see the next ad and kapow! It really hits you, hard. Are you more likely to react, respond and engage after viewing page two? All day long, right? But its strength was built by the first page.

Swap out the print ad concept, page to page, with multichannel marketing, and the various channels can serve similarly as multiple “pages” in a campaign.

Multichannel Marketing Invigorates You and Your Customers

Reflect on your current marketing initiatives. Could they use a good swift kick in the nuts? So far as I can see, they just might be ready for a facelift.

Businesses truly represent our better half. For better and for worse, we’re married to them. That being said, you might as well give yours the attention it deserves. Through multichannel marketing, you can.

Solidify your long-term marketing relationships with multichannel marketing: It’s more lucrative than divorcing yourself from success.

For Your Channel Overview, Just Push Play

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Avatar for Melanie Stern

Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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