Marketing: POWER of Building Relationships

It takes a dedicated amount of time and energy to build good, strong, lasting business relationships today. They are such an integral and necessary part of success, but people don’t seem to want to put in the work.

Alert: lasting business relationships just don’t happen and develop without the dedicated, consistent work.

Our business network should be a qualified, selective group of people we count on, tap into and rely on for support, direction and insight. We have to find that balance of being givers and takers. We can’t just give or take, we need both. Far too many people don’t ask for help when they need it and that can be fatal in small business.

Selectivity, consistency and engagement are essential for finding great people and growing relationships with them.

Here are ways to build lasting business relationships in today’s professional world.

1. Be Authentic

This is pretty simple. Be who you are and accept others as they are. It’s easy to create a false persona, especially online, but that is not the way to start a relationship and short lived when we start qualifying people and companies. Find people and companies you feel a natural connection and ease of communication with and things you both have in common. The authenticity of connecting personality, beliefs and point of view can accelerate relationships.

2. Identify Shared Goals and Values

We seek out people in life we like, share similar goals and values with. Are they honest, kind, knowledgeable, helpful? How do they treat others? This is about moral character. Do we respect them? I have sadly seen too many people present themselves one way only to take advantage of people, once they have their trust. We may not always share the same point of view with everyone, but the shared values are a must.

3. Develop Mutual Respect

I find this takes time, unless someone is referred to you by a trusted connection. We prove ourselves over time and through different activities and experiences. Join a chamber, professional group, or online community which are all great environments to develop relationships. Be patient, selective and watch people in action. Building mutual respect is an essential for growing relationships.

4. Share Some Vulnerability

We are human and sometimes that means sharing and supporting people through difficulty, challenge and change. Showing our vulnerability is part of our authenticity. One word of caution: this is best shared with a select few rather than more publicly. Use good judgment here.

5. “I’ve Got Your Back”

Let people know that you have their back as a way of showing loyalty to them. I have been at way too many events where gossip and unnecessary conversations go down among people that simple shouldn’t be doing that. As tricky as this can be, I have selectively addressed certain people directly and respectfully asked them to reconsider those conversations and choose not to continue interacting with them.

6. Make Meaningful Connections for People to Network with Each Other

The greatest compliment in business is a referral. We should be thoughtful, have the right motives and be connecting people for the right reasons. Not all referrals work out. It takes two to make it happen and work, so don’t be doing all the work.

7. Get More Personal

If you really want to get to know people, ask them to go for coffee so that you can talk more personally, one on one. Be willing to share experiences, ideas, points of view and simply learn more about each other’s story, family and professional history.

8. Plan Something Fun to Do Together

All work and no play makes us dull! Be willing to go out and do something fun together that may not have anything to do with work. Music, art, entertainment, meet ups and community events are all fun things to do to see different sides of people. Not to mention some random and memorable conversations and laughs that can come out of it.

9. Let Go of Expectations

Always go into relationships with an open mind, realistic expectations and never assume. People are only who we think they are based on what our interactions have been with them. One of the best pieces of advice I got from a client was: accept the way people are not as you want them to be. If we have preconceived expectations of people, then we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.

10. Schedule Brainstorming Time

Block out dedicated time to brainstorm, engage and do business together. Best to set a regular time, a time limit and an agenda for what you want to accomplish in it. Leave some time unexpected discussion.

11. Offer Something Before Asking for Something

In 2010, Trendwatching.com came out with a trend brief that highlighted “serving is the new selling”. They put a name on what we were already knew was the trend shift in sales and marketing and now it is the norm in business, social media and content marketing.

When we educate, help and inspire others with our experience and expertise, we are building the foundation for trust that underlies relationships that endure. When we blog, create content, speak, do a workshop, webinar, write an e-book, go to events, we are serving and helping.

When we get more serious and engaged on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media where community gathers and exchanges ideas, we are serving and helping . Serving and helping builds trust like nothing else.

Trust is the one ingredient that builds strong, long lasting business relationships.

If you put in the time and work, you will be rewarded.

Events: Mary Kay, DEC Partner for Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit

MaryKayFinale0008.jpg

Mary Kay announced Tuesday it will host its inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit Jan. 27 at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas.

“For 53 years Mary Kay has been empowering, mentoring and promoting women entrepreneurs. Our founder, Mary Kay Ash herself was one of the greatest business minds of all time and millions of women around the world have built successful businesses by following her proven leadership and sales techniques,” Mary Kay’s Chief Marketing Officer Sheryl Adkins-Green said in a media release. “No one person or company has more experience with women’s entrepreneurship than Mary Kay. We believe that the Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit will help inspire current and future female entrepreneurs.”

“We can think of no better partner than Dallas’ own Mary Kay to provide effective tools and resources for the next generation of women innovators.”
TREY BOWLES

Mary Kay is partnering with The DEC (Dallas Entrepreneur Center) to bring together experts and thought leaders for the summit that will focus on women business owners. 

“We have seen a great increase in women entrepreneurs starting businesses in North Texas in recent years, and we believe programs like this Summit are invaluable in helping these companies grow,” co-founder and CEO of The Dallas Entrepreneur Center Trey Bowles said. “We can think of no better partner than Dallas’ own Mary Kay to provide effective tools and resources for the next generation of women innovators. We hope to bring some of the success-proven mindsets, processes, and practices to the women that attend this inaugural Mary Kay Women’s Summit.”

Businesses will get a chance to pitch their ideas in the first-ever “Pink Tank” for a chance to receive seed funding from The DEC. Judges will include Adkins-Green; Abe Minkara, director of business development for Mark Cuban Cos., and fashion designer and CEO Abi Ferrin. If you want to apply to pitch your business, visit this link

Gloria Mayfield Banks, internationally renowned motivational speaker and No. 1 U.S.-ranked Mary Kay Independent Elite Executive National Sales Director, will be the featured keynote speaker. There will be breakout sessions throughout the day, as well as opportunities for networking and mentorships. 

Sessions will include:

  • Why Women Make Great Entrepreneurs — featuring Amber Venz Box of RewardStyle and Valerie Freeman of Imprimis Group.
  • 10 Questions You Need To Answer Before You Become An Entrepreneur — featuring Shama Hyder of Marketing Zen and Yasmeen Tadia of Make Your Life Sweeter.
  • How To Build the Best Team For Success — featuring Sheryl Chamberlain of Cap Gemini, Kristi Libby of S.W.C./SoCu, and Jill Scigliano of The DEC.
  • Customer Development: How To Find And Grow Customers — featuring Melissa Youngblood of LCC Management Consulting.
  • Building Your Brand —  featuring Heather Capps of HCK2; Holly Mason of Mason Baronet; and Jessica Nunez of True Point.
  • Fundraising: How To Fund Your Business  Julia Taylor Cheek of Everly; Louise Kee of Golden Seeds; Cynthia Nevels of Integrality, and Cristin Thomas of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business.

IF YOU GO

Time: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Date: Jan. 27
Place: Fairmont Hotel, 1717 N. Akard in Dallas.
Registration fee:  $100 per person through Jan. 1, includes breakfast, breakout sessions, lunch, keynote speakers, mentorship opportunities, Pink Tank and post-event reception. Starting Jan. 2, the registration fee will be $125 per person and $150 at the door. 

For more information or to register, visit www.marykaywomenssummit.com or info@thedec.co.

Business: Overlooked Fundamentals

Amin & Co. - Dallas Marketing Firm

Running a business is complicated, which means there are some factors or tasks that tend to get overlooked. From basic concepts to more involved processes, members of our small business community have plenty of tips for dealing with those sometimes overlooked business tasks. See the full list of tips below.

Be Sure to Spend Enough Time on Marketing

So how much time should you be spending sharing content or connecting on social media or networking at industry related events? How long should you be spending on marketing in general? It depends. Answer the Small Business Trends poll and see how you stack up against others for amount of time spent marketing your business.

Learn the Difference Between User Experience and Customer Experience

The user experience and customer experience are important considerations for any business. But they’re not the same. And understanding what each is can make a big difference for your business. Caroline Sober-James explains more in this Acumium blog post.

Get Honest Feedback for Your Business Idea

Coming up with a great business idea is, of course, important. But you also need to gather some honest feedback about your ideas if you want them to succeed, as Cate Costa discusses here. Members of the BizSugar community also share thoughts on the post here.

Invest in LinkedIn Marketing

LinkedIn can be good for more than just keeping in touch with your professional connections. There are plenty of marketing opportunities that the platform presents, as Aaron Agius details in this Search Engine Journal post.

Determine Your Brand’s Social Media Persona

Lots of brands get on social media and just start posting without giving it much thought. But to really make an impact with your social media, you need to determine a persona. This post on the Inkhouse Inklings Blog by Sarah Mitus explains the importance of having a persona for your social media efforts.

Pitch Your Online Content for the Right Audience

Finding your target audience is absolutely essential to any business. And you need to constantly keep that audience in mind when creating and pitching your online content as well. This Two Feet Marketing post by David Lowbridge includes some thoughts on pitching content to your audience. And you can also see discussion about the post over on BizSugar.

Use These Tech Savvy Ways to Tell Your Brand Story

Every brand needs to tell a story. And you can actually use technology to help convey that story to customers and potential customers online. Here, Ivan Widjaya shares some tips about using technology to tell a brand story in this Noobpreneur post.

Improve Your Email Click-Through Rates

When it comes to email marketing, there’s a lot of emphasis put on gaining subscribers. But if you want your email marketing to have any impact, you also need to focus on improving your click-through rates.Here, Neil Patel shares some strategies for improving click-through rates on emails.

Build Customer Trust to Stand Out in a Crowd

There are tons of flashy strategies out there for making your business stand out. But few are as effectively as just building good old fashioned trust with your customers. Sherry Gray of ChamberOfCommerce.comdiscusses more here. And BizSugar members discuss the post here as well.

Use SEO to Get Local Customers to Cling to Your Content

When you think about the importance of SEO, you probably consider how essential it is to online businesses. But local businesses can use SEO and content marketing to reach customers as well. Here, Bhupinder Kaur Chhabra outlines how SEO and content can benefit local businesses in the Blurbpoint blog.

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Business: Multiple Ways to Repurpose Content

  Image Credit:  Syed Yaqeen

Image Credit: Syed Yaqeen

  1. Create a blog post. Make a bulleted list of the teleseminar highlights and post it as an article on your blog. You could even offer it as a guest post on an industry blog.

  2. Turn it into a short eBook or whitepaper. Get the audio transcribed, put a nice cover on it, and now you have a digital product to sell or giveaway.

  3. Podcast. Take the teleseminar recording and upload it to a place like SoundCloud or iTunes. You can take those links and embed them into your blog for an audio post. This example assumes you’re starting with an mp3. If you’re going to repurpose a blog post into audio, Audacity works very well. I’ve used it to record and edit all of my podcasts.

  4. Audio training. Turn the teleseminar into a digital product that’s for sale on a platform like Gumroad.

  5. Create a video presentation. Services like Tunes to Tube take your mp3 and an image, turn it into a video and then upload it to your YouTube channel for you.

  6. Make a talking head video. Take some of the best nuggets from the teleseminar, turn on your phone’s camera and talk about them. Most phones have simple video editing software and one-click social media sharing.

  7. Create a deep dive teleseminar. Say you created a teleseminar about your 5-step process for organizing closets. Step 1 was purge what you don’t need. You can create an entirely new seminar that goes in depth around that step. For example, you could talk about why it’s important to get rid of old items, how to decide what to toss, where to donate items that are still in good condition, etc.

  8. Make a presentation. Create slides using PowerPoint and then share it via SlideShare.net.

  9. Develop an infographic. Use a site like Visual.ly to make an infographic with highlights from your seminar.

  10. Schedule a webinar. For those who are more visual learners, present the teleseminar information with slides in the background this time.

  11. Newsletter. Highlight the best tips from the teleseminar and share them with your mailing list.

  12. Physical CD for sale. Use an online CD maker to upload your teleseminar and make it a physical CD. This product can now be sold when you attend events or mailed to potential clients. If you’ve done multiple teleseminars, upload each track, add a transcript and sell it as a home study class.

Business: City of Denton Partners with DEC

DEC Denton

The city of Denton is partnering with the Dallas Entrepreneur Center to launch a collaborative space for area entrepreneurs.

Stoke, located at 608 E. Hickory St., is a product of Connected Denton, a community-based initiative fostering entrepreneurship and innovation in the city of Denton. The 9,216 square-foot space will be located just east of Denton’s Downtown Square. It is expected to open in the summer.

A rendering shows what Stoke will look like once the space is renovated in summer.

“There’s been kind of a grassroots discussion for a couple of years for creating a coworking space and supporting entrepreneurship and high-tech companies,” said Aimee Bissett, Denton’s director of development services, adding that Stoke is the culmination of all those efforts.

“It will be that hub or centerpiece for people to come and collaborate.”

Stoke will be financed by the $220,000 that the city approved in September 2014. The funding was allocated to launch an economic development initiative that would help Denton become a hub for technology. The center aims to serve as the anchor for Denton’s Innovation District.

The city also allocated $75,000 annually to help support the new center. The funds come from the tax increment financing district monies and will cover the lease and staff. The center will also receive a percentage of membership fees collected by the DEC to help support the operating costs.

The DEC will run the programming associated with the center, and the joint venture will function like the Addison Treehouse, a partnership that formed between the town of Addison and the DEC in 2014. However, Stoke will have a Denton twist.

“We’re creating the right programming, the right collaboration community, but this is very much a Denton vibe,” said Trey Bowles, CEO of the DEC. “We are very much trying to figuring out what that community needs for entrepreneurial support so that we are really able to create a way for the city to build Denton’s entrepreneurial brand.”

As in Addison, the DEC will provide entrepreneurs access to training, education, mentorship, promotion and capital to grow their businesses. Stoke will include features such as gigabit fiber Internet, conference room rentals and office resources for members and visitors.

For more on this exciting partnership click HERE.

Branding: Personal Branding Mistakes

Personal Branding Mistakes - Luxury Brand Marketing Expert

Entrepreneurs are supposed to be the face of their respective companies, but these seven costly mistakes can interfere with that role.

Every company has a brand -- an image, a reputation, and a persona that defines that company's character and reputation. What most people don't realize is that you can also establish and build a personal brand -- an image, a reputation, and a persona that defines your own professional character and reputation.

When working together, a strong corporate brand and a strong entrepreneurial personal brand can work wonders for attracting new business, but too many mistakes can compromise the entire operation. Be sure to avoid these seven personal branding mistakes as you build a reputation for yourself:

1. Neglecting to use personal branding altogether. The first mistake is by far the most egregious and damaging, but hopefully if you're reading this, you've already avoided it. A personal brand is almost necessary for an entrepreneur in today's world.

2. Not establishing a consistent persona. Just like a corporate brand, a personal brand has to be consistent to be effective. Know who you are, what you're good at, and what your goals are.

3. Being fake. Even though you can craft and customize different attributes of yourself in a public context, it's a good idea to remain sincere and true to yourself. People want to deal with other people--not with fictional characters.

4. Never guest blogging. Guest blogging is your greatest tool to success. Start out small by writing for other local establishments and niche blogs in your industry, then scale up to more authoritative and visible publishers.

5. Not getting social. Social media is how most personal brands build their empires. Get involved on as many platforms as possible, and don't neglect local networking events!

6. Skipping out on local opportunities. There are tons of opportunities to build a reputation for yourself in your own city. Get involved at conferences and speaking events.

7. Forgetting about your followers. Respond and commune with your followers regularly; build actual relationships with them.

If you can avoid these personal branding mistakes, you'll have a far greater chance at making a lasting impression with your personal brand. Work together with your corporate brand for the best possible results.

 

Branding: James Bond

James Bond Branding - Marketing Firm Amin & Co.

Is James Bond an inexhaustible branding partner?

The impending release of “Spectre,” the 24th entry in the James Bond film franchise, has made a host of chosen brands eager to offer consumers a Bond moment of their own.

From sharp suits to fast cars and equally flashy watches, the British spy, who has been raking in cash at the box-office for more than 50 years, has become something of a style icon for young males across the globe. Given the enduring popularity of the character, will brands ever stop pining for his allegiance?

The product is not enough

While James Bond began on the pages of Cold War thrillers written by Ian Fleming and achieved unmistakable popularity in the medium, the risky decision to bring the novels, criticized as being “blatantly sexual,” to the screen has paid dividends.

The original films, all based on Mr. Fleming’s books, honored both the Cold War setting and the more risqué elements, but as the series has continued to grow, the films have come to outnumber and out-gross the books while the political meanings have taken a backseat to the more spectacular elements.

In “Goldfinger,” just the third film in the series, James Bond drives an Aston Martin DB5, to this day the most famous Bond car and perhaps the most known Bond product of any kind. The partnership continues to this day: Bond will drive a bespoke Aston Martin DB10 in Spectre, premiering for United States audiences Nov. 6.

The automaker is commemorating its role in the James Bond film franchise over the last 50 years with a new limited-edition model tied to the release of Spectre.

Aston Martin’s DB9 GT Bond Edition, of which only 150 will be produced, includes a host of accessories and trim features that honor the link between the fictitious spy and his car of choice. This model is apt to appeal to both car and film collectors, allowing them to have a piece of the Bond world in their own garage (see story).

At only 150 cars, it’s easy to think that the selling power of the Agent 007 has been exaggerated, but that is not the case. Instead, Bond-spurred sales are in a more experiential realm.

In addition to the DB9, Aston Martin is partnering with The Opportunity Network, which helps low-income students enter and graduate college, to offer consumers who donate an opportunity to attend the premiere of Spectre, meet current Bond actor Daniel Craig and drive an Aston Martin. The popularity of Bond will increase the donations for Opportunity Network, while Aston Martin gets to turn lucky winners on to its stylish and speedy cars.

The Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong, where the ninth Bond film, “The Man With The Golden Gun,” was filmed, is also offering experiential Bond-themed promotions.

An exhibition of long-time Bond photographer Terry O’Neill’s work will be on display at the Hong Kong hotel, which will also provide fans and patrons with a “Bond-worthy Stay.” That Bond-worthy Stay will also offer a dinner at French fine dining restaurant Gaddi’s, which will showcase its “License to Thrill” with courses taken from or inspired by Bond films and limited-edition Champagne from Bollinger created in conjunction with the release of Spectre (see story).

Another automaker, Jaguar, is approaching the series’ popularity in yet another way. Beyond pushing its car, the C-X75, which will feature in the new film, the brand is also providing its followers with behind-the-scenes videos on its Web site and social media followers, a way of linking the brand to the character even for those who can’t afford the latest model (see story).

Tom Ford never dies

Other brands, from watchmakers to department stores to apparel labels, have also sought to capitalize on James Bond’s popularity.

Early last month, U.S. apparel label Tom Ford announced it is reprising its role as the brand behind the attire of James Bond in the upcoming film, Spectre.

High-end brands often work with the costume designers of Hollywood films due to the relationship the label oftentimes has already established with the actors, or to create a large field of visibility for its products. The James Bond franchise is an especially good match for a luxury brand due to the sophistication of the clothing worn by the character, the situations he finds himself in and, of course, his sports cars (see story).

Other films have also have brought out the creative side of brands hoping to leverage cultural prestige to make a sale.

In one notable example, online menswear retailer Mr Porter explored its British sartorial roots through a capsule collection and content hub influenced by the feature film, “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”

Launched on Jan. 13, to coincide with London Collections: Men, which wrapped on Jan. 12, Mr Porter’s Kingsman capsule collection celebrates the “classic British gentleman’s wardrobe.” Connecting fashion heritage with popular culture, especially a film, may help Mr Porter relate to, and embrace a traditional Londoner’s wardrobe (see story).

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Business: How to Create a POWERFUL LinkedIn Profile

Beauty Marketing - Use LinkedIn

Among the social networks, LinkedIn (PS - Let's Connect!) can be one of the MOST useful when it comes to cultivating critical, lucrative business opportunities, since it has a high concentration of business decision makers.

The trick is going beyond connecting with besties, college roommates and family members to strategically building a POWERFUL network of individuals who can and SHOULD be future clients. 

This doesn't happen overnight, in fact, it takes months and even years. Over the last 5 years I have managed to take my 27 links and turn them into a LUXE POWER network of over 7000 global connections!

So, how do you get this to happen for you and your business? Read on below.

REFINE YOUR PROFILE

If a picture tells a thousand words, well your LinkedIn profile pic can tell grillions! Some of you don't even have a pic, and for those of you who do, many use social pics taken straight off of facebook. Please please, take this down.

A simple photoshoot in the bathroom with a white wall background will suffice for time being, but when you get a chance take a moment to invest in a professional head shot. It's worth it! You never know who is trying to find your face on LinkedIn, and it helps to have that perfect pic give a seamless introduction.

TELL YOUR STORY

Tell everyone who you are in three words or less... if you can't, that's ok, but do try to tell it in as little words as possible. Ever heard of the "elevator pitch"? 

An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in what your organization does. You can also use them to create interest in a project, idea, or product – or in yourself. A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name.

They should be interesting, memorable, and succinct. They also need to explain what makes you – or your organization, product, or idea – unique. Your profile is just that, so get straight to it!

FILL OUT YOUR EXPERIENCE

By filling out your work experience and educational institutions, you can create a larger net for capturing searches. Plus, this allows you to access the second and third-tier connections you've been trying to meet!

JOIN GROUPS

Connect with like-minded individuals who are also serious about making the most of their LinkedIn experience. Participating in groups also enables you to share your knowledge and learn more from other members.

CREATE A GROUP

Creating a group not only gives you a certain level of credibility within your field it also allows you to connect with influentials within your niche sector.

SEND INVITES

Don't just send any old email...

I can't tell you how many I have deleted in the past. One, when sending your first request/invite be sure to introduce yourself and state how you can assist the person you're looking to connect with, and/or how they may be of assistance to you.

Do not, and I repeat, do NOT send an invite with no action request. You want to leave the other person feeling like it's a "win win" opportunity, and it is. You're AWESOME! Don't forget it.

Let me know of any other questions you all may have when it comes to LinkedIn and I'll do my best to answer below.

 

Business: Marketing BUZZwords

As more companies look to inbound marketing to build website traffic, generate leads, and convert customers, the number of articles written about this topic has exploded. And with an explosion of content comes buzzwords and fancy vocabulary terms that can confuse anyone not specializing in digital marketing.

Are you confused with all the buzzwords?

If you’ve been busier running your business than reading articles, here are ten popular content marketing buzzwords de-buzzed:

  1. Internet Marketing, Content Marketing, and Inbound Marketing. There’s been some discussion about the differences (and similarities) between these three terms. To begin with, Internet Marketing refers to any kind of marketing that takes place on the Internet, to include paid forms of advertising, as well as inbound marketing and content marketing themselves. As for the difference between content marketing and inbound marketing, we recommend you defer to HubSpot’s definition: inbound marketing is the overall process of generating leads and customers using your website. Content marketing is a specific subset within inbound marketing that refers to the content you produce.
  2. Responsive Design. Responsive Design is a buzzword that describes the process of designing websites that “respond” to different devices and screen sizes, such as mobile, tablet, and desktop. For example, if you visit our website on a mobile phone or tablet, it will provide a visually pleasing and easy-to-navigate experience. Older websites sometimes use a different framework for the experience that can lead to a bad experience and be difficult to read. In the recent news, this has become even more important because of the next buzzword on this list…
  3. “Mobilegeddon.” Google just made another of its notorious search engine updates, this time focusing on mobile-responsive websites, or “mobile-friendly” websites. If you get a significant amount of your website visits from people using phones or tablets, you need to make sure your website is mobile responsive. If you don’t, your site may be penalized and pushed down the list of search results for users searching on phones and tablets.
  4. Call to Action. Inbound marketing websites use Calls to Action to encourage website visitors to take specific actions when they visit the site. Calls to Action are the action-oriented phrases that appear on buttons and links all over the website, often related to the particular topic or piece of content being viewed. When clicked, these phrases lead to a landing page.
  5. Landing Page. A landing page is a full web page dedicated to one offer in your inbound marketing arsenal. This page consists of a few paragraphs and a form that has to be filled out in order to download something, get a free demo, get a free trial, or some other action. The landing page provides an opportunity for the customer to submit their information and move further through your marketing funnel as a contact, and the layout, language, and images used on the landing page are very important.
  6. Premium Content Offer. A premium content offer is the “carrot” that you offer to a prospect in exchange for their contact information. More often than not, this is a white paper or short eBook that provides information of interest to your prospective customer. It might provide your insight on a certain problem, or simply overview how to do something that your customer is interested in.
  7. Social Reach. It’s easy to see stats for the individual platforms that you manage. Social Reach takes these stats to another level by gathering the total number of people you have access to within your social media network. This gives you a comprehensive impression of your total reach and potential for engagement.

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Travel: 2015 Trends

Want to know what's on the horizon in travel for 2015? Below are some of my personal favorite picks. 

Your Rental Will Look More Like a Hotel

If you're interested in staying at the new Drift San Jose, a stylish eight-room property in Los Cabos, Mexico, that appeals to independent millennials, you won’t be able to book through its website, or any hotel website, for that matter. Rooms are available only through Airbnb. That’s a sign of things to come: since the apartment-rental behemoth enlisted boutique-hotel guru Chip Conley in 2013 to advise hosts on how to improve the guest experience (scented candles, fresh fruit, ambient music), the line between hotels and rentals has become blurred. Airbnb has introduced a range of initiatives to this effect, including a Super Host program that highlights some of the site’s most professional-style listings and a three-day conference that offers tips for aspiring hosts. Other rental services, such as the high-end One Fine Stayand the affordable-minded BeMate, are also stepping into this nebulous middle ground, offering guests cleaning and concierge services. BeMate will even store luggage for you and, in lieu of room service, deliver food from nearby partner hotels.

You'll Sleep Better on the Road

Las Vegas may be the best place to rest up right now, thanks to an array of sleep-centric tech enhancements—in lighting and furniture design—in 171 rooms (and counting) at theMGM Grand. And that hotel isn’t alone in prioritizing your REM sleep. Fifteen years after introducing the Heavenly Bed, Westin is piloting wearable monitors with a companion sleep-coach app, which it hopes to roll out to hotels in the near future. Crowne Plaza, meanwhile, has unveiled anew headboard that helps cut ambient noise by 30 percent. Here’s a closer look at how hotels are rethinking your bedtime routine.

Stay Well Dawn Simulator: The bedside fixture at the MGM Grand gradually wakes you up with cortisolproducing shades of blue light.

Noise-Reducing Headboards: The next-generation Crowne Plaza room features angled, padded headboards placed slightly away from the wall to minimize ambient sounds.

Healthy Mattress: MGM’s organic-cotton mattress builds in extra posture support to eliminate tossing and turning.

Sleep Monitors: Lark Technologies’ wrist sensors at Westin hotels will track your movements at night and analyze the causes of any restlessness.

All About Spa & Wellness

Spa and Wellness Tourism predicted to grow at nearly twice the rate of general tourism. 

Your Phone Will Become Your Wallet

Championed by Google and cemented by Apple Pay, mobile transactions are about to become the new normal. Sync your credit and debit cards with Google Wallet (for Android) or Apple’s Passbook (iOS), and you’ll be able to buy things simply by placing your phone in front of a sensor at checkout. Taking a page from Uber, an increasing number of travel apps, such as Airbnb and OpenTable, now offer digital transactions that link to your card.

You'll Take Your Networking to New Heights

Applicants to Delta’s Innovation Class can earn an airplane seat beside business leaders, such as Gilt cofounder Alexandra Wilson and chef Sean Brock, as they fly to industry events. KLM passengers can use the airline’s Meet & Seat program to choose their seatmates based on social-network profiles.

You'll Discover That Million-Dollar Idea

First there were the C-suite summits of Bohemian Grove and Davos. Then came the intelligentsiafests of TED and South by Southwest. Now these sorts of niche gatherings— which once drew mostly industry insiders with cultlike devotion—are gaining mainstream appeal. Just count the number of times someone drops “South by” into a conversation, and witness the proliferation of big-name, big-ticket conferences and meetings like Tina Brown’s Women in the World. Hotels are also getting in on the action. Properties like the Quin, in New York City, and Andaz hotels offer cultural programming and on-site salons. At the new Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, in Colorado, owner John Hendricks is leveraging his connections as the Discovery Channel founder to produce Curiosity Retreats, which feature time with physicists, technologists, and foreign-policy experts. And if you can’t get to TED, the TEDx franchise has given rise to mini events in resorts from Santa Barbara to Tulum, Mexico. Look for them at ted.com.

BIG Brands - Boutique Hotels

Global hotel brands are continuing to establish “boutique” / “lifestyle” brands aimed at discerning affluent travelers. Example: Marriot Edition Hotels, / Hilton Curio / Radisson Red and Millennials e.g. Marriot’s Moxy brand.

curio hotel



Business: Lupita Nyong'o

More than 10,000 women attended the 10th annual Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston on Thursday. The keynote speakers included former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Academy Award winning actress Lupita Nyong'o, and entrepreneurs Tory Burch and John Jacobs (cofounder of Life Is Good with his brother Bert Jacobs). 

Though Clinton's speech was the grand finale, Nyong'o charmed the audience by recounting the emotional ups and downs of her career, leading up to her 2013 feature debut in 12 Years a Slave. The first step was realizing she wanted to be an actress--despite the long odds of finding enduring work in the profession. "Without the possibility of being bad at something, you will never be extraordinary," she told the crowd.

At the Yale School of Drama, she learned to grow comfortable with failure. "It allows you to embrace vulnerability and surprise yourself," she said. On the set of 12 Years a Slave, she admitted she was nervous throughout the filming. It was her first feature and her fear of failure on the big stage was palpable. "It doesn't ever get comfortable. But it does get familiar," she concluded.  

In addition, she mentioned two books which had been especially helpful to her career journey. They were:

1. Fight Your Fear and Win: Seven Skills for Performing Your Best Under Pressure--At Work, In Sports, On Stage by Dr. Don Greene. 

2. Map 4 Life by Glen Allen McQuirk. 

Nyong'o is also a believer in the basic act of writing down your ambitions. If you were in her shoes, you'd believe in it too. On May 4, 2012, she told the crowd, she wrote down the goal of making films that affect change. Nine days later, she got the part in12 Years a Slave.

Of course, her fulfilment of the ambition was more than nine days in the making. It really began years earlier, with her initial decision to become an actress. She cried when she initially made that decision, and cried again in recounting the moment to the crowd, saying, "I wept just as I am now, because it was so hard to admit that I wanted to be something so improbable."