We spend a lot of time at work. Forty hours a week for forty odd years adds up to a whopping 70 percent of your life spent in an office, says millennial career expert Jill Jacinto. And as such, â€œitâ€™s only natural to become friends with your coworkers,â€� she points out. But Heather Huhman, a career coach and founder of Come Recommended, says, â€œin any relationship, itâ€™s important to have boundaries,â€� and Jacinto agrees.
In other words, as Jacinto puts it, â€œat the end of the day, they are your coworker first and friend second.â€� And there are just some things you should never, ever tell them.
Here, according to our career experts, are six things you need to keep to yourself.
1. â€œThat presentation totally sucked,â€� or any other unconstructive criticism
Itâ€™s not always easy, but according to Huhman, you should never give a coworker unconstructive criticism. â€œWhen youâ€™re friends with a coworker, it can be tempting to just tell them like it is. But this isnâ€™t always helpful.â€� Instead, Huhman says, â€œItâ€™s better to discuss what mistakes were made and offer solutions to the problem.â€� A friend will appreciate your help â€” and your office will be better off for it, she says.
2. â€œI hate our boss,â€� or anything else derogatory about your employer.
You may loathe the person for whom you work and need to vent â€” but Jacinto warns you should not share your boss-related frustration with your coworker. â€œYou never know what they might say you said about that boss to another team member, HR or worse, the boss you have been complaining about,â€� Jacinto points out. â€œA vent session could then be misconstrued that you were badmouthing your employer.â€�
3. â€œYouâ€™re the best salesperson in the office,â€� or whatever they want to hear.
Giving a coworker a compliment may seem harmless, but telling a white lie because itâ€™s what your coworker wants to hear is never a good idea, warns Huhman. â€œWhen someone in the office is also a friend, it can be tempting to tell them they did a great job when their performance was actually subpar,â€� she admits. â€œBut that does neither you nor them any favors, because theyâ€™ll continue to do below average work because you told them it was excellent.â€� The truth, however, will help everyone.
4. â€œYouâ€™ll never guess this about my client,â€� or any sensitive client details.
â€œItâ€™s a given you should never badmouth a client to a coworker,â€� Jacinto says, â€œbut you also need to make sure you are not releasing any of their private information across departments.â€� Jacinto recalls a client who was â€œburned badly in this situation when her work friend asked to see a client event list â€” which was highly classified,â€� she says. â€œExcept, itâ€™s against the rules to share that type of information and both of the people ended up getting fired for that incident. Do not let a simple file upload or email share put you in this situation.â€� Keep confidential information exactly that.
5. â€œDid you hear about what Amy did last night?â€� or any other office gossip.
Spreading office matesâ€™ business â€” even with your work BFF â€” is never a good idea. â€œChances are, you have more than one friend at work,â€� points out Huhman. â€œBut that doesnâ€™t give you the right to talk to one about anotherâ€™s personal life. Even if the info seems harmless, it can negatively affect how your friend is perceived in the office.â€� So try to stick to facts and figures, and save the gossip for your out-of-office friends.
6. â€œI totally screwed up,â€� or any other admission of a big mistake.
Of course, mistakes happen. But, Jacinto warns, â€œdo not publicize your mistakes to your work friends. Whether itâ€™s an email that didnâ€™t go out, a presentation that had the wrong data or negative client feedback, try not to spill the beans to your work friend.â€� Why? Because even though you grab coffee and catch up on your weekend plans, â€œyou are still coworkers and competitors,â€� Jacinto says. â€œYou never truly know how someone could use this information against you. They might not even realize it themselves until itâ€™s just you and then up for the coveted promotion, raise or client.â€�
Source: New feed
Welcome one, welcome all to another Wednesday: the day that marks the halfway point — almost — to the weekend.
Over in our Cambridge, Massachusetts HQ, we’re celebrating the U.S. July 4th holiday today. If you’re celebrating, too, we hope you have a great holiday — and, we’ll keep this week’s “Unriddled” quick.
It’s our Wednesday tech news roundup, and we’re breaking it down.
Unriddled: The Tech News You Need
1. The Latest From Facebook
Even during a season that’s supposed to make us slow down, take time for ourselves and our loved ones, and spend more time outside — it seems that there’s never a dull moment for Facebook.
Over the past week, the social media has experienced a number of ups and downs, starting with the announcement of new transparency efforts that allow users to view a Page’s active ads, as well as additional information about the Page (even if it isn’t running any ads). Read full statement >>
But not long after that, Facebook was hit with an alleged bug that â€œunblockedâ€� users that had been blocked by others — allow the previously blocked people to see content from and communicate with the person who blocked them on Facebook and over Messenger. This came on the same day the company announced updates for developers on its Platform.
“The big issue here,” writes Kurt Wagner of Recode, “is that, little by little, Facebook keeps eroding user trust.” Read full story >>
The company, meanwhile, also announced that it would be shutting down three apps due to “low usage”: Moves, tbh and Hello. Read full statement >>
2. Amazon’s Big Week
First came the announcement that Amazon would be acquiring PillPack: the company behind the pharmacy-on-demand model that delivers packs of, well, pills for those who need to take multiple medications each day. But it’s not as simple as another step along Amazon’s path toward commerce domination — and it could have a significant impact on major players within the retail pharmacy industry, like Walgreens, which CNBC says was “clobbered” by Amazon’s acquisition. Read full story >>
The next day, writes Recode‘s Jason Del Ray, Amazon took “another big step toward” building its own vast network for delivery logistics, positioning it as a potential competitor to large freight carriers like FedEx and UPS.
But here’s the thing: Amazon is framing this new system as a way to support entrepreneurs who want to “start, set up and manage their own delivery business.” And according to the official announcement, no experience is necessary — “Amazon will empower hundreds of new, small business owners to hire tens of thousands of delivery drivers across the U.S., joining a robust existing community of traditional carriers.” Read full statement >>
3. California’s Major Data Privacy Legislation
Late last week, California lawmakers passed The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018: legislation that Colin Lecher of The Verge calls “one of the toughest data privacy laws in the United States.” The new bill will require companies storing significant quantities of personal data — for instance, Facebook — to add even more transparency around what data is collected, along with potential new consumer opt-out rights. Read full story >>
4. Fun With Virtual Reality
The companies behind VR are trying to make it a mainstream technology — but can it ever be? To get there, more people need to understand the experience, so our team spent a day doing just that. Here’s what happened. Read full story >>
Thatâ€™s all for today. Until next week, feel free to weigh in on Twitter to ask us your tech news questions, or to let us know what kind of events and topics you’d like us to cover.
Featured image credit: Facebook
Source: New feed
What is UI?
UI, which stands for User Interface, is every visual element a user might interact with on a technological device, including the computer itself, as well as apps and websites. Nowadays, UI typically relates to a userâ€™s experience interacting with a web page, video game, or TV interface, and primarily pertains to the alignment of buttons, scroll bars, icons, and logos.
To simplify what UI is, weâ€™ll start with a metaphor.
Letâ€™s say you go to a fancy new Italian restaurant and order a pasta dish. When it comes, youâ€™re amazed with the presentation: the pasta is clustered in the center, with a light pink cream sauce drizzled over the top in a zigzag formation. There are two small green basil leaves in the center, and a few dots of pesto in the left corner.
In metaphor-world, the beautiful presentation of your meal is the responsibility of the UI designer, including the alignment of the elements (the pesto in the left, for instance), and interactivity as it relates to the user-experience (the light drizzling of the sauce so each bite is equally satisfying).
The UX designer, on the other hand, is responsible for everything as it relates to the larger business and your experience as their customer, including the smells and ambiance of the restaurant, the chef and waitstaffâ€™s processes for cooking and delivering food, and the menu options.
While this is obviously a simplification, it corresponds well to the definition of UI. A UI designer is essentially in charge of how everything aligns on a page in relation to each other. She decides the hierarchy of the elements (â€œShould the logo be at the top or the bottom?â€�), as well as the interactivity of the entire product (â€œShould the navigation be organized in scroll-down menus, or clickable buttons?â€�).
UI designers typically work with software programs, websites, and mobiles apps, but they might also use their skills for video games or TV interfaces.
You might not notice UI unless itâ€™s ineffective. For instance, maybe you steer clear of a website if you think the site looks confusing, or maybe you laugh at the old navigation on your 2002 PlayStation. Those user experiences dissatisfy you and influence your interactions with the business.
On the contrary, effective UI goes a long way towards compelling you to interact with a business on a regular basis. For instance, many users have preferences over dating apps, like Bumble versus Hinge, or ride-sharing apps, like Uber versus Lyft. Those apps have different business models and services, so there are plenty of reasons youâ€™d choose one over another — but if you didnâ€™t know anything about either, and I showed you two apps side-by-side, Iâ€™m guessing youâ€™d intuitively gravitate towards one. Likely, an impressive UI design would cause that initial gravitation.
Source: New feed
Today’s buyers hold all of the power when making a purchasing decision. You’re also likely aware that they’re doing some of their research online.
But have you really adapted your marketing plan to match the way today’s customers shop and buy?
Consider three recent statistics about modern buyer behavior:
- 80% of Instagram users currently follow a business account, according to 2017 data from Instagram.
- 75% of smartphone owners turn to a search engine first to address immediate needs, according to 2018 data from Google.
- 78% of consumers have unsubscribed from a brand’s emails because the brand was sending too many, according to 2016 data from HubSpot.
What’s a marketer to do to make sure your buyers find you early and often? Go where they’re going.
That might sound obvious, but how deeply do you understand exactly where your buyers are doing their research and what is influencing their decisions? That is where market research comes into play.
Whether you’re a newbie or experienced with market research, this guide will give you a blueprint for conducting a thorough study of your product, target audience, and how you fare in your industry.
How to Do Market Research
- Define Your Buyer Persona
- Engage Your Target Audience
- Prepare Your Research Questions
- List Your Primary Competitors
- Summarize Your Findings
There are two main types of market research that businesses conduct to collect the most actionable information on their products: primary research and secondary research.
- Primary research is the pursuit of firsthand information on your market and its customers. You can use focus groups, online surveys, phone interviews, and more to gather fresh details on the challenges your buyers face and the brand awareness behind your company. Primary research is useful when segmenting your market and establishing your buyer personas.
- Secondary research is all the data and public records you have at your disposal to draw conclusions from. This includes trend reports, market statistics, industry content, and sales data you already have on your business. Secondary research is particularly useful for analyzing your competitors.
1. Define Your Buyer Persona
Before you dive into how customers in your industry make buying decisions, you must first understand who they are. This is where buyer personas come in handy.
Buyer personas — sometimes referred to as marketing personas — are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you visualize your audience, streamline your communications, and inform your strategy. Some key characteristics you should be keen on including in your buyer persona are:
- Job title(s)
- Job titles
- Family size
- Major challenges
The idea is ultimately to use this persona as a guideline for when you reach and learn about actual customers in your industry (you’ll do this in the steps below).
To get started with creating your personas, check out these free templates, as well as this helpful tool. These resources are designed to help you organize your audience segments, collect the right information, select the right format, and so on.
You may find that your business lends itself to more than one persona — that’s fine! You just need to be sure that you’re being thoughtful about the specific persona you are optimizing for when planning content and campaigns.
2. Engage Your Target Audience
Now that you know who your buyer personas are, you’ll need to find a representative sample of your target customers to understand their actual characteristics, challenges, and buying habits.
These should be folks who recently made a purchase (or purposefully decided not to make one), and you can meet with them in a number of ways:
- In-person via a focus group
- Administering an online survey
- Individual phone interviews
We’ve developed a few guidelines and tips that’ll help you get the right participants for your research. Let’s walk through them.
Choosing Which Buyers to Survey
Start with the characteristics that apply to your buyer persona. This will vary for every organization, but here are some additional guidelines that will apply to just about any scenario:
- Shoot for 10 participants per buyer persona. We recommend focusing on one persona, but if you feel it’s necessary to research multiple personas, be sure to recruit a separate sample group for each one.
- Select people who have recently interacted with you. You may want to focus on folks that have completed an evaluation within the past six months — or up to a year if you have a longer sales cycle or niche market. You’ll be asking very detailed questions, so it’s important that their experience is fresh.
- Aim for a mix of participants. You want to recruit people who have purchased your product, folks who purchased a competitor’s product, and a few who decided not to purchase anything at all. While your own customers will be the easiest to find and recruit, sourcing information from others will help you develop a balanced view.
How to Engage These Buyers
Market research firms have panels of people they can pull from when they want to conduct a study. The trouble is, most individual marketers don’t have that luxury — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the time you’ll spend recruiting exclusively for your study will often lead to better participants.
Here’s a simple recruiting process to guide your efforts:
- Pull a list of customers who made a recent purchase. As we mentioned before, this is usually the easiest set of buyers to recruit. If you’re using a CRM system, you can run a report of deals that closed within the past six months and filter it for the characteristics you’re looking for. Otherwise, you can work with your sales team to get a list of appropriate accounts from them.
- Pull a list of customers who were in an active evaluation, but didn’t make a purchase. You should get a mix of buyers who either purchased from a competitor or decided not to make a purchase. Again, you can get this list from your CRM or from whatever system your Sales team uses to track deals.
- Call for participants on social media. Try reaching out to the folks that follow you on social media, but decided not to buy from you. There’s a chance that some of them would be willing to talk to you and tell you why they ultimately decided not to buy your product.
- Leverage your own network. Get the word out to your coworkers, former colleagues, and LinkedIn connections that you’re conducting a study. Even if your direct connections don’t qualify, some of them will likely have a coworker, friend, or family member who does.
- Choose an incentive. Time is precious, so you’ll need to think about how you will motivate someone to spend 30-45 minutes on you and your study. On a tight budget? You can reward participants for free by giving them exclusive access to content. Another option? Send a simple handwritten ‘thank you’ note once the study is complete.
3. Prepare Your Research Questions
The best way to make sure you get the most out of your conversations is to be prepared. You should always create a discussion guide — whether it’s for a focus group, online survey, or a phone interview — to make sure you cover all of the top-of-mind questions and use your time wisely.
(Note: This is not intended to be a script. The discussions should be natural and conversational, so we encourage you to go out of order or probe into certain areas as you see fit.)
Your discussion guide should be in an outline format, with a time allotment and open-ended questions allotted for each section.
Wait, all open-ended questions?
Yes — this is a golden rule of market research. You never want to “lead the witness” by asking yes/no questions, as that puts you at risk of unintentionally swaying their thoughts by leading with your own hypothesis. Asking open-ended questions also helps you avoid those painful one-word answers.
Here’s a general outline for a 30-minute survey of one B2B buyer. You can use these as talking points for an in-person interview, or as questions posed on a digital form to administer as a survey to your target customers.
Background Information (5 Minutes)
Ask the buyer to give you a little background information (their title, how long they’ve been with the company, and so on). Then, ask a fun/easy question to warm things up (first concert attended, favorite restaurant in town, last vacation, etc.).
Remember, you want to get to know your buyers in pretty specific ways. You might be able to capture basic information such as age, location, and job title from your contact list, there are some personal and professional challenges you can really only learn by asking. Here are some other key background questions to ask your target audience:
- Describe to me how your work team is structured.
- Tell me about your personal job responsibilities.
- What are the team’s goals and how do you measure them?
- What has been your biggest challenge in the past year?
Now, make a transition to acknowledge the specific purchase or interaction they made that led to you including them in the study. The next three stages of the buyer’s journey will focus specifically on that purchase.
Awareness (5 Minutes)
Here, you want to understand how they first realized they had a problem that needed to be solved without getting into whether or not they knew about your brand yet.
- Think back to when you first realized you needed a [name the product/service category, but not yours specifically]. What challenges were you facing at the time?
- How did you know that something in this category could help you?
- How familiar were you with different options on the market?
Consideration (10 Minutes)
Now you want to get very specific about how and where the buyer researched potential solutions. Plan to interject to ask for more details.
- What was the first thing you did to research potential solutions? How helpful was this source?
- Where did you go to find more information?
If they don’t come up organically, ask about search engines, websites visited, people consulted, and so on. Probe, as appropriate, with some of the following questions:
- How did you find that source?
- How did you use vendor websites?
- What words specifically did you search on Google?
- How helpful was it? How could it be better?
- Who provided the most (and least) helpful information? What did that look like?
- Tell me about your experiences with the sales people from each vendor.
Decision (10 Minutes)
- Which of the sources you described above was the most influential in driving your decision?
- What, if any, criteria did you establish to compare the alternatives?
- What vendors made it to the short list and what were the pros/cons of each?
- Who else was involved in the final decision? What role did each of these people play?
- What factors ultimately influenced your final purchasing decision?
Here, you want to wrap up and understand what could have been better for the buyer.
- Ask them what their ideal buying process would look like. How would it differ from what they experienced?
- Allow time for further questions on their end.
- Don’t forget to thank them for their time and confirm their address to send a thank-you note or incentive.
4. List Your Primary Competitors
Understanding your competitors begins your secondary market research. But keep in mind competition isn’t always as simple as Company X versus Company Y.
Sometimes, a division of a company might compete with your main product or service, even though that company’s brand might put more effort in another area. Apple is known for its laptops and mobile devices, for example, but Apple Music competes with Spotify — which doesn’t sell hardware (yet) — over its music streaming service.
From a content standpoint, you might compete with a blog, YouTube channel, or similar publication for inbound website visitors — even though their products don’t overlap with yours at all. A toothpaste developer, for example, might compete with magazines like Health.com or Prevention on certain blog topics related to nutrition, even though these magazines don’t actually sell oral care products.
Identifying Industry Competitors
To identify competitors whose products or services overlap with yours, determine which industry or industries you’re pursuing. Start high-level, using terms like education, construction, media & entertainment, food service, healthcare, retail, financial services, telecommunications, agriculture, etc.
The list goes on, but find an industry term that you identify with, and use it to create a list of companies that also belong to this industry. You can build your list the following ways:
- Review your industry quadrant on G2 Crowd. In certain industries, this is your best first step in secondary market research. G2 Crowd aggregates user ratings and social data to create “quadrants,” where you can see companies plotted as contenders, leaders, niche, and high performers in their respective industries. G2 Crowd specializes in digital content, IT services, HR, ecommerce, and related business services.
- Download a market report. Companies like Forrester and Gartner offer both free and gated market forecasts every year on the vendors who are leading their industry. On Forrester’s website, for example, you can select “Latest Research” from the navigation bar and browse Forrester’s latest material using a variety of criteria to narrow your search. These reports are good assets to have saved on your computer.
- Search using social media. Believe it or not, social networks make great company directories if you use the search bar correctly. On LinkedIn, for example, select the search bar and enter the name of the industry you’re pursuing. Then, under “More,” select “Companies” to narrow your results to just the businesses that include this or a similar industry term on their LinkedIn profile.
Identifying Content Competitors
Search engines are your best friends in this area of secondary market research. To find the online publications with which you compete, take the overarching industry term you identified in the section above, and come up with a handful of more specific industry terms your company identifies with.
A catering business, for example, might generally be a “food service” company, but also consider itself a vendor in “event catering,” “cake catering,” “baked goods,” and more.
Once you have this list, do the following:
- Google it. Don’t underestimate the value in seeing which websites come up when you run a search on Google for the industry terms that describe your company. You might find a mix of product developers, blogs, magazines, and more.
- Compare your search results against your buyer persona. Remember the buyer persona you created during the primary research stage, earlier in this article? Use it to examine how likely a publication you found through Google could steal website traffic from you. If the content the website publishes seems like the stuff your buyer persona would want to see, it’s a potential competitor, and should be added to your list of competitors.
After a series of similar Google searches for the industry terms you identify with, look for repetition in the website domains that have come up. Examine the first two or three results pages for each search you conducted. These websites are clearly respected for the content they create in your industry, and should be watched carefully as you build your own library of videos, reports, web pages, and blog posts.
5. Summarize Your Findings
Feeling overwhelmed by the notes you took? We suggest looking for common themes that will help you tell a story and create a list of action items.
To make the process easier, try using your favorite presentation software to make a report, as it will make it easy to add in quotes, diagrams, or call clips. Feel free to add your own flair, but the following outline should help you craft a clear summary:
- Background. Your goals and why you conducted this study.
- Participants. Who you talked to. A table works well so you can break groups down by persona and customer/prospect.
- Executive Summary. What were the most interesting things you learned? What do you plan to do about it?
- Awareness. Describe the common triggers that lead someone to enter into an evaluation. Note: Quotes can be very powerful.
- Consideration. Provide the main themes you uncovered, as well as the detailed sources buyers use when conducting their evaluation.
- Decision. Paint the picture of how a decision is really made by including the people at the center of influence and any product features or information that can make or break a deal.
- Action Plan. Your analysis probably uncovered a few campaigns you can run to get your brand in front of buyers earlier and/or more effectively. Provide your list of priorities, a timeline, and the impact it will have on your business.
Conducting market research can be a very eye-opening experience. Even if you think you know your buyers pretty well, completing the study will likely uncover new channels and messaging tips to help improve your interactions.
Not to mention, you’ll be able to add “market research” as a skill to your resume.
Source: New feed
In the Cascade Mountains of Southern Oregon, there sits a volcano with no peak. But what takes the place of a billowing summit isnâ€™t a barren crater — itâ€™s an electric blue lake, surrounded by pine trees and the jagged remains of the volcanoâ€™s collapsed mouth, which crumbled during an eruption almost 8,000 years ago.
This place is called Crater Lake. Itâ€™s considered one of the most beautiful national parks in the United States. Itâ€™s also where Justin Champion, a Content Professor at HubSpot Academy, spent his work day last Thursday.
A striking landscape, like Crater Lake, is a normal office view for Justin and his wife, Ariele. After working in the National Park, they headed north to Portland and spent a day in Mt. Hood. Then, they drove through Redwood National Park. And next week, they plan to work in Yosemite National Park.
Justin and his wife have been living, working, and traveling across America in a Ford F-250 with an Airstream trailer hitched to its back for the past two years. And their alternative lifestyle has helped them prioritize life experiences and close connections over material possessions. Theyâ€™re modern day nomads. Or what most people call digital nomads.
What is a Digital Nomad?
Digital nomads are remote workers who usually travel to different locations. They often work in coffee shops, co-working spaces, or public libraries, relying on devices with wireless internet capabilities like smart phones and mobile hotspots to do their work wherever they want.
With 34% of remote employees working 4-5 days a week out of the office, the digital nomad lifestyle could be an exciting possibility if youâ€™ve caught the travel bug and want to break free from the shackles of 9-5 life. Below, weâ€™ll cover the benefits, job opportunities, and realities of this alternative lifestyle.
Letâ€™s find out if itâ€™s the right fit for you.
Living the Dream? 5 Benefits of Being a Digital Nomad
1. Youâ€™ll be more productive.
Thereâ€™s no time to waste when you travel to gorgeous places almost every day. Exploring your new surroundings will motivate you to get your work done as soon as possible. Adventure can be one of the best types of motivation.
2. Youâ€™ll have more breakthrough ideas.
Creativity happens when you mash seemingly unrelated concepts together to form a new idea. Neuroscientists call this synaptic play, and the more incongruent the concepts are, the more synapses occur in your brain. Working in a different place everyday gives you a lot of diverse experiences that you call pull from to make these creative connections. And when your brain is chock full of these diverse inputs, your ideas are much more inventive.
3. Youâ€™ll become more adaptable.
Constantly traveling to new places pushes you out of your comfort zone. And to adapt to new environments everyday, you need to be willing to engage with different people and cultures. This makes you more open to new experiences in the future.
Traveling also improves your brainâ€™s reaction to change. When you travel, the stress of navigating a foreign place sprouts dendrites in your brain. These dangling extensions increase your brainâ€™s capacity and attentiveness during new and challenging situations in the future.
In a nutshell, traveling strengthens your desire and ability to learn new skills.
4. Youâ€™ll have more time to do the things you love.
Even though work can be great, we still work to live, not the other way around. Finishing work faster gives you more time in your schedule to explore your surroundings, do the things youâ€™re passionate about, and spend more time with loved ones.
5. Youâ€™ll make lifelong friendships.
Adventure and memorable experiences forge close connections between people. When you embark on your journey, youâ€™ll meet other digital nomads and become friends with them. And if you travel with a friend or significant other, your relationship will be closer than ever before.
Common Jobs for Digital Nomads
Today, most companies embrace remote work. 43% of American employees spent time working remote last year, and this number will only increase. But being a digital nomad and working a few days at home are two different animals. If you want to keep your day job while traveling, you need to prove to your manager that you can handle full-time remote work before you can do work on the road. Justin Champion decided to work remotely for six months before he even asked to travel.
If youâ€™re looking for job, sift through sites that only list remote jobs, like We Work Remotely or Remote.co, and ask prospective employers if the role lends itself to your nomadic lifestyle.
Freelancing is also a common role for digital nomads. Before you embark on your journey, though, you must be realistic with yourself. How will you be able to make a living? Answer the following questions to help you figure this out:
- What am I good at?
- What do I like to do?
- Is there a need for my skill?
- Can I do this job online?
Once you know how youâ€™ll be able to make money, you can enter the gig economy by marketing and selling your services on your own, or finding work on a freelance service marketplace like Upwork or Fiverr.
Whether you chose to work for a company or yourself, becoming a digital nomad doesnâ€™t mean pigeonholing yourself in a specific role. Your job just has to be fully digital. Listed below are some common roles that lend themselves well to a fully remote lifestyle:
- Customer Service
- Project Management
- Quality Analyst (QA)
- Recruiting & HR
- Software Development
- Virtual Assistant
As you can see, thereâ€™s a lot of different industries and roles for digital nomads. Remote work is becoming commonplace, which is exciting and beneficial for the workforce. But that doesnâ€™t mean anyone and everyone should be a digital nomad. Itâ€™s still a tough challenge. You need to be organized and disciplined, or you wonâ€™t be able to enjoy your travels — which is the point of the lifestyle, right? So how do you set yourself up for success?
How Do You Become a Digital Nomad? 5 Things to Consider Before You Get Started
1. Get rid of unnecessary expenses.
Paying for things that donâ€™t greatly impact your life is never ideal. Thatâ€™s why you need to get rid of all the expenses that you wonâ€™t need living as a digital nomad. Things like gym memberships, subscriptions, and debt are all expenses thatâ€™ll bog you down on the road. And if youâ€™re a freelancer, theyâ€™ll be even more of a burden because you might experience some periods of inconsistent income. Getting rid of these expenses and paying off debt will allow you to fully focus on your work and travels.
2. Make sure you have income you can rely on for months in advance.
Whatever lifestyle you pursue, itâ€™s always smart to have safety net. You never know when an emergency will arise. This rings especially true when youâ€™re a digital nomad because youâ€™re mostly own your own. You canâ€™t find solace in a warm, comfortable home or family, and if youâ€™re freelancer, you donâ€™t have the luxury of a consistent paycheck. To widen your safety net, you should sell any unnecessary belongings, move the essentials into a storage unit, sell or rent your house, and save as much money as possible.
3. Get travel health insurance.
Traveling can give you some of the best experiences in your life, but it not always a blissful, perpetual highlight reel. Itâ€™s still real life. Youâ€™ll get sick, have emergencies and accidents, and need regular checkups. You also need immunizations to enter certain parts of the world. Your health should be your number one priority during your travels, so make sure you buy a solid health insurance plan thatâ€™s valid in all the places you visit.
4. Set yourself up for financial success.
Ample funds are the key to successful travel. American credit cards will usually charge you a fee if you use it abroad, so ask your bank for an international credit card. You should also sign up for credit monitoring services thatâ€™ll alert you if anyone tries to steal your identity.
5. If you travel internationally, unlock your phone.
Most countries have different cell phone carriers, so if you want to bounce from country to country, you need to call your current carrier and ask them to unlock your phone. Youâ€™ll be able to use your phone in any country because you can put a different sim card in your phone from each international carrier you use.
Once you square these things away, itâ€™s time to start your new life on the road. But actually living life as a digital nomad is an entirely different ballgame than preparing to be one.
7 Tips for Living as a Digital Nomad
1. Make a budget.
As a digital nomad, your budget should be your bible. And if you follow it, you can live quite comfortably. To create a successful budget, calculate your living expenditures, the cost of traveling to each destination, staying there, the activities youâ€™ll do there, the costs of working, and how it all affects your savings if you canâ€™t earn a salary for a while.
2. Plan for the worst-scenario.
When you live abroad, Itâ€™s crucial to have multiple backup plans in case of any emergencies. Nothing really ever works out the way itâ€™s supposed to. Things happen. What if your truck breaks down? Or what if you get stuck in a foreign country with no backup plan? Whatâ€™s your plan B and C? You need to set these processes in place to handle the inevitable bumps in the road.
3. Join a digital nomad community.
Digital Nomad communities like Couchsurfing and Nomadlist will help you learn the nuances of the digital nomad lifestyle, and reduce its steep learning curve. Fellow nomads will be happy to answer any pressing questions about your new lifestyle and any areas you plan to visit. Theyâ€™ll also teach you how to work effectively on the road. And arguably the most beneficial perk of these communities is that you can connect with other traveling professionals, which can lead to new business opportunities, partnerships, and friendships.
4. Make sure you have cell reception or wifi.
If your employer lets you work remotely, show them and your team some respect by being available as much as possible online. Not having wifi or cell phone reception should never be an excuse for missing a meeting or failing to get an assignment done. The same goes for client work, if youâ€™re a freelancer.
To make sure youâ€™ll always have internet connection, consider investing in a cell phone booster and a mobile hotspot mifi device. Cell phone boosters can detect the smallest shred of cell phone reception and send the signal to your vehicle. Mobile hotspot mifi devices strengthen your mobile hotspot service, so you donâ€™t have to rely on a spotty, public wifi connection.
5. Make sure you can communicate with locals.
Knowing the language of the country youâ€™re going to or knowing that they speak your language is crucial for successful travel. Assuming that there has to be someone who will understand English is a dangerous move. But if you must go to a place where you donâ€™t know the native language or they donâ€™t speak yours, use Google Translate or another translation app to navigate your new environment.
6. Research your destinations.
If youâ€™re not living in an RV, find affordable housing on AirBnB or Couchsurf before you arrive to your destination. And make sure your lodging is near a hospital, emergency room or clinic in case of an emergency. You should also research the area to find safe neighborhood to stay in.
7. Draw cash from ATMs.
Airports are notorious for charging ridiculously high currency exchange fees. If you need cash, draw it from an ATM. Your bank will charge you a fee, but itâ€™ll be much lower than the one at the currency exchange desk.
Before you set off …
If an adventurous lifestyle sounds appealing to you, then being a digital nomad can be one of the most rewarding yet challenges to take on. But if you arm yourself with organization, discipline, and a thirst for learning, you could enjoy an adventurous and fulfilling life on the road. Just ask Justin and Ariele Champion. Theyâ€™re living the alternative American Dream. And they’ve never looked back.
Source: New feed
Did you know it costs five times more to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one?
Focusing on customer retention is a valuable long-term solution for increased revenue and sustainable growth, but itâ€™s not always easy to cultivate that kind of loyalty.
When I think about the brands I like best, like J. Crew, Spotify, and SoulCycle, I know Iâ€™m not a loyal brand advocate because of their products alone. I can get cheaper clothes, music, and groceries from plenty of other places. Ultimately, Iâ€™m a brand advocate because I believe in what they promote and I feel invested in their stories, like SoulCycleâ€™s: â€œWe aspire to inspire. We inhale intention and exhale expectation.â€� I relate to their brand messaging.
One of the ways J. Crew, Spotify, and SoulCycle cultivate customer loyalty is through valuable content. While there are many ways to do this, email marketing is one of the most powerful ways to reach your target audience — if done correctly.
I subscribe to J. Crewâ€™s email list to get their â€œFlash Sale: Midnightâ€� offers. I subscribe to Spotifyâ€™s newsletter to receive special promotions. And I subscribe to SoulCycleâ€™s emails to hear about unique classes happening near me.
In short, I subscribe to their emails to get value.
If youâ€™re starting from zero, building an impressive email list can feel like an impossible feat. Here, we’ll cover some high-quality strategies to build an email list from scratch. Best of all, these strategies are designed to cultivate a loyal email subscriber base, so you can use your emails to attract better long-term customers.
How to Build an Email List From Scratch
1. Create a personalized CTA (call-to-action) for each blog or landing page.
HubSpot has found personalized calls-to-action have a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than calls-to-action that are the same for all visitors — thatâ€™s almost double your potential email subscribers.
It makes sense: the people who visit your blog post or web page are looking for something specific, so your CTA needs to meet those unique needs. For instance, if youâ€™ve got a ton of traffic visiting your â€œList-Building Strategyâ€� blog article, why not entice those people to subscribe to your email list by including a simple CTA like this: â€œClick here to download a free list-building toolkit.â€�
Of course, personalized CTAs only work if you have the resources to create that quality content in the first place, but that process doesnâ€™t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Instead of a toolkit, you could also offer an e-book, a fun quiz, or an exclusive article from your CEO on list-building strategies.
If you offer content directly related to your visitorâ€™s needs, your email newsletter wonâ€™t feel like a gimmicky advertisement. Instead, it will feel helpful and valuable — key principles for a long-term customer retention plan.
2. Create a pop-up or slide-in for each page of your site.
A pop-up might sound initially bothersome, but Iâ€™m not talking about those early 2000 pop-upâ€™s that promised youâ€™d â€œBecome a Model NOWâ€�.
Instead, Iâ€™m talking about timed pop-up ads, or onsite retargeting. After a user spends a certain amount of time on your page, she can receive a pop-up relevant to the content on that page, or to her behavior. Examples include exit pop-ups, which appear when a user tries to leave the page, or scroll pop-ups, which appear after the user scrolls a certain percentage down the page.
Digital Marketer conducted a case study to determine the value of onsite retargeting. For one experiment in particular, Digital Marketer introduced a pop-up ad to returning visitors only, which appeared after a visitor spent 15 seconds on their site:
Digital Marketer ensured this pop-up didnâ€™t show up if someone came to the page from the newsletter (in which case, they were already signed up), and also didnâ€™t pop-up on a sales page (which could interrupt someoneâ€™s purchasing decision).
As you can see, Digital Marketer also took the time to offer meaningful content, a digital marketing toolbox, in their pop-up ad. With an impressive offer, your pop-up is no longer obtrusive or interruptive — itâ€™s simply helpful.
Ultimately, their campaign generated 2,689 leads in two weeks, and increased their average time on page by 54%. Pop-ups arenâ€™t always gimmicky, and if done right, youâ€™re able to appeal to your visitor with quality content when and where they need it.
3. Create a timed pop-up survey.
Most people donâ€™t visit a new website and think, â€œHuh, so whereâ€™s the email sign-up form?â€� Often times, you need your viewers to feel invested in your content before you present them with a request for their emails.
To build your email list, you might want to reach out to visitors on specific pages with surveys related to that content. Iâ€™m more willing to answer an â€œA or Bâ€� survey question if Iâ€™m already invested in the content — it feels like a fairer trade-off.
For instance, University of Albertaâ€™s email subscriber list grew almost 500% in one year alone, thanks to a timed pop-up survey they implemented:
The University of Albertaâ€™s pop-up survey only appears after a visitor remains on a newsâ€™ page for 10 seconds. At that point, the viewersâ€™ seen some value from the content, so ideally theyâ€™re more inclined to sign up for emails from the source.
The University of Albertaâ€™s survey pop-up is also one of the easiest forms Iâ€™ve ever seen. You enter your email and youâ€™re done. People are often deterred from signing up when the form is too long and they donâ€™t have the time, so a simple yes or no question might be your best bet for growing your email list.
4. Use humor or sarcasm in your CTAâ€™s â€œno, thanksâ€� copy.
Weâ€™re so infiltrated with â€œYes or Noâ€� web offers on a daily basis, we barely see them anymore. To increase your email lists, you might want to try injecting some personality into your CTA copy.
I always pause and laugh when I see a CTA with a small, â€œNo thanks, I donâ€™t want to lose weight,â€� button underneath a prominent â€œYes, sign me up!â€� link. It reminds me thereâ€™s a person behind the button, and, while itâ€™s meant to be a joke, it also incentivizes me to hesitate before clicking â€œno, thanksâ€�. Itâ€™s easy to click â€œnoâ€� when the CTA is â€œsign up for more emails!â€�, but itâ€™s a little harder to say no to losing weight or getting richer.
I was reading an Optimonk blog post recently, and this CTA popped up:
I was all set to click â€œNoâ€� without another thought, when I read the â€œmy business isnâ€™t importantâ€� part. It gave me pause, made me laugh, and, most importantly, made me reconsider my almost immediate decision to exit the offer.
5. Describe value in your CTA.
Weâ€™ve talked a lot about different formatting you might use in your CTAâ€™s (including pop-up ads or personalized offers embedded in blog posts), but what about the language in the CTA itself? You can rely on more than humor and sarcasm to get clicks.
To optimize sign-ups, ironically, you donâ€™t want to use the words â€œsign up.â€� Who wants to â€œsign upâ€� or â€œsubscribeâ€� to more junk emails? Instead, you want to outline the value you can offer upfront, using language like, â€œDownload,â€� â€œFeaturedâ€�, â€œExclusive,â€� â€œAccess.â€�
For instance, you might write, â€œDownload our exclusive e-book now,â€� and include an email subscription form, or, you might say, â€œAccess all our exclusive offers.â€� Both of these CTAs make clear the value youâ€™ll gain from providing your email address.
Your web viewers need to hear how your emails can offer unique and exclusive content that isnâ€™t already available on your website. They want to believe your company is offering something special via email, or whatâ€™s the point?
6. Pitch your email newsletter on your social media accounts and email signature.
You might not have a long list of email subscribers, but that doesnâ€™t mean you don’t have a network. If you have a following on Twitter, a fan base on Facebook, or businesses you communicate with via email, why not use those firm and loyal connections to build an email list?
You might try pitching an email newsletter on your businessâ€™s Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts. The people who follow you on those sites already know they like you, but they arenâ€™t necessarily the same people who receive your newsletter. Give them the option.
If youâ€™re uncomfortable pitching your email newsletter on social media, or if you donâ€™t have a large following on any of your accounts, you could also include a link in your email signature — that link could go directly to your email newsletter, or it could be a link to a blog post or landing page with email subscription CTAâ€™s.
You communicate daily with a diverse group of people via email, and when they get value from your personal emails, they might want the option to click a link and explore your company in more depth.
7. Create more landing pages.
HubSpot conducted research and found companies see a 55% increase in leads when you increase the number of landing pages from 10 to 15.
It makes sense: individual and personalized landing pages allow you to appeal to a wider demographic. Every person who visits your site needs something different, so the more landing pages you can create to answer each personâ€™s individual concerns, the more sign-ups youâ€™ll gain.
Itâ€™s like a restaurant menu. The more you can offer to cater for specific demographics, the more customers youâ€™ll bring in. Someone could be looking for the best gluten-free pizza, while someone else might just want some good sushi.
8. Encourage everyone to sign up immediately.
You want to strategically place personalized CTAs where it counts — on landing pages and blog posts. But what about the rare, but real, visitors who want to sign up immediately?
If your newsletter primarily centers around one or two topics, itâ€™s relatively easy to create a personalized CTA — simply write a CTA that mirrors your newsletterâ€™s purpose, such as, â€œWant free SEO hacks? Sign up for our newsletter!â€�
9. Include a CTA on your About Us page.
Your About Us page is one of the most potent pages in terms of conversion potential. Think about it — how often do you visit About Us pages for businesses you donâ€™t care about?
Ideally, your About Us page will prime visitors to want more from your business, but it might not be enough to convince them to purchase. A CTA that encourages them to sign up for a newsletter is easier to concede to than a â€œbuy nowâ€� plea.
10. Try a scroll box.
Timing is everything. Your call-to-action works best if you catch visitors when they are, in fact, ready to take action.
Figuring out when your visitor is ready to convert depends on your website viewersâ€™ behavior, so youâ€™ll want to conduct A/B testing to determine where you need to place your CTA. Does it work best towards the bottom of a blog page, when it slides out to the right, or does it get higher conversions at the beginning of the page, sliding out from the left?
Ultimately, it will vary depending on your pageâ€™s content and your viewers, but a scroll box is a subtle and useful option to help you catch your viewers when theyâ€™re most ready to convert.
Source: New feed
You send in a stellar resume. You blow the recruiter away in the phone screen. And you wow everyone you speak with during your in-person interview. And yet, you still donâ€™t get the job. Worst of all, you donâ€™t know why you didnâ€™t get it — you either didnâ€™t hear back at all, or received feedback so vague that itâ€™s virtually useless (e.g. â€œWe decided to go with another candidate who was a better fit.â€�) Is there anything worse?
Itâ€™s incredibly frustrating when a recruiter or hiring manager doesnâ€™t share a concrete reason why you were passed over, but if it happens to you, donâ€™t worry. Often, thereâ€™s still a way to figure out what went wrong — hereâ€™s how.
1. Reach Out to the Decision Maker
If you have the contact info of the hiring manager, itâ€™s best to chat with them rather than a recruiter or HR representative, says Ren Burgett, career coach and owner of 3R Coach.
â€œAn HR manager or recruiter is more likely to give you a programmed HR response such as, â€˜We found a candidate that was a better fit for our needs.â€™ The hiring manager is more likely to give you a candid response,â€� she explains.
If you havenâ€™t already been in touch with the hiring manager, though, you may want to reach out to someone who can point them in your direction.
â€œIf you donâ€™t have their contact details, you need to get in touch with whoever your point of contact was throughout the recruitment process. Even if they canâ€™t provide feedback themselves, they will be able to pass your query onto someone who can,â€� says Steve Pritchard, HR Manager at Cuuver.com.
When you havenâ€™t been given the hiring managerâ€™s contact information, it can be tempting to bypass your point of contact and look them up on LinkedIn or Google their email address, but this is a mistake, Pritchard says: â€œThey may not feel too comfortable with you contacting them using a number/email they didnâ€™t provide you with.â€�
2. Express Gratitude
Nobody wants to engage with a candidate who sounds demanding or presumptuous, so make sure to open your message with a note of thanks.
â€œThanking someone for [taking the] time to interview you and provide the opportunity can always start the conversation in a positive manner,â€� says Shanalee Sharboneau, President and Technical Recruiter at Staffing Science, LLC.
In particular, you should express gratitude for the fact that they are going out of their way to read your note. After all, they donâ€™t have to share feedback with you.
â€œShow in your request for feedback that you appreciate the recruiter or hiring manager is likely to be busy. This way, you donâ€™t sound too pushy or demanding,â€� Pritchard adds.
3. Be Positive
You may be upset that you didnâ€™t get the job, but remember: you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Itâ€™s okay to acknowledge that youâ€™re disappointed with the outcome, but donâ€™t express resentment or aggression.
Show â€œthat you are understanding of their decision not to hire you, otherwise, you may sound bitter about not getting the job rather than someone looking for honest feedback to help them with their job search,â€� Pritchard continues.
And instead of taking a self-deprecating approach like â€œHow did I screw upâ€� or â€œWhere did I go wrongâ€�, frame the conversation as a quest for personal growth.
â€œDonâ€™t make your question about â€˜whyâ€™ you didnâ€™t get the job, make your question about â€˜howâ€™ you can improve. People are more likely to respond to someone that seeks out growth as opposed to someone that just wants answers,â€� Burgett says.
4. Keep it Short and Specific
When reaching out for feedback, â€œmake your email no more than one paragraph,â€� Burgett recommends. After all, they are probably plenty busy with their day-to-day tasks, so you want to make sure to honor their time.
You can save them even more time by avoiding general questions like â€œWhy didnâ€™t I get the job?â€� and instead drilling down into a few precise issues. Burgett recommends including â€œtwo to three specific questions [that] you would like feedback on from the interview process.â€�
One question that Laura Handrick, Career Analyst at FitSmallBusiness.com, recommends asking is â€œwhat might you have done, said or provided differently that would have made the company choose YOU instead of the other candidate.â€�
5. Open the Door for Future Opportunities
Just because you were rejected from a job doesnâ€™t always mean that you can never apply there again — you may have been a close second. At the end of your message, reiterate your interest in the company (if you are truly interested) and consider adding something like â€œif anything changes, Iâ€™d love to connect regarding future opportunities.â€�
â€œThat will go far, and many times, new hires fail in the first few months. Theyâ€™ll remember your graciousness,â€� Handrick says.
You can also see if they might be willing to refer you to another opportunity.
â€œAlways end the email by asking if they know of anyone else you can reach out to as you continue your job search. If you didnâ€™t get the job, perhaps you can get a lead [for] another job. Use this as an opportunity to network,â€� Burgett says.
6. Be Patient and Ready to Take No for an Answer
If the person you reach out to fails to respond, donâ€™t ping them every day until they do.
â€œGiving feedback, particularly constructive feedback, is hard, so allowing time for preparing will likely get you more thoughtful responses,â€� points out Dr. Dawn Graham, Career Management Director at the Wharton School and host of Career Talk.
Even if they never respond, you shouldnâ€™t pester them, Graham adds.
â€œCompanies tend to avoid giving candidates feedback to avoid opening themselves up to risk,â€� she explains. â€œIn addition, many hirers have trouble putting their fingers on a clear definition of â€˜fitâ€™ or likability, which are two powerful aspects of hiring decisions that can be challenging to put into words. Therefore, they may pass on giving feedback to a rejected job seeker for the sheer reason that even they are unable to verbalize their final decision in a way that will be meaningful to the overlooked applicant.â€�
Want an example of what exactly you could say to a hiring manager? Burgett recommends the following:
Hi (Hiring Manager),
I wanted to thank you for the amazing opportunity to interview for the position of (job title) with your company. I really enjoyed learning about (company name) and getting to know you and your team during the interview process. I understand you have decided to move forward with another candidate that better fits your current needs.
As I continue my job search, I would love to get your feedback on how I can improve as a candidate. When you have a minute, could you provide insight into what I can improve upon to help me stand out and progress in my career? Specifically, I would appreciate feedback on the following:
1. What is the one skill I can improve upon to help advance my career that may be holding me back?
2. If I had the opportunity to redo my interview, what is the one thing I should have done differently?
I appreciate any candid feedback you can offer as it will help me understand the areas I need to improve. Additionally, if you know of any companies that may be hiring for similar positions or anyone else I should reach out to as I continue my job search, please let me know.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to interview for the position. I wish you and your team continued success.
Thereâ€™s no doubt that getting rejected from a job you were interested in is upsetting, and it can be doubly so if you donâ€™t hear actionable feedback from the hiring team. But odds are, itâ€™s nothing personal, so try not to take it that way. And remember — the right job is out there. Itâ€™s only a matter of time until you find it.
This article originally appeared on Glassdoor and was re-published with permission.
Source: New feed
Virtual reality (VR) is one of those technologies, it seems, that will be eternally “emerging.”
Don’t get me wrong — it’s certainly becoming more of a household topic. Twenty years ago, one might only come across VR in museums, science fairs, and laboratories. Now, they’re available for purchase by anyone who has an internet connection … and the budget for one.
Several major tech players are trying to make VR a mainstream technology. Maybe the hardware needs to be less clunky and a wireless, lightweight headset is the answer.
Or maybe the obstacle is price point — to which Facebook’s answer (to both issues) is the wireless, $199 “affordable” Oculus Go.
Truthfully, I’ve always been a bit skeptical of VR. I remember being quite fascinated with it at a west coast science museum at the age of 13, and since then, my only real exposure to it has been by way of any VR-related news I’ve covered, or different demos I’ve tried at industry events.
Even after receiving a complimentary Oculus Go as a token of thank-you swag for attending F8 in May, the headset sat on my desk, neglected and unopened for over a month.
I’m in the small percentage of people who talk about technology on a near-daily basis — and yet, I was less than enamored with the idea of giving my very own Oculus Go for a spin.
But then — I did. And everything changed.
Despite my skepticism, I’ve wondered what prevents VR from becoming a mainstream technology as quickly as some of the businesses behind it wish it would. People have paid more for less practical tech tools — things like the first edition of any new iPhone, for instance, for which masses are willing to pay the initial price.
And at the end of the day, maybe VR isn’t as practical — but it is plain cool. You can watch documentaries in an immersive, 360-degree way. You can play sports. You can visit other countries.
Maybe — just maybe — what’s standing in the way of VR’s market permeation is the small percentage of people who actually get to experience it.
To test this hypothesis, I passed around my Oculus Go to several members of my team. After spending a day engaging in various VR experiences — and accomplishing little else — here’s what we learned.
(P.S. Here’s a sneak preview of a short film I like to call, “Amanda Tries a VR Roller Coaster.”)
Here’s What Playing With a VR Headset Is Actually Like
On VR’s Market Permeability
Before we took the headset for a spin, I asked Paul Mealy, author of Virtual & Augmented Reality For Dummies and director of interactive at POP, for his thoughts on VR’s potential — if any — to go mainstream.
But that’s not easy, he said, considering that “mainstream” is often a subjective concept.
If “mainstream” means “millions of devices purchased,” Mealy explains, “then VR is already mainstream” — though that figure still falls short of Facebook (which owns Oculus) CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s ultimate goal of one billion people using VR.
But what will the composition of those one billion users look like? Will they be using VR for fun, business, or both?
“If the definition of mainstream is, ‘Will I find myself going to the office and donning a VR headset for all my work, and going home and putting on my VR headset for all my entertainment?’,” says Mealy, “then we still have a ways to go.”
Arguably, the “fun” use cases for VR are growing more rapidly than the B2B ones — though the latter is slowly making progress.
Take the example of Tobii Pro, a tech company that pairs VR with eye-tracking technology to help retailers learn where a shopper pays the most visual attention and plan store layout accordingly. I took it for a spin at SXSW in March:
“Very similar to an in-store shop-along or in-depth interview research, this is another tool that can be added on top of that,” Amanda Bentley, Tobii Pro’s Director Of Commercial Sales (whose voice can be heard in the background of the video above), told me at the time.
“You can get another layer of understanding not only how shoppers feel … but also, what information do they actually process?” Bentley continued. “What are they attending to as they’re making the decision to purchase products?”
But it’s early, Mealy says — and it’s not a question of “if” VR will go mainstream, but “when.”
“It is important that we take a step back and look at the full picture for VR. Most VR hardware is still in the first generation of devices,” he explains. “And these first generation devices are serving as the canary in the coal mine to manufacturers, helping them refine what consumers actually want in order to become a mass-consumable device.”
So, when will VR finally win over the masses?
“Three to five years out seems like an appropriate time to truly evaluate where VR is landing in the grand scheme of things,” Mealy says. “If, by then, manufacturers have still been unable to solve the price and experience points … that is the time to question VR’s future. But, as of now, consider me bullish on the future of VR.”
Our Team’s Experience
Now, for the fun part: our team taking VR for a spin.
For most of us, this experiment was the first instance of using VR — which made for low expectations as to how realistic, engaging, or nauseating the experience would be. (In full disclosure, I experience motion sickness with VR, and apparently, I’m not alone.)
But for the most part, the technology was well-received … and, perhaps, even more fun to watch than to actually experience.
Caroline Forsey, Staff Writer, HubSpot Marketing Blog
“VR is different than watching something on a screen, because itâ€™s all around you … and behind you, and in your peripheral vision. Despite how ‘logically’ smart I am at understanding what VR is, I still think it can trick my brain into somewhat believing Iâ€™ in a different place. For instance, when the bear came towards me I couldnâ€™t help but flinch. Itâ€™s bizarre but impressive that a piece of technology can influence your physiological reactions.”
Clifford Chi, Junior Staff Writer, HubSpot Marketing Blog
Cloudlands: VR Minigolf
“VR mini golf was better than real mini golf. That was my first VR experience, and I felt like I was in a different world. After my first putt, I tried to walk toward the ball. I ended up running into a pillar in the office. And when I looked down at my feet and saw that the golf course was on a cliff, I thought I was going to fall for a split second. The Oculus and VR are super realistic and impressive. I definitely want to try it again.”
Braden Becker, Senior Staff Writer, HubSpot Marketing Blog
Epic Roller Coasters
“I was really surprised how easily VR takes over your peripheral vision. The experience literally surrounds you, to the point where I actually felt like I was on a roller coaster. I’m also not the biggest fan of heights, and that particular Oculus Go game definitely played right into my senses.”
Karla Cook, Section Editor, HubSpot Marketing Blog
Cloudlands: VR Minigolf
“The environment was clearly not realistic, but it still felt like I was there. The whole experience was surprisingly disorienting. I was playing mini-golf on a platform floating in the clouds, and I dangled my leg off the platform, and freaked out. The process of using the remote to interact with the environment didnâ€™t feel intuitive to me. Itâ€™s worth trying out for the novelty factor, but I definitely wouldnâ€™t buy it.”
Source: New feed
Creating a resume from scratch can be a pain, particularly when you have limited design experience and your resume doesnâ€™t extend beyond Times New Roman 1-inch margins in terms of flair.
You want your resume to appear professional, but you also donâ€™t need it to look exactly the same as every other resume in the stack.
Fortunately, you donâ€™t need to attempt any tricks you learned in a Photoshop 101 class to create a sleek and attention-grabbing resume.
Google Docs offers five templates with impressive design elements to help you portray a level of professionalism and originality in your resume. Even if you have the design all set, these templates provide formatting inspiration and fill-in-the-blank sections to ensure you donâ€™t forget critical information, like your address or prior awards.
Take a look at these five Google Doc resume templates to choose one best suited for your desired role, or to get some inspiration before designing your own.
The Swiss resume template is mostly traditional in style, but the color and bold lines make it appear more modern and impressive. The dark lines above and below each segment organize your sections effectively, and the small lines above each section title add some unique style. The simple color, right below your name, suggests youâ€™re someone who pays attention to detail. This template is a solid option if you need a resume for a conservative role but also want to showcase some personality.
The colors used for each headline, and the two parallel columns with plenty of white space in between, suggest that you’re someone who’s organized and creative. This resume template is a good option for high school or recent college graduates with less work experience, since the template provides categories to showcase accolades and accomplishments outside the workplace.
The color used in the coral template isnâ€™t overbearing or immature, but still spices up an otherwise basic resume. The formatting, with all the information left-indented in one column, looks clean and straightforward. This option is ideal if youâ€™re applying for a corporate job but still want to seem fresh and unique.
With the bold green line at the top of the page, this template conveys someone whoâ€™s spirited and artistic. The consistency of the title colors is appealing and polished. Spearmint is a fantastic option for anyone whoâ€™s applying for a creative role, such as a web designer or creative director.
5. Modern Writer
Youâ€™ll only want to choose the statement-making Modern Writer as your template if youâ€™ve got a good reason for it — for instance, if youâ€™re applying for a web developer role, the font (which looks a bit like code) makes sense. The bold pink and Source Code Pro font are less ideal for a traditional role, but Modern Writer is a good option if youâ€™re applying for a role that applauds uniqueness.
Source: New feed
This is a guest post written by Jamie Turner, founder of the 60 Second Marketer. He is an in-demand marketing speaker and author of the book entitled Go Mobile with Jeanne Hopkins, former VP of marketing at HubSpot.
While email marketing may not get the attention some newer marketing channels get, it’s still a terrific way for you to generate leads and convert more prospects for your business. With that in mind, I want to share some email marketing best practices you can use to generate more leads for your business.
Email Marketing Best Practices of 2018
- Don’t Purchase Contact Lists
- Use Incentives to Increase Open Rates
- Avoid Using ‘No-Reply’ in the Sender’s Email Address
- Stick to Fewer Than Three Typefaces
- Clean Your Mailing List Regularly
- Keep the Main Message and Call-to-Action Above the Fold
- Personalize the Email Greeting
- Keep Your Email 500-650 Pixels Wide
- Put Your Logo in the Upper Left-Hand Side of the Email
- Write Compelling (But Concise) Subject Lines
- Use Auto-Responders for Opt-Ins
- Closely Tie Emails to Landing Pages
- Conduct a Five-Second Test
1. Don’t Purchase Contact Lists
This first tip should come as no surprise, but given the recent rollout of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it bears repeating. Email campaigns depend on a healthy open rate, and if you’re contacting people whose information you bought — rather than earned from a previous interaction — you’ll quickly see your emails’ performance drop.
The GDPR also requires each European recipient’s consent before you reach out to them, and purchased email lists usually do not come with that consent.
2. Use Incentives to Increase Open Rates
When you include an incentive in your subject line, you can increase open rates by as much as 50%. â€œFree shipping when you spend $25 or moreâ€� and â€œReceive a free iPod with demoâ€� are examples of good, incentive-focused subject lines.
However, be careful not to overwhelm your readers with savings- or product-related emails. Customer loyalty starts with casual industry insights — only then can you talk business.
3. Avoid Using ‘No-Reply’ in the Sender’s Email Address
Have you heard of CAN-SPAM? This longstanding piece of legislation is a popular and important guideline for all email marketers in the U.S. — and still many companies are trying to comply with it. One major rule in CAN-SPAM is to never use the words “no reply,” or a similar phrase, as your email sender’s name (for example, “firstname.lastname@example.org”).
“No reply” in an email message prevents recipients from responding and even opting out of further emails, which CAN-SPAN protects their right to do at any time. Instead, have even your automated emails come from a first name (for example, email@example.com). Your customers are much more likely to open emails if they know they were written by a human being.
4. Stick to Fewer Than Three Typefaces
The less clutter you have in your email, the more conversions you’ll experience. Don’t junk up your email with more than two, or a maximum of three, fonts or typefaces.
5. Clean Your Mailing List Regularly
Some of your email contacts might not opt-out of your email campaign, but still never open your emails. It’s tempting to email as many people as possible to reach more prospects, but keeping your least-engaged recipients on your mailing list can kill your open rate. People who never open emails make your campaign look worse since you’re not analyzing the campaign’s quality against your most loyal recipients.
Analyze who hasn’t engaged with your emails over a certain period of time, and remove them on a regular basis. This gives you a more accurate email open rate and keeps your email campaign clean of the people who are no longer interested in hearing from you.
6. Keep the Main Message and Call-to-Action Above the Fold
If your main call-to-action (CTA) falls below the fold, as many as 70% of recipients won’t see it. Also, any CTA should be repeated at least three times throughout the email in various places and formats.
7. Personalize the Email Greeting
How often do you read emails that begin, “Dear Member”?
You might segment your email audiences by the type of customer they are (member, subscriber, user, etc.), but it shouldn’t be the first thing recipients see in your company messages. Personalizing the greeting of your emails with your contacts’ first names grabs the attention of each reader right away.
Don’t worry, personalizing an email’s greeting line with 50 recipients’ names doesn’t mean you’ll have to manually write and send 50 different emails from now on. Many email marketing tools today allow you to configure the greeting of your email campaign so that it automatically sends with the name of the people on your contact list — so everyone is getting a personal version of the same message.
8. Keep Your Email 500-650 Pixels Wide
If your email template is wider than 650 pixels, you’re asking users to scroll horizontally to read your entire message. This is even more cumbersome for a recipient who’s reading your email on his or her mobile device. Your email pixel width is a critical component of its lead-capturing ability.
9. Put Your Logo in the Upper Left-Hand Side of the Email
Eye-tracking studies have found that people instinctively look for logos in the upper left-hand side of emails. Put your logo in the upper left-hand side to ensure it gets the most visibility.
10. Write Compelling (But Concise) Subject Lines
A good subject line should contain between 30 and 50 characters (including spaces). Email accounts and mobile devices often cut off any subject lines that go beyond this length. Your email subject line should also create a sense of urgency, while giving readers some indication of what to expect once they open the email.
11. Use Auto-Responders for Opt-Ins
Be prepared for your readers to forget they opted in. Set up an auto-responder that reminds people they opted in to your email database. The auto-responder should be sent out one day, five days, and 10 days after the person registers.
Each auto-responder email should also include additional content or bonus material to reward the reader for opting into the newsletter — or your readers might not feel they have enough incentive to actually opt in.
12. Closely Tie Emails to Landing Pages
Your landing page should match the email in terms of headline, copy, and content. The look and feel of your landing page should also match the email — consistency goes a long way toward a customer’s trust in the content they’re receiving.
Just make sure you’re using tracking tools to see which emails and landing pages performed the best so you can keep sending what’s working.
13. Conduct a Five-Second Test
Send a copy of the email to a friend or business associate. Can they quickly tell what your call-to-action is? If so, you’re golden. If not, keep working.
There are a lot of new tools at a marketer’s disposal that are getting attention these days. But email marketing has stood the test of time regarding its influence on your users. This old, reliable, and faithful tool can really ensure you get the most out of your marketing initiatives.
Source: New feed