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Tag: marketing

Why a Multilingual Website

10 Reasons why you need a Multilingual Website

10 Reasons why you need a Multilingual Website

The internet continues to grow and has become the default point of call for businesses and individuals searching for goods, services or information.

For businesses wishing to get that competitive advantage, a multilingual website now presents one of the most high impact means of expanding a client base and securing greater sales volumes.

The multilingual website will continue to become a necessity for businesses and organizations as the process of internationalization unfolds.

1 Shift Away from English Internet Users

The internet began as an English speaker's invention and as a result was dominated by English speaking users and sites. However, times are changing. With the growing numbers of people buying PC's and internet access available from Nigeria to New Zealand, English speakers will soon be in the minority when it comes to internet use.

Results of research carried out by Nielsen-Netratings in March 2005 described foreign internet markets as "low hanging fruit," i.e. if you have the will and foresight there are massive revenues to be found for relatively little effort. The results showed that internet use in the traditional strong holds of the USA, Germany, the UK and Sweden is flat lining. On the other hand countries such as France, Hong Kong, Italy and Japan are seeing substantial growth in internet usage.

As Kaizad Gotla, senior analyst at Nielsen-Netratings states, "The easiest opportunities are in countries where internet usage patterns and user/site relationships are less established. Acquiring users in markets that are currently in their growth stages will lead to a loyal user base that will pay dividends for internet companies in the future."

2 Cost Effective Marketing Tool

Having the ability to communicate to a whole new international audience in their own language will undoubtedly yield results not only in a financial sense but also in terms of marketing and creating awareness of your brand, service or product.

A multilingual website in the grand scheme of things is probably one of the most cost effective ways of marketing your company, capturing new users, building relationships with new clients and giving your brand an international outlook.

3 New Customers

Ultimately what a multilingual website brings you are new customers. By having your site accessible to potentially thousands of people you are showcasing your company across the globe. For non-English speaking users looking for your product or service, you automatically capture their attention.

4 Sales

With every language added to a website there is the potential for an increase of between 100% in sales. Even if a multilingual website is translated into a few of the major world languages, i.e. Spanish, French, German and Italian there is potentially a 400% increase in sales. There are few other ways to get such an increase for such little investment.

5 Customer-Centric

A multilingual website demonstrates you are thinking about the customer. That little extra effort shows you have thought and cared enough about them to offer the website in their language. As with anything in business, if the customer thinks you care, they will want to do business with you.

6 Trust

For many cultures there is an issue of trust when it comes to buying over the internet, especially if they feel it is in a language they are not fully proficient in. Offering them a language alternative allows the customers to feel secure in the fact they know what they are buying, how and who from.

7 Culturally Sensitive

A multilingual website, if designed properly, overcomes potential cultural barriers through allowing access in a native language. This automatically puts the user in a 'cultural comfort zone' due to their being able to navigate, understand and interact with the website.

8 Beat Competitors

To get the competitive advantage in today's environment you need to think outside the box. Many businesses try to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Look at your competitors — if they have multilingual websites then why don't you? If they don't, then why not lead the marketplace and establish your company or brand abroad before they do.

9 Shows International Nature

Image is everything. A multilingual website demonstrates you think, work and deal internationally.

10 Search Engines

Search engines lead people to your site. In countries such as China, Japan and France, Google, Yahoo and MSN are not the default search engines. Home grown search engines are emerging and they are proving successful because they work in native languages and are focused on the habits and needs of their users. Such search engines are a key to tapping those markets and unless they have access to a particular language through your multilingual website then you will not be found.

In addition, many of the key search engines, especially Google, are developing the capacity to run searches in foreign languages. Having pages of your site available in those languages ensures maximum potential for your site being picked up in searches.

Conclusion

Business continually sees shifts and changes. At present the multilingual website is still in its early stages, with mostly large multinational companies using them to secure an international foothold. However, the trickle-down effect will naturally occur and the multilingual website will become part and parcel of an internet presence. Whether people chose to invest now or later is the only choice they have.

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

This Is How You Quit Your 9 To 5 And Become An Internet Sensation

I’m not going to sugar coat it, sell you rainbows and unicorns or tell you that becoming an entrepreneur will make you instantly rich. And I’m definitely not going to tell you that it’s easy. Starting your own business is HARD. The biggest component to success is a high-risk tolerance.

I have repeatedly struggled to find my footing, pay bills and get everything set up before finally finding a workable formula.

The business itself is easy to create. I’ve written about how to quickly set up an online money-maker for yourself. I’ve even put together some ideas and specific examples for you to help you come up with an idea.

It’s the cultivation of the business that takes time and energy. No matter how great your idea is, it will not flower by itself. You have to nurture it.

And that’s the problem. Nurturing takes TIME. Lot’s and lot’s of time, attention, care and energy.

My goal is to help you harness the digital power to make yourself money with as little effort as possible. We all know the major themes: create products, share value with people, make income. But it’s not exactly a linear process, is it?

So how do you make a relatively smooth transition from corporate employee to automated/digitized entrepreneur without going destitute?

You have to start with the middle road: freelancing.

The bottom line is this — you need time to set up your business. Most corporate jobs have schedules that don’t really allow for the type of time you need to build content, products, relationships and skills.

What I did: In the transition period between quitting my job at Longhorn Steakhouse in Atlanta, making $2 an hour, to creating my digital empire out of my office in gorgeous Santa Monica, I worked as a contracted online freelancer. I got to create my own schedule, meet a bunch of interesting people, and do something that I loved (or at least liked a lot).

And the biggest perk of all? I could charge a LOT more money.

Most corporate jobs are salaried — so they’re going to max you out and overwork you for the same pay.

Hourly jobs can be low-paying by their very nature. The more money you make per hour, the less the company wants you to work. It’s a catch-22. But as a freelancer, none of this applies to you. You set your own schedule and you set your own rates.

Inevitably, this is where the objections start to crop up:

“I have no idea what I would do. I’m not good at coming up with ideas.”

“I don’t have any valuable skills. I just have my job-specific skills.”

“My market is already saturated. There are better people doing what I do.”

“Nobody will pay for what I know when they can just teach themselves.”

(These are exact copy and pastes from fans and readers who follow my work.)

What are your skills?

There are literally HUNDREDS of things you can do that are enjoyable and that other people will PAY you for. Start thinking about where you could mine your talent for freelance skill:

  • What do people consistently ask you for help or advice in?
  • Do you have any unique skills, talents, hobbies or abilities?
  • What areas of life have you excelled to an “advanced” or even “intermediate” level?
  • What skills ideas interest you enough to learn, and then teach to others?
  • Could you work independently doing what you do now at your current job?
  • Do you have any friends with talents that compliment yours? Maybe you could team up.

My Story

Best to learn by example, I think. Here’s how I did it.

When I first started freelancing, I was working at Longhorn Steakhouse (I’m basically a steak aficionado now). I was also working for Kaplan Test Prep.

My steak skills weren’t worth much. But my Kaplan skills were. I realized that people were paying $100+ per hour for me to tutor their student one-on-one. You won’t believe how much I was making…$18/hour!

And the worst part was…I THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD WAGE!!

Our perceptions are skewed because minimum wage is $7.25. So we think that anything significantly higher than that is good money. The reality is, $7.25 isn’t even livable. You probably need a minimum of $20/hour to make it out here.

But when I really sat down to think about it…I just got INFURIATED.

Here I was, doing all the teaching, grading, talking, communicating with parents, driving from school to school while Kaplan just sat back remotely and took 82% of my money.
BS!!

Since I as the one with the skill, I needed to be the one making the money. I knew I could make this work on my own and cut out the middle man.

So I bided my time. I looked around, I made some calls.

I found a partner who was also interested in getting a freelance education business going. He was the consulting side, I was the teaching side. Together we knocked down doors, created classes and started making money. A lot more of it.

First, I quit Kaplan. Didn’t want any conflict of interest. Then, as soon as the restaurant started to get in the way of my new endeavor, I quit that as well.

When I quit both jobs, I wasn’t making quite as much with the new business…but the projections were giving me a solid indication that things would pick up quickly. So I just took the leap.

Chris Corey

CMO Markethive Inc

 

By:Daniel DiPiazza

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Want to Be More Influential? Improve Your Social Skills

Want to Be More Influential? Improve Your Social Skills.

 Improving your Social skills is no longer a choice! It is a must if you want to be in marketing. Dale Carnegie got it right when he said that to win more friends and influence more people you need to improve your interpersonal skills.  Twenty years of research on power and influence shows that people with superior social skills are substantially more influential than people with average social skills.  These findings make sense when you realize that influence is not something you have; it’s something other people give you.  In other words, you can’t be influential with people unless they allow you to be influential with them.  So influence is in large part a function of your relationship with other people, and the rule of thumb on influence is that you are likely to be more successful if the people you want to influence know you, like you, respect you, and trust you. 

Being Known

It is significantly easier to influence people you know than people you don’t.  So go out of your way to make yourself known.  If you’re in an organization, this means increasing your visibility throughout the organization.  Introduce yourself to people.  As you get to know them, let them know who you are.  My research shows that people are who highly skilled at being friendly and sociable with strangers and building close relationships are more than twice as influential as people who are less skilled at sociability and relationship building.  People around the world instinctively understand this, which is why socializing is one of the most frequently used influence techniques globally.  If you aren’t naturally good at socializing, then this is a key skill to build.  Extraverts are often naturally good at socializing, but being an introvert is not necessarily a liability.  You may just have to try harder to do something that does not come naturally to you.

Being Liked

Sometimes, you know the person you want to influence but aren’t as influential as you’d like with him or her because of bad chemistry. Many years ago when I was younger and single a friend introduced me to a young woman, and she and I dated for a while.  She was a nice, attractive person, and we tried to be a couple but it just didn’t work.  Somehow, we got on each other’s nerves and whatever either of us said or did was somehow wrong.  There was no chemistry between us, and it wasn’t her fault or mine.  We just weren’t a good match for each other.  So it goes.  In my three decades in business I’ve had similar situations with some colleagues and clients.  Despite everyone’s good intentions, the plain fact is that there’s something about the other person each of you just doesn’t like.

I wrote in The Elements of Power(Amacom Books, 2011) that attraction can be a significant source of power, and it’s based partly on the psychological principle of liking.  We are more inclined to say yes to people we like than to people we don’t, which is why friends are more likely to do favors for each other than they are for people they don’t know.  So to be more influential, do what you can to be more likeable to the people you want to influence.  Of course, we each have whatever physical gifts (or challenges) we were born with, but you should do the best you can with what you have.  Good grooming, posture, dress, and manners go a long way toward making you more attractive to others.  In business, as well as many other walks of life, these things matter.  The same is true with interpersonal behaviors that people like:friendliness, generosity, warmth, caring, and acceptance.  When we act with these qualities, people are more inclined to like us.  Conversely, if we are pushy, arrogant, boastful, self-centered, rude, disrespectful, or otherwise annoying, people will be inclined to dislike us.  Personality is a key component of likeability.

Being Respected and Trusted

Trust and respect are largely about character, credibility, and confidence.  You build character through courage, integrity, reliability, and similar character traits; you build credibility through your knowledge, access to information, role, and reputation (of which work ethic, results, and contributions are a significant factor); and you build confidence by behaving self-confidently, achieving consistently superior results, making good decisions, and exercising sound judgment.  If you are a member of a business or professional organization, people will also trust and respect you more if you are actively involved, engaged, and comitted to the enterprise.  To become highly influential, it helps to be well-liked, well-regarded, and indispensable.

Fortunately, none of us is born with a fixed amount of power and influence.  No matter who you are, you can become more powerful and more influential, and one of the keys is improving your interpersonal and social skills.  For more tips on how to do this, see Elements of Influence:  The Art of Getting Others to Follow Your Lead(Amacom Books, 2011) or my earlier book, What People Want (Davies-Black, 2006).  Also see Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People, which he first published in 1936 but is still relevant today.

Chris Corey CMO Markethive

 

Parts of this article are excerpted from Terry R. Bacon, Elements of Influence:  The Art of Getting Others to Follow Your Lead (NY:  AMACOM Books, 2011).

Photo credits:  Friends in a bar: Sean Locke/istockphoto.com. Young businesswoman:  Maridav/istockphoto.com.  Business people looking at a chart:  Jacob Wackerhausen/istockphoto.com. 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

SURVIVING PRISON — How to survive prison Part #3 of my 3 Part Series

SURVIVING PRISON — How to survive prison

SURVIVING PRISON — How to survive prison

 

Nothing can be more difficult for a prison inmate than walking into the penitentiary for the first time. I know, I was once an inmate in a Texas state prison. New prison offenders often experience extreme confusion, fear and anxiety. The cold sound of slamming bars and hollering echoes as correctional officers are escorting you to your cell. As a reformed ex-convict and son of a loving and concerned family who stood by me through out my 13 year sentence, I am inspired to share my knowledge of how to survive prison. I know there are thousands of mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who are in desperate need of advice because they have a loved-one currently doing time in prison. You may consider printing out this article and mailing it to your incarcerated loved-one so that he or she is able to survive prison as I did.

ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY

Prison is what you make of it. It can serve as a beneficial learning experience or it can be a living hell. That's right; every inmate who walks into prison has a choice. An inmate can survive prison by simply following prison administration rules and respecting both officers and fellow prisoners. What every prison offender needs to understand is that you committed a crime. You offended another human being so in the eyes of society you are an offender and will be referred to as such by prison staff and officers. Nobody likes to be referred to as an "offender" but there's absolutely nothing you can do or say to change that fact, unless of coarse you are released from prison. Inmates who get angry of the way officers treat them need to realize that prison is designed to punish criminals, not pamper them. Ask yourself this question. If the life of your own brother was robbed by the hands of a killer, would you want correctional officers to baby the offender? Inmates who are blind to that reality and who expect royal treatment behind bars are either cold-blooded sociopaths or just too stupid to live. Not only do offenders like these (and there are many) make life harder on themselves by refusing to follow the direct orders of officers, but they make life a living hell for their loved-ones who worry about them. Inmates who whine, cry and complain over their situation are not ready to be released back into society. Society can not afford the risk of releasing back into the streets an adolescence-minded adult-criminal who may very well offend again. Prison officials have a place specifically for all problem offenders. Unruly offenders are housed in special maximum security pods reserved for dangerous high risk inmates. It is there where officers become the least of a stubborn inmates problems and it is there where one must now deal with dangerous adult gang members with rascal mentalities. So yes, you do have a choice!

TELL ME WHO YOUR FRIENDS ARE AND I'LL TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE

New inmates often feel the need to fit in. They seek friendship from just about anyone in prison. Choose your friends wisely. The least, the better. Mature minded convicts who mind their own business and follow administration rules are probably a new inmates best bet. Hang around convicts who keep out of trouble, who have productive hobbies or who go to religious services. Stay independent. You were born with two legs, not four or eight so theres no need to help fight your friends battles. A good friend is solid-minded enough to fight his or her own fight so if you come across an instigator who asks you to assist them in their conflict, avoid them.

IT'S ALL ABOUT RESPECT

Sometimes conflicts are inevitable, after all you are housed in an environment of convicted criminals of every kind. If you come across a situation where an other offender is giving you a hard time, try talking to him or her. Be respectful. There is absolutely nothing you need to prove so don't feed into their hostility. You are not a coward for avoiding a fight. You are in fact brave if you are able to approach the offender alone. Yes, make sure the offender is alone and calmly and respectfully explain to him or her that you have nothing against them and that you would like to apologize for anything that may have offended them. Trouble-making convicts are often egotistical so that may neutralize his or her aggression towards you. It is rare that this respectful tactic will not work. If it does not work and the offender persists, calmly walk away and avoid any eye contact with him or her. Ignore any insults and resist the urge to respond. It takes more will-power to resist a fight than it does to actually throw a punch. Walk away knowing that you are strong. You will one day be a free person after you serve your time.

HEAR NO EVIL, SEE NO EVIL AND SPEAK NO EVIL
Most, if not all prison fights start over gossip. Prison is boring so many offenders find that gossip is the next best thing to do. Avoid these offenders and their friends. Refraining from gossip may just save your life.

A STRONG BODY EQUALS A STRONG MIND

Exercise will not only keep your mind healthy, but it will make your body strong. Penitentiary bully's like to pick on the weak. You have nothing but time so release your inner frustrations with a lot of exercise. Avoid being a couch potato and avoid junk food. Eat the beans and greens on your food tray. Feed your mind, body and soul.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Read, read and read. Reading informative newspapers, magazines and books will empower your mind. Not only will it take your mind out of prison but it will make your brain stronger. A strong brain knows how to deal with tough situations. A strong mind can see further and the further you see, the easier it is to avoid problems in prison. A well read mind knows that one day YOU will be free just like me, a man who did 13 years in prison. So let the gossiping prison gangsters and offender bully's keep the penetentiary they so desperatly want to control. They can have it! You will be free one day and no longer will you be referred to as an "offender". Life will be good. Trust me.

Chris Corey

CMO Markethive Inc.

 

Ex-Con Anonymous 1994-2007

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

4 Year Old boy arrested for Hacking FBI Computers #1 of my 3 Part Series

You can learn how to hack the FBI database in just a few courses.4-year old kid from the California has been arrested for hacking into the internal network of the FBI three times, his information is still remain Anonymous. I don’t know is this true or no, but as per the research of the website (worldnewsdailyreport) the report seems to be original, or if this is a parody website, so just ignore that and just enjoy the post.

Well, the news is from Los Angeles—A 4-year old kid from the California has been arrested for hacking into the internal network of the FBI three times, his information is still remain Anonymous.

Why a 4-Year old hacked FBI Networks?

Actually, he is accused of hacking into the FBI networks to gather information about his Mother’s new boyfriend, and that boy hacked all the firewalls and security systems in minutes, and the databases of FBI were also accessed.

Along with the FBI, CIA and various police departments databases were accessed to find official records of his new stepfather.

Bill L. Lewis, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division, announced that the accused’s young age would certainly have to be taken into account, but that “considering the gravity of the crimes he committed” and the “consequences that his actions could have on the credibility the federal authorities”, the charges had to be serious.

So, the question raises—How that 4-Year old boy learned to use a computer, as till the last Christmas there was not any computer in their house, and his mother too an uneducated hairdresser have very little computer skills.

Recently Mother’s ex-boyfriend gave a Laptop, and FBI is inspecting that Laptop and interrogating with the boy to seek more info about How he was able to hack into the systems.

If a 4-Year old boy able to hack the FBI computers and access sensitive information, so it is not hard to crack the systems by foreign spies too.

Chris Corey

CMO Markethive Inc

By Hackers Writer

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The Worst 10 Mistakes When Starting a Business

 What are fatal mistakes that first time business owners make and can easily avoid? If you want to start a business, read through the following list of business mistakes and take them to heart. Any one of them could sabotage your new business venture and turn it into a failure rather than a success.

These are the big mistakes to avoid when you're starting out:

1) Not doing a business plan.

If I had even just fifty cents for every time someone asked me “Is this a good business idea?” over the years, I’d be a wealthy woman.

 

The problem is, unless I write a business plan, I have no idea — and you won’t, either. That’s the main purpose of a business plan. There are other good reasons, too; see 5 Reasons for Writing a Business Plan to learn more.

Yes, it’s time-consuming and demands a lot of research, but investing time now will save you so much time and money later.

2) Doing what you love.

In my opinion, the person who first said “Do what you love” should be shot. Or at least forced to eat seven bad restaurant meals in a row.

It sounds fine in theory, but the reality is there are a whole lot of people out there who love things they’re not good at. My official advice? Don’t do what you love; do what you’re good at and what people will pay you (well) for. It’s not as catchy, but it’s a whole lot more profitable — and isn't making a profit the reason you're opening a business?

3) Not doing any market research.

I see increasing numbers of people starting businesses without bothering to do any of this — and then being heartbroken when their new business, which they’ve invested so much time and money in, collapses.

Test your products and service first before you start a business. If you don’t, you have no idea if people are even going to want to buy them. You may think you make the tastiest pierogi in all the world. But will anyone else? Learn who to Do Your Own Market Research.

4) Ignoring the competition.

Ignoring the competition is another potentially fatal business mistake.

 

Simple question #1: If you’re selling your thingamabobs for $10 apiece and Vera down the street is selling her thingamabobs for $6 apiece, how many thingamabobs are you going to sell?

And what if Vera’s thingamabobs look/smell/feel/taste better than yours? 6 Ways to Find Out What the Competition is Up To will show you how to keep tabs on the competition that matters.

Another aspect of competition you need to understand is market saturation. The pie is only so big, so to speak, for every product or service. So, for instance, if you want to open a dog grooming business, there may not be any “room” left in your local area to do so because of the number of dog grooming businesses that already exist.

5) Not taking into account your own strengths and weaknesses.

We all have them. Unfortunately, sometimes our strengths or weaknesses don’t fit well with the business model we want to use, leading to disastrous results. For example, if you’re not a friendly, outgoing type of person with good people skills, retail is not for you.

 

It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve dreamed of opening that ice cream parlour or book store, it’s not for you.

That doesn’t mean you can’t buy such a business or start one yourself, but for it to succeed, you need to be aware that working behind the counter is not something you should be doing; you’ll need to hire staff right away. (Here’s what you need to know about Hiring Employees in Canada.)

6) Not understanding what you’re actually selling.

Helena Rubinstein, the first self-made female millionaire, didn’t become rich selling face cream; she became rich selling beauty. ("There are no ugly women,” she used to say, “only lazy ones”.) If your new business is going to be successful, you need to know what you’re actually selling and craft your Unique Selling Propositionaccordingly.

7) Not making sure you have enough money.

Ninety-five percent of businesses will not make money when they first open and a large proportion of new businesses will not make significant money for years. (The exception, the five percent that make money when they first open, is for businesses that are actually just “carry-overs”, employees who become contractors, a fairly common practice in industries such as IT.)

Which means you (and your family) have to have enough money to live on while your new business is getting established, as well as enough money for the business to survive and grow. Not getting the money to do this lined up before you start your small business is a serious mistake.

Small business financing of some kind is the most obvious way to do this, eitherthrough a traditional lender or through a non-traditional alternative. (See 5 Creative Ways to Fund Your New Business.) Perhaps you can qualify for a start up grant.

How to Get Your New Small Business to Make Money includes some other ways you can bring in bucks while starting up.

8) Not investing in marketing.

Following the common advice “Build it and they will come” is another serious business mistake. Come where? Why? Or even when? No one will know without some effective marketing. (How to Create an Effective Sales and Marketing Strategyexplains the basics.

Far too many small businesses are reluctant to spend any money on marketing, let alone a significant amount. Free marketing can be excellent — but most free marketing strategies take a significant amount of time before they become effective. (Referrals and social media marketing are examples.)

Create a marketing planset up some marketing campaigns, and keep doing it if you want your business to be successful.

My best tip? Market your business before you open it. There’s no rule that says you have to wait until your physical or virtual doors are actually open.

9) Not bothering with any online marketing.

One way or another, your small business has to be online. You may or may notneed a website (many individuals who provide services use other “homes” on the web, such as Facebook or LinkedIn pages) but your business needs to be able to be found by and promoted to the ever increasing number of people who use the web to find the products and services they want.

If you’re not going to do anything else, establish some sort of home base for your business online and be sure that your small business is listed in various online directories. Actively marketing your small business online is even better and will give it a far better chance of reaching your customers.

One possibility is to engage customers through social mediaLearn How to Create a Social Media Plan.

10) Trying to do everything yourself.

You can’t. It’s that simple and that aggravating. Running a small business, even if it’s a one person business, involves so many different tasks that no one person can do them all well. Even if each of us was perfect and had all the skills to do an outstanding job at whatever we set our hands to, each of us is still constrained by time. Most days, I predict, you’ll be lucky if you even get done what you planned to get done when your day started.

So sidestep the mistake of trying to do it all and increase the chance of your new business succeeding by getting the help you need from the get-go. Learn How to Delegatehire and outsource to make the most of your skills and benefit from outside expertise. For example, do you really need to do your own accounting?Accountants have a lot more financial and tax knowledge than you have, more than likely, and can save you a bundle of time (and even money!) at tax-time.

(Speaking of outside expertise, have you thought about Creating an Advisory Board for your small business? It can give you a real management advantage.)

Who Doesn’t Want to Succeed?

I’ve yet to meet a person who wants to start a business that’s quickly going to go under.

If starting a business is in your future, understand that starting a business is a process, not an event. If you take the time to do the thinking and the research and avoid the business mistakes discussed above, you’ll hugely increase the likelihood of your new business succeeding.

Chris Corey

CMO Markethive Inc

By Susan Ward

Updated August 16, 2016

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your First Business

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your First Business

Mistakes you can avoid with your first business. When I opened my first business, a fitness center, unfounded confidence flowed through my veins. Visions of fast success and weekends off with the family seemed as close as the next sell.

Related: The 5 Mistakes Standing Between You and Your First Million

A few months later, the bravado gave way to fear and insecurity. That dream about weekends away vanished, and my 5 a.m.-to-9 p.m. schedule began taking its toll. I have been fortunate ever since to avoid similar mistakes in my more recent businesses. But I continue to review those mistakes, lest I repeat them:

 

1. Allowing belief to override the business plan

Owning a business is not for the weak in spirit. You need a strong mind and heart to face the day-in and day-out work. In the early days of the dream, it’s easy to be so excited and enamored with the idea of "your" business that you fail to grind out a proper business model.

When I approached my bank with my business plan in a thick three-ringed binder, I thought the president might just hand me a briefcase of cash. No kidding. Then came reality: Within two minutes the bank president asked me several questions my plan couldn’t answer. Still, that didn’t faze me. I lifted my chin and stated with conviction, “This will work.” I left without the briefcase of cash. Belief overrode the business plan, and I exited penniless.

2. Listening to customers instead of spreadsheets

“Famous Health Club just went out of business,” my soon-to-be business partner Mike said. “They left all the equipment," he told me excitedly. "We can go in and start quickly and not have to buy everything. However, they scammed their people, and no one wants to sign a contract.”

No problem. We won’t do contracts, I thought. And we didn’t. But we should have. Because, six months later, a giant fitness chain came to town and told members they could sign up for two years and pay via automatic draft. And people signed up in droves. Our “we won’t sign a contract” people left for newer pastures.

The lesson is, you’ll be tempted to set up your business in the way your customers say they want. And, sometimes that will be fine if it fits your model. Otherwise, trust your spreadsheets. Make sure the math works before giving in on every demand in hopes of making the sale.

Related: 6 Common Mistakes First-Time Business Owners Should Avoid

3. Risking a family member’s retirement fund

Remember my empty briefcase? I gave up on the bank and instead went to my grandfather and asked for the money. I needed only $20,000. That’s it. It never crossed my mind that Daddy B might consider what I requested to be a big sum, considering that during his career, he'd been a lowly paid high school principal. And, as if that weren't enough, he told me he believed only in safe investments and had put most of his own money into interest-bearing certificates of deposit earning a massive 2 percent interest.

Being young and arrogant, I took my grandfather back to the same bank. Together, we got a secured loan and I was on my way. So, I was able to move forward. But unless your family members have the money to lose, don’t borrow against their retirement or savings. They may love you and want you to succeed, but losing their money will haunt you.

4. Miscalculating the time needed to launch

Since those former fitness club tenants had left their equipment, Mike and I figured that we could open quickly. It was already December and we believed we could open by January 1. Just in time for the New Year’s "resolution" crowd. Timing-wise, we thought we'd won the lottery.

But, three days prior to opening, we knew we were in trouble. I still can’t remember if we slept those last three days. We pushed hard to open the doors. And they opened, but not without our first suffering stress, tears, fears, panic, anxiety and delusions of the greatest business failure ever known to man.

So, set your own grand opening inside a buffer zone. Plan to be ready 10 days ahead of “the” day and you just might open on time, without dread and anxiety.

5. Equating personal experience with business expertise

I began working out at age 12. I was competing in powerlifting and body-building competitions by age 18. In addition to that, I was a personal trainer at a local gym. Certainly all that experience would translate into running a fitness center of my own, right? 

Not even close. I knew how to train people, but not retain people for the purpose of growing a membership-based business. You might be a great cook, mechanic, web designer or artist, but that doesn’t automatically translate into business acumen. So grab some study courses from Entrepreneur.com and arm yourself for this battle called business.

A couple of years later, Mike and I sold that fitness center. Our buyer was a guy who wanted the space for his karate school. We barely paid off our business loans with the sales proceeds. It could have been so much more had we avoided the mistakes we made starting our first business.

So, remember them, and learn

Chris Corey 

CMO Markethive Inc

 

CONTRIBUTOR

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Not Post About Politics On Facebook

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Not Post About Politics On Facebook

 

Why you should not post politic filled content on you Facebook account. I see a lot of things I disagree with on social media. It’s hard to keep our personal beliefs to ourselves when we see things online that we take issue with. Let’s take the subject of politics on Facebook.

For me personally, I have many friends and clients on Facebook who are on both sides of the fence politically. From time to time I have posted something politically charged, only to go back a little bit later and remove it after I’ve thought about the possible repercussions. I am now fully committed to never doing it again.

So, I’ve come up with some reasons why you shouldn’t post about politics on Facebook. Here you go…

1. You could lose a friend. Friends should be able to discuss political issues calmly and diplomatically…in person! Most people hide behind their computers and post things they would never say face to face.

2. You could lose a client. It’s not business, it’s personal…right? Bull crap! If a client feels strongly about a political issue and I go on Facebook and post something totally derogatory or counter to what they believe, they might take a different view of me personally and professionally. I want my clients to like me. People do business with people they know, like and trust. Period.

3. It’s a waste of time. You’re not going to change someone’s political beliefs on Facebook. You can debate and debate, but you’re just wasting your time. People are different and believe different things. Accept it, agree to disagree and move on. Life’s too short. Let your vote be your voice.

4. It’s the wrong platform. If you’re bound and determined to spend time arguing over political issues online, go to a political blog or a news site and do so. Don’t ruin everyone’s experience on Facebook with your rants. You may have a specific list of friends on FB that you only share political information with, but you never know what someone else might share.

5. There’s enough politics in the media. One of the reasons I use Facebook is to laugh, have fun and converse with my friends and family. I don’t use it to get worked up or stressed out over something I see that I disagree with. There’s enough political coverage in the mainstream media. More than enough. Keep it there and leave the politics to the pundits.

If you’re marketing your business on Facebook, you absolutely NEVER want to go down this road on your Facebook business page.

Now, I know there are a lot of people who are going to disagree with me. And that’s fine. You have every right to disagree. This is America. But, can we agree to disagree and keep it off Facebook?

What do you think?

Chris Corey

CMO Markethive Inc.

 

By: Scott Dickson

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

7 SEO Tips For 2016

Follow these SEO trends for better rankings in 2016

SEO is a very volatile industry because of the many changes that take place in the Google algorithm within a period. The algorithm set in place this month may not be the same the next. It is an always evolving algorithm that encourages SEO specialists to stay on their toes and keep abreast with updates.

As we pass the years half way point and start to look towards 2017, it has become more important for specialists to look out for trends that can affect search rankings for their keywords in this new year.

Newly updated, this comprehensive resource is a practical guide for marketing managers to increase the contribution of SEO to their business. It covers the activities they and their agencies need to work on to improve their ranking in the organic search results of Google.

Considering the changes that took place in SEO this 2016, below are trends that you as an SEO specialist must look out for to improve your site performance on search results in 2016-17.

Optimize for Rich Answers

Although aiming for the top positions in Google search for your target keywords is still important, it's now time to optimize for other Rich Answers too. These are results that appear towards the top organic search results.

According to Stone Temple Consulting, rich answers appear on 19.45% of Google search results out of the 850,000 keyword queries used to trigger these.

The percentage may not be as high at the moment — most of the rich answers appear on search queries for song lyrics. However, there is good cause to believe that its number will only increase in the future. Since Google has made its intention of providing value to its users clear, rich answers provide the most relevant information based on the search query.

How to rank for rich answers: Northcutt Consulting Group has broken down the most relevant factors for ranking on rich answers.

The first point is important. Optimizing for rich answers requires you to optimizing for your target keyword as well. Getting your page to rank on the first page of search engines will increase your chances of getting into the rich answers box.

The post at Northcutt is not the definitive way to rank for the rich answer box since we are dealing with Google algorithm here, after all. Its algorithm can never be reduced to an exact science consider of how unstable it is. However, the post should give you a good idea of how you can increase your chances of getting your page on topthe top of search results.

Review Google's other featured content

Keep an eye on the Mozcast Google Feature review for other types of content that features within Google results. Rich Answers are referenced here as 'featured snippets'.  A similar feature is 'Related questions', showing how our articles should try to cover these questions.  Images and videos are other better known ways of gaining cut-through in the SERPs for some search terms — check which are important for your industry.

Improve user engagement

Ever since, marketers have always speculated user engagement as a possible ranking factor. This covers the average time on site, bounce rate, pogo sticking, and others.

For conversion, it is a proven factor that determines the effectiveness of page elements that contribute to the chances of visitors committing to your call to action.

However, what makes this factors difficult to measure in search engines is the lack of data supporting it.

User engagement is too indirect an influence on search rankings. Nonetheless, it is something that all website owners need to optimize if they are serious about getting more out of their SEO efforts.

“User engagement is just as important as any other on-site element in this day and age,” says Matt Banner ofOnBlastBlog.com. “If a visitor enjoys your website, they'll stay on your site longer, visit more pages, help contribute to a lower bounce rate for your site overall, and most likely become a returning visitor.

“All of these positive elements factored together combine for a type of website that Google wants to rank highly in the search engines. If the user finds the website beneficial, you can bet Google will as well.”

How to rank with the help of user engagement: To help improve your site performance, in the long run, using user engagement as a factor, you may need to use tools to gain insight on how much interaction your site pages is getting from visitors.

Heatmapping quickly comes to mind when thinking of user engagement. The idea here is that the more clicks a page accumulates from its links, the more interaction it has with users.

Tools like SumoMe Heat Maps and CrazyEgg are great ways to break down the number of clicks made by users on your tracked site pages. From here, you can see which links are clicked the most and least. You can then optimize your site by improving your CTA links and buttons based on the accumulated data.

To analyze visitor engagement with your site pages, the SumoMe Content Analytics is an extremely helpful tool in looking how many of your site visitors scroll down until the very end of the page. From the data, you can also find out which part of your page where 50% of your visitors leave. Determine which elements of your site pages serve as obstacles that prevent visitors from scrolling down your page and optimize your site as you see fit.

Mobile App Optimization

The mobile market is big. So big, in fact, that Google is still figuring out how to provide mobile users with a better search experience.

The so-called 'Mobilegeddon' or more accurately Google's Mobile-friendly update is a step towards this direction, as site owners are encouraged to develop mobile or responsive designs to increase the site’s loading speed on mobile devices. A faster loading site means more chances to retain visitors.

While there is also interest in spending on mobile ads as the figures from eMarketer show, Google will soon take a more crucial role in delivering content to mobile users, starting with app store optimization.

"ASO (App Store Optimization) will be the next gen SEO in 2016,” says Rob Lons of performance SEO services RankPay. “If you look at the rise of mobile use and how much paid ad dollars are being spent each year, you can see the huge demand and rush to reach people on their mobile devices.”

More importantly, the App Indexing is the latest development in search results that can make an impact in how your site pages will rank for your target keywords.

Originally, apps are indexed on App Store and Google Play, not on Google search. This made it much more complicated for Google to streamline its search capabilities — marketers will have to optimize on both app stores instead of just on Google organic.

Through App Index, apps are now indexed on Google search. The search ranking of apps falls under the App Pack or Deep Link category.

Below is a comparison of app rankings on mobile search. The image is taken from this extensive article about App Indexing at Search Engine Land.

 

App Indexing brings in millions of additional search results for search queries on Google mobile search. This means that webpages ranking for their target keyword will have to fight of million of app pages that are optimized for their keyword as well. As if the competition is not stiff enough!

How to rank for mobile search results after App Indexing: Instead of fending off app results for your target keyword, why not consider developing an app for your business?

If you do not have an app for your site yet, consider building one to take advantage of the benefits App Indexing brings, in particular, its deep links.

Choosing the best mobile app development services is just half the battle. The other half involves developing a solid foundation for your mobile app and the goal you wish to achieve in developing it. Identifying both should provide you a more strategic approach with your mobile app in line with meeting your online goals.

Once you have a mobile app in place, you can begin implementing the steps on how to get your deep app screen indexed on search results by referring to this straightforward documentation from Google. The process can be arduous for non-developers, so you may want to ask for help from an expert regarding this.

Google’s new search quality guidelines

Google released their latest 160-page search quality guidelines. The last previous published was the abridged version two years ago that was a reaction to the leaked versions from 2008, 2011, and 2012 (notwithstanding the 2014 version) for the purpose of transparency.

As expected, the published document is far from the finished product.

"This is not the final version of our rater guidelines,” says Google Senior Program Manager and Search Growth & Analysis Mimi Underwood in this post. “ The guidelines will continue to evolve as search, and how people use it, changes. We won’t be updating the public document with every change, but we will try to publish big changes to the guidelines periodically."

You can download your copy of the search quality guidelines from the link above.

Below are some key takeaways from the guidelines:

  • High-quality standards are set on Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages – These pages include shopping transaction pages, financial information pages, medical information pages, legal information pages, and similar sites. The reason for the placing high-quality standards on these pages is how these can affect "the future happiness, health, or wealth of users." Low-quality YMYL pages can negatively impact one's happiness and health, so it is important to build useful pages under this umbrella term.
  • The value placed on Expertise/Authoritativeness/Trustworthiness (E-A-T) –high-quality content must come from E-A-T sources. E-A-T is built by acquiring accreditation if necessary. For instance, medical information found online must come from accredited medical persons or organizations. Corollary, first-hand experience counts as a form of expertise. For example, a user sharing how he survived cancer is a form of expertise.
  • Needs Met guidelines cater to mobile usability – Web pages are gauged by how they are optimized for mobile viewing and the satisfaction they provide to users about the search query. The guidelines are loosely divided into five ratings (from Fully Meets to Fails to Meet) — a website can fall between the assigned ratings if needed be.

What to make out of these quality guidelines: All signs point to improving the mobile usability of your site (as already mentioned above), as well as establishing yourself as an influence within your niche. By building your expertise and knowledge in your industry, you can establish your authority as a subject matter expert, thus earning the trust of your audience.

You can start by launching an influencer marketing campaign to establish your online visibility. From there, you can slowly build yourself as an authority based on different factors such as your site's Domain Authority, social proof (testimonials from customers and social media shares), and blog comments, among other factors.

Update: Notified by Google after this post was written — they have new guidelines which require no more pop-ups on mobile pages (e.g. responsive pages). Essential to act on before 2017 when this change comes into affect.

Chris Corey CMO Markethive Inc.

Written by: Christopher Jan Benitez 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Virtual World Part 10: Harnessing collective knowledge

Harnessing collective knowledge

Markethive's social collaboration can bring collective knowledge to bear on a problem the company is trying to solve, or to satisfy customer needs. A multinational petrochemical company needed to be able to accurately answer very technical questions about how to set up production lines for a wide range of complex intermediary products that are crucial in the production of a particular end-user product.

The ability to answer those questions, therefore, is critical to the sale of thousands of tons of the product for one of Ferrazzi Greenlight’s clients. Multiply that need over literally thousands of products, and your enterprise faces a serious complexity challenge.

Our client chose one of the best ways to handle such complexity: By establishing internal wikis (purpose-built websites containing content that can be collaboratively edited and updated) that could be constantly updated by a small army of expert volunteers within the company who document everything required to support internal and customer questions about production.

While it takes time to establish a comprehensive set of wikis — and a culture of contributing to them — companies that succeed in doing so often see internal subject matter experts vying with each other to provide the best/most complete expert information.

This is competition focused on excellence in results — a win/ win if ever there was one.

Other companies use social collaboration very effectively to tap outside experts to deliver high-quality, just-in-time services. A great example is Specialists On Call (SOC), an agency with facilities in Virginia and California that contracts with 270 hospitals nationwide.

For example, when one of the participating hospitals has a patient arrive in emergency and the doctors determine he needs to see a cardiologist, the hospital contacts Specialists On Call, and an experienced cardiologist not only speaks with the patient through video-conferencing almost immediately, she’s able to do a “virtual examination” by directing the attending clinical staff or physician to perform a number of diagnostic procedures while the cardiologist observes.

SOC claims it can cost 40 percent less than the cost of locally based on-call specialists, increase caseload capacity, empower local specialists by relieving on-call burdens, and even result in lower malpractice premiums due to its round the-clock availability and adherence to best practice protocols.

Too often, social-media collaboration is implemented in its own silo without strong business process connections.

Here’s how to maximize the impact of social-media tools on business results:

•Identify the processes that will most benefit, and pilot social media integration with those teams. Lead with these process improvement examples when you release your social media tool more broadly; that’s the main driver for the investment.

• Resist implementing social media as a stand-alone tool. Integrating it with your tools for communication, collaboration, and/or process flow ensures discussions are relevant to and can positively impact process and/or project participants.

• Explore tools that make exchanges in social media, email and other collaboration tools searchable, and filter automatically based on context. Separating social chit-chat from exchanges relevant to the project at each meeting or milestone creates a cohesive collaboration record and brings participants up to speed quickly.

 

Chris Corey

CMO Markethive Inc

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member