Stay on Top of Your Website Speed

Great SEO management takes updating, and that usually means often! The great thing is that there are lots of tools out there to help you keep your web pages optimized. You can optimize for a lot of things, but one of the most important things to do is optimize for speed.

Fast pages rank better with Google, but they are also more usable. On average, pages in the United States take somewhere around 9 to eleven seconds to load across major industries. A very few are in the eight or 12 second range.

Get Your Site Tested

Before you decide which page to optimize first, get your site tested. There’s a lot of great software out there. Just take your pick and get started! Pingdom is an easy one to use that will check per page for you. It’s the best option for people who update their pages frequently.

Check Your Code

One of the major ways sites become slow is with cumbersome code. Usually, the culprit is either clunky JavaScript or redundant CSS.

Some basic things you can do with your developer are to lighten up the JavaScript and to resize images with CSS so that they easily fit your page width.

All in all, you want the JavaScript to be as lean as possible. This may mean having some interactive features revisited. It can also mean checking up on your animation to see if it’s really necessary.

After that, you want the CSS, or cascading style sheets, to be well-organized and very neat. It may seem obsessive when you see how neat people try to make their style sheets, but neatness makes all the difference in the world when it comes to page load times.

Fixe 404s

These little guys are the enemy of page speed. Fix them pronto to boost your rankings! There’s not much to it: simply delete empty URLs, or issue a 301 redirect to another page on your site.

Cache Your Page

This is an easy thing you can do no matter how large your website is. It will cause your page to be saved when people load it.

Use Accelerated Mobile Pages

These are pared-down versions of your page that load on mobile. You can use a WordPress plugin if you don’t have a developer to fix you up with AMPs.

Use Minification

This is a surefire way to make the page load faster. Essentially, minification means to strip data from the browser that you don’t need. It strips unnecessary and redundant data to help the page load smoother.

Check Your Plugins

Minimizing is the goal here. You clean out plugins just like you clean out a closet! Take a hard line and delete any that you don’t really need, because they will all slow your site down at least a little bit.

These things may seem small, but they have a huge impact on page speed. Remember that pages load differently on different devices. Get your website tested across browsers and devices to get an accurate picture of how the pages are loading. If you stick to it and optimize a little every week, you won’t have to do huge yearly overhauls.

Overall, the key is to keep it lean on the website. Lean code, clean browsers, and light plugins are the way to go. If you have a really hard time getting the page load time down, you will want to check on getting a different host. But usually, the biggest thing is cleaning up JavaScript and CSS. After that, it depends on what you have on your website and if it’s mobile-ready.

What Is HTML

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It forms the foundation of all the code you see on the web. Without HTML, we wouldn’t see any of the style and design from CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets.

You can wrap a lot of things in HTML. HTML is essentially a tool for putting content on the web, so you can wrap your general printed content in it. But you can also embed videos, images, and audio files using HTML.

HTML is powerful, but it isn’t interactive. You need JavaScript to make your pages interactive on the web. So HTML will make pages and forms, but you can’t send any information without JavaScript and usually a bit of PHP.

People learn HTML all kinds of ways. There are some great books on the subject. But you can also sign up for an online course like Codecademy. Some people even learn HTML by tinkering around with a text editor like Atom and viewing the source code on their favorite web pages.

HTML is not too hard to learn, but it requires a certain amount of attention to detail to use efficiently. If you’re interested in learning HTML, try one or more of the methods mentioned above. You can also look through the World Wide Web Consortium’s tutorial, also known as the W3Schools Tutorial.

Many people use HTML for creating emails these days in addition to web pages. It’s a great format for creating personalized emails and emails with lots of images. HTML has a lot of structure and syntax. This provides the basis for the organization of web pages and some mobile apps.

Successful Entrepreneurs: J.K. Rowling

When J.K. Rowling was six years old, she wrote a story about a rabbit who gets measles. That introduction into story telling was when Rowling knew she wanted to become a writer. Many years and several challenges later, Rowling would become the most famous writer in the world.

Success Rising from Hard Times

Before Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling were global household names and she was the first billionaire female author, Joanne Rowling was struggling through life. Her teenage years were difficult. When she was 15, her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and it took a toll on her family. Ten years later, her mother passed away. It was a devastating event. Rowling also had suicidal thoughts while she was in her twenties. She claims that going through these emotional moments, helped her create the “Harry Potter” series. Her experience with depression helped shape characters, like the Dementors, in her books.

Graduating and Becoming a Parent

After graduating from the University of Exeter in 1986, she worked for Amnesty International as a secretary, but she realized it was not the job she wanted. She went to teach English in Portugal, where she met and married Jorge Arantes. After a miscarriage in 1992, Rowling had her daughter, Jessica, in 1993. Rowling separated from her husband the same year. After her marriage failed, Rowling traveled with her daughter back to Britain, with not job and a suitcase of Harry Potterwritings.

“Harry Potter” Introduced to the World

Rowling was a single mother living on government welfare but continued writing. She finished her first Harry Potterbook in 1995. Twelve publishers rejected it, but Rowling did not give up. “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was finally published by Bloomsbury in 1997. It became a big seller in the United Kingdom, and Rowling sold it to Scholastic in the United States for $100,000.

Her books flew off the shelves, Warner Bros. made movies, Universal Studios opened a Harry Potter attraction, and merchandise was developed. Rowling became a billionaire.

Rowling’s Awards and Financial Successes

J.K. Rowling became a legendary author despite her misfortunes. “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” won the Nestle Smarties Book Prize and the British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year.

Because of her monetary success, Rowling has been able to help others. She is a champion for poor families and single parents, and she has never forgotten what it was like being on welfare while trying to take care of her child. She also founded the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at the University of Edinburgh.

Over 450 million copies of “Harry Potter” have been sold and the last movie earned $476 million just during opening weekend. Rowling wrote seven books for the “Harry Potter” series. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” became the fastest-selling book ever, selling 11 million copies on day one.

Rowling went on to work with Sony to develop Pottermore, an online resource dedicated to “Harry Potter” and the unknowns of the story.

Rowling continued her writing success with “The Casual Vacancy” selling one million copies in its first three weeks of release. The book was then adapted into a BBC TV and HBO miniseries. The “Cuckoo’s Calling”, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, also received positive reviews.

Successful Entrepreneurs: Henry Ford

During his lifetime, Henry Ford became one of the world’s most successful and influential businessmen and one of its wealthiest men. Some of his business innovations and practices changed the business world in ways that continue today, and the automobile company he founded remains, more than 80 years after his passing, as one of the “Big Three” American automobile manufacturers.

Like many other famous entrepreneurs, Ford did not have a quick, simple path to his astounding success. In fact, he endured several setbacks and failings en route to becoming the industrial titan he was and remains.

Background

Born in 1863 to a farming family in Michigan, Ford had before reaching his teens developed an avid interest in repairing and building machines. At 13, Ford’s father gave him a pocket watch, which Ford disassembled and then reassembled. Soon, Ford was repairing watches for neighbors and friends.

By 16, Ford’s interest had turned to engines, and in the ensuing years he learned to operate and service steam engines. At the same time, he developed interest in building his own engine-powered vehicles.

Starting in 1890, Ford worked as an engineer for the Detroit Edison Company, rising to Chief Engineer in 1893. During this time, and afterward, he worked at home on his own projects, with one goal being the invention of a horseless carriage. He made a gasoline-powered buggy in 1892, and in 1896 he finished a model car called the Ford Quadricycle.

Early Ventures

By 1899, spurred by his continuing successes with model cars and the money from investors, Ford left the Detroit Edison Company to go into business on his own, and some years of setbacks followed until Ford established the formidable company that bears his name today.

The first of these setbacks involved the Detroit Automobile Company, which Ford founded in 1899. What Ford wanted was a high-quality product for a low price, and instead he got the opposite. The company closed in 1901.

Next was the Henry Ford Company, founded in 1901 by stockholders from the Detroit Automobile Company. Ford was the chief engineer, but he left the company in 1902 because of unhappiness with some personnel decisions by management. After he left, the company became the Cadillac Automobile Company.

The Model T, Success, and History

Things began to turn around in 1902 when Ford and Alexander Malcomson, a Detroit coal dealer, formed Ford and Malcomson, Ltd. in order to build and sell automobiles. Initially, the company struggled and nearly failed, but an infusion from new investors in 1903 helped save it, the company became the Ford Motor Company, and two events in particular would set the company on its way to success.

The first of those was a race car called the “999” that Ford helped design and build; this car set a new land speed record of 91.3 miles per hour. A race driver named Barney Oldfield went around the country to show off the car, creating national recognition of the Ford brand.

Second was something that made and changed history: the introduction of the Model T on October 1, 1908. Until then, automobiles were relatively scarce and expensive, something few other than the wealthy could afford. The Model T changed all that because it was durable, easy to operate, cheap by comparison (and it would actually become cheaper each year it was in production), and easy and inexpensive to repair.

The success of the Model T led to other changes that would dramatically affect not only the automobile industry but American life as well. In 1913, Ford applied the concept of the assembly line to production of the Model T, which made its manufacture much faster and less expensive. Ford also more than doubled the wages he paid his assembly-line workers, which not only improved retention and morale but encouraged the best workers to seek employment by Ford. In addition, Ford went to a 5-day, 40-hour workweek, a big change from the 6-day, 48-hour workweek that had been the standard, out of the belief that as long as employees were more productive, they deserved more leisure time.

The rest, of course, is history. By 1918, half of the cars on American roads were a Model T, and Ford was by far the best-selling automobile in the country. America’s legendary car culture largely derives from that assembly line and the Model T, and Ford lives on today with top-selling models such as the Explorer and iconic performance cars such as the Mustang, and the blue oval is one of the most recognizable of corporate logos.

Successful Entrepreneurs: The Story of Bill Gates

“Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.”

Self-styled nerd Bill Gates said that, the same Bill Gates who co-founded Microsoft, only the most successful software business ever, and who for 13 years was the world’s richest person (now that is Jeff Bezos of Amazon, though Gates is still second with an estimated net worth of just under $100 billion).

Background and Education

Born in 1955 to an upper-middle-class family in Seattle, Washington, Gates does not come with a rags-to-riches story that so many Americans love, but his ascendance to the pinnacle of the business world was not without risks and setbacks.

For instance, Gates dropped out of Harvard in 1975 after not two full years there. Normally, one would consider it crazy to drop out of Harvard when an undergraduate degree from there virtually guarantees lucrative job offers, but Gates had bigger goals: going into business for himself and revolutionizing the computer industry.

Although this was disappointing to Gates’s parents and some others close to him, it was not exactly surprising, for it was in keeping with his record up to that point.

Worried that their brilliant child was bored and withdrawn in school and would suffer academically and socially, Gates’s parents withdrew him from public school and enrolled him in the prestigious Lakeside School when he was 13. There, he excelled, particularly in science and math, and he developed a fascination with computers and began writing his own programs.

While at Lakeside, Gates met Paul Allen, who shared a love of computers, and the two became close friends and spent many hours in the school’s computer lab creating and running programs. For a brief period, they actually lost their computer privileges for hacking into the company that provided the school’s computers. The hacking was not to cause damage; it was to obtain extra free computer time.

The two regained access to the lab after offering to debug the system they had hacked, and they also created a payroll program for the company and a scheduling program for the school. When Gates was 15, he and Allen created their own business, developing “Traf-o-Data,” a program that monitored Seattle’s traffic patterns.

At this point, Gates already wanted to leave school and go into business full-time with Allen, but his parents insisted he finish high school and go to college. They won that round.

Into the Business World

Allen, two years Gates’s senior, attended Washington State (like Gates, he dropped out in order to go into tech), but the two remained close after Allen’s graduation and Gates’s matriculation to Harvard, and they continued to explore programming and plan business ventures.

And so in 1975 Gates left Harvard and with Allen founded “Micro-Soft,” soon to become Microsoft, initially selling BASIC software. At first, the company struggled, but by 1979 Microsoft was performing well, and the business really took off in 1981 and 1982 when Microsoft won the right to develop software for IBM, and when in 1985 Microsoft launched Windows, a user-friendly format to replace the complicated MS-DOS system, the company became a true colossus. Gates was CEO and chairman of the board.

In 1986, with Microsoft’s IPO, Gates became an instant millionaire. A year later, he was a billionaire at just 31 and on his way to becoming the wealthiest person in the world.

Gates’s rise was not without controversy. He had a reputation for being competitive and aggressive (some said ​ruthless)​ , and he sometimes used lawsuits and even bluffing to gain advantage (one infamous bluff was announcing Windows when in fact it had not yet been created). During the 1990s, there were investigations by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission into alleged unfair business practices. Nevertheless, Microsoft endured and thrived.

Today, Gates no longer plays a role in the day-to-day operations of Microsoft. In 2000, Gates passed off the CEO role to focus on software but remained chairman. Gates’s last full day at Microsoft was in 2008, and in 2014 he left the chairman position.

After Microsoft

Now Gates and his wife, Melinda, mostly focus on charitable work. Together, they founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, with a priority on education, health, and investment for low-income areas worldwide. Gates has also invested in research for a universal flu vaccine, Alzheimer’s research, and development of a “smart city” in Arizona. Like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller before him, Gates has found an obligation to use much of his incredible fortune to give back and to help the disadvantaged.

How To Stay Motivated While Working Remotely

  •  Maintaining a routine and professional environment can help you stay on task.
  • When external motivations are removed, it’s important to set up internal incentives for productivity.
  • Avoid overworking by taking breaks and setting a schedule.

As people are now working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are discovering both the joys and frustrations of re- mote work. Some are finding that they’re more productive; others, less. Some are enjoying a sense of freedom, while others desper- ately miss their office and coworkers. Either way, it can be hard to stay motivated. If you find yourself procrastinating a lot or distracted by social media, you might need a crash course in motivational science. Most people work differently — and perhaps less effectively — when they’re not used to their environment. Here’s how to boost your motivation and get things done while working remotely.

Maintain a Morning Routine

Humans are creatures of habit. While you may enjoy that extra hour of sleep now that you don’t have to commute, it may be hurting your productivity. Taking the time to rise early, brush your teeth, and get dressed helps establish a boundary between work and the rest of your life. If you simply roll out of bed and start working, you’re obliterating that boundary. Instead, try to simulate the routine you’d have if you were going into the office to work. Take the time to get ready in the morning, and take a lunch break as you normally would. Having this personal discipline helps you maintain focus, which is key for motivation.

Treat Your Home Office Like An Office

Many people are tempted to work from their couch or in their pajamas. While that may be comfortable, it’s not conducive to your motivation. Think about it: Those are things that you do to relax, and your brain and body know it. No one feels motivated to work while lounging. Instead, put on professional clothing and establish a home office. If you don’t have a separate room to use, that’s okay: Take over one end of the dining table or set up a card table, then use that as your “office.” Again, humans get accustomed to their environ- ment, so it’s much easier to stay on task if you have a dedicated workspace where you can get into that mode.

Take Breaks

Studies show that remote workers tend to work longer hours. That makes sense, because they don’t need to commute and they’re less distracted by coworkers. What those studies don’t always reveal is that remote workers also work more hours. When there are no meetings or water-cooler conversations to take you away from your desk, it’s easy to overwork. That’s why many remote workers drift into workaholism. To avoid this, take plenty of breaks. The Pomodoro Technique is a great way to keep your mind sharp and help you stay motivated. Here’s how it works: You work for 25 minutes straight, with no multi-tasking or distractions. Then, you take a 5-minute break to stretch, go for a quick walk, pet your cat, or whatever non-work thing you’d like. Science says that the human brain can’t sustain fo- cus for much longer than 25 minutes at a time. By taking a quick break to recharge, you can stay motivated to get your project done. Plus, you’re less likely to be distracted by email or social media when you know that you can check it on your 5-minute break.

Create a Reward System

As the kids say, “Treat yo’self.” Rewards are a powerful source of motivation and a cornerstone of work psychology for decades. Our brains release dopamine when we achieve something, and we can incentivize our productivity with a dopamine boost. If you’re struggling to stay on task, decide what “office perks” you’ll give yourself. Did you meet a deadline? You can have a cup of coffee or a quick game on your phone. Try logging your daily goals in your planner or notebook and assigning a reward to each one. If you complete your tasks, you can have a cookie. This system works especially well for remote workers who may have few external incentives (e.g. a boss cruising by your desk every hour).

Stay in Touch with Coworkers

With a plethora of virtual communication tools, there’s no excuse to not talk to your coworkers. Loneliness is the number one reason that remote workers cite as a reason they miss a regular office environment. And loneliness can be highly distracting. Plus, your coworkers are a source of motivation. You get inspired by chats with them, and you get things done in preparation for your meetings with them.

Without them being physically around, these incentives fade away. Keeping in touch through tools such as Skype and Slack can help. Establish regular check-ins to help ward off loneliness and boost your inspiration. You can even use your 5-minute breaks to send a quick message to a coworker. Being social goes a long way toward being productive.

Wrapping Up

Remote work often presents a distracting, disorienting environment. By following the above tips, you can take charge of your productivity and ward off distractions. Having a structured routine and a sense of connection to your coworkers can boost your motivation. Once you strike this balance, you’ll feel much more ready to conquer your to-do list.

Successful Entrepreneurs -The Story Of Oprah Winfrey

As quite possibly the largest media personality on the planet, Oprah Winfrey captures the hearts and minds of every human being who has a pulse. She’s a giant personality of a woman goddess. Whether as a talk show host, a media powerhouse publisher, or as an inspirational leader of the Super Soul Sunday series, Oprah Winfrey has carved out her reign in the global culture.

The Early Years

Born Oprah Gail Winfrey on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi, Oprah lived on a farm with her grandmother named Hattie Mae Lee. Oprah’s mother Vernita and her father Vernon were young and in search of work. They moved around a lot, yet left Oprah behind on the farm in Mississippi.

It was Oprah’s grandmother who was instrumental in her humble beginnings. Hattie Mae taught Oprah how to read the bible at age 3. By the time she was impressionable, Oprah was reciting memorized verses to her grandmother’s friends and also speaking at their local church.

Because Oprah already knew how to read and write by the time kindergarten rolled around, her teachers advanced her to first grade. Subsequently, between a move to Milwaukee at age 6, a move to Nashville at age 7, and back to Milwaukee by the time she reached fourth grade, Oprah had envisioned her first thoughts of becoming famous.

As dire as it was for her family trying to maintain a healthy household, Oprah was subjected to sexual abuse at the young age of 9 by her 19-year old cousin. Keeping it all a secret was something Oprah was used to, as the abuse continued by other family members, namely an uncle as well as a family friend. Her silence was eating her from the inside out.

Her first experience in journalism came during a Nashville radio station interview. They requested an enthusiastic teenager to discuss events and community news, yet it was her unabashed vivaciousness that allowed her to continue on working at the radio station as a 17-year old who’d already secured a college scholarship and continue to build a successful career in media.

Broadcasting, the Media, and Movie Success

As one of the most influential people in the world. Oprah Winfrey moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1984 and took over as anchor of ​A.M. Chicago, w​ hich catapulted her career as a sensational media personality. By changing the issues from women-only to more controversial and current, Oprah was charting her own course in daytime television.

Movie moguls began recognizing Oprah’s talent and mystique and wanted to cast her in a Spielberg movie based on Alice Walker’s book ​The Color Purple.

After her Oscar-winning performance, Oprah’s entire media, broadcasting, and producer career took off like a rocket. She formed her own production company in 1986 called Harpo Inc, and began ​Oprah’s Book Club, w​ ith incredibly widespread global fanfare. She also publishes her own magazine called ​O, The Oprah Magazine, ​as well as hosts weekly guests on her ​Super Soul Sunday i​ nterviews. Each of these media and publication outlets continues to make Oprah Winfrey one of the wealthiest people in the world.

Oprah Winfrey partakes in philanthropy work, political activism, and far-reaching ventures that continue to escalate her presence in the mainstream media and world. She makes an impact like no other human being. In fact, there were hints of her running in the 2020 election as the first African American woman candidate, yet she quickly squashed those rumors and still advocates for human rights and for the education of the young and poor.

The leadership of Oprah Winfrey is all-encompassing. Whether in the spiritual realm, the publishing world, or how her meager roots were the cornerstone of her success, it’s a wonder she’s going to retire anytime soon.

Successful Entrepreneurs: The Story of Steve Jobs

In the early 1970s, an enterprising teen named Steve Jobs approached Hewlett-Packard co-founder and president William Hewlett and asked him for computer parts for a school project. It was a risky move, but it worked. Impressed by his initiative, Hewlett gave Jobs the parts — and a summer internship at Hewlett-Packard. For Jobs, this would mark the beginning of his famously passionate approach to innovation.

The Early Years

At Hewlett-Packard, Jobs met a young engineer named Steve Wozniak, who was trying to build a small computer. At the time, computers occupied entire rooms. Jobs convinced Wozniak to turn his hobby into something bigger. In 1975, they set up shop in the Jobs families garage and sold their most valuable possessions to fund their new venture, which they named Apple.

Just two years later, Jobs and Wozniak released their Apple II, which garnered $2.7 million in sales. Not only had they successfully launched a multimillion company out of a garage and only a couple thousand dollars to their name, but they had launched the era of personal computing.

Ahead of Its Time

As other competitors — especially IBM — entered the market, Apple’s followup products underperformed. Apple had primarily been marketing to businesses, but Jobs wanted to make Apple products available to home users. He debuted the Apple Macintosh in 1984. This was the first personal computer to feature a graphical user interface that one could manipulate with a handheld device (a mouse). Unfortunately, at a retail price of nearly $2500, it was out of reach for many Americans. Sales declined, and shortly there- after, CEO John Sculley removed Jobs from the board of directors. Jobs resigned in 1985 and sold his stock in the company.

New Ventures

Undeterred, Jobs founded NeXT Computer Co., which he intended to market to higher ed and research institutions. Debuted in 1988, the NeXT computer featured fast processing speeds, enhanced graphics, and an optical disk drive. The price tag of $9,950 was too high, though, so NeXT failed to take off. Jobs began to focus his attention on his side project, Pixar Animation Studios, which he purchased from esteemed director George Lucas in 1986.

Pixar’s debut film was an entirely computer-animated film, Toy Story. Released by the Walt Disney Company, Toy Story not only was a box office smash, but also established a new benchmark in animation. The world knew that CGI animation was a viable way to produce animated films. Once again, Jobs had launched a new era of technology.

The Return to Apple

After Pixar went public and catapulted Jobs into stardom, the now-struggling Apple bought NeXT and reappointed Jobs to the board of directors. At the time, Apple held just five percent of the personal computer market, still unable to create a computer that could provide what the public needed at an affordable price. CEO Gilbert F. Amelio ended up stepping down, and Jobs assumed the role of interim CEO. By cooperating with Microsoft, Jobs was able to speed up Apple computers. Suddenly the Mac was not only affordable but also everything that consumers needed. Within a year, Apple had become a multi-billion-dollar company, and in an act of poetic justice, original founder Jobs was back at the helm.

Marketing Strategies and Resources To Spike Your Sales During COVID-19

  • An inbound approach helps encourage people to trust your company and make purchases.
  • Digital tools can empower innovative marketing strategies such as virtual experiences.
  • Combining these innovations can help boost sales even during the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected businesses of all sizes and types around the world.

As doors shutter and many businesses expand (or launch) their online counterparts, marketers need to find new ways to reach consumers while optimizing their operations. Is your business struggling in the face of the novel coronavirus? Let’s take a deep dive into some strategies and re- sources that can help.

Marketing Strategies for the New Normal

As more shopping and services become online-only, digital marketing is poised to become ever more important to businesses. While digital marketing is nothing new, the way that marketers go about it needs to change as they attempt to reach homebound consumers. The difference comes down to the basic approach. In traditional marketing, outbound strategies such as ads and emails attempt to convince consumers to make a purchase. Now, as people are sheltered at home and trying to minimize their spending, is not the time to push sales. That doesn’t mean that you can’t make sales. The key is to build interest in your brand through an inbound approach. Few people are willing to take risks in an already risky world, so they’re going to more suspicious of “sales-y” content that comes their way. Let customers come to you and encourage them to trust your brand. Here are a couple of ways to do this:

User-Generated Content (UGC)

Ask your audience to share their content on social media and tag you. It could be a selfie with your product or an activity that’s tangentially related to your brand. As people are bored in quarantine, they’re more likely to do this. The key to a successful UGC campaign is to invite people to participate in a virtual event. Generic requests for content won’t cut. Make the request part of a larger conversation and offer incentives for people to participate. For example, you could offer a discount code to people who participate, which encourages them to make purchases.

Virtual Experiences

Experiential marketing was just starting to take off when shelter-in-place orders swept the world. Thankfully, you can still create special events for your customers. Just do it virtually! Many businesses are offering free online classes, seminars, concerts, and other virtual events for people. This tactic is a great way to get people fired up about your brand. Use these events as a way to build interest in what you offer, then seal the deal with ticketed virtual events to create a new income stream.

Resources to Help Boost Your Business

Whether you had a robust digital presence or you’re in the process of building one, the right tools can help save you time and money. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to use automation, social media, and other digital tools to streamline your operations. It’s important to reevaluate some of your existing campaigns. For example, campaigns that focus on gatherings or real-world experiences won’t resonate. You may also need to ramp up your content to connect with people who are spending more time online. After you’ve re-envisioned your marketing strategy, draw upon the resources you need to cost-effectively put it into action.

Social Media Managers

HootSuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, and other social media managers can help you level up your content marketing. It’s easy enough to post three times per week and check the notifications once per day. But once you start posting more often, your numbers will rise — and so will your hours spent managing comments and replies. One or more of these tools can help you do this more efficiently.

Email Marketing Providers

Email marketing is the bread-and-butter of digital marketing, and MailChimp, Constant Contact, and other providers have been around for years. Even though emails are an outbound approach, it’s still important to maintain contact with your audience. What’s

neat about these tools is that they also offer landing page, social media integration, and other tools that are crucial to an inbound approach. It’s well worth your time and investment to expand your email strategy.

Livestream Platforms

Remember those virtual events we talked about? They’re often done through livestreams. The good news is that you usually don’t need expensive livestream software to do them. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all offer “live post” functionalities, and you can also do a live video via YouTube. For private events, you can use Zoom or other teleconferencing platforms. Just be sure to face your camera the right way!

Wrapping Up

Businesses are nervous about their future should look for ways to expand their marketing strategy into new digital realms. Carving out innovative virtual spaces might be the key to connecting with otherwise absent customers. However, developing a new market- ing strategy with an inbound approach is only part of the equation. Virtual communication/automation tools are essential to putting these new strategies into action and helping businesses boost their sales during the pandemic.

How To Communicate With Your Team During A Crisis

  •  Team members will seek out answers, so make sure that you’re sending out accurate, honest information.
  • Keeping lines of communication open is not enough; you must cultivate conversations.
  • Always answer questions, and always answer honestly.

Now that more employees are working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are facing new challenges in remote work. Latent problems in communication and coordination bubble to the surface, while the overall strain on resources makes it hard to be productive. Meanwhile, many people are experiencing stress or fear during these troubled times, and it can be hard to avoid carrying that over into work. How can managers and leaders help their team members become less stressed and more productive? The key is to put the principles of crisis communication into action. Here’s how to communicate with and support your team during difficult times, especially when you are not in the same room.

Expand Lines of Communication

It is not enough to “keep lines of communication open.” To help their remote teams perform their best, leaders must carve out con- versational spaces where there were none before. Being a remote team, especially if you weren’t before, means that you not only have to make a concerted effort to keep in touch, but also create additional channels for coordination. For example, many teams use Slack as a cheap in-office messaging app. Slack is too robust for this simple use. It permits highly customized chat spaces and project management integration. Those features can help teams do more than “check-in”: They can forge new feedback channels and promote higher-level organization of messages and file-sharing. In a time when clear communica- tion is crucial, a remote team’s messaging app must be able to facilitate this.

Be Authentic

The worst thing you can do in a time of crisis is to say “check back later.” People are hungry for answers and will easily spread mis- information if you are not sending official communiques. The chief principle of crisis communication is that you speak the truth — even if you don’t have all the answers. When communicating with your team, ensure that you are keeping them updated. In terms of the current pandemic, this might in- clude any changes to paid sick leave, layoffs or furloughs, remote work procedures, and so on. A strong crisis communications plan anticipates questions and prepares an honest response to each one.

Acknowledge Your Mistakes

During unprecedented and devastating events, it’s normal to not know exactly how to keep your team on track. You might have a mix of team members who are working from home or furloughed. Adjustments to remote work compound existing issues you had with workflow or accountability. You may experience pushback from team members who are upset by disruptions to their work life. During all this, it’s important to own up to your shortcomings. Think of this crisis as an opportunity to refine your management skills. This might include leveraging cloud-based collaboration tools to eliminate project bloat. You can also improve communication among your team through screen sharing, conversation logging, and other techniques of virtual collaboration. Let your team know that you’ve identified these issues and are looking for ways to make things easier.

Keep Your Virtual Door Open

If you had an open-door policy at your office, you need an open-door policy in your virtual workspace. Expect to have a lot of questions and concerns from newly remote workers — and expect to have your own concerns about team members who aren’t adjust- ing well. While you may not be able to immediately solve all these problems, it’s crucial that you indicate you hear these concerns. Consider creating a private chat channel for you and each of your team members, or schedule regular times to check in on their progress and answer any questions. During these uncertain times, silence can easily be read as bad news. By cultivating these conversations with team members, you can relieve their stress and help boost their trust in you.

Wrapping Up

Even as businesses are forced to work remotely and their employees experience confusion and stress, there is an important opportunity facing them. A combination of crisis communication principles and virtual collaboration tools can help remote workplace leaders better manage their teams. It’s critical that they develop and implement a robust crisis strategy and response to help team members feel less worried and more secure. By leveraging these tools, managers can help their teams be more resilient in the face of the pandemic.