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Better communication results — innovative communication for innovative communicators — Page 2

How Smartphones Use Continues To Rise?

by Lee Hopkins on November 14, 2013

in miscellaneous

How Smartphones Use Continues To Rise?

This Infographic is produced by Coupon Audit (provides Finish Line coupon) and Lee Hopkins


Guest post by Sabina Stoiciu.

online tools for communication“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place” (George Bernard Shaw).

And this is the worst that can happen to your business when it comes to customers and communication – believing you have succeeded in communicating with your customer when in fact that communication failed or didn’t properly take place.

That is why your business needs effective tools which can enhance all communication processes. Whether we’re talking about internal communication between your employees or external communication between your business and your customers, specific online tools can streamline both types of interaction.

One thing to have in mind is that both types of communication are very important to your business. Managing to develop a constructive communication with your employees can make circulate clearer ideas, simplify the task resolving, collect better feedback from them and make their work process more fruitful. It’s almost redundant to mention benefits and crucial key-points of external communication with customers. Knowing what they want, what they expect from you, offering them adequate quality information on your business or your products and answering to their queries can definitely make or break every business.

While there’s a whole pool of online communication tools for both external and internal communication, we aim to highlight a few online tools which can benefit mainly your communication with customers, but also the one with your employees.

1. Social media management tools.
There’s no secret to anyone that social media has become and still evolves into being a powerful communication channel between individuals and businesses. Some say that you don’t even exist if you’re not present on social media. What’s important about social media is having a consistent posting policy and offering quality content. This might seem simple in theory, but managing several social media accounts at once (like a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel, a LinkedIn page, a Pinterest board, an Instagram account and others) can be very challenging. This is the reason for which social media management tools like the one from Hootsuite have appeared in the business landscape. They allow you to schedule posts, messages and tweets, manage several social networks at once, analyze traffic from social media and see brand mentions.

2. Online forms.
As a foreseeable consequence of going online, online forms are being used by more and more businesses to streamline different actions like customer contact, lead gathering, offering a freebie, feedback collection, newsletter subscription or event registration. Forms are a great way to do all of the above while having the possibility to brand them according to your business, to integrate them with your preferred 3rd party apps (such as Customer Relationship Management systems, emailing systems, Project Management systems and others) and to safely store submissions which can also generate helpful reports. Besides the well-known contact form, a good use of forms for business is through the online feedback survey like the one provided by 123ContactForm. Customer feedback surveys can point out your clients’ opinion and satisfaction towards your business or products, they can tell you what you need to improve and how your customer’s overall perception of your company is. Plus, you can publish them on various platforms like websites, blogs or social media and get results in real time.

3. Email marketing systems.
Remember all the nice looking holiday newsletters you got last Christmas from your favorite brands? Those newsletters are sent out using email marketing systems, because it would take a lot of time to send each of the thousands of emails manually. With a tool like MailChimp you can create, edit and manage targeted email campaigns, send newsletters, manage contacts and track results in a time-effective way and with low effort. Emailing systems can also be used to follow up on different leads, sent out special offers or make announcements to your customers, besides sending out newsletters.

4. Conferencing tools.
With the rise of the online medium, there is no wonder even personal meetings have turned into online meetings. Truth is meeting this way spares you a lot of time because you don’t have to drive to your client’s office or make them come visit you. Furthermore, it enables virtually meeting with customers from another corner of the world. Supposing you are based in the US, it’s much more likely to have a conference or a video call with your client from Australia then fly over to them. Considering this, Skype offers a great tool for making international voice and/or video calls, for organizing conference calls or just for setting up the first contact to your client. If you are wondering how a conference tool can help you with clients, let me tell you that it can make the difference to your customer: it can increase the (potential) client’s trust, convince them to adhere to your service, allow you to up-sell or cross-sell them a product and personalize the relationship to your customer.

5. File sharing tools.
Did it ever occur to you to have to send a nice presentation to a big customer whom you wanted to close a deal with? I guess so. But did it occur to you that the presentation was too big to fit into a mail message? Email clients have certain limitations on the file size you’re able to send through them, thus you can see yourself obliged to transfer the file(s) with another service. Dropbox is a good pick for this task – it lets you upload and share documents, photos, videos or other types of files. The files are stored in the cloud, so you don’t have to fear losing an important presentation meant for your customer, presentation which you have worked two weeks for.

This is just a selection of a few tools from the big online pool, which can help improve your business’ communication. The good thing about them is that each of them offers a free plan to use and some of them also offer upgrading options, if you feel like you need more features for your business. To draw a conclusion, there are hundreds of online apps waiting for you to discover them. The only hard time you might have is deciding which you like more for your business.

About the author

Sabina Stoiciu writes for 123ContactForm, the online form and survey builder which helps businesses create professional forms without requiring coding skills – try it for free.

Sabina enjoys blogging, photography, traveling and finding ways of gathering and sharing relevant business knowledge.

Image courtesy of kangshutters (http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=3021)/freedigitalphotos.net

Social Gaming Industry – Statistics & Trends

by Lee Hopkins on November 14, 2013

in miscellaneous

Guest post by Edward Simpson.

Over the past five years, the market for social games has grown significantly. Social games take place on social networks such as Facebook, as well as on iOS’s native Game Centre system. Social gaming involves gaming where you are connected to a network of many other players. This sector has grown to prominence so quickly because of the improved experience enjoyed by playing games against other real players, as opposed to a computer enemy. Playing against real people is much more engaging and allows players to communicate while playing. It is estimated that the industry will reach 50% of all social network users (as well as 34% of the entire internet population) by 2014. The statistics regarding social gaming usage may come at quite a surprise.

Firstly, the females dominate the industry in social game usage. Of all social gamers, females make up a 54% majority. The average female player is also of a higher age than their male counterparts. An average female social gamer is 40 years old, compared to the average male console game, who is 37. These age averages are particularly shocking and counter the common assumption that most players are school kids and students. When looking closer into the age demographics, you will be able to see that the opposite is more accurate. The figures below show how much each segment of the population contributes to the entire social gaming population:

  • 13 – 18 years old – 13%
  • 19 – 25 years old – 23.5%
  • 26 – 35 years old – 22%
  • 36 – 45 years old – 17%
  • 46+ years old – 24.5%

There is no doubt that the high proportion of female and older gamers is partially due to the surge of online bingo. The industry has grown substantially over the past five years and we are now beginning to see a range of mobile and social bingo games emerging. If you are looking for some guidance with choosing a place to play, you can find the best bingo sites at this site www.mybingoday.co.uk.

One of the most astonishing statistics to look at is the growth of the industry. Smartphone technology, wireless internet speeds and the rise of social networks such as Facebook have all acted as catalysts in this process. In 2011, the industry was worth just under $5billion. One year later, the value had jumped by over 20% to $6.2billion. This year, in 2013, the industry has been valued at $7.49billion and the estimates for 2014 are currently at $8.64billion, based on the previous rates of growth.

Another similar trend is the proportion of overall social media and internet users who are getting involved with social games. By 2014, it is expected that over half of all social network users will be involved in social gaming. Similarly, it is expected that over a third of the entire online population will be actively playing social games.

There is no doubt that this industry will continue to expand and it is making major console gaming companies question their future. It is a likely possibility that the industry for social games will exceed the size of the console market.

Edward Simpson has a M.A in business management and specialises in digital marketing. His focus nowadays is on marketing social games.

Life in half a second by Matthew Michalewicz

It’s funny how sometimes you receive something just at the point in your life when you need it the most. That is certainly the case with this book.

On the eve of a new venture starting up and in need of some guidance and direction comes this excellent guide to success.

As the author, famed entrepreneur and now Adelaide resident Matthew Mihalewicz, points out, nothing in this slim-ish volume is new — the ‘secrets’ are as old as time itself and all ‘success’ self-development books mention them. What makes this book unique is that the book is so easily read and its lessons applied. That, and the acknowledgement that it takes ‘action’ to make anything happen for you. All of the goal setting in the world — and goal setting is important — won’t bring your dreams to reality unless you take action.

This is something that Tony Robbins emphasises a lot – that massive, purposeful action will bring you closer to realising your goals than just about anything else. What Matthew does is skillfully take all of the ‘padding’ out of the populist success and self-development literature and leave the pure essence of the lessons to be learned.

Not many people know that I wrote my own self-development book many years ago. ‘How to be your Possible Self’ was written as a result of my undergraduate psychology research; I couldn’t find a publisher so self-published it as an ebook on the net. The message I had was more convoluted and confusing than Matthew’s easy-to-understand message and for various reasons I stopped believing in my own message and stopped setting goals, instead letting life buffet me this way and that.

Hence the timely arrival of Matthew’s book — as a direct result of reading a new chapter every night for a week (there are seven main chapters) I have now set some one, three and five year goals, worked on my desire levels, sorted out some environmental factors and sought out some more positive influences than I had been previously allowing to fill my mind, sought out some literature of others who have already succeeded in my new venture area, and started taking some action despite not being 100% ready — I want to establish momentum.

I’ve written a ‘success’ book, I’ve studied the ‘success’ literature, I know what a good ‘success’ book is. Matthew’s book is not just good but excellent. I cannot rate it highly enough. It has come as if a message from above for me, at a time I was ready to read it. I had stopped goal-setting and stopped believing in myself. With Matthew’s book I am turning that around.

If your life is stuck on freewheel, or going backwards, if you want to have more out of life — not just the material things but the more important things like quality relationships and time with your loved ones — then buy Matthew’s book, read his words, follow his prompts and feel an inner peace come over you as you start to take back control of your life.

Buy his book, then write to him to tell him what it has meant to you, because that’s what I have done by writing this review.

Order the hardback book from Dymocks (the Adelaide Rundle Mall store has plenty in stock) or download the Kindle version of  Life in Half a Second: How to Achieve Success Before it’s Too Late.


The rise of audio material

by Lee Hopkins on November 9, 2013

in Uncategorized

Just bumped into this infographic about the rise of audio material on the internet.

What grabbed me was the Slate stats bottom-right.

Is Audio The Next Big Thing In Digital Marketing? InfographicInfographic brought to you by Crazy Egg Analytics



Google is changing the way you attract organic visitors

by Lee Hopkins on November 5, 2013

in seo,tools

Google is changing the way you attract organic visitors

Guest post by Joy Kennelly

Google is once again changing the game for webmasters hoping to tailor their search engine optimization efforts. On September 23, Google made all searches secure, encrypting data that webmasters previously used to track organic search data.

Google first introduced this extra layer of user security in 2011, when Google Webspam team leader Matt Cutts declared that "(not provided)," the term that appears in lieu of protected keywords, would only ever make a up single-digit percentage of analytics. But that’s not how it ended up. By August 2013, "(not provided)" accounted for more than half of search data for some industries, according to Searchenginewatch.com. Now, save for a few tricks, webmasters will have little to no organic search data to work with. Without organic search data to optimize their content, brands will have to rely on high-quality material to drive traffic.

But businesses who don’t have the resources to produce quality content are in luck. The struggling print journalism industry is ripe with talented multimedia journalists who know how to learn and communicate ideas. "(Not provided)" could trigger an online revolution that revives an industry and improves the lives of readers. Keep organic traffic coming your way with these tips.

Great Content

Without organic search data to shape campaigns, businesses will have to rely on shareable content to reach potential partners. That doesn’t mean completely abandoning basic SEO tactics — keywords in headlines, internal links, metadata, etc. — but it does mean exact-match anchor text is no longer the key to SEO results. Quality content sprawls out across social networks, which Google values more and more as it invests in Google+. Social content can deliver warm leads on its own. When users stumble across great content that their networks post on Twitter, they’ll make their way to your website. No SEO is necessary — just good old-fashioned marketing. Forward-thinking companies are already reaping the benefits of strong social circles. Observe digital agency iAcquire marketing on Google Plus and you’ll find links to quality information both internal and external.

Non-Google Traffic Data

Google isn’t the only player in the search market. Bing, Yahoo and other search engines still provide some organic search data that can give you an idea of what keywords are driving traffic to your site. The Bing Keyword Research tool tracks up to six months of data and offer organic results. To sweeten the deal, Bing is even offering a $50 advertising credit for webmasters who sign up. Google is still king, so that data might not all be applicable, but it can at least tide you over as you mold your new content marketing strategy.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google may no longer provide keyword data, but that doesn’t mean it is totally cutting off webmasters. Google Webmaster Tools display the errors Google finds when it crawls your site and offers advice on how to solve the problems. Google will also tell you how often each new page appears in search results. As you continue to produce content and market your brand, Webmaster Tools will give you a high-level view of your progress. Simply add your site to Google Webmaster Tools to get started analyzing your online presence.

An Updated Website

Keyword targeting can only take you so far. Google has placed a greater emphasis on manual reviews, which means your website’s design, navigation and overall stability can impact its search rankings. Beyond that, a strong website will have a greater effect on visitors. What’s the point of driving traffic to your website if no one wants to stay? Start by double-checking the basics. A title tag is the short phrase that describes your website. It’s also one of the single most important optimization elements. If you don’t include your website’s most relevant keywords in the title tag, you’re missing out. Meta tags are the next most important coding solution. Although meta tags doesn’t carry as much weight as title tags, they’re still an easy way to boost your SEO. A meta tag usually include a description, the keywords and the author.

These technical elements will drive traffic to your site, but only quality design and content will keep visitors coming back. If you’re web design is more than two years old, it’s probably time for a facelift. Consider a photo-driven approach to design, particularly if your website deals with visually appealing material. As always don’t sacrifice function for design. Modern visitors won’t put up with sites that have bad navigation.


Joy Kennelly is an Award-Winning Social Media Strategist, Event Planner, Copywriter, Personal Publicist and Founder of The Joy Writer, Goal Gals LA, and now Joy’s Travel Adventures.

I’m re-reading Mitch Joel’s second book, ‘Ctrl Alt Delete’ [order through Dymocks], and again marvelling at how he manages to engender so many thoughts and ideas in me; it’s like he triggers a new marketing idea every three pages. By the way, that’s Kindle pages, so probably he’s inspiring a fresh idea every double page spread in the hardcopy version.

One thing that is coming through loud and clear is the need for businesses to rethink their marketing and to embrace the digital revolution.

adobe-digital marketing resultsThe ‘how’ of this is the tricky part. There’s a seemingly endless line of companies, both offline and online, who proclaim to have ‘the’ solution to a business’ digital marketing needs – but in my experience all of these solutions are missing one vital ingredient—training. Few companies are effectively training customers (and concurrently few companies are able invest in training for their employees, leaving a Catch 22 situation) in how to best manage their digital marketing, leaving marketers having to learn on the job (a shocking 82 per cent of surveyed marketers report having to learn their stuff on the job, according to data published by Adobe, leaving a mere nine per cent strongly agreeing with the statement, “I know our digital marketing is working”).

For the digital marketer this lack of training is frustrating. Yes, there are blogs and YouTube videos one can often seek out, but they assume a particular learning style in the viewer that is often not that viewer’s preferred style. I know that my own learning style is very much geared around facilitated ‘hand-holding’ learning—watching YouTube videos and reading complex blog posts where there is an assumed level of knowledge are not my natural nor comfortable learning styles and I often leave in frustration half way through. I cannot be alone in this.

But this rant has almost nothing to do with the title of this post, so I’ll put my soapbox away and get back to the topic for discussion: ‘One Screen’.

The idea of ‘One Screen’ is simple, and Mitch helps you understand it with a simple story: Cast your mind back five years and imagine the average teenager coming home from school. They would plonk themselves down on the couch or on their bed and turn the tv on, put something loud onto their iPod, start texting their friends on their phone and start up their computer to get on with homework. That’s a lot of screens they were in front of.

Now consider what the average teenager does, what number of screens they put themselves in front of. One. Their iPhone or iPad is the central repository for everything: they can watch tv on it, FaceTime their friends, update their Facebook status, listen to some inappropriate music on it, and do their homework, both the research and the actual writing.

One screen.

There’s another dimension to this ‘One Screen’ phenomenon that is of relevance to business: more and more of your potential and actual customers are accessing your website via their one screen device—their smartphone or their tablet. Viewing your traditional website through the lens of a smartphone or tablet is a sobering experience. It looks ugly and your carefully crafted messages are lost in a sea of tiny text. Viewers are forced to double-click your text to bring it to a more readable size, but even that’s no guarantee that it will be readable without further side-to-side scrolling. A truly unhappy experience for your visitor.

I’m as guilty of this as anyone. What I am doing is working with a mobile developer to turn my websites and those of my clients into ones with a separate, thought-through presence for the mobile visitor.

Because I host with the excellent Bluehost.com, I’m in the process of using goMobi (promo video below) to rethink my and my clients’ digital presence. It’s not enough to repurpose your existing website into something that displays nicer on a smartphone screen; it means rethinking what value proposition(s) you possess and how best to meet the requirements of your visitors whilst at the same time positioning your business positively in their eyes and getting your message across. Not easy and not a quick process.

visitor technologyAs you can see from this screengrab of just one day of a client’s site, a ‘One Screen’, mobile-inclusive strategy is essential to introduce straight away. It shows the technology on the left and the number of visitors on the right.

My head is spinning!Guest post by Melissa Collett

Social media is becoming increasingly important to more and more of us. It is a topic that we hear about often but it doesn’t need to make your head spin. There are many social media platforms available but knowing how Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media forms can benefit your business will help you use these free services to your advantage.

Social Networking sites are becoming a daily fixture in most lives now, both at work and in our personal lives. As a business owner, senior manager, or business development professional, there is without doubt a focus on being visible as well as credible – for both new and existing customers, as well as other stakeholders. Social media provides an easily accessible and easy to use tool to do so, but how do we use it effectively?

Time and effort well spent

Within the small business community, it is often said that company owners shy away from using social media because they find it time consuming and confusing – but it doesn’t have to be – it’s just a case of finding what works for you and using social media efficiently and effectively. Time and effort spent on the wrong things is just a waste, however time and effort spent on the right things can open all sorts of doors.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are just a few of the more common place social networking sites – all of which offer a slightly different platform which can benefit you and your business if used correctly. It is not necessary to spend hours of your day on these sites, but used wisely they can be a fantastic space to achieve many objectives. If you are looking to increase sales, attract new customers, be a visible and credible expert, raise awareness about a new product or campaign – whatever your goal, social media can help.

The digital world, which includes social media, should be part of every small businesses marketing plan. Marketing that works for small businesses includes an array of mediums, and online content forms a big part of that. This includes the content on your company website as well as your business and personal profiles on the various social media sites that have been selected to include in your marketing portfolio. Everything that you write either for or about your business which gets sent into cyber space, must be well written and it must portray you and your business in the right way. Writing content for online purposes should have as much, if not more importance than some of the more traditional paper based mediums – but it should all be integrated within your marketing strategy.

Are you lucky enough to be a natural writer?

Creating content – good content – can be a great way to get you and your business noticed. Content Creation, Editing, and Search Engine Optimization are all important parts of your digital marketing strategy and although it may sound very daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Writing copy deserves focus and attention to detail as well as practice. Of course some people have a natural talent for writing, but for others it can require more concentration, but once you understand which social media platform does what, and you are clear about what you are trying to achieve, then it can become a finely tuned and effective part of your overall marketing strategy. Those individuals with a natural gift for writing should exploit that gift, and with the constant evolution within the online world there are now more platforms than ever before for writers and young writers to get noticed. There are competitions for young writers available which offer amazing opportunities into the online writing world.

Visibility + Credibility = Profitability

There is an excellent formula which you should remember:

Visibility + Credibility = Profitability

This simple formula gives a great basis which you should keep in mind when using social media tools to promote you and your business. These social media tools are often free to use and provide an excellent avenue for you to reach a target market that you may not have been able to reach before. Using a combination of various social media sites together, which include links to your company website can help build your online presence and direct traffic to your company website. It is important to create as much visibility as possible in the online world, but remember that you must also remain credible too. One without the other will cause more harm than good.

Guest post by Ben Oren, Head Consultant at Dynamic Search

email marketingWith continuous financial pressures and tight marketing budgets, most companies are using email marketing to market their goods. This is because each business needs to connect with their client base. This creates a new challenge for most companies. They wonder how to create a successful email marketing campaign when they do not have enough of a mailing database of their clients. This can be achieved by the company creating a mailing list. This list needs to be updated from time to time to include new clients and change the emails of old clients.

Where to start?
You can start by creating an email address list of clients for your affiliate website. An email list is of utmost importance when you want to contact your website viewers. This usually comes as a follow up when they have left your site. You only get one chance to ask them for their email address, and this is when they view your site for the first time. Most businesses ask their customers to leave their email address information within their websites. This enables the owner to keep track of the number of visitors to the website and to keep in contact with them.

This also gives the business a chance to let their customers know of new products and services that are available to them the moment they are realized. It also provides a chance for the customer to review the products and give you comments that will allow you to improve your products and services to satisfy them. On your website, include a place where the customers can leave there addresses and names. You can set up an automatic email response to any person that leaves their contact details there. In this email, provide a link that takes the client directly to the site and to the specific product or service. By doing so you will be saving a lot of time, and make it easy for the client to get what they are looking for.

Another hindrance to your mailing list will be typographical errors. Make sure that the emails that you send to your clients do not contain errors. Most of the time, the client might make a mistake while entering their email address on your site. When creating this option, make sure you give them a space to confirm their email address to avoid sending emails to the wrong people. Also, remind them not to select your mails as spam. Also, have an option where your customers can stop these automatic emails from being received. This will help reduce the chances of the customer spamming your emails.

Creating CTA’s

As mentioned above, it’s important to collect emails. Creating CTA’s (call to action) on your website will help bring your prospect closer to you and create the opportunity to build a relationship before you sell them anything. Creating CTA’s is fast and easy, you only need to think on some sort of a giveaway and in return you ask for a name and email.

The most effective way to nurture your subscribers is by assigning them to auto-responders. On every new email you receive, you need to start sending set of pre-made emails reminding your new subscriber that you are here to serve him when he’s ready.

How to answer?
It is essential to be careful replying your customers’ queries. Always give good and usable information but still do not give out all of the information. Reserve something for them to visit your website to get the full information. Email marketing is very effective and can lead to you making millions from your business. If you find it hard to manage your mailing list, you can always employ the services of a professional to it for you

The mailing list is one of the businesses most treasured possessions. You should take care of it very well. Do not let anyone destroy your mailing list. This mailing list is the backbone of the business. You will make millions if you use this mailing list well. Any email that you receive, treat it with the utmost importance.


Ben Oren is the Head Marketing Consultant at Dynamic Search™ – a US based, reputable web marketing agency. Ben Oren is specializing in large corporations in a highly competitive niches mostly in the US and Europe. He is also the Director of Web Marketing at WhiteWeb technologies.