6 Reasons Articles Should Include Images

 

6 Reasons Why Articles Should Include Images

You might not have consciously thought about it but I’ll bet you’ve noticed that you’re seeing more images in articles and elsewhere on the internet these days. You’ve probably also noticed the deluge of internet marketing products coming out which pertain to images and/or videos.

If you follow Facebook’s growth strategies you’ll also remember that one of the biggest reasons they changed their Timeline format a couple of years ago, to include a bigger image, was because they made a decision to become more image-centric in their format.

It’s true. Images are indeed an international language. People on the other side of the world might not speak your language, or you theirs, but everybody recognizes a mother holding a baby, old men dancing, a happy dog catching a frisbee, and two young people holding hands.

And then, of course there’s the rapid growth of two image-oriented websites in particular, Pinterest and Instagram. Very few people anticipated how valuable these two sites would become in marketing.. but that's what happened. Most people thought they were strictly for amusement and artistic tinkering.

With well over 2.5 billion camera phones in use today, it’s become apparent that we live in a very visual culture. Even many people in developing countries have them. People use them and huge amounts of money are being made in services relating to their creation.

Before I enumerate the six major reasons images are valuable and important in articles and marketing, let’s be sure we remember the three steps leading up to this present-day situation.

First Phase: Massive increase in photo creation

Data shows that 10% of the photos ever taken by have been taken in the last 12 months. Bet you didn’t know that!

Second Phase: The rise of image-oriented social media platforms.

As mentioned above, images are becoming a universally language. All the fastest growing social networks are heavily image-centric: Facebook (heavily weighted with images), Tumblr (a blogish platform but very intensive on images), Instagram (totally images), and Pinterest (images and graphics). Snapchat is growing rapidly too but it’s not only about images in the traditional sense.

Another influence these networks have had on marketing is that they have it very easy to upload images. Thus people are getting accustomed to working with images as well as seeing.

Third Phase: Images Become Interactive

Pinterest was the first major social network to make their images ‘hot’ (you could put a hyperlink behind them), thus conditioning people to expect some more information when then click on images.

So… having said that, why are images important and why should you be using them in your articles and other kinds of content?

6 Reasons Why Images are Important

Whether you’re simply building your Facebook or other social media platform followers or if perhaps your have a traditional business you’re trying to build awareness of and pull in customers for, here are 6 reasons to publish images and photos as part of your business marketing tactics.

  1. Articles with images get 94% more total views.

  2. Including a Photo and a video in a press release increases views by over 45%.

  3. 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results.

  4. In an e-commerce site, 67% of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product.

  5. In an online store, customers think that the quality of a product's image is more important than product-specific information (63%), a long description (54%) and ratings and reviews (53%)

  6. Engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37% where text only is 0.27% (this translates to a 37% higher level of engagement for photos over text)

What Can You Take Away From This?

So… how can you adapt to the age of “Visual Culture” in your business?

1. If you have an online business (product oriented or otherwise) you need to include high definition images to drive higher engagement and sales.

2. If your business issues press releases (which most don’t) your should include images with your article.

3. If you use Facebook as an important part of your social media marketing strategy (which you should) then you need to include photos in your updates. Note: Photos are a great way to save time too… ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, right?

Image use on most plaforms (including email systems) is as simple as one or two click. Most popular blogging platforms (blogger.com, wordpress (.com and .org) make it easy too. And, there are plenty of good image and photo editing, sharing, and archiving services too. Many of them are free.

So there's no reason for your next article not to have some images and/or graphics, right?

 

 

For Leaders – There’s No Such Thing As Job Security

 

For Leaders There's No Such Thing As Job Security

 

For people who are ambitious (and who isn't ambitious to some degree?) there's always a temptation to envy those in positions of leadership and power. It's easy to think that leaders have 'got it made'. 

But they really don't. The old adage, 'the higher you rise, the further you have to fall', is always applicable. Even recent American history shows countless examples of politicians, business leaders, social, and religious leaders where were once paragons among their peers but who fell from grace and sometimes even disappeared from the scene completely.

Nobody illustrates this phenomenon more than somebody who was known as the 'wisest man who ever lived' and who, in his time, was commonly regarded as one of the wealthiest men of his times. 

Who is that person?

It's none other than King Solomon of the Old Testament nation of Israel. King Solomon was, in truth, divinely gifted with wisdom by God Himself. But, as have many other leaders since him have also done, he lost his blessing.

The question is: How did he lose his many blessings, prestige, and wisdom?

The reality is that the temptations that attacked Solomon affect everybody. When leaders begin to think they've 'arrived', it becomes easy to stop feeling hungry for growth and excellence. In the modern vernacular that attitude is also called 'complacence'.

When leaders begin to think they can't be replaced and that their job is secure, that's usually when they begin their downward spiral and there are several common symptoms of that condition. Here what they were for Solomon. Do any of these circumstances apply to you?

  1. Solomon became distracted. He deviated from his call to lead the nation of Israel properly so it could be a light to all nations.
  2. God raised adversaries and loyal opposition to steer Solomon back to his true calling and proper Godly priorities but Solomon chose not to listen.
  3. Solomon began to believe his own publicity. He fell victim to his own fame. He began to think he was 'too cool for school'. He because consumed with himself rather than his mission as a leader empowered by God.
  4. Solomon lost his true 'ace in the hole', i.e. he lost his annoinanointingGod. He forgot that it was God who promised him that he would become famous and successful among men.
  5. Solomon because obsessed with the Kingly 'perks' of his job. In his case, it was women. That certainly sounds familiar in today's news, doesn't it?
  6. Solomon eventually grew weary of his frivolous and empty pursuits. He basically 'feel off the wagon', went through the Old Testament equivalent of 'rehab', and later returned to finish his reign with dignity… with his new wisdom acquired the hard way.

What Solomon's life illustrates is that distraction can be the enemy of a leader's higher calling and 'direction' if those distractions are stronger than the purpose and principles which should be the leader's primary driving force and guiding power. It is very important for leaders to have a clear idea of their mission. That's not to say that they can't have trusted advisors, as Solomon certainly did, but leadership, power, and fame have their perilous qualities too. 

Win Big With Many Small Wins

 

Win Big With Many Small Wins

Small wins really do add up to big ones. Social scientists and business experts agree that modest victories can provide major inspiration for all kinds of success in business and life.

You may have heard of The Progress Principle?

Researchers at Harvard Business School conducted a multi-year study of what makes employees happy and productive and they found that daily progress on meaningful work was the most powerful factor by far.

Here's the general principles behind this foolproof formula for success, along with some practical examples of how you can apply a 'small wins' strategy to your life.

General Principles Behind Small Wins

  1. Keep a journal. Writing in a journal will help you recognize and celebrate miniature milestones that you might otherwise overlook. You’ll also be able to track your progress and understand the conditions that affect your performance.
     
  2. Seek nourishers. The second kind of action is called nourishers, and refers to interpersonal support. Surround yourself with friends and colleagues who provide validation and constructive feedback. Participate in groups that share your interests, whether it’s a faith community or professional association.
     
  3. Set intermediate goals. Lofty goals can be overwhelming. Break any project down into tiny tasks. You’ll feel invigorated each time you check something off your to-do list.
     
  4. Learn from setbacks. The flipside of small wins is the discouragement that can follow running into an obstacle. Acknowledge your feelings. Turn mistakes into valuable lessons.

Practical Examples of Small Wins Strategies

  1. Eat more vegetables. Sticking to a healthy diet is easier than you think and it's probably even tax decuctible if you're in an MLM business whose product is nutritional. When you focus on only one change at a time. Work your way up to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Mix spinach into your eggs at breakfast. Snack on baby carrots and hummus.
     
  2. Cut down on sugar. You know it's bad for you. If you like sweetened coffee, use half your usual amount of sugar. The savings will add up.
     
  3. Go to bed on time. You may think it's a sign of bravery or fortitude to work 20 hour days but ultimately you're only cutting your own efficiency. Adequate sleep keeps your body and mind in top condition and you'll probably accomplish more even if you shorten your waking hours.
     
  4. Exercise for 5 minutes. The best exercise is the one that you'll do so it doesn't make any difference what it is. You're going to scale it up anyway, right? Are you tired of lapsed gym memberships? You’ll be exercising for more than a half hour by the end of the week if you start with 5 minutes and add just 5 minutes a day to your home workouts.
     
  5. Memorize a few lines. Maybe you’d like to speak Russian or recite poetry, but your busy schedule gets in the way. Ty practicing just 5 vocabulary words or one stanza a day. There's also an excellent website called www.blinkist.com that will send you downloadable summaries of many of the most popular non-fiction books. You can read, "Getting Things Done" by David Allen in about 20 minutes (or less).
     
  6. Extend your network. Whatever you do for a living, networking is essential. Introduce yourself to a new contact or reconnect with a former colleague. If you think you're the shy type, start with just saying, "Hi" to somebody every day. Next day..to two people, then three…and so on. Pretty soon you'll be surprised how many new friends, and maybe customers, you have.
     
  7. Listen to your kids. Show your children how much you love them by giving them your full attention. Empathize with their struggles in Algebra or congratulate them on making the soccer team.
     
  8. Surprise your spouse. Brighten your partner’s day with a fun surprise. Take out the garbage when it’s their turn. Put a love note in their briefcase or pick up a carton of their favorite ice cream on your way home from work. You might be surprised at the personal favor you get in return 🙂

Grand visions accomplished are the sum of many small wins that help you translate your dreams into action. Taking a small step forward each day will bring you success and happiness.

SEO Tips for Bloggers

SEO Tips for Bloggers

All serious bloggers are interested in building a large community of enthusiastic readers, and this is why SEO is so critical to your success. Without good search visibility, people who are interested in your content, but don’t know you, may never find you.

SEO best practices are primarily driven by Google, and change frequently. This post, which lays out 50 important SEO tips for bloggers, features a lot of links to Google instructional pages. These Google links will enable you to bypass outdated or incorrect SEO advice that unfortunately permeates the web.

Besides being ever changing, SEO is complicated and technical. These 50 tips, while important, just scratch the surface. What tips can you add to the list? 

SEO Strategy

The following five points offer some big picture guidance for your SEO activities. Perhaps a sixth point would be, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Great SEO requires balance: pay equal attention to onsite and offsite optimization opportunities.

  1. Content quality is your primary onsite SEO consideration.
  2. For keywords, user intent is a major consideration, since the most valuable traffic to your site comes from users who are interested in doing business.
  3. Think visibility rather than rankings, because rankings vary from user to user, and users look for search results based on content type (images, news, etc.).
  4. A steady increase in organic search traffic growth is usually the best indicator of strong SEO.
  5. For link building, quality is more important than quantity.

Blog Post Setup

Your blog posts not only have to interest human readers – they also need to be constructed so that Google can find them, read them and appropriately display them in search results. Even brilliant content must be optimized in order to find its largest potential audience.

  1. The post URL should default to display the post title.
  2. The post title (H1 tag) should default to be the post Meta title tag.
  3. The post title should include keywords, preferably at the beginning of the title.
  4. Post titles should always be unique and relevant to the content.
  5. WordPress users should use the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin or the  All in One SEO Pack.
  6. Always write a unique and catchy Meta description tag, with a call to action if applicable, for your post, as it will attract more click-throughs.
  7. Read this page from Google with extreme care for a foundational working knowledge of key SEO content considerations.
  8. Include prominent social media share buttons in the post template, as social shares are correlated to rankings.

Site Structure

Many blog themes from WordPress and other CMS platforms are SEO-friendly right out of the boxbut how you set them up, modify them and maintain them makes a big difference in Google’s ability to find and rank your blog’s content.

  1. Avoid long blogrolls on the sidebar, because site-wide outbound links can reduce rankings.
  2. Do not participate in link exchange programs.
  3. Internally link relevant posts on your blog, but do it selectively.
  4. Avoid keyword-optimized anchor text for outbound links unless they are extremely relevant and flow naturally within the narrative.
  5. Use Google Webmaster Tools to identify and fix broken links and other SEO-unfriendly site issues.
  6. Have your own domain.
  7. Have all versions of your blog resolve to the www.domain version.
  8. Use Custom robots.txt to prevent Google from crawling pages you don’t want indexed, such as off-theme content.
  9. Improve page loading speed by upgrading hosting, clearing your cache, compressing images and other techniques.

Content Composition

Going back five years or so, SEO copywriting involved a lot of precise rules about how and where to display keywords in a blog post. Today, Google is smart enough to interpret a post’s theme and relevance without strict adherence to these rules – which is great news for bloggers who want to focus on human readers!

  1. Original content generally outranks duplicate content by a wide margin.
  2. Don’t overuse keywords in post text.
  3. Keywords in subheads, italics, bold or within ordered and unordered lists have slightly more power than keywords in plain text.
  4. Word counts aren’t as important as they used to be, but all other things being equal, longer posts rank better than shorter posts.
  5. Your first SEO priority is to write useful, relevant and authoritative content for human readers, because that is what Google is looking for.
  6. To develop new post topics and SEO opportunities, review analytics regularly to identify popular new keywords and strategic long tail keywords.

Onsite Images And Video

Image and video search are segmented search options on Google that can attract a tremendous amount of traffic. If you are in a visual business, such as graphic design, or any type of business where customers may want to view images or video of what you do, then image and video optimization are essential.

  1. Use relevant keywords in your image’s file name.
  2. Write descriptive alt text for images in plain sentence format.
  3. Write useful and interesting image captions, because they keep visitors on your page longer.
  4. Follow Google Webmaster image publishing guidelines.
  5. Follow Google Webmaster video best practices.

Google Authorship

Traditionally, Google primarily associates content with the site on which it is published. Google Authorship is a fairly new program that associates content with its author. In time, we will probably see high authority authors outrank low authority authors, making it important for bloggers to start participating in Google Authorship program now.

  1. Actively participate on Google+ and in the Google Authorship program.
  2. Since original content is immediately indexed and ranked on Google, write original, useful and keywordrich content on your Google+ posts.
  3. Link your Google+ profile to all blogs and sites you write for following these instructions.
  4. Whenever possible, link your guest authors’ Google+ profiles to your blog.
  5. Use an appealing Google+ headshot, as it will be displayed in Google search results.

Offsite Activities

When your blog is linked to from high quality, relevant sites, it tells Google your blog’s content is authoritative, meaningful, useful and interesting. Establishing and maintaining a solid link profile is probably the single most important SEO activity you can engage in.

  1. Guest blog on relevant and authoritative blogs to build inbound links.
  2. Invite relevant and authoritative bloggers to guest post on your blog, to build social shares and traffic.
  3. Be ultra-selective in pursuing directory listings, as they are generally not an effective way to build inbound links.
  4. Avoid building links by publishing content on article banks.
  5. Avoid building links by publishing non-newsworthy press releases.
  6. Review your link profile, removing bad links, fixing broken links and updating good links to conform to best practices.
  7. Optimize your YouTube channel and videos by following these instructions.

SEO Agency Red Flags

Many bloggers partner with SEO agencies or freelancers in order to cover all of the bases noted above. There are a lot of tremendously talented people to choose from – but there are also some that bloggers would be wise to avoid.

  1. Avoid agencies that promise #1 rankings or tons of free links.
  2. Avoid agencies that don’t have a documented, transparent description of their methodology.
  3. Avoid agencies that don’t provide detailed reports of activity and/or results.
  4. Avoid agencies that won’t provide client referrals.
  5. Avoid agencies that speak in an overly technical way or have other communication shortcomings.

That was a lot to digest, but when it comes to SEO, it’s still just an appetizer. What SEO tips can you share?

Guest author: Brad Shorr is Director of B2B Marketing for Straight North, an Internet marketing agency headquartered in Chicago. He is an experienced content strategist, respected blogger, and SEO copywriter. Connect with him on Twitter @bradshorr.

Entrepreneurial Social Networks

Top 5 Social Networks Entrepreneur Strategy

There are hundreds of social networks out there. You can’t be everywhere and we all need to focus our efforts and time on the most effective social networking sites. Here are the social networks I would recommend most for entrepreneurs.

Looking for a job? Consider creating your own. There are a number of social resources to help you connect with other entrepreneurs and get your business ideas off the ground.

Here are the top 5 social networks for entrepreneurs. Each helps entrepreneurs succeed by providing them with the guidance, tools and resources they need to setup their company and gain exposure.

Nothing compares with the brute force horsepower Inbound Marketing engine that comes free with Markethive, but we need to build alliances among our peers and this list is the top 10 of other Entrepreneurial social nets we recommend you frequent as well.

1. Markethive

I am putting Markethive as number one for many reasons, including a serious case of bias. I built it, aside from that. Markethive is a traditional easily navigated and profile oriented network similar to Facebook, oriented like LinkedIn but unique in that it's engine is a multimillion dollar Inbound Marketing platform. As entrepreneurs, we invest (spend) millions on autoresponder systems, capture page systems, blogging platforms, broadcasting technologies, known as Inbound Marketing today. Markethive's founder is the same man the developed Veretekk and invented Automated Marketing, auto responders, capture pages basically what has become today known as Inbound Marketing. There is no other Inbound Marketing solution on the Internet that comes close, has the level of integration found on the Internet at any price and the other systems cost upwards of $10,000 per month. Markethive's Inbound Marketing platform is free included and built into the social network.

2.  StartupNation

Most social networks neglect the content aspect that makes StartupNation so useful.  With articles, forums, blogs, on-demand seminars, and podcasts, entrepreneurs will be better prepared for their ventures and have the resources required to make better business decisions. 

There are a wide range of topics being discussed on StartupNation right now, including business planning, marketing and web-based business.  The site also offers a series of competitions, such as a dorm-based 20 contest and an elevator pitch competition. If you're an entrepreneur or hope to become one, this site is definitely one you can’t miss out on.

3.  LinkedIn

It’s difficult to leave LinkedIn off of any social networking list because it’s so useful for anyone who's either searching for a job, is trying to network with like-minded individuals, or building a company.  LinkedIn offers many resources for entrepreneurs, such as groups, including the very popular “On Startups” group that has over 54,000 members. 

Entrepreneurs on LinkedIn should brand themselves properly so they can attract the right kind of business opportunities, and perform searches to find service providers or partners.  As an entrepreneur, you should also be looking to participate in LinkedIn Answers, events and applications to spruce up your profile and become a valuable member to your community.

4.  Perfect Business

If you want to meet thousands of serious entrepreneurs, experts and investors from a variety of industries, then Perfect Business might be the perfect social network for you.  The type of people you’ll find are potential business partners, potential clients and advisers. Additionally, the site has leading business partners like Entrepreneur and Virgin Money.

From business networking to a video center where you can learn from successful entrepreneurs, a business plan builder and even an investor center, you’ll have most of the resources you need to create or regenerate your business. There is a free basic membership and a gold membership that costs $29.99 per month.

5.   The Funded

The Funded is an online community of entrepreneurs who research, rate and review funding sources.  Entrepreneurs can view and share terms sheets to assist each other in finding good investors, as well as discuss the inner workings of operating a business.  General benefits of this site include viewing facts, reviews and commentary on funding resources, and accessing RSS feeds of the most recent public comments by members. 

By joining the site, you have access to detailed fund profiles with specialty, reference investments, and investment criteria, in addition to accessing partner vCards that have full contact information of all partners at venture funds.  In order to get any value out of this social network, you pretty much have to become a member.

 

 

Overcoming Options Paralysis and Completing Your Do Lists

 

Overcoming Options Paralysis and Completing Your ‘To Do’ List

 

Entrepreneurs usually value prior planning. There are many different types of planning and organizing systems off course but there are some common characteristics of most of them that sometimes become a problem. One of them is the problem of breaking things down into too many options and over-complicating the planning process…. Resulting in ‘options paralysis’.

'Options paralysis' is a commonly used psychological term that describes what happens when you are given too many choices. Having too many choices is a byproduct of the age we lie in. A good example of it happens when you go to the supermarket and have to choose a certain type of soup.

If there's only one type of soup, it’s an easy choice. On the other hand, if there are twenty types of soup, which is usually the case when stores carry the normal ‘name-brands’ plus their own store brands (which are probably made by the same companies)….you’ve got a more difficult choice.

In that case, you might find yourself browsing for ten minutes before coming to a decision. Some studies show that in some scenarios people actually just leave without buying any soup. What's more, being forced to choose from so many options can sometimes trigger a stress response and cause you to experience a certain level of anxiety.

The anxiety (for some people) comes because they constantly wonder what their meal would have been like if they would have chosen another brand.

We encounter similar circumstances in business and it can also be a serious problem if you're constantly frozen by choices and unsure of how to proceed. Even worse, if you keep finding yourself in this position you can end up 'fatigued' by making so many choices, rather than actually the implementation of the choices, to the point where you start making bad decisions – or struggle to make decisions at all.

How to Prevent Fatigue and Paralysis

So how do you prevent this options paralysis and avoid 'overwhelm'?

It’s not hard. One option is to try and avoid making 'small' decisions that can tax your decision-making capacity throughout the day. Steve Jobs did this by usually wearing the exact same thing. This left him with no need to make the choice of what to wear and therefore (he felt) he had more energy to make important work decisions.

During your work day, letting someone make your lunch or having a set meal plan can help you to feel less exhausted by decisions you'll have to make later on.

Another useful strategy when faced with decision choices at work is to create yourself a guide in anticipation of situations you know you’ll face eventually. This could take the form of a flow chart which can channels you to the best decision. Or perhaps it might be a spreadsheet such as those used by purchasing departments to select the best providers to win contracts.

Finally, (and this is the most important) you need to learn to not waste time on regretting past decisions. While this might be easier said than done, this type of mental discipline can be trained and what it essentially means is that you won't be wasting energy making 'retrospective decisions'. Make up your mind, then move on!

How to Make Sure You Complete Your To-Do List

There are many different kinds of activity planning but “To-do” lists are probably the most common. In theory they are helpful tools that can make you more productive than you otherwise might be. But while they are generally intended to help you complete more work, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they can end up having the precise opposite effect and make you get less done.

This happens if you are the sort of person who is continuously writing to-do lists and who is never actually getting anything done. You waste more time planning than doing and the very tools, procedures, and results of all your planning become a quagmire.

Also, for some people a to-do list can actually be a very convenient way to put off getting real work done and thus a form of procrastination. And if you're constantly writing to-do lists that don't get done, that’s certainly counterproductive.

So… to-do lists are valuable, but only when done right. Here are  some common-sense tips on how to help you do them correctly…

  • Keep Them Short

    One way to help yourself complete your to-do list is to keep it as short as possible. If it is too long, it will not only be daunting to take on but it will also be unlikely that you're going to complete the whole thing. In that case, you’d be better off making a shorter to-do list that you can actually complete – even if it means leaving a few things for tomorrow.
     

  • Put the Most Fun/Easiest Item First

    Many people think they should do the most difficult tasks first and they will put those items at the top of their lists. Although this might seem like a good idea in theory, that’s not always the case. In fact, it can actually end up being a negative thing if it results in you putting off doing the work at all.

Here's why.

Imagine it's the first thing in the morning. You just got up. If you're one of those people who wakes up very slowly (like me) you very possibly might be a bit groggy and you might not have the mental constitution to do something you're not really excited about. In fact, you’ll be more likely to find an excuse for putting off the work at this time of the day. Because of this common human tendency, some people find it better to put an easy task right at the start so that you can ease yourself into the work.

  • Don't Complete the Last Task

This might seem counterintuitive, but to make yourself more productive tomorrow one of the best things you can often do is to be slightly less productive today and to leave the last task started but incomplete.

The reason this tends to work very well is because the human brain hates unfinished work. In other words, the fact that something is started will mean you feel compelled to complete it at the start of the next day. And at that 

So, it's that simple. Following these guidelines will usually make sure that you chose wisely among your entrepreneurial options and take action on those choices. So…get going.

Americans Rank Real Estate #1 Long Term Investment

Americans Rank Real Estate #1 Long Term Investment | Simplifying The Market

Americans Rank Real Estate #1 Long Term Investment

 Wednesday May 4th, 2016  First Time Home BuyersFor BuyersMove-Up Buyers

The Gallup organization recently released a survey in which Americans were asked to rank what they considered to be the “best long term investment.” Real estate ranked number one, with 35% of those surveyed saying it was a better long term investment than stocks & mutual funds, gold, savings accounts or bonds.

Here is the breakdown:

Americans Rank Real Estate #1 Long Term Investment | Simplifying The Market

The survey revealed that real estate was the number one choice among each of the following groups:

  • Men
  • Women
  • People between the ages of 18-29
  • People between the ages of 30-49
  • People between the ages of 50-64
  • People 65 and older
  • People with annual earnings of less than $30,000
  • People with annual earnings between $30,000 and $74,999
  • People with annual earnings of over $75,000
  • People with a college degree
  • People without a college degree

Even stock investors ranked real estate number one. According to the report:

“With housing prices showing a steadier path upward in recent months, even stock investors are about as likely…to choose real estate (37%) as stocks (32%) as the best long-term investment.”

This Friday, I will be posting an infographic showing additional findings revealed in the report.

You might also enjoy reading…

Uncovering the Metrics Behind an Award-Winning Email

Uncovering the Metrics Behind an Award-Winning Email

BY LAUREN SMITH

Every interaction with your subscribers counts. Send emails that your subscribers want, that are relevant to their needs and interests, that excite them, and (most importantly!) that make them want to take action.

Campaigns that accomplish all the above not only win the hearts and minds of your customers, they’re a win for your business. And we’re particularly proud of one campaign in particular that also won an award: the 2016 EEC Email Marketing Program Award for “Best or Most Innovative Integration with Another Channel.”

That campaign was our save the date email for TEDC15 (The Email Design Conference).

What surprised us? This campaign wasn’t a success because it had the most opens or clicks. In fact, it had much lower open and click rates compared to our other emails.

However, opens and clicks wasn’t our goal. The main call-to-action in the campaign asked our readers to tweet—and, boy, did we get a lot of tweets! It excelled at its stated goals of driving awareness and creating buzz around the conference, and we’re humbled and grateful to have won an award in recognition of those efforts!

A LOOK AT THE CAMPAIGN

THE GOALS

After embedding a video background into TEDC14’s “save the date,” we had set high expectations with the community for a follow-up in 2015. As such, the primary goal of the campaign was to surprise, delight, and inspire our audience with a creative use of email, preferably leveraging a technique that is rarely seen or thought to be unsupported in email.

By utilizing innovative techniques in event-related emails, we wanted to demonstrate thought leadership and prove to our subscribers that we have the expertise and skills to teach others at TEDC. Additional goals were to raise awareness and excitement about the event, drive social mentions, and create anticipation for future ticket sales.

THE EMAIL

After many brainstorming sessions, we opted to announce dates and generate excitement for TEDC15 by embedding an innovative live Twitter feed inside an email.

tedc15-email

You can view the full email in your browser, or check out the Litmus test results to see how it displayed in 40+ email clients.

“Save the date” emails were sent to Litmus subscribers and past attendees. Each contained a live dynamic Twitter feed featuring tweets using the #TEDC15 hashtag. As recipients opened the email, live tweets appeared within the email. Subscribers tweeted using the hashtag, then returned to the email to see their own message appear live in the stream inside the email.

MEASURING SUCCESS: WHAT METRICS MATTER?

The campaign garnered widespread attention, resulting in 5,000 new visitors to the Litmus website, 1,000 new prospects, and 750 tweets containing the event hashtag—all within 24 hours.

To date, it’s garnered nearly 1,260 forwards and 350 prints. More than 60% of the people that opened the email spent 18 or more seconds reading the message, the highest duration of engagement of any email we’ve ever sent.

When we launched ticket sales a few weeks later, early bird tickets sold out in 10 minutes for the Boston event and 48 hours for the London event.

Despite being sent nearly a year ago, the campaign continues to drive additional email and social engagement as users re-visit the email and contribute to the Twitter stream.

The goal of this campaign went beyond opens and clicks to draw the email community together and create awareness for the event. Between hundreds of tweets, dozens of forwards and prints, and early bird tickets selling in minutes, it exceeded every expectation.

WHAT’S YOUR MOST SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN?

Many marketers focus on open and click rates. While those metrics can be a great way to measure overall engagement, they don’t paint the whole picture of a campaign’s performance, especially when different emails have different goals.

What has been your most successful campaign? How did you measure its success?

Charles R Juarez Jr.
Contributor 

Great LinkedIn News

Great LinkedIn News
by Art Williams

Hot off the press, I just saw some LinkedIn (LI) news that should be very interesting to Markethive (MH) members: LI now has a new feature for their membership whereby members can search for various types of service providers within the LI community. It's called ProFinder and it sounds similar to a Fiver or Upwork service except that apparently LI doesn’t take a ‘cut’ of the fee.

What does it mean for MH community members?

It means that those of us who have marketable skills should be able to get actual work from the LI community. It also means that we’ll be able to build more awareness of the caliber of our community and what we can do with our unique tools.

I haven’t thoroughly thought it through yet but I also wonder if it might even give us an opportunity to flog (a ‘Brit’ word for sell) our BlogCasting and/or article writing service and skill over there?

I think it will…somehow.

Just in case you don’t know, it’s fairly easy to get connections on LI. I’m up to about 1100+ in my own network. Other members of our group, like John Lombaerde, have even much larger networks. Furthermore, most of the people on LI are mature enough about professional networking to expect to be contacted about ‘deals’ and JV’s, and proposals.

What I just read about ProFinder said that it ‘matches’ service providers (from the LI community) with other people on LI who might need that particular service…. Presumably in response to a ‘search’ which the member performed.

I have no idea, yet, about how that process works but what I’m wondering is, ‘how much proactive solicitation might we be able to do?’

Maybe the answer is, ‘none’. Maybe any work we might get from this program would simply come as an inquiry from somebody who searched the new program, via keywords, for a service they need.

But one thing is for sure: those people are usually very busy and they probably don’t mind paying for good work. So, I’m thinking that we just have to figure out the solicitation protocols (to the extent there are any).

This new LI feature also brings up something John Lombaerde has been emphasizing too: the importance of a good profile, i.e. with the proper keywords. Apparently, when a LI community member is looking for our service(s) keywords figure into the search.

Here at MH, ‘we’ know we’re a cut about average, but now getting access to the serious business professionals over on LI should be good for us and it will be interesting to see what comes out of Tom’s mind after he’s had a chance to ponder this new development for a while.

LinkedIn is actively courting users to sign up for the program and even provides tips on how to get noticed inside ProFinder. I agree that it’s a smart move for LI too.

ProFinder is also a validation that ‘professional networking’ is here to stay and a force to be reckoned with as a legitimate way to do business in today’s digital world. And….as LI community members begin to realize all that MH has to offer, they’ll realize that nobody touches us in terms of innovation and value.

Art Williams
Case Study Writer and Markethive Contributor

 

What Does Advertising-Supported Revenue Model Mean?


What Does The Future of  the Ad-Supported
Revenue Model Mean to the Internet and Technology?

An advertising-supported revenue model is a business approach that emphasizes the sale of advertising as a major source of revenue. This structure is most prominent in traditional broadcast and print media, as well as online media. Media businesses generally earn revenue from advertising, customer subscriptions or a combination of the two.

Traditional Media

TV and radio shows, along with newspapers and magazines, generally serve to entertain or inform viewers or readers. TV and radio have traditionally been largely advertising-supported. While networks and TV stations do often earn revenue through subscriptions to satellite or cable television, much of their income is earned from advertisers trying to appeal to viewers. Similarly, magazines and newspapers charge subscription or purchase fees, but advertisers pay to place ads within these print media.

E-Commerce

The emergence of the Internet in the mid-1990s has affected the advertising-supported revenue model. Newspapers, for instance, have tried to adjust to increased demand for online content and limited growth in print publications. Thousands of media websites have been born online, which often offer free access to content for users. This attracts users and enables the publishes to sell banner ads and advertorial ad spaces. Traditional newspapers have offered free content as well, but many are trying to figure out how to combine ad revenue with subscription fees as of 2013.

Benefits

The benefit of an advertising-supported revenue model is that if you have an audience, you can almost always find companies that want to pay to reach it. This is especially true when you can provide specific details about the nature of your audience. When you operate with a 100 percent ad-supported model, you can more easily attract users with free content. Newspapers have long given away hundreds of copies to businesses and organizations in communities to drive up their circulation and readership, and subsequently, ad revenue potential.

Drawbacks

The major drawback of an entirely ad-supported revenue model is the inherent lack of diversification. Businesses generally prefer multiple revenue streams when possible. In a down economy, advertisers might back off their investments, which can more negatively affect a medium that has no subscription revenue. Plus, print publications, and even some websites, have high costs. Even a small subscription rate can help cover some of these costs. Local newspapers charging, say, 35 cents per issue can't use that to cover all production costs, but the fees do help offset costs and allow revenue to build.

Facebook Reports Soaring Revenue, Buoyed by Mobile Ads

On Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg’s social-networking company, Facebook, reported another quarter of soaring revenue. The company said sales in the fourth quarter rose 52 percent from a year ago, to $5.84 billion, while profit increased to $1.56 billion, more than doubling from $701 million a year ago. For the full year, the company reported $3.69 billion in profit on $17.93 billion in revenue, an increase of 44 percent from 2014.

The numbers far surpassed Wall Street’s fourth-quarter expectations of $1.2 billion in profit on $5.37 billion in revenue. Investors welcomed the performance by pushing up Facebook’s stock more than 12 percent in after-hours trading.

The results were largely a result of Facebook’s enormous success in selling advertising on mobile devices, a business that the company was not even in just a few years ago. Mobile ads made up 80 percent of the company’s total ad business in the fourth quarter, compared with 23 percent in the same quarter of 2012.

“We have a Super Bowl on mobile in the U.S. every single day,” Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, said in an interview.

The results offer a bright spot in a tumultuous climate for many American technology stocks. Shares of Twitter, Facebook’s most visible social networking competitor in the United States, have tumbled more than 55 percent during the last year. Yelp, the local-review service, is down about 60 percent. LinkedIn, the professional social networking service, is off more than 15 percent.

Facebook is a much larger company than many of its peers, yet it is able to keep its growth rate high. The company has notched double-digit jumps in ad revenue and in the expansion of its user base. Facebook now has 1.59 billion monthly visitors, up 14 percent from a year ago. About 1.44 billion of those people visit the site on a mobile device; 1.04 billion visit Facebook every day.

That growth engine has given Facebook lots of room to play in different areas — like virtual reality, messaging and even building drones capable of delivering Internet service to far-flung places around the world — that seem to have little to do with Facebook’s core business of advertising.

Facebook is spending billions of dollars developing those projects, and Mr. Zuckerberg has repeatedly said the company has no plans to make money on them in the near term. In an earnings call with investors, David Wehner, Facebook’s chief financial officer, said the company projected that expenses would increase roughly 30 to 40 percent over the course of 2016 compared with last year.

One example of the spending is on Oculus, Facebook’s $2 billion bet on bringing virtual reality to the mainstream. The unit will begin selling its first headsets to consumers in March. Facebook has said it plans to sell the hardware, called the Rift, at a loss to help the technology catch on with a large audience.

“These are long-term bets, but we don’t think they’re particularly large bets relative to the size of Facebook,” said Ben Schachter, an Internet analyst at Macquarie Securities. “They’ve gone out of their way to say they’re not Google and going after health care, for instance.”

Other analysts said they also saw potential for profit in the hundreds of millions of people who regularly use Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, a messaging service also owned by Facebook.

They are also bullish on the potential for Instagram, the photo-sharing service that has more than 400 million regular monthly users, to become a significant source of revenue in the future. The company does not disclose what portion of revenue Instagram accounts for in Facebook’s overall sales. Ms. Sandberg said 98 of the top 100 advertisers on Facebook also advertised on Instagram in the last quarter.

As for Mr. Zuckerberg, he spent a portion of the investor call on Wednesday talking about his new role as a father to his daughter, Max.

“With a new addition to my family, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the legacy we want to pass on to the next generation,” he said, adding that he wanted Facebook to “continue to focus on solving the fundamental challenges facing the world, and bringing the world closer together.”

when your network needs the tools