Nine Benefits Of Marketing Automation Every Business Owner Should Know

Purposive Ninja Virtual Professional
Purposive Ninja Virtual Professional

Just watched webinar on marketing automation. This is a brand new skill any virtual professional choosing this niche must learn.

“Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.”

In previous years, before the birth of marketing automation, companies do their marketing manually. Examples of these are answering mails, sending out mails, following up of customers, and many other activities that involve a direct personal communication with customers. Nowadays companies are doing most of their business online because most of their customers can be reached online. But with the increasing number of customers, dealing with them manually and personally could be a daunting task while taking much of the time. Marketing automation then comes to the rescue. All the business owners have to do is classify their customers according to certain types then send them out emails automatically just once. They can then best serve their clientele without anybody being left out or forgotten.

And the best part of this is somebody has to do the job. Virtual professionals then must come to the scene. The webinar I watched was very helpful. But it was just an overview of the whole thing. I must learn the techie part of it online from my mentor. In the coming days, I would be enrolling on this course since I found it interesting. For the meantime, let me give you the benefits of marketing automation  to businesses. The following are some of them:

Saves time

Marketing automation saves time because the marketer has to set up the task only once and is able to cater to a large number of customers. For example, after a purchase of their product, the company has to ask the customer’s feedback. If the company has, let’s say five thousand customers, it would take time to ask the customers one by one. However, if the task of doing it is automated it would take only minutes to do the task.

Saves money

It would only take one or few people to do the automated task compared to paying more employees to accomplish the same task.

No cold calls

There would no longer be cold calls because in marketing automation it is easy to trace whose customer has opened the emails and who does not.

Faster follow-ups

In marketing automation everything is recorded. By seeing the data the marketer knows the next action to take.

Nothing forgotten

Every client is recorded and classified.

Rewarding local customers

It would be easier to trace customers who keep coming back. Rewarding them is the best way to maintain their loyalty.

No time wasted in non profit making tasks

By analyzing emails it would be easily found out who responded positively and who does not. Let go of those prospective customers who do not respond positively.

Reuse content

The company may make the same sales letter to every new prospective customer. Or may use the same content for the next month or for the following year depending on the occasion or season.

Be forced to understand your customers faster

By establishing a constant relationship with your customers through emails some may reply to some of them. Others may have complaints, requests or suggestions. Your relationship may then be mutual which is very beneficial to your company.

Hopefully, business owners may find these benefits helpful to the growth and function of their companies. When I am ready I would be glad working to any of you guys in the near future.

Have a purposeful day!

~Nezel

5 Ninja Strategies To Earn 5 Star Reviews From Your Clients

5 ninja strategies to earn 5 star reviews from your clients

Hello!

I have attended a webinar with my mentor Jomar Hilario interviewing one of his senior mentees in virtual careers. She is Cristina Ramas who just had received an award from Upwork being one of its top rated freelancers. Bongga! Right? My eyes opened wide and wondered, how did she do it? Thankfully, she shared her secret in that webinar.

As an aspiring virtual assistant/professional or freelancer I am always looking for the easier ways to follow what others had done. From that webinar I learned a lot. The following are Cristina’s strategies on her way to success.

Create website.

What she means is the portfolio website, like this one. A portfolio website is where you put all vital information about you. It is where you write who you are and what you do. It is this site that future clients would be looking for if they really want to know whether you are genuine or not; or just to know more about you.

Complete your profile in your selected platform.

Tina’s chosen platform is Upwork. We could select any platform we will comfortably work or do business with as long as our profile is complete. Tina stressed to put our best photo, put the right title, complete the overview – like what you could do for your client, and most especially write your detailed skills and the tools you use in getting things done.

Read and learn  to your chosen field of expertise.

Well, this is what they call your niche. Virtual work is wide. Select what you are good at and work on improving yourself in that niche. Tina’s example is including what she subscribed to and who her influencers are.

Give your best to every gig, may it be hourly or fixed.

If we put our one hundred percent in our work, it can not only make our clients happy but also it boosts our confidence in our work. The more we do it, the more we become skilled in it. And the catch is, our clients could give us positive feedbacks or reviews which we can add to our portfolio.

Manage your time well

Beleive it or not, Tina has six kids to take care of while working from home. Admirable, yes! I thought it would be hard for her since I find it harder for me to take care of two kids. But her confidence is contagious. Okey, if she did it, so would I (help me, God). Being a working mom with multiple roles is never easy. One must be skilled in time management to succeed in all areas. Tina managed to pull that off. She said she perpetually followed her calendar and never procrastinated. The last one I am still learning.

Before the webinar ended, Tina added two more tips: finish your website and polish your profile. Good advice.

There she had it. Easier said than done, but a challenge all along. And hard work is the key. As Vidal Sasoon said, “the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

Have a purposeful day!

Nezel

Microsoft Surface Book vs. MacBook Pro: A Head-to-Head Comparison

Microsoft surface book vs. MacBook pro

I just stumbled upon this post just now. I found it interesting, so I shared everything here, practically everything. It’s written by Chelsey B. Coombs on October 8, 2015 at gizmodo.com. I believe you’ll find this post interesting too. Who wouldn’t when Microsoft is updating its technologies to compete with Apple? Who’s the best? Read on.

Microsoft is making a big splash with its latest gear, the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book. These pricey products are designed to compete directly with Apple’s traditional hegemony on premium gadgets. But just how well do these latest offerings measure up against Apple?

We decided to find out, by comparing the new Surfaces to their closest competitors. Here’s our head-to-head comparison of the MacBook Pro to the the Surface Book, and the iPad Pro to the Surface Pro 4.

Surface Pro 4 Vs. iPad Pro

Microsoft surface book vs. MacBook pro

Note: these are the base configurations.

Specs

From the outset, everything appears to be about the same. The iPad Pro’s display is 12.9 inches, and the Surface Pro 4’s is 12.3 inches. The iPad weighs in at 1.57 lbs and the Surface at 1.69 lbs. The iPad Pro lasts up to 10 hours and the Surface Pro 4 lasts up to 9.

So what’s the difference? It might come down to how fast the processors are. While Apple doesn’t give specific numbers when comparing the Pro to other devices on the market, it claims the iPad Pro brings “desktop-class CPU performance and console-class graphics.” The new A9X processor is supposedly 1.8 times faster than its predecessor.
Microsoft was bold enough to apply actual numbers to its comparison, saying the Surface Pro 4 is 50 percent faster than the MacBook Air and 30 percent faster than the Surface Pro 3. It’s worth noting that we don’t know which configuration they’re talking about there. Though the Surface Pro 4 starts with Intel Core M3, you can spec it all the way up to a 6th-generation Intel Core i7 (which is definitely what you want).

Design

Both the iPad Air and Surface Pro 4 have some new design features introduced by Apple and Microsoft specifically for these products—but overall, they look like what an iPad and a Surface have typically looked like.

That said, the Surface Pro 4 kills the iPad on ports, if that’s your thing: The Surface has a USB 3.0 port, microSD card reader, Mini DisplayPort and a headphone jack. And true port-maniacs can always connect a Surface Dock for extra functionality. Meanwhile, the iPad Pro only has a headphone jack and a Lightning port. That could be a dealbreaker for some people.

One other small but important note is the Surface Pro’s multi-position kickstand. The iPad Pro’s cover rolls up to be a stand, but it only works in one position, which ultimately won’t suit everybody’s needs.

The iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard comes in at $169. The Surface Pro 4’s Type Cover has blacklit keys, a trackpad and a fingerprint scanner, and is $130. The Surface Pen comes free with the device, while Apple wants $100 for its pencil.

The price of accessories adds up. The iPad Pro starts at $799 and gets you 32 GB of storage. The Surface Pro 4 starts at $899, and includes 128 GB of storage and a Pen. When you add Apple’s Pencil, the iPad is $899 as well. And adding a keyboard brings the cost of the iPad Pro to $1,068. Meanwhile the price of a Surface Pro 4 including all the optional goodies clocks in at $1029.

Then again, if you want 128 GB of storage for your iPad Pro, that’ll start at $949.

iOS vs Windows 10

Given that you’re about to drop $1000 on hardware, a lot of people might find the iPad Pro a little limited. It runs iOS, not OS X—and while powerful guts and a robust app ecosystem go a long way, it’s not a full-blown system. The Surface Pro 4, on the other hand, has a fully-fledged version of Windows 10, so it can do everything a regular computer can.

Surface Book vs 13-inch MacBook Pro

ios vs. windows 10

Note: these are the base configurations.

Specs

The MacBook Pro and the Surface Book have very similar size and weight specs. The MacBook Pro’s display is 13.3 inches, while the Surface Book’s is 13.5 inches, the MacBook Pro is 3.48 lbs while the Surface Book is 3.34 lbs with its keyboard. The battery life in both brands is the same: 12 hours. Pretty comparable numbers. You get the picture.

There is a considerable difference in the display resolutions: The Surface Book is 3000 by 2000 and the 13-inch MacBook Pro is 2560 by 1600. So the Surface Pro’s slightly larger screen has both more pixels and higher pixel density. Another important consideration here is aspect ratio: The Macbook Pro has a widescreen 16:10, compared to the Surface Book’s boxy 3:2.

As for the processors, if we’re to believe the party line from Microsoft, the Surface Book is two times faster than Apple’s flagship power laptop, the MacBook Pro. That’s probably because it’s using the latest and greatest from Intel, while the Macbook Pro sports a 2.7GHz dual-core i5 chip. Those numbers are pretty incredible, and might just have Apple scrambling.

Design

The big difference, though, is in the basic hardware design. The MacBook Pro has a silver aluminum unibody design that’s been copied so many times, it’s basically what we’ve come to imagine a laptop should look like—and how it should work.

The Surface Book, on the other hand, is a radically new concept for a laptop, owing to a clever new hinge that lets you adjust the display bend however you see fit. You can use it like a regular laptop, or remove the screen from the keyboard base and use it like a tablet. The Surface Book design is conceptually cool and has potential, but this design may have some stability issues.

Let’s talk about price

A lot of people tend to pick their computer simply because of the operating system it runs—but price is still a major issue.

A 128 GB Surface Book with 8 GB RAM starts at $1,499, while a MacBook Pro with 128 GB of storage and 8 GB RAM is $1,299. Then again, the Surface Book is apparently two times faster than the MacBook Pro and comes with a Pen, so it might just be worth the extra $200.

Top art by Michael Hession

13 Writing Tips To Instantly Enhance The Quality of Your Blog

blogging tool, writing tips

What’s the big difference between great blog posts and just blog posts? It’s giving the reader what they truly, deeply want.

If you find yourself writing post after post but being less than overwhelmed by the response, it might be time to sharpen up those blogging techniques and try something new.

It may not be easy, but it’s achievable.

The internet is as busy and crowded as its ever been. There have never been more bloggers clamouring for attention than you will find today. Quality and credibility, now, are the driving differentiators.

So that’s what these 13 tips are about. Helping you understand what factors make the difference between the viral blog and the single-celled internet Amoeba.

These tips are originally written by John O’Nolan of blog.ghost.org. I am passing it along here to help myself and help you too.

1. Tell your story

Your story is the thing that makes people care about what you’re saying. Or not. It’s the bit that makes it possible for your reader to relate to you. To become a part of it, rather than just a party to it. It is, in many ways, the magic that holds all written content together.

Blogging about business, Alex Turnbull found that almost 300% more people read to the end of a post on the GrooveHQ blog when he included conscious narrative elements in the introduction.

Thanks to science, our brains are hard-wired to relate to stories more than any other type of content. We don’t just read and understand a story, we place ourselves into it and go along for the ride.

This is not the logical part of the brain, it’s the emotional part. When it comes to decision-making, it’s the emotions that win almost every time.

2. Be direct
The easiest type of writing, and the easiest type of speaking, is rambling. Run-on sentences and meandering paragraphs are sure to accomplish one thing very successfully: boring your reader.

Every year the average human attention span shortens. Online, this paradigm is magnified intensely. This year, the average attention span of a web user is down to just 8 seconds; roughly equivalent to a goldfish.

You have but a short window in which to capture the attention of your reader and communicate something important to them. Now, more than ever, is the time to be blunt about it.

3. Get to the point
They say the most important part of video editing is the first 10-seconds. The same is true for blogging, translated roughly to the first 3 sentences.

Before you can even start being direct, you have to get your reader past the first paragraph. Why should they bother to read any further if you can’t capture their attention in the first place?

Try opening with your conclusion. Share the point of your post right up front, then the tell the story of how you got there. Surprise, intrigue and controversy are all things which keep people reading.

4. Show, don’t tell
Use words to drive home the point you want to make. Back up those words with images which prove what you’re saying is true.

It can be hard to find an image for every context, but when it’s possible it has a significant effect. Humans (especially lazy humans, like us web users) are very visual creatures.

A study by Buffer found that Tweets with images received 150% more retweets than their counterparts without.

Jeff Bullas points out that (on average) articles with images get 94% more total views, press releases with images get 45% more views, and on Facebook stories with images are shared 37% more often.

5. Set the scene
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine this:

You’re sat, quietly, watching your monitor in stunned disbelief. You didn’t expect it. You didn’t realise that this was going to happen to you today. Your hand shakes as you reach for the mouse and hit “Reply”. Your server hiccups indignantly under the load of a million visitors. You only write two words: “Thanks, @aplusk.”

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Help your reader explore their imagination. Place them into the picture which you’re painting and make them the main character. Be selfless to allow your reader to be selfish.

6. Arrange your words
One of the most common errors which newbie bloggers make is to ignore (or rather, not pay extra special attention to) formatting. Arguably, formatting has the largest influence of all on how much (and what parts) of your post are read.

If the user who spends 8 seconds on a page is our most common visitor, the second most common is the skim-reader.

You can complain about how unfair it is that nobody can be bothered to read properly any more, or you can see it as an opportunity and a challenge. Can you communicate the most important parts of your post to someone on a subway, looking at a tiny screen, in the space of just 1-2 minutes?

Break up your big blocks of text into manageable chunks. Use headings as a roadmap of where you’re going. Try highlighting the most important passages which you would like people to notice.

It really works.

7. Reference the things
Just because it’s written on the internet doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Why should I believe you?

Support your stories and opinions with facts. Call it “data driven” – call it “backed by science” – call it whatever you want. Reliable information is often hard to come by. Demonstrating that you are a credible authority on your subject of choice is a sure-fire way to dramatically up the quality of your posts.

Less hearsay. More juicy footnotes.

8. Social proof
Who else has talked about this subject? Surround yourself with people who are smart and if you’re lucky you might be considered smart by association. Citing experts in the field which you’re writing about indicates that you know who is worth citing.

All of this takes practice, of course, but the KISSmetrics blog has some great advice about how to ask influencers for killer quotes as just one example of how you can bolster your writing with credibility.

Because:

1) you gain exposure to a new audience, and 2) your content becomes more reputable because you’re associating yourself with an influencer in your industry.

9. Compare & contrast
Occasionally the best way to communicate something new is to point out the similarities and differences between it and something old. Take a concept which is easy to relate to and subvert it.

You see this in startups all the time when they write elevator pitches to communicate what they do in the fastest way possible:

“It’s basically Twitter, for photographs”
“Basecamp, for musicians”
“Paypal, but not shit”
Building on a reference point which is already known and understood can often cause an “aha” moment of understanding.

10. Summarize
Many of your readers are going to skim read, and some aren’t going to read at all. Most people who do read anything, however, will read the first and the last paragraphs of your post.

Try to summarize all of your most important points in the introduction and the conclusion. Even if it’s an abridged version, you should be able to cover all your bases.

Keep it succinct.

11. Call to action
Your call to action is the thing that you want people to do after having read your post. What is that?

Do you want them to read another post? Buy a product? Leave a review? Click on a link? Think about something important?

Your call to action should be crystal clear, and easy to find (regardless of what it is). Your post is effectively one big build up to the call to action. The thing that the reader should do next.

It often helps if there’s a brightly coloured button.

12. Practice
As Brian Clark rightly points out, there are only 10 effective steps to becoming a better writer:

Write.
Write more.
Write even more.
Write even more than that.
Write when you don’t want to.
Write when you do.
Write when you have something to say.
Write when you don’t.
Write every day.
Keep writing.
13. What to do next
Probably not everything at the same time! It might be easier to focus on perfecting the use of these techniques one by one until you start to feel comfortable jumping between them. Give yourself time to get acquainted.

Have a look at some of the blogs which you read every day. Can you spot any of these tools in action?
Go back over one of your posts and see if you can revise any sections to be more clear and concise.
Decide what you would like your readers to understand or accomplish as a result of reading your writing. Does the rest of your post reinforce that mission?

5 Affordable Ways to Get Your Business Noticed Online

Purposiveninja
This post by Daniel Negari originally appeared in entrepreneur.com on September 17, 2015.

If you’re a small business you likely don’t have the budget to draw prospects to your site with expensive digital ads. Which means you need to be strategic about managing the fundamental pillars of your digital presence.

Luckily, it’s not too complicated. Here are five strategies to keep in mind if you want to get your business noticed online without breaking the bank.

1. Use social media to do more than just sell your product or service.
These days, most companies are engaging with customers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social channels. But that doesn’t mean they’re doing it right.

Just like a person who constantly talks about himself, a company that never stops selling on social media is a bore. Don’t use every post and tweet to tout your product or service. Instead, mix in some links to interesting stories that are relevant to your industry and community, as well as personal posts, such as a fun anecdote about your office culture.

Don’t overdo it, however. Though frolicking kitten photos rule the Internet, they probably don’t have a place on your business’s social accounts unless you run a pet store.

2. Avoid purchasing backlinks.
Link backs to your site from other sites are said to be the biggest rank-influencing factor in SEO. If search is a huge driver of traffic to your site, it may be tempting to purchase backlinks from outfits that practice that particular dark art. Before you do so, be aware you’re taking a risk.

Related:

Google effectively views each link to your site as a vote of confidence that propels your ranking upward, and it equates buying backlinks with vote rigging. Those who are caught can be punished with a lower search ranking. In most instances, it’s not a risk worth taking.

Instead, focus on building relationships with reputable websites. You could either look for opportunities to syndicate content on websites or see if you could contribute to their site. Another option would be to do a Google search of websites that have mentioned your company in a post and requesting a link back to your website.

3. Experiment with Instagram.
While most businesses have an active presence on Facebook and Twitter, far too many neglect Instagram. That’s a mistake. With more than 300 million users who, on average, spend 21 minutes per day on the app, Instagram is a powerhouse.

If you run a B2B company, you might think Instagram’s image-based platform just applies to bakeries, florists and other businesses with photogenic products, but Instagram can be a great way to make an emotional connection with current and prospective customers no matter what kind of business you’re in. It can also serve as a recruitment tool, allowing your business to showcase its company culture.

Social media management system Hootsuite’s Instagram account is a great example of this. With 13,300 followers and counting, the account shows scenes from Hootsuite’s dog-friendly office. Email-marketing service provider MailChimp’s account is similarly well run. With more than 19,000 followers, it features images, including a person in a robot costume and the company logo reproduced in latte foam.

4. Focus on securing a domain that matches your business’s industry.
There’s a widespread belief that Google penalizes new domain extensions like .nyc, .house, .flowers, .market, and the hundreds of other new top-level domains (gTLDs) in search rankings. In fact, many people assume Google doesn’t surface domains registered with these extensions at all.

That’s not the case. “Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs, [such as] .com and .org,” Google’s John Mueller explained. “Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.”

So there’s no need to make a big cash outlay to obtain your exact-match domain name on .com, instead of a new domain extension, because Google won’t reward you for it.

5. Build your own website.
Given the variety of affordable website builders at your disposal, it makes sense to take matters into your own hands. Squarespace will help you run a showstopping website for $18 a month with a business account, while a pro account on Weebly costs $12 a month. Similar to Weebly in pricing structure, WIX – which you may recognize from its Super Bowl ad – has a bare-bones free version, as well as a set of paid plans. The one recommended for small businesses is about $8 a month.

GoDaddy, Web.com, and other domain retailers combine domain registrations with their own web page design and hosting. They also offer affordable services that provide virtual storefronts and email communications. Lastly, it’s also worth checking out WordPress, which offers themes that are flexible enough to look truly customized.

As your marketing budget grows, you’ll have more decisions to make, like whether to build a mobile-optimized website and which paid marketing channels to advertise on. But if you can create a solid foundation, using the above strategies to create content and a website that resonates with your customers in the early stages, you’ll already have a significant advantage over your competitors.

And let me add, hiring virtual assistants/professionals to manage the social media and the online presence could help greatly in promoting the business and less hassle on the entrepreneur’s part.

9 Characteristics Of The Purposive Ninja

ninja2

These characteristics are adopted from the 9 Characteristics of a Productivity Ninja from the Productivity Ninja. Ninjas have the same qualities, thus I share Productivity Ninja’s thoughts here because I feel we have the same characteristics.

  1. Zen-like calm. This is the very first characteristic any Ninja must develop. In order to achieve something, Ninjas have to have the power needed to do it. Calmness intensifies focus.
  2. Ruthlessness in focus. Ninjas succeed because of their extraordinary focus. Focus is needed to achieve the purpose the Ninja sets out to do.
  3. Weapon-savvy. Any Ninja must have the right tools and the right knowledge in mastering how to use these tools to do the work easier.
  4. Unorthodoxy. Challenges the status quo and take inspiration from the unusual.
  5. Stealth and Camouflage. The ability to work alone.
  6. Agility. Plans ahead before taking any action.
  7. Mindfulness. Being in the present. Knows how to ask questions and where to seek answers.
  8. Preparedness. Is to be always open to everything that comes the Ninja’s way. And if change is needed, the Ninja does it accordingly.
  9. Human not Superheroes. Superheroes are only in the movies. Superheroes seldom makes mistakes. Ninjas are true human beings subject to commit mistakes. The only difference is, Ninjas know how to handle mistakes and learn from them too. And Ninjas never stop learning new techniques.

That is how I see myself being the purposive Ninja. I may not as near perfect as the above descriptions appear to be, but those are my very guidelines to be able to do my work well.

Have a purposeful day!