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5 Ways SEO Can Shine a Light on Your Unseen B2B Content

Lion King Sunset Hidden Content Image

Lion King Sunset Hidden Content Image

“Look, marketers. Everywhere the light touches is content beloved by customers.”

“But what about that shadowy place over there?”

“That’s our unseen content. We worked hard to create it, but nobody ever visits it.”

“That’s really depressing.”

“That’s life.”

Okay, sorry to bring the room down. And I’m also sorry to say that it gets worse. A recent study found that 69% of all web content is not seen by consumers.

Hidden Content Image
The remaining 31% is our kingdom.

Fortunately, there are many ways to create content that beats the odds. For example, you can co-create with influencers, or experiment with interactive content that inspires social media sharing. But what about the content you have already created? The really good stuff that never caught on with an audience?

With the right search engine optimization, you can shine a light on that content and help it earn organic traffic. Here’s how we do it.

Ungate the Good Stuff

Five years ago, the best practice for marketers was to gate your most valuable content. It makes sense: You’re offering something great, so people should be willing to offer their contact info in return for it. It’s a simple value exchange.

The flip side, though, is that your most impressive and useful content is now being seen by a smaller audience. You’re intentionally introducing a barrier between your target audience and your most persuasive content. 

I’ll grant that the debate of “to gate or not to gate” is ongoing, and marketers are seeing results with either tactic. But especially for SEO purposes, we recommend trying an ungated approach. 

For example, this asset from client SAP has it all: influencer participation, stats, eye-popping interactive visuals. It’s ungated, and the container page is optimized for search. Keeping this substantial piece of content ungated makes it more crawlable, findable and sharable. As people discover and share it, it gets even more SEO juice. And as an added bonus, the included influencers are far more likely to share an ungated asset.

SAP Image

Ditch the PDFs

Everybody loves PDFs, but… okay, so nobody really loves PDFs. Their popularity is really a holdover from the old days of the web. You didn’t want to take a beautifully-designed piece of content and try to recreate it in clunky HTML. So the PDF made sure people would see the content exactly as it was designed.

Now, however, you don’t have to be a web designer to create something beautiful on a regular web page. And since plain text is crawlable and PDFs are not, turning that PDF into a web page is a solid SEO move.

Our client Prophix just published original research in their CFO Benchmarks Report. Instead of making a landing page with an ungated PDF embedded, we turned the report into a long-scrawl web page, then offered a PDF download at the bottom. That way, the content is crawlable by search engines and more easily accessible to potential readers. What’s more, the content is now optimized for visually impaired users as well.

Prophix Image

Consolidate Posts by Topic Clusters

It’s standard SEO practice to combine thin content that addresses the same keyword into one comprehensive post. If you’re not doing that type of repurposing yet, that’s a good place to start. 

To take it to the next level, think beyond individual keywords and consolidate posts around topic clusters. For example, your outdoor gear company might have a post for the best hiking shoes, one on how to pick the right backpack, one on the best shirts to wick away sweat, and so on. 

Even though these posts have different keywords they’re aiming for, they all fall under a cluster: Best hiking gear. Combining all the posts into a mega post with navigation elements gives you a more valuable asset for search engines and humans. People will likely spend more time on the page, and be more likely to share and link to your comprehensive resource.

Build a Web of Internal Links

Another common cause of hidden content is that it’s minimally accessible through your site’s navigation. This is especially true if you’ve changed your site architecture over time — and who hasn’t? Content can end up with only a couple links to it, or even none at all.

Content architecture is one way that search engines can better understand your site and which content to recommend to searchers. An orphaned page with few or no links is unlikely to pass muster. 

This guide from Search Engine Journal can help you find your orphaned pages. Once you identify them, add links to and from relevant pages throughout your site. The goal is to build a logical link structure that helps users and bots understand which content is the most important.

You may also find that these orphaned pages are ripe for consolidation and optimization into more substantial content pieces, too.

Build External Links 

The end goal of our first four points is creating assets that are substantial, valuable, easy to find and share, and optimized for SEO and humans. This type of content is perfect for ethical link building. 

Backlinko has an excellent, comprehensive linkbuilding guide (ungated!) that’s well worth your time. But here are a few quick strategies to get started:

  1. Write guest posts for relevant industry publications and include links back to your content.
  2. Identify posts that are linking to similar, but outdated content and suggest updating with a link to your piece.
  3. Promote your content with paid and unpaid social media posts — those shares will indirectly influence your ranking, and can lead to more backlinks as well.

Let Your Little Light Shine

It can be demoralizing to think that 69% of your content is stuck in the dark. But think of it this way: You have a massive resource of already-written content that can find an audience with just a little SEO illumination. Make your content more accessible, easier to find, and more substantial for your audience, and you can bring that forgotten content into the light.

We can help bring your content out of the dark. Request an SEO audit to get started.

The post 5 Ways SEO Can Shine a Light on Your Unseen B2B Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Is Starting a Vape Shop a Good Business Decision in 2020 ?

Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

One common trait among vape shop owners is that many of them are former smokers who have switched to vaping themselves. People often become quite passionate about vaping after quitting smoking with it. That naturally leads them to wonder if they might be able to forge careers for themselves in the vaping industry.

There are great potential profits in the vaping industry, despite its recent regulatory difficulties in the US. Moreover, there’s still plenty of room for new companies to jump in and participate.

Making your name as a manufacturer of vaping products isn’t easy from a legal compliance standpoint—not in the United States, at least. However, starting a vape shop is something almost any entrepreneur can do.

RELATED ARTICLE: STARTUP IDEAS TO GET YOUR IMAGINATION FLOWING

So, is it a good business decision to start a vape shop in 2020 and play in the same field as big brands like V2 Cigs? If you’re in the United States, the answer is unfortunately “probably not.” That is, unless you’re willing to have some flexibility in the types of products you sell.

This is because of recent FDA regulations regarding vaping products in the US. In fact, there is a chance you will suddenly find yourself without any products to sell in a few months. We’ll explain.

Why Is the Future Uncertain for U.S. Vape Shops?

Vape shops in the US face an uncertain future. This is because an important compliance deadline is quickly approaching for manufacturers in the vaping industry. By May 2020, every manufacturer of e-liquid and other vaping products in the US must submit applications to the FDA for permission to continue selling those products.

A pre-market tobacco product application (PMTA) must prove to the FDA that the product in question is beneficial to public health. Every vaping device and every e-liquid—in all flavors and nicotine strengths—requires a submitted application by May 2020. Otherwise, it will no longer be legal to sell in the United States.

A single PMTA can potentially cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce. This makes the PMTA process financially impossible for most smaller vaping product makers. Therefore, unless the legal requirements for vape manufacturers change in some way, most vaping manufacturers will likely go out business in May.

That could mean vape shops will have few vaping products left that they can still legally sell. That’s a very bad possibility for any vape shop that depends exclusively on vaping products for its revenue.

What If I Want to Start a Vape Shop Anyway?

Do you want to start a vape shop despite the potential risk? Then you should start thinking right away about what you can do to ensure a stable and diverse revenue stream. In other words, you should think of your venture as less of a vape shop and more of a smoke shop. Perhaps you could even think of your business as a shop for alternative supplements and other products.

For example, these are just a few of the types of products you can sell for additional revenue streams:

  • Alternative supplements and herbs such as CBD, kratom, and legal smoking herbs
  • Cigarette products such as roll-your-own tobacco, papers, filters, rolling machines, and hard-to-find imported cigarettes
  • Premium tobacco products such as cigars, pipes, and pipe tobacco
  • Dry herb vaping products such as vaporizers, grinders, and stash boxes
  • Alternative smoking products such as glass pipes

In the United
States, many vape shops began as smoke shops and head shops and expanded their
inventories to include vaping products. For that reason, many people expect to
find much more than vaping products when they enter a vape shop.

If you’re passionate about vaping, the idea of selling products like imported cigarettes might strike you as something you don’t want to do. However, if you want your vape shop to survive the upcoming legal compliance deadline for vape product manufacturers, diversifying your product selection is the only way to ensure your survival.

How Can I Tell If My Vape Shop Would Be Successful?

The best way to tell if your vape shop would be successful is by examining your competition. It’s rare in the United States these days to find a neighborhood without a nearby vape shop, so your shop will almost certainly have at least one competitor.

Do you live in a city that’s already served by a vape mega-chain with several stores and great brand recognition? If you do, you’ll be competing against a company with a big marketing budget. You will only stand a chance if you have a definite plan for differentiating your vape shop.

It’s common, however, for small-town vape shops to not be particularly professional or well-organized. That’s especially likely to be the case for vape shops that started out as head shops. If that’s what the vaping scene in your city is like, you have a much better chance to jump out ahead of the competition quickly. This is especially true if you know how to run a professional operation.

Your online marketing skills will also greatly influence your chance of success. Perhaps you only want to run a brick-and-mortar store and have no intention of selling online. All the same, you’ll want to make sure your business comes up on Google when people search for vape shops in your area.

To give your vape shop the best chance of appearing prominently in search results, you’ll need to have a website. If you don’t know how to create a website and populate it with content, you’ll need to pay someone to do that for you. Your online marketing skills—or the skills of the person you hire—will greatly influence your chance of success.

Some Final Thoughts

Besides marketing your vape shop through your website, you’ll also need to ensure your shop has a presence on business directories such as Yelp. Moreover, Yelp optimization is a task that will consume much of your time. Many consumers who search online for local businesses skip Google entirely and go straight to Yelp.

Therefore, you’ll want to make sure your vape shop appears high on Yelp’s search results. You’ll also need to ensure that you always attend promptly to any negative reviews you receive.

The post Is Starting a Vape Shop a Good Business Decision in 2020 ? appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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5 Stars: 20+ Tips to Invigorate Your B2B Marketing Using Testimonials & Reviews

Hand holding one of five white stars image.

Hand holding one of five white stars image.

What’s in a review?

With the right client testimonials and customer reviews, B2B brands can increase trust and loyalty in uncertain times while strengthening existing connections and fostering new ones. Your brand may even be sitting on a goldmine of evergreen trust-building user-generated content.

Let’s take a look at 20+ tips to invigorate and expand your B2B marketing toolkit with a smart customer review and testimonial strategy.

Making The Statistical Case For Testimonials & Reviews

With some surveys showing that  90 percent of adult Internet users rely on reviews before making purchases, and others placing the figure even higher at nearly 99 percent, it’s important for B2B brands to make sure they feature the reviews and testimonials their customers have taken the time to write and share online.

Despite their unique power to build brand trust, just 43 percent of B2B businesses use reviews in their marketing toolkit.

Conversion rates can skyrocket by as much as 270 percent when online reviews are smartly incorporated, however, as shown in the Website Builder Expert data below.

Website Builder Expert Image

Some 30 percent of businesses said that customer reviews had a major impact on their overall success, and just over 26 percent said reviews also had a major impact on profitability, as shown in the following chart from a recent ZenBusiness survey.

ZenBusiness Chart

The same survey revealed that 52.2 percent of older businesses monitor online reviews weekly and 18.5 percent do so daily, while 47 percent of newer firms monitor weekly, and 39.3 percent monitor daily, suggesting that more established brands have settled into a weekly cadence, while younger firms tend to keep a more frequent watch over reviews.

Businesses tend to monitor a multitude of online review platforms for reviews, with 67.6 percent using Google, 55.1 percent Facebook, and 46.3 percent Yelp, followed by others as shown below.

ZenBusiness Chart

Only 11.9 percent of businesses said that they respond to every review left for them, while 60 percent said that they interact with either some or most reviews they receive, the same survey noted.

Younger B2B buyers are increasingly looking for reviews and testimonials to be delivered to them in methods that differ from those of older buyers, creating an opportunity for some brands looking to connect with younger audiences.

“Sixty-one percent of Millennial buyer decisions are influenced by user reviews that they trust,” Brian Fanzo recently noted in “Meet The Millennials: How Marketers Can Effectively Connect With The New B2B Buyer,” urging smart B2B marketers to not rely solely on traditional websites, and to instead “bring the testimonials — the trusted user reviews — to the buyer.”

Brian was one of the 13 B2B social media marketing leaders offering trends and predictions in our “13 Top B2B Social Media Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2020.”

His sentiments are largely echoed in report data recently examined by Social Media Today.

[bctt tweet=”“In 2020 social media marketing will shift from vanity metrics to transparent and authentic channels to focus on real-time customer engagement.” @iSocialFanz” username=”toprank”]

You May Already Have a Goldmine of Testimonials

Many established B2B brands may already have a fantastic cache of glowing testimonials from clients, however because some firms don’t have any established practice for gathering, collecting, and most importantly utilizing them in marketing efforts, they remain mostly hidden.

Gathering existing reviews and testimonials can be a great way to get new insight into your most loyal customers, unearth any points of customer dissatisfaction, and to build new mechanisms for improving communication with your customers.

“Your offerings should be so attractive to your loyalists that they have no reason to look elsewhere for additional products or services,” Rob Markey wrote in an insightful Harvard Business Review look at how to “Make It Easier for Happy Customers to Buy More.”

Client and customer kudos today comes from more channels than ever, which can make it challenging to gather and compile into a dedicated testimonials file. A list of only a few of the digital channels to search for possible existing testimonials includes:

  • Email Correspondence
  • Online Collaboration Tool Chat History
  • Private Social Media Posts
  • Public Social Media Posts
  • Mobile Device Text Message History
  • Voicemail Transcripts

Whether it’s each quarter, weekly, or every day, taking the time to mine testimonials from each of the channels your firm user is a great way to unearth potentially powerful customer and client testimonials.

Tactfully encouraging clients to consider leaving a review or testimonial is a nuanced process best customized on a per-client basis, however there are also some universal methods to help guide a good strategy, such as those outlined in “14 Proven Ways to Encourage Customers to Write Reviews.”

Social media and search engine firms have also done their part to try boosting the visibility of customer reviews, such as Google adding highlighted business reviews in Google Posts.

[bctt tweet=”“Whether it’s each quarter, weekly, or every day, taking the time to mine testimonials from each of the channels your firm user is a great way to unearth potentially powerful customer and client testimonials.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

Testimonials & Reviews Increase Trust & Loyalty

Trust is paramount as B2B marketers seek to attract, engage, and convert new clients, and testimonials and reviews from satisfied existing customers are among the most powerful forms of messaging when it comes to earning the business of potential new clients.

It’s no secret that for many years study after study has shown that testimonials and reviews hold the power to build trust, and ultimately help persuade people to engage your company’s services.

Some 90 percent of B2B buyers said that they are more likely to complete a purchase after seeing a positive review.

[bctt tweet=”“High rates of loyalty are a huge asset in business. They provide a necessary foundation for profitable growth.” — Rob Markey @rgmarkey” username=”toprank”]

The earned power of trust becomes even more apparent when paired with survey data showing that globally 54 percent of consumers would still buy from a brand even after a negative product experience if they felt that a firm hadn’t broken trust.

When trust has been lost, however, some 82 percent said that they would not purchase again from the brand, highlighting the importance of building brand trust — something reviews and testimonials excel at.

Testimonials & Reviews Strengthen Existing Connections & Foster New Ones

Testimonials and reviews showcase the ability of your business to provide best-answer solutions so well that people take the time to personally write appreciative messages sharing their gratitude.

Testimonials and reviews also take good business partnerships and strengthen them, and help bring B2B relationships to new levels of commitment and trust.

62 percent of consumers leave positive reviews in order to help others in making buying decisions, while 52 percent say they leave negative reviews to warn others, as shown below.

Website Builder Expert Image

The connections forged through testimonials and reviews makes the relationship between your business and your clients stronger, and also serve as an important and visible example for potential new clients who are looking for information about your company.

More firms are also making it easy for customers to leave video feedback, such as a method Airbnb has implemented that mimics the ease of use users have come to expect for sharing videos on YouTube or Instagram.

The video review format has led some customers to share lengthier and more precise feedback, which in turn allows businesses greater insight into their customers.

“Videos can be richly emotional — offering the real voice and face of the customer. That emotion, transmitted directly to front-line employees and leaders, often generates the sort of empathy that inspires and motivates thoughtful action,” Rob Markey has noted.

By making video reviews a simple and optional part of customer feedback surveys, brands can have the best of both traditional text-based input and — for those who choose — the advantages of video reviews.

“If they say yes, then we’ve incorporated a video widget into the survey where they can just turn the camera on on their phone or computer and leave a response,” Airbnb customer insights manager Raj Sivasubramanian has said.

“The customers that chose that option really embraced it. And we actually had a lot of customers tell us in the video, ‘This is really cool. I love the fact that I can do this,’” Sivasubramanian added.

B2B firms can also utilize more formal video testimonials into their feedback efforts, as Business 2 Community explored in a helpful how-to guide, “How to Shoot the Perfect Video Testimonial.

[bctt tweet=”“Testimonials and reviews take good business partnerships and strengthen them, and help bring B2B relationships to new levels of commitment and trust.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

The Challenge of Combating Inauthentic Reviews

While no firm wants poor reviews, they are nonetheless important in their own way to consumers. 62 percent of U.S. consumers found that negative reviews were just as important as positive ones when it came time to make purchasing decisions.

Customers have grown to be suspicious of businesses that have conspicuously uniform five-star reviews, however, and more now say that they look to utilize multiple sources of reviews when researching a firm.

Despite this, 65 percent of U.S. adult consumers believe the reviews they read are generally accurate, however.

Recent survey data has also shown that 55 percent of consumers see the biggest red flag with reviews that use the same wording, while 35 percent view an overwhelming number of positive reviews to be indicative of inauthentic reviews, as shown below.

Bazaarvoice Chart

Testimonials & Reviews Are Evergreen

Most testimonials focus on the things that a client or customer loved about working with your team, and these are also largely the type of praise that isn’t particularly directed at a specific time, which makes testimonials excellent sources of evergreen content that can often remain relevant and convincing for years.

HubSpot has compiled an extensive list of good examples of testimonial pages that can serve as inspiration, in Lindsay Kolowich’s “14 Testimonial Page Examples You’ll Want to Copy,” showing how to implement quotes, video, audio, case study, customer interview and other types of testimonials.

To help you along your path to building more powerful testimonials and reviews into your current strategy, or to begin implementing your first such plan, here are several additional recent resources that have been published:

Reinvigorate Your B2B Marketing Testimonial Strategy

We hope this introductory look at the power of client testimonials and customer reviews to help B2B brands boost trust and loyalty and strengthen connections has been helpful, and that the tips and statistics we’ve shared will help make your marketing testimonial strategy more robust and successful.

The post 5 Stars: 20+ Tips to Invigorate Your B2B Marketing Using Testimonials & Reviews appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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5 Powerful Tools for Digital Marketing Success

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

Today, the role of digital in your overall marketing strategy is unquestionable. Moreover, the rapid growth of digital marketing has brought with it a range of methods and solutions for making the most of what the Internet has to offer. From SEO to PPC to social, video, email, and beyond, there are more options for digital marketing now than ever before. However, utilizing them for real digital marketing success is becoming increasingly complex.

RELATED ARTICLE: DON’T LOSE YOUR STARTUP TO CHAOS

Digital Marketing Success Will Keep You Ahead of the Pack

Staying ahead of the competition is no longer something you can do alone. There’s simply too much work to do. For example, your success with digital marketing will take planning, implementing, analyzing, and improving the elements that make up your digital strategy. Therefore, to maintain a steady pace, consider utilizing these five powerful tools for digital marketing success.

Proof

The aptly named Proof uses the power of social proof messaging to boost your website’s conversion rates.

For example, Proof will send notifications, reviews, and videos to targeted customers after they leave your site. Proof works to enhance the perception of your brand. Their experts will also optimize your website design for better conversion rates. So give them a chance to help you enjoy more digital marketing success.

HubSpot

HubSpot is designed to serve as the central platform for managing your digital marketing efforts. Its tools can lead to more success online.

It offers numerous free tools for new businesses to get started with. For example, you’ll find web forms and live chat software for capturing leads. You can also make use of their basic analytics and customer relations management features without spending any money. Just imagine! More digital marketing success, for free.

However, if you want even more digital marketing success, you can have it. For example, expect some impressive marketing automation features when moving into the paid tiers. This includes integration with other software in the category. It will also help you develop a powerful tool for growing traffic, converting leads, and increasing ROI on marketing campaigns.

Plus, you’ll get help with improving close rates for deals with their effective sales tools.

SendGrid

When it comes to digital success with email marketing, a dedicated tool for creating, executing, and managing campaigns is a must. SendGrid is one of them. Its multiple features include promotional emails, automation, and design tools.

That said, its popularization has spawned a number of SendGrid alternatives that are worth looking into. This is because some of these alternatives have lower pricing tiers or longer lists of features.

So be sure to check them out before settling on a specific solution. Any one of them could lead you into more digital marketing success.

Survey Anyplace

Are you looking to improve user experience? Do you want to design a better product or learn more about your market? Or are you simply interested in having more digital marketing success overall?

Customer surveys are a great way to achieve any of these objectives. This is because Survey Anyplace aims to reduce the chances of participants abandoning your survey. They do this by helping you build simple, well-designed forms that are mobile compatible.

Yoast

This popular WordPress plugin is a handy tool for optimizing your website content search engines. Regularly updated to reflect the latest algorithms, Yoast helps you identify the best content, focus keywords, and internal links.

These optimizations will improve your rankings and give you more digital marketing success. Yoast also evaluates the readability of your pages for an additional boost.

The Right Tools Will Bring Greater Digital Marketing Success

You can build a comprehensive and successful digital marketing strategy. However, you cannot do it without the right tools.

But whether you’re looking to reduce your team’s workload with automation, gain greater insights into the effectiveness of your endeavors, or explore new avenues for marketing your business online, there’s a digital tool that can help you make it happen.

The post 5 Powerful Tools for Digital Marketing Success appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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6 Tips to Keep B2B Marketing Teams in Rhythm While Working Remotely

Remote Team Rhythm Image

In these unconventional times, many work teams are grappling with an unconventional dynamic: fully distributed personnel and remote collaboration. This setup presents a number of challenges, but thankfully we live in a time where technology makes it easier than ever to stay connected and tightly aligned on our work.

For B2B agencies like TopRank Marketing, this has always been a point of emphasis. In servicing clients from around the globe, we’re accustomed to communicating across distances, borders, and time zones. We occasionally have our own team members work from home, and in fact, we have a few who do so full-time.

While having everyone in the organization work remotely is uncharted territory for us, our built-in comfort with digital collaboration gives us a head-start, and has allowed us to hit the ground running with minimal disruption to our programs and workflows.

To help other remote teams that might be trying to find the right rhythm and maximize their collective productivity, I thought I’d share a few practices and discoveries that are helping us stay close virtually, even as the circumstances of life push us apart.

How Team TopRank Maintains Tight Collaboration Remotely

Tailor Your Toolset to Your Team

As mentioned, there is a wide range of different tools and software available to power remote collaboration. Some of the common mainstays, like Slack* and Zoom, need no introduction. There are plenty of others out there with specific capabilities that might be suited to your team’s needs. Here’s a list from ProofHub arranged into several different functional categories.

Above all, I encourage business leaders to solicit input and feedback in making these selections. The biggest key is identifying tools that people actually like using. Review the usage rates for your existing tech stack. If certain software isn’t being uniformly engaged with, or is surfacing a lot of frustration, there’s no better time to step back and reevaluate.

Unsolicited plugs for a couple of our clients, whose offerings can be very useful at a time like this:

  • Sococo provides a “virtual office” platform that recreates the dynamic of happenstance workplace encounters and productive chats at the water cooler.
  • monday.com is a highly visual and intuitive work operating system, which employees tend to really enjoy using. As mentioned, that’s critical.

[bctt tweet=”“Review the usage rates for your existing tech stack. If certain software isn’t being uniformly engaged with, or is surfacing a lot of frustration, there’s no better time to step back and reevaluate.” @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

Focus on Details and Documentation

Not only is it important that your tools get used, but right now it’s vital they get used to the fullest. At TopRank, our work runs through a project management system, and I’ve noticed teammates making concerted efforts to attach client docs, source materials, and comprehensive information into the tasks themselves. As a content writer, it makes a big difference when I can find everything I need in one place, because it’s no longer as simple as walking to an account manager’s desk 10 feet away to ask a question.

Jump on the Phone Post-Meeting

While technology makes it easier to communicate and collaborate from afar, there are certain subtleties and productive habits that can be overlooked in the transition. As one example, when teammates and I hold a client meeting in the office, we’ll almost always stay in the room to debrief afterward, discussing takeaways and next steps.

One way we’ve replicated this action remotely is by using the Slack Call functionality, which enables you to quickly spark an impromptu conference call straight out of the Slack app. Since we already have our client teams arranged into channels on Slack, all it takes is one click to get all relevant parties on the line for a quick post-meeting rundown.

Rely On One Another for Knowledge-Sharing and News Updates

If you find yourself constantly distracted by scanning headlines and refreshing your preferred news websites, you are not alone. Being in the midst of an ongoing global health crisis adds a unique disruption factor to the situation at hand.

One way we’ve countered this at TopRank is by creating a #covid-news channel in Slack, where teammates can share updates they come across about the pandemic and its ripples that might impact our lives, our clients, or the business world at large. Knowing that I’ll get a notification whenever something new gets posted on that channel makes it easier for me to unplug from the Google News feed and stay focused on my work.

Get Faces On-Screen

It’s easy enough to hold conference calls when people are working remotely, but I highly recommend using apps like Zoom and Google Hangouts with video-conferencing capabilities, and urging everyone on the team to turn on their cameras. Seeing the faces of my coworkers really helps diminish feelings of isolation and disconnection that can be inherent in a scenario such as this.

Don’t Forget About Team-Building and Socialization

I’ve talked a lot here about ways we stay centered on our work, and that’s of course very important. But don’t let recreational team experiences fall by the wayside. Strengthening the overall cohesiveness of your various people through bonding exercises is maybe more essential than ever.

Virtual happy hours are gaining a lot of popularity as a way for folks to ramp down and relax together after working all day. Consider also scheduling some fun and leisurely team activities during work hours here and there. There are plenty of games that can be played remotely while creating a feeling of togetherness. I recommend the Jackbox Party Pack series, which features all sorts of fun mini-games and allows everyone to participate from their own device. Our team delved into a round of Quiplash during a recent Friday meeting, and we all enjoyed several laughs while getting a chance to appreciate the creativity and cleverness our colleagues bring to the table.

Go the Distance with Remote Collaboration

It’s all too natural to get caught up in the stress, anxiety, and overall downside of what’s taking place in the world right now. Because of this, I find myself striving to find positives and silver linings. They really do exist. If we can all find ways to stay connected and collaborative during these challenging times, I know we’ll be able work together — with clients, colleagues, and peers — more effectively than ever once things return to a state of normalcy. We might even find ourselves with a few newfound efficiencies that stick.

TopRank Marketing’s Social & Content Manager, Lane R. Ellis, is one of the aforementioned agency team members who works remote full-time, hailing from the northern reaches of Minnesota. He shared with me this sentiment that, I think, encapsulates the upside of a tough situation:

“I think if we’re open to it, our shared pandemic experience offers up a sizable opportunity in our lives — to reflect on what is truly important to us and how we work, to make positive changes that may until now have been perennially postponed, and to grow both our capabilities and our compassion in business and in personal life. It’s also a time to listen, and to be especially sensitive to your professional associates, your business teammates, and most of all to your family and friends.”

Well said, sir.

For more insight about navigating this unprecedented event as a marketer, check out my recent post on how authentic content can build brand trust during uncertain times.

The post 6 Tips to Keep B2B Marketing Teams in Rhythm While Working Remotely appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Waste: Negative Effects of Improper Trash Removal

Every household or business deals with waste on a daily basis. The generated trash sometimes proves a real challenge to get rid of.

People are used to throwing waste items into a bin and wait for it to be taken away. What if the bin isn’t big enough to hold the trash before the professional trash handler picks it up?

As a household or business, it’s important to take reasonable steps to check that the company you pay to handle trash and rubbish removal handle the waste responsibly. You should also make sure they’re legally and professionally allowed to do so.

Why should effective trash handling and disposal be everyone’s priority? Here are just a few points that elucidate how improper waste handling can affect health and the environment.

1. Environmental Contamination

Soil contamination – Improper waste removal and disposal is the number-one reason for soil contamination. Soil contamination not only affects vegetation but also affects humans and animals inhabiting such areas.

Some wastes that end up in landfills or undesignated disposal sites excrete hazardous chemicals that leak into the soil. This creates both short- and long-term adverse effects.

For example, plastics take centuries and centuries to break down. When they eventually do, they release a carcinogenic compound that negatively affects plant and animal life as well as human health.

Water Contamination – When hazardous trash leaches into the ground, it ultimately finds its way into the groundwater. Liquid chemical waste and untreated sewage can also flow into water bodies.

Unfortunately, contaminated water could eventually end up watering local fields or being consumed by humans as well as wildlife. Waste in water bodies suffocates marine habitats. It is also dangerous to animals and humans that consume marine life.

waste trash

Air contamination – Burning of plastics and other hazardous wastes in landfills emits gas and chemicals that continually hurt the ozone layer. Chances of acidic rain due to poor handling and burning of wastes are quite high. There have even been instances when the landfill gas produced by decomposing wastes has proved explosive.

2. Missed Recycling Opportunities for Waste

Households, businesses, cities, or councils that do not implement proper removal and recycling miss a lot in relation to the generation of income. There is a huge revenue in recycling. It’s also hard not to mention the employment opportunities and innovative products that the recycling process yields.

RELATED CONTENT: HOW TO START A PRIVATE AND LUCRATIVE RECYCLING BUSINESS

3. Disease-Carrying Pests

Many pests carry life-threatening diseases. For instance, mosquitoes and rats are associated with diseases like malaria, dengue fever, salmonellosis, and hantavirus. These pests tend to breed in damp, dirty places.

Moist and dirty areas are great breeding grounds for molds, too. Alongside the pests, bacteria have a huge ability to multiply and spread on poorly handled wastes. All these pests and microbes pose a big health problem to the local population.

4. Extreme Climate Changes and Waste

Poor waste handling is slowly killing the planet. Burning of wastes, as well as decomposing wastes, emit gases that rise to the atmosphere, trapping heat. The greenhouse gases so emitted are the main contributors to the extreme weather changes we’re currently experiencing. Think of the extremely strong storms, typhoons, and smoldering heat and you’ll quickly agree that taking care of our environment is everyone’s responsibility.

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Go the Extra Mile and Show Your Team Some Appreciation

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Your team is a big part of your company’s success. Without their skills and expertise, executing daily processes and reaching company goals would prove difficult. Therefore, go out of your way now and then to show them some appreciation.

Though you provide them with a competitive salary and benefits, they will value your showing them how much you appreciate their efforts. Essentially, when a person feels acknowledged, they are more inclined to continue putting their best foot forward for the organization they work for.

Benefits
of Employee Appreciation

When companies recognize their employees for what they bring to the table, it has a number of advantages. It boosts employee morale, improves productivity, fosters loyalty, increases engagement, and motivates employees to excel.

RELATED ARTICLE: BOOST EMPLOYEE MORALE IN 5 EASY STEPS

Employee
Appreciation Ideas

As a happy workforce is a more productive one,
it is necessary for businesses to go the extra mile to give thanks. Below are a
few employee appreciation ideas your team is sure to love:

Employee Appreciation Lunch

Make your team feel appreciated with a hosted employee lunch. You can order takeout, put together a small catered function, or take the entire team out for a special lunch. During the gathering, don’t hesitate to communicate your appreciation to your team. Moreover, you could even single out individuals or departments who have done an especially good job recently.

Social Media

Let your social media followers know just how awesome your employees are by announcing it on social media. Highlight your employees by creating a post that showcases their talents and thanks them for completing various tasks. Add a photograph and a special message of appreciation. Then post it on your timeline for everyone to see.

Family Day

Juggling work-life balance isn’t easy. Each of your employees sacrifices time with their families to work for your company. So show some appreciation for their sacrifices by planning a family day. Treat your staff and their family members to a catered lunch or dinner. Be sure to include some family-friendly activities for everyone to participate in.

Company Barbecue or Picnic

What better way to let your employees know that you know how hard they’ve been working than to give them a few hours off for some good food and fun? Lots of companies put together annual company barbecues or picnics for their employees. So choose a local park, decide on a caterer, and come up with fun team-building activities and entertainment.

Employee Appreciation Awards Ceremony

If you have the financial means to do so, an employee appreciation awards ceremony is a great idea. This is an event centered around your team’s noteworthy achievements. You can get free rush shipping on awards, trophies, and plaques. Then you can affordably create awards to hand out to the most accomplished members of your team.

They’ll be elated not only to receive such an award but also to be recognized in front of their managers and colleagues. You can even take it a step further and record the event, then share it on your digital platforms.

Office Equipment Upgrades

Take a look around your office space. Are there things you could update to help improve employee performance? This would also show appreciation. So buy a new coffee pot for the break room or update office furniture. Better yet, invest in upgraded software and technology.

Gift Cards

If your budget is limited but you still want to find ways to show employee appreciation, gift cards are an affordable solution. You can get $5, $10, or $15 gift cards to convenient retail shops. Then hand them out to employees who have been performing at their best.

Time Off

If your team has been working especially hard on a project, show your appreciation by giving them the rest of the day off. But make sure this time won’t count toward their paid sick leave or vacation days. This will allow them to do something they enjoy or simply take a break and recharge.

Show Some Appreciation for Your Team

Despite circumstances at work or whatever might be going on in their personal lives, your employees work day in and out to meet company objectives. As your company would not be where it is today without them, it is imperative that you find ways to regularly give thanks for all they do.

The above-mentioned ideas for showing appreciation will make your employees feel good about themselves, the company they work for, and the contributions they bring to the table.

For more great ideas to help you run your business successfully, be sure to browse our blog often.

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Best Bollinger Bands Indicators for Successful Forex Trading

Featured image from Shutterstock by William Potter

Bollinger Bands are one of the key indicators Forex traders use to guide their success in the market. Developed by John Bollinger in the 1980’s, Bollinger Bands consist of two moving bands. These bands show the two standard deviations above and below the market’s moving average.

Since John Bollinger’s time, several Bollinger Bands indicators have come along. Traders use these indicators to discover inversion patterns, trends, and price breakouts. In this article, we investigate three of those indicators.

How Traders Use Bollinger Bands Indicators

Bollinger Bands trading strategies help price action Forex traders study the market. Then traders can more clearly see when the breakout price for a particular stock is likely to occur. (The breakout price is the point at which the two bands in the Bollinger Band indicator cross each other.) This helps them more precisely characterize their best Forex trading range, as well as any possible instability in the market.

Best Bollinger Bands Indicators

Among the most widely used of the Bollinger Bands indicators are:

  1. Bollinger Band Trend Indicator, or BBTrend Indicator
  2. Bollinger Bandwidth Indicator
  3. %b Indicator

Scroll down for more information about how to use each one.

Using the BBTrend Indicator

BBTrend is a fairly new Forex price action indicator. Originally called the Bollinger Bands Trend Price Action Forex Trading Indicator when it came out in 2012, it is one of just a couple of Bollinger Bands indicators that can flag both direction and strength. This makes it a truly beneficial technical tool for price action Forex traders, as they can use this indicator to analyze the codes that appear in the graph.

For example, if a trader notices that the lower of Bollinger Bands rises above zero, they understand that to be a signal of a bullish market. On the other hand, if that band stays below zero, that is a sign of a bearish market trend.

The amount at which the band is below or above the zero can tell a trader much about the quality or energy of the trends. Therefore, this indicator has become a valuable asset for Forex trading technical analysts. Also, it offers an option to the directional development list, or ADX, an indicator that gives comparative readings.

Using the Bollinger Bandwidth Indicator

Many traders consider the Bollinger Bandwidth Indicator to be the best indicator to use with the Bollinger Bands. This is because this indicator clearly shows the precise width between the upper and lower bands in comparison with the moving average.

For this reason, many traders use this indicator in conjunction with the Bollinger Bands Squeeze. The “squeeze” shows the degree to which the lower band and upper band are pressing against the simple moving average.

To determine the squeeze, traders look at all three bands over a certain period of them. Then they use a formula to determine a number for the squeeze. This number can tell them a great deal about the movement of the stock they’re observing as well as the market in general.

Many Forex price action traders use this method to predict instability in the markets. Also, many traders turn to predictions about price movements from NSBroker. They also use leveraging techniques such as statistical analysis and behavioral economics to round out their understanding of the market.

Using the %b Indicator

Another indicator traders often use with the Bollinger Bands is %b. This indicator plots the end price of the stock as a level of the upper and lower Bollinger Bands. Here is the formula for that calculation:

  1. Assign the upper band a value of 1.0
  2. Then give the middle band a value of 0.5
  3. Assume a value for the lower band of 0

Using this formula, %b shows the distance between the bands, based on a particular stock’s current price. For instance, if the upper band sits at $30 and the present cost is $22.50, %b has a value of 0.75. This puts the stock three-fourths of the way toward the upper band limit.

Such calculations can help you to determine when a value is about to hop a band. This can help you to determine divergences and pattern changes.

RELATED ARTICLE: STOCK MARKET INVESTING: THE BEST WAYS TO EDUCATE YOURSELF

Conclusion

By using the technical indicators we discuss here, you can improve your trading skills and enjoy more success in the Forex market.

The post Best Bollinger Bands Indicators for Successful Forex Trading appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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Why Does Your Company Need HR Software?

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Nearly every business owner who hires people to work for them will benefit from having HR software for their organization. In this post, we tell you why.

Getting the Job Done

Today there are many software applications for various functions, all touting their benefits for your organization. This can make it difficult to understand why you should shell out your hard-earned cash for this one or that one. In fact, it often seems better to continue operating manually instead of automating, especially when it comes to HR, otherwise known as human resources.

Do you feel the same? Are you wondering why you need HR software for your business? Things are going pretty well, right? You have a small organization and plenty of employees to get the job done.

But keep an open mind. We’re here to tell you that if you buy HR software, that is, the right HR software, you’ll be glad you did.

General Benefits of HR Software

The functions of your HR department include hiring and onboarding, managing records, calculating payroll, keeping track of time sheets and other documentation. The bottom line is, your HR team deals with a lot of paperwork.

RELATED ARTICLE: THE BENEFITS OF AN EMPLOYEE PRODUCTIVITY SYSTEM

Many of these operations, when done manually, are tedious and redundant. Additionally, manual processing can result in inaccuracies that can be almost impossible to track down.

But HR software automates most, if not all, of these tasks. This frees up your talented HR team for more important tasks to further your organization.

Below are few general
benefits of HR software.

  • With HR software you get an employee database that stores information electronically. This improves the overall efficiency for recording and finding information.
  • You’ll also get an automated payroll system. This allows you to save money, because you won’t need to outsource payroll. Further, you’ll avoid the risk of privacy breaches and you’ll know the calculations are accurate. This makes paydays easier than ever.
  • Another benefit of HR software is that it will minimize the communication gap between the HR department and your employees. This is because HR software offers self-service functions for employees, thus reducing the workload for HR professionals.
  • HR software can also lend a hand when it comes to scrutinizing and choosing the best possible candidates in an objective way. This is because the software is embedded with sophisticated screening algorithms. Recruiting and hiring may never be a cake walk, but it’s certainly simpler and smoother if you’re using the right HR software.
  • And what about performance evaluations? The right HR software will empower you with tools to analyze employee performance and make organizational decisions. In other words, it will help enormously when it’s time for those annual reviews and pay increases.

How HR Software Will Benefit Your Business

Today many companies operate successfully without HR professionals, just by using HR software. While its cost may seem like an unnecessary burden at first, the software will have you ahead of the curve once you have integrated it in your organization.

Below are few ways HR software can help you, even if you think everything is humming along fine without it.

  • Automated tracking and documentation minimizes most HR labor. Your team will then have more time for the human aspects of human resources.
  • HR software will help you create air-tight hiring practices. This includes resume screening, background checks, and reviews of skills.
  • Since much of the HR workload will be automated, you will no longer need to outsource many of its functions. Additionally, the software will improve security around sensitive information.
  • The software will provide actionable insights and smart ways to analyze and report data. It also reduces overall time and labor spent in updating and maintaining operational records.
  • Above all, it minimizes compliance risks by coordinating automatically with the latest regulations for your jurisdiction, prompting you to file required reports on time. Complying with the law preserves your company’s credibility and prevents costly penalties and possible legal action.

Conclusion

HR software can ease the flow of your operations. So don’t remain on the fence about HR software. Take advantage of the opportunity to obtain the right one for your business now, with the assurance that you’ll gain the multiple benefits it provides.

The post Why Does Your Company Need HR Software? appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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