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Employee Personal Life Management Tips Help Company Production

One misconception is that a company should only teach their employees things that will make the company more profitable. Teaching and helping improve certain skills or habits can make an employee a much more productive person at work — and at home.

Be proactive about helping your employees with help on things that they can work on personally as well as professionally. Nobody is perfect so everyone will have at least one personal thing they will want to work on to improve. You can assign these personal tasks monthly to help set goals and keep the team motivated.

Company wide initiatives and programs can help teams bond even if they do not frequently work together. The following are areas in an employee’s personal life that can impact their production that can be fostered by a company.

Physical Health

Physical health is one of the most important things when it comes to producing at a high level for long sustained periods. There cannot be a weight limit and you cannot criticize what someone eats but there are other methods.

Starting a health initiative where everyone takes the stairs or does not consume energy drinks for a month is a good start. Providing lunch is another way to hack employee physical health as many people would rather eat free food instead of lunch made at home or bought outside of the office.

There are so many healthy alternatives that actually taste delicious in comparison to when the health craze first began. Providing lunch also gives the company the ability to avoid foods that tend to make people sleepy like greasy foods or those high in sugar that lead to a crash.

Managing Their Money

The stress that is caused by money might not be as apparent to management as some people are great at hiding this. The worry caused by financial strain can lead to loss in productivity. The simple truth is that many people simply want to live above their means and end up in debt.

Bringing in a financial advisor to talk about investing expendable income instead of spending it then more can be an important lesson for many to learn. Getting the best returns on an investment should be the ultimate goal. With financial issues decreasing you might even see an uptick in morale as stress from lack of money can change a person.

Teaching employees how to make extra money by using their skills that they possess already can be a huge advantage. Those with great writing skills can start a blog that they can turn into a great stream of income.

This will take consistent work but the amount of bloggers that increase their family’s quality of life with this extra income is staggering. With influencer marketing becoming more and more popular it is possible to make even more money if you possess a loyal following on your blog.

Using Time Effectively

Time management throughout the day separates the incredibly productive people from those who cannot seem to hit their quota month after month. Asking employees to track their entire days using a program or app can allow them to see where they are wasting time during their day. For those high producers it can be important for the lower producers to see where most of the time is being spent during the day.

Training programs can be implemented on how you should go about your day in a certain position. Some positions it might be advantageous to knock out all of your emails early while in others the emails will just keep pouring in so it is better to do it once every couple of hours.

Helping your employees with the above three areas can help them live a higher quality of life. This will also allow them to be as productive for the company as possible which is the best outcome for both situations!

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Jeremy WebbEmployee Personal Life Management Tips Help Company Production
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What Your Logo Says About Your Startup

When starting a business there’s a lot to consider. Not only do you have to have a business plan and figure out how to get funding, but you also have to come up with a marketing strategy. At this point you haven’t even started to stock up on inventory, and you’ve got to create that website, and so much more.

Among all the other items on your to-do list, you also have to come up with the perfect logo to represent your business. Tools like Deluxe’s logo maker make it easy to create a logo on your own based on industry-specific templates—saving you both time and money— but there’s still a lot to consider.

Details you might have thought were insignificant can seriously impact how your consumers feel about your brand. Everything from the color and font to the design has meaning, even if it isn’t readily apparent, and it only takes 10 seconds for a customer to form an impression of your business based on its logo. Milton Glaser said, “There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.”

What some entrepreneurs don’t realize is that your logo is more than just a visual representation of your company—it sends a message about your brand. What does your logo say about your startup?

Color

Different colors hold different meanings. They evoke emotions, even if we don’t realize it consciously. The color of your logo can have a serious influence on how consumers and potential customers view your brand. A whopping 84.7 percent of consumers have reported that color was the main reason behind their purchase of a particular product, and 80 percent feel color increases brand recognition.

That said, you can see just how important color is to your design. So, what does the color of your logo say about your company?

Reds –

Red represents power, passion, energy, boldness, excitement, and love.

Purples –

Traditionally, purple represents nobility or royalty, wisdom, and creativity.

Blues –

Blue represents peace, trust, confidence, and caring.

Yellows –

Bright and happy, yellow represents joy, confidence, and optimism.

Oranges –

Orange represents energy, warmth, balance, and friendliness.

Greens –

The dominant color in nature, green represents the environment, health, good luck, growth, and generosity.

Black –

Black represents power, mystery, and sophistication.

Rainbow –

A combination of colors or rainbow design can represent positivity, playfulness, and whimsy.  

Font

Like color, the font you use sends out messages, too. There are thousands of different fonts you can choose from, and if you don’t like any of those, you can create your own. There are five main types of fonts, though.

Serif –

Serif fonts, like Times New Roman, have strokes at the ends of the letters and are considered traditional fonts that communicate authority, reliability, and respect.

Sans Serif –

Sans serif fonts like Calibri are those without the strokes at the ends of the letters. Sans serif fonts are considered more modern because they can be more easily ready in digital formats and communicate stability and objectivity.

Script-Like –

Script-like fonts, like Monotype Corsiva, look like cursive writing and are considered elegant, whimsical, and creative.

Display –

Display fonts are typically non-traditional and attention-grabbing, like Cooper Black. They are unique and expressive fonts.

Modern –

Modern fonts are sleek and expressive fonts like Century Gothic. They communicate progressiveness and strength and are chic and on-trend.

Symbols and Shapes

Just like colors and fonts, symbols and shapes send messages. There are three basic shapes you could use in your logo, geometric, organic, and abstract. Geometric shapes are basic ones like triangles, squares, and circles; organic shapes are things like flowers, leaves, and elements of the natural world.

Abstract symbols are representations of objects like people, signs, and icons. All these are typically composed of the same basic shapes, though.

Squares –

The structured shape of a square represents reliability and stability.

Circles –

Circles represent completion and harmony because they are infinite and connected.

Pentagons, hexagons, and octagons –

These shapes can be used to make your logo stand out as unique and attention-grabbing.

Triangles –

Triangles represent direction. Triangles that are pointed up represent power while triangles that are pointed down typically show instability.

No matter how small, your logo says a lot. When designing a logo, it’s important to consider everything from color to font and the symbols that layer into it. Logos hold a lot of meaning, and you want to be sure that yours sends the right message about your brand.

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Jeremy WebbWhat Your Logo Says About Your Startup
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These Startups Will Help You Survive Wedding Season

When you’re planning a wedding, it’s easy to feel stressed and become overwhelmed. Not only is there so much to plan, but so many places to go and so many things that have to get done. It may seem like you’ll never get it all taken care of in time.

And…YES…Weddings Are Business. Big Business.

Luckily, you’re not alone. There are a lot of others who feel the same way which is why they created companies to solve the challenges you’ll face when planning a wedding and will help make your life a little bit easier.

Startups That Will Make Your Wedding a Breeze.

Enchanted Diamonds –

Enchanted Diamonds makes ring shopping a breeze. They offer everything you need, all in one place. From education about different diamond cuts, color, clarity, etc. to the diamonds and rings themselves as well as wedding bands for the ceremony, there’s no need to go from store to store to find the perfect ring. You can get online, find the perfect one, and focus on planning the proposal.

WeddingWire –

WeddingWire is the ultimate wedding planning tool. You can use it to find venues, vendors, and get ideas, all in one place. They also provide tools that help you with hotel blocks, budgeting, and generating hashtags that will be perfect for the big day. It’s easy to use, extremely helpful, and it doesn’t cost a thing.

Wedivite –

Wedivite is a digital invitation service that lets you save both money and trees. They work to make wedding planning fun, social, and stress-free. With Wedivite you don’t have to worry about invitations getting lost in the mail, and you’ll find out right away if they weren’t delivered for some reason and can correct the issue immediately. Guests can also RSVP making it easy and instant to get an attendance count.

On your Wedivite, you can include directions, ask for song suggestions, receive greetings and notes, and much more!

Azazie –

Azazie is the ultimate resource for all things apparel (for the women of the party anyway). They have everything from bridesmaid dresses (in every color) to dresses for the mother of the bride, and the most beautiful bridal gowns you could dream. They have accessories to top everything off too. If you’re not sure how something is going to look and want to try it before making a final decision, Azazie has a “Try At Home” option to help you make sure everything is perfect, and they offer swatches to make sure that your colors all match.

In addition to all that, if you’re in need of some inspiration or want to see how a certain dress looks on an actual bride, they offer inspiration from real Azazie weddings, color ideas, a style gallery and more!

Menguin –

Menguin is a suit rental service that is all online. You can request swatches to make sure that the colors are perfect, then once you’re ready, you simply build your tux style, invite your groomsmen, enter your sizes, and get it shipped to your house with plenty of time to spare. Once the wedding is over, you put your tux back in the box and attach the prepaid shipping label, drop it in the mail, and you’re done.

Instead of spending hours in stores trying to find the perfect style, fit, and price, you can do it all quickly and easily online and still look as good.

Zola –

Zola is a gift registry site that carries more than 500 brands from Cuisinart and KitchenAid to Oneida and Kate Spade. Instead of couples having to go to the store(s) where they want to register, they can spend that time curled up together on the couch and add anything and everything they could ever want and need to their registry right there online. All you have to do is register, find what you want, and let your guests choose their gifts.

Once it’s all said and done, Zola will ship your gifts to you, but if there’s something you need to exchange before it even arrives, you can do it easily online.

WedPics –

WedPics is a photography site that makes it simple and easy to get all of your guests’ photos of the event in one convenient location. Oh, and it’s free unless you want to upgrade to get premium features! You create your event and can invite an unlimited number of guests. They can share all of their photos, and you can download as many as you want or order prints to keep forever.

Bloomrent –

Bloomrent was launched as a way for brides to get their flowers and centerpieces at an affordable price. Flowers are expensive and can add up fast, but if you go through Bloomrent, you get a discount. How? Well, after you consult with a florist and get your perfect centerpieces, you can list them with Bloomrent to be rented out by others (after your event, of course). ​

When they’re rented out, you Bloomrent will give you a percentage of the price and put money back in your pocket.

AllSeated –

AllSeated is a platform that gives you a 360, 3D view of your venue so that you can do a virtual walkthrough and start planning seating arrangements to get things all worked out before it gets down to crunch time. You can sign up for free and then use their virtual reality technology to look at the venue as if you’re there.

You’ll have constant access to your venue and can design the perfect floor-plan through the platform so that you’ll be completely prepared when it’s time to start arranging.

In Conclusion.

Weddings can be stressful to plan, and surviving wedding season is tough. With the help of these startups, though, you’ll have everything under control in no time and will get to spend more, much-needed quality time with your sweetheart.

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Jeremy WebbThese Startups Will Help You Survive Wedding Season
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How to Conduct an Effective Design Sprint

This post was written by Ondřej Dostál, Designer for Toptal.

design sprint is a methodology invented by Jake Knapp and Google Ventures used to validate ideas through design, prototyping, user testing, and collaboration in only five days. While it won’t leave us with a finished product, it’s debatably the fastest and cheapest way to validate business strategies or product ideas with real users.

It’s a low-risk/high-reward process that offers a more structured and more effective approach to creative thinking compared to traditional brainstorming. The design sprint methodology has been adopted by top companies such as Medium, Slack, and IDEO as well as Google Ventures and the many successful companies they’ve invested in.

Diagram of the 5-day design sprint process

Design sprints are a 5-day process used to validate ideas.

Warming Up for the Sprint

5-day design sprints can be intense, but they’re also fun, exciting, and very insightful as long as the sprint process goes smoothly. In order for this to happen, some planning is required.

Recruiting the Team

A design sprint is run by a facilitator, or “Sprint Master.” Their first objective is to clarify the problem that needs solving and recruit a team to conduct the sprint.

A sprint team usually consists of only 5–7 members, which makes managing the team easier. It’s important that these members have diverse skillsets so that we can approach the problem with a broader spectrum of opinions; hence, a sprint team usually consists of a facilitator, a designer, a developer, a customer service representative, and a marketer.

For remote design sprints, the facilitator should ideally recruit members from similar time zones (or as a last resort, use an app like Every Time Zone to decipher the “time zone sweet spot” where everyone is awake and available at the same time).

After the team is recruited, name one member to be the decider—this person will make the final call on all important decisions. A decider doesn’t have to be a high ranking officer in the company, just someone whose decisions are trusted by the rest of the team.

To summarize:

  • facilitator, to ensure that the team stays on track
  • customer service representative, for user insight
  • designer, for their knowledge of design software and UX
  • developer, for their understanding of any technical limitations
  • marketer, who can determine if the solution has a market value
  • decider, who’ll have the final word on decisions (assigned to one of the above)

A facilitator should ideally book a meeting room for the week, as it’s better to keep the design sprint team isolated from the rest of the company and focused on the sprint.

Remote Teams: Ensure Good Equipment and Surroundings

Each team member should be in a can-talk environment (for example, if using coworking spaces, other members of the coworking space should be okay with us talking throughout the day). A good internet connection and microphone are also essential.

If some team members are in-house while others are remote, consider purchasing a conference microphone (an omnidirectional microphone that sits on a table).

Tools for the Design Sprint

The team will need a way to share their notes, check each others’ schedules, and most importantly, communicate with one another. A natural choice of tools for these tasks is the G Suite, as Google offers a wide range of tools that work seamlessly under a single login, and where team members and documents are super easy to manage.

The tools we’ll need for a design sprint are:

  • Google Hangouts, for group calls
  • Google Calendar, for checking schedules
  • Google Docs, for taking notes, and
  • Google Sheets, for recording the user test results

As well as the G Suite tools, we’ll also need:

Once we check every item off this list, we’re all set to start our design sprint on Monday. It’s worth noting that due to the natural time constraints of design sprints, everyone on the team should understand the design sprint process beforehand.

Monday: Map

The first day of the sprint is dedicated to reverse-engineering the problem. Reverse-engineering is the process of deconstructing the problem in order to understand its root cause, (and in turn, the solution).

Reverse-engineering the Problem

After agreeing on a long-term target (e.g., to increase signups), draw a customer journey map on the whiteboard that depicts the various ways that users might reach this target. Place the users on the left side, the target on the right, then write down all of the steps in between. To keep the whiteboard somewhat organized, the facilitator should draw the map while the rest of the team suggests ideas. This process will set the foundation for the rest of the design sprint, so we should take our time here.

A customer journey map

A customer journey map made with Mural, a digital whiteboard.

Before moving on, the facilitator will discuss the customer journey map with each team member individually, tweaking it if necessary.

Creating “How Might We” Notes

The next step is to add How Might We notes (HMW for short) on the whiteboard. Where each step in the customer journey is likely to come with its own stumbling blocks, HMW notes are formulated as a “How might we…” question on a sticky note—for example, “How might we make the signup form easy to use?” These stumbling blocks are opportunities for improvement and will determine the direction of our MVP design.

Examples of "How Might We" notes

The ideal HMW question isn’t too broad or too narrow. Source: Medium.

Focusing on a Specific Customer Journey

We’ll need to organize the HMW notes by similarity and consolidate them, as we don’t want our whiteboard to become too cluttered. With a cleaner whiteboard, assign each team member two votes to decide which HMW notes should be a high priority.

If the team is using Mural, take advantage of their built-in voting toolsStrawpoll is also a decent alternative, or if the team is using Slack, Polly can be installed in seconds.

Making decisions as a team using Polly for Slack

Polly allows teams to quickly vote on anything in Slack.

Once the voting is over, add the winning HMW notes to the customer journey map and discuss which journey to focus on for the rest of the sprint (other journeys can be explored in another sprint at another time). The decider ultimately has the final decision.

Planning Ahead: Finding User Testers for Friday

During the day, a nominated team member should begin looking for user testers because, on Friday, we’ll want to test the solution that we’ll build on Thursday. It’s recommended that these interviews be conducted face-to-face, or using remote user testing tools such as Lookback and UserTesting (which conveniently integrate with prototyping tools Marvel and InVision respectively).

6–10 interviews is a reasonable amount. Schedule the interviews for about 10-ish so that there is enough time to review them at the end of the day.

Tuesday: Sketch

Tuesday is about finding a solution. Get ready to start sketching!

First things first, get inspired. Most innovations are made by remixing old ideas, so try to explore already-existing solutions to similar problems. While the team suggests solutions to look at, the facilitator will place viable solutions on the whiteboard.

After that, each team member will choose a section of the customer journey to sketch by themselves, using a method known as The Four-Step Sketch.

The Four-Step Sketch

The four-step sketch approach to prototyping is designed to systematically turn abstract ideas into concrete solutions via rapid iteration. They don’t need to be perfect.

Rapid iteration using the four-step sketch method

The four-step sketch is a systematic approach to sketching.
  • Step 1: Notes—start with 20 minutes of note-taking
  • Step 2: Ideas—for another 20 minutes, sketch some rough ideas
  • Step 3: Crazy 8s—sketch eight variations of the best idea, one minute per variation
  • Step 4: Solution Sketch—create a three-step storyboard of the solution, spending 30–120 minutes adding more fidelity to the chosen variation

A three-step storyboard

A three-step storyboard that illustrations the suggested solution in more detail.

After completing the exercise, wrap up the day by handing over the sketched solutions to the facilitator. (Remote teams: Upload them to an InVision Project or Mural Whiteboard.)

Wednesday: Decide

Wednesday is about selecting the best solution and creating a final storyboard.

Once each team member has privately reviewed the sketches, discuss each solution as a group, spending no more than three minutes per sketch. Then take another vote, this time deciding on which solution will be storyboarded and prototyped for user testing.

Next, we’ll need to prepare the storyboard for prototyping by increasing the fidelity. It’s best if the designer recreates the chosen storyboard as a high-contrast wireframe, as we don’t want to overthink the design due to our time constraints. A simple or “ugly” UI will do fine, as long as the user tester is able to visualize and understand it.

It’s up to the designer whether to use AxureBalsamiq, or something else entirely to design the wireframe. Even a design tool like Sketch or Adobe XD would be suitable, as long as we’re focusing on the UX and choosing function over form.

A wireframe made in Balsamiq

A wireframe made in Balsamiq.

On Thursday, we’ll turn this wireframe into a clickable prototype!

Thursday: Prototype

Before anything, we’ll need to confirm the interview times with the user testers. As mentioned earlier, aim to start them at around 10–11 AM so that we have enough time to review the interviews (and the effectiveness of the overall design sprint) afterward.

Assign at least one team member (preferably the marketer or customer support representative) to write a script for the customer interview. This person will create a list of questions in a Google Sheet to ask the user tester as they review our prototype.

A Google Sheet with customer interview questions

Scripted interview questions to be asked during user tests.

Meanwhile, the prototyping designer will begin turning the wireframe into an interactive prototype with the rest of the team’s input and direction. It’s up to the designer which tool should be used, and also depends on the tool used to create the wireframe.

For example, if Axure was used to create the wireframe, then we could also use it for prototyping, especially since we can preview the prototype on mobile afterward.

If the wireframes were sketched on paper, Marvel offers a dead simple way to import and recreate them before turning them into interactive prototypes and conducting user tests with their Lookback integration.

If the wireframes were created in Sketch or Photoshop, the way to go would be InVision as it’s easily the most widely-adopted and full-featured prototyping app available today. It also allows for live previewing and directly integrates with UserTesting.

If created in Adobe XD, then we can also use it to create and user test our prototype without any additional tools.

Friday: Test

Friday—the final day of the design sprint. Our prototype is ready for user testing, and we’ll start the day by making sure that the team has the prototype and script at hand.

After that, we’ll begin the interviews using the The Five-Act Interview method:

The Five-Act Interview

  1. Act 1: Friendly Welcome. Make the tester feel comfortable and welcome, then explain what user testing is and why we’re doing it.
  2. Act 2: Context Questions. Ask broad questions to learn more about the user and their background, then gradually steer the conversation towards the prototype.
  3. Act 3: Introducing the Prototype. Make sure that the tester understands why something might not work as expected and that there are no wrong answers when it comes to feedback. We want to encourage honest, candid feedback.
  4. Act 4: Tasks. Let the user figure out the prototype for themselves. Ask open-ended questions to encourage the tester to think aloud.
  5. Act 5: Debrief. Ask the tester to summarize their experience. Don’t forget to thank them for their time, and request if we can follow up if needed.
The Five-Act Interview is a five-step approach to conducting user testing interviews.

During the customer interview, record the answers in a Google Sheet. Once all of the interviews are complete, try to identify common insights and label them as positivenegativeor neutral. From this, we’ll be able to decide whether or not our prototype was a good solution to the problem, and if so, identify areas of improvement.

Next Steps

While design sprints won’t result in a finished product, they do help validate ideas quickly and affordably, providing a wealth of insights in a relatively short space of time. Before wrapping up the sprint, decide what to do with the prototype.

Will we improve the prototype and conduct a follow-up sprint?

Will we tackle a different customer journey in another sprint?

A huge benefit to learning how to conduct an effective design sprint is that we can reuse the technique to develop and experiment with ideas time and time again.

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Michelle YoungHow to Conduct an Effective Design Sprint
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How Much Data Does Facebook and Advertisers have on You?

Over the last ten years Facebook has gathered too much data and shared far it too widely.  Facebook knows more than you think they know about you, and behind every feature, it is collecting data.  With the latest Cambridge Analytica-Facebook privacy data scandal, I think it’s important for both consumers and businesses to fully understand how Facebook is using and selling your data to advertisers.

These advertisers then target you with ads in an almost “psychically creepy,” stocking way.  Business Insider recently reported about hidden trackers on websites that use ‘login with Facebook‘ to harvest your data. 

A conspiracy theory has been going around among Facebook and Instagram users:  are these two companies maybe tapping our microphones to target ads? According to a statement released by Facebook’s Newsroom, “Facebook does not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed.”  

And our government swears that there are not any aliens being kept in the secretive base, in Nevada, called Area 51.  

Some of Facebook’s past employees have been quoted saying that scanning and upload that much audio data “would strain the resources of the NSA,” says Antonio Garcia Martinez, a former Facebook ad-targeting product manager.

 For this to be possible, “Facebook would need to understand the context of what you are saying – not just listen for the words to mentioned, “ Sandy Parakilas, a former Facebook operations manager said.

Recently reported by the WSJ, Facebook, has admitted to logging the phone call and messaging histories of some Android smartphone users who installed its messaging app or a lighter version of its main Facebook app.

This followed users’ reports on Twitter in the past week that they had examined their Facebook data and saw the company logging the information.

So, if Facebook and Instagram are really not eavesdropping on conversations, then how is it that users are often shown ads which seem like they these social media sites appear to know too much about them?  

While Facebook’s technologies have become very sophisticated at watching what we do online, and even offline, as we are wandering around the actual world – how do they obtain our personal data if they are not literally listening to our conversations?  

Because of this question, I decided to conduct a bit of research on what information and data Facebook and its advertisers collect, and the data I have handed over to them.  

Based on my research, it now has become abundantly clear as to why we get those eerily relevant ads sometimes — I will detail my findings below. I also want to touch on how Facebook and other advertisers sometimes “get it wrong” in an almost comically annoying way.  

Just because you’re in your thirties, and you are a woman who bought a baby shower gift, doesn’t mean you need to see ads for maternity clothes every time you open Facebook. When an ad is shown enough to annoy you, you can click the little arrow on the top right corner of the post, then select “Why am I seeing this?” option.

why-am-i-seeing-this

It’s fairly obvious that advertising is a crucial component of the free internet, but the companies that are buying and selling ads appear to be crossing the line in certain cases.  Sometimes, it almost seems like they are stalking you. I think it’s important for companies that are getting started on Facebook advertising, and for users of these platforms, to understand what they’re doing, and what a person can – or cannot – do to limit info if privacy is a concern.

Here are the four major areas where Facebook and advertisers are collecting data and what you can do about it:

1) What you have purchased?

If you shop at pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens to buy some medicine, they usually ask you to key in your phone number to get rewards or loyalty points. Many people do this without thinking about it.  When you enter your email, phone number or a customer ID card as you check out at a store, your purchase history is recorded and stored.

In turn, data brokers can legally obtain your purchase information details because they buy that history from stores, like CVS or Walgreens, that sell their customer purchase information.

This is how information about the contents of what you just bought suddenly begins to spread. As an example, a third party collector, such as Nielsen-Catalina Solutions, will compile and categorize purchase history that it acquires from CVS about its customers.  

So, if I bought a bottle of Theraflu, the manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK), could pay Nielsen-Catalina Solutions for this information.  When this information is purchased, GlaxoSmithKline is now armed with an enormous arsenal of Facebook’s advertising tools, information from my loyalty cards, email or phone number and more.  

Using all this data, GlaxoSmithKline can match their advertising with my Facebook account. Now according Facebook, data brokers run personal information through an algorithm before uploading it, so that it’s not identifiable, but it can still be matched with Facebook account information.  

So then continuing with this example, GSK, via Facebook, can decide to target adults between the ages of 25 to 54, who purchased Theraflu or a competing brand.   

How to Opt Out of Data Gathering

Follow the links below for instructions to stop tracking by the largest data brokers:

For starters, if you want to limit the amount information that is sold and used by advertising, try using store loyalty cards, or at least sign up for them with an email or phone you do not use.   

Facebook works directly with the six data brokers listed above, all of which give you the opportunity to opt out of them sharing of your personal data, from your email to your purchase history.  Of course, this is not easy, by design. The “opting out” process literally requires visiting each data broker website and completing a form with, yes, your personal info!

2) Where have you and your devices been?

For advertisers, what could be better than your purchase history? That answer can be found in the famous phrase: location, location, location.  Did you stop at a retail store? This ad will remind you to return! Are you in close vicinity to one of our shops? Well, here is a coupon.    

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, called “Your Location Data Is Being Sold—Often Without Your Knowledge” the author, describes how advertisers are using all kinds of location signals.  Which include your smartphone’s GPS, Wifi-access points around you, IP addresses and more to follow your breadcrumbs.

Do you want to limit Facebook from knowing where you are?  To do so, follow these steps in Facebook’s mobile app (IOS and Android):

Settings > Account Settings > Location and turn off location tracking.

For increased security, you can disable location history as well prevent the social network from keeping tabs on your whereabouts.  It does not stop from there.  Other apps can pinpoint your locale and serve you ads back through Facebook.

So, before granting any new app location access, think it through.  On an iPhone, you can do the following: Settings > Privacy > Location Services and go through the apps that you have already granted location access. If you are concerned with turning this kind of tracking?  They should all say “Never” or “While Using” – not “Always.” If you have an Android, it’s easier: just go to Settings > Location.

Additionally, businesses can opt-in to provide wifi access or just monitor devices in their establishment and then be paid by the number of devices that use their network or are trapped in their beacon.  An example of this is a local hot dog restaurant, who stated conversationally to the CEO of a small marketing firm that he was getting monthly checks from a company that had installed a tracker for mobile devices in his restaurant, and there was nothing he needed to do besides give permission for the tracker to be there.

3) Which apps do you use regularly?  

Let’s assume you are thinking about keeping in shape- Summer will be here soon enough. So, you go into the iTunes App Store and download a food-tracking app to your iPhone. The next day you may see your Facebook and Instagram feed flooded with fitness and weight loss ads. If it was already obvious, the Facebook-owned Instagram pulls from the same ad selection.   

How it usually works with these apps is that you initially download and use a free version of an app. Let’s use the example of a food tracking app called Lose lt.  

You will be shown ads from Facebook’s Audience Network. Now, even if you do not login to the app via Facebook, the companies swap information.  Usually the app’s maker or parent company can use your iPhone’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). The IDFA is a number stored on your phone, to match up any other history associated with your  IDFA, which also includes your Facebook account.

Again if you want to limit this, go into your iPhone’s Settings menu.  It is there where you can actually limit the ability for advertisers to get a hold of your iPhone’s unique identifier.  

Keeping with the same food tracking app example, if you open the app, your IDFA could become associated with “Weight Loss” or even “Healthy Living” which would now be marked on your Facebook advertising profile.     

Apple gives you the ability to limit advertisers from getting your IDFA. In iOS go to Settings > Privacy > Advertising > turn on Limit Ad Tracking.  At the time you should reset the advertising identifier. With Android’s similar system, just go to Settings > Google > Ads > Opt out of Ads Personalization.  

4) What have you clicked or visited?    

pixel

Obviously,  web browsing history is another way that Facebook mines and collects information about you. The ‘social plug-ins’ (for example, the ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ buttons) and the Facebook Pixel is installed on millions of apps and websites.  Facebook Pixel allows advertisers to see what you do on there.

Often referred to as re-marketing or social retargeting, it’s when you see an ad for Vineyard Vines dress shirts after browsing for them.  Add something to a shopping cart? Click on a different product or article on the site. The Pixel will know.         

If you find it annoying that ads are following you around, you can have some options.  One option is called interest-based advertising. It is pretty common and is used across the web by the big tech platforms.  Google, Amazon, Facebook and others offer ways to opt out on their own websites.

Specifically, on Facebook, you can go to Settings > Account Settings > Ads > Ad Settings and turn off all the settings on that page. If you want to take it a step further, you can delete any interests Facebook may have gathered about you previously. If you want to prevent the same when you are your Laptop, install the extensions Ghostery or Privacy Badger  on your browser.  

Both of these to view and disable – trackers that are running on webpages. The Firefox browser just made a smart play: by creating a Facebook Container Extension. that helps you control more of your web activity by separating your Facebook profile from the rest of your web-browsing to limit the info FaceBook can collect about you on other websites via third party cookies.   

Who are you really?  

All that information, combined with your activity on Facebook, as well as Instagram – which post or pages you’ve liked, the people you are friends with and more- give the social media behemoth a very good social graph portrait of you.  This portrait gets even more clear when more information from the data brokers: your salary, car preference, home size, political affiliations, spending habits and much more is revealed.  

facebook-google-ad-market-share

This is why, just behind Google, Facebook commands the second most digital advertising spend. During the last quarter of 2017, Facebook reported $12.97 billion in revenue, including $12.78 billion from ads.  That’s 98.5 percent of Facebook’s revenue coming from ads.

This is what allows any advertiser to log into Facebook Ads Manager and perform micro-targeting. You can try it for yourself, log in and laser focus on people in a certain zip code who have bought appliances and furniture- people who are “likely to move soon.”   

Now short of deleting Facebook entirely and moving into the woods, there is not anything you can do stop this entirely.    

Some people can argue that having all this data means that they can provide you with more relevant ads. And some people care more than others about their privacy and personal information being used.

 Facebook’s spokesperson Joe Osborne says: “That’s why we build our targeting tools in a way that doesn’t share people’s personal information with advertisers and that gives people control over the ads they see.” But, if we circle back to the latest Cambridge Analytica data scandal, where millions users information was used without their knowledge for political gain, you have to wonder.

How much do you trust Facebook and what their PR team says? Facebook had already settled a case with the FTC in 2011 that required Facebook to protect user data from this sort of thing, AND obtain permission from (and notify) users before using or sharing their data.   

Facebook is doing what it always set out to do: collect our data points and sell them to anyone willing to pay. Do you actually think Goldman Sachs and DST Global (a Russian investor with Kremlin ties) chipped in $450 million so we can post cat videos and pictures of our food for free?   

The goal of connecting the world is just marketing, and to do that, you must understand that the value of Facebook is two-fold, that of your data to third parties and to the direct ads that are targeted to you.  In addition, this could also include the dimension of your friends, who have not signed up for the ads that are focused on you, but of people in your social circle who may have similar tastes to you. Just assume that if it’s a free app, you, and your social circle, are the product.

Conclusion      

As a cofounder of a digital marketing agency, I understand that advertising has been what has financed radio, TV and free content on the internet. Whenever you sign up for a free service, which has been designed to be easy to use, with terms and conditions discreetly listed in inconspicuous text somewhere on the bottom of the page, you are the product or target.

My concern is that the public still does not have enough transparency about how exactly these digital ads are targeted toward us.  

The more that consumers understand about the linkage between smartphones, browsing history, location history and data that can now be aggregated with demographic information provided from you to Facebook, the more this targeting will make sense. It’s not that “they” are listening to your conversations through your computer’s microphone, but data aggregation.

“They” (marketers) are monitoring users app downloads and daily trips to Wholefoods, and know their age and income information in addition to their browsing history, and purchase history.  The more consumers understand this, the more they realize how much their privacy is at stake, and it will be incumbent upon the user to police their own privacy.

Heads up: if you are still worried about the mic on your phone, by all means you can turn it off.  (On iPhone, go to Settings > Privacy > Microphone > Facebook. On Android, go to Settings > Apps > Facebook > Permissions > Disable microphone.  In the iPhone’s Settings menu, you can disable the Facebook app from accessing your microphone.   

Facebook is now trying to rebuild it’s trust, by announcing a post in it’s newsroom titled “ It’s Time to Make Our Privacy Tools Easier to Find.”  It also just said that it’s going to limit how much data it makes available to advertisers (by cutting third-party data providers) buying hyper-targeted ads on the social network.

More specifically, Facebook says it will stop using data from third-party data aggregators — companies such as Experian and Acxiom — to help supplement its own data set for ad targeting.   

If the issue is privacy, why does every app and site incentivize users to scroll past pages of legal boilerplate to hit “I Agree,” rather than writing up top in large type:

*****“THIS IS THE ONE SENTENCE YOU’VE GOTTA THINK ABOUT BEFORE YOU AGREE”?    

Facebook’s Privacy Updates

Recently since Mark Zuckerberg CEO, was called in on April 10th and 11, to testify before Congress, FB announced a bunch of changes: restricting access that apps can get about users’ events, as well as information about groups such as member lists and content.

In addition, the company is also removing the option to search for users by entering a phone number or an email address. While this helped individuals find friends who may have a common name, Facebook says businesses that had phone or email information on customers were able to collect profile information this way. 

A few weeks ago all Facebook users will received a notice on their Facebook feeds with a link to see what apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps. They’ll have a chance to delete apps they no longer want. Facebook’s new privacy policy aims to explain the data it gathers on users more clearly — but doesn’t actually change what it collects and shares.

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Digital-Marketing Tips for Bootstrapped Startups

You just launched a startup and need to get your brand in front of as many eyes as possible. The problem is you are not just competing in your industry, you are competing with the millions of other marketing messages that consumers are bombarded with every day.

Not only that, your bootstrapped startup does not have the funds to invest heavily into digital marketing. What’s an entrepreneur to do?

Focus On Your Target Audience

When you initially start the marketing of your business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and you just want to reach out to every single person all in one time. But, the most important point is to stay focus on reaching your target audience who have the potential to make your business a success and help it grow.

Rather than you try to grab the attention of your potential clients, zero in on a target part that will assist you in reaching your short-term goals. Maybe this target part is made up of initial adopters, who you feel will buy your product instantly – or they might be a target audience you have knowledge of as to how to communicate with them. Whatever the case is, staying focused will assist you in reaching your target audience more efficiently and it is better to make use of whatever restricted resources you have.

Build Planned Partnerships

Build strong brand partnerships, align with an already established brand this will help your startup in gaining popularity along with credibility. Select a business that you like – ideally a setup which offers complimentary services so you can refer them. Or you can also opt for applying a referral fee on both sides so that there is a financial benefit to both the setups that brings in more business.

Connect And Communicate With Your Followers

Social media is one of the best ways to connect with your followers and to engage with them. Your followers are highly important as they are your future customers. Make your followers feel valuable to you and the brand, so they stick around and become loyal members.

Also never be afraid of the social confrontation, if there is any complaint against your brand take a step forward in solving it, use this as an opportunity to show how capable your brand’s customer service is.

Also do not be afraid of social confrontation, approach any complaint as an opportunity to show your brand’s customer-service capabilities.

Lastly, embrace your failures and stop hiding from them, you are a startup and you are bound to face some problems. Use these hurdles strategically as an opportunity to win over the customers with good customer service and display your business long-term mission as much as possible.

Incentivize Individuals To Share

If you want your brand to be the center of attention, there is nothing more like giving them a motivation to do so. Offer them something that will be free if they just tweet about your service or product or ask them to share your post on Facebook. Or in return for liking all your social media profiles, they will get some special perk.

Another way you can engage and incentivize your followers is a contest. Setup a contest for them, pick the winner and give them an incentive or some prize. You can get creative with how to motivate your customers and incentivize them, the only thing you need to make sure is that there is proper value in for them.

Content Is And Will Be The King

This is one of the long-term strategies, but developing branded quality content is one of the best ways to market your newly launched startup.  If you are working with a team that doesn’t consist of a good content creator, then you can wait for a few months to get more established.

Branded content is a fantastic way to partner your company with the themes that are relevant to your industry, and if you have something that is of value to add to the industry, it can instantly get you established as an expert.

An essential thing you must remember is that your content should be not promotional –don’t just go about writing your business offerings or your company’s services, instead write an article about some issues in the industry and write some considerate analysis and commentary related to it. Another great way to create branded content is by conducting surveys in your industry and then publish the results that are pertinent – the more unique your data is the more attention it will earn.

Take Advantage Of Social Media

One of the most common methods of marketing your brand is by making use of the social media platforms. However, it is important that you make use of the right methods of using social media marketing. You want to ensure that you are not only posting on a regular basis but you are also engaging with your users. You just don’t want your Twitter and Facebook profiles to be streaming with your company’s promotional content.

Instead, you should share content that will engage your users. You want to provide content to your users that is valuable, it’s important that you understand your audience well so that you can give them the right amount of information that is helpful and engaging.

If you feel that your users or followers are more into visual content then focus on platforms like Pinterest or Instagram. If you feel the services you offer can be best described through text info, then develop a powerful presence on Facebook by Buying Real Facebook Photo Post Likes from Digi SMM

Apply For Business Awards

Whether you have started a new service that will make the lives of your customers easy, or you are advertising a product that has never been launched in the market before – getting recognition award from a local business will definitely help you in increasing the credibility of your brand. No award is small, as it only means increased recognition for your business. Getting a local business award will only give your newly launched startup more acceptability.

Let us know about, what marketing strategies you have applied for your startup.

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It's Back: Female Leaders Month May 2018 #SGWomen

Every year in May Startup Grind hosts our #SGWomen Leaders Month — proudly recognizing the accomplishments of successful women leaders all over the world. These women are founders, venture capitalists, engineers, executives and more, who represent our community.

They are the women who exemplify profound leadership skills, hard-work, humility, and success and demonstrate their strength with devotion to the work they do everyday. They encourage and inspire us all.

Startup Grind’s #SGWomen launched four years ago and is about putting a heightened focus and an awareness on our everyday mission to create more inclusive communities. Never has Startup Grind’s mission been more potent than in the realm of entrepreneurship, startups, business, and representing women everywhere in the tech space.

The most shocking statistics most of us are familiar with:

Women-led tech companies received a mere $1.9 billion in funding (about two percent) last year. This figure may seem a large investment until it stands in comparison to the heaping $66.9 billion invested in companies with all-male founders.

Black women received far less than one percent of all venture capital deals. Only nine percent of VC partners are women, some companies recently hiring their first female partners yet.

Women are banning together and men are stepping up as allies to help improve these statistics and work toward changing the environment; but clearly we still have much work to do.

The good news.

The good news is there are more female entrepreneurs today than ever before. The decision-making women in the world of venture capital are shaking things up for good.

All Raise’s Cowboy Ventures’ Aileen Lee was one of the first female VC’s to publicly recognize and speak out on the problem of unrecognized female leadership. Lee has made it her mission to work toward solving these inequities. All Raise — announced last month — was founded by 34 senior female investors and as a new non-profit organization it is dedicated to diversity in funders & founders.

Many of these dynamic VC’s recently graced the cover as part of the 2018 Forbes Midas List. I’m proud to say all but two of them have spoken at a Startup Grind’s Global Conference, recognizing the best women and men in business.

Reshaping the industry.

We along with many other organizations and individuals are working to help reshape what the tech industry looks like. We have the power to encourage inclusive thinking within our organization — which spans 350 cities and 120 countries globally. We’re doing what we can to spread that message by modeling it.

May events.

One purpose of our May events is to tell the stories of the journey, the grind, and the setbacks of great female leaders. From Lagos, Nigeria to Detroit, Michigan. From Mexico City to Hong Kong. Over 100 Startup Grind chapters in more than 25 countries will host events as part of our #SGWomen Female Leaders Campaign.

It is important that we recognize, listen to and encourage these women as we work toward building a more inclusive ecosystem. Anyone and everyone who believes in our mission to work toward change  —  men and women alike  —  should come out to an event in May.

Startup Grind’s mission is to educate, inspire, and connect  — ultimately helping every entrepreneur in the world. We want to do the type of work we are proud of. We want to produce work that helps others, even if it’s only in a small way.

We can all move toward change.

We must produce work that represents diversity and inclusiveness as a standard  — where diversity should be celebrated, but is also expected. We must share this message through our actions — not just with words. One thing has become especially clear this year  — we have to talk about it.

Here is a list of our events happening around the world.

Here is how you can get involved:

Attend an event.

These aren’t your typical “tech events” these are community events with the purpose of bringing amazing people together to build relationships and help each other. Bring a friend or come to meet a new one. Even better, invite a female entrepreneur or colleague along with you. Of course, all events are for both men and women — all are welcome. From there you’re part of our community  —  it’s as simple as that.

Apply for a free ticket to our European Conference.

Apply for a free ticket to our Europe Conference. We’re giving away 100 comp tickets to women in tech for our upcoming Europe Conference on June 13 in London. We’ll be doing the same for our Global Conference in Silicon Valley February 11–13, 2019  —  stay tuned for updates on that.

Spread the word.

Use #SGWomen to recognize female leaders in your community or to share content and photos of Startup Grind events you attend. Mention @startupgrind so we can share them, too.

Suggest a speaker.

Send us a note at speakers@startupgrind.com if you know of a female leader who would be a great addition to one of our stages around the world. We’re always looking for great women to join our lineup at the Global Conference in February and at our Europe Conference in June as well.

Become a Partner.

At Startup Grind, we help both startups and large corporations alike tap into our potent network of global entrepreneurs. We also want to help you get your message, resources, etc. in front of our community. Please reach out — we’d love to talk. Write to sponsor@startupgrind.com.

For further inspiration, here is a laundry list of powerhouse business women doing incredible work in this world:

VC’s..

Aileen Lee at Cowboy, Maha Ibrahim at Canaan, Stacey Bishop at Scale VP, Luciana Lixandru and Sonali De Rycker at Accel, Jess Lee at Sequoia, Anna Patterson at Gradient, Sarah Tavel at Benchmark, Sarah Guo at Greylock, Jenny Lefcourt at Freestyle, Kara Nortman at Upfront, Jenny Lee at GGV, Ann Miura-Ko at Floodgate, Rebecca Kaden at USV (speaking at Startup Grind June 5!) , Megan Quinn at Spark Capital, Kirsten Green and Eurie Kim at Forerunner, Trae Vassallo at Defy, Jocelyn Goldfein at Zetta, Renata Quintini at Lux, Hayley Barna at FirstRound, Steph Palmieri at Uncork, Patricia Nakache at Trinity, Theresia Gouw at Aspect, Beth Seidenberg at Kleiner Perkins, Emily Melton at DFJ (speaking at Startup Grind Palo Alto, May 17th!), Christine Tsai at 500, Halle Tecco at Techammer (speaking at Startup Grind Charleston May 3!) , Jodi Jahic at Aligned, Arlan Hamilton at Backstage, Susan Lyne at BBG, Freada Kapor Klein at Kapor Capital, Ashley Carroll at Social Capital, the dynamic team at #ANGELS.

Engineers, Entrepreneurs, Executives, Activists, Authors..

Katrina Lake, Jessica Livingston, Mary Grove, Anne Wojcicki, Megan Smith, Julia Hartz, Jessica Herrin, Michelle Zatlyn, Laura Weidman Powers, Ursula Burns, Sheryl Sandberg, Holly Liu, Nicole Sanchez, Kathryn Minshew, Courtney Caldwell, Katie Jacobs Stanton, Danielle Morrill, Beth Comstock, Gillian Tans, Julia Grace, Laurene Powell Jobs, Oprah, Arianna Huffington, Susan Fowler, Danielle Cohn (Speaking at Startup Grind Philadelphia May 4!) Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Tarana Burke, Grace Coddington, J.K Rowling, Alice Bentinck, Margit Wennmachers (speaking at Startup Grind Europe on June 13!), Ellen DeGeneres, Eileen Welteroth, Karlie Kloss, Sara Blakely, Serena Williams, Billie Jean King, Michelle Obama, Carolyn Rafaelian, Adi Tatarko, Fei-Fei Li, Shernaz Daver, April Underwood, Lynda Weinman, Lisa Price, Brene Brown, Sara Mauskopf (speaking at Startup Grind SF May 3!), Tracy Young

The idea behind our Female Leaders / #SGWomen / annual May campaign was launched four years ago with our partners and the network behind Google for Entrepreneurs. Today, we’re proud to be continuing the campaign with the support of Comcast Lift Labs.

Comcast NBCUniversal’s LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs

Comcast NBCUniversal’s LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs gives talented entrepreneurs access to Comcast NBCUniversal’s renowned network of partners, brands and mentors to foster rapid breakthroughs in media, entertainment and connectivity.

Founder-focused, LIFT Labs offers programmed talks, mentor sessions, events and online educational resources designed to help entrepreneurs grow and manage their companies and bring their offerings to market. #IdeasElevated. Go to ComcastNBCULIFT.com to learn more.

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How to Find Partners for Your Startup

Making a successful partnership is one of the best things you can do for your startup. Partnering with an individual can help round out your team and experience. Partnering with a company can give you resources and connections that you may not have had access to otherwise. Remember that it’s not about just finding a partner. It’s about finding the right partner to strategically enhance your startup and help you grow. ​

Make a List of Your Goals

Every startup has short-term, long-term, and stretch goals. Make a list of yours because it helps you understand what you hope to gain from the work you’re doing. If you’re looking to expand your business to find customers, your goals will be different than someone who is still working to make a product that’s ready for testing. Every startup is different — even from its competitors — and listing your goals is the first step to finding a partner. Not only will it give you an idea of what you have and what you need, but it will also help you prepare to show what you have to offer.

Consider Your Needs

Once you know where you’re going, you have to figure out how to get there. Look at your assets — both physical and what you offer in terms of ideas — and then look at what you still need. That helps you get a clearer picture of exactly what you need a partner to bring to the table. If the only thing you’re missing is capital, you won’t want a person who wants control over an aspect of your business. If you’re looking to improve a mobile app or become more tech-savvy, someone with ties to the tech community might be a better fit for your startup.

Consider Their Needs

People are unlikely to partner with your startup without an idea of what you can do for them. Even a person who believes in your idea and wants to finance you will expect to see some kind of return on their investment. Before you pitch the idea of a partnership to a potential partner, make a list of what you bring to the table. Expect to discuss your financial outlook and ways in which they might benefit from joining forces with you.

Make sure to tailor your pitch to each specific partner you speak with. Some will want the value of a connection with your company. Others might want data you’ve collected or services you offer. Still others will want to make a profit. Show that you can give them what they want and you’ll become an attractive option for a partnership.

Know Where to Look

Meeting partners isn’t always the most intuitive thing to do. If you’re confused about where to start, consider the connections you already have. Speak to people you went to school with, people you’ve worked with, and other social connections you have. Check Angel List. Talk to local businesses who offer complementary services and see if you can partner together to promote or highlight the other.

You can also approach larger companies, but you’re more likely to get a response if you have a direct in through a social connection. Companies like Uber made extremely intelligent strategic partnerships that enhanced their own brand, promoted their services, and strengthened their reputation. It may not be possible to form partnerships with large companies right up front, but there’s no reason not to consider them. Reaching out doesn’t cost much and might net you great returns.

Have a Reasonable Timetable

Don’t expect an answer from a potential partner right away. Whether you’re looking for a corporate partner or a co-founder, the person you approach will probably need to take time to think over your offer. It’s important that you don’t crowd them or expect them to make a choice right away. If you’re approaching them with accounting information, a business plan, and other details about your offer — which you should be — then they’ll want time to look them over, verify the information, and mull over how the partnership can help them meet their own goals.

Give the person time to make a decision. If they decline, be polite and thank them for their time. You never know when they might introduce you to someone else who can be helpful or when they might decide to work with you in the future.

Stay Organized

When you’re on the hunt for partnerships, it’s common to have to approach quite a few people before you make the connections that are right for your startup. If you can’t keep each perspective partner’s goals, abilities, connections, and other information straight, you won’t look as professional as you need to for a great impression. Things like contact forms, data sheets, and other organizational tools are necessary when you’re dealing with large amounts of people.

It’s also important to stay on top of any agreements or offers that you make to potential partners. You want to make sure that your dealings aren’t changing day to day or else you won’t look like someone that they can get positive work done with.

At the end of the day, a partnership with a business will help you expand your own and capitalize on the strengths of the other. Most of the work of finding and negotiating partnerships is knowing what you need, knowing what you have to offer, approaching the right people, and staying organized. Doing these things can help you close a deal with anyone — and help you take your startup to the next level.

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Jeremy WebbHow to Find Partners for Your Startup
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How to Manage Your Nonprofit | 6 Key Strategies

Nonprofits are the heart and pulse of a beating economy. Making money in for-profit enterprises is good we have to remember that there are missions, impacts, and causes we need to be passionate about and to support.

The sad truth is that many of these nonprofits are mismanaged. This often isn’t intentional or malicious, it’s just the reality that the nonprofit world is different than what many of us are used to. And that’s OK.

Below are six strategies to managing your nonprofit more effectively. These will help you build a better brand, get more donations, and create a legacy that lives long past your time. Read on and stay strong in your cause.

#1 Get Google Ad Grants for $10,000/month free advertising.

This is perhaps the single most unknown treasure in the nonprofit world. Google Ad Grants is a program available to eligible nonprofits that allows you to make use of $10,000/month in free AdWords.

Google AdWords are the paid-for advertising that is at the top of your search results. People pay to get their product, service, or company listed here. Every time somebody clicks the ad, Google makes money and you get a visitor.

You have to be registered with TechSoup first, but once you are, go through the application process, set up your account, and create ads.

Congratulations, you now have a $120,000/year digital marketing budget. Now, go crush it.

#2 Enroll in G Suite for nonprofits.

Again, big kudos to Google for offering their services free to nonprofits. G Suite for Nonprofits is available for eligible nonprofits. Once you are signed up, you get benefits such as:

-Google Drive for shared documents & content

-Google Sheets (like Excel) & Slides (like PowerPoint)

-Google Docs (like Word)

-Google Calendar & Hangouts (chat)

-Gmail (e-mail)

You can see the top ten benefits from G Suite for nonprofits here. Start using these free benefits and take your nonprofit to the next level.

#3 Configure Salesforce for nonprofits to manage donors.

Donor management can be one of the biggest hurdles for nonprofits. Often times, Executive Directors are juggling spreadsheets, managing hand-written notes, and trying to remember the last time he spoke with that one donor.

Get rid of that chaos and industrialize your capability with Salesforce. If you have never heard of Salesforce, they are the world’s #1 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. They’re amazing. Every big Fortune 500 company uses them.

Thankfully for you, Salesforce offers a complete package no-cost to nonprofits. Nonprofits that use this package generally see a 24 percent increase in donor retention and 36 percent increase in constituent engagement. This is a tremendous tool and you should start using Salesforce for nonprofits immediately. 

#4 Design beautiful graphics and memes with Canva.

Sometimes nonprofits struggle with designing content, social media memes, newsletters, thank you notes, and everything else design-related.

Eliminate the hassle and stress of creating everything yourself manually and painfully, or hiring expensive graphic designers. Canva for Nonprofits allows you to empower your team to create high-impact social media graphics and marketing materials.

Canva offers its premium version free to registered nonprofits, which is a tremendous opportunity to leverage. Not only that, Canva offers a no-cost design school that will teach you the basics of design and how to create beautiful content.

#5 Implement a social media strategy with Hootsuite.

Managing your social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, can be time-consuming and confusing. Hootsuite is a social media management platform that uses a dashboard to manage your different social network integrations. Hootsuite is also passionate about giving back, so they offer wonderful discounts to nonprofits.

In addition, Hootsuite provides education to nonprofits that allows you to optimize your social media strategy via Social Media Coaches. This helps you to learn and measure social media ROI, delegating tasks, managing permissions, and collaborating with team members.

Hootsuite is powerful, has a mobile app, and can help transform your nonprofit into the digital age.

#6 Use great photos for free with Pexels.

No more unprofessional photos, copyright infringement, or using really bad and really common stock photos. Pexels is a free and easy-to-use database of beautiful, professional photos and videos. Everything is submitted by users and able to be used without copyright permissions or infringement. 

So, the next time you need a great photo for that marketing piece, use Pexels. Not only that, if you are building a great landing page on your website and need a clean and modern video to play in the background, use Pexels. It doesn’t cost any money, but it will give your nonprofit the look you need to stand out and get more donations.

What to do next?

This is a lot of material but you have what it takes to make your nonprofit great. The world needs the game-changers and those who think differently, the folks who commit their whole heart and mind and soul to a mission and cause. That’s where you come in.

Be focused, stay positive, and use these 6 strategies to make your nonprofit the best in the world.

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