Twitter Marketing: The Essential Guide [Infographic]

The Essential Guide Twitter Marketing Infographic

Twitter Marketing: The Essential Guide was written by Dara Fontein and published on Hootsuite on 2nd June 2016.

As I was reading this post, last year, several ideas came to me for this infographic.  I then created it back in June 2016, but due to circumstances beyond my control, when doing a general update on my website, it completely crashed, to the extent that even my website host did not understand what had happened. 

The website is now rebuilt and this is a repost of the Infographic "Twitter Marketing: Essential Guide" created and published by Virtuadmin.

Mentoring or Coaching for Success with Audio Transcription

Benefits of Audio Transcription for Coaching and Mentoring

Are you an experienced and knowledgeable business mentor or coach?  This article is going to be very useful to you for your clients.

Mentoring or coaching start-ups or small business owners is about sharing and helping others with less knowledge than you to achieve their aims and goals for themselves or their business, right?

You advise from your wealth of knowledge and experience and help starts-ups choose the right routes for their new business and helping them gain success.  You share your business experience and knowledge with business owners less knowledgeable than yourself to help them achieve their goals, right?  So what form of communication do you use for coaching?

The communication of your knowledge in coaching

Mentoring or coaching can take place person-to-person, via email, video or voice chat on Skype, even a video call on Facebook.  But apart from email how is your client that you are coaching going to remember what advice and information you gave them?

If that conversation is not recorded what happens when it finishes?  They could have taken notes, but they don’t always make sense after the event!  How is your client going to accurately remember what was spoken about in the valuable advice you shared in that unique call or meeting you had with them?

This is where the answer is audio transcription.  Transcription is the skill of typing what is spoken into text.  A valuable service used by many industries such as medical, insurance, journalists to mention a few.

How impressive would it be to offer your client a copy of the entire meeting or conversation in the form of a transcript for a point of future reference?  If you yourself have a lot of clients it is an ideal way to recap before your next session.

They would receive it in digital form as you would from the transcriptionist, but it allows them to print off the transcript and make notes; refer to what advice was given at certain points of the challenge in their own business and probably the reason for hiring your expert services in the first place.

It would be very impressive for any new prospects clients that you converse with via Skype, or meet with in person for them to have a copy of the entire conversation in a transcript within a few days of that call or coaching session taking place.

If mentoring, you may not know the next time that you will be called upon by your client, but having a transcript of the last time you spoke or met is beneficial to refer to for a refresher with that particular client.

This would be a great incentive for any new prospective clients too.  To offer a transcript after the event that they can build the course up and always have it for future reference.  No worry for them to take notes when you have that call, or make notes during the meeting and maybe miss some important and valuable points.

I believe that all person-to-person meetings, video chats or voice calls on Skype, a landline telephone call, offering a full transcript of what was spoken, for them to always have to refer to so that nothing is forgotten, could well tip the balance to gaining new clients.  Of course, if you understand how useful transcription could be for your business by recording calls or meetings, this should be well discussed in the preliminary conversations.

Which route to take for your transcription service?

Specialist Transcription Companies

Specialised transcription companies can give you very good rates and turnaround time but the process is very impersonal and involves a self-process of which to upload your audio onto their site and pay for your audio transcription.

That’s fine if it’s a straight forward audio to be transcribed;  audio with two people recorded, an interview for example, with very good speech clarity and low to no background noise, but what if the audio is a bit more complex than your average straightforward transcription?  What if you want to speak directly to your transcriber with questions?

The is very much a “self-process”.  You upload and pay for your audio transcription digitally via their websites.  That’s great if you experienced at using transcription services from big organisations, but what if you have never used a transcriptionist before and would like to ask some questions?

Some of the specialist transcription companies offer a “live chat” to answer any questions or queries.  The problem is that person will not be the person transcribing your audio, they are in place to promote the company and answer your queries.  Why are they not the transcriber you ask?

Because specialist transcription companies that offer great rates and turnaround times break down your audio into five minute or so piece-meal bits for several transcriptionists to transcribe at once.

That is what enables them to offer a great turn-around-time, but not always the best price because they have higher overheads to consider than a freelance transcriptionist.

They have the transcriptionists to pay for the transcription work they have done for you.  They have very expensive websites that they have to maintain on an annual or monthly basis.  Website name registration costs; possibly office space as well to conduct the time-consuming digital delegation of audio’s to the transcriptionists they employ.

A Freelance Transcriptionist

A freelance transcriptionist will operate from home, but just because they do does not mean they are any less professional and will not produce any less quality transcript than a specialist transcription company.  Freelance transcriptionists are what professional companies are made off, but choose to offer their skills directs to those that need them.

You deal with them directly, they make the decision quickly as to whether they can or cannot transcribe your audio.  If they can and are willing to undertake the transcription for you, they will give you a quote for transcribing that audio or video.

A freelance transcriptionist with plenty of experience will not commit to an audio unless they are sure they can produce you the accurate and justified transcript for the quality of audio you give them.

Having a direct contact with your transcriber from the outset is a lot quicker than transcription companies themselves.  They have departments for this, departments for that, but at the end of the day, you want a professional, accurate reading transcript, quickly.

What if there’s background noise because the call was conducted via Skype or in a car?  Or it is a focus group meeting with a lot of cross-talking? A three-person interview; or a video where there is one clear speaker but music in the background?

These are all typical questions and more of the benefits of dealing with a freelance transcriptionist that will help you answer your questions quickly.  Specialist companies with their fancy websites want you to submit a support ticket, or even with live chat they may not be able to answer your query immediately.  This is all time consuming and not helping you get your transcript complete within a few days to get to your client as promised.

Ask Questions

Specialist companies as we have established will have a nice fancy website with all the information that you want.  Who they are, how long they have been established, where their transcribers are from, the experience they have and hopefully answer any questions you have if that is the route you are thinking of taking.  Seems a little safer, doesn’t it?  An established company with testimonials from previous happy clients; secure payment system etcetera.

If you choose the freelance transcriptionist route, there are things you can do to safeguard yourself from hiring a complete fraudster who thinks they can type and oh listening to someone speak and then type what they say, yes that’s easy I can do that! It’s not that easy so here a few tips to find a great freelance transcriptionist.

Ask questions.  Here is a brief list of the things you would want to ask your prospective transcriber:-

  • How many years have they been transcribing?
  • Are they a native English speaker?
  • Do they use professional transcribing software such as Express Scribe?
  • What is their touch-typing speed and accuracy?
  • Do they use a foot-pedal?
  • Do they use a specialist headset?
  • To prevent repetitive strain injury do they use an ergonomic keyboard?
  • What is the rate per minute or hour of audio?
  • What would be the prospective turnaround time for your audio?
  • Do they use and have an active Dropbox or Google Drive for sharing audios?
  • Is proofreading included in the price?
  • Can they add time-stamps to your transcript for you?

Asking questions of this nature will help you immediately indicate between a professional or amateur transcriptionist   If, they have never done this kind of work before, they just “think” they can type quick enough to meet the speed required to successfully complete an audio or video transcription they are wrong.  A professional will know immediately how to confidently answer your questions

If you think an experienced freelance transcriptionist will be more costly then you may well be pleasantly surprised.  They have far fewer overheads than the specialist companies that hire several transcribers to transcribe your audio piece-meal.

The freelance transcriptionist should be passionate about what they do, and this should come across when communicating with them.  They should want to deliver you the best accurate transcript possible.  They will gladly answer your questions and discuss finer details highly in the points above.  This will ensure you get the transcript that you paying for.

Some will operate through professional freelance websites: People Per Hour; Fivesquid; Guru; just to mention a few that I have or are currently available on for work on as Virtuadmin.

Cost

According to Transcriptionwave.com, their pricing starts at just $0.99 per audio minute.  At the time of writing and doing a direct exchange rate from United States Dollar to the United Kingdom British Pound (Sterling) that would be 68p per audio minute.

Another transcription company www.gmrtranscription.com (not a freelance transcriptionist) that I researched, their rates for a clear quality audio  general transcription audio for a 3-4 week turn around was $1.25 for up to a two-person audio and $1.50 per recorded audio minute for multiple speakers with the same turn around time.

Rates for a freelance transcriptionist can vary vastly depending on how valuable the transcriptionist thinks their individual skill is worth,  Their turn around times may vary also, so it is worth asking questions.

When I Googled "average freelance transcription rates UK" I found www.uktranscription.com a UK based transcription service.  Again, this is not for a freelance transcriptionist but it gives you a good idea of what the specialists companies are charging for their transcription services.  This is their pricing guide below.

RATES & PRICING

Each batch is quoted individually. Rates may vary between orders. Please upload your audio for a quick quote within one hour.

The table below provides approximate estimates only. Surcharges are applicable for quality issues, enhanced security options, complex requirements and faster turnaround times.

Turnaround Time Rate / Min (Simple) Rate / Min (Difficult) * Volume Limit (Mins)
2 Weeks £1.00 £1.25 15000
1 Week £1.10 £1.35 5000
3 Days £1.20 £1.45 1500
2 Days £1.30 £1.60 1000
1 Day £1.50 £1.80 500
Same Day £1.80 £2.00 150

* Estimated rate for 'difficult' audio, distortion, complex formatting, focus group, or multiple speaker ID. Files are assessed individually, and rates vary between orders.

** All rates are exclusive of VAT, payable at 20%. (Overseas customers may be exempt.)

So, for a two-week turn around on your clear audio that was recorded with your client would take 2 weeks to deliver back to you for you to forward to your client.  Not really what you want or need for your client when you are offering them an accurate transcript included in your fee to assist them with enhancing their skills.

As a guide to our rates at Virtuadmin Transcription Service, I am very fair on my pricing.  You get a low cost, a much quicker turnaround time but that does not deter from giving professional service and an accurate transcript.  I give you great value for the years’ experience that I have.

For transcription as myself offering my transcribing skills and experience as Virtuadmin, my rates start at just 50p per audio minute for a single person audio that is of very good audio and speech quality.  For a two-person interview or recorded audio that has two people, it is 60p per audio minute and for a three-person audio it would be 75p per audio minute.

Difficult quality audio I will consider, the professional software Express Scribe Professional from www.nch.com can very often clear up background noise and interference so enable me to transcribe the audio more accurately.

The cost then gets a bit more expensive the more speakers there are; the amount of cross-talking that is in the audio if more than two speakers because this slows the transcriptionist down.  A lot more replay is required to be able to transcribe accurately all of what is spoken by each participant to that audio.  A single speaker or two-person audio that is of clear clarity enables a flow of typing.  The mores speakers, or the poorer the audio quality, more time is required for the transcriptionist to produce an accurate transcript for you.

Adding timestamps, poor audio quality, background noise, cross talking, one person being clearer than the other are all aspects that are more time-consuming for the transcriptionist to type.  You should bear this in mind when asking for your audio to be transcribed into text.

At Virtuadmin I do use a foot pedal for transcription; professional transcribing software (Express Scribe); an ergonomic keyboard to prevent repetitive strain injury (needed after over 30 years of typing!) and a professional headset.

I have many years transcribing in an office setting before transcribing digitally recorded audio from home.  Passionate about what I do, I would really like to assist you with your recorded audio to assist you and your clients get the best out of your advice in your mentoring or coaching sessions.

Conclusion

As a very experienced transcriptionist, it is not easy to gain the skills and experience I have.  It is the same for you as a coach or mentor.  You want to help others succeed and I want to help you do that by providing you with an additional asset to for your clients.

Transcripts are so valuable in their entity.  The information that they contain will always be in that written format.  Notes taken by you and your client will never reflect what has been spoken as accurately as a transcript from the recorded audio or video.

To offer a full comprehensive coaching or mentoring relationship transcription is just an additional resource to assist you and your clients.  Your clients have a record of what was discussed and they have this to refer to at any point in time; digitally on a computer screen or print it off to read as a text document.

They have that information to hand, they can undertake more accurately, instead of trying to remember what you advised, or trying to figure out the notes that they took.  The expert advice that you have given them enables your client to achieve their goals and aims when they agreed to their coaching or mentoring with you in the first place!

Audio or Video Transcription is undoubtedly a valuable service to coaches and mentors.  It will be the most accurate way of retaining the information that resulted in your conversation.  It’s there to refer to for the next time you have a meeting if you have several clients this would be especially helpful.

In itself, audio transcription is a valuable service.  So many industries use this service; insurance; law courts; medical dictations; journalists; students.  Webinar and podcasts are also required transcribed.

So, why not get into the 21st century and start getting your coaching or mentoring calls transcribed.  Join all the other industries that have been using transcription even before the digital age.  Technology has come a long way and with the many different ways of recording audio these days, getting it transcribed should be the only next step to take to offer this as an incentive to your prospective clients.  A benefit to your existing clients, they would always have a copy of your expert advice and information given in each session that you had.  An accurate account of what was discussed is surely far better than notes? How have your survived without transcription?!

Contact Me / Hire Me

Are you interested in hiring me to transcribe your audio or video for you?  I freelance my transcription skills on www.peopleperhour.com and www.fivesquid.com.  These are two very reputable companies among many out there that offer professional freelance digital services.

To hire me on www.fivesquid.com the link is: http://bit.ly/1J3gxgE

To hire me on www.peopleperhour.com the link is: http://bit.ly/2ea88NK

My profiles on both of these established freelance websites have positive feedback from happy satisfied clients that are a testament to my skills and experience.  Any questions please do not hesitate to email me at cyberspaceayuda@gmail.com.  For more testimonials about my skills and experience please visit www.virtuadmin.uk/testimonials.  This hasn’t been updated for some time but it does testify to my excellent skills and experience as a transcriptionist.

References

Header images: www.ficde.org

Edited with text by www.virtuadmin.uk

 

Audio Transcription Time Guidelines [Infographic]

When people ask what I do and I reply a Transcriptionist their face goes blank for a second. I then explain that I produce transcripts from recorded audio, video, podcasts or webinars.  Ah, typing people think, typing what people are saying yes that’s easy once you can type. Contrary to popular belief audio transcription is a skill and takes years of touch typing practice and experience to be able to turn around an hour’s audio in four.

The Infographic created by Virtuadmin I hope puts into perspective that even the most professional and quickest of touch typists cannot type at the average spoken rate. I have used 15 minutes of recorded audio for simplicity but hope that it illustrates that typing at the spoken word rate is virtually impossible.

There are also other factors to be taken into consideration:

  • Number of Speakers
  • Audio quality
  • Speech clarity
  • Is there any background noise
  • Is this an intelligent or strict verbatim transcription?
  • Is the transcript to be time-stamped?

All these affect the average turnaround time of your transcript.  Taking these things into account when hiring a transcription service will help you understand the complexities of what goes into producing an accurate transcript.

To conclude that with just one speaker, with good audio quality professional transcriptionist that types 80 words per minute (that’s fast but that’s our average typing speed) would take approximate 30 minutes to transcribe and a professional that types 50 words per minute would take 45 minutes.  That therefore on these statistics would mean than an hour’s audio that was just one speaker and straight forward intelligent paragraphing would take the professional 4 hours.  For 2 speakers because each time a speaker changes a new line is started, therefore that takes extra time.

Audio transcription is a skill, you must love typing and a love of hearing people speak.  If you love what you do, have a passion like we do, you will want to produce the best transcript possible.  This isn’t always possible but I always aim to never insert an “inaudible”.  Again, that is time-consuming replaying a part of the audio that you just cannot hear.  You’ll probably get it in the end, but that’s another 5 minutes or so added to the completion time.

Hope the Infographic helps put things in perspective for audio transcribing and putting into text the spoken word is just not as easy as you think!

Transcription - Is it as easy as you think?
Transcription – Is it as easy as you think?

The Ultimate List: 70+ Best Tools For Skyrocketing Business Growth in 2016

If you want to be an effective business owner in 2016, you can’t manage everything on your own.

In order to scale the progress you’ve already made, or simply experience real growth for the first time, you have to be willing to delegate responsibilities, standardize processes, and use the right tools.

The problem is, there are a lot of tools out there to choose from. Knowing where to start or which tool to try is not always easy.

This collection of tools can help you narrow your search results and quickly find the right tools for your business—the ones that are really going to help move the needle and take your business to a whole new level.

The tools are separated into eight different categories:

  • Marketing
  • Conversion & Lead Generation
  • Business Management
  • Project Management & Communication
  • Customer Service & Retention
  • Outsourcing
  • HR, Employee Engagement & Appreciation
  • Social Media Marketing

As you go through this list, think about your business goals for this year, what your plan is for achieving those goals, and whether you think any of the tools listed could help you get you to where you want to go.

Here are the 70+ tools you should be using in 2016 to grow your business:

Marketing

1. CuratedCurated is a tool that allows you to quickly find and save content to share with your email list in the form of a beautifully simple weekly email digest. It’s a great tool for providing extra value to your audience. Pricing: Starts at $25/month

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2. Referral SaasquatchReferral Saasquatch is a great tool that can be used to build and manage customer referral programs for your business. Referral tools like this one make it incredibly easy to incentivize and encourage more word-of-mouth advertising of your business. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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3. Content MarketerContent Marketer is the best tool on the market for promoting content, building links, and connecting with influencers. It’s the tool you want to use when you’re ready to take your content marketing efforts to the next level and start seeing more ROI from your efforts. Pricing: $19/month

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4. QuuuQuuu provides you with hand curated content to increase your social media activity. After selecting a few categories that represent the type of topics you’re interested in, Quuu automatically sends hand curated content to your Buffer account. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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5. CanvaCanva is one of the easiest tools out there for creating compelling, original images for social media and blogging. The tool offers a wide variety of backgrounds, icons, and fonts to fit the needs and dimensions of any platform you’re using to connect with prospects. Pricing: FREE

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6. Campaign MonitorCampaign Monitor is one of the top email marketing platforms on the market. The drag-and-drop email builder allows you to create a customized email campaign in a matter of minutes. It also offers a lot in terms of personalization, segmentation, and A/B testing. Pricing: Starts at $9/month

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7. BuzzsumoBuzzsumo is the top tool for performing content marketing research. The tool makes it easy to evaluate the performance of any blog post, website, or competitor. It’s a great tool to use when you’re ready to start investing in advanced content promotion and outreach. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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8. Death to the Stock PhotoDeath to the Stock Photo is a site that offers fresh, inexpensive, and non-cheesy stock photos that can be used in a wide variety of marketing campaigns. You can sign up to receive new photos each month, or you can go premium and get access to all photos at once. Pricing: $15/month

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9. SEMrushSEMrush is a top tool for performing advanced advertising, keyword, baclink, and competitor research. The tool provides powerful analytics reports that can give you valuable insight and help you decide where to take your strategy next. Pricing: Starts at $69.95/month

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10. Sticker MuleSticker Mule is a tool that can be used to create and order custom stickers and graphics for your startup. The tool is relatively inexpensive and provides fast delivery and free shipping. Pricing: Varies depending on quantities

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Conversion & Lead Generation

11. SumoMeSumoMe offers a suite of tools that can be used to drive conversions and engagement on your website. Examples include the Welcome Mat, the Scroll Box, the Smart Bar, and others—all of which can be added to your site and customized to fit the look and feel of your brand in a matter of minutes. Pricing: Starts at $10/month

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12. OptimizelyOptimizely is one of the top tools for easily and quickly building and running A/B tests on your website. A/B testing is an important tactic when it comes to influencing more engagement and conversions, and with Optimizely, you can test everything from color, copy, button placement, entire landing pages, personalization, and more. Pricing: Varies

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13. LeadChatLeadChat (shameless plug) is a tool that you can use to insert sales staff right into your website. The tool makes it incredibly easy to add their ready-to-go live chat agents to your site who can chat with visitors and convert them to customers. Sound interesting? Ask for a trial now. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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14. Import.io – Import.io is a tool that allows you to scrape the web for relevant information about products, businesses, and competitors. The tool automates the data collection process and presents it in an easily digestible manner for business owners looking to quickly identify and take advantage of gaps in their market or industry. Pricing: Varies

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15. Datanyze – Datanyze is a sales intelligence tool that allows you to uncover, research, and reach the right prospects. Alerts tell you which websites have started or stopped using a particular provider’s tool, Research helps you understand your prospects better, and their predictive modeling helps you determine which leads are worth pursuing first. Pricing: Request a demo to find out

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16. LeadPages – LeadPages is one of the top tools available for building customized landing pages on your site. The tool offers hundreds of templates that can be used to drive conversions and nurture prospects. Pricing: Starts at $25/month

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17. ConvertKit – ConvertKit is a tool that can be used to nurture leads down your sales funnel. The tool allows you to easily make customized opt-in forms that can be placed in content and around your site. You can also design landing pages, create drip campaigns, and send important one-off emails to your subscribers. Pricing: Starts at $29/month

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18. Crazy Egg – Crazy Egg is another tool that can be used to gain more insight into the actions and experiences people have when they land on your website. With this tool, you can analyze where people are clicking, how far down they’re reading, and where people are coming from when they land on your site. Pricing: Starts at $9/month

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19. Drip – Drip is a tool that you can use to create simple drip email courses. You can use the tool to easily repurpose your best blog content into a compelling email course that educates, nurtures, and converts your website visitors. Pricing: Starts at $49/month

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20. FullStory – FullStory is an amazing tool that allows you to actually record, replay, and analyze the experience people have when they land on your website. It’s a great tool to use for improving customer support, making decisions about development or product updates, and empathizing with users. Pricing: Starts at $199/month

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Business Management

21. Recurly – Recurly is a tool that automates recurring billing for subscription-based businesses and products. The tool is incredibly easy to set up and seamlessly integrates and connects with your existing merchant accounts and website. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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22. Xero – Xero is a beautifully designed online accounting tool. An alternative to QuickBooks, this tool can help you manage invoices and quotes, inventory, purchase orders, bills and expenses, employee payment, and more. Pricing: Starts at $6.30/month

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23. Chartio – Chart.io is a cloud-based business intelligence tool. It’s a tool that you can use to quickly organize, visualize, and analyze complex data related to your products and business. It’s a great tool for any business looking to become more data-driven in 2016. Pricing: Sign up to get pricing information

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24. TradeGecko – TradeGecko is an inventory management tool for business owners looking to automate painful and repetitive tasks. The tool can help streamline order management, stock levels, tracking at multiple warehouse locations, multi-channel sales, and more. Pricing: Starts at $39/month

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25. Segment – Segment is an incredibly convenient tool that allows you to collect customer data with one API and send it to hundreds of tools for analytics, marketing, and data warehousing. Pricing: Starts at $39/month

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26. Google Analytics – Google Analytics is an essential tool for any business owner looking to gain a better understanding about website visitors. With Google Analytics, you can track metrics, set up goals and events, and find ways to optimize your website in order to boost conversions, engagement, and repeat traffic. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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27. UpCounsel – UpCounsel is a tool that offers on-demand legal help for business owners who don’t necessarily have the funds to keep a full-time lawyer on retainer, but need legal assistance from time to time. The tool can help with agreements, trademarks, patents, labor and employment, and more. Pricing: Varies depending on work

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28. Toggl – Toggl is a time-tracking tool aimed at helping business owners boost daily productivity. The tool streamlines time-tracking and makes it incredibly easy to identify where time is going and how to become more productive throughout the day. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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29. Zirtual – Zirtual is a tool that can be used to find U.S. based virtual assistants. The tool now falls under the Startups.co umbrella, and is a great resource to take advantage as you continue to scale your business in 2016. Pricing: Starts at $398/month

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30. HelloSign – HelloSign is a tool that can be used to send and receive legally binding electronic signatures for business purposes. It integrates with familiar apps like Gmail, Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, and more. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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Project Management & Communication

31. Trello – Trello is a fantastic project management tool that can really bring your projects to life. The tool creates a visual representation of your projects in the form of cards that can be moved from column to column as a project progresses. It’s a great tool to use for managing freelancers. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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32. Basecamp – Basecamp is another tool that can be used to manage projects. It’s different than Trello in that it’s less visual-focused and more centered around team collaboration. The tool just launched a brand new version, which can be explored here. Pricing: Starts at $29/month

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33. Asana – Asana is a project management tool that works well for teams that are moving a lot of projects through the door at a given time. It’s one of the most flexible and customizable project management tool available. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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34. Evernote – Evernote is a great tool for managing personal projects and to-do lists. It’s a cloud-based tool that can be accessed from the mobile, web, or desktop. It’s a particularly useful tool to use when you want to pull in various types of media (photos, screenshots, notes, etc.). It does also offer the ability to collaborate with others. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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35. Slack – Slack is one of the most popular real-time messaging apps available today. It’s incredibly well-designed, and easy to implement across multiple teams. The tool can also be used to manage specific projects by setting up different channels within a chat group. It’s a great option if you have or plan to grow a remote team. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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36. Google Apps For Work – Google Apps For Work offers professional email, online storage, shared calendars, video meetings and more. It’s also a great alternative to the Microsoft Office suite—it has a word processor, a presentation tool, a spreadsheets tool, and a form builder. Pricing: Starts at $5/user/month

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37. Wrike Wrike is a versatile project management tool that can be used by marketing teams, product development teams, department heads, and more. With the tool you can easily create tasks, mention team members, collaborate in real-time, and seamlessly integrate with your other tools. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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38. Projects by GrowthHackers – Projects is still a bit of a mystery, but early previews make it appear to be an incredibly user-friendly project management tool. To try this tool, you’ll need to request early access to join their beta program.

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39. Join.Me Join.Me is a simple tool that can be used to host video and audio conferences, share your screen, record meetings, and more. It’s a great tool to use when you need to quickly pull up a presentation or reference your screen while on a group call. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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40. Dropbox – Dropbox is one of the top cloud-based file storage tools on the market. It’s a convenient way to store and share important documents with team members, customers, investors, and anyone else involved in the growth and success of your business. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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Customer Service & Retention

41. SatisMeter – SatisMeter is a tool that helps you gather customer feedback through NPS surveys. Net Promoter Score surveys are an incredibly effective way to gauge how loyal and happy your customers really are. The tool can be installed onto any website or app in less than 10 minutes. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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42. Intercom – Intercom allows you to easily communicate with your customers through targeted in-app and email messages, triggered by time or behavior. The tool can be used to collect customer feedback, chat with customers in real-time, create marketing lifecycle email campaigns, and provide support. Pricing: Starts at $49/month

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43. Packs By Startup Threads – Packs By Startup Threads offers a convenient way to create and send customized swag packages to your customers. The tool is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is build your pack, order a reserve amount to store at the Startup Threads warehouse, and use their API or dashboard to send out to customers in an effort to boost loyalty and retention. Pricing: Varies

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44. MailLift – MailLift is a handy tool for sending handwritten thank you cards to customers. Handwritten thank you cards are a great way to boost customer happiness, but as your business continues to grow, it’s important to take advantage of tools like MailLift that can help you automate time-consuming tasks, while still keeping things personal. Pricing: Varies

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45. Zendesk – Zendesk is a web-based customer support platform. The tool allows you to accept and manage support tickets from a variety of channels—web, email, social, chat, or phone. It also provides the ability to create and manage a Help Center for your website. Pricing: Starts at $5/agent/month

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46. UserVoice – UserVoice is a tool that allows you to collect and prioritize feedback from customers, partners, and teams that can influence future updates to your products. The tool makes it easy to collect feedback right in your app (web or mobile), from your website via a private forum, and in real-time chat. Pricing: Starts at $499/month

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47. GoToMeeting – GoToMeeting is a top tool for coordinating and hosting webinars. It’s a great tool to use when you’re ready to start educating prospects and customers about product benefits, protips, and other topics that can help them use your product successfully. Pricing: Starts at $24/month

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48. Snagit – Snagit is a tool that allows you to easily create screen captures and videos that can be used to create tutorials for customers. It’s another great tool to use when you’re ready to start spending more time and resources on educating your customers. Pricing: Starts at $49.95

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49. TypeForm – TypeForm allows you to create visually-compelling survey forms. The tool makes it incredibly easy to design custom forms to use for social media contests, customer feedback, hiring, and more. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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50. Customer.io Customer.io is another tool that you can use to send targeted messages to users and customers. The tool allows you to leverage user behavior data in order to send more effective messages. With the tool, you can A/B test, build campaigns, track conversions, segment messages for specific audiences and traffic, and more. Pricing: Starts at $100/month

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Outsourcing

51. Upwork Upwork is a tool that you can use to find freelancers to help you grow your business. This site can connect you with developers, creatives, customer service agents, virtual assistants, and other consultants. Pricing: Varies

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52. ScriptedScripted is a tool that you can use to scale your content creation efforts. It’s a tool that can connect you with on-demand writers to help you produce content for blog posts, landing pages, white papers, social media updates, product descriptions, and more. Pricing: Varies

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53. FiverrFiverr is comprised of an incredibly vast network of freelancers who can help you complete almost any task, no matter the size. Categories on the site include graphics, marketing, writing, video and animation, video and audio, and more. Pricing: Starts at $5, then varies depending on project scope

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54. 99designs99designs is a site that primarily focuses on helping connect designers with business owners looking for help creating brand-specific collateral (logos, brand identity, t-shirts, etc.). Pricing: Starts at $299/month

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55. Toptal Toptal is a site that connect business owners with the top 3% freelance software developers and designers. Pricing: Varies

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56. PeoplePerHourPeoplePerHour is a site that connects you with freelancers who can help with design, development, content, and promotion. It’s a great tool to leverage when you need help fast. Pricing: Varies

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57. WriterAccessWriterAccess is another tool that you can use to find freelance writers. Pricing varies, but can be as low as two cents/word for content. 

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58. GuruGuru is a site that can connect you with admin support freelancers, engineering and architecture freelancers, legal freelancers, and more. Pricing: Varies

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59. Gun.ioGun.io is a tool that you can use to connect with and hire the best freelance developers in the world. The site offers a unique concierge service that matches you with a representative who can help you find the right person for the job. It’s a good site to go to when you’re looking for help building apps for mobile and desktop, when you need help scripting, building a UX strategy, and more. Pricing: Varies

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60. GigsterGigster is a site you can go to when you need to hire an entire freelance development team. Pricing: Varies 

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HR, Employee Engagement & Appreciation

61. TinyPulseTinyPulse is an employee retention tool that allows you to create surveys for your team to anonymously answer each week. It’s a great way to sync up with your employees and make sure they’re getting everything they need in order to be successful in their roles. Pricing: Starts at $5/user/month

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62. AnyPerkAnyPerk is a convenient tool that allows you to show appreciation and offer rewards to employees who go above and beyond in their roles. The tool offers a wide variety of perks that employees can choose from based on their interests—such as travel discounts, gym membership deals, restaurant coupons, subscription services, and more . Pricing: request a demo

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63. KinKin is a tool that allows you to completely streamline your human resources department. The tool makes it incredibly easy to onboard new employees, keep track of important employee information, manage communication with employees, track time off and vacation, coordinate employee performance reviews, and more. Pricing: $5/user/month

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64. 15Five15Five is a tool that allows you to keep track of what’s going on at your company week by week. The tool allows you to send customized surveys to employees in order to celebrate wins, identify challenges, and determine what people need in order to keep moving your company forward. Pricing: Starts at $49/month

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65. GlassDoorGlassDoor is a site that you can use as a tool to recruit top talent. As a company, you can create a presence on the site to attract job seekers, advertise jobs, and promote your company against competitors. Pricing: Request a quote

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66. Zenefits Zenefits is another tool that you can use to streamline your HR tasks. The tool can be used to manage payroll, benefits, time, talent, compliance, and management. Pricing: Free

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67. KudosKudos is a tool that allows you to give recognition and appreciation to team members in real-time. The tool makes it easy for managers to give praise to peers and for peers to give kudos to peers. It’s a fairly robust platform, and definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a way to boost employee morale at your company. Pricing: Starts at $2/user/month

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Social Media Marketing

68. CoScheduleCoSchedule is a top tool that marketers use to build editorial calendars, manage social media updates that relate to content, and manage the content creation process. Pricing: Starts at $15/month

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69. BufferBuffer is the top tool that marketers use to schedule social media updates. The tool makes it easy to schedule and share updates when your audience is listening in order to boost engagement, grow your following, and get the most out of your social media marketing efforts. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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70. GleamGleam is a popular tool that allows you to create and manage social media contests and reward campaigns. Examples of the types of contests and campaigns you can create include 1-click entry competitions, refer-a-friend campaigns, coupon offers, and more. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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71. GrammarlyGrammarly is a tool that you can use to identify and eliminate common spelling and grammar errors in your content. The tool also offers content optimization features aimed at improving your content and your writing abilities. Pricing: Premium plans start at $29.95/month

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72. FlareFlare is a tool that you can use to create a social media share bar on your website content. Social share bars can boost engagement and brand authority. The tool allows you to track social and engagement analytics in order to determine the effectiveness of your blog content. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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73. MentionMention is one of the best ways to monitor your brand, your name, and the names of the people you work with (executives, coworkers, partners, etc.). The tool helps you keep track of mentions from the web and from social media, making sure you never miss an opportunity to engage with a fan or prospect. Pricing: Starts at $29/month

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74. NarrowNarrow is a tool that makes it easy to grow your Twitter following. The tool helps optimize and automate the process by working with you to identify the right types of followers you’re looking to connect with on Twitter. All you have to do is enter target keywords, and Narrow does the rest. Pricing: Starts at $9/month

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75. Notifier Notifier is a tool that you can use to boost traffic and engagement on your site. You can use the tool to scan your latest blog posts in order to automatically find and organize the influencers you know you want to reach out to. Once you scan your post and build your list, all you have to do is compose your social media outreach message template, select the people you want to reach out to, and send or schedule your tweets. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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What other tools would you add to this list? Leave a comment below and tell us what tools you’ve been using to grow your business! We’d love to hear from you.

No-Hype SEO: A Realistic Formula To Making SEO Work For Your Business, Part 1

SEO- A realistic Formula
Looking to simplify your SEO efforts? Columnist Daniel Faggella has a simple formula for putting together an SEO regimen that will achieve results.

on December 29, 2015

SEO (search engine optimization) has come a long way.

After experiencing the “wrath of Google” years ago, some marketers have exited the SEO game and opted instead to use paid traffic to generate their leads and prospects. However, when done correctly (and ethically), there is no match for the longevity, consistency and quality of the lead flow you’ll experience from SEO. Today, I want to offer you an insider’s view of how to do this well.

All of my businesses are built entirely on organic SEO, and if I were to stop doing everything today, they would continue to experience high-quality lead flow consistently for many months to come. This just isn’t the case with paid traffic. Of course, the best marketing systems utilize both organic and paid traffic.

In this article, I’ll give you my thoughts on a time-tested and proven strategy for creating your SEO regimen.

Principles & Basics

All marketing is built on the notion of “desire” — i.e., you want something (whether it’s clothes, food, information, better abs or something else), and some business comes along with marketing promises to fulfill that desire.

In his book, “Breakthrough Advertising,” the late (and great) Eugene Schwartz stated that marketing could not (and should not) create mass desire, but that “it can only take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exist in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product.”

This is true. Great marketing, whether it be paid advertising or organic (SEO), is built on this principle. In the old days, the only way to tap into this mass-market desire was to show up in front of where the market happened to be (TV, newspaper or another medium).

This was (and is) both expensive and risky. If you pay large amounts of money to run an advertisement on TV, and you misdiagnose the desire of the market, you will not make any money.

Simply spending money on advertising doesn’t guarantee earning a return on that advertising.

Organic marketing, like SEO, provides you the opportunity to reverse this formula. Rather than needing to go out to where your market is located, you can attract your market, causing them to come to you.

This has changed everything: You can now put together marketing that fulfills the desires of your market very cheaply (or for free) without risking too much if you should misdiagnose or otherwise get it wrong.

SEO: The Self-Funded, Self-Regulating Lead Generator

Here’s a simple formula that will help you wrap your brain around SEO:

(B1 + B2 = DP), DP ≅ Your Organic Strategy = $$$

(Belief + Behavior = Decision Patterns), Decision Patterns Your Organic Strategy = Sales

The first “B” is belief. The second “B” is behavior. The belief and the behavior are always correlated; together, they make up the “Decision Patterns” of your prospects, (Tune into this interview with Artillery Marketing founder Douglas Burdett for more on determining buyer persona.) I’m going to get deeper into this in a bit.

When the “Decision Patterns” of your prospects are congruent with your organic strategy, your SEO kicks into hyperdrive, and you start seeing serious traction.

There are really four levels to your organic (SEO) strategy:

  • High Level (search terms, PPC terms).
  • Top of Funnel (indirect content).
  • Blog Level (relevant blog topics and lead generation tools).
  • Back-end (marketing automation and database marketing).

Today, we’re going to outline the first two levels, and in Part 2 of this series, we’ll tackle the last two levels.

Attractional SEO: Getting People To Come To You

The first level is “High Level.”

Instead of going out to set up shop in front of where the market is located, the internet allows you to build marketing assets that will “pull” your prospects towards your business. This starts with the Top Level of your SEO strategy: determining the terms specific to your offering and your market.

Many refer to these as “PPC Terms” because they are the terms your prospects are putting into Google when looking for a solution. (If you’re a little rusty on your PPC definitions, this article fromPPC Hero provides a succinct glossary.)

We do this by outlining the belief and the likely behavior of your market. For instance, if you are an online marketing consultant who serves affluent businesses in Boston, you might come up with this list:

  • Email marketing consultant Boston.
  • Digital marketing agency.
  • Experienced InfusionSoft consultant.
  • Landing page optimization expert.

This is your master list, but it’s only the top level. Remember, there is a correlation between the things people are looking for and the behavior they perform. This means your search terms will be divided into different levels of quality, which we’ll get into later.

The second level is your “Top Of Funnel.”

The top of funnel is the area of indirect interest. For instance, using the same scenario as above, you might come up with this list of “Top Of Funnel” terms:

  • How To Make Better Email Newsletters.
  • How To Create Profitable AutoResponder Series.
  • Compare InfusionSoft to Hubspot.
  • Case Study of Email Marketing for E-commerce Business.

These are all going to attract people who are interested in your specific offering, and you can use these to create the “building blocks” of your SEO strategy. Webinars, white papers, free reports and other such “opt-in” devices can be created from these “Top Of Funnel” terms.

Next week, as we get into the second two levels, I’ll show you how to connect all of these levels together into a seamless regimen. Before then, here is your homework:

Create your list of “PPC Terms,” and, from there, your list of “Top Of Funnel” devices. Like a car on a long road trip, these two lists will act as your map and your guide when we start creating blog content and database marketing material to monetize your SEO system.

Tune in next week for Part 2 on making SEO work and generating more traffic for your business.

 

 

16 Social Media Management Tools You Would be Foolish Not to Try

Mark Ford, red-website-design.co.uk

We’re pretty confident when we say it’s impossible to do social media to maximum effect without the help of a tool or two along the way. But with so many available that offer so many different things how do you know which are worth trying?Take a l…

16 Social Media Management Tools You’d be Foolish Not to Try #socialmedia