How to Have a Better Conversation

Conversation is a part of human nature. We’ve been communicating for as long as we can remember. Conversation is an opportunity to meet someone new, bond over common interests, share stories, learn something new and feel that spark of connection.

Now, I think conversation is a skill that we all claim we’re good at or at least can ‘participate’ in. Regardless of how good our banter is, we can all move our mouths and communicate with the person next to us. But what if the conversations that we’re having aren’t that great? What if we’re not actually really paying attention to the person who’s telling us what they did last weekend or what happened to them when they went overseas last month?

In this world, which every conversation has the potential to break out into an argument, everyone has a point of view and are less likely to compromise, it means we’re not listening to each other. We make decisions about crucial life choices, like who we marry, who our friends are and where we live, based on what we already believe. Again showing that we aren’t listening. Conversation requires a balance of talking and listening, and somewhere along the way we lost that balance.

Celeste Headlee, who has worked as a radio host for decades, knows the special herbs and spices to a great conversation. Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. Check out her Ted Talk below as she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations.

 

Enjoyed this talk? Head on over to Ted to watch more. There’s a topic on almost everyhting.

Skills for Running an Online Business

Running a business online is tough. You need a whole host of skills that very likely you weren’t taught in school, and that you didn’t learn in a college or vocational program. A great deal of knowledge about running an online business usually results as a matter of learning the hard way. The good news is that there are five skills to master that will let you skip the hard way and move right on to making your online business both lucrative and successful. Here’s the rundown for those new to the game:

1. Technical Skills 

Even the most skilled of computer users will find their skills sorely tested running a business online. The initial setup for a website is the simple matter of getting your domain name registered and choosing the right hosting plan. Then comes the hard part: How do you customise templates for your site? If you get hacked, how will you bring your site back online as quickly as possible? What about custom scripts to fix columns in a MySQL database? Need a custom application? Hope you can code. These are just a few of the many technical aspects that are all part of running a website.

2. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Organic searches on major search engines are the primary source of traffic on any website. Keyword research, creating content optimised for search engines, and constantly monitoring and adjusting your site to boost SEO. Moreover, keyword search is only the beginning, You need to get familiar with Page Authority and Domain Authority, backlink building, responsive design, load times, clean code, and a whole slew of other analytics concepts. Above all, you need to be focused on your ranked content in searches, especially with the vast number of technical aspects in the ever-shifting world of SEO.

3. Content Generation

If you can create high-quality, value-add and SEO content, you are well on your way to driving a successful business online. It is a lucid fact that content drives traffic, develops a relationship of trust with potential clients, and attracts new business from lead generation. That leaves the task of composition to eat away your time. Make an editorial calendar, maintain a consistent publishing schedule, and create content targeted to answer the questions and meet the needs of your target market. The better the content, the better your credibility with site visitors, and consumers trust organisations that provide content they value. Finally, make sure you also have strategies in place to sign visitors up for a mailing list.

4. Niche Expertise

Being knowledgeable about the specific business you are developing is key to building a successful business. If you aren’t an expert in your field of business, you need a new strategy and a new topic. To build credibility with your target market, you will need to demonstrate that you are an expert with experience in your field. You don’t have to be an expert’s expert for your business, but you do need to be a willing and dedicated student.  Furthermore, if you are passionate about an endeavour, you will be more likely to persevere until you see it come to fruition. Ultimately, expertise supported by motivation and interest is what will help you develop your authority as an expert in your chosen niche.

5. Paid Advertising

Content may be the primary driver of traffic, but paid traffic is also immeasurably valuable to your business. Advertising platforms often showcase extensive targeting and filtering options that let you reach those target customers. They also allow you to test the effectiveness of your landing pages and both product and service offerings. Keep in mind, however, that advertising is in no way a fire-and-forget product. It can be very difficult to create strong ads with little ad experience. Moreover, conversion optimisation becomes vital when you are essentially paying for potential customers. While you can determine a lot about advertising through trial-and-error, every failed attempt is money misspent. If you unsure about your ad provider, or you have a limited budget for advertising, you will need to do one of two things: learn to advertise or hire an ad expert. All in all, paid advertising is about creating effective campaigns, either through Google or Facebook.

Running an online business requires a lot of skill sets, no matter what business field you choose,  Multitasking is going to be key to success, and you need to learn to prioritise. Establish systems that delegate low-priority work as you boost revenue to the point that you can afford to bring on new hires. Now, if this is sounding too difficult for you or finding the time to fine tune this all can be difficult so get in touch with the experts at Ora and find out how we can help you! We have teams dedicated to all of the above.

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Strategies for Marketing on a Tight Budget

You finally did it.  You channelled your inner entrepreneur and followed your dream of starting your own business.  Your startup is all ready to go, but after all of the other expenses, you’re left with little to no money for marketing.  So what should you do?  Believe it or not, you can still market your business on a tight budget. You just need to be a little creative and make sure your focus is on creating relationships instead of merely customers.  The following are seven of the best strategies for marketing your business at low or no cost to you:

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The Multi-Screen World

The World of Screens

It’s almost impossible to go through an entire day without seeing a screen. They’re everywhere. We have one as the focal point in our lounge, sitting there like a king on his throne. We have our laptops kicking around our rooms, waiting to be used for online shopping, the desktop that we work on during the course of a working day and don’t forgot that little one that we carry around with us at all times, the one that we look at on average 147 minutes a day, our smartphones. Some people are against all this technology in our lives, especially screens, but this is the 21st century for you and fighting it isn’t going to get you far.

Modern technology has made it extremely convenient for the consumer to access what they want, when they want. But with the likes of laptops, tablets, smartphones and televisions never far away, we’ve entered the multi-screen age. No longer do consumers simply watch television anymore. Instead, while we watch our favourite show, we’re on the discussion about it on the likes of Reddit and Twitter, we’re on YouTube while were watching the news, we’re surfing the net while the infomercials are on and checking emails while we scroll through social media . Multi-screening has become prominent nowadays, 36% of time is spent using multiple devices, although most of this is on TV and another mobile device, this is still an impressive number.

As this trend continues to grow in popularity, what does this say about the future? Will we as the consumer demand devices that will interact with each other, creating a smooth, connected experience? And would this create new marketing opportunities? Only time will tell.

But for the time being, take a look at the infographic below, created by the folks over at Gryffin, and learn a bit more about this trend that is happening on a global scale.

 

The MultiScreen World

The Curious Case of Marketing R.O.I

R.O.I or Return on Investment is defined by Wikipedia as:
Return on investment (ROI) is the benefit to an investor resulting from an investment of some resource. A high ROI means the investment gains compare favourably to investment cost. As a performance measure, ROI is used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. In purely economic terms, it is one way of considering profits in relation to capital invested.

That’s great and all – but what does it actually mean?! And in relation to marketing, does the same explanation apply? And more to the point, how do you work it out? That’s what I am hoping to address right here, right now.

First things first..

Let’s start with a fairly simple explanation of R.O.I or Return on Investment using an example. Something we’re all familiar with is housing. Everybody wants to buy one, not everyone is lucky enough to do it, but for those who do the ultimate aim – regardless of what people say – is making a big chunk of change from it when they sell it.

When you do sell it, you’ll be left either feeling pretty chuffed or you might have a bad taste in your mouth. Essentially that depends on how much you’ve got left after you deduct what you paid for it. If it’s positive, you got good R.O.I and if you’ve got a negative number, you guessed it, that’s a bad return.

Now, of course, nothing is ever quite that simple. You would need to take into account the length of time that you’ve owned the property and the costs of any improvement or maintenance work done over the time period to get a totally true R.O.I, but most people forget all that stuff and only remember the big numbers.

If we look back to the second question asked at the top – in relation to marketing, does the same explanation apply? – the answer is a pretty loud NO.

And in terms of Marketing

You see, the big difference between the two is that when we look at the first example, the investment resulted in an asset. Most cases of R.O.I, when an asset is involved, allow the person who holds it, to sit on it if they wish. They can judge the market for when they think the best R.O.I can be achieved and then cash in.

When we look at marketing, your investment is spent the moment you decide to do any activity. You set the clock ticking on the R.O.I calculator the moment your marketing hits the public and in the worst possible cases, if it never gets to see the light of day, you’ll be faced with negative R.O.I from the outset.

The trick with getting great Return on Investment or R.O.I in marketing is to make sure you’ve done some homework, and that you’re putting your investment into something that can be measured.

It’s all about the measuring

For instance, taking your hard earned cash and putting it into a big billboard can give you instant return, in that you’ve paid some money and you’ve got a billboard for all to see. Now the question, how do you know if people are looking at it and if they are that they’re doing something as a result. Yeah, most people can’t answer that question. This makes it pretty difficult to know if you’re getting a return as a result of the billboard. It could just as easily be word of mouth or maybe you’ve got a company vehicle with your name on it. So how do you know if it worked or if you should do it again? In most cases, you don’t and it gets put under the cover all banner ‘Brand Marketing’. It’s worth pointing out that there are ways to track the activity of people who might be getting in touch as a result of seeing the billboard, but more of that later.

If R.O.I is your focus for your marketing activities, and it should be!, the simplest way to test your market for success using your images, brand and product messaging and offers is through Digital Marketing. It has some of the lowest entry costs, is in most cases totally trackable and you can test everything (marketers call it a/b testing). Plus the R.O.I tends to be one of the highest since you can validate it.

Providers like Google and Facebook have changed the way in which you can get your message to your potential and existing customers. The options are almost endless and they can be switched on and off as the market shifts. No more getting your ad in a paper directory (yes they still print these and yes people are still paying to be in them) only to change something and the ad be useless 5 minutes after it was printed.

What’s the catch?

However, like everything, there is an element of skill required to make sure that you’re making the best decisions when using these providers. Just like the billboard, if you get digital wrong you could end up being forced to call it ‘an experiment’ or worse, right the investment off.

Aside from setting it all up right, tracking it to calculate the end result can be a work of art too. If only there was a way to get something or someone to do all this for you. I’ve got great news! There is.

Here’s where knowing us helps

The team at Ora has created a Smart Marketing Software and Services platform that takes the guesswork out of growing to allow you to make the best marketing decisions.

Through recommendations, notifications and market monitoring Ora offers up suggestions to make sure that your marketing dollars are always performing to the best of their ability. It tracks all the current campaigns you have in the market for R.O.I and makes suggestions for improvement, should they be needed.

To further compliment this, Ora can track your competitors and rank your digital presence against theirs. Plus it’ll feed in their social activity so you can keep an eye on what they’re doing.

It gets better

The software is just the start. Ora has a team of experts that provide the services to get your business growing. From Google and Facebook campaign management through to website creation and video and photography, they’ve got you covered.

So you could open up an excel spreadsheet and try to input a bunch of formulas that look like pig latin or you could try Ora. It’s free to get started and within just a few clicks you’ll have an idea of the size of your potential market plus the R.O.I of your current activity and how that stacks up to the industry average.

I know what I’d rather do. What about you?

Oh and for those wondering how to make a billboard trackable, ask our team about call tracking and vanity URL’s. It’s all very technical, but if you use those two things on the billboard and nowhere else, you’ll stand a chance at being able to track it inside Ora.

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