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8 Virtual Team Activities That Go Beyond Happy Hours

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We’ve talked a lot about how important team building is in a remote working environment. That’s why we decided to do a little research into some of the best virtual activities you can try with your team to boost morale and strengthen connectivity. But if you’re anything like us, you’re getting a little tired of the virtual happy hours. But even if it’s something as simple as a new Slack channel dedicated to cute pet photos, there’s sure to be at least one activity on this list for every team out there.  

Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Another great quarantine activity for you and your staff is a virtual scavenger hunt. Nothing says team building quite like a little friendly competition. Thanks to the new app Scavify, you can virtually participate in a series of fun challenges and problem-solving activities from wherever you are (which is hopefully, at home). Using a mobile app or browser, individuals or teams can log on to Scavify and complete tasks like snapping photos or videos, answering trivia questions, and more. According to their website, you can mix and match challenges that educate, encourage exploration, create interaction, increase team building, or align with anything else you want to achieve.   

Virtual Book Club

Now more than ever, people want distractions from the crazy world we live in. And what better distraction than a good book? Encourage your remote staff to read for enjoyment by starting a virtual book club. Assign chapters and set up regular Zoom meetings to discuss what you’ve read so far. You could even combine your virtual book club with a virtual happy hour and enjoy a couple beverages while chatting about the latest novel. Pro Tip: Start off with shorter books. Not everyone is a speed reader and it gives group members a sense of accomplishment to be able to finish their book in a reasonable amount of time.   

Netflix Party

Most of us are already spending a good portion of our time binge-watching Netflix shows and movies, so why not do it together? With the Netflix Party plugin, you can set up virtual watch parties with your coworkers and friends. It’s only available on Chrome browsers, but it’s completely free and easy to set up. Once you’ve got everything downloaded, Netflix Party lets you to link up with friends, synchronize video playback, and group chat all in one place. There’s seriously no better way to host a virtual movie night or a weekly watch party. This is one virtual activity that everyone will enjoy.

Writing Prompts

Excited New Girl GIF

This virtual activity may sound like “homework” to some, but we find writing prompts to be a fun way to boost creativity among staff members. Settle on a frequency—weekly, daily, monthly, whatever—and start assigning unique writing prompts. The responses don’t have to be a certain length or style, in fact, the less parameters you give the better! Then, once every week or so (depending on your frequency of prompts) schedule a Zoom meeting where everyone can share some of the things they’ve written. If you have the budget, a great way to start this would be to send all of your staff members new journals to write in.

#Random Slack Channel

If you don’t have one already, this is the perfect time to create a new channel in your staff Slack for random community conversation. With social distancing and isolation, people need a place where they can talk to people about anything, anytime. Of course, with this being a “work” Slack, things will need to stay PG, but think of it as a virtual water cooler—somewhere people can share their thoughts or funny memes or better yet, cute animal photos. This is a great way to keep employees engaged and feeling like part of the team even when they can’t see their coworkers day-to-day.  

Tiny Campfire

As far as virtual activities go, this is probably one of the most creative ones we’ve seen. Tiny campfire is a program that runs literal tiny virtual campfires for remote teams. The experience comes with historic ghost stories, icebreaker games, competitions, and real s’more making! Before your event, each team member will receive a tiny campfire kit which includes a campfire-candle, wood matches, s’more ingredients and team-colors. This unique event is a great way to bring your employees together and who doesn’t love getting a special package in the mail? Find out more here.

Virtual Fitness Challenge

Just because we are isolated doesn’t mean we can’t be active. In fact, it’s never been more important for us to get up and get moving. That’s why a virtual fitness challenge is a great activity for your staff. Not to mention, friendly competition is always a good motivator. There are several different kinds of virtual fitness challenges, but one we’ve found to be most effective is a step or distance challenge. Though, we can’t go many places right now, we can still move around in our homes or take a solo walk or run outside. MoveSpring is a nifty app that allows you to connect fitness trackers to a virtual leaderboard so staff members can see their rankings. With a variety of challenges and fun incentives, MoveSpring really motivates your team to get moving.

Virtual Dance Party

Michael Scott Dance GIF

In the spirit of getting your team moving, another fun virtual activity is a dance party. This is probably one of the easiest activities as well as it doesn’t require any software (other than maybe Zoom) and it can be as spontaneous as you like! Simply set a time and day for your party then have employees log on, start the music and encourage everyone to bust a move and get down for the duration of the tune. Make it even more interactive by allowing each staff member a chance to pick their favorite song.

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Marketing Strategies

Sixty orbits

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Birthdays are contagious. No one actually remembers the day they were born, other people remember it for you. And the way we celebrate them is cultural, a shared process that keeps changing.

People keep track of birthdays, and today used to be mine.

Sixty of them.

It doesn’t feel like it’s been that many. Time flies when you’re busy. Lots and lots of projects. Countless friends made, lessons learned and ideas shared. Quite a journey, with lucky breaks and advantages again and again, beginning with my parents, the cultural identity, time and town where I was born… I wouldn’t have been able to go on this journey without you, thank you.

But today’s not my birthday (no need to send an email or a card). I’ve never really liked my birthday (it’s a long story involving a non-existent parrot), and the only reason for this post is to talk about who owns my birthday now.

What happens if we start celebrating our birthdays differently? Today belongs to the 20,000 + people who are on their way to a permanent supply of clean drinking water because readers like you brought their birthday (and mine) to charity:water. Thank you. Now, particularly now, when the world is in pain and when so many people are wrestling with health, the economy and justice, it’s more urgent than ever to think of someone you’ve never met living a life that’s hard to imagine.

And today, because it celebrates a round number, I’m hoping you will join in and help us break charity:water’s birthday record. And maybe donate your birthday too. Better still, if you subscribe as a monthly donor, you become a core supporter of a movement that changes lives with persistence and care.

How it works:

If you have the ability, I’m hoping you’ll click here and donate to charity:water to celebrate what used to be my birthday.

And either way, I’m hoping you’ll also donate your birthday to them. Because when it’s your turn to celebrate a missing parrot or a lost cake, you can ask your friends, and they can do what you just did.

It’s hard to visualize 21,000 people, mostly kids, fighting illness because the water in their village is undrinkable. That’s about three times the population of the town where I live. Thanks to all of you, my projects, including this blog, have already raised nearly a million dollars to build long-term solutions to this problem.

Will you help me double that?

Even one kid who lives the life he or she is capable of is worth this blog post and worth your support.

Thank you.



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SEO Negotiation: How to Ace the Business Side of SEO — Best of Whiteboard Friday

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Posted by BritneyMuller

SEO has become more important than ever, but it isn’t all meta tags and content. A huge part of the success you’ll see is tied up in the inevitable business negotiations. In this helpful Whiteboard Friday from August of 2018, our resident expert Britney Muller walks us through a bevy of smart tips and considerations that will strengthen your SEO negotiation skills, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie to the practice.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. So today we are going over all things SEO negotiation, so starting to get into some of the business side of SEO. As most of you know, negotiation is all about leverage.

It’s what you have to offer and what the other side is looking to gain and leveraging that throughout the process. So something that you can go in and confidently talk about as SEOs is the fact that SEO has around 20X more opportunity than both mobile and desktop PPC combined.

This is a really, really big deal. It’s something that you can showcase. These are the stats to back it up. We will also link to the research to this down below. Good to kind of have that in your back pocket. Aside from this, you will obviously have your audit. So potential client, you’re looking to get this deal.

Get the most out of the SEO audit

☑ Highlight the opportunities, not the screw-ups

You’re going to do an audit, and something that I have always suggested is that instead of highlighting the things that the potential client is doing wrong, or screwed up, is to really highlight those opportunities. Start to get them excited about what it is that their site is capable of and that you could help them with. I think that sheds a really positive light and moves you in the right direction.

☑ Explain their competitive advantage

I think this is really interesting in many spaces where you can sort of say, “Okay, your competitors are here, and you’re currently here and this is why,”and to show them proof. That makes them feel as though you have a strong understanding of the landscape and can sort of help them get there.

☑ Emphasize quick wins

I almost didn’t put this in here because I think quick wins is sort of a sketchy term. Essentially, you really do want to showcase what it is you can do quickly, but you want to…

☑ Under-promise, over-deliver

You don’t want to lose trust or credibility with a potential client by overpromising something that you can’t deliver. Get off to the right start. Under-promise, over-deliver.

Smart negotiation tactics

☑ Do your research

Know everything you can about this clientPerhaps what deals they’ve done in the past, what agencies they’ve worked with. You can get all sorts of knowledge about that before going into negotiation that will really help you.

☑ Prioritize your terms

So all too often, people go into a negotiation thinking me, me, me, me, when really you also need to be thinking about, “Well, what am I willing to lose?What can I give up to reach a point that we can both agree on?” Really important to think about as you go in.

☑ Flinch!

This is a very old, funny negotiation tactic where when the other side counters, you flinch. You do this like flinch, and you go, “Oh, is that the best you can do?” It’s super silly. It might be used against you, in which case you can just say, “Nice flinch.” But it does tend to help you get better deals.

So take that with a grain of salt. But I look forward to your feedback down below. It’s so funny.

☑ Use the words “fair” and “comfortable”

The words “fair” and “comfortable” do really well in negotiations. These words are inarguable. You can’t argue with fair. “I want to do what is comfortable for us both. I want us both to reach terms that are fair.”

You want to use these terms to put the other side at ease and to also help bridge that gap where you can come out with a win-win situation.

☑ Never be the key decision maker

I see this all too often when people go off on their own, and instantly on their business cards and in their head and email they’re the CEO.

They are this. You don’t have to be that, and you sort of lose leverage when you are. When I owned my agency for six years, I enjoyed not being CEO. I liked having a board of directors that I could reach out to during a negotiation and not being the sole decision maker. Even if you feel that you are the sole decision maker, I know that there are people that care about you and that are looking out for your business that you could contact as sort of a business mentor, and you could use that in negotiation. You can use that to help you. Something to think about.

Tips for negotiation newbies

So for the newbies, a lot of you are probably like, “I can never go on my own. I can never do these things.” I’m from northern Minnesota. I have been super awkward about discussing money my whole life for any sort of business deal. If I could do it, I promise any one of you watching this can do it.

☑ Power pose!

I’m not kidding, promise. Some tips that I learned, when I had my agency, was to power pose before negotiations. So there’s a great TED talk on this that we can link to down below. I do this before most of my big speaking gigs, thanks to Mike Ramsey who told me to do this at SMX Advanced 3 years ago.

Go ahead and power pose. Feel good. Feel confident. Amp yourself up.

☑ Walk the walk

You’ve got to when it comes to some of these things and to just feel comfortable in that space.

☑ Good > perfect

Know that good is better than perfect. A lot of us are perfectionists, and we just have to execute good. Trying to be perfect will kill us all.

☑ Screw imposter syndrome

Many of the speakers that I go on different conference circuits with all struggle with this. It’s totally normal, but it’s good to acknowledge that it’s so silly. So to try to take that silly voice out of your head and start to feel good about the things that you are able to offer.

Take inspiration where you can find it

I highly suggest you check out Brian Tracy’s old-school negotiation podcasts. He has some old videos. They’re so good. But he talks about leverage all the time and has two really great examples that I love so much. One being jade merchants. So these jade merchants that would take out pieces of jade and they would watch people’s reactions piece by piece that they brought out.

So they knew what piece interested this person the most, and that would be the higher price. It was brilliant. Then the time constraints is he has an example of people doing business deals in China. When they landed, the Chinese would greet them and say, “Oh, can I see your return flight ticket? I just want to know when you’re leaving.”

They would not make a deal until that last second. The more you know about some of these leverage tactics, the more you can be aware of them if they were to be used against you or if you were to leverage something like that. Super interesting stuff.

Take the time to get to know their business

☑ Tie in ROI

Lastly, just really take the time to get to know someone’s business. It just shows that you care, and you’re able to prioritize what it is that you can deliver based on where they make the most money off of the products or services that they offer. That helps you tie in the ROI of the things that you can accomplish.

☑ Know the order of products/services that make them the most money

One real quick example was my previous company. We worked with plastic surgeons, and we really worked hard to understand that funnel of how people decide to get any sort of elective procedure. It came down to two things.

It was before and after photos and price. So we knew that we could optimize for those two things and do very well in their space. So showing that you care, going the extra mile, sort of tying all of these things together, I really hope this helps. I look forward to the feedback down below. I know this was a little bit different Whiteboard Friday, but I thought it would be a fun topic to cover.

So thank you so much for joining me on this edition of Whiteboard Friday. I will see you all soon. Bye.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


Scoop up more SEO insights at MozCon Virtual this July

Don’t miss exclusive data, tips, workflows, and advice from Britney and our other fantastic speakers at this year’s MozCon Virtual! Chock full of the SEO industry’s top thought leadership, for the first time ever MozCon will be completely remote-friendly. It’s like 20+ of your favorite Whiteboard Fridays on vitamins and doubled in size, plus interactive Q&A, virtual networking, and full access to the video bundle:

Save my spot at MozCon Virtual!

Still not convinced? Moz VP Product, Rob Ousbey, is here to share five highly persuasive reasons to attend!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!





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Integrations: The Newest Addition to Your Marketing Ops

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Marketing isn’t just about campaigns, content, and creativity. There’s a whole lot of “getting things done” that needs to happen behind the scenes for campaigns to roll out on time and performance to scale.

This is where marketing operations comes in. Also called marketing ops or MOps, marketing operations is how a marketing team is run. It’s the processes, technology, data, and people that power a marketing strategy.

Of these key pillars of marketing operations, data sounds like the most abstract one. But getting the data right in your marketing ops is crucial.

How do you do this? By cleaning, organizing, and enriching the data in every app as well as integrating data between your apps.

An increasingly important role for any team or Marketing Operation Manager is maintaining data quality and connectedness. This not only includes marketing apps but also bridges to other departments in the organization.

Let’s dig into how to make this happen so you can scale the impact of your marketing ops.

What Are Integrations?

Integration brings different pieces of software together and enables their data to interact.

When done well, integrations enable your marketing team to:

  • Create the most holistic marketing ops strategy across your software ecosystem.
  • Allow data to seamlessly flow between key platforms and enrich each one.
  • Automate more tasks and free up time.
  • Provide stronger customer experiences with more accessible and insightful data.
  • Remove data silos and other barriers to collaboration.
  • Deliver accurate insights, reporting, and decision making.

As an example of a valuable integration, think of your CRM and email marketing app. A good email list is a marketer’s most treasured possession, but for your email marketing to be successful, you need accurate and in-depth insights into each contact’s interests, behavior, and communication preferences. You can solve this by integrating data from your CRM.

The integrations that matter most to your marketing operations depend on your organization and industry.

That said, there are certain integration best practices that businesses with strong marketing operations follow. Let’s explore those.

1. Understand the Ecosystem Your Marketing Data Lives in

A strong marketing stack that your team loves using is a pivotal part of your marketing operations management.

This can include an all-in-one marketing platform or individual systems for:

  • Content management
  • Marketing automation
  • Lead Generation
  • Email marketing
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Project management
  • Communication

One of the first steps to perfect your marketing ops is understanding the ecosystem your marketing data lives in. Some valuable questions to ask are:

  • What data are we collecting in each app?
  • How should data interact with other apps?
  • How can we sync apps to enrich the data in each one?

With answers to these questions in mind, you can decide how best to integrate your apps and allow data to flow between them.

2. Ensure Clean, Up-to-date Data in Every App

To get the best results from integrations, you need high-quality data in every app. Dirty data in one app is bad, but the negative impact is multiplied for every new app it enters.

To prevent this, clean up the data in every app before adding new integrations. This includes:

  • Duplicate contacts
  • Inaccurate contact data
  • Unsubscribes
  • Bounced email addresses

With clean data in every app, you can seamlessly integrate your marketing platforms and create the most streamlined and effective marketing ops.

3. Make Your CRM the Heart of Your Marketing Ops

There’s a high chance your sales team is already using a CRM to store all of the key insights about your customers and their interactions with your business. That’s because centralizing your data in your CRM is one of the best things you can do for strong contact management.

One way to test the strength of your CRM is by checking if anyone in your business can answer questions about a contact and their interactions with your business – whether in sales, support, marketing, or billing – just by glancing at their contact record.

To make this happen, you can use integration to bring data from other apps into your CRM. The inverse is also valuable: syncing your CRM data with your marketing apps to enrich the data in those places.

Alongside syncing names and emails, you can choose which other information makes sense to have available in your other marketing apps. This could include:

  • Lead status/stage
  • Location
  • Industry
  • Customer Success Owner
  • Business size
  • Communication preferences

4. Use Contact Segmentation

Segmenting your contacts using lists, tags, and properties is a fantastic way to deliver the most personalized customer experience. But it’s also a key ingredient for effective integrations.

With an iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) solution like PieSync, you can create customized workflows and sync data based on specific conditions. That way, you maintain the segmentation of your database across tools. These specific conditions could be configured according to If-this-then-that rules. For instance:

  • IF a contact’s Lifecycle Stage is ‘Lead’
  • THEN sync the contact to your email marketing tool and add to the list ‘List of leads’

If the contact stops being a customer, you can automatically reflect that in your email marketing app, remove the ‘Customer’ tag, and no longer send relevant communications.

To create powerful if-this-then-that rules, first segment data in individual apps, and then create connections across your ecosystem.

5. Create Strong Alignment With Sales Via Integrations

Your marketing operations strategy isn’t just about marketing. It’s essential to look at the other teams in your organization and understand how to create the strongest alignment.

The most important bridge for marketers to maintain is with sales. By working collaboratively instead of in silos, marketers can deliver the perfect leads for sales and both teams can share what’s working as well as opportunities.

To optimize your bridge with sales, you can integrate your marketing software with sales apps such as:

  • Sales CRM
  • Contact Management
  • Live chat software
  • Sales automation software
  • Integrations between your marketing apps and customer support software

With your marketing and sales apps in sync, both teams are in the best position to exchange data, deliver unified reporting, and do their best work both independently and together.

6. Integrate Customer Data with Your Marketing Apps

Although marketing usually has the strongest alignment with sales, make sure not to forget about your service team.

If your data is siloed, you run the risk of the nightmare scenario of sending a promotion offer to a customer who subscribed a week ago at full price.

With integrated apps and data, you can keep your customers in mind for every marketing campaign and create personalizations based on the products, services, and upgrades that are most relevant to them.

You can align your Marketing and Service team with either:

A good starting point is to make sure that all customer interactions and support requests are synced with your CRM. Marketers can then easily use this information to personalize campaigns and workflows.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Integrations

You can measure the impact of integrations in your marketing operations strategy by asking if:

  • Your data is accurate, enriched, and reliable in every app.
  • You have a centralized contact database that quickly gives you a 360-degree view of each contact.
  • Your marketing team is aligned with sales and can quickly collaborate.
  • You have removed all data silos.
  • You can personalize marketing campaigns for customers or exclude them from certain messaging.
  • You have clear marketing reporting that brings together data from all channels and apps and highlights key areas for optimization.

As you optimize your marketing operations, remember to look at the holistic view of your marketing stack and the individual pieces of the puzzle. By paying attention to the two in tandem, you can understand where to connect the dots for the best overall outcomes in your marketing team and throughout your organization.





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