Digits ready for the most busy shopping days of the year?
Is your local business prepared for Black Friday sales?
Local SEO could be your salvation.
Whatever your opinions, news forecasts suggest Black Friday could be the UK's first £1 billion online shopping day as retailers open their doors to bargain hunters. The Centre for Retail Research experts expects tills over the weekend, including Cyber Monday, to take £3.49 billion. So what does this mean for a local small business?
If you really want to be found on Black Friday here are a couple of suggestions for your online marketing strategy...
Photo credit: Reuters
Planning a content marketing strategy for 2016?
Looking for useful content marketing guides that hit the marketing spot?
There have been countless blog posts and guides written on the subject, and the list grows daily. But the problem isn’t a lack of knowledge or how-to information. The problem is finding a content marketing guide that meets your needs at your level of expertise. And dare I say who’s got the time to trawl through numerous guides. Isn’t it better to just get on with it?
While it’s tempting to get stuck in, one of the key things about content marketing is having a solid plan and editorial calendar. By investing the time to align your content marketing efforts to your business objectives you will reap the rewards - Google absolutely loves quality fresh content. There are loads of comprehensive guides but some are overwhelming for content marketing newbies. With this in mind we’ve produced a round up of the top 5 content marketing guides on the interwebs to save you time in planning your 2016 content marketing plan.
Most people have the tools available to try their hand at street photography. You can use your phone, or compact, many people have DSLR’s even though many don’t really know how to use the technology that's packed into them. It’s something you can do in your lunchtime, at weekends, or on holiday. It’s not all about the tools though, giving someone a hammer and chisel doesn't make them a sculptor. One thing's for certain though, there are concepts and techniques that people can learn that will improve their street photography, and have fun while learning.
Also worth noting for those interested in content marketing, a picture says a thousand words, improving your photography can pay dividends for sprucing up your content and avoiding all those uninspiring and cliche stock images.
Our street photography courses here at Silicon Beach Training are provided by award winning photographer Heather Buckley. We asked her a few questions about how to improve your chances of getting an interesting shot, and some techniques that you could use, not only for street but to improve all of your photography. There are a couple of places left on the next course, but they do fill up quickly, so call if you are interested.
You have provided many photography courses, what are some of the common problems that people have when sent out into the street to take pictures?
Heather: Many people don’t see the interesting potential in what is right in front of them. I am constantly looking for things that can relate to each other.
In wake of recent controversy surrounding Hola, an incredibly popular Google Chrome VPN extension, facing allegations of functioning as a botnet client – many are looking to better safer, alternatives for their browser addons.
Be sure, these 10 essential apps and extensions have your best intentions in mind. Oh and they also deliver a range of incredible features.
PushBullet connects each of your devices together seamlessly.
Download the phone app, add the chrome extension and never miss a notification again. Transfer files from your phone to your desktop without Dropbox. Even send text messages via your phone from your computer. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Hangouts are all supported. You pretty much don’t ever have to leave your chair again.
Features aside, I absolutely love the design aesthetic of PushBullet. Hats off to Laurel Deel.
PushBullet supports Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, iOS, Android, Windows and MAC.
Canva is a free, browser based design tool. Canva's rapid expansion from 500,000 total designs in 2014 to 3.2 million a month gives you some sort of hint at it's serious potential. With the recent addition of ‘infographics’, Canva now does absolutely everything I need it to. There's even an iPad compatible app.
Canva is simple, intuitive and easily the best free design software available today. If the tutorial isn’t enough to get you acquainted then be sure to head over to the Design School.
I’ve been using Canva for a good few months now, in fact it was recommended to me by our very own Social Media course trainer. Shameless plug aside, let's move onto what makes Canva so good.
Signing up requires an email address and password - nothing revolutionary.
If you aren’t having sleepless nights over the absurdities of the Polygonal Lasso tool then you’re missing out on modern marketing’s favourite tool.
Photoshop is like skydiving. At first it’s terrifying. Many spend their wholes lives without having done it. Most are too timid to commit to the climb. But minutes in, as you reach the peak of your ascent you feel like you’re flying…
Wait a minute. You are flying? It feels unnatural, you’re in uncharted territory. One glance over the edge and your world as you know it comes crashing down. Chaos, anarchy…elation? The void of uncertainty is overwhelming, there's so much you never knew...
Touchdown. You’ve just had the most incredible marketing revelation of your life; you’re dying to try it again. Soon you’ll be so obsessed with swatches and layers that you’ll find yourself convincing your first born to stop eating play-doh and start designing his graphics in-house. Why can’t everyone else see that smart objects are the best thing since sliced bread?
Have I ever been skydiving? Perhaps not.
Is Photoshop really the best thing since sliced bread? Undeniably.
Is there a company that can provide a quality two-day Photoshop Training course, preferably in the centre of Brighton?
Keep reading and find the six Photoshop techniques every marketer needs to know.
Following the NHL’s decision to ban all forms of live streaming from inside National Hockey League venues, many were lead to wonder what prompted such a decision. How is it possible that two apps released little over two months ago have risen to such notoriety in the eyes of an organisation as large as NHL?
Live streaming isn’t anything new, in fact "Severe Tire Damage" were the first perform live on the internet way back in June 1993. Since then the market has become loaded with hundreds of separate live streaming platforms; broadcasting everything from live football to birdcams.
Amazon’s acquisition of video game streaming platform Twitch in August 2014 for a reported $970 (£585m) drew the attention of investors and spectators alike. Twitter’s purchase of Periscope for $100million in late march only reinforced the serious potential of live streaming apps. Meerkat themselves brought in $12m from the likes of Greylock Partners in March 2015. We’re talking about serious money for and industry thats in its infancy.
Yesterday marked the launch of Google+ Collections. I’d like to be less cliché than hailing it as Google’s answer to Pinterest at this early stage even though similarities are evident. 'Collections’ undeniably provides us with an easy, efficient way to organise and curate the best content from around the web.
Creating a collection is as simple as navigating to the ‘Collections’ tab underneath your cover photo and allocating your collection a name and its desired visibility. ‘Custom’ audiences are formed from a number of Google+ circles if you’re looking to refine your scope. Collections can also be set to – Only Me. This is my favourite aspect of collections thus far. Share the best posts or ideas from Google+ to your own private collection and create a drawing board for future articles, or simply as a personal bookmarking tool.
After creating your collection you are able to ‘customise’ your collection image and colour scheme. Note – it is not possible to change the visibility settings of a collection after it has gone live. From here on the collection and the content contained within is completely at the discretion of the user.
See Heather Buckley's 'Google Plus Collections and How to Use Them' for a comprehensive guide on creating collections.
Chances are, if you’re reading this at work you could (and probably should) be doing something else with your time. I’d love for everyone to read from start to end, but take a step back and spend two minutes tackling one of your smaller tasks and then come back. Set the pattern for productivity early in the day and carry that work ethic with you until you’ve finished!
Still here? Great!
Here are 5 Time Mnagement Practices for the Digital Age.
Why not find out more about our Time Management training course?
"Eat the Frog"
It’s amazing what you remember from when you are a child.
For me, it's “eat the frog”.
I spent many teenage years agonising over things that just weren’t important in the grand scheme of things - horrible, menial tasks that wouldn’t result in anything more significant than a nod of approval from your least favourite biology teacher.
I would go to my mother during my distress and tell her my tale of woe. Her response? “Eat the frog”, get it done now and put it behind you. There’s no need to spend the rest of the day worrying about those unpaid invoices when you could spend an hour doing it now. Sure, it will be a gruelling hour, but you will feel far better having done it and can instead focus on other tasks with the stress off your back.
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first”. - Mark Twain
Bill Murphy Jr's 'Mark Twain was a Marketing Genius' is a great piece on a man far ahead of his time.
Create a Simple Daily Plan
After setting up the day’s training in the morning, I sit down and plot out which tasks need to be completed on simple lined paper. By all means use a program like Evernote, or an excel spreadsheet, just take the first step to tackling workload and write it down.
We are all guilty of seeking complex answers to simple questions. Civilisations have functioned for thousands of years without the latest voice planner. You’ll get more satisfaction from physically ticking items off a checklist than you will from any spreadsheet.
By the time you’ve thought of what you’ve needed to do, opened the software/spreadsheet, created a table, typed in each item and saved the document to your desktop you could have already tackled the first task of the day. A window on your computer screen quickly gets lost in the mass of emails and proposals. Write it down – get it done.
See The Bigger Picture
You are employed (hopefully) to do a job. Said job entails work. No getting around it, there’s no miracle cure for procrastination. But realising that you have a time management issue is the first step to overcoming it. If planning and preparing aren’t doing the trick then maybe the answer is time management training. We all know that feeling after a particularly inspiring email from the manager or the latest TED talk, that new found enthusiasm drives us to work 50% harder that day. But it’s easy to lapse back into old habits. 50% becomes 40% as the weeks progress and eventually you’re right back where you started.
Our Time Management training will teach you life skills to maximise productivity and get the most out of your time.
Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind
Clean away your worries; it’s as simple as that. We’re not just talking about stray coffee mugs. Either deal with that paperwork now or put it back in the filing cabinet so you can apply yourself to it later when there are fewer distractions.
If you don’t have the time or space to do it right, when will you have the time to do it again?
Check out Lifehack's 'Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools'
Much like the planning stage of your day, organise your desk to suit the day’s needs. If you don’t need it in the immediate future, then there’s a better place for it. Tidying your desk and focus on one thing at a time.
We never said it was rocket science.
Prepare for Meetings
So the marketing department weekly meeting happens every Friday. This time, go in prepared.
What am I going to be asked – this week’s events, current state of projects etc.
- How will I respond – Hopefully if you’ve followed the rest of our tips then you should have had organised enough time to get that work done!
- What’s on the agenda for next week? – Permitting the rest of your work is of equal importance; try to tackle the bulk of your work earlier in the week.
- Prepare your own questions – This doesn’t take long at all, but do it! There’s nothing worse than worrying about a potential deadline over the weekend because you forgot to ask the question during Friday’s meeting.
Covered the main points? Instead of waiting till the end of the meeting as you usually do and having to rush the rest of the day’s unfinished work, test the water and see if there is a point during the meeting that you could leave at with the rest of the department. Of course, be sensible, but we all know how some meetings are prone to dragging on a bit.
Make sure you’ve taken plenty of notes! But don’t leave them in the midst of the rest of your desk mess! Do next week’s checklists in advance, prioritise the tasks on your daily checklist in order of urgency. There’s a difference between something that’s urgent and something that’s important. (Eisenhower's Urgent/Importance Principle)
Tomorrow you will wish that you had done it yesterday.
Take active steps to complete your work before it becomes overwhelming.
We at Silicon Beach Training believe in making training engaging, interesting and easy to understand. Using analogies and stories in Project Management can make even complex concepts and ideas relatable, something that has been much written about in recent years - like this excellent article by Dan Vinson of PM Solutions.
We have been running successful PRINCE2 courses for many years (small classes, great material and superb pass rate). PRINCE2 is an impressive and notably sought-after qualification. It’s undeniably effective as a project methodology and makes projects far simpler for all parties involved. But even the most thoroughly planned projects can be difficult to relate to at times.