CALL TRACKING: Which Keywords Trigger Phone Calls?

Is There a Better Way to Track Your Phone Calls?

Most people enjoy the sound of a phone ringing, especially in business (unless it’s the car warranty people, of course!). For entrepreneurs and small business owners, the sound of a phone ringing is a very good thing indeed. It means people are interested in your business and called to find more information, or perhaps to even place an order.

Inbound calls have always been important to small-to-medium businesses, but never more so than in 2021. Pre-pandemic, 60% of customers preferred to call small businesses on the phone, according to a report cited by Small Business Trends.

During COVID, an analysis of 100 million phone calls revealed that customers called in even greater numbers, as a way of circumventing the need for in-person interactions.

Call Tracking Call Log Panel

The goal of a website marketing strategy is to drive website traffic, and motivate people to call you, but how do you measure success?

Which phone calls are coming from which keywords?

Which phone calls are coming from which banner ads?

Which phone calls are coming from Facebook? Instagram? Email?

How can you tell which segment of your online marketing strategy is pulling its weight in generating calls, and which might need a little work?

>> Enter CALL TRACKING.

That’s where a call tracking can prove to be an invaluable tool. Call tracking provides verifiable results that reveal which of your campaigns are driving those crucial phone call conversions. Instead of guessing which strategies provide the best return, call tracking provides exact performance data.

Call tracking automatically assigns phone tracking numbers to various components of your online marketing, such as Google Ads, Google My Business listings, Facebook Ads, Yelp, Email newsletters, etc. These calls are then forwarded to your business, and you are provided with data you need to track their sources.

Benefits of call tracking include:

  • Verifiable ROI: Most businesses don’t really know which components of their marketing strategy are doing the most work. This allows you to prove whether you are receiving a good return on your marketing investment.
  • Better Customer Journey: Sometimes one call is all it takes to make a sale, but it usually requires several steps to complete the buying journey. You want to make sure the customer has the information and motivation needed to proceed to the next step. If calls don’t come in from a marketing source, you need to re-examine it to determine what needs to change.
  • Drive More Traffic: Once you know what is working, you can invest additional dollars and effort into that channel to increase your traffic even more.

Which Call Tracking Tool Is Right For Your Business?

Call tracking is especially important for businesses that want to get to know their customers on a more personal basis. One tool I recommend is the highly-rated CallRail. The co-founder of CallRail was an entrepreneur, too, so he knew what would be needed in an intuitive call tracking platform uniquely suited to meet small business needs. Check out some of their case studies to see how other small businesses used the power of call tracking to their advantage.

CallRail Call Tracking software reveals the sources behind your calls, and provides access to each lead’s name, number, and location. After a free trial period, the call tracking suite starts at $45 a month, depending on the volume of phone numbers you need, the number of minutes your calls take, and other factors. Included in the basic plan are 10 local numbers, 500 local minutes, and 100 local messages. Basic features include:

  • Attribution matches incoming phone calls and texts to your marketing channels and tactics. This helps you measure the success of advertising campaigns while fine-tuning marketing strategies and spending.
  • Data-driven reporting helps you spot trends, save money, and market smarter.
  • Consolidate communications: With CallRail, you can talk, text, and track in one place. Advanced features like pulling up insights on a screen when a call begins give your callers a more personalized customer service experience.
  • Summary emails provide a breakdown of lead activity for companies within your account. You choose the data presented in your email, including total calls, total minutes, and statistics on new callers, keywords, and sources driving calls to your business. Here’s an example of a Summary Email:
Call Tracking Call Reporting

Available for Apple and Android devices, the CallRail mobile app puts your call analytics in the palm of your hand, providing a real-time view of your inbound, outbound, and missed calls. You’ll also be able to listen to call recordings and communicate with customers via text message.

Call Rail Call Tracking Call Reporting Mobile App

If you add on The Conversation Intelligence plan for $50 a month, you can transcribe the phone calls and have them sent as a text message.

The keywords associated with calls can be used to gain insights into the language your customers use to talk about you, develop hyper-targeted ad campaigns, and include in blogs, ads, and other marketing materials to speak to your audience in terms they understand.

If you are trying to grow your business online by maximizing your web presence, driving traffic to your website, and presenting your website content in a way that more people will use your services or buy your products – tracking your phone calls is an essential ingredient for success.

QR Codes Are Making A Comeback in 2021

QR Codes Are Making A Comeback in 2021

Ever heard of QR codes?

Unless you work in the marketing industry, chances are you’ve probably only heard of them occasionally.

A QR code is essentially an enhanced version of the average barcode. However, they can hold roughly 350 times the amount of information that could be stored on a typical one dimensional barcode. 

QR codes saw a sharp increase in popularity when they were first introduced, but then started steadily declining in popularity when they were not widely adopted by Apple and Samsung smart phone manufacturers.

In addition, WiFi technology had made serving in-store advertising easier, which pushed QR codes further down the “must have” list.

During the month of June 2011, 14 million American mobile users scanned a QR code or a barcode. Some 58% of those users scanned a QR or barcode from their homes, while 39% scanned from retail stores; 53% of the 14 million users were men between the ages of 18 and 34.

QR code usage decreased to 9.76 million in 2018 but is expected to grow to a total of 15 million households by the end of 2021. This is largely due to the newer smart phones adopting the technology “natively”, meaning, you don’t need to download a third party app, it’s built right into the phone camera.

The pandemic also created a huge need for QR codes with contactless shopping and delivery. I t also created a need for communicating information without touching an item others had touched, too. This meant developing a way to communicate lots of information quickly without touch. Rather than reinvent the wheel, marketers and computer techs realized the power of QR codes to do exactly what is needed.

The humble QR code stepped in to provide a succinct way to communicate information and complete transactions. A business can provide a QR code for customers to scan that lets them instantly register for delivery programs, loyalty programs, etc. It provides a method of completing contact-free retail purchases via mobile wallet. According to Juniper Research, by 2025 about 2.2 billion people will use QR codes for payments. That’s nearly one-third of smartphone users – 29 percent.

What is a QR code?

The term QR code refers to a Quick Response (QR) code. A smartphone can read this two-dimensional code using its camera. This lets retailers place these codes in store windows or at checkout stands or on the aisles of a store to provide consumers with a way of quickly scanning to obtain more information.

Consumers can also create QR codes using the retailer’s website or an app. These codes can contain the information from a coupon, gift certificate, or online order number. By displaying their cell phone at the register, the sales representative can scan the item using the register wand. Neither party needs to touch, and the entire transaction can occur through a clear plexiglass sneeze guard.

Which country has the largest QR code adoption?

Asia, specifically China, uses QR codes most frequently. It has also seen the greatest adoption of e-wallets such as WeChat and AlliPay. In 2019, almost half of the point-of-sale payments in that country used QR codes, a total of 48 percent.

Plaid and PayPal have introduced a QR code option. This lets users of those two worldwide payment services use the technology to accept or make payments.

According to a 2019 Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey, 91 percent of Australians own a smartphone. Only ten percent of those use QR payments though, says a Roy Morgan report from the same year. Australia’s mature market with widespread NFC and a massive 900,000 point of sale (POS) devices make it easy for the country’s residents to make contactless payments. In 2019, most of the country’s purchases were contactless – 83 percent. Since its populace would likely immediately adopt a QR code option, its federal government plans a national plan it will implement in 2021.

New Zealand joined the fray in 2020 when the Union Pay International (UPI) system it uses introduced a consumer payments QR code program. Australian retailers can also use the UPI system. Its competitor, Azupay, and the regional NSW government partnered to offer QR code payments.

QR Codes = Simplicity and Usefulness

As part of a payments system, the simple technology has grown quickly due to its easy adoptability and adaptability. It requires no extra hardware since the user’s smartphone can scan the code to complete the transaction. This use of existing hardware also makes the QR code more convenient. Although a tiny two-dimensional picture, a single code holds lots of information. Its data capacity is such that it communicate payment, identity, and loyalty.

Some older phones require a separate app. Newer smartphones come ready to scan though. They use built-in software. This means any customer with a smartphone can install the app needed to read the codes which are also free.

Its only two drawbacks include risk of fraud since a customer could scan a fake code which results in them completing a phone call they’re charged for or otherwise losing money and privacy issues. The customer may not immediately understand what information the QR code accesses or uses.

QR as a Marketing Tool

The QR code offers an opportunity for retailers to market their products or business more effectively. Because it can quickly communicate information, the codes provide a useful mechanism with many uses including:

  • Restaurants: communicating the entire menu through a code to eliminate hands-on menus. The restaurants’ website or app also enables touchless, contactless ordering.
  • Hotels: provide contactless check-ins, room service menus and ordering mechanisms, lighting and air conditioning controls.
  • Museums and art galleries: provide visitor maps and guides.
  • Medical facilities: communicate health education materials.

Other ways to use the QR code include as an advertising tool. Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram require a square photo or graphic.

When you create an ad on Facebook, it warns you not to use text. The reason for this is because ads with lots of text simply don’t perform that well. Using a QR code lets you embed the code in the center of the graphic, and this enables you to put all a large amount of text in the page which the QR code sends the visitor to.

You can communicate all the information you need in that one QR code.

Your one sentence headline can be concise and direct, while the QR code carries all of the extra information. Users can like your post and scan the QR code to gain access to more information. This lets you embed a paragraph on a code so you can provide users with details instead of the bare minimum.

Similarly, you use QR codes to sell products. A customer only needs to scan the code to order the product. You can set up an entire store on any platform even if it does not offer an e-commerce option or interface with a store environment like Etsy.

In Conclusion

QR codes can help you accept orders, take payments, advertise products, offer coupons, communicate information. You can create a QR code that houses your entire menu or sells a t-shirt.

Provide a QR code on a poster to link to a website with further information. Gyms can use them to educate consumers on how to use each piece of equipment or use them so patrons can check in on each apparatus.

Any time you need to graphically communicate lots of info at once, leverage a QR code. They’re not just for e-books anymore.

While they did wane in use for a little while, once people could not enter stores, they made a comeback.

Whether you use a tablet, smartphone, or a computer, you can create, obtain, or access a QR code. This makes it simpler for all sizes of businesses to utilize this technology and improve their sales, tracking, and customer service.

QR STUFF

If you’re searching for a free QR code generator, I evaluated and compared several tonight, and found this one to be best for my needs: https://www.qrstuff.com

100% Ad Free QR Codes

QR Stuff has QR codes that are guaranteed 100% ad-free, even for free users, so you can get on with promoting your product without someone else’s brand getting in the way.

I used this QR code generator successfully for my pest control Brezden Pest Control. They needed a QR code added on a few of their products so that technicians in the field could quickly pull up ingredient lists and instructions.

Here is QR Stuff FAQ:

Can I use the website as a free user?

Yes. You can create fully functional QR codes anonymously as a free user with no need to sign up or open an account. No sign-up = no email address harvesting = no spam from us 🙂

Also, unlike some others, our free QR codes aren’t crippleware that stop working 14 days later. Our free QR codes aren’t time-limited in any way, don’t expire, and are ad-free.

What’s the subscription fee for?

The subscription fee charged relates to providing time-based subscription access to the extended feature set of the website for the period of the subscription purchased.

Opening an account is required for paid subscribers in order to co-ordinate the functionality of your account and to allocate the QR codes you create to your account history (but still no spam!).

No component of the subscription fee relates to purchasing the QR codes themselves.

Will my QR codes “expire”?

No. The QR codes (and any underlying short URL’s) created by both free users and paid subscribers are permanent and will continue to function indefinitely, however temporary scan limits may apply as outlined below.

Can I use your QR codes commercially?

Yes. There are no restrictions on commercial use however temporary scan limits may apply as outlined below.

Are there any limits on use?

The short answer is Yes, but the reality is that the vast majority of users won’t be affected by them. These limits only apply to dynamic QR codes that use our (optional) URL shortener – QR codes that do not use our URL shortener (static QR codes) have no scan limits.

Free Users: While there are no limits on the number QR codes you can create as either a free or paid user, a limit of 50 scans per month is applied to each QR code created by free users. This monthly scan limit presently affects less than 0.001% of the QR codes in our system so it will not impact the overwhelming majority of users. If you anticipate that your QR code will be scanned more than 50 times per month, you should probably consider a paid subscription.

Current Full Paid Subscribers: There are no pre-set scan limits for QR codes associated with current (paid-up) full subscriber account.

Expired Full Paid Subscribers: A 50 scan/month limit is applied to QR codes associated with expired paid subscriber accounts. This scan limit for expired subscribers is a “per QR code” limit and is only applied to the individual QR codes that exceed the monthly 50 scan limit, and does not affect any other QR codes associated with the expired subscriber account. The scan limit is re-set at the start of each calendar month.

At our discretion a temporary Fair Use monthly scan limit may be applied to unusually high scan-volume QR codes (>30,000 scans/month) belonging to current paid subscribers. This Fair Use Policy limit is intended to ensure that the scan activity of a minority of users doesn’t adversely impact optimal platform performance for all users.

Don’t worry – current subscribers will be contacted well in advance if any of their QR codes are approaching a Fair Use threshhold so that we can work out a solution with them.

Collectively, these measures will only affect about 1 in every 10,000 users – the other 9,999 won’t even know that any limits exist 🙂

And just to reiterate – these limits only apply to dynamic QR codes (the QR codes that use our optional URL shortener). All other QR codes are unlimited.

What do I do if my QR codes are scan-limited?

Expired full subscribers simply need to renew their subscription and the scan limit status of their account will be automatically reset from expired to current.

Free users who upgrade to a full paid account (1 month or longer) can contact us to have the QR codes they created as free user moved to their subscriber account which will remove the 50 scans/month limit from them. This is a complimentary service for up to 10 QR codes.

Are your QR codes ad-free?

Yes. Both our free and paid QR codes are guaranteed 100% ad-free. If you see an ad after scanning one of our QR codes, the QR code scanning app that you’re using put it there.

Is a license required to create QR codes?

No. The QR code is clearly defined and published as an open ISO standard. Denso Wave owns the patent rights on the QR code creation process, and the methods used to encode and create them, but has chosen not to exercise those rights. The term “QR code” itself is a registered trademark of Denso Wave Incorporated.

The answer to the following questions is always “No”

  • Can I add a QR code to my account that I created somewhere else?
  • Can I get analytics from you for a QR code that I created somewhere else?
  • Can I have a free trial subscription?
  • I’m making my own QR code website. Can you tell me how you did everything on yours?

Improve Your Website Traffic With Schema Markup

Schema Markup For SEO

Schema markup and Structured data are an SEO tool that can help improve the click through rate of your website on the search engine results page (SERP).

While schema and structured data are not required they are highly recommended by all major search engines to help them pull the best data from your website in a way that makes it easy for users to view on a results page. 

Schema and structured data improve the look of your websites listing on Google increasing potential traffic and showcasing the products, services, or information offered on your website. This will potentially decrease user bounce rate and increase your organic traffic revenue generation.  

Schema gives you more control over how your website shows up on Google and the information users see when they search for your product or service offering. 

Having accurate schema markup will improve your website’s local search ranking and help Google prioritize your website above competitors that have not invested in this untapped SEO tactic. 

Schema Markup For SEO

This guide to Understanding Schema Markup For SEO will outline: 

  • The difference between Schema markup and structured data
  • How Schema and structured data affect a sites SEO
  • Types of Schema markup and structured data available
  • How to implement Schema and structured data on different web platforms

Below we will start by clarifying what schema and structured data are, how they are implemented on common web development sites, and what they can do to improve the search ranks of your site.  

What Is Schema Markup

Schema markup is a code that you put on your website to help a search engine pull the right information from your website. Schema creates better descriptions, accurate company information, and enhances the users experience on the search engine leading to higher quality traffic for your website. 

Schema is an open sourced code that anyone can use. To get a better understanding of how it works you can visit schema.org

What Is Structured Data

Structured data is a way to organize data in a standard form that Google and other search partners can easily pull from. Thinking of structured data like a database each item or description on your website will have its own structured data. Company information can be structured along with products and services. 

Structured data is how Google sets up shopping ads or understands which products are in stock on websites. There are many types of rich snippets and markup options for your site. 

How Do Schema & Structured Data Affect SEO?

Schema markup and structured data tell Google what important information should be pulled from the website. This improves search listings with accurate and well-thought-out descriptions and information. Structured data also helps Google know what rich snippets are available on a website. 

A rich snippet can be anything from a question box in position zero, book review, or FAQ. It is information pulled directly onto the search page to improve the users experience. A rich snippet increases the size of a site’s listing and allows for more information on the results page increasing the likelihood of a click through to the site.     

Structured data is not a ranking factor for Google, but it does affect a site’s overall rankings. 

Click Through Rate (CTR)

Schema markup will have an impact on your CTR. A higher CTR, will increase your rankings by signaling to Google that your site is a good result for that search.

Structured data can help you with CTR because rich results catch the eye of the searcher and provide an outline on the information they will find on site potentially lowering the bounce rate and improving on site traffic quality. 

Schema Markup Types Supported by Google

Schema Markup Types Supported by Google

Structured data is available for almost any type of product or service and a full list of available markup can be found on schema.org

There are also many types of rich snippets that Google has developed. You can find a full list of available rich snippets in the Google Developer

Common snippets include:

  • Position zero
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Reviews
  • FAQ
  • Ratings
  • Events
  • Products
  • Local business information
  • Recipes
  • Site links

Product Markup

Product based markup is required when running paid shopping ads on Google. Paid shopping ads are a form of PPC ads on Google Ads that list items for purchase directly on Google. Using Shopping Ads can give a product company an edge over the competition as the product shows without the need for a user to click into the website. Schema works hand in hand with the merchant center to list products seamlessly. 

How To Add Schema Markup On Your Website (The Right Way)

Implementing Schema on a web platform like WordPress and other eCommerce sites has become easier with WordPress schema plugins. If you are looking to implement Schema on a custom site it is best to hire a web developer to help implement the proper HTML code in your specific system. 

Here’s how you can implement structured data correctly on your website, on different platforms:

How to add schema markup on WordPress 

To add Schema Markup to your WordPress blog, check out the structured data & schema markup plugins in the WP repository. Most SEO plugins like YOAST and SEO PRESS also add basic structured data functionality to most websites including description and title tags.

How to add schema markup in Magento & eCommerce

Most eCommerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify, and Square Space will come with structured data already integrated.

If you’re not sure that your site has the proper structured data, use the structured data Google Structured Data Testing Tool

If there’s no Product section, it means your implementation is missing. There are always plugins and extensions so do a Google search and find what suits your platform.

Always fix the warnings and misinformation, they won’t stand in the way of your rich snippets displaying, but it’s always best to have accurate data.

Local SEO structured data

If you have a local business, structured data can really help your local SEO. You can mark up your NAP (name, address, phone) so that search engines can better understand that information.

This plugin for WordPress supports structured data for Local Businesses.

Custom schema markup implementation

If you’re planning on adding markup manually, make sure to validate your code with the Google Structured Data Testing Tool.

Why Doesn’t My Website Display a Rich Snippet?

Schema markup on your website does not guarantee that Google will implement a rich snippet on the SERP. The schema is only there to help tell Google what you want. If the information you shared is useful to the search Google will include your schema.   

The best thing for you to do is test your rich snippet to guarantee it is working with the Rich Snippet Validator.

Voice search is the future of how we will interact with our devices.

If you want your business to show up in voice search, you need accurate Schema markup and structured data programmed into your site.

Voice search is a natural way to ask for information and get results. It’s hands-free, eyes-free, and all about you. You can use it anywhere – in your car, at home or on the go – as long as you have an internet connection. And it’s not just for Google Search anymore! Now Siri on iOS 11 lets you access Apple Music with just your voice.

Schema markup will provide more information about your website and it’s content in order to make it easier for voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa to understand what you’re offering.

The goal is to make it as easy as possible for Google to understand the kind of content you want to show up when people search for specific things like “restaurants near me” or “movies starring Tom Hanks.”

Structured data and Schema should be your first priority when it comes to site wide SEO, it is an important step in improving the long term quality of your website traffic.

Like any other SEO tactic, Schema should be part of a larger strategy that focuses on the entire optimization of your website. 

Rich snippets and markup provide Google and other search information an easy way to improve a search result page and improve the user’s experience while on the search engine. The more information you give to a search engine in an easy-to-understand way the more likely they are to prioritize your site. 

Improving the quality of your website traffic can help increase inbound revenue generation. Schema markup and structured data is one of the best ways to improve the quality of your organic traffic coming from Google. 

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg and Nonviolent Communication

Who is Dr. Marshall Rosenberg?

Note from Taylor Reaume: Dr. Marshall Rosenberg is one of my top 10 mentors. I was privileged to have the opportunity to meet him twice at workshops held in Santa Barbara. His model for compassionate communication is the most advanced and helpful system for processing internal thoughts I have ever found.

With a nation often on edge due to political and racial strife, students and communities trying to make their voices heard, and even families forced to quarantine together in close quarters, it has never been more important to learn to communicate without resorting to violence. Nonviolent Communication, or NVC, heightens awareness regarding the importance of communicating compassionately, verbalizing feelings, and understanding the differences between needs and requests vs. demands. I hope you enjoy these insights into his work.

A Worldwide Movement Begins

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg was an American psychologist, mediator, author and teacher known for developing the theory of Nonviolent Communication. He began formulating his insights during the civil rights and anti-war protests of the 1960s, and helped to peacefully desegregate long-separated school districts. From there, he went on to work as a global peacemaker and founded the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC), an international non-profit organization. The NVC community is currently active in over 65 countries around the globe. According to the Center:

“NVC is based on the principles of nonviolence – the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart. NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies—whether verbal or physical—are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture.”

NVC assumes that we all share the same, basic human needs, and that all actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs. People who practice NVC have found greater authenticity in their communication, increased understanding, deeper connections, and enhanced conflict resolution. Applications can be seen in all sectors of society from the personal and professional to the political.

Groups such as educators, mental health and health care providers, managers, lawyers, police and prison officials, military officers, prisoners, clergy, government officials, and families have benefited from his teachings. He has provided training to promote the peaceful resolution of differences in areas fraught with war and economic disadvantages.

What is NVC?

Most of us want to improve the quality of our relationships, to deepen our sense of personal empowerment and to communicate more effectively. Unfortunately, though, we have been educated from birth to compete, judge, demand and diagnose; to think and communicate in terms of “right“ and “wrong.“ The habitual ways we think and speak tend to hinder communication and create misunderstanding. At their most extreme, our unfeeling habits can lead to anger, pain, and even violence.

NVC reaches beneath the surface and discovers what is alive and vital within us. It flows from the understanding that all of our actions are based on human needs we seek to fulfill. NVC provides a vocabulary of feelings and needs that help us more clearly express what is going on in us, and understand what is going on in others. When we understand and acknowledge our needs, we develop a shared foundation for much more satisfying relationships.

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg Non Violent Communication NVCC

Violent Communication vs. Nonviolent Communication

In its Key Facts About Nonviolent Communication, the CNVC describes violence as “acting in ways that result in hurt or harm.” Based on this definition, they believe that much of how we communicate – judging others, bullying, having racial bias, blaming, finger pointing, discriminating , speaking without listening, criticizing others or ourselves, name-calling, reacting when angry, using political rhetoric, being defensive or judging who’s “good/bad” or what’s “right/wrong” with people – could therefore be called “violent communication.”

Nonviolent Communication, on the other hand is the integration of four things:

  1. Consciousness: a set of principles that support living a life of compassion, collaboration, courage, and authenticity.
  2. Language: understanding how words contribute to connection or distance.
  3. Communication Skills: knowing how to ask for what we want, how to hear others even in disagreement, and how to move towards solutions that work for all.
  4. Means of Influence: sharing “power with others” rather than using “power over others.”

NVC serves our desire to increase our ability to live with choice, meaning, and connection; connect empathically with self and others to have more satisfying relationships; and share resources so everyone is able to benefit.

The Four Cornerstones of NVC

Most workshops, prior to Dr. Rosenberg’s time, tended to focus on conflict resolution as gaining power over other people. There was no recognition of individual qualities or affirmation of each other’s uniqueness, no compassion or nurturing. While violence usually results from such concepts as judgments, thoughts, strategies and demands, Rosenberg instead based NVC on four core components known as OFNR:

  • Observations: This is a description of what is actually happening, as reported by our direct, sensory experiences mixed with our “inner voice.” Observations should be free of moral judgment and criticism.
  • Feelings: These are the physical sensations and emotions which are universal to all people. It could be a sensation of fear, love, happiness, or guilt.
  • Needs/Values: These are the resources which are necessary to sustain our lives, and are also universal.
  • Requests: Requests are when one party has an opportunity to contribute to the well-being of another. It is a specific action which provides a concrete offering with the intention of helping to fulfill a need. Requests can come in the form of clarity, feedback and action.

How You Can Use the NVC Process

The life-changing benefits of NVC can be applied to conflict resolution, personal relationships, parenting and families, education, personal growth, organizational effectiveness, anger management, business relationships and individual spirituality.

NVC helps to develop your emotional vocabulary, connect with your feelings and needs, break negative habit patterns, hear the needs behind behavior and get to the heart of the conflict.

A good starting point is to learn how to use “feeling” words in a sentence. This way you can accurately describe how you are feeling to the other person.

Feelings When Needs Not Met

Getting both people’s needs met involves accurately communicating how one feels about the needs being met or unmet.

Feelings When Needs Met

Here is a general outline of the entire communication model:

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg Non Violent Communication NVCC

Paraphrased Quotes from Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg

“Every criticism, judgment, diagnosis, and expression of anger is the tragic expression on an unmet need.”

“The goal of Nonviolent Communication is not to alter people and their behavior to suit us; it is to establish relationships based on empathy and honesty, which will fulfill everyone’s needs eventually.”

“The more we discuss the past, the less we heal from it.”

“We can’t make anyone do anything against their will without enormous consequences.”

Below is a Youtube video of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg speaking to a group of psychologists. This was an NVC workshop in San Francisco, CA.

Although Dr. Rosenberg passed away in 2015, the Center he founded continues to educate people to communicate more effectively and become more connected globally. The world is definitely in a better place for the legacy he left us.

NVC QUIZ FOR KIDS: I stayed up until 4am designing these quiz sheets below. If you have kids, you might benefit from chatting with them about the answers.

I use these quizzes to annoy the crap out of my nephews and nieces when I see them. 🙂

They are designed to help children distinguish between feelings or thoughts, and requests or demands.

And finally, below is a collection of infographics I’ve collected over the years.

How To Build Your Email List

Email is sometimes seen as a lonely outcast in the online marketing world, sometimes even a joke. It just keeps plodding on behind the scenes whiles its flashier cousins get all the attention. Yet savvy marketers know that email is just as powerful now as it has always been, and deploy it as an integral part of their online strategy.

Email is the perfect way to promote your products and services, distribute interesting content, and stay in touch with prospects and customers. Carefully targeted, automated “drip” campaigns that provide information without becoming spam can take your business from an interesting idea to a possible partner in the recipient’s mind.

Here are some eye-popping email statistics to give you a better perspective:

  • The number of email users continues to grow: Statista reports that there were over 4 billion email users worldwide in 2020. This number is expected to grow to almost 4.6 billion by 2025.
  • Emails get opened: In 2020 email benchmarks for all industries included an average open rate of 18.0%, an average click-through rate of 2.6%, and an average click-to-open rate of 14.1%.
  • They influence purchase decisions: According to consumer research, 59% of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions.
  • Emails get results: Even in 2019, the ROI on email marketing campaigns was over $40! How does that compare to direct mail or your other online efforts?
Email List Building Tactics

Why do people unsubscribe?

Why am I starting this blog with “how to keep your list” instead of “how to build your list”? Because keeping your list is probably the most effective way to “build your list”.

It’s similar to the age old money principle; “It’s much easier to make money, that it is to keep it.”

So how do we keep our email list subscribers from opting out?

To answer that question, let’s examine sending frequency.

Research firm Marketing Sherpa surveyed the opinions of 2,000 Americans about what frequency they think is optimal for newsletters. The diagram above shows how the survey participants answered the question:

“How often would you like to receive newsletters (coupons, promotions) from the companies you’re subscribed with?”

Too frequent mailings are a sure way to lose subscribers. Your subscribers may unsubscribe simply because the emails they receive overload their inboxes. Just look at the huge selection of email customization tools that demonstrate the need for users to manage and reduce the number of emails they receive.

What is a normal unsubscribe rate?

There is no official percentage benchmark for the unsubscribing norm. It depends on each mailing campaign and the industry. That said, below is a table of industry averages which you might find interesting:

Email List Open Rates and Industry Averages

According to the Campaign Monitor research, the average unsubscribe rate in 2019 was about 0.17%. From 1000 letters sent – 1-2 people unsubscribe.

As long as the number of unsubscribes does not exceed 0.5%, everything is pretty normal. If your base is 200 subscribers, then with each submission at least one of them will unsubscribe. It’s sad, but true.

Segment your email list to lower unsubscribes.

The best way to lower the number of unsubscribes from your mailings is to segment your database. There are many different ways to do this:

  • which links are clicked when they receive your email;
  • which online resources are used (e-books, webinars, etc.);
  • whether they participate in online events or not (webinars, for example);
  • how often your emails are opened (frequency of interaction);
  • where subscribers live;
  • income level, psychographic data, etc.

The statistics prove the reliability of email marketing, but their effectiveness relies on the quality of your email list. Careful attention needs to be paid to adding addresses to your list, updating them as needed, sending quality content and promptly responding to unsubscribe requests.

Let’s talk about building your email list.

Probably the best way to build your email list is with a “give to get” opt in strategy.

Offer potential customers a white paper, or an infographic, in exchange for subscribing to your newsletter list. Their email goes into your database automatically, and generates a series of welcome, thank you, or content updates.

Most people jealously guard their email address because they don’t want to get on some type of “spam” list. But they do want to get worthwhile information and offers from companies that match their interests. So what can you offer that makes your company look good, and still adds value to your prospective customer?

Email List Building Tactics

Below are several creative ways you might consider building your list:

  1. Add an email opt-in form to your website: This one is simple – just ask your website visitors to subscribe to your monthly online newsletters. Once they sign-up, be sure to only send relevant, interesting content that meets their needs, though, or they might unsubscribe quickly. Make sure this offer is repeated on every page your visitors might access from their online search results.
  2. Use pop-ups: These are quick hits that grab a user’s attention as they begin to surf your site. Have a headline that promises something, offer a discount, or have a limited time offer. Make it very simple to fill in the email and leave it at that.
  3. Ask on social media: There are many creative ways to get emails from people on social media. “Give to get” email opt-in strategies are a common way to build an email list using social media. You can offer a PDF or white paper in exchange for an email address. You can use Facebook, or do a call-to-action Tweet or post on Instagram.
  4. Check-out process: If you offer ecommerce services, you can always ask for an email address during the checkout process. Most people don’t think twice about providing an email to a company they trusted enough to make a purchase.
  5. Insider Tips: Put together a one page sheet of special tips that apply to your product or service, and offer it in exchange for an email address.
  6. White Paper: A white paper is a deep dive into a topic of particular interest. If you own a computer store for example, a good white paper might look at various computer setups to achieve maximum office efficiency. The white paper seeks to take a complex matter and break it down with expert advice and research. It provides useful information that can help solve a particular problem, and maybe even motivate the reader to work further with your company.
  7. E-book: This is a more in-depth study of a particular topic. It might come in handy for analyzing many sides of a particular issue or product offering.
  8. Special Access: Offer to let prospects on your email list have sneak previews of new products or upcoming sales and promotions. Have a limited sale period that is available only to this list before you open it to everyone.
  9. Helpful Audio or Video: Is there one topic that you are always explaining to customers? You can reproduce your answer in the form of an audio or video file, and offer that as the email address incentive.
  10. Surveys: Ask someone to provide answers to a few questions about your product or service. Offer to provide results if they give you their email address.
Email List Building Tactics

Case Studies on Building Email Lists

  • Buffer, the marketing software firm, shared its strategies to double email signups in 30 days. They added eight more ways to their existing tactic, to make it ridiculously easy to sign-up for the list. Options now include slideup form, blog homepage email capture, HelloBar, sidebar ad, postscript CTA, Twitter lead generation cards, Facebook newsletter signup, SlideShare, and Qzzr.
  • University of Alberta realized a 500% increase in subscribers simply by adding a chat window signup with Qualaroo. Even though their website page offered a newsletter preview, few visitors took the opportunity to actually sign-up. A pop-up chat window, however, noted their interest and provided a quick way to enter an email address.
  • Sol de Janeiro, a body care company, generated 25,000 new subscribers in under five months using a layered lead capture approach that began with an offer that triggered when a prospect appeared to be ending a website session.

Automate Your Email Automation

Create specific emails to respond to certain situations, and set up your system to send them out automatically. You might have emails already created to:

  • Accompany the white paper or other information you are sending.
  • Follow-up on information that was sent
  • Welcome a new customer
  • Connect with someone you haven’t heard from lately
  • Send out to those with an abandoned cart
  • Celebrate milestone occasions

Use productivity tools like Constant Contact, Mailchimp or Cloud HQ to automatically schedule emails, update your database, respond to unsubscribe requests, and handle your automatic reply needs.

Start Building Your Email List Today

When you are building your email list, think about the emotions you want readers to feel. Try to put yourself in their position to see what would make you give someone your email address, and build from there.

Do you have a coveted email opt in strategy that’s worked for you in the past? Well don’t keep it a secret, that’s no fun! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

How To Create Blog Tags Automatically

Blog Tag Generator

Achieving a #1 ranking on search engines requires a diligent approach in all aspects of your online marketing. This includes your website, social media, and online communications.

Many of my clients use blogs to share information and educate customers and prospects, but the one key strategy they often miss is blog tags.

Blog tags are those words or phrases that are used to describe a blog post. They are usually about one to three words long, and are attached as labels to your blog.

One function of blog tags is to help the search engine crawlers get a quick idea of what your content is all about. When created with search intent in mind, blog tags can help propel your content to the top or search engine results.

Another great benefit of blog tags is that they help visitors navigate the content on your site, especially as you continue adding content. Many companies use WordPress to create and upload blog content to their web pages.

Part of the uploading process asks you to designate which categories and tags should be applied to your blog. Tags are more specific than the categories.

Even though they are not required, I still highly recommend you add tags to each and every blog right from the start. After you have a number of blogs, WordPress offers up a list of your most common tags that you can click on to add to your piece.

WordPress uses these tags to create topic archive pages. Visitors searching for specific content can use these pages to instantly retrieve the information they want. This might require you to plan some sort of themes for your blog posts.

For example, most of my blog tags focus around topics like email marketing, SEO, PPC, social media and website design. Tags are not made-up words; they are real words or phrases that potential customers might use to learn more about the products and services you offer.

Best Practices for Blog Tags 

  • Keep them concise.
  • Avoid redundancy.
  • Be consistent across blogs.
  • Broad topics are better than narrow.
  • Keep the number of tags to a realistic number — not too few, not too many. Usually between 5-10 tags is just fine, unless you have something really special to tag!

Automating the Blog Tag Process

One helpful tip for creating blog tags is to perform keyword research first. This helps to uncover the tags you might want focus on in your blog content.

If you are really on your content game, and create a number of blog posts every month, adding blog tags might be easy for you, but either way, the process of manually adding tags each and every time can get a little tedious.

Fortunately there are some options which can help automate the blog tag process:

  • Auto Tag Creator: This plugin automatically converts keywords in a post/product title and category to tags upon saving. It includes a user-editable list of words you want the plugin to ignore. Activate the plugin through the WordPress Plugins menu.
  • Smart Tag Insert: Once you have defined a tags list, this plugin adds a box in the post editing page which looks for relevant tags based on post content. The most relevant are automatically selected (although the selection can be changed). Selected tags can be added with a click.
  • TagΒee Post Tagger: This is a simple plugin which proposes tags for your content.

This post is a great opportunity to tell you about the WORD ROBOT. This is a tool I created, and offer for free on my website.

WORD ROBOT automatically creates blog tags for your blog post by analyzing the keyword density. Simply paste in your article content and VOILA!

It also converts lower case and upper case letters, capitalize and uncapitalize, convert to mix case, and transform your text.

  • Sentence Case: The sentence case converter allows you to paste any text you like, and it automatically transforms it to a fully formed sentence structure. It works by capitalizing the very first letter in each sentence, and then goes on to transform the rest of the text into lowercase, and also converts each single lowercase “i” into a capital. Every letter after a full stop gets converted into an upper case letter, but it will not capitalize names or places.
  • Lower Case: If you are wondering how to uncapitalize text, this is exactly what the lower case text converter allows you to do. It transforms all the letters in your text into lowercase letters. Simply copy the text that you want to convert into a lowercase font, paste the text into the tool, and select the “lower case” tab option.
  • Upper Case: Sometimes you do want your text to be in all capitals. The upper case transformer takes any text provided and transforms all the letters into upper case. It essentially makes all lower case letters into CAPITALS, but still manages to keep upper case letters as they are meant to be.
  • Capitalized Case: There are times when you need the first letter of every word in a phrase capitalized. This might be for something like H1 and H2 content in your blog. The capitalized case converter automatically converts the starting letter of every word into upper case and leaves the remaining letters as lower case ones.
  • Title Case: When writing titles, especially in a Word Doc format, you frequently get those annoying notifications that certain words in a title should not be capitalized. The title case converter is perfect for those who are a bit unsure on how to title an upcoming essay. It ensures the correct letters are capitalized within the context of a title. Words such “an” or “of” will be left all in lower case, and words that are important will be converted to capitalize the initial letter.

Writing blogs, keeping content fresh on your website and updating social media sites can sometimes be tedious work.

Fortunately today’s technology offers a wide variety of specialized tools that can help automate some of the most mundane parts of each process.

Check out these tools and let me know in the comment box below if they help your blogging efforts?

How To Increase Facebook Likes With a Semi-Automated Facebook Marketing Strategy

Semi-Automated Facebook Marketing Strategy

One important aspect of growing your business online is social media. Many business owners turn to social media platforms such as Facebook to market their business. While some might think of Facebook as a purely social medium for individuals, there are plenty of good reasons to also include it as a major part of your business marketing strategy:

  • Facebook has an incredible audience: According to the company, there are 2.74 billion monthly users! That is a lot of people who use the channel to post updates, share content and watch videos. It’s a good bet that a significant percentage are in surrounding communities, and these people are anxious to learn about and connect with your local business.
  • Facebook is heavily used: Most fans visit Facebook daily. In fact, it ranks only behind Google and YouTube as one of the world’s most visited websites.
  • People are engaged when they visit Facebook: Users spend over a half hour each day visiting Facebook, most of them from a mobile device. Even better, two-thirds of Facebook users said they visit a Facebook Page from a local business at least once a week.
  • It works for local businesses: Partly due to more people searching for local services during the pandemic and also an increase in “Support Local” trends, Facebook clicks on searches for local business increased by 23% from February through May, 2020.

Despite all these great statistics, not every small business is thriving on Facebook, due to a lack of engagement from their Facebook community. To be successful on Facebook, you need to be active and you need to generate content that motivates your community to action through “likes,” comments, or shares. It’s not enough to just post occasionally and hope that people react to it.  You have to construct an effective plan to increase those likes and generate comments.

Know Your Audience to Increase Facebook Likes

The first step to increasing your Facebook likes is to make sure you know your audience. Knowing whether your prospects are young or old, male or female, consumer or business, will make all the difference in the type of content you share on Facebook and how you share it.

Besides knowing who you want to reach on Facebook, you must also build content in a number of different ways. Don’t just post videos, comical images, or promotions. Try mixing things up by incorporating different types of content such as brand stories, personal updates, lead nurturing and authority-building posts. Yes, you want to share your blog posts on Facebook, but also create unique posts that could start a conversation with your audience, stir a reaction from them, or solve their problems.

What to Include in a Marketing Strategy to Increase Facebook Likes

There are two ways to increase awareness of your business Facebook page. First, you want to have a large audience. This means more people will see your content every time you share it. Second, you want to have great content, so more of your current audience will like and share it to their social media circle. This spreads the word about your business to a larger audience than you might ever hope to reach through traditional advertising means.

You might see some ads offering to sell Facebook likes, but the quality of those connections is questionable. Better to do it yourself and have control over building your community. Here are some tips that will increase engagement with your business on Facebook:

  • Pay attention to your Facebook Page: This is the first thing people will see when they think about connecting with your business. Make sure it is optimized for search engines, has a crisp appearance, uses compelling photos, provides useful information, and includes your location and contact information.
  • Include Facebook links on your website and social media pages: Put buttons on your website that automatically direct visitors to your Facebook page, and be sure to ask them to “like us on Facebook,” especially on your Contact Us page. Ask your Twitter and Instagram followers to like you on Facebook, too.
  • Share your blogs on Facebook: Every time you post a blog on your website, share it to your Facebook page. Use an image and captivating headline to grab attention. Ask your blog readers to share your posts, too.
  • Ask people to “like” you: Tell your current customers that you have a Facebook page, ask them to like and share it with their friends. When you send an email to welcome new customers, inform them about your Facebook page. Include your Facebook address on your business cards, newsletter and email signature block.

Semi-Automate Your Facebook Likes Marketing Strategy

Here are just a few of the many tactics you can use to get your Facebook family more engaged with your content, and more likely to share it:

  • Create great content: Always have content that is topical and fresh. Use powerful images and headlines. Ask questions. Introduce your team, or tell a great customers service story. People get a lot of information through their Facebook streams, so your updates must stand out.
  • Add your posts to community pages: Facebook users are paying more attention to local community pages. If you have a service business, add something to the group’s page that provides helpful information for their community. You can also do this if there are groups that pertain to your business such as local bicycle groups, cooking groups or computer groups.
  • Boost posts: There are times when you put a lot of work into a post that you want more people to see. Boosting a Facebook post gets it in front of more people from a targeted audience you choose, and increases its engagement. If somebody likes one of your boosted posts, make sure you are set up to send them an auto-invite to like your page.
  • Pin your top posts: If you get a post that really spurs a response, you can keep the momentum going by pinning it to the top of your business page. Anyone who visits your page automatically sees this great piece of content first, so they will like your business and like your post, too.
  • Create a Facebook group: 1.8 billion people use Facebook Groups. If you have a really targetable audience, Facebook groups for business can be a great way to reach prospects outside your company’s brand’s page. Use your group to provide exclusive content, build community, and attract new customers.
  • Tag other pages: When you tag other relevant pages, your post will appear on their wall and may spark the interest of that page’s fans.
  • Share infographics: A good infographic on a pertinent topic can draw a lot of attention. If the information is really good, it should bump up your likes and shares tremendously.
  • Post videos: The average engagement rate for Facebook video posts exceeds other types of Facebook content. Viewers watch video intently and tend to be more engaged. Your videos can be a produced piece, or something that you shoot and post quickly on Facebook Live covering a particular topic of interest.
  • Cross-promote: Find other non-competitive local businesses and cross-share your Facebook content with them. It boosts your audience and gives your fans valuable content about local companies.
  • Website pop-up: Add a pop-up to your website that asks people to join your email list and like your Facebook page.
  • Ask customers to post: Encourage customers to post video or photos using your product or service. This provides an extended audience reach and an “accidental” testimonial.
  • Run Facebook ads: One quick way to garner attention is to run Facebook Ads that promote your brand. This is a paid strategy, but it can be useful for getting your name known quickly. There are software tools that help automate the creation of Facebook ads.
  • Time your posts: It just makes sense to share content when your audience is online, but how do you know when that is? Your Page Insights tab provides the answers. Once you understand more about when your audience is most active, you can establish your own posting schedule or schedule your posts if you’re unavailable to publish them manually.
  • Tell a story: 500 million people use Facebook Stories daily. Creating content for Facebook Stories is different from creating content for your news feed. The pace is faster, and you’ve got less text to work with. But Facebook Stories have the strategic advantage of appearing at the top of the viewer’s screen.

How Do I Know What Works Best on Facebook?

The Facebook Insights feature identifies the kinds of posts getting the most reach and engagements. Use this information to create more of the content your audience wants from you.  Facebook Insights give you the ability to learn from your mistakes and give followers what they want, so you’ll be able to continue increasing those likes!

Another way to determine what works best is to look at case studies from other brands. Here are a few you can check out:

  • Facebook Group: In 2018 Starbucks launched a Facebook group, the “Leaf Rakers Society,” for its Pumpkin Spice Latte drink. Since this is a seasonal drink, Starbucks uses the group to generate a “latte love” all year long. This group builds anticipation for the yearly release of its famous drink. Currently there are 41.0K members in the group.
  • Facebook Video: For Halloween 2016,Tomcat (a rodent extermination company) created a live video event featuring mice in a haunted cabin (Yikes!). During the video, the audience was questioned as to how the story should evolve. The video got as astonishing 2.3 million unique views, with 21% of viewers actively participating in the fun. The Tomcat Facebook fan page also grew by a whopping 58%.
  • Facebook Ads: In 2017, Brewer Direct used two fundraising strategies to determine if it could acquire new donors, generate revenue, and garner a positive ROI. The campaigns were a success – they generated instant donations, added new members to the Facebook audience and acquired new email addresses.

The addition of Facebook to your business marketing strategy can make a marked difference in awareness and results, but it is important to be consistent in your efforts. Use as many semi-automated techniques as you can to get your business noticed on Facebook and build an engaged audience.

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