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Finding New Customers Through Social Media 4 Effective Tips for Increasing Customer Retention Three Types of Content to Post on Facebook 7 Ways to Give an Edge to Your Facebook Marketing Strategy 10 Tips That Will Help You Make Better Business Decisions Are Donations Made At a Benefit Deductible? Infographic: SEO Pyramid

MotivationandSuccess.com March 2020 FREE

Brett T. Wagner President/CEO of Wagner Metals Roofing and Remodeling is changing the way we look at construction

INSIDE THIS MONTH’S ISSUE Marketing Calendar- pg. 3

Finding New Customers Through Social Media - pg. 4 To Reach for the Sky, Get Your Hands Out of Your Pockets: An Interview With Brett Wagner - pg. 7 4 Effective Tips for Increasing Customer Retention - pg. 13 Digital Marketing: Three Types of Content to Post on Facebook - pg. 16 7 Ways to Give an Edge to Your Facebook Marketing Strategy - pg. 18 10 Tips That Will Help You Make Better Business Decisions - pg. 21 Are Donations Made At a Benefit Deductible? - pg. 24 7 Ways to Boost Your Instagram Following - pg. 25 How Success Gains Momentum - pg. 28 The Universal Law of Attraction - pg. 29 Infographic - SEO Pyramid - pg. 31

Marketing Calendar Plan your marketing messages around these upcoming holidays and proclamations.

March Irish American Heritage Month Women’s History Month Employee Spirit Month National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month Save Your Vision Month Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month Red Cross Month March 8 - Daylight Savings Begins March 17 - St. Patrick’s Day March 19 - 1st Day of Spring 1st - Compliment Day 2nd - Dr. Seuss Day 3rd - Simplify Your Life Day 4th - Hug a G.I. Day 6th - Dentist’s Day 6th - Oreo Cookie Day 6th - National Salesperson Day 9th - Crabmeat Day

9th - National Napping Day 10th - Pack Your Lunch Day 12th - Pancake Day – IHOP 12th - Popcorn Lover’s Day 12th - Alfred Hitchcok Day 13th - Good Samaritan Day 14th - Potato Chip Day 19th - Awkward Moments Day 19th - Client’s Day 20th - Day of Happiness 21st - Common Courtesy Day 21st - Poetry Day 22nd - Goof Off Day 23rd - Puppy Day 26th - Purple Day 26th - Spinach Day 29th - Mom and Pop Business Owners Day 30th - Take a Walk in the Park Day 30th - Doctors Day 31st - Crayon Day 31st - Tater Day

April Autism Awareness Month National Humor Month International Customer Loyalty Month Lawn and Garden Month Stress Awareness Month Physical Wellness Month April 1st - April Fool’s Day April 10th - Good Friday April 19th - Easter Sunday April 22nd - Administrative Professionals Day (US) April 9th - 16th - Passover April 22nd - Earth Day


1st - Walking Day 2nd - Peanut Butter & Jelly Day 2nd - Burrito Day 5th - Caramel Day 6th - Hostess Twinkie Day 7th - No Housework Day

7th - Beer Day 9th - Winston Churchill Day 10th - ASPCA Day 10th - Golfer’s Day 10th - National Siblings Day 11th - National Pet Day 12th - Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day 13th - National Scrabble Day 15th - Tax Day 15th - Titanic Remembrance Day 16th - Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day 16th - Get to Know Your Customers Day 19th - Pet Owners Day 20th - Look Alike Day 22nd - Jelly Bean Day 23rd - Picnic Day 23rd - Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day 26th - Pretzel Day 28th - Superhero Day 30th - Adopt a Shelter Pet Day 30th - Bugs Bunny Day

Finding New Customers Through Social Media The 21st century has witnessed an upsurge in the use of the internet. The increased usage of the internet has also led to the exponential growth of social networking. Entrepreneurs are now able to find new customers through social media platforms. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide powerful opportunities 4

for businesses to be able to reach their audience. Conveying information is easier since it takes a short time and costs less than mainstream platforms such as televisions and radios. Social media can be powerful when it comes to conveying information. A business can demonstrate what it’s all about through social

media and the expertise that is possessed by staff can be showcased through social media posts. Products that a business offers, such as phones and cars, can be posted for prospective customers to see. Before-and-after pictures of services such as carpet cleaning can depict the level of expertise involved.

Presenting products and services on social media is very critical when making an impression on new customers.


themselves on your website because of social media. Regular posts on social media platforms have the ability to expand the influence of a business. The more a business posts, the more likely it is to get noticed. Effective marketing strategies, however, need to be implemented for this to be successful. Targeted keywords and hashtags can be used here. Successfully using keywords and hashtags leads to the growth of an audience within social media platforms.

Connections are very important when it comes to running a business. Social media enables businesses to be in contact with prospective customers. Inquiries can be made through social media platforms. The prices of products and services offered can also be conveyed here. Business operation hours can also be communicated. These connections can be fostered by strategies such Businesses need to find as discounts on a new customer’s first purchase. platforms that work in their interests. Finding the right places for putting Social media can greatly content goes hand in help a business in hand with finding new driving traffic. This traffic customers. A business can be channeled to a needs to find the landing page, a blog, platforms that its targeted a niche website, or an customers mainly use. For e-commerce site. Links instance, a business that that are embedded in targets teenagers will have social media posts can an advantage if it uses help achieve this. New Instagram as opposed to customers will find LinkedIn.

Advertising on social media can help deliver new customers. With the help of analytics, a business can come up with specific adverts targeting customers with interests that relate to the products or services offered. Prospective customers seeing these ads may click on them. The click of the ad will forward the prospect to the business social media account or business website. If a prospective customer is pleased with the products or services, he or she may make a purchase or refer a friend. Social media can offer many opportunities for businesses. If done in an appropriate tone, it can enable you to reach more prospective customers with tremendous results. Information regarding services and products that you offer can be easily conveyed through social media. In the long run, adopting the use of social media can help you find new customers.


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To Reach for the Sky, Get Your Hands Out of Your Pockets: An Interview With Brett Wagner

This month, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brett Wagner, the owner and founder of Wagner Metals Roofing and Remodeling in Ohio. Brett started in the roofing business when he was a teenager and has stuck with it ever since. Over the decades, he hasn’t just gained expertise about roofing but also about entrepreneurship and leadership. This month, he was kind enough to share some of those lessons with all of us. 7

Dennis Postema: Let’s start from the beginning. When did you get your first paycheck from a company?

on a roof?

Brett: I kept sneaking my way up to roofs when the owner wasn’t around, trying to learn as much as possible. As I went, I Brett Wagner: I was 15 actually became a pretty and I got my start with good roofer. That’s where a roofing company. My it started. And I loved it first lesson was “Get your hands out of your pockets. because the work was just physically demanding. It You look like you’re not was hard, and there’s not a doing anything. There’s lot of thought into it. Even always something to do.” now, I would almost prefer And I remember that to some of my days just to go this day. work on a roof. It’s relaxing. People don’t understand Dennis: What was it like that. having roofing as your first job? Dennis: How did you transform from the guy Brett: It was an extremely who’s on cleanup to the rough job and back entrepreneur who owns a then, roofers were a little roofing company? bit different. They were not nice to me. I was Brett: I continued to roof not allowed on the roof up until I graduated high because of my age, so I was in charge of cleanup. school. I went to college and roofed full time while These guys would tear I was there. I was in the off an entire roof and it trade forever and I really was my responsibility to clean the whole thing up. I enjoyed it. I’m a glutton for mean, they would go sit in punishment, I guess. I was the truck, drink a beer, and pretty close to graduating watch me while screaming college and my boss gave at me. Needless to say, you me a call and said, “Hey, get a heck of a work ethic I’ve got a job for you.” The day I came back, he threw by going through that. me into a foreman role. He demoted the existing Dennis: When did you foreman who’d been there develop the itch to get 8

forever, gave me his job, and sent him to work with me. So, talk about getting thrown into the deep end. Dennis: I bet that was an enjoyable trip. Brett: Yeah, it was great. The demoted foreman sat behind me on the ride out. And I had never run a job, a crew, anything like that, so I was scared. But it worked out really well, and afterward, I quickly transitioned into sales. Dennis: You went from being a roofer to foreman, and then to sales. How was that transition? Brett: I had the gift of gab, but I wasn’t pushy. I’m still not. I’m more helpful than anything. I don’t even consider myself a sales guy, but the truth is, you’ve got to have sales or you’re not going to do anything. When I started selling, I loved it. I loved being able to help people. Especially in the small community that we’re in. It’s awesome. Most homeowners don’t know the ins and outs of roofing. With my experience, I was able to

educate them. Although, when I first started with sales, I still had the mentality of a roofer. I would explain the roof too much. I had a guy actually do his own roof after listening to my pitch, because I explained it too damn well. At the time, my boss was like, “I’ve got to break you of that.” So, I did a little bit of sales training and from there, it was on. I got into the production side and the safety side, so I had all this other knowledge. It was just natural. And I was beyond fortunate—the owner of the company was like a mentor to me. For all these years, I spent so much time with him and I really got the gist of what was going on. Dennis: What is your philosophy on sales today? Brett: When you have confidence in your product, you already know the sale is going to happen. Sales to me is a transfer of emotion. And that part of it has always been easy for me because I believe in what we’re doing. I believe that we’re 9

Brett: I think our culture is the biggest thing. I’ve always believed in doing business the way I would want somebody to do business with my mom. Simple. I don’t want Dennis: What sets Wagner somebody going out there Metal Supply apart from and selling her something that she doesn’t need, competitors? the best out there and I never second-guess that. Realistically, I am sales, but it’s something I believe in, something I can control. So it’s easy.

and I treat our customers the same way. Not long ago, I met with a potential client who’d gotten five estimates. Other companies were telling her, “Oh my goodness, you need to replace your roof!” I’m the only one who said, “Well, we can do a repair for $1,200 and you’ll be good for 10 years.” My goal is not to get the initial sale done but to create customers for life. I want the prospective client to be a customer, as well as their kids, their grandkids, brothers and sisters, and so on. People sometimes ask me, “What about your competition?” I don’t believe we have any. Winners chase winning. I’m not here to follow a competitor but to set the standard. That’s it. The fire in my belly does not allow me to compare myself to others.

somebody? It’s like boxing. You get in the ring with somebody, it’s not about competition. I want to knock my opponent out. That’s plain and simple. And I think that’s the attitude you have to have. If you’re subtle about it and kind of hem and haw around, then what are you doing? Let’s go! Get your hands out of your pockets!

motivation is still there, I’ll keep going. We have these two other divisions that I’m starting right now, a full-service, roll-forming company, and a window line. The brand is growing, so I don’t believe there’s any stopping.

Dennis: What are some of the benefits that come with being an entrepreneur?

Brett: Oh, jeez. The list is a mile long. The stress and the responsibility. When you’ve got employees, you’re responsible for them, for their payroll, for their families, for their kids. And that’s tough. Then there are the late hours. Especially when I was starting, it’d be 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning and I’d be trying to get supplies or hand-bending trim to go install a roof by 6:00 a.m.

Dennis: What are some of the ugly truths of entrepreneurship?

Brett: My schedule, which is huge for me. I’ve got a wife and two daughters, whom I cherish. I absolutely adore them all. My day is generally done by 6:00 p.m. so I get three hours with my girls every night. We cook supper, we play, we go to bed. If I need to, I can get back up and go to work. As we get busy, sometimes I’ll have a There’s so many things Dennis: I often see that couple late days and that’s that people don’t see. But with really successful it’s mentally taxing having fine, it’s necessary. companies. They’re not to pay attention to all as worried about what these things, wondering their competitor is doing. But the other thing is I control my destiny. There’s if you made the right They’re more worried decision. Because you’re no ceiling. People ask, about being the best at going to fail, and then “What are you going to what they do. you’re going to fail some do?” I’m like, “I don’t have more, and how do you a clue.” But as long as Brett: Right. After all, why deal with that? People would you want to chase that fire, that grit, that 10

out. don’t see the mental struggle that goes with entrepreneurship. It’ll burn That was one of my biggest mistakes. As you out. we got going, I took every dollar I had, went Dennis: What’s your and bought all kinds of morning routine like? supplies and tools, but I never accounted for Brett: The morning is needing inventory. So I the most important part had all these failures and of my day. It’s going to worked way too hard and dictate where my day goes. I get up at 5:00 a.m., lost a lot of sleep, but it all pushed me along to settle and have a half-hour to 45-minute workout. Then down, backtrack and make a plan. I check my emails and respond to them. About I made my business plan 6:00 to 6:30, I’ll get ready. after I started the business. From 6:30 to 7:00, I get Which was interesting. my girls ready. So I do a Before that, when people little bit of everything. asked about my business But the workout is the plan, I told them, “I’m most important thing to going to kill it!” me because it’s my time. The other thing I would It’s quiet, I can listen to say my biggest mistake—I a podcast, or just totally block everything out and wasn’t willing, in the put on the loudest thing I beginning, to give up responsibilities. I wanted can find. to do everything until Dennis: What would you I realized I couldn’t do say your biggest mistake everything. I’m not even good at everything. is as an entrepreneur?

of the night, stuff like that. My father-in-law asked me, “Are you creating a job or starting a business?” Then one day my wife said, “Are you going to do this forever?” And I was like, “Yeah.” And she said, “This isn’t going to work.” So, I had to look a little deeper and start forming a team, people to take these little tasks away from me to free up time so I could work on the business instead of in the business. Dennis: Have you ever wanted to throw in the towel?

Brett: I don’t have “give up” in my vocabulary. I don’t have it and I think that’s rare. I think far too often, people get to a point and just stop. Some people give up instantly, but some people will push and push and push and just give up. And with business, you push and push and push—if you’re pushing on the same thing, maybe Brett: I was 20-something But that led me to the best you need to figure out a thing I ever did, which was different route. Innovate. when I started, full of piss and vinegar. I had no to create a team and give Go around it. I often think myself permission to make about business as a game, direction. I was going to like Mario Bros. There’s mistakes. At one point, do it and there was no always another level. Just way in hell I was going to early on in starting the fail. But I had no clue what business, I was working all keep going. I was doing. I didn’t think it these crazy hours. Middle 11

Dennis: Mario Bros. is a good example, too, because really once you do beat it, what happens? You start over at level one with twice as many people trying to kill you. It’s a very good example. There’s always room for improvement and the higher you go, the more haters there are going to be. What advice would you give a new businessperson or entrepreneur? What would be your best

advice you could give them?

do it. Or go find somebody to mentor you.

Brett: Be prepared. Don’t think it’s all sunshine and butterflies. It’s not. Be prepared for whatever is going to be thrown at you. Look a year ahead, two years ahead, three years ahead. You’ve got to have a plan. That’s where I failed in the beginning. I didn’t have that plan.

I’ve had people quit working for me, like, “I’m making you rich, I’m doing this, blah, blah, blah. I’m going to go do it myself.” Unfortunately, it’s the same people you see in the paper with liens on materials, because they go out and do a job, make a couple thousand dollars, put that down on a truck, and forget that they need more supplies and tools for future jobs. So, be prepared and don’t be greedy.

Be prepared in all aspects of your business, and if you don’t have knowledge of every aspect of it, don’t

To find out more about Brett and what his team at Wagner Metal Supply is up to, check out their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/wagnermetalsroofingremodeling, or visit their website, www.wagnermetal.com. A Conversation About Our Capacity for Achievement - During our interview, Brett and I got into a conversation about a person’s capacity for accomplishment. I thought readers might find it interesting to see what we said: Brett: I watched this motivational speech the other day and it said 99% of the world only accomplishes 40% of what they’re capable of. Think about that small sliver of people who consider themselves successful—whether that’s financially, emotionally, or whatever. That tiny percentage achieves far more than that 40% of what they’re capable of, yet I imagine that they’re still not achieving 100%. I don’t know that people ever get to that point. Dennis: Oh yeah. One of my biggest fears and one of the things I talk about a lot when I do talks on the road is that I’m going to meet my creator here at the end of my life and He’s going to be like, “Okay, Dennis. I just want you to sit down and watch this short video. This is what you did and this is what you accomplished, okay?” Then, after that, He’s going to say, “Now I just want you to look at this video showing what I made you for and what you could’ve accomplished with the capabilities that I gave you.” And I’m just going to be completely devastated because I’m going to think, “I could’ve done all that?” So that gives me some of my boost, some of my drive, asking myself, “Are you achieving even 40%? Are you?”

4 Effective Tips for Increasing Customer Retention Customer retention is one of the most commonly overlooked areas in the small business world. Many companies get it in their minds that they need to grow their customer base to be successful. While this is true, it’s not really the whole truth. Yes, new clients are needed for the expansion of any company, but to really run a successful business, both socially and financially, a company must be able to retain its customers. From strictly a financial standpoint, it makes 13

sense to devote plenty of time and energy to retention, instead of just to acquisition. Increasing customer retention by only two percent actually has the same effect on your bottom line as decreasing your costs by a whopping 10 percent.

customers that you already have actually spend more than new ones, statistically speaking. For example in ecommerce, a new customer averages a checkout price of just under $25.

A loyal, repeat consumer, however, averages over That’s because it’s over six $50. Therefore, not only is times more expensive to it more cost effective and get a new customer on easier to target already board than it is to market existing customers, but to one you already have. A it also pays off in average repeat customer costs less purchase amount. It’s for to target and also proves all of these reasons that to be a more successful the 80/20 rule is so famous target, costing less in in marketing. marketing efforts. Plus,

The rule estimates that 80 percent of a company’s business will come from 20 percent of its customers. That only emphasizes the importance of retention versus acquisition. While both are important, a successful company simply cannot get by without high levels of customer retention. Looking to improve your customer retention? Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make it happen:


to your customers and truly engage with them? You can do this any number of ways, from optimizing how they use your service, to holding contests to offering special promotions or discounts. You can even offer freebies now and then, because who doesn’t love something free? 2. Work on listening

take full advantage of any shifts in the market. The more with the times your company is, the more likely you’ll be able to hold onto existing customers, rather than lose them to trendier competitors. 3. Customize and personalize Customers love when your services or products fit their needs and wishes. While it helps to add in first names to email campaigns or have readily available data to refer to when a customer calls, truly savvy companies go above and beyond basic data dropping. With online shopping now a dominating industry, many companies take advantage of personalization in their efforts to offer new products.

Listening should be one of the largest focuses of all companies. Start by surveying your customers 1. Engage your customers or acquiring feedback and then implement changes The biggest mistake accordingly. But listening you can make in terms doesn’t just mean hearing of customer retention is what your customers ignoring your customers have to say. It also means once you’ve brought paying close attention to them in. Surprisingly, this trends in your market. You happens more than you’d want to be on the front think. Companies put all of of anything new in your their effort into customer industry. This means doing acquisition because they your research. The databases pay close think that’s where the attention to what each money is, but ignoring Try holding focus groups customer buys and, your loyal customers or paying attention to based on common is also the fastest way similar fields to see what’s trends, recommends to decrease customer trending there. Knowing new products or services retention. what’s going to happen accordingly. Amazon before it does leaves you is a great example of a Why not go a step extra time to ramp up company that’s taken full beyond paying attention marketing efforts and advantage of this. If

someone buys an iPad, Amazon may suggest some of the top-selling iPad cases or other accessories to go with it. Using personalization in a way that ups sales is one of the best things a business can do to increase customer retention because you’re taking the work out of the purchasing process for the customer.


these customers. This process should be totally unique to your company.

If you see a decrease in email opens, it may mean sending a unique email campaign, featuring less aggressive and more carefully constructed emails to those who draw these red flags. If the red flag is a complaining customer, it may mean giving them a special offer 4. Keep an eye on or gift for being a loyal the ones that may be customer. Your company unhappy should choose a plan that fits best for your product One way to make sure that or service and marketing you keep your customer technique. abandonment rate down is to make sure that you By really honing in on watch out for potential both the proactive and “red flag” customers. reactive techniques, Look for early signs that a any company has the customer may be unhappy opportunity to increase or on a track to leave you. their customer retention. This may mean something Remember, in the long as obvious as a complaint, run, retention is at least but it may also be subtler. equally, maybe even more important than customer You can even go as far acquisition. By building as to look for a group brand loyalty and keeping of customers who have customers coming recently had a decrease in back to your business, email open rates, if your you’re spending less on company relies heavily marketing efforts and on email marketing. Then, likely making more money build a process to manage off of each customer’s

purchase, which can mean only good things for your bottom line. craft your updates in a way that drives engagement. Another significant unwritten rule for social media marketing is to make sure you aren’t talking to yourself. Therefore, everything you create needs to encourage discussion from your audience. There are several ways you can achieve this. Perhaps, two of the most effective are asking questions to your audience and Facebook polls. Obviously, this works even better when you are creating content that your audience is most interested in. Companies must get their digital marketing strategy right and social media is an integral part of that. The preceding article has taken a distinct look at Facebook and the type of content that performs well on the platform. So, remember to focus on videos and Facebook Live, visual content and ask questions and use polls.

Digital Marketing: Three Types of Content to Post on Facebook Brands know the importance of a solid digital marketing strategy. Social media marketing has an important part to play in this and Facebook is a platform suitable for most companies. This article looks at some of the best types of content to post on the social media site. 1. Videos and Facebook Live


You may think of sites such as YouTube when it comes to video content and perhaps Facebook, which is not exclusively a

video content platform. However, video content uploaded directly onto the website can perform exceptionally well. For the best results, it’s advisable to stick to short video content that is easy to understand and follow. Subtitles are also a good idea because users will not always have their sound on when watching the content. If you want to take your video marketing strategy up a level, you may also want to consider using Facebook Live. The one thing that is even better

than video content is live streaming, and it provides so many more options, such as covering live events and having real-time interaction with your audience. You can take advantage of this to connect with your audience in new and unique ways. 2. Visual content Facebook is also a visual social media platform. In essence, this means the most popular content typically contains stunning visuals whereas links

to articles, for example, don’t perform so well. Therefore, finding success on Facebook involves a high level of creativity with your updates. When you want to promote web content, you might want to consider posting it with a separate image. It’s also true that you only want to use purely text-based updates on an occasional basis. It’s undoubtedly clear across social media that visuals are often the way to go. Spending a bit of time with templates and some trial and error can bring significant rewards on the platform. So, focus on making your Facebook

content as visually appealing as possible. 3. Polls and questions The way you present your content on Facebook is crucially important. However, you also need to craft your updates in a way that drives engagement. Another significant unwritten rule for social media marketing is to make sure you aren’t talking to yourself. Therefore, everything you create needs to encourage discussion from your audience. There are several ways you can achieve this. Perhaps, two of the most effective are

asking questions to your audience and Facebook polls. Obviously, this works even better when you are creating content that your audience is most interested in. Companies must get their digital marketing strategy right and social media is an integral part of that. The preceding article has taken a distinct look at Facebook and the type of content that performs well on the platform. So, remember to focus on videos and Facebook Live, visual content, ask questions and use polls.

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7 Ways to Give an Edge to Your Facebook Marketing Strategy

When it comes to marketing, Facebook is here to stay. It’s one of the main marketing tools that today’s startups, small businesses and even enterprise companies are using. In fact, 84 percent of business to business (B2B) marketers use social media to market and one of the most (if not the most) popular channel is Facebook.

that companies in other industries can’t too. Below are seven tips to help you with your marketing strategy using Facebook. 1. Avoid Auto Posting Posting automatically to Facebook is never a good idea. You can see this trend with many businesses that sync their Twitter and Facebook accounts. You can watch exactly the same posts go up to both at exactly the same time. Some even say “posted from Twitter” right on the Facebook post. This is an incredibly fast way to decrease your engagement and diminish your following.

Today, 42 percent of marketers believe Facebook is absolutely critical to their businesses. That number is up 75 percent from just two years ago. While the retail industry is actually the one that tends to drive the most revenue from Another common form Facebook, that’s not to say of auto-posting is when 18

an article or blog post is published and companies have it set to post directly to Facebook. These usually come along with some generic language, having pulled directly from the title and description of a post without a second thought. Auto posting causes a 70 percent decrease in comments and likes on Facebook. So just take the extra time to create unique posts for your Facebook feed instead of auto posting. 2. Devote Time to Your Campaigns Facebook has become key to many brands’ marketing campaigns. That means that it deserves your time

and attention. When social media first became big, it wasn’t big with businesses. It was sort of glazed over as something that marketers needed to check off their to-do lists and wasn’t really utilized until more recent years. Now, the importance of it is clear, yet some companies still glaze over it, throwing up a post now and then, but not really bothering to put much time or thought into it.

a way to engage with the ones you already have. Facebook is a great customer retention tool because it allows your brand the freedom to have a little more personality, not to mention to communicate directly with your customers. So, go ahead and throw up a Facebook like button directly on your website. 5. Give Your Posts Some Personality

Posting dry content with boring statuses on Images have some serious Facebook isn’t going to get you anywhere. share potential and the great thing about sharing Facebook posts usually come with a bit of a on Facebook is that it is more likely to have a viral punch. Experiment a bit effect. That’s why, for many to find your own brand’s Facebook personality, but brands, photos are the just keep in mind that it way to go for maximum can differ quite a bit from impact on the social front. That said, it’s always the typical tone on your important to keep a close company’s site. Popular eye on the type of image Facebook “personalities” you choose. Experiment a range across the map, bit and you’ll quickly get a including: feel for the type of images your fans prefer. Stick with • Cute • Sassy those! • Funny 4. Leverage Your Site’s • Sarcastic Traffic • Punny Don’t just think of 6. Schedule Your Facebook as a way to Facebook Posts bring in new customers. Just because you don’t Remember that it’s also 3. Focus on Images


want to auto-post, doesn’t mean you can’t schedule them to go out ahead of time. It simply isn’t efficient to have to sit down and post every time you want a post to go live, especially for companies posting dozens of times each day. Luckily, Facebook has a handy scheduling tool that solves this problem. You can simply enter a post (this works for photos, videos, anything else that you may be posting as well) and click the clock icon in the bottom left of the post. You can schedule far in advance and even go back to review which posts you have scheduled, just to make sure you have them set correctly. It’s a fairly intuitive tool, but in case you wanted to read up on a step-by-step, Facebook lays it all out for you. 7. Measure Your Success Measure how you’re measuring up on social media, especially Facebook. Facebook offers the incredibly helpful Facebook Insights tool that lets you track everything from how far your posts reach to which

demographics make up your Facebook fan base. It’s important to keep an eye on how you’re doing because it will tell you which posts do better than others, both in terms of content and even post type (photo vs. video vs. status vs. link, etc.). Your success on Facebook can give you some good insight into trends and favorites that your audience as a whole prefers and even help you strategize new marketing efforts outside of social media. Fifty-three percent of social media marketers

don’t track their progress at all. Don’t be one of them. It’s not a secret that companies struggle to generate leads directly from Facebook. Many get frustrated when they don’t see a direct cash flow coming in from the social platform. But this is no reason to worry. While it’s great to drive a little revenue directly from Facebook, let’s not let ourselves be fooled into believing that that’s all it’s about. Facebook, like all

forms of social media, is about engaging in a conversation and enhancing brand recognition. Someone may not become your immediate customer, but they may be more likely to buy your products or services in the future simply because they like what you do on Facebook. Therefore, you should measure your success on Facebook more from numbers around your reach, following and engagement instead of how many leads you generated.



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10 Tips That Will Help You Make Better Business Decisions When you are an entrepreneur, it can be tough making important business decisions. The buck, as they say, stops with you. If you make the right decisions, your business will flourish. Make bad decisions, though, and it will all be down to you. Procrastination is not going to drive a business forward, though. Some people would even say that a bad decision is better than no decision at all. So, if you find yourself being indecisive, here are 10 tips to help you make better business decisions. 21

1. Define Your Goals

to aim for.

When you are making important business decisions you must have well-defined goals. And, those goals must be quantifiable and measurable. Having a goal of increasing turnover is all well and good. But, by how much do you want to increase turnover by, and in what timescale? If you don’t set welldefined goals, you will have nothing to measure the success of a decision against. And, you and your team will have no targets

2. Consider all the Possible Outcomes Consider the impact on your business that your decision could have. Look at both the potential positive impacts of your decision and the negative ones. Moving to larger premises, for example, might allow you to increase production. But, could your business afford to pay the high rental costs if the demand for your product falls. It is impossible to foresee

everything. Even so, you should consider the impact of as many of the possible outcomes as you can.

Even if you do choose to ignore their advice, it will help to ensure that you have considered all the possibilities.

3. Break Major Decisions Down

5. Step Back and Take A Break

Before you make a major decision, break down that decision into its parts. Relocating a business, for example, will have many implications for a business. Breaking down a decision will make it easier to cost each of the steps that your decision will entail. It will also make it easier to identify any obstacles that may lie ahead.

Don’t get rushed into making decisions. Take your time, relax, and think it through first. Most business decisions do not need to be instant decisions. So, give yourself time to weigh up all the facts and all the potential outcomes. Sometimes giving yourself a complete break from the decisionmaking process can be helpful. The subconscious mind is very good at organizing thoughts. That’s why sleeping on a problem can often bring unexpected clarity.

4. Ask for Other People’s Opinions Even if you are 100% convinced in your mind that your decision is the right one, it never hurts to get a second opinion. In some cases, getting legal or professional advice will be essential. In other cases, the input of business peers, employees, and friends will be helpful. In the end, the decision will have to be your own. Even so, input from other people can be invaluable. 22

team. Some people may have to lose their jobs so that others can have job security. Even so, you must make decisions based on what is best for your business, not on what will please the majority. 7. Look Closely at the Numbers All important business decisions will have an impact on cash flow and profit. So, make sure that you have adequate financial information about business decisions. Look at financial forecasts for all the possible outcomes. Assess the potential impact on both profits and on cash flow. 8. Be Open to Other Possible Solutions

Be prepared to think outside of the box when 6. Don’t Try to Make making business decisions. Everyone a Winner Is there a solution that you haven’t yet considered? Running a business can mean that you must make Is there a way that you can turn an obstacle into some tough decisions. an opportunity? Keep an Some of your decisions open mind. Consider even may even impact on the possibilities that go people’s personal lives. Promoting one member of against your first instinct. your team may disappoint Look at each possibility from an objective point of other members of the

view before you rule it out. decisions based on the facts that you have in front of you now. 9. Don’t Let Past Experiences Rule Your 10. Structure Your Head Decision-Making Process You will have learned from past experiences. But A structured approach to your decision-making don’t let the past cloud your judgment on current process will help you make better decisions. Develop decisions. Each business decision that you take will a checklist of things to have its own set of unique consider when making an important decision. parameters. There is no guarantee that a decision Then, check each one of those items off every that you made in the time you are considering past will have the same outcome as a decision you your options. You can only make today. Look at each make decisions based on the information that challenge you face with you have to hand. Even a fresh pair of eyes. Make

so, a structured decisionmaking process will ensure that you don’t miss anything. Conclusion Making business decisions can be a daunting task. Not least of all because no one can ever be 100% certain that the decision they make will be the right one. You can, though, increase your chances of making the right decisions. You can do that by analyzing the possible outcomes and weighing up the pros and cons in a logical fashion.

Are Donations Made At a Benefit Deductible?

Kathryn Shrader

Donations to qualified your contributions are charities are tax deductible considered deductible: expenses which can reduce your taxable • You must have actually income and therefore the donated cash or amount of income taxes property to the charity you pay. The key word and not just pledged to here is qualified. While do so in the future. donating at a benefit held • Your contributions to assist an individual must have been to with medical bills or qualified tax-exempt to overcome a tragic organizations which event such as a fire is include charities with definitely a worthy gesture a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt unfortunately this type of status, churches donation is not qualified and other religious according to the IRS organizations. (Internal Revenue Service). • Your donations must Please do not allow this to meet the IRS record stop you from donating keeping regulations. as there are more rules to The requirements be met before you can for a cash donation deduct donations even to consist of saving the a qualified charity. receipt which can be a canceled check and/or You can only deduct a letter from the charity donations if you file a acknowledging the Schedule A (Itemized donation. Deductions). Once • You must be able to you conclude it is to substantiate the fair your advantage to file market value of any a Schedule A, the next non-cash donation as step is to determine if well as keep the written your contributions qualify acknowledgement according to the IRS. from the charity. Any The following criteria non-cash donation must be met before over $500 requires 24

you to complete IRS Form 8283 to include with your income tax return. Additionally, any donated property over $5,000 requires an appraisal for the property in addition to the receipt from the charity. Please don’t let these regulations stop you from donating to your favorite charity as the regulations are not difficult to satisfy. The IRS’s criteria are easily met as long as you keep the receipts for your contributions, any acknowledgement letters from the charities and remember to get any noncash donation over $5,000 appraised. Unfortunately, donations made at benefits do not meet any of the above specifications but they do greatly assist the individual. As an added plus to donating at a benefit, I feel better whether or not I can deduct my donation on my income tax return.

7 Ways to Boost Your Instagram Following

According to Brandwatch, Instagram has over 25 million business accounts and more than one billion active users per month. It’s the second most engaged social network after Facebook and around 50% of Instagrammers follow business accounts. This means that an optimized business account on Instagram can boost your brand’s awareness and sales. With a larger audience, you’ll enjoy more opportunities to engage with prospects and achieve higher conversion rates. Although brands sometimes choose to pay for followers and likes, you’ll enjoy better results if you build your following organically. For example, according to Sprout Social, you’ll find about 25

48 million fake Instagram accounts on the platform. Fake followers won’t visit your landing page, make a purchase or recommend your brand to others. So, to help you increase your brands’ authentic following on Instagram, here’s a list of the top 7 proven ways to attract a huge Instagram following.

you can also link to your homepage, linking to a landing page will help you create a cohesive user experience.

For the best results, your account’s name must include less than 30 characters and a keyword. Use the same username as on your brand’s other social accounts. This way, followers from other social Business Account platforms can easily find Optimization you. And use the 150 Your brand’s Instagram bio characters allowance in your bio to feature is like a site’s homepage. your brand’s identity to If your account doesn’t convince users to follow include a bio, a relevant username, a profile image you. or captions, users can’t tell who it belongs to. The Photography and Editing profile must convince new A post’s quality weighs users to follow you and visit your website. Include heavily on Instagram. Unlike other platforms a link to a product or such as Twitter, where services landing page for lead generation. Although followers may overlook

a couple of bad tweets, poor quality and irrelevant photos on Instagram can cause serious damage. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to post on Instagram, but you must follow the best practices before you start posting. Considering that Instagram is a mobile app, you’re most likely using your smartphone to take photos. Topquality posts focus on one subject at a time, include white space, and intriguing perspectives. Also, symmetry and humor are essential ingredients for engaging posts. Before you add a photo to your Instagram profile, use third party editing apps. Although the social network offers basic editing features, they’re not enough for an amazing photo. Posting Schedule and Timing Best Practices Before you publish content to your account, make sure you have at least 15 posts ready. This way, when users visit your Instagram profile, they’ll know you’re regularly posting content. 26

Create a social content calendar and plan your Instagram posts. Also, set up a backlog of posts for emergencies. You must always consider your target audience when you publish content. Your audience’s preferences affect the timing and frequency of your posts.

brand’s trustworthiness and makes it relatable. When you’re developing a brand voice, consider your target audience and the platform you’re using. For example, beauty influencers and important brands on Instagram have a casual style and voice but they also remain relevant, onPublish photos on brand, and professional. Instagram any time When you’ve created a Monday through Thursday, specific voice, maintain except between 3:00 consistency throughout pm and 4:00 pm. To your comments, captions, engage your audience bio, and conversations in the US, combine with your followers. Central and Eastern time zones, but for audiences Use Super Relevant outside the US, use their Hashtags specific time zones. You’ll generate higher A hashtag connects engagement rates if you different users’ post at 5:00 am starting conversations who would on Tuesday until Friday. otherwise be separated That’s because, usually, into different streams. the first thing people do Super relevant hashtags when they wake up is expose your posts to a check their smartphones. larger audience beyond On weekends, post on your followers. But you Saturday around 11:00 am. must use hashtags in a smart way. Limit the A Consistent Brand Voice number of hashtags per and Look caption to about 7 and don’t use gimmicks such Showcasing how your as #likeforlike, #like4likes, product is made or or #tagsforlike. Although sharing your employees they may temporarily perspective about your boost your following, product, humanizes your these users only want you brand. This increases your to follow them back or

they’re spammers. The best way to discover which hashtags your audience uses is to check different hashtags on Instagram’s search feature in the “Explore” tab. An effective approach is to use trending hashtags such as #tbt, #TransformationTuesday, or #MotivationMonday. And when you’ve gained a decent following, you can create your own hashtag including your brand’s name or motto. It’s an efficient way to develop your brand on Instagram and create a cohesive Insta presence. Engaging and Shareable Post Captions Great captions humanize your brand and help you win more followers. And if you make your content shareable, you’ll enjoy increased exposure. A winning caption on Instagram includes clever comments, relevant emojis and hashtags, and calls to action.

Instagram account and subaccounts include jokes, which you can relate to just like a friend. Netflix uses a casual, humorous, and trendy style. But it also stays on-brand. Another efficient way to improve your posts’ shareability is to ask questions in your captions or include a call-to-action. For example, say “Doubleclick if you find this interesting” or “Share your ideas in the comments.” Additionally, emojis can increase your engagement rates in terms of likes, shares, and comments. They add more personality to your account and make your posts stand out on a feed. Add relevant emojis to optimize your brand’s posts. Start Conversations

An effective way to increase brand awareness on Instagram is to engage in conversation. The Q2 2016 report published by Sprout Social shows that about 35% of clients use social networks for Clever comments and jokes, which are audience- customer care. Social media outranks other appropriate personalize customer care channels your Instagram account. such as email, live chat For example, Netflix’s 27

or toll-free numbers. So, you must be active and supportive on your Instagram account. Respond to comments or questions on your account to attract more prospects and reach higher conversions. After a positive interaction with your brand, prospects are more likely to purchase your product or service. You’ll also gain more followers if you grow a conversation around your feed. As the second-largest social network after Facebook, Instagram is perfect to increase brand awareness and boost your sales. But the competition is huge. Although some brands pay for followers or likes, they don’t enjoy real success. For the best results, grow your following organically. Play by the rules, implement the best practices and you’ll achieve real ROI. Although growing your following organically takes effort and time, you’ll have an engaged, loyal, and involved community. It’s what all brands aim for on Instagram.

How Success Gains Momentum

Dennis M. Postema Have you ever thrown a snowball down a hill and watched as it grew larger and larger? In many ways, the law of attraction works in the same way, but instead of attaching more snow to itself, it attaches more successes and opportunities to you. One way you can make sure you get the snowball effect created by the law of attraction is by writing down your daily victories, even the tiny ones. When you do, you focus on the positive and allow the law of attraction to help your successes gain momentum and compound. Eventually, this positive focus becomes an automatic habit you don’t have to think about. This will impact all areas of your 28

life: relationships, health, career and more.

Perhaps you made a mistake and learned a lesson that showed In the beginning you the right next step especially, a victory journal to take. Or a seemingly helps you effectively insignificant event led to and practically focus on a significant insight that the positive, boost your helped you break through attitude, appreciate your or move forward. results, increase your selfesteem and drive your These are huge wins and thought focus toward gaining the positive edge happiness and success. is all about acknowledging them so that you may With Victories, Size Doesn’t appreciate all the ways Matter you’re winning. Often it’s a matter of perspective. It’s important to count You can choose to look at your victories no matter life events as wins, or you how small. Add everything can choose to see them as up in your life and keep an losses, but only by seeing inventory of the wins. them as wins will they Some victories are hidden serve to benefit you and within situations that, on will they help make your the surface, don’t make attitude more positive. you feel very victorious.

The Universal

Dennis M. Postema One giant, critical aspect of the positive edge is the law of attraction. The law of attraction is a force of nature that philosophers such as Plato have been discussing for millennia. The theory behind the law of attraction is based on the science of quantum physics (also referred to as quantum mechanics), which is the study of motion and subatomic particles that explain how energy works. This is important since our world is made up of energy vibrations and interactions that have a great effect on our personal and global experience.


on you. In other words, what you focus most of your time thinking about is what you attract to yourself, whether positive or negative.

On a basic level, the law of attraction has two key irrefutable principles:

2. The law can be used to manipulate the kind of energy you bring to yourself. By consciously focusing on positive energy, you can influence the law of attraction to bring you that very thing. Everything in our universe is made up of energy. Energy waves are invisible to the eye, but imagine if they were visible, like in your own special-effects-heavy movie, you would see energy waves of varying intensity emanating from everything around you.

1. The way you focus your energy determines what energies are focused

Law of attraction principles dictate that you’ll attract like energy to what

you put out there. This means you can become what you believe and manifest whatever it is you spend most of your time focusing on. You can successfully channel energy into productive relationships and activities that bring great results. Likewise, your energy can be confused and block what you desire most. One of the easiest ways to channel the right energy is to be mentally clear on what you want. One easy way to do this is to tell the universe, every morning and every evening, what you want to attract to yourself. Use short, concise sentences and you’ll ensure you don’t send conflicting messages and find yourself stuck and achieving counterproductive results.

The word ‘March’ comes from the Roman ‘Martius’. This was originally the first month of the Roman calendar and was named after Mars, the god of war. March was the beginning of our calendar year. We changed to the ‘New Style’ or ‘Gregorian calendar in 1752, and it is only since then when we the year began on 1st January. Mar 2, 1937 - King Kong (film) opened at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Mar 6, 1950 - Silly Putty was introduced as a toy by Peter Hodgson. It was invented in 1943 by James Wright in an effort to make synthetic rubber. Mar 11, 1818 - Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by 21-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, was published. It is recognized as world’s first science fiction novel Mar 21, 2006 - Twitter was founded. Mar 27, 1998 - The FDA approved Viagra. Mar 30, 1939 - Detective Comics #27 was released, introducing Batman Mar 31, 1889 - The Eiffel Tower, 986 feet tall, in Paris, France, was inaugurated


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