Posted in Business

Digital Advertising Blog | 5 Steps to Optimise Digital Advertising Campaigns

In this article, we list the 5 Steps on How to Optimise your Digital Advertising Campaigns.

Step 1 – Targeting Strategy

To begin with, it is important to have your campaign set up with individual strategies for age, demographics, interests, behaviours, or any other target criteria you are using. This is so that each parameter can be tracked individually and you can optimise them in and out depending on the performance.

Make sure that your targeting strategies are in-line with the campaign brief provided by your client so that you can give them insights on the things which are most important to them.

Step 2 – Advertising Research

Simultaneously derive insights from qualitative market research based on the product you are advertising and the consumers you intend to target.

Additional information from market research in relation to the product and the psychographics of the audience will broaden the targeting funnel which will further assist in serving better results.

For example, Sparcmedia ran a campaign for a chain of family health clinics in Brisbane who were trying to promote an offering for skin cancer awareness. Through qualitative research, we found that Brisbane had an audience segment of students from Japan who were highly conscious about skin cancer due to the high rate of skin cancer in Japan.

Armed with this market knowledge we tested a strategy, utilising a small amount of the client’s budget to target Japanese students. This strategy was a success and resulted in increased conversions for the campaign, with an eCPA much lower than other strategies.

Step 3 – Advertising Insights

Start observing key activities such as the impact of the time of day, the day of week, placements and performance of URL/sites as they play an important role.

You should also be tracking consumer reaction towards each component of the advertising campaign. For example, if you have five creatives in circulation, instead of bundling the engagement rate and seeing the overall for all five, have them split out so that you can understand which executions get greater levels of engagement. Pause the ones that are less effective and focus spend on the 2-3 which have the greatest success. This will ensure that you get a greater engagement rate overall, plus get insights on the types of creative which your audience responds to.

Once the campaign is up and running analyse it for a period of two weeks before making adjustments. You need to ensure that the optimisations you are making are based on a statistically relevant level of data.

Step 4 – Optimise

After two weeks, optimise the campaign towards the parameters mentioned in Step 3

The process of optimisation can include:

Higher bidding or allocating more budgets towards the URL’s that generate higher engagement (CTR, views, conversions.)

Pausing the under performing line-items.

Bidding higher at the most active hour of the day that is providing maximum engagement.

Increase spends towards the best performing strategies (gender/age/interests)

Optimise spend on a daily basis until the campaign ends.

Step 5 – Analyse

When the campaign has finished, analyse the results and deliver post-campaign insights that will help the clients grow their business with effective decision-making. Useful insights include: Information around the engaged audience in comparison to the targeted audience, information on which creatives performed and why, information on which strategies performed and why. Wherever possible, overlay this with market data.

Instead of patting yourself on the back for a great click through rate or for the number of sales you achieved, start understanding why you got that result, because when you know that, it will be easier for you to replicate the result again and again on an ongoing basis.

Posted in Business

Real Estate Attorney NJ: Real Estate Closing Process Step-by-Step

When you are buying a new home or properly for your business you will notice many legal obligations, rules, so if in case you missed out any one of them there will be barriers and complications in your case, so to make sure your process goes smoothly and freely all you need to do is hire the most skillful real estate attorney.
When you are ready to purchase a new house or any commercial property to operate a business all the work that is going to come under buying and selling will be complicated, definitely, you have experienced the same thing before as well while conducting any transaction. So you know the importance of having any professional person by your side to handle the process for you easily, the real estate agent will also be present but they won’t be of much help as they do not have the right to handle legal processes as there is saying that indicates hold only that work which you are expert in and if you don’t leave the work on expert, s the same applies here, only a good real estate attorney NJ can help you with the legal rules and regulation, only they can guide you well through the right procedures and process and carry documents so definitely hiring them can be the best idea for making your closing process steps easy

Step 1- Find the Right Home

There are many different things that go into finding out the best home for you, when talking about best homes you need to understand that finding the right home involves a lot of complication, when you purchase a new home there are various things that you need to check before making any agreement, whether the owner has the proper documentation, legal right and other things related to the home. Once you have found the desirable home for you, the next job for you is to seek help from a professional to make the best out of your transaction. They will consider every legal action to not make a further disappointment.

Step 2- Set the Buying Process in Motion

When you further plan on starting up your buying process once you have finalized your house, the next thing is to forward the copy of the purchasing house or the contract for purchasing the house to the Attorney in NJ. Basically, the buyer of the house, as well as the seller, needs an attorney by their side to make sure that the process goes on really smoothly without any complication, the money of the interaction is exchanged nicely plus the purchaser gets a clear title as well.

The real estate attorney NJ will be responsible for holding up the money and all the legal documents that are necessary while having a transaction with both the buyer as well as the seller. Well, there are chances where both the buyer and she seller appoints a single attorney for them to conduct the activity and help both the parties, whereas having 2 different lawyers for the individuals are also seen in some cases where they both consider the benefit for their own interests.

Step 3- Conduct a Title Search

One of the first things your Attorney will search out is the titles, as titles search is very important and also it yields all different documents as well as the records that pertain with respect to the property. The documents that are just collected for the title search are then further examined so as to make sure that there is no default in the title no lien against the property as well and also no other issues that can be rectified by the attorney. If there is no drawback in the titles than the further planning can be done easily.

Step 4-Inspect the Home

Home inspections are important, firstly when you know that the home you are going to purchase it from some other individual, so you need to monitor the home entirely as you are going to buy it from some other person, even if they guarantee you for the purchase you yourself should take certain initiatives to check up the entire home, as well as you can have pest inspection, your to make sure you have satisfaction with the purchase. It can be a great idea if real estate attorney NJ will consider your process of home inspection.

Step 5- Prepare Closing Documents

This is a crucial step once again when you reach the closing document procedure; only a professional will help you with this. There will be many documents that you must hold; the attorney will also have a transfer document with themselves which indicates the ownership of house transferring to you. There will be a contract negotiation process as well that need to be done. The buyer should gather all the documents together and make sure to provide it to the attorney at the right time. The documents that the buyer must possess include mortgage broker’s contact information, sales contract, title search, homeowner’s insurance for full replacement cost and so on.

Step 6- Give It a Final Once-Over

This step is to verify by the real estate attorney NJ whether the process has no problems and the set of rules and frameworks are also followed, the finalization is necessary as it helps to identify whether the process was according to the desired rules or no, or whether you have missed out any line in between.

Step 7- Close the Sale

You will meet along with your Attorney to sign your purchase documents and mortgage documents regarding 7-10 days before the purchase deadline. This appointment can take about one hour and during it, the professional can review all the documents with you and have you sign all the legal papers. Bring in any deposit money or down payment that’s needed to close the purchase at this point.

Posted in Business

4 Reasons why gold is an amazing metal and how to recognize fake gold

For most people, gold is just a valuable metal used mainly in jewellery for its shine and sparkles. But for others, gold is a wonder material that enables modern life as we know it!

At All Waste Maters we measure, melt, and recycle gold that comes from a variety of sources every day – so we know a thing or two about gold’s unique characteristics and uses.

In our professional opinion, these are just some of the reasons why gold is so amazing.

Plasticity

Gold is a soft, yellow metal with a beautiful lustrous sheen. It is the most malleable and ductile of all the elements. Gold is so malleable that it can be rolled into semi-transparent sheets and so ductile that it can be pulled into wires small enough to use in semiconductors. One ounce (28 g) of gold can be beaten out to 300 square feet. You could say gold is the Play-Doh of metals.

Conductivity

Gold is a very good conductor of heat and electricity. Among all precious materials, silver has the highest thermal conductivity and the highest light reflectance. Although silver is the best conductor, copper and gold are used more often in electrical applications because copper is less expensive and gold has a much higher corrosion resistance. Since gold never corrodes and can be moulded to any shape, it’s used to make long lasting electrical connectors in all types of devices.

Reactivity

Gold is one of the least reactive elements on the Periodic Table. It doesn’t react with oxygen, so it never rusts or corrodes. Gold is unaffected by air, water, alkalis and all acids except aqua regia (a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid) which can dissolve gold. In fact, gold’s acid resistance is one of the reasons why our acid assays are so accurate. Gold does react with halogens. It will, for example, react very slowly with chlorine gas at room temperature to form gold chloride, AuCl3. If gold chloride is heated gently, it will decompose to release the pure elements again. Gold is also resistant to most bases with the exception of potassium cyanide. Energy Reflectance Surface reflectance of a material is its effectiveness in reflecting radiant energy. It is the fraction of incident electromagnetic power that is reflected at an interface. Gold is a good reflector of electromagnetic radiant energy, including radio waves, infrared, and ultraviolet radiation. The characteristic optical properties of gold, combined with its complete resistance to attack in any surroundings and its ability to be applied as very thin films, make gold a very versatile material for diverse industries’ applications. For example, gold is often used in aerospace applications to provide protective coatings for satellite components and space suits.

As a refinery, we deal with high volumes of gold in all manner of shapes, weights, and purity levels. Thanks to our technologies we’re able to leverage several types of assays to authenticate the melt-value of anything a customer may bring us.

However, there are also several quick and easy ways to identify alloy from pure gold.

Discolouration: Pure gold does not tarnish, so carefully check for any discolouration. Even slight shade variations can reveal fake gold.

Magnets: Gold (like most other precious metals) is not magnetic. If the piece in question reacts to the magnet, it can only mean that iron, nickel or other ferromagnetic material is alloyed with the gold so it may be a lower karat than advertised.

Scratching: Even without acid, a simple scratch test is enough to uncover many types of fake gold. A Porcelain Scratch test can be performed by using an unglazed tile or ceramic plate and scratching the object on the tile. If it leaves a black streak, the item is not gold. If the streak is gold in colour, the item is likely to be gold. This may scratch the piece, but should not cause much damage.

Float test: Check the buoyancy of the item by dropping it in a glass of water. Real gold is dense and will sink, but many alloys will float. Also, if your piece will rust or discolour, then it’s plated or fake. Of course, this test is more effective on small samples, such as jewellery or alluvial flakes. Be aware that many metals designed to look like gold are still dense enough to sink, so even if the piece passes the float test, you should still try additional assays.

If uncertain, it is always a good idea to ask for a specialist consultation. At All Waste Matters we have over 50 years of experience in successfully recovering gold from a vast array of industries and over this time we have built up a huge repertoire of techniques for recovering gold and precious metals.

Posted in Business

5 things to consider before you buy a multifunction printer for the office

Multifunction printers can save your business money and streamline your daily activities, but it’s handy to know what functionality to look for before you buy. Here are the key things to consider before deciding to invest in a multifunction printer.

What is a multifunction printer?

A multifunction printer integrates printing, scanning, faxing and copying into the one appliance. These clever appliances are also embedded with multiple connectivity options allowing you to send and receive info from your computer through USB, wireless and server connectivity. These connectivity options are almost always more advanced than those on individual photocopy, scan or fax machines.

The bonus of using a multifunction printer instead of different devices such as a separate scanner, photocopy machine or printer is the saving for your office. Rather than buying each device individually, you can invest in a good quality multifunction printer to do all three functions.

5 things to consider before buying a multifunction printer

1. Do you need high quality printing and scanning?

If your business requires stunning, highly quality documents, you’ll need to choose your multifunction printer wisely. Many multifunction printers offer only low to medium quality printing and scanning options embedded into the functionality of the device. If you need high quality documents, search specifically for a multifunction printer with the ability to print very high quality documents.

2. Do you need automatic duplexing (double sided printing, scanning and copying)?

As more businesses become conscious of their paper consumption, double-sided documents are becoming more popular to decrease waste. When choosing a multifunction printer, ensure it has the inbuilt capability to print double-sided documents, known as automatic duplexing. Not only will the planet thank you, your clients will enjoy working with slimmer, lighter documents.

3. Consider the ongoing cost of use vs. initial cost

Initial outlay costs of quality multifunction printers may seem high, but choosing a high quality option initially is a smarter business choice in the long run. While ink jet printers and some low quality multifunction printers seem cheap initially, the upkeep is phenomenally expensive and not worth the hassle. Instead of worrying about replacing cartridges and paying for bimonthly services and support assistance, choose a high quality multifunction printer from the outset. Your future self will thank you for it, as will your business’ budget.

4. Is it easy to use for all your staff?

You may be very tech-savvy, but the rest of your staff may not be, so check out the ease of use before you purchase a multifunction printer.

If you choose a multifunction printer that’s too tricky to use, you’ll spend all your time and money contacting support for assistance. Not only is that terribly frustrating for you, your staff will lose productivity as they wait around for the solution. Most good retailers will allow you to test the device for a few days, or even in the shop to ensure you understand how to use it before you commit.

5. Does your business require security and confidentially?

Some multifunction printers can be safe and confidential, while others are not, so it’s very important you understand how safe each model is before purchase. If your business deals with sensitive documents, you’ll need to ensure documents aren’t automatically saved to the appliance, and are not automatically sent to a backup folder on your office computer. While these options can be changed on most appliances, it’s easier to choose a secure model from the outset. Once again, it will save you and your staff the headache of spending hours on the phone to the support line.

Multifunction printers are incredibly handy to help your staff multitask and optimise their time spent away from their desks, however not all models are built equally. Ask all the questions above, and choose a model that suits your work environment and your budget both in the short and long term.

Posted in Business

4 Winter Weather Problems Faced by SMEs

You may have noticed that it’s a little cold outside? And if you’ve been anywhere near a headline lately, you will have seen that the UK’s natural gas market is being stretched to its absolute limits as the coldest spell in eight years tests the country’s energy network. And, by design, it’s businesses who will be left bearing the brunt of these issues.

As the UK ices over, what are the potential problems for SMEs?

1. Energy supply concerns

As temperatures plummet and gas demand reaches a five-year high, experts warn that the UK may not have enough gas to meet public demand. Although household users shouldn’t be at risk of running out of gas, there’s a strong chance that industrial users could experience gas supply interruptions.

Making the situation even worse is that there have been several supply outages related to cold weather, such as reduced gas flows from Norway, problems with a pipeline to the Netherlands, as well as technical issues at UK facilities.

This year’s energy crunch is also the UK’s first significant energy security test since the closure of the Rough site last year, which was the country’s biggest gas storage facility, accounting for 70% of the UK’s gas storage. This means that the UK’s gas storage is at the lowest level since 2006.

2. Soaring energy prices

The UK recently saw a 12-year high in wholesale gas prices from same-day delivery, climbing to £420/MWh. Day-ahead baseload power prices reached a one-and-a-half year high of £98.0/MWh last week Thursday, before falling to £76.5/MWh on Friday.
Although none of the large suppliers have raised their tariffs – yet – high wholesale prices could lead to higher energy bills in coming weeks.

3. Effective facilities Maintenance

According to the British Institute for Facilities Management, close to a quarter of their members say that their organisation does not have a winter maintenance plan. An even of those who do have plans in place, 26% do not review it on an annual basis.

Your facility management plan should also ensure that you meet your duty of care to employees and avoid liabilities. During harsh winter weather, your business needs to demonstrate that it has done everything possible to make sites safe for both staff and customers.

Having a fully-managed, proactive approach to winter facility management and maintenance can help your business prevent accident potential ensuing liability claims. Being prepared for winter conditions also ensures business continuity.

4. Waste management

As Storm Emma’s snowy conditions have also prompted waste safety concerns, waste collection services have been suspended in some area due to difficult conditions. Although crews are making collections where it is safe to do so, a backlog of collections in inevitable. For SMEs generating higher volumes of waste than the average household, storing excess waste could pose health and sanitation risks.

Stay warm, stay connected, save money

●Take any steps you can to reduce your energy consumption during the cold spell.
●Check your energy contract end-date – once your contract term is over, some energy suppliers increase your rates to ‘out of contract’ prices, which are often far higher than what you have been paying already.
●Switch your business energy supplier to take advantage of lower rates within the competitive market.
●Make sure that you have a winter facility maintenance and business continuity plan in place, including a plan for waste management and disposal.

Posted in Business

Using Facebook Messenger Bots to Boost Your Business

Facebook Messenger is a free tool for all Facebook users, including businesses, that is accessible through both the website interface and a downloadable Messenger app available for all phone operating systems.

Its purpose is simply for communication, which is very important for any business with a profile.

Many users do some searching before committing to making a purchase and an easy way is to check a Facebook page or profile for further insights.

We’ve touched on this in other posts regarding providing great customer service and how users will use social media as their customer service channel but for many small businesses the usual answer is simply: that’s great to hear but we simply don’t have the time or manpower to monitor Facebook Messenger.

This becomes a problem when one of the metrics users can see is your typical response time to messages. In their minds, they are checking to see how responsive customer service is after making a purchase just in case they have any questions or issues, and if they see the average wait time to a response being 3 days, they’re not likely to buy.

To Read About the Algorithm Changes Happening on Facebook Read Our Post: 2018 Facebook Changes Put Community First

This is what has necessitated Facebook Messenger Bots but it has expanded greatly since.

The Bots now are something you can create yourself for your business. Depending on what you do, this can be as simple as providing support or as complicated as completing a full sales or marketing funnel task your website is typically used for.

Companies who allow online orders through their website can configure a custom bot to handle orders directly through messenger, which saves them from simply pointing the user back towards their website.

If your purpose is to share information through the platform you can create a bot that sends updates on your business to users through Messenger.

Companies like TechCrunch created their own bots users can add and once added, you can ask it questions or simply ask for updates.

It’s designed to act like a tech-savvy friend you can turn to when you have questions, which makes an excellent offering for a business that is known for reporting tech news.
The idea is to take your user’s journey beyond the task of searching and finding.

Bots are not limited to Facebook, but it is the biggest platform for them. Having a Messenger-driven Live Chat option on your website can make a big difference in your conversions and bounce rate.

Your users are more likely to stay when they see some level of interaction and engagement. When it goes well beyond simple canned responses and actually provides a service, you then have something real that can be used to give your business a big boost.

Why direct them back to your website when the purpose of the website can be completed right in the service channel?

To get these Bots set up right you’ll need to do a few things:

1. Understand your customer’s reasons for interacting with your business
2. Map that user’s journeys from interest to completion and then create those steps in the bot
3. Create a voice for each purpose and draft a script that conveys genuinely helpful feedback to the user when prompted.

If they’re looking for support, then make sure your support messages are drafted in a way that isn’t rigid or off putting.

If they’re looking to purchase from you or book something with you then you should have an upbeat tone to the messages generated by the queries that leads the user to completing the transaction right in Messenger.

4. Test them out yourself and rewrite as necessary. You may find you’ve missed something if you take the user’s position and message your own business.

Try to complete a sale or request help in the form of service and see if you feel satisfied by what the Messenger Bot feeds back to you. If not then it’s time to revamp the bot!

It sounds that easy but it’s actually an evolving and strategic process so don’t treat this as a “set it and forget it” initiative. It’s important to monitor the stats and make adjustments to account for any areas that are not creating a perfect user experience.

If you have users following your business on Facebook just so they can get a hold of you (your bot) then you’re doing something right. You may even see website stats decrease but if those users are simply bypassing the step of using the site and you have better conversions through messenger then you’ve got it!

It is strongly advisable to seek professional help when creating these. Even with third party systems taking care of the code-related steps you will waste more time trying to become a Messenger Bot Expert than you think. And because of the time demand, a professional may likely wind up involved anyway.

Strategy, scripts, and code are important. Your users will see the end product so if you are interested in getting these set up for your business, please get in touch and our team will make sure your business’s bot is set up right.

Posted in Business

50 Ways to Improve Team Communication at Work

How many times have you heard this as an explanation for unfinished tasks, depressed employees, or a lack of teamwork? Take a look at company and team surveys. Ineffective communication always scores as one of the top concerns.

What does it mean for you?

Projects don’t meet the deadlines. It is difficult to get started. Ideas are not discussed thoroughly. Employees don’t contribute as much time and efforts as you expect. Conflicts between team members happen every now and then. And so on.

Consider a dramatic case – imagine a nurse doesn’t tell a doctor that he is about to operate on the wrong leg.

Or a co-pilot doesn’t tell the pilot that the fifth engine of the plane is damaged… Сommunication issues, you know. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Over-communication, under-communication and everything in between influence your team’s performance which eventually influences your income. We’ve done a massive research and came up with 50 ways on how to communicate better within a team.

How many tips can you adopt today?

Onboarding new employees
You are a new employee. You dusted off and polished up your resume. Killed it in the interview. And congratulations, you were hired! Now you are excited and proud – as you should be!

But no matter what your age is or how cool your skills are, the stress of the first day at a new job affects us all. Remember the butterflies in your stomach as you step over the office threshold and see your new team for the first time? The feeling is incredibly overwhelming.

team communication
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All of us know how it feels being a new member of any group, whether it’s a school, work, sport club or whatever. It is always exciting to meet new people, but it may also cause stress and communication challenges.

69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding. (Source)

So, how can employers make the onboarding process a little bit easier for new employees? Here are a few ways to welcome the new guy or gal.

It is a good idea to start with a proper introduction of a newcomer to his or her colleagues. A new hire should be announced to the company; don’t keep it a secret.
Send an email to all employees or just gather everyone to introduce a new person and tell them a little bit about his or her previous accomplishments.
Provide a name plate on the desk of a new hire to make him or her feel welcome and much anticipated. This will also help others remember the newcomer’s name!
Make internal company knowledge and documents easily available. For newer employees, it can be difficult to learn how an organization truly operates since most companies work from a specific set of internal knowledge and rules. Making internal knowledge easily available is a great way to keep communication flowing.
69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company if they experienced great onboarding.
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To save the time, create a comprehensive onboarding checklist you can reuse and adapt whenever a new person joins your team.

Celebrating workplace diversity
Language misunderstandings are common even among people who speak the same language, so it is not surprising that people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds face communication barriers.

For example, if a project manager in Boston asks a web developer in Brazil to do something soon, they may have a different interpretation of the word “soon.” Language is a reflection of culture, and different cultures have very different ways of assigning meanings to words.

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Moreover, nowadays it is highly likely you will have employees working for you who don’t speak your language. Language barriers make it difficult to give directions, explain your expectations, or provide performance feedback. If coworkers fail to communicate effectively, they might not be able to achieve their full potential.

“Language barriers were listed as a reason why 40 percent of global virtual teams were not successful. (Source)

How can you improve communication in a workplace with a cultural diversity? Managers need to take proactive steps to build good communication channels.

Providing language learning classes is a really good way to help employees learn the language they need to use at work and overcome communication barriers.
While communicating with non-native speakers, do not overuse idioms, slang or professional jargon. Speak in simple words and expressions.
Language barriers are a reason why 40% of global virtual teams were not successful.
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Ask a person who speaks both languages to interpret your conversation with a non-native speaker.
People belonging to the same culture typically stick together and avoid mixing with the others.
To help people interact effectively, mix them together, creating cross-cultural teams.
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Using psychology: define who is who
You have probably taken one of those strange personality quizzes that tell you what type of burger or font or Pulp Fiction character you are. Admit it, there is some satisfaction in knowing you are more of a Vincent Vega than a Marsellus Wallace.

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Part of these tests might be silly, but the reason we are interested in them isn’t. That knowledge can help you to know how to work better with your teammates— that is something crucial for building and working on successful, productive teams. There are some personality tests you can try out:

Big Five Personality Test
Jung Typology Test
The “Rorschach” test
All employees have their own identity. Managers have to deal with a variety of different temperaments in the workplace. So, how can you benefit from having different personalities in your teams? Create the right mix of employees’ characters and help them interact the right way.

10 Personalities Admins Encounter at Work10 Personalities Admins Encounter at Work10 Personalities Admins Encounter at Work

To achieve a more stable environment and foster effective communication within the workplace, create teams comprised of mixed personalities.
Some employees are dominant by nature, while others are reticent or mild, but everyone has something to contribute. So, make sure that everyone is participating and no one keeps silent during meetings and discussions.
Recognize the value of all personality types, help your team members learn how to work together and how their teamwork can benefit from their diversity.
Use different approaches managing different employees. Learn more about types of temperaments and how to work with them effectively. It will help you, as a leader, better interact with each team member, and as a result it will increase your chance to succeed as a team.

Brace yourselves, feedback is coming
You’re cold! Now you’re getting warmer! You’re HOT!

Even children playing this popular game know that people need feedback to perform well . Without it you are walking (or, as in our case, working) blind. At best, you will accidentally reach your goal. At worst, you will wander aimlessly for awhile. Here are the main rules of creating an effective feedback mechanism at work:

Have an “open door” policy
One of the biggest obstacles that employees face is how they can communicate with managers and CEOs. They may not feel comfortable approaching the boss, and as a result, many employees may choose to avoid highlighting important points.

Having an “open door” policy where your employees feel comfortable bringing anything to your attention, at any time, can be advantageous for your business.

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Offer a platform for anonymous feedback (“suggestion box”)
This concept of anonymity in communication is worth to consider in work environment. Often employees don’t share feedback with their managers because they are uncertain about consequences of sharing their feelings openly.

You can direct your employees to a virtual suggestion box or a cartoon one, which serves the same purpose. It helps the manager identify if there are any issues that need to be solved or worked on.

See also: 5 Deadly Communication Barriers and How to Solve Them

Become a meeting sensei

Endless and aimless meetings have become a running joke probably among all offices.
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Why do these unproductive meetings appear from time to time? Because not everyone understands the actual cost of a usual meeting. There is a statement of Jason Fried and Davin Heinemeier, the authors of the wonderful book called “ReWork:”

Let’s say you’re going to schedule a meeting that lasts one hour, and you invite ten people to attend. That’s actually a ten-hour meeting, not a one-hour meeting. You’re trading ten hours of productivity for a one hour of meeting time.

Impressive?

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On the other hand, meetings are the method of creating a collaborative environment. It is unlikely you will be able to give them up. What should you do to improve productivity during your meetings?

Meet only when there is a clear agenda.
Set a timer. End the meeting when the time is up. Personally, I am a fan of the 30 minute meetings. And I love the 15 minute meeting even more.
Invite as few people as possible.
Invite only the relevant players.
End with a clear result and make someone responsible for implementing it.
A good idea is to ensure better understanding between employees and management is to hold regular conversations or one-on-ones. They are important to share the project details and to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Meet only when there is a clear agenda.
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You can also invest in a communication tool, which will allow you to create plans, discuss ideas, assign work, all from a single “command center” that integrates with applications you might be using. And forget about counterproductive meetings for every little update from each team member. Read more about this issue in the next section.

Tool your communication up
A company communication culture depends on the tools you use to improve team communication.
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First, stop using emails
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All right, maybe you don’t want to quit emailing entirely. But if you are using email as your primary method of communication with your team, you should give a try to another communication channel. The reason? Employees are less likely to read emails. Emails are easily missed, ignored or even deleted.

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Get a team communication app
We are big fans of team communication apps here at Chanty. You can tell from the tool we build. 😉 We are not alone — communication tools for teams are quite popular today. What is the reason for their popularity? And more importantly, which communication app is right for your business?

Imagine this scenario… you were chatting with Tom one day and he posted a link to a really great resource that you need to finish your task. But you can’t quite remember the name of the website and where was it sent (Skype? Facebook Messenger? Viber? Email?), and whether it was actually Tom…

One of the main pain points for our team was the huge number of chats and messengers our communication took place. It quickly became difficult and time-consuming to keep track of emails, Facebook and Skype conversations, text messages, and other places in which we were chatted with each other. Have you ever searched your email inbox to find that one piece of information you needed? Probably, yes.

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Team communication software makes it dead simple to find the document that someone uploaded 3 weeks ago that you want to have a look at right now. Moreover, it is accessible anywhere. Furthermore, communication tools for teams are fast and easy-to-use (almost of them). Also, they have plenty of workflow-focused features that will boost your team’s productivity.

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Make a room for emotional conversations
Informal conversations are more difficult and important than you might think when it comes to colleagues communication. Most teams use communication apps for water-cooler conversation, where off-topic jokes, banter, and chatter can take place in addition to work-related discussion. This type of team communication is especially important for remote teams.

Get an online project management tool
Collaboration is a crucial part of team communication. There are many types of online tools that can be used to improve team communication. These tools can help keep track of a project’s progress so that everyone knows what is left to be done. While face-to-face communication is always important, online tools can aid in this process by saving time and helping to document the work.

Every obstacle in the project lifecycle is a potential for chaos. A survey found, that when organizations become better at project management, the KPIs increase significantly, and productivity can improve by over 60 percent.

If you are trying to manage a project of any size, spreadsheets won’t be sufficient. There is a limit to how much you can do with coloured boxes on a grid. There will come a time when you have to switch to more professional tools – tools that will save your time and help you collaborate effectively with your team.

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Online project management software tools are one option for teams looking to adopt feature-rich applications that will help you manage the project successfully. But why make the switch if you’ve managed so far with spreadsheets and documents? Here are some benefits of using online project management tools:

Planning and forecasting
Progress tracking
Access anything anywhere in a real time
Security
If you are struggling to manage your projects effectively with spreadsheets and email, I see no reason why you shouldn’t try using project management software after everything I have mentioned above.

When organizations become better at project management, productivity can improve by over 60%.
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Don’t forget about motivation
There are companies that fail to understand the importance of employee motivation.

According to Gallup’s most recent survey on this topic, “State of the American Workplace,”

70 percent of employees lack engagement on some level. That’s estimated to cost the U.S. a whopping $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity per year.

On the contrary, motivating employees can lead to increased productivity and allow an organization to achieve higher levels of output.

70 percent of employees lack engagement on some level.
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Identify a common goal
Within every company there are common goals, which can depend heavily upon the focus of the business. Identifying and clarifying common goals can come along with a number of benefits. After all, there is nothing more important for a team than for each of its members to have a similar mindset.

Make the mission and vision clear
Take the time to explain the company values and mission, whether as part of corporate training or as a regular reminder to employees. When employees are consolidated in their understanding of the company goals, they will be able to communicate with one another more effectively in order to reach them.

Take the time to explain the company values and mission.
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Take inventory of your own communication skills
Every employer wants their workers to communicate, but what about your own communication skills? If you want to serve as a model leader, the only way to do so is self-development.

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Ask questions
Regardless of the type of company you run, every employee perceives information in their own way. Asking your employees how they like to receive information can help you create a more effective plan for regular communication. In addition, your staff will appreciate the fact that you are willing to meet them halfway.

You may also like:
5 Components of Effective Team Communication
Top 10 Business Communication Trends in 2017-2018
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Give your undivided attention
How often have you been in a conversation with someone who kept looking at their smartphone or elsewhere while talking or listening to you? Lack of focus devalues the conversation. Maintain eye contact during meetings, and put all other things aside to visually convey your attention and encourage each participant to stay present.

Take time to listen
Don’t monopolize the conversation. After a while, people will start tuning you out and your message will be lost. Pause after important points to take questions or check understanding. This will help your employers feel they play an active role in the conversation.

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Be mindful of how you are communicating
Your words are only a fraction of the message you relay to your employees. Maintain a relaxed stance and facial expression while speaking. Rest your arms by your sides rather than crossing them over your chest as this is a defensive sign. Make eye contact, smile when it is appropriate and nod your head affirmatively while listening.

Our body language and other non-verbals contribute about 55% of information to our prospects.
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Follow up in writing
No matter how dramatic your meeting was, chances are the audience won’t remember everything that was shared. Short, concise notes will keep important information fresh in people’s minds.

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Inform and inspire
It is crucial for your business having your communication efforts both inspiring and educational. If this is particularly challenging for you, the support of a mentor or coach can be helpful.

Make it two-way

Communication should never be one-way!
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Ask your employees to provide their feedback on your performance as a manager. Maybe, it can be somewhat scary.

Keep it face to face
Using team communication tools are often the most efficient, however, it is important to remember that face to face communication has a great value in terms of sincerity and authenticity.

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Don’t over-communicate
After work hours, keep the number of emails you send to your workers to a minimum. While your communication is likely very important, it can also most probably wait until the following day.

Face to face communication has a great value in terms of sincerity and authenticity.
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Never personalize criticism
Whether you’re giving or receiving criticism, it should be based upon observed actions and results, not intent. It is impossible to know the motivations behind any activity, only the physical actions and outcome of the activity. As a consequence, criticism should be given and accepted unemotionally, considered for its validity and pertinence, and implemented when action is justified.

Offer compliments in a thoughtful way
If you tell an employee she did a great job, she may be left thinking, “But what exactly did I do great? How can I replicate it again?” Be specific instead — “You did a great job explaining how inbound marketing is important for our promotion in that presentation. The visuals were amazing and really helped the audience understand the process.”

Take suggestions in earnest, and explain why when you can’t
Even if everyone isn’t happy with your resolutions, feeling listened to and considered is the most important part. Sincerity is one of the best pillars for effective communication in the workplace.

Team building is a big deal
Team building is essential if you want to improve team relations, because it is all about the most important asset of your business – your employees. There are many indoor and outdoor team building activities to choose from – including culinary classes, music events and trips to adventure parks. Let’s look at a few of them.

Team building is essential if you want to improve team relations.
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Get outside of the office
Being stuck in the office for a long time can have negative psychological effects on you and your employees. It is just boring too. 🙂 Sometimes, all it takes is a change of scenery to cheer people up. Getting outside of the office doesn’t necessarily mean wasting valuable work time. You can simply relocate your team to a different location where you can collaborate on a project. Personally, I love our marketing team’s weekly meetings that take place in the nearest cozy cafe.

Being stuck in the office for a long time can have negative psychological effects.
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Schedule a work retreat
Staying with the concept of getting outside the office, there are moments when you should stop work-related activity, and instead, allow your employees to get to know each other better. A work retreat is an excellent way to do this.

Attend conferences as a team
Just about every industry has its own set of conferences throughout the year. Attending conferences as a team is an excellent way of team-building. They don’t have to be expensive or difficult to attend if you plan things out ahead of time.

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Allow water cooler chat
For many employers, water cooler chat can seems like a waste of valuable time. It is completely natural for employees to talk about their home life or what they did over the weekend. Instead of being forbidden, it should be encouraged. Employee chit-chat is essential for building positive relationships within a team.

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Celebrate your employees’ achievements
With the hard schedules that most executives have, it can be difficult to set time aside to recognize your employees and their teams for all the hard work they do. It is very important to take a moment and celebrate what your employees have achieved and do it in public.

Ignoring employee achievements is the biggest communication issue that prevent effective leadership.
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Identify and reach out to shy employees
Some people simply tend to be shy. Identifying and reaching out to shy employees can help break down the barriers of workplace communication they may have created for themselves, especially if you show a genuine interest in them. Don’t forget, however, that this can be a lengthy process — shyness doesn’t disappear overnight, after all.

Focus on company culture
Focus on company culture and integrate it into your workday. This can be a great way to make employees feel more connected to each other and the company. You can do this by incorporating your branding into office decor, for example. If there are any core philosophies that your business embodies, don’t hesitate to broadcast them on a regular basis.

Encourage cross-departmental education
The entire team will become educated about their colleagues’ roles and responsibilities. As each representative recounts their portion of the workflow, the idiosyncrasies of the staff as well as the reasons behind each piece of the process are revealed. This education process helps people understand why one group behaves or works in a certain way, and it demystifies the process itself. It promotes a better understanding and respect for colleagues’ roles, which prompts groups to work harder to help others achieve their goals.

Thinking outside the box when it comes to office space
Thinking ahead and identifying creative approaches to office space can be a great way to improve your team’s communication and collaboration. Give your team the physical and mental space to create and collaborate in peace.

Investment in ergonomic furniture and effective use of space could increase productivity by up to 64% – Research in New Zealand

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Rearrange your office
If you’re working within a physical office, one of the best steps you can take to improve workplace communication is to rearrange the way it is designed. Many offices make use of cubicles and partitions, for example, which can isolate employees and put a damper on communication.

One third of office workers believe they would be more productive in an “open room”, as opposed to a cubicle environment. (Source)

Rearranging your office to make it more “open” in design will help open up the floodgates for communication and collaboration, not to mention the space becoming a more enjoyable place to work in.

Respect the need for silence
There are always limits of working space, but employers can help their workers to become more flexible. You should at least try to create a “silence room” or a “silence corner” where people don’t talk at all, but just work in silence.

One third of office workers believe they would be more productive in an “open room”.
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“Hot desking” experiment
Try out a trick called “hot desking”. It means that there are no assigned seats in office. So working space can easily be reconfigured for different tasks and evolving teams. Ultimately, “hot desking” transforms real estate into a communication tool.

Use a single coffee machine
One big company created a large cafeteria with one coffee station for all employees in place of a much smaller one that few employees had used. In a fer months after the coffee-and-cafeteria switch, sales rose by 20%, or $200 million, quickly justifying the capital investment in the redesign. This is a great example of the value of communication in the workplace.

“White-wall-room” technique
A white-wall room is a place where you have free usable walls and whiteboards to discuss problems together. This space should be reached easily by anyone from the teams (developers, product managers, designers etc.) A white-wall room can become a collaborative place, where people from any background are able to communicate openly and solve problems together.

One bonus tip: Tables that fold into walls

Our projects and tasks are constantly changing day to day and our workspaces should be flexible enough to change with them. If you need more space to break away or host a gathering, the space can adapt to what a team needs from it. Tables that fold up into the walls are the great decision.

Posted in Business

5 Keys to a Winning Website Content Strategy

Getting qualified visitors to your website is like the holy grail of online marketing. And once they are there you want to keep them there.

Having content that is relevant, engaging and compelling is key to keeping visitors on your website. But how do you do that?

Here are five ways to crafting attention-grabbing content your visitors can’t resist.

1. Less is More
On your home page, visitors want to know immediately who you are, what you do, how you help them, and why they should choose you.

Choosing the right words for this really matters. You want emotionally engaging text and images that are benefit rich, command attention, stirs curiosity, and leads them to action.

Craft powerful headlines.
Write in short sentences.
Keep it simple.

Professional copywriters can help you express your message in a powerful way so your visitors will immediately know they are in the right place.

2. Keyword Rich
Write for your audience but also keep search engines in mind. Do research to see what top keyword phrases your target market audience uses to find the kinds of services or products you offer.

Without “stuffing”, incorporate these keywords in the text of your website copy. Not only will be you be speaking the language of your audience, but you will rank better in the search results as well.

3. Build Trust
People want to do business with those who are professional, reliable, and get proven results. Don’t give them a reason to doubt you.

Ensure you have these bases covered:

• Carefully proofread your website for spelling and grammar errors
• Check all links to ensure they all function properly
• Add testimonials from happy clients
• Reveal the results you have created for others
• Demonstrate your thought leadership and competitive advantages.

4. Easy to Scan
Busy visitors won’t read your website word for word. It’s really important to make sure the highlights of your message can be gleaned from a quick glance down the page.

This means using brand-coordinated colour headings that are bolded with a larger font as well as a different font face to help guide your visitor’s eyes down the page.

Use bullet points (but not too many) and call-out boxes to call attention to key points. Add relevant photos and graphics to draw the eye in and add interest. Also make use of white space.

5. Calls to Action
Every page should be designed and written with a logical call to action you’d like them to take. Aside from having a link or button at the bottom of each page that directs the reader to their next step, here’s some other suggestions:

• Offer a relevant free giveaway that can capture their contact information that will enable you to build the know, like and trust factor with your audience
• Display your phone number in a prominent place to further enhance the trust factor
• Offer a free consultation
• Feature a coupon or special offer.

If your website isn’t converting visitors into leads or sales, incorporate these tips to help you leverage your website as a powerful way to connect with prospects. Simple tweaks can make a big different in the results you achieve and with conversion.

And if you do have many of these tips in place but your website is still performing poorly, then it’s time to talk to a website professional who can do a site analysis and uncover other problems you may not be aware are happening.

Posted in Business

Making the Most of Facebook Live for Your Business

5 Steps to Getting Great Results with Your Live Broadcasts

Facebook Live is a free streaming tool you can use to boost your business. But before you dive in there are some key factors to take into consideration to avoid risking losing your credibility.

Facebook Live is an excellent way to get the engagement Facebook wants on your Business Page with their latest algorithm updates. As long as you’re prepared, you will garner a great reach and higher views than natively uploaded videos.

Just remember, when your Live, you are LIVE!
Are You Making the Best Impression for your Facebook Followers?

With Facebook Live all you need is a 4G or better Internet connection, a Facebook profile for yourself or your business page, and you can take advantage of up to 4 hours of free live streaming.

Getting these set up isn’t hard but with the volume of new live streams happening per hour you’ll need to work on your videos in order to draw in users.
Keep reading to find out what you need in order to draw your followers in when you’re doing your next live broadcast.

Step 1: Get the Word Out

Facebook live alerts your followers about your live stream but only after it’s been launched. Unless you catch them when they’re free you are then relying on your timing being just right for people to join you during the live broadcast.

In order to make sure your followers know beforehand it’s important to put up posts announcing the coming live event. But there is more you can do.

Sendcalendar is a service that lets you build out your live schedule, which you can then share with your followers. Providing you know your schedule before you simply set up your dates and the system creates everything you need to share your calendar in an email, on your website or blog, or in a social media post.

Once a user subscribes they receive a notification of the upcoming stream well in advance, so they can plan to attend. It’s easy to use and seamlessly updates whatever calendar your follower is normally using.

You can also schedule your live stream right in the Facebook live admin area; however, you need to use a 3rd party Livestream software such as eCamm (for Mac’s) or BeLive.tv (for PC’s) or other similar services for that to work.

Step 2: Know Your Video

How you broadcast is as important as what you talk about during that broadcast.

Do you have a home studio set up? Are you going to be broadcasting via your phone, iPad or computer?

If you have a studio, that’s great but understandably not everyone does. Having a dedicated studio space helps you be organized and literally “stage” your set so it’s free from background clutter and noise, giving you optimal control over the video’s environment.

Here’s a shot of my studio, which is continually being modified and tweaked for optimal settings.

And here’s a couple of pro tips on shooting professional-looking social media videos to review that covers lighting and audio pointers.

Now if you’re jumping into a live broadcast via your phone or iPad, take the end product into consideration. Make sure you test out everything beforehand.

Several times, I’ve been caught with bad audio or lighting, assuming all is ok but found out afterwards they were way off!

So ensure you don’t encounter slow Internet signals, distracting background noises, or any other problems beyond your control. We’ll cover more on this in step 4.

Step 3: Make Your Facebook Live Stream Purpose Clear

Your video description is very important. When you write the description before going live, be very clear about the topic and what will be discussed/shown. Always think in terms of benefits – why would your followers want to jump on? What’s in it for them?

This is your chance to grab potential viewers reviewing the announced live stream so take your time and keep it concise, clear and catchy! If you aren’t clear on why they should join you, they will simply ignore you.

Step 4: Prepare for Your Facebook Live Stream

When you are live, you are live! Viewers who clear their calendar to attend your video won’t stay long if you’re not ready to go when the camera rolls.

Treat this aspect seriously because it’s a make-it or break-it moment of your live stream. Imagine a newscast where the feed is delayed, and the anchor sits hanging asking for patience while the situation is resolved. This key moment could not only lose the viewer this time, but also for all future videos.

Have a script prepared with short form notes and keep them handy as a guide for yourself. I often use sticky notes attached near the lens of the camera to keep me on track with the pointers I want to not forget.

If you have a tablet handy you can even use it as a teleprompter with your subject, notes, or script in large fonts. Promptsmart is an app you can use as well but we’ll save the more advanced broadcast techniques for another time!

Step 5: Review and Revise

Your video may have been great but not started at the best time for the biggest viewership or it may have reached more people than you think!

It’s important to pay attention to the Facebook metrics available and use that as feedback for your future live broadcasts.

Head to the Facebook page you broadcast from and click on Insights. From there click on Videos and then select which video’s stats you want to review.

If you want to check individual video metrics, select Insights then Advanced and then select Recorded Live. You can pick your video from there and really dig into the analytics of who viewed and when.

But just a caution, don’t fret when you see a lot of 10-second views. Sometimes people get bumped off of your broadcast due to their own limited bandwidth and then jump right back on again. So do look at the stats to give you an overview of your broadcast performance but don’t take the numbers too literally. There are lots of variables out of your control that make up those numbers.

Peak Live Viewers is a good piece of information to look at. This will show you when your stream was most viewed and if you see a big spike then consider that time a good start time for your next video.

Remember this isn’t about your schedule so much as your followers. When you plan your next live stream start at the peak time!

This month we’re laser focused on Facebook and next week we’ll be covering the best way to revise and refine: user engagement.

Posted in Business

5 Questions To Ask Before Choosing Your Precious Metal Refiner

Do you know how to choose the right partner to refine or recover your scrap gold, silver, platinum or any other precious metal?

This is an important decision as it can have an impact on both the size and the value of your return. Regardless of who you ultimately choose to work with, the more information you have, the better your overall business relationship will be. With that in mind, we have come up with some questions you should always ask a precious metal refiner before starting working with them.

What technique do they use for refining or recovering precious metals?

As a manufacturer, you should be aware of the procedures used in the refining and recovering processes as these may generate precious metal scrap that you can recycle in your business. At All Waste Matters we use the phyrolysis method which solidifies noble-metalliferous metals, melting them to become cider and then pouring which finally separates the precious metals. With this method, various chemical gasses are introduced to the molten metal. Atoms of non-precious metal adhere to the gas and are carried away, leaving only the pure precious metal behind. Once other metals have been removed, the molten precious metal can then be cooled and shaped into a bar or weight.

How long will the refining process take?

Normally, the length of the refining process depends on the material being handled. High-grade materials like gold and silver can be processed much more quickly than low-grade sweeps or carpeting. The quicker the turnaround time, the sooner you will get paid. Beware of a refinery that offers “same day service”. They may ultimately be taking shortcuts that are not in your best financial interests.

How will you determine the value of my scrap precious metals?

To determine how much your scrap is worth, you will need to know the purity as well as the weight of the gold, silver, platinum or other precious metal contained in your scrap. A reputable refiner will always offer a free sampling and assay service to determine the value of your lot. To calculate an approximate value, you will also need to know which market / prices your refinery is basing their pay-outs on.

There are various methods to determine the value of precious metals contained in your scrap. Fire assay, also known as cupellation, is the standard method for gold and silver, internationally accepted by the precious metals industry. With a fire assay, the precious metals are separated from non-precious materials by fusion using a lead oxide-based flux. When performed properly by a skilled technician, a fire assay is accurate to 1 part in 10,000.

Platinum, palladium, and low-grade materials need to go through a separate process called inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry or ICP-OES. In a nutshell, ICP uses high temperature plasma to excite atoms and ions that emit electromagnetic radiation. The wavelength readings and their intensity are indicative of the concentration of the elements within the sample. This process is more time consuming and expensive to perform due to the complex preparation the sample must go through before being analysed. Always ask your refiner what methods they will use and how long it will take to receive a quote.

How can I trust an assay result?

In fact, you shouldn’t. While most refineries are not out to deceive you, at the end of the day there are actual human beings running very sophisticated tests. For how precise these tests may be, mistakes can happen. It’s best practice to ask for a sample of your material back so that you can have a third-party analysis performed. A good refiner will not have any problem with that request. Once you have your results and your refiner has theirs, you should compare both to ensure that the right analytical determination has been made. This is the easiest way to provide fairness and transparency during the entire refining process. Reconsider your decision to work with any company that won’t provide you with a sample.

What fees will you charge me?

Always ask this question upfront. You must have a full understanding of each and every charge related to the refining or recovering of your precious metals – and always ask your refiner to put everything in writing. It can happen that different types of materials have varying charges for the same service. Refiners may try to entice you by offering a “flat fee” processing with no additional charges. The numbers may look good, but often it’s too good to be true.

In conclusion, be well informed before choosing a precious metals refinery. It is a more complex matter than one company charging “X” while another charging “Y”, and many factors can play a role. The more information you have, and the more satisfactory answers you receive from your refiner, the easier it will be to choose the right partner for your business.