In today’s increasingly internet oriented market, a company’s website is one of their greatest assets. As such, it is well worth the effort and expense to get your web design up to scratch in order to see your sales and conversion rate climbing. The folks at DesignAdvisor have created an enlightening infographic which outlines 15 of the latest web design trends in 2018.
If you’re not entirely convinced of the major importance of web design, let’s take a look at some of the numbers. Statistics show that 75% of users make a judgment (either positive or negative) about a company’s credibility based on the appearance of their website and 94% of users will simply bounce away from a website if they don’t find the design attractive or inviting enough.
This infographic will help you pinpoint some areas which may need beefing up on your website. For example: How easy is it to navigate your webpage? Is your layout eye-catching? Are you providing engaging content? What is your website’s loading speed? Surveys have revealed that most users expect a page to load within two seconds, and even a one-second increase can cause a drop in sales of up to 27%.
You might be hesitant to invest vast amounts of time and money into your website, especially in the initial stages of your business’s development. However, according to research, for every $1 invested in improving user experience, you can expect up to a $100 in returns. It just might end up being the best investment you make.
The abundance of interesting facts complimented by colorful illustrations sprinkled throughout the infographic makes it easy to follow. Another prominent feature is the case study cameos which speak for themselves by highlighting how various well-known businesses benefited by improving specific aspects of their websites. See what insight you can gain from it and take the lead with some of these latest web design trends.
IS MASS MEDIA AND THE INTERNET HELPING OR HURTING YOU?
Since the internet, and particularly smartphones, became household commodities, mass media’s impact on people and societies has increased exponentially.
As you might expect, there is a swinging pendulum of public opinion which often shifts from decrying the ills of this trend to extolling the many virtues of on demand technology.
Whether you tend toward the former or latter opinion, it’s obvious that mass media and social media are having profound effects upon individuals and society as a whole. Many people are concerned about the implications of these effects, and find themselves asking questions like:
How is media affecting me?
How is mass media impacting the next generation?
How do video games change us?
How does on-demand media impact health?
Is mass media truly important?
How do we use mass media and social media well?
Is mass media a good thing?
Answering these questions can help you to be smart about how you interact with the constant barrage of media being directed at you and your family.
So let’s think through the implications of mass media together so that we can come to informed conclusions.
HOW DOES MASS MEDIA AFFECT YOU?
Many are wondering mass media, and social media, in particular, is a good thing or bad thing. Of course, for every type of media, there are a host mixed opinions, some based on research, some not. Neil Postman was asking these same types of questions over the mass adoption of the television.
A positive use of technology and mass media enables people to become informed, collaborate in innovative ways, or stay in touch with friends and family. Yet, these same connections can be used for dangerous cybercrime.
Social media can help people to feel connected and happy, to connect with old friends and make new ones. However, that same social media can lead to depression or anxiety, when life doesn’t meet the expectations created by perfectly edited profiles.
The internet may be a source of motivational messages, videos, or blog posts that improve your life and increase productivity or healthy living. However, it’s just as possible that these very messages can prevent you from getting out there and living.
These are just a few examples of the vastly different ways media can impact our daily lives.
Because mass media affects each person differently, you need to look at your own life to make informed decisions.
Where do you fall on the pendulum? How does your use of social media affect your mood, productivity, and sense of well being? If you tend more toward the negative impacts – depression, anxiety, inactivity – it may be time to limit your media consumption.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF MASS MEDIA ON CHILDREN?
Television is the best researched area of mass media effect on children. It has the potential to help and to harm, as is true with most media types.
Many negative effects have been recorded, and kids often spend more time watching television than on any other activity. However, if the television time includes educational programming and parent supervision, the power can be harnessed to help with learning and have positive effects.
With this in mind, parents must think critically about how their children are consuming television. Are they largely involved in what and how often their children are watching, or is it more of a hands-off experience?
This is perhaps even more important to think through now that most “television” consumption consists of Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming platforms.
Making the decision to be diligent about these decisions now will improve children’s interactions with television, and prepare them to interact well with other types of media as they mature.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF MEDIA ON TEENS?
Media often is described as harmful to teens, and while this is certainly true in some circumstances, it can be best understood as having mixed effects.
The key is to be aware of how mass media and social networking affect the brain so that you can make intentional decisions about how to use it.
Some positive effects include:
Motor skills are improved by typing, clicking, playing games, and other tech-related finger skills.
Hand-eye coordination or even quick thinking can be helped. (Future drone pilots)
Access to mass news media can improve reading skills.
Social network activity is theorized to improve writing and socializing skills.
Additionally, the content of media stories or social media posts can be useful and meaningful to teens. With platforms like YouTube and Instagram, they have access to people’s stories they might never have heard otherwise. In this way, teens may learn that many others are experiencing similar struggles to their own, giving courage and confidence.
However, there are significant negative effects as well.
Negative effects include:
Depression or anxiety over body image
Unfettered access to pornography
Increased risk of obesity from inactivity
Decreased attention to schoolwork
Knowing about these potential risks of social and mass media consumption is important for both teens and their parents. In this respect, knowledge really is power, as it will enable both parties to be strategic about the role of media in their lives.
Video games are a frequent concern, particularly as technology continues to advance and gaming becomes more and more realistic. Research shows some mixed effects from video game use.
Though the problem solving and dexterity skills employed can lead to higher intelligence or better motor skills, the violent or other disturbing content in games is of high risk to well being. It’s established that seeing violence can desensitize one to its effects.
As with other types of media mentioned, it’s critical that parents exercise caution about what types of games their children play and how often they do so.
DOES MASS MEDIA DAMAGE HEALTH?
The proliferation of mass media and electronic devices has had profound effects on health. There are numerous physical problems which may arise from this consumption, particularly if left unchecked.
The effects of smartphones often first show up as eye strain and neck pain, the inevitable result of constant screen-time and often slumped positions while using these devices. Obesity is a risk if much time is spent in sedentary activity.
Some research shows links between mass media consumption and anxiety and depression. There can be a change in happiness, social skills, and peace of mind that is attributed to media and the internet.
It is most important to monitor your happiness and health and correlate them with your own practices so you can make informed decisions for your or your family’s well being.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY?
There are many recommendations for being wise with media consumption.
Parents must be familiar with current sites and channels, and the types of content that their children come into contact with. Ask questions and browse with your child. Set clear and appropriate ground rules for young ages, which then build a strong foundation for future responsible use.
Make sure to discuss the difference between fantasy and reality with your children. If exposed to gratuitous violence and sexuality, children and teens should know these are fantasy, and not the norm or real life. The dangers of violent and risky behavior should be a topic of conversation.
For almost any age from 1- 99, limiting media to a few hours per day is reasonable and enforceable. Discuss education, values, and the intrusion of media regularly with your family.
There is no definitive answer to whether mass media is “good” or “bad”. Research has shown that it can have both positive and negative effects, and often these effects are dependent on how the media is being used and consumed.
The solution isn’t to totally cut yourself off from all mass media or to wholeheartedly embrace every facet of it. Rather, it must be carefully analyzed and evaluated. If you’re a parent, you need to help your children understand both the positives and negatives of things like video games, social media, and streaming television.
Unless you plan on moving to an isolated island with no internet connection, this issue isn’t going away. The best approach is to tackle it head-on, rather than hoping things just work themselves out.
Many people are choosing to engage with mass communication head-on with master’s degrees in mass communications. It’s with this progress we are able to understand the effects of mass media and other emerging social channels have on society currently and in the foreseeable future.
Guest Blogger: “Anna Kucirkova speaks 3 languages has a passion for kids and writing. While she has been to many places in Europe and SE Asia she still wants to explore the rest of the world.”
Retail Trends Likely to Dominate the Scene in 2018
Trends and predictions are part and parcel with the start of a new calendar year. One area in which trends are analyzed at the beginning of the year involves the retail market segment. There are a number of retail trends that are likely to dominate the scene in 2018.
Grocery eCommerce will Blast Off
A major 2018 retail trend will center on grocery eCommerce. A primary reason a focus in 2018 will be on grocery eCommerce is associated with Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods and Walmart’s decision to up its game when it comes to online grocery marketing.
Prior to the latter part of 2017, U.S. citizens lagged behind their international counterparts when it came to grocery eCommerce. All of that is expected to change in 2018 due to a significant uptick in the number of U.S. consumers who will embrace grocery eCommerce.
“Traditional” Retailers and the Realization that They Must Change
Forbes, the widely read business magazine, traditionally makes predictions pertaining to retail trends at the start of a new year. In 2018, the magazine focused on one major trend to pay attention to in the retail market segment in 2018. Specifically, the “big trend” to watch for in 2018 is that a multitude of retailers, from different market segments, will finally concede that they must embrace change.
Embracing change does primarily involve so-called traditional retailers, including those stores that have been in business for more extended periods of time. These enterprises have long held firm to the principle that retailers determine what a customer should desire to purchase. These enterprises also believed that retailers held the keys as to how customers shop.
In reality, that has not been the case for quite some time. In fact, in the digital age, customers truly to define the shopping experience on all levels. 2018 is marked to be the year in which retailers reluctant to accept this reality will finally do so.
With a notable number of traditional retailers closing their doors forever, many others muttered the mantra that 2017 was a year to survive. Those that made it into 2018 are expected to be seen realizing that they must change and embracing that process.
Integration of Crypto Currencies
2017 say the cryptocurrency world garner attention from the media and large swaths of the public. By the last quarter of 2017, a growing number of retailers were also starting to take notice of cryptocurrency.
Thus far, cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, has been regarded as an asset class rather than a type of currency or form of payment. A trend among some retailers in 2018 will the integration of cryptocurrency into their sales systems. As part of this effort, some retailers will take the step of holding onto whatever cryptocurrency or currencies they elect to accept from consumers. This will eliminate the fees associated with conversion to U.S. dollars following a cryptocurrency purchase.
Tech-enhanced Store Staff and Elimination of Checkout Counters
Another significant trend to keep a lookout for in 2018 is the further tech enhancement of store associates. Accompanying this trend will be an increasing elimination of checkout counters in stores.
The one benefit that brick and mortar stores have over online retailers is face-to-face human interaction. Increasing the tech availabilities of retail staff, and eliminating the checkout counter, is thought to be a sure way to enhance the overall human interaction between patrons and staff at retailers in the brick and mortar world.
The Rise of the Robot
2018 will not be the year in which robots start to populate retailers floor space in the brick and mortar world in large numbers. There actually will be an uptick in the visibility of robots and automation in brick and mortar stores, but the real trend in robotics will be behind the scenes in retail fulfillment centers.
Major online retailers, with Amazon leading the way, will incorporate robots into the work of more of their fulfillment centers in 2018. In 2017, Amazon had robots in action in about 20 percent of their fulfillment centers. That number will increase, and noticeably so, in 2018. Similarly, other retailers will utilize robots more broadly in their fulfillment operations during 2018.
Guest Blogger: Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage a leading company that provides Internet fax service for individuals and businesses.
Technology as a field implores innovation; it is perhaps the fastest moving industry in the world. Social media, technology’s wild child, is no exception to this.
Social media is inherently unpredictable. Companies can push new features or channels all they want, but they won’t always see the results to back their efforts up. Whether it’s content, audience, or channel mismatch, social media success can be elusive.
Part of making the most of social media is knowing what’s hot, and what’s not. Here are five essential social trends you need to make note of for 2018.
2017 was the year live streaming entered our collective consciousness. Which was almost entirely down to Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat: they presented live stream videos in the most accessible, hard-to-ignore packages possible. Live videos suddenly became a great way to add more context to personal and brand stories.
When browsing Instagram, a live stream pops up as a notification almost as if they were streaming just for you. An ingenious way to present the feature; long gone are the archaic days of Meerkat.
And it appears live video’s popularity will only continue to rise in 2018. Look at these stats for some evidence: 82% of online users have stated they prefer to consume video content rather than written, and 88% users are more likely to stay when a page proposes prominent video content.
Use live videos as part of your social strategy to spice things up at an event or awards show, or use them as small instructional features you use to pass on knowledge.
Algorithms Getting Harder To Beat
In some ways, it’s getting harder and harder to engage a genuine social media audience.
For starters, Facebook has made some plans. Huge plans. Massive plans. They have, for the first time in their history, made a decision that didn’t have the overarching premise of increased engagement. They want ‘meaningful’ usage, which apparently isn’t videos of people falling over with garishly blatant text narration. Who would have thought?
Mark Zuckerberg has stated they’re going to ‘tune out’ publishers and brands, focusing more so on the updates of your friends and family. Part of that change has been the realization that passively scrolling through a page full of articles and videos, although addictive, is not good for our collective wellbeing. Read here for more ideas on how to deal with the changing Facebook.
As said, social trends are unpredictable. 2017 alluded towards branded video content becoming increasingly omnipresent, one announcement from Facebook later — that may have been flipped on its head.
It’s a good time to invest in paid advertising on Facebook as the organic game gets tougher and tougher, but make sure you put time and effort into crafting good ads that will gain genuine traction with your audience.
Gamification has been on a steady rise for years. Historically, it has been a tad gimmicky. Moving forward, it will probably mature into something more compelling and useful for social media marketers.
Gamification improves brand loyalty. We’ve seen this with Snapchat; their streak feature is thought to have been one of the key reasons for their somewhat short-lived dominance. Gartner has stated that gamification inspires users to “higher levels of engagement” as humans are “hardwired to enjoy games”. Considering this, we believe its usage will only grow as people seek new ways to engage their target audience(s).
For us, the highlight of gamification in 2017 was when Mind, an app enabling one to connect with a higher sense of mindfulness, gave users achievements for day streaks. It’s a great testament to how even the realms of Zen Buddhism can be harnessed for gamification features!
Think about how you can bring gamification to your social media strategy in 2018. Maybe start with something easy like a competition to get things going?
WeChat & Messenger Takeover
Did you know that the most sold beer in the world is Snow? We doubt most have even heard of that golden nectar. It’s only sold in China but dominates the market there. Similarly, WeChat is one of the biggest social phenomena in the world, and we doubt you’ve ever heard of it. But that’s probably going to change.
WeChat is used by 95% of the 16+ population in China. The app is an amalgamation of Whatsapp, Uber, Slack, and Monzo. It’s popularity has demanded total control of the Chinese market.
Whilst it’s not definite that WeChat will resonate with our market, it comes as no Pay that Facebook are attempting to imitate the model. They’re slowly integrating Facebook pay more and more. Considering their Whatsapp purchase, it appears that Facebook are also trying to dominate the messaging world. Is Uber next?
Value, Not Selling
Last, but most certainly not least: value.
Invasively targeted ads appearing on all social mediums – Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter — are having a dulling effect on the consumer. They’ve brought about a renewed questioning of the real value of social media.
Privacy is also at the forefront of social dialogue: all companies that have access to private information have to be totally transparent with their intentions. This will be a key feature of marketing across the board in 2018.
We believe many will look for apps and websites that put the user’s desires first, rather than their own financial incentive of selling information. It’s all about giving people real value and compensation for their time, so make sure that you’re not engaging in any clickbait or low value activities.
Considering the potential changes with Facebook, and the emphasis on privacy; we do believe the consumer will have more power in 2018. It’s an exciting time for brands who are willing to go the extra mile and engage with their audience in a way that’s real and genuine.
Victoria Greene is a freelance blogger and branding expert. On her blog, Victoriaecommerce she shares tips on building awesome brands that people feel compelled to follow
Having your own business might be something that you envisioned for a long time. Now that you have an idea on what business to pursue, should you jump in right away and get started? No matter how excited you are and how good you think that idea is, it’s still best to pause and validate if your business idea.
Validating your startup idea doesn’t necessarily eliminate the risk of failure. However, this will tell you if it has a bigger chance of succeeding. Plus, it will help determine if you are on the right track when it comes to your plans.
One of the things to ask yourself is what problem you are trying to solve or eliminate? Your product or service must be useful for your target audience. It should be the solution for their specific issues or it must make their lives easier.
Know your market. Decide on which group of consumers you will be focusing on. Do your research to find out about their needs, wants, and expectations and see if your idea meets them.
There are more ways on how to validate your idea for a startup business. We compiled them in an infographic to make the process more convenient for you. Find out if your idea is something that is worth pursuing or not with our gorgeous and informative illustration below:
During my early days as a salesperson I participated in many training programs, yet my favorite was taught by Jim Chandler and was based on his “10 Foundation Statements”. #7, the Process Statement, is applicable in sales, operations, accounting, manufacturing, marketing, education, theology, construction… and life; I have used it in many ways and now share it with you.
Process Statement: Selling is a process. My job, as a professional salesperson, is to create a personal selling process that is so strong, that the pressure of selling is absorbed by the process and not by me.
Wow, what a relief I felt when I discovered that if I built a strong process, I no longer had to worry about when and where my sales would originate. I could trust the process. My sales actually improved when I applied this philosophy and my sales process. I know my prospects did not feel the pressure of the sale either. They were free to choose to do business with me or not. It was ok. I was no longer emotionally tied to the sales call outcome. I had faith that the sales process that I built would deliver. And if it did not deliver enough results at the right time, it was the process that needed tweaking, not me.
Moving on from sales, I have used the same process statement in building and implementing successful Marketing Plans. I have used it to plan events for work and non-profit organizations. When I relocated, I used a strong moving process to absorb the great pressure and stress of moving. I knew I would not be dead if I did not meet a deadline because I had a predetermined contingency plan.
If you have worked in a well-organized operations environment then you are very familiar with processes and procedures. Yet other parts of the organization may not have a written process. Oh, did I forget to mention that my sales process was a 7 page typed and bound booklet?
A Written Process: When I mention writing down a process in the workshops and classes I lead, people roll their eyes like I asked them to pull their own wisdom teeth. There are two main values in writing your process (1) What you discover in creating a process (2) comparing actual results to your process.
Take a mundane example like making coffee for your office and ask a team to write the process. You will discover many variations on the same theme of making coffee such as only use filtered water, only use true Columbian coffee and make sure the filters are environmentally friendly. Yet, once the process is developed and implemented you can trust that the coffee will taste the same every time it is prepared.
As for comparing the actual to the planned, what do you do when the coffee taste different? You start checking on who made the coffee, did they follow the process, and then discover that the wrong kind of coffee was delivered by your supply chain representative (aka, the person who shops for your break room).
Can you get carried away with having too many or too long a process? Yes. Is there a process for writing a process? Probably. Take the best and forget the rest. My hope is this article will spur you on to make some type of improvement in your personal, volunteer or business life. If so, please let me know ☺
A friend shared this article on CRM Apps – Customer Relationship Management Apps and I thought I’d share it here for my readers and clients. Click on a category below to learn more about the strengths of those CRMs or jump to an app directly by clicking its name.
Yea, you might have seen some posts from me that I am spending a great deal of time at the Atkins Ranch in Gatesville, TX, about 35 miles east of Waco. It’s amazing what you can observe from outside of the Digital Life in Dallas. I still have my office in Frisco and I have opened a satellite office at the Ranch. Come see me when you are in the area.
Construct a Multi-Use School, Church and Community Center
Construct a Medical Clinic
Deliver Medical Supplies
Install Solar-power Based Electrification
Initiate Clean Water Projects
Provide Vocational Training
Deliver Compassionate Outreach
If you are able to contribute cash, products, services or just share the details on your social media, your efforts are greatly appreciated. Give at: http://www.gofundme.com/JRAtkins
I recall this term as the idea of connecting your Laptop to the internet via your cellphone. I’d like to expand the definition to address the way we tap into computer based information and knowledge. Today we have so many options to tether to our computer from smart phone and tablets to Google Glass. The progression of knowledge access looks something like this:
Main Frame-Personal Computer-Lap Top-Tablet-Smart Phone-Google Glass-Implant.
I know the implant is not in the consumer market yet, but it has to be in the military domain. Have you see the TV show Intelligence, it’s like a modern day bionic man, only better. Yet, all the information of the world is useless without human intelligence to create context and relationship. Here are a few business uses for Computer Information at your fingertips. Let me know what other applications you see coming.
Sales: Customer, Product and Service data
Service: Service Manuals, Customer Records, Diagnostics…
“Thinking outside the box” is such an over-used term yet I still hear it used to describe looking at life, a systems, a product, a problem or an issue in a new or different way. But, to think outside the box, don’t you need to understand what is in the box? Check out the list below and see if you can think of additional material that should be in or outside the box.
“Inside the Box”
Current Methods & Procedures
Current Customers & Prospects
Current Employees & Recruits
Current Products & Services
Current Information & News Sources
Current Ways of Thinking & Communicating
Current Locations & Resources
Current Culture “The way we do things”
“Outside the Box”
Any New Approach, Order or Method
Any New View or Perspective
Any New Way of Thinking
The Opposite of the “Inside the Box” Thinking
For one to be good at creating, innovating, inventing, developing… you must be able to suspend your current beliefs long enough to see the world in a new way. In Seth Godin’s recent book “The Icarus Deception” he writes of the balance between our comfort zone and safety zone and how we must get comfortable with new realities or our new safety zone. He goes on to say that success in the new era goes to those that “create ideas that spread and connect the disconnected.”
As we enter 2014 my hope for you is that you are able to create remarkable results with remarkable ease. Perhaps you can think outside the box to new highs in your career by looking at what is already in the box.