Let’s Play Ball: Gamification For Businesses

Gamification – have you heard the term? The odds are high that if you haven’t, then you will soon. Recently, this method of increasing customer participation has taken off within the industry. It’s the process of using video game-style features to boost the customer experience. For the most part, it tends to make marketing more fun and enjoyable. The same also goes for the products and services themselves.

People who have never heard the term before won’t have a clue regarding implementing it into their business plan. That’s why this post is here – to give you a helping hand. The following are the things to take into consideration.

Valued Learning

Duolingo is a language app which helps its users to learn words and phrases. The way it does this is simple: it starts off small and works higher and higher. Anyone who needs to get to the next level has to unlock the one they are on first. Otherwise, they plateau until they get it right. Adobe Photoshop has a similar strategy with its LevelUp campaign. The competition is the part which engages customers and makes them come back for more as humans hate being beaten. Plus, it helps users take a complicated goal and break it down into bite-size chunks.

Distractions

There are bound to be times when customers lose interest in, well, anything. Whether it’s a marketing ploy or a product itself, people will get bored. Distractions exist and it is your job to find the major ones and deal with them as soon as possible. The reason this is essential is that gamification can lend a hand and make it less monotonous. Then, the level of focus should bounce back and no one will disengage. Use analytics to figure out where people are running out of patience and then gamify the area. Alternatively, you can use your gut.

Tracking And Reporting

Putting a gamified version of the brand out into the world is only a baby step. Those who want to go to the next level need to track results and report on the data. Again, analytic software is available so there is no excuse. And, IT support is accessible across the world regardless of location. Anyone who wonders why this is important should remember two things. The first one is that you can analyze whether the feature is achieving the goals you set out in the beginning. Secondly, it allows the customers to improve, which is added value.

Offline Synchronization

Never forget about mixing virtual and real elements. For example, Foursquare is a program that rewards its users for checking-in to places and events. It also offers incentives for frequently using the app. Anyone who owns a “retro” high street store can use this to merge their strategies. Get your customers to check-in to Foursquare when they are in the store to receive their rewards. Once they start to link the two, they will shop with you more often.

So, the question is: are you game for gamification?

Why Live Events Are So Good For Your Business

A smart business owner looks for every opportunity to help grow, legitimize, and lionize their brand. But the truth is that many small business owners overlook one of the biggest stages they could hope to stand on. We’re talking about live events like conferences, trade shows, and speaking opportunities. They should start becoming a key feature of your annual marketing plans and here is why.

Get the team spirit on the rise

If you have a team alongside you, then getting them out there representing their brand has all kinds of benefits. For one, you are having it represented by the people who it best and choosing the right charismatic characters can help you make even more of an impact on event attendees, with a little training. What’s more, it can actually improve the team’s motivation and engagement with their work. Having the opportunity to meet others and to prove that they are on the side of the brand can make them actually feel like members of a team, rather than just employees.

Find new ways to convert new people

When you’re looking for new people to convert, the quality of your leads matters as much, if not more, than the quantity of your leads. You could be wasting huge amounts of time and resources trying to convert people who simply aren’t interested. At trade shows and other live events relevant to your business, you are getting in touch directly with those most likely to be interested. It’s a whole new way to begin the conversion process. Just make sure that you establish a way to keep in touch with those you meet so that you can continue the process further down the line, whether by arranging a meeting, getting new signups to your email newsletter, or simply by sending a follow-up email.

Expose the brand in a new dimension

Besides getting the opportunity to connect personally with members of your target market, you can do a lot more the broader strategy of your brand. Showcasing your brand at an event, whether it’s a launch or a booth at a trade show is a way of saying “we have arrived.” It gives a level of exposure that can make the brand much more recognizable. Just ensure that you’re taking steps to actually expose it. You need the right items for your conference, including booth design materials that make your corner fit your aesthetic and custom lanyards or wristbands that help individual members of the team wear and show off their affiliation. Don’t be afraid of saturating your people and your space with brand imagery. You may need it to stand out amongst your competitors.

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Stand amongst your peers

Exposure isn’t the only thing that a conference or trade show can offer your brand. It can also lend it a sense of trustworthiness. Consumers are becoming a lot savvier and less willing to part with their money to do business with companies that they don’t know. By establishing a physical presence and showing that you don’t only exist in the online world, you can help establish and legitimize your place within the industry. Keep building trust by ensuring that you’re talking one-on-one to potential clients in plenty of detail. Be honest, don’t be afraid to let them down by giving a sub-optimal answer if it’s the truthful one. This might be a marketing opportunity, but it’s also a conversation and if you want to be effective, you have to be able to sustain that sense of trust all the way through it.

Use it as a focus group study

Don’t be afraid to have some questions of your own for the event attendees, either. As mentioned, trade shows and conferences attract only those members of the market most interested in what you have to offer. This includes not just consumers and businesses, but also journalists and bloggers. Take the opportunity to get the scoop and gain some insight that can help you craft future strategies for the business. The event survey is far from uncommon, however. If you don’t make yours a little more creative, it might be hard to collect as much data as you would like.

Find partnerships

Besides standing out from your competitors, you can also use this opportunity to stand alongside them. You can start building bridges with others in the industry or in related fields of work. Business partnerships can have all kinds of benefits. You can score referrals from one another. You can use each other’s platforms to help give a boost to any marketing or branding efforts. You may even have a joint project down the line. Use trade shows and conferences as an opportunity to network and build the foundation of friends that can help your business reach new goals in the future.

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Bring the online and offline worlds together

As mentioned, live events help give an online business a sense of trustworthiness by showing the market that you do, indeed, exist and a real-world presence. However, they can also serve as great material for you to build your online marketing on, too. For instance, you can livestream your conference content or tweet out photos and stories from the event as it’s happening. You can also take some of the conversations you have had and turn them into a case study or a point of future discussion. Above all else, it shows that your business is willing to learn and stay on the top of its game by incorporating recent events and information into its branding and marketing materials which only improves your image.

Even if you don’t believe your business is yet big enough to stand on that tallest of platforms, there is too much to gain to not make use of them. They can help you both share and gain insights. They can help you reach customers, clients, and partners you might never have met otherwise. They cement your brand’s place in the industry. Start attending events and you will see the benefits immediately.

A 5 Step Guide For Ensuring Customer Trust

There are plenty of things that go into making your business a success. Always improving your services and offerings is one, as is ensuring that you have the best talent available working for you. And there’s another crucial, sometimes underrated aspect of company success, too: customer trust. While many companies take this for granted, it’s something that can be a deal breaker between a person having a favorable view of your business, or not. But how do you go about gaining the trust of the public, anyhow? We take a look below.

Be Honest

A little white while may make you a quick buck, but it’ll also lose you a customer, so don’t do it. If you’re telling a customer that your absolute best price is X, then they say no, and you go down to Y, then you’ll have lost them forever: you had already told them your best price, and then you went back on it! It’s a much tactic just to stand tall and be honest, even if you think you might lose their business. They can always come back to you if they decide it’s a no this time, but they’ll never come back if you’ve lost their trust.

Always There

Now, no-one will be expecting you to be in the office all the time, fielding the calls from a customer that needs help. But they will expect a certain level of service, and standards. You should be replying to any queries within twenty-four hours, even if it means putting in an extra long day. And don’t forget your website: there’s nothing that will make a potential customer more skeptical of your business than a website that experiences downtime, so use a company like     www.bluehosting.pe and make sure you’re always online. Essentially, if a customer can reach out to you and get their information when they need it, then you’ll be on the path towards gaining their trust.

Undersell, Overdeliver

When it comes to business, you really should let your work do the talking for you. Avoid the temptation to oversell what you can do for a customer, instead opting to undersell and overdeliver. The word of mouth reviews you’ll get from people who were seriously impressed with your work will make it all worth it.

Delivering Bad News

Everyone makes mistakes, and you’re no different. There’s going to be a time when you seriously mess up with a customer, and there’ll be nothing that you can do about it. When this happens, make sure you’re holding your hands up straight away, and letting the customer know. They might not like what you have to say, but they’re not going to lose faith in you if you came clean at the first opportunity.

Treat Everyone the Same

Finally, remember to treat everyone the same, regardless of how much value they give your customer. It’ll show them that they’re more than just a dollar sign to your business. In any case, it’s the right way to be in life anyway!

 

3 Million Americans Quit Their Job Every Month: Top Tips for Employee Retention

Employees deserve to feel satisfied about their work, but it appears that a record-setting number aren’t. According to a survey of employment trends, approximately 3 million Americans quit their jobs each month. For many companies, this is a huge loss–both in talent and in money. After all, it can be expensive to replace your employees. In order to prevent your employees from walking out your door for good, you need to strategize carefully to encourage employees to stay. Yet, it may not be as hard as it may seem. Here are some pointers to help you retain your workforce.

Invest in Your Office Environment

Look over your budget and see if there is room for you to invest in sprucing up the office. It’s been proven that employee performance is significantly impacted by what their workplace looks like. You can start out small: consider redecorating to create an open floor plan, which in turn fosters greater collaboration. A support network like that makes everyone look forward to going to work.

Foster Positive Workplace Culture

The mental atmosphere in the office is just as important as the physical one. Organize regular team building events that go beyond building marshmallow towers or egg racing. Get creative with activities such as a volunteer outing or cooking classes. This helps employees feel a greater personal connection to each other and the organization, and will make them want to stay as a result.

Survey Your Employees

Your own initiative goes a long way, but you should also take employee input into consideration. Send out regular surveys to monitor office morale—but not too often, otherwise employees may feel annoyed. Checking in to see how everyone’s feeling shows you care. It lets them know that your staff are valued and are a critical part of the organization so they’re less inclined to take off. Surveys don’t have to be direct, either: you’ll also learn a lot from just taking part in the classic water cooler conversation.

Encourage Professional Development

Employee retention also has a lot to do with creating opportunities for growth. Give them something to work towards as much as you give them to work on. Hiring an executive coach can help with this. Bring one in for a workshop or similar event. Your employees will then recognize their own potential within your organization and be motivated to work harder as a result. It’s also been said that a rising tide lifts all boats, so if even one employee gets inspired, that extends to everyone else, too.

When you’re a business owner, you’re especially concerned about keeping employees on board. Making sure that your organization’s goals align well with their personal interests will keep them from jumping ship.

Hiring Your First Employee Without Losing Your Mind

Hiring a new employee is supposed to make your life easier, but it doesn’t always go that way. Sometimes, it can feel like they’re more trouble than they’re worth! But fear not, because you don’t have to be forever facing an uphill battle when it comes to employees, and not even the very first one that you hire. Below, we take a look at a few simple steps you can incorporate into your hiring process to ensure your employees bring nothing but good tidings to your company.

In Advance

You don’t hire your first employee when you need them. You hire them before you need them! That way, they’ll be ready to help you when the busy times arrive really. If you wait until you’re swamped, you’re going to have to try to do all your work and train a new employee at the same time. If you can sense that you’re taking on more work and it’s projected to carry on, then begin to think about hiring an employee. You can always have everything ready to go and then begin the process when you’re sure it’s the right thing to do.

Hire Correctly

Of course, you’ll be making it much easier for your staff to bed into your new company if you have a hiring process that delivers the best workers. There is an art to writing a job description, so don’t just write down the first thing that comes to mind and post it on the job sites. You can use a recruiter to help you find the highest quality candidates if you’re not confident in your own abilities. In any case, your company will be well served by having a long-term hiring process.

Time on your Side

You’ll quickly find that while a new employee does free up some of your time, it also means you have some extra responsibilities. You’ll need to train them, for starters, and then sort out things like payment, tax, and any other employer duties you need to fulfil. You can help yourself by having training take place during a quiet time for your business, and by using software like a speedy pay stub generator to simplify the payment process. You’re going to have to give up some of your time, but by being smart, you’ll find that you get it back pretty quickly – and for the long-term, too.

Bedding in Time

Even with your excellent training skills, there’s going to be a bedding in period for your new employee. Nobody, no matter how talented they are, will be able to pick everything up straight away. Make sure they have a few weeks to get up to speed before expecting too much of them.

Cutting Ties

Sadly, not every employee will work out. There’ll be times when you need to cut your ties. If you have doubts, first try speaking to your employee. If they don’t respond to your encouragement, then it’ll likely be better for everyone involved if you go your separate ways.

Are You Confident Going Into Your Next Job Interview?

Job interviews can be both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. What are you doing to give you the best possible chance for success each time you enter an interview?

For some people, they can adjust at a moment’s notice. This means nailing their interviews with little or no preparations. Meantime, others need prep time to learn more about the brand they are interviewing with. They also need time to rehearse how they will speak and act in front of an interviewer.

It is important that you have as much confidence as possible in any interview that comes your way.

So, what is your confidence level heading into your next sit-down or phone interview?

Is Your Background Going to Come up?

In most cases, your background to one degree or another will come up during your next interview.

This means you could have to discuss your past or present job history to some length. While personal questions not in most cases a part of an interview, don’t discount them altogether. You might be asked about where you see yourself living down the road etc.

With a background check, don’t think companies in today’s digital age are not investigating. This is why you need to have an answer to the question of what will a background check show?

 

Among some of the items that could show up in a background check on you:

  • Any issues you may have had with a former employer
  • Any DUIs or other driving related problems
  • Any run-ins with the law outside of driving i.e. domestic violence etc.
  • Any financial problems such as filing for bankruptcy

Some employers may do a license plate search to indicate any past driving issues. Once again, always be ready to address any potential hot topics about your background.

By being ready to answer about any past or current issues in your life, you will come across as better prepared. If you seem unprepared, it could prove to be your downfall.

Do Your Own Research

As companies will research you, it behooves you to do the same with them. Nothing is worse than an interview where one has no knowledge about the company they could work for.

By doing a little research before your interview, you should be able to answer the following:

  • What does the company do?
  • Approximately how many people work there?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • What specific skills are they looking for in the position you are interviewing for?

Exude Confidence Each Time Out

Though many people are nervous before and at a job interview, exuding confidence is key.

Do your best to show the interviewer you are confident in your abilities to do the job if you get the position.

Given costs to rehire for positions, show a potential employer they’d make a great choice in hiring you.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.

 

Lead United: Leadership Skills For A Top-Scoring Team

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The very best sales teams can feel the pressure on occasion. The world is littered with targets and performance tools, and these can contribute to a lack of productivity, rather than aid it. People will feel the tension in different ways, and with some people, it can help them by giving that adrenaline and kick that they need, others can crumble. The one thing that can make a difference to a team is its leader. The manager of a group of people can dictate, or they can guide. The leader of a team is the barometer, people will look to that person for praise and encouragement, and there are many line-managers that don’t have the right touch, and will inadvertently cause low morale. Where do you, as a leader, begin to give your team the right type of push?

Communicate Consistently

Communicating the vision of the team is one way to reinforce the purpose. By doing this, it keeps people clear in the knowledge of what their end-product is. By making sure that each person in the team knows their own individual role and what their own goal is in relation to the bigger picture. This will instill not only purpose but focus in each part of the machine. Each team member should be able to see the vision set out reflected in the decisions you make as a team leader, and the vision should be connected to their own goals. Transparency in an organization is the valuable trait to inspiring employees and helping them to understand their part in the whole company.

Work On Developing Talent

Mentoring and feedback are something that can be lost in the midst of targets and goals. While it is an important aspect of a business to monitor the productivity of a member of staff, using their “numbers” as a reason to make them work harder is not enough. This is where the power of “why” comes into play. By asking opinions and perspectives of a situation, this will get you to the core of a person. Their attitudes and behavior is key to understanding how they work as an individual. Speak to them and see what the underlying issue is. As leaders, we are so focused on the short-term tasks that we neglect the long-term ones, and our employees are a long-term investment. We need to see if there is a fundamental skill they may need to brush up on. There is sales team performance enablement software that can be used to develop employees, from providing training to using systems to help make peoples’ jobs easier, and by using the right tools in conjunction with the development of talent; it is working to make a better workforce all round.

Express Your Gratitude

On a personal level, expressing your gratitude for a person’s work will really help to bolster performance. You are making them feel valued, and this will translate into a better working attitude. It is easy to give a pizza to your team as thanks, but personal and heartfelt appreciation will last much longer.