Growth 101: The BIG Life Lesson I learned when my Olympic Dreams were Crushed

“You won’t make the Olympics, Michelle.”

“What?! Why?! I just qualified for NCAA’s. I can do it. I’ll put in the hours, watch video, learn harder dives. You name it! I can do it.”

“Because you’re going to meet a guy, get married and start the rest of your life.”

In a matter of seconds, my childhood Olympic dream was crushed.

Let me briefly explain the magnitude…

From the moment I chipped my front tooth doing a somersault out of my crib, I knew gymnastics was my thing. Somersaults soon turned into back extension rolls then back handsprings into twisting layouts. It was incredible!

At age 10, my parents decided to take me out of gymnastics after my older sister almost broke her neck training. They put us in water sports instead. So my focus shifted to Springboard Diving…and the relentless pursuit of the Olympic Dream continued.

9 years, 150 competitions 3,600+ training hours later, “You won’t make the Olympics, Michelle.” happened. Can you see why my world came crashing down like Chicken Little? #eek

But my College Diving Coach was right. Two years later, I met a guy, got married and moved 875 miles south of Marquette, MI to Springfield, MO to start the rest of my life.

So what BIG life lesson did I learn? To finish strong even when your BIG dream gets crushed. Instead of getting angry or bitter, I respected his professional opinion. Instead of quitting, I continued to train hard under his leadership. I learned to trust the coaching process and have my expecations reset but still perform a peak levels. Instead of the Olympics, I finished my collegiate diving career with my head held high as a back to back GLIAC Champion and 6-Time NCAA Honorary All-American…and with the love of my life, ready to start the rest of my life.

Since that time, that “finish strong” mantra has never let me down…in my personal relationships OR in my professional career. In fact, it’s become a natural rhythm of life.

So when you’re passed over for a promotion, choose to “finish strong” and stay positive & responsible. When you’re not hitting your monthly sales targets, instead of feeling defeated, analyze your activity metrics, skill levels and product knowledge to see where your weaknesses are in order to turn things around. When you start getting “comfortable” in your current role, challenge yourself to get out of “auto-pilot” and find another way to improve the company or community. You’ll start living happier, perform at max potential and begin to teach others how to do the same.

What about you? Did you have a BIG dream crushed? How did you respond? Post a comment below. I’d love to hear your story and be encouraged!

Growth 101: What 1 Strong Woman Did When She Was Weak

Laurie Weber-Manning, Contributor

This is a true story about what a strong woman did when she was weak. Would you have done that same thing?

I called WEN.

Hi, my name is Laurie Weber-Manning. Before I tell you why I called the Women’s Employment Network (WEN), I must tell you a little bit about myself.

In October 2015 I resigned from a company I worked at for 14 years.  The organization managed the activities of nonprofit trade associations. When I started working for organization I was in an entry level position. When I left I was the serving as the Executive Director of their largest client for the last eight years I worked for them.

I represented the industry internationally and with the federal government. I had traveled extensively, built a team that produced and together we built an organization that was where everyone went to solve issues in that industry. I’ve always been great at consensus building and it seemed as we couldn’t be stopped.  Well if it was so great, why did you leave?

The two years leading up to me resigning were some difficult years. My life changed, my estranged husband passed away, all of a sudden I had a son to raise on my own, one of the partners at the management firm left, I was traveling more, I was drinking more, a glass of wine quickly turned into a bottle of wine, but yet the work I was doing wasn’t being affected.  I felt my success was determined by what I was doing at work because everything at home was simply on autopilot.

On December 22, 2014 – my sister was making dinner at my home,  I said to my sister I was going to have a glass of wine – then I heard my 7 year old say, please don’t drink the bottle.  I didn’t respond, I put the bottle up and when I put my son to bed, I cried an drank the entire bottle of wine.

Alot happens in your life when you decide make a drastic change. Every event I planned involved alcohol. I went to AA that wasn’t for me – I had to figure out how to navigate my feelings – what was numb was suddenly feeling. The cloud cleared. My friends of more than 20 years didn’t have time to hear me and they felt if they bought me non alcoholic beer that was supportive. Part of the cloud that was clearer was realizing that I had given every ounce of me to a company for 14 years, I had been in a position of representing a nonprofit but being paid by a for profit company – years of conflict that didn’t fit into my morals and values as  person – I knew I never wanted to compromise my integrity. I sat down and did my pros and cons list – the cons definitely outweighed the pros. Resigning from that position wasn’t easy, the team depended on me, the client depended on me but I needed me more.

 

In January 2016, I took a survival job and I am very grateful for the opportunity.  I knew quickly it wasn’t my work home and I rode out wave as I could see the layoffs coming.I started a LLC in 2016 to do project work for associations that had reached out to me. I was handling work through my LLC and n February 2017 I was laid off with a severance from my survival job that I had worked at a little over a year –  This company also paid a company to assist me in finding a job. They helped me update my resume.

 

April of this year I’m four months into a forever job search.  By April I had been told I was overqualified or I didn’t have the contacts the other candidate had. Here I was with 15 years of successful executive leadership experience and I didn’t have the contacts. All of the work I had done was not in Kansas City, and I quickly learned it is not what you know in KC it is who you know.

I googled, over 40 woman new career – WEN popped up. I had never heard of WEN but they offered services to woman and they would review my resume and give me feedback. Better yet, they are part of this OneKC for Women alliance, let me reach out and see what this is about. I sent an inquiry email and within two hours had a meeting set up to review my resume.

WEN logo

I walked into a friendly and inviting office.  The program manager did a great job with my resume and I started asking more questions about the services, for me I needed their network.  Lynette explained they offer a career transition program that was starting on Monday – it was a five week commitment and I would most likely be a better fit for the partial program.

I had an unexpected death in my family that prevented me from attending the first day, but Tuesday I showed up ready but nervous as I didn’t know what to expect.  Relationships were already forming on the first day. I have never been accused of being shy, so I jump right in and start introducing myself. The ladies on their second day were just a nervous as the first day I assume.

We started with the self assessment – I had spent 15 years taking classes on how to be a better manager – learning the art of admitting when you’re wrong – learning my flaws and focusing on how to improve my flaws.  But this self assessment was different than anything I had experienced before – it was more about embracing who you are – understanding terperments and finding a career based on your temperaments.   I’m a Sang-winn and Koh-liar-ic – which is no doubt me.

 

I was fortunate to have a classroom full of women over 40 struggling to find job and understanding where they should go next. We had a woman with her masters in hospital management, we had an architect, we had a woman that worked for herself for years – and we had one – 18 year old mother that had just moved to KC from Memphis. We all watched over her, but even better we all watched her grow.

WEN had a life coach come in for a session. I was amazed this was offered to the participates. I have spent thousands of dollars on therapist throughout my life and all I really needed was a life coach.  I think that was one of my favorite sessions. – we all completed vision boards. I went directly to dollar tree to purchase poster boards for my family – we all have our vision boards. This was one of many sessions offered to the participates.

WEN did mock interviews. Everyone needs practice – really I didn’t have a lot of experience doing interviews.  I scored really well on the interviews. One of the interviewers said I don’t understand why you are here. This is also someone that has worked for the same company for 11 years and just had made partner at her organization so there is no way she would understand.

WEN women

So what did I take away from the experience? While I think the program reiterated a lot of what I already knew about myself – but I gained a network of supportive women when I didn’t have the kind of support I needed. I was  in a really dark place when I called WEN.  I felt unemployable,  I felt defeated, I felt like I was alone.

The network that WEN and OneKC offers is empowering. The class I was in, all of us still support each other. I learned the power of attraction – I learned to trust the process and what is meant to be. I re learned what I had lost, I am capable of anything – I made friends for life – when I feel down because that’s ok, I have someone who will lift me up. I can be me – I can be a leader as a woman and not be bossy. I am still looking for that right home for me but I trust what happens is supposed to be.

 

For more information about WEN and their programs visit kcwen.org.

 

Laurie Weber-Manning is an executive leader who develops companies through strategic leadership. Contact Laurie at laurie@hope-managementfirm.com.

Sales 101: 7 Reasons Why I Love Being A Salesperson

Michelle C. Harris, Founder

Most people HATE salespeople. Even MORE people hate the thought of BEING one. Well, not me. I LOVE BEING A SALESPERSON!

Why? Because when you’re a saleperson you get to:

1.      Meet TONS of cool people. Many of them are Business Owners. They have incredible stories complied of risks and rewards, failures and successes. You get real-life, entrepreneurship insights by being a salesperson.

2.      See TONS of new ideas. Many of them are in technology or manufacturing. These companies are on a mission change the world by eliminating common frustrations. You get a sneak peek into innovation by being a salesperson.

3.      Experience TONS of new cultures. From India to Canada to your neighborhood, connecting people across the globe is a win-win for everyone. You get to build relationships for life by being a salesperson.

4.      Give back MORE to my community. Sometimes it’s time other times it’s money…MOST times its EXPERTISE. Sharing expert insights and strategies to the next generation is our jam. You get fulfillment by being a salesperson.

5.      Sleep EXTREMEMLY good at night. Working hard drumming up new business is hard. Working smarter to help even MORE people drum up new business is exhausting. You get a FULL night’s rest by being a salesperson.

6.      Solve REAL problems. Most of them are around communication and productivity. They can be decreased by warmth, perseverance and the belief that most people are capable of doing their job well with GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT. You get to make IMPACT by being a salesperson.

7.     BE YOURSELF. Spontaneous, fun, action-AND-results oriented are just a few words that describe me. Passionate, selfless and fiercely loyal are a few others. What words describe you? You get to reach your full potential by being a salesperson.

Are you in sales? Do you love being a salesperson? Post a comment below. We’d LOVE to hear your thoughts and encourage you along the way!

Growth 101: 5 Lessons Most People Learn Way Too Late in Life

What are the lessons people most often learn too late in life?” originally appeared on Quora–the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Alyssa Satara, co-founder at Refugee Code Academy, on Quora:

1. Perception is reality

It’s true. The way you interpret and understand the world directly affects your beliefs and the way you live your life. Perception creates bias as much as it creates understanding. It creates fear as much as it creates curiosity.

Do you want your reality to be narrow or vast?

Will the bliss that ignorance provides be sufficient, or do you need more?

The truth is most people want more. Even if it is on a subconscious level. Humans tend to trail blaze. From cradle to the grave, our society emphasizes the importance of education. Learning and discovering is what we do, but still it is increasingly hard to understand what you don’t understand.

So how do you learn to know what you don’t know? Start by asking yourself: What don’t I know? What do you want to learn more about?

Most importantly, understand that it’s OK to be wrong. In error there is growth.

2. Everything is temporary

Your good times are temporary and your bad times are temporary. So when you’re up, enjoy it, bask in it, and be grateful for it. And when you’re down, know you will get through it. Know that it’s not the end, and that it’s just a rough patch. Life is full of twists and turns, ups and downs, and surprises.

We forget that it’s about the journey not the destination.

There is a lesson in everything. I think it’s hard for a lot of people–especially young people–to appreciate life. Recognizing the full worth of your hardships and your blunders is key to appreciating the journey. It’s just as important to stay humble and be grateful for the joys life brings you.

Everything is temporary, so make the most out of all of it.

3. The importance of being present

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” —Lao Tzu

More often than not, we tend to worry about what’s to come, or dwell on something that’s already happened. While it’s crucial to care and consider your future, be careful not to let it hinder your present. Moments turn into memories. Enjoy the moment while you have it.

It usually takes a lifetime of piled up worries for a person to realize: Worrying isn’t productive.

Living in the past is equally unproductive. There are definitely benefits in being able to reflect on yourself and on your past. Paying attention to what you’ve been through and how that makes you feel matters. It takes a lot of emotional energy to grieve, process, and overcome.

The balance of being able to take time to reflect, and to prioritize your future while spending the majority of your day in the present, is beyond valuable, it’s life changing.

4. Do what you love, love what you do

There was a huge mosaic near my university in London that said that those words. I was grateful to walk past it almost every day and remind myself of the importance of loving your career and loving what you do. Your work is a considerably large aspect in your life that you dedicate yourself to. If you aren’t happy in your career, that unhappiness will seep into other aspects of your life. And while nothing is perfect, it’s important to work on yourself and position yourself to reach the goals and satisfactions you desire.

Most importantly: Invest in yourself.

This goes for your non-work life, too. What habits and hobbies do you want to stop? Which ones do you want to develop? It’s important to be conscious of the type of people and activities you surround yourself with. Information is like nutrients to your brain, be aware of what you are feeding yourself. Success isn’t one triumphant moment. Success is a series of moments (and choices) leading up to bigger moments.

You are the only person who can get in the way of living every day doing what you love.

Bob Dylan said it best when he said “What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

5. Being happy takes work

The happiest people tend to be the ones who’ve worked the most on themselves. Being happy takes a lot of work. It’s just as much work–if not more– to be unhappy. So choose wisely. Being happy means at some point you decided to take control of your life. It means you decided to not be a victim and to put that energy back into yourself. Sometimes it’s hard, but you have to pull yourself up and push yourself forward.

Your lifetime is a series of developments and personal growth.

One of the worst things you can do for self-development is comparing yourself to other people. It’s easy to get caught up in jealousy and wanting what other people have. Especially with the way we interact with social media. You have to remember that people tend to show only the best parts of their lives on those platforms. It’s not fair to yourself when you see that and think “I want to do that” or “I want to look like that”. Not only does that distract you from being appreciative of what you have in our own life, it doesn’t provide any productive input to yourself. Most often, your perception of someone’s life is a fallacy. And even if it isn’t, focus on yourself. It’s your journey and your path that you should be concerned with.

Being happy takes practice. Whether it’s you learning to let go of your ego, or forming more self-loving habits…it takes practice. You only have one life, work as hard as you can to make it your best life.

This question originally appeared on Quora–the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on TwitterFacebook, and Google+

News Flash: Freebies now on YouTube

From the vlog…

 

 

Do like videos? Good! So do we. That’s why we started sharing FREEBIES (aka free sales tips for business growth) on YouTube. Here’s the link:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW1PtpyqD2Z-19clmXgss9g

What to expect

Our goal is to post one tip a day to help you do three things:

  1. Make more money
  2. Reach your goals
  3. Build relationships for life

Some videos will be random, some will be funny, most will be IMPACTFUL–largely based on real-time questions from the REV community (real people just like you).

Now what?

Check out our vids. Subscribe to the channel. Share this post with your friends, family members or ANYONE ELSE who works for a paycheck; the personal branding and sales tips can be applied to any industry and can help you reach your goals faster.

Thanks, and we can’t WAIT to hear from you! #eek

 

Something got you stumped? Post a question below. We’re happy to help!

Growth 101: Escaping the Danger Zone

Timothy J. Draftz, Contributor

Are you in the Danger Zone? This week’s contributor and B2B CFO Specialist, Timothy J. Draftz gives us some answers.

Most business owners don’t ask, “What is my business?”  They know why they started their business and what they want to accomplish. Often they miss the core of “being in business”.

The Danger Zone is the end result of an owner not paying attention to their business.

Every company requires a robust infrastructure.  Infrastructure includes employees, vendors, IT systems, operating procedures, policies, and fixed assets.  It does not include products, services, and customers; these are the core of “being in business”.  Infrastructure supports the core!

Stages-of-Business-Growth-emphasis-The-Danger-Zone

There are three stages associated with infrastructure leading up to the Danger Zone:

  1. Infrastructure Creation: cash flow is positive and cash needs are low.
  2. Infrastructure Peak: infrastructure is absorbing its maximum level of customer activity, cash flow continues to be positive, while cash needs begin to increase.
  3. Infrastructure Out-Growth: The critical stage before the Danger Zone occurs as the owner realizes the company has out grown its infrastructure.  In order to continue to grow the company, more infrastructure is needed to handle increasing sales.

The Danger Zone as Jerry Mills explains is when the owner becomes “Lost in the Growth Transition”.  The success of the company moves the owner’s focus from customers to growing the infrastructure,  which in turn, increases cash needs.  The owner becomes absorbed in matters best left to the company’s staff.  Jerry explains this with a simple diagram of a pyramid with three layers.

 

Every company is made up of Finders, Minders, and Grinders.

Finders are the business owners/entrepreneurs.   They are creative, visionary, risk takers; who act quickly and are confident in their convictions.  They are relationship builders, especially with customers.  Their time focus is the future. looking to that next customer and to fulfill their needs.

Minders are the Subject Matter Experts of the business; accountants, IT, HR, marketing.  They like process and structure, are more risk adverse, and prefer to follow Finders who are good leaders.  Their time focus is the past, reporting on activities or results to the Finder.

Grinders are the folks getting the day to day work done at the machine or behind the counter.  They like to focus on the task at hand, get one thing done at a time, prefer not to delegate their work, distrust Finders and Minders, but will get the work done they are told to do.  Their time focus is getting to 5 o’clock.

Finders are “A” type personalities. When the company was just starting out, they fixed the problems. Sliding into the role of Minders and Grinders is easy for them when a problem arises.  Infrastructure issues can trigger this slide into “I’ll fix it myself!” and with it, entry into the Danger Zone.  While the owner is focused on “fixing” the problem, who is focusing on the customer?

Someone is spending time with your current and future customers.  If not you, then it will be your competition!

The Solution

To escape the Danger Zone, the owner must return to Finding.  Stop trying to solve all problems personally.  Rely on others for Minding.  Return to finding new customers.  Refocus on product and market factors.  Let the Minders manage the infrastructure.

You can Escape the Danger Zone.

When the business was small, Minders such as Uncle Fred may have been good enough, but professionals are now required.  A B2B CFO can help an owner stay focused on the core of “being in  business”. Mentoring Minders. Developing staff. Finding cash. Flexing infrastructure.  Communicating the strategic vision of the owner.

Are you a Finder, Minder or Grinder? If you are a Finder, do you have challenges finding new customers? What are they? Post a comment below to start a convo and get answers!

 

About the contributor: Timothy Draftz is a highly-experienced C-Level executive with over thirty-five years of experience in finance, operations, business development, strategic planning, and information technology in a variety of industries with large corporations as well as small businesses.  Currently he is a Partner in the largest CFO firm in North America, B2B CFO.

Impact 101: Challenge Status Quo with Grassroots Leadership

Danett Nelson, Contributor

Want to make a BIGGER impact? Be a Grassroots Leader. According to insidehigered.com, Grassroots Leaders are individuals who do not have formal positions of authority, are operating from the bottom up, are interested in and pursue changes that often challenge the status quo of the institution and society.

Grassroots Leadership is defined in social movement literature as the stimulation of social change or the challenge of the status quo by those who lack formal authority or delegated power.

Why it works

Grassroots Leadership has been wildly successful within communities across the globe because like community organizing, Grassroots Leadership is all about building support organically.

It’s about identifying the people around you with whom you can create a common, passionate cause. And it’s about ignoring the conventional wisdom of company politics and instead playing the game by very different rules.

Individuals together collaboratively create sustainable solutions to a growing number of complex issues. These issues range anywhere from safety concerns regarding traffic speed to major concerns such as water shortages, increases in crime, and the need for low-income housing.

While grassroots projects and initiatives have been so successful in a civic capacity there has been some hesitation to use it in the workplace. However, as the need for innovation grows we have seen many organizations adopt a flatter leadership structure that allows for increased collaboration, innovation, and a more supportive and participative leadership style among their leaders. Grassroots initiatives within organizations garners widespread enthusiasm in the workplace, brings together a variety of talents, and creates innovation from the bottom-up.

The 3-Step Framework to make it stick

How does it work?

  1. Create broad-based involvement: Make sure that each department, team, and individual are represented throughout the process. While each belongs to the same “community” and have a stake in the success of that community it is easy to forget that each may be affected differently by issues being addressed and that there are different interests or concerns depending on the part they play in daily operations.

 

  1. Create a credible, open process: Just as with any change there will always be some hesitation or skepticism from employees at every level. Allowing every individual, the opportunity to get involved, regardless of the level of involvement they decide to take, provides credibility and transparency while creating an open and receptive dialogue.

 

  1. Obtain leadership “buy in”: Simply put, change does not happen without support from leadership. Leadership support must be active and visible. You must have those who can make things happen, as well as, those who can keep things from happening around the table.

 

What’s at stake

A raw fact is that 96% of businesses fail within 10 years.

Business owners often find themselves spending much, if not all, of their time and energy to working “in” their business out of the necessity to remain profitable. This continued type of reactionary ownership will leave a business with:

  • Lost profits
  • Poor reputation
  • High-employee turnover

By taking a grassroots approach to solving daily issues leaders can quickly create a culture of trust, increase employee satisfaction and productivity, as well as, stay consistently competitive within the market.

Have you tried this approach in the past? What worked? What didn’t? Post a comment below to keep us all moving up and to the right!

 

 

About the Contributor Danett Nelson: At Front-Line Management Solutions, I use a client-focused model to implement solutions, tailored to a company’s specific needs and goals by focusing directly on internal relationships and the processes used to build and maintain those relationships. With over a decade of experience building and leading U.S Army Special Operations Teams, and creating programs around both employee and organizational development I am dedicated to helping companies attract and retain quality employees, remain profitable, and keep their doors open well beyond 10 years.

 

HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR ONLINE MARKETING IS WORKING

This post is going to answer a seemingly impossible question. An issue that’s been around since the golden age of Madison Avenue Mad Men.

“How do I know if my marketing is working?”

For a long time, brands would spend their marketing budgets on radio, TV, and billboards. They’d have an attention-grabbing photo and a catchy headline. But, unless the ad said “Where’s the beef?” or “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand,” it was hard to connect ad spend with sales revenue.

How do you know if the money you spend on blog posts, email, and social media has a return? The problem used to be a lack of information. Now the challenge is too much data. There’s a much better way to evaluate your current marketing strategy.

Let’s dive in.

HOW TO ANALYZE YOUR GOOGLE RANKINGS

With a few exceptions, businesses are found by people searching on Google. And ranking higher on Google means more website visitors and more business. Google doesn’t exactly rank businesses or websites, though. Instead, it lists specific web pages based on keywords.

Keywords are the phrases a user types into Google’s search bar. Because Google ranks web pages for keywords, your site could have several pages that rank for a variety of different search phrases.

Having multiple pages rank on Google is great news … but it makes answering the question, “Where do I rank on Google?,” a little more challenging than you’d expect.

HOW TO UNDERSTAND AND MEASURE GOOGLE RANKINGS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

The first step to understanding where your business ranks on Google is to know what keywords you want to rank for.

This is a simple process of identifying the top 5–10 keywords that your target audience uses to search for businesses like yours.

Let’s use an example of one of our own clients – an orthodontic practice in Kansas City.

After some educated guesses and keyword research, we helped the practice identify the search terms to rank for:

  • orthodontist
  • braces
  • Invisalign

Because we also know people search based on geography, we added:

  • orthodontist kansas city
  • braces kansas city
  • invisalign kansas city

This client also has several offices, so we created a list of 42 total keywords, including the 6 listed above.

The next step is to find out how the client ranked for those keywords. Our favorite tool to do this is SEMrush, but there are others, such as RavenTools, and Ahrefs.

When we plug in our 42 keywords into SEMrush, we get two important pieces of information:

1. Our position ranking for each term

semrush-rankings-blinded-thumb-1024x344

2. The URLs (specific web page on our site) that rank

semrush-landing-pages-blinded-1024x382

As you can see, we rank in the top 3 for 21 terms and in the top 10 for 37 terms.

That’s powerful information!

Once you understand where you rank for your target keywords, use a variety of tactics to increase your position in Google rankings.

TRACK KEYWORD RANKING

Now that you understand where you rank for your target keywords today, you’re ready for some advanced tracking – competition and trends.

We love SEMrush because it allows us to add our competitors’ websites to our ranking report.

The report shows, at a glance, where we rank and where each of our competitors ranks for each of our target terms.

You’ll know very quickly how you stack up to your competitors on Google.

Here’s the competition report for our orthodontist example.

semrush-competitors-blinded-1024x927

Trending is another advanced way to evaluate your Google ranks. Set a monthly schedule to look at your rankings and compare the data to the previous month.

Is your rank improving? What changes have you made in the past month? If your ranking went up, they worked. If it went down, you need to reevaluate your strategy.

GOOGLE RANKINGS WRAP UP

With your list of target keywords in hand, you know how to find your specific rankings for each term along with which page on your site is ranking for each term.

Google rankings are an important part of understanding the effectiveness of your online marketing, but they are missing critical data – website traffic.

You should continuously monitor your Google rankings, but you should also take a close look at the actual traffic to your website.

If you’d like help choosing your target keywords and reporting on your Google rankings, let’s talk.

ANALYZING THE TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE

A high ranking on Google usually means lots of clicks to your site. But clicks from Google are only one of many different ways a person can get to your site.

Among our client sites, we see visits to their sites from Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Yelp, Facebook ads, Google AdWords ads, and more.

There’s a lot of potential ways to drive traffic to your site beyond Google searches, you just need to know where to find them.

WHERE ARE YOUR WEBSITE VISITS COMING FROM?

To analyze website analytics, we recommend Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is free, easy to use, and has an ample supply of free online resources available.

With Google Analytics installed, you can see who visits your website and where traffic is coming from.

Before diving into Google Analytics, let’s review some terminology

to help make sense of the reports once we review them.

GOOGLE ANALYTICS TERMINOLOGY

We’ll be looking at Google Analytics’ acquisition reports. Each of these reports is segmented in different ways based on where the traffic came from.

While you can segment your visits in countless custom ways, we’ll look at the defaults here.

To get you started, let’s look at Google Analytics’ standard segmentation groups:

  • Sources
  • Mediums
  • Channels

GOOGLE ANALYTICS CHANNELS

Channels are the highest-level grouping in Google Analytics. A Channel combines broad categories of traffic for quick analysis.

Google Analytics has a set of default Channels. The defaults will work well for you in most cases. Defaults can be:

  • Direct – Direct visits are usually visits to your website where the user types your website address (URL) directly into her browser or visits from bookmarks.
    • This is also a catch-all group for Google Analytics consisting of any visit where Google can’t define the source (think from a Word doc or Skype message).
  • Organic Search – visits from non-paid search results on any search engine.
  • Paid Search – visits from paid search results (ads) on any search engine.
  • Display – visits from display ads from any advertising platform. Think banner ads.
  • Referral – visits from other websites, excluding major search engines.
  • Social – visits from major social networks.
  • Email – visits from emails
  • (Other) – visits where Google Analytics can’t determine the medium. See below for more about Mediums in Google Analytics.

GOOGLE ANALYTICS MEDIUMS

A Medium in Google Analytics is the category of the traffic source. If you’re using the default Channel groups (above), each Medium will match a default Channel.

Examples of Mediums:

  • Organic (same as Organic Search Channel)
  • PPC (same as Paid Search Channel)
  • Referral (could match to Social Channel or Referral Channel)

GOOGLE ANALYTICS SOURCES

This is the most specific default grouping in Google Analytics. A source is the name of a particular origin of a visit to your site.

Examples of Sources:

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Facebook.com
  • Direct
  • NYtimes.com

ANALYZING TRAFFIC CHANNELS

Now that you have an idea of how Google Analytics segments your traffic, you can analyze those visits.

Let’s look at an example.

ga-channels-1024x750

The above report shows the traffic to our website, strategynewmedia.com. As you can see we’re getting visits from Organic Search, Direct, (Other), Paid Search, Social, and Referral Channels.

Based on the data above, we can start to analyze. Here are some topics to explore:

  • Over 73% of visits are from Organic Search. What searches are driving this traffic? Perhaps we can optimize SEO elements for higher conversions or write content on related topics for more visits.
  • We’ve been putting an emphasis on SEO. This report confirms those efforts have paid off regarding Organic Search traffic.
  • Less than 1.5% of visits are from Social. Perhaps there are social media strategies we could implement to drive more visits.
  • Almost 5% of visits are from unknown Mediums. We should dig into the Sources of this traffic to determine how to better classify them.

ANALYZING TRAFFIC VALUE

As you can now see there is tremendous value in understanding the source of your visitor’s traffic.

A traffic analysis gives you a comprehensive view of visits and can provide the data to review past online marketing strategies and provide data to drive new campaigns.

So far, we’ve seen the value in Google rankings and know how to analyze all of our traffic by Channels using Google Analytics.

We’re still missing a critical part of our analysis, and that’s the economic value and ROI.

If you’d like help conducting a traffic analysis for your website, send us a message.

HOW TO MEASURE VALUE FOR YOUR WEBSITE TRAFFIC

To calculate ROI for any marketing effort, you must define a value of the actions your audience takes. Value can be assigned to many different actions on your website, and this is how the winners of online marketing operate.

If you’re only measuring Google rankings, you’re missing out on understanding the value of those rankings.

If you’re only looking at how your marketing acquires visitors to your site, you’re missing out on understanding the value of those visits.

YOU NEED AN ECONOMIC VALUE MEASUREMENT MODEL

An Economic Value Measurement Model is a concept developed by Google Evangelist, bestselling author, and digital analytics guru, Avinash Kaushik.

The model assigns values to specific actions a user takes on your website. For example:

  • Newsletter signups
  • Coupon downloads
  • Event registrations
  • Video views

Any action a user takes can have value. The key is to identify the actionable activities on your website and assign values to each.

Let’s look at an example from one of our clients.

UNDERSTANDING ECONOMIC VALUE MEASUREMENT

Recently, one of our clients asked us to evaluate their marketing mix for ROI. Additionally, they wanted to look at opportunities to shift marketing dollars to more profitable marketing channels.

Because this client has done the work to identify goals and values for their website, we had all the data necessary to perform the analysis.

Here’s a snapshot of their Acquisition by Channels report from Google Analytics.

ga-value-report-1024x344

You can see how each of the 5 steps above leads to an item on the model.

A complete model is your key to calculating ROI and finally knowing if your online marketing is working.

If you’d like help creating your Economic Value Measurement Model, contact Strategy today.

IS YOUR ONLINE MARKETING WORKING?

As a business owner or marketer, you always want to know how your marketing is performing. Where should you spend your next marketing dollar? How much will you make by spending that extra money?

With Google’s dominance in everything from search to smartphones, we want to know where we rank on Google. It’s an important part of our marketing evaluation, but it is only part of the picture.

Website traffic is a better indication of success than Google rankings because it includes all sources of traffic and segmentation of data.

And the best way to understand how your marketing is performing is with an Economic Value Measurement Model. By assigning a value to key actions users take on your website, you can calculate ROI for your marketing spend.

Do you have a success story? Did you do this process on your own or hire a strategic partner? Post a comment below. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

Strategy, LLC is a team of highly driven, creative professionals who are motivated to help you succeed and accomplish your goals. They are Inbound Marketing Specialists. So whether you need the next level of tech support, or inbound marketing tactics to help you reach new customers, they’ll develop a plan to help you get there.

The Quick Quiz: What Leadership Personality are you?

Judy Bond, Contributor

Everybody is curious about their leadership style…especially after you read the above statistic. Where do you start? If you are not strapped for time, have disposable income and like to think through questions and growth strategies on your own, resources like Myers-Briggs are great.

If you are part the silent majority, keep reading.

We published The Quick Quiz based on the DiSC system by William Moulton Marston, was a lawyer and a psychologist; he also contributed to the first polygraph test, authored self-help books and created the character Wonder Woman.  With a proven track record of success to help Executives or Entrepreneurs just like you, our goal is to give you actionable insights to make you look good and gain respect from the people in your organization by answering two questions in 5 minutes.  

Understanding your leadership personality will also help you excel in these areas when your planning your next business growth move:

Leading – Selling – Building Teams – Relationships – Communicating – Resolving Conflict

Ready? Let’s go!

The Quick Quiz:

Leading begins with self-awareness.  Self-awareness is not only understanding your strengths, but more importantly about understanding your areas for growth.  Often, these areas for growth are hidden from us, and, sometimes, quite obvious to others!

Self-awareness begins with asking yourself two questions – one is likely to be easy to answer, and the other may be a little harder.

    1. The first question is about your “Pace”.  Are you Fast-Paced or Slower-Paced?

         Fast-Paced people are active, energetic, and involved! Slower-Paced people are a little more reluctant to move forward – we might call them “reserved”.  Please remember, one is not ‘good’ or ‘bad’. One is not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. They are just different.  And there may be times that you are one or the other.  

     2. The second question is about your “Priority”: Are you Task-Oriented or People-Oriented?

Task-Oriented people like plans and projects.  People-oriented people like relationships and sharing. Again – one isn’t good or bad – they are just different! And there may be times or situations where you are task-oriented – and times that you are people-oriented.

 

Your Results: Which one are you?

The “Dominant” Style Leader

If you answered, “Fast-Paced and Task-Oriented”, you are primarily a Dominant style person.  You are a natural leader. You lead with tenacity . You expect people to do “whatever it takes”.

Here are some things to consider – do you delegate – but keep control? Do you decide too quickly without getting input from others?  Do you ignore relationship issues? I encourage you to listen to your team’s ideas – it’s not a waste of your valuable time to do so!

 

The “Inspiring” Style Leader

If you answered, “Fast-Paced and People-Oriented”, you are primarily an Inspiring style person. You are a very influential person.  You lead with enthusiasm.  You expect people to be flexible.  

Do you find yourself talking, rather than doing? Are you finding it difficult to stick to one plan of action when you see another interesting activity?  Setting short-term goals and meeting them consistently will help you reach your long term goals.

 

The “Supportive” Style Leader

If you answered, “Slower-Paced and People-Oriented”, you are primarily a Supportive style person.  You lead with encouragement and affirmation. You expect people to be helpful and support the team.

Do you find that you avoid confrontation? Are you indecisive because you fear the consequences of a wrong decision? Talking through these issues with someone else will help you in these situations.

 

The “Cautious” Style Leader

If you answered, “Slower-Paced and Task-Oriented”, you are still wondering if you answered the questions right! You are primarily a Cautious style person.  You lead with procedures and guidelines.  You expect people to follow the rules and be logical.

This is my primary style, so I must be aware that I can be too “picky”.  I procrastinate because I’m afraid my product won’t be perfect.

Now that you know your leadership personality, how will you begin to build a communication framework to see a significant change in your communication and influence? How will you ensure that framework is built then implemented properly to see an increase in employee engagement, product sales, and recruits–ultimately driving momentum into your business and leading you to more revenue? Post a comment below or contact us direct. We’d be happy to help!

 

Judy Bond brings her experience and know-how to working with individual and team dynamics.  Her business background includes senior level management experience in information and facilities services management for a large health insurance organization. Judy has an MBA degree from DeVry University, Keller Graduate School of Management. 

Growth 101: 5 Practical Innovation Secrets Learned from Designing One B2B Sales Flyer

Hello Friends!

We just designed the first ever RiteMade B2B Sales Flyer. Below is a snapshot of the innovation process. Here is the customer feedback:

“Thought you’d guys like this. This was the first time Ritemade has ever created a B2B sales flyer. Thanks so much for all of your hard-work! I met with Bob today and he’s already planning Ritemade’s next project!”

At first glance this might not seem profound but if you take a moment to understand the 5 practical secrets of innovation, you can start making a mind-blowing impact in the organization you serve. But first, what is innovation?

According to Merriam-Webster, Innovation is the action or process of innovating. Some synonyms are change, alteration, revolution, upheaval, transformation, metamorphosis, breakthrough. In this case, an example would be “From a pencil drawing to a finished piece, through design and innovation they found ways get better results with less work.”

Innovation can also be known as a new method, idea, product, etc. The first ever B2B Sales Flyer is the example in this case.

Now that the definition of innovation has been clearly laid out, what are the 5 practical secrets I learned from this profound experience?

1. Start simple.

We started with two things, a business problem AND a pencil drawing with headlines and a few bullet points. If you wait until you have the entire finished product designed, you won’t get started or you will run out of time and money.

2. Design with the end-user in mind.

In business, you would never create something just because you like it; you create something to sell or trade to make money, otherwise it’d be classified as a hobby. Designing your marketing or sales collateral shouldn’t be any different. Think about your end-user. What do they like and need? How do they process information? What will compel them to take action?

3. Invite them into the innovation process.

How can you know what they like and need if you don’t ask them? For stronger results, call a handful of current customers and prospective buyers to collect real-time data and actionable insights.

4. Listen with empathy and respect.

Design change is a rigorous communication process and not for the faint of heart or quick-tempered. When your client comes back with revisions, make sure you are in the right state of mind—are you calm, relaxed yet attentive, ready to make progress? Your mood will affect the thinking and behavior of all parties involved.

5. Have fun!

You’re not going to get it right the first time…or second or third in some cases. Pivot fast, keep moving forward and don’t forget to have fun. The purpose of innovation is to improve an existing condition or quality of life for all parties involved.

When you’ve done these things, like Bob, you’ll already be thinking about your next innovation project—and THAT [consistent cycle of learning and improvement] my friends, is what makes our workplaces, communities and world, a better place to live.

Got an innovation nightmare or success story? Know someone that captured a photo? Like/Share or Post a comment below to keep us learning and improving!