by kitzmillermedia | Jun 23, 2020 | Productivity, Websites
Add live chat to your website
Responding faster to online leads means more conversions.
A survey of over 433 businesses suggests only 55% respond to leads within five business days. Imagine how much business is left on the table by not responding quicker.
Chat widgets improve response time by giving your visitors more ways to contact you. It also gives your sales team tools to set appointments, provide quotes, or follow up with more info.
While chatting with website visitors in real-time is ideal, you can also set away messages and integrate AI to answer common questions.
There are dozens of chat widget options you can add to your WordPress website. We like using Hubspot live chat at Kitzmiller Media. You may have even noticed our chatbot in the lower right corner. It integrates with our CRM and has automated messaging to prequalify leads before a live person takes over. It’s perfect for us.
If you’re interested in exploring chat options to improve response time and leads, get in touch!
by kitzmillermedia | Sep 19, 2019 | Business, Inspiration, Productivity
[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column_text]As a business owner, making time to actually enjoy the holidays should be a priority, but you have to start early. There are some ways to make it less stressful. Start by taking a broad look at operations and marketing. These five focus areas should help you get a head start.
Five tips to prepare Your business for the holidays include.
- Stock up and staff up
- Delegate responsibility
- Freshen up your website
- Plan a marketing campaign
- Put things on autopilot
- Bonus tip: Don’t stop in December
Stock up and staff up
If you’re in the retail space this is a must. The crush of holiday shopping will be upon you before you know it. The last thing you want is to be under staffed or understocked. Same goes for online retailsers. Many manufactures and wholesalers offer holoiday specials weeks and momnths before the shopping begins. Take advantage of their deals and stock up on merchandise.
Even if you’re a solopreneur you need to lean on your resources for help this holiday season. The best way to delegate business and marketing todos, is to know exactly what those todos are. Start by making a list month by month. Be as detailed as you can about each item. Ask yourself honestly if each item is something you need to control personall. As long as the item has a clear path forward, send it off to someone else.
Freshen up your website
Since you will be lighting up social media with fresh marketing material, it makes sense to freshen up your website while you’re at it. Nothing says, “closed for business” like an outdated website. Focus on these five improvement areas:
- Update the copyright date in the footer 2011 was a long time ago!
- Add a new blog post
- Add or change the call to action on the home page
- Update the about page if necessary
- Check all your pages and links for errors
Plan a marketing campaign
The obvious choice is a holiday themed campaign promoting your products or services. People are very attracted to discounts and special promotions. Here are a few examples.
- Offer free consultaiton
- Bundle several of your more popular services to create savings
- Create coupon codes for your online store
- Ask for referrals and create referral bonuses
The marketing around your holiday campaign should be three-fold. First, create a blog or add a new page to your website with details about the promotion. Create some holiday imagery or graphics that compliment your brand. Canva is a great tool.
Once you have the messaging on point, plan on promoting it on social media and through email marketing. Sketch out a series of posts with highlights of the promotion. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself on socail. It’s a crowded place and your fans might miss it.
Send out an email campaign to your audience. If you got a head start on all of this, plan on sending one campaign each month.
The most important part of all of this is to create a schdule and stick with it.
Put things on autopilot
Automating some of your marketing and business tasks will help free up time to focus on activities that cannot be automated. Email autoresponders are a great way to handle incoming contact forms and can buy you some time to respond. Redirtecting direct emails with filters can help delegate tasks.
Social media apps like Buffer can help you automate posts. For me, Buffer is essential to keeping my schedule full of social media posts for all of my profiles.
Invoicing and reporting is another where automation can save you time. Here at Kitzmiller Media, many of our billing tasks are automated. Even payment reminders go out automatically.
Some flavor of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is going to be immensely benificial when it comes to automation. We use Hubspot at Kitzmiller Media and it’s a critical component of our day to day opperations. We can keep close tabs on prospects and customers and even track deals and communication threads.
Bonus tip: Don’t stop in December
There is no reason why you can’t keep things going when the holidays are over. The lessons learned over the holidays can help build out an entire year’s worth of activity. Once you become familiar with these holiday business stategies, implementing them throughout the year will become much easier. Naturally, we are here if you have any questions. As always, thanks for reading![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” enable_gradient=”true” color_overlay=”rgba(30,115,190,0.11)” color_overlay_2=”rgba(238,238,34,0.11)” gradient_direction=”left_t_to_right_b” overlay_strength=”0.8″ shape_divider_position=”bottom” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column column_padding=”padding-4-percent” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column_text]
[icon color=”Accent-Color” animation_speed=”Slow” size=”small” icon_size=”” animation_delay=”” image=”icon-check”] Schedule a Free Business Marketing Review
Our business marketing review is comprehensive, informative and provides you with actionable advice to improve your marketing mix. Schedule a review today![/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”20″][contact-form-7 id=”8179″][/vc_column][/vc_row]
by kitzmillermedia | Oct 24, 2017 | Productivity, Social Media
[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]Social Media is still a major sore spot for many businesses. Just getting started seems to be the tricky part.
While there are month-long seminars about understanding the power and influence of social media, I would like to introduce two simple tools that make it much easier to get out of the gate. After you find a rhythm you can begin to get strategic. For now, let’s look in the toolbox.
Tools of the trade
Feedly and Buffer are social media tools that I use every day to manage all of my social media accounts and the profiles of my clients. These two apps are my secret weapons for keeping audiences up to date on my work, marketing trends, news, local tidbits and other related content.
There are literally dozens and dozens of applications available that help you manage your social media profiles. These two, however, have stood the test of time and continue to release new features that make sharing just a little bit easier. Let’s begin with Feedly.
Cost: Free with a $5.41 pro version
Feedly is an application that allows you to organize, share and read what matters to you. Feedly serves as my ongoing newsfeed on topics I choose. I follow marketing blogs, design inspiration, tech trends and local and national news. If the website has a blog, you can add it to your Feedly dashboard.
I find Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms way too cluttered and a bit unpredictable as my news feed. Feedly allows me to create targeted news feeds where I can see headlines and snippets at a glance without distraction. If I’m interested in the article I can click a button to read the entire article on the website where it’s published. If I like it enough to share it, I can do that right from within Feedly.
As a standalone news feed, it’s perfect, but where it really gets good is its sharing feature. Built into Feedly is a robust sharing tool that allows you to share articles and blog posts on all your social media profiles. You can also save it for later or email it to a friend. You can also add it to Buffer, which is where the magic happens.
A quick look at my Feedly dashboard
Cost: free up to 1 social media profile on each platform.
While Feedly does have some nice sharing tools, Buffer has way more features. One of the most notable is the ability to schedule posts in advance. Each connected social media profile has a unique calendar where I can set the perfect date and time I want updates to go out to my audience. You can even schedule posts to deliver multiple times per day. Each social media profile can have its own unique schedule because what works for Facebook doesn’t always work for Twitter or Instagram.
Every time you add something to Buffer it drops it into the next available timeslot. You could easily create a month’s worth of updates in just a couple hours of surfing your news feed in Feedly.
Another great feature of Buffer is the analytics dashboard. I can view all kinds of data including likes, comments, and shares. This allows me to see which posts were successful and compare them to other previous posts.
Buffer’s sharing popup window.
Using Feedly and Buffer together
The idea behind using Feedly and Buffer together is to simplify and streamline the content you share on all of your social media profiles. My typical strategy is to open the Feedly app in the morning and read through the headlines. If I see an article that I think my audience would enjoy, I add it to Buffer. Rinse and repeat.
I’ve been using these social media tools for well over 5 years now and it has served me well. There are a dozen other ways to share and organize your news feed, but the Feedly/Buffer combo seems to work pretty well for my needs.
Let me know how it goes. They both offer free accounts to get started so now there are no excuses to start growing your brand on social media. If you have any questions contact me directly or leave a comment below. Thanks for reading![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
by kitzmillermedia | Mar 15, 2017 | Food for thought, Productivity
[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]I’m not advocating coffee abstinence. That’s ridiculous. A world without coffee is bleak indeed. However, when the deadlines are beating down the door and you’re about to reach for some of that delicious black gold, you need to remember coffee alone will not help you get your tasks done.
Here are a few pro tips for getting more done without mainlining the caffeine.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique was created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo and remains very popular with productivity gurus. Francesco used a tomato shaped egg timer in college to stay productive. Pomodoro in Italian means tomato, in case you were wondering.
The philosophy behind the Pomodoro Technique is that our attention span is only good for about 25 minutes. After spending 25 minutes of focus time on a task or several tasks, you are encouraged to give your mind a 5 minute break. After 4 Pomodoros you can enjoy a longer break.
I’ve been using the technique off and on for several years and found it to be very helpful when I’m dealing with tasks or projects that require several hours of focus time. The 5 minute break tricks your brain into thinking there is a reward at the end of a 25 minute focus session. I found myself working more diligently on tasks when I new the timer was going.
Naturally there’s an app for that. There are also dozens of desktop and browser versions. You can even find a classic tomato shaped egg timer just like the one Francesco used in the 80’s. Out of all the apps I tried, Pomotodo was one of my favorites.
Give yourself micro-rewards
Micro-rewards are a way for you to trick your brain into staying on task knowing a pleasing activity is on the horizon. Let’s say you need to compose a very important email but you’re dreading the act of typing it. When you tell yourself a nice cup of coffee will be waiting for you after you hit send, your brain will be more likely to get the task finished.
The reward system is a powerful function of the brain that promotes activities that make us feel good. Unfortunately it’s the same system that includes addiction to some unfavorable activities. So be careful what you reward yourself with.
Examples of micro-rewards could include a breath of fresh air, a yoga pose, a cup of coffee, a few minutes on Facebook, pet the dog or grab a quick snack. It’s important that the rewards are small and inconsequential – meaning it won’t take you away from the desk for long.
Make a list
Making a list is probably the most obvious choice when it comes to time management, but it can also become a laundry list of things you never actually get done.
Lists should never be more than a half sheet of paper in length and have fewer than a dozen todos. A list should also be created the morning of or even the night before you intend to do them. Don’t add to the list during the day. Start a new list and schedule it for tomorrow. Keep a healthy balance of quick tasks and longer tasks. I usually put how long I think each task will take next to the list item. Here’s a quick example:
- Write blog post about productivity (3 hours)
- Email Jack about website (5 min)
- Nudge Jill about invoice (5 min)
- Lunch (1 hour)
- Start monthly email newsletter (1 hour)
- Start contact page for project B (1 hour)
- Update menu for project C (1 hour)
- Update social media calendar (30 min)
Adding an estimate of how long a task will take will help you manage your time while tracking your todos. You can even sneak in todos that are not really work related such as lunch or run an errand. This gives you a break from the serious stuff you need to accomplish and allows you to check more items off the list, which is always a good feeling.
Do the hard stuff first
This is a tough one. We all know what I mean by the “hard stuff”. It’s that project, email or task you’re not looking forward to. If you feel resistance to anything on your todo list, you need to knock that out first thing.
Mark Twain is quoted as saying:
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
An entire time management philosophy exists around this principle. The “frog” is the thing you don’t want to do, but need to do. Identify the task you are dreading the most and get it done as soon as you sit down at your desk. Don’t put it off because the sensation of dread will only compound throughout the day.
A quick hashtag search of #gtd (getting things done) will net you a ton of information on the topic of time management. I’ve done a fair amount of research and personal experimentation to understand what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. However you decide to tackle your todo list, go easy on the caffein!
Did you try these methods out? What works for you? Leave your comments below and as always, thanks for reading![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
by kitzmillermedia | Jan 4, 2017 | Business, Productivity, Tech
[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]I don’t recommend or review a lot of apps, but this one I felt like the world needs know about and it’s receiving a lot of press lately.
In August of 2015 I installed an app called Acorns. My brother recommended it to me and for once I took him up on it ;). In November of 2016 (just over a year) I withdrew $1,075.00 from my Acorns account. My goal was to set aside money for Christmas and I couldn’t be happier with the results.
How does Acorns work?
If you’re uncomfortable with sharing sensitive data such as banking info or credit card accounts online, this app is definitely not for you. Acorns asks you to sync your bank account so it can automatically withdraw and invest funds from connected accounts. I should mention that security is on the up and up with this app and I felt very comfortable using it from the start. Still, some folks just don’t want to go there and I can’t blame them for that.
During the first 3 months after activating the app I was using the default settings, which simply rounds up every transaction you make to the nearest dollar and transfers that difference to your Acorns account in $5 increments.
In October of 2015 I set the app to invest an additional $20 every month. This was kind of an experiment, and at best, I was just hoping to finally find a place to sock away some money. So far so good, and I was seeing small returns on my investment. So I kept at it.
It’s really a simple concept, but it does take a bit of explaining to understand how the app works.
[divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”40″]Here’s an example
Let’s say I buy some gas for $26.05. Acorns earmarks .95 cents as a future investment. When your earmarks accumulate to $5.00, Acorns takes that amount and invests it in a portfolio of stocks.
I’m not a stock market expert by any stretch of the imagination. You are tied to the wins and losses of the market, of which I have little knowledge of. However, you can establish how aggressive your portfolio is. In my case, I picked the most aggressive portfolio and hoped for the best knowing I only had a year to meet my goal. Acorns allows you to select from 5 different portfolios ranging from conservative to aggressive. It’s entirely up to you. Acorns will not allow you pick and choose stocks, which actually makes it really simple.
How much did I earn?
In April of 2016 (9 months) I had $618.00 in my Acorns account. Hoping to reach $1000.00 by December, I decide to get more aggressive. I set the app to invest $50 from my checking account every month on top of the automatic round-ups.
When all was said and done I earned roughly $85 in dividends and saved $990 over a 15 month period for a grand total of $1075.00.
The benefit to using this app is that the money isn’t exactly easy to get to. That’s what’s wrong with most saving plans. If you stash money in a savings account, you can access it pretty easily. With Acorns, I knew it was a process and it could take 5-7 days to transfer the money back into your checking account.
How much does it cost?
Acorns has a monthly service fee of $1 for balances under $5,000. I was actually quite surprised to see how low it was. When I finally withdrew my money, about 13 months later, my fees were $13.00. Considering how much it benefited my goal of saving for Christmas, it was well worth it.
Acorns is not for the seasoned investor. There are better places to put large sums of money if you’re serious about investing. I would, however recommend this for anyone who has trouble saving money every month or folks who have a savings goal such as a car, a vacation or Christmas spending. I think it would be brilliant for teens and millennials. Download the app and let me know what you think.
As always, thanks for reading![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
by kitzmillermedia | Dec 24, 2015 | Productivity, WordPress
[vc_row type=”in_container” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]You’ve invested a lot of time and money on your WordPress website, so doesn’t it make sense to know when that investment is working for you and when it isn’t?
Downtime happens, and the sooner you know your site is down the faster you can get it back online. What you hope to avoid is a customer letting you know. There is an easier way to monitor website uptime.
Head over to your website real quick… is it up? It probably is and that’s great. However, every minute your website is down could cost you lost revenue or lead opportunities.
Whether it’s just a site about your business or a full-blown eCommerce website, you want to make sure your site is up at all times.
But how will you know?
You can’t possibly check every 5 minutes, that’s a big waste of time. Fortunately, there are services that check for you.
DownNotifier is probably the easiest option available. All you have to do is add your website and your email address. Once you setup your info, DownNotifier does the rest.
If your site goes offline DownNotifier will let you know. The free version checks every 10 minutes. They have a paid version that will check every minute, but the free version should suffice.
That’s all there is to it. If you get an email indicating your site is down, be sure to head over to your WordPress website and see if there are any obvious errors.
[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line” custom_height=”10″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” enable_gradient=”true” color_overlay=”rgba(30,115,190,0.11)” color_overlay_2=”rgba(238,238,34,0.11)” gradient_direction=”left_b_to_right_t” overlay_strength=”0.8″][vc_column column_padding=”padding-4-percent” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]
[icon color=”Accent-Color” animation_speed=”Slow” size=”small” icon_size=”” animation_delay=”” image=”icon-check”] Learn The Fundamentals Of WordPress Website Care
Sign up for a FREE 5 day email course that will teach you everything from how to create daily backups, track website visitors, monitor security and uptime and update plugins and themes. Get your first lesson today![/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row]