7 TIPS FOR TAKING IT SLOW & REDUCING STRESS

7 TIPS FOR TAKING IT SLOW & REDUCING STRESS

For many of us, slowing down doesn’t seem to be a possibility. Between work obligations and family and managing a household, there’s rarely time for much else other than stress. However, constantly leading a fast paced life can leave you feeling burnt out and under a ton of stress.

I’ll give you a great example. Sometime last week, I was reviewing my work hours for the past month and I realized that I had not had a day “off” in over 42 days. 42 days!! Now, being a stay at home mom and business owner, I rarely get a day off but it dawned on me that I had not provided myself any downtime to recharge my batteries. And coincidentally, I was feeling more stressed and anxious than I had been in a very long time.

If you can relate to this story, just know that you are not alone. In fact, finding some downtime and taking care of ourselves is a challenge that many people face on a daily basis. And while it is necessary to meet our obligations, it is also necessary to take care of ourselves. When we aren’t stressed and overly tired, we are able to be more present in our own lives and fully enjoy the time that we spend with our families and on our work and our passions. But if you’re used to a constant fast paced environment, it can be hard to slow down. The trick is not to come to a halt, but instead to find small opportunities to recharge every day. Not sure where to start? Try a few of these suggestions to help you slow down.

Meditation

Meditation and deep breathing techniques have been known for centuries to decrease stress and tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, muscle and joint problems. Ancient practitioners of meditation (and some current) believed that meditation was a sort of gateway to the gods. And while that may or may not be true, it certainly has a tremendous amount of proven benefits. Aside from stress relief, meditation also improves blood circulation, significantly increases serotonin production in the brain (serotonin is a chemical that is responsible for elevating mood and improving behavior), regulates heart rate, and boosts the immune system. The longer the better, but even short 5 to 10 minute sessions can make a big difference.

Family Time

After a hard day, there’s nothing better than coming home to loving and supportive family and friends. If you are feeling overworked and overly tired, sometimes the very best medicine is quality time with those you love. In order for a relationship to thrive, it must be nurtured. So if you are feeling a little disconnected, make time to spend with those people. Take a friend to lunch or take the kids somewhere fun such as roller skating or to the movies. Spending time with good company is sure to help you relax and reconnect.

Listen to Music

Did you know that listening to music is the only activity that is known to stimulate both hemispheres of the brain? Listening to music is a great way encourage things like creativity, good judgement, effective decision making, and problem solving skills. Not to mention that listening to music is a great way to boost your mood and relieve stress.

Write it Down

Did you remember to drop off your daughter’s violin to school? Did you email the presentation to your boss? Pick up the dry cleaning? Believe it or not, the simple act of writing things down can make a huge difference in your level of stress and anxiety. Keep a small notebook handy or use an app like OneNote or Evernote to record important reminders, notes, to do’s, and anything else that might clutter up your mind. In fact, writing a list of priorities for the next day before you go to bed, is one of the best (and easiest) ways to fight mild insomnia. You might also find that your productivity increases as well.

Say NO

For those of us people pleasers, this is a hard one. But understand that in order to slow down and reduce your stress, you may need to say “no” to certain requests that are made of you. Overextending your time is generally a one-way ticket to stress and anxiety. Cut back on your commitments whenever possible to allow yourself the time to regroup.

Get Outside

There is nothing more peaceful than a walk or hike in nature. This is when you literally can stop and smell the roses. Even a 10 minute walk outside in the sun can boost creativity and brighten your mood. Take advantage of opportunities to get outside throughout the day. Eat lunch or dinner outside or walk to the post office instead of drive.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body. There are many positive physical and mental effects associated with moving your body on a daily basis. As we age, it becomes more common to develop chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. However, many of these conditions can be alleviated or even prevented with regular exercise (and a proper diet). And just like meditation exercise boosts our serotonin levels which is why we often feel peaceful and happy after a workout. Take a hike at a nearby park such as Soldier’s Delight in Owings Mills or participate in a baseball or soccer game at a local rec center.

In the everyday hustle and bustle we often forget to enjoy all that life has to offer. Take care of yourself and everything else will fall in place.

 

15 Amazing Ways to Build Your Email List

15 Amazing Ways to Build Your Email List

A list of engaged email subscribers is worth its weight in gold for marketers and business owners alike! It is one of the most effective and reliable marketing resources. A good list is so valuable that it can’t be bought. Why? Because when subscribers sign up for your list, they’re signing up to hear from you and your company. Subscribers have to be earned.

This marketing tactic allows you to fill your audience with people who are genuinely interested in your brand and what you have to say. They are engaged with your company on social media and on your own website.

With information collected during sign-up (and in subsequent offers), you can precisely segment your list and design your email communication to suit your reader’s preferences.

As you attract qualified leads, you’ll be able to guide them through the decision-making process by aligning content to specific buying cycle stages. In others words, effective email marketing can carry an interested prospect all the way to the end goal of converting them to a paying customer.

What are the best ways to build a list? Below are the top 15 tips for building a massive email list.

Offer quality content.

Nobody gives up their email address for free. If you want to build a valuable relationship and engage your audience, you need to provide content that is worthwhile and interesting. This is one of those time when knowing your target audience is so important. Customize your content to speak to your specific audience’s wants and needs.

Put sign-up forms on every web page.

Your sign-up form should be everywhere your potential subscribers are. Make sure it’s visible and easy to fill out. Add it to your Contact page, your landing pages, and anywhere else your customers may look for contact information. In addition, consider using gateway and exit pop-ups to collect subscriber information. You may find pop-ups annoying but there is a lot of research stating they they are quite effective for growing your email list.

Use social media to collect email addresses.

Integrate your sign-up forms with social media platforms. Driving traffic from multiple sources allows you to build a strong email marketing list much faster.

Design your sign-up form carefully.

Ask only for information you plan to use. A good rule of thumb is that less is more — the shorter the signup form, the higher the conversion rate. In other words, keep it simple, stupid (K.I.S.S.)!

Show your privacy policy.

Inform your readers that you will not share their personal information with third parties. A clear privacy policy helps you build trust and convince visitors that it’s safe to subscribe.

Show samples of your content.

Let your subscribers know what they are signing up for. Use your older content samples to “sell” the email sign-up.

Include a call to action.

Put a call to action (CTA) in your submit button, e.g. Sign me up! This makes the sign-up process more engaging and improves the conversion ratio. Design your CTA using a clear font and bold colors such as blue or orange.

Give away freebies.

This is otherwise known as the lead magnet. As stated in the first tip, no one wants to give away their information for free. So offering a lead magnet that provides your audience with valuable information can be critical in getting their contact info. Brainstorm ideas for a relevant incentive for your audience. Your lead magnet should solve a problem or provide actionable information. E-books, infographics, checklists, and whitepapers are all great examples of a good lead magnet. Less than 10 pages is best as this should be something your audience can consume in a relatively short amount of time. And don’t forget to include your contact information as social media links as well.

Ask subscribers to share.

Sometime if you want something all you have to do is ask. Take the time to prepare valuable, shareable content. Remember that putting the social share buttons is not enough; you still need to ask your subscribers to use them.

Build a content distribution strategy.

Producing great content is only half the battle. Make sure it’s visible to the right audience. Once you define your target audience, find out where they like to congregate online. Then choose communication channels accordingly.

Publish landing pages.

Create a squeeze page where visitors can download premium content in exchange for their email address. A dedicated web page helps users focus on the call to action and increases conversions.

Include testimonials on your landing page.

Social proof helps build trust toward a brand and its products. Use testimonials from satisfied customers to help visitors make a decision. Testimonials can be in multiple forms including written and video.

Blog regularly.

Great content brings more traffic. Develop a realistic content publishing schedule and stick to it. At a minimum, you should be publishing at least once per week.

Guest post on popular blogs.

Publishing your content on other blogs is a great way to build relationships with other bloggers in your industry and introduce yourself to new people. Include a backlink to your blog, and your blog’s search rankings will go up.

Collect email addresses at offline events.

Be ready to collect email addresses at trade shows and conferences. Ask for business cards or instantly add people to your list directly through your email provider.

It’s time to get started.

Now you know a handful of great ways to build one of the most effective marketing assets — your email marketing list.

5 Ways To Become A People Person & Build Connections

5 Ways To Become A People Person & Build Connections

Many would argue that human connections are lost in today’s technology obsessed world. We spend hours a day on social networking sites without actually doing any networking at all and are usually left feeling disconnected from the world around us. Video and audio feeds such as podcasts, Facebook Live, Periscope, and Skype have been dubbed as the future of social media and rightfully so. People crave connections and like listening to others to whom they can relate or to whom they feel can teach them and help them grow personally or professionally. But is this really the best way to “connect”?

It is our connections with other people that enrich our lives in meaningful ways. From having a strong support group during a difficult time in your life to networking to grow your business, being a people person is as important as it ever was. And as important as it is to make great connections, it’s really not that difficult. Try these tips to help reconnect and improve your relationships.

Share Your Smile: This is probably the easiest and most basic of all the suggestions on this list (or any other list for that matter). You can almost never go wrong by showing someone a little kindness and smiling at them. Sometimes it seems as if we, as humans, have almost lost our humanity. And in fact, we often feel like robots; just going through the motions to get through the day. So when you come across someone else, smile at them. You have no idea how that one small act can make a huge difference in someone’s day. The act of smiling will make you more approachable and others will be much more willing to talk and interact with you. Also, it doesn’t hurt to add a “hello” or “good morning”.

Eye Contact: Whenever possible, you should always try to make eye contact with the person to whom you are talking. Body language is so important. A lack of eye contact can lead the other person to believe that you are uninterested or simply don’t care, which probably is not the truth. When having a conversation, do your best to give them your full attention and show them that you care about what they have to say.

Listen: Listen, listen, and listen some more. If your voice is the only voice you can hear, you are probably not listening enough. This is a skill that definitely does not come naturally but can be learned over time. Listen to someone and let them talk. Not only should you let them say what they need to say but also listen carefully. Be interested, smile, and make eye contact when someone is talking.

Compliment/Question: Pay a compliment to someone or ask them a question about themselves or what they do. It is important to not make the conversation only about you. Be interested in them and show that you are paying attention. Give them a compliment or if you don’t want to necessarily pay them a compliment, ask them something about themselves. The object is to feel like you have learned something about that person. They should feel good after they have spoken with you. Consider this, people will always remember how you make them feel so choose wisely.

Be Kind: Being nice might be free but it’s not something that everyone is great at all the time. I mean, let’s be honest, we all have bad days and sometimes we may not feel like being nice. Maybe you’re going through a difficult time or maybe you’re just having a hectic morning. Life can be hard. That’s for sure. But, you never know what others are going through in their lives as well. One small act of kindness can literally change someone’s life. Treat others the way you want to be treated. It’s that simple.

When you add these 5 principles into your life, the way other people see you will change. You will attract new friendships and your other relationships will be strengthened as well. If you are already doing these things, then congrats to you! You are probably already a people person and didn’t even know it.

I firmly believe that what you put out into the world will come back to you in some way. Focus on positive energy and you’ll get positive results.

Email Marketing Tips for Emails that Convert

Email Marketing Tips for Emails that Convert

While email marketing may be one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal, it is most likely one of the most underused. When done right, an effective email can turn readers into paying customers.

But if you’re not seeing the conversion you were hoping for, it can be frustrating. Read on to find out if you’re making any of these 6 deadly email marketing mistakes how to fix them.

Subject Line

Your subject line is overhyped and it doesn’t match with the body copy. We’ve all read articles like “How to come up with a subject line that gets your email opened.” They’re even websites like subjectline.com that will give your subject line a “score” based on how likely it gets opened.

However, subject lines that get you more “opens” don’t necessarily lead to better conversions. Sure, baited headlines might get more clicks, but after some time people stop trusting brands that practice such tactics. When an email has very little substance to offer, it’s only a matter of time until people begin to mark it as spam.

As a result, you must keep your subject lines simple and to the point. Always remember, the best subject lines don’t sell what’s inside, they tell what’s inside. You want the subject line, to some extent, to encourage people to click but if you constantly let down your audience with the email content it will have a long-term adverse effect.

CTAs (Call to Action)

Your email may contain too many CTAs. Every business has a specific goal with its email marketing campaign. This might be to get more clicks to a blog post, to get readers to sign up for a webinar, or share free content to build and segment a mailing list.

With this in mind, it’s important that your emails include no more than two CTAs. This would help you to eliminate confusion which in turn would encourage you recipients to take your desired action.

Marketers usually try to do too much in one email campaign. Having more buttons in a single email doesn’t mean more clicks. Keep your goal and CTA clear and simple.

Plain Text

You haven’t offered a plain text link. Plain text emails are the digital equivalent of a typewritten letter – no images, no special fonts and no hyperlinks. While they may not look as attractive, they play a significant role in any email marketing campaign.

Simply put, not all of your readers will have email clients capable of displaying HTML emails. In other cases, bandwidth limitations may prevent your readers from seeing HTML links.

In such cases, plain text links give readers an alternative. You might not be able to show off your amazing graphics. Most email campaign managers such as Mailchimp, Mailerlite, and Get Response include an option for plain text links when creating email campaigns.

Permission

If you didn’t get permission before sending emails, you could actually get into a serious legal trouble for adding people to your list without their permission. Always check your country’s laws against spam.

Too many businesses take shortcuts and buy email lists or compile them in unethical manner. Spam hurts the reputation of your business big time. Once people start marking your email as spams, you come under the “spam radar.”

Understand that for you to send emails to people, you must have their explicit permission first. For instance, if you collect business cards at an event, you shouldn’t add those email addresses to your mailing list.

At the same time, also understand that just because someone opted into your email list once, maybe for a contest or digital download, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily want to hear your marketing messages. Your emails to such subscribers might be perfectly legal, but they won’t necessarily convert well. It’s also a good idea to remind readers why they received the email in the first place.

Segmentation

Your email list isn’t segmented. As a rule of thumb, segmented lists results in a higher open rate and click rate than non-segmented email lists.

As a marketer if you’re not taking advantage of segmentation, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on potential revenue. One way to segment your email list is through creating buyer personas. With this tactic, you’ll send different emails to different customers, depending on their demographic and psychographic preferences.

For example, if your persona is a young lady in her mid 20s, then you can come up with a subject line that millennials can relate to. For this tactic to work, you need a lot of data about your customers, as well as a way to plug this data into your email tool.

An alternative tactic is to segment based on content consumption patterns. With this tactic, you can send customers different content-types and topics. Based on their consumption choices, you can fine tune your messages further.

For instance, suppose you have a list of 10,000 subscribers who signed up for your marketing newsletter. Now suppose you sent a guide to email marketing to everyone on your list, and 5,000 of your 10,000 subscribers opened and read the guide. These subscribers have now shown that they’re interested in email marketing.

 

Personalization

You’re writing emails as a company, not as a person. I’m sure you’ve received emails like this “no-replyAtsomedomainDotcom.” Instead of starting a conversation with customers, they just want to throw information at you. They miss on building meaningful relationships and engagement opportunities.

 

This is exactly what great email marketing does: it creates conversations!

Email marketing can be a tough nut to crack, especially if you want immediate monetary conversions. However, if you follow the tips above, you’ll see improvement in your email marketing ROI.