How to Benefit from Setbacks

We’ve all experienced painful setbacks at times.  Maybe there was a job you desperately wanted but didn’t get.  Perhaps your house was foreclosed upon.  Or maybe your latest marketing campaign crashed and burned.  However, rather than writing these setbacks off as failures, we’d encourage you to view your setback as a potential advantage:

  1. Learn from It.  There are very few setbacks that you can’t learn from.  For instance, maybe when you failed to get that last job you applied for, you realized that there is an important skill that would be valuable for you to acquire before seeking out a new position.  If you view a setback as a learning opportunity, you’ll find it easier to overcome your disappointment.

  2. Consider the Skills Gained.  Setbacks can better prepare us for the happiness that’s ahead.  How is that possible?  For one thing, we typically gain critical skills from a setback—perhaps we develop greater resilience, better money management skills, or we experience more self-confidence when we see how well we responded to the setback.  All of these attributes—resilience, financial acumen, and self-confidence—are things that make life easier.  Ultimately, setbacks help us to develop skills that are going to lead us to greater happiness.

  3. Remember that Setbacks Often Precede a Breakthrough.  If you experience a setback, stay optimistic because typically they occur right before a breakthrough.  This is commonly known in addiction recovery.  For example, a person might get their 3rd DUI, spend time in jail, lose his wife or his job, and feel like things couldn’t get any worse.  Oftentimes, it is then that a person will seek treatment.  This holds true for several scenarios.  Many entrepreneurs are moved to start their own companies after losing their jobs.  A number of people who felt despair during their divorces later realized that it was one of the best things that ever happened to them.  By viewing your setback as having the potential to significantly improve your life, you’ll find that it doesn’t have to be a devastating disappointment.  Instead, it can be a catalyst for growth.

Increase Your Brand Exposure. Top SEO Strategies for 2015 (Part 2 of 2)

With Google frequently tweaking its ranking algorithm, it’s important to continuously evaluate and improve your own SEO efforts.  To do so, we suggested in part 1 of this series that you invest in mobile optimization, promote your company with press releases to build links, and actively pursue a social media strategy.  Today, we’ll cover the other top SEO strategies that you should adopt in 2015.

  • Audit Your Site.

In a relatively short period of time, you can run your website through an SEO audit and see specifically what issues would be useful to fix to improve your search rankings.  There are a number of free SEO audit tools including SEOptimizer, mysiteauditor, and Zadro Web’s SEO Optimizer.

  • Improve Your Title Tags.

Title tags—the description of your web page that appears at the top of a browser—are extremely important in SEO.  In fact, Search Engine Land deems it “one of the most influential ranking signals we can control.”  Best practices for title tags include: limiting them to between 55 and 60 characters, keeping keywords at the beginning, and creating unique titles for each page.[1]

  • Use Long-Tail Keywords.

Long-tail keywords are more specific phrases that are used by people conducting searches.  For instance, a person searching for a restaurant could enter just a keyword like, “restaurant,” or he could enter something more specific like, “Mexican restaurant with wide tequila selection.”  The latter would be a good example of a long-tail keyword, and statistics show that approximately 70% of page views originate from long-tail keywords.  To come up with long-tail keywords for your business, check out WordStream’s free Keyword Suggestion Tool.

This concludes our search engine optimization tips for 2015.  By implementing them, you’ll increase the likelihood that your business will make it onto that coveted first page of Google search results.

Want to Beat Burnout?

Do you feel overwhelmed by the thought of all you have to do?  Do you experience a feeling of dread when you arrive at the office?  If so, you might be suffering from burnout.  Fortunately, there are ways to overcome burnout so that you can approach your days with the enthusiasm that you once felt.  Below we offer up some ideas for beating burnout:

  • Just Say “No.”  A common reason for burnout is the tendency to bite off more than we can chew.  Instead, practice saying no.  By setting reasonable expectations for yourself—rather than trying to be super-human—you’re far less likely to experience burnout.  Also, try delegating some of your tasks, rather than trying to do everything yourself (a tendency of perfectionists).  While at first these actions might seem like you’re getting less done, burnout is actually associated with reduced rates of productivity.[1]  Taking the time to overcome it will result in greater productivity in the long run.

  • Avoid the News.  Burnout is often associated with depression, and the news can perpetuate our negativity.[2]  Unfortunately, watching or reading unpleasant things can lead us to conclude that the world is a terrible place, people behave poorly, etc.  Instead, go on a hiatus from the news for a week and see if your mood improves.

  • Take Inventory.  Psychology Today recommends that you make a list of everything that stresses you out.[3]  Then, write down proactive steps you can take to minimize the anxiety you feel for each of the things on the list.  Start implementing these changes and in time, you’ll find that your burnout decreases.  However, remember to be patient—your burnout didn’t occur overnight and the process of recovery is a gradual one.

  • Exercise.  While it sounds counterintuitive to spend more time at the gym when you’re feeling overwhelmed, exercise can help you to overcome your negativity.  Working out improves people’s moods, boosts energy, and promotes better sleep.[4].  These are all things that tend to suffer when someone is burnt out.  Can’t slip away to the gym?  Take a 20-minute walk during your lunch hour so that you have a welcome midday break.

Thought For The Day

“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery



3 Strategies for Marketing to Millennials

Millennials—those people between the ages of 18-34—represent $1.3 trillion in buying power.[1]  They have a big say in purchasing decisions, influencing their peers, their parents, their places of employment, and their families.  For this reason, the savvy marketer knows that it’s important to have a marketing strategy that is successful with this younger age group.  Below we offer 3 suggestions for accomplishing that:

  • Optimize for Mobile.  Millennials prefer to receive email from retailers, rather than other forms of communication.  However, it’s not just enough to slap together an email and hope that it’s effective with this group.  The email must be optimized for mobile viewing, as millennials are more likely than any other demographic to view emails on mobile devices.

  • Brand Evangelists.  Brand evangelists are those people who love your brand.  They will recommend it enthusiastically to others, and their passion often convinces their friends and followers to try your products.  With 95% of millennials saying that friends are the most credible source of product information, it’s helpful for marketers to develop brand evangelists in this age group.  For more information about how to do this, check out our post, Developing Brand Advocates.

  • Market to Lifestyles.  It used to be that marketers would promote their products to this age group with life-stage advertising, which focused on critical adult milestones (i.e. starting a family, buying a home, etc.).  Yet millennials are far less traditional than previous generations and are much more likely to define family in new ways and adopt location-independent, traveling lifestyles.  For this reason, marketer Sujan Patel, recommends that advertisers focus on social groups, rather than lifestyles.  For instance, you might market your products to people drawn to social causes or those who have alternative lifestyles.  He suggests that, “Millennials are much more likely to have a strong attachment to these social identities than they are to strongly identify with a specific state of life.”