5 Signs Your Business Needs a Concrete Digital Strategy

In case you didn’t know, a digital revolution had already started several years ago. Sadly, many companies still ignore the value of a well-executed digital transformation. You might have a corporate website, but this isn’t enough to qualify for a legit digital strategy. The truth is, large businesses are pushing a digital strategy. The question is—do they understand what digital strategy is?

Digital is an ever-evolving landscape, and it evolves at an exponential rate. Thus, the impetus to devise the common understanding about digital and thereby digital strategy is clear.

Digital strategy defined

Digital strategy refers to a plan that aims at maximizing the business benefits of data asset (e.g. website) or assets. While it’s a technology-focused initiative, digital strategy forms part of the overall business strategy. Hence this approach is holistic; it’s integrated.

From a management standpoint, digital strategy should change the form of interaction. It’s no surprise then the rationale behind investing on applying new technologies to improve the products, processes and practices. It often results in changes in expectations, information and option.

It is more than just the technologies your business buys and uses. A digital strategy also pertains to the abilities and capabilities that these technological innovations endow your business and your people. The orientation is long-term since the foundation of such strategy is to provide value to the people. With this in mind, a digital strategy must be viewed as an enabler that bridges the gap between the company and its target audience.

Do you think you need a digital strategy right now? Or, if you are already implementing one, is it sufficient or lacks in some aspects such as the irrelevant choice of platform? Read on.

When do you need a digital strategy?

And we are not talking just any digital strategy, but a strategy that sets direction, sequence resources and provides value. A digital strategy is thus a continuing commitment.

1) Your digital approach is directionless

Many companies still operate without a digital strategy because they don’t know how to start. On the other end, the majority of those who implement such a strategy do not have clear strategic goals. They have no idea what should this strategy do for their business. They just want to have a website or a Facebook page because that’s what others are doing now.

In other instances, some firms have a digital strategy. The problem is they don’t know if they want to gain traffic to their website or new customers or build deeper relationships with their target markets. They want to pursue all possible solutions through a single platform like their corporate website.

Another good example an aimless digital strategy is, given all the analytics, they don’t know how to measure the RODI or return on digital investment. Some companies don’t even consider determining the KPIs of having a Facebook page.

A digital strategy is a roadmap, which means it has a starting point that you need to work on.

2) Your strategy is disintegrated

A digital strategy is completed in silos. For instance, the entire strategy is outsourced to a digital marketing company in the Philippines or elsewhere or freelancer, or that some parts of it stay in-house. In-house, the digital team is also divided into units, mostly depending on the channel used such as website or social. For bigger companies, digital marketing is treated separately with traditional marketing. This should not be the case.

The problem that may arise with this setup is that the plans and actions are not adequately coordinated. It’s convenient this way, yes, but it’s also compromising. Although silos may still exist, the key here is synergy.

3) You lack an online value proposition

There are consequences to an unsystematic digital strategy, and that’s the failure to provide real value the users. An online value proposition must be created even before the digital strategy is implemented. It must also be clear and understood by all the stakeholders.

A compelling value proposition differentiates your brand from the competition. This will also encourage new customers to do business with you and existing customers to stay loyal. This is what stays with the people’s consciousness, so better make it recallable.

4) Your digital budget is insufficient

How can you expect your digital strategy to take off and your expected RODI to materialize when you cannot even devote a sizable budget? If a digital strategy is not supported regarding funds and workforce, it would be difficult for the team to achieve the goals (if goals are set in the first place).

Even if you have enough budget, it may be wasted due to duplication. The reason could be the ineffective processes. For instance, corporations compartmentalized digital strategies tend to purchase various tools for different parts of the team to perform the same tasks over and over.

With this, don’t expect fast results. Digital strategy is foundational wherein, unless you are utilizing paid activities, the results may be realized in one to two months. There are changes to the processes along the way that the marketing budget must be able to accommodate more so in light of competitive threats.

5) You are not optimizing

Provided that your firm has a well-planned and well-executed digital strategy, but it may still fail if you are not tracking or measuring the results. Analytics, again, are easy to generate and convert into reports. A problem that may arise in this area is the way the digital team makes sense and acts on the available data or the lack of actions.

Remember that digital strategies are data-driven. And the figures act as enablers to gear your strategy towards the necessary next steps. If your team of digital specialists cannot extract actionable insights from your data, then it could be a sign that you are doing digital wrong. Or, it could be that your people lack the right skills.

With that said, the business and the digital team should be agile enough to catch up or stay ahead of the competition. The proper mindset is necessary; otherwise, your strategy won’t keep up with the changes. It’s the power curve that must be sustained as you and your team gain valuable digital experience.

 

10 Office Habits that are Killing Your Creativity

“A lot of people forget how important it is to be creative. We get caught up in getting ahead and in day-to-day minutiae. But creativity is a fundamental mode of expression, as is being tenacious and standing by your own convictions and passions, even if it’s not the ‘popular’ choice.” – Tabatha Coffey

Creativity is not something that you can find anywhere or something you can buy. It is an innate quality that is found in most of us, and you alone can determine on how to hone it. When you are working in a competitive company such digital marketing agency Philippines, being creative in everything you do is a must do. Keep in mind that the success of your business would depend on how adequate you are on your work.

However, just like any distractions, some habits can ruin your productivity at work. You probably may not be aware of it, but you are doing it at times. Regardless of your task, it is important to know these killer habits that can ruin your creative thought process. To give you an idea, below are the top ten office practices that you should avoid.

1. Role Mismatch

“One source of frustration in the workplace is the frequent mismatch between what people must do and what people can do. When what they must do exceeds their capabilities, the result is anxiety. When what they must do falls short of their capabilities, the result is boredom. But when the match is just right, the results can be glorious. This is the essence of flow.” – Daniel H. Pink

Before you accept the task that is given to you, do not hesitate to ask what it is all about. This may be a managerial concern, but there are personal consequences when you do not make it clear. Know what you are capable of doing and associate it with your work.

2. External End-Goal Restriction

“There is no privilege in restriction. In other words, I disagree with people who say restriction makes you more creative. I think that’s a misleading slogan. I might have been more creative without them than with them.” – Asghar Farhadi

Keep in mind that creativity comes in different forms. You can have it through your personal experience, imagination, or even through the things around you. However, when your ideas are being boxed and restricted, then you might not use your creativity effectively, and this can greatly affect your productivity at work.

3. Strict Ratio of Resources

“The secret of concentration is the secret of self-discovery. You reach inside yourself to discover your personal resources, and what it takes to match them to the challenge.” – Arnold Palmer

Whether you realize it or not, money and physical resources are not the most important when it comes to creativity. Studies show that creative people re-conceptualize problems more often than a non-creative. That means, they usually look at a variety of solutions from some different angles, which of course requires time. That is why, if you want to bring out the most of your creative side, then avoid to unnecessary near-deadline work.

4. Lack of Social Diversity

“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.” – Malcolm Forbes

There’s nothing wrong when you are with your social group. However, it comes at a cost; you are likely to be less creative. One thing is for sure; you do not want to end up in a creative echo-chamber. You have to think independently to bring the best of your creative side.

5. Discouragement/No Positive Feedback

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” – Dale Carnegie

Psychological research shows that people who started a new undertaking are most likely to give up the first time whenever things are crashing down. On the other hand, creative people thrive on having others impacted by their ideas. That means, without any feedback or constructive criticism, their motivation begins to fade.

6. Stress

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” – Hans Selye

A little stress is good since it gets the blood pumping and it pushes you to do your best. However, when stress gets a little too much, then this can ruin your creative thinking. To prevent such, do things that can make you calm down. If you can not take the stress, then leave what you’re doing, close your eyes, take deep breaths and think about the things that inspire and motivates you.

7. Self-doubt

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” – William Shakespeare

All have experience doubting ourselves. Sometimes, we have a good idea, but we can’t just pull it of. Perhaps, you’ve been intimidated with your workmates, which gives you the reason not to try. But don’t! Give it a go and try anyway. If you do not do something, your creative thinking will end up getting stuck around what’s easy. Who knows? Your idea might be better than the others. Right?

8. Fear of Failure

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” – Johnny Cash

Just like you, everybody experience failure. However, you must not dwell on the mistakes. Fear of failure is the enemy of success.You have to get up, try something new if the strategy you used does not work, and be better at it. Keep in mind that failure is the best teacher. Learn from your mistakes and avoid doing it again.

9. Apathy

“Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, and ideal, with takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.” – Arnold J Toynbee

Sometimes, you just don’t care about something that doesn’t matter to you. However, when you get interested in something, you give your best to achieve a better outcome. That is why always love your work. If you do, then your creativity will come flowing.

10. Ego

“Your ego can become an obstacle to your work. If you start believing in your greatness, it is the death of your creativity.” – Marina Abramovic

Being confident is important to bring out the best of you. However, overconfident can be dangerous. You often stop thinking about how to do things differently and better. This often leads to procrastination and your creativity would become a little stagnant – you might not even realize it. Stay humble. It is in this way you can learn new skills and experience new ideas from the people around you.

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How to Foster a Culture of Workplace Creativity

Workstations are ideally the best location to get things done. Ironically, it’s also one of the often ignored ones. Fostering a healthy and creative working environment is necessary considering the huge chunk of work done in the area. All top-performing corporations understand this, and startup businesses can learn a thing or two from how these companies operate.

Apart from convenience, a creative working environment also affects the job performance of the employees on a daily basis. This is particularly the case for companies like the digital marketing in the Philippines who always need to operate at a creative level.

Below are practical methods to foster a creative workplace that would inspire you and your team to spend productive hours at their workstations.

Brainstorming session or suggestion box

Brainstorming has long been proven to be an efficient mechanism to gather ideas, encourage discussion and gauge the participation level of every member. It often generates outside-the-box ideas that could be beneficial to the current task at hand. However, while this strategy remains efficient and necessary, there could be members of the team who are not so comfortable in speaking their thoughts to the whole group.

This is why suggestion boxes exist. They seek to consolidate ideas from the team without necessarily asking someone to voice their ideas. By simply writing their thoughts on a sheet of paper and dropping it in the suggestion box, employees get to maintain a level of confidentiality, which is a big deal to many.

Encourage individuality

Whether you are a company owner, a department head or a team leader, managing people always entails moderation and understanding. Leaders are tasked to supervise. However, one should be mindful when to instruct and when to let the members do their own thing.

Different members have their ways of handling tasks, and they deserve to have the freedom regarding finishing them up. Appreciate each unique trait and assess who is doing well. By allowing the members of the team to work independently (while sticking to the deadline), you get to see all sorts of creative strategies on how they finish their assigned tasks.

Assign tasks to teams

Delegation is necessary not just to save time but to make sure that a task is performed by the best people in the team. In any corporate setup, different departments have their respective responsibilities. Those who are assigned to the Communications team have a different focus with that of Logistics. But of course, they work under the same end goal.

Individual employees can enhance their creativity when placed in a team whom they can work with at a common goal. This doesn’t need to be directly work-related. Activities like team building and retreats can make do with few group activities meant to encourage members of a team to cooperate while at the same time think of methods on how to accomplish the given task.

Redesign work desks or stations

Have you ever gone tired of your working station and wished to redesign it according to your preference? You can! Just ask. Personalizing your working area gives off a sense of ownership, Plus, it stimulates your brain to produce something better knowing that you have the ideal desk or environment to accomplish any task.

Start by taking off those things which are not necessary on your desk. Put in figures, plushies, plant displays and all sorts of accessories that will give that ‘personal’ vibe in your area. This technique is not only limited to office workers. Even those who work from home can benefit from this procedure by adorning their home offices with the items of their choice.

Set up an idea board or a simple whiteboard

You can’t underestimate the benefit of providing creativity board inside the office. It’s a good place to post important announcements, ideas, memo and all. On group projects, the empty board can be used to list down random ideas. From there, the team could sit down and discuss how to enhance or combine the ideas to fit a particular goal. This item can also come real handy when there are random thoughts that come to mind.

 

Delegate jobs and let others do their thing

There is a reason why most projects are assigned to teams rather than individuals. More often than not, big assignments require different expertise, and this will only be possible if you assemble a team that is capable of finishing it up.

Job delegation also allows each member to focus on what they do best. If you are leading a team, it’s important that you understand the respective roles of your members and be able to supervise them without getting in the way. This gives members the ability to be creative in finishing the tasks assigned to them.

Create a culture that rewards ideas

You must have heard of the importance of giving credit to where it’s due. Giving recognition to the top-performers in a team encourages the rest to do their best too. Employees who feel empowered by an individual reward system are likely to be able to create strategies on how to finish their assigned tasks on time and with the best quality.

Workplace creativity may seem like a secondary matter to some companies especially the startup ones, but it’s something that affects the long-time performance of the employees. Companies who give importance to this issue are likely to attract and encourage more talents to stay with the company for long and contribute their best ideas to achieve the business goals.

There are other various means on how you can improve your working environment to inspire creativity, and these are not only limited to the four walls of your office. Outdoor activities such as monthly lunch out, team building and even weekend getaway with the whole team can already help break the tension present in the usual work setup.

Don’t hesitate to ask the members of their ideas and concern about the team environment. Gather suggestions on how they want to inspire more creativity in their respective stations.

5 Practical Ways to Humanize User Experience

How confident are you of your website’s appearance and ability to hold the attention of your visitors?

If your honest assessment is not so positive, then a strategy change might be in place to enhance your online presence. Professionals working for competent creative industries such as the digital marketing in the Philippines know this very well.

Website design matters more than ever and if you fail to make it as user-friendly as possible for your audience, you risk losing their attention for good. This is the main idea behind the success of prominent international companies like Apple, Nike, and Amazon.

With their global market, it’s important that they create a portal where people can view all the products or services they offer with the least hassle. These companies, along with the rest who found success online, understand that to fully reach out to your clients abroad, making a user-friendly website is a must.

Unless you do so, you cannot really expect people to keep coming back on your page to shop. Below are some ways on how you could redesign your existing site (if you haven’t done it yet), and make it more navigational.

Use your ‘Home Page’ wisely

WordWeb app for Android defines ‘home page’ simply as the opening page of a web site. It is literally the first page you see once you log in to a website. And as the opening, it must do well to invite the visitors to explore other pages of your site and see what items might fit their needs.

Unfortunately, we see tons of company sites around the web flooding this page with featured product images regardless of their category.

It’s like directly welcoming your guests with a sales pitch even before they know what type of service you provide. In practice, this is a very big NO-NO. You can’t just assume that everyone who drops you a visit came to buy. Perhaps they are just trying to canvass for their next purchase. In this case, you are not helping them find the best item with all your featured goods in the spotlight.

Your home page is like a map that guides them where to go next for a specific purpose. Unless your are Amazon, Lazada or any big names in the online shopping industry, it might be best to leave out the ‘featured product’ list on your priority.

Provide easy Menu navigation and Clear labeling

Assuming that your home page did well in convincing your visitors to explore your site, the next challenge comes with leading them to the best page for their needs. This can be remedied by providing visible Menu options, usually on top of the page. Of course, accurate and clear labels have to accompany each menu to help readers understand where to go in search for something.

If you are running an anime merchandise website for instance, a good list of menu will include:

  • Home (a given, containing your idea of a best landing page)
  • Who We Are (a history of your company or business experience, your awards and an overview of the items you offer)
  • Blog (optional but an asset especially in attracting a lot of otaku followers)
  • Shop (highlights the specific items you sell, which can come with sub menu like: figurines, cosplay gears, phone accessories, fashion, etc.)
  • Contact Us ( a separate page containing all your contact details or onsite shop address if you have any)

Creating menus help visitors find information faster while sub menus help them narrow down their search to the most relevant product they wish to buy. Never underestimate what menus can do. Remember that there are other sites offering same services as you do. If they found yours complicated to navigate, they would not hesitate to leave.

Adjust your ‘Site Search’ to cater fault tolerance feature

It is not plain laziness that is driving customers to automatically use the search box of a website to find something. It’s more like the fact that they already know what they want to buy and just want to do away with all the exploration and filtering process.

To company owners, this should be good news knowing that the person is ready to buy.

However, many websites fail to maximize the advantage of the ‘search box’ by not programming it to tolerate minor mistakes such as mispelled words. To give your customers the best experience, it’s best to adjust your site’s metrics by making sure it can still display appropriate results perhaps by automatically correcting a misspelled term.

You can also enable auto-suggest options on a drop down menu so visitors can just click on the item without typing the entire thing.

Use filters and categories wisely

Using filters and categories is important for they reduce the hassle and confusion most buyers have when hovering a website that offers more than one type of product.

You cannot just dump all products in one page and hope for your readers to spend time scanning on each one. They don’t have time for it. The very reason why they choose online is the speed so it’s your responsibility to give it to them.

Rather than placing all products under the ‘Fashion’ category, you can do better by adding advanced filters such as sneakers/shoes, tops, jeans, shorts, sandals, underwear and more.

The more specific is the filter, the easier it is for your buyers.

Create easy-to-digest content through good copy and formatting

You must have seen blocks of text copy online whose appearance already tires you out even before you start reading.

The content might be top grade. But if the formatting sucks, it still sucks.

That’s the reality in this digital age. People skim through content instead of reading the entirety of it. If you don’t break your message into paragraphs, there is a good chance that viewers will not even try reading it only because of inconvenient formatting.

Aside from grammatical correctness and informative content, part of good UX is how you layout the message too.

The internet might have made information searching faster and easier. Unfortunately for companies, this also made publicity more challenging. Good usage of design elements is not only the factor that’s dictating the ability of a website to attract viewers.

Even minimalist websites are getting more attention now!

Providing the best user experience is the secret. Take a tour on your own site and see how well it guides you to different pages. Are you satisfied with the experience? What factors impede your ease of navigation?

Identify then and get them out of the picture.

10 Simple Ways to Boost Self-confidence

Developing high self-esteem has become more important in this active, digital age. In fact, its importance goes beyond just one’s personal relationship but also in one’s career.

Now, creative industries such as the digital marketing in the Philippines are looking for employees who are not just skilled in what they do but also possess self-confidence to share their thoughts and ideas to the team.

If you’re working on nurturing this skill, then these tips will come in handy.

Schedule regular exercise

It’s more than just about the ‘feel-good’ effect exercise brings to your body and mentality. Exercise has been linked to boosting one’s confidence too. As you get into the habit of warming up and moving your body, you also start to feel in control of your habits and schedule. This feeling is a precursor to feeling confident in all of your other activities.

 If you’re not used to exercising, a good way to start the habit would be to start on routines that you can do indoors.

Do one thing that makes you happy

It has been said that happiness is a choice. So what’s stopping you from experiencing it and choosing to feel the good vibes on your daily work? One can’t expect to be confident unless you know how to be happy.

A simple way to get started would be to think of a particular thing that makes you smile. It could be as simple as brewing coffee in the office or helping a colleague at work. The happier you feel, the more comfortable you become in tackling different tasks ahead.

Stay away from negativity

Whether we like it or not, negativity is everywhere. We don’t have direct control over our colleagues moods nor can we predict road accidents. Things that tip off our schedules and plans are notorious for pulling out that negative emotion in us, and this could tremendously affect the way we handle ourselves and deal with people.

Rather than succumb to the negative emotions brought about by these unpredictable factors, it’s best to counter them by looking at the positive things we can be thankful for on that day. You can’t control negativity, but you have full authority on how you deal with it.

Volunteer in community activities

Nurturing confidence demands that you to deal with people in one way or another. If you’re shy and feel quite intimidated in the presence of a lot of people, then why not try doing volunteer work? In this type of setup, you don’t have to be the center of attention.

Rather, you get the chance to interact with other volunteers. Interaction with other people trains you to become more confident as you start a conversation, lead a team and even join mini-groups to accomplish a certain task. Being in a group also gives you the feeling of fulfillment especially when you finish the assigned task successfully.

Say ‘No’

We get it. You don’t want a colleague to feel bad. But you should also consider your priorities first before anything else. While an invitation to a weekend getaway may seem like a good thing, there’s nothing wrong with saying ‘no’ especially when you have prior family engagement scheduled on the same day.

It might feel uncomfortable at first, but your friends will most likely understand. Saying ‘yes’ at all times does not only sacrifice some of your planned works. It could also waste precious amount of your time especially if the event or activity is not at all that necessary. By mustering the courage to say ‘no’, you’re already boosting your confidence to prioritize things better.

Dress comfortably

Fashion is a tricky thing. It changes over time and is not necessarily applicable to everyone. There are types of clothing that look really well on others, but just doesn’t work on you. When choosing a clothes to wear on a special occasion or even on casual gathering with colleagues, it’s important to dress right for the occasion and also to consider your comfort.

No matter how stunning the clothing is, if you don’t feel well wearing it, your bearing will most likely be affected. Trust your own color wheel when choosing the right colors for shirts and jeans and prioritize your comfort first.

The more comfortable you are on the clothing, the more confident you will be.

Do what you fear every now and then

We all have our fears and they can’t be taken lightly. But there are certain kinds of fears that can be efficiently countered by facing them here and there.

They don’t necessarily harm you in any way, but the thought of fearing them usually takes precedence, which makes it feel more scary. If you fear dark places for instance, try sleeping in your room with the lights off. If it feels too much, you can play a relaxing music to break the unbearable silence amidst the dark.

Sooner than later, you will learn that most of these fears can be conquered. The more successful you are in countering your fear, the better it is for your confidence.

Cut yourself some slack

Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s fine to set some expectations, but remember that you’re not perfect. Learn to forgive yourself when you commit and mistake and don’t punish yourself too much. The most important thing is to be able to recognize your mistake and learn from it.

Holding yourself too tight only makes you feel strained – something which isn’t good for your self-confidence.

Continue learning

Enhancing one’s knowledge about something gives a special boost to one’s confidence. The more you understand and know about a certain field of interest, the more you become confident in talking about it.

In a typical working setup, this helps you relate better with your coworkers and in turn boosts your self-esteem.

Practice daily gratitude

Lastly, get into the habit of giving thanks for all the things you’ve received. Instead of complaining over the things that ruin your day, it’s better to shift your mindset to something more positive. Think of all the things you can be thankful for and give gratitude. This, eventually rewires your brain and makes you more confident when it comes to facing your day ahead.

Just like any other skill, self-confidence can be learned. Work on it regularly and see the difference it makes in your daily relationships!

For Entrepreneurs: 10 Ways to Bounce Back from Failure

People fail.

Regardless of the long hours spent for planning, the time and sweat spent on delivering quality output and the skilled manpower employed to finish a task, there are times when the combination just isn’t enough.

Perhaps there is someone better, or maybe your timing is off. Regardless of the cause, the more pressing matter at hand is how you can recover from the depressing emotion brought about by the failure and work on building back your project.

Today, we’ve compiled ten effective ways all entrepreneurs could use to help themselves cope with failure and come back strong!

Allow the failure to sink in

Just like in the stages of grief, recovery comes first through acceptance. When you fail in business whether it’s a proposal, deal or partnership, the first thing that you must do is to accept the failure.  No matter how tragic or upsetting the result is, you can never come back in the game unless you allow your loss to sink in.

Feel the defeat, know that it’s real and let it sink in.

Don’t get stuck

Of course, you can’t just let yourself wallow in depression. Recognizing the loss takes courage, but so as letting go and moving on. And mind you, this isn’t easy. But wallowing for too long about your failure is only feeding your brain negative thoughts and the more you allow yourself to succumb to depression, the more it becomes difficult to bounce back and focus on what’s ahead.

Spend time to feel the defeat, but don’t dwell on it for so long!

Carefully assess what has transpired and be honest about mistakes

One of the most common reactions when people experience failure is to rationalize it. We find reasons for the loss and try to justify why we did what we did. It’s a kind of defense mechanism that we employ to help us cope with the loss and feel a little bit fine knowing that we did all we can.

While rationalizing is logical, it also becomes a hindrance when it impedes us from seeing the real mistakes in our process. To come back strong from a failure, one needs to muster the courage to be honest in admitting mistakes so that you’ll have more time to work on correcting them.

Learn to forgive yourself

Successful entrepreneurs don’t play the blame game. Failure can be caused by two reasons. Either someone in team messed up, or your competitor just did better. Either way, it’s too counterproductive to place the blame on a person or group and let them carry the burden of it all. While it’s also appropriate to point out the mistake and let the person or team understand what it cost your whole venture, it shouldn’t go as far as letting them feel like it’s the end of it all.

People make mistakes, and it’s totally fine to feel upset. It’s even fine to get angry! Just make sure you learn how to forgive. Inability to do so could only add strain to your colleagues and may result in eventual fallout.

Embrace your passion and find time for it

Never underestimate what your passion can do to help you bounce back and feel reenergized after bedding with depression. Your passion is something you love even if you don’t get paid to do it. If you find yourself stuck in a rut and unable to move forward, take some time to take a break from all work-related activities and do your passion. If your work is your passion, look at it a different angle and maybe invest time on dwelling on those tasks that don’t require you to recall your recent failure.

Passion is not only there to help you relax. It can be your primary source of inspiration too!

Practice the gratitude habit

This is otherwise called as recognizing your blessings. Failures evoke a feeling of negativity, and nobody wants to be a slave to negative thoughts One of the proven-effective means to combat this is to pay gratitude to anything that you have.

It’s a clever brain trick. Every time you find yourself thinking of how bad you feel about not getting that deal, thanking God or the person who gave you something is an excellent remedy. This way, you are rewiring your brain to focus on the positive and see the things that you currently have rather than those you’ve lost.

Find opportunities from your experience

They say that every experience is a learning opportunity and this is also applicable on failures. When you fail, it gives you the chance to reexamine your strategies. Finding opportunities from recent defeat is not about letting your emotions get ahead of reason. It’s about letting your creativity wander and search for the learning lessons found in an experience.

What is this experience trying to teach you?

Take a step back and forget about winning

Who doesn’t want to win? We love winning. In business, it’s a primary goal. In fact, some experts would suggest that you carefully set your eyes on winning – on visualizing your success. Indeed, it’s important to have a winner’s mindset. But there’s a huge drawback.

Focusing your full attention on winning makes your service company-centered rather than putting your customers first. When you fail, the psychological and mental blow can be detrimental. Worse, your mood can be greatly affected which then impacts your relationship with coworkers.

To overcome failure, try taking a step back and shift your focus somewhere else. Sometimes, all you need is to understand people better before you win. Stop focusing on the outcome and work on what you can do to enhance your offer at present.

Invest on consistency rather than perfection

People have long been working on becoming perfect. We read it in history books, science, art, music and all fields of specialization. The idea of perfection is so strong that many professionals in this digital age seek to find that formula that would give their careers, businesses and professional life the ‘perfect’ status they envision.

But striving perfection in business often results in disappointment primarily because perfection takes time. And customers are in no way obliged to wait for you. Consistency is a better approach because it makes you more visible and more relevant to your audience’s direct needs.

If you failed in an attempt to produce the perfect product, might as well drop the pursuit and work on building quality and consistent approach.

Always keep in mind that everything has an ending

Lastly, always remember that everything ends. You may be feeling so upset today, and maybe for the next couple of days but do know that whatever it is evoking that kind of emotion, it will pass. Teaching your brain to focus on this reality helps you adjust to failure better. It also becomes a sort of inspiration knowing that you have another shot to do what you failed to do.

Failure happens regardless of what industry you belong in. For ventures such as online marketing agencies that are always met with the issue of maintaining a strong online presence, the challenge is even bigger.

Learn how to deal with failures well and use the ways we have on the list to do a major, successful comeback!

 

How to Stay Productive in a Home-based Work?

Work from home? Awesome!

It is. After all, what’s more, awesome than the chance to take full control of your working schedule? It’s a dream come true for many. And now that various online marketing agencies are outsourcing some their staff, there’s now a huge chance for home-based workers to get employed from the comforts of their house.

But while the idea is a fancy one, time management in this type of setup remains a huge struggle to many workers especially freelancers. If you’re on the same page or are planning to go home-based, the following ways will help you manage your time more efficiently and keep your productivity up the whole day.

Decide on specific working hours.

One of the biggest benefits but at the same time challenge among home-based workers is to find the right time to get some work done. Because of the setup’s flexibility, many freelancers or self-employed individuals don’t take the time to build a working habit thinking that it is fine just to go for scattershot working and let comfort dictate when they should tackle any task at hand.

Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of delivering high-quality work on such arrangement. Even if you are working at home, it’s still necessary to condition yourself and set a personal schedule when you think you can perform tasks at your best. If you’re a morning person, strive to start early. According to research, the first two hours in the morning when you start to work is considered to be your most productive period.

Learn to set aside social media and emails as you sit down to work.

This is nothing new. We’ve always been reminded of how social media and email could act as distraction despite their necessity. Checking your inbox and updating your status on Facebook or Twitter is fine. But make sure you don’t spend too much time browsing through your timeline for nothing in particular.

Besides, if you feel the need to check some updates from friends and family members, you can always do this once your work is done. The faster you can finish your task, the more time you can spend in social media and email after everything’s finished.

Also, keep in mind that no rule tells you to answer all messages every time they reach your inbox. Unless it’s something you expect and is urgent, better set them aside for later reading.

Take short, in-between breaks

You know your energy level best. After some time of working at home, you must already have an idea of how much hours you can spend working straight and how long does it take for you to gain back your lost focus.

Unlike in an office setup where there is a predetermined time when you could take snacks, eat and spend few minutes of coffee break, home-based work depends entirely on you. Rather than agonize on your desk every time you feel stuck and unable to move forward on the current task at hand, might as well do the following:

  • take a five-minute break to do some stretching
  • Shake off the strain on your shoulders
  • fill your glass with cold water from the dispenser
  • pet your dog or cat for a few minutes.

These minor tasks don’t require much energy and focus and could be an essential thing to enhance your focus before going back to your work.

Write down your daily tasks

This is popularly known as the ‘to-do- list.’ Others call it their daily journal. You can call it however you want, but ultimately, it’s about writing down the tasks you want to accomplish for the day. Start with the most urgent and arduous ones down to the easiest.

Learn to say ‘No’ to friends and family invitation

One notorious cause of distraction for home-based workers is the potential invitation of friends and family members to hang out, shop and more. While spending time with your loved ones is necessary, you don’t have to always do this during your working hours.

To build a reliable and consistent working habit at home, it’s vital that you learn to shun away any form of distraction within your preset schedule.

Take care of your social life

If you have a solid schedule for work, there’s also a need to allocate time for your social life. This can be spent during weekends or even on weekdays granted that you finish any work you’ve set for the day.

Working for straight hours has the tendency to drain you of your energy. Hanging out with your inner support system is an efficient way to rejuvenate yourself and drive off any potential bad vibes that you might’ve been feeling.

Avoid multitasking

Many of us might’ve loved the idea of multitasking. It makes us sound busy. And when we’re busy that would usually mean we’re accomplishing a lot. WRONG.

The truth is, multitasking is a very counterproductive way of approaching your to-do list. Rather than giving all of your focus in one task, you end up dividing it to address different items on your list. While this may seem like you’re doing a lot, the hard truth is, you are just scratching the top of each task without getting to the bottom and finishing any.

Moreover, multitasking is proven to consume more energy than setting your eyes on one task at a time. Rather than jumping from one assignment to the next, better finish one after another.

Set a working desk and personalize it

Whether or not you’re picky with your working station, it goes without saying that where you work can impact the quality of your output. Customizing your desk or room to fit your preference in working is a very practical way to trick your brain into getting in the zone once you sit down or enter your professional sanctuary.

If you’re using a desk, the following tips could help:

  • Use a desk with wide space enough to hold your laptop, cup, and other side materials like papers and pens.
  • Consider putting a small potted plant beside your laptop.
  • Choose few items from your prized figurine collectibles (if any) and place them somewhere on the desk.
  • Have stashes of colored pens on standby. Colors spur creativity, and you might just want to scribble notes using different colored pens.
  • Keep a personal concoction of candies on a small glass. Your brain needs glucose now and then.

Never skip meals

It’s easy to forget about breakfast, lunch, and dinner especially when you’re totally in the zone and is pressed for deadlines. In fact, even if you feel hungry, there’s that particular voice in your head that says it’s okay to skip meals and just catch up later once your job is done.

While taking some overtime is fine, this doesn’t mean it is okay to skip meals. Eat right at the appropriate time. You can get back to your work right after. Should you need additional time to finish something, you can always extend later. Don’t sacrifice meals to favor more working hours.

Many professionals are now favoring home-based work for convenience. However, this also puts a significant strain on anyone who can’t get to personally build a working habit that works for their lifestyle. Be productive while at home by practicing the things we have on this list!

Content Marketing Trends to Look Out for this 2017!

The year is ending, but the tight competition in the marketing arena is already predicted to start a new trend this 2017.

Trends come and go, and strategies that have generated favorable results in the past may not necessarily have the same impact for the coming years. Thanks to the ever-dynamic market behavior. These changes both bring good and bad news to different ventures.

To some, new trends could open to new opportunities for repurposing their brand message. On the other hand, entrepreneurs who have enjoyed the success of their current techniques may find it quite a headache to think once again of methods that would guarantee an optimum response from their target market.

Many experts are making guesses for the next big hit in the marketing industry, and the following trends are among the most famous predictions.

Tapping the industry influencers

There are several ways on how to advertise, and over the years, various strategies have been developed to aid digital marketers in the pursuit in gathering more attention from their target market. Among the most efficient one is tapping the assistance of influencers. They are prominent people who have a stellar reputation in a certain field.

Icons such as entertainment personalities, national athletes, and company owners belong to this group. This 2017, experts see an, even more, increase the number of businesses who choose to involve famous stars in their marketing efforts. Not only are they highly recognizable. Their reputation could also help build up a company’s reputation.

The ‘Why VS. What’ of your marketing strategy

A lot of the existing marketing strategy is highly focused on the message and the specific features they wish to highlight for their marketing materials. This results in promotional approach that is more product-centered.

This is bound to change for the coming year. Instead of purely focusing on the ‘what’ of a product or service, digital marketers now see the need to address the ‘why’ of their strategies too. By identifying the primary motivation for their efforts, it becomes easier to assess whether or not their approach is directly in line with what their market desires. Why gives them more options to pattern strategies according to what would work best for their market.

Videos and more visuals

We’ve seen the rise of video and image usage this year. Company websites and even personal blogs are now putting more attention on making their content more mobile-friendly and captivating through animated information and quality images. With tools such as Snapchat and Instagram, experts predict that a more fierce battle when it comes to providing the best videos and pictures is set to happen in the coming year.

Increase of Snapchat usage in video marketing

Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter are still vital tools in sharing videos. However, they’re no longer the sole player on the field. Snapchat is showing an enormous potential on being the next big deal in 2017 (possibly beyond) regarding video sharing.

Statistics has shown that among all types of content shared online, videos tend to reach the most people. This can be attributed to the fact that they can display concise information in a few seconds while at the same time entertaining the viewers with creative visuals.

Enhanced focus on the workflow of a content strategy

Many marketing tactics have failed because of the failure to oversee the overall picture as it happens. While initial planning plays a crucial role to jump-start any content plan, it’s just the first step. With the dynamic environment online, digital marketers need to constantly see to it that the specifics of their plan are well executed all the way.

Changes can happen anytime, and one drastic change has the potential of affecting a huge part of one’s entire strategy. Lots of marketers have learned a lesson on this the hard way. Next year is predicted to have more marketers who pay extra focus on the management part of their promotional strategies.

Content technology usage

The usage of advanced tools to assist any marketing efforts is no longer just limited to software that can be used via desktop. Now, several important mobile apps are also used to help in the process of tracking and monitoring of your site’s SEO performance.

This coming year, the industry is expected to see an increase in the usage of these tools given the growing number of apps being released for marketing purposes.

Increased personalization

Lastly, the coming year will see a visible change into strategies that are more personalized in appeal. Instead of appealing to a wide market, campaigns will more focus on narrowing down the profile of their customers and creating ads that will fit the group’s direct preference.

Customization is nothing new. In fact, many internet marketing agencies are spending a considerable amount of resource just to add a touch of personality on their campaigns. Apparently, the existing trend just isn’t enough. Customers need something that feels closer – one thing that a lot of digital strategists at present are already working on.

Digital marketing is an open-ended competition. As long as new tools are introduced to allow netizens to share content, there is always room for enhancing a company’s existing strategy. Whether you’ve been in the industry long enough to understand the risks and benefits of online marketing or just starting up with your business, learning the tools and methods that make messages appeal to people is important.

The predictions mentioned above remain theoretical, and there is no guarantee that all of them could work on whatever plan you’re setting up for you company next year. However, statistics and expert observations have revealed that they’re most likely the methods that would dominate 2017.

Whether you apply any of them to your marketing efforts or not depends highly on your priorities. Learn to assess the outcome of your running campaign and see if it’s improving the visibility and impact of your product to your prospect market. If not, perhaps it’s time to give some of the trendy strategies we mentioned above a try!

7 Stress Relief Strategies that Actually Work

Stress is something mental, and it can strike at the most unexpected time regardless of what we’re doing or where we are.

Studies have shown that approximately three-fourths of our total population experience stress of different levels within a two-week observation period. Factors such as family relationships, peer pressure and working environment are some of the most common triggering factors for experiencing stress.

But while ultimately a mental state, feeling stressed out affect our daily work performance and relationship big time. For a typical office setup such as those digital agency in the Philippines, reports of employees experiencing over fatigue and lack of motivation is nothing new.

All of these negative emotions could spring from the fact that your mind and your body need some rest or a short distraction from all the hassles in the office.  Stress can be remedied and one must often do it to avoid the condition from worsening. Here are seven relief strategies anyone could try out when the familiar feel of stress strikes.

Tune into your favorite music.

Who doesn’t like music? Perhaps not everyone likes listening to ballad or pop songs, but we all have some kind of music genre we prefer.

In a post published at psychcentral.com, music is said to ‘absorb our attention’ and at the same time ‘serve as distraction.’ Classical and instrumental music, for instance, lull our minds to focus on the gentle tones rather than think of all the pending tasks or family issues we may be worried of.

Soft and mellow tones are often suggested, but you’re always welcome to choose your playlist whichever gives you more peace of mind.

Grab a nice book and read.

Book lovers naturally love this. And you can benefit from it too!

Psychologists once pointed out that reading helps reduce the tension in your muscles and calm your raging emotions because it allows your mind to focus on a literary scenario or environment, thus, driving off those negative thoughts that are only making you feel more stressed.

Even a five to six-minute read could already make your mind (and body) less susceptible to destructive thoughts. You can start by choosing short story materials or light novels.

Start and end your day in meditation.

If you’re looking for an effective and free method to shut up all your thoughts for some minutes and enjoy peace and calm, then meditation is the answer.

You don’t really need to do anything special to get started. Just find a free time and spend it in silence. Experts recommend meditation before you start your day’s work and prior to retiring to bed.

These optimum times helps rewire your brain to focus on the task ahead and purge your mind of negative thoughts respectively.

Practice regular exercise or get into some physical activities.

A human brain only makes up 2 percent of the entire body’s weight, yet it consumes 25% of our total oxygen supply. With the multitude of activities handled by the brain, making sure that it gets the necessary oxygen requirement is a must. This is why exercise is highly recommended.

A simple act of jogging, for instance, already pumps oxygen to our brain, helping us think clearer. Getting involved in different physical activities also helps your mind be busy on accomplishing the physical task rather than sulking over what’s beyond your control.

Do something creative.

We all have different passions. Some are working for jobs that they’re passionate about while others have an entirely different career path than their first passion.

A bank teller, for instance, may feel satisfaction on his or her job, but even the most satisfactory duty could stress you out especially if the task is always a routine. A human brain is capable of doing more than that.

Explore other interests and spend some time indulging yourself in it. For example, you might love painting. In fact, the idea of working on it full-time is your dream. But because the job doesn’t necessarily pay high, pursuing a career on the field may be impractical considering your current needs.

Instead of agonizing on the fact that you can paint all you want, use your vacant time before or after work to paint something. Days off could be good moments to unwind. Use them to paint some image on a canvass. The feeling of accomplishment after creating something good is a positive boost to your mentality.

Spend some quality time with family and friends

Socializing with people that matter to you most is generally considered healthy for your emotional state, and more often than not, hanging out with them is enough to drive off negative emotions brewing inside you.

Being in a group that shows you support and care reduces feeling of anxiety and helps you build up confidence and optimism important for warding off stress. While it’s fine to devote your time for work, make sure you devote some time with your loved ones too!

Take a solo hike and enjoy the gift of nature.

Sometimes, all you need is some alone moment when you can enjoy the gift of silence. Make this even more relaxing by going on a hike early in the morning. Aside from getting some exercise, this is also an efficient way to clean your thoughts.

Research has found that making this a habit potentially increases your attention span and hones your ability to focus.

Feeling stressed is our body’s way of telling us that we need to rest. And to feel better, we need to give ourselves the relaxation period we deserve. Otherwise, fatigue will continue to accumulate which can only make you more unproductive – a very big NO-NO at work.

To combat stress, it’s also important to be aware of its triggering factors. The following are the most common ones:

  • Working environment
  • Peer pressure at work and in your personal life
  • Family pressure
  • Task overload
  • Recurring sickness
  • Home environment

Identify what causes your stress and be ready to try out some of the things we have on this list. You don’t have to endure feeling bad and uncomfortable. Drive the stress away and stay productive!

 

7 Important Questions to Ask Team Members


TEAMWORK: Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is success. (Henry Ford)
“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” -Napoleon Hill

If there is a word that perfectly personifies the phrase, “Less of the me and more of the we,” it would be teamwork. You might have read so many articles detailing how teamwork is integral to overall success that you may find the concept a bit clichéd, but undoubtedly, teamwork is the necessary fuel that would propel a particular endeavor forward. Much of a project’s success is attributed to the collaborative and unified efforts of various individuals, and though they may be different from one another, they share the same goal. In a sense being a team member is similar to being in a family, you cannot necessarily choose them or like them, but you have to be there for them. You do not compete as individuals but as one, and there are no individual successes, only joint efforts in having a collective accomplishment.

However, there is one person whose role in the team is incredibly pivotal. He or she is the glue that holds these diverse individuals together, navigates and steers the team to a specific objective–a person none other than a group’s leader. For this reason, it is imperative that the leader would know how to effectively coach his team as this contributes to how cohesive their joint labors would be. Asking the right thought-provoking questions would help result in notable changes in behavior and having things done efficiently. If you found that the responsibility of pioneering a team has been thrust to you, here are seven questions you can ask your members to drive results.

1.) The Kick Start Question

“What is on your mind?”

It is important to know what is on the mind of your team members so that you would know what matters and issues are paramount to them. Initially asking them this open question paves the way for them to voice out what is pressing them the most. Additionally, it would make you a leader whose concerns are not centered on results only but also on the people who would be responsible for these same results. This question is direct and would help you get to the heart of the matter without the slightest hint of assuming you already know the answer. Though you may have a general idea of what they may be struggling with, it is better to still ask this question as it would assist you in knowing where your conversation should be centered and focused.

2.) A.W.E. Question

“And what else?”

Do not readily assume that your team members are done by the time they are done talking. If anything, asking them if they have anything else to say would encourage them to open up and elaborate on pertinent points. Refraining from doing so might give them the impression that their concerns and issues might have offended you in some way or that you are merely trying to appear like you are concerned. Additionally, it can supercharge any conversation as it tells the other person you want to be involved and would likely make them contemplate deeper about the issues at hand. More often than not, the first responses you get to what comes to mind is not the best answer–and it certainly would not be the only answer. This question impels you to digest what they are saying before giving any advice.

3.) Focus Question

“What is the real challenge here for you?”

As pointed out above, the first response you get might not be the best or even relevant at all. Similarly, whatever initial issue that may come may not even be an incredibly pressing concern nor would it be the real problem at hand. This question would aid you in steering the focus towards there and zero in on an actual problem. Additionally, by adding the words “for you” at the end makes this question a bit more personal and allows your team members to voice out their individual concerns instead of collective worries.

4.) Foundation Question

“What do you want?”

Identifying what one actually wants can pose a challenge which means that this question would be rather difficult to answer. However, asking this question is an avenue to get a lot deeper into the conversation a lot quicker. Additionally, it is an excellent supplemental question if the conversation gets waylaid and fraught with frustration or other negative energy. Likewise, this same question can be used as a self-management tool. If the thread of the conversation has you feeling a little bit lost, ask what is it that you want out of the conversation to get aid you get back on track.

5.) Lazy question

“How can I help?” or ‘What do you want from me?”

Laziness is hardly a characteristic that should be associated in the business world neither should it be in teamwork, but it is sound advice. If you do work that is not yours, you would be wasting time and would be stunting the growth of your team as members. Do not assume what your team needs of you, ask instead. It would give you a better picture of what you can do to help them without necessarily taking over their responsibilities.

6.) Strategic Question

“If you say yes to this, what must you say no to?”

This question would help you identify your team members priorities. Apart from that, it helps them create a strategy which means that they have to say no to the things they want to say yes to. Helping them pick out what is what would assist them in forming decisions by looking at the bigger picture and what needs to be sacrificed for the choice that was ultimately made.

7.) Learning Question

“What was most useful and most valuable here for you?”

It is important that your team members reflect as it is an integral part of the learning process. It would also provide you with the necessary feedback on what methods of yours were effective and which ones would need to be improved.

Asking these seven questions would assist you in getting more information out of your conversations with your team members. It helps build their confidence and would foster the development of the team. With that in mind, you can count not only on the progress they will make but on the advancement of your company on the whole as well–whether you may be running a startup internet marketing agency or an established online solutions company.

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