12 Reasons You Should Attend Conferences
There are so many great ways to learn and sharpen your skills these days: you can read blogs, listen to podcasts,  watch how-to videos on YouTube, and attend webinars, just to name a few. Why bother with the time and expense of an in-person conference or workshop? 
If that’s your attitude, then you may be missing out on one of the best opportunities to take your game to the next level. Live events—conferences, workshops, lunch & learns–provide unique learning and career building opportunities that you just can’t find anywhere else.
Below you’ll find 12 reasons why you should attend live events and consider sending your employees to conferences as well.

Sharpen the Saw

While the “sharpen the saw” idea certainly pre-dates Stephen Covey, he lists it as his seventh habit of highly effective people.
The idea is that sometimes you have to take a break from the “work” of your work to sharpen your skills. A dull axe won’t cut a tree nearly as effectively as a sharp one.
always return from a conference with new ideas and approaches that make me more effective and efficient at work.
Don’t be the woodcutter hacking away at the tree with a dull ax while your competition cuts it down in half the time with a sharp one.
Or uses a chainsaw she saw demonstrated at a conference.

Meet Experts & Influencers Face to Face

Nathan Latka Arm Wrestling
While not all conferences offer you the opportunity to meet your business idols, your chances are greatly improved when you’re sharing the same space.
Sometimes it’s about taking a selfie with someone who’s influenced you or sharing a business idea with someone you admire, or making a connection that can lead to finding your next mentor.
I remember at a Social Media Marketing World when I got a few minutes to speak one-on-one to Sally Hogshead, author of Fascinate and How the World Sees You, and ask her for some feedback on a new business venture I had launched.
That could never have happened from an online success summit.

Networking Opportunities

Networking OpportunitiesSocial media keeps me connected to my peers who are both local and “from away.” However, there’s no substitution for meeting someone IRL (in real life).
Good conferences have opportunities for attendees to mix and mingle, form new relationships, and strengthen existing ones. Over coffee, lunch, or cocktails, you may make a connection with the perfect provider or prospect. At a breakout session, you may find yourself sitting next to your next customer or mentor.
Or, if you don’t go, maybe your toughest competitor will be sitting in your seat.

New Tools

Whether there’s an expo floor, or just a few tables near the coffee and muffins, companies often have tools to display that we haven’t seen yet. Apps that make us faster, less prone to costly mistakes, or give us some other sort of edge.
While undoubtedly these products can be found at their websites, it’s great to get a hands-on demonstration or be able to ask questions that are specific to your business struggles from the company itself.

Learning In a New Space

Remember that scene in Dead Poet’s Society when Robin Williams made his students stand on a desk to get a fresh perspective?
Dead Poets Society - Desk Scene
Or consider why so many businesses have meetings off site. It’s because it’s easy to find ourselves in a rut. Sitting in the same chair, in the same office (or cubicle,) or in the same coffee house, can keep us from fresh thinking and new ideas.
Breaking out of the office, sitting in a new space (even if it’s a tired old Holiday Inn conference room), can spark us to new approaches that will grow our businesses.

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Going hand-in-hand with the previous reason, live events force you to break out of your comfort zone.
It’s easy to read a blog post from the privacy of your own office. You won’t break a sweat listening to a podcast (unless you’re on the treadmill.) You don’t have to make small talk while your YouTube video loads up.
While there are those among us who are born networkers, for many of us live events, and other people can be a challenge. But breaking out of our comfort zones is just the type of action we need to take to break out of old ways of thinking that have got us in a rut in our businesses.
If you’re absolutely terrified of the idea of going to a conference, bring a wingman (or wingwoman) so you won’t feel completely on your own.

New Tips & Tactics

New Tips and TacticsThe problem with the web is we believe that everything is at our fingertips. And maybe it is. But it’s an overwhelming amount of data that we often can’t crack, or keeps us from the best material. A well run conference will help curate new ideas to help us improve our approach.
I remember watching someone create a Facebook app in front of me at a session just to show what was possible. I remember hearing about YouTube cards for the first time from a presentation by Steve Dotto, and explaining how they would change online videos forever.
I’m sure that information was already somewhere on the web, but the conference helped cut through the clutter to deliver the best content for me possible.

Greater Focus

The flip side of learning new things is relearning classic techniques. A few years ago at Agents of Change, John Lee Dumas talked about the importance of creating an avatar for your business, and how it streamlined his thinking. (You can listen here to an interview I did with John a few weeks later where we dug deeper into this topic.)
Or, at the most recent Social Media Marketing World, hearing how important a mastermind group was to Pat Flynn’s success, and how to set one up. (I’ve since started my own mastermind and just recently joined another.)  Napoleon Hill wrote about masterminds in Think and Grow Rich, but the concept has been around forever.
However, it wasn’t until a series of events, culminating in Pat Flynn’s presentation, that I realized that they could help me take my business to the next level.

The Energy of Like-Minded Individuals

Like Minded
There’s nothing like being in a room of like-minded people. Other people who are willing to take time away from the office to learn something new. Other people who want to “better” themselves.
When you sit in a classroom or auditorium, you discover that you’re not alone in wanting to improve your skills and bring something back to your office or organization.
That energy is lacking in all online learning channels, regardless of how much chatter there may be around a hashtag.

The Serendipity of the Random Workshop

Some of the best workshops and presentations I’ve seen have been ones I had no idea about before the conference.
At SXSW I attended a workshop on improving your memory. (It didn’t take, but I still found it fascinating.) At BlogWorld I attended a session on YouTube only because I was guilted into it. (In my mind, YouTube was for cat videos.) It’s not a stretch to say that it changed the way I marketed my business.
In fact, I did my own presentation on YouTube marketing at the following year’s Social Media FTW, the conference I put on before Agents of Change.
I never would have sought out those learning opportunities online…they had to be discovered through the serendipity of a live event.

Invest In Yourself

Invest In YourselfPerhaps this one is self-evident. Or perhaps we’ve already covered it in whole or in part above. But leaving the office and “sharpening the saw” is investing in yourself.
It’s admitting that you’re worth it. It’s admitting that you still have things to learn. That you can get better.
It’s an investment in yourself, your career, and even your company. When you purchase that conference ticket and when you walk up to the registration desk, you’re saying that you’re investing in your own growth.

Have Fun!

Pat Flynn IncognitoI’m not sure this is the most important of all these eleven reasons, but I didn’t want to leave it off the list. Conferences are fun! Live events with other people are fun! (The introverts reading this may be rolling their eyes or going to their happy places right now.)
I’m not a master networker. I struggle with finding the right way to break into a conversation with people I don’t know. But I’ve gotten better by attending conferences. By sitting at lunch tables with people I don’t (yet) know. I’ve made some amazing connections and even more amazing friends from going to live events.
Don’t miss out on these opportunities.

Takeaways

I get it. Conferences can be expensive. From the conference ticket to the plane ticket, from the meals to the bar tab. And that doesn’t even include the time away from the office where you could be doing “work.”

However, conference provide a unique convergence of networking, learning, and fun into a single package. A good conference forces you to grow and challenge yourself.

And if you’re the boss, allowing your employees to get out of the office, gain confidence in their ability, and bring fresh ideas back to the business is just an investment in your own company.

Next Steps

All of this has been on my mind a lot lately as we prepare for our 5th annualAgents of Change Digital Marketing Conference on Friday, 9.15.2017.

Certainly, I hope that if you’re looking to improve your search, social, or mobile marketing, that you’d consider checking out AOC. But even if our conference isn’t the right fit, challenge yourself to find the conference that will help you and your company grow this year.

Version Q

The Importance Of Website Design And How It Helps In Making Business Profitable

When it comes to highlighting your online presence, there are several things that you need to put into great consideration. What does this actually imply to online marketers? Basically, the act of establishing your online presence does not simply end by just creating a basic website for your business and/or company.

Most, if not all, websites have gained success through their online marketing efforts by incorporating the right SEO tactics and constantly feeding it with the right elements. It may not provide you with instantaneous positive outcomes, but in due time, it will surely make progress.

The Importance of Website Design

There are numerous factors that lead to a successful online presence. There are various ways to look at the whole standing of your website as well. But before going on any further, let’s focus first on one of the most basic elements that make up your online identity — your website design. How exactly important is it?

The design of your website can either make or break the business you are trying to deliver. It actually makes a difference on how your target audience views your business or company and potentially turn them into your customers. As such, developing a website design that has an impressive user interface will result in a much better conversion rate, which leads to better business and revenue.

How Website Design Becomes an Asset to Business

Although it can cost you a substantial amount of money, investing in a website design can generate an outstanding profit for your business. To ensure that your investment works according to your advantage, you must hire an efficient website designer who is capable of dealing with the following key points in designing a website:

1. Navigation

This is essential especially when your website has so many pages. It basically includes a well-labeled navigation bar or a menu that shows a list of the different web pages. When the website navigation is developed well, users can easily explore and understand your website. It doesn’t need to have state of the art typefaces. Settle for a simple yet intuitive navigation that can make visitors come back for more.

2. Content and Visual Elements

These also include the choice of font and other typographic details. Such aspects of web design should go along together to deliver an accurate message to the audience. In most cases, readers tend to remember the message when it is concise and something that the readers can identify with.

However, overdoing these elements won’t bring any good to your website, Web pages with too much content will look messy and can affect conversion rates. How? Visually clutter pages may be difficult to read, resulting in disinterest in visitors and making them not wanting to come back.

To avoid that from happening, it is best to streamline the content wherein website designers can easily incorporate the text in their design. Moreover, designers are able to add negative or empty spaces that let the readers’ eyes rest in the middle of their reading.

3. Brand Uniformity

Your brand is what sets you apart from your competitors, and it is usually identified through a logo. If your business/company has a unique logo that is placed on all print materials, then all the logo’s elements must be integrated into the website design for the sake of consistency.

It is very important for your target market to recognize your business brand in all types of medium. If for instance, there are slight changes in your brand and visual communication, then it can result in confusion among your customers and make them feel that there is something wrong with your business.

4. Engagement

Web pages should have an exceptional layout so that they can appear more appealing to the users and make them want to engage with your page. It needs to feed people’s eyes because the truth is; this is where every engagement will begin. For this, the need of website design and development is an indispensable factor that should be measured carefully by every website owner.

5. Organization and Search Engine Optimization

Just like how we read a book, it is comfortable to read a web page from left to right, top to bottom. Virtuosi in web designing use the same reading pattern when they’re designing a website. Because most people read starting from the upper left area, designers put the most important information there. It increases the chances of relaying your message to the visitors who can become your customers.

Aside from the organization, utilizing the visible areas for the important website details can also improve the search engine optimization or SEO. This happens when you incorporate business-related keywords in the HTML text. When search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing can crawl into your website, it results in higher search engine placement, which means your website becomes more visible and searchable.

To Sum Up

In this digital age, most businesses have already developed their respective websites to become more accessible for their customers. With the help of website design, business owners are able to create a user-friendly and welcoming online environment where users can get useful information any time of the day.

Moreover, when you have a well-managed website, people can rely on you. It builds trust, and when visitors trust you, they won’t have doubts in getting your products and services. In effect, you will have a thriving and profitable business.

7 reasons why social media marketing is important for your business

Social media is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of digital marketing, which provides incredible benefits that help reach millions of customers worldwide. And if you are not applying this profitable source, you are missing out an incredible marketing opportunity, as it makes it easy to spread the word about your product and mission.

Improved brand awareness

Social media is one of the most stress-free and profitable digital marketing platforms that can be used to increase your business visibility. To get started, create social media profiles for your business and start networking with others. By applying a social media strategy, it will help you significantly increase your brand recognition. By spending only a few hours per week, over 91% marketers claimed that their social marketing efforts greatly increased their brand visibility and heightened user experience. Undoubtedly, having a social media page for your brand will benefit your business and with a regular use, it can also produce a wide audience for your business in no time.

Cost-effective

For an advertising strategy, social media marketing is possibly the most cost-effective way. Creating an account and signing up is free for almost all social networking platforms. But if you decide to use paid advertising on social media, always start small to see what you should expect. Being cost-effective is important as it helps you attain a greater return on investment and hold a bigger budget for other marketing and business payments. Just by investing a little money and time, you can significantly increase your conversion rates and ultimately get a return on investment on the money that you primarily invested.

Engage with your customers

Social media is a good way for engaging and interacting customers. The more you communicate with the audience, the more chances you have of conversion. Set up a two-way communication with your target audience so that their wishes are known and their interest is catered with ease. Moreover, communication and engagement with customers is one the ways to win their attention and convey them your brand message. Thus, your brand will reach more audience in real terms and gets itself established without any hassle.

Improved brand loyalty

When you have a social media presence, you make it easier for your customers to find you and connect with you. By connecting with your customers through social media, you are more probable to upsurge customer retention and customer loyalty. Since developing a loyal customer base is one of the main goals of almost any business. Customer satisfaction and brand loyalty typically go hand in hand. It is essential to often engage with your customers and start developing a bond with them. Social media is not just limited to introducing your product, it is also a leading platform for promotional campaigns. A customer sees these platforms as service channels where they can directly communicate with the business.

Healthier customer satisfaction

Social media plays a vital role in networking and communication platform. With the help of these platforms, creating a voice for your company is important in improving the overall brand image. Customers appreciate the fact that when they post comments on your page, they receive a modified reply rather than a computerized message. A brand that values its customers, takes the time to compose a personal message, which is perceived naturally in a positive light.

Marketplace awareness

One of the best ways to find the needs and wants of your customers instead of directly communicating with them is Marketplace awareness. It is also considered as the most valuable advantage of social media. By observing the activities on your profile, you can see customers’ interest and opinions that you might not know otherwise if you didn’t have a social media presence. As a complementary research tool, social media can help you get information and a better understanding of your industry. Once you get a large following, you can then use additional tools to examine other demographics of your consumers.

More brand authority

For making your business more powerful, brand loyalty and customer satisfaction both play a major role, but it all comes down to communication. When customers see your company posting on social media, especially replying to their queries and posting original content, it helps them build a positive image in their minds. Regularly interacting with your customers proves that you and your business care about them. Once you get a few satisfied customers, who are vocal about their positive purchase experience, you can let the advertising be done for you by genuine customers who appreciated your product or service.

Increased traffic

One of the other benefits of Social Media is that it also helps increase your website traffic. By sharing your content on social media, you are giving users a reason to click-through to your website. On your social account, the more quality content you share, the more inbound traffic you will generate while making conversion opportunities.

Enhanced SEO rankings

Social media presence is becoming a vital factor in calculating rankings. These days, to secure a successful ranking, SEO requirements are continuously varying. Therefore, it is no longer enough to simply optimize your website and regularly update your blog. Businesses sharing their content on social media are sending out a brand signal to search engine that speaks to your brand validity, integrity, and constancy.

Final words

There is no denying that Social media marketing has many advantages for startups and established brands. By regular updating the right social media marketing strategy, it will lead to increased traffic, better SEO, improved brand loyalty, healthier customer satisfaction and much more. Your competition is already increasing on social media day by day, so don’t let your competitors take your probable customers. The earlier you start, the faster you see the growth in your business.