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New comment by azdv in "Ask HN: Who wants to be hired? (November 2020)"

Location: EU

Willing to relocate: Maybe

Technologies:

* Cloud technologies (AWS/Azure/GCP) – a lot of Terraform work as of late. Recently automated GPU-based infrastructure for a MedTech startup (fun times).

* NodeJS/Meteor/SailsJS

* Serverless (going heavy on that one)

* Crypto/Blockchain – building Crypto infrastructure (multiple Blockchains), customized libraries and APIs, as well as front-end (MetaMask) solutions.

* WordPress/CodeIgniter/Yii/Drupal (Components, Hacks, Themes) – less motivated, unless truly cutting edge (or WP VIP projects)

* CI & Unit testing – Jenkins, Mocha & Karma for JS, Toast for PHP, as well as Selenium

* Django (general Python too) – to a lesser extent

Resume: Upon request

Email: dev (at) azdv.co

Looking for Challenging projects. Most recently worked extensively with Serverless & AWS APIs, building cloud-related prototypes, before that worked as a cloud automation specialist.

The post New comment by azdv in "Ask HN: Who wants to be hired? (November 2020)" appeared first on ROI Credit Builders.

Is Getting “Google Guaranteed” Worth It?

Google has rolled out a new consumer protection feature called Google Guaranteed. Businesses advertising through Local Services Ads can apply for a Google Guaranteed qualification, offering extra reassurance to customers.

Google Guaranteed could be a powerful lead generation tool to help you stand out from your competitors.

The program helps showcase home service providers who have been pre-screened. With an easily visible green Google Guaranteed Badge showing a checkmark, these ads may draw customers’ notice more than others will. And it’s not just because of the eye-catching badge—it’s the knowledge they’re able to choose a business already certified by Google.

What should you know before applying? Let’s have a look at what Google Guaranteed is, who it benefits, and why you might want to consider it for your business.

What Is Google Guaranteed?

Google Guaranteed is a certification program created to increase customer confidence in local businesses. Customers who are vetting companies online can look for the Google Guaranteed Badge, which offers protection if something goes wrong.

Many businesses are already using Google’s Local Services Ads to generate leads for their companies through paid search efforts. The Google Guarantee offers help for businesses who want to draw more organic traffic instead.

Services booked through Local Services Ads are automatically insured up to a lifetime cap, which varies by location. Any customer booking this way has the comfort of knowing they can claim the amount of the invoice should they be dissatisfied with the service.

How to Tell If a Business Has Been Google Guaranteed

Google Guaranteed adds a green checkmark “badge” underneath the names of qualifying companies. If a customer uses an audio search on Google Assistant or Google Home instead of searching on a screen, there will be an audible confirmation of this guarantee.

Example of How Can Customers Tell If a Business Has Been Google Guaranteed

How Does Google Guaranteed Work?

If your business uses Local Services Ads, you can apply to the program by signing up for Local Services Ads and applying to be Google Guaranteed. If the service is available in your area and you receive certification, a badge or logo will be displayed next to your ad.

When you apply, Google will check your business license, insurance, and online reviews. They’ll also conduct background checks on employees—at no cost to you. Owners’ backgrounds are always checked, and other backgrounds are checked based on the nature of your business.  

If your company passes this screening, you’ll receive a badge to show customers Google has prequalified you.

If a customer is unhappy with your service, they can submit a claim to Google to be reimbursed for the amount of their invoice. Google will then reach out to you to learn more and may request additional information from the customer. You’ll have the opportunity to resolve things with your customer. If that doesn’t work, Google will decide on a fair resolution based on its discretion and findings.

What Does the Google Guaranteed Program Cover?

Google Guaranteed will cover customers the amount of the invoice in question up to $2000 in the US and Canada, with varying limits in other countries as the program expands.

Lifetime limits in different regions are as follows:

  • United States: $2,000 USD
  • Canada:  CAD $2,000
  • United Kingdom:  £1,500
  • Germany:  €1,500
  • France:  €1,500
  • Ireland:  €1,500
  • Italy:  €1,500
  • Spain:  €1,500
  • Belgium:  €1,500
  • Netherlands:  €1,500
  • Austria:  €1,500
  • Switzerland:  ₣2,000

What Isn’t Covered by Google Guaranteed?

There are limitations to the coverage that should be noted by both companies and customers. For instance, customers must have booked the work through Local Services Ads itself and claim reimbursement within 30 days of service completion.

The claim must be for the amount on the invoice for the original service performed, up to a lifetime maximum. It cannot include any additions, future projects, damages, or cancellations, and a customer’s dissatisfaction with the price is not considered a valid reason for a refund.

Is My Business Eligible for the Google Guaranteed Program?

If you’re eager to enroll, you may be in luck! Google Guaranteed has rolled out in many areas over the last couple of years, focusing on home services. The eligible industries for Google Guaranteed vary from region to region and may continue to change as the program expands. One of the first steps is to check eligibility to see if the program is available to you.

Google Guaranteed Program Eligibility

What Industries Are Eligible in the US?

In the USA, the following industries are eligible for Google Guaranteed: Appliance repair, auto glass, auto repair, carpet and upholstery cleaning, electrical, event planning, financial planning, garage door installation, home cleaning, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), junk removal, lawn care, locksmith services, pest control, pet grooming, photography, plumbing, roofing, tree services, water damage restoration, window cleaning, and window repair.

What Industries Are Eligible in Canada?

In Canada, Google Guaranteed covers HVAC companies, locksmith services, and plumbing businesses.

Does Google Guaranteed Cover All Professional Services?

The Google Guaranteed Program only covers home services for now. However, Google has a program called Google Screened, which covers professional services like financial planning, law, and real estate.

How Are Local Service Ads Related to Google Guaranteed?

The Local Services Ads program already offers you the ability to advertise to potential customers in your area through paid search.

Google Guaranteed is a feature of Local Service Ads intended to instill confidence in local businesses. It offers companies a way to potentially attract more organic traffic without investing the time and money needed for paid search engine marketing.

As a business owner, you may appreciate that it’s simpler to use, targets organic traffic, and costs you an easy-to-understand flat rate.

Is Google Guaranteed Worth It?

It depends on your business needs. You’ll need to decide if Google Guaranteed is worth the cost for your business, weighing the program’s cost and the time it will take to get and maintain the certification against the potential rewards.

You should also consider how much competition you typically have for your services. If you usually have to compete with a large number of other businesses, you’ll probably benefit more from having your ads highlighted.

How Does Google Guaranteed Benefit Businesses?

The Google Guaranteed Ads program offers a distinct way for businesses to rise to the top of search results, as they are displayed above the normal pay-per-click (PPC) Google Ads. Just keep in mind the ad format only allows you to show your company name, city, phone number, hours of operation, and customer rating.

What Does Google Guaranteed Offer Customers?

Google Guaranteed works to cut down on the confusion some experience when comparing local competitors by building customers’ trust in certified companies. The program acts as a consumer protection service, opening up a valuable avenue for customers to spend money with confidence. Vetting potential providers may become quicker and easier as customers know they have Google backing the quality.

Are There Any Drawbacks to the Google Guaranteed Program?

Applying to Google Guaranteed doesn’t result in an overnight acceptance, and you need to maintain your standing with the program. There are also costs associated with using the program, so any business should expect a bit of a learning curve to figure out how to measure results.

There is an in-depth certification process that includes background checks of some or all employees. Depending on the company’s size, this can take significant time to complete, so interested businesses should apply early and be patient while Google reviews their application.

It’s also worth noting this is a revenue source for Google, and they’re likely to expand it. While it may offer valuable benefits now, it will be interesting to see what happens in the future as more businesses sign up.

How will you stand out from the competition if they all get certified?

Is the Google Guaranteed Program Right for Your Business?

For many small businesses struggling to navigate the complicated world of pay-per-click search marketing, the Google Guaranteed Program could make a significant impact. It may allow you to spend less time worrying about keyword research and bidding strategies, so you could devote more of your time running your business.

While paid search can be a powerful tool, many businesses haven’t been able to devote the time or budget necessary to see a return on investment. While there is always expert digital marketing consulting available, those just getting started may want to try it out first.

How Much Does Getting Google Guaranteed Cost?

The program costs a base fee of $50 per month, for an annual cost of $600. However, there are also costs for every lead.

Google Guaranteed differs from pay-per-click. You’ll only pay when a customer calls or connects to engage your services, rather than paying each time a potential customer clicks on an ad.

Costs vary depending on your market and industry, but the average cost per Google Guaranteed lead seems to be about $25. Businesses are able to dispute leads that aren’t legitimate— for instance, if the customer is outside of the local area in your ad or if incomplete customer contact information is provided, preventing you from following up.

Similar programs have rolled out by other companies, such as Yelp’s Verified License, which you might compare with Google Guaranteed. Google’s new certification may resemble Yelp’s on the surface, but the Google Guaranteed program offers a powerful quality guarantee that Yelp doesn’t.

How to Set up Google Guaranteed for Your Business

To set up Google Guaranteed for your business, you’ll send in your application for consideration with Google.

You’ll indicate what country you’re in, what industry your business is in, and your zip code or postal code. This step will confirm if Google Guaranteed is available in your area, as mentioned above. Once that’s been confirmed, you can finish your application.

How to Get Ready for Google Business

If Google Guaranteed is not available in your area yet, there are still steps you can take to get ready for when it is. Ensure your business license and insurance are up to date. You should also check your Google reviews, encouraging your satisfied customers to review your business online, and address any negative reviews.

Maintain Your Google Guaranteed Standing

If you’ve been accepted into the Google Guaranteed Program, congratulations! However, your effort shouldn’t stop there. You’ll need to maintain the standards you established in order to receive the certification in the first place. These standards mean keeping your business license and insurance up to date. Monitor your Google reviews to address any issues, and continue to encourage your customers to provide reviews to begin with.

Conclusion

Google Guaranteed could be a powerful source of lead generation for businesses looking to grow. It may help small and medium-sized companies pull more organic traffic and compete without wading into paid search platforms.

Will you be signing your business up for Google Guaranteed?

The post Is Getting “Google Guaranteed” Worth It? appeared first on Neil Patel.

How to Leverage Storytelling to Increase Your Conversions

In the not so distant past, I embarked on a journey to grow NeilPatel.com to 100,000 blog readers. At the end of every month, I shared my traffic stats and the changes I’d made. That storytelling strategy went on to help my blog reach over 100,000 views a month — in only about eight months.

As marketers, we use storytelling to help make our ideas stick. We create stories to help prospects understand our products, use company stories to build trust and transparency with consumers, and include stories in sales pitches to help persuade.

Why does it work?

Competition in native advertising and social media marketing is fierce. And, the rate at which great content is being produced and published on the web and across the media channels is expanding. Our readership is drowning.

Most people scan web content, looking for something that stands out. If they don’t find it, they’ll leave.

Visual stories and corporate storytelling can connect the dots and get people to ACTUALLY read your great content and take action. This is the essence of successful media marketing.

If you want to increase your potential customer conversions, then start captivating your target market by making emotional connections through storytelling.

Storytelling is like a vitamin. When it gets into your readers, it permeates their whole being and fights every objection that might otherwise stop them from becoming loyal customers.

In short, it’s an amazing secret weapon when it comes to your marketing strategy.

In this article, I’ll explain the five simple steps you can improve your potential customer conversion rate by combining storytelling and data.

The breakdown of what you’ll learn is:

  • What Storytelling Is
  • The Elements of Storytelling
  • How to Use Storytelling to Increase Conversions
  • Build Authority Through Storytelling
  • Storytelling Success Stories

Step #1: What is Storytelling?

Storytelling is the art of communicating your idea, message or event, by creatively weaving words, images, and sounds into a narrative. Visual stories, written stories, and verbal stories – this is the content we love.

When you tell a true story, your message is perceived as authentic. In the same way that live events get more retweets than general tweets on social media channels, your content will impact the lives of your target market, and improve your credibility.

storytelling benefits

Why should you use corporate storytelling in content marketing? We breathe visual stories. Even in the Stone Age, humans understood how to tell stories that evoked interest and made that emotional connection.

And, it’s one of the most effective ways to engage and persuade your audience.

storytelling infographic

Humans are born storytellers and adore visual communication. Storytelling gives life or meaning to a scenario and makes that emotional connection, provoking feelings of ecstasy, sorrow, or peace, and captivating your audience. This is exactly what you need when it comes to your digital marketing strategy.

It is little wonder that posts with visual stories and visual communication generate more Facebook and media channel shares than any other content type.

As it turns out, visual stories and communication (e.g., infographics, videos, memes, screenshots) get widely shared on major social media channels.

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Your potential customers aren’t looking for another sales pitch or a proposal that sounds too good to be true. They’ve heard enough of those.

For example, when you write, use relevant images and great visual stories that pique people’s interest.

Or, if you’re recording a podcast, you could use emotion-triggering music and sounds. For video creation, you can use words, images, visual stories, and sounds at the same time.

A study conducted by Forrester Research found that 88% of executives and organizational decision-makers long to have conversations, not pushy sales presentations.

With visual stories, you can create and promote infographics, which have collectively generated over 2,500,000 million visitors and 41,142 backlinks for me, over a two-year span.

I usually publish new infographics every Friday, and the results have been amazing.

use storytelling to drive traffic.

You can also create visual stories and content and submit it to authoritative media sites and platforms, such as Slideshare, Vimeo, and Animoto. This helps you gain a new target market and potential customers for your business.

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Corporate Storytelling in Persuasion

Persuasion is the master key that will unlock your conversion vault with your potential customers. Robert Mckee was right when he said that “Storytelling with persuasion trumps statistics.”

Marketing is for people, and people are emotional beings.

Our brains are wired to respond to emotional connections and triggers. Storytelling is the most natural source of those triggers.

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When you understand how to persuade others, you’ll no longer struggle to get more traffic. Instead, you’ll focus on improving conversions, because that’s what matters.

So, how do stories persuade a targeted group of readers or potential customers to take action? That’s the goal of setting up a content marketing strategy and writing in-depth content.

Moment of truth: What potential customers perceive to be true will ultimately guide their actions and decision-making processes. Consumer perceptions may or may not be accurate, but they’ll live by them, nevertheless.

When people visit your website or your media sites, what truth do you instill in them? Do you give visitors the hard sell, when they’re still trying to get to know you?

Instead of starting with “once upon a time,” or some variation of it, weave your story into your content. Stories can even appear on your headline, introduction, and, most importantly, on your landing page.

Add experiences, case studies, research studies, and significant results that you’ve helped your customers achieve. These are the foundation of your story.

I’ve used storytelling in the past to engage my readers, as well. For example, I shared a story on how spending $162,301.42 on clothes made me $692,500.

example of storytelling in marketing

Personality: The Norwegian author Rune Belsvik once said that the concept of story was “one of the first things that came to the world.”

Our personality is born out of stories. We’re created to share and listen to stories, to fall in love with visual stories. So, storytelling is a natural tool to help grow your audience and increase your conversions.

In the same way, storytelling gives your content new flavor and amplify its benefits, because it’s coming from a “personality” – a set of characteristics that makes you special and appealing to others.

In the beginning of your content, open strong, and establish your story. In the middle, build interest in the message.

Highlight the benefits of the topic and close with a call-to-action that’s persuasive, not pushy.

David Siteman Garland, founder of The Rise To The Top, uses this strategy to write his copy. He starts out his story on a strong note, gradually evokes interest by showing the results in the middle, then calls his readers to action at the end.

Here’s the beginning:

storytelling example
st

Here’s the middle of his copy, where David builds interest through success stories:

storytelling example in marketing

And finally, the call-to-action at the end:

storytelling example

Note: Established bloggers and internet marketers who have built solid businesses use content segmentation to improve their conversion rate. And, because they’re creative at storytelling, they’re able to experience greater levels of success.

The sooner you master the art of storytelling, the better for your brand and online business. Social media is redefining storytelling in a significant way. Know your audience and be authentic in your written and visual stories.

You’ve already gone through a lot in life and have endless stories to share.

I don’t believe that you should make up stories; instead, you should tap into the wealth of stories from family, friends, customers, entrepreneurs, and brands.

Then, align those stories to the audience you’ve come to know like the back of your hand.

Step #2:  Learn the Elements of Storytelling

When you’re telling or sharing a story with your potential customers, you want to achieve a specific outcome.

You want enough general knowledge to take your content marketing efforts to the next level.  Then, make sure to include the following elements of storytelling.

A Defined Target Audience

Have you defined your audience yet? Before you can successfully tell a story, there must be a qualified audience to enjoy it. Most people get it backwards, if they do it at all.

But, you have to define your target audience first, because they’ll, in turn, define your product both in and out of social media marketing.

As time goes by and you build relationships and engage with your potential customers and target audience, they’ll send you great feedback that will help define and improve your product.

So, how do you define your target audience and your potential customers clearly? There are several ways to go about it, but I’ve personally found that demographics are the first step.

If I can truly understand who my target audience is and where they’re browsing my site from, I can align my content and tell a better story.

Your audience demographic is just a market segment, but it will give you a great understanding of their complete persona or profile.

image08

Here are the four simple steps to define your audience, based on demographics:

Go to Alexa.com. Type in your site URL (e.g., lewishowes.com) and click “Go.”

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To find your results, scroll down the Alexa result page and you’ll find this:

image22

From the screenshot above, you’ll notice that LewisHowes.com visitors are mostly female, are college graduates, and browse the site from home.

If I were Lewis, now that I know my audience is predominantly female, I would align my content with storytelling nuggets that will appeal to both males and females, but weighted towards the females. I might not do anything further on the education aspect, because college graduates can effectively read and live their dream lifestyle.

But, since the majority of this target audience browses from home, I’d also try to give them worksheets or actionable tips that they can implement right away since they would have no boss around to audit what they are doing.

Armed with your audience demographics, you’ll want to dig deeper. Knowing your audience’s interests is a critical step in unearthing their biggest challenges and using storytelling to solve their problems.

The suggestions below paint a clearer picture of how you can best utilize each social media channel:

  • If you deal in fast-moving consumer goods (i.e., not luxury goods), Facebook is your ideal social media channel for attracting an audience, because the users are mostly young people.
  • Twitter is a microblogging platform for news-like updates. Use the social media channel Twitter to keep your target audience abreast of what’s happening with your site, business or community. It’s not for selling.
  • Besides clothing and decorative arts, Pinterest favors food and drink-related products. Family and relationship-related products also tend to receive more likes and repins.
  • Clothing, accessories and entertainment-related products do extremely well on Instagram because the users are primarily female.

Finally, LinkedIn is the platform of choice for business-related communications. So, if you’re looking to acquire business-minded customers, LinkedIn will out-perform Twitter and Instagram, by a long shot.

storytelling on linkedin

Measurable Goals

The second most important element of storytelling is a measurable goal.

Anybody can set a goal, but how many people can effectively measure it?

Smart marketers want to track their progress.

When you set a goal that you can’t measure, you’ll miss out on the potential of expansion. For example, you won’t know what other factors are required, when you set a bigger goal.

Here are some tips for setting measurable goals:

Start small: I believe in thinking big, but you should also keep your goals realistic. When you start on a smaller note, you’ll certainly hit the target and know exactly where you’re going.

storytelling have measurable goals

“10,000 visitors in a month” isn’t realistic in the beginning.

But, you can set a smaller, specific, and measurable goal, such as “Generate 1000 blog visitors per week, by targeting 25 long-tail keywords and spending an hour every day at relationship-building on discussion boards and social media platforms.”

This latter goal is measurable because you can check your Google Analytics to determine which keyword phrases are performing well in the search engines. You can also track your social media marketing activities and understand the best times to tweet.

You also want to measure your progress when using storytelling to meet marketing goals. Otherwise, you won’t be able to know whether or how your conversion rate is growing.

Set a schedule: For your goals to be measurable, you have to set a schedule. What will you do daily to achieve your goal?

A schedule gets you organized and increases your productivity.

storytelling set a schedule

Your schedule should match your deadline and help you focus on the most important tasks.

For example, if you’ve set a measurable goal to generate 1,000 search visitors per week by targeting 25 long-tail search queries, your daily schedule could be:

  • Research and select five longer tail key phrases: If I were in the weight loss/fitness niche, I could select these easier-to-target key phrases: how to lose 20 pounds, I want to lose weight, best weight loss exercise that works, top 10 fat loss programs and help me lose weight fast.
  • Read books, blogs, watch videos, etc.: I want to learn about the topic as much as I can before writing. There are helpful resources that I can easily access with a quick Google search.
  • Write my headlines: This is critical if you want people to click, read, and share your content. Spend 20 minutes to an hour on your headline, because if you don’t nail the headline, you’ll waste a lot of potential. In order to save time on headline writing, find a headline in any industry that catches your attention, then use it as a model to create a better one that’s relevant to your own industry.
  • Write the content: First, create an outline for your content, then expand on it to create your content or video.
  • Set a deadline: According to Nolan Bushnell, “the ultimate inspiration is the deadline.” Without a deadline, you aren’t inspired to act now to achieve a significant result, because the clock isn’t ticking.
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In leveraging storytelling to increase your conversions, every piece of content that you write and every landing page that you create should have a measurable goal with a schedule and a deadline.

Relatable data: The grudge match between storytelling and statistics rages on. But instead of choosing one or the other, why not combine both when creating your content?

I rarely write content without using data to back up my claims. Personal opinions have a limited ability to engender trust in your target audience. But, if you can prove what you say with statistics, then you win loyal customers.

Take a look at my recent post, to see how I positioned myself as an authority, by referencing something that Google said:

storytelling example

Sharing a story on how you went from being broke to being a millionaire may not do much for your customers unless you use data to prove it.

If there’s no data or case study relating to the story that you’re sharing, you can share your own data.

Go ahead and create charts and make it plain that this is what you found after a series of experiments.

Persuasion

The fourth element of effective storytelling is persuasion. You can’t influence people if you can’t persuade them. 

In his bestselling book, Influence, Dr. Robert B. Cialdini noted that reciprocity, commitment, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity are the strongest factors in the psychology of persuasion.

The focal point is this: these six factors move people to change behavior, follow the course that you’ve set, subscribe to your email list, and buy your product, even if they don’t necessarily need it right now.

Let’s see an example of how social proof can increase sales.

Cialdini defined social proof as “the art of doing something because you see others who do the same thing.” You simply follow the crowd.

Here’s an example of how social proof increases conversion: Modcloth is a clothing commerce site.

It’s a great community, where shoppers vote on the styles that they believe the site should sell more of in the future. Such styles have a “Top-Rated” badge.

storytelling example modcloth

The evidence of this unique form of social proof is that products with this badge sell twice as well as products without it.

Here are other examples of top brands using social proof:

storytelling using social proof

To learn how the other five principles of persuasion increase conversions, see Peep Laja’s resourceful post, how to use Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion to boost conversions.

Use Storytelling to Increase Conversions

I’m amazed at how Huggies used storytelling to increase their conversion rate.  Huggies and Ogilvy had a definite and measurable goal – to connect with and deepen a relationship with expectant moms. They wanted to build engagement even before the baby is born.

To accomplish that goal, Ogilvy decided to get expectant moms involved. Through their campaign, “Delivery Hugs,” they created a powerful video that triggered a strong emotional response from people – especially mothers and moms-to-be

The video was viewed by millions of people. When those people shared the video and the story behind it, people were moved to tears.

Here are actionable ways to increase conversions through storytelling:

Develop a Content Strategy

Your content strategy simply refers to a structured plan by which you create content, promote it, test your campaigns, and track your progress.

The content structure gives you ample opportunity to boost the effectiveness of your content strategy.

And, you can easily achieve that by leveraging social media. Taking inventory of the leads that you acquire, the sales that you get, and the underlying trends in your industry is critical, when you’re developing a content strategy.

Leverage a Story People Already Know

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You could leverage other people’s stories to create a powerful, high-quality, evergreen piece of content. Stories are the secret recipe for other people’s success.

In All Marketers Tell Stories, Seth Godin poses three essential questions to every marketer:

  • Do you have a story?
  • When the right people hear the story, will they believe it?
  • Is the story true?

The harsh reality is that if your story is great, but you can’t tell it well, no one will believe you. All marketers tell stories, but only those who have mastered the art of storytelling catch our attention.

Millions of other people’s stories are available online. All you have to do is find one or more, create tailored content around the stories and reference original content.

This has nothing to do with duplicate content, plagiarism, or content curation. You’ll be creating unique content based on other people’s stories.

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For example, I’ll be creating an in-depth article on how Shopify tripled their sales. I’ll give all due credit and appreciation to Shopify, but the content will increase my search traffic and probably bring in clients.

You can read people’s stories on blogs or by listening to their presentations, reading their books, or engaging them in one-on-one conversations.

There should be a beginning, a narrative to show what happened and the lessons learned, then a conclusion that shows exactly how the same story can change the reader’s life for the better.

Lead With Dialogue

Storytelling that focuses on two-way communication will yield faster growth.

image51

Seth Godin says that “fast growth comes from overwhelming the smallest possible audience with a product or service that so delights them that they insist that their friends and colleagues use it.”

I have to agree because when your product isn’t worth talking about, no amount of marketing will help. Both the content and the product have to be highly useful first, then everything else follows. It’s all about getting feedback from your target audience.

Vanessa Van Edwards, the founder of The Science of Things, uses dialogue in storytelling.

storytelling example

Vanessa understands that when her audience gives honest feedback by taking a quiz, she can use the data pertaining to body language from 5,000 readers and create high-quality information products for them.

storytelling example

She even goes the extra mile by accepting research studies from readers. This single act gives the readers a sense of belonging. They’ll look forward to getting Vanessa’s newsletters and participate in anything related to body language because they’re a part of the community.

QuickSprout provides an interactive tool, as well. It literally talks to you, when you plug your URL into the search box.

storytelling example quicksprout

Sonia Simone tells thought-provoking stories by leading with dialogue. A few years ago, she posted a simple question that got my neurons fired up:

storytelling example use dialogue

If you already have an audience via social media networks, an email list, or a mastermind group, you can get feedback from them by sending questionnaires through SurveyMonkey.

Focus on Emotions

Our brains respond to stories more than anything else. Robert Plutchik’s “wheel of emotions” reveals some of the underlying emotions that influence your customers, which – when leveraged – can boost your conversions.

wheel of emotions in storytelling

Lisa Feldman noted, in her book The Science of Emotion, that for the most part, people have little control over their emotions. Often, they’re automatic responses to our experiences. What we like or hate and what we perceive as pain or pleasure are just two kinds of emotional triggers, among many.

Happiness is one emotion that makes us want to share. Psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott noted that our response to our mom’s smile with a smile of our own is usually the first emotional response we make in life.

When your content drives people to a state of happiness or joy, they will automatically respond to your offers, feel obliged to share your content, and will stop at nothing to tell others about you.  

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This is because happiness is hard-wired into the human brain. When experienced, it’s found in the left prefrontal cortex of the brain.

It literally functions from there. But, it may remain dormant until something – such as a story – triggers it.

A baby’s social smile further tells us that when happiness is shared, it ultimately increases and creates an atmosphere that encourages more happiness. What you share will actually come back to you multiplied.

Speak to your customer’s mind, but appeal to both logic and emotions.

Measure the Impact of Your Story

If you’ve ever wondered why most brands get media publicity with ease, while others stay on the sidelines, it’s because they were able to use storytelling to its full potential. You have to measure your success – because it’s critical to making smarter content marketing decisions.

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Planning, execution, and consistent learning are key factors that will help you increase your conversions.  But, you have to measure the impact of your brand story.

Measuring social media activities is easy. But, measuring the impact of storytelling is a little more difficult, because it has so much to do with emotional communication.

Step #4: Build Authority Through Storytelling

Social networks influence nearly 50% of all IT decision makers. Truly, the world as we know it is changing.

It was all about mass media in the past.  But today, social media is taking over. We’re living in the age of authority. Traditional media might still be popular, but it lacks effectiveness because it’s a one-way communication channel.

Social media is different. When you send a tweet, you can get a retweet or comment from a follower and, over time, build trust.

When it comes to building authority through storytelling, you need a level of influence in your business, family, society, and spheres of contact, before people can trust you.

What you believe in can be amplified if you’re able to convince a select group of people.

So, how do you start building your own authority? Here’s a simple three-step game plan that’s proven to work:

  • Affirm that you’re an authority in your industry
  • Focus on your creative voice
  • Share stories that pull people instead of pushing them

Affirm You’re an Authority in Your Industry

There is power in affirmations. When you affirm to yourself what you want to happen in your life or business, you can see it come to pass when coupled with smart action. Of course, you can’t just fold your arms and expect miracles to happen.

But, if you think you’re not qualified, competent, or decisive enough to influence people, it’ll show in your conversation.

Affirmations are positive statements that describe or convey a strong desire to achieve a specific goal or state of being, which is then repeated consistently until it’s imprinted on the subconscious mind.

For example, you can wake up every day and affirm, “Today will be an awesome day.” And, it most likely will be for YOU (though maybe not for EVERYONE).

guide to storytelling in marketing today will be a good day image

Affirmations work because when you continually repeat a statement verbally, it influences your thoughts and actions.

For example, repeating to yourself, “I’m increasing my sales this month,” plants the thought into your subconscious mind, which then begins to imagine the amount of money that you’ll make.

Repeat to yourself, “I’m telling better stories” and again, your mind will call you to order and nudge you to search out a powerful story for your next blog post or product.

In his bestselling book, You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One), Jeff Goins said that “becoming a writer starts with a simple, but important belief: you’re a writer and you’ve got to start writing.”

storytelling affirmations.

And today, Jeff Goins runs a successful online self-publishing business. Even if no one ever believed in him, he affirmed it to himself repeatedly and it became so.

Jeff’s latest book, The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do, is also full of affirmations. Goins’ work has been endorsed by the biggest names in the internet marketing world.

If you want to truly become good at something, you first have to believe in it.

Focus on Your Creative Voice

Storytelling is an art and therefore requires uniqueness and creativity. Your creative voice is what sets you apart from the crowd, just like your Unique Selling Point.

A post on Oprah’s website suggests that you find a quiet place to meditate and assimilate all of the information that you’ve accessed during the day.

When everything else fails, your creative voice will give your story a rhythm. It’ll alleviate boredom and take people on a journey of experience.

I love how the creative Gary Vaynerchuk builds authority through social media and blogging. He even advocates growing your brand by leveraging someone else’s.

In summary, here are a few ways to discover your creative voice and focus on it:

  • Heed Oprah’s advice. Set aside quiet time to meditate.
  • Learn from other people. Position your brand to benefit from their own.
  • Know your target audience inside and out.
  • Use storytelling to express your worldview, not to impress anybody.

Share Stories That Pull People, Instead of Pushing Them

Storytelling is meant to pull people in, not push or repel them. It’s about helping people become better.

Your story shouldn’t just be about you. Instead, it should relate to your audience and customers. It should pull them in and retain them.

use storytelling to pull people in

When using stories to capture an audience, keep in mind that they may not necessarily want to know every detail – the outcome is what counts. Many people don’t want to know how painful giving birth to a child is, but we all want to hear the cry of a baby, right?

Seth Godin has authored over 20 books. His style of writing, which incorporates storytelling, pulls people in. Godin has many brand associates, who regularly refer clients to him. Take a look at this opening in a post:

seth godin storytelling example.

As a content creator, writer, and business owner, you’re in this world to make a difference.

It’s not all about the money that you’ll make, but the joy of seeing your target audience and customers improve their lives, meet their goals, and smile again.

Step #5: Learn from Storytelling Success Stories

I’ve shared several success stories of how brand distinguished their products, customer service, and relationships with customers, all by telling real stories.

But, there are more storytelling success stories left to tell.

ITV’s Storytelling Launch

ITV had plans to create a new multi-screen ad format, which could be synced into other platforms. Their audience was mostly composed of smartphone and tablet users.

ITV storytelling example

When ITV combined this innovation with visual storytelling, they were able to merge the benefits of broadcast TV advertising with modern tablets and smartphones.

ITV storytelling example

During the X-Factor finale last year, the ad format was launched and it resulted in over 1,300,650 page views, with an average click-through rate of 8.75%

Jon Morrow

Jon Morrow is one of the bloggers that I deeply respect.

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He once shared a powerful guest post on Problogger, telling the story of how he was hit by a car in April 2006.

His leg was broken in 14 places. For the next three months, he endured significant pain and misery.

Then, he got brave and quit his job. He sold everything he owned and stopped paying most of the usual bills. The story got even more interesting, when he recounted how he moved to paradise to get paid to change the world.

In that post, Jon persuaded readers so strongly that it generated over 72,000 visitors.

Today, Jon runs a very profitable online business and his flagship blog, Boost Blog Traffic, gets over 100,000 monthly visitors. In fact, he earns over $100,000 per month.

Dallas Morning News

Dallas Morning News, a regional media company in the U.S., wanted to expand its reach through social media. They understood that traditional media is fast becoming tiring for viewers and fans unless it’s integrated into their social lifestyle.

dallas news storytelling example

Using Hootsuite, they were able to control their social activities from one portal, streamlining their endeavors.

They empowered and persuaded their team to cultivate the habit of sharing news and updates on social media platforms. This strategy increased the company’s engagement with a growing local readership.

And, they succeeded. Here’s the result of their social media integration:

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Conclusion

The human brain is wired to remember memorable and visual stories.

The sooner you start using storytelling in your content creation and marketing, the easier you’ll find it to increase your conversions.

There is no shortcut to improving your ROI as a content marketer and blogger. You have to consistently feed Google and your target audience with fresh, high-quality content.

As you do that, you’ll get more organic traffic and improve your long-tail keyword rankings significantly.

Have you leveraged storytelling to increase your conversions? What is your experience and how do you respond to other people’s stories?

The post How to Leverage Storytelling to Increase Your Conversions appeared first on Neil Patel.

Smarking (YC W15) Is Hiring an Implementation and Tech Partnership Manager

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How to Rock Out Streetshares Recession Financing

The recession is officially here, and that means finding financing for your business is going to be more challenging than ever.  It is possible however.  Check out Streetshares recession financing for example.

A Comprehensive Review of Streetshares Recession Financing Options

Funding is a huge obstacle for virtually every small business, especially in a recession. It can seem as if there is almost never enough. This is why having more than one option when it comes to small business funding in a recession is vital. Most assume the first stop is a traditional bank or credit union. That isn’t always possible however. Sometimes you need to research alternative options. This is exactly what Streetshares recession financing is.

Traditional lenders rely heavily on personal credit scores and are not set up to specifically help small businesses thrive. There are some non-traditional lenders that, while still acknowledging risk reduction is essential, know small businesses are a different breed needing special help.

Because of this, they are willing to take other factors into consideration rather than relying so heavily on the personal credit. Factors such as business credit, time in business, annual business revenue, and more can come into play.

Is Streetshares one of those companies? In some ways yes, it is.  In other ways, not really.

Find out why so many companies are using our proven methods to improve their business credit scores, even during a recession.

What is Streetshares?

Streetshares is an online small business funding service offering much more than traditional loans. It all began in 2013 when Mark Rockefeller and Mickey Konson both agreed a small business financing solution for everyday small business owners was necessary. The idea for Streetshares was born.

The idea was to create a lender which would offer small business solutions for veterans and their communities. Today, Streetshares offers financial products to all types of small businesses. While you do not have to have military or veteran affiliation to take advantage of these products, they do maintain their dedication to their military and veteran roots.

What Products Do They Offer?

Streetshares offers a variety of recession financing products with fast application processes and funds deposited almost immediately. There is never a prepay penalty, and the credit check is a soft one, so there is not an impact on your credit score for applying.  This is a huge plus when it comes to financing during a recession.

Streetshares Recession Financing Products

Term Loans– These are lump sum, traditional style loans. They run from $2,000 to $100,000 with terms from 3 to 36 months.

Patriot Express Line of Credit– A revolving line of credit for amounts between $5,000 and $100,000. You draw only what you need, when you need it, and only pay interest on what you used. Terms run from 3 to 36 months.

Contract Financing– An advance on contract invoices. You can receive up to 90% of the total of unpaid invoices on a contract, and Streetshares will collect from the contractor. The beauty of this is you get your cash right away, without having to wait for customers to pay their invoices.

Factoring– Similar to contract financing, accounts receivable factoring allows you to collect a portion of your receivables from Streetshares, while they collect the total amount from those who owe you. This allows you to receive your funds immediately without having to worry about collections.

Our comprehensive Streetshares review revealed that this is a flexible product rather an a one-size fits all. The company lets the borrower determine how many and which invoices to factor in the way best suiting their needs. The business does not have to factor all invoices.

You may be wondering how your credit score will react when you apply for a loan. With most lenders, you credit score can drop some due to the credit check made by the lender. However, while we were doing our Streetshares review, we learned they do a soft pull when they check your credit score, so your credit isn’t affected at all by the application.

Find out why so many companies are using our proven methods to improve their business credit scores, even during a recession.

Streetshares Recession Financing: Repayment

They deduct a set amount from your bank account weekly, so repayment is easy peasy. They also do not have a prepayment penalty, so if you want to pay ahead, you can totally do that.

Other Services: Investment Products

Veterans Business Bonds– These bonds pay a flat 5% interest rate with as little as $25 to start. You can withdraw from the bond in the first year with a 1% fee, and after one year can access your funds at any time without a fee.

Streetshares Pro Investing– If you choose, you can let the Streetshares pros build a portfolio that will help you reach your financial goals.

Financing Application and Requirements for Streetshares Recession Financing

Online application for Street Shares recession financing is quick and easy. If you want or need personal help, you can call and speak with a qualified professional who will walk you through the process. Approval typically comes the same day as application, and funds can be in your account within 3 days.

The basic loan pre-approval qualification requirements are:

  • United States citizenship
  •  At least one year in business (in some cases 6 months is enough)
  •  Minimum required earnings
  •  Business guarantor with reasonable credit

When you apply, you will need to have the following information ready:

  • Business owner’s social security number
  • EIN
  • Total outstanding business debts
  • 6 months of the most recent bank statements
  • Most recent business and personal tax returns

In some cases, financial statements may also be required for Streetshares recession financing. These would include the Profit and Loss statement, the Balance Sheet, and other information as requested. If you use QuickBooks Online, their system can review your financial information directly from there, making the process even faster!

What About Closing Costs?Streetshares Recession Financing Credit Suite

Streetshares changed how they accounted for closing costs mid-2018. Previously, these fees came from funds before they went into the borrower’s account.

The new policy allows for the disbursal of all funds to the borrower, who is then allowed to either roll closing costs into the payment, or pay them back immediately. Streetshares says they made this change to allow borrowers to receive all their funds and have more control over how they used the money based on the needs of their individual business.  This is a huge plus for Streetshares recession financing.

Other Perks

There are a few exceptional benefits to being a Streetshares member.

Discounts

Members of Streetshares enjoy discounts at various retailers. These include but are not limited to discounts on bookkeeping services, services offered by Amazon, and combat attire.  In a recession, every penny counts, right?

Best Price Guarantee

When it comes to Streetshares recession financing, they are serious about offering the best deals and rates when it comes to small business funding. In an effort to do just that, they guarantee they will beat or match a competitor’s offer, or give you a $100 gift card. Here are the details: 

  • You must have a loan offer from Streetshares that has been fully underwritten.
  • You must also have an approved and underwritten offer from one of the lenders listed below.
  • There will need to be proof of the competitor’s offer.

This only applies to online lenders. These are defined as lenders that:

  • Are not a bank, credit union, CDFI, or thrift
  • Operate as a for-profit lending agency
  • Are not a brokers or ISOs (Independent Sales Organizations)
  • Provide Merchant Cash Advance products or is one of the lenders in the following list:
    • Strategic Funding
    • YellowStone
    • BFS capital
    • SOS capital
    • IOU Central
    • BOFI
    • EBF partners
    • Flash Advance
    • LoanMe
    • Ondeck 
    • Kabbage
    • Swift Capital
    • Breakout Capital
    • PayPal LoanBuilder   
    • Principis capital
    • Par Funding
    • National Funding
    • Quick Bridge Funding
    • Business Backer
    • Advance Capital
    • Mulligan Funding Knight Capital
    • 1st Global Capital
    • SFS Funding
    • Itria Ventures
    • EIN CAP
    • Pearl Capital
    • Prime Meridian

They must also, of course, provide small business lines of credit or loans as part of their normal operations.

Brass Tacks of the Best Price Guarantee

After reviewing your offer, Streetshares will generate an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for the costs of your Streetshares offer in an effort to give you a fair comparison. They will then offer lower fees, a lower interest rate, or make other changes to their offer to beat or match that of the competitor.

Find out why so many companies are using our proven methods to improve their business credit scores, even during a recession.

If they, for some reason, cannot beat or match the offer, they will give you a $100 Amazon gift card.

Streetshares Foundation

We would be remiss if we didn’t talk about the Streetshares Foundation along with Streetshares recession financing. The foundation’s mission is to encourage and support veteran small business owners. In keeping with this, they present a grant to 3 veteran-owned businesses each year.

There are three prizes as follows: 

  • 1st Place: $15,000
  • 2nd Place: $6,000
  • 3rd Place: $4,000

To apply, a business must meet the following requirements:

  • The applicant has to be a veteran or reserve or active duty member of a branch of the United States Armed Forces, or a spouse of an armed forces member.
  • They must be at least 21 years old.
  • The business must be legally incorporated or a formal partnership or sole proprietorship.
  • There must be some sort of social impact on the veteran or military community either in conjunction with or in addition to the primary business function.

The foundation will choose 5 to 10 finalists based on the social impact, business idea, how they will use award funds and the social impact of that use, fit of the product market, and the history of the team and the company.

The final selection process is one of the best parts. Once the finalists are set, they post a list on the website and the public votes on which businesses will receive prizes!

What is “Reasonable Credit? And What if My Credit Isn’t “Reasonable?”

To gain approval for Streetshares recession financing, you need to have “reasonable” credit. It took a little digging around, but it turns out they define reasonable credit as a credit score over 650.

What If My Credit Score Doesn’t Meet that Definition?

There are some steps you can take to improve your score. First, pay your bills on time, every time. You also need to take a look at your credit report. You can do this by obtaining a free copy. Get one annually at no cost.

Review it with a fine-toothed comb. It is even more important to do this during a recession.  If you find mistakes, have them corrected. Do this by submitting the detailed request in writing, with back up documentation of the correct information. Never send originals of backup. Always make copies.

You can also ask those that are not required to report payments to credit agencies to do so. A couple of examples include landlords and utilities. If you are making your payments to them on time, you can ask them to report those payments.

They may say no. It can’t hurt to ask though. If they choose to do so, it could improve your score much faster.

The Better Business Bureau: What Do They Say About Streetshares?

You really can’t talk about a lending company without checking out their profile on the Better Business Bureau. It’s pretty important when considering Streetshares recession financing. As it turns out, they have an A+ rating! There are only two complaints on file, and they are each in reference to unwanted solicitation. The company has responded, and in each case the individual complaining was taken off of their list.

There are 3 reviews on file, and all three relate to the investing option. One is a 3-star rating because there seem to be no financials available for the past 4 years. The last ones are when they first filed with the SEC. The reviewer would like to see how the investment money is being used.

Another 3-star rating is from a reviewer who was not impressed either way yet. They note a few good things and a few not so good things and state they need more time to form an opinion.

The last reviewer gives a 5-star rating and says their investing experience has been “as advertised.”

Do You Need Streetshares Recession Financing?  

It depends.  If you qualify, Streetshares recession financing could be the perfect solution for whatever you need.  The company prides itself on offering fast financing options with little hassle. They have lower interest rates than other online lenders.  Also, while they offer their products to everyone, they take their original mission to use their business solutions to support businesses run by those in the military and veterans seriously.

The main drawback is they are a newer company.  This inevitably causes some kinks, but they seem to be working them out nicely.

(Note: We make every effort to update details regularly but always check the lender’s website for the most up-to-date information on terms, rates, and requirements as these details can change frequently.)

The post How to Rock Out Streetshares Recession Financing appeared first on Credit Suite.

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