Persona Development

Persona Development is “a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience” (Ardath Albee). In other words, it is the legitimate process of creating a fake customer based on analytical information from your actual customers’ behavior. By creating personas, your company can gain a better understanding of how to deliver content of most relevance and usefulness to a particular group of audience. The best way to get the most accurate understanding is by creating 3-5 personas using a template.

In a template you want to gather both general profile and specific information about your persona. The more specific you get with your persona’s profile the better. This way your company will have a deeper understanding of your customers (their thoughts, feelings and behaviors) and will be able to find any overlooked tactical opportunities for your products/services. You will need:

– Name and job title

– Demographic

– Their goals and challenges

– Their values and fears

– Their hobbies

– Computer Literacy

– Where they get their news

– Blogs they read

– Customer quote

In order to come up with a specific profile on your persona you want to gather data information from your analytics to find out where your clients come from. Checking the keywords your clients used to find your business, and seeing how long they spent in your site can help you with this.

Another way to gather specific information is by communicating with all your team members that work directly with your customers. No one knows your customers better than those who actually get to communicate with them. These team members would be able to communicate the concerns and thoughts your customers bring up frequently. You can also get these informations by checking out all your social media accounts to see what your customers are saying about your company, as well as what questions they may have for your company.

If there are more specific information you would like to know about your customers, performing surveys and/or interviews are the best way to do so.

To find out more about persona development, contact Sperling Interactive.

A/B Testing

 

A/B Testing, also known as Split Testing and Bucket Testing, is a way of comparing two different versions of anything from websites to an app. According to Mike Sperling, the way it works is by showing versions A and B to a percentage of your consumers and test the outcome or response rate of each one. With that, the one that has the best response rate would be the one you send out to the rest of your consumers.

 

To get into more details on how to perform an A/B testing is by taking it as a scientific experiment:

  1. Start with a question, or the purpose for doing the experiment.
  2. Research consumers’ behaviors through analytics or past experiments.
  3. Make a hypothesis, or statement on the outcome of the experiment.
  4. Figure out the percentage of people you would like to perform the testing on and the length of the experiment.
  5. Perform the A/B Test where A would be the controlled substance and B is the variation.
  6. Analyze the study and conclude which form would be best to go with.

A/B testing is a perfect experiment to perform especially when making changes that could significantly increase leads, sales and revenue. These experiments are great overall because they help construct hypothesis and help get a better understanding of what experiences impact your consumers. If done consistently, it can even help gradually improve your site or marketing items.

 

This kind of testing can be done on anything, really:

-Headlines

-Sub headlines

-Paragraph Text

-Social Proof

-Testimonials

-Call to action

-Links

-Media Mentions

-Images

– Awards and badges

-Content near a fold

Why you Need Reputation Management

Are you a small or local business owner? Did you know that small/local businesses are more vulnerable to online reputation attacks? By this I don’t mean having hackers going in to hijack all of your media. It is much simpler than that. Someone posting negative content through videos, blog posts, complaint comments, or even promoting your competition or developing a hate site are all ways in which your business’ reputation can be attacked.

Word-of-mouth can travel much quicker than you may expect. If your business is being under attack and you don’t invest what is needed in developing your online presence and reputation, your business will suffer damages—like lost revenues—later on.

Luckily, we have searched and developed some points to guide you in avoiding such losses.

Assess Your Online Reputation:
The first step is to assess your current reputation by looking up the name of your business, your name, any brands and products in relation to your business, you high-profile employees, and usernames or handles. By doing this you would be able to determine where to start in managing your online reputation.

Be Active in All Relevant Online Mediums:
If you don’t already, make sure your business is on these 3 MAJOR platforms:

  1. Twitter
  2. Facebook
  3. Google+

Having a strong online presence can surpass any negative postings about your business, especially if you’re engaging with your audience.

Aside from the 3 major platforms though, stay up to date with other online properties that may be associated with you industry. If your business has visually-oriented products, get active on Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr and all other visual websites.

Avoid Online Argument:
Sometimes your audience can leave harsh comments about your business, but you must avoid negatively engaging with them. When handling these situations, be nicer than you think you should be and respond professionally.

Make Blog Posts:
Creating blog posts with relevant keywords in them can help with your business’ ranking. It also provides you with a reliable platform to respond to any major allegations made about your company.

Develop Platforms for Executive Names:
All individuals associated with your business (founders, owners, executives) should have strong social media. Many times, a company’s identity is associated with executives and, if they do not have high profiles online, they could be leaving themselves open to any online antagonists.

Be Mindful:
If your business is receiving a lot of negative feedback, you should probably reconsider whatever it is you are getting negativity for. There may be some weaknesses that your company members should address. If in fact you are in the wrong, own up to the mistakes made by your business and try to make amends with your customers.

It is crucial to invest your time and—sometimes—money in your business’ reputation development. People could be looking up your business online to find out more about it. If you are not taking control of your business’ brand online, someone else will.

Why Post Careers on Your Company’s Website?

If you haven’t already thought about it, you should definitely consider adding a careers page on your company’s website rather than posting them online in various job searching sites. Aside from saving money and recruiting top talented job seekers, there are many benefits that can come along with doing this.

Below we have put together some beneficial facts we have learned about that stem from having a careers page on your website.

Saving $:

This is the most obvious point when it comes to the benefits of a career page. But, honestly, who doesn’t like to save a couple of bucks here and there? Well, by having your own careers page you could feel free to add and take out as many job postings as desired as often as desired without worrying about paying it.

Easy Sharing:

By having your own job postings on your site, you would be able to share a link to your site through all your social media outlets. If this is done, others could also share the links directly from your site or social media with friends or family, which could mean more future applicants.

Better Understanding of Work Environment:

If you are stressing the values of your company on your website already, then having job seekers go directly to your website can help give them a better understanding of what your company is all about and what to expect the work environment to be like. Image is important towards first impressions so, having a well developed website can recruit the right candidates for the open job position.

Grab Web Surfers Attention:

Are you worried that not many will find your job postings? Well, don’t be. If you are adding the appropriate keywords to your job description, not only with you capture the attention of web surfers but job search aggregators, like JustJobs.com, may also index you for free!

The Value of Fun @ Work!

Fun at work?  If you immediately think this is a typo or possibly the world’s biggest oxymoron, then maybe you need to change your work environment!  A large body of research compiled by the Great Place to Work Institute reveals data (from the organization’s 1 million-person research database) that “Great” companies consistently earn significantly higher marks for “fun.” Now now, I can hear you thinking “Fun at work is a waste of time, money and may make the clients take the company less seriously.”  In fact, the research proves that you could not be more wrong in this line of thinking.  Let’s look at some companies that are doing “fun”  correctly at work and the benefits that they are reaping from this atmosphere.

The case for levity in the workplace is no more better proven than in the Google workplace and headquarters called Googleplex.  Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California boasts 2 million square feet of office space, some of which is solely reserved for fun.  In fact they have listened to employees over the years and installed slides, pool tables, sports facilities, even nap stations. Each of these fun stations are geared toward keeping employees happy and making them more creative and productive at work.

Sure, your company may not have millions to spend on a sports complex.  But little things like a company game day, local scavenger hunt, yoga at work and any number of activities could bring the fun back into your work day.  Here are just some of the benefits the data points to why levity at work is the way to go.

  • Fun stimulates creative thinking.
  • Doing something fun and exciting can be a major stress reliever.
  • Fun builds a good vibe and increases company morale.
  • Creating a culture of fun can increase productivity.
  • Employees may find their work more rewarding.
  • Employee retention numbers increase.
  • Clients and customers will pick up on the new culture and appreciate better service.

At Sperling Interactive, we too embrace levity and laughter in the workplace.  Here are some photos from our latest “yoga at work”  day and a Hawaiian theme BBQ.  Go have some fun!

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What kind of employee are you?

  • Are you a people person or an introvert?
  • Do your thrive under stress or crumble?
  • Are you goal oriented?  Do you need someone to hold your hand through projects? 
  • Do you get aggravated when others distract you or change plans?
  • Do you thrive with feedback or want to work on your own? 

These are all great questions when trying to self evaluate the kind of employee personality you possess. Workplaces are filled with all kinds of personalities from the super hard worker bees to the joksters, brown nosers, or even the chatterboxes.  Sociologists have studied test results such as the Myers-Briggs evaluation or the Holland Codes to analyze personalities and worker attributes inherently suited to certain jobs.  Research has shown that choosing a job to which fits your style will may make you a happier, more productive employee. There are many online psychometric tests that can help workers identify attributes beyond qualifications.  It is worth being more self-aware to stay one step ahead in the employment game.

One well-respected methodology is the use of Holland Codes, named after a psychologist who studied the science behind vocational choices. After taking a survey, employees can find out the specific type the Holland Code places you into.  These types include:

 

Realistic – A Realistic type is independent and stable, and realists that thrive in tactile outdoors activities. They thrive in hands-on occupations ranging from astronomy to zoology.

Artistic – This type includes creators who are sensitive, intuitive and nonconforming. They are suited to working with ideas and imagination, and are best suited to roles in the theater, arts or design.

Social – This type enjoys helping others and solving social problems. Good occupations include teaching, counseling or nursing.

Enterprising – These are natural born leaders and entrepreneurs.  They are persuasive and energetic, ambitious and social.

Conventional – This type is orderly and systematic, they are good at following a plan, but generally avoid unstructured activities.Investigative – These types are thinkers who are curious and rational. They are natural born experimenters ideally suited to research roles, from computer programmers to statisticians.

 

Evaluating an applicant compatibility with a position through testing would provide further insight into the type of work that would bring them the most happiness and at the same time optimize the person’s productivity.  A win-win situation.

To take a Holland Code Test follow this link. (Holland Code)  The U.S. Department of Labor website provides a test where people can find out their interest profile and find occupations that match well with it.

Benefits of a Project Manager

Coordinating the many facets of small businesses can be incredibly difficult for many owners.  In fact, entrepreneurs are expected to juggle marketing campaigns, customer service, financing, production and all sorts of office minutia.  One way to help your business stay on track is to hire a project manager.  This person can not only be a leader in your company but will help keep things organized and on schedule. Let’s take a look at project management and how your company could benefit from the addition of this crucial position.

What is a Project Manager?

Typically a project manager is a professional who excels at both the technical and organizational sides of a specific field of work.  Take for example web design – a project manager would be well versed in the back end design component while also being a whiz at handling customer relations and being a bridge for employees to those customers.  A project manager has the responsibility of planning, executing, and closing projects.  A key component of being a project manager is to understand the steps to completing a project and knows how to handle the needs of the client and create attainable timeline and organization goals for the production team.  In short, this person is great at juggling!

Benefits of Hiring a Project Manager –

  1. Efficiency in delivering products and services – A PM with a clear set of goals and timetable can keep a team going in the right direction in an efficient manner.
  2. Better communication – When a client is given updates during a project and feels as though their input was valued it leads to improved customer satisfaction.
  3. Better Teamwork – Successful project management gets the most out of each worker and fosters an environment of cooperation and mutual responsibility that can remain long after the project is completed.

 

Building Team Unity

From small businesses to large enterprises, teamwork is essential to the success of the business.  Powerful teams not only work well together, but also drive results and innovate new ideas. Unfortunately team-building is not easy.  Depending upon the personalities, leadership skills, and business skills, teams sometimes do not mesh or work well together. Let’s examine tips to help your business build strong unified teams.

  1. Acknowledge the strength of your team – Every employee wants to know that their manager, supervisor or boss knows what their skills are and what they can do really well.  Get to know each team member and find out where he/she excels.
  2. Invest in professional development and leadership skills – If you invest in your employees they tend to recognize this and continue to work hard.  Leadership skills can be improved upon and expanded.  Offer free classes and develop the skills that you already have in your team.
  3. Tackle problems collaboratively – By making your team part of the solution rather than just cogs in the wheel, you make them invested and accountable for the better good of the company. Call team meetings to get input and feedback for problems that make take the efforts of the entire group to solve.
  4. When hiring find motivated people that don’t just possess great skills but show the potential to change and grow with the company. Also consider if they would mesh with the personality of the team you have assembled and would bring talents that are missing from the group.
  5. Pay attention to the lives of your employees – The children and spouses of your team members are the most important people in their lives.  Support employees by involving families as much as possible – family company outings, flex scheduling, telecommuting for days when children are sick, bring your child to work day etc. Team members will appreciate the ability to tend to those who matter most to them.
  6. Foster a positive work environment – Praise for a job well done goes a long way.  Give incentives that make employees work more efficiently.  Be a boss who is present in the office not just tied up on phone calls or meetings all day.