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Tuesday Travels: 10 Best Android Productivity Apps

The official online color is: #A4C639 . ???: ?...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few months ago, I wrote a post about the best Mac productivity widgets.  I thought it only fair to give Android fans a similar post.  Here are five top apps.

Swiftkey – a virtual keyboard that can practically let you touch type on your phone.  The software predicts what you’re typing and learns as you use it.

File Explorer – misplaced a file?  this app will search through your phone, dropbox, Google Drive, and more to help you find documents, photos, and videos

Flipboard – Make your own personalized magazine, with just the stories you’re interested in (and the tablet version is gorgeous).  It’s great for inspiration for blog posts or sharing on social networks (and it’s free).

Evernote – if  you’re like me, you scribble ideas and notes on lots of little scraps of paper (and end up with a mess).  Evernote fixes that.  Everything in one place, neatly organized.  The standard version is free.

Titanium Backup – backup your data, your settings,  your memory card info, everything. Backup, it’s a good thing!

Voice Search – search without typing at all.  You can send text messages, navigate through menus, and find addresses (great for working while you drive).

Todo – syncs your to do list with Dropbox (for safe storage in the cloud). Files are in txt format so they’re easy to move and open with any editor.

Dropbox  – access your files, documents, and images wherever you are; or use it as backup.

 ES File Explorer -can’t find a file? This app will search your phone, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Amazon S3 and find the documents, photos, and videos you’re looking for.

Voice Recorder – easily record message and send them (no typing!)


Tuesday Travels: How to Boost Your Conversion Rates

NASA Rocket

NASA Rocket Launched January 11 (Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video)

Get more conversions, increase your blog subscriptions, and improve the quality of your blog traffic. It’s the quality of the visitors that count, not the quantity!

Blogs Designed for Conversion – Sending people to your blog or landing page? Here’s how the experts get more conversions from their visitors.

Answers to questions about search, conversions, and more from SEO Moz Rand Fishkin – Check out the question from Adrian Pike about how requiring a credit card (or not) affects sales after a free trial.

Graphics and Web Conversions – Do images improve conversion? Or reduce it? And where should you put them?

Targeting Website Traffic – The more relevant your welcome and offer, the better (a cheat sheet infographic with targeting tips).

The Best Color for Conversions – What do you think it is?  Green? Red?  Orange?

Watch the video for the answer.

Which is the Best Direct Marketing Campaign Channel?

Direct mail is dead. No postcards are dead.  Wrong, wrong, wrong postcards are no good, use a letter in an envelope. No, that’s not right,  you have to be on the internet to get anywhere.  That’s the best direct marketing campaign medium.  The rest are dead.

Postcard wall

Postcard wall (Photo credit: eperales)

Some form of direct marketing or another seems to be declared “extinct” nearly every week.

Well, which is it? Which is the right direct marketing (or online marketing) channel?

Before you pick a format, decide what it is you want to accomplish.  Are you trying to sell something complicated (like building a web site)?  Or, just get people to attend a free Mac user group meeting?

Can you get your message across quickly?

If you can say what you need to say in just a few words, then postcards will work.  They’re great for “save the date” notices, reminders, and coupon offers to existing customers.  Since there’s no envelope, your message is more likely to be seen.

Is it easy to visualize?

We’ve all heard the one about pictures and thousands of words, but if you’re selling something with a clear result (a fit body, a car, or clothing), then a postcard can work well.  The picture will do a lot of the talking for you. Something less tangible like accounting services or inventory management software is harder to describe in pictures.

Is there a simple call to action?

If the purpose is to encourage prospects to stop by your booth at the comics show, then a postcard will do nicely.  Or, if you want them to call for a free sample of your organic cat food.

Is the product complicated?

If you’re selling something complex, or with lots of variables, such as auto insurance or web development, then a letter is probably a better choice.  You’ve got more space to spell out the benefits of your services, explain your offer, and ask for a response.

Can you tease the product?

Adding a teaser to the outside of the envelope (lower your heating bills by 45%, details inside) can help improve envelope open rates.  Or, make your envelope “lumpy” (put a pen or a pad of post-it notes inside).  Lumpy mail gets opened at higher rates than flat mail (because people are curious to see what’s inside).

What’s your budget?

Postcards are cheaper, but letters give you more room to make your case.  If you’re on a tight budget, keep it simple and cheaper and use a postcard.

If you need more room to explain your products and your offer, try sending a letter to a smaller group of people.  Test it.  Does your audience respond better to pictures and few words?  Or many words and fewer pictures?

Tuesday Travels: What Non-Designers Need to Know About Design

If you’re not a designer, trying to find the right fonts or colors can be pretty confusing.  Sometimes, it’s even confusing trying to understand what designers are saying.  Here are four web sites, and a book, that can help.

Gold... crossed & cropped

Gold… crossed & cropped (Photo credit: Brett Jordan)

iconfinder.com – a search engine just for icons; just type in the one you want (arrow, cat, map, etc).
myfonts.com/WhatTheFont – give them an image of the font and they’ll help you identify it
google.com/webfonts – free and constantly updated font source
kuler.adobe.com – get color scheme ideas and pull out colors from pictures

Also, a book (!) which is extremely useful…The Non-Designer’s Design Book (3rd Edition)Now in color, this book makes complicated design principles easy to understand (even if you’ve never designed anything in your life). Get the paper version (not the ebook, the formatting gets farkled in the e-version, which sort of spoils the whole point!).*

*Also, the law requires I tell you that if you buy a copy, I can toast you with half a beer.

Get Clients Without Negotiating


Money (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

It can be hard being a small business. We’re afraid our numbers will be too low (and we get stuck with lots of work for low pay). Or, that we’ll bid too high and lose the project.

But what if you didn’t “negotiate” at all? And still got higher paying clients?

A recent post about negotiation on Copyblogger urged (among other things) to “build value”—spell out all the tasks you do to perform a job.  Build a picture of all your hard work in your prospect’s head.  This makes them more likely to agree to hire you and pay your fee.

I’ve seen advice like this before.  It’s not bad advice.  But, it’s not the best advice either.

Don’t “negotiate” at all

Building a step-by-step list of tasks focuses on the wrong thing.  It turns your knowledge and expertise into a long to-do list.  You check off each item, and get a reward in the form of an additional part of your fee.

It puts the emphasis on the work done, rather than the value received.

The real value isn’t in a list of tasks you do for the client. If your work can be reduced to a checklist that anyone can follow, then you’re not really providing something special and truly valuable.

What they get, not what you do

When you talk to a prospect, set aside the details.  Instead, ask what their goals are. That’s where the value really is.  Not in a new web site, or an ad.

The client doesn’t really want a new web site or an ad.  What she really wants is 5 new coaching clients.  Or an additional $50,000 in sales.  Or 20 new leads. Or a savings of $5,000.

The real value is in what the client gets from your work. They get more profits, save more money, or grow faster than they could otherwise. The value is in the impact you have, not the time you spend.

Results, not tasks

Say your prospect has a website.  She’s selling custom handmade embroidered silk nightgowns at $500-$1350 each.  She’s running a multi-million dollar business and sales are brisk.

Unfortunately, her phone system keeps crashing. It’s down for an hour a day.  Her staff of ten can’t answer all the calls.  Productivity is down, and the staff is frustrated.

Instead of spending time on new designs and building partnerships with new outlets for her products, she’s running around calming down her staff, calling the phone company, and even trying to fix it herself.

The solution to her problem is a $27,000 phone system.  Said that way, it sounds like an awful lot of money.

Reframe the price

Here’s how to make that large number look like a bargain.  Calculate all the money she’s losing in hourly wages, lost sales, frustrated employees, and her own time.  After you’ve done the math, you find that her broken system is costing her $425,000 per year in lost sales, plus another $115,000 in lost productivity.

Then, you offer her a brand-new system that would fix her problem and cost $27,000. Problem solved, and $540,000 reclaimed.  Do you think she’d take it?  Or quibble about the price?

$27,000 is a lot of money, but not compared to a $540,000 loss. Right?  What do you think?