Do You Know Your “Why?” 4 Questions To Find Your Purpose

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If you’ve ever faced a significant crisis in your life you’ll have experienced the power of purpose to tap reserves of energy, determination and courage you likely didn’t know you had. Your mission was clear. Your goal was compelling. Your focus was laser-like. Your potential was tapped.The power of purpose is similar to the energy of light focused through a magnifying glass. Diffused light has little use, but when its energy is concentrated—as through a magnifying glass—that same light can set fire to paper. Focus its energy even more, as with a laser beam, and it has the power to cut through steel. Likewise,  a clear sense of purpose enables you to focus your efforts on what matters most, compelling you to take risks and push forward regardless of the odds or obstacles.

Unlike animals, which are driven simply to survive, we humans crave more from life than mere survival. Without an answer to the question ‘Survival for the sake of what?,’ we can quickly fall into disillusionment, distraction and a quiet sense of despair. The alarming increase in rates of drug and alcohol abuse, depression and suicide, along with the growing reliance on antidepressant medications, seems to indicate many are doing just that.  Likewise, a quick glance at employee engagement statistics points to a crisis of purpose and meaning on an unprecedented scale. Given we’re wealthier today than at any time in history, there is clearly a marked difference between ‘well off’ and ‘well-being.’

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German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche once said, ‘He who has a why can endure any how.’ Knowing your why is an important first step in figuring out how to achieve the goals that excite you and create a life you enjoy living (versus merely surviving!). Indeed, only when you know your ‘why’ will you find the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead, stay motivated when the chips are down, and move your life onto an entirely new, more challenging, and more rewarding trajectory.

Certainly this has been the experience of Tom Hale, whose company BACKROADS will top $100 million in revenue in 2014.  “My passion for bringing active travel experiences to more people has driven me over the last 35 years.”  In a recent interview, Tom shared with me that in the first seven years of starting BACKROADS, he put in enormous effort for little return. “Given the hours I worked, I think I was earning about 35 cents an hour,” he joked. “However, while I knew we had to make money to grow, I was never driven by the money. Once I got clear that this was my life’s work, doing something else was never an option.”  Tom’s leadership of BACKROADS from a small start up to a major player in the travel industry has created an organization whose employees are as passionate about his company’s mission as him. BACKROADS’ on-going growth – in both the range of experiences offered and the company’s bottom line profit – speaks for itself.

While there’s no one pathway for discovering your life’s purpose, there are many ways you can gain deeper insight into yourself, and a larger perspective on what it is that you have to offer the world.  As I wrote in Stop Playing Safe, your ‘life’s work’ sits in the intersection of your talents, skills/expertise, passions and deepest values (see adjacent diagram).  Reflect on the corresponding four questions below to help find the ‘sweet spot’ that sits in the intersection between what you care about, what you can contribute, and what will be valued most.

1.  What makes you come alive?

The word inspire comes from the Latin, meaning “to breathe life into.” Accordingly when you are working toward things that inspire you, it literally makes you feel more alive.  What makes you come alive isn’t referring to taking your dream holiday or watching your favorite team play football (unless you’re called to a career as a football coach or commentator!). It’s bigger than that. I’m talking about a why that moves up the food chain from being about you to being about something bigger than you. It’s about connecting with what you’re passionate about, knowing that when you focus your attention on endeavors that put a fire in your belly, you grow your impact and influence in ways that nothing else can.

You don’t have to declare at this point that you want to invent the next iPad, solve the world’s energy problems or cure cancer (though you might!). This is about you connecting to a cause that’s bigger than you are, but which is also congruent with who you are what you care about.

2. What are your innate strengths?

In The Element, Sir Ken Robinson says that our element is the point at which natural talent and skill meets personal passion. When people are in their element they are not only more productive, but they add more value and enjoy more personal and professional fulfilment. Accordingly, it’s also often where they also tend to make more money!

What are the things you’ve always been good at (sometimes wondering why others find it so hard?) Are you able to see patterns and opportunities amidst complexity? Are you creative, naturally adept at coming up with ‘outside the box’ solutions? Are you a natural born rebel with an innate ability to identify where the status quo is in need of a makeover? Are you brilliant in the details, naturally good at executing projects with a precision that some find tedious? Or are you a naturally gifted communicator, technocrat, diplomat, networker, leader, problem solver or change agent? For a free strengths survey visit http://www.viame.org/.

Of course, you can also be passionate about things you have no natural talent for, and talented at things for which you hold little passion. However experience has shown me that we rarely aspire toward ambitions we have no natural talent to achieve. As civil rights leader Howard Thurmon once wrote, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive, then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Indeed they do.

3. Where do you add the greatest value?

Doing work that you’re good at, but which you loathe, is not a pathway to fulfilment. That said, knowing your greatest strengths and where you can add the most value—through the application of your education, skills, knowledge and experience—can help you focus on the opportunities, roles and career paths where you are most likely to succeed and therefore find the greatest sense of accomplishment and contribution.

Too often we undervalue our strengths, skills and the expertise we naturally acquire over time. If you reframe the concept of adding value through the lens of solving problems, you can ask yourself what you’re well placed and equipped to help solve in your workplace, career, organisation or industry. You can also ask yourself what problems you really enjoy solving, and what problems you feel passionate about trying to solve.  You’ll then be more successful at focusing on your natural strengths and those things you’re innately good at than trying to bolster or eliminate your weaknesses.

4. How will you measure your life?

People who don’t stand for something, can easily fall for anything. Deciding how you want to measure your life means making a stand for something and then living your life in alignment with it.

Ultimately, living with purpose means focusing on things that matter most. Ironically, the things that matter most are rarely “things.”  That said, while some people are in a position to trade the security of a regular salary in order to pursue a passion, many simply can’t—at least not in the short term or without violating core values (like paying off debt or providing for their family). But following the money and following your heart don’t have to be mutually exclusive. By shifting the lens in which you view what you are doing now, you can profoundly shift your experience of it. No matter what your job, you can draw meaning from it and find greater purpose through how you do what you do. If you don’t think you’re the kind of person you’d want to work with, then consider that it may not be because of the job you do each day, but your attitude toward it.

Knowing your purpose may compel you to take on challenges that will stretch you as much as they inspire you. Just as a boat under power can handle any size wave if perpendicular to it,  when you’re powered by a clear purpose, there is little you cannot do.

Source: Margie Warrell

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What Is Long-Term Marketing?

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When you start a small business, you may have to focus on immediate sales to pay the bills and fund growth, but you also need to think long-term. Marketing for future sales involves a different mindset than short-term marketing. A wise small-business owner will dedicate some time and money to developing markets that can pay off down the road.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is the opposite of transactional marketing. In transactional marketing, the marketer wants to close a sale as soon as possible. The focus is on getting the customer to buy. In relationship marketing, you develop an ongoing dialogue with a customer, taking time to get to know the customer’s needs, and establishing your business as the place that can solve those needs in the future. You also offer customer service that indicates you want to resolve any conflicts and continue to be worthy of your customer’s loyalty.

Long-Tail Marketing

Long-tail marketing is a phrase that was coined by Chris Anderson, executive editor of “Wired” magazine. In the book, “The Long Tail,” he describes modern marketing for small-business owners as a type of niche marketing. Filling a small niche can provide you with loyal customers for the long term. You have to constantly position yourself as the business that best fills the demands of your niche. You actually sell to only a certain segment of the market, but sell repeatedly to them. This kind of long-term marketing can provide a steady income and even growth if you continue to offer new products to your niche.

Long-Term Online Marketing

If your website makes too many overt appeals to “buy now,” you will alienate a lot of potential customers. Web surfers have come to expect a lot of free information online. You have to offer articles and newsletters that appeal to people searching the internet to solve problems. These do not pay you, but they can attract viewers who think of you as a reliable source of information. As they return to you over and over, they will notice your offerings and may eventually become paying customers.

The Marketing Mix

Your small business needs agility to survive. Align yourself with long-term goals and review your marketing decisions in terms of their ability to get you to the position you want to be in for the future. While looking long-term, keep one eye on market changes and prepare to take advantage of them in the short term. Doing this will keep your cash flow up. Try to choose short-term objectives that can contribute to your long-term goals.

Source: Kevin Johnston

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Marketing Decision Making

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Marketing personnel must make decisions whenever they perform any of the marketing functions. Marketers must continuously decide what is to be done, who is to do it, how it is to be done, and when and where are the best time and place to do it.

How To Make Decisions

Step 1: Define idea or problem to be acted upon. Before seeking answers, you need to identify the real problem. The first step in decision making is to find out what the problem really is; only then should you work toward a solution or answer. Defining the problem is not an easy task in most cases. What appears to be the problem might at best be merely a symptom that shows on the surface.

Step 2: Collect, interpret and evaluate relevant information about the problem.

Usually there are many sources from which to gather information affecting a decision. Sometimes standing orders, policies, procedures, rules, and regulations provide relevant information. Other sources of information include your own experience, company records and reports, discussion with individuals and personal observations.

Step 3: Develop possible alternative solutions. The next step is to develop alternative ways of solving the problem or taking advantage of the opportunity. Alternatives are possible courses of action that can satisfy a need or solve a problem. Usually several choices are available to the decision maker if he or she is able to identify or develop them.

Step 4: Select the preferred or “best” alternative. You have reached a point where you must make a decision. You should logically and rationally pick the alternative you think is most desirable for all concerned from an objective, ethical, and practical point of view. Sometimes the preferred alternative involves cost/benefit analysis and risk analysis.

Cost/Benefit Analysis:

You estimate what each alternative will cost in terms of human, physical and financial resources. Then you estimate the expected benefits. Finally, you compare the two estimates and select the one with the greatest “payoff” where the ratio of benefits to cost is more favorable.

Risk Analysis:

Risk, which is the possibility of defeat, disadvantage, injury, or loss is inherent in decision

making. You should try to minimize the risks involved by effectively forecasting outcomes and considering all variables involved.

Step 5: Implement the decision. Effective decision making doesn’t stop when you choose from among alternative solutions. The decision must be put into operation.

Step 6: Follow-up, evaluate, and make changes if needed. Follow-up and the evaluation of the outcome of a decision is part of the process of decision making. Follow-up and evaluation of a decision can take many forms depending on the nature of the decision, timing, costs, standards expected, personnel, and other factors. If the follow-up and evaluation indicate that something has gone wrong or that the results have not been as anticipated, then the decision-making process must begin all over again. This may even mean going back over each of the various steps of the decision-making process in detail.

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What Are Your Long-Term Marketing Strategies?

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Developing a marketing plan takes time. It is a step-by-step process that includes identifying and researching your target audience, understanding your competitive position, branding, messaging, separating your business from the competition, mapping out your marketing mix and more. Establishing a marketing plan is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the success and sustainability of your business.

In order to create a successful marketing plan, you will first need to define your marketing strategies. Simply focusing on your short-term successes will put your business in a bad position for future growth.

Long-Term Marketing Activities

Long-term activities establish brand awareness and continue to produce results even years down the road. Without long-term marketing strategies, short-term success may be short-lived. Where will your business be in five years? How about in 10 or even 30 years? What initiatives are you going to put in place to reach your goals further down the road? Growing your business takes time and you need to have a plan for every step or milestone along the way.

Here are a few tactics to achieve long-term marketing success:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a long-term play that can take several months, but it is crucial for success because organic search engine traffic has been found to be the best source of B2B leads. Knowing your audience and optimizing your website for keywords and phrases that potential customers would use in their online search is critical to being found on the Internet. SEO is an ongoing process and to do it effectively takes time. Businesses should consider engaging experts they can trust to keep their website optimized.

Public relations (PR)

PR efforts, in general, are proactive actions that positively build a company’s brand online and offline over the long term.  PR teams often accomplish goals by strategically sharing information with relevant media outlets. A well-executed PR strategy builds over months, not days, and takes time to succeed.

Publishing and Promoting Content

Developing a stream of fresh, relevant content like newsletters, tips or blog posts will result in quality traffic to your website, but will also place you among the top thought leaders in your field. Content that is posted, updated and archived on a regular basis will provide you great ammunition for long-term nurture campaigns and encourage visitors to return.

Social Media

As a collection of communication channels, social networks can be used to achieve both short-term and long-term strategies. In a short-term context, you can use it to monitor and manage your online reputation. In a long-term context, you can use social media to promote content, support lead generation activities, and engage in online communities.

Engaging in social media is necessary and important because social networks are increasingly considered one of the top channels for generating brand awareness.

At the end of the day, it’s a finely tuned balancing act. The key is to build a marketing plan that values and achieves short-term and long-term marketing strategies simultaneously. Doing so will ensure that your business is better poised to prosper for years to come.

Source: Launch Marketing

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Jessica Jellema – Results Strategist

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Jessica brings a unique balance of skills and insights to the Complete Media Team. Brandishing an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science as a Visual Communications Specialist, Jessica monitors marketing results to assure our clients are benefiting from a positive return on their marketing investment. Extremely detail oriented, she also manages the agency’s work flow, making certain projects are on schedule (or ahead of schedule!) and that clients receive quick responses to any inquiries they may have. Jessica’s specialized skills and laser beam focus on detail make her a great asset to our team and our clients. In her “off” time, Jessica enjoys assisting her boyfriend wrench on his Buick Regal. It has a super charger. We know. Buick Regal…super charger. Sounds made up. It’s not.

 

Michael Williamson – Marketing Strategist

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Michael brings over twenty years of marketing and business development experience to the table. He cut his teeth writing for the SD Department of Tourism, then owned and operated his own small business before migrating to the Southwest. There he gained invaluable experience as a copywriter, designer, audio producer, creative director, p.r. manager, account executive and pool cleaner (his own pool, which he misses dearly each winter). Since his return to Sioux Falls he has continued to add to his experiences, working with non-profits, professional service providers, manufacturers, media outlets, and marketing agency entities.

Michael believes the Complete Media approach to providing marketing solutions for small to medium sized businesses is a game changer. His skills and experiences are invaluable when partnering with our clients. He understands the challenges faced by business owners and what traditional agencies fail to recognize when attempting to serve a client’s best interests.

May 18: Open Forum

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Keep It Coming

We always get great feedback from clients who attend the open forum sessions. That’s why we keep bringing them back! We’re opening the doors and inviting anyone to come learn how to enhance their web marketing strategy, get the most out of their campaigns and capitalize on their success.

Come with specific questions or come just to listen and learn. Meet other members of the circle and walk away with some new ideas!

Noon on May 18th at Complete Media.

April 20: Know What Your Visitor Do On Your Website With Site Analytics

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Turn Your Hits into Cash

It’s like having the ultimate secret shopper program. They don’t even know they’re helping you out! With Site Analytics, you can determine what exactly the users who access your website are doing – what pages are they visiting, how long are they staying, what part of the world are they from, and how they are getting to your website in the first place!

All this information is key when developing your ongoing strategies for your web marketing campaign. It provides a fuller picture of just who exactly your users are and where they are in the sales pipeline. It helps to determine how to transition them from just a click on the web to a sale on your sheet.

Learn how Site Analytics can help accomplish these goals on April 20th at noon, only at Complete Media. $10 for the general public, free for the Complete Media Circle.

10 LAWS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

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http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/218160

1. The Law of Listening

Success with social media sites and content advertising and marketing requires listening and much less talking. Review your target audience’s online material as well as join conversations to discover just what’s important to them. Only then can you produce material and trigger conversations.

2. The Law of Focus

It’s better to specialize than be a jack-of-all-trades. A highly-focused social media and content marketing technique planned to develop a strong brand has a much better opportunity for success than an wide approach that tries to cover all points.

3. The Law of Quality

Quality outdoes amount. It’s far better to have 1,000 which check out, share as well as speak regarding your material with their very own audiences compared to 10,000 links that disappear after associating with you the very first time.

4. The Law of Patience

Social media and content marketing success doesn’t happen overnight. While it’s feasible to capture lightning in a bottle, it’s much more likely that you’ll spend a lot of time to achieve results.

5. The Law of Compounding

If you publish outstanding, quality material to build your on-line audience of high quality followers, they’ll share it with their own audiences on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, their very own blog sites and also more.This sharing and going over your material opens brand-new ways for online search engines like Google to find it in keyword phrase searches.

6. The Law of Influence

Connect with experts and work to develop connections with them. If you hop on their radar as a reliable, intriguing source of beneficial info, they might share your material with their own followers, which could place you and your company in front of a substantial new audience.

7. The Law of Value

If you invest all your time on the social media directly advertising your services and products, people will quit paying attention. Concentrate less on conversions and more on producing fantastic material and creating relationships. In time, those individuals will certainly come to be an effective stimulant for word-of-mouth advertising and marketing for your company.

8. The Law of Acknowledgment

You would not overlook a person that connects with you in person so don’t neglect them online. Building relationships is one of the most essential components of social media success, so always recognize every person who gets in touch with you.

9. The Law of Accessibility

Do not release your content then disappear. Be available to your audience. That means you need to continually release content and take part in discussions.

10. The Law of Reciprocity

You can’t expect others to share your content if you don’t do the exact same for them. So, a part of the time you invest in social networks ought to be concentrated on sharing and chatting about content shared by others.

WHAT IS WEB ANALYTICS?

Nate Anderson Public Relations and Media Strategy Complete Media Inc.,

http://www.logaholic.com/manual/references/what-is-web-analytics/

The Authorities DAA Definition of Web Analytics

Web Analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet information for the functions of understanding and optimizing Web usage.

DAA is the Digital Analytics Association, an organization that identifies industry requirements for the web analytics field.

Is Web Analytics just an elegant word for internet site data?

Web Analytics is often used with Web Site Statistics, yet there is a distinction.

Internet website data (software application) deals with straightforward realities like: How many site visitors did I have last month? The target of site stats is to notify you of these easy truths.

Internet analytics has a different angle, evaluation as apposed to basic reporting. Web analytics goes into a lot more detail and offers a lot more metrics. It tries to make underlying trends clear and ‘the why’ things occur on your website like they do. Its objective, as the definition states, is to assist you boost your site and online marketing.

Naturally there is some overlap between the two, so use this analogy: If webstite stats are the speedometer of your vehicle, internet analytics is the entire dashboard.

How do Web Analytics function?

Simple. Initially we need some data to analyze. A lot of sites have a log file that contains the raw information you have to analyze, it’s called the access log. Conversely, information could be gathered by ‘labeling’ pages with a special javascript code.

The Impact of Web Analytics

What internet analytics will indicate to your business depends on whether or not you do something about it based upon the info it gives. It’s my experience that once you are confronted with this brand-new information, these new understandings and new revelations, they will be extremely hard to dismiss.

In my opinion, internet analytics is THE important tool for any online business. It is (or it SHOULD) be the platform of your internet visibility. It is the feedback that shows you what you are doing, and if it’s working.