I’m Sorry Shape Layers! I love you!

I must confess… I was never a big fan of shape layers… we just didn’t get along. I was used to using masks but suddenly (around AE CS3) the same mask tool began creating Red vector shapes.

At first, they seemed cool enough but after accidentally adding shape layers to my comps, instead of masks, I lashed out! I even made a few jokes at the expense of them. It was wrong and I apologize

Since working on a few space movies, I really took the time to learn the tools better and began to realize how cool and powerful they are.

There are some extremely cool things that can be done with layering and ways to randomize path position with a wiggle settings and other cool things that would be impossible to do with masks.

I’m nearly finished with with an unrelated tutorial (See below) but I’m looking forward to incorporating some interesting tips about shape layer creation!

Refining this Technique! I plan on making plenty of crappy tutorials but this next one is gonna be alright!

A post shared by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Feb 10, 2017 at 2:36am PST

Source: Video Copilot

Milestone CMS Delivers Record 30% Average Revenue Growth And 300% Average Group Booking Increases For Its Customers.

Santa Clara, CA – February 14, 2017 – Milestone announced another banner year for its customers as they achieved record results by leveraging Milestone’s unique value as both a software developer and a design and digital marketing agency. New web sites on Milestone’s Content Management System consistently experience a 25% to 40% growth in revenue. Hotels and resorts like the Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, Missouri, for example, achieved year-over-year revenue growth in high double digits, over 57% with an increase in group bookings of 300%.

Milestone achieved these exceptional results by leveraging our unique combination of in-house developed technology, award-winning design, and omni-channel digital marketing strategies. In 2016, Milestone customers enjoyed a series of technological “world’s firsts”:

  1. The world’s first CMS system for hospitality designed to build and deploy native AMP pages, leading to exceptional mobile performance and visibility.
  2. The worlds’ most robust CMS system designed to benefit from voice search technology, Milestone’s CMS system supports over 70 hospitality-specific schema-tags.
  3. Access to the world’s first Content Management System for the hospitality industry fully capable of developing ADA conforming pages and of automatically flagging ADA conformity issues on pages.
  4. Exclusive access to Milestone Analytics, the first analytics system for hospitality that allows hotels to measure engagement across all channels through the customer journey, providing a complete investment picture that allows hotels to maximize ROI.

 

“2016 was another record year for Milestone,” said Anil Aggarwal, Milestone CEO, “as we head into 2017 we are very cognizant of the looming threat from AirBnB and OTAs to our customer base. We continue to provide the best mix of technology, strategy and exceptional design to our customers,” continued Mr. Aggarwal. By the year 2020 comScore is predicting that over 50% of search will be powered by voice. To stay ahead of the huge leaps in artificial intelligence, voice search, and machine learning, Milestone’s in-house developed technology will keep hotels ahead of these rapidly changing conditions that threaten to put the market out of reach for all but the largest players.

Hoteliers interested in getting more out of their marketing investment can meet with Milestone at the upcoming HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference in New York, as well as download the Tan-Tar-A case study at: http://info.milestoneinternet.com/acton/media/22640/tan-tar-a-resorts.

About Milestone

Milestone is a leading provider of digital marketing software and services for hospitality, retail and finance. We provide a full range of solutions including website and mobile design, content creation, SEO, analytics and competitive intelligence. Our state-of-the-art technology and solutions drive revenue and ROI for clients across the globe. Over 2,000 companies world-wide do business with Milestone, including leading hotel chains, major retailers and financial services companies. Milestone has garnered over 300 awards and a reputation for blending outstanding design with advanced technological capabilities. Milestone is one of Silicon Valley Business Journal’s fastest growing companies and is an Inc. 5000 company.


Source: Paid Search

How To Create “Endless Chains” of Referrals

The other day I ran across an article that offered advice for Valentine’s gifts. The author started by saying that most gifts come up short—either hollow or too cheesy. The article also talked about what husbands really wanted.

Before your mind goes off wandering in places it needn’t, it’s the same thing that is at the core of every business. It’s what we want from every client, customer or patient and it’s what you must strive to get from them to be a leader in your field with more business than you can handle.

I’ll reveal what it is shortly, but first I want to issue a challenge to you.

A challenge that has the power to transform your marketing, prospecting and presentations…and ultimately your business.

The challenge is based on something called “The Endless Chain of Referrals.” I first heard about it from Paul J. Meyer, a famously successful insurance company developer, who went on to create the Success Motivation Institute (SMI) who for decades have been a leading force in sales and success training and publishing.

Paul’s premise is that you never need to be without a good prospect as long as you have just one client, unless you are inept at trust.

In other words, every client should beget another.

I made this challenging concept a major part of my own business approach. In my own professional practice, I have over an 85% repeat/reoccurring patronage factor and nearly as high a referral rate.

2 million dollar clients (in fees and royalties) have been brought to me by other clients—not just told about me—brought to me.

This reveals how effective I am at creating and managing trust.

When a client brings a business peer of theirs to me, they know that person will be risking $100,000 or more on my advice and work-product, and if that person has an unsatisfactory experience, the client who brought him will hear about it. Endlessly.

This is a critical fact few marketers grasp. There is risk in referring. Even more risk in hand-delivering clients to you. Greater risk than there is in doing business with you.

The trust hurdle becomes increasingly more difficult as prospects ascend from buying from you to referring clients to bringing clients to you. In other words, it’s easier for a client to trust you enough to make a purchase from you, but it takes a higher level of trust in you for a client to refer someone to you through word of mouth. And yet an even higher level of trust for them to actually bring clients to you.

So my challenge to you is to look at your true statistics. How many “endless chains” do you have?

Building endless chains of referrals can transform your business. A copywriter I know was in the early stages of building her business. She received a call from a potentially career-turning-point prospect. We’re talking about the kind of client that makes you seem like an overnight success to onlookers and would easily add six figures to her bottom line, if not more.

The potential client told the copywriter that she had spoken to several business associates about who they used for copywriting projects. She proceeded to list an impressive list of well-known marketers in the copywriting and marketing world then she said, “But the recommendation I received for you was by far the best, so I called you first.”

That copywriter knew something about creating trust.

Acquiring new business is one of the toughest challenges businesses face. Asking the question “Where can I find clients?” is the wrong question to ask. The right question is “How can I construct a business persona and life so that clients seek me out, with trust in place in advance?” (In No B.S. Trust-Based Marketing, I discuss the ways to demonstrate trustworthiness to clients and offer a master checklist of trust triggers.)

Building chains of endless referrals brings you more and better clients to your door and helps you attract only those people who are interested in what you are selling. You must have trust in place to do this.

And by the way, if you haven’t figured it out yet, the article I mentioned at the beginning suggested that what husbands really want is for you to trust him.

If you do not have clients bringing you good clients, customers, or patients, a number of which repeatedly bring you new ones, and endless chains of referrals emanating from clients, you won’t like this, but you are failing.

There’s something wrong. You are creating only enough trust to get customers, but you are NOT creating enough trust to multiply those customers. Don’t BS yourself. Statistics are reality. If they are harsh reality, do something about them.

 


Source: Dan Kennedy

Common Productivity Drain Holes And How To Avoid Them

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This is a continuation of last week’s blog The Value Of Being An Extremist. This week we’ll be focusing on the most common things that can drain your productivity and what you can do about that.

Common Productivity Drain Holes

  • Doing the wrong work
  • Poor priorities, ranking, organisation
  • Not know where the money actually comes from
  • Some things should not be done. Some things should not be done now
  • PROCRASTINATION IS BEST AT CERTAIN TIMES
  • Others’ urgencies VS. your agenda

Failure Environments (VS. Success Environments)

  • Workplace VS. Social Club
  • Temptations
  • Absence of needed resources
  • Not conducive to efficiency or effectiveness
  • LOSS OF ABILITY TO FOCUS

Here’s your most common productivity drain holes. Number one doing the wrong work altogether. A lot of people don’t know where their money comes from so they’re doing low money work. It’s surprising how many people don’t know where the money is in their business. They may have opinions, they have ideas, but they do not have facts. And that means more often than not they are doing the wrong work.

I start asking math questions. How many calls? How much is it costing us to generate a call? What is each call coming into the office costing you? That’s simple math, ad budget, PR budget, everything you’re spending out there in the marketplace divided by the number of calls you get– now we know how much each call cost. My next question is conversion percentage. How many of these calls get converted to appointments? Which obviously tells us how much it cost to get an appointment. And then how many appointments turn into clients?

Which gets us to cost per sale, which is where we want to get. What’s your call-to-appointment success rate? What are we doing about the people we don’t book appointments with? Now there’s the big opportunity.

Second big productivity suck, your environments. For me it’s donuts. Candidly, like anything else, if I made that my life’s work, and dedicated all my mental and emotional resources to creating disinterest in or aversion to donuts I know how to do that. And I know the NLP stuff, I know the pressure points stuff, I know the visualization stuff, but here’s a truth for all of you: no matter how much willpower and self-discipline and motivation you have, there is a cap. You’ve only got so much and what you choose to spread it around on and use it on ought to be important. For me this is too difficult a hill to climb, it will suck up too much of those resources, and take them away from more important things so it’s easier just not to put myself in a Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s easier for me to just try and stay out of the environment. I just try not to go where they are right in front of me.

Your environments are full of temptations; everybody has their own problem with this. For you it might be your iPhone, for me it’s donuts. You’ve got to know what it is, you’ve got to be in a place that is conducive to what it is that you want to accomplish.

There are now resources for your internet addiction. I’m serious. There is a thing now called Rescue Time, which is an online time management tool which you can pre-engineer to nudge you back to work. When it catches you at YouTube, you can tell it only let me be at YouTube for three minutes and then shock my testicles. That’s actually how it ought to be read in my personal opinion, but it doesn’t to that. It just shuts down YouTube and beeps at you or something. Or you can block the internet altogether for a pre-set period of time so you can manage to actually work on your computer without running around the internet.

Common Productivity Drain Holes

  • Poor, undisciplined work habits
  • Lack of preparation
  • Too often starting from scratch & blank state
  • Disrupted rhythm (VS. clumping like activities together)
  • No-appointment access
  • Unscheduled work activities

No rules & no training for those who you interact with

  • Reluctance to making demands on others… to be perceived as tyrannical, arrogant, unreasonable – reluctance to be criticized
  • Tolerance for Time Vampires
  • Inability to say No or “This is UNACCEPTABLE”
  • Standards, procedures, process (VS. random or situational)
  • Incompetent and/or ineffective people around you
  • Emotionally needy people around you

Three, poor undisciplined work habits. Lack of preparation, all sorts of people show up unprepared. They get on the phone unprepared. They go to meetings unprepared. They go to conferences unprepared. Who am I trying to meet? Go to their website or their Facebook site, get their picture so I can find them when I’m in a big crowd.

I have more, but these are my three basic schedules. I have an official calendar that we let people see. We don’t let the whole world see it, but we let people I work with see. I have weekly to-do list, monthly and daily and most importantly stuff that’s assigned to a date with start and stop times. Stop time real important. Most people have a start time for a call, but they don’t have an end time for a call. They have a start time for somebody coming in their office to meet with them, but they don’t have a stop time for somebody coming in their office to meet with them. And then the daily script, here’s how the day is going to go hour by hour by hour, minute by minute by minute by minute. If I’m doing copy writing today and I’m doing a sales letter for you and I’ve allocated 9 to 11 for it, it has to be because something else is scheduled to start at 11:01.

Common Productivity Drain Holes

  • Cheap & penny-wise, pound-foolish; unwilling to buy time – Insufficient value of your time
  • Mental & Physical fatigue and burn-out – The sense of slogging through mud because you are slogging through mud
  • Staying stuck VS. Swift Sword – Unproductive SITUATIONS rarely improve/usually get worse – the willingness to EXIT is essential

We’ll finish with some cool rules for you.

Best Extreme Measures I Know

  • Schedule and script your daily activities
  • Minimize discretionary time
  • Play to your strengths
  • Immunity to criticism
  • Reputation for intolerance for being screwed with

Best Extensions of Productivity

  • Replace manual labour every way you can
  • Multiplication
  • Replacement
  • Leverage of …
  • Well-chosen and properly prepared prospects (Role of superior marketing)
  • Avoid one-and-dones

Here’s my approach, the three biggest things to extreme productivity. Number one if I’m going to go to work, by God I’m going to work. I want to use every minute, I want to squeeze every drop of juice I can squeeze out of it. I’ve done it at everything I’ve ever done. Speaking engagement? Man, if I’m going to go speak I’m going to scheme. What can I do before that engagement to make it as productive as possible? What am I going to do during it? What am I going to do after it? Can I squeeze in a meeting with somebody else? Scheme, scheme, scheme, scheme, scheme.

The script is, everything by appointment with yourself. Lunch break, there’s a timeframe for that on my daily scripts. There’s a start, there’s a stop. And then there’s another thing starting. Tight time allotments.

Source: Dan Kennedy

Fake/Incorrect Listings Threaten Local Businesses

There has been much buzz in recent days about the spread of fake news and its impact. But fake news stories aren’t the only type of false information being spread around the internet; the truth is that the spread of malicious, false information is becoming increasingly common and it comes in many forms. A recent article on searchengineland.com lists out a few of the top fake information threats, one of which is the very real issue of fake local listings for brick and mortar businesses. Local listings is a subject very near and dear to us here at Milestone, so we decided to go into detail about the issue because these fake listings can have a very real impact on your bottom line.

Creating a business listing on Google is quick and easy, and unfortunately there’s not much in the way to prevent the creation of false business listings. This ability has become the crux of scams run by call centers, typically located abroad. These call centers create fake locations for bogus businesses on Google Maps, and they offer services such as locksmithing, carpet cleaning, etc. The call centers then employ unskilled workers to perform these tasks that would otherwise be done by more appropriately trained professionals representing actual business locations in the area, all while charging premium prices. People in need of a services close to their location will reach out to these deceptive listings without thinking twice, which is why the home repair/service market is heavily affected by this scam. The end result is that customers are overcharged for third-rate work, and legitimate local businesses suffer from the lost patronage. While crackdowns on these scams can be swift, unfortunately it’s equally quick to create new fake listings and revive the operation

But this type of scam isn’t the only problem plaguing business listings. Duplicate and incorrect listings can be just as harmful. Your business’ UNAP (URL, name, address, and phone number) is recorded and stored in many places across the web, and there are many ways that incorrect UNAP information can be attributed to your business. With so many different listings, It’s nearly impossible to pin down the exact source of false information. Erroneous changes could be coming from changes made by someone from within your organization, an agency you’re working with, and even customers have the ability to contribute information that may be incorrect. All of this will be detrimental to your overall performance, as customers and search engines alike tend to trust businesses with more consistent information. This is why it’s essential that your business listings are constantly monitored.

If you have any questions about managing your local listings please reach out to us, we offer software and services that can help you avoid these issues.


Source: Paid Search

What Matters In Search This Year [Webinar Recap]

The Milestone team presented an educational webinar, What Matters In Search this Year, to highlight the latest digital trends as we kick off 2017. Your strategy this year is all about understanding your customer’s world, what motivates them, and what gets them to want to interact with you. Focusing on omnichannel; removing internal barriers to make sure that people inside your organization or across the organizations that work for you are working towards a common goal. And don’t forget that 2017 is the year that mobile is no longer the future… mobile is the present, and it should be the very first thing you think of, when you think of interacting with your clients. This Webinar highlights these topics and more, as illustrated by some of Milestone’s top experts in digital marketing. You can’t afford to miss it.

Thank you to Benu Aggarwal and Walter Paliska who hosted the webinar and everyone who joined!


Source: Paid Search

The Value Of Being An Extremist

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We’re going to talk about the process of extreme improvement of productivity. The first thing I would say about it is that we mostly talk about it as being a time management issue. But is this right?

About Ambition

People are less productive than they could be because:

Bad methodology – 10%
Insufficient motivation – 70%
Insufficient pressure – 20%

…but when discussing this, we go to “time management” and focus 90% of the discussion on 10% of the problem.

Truth be told, it’s mostly not a time management problem, it’s mostly an insufficient motivation problem. It’s mostly not sufficient drive, determination, and reason. My original mentor said the number one reason there aren’t more millionaires in America is because most people haven’t come up with enough reasons to do what’s necessary to be a millionaire. Same things are true with being productive.

Most people are just not sufficiently motivated to do everything that’s necessary to be super productive.

This is from Harvey Firestone’s 1926 autobiography titled Men in Rubber, which had a much different connotation in 1926 than it would now. Here’s a couple of things that are significant. The first story is: I was on the hunt day and night for men to buy our stock. It was no easy matter to sell stock in a company that had no assets except on a patent on which it was losing money. For years I never saw a man with money without turning over in my mind how I could transfer some of his money into our stock.

What he’s just described is specific ambition. That was Harvey Firestone every minute of every day. If extreme productivity is your ambition, that’s how you have to approach that too. You’re on the hunt night and day; you’re trying to control every single minute, every interruption, every person, every everything.

Second then, part of the game plan is self-awareness. Tyson used to have two people whose job was to follow him around all the time; walk behind him and say, “You’re the man Mike, you’re the man.” This goes a long way to explaining Tyson’s current financial position. What would be more useful is having someone walk around behind you all the time with a baseball bat and every time you were acting in a way grossly incongruent with your stated goals, just haul off and whack you.

We’re not going to do that as a practical matter, so we’ve got to do it to ourselves mentally. And we have to do it on a real-time basis, not a retrospective basis. The time to determine whether or not your behavior is congruent with your stated ambitions is not at the end of the week, not at the end of the month, not at the end of the calendar quarter, not in December—it’s real time minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. What you can’t measure you won’t be able to manage. We have to have measurement benchmarks of our productivity and of our congruent behavior.

Again, if you want an extreme result you’ve got to go to the extreme. You’ve got to be very aware of leverage, value, use of time. Like on the dress thing, today if you were going to meet with somebody who might be worth a million dollars to you, would you look like you are? No, no, of course not. You might run into the guy in the checkout line in Wal-Mart that’s going to be worth a million bucks to you and you can’t be looking like you’ve been working on your car, that doesn’t work.

The Value of Being An Extremist

  • You cannot have extreme productivity without taking extreme measures.
  • Those who most ardently advocate “tolerance” need your tolerance.
  • Extreme Productivity can bring with it Zero Tolerance for unproductive activity

The other awareness is what you are permitting to happen around you, with you, it’s getting in your way, and kill it. If you aren’t willing to defend your productivity violently, if necessary, what exactly are you willing to defend? Somebody is screwing up your productivity, how tolerant of that are you? First of all, how aware of it are you? Then, secondly, how tolerant are you of it? I will suggest to you that there is a direct correlation between high income and low tolerance for anything that is screwing up one’s productivity; something they are doing to themselves or something other people are doing to them.

Third, very specific decisions over how you are going to control these things. What you do, where you do it, if you do it, who you do it with, and how you do it. Most importantly here is “the who.”

I want to make it very clear the very first thing on your job list is to facilitate my maximum productivity at my best mental attitude so I can be productive. That’s your job. That’s who you want around you and there is no neutral, spouse, staff, friend, there ain’t no neutral, they’re either helping or they’re hurting.

When you talk about going home and getting to work and making things happen, there’s eight specific types of actions. One is immediate. That’s start. General Schwarzkopf, who I was on programs with for quite some time in his leadership talk, he always said it’s better to get started in the wrong direction than it is not to get started. Because we can fix the direction, we can’t fix the not starting. And he’s right about that. One of my premises is I’ve got four or five things as a result of my being here that I want to do. I know that the best odds of them ever getting done is if I start something having to do with them immediately, immediately. No matter how ill prepared you may be to follow through, start matters.

So Carville says the best time to plant an oak tree was 25 years ago, the second best time is now. That’s true of everything. The best time, if you can’t do it last week, which you couldn’t because you didn’t, so the next best time is now. There is enormous power to starting.

Second is visible. Puts you on the spot and conveys certain things to others so visible actions matter from two directions.

Third, renegade millionaire principle “simultaneous, not sequential” and you really ought to watch yourself on this. It’s hard not to slip back because you’ve been conditioned since birth that everything ought to be sequential: step one, step two, step three. A then B, and walk before you run, first grade, second grade, third grade, blue badge before you get red badge, etc. You’ve been conditioned since birth to do everything sequentially. There’s two problems with that. One, that’s not how high performers and rich people do anything. If you’re trying to get extreme results that’s not what they did; they run around and make all kinds of messes and start 500 things at the same time, that’s what they do. They live in perpetual controlled purposeful chaos, that’s how they live. Secondly, the problem with sequential behavior is that in many cases nobody ever completes the sequence. Financially here’s what everybody thinks, here’s how all poor people think about money; they think I’ve got to get a job, then I’ve got to get my basic stuff taken care of, I’ve got to buy a house, I’ve got to get some furniture, I’ve got to have some appliances, etc. If I’m making enough money to take care of rent, car payment, movies, beer, stuff I’ve got to do, my iPhone, my cable TV, which all of that adds up to 30 bucks here, 30 bucks there, before you know it you’re a trillion dollars in deficit. They’ve got to get all that taken care of—then if I’m making enough money, I’ll start saving some money. When I’ve saved up enough money to make it worthwhile, I’ll start worrying about investing the money. They never get there doing it that way. Never, never—in part because nobody ever has any money left over. Nobody ever has any time left over, either. And if you’ve got any lying around, time or money, that you have left over, that you’re not doing anything with, somebody will take it.

So simultaneous, not sequential. Massive, not dinky. You put a lot of stuff in motion all at the same time with urgency.

Everybody understands that they perform more under urgency. I’ve always been amused in pro football at the two-minute drill. These guys haven’t been able to move the ball for two hours past the fifty and all of a sudden, even with no possibility of winning the game, in the two-minute drill they come down and screw up the spread and I lose a thousand dollars. How come nobody plays the two-minute drill every two minutes?

Congruent– is your behavior congruent with your stated specific ambition? Synergistic, so we’re looking for leverage. How can we make the same piece of work do more than one thing? How can we make the same relationship do more than one thing? How many ways can you get productive benefit out of each act? Out of each conversation? Out of each relationship?

From here the next thing you’ll want to consider are the most common points that drain your productivity, and how to avoid them. But don’t worry I won’t leave it all down to you, come back here next week for the second part of this series on Extreme Productivity where I’ll talk you through drain points and how to avoid them!

Source: Dan Kennedy

Things to do before Google rolls out Mobile First Index

Back in November 2016, Google posted on its webmaster blog that it will be rolling out a mobile first search engine index. Google’s search engine index is a listing of websites, links, and documents that it has discovered by crawling the web from a desktop browsers perspective, however with the mobile first index, google will change the view and now they will crawl the web from the mobile web browser perspective. Going forward Google will show results based on the mobile version of content even for desktop searches.

For website owners following responsive website designs, there is no need to worry because users are served the same content be it for mobile or desktop.

However, if you are using a separate mobile site (m.examplewebsite.com) to present custom content for your mobile users by dynamic serving technique you must be a bit careful. Google’s algorithm is not tracking the actual page which is seen by users so when a mobile page has lesser content than a desktop page, that can lead to a poorer user experience. Mobile first index has not been rolled out yet but we hear it is coming out soon. Google also announced that they would continue to maintain a single index and only use the mobile version of content to rank pages.

Recommendations for website owners:

If you have a responsive website with the same content and structured data across mobile and desktop site, you don’t have to worry. However, if your site has different configuration and content for desktop and mobile site, Google recommends making the following changes:

  • Make sure to have structured markup/ data for both mobile and desktop sites, If you don’t make these changes than you fear the risk of showing the mobile page with inadequate and suboptimal content in the mobile first ranking index
  • Compare the structured markup across mobile (m.examplewebsite.com ) and desktop (www.examplewebsite.com) versions of the site by using googles structured data testing tool.
  • Go to https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/, add your url, run the test.structured-data-testing-tool
  • Add structured data to your mobile site but remember to be selective and add only those markup’s that may be relevant to the content on the page. Avoid adding additional mark data.
  • Use the txt testing tool to determine if your site is accessible to google web crawlers.
  • Tip: If you are building a mobile site, a working and fully functioning desktop website would be a better option than a partially done mobile site. So, don’t hurry and push out a partly complete mobile site.

 

2017 will be an exciting year for digital marketing, especially with Googles push to roll out the mobile first index, they are responding to the changing habits and needs of today’s online consumer who are always connected and engaging. While change brings with it challenges, it can be truly rewarding if you kept up with the changes. Should you like more information to build and or revamp your website be it mobile or desktop, Milestones team of experts with over 18 years of experience are here to help you, please feel free to reach out to us, [email protected] or +1-408-200-9055.


Contributed by: Gaurav Varma
January 23, 2017


Source: Paid Search

Rank higher every day with a smart SEO strategy

SEO strategy can be easily divided into long-term actions and short-term engagements. In the long-term, it’s important to have a strong website platform optimized for search, a clear link building strategy, writing keyword-rich meta tags and enhanced content for your website to name a few. What is often missed is that brands need to constantly work on their SEO strategy throughout the year to promote their business or drive engagement or to stay on top of the updates released by search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo). Often these strategies are considered reactive approaches but they are as critical as the proactive ones.

Key opportunities to capitalize upon year-round:

  1. Serve your customers with answers and NOT just links: With the increasing proliferation of mobile devices and rise in voice search quires Google direct answers have increased from showing up in 9% queries in January 2016 to 15% in July 2016, a 67% increase in just 6 months*. Customers desire direct answer to questions rather than looking up links to websites with the answers. Doing research on social media channels, review sites, asking your team and customers will help you know more about your brand and those insights can be turned into questions and answers that be posted on your website to assist your customers.
  1. Promote your own milestones: Released a new product, hired a top talent to lead a vertical, acquired a business, all these are significant moments for your business as well for your key stakeholders, make sure you broadcast these news and milestones via your corporate blog or press releases. These opportunities create a buzz and top of the mind recall for your business additionally it creates more valuable content and links for search engines to index.
  1. Consider partnerships with industry bodies: Every industry is represented by an education and trade association, forming partnerships with these bodies opens new doors to publish content, package existing content for a different audience, host a webinar, a fire side chat or a panel discussion. All these are great opportunities to promote your business and generate incoming links pointing to your site.
  1. Use your competitor’s actions to your advantage: Just like you, your competitor is also promoting their business, tracking your competitor, be it their blogs, social interactions, emails, webinars allow you to understand where they are focusing on and with that you might be able to get clues to build your next promotion, or a branding campaign.
  1. Keyword research for your brand: Call it old fashioned but identifying the new keywords that customers use to find you and your competitors will always be useful. Creating content around the new-found keyword themes would help you to stay on top of your customer’s actual needs.
  1. Repackage your content assets: Content is created under a context and savvy marketers use the same content idea in many different forms to showcase the key points. A white paper can be easily turned into an info graphic, a blog post, a social media update. All these assets assist in building your SEO authority, moreover it allows you to increase the life of the content and decreases the need to create new content all the time.
  1. Audit your SEO presence: Finally, from where we started, Google is always releasing a new update to improve the user experience, stay on top of the channels and websites that your business is listed on, or “linked to”. Don’t buy links in bulk or from irrelevant directories as that may end up getting you a penalty in the future. An easy way would be scan your business every quarter to know your listings status from important channels. You can get your health score today by visiting naptunelistings.com. 

STAT Search Analytics Study:

SEO is constantly evolving, trends fall off almost as quickly as they emerge. Staying on top of trends means to constantly working on the long-term and short-term strategy. If you have additional questions please leave a comment below, visit our website, or email us at [email protected]


Source: Paid Search

Visualization Experiment and new Renders

Just playing around with a new After Effects experiment without using any 3rd Party plug-ins! I need to refine some parts of the effect but I really want to make a tutorial for it ASAP!

Here are some other projects you may have missed! Using Element 3D bummp mapping to create some Gold coins and building a reactor!

Visualization! No 3rd party Plugins! #Aftereffects

A video posted by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Jan 23, 2017 at 2:26pm PST

Change #Element3D

A video posted by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Jan 17, 2017 at 12:01pm PST

Counterfeiting… I mean, the making of!

A photo posted by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Jan 17, 2017 at 12:20pm PST

Power Generator #Element3D

A video posted by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Jan 16, 2017 at 2:38am PST

Source: Video Copilot

5 Must Haves in Your Digital Marketing Golf Bag

“The most important shot in golf is the next one.” – Ben Hogan

As golf has evolved from the sport of kings to the game of every one, golf courses and clubs are trying figuring out how to market their businesses in the modern landscape. We live and play in a high-tech world driven by mobile phones, social media, snap chats, and posts. While golf is a sport rooted in tradition, today’s courses are looking for turnkey golf marketing solutions that connect golfers with their digital business at every touch point.

Golfers want to see and experience the course online, book a tee time, and download an app that gives them a lay of the land – from yardage on the fairway to ordering a hot dog at the turn. To our generation of golfers, tweets are the new birdies and digital presence is the driver.

5 Shot Making Strategies For Your Digital Golf Marketing

  1. A responsive website design driven by UX and search

It takes more than a beautiful site to inspire user experience and conversion. Definitely have vibrant images and videos – because golfers love them – and build your site with intuitive navigation, conversion elements with clear CTAs, and easy booking for tee times and tournaments.

Optimize your site for local and voice search with keywords and questions people are asking search engines and capitalize on Google’s SERP features – from snippets to videos. Make your site mobile responsive and AMP pages based on user behavior analytics and what is most relevant to your audience and ROI goals.

  1. Social media outreach from one place

Most golf pros wear many hats, from running the shop to giving lessons to marketing. Trust me, they would rather be teaching and playing with members than posting on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Most courses without large marketing teams need their PGA pros to engage in social media outreach every day to fill their tee sheets and promote daily specials.

To connect with your social community, your team will need a powerful social dashboard where they can blog, tweet, post and schedule from one place from their laptops, iPads and phones. Once you have a software platform for social outreach, engage your audience and reinforce your message – promoting twilight rates, open lessons, membership specials, and the speed of the greens. Post pics on Instagram and videos, and get your golfers engaged in your experience. Golf is a social game.

MediaConnect

Milestone’s MediaConnect™ 360 gives Turf Valley Resort the power to post and schedule Blogs, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter from a single, easy to use social outreach dashboard.

3. Golf APP For playing, GPS, marketing and sales

The new cool factor in golf marketing is the GPS integrated APP. GPS enabled golf carts and watches are expensive and getting outdated. Add a downloadable APP on your mobile site and golfers will use it for scorecards, yardage, shot making, weather and messaging from you. If you utilize all the latest features, you can promote daily specials, use it as an online store, give tips, and even sell food and beverage during the round. Cart girls not included.

4. Analytics tracking for performance and competitive intelligence

While golf is the game of life and you play against yourself, digital marketing is not. You always want to track and analyze your digital channels, revenue and competitive performance in the space. You can juggle between Google Analytics and other resources, which can be time consuming. Or you can use intuitive distribution and competitive intelligence software that lets you track and analyze your data, site health and performance in one dashboard.

Use a platform that gives you panoramic insights and targeted strategies so you can connect with your golf customers across every touch point – mobile, tablet and desktop. Find a user friendly dashboard that lets you track the customer journey across social, local and paid channels so you can adjust your strategy from one place.

Analytics Reporting Tool

Unalytix

Milestone’s Unalytix Digital Marketing and Distribution Channel Analytics Platform empowers managers with organized data about their websites, SEO, local listings, social media, reviews, and paid search. Users get insights through intuitive dashboards and formatted reports. The Turf Valley and Turnberry Isle sites golf websites are high performing.

5. The Freedom of A Single Source Golf Solution

We know you’re passionate about golf. You’ve conditioned the greens, your pros hope to inspire young golfers, and you want to promote your courses and tournaments. While Gary Player said “golf is a puzzle without an answer,” we know better. Create a holistic digital presence with a user friendly, mobile responsive site, that integrates social outreach, tee time booking, and an APP, and your golf business will drive presence, engagement and ROI.

“Today’s golf professionals need a universal digital presence – mobile, desktop, social – social media and consolidated data and performance analytics,” says Chris Rockett, SVP of Sales for Milestone. “We’ve created a turnkey product for golf managers to drive online visibility, booking, leads and ROI. Our user friendly approach really connects to the golf industry and golfers. It gives the pros the freedom to do what they love. Play more golf.”


Case Study – Randy Watkins Golf Group – Live December 2016

Milestone created a complete internet marketing strategy for Randy Watkins Golf Group, which owns and manages 3 semi-private golf courses in the Jackson Metro of Mississippi – Patrick Farms Golf Course, Whisper Lake Country Club and Lake Caroline Golf Club. They are driven by a passion for the game and PGA professionals who inspire young golfers. RWGG offers full-service clubhouses and amenities, lessons, tournaments, junior golf, specials, dining, and memberships. Their audience is families, individual golfers, couples, students and juniors who want the membership benefits of three clubs, as well as daily fee players.

RWGG’s previous site was outdated in design, performance, and analytics. The site lacked branding and visual story, user journey, and was confusing to navigate. Milestone created a holistic marketing solution with a mobile responsive website, search optimized content with schema, an online store, and an event booking module all reinforced by social media.

Milestone designed a highly visual, streamlined site with great imagery, intuitive navigation, and a persona-based branding message – “more than a club, we’re family.” A warm, modern design focuses on user experience and conversion, with clear CTAs for Memberships and Tee Times. The site highlights the three courses and amenities, and has optimized pages for memberships and events. The site also showcases landing pages, like member activities, junior and kid’s golf, and lessons.

Randy Watkins Blog

The Randy Watkins Golf Group site launched December 2, 2016 on the Milestone Galexi™ CMS.

Marketing Objective

Launched December 2, 2012, the mobile responsive site gives golfers a robust digital experience, including downloadable scorecards, an integrated golf app, weather widget, changing specials and 4 photo galleries. Our goal was to create a site that was visual and golfer friendly, focused on user experience, and promoted memberships, tee times and tournaments.

Built on Milestone’s Galexi™ CMS platform, the site is responsive for mobile and gives managers the ability to update specials and events.

Launched December 2, 2012, the new site was designed to give golfers a robust digital experience, including downloadable scorecards, an integrated golf app, weather widget, changing specials and 4 photo galleries. Our goal was to create a site that was visual and golfer friendly, focused on user experience, and promoted memberships, tee times and tournaments.

What We Did

  • Responsive website design built on Galexi™ CMS
  • Integrated mobile APP with GPS
  • Optimized content for local and voice search
  • Modules – Courses, Memberships, Events – with RFPs
  • Online Retail Store
  • Booking Engine Partners
  • Event Calendar
  • Weather Widget
  • 4 photo galleries
  • eSpecial – seasonal coupons
  • eReach – email marketing
  • Custom Facebook Page
  • Module Promotion
  • Analytics tracking and performance

 

The Digital Scorecard

“Golf is supposed to be fun, but I don’t think anything is fun if you’re not doing it reasonably well.” – Fred Couples

  • In the first month, the site has over 10,000 impressions and 600 clicks attributed to their new online visibility and organic presence.
  • 54.8% of the sessions came from organic search, including non-branded search queries which capture new customers.
  • New landing pages for individual courses, lessons, packages, and membership are all drawing in traffic.

 

Google Randy Watkins results

Randy Watkins Digital Performance

Source: Google Analytics Dec. 2, 2016 – January 9, 2017


Contributed by: Robin Leigh Kessler
January 12, 2017


Source: Paid Search

5 digital marketing trends that will die in 2017

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As Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” 

He might as well have added that it’s a near certainty that writers will trot out lists of predictions at the beginning of any new year. I won’t exempt myself from that rule, but whereas many are content to predict new trends, I’ll restrict my predictions to those trends I believe are dying, unless they get some major form of life support.

1. Twitter!

Will Twitter become the new MySpace? While it may be too early to say goodbye to Twitter, we all know it’s struggling while Facebook and Snapchat continue to grow. Twitter’s share is 27.3% among all social media users, a decline compared to previous numbers. Although the return of Jack Dorsey may herald a wave of improvements, Twitter has been languishing for years now, and it may be too little, too late. The company made minor changes last year, like not counting images and video toward the 140 character limit, and has hinted at more changes, but it will take more than a little bit of flexibility to woo new users.  Read more…

More about Business, Digital Marketing, and Marketing
Source: Digital Marketing

New Tutorial: Realistic Rain Drop FX!

In this tutorial we’ll use After Effects to create a realistic water effect without any 3rd party plug-ins! Great for adding atmosphere to a rainy scene or title. This effect is fully customization and can be used to create many cool FX!

In this tutorial:

  • Create a dripping water displacement map
  • Simulate realistic camera DOF

Watch on Youtube in HD!

Project File: Coming Soon!
Stay tuned for project files and footage, just have to collect it and upload it!

Source: Video Copilot

Why ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’ Is Stunting The Growth Of Your Business… And The 7 Things You Can Do To Stop It

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We all love new things, that’s a fact of human nature.

As a business owner, reading this blog, you’ve probably been blessed with an entrepreneurial streak, giving you creativity, vision and passion.

All good right?

But as entrepreneurs, that also means we’re prone to become attracted to the new, the ‘cutting edge’ and yes, occasionally it means we’re touched by ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’…

If you’re not already familiar with this affliction, symptoms include…

  • Distraction from important tasks
  • Failing to finish projects you start, in favour of some new fad
  • Jumping on the new and latest trends without thinking whether they fit into your over-arching strategy
  • Decrease in profits, lack of cohesion and less overall growth

Sound familiar?

With the flexibility of the internet, and the sheer amount of information available, events, and self-proclaimed ‘experts’ telling you what to do, sadly it’s an affliction that’s spreading now more than ever…

But here at GKIC we want to help stop the spread and get right back down to basics, because only when you secure the foundations of your business, can it really grow.

We’ve been in the business a LONG time now, and it’s safe to say, we’ve seen a few marketing fads come and go. Some of them we’ve given a try, but it’s rare we’ve seen sustainable results from the latest craze, enough to grow our business in the long-run.

You need to get your fundamentals absolutely right. As the foundations of marketing are unbeatable.

That’s not to say you can’t try new strategies or develop new campaigns in your business!

However, before you do spend time and money testing them out, make sure you follow our 7-step plan:

The 7 Easy Ways To Stop ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’ Taking Control In Your Business…

1) Refer Back to Your Goals

Before you even think about putting a new campaign together, you need to make sure that it is working towards your over-arching goals.

Our guess is, that somewhere, maybe at the start of the year or this quarter, you’ve sat down with a few other members in your core team and you wrote down a list of priorities.

Maybe they were annual priorities that you planned to stick to, specific targets or figures that you wanted to hit, or simply goals you had in mind for where you wanted to be by the end of the year.

Look back at these plans, and if your new idea doesn’t cohesively fit and work towards the same end goal, then now’s the time to shelve it.


2) Make Sure You’re Creating Sustainable Assets

Simple and proven fundamentals are more important than the latest graphics or social media gimmick, we promise you! Your business needs to be built on sustainability and that includes your campaign strategy too.

Make sure you’re able to realistically run this campaign in a year’s time. After all, you’re not just aiming for a flash in the pan, one-hit-wonder.

3) Consider the Impact on Your Other Projects

If you start planning this new campaign, will your other pipe-line projects suffer as a result?

Starting new project after new project, but never fully implementing or finishing them is often a trap many savvy business owners find themselves in.

If you’re going to start something ‘new and shiny’ make sure it’s not at the expense of a well thought out and valuable project.

4) Don’t Rely Too Heavily on What Your Competitors Are Doing

While it might be tempting to jump on the band-wagon alongside your closest competitors, chances are, they don’t know what they’re doing.

“Don’t focus on the competition, they’ll never give you money.” – Jeff Bezos

Just because they are catching on to ‘the next big thing’, you don’t know whether it’s working for them and you have no real idea what results they’re actually getting.

5) Does it Fit Your Avatar?

The primary question you need to ask yourself when you’re making any decision in your business, is ‘how will this affect my target customer?’

You need to be super-certain that the shiny new object is something they truly want and will benefit from. If it’s not ideally suited to your market, then it’s not going to be a long-term success.

6) Only Use Proven, Tried and Tested Campaigns Guaranteed to Grow Your Business

To make sure you’re using strategies and techniques that really work EVERY TIME, you need to know that they’ve given other business owners fantastic results in the past.

Easier said than done right?

That’s why we’ve put together: ‘The 12 Growth Hacks Your Business Needs Right Now’ Checklist

It’s the best way to make sure you’re using the most profitable tactics to grow your business, as well as planning sustainable campaigns that will work in any business, in any situation.

Simply click here to grab your copy of the Checklist for FREE today:

I want to grow my business

These 12 vital points form the foundations of a great marketing strategy. They aren’t based on fads and they have worked for years in countless different environments.

So if you’re feeling giddy at the thought of your next ‘shiny object’, stop.

Ignore the latest craze your competitors are desperate to try; get back to basics and focus your energy on the strategies that are going to grow your business and move it forward.

Click the link here and you can access ‘The 12 Growth Hacks Your Business Needs Right Now’ Checklist:

I want my free checklist!

Source: Dan Kennedy

What Matters In Search This Year [Webinar]

2017 Search Webinar

The new year has passed, and, with it, technology keeps moving forward. 2016 was a big year for Artificial Intelligence, voice-based search and non PC “intelligent” devices. As 2017 starts, what are the key trends that will shape search and digital marketing? How do you get ahead of the curve? Join us on January 25th at 11am PT as our President and Founder, Benu Aggarwal, will present her yearly “key trends” webinar.

Attend our webinar and learn:

  • How voice search will continue to impact marketing
  • The role of artificial intelligence on search
  • The growing trend of omni-channel marketing

Speakers:

Benu Aggarwal
President and Founder of Milestone

Benu Aggarwal

Walter Paliska
Vice President, Marketing

Walter Paliska

 

 

 

 

Jake Brennan
Moderator

Jake Brennan

Webinar Registration


Source: Paid Search

Destruction Experiment!

What is this thing! I’ve basically combined a bunch of stuff into one experiment!

I might have been inspired by the amazing planet explosions from The Force Awakens but wanted to see if I could get a cool version inside Element 3D.

Few Notes on this experiment;

I added smoke elements, shockwaves using CC Sphere, and even used the Saber plug-in to give the beam a nice energy feel!

For the disintegration, I used the multi-object system of Element 3D with a pre-fractured sphere and animated with the animation engine so it would break apart over time.

I even animated an After Effects light to match the death beam to fake reactive lighting.

The Sci-fi Weapon Tutorial has some really cool tips for turning radial shockwaves into other shapes.

 

DeathRay! #Element3D #Saber

A video posted by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Jan 5, 2017 at 4:30am PST

Source: Video Copilot

Gearing Up with Element 3D!

Gear Up! #Element3D

A video posted by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Jan 3, 2017 at 9:10pm PST

Maybe I just love apertures but this was a fun project to make! Using a few motion design 2 objects I built this animating gear. I just created a collection of models on one group and distributed them using a ring array and then animated the properties!

Sometimes simply projects create amazing results!

Source: Video Copilot

Experimenting with realistic Water Drops!

Experimenting with realistic refracting water. #aftereffects

A video posted by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Jan 2, 2017 at 12:59pm PST

I love using native effects in After Effects to create more realistic effects… Although I love some CC Mr. Mercury, I wanted to try to create something more realistic. Look for the Tutorial soon! In 2017, I’m going to change the meaning of the word soon to actually mean SOON!

Source: Video Copilot

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