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'Mercuryquakes' may rock the first planet in our solar system

Recently obtained photographs from NASA’s MESSENGER probe indicates that the planet may be geologically active.

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The Go Global Checklist: Localization And Automation

There is no doubt that e-commerce is gaining in popularity: the Internet is teaming with trade-focused businesses, and according to all indications, it’s far from stopping. People make online transactions all the time, and if you’re thinking about starting your own business, or if you run one already, you may want to take a few steps that will allow your business bloom with ease in future. Namely, remember to put “localization” and “automation” or your “Going Global” checklist. But let’s go through this step by step.

 

1) Ecommerce

Having its roots back in the late 1970s, when Michael Aldrich presented his Teleputer, e-commerce bloomed into a wide range of branches. Everyone who has Internet access is able to name at least a few services from this business model, be that social commerce, financial exchanges, B2C sales, or simply food ordering. To put this in perspective: almost every one of us clicked an ad on Facebook, paid their bills online, bought an item online, or ordered a takeaway meal. The Internet is plausibly the easiest and most efficient way to (1) reach a broad audience (2) provide it with many types of service. So what now?

 

graph-arvice

 

There’re plenty of e-commerce sites where you can showcase your goods and services, and it’s perfectly fine to use such websites, especially when you’re just starting off. But one day you may want to cut the strings and create your own brand image. That’s when, among others, you’ll want to set up your own website, where your rules will apply as to what’s presented, and how it’s presented, for example:

  • the company goals
  • products
  • marketing content
  • incentives
  • you name it…

They say that “Rome wasn’t built in one day” and so wasn’t any prolific business, meaning you need to have patience, determination and money to succeed. Not everybody has the necessary means to start at full steam, but there’re some tools that you can use without breaking the bank while building your empire. With a solid ground you can be sure of your steady business growth.

 

2) Localization

Some time ago I wrote an article about the dos and don’ts of localization, from a strictly technical perspective. It’s time to have a look at it more from a potential clients’ point of view and how it affects you as a business owner.

In order to build lasting relations, one needs to earn trust, right? Let’s say that you’ve visited a number of different websites that offer the product you need, and the prices were very similar. What do you need to do? You need to make a choice.

People usually do search for the lowest price, however, there’s one more thing that helps them to make the choice, often subconsciously. What?

Familiarity – that’s the answer to the previously asked question. If you make your website look familiar to them, they’ll be more likely to pick you over your competitors. And what does familiarity exactly mean in this context? You’ll say language – of course! But behind that there’s a number of things to take into consideration, such as:

right-to-left writing (Arabic or Hebrew) or various alphabets and fonts (Japanese and Korean) as well as the look and feel of the website itself.

 

plan

 

Sometimes, especially when visiting a foreign company’s website, I find myself baffled over the website layout: I just sit in front of my computer and look for the “Logout” button, or wander aimlessly to find “Help” section when something is not clear to me; or the special characters don’t display correctly. The latter bothers me a bit. These might seem like petty things, but they do add up and will have an adverse effect on user experience.

Plus, mobile view: I tend to, as many people do, browse the Internet from my mobile device more and more often, and it seems that some entrepreneurs don’t take this fact into consideration seriously, which is why their websites aren’t mobile-friendly.

The same goes for those companies that didn’t think through their order forms, and I wasn’t sure how to fill them in, since they didn’t seem to realize that the format of postal address may be quite different in different countries. These’re the cases when a website visitors’ mindset has been completely forgotten during the website development process. The site was translated, alright, but it hasn’t been culturally prepared in terms of interface. Customer experience is extremely important.

If you don’t take care of the basics from the very beginning, they may prove problematic in the future, because your website’s code will need some costly and time-consuming rearrangements. That’s why it’s important to think ahead and plan the structure of your website with you IT crew carefully before going global.

 

3) Automation

So what to do when you’ve prepared to target your chosen markets and you’re ready to take the next step forward? You may have collected some customer data already, and surely you want to gather some more to expand your business globally. Needless to mention, collecting data is one thing but managing it is another. That’s why you may want to consider using marketing automation.

Here’s a few facts about marketing automation, in terms of localization:

  • It’s been localized into over 20 languages. Should you feel more comfortable employing automation to your marketing plan in your own language.
  • Automated campaign messages and webpages are available in over 80 languages, so you don’t have to worry about creating those while preparing to promote your goods and services on several markets!
  • Automation’s blocks contain dynamic values, which allow you to create and study workflows with less effort:

 

graph-dynamic-values

 

Because the values are in bold, each of the blocks, and thus the whole workflow, are clearer and easier for you to follow. Thanks to that, creation, analysis, and adjustments to a given workflow can go smoothly.

Considering the fact that your future goal is to go to multiple markets, automation is probably the best tool to deploy. You can set up your workflow based on language and culture, just choose the right campaign and off you go!

P.S. If you’d like to know more about automation, we have dedicated Marketing Automation Hub just for that. Also, you can refer to our Help section for more technical info.

 

Conclusion

Going global calls for careful planning by the entrepreneur. In order to prepare comprehensively, you have to think ahead and find some time to work on language and cultural-related issues, as well as having the right tools to manage your projects.

It usually takes time for a business to grow in size and develop across different markets, but it’s crucial not to undermine certain issues that may seem petty at the first glance; as they may prove problematic at the end.

 

Back to you

Now that you’ve learned about some of them, are there any other issues you’d like to discuss before you go global? Or perhaps you already did and want to share your experience? Or from a user’s perspective: have you experienced any language and cultural-related that you like to share with us?

Please use the comment section below to share your thoughts and views.

The post The Go Global Checklist: Localization And Automation appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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What It Really Costs to Live 'Tiny'

By nature all tiny homes are small, but that is often where their similarities end.

With a variety of styles, amenities, and differing levels of quality on the market, the cost of living in one of these diminutive abodes can be as diverse as the houses themselves.

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A tiny home can be a permanent structure or built for travel.

With most measuring 400 square feet or less and many on wheels, these compact digs tend to be mobile, meaning they must be able to withstand road travel in addition to the average wear and tear of a home.

Because of this, quality is a key factor when considering your purchase, says Johanna Elsner, who co-owns and co-founded North Carolina-based tiny home company Perch & Nest with her husband.

Together the couple is “constantly trying to educate people on why this costs what it does to build,” says Elsner, explaining that customers often believe tiny homes are cheaper than they actually are.

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You can customize a tiny home extensively, and it can add up.

At Perch & Nest, they run on average between $40,000 and $60,000.

The cost of mobility

Tiny homes allow residents great savings on utilities and keep costs down in many ways. But they do come with their own special set of fees and expenses.

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A tiny home built for the road.

Being mobile means finding places to hunker down, whether at an RV park or on a private farm. Assuming the tiny home dweller is not the owner of the land, there is likely an associated fee.

And residents will have to take out insurance if they plan to cruise the highways with their home. Cargo trailer insurance is available for those built on trailers, while those certified as RVs must have RV insurance. Paying for tax, title, and license is also a factor.

Utilities at a minimum

No matter the house, energy and water bills add up, but if a tiny house “is built well, it’s going to be more energy efficient,” Elsner remarks.

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Water, gas, and electricity are required to keep this kitchen cooking.

While going off grid (completely removing the house from public utility services) will make the abode extremely cost efficient, the economy of scale of living in such a small dwelling is practically guaranteed to save residents money from the get-go.

A small couch still costs money

In general, tiny homes require fewer furnishings, with residents paring down belongings rather than buying more.

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Clever storage solutions aren’t free.

But purchasing appropriate furniture and decorations – from clever storage devices to, say, a smaller couch – can cost money. And there are a wide range of options at varying costs, such as buying a proper mattress versus a bedroll.

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A mattress fit the bill for this loft bedroom.

Many ways to mini mortgages

Not everyone pays for their tiny house in one fell swoop. Although the goal of many owners is to live debt-free, financing options are available.

Because traditional mortgage lenders tend to require that a home has a foundation and generally have minimum loan amounts, an RV loan or an unsecured personal loan are often used.

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Living tiny may mean living debt-free or at least with less debt than the average homeowner.

In the end, there are many routes to financing a tiny home, just as there are many reasons for moving into one.

“The tiny house community is very diverse, just as diverse as any community, but it’s a group of people who want to live right,” Elsner said.

Photos courtesy of Perch & Nest.

Your budget won’t be the only part of your life affected by living tiny. Check out how these tiny home dwellers have adjusted to their new digs:

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10 Proven Ways To Improve Your Facebook Marketing Strategies

It wasn’t a long time ago when businesses were skeptical of whether they could use Facebook to increase their business. Even if businesses knew the potential of Facebook to reach across to their customers, they would be reluctant to spend their marketing dollars.

How are we going to measure the ROI of social media? Is there a successfully proven marketing strategy on Facebook? How can I be active on Facebook when I have a business to run?

These were some of the questions that would trouble the minds of many businesses owners, entrepreneurs and company board of directors.

According to Facebook’s recent quarterly results, there are 60 million businesses that are using Facebook pages to promote their business. Facebook made a smart move to acquire Instagram because Facebook and Instagram have become the mobile presence for business.

So many businesses have seen an increase in revenue due to the successful execution of Facebook marketing strategies. This would not have been possible by randomly doing some posts on Facebook.

After you have read this article you will have some of the best-proven ways to improve your Facebook marketing strategies.

1) Describe objectives and key results

The most important part of any journey is to know the destination that we want to go from where we are present. Say we have packed our bags, loaded our stuff in the car and ready to go. But till the time we do not know the destination we cannot go ahead. We will be lost.

So, before you start your social media marketing journey, first it is important to define clearly where you want to go and the results you want to reach. If you do not know where you want to drive your business with this awesome marketing vehicle of Facebook, then your efforts are doomed.

Every brand is unique and you might have unique objectives for your brand. Some common key objectives and results of a company that might help you to define yours are:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Get leads and drive sales
  • Customer feedback
  • Product familiarization
  • Online reputation management
  • Be closer to the customer

Once you have defined objectives for your brand, you can move ahead to understand your customer avatar.

 

2) Understand your target audience

You cannot sell an Xbox to a busy housewife who might barely have time to watch her favorite TV series after she has prepared dinner for the family. Similarly, you cannot sell a dishwasher to a 12-year-old kid who probably loves skateboarding. This will only waste your time and money.

To be successful in your Facebook marketing strategy you need to know your audience. Your product or service have to reach the attention of the right customers.

Hence we clearly need to define who is our target audience. Once you know your audience, you can stay relevant and provide valuable content to your customer.

 

3) Perfectly time your content

Nothing is more important than timing in your marketing. Your content might fail to capture the viewer’s attention if you fail to reach the audience during the relevant time.

Timing your Facebook content depends on the time your audience is online. There are various suitable timings for scheduling social media content based on the social media platform you have chosen.

 

calendar

 

For Facebook, the best times to post are on Thursday and Friday. The engagement level of Facebook users with the content is low from Monday through Wednesday. Also, it is best to avoid posting during the weekends.

Early afternoon is the best time to post with 1pm-4pm being the ideal time. Traffic builds after 9am and peaks at 3pm. During or after lunch is the favorable time to post because people generally are lazy after food. At work, people feel sleepy so they get on Facebook to have some fun.

 

4) Provide valuable content

The very best method many marketers use to gain trust and confidence of the audience is by sharing valuable content. The content is shared for free and with no-strings attached.

Your audience will not only be hooked to your awesome free content but he will be coming back for more. You content needs to be fun, interactive and valuable.

Try sharing a visually attractive image, visual content is seen to have more engagement than posts without any visuals. Even if you are sharing updates to your audience about your industry, visual content seen to have higher interaction level.

Take newsletters, pdfs, eBooks and other marketing collaterals to create a series of how-to tips that adds value to the audience. Keep a planned way to post valuable content on a regular basis and the user will be hooked.

 

5) Create interactive posts

You will need to know the most important keywords that are relevant to your business and create highly interactive posts on them.

To get your audience talking on the core topics of your business you need to create very highly interactive posts that will give people something to talk about.

While your goal is to provide an entertaining space for the audience, you want to get the valuable feedback from the customer. Interactive posts can be fun and you can show the benefits or uses of your product in a fun, interactive way that your customers will love.

 

oreo

 

The Facebook page of Oreo does really well while creating fun, interactive posts. You might want to get some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing.

 

6) Crowdsource your answers

One of the key benefits of crowdsourcing your answers is that they help to drive customer engagement of the Facebook page. You will not only increase your customer engagement but in the process also create crowdsourced content for your brand.

Create a poll or a photo contest and ask your Facebook fans for their feedback. People love to talk about themselves, as soon as you ask the users point of view, the user is excited to draw his opinion.

 

marketing

 

You can use to get valuable feedback on your product, get testimonials, photos with your products. A simple photo contest, executed correctly, can drive results.

 

7) Run Facebook contests

Similar to crowdsourcing your answers, you can run a Facebook contest to increase the engagement of your page with your customers.

You can give out free giveaways to a few winners of the contest. Who doesn’t like free things? This will lure the customers to participate in the contest and at the end of the contest, you will have a lot of user-generated content. The cost of the giveaway will be much lesser to the revenue you will be able to generate or the Page engagement level you will receive.

 

paris-hilton

 

The Paris Hilton’s public page hosted this contest to increase the engagement of her page.

 

8) Use Facebook ads

Another quick way to reach your desired target audience is to use Facebook advertising. You will be able to quickly show your most important content to the targeted audience and drive the required conversions within a specified time period of the campaign.

The amount of marketing dollars you spent is directly related to the number of views or impressions you want to receive.

Facebook ads is clearly a favorite of many marketers to promote their business pages. Also, the audience mapping of Facebook is really good to target your audience very specifically.

 

9. Measure the effectiveness of your Facebook campaign

After you have put all the effort in creating and posting your content, you will need to measure the success of your Facebook campaign.

A really effective way to measuring your results is to create a landing page for your campaign and drive the traffic to your page to get the required conversion.

 

screenshot2

 

Once you analyze the results of your campaign using the analytics on your landing page you will be able to scope the success of your efforts.

 

10. Create a strategy, a system, and automate your Facebook marketing

Last but not least, after you have executed, measured and seen the results of your marketing efforts, you need to make a organize what has worked for you and optimize your plan each time.

 

screenshot6

 

However, Wednesday and Thursday being the ideal days to post are the selected days for posting in the above schedule. Wednesday has four posts scheduled because Wednesday gets the most number of engagements.

The timing of your post is essential, hence scheduling your posts on Facebook is an ideal way to get engagement on your posts. By scheduling your posts you will be able to post at the very specific times and not miss out on any posts. You will be able to monitor the posts and analyze the engagement on your posts.

 

Finally

As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Similarly, to be successful in Facebook marketing will take some time and effort. But, with these proven ways to improve your Facebook Marketing Strategies you can start your journey right now and you’re on your way to create the buzz you need for your business.

 

Back to you

I’d love to know what you think about my post. Please use the comment section below to share your thoughts and views.

The post 10 Proven Ways To Improve Your Facebook Marketing Strategies appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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The Tricky Thing About Buying a Tiny Home

Buying a tiny house is a huge undertaking – particularly from a financing perspective.

Tiny house hunters are typically looking for homes that range from 100 to 500 square feet. Many of these home buyers are millennials, who don’t want the hassle of maintaining a large house, says Matt Parker, a real estate agent in Seattle and author of “Real Estate Smart: The New Home Buying Guide.”

“Owning a large home on a large plot of land is a relic of the American dream,” Parker says.

TV shows like FYI’s “Tiny House Nation” and HGTV’s “Tiny House Hunters” have helped the movement gain traction.

However, these programs don’t delve into the process of procuring a loan for a tiny home, says Todd Nelson, business development officer at LightStream, a lending division of SunTrust Bank that offers loans for tiny-home buyers.

“Many tiny homes are uniquely built and don’t conform to the mortgage requirements for a traditional house,” says Nelson.

If you’re looking to buy or build a tiny home but don’t have enough cash on hand to foot the whole bill, here’s what you need to do to successfully finance your purchase.

Opt for a home on wheels

Tiny homes are frequently purchased using recreational vehicle (RV) loans, which are unsecured, fixed-rate mortgages that typically have two- to seven-year payoff plans. Generally, these loans have no application fees or closing costs.

“It’s a straight installment loan,” explains Nelson, who says that borrowers usually need a FICO score of at least 670 to qualify.

However, RV loans typically have higher interest rates than traditional home loans (LightStream’s loans start at 2.99 percent but go up to 9.94 percent), are often capped at a $100,000 maximum, and – unlike traditional mortgages – are not tax deductible.

Find a mortgage lender that specializes in tiny home loans

Although the tiny home movement is gaining speed, it’s still a relatively niche market.

“You don’t see a ton of appetite among traditional mortgage lenders” to offer loans for tiny homes, says Nelson, since many mortgage lenders have minimum loan amounts that are above $100,000 and only offer mortgages for homes on permanent foundations.

Thus, you want to work with a lender that focuses on tiny home loans.

Be mindful of zoning laws

When you’re buying land, you need to first make sure there are no restrictions on what type of structures you are allowed to build, advises Ryan Mitchell, owner of a 150-square-foot home and founder of The Tiny Life, an online resource for tiny home buyers.

This involves looking at local, county, and state zoning laws. Some zoning regulations give minimums for lot size and square footage of houses, as well as restrictions on how many residences can occupy a lot or given area.

The American Tiny House Association offers a comprehensive list of state-by-state regulations.

“If a parcel of land doesn’t meet all of the zoning requirements, we can’t approve the loan,” says Nelson. Knowing where you can – and can’t – build your tiny home is crucial.

Factor in all of the costs

Costs can vary significantly for tiny homes, so before you apply for a RV loan, you should analyze your budget. Tiny House Community provides a useful spreadsheet you can use to calculate the various expenses you’ll incur.

Some good news: if you’re using an RV loan to build a tiny home, you have a lot of financial freedom in terms of how you choose to spend the money.

In addition to using the cash to buy a parcel of land and pay for construction costs (including building materials and labor), you can put the money toward home furniture, landscaping, and solar paneling.

Moreover, as with any home purchase, you need to consider ongoing maintenance costs once you’re living in the home. (Yes, even homes with smaller footprints require routine upkeep.)

One cost to budget for: Many tiny houses have stained siding that requires re-staining every two to three years.

Consider your time horizon

Determining your best financing option will depend on your life plans. If you’re willing to stay in your current home for a few more years, it might make sense to wait until you’ve built enough savings to buy a tiny home with all cash.

In fact, 68 percent of tiny homeowners have no mortgage, compared to 29 percent of all U.S. homeowners, according to research compiled by The Tiny Life.

Want expert advice? Meet with a fee-only financial planner to assess your finances and your goals. You can find one through the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.

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Singing fish: Unraveling the secrets of mysterious humming at night

California houseboat residents in the 1980s thought the sound came from a Navy experiment or extraterrestrials. It was actually the plainfin midshipman fish’s song, which, according to a new study, is caused by its circadian rhythms.

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