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A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Referral Program that Works

To get people to your site, you need to give them an incentive. Then, you need to give them an incentive to bring other people to your site. It is a never-ending process, but many people don’t fully understand the process of creating a referral program that actually works. Without a process in place, your referral program is never going to be at the level you want it to be. So, we have put together a step-by-step guide that will help you to create a referral program that will work for you. Let’s get started.

What is a referral?

First, let’s look at what a referral actually is. In a nutshell, a referral is when someone recommends your site to someone else, through a link that they have received from you. There are three basic types of referrals: implicit; organic; and incentivized.

  • Implicit Referrals – When a user must share your link with others before they can actually get into the site and fully appreciate the experience.
  • Organic Referrals – This is content that people just automatically want to share, such as cute kitten memes.
  • Incentivized Referrals – This is when you give the user even more incentive to share your link or product outside of improving the functionality of their experience. This is very targeted.


Building a referral strategy

Now that you understand what a referral is, it is time to start building your referral strategy. The first thing you need to know is that you need to find the right people to share your product. The next thing is that you can’t ask them too soon, because you have to wait until you know they are into your product and are ready to share.

If you have an email list, but no one has responded to you, there really isn’t much sense in asking for referrals. Still, you can get those early birds who will give you referrals, but you have to do it in a hand’s on and personal way. Your best advocate audience is made up of about 200 or more existing customers who have transacted with you recently (within 30 days).

Now, you can start to work on your referral strategy, which involves giving people the right incentives to share your product.


Choosing the incentives

If you aren’t giving out the right incentives, people aren’t going to bother sharing your product. So, you need to figure out what it is that they really want. It is unlikely that your product alone is going to be so unique that it is enough incentive on its own. Here are a couple of tips that will help you to choose the right incentives:

  • Double-Sided Incentives – Try to offer incentives that give both parties a reward of equal value. This makes it seem like your offer is not just spam. If the advocate can earn more than their friend, it can seem a lot like spam, and vice versa.
  • One Sided Incentives – It may be that you can only afford to give out one incentive. If this is the case, choose the friend rather than the advocate. This only works for referral programs, and not with affiliate programs.


Send out the email

Now you have to ask for the referrals. To do this, you need to craft an email that is going to make people want to refer others. You also need to know how to ask, and this can be a problem for many people. The trick is to send an email that is neutral for your advocate and for their friends. The advocate can forward the email to their friends, so there isn’t much work or friction on their end. The benefits of this type of email include:

  • Explaining the benefits of the product
  • Offer something to both parties
  • Easily sharable
  • Easily convertible

Don’t forget to include your email signature. This is extremely important, because it will allow support teams to reach your users when they have solved a problem. This is going to double the chances of the user making a referral.

Build a landing experience that is going to make people want to visit, and to share your product with others. Make sure that they have a good incentive to share, and to visit again themselves. Look for referral program ideas that have worked for other companies, and use the same tactics for your own success.


Track the results

Once you send out the emails, you need a way of tracking them to see if your referral program is actually working for you. You will need to implement analytics and tracking systems, using referral program software. These two things are going to help you to understand how you are getting the referrals, so you know what is working and what isn’t. If you use Google Analytics, you will be able to see where people come from before reaching your site. In addition, make sure that you are using the right referral software.


Choose and send the right rewards

Finally, you have to figure out which rewards to choose. You need to understand what you users want, and what will lead them to make that referral. Create your rewards program around the motivations of your users. Reward types include:

  • Single and double-sided rewards – Single rewards are common, but not nearly as effective as when double-sided rewards are offered.
  • Monetary and non-monetary rewards – Offer prizes based on the behavior of your visitors. Offers can include giving access to premium features, company swag, etc.

Make sure that you offer a good variety of rewards. Not all users want the same thing, so you are going to need to customize your offers for various users.

Now, you have all of your ducks in a row, you have referrals, and it is time to start giving out those rewards. If you are offering cash rewards, PayPal is the best way to send it. Or, you can send a coupon code. If the reward is a physical product, let them know that it is on its way in the mail. You will have happy users, and because they are receiving rewards, they will be more likely to refer your product to even more people.


Over to you

Do you use referral programs in your business? What was your biggest lesson learned from using it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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The post A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Referral Program that Works appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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Designer Lookbook: Rebecca Van't Hull's Colorful Weekend Retreat

A room with a view is always inviting, but you can’t overlook its interior. That’s what one family learned after rebuilding a weekend getaway on the West Arm Bay of Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka. They felt the new property lacked character, so they brought in designer Rebecca Van’t Hull. Her solution: more color – and lots of it.

Situated in Shorewood Lane, about 45 minutes west of Minneapolis, the weekend home struck Van’t Hull as a place where the owners could push design boundaries. The property’s sizable layout and stunning lakeside views also made it ideal for entertaining.

“In addition to a gorgeous master suite, the home features three bedrooms upstairs, with twin-over-full bunk beds in each, allowing up to 11 people to sleep on the top floor,” says Van’t Hull. “The lower level features 10 bunk beds and two trundle beds. The entire house can sleep 23 people easily.”

Bright ideas

Once the family agreed on a casual and coastal look – “Minnesota lake life is all about a casual and playful environment,” says Van’t Hull – the designer went full throttle on color.

She chose Benjamin Moore’s Bunker Hill Green, a muted take on the traditionally bright Kelly green, for the sleek kitchen cabinets. “It’s a natural choice, especially since the kitchen wasn’t the family’s everyday kitchen,” says the designer.

Planning the kitchen was easy, but maximizing the sleeping quarters and creating a user-friendly space that could accommodate several children at once proved to be more of a challenge. After gathering inspirational images, Van’t Hull to her problem to her brother, a custom cabinet- and furniture-maker based in New Orleans.

“We worked together to finalize the design for the space, which includes a cubby inside each bed for a light fixture and room to set down a glass of water or plug in a phone,” she says. The result is one of the most inviting – and incredibly stylish – bunk beds we’ve ever seen.

Van’t Hull went similarly bold in the bathrooms, installing a trough-style sink from Kohler in one of the larger spaces, which she expects will get plenty of use in the summertime.

She fashioned the upstairs powder room in a “preppy Americana look,” with a lipstick-red cabinet and white-and-navy striped wallpaper. With its classic white marble countertop, the cabinet feels unexpected, yet it somehow ties it all together.

“Often good design employs an eclectic mix of things both modern and old,” Van’t Hull notes. In the end, she says it’s all about balance.

Take the full home tour:

Get the look at home

Van’t Hull shares her tips to get an eye-catching look in your own home.

  • Be bold. That is, if you have the guts to follow through with your vision. “This will keep your home from looking mundane or typical,” the designer says, and in the end, it will be what stands out most. Van’t Hull says one of the touches she’s most proud of is adding several vibrant rugs throughout the home.
  • Get inspired. “Look for inspirational images to either emulate or share with your designer,” says Van’t Hull. It’ll help you define your vision and better explain your goals.
  • Have fun. “Acquire things that make you happy and tell a piece of your story,” says Van’t Hull. The Fay + Belle rug was rescued, bleached, cleaned, then overdyed in an eye-catching turquoise color. Now, the authentic accessory has a new lease on life, far from its origins in Nepal and Turkey.

See more home design inspiration on Zillow Digs.

Photos by Troy Thies Photography


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The Simple Tricks to Make Your Customers Say Yes

Want to lure your customer towards purchasing your product without acting like a typical salesperson? Here are some of the tricks to help you make your customer accept your request, naturally.  

For every second in their 8 to 12 hour per day job, sales people are selling something. It’s their job to make their customer say “yes”, but the point is no matter how much customers would love product, they never like being sold to. What if you make them accept your request in a natural, un-salesy way?

Robert B. Cialdini, a renowned psychologist and marketing specialist, in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion has presented six principles of persuasion. These tips are very effective for the marketers and here in this post, I am going to elaborate all the principles individually.

1. Reciprocity

This entails the desire of people to reciprocate when something good is done to them. They feel indebted to the doers until they return the favor. All that sales people have to do is to take the first step. Give them anything valuable: information, free samples, gifts, or simply a positive experience> They’ll return your favor by following the desired action.

Cialdini says, “When customers come into a candy store if they’re given a chocolate at the beginning, they are 42% more likely to buy in that store because they feel obligated to give back to someone who has given to them”

People, when receiving a surprise gift, are more prone to listen to your sales pitch, services, tip more money to a waiter, or donate to a cause. You do not need to empty your wallet for the gift. Favors and information can be great.

2. Liking

Have you ever bought an item just because your favorite celeb endorsed it? Many people have. Some credit Nike’s fame and fan following to celebrity endorsements in its advertisements. The usage of company’s slogan “Improve your game with Nikefootball. Are you ready for the elite?” accompanied by the collage of 50 famous football players from various International teams on every box took its liking to the next level.

The main idea is that people are more inclined to buy from people they like; it’s one of the reasons why celebrities are brand ambassadors of famous brands.

Besides liking, acquaintance can be useful too. In 2005, Randy Garner sent surveys to people he didn’t know, requesting that recipients return them. The results reported that the recipients with a similar-sounding name were twice more likely to fill out the survey versus those with different sounding names.

Now, how would you make your prospect like you?

One of the things you can do, according to Cialdini, is to find the common ground with your customer. Discover valued characteristics about your customer and express your respect towards them. This will help you get your customers’ attention and you’ll soon find your customers echoing them back to you.

Takeaway: Try to be positive with your customers. Don’t defame your competitors, when promoting your services or highlight anything bad that has been occurred within the industry.

“There is a natural human tendency to dislike a person who brings us unpleasant information, even when that person did not cause the bad news. The simple association with it is enough to stimulate our dislike.” 

― Robert B. CialdiniInfluence: The Psychology of Persuasion


3. Authority:

People want to buy from actual experts. Your customer would be more prone to say yes when you justify what you’re selling with evidence of your integrity, credentials, and competency. Prove that your product is worth buying, and that it has been serving your present customers well.

How would you look authoritative? A prolonged client-base wouldn’t do it alone. You should have a professional appearance and percept as well. Impressive business names and professional attire are effective in making you look more credible and increase the probabilities for your customers to accept the requests.


4. Social proof:


how to help your customers say yes


People like what others like. Have you ever thought why retailers like Amazon, eBay, or Home Depot highlight their bestselling products on the website? It’s because showing the products that are sold the most creates an emotional response with many website visitors. It even lures some of the confused visitors to convert. That is what we call social proof.

Why does this work? When people are confused as to whether they should act in a certain way or not, they observe what others are doing in the same situation.

I worked as an online chat agent and sales correspondent for two years in a design agency. My job demanded me to deal with many different clients every day. Jane was one of my sweetest clients. A few months after the completion of her project, out of nowhere, she requested a refund for the logo design I sold to her (because her new business partner felt that the design is not appealing). A negative social review.

Since her project had been successfully completed, I knew she wouldn’t get a refund from the company. I didn’t want to break this news to her, so I tried to solve the problem on my own and told her that her design is so amazing (that it actually was). I further added that I used her logo as recent work to impress many of my clients and achieved my sales target, eventually.

P.S. It was not a malicious attempt; her logo was actually a masterpiece.

Result: Jane started to find her logo appealing once again just because it was being socially admired and I retain my friendly association with her.


5. Scarcity:

Make your product a limited edition, or soon-to-be scarce. The less there is of your product, the more valuable it will be considered. The reason why you get so many emails from companies promoting their “limited time offers” is that people want to get things that wouldn’t be available anymore to others in future. The strategy works even if companies keep on presenting the same offer month after month after month!

Phrases like “Don’t miss this opportunity…”, “our offer is ending soon”, “Here’s something you’ll miss out soon…” can be helpful. You can also apply restraints over the supply, like free or X% Off on memberships for the first 100 applicants.

If your product is different from others that are already ruling the market, try to emphasize its unique traits to increase the impression of its scarcity.


6. Commitment and consistency:

Customers say yes when they observe commitment and consistency in your words, attitudes, and actions. You should act in line with what you have already done or said publicly.

If you make a commitment and stay consistently great in fulfilling those commitments, you made customers trust you. The commitments can be about anything like delivering quality services, meeting expectations, sticking to deadlines, just to name a few.

The reason why upselling to a previous, satisfied customer is easy because they believe that their experience with your company will be as good as the previous one. Similarly, unsatisfied clients won’t buy from you. That is the power of consistency.

Go for the little commitments at first and then earn your customer’s trust by keeping up the consistency. For instance, if you run a shop that houses different types of furniture, ask your prospects to complete a simple questionnaire to gauge their interest. Maybe they prefer comfort over price or the other way round. You can use the findings to adjust your commitments to them. For the comfort advocates, you can promise highly comfortable and cushiony sofas. Similarly, for those looking for affordability, you can guarantee the best-priced chairs and cabinets. Once you have made the commitment, you can fortify it to make large-scale offers.


To sum up

We are living in a world full of sales people using baffling sales pitches. It’s time to be simple now. Sales is all about storytelling but make sure your story is comprehensive, short, influential and, most importantly, true. It’s much to ask from a simple story to be all this, but you can take baby steps towards incorporating these tips, tricks, hacks, strategies or whatever you call them in your practices. If you know more tips that are effective in persuading your customers to say yes, do share them with us in the comments below.

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The post The Simple Tricks to Make Your Customers Say Yes appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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Quiz: What Type of Bar Should You Build in Your Home?

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Top image courtesy of Martha O’Hara Interiors
Quiz images from ShutterStock, except: opening image (from Zillow listing); backyard images – beach from Zillow listing, putting green from Zillow listing , outdoor kitchen from Zillow listing, woods from Zillow listing; extra room images – billards room from Zillow listing, gym from Zillow listing, theater from Zillow listing, library courtesy of Archia Homes; pool images – hot tub from Zillow listing, grotto courtesy of All Oregon Landscaping, infinity edge from Zillow listing, indoor from Zillow listing.


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Hermione’s Time Turner: How to Find Time for Everything

If you are a Harry Potter fan, you probably know that Hermione Granger used a magical time-turner to attend more classes and ‘save more than one innocent life’, as Dumbledore said. Even though most of us would never use it to attend more classes, it is no secret that all of us wish to have such tool in our lives.

What would you do if you had the ability to turn back time? Perhaps you want to experience two things that take place at the same time or missed an important meeting in the past. Some of us simply want a time turner to get back to times where we felt happiest.

However, we are not Hermione and, unfortunately, are not part of the wizarding community. Therefore, you should learn to do everything that is in a muggle’s power to find time for things you consider important.


1. Plan your time

There are many things you can do to plan your time properly, but we decided to pick the most popular ones to get you on the right track:


Circular Diagram

Originally invented for the world of economy, the circular diagram is currently very popular among students in Asia. If you find it hard to plan your time and finish your tasks within the set deadlines, try out this popular time-planning method.



A time-planner or to-do list can certainly make an order from your mess of a schedule. You cannot turn back time, but can certainly do most of it and what better way to do this than by writing it all down?


Franklin Covey system

Have you heard of the Franklin Covey system? This is a very simple, yet highly effective way to organize your time by setting tasks according to priorities and urgency.

Planning your time by using these systems is not difficult at all. Once you learn how to do this, you are one step closer to Hermione’s achievement (if that were even possible for us muggles).


2. Pick your priorities

As the Franklin Covey system suggests, people must set their priorities to use time wisely. Time is rushing by and there is no way to stop it, which is why you must learn how to get the best out of it before it is too late.

Once you get an important thing done, you will have more motivation to continue with the remaining of your daily, weekly or monthly tasks and goals.


3. Take drastic measures

There is something you can do as Hermione does – take drastic measures to achieve your goals. Was there ever a time that Hermione forgot about her school tasks or did not read the assigned book? If you want to get something done, there is no room for fooling around or procrastinating things of high importance.


4. Limit your internet time

Wizards do not use the internet and social media for a reason and this reason is quite obvious – internet surfing is one of the biggest useless time-consumers. Imagine what would happen if Harry Potter was looking for ways to fight Voldermort online or looked for the Chamber of Secrets on Google Maps?

As technology advances, we are becoming more and more addicted to the Internet, which is why you have to follow their example. The Internet is an advantage since we are not magical, but try to limit the usage to get more time to finish the tasks.


5. Don’t forget to rest

No one can function at their best unless they are rested. For this reason, you have to take the time and give your brain some rest before getting on the following tasks.

When you start feeling tired, take a small break to refresh your mind. Being tired can only slow down your actions and is definitely not a productive way to finish your tasks.


Finite incantatum

You may not have Hermione’s time turner, but you certainly do not have to rush around all day to finish every task. If you learn to manage your time properly, you can finish everything in time and achieve your goal without saying afterwards ‘I wish I had a time turner.’

What’s your favorite way to manage your time. Tell us your secrets in the comments below.

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The post Hermione’s Time Turner: How to Find Time for Everything appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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Belly Up to Your Own Home Bar: Our How-to Guide

A home bar can up your entertaining game and transform your social life, making your abode the coolest one on the block. Of course, a home bar can also be where you mix yourself a nice drink after a long day at work.

From a small wet bar tucked into a nook to an oversized freestanding bar, there are plenty of options for creating a watering hole in your home. Here’s how to get started.

Consider the placement

First, consider your floor plan. Determine if you have the space, and consider the rooms you entertain in. Do friends and family congregate in the living room? Or are the kitchen and dining room the social hubs?

If you want to install an ice maker or sink in your wet bar, you want to build it where there’s existing plumbing – perhaps on the backside of your kitchen or near a powder room.

“I say skip the sink, because it limits your counter space and makes the project more expensive,” says Richmond, VA, interior decorator Lesley Glotzl. She notes that not many homeowners use wet-bar sinks for washing hands and glassware, and the space can be put to better use.

Glotzl, who has rehabbed several clients’ wet bars, suggests maximizing your counter space, and in lieu of a sink, use plumbing for an ice maker. If you are a cocktail connoisseur, an ice maker will be more useful than a sink.

“What’s fun about a home bar is you can do it very affordably,” says Glotzl. She recommends building a wet bar when doing a kitchen or bath renovation, because it’s more cost-effective and an easy project to tack on when you already have someone designing cabinets and countertops.

Photo from Zillow listing

Fine-tune the details

A wet bar can be as simple as a piece of cabinetry with a countertop, upper cabinets, or shelves. If you want to get fancy, add appliances like an ice maker and refrigerator.

Cabinetry below hides plumbing and tucks away bar tools, while open shelving above the bar is a fun option for showing off fancy cocktail glasses and a collection of spirits.

Glotzl notes that a mirrored backsplash is worth considering, because it makes a wet-bar nook seem larger, while reflecting light back into the room. Glotzl recommends textured vinyl wallpapers by companies like Osborne & Little or Thibaut as another fun backsplash option. “The wallpapers are durable, and give the bar a little pop,” she says.

Don’t be afraid to get adventurous and creative. Add drama by painting cabinetry a bright color, or add a high-gloss lacquer finish. You can make a bold statement in a small space.

Hang a funky pendant light or mount two sconces to showcase your small saloon. Glotzl notes that lighting is essential, because it helps to highlight and frame the space.

Photo courtesy of Martha O’Hara Interiors

Get fancy

If you’re looking to up your game, you can add specialty appliances like dual-zone refrigerators. “What’s nice about ice makers, wine coolers, and beverage refrigerators is that they are a standard size,” says Glotzl. “You can just pop it into place like a cabinet.” So, no need to worry about installation –  just move it into place and plug it in.

For a small-scale wet bar, go straight to a kitchen design company, or coordinate it yourself by hiring a handyperson, electrician, and plumber.

On the other hand, if you want to go big and turn an entire room into a bar, or create a custom wet bar with unique appliances and restaurant-grade equipment like beer and wine taps, that’s another story. For a high-end bar with modern accouterments, you’ll need to call on a company like Wallace & Hinz, which specializes in custom bars for restaurants, clubs, and residences.

Photo from Zillow listing

“When you really look at the home bar, it’s much more difficult to create than a commercial bar, because it’s usually for a smaller space, and you want as much as you can get packed into that little space,” says Tom Tellez, CEO at Wallace & Hinz. “They can be far more complicated, and there’s room for error.”

For homeowners who request high-end dishwashers, refrigerators, and ice machines that all need to be tucked under the bar, Tellez recommends appliances from Perlick Corporation, because they specialize in beverage equipment like wine reserves, dual-zone refrigerators, and beer dispensers.

If space is tight, Tellez says the company sometimes sources tiny appliances that are traditionally used on yachts or in motorhomes. Companies like Furrion or Westland manufacture pint-sized appliances that will save your bar some inches.

“There’s the architectural side of what it looks like and feels like, then there’s how you’re going to fit everything in so that it’s seamless and operates efficiently with all your plumbing and electricity,” says Tellez.

Along with the functional aspect of bars, Tellez’s company designs the look of them, too, taking into account millwork and details like shelving and foot rails.

Photo from Zillow listing

Get inspired

Rick Magnuson called on Wallace & Hinz to transform the front parlor of his Los Altos, CA, home into a bar. After living in the 1920s farmhouse for three decades and only using the parlor a handful of times, he and his wife, Amy, decided the room was wasted space. The couple wanted a place where they could spend time with friends and family, and Amy had a lightbulb moment to add a bar in their home. “We didn’t want to put a bar in the room; we wanted to make the room a bar,” Magnuson notes.

The Magnusons got in touch with Tellez and requested a custom mahogany bar with carved details, shelves to display glassware and bottles, a handful of barstools, a mirrored backsplash, LED lights, a dishwasher, refrigerator, ice maker, and two beer taps that are now kegged with Sierra Nevada and Trumer Pilsner. They wanted their entire 16-by-20-foot front room to be transformed into a pub.

Tellez took detailed measurements of the room and discussed its layout with the Magnusons. A CAD drawing was created, and after several back-and-forths, the Magnusons finalized the design. Tellez took two to three months to build the entire room and bar in his Blue Lake, CA, workshop, then disassembled it and drove it to the Magnusons’ home, where he installed the bar, which took around a week of 10- to 12-hour shifts.

Before the bar installation, Magnuson had the parlor drywall demolished, so Tellez could install not just the bar, but custom millwork throughout the room, too, from the wainscoting to the window trim and the bar back cabinetry and shelving.

The Magnusons’ home bar is now dubbed “The Wasted Space,” a nod to their unused parlor and the drinking that now happens in their transformed space.

Do it yourself: How to hack the home bar

If you fancy yourself a skilled DIYer and don’t want to break the bank, consider these options:

$ Bookshelf bar
An existing built-in bookshelf is an easy and affordable route for creating a bar. Add cabinet doors to the bottom as a place to tuck away bar tools. Adjust shelving to create plenty of space for a tray, ice bucket, and spirits.

If you feel adventurous, apply an adhesive wallpaper to the backside for a pop of color or pattern. If you need lighting, simply add Light Tape or adhesive battery-operated LED lights. Use existing shelving to display pretty glassware. And finally, style your bookshelf with any other accessories that pull your bar together.

$$ Repurposed furniture bar

In lieu of a bar cart, repurpose an unused console, record cabinet, or secretary desk into a bar. Bring the piece of furniture back to life with a coat of paint or a fun finish. Above the bar, add wall-mounted shelving from Restoration Hardware or CB2 to display your stockpile of spirits, along with sculptural glasses like coupes, highballs, and whiskey tumblers.

Photo courtesy of Michele Safra Interiors

$$$ Salvaged cabinetry bar

Glotzl recommends salvaging a cabinet from a kitchen renovation company or a place like Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Give the cabinet a fresh coat of paint, and for a custom look, top it off with a countertop remnant from a stone company.

$$$$ Cloistered bar

A closet is the perfect place to tuck away a bar. Glotzl recommends removing the door and molding, along with the drywall from the doorway to the ceiling, to create a seamless notch in the room.

“The problem with using the closet is, it’s going to be deep and not a standard size,” says Glotzl. For this, you need precise measurements to ensure that your cabinetry and countertops fit snuggly. From there, you can accessorize the space with bracketed shelving and a fun pendant light to illuminate your new favorite drinking spot.

See more bar design inspiration on Zillow Digs.

Top image from Zillow listing


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Boost Your Social Automation With Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the bigger things that’s just starting to hit mainstream marketing. The early adopters who have been a bit ahead of the game have been integrating it into their activities. But what exactly is artificial intelligence in the marketing world?

AI can take many forms in marketing:

  • Predictive analytics
  • Chatbots
  • Recommended purchases (via machine learning)
  • Social media algorithms

Basically, these overarching functions help shave time off the mundane parts of marketing – just like marketing automation is supposed to do. But, a little differently than automation, of course. It can even help save social media marketers some time.

But social media is supposed to be the antithesis of AI, right? It’s supposed to be human at its core. Well, yes, you want social media to be authentic above all else. But social automation has some fingers dipped into AI as well.

So, here’s where things get tricky. Because we know that social media automation has some great uses:

  • Scheduling posts
  • Social listening
  • Initiating campaigns

But social media automation has some big risks, too. Things like sounding robotic in automated replies, or automated replies being inappropriate to the situation. Adding AI into this mix, when done well, can help mitigate some of those risks. But it can never, ever replace human interaction. Be prepared to respond personally to any conversation you start on social media, no matter how you start it.


How AI can boost social automation

AI has already snuck into social media, very subtly. Social media marketers might not even consider this AI, but in reality, it is. And the bigger pieces point to some huge potential for social automation.


1. Finding the “best time” to post to social channels.

This is already here – how else does your social scheduling solution know when the best time is? But there’s even “smarter” scheduling than you might see in your favorite social scheduling software. Meet Yala. (Hi, Yala.) She’s a clever piece of software who can schedule your social posts, but also learn when to schedule your posts to when your audience will be most engaged… and she’ll adjust your posting schedule as your audience evolves. She uses machine learning to improve your scheduling with every post.


2. Predictive analytics.

Predictive, really? Yep. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a good idea of which posts will perform the best for you? The data team at the New York Times build a slackbot (called Blossom) to do that – it predicts which stories have the most potential to go viral.  A part of the Social Bakers analytics suite can predict which organic content to promote based on predicted future performance. This is all based on an analysis of what kind of posts have done well for your company in the past, coupled with what kind of content your audience likes, so the software can predict how different kinds of content will perform.


3. Assistance with writing posts

What’s one of the things that we humans can bring to marketing? Creativity! So we can count on AI never putting creative types out of a job… but even we need help with understanding if a piece of creative is going to be effective or not. Enter AI. CoSchedule has an analyzer for both headlines and social messages (two of my go-to tools) to help write engaging copy for the relevant media.

There’s also a tool called Pi, from Post Intelligence that learns how you post, what your audience likes the most, and then finds that kind of content for you. It can even start to write short posts for you in your brand voice.


4. Facial recognition

From a user perspective, this can sound creepy, but from a marketer’s perspective, it’s pretty cool. Say you’re a brick & mortar store of some sort, like a restaurant. A guest posts a photo at your place of business, and tags you or checks in there on social media. Imagine the facial recognition feature of Facebook AI giving you the opportunity to retarget this user with a coupon, to help inspire repeat business. Or, looking to the future, using the emotional detection and content delivery mechanism that Facebook is working on – to deliver specific content to your audience members based on their moods. There are lots of ways to capitalize on an audience mood – from buying things based on something you’re celebrating (adopting a pet, having a baby), of if you’re feeling a little down (retail therapy).


5. Surfacing the most important conversations

Say what, now? Well, this is best described as acting like a spam filter for social media. Lots of conversations happen, but how many of them are genuine conversations that deserve response? And how many of them are just posts from bots? Who’s looking for help, and who’s entering your contest? And AI can help you prioritize those legitimate users. But AI cannot help you actually respond to them – it’s still our job to do what we do best: be human.


In conclusion

AI can be a tremendous tool for social media marketing. Pair it with good ol’ human-powered innovation and creativity, and you’ve got a powerhouse ready to work for you. The possibilities are endless.

Have you started using AI to boost your social media efforts? Tell us about it in the comments below.

boost social automation with artificial intelligence

The post Boost Your Social Automation With Artificial Intelligence appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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