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  • How Business Execs Can Save Time

    Time is one of the most valuable resources available to business execs, but sadly it is the resource that is often the scarcest and most overlooked. Yet, time is one of the easiest and least expensive resources to replenish. As busy executives and leaders, we often say I don’t have time to fit one more meeting into my schedule, review that report, or resolve that conflict on my management team. But, not having time is costing you money, jeopardizing relationships, and impeding your path to progress. As a member of the executive leadership team, you are the face of the organization. What you do and how you do it is closely watched by internal and external stakeholders. Balancing time between these groups can feel like quite the juggling act. The First Step in Freeing Up Time Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, but it is a necessary first step. As a leader, you must take a hard look at every activity on your schedule. You must see the big picture and understand where all of your time is being spent before you can free up minutes from your day. This may seem like a daunting task, but there are 1440 minutes in each day. If you find yourself working 7 days a week, that equates to 10,080 minutes. Every minute counts and can be re-allocated towards another task, meeting, or discussion that makes more sense, increases productivity, leads you closer to success and allows for a better work/life balance. Have To Do vs. Nice To Do When analyzing activities, schedules and calendars, it is important to ask yourself the following questions. What on the list MUST be done and is vital to the organization? What purpose does it serve? What can be eliminated or delegated to someone else? How much time does each action take in relation to the 1440 minutes in each day? Too often, we hear the words … we do it this way because we have always done it this way. But, that doesn’t mean it’s the right way or that the function needs to continue. As business execs, we often inherit habits from a predecessor that may no longer be necessary. Taking a deep dive into all activities, will allow you to adjust, eliminate and re-assign activities as needed and will start to free up your time. Blocking Out Time Between attending meetings, responding to emails, giving presentations, and performing key job functions, it often feels like there is not enough time in the day. But once you have gone through the have to do vs. nice to do process, the next step is to start blocking out time for those key functions. Emails are one of the biggest zappers of time for many execs. The average exec can receive hundreds of emails per day and that number varies by industry, organization size and a myriad of other factors. They are distracting and can steer even the most focused executive into a never-ending, tangent. Blocking out time to read and respond to emails is one way to use time effectively to accomplish a necessary task. It’s not always possible because issues come up unexpectedly but establishing set meeting times during the week blocks time for other functions. This will also help to free up your time, so you are prepared for the unexpected. Another question to ask is – does every meeting need to be face-to-face or can video conferencing be used to spare commute time? Set times for your meetings and stick to that time. If the time is going over what is scheduled, table the issue. This will help members of your executive team and staff learn to adhere to the scheduled time parameters. Also, encourage your executive team to not only present the problem but identify a possible solution to help reduce unnecessary discussion. Finally, there should always be a note taker or someone on the team who can recap the highlights of the meeting and agreed upon deliverables so there is no room for confusion in the future. Recapping and assigning responsibility is one of the most effective ways to save time so it can be re-focused on more important issues. Creating focus time and blocking time in your calendar to concentrate may sound a bit common sensical, but it’s important. As executives, we need time to think and strategize. If it’s not set in the schedule, then another activity will take its place. The important take away here is to remember that a to-do, no matter how big or small, will probably not get done unless it’s tied to a when. Blocking out your calendar protects you and your time which is one of your most valuable resources. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate You need an effective team that works together because you need to delegate responsibilities to free your time. One person can’t do everything! But, you need a good team in order to delegate responsibilities. Do you really need to read every single email or can someone on your executive team help you sift through the minutia? Is it imperative that you attend every single meeting, or can you send a delegate from your executive team? Can you outsource certain tasks to an external company to free up your time and let an expert handle what needs to get done? Creating a Work/Life Balance There is work that you complete during the day and those other tasks and events that occur outside of the “normal” workday. Most execs are active in their community or serve on the board of other organizations to foster good community relationships. But, how much time is that taking and are you using that time wisely and effectively? Do you have to serve on more than one board? Assessing how time is being spent and re-allocating time toward more productive enterprises will allow you to plan accordingly. It’s also important to carve out personal time for fun activities and necessities, like sleep. And, yes sometimes we are so busy even sleep needs to be scheduled. Lack of sleep and stress can lead to costly mistakes which will zap even more of your time. Not having time to eat properly or exercise regularly can also lead to future medical issues which will wreak even more havoc on your schedule. Knowing When It’s Time to Hire a Professional Being an executive is mentally and physically exhausting. Carving out time now and planning ahead allows us to be proactive as opposed to reactive. Not having the time to plan ahead, impedes our path to progress. Everyone needs a little help sometimes! At BrandStar, we bring you the highest level of support to see what you cannot see. To learn how you can utilize our services to regain time from your busy schedule and pave the way to success, get in touch today to start the conversation. To learn more about our time management systems and tech enabled products, services and workflow strategies, please contact us HERE or call (844) 200-2525.

  • Email Lead Generation: Building An Opt-in List Vs. Buying A Rented List

    Email marketing continues to be a vital component of any promotional strategy and is a quick way to reach your audience. Thanks to smart phone technology, we all have access to our email inboxes 24/7 and can check our email messages anytime and anywhere which means your customers and potential customers are merely a finger swipe away. The key to reaching them is to first grow your audience and then cut through the hundreds of emails that they are receiving from work, other businesses, competitors, family, and friends. It’s not easy but capturing and growing your audience is a necessary first step. The main question that many of us have is … how? Growing Your Audience Your marketing department may have just produced the most creative email blast to ever be seen, but if you’re not sending it to the right people then all of that hard work will go unnoticed. Or worse, your email will be considered spam and sent to the depths of email hell, otherwise known as the junk folder. Gone are the days of hanging door knockers and handing out flyers to passers by in hopes that they will return at a later time to make a purchase. Social media and technology have revolutionized lead generation and have given us a faster and quicker way to capture those leads, disseminate information, and get the sale, but this also brings up the debate over quality versus quantity. You want the maximum number of leads possible, but you also don’t want to waste your email marketing efforts on junk leads either. One area, in particular, that receives much debate is whether to build an organic opt-in list or buy a rented list from a third party. There are pros and cons to each. The decision really depends on how much time and resources you have to devote to growing your list. Here are a few things to help you make your decision: Pros And Cons Of Building An Opt-in List Pros Likeability – An opt-in list consists of people who like you or want to hear more from you. Your opt-in list may be comprised of current customers, former customers, repeat customers or future customers. Permission – An opt-in list is comprised of people who gave you permission to reach out to them again in the future. Acceptance – An opt-in list is not only open to receiving future messages, but they may even be looking out for future sales, events, promotions or new product launches. Owner Privileges – You own the opt-in list and make decisions on what is sent to your opt-in list, when it is sent, and who will receive your email blasts. All email marketing decisions are in your court. Cons Time – Creating an opt-in list takes time and patience to grow and may not yield immediate results or sales. Resources – Depending on the size of your organization, a dedicated person or an entire department may be needed to grow a robust and effective email marketing list. If you’re a one-person show, you may need to consider calling in the experts. Knowledge – Someone on your team will need to be an expert on cleansing and analyzing data and understand the terminology to determine if your open rates and click thru rates are optimal. Pros And Cons Of Buying Or Renting An Email List Pros Availability – A purchased list is ready to go. You can start your email marketing campaign efforts almost immediately. Saves Time and Effort – A purchased list has been cleansed and the accuracy of email addresses has been verified. Re-Focus Resources – Using a purchased list allows you to focus your efforts and attention on the day-to-day operations of your organization. Let the experts do their thing so you can do the same. Scaleability – A purchased email list from a third party has the ability to grow quickly, and the resources to continue that growth which will help to increase the reach of future email marketing campaigns. New Customers – A purchased email list allows you to reach a large number of potential customers quickly who may not have been reachable with a more organic marketing approach. Analysis – If you are purchasing a list and utilizing the services that a third party offers, then you have help identifying and streamlining your target market, as well as help to analyze delivery results and overall effectiveness of the email marketing campaign. Cons Ownership – You do not own the list. Someone else does. You may not even be able to see the list of names your email marketing campaigns are targeting and may be going in blind. Non-Exclusivity – A purchased list can also be bought by other companies which means your email marketing campaigns are competing for attention from other businesses, including your competition. Increased Clutter – Because you can’t control the timing or content of other email blasts being sent to this list, you have to hope that your email campaign stands out among the clutter. Quality – The quality of email addresses and how they are obtained is a common concern. If email addresses are collected from an event, sweepstakes or special promotion, they can often be junk email addresses and a waste of email marketing efforts. Fine Print – Beware of the fine print that states “sign up to receive updates from us and our partners that we think you’ll like.” The customer may not like or want to receive your special offers and promotions and will mark your email blast as spam and block your email message which can create larger issues. Reputation – Some third parties, email harvest and use bots or hire low-wage workers to scour the Internet collecting addresses. Some of these companies do not adhere to Internet Service Provider (ISP) guidelines and are more likely to have higher bounce rates, lower open rates and be categorized as spam. When purchasing a list, do your research and choose wisely. Email Strategy And Knowing When To Ask For Help Lead generation, whether building an opt-in list or buying a rented list, is an essential first step to any effective email marketing campaign. Once that process is underway, there are a host of other elements to consider, like building effective creative, determining the best email delivery times, identifying the right number of emails to send and analyzing click through and open rates. If you don’t have an entire marketing team devoted to email campaigns, then stick with us at BrandStar where we vow to help you understand and cut through the clutter. We work with you to identify your ideal customer profile and build real-time lists that provide an ongoing source for all of your marketing efforts. To learn more about our lead generation services and strategies, please contact us HERE or call (844) 200-2525.

  • Need a Simple, Yet Effective Website?

    Chances are if you meet a potential or prospective client, the first question they will ask you is if you have a website. Years ago, the business card was the gold standard, the calling card if you will, to introduce your business to the public. While it’s still important to have that traditional business card, it’s also imperative that you have kept up with the times and have a website to promote your business as well. Here are the top 10 reasons why your business needs a simple, yet effective website. #1- Extend Your Reach Creating and maintaining a website allows you to extend your reach and contact more people than you could through word-of-mouth advertising or traditional methods. A website also helps to break geographic boundaries and allows you to extend your reach to generate more leads. Reaching customers that normally could not be reached is the beauty and number one advantage of creating a website. #2- Create A Lasting, First Impression Because your website is often the very first place a client will visit, this could be your only chance to make an impression and provide visitors with vital information. It also gives credibility, and a business with an established website conveys a sense of trust. A good first impression is key because it helps you stand out from the competition and ultimately helps to make a lasting impression that converts to sales. #3- Fulfills The Need For Immediate Gratification We are a society that has information available to us at the touch of a finger. So, when we want information, we want it fast and we want it now. Whether it be the price of a particular product or service, store locations, or product descriptions, we don’t have time to wait. A website provides information quickly so customers can make buying decisions faster. #4- 24/7 Accessibility Not only do we need immediate gratification, but as a society we want what we want … when we want it. A store front or an office building can only be open for so long, but a website allows your business to be open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week so a customer can shop or browse your services at any time. A website extends our reach beyond the constraints of opening and closing times and enables us to meet customer needs. #5- Covid Friendly If this year has taught us anything, it’s that a business that can operate remotely has an advantage in surviving during a pandemic. Social distancing has limited visitors in stores and office spaces, state regulations have prevented certain establishments from operating and quarantining has affected our ability to travel to traditional brick and mortar locations. Any organization that could reach out to new customers, stay in contact with existing customers and conduct business through a website are more likely to thrive. #6- Stay In Constant Communication An effective website allows us to continue to communicate even when official operating hours are over. Visitors can get updates on upcoming sales, policy changes, special promotions and additional products or services. A contact us page on a website is a valuable tool to collect data on new leads and potential future customers. #7- Establish Authority Having a website gives you a voice in the marketplace. It allows you to establish your knowledge, your authority and your expertise. Your website also creates a platform to convey that authority. Through blogs and testimonials from existing customers, you can establish and continue that authority far into the future. #8- Relatively Low Marketing Costs Creating an effective website doesn’t have to break the bank or the marketing budget. There are many website tools on the market today that will allow you to create a simple yet, effective website. Of course, you can leave it up to the professionals and delegate that responsibility. But, it doesn’t have to be difficult. A few hundred dollars will get you a domain name and a host provider which will allow you to create your presence in the marketplace. #9- Mobile Friendly Most of us don’t go anywhere without our smartphones which is why ensuring our website is mobile friendly is vital. One of the most popular times to search for a company website is when we are out and about. Having an established website, when customers are searching for a desired business nearby is the key to capturing your ideal target audience. #10- Not Having A Website Could Be Detrimental Not having a website may signal to potential customers that you lack resources, and it could affect credibility and professionalism. This could steer them away and send them to the competition. Plus, for anyone looking for information about your business, not finding your website is annoying. In today’s world, a business website is expected. As a business, you need to capture that need for immediate gratification and if you can’t, it could mean lost business. Bonus Tip – Keep It Simple These days, we are surrounded by clutter from every angle. Competitors, the media, other sites, social media – information is everywhere. In order to gain respect and attention, we need to keep it simple. If you decide to create a website on your own, a minimalistic approach is trending. White space that includes only the pertinent information is your best friend. The K.I.S.S., method as silly as it may seem , is the solution. Keeping it simple to let your customers focus on what’s important is key. Here are a few other tips that can help you keep your website simple, yet effective: Maximize White Space to Your Advantage – Make a Statement! Use Bold Colors but Don’t Overwhelm – Maximize Impact! Don’t Use Too Many Words – Avoid Clutter! Avoid Hidden Details – Make Sure Information is Easy to Find! Knowing When To Call In The Experts Many businesses are focused on the day-to-day and don’t have time to learn complicated applications that teach us how to create a website. And, that’s ok! This is when it’s time to focus on what you need to focus on and let the experts do the hard part. At BrandStar Tech, our goal is to help you grow bigger, better and faster. We would love to learn more about your business to discuss how we can help you accomplish your goals and create your success story. To learn more about our web and app development services, please contact us HERE or call (844) 200-2525.

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    BrandStar.TV Website Redesign 2022 BrandStar.TV BrandStar.TV is an OTT streaming solution for BrandStar Original shows. The shows on BrandStar.TV provide measurable value to brands by educating and attracting new consumers. iLab was tasked with updating the design of BrandStar.TV website. The goal was to simplify the design and put a greater focus on the shows with a more modern, user-friendly design. What was done? • Cleaned up the reCAPTCHA design. • New design utilizes a larger video player above the fold. • Added the current show, episode title and time-frame below the video. • Removed the “block” design and made the whole page white. • Updated the design of the schedule to better emphasize what is “Live” and “Up Next.” • Updated the look and experience of the full schedule pop-up. • Replaced the scrolling image banner of show ads with a functional On Demand selection with the same interaction as BrandStream, a BrandStar.TV affiliate platform. • Replaced the slider of BrandStar Originals with a full grid of show logos. • Put the 'About' content in a modal pop-up to keep the page design clean and focused on the shows. Previous Next

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