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Not Using a Digital Marketing Strategy? Here’s Why You’re Missing Out

Not Using a Digital Marketing Strategy? Here’s Why You’re Missing Out

If you have an online business, and you reach out to customers online, then that means you have a digital marketing strategy, right? Well, not exactly. While any efforts you put in to get the word out about your products or services through internet-based platforms is online marketing, the simple use of these resources doesn’t mean you have a strategy.

Strategy involves planning, analysis, and even metrics. So, simply throwing out a few tweets doesn’t necessarily meet the criteria. And, if you are marketing online without a suitable strategy, you may be missing out on opportunities to grow your business.

Before you add another post or promote another link, here is why it is better to put those tasks aside in favor of creating an actual digital marketing strategy.

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Strategy Supports Focused Efforts

While the general goal of most businesses is to increase sales, often this idea is too broad when it comes to implementation. It doesn’t give you the opportunity to focus your efforts and could lead you to dedicate your time in the wrong direction.

By taking a moment to identify your goals, you can create a plan that makes those specific goals more achievable. For example, signing up to have your ad randomly displayed on other websites does increase your visibility. But, if those ads aren’t reaching the right people, the effort (and possibly money invested in ad placement) is wasted.

For example, if your business revolves around selling women’s clothing, you might not see a lot of benefits if your ads end up on sites dominated by male viewers, like certain technology or sports-oriented sites. While female viewers may also stop by these websites, the likelihood of the ad being presented to a male is higher.

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Instead of casting blindly into the world, it makes more sense to choose an ad service that reaches your target market.

Strategy Creates Cohesiveness                                                                         

If your company has more than just you involved in the decision-making process, creating a strategy ensures everyone is on the same page. Otherwise, you are dealing with a group of individuals who may all be working based on unique priorities. If everyone isn’t working together, then you aren’t getting the most out of your efforts.

Digital marketing strategies create a singular vision regarding company growth. This can help ensure funds are managed properly based on a primary goal, and it allows online activity to be driven by known priorities instead of by personal whims.

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Additionally, you lower the chance of duplicated efforts. For example, if you think a social media marketing campaign can help meet your goal, and a coworker has the same idea, then you both may be spending time and energy working on the exact same thing. Worse, you may be using the same platforms for two different purposes, creating mixed messages or conflicting brand images.

Strategy Promotes Organization

If you have a strategy, you can organize and schedule your efforts. Social media posts or ad campaigns can be released in a supportive manner, allowing each effort to build upon the last. Since you are able to create a full picture of the progress of a digital marketing campaign, you can make sure everything is set up to create optimal results.

Strategy Identifies Shortcomings

Sometimes, we don’t realize what we don’t know until we sit down and look at our strategy as a whole. Unguided digital marketing often results in people defaulting to the mechanisms with which they are the most comfortable, and not necessarily those that could produce the best returns on your investment.

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If you are working on a strategy and realize you aren’t reaching out in all of the ways you could, then you can create a plan for managing those shortcomings. For example, you might decide that working with a digital marketing agency is a smart investment, or you may choose to bring in a consultant to assist.

Often, it is hard to recognize the holes in your approach until you list everything you know and relate those points to your goals. And, by taking the time to do so, you can ensure your digital marketing strategy reaches your ideal market to improve brand awareness and increase sales.

In the end, you’ll develop a strong platform from which to work, and that makes any time spent developing your strategy a worthy investment.

Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com/ via pixabay.com

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Published on July 7, 2020

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Exercise isn’t just for your body. Just as important is keeping your mind strong by training your brain with fun mental workouts.

Think of your mental and physical fitness the same way: you don’t need to be an Olympian, but you do need to stay in shape if you want to live well. A few cognitive workouts per week can make a major difference in your life.

The Skinny on Mental Workouts

Physical fitness boosts your stamina and increases your muscular strength. The benefits of working up a mental sweat and brain training, however, might not be so obvious.

Research suggests that cognitive training has short- and long-term benefits, including:

1. Improved Memory

After eight weeks of cognitive training, 19 arithmetic students showed a larger and more active hippocampus than their peers.[1] The hippocampus is associated with learning and memory.

2. Reduced Stress Levels

Mastering new tasks more quickly makes the work of learning less stressful. A stronger memory can call information to mind with less effort.

3. Improved Work Performance

Learning quickly and remembering key details can lead to a better career. Employers are increasingly hiring for soft skills, such as trainability and attention to detail.

4. Delayed Cognitive Decline

As we age, we experience cognitive decline. A study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 10 one-hour sessions of cognitive training boosted reasoning and information processing speed in adults between the ages of 65 and 94.[2]

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Just like in physical exercise, what’s important isn’t the specific workout. To be sustainable, cognitive workouts need to be easy and fun. Otherwise, it’s too easy to throw in the towel.

Fun Brain Training Exercises for Everyone

The best about fun mental workouts? There’s no need to head to a gym. Feel free to mix and match the following activities for daily brain training:

1. Brainstorming

One of the simplest, easiest ways to engage your brain? Coming up with solutions to a challenge you’re facing.

If you aren’t good at solo ideation, ask a partner to join you. When I’m struggling to come up with topics to write about, I call up my editors to bat ideas around. Friends or co-workers are usually happy to help.

2. Dancing

Isn’t dancing a physical workout? Yes, but the coordination it requires is also great for training your brain. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Studies suggest that dance boosts multiple cognitive skills.[3] Planning, memorizing, organizing, and creativity all seem to benefit from a few fancy steps.

3. Learning a New Language

Learning a new language takes time. But if you split it up into small, daily lessons, it’s easier than you might think.

With language learning, every lesson builds on the last. When I was learning Spanish, I used a tool called Guru for knowledge management.[4] Every time I’d learn a verb tense, I’d create a new card to give me a quick refresh before moving on.

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4. Developing a Hobby

Like languages, hobbies take time to develop. But that’s the fun of them: you get a little better—both at the hobby and in terms of brain function—each time you do them.

If you’re trying to train your brain and improve a certain cognitive skill, choose a hobby that aligns with it.

For example:

  • Attention to detail: Pick a hobby that requires you to work patiently with small features. Woodworking, model-building, sketching, and painting are all good choices.
  • Learning and memory: Choose an activity that requires you to remember lots of details. Your best bets are hobbies that require lots of categorization, such as collecting stamps or coins.
  • Motor function: For this brain function, physical activities can double as fun mental workouts. Sports like soccer and basketball build gross motor functions. Fine motor functions are better trained through activities like table tennis or even playing video games.
  • Problem-solving: Most hobbies require you to problem-solve in one way or another. The ones that test your problem-solving skills the most, however, take some investigation.

Geocaching is a good example: Using a combination of clues and GPS readings, geocaching involves finding and re-hiding containers. Typically done in a wooded area, geocaching is a fun way to put your problem-solving skills to the test.

5. Board Games

Playing a board game might not be much of a physical workout, but it does make for a fun mental workout. With that said, not all board games work equally well for cognitive training.

Avoid “no brainer” board games, like Candy Land. Opt for strategy-focused ones, such as Risk or Settlers of Catan. Remember to ask other players for their input.

6. Card Games

Card games build cognitive skills in much the same way board games do. They have a few extra advantages, though, that make them worthy of special attention.

A deck of cards is inexpensive and can be played anywhere, from a kitchen to an airplane. More importantly, a deck of cards opens the door to dozens of different games. Challenge yourself to learn a few in an afternoon.

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7. Puzzles

Puzzles are great tools for building a specific cognitive skill: visuospatial function. Visuospatial function is important to train because it’s one of the first abilities to slip in people struggling with cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.[5]

Choose a puzzle you’ll stick with. There’s no shame in starting with a 500-piece puzzle or choosing one that makes a childish image.

8. Playing Music

Listening to music is a great way to unwind. But playing music goes one step further. On top of entertaining you, it makes for a fun mental workout.

Again, choose an instrument you know you’ll stick with. If you’ve always wanted to learn the violin, don’t get a guitar because it’s less expensive or easier to pick up.

What if you can’t afford an instrument? Sing. Learning to control your voice is every bit as challenging as making a set of keys or strings sound good.

9. Meditating

Not all cognitive exercises are loud, in-your-face activities. Some of the most fun mental workouts, in fact, are quiet, solo activities. Meditating can help you focus, especially if you have pre-existing attention issues.

Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never meditated before. It’s easy:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes, or for however long you have to meditate.
  • Close your eyes or turn off the lights.
  • Focus on your breathing. Do not try to control it.
  • If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to your breath.
  • When the timer goes off, wiggle your fingers and toes for a minute. Slowly bring yourself back to reality. Remember the sense of serenity you found.

10. Deep Conversation

There’s nothing more mentally stimulating than a good, long conversation. The key is depth: surface-level chatter doesn’t get the mind’s wheels spinning like a thoughtful, authentic conversation. This type of conversation helps in training your brain to think more deeply and reflect.

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Choose your partner carefully. You’re looking for someone who’ll challenge your ideas without being confrontational. Stress isn’t good for brain health, but there’s value in coming up with creative arguments.

11. Cooking

When you think about it, cooking requires an impressive array of cognitive skills. Developing a cook’s intuition requires a good memory. Making sure flavors are balanced takes attention to detail. When something goes wrong in the kitchen, problem-solving skills come into play. Motor control is required to stir, flip, and whisk.

If you’re going to cook, you might as well make enough for everyone. Invite them into the kitchen as well: coordinating with other chefs adds an extra layer of challenge to this fun mental workout.

12. Mentorship

Whether you’re the mentee or the mentor, mentorship is an incredible mental workout. Learning from someone you look up to combines the benefits of deep conversation with skill-building. Teaching someone else forces you to put yourself in their shoes, which requires empathy and problem-solving skills.

Put yourself in both situations. Being a student makes you a better teacher, and teaching others gives you insight into how you, yourself, learn.

Final Thoughts

Your mind is your most important possession, and training your brain is needed to maintain its health. Don’t let it get soft.

To keep those neurons firing at full speed, add a few fun mental workouts to your schedule. And if you’re still struggling to get your brain in gear, remember: there’s an app for that.

More Tips for Training Your Brain

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

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