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Mother's Day Advice & Lessons Learned from the Benchmark Moms

Mother’s Day Advice & Lessons Learned from the Benchmark Moms

Beyond • May 11, 2018

I love my mom, but she’s crazy. Don’t worry. Saying it in this blog post won’t be news to her. I tell her all the time (both that I love her and that she’s crazy). While I may have done my fair share of complaining about it in my younger years, I came to appreciate the crazy too. Her fierce love for her family meant she would do anything to advocate for us. It helped in school if we got into trouble and in any other situation we needed someone on our side. What I saw as crazy at one point, I came to see as one of her greatest assets. Doing whatever you can for the ones you love is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my mom. That’s why I supported my younger brother for a few years when he followed me out to Los Angeles. It’s also why I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner with my found family in LA when I can’t make it back to Chicago for the holiday and why I enjoy making sure close friends have special plans to celebrate birthdays. I am who I am in no small part thanks to my mom. For that, I’ll always love her. I’ll be halfway across the country from my mom on Mother’s Day, and will have to resort to sending flowers and a phone call or Skype to tell her I love her. However, I’m always surrounded by great moms here at Benchmark. So, I figured this was as good of a time as any to pick their brains for some advice on being a mom, what they’ve learned as a mom and why moms are the best to work with. Here’s what they had to say: What\'s the best advice you\'ve been given on being a mom (and who gave it)? Yamile Flores - Learning Experience Designer: I think my mother told me: dress him, change his clothes two or three times a day. I like it because they grow up so fast and then they use their clothes like twice (not enough to justify the purchase). Irene Martinez - Training Manager: It is okay to take time off for yourself. Yes, kids are our priority, but you must take time to refocus. It does not have to be for days. A simple hour can do the trick. My mother-in-law told me this. [caption id=\"attachment_10111\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"769\"] Irene and her girls.[/caption] Lisa Fletcher - Customer Engagement Specialist: Don\'t sweat the small stuff. From a book cover lol. Debbie Running - Accounting & Human Resources Manager: Advice from my Mom: Take your children to church. Pray with them. Teach your children the Golden Rule (Do on to others as you would have them do unto you). Advice from Auntie Maude (Nanny): Always have your children wear onesies under their clothing for months that have an R in them. My children were rarely sick. Nydia Lopez - Integrations and International Content Management: My mom always told me to never say bad things (words) to my kids to correct them. Those words hurt them more than a punishment or even a spank. What\'s the biggest lesson you\'ve learned since becoming a mom? YF: In the beginning, I wanted the time run faster because I was so tired. Sometimes I still have the same feeling, but I learned I need to enjoy this. No matter how tired I am, I have to find the strength to play, to laugh, to be a mom. IM: Things can go from great to bad in an instant (especially with little ones). Be prepared for anything possible. If you are not, then learn for the next time. Because trust me, there will be a next time. LF: As bad as any tantrum appears to be, it\'s really a cry to be heard or understood, and they always pass. DR: Never say never! Life is precious. Don\'t take it for granted. Children are a blessing. Smell and kiss them often. Hold their hands and guide them always. NL: Being a mom at a young age was a big challenge. I have always said that there is no manual to learn how to be a mom, you learn it over time. I can say that I grew up learning together with my children to fall and get up, but always with their heads held high. What advice would you give to a new mom? YF: All the help is welcome. Sleep when the baby is asleep too. Eat! Do not care about your weight. You will have time later to lose those pounds. Enjoy taking pictures of your baby and spending time watching them growing up. Time never comes back, and yes, you will forget how it was. IM: Take things day by day. The days where you want to rip your hair out are outnumbered by the days your heart is filled with joy. The long nights will be gone before you know it, and all that will be left are memories. LF: Learn to enjoy time with your kids. Never see it as a job you must do, but something you are gaining from. DR: I tell my daughter that as a new mom, life goes by so fast. Enjoy every day with them as if it were your last. As a Mom, I taught our children when you are at someones home, always be on your best behavior. I have passed that advice to my daughter. [caption id=\"attachment_10109\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1080\"] Debbie with her mother, sisters, daughter, nieces and daughter-in-law.[/caption] NL: Kids grow so fast, Enjoy them, protect them, experience them now. Because in a blink of an eye, they will become adults and you will wish to turn back time and do what you didn’t do before. Why do moms make great employees and coworkers? YF: The ability to be really good at multitasking. You have a 360º view, and that\'s incredible because for any reason all your senses are improved like a superhero. You can see things that could happen where anybody else can see it, so you become an expert detailing. You work faster because you can\'t spend all day on just one thing. And for the things that must be done only for one, and perfectly, you can not go back and repeat tasks. Kids make you become a perfectionist in all you do. So, I am better working since I become a mom. IM: A woman without kids is no more important than one with kids. However, moms bring something different to the table, and that is flexibility. We know things can go from good to bad in an instant, and we tend to prepare for the worst case possible. In a working environment, you must be flexible to take on new challenges. LF: Most moms bring a deep well for empathy and know how to gather the troop together for the betterment of all. DR: Moms are great employees because we have learned to juggle lots of responsibilities. Therefore, we can multitask. We care about how our co-workers feel. We have time management skills. Moms are dedicated and loyal employees. NL: Moms are very determined, and we are known as the masters of multi-tasking. If there is something that we do not know how to do, we always come up with something. And having moms as coworkers makes us feel like we have something in common and that we understand each other. Moms work very hard! :)


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Rand Fishkin Returns: Igniting SparkToro

Rand Fishkin Returns: Igniting SparkToro

Beyond • May 11, 2018

It was a pleasure to bring Rand Fishkin back to the Heart of Business, as he begins to ignite SparkToro, his latest endeavor. Hear our first conversation with Rand Fishkin, where we talk all things SEO. The invite to return to the podcast went out the day he announced he was leaving Moz and starting SparkToro. We just had to hear what the former Wonderful Wizard of Moz was getting into next. I think the bias toward, ‘you know...hey...there’s only one way to be successful’ is kind of [BS]. So this time around I am intentionally avoiding that. It turns out he’s got some pretty awesome stuff brewing with SparkToro. He told us all about it, and we can’t wait to see what it will become. He also shared details about his newly released book, Lost and Founder. As a Content Manager, my favorite part of his chat with Rand was our conversation about content. We talked about how to create great content and the importance of transparency. 1:28 - What is SparkToro? 4:11 - On life after Moz 7:43 - There’s not just one way to succeed 11:39 - Understanding your audience 20:06 - How transparency can make you the king of content 30:58 - His new book: Lost and Founder


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Mother's Day Email Marketing Tips & Infographic

Mother’s Day Email Marketing Tips & Infographic

Practical Marketer • May 3, 2018

Mothers. We all have them. Kanye West raps about them. Most of us love them. And at least one day a year, on Mother’s Day, we make sure they know it. In fact, at least 85 million matriarchs were celebrated on Mother’s Day in 2016. Mamma mia that’s a lot of love to go around! We show that love in a lot of ways to the tune of $23.6 billion dollars. Does anyone else see Dr. Evil in their head when they read those numbers?! I was always told that “it’s the thought that counts,” but the consumers spent an average of $172 on Mother’s Day in 2016. With those kinds of numbers, it’s no wonder we expect to see tons of email marketing campaigns in our inboxes leading up to Mother’s Day. If you haven’t begun planning your Mother’s Day email campaign already, there’s still some time. We’ve put together some tips and an infographic to help jumpstart your efforts. Plus we have some Mother’s Day email templates to help get you going. Mother’s Day Email Marketing Tips Of course, you can also look back at your inbox and see what others did in previous years on Mother’s Day. That will give you a good idea of what you liked and didn’t like and what you think you can improve upon. For example, it can help to know who you could be targeting your email campaigns towards by who is buying the most Mother’s Day gifts. That just happens to be 25-34 year olds, according to Fundivo. It also helps to know what moms want. Here’s what they’re expecting: 36% of moms say they want something homemade. See? It is the thought that counts. 34.8% want dinner. I’m not sure if that means a home cooked meal or at a restaurant. 22.5% plan to be opening at least one greeting card. Make sure you add your own personal note. 22.5% prefer the sweet smell of flowers. If you’re like me, you’ll procrastinate until you have to pay for the rush delivery fees. Don’t be like me. Beyond what moms want for Mother’s Day, it also helps to consider who those moms are that are being celebrated. This group of matriarchs is comprised of moms or step-moms (63.9%), wives (23.3%), daughters (10.7%), sisters (8.7%) and grandmothers (7.3%). When it comes to writing your subject lines, it pays to get emotional. A subject line that can gives your subscribers the feels will have a 21.5% higher open rate than those that don’t for Mother’s Day campaigns Ideas for Mother’s Day Email Campaigns Now that you understand who you’re directing your Mother’s Day email marketing towards, the question remains of what to send. Again, taking a cue from Mother’s Day email campaigns past can help you understand what you can send. This most common Mother’s Day promotions are free shipping (55%), sale price (44%) and coupons (41%). Here are some more ideas for Mother’s Day email campaigns: Offer a gift guide. Make it easy for your subscribers to find the perfect gift for their loved ones. Off suggestions for all the types of moms in their lives. This Mother’s Day gift guy from IfOnly is designed to help you get the perfect gift for mom. Sometimes it helps to consult an expert. If you’ve built trust with your subscribers, they’ll be happy to follow the guide you provide. Include gift wrapping and cards. Remove a step or a trip for your subscribers and offer to wrap their gifts for them and include a card with the message of their choice. Give your mom customers a gift. Everyone does it. Free dessert for mom at a restaurant, free popcorn at the movies. Your mom customers will love it and you’ll still get the rest of the family’s business. Offering a free meal for mom, like Table Table does in this email, will bring the rest of the family in as well on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day Email Marketing Infographic We’ve summed up all of these Mother’s Day stats and tips in a helpful infographic. Check it out, craft the perfect Mother’s Day email campaign and help your subscribers in need of the perfect gift. From all of us here at Benchmark, we wish a happy and healthy Mother’s Day to you and yours.


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Heart of Business

Living the Fantasy: How Eliot Crist Became a Football Analyst

Beyond • April 26, 2018

I play fantasy football. More accurately, I play a lot of fantasy football. This coming August, I’ll be in Las Vegas for the draft for the 10th year of one of my leagues. The past few years, 10 of us started a dynasty football league. That meant needing to pay closer attention to NFL prospects and the incoming rookie classes. That’s how Eliot Crist came on my radar. His name kept popping up when I was researching draft scouts and football analysts to help me better prepare for my league. He quickly became one of my favorite Twitter follows. I saw him tweet that he wanted to be on any podcast that wanted to have him. The lightbulb turned on. Myself, and many others I know, have dreamed of writing and talking about football for a living. Why not talk to someone on the Heart of Business, the podcast I host where we talk to people who have pursued their passions through business and life? I applied to Pro Football Focus, thinking there was no way in hell ... It was a part time opportunity ... Just grinding all the time, not making much money. But, you know, consistently getting more and more opportunities. 2:44 - How Eliot got started 9:38 - On maintaining a love for your passion when it’s also a job 11:30 - Talking about what goes into analyzing a football player 14:27 - How podcasting has helped him become a better people person 15:59 - The power of social media to connect people 18:14 - Recognizing yourself as a pier to the top individuals in your space 19:55 - Breaking into and standing out in a crowded profession Want to catch up with our 100+ episodes of the Heart of Business? Check us out on iTunes or on Spotify.  


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Email Marketing for the Travel Industry

Email Marketing for the Travel Industry

Practical Marketer • April 24, 2018

If you’re in the travel industry, you may or may not know that email is as well-traveled as your customers wish they were. With one click of the send button, you can reach a worldwide audience immediately. And in today’s mobile, on-the-go world, you’ll land directly in their hand. In an uber-competitive industry that hit a seven year high in 2017, it’s important to find ways to stand out. After all, it was a 7.6 trillion dollar industry in 2016. Let’s take a look at how you can use email marketing to get yourself a piece of that pie. Benefits of Email Marketing for the Travel Industry First of all, let’s talk about why email is so important. It’s estimated that we’ll have 2.9 billion email users on the planet by 2019. While we’re piling on giant numbers to make our point, let’s not forget that there are 105 billion emails sent every day, with that number expected to increase to 246 billion by 2020. There are several more reasons you should be doing email for your travel business: It’s affordable. Email marketing is one of the cost-effective marketing solutions available today. It’s fast. Thanks to free HTML email templates, you can create and send your first email campaign in under 30 minutes. That’s less time than it takes to fly from Los Angeles to Las Vegas! It’s focused. You can send to a targeted list and have one clear call to action, allowing you to hit a relevant audience and achieve your intended goal. It’s simple. It’s simple enough for your marketing intern to take the reins when needed. You can use a drag-and-drop editor to design an email that will impress your creative team and you’ll achieve results to impress your boss. It works. It’s estimated that when done well, email will deliver $42 for every $1 spent. Our friends at Litmus have put together some pointers for travel industry professionals looking to capitalize with email marketing. The good news is, that even in the bad news (some feel they aren’t really connecting with their audienec) there’s an opportunity for improvement. That’s why we’re here. To learn from the numbers and see what we can do better than our competitors. Take a quick look at this presentation from Litmus: 10 Things Travel Brands Should Know About Their Email Subscribers from Litmus Some of us may often drift away into daydreams of destinations near and far, but the reality is we can’t afford to go on vacation every other week, month or even year. However, you want your business to be the first thing a person thinks of when it is time for a vacation. Email marketing helps you stay top of mind. You can also use email to grow your customer base. If you have a blog on your site or you’re offering travel advice or tips in a newsletter, you can attract subscribers who will later become customers with an effective email marketing strategy. Because it’s so easy to create well-designed, professional-looking email campaigns, even the smallest travel business can compete with the larger ones in their space. If you look the part, your customers and prospects will believe it. It’s one major advantage in the digital age. Nobody Leaves Home Without Their Smartphone Think about the last time you heard a friend recount a story of trying to teach a grandparent or parent how to use their smartphone or that a coworker shared a story about their still-young child begging for a phone of their own. Almost everyone has a smartphone these days. In fact, a smartphone is the preferred accessory for 76% of travelers. Additionally, 85% of travelers will use their smartphone to coordinate some aspect of their trip. That could mean booking their trip, checking in for flights, research for places to eat or sights to see. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that you must be thinking mobile when you create an email marketing strategy for your travel business. There is Opportunity in Mobile Travel Marketing Americans are not the only ones using smartphones. Across the globe, smartphone adoption continues to increase. That means you can be targeting travelers near and far with an email campaign. Nearly 70% of travel-related emails are opened on a mobile device. We know that these travelers are using their smartphones from the time they research and book a trip, through to finding activities when at their destination, taking photos and checking into their flight home. If you already know they’re using their phone, the next step is to time your emails with those activities for maximum impact. Let’s not forget one important fact: the only thing you can sell in an email is a click. The conversions will take place on your website. So, some of your campaigns may be primed for viewing on a desktop versus when to target mobile viewers. It’s important to have a clear understanding of your customers and leads and where they’re at or what they may be doing when they receive your emails. Do you have customer profiles to help you understand your audience to this extent? How to do Email Marketing for the Travel Industry If you’re still unsure of whether or not you should be doing email marketing for your business, perhaps it’s time to see someone to discuss your stubbornness. For the rest of you, let’s take a look at how you should get started: Establish your email list. It all starts with your email list. If you’ve been in business for a while, you undoubtedly have a list of emails from all your customers. Upload that to your email marketing account. Friends, family and leads who have given you permission to send to them can also be included. Grow your list. Next, you should create signup forms to be placed anywhere you have touchpoints with potential customers. Your website, your Facebook page and even on a tablet or computer in your brick and mortar location(s). Tell them why they should subscribe and incentivize them to do so. If your customers can book with you online, you can also add opt-in options during the purchase process. [caption id=\"attachment_9764\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1357\"] Travel + Leisure does a good job of telling you what to expect when you subscribe to their newsletter.[/caption] Email content. The most common comment from novice email marketers is that they just don’t know where to start when it comes to knowing what to send. A monthly newsletter is one of the easiest things any business can do. Send helpful tips on things travelers should know when going to a certain destination or how they can get the biggest bang for their buck. Also, a welcome email campaign or series to greet new subscribers can help you convert leads into customers faster than ever before. Guidebooks for various destinations Information on attractions, events, holidays or festivals Destination reviews Success stories from happy customers Some additional content to consider: All about timing. The most successful marketing is customer-centric. That’s why the aforementioned subscriber profiles are so important. If you can gain an understanding of where they might be at a certain time of day or during their trip, you can send the perfect campaign at the right moment. Part of it is creating the profiles or personas. The other part is reviewing your email reports to see when your emails are being opened. More on that later. Create a sending frequency and content calendar. You likely already know the most popular times of the year for travel. Spring break, summer vacations, Thanksgiving and Christmas, etc. You can plan your email marketing for the quarter or the year and work backwards from there on when you should be sending. Plus, gaining an understanding of how often your subscribers want to hear from you will help you determine which campaigns to send and when. Send your first email. It all starts from the first time you hit send. Choose a free HTML email template or design your own with a drag-and-drop editor. Fill in your content. Hit send. You’ll learn as you go and improve with each new campaign. If you’re not even sure what to send, start with a survey asking what your subscribers want from you! Review your reports. Once you’ve hit send, it’s time to track your reports. Your open rate will show if you had a good subject line and a recognizable From Name. Your click-through rate will show if the content in your email is compelling enough. That’s just the start of what you can learn from your reports. Practical Strategies for Successful Travel Email Marketing Let’s take it a step further than here are the very basics of what you need to do and look at some tips to help you thrive with email marketing. Personalization. The numbers support using a personalized approach to your travel customers. 83% of millennials won’t mind being tracked for personalized service and 85% of travelers desire a customized itinerary. You can also insert a subscriber’s name into a subject line or in the copy of the email, to make it seem like it was created just for them. Use video. subscribers attention in ways that evan a photo cannot. You want them to feel what it’s like to be somewhere and like they have to be there for it. FOMO is real. Plus, 66% of travelers will watch video when doing research on a destination. Location. You can use your subscribers location to sent them targeted campaigns for vacations they might be interested in. If they live in Los Angeles, you may not need to send them to Southern California vacation destination email that the rest of your subscribers may crave. Or, if you’re sending campaigns intended to be seen by a subscriber while they’re on their trip, you can include weather information, events for the time they’re there or more. Create a sense of urgency. Vacations aren’t necessarily impulse buys, but if someone is already researching a trip they might be more inclined to pull the trigger if you hit them with a promotion at the right moment. But put a time limit on it. It could be a flash sale for a few hours after hitting send or a deal that lasts through the weekend. Make them feel like they need to take action now! Get Started Today Are you ready to put what you’ve learned to use? Signup for the free Benchmark Starter Plan. Send to up to 2,000 of your subscribers at no cost. Get access to the features you need to begin your email marketing. Don’t pay until your list grows past 2,000 subscribers or when you’re ready for our features such as marketing automation which are only available on our Pro plans. Or login to your Benchmark Email account now. Share Your Story Have you successfully used email marketing for your travel industry business? Share your successes and tips in the comments section. We want to hear from you!


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