Trump’s getting the Cambridge Analytica band back together

Cambridge Analytica may be gone, but its spirit will live on in the 2020 US presidential election. Former senior staff of the now bankrupt business are reportedly working with the Trump 2020 campaign under the guise of a new company. But don’t tell anyone, because apparently it was supposed to be a secret. News broke that Brad Parscale, the campaign manager for president Donald Trump’s upcoming reelection bid in 2020, was working with the company earlier this afternoon after several AP News sources reportedly overhead conversations indicating as much. The new company is called Data Propria. At least four former Cambridge…

This story continues at The Next Web
Social Media – The Next Web

David Lane and Agnes Lloyd-Platt go back to school for Ally Capellino’s AW18 campaign


Photographer Agnes Lloyd-Platt and creative director David Lane, of Lane and Associates, have teamed up once again to bring us the latest campaign for accessories brand Ally Capellino. Each one is set in a distinct and authentic world (you might remember last season’s which was shot in a garden, or the previous one set in a restaurant kitchen) and this is usually determined by the founder herself. “We tend to take whatever Ally is obsessing about and run with it” explains Agnes (who is also Ally’s daughter); the concept for the SS15 campaign, for instance — which paired models with different pastel-coloured shades of hair, with accessories in corresponding colours — was inspired by the fact Ally herself had pink hair that week.

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It’s Nice That

Political illustrator Ellie Foreman-Peck on her unfortunately abundant Trump back catalogue


“I didn’t believe I would still be drawing Trump’s face after the elections. Now, I’ve drawn him too many times to count,” says illustrator Ellie Foreman-Peck. Her knack for capturing expression and character has seen her visually satirise most of our political leaders for The Guardian, The Economist and Standpoint, but there’s one face that she, among many, wishes she didn’t have to examine so much.

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It’s Nice That

Blogging is Back, with Darren Rowse


In the beginning, there was blogging. And for businesses looking to build an audience that helped grow the bottom line, it was good.

In fact, many of the leaders in the digital marketing space started as blogs and evolved into multi-million dollar businesses. I personally have immense gratitude for what Rainmaker Digital has been able to achieve, and it all traces back to the early Copyblogger audience.

Then, around 2008, “business blogging” gave way to the term “content marketing.” Eight years later, as we wind up 2016, we’re drowning in content, and there’s no mistaking that much of it is just poorly disguised traditional marketing.

Something seems to have gotten lost along the way. The original business blogs provided valuable content, sure … but that content was delivered with perhaps the more important ingredient — a relatable and reliable human voice.

To be clear, blogging never went away. But perhaps it’s time to go back to the roots of business blogging to rediscover the foundational aspect of content that actually works as marketing, even though it doesn’t “feel” like marketing.

Tune in to listen to my conversation with the great Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. You’ll hear how the entire content marketing movement truly began, where blogging is going, and why we all need to first return to the foundational element of human connection before we focus on fancy automation, strategic funnels, and conversion optimization.

Listen to this Episode Now

The post Blogging is Back, with Darren Rowse appeared first on Copyblogger.


Inspire Positive Conversations Behind Your Back

Inspire Positive Conversations Behind Your Back written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Today everybody can publicly give a thumbs up or down to each customer experience.

Whether you’re an Uber driver or a brain surgeon, you have to accept that online reviews are now built into the buying process.

While negative reviews can certainly impact business, it’s second only to having none at all.

When potential customers don’t see reviews or any trace of satisfied customers, you immediately fall off the short list.

Since you know customers are already going to talk behind your back, you want to make sure your business lands on the right side of reviews.

Here are eight ways you can inspire customers to talk positively about you online:

  1. Highlight the things people love about your business. Your stand-out qualities could be your areas of expertise, location, service, or a special touch that people have come to associate with your business. Develop a list by asking loyal customers to weigh in and share why they frequent your business. Highlight their reasons on your social media profiles, website, and online business listings and directories. This helps separate you from the pack, reinforces your strengths, and drives word-of-mouth.
  2. Create memorable experiences. The customer experience doesn’t need to be over-the-top or cut into your profits to be memorable, but it should make an impression and be unique to your business. After all, customers tend to remember how you made them feel more than what they purchased. Creating a memorable experience can be as simple as the welcome customers receive when they enter your physical or virtual business, recognizing their birthday or sending a personalized thank you note, for example.
  3. Be transparent and authentic. In other words, ditch the pitch and focus on addressing the customer’s needs. That requires your conversations and marketing content to inform and steer them toward the best products and services for their particular needs and budgets. When they know that your priority is to help them get the most from their investments, they’ll be more inclined to buy from you and recommend you to their friends.
  4. Freely offer your expertise. There’s a misconception among some small business owners that if they offer free advice, they’re cutting into their profits. Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course, I’m not suggesting that you work for free or compromise your livelihood, but you can strike a balance by sharing enough knowledge to establish your credibility and reputation. Some simple ways to do this are through proactively answering frequently asked questions and offering insider tips and shortcuts on social media or in your email newsletter. Make those tips easy to digest and share online and your customers will thank you for helping spread the word.
  5. Solicit feedback and read between the lines. Nobody wants to be surprised by a bad review, which is why it’s so important to encourage customers to provide feedback, even if it’s not always what you want to hear. Along with regularly engaging customers in soliciting their feedback, consider initiating short surveys in your newsletter or on your Facebook page. Also, depending on the products and services you sell, it might make sense to follow up a few months after a customer has been using your product for a little while. Along with these overt requests for feedback, pay attention to a lack of response as it can speak volumes. Additionally, take a good look at how your customers are engaging with you online. Are they clicking on your email content and sharing it or have there been dips in your subscriber list? Keeping an eye on these subtle customer actions and reactions allows you to continuously improve the customer experience and get ahead of potentially negative reviews.
  6. Share great content. Follow news and trends that are happening locally and in your industry. Specifically, be on the lookout for posts that relate to your customers’ interests and present an opportunity to reinforce your value. Along with sharing the content, make the post your own by inserting your views (while giving credit to the original source). This engages your audience, inspires them to share your content, elevates your profile, and reinforces what makes your business unique.
  7. Foster an active online community. Use your social media platforms to spark conversations with customers and connect them with each other. You can do this by tossing out a question on social media, sharing content from followers, and spotlighting customers. Fostering an active online community helps quickly spread the word about your business while giving you great insight your audience so you can deliver more personalized marketing campaigns. Not to mention it helps instill brand loyalty.
  8. Shape the conversation to earn great reviews. Every small business owner knows that online review sites are getting more sophisticated at spotting fake posts and preventing them from going live. Yet that doesn’t mean you should sit idle and hope for a positive review to magically appear. When customers tell you they’ve had a great experience, let them know which review sites your business is listed on and suggest they tell others about it. If you keep the dialog light, let them know how important their online feedback is to your business, and avoid quid pro quo situations, they’ll be inspired to write authentic posts.

Motivating customers to talk positively about your business starts with providing a positive customer experience, engaging customers with helpful, free advice and consistently asking for feedback to continuously improve the products, services, and experiences you deliver. Then you won’t have to worry about those conversations happening behind your back.

About the Author

Dave Charest

Dave Charest is Senior Manager, Content & Social Media Marketing at Constant Contact. Dave and his team make stuff to help small businesses do better marketing. For more insight and advice on marketing your small business, subscribe to the Constant Contact blog.

Duct Tape Marketing

Lithium launches Klout-powered Reach to put the social back in social media marketing


When Lithium Technologies — providers of social customer service platforms to the likes of Skype, Sony, and Telus — acquired Klout in 2014, it laid out plans to incorporate the influence measurement platform’s algorithms in what it called “new Lithium.”

Its initial offerings under that banner were two new Klout-branded products: Klout Products and Klout Pop-Up Communities. Today, Lithium is revealing a new Lithium-branded solution that uses Klout under the hood.

Lithium Reach is a new social marketing product that aims to maximize customer engagement across social channels, blogs, and online communities. The aim? To enable what Lithium calls a “total community strategy” for its clients that helps to engage customers in two-way conversations across digital channels and throughout the customer lifecycle.

So how does Lithium Reach work? It allows you to curate, manage, and publish relevant content, including user-generated content from your online communities. That’s where Klout’s algorithms get to work. Lithium Reach shows you recommendations on which content to post and when to post it.

And how, specifically, are Klout’s algorithms being used in Reach?

“We’re using Klout algorithms in a few different ways within Reach,” Katy Keim, CMO at Lithium Technologies, told me. “Both on selecting the right trending content to post and on determining the best time to post it.”

First, content curation is underpinned by the influence measurement system.

“Brands can set up search terms to pull in the most engaging content on over 10,000 topics,” Keim said. “Our content recommendation system works by collecting the most relevant and engaging articles from social networks and from thousands of RSS feeds. Determining the most engaging content is based on a number of factors — how often that content was shared on social channels, how influential the people are sharing the content, past performance of that publisher, how relevant that content is to the audience engaging with it, as well as how relevant it is to the brand and their target audience.”

Lithium can also determine how likely it is that a piece of content will aid a particular end goal.

“Our predictive algorithms can identify content that is likely to hit an inflection point,” Keim said. “Each article is placed into various topic categories using natural language processing (NLP), and recommended to users based on their criteria via a machine learning model that gets better over time to continually improve the recommendations.”

Lithium Reach_content discovery

The Klout algorithm is also being used to determine the best time to post this content. But as I pointed out in my research on social media marketing tools, you have to be very careful about aggregated “best time” research. If everyone were to post at the best aggregated time, it would automatically cease to be the best time to post due to the increased noise. Lithium Reach is taking the smarter route to automated post optimization.

“Klout can determine the how and when people engage with content across social networks,” Keim said. “We calculate an individual time profile for every Reach customer based on the activity timing of their followers and others in their influence graph (anyone their followers touch, and their followers’ followers, and so on). We refresh these on a weekly basis. Our recommendations are optimized for each customer, the network they’re posting on, their past history, the behavior of their audience, and our deep knowledge of how topical content performs on social media.”

While Reach is clearly designed to find compelling content, share it at the right time, and allow for a two-way conversation with the buying public, brand use of social media is anything but social.

Our studies show that around 70 percent of the top brands on Twitter use it in broadcast-only mode, never engaging with the audience. So what is the future of social media marketing in a world where brands tend to have one-way conversations?

“It’s an alarming figure, especially if you consider how much brands spend on social media every year: Forrester estimates $ 15.5 billion for 2016,” Keim said. “I think what’s happening here is that brands are still trying to apply old analog, advertising-based methods to new technologies and new channels.

“They’re still talking at customers, not with customers,” she continued. “We actually just completed a research project on 85 Fortune 1000 Companies that finds only two percent consistently respond to their followers’ posts across social channels. It’s a real missed opportunity to engage.”

So what should companies be mindful of as we continue to communicate — more than ever — with a mobile audience, and how does that affect social engagement?

“Be concise (a mobile screen is only so large), be timely (with the proliferation of mobile, customers are always on, and so you must be too), be useful (people use our mobile connectivity to get things done),” Keim said.

Lithium Reach is a single tool for campaign planning, content creation, content approvals, publishing, and analytics, but can be combined with Lithium Response, a social customer care tool. Reach is available from today.

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Social – VentureBeat

7 Types of Emails to Send Customers to Keep Them Coming Back

As everyone says…

You need to build an email list.

Email marketing provides the highest ROI for most businesses at $ 40 for every $ 1 spent (on average).


I’m sure you see a ton of content on a regular basis that shows you different ways to build that email list. Great.

But how much do you see that tells you how to interact with that list effectively?

I think it’s safe to guess not much.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you had questions such as:

  • What do I send my subscribers?
  • How do I keep open rates high?
  • How do I make my emails exciting?

While I can’t show you all of that in a single post, I’m going to show you 7 different types of emails that most businesses can send.

These types of emails are emails that your subscribers and customers will enjoy getting, will interact with, and will help you build strong relationships. 

1. Exclusive offers make subscribers feel special (but which kinds are best?)

It’s nice when someone, whether a close friend or a relative stranger, goes out of their way to do something nice for you.

As a website owner with an email list, you’re hopefully somewhere in the middle of that friend-stranger spectrum in the eyes of your subscribers.

If you can do something for your subscribers that they really appreciate, it will do many important things:

  • Make them think more highly of you
  • Make them more loyal (to stay a subscriber and to buy in the future)
  • Make them more willing to reciprocate (if you ask for a share, referral, or something else).

The question then is: what can you give them?

For most businesses, an exclusive offer is the best thing they can give.

Let’s go through a few real examples and then some more general situations.

First, you can offer a live event that only your subscribers are invited to. Not only will the event be valuable because it’s live, but it will also be well attended because it’s exclusive.

Bryan Harris often does this, so it must work well for him. For example, here is an email with an offer to attend a private mastermind:


He sends a few emails leading up to the event and one or two at the last minute. They aren’t complicated—just a brief description of what to expect in the event.

What else can you offer subscribers? Another thing of value that doesn’t cost you much, if anything, is early access.

Matthew Barby created a WordPress plugin and sent this email to his subscribers, giving them free access to it:


That’s a pretty sweet offer. In reality, Matthew is also gaining his first group of users, which is another win for him.

If you’re launching any big guides or tools, consider getting early feedback from your subscribers.

What else can you offer?

  • Discounts
  • Secret products (like limited one-on-one consulting)
  • Webinars
  • A sneak peak at original research
  • Free samples

Be creative. If you can think of any other ideas, tell me about them in a comment at the end of the article.

2. Give subscribers the gift of convenience

Take care of your subscribers because your list is one of the most valuable assets you own.

You can give value in many ways. Some may be big gestures (email type #1), but even small things go a long way.

If someone is on your list, that means they’ve already told you that they like your content (if they signed up from a blog post, for example).

However, just because they want to hear your thoughts and advice doesn’t mean all your subscribers want it in the same way.

Typically, you’ll email all your subscribers about any new content you create. When you do this, consider giving them alternative ways to consume the content. Make it as convenient as you can.

For example, Tim Urban created a long post about SpaceX. He then sent out this email to subscribers:


On top of the regular link that he had already sent his subscribers, he sent this email with two other options: a PDF version and an audio version.

It takes a fraction of the time to re-create the original content in a different form, but it adds a lot of extra value.

Nathan Barry offers another way to make your content more convenient.

After he hosts a webinar, he uploads it to YouTube and sends an email with a link to all his subscribers.


It’s something that I know most subscribers really appreciate, and it also exposes his webinar to those subscribers who forgot to sign up for the event.

Convenience typically comes in the form of different mediums of content.

If you wrote a blog post, particularly a long one, consider emailing it to your subscribers with more than one version:

  • PDF
  • a cheat sheet
  • audio version
  • video summary

Or if you created a video, reformat that into:

  • an e-book
  • an MP3 download
  • a video download
  •  a cheat sheet/summary

You don’t need to create all the formats. Just think about which ones your subscribers would like most and which make sense for the content you made.

3. Short value emails can be a nice change of pace

Think about your subscribers’ email boxes.

Day after day, they get several emails from friends, families, and businesses they like.

What do most of the business emails consist of?

  • “Read our content”
  • “Buy our stuff”

About 90% of business emails fall into these two categories.

And it’s not that those types of emails aren’t valuable to your subscribers—because they are, but some subscribers will get fatigued by them.

If you’re looking to maximize your subscriber happiness as much as possible, consider sending emails that focus on nothing but teaching something interesting to your subscribers.

No links to your content or anyone’s website.

No asking for replies—just a clear show of value.

Bernadette Jiwa is known for her story-telling talent.

She sends out this exact type of email I’m talking about on a regular basis. Sometimes her emails have links underneath, and sometimes they don’t.

Here’s an example of such an email (yes, that’s the whole thing):


It’s short but gives her subscribers an interesting thing to ponder, which helps them tell better stories (their goal).

It’s a nice break from overwhelming amounts of content (which I may be guilty of myself).

4. Highlights need to be interesting

Email newsletters are nothing new.

Any email sent out on a regular basis that summarizes what’s been happening on a site can be considered an email newsletter.

They’re supposed to consist of highlights.

But like the name implies, they need to consist of the very best of your site.

Whether you have user-generated content or content produced by your writing team, highlight emails are an option.

However, make sure you’re not including everything. But don’t select content randomly either.

You should be giving previews of the most popular content on your site for that particular time period.

For example, Quora (the question and answer site), regularly sends users the most upvoted questions from their feeds.

Here’s what it looks like:


I would guess that these are automatically generated by the most upvoted questions during the week.

5. One way to show that you really respect subscribers

One goal that every email marketer should have is to form deeper relationships with subscribers.

Admittedly, this is difficult. It’s tough to break down that barrier over email only. You’ve probably never met your subscribers, and by default, they think of you as just another business.

Even if they like your business, most subscribers will still be skeptical about your claim that you care about them and not just their money.

One thing I encourage businesses to do is find employees through their email list.

I’ve done it before, as have many others. Here’s an example of Ramit Sethi sending an email to his list while looking to hire for more than 10 positions:


When you do this, you make it clear that you think of them as people whom you respect and who you believe have valuable skills.

And it’s good business too. Your subscribers likely have an in-depth understanding of your business and obviously think in similar to you ways (since they like you).

Even if someone doesn’t apply or doesn’t get hired, it’s clear to them that you’re looking to develop partnerships and relationships with people on your list.

It’s one way to break down that barrier a bit and become more than “just another business.”

6. Don’t fall victim to the “curse of knowledge” (deliver your best stuff)

Many bloggers suffer from the “curse of knowledge.”

The curse of knowledge is a fairly old concept. It basically states that it’s hard to understand what lesser-informed people are thinking.

If you’re an expert in math, it would be hard for you to even fathom that someone doesn’t understand something like basic calculus.

It’s the reason why some people are geniuses but absolutely awful teachers. Conversely, someone who just learned something can often teach it best because they understand the perspective of someone who doesn’t know it.

Let’s apply this to your subscribers and content.

Over the years, you might write hundreds of pieces of content. At that point (possibly present day), you’re naturally going to assume that your average new subscriber is more informed than they used to be.

For me, as an example, it’s easy to assume that every new subscriber understands on-page and off-page SEO as well as concepts such as white-hat and black-hat link building.

From that perspective, it’s hard for me to send them my advanced guide to SEO because I’m assuming they already know everything in it.

Chances are, though, your average new subscriber won’t change much over time.

And it’s very likely that my average new subscriber could benefit from more general SEO knowledge before I get to the specific tactics I currently write about.

The autoresponder “crash course”: If you think that this is a problem, one way to fix it is with an autoresponder sequence.

Think of what an average subscriber knew even a year or two ago, and make a list of what they need to learn to get up to speed with the rest of your content.

Then, put together an autoresponder sequence that you send to all new subscribers, where you showcase your old content that teaches these basic concepts.

For example, if you sign up for Wordstream’s list, a PPC optimization business, you’ll get a few emails like this:


The guides are all older content, and the field may have advanced since it was written, but the fundamentals hold true, and new subscribers will greatly appreciate learning them.

The takeaway from the “curse of knowledge” is that you’re probably giving subscribers a bit too much credit. Don’t assume they’ve read every single post you’ve ever written—because they haven’t.

Don’t be afraid to send emails featuring the best of your older content.

7. Preview big events that subscribers will be interested in (be your own hype man)

You need to give subscribers incentives to open that next email.

There are many ways to do this, but one way is to build hype in advance.

Think about any popular TV show. They show previews for the next episode in commercials and at the end of episodes.

These get you excited, and you make sure you watch the next episode.

Brian Dean does a similar thing really well, but for content.

For example, he sent this email to subscribers:


In that email, he shared his story about struggling and then finally succeeding with SEO.

It’s an interesting story that draws you in and makes you curious about the specifics of his success (building hype).

At the bottom of the email, he teases subscribers with bullet points that outline what he’s going to show them over the next few emails:


Right at the end, after building that hype, he tells them to watch out for his next email in which he’ll send the first post about how to succeed with SEO like he did.

You’d better believe that he had a fantastic open rate on that email.

You can do the same. When you’re planning to publish a big piece of content or a new tool, first send an email that focuses on the benefits of it.

If possible, tie it into an entertaining story to suck in your subscriber even more. That will only add to the anticipation.


It’s not enough just to build an email list—you have to use it effectively.

Emails are a great personal way to communicate with subscribers and customers.

Use as many of these 7 types of emails (where they make sense) to start building more meaningful relationships.

If you’re having trouble deciding exactly what to send to your subscribers, just fill me in on your situation in a comment below, and I’ll point you in the right direction.

Quick Sprout

It’s back to basics for local marketers [Infographic]

Email ROIIf you do it everyday, digital marketing is routine, but for many small business owners it’s just too overwhelming to even think about. That’s a shame, because a few simple steps can make a big difference in the life or death of a small business.

Brandmuscle, the local marketing software company, put together an infographic outlining the three areas that SMB’s need to master if they want to make it in 2015.

It’s time to get back to the basics with email, social media and online reputation.


Why: 66% of consumers have made an online purchase after reading a marketing email. That’s huge. What’s even huge-er(?) is the return on investment. Brandmuscle figures that the ROI on email marketing is 4,300%.

How: Give people a reason to subscribe and make it easy to do. Sign up your own company newsletter and see how many hoops you have to jump through. Some companies make it incredibly tough. Also, make sure your marketing emails show up properly on mobile. If not, you’re losing out on a lot of potential sales.

Local-Marketing-Channels-Infographic_590pxSocial Media

Why: 74% of online adults use social. Facebook sends 63% of traffic to Shopify stores.

How: Make sure all of your business contact information is easy to find on your social media channels. (You’d be surprised by how many online companies don’t have a link and offline companies don’t have an address.) Use lots of images and don’t try to do it all. Pick one or two social networks so you can focus on updating them regularly.

Online Reputation

Why: 79% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. On Yelp, a one-star increase in ratings results in a 5-9% increase in revenue.

How: Monitor the web and social media for mentions and respond quickly when a customer is unhappy. Respond just as quickly when a customer posts something nice about you. They’ll appreciate that you appreciate their efforts.

If your business isn’t looking so good online, you might need the help of a reputable, reputation management company. If you need one. . . I know a guy.

Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion

Four Ways Your Business Can Give Back in 2016

Four Ways Your Business Can Give Back in 2016 written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit: Dollar Photo Club

photo credit: Dollar Photo Club

Being January, it’s the time of year when many of us set goals for the year and make some New Year’s resolutions pertaining to our businesses.  Perhaps we have a certain amount of revenue we’d like to earn in 2016, a product or service we’d like to begin offering, or some content we’d like to get published.  These are all excellent goals and I encourage you to set them, but I’d like to also encourage you to set one other type of goal for this year: a giving goal.

What I mean by a “giving goal” is a way that your business can donate time, talent, or treasure to help make your community or even our planet a happier, healthier, or safer place to live.  Why should you do this?  Well, I could say that you should do it because giving a helping hand to those less fortunate than yourself is the right thing to do…but in case that isn’t compelling enough for you, consider the fact that just about every single highly successful person or organization in history has made a habit of giving back in some way.  

I’m not suggesting that giving back will guarantee the success of your business, but I do believe there is more than an indirect correlation between success and giving.  This is especially true if you participate in cause marketing—in other words, making giving back such a big part of your brand identity that customers actually choose you over your competitor at least in part because of it.  Toms is a great example of this—for every clothing product you purchase from them, they donate a product to someone in need around the world.  

Now, I’m not suggesting that you need to become the next Toms, but I do think it’s important that you find some way that your business can give back.  There are many, many ways you can do this, many of which don’t even require any monetary contribution, but just in case you’re one of those less creative folks, I have taken the liberty of suggesting four possible ways your business can give back this year.

Volunteer your technical expertise

If you have a service-based business, chances are there is a non-profit organization in your community that could benefit from those services but that might not be able to afford them.  By donating your services to those organizations, they can focus more time and money on their core mission.  In some cases, your expertise might actually be their core mission.

For example, construction professionals like electricians, carpenters, and plumbers could volunteer their time on a Habitat for Humanity build site.  Financial professionals could help teach financial literacy classes or serve as advisors on the board of a non-profit organization.  Marketing professionals could donate their services to help non-profits with email campaigns or maintaining a website.  I know that there are marketing consultants that specialize in working for non-profits, and I’m not suggesting that those people should work for free, but there are plenty of small non-profit organizations that can’t afford to pay for marketing assistance but who could really use some help in that area.  Marketing professionals who donate their time to organizations like that often find that it’s a great way to meet leaders in their community who can afford their services.

While donating technical expertise doesn’t have the same tax benefits of a monetary donation, it is in many cases even more beneficial to the recipient and is also a great way for smaller businesses without a giving budget to support an organization they believe in.  

Be a mentor

Another way you as a business owner can give back this year is to mentor someone who is just getting started in your industry.  This could be part of a formal mentorship program run by an organization like SCORE or your local SBDC, or it could be something that you do on your own.    

This can be a very rewarding experience for you and really make a difference in someone’s life.  If you have had any amount of success as a business owner, chances are you had a mentor or coach at some point or at least got some valuable advice from people that helped you succeed.  Why not pay it forward by passing along your wisdom to the next generation of professionals in your industry?

Donate products, equipment, or space

If you have a business that sells physical products, you could donate those products to a local non-profit organization that could either use them directly or that could use them in a fundraiser such as a silent auction.  Even if you don’t sell physical products, you could donate used equipment such as vehicles, computers, or tools to organizations that need them.  

If you don’t have anything to donate yourself, you could simply partner with a local non-profit and serve as a collection point for donations.  You can reach out to your customers and get them to bring donations to your place of business, or if your business involves going to your customer’s home or business, you could collect items from them directly.  Just about every community has a Goodwill store or Habitat ReStore nearby, and most people have items lying around the house that they don’t really need or use.  If your business partners with one of these organizations to help them get donations from your customers, you can do a lot of good without having to spend one penny of your own money.

Donate money

While there are many ways your business can support causes and organizations that don’t involve financial contributions, direct monetary support is something that every non-profit appreciates and in fact needs to survive.  There are so many worthy organizations and not nearly enough money to go around, and you may think whatever small amount you can donate makes no difference.  I can assure you that this is not the case, and this is especially true when it comes to organizations that work in developing countries, where a dollar can buy a lot more than it can in the U.S.  

If finances are tight and you’re not sure if you can afford to give direct financial support to a non-profit organization, there is an easy way around this problem.  Simply do what Toms does and tie your support directly to an increase in revenue.  You can even tie it to one of your other business goals for the year—for example, if you want more customers to upgrade to your “gold” service plan, you can advertise that for each customer who upgrades to that plan you will donate x dollar amount to a local non-profit.  

One word of caution here—if you are going to make your financial support of an organization public, do your due diligence and make sure that the organization is using the money responsibly.  Also, it’s probably a good idea not to publicly support controversial organizations or causes (such as political campaigns) unless you are very certain that 100% of your customers also support that organization.  Otherwise, it could end up costing you customers who don’t want to support a brand that affiliates with a cause they don’t agree with.

Between all the examples I gave above, hopefully you’ll be able to think of a way your business can give back in 2016.  If you did think of something and want to share your commitment publicly, or if you are already giving back in some way, please leave a comment on this post and let me know about what you’re doing.  


kevin JordanKevin Jordan is a Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, owner of Redpoint Marketing Consultants, and co-author of the best-selling book The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Local Lead Generation. You can connect with Kevin on Twitter @RMCVirginia, and find out how he’s giving back in 2016 by visiting his small business marketing blog.

Blog – Duct Tape Marketing

Vintage is Back in Trend: Best Retro Website Designs

Fashion for retro and vintage style has gradually moved from podiums and fashion shows to website design. It has been actively used in a variety of contexts: in advertising, corporate design, blog design, etc. Moreover, nowadays you can even find webdesign studios that specialize in vintage designing only.

Retro Website Design

There are several old-fashioned graphic elements that are used in design to recreate a retro atmosphere:

  • Texture: torn paper, ink texture, old printing paper
  • Text: old-style typography, script fonts and handwriting
  • Illustrations: images from old posters, old photos, pin-up girls images
  • Images of old objects: radio and TV devices, cars

This article presents a collection of 10 best websites designed in vintage and retro styles. Perhaps the following examples will inspire you to create new, exciting projects on the Internet.

Mom & Popcorn

Mom & Popcorn





Lord Likely

Lord Likely

Literary Bohemian

Literary Bohemian

Team Fannypack

Team Fannypack

Cottonseed Oil Tour

Cottonseed Oil Tour

Sprocket House

Sprocket House






Clients may think that retro web design can be used only for corporate styles of popular and stylish old time places like retro cafes, restaurants, barbershops or cinemas. However the collection above has just proved the opposite as vintage website design can be suitable for a variety of companies from different industries.

Obviously retro style can never get outdated as it doesn’t only evoke nostalgia, but is proven to be exceptionally moderate, laconic and attractive.

So what do you think, have designers succeeded in reviving the past on the modern web?

Onextrapixel – Web Design and Development Online Magazine