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Your emails can be like furniture; sometimes you need to rearrange

(MARKETING) Emails tend to stack up and make it hard to organize and to find anything useful, here are several apps and ways to make your life easier.

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emails stacking up

Despite the availability of numerous platforms and ways to reach your customers, statistics show, and business experts know, that email still remains the primary tool that businesses use for communication and collaboration. Email is the backbone of productivity, so if you’re looking for ways to increase efficiency and make your job a little easier, optimizing your email is a great place to start.
Just in time for the new year, here are seven ways to maximize your productivity when it comes to email.

1) Please, please stop with the no-reply emails. If you haven’t figured it out by now, it’s time you knew – if your customers can’t reply to your messages, it sends the message that you don’t care about them and stymies communication. Instead, create a persona or department that can handle replies to your messages; or, if you must use a no-reply email, be sure to include contact information for customer service so that a customer can get ahold of you if they need to.

2) Don’t waste time reminding a customer that they have an appointment. Get an intelligent machine to do it for you. Remindr is an app that sends text and email reminders to clients, patients, and customers, reducing the number of no-shows.

3) Turn your email inbox into a to-do list. If you use Gmail, consider trying the app Drag, which helps turn your inbox into a super-organized to-do list by sorting your emails into To Do, Doing, and Complete categories. It makes your email box look a bit like Trello and is more efficient for tasking than using Gmail’s colorful stars system or disappearing messages into folders, only to have them forgotten.

4) Reduce inbox clutter by using a disposable email address when signing up for subscriptions and accounts. AnyAlias lets you create an infinite number of disposable email addresses, all linked to one account so that you can check them all simultaneously, while still keeping your personal email address private.

5) Track the effectiveness of email marketing with Polymail, the inbox that shows you statistics about open and reply rates and creates detailed profiles of all of your customers, among other super helpful marketing tools.

6) Find files in attachments more quickly. How many times have you scanned through pages of your Gmail, clicking on anything with a paperclip next to it, trying to find some long-missing file? Dittach is a Chrome extension that creates a sidebar specifically for displaying information about attachments, as well as a thumbnail preview. Attachments can be sorted by file type or date, making it easier to find files, forward them, download them, or print them. Brilliant.

7) Clean up your digital hoard. With the new year, why not go Marie Kondo on your email. Make it easier to find the things you need by getting rid of all those outdated emails you no longer need. After all, digital clutter is still clutter.

Don’t overlook this important aspect of running your business. Chances are you send and receive dozens, if not hundreds, of emails per day, and may also be using your inbox to store and find files, market to customers, and manage aspects of your personal life as well. Streamlining your email experience can save you a ton of time, energy, and money, and make your day-to-day tasks more efficient and pleasant.

Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

Real Estate Marketing

Turning plastic waste to lumber, Goodwood is the savior this world needs.

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Goodwood plastic is a company that has some great uses for old plastic waste. As the saying goes “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”

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plastic waste turned into lumber

If ever there was a niche to fill in this world, it’s finding more uses for plastic waste. With public concerns for global warming on the rise, more people and local governments are starting to search for ways to be more eco-friendly and reduce their plastic waste.

Plastic use has become a pain-point for modern consumers. People are searching for companies who use less, or no, plastic in their packaging. Having a clear plan for reducing your company’s carbon footprint is not only good for the Earth, it’s good for business.

While many companies are working to reduce their use of plastic packaging, one Canadian company is taking charge of the single-use plastics already floating around the world.

Goodwood Plastic Products is turning plastic waste into lumber. Yes, you read that right. Lumber.
The leaders over at Goodwood Plastic aren’t wizards, but they are brilliant. The company takes single-use plastics and recycles them into sturdy, innovative building materials. These building blocks can be drilled, nailed, and glued just like lumber. The building blocks even have superior durability to traditional lumber and do not suffer from the same kind of deterioration.

Goodwood is currently working with the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia to recycle about 80% of the plastic recyclables collected in the city. City officials are thrilled to have a local company helping them find a use for such a large quantity of their waste. The Halifax Solid Waste Division Manager, Andrew Philopoulos says the city would have a hard time dealing with the plastic waste without Goodwoods services.

“Without them, I think we would find it challenging to find a market for a lot of the plastic packaging that we are collecting.”

Goodwood has made headlines before. Recently, they partnered with Canadian grocery store, Sobeys, to make a parking lot completely out of post-consumer plastics taken from landfills. And it doesn’t appear that they are slowing down anytime soon. Their latest venture will focus on recycling fishing gear, which makes up a significant amount of plastic waste in oceans and causes immense harm to sea life.
The vice president of Goodwood, Mike Chassie, hopes that their business model will inspire others to fight the good fight against post-consumer plastic.

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Real Estate Marketing

Why Google may soon label your website SLOW, costing you money

(MARKETING) Google’s putting warning labels on slow sites! If Ads are your bread and butter, the toaster just got thrown in the bathwater…

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google slow warning often due to ads

The rumors about consumer attention spans aren’t 100% true.

Every other article will tell you you have to grab grab grab, because anyone on a smartphone is a goldfish-brained, flashing lights junkie who won’t give your poor company the time you really deserve because they’re too overstimulated to know how good you are for them.

Well, first of all, goldfish actually have such good memories, that they can distinguish one human from another, and learn tricks.

And second of all, we can and do hyperfocus online! The catches are, the content has to be relevant, it has to be interesting, and it has to actually be easy to read.

No, I don’t mean easy to read as in legible, though there’s certainly more I could say about people still using black text on navy blue backgrounds. I don’t mean easy to read as in ‘keep Chaucerian references to a minimum’ either.

I mean easy to read in the purest form: your site and its content needs to actually load in a timely fashion.

I’m blessed with full use of my hands, so I can physically open a book in under a second. But connected to a great source of wifi, even with only one tab open, I can’t always make the same boast of opening a new website on any laptop I’ve ever used, and I definitely can’t say that about sites loading on my phone. Before you start an Apple vs PC/Android war, think about your own experience for a minute. It doesn’t matter what your tech specs are—slow sites are a universal demon!

And because they’re always listening, our Google Overlords have decided to do something about it.

The big G is starting to put the smackdown on sites with crappy loading times by branding them with a big ol’ ‘SLOW’ shame badge in the search results.

That means, even if you’re page one, result one, and the first ad in that little pastel yellow box, you can be passed over just like the losers on page 6 because Google will tell your potential readers visiting your site is buying a ticket to frozen screen town.

That town sucks.

So how do you get ahead of this latest development? You attack what makes your load times slow! The bugbears dragging you down are:

Ads

Videos reiterating what your articles say

Needlessly uncompressed graphics

Ads

Sites unformatted for mobile devices

Large gifs

ADS.

It’s ads, okay, the technical stuff is all easily fixable, but your biggest issue is ads.

As hard as it is to deal with your company not bringing in any cash, it’s even harder for consumers to properly peruse your content without getting hit with a video pop-up, some creepy cleavage-ridden clickbait, an animated banner, a new tab forced open, malware, extra sound, and the creep factor of the sites they only spoke about being right in front of them five minutes later.

It’s more than just distracting and dystopian—ish this brings your site load times to a grinding halt.

If they can’t click away from the ads, or have to wait for them to load before your content shows up while everything sorts itself out, more and more users are opting to hit the back button, or click over to be seduced by a competitor’s faster tab. With a ‘Slow sticker’ slapped on your pages by Google, these rightfully impatient browsers will start scrolling past you entirely.

It’s not just a problem for anyone selling directly either. Even the trusty Snopes is getting hit with my ‘NEXT’ thumb swipes on mobile because whether or not I’m scrolling on my personal porcelain or somewhere someone important might notice I’m bathroom blogging, it’s taking too long to get where I need to be.

Bottom line is this: If you have to have banner ads on your website to keep it afloat, it’s time you took the hours to run some intense QA. It’s up to you to vet the ads you’re allowing on your space, to see how they’re affecting your site’s load times, and to ask yourself if the money you’re getting from plastering your content with extra baggage is worth being skipped over for the next search result in line.

Keep your content in the fast lane, or gamble with rocking the sidewalk. The choice is obvious… but as always, it’s yours to make!

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Real Estate Marketing

100 new Pinterest trends to know for 2020

(MARKETING) As we look to 2020, Pinterest reveals the top 100 trends to expect in the first year of the new decade. Understanding these trends can boost your marketing in this visual-heavy industry.

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pinterest home screen

As we prepare to enter a new year – and a new decade – we reflect on the year before, and take what we’ve learned to help us better ourselves in the new year. What we’ve learned comes in the form of life lessons, characteristics of ourselves, and data.

The latter can help us predict what trends will occur in the year to come, and such is the case with Pinterest as the lifestyle social media platform lists the top 100 trends for 2020 – all based on data involving user behavior.

According to the Pinterest newsroom, “When Pinners are looking for new ideas, they come to Pinterest first. It’s where they get inspiration, dream about new possibilities and plan for what matters most. And every time someone searches on Pinterest, they’re thinking about what they want to try next. Multiply that behavior by the more than 320 million people using Pinterest all over the world, and you get unique insight into emerging trends.”

The Pinterest 100 is a list – that comes with its own mini-site – covers ten categories, all selected via the stats on user behavior. Each category features its own ten trends, and the ten categories include:

1. Responsible Travel – Environmentally conscious travel tips
o Train travel
o Staycations
o Eco-friendly cities
o Eco-friendly travel
o Agritourism
o Learning vacations
o Eco-structures
o Travel stories
o Reduced Carbon Footprint

2. Internationally Inspired – Region-specific design and art inspiration
o Spanish bathrooms
o Indian living rooms
o French antiques
o Australian landscaping
o Japanese tubs
o Macedonian meals
o Filipino desserts
o Arabic treats
o West African recipes
o Kerala breakfast ideas

3. Beyond Binary – Products moving beyond gendered labels
o Gender-neutral names
o Unisex kid clothes
o Gender-neutral party ideas
o Every-kid playrooms
o Unisex nurseries
o Androgynous wedding wear
o Tuxedo dresses
o Gender-neutral haircut
o Inclusive educational posters
o Androgynous flags

4. Space Everything – Space travel and related themes
o Astrology-themed parties
o Two the moon parties
o Galaxy birthdays
o Constellation crafts
o STEM activities
o Galaxy painting
o NASA logos
o Constellation piercings
o Space tattoos
o Planet Makeup

5. Re-wilding – Outdoor adventure
o Lake fishing
o Rockhounding
o Rabbit hutches
o Nature travel
o Bushcraft camping
o Northern lights
o Outdoor bars
o Outdoor play areas
o Outdoor indoors
o Hiking fashion

6. Finding Balance – Self-care tips and products
o Self-discovery journal prompts
o Social media detox
o Embrace being single
o Chicory root
o Art therapy activities
o Sea moss
o Mood-booster playlists
o Ylang ylang oils
o Feng Shui décor
o Cucumber juice

7. Pampered Pets – Advanced pet care
o Pet resorts
o Dog patios
o Outdoor cat playgrounds
o Dog toilets
o Goat playhouses
o Protective halos for blind dog
o Pet fashion
o Cat birthdays
o Cakes for dogs
o Pet memorials

8. Home Hub – Home, and home office, improvement tips and devices
o Garden room
o Indoor microgreens
o WFH wear
o Granny pods
o Audio rooms
o Homebrewing
o Indoor water fountains
o Home theaters
o Coffee stations
o Homemade baby food

9. 90s Re-Run – 90s inspired fashion
o 90s cartoons
o Hip hop parties
o Grunge fashion
o 90s music
o Lip gloss and liner
o Hair clips
o Y2K outfits
o Braided hairstyles
o 90s streetwear
o Scrunchies

10. Conscious Consumption – Sustainable living tips and tools
o Protest posters
o Low-waste living
o Product swaps
o Thrifted home décor
o Ocean trash art
o Thrifted wedding dresses
o Solar light crafts
o Secondhand fashion
o Low-waste weddings
o Thrift store crafts

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