Clever Ways to Increase Mobile App Reviews

The opinion of others (friends, family, product reviewers) matter, whether it is about restaurants, movies or apps. As hundreds of new apps hit the market every day, opinions and reviews affect how visible they will be in search results and how likely they will be featured on the app store. App reviews don’t just happen by themselves—especially the positive ones (people tend to leave a negative review if they are unhappy).

AppReviewHeaderAccording to Steve P. Young, a marketing consultant and host of the Mobile App Chat podcast, if you’re launching a new app, the following are things you can do to help get more positive app reviews:

Use an app review plugin: The quickest and easiest way to get an app review is to ask. There are a number of plugins available on iOS and Android that makes it simple to integrate app review functionality into your apps. Appirater is an iOS plugin that takes two minutes to drop into your app and asks users for review after they have used it for certain number of times or after a set time period. Avoid asking for a review too soon.

Incentivize users to review your app: The truth is, most people do not like popups. An easy way to get people to give you feedback and rate your app is to reward those users who choose to review. People like free stuff, so the probability of someone taking time to review your app will soar if they know they will get something in return. For games, this could mean extra points, or a bonus level.

Leverage Helpshift to provide direct support to your users: Providing exceptional customer service is the first step to getting good reviews. One way to do this is to include a “Send Feedback” button that opens an email form. An easy way to do this is by integrating Helpshift into your app so that you can communicate with your users via instant messaging window. This way, users can give negative feedback to a member of your customer support team and get answers in real time, rather than airing out frustrations in the form of a negative review.

Time the prompt: Don’t be in a hurry to get user reviews. Asking for a review when someone launches your app may not be the best idea—this interrupts normal app activity. A better strategy would be to wait for user to accomplish something or finish his/her intended task. This works in your favor to ask for review when user is happy about using your app.

Run a contest: Another way to increase app reviews is to run a contest on various forums. The popular blog Touch Arcade has a section where app developers run contests and giveaways to entice other members to leave reviews for their apps. You can giveaway goodies like iTunes Gift Card, or you can PayPal the winner. Running the contest requires you to manually manage the entire process but it can help you jumpstart the reviews and ratings.

These are few of the ways to help you get more reviews. Feel free to comment what is your strategy and what does or does not work for you. If you’re not in the app game, let us know if you tend to review apps. Do you find yourself more likely to review when you open the app? Do incentives help prompt a response?

For more information on this topic, please visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233066

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

Image from AppAdvice.

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Ways to Win More Sales

Sales is an integral part of today’s economy. Rather than relying on simply your product/service, your ability to generate revenue and sell products and yourself will determine your success. Below are several signs that tell you are well positioned to succeed at the art of selling, as per Grant Cardone, an international sales expert, New York Times best-selling author, and radio show host of The Cardone Zone.

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Remember you are in people business: Sales people sometimes get so involved in selling that they forget they are in the people business. Every customer wants to be treated personally. Getting and keeping customer attention is a big problem. Walk into any big-box outlet, restaurant or professional office and you might not even get acknowledged. Remind yourself that each potential or current client is a unique individual who deserves distinct treatment and your full attention.

Focus on the results, not the effort: Sales is not about planning, it’s about getting results. Getting in front of the customer is of the utmost importance. Your success is about getting your product in the hands of the customer. A great sales person needs to know how to get customer’s attention and present in a way that causes customers to buy. You don’t try to get an appointment—you either get it or you don’t.

Do the uncomfortable thing: Doing the uncomfortable thing is where the top performers live. Get in front of the tough customer, ask hard questions, and go for the close.

“I always call my toughest clients first and keep calling them long after everyone has given up,” says Cardone. “Once a month, I make a list of our company’s most difficult customers and create an attack plan on how to get those accounts. The first month we incorporated this strategy, I landed one of the biggest deals of my career.” Essentially, you have to get into deep waters to catch the big fish.

Wow the customer: Always work to inspire and involve your customer. When you wow a customer you make a difference and create customer retention. You can generate more impact by your presentation of the product. Wow them with your presentation, your dress, your belief in the product and the service you offer.

Ask for the sale: Most sales people never ask for the sale. If you don’t make the ask, you will only sell to those who are going to buy regardless.

Although you may not be in ‘sales’ these techniques can help anyone in business to make deals, create sustainable relationships and to increase sales and services. How does your company close the sale? What technique helps you to make the tough asks?

For more information on this topic, please visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226387

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

Photo by Caitlyn Bom Photography.

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Content Pieces You Can Create in 5 Minutes Or Less

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Producing content can be a time-consuming task. When pressed for time, it can be very difficult to commit to posting lengthy content pieces through your social media outlets. Eric Siu is the CEO of San Francisco-based digital marketing agency Single Grain and compiled the following list of amazing ideas to churn out content pieces when you are crunched for time.

Answer a question in a video: With the advent of smartphones, you don’t need an expensive gadget to create a video. A post can be as simple as recording a video from your phone, editing and uploading all on the same device. You can answer a commonly-asked question about your company’s product or service and record yourself answering it. Don’t try to over produce it by trying to make it perfect. Followers may connect with you better with this type of “off-the-cuff” footage. You can then put the video’s embed code into a blog post, add a quick paragraph describing the topic at hand, and you have a new blog post ready with just a few minutes of work.

Share an album of photos: Pictures can be a very easy way to get your content up and running. You can create a photo series on a number of topics, including “behind the scene” shots, images of products being used, or sneak peeks of upcoming releases. You might not be an experienced photographer, but you can still create quick content pieces by posting images around a central theme or encouraging customers to share their own pictures of products or services at work.

Reflect on a quote: People love posting and sharing inspirational quotes. You can create a blog post using quotes that reflect your favorite sayings. Be sure to choose a quote that is particularly meaningful for you. Write a few sentences reflecting on it, or create a video of your thoughts. Your reflections don’t need to be long—but they should give your readers something to think about and apply to their own lives.

Round up your favorite links: If you share interesting industry links through social media, you will have a lot of content ideas. You can track the effectiveness of sharing links with social media monitoring tools.  At the start of each week, log into the area of your monitoring tool that reports analytics on your past posts and select the five to 20 links that received the most engagement on your social profiles. Compile these into a “weekly link round-up” post to share on your website. It only takes a few minutes!

Update a past post: One easy option is to update an old blog post and re-release it on your website. Add some new insights, any updated details on the subject matter, and re-post it.

These are a few shortcuts that could be helpful to develop meaningful content in a short amount of time. What do you post when pressed for time? What types of content do you find most effective?

For more information on this topic, please visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233120

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

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Things to Look for in a Venture Capitalist

As an entrepreneur in the startup phase, there comes a stage when you might be working with venture capitalists (VCs). Some people think VCs are really lucky, others believe they’re extremely smart and well organized in their investments. VCs tend to be successful based on their relationships—who they know.

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The following are some insights into their world and their psyche through Steve Andriole. Andriole has been a venture capitalist at Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. and is currently an active angel investor in a variety of business technology startups.

As an entrepreneur looking for investment or an investor looking to make some money, the following are five rank-ordered areas to assess:

  1. Relationships: Who does the VC know, work with or invest with? Look for strong VC relationships that might include law firms, successful entrepreneurial testimonials and happy institutional investors.
  2. Performance: VCs win whether they succeed or fail, but as a business owner, you need to find out what the empirical record actually shows—the real results. Look at the internal rate of return of each and every fund they have raised and the carried interest that investors actually received. This is the most important due diligence that you will ever do.
  3. Advocacy: It is important to understand the firm’s orientation. Is it an entrepreneur-friendly firm or more focused on the investor? Entrepreneur-friendly firms have better deal flow than firms that have investor biases.
  4. Knowledge: VCs should know enough to know their weaknesses, or what they don’t know. Arrogance and stupidity in a VC is a bad combination—stay alert for such traits.
  5. Professional Integrity: Be sure to calibrate the ethics and integrity of your VC firm.

Have you ever pitched to or worked with a venture capitalist? What is the most important trait you assess when approaching a VC?

For more information, please visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232929

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

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3 Ways to Save When Registering Your Trademark

1396981518-3-ways-save-registering-trademark-2                                                                                     Image Credit: opensource.com via Flickr

Trademark registrations can be an expensive proposition for business owners. Last year, the United States Patent and Trademark Office collected $137.7 million in revenue for trademark-related filing fees and services. Jaia Thomas, a sports and entertainment attorney specializing in transactional and intellectual property matters, write about three ways to save when registering a trademark:

Apply online: You can file an online application which costs $275 as compared to a paper application of $375. Because of the lower costs, more and more people are filing online. Of the over 100,000 trademark applications filed in the first quarter of this year, only 637 were paper ones.

Limit the number of goods and services: Applicants are required to specify the goods and services that the trademark will protect. Remember, the filing fee is set per good or per service. If you register for just one good/service, you pay $275 but it will jump to $2,750 for 10 goods/services. Think strategically about your products and limit yourself before haphazardly listing too many items.

Use the trademark: According to law, applicants need to demonstrate the use of trademark in interstate commerce prior to receiving trademark registration. The interstate commerce requirement is fulfilled when the applicant uses the mark on goods that have been sold and transported across state lines or sells services to customers in other states or countries.

If you have not yet used the mark in interstate commerce but have plans to do so, the trademark office will allow for filing an application on an “intent-to-use” basis. Additional fees will accrue with this type of filing. With such a designation, additional filing fees must be paid once the mark is used in interstate commerce. If you are in no hurry to file the application, you should wait until you start using it in interstate commerce.

For more information, please visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232764

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

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Negotiating Your Way to a ‘Yes’

Negotiation is not something that is taught in school. Knowing how to negotiate your way to a “yes” can go a long way to benefit anyone – from employees to entrepreneurs. Sometimes it can be hard for people to see your vision. Without even giving you the chance, they may automatically tell you “no.”

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As a business owner, it’s important to learn the art of persuasion and how to negotiate for optimal terms. It will pay to master this craft. The following are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind, as described by Rebekah Epstein, founder offifteen media:

  1. Add a human touch: Don’t forget to personalize your interaction—it can be detrimental if people feel like they are unimportant or aren’t being heard. Remember to listen before you speak. This will give you a better chance to explain your product as per the needs of your audience. Create a win-win situation for both sides. A deal is long remembered and sustained if it keeps the interest of both sides.
  1. Be willing to walk away: It might look difficult to walk away from a negotiation but you have to know when to call it quits to keep the integrity of your business intact. If someone wants to work with you, they will figure out a way to do so.
  1. Know your non-negotiables: Know your deal-breakers before start negotiations. At some point, others will offer suggestions or even try to change what you are doing. It is good to listen, but you have to follow what others are suggesting. A compromise could also be made during negotiations.
  1. Work with people who don’t try to change you: As a startup (or employee), remember your worth and don’t let people take advantage of you. Find people who see value in what you do.

Have you used some of these techniques in negotiation? How do you ‘get the yes’?

For more information on the same, you can visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232735

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

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Networking and Educational Events: Part II – Plan for Success

In a previous post, I wrote about the important role networking and educational events can play in a woman’s professional development and how to choose the right events to attend. However, if you think simply identifying an event, registering for it and then showing up is enough, think again. It’s a mistake to attend events that do not align with your overall goals. So prepare any events you do attend a success by having a plan.

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Here are some things to consider:

  • You are there to learn. While this may be obvious for seminars and conferences, it is equally as true for networking events. Why? Because networking is about making connections—about discovering what other people need and can offer so that you build a mutually beneficial long-term relationship. The golden rule: listen more than you talk. Asking open-ended questions about a person’s business is a great way to convey interest.
  • You are there to make an impression. Dress appropriately and professionally. When you look your best you exude self-confidence—something that can translate into boosting your visibility and creating more opportunities. Also be prepared to describe your business or what you do in 10–15 words, and make sure that you have business cards and other materials you would like to share.
  • You are there to meet new people. Move around. Mingle. It’s okay to spend time with people you already know during walk-around networking time (there’s always room to strengthen relationships), but sit with people you don’t know for table discussions, breakout groups and dinners. Also, don’t spend too much time with any one person, and if possible, help other people make new connections by introducing them to your existing contacts. It will be appreciated.
  • You are there to grow. Whether you’re trying to win new business or develop new skills, events merely serve as an introduction. The meaningful work happens when you get back home or to the office. To apply what you learn, develop an action plan. Are there books you need to read, tactics to implement in the office or a schedule you need to create to help keep you healthier and more productive? To benefit from the connections you’ve made, send follow up notes within a few days of the event closing and make sure you personalize it with details from your conversation. Just as important as your initial follow up is staying in touch. Set a calendar reminder to check in with all of your contacts every couple of months to share news and see how they are doing.

Margaret Thatcher once said: “Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.”

Chances are, if you really look around at the days when you’ve accomplished the most, you’ll find you probably haven’t done it on your own. You’ve done it with a little help from your friends—the personal and professional network of people you’ve surrounded yourself with who help you be a better you. The goal of attending events is to expand that network and find opportunities where you can do for others what they do for you—create opportunities for growth. That’s how we all become better.

Guest author: Rani Ristau, Manager, Nottingham Branch, KeyBank

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Women, Networking and Educational Events: Part 1 – Choosing the Right Events

As women in business, most of us have had the good fortune of working with a strong mentor. Many of us have also served as mentors ourselves, sharing what others have shared with us and what we have learned with others. In the process, we all become better—better professionals and better people.

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Networking and educational events that are developed to address the unique needs of women serve a similar function. In fact, in today’s wired world, events like the WISE Symposium are becoming more important than ever. They offer new ways for us to make connections, build skills and learn at a time when one-on-one opportunities to exchange ideas and experiences are harder to come by. You just need to make sure you’re spending your time at the right events and optimizing your time.

Asking yourself the following questions can help you choose the right events:

  1. Why am I attending? Do you want to learn new skills? Meet new people? Promote your service or product? Whether you’re spending 30 minutes at a coffee meet-and-greet or a day at a conference, you need to have a clear expectation of what a positive outcome will be. Is it a qualified lead? Finding a resource? Making a contribution?
  2. Who will be there? Effective events are targeted to meet the needs of a very specific audience. Review the event agenda and talk to event promoters to see who they are marketing the event to and what the audience demographics will be. Events with a proven track record are generally a safer investment of your time. Talk to other people who have attended the event to see if it was well organized, delivered on its focus and was worth attending.
  3. What is the event about? The WISE Symposium is about promoting entrepreneurship. However, it would be a mistake to not attend just because you’re not an entrepreneur. In addition to creating an opportunity for people to network with smart, savvy women in business, the breakout sessions offer great learning opportunities for any professional. So before investing your time and money into an event, learn everything you can about it and analyze how well it aligns with your goals.

Also keep in mind your personal style and comfort level. Do you prefer smaller, more intimate gatherings or do you thrive in the energy of a large crowd. There are plenty of events that can offer you everything you need, provided you do your homework and have a plan for making the event an effective use of your time.

Guest writer: Rani Ristau, Manager, Nottingham Branch, KeyBank

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12th Annual WISE Symposium to Feature Expert Women Entrepreneurs as Keynote Speakers

Speakers include Jessica Herrin of Stella & Dot, Melinda Emerson of SmallBizLady, Amy Cosper, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine, and Good Morning, Beautiful Business author Judy Wicks; and many more.

Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (WISE) is bringing powerhouse entrepreneurial guest speakers to the 12th annual WISE Symposium on Tuesday, April 8, to inspire an anticipated audience of 1,000 at the Oncenter in Syracuse, NY. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and features a full day of activities, speakers and opportunity for networking.

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Jessica Herrin will deliver the afternoon keynote address, “Achieving Success and Balance through a Career You Love,”in which she’ll unveil her entrepreneurial journey designing a career that fit with her family priorities.

Melinda Emerson, known as SmallBizLady, America’s #1 small business expert, CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, and author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works, is the morning keynote speaker. Emerson’s presentation, “How to Reinvent Your Business and Become a Social Media Ninja” aims to inspire attendees to achieve their potential by dreaming big and then making it happen through tools, resources, and social media.

Another highly anticipated speaker is Entrepreneur magazine Editor-in-Chief Amy Cosper, who will give a “State of Women in Business” update to kick off the morning of the event.

Additional 2014 WISE Symposium speakers include:

  • Jennifer Howland, leader of IBM’s Pathways Program, a worldwide initiative to develop bold actions aimed at increasing the representation of women in STEM-related leadership positions
  • Judy Wicks, author of Good Morning, Beautiful Business and buy-local advocate
  • Karen Hough, Founder & CEO of ImprovEdge, and the author of The Improvisation Edge: Secrets to Building Trust and Radical Collaboration at Work
  • Alicia Marie, CEO of People Biz Inc., a coaching and training company
  • Gayle Carson, Spunky Old Broad
  • Renata Mutis Black, founder and executive director of Seven Foundation, which posits a new blueprint for philanthropy away from donor dependency into sustainable business models
  • Local women entrepreneurs and business/leadership experts who will be sharing their experiences, challenges and insights on a variety of topics

“It’s a great opportunity for attendees to make new connections and deepen their overall knowledge about cutting-edge business and leadership topics,” says Lindsay Wickham, events and communications manager for the WISE Symposium. “This continues at the WISE Women’s Business Center, which strives all year long to support start-ups and the growth of successful and passionate entrepreneurs in Central New York.”

RegisterNowButtonOther key opportunities and attractions at the Symposium include an Interactive Business Expo, networking with fellow delegates and exhibitors throughout the day, breakout sessions, Social Media Lounge, Connections Café, WISE Reads Library, roundtables for special sessions such as WISE Latinas and WISE Veterans, and also the post-Symposium Leadership Development training seminar “Coaching Skills for Managers” offered by People Biz, Inc. Preceding the Symposium will be the first annual Be WISE, Buy LOCAL Spring Fling, hosted by WISE and Syracuse First, on Monday, April 7th from 5-7 p.m.

Attendees may register for an all inclusive all-day ticket for $99. Registration for full-time students is $20. Other ticketing options are available. To register, visit https://wisesymposium.eventbrite.com or contact Lindsay Wickham at lwickham@syr.edu, or (315) 443-3550.

The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship, located in the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, has provided critical support and services for the event since its inception in 2003.

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Is Your Business Eligible for a Government Grant?

Nonprofits are not the only businesses eligible for grants. For-profit companies also receive grants based on their idea and work. For example, a company called Canopy Apps received $2M in grant funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to develop translation technology for medical professionals working with patients who don’t speak English.

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Of course, it is not easy to find (and receive) local, state and federal grants. It involves a lot of time re-working your business plan to put into an application format. “You have to have a revolutionary idea, incremental ideas don’t work,” says Jerrit Tan, CEO of New York City based Canopy. It has to be almost a crazy idea but within a reason.

If you can quantify the impact of your idea, it makes it easier. “Make it clear how big the impact of the problem you want to solve is,” says Amy Baxter, an Atlanta pediatric emergency doctor who in 2009 scored $1.1M in NIH funding for Buzzy, a pain-blocking device used for administering injections to children.

One thing is for certain in searching for an obtaining grants—you will need to put in time. For large federal grants, expect to spend several months preparing an application. It’s not a fast process, and it might take time for payments to arrive. Be sure to seek out the right opportunities for your business. Some grants may be more trouble than benefit. Some big payouts have restrictive stipulations on how the money can be used.

Don’t discount the smaller grants. They might have less stringent application and spending requirements.

One important aspect of application is to get external feedback. Run through your application with as many people as you can. As more eyes look at the proposal, they can find hidden flaws in the application which you might miss.

Have you ever applied for a grant? If yes, do you have tips for those considering applying for a grant? Share your thoughts and feedback here!

For more information, visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230830.

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

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