Smarty-Pants Speakers Drive Digital Marketing

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Digital Marketing News: Smarty-Pants Speakers Drive Voice Search, YouTube’s Rejiggered Hashtags, & Google’s Word Count Wisdom

Lane Ellis      Online Marketing News

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Report: Smart speaker ownership driving voice adoption on smartphones
The popularity of voice search on smartphones has grown in part due to more Americans owning smart speakers, with a new NPR and Edison Research report revealing 18 percent now own so-called smart audio devices. Marketing Land

Report: Facebook takes a back seat to Instagram as ad spend on the Facebook-owned app grows 177%
New research data shows that Instagram had ad spending four times Facebook’s rate year-over-year during the second quarter of 2018, while YouTube’s ad spend was nearly triple that of last year. Marketing Land

Emojis Score With Mobile Users
New study data shows that the use of emojis has resulted in a sizable boost of mobile e-mail open rates, with open rates boosted over 80 percent resulting in 363 percent revenue gains, but are digital marketers convinced? MediaPost

YouTube Shows Searchable Hashtags Above Video Titles
YouTube has begun showing searchable hashtags above the title of each video. The first three hashtags of a video’s description field have gained prominence with the change, offering new opportunities for YouTube marketers looking to optimize video findability. Search Engine Journal

Google: Word Count Isn’t Indicative Of Quality
Google has indicated that written content isn’t ranked solely by word count numbers. Short or not-so-short, good writing is rarely tied to formulaic word counts, Google has hinted. Search Engine Roundtable

Google releases AMP Stories v1.0 with new features, including an ads beta for DFP users
Google has announced new features for developers using its AMP Stories format, including several monetization features and additional metadata attributes targeting digital marketers. Marketing Land

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Twitter Releases New ‘Playbook for Agencies’ Which Includes a Heap of Twitter Promotion Tips
Twitter has published a new guide offering ad tips and more, in its agency playbook announced this week. The guide’s insight is applicable to a wide swath of digital marketing professionals. Social Media Today

An update to referral source URLs for Google Images
Google announced recently that it will soon implement a new referrer URL specific to Google Images. Digital marketers working with country-specific search queries also get specific new guidelines from Google. Google Webmaster Central

Snapchat beefs up ad targeting in deal with Nielsen
Segmented audience data is finally coming to Snapchat, as the firm recently announced a new partnership with Nielsen that brings some 30,000 segments to marketers using the firm’s newest addition. AdAge

Inside the Mating Rituals of Brands and Online Stars
The New York Times examines influencer morality clauses and the rise of online stars from YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, and others, with newfound brand credibility often following. The New York Times

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

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A lighthearted look at lifestyle brands by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

How Kit Kat managed to turn a viral tweet into a branded proposal — SEO Roundtable

This Man Tried to Break the World Record for Paper Airplane Flight — Wired

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — Natural Language Generation: The Future of Content Management — e-Spirit
  • Lee Odden — The Top 13 Content Marketing Influencers to follow in 2018 — JBH

What are some of your top influencer marketing news items for this week?

Thanks for reading, and we hope you’ll return next week for the latest digital marketing news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

“I help small businesses and individuals that need to stay in contact with groups, individuals, and clients
while maintaining a low budget that is affordable and simple to use over the internet.”
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Keeping Friends Is A Priority

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Here are ten friendship tips you can take to keep friends and improve the quality of the friendships that you already have.

Stay in touch

People are busy. They are always spending time at their jobs, finishing chores around the house, or taking care of their families. One in three workers believe they do not have enough time to do all the things they want to do at home. These responsibilities often pile up and seem particularly important. The internet has made such communication ridiculously easy. One can send a tweet or a Facebook message in between checking work emails. They can send a text and reply to it later that day. Such efforts take only a few seconds but can be considerable to sustaining friends over time and distance.

See your friends

An online connection is only part of friendly communications, however. If possible, a busy person still needs to make room for significant connections. Within reason, they should set a goal to see another individual in person on a reasonable basis. Some friends try to meet up with each other either once per week or once per month. Not everyone can meet all of their friends that often. But even the most infrequent face-to-face meetings can help provide a close connection that is lacking in an all-digital friendship.

Prioritize the friendship

In order to make room for friends, individuals need to prioritize that friendship over other parts of their lives. They need to focus on the positives that friends bring to their lives. Studies show that having lasting friendships makes people happier and live longer. They are able to live with less stress and have better avenues for problem-solving. In order to keep those friends, you need to go the extra mile to show your friends that you care and that they are a priority in your life.

Give gifts

Small gifts and favors will help facilitate the friendships in your life. A favor given means that another one may be received in the near future. Favors and gifts also open up dialogue and help two people communicate more often. A favor or gift may serve another purpose as a litmus test. If you have bought your friend with means ten birthday gifts in a row and have received nothing back, you may need to evaluate whether or not that friend should be a priority for you.

Handle conflict carefully

Conflict is inevitable in a relationship as well as a friendship. Even the closest friendships involve some level of conflict. It should not be ignored or swept under the rug in every possible situation. Instead, you need to make sure that you fight quietly and fairly whenever you do fight with your friends. One serious mistake could lead to a lost friend and a brand new enemy.

Connect your friends and your significant other

You should never have your friends avoid or be kept secret from your significant other. They will hold a special place in your life that may be in conflict with that of your friends. If you bring your friends and your special someone together, you can learn how to balance all of these important relationships without having to choose one over the other.

Agree with your friends (every once in a while)

If your friend just keeps getting things wrong, you should strive to find common ground. Common ground is critical and keeps you from simply being a nag. While you need to be able to disagree with your friend, constantly asserting how right you are can end up torpedoing the friendship.

Use anger sparingly

Anger is one of the most frequently expressed emotions between friends. Some situations warrant an angry response. Even when you are angry at a friend, you should always try to curb your anger with your friends. This advice is especially true for those friends who cannot handle an angry person. They may respond to your anger by fleeing and removing you from their lives.

Be polite with criticism

Your friends will make mistakes. They may also want to know about those mistakes. This desire does not mean they also want their feelings hurt. Try to be as careful as possible when making such criticisms. Follow the golden rule and keep insulting language to a minimum.

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Treat family with caution

Family is always a third rail in friendships. Individuals want to be able to criticize their families but feel defensive at other people making similar criticisms. Make sure to become familiar with how your friends talk about families. The wisest thing to do when a friend is discussing family may be to simply nod along silently.

Conclusion

Not all friendships last more than a few years. You have to be ready to reevaluate your friendships, follow these friendship tips, and reject toxic people from your life. However, a sustaining friendship can provide comfort and happiness for decades. If you go the extra mile and show that you care, the right people will be excited to stay in and enrich your life.

“I help small businesses and individuals that need to stay in contact with groups, individuals, and clients
while maintaining a low budget that is affordable and simple to use over the internet.”
http://www.trafficwave.net/lcp/wmyfloyd/autoresponderwork

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Recycling News Isn’t Always Good

Why Has American Entrepreneurship Dropped? Malcolm Gladwell Blames Agreeableness

Why I Spend $16,302 Each Month Producing Content That Google Won’t Rank

Malcolm Gladwell (left) and Carlos Watson speak onstage during OZY Fest 2018 at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, in Manhattan on July 22, 2018 in New York City.(Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images for Ozy Media)

These days, Malcolm Gladwell is all about disagreeableness.

In conversation with Carlos Watson at OZY Fest on Sunday, Gladwell lauded the trait as a key component of an entrepreneurial spirit. In the psychological context, disagreeableness or agreeableness is the extent to which one requires the approval of a group.

“One of the weird counterintuitive facts about the present day is that entrepreneurship in this country is at a historic low, relative to the last 50 years or so,” Gladwell says on the OZY stage. “The rate of new-business formation in America right now is as low as it’s been since the 1970s.”

The Future of SEO: It’s Not What You’re Expecting

According to research from The Kauffman Foundation, the number of companies younger than one year dropped by nearly 44% between 1978 and 2012. This slump is affecting every industry, even those that the public perceives to be thriving. Despite the incredible technological strides made in the last few decades, new-business formation is dropping across the board. But why? Gladwell thinks it’s because our younger generations are less likely to disregard the suggestions and opinions of their peers.

“Is it possible we are raising a generation of people who are less disagreeable than previous generations? That the effect of all the things we’ve done in good faith to make young people much more aware of and solicitous of each other’s feelings has had the paradoxical effect of making it harder for them to try something truly crazy and weird and innovative?”

How To Use Google Images to Drive E-commerce Sales Before Your Competitors Catch On

According to the Small Business Administration, research shows that young people are interested in starting new businesses. But interest isn’t enough. There are more factors against Americans trying to be entrepreneurs than just agreeableness. Gladwell sees opportunity, whether it comes in the form of a bank loan or a good education without debilitating student debt, to be bestowed on a select few.

MORE FROM FORBES

“The consequence of the rhetoric used to describe success is that we come to think of the qualities of those successful few as being incredibly rare. What’s rare is the resources and the opportunities these people had access to,” says Gladwell. “But the underlying qualities are common. … I think there should be a rule that one day a week, we just don’t talk about billionaires.’

Gladwell notably considers himself to be agreeable, despite his disputatious takes and success as both an innovative author and a podcaster. His podcast Revisionist History, which recently wrapped on season three and consistently reaches the top of the charts, is a force of disruption in a rapidly changing industry. In 2017, 48 million people listened to podcasts weekly and podcasting revenues are growing at double-digit rates. Revisionist History looks at the past to unsettle culture schemas—but Gladwell also wants to ensure a brief respite from current events.

“I don’t make news with my podcast. I’m in the edutainment business,” says Gladwell. “I’m the antidote to the 24-hour news cycle.”

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“I help small businesses and individuals that need to stay in contact with groups, individuals, and clients
while maintaining a low budget that is affordable and simple to use over the internet.”
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Why Problem Solving Should Be The Only Value Proposition You Use

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Sometimes Typography Influences

How Color and Typography Influence Consumers [Animated Infographics]

by Laura Forer  |

June 18, 2018

Animated InfographicsEarlier we explored how bad data can ruin a campaign. On the other hand, what good is great data if your creative assets don’t catch the attention of your audience?

Color and typography are two of the first features people notice in advertising, and those two elements can set the tone for your entire brand.

For example, fonts with serifs give a sense that a brand is established, while sans serif fonts make a brand seem more casual and modern.

That’s according to an infographic that explores how consumers view a brand based on its colors and typography—and how marketers can make the best design decisions for their brands.

Check out the full infographic by MDG Advertising:

Animated Infographics

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Who or What Drives Your Traffic?

Five Content-Led Marketing Campaigns That Drive Results

by Chris Cano  |

July 19, 2018

driving trafficIn today’s competitive marketplace, consumers are empowered to drive a hard bargain. Your audience knows how to get the best price, so it’s easy to get scared into thinking that a shrewd discount strategy is the only tactic that delivers results.

That is not the case. An attractive offer might make the perfect incentive to join your mailing list, but an email marketing strategy that’s consistently offer-led can be damaging to your business.

Discount-driven campaigns do little to promote your story. They can devalue your brand, and they confuse the customer experience. Plus, continually bombarding your contacts with campaigns that spout terms such as “sale” and “bargain” increases the risk of your emails’ being marked as spam.

The key to maintaining customer interest is resonance, according to the Forrester Brand Experience Playbook. A brand that resonates with customers is one that not merely provides the product, service, and experience they anticipate, but—even more important—also enriches customer experience by providing value-driven engagement opportunities.

And the proof’s in the ROI: A good content-focused marketing strategy drives six times higher conversion rates! Here are five content-led campaigns to help you cement a lasting relationship with your customers
1. User-Generated Content (UGC) Campaigns

Rebuild trust, recruit brand advocates, and get time back by adding UGC to your email marketing strategy.

A good review is worth its weight in gold. Although trust in brand messages has fallen in recent years, the influence of consumer recommendations has skyrocketed: Most online consumers prefer to be informed about what others have said about products and services—and therefore read consumer reviews regularly.

If you’ve wowed customers with your product or service, use their feedback as testimonials to influence your entire contact list. A UGC-based campaign allows you to push your most impressive reviews straight to the inbox, promoting a third-party, impartial view.

You can achieve that by adding a dynamic content block in an email template to pull in live review content directly from your site. Customer feedback from review sites such as Trustpilot and Feefo can be integrated into your campaign with ease for added credibility. And, if you’re feeling inspired, use UGC to construct the basis of your campaign creative and let the 5-star reviews speak for you! Check out how global skincare brand Elemis did just that:

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2. How-To Advice Campaigns

Providing your contacts with useful and informative content is a great way to showcase your business’s expertise.

Prospective and returning customers actively use content to inform their decision-making process: 47% of B2B buyers viewed three to five pieces of relevant content before engaging with a sales representative, according to a report from Demand Gen. Creating advice-based campaigns to deploy to your lists at appropriate stages can have a huge effect on your conversion rates.

Brands that resonate strongly with customers provide user-focused content to drive engagement. Think about what a customer might want to know about your product or service, and design an advice campaign based around your answers.

Great British Chefs uses its “Weekly Menu” campaigns to advise on food preparation. The emails feature guides, recipes, and blog posts to get taste buds tingling. And with the company logo displayed clearly and consistently in every campaign, readers can easily remember which brand serves up this mouth-watering content.

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3. Competition Campaigns

Want to generate new, quality leads and re-engage customers at the same time? No problem.

An attractive, time-restricted competition campaign has the power to generate hot new leads. Constructing a thorough and relevant entry form will give you good-quality data to send to your sales department. Plus, you can increase your audience and entice an entirely new fan base with an initiative strong enough to get shared across social media. It might even go viral.

A competition that gets good traction promotes brand awareness, online conversation, customer loyalty, and market presence. And when it’s all over, your key campaign metrics provide a rich source of data to inform your future strategy.

Check out this competition creative from luxury clothing and accessories brand Aquascutum. An interactive game hides behind the gorgeous email illustration, and those who complete it and provide their data are automatically entered into a drawing to win their favorite bag. With one initiative, the company has re-engaged existing customers, increased brand awareness, and generated new leads. Plus, it’s captured data on its customers’ style preferences. Genius!

Key ROI metrics from Aquascutum’s competition include the following:

  • 6% average email CTR
  • 100% increase over average link clicks
  • 100% increase over average open rates
  • 50% increase over average views and forwards

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4. Multichannel Engagement Campaigns

Email is your digital key, and you can use it to unlock a healthy ROI from your social media efforts.

A campaign that showcases your brand’s multichannel opportunities will promote cross-channel communication and nurture that single customer view. Give your contacts the chance to get socially acquainted with your business, and watch your brand ambassadors multiply. Plus, collate the data from multichannel engagement campaigns to get deeper insight into lifestyle and behavior. That all leads to better targeting.

An engaged community with multiple touchpoints will do the work for you. Customers who feel valued and nurtured by companies are more than happy to build brand and salience in order to get a better ROI for themselves. The inbox is the perfect environment for your brand communities to thrive!

This email from British fashion brand Jack Wills is beautifully designed and chockablock with channels. It gives customers five unmissable opportunities to connect, and we love the persuasive copy creative!

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5. Re-Engagement Campaigns

Looking for a win-back strategy that works? Reinstate valued members of your community by rolling out an irresistible re-engagement campaign.

Customers who have become dissatisfied with your email marketing want you to take a proactive approach to regaining their trust. Even your most loyal engagers will be bombarded with attractive alternatives, so get ahead of the competition by designing a campaign to collect customers’ preferences. That email should be sent out to contacts who qualify as unengaged. Use the results to re-engage customers with better-informed emails and more precisely targeted CTAs.

Check out this simple, effective, and on-brand re-engagement email from Dormify. The US dorm decor brand used its design expertise to create a seriously clickable campaign.

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Make It Resonate!

An attractive incentive provides great leverage for obtaining email signups and acquiring crucial consumer data. Customers have come to expect discounts in return for their data: Offers remain the top reason for filling out an online form and subscribing to a mailing list. But generic, batch-and-blast offer campaigns can dilute and devalue your company’s message. It’s easy to lose connections when the line of communication is poor.

To retain interest, you need to nurture long-term brand resonance. That is where adding value drives the best ROI. Content-led campaigns that are helpful, personal, and relevant can help you foster a lasting attachment between business and customer.

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Correct Use Of Autoresponders

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The way to efficiently use e-mail autoresponders without being obnoxious

Email autoresponders are one-to-one emails sent to a subscriber in your listing which might be caused to add price to the revel in a person has together with your commercial enterprise on-line.

Autoresponders are induced by using a movement taken in your website or by means of a timer set with the aid of your team, whichever nice suits the circumstances of the message dispatched to a person.

A satisfied birthday message, a reminder to go back for your shopping cart, an e-mail re-introducing vintage content material on your subscribers, an alert announcing new merchandise to a consumer based totally off in their beyond purchasing behavior and comparable emails are all not unusual types of autoresponders corporations used to speak with their clients.

That allows you to acquire success with the usage of autoresponders, it’s important that your emails accomplish the following desires:

building an extended-time period dating with your subscribers.

Your messaging is attractive and precise on your enterprise.

Boom the open-fees of your email campaigns.

Here are three strategies for best attaining those desires with your business enterprise’s autoresponder campaigns.

1. create an autoresponder collection

one of the nice techniques for attaining fulfillment with autoresponders is using them for your client base to be used with a particular purpose in mind.

As an example, Pat Flynn, the writer of the smart passive income weblog, indicates that your autoresponder campaigns ought to recognition on using a clever sequence of messages with a distinct purpose. The information four extraordinary techniques to autoresponders that frequently makes use of himself to attain fulfillment with his listing.

Such a tactic to autoresponders is called the bait and hook, that is an effective collection to emulate because it allows your enterprise to build a long-term dating together with your listing.

Bait-and-hook

as defined by means of Flynn above, the bait and hook technique to electronic mail autoresponders seems like this. It starts off evolved with someone subscribes to your list and then mechanically receiving a welcome electronic mail.

Once they’ve obtained a welcome email, drive ongoing price through sharing emails with them proposing helpful and informative content material that drive awareness round positive troubles to your industry.

Autoresponders

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When you’ve been adding value to your audience using content material focused emails, start to share an advertising on your products or services. Your corporations services have to act as solutions for the problems you’ve been discussing in previous emails.

After this, reengage your audience with autoresponders targeted on more content to help increase focus, specifically with subscribers that didn’t convert the first time.

Be cautious to share the most effective share treasured and informative content material that enables to teach your target market to prevent them from feeling like your messaging is solely focused on getting them to make a buy within the destiny.

2. Differentiate your logo from others

consistent with Radicati Group, one hundred billion emails were sent and acquired consistent with day in 2013 – a majority of those from groups. every day it receives extra difficult in your autoresponder emails to stand out from the dozens of e-mail a person gets ordinary.

Email autoresponders are critical seeing that they help automate vital messaging and loose up time to attention on other responsibilities, it’s critical to avoid becoming lazy with their use.

To make sure your messaging is engaging and particular, try your very first-class to think how you may craft your email autoresponders to be simple, clever and authentic with every and every message.

Consciousness first on ultimate constant to make certain your first actual subscriber has a comparable revel in for your a thousandth subscriber that’s simply as original and treasured.

To ensure consistency, use replica that’s non-public and engaging but with your personal voice. Don’t sound robotic or too formal, but alternatively add persona to what you’re saying whether or not it’s a content material or promotional e-mail.

The imagery your organization decides to used to your electronic mail autoresponders on an ordinary basis may even have an effect on the consistency of your messaging as well as how they stick out from different emails.

If viable hire a clothier off of dribble or enhance to create original visuals to your e-mail advertising that help mirror your emblem, in addition to the content material of each specific electronic mail. Whilst operating with a picture clothier, they’re growing visuals a good way to be solely used by your enterprise. These original visuals will truly assist differentiate your email autoresponders from others.

If you don’t have the budget for a image dressmaker, be extremely selective with the sorts of imagery you’re deciding on from a stock footage site like Shutterstock or Getty. There also are some free alternatives like unsplash or compfight to locate visuals to consist of without charge. Modcloth autoresponder

three. Perceive vulnerable factors via regular testing

examine the collection of e-mail autoresponders that you’re sending to your list and discover any messages that bring about a decrease in the click on-thru-charge, open-fee subscribers or on-web page conversions – relying at the content material of the email of course.

autoresponders are all approximately personalizing the revel in your corporation has together with your list. Sometimes, your messaging isn’t coming off incorrectly, however you won’t recognize till you obtain remarks out of your list.

Always reveal the metrics noted at the start of this segment to peer which part of your collection of autoresponder emails isn’t working.

Replace this ineffective email with two variations of a similar message to start a/b checking out those emails along with your target market. This way, you can find out which of those two variations of the identical electronic mail resonates extra efficaciously together with your audience and go together with the model that drives higher outcomes.

What-is-ab-trying out

In a few cases, the whole autoresponder e-mail series is what’s no longer operating. If irrespective of how you regulate the positive part of your series, it still isn’t operating; it might then be time to trash it and start over.

From time to time it will become to evident which you’re supplying content material in your target audience simply to push them to a product later on, which can be definitely off-placing to subscribers.

Restart your marketing campaign by way of most effective such as content material that surely adds cost in your audience before eventually adding them to a product focused e-mail.

In some cases, it is probably a softer promote to consist of more content emails earlier than adding a subscriber to a product or promotional electronic mail. Engaging content can help reestablish a reference to your target market time beyond regulation.

How is your enterprise making use of email autoresponders to cultivate a relationship with your list and power outcomes? What e-mail autoresponder collection has your enterprise determined effective and why? Share your thoughts inside the comments found below the article.

http://www.trafficwave.net/lcp/wmyfloyd/autoresponderwork

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Make Responding A Habit

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Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year

Change is hard. You’ve probably noticed that.

We all want to become better people — stronger and healthier, more creative and more skilled, a better friend or family member.

But even if we get really inspired and start doing things better, it’s tough to actually stick to new behaviors. It’s more likely that this time next year you’ll be doing the same thing than performing a new habit with ease.

Why is that? And is there anything you can do to make change easier?

Before we talk about how to get started, I wanted to let you know I researched and compiled science-backed ways to stick to good habits and stop procrastinating. Want to check out my insights? Download my free PDF guide “Transform Your Habits” here.

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How to Be Good at Remembering People’s Names

My girlfriend is great at remembering people’s names.

Recently, she told me a story that happened when she was in high school. She went to a large high school and it was the first day of class. Many of the students had never met before that day. The teacher went around the room and asked each person to introduce themselves. At the end, the teacher asked if anyone could remember everyone’s name.

My girlfriend raised her hand and proceeded to go around the room and accurately name all 30 or so people. The rest of the room was stunned. The guy next to her looked over and said, “I couldn’t even remember your name.”

She said that moment was an affirming experience for her. After that she felt like, “I’m the type of person who is good at remembering people’s names.”

Even today, she’s great at remembering the names of anyone we come across.

Here’s what I learned from that story: In order to believe in a new identity, we have to prove it to ourselves.

Autoresponders

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Identity-Based Habits

The key to building lasting habits is focusing on creating a new identity first. Your current behaviors are simply a reflection of your current identity. What you do now is a mirror image of the type of person you believe that you are (either consciously or subconsciously).

To change your behavior for good, you need to start believing new things about yourself.

Imagine how we typically set goals. We might start by saying “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get stronger.” If you’re lucky, someone might say, “That’s great, but you should be more specific.”

So then you say, “I want to lose 20 pounds” or “I want to squat 300 pounds.”

These goals are centered around our performance or our appearance.

Performance and appearance goals are great, but they aren’t the same as habits. If you’re already doing a behavior, then these types of goals can help drive you forward. But if you’re trying to start a new behavior, then I think it would be far better to start with an identity–based goal.

The image below shows the difference between identity–based goals and performance and appearance–based goals.

autoresponder
Graphic by James Clear.

The interior of behavior change and building better habits is your identity. Each action you perform is driven by the fundamental belief that it is possible. So if you change your identity (the type of person that you believe that you are), then it’s easier to change your actions.

The reason why it’s so hard to stick to new habits is that we often try to achieve a performance or appearance–based goal without changing our identity. Most of the time we try to achieve results before proving to ourselves that we have the identity of the type of person we want to become. It should be the other way around.

The Recipe for Sustained Success

Changing your beliefs isn’t nearly as hard as you might think. There are two steps.

1. Decide the type of person you want to be.

2. Prove it to yourself with small wins.

Here are five examples of how you can make this work in real life.

Note: I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to start with incredibly small steps. The goal is not to achieve results at first, the goal is to become the type of person who can achieve those things.

For example, a person who works out consistently is the type of person who can become strong. Develop the identity of someone who works out first, and then move on to performance and appearance later.

Start small and trust that the results will come as you develop a new identity.

Want to lose weight?

Identity: Become the type of person who moves more every day.

Small win: Buy a pedometer. Walk 50 steps when you get home from work. Tomorrow, walk 100 steps. The day after that, 150 steps. If you do this 5 days per week and add 50 steps each day, then by the end of the year, you’ll be walking over 10,000 steps per day.

Want to become a better writer?

Identity: Become the type of person who writes 1,000 words every day.

Small win: Write one paragraph each day this week.

Want to become strong?

Identity: Become the type of person who never misses a workout.

Small win: Do pushups every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Want to be a better friend?

Identity: Become the type of person who always stays in touch.

Small win: Call one friend every Saturday. If you repeat the same people every 3 months, you’ll stay close with 12 old friends throughout the year.

Want to be taken seriously at work?

Identity: become the type of person who is always on time.

Small win: Schedule meetings with an additional 15–minute gap between them so that you can go from meeting to meeting and always show up early.

What is your identity?

In my experience, when you want to become better at something, proving your identity to yourself is far more important than getting amazing results. This is especially true at first.

If you want to get motivated and inspired, then feel free to watch a YouTube video, listen to your favorite song, and do P90X. But don’t be surprised if you burn out after a week. You can’t rely on being motivated. You have to become the type of person you want to be, and that starts with proving your new identity to yourself.

Most people (myself included) will want to become better this year. Many of us, however, will set performance and appearance–based goals in hopes that they will drive us to do things differently.

If you’re looking to make a change, then I say stop worrying about results and start worrying about your identity. Become the type of person who can achieve the things you want to achieve. Build the habit now. The results can come later

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How Do Emotions and Beliefs Relate

The Relationship Between Emotions and Beliefs

Updated on September 10, 2015
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Dr. Thomas Swan studied cognition and culture at Queen’s University Belfast. His work explores theories of emotion, attention, and memory.

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Beliefs often describe a commitment made in the face of uncertainty. | Source

What are Beliefs?

A belief is an internally held or publicly espoused commitment to a premise that may be knowable or completely unsupported by evidence. Importantly, this gamut of uncertainty is what distinguishes beliefs from knowledge. For example, most of us know and believe that the sky is blue, but if you believe it will rain tomorrow, you do not necessarily know it will rain. Thus, beliefs are often formed when someone ventures beyond the scope of their knowledge, and takes a risk by committing to a premise that may not be entirely supported.

Given the inherent risk, beliefs that are publicly stated often have non-trivial content, i.e. they concern topics that are important for the well-being or social status of the speaker. As a result, beliefs may be imbued with an emotional investment, such that if the belief is proven wrong, there will be an emotional cost.

Many psychologists view belief as an unscientific term that deserves to be phased out. Contradictory and ambiguous definitions may be to blame for this attitude. However, knowledge is even less well defined. For example, a skeptic would claim that we can never know we know anything. If this is the case, then knowledge is merely a well-supported belief that we falsely ascribe the comforting notion of certainty to.

The Purpose of Beliefs

Beliefs may function to advertise your unique characteristics as a mate. The beliefs you hold will distinguish you from other potential partners. This allows like-minded members of the opposite sex to pick you from the crowd, which helps to guarantee a stable relationship in which a child can be brought up successfully. Natural selection should favor extensive belief formation, as this will improve the process of mate selection, and the quality of the child-rearing environment.

How Are Beliefs Learned?

Many of the beliefs we hold have been borrowed from individuals who demonstrate authority or prestige. This includes parents, celebrities, historical figures, politicians, and community leaders. For example, children will overwhelmingly adopt the religious beliefs of their parents. Another natural means of belief adoption is our propensity to conform with the majority.

Ignoring these sources of belief can negatively affect well-being. For example, one could be disowned by their parents, ostracized by society, or destined for failure as a result of choosing maladaptive beliefs. Natural selection has filtered those who are disposed to this behavior from the gene pool, leaving the human race with a disposition for conformity and prestige-based mimicry. An added benefit is the ease with which these types of beliefs are formed. If we assume that the popularity or success of a belief makes it reliable, our mental resources are spared the difficulty of testing it.

Nevertheless, niche beliefs can be attractive if the benefits outweigh the costs. Indeed, if beliefs demonstrate one’s unique characteristics as a mate, then pandering to the majority isn’t always an effective strategy. However, it’s likely that most niche beliefs will be adopted from models of authority or prestige for the aforementioned reasons.

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When forming beliefs, we all like to think we’re perfectly scientific. | Source

How Are Beliefs Formed?

Sometimes a belief will be formed using one’s own cognitive faculties, with little or no influence from other people.

Perhaps the rarest mode of belief formation is that which relies on empirical observation and universal systems of logic to make `rational’ deductions about one’s environment. Not surprisingly, most people claim to exclusively use this method. Indeed, people wish to be seen as impartial because it gives their opinion extra weight. Even if someone has made a rational deduction, accusing them of being irrational will provoke an emotional defense. Thus, it may be impossible to form a belief without the influence of emotion, because even rational beliefs are a source of pride.

A more common form of belief formation is motivated reasoning (PDF). This is often used to reinforce prior beliefs or knowledge that one has an emotional stake in. For example, if a patriot extracts pride from the belief that her country is great, she will be more inclined to believe stories that show her country in a good light. In the same way, religious people are inclined to believe Intelligent Design because it supports prior beliefs that they are emotionally invested in. The purpose is to fool oneself rather than others. Indeed, if a new belief agrees with preexisting beliefs, it appears to be rational, and the motivation for forming it can be ignored.

As well as reinforcing positive emotions, motivated reasoning can be used to cope with negative emotions. For example, sitting in a hospital bed might intensify one’s fear of death. This should create a motivation to believe in an afterlife, prompting a biased search for information that can be used to support the premise. Whether the individual reads holy books and theological articles, or listens to priests and religious groups; the goal is to convince themselves that, if they believed in an afterlife, their belief would be rational. If these mental gymnastics can be performed, the new belief serves to alleviate the negative emotion that triggered the process of motivated reasoning.

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Emotions such as anxiety may be a significant factor in belief formation. | Source

Intuitive and Reflective Beliefs

Cognitive scientists usually separate beliefs into intuitive and reflective states. For example, a man observing a lady smile at her companion’s behavior may form the reflective belief that replicating this behavior would be useful during a romantic encounter. However, this relies on the intuitive belief that a smile is an expression of happiness. Intuitive beliefs are automatically treated as data. They include folk beliefs such as `solid objects cannot occupy the same space’ and `other people have beliefs and desires that are separate from my own’.

Ineraction Between Emotions and Beliefs

Our beliefs influence how we perceive, interpret, and construct the world. As a result, beliefs are central to the production and transformation of emotional states. According to cognitive appraisal theory, emotions are elicited when we evaluate stimuli in our environment. This evaluation includes questions such as “does this stimulus help or inhibit my goals?” and “can i cope with it?”. Negative answers should produce an unpleasant emotion, but if we are to answer these questions, beliefs are required about the nature of the stimulus. For example, feeling anxious during a romantic encounter requires beliefs about how one is expected to behave, and whether one’s behavior matches that ideal. If these beliefs are wrong, one’s emotional state may be unduly affected.

As we have seen, emotions also affect the beliefs we form, suggesting a recurrent interplay between the two cognitions. In fact, some emotions may be especially able to facilitate the formation of new beliefs. For example, anxiety is appraised whenever a non-trivial, uncertain threat to well-being is detected. This describes many of the conditions under which new beliefs form. As such, there should be no greater emotional influence on beliefs than anxiety.

Wishful Thinking?

David Hume described beliefs as perfectly inert states that cannot produce or prevent action. Conversely, pragmatist philosophers have described beliefs as that upon which we are prepared to act. If this is the case, what compels us to act on our beliefs? The deductions made thus far would suggest that if beliefs bias the direction of our behavior, emotions provide the impetus for it.

What we end up believing is invariably what we most want to believe. Though some desirable premises are plausible, many are merely a prelude to wishful thinking. Indeed, if you wish to measure someone’s lack of delusion, just ask them how many unwelcome beliefs they have.

© 2013 Thomas Swan

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