The most recognizable landmark in Paris may be getting a makeover. The Eiffel Tower has been around since the late 1800’s. And while it’s still an iconic building, city officials in Paris feel that it could use a few updates.

The proposed changes would include adding security measures, improving the flow of tourists, upgrading elevators, paint, lights and more. Overall, it’s estimated that these upgrades will cost more than $300 million and will take about 15 years to complete.

That’s a major undertaking. But the city is reportedly interested in hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics. And if that’s the case, it might be necessary to add some value in the form of more practical features for the city’s most popular landmarks.

Sometimes, Change is Necessary

Old structures like the Eiffel Tower present a unique set of challenges to the cities or businesses that are charged with operating them. Changing the building completely would take away most, if not all, of the incentive for people to visit in the first place. But sometimes, change is necessary in order to keep those structures operating as they should in the modern age.

This concept is one that’s also relevant to a lot of businesses. Whether you’re actually operating an old tourist landmark or just have some old traditions that have helped your business succeed through the years, you need to find a way to mix the old and new in a way that makes sense for your business.

Eiffel Tower Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Paris Wants to Mix Old and New With Eiffel Tower Upgrades (Watch)" was first published on Small Business Trends

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Your organization’s ability to articulate your differentiation is a critical component to both enabling your reps and ultimately winning market opportunities. As a sales leader – as someone who is ultimately responsible for the number, you need to make sure your sales reps and everyone who is engaging with your customers is crystal clear on what makes you different from the competition.

Your team needs great clarity on why a customer should choose you over your competitors, an internal solution or doing nothing at all. Once you have aligned your company on what makes your solutions different, the next step is to enable your team with the ability to embed that differentiation into the way your reps sell. Here are three questions to have your sales reps work through on every opportunity.

1. Differentiators Embedded Into Customer Requirements

Your solution differentiators must influence customer’s requirements early in their buying process. Your sales reps need to be armed with questions, talk tracks and the skills that enable them to use those differentiators to influence the customer requirements. For example, let’s say your differentiator is how you integrate into salesforce and your reporting structure that comes from that integration. Now your competition also says they integrate with salesforce, but they don’t have the reporting structure you have. If that’s your differentiator, you need your customer to see that the reporting structure is important. Your differentiators need to be part of what’s required to solve the problem.

2. Value Tied to Customer Requirements

Then the value that your differentiatior brings has to be tied to what the customer deems is required for a successful solution. Those differentiators must be meaningful to the customer. When a customer says so do you offer a solution that can streamline my billing and financial reporting systems? You need an answer that makes them say, oh wow, that would be valuable. Otherwise, who cares?

3. Force Competitors to Defend their Own Differentiation

Your differentiation must be defensible. There needs to be proof you do what you say you can do. Third-party testimonials and case studies can carry a lot of weight in making you stand out against the competition. However, it also forces your competitors to defend their own differentiaiton. If I’m trying to articulate differentiation and I can provide the proof that I can do what I say I can do – I’m also forcing my competitors to provide the same proof. If they can’t, my customer can clearly see and understand my differentiation. By defending my own, I’m forcing others to do the same.

Differentiation is always part of the sales process – no matter if the customer is asking about it or not. Remember the digital buyer – they’re researching your competitors throughout their buying process.

Your salespeople need to be crystal clear on how they are leading customers from their needs to your highly differentiated solution. Remember it’s only differentiated if iyour customers view it as a highly differentiated solution.

It’s the end of the month again, and every marketer knows what that means: end-of-month reporting. It feels like just yesterday we were knee-deep in numbers and charts and graphs trying to sort through the data and make sense of it all. Why is inbound marketing reporting so important, anyway? Why do we spend so much time analyzing? Because it connects the dots between our marketing activities and the goals we set out to accomplish. It can help us draw conclusions from our tests, learn from our mistakes, and spot opportunities to replicate success. Inbound marketing reporting can also help us prove the ROI of inbound marketing efforts and eliminate wasteful activity.

Simply put: Proper inbound marketing reporting gives us a blueprint for success when it comes to growing business through inbound marketing activity. But you don’t have to wait until the end of the month to start. Here are some ideas for breaking your reporting down into daily, weekly, and monthly analysis to help you keep better tabs on your inbound marketing activity.

For more information on the inbound methodology, how to apply it toward growing your business, and how to track your success, download The Growth Hacking Cheat Sheet: Plan, Execute, See Results.

In the meantime, here’s what you can be reporting on daily, weekly, and monthly to grow your business:

What to Report on Daily

While you shouldn’t get yourself tied up in too much reporting on a daily basis, it’s good to get in the habit of checking in on a few activities to make sure things are going smoothly. Set a few minutes aside every day to take a quick glance at the following items:

Website Traffic (Daily)

Website traffic is the lifeblood of inbound marketing for obvious reasons—you must attract your audience to your website before converting them into leads. Taking a glance at website traffic using a tool like HubSpot or Google Analytics on a daily basis can help you monitor sudden spikes or drops in traffic.

Social Media Engagement

Posting and interacting on your social media channels regularly will help you expand your marketing reach and attract visitors to your website. Research reveals that links shared on Facebook and Twitter have a shelf life of about three hours. So, generally speaking, when you post a link on social media, you’ll be able to determine how engaging that post was and how much traffic it sent to your website within 24 hours. Make checking up on your recent social media posts a morning or afternoon ritual. You can learn a lot from successful and unsuccessful posts.

What to Report on Weekly

Monitoring activity on a weekly basis will help ensure there are no breakdowns in performance that will affect month-over-month progress. Here are a few things to report on each week:

Website Traffic (Weekly)

Glancing at website traffic on a daily basis will help you identify trends that you can circle back to weekly. Check back in to see if sudden drops in traffic have been resolved. Consider the week’s marketing activity and try to identify whether or not tactics are working like you planned. Which days performed better than others? It shouldn’t be surprising to see a bump in traffic on days when you post a blog article or send an email, but if that bump is higher than typical, make a note to yourself for monthly review.

Blog Traffic

Studies show that within one week of posting, a blog article’s traffic drops, on average, by 90 percent. When a blog article is optimized for SEO, it can build significant organic traffic over time, but check back on recent blog posts each week in the meantime to see how they performed. For articles that didn’t generate much traffic, consider the topic of the article and the audience that read the article. Does the topic speak to and help your desired audience? From the promotion strategies you used, were you able to reach the right audience?

Leads (Weekly)

Leads should be monitored frequently for the same reasons as traffic: to catch any drops in performance before they affect monthly goals. As your campaigns are running, check in on the number of leads you’re generating. When lead performance drops, consider your CTAs, emails, and landing pages.

What to Report on Monthly

Monthly performance reports help ensure that you’re hitting your goals month over month and that your marketing activities are paying off—resulting in steady growth over time. They can also inform you where to shift focus in order to get better performance from your inbound marketing efforts. Here are a few things to take a look at monthly:

Website Traffic (Monthly)

Track overall website visits each month and expect to see an increase in month-over-month traffic. Track website traffic by channel to identify the activities that are working when it comes to attracting visitors. Here’s a breakdown of traffic to consider:

  • Organic Traffic – Organic visits from unpaid search results
  • Referral Traffic – Visits from another website that isn’t a search engine
  • Social Media Traffic – Visits from social media channels
  • Email Traffic – Visits from the emails that you send out
  • Direct Traffic – Visits from offline sources such as print advertisements or brand recognition
  • Paid Traffic – Visits that come from paid advertising

If month-over-month traffic happens to decrease from one month to another, you’ll be able to pinpoint the reason why by identifying channels that also decreased.

Page Performance

Take a look at your best and worst performing pages, including landing pages and blog articles. You’ll want to identify the pages that are not only getting the most views, but the ones that are converting well too. Make sure that the most viewed pages provide a next step for visitors to take, whether that step is to read or subscribe to the blog, download premium content, or to fill out a bottom-funnel form. Consider using prominent, action-oriented CTAs at or near the top of the page. Pinpointing traffic sources and successful CTAs for each of these pages can help you lay out a strategy to increase traffic and repeat success.

Campaigns

As you build out and execute marketing campaigns, don’t forget to check in monthly to see how they performed and what takeaways you can learn from. First, consider the number of campaign views, new contacts and new customers generated. Are these increasing or decreasing month-over-month? Break that performance down by channel to determine which activities had the biggest impact on recent campaign performance. This insight can help you decide where to spend most of your efforts and your budget.

Leads (Monthly)

Increases in website traffic month over month indicate that you’re attracting an audience. Increases in leads month over month indicate that you’re attracting the right audience and that they’re converting on your offers. Track your overall leads each month and, again, expect to see a steady increase over time.

Visitor-to-Lead Conversion (VTL)

This is the total number of visitors divided by the total number of leads. Keeping an eye on your VTL conversion rate helps you determine how effective your landing pages and offers are in converting visitors into contacts. When your VTL rate is low for the month, consider whether or not you’re bringing in the right audience to your website. Then consider how well your offers are resonating with them. A/B-test some variations to find out.

Cost per Lead

This is the total spend on marketing activities divided by the number of leads gained. Track cost per lead by channel (organic, referral, social media, email, direct, and paid) to determine which efforts are the most cost-effective and which ones could be scrapped altogether. Keep in mind that inbound marketing strategies require an investment of time and hard work before you start to see results, so measure monthly, but give it time to come to fruition.

Customers

Your inbound marketing efforts don’t truly pay off until you’ve turned your leads into customers for your business. So obviously you want to track your customers every month and (once again) which channels they’re coming from (organic, referral, social media, email, direct, and paid).

Lead-to-Customer Rate

This is the total number of customers for the month divided by the total number of leads (multiplied by 100 to get the percentage). This tells you how well your leads are converting into sales. When the lead-to-customer rate is low, consider ways to nurture leads a little longer before handing off to sales.

While this breakdown of reporting is sufficient for some, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. How do you break down your daily, weekly, and monthly inbound marketing reporting?

As the name implies, it is very easy to install the SimpliSafe security system and using it for your small business will save you lots of money.

Securing the place we live and work in used to be a task best left for professional, but like almost every other industry, digital technology is also democratizing security. SimpliSafe Home Security lets you install a wireless security system with all the bells and whistles, without needing an expert and paying an arm and a leg for it.

The SimpliSafe System

As the name implies, it is very easy to install the SimpliSafe system. It comes pre-programmed to work out of the box, and you won’t need to drill any holes or use wires, which saves hundreds on installation alone.

The Packages and Custom Build

You have the option of getting different business packages or you can custom build one for the perfect system. A business 5 piece package is as little as $229.96. You can get some that have as many as 13 components and you can even add more pieces to them for a total of up to 41.

If you decide to build your own, it starts with a core unit that includes the base station, wireless keypad and master keychain. From here, you can add all of the sensors, panic button, keypad, keychains, as well as the siren the company offers. This includes entry, motion, glass break, water, and freezer sensors.

SimpliSafe Security Monitoring Plans

One of the biggest drawbacks of traditional security systems is the monthly fees of the contracts that lock you in with multi-year commitments. With SimpliSafe, you get 24/7 professional alarm monitoring for less than 50 cents per day without annual contracts, and you can cancel anytime.

Access

Once the system is installed, you will have access to your business with your smartphone no matter where you are. The base houses a SIM card for cellular connectivity, and it has a backup battery that works in the event of a power outage.

As the name implies, it is very easy to install the SimpliSafe security system and using it for your small business will save you lots of money.

Conclusion

The system is easy to set up, wireless, without a long term contract allowing you to cancel anytime. It has a 100 percent guarantee with paid shipping for return after 60 days. The company says that this gives customers complete control. What do you think?

Images: SimpliSafe

This article, "SimpliSafe Home Security Service May Also Provide Small Business Solution" was first published on Small Business Trends

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When people talk about the professional skills required to be a good facilities manager, communication doesn’t always get a high priority.

It’s true that facilities management isn’t as communication-oriented as a profession like marketing or sales, but it’s still a field where you need to be able to communicate effectively.

In fact, it’s very difficult to do the job well without solid communication skills. Whether you’re just checking in with a co-worker or giving a presentation to managers, you need to have the knack of tailoring what you say to suit your audience. Listening to others is important, too.

To brush up on your communication techniques and make yourself a more effective manager, take advantage of the suggestions presented here:

1. Fit Your Message To Your Audience.

There are many different ways for people to absorb information, and each individual has his or her favorite methods. You want to pick a medium that works well for the people you’re communicating with so that your message has maximum impact. Some people prefer to take in all of their information audibly, while others do better at grasping new information when it’s accompanied by visual aids.

To reach people in the latter group, for example, you might specifically incorporate charts and images into an upcoming PowerPoint presentation. Even if you’re pressed for preparation time, you can accommodate visual learners by using a whiteboard to visualize what you’re discussing. Keep your options open and be prepared to use a variety of techniques to convey your ideas to subordinates, peers, and superiors. Here are some good tips for better communication.

2. Don’t Be Afraid To Repeat Yourself.

No matter what communications techniques you choose, you should be prepared to emphasize your message by repeating it multiple times. Repetition makes it easier for others to recall the information you give them, and for some people, it’s absolutely vital to integrating new data.

The average worker receives roughly 300 messages every day at work. That’s in addition to the other information thrown at them in their personal life. In order to make your own points stand out, feel free to deliver them more than once.

3. Be Brief Without Being Reductive.

Because of the high volume of messages described above, you’ll obviously want to trim down your own communications and make them as direct and short as possible. You don’t want to make the mistake of cutting out vital information, though.

It’s especially important to prioritize and organize what you share so that your audience gets a clear message along with all of the supporting information they need to take action. Omitting important points from your message may lead your co-workers to jump to the wrong conclusions or even start working in ways that are counterproductive.

4. Think Like A Leader.

When you’re talking to someone important, like a C-suite executive, you should be ready to offer up objective number-based points that support your arguments. If you want to free up money for new facilities management software or there’s an emergency and a new rental boiler is required, for example, adding a realistic figure for the amount the company stands to save with the new software will make your argument much more persuasive.

This doesn’t mean that you need to craft all of your communications like sales pitches, though. It’s helpful to make your messages more interesting and valuable to your audience by sharing your own perspective and describing your experiences.

5. Break Through The Bubble.

In the course of your ordinary duties, you’re going to spend most of your time speaking to a limited circle of coworkers, contractors, and superiors. Make an effort to broaden your experience by speaking to others beyond your day-to-day community. Speak to people in other departments and find out what they’d appreciate from the facilities team. Try sitting in on regularly-scheduled meetings so that you’re exposed to fresh perspectives.

Facilities management is a field where good communication matters. If you take advantage of these five tips to refine your own messages and remember to keep your ears open, you should find that better communication skills can make it easier to do your job.