Samsung Starts Rolling Out Galaxy Note 7’s Grace UX to Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Starts Rolling Out Galaxy Note 7's Grace UX to Galaxy Note 5
Galaxy Note 5 users start receiving Note 7’s Grace UX
The update is being rollout in South Korea
It brings software features of the Note 7 to Note 5
Samsung has started rolling out Galaxy Note 7’s Grace UX to the last year’s Galaxy Note 5. According to user reports, Samsung Galaxy Note 5 users in South Korea have been receiving an over-the-air (OTA) update that brings an all-new software experience. To recall, Samsung introduced the new Grace UX with its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone earlier this year.

A forum post at XDA Developers suggests that the update is about 600MB in size, and brings various UX features of the Galaxy Note 7. Some of the new features that the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 users are receiving include Blue light Filter, Ultra power saving mode, Smart manager, and Wide selfie among others. The update is currently rolling out to users in South Korea though it can be expected to be available for more users in the coming days.

galaxy note 5 grace ux update samsung
Despite the update, the Galaxy Note 5 still runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Galaxy Note 5 users can manually check for update via Settings > About Device > Software Update. Unfortunately, the company is yet to confirm broader update plans for the Galaxy Note 5.
To recall, Samsung last month suspended all productions of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone and also halted sales worldwide. The company in a desperate move also advised customers to stop using the device following reports that units were catching fire. In India, Samsung launched the flagship phablet for 2016 at Rs. 59,900.

Recently, the South Korean giant launched Android 7.0 Galaxy Beta Program for Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. We expect the Android Nougat update for the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge to roll out soon.

Tags: Samsung, Samsung Mobiles, Mobiles, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Samsung Galaxy Note 7


5 Reasons for Businesses to Go Mobile

mobile user

Step onto any subway car, go into any café and walk down any street. One thing you are sure to see is a smartphone being used.

Twenty years ago, we simply used phones for making calls or sending text messages. Now, we carry our whole world around in them.

From bank details to social media contacts, office apps to learning tools, if you can turn it into a digital platform, you’ll find it on a smartphone somewhere. For businesses, to go mobile is communication dynamite and it’s changed the way employers work, not only in the U.S. but around the world.

For businesses across all industries, mobile tech has provided new and innovative ways to engage with employees, boost productivity and cut the cost of operating in an increasingly competitive world. Companies are now less worried about how they can stay secure when their staff are using their own devices in work. They are ultimately more concerned how to leverage all this great technology so that it benefits staff and customers. 64 percent of Americans now own a smartphone with the number of users rising above 200 million across all states.

And it’s not just big organizations that can reap the benefits of mobile. For small businesses, the cost cutting advantages are pretty good and the opportunities to work smarter mean that there is more chance of success and grow in both the short and long term.

1. Better Employee Engagement

In many businesses over the last few years or so, the concept of better employee engagement has become a hot topic. Greater understanding of the needs and thought processes of those who work for you is paramount in getting the best out of them. Effective engagement also allows businesses to come up with diverse strategies that help maintain and nurture top talent.

The upcoming millennials are virtually inseparable from their smart devices and use them for everything from shopping to talking to their friends. Deeper employee engagement can also be achieved by updating and communicating more effectively, allowing individuals to work and innovate wherever they are in the world.

2. Increased Productivity

Having access to information in the blink of an eye, when it is really needed, helps to boost productivity and stay ahead of the game. Employees don’t have to wait around for calls or paperwork to come in. It is sent to their smartphone or tablet immediately and that means they can act and react more quickly.

Combine this with employers who are committed to working more flexibly in order to get the best out of staff and you have a recipe for tighter working and greater engagement. Because businesses can respond more quickly to customers as well, this means service and sales are improved across the board.

Networking and collaborative working can be undertaken anytime, anywhere. An employer can send a project update to an employee and he or she can receive it while travelling to work on the subway, return comments and get the conversation moving rather than wait to log on or attend a meeting once at work.

3. Affordable App Builders for Small Businesses

Businesses are not constrained by the need for big movers and shakers such as Microsoft to provide the relevant app for them. It’s now possible to have bespoke apps built for any business and at a cost that won’t drain dollars out of the budget using an affordable app builder. Employers can pick and choose what they need with little or no programming experience required and have the advantage of scalability which means they can start small and build their app to something more complex at a later date.

These kinds of apps can be easily rolled out to relevant staff and used to improve productivity in a variety of ways. This could be anything from a push notification about an important deadline or calendars for employees to something more complex such as ordering supplies and undertaking projects between several staff members.

Apps can also be built to define a business brand and be given out free to consumers. This works well for businesses such as restaurants or take away outfits who can give customers more opportunity and easy access to purchase from menus. It also means customers have a ready reminder of the company brand on their mobile device as well as easy access to the service or products it supplies.

4. On the Spot Learning

One area where employee engagement often falls down is providing staff with the right level of training and learning. Sophisticated educational apps can now be added to mobile phones that allow staff to learn at their own speed and in their own time.

Modules can be downloaded, progress tested, tracked and stored. You can also update employees with office regulations and strategies that enable you to keep everyone in the loop without the need for time consuming meetings. Research suggests that firms which promote a culture of learning in their office environment are 52 percent more productive. That can only lead to one thing: greater profits.

5. Out of Office Working

One of the major changes that new technology has brought about is how many employees no longer need to be tied to their desks. With cloud services and smart devices such as mobile phones and tablets, they can work anywhere in the world. This has led to many businesses, particularly small to medium sized ones, actually moving away from the traditional office environment. Employees can work from home, connect via the Internet, update on their smartphones, engage with each other through conferencing and video sites. Even if employees do need to come into the office every day, the likelihood is that they will check in at home or when they are off on vacation, sorting emails and responding to clients and other staff members while on the move.


Employers who engage with the latest technology and go mobile will no doubt have a head start on their competitors. The way we work is changing and keeping up with all the latest developments is vital if businesses want to grow and succeed. The mobile revolution may well be one of the most defining moments of the next twenty to thirty years.

Mobile Photo via Shutterstock


Do You Have a Blog For Your Ecommerce Site? Here Are 5 Reasons Why You Should

Do You Have an Ecommerce Blog? Here Are 5 Reasons Why You Should

The internet is so highly saturated with blogs that starting one now can be intimidating and feel pointless. After all, what’s another blog when thousands of similar blogs exist? Who would even read it? Is it worth it? If you’ve ever been curious about starting a blog but have found yourself stumped by questions like these, it may be time to take the next step on creating a blog for your business.

Adding a blog to your business/e-commerce site can impact your brand in ways that paid advertising can’t and that consumers are eager to respond to. In fact, choosing not to participate in the blogosphere could be putting you at a disadvantage and stunting your business growth. If you’re not sold on the idea just yet, here are 5 compelling reasons your ecommerce site needs a blog.

Why You Need an Ecommerce Blog

1. Blogs Build Trust

Ever been to a website that’s selling products or services but has no trace of real people anywhere? An impersonal presence can be particularly detrimental to e-commerce websites, because it strips the buyer experience down to bare bones. Blogs are a great way to restore that consumer trust and interest, because it gives you a place to add a personal, relatable flair on your website. Take, for example, Birchbox.

An Ecommerce Blog Builds Trust

Birchbox is a popular brand among my fellow twenty-somethings that sends a box of beauty products to try with a monthly subscription. What attracts women to this brand over going to the mall and buying their own beauty products is not just the appeal of getting a monthly package in the mail, but rather a trust in the authority Birchbox has. Their blog is a carefully curated display of tutorials, beauty tips, brands to watch and more that asserts a powerful message: you can trust Birchbox to send you your beauty products, because they know what they’re talking about. The blog is relatable, fun, and enforces the message of their products.

You can do the same for your brand by populating a blog with tips, tricks, and news relevant to your products or services. In doing so you’ll demonstrate to users that you’re an authority worth trusting and investing in.

2.  A Blog Can Grow Your Following/Consumer Base

Not everyone who sees your blog will be instantly inspired to purchase something from your e-commerce site. But in keeping with the build-up of trust, you could amass an enormous following through your blog that will gain you the recognition of other industry authorities as well as consumers who are more interested in making purchases.

It can also lead to beneficial relationships, if not with consumers then with other professionals of similar disciplines. After developing your blog and letting it grow a bit, you can start seeking out guest blogging opportunities to get noticed and feature other useful bloggers on your website. For example, pretend you have a business website that sells subscriptions, gifts, and cases of wine. You could invite a popular sommelier to write a guest post on your blog about pairing wines with certain foods, cooking with wine, etc. Your users would gain the tips and advice from your blog and come back to reference you for more helpful information. Even further, the sommelier may share the guest post across his or her personal network, giving your brand exposure, and even feature your business on their own blog. It may be a hypothetical situation, but real opportunities like this are opened up when you have a blog.

3. Blogs Attract New Leads

Adding a blog component to your website opens up new pathways for customers to reach you that might otherwise not exist. By having a blog that consumers can interact with, you can better understand their preferences, styles, concerns, habits, trends, etc. There could be an entire niche you’re unaware of or insights you’re missing due to a lack of customer interaction.

Blogs open up a portal to not only communicate with your client base, but also create share-worthy content that attracts attention from leads you might have previously failed to target or overlook.

4. Blog Content Will Boost Your Site Rank and Grow Links

Long form content doesn’t always have an appropriate place to reside on ecommerce websites, which is why having a blog component is so helpful. You can populate the blog with keywords, phrases, and internal links that search engines can easily crawl and respond to.

Strictly from an SEO standpoint, having a blog for your business site is definitely considered a best practice and is one of the surest ways to out-perform your competitors. The sheer quantity of links produced from a blog shows search engines that your site is active and is getting significant user traffic.

5. It’s a Built-in Content Marketing Tool

Channeling your content marketing efforts towards your blog is a great way to cut your time spent strategizing in half. You can focus on promoting high quality, utility-based information that will sustain publicity across social media and professional platforms. The content generated by and for your blog can be shared across the internet and used as a catalyst for getting your brand the attention it needs to be successful.

Blog Photo via Shutterstock

More in: Publisher Channel Content


5 Ways Small Businesses can Benefit from Blogging

5 Benefits of Blogging for Small Businesses

Startups prefer online promotion over offline promotion because the former is cost-effective and yet often has shown definite results. Because blogging is the default window leading to online promotion, more and more brands are getting into it these days.

For a small business on a shoestring budget, investing time and resources in blogging is a better option tha other marketing alternatives. Blogging can aid in getting a high ranking on search engines and in gaining social media visibility?

But anything beyond that?

The Benefits of Blogging for Small Businesses

Let’s find out:

Establishes Thought Leadership

Blogging is instrumental in establishing thought leadership. Small firms need it more than their big counterparts. That’s because big companies can spend money and skip intermediate phases in the sales funnel. But small businesses have to pass through them.

Contrary to what many believe, thought leadership is not simply an accompanying factor in the sales cycle. It impacts a customer’s purchasing decisions when he’s on the payment page. The ORM overdose has made average customers suspicious about the claims made by brands about their products. But customers are less suspicious about industry thought leaders.

Another benefit of thought leadership is it attracts efficient employees, who might otherwise work in big companies. Some of those employees feel the corporate houses are soulless places to work. Big companies don’t allow employees to perform fully up to their potential. Small brands, especially the ones that are thought leaders, grant them this privilege. What’s funny about thought leadership is it doesn’t go hand in hand with paid efforts. Customers always take promotion with a pinch of salt.

Organic efforts, especially blogging, establishes thought leadership.

Content Planning

Blogging makes content planning easy for brands. In fact, the two are not separate. Brands that excel in blogging are those that plan their content in a meticulous way.

How exactly is content planning beneficial for startups?

Proper content planning can save cost and increase ROI. Brands, both big and small, unnecessarily shell out money due to wrong content planning. Big brands may not keep track of every dime they spend, but small businesses do. Cost-cutting and ROI increase are the focal points.

The following are essential for content planning:

  • Consumer demographics,
  • Problems consumers face, and
  • How branded products offer up solutions.

Of the factors above, some help brands to understand customer idea feedback. The next step of content planning is drafting the content in accordance with such feedback. Audience reactions can clue marketers in on the acceptability of the posts they publish. Once they garner audience appreciation, they can move on with the accompanying writing style.

Strategizing each step is content planning. Content planning helps to measure content marketing ROI, which is difficult otherwise. In the absence of industry-approved publishing metrics, proxies like virality and engagement factors are used. But via content planning, we can figure out more rigorous ROI measurement factors.

Monetizing the Blog

Very few give it a serious thought. They should because the majority of startup companies are bootstrapped. Blog monetization can be an alternative way for them to make money. It’s not rocket-science. There are ample resources on how to create a money-making blog from scratch.

Some hold monetizing a blog reduces the odds of establishing thought leadership. That’s not true. Making the site cluttered with ads is not a good idea, but paid promotion via in-text links (to a limited extent, of course) and giving favorable reviews to sponsors are great ways to monetize a site without putting banner ads on it.

Other than financial benefits, blog monetization can help startups expand their network. As they explore the financial opportunities, they can partner with other bloggers and with industry influencers. They may hop onto the money-making bandwagon if given a chance.

How-to Guide

Startups don’t hate DIY as much as big brands do. That’s because big enterprises can take care of all product related needs of customers — from packaging to promotion. Startups, on the other hand, offer specific services targeted at specific requirements.

Customers who go for DIY may need supporting tools and additional services. They expect these at lower cost, which rules big brands out of the equation. Only small businesses can understand and meet their requirements. Here’s an example:

Let’s say a small business operates in the chimney flue manufacturing industry. On the blog page of its site, it can offer guidelines on how to install a new chimney flue. A homeowner can do the installation himself, but he needs to buy the flue from a store. This is how small businesses can endorse DIY and yet publish how-to guides on their sites.

Tutorials and how-to type posts can quickly draw reader’s attention. How-to-led DIY can make someone successful in his endeavor or result in failure. The first outcome adds authenticity to the procedure detailed by the blogger (the small business). The second outcome prompts readers to get back to the blogger with questions, leading to a long trail of interactions. Hence, how-to posts lead to a win-win situation.

Getting Noticed

Startups aim to secure funding from venture capitalists. VC firms invest in businesses which they deem worthy of investing. How do they decide whether to invest in a startup or not?

They calculate the possible ROI based on speculations.

For a small business, it’s tough to convince investors that funding it will bring them good ROI. Approaching the investors, and for that matter reaching them, is the first hurdle. Persuading them to invest is the next. And do bear in mind that as a startup, you have to jump all these hurdles without sounding pushy and without bragging about yourself.

Blogging is an excellent way to get noticed by big players. There’s no dearth of platforms if drawing the attention of the big players is on your mind. Admins of third-party B2B blogs will be delighted to publish your posts, provided these posts are useful and offer new information. Then there are publishing platforms like Pulse. LinkedIn is where most of the VC guys are. And they hover over Pulse articles for new insights.

From your blog, people running VC firms will come to know about your achievements, methodology and innovations. You can even present case studies to bolster your claims. From case studies, investors can get a glimpse of your firm’s internal workflow and business process. If they are impressed by these, they may invest. Choose relevant topics, do a lot of research and offer solutions. In short, give VC firms all the reasons to notice you in the crowd.

Summing Up

In the era of content marketing, blogging is bound to help a business climb up the ladder of success. However, the efforts put into it must be precision-guided. The five tips shared here can make sure of that.

Blogger Photo via Shutterstock


5 Killer Tips for Small Businesses to Generate Better Blog Traffic

5 Killer Tips for Small Businesses to Generate Better Blog Traffic

Companies that blog receive 97 percent more inbound links than those that don’t. – Hubspot

Almost everyone knows how valuable blogging can be and it is quite possible that you maintain one as well. Blogging can help you achieve several goals, which include improving brand awareness, selling products/services, or becoming a thought leader. Regardless of what your goals are, you need to divert as much traffic towards your blog as you can to achieve them.

Small businesses that have just got into blogging publish their articles, and wait for comments and likes to pour in… but more often than not they get nothing. This happens because most of the time, they are competing with hundred other blogs that talk about the same topic — “target” the same keywords — and speak to the same audience.

No doubt, traffic is key to blogging success, but you can’t expect it to pour in overnight. In order to build blog traffic, you need to invest time and effort and make your blog popular among your target audience. You need to create high-quality content consistently and distribute it across various channels.

But is it worth investing your valuable time and money to build a successful blog?

The answer is a resounding “Yes”! Take a look at the following stats:

  • Blogs result in 434 percent more indexed pages for websites on average. (Source)
  • Brands get an average of 1,200 new leads per month by creating 15 blog posts per month. (Source)

So let’s see if there are any simple ways to improve blog traffic dramatically:

How to Get Better Blog Traffic

1. Create Content Strategically

One of the best ways to increase blog traffic is by creating high-quality and informative content for the target audience. But other bloggers (in your niche) will also give their best to come up with exceptional content. So, along with quality, you also need to have a solid content strategy.

Most people fail to attract the desired attention since they don’t focus enough to the headlines of their blog posts. If you get the headline right, about eight out of 10 people will click to read your content.

Secondly, you need to write posts that are descriptive. While there have been endless posts debating the right length of posts, and whether long posts outperform short ones or vice versa, a study from Buzzsumosettles it: posts that go viral range between 3,000 and 10,000 words.

Better Blog Traffic - Create Content StrategicallySource

Thirdly, you need to create content that serves a specific need, one that is evergreen. This means, you need to create content that will remain relevant for a long time on the World Wide Web.

Before you start writing, make sure you know what your audience loves and what they hate. If you fall short of ideas for your blog, you can get new ideas from a variety of tools, forums, QA sites, or social media.

2. Share Content More Than Once

According to a post on KISSmetrics by Garrett Moon, companies don’t share the content they produce quite often which is why they fail to attract attention of the prospects. Most bloggers create posts and share them only once on various social media channels. If you do so, there may be people (may be hundreds) who missed the content when you shared it the first time. In order to reach the maximum number of people, it is best to share posts multiple times in a timely manner.

Social media can help you generate a huge amount of blog traffic when utilized properly, and sharing content more than once can trigger strong reactions. But make sure you don’t become a spammer by sharing posts too many times. The below image shows how you can share posts multiple times without being accused of spamming:
Better Blog Traffic - Share Content More than OnceSource

Think of various tactics to grab the reader’s attention while re-sharing. Frame the message in different ways to attract attention without coming across as a spammer or a bore.

3. Involve Thought Leaders

If you really want to generate better blog traffic, then you must get some thought leaders to write for your blog, or at least endorse your content and brand. This means reaching out to the influencers in your niche who have a large social following and who have been writing excellent content consistently for a long time. Ask them to contribute to your blog.

Influencer marketing is not just for product firms; in fact, professional services firms are taking the lead in using this practice. Gerrid Smith, niche SEO expert and Founder of strategic service marketing firm Black Fin, leverages the power of influencers for his clients, which include attorneys and law firms all across the US. According to Gerrid:

“Getting content from any Tom, Jane or Harry just won’t do. To really reach their audience, you also need to get them to rave about you on web properties that they own. Also there is the added SEO benefit of getting a link from a well-known website.”

If you can get experts and influencers to write about you, you will not only get quality content, but you can also position yourself in front of the expert influencer’s massive social network. The recently released movie ‘The Abundance Factor’ used the same secret sauce. The movie was highly praised, but if you delve deeper, you will see that the director did nothing but reached out to thought leaders and experts and got quotes (valuable content) from them for free.

However, it is not all that simple as Smith warns that reaching out and asking nicely doesn’t always cut it. Sometimes you may have to “sweeten the deal.”

4. Go Where Your Audience Hangs Around

There are numerous channels through which you can promote your content, but not every social network will work for you. Try and identify where your target audience spends their time and focus on that particular platform.

Every social network caters to a specific set of audience, so you need to see which one works the best for you. If your posts are rich with visuals, you can try Instagram, Pinterest, or similar platforms. You can use analytics to determine the websites that drive the maximum referral traffic. Find out websites and forums where your audience engages and become an active contributor. Post links from your blog whenever appropriate.

5. Restructure Your Posts According to Readers’ Tastes

Sometimes, you need to restructure your blog posts based on your audience’s preferences, especially if they aren’t really captivated by your content. But, how will you understand if your readers are fascinated by your content or not? Simple, check the comments and the number of shares. If people aren’t commenting or hardly saying anything beyond “Great post!” chances are you need to restructure your posts immediately.

To improve your blog traffic, you need to say what your core audience wants to hear. Once you do it, they will not only interact with your posts, but also share and promote them on their social networks. But, to achieve this competitive edge, you need to first understand your readers and analyze their behavior. Basically, you need to focus on three metrics:

  • Bounce rate
  • Page views per visitor
  • Time on site

Better Blog Traffic - Restructure Your Posts According to Readers’ TastesSource

There are certain simple tweaks that can help you improve these metrics. For example, if you have a higher bounce rate, start by making your blog responsive, improve the load time and include calls to action that prompt users to engage further with your site.

In order to increase your average number of page views, you can simply crosslink your posts or add a “Related Articles” section at the end of your blog posts. Finally, to increase your visitors’ time on your website, use more images, headings and sub-headings, lists, bullets and block quotes, etc. within your text to improve its readability.

In Conclusion

There is no substitute for great content, but to become successful and drive maximum blog traffic, you need to have a strategy in place too. Know your audience, work with influencers and advocates, experiment with your posts, and keep measuring in order to drive the right traffic to your blog.

Feel free to share your success stories in the comments!

Traffic Photo via Shutterstock


5 Reasons Your Handmade Business is Not Gaining Traction

hand planer

Are you working harder than you think you should have to work in order to gain traction in your handmade business? If you are working hard and getting results, eventually you will learn to work smarter so you can get the same results with less effort. This would be a good thing.

On the other hand, if you are working hard and not getting the results you seek, your unnecessary struggle could be due to one or more of five specific handmade business mistakes and things that are missing from your entrepreneurial equation. Keep reading to find out what they are, and how to fix them.

Are You Making These Handmade Business Mistakes?

1. You Have No Target Audience

The first question I ask when coaching a new entrepreneur is, “Who is your target audience?” Nine times out of 10, the answer is something like, “Everyone.” This is a fear-based approach to business that wrongly assumes that if you omit anyone from your target audience, you’ll make less money. The opposite is true. The more focused you are on a specific niche, the more money you’ll make, the more fun you’ll have, the more freedom you’ll enjoy, and the less you’ll struggle in your business.

Make it a goal to sell your product to the exact same person over and over again, just with a different name each time.

Drill down deeply into the psyche of your one customer, and then find him or her every day in different places. Doing this will help you pinpoint your perfect buyer persona and ensure that the people who are most inclined to be attracted to your product can quickly spot you in a crowded market place.

Action Step: Survey your customers annually to find out what makes them tick. Get the usual demographic information like name, age and gender, but invest the bulk of your survey exploring their psyche. What keeps them up at night? What are their biggest challenges and pain points? What makes them happy or sad? What inspires them? What kind of change are they seeking in their lives? Use Survey Monkey (or a similar service) to do this.

You are limited to 10 questions with Survey Monkey’s “freemium” service, so either upgrade so you can ask more questions (more than 20 is too many), or be very intentional about the 10 questions you ask.

2. You Are Not Embracing Your Role as Leader

If you are not proactively embracing your role as a leader, you are hurting yourself and your business. I am a member of several paid membership groups (both local and virtual) where everyone is invested in themselves and in each other. We build each other up, and we offer tips and solutions to help each other with all kinds of business challenges.

While you can achieve some level of success toiling away on your own island, you will eventually burn out. You’ll have less fun and you’ll stunt your growth as a human being. You can and should avoid this fate by surrounding yourself with other creative entrepreneurs who are leveraging their successes, failures, challenges, and expertise for the benefit of themselves and other similarly situated people.

I cannot overstate the value of this kind of interaction. It’s one of the reasons I launched the Indie Business Network, and why membership programs like IBN are so popular. People who surround themselves with like-minded entrepreneurial leaders gain traction faster than people who do not, and their businesses are more successful. It’s that simple.

Action Step: Find at least one group of like-minded entrepreneurs, and join them. If you cannot find such a group, create one.

3. You Are Not Blogging

Maintaining a blog sharpens your entrepreneurial saw. It also helps you to organize and clarify your thoughts. Search engines love sites that feature fresh content regularly, so if you are not blogging weekly, you are missing out on 52 opportunities a year to attract new customers to your site without spending any money.

Blogging helps you to establish yourself as an authority in your field, and it builds your confidence as a business leader.

I hear many creative entrepreneurs say that they do not blog because they have nothing to say. If you are making a living selling the products you make, and you have nothing to say, you should cut your losses and close down now.

Action Step: Set up a blog and start blogging today. It does not have to be perfect. A blog is free to set up on WordPress. Start one today and blog at least once a week. Your business will grow, and you’ll be a better business leader because of it.

4. You Are Not Building Your Customer List

According to the 2015 Wasp Barcode Technologies Survey of Small Business, email is the top marketing tool used by small businesses. (Interestingly, according to the report, use of Facebook as a marketing tool is declining.)

When I started the my business, the first thing I did was launch a website. The second thing I did was publish an email newsletter. I didn’t have a single customer and my only subscribers were the six people I had met at a soapmaking meetup the week before.

Perhaps the fact that I was a journalism major in college helped me know in my gut that a newsletter would be critical to my success. Whatever the case, I was right. Fast forward 16 years, and I’m still right.

An email newsletter gives you the kind of intimate access to your customers that you cannot get with any social media outlet or even with a blog. People can read it at their leisure, and they can hit the reply key and communicate directly with you.

Perhaps best of all, you own and control your newsletter, and the subscriber list you create. All of social media can die off tomorrow, but with an email newsletter, you’ll be unscathed because you have direct, one-on-one access to your customers. Few things can support the long term sustainability of your business like an email newsletter.

Action Step: Start a newsletter today. I recommend Mail Chimp, but you can also use Constant Contact, Mad Mimi and others.

5. You Refuse to Embrace Technology

One of the things I consistently hear from handmade business owners is that they are not tech savvy. This self fulfilling prophecy is the crutch that forms an eternal excuse for you not to make a video or set up a blog or try out Snapchat.

Not everyone will have the same level of technological acumen, and that’s OK. But every entrepreneur must learn enough about technology to know how to use it for the benefit of his or her business and customers. If you were not embracing technology a decade ago, everyone would understand. If you’re not embracing technology today, you’re committing business suicide.

Stop telling yourself that you are not technologically savvy, and become technologically savvy.

Action Step: Look at how businesses similar to yours use technology, then make a list of all of the things you see others doing that you think would benefit your business. Use your favorite search engine to find classes or programs to help you learn how to incorporate those things into your business, and then do it. Make this an ongoing part of your business routine so you don’t get left behind.

What did I miss? What other handmade business mistakes can explain why you’re not gaining traction?

Hand Planer Photo via Shutterstock


5 Ways To Use Video To Showcase Handmade Products

handmade products video

When it comes to showcasing a product, there is nothing like the power of video. But if that is the case (and it is), then why is it that video seems to be the domain of people who are either selling services or the supplies used to make products?

If you make the products you sell, handmade products videos that showcase your work should be readily available all over the Web. After all, you have an endless stream of Made In America action that your customers want to see. So why deny them?

If you make the products you sell, you have a huge advantage over the people simply selling information or services. Who wants to watch a video of someone creating an information product? When you make soap or shoes or cupcakes or perfume, it’s a whole different ball game. Nothing can showcase the color and texture of your product the way a handmade products video can.

Below are ways to use a handmade products video to showcase handmade products and compel people to buy more of them.

Creative Video To Showcase Handmade Products

Show Everyone How You Make Your Product

People love learning about how things are made. It’s interesting to see raw materials come together to form a useful product that enhances people’s lives.

Here is an example of Kendra Renee at Kendra Renee Jewelry Design using an Instagram video to show how she carves a mold for a wedding ring out of wax.

Demonstrate How Your Product Should Be Used

One of the best ways you can positively influence people to buy your products is to show them how they perform in the setting in which they will use them at home.

Here is an example of Chelsea Selby at Witch Baby Soap using an Instagram handmade products video to showcase how one of her bath bombs perform in a bathtub. Even more clever, the video she is using is actually one made by one of her customers. See, sometimes, you don’t even have to create the video yourself!

Make a Video that Reflects Your Target Customers Using Your Product

One of the things that sets a product apart from the pack is that the customers who buy it can see themselves using and enjoying the product. Help facilitate this positive branding experience by sharing a handmade products video that shows your customers happily using your products.

Here is an example of how Stacia Guzzo at Handcrafted Honey Bee used a promotional launch video to show how her target customers can “dream big” as they enjoy using her DIY cosmetic kits.

Share Information About the Ingredients and Components in Your Products

While a fragrance is difficult to capture in an online environment, with video, you can describe it well enough to allow viewers to engage their olfactory system in a fun way.

In this handmade products video, natural perfumer Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Company shares exactly how she builds a perfume from scratch, from start to finish. For anyone interested in the art of perfume, this is a fun video to watch because you can almost smell the aromas as she describes them.

Use Video to Encourage People to Support Your Next Project

Whether it’s crowd funding or an awards contest, using video to showcase your handmade products can help attract everything from votes to funding. When you want people to support you by giving a vote or donating their hard earned cash, the least you can do is entertain them a little. No one wants to read seven paragraphs of text before submitting a vote. But everyone will watch a fun video.

Here is an example of Anne-Marie Faiola at Handmade Beauty Box using a handmade products video to encourage people to fund her Kickstarter campaign, which, by the way, was fully funded within 24 hours of its release.

Using Video Leverages the Power of the Internet

No matter what you make, and no matter the size of your business, you can use a handmade products video to engage customers and prospects and tell the world about your products in living color. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

I’m sure you can think of tons of ways to make your business shine using video to showcase handmade products! Share your ideas and experiences, and links to your most successful videos, in the comments.

For additional reading:

29 Places to Market Craft Tutorial Videos to Attract Buyers

25 Places to Sell Handmade Crafts Online

5 Reasons Your Handmade Business is Not Gaining Traction

Pottery Photo via Shutterstock


Steam Halloween Sale 2016 Discounts Grand Theft Auto 5, The Walking Dead, and More

Steam Halloween Sale 2016 Discounts Grand Theft Auto 5, The Walking Dead, and More


  • Steam’s Halloween Sale ends at 10:30pm IST on November 1
  • Both horror and non-horror games are discounted
  • Standout deals include price drops on Resident Evil 4 and The Witcher 3

Steam isn’t just the world’s biggest PC game digital distribution platform, it’s the one with the most deals and discounts, particularly towards the end of the year. And while the Steam Winter Sale is known for its colossal price drops, the current Halloween Sale running on it is no slouch either.

A host of games have received massive discounts. These include horror themed titles such as The Walking Dead, Resident Evil 4, Dead Rising 3, and The Evil Within all of which have had their prices slashed by 50 percent or more.

(Also see: The Steam Black Friday Sale Is Here and This Time It’s Different)

In addition to this, non-horror themed fare is at a lower price too. These include Grand Theft Auto Vthat’s now 40 percent off, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Game of the Year Edition that’s 20 percent lessexpensive, and surprise survival game hit, Ark: Survival Evolved that’s half off.It’s interesting to note though that the date for this year’s Halloween Sale was leaked almost a week ago by Redditor MrFreemanBBQ who did the same for this year’s and last year’s Summer Sale as well. This year’s Halloween Sale ends on 10:30pm IST on November 1.

(Also see: Steam Isn’t the Cheapest Place to Buy Steam Games Anymore)

Hopefully this sale will be less dramatic than last year’s Winter Sale that saw the the service being offline for awhile. Reason being, there was a security flaw that exposed the personal information of its users. There was a much delayed statement citing this as a ‘caching issue’ and this was followed up by a post on Valve’s site detailing the outage and breach of personal information along with an apology. Valve finally sent an apology to its customers in March.

Tags: Cheap games, Cheap PC games, GTA 5, GTA V, Grand Theft Auto 5, PC Gaming, PC games, Steam Sale 2016 Date, Steam Sales, Steam Halloween Sale, Valve, Discounts, The Walking Dead, The Witcher 3

Camera review: Coolpad Note 5

Coolpad Note 5Coolpad Note 5

Camera is often the key talking point in smartphones made by Chinese companies. Some impress with their picture quality, while some offer interesting modes and filters which are not available on phones of Indian makers. Priced at Rs.10,999, Coolpad’s new budget smartphone Note 5 offers a mix of both.

The smartphone comes with a 13-megapixel camera with aperture f/2.2 and can record videos at 1,080p @ 30 fps. It also supports touch to focus and has a LED flash for low-light shots. There is also a low-light mode which can light up darker areas and deliver slightly better results in low light. The camera app shows a few modes on the home screen itself, while a few are hidden away and can be accessed by tapping on a few screen buttons. One of the on screen-buttons takes you to the various live filters, where you can see what the final shot will be like. The other button takes you to camera modes such as Long exposure, Watermark and Panorama. The modes on the screen include night, beauty and professional.

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This is a long shot of the top few storeys of a building with the sky in the background. The sky in the background shows a dull shade of blue, which is what it actually looked like to the bare eyes. It hasn’t tried to enhance colours for effect, which suggests you will get mostly accurate shots out of this camera, at least under natural light. Though detailing is good as we could see the windows and balcony of the top storeys clearly, the image loses its crispness.

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This is an indoor shot taken under yellow light, yet the white colour on the sugar particles and the brown of the donut looks affected. This shows that the camera can handle reflections well, but struggles when it comes to getting the focus right. There is no macro mode which could improve things.

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In another close-up but under natural light, the camera has captured the pink in the flower very accurately. The darker shade within the pink colour in the flower petals stands out from the lighter shades clearly. The background looks well-illuminated. As a result, the fine lines on the leaves are clearly visible.

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Street view

Darker colours look a bit hard to decipher here. The green colour in the trees looks a little too bright, for example. Lighter colours such as the colour of the sky and that of the buildings look near-real, though. We could read the text in shops clearly but as we zoomed in, the level of noise increased significantly.

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Low light

Like most budget smartphones, low-light photography is not one of the strong points of the Coolpad Note 5. While colours look realistic to a great extent, the lack of sharpness was visible on the phone’s screen itself. On a bigger screen, the amount of noise becomes clearer.


GoPro HERO 5 Black and HERO 5 Session Provide Action Video for Outdoor, Other Businesses

GoPro HERO 5 Black and HERO 5 Session Provide Action Video for Outdoor, Other Businesses

The internet, mobile technology, video and social media have merged together to give businesses and consumers a platform to share, connect and market with rich media. What GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) has tried to do with the new HERO 5 Black and HERO 5 Session cameras is simplify the process of capturing,sharing, storing and editing video so much, it becomes effortless.

GoPro is well known for capturing extreme sports and action sequences by professionals and amateurs alike. So the company has a customer base that greatly relies on its cameras. But going beyond this base required GoPro to add new features so anyone can pick up the new cameras and start recording 4K videos with greater ease than its previous versions.

The new HERO 5 Black and HERO 5 Session are cheaper and more powerful, with features the company says you can use out of the box to capture video and still images.

GoPro HERO 5 Black

The HERO 5 Black has a 2-inch touch display to simplify the controls of the camera, but it all begins with a one-button control to power on the camera to start recording automatically. Once it is on, you can capture videos with resolutions up to 4K at 30 frames per second and professional still images of 12 MP with enhanced low-light performance on RAW and Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) formats.

Voice control has been added to further simplify the use of different functions. The camera has 10 commands in seven different languages, just in case you happen to be hurling down a slope and your hands are busy. So whether you speak English, German, French, Italian, Spanish or Chinese (with more languages on the way), voice control should understand you.

And if you happen to be, say, jumping out of an airplane, the new professional-grade electronic video stabilization feature will keep all of your images steady. And when it comes to audio, the stereo audio recording has an advanced wind noise reduction feature to better capture what you are saying — or screaming.

GoPro HERO 5 Session

The HERO 5 Session is a smaller version of the Black, but it pretty much keeps most of the features, including 4K video capture, image stabilization, enhanced low-light performance, WiFi and Bluetooth, waterproofing and voice control.

What you won’t find on the Session are the touch screen, GPS and RAW or WDR capture modes. Additionally, the still image capture is 10MP instead of the 12MP of the Black.

HERO Session

This is the cheapest version of the new line, however it still has some impressive features at this price. They include waterproofing, WiFi and Bluetooth, one-button control, and advanced noise and wind reduction.

The video and still capture are still high definition, with 1440P30/1080P60 for video and 8MP/10 fps burst time lapse for still images.

GoPro Plus

GoPro was and is still great at capturing video, but the company didn’t have the right set of apps to edit the millions of hours its customers were recording on its cameras. To overcome this problem, GoPro purchased two editing apps in February of this year: Splice and Replay, which the company has renamed Quik. With the new services users can now edit long videos into two minute highlight reels.

Quik, as the name implies, has been designed to quickly let you edit your videos by cutting off the boring footage and keeping the exciting stuff so you can post it on your social media site and share it with the world.  Splice, on the other hand, has more features, so, if you want more control, this is the app for you. Both apps are available for iOS and Android devices, as well as for your desktop.

GoPro Plus is a subscription service that is available for $4.99 per month, which includes an auto upload feature when you are charging your HERO cameras from your computer. The editing capability is available through the cloud on your smartphone, so you can quickly edit your videos no matter where you are.

The subscription plan also has a soundtrack library, premium support, among other features and accessories.

Small Businesses and GoPro

Video has become the preferred way of communicating for a growing number of online consumers.

If you own a small business running an outdoor/adventure company offering hiking, mountain climbing, hand gliding, whitewater rafting, camping, motocross, racing or other activities, you can now capture the experiences your customers are having — or can expect — with greater ease, better images and sound.

You can also use the cameras to interact with your customers by creating product tours, webinars, hands on lessons, and more.

With the new added features on the HERO 5 Black, HERO 5 Session, and HERO Session, there really is no limitation on how you can capture and share video.

The HERO 5 Black and HERO 5 Session will be available beginning October 2, but there is no date for the HERO Session on the company site.