The best wordpress theme

Divi3 is one of the best WordPress themes around. We use it for all our websites, and our client wordpress websites now, and won’t go back to anything else.

It has everything we need, a drag and drop page builder, a theme customiser which I have yet to find I can’t do something, and it looks just great.  More interesting is the ability to import and export pages/posts from one site to another. That is unparalleled.

It also comes out of the box with dozens of page templates to create the look and feel you want at a click of a button. Further, it has pre-defined content templates you can use as well for anything you really want to do on a page.

We highly recommend using Divi3 for your WordPress website, and just can’t speak highly enough about it.  Check it out for your website, or contact us to create your wordpress website for you.

The Best wordpress theme I have found

 

Life your lifestyle: Find more time. Top 5 ways to build your business

You are not that far away from building a million dollar per year business. It is actually within your grasp. But there are a few things you need to change in the way you think about a few things in order to make them happen. As a matter of fact, once you make these simple mindset changes, you will be amazed at how easy it is to run a million dollar per year company.

Most people that start a business fail within the first year. Most businesses fail within the first 5 years. These are the statistics that have been released by most government statistics. One day, I read one of these statistics, and wanted to find out for myself why. After a lot of research, I worked out some common differences in the way people think about money, and the relationship they have with money.

Money is not the issue. As a matter of fact, money is only a bi-product. Your relationship with money is entirely up to you. You can fear the loss of it, or you can marvel and the growth of it. Money is not the root of all evil, your mindset around it, can be.

Money is nothing more than currency. It has no feelings at all. It is in abundance, if you have a good relationship with it, and can avoid you when you don’t. Here are some top 10 things you need to adjust regarding your relationship with money. Before I dive into this, I will mention that money is everywhere, and there is more of it to go around than you think. You just need to tap into it, and stop fearing it. More to the point, you need to stop fearing yourself, and your ability to attract it. You have to go through the exact same process to make $1000 as you to $1 Million dollars. The process doesn’t change. It is the same.

Time. It is the one thing more people want. When was the last time you heard a business owner saying he/she wanted a business that took 16 hours a day, took them away from their family and friends, only to make a little money? Those people just have it plain wrong.

Here are the top 10 ways to adjust your relationship with money, and build your business. Before I dive into the details, let’s get a few things straight.

  • Assets are things that make you money.
  • Liabilities are things that lose you money.
  • Costs of assets make you money are not losses.
  • Profits you make that lose you money, are liabilities.

So let’s dive in. Remember, Assets make you money, and Liabilities cost you money. Something cannot be considered an asset if you DON’T make money from it.

  1. Money is in abundance: Once you realise that money is all around you, and in abundance, and you stop fearing “losing” money, you will find more money than you need.  If you paid $1000 for something, that could make you $5000 in one month, would that be a cost or liability?
  2. Focus on assets: An asset is not something like your home or car. It is something that makes you money. If you consider your primary home as an asset, then you are thinking like 80% of people out there. The bank you finance your home with sees your home as an asset. Why? because they make money every month in interest in your mortgage payment. And if you default, they will get your house, and make money off it’s sale.  Your home is not an asset, it is a liability. However, If you own a home as an investment property, where the rent you charge covers your mortgage, and all the upkeep, then and only then is it your asset.
  3. Money is in the list: The money is in the value you provide, and through that value, the list you build. If you provide value up front, and people start to see your value to them, rather than just “what you do” or “how you do it”, they will give you money based on the value you can provide to them. Most people start with what they do, then to how they do it, and don’t even mention why they do it. This needs to be reversed. Once people know your passion for something (and it is not about you, but them), then they will become interested in what you do and how you do it. It isn’t just about the size of list you can build, but in the value you provide and the relationship you have with your list. Your list, and relationship with that list is an Asset.
  4. Outsource as much as you can: Building a business is not just about some idea you have. It is about the team you build, all sharing your passions, and all considered “assets“, even if they come at a monthly cost.  These team members are your greatest asset, as they bring their own ideas to the table, they work the business for you, and provide what you really want: more time. Once you see the value of people as an asset, and are personal with them for them to be successful as you, they will invest in themselves to greater the cause.
  5. Your business is an asset, but stay on TOPIC: the quicker you can make your business self sustainable and making you more time/money to spend on your family, friends and other things, the more successful your business will be. The more you invest in your people, and find ways for them to get more time/money, the faster your business will create a profit. Your people are your assets, and the people they find are their assets.  How many business owners I have spoken to that are nailed down to the business nearly 16 hours a day, begrudge their business, and feel trapped by it, you have no idea.. and most of them go back to their J.O.B. (just over broke).

In order to implement these top 5 mindset shifts, click this link and get started to your new future being in the top 1% rather thank just like anyone else. Be different. 

Real Time Messaging

One of the things I have noticed particularly in the database world is how much people and database technologies focus on “Global” persistence. In the software development world, using a global variable is a no-no. Why then do we do this in the database world? So often databases are a collection of data shared by…

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Grow your business with Marketing Automation

Matthew Lowery - Marketing Automation and branding

Marketing is about branding, customer service, popularity and market retention. It is not only about getting people to contact you first to buy your product, but how to associate your brand at the top of their mind when seeking out solutions. Doing marketing properly will keep them buying your products in the future, over and over again. In the old days of advertising on TV and Radio, and to a “general audience”. But people have started to become immune to this form of advertising, and expect more from the businesses they purchase from.

What do you and your business want to be recognised for? Take Disney. Everyone knows who Disney is. If anything is released by Disney it has already been targeted with a number of sales channel’s that Disney sells, as well as a lot of other potential sales channels as well. Whether it is a movie, an action figure, a pop star, or their TV channels, their marketing strategy is about clean, good, honest communications for kids and families alike. Of course parents are going to buy from them, their name is established and branded, and it is a popular household name.

But marketing is also more than that, it isn’t just about positioning your brand, but keeping it there. For people who don’t know your brand, you must associate your brand with something they value. Parent’s of course value what Disney offers their family, and so are quite setup to make a lot of money in the process. The sales channel at Disney really only comes down to taking orders and fulfilling them, keeping their brand intact.

At Lowery.com, we offer consulting services to make the most out of your brand and sales channels.

Once someone becomes familiar with your brand, they may not buy from you right away. Does that mean they are a lost customer? Hardly, yet so many companies today make this mistake. They target a given audience, try to sell to them right away, and toss these people aside just as fast, because they didn’t make any money from them right away. Talk about leaving money on the table.

A better approach is to understand your customers, and their buying cycle. More often than not, people need time to buy what you have to sell. After all they are so used to people selling to them that they just tune out. But does this mean they don’t need what you have to offer? Not at all. They are just caught in the initial branding cycle of tuning you out, and this will take a number of times where you put your brand in front of them to get them to even read what you are offering them in the first place.

Enter: Marketing automation. This is using technology to interact with people. Whether they are at the start of the sales cycle, or already a long term customer, your interactions with them are key. Once you understand every part of the customer’s journey, from initial brand introduction, through to brand products/services, all the way to repeat sales, you are on the road to success. After all, most customers come from the 98% that didn’t buy your brand products and services right away, just simply because they weren’t aware of what you can provide them, nor were they willing to even give you the time to become aware. This is a very different approach, a soft one, just letting them know over and over what I can help them with so when they are aware of what I am offering, and when they are ready to purchase something from me, my brand is established, and they know, like and trust me. We have a relationship.

Marketing automation is about getting in front of your potential customers, sending something of value right away, then building on this, to keep providing value. This doesn’t mean you have to give your products and services away for free at all, it just means you are positioning your brand in the fore front of their minds as someone who consistently gives them value even after they have purchased from you. You become their “goto” place to get the products and services you offer that will help them. All of this is actually easier than it sounds.

Contact me today to understand your customers more, what they want from you, how you can position yourself and your company in the forefront of their mind, and more importantly, how you can use technology to automate most of this process. It is a win win for you, your company, and your customers, and means you will stop leaving money on the table for someone else to grab.  Contact me today, and have a discussion to see how you can leverage your brand in new, innovative ways, and use technology to help you get there without demanding all of your time. Welcome to the digital age.

A Very Good WordPress Theme – Beaver Builder

The best WordPress theme I have ever come across is Beaver Builder. It is so good I have dropped all other themes.  What you can do with Beaver Builder in a matter of minutes using their drag and drop page builder puts all other themes to shame.

With Beaver Builder you can customise just about anything you want in a theme, from page layout, to pre-defined templates for both pages and content, Beaver Builder will get you to a point of building a professional WordPress website without all the headaches of learning code, css files, all using their Page Builder.

Check out Beaver Builder, a strong recommendation from Lowery.com

Beaver Builder

Review of Doodly – Drawing Animations made easy

Doodly is a new software product available for Mac and Windows. It allows you to create drawing based animations lightening fast, by providing you a number of pre-drawn scenes, characters, and even allows you to customise a drawing path using any image you select.  For hand drawn animations, it is simple and easy to use, and even includes pre-defined, royalty free stock and audio to give your drawing animations a bit of ambience.

Doodly also provides the ability to define a drawing, slowing or speeding up the drawing to match the audio!  It is truly a fantastic piece of software. I use it personally for my own drawing based animations.

Doodly comes in three pricing packages, which are Basic, Pro, and Enterprise. With the Pro version you get many more pre-defined scenes and characters (which are always being updated), and with the enterprise version you get the ability to resell anything you make with Doodly.

When I first started Doodly, I did find a number of bugs with the software, but when I contacted support these issues were updated almost immediately. The next time I logged into the software on my workstation, Doodly asked to upgrade, and when I did, the software issues I identified and pointed out to support were handled in a very timely fashion.

I strongly recommend that you check out Doodly. Note, in order to obtain the pro and enterprise versions you will need to sign up for the Basic version. The license for this desktop application is less than 100 for the Basic version. Also note, that the basic version sales page may be closed, to allow them to work on the next version.

GET Doodly Today!

Review of Adobe Creative Suite

For professional graphic design, and music/video development, nothing beats Adobe. The Adobe Suite contains some of the most advanced tools for the graphic/video/audio professional.

Adobe has taken a different stance on their software. In the past it costs thousands of dollars to get a license for even one of their products, such as PhotoShop. But they have now moved to a subscription service where you can get not only Photoshop, but many other packages, including Audition, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and many others for a small low monthly price.

Enter the Creative Cloud subscription. I use it personally, and have downloaded all the professional tools I need for the digital era. No longer do I have to have a huge cash outlay for Photoshop, but can pay this small monthly price to get so much more. Here is what is available in the Creative Cloud subscription, for a small monthly fee of $49 per month:

  • Photoshop
  • Audition
  • Premiere Pro
  • Dreamweaver
  • Illustrator
  • Acrobat
  • LightRoom
  • InDesign
  • Muse
  • Flash
  • Stock (photos and video)

And even more!  You simply can’t go past this. Each software package in the past has attracted thousands of dollars in licensing, but all available at a single yearly price. For the graphic, audio, and video professional, upgrade today. In doing so you still get the tools you love installed on your Mac or PC, but for a simple small monthly price.

 

Sign up today for your Creative Cloud Subscription.

Reactive Programming – managing streams and application state

Reactive Programming is all the buzz at the moment. It is similar to the iterator pattern, where you have a collection of values, and iterate over them to obtain these values and make decisions on these values. But these are “pull” paradigms that often result in heavier CPU cycles and memory to hold the entire collection while you are evaluating the concepts.

Reactive Programming uses a concept of an “observable”. Basically this means that whenever you have a value of some sort, whether on its own or part of a collection, you can observe changes to that data value, and have these changes “pushed” to an observer. This is by far way more powerful as it can be done using “stream” based code, where on every value you have an observer function to handle the change, whether it be for a single data value change, or changes to an entire collection (one by one) without the need to hold the collection in memory and take up CPU cycles to iterate.

In effect, it is an event based paradigm on a single value state change. If you have 1000 changes to a value over time, rather than holding onto a collection in memory and iterating over the list, you can respond to each change one at a time, updating any possible dependencies. Whether these dependencies on a value change refer to updating the UI, or restarting a server, each value change triggers the corresponding listener to update the dependencies.

Observable programming is, in effect much more efficient than iterator programming, simply . Similar to promises, it allows for the proper execution of code in a controlled manner on each of these changes, however has an option to allow for any dependency updates to be cancelled based on some very simple function calls that respond to an observed change.

To start at the very beginning, firstly let me explain what an “observable” is.  It is simply an object which holds one or more values, but also holds a “next” function (similar to the next item in a collection using an iterator), an “on success” function (to be fired after the successful completion of an “on next”, and an “on error” function if something goes wrong.  An “observer” function is the one that responds to the “on next”, “on complete”, and “on error” handlers.

It is similar to a promise, but differs in the fact you can cancel any pending operation (since a promise only responds to an “on success”, or “on failure” responder – more specifically, if a promise doesn’t cancel an operation, it also can’t be stopped or discarded when in progress).  It can handle this by first injecting data into a stream, filtering on specific data, and combining with other streams before the actual success handler is invoked.

Using observables are much more efficient (since they are similar to streams, and don’t hold collections), but can also be acted on for particular operations from multiple streams. This is useful for combining streams together, filtering data along the way, and even stopping at events like a “mouseup” before the entire stream is sent to the success handler. This is useful for things that require I/O (like a server or database request, an animation, or calling a render function once the streams have been processed. In essence it is a much better way to handle state changes of your application to ensure things happen when you want them to happen.

For example, and a basic observable pattern, might be to watch for a mouse down, then on a mouse move, call the mouse move handler, and on a mouse up, stop processing all events (even if they are in progress), allowing you to perform final cleanup on a drag operation. Similarly, it can also be used for reading data, where you retrieve the data from one table, filter it against another table, and finally finish the operation only once all data has been retrieved, while still looking at particular records along the way until the operation is finished.

Thinking in streams can be daunting at first, but doesn’t have to be. To work this way does take a different way of thinking, but rather than thinking in sequential patterns (if-then-else), you can change your thinking into (what is the outcome of what I want, what data do I need to get there, and what operations do I need to perform until I get there). At first, a little hard to grasp, but with a little practice means your code will only have to fire when it has to, without holding a large amount of data, and allows you the freedom to write uncomplicated code.  Better yet, it can also be thought of synchronous programming in an asynchronous way to help with debugging.

There are two things you need to be mindful of when using “Reactive Programming”. These are working with changes to state data, and “side effects” of that data. An example of a side effect would be updating a database, or rendering to a screen. These are not to be confused with responding to events in time, mapping, and filtering data to determine when the “on next” handler will be fired, and when you consider a transaction of handlers to be considered “completed”.  A side effect is simply that, a side effect after you have processed your streams.

To distinguish between stream handling and side effects, it is best thought of as “what do I do mid stream using pure functions (eg a computed value of first and last name) vs what do I do with the final stream state (eg update a contact record in a database, or a contact details page on a UI).

To summarise all of this, using Reactive Programming allows you to “react” to mutations, even in an immutable way, and only fire the code you want to fire when you want to fire it. This leads to a ten fold improvement in performance, because you are optimising memory, CPU cycles, and I/O along the way.

Some libraries are available today to help you along. While some of these libraries are very good, they will require you to think differently in your approach but this is well worth your effort in your journey, and will have substantial benefits.  Some useful libraries in this approach are:

Learn how to program using Reactive Programming today. You will be very glad you did.

Marketing Automation

In today’s technology world, it isn’t about technology, but rather your focus on your customer. Every customer has a lifecycle from a tire kicker all the way through to returning to you for repeat business. In today’s world of Social Media, people are bombarded by a lot of ads and crap from people to get them a lifestyle and the time they require to build a business and not be hamstrung by it.

Most people say they need more money. Fewer say the reason is to get more time. But out of these people most are struggling to get to this place, and aren’t willing to invest the time or money required to fully automate their business.

Today’s business environment is about customer interactions. Did you know that most of your customer’s aren’t those ready to pull out their checkbook for your latest project, but those who are interested and will down the track? What are you doing with these people? They will make up more than 97% of your target market. What are you doing for them to get them to buy from you? Most businesses don’t do anything, since they think they are a waste of time. But this can’t be farther from the truth.

Most people and their initial interactions with you come to you with a certain problem. This is how they can build a business and money to get more time with their family. They may not quite be ready to pull out their credit card, but are just looking at you as a way to give them that. For these people, they may look at you, buy are just not yet ready to buy from you. Perhaps they need a bit of time to put a few things into place to get them there? Completely disregarding these people is leaving a whole lot of money off the table for you.

The answer here is to understand how they interact with you, from every opening of an email you might send to them, to every click of a link, putting an automation workflow in place to deal with those people ready to buy from you right now to those people that will buy from you in the future.   This is where Marketing Automation comes into place.

In the old days of marketing, this was mostly known as an Autoresponder, an email engine designed to send emails on a schedule. But these tools just don’t cut the mustard when it comes to automating the entire customer lifecycle. You need a workflow engine that knows what to do on every click (or not click after a period of time) of every email or every link. By knowing who is clicking, or not clicking on what, you will understand your customer more, and be able to place them into the right marketing message. After all, perhaps those who opened one of your emails, watched your video, but didn’t buy are the perfect prospects after some time to re-engage?

Further, the who point of marketing your business based on your lead and customer’s interactions with you will give you invaluable data that can be used to understand the buying cycle of your customers. This is GOLD.

Talk to me today on how to work with your market, leads and customers in a way that really showcases the service you give to people. After all, it is about people at the end of the day isn’t it? And every person wants to know you actually care about them along their journey with you. Welcome to the Customer Engagement and Service Era. Contact me today if you would like me to speak for your next event on this, or provide you with ways to use Marketing Automation to get closer to your potential and existing customers.

Know your Twitter marketplace

Getting followers on Twitter is actually not as hard as it sounds, but most people go around it the wrong way. Most people who want to increase their followers simply try to get more followers with the intent of getting those followers to buy something. But Twitter is a social tool, and is meant to be used interactively. Simply trying to get more followers won’t get you the followers you need to expand your business reach and marketplace, and will most likely lead to the wrong type of followers.

Twitter followers you want for your profile should be targeted followers, not just anyone. These are people who would be interested in what you Tweet, and who would also be interested in re-tweeting your posts. The best way to get these kind of people is to understand who your market is. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • age 25-45
  • married with kids
  • retired people wanting to build a business
  • Small business owners that want to expand

Once you understand who your customers are, then it is those people you want to attract to your twitter profile. But still, this isn’t enough. You need to understand your customer, and what they want, and provide VALUE to them. After all, if they will become interested in you, it will be because they see your value, and will even be willing to pay to get it.  But, first, you must show and demonstrate your value first.  After all, in order to get anything in life, you must give it away first. If you give away value for free, your audience and market (potential customers) will want it, and if they get value, will want more.

Also, people want to know that you are a legitimate person. It is so easy to sign up with a Twitter account these days, and anyone can do it with any profile name, etc. But this doesn’t mean that profile will actually help your customers. The best way to expand your reach is to be real with people, and just be YOU.  After all, you are your brand.  If people know, like and trust YOU then they will follow you, automatically once they see your value you have to THEM.

Before you even try to get more followers on your twitter account, make sure your posts are dedicated to what your potential market is interested in. A great tool to help you with this is buffer.com. Once you understand your customers a bit better, then find websites that have an RSS feed available to attract them, and set them up on auto-posting at the best times during the day.  If they like what they see, they will re-tweet to their customers, and suddenly, followers will just automatically begin following you.

To get something you have to give it away. Why don’t you try re-tweeting what THEY post? The more you do this, the more they will respond in kind and start following/retweeting you.

Often people get confused that the way to get followers is to “buy them”, or find a service that can automatically get new followers, but this is against the twitter terms of service. And, quite frankly, just doesn’t work. Regardless of how many followers you get, if you don’t demonstrate YOUR value to them, and show that you value them to, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have, they just won’t buy your products or services, and won’t convert to active customers. Only your value will attract new potential customers.

Work smarter, not harder. Don’t focus on just “building your followers”, but rather focus on “building followers who will actually buy you, your products, and services. This way, even if your number of followers isn’t that high, the followers you do have are followers that will convert. Don’t try to be Brad Pitt, just be you.