Email remains the top communication tool for businesses – here’s why – The American Genius

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(BUSINESS) With digital communication trends adapting, it may come as a surprise to you that email still is the #1 form of business communication.
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Smartphones are so popular, you might assume that phone calls, text messages, video chat, Slack, Trello, or just social media would have surpassed email as the most popular form of communication. Surprisingly, they have only enabled its growth.
Email is, hands down, the most prominent form of communication and collaboration among businesses, and that’s not expected to change any time soon. “Over the course of the last year, there has been considerable discussion about the role of email in workplaces that depend heavily on social network and other collaboration tools” says David Roe of CMS Wire.
“In these discussions, there appears to be a general consensus that while social networks are useful to achieve work-related goals, email remains the undisputed communications tool in the enterprise.” The statistics back up these claims.
Worldwide, there are more than 2.5 billion users, and that number is expected to continue to climb. That represents more than a third of the global population operating one or more active accounts.
Right now, only about 25% of current accounts are business accounts, but we can expect a rapid increase in those as well. The average office worker will send and receive as many as 121 emails per day.
David Roe also addressed a SendGrind study called The Future of Digital Communication, which evaluated trends in digital communication among the various generations. The findings showed that 74% of people chose email as their preferred method of communication and 89% email at least once every month for business or personal reasons.
Email is a huge part of our collaborative and communicative society, so understanding its role in business and society can play a huge role in mastering trends to the best advantage in your enterprise.
Roe further explains that, although the status of email has not changed within the walls of business enterprises, it has evolved. “The kinds of people using it are changing so it is only logical that the way it is being used is going to change too,” he says.
A younger generation that’s more in tune with digital trends and technology will soon be dominating the workforce, and email is adapting. SendGrind CMO Scott Heimes said in The Future of Digital Communication report that new technology will render email a new, more useful entity.
Heimes said. “Marketers will leverage data from email marketing, display retargeting, social media ads, and chatbots to create a cohesive and unified experience for customers.”
This is just a glimpse of what’s to come for email users, and businesses may capitalize on their new roles for more effective collaboration.
Given the steadily evolving landscape that is email, here are the chief reasons we can expect it to stick around as a viable business tool:
Convenience: Can you imagine being on the phone or texting/social messaging for the equivalent of 121 email messages per day? You can often accomplish more in a 10-minute phone call than you can in 10 emails, but sending and receiving messages when it’s the most convenient option can be a huge draw for busy employees.
Security: Phone calls can be overheard, texts intercepted, and social media messaging accounts hacked. Email can also be hacked, but thanks to encryption services that plug right into Microsoft, Gmail, or other enterprise email services, that data can be protected.
Work-From-Home Collaboration: Although collaboration programs are popular, working from home simply wouldn’t be possible for this many people without email.
Ease of Talking to People: Some people freeze up when they speak on the phone. Others just don’t like it. Millennials and Gen Z employees are entering the workforce in full swing now, and their use of digital technology makes email a go-to solution. Workers who hate phone conversations can communicate easily with their devices and avoid too much interpersonal interaction.
Information Transfer: There’s rarely a better method of transferring information than via email. Not only can you transfer files and documents to the recipient(s), but you can also store the information for future reference.
Instant Notifications: Speeds are faster than ever. Posts arrive in your inbox nearly instantaneously. Real-time communication is practicable in a convenient, simple method.
Ease of Access: Thanks to smartphones, you can get access to your email pretty much anywhere. There’s also no need for a WiFi connection since data plans are robust and cell phone coverage broader than ever.
Email is not a perfect system. Like every other form of communication it has its downsides, but it’s proven to be the most useful form of communication to date. Although new forms of collaboration surface regularly, email probably isn’t going anywhere.

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Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. When he’s not consulting, glued to a headset, he’s working on one of his many business projects. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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(BUSINESS) Maybe this won’t come as a surprise, but the statistics sure are telling- having depression and social media usage are linked.
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Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania believe they have found evidence of a link between depression and social media use. Many studies have attempted to show that social media use can be detrimental to your mental health, but the parameters of these studies are often limited in scope or were unrealistic situations. The UPenn study collected usage data tracked by the phone rather than relying on self-reporting.
Psychologist Melissa G. Hunt, the author of the published study, says the bottom line is: “Using less social media than you normally would lead to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study.”
It should be noted that the study participants were college students who were randomly assigned to either use social media as they normally would or be in the experimental group that limited time on the three most popular platforms, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Hunt doesn’t believe that it’s realistic not to use social networks at all, but it is important to find a way to manage your use to avoid negative effects.
Depression is a serious problem for Americans, but is social media responsible?
The CDC reported that between 2013 and 2016, 8.1% of Americans over the age of 20 experienced depression in a 2-week period. About 80% of these people had difficulty with daily activities due to depression. However, “over a 10-year period, from 2007–2008 to 2015–2016, the percentage of adults with depression did not change significantly.” On the other hand, social network use increased exponentially during this time.
There have been other studies that link social media use and depression. It might be that the more platforms accessed increase the risk for depression. Another study found that it was the way people used social media that increased depression. Using it to compare yourself to others or feeling addicted to social media increased the feelings of depression.
But it’s unknown whether depression or social media use came first. Studies haven’t quite agreed on whether it exacerbates existing problems, or creates them.
How should we approach social media use?
Another report suggests that Facebook knew from the start that they were creating addictions. The people closest to tech believe that there are inherent risks for their children to be on social media. Scary? It should make you think about how and why you use tech.
If you find yourself having negative feelings after using social networks, consider limiting the amount of time you spend on those platforms. Get out and connect with others. Relationships can often reduce the risk of depression. Get involved in your community. It’s important to find balance in using social media and having connections with others. Spend time on what makes you feel better about your life.
There are still a lot of questions about how social networks and technologies affect society. In the meantime, pay attention to how you use these sites and be conscious of not getting sucked into the comparison trap.
If you are depressed and lonely, there is help available, and we ask you to make that difficult step and reach out – call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline at 800-950-6264 or text NAMI to 741741. You can also visit their website to find your local NAMI.

(MARKETING) Small business owners can use the same identification methods as larger counterparts for their customers – potentially to greater effect.
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Since their inception, retail outlets have been tracking repeat customers. Some of their methods require large doses of patience on the part of the customer — something you can’t always count on — while others are as simple as entering a 10-digit number and looking for a match. Luckily, your small business can take advantage of these same techniques to ensure customer retention!
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Before delving into the “how”, however, consider a couple of things: the simple methods are often the best — especially in this context — and, similarly, the more effort your customers have to put into signing up for your tracking endeavors, the less likely they are to participate.
How to track your custies
With that in mind, here’s our guide on how to track your repeat customers in the least creepy ways possible!
1. Phone number
Exactly what it sounds like. This is probably the easiest (and most hassle-free) way to track your customers since both you and the customer can enter it (via your computer or the card scanner, respectively), and pretty much anyone regardless of age has one.
You can also ask for a name along with the number to verify if you deem it necessary—doing so will make it easier to identify new members of a family shopping under the same 10 digits.
2. Email address
A safe alternative for those worried about ending up on a call list. While it takes longer to input and verify, the moral majority of customers will feel safe giving you their secondary email address. The impact on their personal life is minimal, and it’s easy to send a survey their way every once in a while to ensure retention.
Again, you can plug this into your computer or ask a customer to do so if you have one of those fancy touchscreen card readers (and if you don’t, treat yo’self—it’s time to upgrade).
3. Card number
A less-safe alternative for the technologically paranoid. While you can easily corroborate a card number and a customer purchase record, there are two glaring issues: one, your customers may pay cash, thereby negating your process; and two, tightening security restrictions and their accompanying liability risks make this an unattractive option.
Nevertheless, the right software should take care of this for you.
4. Geofencing apps
If your customers are willing to fulfill two bits of criteria — having a smartphone and downloading your app — then using a customized geofencing app is a quick and easy way to target your repeat customers. Keep in mind, though, that downloading an app may be too much effort for some people.
I’d love to tell you I’m joking.
5. Mobile apps
Kind of the same as the geofencing apps, except with a little more autonomy on the part of the customer. Make sure your app has a QR code and have your customers present said app at checkout.
Still not the best way to appeal to a large consumer base, but a store-specific app is a little less intrusive with push notifications than a geofencing app.
6. Loyalty cards
In a lot of ways, having a loyalty card is the best way to make this system work equally for you and the customer: you reap the financial benefits of customer retention, and your customers get special in-store deals and discounts.
Again, though, the initial sign-up process and the act of entering a number (or swiping the card) each time they hit the register might be too much of a hassle for some customers. Make sure your employees are really pushing the loyalty card at checkout, and be prepared to dish out some really sweet deals; if your business isn’t financially equipped to do so, you might want to stick to just taking down a phone number.
7. Voucher codes
Similar to the loyalty card approach. You might consider assigning a tag to each customer with a custom 6-digit number or a bar code, though—doing so will remove the annoying sign-up process, and frequent shoppers will likely memorize their respective codes after a couple of subsequent visits.
8. Wifi tracking
Providing your customers with free Wi-Fi accomplishes two goals: it makes you the coolest store on the block (like soccer-mom-who-brought-Gushers cool), and it allows you to track your returning customers’ MAC addresses (less to do with Gushers, but equally cool).
If you’ve got the right software, you might even be able to broadcast deals or incentives on the wifi login page.
9. ZIP code
“Postcode” if you aren’t in the United States. Ask customers to give you their ZIP codes, then enter their answers into your work station — it’s as simple as that.
You can stop the buck there if you’re simply trying to gather regional statistics, or you can ask for their name (first and last would be preferable) to match it with their ZIP. Even though there’s an extra step here, asking for a ZIP code is arguably less personal than asking for a card number or the like.
10. Facial recognition
Not exactly the least obvious answer here, and definitely not the least expensive. If you want to go for facial recognition, you’ll need to fork out for the appropriate software and hardware. This approach will probably work better for small businesses with a few high-profile clients than it will for those with a steady daily stream of customers.
Accompanying 1984-themed “Big Brother is Watching” posters will likely be sold separately.
You’ve got options
The way you approach customer identification will depend on a variety of limiting factors — your budget, your desire to protect your customers’ privacy, your company culture — but at least one of these techniques should work for your business, regardless of size or technological limitations.
Best of luck to you in your omnipresent endeavors, everyone.

(BUSINESS) Having a mentor in business can improve your chances of success, and for some less obvious reasons than you may expect.
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Having a mentor in business stimulates success
In the business world, asking for help can make you feel vulnerable and even like a failure, but if you do so in the form of mentorship, it can mean certain success for your business future.
Dan Levitan, Co-Founder of Maveron notes,
“I was in my 30’s before someone asked me for the first time why I didn’t have more mentors in my business. The question stuck with me and I realized how important it is.”
1. You can learn from their experiences.
Why settle for “learning the hard way” when you can avoid some key mistakes simply by learning from one who has “been there and done that”?
2. It expands your network.
The key to most successful business ventures is networking. Having a mentor, especially one in your line of work, can help you to make connections you might not have been able to make otherwise.
3. They’ll give you honest feedback.
When looking for a mentor, find someone who isn’t afraid to be honest with you. Mentoring leads to the fact that failure is a sure thing. One of my mentors has a great quote: “Get comfortable that failure is part of the road to success.” What’s important is that entrepreneurs have a relentless tenacity to succeed no matter how many times you fail.
4. Someone’s “in your corner.”
No matter your success or failure, a mentor should be a person who is there for you professionally (and personally depending on the nature of your relationship) no matter what.
5. It’s usually free… but still pay it forward.
Of course, there are many official mentorship programs out there that you can pay for, but the best type of mentor relationships happen naturally. Once you’re at a point in your career where you feel comfortable in your career, remember to “pay it forward” by being a mentor yourself. Part of mentorship is becoming part of their vision, and you go after your goal together.
Finding a mentor
As Levitan opined, mentorship is a “pay it forward” scenario. Broker Jeff Brown writes, “Need mentoring? Find one. Are you highly experienced at what you do? Let it be known you’ll mentor the right person. I look back on my mentors, some of whom were literally icons, and wonder how I came to be blessed so many times.”
“There are very few of us who are successful without being mentored,”
Brown adds, “whether it was formal or not. We all owe them to pay it forward. Why? Simple — what we were taught was priceless. Without them. I would have been trapped doing something I hated. With them, I was given the key unlocking the door to a life I only dreamed of back then.”
To dig deeper into this topic, read the Mentorship Report which was designed for the real estate industry, but truly applies to any industry.

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