Near Me Or Bust

I’ve always found it funny, and somewhat fascinating how the internet works. In a lot of ways the “world wide web” stands true to its name of truly being world wide, and has contributed in many ways to globalization in the 21st century. The online marketplace is thriving, and the collaboration of various individuals across multiple continents is happening every second of the day. Brands could broadcast a product or service on a global level. Global celebrities could happen overnight via a viral Youtube video.   So that’s why it’s funny to me that in the last few years local search has become more and more relevant. We have the world at our fingertips and yet our search results are tailored to uncover things in our own backyard?

There are probably a lot of reasons for this, but I think one stands out among the rest. That reason is we as a society are impatient and that impatience is a result of world wide web (talk about irony!).

“We have the world at our fingertips and yet our search results are tailored to uncover things in our own backyard?”

We have become accustomed to having answers right when we need them, to having devices in the palms of our hands that can be our wallet, communication device, and answer all of our questions. True, we can order things online and have it shipped to us in a day (perhaps in a few years via a drone in mere minutes). But we are more impatient now, we want services and things as fast as we want Google to answer “What’s the tallest building in North America?”

I think this impatience is why local search has become so important today. Also, it’s important to mention that the fact a person is using a search engine in the first place shows some intent on their part to travel to, to buy, or otherwise take action from that search. That’s also why local search matters so much because someone can act on their intent right that second. They can drive to that hair salon right now.

As a business owner it’s important to recognize local search and to leverage it. This all ties into an announcement from Google recently that caught my attention. Google announced a study that shows “near me” searches have surged 34 times since 2011  and 80% as to be expected came from mobile devices. The study goes on to say that brand loyalty did not seem to be a factor in these searches, users actually preferred the closest, or most convenient location for whatever particular service or product they needed.

So have we officially entered a new era of the internet? An era of localization? I don’t think it’s safe to say we’ve completely gone local, as there are still aspects of search that will forever be global. But being “near me” is definitely more valuable these days.

The Simple Guide To Multi-Channel Funnels In Google Analytics

No Conversion Is An Island

Just like no man is an island, no conversion happens without the help of multiple marketing channels. True, there are plenty of these “assists” that we cannot track. For instance, word-of-mouth is nearly impossible to track. If a friend tells you she loves her new shoes, and you go buy the same pair of shoes that shoe company may never know that it was your friend’s endorsement that got you to type their brand name into a google search bar. However, in the online world we do have the ability to track these assists to some extent, we call them “assisted conversions.” So what is an assisted conversion?

Here’s the technical definition via Google:

“This is the number of sales and conversions the channel assisted. If a channel appears anywhere—except as the final interaction—on a conversion path, it is considered an assist for that conversion. The higher these numbers, the more important the assist role of the channel.”

And here’s another way of explaining things, let’s say instead of hearing about that shoe company from your friend offline, instead you saw her comment on a photo on their company’s Facebook page. I go to that shoe company’s Facebook page, decide I really want to know if the shoes worn by the model in the cover photo come in red so I venture over to the site. BINGO! I get to the site and see that yes in fact they do come in red. But before buying, I just want to be sure there’s no other place I can find these shoes for less. So I check out a few department stores online, but they carry this specific red shoe I want. At this point I google the name of that shoe company again (because its’ easier to google things than type out the whole URL, right?) and I end up ordering those red shoes. In Google Analytics, organic search will be the channel that gets credit for this conversion, but since my first interaction with the shoe company was on social it will be considered an “assisted conversion.”  Social assisted organic in making the final conversion.

So why does this matter? Because oftentimes the assisted conversions provide us with some of the most valuable insights and we ignore it because frankly its hard to see. However, Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics is here to solve that problem!

If you think “multi-channel funnel” is slightly intimidating, don’t worry, it’s actually one of the easiest things to understand in Analytics (in my opinion). You can get to it by navigating to the conversions tab on the bottom left hand side of your screen and then clicking Overview under “Multi-Channel Funnels.”

On the first half of the page, itScreen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.23.17 PM breaks down how many conversions you had and how many were assisted.

As you scroll down to the second part of the page this is where things get interesting. You can place up to four channels in your Venn Diagram. It will show in the time frame selected how many times Direct & Social, Direct & Organic, and so forth assisted each other in making a Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.27.24 PMconversion.

I normally only look at two channels at a time. You can scroll over the shaded area where the two circles overlap to see the percentage of conversions the two channels assisted each other on, as well as the actual number (in case you didn’t want to both doing the extra math).

This is a fantastic way to see which of your various channels are assisting each other in Google Analytics. And the best part is Analytics does all of the work for you!

Financial Perspective: 4 Tips For Post-Grads

 

Financial Perspective The Post Grad Mindset

In post-grad life one of the biggest issues I’ve encountered is how to properly allocate money and my spending. After about of  year of implementing some of my own personal savings strategies, I’ve developed a plan that works for me. I’ve compiled some helpful tips below:

Tip 1: Reward Yourself 

Reward YourselfWhen most people embark on a mission to save money the mentality  is to take things away. In all honesty, who likes giving up something they love? In my experience, absence makes the heart grow fonder.  You’ll start to miss what you gave up, whether it’s your gym  membership or your daily cup of coffee.

So keep drinking your daily cup of coffee, and keep your gym  membership. They are part of your routine, messing with your routine will be a lot harder on you. It’s better to tackle those impulse buys first.  Sometimes impulse buys blend so well into your daily routine you don’t think twice – great example: running shoes. You’ll rationalize buying a new pair of shoes because you have a gym membership.

One thing that’s worked for me is taking that impulse buy and “bookmarking” it. For me, I use Pinterest and pin items I want to a secret board. Then at the end of the month I’ll look at my Pinterest board and see what on the board I still want. Sometimes you’ll find those running shoes are a lot less appealing 30 days later. Other times you’ll find you still want them.

The goal is to limit yourself to one purchase per month off your Pinterest board. If you don’t use Pinterest simply keep a list. Some things you’ll actually end up buying, but generally speaking a few items won’t matter as much after a month or two. Over time you’ll transform the way you buy, by starting to buy the items you really need.

But here’s the most important part. Each month you buy something of the board. That way you’re rewarding yourself on a regular basis.

Tip 2: Save a set amount each monthsave a set amount

The same way you pay your rent or mortgage each month, you should be putting money into your savings account. I like to think of this as “paying” your savings account. It’s okay to start small, the point is getting yourself into a habit of making the same payment each month. Once you are into the routine of putting the money away, you’ll hardly miss it. One thing my dad set up for me at a young age was an automatic transfer of a small amount, $75 each month, into my savings account. You should be able to set something similar up, this way it is automated and even if you forget your bank account does the work for you.

As you start to earn more money, consider increasing the amount you save each month. Especially when you receive a bonus or raise allocate as much as possible to your savings “payment” each month.  Even if it hurts to put money away now, at the end of the day you are paying your future self. By saving a set amount each month you are avoiding living paycheck to paycheck.

Tip 3: Evaluate Your Income

Sometimes there’s opportunity right in front of you. It could be looking for opportunities in your current career or explore small side jobs that you might be able to takeevaluate your income on in your free time. It doesn’t always work but it’s definitely worth exploring for the benefits of added income. One small word of caution is to make sure your side job doesn’t take away from your overall career goals. However, if your career isn’t quite your passion then you should strongly consider a side job that falls better in line with something you love doing. The best part about this is you won’t only potentially be making extra money, but hopefully you’ll be able to invest your time in something you love.

And the money you make with this side job should ideally go straight into your savings. If you rationalize this extra money as a reason to spend more, at the end of the day you’re just falling back on old habits. Make an effort to put that extra money into your savings!

Another, lesser known way to evaluate your income is to check up on any investments you’ve made. Perhaps you’ve set up an investment portfolio or your parents passed it onto you after college? Make sure you understand where your money is going. This might also be a good time to consider making a regular contribution to your investments, the same way you transfer money into your savings (if you follow tip 2).

Tip 4: Make Sure You’re Living Within Your Means 

If you’re read this far you’ve made it to one of the hardest tips to follow – living within your means. By living in this case, I literally mean where you live. One of the largest expenses you’ll pay will be rent. That being said, as a living within your meansgeneral rule of thumb it’s ideal to keep your living expenses at 30% or less of your total monthly income. Sure, this might mean you can’t have the place of your dreams. But look at it this way, in the long-term you’ll be saving more of the money (if you follow tip 2) so one day you can afford a house, car, or other large purchase that you want.

Hopefully some of these tips help you. Happy saving. 🙂

Pillow Talk

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 12.12.49 AM

So after living in my current place for over a year I’ve decided it’s time to invest in decorating it some more. Currently, I’m in the process of creating a mini-tv lounge area in my room. I have a black leather sectional to work with and a desk (although I’m debating getting rid of the desk altogether). Since I still have yet to find a ottoman-style coffee-table I like or a TV or TV stand I figure that pretty much leaves pillows for the couch for me to work with. Currently I have two white pillows which I would love to keep but I want to add some color with a patterned pillow or two. Additionally, I’d like to add a soft throw for the area.  My aim is to lighten the area up since the rest of my bedroom is black and gray. Above are some of the pillow options I’m debating for the room but I’m open to your ideas as well so please let me know your thoughts!

I can’t wait to put together a cute little space. My hope is it will blend with the rest of the room but also show a little personality with accents such as some of my favorite purses and artwork.

Fall Transitions

With Labor Day we’ve officially hit the end of the end of summer. As I begin to transition into fall I’ve fallen head over heels in love with taupe and nude colored items. In this look I’m wearing a nude colored Jolie sweater from Kinsley (formerly known as Keene) over a while Abound tank from Nordstrom Rack. The Abound tanks are surprisingly comfortable and have a great fit. I paired the look with a personalized necklace given as a gift along with a Marc Jacobs watch. What pieces are you wearing to transition into fall?

Jolie Top - Marc Jacobs Watch

IMG_1752 2IMG_1754

Summer Staycation

Mt. Saint Mary's College

The view from the top!

Even if you aren’t able to take a nice vacation this summer you can still indulge in the approrpriately titled “staycation” at home. The beauty of a staycation isn’t only the money you’ll (hopefully) save by not splurging on a vacation, but the fact you can stumble upon some activities that you probably are overlooking in your own backyard. Sometimes a staycation includes some figurative travel outside of your comfort zone. I definitely ventured past the borders of my comfort zone this past weekend when I embarked on a mountain hike that was off the beaten path. There were multiple times I wanted to turn back, including but not limited to the moments when:

  • The security guard warned us about rattlesnakes being very common in this area.
  • I heard movement in a bush.
  • We could hardly keep our footing climbing up the steep hill.
The whole time I kept thinking “I could just book a flight to Hawaii,” instead of being covered in dirt on a mountain. However, for someone like myself who is always thinking about a million things at once sitting on the beach in Hawaii would not have been very relaxing for me. My toes might be covered in sand but my thoughts about work and life would have never left LA. While climbing the mountain there was absolutely no way I could not think about what I was doing, and because of that it was the perfect vacation.  It also has made me a little more open to doing some more LA hikes in the future.  So I encourage you all to venture past your comfort zone this summer for your staycation. You never know what adventure awaits! 🙂
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All of these things considered, getting to the top of the mountain was definitely worth it.  All-in-all I was glad I made to the top.

Watch This

Hey there! So I thought I would kick this blog back off with a feature on my current fashion accessory obsession: watches. For the longest time, part of me thought I would never really want a watch because I had little use for it.I theorized I would wear it for a week and then never again.  My test for myself was if I could wear a basic watch for more than two months I would go ahead and buy a more expensive one. So I went to Target and bought a basic gold wrist watch for $16 and got it adjusted to fit my wrist.

Fast forward two months and the gold has faded off the watch so it is about time to invest in a new one. I’m deciding between a few.  I love the simplicity of the Kate Spade Gramercy Grand Watch. I’m also very partial towards anything Kate Spade, and I love the touch of pink because it personalizes it just a little bit.

Kate Spade Gramercy Grand

 

 

I also love how sleek this Michael Kors “Slim Runway” Round Bracelet Watch looks! This is definitely one of the fancier watches in terms of style.

Michael Kors "Slim Runway" Round Watch

 

I also love this Michael Kors “Jet Set Sport” watch. I feel it’s a great compromise between elegant and simple.

Michael Kors

 

 

I’m hoping to decide on a watch soon. In the meantime, I welcome your suggestions on which one or any others I should look at! I’m pretty set on a gold wristwatch but I’m open to considering some other ones as well!

Until Next Time