This 1 Surprising Tool Will Immediately Help Grow Your Business

One of my top priorities for my travel website is to build a relationship with my audience. After spending hours creating valuable and unique content, you want to share that with as many people as possible. One thing I’ve found to be irreplaceable when it comes to building that engaged audience: an email list that grew from a pop-up on my website.

Email marketing can help turn one-time visitors into returning readers (and/or customers), ultimately helping you to grow your business. I realize the idea of a pop-up greeting can be perceived as spam. But a well-placed, friendly, welcoming opt-in can work wonders to building a loyal readership.

I have found that a small pop-up that appears on the right hand corner a minute after the user has been on the page works best. Readers were already engaging in content and distracting them from that would be disconnecting them from their experience. I also keep my pop-up user friendly.

Here are four tips to get people to sign-up for your list:

Determine which pop-up flows best with your brand.

When I say “pop-up opt-in,” you probably imagine a familiar image: a box pops up in the center of your screen, asking for your email address. It might even take up the entire screen, making that little “x” in the upper right-hand corner hard to find. But there are actually a few different kinds of pop-ups to choose from.

I use the WordPress plugin Sumo Me. It allows me to choose when and where I want my “List Builder” to pop up. It can appear after a certain number of clicks, on a timer, or right before a visitor is about to leave. It also has the options of a banner that stays fixed on the top of a page, a box that scrolls with the user, or the standard middle of the page pop-up.

Timing is everything. I found that anything less than 30 seconds was drawing people away from the content and also irritating readers. If it is displayed too soon, it could get dismissed without a second thought. If displayed too late, the visitor may feel that they’ve already gotten what they needed.

Use design to grab the right attention.

Virtually all plugins for creating opt-ins will give you design options, although some are more flexible than others. You don’t have to know coding or graphic design to make an opt-in that fits your site’s look. For instance, the colors I use on mine reflect the colors on my site, except they are more muted. Too much color was perceived as too aggressive but not having color at all made the popup easier to ignore.

Your new opt-in will likely automatically code to show up on mobile devices (but it doesn’t hurt to double check). And if you’re not feeling super creative you can usually choose from a selection of premade, professional templates.

Test your opt-in and don’t be afraid to tweak.

I’ve found there are a couple of ways to test how effective your opt-in is: A/B testing and analytics. The more you know about how people use your site, the more you can do to boost engagement. With A/B testing, you can choose between designs and text to ensure that you’re consistently using the most effective opt-in possible.

Heat Map, for example, shows the most popular links on your site — by showing a map of where users click most — helping you to analyze your site’s traffic. Sumo Me comes with real-time Google Analytics and Content Analytics that show how much of your pages visitors will generally read. All of that information can influence not only where you put your email pop-up, but how you streamline and design your site to engage more visitors.

Keep it simple.

A pop-up that asks for too much information can be off-putting for many readers and will likely not get many responses. Asking for an email address is usually enough information that people are willing to give but still gives you something to work with.

I grew my mailing list 25 percent faster when I added a pop-up than without it. With any good opt-in service, you’ll be able to link up to any of a wide selection of email services who will help analyze your email list’s engagement. And with some of those services, you’ll be able to target your list to promote your business with new content, product promotions, giveaways, or content upgrades.

Getting the reader’s attention and using a call-to-action in a positive way can be a challenge. Thankfully, many email pop-up services are free (though investing in a more sophisticated service is also beneficial). If you design your pop-up with the busy consumer in mind and consider the results of your analytics, you can easily use this tool to keep your audience coming back for more.

4 Ways to Develop Raving Fans Inside Your Company

Happy customers, brand advocates, raving fans. Whatever you call them, we all want people outside our companies (preferably those who patronize our services and pay our bills) to be our mouthpieces and readily proclaim how much they love our business. But as much as these external cheerleaders matter – and they matter greatly – our internal supporters matter just as much.

In fact, I’d argue creating external fans and brand advocates, starts first with inspiring fans inside your business. It’s only when your entire team is bought into your greater vision and believes in your purpose, will the excitement spill over and be felt by the other stakeholders in your organization –your customers, partners, vendors, investors, etc.

How do you create raving fans within your four walls? It involves establishing (and living daily) a set of core values, celebrating victories small and large, and creating an environment of transparency and trust.

Make your values abundantly clear

There’s more talk about the importance of core values in business today than there ever has been before. And it’s because banding an entire team together around a set of principles central to your organization helps ensure everyone is moving in unity to fulfilling the vision and serving the deeper purpose.

Rather than a multitude of people working disparately on their own tasks, core values motivate a movement of people who strengthen one another while advancing a singular vision. But for core values to make an impact, they need to be clearly defined and woven into the fabric of the business –used as a litmus test for making decisions and guiding strategy.

Craig DeMarco, partner at Upward Projects, says his leadership team always works to reinforce their five core values among their team. “One of our values is ‘Come One, Come All,’ and we exemplify this all year long, but in particular with our annual turkey bowl flag football competition and our holiday party after Christmas that’s in a battle-of-the-bands format,” Craig said. “These fun and competitive events go a long way in team building and strengthening the bonds of our staff outside of the office.”

Plant reminders of success

Another key to building a motivated team focused on serving your organization’s deeper purpose, is to never let your employees forget all of the spectacular things you’ve together. Don’t wait for annual end-of-year party or company retreat to celebrate victories –recognize small and large wins throughout the year.

And don’t let your team forget about all they’ve accomplished. Plant reminders throughout the office with a trophy shelf or celebration wall. Another idea is to encourage your team to brag about one another during your meetings.

“We meet with our team every other month for an entire day and invite each person to share some good news or successes,” said Jason Pistillo, CEO of the University of Advancing Technology. “We especially ask for our staff to point out awards or highlights that their peers have earned, so everyone is reminded of all the meaningful work we do. And we make sure to showcase our alumni and students in emails we send to our database, so our entire network is constantly being uplifted and applauded.”

The CEO at PetDesk, Taylor Cavanah uses Legos to celebrate accomplishments every day. “Everyone in the company gets a certain size and color lego piece and everytime they accomplish something they add it to the Lego structure in our office,” he said. “It’s a nice visual representation of the team’s accomplishments and company growth.”

Aim for radical candor

Of course, giving kudos is an effective way to bring the team together and create internal raving fans, but there are also times when you need to say hard things or give constructive feedback. Work on being extremely honest, and doing so with tact and grace.

“Radical candor is something we aspire to every day,” Cavanah said. “It starts with leadership practicing this level of honesty publicly every day, and it has to infiltrate each person in the entire office. When this idea is embraced, trust is strengthened and contentment can thrive.”

Hit the refresh button

At my company, Tallwave, we have built an agile culture in which we encourage our entire team to raise their hands if they see a better way to improve upon a process or call into question a tact that’s simply not working or unnecessary. This not only gives everyone a voice, but also ensures we’re operating as nimble and smart as possible.

We also embrace something called “RRU,” which stands for “Refresh. Renew. Unite.” Quarterly, we review and reflect upon what worked during the previous three months and what didn’t so we can enter the next quarter recharged and refocused, with a strong action plan in place. But this is not just at the company level –the team is also encouraged to explore what worked and didn’t work for them in their personal lives and identify areas they may want to grow in or strengthen.

Keep it fun

Last, but obviously not least, is the matter of keeping the workplace enjoyable. When you center your business on core values, and motivate and appreciate your employees while maintaining an environment of honesty, you’ve laid as flawless of a foundation as you can. With all of these crucial aspects covered, you’ve left room for the possibility of laughter and fun – which is really what a unified team is built upon.

Once you focus on creating internal raving fans, you’ll see a shift in work ethic and attitude. This will only naturally permeate your culture, and spill over to your customers. And yes, that means you’ll have internal raving fans and external ones.

A Major Part of Workplace Gender Equality Is How Businesses Treat Parenting

What can men do to support women in the workplace and at home? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Josh Levs, Communications leader, consultant, top expert on dads @ work, on Quora:

Men can do the same things women can do: recognize that we’re all actually capable both at work and at home, and act accordingly.

This is the paradigm shift that we need in order to advance the cause of gender equity in the workplace. It’s not just about men supporting women as equals in the workplace. It’s also about women supporting men as equals in caregiving.

Today’s workers, particularly young parents, want real equality in both places. That’s what the real data shows. But some men and women in power are still holding onto Mad Men-era notions about gender roles. They’re acting as gender police in the workplace.

Here’s an example from my book, All In. Jay got a call at work, saying that there was an emergency. His wife was 38 weeks pregnant, the placenta stopped working, and the baby wasn’t moving. They had to induce right away. He, of course, left work. Everything worked out fine with the baby, fortunately. Jay missed just the rest of that week, so a total of a few days. When he came back to work on Monday, his boss called him and rebuked him for having taken off those days. That boss was a pregnant woman.

There’s also the case of a state trooper in Maryland whose boss refused him the time he was legally allowed to take off after the birth of his child. She told him women are supposed to care for babies unless they’re “in a coma or dead.” (You can see this and a lot more in the intro, free here.)

Men often get fired, demoted, or lose job opportunities when they take paternity leave, seek flexible schedules, or even openly acknowledge that they prioritize their families over their jobs. Families can’t afford to risk losing these incomes. So men end up being pushed to work more hours, while women get pushed to stay home. And the vicious cycle continues.

These stigmas and the other backward, sexist structures supporting them are what my legal case against Time Warner was about when I worked at CNN.

We all need to break this cycle, together. Not only do we need to support the opposite gender, but women need to support women and men need to support men. It’s about all of us supporting each other.

I now work with businesses everywhere to make that happen. I tell them it’s usually about 20% policy and 80% culture.

Start off by investigating your policies. Do they treat men and women, officially, as equal caregivers? One thing to check, for example, is whether leave specifically for care giving is the same for men and women.

After my case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sent out guidance making clear that caregiving leave has to be clearly distinguished from physical recovery leave. Women obviously need and should have physical recovery leave after giving birth, but caregiving leave must be separate and gender neutral.

Then, look at these kinds of policies in practice. How many men are actually taking leave available for caregiving? How many could have taken it but didn’t? That’s a huge sign of culture. Despite stereotypes, today’s dads want to be very involved at home. Only a tiny percentage actually value time at work over time at home.

Create cultural awareness programs at work about all this. When you have conversations about work-life balance, include the men around you. Make clear to them that it’s safe for them to participate.

And to eradicate backward stereotypes, learn the truth about today’s dads. Some media have done a terrible job ignoring the facts. That’s why I launched a media education campaign.

This Father’s Day, an Online Battle to Correct the Media About Dads – MediaShift

We also need a national paid family leave insurance program, which is supported by the vast majority of Americans — including Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

Ultimately, it’s about bringing women and men together, on one team, to take all of the steps needed to build real gender equity. It’s time to stop talking only about how men can help women. We all can help each other. When we do, we’ll create a truly All In workplace.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

This 20-Minute Routine is the Laziest (but Most Effective) Workout Ever

Maybe you don’t have time to exercise. Or, maybe instead of logging some miles on the treadmill, you tend to use your spare minutes shopping online or wasting time on Facebook. Whatever your excuse, you know that exercise will make you a better person. For one thing, when you’re fit, you’re more attractive, which increases your confidence which naturally aligns your trajectory toward success. It’s true–I’ve polled hundreds of successful executives and entrepreneurs about their daily routines and they almost uniformly make exercise a personal requirement.

I’m not here to guilt you into going to the gym. Rather, I offer freedom. Getting fit doesn’t need to take a lot of time, and you don’t need to leave your office or home to do it. And, by properly distracting yourself, this kind of exercise can actually be enjoyable.

First, you need to understand that building strength is more important than cardio because the more lean muscle you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate.

And watching your diet will do more to help you lose weight than exerting yourself. Consider this: There are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat and most people will only lose 100 calories by running a mile. In other words, you’d have to run 35 miles to burn a pound of fat.

Here’s a simple way to get stronger, without killing yourself at the gym.

You’ll need three pieces of equipment: Your smartphone, your laptop and air-filled 75 cm exercise ball. Open the clock app on your phone and get the timer ready. Now go to YouTube and find your favorite vlogger or show (this is the distraction part). Turn on your show and place your laptop on the floor near where you will be exercising.

Minutes 1-3:

Get on the floor into an elbow plank position, resting on your forearms and toes, so your weight is mostly on your elbows. Turn your timer on and lift one of your legs off the ground toward the ceiling. Alternate legs every 30 seconds until the time is up. If 30 seconds is too difficult, you can alternate every 15 seconds. This is a tough exercise, but well worth a few minutes of hell. It works nearly all the muscle groups on your body.

Minutes 3-8:

Lie on your back with your knees bent and the laptop (distraction) on your stomach. Turn the timer on and lift your butt off the ground as high as you can. Hold. The burn gets pretty bad after a few minutes but your ass will thank you later.

Minutes 8-11:

Go to a wall with your laptop (distraction) placed where you can see it. With your feet shoulder width apart and about two feet away from the wall. Now sit back on the wall so that your upper legs are at a right angle with your body. Turn on your timer and distract yourself again through the burn. Keep in mind that your quadriceps are large muscles which can take the abuse.

Minutes 11-20:

Now use the rest of your minutes to do 100 pushups and 100 hamstring curls using the exercise ball (with your distraction playing nearby). You don’t have to do them all at once (I do 10 pushups at a time, and on my knees). To do the hamstring curls, lie on your back with your feet on top of the ball. Lift and hold your butt off the ground while pulling the ball as close to yourself as you can. Push back out and repeat (I do 25 at a time, but more or less is fine).

You’re done. Don’t you feel strong (and smarter than all those people spending an hour at the gym)?