Trending March 2024 # Cobook Contacts Makes Your Address Book Work For You # Suggested April 2024 # Top 9 Popular

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We are connected in so many different ways to so many different people in this age of technology that it is hard to keep it straight. In my days (because, you know, I’m so old), you had one address book and everyone you had a contact for was in the same place. Now, you can connect with people through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, phone, and so much more.

We are connected in so many different ways to so many different people in this age of technology that it is hard to keep it straight. In my days (because, you know, I’m so old), you had one address book and everyone you had a contact for was in the same place. Now, you can connect with people through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, phone, and so much more.

Cobook Contacts combines all of your social networking contacts with your iOS device’s contacts and the best part is that the app has been completely redesigned in the likeness of iOS 7…

Design

Since its very recent redesign, Cobook Contacts now sports a lighter look. The background is white and the font is black with rounded lettering. It is presented with business-like hues of orange, gray, and beige.

When you swipe the screen from left to right, you will bring up the menu screen, which now has the blurred background look, instead of the solid gray list from before.

You can view your contacts all together, or separate them by your social network feed, local, or iCloud contacts, and even add tags to help you find specific groups of people.

When you select a specific contact, you can either swipe the contact from right to left to quickly make a phone call, or swipe from left to right to bring up a number of different options, including sending email, SMS, adding a tag, or deleting the contact. When you select a contact that has a Facebook account attached, you can see their recent status updates by tapping the related icon.

App Use

When you first log in, you’ll be asked for permission to access your iPhone’s contacts. You will then be able to connect to your Facebook account. After the app is finished syncing all of your contacts, you will be able to see them in one place. To search for a specific person, start typing a name or number into the search bar. The app gathers up all contacts that include any letter or number that you type in.

To call someone using the “Quick Call” feature, swipe from right to left on their name. This will expose a tab that will let you call them with one tap.

To send a text message or email, drag your finger across the screen from left to right on their name to call up a “more options” window. In this window, you can also add a tag, like “Work” or “D&D Gamer” so that, when you search through your contacts using a tag, you will be able to find them more easily.

If you have any doubles of the same name, merge them from this window as well. Just select a contact by swiping from left to right and then drag the contacts from left to right again to bring up the window and select “merge.”

You can add contacts to your favorites list by tapping the star next to their name. This will put them at the top of your contacts list.

The Good

It is really nice to have all of your various contacts in one location. I have a lot of acquaintances that I may have a phone number saved in my local iPhone, but not in iCloud, or I may have friends that I have a contact for on Facebook, but have never gotten around to getting their information stored in my address book. This app makes it easy for you to find everyone in one place.

The Bad

Unfortunately, I was never able to sync my Facebook contacts properly. I tried everything to allow access though the app, but it never worked. I even tried searching for a friend through the app’s “Facebook Search” feature and 30 names popped up, but none of them were his.

To make matters worse, when I began writing this app review, I was able to sync my Twitter account and, literally in the middle of writing, the app was updated and Twitter became part of the “Essentials” pack. So, with no Facebook integration and my Twitter contacts gone, this was nothing more than a good-looking address book app.

Value

Cobook Contacts is free to download, but it is ad supported and you can only sync it with your iPhone, iCloud, and Facebook contacts without paying more. It looks good, but iOS 7 will make the native Address Book app look good, too. I had a taste of the Twitter contact feature and frankly, I think it is worth the $2.99 extra to get the Essentials Bundle, which connects your Instagram, Foursquare, and Twitter contacts as well. Plus you can remove the ad banner with the Essentials Bundel.

Conclusion

This app is worth downloading if you are willing to pay the $2.99 to add the Essentials Bundle. It is worth the three bucks to be able to access all of your social networking contacts in one location. If you have a lot of acquaintances across various social networking sites, this app will make your life a lot easier. Download it for free in the app store today.

Related Apps

Smartr Contacts for iPhone is another app that brings together all of your contacts, including social networking, in one app. Contacts Sync & Transfer lets you sync your Google, Yahoo, and Facebook contacts with your iPhone address book.

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7 Tricks For Making Landing Pages Work For You And Your Seo Clients

What makes a landing page work? Why do some landing pages get people to stay, convert, and get shared socially, while others are just given a quick look? How do you build a landing page that really works for your brand?

From the SEO standpoint, there are 4 main problems with landing pages:

Search. A landing page doesn’t seem to answer the search query. This occurs when SEO’s have one landing page for a particular keyword in mind, while search engines choose to place a different one first.

Engagement. The landing page content is not engaging enough.

Awareness match. A landing page is not a match to searcher’s intent and level of brand awareness.

Conversion patterns. A landing page is not a part of a conversion funnel.

This post will give you 7 actionable tips to help you build landing pages that really work for you and your SEO clients. The tips are split according to the opportunities: Search, Engagement, Awareness match, and Conversion Patterns.

The Search Aspect

1.       Set keywords to landing pages matches

For maximum traffic, conversions, and sound performance (high CTR and Avgerage Time on Page, low Bounce rate, and % Exit), you not only need high rankings in search engines for the right keywords, but you also need to rank the right landing pages.

2.       Track if the right landing pages rank

See if your target landing pages show up in Google for your target keywords. Quite often, the page you’re trying to rank – the one that visitors will find useful and relevant to their query – isn’t the page that search engines choose to place first.

You can either run this check manually or with Rank Tracker:

As many of you know, Rank Tracker is integrated with Google Analytics. You’ll also be able to check how much traffic is coming to your target landing page, as well as Bounce Rates.

The Engagement Aspect

3.       Level up the content of your landing pages

Check to see if you have too much content. Even though endless sales copies used to be very popular a while ago and might be still performing well, you should consider a more concise format. Make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for.

4.       Go an extra mile with your landing pages’ design and layout

See if your content is well-structured. Your layout should make it easy for your readers to know where they should look to fulfill their search intent. Also add visuals to make it as easy as possible for your site visitors to consume the content. These might be short videos, screenshots with explanatory notes, or pictograms that allow readers to scan content easily. These introductions to landing pages often suggest that you cared to put some effort into your content, which helps build trust with your readers.

As a side note, be cautious of copy and design changes that you make for stable landing pages that seem to convert well, but might seem outdated from the content or design standpoint. Ugly sometimes sells and nobody knows why. In most cases, it’s worth launching a new version of an important landing page as part of A/B split testing to test performance.

The awareness match aspect

5.       Diversify for different level of awareness about your content

Your SEO landing pages should be optimized for the level of your customers’ awareness. In other words, you should provide your readers with different content depending on whether they have never heard of your brand, used it occasionally, or are avid fans.

Your visitor’s search intent might sometimes be clear from the keywords they use, so you’ll be able to diversify by finding the right landing pages for particular keywords. Needless to say, it’s important to consider the awareness level when writing the sales copy and choosing the visuals. You need to make sure content consumers get answers to questions they initially had in mind.

Conversion Patterns

6.       Build funnels

Build funnels and check not only separate pages, but also bundles of them. After the landing page, the user gets to register and visit the page where he inserts his personal data. Check various combinations of landing and registration pages. You may find unexpected results here.

Analysis

7.       Check SEO landing pages metrics

Now that you have all your keywords matched with landing pages in one list, make sure no wrong pages squeeze into search results.

Keep tracking to see how your landing pages engage enough over time. Check Traffic, Bounce Rate, Avg. time on Page and % Exit to make sure your readers see value in your content. The diagram below summarizes the steps you need to take to build great landing pages for your SEO clients:

Image credit: Dreamframer via iStockphoto

Review: Bookbook Case, The Ultimate Hollowed Out Book Trick For Your Air

I took Twelve South’s BookBook for Air for an extensive spin through a bunch of everyday usage scenarios and in various urban and Mediterranean settings.

I have an admission to make: I’ve never been a big fan of protective cases for Apple products. There, I said it. I especially have an issue with notebook cases, many of which unfortunately can be brushed off as cheap-looking, overpriced gimmicks that don’t hold a candle to Apple’s industrial design. I didn’t cave even after the paint had started to come off of my first Apple notebook, a titanium-clad PowerBook G4, because I bumped it one time too many.

It is fair to say that in all those years I’ve never gotten my head around utilizing protective sleeves to keep my pricey hardware in pristine condition. To me, Apple gear is meant to be displayed, touched and marveled at. The BookBook case for Air has changed my preconceived notions overnight. Oozing style, premium quality, convenience and authenticity, it’s the first case I reckoned would actually protect my Air whilst keep those prying eyes at bay. It’s what notebook cases are meant to be, at least in my view.

If there ever was such a thing as the ultimate hollowed book trick, this is probably it.

For the record, I’ve seen, touched and tried hundreds of cases over the years, including sleeves by Twelve South, a small Mount Pleasant, South-Carolina-based shop renowned for the accessories engineered exclusively for Apple computers (their tagline fittingly proclaims “We’re not just Mac friendly – we’re Mac only”). Eagle-eyed readers might point out we already highlighted their hollowed out book case and its wallet-shaped counterpart for iPhone. TwelveSouth was kind enough to send along a review sample just as I was purchasing a 13-inch Air this summer.

As I hit the coastline at the time to work from the beach, an opportunity presented itself to put the case through its paces in a variety of environments and interesting settings. While ensconced in it, my Air’s definitely seen some action. I’m talking extreme heat, sun rays on the beach, sunscreen grease, slippery fingers, fingerprints – not to mention bars, nightlife, girls gone mad and what not.

Build quality and details are striking even at close inspection.

A pair of elastic bands slip around the corners of your Air so you can use it inside the case.

I often chuckled as folks would think I had plucked an ancient book from a local library, more often than not demanding to inspect the well-worn “tome” with genuine curiosity. Flipping the case open reveals the soft, brown padded interior and a pair of elastic bands that slip around the corners of your notebook’s display. This lets you open the case and begin immediately using your Air without pulling it out. Leather does a good job protecting the machine from liquids, pesky dust particles, harsh environment and even accidental drops. Overall, the case feels sturdy and compact.

Attention to detail: Designer cornices tell you which side is the top.

The genuine leather case is handmade and hand-distressed to ensure that no two are alike.

If you’re anything like me – that is, a suspicious and whining type – you’ll want to double-check my review by taking a look at the BookBook case in one of the stores. My two cents? Take the plunge and I’ll swear you’ll never want to settle for anything less than pure perfection. The BookBook for Air costs eighty bucks and is is available for the 11-inch mid-2011 and late-2010 MacBook Air and the 13-inch mid-2011, late-2010 and the original Airs. The case can be ordered via the online Apple Store, Twelve South’s home page and through a variety of retailers worldwide.

The BookBook for Air by Twelve South

The Good

• everyone will fall for the well-worn Harry Potter spell book look

The Bad

• lacks personal engraving option

The Ugly

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Today I Learned: The Smell Of Formaldehyde Makes You Hungry

Today I Learned: The Smell of Formaldehyde Makes You Hungry

Today I Learned

Listen Now

The Smell of Formaldehyde Makes You Hungry In the first episode of an all-new BU Today podcast, we sit down with sophomore Suzie Marcus to discuss her favorite class, HS 369: Gross Human Anatomy

You can also find this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and other podcast platforms.

The classes we take can change our perspectives and shape our lives, and we think that’s something worth celebrating. Our new podcast, Today I Learned, is all about the classes at BU that have had a real effect on students in our community; we want to know all about the classroom environment, professor, subject matter, and the cool facts that make a lasting impression.

For our first episode, we’ve invited Suzie Marcus (CAS’26) to tell us all about her favorite class, Sargent HS 369: Gross Human Anatomy. Marcus wants to go into neurology, but she says she loves the broad approach to the human body that Elizabeth Co, a senior lecturer at the College of Arts & Sciences, presents in class. This class is half lecture and half lab (featuring lots of cadavers and human bones) and, according to Marcus, is perfect for anyone thinking about nursing, premed, veterinary studies, biomedical engineering, or “anyone who has a fascination with science and they aren’t squeamish.”

Want to be our next guest? Tell us about your favorite class here. Undergraduates, graduate students, and recent postgraduates are welcome to submit.

Takeaways

Cadaver labs aren’t for the faint of heart—but most premed students know what to expect, and squeamishness isn’t an issue. (It helps if you watch surgery videos on YouTube in your spare time.)

What happens when a muscle tears, a bone fractures, or a tumor appears? Elizabeth Co, who teaches Marcus and her classmates, wants her students to always consider the “downstream effects” when engaging in case studies. 

The smell of formaldehyde can trigger a hunger effect in some people, which is why it’s good to have a coffee shop nearby the lab.

Transcript

Sophie Yarin: Hello everyone and welcome to Today I Learned, a BU Today podcast where we explore fun facts and ideas across a multitude of disciplines. We’ll be interviewing students about exciting things they learned in their favorite classes at BU. From changing majors to picking career paths, single classes can have a transformative impact on their future. I’m your host, Sophie Yarin, and I’m investigating how the things we learned in the classroom affect our lives. So, to do that, we’re going to be speaking directly to BU students, which is why we have Suzie Marcus joining us in the studio today. Suzie, thank you so much for being here. 

Suzie Marcus: Thanks for having me. 

Yarin: So, Suzie, you’re a premed student and a sophomore at the College of Arts & Sciences. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? 

Marcus: I’m from Bedford, Massachusetts, which is about 45 minutes northwest of here. I’m studying neuroscience, and I definitely want to go into something related to neurology or neurosurgery—just something related to the brain. 

Yarin: Got it. So, why did you choose that major?

Marcus: I didn’t always know what I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to do something STEM-related, but I actually used to be really squeamish. Obviously, I’m not any longer. I kind of discovered a fascination with the brain, and how we think, and then from there was kind of just reading things about the brain or watching their neurosurgery videos on YouTube—lots of late nights being interested in aneurysm clippings—and it kind of just turned into, “I want to know more about that.” That’s why I’m so fascinated with the brain. So, I said, “I have to major in neuroscience.” 

Yarin: So, the class you’ve chosen to focus on today is Sargent HS 369: Gross Human Anatomy with Dr. Elizabeth Co. And what’s something you learned in that class that stuck with you? 

Marcus: I think everybody knows when they’re signing up for the class that the lab is a cadaver lab, and certain people might have certain reactions to the cadaver. But from my experience, I don’t think that anyone really had a, you know, a feeling nauseous or anything. Because, again, I think people going into it know. I’ve also had some experience prior working in a morgue, so I was kind of used to the formaldehyde smell. And I would say that it can be easier or more difficult, depending on how you learn, because, you know, you kind of take for granted the red of the arteries and the yellow of the nerves in all those diagrams. But sometimes the diagrams, like cross sections of the knee, they don’t really make that much sense to me—honestly, they probably never will. But seeing it on a person, that makes sense. And being able to—of course, we have gloves on—being able to, you know, touch something or maybe pull something back to be able to see the more deep structures of, you know, a leg or an arm, that makes more sense. But, at the same time, everything’s the same color. So, it’s very difficult to tell, oh, is this connective tissue? Is this actually a nerve? But I think that being able to see both the diagrams in lecture, and then the physical anatomy and lab, it goes together very well. 

Yarin: All right, so we asked you to prepare a fun fact to bring in on the show today. And why don’t you tell us what that fact is? 

Marcus: Formaldehyde is an appetite stimulant in like 20 percent of people, which is kind of creepy, but then I thought, you know, after the lab my labmates and I did like to go to Starbucks and, you know, grab a bagel.

Yarin: How would you say that Dr. Co approaches the subject matter? The matter, literally.

Marcus: She brings bones to class, sometimes. They’re very clean—they’re not, like, in formaldehyde or anything. We learned osteology or just, you know, the parts of the bone in lab, but we also go over it in lecture. And so a lot of times she’ll bring different types of bones, like you could have a humerus, which is in your arm, or a femur, or part of a pelvis, and she’ll show us that. And I just remember, sometimes she would have the LAs [lab assistants] hand them out, so every couple of people, you would be like, “Oh, here’s this, this is like a scapula, which is the part in your back.” And she would kind of be like, “Okay, well, if you look at this side of it, you know, you have like a tubercle, like a bump, here,” and then you could feel it. So, that’s one way that she does, you know, more hands-on things because, for the bones, we do a lot of palpations, like feeling stuff on yourself, which is definitely very helpful. But you can’t really feel everything just by, you know, pressing on your arm. So, that definitely really helps. And then she also has case studies, which are huge for understanding things. 

Yarin: What’s your favorite part of her teaching style? What do you appreciate the most? 

Marcus: I think that she really has an enthusiasm for it, especially when she’s like, “I have my big box of bones,” and she’ll hand them out. And she definitely tells us a lot of fun facts about a lot of things that are not something that you would expect to learn. I also think that something that she really emphasizes a lot in both the gross human anatomy and her physiology class that I took are misconceptions, or just things that people think that they know about human anatomy and physiology that are actually just simply wrong. And she’ll explain, “If you heard that, that’s not completely true, it was actually this.”

Yarin: So, it sounds like this is going to be probably one of the most comprehensive biology, health science classes.

Marcus: We learn everything. Everything. It’s definitely a lot of material, but it’s totally worth it. 

Yarin: Do you see anything that resonates with neurology and neuroscience?

Yarin: Has anything outside of neurology and nerves study sort of made you go, I like this, I’m enjoying learning about this. 

Marcus: I think that I enjoy learning about kind of everything, you know, it’s just a lot that we learned about that, I found really interesting. I’ve always been really interested in the brain, but I became more interested in nerves, and kind of like your spinal cord. I remember, this was a random fact that she talked about that had nothing to do with the unit that we were about to start, and she talked about shingles really quickly. And it was kind of an unrelated note, but that’s something else that stuck with me about how, you know, the reason it’s called shingles is because I guess the rash appears, and [it’s] kind of like a very straight line that looks like a shingle, like a roofing shingle. The reason that you see it in the shingle in that line is because that’s where the nerves innervate. So, if you have, you know, just a line of that rash on your stomach, you can see the line of the nerve, which is crazy to me, like, I had no clue, I thought the brain was, you know, the end-all-be-all but, no. The nerves are also really cool. 

Yarin: So, tell me a little bit about these cadaver labs and sort of walk me through a lab you had recently. 

Marcus: So, I had an 8 am lab. And so, you know, they’re bright and early, that’s definitely something that people might have to get used to. You walk in, and usually, you know, you put your stuff down in the corner. And usually, we would start with osteology. And another thing that I thought was really interesting about the way that the class is structured is we didn’t have a professor there with us. It was two LAs, they were both seniors, they’re very nice. First, we would sit down, there’s regular, science table desks, that you would imagine. And sometimes there are bones laying out—clean ones, we don’t have to wear gloves, they’re just [like] if you would imagine a dog chew toy. And they would go over osteology, where we would have diagrams, either on like a computer, or like I brought my iPad, and you’d have to label them and they’ll be part of our post-lab assignment. They would go over the different parts of the bone, like, “This is, like, the inferior part of it. This bump means this,” and then, usually, we would move into the cadaver part of it. And these labs are very small, I think there were seven people, including myself. So, it’s definitely not a big lab, which makes sense. 

And there are two cadavers: one is in the supine position, which is laying on your back. And one is in the prone position, which is laying on your stomach facedown, so that you don’t have to move them back and forth to see the structures on both sides. So, we have some sheets that are laminated, of course, we have gloves on and some, like, pointers that are metal and you can kind of put your pointer underneath this nerve and be like, “Look at this nerve, look at this tendon, this is that,” and we look at both the prone and supine to be able to see both the front and back view of the arm or the leg. We kind of just went right into it. And so the LAs, they would show us something, they’d be like, “Okay, look at this, this is like this muscle on your back.” You can pull back muscles because there are obviously more like superficial and deep muscles. And then they would be wearing gloves where we can look and touch and you can just gently pull back the muscle. I think everyone took a pause to be like, “Okay, like we can touch this,” but I think that it felt very lab science.

Yarin: Sounds like it’s safe to say that you’re not the only student in the class who’s watched surgery videos on YouTube. 

Marcus: Yeah, I don’t think so. I think that we definitely stood farther back from the cadavers in the first lab. But then, by the time we were at our fifth lab, we were kind of like, “Oh, can I reach over here? Like, what does this tendon connect to? Like, oh, is this a nerve? Or what is this?” Any lab, I think, is something that you get used to, but it’s definitely different. Like, I don’t think I can compare it to running PCRs or doing anything else in the bio lab. It’s very unique. 

Yarin: So, if you were to recommend this class, first of all, who would you recommend this class to? And, second of all, how would you describe it to them? 

Marcus: I would recommend this class, definitely to anybody who wants to go into healthcare, whether that be nursing or premed, like myself, PA, maybe veterinary, you know, I know, it’s not an animal, but, you know, muscles are muscles. And the way that things connect, are very similar between mammals. I would also say, I was thinking about this, I feel like biomedical engineering students might like this, because I don’t know much about biomedical engineering. My mom’s one, so I probably should know, but we learned so much about muscles and the way that we move, and I think that if somebody is aspiring to help create something that has to do with mobility, that this is such a perfect way to learn, you know? How do we move? How are we able to rotate our arms? Or how are we able to stand on [our] tippy-toes, everything like that? You know, you can learn about that in class, but until you actually see it, and you can think, “If I pull on this bone, how is it moving? And what muscles?” That’s something that I think, you know, if they get a chance—I know they’re very busy—but if biomedical engineering students get a chance, I think they should absolutely take this class.

I think the way I would describe it is, I feel like it’s honestly two different classes that connect very well. Because in one aspect, you have the cadaver lab and so you’re there and you’re like, “Okay, we’re gonna learn about bones and, you know, where is this really in the body?” And you have lecture, where you’ll do case studies, like, “What happens if this goes wrong?” That’s the biggest thing. Like, what happens if this tendon tears? That’s what Dr. Co said—the best way to learn things is to think, “Okay, if this goes wrong, what are the downstream effects?” And that’s so true. That’s how I studied for every exam. So, I think that you get the more hypothetical in lecture, which is kind of like diagnosing, which I think that if somebody’s prehealth, that’s another really fun thing to do, and then you get more of the physical in lab. So, I think they’re two separate classes that connect very well, is what I would say.

Yarin: Suzie, thank you so much for sitting down with us for our inaugural episode. It was a pleasure to talk to you. And we wish you all the best with your upcoming labs, however many there may be.

Marcus: [laughs] Probably a lot. 

Yarin: So, thanks for tuning in to Today I Learned, a BU Today podcast. Do you have a favorite class you think we should know about? Tell us all about it by filling out the form linked in our description. Today I Learned is produced and engineered by Andrew Hallock and edited and hosted by me, Sophie Yarin. We’ll see you next time.

How To Use Facebook For Email Address Capture

Plus a clever Facebook cover image trick

With ever lowering Facebook reach, fan acquisition on Facebook is increasingly less of a desirable goal. Yet I do believe that the platform still has a major role to play for many brands, not least because of the ubiquity of the platform, but also for its simply awesome targeting potential.

Page admins have moaned long and hard about decreasing reach – how hard it is to reach fans which many have paid to acquire. With the end of like gating and further algorithm changes afoot in January (Facebook will drastically reduce the reach of Pages that have a tendency to post promotional content with limited “context”), it is most certainly time to re-think the way you use the platform, particularly if your focus to date has tended towards those vanity metrics of big fan numbers.

The “Download a Whitepaper” incentive has been used in B2B marketing successfully for many years and I’ve been trying a similar approach on Facebook for my B2C Page Musicademy. By creating an irresistible offer we’ve been able to data capture many email addresses and also delight users with a free gift that is genuinely useful (and neatly showcases our product range in a “try before you buy” format).

I’ve been trialling two different approaches. The first uses a cover image trick that I’ve only ever seen one other brand try. This approach is aimed at existing fans with a view to data capture of their email address.

Facebook cover image trick

Here’s how the cover image looks:

So far so good. We’ve drawn attention with a great offer and got the user off Facebook and onto a landing page of your choosing. What’s next?

The landing page

The landing page takes users to an Infusionsoft data capture form. Infusionsoft (view demo here) is the leading sales and email marketing software for small businesses and I can’t recommend it highly enough. This form is actually hosted on my website but there are plenty of other options including MailChimp data capture devices and a host of Facebook apps.

By completing this form, users are then sent to a landing page with the promised 40 free lessons, but any tick besides the instruments of interest triggers an email sequence full of great content (and a little info about products). I’ll write a more detailed post about my approach to email and content marketing using Infusionsoft another week.

Note that there are a number of good practice tips to share from the landing page above.

I’m only capturing the minimal amount of information I need – first name because I then personalise subsequent emails, email address (obviously) and some simple ticks to identify areas of interest

Double opt in – this is not essential in Infusionsoft so I’ve not made it a necessary part of the sign up process but does mean that we get the important double opt-in for many of the new users

Share the love – this would actually be better as a mail:to link but you can see how I’m using every opportunity to spread the word about Musicademy

Personalised content – by giving users the chance to tell us more about themselves they end up with emails containing content far more relevant to them than the standard “spray and pray” newsletters

Reassurance about no spam policy

Follow buttons

Data capture apps

Shortstack, Woobox, TabSite and many other app providers will allow you to create a Facebook app which enables data capture. Remember that Facebook apps do not work on mobile  unless you use a workaround such as this one we created using the Facebook app StaticHTML by Thunderpenny Software which will provide a link that will work on mobiles.

Again, some good practice to draw from this example:

No space within the 20% rule for the logo so I’ve ditched it – the brand name and favicon are clear at the top anyway

You are allowed text on product shots. Otherwise try to use the images to convey the message as I have done here with the silhouette image of the instruments

This ad was created in Power Editor which gave me lots of control over the content in the various places on the ad as well as the call to action button. Previously this type of ad was only available as a result of going through the somewhat laborious “Unpublished” or “Dark post” route. Now it’s just the standard method of ad creation and thankfully offers an edit facility without recreating the content from scratch

Limited repetition of text. I’ve made each of the areas (Text at the top, Headline, Link Description and Display Link) convey a relevant but non repeating message. Whilst there may be a case at times for repetition, I think often it is better to have no text than repeating text

Want to learn more? Come and see Marie teach live

Listening To Music Helps You Work, Sometimes

Manuel F. Gonzalez is a PhD candidate in Industrial-Organizational Psychology at Baruch College, CUNY. John R. Aiello is a professor of Psychology at Rutgers University. This story originally featured on The Conversation.

Do you like to listen to music when you work?

Pose this question at a party, and you’ll probably get some polarizing responses. Some will say they love it, claiming that it improves their performance; others will say they find it distracting and cannot work effectively with music playing in the background.

As music enthusiasts and psychologists, we wanted to understand when it helps and when it hurts to listen to music while performing tasks.

Interestingly enough, our research has found that both of these perspectives can be true. It just depends on what sort of work you’re doing.

Developing a broader framework

Researchers have examined how music influences performance on a variety of tasks, from athletics to mathematics to reading. They’ve also looked at whether music affects performance through factors like the listener’s mood or their working memory capacity.

However, much of this research focuses on specific contexts or specific types of tasks. We wanted to develop a more comprehensive framework that can be applied more broadly.

So in a recent study, we brought participants into our lab to perform a variety of tasks. They included an easy task—searching through word lists and crossing out words containing the letter “a”—and a more difficult task—memorizing word pairs and recalling the partner to each word. Some participants completed all of the tasks in silence, whereas others completed the tasks with instrumental music that was either loud or soft, and either simple or complex, the latter meaning music with more instrumental tracks.

A simple music track might include one or two instruments, its melody might not change very frequently, and it may have a slower tempo. Complex music, however, might include a large variety of instruments, might have frequently changing melodies, and would typically have a faster tempo.

The type of task matters

Several key findings emerged from our study.

We found that participants who listened to simple music or no music performed about the same on the easy task. However, participants who listened to complex music performed best on the easy task.

Conversely, participants performed worse on the more difficult task when they listened to any music, regardless of complexity or volume, compared to those who didn’t listen to any music.

What should we make of these findings?

We suggest that people have limited mental resources from which both music and tasks can draw.

We can become bored and our minds may wander when these resources are underutilized. But we also can become overstimulated and distracted when these resources are overwhelmed.

Not surprisingly, we typically need to use fewer of our mental resources when we perform easy tasks, whereas demanding tasks require more brainpower. However, because we might be less engaged during easier tasks, there’s a greater risk of drifting off. Music might give us the extra boost we need to plow through the monotony. However, difficult tasks already demand a lot of our resources. Listening to music can become overkill.

So optimal performance should occur when we strike a “sweet spot,” which may depend on the type of music and the type of task.

The personality factor

Our research findings suggest that the effects of music may also depend on our personalities. In the same study, we examined participants’ preferences for external stimulation.

Some people have what are called “preferences for external stimulation.” This means that they tend to seek out—and pay greater attention to—things that are going on in their surroundings, such as sights or sounds.

Music, then, might suck up more mental resources from people with strong preferences for external stimulation, meaning a more delicate balance may need to be struck for these types of people when they listen to music during tasks.

Supporting this rationale, we found that complex music tended to impair even performance on easier tasks in people with strong preferences for stimulation. Likewise, we found that any music hindered complex task performance when people had strong preferences for external stimulation.

So, in short: It can actually be helpful to put on some music when you work on something that you find relatively straightforward and repetitive. One of us, for example, blasts heavy metal when running basic data analyses. The other of us loves to listen to blues music when reading through his email.

However, music can hurt when a task comes along that requires your full attention, so it’s probably best to turn off Iron Maiden or B.B. King when it’s time to write that paper.

And it probably goes without saying that what works best for you might not work for the person working next to you—so make sure to plug in those headphones.

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