How to Market Yourself on LinkedIn

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LinkedIn is a professional networking tool that has been further developed each year since its inception in 2003. It is vital that aspiring, young professionals are active on it, as it serves as a free networking platform that can help you build contacts and start conversations. Everyone has a different theory on how it should be used and that’s how it should be since everyone is unique. The American Marketing Association have published their guidelines on how to best navigate the website and how you should set yours up. One of the most important areas of the site that they highlighted is the summary section. I completely agree with their assessment of this section because it is where you can sell yourself in a few short paragraphs and talk about what you bring to the table. In my Digital Marketing course, Professor Pepe has stressed the importance of having an expert LinkedIn profile. He has promoted its purpose and outlined how having a strong profile can set us apart from other candidates for a job. It serves a similar purpose to having and maintaining a blog, as both can separate you from the clutter that exists in the business world.

One piece of advice that I would give to someone new to LinkedIn is to keep their mind open and network with all different types of people. If someone comes to speak in your class one day, CONNECT ON LINKEDIN. If you meet someone at a school function, CONNECT ON LINKEDIN. If you meet up with a recent graduate, CONNECT ON LINKEDIN. Well, you get the point, everyone you meet, both formally or in passing needs to become a LinkedIn connection of yours. There is no cap to the amount of connections you can make, so never stop networking.

One common misconception people have about LinkedIn is that it serves as an alternative to having to network in person. WRONG. LinkedIn is a tool that should spark up new business relationships and allow you to develop them over the phone or in person.

 

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Never use this tool to avoid speaking to people face-to-face or over the phone because then you are killing its purpose. The connections you make should be done with the end goal of having a conversation with them, either about career opportunities or just to receive advice on how to become a successful professional. LinkedIn has a feature that allows you to send a short message to a connection, which should be used to facilitate a longer conversation down the road. These should be treated as an area to write a short note, not your whole life story. A connection on LinkedIn can refer to your page for more detailed information about you, so this message should be short and personal. The best ones involve a friendly introduction followed by a succinct message about why you want to talk to them.

One last piece of advice I have for those looking to get started on LinkedIn or to improve their existing page is to separate yourself by utilizing the skills section. Unlike a generic resume, LinkedIn is interactive and the amount of skills you can add to your page are limitless. Forbes documented this idea in an article written a few years back. Any skill you have developed through schooling or work experience should be listed in this section, as these provide you with ability to showcase your peculiarity that you will bring to a future employer.

So, for all those looking to enhance their profile, use this to get started and move on from there. These are just basic instructions on how to master the site, but will give you a good place to start from. There are so many different online sources to learn more about the site through and that is just one way to do it. Make sure to ask your teachers and peers many questions about their approach to LinkedIn, as they’ll have some great advice as well. In the meantime, that is all I’ve got, good luck bolstering your profile and strengthening your position in the business world.

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Email Marketing for InterContinental Hotels Group

Here is the rundown on IHGs newsletter that they send out,

I signed up for newsletters and emails from IHG for a variety of different reasons. I did not have to directly sign up, as they received my information when I stayed at a Holiday Inn in Aruba over Spring Break. Getting information through your customers upon them checking in is a great way to build your base of recipients for emails you send out. I will typically receive two different emails, one being a personal email they send me regarding the status of my points, through their customer loyalty program. The other is IHGs general newsletter that is sent to all members of their email list. This provides the reader information on deals that other hotels of theirs are offering and when you should look to travel. On a side note, I chose to stay in the Holiday Inn, which is part of IHG, because of the value it provided me in that location. It allowed me to stay in a high quality resort on the island of Aruba, without having to shell out the kind of money required to stay in a Marriott or Hilton brand hotel. When I receive an IHG email I open it a large percentage of the time because I am someone who is always intrigued by travel opportunities. I also look to see if their are any deals that will allow me to utilize the points I’ve earned. The subject line of one of the most recent emails I’ve received from them is “Experience the Luxury of Las Vegas.”

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This deal breaks down the options a tourist has when they visit Las Vegas. You can get to car rental sites and credit card sites through this email. This interconnection of services is smart, because it makes the purchase experience much easier for the consumer. Whenever you get an email that mentions Vegas you almost always have to open it, because come on, who isn’t a fan of a trip to “sin city.” The content in the email absolutely matched the subject line and provided the reader a handful of options. The call to action on this email are the the “Book Now” and “Rent a Car.” These buttons will bring you to the respective pages where you can buy a rental car and a hotel room. At the time that I received this email, these calls to action were not ones that I looked to click on. For the purpose of this assignment I clicked on these buttons and found two well-organized sites that would make it easy for consumers to make a purchase. There is a sufficient amount of information in the emails they send me and the content is laid out in an organized manner. One way IHG can improve their email marketing is by highlighting more of their locations around the country. This email detailing their hotels in Las Vegas was one of the first ones I received like it. They also need to make it easier for the customer on the website to see how many points they have built up. The email about my loyalty account that allows me to see how many points I have is obviously personalized for me, which is a nice touch. The emails about their latest offers and newest locations are sent to everyone who signed up to receive their emails. These people may have even signed up unknowingly by staying in one of their hotels. This latest email about Las Vegas is definitely segment-dependent because of the luxurious nature of Las Vegas.

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This email did not get me to click, but it probably got many people with more money than myself to click and see what this offer entailed. The next email from IHG should highlight a new destination that they are looking to promote and lay out some new deals for their customers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saints Never Say Die

This breaks off from the travel theme of my blog, but I felt strongly about this blog post and would love for you to read and share this on social media!

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Basketball games have always served as a stress reliever for me during the school year at Siena, and last night I attended my last one. Heartbreaking. Gut Wrenching. Disbelief. These are just a few ways to describe how students and fans felt last night upon the final buzzer sounding. Our Saints left their hearts on the court last night and gave every ounce of energy they had left to win that game. We came up a little short, and I’m not going to lie, I still feel the disappointment at this very moment. For four years we have watched this team grow, just as we have grown as students and people. Last night at the Times Union Center everyone came together and displayed how far we’ve come as fans and especially how far we have come as a basketball program. We used to wilt under pressure and let the best teams walk all over us in big games. Players such as Billy Baron, AJ English, and as recently as Justin Robinson have come on to our court and made it theirs. There was no sign of that over the last few weeks, as our seniors displayed tremendous pride and mental toughness to overcome odds. Half of our student body came out to support the team last night and it created a special feeling in the arena. In a time where people are divided over many issues, there was an aura of unity felt in that arena between us as students that I will never forget. Four years ago as a fan base we were content with a CBI Championship and now as seniors we cannot be more disappointed that our Saints fell just short of a bid to the dance. I couldn’t be more proud to be a member of this community and I look forward to seeing more great strides taken in the future by this program.

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Now, on to the game itself. We began the game on fire jumping out to a 23-15 lead and it felt as if we were going to roll in to the NCAA Tournament. Iona responded to the deficit and hostile environment with a barrage of 3s and drives to the rim which propelled them into the lead midway through the first half. This response by them was a message to us that this was going to be a battle throughout. Lunges and dives for loose balls were a common theme last night, along with ferocious rebounds by the Saints. We rebounded with a passion that I have not seen from them before and more times than not the winner of the rebounding battle typically wins the game. This is the benchmark for effort and intensity and we certainly were dialed in last night in that category. The two teams went back and forth to end the half and the Saints went into the locker room with a two point lead. Halftime gave us time to catch our breath and prepare for what was bound to be a classic second half. Reality met our expectations and exceeded them, delivering a heart stopping and an unfortunate heart breaking ending. It was much of the same throughout the half, as no one held more than a five point advantage and those leads were typically short lived. We fought and fought throughout the whole game and if we could have gotten one stop in the latter minutes of the game we would all be gathered yet again on selection Sunday to await our fate. It wasn’t meant to be. Iona was flawless at the free throw line and executed their offensive sets to perfection. Fortunately, our leader Marquis Wright consistently had answers and was seemingly always tying the game back up. When it came down to needing two more points at the end of regulation, it was up to Brett Bisping at the foul line. This was our one weak point last night, shooting just 63% for the game. That number was meaningless with 13 seconds left because Brett calmly knocked down both to tie the game. Iona misfired at the buzzer and this barn burner headed to overtime.

Overtime was full of points on both sides as neither side got a stop until the waning seconds. Iona fed Jordan Washington relentlessly down low and got points at will. We always had an answer until Nico Clareth fired wide on a chance to take the lead. Should Marquis Wright have driven to the hoop and tried to draw a foul? Maybe. Would it have been wise to work through our post guys? Also a good option. But after the game Nico Clareth put together just the night before, he was our best option to try and win the game. The last few seconds ticked off and that was the game and the end to many great careers. Those seniors may not recognize the impact they had on this program now, but they will over time. What they did was bring back what is a proud program to national prominence and restore the excitement in the Capital Region about the Saints. I remember watching them play for the first time as a Freshman and I couldn’t have been more proud of the growth exhibited by them over the years. As myself and my classmates exit Loudonville in a couple months, I hope we maintain that pride and spirit and carry it over into whatever walk of life we choose to pursue. It was an honor watching the Saints play in my time here and I thank you for all of the memories you have given me as a student.

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Improving the SEO in a Travel Blog

This week’s blog is for Professor Michael Pepe’s Digital Marketing course and the focus is on how to improve my SEO. In order to do this, I must first improve my page relevance. The topic I blog about is travel and what to do when you are in a specific place. Therefore, I will use keywords like excursions, flights, hotels, and countries in order to increase the relevance of my blog on different search engines. More specifically, I will be improving my page relevance through my URL, Title Tag, Header Tag, Main Content, and Hyperlinks. One very easy way to improve your SEO, as talked about on https://blog.bufferapp.com/5-simple-seo-tactics, is to make your content easy to share. There should be a variety of share buttons at the bottom of your post and they should appeal to a broad range of readers.

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URL

The words that you choose to include in your URL carry the most importance when it comes to calculating a relevance score. This is what your readers see at the top of the screen and is what will define the website you operate on. So, the keywords you include in the URL can make or break whether your site will be visible through search engines. As a travel site, I need to ensure that my URL matches the topic I am writing about. This will improve its relevance and increase its SEO ranking.

Title Tag

The Title Tag is what shows up on the top of the page after clicking on your desired site. This is also heavily weighted when it comes to relevance and should make sense in relation to the URL.The Title Tag provides the reader a glimpse of what is to come on the site. My Title Tag is My World Adventure, which goes nicely with the world travel keyword in my URL.

Header Tag

The Header Tag holds great value when it comes to the Google search. There are three header tags, with those being  <h1>, <h2>, and <h3>. The <h1> tag is the largest header, so your best keyword should occupy this slot. Using header tags will make your sight easier to browse and find what you are looking for as the reader.

Hyperlinks

Hyperlinks add credibility to your blog through links to external sources. For example, if information I found on another site seems like it would be of use to my blog, I would include a hyperlink to that page. It is a way of citing a source without interrupting the flow of your blog.

One final way to help increase your SEO and get your blog off the ground would be to utilize the Google Keyword Planner tool. This allows you to mix and match keywords and theoretically see how they would perform in a search if you chose them. It can also help you incorporate historical statistics into your site and/or blog. Once again, it’s worth your time to check out Professor Pepe’s blog at:

https://marketingbyprofessorpepe.wordpress.com/

Greetings and Farewell From The “Happy Island”-Why You Need To Visit Aruba

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Spring Break as a Senior in college is typically reserved for long nights filled with many friends and variations of beer and mixed drinks, but I was looking to do something different. I decided to book a trip to Aruba with my girlfriend and experience what is known as the “happy island.” Wow, what an unbelievable decision this was, as we had the time of our lives. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a gregarious and knowledgeable taxi driver who provided us with everything we needed to know for our stay in Aruba. We were housed by the Holiday Inn and Resort on Palm Beach, which is one of the most valuable properties in the world due to its expansive beach coverage and tremendous amenities. The grounds are littered with colorful lizards and iguanas that man the rocks above the pools. Every room at the hotel was in a great location, yet I feel like ours may have been the best. We stayed on the side of the hotel, on the first floor, which is just a stones throw away from the beach. The property is surrounded by a variety of restaurants, which were terrific and filled with freshly caught seafood. So that is all just a brief summary of the trip, now lets get to the details.

The first of the two excellent excursions we went on was an ATV Tour around the island with the tour company Kini Kini. Our tour guide was Stuart and he was terrific. We took the ATVs around the majority of the island and through the hot Aruba desert. This tour was bumpy and at times a little unnerving. Our guide first brought us to  a natural bridge that spanned across the shoreline. We were able to take photos and marvel at its beauty in our time here. During our tour we also visited a cove that we were able to jump in to and swim within its boundaries. The cove’s water was was warm and inviting and provided protection from the sharks and other predators that exist outside its walls in the much colder Atlantic Ocean. This cove visit was separate from the stop we made at a natural pool a little while later. Through the clear water you could see the abundance of wild life that makes this pool home. The fish came in many different colors and sizes and the crabs roamed the rocky walls that sat above the pool. There were just enough people in the pool to be social but not enough to overcrowd it. The ride down to the pool was rocky and painful at times but was 100% worth it.

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Aruba’s Natural Bridge

Our second excursion came later on in the week and boy was it a dandy! We toured the Caribbean Sea on a machine called a Seabob. It was created by a Navy SEAL and can dive deep down into the sea and travel at high speeds if the settings are adjusted accordingly. Fortunately, our machines were set at lower levels which allowed us to take everything in. Our first visit was to the Antilla shipwreck, which sits ominously at the bottom of the sea. Staring you right in the face are years of history, as the Antilla was a German ship that was sunk by Dutch authorities in Aruba when Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1939. It is known to be the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean. We were able to take in all of this information from our guide as we experienced it in person, making it that much cooler. After scavenging around the ship we made our way over to the coral reef that exists closer to the shore. This reef is a colorful representation of the beautiful wildlife that exists on the island of Aruba. The highlight of the reef was being able to feed the eclectic group of fish that swam aside our seabobs. I felt like I jumped on to the set of Finding Nemo, as colorful fish surrounded me and gigantic sea turtles looked on from the sea floor. I give sea bobbing two thumbs up and proclaim it a “must do” in places that contain coral reefs and other mysteries of the sea.

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Miscellaneous Notes and Observations

-Deciding to ride an ATV for the first time uphill in a rocky desert is a questionable move that could lead to near death experiences.

-If you see a dog wandering the beach or street, it’s probably wild or a stray, so act accordingly

-Lizards and Iguanas are like ants there…They’re EVERYWHERE.

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-I lost $7.00 at the casino, the slots are definitely rigged and I probably should’ve gambled with more money.

-If you eat anything but seafood you’re making a huge mistake.

-Happy Hour at Bugaloe’s is the place to be, and if the kids blocking the entrance to the bar look like they’re 15, they absolutely are

-Sometimes you will feel like you’re in the northeast, everyone seemed to be from New York or Massachusetts

The Travel Site That Will Send You On Some Wild Adventures

There are many times when I was abroad that I found myself spontaneously adventuring through Europe, but there were also many hours spent behind a computer screen laying out my trips. On Viator.com I always found myself to be a click away from another crazy excursion. Today, I am going to assess this site on each of the following dimensions: (1) Traffic (2) Conversion and (3) Revenue Maximization. This is part of an assignment for Professor Michael Pepe’s class. He teaches a course called Digital Marketing that specializes in blogging.

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Picture from a Viator customers Northern Lights Tour in Iceland

(1) Traffic:

Direct Traffic

Viator gets tremendous site traffic each day, due to the unique travel options it provides the reader with. It is a branch off of the booking site, TripAdvisor, which gives it instant credibility and brand recognition. I used Viator to book everything from a dog sledding expedition in the Arctic Circle to a canyoning excursion on the island of Madeira. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say I was on that site at least once a day for a month and a half straight. They do a tremendous job marketing themselves as a “trip insider” which is what people want to hear when booking trips. The site is easy to use and full of great options, which is why they receive so much internet traffic.

Paid Referral Traffic

I will often see banners in travel sites I go to that have Viator on it. Viator is able to efficiently manage where it places its advertisements.

(2) Conversion:

Conversion is the process you go through on a website that takes you from start to finish. Viator is extremely well organized and when you decide the excursion you’d like to purchase, you click on it then proceed to edit how many tickets you would like. There are three categories of tickets which are adult, child, and infant. You are shown the cost in big font in the appropriate currency and are then brought to the checkout. Viator also lets you check the availability of your desired excursion prior to purchasing the ticket.

(3) Revenue Maximization:

There is a customer review section attached to every excursion and tour they offer, which is extremely helpful for future customers on the site. If you go to a booking site and see the overall sentiment about the site is positive, then you will be more likely to book through that same site. Although reviews are not directly linked to revenue, they are a huge part in getting more people to buy from your site down the road.