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Appy Tuesday – Duolingo

I recently decided I wanted to improve my Irish language skills. Being a former Gaelscoil pupil I have a great understanding of the language but my grammar is not what it used to be because I haven’t used it in 10 years. I took to Twitter to find a podcast to try improve with but instead it was recommended that I try the Duolingo app.

Duolingo is a free language education app which was selected by Apple as iPhone App of the Year in 2013 and by Google as Best of the Best for Android in 2013 and 2014. With over 80 million users, Duolingo has become the most popular way to learn languages online in only 2 years. Duolingo offers the choice of learning 22 different languages, 12 of which are for English speakers wishing to learn a new language.



I set up the app to learn Irish. It is easy to do. Beginners start at basic 1 but there is also a placement option for more advanced users. I used the placement option and got to skip the lessons and went straight to the first gate test. The content is very engaging with a wide variety of methods used to teach words, aurally, written English to Irish, written Irish to English, pictures , matching of English words to Irish words. Points are awarded for completing lessons, I also like the daily reminders to use the app. Repetition is key and I plan on completing the whole course over the next few weeks.

Duolingo is available to download free from the App Store and Google Play

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Keep Your Child Safe Online

Growing up with 24 hour access to information and technology is a recent enough revelation in Ireland and many tech savvy parents are still unsure what boundaries should be in place for their children when it comes to having a life online. The internet is a great resource with a world of knowledge waiting to be discovered but with tablets, phones and gaming consoles in children’s bedrooms across the country the home, once a place of safety is no longer off limits from bullies.

For Parents it is important to know what each device you give your child is capable of. Know the applications they are using, and who they are communicating with. For younger children and teens make sure they know you will be checking the device often. Continuous learning on the adults part is key, Talk to your child about new technology and apps, what they are used for and what fun stuff you can do with them and get the child to demonstrate the app for you so you can gain an understanding of how they use it.

Important rules:

1. Never give out your personal details online, these include your real name, address, age, school or phone number.

2. Set your profiles to private or that only your friends can see them.

3. Don’t accept friend requests from people you do not know offline. Even if you have mutual friends.

4. Never check-in “at home” or announce when you are going on holidays.

5. Never give out your password to any one online.

6. Remember nothing is private, people can and will screenshot posts even if you delete them.

And most importantly always remember that everyone likes to put their best selves online. Everything you see on Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat may not really represent how someone else lives or feels. Facebook envy and pressure to fit in is a real thing.

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Video is the Internet Star.

YouTube celebrated its 10th birthday last month and who can even remember life before the video sharing platform hit our computer screens? It now has more than 1 billion users worldwide and together they watch hundreds of millions of hours daily, which is increasing per month year on year. In order to fulfil our YouTube addiction millions of content creators upload over 300 hours of content every minute. YouTube is a successful business that’ has created stars from the comfort of their own bedrooms.

 Check out Ireland’s 10 most subscribed to YouTube Channels:

Ireland’s most popular YouTuber is Sean McLoughlin, who is based in Athlone, Co Westmeath. Sean uploads videos to his channel jacksepticeye. His fast paced videos of edited gameplay combined with over the top presentation make his channel the most subscribed to in Ireland with 4,77,047 subscribers. 

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The Body Coach #Leanin15, he’s doing it differently!

The Body Coach #Leanin15 Joe Wicks UKI rejoined the gym for a bit of pre-season training before my season of coastal rowing starts again for 2015. The biggest single thing I have noticed since returning to the gym is that people actually know what they are doing. Gym-goers are using the machines correctly, TRX, CrossFit are the buzzwords and ladies lifting heavy weights is the norm. 

 

Gone are with the days of being prescribed a fitness plan of running on the treadmill for 40 minutes and you were classified as “super fit” or cycling on a bike for 30 minutes and thinking you were great, flexing a few muscles and that’s it, you put in a fantastic workout. 

 

We are witnessing an era of people wanting to ‘learn’ more about exercise, but even more so about nutrition. Hello, I am one of them! I am continually searching for ‘clean eating recipes’ on Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter as well as looking for new ways to train. 

 

Over the past year or so we have experienced an explosion of health and fitness professionals coming into an already crowded market place, there’s a hell of an amount of noise. Some are doing great while others have run away with their egos due to gaining traction and as a result are not connecting with their potential customers. 

 

There’s one guy “The Body Coach” that I would like to focus on from a marketing perspective, he’s doing everything right. From customer acquisition, engagement and retention, he is one to watch on how to successfully market your business to an international audience, regardless of what area of business you are in. 

 

The guy behind the “The Body Coach” is Joe Wicks and he is an online nutrition coach from the UK. He has been featured by The Daily Mail, Men’s Fitness, The Times.. and the whole heep of other media outlets and has recently signed a book deal. He is rocking it! 

 

 

When I first came across Joe I initially checked his website for further information. This is normally where a lot of businesses fall down, they might be active social media and present themselves very well but but their website can be terrible and that’s where I lose my interest. I always say to people, your website is your shop window, make sure it looks well!

 

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Joe’s website is one of the best I have seen in the industry to date. It’s clean, well presented with nice high-res images and it’s easy to navigate. The Body Coach also encourages you to sign-up for a “free” get lean guide. This is a perfect way to capture email addresses for future marketing. In fact when you sign up to his newsletter you get 14 days of exclusive fat loss advice (call-to-action). 

 

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But how did he gain attention of his clients, and the media? The answer is “followers”. The Body Coach UK has 184K followers on Instagram, 25K followers on Facebook, 30.7K on Twitter & 137K views on YouTube. Now that’s impressive! However, Joe did not always have this level of following, in fact a year ago Joe had a very small presence online – but he stuck with it. Day in, day out, he was posting his #leanin15 meals to an empty Instagram account but as time passed people started to follow and to tell their friends and it all took off organically from there. 

 

#leanin15 

 

This is a wonderful marketing campaign. Joe devised his own hashtag that has become his main marketing campaign that is so captivating! Via his Instagram account he pushes out #Leanin15 video meals and shows client results from his 90 Day Fat Loss Plan, it is incredibly engaging and would motivate you into signing up. The videos of his food preparation he prepares are interesting, funny and to the point. See example of his videos here. Through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter Joe asks participants for a testimonial once they have finished and a before & after picture. From a marketing point of view this is very important because how can you get someone to buy into a program without seeing what you can achieve? The same applies to everything you market, your communication should tell a story. 

 

 

90 Day SSS Plan 

 

We all know that sticking to a “diet” or lifestyle change is very hard, that’s why Joe has broken it up into 3 different cycles as described on his website:

 

 

Cycle 1: HIIT ATTACK – SHIFT YOUR FAT AND IGNITE A NEW FITNESS LEVEL 

Cycle 2: SHAPE YOUR PHYSIQUE / INCREASE MUSCLE MASS

Cycle 3: SUSTAIN THE RESULTS EMBRACE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

 

Positioning: By breaking the cycles up into three sections makes the offering of the plan more attractive to potential clients. After the 90 days of the plan you “graduate” from the plan, by using the word “graduate” gives a clear goal for the client to reach that will give them a great sense of achievement. Everyone wants to graduate! Everyone, I am sure prior to joining the 90 SSS Plan wants to see their before and after pictures being pushed out in social media. This is very clever marketing from The Body Coach. 

 

Communication 

 

Joe Wicks is a very busy man, he’s just received a book publishing deal, constantly being interview and even appeared on Sunday Brunch on Channel Four show last Sunday to cook one of his now famous #Leanin15 meals. However, he always makes time for his clients and potential clients via social media. I contacted Joe a number of weeks ago to ask for his permission to feature them on the blog and to ask if I could use some of his images etc, within a few minutes I received a reply saying yes! (see image). This was not the first time I communicated with him either, many times I have engaged with him via Instagram and Facebook and this is from a guy that has hundreds and thousands of followers worldwide. This is where many “well-known” fitness and nutrition ‘experts’ falls down. You have to keep up communicating to encourage and attract new customers and to retain existing ones. 

 

There is no doubt that Joe is a fantastic communicator, I read his client reviews all the time and many of them say “I contacted Joe as I was finding the plan hard and he got back to be and gave me a few words of encouragement to keep going”. A lot of clients say, “if it wasn’t for Joe and his words of advice I would have given up a long time ago”. This proves to me that what he advertises on his website is fact “we believe support is one of the reasons people achieve such amazing results!”

 

The cost of the plan is £147, you can either pay up-front or via three direct debit payments. 

 

In summery, Joe Wicks AKA The Body Coach is doing a fantastic job marketing his business to not only to an audience in the UK but to the rest of the world, everyone from all types of business can learn something from the way he attracts, engages and retains customers. He has his marketing positioning correct by having a really attractive website, good graphics on his social media profiles, clear and consistent messaging via his social media profiles and his use of video for his #Leanin15 meals are killing it (in a great way). I would love to know what his Facebook stats look like in terms of reach and engagement, no doubt they are impressive! 

 

From all of us here in B*Different, Joe Wicks, congratulations you are ‘different’ and your marketing is super impressive- keep up the good work! 

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Job Opportunity: Marketing Intern

 

Hello there, could you be the one we’re looking for?

 

We are currently looking to hire two interns to join our team! Let me tell you a little about us first. B*Different is almost two years old and in that two years we have gone from strength to strength, attracting all types of businesses in Ireland and further afield. We work with clients in  a wide range of industries from pharmaceutical, sports, luxury confectionery, cosmetic surgery, app companies to even celebrities!

B*Different provides both digital and traditional marketing services from outdoor media campaigns, radio, TV planning, to digital campaigns such as social media management, online campaign management and so on…

Since the start of our company, interns have graduated from B*Different and went on to hold mid-senior level marketing roles in organisations. B*Different will give you the experience to excel in marketing. It’s the perfect learning opportunity.

So what type of person are we looking for?

  • Self-motivated with plenty of passion and the willingness to learn

  • Must have a full command of the English language

  • Design skills (Photoshop, InDesgin etc)

  • Frontend web design skills (HTML & CSS)

  • The ability to work on your own initiative  

  • Come up with ideas and share them with the team

  • Enjoys having fun and a bit of banter

 

What will you get?

 

  • You will learn about the industry that will give you excellent experience

  • You will get exposure to big projects and work with a diverse range of clients

  • You will attend events that is relevant to the industry so you continuously learn

  • You’ll assist with the management of social media accounts

  • You will learn how to plan marketing campaigns and execute them  

     

This role is a hands-on learning role that will give you the skills and expertise in the marketing industry.

Location:

This role is based in our HQ:

 

  Suite 5, Gowna Plaza,

  Bracetown Business Campus,

  Clonee, Dublin 15, Ireland

 

Transport:

 

 

The hours of work:

Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.

 

Contract:

This is a 7 month contract that could lead to a permanent position for the right person.

 

Interested?  

If you are interested in this role, please email your CV to hello@bdifferent.ie

 

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How We Won A BIG Client

I received a call from a very large organisation asking could they meet me to discuss doing some business. Like all potential clients, I invited them to meet me in my office to discuss their needs. The Marketing Manager from the organization called to meet the team and I, and I took her through our company presentation deck along with showcasing work that we had previously completed for other clients. I could tell she was happy with my no-bullshit approach and what she was hearing was fact but I really felt we were a little too small for her, with them being a massive group.

The week after coming over to meet me she called me again to see if she could bring her Head of Brand for the company over to meet me, I of course accepted. We ran through the deck again and spoke of my experience, but he was harder to read and really felt that I did not have a hope in landing this contract, not because we were not able to fulfil it, but because large companies tend to steer to larger agencies. But I did think big because I knew we could do it.

However, I do recall an important moment in our conversation and that was when they asked me, do I think there is any difference between the UK and Irish market. Well, I went off on a tangent and explained the differences in terms of marketing. For example, I spoke about the UK market are receptive to negative marketing, as in being told what to do, whereas the Irish market reacts well to positive marketing, I also give a few examples to explain my points and they loved it. Bare in mind though, what I was saying was the truth and based upon facts an experiences having marketed to both markets.

When they returned back to the UK we had a follow-up call and they explained the process that they were talking to a lot of agencies and they would be in-touch in due-course within the next week. Next week came and went and I thought oh well, at least I tried my best and I had been completely honest in my endeavors to secure the contract.

The following week I received a phone call on my way up to Dublin from having been at home in Mayo for the weekend. I did not even look at the number and just answered. It was the Marketing Manager from the said organization telling me that I was successful in winning the contract and that they wanted to do business with us. How I did not crash the car that day, I will never know. She said the main thing that swag me winning the contract was my sheer honestly and also the UK/Irish thing. I was delighted!

We had a follow up conversation in a hotel near the airport to finalise details and that was that. Since then we have worked so hard with fulfilling the contract and meeting their every need, but most of all we have a fantastic working relationship.

In December we have our first marketing rollout for this client and we will revile who it is then. The moral of the story is think big and big things will happen!

A huge thank you to all the people that has worked on this project with me thus far, the late night and early mornings have paid off!

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Top 3 Business Books to Read Right Now

Over the past while I have been doing a little bit of reading, it is something I do not do a lot of, as I read a lot of business news from websites, but it is something I am going to make more of an effort in doing. This Top 3 Business Books to read right now is made up of books I have recently read and think they offer something to the reader in terms of learning valuable nuggets of information that can help you personally, and your business. I hope you enjoy them.

Get Sh*t Done!: From Spare Room to Boardroom in 1,000 Days

If this book does not give you the inspiration to get up off your bum, nothing will. I really enjoyed this read for two main reasons, 1) it was written by a guy that went out there and made things happen for himself, it all was not based on luck, it was based on hard work and getting ahead of the competition. 2) If there is one person that you can learn from in terms of personal marketing (i.e. marketing yourself) it is Niall Harbison.

The Start-up of You

This book gives you practical advice of how you can market yourself. From the co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn and author Ben Casnocha comes a revolutionary new book on how to apply the strategies of successful entrepreneurship to your career: in other words, how to run the start-up of you. This book is definitely worth a read.

How to Build a Billion Dollar App

There are millions of apps available to download on your smartphone but choosing the right one to download can be cumbersome. Now imagine yourself trying to build one, from scratch and then get people to download it?

I have been there, and it is a tough space, not only building one but also raising the monies needed to market the product and further the product development. How to Build a Billion Dollar App is loaded with practical information to help you learn and understand both the opportunities and limitations associated with bringing an app to market.

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How To Sell Your Music On iTunes

Over the past couple of weeks I have been working hard on a project to get the music of an unsigned band for sale on iTunes and other digital music outlets whilst ensuring that the band are making the most money possible in the long term. iTunes and Spotify control approximately 80% of the digital music sales/streams. For a band, making your music available on these services is a huge step to take, the first stumbling block people come across in getting their music into these stores is, none of the digital retail stores will let you in directly, you will need to be signed to record label or use a digital music distributor to get in.

It is worth noting that when you upload a single to iTunes and the sale cost is €0.99, that Apple take a commission leaving about €0.70 for the artist. Depending on the digital music distributor you choose you could be losing up to another 15% to them.

The world of digital music distributors is confusing to say the least. So I have put all my findings into one easy to read table to help you figure out which distributor works best for your needs. I will look at: sign up costs, costs per album uploads, yearly fees, commission per sale, minimum sales for payments across the four digital music distributors I considered using: TuneCore, DistroKid, CDBaby and Ditto Music.

  TuneCore DistroKid CDBaby Ditto Music
Upfront cost per Album $22.99 $19.99 unlimited uploads $49 $35.00
Annual fee per Album $49.99 $19.99 unlimited uploads $0 $25.00
Upfront cost per Single $9.99 $19.99 unlimited uploads $12.95 $9.00
Annual fee per Single $9.99 $19.99 unlimited uploads $0 $8.00
UPC Bar Code FREE Free $20 for Album FREE
      $5 for Singles  
ISRC Code FREE Free FREE  FREE
Name your Label FREE Not on basic package FREE $41.25
Sales Percentage kept 0% 0% 9% 0%
Payment threshold $0 $10 $10 $25.00

 

Each of the four digital music distributors I looked at have good points and bad and there is plenty more options out there to choose from such as Mondotunes, JTV Digital, Zimbalam and ReverbNation. I chose to go with DistroKid because we had three albums to upload from a back catalogue and their sign up fee allows for unlimited uploads for a year although it has a maintenance fee of $19.99 per year i felt with no commission going to them that it will work out cheaper in the long run. I will keep you updated with a review on their service very soon. 

 

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Appy Monday – FoodCloud

 
On this weeks AppyMonday we’re looking at FoodCloud, an Irish App and initiative co-created by Trinity students Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien. 
 
Foodcloud is an app that lets businesses upload details of their excess food. The service then texts a local charity, who in turn can pick up the donation and share it with those who need it.
Ward and O’Brien looked at ways to get food that would otherwise be discarded into the hands of these people. They estimate that Irish retailers produce about 87,000 tonnes of surplus food a year, most of which is dumped at a cost of €8.5 million. With no existing redistribution infrastructure they set up FoodCloud.
 
The App itself is very basic but that isn’t an issue; it gives the retailer a very simple signup process to get them up and running and able to submit their details quickly and easily.
 
The largest retailer to work with FoodCloud has been Tesco who trialled the service from October 2013 to February 2014 in 18 Tesco stores and donated almost 60,000 meals or 27 tonnes of food to 38 charities. They now plan to roll out the service to their stores nationwide.
 
Any charities or  retailers  who are interested in participating can register with the app or visit www.foodcloud.ie for more information.
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Appy Monday – AmpliTube and its hardware interface iRig by IK Multimedia.

On this weeks Appy Monday we will be looking at AmpliTube and its hardware interface iRig by IK Multimedia.

AmpliTube and iRig allow you to turn your iPhone or iPad into a mobile Guitar and Bass Sound Studio.

iRig

iRig is a small device that lets you connect your guitar or bass to to your iPhone or iPad. The iRig is very simple to use; it connects to your iOS device with the attached cable and has a cable interface for your instrument and another for headphones or for connecting to a sound system. Once your instrument is connect you can open the AmpliTube app.

AmpliTube

This review will focus on the free version of AmpliTube for iPad. AmpliTube is also available for iPhone but is much better suited to the larger screen on iPad and iPad mini.

Once the app is running you are presented with the main panel which shows you your amp and chosen effects.

The free version gives you one amp and two stomp boxes (delay and noise filter). This doesn’t give you a huge range of sound to play with but enough to get up and running and an idea how the app works.

The interface is intuitive and easy to use; want to increase volume or treble? Just tap and drag the knob as needed. As most users of this app will be bedroom rockers or musicians it’s safe to say that they will be familiar with the hardware that the app emulates and will feel right at home using it. Extra amps, effect pedals and a studio feature for mixing your recorded tracks can be bought individually as in-app purchases.

The app also gives you the ability to play a song from your library to play along with or to play a drum beat for practising to. Again extra drum beats can be bought as in-app purchases. The ‘tools’ tab gives you a metronome and very responsive tuner and a recording interface lets you record your licks and riffs. One cool feature of the app is the ability to let the app keep working in the background to allow multitasking which I found great for listening to songs on Spotify or YouTube to play along to.

AmpliTube offers good sound for its price. If you’re a guitarist who already owns an iPad or iPhone then investing in the iRig is a no brainer and a very small investment for all you get when you consider the price of AmpliTube’s bigger brother for PC/Mac which will set you back over €150.

iRig currently sells for €15 – €25 depending on retailer with AmpliTube available for Free, with prices ranging €10.99 to €13.99 for the pay versions which include extra amps, and effects but in-app purchases are still present and at this time it doesn’t seem possible to buy an ‘all-in’ app that contains all those extras for a once of fee.

Despite this iRig and AmpliTube offer excellent value for money and is a highly recommend for the beginner just learning or the veteran musician as the app offers a lot in a very small package for a very small price.

So plug in your guitar, plug in your headphones and turn it up to 11*.

*Obligatory Spinal Tap reference.

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