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Why Incentive Programs Go Wrong and How to Fix Them

Why Incentive Programs Go Wrong and How to Fix Them

A Note From Strategic Incentives

Strategic Incentives believes strongly in the power of incentive programs to help companies achieve goals, motivate employees and reward outstanding behaviors. Our team of experts creates and facilitates effective incentive programs for clients by focusing on end results.

The unfortunate truth in incentives, though, is that some companies don’t understand the science and the process that goes into creating a solid performance improvement plan. They erroneously believe that employees are motivated by only one desire, and slap a program together without fully considering its consequences. When it fails, as poor incentive programs are likely to do, they say that incentives just don’t work and vow to never offer them again. If your company has ever been involved with an incentive program that has gone wrong, here are some suggestions on how to repair the damage it has done:

  • Unclear Goals: A workforce program must be very clear in its goals in order to be effective. How can management judge whether a program works if they don’t know what it is supposed to do? Vague goals are not helpful for anyone involved. Be very specific about what the program is supposed to accomplish and then track those results. Set concrete goals such as increase sales by “x” percent, reduce costs by “x” dollars, or reduce time lost to safety issues by “x” hours.
  • No Action Path to Success: Even when a company establishes an incentive program with clear goals, it can be unclear to the employees as to how to achieve those goals. Do you want them to cut prices to the bone to increase sales results, or to reduce quality in an effort to save money? Those would both be undesirable outcomes. To be effective, the sponsoring company needs to discern positive actions that will support the goal, and then provide the necessary education on how to perform those tasks.
  • Undesirable Incentives: Some incentive programs fail because they just don’t offer anything that is of interest to the employees. Complicated programs, or programs that require intense effort for something they could buy easily without all the work, can actually be un-motivational. If employees are expected to work harder, sell more, or reduce costs without a proper level of reward, the program is doomed from the start. Implement an employee motivation plan with desirable incentives, and they will be willing to work together to achieve the end results.

Strategic Incentives carefully researches and custom-designs rewards programs to achieve specific business objectives. We develop solutions molded to the client organization, increasing effectiveness and ease of implementation, with a focus on maximizing return on investment. Call 888-686-8116 for more information on creating an in-depth incentive plan which avoids many of these common mistakes.

About Strategic Incentives: Strategic Incentives is a leading nationwide provider of employee motivation programs. The company works with HR managers to implement sales incentive programs and safety incentives to retain employees, and loyalty programs to build customer relationships.  Visit the website at http://www.strategicincentives.com to download a complimentary PDF of “35 Ways to Use Incentive Programs.” “Like” the Facebook page to receive regular updates on sales incentives and promotional ideas. Call 888-686-8116 for more information on creating an in-depth performance improvement plan.

Strategic Incentives

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ERIC EDSON INTERVIEWED BY FILM COURAGE

Eric Edson’s Screenwriting Book Now Available in Chinese

What Is A Typical Career For A Working Screenwriter In Hollywood? by Professor Eric Edson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 03, 2017, Los Angeles:  Eric Edson, author of The Story Solution, a how-to book on screenwriting and storytelling, was recently interviewed by Film Courage.

In his recent interview with Film Courage, Professor Eric Edson recalls the early days of his career and offers sage words of advice to new and aspiring screenwriters.  Eric recounts the sale of his first screenplay and how the reality of being a working screenwriter does not always meet lofty expectations.

Edson, Professor of Screenwriting and Director Emeritus of the MFA Program in Screenwriting at California State University, Northridge, describes how the sale of his first screenplay at the age of 24 changed his direction in life, and led him to enroll in the MFA program at the American Film Institute.

When asked by Film Courage whether he had expected to “capture lightning in a bottle” again in the years immediately following that first sale, he explained that his optimism was definitely tempered with realism. It would be another eight years before Edson sold his next screenplay. He warns that a career as a professional writer is not for the faint of heart, explaining that “you are going to get kicked in the teeth.” His advice is to “toughen your skin,” persevere, and above all else, “learn from everything.” He credits his own eventual success to making himself inevitable by “continuing to crank out original material.” By writing and rewriting and reading many books on screenwriting, he perfected his craft and created a drawer full of good scripts.

Edson cautions those entering the field to have realistic expectations. Much of the work screenwriters sell might not actually be filmed.  In order to achieve even a small amount of success you must be prepared to pay your dues. Overnight sensations are not what the industry is comprised of.  It takes hard work, dedication, the ability to accept defeat without being defeated, and a willingness to “buckle down for the long haul” to make a name and a living for yourself in screenwriting.

Eric Edson’s The Story Solution provides screenwriting tips for those interested in screenplay writing. Seen as one of the best books on screenwriting and currently #1 in its category on China Amazon, Edson outlines 23 actions used to create three dimensional heroes. Visit the website at http://www.thestorysolution.com to learn about writing a movie script. “Like” the Facebook page to receive tips on scriptwriting.

follow this link for the 2nd interview

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12 Conversation Starters to Increase Employee Engagement

12 Conversation Starters to Increase Employee Engagement

A Note From Strategic Incentives

One goal of a dynamic, goal-oriented organization should be to have employees that are engaged, enthusiastic, and motivated. Strategic Incentives has plenty of solid incentive programs to help with the motivation end of things, but how do you create engagement with employees?

Unfortunately, most companies simply don’t have engagement high on their list of priorities. According to Gallup in fact, there is an engagement crisis. Although their research shows that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in EPS, they also concluded that “a staggering 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged.”

So where can a business start to build engagement? Given the different demographic groups that supervisors and managers have to deal with – Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Generation Xers – gathering impressions and employee motivation keys can be complex. Try to get employees engaged by talking about their ideas, and by asking open-ended questions. Don’t form any judgments on the responses; just listen and take in the information. Try not to get defensive if you hear something negative; ask probing questions instead to find out more.

Here are 12 conversation starters that will help build employee engagement:

1. What is a quality you admire most with our company?
2. What is a quality we lack in as a company?
3. What can we do to make the workplace more enjoyable?
4. What could we do to improve our communications with employees and customers?
5. Are we doing anything that hurts our customer relationships?
6. What can we do to make our customer experience better?
7. Tell me what excites you most about your job here, and what parts of your job don’t you find fulfilling?
8. What can we do to assure projects are completed effectively and in a timely manner?”
9. What kind of rewards do you think would be most effective to motivate you and improve performance?
10. What types of  training or opportunities can we provide that will make you more effective at your job?
11. What skills do you have that could best contribute to the organization, but are being underutilized?
12. What attributes do you provide that will be beneficial to our brand?

An engagement conversation is best when it is conducted as a dialogue between two people who have the company’s best interests at heart. This is not the time to offer criticism or direction, but to gather insights and build enthusiasm.

Strategic Incentives carefully researches and custom-designs workforce programs to achieve specific business objectives. We develop solutions molded to the client organization, increasing effectiveness and ease of implementation, with a focus on maximizing return on investment.

Strategic Incentives

The Many Positive Benefits of Workplace Gratitude

Workplace gratitude is growing in prominence as a motivational tool.  A culture of gratitude that pervades an organization can boost morale, improve customer service, and support the effort to achieve continuous improvement. A solid performance improvement plan, along with employee motivation programs can be used to work towards organizational and productivity goals.

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Workplace gratitude and its many positive benefits might be a difficult concept for some business owners and managers.  Offering a job with a competitive salary in a safe working environment is no longer enough to keep employees happy and motivated.  Employees have more choices today, and smart employers get creative with their expressions of gratitude.

Gratitude plays an important role in nurturing employee satisfaction and employee pride.  Employees seek more value in happiness and recognition over monetary rewards.  Here are some of the many positive benefits of workplace gratitude:

  • Employee Engagement: A Harvard Medical School mental health letter published in 2011 found that a group of employees who receive a gratitude-laden pep talk prior to making calls to solicit donations made 50% more calls than a control group which did not receive the motivational boost.

  • Employee Satisfaction: Positive Psychology asserts that gratitude is a hot topic in positive emotion research. Respondents who participate in gratitude exercises are found to be more pro-social, and interested in promoting the well-being of others. This contributes to the effectiveness of a team building program, boosts the ability to meet project deadlines, and creates a stronger workplace environment.

  • Improved Health: Increased gratitude contributes to a lowering of stress levels in the workplace. Harvard Business Review reports that high levels of stress are associated with high health care and turnover costs. Reducing stress through gratitude and workplace recognition awards can lead to healthier employees who show up at work, perform at high levels, and stay with the organization.

  • Increased Problem-Solving Capabilities: Employees who feel valued and who value each other are more likely to put in the effort to solve problems, because they unconsciously associate accomplishing a difficult task with receiving more gratitude.

  • Smoother Supervisor Relationships: Employees often fear or mistrust a supervisor who only knows how to punish or reprimand. A supervisor who knows how to show appreciation for a job well done, on the other hand, is more likely to build positive working relationships with subordinates. They are more likely to work together to solve problems and achieve corporate goals.

  • Boost Pride: Too often we go through life not knowing if our efforts are really appreciated. We all like being told that we are doing a good job, and that what we do has meaning. A workforce program from Strategic Incentives can be used to acknowledge positive achievements. This can be combined with something as simple as a supervisor or manager saying thanks, or a video from an end customer where employees can see the final product in action. Employees might feel they are just making one part over and over, but knowing that part ends up in every home can instill more pride in a job well done.

  • Training and Education: Don’t assume that employees just “know” what the company does, or that supervisors “know” how to motivate. A team building program that goes beyond day-to-day operational expectations results in a well-rounded workforce. Employees who understand where they fit in the organization and how their work impacts other departments are more likely to go the extra mile to complete their part of the task properly.

  • Applauding the Everyday Successes: Employers often focus on the “big theme” items such as days without an accident, quotas met, or orders completed. But what about the hundreds of ordinary tasks that have to be completed properly as a subset of those goals? What about the bookkeeper who properly recorded accounts payable and receivable to keep the cash flow in line, or the supplies manager who made sure everything needed for a job was there exactly on time? Recognition awards can be developed and implemented for all levels of the organization, to make sure everybody knows they are appreciated.

Strategic Incentives can help your organization show gratitude through one of our incentive programs or rewards programs. Contact us today for ideas on using gratitude to increase motivation and loyalty.

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Helping employees feel like they are doing ‘meaningful work’, will lead to higher levels of productivity and a better employee experience.  Gratitude is one of the most effective ways to infuse a sense of meaning and purpose in your workforce culture.

Do you have a plan for expressing gratitude to your workforce this year?  Strategic Incentives can help your organization increase workplace gratitude in a sincere way, through one of our premiere recognition or rewards programs.  The strong organization is the one that has a corporate performance improvement plan which includes incentive programs and employee motivation programs.

How is your company incorporating gratitude into the everyday workplace environment? Share your thoughts in the box below.

Strategic Incentives is Grateful for Your Support!

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About Strategic Incentives: Strategic Incentives is a leading nationwide provider of employee motivation programs. The company works with HR managers to implement sales incentive programs and safety incentives to retain employees, and loyalty programs to build customer relationships.  Visit the website at http://www.strategicincentives.com to download a complimentary PDF of “35 Ways to Use Incentive Programs.” “Like” the Facebook page to receive regular updates on sales incentives and promotional ideas. Call 888-686-8116 for more information on creating an in-depth performance improvement plan.

Strategic Incentives

Should you add the Amazon Payments Button to your store?

Are you looking for a proven way to increase your online business sales? Then adding Amazon Payments Button will do just that by providing your customers with a fast payment method they know and trust. Read on to discover more about how Amazon Payments can boost your online sales, how you can add buttons to your store and what fees you’ll have to pay for this service.

What is Amazon Login and Pay?

amazon payments button

Amazon Login and Pay, also known as Amazon Payments, is a tool that allows customers to pay for products online through their Amazon account. If a customer clicks an Amazon Payments Button on your online store, they’ll pay for your product through their Amazon account. Since Amazon already has the customer’s credit card and address details saved, the checkout process is incredibly quick and easy.

Why should you use Amazon Payments Buttons?

Here are the top reasons you should add an Amazon Payments Button to your online store:

  • Customers trust Amazon because it’s a reputable brand that millions of people use. Shoppers can be reluctant to input their credit card details into an unknown site so if they see an option to pay through a company they trust, like Amazon, they’re much more likely to buy your product. Top fashion retailer AllSaints saw 24% of their customers choose to pay via Amazon within two weeks of launching the Amazon Payment service on their website.amazon payments button
  • It’s cheap. Amazon charges just 2.9% – 3.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.
  • Amazon Payments can increase your average order value. For example, AllSaints saw a 15% higher average order value after installing Amazon Payments Buttons.
  • It’s fast and easy. Since Amazon already has the customer’s credit card and address details saved, there’s no need to input them again. This speeds up the buying process and makes it much more likely that the sale will be completed. AllSaints found that their checkout time was reduced by 70 seconds when they installed Amazon Login and Pay, which helped increase their checkout conversion rate by 34%.
  • Free fraud protection. Amazon has sophisticated fraud-detection tools which you get free access to when you add Amazon Payments to your store.
  • You keep your customer’s data. When you use Amazon buttons on your store, you retain complete control of your customer’s details and manage the shipping process yourself.
  • There are no hidden costs. You won’t be charged any fees for setting up or canceling your Amazon Login and Pay account.

How do you add the Amazon Payments Button to your store?

Now you’ve seen the benefits of adding Amazon Payments Buttons, here’s how to install them and start increasing sales on your online store. For businesses in the United States, you will need the following:

  • A US address and phone number.
  • A US bank account.
  • A credit card connected to a US address.
  • A business ID, EIN or Personal Security Number.

Once you have proof of all this, sign-up to Amazon Payments here, by selecting the ‘For Merchants’ option. You’ll be given your own Seller ID account and access to the Seller Central site, which is where you’ll integrate your buttons with your website and manage all your sales and payments. Input your credit card details and set up a checking account on Seller Central.

Next, integrate your Amazon Buttons. This is an easy process on most e-commerce sites and stores such as FoxyCart, LemonStand, WooCommerce, 3DCart, Volusion, Shopify, or Magento. You can see the full list of Amazon’s e-commerce partners and integrations here. If you use a different e-commerce store, you can create your own custom code to integrate the buttons or buy a plug-in. As an example, Yahoo! charge $400 for their Amazon Payments integration plug-in.

When customers buy one of your products through the Amazon Payments Button, make sure you ship the item as quickly as possible and then capture payment for the order. Minus fees, you will then receive your earnings according to Amazon’s payment process, which is detailed below.

How much does Amazon charge you to use their payment process?  

Here’s a breakdown of the fees Amazon charges for its payment buttons:

  • Either a Domestic Processing Fee of 2.9% per transaction for products shipped and sold in the USA.
  • Or a Cross-Border Processing Fee of 3.9% per transaction if the order is going to a country other than the USA.
  • Every order, regardless of where it’s shipped, is charged a $0.30 Authorization Fee.

There’s also a Disputed Chargeback Fee of $20 which is non-refundable, as is the Authorization Fee. However, if a refund takes place you will receive your Domestic or Cross-Border Processing Fee back.

Amazon’s reserve policy

Amazon keeps a certain amount of your earnings for a short period to cover things like refunds, guarantees and customer complaints. This balance is called a ‘reserve’ and the exact amount of it will depend on how long you’ve been an Amazon merchant for and what kind of service you provide your customers with. Here are the specific reserve prices:

  • When you first start selling with Amazon Payments you go through a 14-day observation period whereby all of your transactions are kept in reserve before they’re released.amazon payments button
  • After that, you move into Tier 1. In this stage, Amazon holds either the entire transaction amount or the amount of all your unresolved payment disputes, whichever is higher, for seven days.
  • After six months, once you’ve made 100 transactions through Amazon Payments, you can apply to upgrade to Tier 2. This means just 3% of your daily processed payments (based on the last 28-days average) is kept in reserve.
  • If your Order Defect Rate, which measures how many customer complaints and chargebacks you receive, stays below 1%, you’re eligible to have the 3% reserve fee removed.

So, should you add Amazon Payments Buttons to your store? The answer is a resounding yes. Leveraging Amazon’s trustworthy brand power is a proven way to increase online sales. In addition, you won’t be charged extortionate transaction fees for using Amazon Payments Buttons. Get started to boost your business today.

 

About the Author: Taylor Reaume is a fortune 500 web marketing consultant from Santa Barbara, CA and founder of Search Engine Pros. Services provided include: Google search marketing, SEO copywriting services, ethical search engine optimization, internet marketing courses, seo consultation, seo positioning. Search Engine Pros is a Santa Barbara web marketing agency that provides a full range of web marketing services, including social media consulting, top web design, custom WordPress, web programming, and marketing SEO services. Visit the website at http://TheSearchEnginePros.com for a complimentary Google rank analysis. “Like” the Facebook page for regular insights on WordPress SEO. Call 800-605-4988 to request a complimentary copy of 101 Ways to Drive Traffic.About the Author: Taylor Reaume is a fortune 500 web marketing consultant from Santa Barbara, CA and founder of Search Engine Pros, a full service web marketing agency providing a range of web marketing services, including social media consulting top web design, custom WordPress, web programming, and marketing SEO services. Visit the website at http://TheSearchEnginePros.com for a complimentary Google rank analysis. “Like” the Facebook page for regular insights on WordPress SEO. Call 800-605-4988 to request a complimentary copy of 101 Ways to Drive Traffic.

Is Facebook advertising the best way to boost your business?

The world of advertising is transforming. In a society saturated by information, it’s harder than ever to grab the attention of potential customers. So, just how do you get people to take notice of your business? Try reaching them through social media. Facebook has nearly 1.8 billion monthly active users, so advertising on its platform could be the answer. Learn more about how Facebook advertising works and find out how Search Engine Pros can help you harness its power to boost your business.

Why use Facebook advertising?

Facebook advertising tips and ideas

Here are the key reasons why Facebook advertising wins over traditional ad formats like print, billboard, radio, TV and even Google Adsense:

  • Facebook ads are far cheaper in terms of cost to reach 1,000 people. For example, Buffer app found that spending just $5 per day on Facebook adverts bought them 9 likes, 1 click to their homepage and 787 new views. Moz claims that spending $1 per day on Facebook gets your brand in front of 4,000 people.
  • Facebook ads run on pay-per-click or pay-per-day impressions, similar to Adsense. That means that you’re in control of your budget and can set daily caps or limits on the total campaign.
  • Facebook ads are highly visible because they’re placed directly in users’ news streams.
  • You can target specific audiences with Facebook ads based on a number of factors including interests, age, behaviour, connections, languages, gender, location, religion, politics, marital status and occupation.
  • Facebook allows you to find existing customers using contact lists, web traffic from your site or activity in your app. This allows you to remarket to an audience who has already visited your site and has some interest in your business.
  • Once you have a converting audience you can use the Lookalike Audience feature to reach new people who have similar profiles.
  • You can test and track the success of your advertising campaigns in real time with Facebook Analytics and adjust them using the Adverts Manager tool.

Exactly how does Facebook advertising work?

Facebook advertising tips and ideas

Facebook has made over $6.4 billion in advertising revenue in the second quarter of 2016 alone. The social network has become a key leader in the ad field by creating the most sophisticated consumer profiling ever.  Here’s how it works:

  • When you’re logged into Facebook, it tracks everything you do on the internet. This allows it to build a profile of your lifestyle including what brands you like, your hobbies and interests, favorite foods, music, films and so much more.
  • Facebook knows where you live and uses your electronic device and location settings to figure out key information about you.
  • The company also uses consumer data that has been sourced by credit companies and research firms like Experian to build a fuller idea of your lifestyle habits.

This might sound pretty scary for consumers, but it’s a dream for advertisers who can use this information to target very specific audiences. Plus, if they wish, Facebook users can adjust their privacy settings using the Ad Preference Tool to avoid being tracked.

What makes Facebook advertising even better is that it has 10 different ad methods which cater to different business aims:

  1. Boost your posts to a wider audience.
  2. Promote your page to get more likes.
  3. Send people to your website.
  4. Increase conversions on your website.
  5. Get people to install your app.
  6. Increase engagement in your app.
  7. Reach people who live near your business.
  8. Get people to attend an event.
  9. Get people to claim an offer, such as a discount on next purchase or enter a sweepstake.
  10. Generate video views.

How can we help you with Facebook advertising?

Facebook advertising tips and ideas

Whether you want to drive sales or increase brand awareness, with a little bit of time, money and testing, Facebook ads can provide a real boost for your business. If you need assistance setting things up, Search Engine Pros can help in the following ways:

  • We can work with you to assess your advertising needs.
  • Set up your Facebook advertising account
  • Test various adverts and analyze what works best.
  • Set up a regular advertising budget and schedule your Facebook ads.

Contact us to get started with your Facebook advertising campaign.

About the Author: Taylor Reaume is a fortune 500 web marketing consultant from Santa Barbara, CA and founder of Search Engine Pros. Services provided include: Google search marketing, SEO copywriting services, ethical search engine optimization, internet marketing courses, seo consultation, seo positioning. Search Engine Pros is a Santa Barbara web marketing agency that provides a full range of web marketing services, including social media consulting, top web design, custom WordPress, web programming, and marketing SEO services. Visit the website at http://TheSearchEnginePros.com for a complimentary Google rank analysis. “Like” the Facebook page for regular insights on WordPress SEO. Call 800-605-4988 to request a complimentary copy of 101 Ways to Drive Traffic.About the Author: Taylor Reaume is a fortune 500 web marketing consultant from Santa Barbara, CA and founder of Search Engine Pros, a full service web marketing agency providing a range of web marketing services, including social media consulting top web design, custom WordPress, web programming, and marketing SEOservices. Visit the website at http://TheSearchEnginePros.com for a complimentary Google rank analysis. “Like” the Facebook page for regular insights on WordPress SEO. Call 800-605-4988 to request a complimentary copy of 101 Ways to Drive Traffic.