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After nearly two decades of the internet being essentially a wild west of user information, governments are now cracking down on tech giants for the power they have over user information and behavior.

You’ve likely been hearing words or acronyms like GDPR, CCP, and iOS 14 since at least 2023.

Each of these is some form of regulation or update that’s causing user data to be better protected — which sounds great, right?

But these updates are causing us to take a step back and rethink what we’re doing. Some targeting options are going away while others are only changing (usually to be less specific).

Tracking options are also being impacted. Even if some of your favorite targeting options aren’t going away, you likely won’t be able to track future efforts with as much accuracy.

With all of these changes, you might be asking…

What Can Advertisers Do?

While the tech companies like Facebook fight to get these restrictions minimized, one answer to this challenge is for companies to work on building their own data sets so we’re not as reliant on these companies.

The idea here is to leverage data points customers willingly provide to you rather than those they don’t realize they’ve shared.

Sounds great, right?

Potential future customers simply sign up to be a part of your marketing list.

Odds are you’ve probably already gotten the rub: who wants to opt into a marketing list?

Answer: almost no one.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Although building a first-party data set isn’t the only way around these privacy issues, I think it’s a great option for a number of reasons:

The users you end up with on this list should be highly qualified.

It provides companies an opportunity to be helpful to their customers, not just shoving sales messaging in their faces.

It’s more forthcoming than some of the tactics we use now.

With all of that said, let’s get into it. How can you start building your own first-party data sets?

1. Know Where to Find Your Audience

The first challenge, as with any other campaign, is to know where to find your target audience.

What types of targeting options do you need to use to find your customers?

Where do they spend their time online?

What types of user experience do you need to curate?

Think of all the targeting options available and craft top-of-funnel strategies within the ad platforms to reach those users.

For example, if you’re trying to reach marketing managers within a certain industry, LinkedIn is likely going to be the best bet given their B2B capabilities.

If you’re attempting to reach people looking to redecorate their house, you’re likely better off with Instagram and Pinterest.

Younger users are going to spend far more time on TikTok and Snapchat than they are Facebook.

Be sure you’re not only focusing on the right targeting options, but channels as well since they all have different compositions.

2. Offer Something of Value

Everyone knows when you send a company your name and email, you’re signing up to have that information used in one way, shape, or form, which is never really appealing.

What is it that my customers really want?

What are the current problems that they’re facing?

What are some common questions we get through support/chat that we can answer preemptively?

What upcoming events are our customers preparing and planning for?

How can our knowledge/expertise help our customers without sacrificing our bottom line?

Once you have an idea of these priorities, you can start to think of formatting. Would it make a good infographic, audiobook, downloadable guide, calendar, or something else?

It doesn’t have to be too complicated. Find the most succinct format and package it so your customers can learn from you.

There a number of different calls to action you can use to entice your customers and provide value to them beyond the end sale.

3. Price Your Item of Value Appropriately

When testing the calls to action listed above, make sure you’re not being unreasonable about what you’re asking from the user.

In lead generation, there’s a non-monetary price someone pays when they fill out a form. It has three components:




The more time, attention, information, and/or combination thereof that you ask a user to give up, the higher the price of that lead.

When you’re creating your first-party data collection campaign, think about how much of each of these you’re asking the user when they are trying to engage with your valuable offer.

For example, let’s say you’re offering a free ebook download. It doesn’t make sense for you to ask for the person’s credit card information to get the ebook since it’s free.

Sure you want that information eventually, but this is not the avenue to do that.

The same thing goes for most other calls to action. Be sure you’re asking for an appropriate amount of information rather than simply trying to squeeze every last drop out of that lemon.

The biggest takeaway here is that we want to eventually be able to upload these lists to the ad platforms to target them. Most platforms only allow for name, email, phone, city, zip, and sometimes a couple of other pieces of info.

So make sure to craft your CTAs well enough to get those pieces of info, but save the rest until you’re creating your bottom-of-funnel campaigns.

CRMs are a highly valuable asset for this strategy as they help you curate lists of users, manage their information, and track how they are progressing through your pipeline to becoming customers.

Take the time to build lists of users in your CRM and then target them through your ad campaigns. These can be manually imported or direct imports if the channel and your CRM have a native integration.

Since the users are familiar with your company and you’ve (hopefully) provided value to them in the past, they should be more likely to convert the next time around.

Continue focusing your calls to action on the user’s journey and what information they would need to eventually make a purchase from you.

Maybe they have everything they need after that first touchpoint. Maybe they need months of nurturing to get there.

Either way, don’t squander this valuable list.

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Excel Tips For Building Workbooks Fast

I often create Excel workbooks that contain a series of sheets for each region (or product, month, or sales person) with a summary sheet at the front that gives me a total of all the sheets.

1. Quick SUM Cells on Each Worksheet

Below I am creating a budget workbook for four regions – AP, UK, Europe & US.

There’s a tab for each region and one for the summary named Global.

The formulas on the Global sheet SUM each tab in the workbook. The problem is there are lots of cells I want added up.

Taking cell C5 you could insert a SUM like this:


Or you could do it the quick way:

In cell C5 on your Global sheet start your SUM by entering =SUM(


You’ll now see the SUM of cell C5 for all of your sheets between AP and US.


This formula sums all sheets in between AP and US so it’s important that there are no sheets in between these that you don’t want included.

All sheets must be the same. i.e. the location of the values you want added up must be in the same cell on the AP, UK, Europe and US sheets. However it doesn’t matter where you put your SUM on the summary sheet, it just so happens that my summary sheet is laid out the same, but yours doesn’t have to be.

2. Quickly Insert Totals for Rows and Columns

My budget has totals for the rows (the expense types) and columns (the months). I can quickly insert these totals by highlighting all of the cells that have values I want added up, plus an extra row and column for Excel to insert the totals.

In the screen shot below you can see I’ve selected C5:O9.

To insert the totals I simply press ALT+= or the AutoSum icon in the Formulas tab of the Ribbon:

My totals will be inserted in row 9 and column O like this:

TIP: You can use ALT+= to enter any SUM. Simply use it instead of using the AutoSum button on the ribbon.

3. Copy Worksheets

When you’re setting up your workbook and messing around with the layout and formatting it’s easiest to work with one master sheet. Then when you’re happy with it copy it as many times as you need.

2.       Select ‘Move or Copy…’

TIP 1: Once you have more than one sheet in your workbook you can copy multiple sheets to speed up the process.

TIP 2: If you intend to print your worksheets set your print area and preferences before you copy your worksheets otherwise you’ll have to do each one individually.

4. Group Worksheets While Formatting

When worksheets are grouped every action you perform on one sheet is applied to all sheets that in the group. That is; all formatting, all data entered, and all formulas entered are applied/entered on all sheets in the group.

To group worksheets:

Grouped sheets are identified by the slightly lighter colour of the sheet tab.  As you can see in the image below I have groped a non-contiguous range of sheets being; Global, UK and US.

TIP2: Be careful to remember you have grouped worksheets as it’s easy to forget and carry on working, then before you know it you’ve entered data on sheets you didn’t intend to.

For more on copying and grouping worksheets see Session 4 of our Excel training.

Not a member? Sign up for our free Microsoft Office training.

Top 4 Desktop Headphone Stands For Your Desk

Studio headphones are great for those long nights of video editing or long music listening sessions, but where are you putting them when they’re not in use? In the case? Doubtful. On your desk in the way of your keyboard and mouse? A bit more likely. This article will cover five great headphone stands for your desk based on build material and quality as well as any added features.

1. Satechi Aluminum USB Headphone Stand

First and foremost on the list would have to be the downright gorgeous stand by Satechi. It packs a minimalist design made entirely of aluminum in gold, rose gold, silver, and space grey finishes. There’s a rubbery mat on top of the stand to avoid scratching your headphones, and if you have cabled headphones, there is a place to wrap the cables around. What makes this stand particularly useful is the three USB 3.0 passthrough ports on the front base and a 3.5mm audio jack passthrough on the right side. A USB port is located in the back as well, and with the included cable you can plug the stand into the back of your computer. A subtle blue LED light on the base verifies that the stand is connected and ready to charge your devices or transfer data. At a list price of $39.99, there are not many other stands that can beat it. Do look out for sales, though, as it happens to drop in price quite often.

2. AmoVee Acrylic Headphone Stand

The AmoVee acrylic headphone stand features a sleek modern design made of acrylic. The thickness of the acrylic is much more than that of similar counterparts which adds to the overall stability of the stand. One downfall, though, is the lack of a cable management solution in the classic design. This stand design is clearly meant for an overarching sense of simplicity and focus on the headphones, not necessarily the stand. The classic stand comes in both black and clear acrylic, while a “headphone hanger” option is available that takes more of a typical stand format with support for wrapping cables.

3. The Anchor

For those that do not like keeping their headphones on the desk as an aesthetic point, this one is for you. The Anchor is a simple under-desk mounted hanger capable of holding up to two pairs of headphones. 3M tape keeps it all attached to the underside of your desk, so there is no risk of it falling out. If you do not have room on the under side of your desk, it can be attached off to the side of the desk instead. One downfall with this, though, is that you will then only be able to store one pair of headphones. Nonetheless, if you want your headphones out of the way yet easily accessible, you will want to get your hands on this one.

4. Alctron Headphone Hanger

The Alctron headphone hanger is basic in the sense that it is essentially an overhang clamp painted in black. No frills whatsoever – it is just meant to get the job done. Other than the clamp being visible on top of the desk, there is not much holding this one back from being a simple and great product. Especially with the sale price tag of $12.99, it is one to be reckoned with.


Corbin Telligman

I’m a junior at UT Dallas, a tech enthusiast, an adreneline junkie, and a coffee fanatic.

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Happy Birthday, 4004! Intel’s First Microprocessor Turns The Big 4

On Tuesday November 15, Intel held an event in San Francisco to celebrate the fortieth birthday of its 4004 microprocessor–the first complete single-chip central processing unit. At the event, a panel of Intel executives talked about the history of the microprocessor and its future. Federico Faggin, the principal designer of the 4004, was an honored guest who spoke about his work on the project.

The 4004 was conceived when the Japanese company Busicom commissioned Intel to help them produce calculators that contained a microprocessor. At the time, most people working on the project couldn’t imagine using microprocessors in any other application. Faggin however saw a greater potential.

“Many of my colleagues believed the 4004 could only be used for calculators. I begged to differ,” Faggin said. “I saw that many single control applications could be done with that computer.” Now, we have microprocessors to thank for our cells phones, a concept that wasn’t thought of in the 1970s. “Cell phones were born because you could put a computer inside a telephone, [back then] people didn’t believe you could have that.”

Faggin spoke about the immense impact that the microprocessor has had on our lives, saying that, “Two inventions, more than any others, have made a significant impact on our lives; the engine and the computer. Microprocessors have allowed us to expand [technology] to where computers couldn’t fit”.

Looking into Intel’s future and the future of microprocessors in general, Faggin had this to say: “The mainstream of the next 20 years is more of the same; faster processors, more of what we’ve done. We are reaching limits with the physical size of transistors and need to find new applications for it.”

Looking even further into the future, technology tends towards combining humans and computers, but Faggin doesn’t see this happening without significant biological research:

“[The future looking towards] making computers work like the human brain works, but we don’t know how the human brain works, so we need research in those areas to make that happen. The human brain is so much more powerful than a computer and has characteristics that can’t be recreated. Computers forty years from now won’t have the complexity of the human brain.” One theme the panel discussed was the ubiquity of the microprocessor; it can be found just about everywhere–from electric toothbrushes, cell phones, and cameras, to cars, MP3 players, and small appliances. It’s harder and harder these days to find something that plugs in and doesn’t use a microprocessor.

Some Intel relics were on display at the event, including the Busicom 141P–the calculator for which the 4004 was designed. In front of the calculator lay an actual 4004 CPU–the chip is quite basic by today’s standards and it was very neat to see.

As the microprocessor turns 40, we marvel at far it has come. From massive computers that took up entire rooms to tiny smartphones, we have the 4004 to thank for paving the way for the technology we have now and the technology we can only dream of in the future.

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Link Building For Seo: A Complete Guide

Links continue to remain one of the most important ranking factors used by Google and other search engines.

Search engines discover new content through links – and it’s also, in part, how they judge the quality of that content.

Good links are like votes; they are testimonials to how worthwhile the content is, and Google sees a healthy link profile as a good sign.

On the other hand, over time Google has improved its ability to detect unnatural linking patterns.

The search engine is far better at figuring out what kinds of links are – and aren’t – useful for users.

Link building is a term for how marketers and SEO professionals acquire links to their content.

The hope is that those links lead more people to the content, and also help lead to higher search engine rankings.

For links to help your SEO, those links should be


High quality.


Links should be related to the content at hand; with good anchor text, which is useful for search engines to understand the context of the links.

We created these guides to help make your link building and SEO efforts a little easier.

These ebooks are designed to cover all the aspects of today’s world of link building, including how to use content to get links, establishing a good rapport with other sites, and useful link building checklists.

These comprehensive guides will show you why, when, and how you should execute each link building technique to get the results you need to grow your business.

Link Building Guide: How to Acquire & Earn Links That Boost Your SEO

These guides will teach you effective link building strategies and how to do them right.

Some subjects covered include:

What to do before link building: How to make sure your website is in top shape before you move on to getting links from other sites.

Broken link building and link reclamation: Find and reclaim lost and broken links to your site, or find unlinked mentions and generate new inbound links.

Social engineering for link building: How to use controversy, ego bait, and helping others to attract links.

Data-driven link building: How to use information and research to drive quality backlinks.

Creating link-worthy content: Using visual, interactive, and engaging content to earn links.

What linking tactics to avoid: What bad links can get you penalized by Google, and what link tactics are dangerous or ineffective.

These ebooks are all about earning high quality links with a fully integrated marketing strategy.

Link building is about quality, diversity, and building relationships.

Creating a good website with good content is just the first step.

In these guides, you will learn how to reach out and use different link building techniques to improve the reach of your content and your site.

FAQ What is Link Building?

Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your website.

For search engine optimization, the goal of link building is to increase the quantity of high-quality inbound links to a webpage in order to increase ranking.

Why is link building important?

Link building is important because links are one of the major ranking factors of search engines.

Search engines such as Google look at the quantity of high-quality inbound links to a webpage when they crawl.

The higher quality links a webpage has, the better it will rank.

4 Types Of Evergreen Content You Need For Your Business

With every company keen to climb Google’s search rankings, it is easy to lose perspective by simply churning out fresh content that seizes on the zeitgeist or otherwise meets current demand

It is difficult to overstate the importance of evergreen content for modern content marketers. Evergreen content is, by nature, time-proof, as relevant if read in a year as it is today.

While Google does like to answer searchers’ queries with up-to-date articles, it also rewards high-quality legacy content created many months or even years ago – particularly if you update it regularly.

Some blog pages have stubbornly hung on to a number one page ranking for eight or nine years now, bringing a constant stream of traffic to the page, as well as building trust (being the number one spot in search results will help make more people trust you and your business) and, consequently, boosting your conversions.

By creating evergreen content, you are both pleasing our Google overlords and providing solutions the customer will find valuable. By focusing on an article, infographic, or video that stands the test of time, whether because its content is timeless or easy to quickly update, you can positively influence search engine ranking, traffic, and lead generation. Evergreen content provides more value to the reader, and as a result, more publications are likely to link to it, resulting in improved page and domain authority.

Download FREE Resource – Digital marketing plan template

Our popular marketing planning template built on the Smart Insights RACE planning system.

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In this blog post, I’m going to talk about four types of evergreen content you should start creating for your business, along with tips and best practices for creating better-performing evergreen content. What’s more, I’ll highlight the strategic techniques that ensure your marketing drives the results you need to achieve your goals.

Marketing strategy for every stage of the customer journey

Our RACE Framework is a popular marketing structure framework for Startups, SMEs, and international corporations, since it can scale up or down according to your short-term and long-term objectives.

The strategic insights gained through the RACE Framework can be applied to one channel, multiple channels, or an entire omnichannel strategy. So you can continue to develop content marketing strategies and tactics to suit your business’ needs.

Download FREE Resource – Digital marketing plan template

Our popular marketing planning template built on the Smart Insights RACE planning system.

Access the Free digital marketing plan template

Essential elements of good evergreen content

Before you start populating your editorial calendar with new content ideas, what makes a good piece of evergreen content?

For a start, it needs to provide real value to your audience: What does your audience get out of this piece of content? What is the value to them? In order for a piece of content to perform well for long periods of time, it needs to provide this value to the audience – usually, in the form of educating them and informing them about a subject.

Another hugely important factor is that it the information in your content is relevant for a long period of time – even if you might have to make occasional changes to bring it up to date. For example, a Facebook marketing guide won’t be relevant for long as Facebook makes changes frequently to their algorithm, along with adding new features; but, if you update the guide regularly to reflect new changes and features, then it will continue to stay relevant.

In terms of length, although evergreen content doesn’t necessarily need to be long, satisfying searchers often necessitates an in-depth piece.

As such, many pieces of content that cling to a page one ranking are on the lengthy side, having required considerable time and effort on the research and writing side of things. Compelling evergreen content almost always attracts a significant number of page views when it first appears and the effect gradually snowballs.

Best practices for creating evergreen assets

Before you start creating any new evergreen content, here are some tips to help you create better, more effective content:

Research keywords

This is one of the most vital parts of creating evergreen content. With thorough keyword analysis, you can identify the phrases and queries that searchers are using, then retrofit your content accordingly.

With a strong focus on keywords, particularly in the article title but also in subheadings and body copy, you’ll give yourself the best chance of driving traffic to your page – and perhaps just as importantly, understanding which topics are relevant to your audience over longer periods of time.

To help, you can use “traditional”  keyword research tools like the Moz Explorer or something like Answer the Public, which helps you visualize and discover all of the different queries and questions people Google.

Magnify and dissect specific topics

Although how-to guides are highly comprehensive, there is definitely a place for creating succinct evergreen content that zeroes in on a single subtopic or feature.

For example, you might be selling a piece of software. In addition to creating an authoritative long-form guide on the software as a whole, you should consider crafting a dozen or more short articles concentrating on particular frequent queries that your target audience might have. For example, definitions and explanations of industry terms, like this short article that pops up when you search for “what is SEO”:

Use short paragraphs, concise text, highlight elements

Some of the greatest writers in the literary canon penned page-length paragraphs to get their point across. Leave that to the old-timers: digital natives prefer short two or three-line paragraphs and understandable language.

Because modern searchers have a penchant for scanning content, their eyes alight on words or phrases which are highlighted. Not to mention, so many of us now consume content on our mobile devices – and a small screen makes it difficult to read long paragraphs.

So make it easy for your audience by highlighting key points and instructions in bold, as well as using short paragraphs, bullet points, keyword-rich sub-headlines, along with lots of imagery.

Plan your customer journey

Great content attracts the customers you need, at the stage of their lifecycle you want them to be. Are they:

Discovering your brand for the first time?

Deciding between you and a competitor?

Evaluating whether to purchase your product again?

Planning and optimizing your content in the context of the RACE Framework will help you create efficient and effective customer journeys.

Download FREE Resource – Digital marketing plan template

Our popular marketing planning template built on the Smart Insights RACE planning system.

Access the Free digital marketing plan template

The best types of evergreen content

Now that we’ve gone through the best practices for creating great content, here are some ideas of evergreen content that you can get started on:

Comprehensive user guides and tutorials

How-to guides and tutorials are exceptionally good examples of evergreen content. These long-form documents are just what searchers are looking for and are ideal for strategically deploying both short and long-tail keywords.

Think about it this way: people will always seek to find the best way of doing something, whether it’s building an extension or editing a home video.

If your content satisfies their curiosity and is sufficiently definitive, Google will sit up and take notice, along with other publications who will want to link to it; and your well-crafted article will continually attract new readers asking the same question or variants thereof.

Customer testimonies

Creating review pages of your products or services is a wise idea, as positive reviews stand the test of time. OK, consumers might not trust a decade-out-of-date review of a company that has since taken a completely different direction and replaced its board of directors; but for the most part, customer testimonies have long relevance and improve visitor trust.

Think about it: if a consumer is attempting to find out whether they can trust a company, Google will almost certainly feed them review pages.

Curated lists

Listicles help searchers make a better-informed decision. Whether you are ranking apps, blogs, restaurants, software or some other asset, such rundowns have terrific potential to become evergreen.

Just make sure your lists are useful, well-written and updated as necessary. After all, you don’t want to be touting an obsolete tool or defunct blog as number one. By the same token, you’ll want to make sure all links in evergreen content are kept up-to-date.


Checklists are fun, easy to use, and can provide a lot of value to your audience.

They tend to attract audiences as they’re so highly effective at making sure you’re doing something the right way – and they can be used by pretty much any industry or niche.

Maybe you run health-based services? In that case, an “emergency checklist for seizures” will help you reach your target audience via search engines.

Whatever you’re selling, services, or products, there are always ways to leverage such checklists; and many of them won’t require much changing over the years.

Download FREE Resource – Digital marketing plan template

Our popular marketing planning template built on the Smart Insights RACE planning system.

Access the Free digital marketing plan template


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