Virtual Meetings

For the last decade, remote work has become increasingly popular. Then, in just weeks due to COVID-19, working from home and virtual meetings went from optional to required, as government restrictions went into place around the world.

The pandemic has accelerated the need for a modern workforce across industries that is increasingly mobile and dynamic. Even before remote work became normal, there’s a very good chance that some of your co-workers don’t sit in the same office as you.

the need for virtual meetings is growing

For many, the only time co-workers will get face-to-face interaction together is via a webcam. As a result, virtual conference calls and meetings have become a key ingredient in team synergy and communication during remote work.

Working Remote InforgraphicHand-in-hand with business growth and globalization, advances in technology and new applications have made long-distance communication even easier. At energyhill, we integrate virtual meeting technologies into our every day to meet seamlessly with clients.

Below we’ll take a look at some ways you can lead effective meetings online, the most popular conference call tools available, and simple remote meeting etiquette.

how to lead a successful virtual meeting

We have all attended a poorly run virtual meeting or conference call. When it comes to workplace communication, nothing seems to be more awkward or a bigger waste of time. So, what is the trick to successful conference calls? 

Here are few elements to keep in mind that just might help your next remote meeting be a success:

  1. Know the Attendees. You want the people on the call to contribute meaningfully? Understanding who they are, including their goals and responsibilities, will give you a better idea of when and how they should be chiming in.
  2. Create an Agenda. Even if it’s a recurring meeting, it’s important that everyone understands what will be discussed. Send this agenda out before the meeting so everyone can properly prepare. In addition, it will keep the call moving efficiently and create a structure for how participants should engage.
  3. Keep everyone on the same page. Several of the top virtual meeting tools have built-in screen sharing and virtual whiteboard capabilities. These tools are great for giving attendees a visual to connect with the meeting discussions or share a meeting deck.
  4. Follow-up with a Recap.
    In order to keep everyone on the same page moving forward and deliverables are completed, it’s best to send a recap email once the meeting is over. It doesn’t have to be formal, but it should clearly outline what was discussed, and what action items there are to execute.

For hints on how to make your conference calls successful, check out this article from HubSpot.

apps for meeting virtually

Now that you know how to lead a more effective call, what’s the best tool for you to use? Here are some of the most popular virtual meeting and conference call facilitators on the market and our impressions of them:

  • Zoom: The most popular video conferencing application can be downloaded across platforms. On Zoom, it’s easy to collaborate with screen sharing and whiteboard capabilities, and meetings can be recorded and referred back to later. This is energyhill’s go-to remote meeting tool. 
  • Google Meet: Google Meet expanded in 2020 to conduct secure business meetings for free as part of G Suite, with all the same tools as Zoom. Starting a meeting is as easy as logging into your Gmail, and clicking “Start a meeting” in the sidebar. No downloads required. Meetings can also be scheduled via Google Calendar.
  • GoToMeeting: This is an industry stalwart and quite well-reviewed, especially for conference calls. It requires attendees to download software for the meeting, which makes it a bit dated in our book. However, it’s very affordable. We’ve used it previously, but have since switched.
  • Ringcentral: Ringcentral has more than just conference call capabilities, such as chat and texting. This meeting software can be integrated deep into your business with phone capabilities. However, it can be overkill depending on your needs.
  • We haven’t yet used for our own meetings. However, we have attended meetings where was the facilitator and we were very pleased. It also has screen sharing capabilities, seems reliable and doesn’t require any install.

The most important feature of any system is how well it fits your organization’s needs. These companies are a good place to start when doing your research for the best conference call tools.

virtual meeting etiquette

You may have seen viral videos from Zoom meetings where someone does something embarrassing. While these clips are hilarious, part of effective meetings is all the guests following some simple ground rules to keep the meeting on track.

  1. Send links or phone numbers to your meeting in advance
  2. Mute your mic when you’re not speaking
  3. Dress the same way on meetings as you would at the office
  4. Let others at home you’re going into a meeting
  5. Don’t multitask, focus on the meeting

There are countless other ways to improve meeting productivity, but good etiquette can go a long way in getting things done. 

adapt your business to now

If you’d like to discuss your organization’s digital needs and how to better communicate in a global marketplace, please contact us at energyhill. Our team of multi-level marketing experts are eager to help you and your organization exceed your business goals.

At Energyhill, we’re passionate about helping organizations of all sizes achieve their goals. Recognizing that growing a business from a small startup to a large corporation is challenging, we strive to be there every step of the way, assisting with design, advertising, video, and more. Additionally, we provide consulting help to ensure you’re taking your company in the right direction. Read on to learn our tips for managing business growth in a way that’s effective and affordable.


Trying to grow your business the right away? It helps to set goals that you can achieve in a reasonable amount of time. With that in mind, we recommend that companies use the SMARTER method for business growth. In other words, make sure your objectives are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-framed. Lastly, commit to Evaluating your progress every quarter to ensure you’re moving in the right direction and then consider a Re-do, or adjustment, if your tactics aren’t bringing about the desired outcome.

2) Research Your Market

It’s impossible to achieve successful business growth if you don’t truly know your market. Before putting money into hiring new employees or exploring different revenue streams, take time to understand the customers you already have. Learn what they want and how they act in order to assess your ideal market niche.

3) Hire the Right People From Day One

You’ve probably heard that your business is only as strong as the people it employs. Give yourself the best shot at success by hiring the right workers from the outset. Remember to look beyond skills and qualifications on a resume to find individuals who fit well with the company culture. After all, it’s a lot easier to teach someone how to use WordPress than to educate them on the importance of community-mindedness. Once you’ve located these superstar employees, make an effort to keep them around by providing regular feedback (including praise) and offering opportunities for advancement.

Maximize Your Business Growth With Energyhill

Looking for sales training or business planning? Maybe you need help rebranding your business to accommodate a change in leadership. Whatever your business goals, the team at Energyhill can help. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, we help organizations set and achieve their objectives. To learn more about business consulting services, call today or contact us online.

Remember that brief time in pancake history when IHOP changed its name to IHOb? Yes, it was a change that left the entire nation puzzled and somewhat feeling betrayed. However, this new identity was all too swift, as they went back to their old roots. And now, this change got us questioning, was this a brilliant IHOP marketing stunt or just luck?IHOP Name Change - Marketing Stunt, Campaign, or Just Luck?

Return on Investment for the IHOP Campaign

IHOP received great exposure that put it on the spotlight. Otherwise, how else would they bring attention to their new menu addition – burgers? We can speculate that this IHOP campaign to put their burgers on the map worked. It got people lining outside their doors, including Food and Wine. Whatever the reason for this IHOP name change was, we sure are happy to see that the beloved International House of Pancakes would never turn their backs on pancakes – as they captioned on Instagram.

IHOP Backlinks

Getting these types of backlinks (e.g. Food & Wine) is ridiculously good for IHOP. When, if ever, would IHOP get this type of exposure? They wouldn’t. This clever IHOP marketing stunt was a success that gave the chain restaurant online prominence.

IHOP Campaign Media Coverage

With any major news comes major media coverage. And of course, this IHOP campaign was no exception. The media coverage for the IHOP name change illustrated their surprise as well as that of consumers. Fox News and NBC Right Now are some of the TV news stations that commented on this change. Sure enough people took this matter to Twitter where IHOP held a poll for users to guess the meaning of their new acronym.

Brilliant IHOP Marketing Stunt

We must admit that it was the best marketing stunt ever by a chain restaurant. Why? It’s simple. Not only did this unexpected name change shake consumers to their core, it also brought plenty of press to the chain restaurant. The fine dining magazine Food & Wine, equally as surprised as the rest of us, featured the IHOP name change in an article about the restaurant’s identity. This reflects the genius behind their marketing strategy because, again, when would IHOP get this type of exposure? It got people talking everywhere, on social media, on news channels, at work. Also, curious consumers and regulars now felt they had to go and try their burgers.

Faux Outrage?

Twitter is the platform of choice for people to take their opinions to. And surely consumers gave the world a piece of their mind, but did they take it too far? Did this new name call for a boycott?

IHOP Campaign or Mere Luck

We should also consider that luck played a role in the campaign. IHOP, a stamp for pancakes, has been around for decades. What better way to make national noise than to tease a brand change, while adding new menu items and increasing foot traffic to their restaurants? But how much more creative can one get to push a campaign for a menu item? Does that mean that other chain restaurants should pull the same strategy in exchange of exposure? We dare say no, this was just a one-time thing for IHOP and we do not think it will work for other restaurants. Think cry wolf. Our digital culture is quick to realize and adapt … and even filter out future attempts. So, yes, maybe the stars aligned just right to bring the luck IHOP needed to pull this off. However, with smart campaigns, is luck even planned for?

Well done, IHOP! You kept us entertained, confused, and intrigued for a while, all to present your newest menu item and tease that you were changing your brand. At energyhill we were fascinated by this IHOP marketing stunt and think it was a smart move for the chain. As a marketing and advertising company, we understand strategies and always devise tactics to help businesses grow. Now, don’t worry, we will not use the name change card, but we will use business strategies to push your business forward. Contact us to get more information and get the conversation started.

Engage with us on social and give us your thoughts on this brilliant campaign. It was a campaign right, IHOP?

Growing your email list is a quick way to increase your reach and promote your products or services to a warm audience. Email subscribers offer businesses a great chance to reach engaged customers who have previously shown interest in your services. Below are seven ways you can generate more email subscribers for your outreach efforts.

7 Tactics To Get More Email Subscribers

Off-Site Options

  1. Conduct a Webinar
    This is a particularly good tactic if you offer a service to customers. A webinar, often conducted for free online, invites people interested in learning from you and your company about a specific topic. This is the perfect way to expose potential customers to your expertise and gain addresses for your email list.
  2. Create a Viral Loop on LinkedIn
    LinkedIn is a great networking platform. One of its lesser known features is creating a viral loop via a post. In short, you would create an article that is giving away something of value for free. In the example at the top of this article, Anna Vital created a PowerPoint template to help potential customers speed up their presentation design process. By instructing users to respond “yes” to the post and then add their email address to get access to the materials, Anna created an opt-in list. Once the additional materials are ready, it’s also a good idea to send it to your already established email list for added exposure.

On-Site Engagement

  1. Gamification
    One of the newer options for list building is to offer a “spin to win” feature on your web site that allows for an email capture. There are plug-ins you can use to easily create this feature. You will determine what site visitors are spinning to win a prize, which could include on-site discounts or a free item. Once the user has spun, they will be prompted to add their email address in order to claim their prize.
  2. Pop-Ups
    While this may seem like a dirty word, on-site Lightbox Pop-Ups are a great way to capture visitor emails. A Lightbox Pop-Up appears on the screen once a user has clicked through and “darkens” the rest of the website. The user can then enter their email address and click continue to see the rest of the content. Careful about how you use pop-ups! Earlier this year Google started cracking down on annoying tactics.
  3. Crowdsourcing
    Use your audience to generate ideas on a certain topic and offer a prize. You will gain email subscribers as people offer their opinion and sign up for the offer.
  4. Turn Commentators Into Subscribers
    If your site has a blog with a decent amount of comments, offer an option for commentators to sign up for your newsletter next time they leave a comment.
  5. Use Trigger Words to Generate Action
    Certain words will persuade readers to become email subscribers more than others. Some of the key trigger words that prompt a call-to-action are: You, Yes, New, Stop and Instantly.

At Energyhill, we strive to help our customers make the most of their online presence. For more information about how we can help increase your email subscription list and ultimately generate more revenue, contact us today.

Increasing online sales year after year has resulted in a steady decline of brick and mortar locations for many retailers. While this year’s Cyber Monday sales hit record highs, according to the Washington Post, in-store visits declined by 1.6 percent over last year. As a result, below are 20 of the biggest retailers who will be closing locations before the end of 2017:

Retail Apocalypse: 20 Big Retailers Closing Stores In 2017

Clothing Retailers

  • Abercrombie & Fitch
    The speciality clothing retailer for tweens, teens and young adults has closed hundreds of locations in the past few years. They have announced another 60 locations will close in 2017.
  • American Apparel
    Once considered an edgy clothing retailer due to their envelope-pushing ad campaigns, American Apparel filed for bankruptcy in 2017. This resulted in all 110 of their retail locations closing their doors.
  • BCBG
    Based in Los Angeles, the clothier filed for bankruptcy in February 2017 and closed over 110 stores. However, through a company-reorganization, 300 stores remain open.
  • Bebe
    This women’s apparel brand closed all 168 of its stores in May 2017.
  • Guess
    They have announced that 60 of its U.S. locations will close as the company focuses more attention on consumer markets.
  • J. Crew
    The once preppy clothing brand announced 50 of its stores would close in 2017.
  • J.C. Penney
    This department store will restructure its business to more closely align with shifting consumer tastes. It will close 138 of its locations.
  • The Limited
    A specialty clothing retailer, The Limited had a particularly difficult 2016 holiday season. This resulted in closing all 250 of its retail locations and a loss of more than 4,000 jobs.
  • Macy’s
    While only closing 68 of its retail locations, this will supposedly result in the loss of thousands of jobs.
  • Michael Kors
    The high-end clothing brand will close 125 stores to better adapt to a changing retail landscape.
  • Rue21
    After closing 400 of its 1,100 retail locations, the teen clothing retailer then filed for bankruptcy in May.
  • Sears/Kmart
    The once ubiquitous department store and discount chain has suffered from a changing e-commerce retail landscape. The company has closed 35 Kmart locations and 8 Sears stores and has plans to close over 300 more.
  • Wet Seal
    Another teen clothing retailer, Wet Seal filed for bankruptcy in 2015 and closed all of its 171 stores in 2017.

Specialty Retailers

  • Aerosoles
    A New Jersey-based shoe company, Aerosoles filed for bankruptcy in September 2017. It is unclear how many of its 88 retail locations will be affected.
  • The Children’s Place
    Once a mall staple, The Children’s Place will adjust its business model to focus on ecommerce. This will result in hundreds of store closures by 2020.
  • CVS
    The pharmacy retailer is slated to close 70 locations.
  • Gymboree
    Another children’s clothing retailer plans to close 350 of its 1,200 locations.
  • H.H. Gregg
    Unable to find a buyer once it filed for bankruptcy, the electronics retailer will close all of its 220 stores.
  • Payless
    The shoe retailer will close 800 stores this year and filed for bankruptcy in April 2017.
  • RadioShack
    Only 70 retail locations remain after another 1,000 were closed in 2017.
  • Toys R Us
    One of the last remaining independent toy store chains, Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy in September. However, it has said its 1,600 retail locations will remain open and operate as normal.

There are advantages and disadvantages to shopping purely online. The convenience factor is certainly an advantage; while the inability to touch and feel the product prior to purchase is a challenge. Perhaps the biggest challenge, however, is the loss of local jobs associated with closing retail stores. Whether you’re part of a brick-and-mortar location or own an online retail store, you’ll need robust digital marketing efforts to keep the business healthy. Energyhill is committed to working with clients in all aspects of advertising, design, and video promotion. For more information about our work and how we can help your business, please contact us today.

Business lessons from Marathon Training

My marathon journey began decades ago when I was on the track and field team in high school. I enjoyed the process, the challenge and the companionship that running brought. Over the next 20 years most things in my life changed. But there was one constant – my love of the sound of my feet hitting the pavement over and over and over again.

After years of casual runs, I decided to go for it. The Marathon. 26.2 miles.

The 6 months of arduous training and long distance running did so much more than just prepare me for a marathon. It gave me business lessons that have changed me and brought me success in running, in my career, and in life. Here are the lessons I learned.

Be Committed

Determine your goal and commit to it. Sign up for that race, put it on your calendar, and purchase some new running shoes. Make the decision to do it and make sure you stick with it.

In business as in marathon training, the first step is commit yourself. Commit yourself in a way that you can’t simply back out if you change your mind or if the road becomes difficult. Have friends or colleagues hold you accountable for the steps you’ll be taking to get yourself where you want to be.

Be Prepared

You wouldn’t simply decide to run 10 miles when you’ve only ever run 3. You have to take small, measured increases in distance to improve your performance and reach new milestones.

If you want to move ahead in business you have to plan and track your successes. Write down your goals, schedule due dates for each, and ensure that each step of your plan builds on one other. Improve your business performance step by step towards your final accomplishment.

Be Realistic

While many races are shorter distances and people can get through without too much training, the marathon is a killer. Go in unprepared, and you’ll never make it.

Be realistic about your business goals. Set goals you can achieve in a reasonable amount of time. Your accomplishments in business should set you up on a firm foundation of experience and expertise that brings you one step closer to your goals.

Be Ready

In running, it is simply called the Wall. It is the point of the marathon (usually around mile 18) where you’ve depleted your reserves and feel as though you’ve literally hit a wall and can’t take one more step. At this point, it’s your mental strength that pushes your body through until the next burst of adrenaline.

Realize you may hit a point when you want to give up, and plan for ways to overcome those feelings when you get there. Be ready for the Wall, and be ready to run through it.

Be Happy

Most importantly, enjoy the experience. Running can be exhausting, painful, and unglamorous. But if you can look past your discomfort and focus on the beauty all around you, you can find the strength to keep going one more mile.

Growing a business or reaching a new milestone can be equally frustrating and challenging. Find satisfaction in your small accomplishments, and be proud of the distance you’ve been able to come. Tomorrow is another day to shine.

Go for It

When you want something, go after it. Set your goal, plan your plan, hit the pavement, and don’t look back. On January 11 I finished 26.2 miles through the Walt Disney World Theme Park in under 5 ½ hours. Since then, I’ve successfully built two businesses and transitioned into a business consulting and freelance writing career that I love. And I’m still running marathons.

What accomplishment do you want to reach?

Management Philosophy

Management Philosophy

Our management philosophy at Energyhill is to “do the right thing, every time.” On a daily basis we are faced with decisions that can have a small ramification to our stakeholders (both internal and external). These decisions might have no effect on a scenario or project. However, they set a habit. Justification of taking a small shortcut that is never noticed can lead to a habitual reaction (and action) for a larger shortcut. Therefore, our company culture does the right thing, every time. Always.

“Do the right thing…”

This is done, by gathering facts. This can take time, however, with proper planning, and clear communication this yields a decision that is founded on facts and not personal biases.

“…Every time”

Consistency in this approach can be difficult to maintain. Our teams and individuals hold each other accountable. This creates an environment for consistency to occur and checks and balances for our management philosophy.

This ethical standard benefits our team in the following three areas:

  1. Everyone knows the story. There is confidence and clarity to this approach. If there is a decision that is unprincipled this will be felt and ultimately altered to the principled path.
  2. The best want to work with the best. Our principles allow for a competitive edge and sustainable advantage.
  3. Brand strength is innate when there is a high ethical standard. Universal stakeholders value the opinion that a company with principle sends.

The approach of “do the right thing, every time” allows for us to have more time for excellence in our creative and technical efforts.