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Six Must-Try Fall Activities

You walk outside and can smell the crisp, clean air. The leaves have started falling off the trees and the sidewalks are littered with orange, gold and brown. You hear their soft, crunching sounds under your boots with every step. It’s undoubtedly fall and the quiet, cozy atmosphere feels as comforting as the oversized knit sweater you’re wearing.

Fall is beautiful; a transitional time that seems to vanish as quickly as a single falling leaf caught in the wind. So what are some ways to make the most of the season? Here, I’ve outlined some of my favorite fall activities that can bring joy, serenity and reflection to any day of the week. Try one or take time to enjoy them all!

  1. Go Apple Picking

Being able to spend an afternoon enjoying the outdoors with loved ones is a great activity for any seasonal “to-do” list, but there’s truly something special about going to an orchard in autumn. The sunshine hitting endless rows of trees and the bright red pops of color make for an elegant, tranquil atmosphere. Laugh, enjoy time with friends and family and of course, pick enough apples to create the perfect pie when you get home. (If you’re in the Midwest, here are 5 great orchards to consider visiting.)

  1. Cook Seasonally

In addition to apple pie (with freshly-picked fruit, of course), there are countless other fall-themed entrées, desserts and snacks that are simply waiting to be created. Not only are fall dishes delicious, but they’re fun to prepare as well (like this delectable apple and pomegranate crisp!).

Experiment with seasonal staples such as pumpkin, acorn and butternut squash, pears, kumquats, and cranberries. And I promise, there are plenty of healthy options of your fall favorites, too!

  1. Attend Wine Tastings

You may have your favorite rich, decadent wines that are perfect pairings with any dinner, but what about trying something new? Attending a local wine tasting will help expand your palate, expose you to new wines and perhaps even inspire your inner sommelier. A wine tasting is a great way to enjoy time with loved ones, have delicious drinks and learn about the art of wine and all of the intricacies that go into making the perfect bottle.

  1. Go Fall Leaf Viewing

What better way to appreciate the beauty of fall than by taking the time to venture outdoors and see it for yourself? Whether you find it relaxing to simply walk and take in the sights, to take your own photographs or to plan a picnic and other outdoor activities, there are beautiful scenes of autumn nearly everywhere you look. For the most up-to-date viewing spots all over the country, you can use this helpful foliage map to find the best areas in your own city.

  1. Meditate

Taking a cue from Mother Nature herself, meditating on the changes and transitions you’re experiencing in your own life can be incredibly enlightening. The power of quiet, daily reflection is twofold; you are able to better understand your innermost self and the practice of meditation can also bring a large measure of peace, acceptance and calm to the chaos of life.

During fall, sitting on a blanket and meditating in a quiet park or other natural setting can help you feel more connected to the seasons and to the world around you. You can also try taking relaxed, slow walks around your favorite areas.

If you’re new to meditation, you can try these helpful tips to get started, or simply sit quietly for a few moments. Try your best to clear your mind of any and all distractions; breathe deeply and let go of every ounce of stress and frustration with each exhaled breath. You can also light scented candles, play music softly or try other practices that help you to decompress.

  1. Create Decorative Crafts

To me, there are few things more relaxing than getting in touch with my creative side. Whether it’s painting, taking photographs, or settling in with some old fashioned glue and paint, creating something from nothing is incredibly rewarding. During fall, DIY crafts, decorations and creative projects are plentiful. Visiting fall-themed Pinterest boards are a great place to start, if you’re looking for inspiration—though it can be hard to choose just one! When searching the web, the project possibilities are endless; from elegant, mason jar centerpieces to baby acorn owls, and everything in between, there are crafts for all levels of skill and creativity.

If you’re looking for a way to spice up your Halloween-themed décor, there are tons of quick and easy projects to try; many of which are perfect to do with children. Create spooky candy holders, spirit jugs, or transform your everyday snacks.

Whether you choose to try out these projects on your own, or take the opportunity to share the experience with others, the act of making something is very rewarding. Use this opportunity to relax, unwind and spruce up your home, too!

The key to enjoying fall to the fullest is to do more of those things that bring you peace and serenity. Whether that’s spending more time outside, contemplating your own personal changes with meditation or any other activity you enjoy, the benefits and memories of taking time to relax and “slow down” will stay with you long after the season is over.

Originally posted in Oct. 2015 on AllThingsRelax.com

Photo Credit: New England Fall Foliage 2014 by Anthony Quintano, CC BY 2.0

The Power of Reviews & How to Reap the Benefits

The Power of Reviews & How to Reap the Benefits

star ratings

In this digital age of marketing and communication, passing along opinions by word-of-mouth is all but extinct. Instead, millions of people use powerhouse search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! to seek out reviews about products and services every single day. Do you know what this huge audience is saying about your business?

Of course, we’re talking about online reviews: the good, the bad and the ugly. No matter what people are saying about you, more online reviews means more exposure for your business, plain and simple. In addition, these reviews are an excellent opportunity to more successfully manage your company’s reputation and gain trust and credibility in the eyes of potential customers.

In fact, 71% of the people in a survey conducted by www.peopleclaim.com agreed that ‘consumer reviews make them more comfortable that they are buying the right product’ and a whopping 82% agreed that they ‘considered user-generated reviews extremely valuable or valuable.’

Good reviews are wonderful, but we know that there will be a time when a disgruntled customer will take to the keyboard to share his or her negative experience with the world wide web. Not to worry—by taking the time to address unhappy customers’ concerns quickly,politely, and with appropriate solutions can actually help your business look better.

Reviews (good and bad) have a very powerful impact on businesses. The more reviews you have, the better. Don’t believe us?

In a study of Spectrum’s own clients, displaying more live reviews in organic search generated 35% more organic traffic to their websites and 49% more organic leads than over the same time period the year before. So what does this mean for business? More money—a lot more. This same group of clients has generated millions of dollars more in organic leads than they did before by harnessing the power of online reviews.

On top of tremendous increases in revenue, these same clients had significant improvements in organic keyword rankings since the reviews had been added. The average ranking was 30% closer to being in the number one search result spot and an average increase in visibility score of 37%.

But…how?

Luckily for you, you already have the tools to increase these important aspects of your business right at your fingertips. Using Spectrum’s Sales Automation Software, getting more reviews can be done in a matter of minutes. Simply log in using your username and login credentials to get started. From there, follow these few, simple steps:

  • Once in the website dashboard, click on “Contact Manager” in the left-hand navigation and then click on “Contacts” after the section expands.
  • Click on the specific contact you want to request a review from, keeping in mind that you only want to ask for reviews from contacts that had a positive experience with your company.
  • Click on “Actions” and then “Send a Message” from the drop-down menu that appears.
  • Select “Get More Reviews” from the “Message Template” drop-down menu and click on your specific market from the “Market” drop-down menu.
  • Your message template will appear in the box below. Click the “Send” button once you’re ready to send it to your customer and start receiving reviews!

It’s as easy as that!

As the importance of savvy internet marketing for businesses continues to increase, it’s essential that you know exactly how to make the most of your business’ online presence. Reviews are powerful tools and you can get more of them, quickly and easily, using Spectrum’s Sales Automation Software that you already have.

For more tips and tricks on how to make the most out of our Sales Automation Software, be sure and check out our video tutorials or contact your account manager with any questions you may have—we’d be more than happy to help you out!

Originally posted here