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Why your Small Business Needs Periscope

Why your Small Business Needs Periscope

In case you aren’t sure what Periscope is, it’s a live streaming video app that was purchased by Twitter in 2015. The allure of Periscope is that it allows you to ‘Go Live’ from anywhere, at any time, while anyone in the world can watch you via your mobile device.

There are over ten million users on the platform today, so needless to say if you’re not using it, you’re missing out on some markets that might be of use to your business. If you can conceive of any way your company can put Periscope to use, you should do so. Today.

So why does your small business need to be on Periscope? Let’s take a look at a few reasons.

Market Saturation

Or lack thereof. The market for Periscope isn’t as saturated as other social media behemoths like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It’s still in its growing phase, and hopping on board now would go a long way toward getting in ahead of the game.

Many large businesses have yet to make this technology a part of their marketing strategy, leaving plenty of opportunities for small companies to jump in and fill the gaps.

New Followers

A new social media platform means a new follower base. Those that follow you and your business on other social media sites are not necessarily the same ones that are going to follow you on Periscope.

The Periscope market offers a whole new list of bloggers, small business owners, and marketers that weren’t available before joining Periscope. Connecting with this group of followers provides the opportunity to move them over to your other social media platforms as well.

Engage in Real-Time

When it comes to engaging and responding to customers, nothing beats being able to see and react immediately via a live stream. Facebook and Twitter response times are nice, but customers will appreciate the immediacy and personal connection the Periscope provides.

Today’s society seeks instant gratification – we want it now – otherwise, users will move on and find what they want somewhere else. Periscope allows for real-time engagement and gives followers actively involved in the feed the answers they are seeking in the moment.

Showcase Your Business

Periscope provides an opportunity to show off your business and show followers what happens behind the scenes. Customers want authenticity, and what is more authentic than looking directly at your followers as you speak to them live?

You are no longer a faceless brand or company; people get to talk and interact with you, which drives the personal connect aspect of brand loyalty. Natural and organic conversation leads to followers knowing, liking, and trusting you, which leads to future decisions made in your favor.

Untapped Opportunities

Since Periscope is relatively new to the social media marketplace, businesses are still learning how to use the platform to interact with customers. The opportunities are limitless, but most commonly companies will offer live tutorials, product releases, special promotions, or live shows. Use your business to come up with new and creative ways to promote via Periscope.

Build Relationships

Communicating in real-time with followers offers the opportunity to have a more meaningful and involved discussion with someone. It can be fun to fully engage with those that are invested in your company and learn more about one another.

Consider for a moment what Periscope is offering. Through what other method can you pick up your phone, point it at yourself and begin communicating immediately with people from all over the world? If you’re able to do a good enough job of interacting and engaging with your followers, they might just buy what you have to sell.

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How to Grow Your YouTube Following

How to Grow Your YouTube Following

Total Word Count: 605

Primary Keyword: YouTube Following

Primary Keyword Density: 1%

Primary Keyword Count: 7

Secondary Keyword: YouTube, channel, content

Secondary Keyword Density: 5%

Secondary Keyword Count: 31

Today, YouTube has over one billion viewers. If you aren’t using YouTube to grow your audience, you’re missing out on a substantial portion of the population, and a great way to increase your influence online. It’s not just viewers you need though. You need users that are actively engaged in your channel. YouTube is a massive opportunity to grow your following for the long-term.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to grow your YouTube following. There is no secret formula or unique guide to building up your user base. It’s merely being consistent, providing quality content, and rewarding those who follow you. What does that look like? Here are a few ideas.

Consistency is Key

As we previously mentioned, one of the keys to a successful YouTube following on your channel, and a loyal following is consistency. Pick a theme and stick with it. There’s nothing worse than finding a YouTube channel you like, only to discover that it’s changed direction or not what you thought it was. It’s a good, quick way to lose followers.

Build your brand, and doing it in a way that doesn’t require users to take a lot of time to figure out who you are and what you’re selling. Users subscribe for two reasons: 1) Because they like the content they just viewed, and 2) Because they expect more of the same in the future.

Figure out before you launch your channel what your premise and platform will be. Communicate it effectively across all of your videos so visitors will be able to identify your brand at a glance. You can do this in a variety of ways, whether it is through a channel trailer, via a pitch that lets users know when the next post will be, or through customized thumbnails which will grab the attention of visitors to your channel.

Quality Content

When a person is introduced to your channel, the more of our videos they watch, the higher the chance they will subscribe, thus growing your YouTube following. Watching your videos gives visitors an excellent opportunity to follow you, while also showing them why they should.

One way you can do this is by creating playlists of your content. Organize your videos in a manner that will get good traction through searching on YouTube. You can choose important keywords to drive traffic to your channel. Create themed segments with your videos, which allows you to have control over which video the user will see next. This is especially important as YouTube could wind up playing other content, as opposed to your own after the video is over.

When creating your content, be sure to make it viewable in a format conducive to a mobile device. That does not mean it needs to be recorded and viewed on a smartphone, but rather that you should keep in mind that a lot of content is seen on a mobile device. Create short, consumable videos that will keep followers returning on a regular basis, eager and hungry for more.

As stated previously, there’s no shortcut or secret recipe to growing your YouTube following. Anyone trying to sell you a “get rich quick scheme” is nothing but a waste of your time and money.

When it comes to your YouTube following, more often than not, quality trumps quantity, especially when it comes to your users. It’s more important to have an engaged, valued audience of a few thousand than it is to have a million followers who have no idea who you are or what you’re selling. Find your niche, create your content, and build your following.

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Expanding Your Content Presence

Expanding Your Content Presence

Content marketing is becoming more important than ever.  The absolute best way to create a popular website and build a list of loyal readers is to deliver high quality, informative, and entertaining content.  This may sound easy but after a few months you begin to run out of ideas.

Since you don’t want to keep posting the same thing over and over again, you’ll need a strategy for creating engaging new content.  The following is a simple technique that will allow you to take one piece of content and turn it into a variety of different things.

Where to start

You should start with the most popular content that you already have.  What’s been liked, commented on, and shared the most? It could be a video, podcast, article, or email so long as it was well received and pulled in a lot of traffic.  Longer content works better than shorter pieces but any size will do.

Take this material and extract the main information.  You’ll want to have the general idea or topic of the content as well as the main points it touches on.  Take this and turn it into a rough outline that can be used again.

Books and Reports

The easiest thing to do is hire a writer.  Give them the outline you created from the popular content and tell them you want a short book or a report based around that information.  This can be written rather quickly and can be a great resource.  You can send it out for free to your list, use it to get new subscribers or even sell it on Kindle.

Videos

Videos are popular and high value pieces of content.  They can easily be created from the outline you made previously.  There are a few options but one of the easiest is to simply make a slide show based on the information.  With a little music and the right branding, a video like this can help drive traffic to your site and increase your presence on places like YouTube.

Serialized Articles

You may find that one of your most popular pieces of content is also one of the longest pieces you have.  These are great candidates for serialized articles.  Rather than simply writing one post, you can write a few and release them over a period of time.

This is a great option for newsletters but can also work well for blogs.  Since people will need to come back to read the new articles, you’ll have returning visitors.

It can be tough to come up with a constant stream of content.  High quality material is, however, more important than ever so implementing a strategy that helps you expand your content can be a great idea.

You probably already have a few great options and a little time or money is all that’s needed to turn them into something else. 

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Anatomy of a Good Advertisement

Anatomy of a Good Advertisement

Advertising is a major part of marketing.  As far as some people are concerned, it’s the only thing marketing really does.  While we know this isn’t exactly true, learning how to create a good advertisement will help you get the most out of your investments.

Most of the advertising you’ll do will be paid graphical ads which appear on other websites.  You may also do some sort of Google Pay-Per-Click, but the concepts are basically the same.  The goal is to grab people’s attention and get them to click your link.  This article will help you do exactly that.

Short and Sweet

 People are exposed to such an excessive amount of advertising these days that you don’t get much of their attention.  You may get a second, at most, before someone has decided to engage with or ignore your advertising.  This means the impact your ad makes needs to happen right away.

Simpler and shorter is better.  If it can be done in only a few words, that’s the best way to go.  Remember that your ad won’t be very big. It won’t be able to do much, because you want to keep your costs down.  Something short, direct, and engaging is what you’ll need.

Engage

 The biggest problem with a lot of advertising is that it tries to sell to customers.  While this might be the point of the ad itself, it would be far more successful if it could engage the customers somehow—just enough to click on the ad.  You want to make them think, to make them stop and consider your ad or click through to find more information.

The key to engaging your viewers is to understand them.  What are their hot-button topics?  What can you hit on to really get them going?  Consider being a little controversial.  Avoid the most obvious route and choose a message that will really force them to click.

Asking for their opinions can help.  Running a contest that requires player participation is great.  At the very least, use a message that might make them a little upset so they’ll be more inclined to click through and see what you’re talking about.

Tracking

 Tracking may not seem like a major part of a good advertisement, but that’s just because customers will never see it.  From the business side of things, however, tracking is one of the most important elements in any advertisement.  Tracking is important because you’ll never truly know how successful an ad is unless you have a way to track its effectiveness.

There are a number of great tracking programs you can use and many of them are free.  You’ll be able to see exactly how many times the ad was displayed, how many times it was clicked, and even things such as where the visitors went or how long they stayed.  This is invaluable information which lets you perfect your advertising in the future.

Creating great advertisements is hard when you’re doing everything yourself.  What you need is a team of experienced and dedicated professionals that can do all of the work for you. 

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The 4 Branding Questions You Must Answer

The Four Branding Questions You Must Answer

Building a strong brand isn’t difficult, but it does require focus. It’s not uncommon for new business owners—and experienced ones, too—to drop the ball when it comes to branding. It’s not that they don’t know what they’re doing. Rather, it’s that they can’t articulate it.

The good news is that there’s something you do about it. Answering four key questions about your brand can help you focus on what’s most important. And that will make it easy to create a consistent and memorable brand.

Question #1: If your brand were a person, what three personality traits would it have?

It might seem strange to attribute human traits to a brand, but it’s one of the most essential elements of branding. Brands have personalities, or they should. Why? Because consumers want to identify with a brand. Often, they project themselves onto the brands they use.

A brand like Dove might choose these traits: warm, compassionate, and confident. A quick perusal of their website or Facebook page shows all three traits in spades. Their content celebrates women as they are, and encourages followers to share their stories.

Question #2: Which celebrity would you choose to narrate a documentary about your brand?

The second question is one that can help you determine the right voice to use for your brand. A brand’s voice should spring from its personality. It’s important to think about tone, language, and who the audience is for your brand.

A brand that targets affluent people who care about appearances might choose someone like Sean Connery or Gwyneth Paltrow. A young, hip brand might prefer a very different narrator. The key is to come up with someone who would be a good spokesperson for your brand.

Question #3: How do you want a prospect to feel when they read about your brand?

Branding is a two-way street. Ultimately, you want people to identify with your brand. They can only do that if their reaction to it is something you consider. You can’t control how people react, but a carefully created brand is likely to evoke the emotions you want your customers to feel.

A brand like Nike, for example, might want its followers to feel these emotions: empowered, inspired, and strong. You can see these feelings being evoked by their slogan, Just Do It, which encourages people to pursue their athletic goals and overcome any obstacles in their path.

Question #4: What characteristics do the people in your target audience have in common?

Your fans and followers aren’t all the same, but the chances are good that they share some common traits that can help you create a strong brand that appeals to them. These characteristics may be demographics, or they might be personality traits like the ones you assigned to your brand.

A brand like Red Bull, which uses a rather brash, irreverent tone in its marketing, might identify the following traits for its customers: young, daring, and unconventional. By contrast, a brand like Rolls Royce might choose words like affluent, educated, and status-conscious.

The words you choose should describe your target audience. They can also help you define and flesh out your brand so that it attracts the people who are most likely to buy from you. In other words, they work in concert with your brand’s personality and voice.

Conclusion

Creating a memorable brand is a cornerstone of good marketing. When your brand is clearly-defined, it will inform every aspect of your marketing. The voice, characteristics, and feelings you want to evoke will show up in every email, social media post, and ad campaign you run.

 

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How To Segment Your List To Improve Your ROI

How To Segment Your List To Improve Your ROI

Email marketing has the highest ROI of any online marketing method. That alone makes it worth doing. But, did you know that you can maximize your ROI simply by segmenting your list?

List segmentation is considered an advanced email marketing technique. However, it’s not very complicated to do, and you can even ask subscribers to self-segment and eliminate the guesswork. Let’s talk about some of the ways to segment your list.

Segmentation Based on Behavior

The most common way marketers segment their lists is by tracking their subscribers’ behavior and using their actions as a guideline. Let’s look at some examples.

Example 1

A clothing manufacturer that sells apparel for women, men, and children tracks customer purchases to determine what products they want to hear about. A woman who buys clothing for herself might receive only emails about women’s clothing. If she switches it up and buys kids’ clothes, she might start getting emails for those too.

Example 2

A software company segments people who buy a certain product into a separate list. The people on that list then receive a series of emails designed to sell them on a complementary or upgraded product. Once they buy it, they’re then directed to a new list selling accessories or a related product… and so on.

These examples both illustrate ways that a marketer might segment based on behavior. Some basic email automation software doesn’t allow for list segmentation. But, most premium products do—and marketers who segment their lists get higher open, click-through, and conversion rates.

In fact, according to Mail Chimp, segmented emails outperform non-segmented emails across the board. They get:

14.31% more opens

100.95% more clicks

9.37% fewer unsubscribe requests

These statistics clearly illustrate the benefits of list segmentation.

Self-Segmentation

The second option is to ask your subscribers to self-segment. You can do this at the point of subscription, or later. Here are some suggestions.

Self-segmentation at the time of subscription can be effective. However, you’ll need to balance it against the fact that including additional fields in your opt-in form may drive some subscribers away. If you choose this option, keep the fields to a minimum.

Another option is to ask subscribers to self-segment when you send them a confirmation email. That way, they’ve already opted in. Now, you’re just asking them to help you out by indicating which topics they’re interested in. It’s a good way to reassure new subscribers that you won’t be spamming them.

A third option, and this is ideal if you already have a list, is to send out a link asking your subscribers to self-segment. Add a note about wanting to ensure they receive only the emails they want to receive.

If you select this option, you can either link them to a segmentation page on your website and connect it to your email automation service. Or, you can embed the form in your email, so they can respond without having to visit your website.

Whichever option you choose, make sure that you honor subscribers’ requests. This is not the time to bend the rules. The only exception would be if you’re sending out an email that applies to all subscribers. An example might be a store-wide sale or promotion.

Conclusion

Once your list is segmented, you’re likely to see an uptick in your key email metrics, including your unique open rate, your click-through rate, and—most importantly—your conversion rate. If you don’t, it may be an indication that additional segmentation is needed, or that your emails aren’t compelling.

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How Link Building Affects Your Marketing Strategy

How Link Building Affects Your Marketing Strategy

I get it. You want to be discovered. And search engine optimization is part of that. But it’s easy to stuff keywords into your articles or blog posts anywhere to get visibility. There’s more to online marketing than that. There are specific techniques you can employ to get the best out of your marketing strategy without affecting the readability of your content.

You have to use keywords the right way, or you won’t get noticed like you thought you would. Google and other search engines are smart. They value quality over quantity and can identify keyword density and its effectiveness.

Techniques

Engaging online with people who already interact with you and your website promotes your website to relevant audiences. By showing an interest in your followers, you present yourself as genuine and sincere, and you can provide a more meaningful and customized experience for them. Use a blog to accomplish some of this. You can create sharable content by being unique and original. Linking to other blogs or external sources shows that you foster a community of sharing within the industry and value the opinions of other industry experts.

Case studies highlight individual clients and their success stories. It helps other potential clients feel like they have second-hand experience with what you do and makes you more trustworthy. Present these case studies in a visual format like a video showcasing a client interview, or ask your clients to write a quick testimonial you can post on your site.

Pump out news articles to your readers that are relevant to your industry. Keeping up-to-date on the current trends or industry struggles will always benefit you in ways other than direct marketing. Sounding knowledgeable when you speak with clients will get you farther than almost anything else will.

Online promotions or contests engage your social media followers, inspire friendly competition, and offer freebies that everyone likes. This is one of my favorite SEO marketing techniques because it gets the online community buzzing about your brand, no matter what sort of freebie you’re offering.

You should always use these marketing techniques safely and effectively. Ethical business practices and principles are at the core of everything you do. Using these techniques effectively can help you improve your marketing strategy performance and maintain integrity.

Link Building

Search engines are smart enough to recognize quality over quantity, so link building is an essential marketing tool that you shouldn’t overlook. Acquiring links from education websites and other trusted industry experts can drastically increase your rank on any search engine and make you easier to find.

I would even go so far as to say that it’s impossible to rank on Google or any other search engine without links. Here’s why:

  • Links are Google’s #1 ranking factor
  • Links define the entire internet
  • Links point to other great content that deserves to rank as well
  • Links transfer power and trust, hopefully back to you
  • Links help people discover your site

As I mentioned above, blogging is a great way to start link building. Linking to relevant external sources in your blog helps to build credibility with other experts in your industry. By sharing blogs on social media sites, you begin to develop inbound links as well.

Linking to other blogs on your site sometimes generates a ‘return the favor’ sort of attitude within the community, and simply linking to other people’s work can build a good linking foundation. You can also create organic inbound links by guest blogging on someone else’s site.

Researching the links your competitors use is a useful tool for knowledge building. You can learn a lot from the way your competitors link to other content. You gain valuable insight into their strategy, the keywords they are using, and what they feel is important. Using this information, you can build better links to outrank them.

Calls to action with internal links keep people on your site and help them to discover more about you. Writing content that links back to yourself does many things. It creates a backlink, and it promotes other products or services you offer. You can use these tactics to upsell as well.

Providing your users with genuine, useful content comes in many forms. It is critical that you understand how to use keywords effectively because keyword density impacts the readability of your content. Link building techniques provide structure and understanding to what you should publish.

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Choosing Topics That Draw Visitors to Your Website

Choosing Topics That Draw Visitors to Your Website

By now, most online marketers know the basics of maintaining a relevant website. Regular updating, easy readability, intriguing headlines, and accessible writing are all widely understood to be essential to keeping people interested in your website.

However, none of these things address the most essential aspect of generating and maintaining traffic that can ultimately be turned into sales. That all-important detail is…finding topics your audience will be interested in to begin with. 

Topics Are What Matter

No matter how often you update your site, how well-written your material is, how cleverly you promote your content with catchy headlines and good writing, it will all come to nothing if the subject matter is boring.

The trick is to come up with topics that your visitors will want to read and which also make them feel that your site is worth visiting again when they’re done.

Today’s internet audience is amazingly fickle, so if you can’t keep a steady stream of relevant, compelling topics coming out, then you will find your traffic tumbling as your audience deserts you. 

Uniqueness is Gold

What actually constitutes compelling website topics? That, of course, will vary widely based upon what the subject matter of your website is. However, there is one characteristic that readers value which cuts across all possible topics. That golden characteristic is uniqueness.

No matter how well-done your article is on the topics you cover, it will fall flat if people have already seen it before. No one wants yesterday’s news or content that they can get anywhere.

What attracts and holds traffic are articles that you have but that no one else does. Once you establish a reputation as a website with a fresh perspective with info that only you offer, you will find traffic flocking to your site from all over on a daily basis. 

How to Know What is Unique

So, how do you know what is unique? There is really only one way to find out, and that is to see what everybody else in your market is doing for readers like yours.

Monitoring the sites of your competitors and sites dealing with areas related to your field will give you an overview of the types of topics and subjects of interest that others have already covered. Your task then becomes coming up with material that these other sites have not explored. 

How to Choose a Topic 

Ideally, after familiarizing yourself with what others have done, you will be able to come up with topics that are completely different from what anyone else is doing. It can also be effective to do articles similar to what others have done—provided that you have a fresh perspective on them.

Often, there is a lot of content out there on a certain subject, and everybody saying the same old things but using marginally different variations. You can attract a lot of traffic if you can approach these old subjects from a new angle or with fresh information. What is old can be made new again, provided you have an original and interesting way of looking at it. 

Finding topics that draw traffic to your website is something you can do if you carefully monitor the web. Unfortunately, many people are too busy running their business or other enterprise to devote a lot of valuable energy to keeping their website current with relevant and unique content.

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How to Grow Your Blog Into a Business

How to Grow Your Blog Into a Business

Most of the time, businesses start blogging as a way to build an audience. However, the reverse seems to be happening. More and more people with blogs are starting to monetize their traffic. It makes sense because one of the hardest things to do as a business owner is grow your traffic. If you grow your blog first, you already have a solid following to support your business idea.

Starting a blog is easy, but if you want to make money later, you need to think about your strategy and set yourself up for success. It’s important to know what you need to grow your blog and grow your traffic.

What is a Blog?

A blog is a weblog of content updated regularly. It’s an online publication written in a personal tone, meant to share opinions, teach others, develop a personal brand, or sell products or services. Blogging is fulfilling, but it also requires commitment.

It’s important to be consistent, no matter how often you publish. Your audience grows to expect your posts, so keep at it, and don’t disappoint them.

How to Start a Blog

Finding the time to flush out your ideas and do it consistently is the hardest part of blogging. Once you find the time, starting a blog is straightforward. Consider your opportunities to monetize your blog, determine your audience, and plan a publishing strategy.

You need to think like an entrepreneur to make this venture profitable in the future, so map out the groundwork for your distribution and monetization now.

Ways to Make Money

Most people think of running ads on their blogs as a way to make money, but there are other ways. Building a loyal audience is more important than building a big one, and you won’t earn the trust of your followers by spamming them with ads all the time.

Instead, think of ways you can sell physical or digital products that align with your audience. Sell your services as a writer or designer. Publish a book. Create subscription-based packages with platforms like Patreon. Do paid reviews or become an affiliate for other brands.

You have to enjoy blogging for it to succeed. Dedicate yourself to serving your audience as best you can.

Pick a Niche

With all of the information on the internet, it’s hard to stand out. Try to choose a topic that’s hard to find elsewhere. It’s also critical to choose a niche audience. There are so many internet users that it’s impossible to appeal to all of them.

You can focus on a specific location, present your content in a different style, or focus on a smaller segment of a bigger market. For instance, writing about steakhouses in Kansas City that serve steaks larger than forty-two ounces allows you to focus more deeply on your topic that choosing to write about steakhouses in general.

Choosing a Platform

When it comes to hosting your blog, you have two choices. You can host it yourself or host it on a paid platform. If you host it yourself, you have more customization options. You still have to pay a fee, but it’s less than a paid platform, and you have more flexibility in design.

Using a service to host your blog is the best option for those who don’t know a lot about design or HTML. Some options include Blogger and WordPress. Think about how you want to monetize your blog because not every platform gives you what you need.

You can also use free platforms like Medium or Tumblr. They have built-in audiences, making it easier for you to get started, but they provide less customization, and your blog design ends up looking like everyone else’s on the platform.

Picking a Name

This is a great time to think about what you want to name your blog. Unless you plan to build a personal brand or portfolio, don’t use your name. Think of something catchy, fun, and descriptive of your brand. This name should reflect your blog’s identity, add personality, and be easy to remember and type.

Groundwork for Growth

Thinking about how to grow your blog and having a solid plan in place helps you to build momentum quickly once you get started. If you don’t have a plan, you may end up struggling with distribution because you don’t have a strategy. Publishing is nerve-wracking, but having a plan can alleviate some of that.

Planning for growth involves collecting emails as soon as possible. Use a service like MailChimp to store your subscriber list and make distribution easy. It’s free for up to two thousand subscribers. You can also use MailChimp for signup forms, which is a critical piece of capturing this information.

Embed your signup forms directly into your content with a call to action to subscribe, so the experience is seamless for your audience and easy to manage for you.

Blogging can be stressful, but it’s also a blast. Use these tips to think about how you can grow your blog to make money later. The great thing about starting a blog is that you don’t have to quit your day job until you start making money. If done right, once you start making money, you’ll grow quickly.