Solving Your Most Complex Email Issues: A Journey Through SPF, DKIM, and PTR Records

Image of a person working at a keyboard with messages swirling around in a vortex, tunnel like room. Perfect for Solving Your Most Complex Email Issues


As a designer with a preference for UX design, I’ve had to learn scripting languages when interactive design emerged in the 90’s. Software like Macromind, then Macromedia Director and later Flash used ECMA based Action Script for example. This and JavaScript were and remain big challenges.

Building websites continued to challenge my abilities as I started hosting, then managed hosting and now some fairly complex CDN Virtual Machine setups in Google Cloud Compute. Cloud Domain and Cloud DNS management have become common in my day to day. But email configurations have been challenging to learn.

Today I found myself finally understanding some of the complexities in level 1 email hosting. Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t enjoy email server issues. However, in the ever-evolving world of technology, email remains a vital communication tool for businesses. Ensuring the proper configuration of email systems is not just about deliverability; it’s about security, integrity, and trust. I also like to keep technology disruptions to an absolute minimum.

As someone who has now navigated the intricate landscapes of email configuration, I recently faced a challenge that I’d like to share. If you’re reading this please stop. Go do something fun. If you’re a recruiter, you have better things to do. I leaned on ChatGPT for entire sections of the post below. So you may not even be reading what I wrote.

But if you must, this is the story of how I tackled complex email issues involving SPF, DKIM, and PTR records.

Section 1: Understanding the Challenge

SPF Records: Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a crucial part of email authentication. It helps receiving servers verify that the email comes from a trusted source. A misconfiguration here can lead to emails being marked as spam or rejected altogether.

DKIM Records: DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) ensures the integrity of the email content by signing it with a cryptographic key. A proper DKIM setup is vital for trust, but it can be tricky to configure, especially with long keys.

PTR Records: Pointer (PTR) records are used in reverse DNS lookups, allowing receiving servers to verify the hostname of the sending server. A valid PTR record enhances email deliverability.

The Complexity: These configurations are intricate and interwoven. A single mistake can lead to delivery failures, bounce-backs, and security vulnerabilities.

Section 2: Navigating the Solution

Analyzing the Error Messages: The journey began with a perplexing error message: “550 5.7.1 Relaying denied.” This was sent to me via screenshot from a client. Through careful analysis and collaboration with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, I dissected the error to pinpoint the underlying issues.

SPF Configuration: The SPF record required alignment with the IP address and included domains. I configured it both in cPanel and Cloud DNS, ensuring consistency.

DKIM Configuration: The DKIM record presented a unique challenge. The long cryptographic key had to be split into smaller parts to be accepted by the DNS provider. If you’ve experienced the help text in Google Cloud DNS you know it can be somewhat helpful.

PTR Verification: Verifying the PTR record required using command-line tools like nslookup for example. The result confirmed a proper configuration, aligning the IP address with the correct hostname.

Section 3: Lessons Learned

Importance of Testing: This experience reinforced the need for thorough testing and validation. Tools like Verisign Labs, MX Toolbox for lookups and Microsoft Terminal helped confirmed discrepancies and resolutions.

Collaboration and Support: Working with experts and leveraging available resources can lead to successful outcomes. OpenAI’s ChatGPT provided invaluable support, demonstrating the power of collaboration.

Adaptability: The ability to adapt and find creative solutions to unexpected challenges was key to success. From splitting the DKIM key to aligning SPF records, adaptability was at the core of this journey. Yes, “journey!” Thanks ChatGPT.


Navigating the complex world of email configuration is no small feat for this designer. This journey through SPF, DKIM, and PTR records was a testament to the importance of attention to detail, collaboration, and adaptability. If you find yourself facing similar challenges, know that you’re not alone. With the right approach and a willingness to seek guidance, even the most complex email issues can be resolved. If you’re not using ChatGPT to elevate your game and expand into new arenas, the time has come. Although I think I’m starting to write like a bot.

Feel free to reach out to me for assistance with your email configuration needs. Together, we can ensure that your emails not only reach their destination but do so with the trust and integrity they deserve.

Enterprise Data Migrations from OneDrive to Google Drive

Secure, HIPAA compliant, and eDoc compliant platform change to Google Workspace Enterprise Plus

We plan and execute large-scale, business-critical account migrations

It’s vital that everything go smoothly during a business-critical enterprise migration. You can rely on us to handle the automated work so you can focus on your work. We provide all services as well as user training, and support. 

Three Steps for a Successful Migration:

1. Planning


We connect to the services, domains, and to-be-migrated user accounts. We check and ensure that everything is ready to go for each account.


We scan all to-be-migrated accounts in advance and provide an overview with updated plans.


We schedule migrations in advance and prepare switchover plans for users, networks, and devices.

2. Migration

Initial Migration

Next we move mountains of data in the background while your users continue working as normal. 

Sync-Up Migrations

We then perform interim sync-up migrations to fetch all recent changes from the source accounts.

Switch Over End Users

Once ready, your team can make the switch being working in their new accounts.

3. Audit & Clean Up

Item-level Reporting

We track progress at each stage so we can identify exactly what happened during the migration.

Clean Up

We archive source data and clean up any accounts or data that were intentionally left behind. 

Support, if you need it

Everything is communicated each step of the way. We answer your questions in a jargon-free way that is easy to understand and actionable. We schedule all work and keep disruptions to an absolute minimum. When you feel it is helpful, we provide training to ensure productivity remains high before, during and after the migration.

We’re local and we’re here for you throughout your process and in the future when you need us.

Effortless eDoc Retention & Compliance Tailored For You

Facing the tightening grip of regulations? We’ve got you covered. With our professional eDoc retention and compliance services, we save you money and time by navigating the complexities of electronic document management. As AI revolutionizes the regulatory landscape, we help local businesses stay ahead of the curve to protect your business from costly compliance issues.

Learn more about our AI-Enhanced Compliance Solutions

Legal Compliance Made Simple: We translate numerous complex laws and regulations into actionable strategies for your business. We ensure you meet all legal requirements, thus shielding you from potential legal and financial repercussions.

Streamlined Support for Litigation and Audits: Get quick access to relevant eDocs during legal disputes or regulatory audits. Our efficient retention strategies enable you to produce essential records swiftly, reducing the risk of non-compliance.

Robust Data Privacy and Security: Your trust is our top priority. We implement stringent data privacy and security measures to protect your eDocs and ensure compliance with all data privacy regulations.

Boost Business Efficiency: Our organized and efficient eDoc retention strategies accelerate information retrieval, freeing up your team to focus on expanding your business in highly regulated industries.

“Bringing legacy systems into regulatory compliance involves quite a few moving parts. I want my customers to know that I can get the job done. I can develop, deploy and train your employees. When you hire someone for a compliance job of any size, it’s critical to ask questions about previous jobs, errors and omissions insurance and relevant experience.” -Brent

Our Services:

Bespoke Retention Policy: We craft a tailored document retention policy that perfectly aligns with your industry regulations and specific business needs. You receive shareable compliance policy documents for your business associates.

Secure & Encrypted Storage: Sleep easy knowing your eDocs are safe with us. We use advanced encryption technologies in our state-of-the-art storage solutions.

Regular Compliance Audits: We conduct regular audits to ensure your document retention policy remains current and compliant amidst ever-changing regulations.

Organization-wide Consistency: We ensure a uniform application of the document retention policy across all departments and employees in your organization.

Resilient Backup & Disaster Recovery: We have robust backup and disaster recovery plans to shield your data from ransomware attacks and other unforeseen circumstances.

Effective Employee Training: We offer comprehensive onsite training to educate your team about eDoc retention and compliance. Our engaging and memorable classes foster a positive shift in your organization’s approach to data security, privacy, and compliance.

Unleash the Benefits of eDoc Retention & Compliance

Where some see barriers, we see opportunities. We can help contextualize the value of compliance and security beyond meeting regulatory compliance. So don’t let eDoc retention and compliance weigh you down. We provide secure, custom-fit solutions that protect your business and ensure compliance with all relevant regulations. Our unwavering dedication to your success inspires us to deliver top-tier services, enabling you to focus on exceeding your clients’ expectations.

Learn about our HIPAA Compliance Solutions for covered entities.

Learn about our Data Migrations. Consult with us early in your process.

Ready to learn more? Any questions?

HIPAA Compliance Services for Covered Entities

Navigating the intricacies of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) can be daunting. Let’s simplify it for you. This guide will explain HIPAA, its key provisions, and the vital role of Business Associates in maintaining compliance.

Learn more about our AI-Enhanced Compliance Solutions

HIPAA and Its Implications

HIPAA protects patient information and applies primarily to:

  • Health Care Providers conducting certain electronic transactions.
  • Health Care Clearinghouses processing healthcare transactions.
  • Health Plans offering health insurance coverage.

These entities, known as “covered entities,” must safeguard protected health information (PHI) according to HIPAA’s Administrative Simplification regulations.

Role of Business Associates

However, you may be a business associate of a covered entity. If you receive PHI from a covered entity or send to a covered entity you must provide assurances that the information will be used correctly and protected. “Business Associates” perform functions involving the use or disclosure of PHI and can be health care providers, health plans, or health care clearinghouses.

Business Associate Contracts

To ensure compliance, covered entities must have written contracts or agreements with their business associates. These contracts detail the permitted uses of PHI, safeguards, and measures for addressing breaches. For example our fully implemented solution includes procedures for recovering your documents in the case of a ransomware attack.

Exceptions to Business Associate Standard

In some cases, covered entities can disclose PHI without a business associate contract, such as for treatment purposes, health plan sponsor disclosures, and in organized health care arrangements.

Business Associate Agreement (BAA) & Personal Health Records (PHRs)

If your business handles PHI, we can guide you through the BAA signing process. Also, while Personal Health Records (PHRs) are not legally considered records, PHRs provided by doctors or health plans are subject to HIPAA regulations.

Why HIPAA Compliance Matters

Compliance with HIPAA regulations ensures the privacy and security of patients’ sensitive health information. Violations can lead to severe penalties, making it essential for covered entities and business associates to understand and adhere to HIPAA.

Your Path to HIPAA Compliance

Understanding HIPAA is vital for those dealing with PHI. We offer regulatory compliance services tailored to meet your business needs, ensuring your clients’ data remains safe and secure.

Leverage Cutting-Edge Technology for HIPAA Compliance

Our solution harnesses Google Workspace Enterprise Plus and Cloud Identity to support your organization’s HIPAA compliance. We provide a comprehensive set of tools and services that ensure regulatory compliance and data protection.

Understanding Your Data Protection Requirements

We guide you through HIPAA implementation and compliance, customizing solutions for your employees handling PHI. We’ll assist in crafting a data policy and terms related to HIPAA compliance, security, and eDoc retention.

Privacy Commitments and Enhanced Security

We prioritize privacy and security. Your data is under your control, secure, and in strict adherence to industry best practices. We recommend organizations increase their security posture to further protect sensitive data.

The Power of Compliance

Gain access to a comprehensive HIPAA compliance solution combining Google Workspace Enterprise Plus, Google Cloud Compute, and Cloud Identity with our guidance. We empower you to focus on delivering your exceptional services while we keep you compliant with regulatory requirements.

Also learn about our eDoc compliance and data migration solutions or reach out for a conversation.

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Backlink Ideas – Steal These 7 Simple Ideas

Safe and effective strategies to generate valuable backlinks for your business:

  1. Create High-Quality Content: Crafting valuable, unique, and informative content is a powerful way to attract natural backlinks. When your content provides real value to readers, other websites will naturally link to it as a valuable resource. Ask me about content creation tips.
  2. Guest Blogging: Contributing guest posts to reputable websites in your industry is a legitimate way to earn backlinks. Choose authoritative websites with relevant content and ensure your guest posts offer valuable insights to their readers. Ask me how to get started with guest blogging.
  3. Build Relationships with Influencers and Industry Experts: Engage with influencers and experts in your field, collaborate on projects, and provide value. As they recognize your expertise and content quality, they may naturally link to your website. Ask me about building industry relationships.
  4. Online Directories and Listings: Submit your website to relevant and reputable online directories. Look for directories specific to your industry or location to gain quality backlinks. Ask me for a list of online directories.
  5. Leverage Social Media: Actively promote your content on social media platforms to increase visibility and reach a wider audience. This can attract backlinks from others who find your content valuable. Ask me about social media promotion.
  6. Resource Linking: If you have valuable resources, such as guides, tools, or research, promote them to relevant websites or bloggers who may find them useful. Genuine and helpful resources may naturally earn backlinks. Ask me how to promote valuable resources like the one you’re reading now.
  7. Content Outreach and PR: Proactively reach out to journalists, bloggers, and influencers in your niche. Offer them unique insights, data, or stories that may interest their audience. If they find your content valuable, they may include it in their articles and provide a backlink. Ask me about content outreach.

Remember, the key to safe backlink generation is prioritizing quality over quantity. Focus on acquiring backlinks from authoritative and relevant sources rather than engaging in manipulative or spammy practices. Building a strong backlink profile takes time and effort, but by following ethical strategies, you can generate backlinks that contribute to long-term search engine rankings without compromising your website’s reputation.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please let me know!

Happy backlink building!

Website Backups Are Not What You Think

Clients are often surprised when a backup is compromised. But it’s very common at shared hosting providers. Hostgator, Siteground, Godaddy, 1+1, all of the shared hosting providers offer “secure backups” but they are not secure.

For example, a common attack is what’s known as a SQL injection. A simplified explanation would be something like this; 1. The attacker gains access to your database through a vulnerable theme or plugin. 2. Code is added inside your database that adds code to your posts and pages. 3. Visitors to your site can get infected or just experience a warning depending on the browser and many other factors.

The reason most attackers do this is to access A. Your website so they can add links to your site that point to their client’s sites or B. Gain access to all the websites at a certain IP Address. Attackers usually want access to all sites. The aforementioned website hosts will put hundreds of databases and their website files on the same machine in the same location using the same IP Address and security.

So what’s up with my backup?
It depends. If your attacker gains entry and after doing so decides to go get a cup of coffee, I may receive a notice of increased attacks on your site. If I do, I will immediately review and lockdown your site by permanently blocking any agents that are accessing your site nefariously. It takes me about ten minutes to do this if I’m in front of my computer when I get the message that you are under an increased attack. If I’m able to stop the active attacker while they’re getting coffee, I can also block their reentry. But I still have not determined how far they got into your website or database.

So the next step is to basically perform a website and database scan to determine if any of your core WordPress or SQL database tables were compromised. I’ll then follow up with an email to let you know what happened and what actions were taken. However, if the attacker performed the SQL Injection before they got a cup of coffee then I am likely faced with a compromised website and database.

In this case, the next step is to scan your most recent backup to see if it was compromised and if it was then I try to find a secure backup that’s older. There are only two places to check. If both backups were compromised, your website is compromised. At this point keeping the site harms your online domain reputation until it is secure again.

Next, I will contact you with the bad news, possibly some alternative situations and prioritize my tasks for recovery. I’ll review server health be sure any of your other sites were not also compromised.

What does recovery mean when backups are compromised? To explain, “recovery” is not the best descriptor. Repair is now the correct way to describe what happens next. Repairs can be done by third-party contractors we hire to repair your database and website files. Experts can repair a site in a day. Meaning they have tools to that can effectively search and replace code in your database and files. It’s not uncommon to have thousands of files and tens of thousands of database entries to clean. The cost could be as low as fifty bucks for small websites. The cleaned website is not the same as your pre-hacked website. Removing malware can also remove code that affects the way your site looks and feels or worse, your site functionality.

If I did the malware cleanup and I originally built the website, I can more easily get the site back into its pre-hack condition. But the bottom line is time. In a scenario where either your database or website files are compromised, your site will be down for an unknown period of time. From days, to never. Some folks will just give up after learning the real cost of the fifty-dollar website clean ups.

The moral of the story is, “It’s easier and less expensive to protect your site than it is to repair your site”.

What Can I Do To Make Sure My Site Is Protected?

  1. Use our Managed Hosting services. We use industry best practices. firewall, blocking, and scanning services. If you’re not already a managed hosting client, take appropriate action now. We take the time to manage your site security and download backups of your site to our local, external hard drives. This will provide you with a working backup that might be a little dated but at least we’ll have a way to wipe clean your infected site and upload a replacement.
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Let’s Talk SLAs – Service Level Agreements

NASA image of Earth from low Earth orbit (LEO)

Service Level Agreements between a business owner and service provider can be expensive. It’s one of the top IT expenses for many growing businesses. SLAs play an important role for businesses that cannot afford to lose online services. Or a more accurate description would be, businesses that want to be compensated when services go down.

Disruptions to online shops, automated services, communications, productivity, it goes on and on. The more you rely on revenue from the Internet, the more you are susceptible. Some of the most frequent and worst outages occur at the Internet backbone level. This is where access to the internet becomes slow or unavailable. A service disruption at Amazon is more likely and could affect your marketing emails served by smaller provider who rely on those services. For example, an automated email scheduled to send from MailChimp could be delayed as a result of an Amazon service disruption. As we centralize storage and computing of data at large data warehouses like Amazon and Google a chain reaction occurs during downtime. For example, your website is hosted at a Google Data Center in Iowa. Other major hosting providers like Siteground host in the same data center. Once broken the chain can affects everything all the way down to your smartwatch. So SLAs are important to hedge against lost service. Our Google Workspace and Google Cloud Compute clients have SLAs. But the actual value of these SLAs primarily exist in very large budgets when millions of user accounts are affected.

We could provide and have provided SLAs to clients. Today the costs are often prohibitive. Over the years downtime at hosting providers has become less of an issue as they move to larger data centers with redundancy. An SLA costing $500 to $750 per month could give you peace of mind but it’s likely not what you think or what you need.

If we sold you an SLA we would be promising you monetary compensation if our services go down. The realized benefit is limited because disruptions and outages are calculated on a monthly basis. An hour of downtime on a busy Monday morning may not result in compensation unless the downtime resulted in an average monthly uptime drop below say, “95%”.

Because we use Google services for your platform we, like you are still at the mercy of the providers to restore service during an outage. When a service disruption occurs we also wait for service to be restored. We would check last backup integrity, monitor and report progress. This is good for peace of mind but it’s not great for your R.O.I. Especially considering Google service disruptions affect our clients a couple times every few years.

For example, the huge service outage you may have read about last night caused gmail to go down for a small portion of users for 24 minutes. The truth is very different from the stories, at least that’s what we see in your dashboards. For example, this so-called, “widespread outtage” was likely imperceivable by any of our clients or their team members. We hear things like, “yeah, google was acting a little funky” but we cannot be 100% certain the funkiness was a Google issue.

In fact, your Google Admin Dashboard is nearly always above 99.00%. Again, this is calculated over a month so as always the details reveal the real issue. In this case the 1% of downtime experienced in 2020 could happen at the exact time you are trying to warn your team about a virus circulating through your office wi-fi. In this case 1% downtime can be incredibly frustrating and the SLA would automatically credit your account for a few days or dollars of service time. The $2-$5 dollars compensation or free day of service essentially nullifies the value of the SLA. What you really want is someone to be responsible for monitoring and reporting problems to you that are affecting your online business. That’s what we do for managed hosting and marketing services for clients. It’s less of a feature and more of a commitment.

For the reasons mentioned above, uptime is of course critical during certain minutes of the day. But disruption or outtage reporting should not cost you $500 per month. Especially for a healthy business with great backup and retore processes. What you really want is to only pay for SLA services during a problem. It doesn’t mean your other software and hardware doesn’t experience downtime and we’re available to help. Your Google Workspace Account is covered by this SLA.

That’s exactly what our managed hosting clients receive. We don’t report issues that do not and likely will not ever affect your business. From time zone and data center locations to the way you use Google services in your business, you simply do not need to know when the Singapore data center is having a ten minute service disruption for 10% of local users in Singapore at 3am HST. You need to know your online business is protected with standard operating procedures that work. Especially your website security. Security is a much larger threat and a considerable amount of energy is placed in your website security. You really want to know your data is safe. That’s what we do and that’s what you get when you trust us with your online business services. Your security information is always available in your WordPress dashboard. You can always take a look at the Google Workspace Status Dashboard and make your own decision.

But we also want to hear your experience. Did you notice any service disruption? Any funkiness in your Google services i.e.; Gmail, Drive/Docs/Sheets, Calendar or other on any device?

Gratitude for Data and You

2017 End of Year Gratitude for Data and Clients

Gratitude for Data and YouThe end of the year for small business owners is an important reflection period. We reflect on our direction for the coming year. We reflect on our achievements in service to our customers and we reflect on the aspects of our business that resulted in new business.

2017 marked a seminal year in the aggregation, dissemination and use of facts in local marketing in Hawaii. 2017 marked a shift in awareness for business owners and it seems Google, our largest data provider for client efforts, agrees.

Google is sharing a year-end review that I feel would be helpful for our clients. It’s always important to keep these facts in the context of our local markets. Our values and our customers are unique.

“Local” rules our decisions and sales. Tourism plays an incredibly important role for many of you and the way we reach our customers online has changed.  Whether you’re connecting to travelers before they arrive or using new techniques to stay connected with your customers, we’ve been there to help you grow. 2017 on Hawaii Island marked the end of the desktop/laptop-centric approach to marketing and web development.

Local customers now insist on a mobile-first experience online. In fact, your numbers on average have shifted from about 30% online visits to over 50% today. The facts demonstrate a specific need to serve and attract customers on mobile devices, specifically a phone. As a client of Brent.FM we have prepared your website, your hosting environment and social networking efforts. We are serving many of you with Google Ads that trigger for local mobile phone users. When your customers are near you or search for you online they see your brand first. We need to continue to step up these efforts. We have ideas, knowledge and specific methods to help you maintain an advantage in your industry. We’ll be communicating these needs with you in the coming weeks and months in hopes that we can continue to grow your online business and mobile offerings. The numbers are still growing and will be here soon for Hawaii Island.

Did you know that nearly two-thirds of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location? Or that 47% of millennials say they’ve watched YouTube videos to improve their health or feel better after feeling down?

Please have a look at Google’s year-end data wrap-up.

A collection of our favorite industry, consumer, and video insights from 2017 that will continue to shape the marketing industry in 2018. Hawaii will continue to benefit from additional bandwidth and access to online businesses that stay relevant and increase online service. We want to be part of your growth and strive to be your most rewarding business partnership.

Please let me know how I can increase my quality and service to your business or organization.

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Strategies for Earning Consumer Attention

Local Attention Marketing

“Today, people can access a near-infinite amount of content anywhere, and anytime, across almost every screen. While reaching people is easy, keeping their attention is harder than ever and requires a different approach to video marketing—for both creative and media plans.” –Matt Anderson, Contributor, Video Marketing at Google

“Digital can no longer be a one-size-fits-all, repurposed afterthought. Nowhere do consumers expect relevancy more than in digital. The brands that are winning are thinking about all the iterations of creative they need to deliver personal and relevant messages.” – Helen Lin, President of Digital Investment, Publicis Media

How Can This Help Your Local Hawaii Businesses?
Keep your message local and authentic. Use an editorial calendar to plan your messaging for key local holidays that larger brands miss.

“To grab users’ attention, you really have to tailor your creative to each platform. You can’t be focused on one piece of creative for one platform, and not think about how to make it most effective across the ecosystem. One way we do that is by giving our creatives access to real-time data to optimize performance in flight—not after.” – Gail Horwood, SVP Integrated Marketing, Kellogg Company

How Can This Help Your Local Hawaii Businesses?
Place your authentic ad, get enough results to be confident you have reached your audience. Determine why they took action and re-tailor your message and graphic to focus more on that audience. Focus on what works.

“When it comes to capturing and holding attention, there isn’t one ad format to rule them all. On YouTube, for example, it’s not just that a bumper ad allows for different storytelling than a skippable unit or a forced 15-second ad, but that one story can be told across ad units through sequencing and targeting. This approach allows each ad format to work to its abilities without having to cram the whole world into one place.” – Kim Snow, Creative Director, Google

How Can This Help Your Local Hawaii Businesses?
For smaller budgets, a minor variation in your ad from platform to platform can make a difference. Use a similar, yet different image to expound on the story you’re telling. You can’t determine the order they will see your ad but you can build up the mundane into uniqueness for pennies.

“To capture attention, we avoid creating all the content for a campaign at once. As marketers, we spend a lot of time in conference rooms. We’d rather understand the feedback from the audience bit by bit. In that way, we take consumer response and create content off of it that’s personal and relevant.” – Heather Warnke, Director of Marketing, John Frieda

How Can This Help Your Local Hawaii Businesses?
Stay focused on delivering an authentic message. Create that which others will want to share by continually improving your message for your target audience. Visualize your best customers, the ones who will reshare your message. Give them something empowering to their business that they can share with their customers.

“Our research shows that consumers are getting impatient and are shifting their attention from one source to another at a faster pace than ever before. For brands, it means the bar continues to raise. Research shows being useful and relevant is the only way to get consumers to tune-in. Brands should also prioritize platforms that have content people are actually looking for versus just finding in a feed, as lean in platforms grab higher attention.” – Kate Sirkin, EVP, Analytics and Insights, Publicis Media

How Can This Help Your Local Hawaii Businesses?
Be the source. Help your customers share their enthusiasm for your offerings. Do the extra work it takes to be the source and provide relevant, useful information in your campaigns.

Determine your game plan

Fighting blind in the battle for attention is not a life sentence. It’s a choice.

There’s no magic formula for earning a potential customer’s attention, but there are certain principles brands can lean on, including those I just outlined and many more. At a higher level, there’s one simple question I encourage you to ask to determine a game plan for navigating today’s increasingly complex attention economy: Are you spending on the right platforms, and are you leveraging the tools of each in a way that will help you capture and keep consumer attention?

Answer that honestly, and you’ll be on your way to a fairer fight. -View more from ThinkwithGoogle

Attention and Focus – Two Keys to Customer Engagement

Focus and Attention for Small Business Owners

I recently read that focus is the new IQ. Nowhere else is this more visible or true than web design hosting. At least it’s of epic importance in my business. Today I’m sharing with you the “why” behind focus and attention in your online business growth.

In your business, focus on your customer can mean the following;

  • Permission-based marketing that’s personalized. Delivering the information your customers need to make informed decisions keeps them coming back to your emails for more.
  • Customer-focused web design. Keeping the content that’s most important to your visitors above the fold is key. Attention spans are what they are and being mindful of the limited time your visitors can spend on your site is important. So be sure the information your visitors need is viewable when your page loads.
  • Mobile design. Nothing else is more helpful right now. We’ve seen mobile visits go from around 30% to around 50% in the past year for local clients. Mainland clients have been steady at 50% for the last year.
  • Business Intelligence. You need to make informed decisions about your business using facts, not email suggestions from desperate 14 yr olds in Asia.

Attention Means Being Attentive to Your Business and Clients Needs

Many local clients are still warming up to logging into multiple dashboards. For the last several years you have had access to your website traffic, most visited pages, seo analysis, security and performance data. This is viewable above the fold on the first page when you log into your WordPress dashboard. Permission-based marketing campaigns in Mailchimp and Constant Contact still require logging into those services. There are only a few other areas in your business where you can obtain this level of information about your website visitors, prospects, leads, and clients. So I’m encouraging you again to keep those login credentials handy and a shortcut to your dashboard in the middle of your screen. Your attention to these metrics is critical in determining whether you should be spending more or less on IT.

Use the information to create budgets, gauge how well your website and web hosting is performing and make informed decisions about attracting and engaging new business. Doing so will give you the ability to be more attentive to the needs of your visitors and clients instead of just focusing on your immediate business needs. You’ll do well. I’m counting on you!

Once Attention is Working Stay Focused – Focus Focus Focus!

Your ability to focus is critical. All of the information is right here in your browser. That’s great but following the information among a myriad of distractions is difficult. For example, some clients prefer automation for their posts so they are shared on social media when published. There are a lot of reasons for doing so, especially for clients who publish more than once per week. However, automation can also save time by allowing you to keep your focus on your business, your website. By not having to visit Twitter or Facebook to publish, you’re also avoiding distractions. For small business owners, our tools built into your site can be a real time saver.

Dig in Deeper with this Article About Customer Focus and Attention to Attract and Engage Clients

“Attention Attention, attention, attention—this is the variable we’re most interested in to drive real brand lift. It’s important to ask: Are you capturing your audience’s attention? How are you measuring this? Your metric should be determined by your objective—learn more about identifying and optimising to your KPIs here.” –ThinkWithGoogle


Here’s a class that will help improve your focus and attention:

Two-minute refresher on the basics:

This Forbes article could be helpful:

Now that you’ve completely lost focus, call me! I want to help you reduce your IT costs and get the money flowing into the tasks that bring you more business. For additional support, tools and know-how in support of your goals call us. We don’t care what you call us, just call us! Ask for Brent: 808-896-7656