Why Blogging Is Good For Business

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Blogging can be a great form of marketing for your business. Here are some of the biggest benefits of starting a blog on your company website.

Showcase your expertise

One of the most obvious reasons for starting a blog is that it gives you a chance to demonstrate yourself as an expert in your field. You could use blogging as a chance to help solve problems that your customers often face. For instance, a plumbing company may use a blog to offer basic DIY advice (such as ‘how to unblock a toilet’) or help identify problems (such as ‘5 signs you have an internal leak’). This will build trust in your company by showing that you know your stuff.

Improve your search rankings

Blogging can also be good for your search engine rankings. It can encourage you to keep posting new content on your site, which in turn can boost your rankings. You can also use blog posts as a means of inserting keywords and internal links to improve your SEO. There are many other tactics beyond blogging that can improve your rankings – you may want to hire search engine optimization services for this. However, blogging could help to serve as a bit of DIY SEO on top.

Build new doors to your website

A blog could be a way of attracting new types of visitors to your website. For instance, a sports fashion company may decide to write a blog post on ‘10 reasons to take up running’. Somebody who is thinking about taking up running may stumble across this post. While visiting the post on your website, they may then get curious and check out some of your products – and potentially become a new customer. Obviously, you should try to keep posts relevant to your brand to improve the chance of conversion and to keep a brand identity – publishing a post on ‘10 reasons to renovate your kitchen’ on a sports leisure site is unlikely to generate many leads as the two have no connection.

Fuel your social media marketing

Blogging can also give you extra content to share on social media. This could help to make your social media content feel more dynamic. Such content may get shared by followers and could help to gain you further exposure. It could even be a way of encouraging previous customers to revisit your site.

Encourage cross-promotion

Blogging can also be a great opportunity for cross-promotion. This is when two companies help to promote one another, helping each one to generate new customers. When it comes to blogging, this could involve writing a post in which you promote another company – in return, they can write a post on their site which promotes your company. You could even post guest content on each other’s blogs. Cross-promotion is most effective when you partner up with a company within the same nice, but not a direct competitor. For instance, a car dealership and a local car insurance company may decide to cross-promote.

5 Ways To Improve Your Business Blog

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Most business owners are aware that a blog is a highly valuable tool to draw consumers to your website. Whether you already have a blog or not- there’s always room for improvement when it comes to online marketing. To help you to enhance your quality fast, try a few of these pointers.

1 . Revamp your content

The first step to improving your blog is to revamp your content. With so many competitors out there, it pays to seek to improve all of the time. Look at what your competitors write about and ensure that you are providing posts that are more creative, unique and informative than what they have to offer. Of course, your content might be similar to that of your competitors in theme, but this doesn’t mean that it can’t provide something new and fresh on the topic. It’s likely that you outsource your articles, but for some originality, why not write a post or two yourself or call upon a member of your team?

2. Work with an SEO professional

If you want to improve your blog, it’s a good idea to work with an SEO professional. You may know a fair bit about SEO already, but with so much competition out there these days- a professional touch really is a worthy investment. Stephen Gagnon is a great SEO professional who can help your business to build an excellent online presence. You’ll find yourself ranked higher on search engines in no time at all!

3. Try a blogger outreach program

Another way to improve your online presence is to use a blogger outreach service. These services can help you to identify the right blogs and have your links placed on relevant blogger sites. You’ll benefit from a mention of your business by another blog in a similar industry. There are plenty of bloggers out there with a trusted following (that includes your target audience). A blogger outreach service can help you find such bloggers and get a campaign going.

4. Promote more on socials

Don’t forget to promote your blog content across all of your socials. You may have some amazing content, but it’s only valuable to you if it gets seen! To help with your social media campaigns in general, try platforms like Hootsuite or Buffer. These can help you to manage your posts, analytics and more.

5. Add video content

To get more visual with your blog, video content can be a great idea. Often, consumers will retain a message more effectively when they receive it via video. You don’t have to blow the budget to do so, a simple DIY tutorial video can be all it takes. Post on sites like Youtube and promote your content as much as possible.

Lastly, a photoshoot with your team can be an excellent way to get some great pictures for your blog. Stock images can do the job just fine, but original photos will allow you to offer more authenticity. To improve your website, a unique blog is the ideal starting point.

How To Hone Your E-commerce Skills

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E-commerce is now a mature market. Since the dotcom boom and the bursting of the bubble, things have really moved on. The internet dominates when it comes to retail now. Many businesses have moved to purely focusing all of their attention online and have taken everything that they have learned through traditional retailing and applied the logic to the digital realm.

But if you are wanting to set up your own online retail business, where do you even start? Here are some pointers to you if you are looking to enter the world of e-commerce.

Soak Up The Knowledge Of Others

E-commerce is now a tried and tested market place. Fortunately, many others have gone before you paving the way for you. This has cemented customer expectations and put rest to any concerns about buying online. Now, consumers have confidence and are more than happy to buy from online retailers.

With a wealth of experience existing in the world already, it would be foolish to not try to learn from this. With plenty of books, blogs and youtube channels offering advice, you could quickly gain knowledge. You could also check out the top e-commerce speaker in USA and learn from him.

Visit websites of companies that you admire or are reported to be succeeding, and try and check out the more innovative areas of the market as they emerge. You should never stop learning about this ever-changing industry.

Apply The Principles Of The Traditional Retail Or Service Industry

While e-commerce differs from traditional retail and services in the fact that the transaction takes place online, all of the other aspects are exactly the same. You need to focus your attention on developing strong strategies in the following areas:

  • Developing your product or services catalog

  • Ensuring you are able to meet supply and demand

  • Merchandising  your products or conveying your message in a commercial manner

  • Keeping tight control of your stock

  • Tight control of your warehousing and logistics

Make sure you focus on these areas and don’t treat them as an afterthought. Having a great website and social media presence that draws the crowds and drums up trade will only get you so far. Your back of house functions needs to be perfect in order to meet the demands of your business.

Outsource

There are many areas in e-commerce where you can outsource to help you get off the ground. Security is crucial and the protection of your customer’s data is not only an ethical concern but a regulatory one too. Outsourcing your security needs will ensure you are safe from potential attacks.

Website design and SEO are major areas that you can farm out to expert companies. Building a website that looks great, functions well, and will fly in the search engine rankings is vital.

Getting help from external companies is no different from hiring a shopfitter to decorate your store when you open. These services are going to be required if you are to have a professional and well-run e-commerce platform.

Getting Inside The Head Of Consumers

There are two main channels of thought, regarding an approach to business. Firstly, you need to a free-thinker. Never be afraid to venture outside the box, challenge existing concepts and be all that is good about entrepreneurship. The second way is to simply stop thinking, start doing. You don’t have to come up with an idea from scratch, just engage with the consumer and they will tell you what you need to do. The latter seems to be really taking off for startups because it’s basically a shoehorn strategy. Why look for a gap in the market, when you can be shown by the very customers that will buy your products and services? With the added threat of user trust and confidence slumping over big tech giants abusing their privacy, it’s more important to listen to the customer than ever before.

A loyalty event

If you have been in business for a few years, you will already have at least a small group of loyal customers. A small business with tens of thousands of customers will probably have a few hundred customers that you can consider loyal. These customers will have bought multiple products as well as downloaded your app, signed up with an account on your website and subscribed to your email newsletter or promotional messages. Contact these customers directly and invite them to an exclusive event. This event will be purely to gauge their opinion on all your current and planned ideas. Speaking face to face and have a rigorous debate among your most loyal customers, is such an incredibly powerful and helpful move for your business. Your marketing team must play the leading role, so they can gather as much information as humanly possible at the event.

A feedback loop

Undertaking a round of studies into consumer needs is a great way to start things off this year. Rather than sitting around in a boardroom, and brainstorming for ideas, just listen to consumers. Start a research study in a bid to find what customers want in the group of products you operate in. But finding the right kind of people that know their way around the industry, is difficult. By utilizing user research software, you can hire knowledgeable consumers. Recruit them via email notification and survey links. The latter are free of charge making it easier to cast the net far and wide. Alternatively, you may order the software company to use their intelligent sourcing engine to find customers with great insights.

 

More choice the better

Are you one of the millions of businesses trying to find a niche? It’s more difficult to do so if you’re working in a vacuum. It’s better for you to give your customers more choice in your products and services and roll the dice. Eventually, you’ll begin to see a trend in purchases. Perhaps consumers really love your product in a certain design or look. Eventually, you’ll begin to see what customers really want when they are given the choice to customize your products.

It’s never easy trying to get into the consumer’s mind. But having a loyalty event is a fantastic way to absorb ideas from people who operate on the same wavelength.

Moving Towards Greater Data Efficiency In Your Organisation

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Your business needs to be efficient in every way possible. There is no value in wasting time and money where you don’t need to. This goes for every area of your business.

In an ideal world, everything would just manage itself in the most efficient manner. We are getting there. Our digital journey is seeing us develop keen algorithms that help us to make accurate and cost-effective decisions which allow us to deploy our best resources. But as business leaders, we are still human and need to be looking for opportunities for smart, efficient systems that deliver cost-saving in a time-effective manner.

As technology plays such a vast part in our business lives these days, this is no doubt an area which will cost your business a lot of time and money. There will no doubt be areas here where you can look at creating more efficient ways of working.

Cloud-Based IT Systems

One of the biggest advancements in IT systems in the last decade has been the push toward cloud-based systems such as Microsoft Cloud Services. This has been driven by the improvements in broadband speeds and the cost of mass data storage.

Cloud-based systems allow you to store all of your data on the cloud. This frees up hard drive space so you are not going to need to upgrade your internal systems to meet the ever-growing demands that additional data put on it.

The ability to work collaboratively on any document is a huge draw to any business as you can have many employees accessing the same document at any one time. This means that all of the changes to the files will appear in realtime on each other’s screens and they can speed up the process. There is no need to email files back and fore, and as everything is saved automatically, there is no need to wait for data to upload.

There is never a risk of your data being lost on the cloud. It will be stored on very secure servers, and in the event of a system failure at your end, you can still get access to your data as long as you have the right login credentials.

You can set and manage file permissions very easily too, meaning that you can determine the appropriate levels of access throughout your organization. This is a simple tool that will help you to manage your in-house data security in the most effective manner.

Greater In-depth Analysis Of Your Data

Your business needs to be using analytical tools in every aspect of its operations. You need software that can deliver your key business information to you in a malleable way that will allow you to see it in the way that you need to see it.

Having information delivered in a clear and accessible way that offers comparisons between locations, periods, products, and any other parameter that your business may need will allow you to make efficient and effective decisions.

What Is Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work?

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Affiliate marketing has been around for years, since well before the rise of the internet and is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to make money online. But what is affiliate marketing? How does it work? And could you be making money from it? Let’s take a look at the answers to those questions.

What is affiliate marketing?

Making sense of affiliate marketing isn’t too difficult if you think of it as simply being paid for your recommendation and in essence, affiliate marketing is a commission-based referral scheme. For example, a company may use affiliate marketing as a way to gain new clients, paying the referee a small commission for each new client that they bring to the business. Originally, affiliate marketing was conducted through word of mouth, with sellers making a commission from door to door sales and telephone calls. Now, with the invention of the internet, the affiliate market industry has grown to a whole new level and it is easier than ever for companies and affiliates to make big money doing it.

How does affiliate marketing work?

The success of affiliate marketing lies in the human psyche and the truth is that people are more likely to purchase something recommended to them by a friend, colleague, or person that they trust (such as a digital influencer) than they are from seeing an advertisement from the company itself. Digital affiliate marketing plays to this strength enticing affiliates to recommend products or services with the promise of a commission and persuading consumers to purchase items because they feel a greater degree of trust with the affiliate than they do with the brand alone.

The internet truly has been the driver behind the recent success of affiliate marketing as it has made it easier than ever for influencers to reach large audiences and to share their recommendations via links that contain unique tracking codes ensuring that the affiliate earns a commission from any sale conducted through them.

Could you be making money from affiliate marketing?

Whether you are a business seeking new customers or an affiliate seeking new affiliate marketing opportunities then there’s money to be made.

For the business
Affiliate marketing gives businesses a driven sales force that they needn’t employ in house and is a very effective way to promote a business. Motivated by commission these people want to make a sale because they want to make money and as such, they will promote your company or product to thousands of people without it costing you a penny. As a business, all you need to do is look after your affiliates by paying them their owned commission.

For the affiliate
There are now numerous affiliate programs out there ranging from those run by huge corporations such as Amazon down to independent retail stores such as Coconut Lane. There are also now affiliate networks who compile these affiliate programs under one roof, taking a small cut of your commission on the side, but putting affiliates in contact with hundreds of affiliate programs and making it easier than ever for them to share their recommendations with their audiences.

How To Manage Your Business Technology Budget More Effectively

No business can be a success without the right technology. It’s important that you invest enough money in technology and you stay up to date with the latest innovations if you want to stay relevant. If you don’t do that, your competitors will be able to offer a better level of service than you can. The right technology also saves you money and increases productivity, so it’s not an investment that you can skip. The problem is, business technology is incredibly expensive and so many businesses exceed their budget trying to keep up with the latest developments in the tech world. But it’s not sustainable if you are going over your tech budget every quarter, so you need to find ways to keep it under control. These are the best ways to manage your technology budget more effectively.

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Reinvest When You Can Afford It 

It’s important that you invest in technology on a regular basis, there’s no way around it. The thing that you need to think long and hard about is when you should invest that money. When the business is doing well and you start making good profits, you should always consider reinvesting that money, and technology is a great way to do it. If you spend the money when the business is doing well and you have profits to reinvest, it won’t cause you any financial issues. But if you try to make those investments when business is slow, you will feel the financial strain a lot more.

Don’t Let Technology Become Obsolete

A lot of business owners think that they can save money by making their tech last as long as possible. So, instead of updating their computers, they try to keep them up and running until they are completely obsolete and they cannot be used at all. The problem is, computers will reach the end of their useful lifespan long before they are obsolete. They will start running at a snail’s pace and malfunction all the time. You will end up spending so much money on repairing the same issues over and over again. When you add those costs up, you’ll realize that it’s actually more cost effective to upgrade things regularly instead of using outdated hardware.

Stay On Top Of Maintenance

Upgrading things on a regular basis is important if you want to reduce your technology costs, but you need to make sure that you stay on top of general maintenance as well. Even new technology is prone to problems, but if you constantly monitor your systems and perform routine maintenance, you can avoid any big, expensive issues. That’s why you need to outsource to a company like Charles IT and have them manage all of your maintenance. They will be able to handle things like security, and flag any problems before they start costing you a lot of money.

Understand What You Are Buying 

This sounds obvious, but if you are honest about it, you probably don’t fully understand a lot of the business software that you buy. You’re not an IT expert and so it’s easy to be taken in when a sales rep tells you that their new piece of software is going to revolutionize your business with all of its amazing features. But do you actually need those features? So many businesses are paying for complex software that they don’t need, especially if they are a small business. You could be wasting a huge amount of money without even realizing it because you don’t understand what you are actually paying for. Outsourcing to the right IT service will help a lot here because they can advise you on what your business needs and what it doesn’t. When you are implementing new technology, you should always think about the gaps in your business. Which problems need to be solved and which technology will help you solve them? If you come at it from that angle, you are only buying what the business needs, rather than spending lots of money on the vague promise of business improvements.

Buy Refurbished Hardware

When it comes time to replace computers, it’s going to cost you a lot of money. But have you thought about buying refurbished hardware instead? If you buy from a legitimate supplier, the computers will be as good as new, but they will be a lot cheaper. This is one of the easiest ways to save a lot of money on your technology budget.

It’s easy to go overboard with your technology spending but if you are not careful, it could cripple your business. Follow these tips and you should be able to manage it more effectively.

Simple Ways to Avoid Network Downtime for your Business

Loss of power, data or even the Internet can be a serious blow for your business. Here are a few tips that will help you to stop it from happening.

Examine your System for Weaknesses

If your business experiences any kind of downtime then the first thing that you need to do is look at where the business started. For example, if your entire office is out of power then you need to know if it is the blown fuse or even widespread failure. If you do not answer these kinds of questions, then you won’t ever know how to resolve the problem. If you want to strengthen your system then you need to look at both internal and external problems, so that everything doesn’t go down if someone trips over a power cord, or because there’s a power failure in your area.

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Enterprise-Level Structures

Some businesses do everything they can to save on cost by investing in low-grade hardware. This is always a bad idea because the cost of a commercial upgrade is often way cheaper than what your business stands to lose, should your network fail. On top of this, high-grade equipment will help you to maintain a high standard of reliability, so your team won’t lose out on productivity if you have a slow connection. If you want to protect yourself here, then it’s a good idea for you to choose a fibre optic connection. Contact www.solutionpartner.com to find out more about your business IT infrastructure and how it could be improved.

Backup Power

Every building will lose power from time to time. If you have an unexpected power failure, then this will cause your team to lose out on hours of unsaved projects and this is the last thing that you need when you are trying to run an efficient operation. A backup power connection will really help you out here, and you would be surprised at how much it could make a difference to your company overall. If you want to help yourself here, then it’s a good idea for you to invest in an uninterruptable power supply. This will give you backup power to your IT systems the moment your power supply goes offline.

Switch to the Cloud

If you have your office servers connected to a power source without a surge protector, then you may be in trouble should a lightning storm happen. You also need to be wary of tornados, fires, floods and anything else of the sort. If you aren’t careful then this could result in massive data loss and the chances of you being able to recover your data are slim to none. One crucial way for you to stop this from happening would be for you to avoid using your business location for key documents. Cloud servers are housed in colocation centres as they are far more convenient, and they are reliable too. If something did happen then your cloud system would back up everything for you without you having to worry about a thing.

Phishing scams are increasing

Phishing scams are increasing and you need to be ever more more diligent with your security and privacy these days with the scammers’ level of sophistication becoming more and more deceptive.
I would forward this blog post to friends, family staff and share it on social media. Protecting them, protects YOU.

Managing Your Small Business’ IT Correctly

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Running a small business will see you get involved with all sorts of different areas you may be relatively unfamiliar with. Now, nowadays, we’re almost all familiar with tech to a certain level. However, our limits tend to reach to knowing how to operate tech that’s essential to our professional position and purely on the basis that the tech is working as we should. If you’re a copywriter, you’ll probably have a good grip on word processing software, grammar checking software and publishing software. If you’re a graphic designer, you’ll understand Adobe Creative Suite and how to use Photoshop. If you’re working in finance, you’ll know the systems that ensure employees are paid properly. However, when you run a business it can be difficult to keep on top of all the software your company relies on and you may not know how to rectify issues should your tech stop working. But not to worry. Here are a couple of solutions that can help you manage your small business’ IT correctly.

Reach Out to IT Solutions

The first port of call for faulty tech and software should be an IT solutions agency. You probably don’t want to have a full time, permanently contracted IT solutions sector in your small business. This wouldn’t be cost effective. However, there are alternative options out there. You can outsource to a third party who you can contact as and when you have problems. They’ll be able to identify problems and put wrongs to rights in next to no time – minimising the amount of downtime you experience with IT problems and getting you back on the right track as soon as possible. You can read more here.

Fixing Hardware Faults

Many of us will ignore problems with our tech’s hardware as long as the tech is still working itself. We might ignore a crack in the screen, a broken button on the keyboard, or issues with a mouse or trackpad. As long as we can work around the issue, we often will. But this is so illogical. The issue won’t rectify itself and you don’t want to procrastinate and push the problem off until the point where you can’t work around it. Have hardware faults repaired by a professional immediately. Alternatively, if you have insurance, you should be able to claim repairs on this!

Keeping Up to Date with Software Updates and Upgrades

Software updates and upgrades are two different things, but both are pretty important. Updates are when you can get the latest version of the software you already have. Updates are generally free – you just have to take the time out to install them. Upgrades are when new software comes out that you need to purchase. Generally speaking, updates and upgrades are worth your time and effort. They’ll make sure you have the best software possible to do the best job possible.

These are just a few things you should consider and focus on when it comes to managing your small business’ IT effectively. Incorporate them into your working routine! You’ll really benefit from them!

Data Never Sleeps Infographic

I’ve previously blogged about what happens in an Internet minute. This is a recent update, which shows how the most poular apps are changing and traffic is still increasing!

Data Never Sleeps Infographic

I want to thank Alex for today’s submission, provided by Opening Roof Specialists!

How To Get More Traffic – Bottle Cap Challenge Example

There are countless ways to generate traffic to your blog(s). One of them is to jump on the bandwagon of a viral challenge like the Bottle Cap Challenge. Sydney squash coach Aaron Frankcomb and I just posted our squash version of it on my Mindset Of A Champion blog.

Go have a look and see how it’s done!

As I have covered here religiously, every 1% makes a difference.

SEO is important. Keep the conversation fresh and interesting is always a challenge (pun intended).

This one blog post has been leveraged many times, to tell several different stories and reinforces our preeminence as high perfomance squash coaches across many channels.

The Growing Cybersecurity Threat To Your Business (And What To Do About It)

Cybersecurity has long been an essential consideration for business managers and owners. But the nature of those threats has evolved considerably over the last decade or so. We’ve seen a fundamental shift in the incentives facing hackers, making it far more lucrative to develop techniques which can breach digital security.

So what’s going on? In the past, the majority of hackers were mean-spirited people who just wanted to cause chaos for the sake of it. Cybercriminals would develop nasty programs, mainly malware, that would sit on company computers and cause problems. Typical attacks would slow down business networks and computers, annoying workers. The most devastating attacks would erase entire hard drives and make the system inaccessible for days. It was all generally pretty unpleasant.

But there’s been a change. It’s not just about maliciously attacking company IT infrastructure for no reason anymore; it’s about getting hold of their valuable data and either selling it or holding it to ransom. This change has made the act of hacking far more lucrative. Criminals who can get hold of company data can potentially extract significant sums of money, making cybersecurity a growing issue. Ransomware attacks grew by more than 46 percent in 2017.

The following infographic shows the skills that your company needs to counter the threat of cybersecurity. It details the dangers that you face and the capabilities that your organization needs to counter them. It also includes essential information about training in case you haven’t yet developed the skills to counter emerging threats.


Infographic by University of Alabama Birmingham

Would You Know What A Connected Vehicle Is? Automotive Future Thinking

We live in an era where we are constantly connected in some way. Thanks to the use of smartphone devices we can stay in touch with people via messaging, phone calls or even video and imagery. A connected vehicle is following the same line of thought. When this sort of productivity level is placed into the automotive sector, it enables us to be far more connected not just with each other, but with our vehicles. But what is a connected vehicle? What is it really all about? These questions are answered below and can hopefully explain some of the principles and logic behind it.

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What is a connected vehicle?

The first question we all want to know is what exactly is a connected vehicle? Put in its simplest terms a connected vehicle is something that uses mobile internet technology to control key functions remotely via any sort of device such as a smartphone, a tablet, a computer, or even a smart watch. Many manufacturers will have their own version of a connected vehicle, and some will offer more specifics and technology than others. But the principle remains the same. It enables you to stay connected. Some manufacturers will enable you to switch the car on remotely for up to fifteen minutes before you need to get in it. Some will read text messages received on your phone and enable you to verbally reply back. But essentially, not only does it carry out key functions, but it can also enable you to remain in touch with your vehicle at any one time.

How will things change?

When it comes to manufacturing, there will be a few different changes as each manufacturer will have their own connections with it. Things will be considered when it comes to manufacturing and automotive logistics will change because of these enhancements. Connected vehicles could also help to reduce insurance premiums, as you have far more control of the day to day activity of your vehicle, and even the status. Thanks to enhanced GPS tracking, if anything was to happen to the vehicle, the chances of recovery are far greater.

The online world is having an effect

Everything is digitally based these days. We go shopping online for food and clothing, we look at reviews online before heading anywhere or even making some of the bigger purchases. A connected vehicle could essentially enhance your digital works by being turned into a 4G hotspot. Connecting the car not only means that you have your smart device connected, but for things like your diary where you may have already inputted things such as address details, means your vehicle, ahead of time, could actually programme a route for you that avoids traffic and gets you there in time for your appointment or meeting.

Finally, a connected vehicle can be a great safety feature for the driver. The clever onboard system could help to alert you of any potential dangers or even help avoid them entirely by breaking for you. But, if the worst was to happen, some manufacturers have programmed vehicles to alert the local services to offer aid as soon as possible. Essentially, this action alone could be the difference between life and death. Pretty spectacular, wouldn’t you agree?

Ready To Build An App? Here Are Some Steps To Consider

Most businesses want an app. But not because they know what to do with one. But just because it sounds pretty cool to say ‘we have an app.’ But that can change if you put in some of the groundwork in order to firm up the idea and turn it into something achievable. If you have never built an app before it can be daunting. But, you could opt to work with a team like https://iot.intellectsoft.net/custom-android-firmware-development-services and know you’re in good hands.

In general, these are some of the things you should do before you call in the big guns.

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Goals & Problem Solving

Almost all products are designed and come to life because they are the means of solving a problem. The vacuum was a quicker way to sweep, and now all homes have one. Whatsapp was a free form of group communication – now it is an app on most phones. In both cases, they solved a problem for the consumer – but just very different kinds.

Depending on what your business is (or will be) you have the option to market your app to the public, or for B2B. Think carefully about the issues that face both markets and when doing your research, be sure that there is nothing like it already. If there is, and it is a successful app, consider that the company you have to do better than.

Sketches

Sit down with some paper and begin to visualize what your app will look like to the user. This will take a few goes before you get something that you think will work. Get as much feedback as you can. It is an excellent idea to download some similar apps and make a note of what you do and don’t like. This will give you a great feel for how the user experience will be. When you are working with a company to build your app, you will get some excellent guidance as to what layout gets the most use.

Research

You’re going to need to know what people enjoy using and how they will use the app. If you are creating something with minimal options, then you need to make sure that each of them is easy to access – the primary function of the app should be apparent. Quick tips:

  • Test other apps in the same market

  • Find some design inspiration – but careful, it’s not too close.

  • See what the technical aspects of the application will be – are they achievable?

  • How can you market and monetize it?

It is always worth remembering that very few ideas are ‘new,’ it’s more like old ideas are built on and improved over time.

Test, Test, and Test Again

When the app is being built, there will be many bugs and kinks that need to be ironed out before it is rolled out. Call in friends, family, and people who build apps (if you know any) to give you honest feedback about how it performed.

The goal here is to cement your ideas and get the app to the market – but don’t aim for an overnight release. Instead, aim for a high functioning release.

Niche Work! Identifying That Important Gap In The Market

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It’s something we hear constantly in business, that we have to identify a niche. But is this easier said than done? Ultimately, when we are working at getting our product out there, we need to establish this niche in the first place. When there’s a gap in the market, this will make us stand the test of time, and give us a better chance of keeping afloat in an oversaturated market place. But what are the key components to identifying a business niche, as well as acquiring relevant knowledge?

What Are Your Needs?

It’s important to establish this first. It’s better for you to work towards your interests and passions, especially during that all-important planning stage because if you work in an industry that you don’t care about, you will inevitably lose heart and give up. Yes, businesses will test your abilities in other ways, but ultimately, you need that underlying passion to keep you going. It is a simple thing, and while you don’t necessarily need to find something that’s a perfect fit for you, if you have the passion this will provide emotional stability during times of trouble.

Researching The Niche

Sometimes we have to undertake more research than necessary. But if we end up going towards our passions, this will naturally spur us on to find an appropriate entryway. It is important that we research the niche, but also research the competition, not just by using the right tools, but delving deeper in. If you are working towards developing something new in a specific market, something that hasn’t been done before, you might be quite surprised to see that everything has been done before. But what you can do is have a new and exciting twist on an already popular product while ensuring that the competition out there is sticking to their own niche. A topic as leftfield as growing microgreens may seem like it’s not been covered before, but websites like https://microgreensfarmer.com/ have shown that it can be a profitable area. Research the niche, research around it, but also check if it’s a viable approach.

Is It Profitable?

Testing the viability of the project can be done in numerous ways, from market research, to A/B testing. You can have a look on https://blog.hubspot.com/ to really dig deep into this aspect, but be sure that when you choose a niche that there is a chance of it being profitable. You could set up a landing page for pre-sales of product that you are developing, and this can give you a good idea as to the viability. But don’t take this as gospel. Sometimes the marketing needs slight tweaks to ensure that it’s getting to its audience appropriately.

In a basic sense, we’ve all got to find our own niche. But acquiring relevant knowledge is easier said than done. This is why it is important for you to go with your gut instinct. You can test the viability of a product further down the line, but if you’re not able to deduce your own thoughts and feelings towards a specific product, it’s not just the money you will lose, but it could be your enthusiasm for running a business in general.

Great Ways Technology Can Help A Business

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Technology is something which is essential for businesses and people alike. We use technology  every single day to help us make life that little bit easier and this can be a huge benefit for us and everyone else around us too. Today we are looking specifically at business and how we can increase the wealth we aim from our business by using technology every step of the way.

Manage mobile devices for compliance

If you have a really large team of people to manage as a business it can be difficult to keep track of your workers. This is why mobile device management for all company owned devices can be a great thing for you to use. When to comes to real-time visibility into device inventory and behaviour of your employees as they use their phones at work, it can be good to track them and ensure that they are using their phone responsibly.

Use wearable products

Although it might not seem like an Apple Watch or another wearable device like a Fitbit will be much use to you, it can be surprising how good it is. A watch or wearable device allows you to see notifications quicker and respond to things on the go. It will also be handy to have on you when in a meeting if you don’t want your phone to disturb a conversation.

Use Twitter to steal customers

One of the best resources that any business can use online is social media. Social media is a powerhouse of marketing and it is a wonderful way to worm your way into your customers’ thoughts and feelings. To ensure that you are able to gain a good reputation online you can use social media sites such as twitter to get in touch with customers and build positive relationships with them. By doing this you will be able to steal customers from other brands simply by being friendly and showing that you can connect with them in a more tangible way.

Stay up to date with trends

If you are looking for the best way to grab the attention of your audience and tell them in, you need to know how to do that by looking for trends. Let’s say for a company such as Alpha Zone who offer forex trading courses: this is a niche market and can be hard to market for, however when we look at finance and business trends we see that people want flexible careers and entrepreneurship. Marketing a course as being a pathway to financial freedom is a smart way to approach this.

Measure engagement

Google Analytics is a tool which every company should take advantage of as much as they can. If you want to help your customers and make sure that they come back to you, you want to know that you are providing them with content they want to engage with. Measuring engagement on your individual blog posts and content will show you which posts are more popular and therefore which kind of content is the best for you to create. This will increase engagement over time and will allow you to win the hearts of your audience.

Introduce yourself

A website is a key tool for any business who is looking to leave their mark online and it is important for you to introduce yourself and give some back story to your business. People like to deal with people and it is important that you give them this chance right from the start. Introduce who you are and why you built this business and this will create an instant connect with people which is great to use. Make sure that you also think about giving some personal touches to make that connection feel real.

Make a blog

A blog is a handy tool to make for any business and it will allow you to create helpful content which will not only increase the reach of your website, but will also bring a host of new customers to your door. By making content people want to read, they will visit your website more often and they are more likely to end up buying from you.

Use video to engage

Video platforms such as YouTube and Facebook are great for you to use as a business and it will allow you to create some amazing content which will excite your audience and make them want to work with you further. It is important as a business that you are able to engage and wow your audience and video can be a great way to do this. You can use your own mobile phone or an SLR camera to make videos and share them online to bring people in.

Create newsletters

Tools such as mail chimp can make your life so much easier as a business and it will allow you to make some amazing online content to pull in your readers and to promote all of your different products and services. For example you can create a newsletter which is aimed at new customers with welcome deals, or you can create one for loyal customers which includes things such as special exclusive deals and content. One of the things which is good about email marketing is that it is low cost and it is super easy. You can connect and share your latest news with people in no time at all and it can make all the difference for you.

Keep track of data

When you have a large client list to deal with it is important that you keep track of every piece of data and make sure that they are all in one easy to reach place. A CRM system is a handy form of software which will allow you to keep track of your data easily and it will allow you to ensure that every customer is kept happy and in contact with consistently. Consistently contacting your customers can make a huge difference to your sales.

A Step By Step Facebook Group Guide For Businesses

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Facebook is a social media tool which is the latest in the world and the most widely used by people in their everyday lives. For a small business, if you want to market to people in the real world it can be a good idea for you to make a Facebook page for people to follow and engage with. As well as a page, a group can be a great way to engage with people on a more personal level and there are lots of ways you can do this. Today we are going to take a look at how you can make a Facebook group step by step for your small business.

1. Add Group

On the home page of Facebook, you will see a tab which says Add Group. This is the first thing you need to click when making your own community on the social channel.

2. Create Group

Click create group and you will be take to page which gives you some options on how to make your group, what type of group you are and more information.

3. Name Your Group

The hardest part of making a Facebook group is trying to decide what to name your facebook group. If you are a company or brand this should be relatively simple and you can name your group after this, but if you want something more personal, you’ll need to think of a catchy name which people will want to engage with. Make sure it is easy to search and it is a memorable name so people will find it.

4. Add Members

Before you finish creating your group you’ll be asked to add at least member to the group. It is probably easier if you add yourself or someone you know in this stage and then you can start adding more members once you are done making the group.

5. Choose Privacy

Do you want an open group for any customer to join? Or would you prefer a closed group where people have to apply to be part of your team? This depends on the aim of your group and you need to make sure you choose what is right for you.

6. Add Rules

Next, you will need to add rules to the page just in case there are certain regulations for what people can post. For example if it is a student forum where people can share advice, you can make sure that no foul language is used and no one shares cheats or test sheets with other students. Rules help to clarify the value of the group and what you want to achieve.

7. Add Your Cover Image

Now it’s time to slap your creative stamp on the group with a cover image. The image should be 1640 x 856 pixels for your group and you want to make something which is pleasing to the eye but also which gets to the point. Take a look at some similar pages to you and see what sort of cover images they use.

4 Issues Holding Your Website Back

It’s all good and well having a business website, but if it’s not doing all for your company as it could be, then it’s time to make a few changes. Having a small corner of the web for your business is only the start; it’s what you do with it that’ll determine the success. While problems can be wide-ranging, many fall into the same old categories. Below, we take a look at four of the common problems that small businesses have with their website. If your site is suffering from any of them, it’s time to make a few changes!

Source: Pexels.com

A Secondary Concern

Social media is important, there’s no getting around it. However, your presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram should not be your top priority when it comes to the online world. All too often, companies put the bulk of their energy into getting as many followers as they can, coming up with share-worthy posts, and so on. In actual fact, it’s your website that should be getting most of your attention. Your social media channels are not your end goal; they’re tools to push people to your website, which is what really counts.

Too Complicated

It’s common to look at the most advanced, well-designed websites out there, and then try to follow their lead when it comes to your own company’s site. You’ll have a flashy introduction, plenty of headers, and page after page after page. But like they always say: bigger is not always better! And if you’re a small business, then building a hyper-advanced website will do more harm than good. Instead, keep things simple. It’s not so much about how big it is, but just making sure that it’s the right size (if you’ve got a million products, then a million pages is fine, for instance). You don’t need to do more than what’s necessary!

Trust Issues

There is, understandably, a fair amount of skepticism in the online world about the trustworthiness of websites. People are more willing to doubt the legitimacy of a website than they were in the past. As such, if you’re giving a visitor any excuse to question how trustworthy you are, then you’ll be holding your site back. A site that’s down, for instance, is a red flag for a new visitor. To ensure this doesn’t happen, look at working with a company that can manage small business network; they’ll help to keep your website up and running at all times. Another way to win trust is to simply list as much contact information as you can, and to include testimonials from previous customers.

Lack of Insight

Your website generates a lot of data. The question is, are you using it in the correct way? It’s worth taking a look — it’ll show you what works, what doesn’t, where your visitors are coming from, and so on. All of these things can do wonders when it comes to pushing your website forward. You effectively have all the answers already — you just need to look.

5 Ways To Increase Your Reach

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When it comes to being a business owner, one of the hardest things you will have to do is increase your visibility and reach. In the grand scheme of things, gaining visibility is one of the most important aspects of your business as, without it, you wouldn’t be able to grow your customer base. In order for people to buy your products or invest in your services, you need them to first be able to see you. With that in mind, here are 5 ways to increase your reach as a business:

  • Use Paid Social Media Ads To Reach A Targeted Audience

One of the best ways to reach an audience that is completely targeted is to use paid social media advertisements. Pay Per Click advertising allows you to set the demographics that you want your advertisements to be shown to, allowing you to specifically reach your target audience. Although it can cost quite a bit to do, this one of the best ways to ensure you are being seen by the right people at the right time.

  • In Fact, Just Use Social Media Altogether

Speaking of social media, it is one of the best ways to reach new people. With so many people now using at least one social media platform, you can’t afford to not be using it. Whilst it may take some time to get used to and even more time when it comes to committing to posting, the benefits it can bring to your business are incredible. If you manage to create a strong strategy, you could see your sales improve ten-fold. For a guide to creating a social media strategy, you can visit this site here.

  • Create Video Content That People Will See And Share

Another great way to be noticed as a business is to create video content. As one of the most viewed forms of media when it comes to social platforms, this one of the best ways to ensure your brand is being seen. If you create something that you know people will want to share, chances are it will be a widespread video that is shared by hundreds of people. For a guide to creating viral videos, you can visit this site here.

  • Consider Public Directories And Listings

If you are unsure on social media and you don’t think it’s for you, you may want to consider listing your business or yourself in a public directory. As a common method of finding contact information for people, this is a great way to ensure potential clients can get in touch with you. As a great example, you can visit the Aubrey Ferrao page here.

  • Use Offline Marketing Techniques To Reach Those That Are Not Tech Savvy

If you are trying to reach an audience that may not be considered tech-savvy, it may be best to use offline marketing techniques. Whether that means featuring on national TV or buying ad space in magazines, the more money you put into your marketing efforts the better.

Are you looking to increase your reach as a business? What changes can you make to ensure you are being seen by all the right people?