6 Pieces Of Business Software You Should Be Using (But Probably Aren’t)

Technology moves fast and businesses need to keep up if they’re going to stay relevant. There are so many pieces of business software out there that you can use to streamline your operations, save money, and make your employees more efficient. But it’s easy to get stuck in old habits and carry on using the same software that you’ve been using for years, without adopting anything new. Even the business owners that do understand the importance of updating software regularly sometimes get it wrong because they fall victim to a good sales pitch and end up spending money on software that doesn’t really do anything for their company.

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If you haven’t updated your business software for a while and you don’t really know where to start, these are the pieces of software that you should be using right now.

Chatbots

Everybody knows that good customer service is essential in all businesses and in the past, the way to achieve that was through good training and, most importantly, a well staffed customer service team. Having a lot of employees in your customer service department means that nobody is waiting on hold for ages or sitting there for days waiting for a response to their email. All customers get a quick reply and a swift resolution so they’re happy. The only downside to that is the cost. Paying all of those salaries and renting an office space large enough to house that customer service department is incredibly expensive, but luckily, there is some great business software out there that can help you to get the best of both worlds.

Chatbots are pieces of software which imitate a human being fairly convincingly, in fact, you’ve probably seen them already on various sites when you enter and a small chat window pops up asking if you have any queries. 9 times out of 10, that will be a chatbot rather than a real person. They can answer a lot of the basic queries that customers might have which is so valuable because a lot of customer service staff spend the majority of their time dealing with the same issues over and over. But a chatbot can take on that workload, which means you only need to employ people to deal with the more complex issues, so you can massively cut down on the number of customer service staff you need to pay without compromising on customer experience.

Legal Management Software

Your legal department is such an important branch of your business because they’re the ones that make sure that you aren’t going to get yourself involved in a lawsuit and if you do, they’ll help you to deal with it effectively. They also handle any contracts that you may have with vendors and suppliers and they’ll also ensure that you’re complying with any government regulations that apply to your business. Without them, you could easily land yourself in a lot of legal trouble and probably end up with huge fines that would force you to close the business for good. The problem is, the legal documentation that they have to deal with is extensive and incredibly complicated, which means that they’re not always the most efficient department in your business. But if you invest in case matter management software that allows them to easily collect all contracts and supporting documents, as well as email correspondence relating to each separate organization in one place, it makes life so much easier for them. If there is a contract dispute with your shipping company, for example, they can easily bring up the contracts and any emails that you sent back and forth when you were agreeing on the terms, instead of spending a lot of time trawling through endless amounts of paperwork trying to find the relevant bits.

Analytics Software

Social media marketing should be an integral part of all marketing strategies, but a lot of businesses still don’t really know how to do it effectively. The key to successful online marketing is using analytics software properly. When you’re running a campaign, it’s important that you know who it’s reaching, whether it’s connecting well with them, and exactly how much website traffic it’s bringing you. It’s not enough to just launch a campaign and then track sales in the following months to see if it’s effective. You need to know exactly why it’s working so you can continue getting it right in the future and if it isn’t working, you need to know where you’re going wrong. Good analytics software will give you in depth information about the customers that are visiting your site and clicking your ads so you know which demographics are responding well to your marketing efforts and which aren’t. You can then adapt your future marketing efforts accordingly for maximum reach.

Social Media Scheduling

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Using analytics is vital if your social media marketing efforts are going to pay off, but you also need to consider the amount of time that you’re investing in it. There is so much noise on social media and if you’re only posting every now and again, your posts will get lost in amongst everything else and nobody will ever see them. That’s why you should be posting every day and preferably multiple times a day. The issue with that is the amount of manpower it takes up. If you’ve got people that are spending their entire day posting on social media and not working on other areas of marketing, that’s not an effective use of their time. That’s where social media scheduling tools come in, they’re one of the best business automation tools that there is and if you’re not using them already, you should be.

You can set up all of your posts at the beginning of the week and then set a schedule for when you want them to go live. That means you only need to spend a short amount of time at the beginning of the week setting up your social media profiles and then your marketing team can work on other projects for the rest of the week. A lot of the social media scheduling tools also give you good analytics so you can measure the reach and engagement that you’re getting on posts and see which ones aren’t really landing very well.

Document Sharing

The way that people work is changing rapidly and more businesses are moving toward remote workers and flexible schedules. More people than ever are working outside of the office which is great because people tend to be more productive when they can work to their own schedule and do things in their own way. It also means that work isn’t confined to normal business hours, so you can offer a 24/7 service to your customers. However, if you’re going to take advantage of this new style of working, you need to implement software that will help your employees. Document sharing is the most important piece of software that you need because employees will need access to certain information when they’re outside of the office. They’re also great when people are collaborating on projects because they can pass things back and forth easily and work together on documents in real time, even if they’re not in the office.

VPN

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Virtual private networks (VPN) have become very popular as people become more concerned about their online safety. If you’re sending sensitive documents over email or using a document sharing service, you’ll need a good VPN to protect you so you don’t lose any of that data.

A lot of businesses have fallen behind the times and they’re not using these pieces of software. If you aren’t either, you need to update your software right away.

Boost The Traffic To Your Business With 4 Easy Steps

If you are looking for ways to boost the amount of traffic you are seeing on your website, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we are going to be looking at four of the ways that you can do this while keeping it simple, yet effective. We have come up with some simple solutions for those of you who are struggling to find the traffic that your site needs. If you are interested in finding out more about this, then keep reading down below!

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Professional Website Design

The first thing that we are going to talk about is getting a professional web design. A lot of companies justify not doing this by looking at the cost alone without seeing the bigger picture. When you invest in professional web design, you are getting much more than a custom website. You are ensuring that your site is easy to use, that everything you need conveying is front and center on the page and most of all that your users have a pleasant experience when using your website. Yes, the cost can be a little pricey, but you need to think of it as an investment into the future of your business, rather than a one-off payment now.

When you use a professional website design agency, you will find that there are so many benefits that you won’t have thought of. One of these is that if you use a template, your site is going to look the same as others in your industry. People want to see something a little different, not just the same thing over and over. If you choose a professional web design, your company will come across as more professional also, boosting the number of people who will come to your business.

Think Outside The Box

You can’t just think like everyone else on the market, you also need to do something different. For example, if you are already using Google ads, then why not consider using Enterprise automation for Google ads to enhance the experience? The same goes for things such as Facebook ads and anything else that you have running in the background. We don’t mean that these methods are not contributing to your overall traffic number, but they are running more in the background than the foreground when it comes to it.

You need to be able to show your customers exactly who you are and what you can do for them. If you don’t, then they will go and find a company who will, and you are going to lose them forever.

Use Offline Marketing Methods

Just because you are trying to boost traffic to your site, this doesn’t mean that you should forget about the offline marketing methods that you are employing as well. These can be just as effective at getting people to your website, especially if you give them something to remember. What we mean by this is that you should consider using promotional merchandise in order to get people to your site. The name will stick in their head after a quick pitch from one of your employees, and then after that whenever they look at the item, you gave them curiosity will spark. This is one of the best methods that you can use, and it reaches a wide variety of people which is likely what your business needs.

Use Social Media

Finally, you need to be using social media. If you are not, then you are missing out on potentially the biggest boost of traffic that you could have. Make sure that your company has a page on every relevant social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Once you have done this, you can start posting pictures, videos and blog posts all with the aim of getting people over to your site. Run competitions, giveaways and everything like this with the end goal of getting people to go to your site and sign up for your service.

Social media is probably one of the easiest things that you can do by way of marketing your business and driving traffic to your site. Missing out on this is going to be a killer to your business.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now know some of the ways that you can go about boosting traffic to your website. Good luck, and we know that once you have followed these steps, you are going to see an increase in traffic real soon!

Making An Impact In Healthcare Online

If you operate a doctor’s office, a dental practice or other kind of healthcare-based service, you’re probably already aware of the difficulties of establishing an effective online presence. Most of the articles and advice you’ll find are related to eCommerce or other service ventures, whose aims and objectives can be very different from your own.

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This doesn’t mean you can’t use this advice to your advantage. Whether you want to raise awareness of your work, attract new patients or improve communications, there are some amazing things you can do to boost your online presence. Take a look at some of the following tips to help you make an impact in healthcare online.

Build a website that people want to visit

In the rush to have a web presence, any kind of web presence, many websites in the healthcare sector have remained basic and bland. It’s understandable, as the majority of practices wouldn’t have a dedicated web manager or content producer to keep things up to date.

However, if you’re serious about making an impact online, you need to invest in your website. It should be an interesting, attractive destination that works well and speedily. You can see examples of effective hospital and healthcare websites to see the types of things that work and have succeeded in establishing a great online presence.

Create informative and engaging content

To ensure a successful online presence, you need to create some engaging content. Why should people care about you and what you do? You need to sell the things that set you apart to help generate an interest. Through your website and social media accounts, you can create content that people want to interact with or that resonates with them.

Explore different ways of creating engaging content for your social channels and website to help build up a following that can help you to reach your goals.

Do some research

If you’re new to having an online presence, or you’ve not been very active, it’s a good idea to do some research. You can research the activities of other similar organizations and businesses to help you identify trends, what’s current and the sorts of content you should be focusing on. This can help inspire you to set a direction for your online activity and work out what you want to achieve.

Put effort behind your promotions

To drive traffic to your website, and hopefully encourage people to take action once they’re there – you’re going to need to promote it. You can create your own marketing strategy to help you do this, either through social media, paid promotion and other methods that can help you to increase your page views.

You also have the option of bringing in outside help, especially if you lack any marketing or digital personnel. Experts Patient Prism have excellent insights into growing dental practices, and there’s a lot to be learnt from people who specialize in these areas.

Another factor to consider is to spend money on promoting your business. Even the smallest of budgets can be stretched widely using advertising platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, allowing you to target people in your locality and reach the right audience. If you want to experience business growth, it’s worth putting some money behind your marketing to help you achieve better results.

Stay up to date

Establishing a good website and social platforms to promote it is a significant step forward for your business, but now you need to keep it up. By creating some targets and goals for yourselves, you’ll have something to work towards and the basis if an ongoing online strategy.

Some social media tips for small business owners can be very useful to help you keep up. From using scheduling tools to banking your content, there are shortcuts and time-savers that will make it easier for your business to maintain its online presence and continue to grow. Providing members of your team with some additional responsibilities over your digital content can help with their professional development, while also giving them the chance to explore and learn new skills outside of their current role and responsibilities.

Whatever the aims of your online presence, it’s important to form a strategy and find ways of enhancing it. The internet is a great tool for communicating and sharing ideas, so why not be a part of it? A small investment into your online presence could generate some amazing results and help your business or organization get seen by a larger number of people.

Are You Making It Too Easy For Cyber Criminals To Access Your Business Data?

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If there is one thing that every single company needs to focus on these days, no matter which industry they operate in, it has to be cybersecurity. The majority of businesses now handle a lot of private and sensitive data, most of which has come directly from their customers, and suffering a security breach could put them in a lot of hot water. Their reputation could end up in tatters and hardly anyone will want to deal with you again.

In order to improve your company’s cybersecurity, you need to make sure that you aren’t making it too easy for cyber criminals to access your business data. Here are the common pitfalls that some businesses fall into.

Your Network Wasn’t Secure Enough In The First Place

When you set up a new computer network, usually upon the launch of a new company, you need to make sure that it is set up as securely as possible. This will give you a good foundation for your cybersecurity. It’s worth getting in touch with an IT firm, such as F1 Networks who can help you set up the network and secure it right from day one. Most of these kinds of firms will also offer ongoing cybersecurity support if you ever need it.

You Don’t Update Your Antivirus Software

One of the best things you can do to secure your computer network is to install some antivirus software. This should block any viruses that try to attack your network and computers. However, you can’t just install this and then forget about it; it’s important that you keep your software regularly up to date. This will ensure that it is using the latest forms of encryption and other security resources to protect your computer. Viruses are always developing and becoming a lot more sophisticated and it’s really important that you do all that you can to stay one step ahead.

Employees Haven’t Received Sufficient Training

If your employees aren’t too sure how to use certain computer programs or software, they could very quickly put your company at risk of a data breach. The best way around this is to offer all of your workers plenty of training in tech and IT. It’s also important that you brief them in up-to-date cybersecurity processes as well, so that they aren’t making themselves a risk. Ideally, you need to offer them this kind of training at least once every six months to ensure that their knowledge never slips.

Password Management Isn’t Up To Scratch

There are lots of businesses who are guilty of creating public passwords for their whole team of employees and storing them in public. This isn’t a good idea as they could quickly fall into the hands of the wrong person. Make sure you improve your password management so that only authorized people have access to your network and the sensitive data held within.

As long as you don’t make any of these mistakes, you shouldn’t have to worry about cyber criminals getting hold of your data.

The Future Of Business Security: 5 Predictions

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Business security is constantly evolving to match new threats. Here are five predictions as to what the future of business security could look like.

Cloud reliance

Many companies are now starting to embrace the cloud as a form of backup, but it’s possible that in the future all files will be stored remotely and backed up on multiple cloud servers. Local hard-drives are too small and too easily prone to damage and physical burglary that it makes sense for companies to abandon these forms of storage entirely as they become less reliable in the future. Mike Smith, founder of AeroComInc, even goes so far as to suggest on Future of Everything that we won’t have desktops at all – simply a monitor, keyboard, mouse and thin client for keeping it all together.

Biometric passwords

Traditional passwords could be a thing of the past. Biometric technology is already gaining traction and is thought to be the future of identification access. This technology involves using parts of the body for identification such as fingerprint scanning or facial recognition. A company called Bionym has even been developing wearable bracelets that can detect a wearer’s identity via their heartbeat. Once perfected, hackers won’t stand a chance of gaining access via these forms of identification.

More automation

There’s currently a growing shortage of skilled cyber professionals, but as Sophie Jdouri suggests at Barclay Simpson this may not be too much of a concern for the companies of tomorrow. Already, businesses are investing in cybersecurity automation. This involves using artificial intelligence that can react to cyberthreats and come up with its own solutions without the help of a cyber expert. Of course, there are ways in which hackers may still be able to outwit robots (perhaps by using robots against robots), but on the whole it could lead to reduced crime for most average business whilst saving these companies money and resources.

Smart technology integration

Security is already being merged with smart technology. There are burglar alarms as produced by companies like ADT that can send email alerts to your phone every time the alarm is triggered and deactivated so that you can monitor its activity when not in the office. Such smart systems can even be linked up with CCTV allowing you to watch security surveillance on your phone. This technology can allow businesses to keep an eye on their work premises from any location in the world and react speedily to an attempted break in – it could become the norm for all companies to implement this technology in the future.

Drone security guards

Drones are already being used for business purposes, helping to take aerial photographs and monitor crop health. They’re also starting to gain popularity as a method of security – companies like Dronevolt have already produced drones that can act as flying security guards. This could allow fast reaction to criminal behaviour as well as the ability to take aerial video footage of intruders, whilst also save guards from having to do physical patrols.

Resources All Pro Bloggers Need

When you finally take the plunge and turn your hobby blog into a full-time career, you will notice that working as a professional blogger is a completely different kettle of fish than doing it in your spare time. Your blog will instantly become a business, and it is imperative that you treat it as such. That means you are going to have to think carefully about your budget as you will need plenty of capital to now invest in your blog so that you can take it to the next level. But all that money isn’t going to be the only thing that will help you handle your blog as a new business. You also need plenty of resources as well.

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There are many different resources and sources of support that all companies will need to ensure that they can trade as smoothly as possible. However, bloggers might need slightly different tools than your traditional corporate company, as you will be operating so differently.

Here are a few examples of the types of useful resources that all pro bloggers need.

A Reliable Hosting Service

First of all, you need to make sure that you are using a reliable hosting service. This is the platform that you use to publish your website with. Most people tend to go with WordPress or Squarespace. These kinds of hosting services will give you the chance to design your blog so it looks exactly how you want it. You should also be able to monetize the site quite easily, as bost hosting services will give you the chance to add an ecommerce platform. When you are trying to decide which hosting service to go for, try to find one that offers unbeatable security so that you don’t have to worry about losing any sensitive data in a data breach.

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An Online Editor

Once your blog becomes a business, you will need to be a lot stricter with your publishing schedule. You will need to regularly post new blog posts and other kinds of content so that your readers don’t get bored and start following a different blogger. This can mean that you have a lot to do each and every day. In fact, you might have so much to do that you have hardly any time to reread your posts and check them for errors. Of course, this isn’t going to be good for you as it means that posts are a lot more likely to be uploaded with errors in them. So, you might want to start using an online editor like Grammarly. You simply copy and paste your whole editor into Grammarly, and it flags any spelling or grammar errors that you need to correct.

A Transcription Service

These days, more and more bloggers are interviewing subjects to write blog posts about them. Lots of professional bloggers find that these interview-style posts really appeal to their audience, especially if they chat to people who are relevant to their readership. There’s just one problem with carrying out interviews – transcribing everything that was said afterwards can take up a lot of your time! Thankfully, though, you can always use a service like Take Note to do the transcribing for you. You’ll also find a lot of freelancers who can take care of your transcription needs for you. Then you can spend more time writing up a great post about the interview once you have the completed transcription.

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A Way To Hire Freelancers

Once you start running your own blogging business, you might find that there is just too much for you to do on your own every day. If you do try to take on everything that needs to be done then you might end up working extremely long days and edging closer to burning out. Obviously, that isn’t very good at all! There’s one way around it, though – you just need to start outsourcing some tasks to other freelancers. For example, you might want to hire a couple of writers to help you keep up to date with your publishing schedule. It’s also a good idea to hire some freelancers who have some expertise in business areas that you aren’t too familiar with. An accountant will come in very handy when it’s time to file your annual tax return, and you might want to look for a marketing expert to help you boost your blog’s reach.

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A Professional Network

Lots of bloggers make friends with other bloggers, both in their local area and online. Once you start to take your blog seriously, you can start to call this network of other bloggers your professional network. These are the people who will know exactly the kinds of issues and problems that you will face on a regular business as a full-time blogger. So, they will be by far the best people to reach out to when you need some guidance or advice. If you don’t know any other bloggers at the minute, it’s worth doing a Google search to see who else is covering the same kinds of topic as you in the blogosphere. Why not send them a quick message to reach out and introduce yourself?

A Source Of Stock Photos

You will need to make your blog posts as bright and inviting as possible, and that is possible with plenty of photography. Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to hire an expensive photographer. As long as you know a top-quality website for stock photos, then you will be able to find plenty of great photos that you can use free of charge.

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An Email Marketing Service

Every good blogger knows that they need to encourage loyal readers and new followers to keep on returning to their website. One way is to set up an email marketing newsletter. Your followers will be able to sign up and you can then send out emails to notify them about any new posts that you publish. Many bloggers find that these kinds of emails help them to increase their readership too.

Good luck with the new blogging business!

How To Blur The Background on Skype Calls

Microsoft just introduced a cool new feature to Skype this week that believe it or not allows you to blur your background in video chats so  people don’t see your messy home or office behind you during a video call.

For now, it works only on desktops but not on smartphones. It’s an optional feature, so you don’t need to use it, but click here to see what it looks like and how to turn it on.

How to turn off FaceTime to avoid Apple’s eavesdropping bug

This latest news alert is worthy of quick consideration – the steps are super quick and easy to resolve on all your devices:
Please share amongst friends and family.

2018 Internet Minute

Ever wonder what happens in 60 seconds on the Internet?

Check this out!

2018 Internet Minute

Psst!

Your devices are doing this automatically – even while you sleep!

The Reasons Your Customers Are Going To Your Competitors

Have you found that your customers are leaving you to go to your competitors – or they’ve simply not returned, and you can only assume that that’s where they have gone? You might think that this is through no fault of your own, but the truth is, if you were to examine your actions, it very likely is something you’re doing, or rather not doing, that is the issue.

Below are just some of the reasons your customers might be leaving you for your competitors. Take them on board and see what you can change to create a better customer experience:

Your Website Doesn’t Look As Professional

Your website is your 24/7 storefront, and one of the most important things about your business. If it doesn’t look as good as your competitors, it doesn’t really matter how much better what you’re offering is; they’re going to go to them. Whether you have a strange lay out, a slow loading site, or they can’t find the information they want quickly and easily, they are going to go elsewhere. Maybe bad product pictures are to blame, or something entirely different. Whatever it is, have a critical eye look over your site to help.

You’re Not Asking For Feedback

Asking your customers for feedback may make your ego feel a little bruised, but it’s important. You don’t have to change every single thing that they say, but if something crops up on a few occasions, it is definitely worth a look. Your customers are the most important group of people to your business, so show them that you listen to them.

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You’re Not Treating Your Customers The Way You Should

Customer service is so important in this day and age, especially since a bad experience can be put on the internet and spread for all to see. Customer relationship management software is a wonderful choice to help you stay on top of the game and keep your customers happy. You want to make sure you’re nurturing relationships in the long run, too, and not just giving them a good experience when they buy.

You’re Not Gathering Enough Data

Gathering data on your customers and people who visit your site is imperative for improving. You want to know how they are browsing and shopping so you can make improvements.

There Are No Incentives

Incentives to shop with you can be great and keep people coming back. Can you introduce freebies, discounts, or loyalty cards? Find a way to make your audience feel special and want to come back again and again.

Your Social Media Marketing Is Weak

You can’t get away from how important social media marketing is in this day and age. If you have a strong online presence, you’re going to look far more attractive than a competitor that doesn’t have one. Are you putting in enough effort on social channels?

Lack Of Innovation

Finally; a lack of innovation could be your downfall. If you’re falling behind, your competitors will be the innovators and you’ll be left in their wake.

Website Failures You Want Avoid

The website of a business is the bread and butter if you will. Absolutely everything is done online now, and for a business, it really is the place to be. But, considering everyone relies on the internet so heavily, and it will be the number one place that your company gets its sales from, you don’t want to be doing anything wrong. Even if your website is down for just a minute, it can still massively disrupt the sales that you make for that day. It’s not even downtime that companies struggle with, there are some serious mistakes that a few of you might be making, without even realising that you’re making them. Before they go as far as to damage your website completely, let’s explore a few common failures, and how you can avoid them!

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Failed Protection

This is the biggest one that we want to talk about. Think about how many people you have visiting your website every day. Whether it’s 500 people, or 5, you still have people coming through your website. Now, think about how many of them input personal data into your website. Whether it be something as simple as their name and address, or something a bit more serious such as their banking details. It’s part of the E-commerce chain, all customers will have to do it if they want to buy something from you. But, think about how many of these customers are protected. Even something so simple as ssl certificates running out can create a big problem for your customers. It takes down the brick wall that was protecting your customers details, from the hackers trying to get in. And you best believe that some hackers are trying to get in. If they see a window where your SSL certificates are down, they will pounce! Keep your customers safe by always having up to date SSL certificates, firewalls, and an excellent server that’s managed 24/7, and with its own safety in place.

Failed Design

The design of your website is going to play a big part in the happiness of your customers. If they’re using a website that’s sub par, and with many design faults, they’re going to click off quicker than they clicked on. Even if your design started off perfectly fine in the beginning, it’s easy enough for it malfunction later on down the line, which is why it’s so important that you have a trustworthy web developer who is going to be able to fix bugs for you. The worst design flaws are ones that stop customers from paying, signing up, or browsing your website altogether. If buttons don’t work, or information doesn’t input properly, you’re only going to lose out on custom. Our advice is to test, test, and test again, until you know that you’ve got a website that’s going to be perfect for your business. There are some really good web developers out there that can completely transform your website if what you’re looking for is to go down a completely different vibe.

Failed Marketing

If you haven’t marketed your website on its own at all yet, then you’re not doing this whole website thing right. So, you want your website to be noticed, and you want your business to be noticed in general. But, how many companies would you say that your website is going to appear ahead of. We’re not talking about the really minor league companies who are just starting out, we’re talking about the big boys who you’re looking  to beat. The chances are you’re going to say none of them, and we’re not surprised. To get noticed within a search engine, you’re going to have to do some extensive SEO marketing. If you’re not doing SEO, then you’re failing at the website game. SEO will take you to the top, generate organic leads, and improve the flow of traffic to your website. We highly recommend that this is something you check out!

Failed Improvements

Finally, and maybe most importantly, if you’re not improving your website, you’re not going to get anywhere with it. Each year, or even every few months, you should scour your website for things that you should improve. Whether it be because other companies have shown you handy little tips, or whether you just don’t like what you’ve got in front of you. Website improvements can fail if you just don’t do them at all, or if you try to over complicate your website. So, stick to simple and subtle changes, but ones that are going to make a big difference for you.

Boosting Your Online Business

Running your own online business can be tough. There’s no one telling you what to do or letting you know when things could be better. There’s no office full of people to brainstorm with, and no one else to take the blame when things fail. There is, however, an awful lot of competition and the world of online business is ever changing. New advancements, new SEO strategies, new plugins and social media platforms are popping up all of the time. Meaning you can never settle. You never have time to take a break or relax. There are always ways for your business to improve and unfortunately, if you don’t keep up and do what you can to boost your online business and implement new ideas and techniques, you will very quickly fall behind.

So, what can you do to boost your online business without spending a small fortune on expensive marketing teams, designers, market research professionals and staff? Here are some ideas to help.

Prioritize and Look at Your Goals

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When I say, there’s no one to tell you if things aren’t going well, that’s not exactly true. Your analytics will give you a pretty good idea of what parts of your business are moving in the right direction, and which areas aren’t working. You’ll quickly be able to see who’s looking at your website and when. You’ll be able to see where your traffic is coming from, how long it’s staying on your site and what it’s clicking. Your sales and conversion rates are also useful.

When it comes to boosting your business taking an in-depth look at your website analytics is essential. Look at what is working and what isn’t. Then, focus on what’s not working. Is it worth your efforts? If you spend days redesigning specific pages or elements, would it really boost your business? Or would you be better off letting them go?

If you currently get no traffic from your Pinterest profile, is it worth putting hours into it? Is that really where your target audience spends their time? Or would improving your SEO and spending more time on Facebook help? Rent an office from Level Office Circle Tower and take some time to analyze your website properly. Then, set yourself goals and prioritize where you need to focus. Remember to reevaluate every three months or so to reassess how things are working. You can always make changes.

Ask for Help

One of the great things about online business is that it’s easy to connect with your audience. If you want to give things a boost, there’s no better way to find out what it needs to improve than asking your audience. You can use social media poles, emails, surveys or just conversations to find out what your audience want and need from you. Then, take the time to find ways to give them what they want.

Add Video

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It’s thought that by 2021 video will make up 82 percent of the internet. So, if you don’t already use video, you are falling behind. There are many ways to use video online. You could host a YouTube channel with advice and tutorials. You could add videos to your sales pages to show how products work or offer advice on using your services. You could add videos to other informative content on blog posts, or you could shoot social media stories to show a more behind the scenes and personal side of your business. Take a look at other ways to start using videos online and get started.

Cyber Security Checklist

FYI, I just published an original article “Ward off hackers with this cyber safety checklist” on the Internet’s #1 domain registrar, GoDaddy.com, it’s my chosen domain registrar and primary resource for checking and buying domain names (URLs) for blogs and websites.

Click on the hyperlink to read the article – it’s a compreshensive summary to make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect your website and blog from hackers and cyber attacks.

Guest blogging on high value sites is a powerful Internet Marketing strategy that I explain in detail in one of my many programs. Click on the hyperlink to learn more.

Stop Letting Your Logistics Fail

You don’t want your logistics to fail. It’s such a vital part of your business, and it’s one of the ways that you can maintain customer popularity. Because the whole chain of the purchasing and delivery process can be affected if your logistics isn’t working right. If you have a delay in delivery, which is where most companies fail logistically. But the thing is, so many parts of the logistical process are outsourced, so it is obviously hard to manage the outcome of certain parts, if you’re not the one managing it. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be doing it, we just think there are some things that you could be changing to make the whole process run a lot more smoothly, so have a read on to find out more.

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 Rely On Technology

Every business should rely on technology, it can often do so much more than we can do. Thankfully, one of the areas that technology has improved massively, is the logistics of business. It has now become so much easier to track and organise items that you might be delivering or shopping, if you rely on technology that is. It has now become so important that a company uses fleet management and logistics management software, that there are now one’s for industry specific purposes. For example, Sertica is a software specific to fleet management and document maintenance on board fleets, which should make things easier to track., This is definitely something a lot of companies are crying out for. You just have to know what bits of software you would be able to utilise.

What Can You Move In House

Like we’ve said, if you’re managing everything in house, then it’s hard to keep things in your control. Even with things such as technology, you are putting your business at risk of malfunction. But that’s just a warning, because even when you’re managing things yourself, it can go wrong. However, if you feel like too many things are going wrong with a company you’re outsourcing to, consider whether you can manage it in house. It might just mean hiring another employee, or it might be a task you feel like you can do. Or, there’s always the option of playing around with the companies that you use, and then finding one that you can build a connection with.

Streamlining The Process

Streamlining the process shouldn’t be too hard. You just need to make sure one task flows from one stage, to the next, and you take out any external factors that could disrupt this. One that really can put a spanner in the works, is the customers ordering from you. They can switch and change things that can create delays. Have a strict policy of the order being final after payment, and you might find that you save yourself time and money. The same goes with anything else that you might be getting held back with. Take out the distraction, and you will find that your business has success.

Why SMS Should Be Part Of Your Marketing Strategy

Did you know that 19.4 million Australian’s have a mobile phone?

That’s a staggering number and we are fast-approaching New Zealand’s 100% mobile phone penetration rate (yes, there are more mobile phones in New Zealand than kiwis).

With almost every Australian owning a mobile device this flings the doors wide open on a marketing channel that is too great to ignore: SMS marketing.

Even though SMS is nearly 30 years old it is one of the most effective sales and lead generation tools available to businesses here in Australia.

So…what makes SMS marketing different?

  1. 1.     High open and response rates

SMS messages receive between 82% – 97% open rates, compare that to email (which is a commonly used marketing channel in business) receiving 20% – 40% open rates.

  1. 2.     Direct access to customers

Unlike a lot of current marketing methods there are no ad blockers or email spam filters to worry about, an SMS goes straight through to your customer’s phone unimpeded.

According to Smart Insights:

  • Over 97% of text messages are read within the first four minutes
  • 19% of people will click a link in a SMS campaign rather than just 4.2% for emails
  • 30% of SMS campaigns receive average response rates of 30%, compared to 4% for emails

Mobile Marketing Watch states that 75% of millennials prefer that you text message them for promotions and surveys.

  1. 3.     Permission based

Just like email people need to opt-in to receive your SMS messages which increases the quality of subscribers and further increases open and response rates for your campaigns.

  1. 4.     Be where your competition isn’t

Chances are you competition isn’t inside your prospective customer’s phone which gives you a powerful channel to:

  1. Strengthen your position inside the customer’s mind
  2. Pre-empt competitive initiatives by making offers before your competitors.
  3. Make it harder for your competition to see your marketing efforts. The SMS channel is a little harder to copy since it’s inside your customer’s phone and not publicly available.

SMS marketing services are typically cloud-based allowing users to send text messages from any device that has an internet connection and can even be sent from your email platform.

How to SMS marketing works in 3.5 steps

Text messaging doesn’t work if you have no one to send a message to so the first part of the equation is to build a list of customers or qualified leads.

Just like email, the money is in the list.

Step 1: Keyword and short code

Keyword: this is a short phrase that a prospect replies back with [e.g. 49dollar]

Short code: this is a short code that people text back to [9999]

Step 2: Irresistible offer

Pay only $49 per year for our SEO software (usually $197 per year) and save $1480.

This is how the text message would look:

Text 49dollars to 9999 and use our SEO software for only $49 per year
saving $1480 offer ends 48 hours

Step 3: Promote

For SMS to be successful you need to generate a list of qualified people which means you need eyeballs on your offer.

Simply integrate and promote this offer throughout relevant marketing channels like your website, social media, emails, POS etc.

Once people respond they are automatically added to a contact group inside your SMS dashboard and now you have a responsive list that you can effectively reach out to whenever you want to drive sales or build awareness around a new product range.

Step 3.5: Confirmation

This is a friendly confirmation SMS that is sent post opt-in.

The job of this SMS is to confirm to the subscriber what they have signed up for and to set a clear context for the relationship i.e. what they can expect from you.

Keep in mind that there are SPAM laws in place for text message advertising so buying mobile lists is a definite no go strategy – the highest quality lists are grown organically like in the example given above.

SMS Marketing Tips

Once you’ve built your list you can send targeted SMS messages (through segmented lists) to:

  • Generate foot traffic for your bricks and mortar store.
  • Recover abandoned carts for your eCommerce store.
  • Pre-sell products and services.
  • Improve the performance of other channels (send a reminder to webinar attendees to reduce no shows).
  • Promote other businesses and improve business relationships.
  • Drive bookings on demand for slow nights for restaurants and bars.
  • Keep customers updated on big news and events.

Every industry uses SMS in a different way.

Text message marketing can be used in many ways to grow your business, for more tips, here’s a great guide on how to use SMS effectively.

Who can benefit from SMS?

If your customers own a mobile phone then you have an opportunity to widen your sales and marketing funnel and reach them where there is a lot less competition.

According to Deloitte 88% of Australians have smartphones, also, 19.4 million Australians own either a smart phone or standard mobile phone which is getting close to 100% penetration opening up a new channel for any B2B, B2C or charity organisation to leverage.

Bohemian Guitars

For example, online retailer Bohemian Guitars managed to grow their sales by 98% by integrating SMS into their website sales process.

Ford Motor Company

Ford motor company increased their conversion rate by 15.4%) Health clinics are using SMS to reduce no-shows and keep patients updated.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts implemented an SMS promotion that increased their store traffic by 21%. Interestingly they found that 17% forwarded the offer to their friends and 35% of the subscribers also bought a latte and coffee.

Lifestyle Fitness

Lifestyle Fitness generated $41,400 in membership renewals with only a $200 spend.

Health clinics are using SMS to reduce no-shows and schools are using it to keep parents updated on sickness, closures, school outings etc.

If you’re in a practice or organisation where it’s essential that patients or clients read your messages or if you’re in a business that relies on lead generation and driving repeat business then SMS marketing should be considered as part of that mix.

 

 

 

Is Texting Professional?

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Texting is commonplace in our societies these days, and we use it more than any other form of communication because it is fast and convenient for us to use. You may have heard of businesses using text for their audience, and you may have wondered whether you can do the same thing yourself. The main question we ask ourselves is whether or not it is professional to text our customers.

Who are you texting?

Texting within your business or outside it will be acceptable depending on the recipient of the text. For example, a texting service such as http://www.plivo.com/sms-api/ can be brilliant for sending out information and offers to your customers, and this is completely professional for you to do. However, if you want to text your superior in the workplace, this is not professional at all. It is a case of deciding who your recipient is and playing it safe.

What time is it?

It is incredibly important that you take care of the time that you send a text to your coworkers or colleagues. If you send out a text which is to do with business after working hours, this will not be well received by your colleague and is not an appropriate thing to do. If you want to send a message for someone to see the next time they are at work, send an email to their work address. When it comes to customers, you are free to send your texts at any time, however early evening is likely the best time.
Is it urgent?

The general rule of thumb within the workplace is that you should always use an e-mail to communicate between yourselves because this allows all interactions to be kept and recorded for later use. Texting should only really be used if you are out of the office and need to send a quick update, or if the matter is too urgent to write an email. People are more likely to read a text so texting is better in an urgent situation.

Is your competition doing it?

One of the things you may not have already thought about is whether or not your competitors are using text messages to communicate with their customers. If you find out that they are doing this, you may want to invest in a service yourself. There are many different ways you can use texting for business, and here are some of the things you can send: https://www.textmagic.com/blog/text-message-templates-for-businesses/. Texting your audience is a great way to stay in touch and make sure that you stay on their mind throughout the year. Take the time to come up with exclusive offers and messages to send and you will likely get a great response from it.

Texting is professional as long as you use it for the right thing, at the right time and to the right person. Texting is a part of modern life, and because of this we should embrace it and use it to out advantage, both personally and for business.

Business Names and URLs

It’s never easy to come up with business name ideas. I recently blogged about it on my Business Coaching Blog and thought I should mention it here because every business needs a domain name or URL to match their business name.

The article I refer to in my blog post was actually published on the Internet’s #1 domain registrar – GoDaddy.com.

Click on the hyperlink above and have a look –> if you want some really cool ideas to come up with a new business name!

 

The Internet: Who Owns Who?

It is surprising to see just how connected all of the main brands that we use are. In fact, just a few companies are the owners of the majority of the businesses that we interact with on pretty much daily basis. A huge number of brands are owned by just a few multinationals.

The world seems a lot smaller when you can see all the company acquisitions that have taken place over time. The main companies globally include Facebook, Google, eBay, Apple, TripAdvisor, Expedia and a few others. It is incredible to see just how many other companies are owned by these industry giants, many of which seem to be stand alone.

Since its founding, eBay has acquired the staggering 59 companies overall. Some of these companies are also in the online auction industry, such as iBazar and Tradera. Some of eBay’s biggest buys were Skype in 2005 and PayPal in 2002.

There are many reasons for these acquisitions for both larger and the smaller companies. Smaller businesses get security and knowledge from the parent company. On the other hand, bigger companies may have purchased the smaller ones for a range of reasons.

Some of the most common include eliminating competition, acquiring technology and skilled workers, adding to their product range, having an additional source of income, sharing resources and many others.

To us consumers, buying and selling some of our favourite brands are likely to go unnoticed. In many cases, the purchaser may not make any changes to the purchased company, while in other circumstances they might entirely redesign how it runs.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO SEE THEFULL SIZE GRAPHIC!

Internet Companies - who owns who

Apple Users Beware Of New Phishing Scam

This lastest phishing scam is affecting unwary Apple users.

Australian, be careful of this Origin Energy Phishing scam.

Offline Marketing vs. Online Marketing: The Pros and Cons To Consider

With a growing number of ways to market your business, there seems to be a bit of a debate over using traditional marketing for your business (offline marketing) or going down the online route as you could capture a new audience. So to know which may be better for your business, it is a good idea to have a greater understanding of each of them. So this article is aiming to give you a clearer understanding of each type of marketing, and the pros and cons. Then you can weigh up what will work better for you and your business.

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Offline Marketing

Marketing your business offline is a way to market your business and attract new customers using only methods like radio, print, magazines, television, and posters. If you have been in business for a while, or are only used to offline marketing, then it can be easy to see the positives of it.

Take print advertising, for example. This is one of the most traditional forms of advertising and marketing your business and getting new customers. You can use your budget to target newspapers and magazines on a national scale if needed, as well as sticking to things like posters and flyers if your business is one that is more aimed at people locally. It can be expensive to advertise in print, and you can’t be too specific with who will read your ad, but with the right publications, it can be a way to see a return on your investment.

As a result of getting a few customers, you can then target them through direct mail if you have their information. This allows you to send out something specific to them, such as a birthday discount or the latest offers on the products similar to what they have already bought. While this can be a good thing and uptake is often high, it can be seen as a little bit spammy, and it won’t work for all business types.

Traditional networking is something that you can’t go too far wrong with, and it is another form of offline marketing. Talking to people, those in the industry at trade show exhibits or to potential customers on the streets, can be a good way for people to see the face behind the brand and learn more about what you offer. You can make yourself memorable in the right way, and then it could lead to other opportunities and collaborations. Having business cards to give away is a great idea too. Things that will get your name out there is key.

So as you can see, there are good things about all of these. You just need to see how effective it could be for the type of business that you have and what you need to do to see your business grow.

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Online Marketing

Because of the way that the world has shifted online, it is only natural that the way we do business and market our business has shifted as well. But what specifically is online marketing?

It can be anything from simply having a website, to blogging and working with bloggers, to using paid search engine ads, as well as looking to build your SEO and using social media. So to start with, getting yourself a website is a good way to go, along with some social media channels. If they are used regularly, then it can be a good way to market and grow your business, as you could be reaching a whole new group of people.

One of the benefits of online marketing is the specificity of the people that you will be marketing to. With a newspaper or magazine ad, you can have a rough idea about who the ad will go to. Certain demographics will read certain things; but you can’t be sure. The thing is, when you work with bloggers on campaigns, they can let you know the specifics of who reads their articles as they will have the data from their web host or Google Analytics.

Likewise, if you want to use social media for advertising, then you can also be pretty specific about who your ads get targeted to. If your business is related to weddings, you can aim your ads at engaged females, that are aged between 25 and 45 and who live in a certain state; it can be that specific! So if you want to know what you’re getting more bang for your buck, then that could be a good way for you to go.

Though it can take some legwork, in many ways, you can do your online marketing yourself. You log into your social media accounts and create the ads, or you write a blog as part of your website, making sure to link back to previous posts. So if you’re on a tight budget or a pretty small startup, then online is a way to get marketing your business cheaply, at least at first. If you’re stuck for time, though, then it can be easier to pass it over to a marketing agency to run it for you, or to use offline methods. But again, this isn’t going to be great if you’re on a budget.

While offline marketing allows you to target nationwide, it doesn’t really allow for a global reach. However, with online marketing, you can quite easily reach a global audience through the blog articles that you post or the social media accounts that you have. So have a think about what you want to do with your business and go from there. For many businesses, a bit of both is what is going to work well for you. Because although getting new customers is great, you will also want to keep old customers or get more local ones. Some businesses can thrive doing just one form of marketing. So decide on your aims and then allow your marketing to do its thing.

Good luck as you decide what direction your marketing journey will take you.