Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Zoho Makes CRM Email Tool SalesInbox Available to Teams Using Salesforce

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Zoho SalesInbox for Salesforce

Zoho has brought two essential small business sales tools together.

Zoho SalesInbox for Salesforce

Zoho SalesInbox is now available to Salesforce users. The service was previously available to Zoho user by request.  It combines previously siloed applications so salespeople have sales related emails with all the relevant information from Salesforce and other CRMs in one location.

New Email Client Tool

The new email client tool that’s directly compatible with Salesforce promises to streamline the CRM experience for small business sales. It will make for faster email follow ups and the kind of deep insights that close deals quickly.

Sifting through customer data in Salesforce Sales Cloud and automatically prioritizing client conversations, SalesInbox works with all the standard email services like Yahoo!, Exchange and Gmail.

Here’s What it Can Do for Your Sales Team

If you’re a member of a sales team, you know you get lots of emails every day. The problem is you always stand a chance of missing an important one with the volume you get. But SalesInBox provides a solution for this conundrum.

Four Categories

SalesInbox tackles the issue by placing your emails in four distinct categories  — deals, contacts and leads, not in CRM and colleagues. Opening an email in one of those categories supplies more relevant information including background notes and contact information. There is even a timeline of activities associated with every contact. The application acts like a virtual assistant of sorts or an online filing system.

Drag and Drop

You can even drag and drop emails across the categories.

“We have seen this innovation benefit the users of Zoho CRM to a great extent, and wanted salespeople to have the benefits of using it, irrespective of the CRM they use,” said Raju Vegesna, chief evangelist at Zoho. “So we’re making it available to Salesforce users.”

Pricing

The pricing is attractive to sales teams in the small business arena, too.

There will be Professional, Enterprise, Unlimited and Developer editions available for users of Salesforce CRM. They will be priced at $20 per user per month, along with a 90-day free trial.

Here are a few of the other features that make a difference

Insights that Boost Sales

SalesInbox offers open and click rates for the emails already sent to clients. It’s a helpful arrow in the quiver of the travelling sales person or team. When they need to know who the prospects are that are most likely to buy, this is the metric they can use.

Email Templates

If you’re a sales rep for a plumbing company, this tool will let you put together different email templates and then measure the ones that work best. The analytics provided by SalesInbox are a treasure trove for managers who want to see how their sales teams are performing.

Filters

SalesInbox also has filters so you can flag top deals and keep on top of responses from the ones with the most potential.

Zoho is a single platform operating system for business that supplies cloud based applications. The company has over 30 million users worldwide.

Image: Zoho

This article, “Zoho Makes CRM Email Tool SalesInbox Available to Teams Using Salesforce” was first published on Small Business Trends

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45 Percent of Small Business Owners Have Fallen Victim to Cyber Attack Without Knowing It

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Lack of Cybercrime Awareness to Blame: 45% of Small Business Owners Have Fallen Victim to Cyber Attack But They Didn't Know It Happened

Think your small business is unlikely to fall victim to a cyber attack? New data from Nationwide suggests that mindset could be a mistake.

Lack of Cybercrime Awareness to Blame

In fact, 45 percent of business owners have been victims of cyber attacks that they didn’t actually know were attacks, according to the Nationwide survey, which featured responses from more than 1,000 business owners. More specifically, just 13 percent of business owners in the study said they knew they had fallen victim to cyber attacks. But when business owners were given a list of different types of cyber attacks to choose from, that number jumped up to 58 percent.

What this suggests is that cyber attacks are much more prevalent than a lot of business owners think. You might assume that something like unpatched software or a phishing email isn’t a big deal. But it could lead to major consequences for your business.

Additionally, 76 percent of the business owners surveyed said they think cyber attacks are unlikely to affect their businesses. And 41 percent think that cyber attacks impact large businesses more often than small businesses. But data suggests that small businesses are almost as likely as their larger counterparts to fall victim to those issues.

“Nationwide’s annual survey reminds owners to focus on managing what they can control,” said Mark Berven, president and chief operating officer of Nationwide Property and Casualty. “The world is only getting more complicated, and the elements outside our control that have the potential to inflict great harm on businesses are increasing. An owner can’t control if a hacker will target their business in a cyberattack, nor can they control the weather, for example. What an owner can do is prepare — and that’s where we and our agent force can help. There is no time like the present to create a plan to prepare and protect your business for the future, and whether you’re a Nationwide customer or not, our Business Solutions Center serves as a great resource and starting point.”

There are things your business can do to try to prevent those attacks, or at least minimize the impact. One of the best things you can do is hire cybersecurity experts to focus solely on this area. However, just 37 percent of the businesses surveyed said they currently have at least one such employee. That same percentage of business owners also said they have a succession plan in place for their business, suggesting that both of those strategies are under-utilized by businesses.

“The key takeaway from our annual survey of business owners is that it’s critical they continue to prepare for growing threats against their businesses,” added Berven. “This is important not only for the viability of their businesses, but the overall health of the economy. Our survey uncovered alarming discrepancies in how business owners think versus how they behave. For cybersecurity best practices specifically, there exists a 33 percent gap in awareness versus action; a vast majority of business owners (83 percent) believe it’s important to establish security practices and policies, yet only 50 percent say they have established security practices to protect sensitive information.”

There’s no way to completely guarantee that your business won’t ever fall victim to a cyber attack. But simply assuming that it will never happen isn’t the answer. More than half of businesses have had to deal with some type of cybersecurity issue already. And those attacks are becoming increasingly prevalent among businesses of all sizes.

So explore the different options for preventing or minimizing the risk, depending on your business’s specific needs and resources. And remain aware of the risks and trends involved in the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape.

Image: Nationwide

This article, “45 Percent of Small Business Owners Have Fallen Victim to Cyber Attack Without Knowing It” was first published on Small Business Trends

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See the Surprisingly Painless Way One Company Reduced Energy Costs

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Sponsored Post

See the Surprisingly Painless Way One Company Reduced Energy Costs

Is it possible for a company with a large plant and a lot of powerful equipment to lower its energy costs significantly while simultaneously upgrading its equipment?

This might seem like a lofty goal. But it’s one that B.L. Downey Company was able to achieve — thanks to its energy provider Constellation.

B.L. Downey is a company that coats parts and tools, everything from small screws all the way up to 50-foot light poles. Clients drop off their parts for coating at the company’s facility, and B.L. Downey finishes the job and then gives the items back to each client.

Originally, B.L. Downey signed up for natural gas service with Constellation more than 12 years ago. Over the years, Constellation has been providing gas and electricity services and helped them to gain control of their energy costs.

More specifically, B.L. Downey was looking for ways to improve the lighting at its plant, while also cutting costs and eliminating wasteful use of gas in its processes. The company had a plan in mind that involved upgrading its burners and implementing a control system to make their ovens more energy efficient. However, the firm simply didn’t have the capital to complete the project.

Then, in 2014, the Constellation team contacted B.L. Downey to see if they could help them figure out some opportunities for cutting waste and unnecessary energy consumption that could help the company’s bottom line.

To achieve the company’s goals, B.L. Downey took advantage of Constellation’s Efficiency Made Easy solution (“EME”), which offers businesses ways to implement energy-efficient solutions at its facilities with no upfront costs. Instead, Constellation includes a monthly cost in the customer’s electric or gas bill. And with Constellation’s EME, the costs of the projects are often offset by the energy savings.

Kim Weaver, Senior Business Development Manager for Constellation’s EME Sales, said, “At B.L. Downey we were able to implement a $1 million project that saved them  about 10 percent in electricity — 360,000 dth a year. So that savings [helped] offset the cost of their project.”

Dave Wasz, President of B.L. Downey, added, “I’d say the biggest benefit of this program is we did not have to spend any of our own capital. That program was financed by Constellation’s EME, and we will be paying it back over the next several years through our electric bill. And that’s nice to have when you’re a small business or organization where money is tight.”

With the help of this program, B.L. Downey was able to upgrade all the lights at its facility and even add some new lights in the parking lot to improve safety for employees, which is important for a company that has team members coming and going 24 hours a day.

The project also helped B.L. Downey reduce its carbon footprint by 4 million pounds of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of taking 382 cars off the road annually.

Tom Moser, Vice President of Administration for B.L. Downey Company, said, “The relationship between Constellation and B.L. Downey has allowed us to save money and be more efficient and also be a good global partner by cutting all our emissions and all our waste.”

Essentially, the program allowed B.L. Downey to achieve its energy goals without having to worry about the upfront cost.

There are many efficient energy solutions available to businesses today. But sometimes the upfront cost of actually implementing those solutions  can be prohibitive for small businesses. This is true even if these solutions could help the businesses save money over the long run.

Constellation’s Efficiency Made Easy program eliminated that roadblock for B.L. Downey, allowing the company to save money and become more efficient while actually upgrading its equipment and processes.

Image: B.L. Downey

This article, “See the Surprisingly Painless Way One Company Reduced Energy Costs” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Cheat Sheet Helps Small Businesses Manage Social Media Presence (INFOGRAPHIC)

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet

Gone are the days when managing brand presence on social media was just an option for the small businesses. Today, it is practically impossible to acquire and retain customers without having a solid social media strategy.

That’s why businesses spend a fortune to leverage this new medium of improving customer experience.

But social media is complex, and there are several aspects that need to be taken into consideration. For example, no two social networking sites are the same. Facebook serves an entirely different purpose than LinkedIn. Although the desired result is the same: engaging more customers.

To make matters more complicated, these social media sites keep changing their layouts.

To decode the ways in which you can make the most of social media platforms such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube, product review site WeAreTop10 has compiled all the information you may need to leave a good visual impact.

Visuals Key to Engaging Customers on Social Media

Social media is essentially a very visual medium and most users access those sites on their mobile devices with small screen sizes.

Social networking sites also understand the importance of using visuals to reach customers. That’s why they constantly update their features to be more user-friendly.

Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet

The infographic created by WeAreTop10 provides a neat overview of all visual parameters that these popular social networking sites have in place. This makes it easier for small businesses to create visuals for their various pages on social media sites.

To know more, check out the infographic below:

Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet

 

 

Images: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube

This article, “Cheat Sheet Helps Small Businesses Manage Social Media Presence (INFOGRAPHIC)” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Get Better eCommerce Mobile App Results By Meeting These 3 Customer Needs

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Building a Mobile App? Your Customers Want These 3 Mobile App Features More Than Anything

Nearly half of small businesses are expected to adopt a mobile app by 2017 or later. However, about 23 percent of mobile users abandon an app after their first use. The chances of that happening are less, though, if you give consumers what they want in an app.

If you are building or considering building a mobile app, a new study from B2B ratings and reviews firm Clutch shows consumers are looking for features that go beyond just browsing and buying.

Consumers Want Mobile App Features to Go Beyond Browsing and Buying

Clutch surveyed 505 mobile shoppers in the United States to compile its 2017 ecommerce app report. It says mobile commerce is expected to make up 45 percent of the U.S. e-commerce total by 2020.

“With more consumers using e-commerce apps to make purchases, businesses of all sizes can improve customer engagement by offering an app with the features consumers want,” wrote Kristen Herhold, a marketer at Clutch, in the company’s e-commerce app report.

Aside from personalized in-store experience, product recommendations and flexible direct shopping through the app, Clutch found consumers want these three other things more than anything from e-commerce mobile apps:

3 Things Customers Want from eCommerce Mobile Apps

1. Customers Want to Socialize

About 90 percent of mobile shoppers surveyed said they have social networking apps on their phones. Another 41 percent added they are likely to integrate with social media accounts on their apps for easy sharing with friends.

Adding a social aspect to you app allows your mobile customers to connect with others for a more personalized experience. Personalization also includes adding augmented reality features.

“An app that provides a high level of personalization and experience makes your users much happier and more satisfied,” said Dan Healy, Chief Operating Officer of Prolific Interactive, a mobile-focused product agency. “It tends to drive higher return from your most loyal users.”

2. Customers Want Rewards

More than 80 percent of shoppers surveyed admitted they would use an e-commerce app that syncs a business’s loyalty rewards to incentivize them to make purchases.

“Many people often forget to carry their loyalty cards with them, so having this integrated into an app is important,” said Nik Sanghvi, Head of U.S. Sales and Business Development at mobile firm Robosoft Technologies.

3. Customers Want Discounts

The survey also revealed 85 percent of shoppers want discounts on products similar to past purchases. Receiving discounts makes them more likely to use the app. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) already use their preferred e-commerce apps to receive deals and offers that are only available in the app. And 84 percent of shoppers would buy to receive discounts, and enable push notifications for discounts.

“I think one thing we’ll see going forward is apps will continue to get smarter,” Healy said. “If companies get smart to the point that they can create a personalized experience and are learning about the users, that’s how you drive real loyalty.”

Shopper Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Get Better eCommerce Mobile App Results By Meeting These 3 Customer Needs” was first published on Small Business Trends

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10 Copying and Printing Franchises to Conquer FedEx Office

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

10 Copying and Printing Franchises to Conquer FedEx Office

The printing industry is thriving. According to the Commerce Department, commercial printing shipments in August 2015 exceeded $7 billion in market value. With the sector on the rise, entrepreneurs looking for a business to invest in may want to think carefully about a printing and copying franchises.

FedEx Office Print and Ship Services Inc. — formerly Kinko’s  — may be a leading global name in the printing and copying industry, but there are plenty of other options available.

Copying and Printing Franchises

Take a look at the following 10 copying and printing franchises to conquer FedEx.

Allegra Marketing Print and Mail

10 Copying and Printing Franchises to Conquer FedEx Office - Allegra Marketing Print and Mail

Allegra was founded in 1976 in Michigan and started franchising a year later.

For entrepreneurs looking for professional independence and personal balance, an Allegra franchise might be just up their street. Allegra Marketing Print and Mail is a recognized leader in business-to-business opportunities.

Through ongoing franchise support and training, Allegra franchisees can successfully provide digital and print marketing communication services.

An initial franchise fee of $25,000 to $45,000 is required to own a franchise with Allegra.

Only Proforma

10 Copying and Printing Franchises to Conquer FedEx Office - Only Proforma

Founded in 1978, Only Proforma is experienced in providing businesses of all sizes with printing and promotional services. The company has been franchising since 1985 and is a $500 million leading network of printing and promotional products distributors.

The company provides franchise owners with the education and resources required to gain customers, build sales and improve profits.

Investors are required to make an initial investment of between $5,000 and $40,000.

Better Deal Printing

10 Copying and Printing Franchises to Conquer FedEx Office - Better Deal Printing

Better Deal Printing was established in 2001 with the aim of providing high quality, low cost printing and graphic design services to local clients.

Better Deal Printing franchise owners can enjoy many benefits, including having their franchise listed on the company’s industry-leading website. Franchisees must invest between $5,000 and $80,000 initially with Better Deal Printing.

Sir Speedy

10 Copying and Printing Franchises to Conquer FedEx Office - Sir Speedy

For decades, Sir Speedy have proudly operated on the slogan “Got a challenge, go to Sir Speedy.” Since opening in California in 1968, Sir Speedy has been providing high quality printing services. Sir Speedy franchises offer printing and marketing services, including copy and mailing.

An initial investment of $229,981 is required. Successful candidates receive 80 hours of training and additional training at regional meetings. To own a franchise with Sir Speedy, entrepreneurs need to have “unshakeable ambition, a dedicated work ethic and a deep desire to succeed.”

Minuteman Press Inc.

10 Copying and Printing Franchises to Conquer FedEx Office - Minuteman Press Inc.

Minuteman Press proudly asserts to be the world’s largest and number one rated printing franchise. The company has been serving businesses for over 44 years, providing professional design, print and promotional services.

The firm opened in 1973 by a father and son team in New York. The first franchise was established two years later and today Minuteman Press has more than 950 centers throughout the world.

Franchisees must make an initial investment of $64,000 – $164,000. Three employees are required to run each franchise. Ongoing support is provided to Minuteman Press franchisees.

Goin Postal

10 Copying and Printing Franchises to Conquer FedEx Office - Goin Postal

Goin Postal operates a network of enthusiastic, proactive and positive entrepreneurs who are put on the path to making the company’s financial goals a relating. Goin Postal has been franchising since 2002 and has around 244 units in operation.

A cash investment of $20,000 is required to be the owner of a Goin Postal franchise.

AlphaGraphics

10 Copying and Printing Franchises to Conquer FedEx Office - AlphaGraphics

AlphaGraphics boasts a network of around 300 like-minded business owners. In 2016, AlphaGraphics witnessed strong growth, with median sales of over $900,000.

The company opened its first store in Arizona in 1970 and began franchising nine years later. It now operates franchises across the US and in seven different countries. AlphaGraphic centers offer printing, marketing communications and document management.

An investment of $261,000 – $394,000 is required to be a AlphaGraphics franchisee.

FastSigns

10 Copying and Printing Franchises to Conquer FedEx Office - FastSigns

Discover a “win-win franchise opportunity” with FastSigns. The company opened its business model in 1985 and quickly developed to becoming one of the most highly trusted names in the franchise industry.

FastSigns now has more than 120 corporate employees serving in over 650 locations. A cash investment of $80,000 is required to become a FastSigns franchisee.

PIP Printing and Marketing Services

10 Copying and Printing Franchises to Conquer FedEx Office - PIP Printing and Marketing Services

PIP Printing has been creating and supporting entrepreneurs for over 40 years. The company was established in 1965 and started franchising four years later. Today PIP has more than 1,200 printing and business services centers worldwide.

Successful candidates of PIP Printing will receive training seminars, a dedicated business management team and what it claims to be the most comprehensive marketing and sales support in the business.

A $228,000 0 $278,000 initial investment is needed to own a PIP Printing franchise.

Bizcard Xpress

10 Copying and Printing Franchises to Conquer FedEx Office - Bizcard Xpress

Bizcard Xpress was founded in 2006 and has been franchising since 2009. Delivering customer designed and printed business cards to busy entrepreneurs in one hour or less is the cornerstone of Bizcard Xpress’s ‘One Stop Business Improvement Shop.

Entrepreneurs can join in the success of Bizcard Xpress’s superfast printing and signage services by becoming a Bizcard franchisee.

After making an initial investment of between $114,000 and $197,000. Bizcard Xpress franchise owners receive ongoing training and marketing support.

Top Image: FedEx

This article, “10 Copying and Printing Franchises to Conquer FedEx Office” was first published on Small Business Trends

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9 Creative Ways You Can Encourage Impulse Buying in Your Retail Business

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

9 Tips to Encourage Impulse Buying in Your Store

Are you ignoring a potentially profitable type of product in your retail store? I’m talking about impulse buying. More than three-fourths of Americans have made an impulse buy in the past three months; of those, more than half have spent over $100 on an impulse buy, according to a survey by CreditCards.com.

How to Encourage Impulse Buying

Target, H&M, Sephora and even Home Depot are among the retail masters of the impulse buy, and you can learn a lot just by cruising their aisles. However, if you don’t have time to head out on your own research expedition, these nine tips will help you spark more impulse buys in your store.

Lure Them In

Impulse buys near the front of the store can draw curious customers in to check them out. (Put the products close enough to be seen from outside, but not so close that shoplifters can easily grab them.)

Use Color, Signage and Lighting to Draw Attention to Impulse Purchases

Colorful displays attract shoppers’ eyes—as does signage in the impulse buy area—emphasize something like “Everything under $10!”

Get “In Their Face”

Put low-priced impulse buys where shoppers can’t miss them—on end caps, at checkout or even in the middle of the aisle. Track which areas of your store shoppers spend the most time in, and set up little impulse buy stations there.

Be Devious

Got impulse buys you want parents to buy for their kids? Display them at children’s eye level. (Hey, it works for candy at the supermarket checkout line.)

Capture Their Attention While They Wait

When customers are waiting at the checkout counter, merchandising potential impulse buys nearby can turn a wait into an enjoyable browsing spree. H&M and Sephora are masters of this game.

Up the Ante with Limited Time Deals

When a customer is already tempted by a nearby impulse purchase, all it takes is a little nudge like “Buy two, get the third free” to push them over the edge to buy.

Do a Demonstration

Just about every store can spur impulse buys by holding demonstrations. (Think Costco.) An apparel boutique can hold a fashion show; a cooking store can demonstrate a cool new food processor; an auto parts store can demonstrate a new waterless car wash product. Have plenty of whatever you’re demonstrating on hand; give out free samples, too.

Remind Salespeople to Encourage Impulse Buys

As salespeople interact with customers, they can direct their attention to possible impulse buys. For example, if a customer is trying on a pair of jeans, the salesperson could suggest a different wash, or a completely different product like a belt or jacket that would look good with the jeans.

Know What Kinds of Products Make Good Impulse Buys

Among the best impulse purchases are:

  • Products with sensual appeal, such as lotions, perfumes, cosmetics, candy, gum, or small toys. Anything that calls out to be touched or held can be a good impulse buy.
  • Practical products that everyone needs. Sometimes, impulse buys have nothing to do with your store, but are things you might find in the average person’s purse, pocket or junk drawer at home. This category includes facial tissue, lip balm, batteries, hand sanitizer, etc.
  • Products that complement your primary product line. What “goes with” the bigger-ticket items you sell? For example, my local Nordstrom Rack displays cell phone chargers shaped like purse charms near the handbag section, and scented candles near the bedding section. Jewelry cleaner or polishing cloths with jewelry, extra shoelaces in a shoe store, air fresheners at an automotive parts store — you get the idea.

Family Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “9 Creative Ways You Can Encourage Impulse Buying in Your Retail Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Google Says be Careful of Guest Posting on Business Blogs

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Google Warning About Guest Posting - Here's What You Need to Know
When it comes to blogging and link building there are a handful of effective ways to make connections while enhancing your marketing strategy. Outreach emails, exchanging thoughts and ideas, and collaborating are all great ways to broaden your reach and presence within an industry. But like many other long-standing practices, some people have abused the practice of guest posting and raised red flags to Google that there may be too much of a good thing circulating.

Google Warning About Guest Posting

In late May, Google issued a formal warning about shady guest posting practices. In it, they discuss the notable increase they’ve seen in spammy links contained in articles referred to as contributor posts, guest posts, partner posts, or syndicated post.

While they clarify that guest posting isn’t at all a bad thing when it informs or educates users to another cause or company, they also reiterate Google’s guidelines on link schemes. Link schemes, as referred to as the main intent to build links in a large-scale way back to the author’s site, are a violation of those guidelines when taken to an extreme.

Included in this article were a few specific examples of practices that violate Google’s guidelines:

  • Stuffing keyword-rich links to your site in your articles
  • Having the articles published across many different sites; alternatively, having a large number of articles on a few large, different sites
  • Using or hiring article writers that aren’t knowledgeable about the topics they’re writing on
  • Using the same or similar content across these articles; alternatively, duplicating the full content of articles found on your own site (in which case use of rel=”canonical”, in addition to rel=”nofollow”, is advised)

The warning then goes on to encourage sites accepting and publishing guest posts to ask questions like: Do I know this person? Does this person’s message fit with my site’s audience? Does the article contain useful content? If there are links of questionable intent in the article, has the author used rel=”nofollow” on them?

Quick Dos and Don’ts for Guest Posting

There are always ways to abuse a respected practice, but this warning doesn’t mean you have to abandon your guest posting strategy altogether. Rather, it simply means that content distributors should keep their guest posting practices clean, spam-free, and honest in their intent. To do that effectively, here are a few quick dos and don’ts for your guest posting strategy.

Do be transparent: Be clear about why you’re pursuing guest posts. This might involve you saying something like, “Hey, I think this article I wrote really fits the message of your website well and is something your audience would enjoy.” If you can’t be transparent about why you’re seeking a guest post, then you probably should be pursuing the opportunity.

Do provide quality content: If you’re trying to guest post on another website, it should be your best content. The same goes for featuring guest posts on your website. Remember, Google rewards quality content that provides the best value for users. Low-quality content almost never performs well or is recognized by Google.

Don’t outsource your guest posts: You shouldn’t be sourcing your guest posts from a content farm or broker, firstly because it’s dishonest to the featuring website and secondly because it’s missing the point of guest posting entirely. Write your own guest posts and do them well.

Don’t be spammy about guest posting: Google’s guidelines on this couldn’t be clearer. Don’t keyword stuff or spam the internet with an article by having it published across multiple websites, or it will likely end up marked as spam.

Key Takeaway

It’s always important to remember that you’re trying to build relationships, not just links. While having a featured guest post certainly has its benefits in terms of SEO, it’s also important to pursue opportunities that have a long shelf life. By broadening your network through productive and mutually beneficial relationship, the rest of the link building and guest posting opportunities will follow.

Republished by permission. Original here.

Blogger Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Google Says be Careful of Guest Posting on Business Blogs” was first published on Small Business Trends

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The Next 6 Things You Must Do to Win Customers Through Social Media

Monday, August 21st, 2017

How to Use Social Media for Marketing

When you are thinking about ways to improve your business and meet your bottom line, you might not think about social media as the way to go at first. However, there is nothing more important for a business in the 21st century to understand than the fact that social media is the name of the marketing game. Without social media as part of your digital marketing strategy, there is no way that you’re going to succeed. There are thousands of potential customers on social media networks who are just waiting to hear about your business. And if you don’t get out there and engage with them on social media, then your competitors are going to be the ones who do. That means tons of lost potential business for your company.

How to Use Social Media for Marketing

Even if you understand the importance of social media, you might be confused about how to start up your social media marketing strategy. That’s why this article down below is going to take you through the things you need to know about social media marketing and how you can gain more customers from these activities. Keep reading to learn more about how to use social media for marketing and to push your company forward.

Understand Who You’re Trying To Target

The first thing that you’ve got to understand about social media is that not everyone is going to be interested in your product. There are just going to be people who are not in your right target audience. Your marketing team needs to first understand what your target audience is and then you can go on to figure out how you’re going to reach them. For example, if you are selling outdoor camping equipment, why would you be targeting those people who are not interested in camping or who can’t get out and camp? Narrow down that target group and then everything else about your strategy is going to flow from there.

In fact, did you know that you can specifically target your audience through advertising on social media networks like Instagram and Facebook? Through their advertising functions for businesses, you can write that you are only targeting people in a certain location or who have certain interests. Then, you will be able to show your content to thousands of people in your target audience.

Write And Promote Content That People Want To Read

One of the best ways that you’re going to be able to engage with customers on social media is to actually provide good content to them. Believe it or not, people on social media are actively looking to consume long and thoughtful articles that provide some value into their life. They don’t just want to read articles that say nothing – the articles on your blog should provide some key insight in your industry or tell them something they didn’t know before.

And if you don’t have a blog yet for your business, this is definitely something you should create before you start your social media marketing. Your blog is going to be one of the main draws for customers who want to determine your credibility before buying from you. In fact, you should definitely try to make your blog posts emotionally appealing for your clients, because advertising research has shown that one’s emotional response to an ad has more influence than one’s intent on purchasing the product.

Use Email Marketing Campaigns To Your Advantage

If you don’t have email lists for your customers yet, then this is definitely something to change if you want to improve your business. Social media marketing is not just about what you do on social media networks. It’s also about engaging with customers in every digital avenue available. Start gathering emails through your website and/or your social media channels to speak with your customers directly in their inbox. You can send emails with various coupons, discounts, or just telling them that there’s a new blog post available.

Pay Attention To Feedback

When you start doing work on social media networks and generally online, you are going to naturally start getting online feedback from customers. People will start engaging with your content, speaking about your products, and letting you know about the things that could be improved or those things that you’re doing well. Don’t just ignore these comments that people leave! This is going to tell them that you don’t care about what they have to say and that you would rather not take their opinions into account. Engage with every single person who comments on your content or who leaves a review about your business. This is going to ensure that they stick around for the long-term and you start improving the reputation of your company.

Start Off Small With Your Social Media

Many businesses might think that it’s best to get onto all of the social media networks at first and start posting everywhere. However, that’s not much of a strategy, is it? It’s best that you start with one or two networks that you can really focus on growing and developing content for. Once you have a significant following on these networks, then you can find the time to move onto other networks.

Create Multimedia Content That People Want To View

Of course, one of the main reasons that you’re getting your business onto these social media networks is to create multimedia content that’s actually going to engage your audience. Why would you have a social media account if you’re just going to put out boring content that no one wants to see?

Make sure that your marketing team knows what kind of content that your audience enjoys seeing. Then, your content creators can focus on articles, photos, or videos that will work for your particular audience.

And there you have it! Working with social media marketing is something that every single business should be focusing on in the 21st century. There are thousands of potential customers that you’re going to be neglecting if you don’t!

Social Media Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “The Next 6 Things You Must Do to Win Customers Through Social Media” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Network Segmentation Could Save Your Small Business Millions in a Cyber Attack (INFOGRAPHIC)

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Network Segmentation Security Could Save Your Small Business Millions in a Cyber Attack (INFOGRAPHIC)

For small businesses that rely on websites, smartphones and even connected devices, security is quickly becoming one of the top, if not the top priority in the digital ecosystem where they operate. An infographic from network security company Tufin titled, “Making Security Manageable Through Network Segmentation,” will introduce you to a security feature you might not be aware of, network segmentation.

With 43 percent of cyber-attacks targeting small businesses, this is a demographic in need of more ammunition when it comes to fighting cybercriminals. The Tuffin infographic reveals the damage caused by cybercrimes will result in $6 trillion globally by 2021. It goes on to say, 80 percent of the cybercriminals are affiliated with organized crime.

According to Tufin, network segmentation is an accepted practice by security experts and industry regulators. If properly implemented with best practices, it can be a valuable technique. This requires having strong firewall policies and visualizing and enforcing the segmentation by maintaining continuous compliance, tightening overall network security, and avoiding security risks with unnecessary exposure. 

What is Network Segmentation Security?

In layman’s terms, the process of network segmentation creates network segments from a computer network by separating them into subnetworks. So, in essence, each segment is its own network protected with a different set of protocols. By separating each segment according to role and functionality, they can be protected with varying levels of security.

What this means is, an attack on one of the segmented networks will not spread as quickly compared to a single network.

The US-CERT or United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team said, “Proper network segmentation is a very effective security mechanism to prevent an intruder from propagating exploits or laterally moving around an internal network.”

Cyber-attacks are a pervasive problem with no end in sight. And as we become more connected, it is getting increasingly more difficult to protect our digital assets. Network segmentation will not solve all of the security issues small businesses face, but it can be used as one of many tools you can deploy for a comprehensive protection scheme.

Network Segmentation Security Could Save Your Small Business Millions in a Cyber Attack (INFOGRAPHIC)

Images: Tufin

This article, “Network Segmentation Could Save Your Small Business Millions in a Cyber Attack (INFOGRAPHIC)” was first published on Small Business Trends

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