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How Product Configurators Can Help A Small Business With Customization

The assembly line and mass production revolutionized consumerism. With it, products could be made quickly and exactly the same, lowering costs. However, the tide of consumerism has once again shifted, but this time toward customized and personalized products. This is highlighted by Burger King’s famous jingle about customizing the Whopper (“Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us.”).

With the digital revolution bringing more and more new tech, consumers have increasingly more diverse needs and it is clear that one size fits all is not working anymore. In fact, from 2015 to 2018, consumer interest in buying customized products grew by 2.4 times.

In addition, 71 percent of consumers expressed frustration that shopping experiences were impersonal. It is clear that customization is the future and a necessity. It can be difficult to translate customization to a mass scale, especially for a small business.

product configurators for small business

Looking at customization, there are four different approaches, which range from low to high levels of customization and customer input. These approaches are adaptive, transparent, cosmetic, and collaborative. Adaptive has the lowest level of customization as there is no customer input.

The products are standardized and designed to accommodate many uses. Both the function and the appearance are standard. Next, with a little more customization, is transparent. This is when manufacturers adjust the product based on customer data. There is no customer input, but the function is customized.

Next is cosmetic. Like the name implies, the appearance is customized to fit customer preferences. The function is standardized. Finally, collaborative has the highest level of customization. Both the function and the appearance are customized by the customer.

However, not all customization is good customization. Bespoke products are unique and one of a kind. While the customer gets exactly what they ask for, these products have high costs, low scalability, and high effort. On the other end of the spectrum are standard products where every product is exactly the same.

One solution is configured products. These are cost-effective and mass-produced. It combines the benefits of both customization and standardization, resulting in lower costs, high scalability, and low effort. With configured products, customers get exactly what they need. It is also available to both small and large businesses.

Configured products, though, need product configurators. Product configurators use rules to create products; they have product databases that include data such as the features and function of each part (this can include maximum load, usable lifespan, environmental exposure) and how products work together within assembly lines (with data like fastener options, physical measurements, and wire sizes and colors).

Configurators use these rules to ensure that there are no mistakes in the product created. The parameters used include product size, bore and stroke, energy source, output power, duty cycle, RPM, and materials and finishes.

Using product configuration can help grow your company as it allows for customization to be grown to a large scale. Companies that invest in customization are more likely to meet product targets. Having custom products can improve engagement, increase brand loyalty, widen the customer base, grow profit and revenues, and reduce rework and returns.

product configurators in small business

Some key features to look for in a product configurator are 360 degree visualization, customer experience, data available early on, and real-time pricing. First, 360 degree visualization shows what the product will look like from every angle and saves time and simplifies customer experience.

Customer experience means that it is well-designed and easy to work with. It makes product information easily accessible in many formats. For data available early on, this helps customers find your parts by providing data when they need it. Finally, real-time pricing updates the unit price for every alteration of the product. This easily weighs the costs and benefits of different features. It also informs customer’s purchasing decisions.

Product configurators vary in complexity for different applications. You need to find the solution that works best for your business. Product configurators are a rules-based product configurators that offer infinite configurations within rules-based parameters.

Some features it has include: exceptional customer experience built for designers, 360 degree visualization for exceptional customer experience, and it works for products, components, and assemblies.

It also has instantly available data for every product configuration, which includes: downloadable CAD and BIM models, tiered pricing based on fixed data, unique part numbers for easy repeat purchases, and PDF sheets on each product. The ideal applications are for architectural, industrial, and electronic components.

An infographic detailing how a product configurator can enable scalable customization.

The post How Product Configurators Can Help A Small Business With Customization appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The 5 Step Attraction Marketing Process For Local Businesses

It could be considered quite easy to get lost in the vast world of marketing and the different ways to promote your business. But one key area that local businesses should be focusing on is Attraction Marketing.

This form of marketing predates many of the other popular strategies today such as online or influencer marketing, and while it lost favor for a while, it has slowly been making a comeback.

Attraction Marketing is simply a strategy whereby businesses provide value to their customers, aiming to grab their attention and draw them in towards their products.

Essentially, it involves you giving knowledge and information about the product without selling it. This means that when the time comes for a customer to purchase an item that you already sell, their mind will subconsciously think of your business because you have provided them valuable information or knowledge about a product which you already sell.

The best way to think of Attraction Marketing is to envision it as a five-phase process:

  • Know Your Audience
  • Know Your Product
  • Focus On Channels That Work
  • Provide Valuable Content
  • Share Your Solution

This form of marketing is a great way to generate leads and build brand loyalty for your business. The strategy you take will completely depend on you, however, here are some attraction marketing tips for local businesses that can help grow your business:

Know Your Audience

attraction marketing

Before marketing any good, you must first make sure that you know who your target audience is. This helps you filter out all the people who are unlikely to buy the product and focus on those who are most likely to make a purchase.

To help you know your audience, you should research what group is most likely to find your product appealing and take note of it.

It is not uncommon for businesses to use demographics to tailor down their target audience, e.g., age and gender. Once you know who your target audience is, you should then conduct further research about how best to reach that audience.

If you find that your product is most likely to appeal to younger audiences, then it might be more beneficial to market on online platforms. For an older audience, on the other hand, more traditional forms of marketing may reap more rewards.

A refined audience helps you to control the narrative of your product, allowing you to effectively spread the news to the groups that are most likely to increase your brand visibility.

There are many ways to narrow down your target audience e.g., through personas or surveys. However, it is not just enough to know your audience.

You must keep being engaged with your consumers if you aim to keep your business successful and strengthen your customer relationships.

Know Your Product

If your marketing aim is to provide information about a particular product, then you must have comprehensive knowledge about that product. It is unlikely that a client would make a purchase in the future if you do not provide the necessary information that would make them more likely to buy the product.

Focus On The Channels That Work

Not all channels are effective tools for attraction marketing for local businesses. If you find that a particular channel such as Instagram or YouTube is not generating the leads that you desire, then you should spend less time on that channel and dedicate more energy to those that are working.

Some local businesses often find that a key strategy might be focusing on a single channel, which is mostly the channel that their clients are most active on. Leveraging the channel with the highest level of engagement allows you to communicate a consistent message and control the narrative about a product.

Provide Valuable Content

using attraction marketing

Local businesses that struggle to utilize Attraction Marketing often ignore the phased approach, which is what leads to failure. Simply keeping your audience engaged with the content you provide is only the first phase. You must also tap into that engagement and use it to generate revenue.

For example, if an ice cream shop provides 100 free tasters but is unable to sell any regular-sized ice creams, then this can be considered a pointless exercise.

The free content you are providing aims to give your audience something of value before asking them for something in return. While your customer is being lured with this free content, you should find a way to attract customers back to your business.

If we think back to the ice cream example, rather than just offering free ice creams to everyone, you could offer it to only those who register for your loyalty card. On the other hand, if you are marketing online, then you could offer your clients free digital materials in exchange for their permission to receive marketing emails.

Share Your Solution

This is the final goal of attraction marketing and should be the aim for all local businesses. If you are selling a product, then it is likely that you are adding value to a client in some way or solving one of their problems. This should be your major selling point and any client should be aware of your solution.

How your product can better the lives of its users should be your go-to narrative. Regardless of what good or service you are providing to your clients, if you are adding value to their lives, then there is no point in being silent about it.

Businesses often frame their narratives with statistics or share first-hand experiences about how they have changed the lives of other clients.

It is also quite common to see before and after solutions being marketed to potential customers, showing them the amount of change your product can introduce into their lives.

Once you have engagingly framed your narrative and built a relationship with your customer, this is when you provide them with the offer that would help your business generate revenue.

The post The 5 Step Attraction Marketing Process For Local Businesses appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

12 Tips To Organize Your Small Business For Success

As a small business owner myself, it was quite a journey to get my business organized. Especially in the beginning stages when you’re a solopreneur who’s wearing all the hats and doing all the things, most of us hustle hard. And while that’s fine for a while, it’s definitely not a long-term strategy.

In this article I’ve collected the 12 top tips I used myself to organize my small business for success. Now, keep in mind, this took me years to manage to implement all of those tips!

So, if you’re currently at a point of complete overwhelm and chaos, start with one thing. Once you’ve nailed that, go on to the next one.

Okay, let’s get started.

Think About Your Vision

Oh boy, I had no idea a vision was even a thing until a few months ago. When I started my first side hustle back in 2018 (Amazon FBA) I was just trying out different things. I honestly had no idea where I wanted to go with it. That’s probably one of the main reasons why it failed miserably…

Don’t make the same mistake and get clear on your vision right now! Take out your journal and dream big. Allow yourself to write down your biggest, maybe even impossible, dreams for your life and your business.

Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years from now? What do you want to be known for? How much time do you want to be working on your business every day?

Get very clear on what you want for your business and where you want to go with it.

Set A One-Year And A 6-Month Goals

Okay, so the first step was all about dreaming big. Now, let’s get a little more realistic and specific.

Take your vision and break it down. Where do you want to be one year from now? Imagine you traveled one year into the future and write your goals out in present tense as if they had happened already. Then, think about how you’ve achieved them.

Do the same with your 6-month goals. What can you achieve in 6 months? How will you have gotten there?

Be as specific as possible!

Break Those Goals Down Into Monthly Goals

We’ll stay with goals for a little longer as they’re crucial in having an organized business.
By now, you know what you want to achieve within the next 6 months. And you’ve also written down how you’ll get there.

Now simply break your 6-month goal down into monthly goals. What do you need to do each month to achieve your desired results?

As soon as I’ve started doing that, achieving my goals has become so much easier!

Plan Each Week Ahead Of Time

the main ways of organizing a business

Now we’re getting even more specific.

You’ve got your monthly goals, so let’s look at your weekly schedule. In order to have a well-organized business you need to plan ahead of time. Last-minute actions are fine every now and then, but they really mostly cause lots of stress and overwhelm.

So, what I like to do is to take 2 hours on Sunday and plan the coming week.

Use A Content Calendar Or Promotional Calendar

To do that I use a content calendar. I’ve created a customizable template for this year which is probably the easiest way to go about this step.

Go over every platform that you’re creating content for and plan when you’ll be working on it and when you’ll publish it.

So much more organized right away!

Use Google Drive For All Your Files And Documents

Next, let’s look at your files. I love to keep it really clean and simple, so my suggestion is to just use Google Drive. Having all your files in a Cloud system makes them accessible from any device anywhere in the world. Plus, it’s much easier to have everything in one place instead of scattered all over your computer and different software…

Delegate Simple And Repetitive Tasks

Delegating is another super important part of getting your small business organized. It doesn’t have to be a lot, you can just hire a VA for a couple of hours per week. But the amount of work this person can do for you will help you grow so much faster.

And delegating actually isn’t that complicated. Just make sure to provide really clear instructions, ideally with a screen recording, and then adjust as you go.

Use Software For Automation

In addition to delegating, using software for automation also helped me so much in getting organized. One prime example is Tailwind where I schedule all my pins once a month.

That’s a huge time saver!

Other examples are social media scheduling software like Later or Hootsuite.

Use A Project Management Software

Now, if you really want to take the structure in your business to the next level, I highly recommend using a project management software like Asana.

Asana is free and makes it super easy to plan all your projects and tasks. You can then assign them to a member of your team or to yourself.

Super useful!

Work In Blocks And Use Calendar Blocking

After lots of testing, I found that working in blocks and scheduling them into my calendar helped me boost my focus and productivity drastically.

Have you ever noticed that there are times during the day when you’re more focused than others?

Make use of that and schedule those blocks in your calendar. Then schedule leisure blocks during times when you’re less focused.

Get Rid Of Notifications

main ways of organizing a business

Notifications are one of the main causes for all of the overwhelm and anxiety we’re experiencing nowadays.

So, why don’t you just get rid of them?

Instead of constantly being reminded of everything you could be missing, better schedule blocks every day for when you’ll go on social media or when you’ll check your email. This way, there’s no need for notifications anymore.

Have An Accountability Partner

Okay, before we wrap this up, here’s one last super tip: get an accountability partner!

This will supercharge your productivity. Having someone checking in with you on a regular basis automatically creates the same pressure as having deadlines. So, procrastination will pretty much evaporate.

Sound too good to be true? Give it a try!

Conclusion

Alright, so these are my 12 tips to organize your small business for success. I know how stressful it can be as a small business owner. But there is a better way than hustling 24/7 and always doing things the last minute.

Just start implementing one tip after the other and you’ll find that your business gets more organized and streamlined by the day.

This will help you increase your results, improve your mental health, and will ultimately allow you to finally live your dream life.

The post 12 Tips To Organize Your Small Business For Success appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The Best Way To Name A Business

When it comes to business, what does the company name mean? Everything! For companies of all sizes, a good business step is a vital step towards attracting clients and growing brand awareness. Good business names are memorable. They create a strong impression, and they differentiate the company from its competitors.

The goal of a good business name is to clearly identify the business in a customer’s mind. On the other hand, bad business names are vague in a customer’s eyes. They may be generic, hard to spell, or too similar to the name of a competitor.

Given that 65% of Americans dream of starting a business one day, naming a business is something every aspiring entrepreneur should know how to do. Here are 5 easy steps anyone can follow to find their ideal business name. To start, list keywords and phrases related to the business. Consider how you want to do business and who your intended customers are. What sort of words might appeal to them?

Second, create a lengthy list of ideas for the business’s name. Never commit to a word or phrase immediately. This is the step where outside advice is helpful. Consult with friends, family, and peers for suggestions and feedback with the understanding that nothing is set in stone.

having a great business name

Once you have a shortlist of viable contenders, the third step is to research trademarks already in use. No one wants to commit to a name only to discover it’s taken. Ignoring the trademark of another business may lead you into a lawsuit.

After ensuring there are no legal barriers to the name you want for your company, the fourth step requires you to consider how to brand the business name effectively. Will the name fit well into a logo design? What brand colors would you use with this name? Some names lend better to branding than others. Make sure yours fits the bill.

Finally, the last necessary step is to check website and social media availability. Consider what domain extension best fits your business. Do a simple internet search to check domain availability and do the same thing with social media handles. In today’s society, many businesses use their online presence for promotional and informative purposes.

Some also do business on the internet outright. Having social media handles out there that customers can confuse for your business is a path to headache and revenue declines. It’s not enough to stand out from other businesses; you have to stand out from other social media users as well.

deciding a great business name

What happens if a brand name is poorly chosen? It’s not the end of the world, but fixing that initial mistake can be costly. Attorney fees alone can be a nightmare, as businesses who change their name have to update tax documents on the federal, state, and local level.

They also have to edit legal documents and contracts, and change trademarks, patents, and copyrights. When it comes to rebranding, new advertising and promotional materials are not cheap. The cost of updating a website, company logo, and social media handles vary as well.

For a small business, this extended process can cost up to $180,000. It also takes 8 months of work, during which customers must stay informed and updated if they are to be retained. No one wants to lose customers in the haze as they go about rebranding. The goal of a name change is often to expand a consumer base, not shrink it.

If you eventually do have to change your business’s name, fret not. You’re in good company. In 1968, Subway was known as Pete’s Super Submarines. Their name sounded too much like “pizza submarines” to customers, giving them the mistaken impression that the restaurant was a pizza place. Rebranding led to greater clarity for customers.

In 2006, Twitter was on the trend of cropping vowels from words. Their name was “Twttr.” Had they kept that name instead of opting for simplicity, their social media site would give the impression of a bygone era rather than a modern tool for communication.

Still, it’s better to avoid the hassle of changing a business’s name. It’s preferable to get names right the first time.

The Psychology of Naming Your Business

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The How And Why Behind Recruiting AI

Let’s start with the basics. What is recruiting AI? Recruiting AI is artificial intelligence used specifically for hiring. It can read resumes and job descriptions using its knowledge to match candidates to positions where they would be successful.

Recruiting AI and other software are increasingly becoming one of the main tools for the hiring process. Technology can help to make the process much quicker and more effective. This visual guide breaks it all down.

How Can Recruiting AI Be Used Successfully?

ai recruiting

Recruiting AI makes the hiring process overall run better. It can instantly tell recruiters who the best applicants are and if it is programmed correctly with unbiased data, it can increase a company’s diversity. With an AI program trained on unbiased data, the implicit biases human recruiters have, which often unknowingly get in the way of hiring diverse people, are eliminated.

Several recruiters and HR professionals do not believe their current hiring practices are good. In fact, 81% believe their practices are average or worse. It is a daunting task to look through possibly hundreds of resumes and choose the best people. It has been found that recruiters typically spend only seven seconds looking at a person’s resume.

It is understandable why this happens given the bulk of their task, but it is not a good practice. In those seven seconds, recruiters do not have enough time to fully consider a candidate and make an unbiased decision about them.

Several implicit biases like similarity bias, the halo/horns effect, the contrast effect, and the central tendency effect can occur with the poor hiring practices currently in use. Similarity bias makes people value traits in others that are similar to their own, which directly works against efforts to increase diversity.

The halo/horns effect reinforces our first impressions of a person, making it difficult to challenge our snap judgments and bias. The contrast effect plays with the opinions people form when comparing candidates to the others considered directly before or after. Finally, the central tendency effect leaves people wary of rating anyone too extreme for fear of their opinions being formed on bias.

Fortunately, an unbiased recruiting AI can solve this. But first, you have to ensure the recruiting AI is programmed with unbiased data. In the past, AI has eventually learned the same biases as its human recruiters because it was trained with their narrow data.

To create an unbiased AI, a wide variety of job descriptions, companies, resumes, and outcomes should be used. The AI should also be blocked from seeing information like a candidate’s age, gender, or name (which could allude to the person’s race). Once you have a completely unbiased recruiting AI, the whole hiring process can be expedited and establish fairness for diverse candidates.

Higher Diversity Leads To More Creativity And Profitability

benefit of ai for recruiting

The whole idea of a quicker and fairer hiring process sounds great, right? Right! Let’s look at the many benefits of increasing a company’s diversity, which come from having an unbiased recruiting AI.

Diverse people bring diverse thoughts and processes to the table. Vildan Stidham, Divisional VP of Global Talent Acquisition at Abbott, explains, “D&I can bring innovation, creative thinking, and different perspectives that are essential in our growing businesses.” The new, creative ideas brought into companies by diverse people make those companies thrive. New inventions and ways of thinking greatly improve life as we know it.

The improvements diversity brings to innovation also brings about a company’s profitability. The 20 most diverse companies in the S&P 500 have a higher long-term profitability than the less diverse ones. Greater diversity in a company’s leadership for both ethnic and gender diversity ultimately leads to significant profitability and financial success.

Needless to say, the ability to succeed financially is what keeps companies alive and able to materialize the creative, innovative ideas their people create. And having high diversity allows a company to do both.

Using an unbiased recruiting AI throughout the hiring process can make everything easier and quicker while increasing the workforce’s diversity and the company’s success. After programming the AI to be unbiased with a lot of varied data, it can instantly recognize the top candidates for any position, including candidates that may have been discriminated against unconsciously by human recruiters.

Embracing Diversity: The How & The Why With Help From AI

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Importance Of Virtual Support Staff To Your Business

Gone are the days when virtual assistants (VAs) were thought of as some kind of internet-enabled secretaries. Known as multi-talented multitaskers, virtual assistants are now seen as highly-skilled, independent professionals who provide a variety of business services from a remote location.

From delivering customized services to reducing overhead costs and providing valuable support for day-to-day operations, here are some of the ways virtual assistants can propel your business to new heights and enable you to achieve growth and success.

Dramatically Reduce Costs

Hiring a virtual assistant allows you to spend a lot less than what you would have to take in a regular employee. Since most VAs are self-employed and independent contractors, you won’t have to worry about overhead costs, including office space and equipment, insurance, benefits, taxes, vacation and sick leaves, utilities, and the like.

With a VA, you only have to compensate them for a specific job and the time they actually worked. You’ll get a cost-effective method and get high-level administrative services while managing the work better.

Improves Productivity And Efficiency

Time and again, studies have proven that businesses that make organizational changes about remote work can see substantial leaps in productivity and efficiency. A survey by Airtasker in 2019 revealed how working from home not only benefits individuals by eliminating their daily commutes, but also leads to healthier lifestyles that boost productivity.

Virtual assistants are very serious about delivering excellent results because they want to build their income and secure their future. They can help evaluate the existing processes of a business and explore other areas where they can provide organizational assistance to improve overall workflow efficiency.

Working through unprecedented times, VAs have also learned to prioritize self-care habits and are more empowered to make smart decisions about their work conditions. This way, they build a strong foundation for success and growth.

Frees Up More Time To Focus On Things That Matter

benefit of hiring a virtual assistant

Running a business is no easy feat, and there is a multitude of small yet meaningful tasks that can eat away at your day and make you feel so stressed and overwhelmed. But you don’t have to manage all aspects of your business alone. Having the right virtual assistant on your side helps lighten the load and gives you more time and energy to focus on the core roles that will help your business run smoothly and grow.

Working with VAs who have higher levels of specialization also gives you access to a diverse talent pool and vast knowledge, skills, and experience. You’ll be able to make your business more agile and take advantage of the opportunities and the possibilities that arise.

Keeps Your Business On Track And Makes It Look Good

On top of being great at what they do, virtual assistants are very responsive and professional, and they can communicate well. VAs help you stay on track with your tasks by reminding you of meetings and appointments, checking your emails, and relaying information around the clock. VAs can facilitate ease of doing business, so you won’t have to worry about missing something important.

A Wide Variety Of Services

Virtual assistants are skilled and knowledgeable about many different types of tasks, all of which can help you keep up with organizational demands depending on your business’s nature. Here are some of the most common kinds of VAs who can keep your company organized and fulfill tasks to a high standard.

General Virtual Assistants
They are adept in handling various types of administrative work—from data entry and research to email management, setting schedules and appointments, making presentations and reports, and many others.

Marketing and SEO Specialists
They help you build a strong online presence through digital technologies and techniques that include social media, search engines, web applications, and more.

Customer Service Support
Among the most in demand in the business process outsourcing industry, these types of VAs help you nurture and strengthen relationships with your clients through timely, respectful, and powerful customer support.

Real Estate VA
They are management assistants who will help you follow up and establish good relations with prospective clients after the initial sales pitch. They can also assist in search, lead generation, and database management.

Tips to Help You Hire the Right VA for Your Business

hiring a virtual assistant

There are several factors that you need to consider when hiring a VA for your business, including but not limited to the following:

  • Identify Your Needs And Know Exactly What To Look For

Take the time to break down all the tasks that you need help with based on your budget. This allows you to have a clearer picture of the specific skill sets and talents you need and the responsibilities and outcomes you expect from your VA.

  • Have Detailed Job Descriptions And Specifications

See to it that your job posting thoroughly outlines what the work entails, the duties that the VA is expected to perform, the timeline, deadlines, etc. This will help you easily narrow down candidates based on how well they meet your requirements.

  • Develop Strong Working Systems And Processes

It’s crucial to have a hiring process, timelines, and SOPs. This way, your VA will have the support and references they need to navigate your business—from the documentation of processes and the steps they need to take to the online tools they need to use.

  • Look In The Right Places

There are many platforms like Upwork, LinkedIn, Fiverr, and other freelance platforms and job sites that you can use strategically for your VA search. It all depends on how much time and resources you are willing to invest in the process.

All of these will give you access to a wide pool of candidates to choose from. Be prepared to filter through a long list of applicants so you can hire the right ones who can help you build business success.

Your Business Needs A VA, Too

In a world that’s seeking innovative solutions and becoming increasingly digital and fast-paced, businesses are turning to the power of virtual marketing assistants and remote workers to stay ahead of the competition. The demand for virtual assistants continues to surge as more and more businesses transition into more flexible ways of working.

If you think your business needs someone trustworthy to help keep it running, a virtual assistant can be that and more.

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Role Of HR Technology During The Pandemic And Beyond

One of the biggest challenges for businesses was to shut down operations immediately, as the pandemic took the globe in utter shock. However, as soon as the businesses went remote, a new family of problems became apparent. Most of the businesses were not prepared with the necessary technology suite to smoothly pivot to a remote-working model.

As a matter of fact, 80% of respondents to a Gartner survey stated that they did not have the digital technology needed to execute their professional responsibilities. This issue got exacerbated, as companies shifted to an entirely remote-working model. HR technology has not been entirely immune from this sudden set of changes.

Companies have now started observing some footfall of employees in the office, as the world is reopening slowly. However, several key functions are still being executed by remote teams. This lever between remote and on premise will keep moving in unfavourable directions, if apt HR technology is not deployed to acquire, retain, train, and manage human capital.

Understanding HR technology’s role in organizational success during and after the pandemic depends highly on the human capital engagement journey that the firm witnesses. Here are the typical stages of an individual’s interaction with the firm:

a. Hiring: The stage where an individual is a potential employee.
b. Training & Induction: When an individual has been hired and is making the first contact with the insider systems of the firm.
c. Retention & Engagement: The employee has been with the firm for a few years and is now delivering value.
d. Growth: The employee has been producing significant value for the firm and should now have a more expanded set of responsibilities to ensure this value generation pans out across the firm.

HR technology’s key role would be to ensure that a skilled individual with the right attributes is able to seamlessly go through all the stages. Here are some of the trends spotted by Gartner that will grow over the next decade and help firms optimize the journey from the above-mentioned stages.

Remote Interviewing

hr technology role during a pandemic

It is not difficult to find the right video communication tool that can help the human capital management team conduct online interviews. A little more thought into this would show that an online video interview is the closest replacement to an in-person interview. Such interviews require a high degree of engagement from top staffers in the firm. Hence, the firm has to bear opportunity costs by putting its top-value producers in the interview panel.

An efficient way to conduct online interviews is by using Machine Learning and AI approaches for conducting recorded interviews. Such platforms allow firms to scan through hundreds of applications without having to use any human effort. This also adds a component of interpersonal attributes to each applicant’s profile. The firm can now filter applicant pools using more holistic approaches, do so at a scale, and without tapping into the valuable time of the firm’s leadership.

More and more firms have been hiring from distant talent markets. As the pandemic has allowed people to work at a distance of several hundred miles from the office, this trend will continue.

Freelancer Management Systems

role of hr technology during pandemic

For the first time ever, firms started evaluating the possibilities of using more independent contractors than choosing permanent employees. Resource constraints create a two-way need for such arrangements. One – the firm does not want to incur additional costs of having a full-time employee who has to be paid benefits as well. Two – since they are more cost-effective for the firm, freelancers tend to have a higher ROI if they can execute their responsibilities.

All said and done – having more freelancers in the talent-mix at the firm creates some systemic challenges. HR technology platforms will have to cope with them during and after the pandemic settles:

  • Monitoring Working Hours: Many freelancers are paid on an hourly basis. Hence, firms will have to ensure that there are the right monitoring systems to verify the billed hours in each freelancer’s invoice.
  • Smart Contracts: HR firms are generally dependent on a large process of decision-making to release the payments for each independent contract the firm employs. As the sheer scale of such freelancers employed by the firm grows, smart contracts that help the firm automatically release payments on the basis of successful deliverables will become a necessity. Till such systems are not viable at scale, firms will have to focus on seamless payment integrations.
  • Unified Global Payroll Systems: As the possibility of engaging with more freelancers arises, firms will start tapping into talent arbitrage markets. IT team from Bangalore, back-office in Warsaw, digital marketing team in Boston, and legal team in London – such arrangements are highly dependent on payroll systems that have been optimized for global functioning. If the right payment systems are not integrated, firms will lose any efficiencies they have garnered by hiring a global set of independent contractors.

3. Learning & Productivity and Employee Engagement Platforms

While online education has made it possible for employees to work on their skill sets, workplace engagement has gone for a toss. Working remotely has created a sense of fatigue in most people. In order to control this from becoming a tailwind into downward spirals of productivity, HR technology will have to step up:

a. Stop Online Course Reimbursements and Develop Integrated Skill Assessments & Training

The conventional model tells HR teams to look at the potential returns of the acquired skills and reimburse the online courses the employees take. Instead of that, companies should use the ERP systems to analyse the skill deficiencies in their employees and create tailor-made training modules for employees. HR technology will help in analysing these skill gap areas and in delivering the skill acquisition process across the globe.

b. Setting a Uniform Agenda with Employee Engagement Platforms

The company’s employee engagement platform would reflect the true culture of the firm. As a large percentage of people work from home on a near-permanent basis, the need for reinforcement of culture will become more important. HR Technology in the form of team management, collaboration, and productivity suites delivered on the cloud, will become the pathway to setting a uniform cultural agenda within the business.

In Conclusion

Taking a page from the marketing playbook, HR technology initiatives will have to be optimized around converting each source of talent into a growing employee at the firm. That would be possible only with systemic changes that focus on automated remote hiring processes, freelancer management, and engaging employees.

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How Increases In Remote Work Will Affect The Wage Gap

The past year has led to an unprecedented increase in employees working from home. Just under 90% of global organizations either mandated or requested their workers to do their jobs remotely last year. Of the companies who made that transition, two thirds of them believe remote work will continue for the foreseeable future. 2020 was a year of many temporary changes, but working from home is destined to become a permanent fixture of the American workforce.

Given this information, many workers are not wondering what the change will mean for them. What trends in business operations are at play? How will the dynamics that traditionally shaped the workplace be altered? On the subject of persistent problems like pay inequity, will remote work improve or worsen the matter?

Every update to a new system of work includes a period of confusion. When the dust clears on the teleworking trend, winners and losers will become more apparent. While both employer and employee have something to gain from remote work, the benefits still exclude certain marginalized groups.

What are the benefits of remote work for businesses? By having fewer employees make use of the company’s office, companies no longer need to own or rent as large a complex. They can downsize on both property and overhead by reducing the number of workers on location. Because employees can work from anywhere, businesses are free to relocate to lower cost markets.

Certain tech companies were already leaving built-up industry hubs like Silicon Valley in favor of other locations (namely Texas), but the shift to remote work has accelerated the move. Already, American employers as a whole can save up to $30 billion a day from offering remote work to employees.

remote work salary gap

On the side of workers, employees also save money by eliminating their daily commute. Along with eating up a great deal of a worker’s time, commutes incurred regular transportation expenses such as gas and maintenance. Being able to work from anywhere also leaves the worker free to relocate. Already, between 14 and 23 million American workers may move for this reason. That’s up to 12% of American households!

The most likely group to relocate are city dwellers who want to find affordable housing. In major metropolitan areas like New York City, San Francisco, and Washington DC, average housing costs can easily outpace average income. Moving from Palo Alto, CA to Denver, CO can bring about an 18% decrease in the cost of living. The main budget item that changes in the move is housing.

remote work

Does this mean remote workers might get paid less? While it depends on the company, remote workers can see a drop in pay if they move to a less expensive area. For example, Stripe has offered its workers $20,000 to cover moving expenses followed by a 10% salary cut. The reason for this phenomenon is that part of their annual salary was designed to be able to support them in the area surrounding company headquarters.

With remote work, that is no longer necessary. If the decrease in annual expenses is greater in proportion to a drop in earnings, the employee can still come out ahead. American workers still stand to save between $2,500 and $4,000 by working from home. Pay differences based on location is a variation of the wage gap, but in this case, it’s one where everyone can benefit.

The forecast is not as optimistic when it comes to the more well-known forms of wage gaps. Even in 2020, women still made 82% as much as men while black men made 87% as white men according to the AAUW. Uneven compensation on the basis of gender and race continues in the new decade. While remote work may make it easier for women and racial minorities to get hired and decrease management bias against them, these factors alone are not enough to fix the problem.

Women in remote jobs still earn less than their male counterparts. Making matters worse is the fact that women and racial minorities are less likely to have the option of telework in their jobs, meaning they can’t reap any of the benefits discussed previously. As with any change, remote work is a mixed blessing.

Remote work and the modern wage gap - TrackTime24.com
Source: TrackTime24.com

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How To Prepare Your Data For Industry 4.0

A new industrial revolution is coming, and no, it won’t look the way it did 100 years ago. Industry 4.0 is on the way, and at breakneck speed.

Industry 4.0 is set to completely remake the way that products and inventory are created. Big Data programs, advanced machine learning, and reliance on IoT (the internet of things) will push manufacturers and distribution warehouses into the next area of development for the business world. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will dramatically decrease the amount of time spent between development, production, and shipments while introducing efficient, low cost, and high-quality products to the global market.

As the newest stage of the industrial revolution, the effects of Industry 4.0 are anticipated to take the world by storm. In less than 5 years, the market for Big Data and IoT is expected to grow to a whopping $25 billion. But the industry did not become what it is today without foundational building blocks from the past.

The first industrial revolution (also known as Industry 1.0) took place between 1760 and 1830. This time period was known as the Mechanization era as communities began to experience rapid growth from automated machines and tools, steam and internal combustion engines, and the refinement of iron and steel metals.

first industrial revolution
Via medium.com

Industry 2.0, called the Mass Production era by some, was a time period between 1870 and 1914. Occurring just before the first World War, this season of development focused on efficiency and productivity more than ever before. The assembly line was developed and carefully refined. Railroads and telegraph lines enhanced shipping and communication. The age of steel and iron began to give way to stainless steel and early plastics.

Our most recent stage of development in Industry 3.0 took place between 1950 and 2002. This era is called the Digitalization age for many reasons, but specifically because of unique integrations between IT and manufacturing processes. Computers, nuclear power, and other advances made it easier than ever to develop and ship inventory.

Today, Industry 4.0 is taking a step further by integrating data into the Interconnectivity Era. The goal of this rapidly developing technology is to fully automate warehouses and assembly lines by feeding machine learning programs an enormous amount of Big Data. This will cause a boom in both production and shipment, and will increase communications with Smart technology.

preparing for the fourth industrial revolution

There are three basic requirements to ensure successful integration with Industry 4.0: Smart communication, Smart devices, and high-quality Big Data. Not having the right information on hand will cripple the development process, and prevent businesses from utilizing their full potential.

Leveraging the benefits of Industry 4.0 must always begin with good data management, both inside and outside of a company. Business leaders should prepare their data to adapt to the many changes of the Interconnectivity area with solid strategy.

Begin the data preparation process by using the following steps.

Prepare an effective data structure

Evaluate your current structure, and look for ways to optimize while moving ahead. Investigate types of data structures such as:

  • Stacks
  • Queues
  • Linked Lists
  • Trees
  • Graphs
  • Tries
  • Hash Tables

Focus on reliable and credible data flow

Spend the extra time and money to complete an extensive data audit. What data is going where, and to whom? Optimize the flow and reception of information as necessary.

Upgrade your products and your processes with the future in mind

Purchasing Smart products for implementation in manufacturing processes can gently ease the requirements of Industry 4.0 into budding companies.

Connect all departments in the company with some form of data

Ensuring that data between departments is clear, open, and error-free will support a healthier environment for Industry 4.0 transitions.

Require that Industry 4.0 data be provided from all suppliers

A single missing link between internal data fidelity and external company partners greatly devalues the many benefits of Industry 4.0.

The Interconnectivity Revolution may still be in a nascent state, but the future is rapidly approaching. Start preparing your Big Data to take advantage of Industry 4.0 and all its benefits.

Source: Part Solutions – What is Industry 4.0?

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Why has Social Media Marketing Become Popular to Grow Your Business

Google is the undisputed master of the web markets and being indexed in a more favorable position than a competitor is essential to have a return in popularity (and therefore, also economic) and to make your website productive. Social media has become essential to increase this presence and strengthen search engine rankings.

Those who decide to be present on the web cannot exempt themselves from creating pages in the most popular social networks. Still, there is a distortion in the perception of these tools (which we consider harmful and dangerous) that makes most believe that the social network can replace the website: nothing could be more wrong!

The social network, due to its enormous diffusion, is an exceptional advertising vehicle. However, (just like traditional flyers) it must lead the user to deepen the subject dealt with in a more appropriate location. In the case of flyers it can be a shop; in the case of social networks it must necessarily be a website.

Too often I hear that: “I don’t need the site because I already have a Facebook page …”.

To answer the question: Social media is essential for the success of an advertising campaign, but for a company they should be satellites of a website and a means to bring users to their call to action page.

Many times we see local businesses with poorly managed or neglected social accounts.
For a social page to be effective, it should be in constant motion: thematic posts (or not), proper designing, calls to action, engagement with your audience, offers, discounts, and product showcases. It’s better if done several times a day.

Even if what is published is not strictly related to the topic covered in the page, if it creates an audience it is lawful (always within the boundaries of “netiquette”).

When you have a fairly large audience, then you can try to be more specific and, perhaps, less frequent. It is understood that the great value (and at the same time the great defect) of social networks is that there is a continuous interaction between those who publish a post and its audience. So, those who follow a page expect to have immediate answers to their questions.

Instagram For Example, What Do You Think?

social media important for business marketing

Indispensable? To be well placed on Google, which is the ultimate goal of every action on the web (those looking for a service or product start from the search engine, not from the social network), you should have them all, which is impossible to manage!

What is indispensable is undoubtedly Facebook, present in over 80% of Italian smartphones.

Then, Instagram is very popular, always at the level of interaction between users; however, I use it very little, and therefore, I don’t mind making comments.

I see Twitter as a bit overrated, in fact in Italy it is not particularly popular.

An underrated social media, on the other hand, is Youtube: this platform allows you to create a video channel with which you can “talk” with people, or show in detail something that would otherwise only be said. On the practical side, it is not that people immediately perceive the weight of this “social”, but having a Youtube channel exponentially amplifies the effect of any advertising practice and strengthens the presence and positioning in Google.

Are Hashtags Recommended? What Are They Good For?

social media is important for business marketing

The hashtags are a very effective way to group-specific topics. Their use is undoubtedly recommended to classify the topics covered in an advertising page. They are also increasingly widespread in social networks as a means of making the subject matter more direct. Personally I believe that, like all things, even this method will be too much inflated that it will lose its effectiveness.

I’ll give a practical example regarding this last statement: a couple of years ago, some of the highest exponents of the marketing world (Roberto Re and Marco Montemagno, to name a couple of Italians) started producing short monothematic videos which got published on Youtube and then circulated them through Instagram and Facebook.

It turned out to be an “overbearing” way to gain “likes” and exponentially increase followers. After a couple of years, this practice has been adopted by practically everyone who has something to say and the effectiveness of the method has since gone into free fall.

These people now have boundless popularity, but those who start only now wouldn’t be so lucky.

Conclusion

In reality, the only real recipe for the success of a company is the ability to renew itself and innovate. Those who do not possess this talent are destined to end up (or return) in the shadows.

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5 Social Listening Tactics to Generate New Customers

Social media is an integral part of your brand’s life. Along with it, the essence of the term social listening is also increasing. Due to intense competition and the high stakes of survival, in today’s time, social listening is an art one must master and a skill one must acquire.

Brands should focus on knowing and implementing the right social listening tactics to focus on the important interactions amongst the billions of messages exchanged every day. Active social listening is about reaching the right people at the right time with the right message.

Use social listening strategy to grow your business, but how do you implement it to maximize its outcome? The confusion of what you should focus on and what you should ignore might arise. Read this article further, as we delve into what social listening is and enlist its various tactics to generate new customers.

What is social listening?

Social listening is using social media to listen to the needs of the market. We use this method to gather insights and solve problems through customized solutions. It is executed in order to attract potential customers. Therefore, brands are recommended to stay active on social media platforms always. This will enable you to be aware of your brand, competitors, and the whole industry’s mentions. In addition to that, you can get to know the relevant keywords associated with your product or service.

One must not confuse social monitoring with social listening. While it does reflect certain similarities, social listening is more about taking proactive steps against insights from the data gathered. It includes measuring both qualitative and quantitative data. It is vital to segment the data according to various factors such as industry, geography, competition, and language and culture to capture meaningful inferences.

Listening and responding in real-time is crucial to sustaining your leads. Hence, take the insights from the data gathered to optimize your position in the market and/or to respond to your customers to improve their loyalty.

Importantly, it is about doing a deep analysis of the conversations which should lead to eventual conversions.

Social listening strategies

Below are the 5 tactics to improve your brand’s social listening and to interact with the customers in a way that will generate new leads and benefit your business.

Optimize your marketing message

social listening marketing research

Align the demographic and psychographic profiles of your audience with your marketing campaign. Talk about your product/service in a way that will appeal to your target audience. Start with figuring out your audience’s interest through detailed market research including social listening.

Analyze the voice of customer data to get insights. Consider these basic points when learning more about your audience:

  • Know the values that they care or do not care about
  • Seek for their pain points
  • Check how they describe your brand and products
  • Consider the cultural differences

Mainly, it is essential to leverage the data gathered from social listening to stand out from your competitors.

Know customer pain points

Social media is the new platform for people these days to vent out their frustration. However, for brands, it is a plus point as well.

Listen and note down your audiences’ frustrations or complaints. When doing this, ensure to check the tone of the customer. You will get to know whether there is a sense of urgency or not something to be done in priority.

The key is to understand the context of the pain point first before reacting to it. Once you do this, you will be able to give it the attention needed and show customer empathy. If it is a minor concern, you can just react to it and not give it much importance later. Creating a whole new campaign or editing an existing one just because of a small concern is not required.

However, do consider the reaction of your audience to each of your marketing campaigns. Listen to whether they liked it or not and rebrand accordingly. Social listening is the best method to get feedback.

Recognize customer sentiment

Social monitoring enables you to measure the number of times a brand or a specific keyword is getting mentioned. For example, you may know that your competitor is getting 3 times more mentions in comparison to you. Just knowing this is only going to upset you. Therefore, it is essential to focus on how people feel about the topic.

You might get a different perspective when you see the sentiment behind the conversations. For instance, your competitors might have 40% positive mentions and 30% negative mentions, whereas, you might have 70% positive and 15% negative mentions. Through this, you know that your customer is satisfied and that you are meeting their needs.

When you track keywords or brand mentions, keep a note of the sentiment (positive, negative or neutral) attached to it. If the percentage of negative mentions is high, you might want to take a step back and reconsider. While, if the positive mentions are high, you know you are going on the right track.

Empower your advocates

social listening influencers

Know the people who are fans of your brand. Check if there are any famous personalities following your brand or if there are any influencers mentioning you on their social media. If yes, listen to what they are talking about your brand or how they are reacting to your campaigns.

In public conversations, you will be able to figure out who mentioned you and what they genuinely feel about your brand. Once you get to know these influencers, ask them to be ambassadors for your brand. Having them associated with your brand will make them feel empowered.

Another thing that can be done is to check the audience of these advocates and target your advertisements to them. As the influencer has already mentioned you before, the audience might be aware of your brand, which increases the chances of them favoring you.

Convert dissatisfied customers

A negative word spreads way faster than a positive one. Seek out the negative customer feedback in priority as it will hamper your brand image quickly. With people these days posting opinions online, the chance of a new audience using it as a basis to frame an opinion about your brand is high.

People trust online reviews at the same level as in-person recommendations. However, a positive review is more likely to make people trust your brand, and a negative review is equally likely to push people away from it. Once a person reads a negative review or has had a poor experience of the brand, they are likely to have formed a negative impression. This might lead them to switch to another brand. Therefore, taking a quick measure to mend this is crucial.

Offer to do better for people who have had a bad experience with your brand. This way, you can start a conversation with them and eventually might form a strong, long-term relationship. Don’t start a sales pitch conversation. Initially, keep it relevant to the issue they are facing. The key is to be a good listener and offer solutions.

Being an active social listener has its own perks. Along with generating valuable leads with the above-mentioned tactics, you will be able to create content that your audience will love and, eventually, improve the whole customer experience.

Social listening is important for all brands. Gain insights and take action. Out of all the strategies, focus on the ones that currently suit your brand, and start working on them. Eventually, implement more strategies and with patience, you will start generating more clients.

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How to Beat Your Competitors by Using TikTok

The popular teen dance and lip-sync social media platform is becoming something bigger.

With millennials making up a greater share of the social media platform’s user base, marketers and business owners are suddenly looking at TikTok from a fresh perspective.

But why should your business care?

Here’s what Satish Kanwar, Vice President of Products at Shopify has to say: “TikTok is currently one of the world’s fastest-growing entertainment platforms with over 100 million highly engaged users in the US alone.”

TikTok offers businesses looking to reach customers with a stronger purchasing power an attractive platform for reaching their target audience.

How can TikTok help you beat your competitors?

using tiktok for marketing

With over 800 million active users, TikTok might be your best shot at getting ahead of your competitors. With its enviable user base that has over 24% of the platform’s user base aged between 25 -34, the platform has become one of the best platforms brands that can leverage to reach customers with the strongest purchasing power.

Previously known mostly for viral teen dance, challenges and lip-sync videos, the platform now has videos spanning every niche possible. DIY videos, beauty tutorials, styling, and fitness videos are now popular on the platform.

Another great advantage of the platform is its unique algorithm that allows users with low follower count to achieve viral status on the app, which is something other social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram do not offer.

Aside from providing a huge opportunity for brands and businesses to increase awareness and reach for free, TikTok also offers other ways for brands to drive traffic from the platform.

Below are five ways to get ahead of your competitors by driving traffic from TikTok:

Add a Clickable Link in Your Bio

Adding a link in your TikTok bio is a great way to convert users who find your current content interesting to leads. You can, with the link in your bio, drive traffic to your website or landing page. You can add a call-to-action in your product post captions to direct followers to the link in your bio. This is a great way to turn your TikTok viewers into leads.

However, only selected TikTok accounts have access to the link in the bio feature by default at the moment because the feature is still undergoing beta testing.

To confirm if you’re among the selected, click on the “Edit Profile” on your profile page. If you find a “Website” field, then you’re good to go.

Can’t find the “Website” field? You might get the feature if you join the TikTok testers program. Here’s how to join:

  1. Go to your TikTok Profile
  2. Tap the three dots in the top right corner
  3. Click on “Join TikTok Testers”
  4. A new window will open and you’ll be asked to sign in with your email address
  5. After successfully signing in, you’ll receive an update on your TikTok app
  6. Update the app and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to add a link in your bio

Still can’t find the website feature after joining the testers program? This could be due to the country you’re in or your follower count. You’ll get it soon as TikTok is gradually rolling out the feature to all its users.

Craft a TikTok Content Strategy

To grow and nurture customer engagement with your brand, you need a custom content strategy as great content can help attract leads for your business.

Choosing your core topics, establishing a posting schedule, using TikTok Live and engaging with your audience are some of the best practices when it comes to content strategy.

Work with TikTok Influencers

tiktok for marketing

Just like influencer marketing on any other social media platform, working with TikTok influencers can help get your brand’s message in front of your target audience to generate leads and increase the return on investment (ROI) on your marketing efforts.

Take advantage of TikTok Challenge

TikTok challenges can be organic or sponsored and they provide a great opportunity for you to increase your brand awareness and lead generation on the platform.

Taking part in a viral challenge can put your business in front of thousands of your potential customers. Your business needs to add TikTok challenges to your lead generation tools to appeal to younger audiences.

You can get started with TikTok challenges by participating in already popular challenges or by launching your own TikTok Branded Challenge.

And finally,

Use TikTok Ads

The easiest way to generate leads on TikTok is by using the official paid ads. The platform’s ads are designed to help businesses reach their target audience with ease.

You can take advantage of TikTok ads to increase your brand awareness, collect customer insights, and drive traffic to your landing pages.

TikTok continues to be one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world. With the right strategy, the platform can be used to increase brand awareness and for generating tons of leads for your business, which can help you stay ahead of your competitors.

You can use any of the above-listed tips, from adding a clickable link in your bio to using TikTok ads, to get ahead of your competitors.

And remember (awesome) content is KING. Capture the attention of your target audience and you’re set to reap massive returns.

In closing, here’s a reminder of the five ways to get ahead of your competitors by using TikTok.

  1. Add a Clickable Link in Your Bio
  2. Craft a TikTok Content Strategy
  3. Work with TikTok Influencers
  4. Take advantage of TikTok Challenge
  5. Use TikTok Ads

There you have it: How to Beat Your Competitors by Using TikTok.

What are your thoughts on driving traffic from TikTok?

The post How to Beat Your Competitors by Using TikTok appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

15 Holiday Marketing Tips for Small and Big Businesses

How prepared are you for the holiday sales? Since October, holiday shopping has brought in billions after billions of dollars in revenue.

Just recently between Nov. 1 and Nov. 11, AliBaba Singles Day sales brought in a whopping $75 billion in sales with 800 million shoppers participating, according to reports.

Although the pandemic has affected the lives and livelihoods of billions, the holiday season is one many look forward to, to spend quality time with family and friends. Gifts play an important role in these exchanges. In fact, 25% of holiday shoppers will be buying gifts for others this season.

Similarly, 64% of people are as excited about holiday shopping this year as in previous years. Another report tells us that 75% of holiday shoppers will be conducting up to 50% of their holiday purchases online.

How prepared are you for this prepared set of shoppers this holiday season?

In this post, I’ll highlight 15 key things to include in your holiday sales preparedness checklist to help you maximize sales this season.

Dates

Holiday shopping typically starts in October with Thanksgiving and Halloween sales.

The holiday shopping calendar highlights major holiday shopping events throughout the year.

This should form a core part of your overall marketing strategy. By knowing the dates in advance, you can better strategize and prepare.

Deals

With the dates marked, you can plan out the type and number of deals available to your customers for each shopping event throughout the year.

Shoppers are usually looking out for the deal of a lifetime, especially during the holiday season. You should find out the best way to offer deals that won’t steal your profits.

You can keep an eye on your competitors. Find out what kinds of deals they’re offering their new and returning customers.

Discounts

holiday marketing tip

Prior to sales, some customers make it a point of duty to document the current prices of items in their shopping lists.

This is because most retailers do not actually offer discounts, they simply mark-up the price and “slash” it again.

Ensure you’re giving real discounts. Promote it via your newsletter, social media handles, website, etc.

Paid Ads and Promotions

If you’re a dropshipper for instance, much of your marketing will be in the form of paid ads and promotions.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Google, etc., allow you to run paid ads to promote your business.

Test run them and stick with what works best for you. Also, hone your targeting and copywriting skills to reduce costs and improve effectiveness.

Website

This holiday season, your website can either make or mar your entire marketing efforts. Is it fast loading, easily navigable, searchable, and fast to checkout?

If your e-commerce website isn’t user-friendly, you will be losing customers in droves and leaving money on the table.

Conduct a detailed website audit with a view to optimizing every touchpoint along your customer journey map. This is very key to an enjoyable user experience.

SEO

SEO is all about search and discoverability, on-site and off-site. 87% of buyers start their online buying journey with research, using Amazon or Google.

To succeed with e-commerce SEO, you have to think like a typical shopper. Some shoppers conduct product-specific search, others prefer store-specific search.

Optimize for search on your website and for search engines like Google. Enable auto suggest/autocorrect features to help shoppers find what they’re looking for.

Social Media

Are your social media handles doing their bit? Have you designed banners or planned out posts to promote your upcoming deals, discounts, or sales?

Are you planning to use an influencer, run multiple social media ads, hire a new social media manager, or improve your LinkedIn marketing strategy?

Social media, with billions of daily active users, can play a major role in your holiday marketing drive. Do not ignore it.

Photography

Product presentation is also important in e-commerce. Shoppers cannot touch, feel or taste products in your webstore.

There are three simple ways to ace this. One, take professional product photographs with killer product descriptions.

Two, incorporate product videos for a more in-depth, 3-D experience. Three, use VR to let shoppers virtually try-on products before purchase. Shopify Plus has this capability.

Shopping

A smooth shopping experience will guarantee you happy customers and repeat purchases, which can increase customer average order value and lifetime value.

A fast loading, navigable, and searchable site with speedy checkout and multiple payment gateways, is a shopper’s delight.

A bad shopping experience, on the other hand, could lead to cart abandonment, high churn, and negative reviews.

Checkout

Sometimes, online shoppers abandon cart not necessarily because of a bad shopping experience. Maybe they’re just window shopping or checking out shipping cost.

They could also forget their shopping cart and get distracted by work, colleagues, a meeting, an appointment, etc. How do you plan to recover such abandoned carts?

Many shopping carts, e-commerce platforms, software, apps, or plugins can help you automate shopping cart recovery this holiday season.

Payments

holiday marketing payment tips

Payment problems are a pain in the neck when it comes to online shopping. It takes considerable time to search for different products, fill up your shopping cart, and complete checkout.

For the past three days I’ve been unable to make payment for items in my shopping cart due to issues with payment gateways. Some of these are holiday items.

Getting this far and not being able to complete an order can be frustrating. Ensure that you have multiple payment options available.

Packaging

Packaging is another key component of e-commerce sales, especially this holiday season. Pakible provides comprehensive packaging solutions for retailers of all sizes.

If you’re a dropshipper, you probably won’t see your product packaging before they’re shipped to your customers, but it is important that you do.

Product packaging can create a positive or negative first impression, so watch it. You can also brand your products with special packaging or printed labels.

Shipping

After you have packaged your customer orders, you would need to ship them. With e-commerce, you can ship products across the world to your customers wherever they are.

A trusted shipping carrier can help you get your orders to your customers as fast as possible, for as low as possible.

Long shipping times and high shipping fees are two of the biggest turn-offs for online shoppers. Ensure that you’re guilty of neither.

Delivery and Fulfillment

Your customers’ orders have arrived at your storing and sorting location. Now it is time for last mile logistics, and a lot can go wrong between your warehouse and your customer’s door.

For instance, a delivery truck with perishable groceries may break down for hours leading to delays and decomposition, which can lead to order cancellation.

Timely and professional delivery is one of the most important legs of your online shopper’s journey. Make it delightful, and your customers will reward you with even more business; awful and they’re gone.

Returns

Returns are almost avoidable but inevitable. If you sell fashion items or apparel, ensure that your size charts are comprehensive and detailed. Include in-depth product description and use professional photographs.

Over 50% of shoppers engage in bracketing, i.e. the act of buying all sizes, colors, etc., of an item with the intent to keep only the one that fits and return all the others.

This is a costly practice. On National Returns Day (Jan. 2, 2020), UPS returned 1.9 million holiday purchases. Returns cost billions of dollars. They also create extra greenhouse gas emissions (due to reverse logistics), and some of them end up in landfills.

Conclusion

This holiday sales preparedness checklist can help you plan your holiday marketing in advance, minimize losses, and maximize profits this season.

The post 15 Holiday Marketing Tips for Small and Big Businesses appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Amazon Business customers can save 30% with this Black Friday code

Amazon Business customers can save 30% with this Black Friday code

SAVE 30%: Until Nov. 30, new Amazon Business customers will get a 30% off on their first work purchase up to £200. 


Amazon Business still feels like a bit of a secret, but if you’re looking to save time and reduce your business costs, it should be something to consider.

Amazon Business lets you consolidate your team’s spend in a single multi-user account, with built-in features to control how and what users buy. You can keep purchasing costs low with easy access to competitive pricing and improved cash flow, and you still get access to a familiar marketplace that reduces the complexity of buying for work. Read more…

More about Business, Black Friday, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Uk, and Uk Deals

A Guide in Picking The Best WordPress Host

According to Google’s Best Practices, a website should load in 3 seconds or less. Any longer, and visitors may click away from growing impatient. According to research, a 9-second increase in page load time increases mobile bounce rate by 123%. Now that we know that, it’s more important than ever to optimize your website.

This starts from the ground up when choosing your hosting provider. What’s more, it has never been more important than now to have a well-functioning website for your business. Here are a few ways you can give your website a boost in curb appeal.

The Types of WordPress Hosts

WordPress is the most popular open-source content management system available. With that comes many types of hosting.

Shared Hosting allows multiple websites to be stored and run on one server. This is done using the shared server resources, such as CPU and RAM. In contrast, Dedicated Server Hosting stores each site on its own server. In this type of hosting, site owners and administrators are able to control all aspects of their hosting.

With Cloud Hosting, resources are spread across multiple servers so that applications can use combined computing resources. However, the most complex form of WordPress hosting is Managed WordPress Hosting.

Managed WordPress Hosting is a concierge hosting service where all technical aspects of WordPress (speed, security, WordPress updates, daily backups, website uptime, scalability) are managed by the host.

Technical aspects are so important because they speed up your website. As mentioned before, speeding up your website can improve your user experience. However, this isn’t the only benefit of a zippy landing page. High load speeds can increase your domain’s conversion rates, as well as improve its search ranking.

The Key Factors Contributing To Speed

site speed

External scripts are a primary influencer of reduced site speed. Removing ads, font leaders, and similar external scripts may help your site load faster. Furthermore, bad plugins – such as fragmented codes or expired plugins – can do a great amount of damage to the speed of your website. To prevent this, make sure your plugins are properly installed and optimized.

Also contributing to speed is how your WordPress website has been configured. For example, pages failing out to cache can go on to overload your servers. This may ultimately cause your website to run slow – or crash completely.

Similarly, page size can show effects on the speed of your website. Any busy, overcrowded pages – or pages with too many elements – are more prone to load slowly. As a precaution, remove any extra fat from your landing pages.

Finally, you’ll want to assess your web host itself. Generally speaking, shared hosting is optimal for allowing others to consume the resources your site needs.

Choosing The Right WordPress Host

As a rule of thumb, the key to a quick-loading WordPress website is to find the right host. To do so, you’ll first need to pinpoint the needs of your website. Every host will offer different features, so making a list of what your website needs will help you sort through the hay. However, there are a few basic features that every WordPress host should offer to keep your eye peeled out for.

For example, pre-installed WordPress software. This way, you can administrate your website regardless of the device. Additionally, automatic nightly backups are a common feature most WordPress hosts should offer, as well as automatic updates for WordPress. Other features to keep an eye out for are 24/7 security and tech support, expert support, and web services built specifically for websites hosted on WordPress.

In your search for a host, you’ll also want to compare the prices offered by each various provider, as well as take advantage of any free trial periods offered. This way, you can try the host out for a spin.

More commonly unbeknownst, but not to be confused with features, WordPress hosts typically offer many services. When you’re down your options, compare the subscription price in correspondence to the services the host is offering.

Examples of WordPress services include hardware and software setup and configuration, hardware maintenance and replacement, software patching (and updates), and technical support and monitoring. Services such as these can be helpful all around the board. In this day and age, it’s not only important to have an optimally running website, but also a secure one.

The Host of Your Choice

choosing the best wordpress hosting

At this point, you should have all you need to make a decision on a WordPress host. Once you’ve done so, as well as configured your plugins and themes, give your site a few speed tests. IsItWP, Pingdom, Google PageSpeed Insights, and Time To First Byte, to name a few, provide reliable results. Additionally, the quiz on WordPress Beginner can help you pick the best WordPress host.

Tip: Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to produce faster-loading images, and consider using AMP to optimize your mobile experience.

Websites are the new real estate. Has your site found a home?

Please include attribution to WPBeginner.com with this graphic.

How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting in 2020

The post A Guide in Picking The Best WordPress Host appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

10 Thing To Consider While Designing A Live Chatbot

The current business world is extremely contentious. Now, meeting your clients’ expectations is not enough. You need to exceed them to stand out in the crowd.

If your customers are surfing the web at 4 A.M. in the morning with a fiery issue regarding your company, they await you to respond to it.

Usual working hours don’t matter a lot in the online world. What matters a lot is the way you handle the queries of your clients regarding your business.

If you can’t provide the customer with the solutions they are looking for, someone else will!

However, before hiring staff to work in the graveyard shift, there is a simple and effective solution – Chatbots.

Designing a chatbot is like whipping coffee; it always requires the exact ingredients to prepare it, but slight variations to the method can change the entire outcome.

However, a recent study has revealed that 60% of participants state that bots are disappointing when it comes to solving their concerns, and that they prefer human support over bot to solve their queries. The concerns are genuine but, possibly, this judgment can be corrected.

We will show you a few things you need to consider while designing a chatbot for your organization, which can satisfy the needs of your business and clients.

Identify your bot’s goal

It’s very crucial to determine the ultimate goals of your chatbot before starting its designing process. And if you are not sure about your bot’s purpose, then you need to rethink if you actually need one.

Here are a few reasons to choose chatbots for your business:

  1. They save your time and effort, as well as human resources for qualitative jobs
  2. Automate your client support process for related inquiries
  3. Enhance your brand value with minimum effort
  4. Affordable development cost
  5. Better user interaction
  6. Easy to use

First, set the goals of your chatbot. Is it for generating leads for your logo design company? Possibly for scheduling appointments? Responding to commonly asked questions? There is no limit!

The more specific the goal, the clearer it will be to both design your bot and analyze its progress. Users are preferring your bot for only one purpose – to get a solution for their problems. Set your goals around the queries of your users, so it becomes easy for you to handle their needs.

Choose between a rule-based and NLP platform

After establishing the goals of your chatbot, it’s time to decide how to design your bot. Most of the chatbot platforms mark their bots with AI tags, regardless if they actually apply clever self-learning algorithms or just cling to normal IF-THEN metrics.

So, you will have two options while choosing a designing platform for your chatbots – “NLP” and “rule-based”. These define how adaptable and smart your chatbot works within a discussion.

A rule-based bot responds according to specified decision trees. Similar to a flowchart, discussions are planned out to predict what a client might request and how the bot should answer.

For example, if a customer input includes words like ‘shop’ or ‘buy’, then send them a message with a list of products.

NLP bots or Natural Language Processing bots are capable of assuming the context even when problems are more complicated. Moreover, their capability to learn from their mistakes help them to develop greater efficiency.

Presently, rule-based bots are a cheaper, quicker, and more efficient option. Furthermore, transparency regarding their function range encourages users to engage efficiently.

Understand your customers and their input

developing a chatbot

While designing a bot, it’s really important to keep your customers in mind. What type of technical skills do they hold? Do they have time to use self-help? What kind of conversation do they prefer?

Do they want to keep it sober or casual? User choices are one face of a coin. The other face is the real user input and facts. What type of information do you need to provide in chatbot conversation?

Will users need to type the query or just select from the available options? If they need to type the query, then which language do they use?

It’s completely up to you how you want your user to interact with bot. According to a survey conducted, people want to see a company’s logo as a bot icon. Now coming back to basics, your logo should be attractive so it can connect with users. AI-powered tools such as Designhill can generate a user-friendly logo within fraction of minutes.

Identify the limitations and drawbacks of your platform

After deciding the preferred platform for your bot, you need to figure out the drawbacks and limitations of your platform.

Most of the rule-based platforms are based on multiple choice, without the opportunity to write unique answers.

You can guide the conversation in a particular direction through this platform, but you can’t compose proper answers to problems that may be asked during the conversation.

Moreover, a few platforms require input questions and their responses in a coded form, which needs knowledge and interest in coding to enjoy using them.

So, it’s better to select a thoroughly-tested platform as it has come along with comprehensive documentation on facilities and tools.

Furthermore, you can join various online communities and forums to know more about your platform. These platforms will help you in troubleshooting your issues effectively and quickly.

Set the tone and personality

Your bot represents your organization and it’s usually the first one that interacts with your clients. Consequently, it’s essential to set the tone of communication that matches your brand value.

You can treat your bot as your digital employee and even enhance your brand image by providing it a friendly persona.

A recent study has revealed that users favor bots with human traits. A personalized and friendly answer by the bot can make your users’ chatting experience more positive.

Siri by Apple is one of the best examples of a humorous chatbot. It’s a sweet and friendly character initiated by the organization.

However, don’t impose humor unnecessarily to audiences that don’t want those features. A simplistic, helpful, and friendly bot is the best option for several brands.

Maintain a simple conversation flow

Bots can be used to perform repetitive tasks where a simple and specified flow has been established. If you are trying to design a self-learn or self-aware chatbot, then you are destined to fail as such advanced technology has not yet arrived.

So, it’s important to include very specific topics that relate to the goals you have established for your chatbot. The more complex and branched out the discussion is, the greater the risk that it will become grouchy.

Apply prompts

If a bot usually asks indefinite questions like “what do you want to search?”, such type of conversation can turn into a guessing game.

The customer will get confused in deciding what a bot can do, and the bot will also get confused in presuming what the user expected.

However, using prompts on your website can help showcase the abilities of your bot. You can set a clickable menu or present recommended solutions, so there will be no confusion or doubt.

Furthermore, the clickable menus or elements will save time, as well as the efforts of the users.

Allow an easy shift from chatbot to human assistance

develop a chatbot

A bot can’t handle every possible question, particularly when it comes to criticisms or unusual cases. That’s when a human assistant comes into the picture.

A frustrated user prefers human assistance to resolve the issue. So, while designing your bot, make it simple so it can switch from chatbot to human assistant.

The most sensible alternative is to combine the chatbot platform with your live chat platform to make conversation handovers quick, easy, and simple.

Perform quality checks at the early stage

No matter how hard you try, there are a lot of things that are impossible to predict during the planning or designing phase.

If you start testing in the early phase, you will notice the places where the chatbot is lacking, even before the launch of the bot.

Furthermore, you will need a Live testing feature to perform this test. You can test every conversation or story created in the chatbot internally before its launch.

You need to ensure that it works as expected before users can use it for queries.

Maintain a balance among reactive and proactive

Chatbots can work as smart promoters for your brand. They can encourage users to begin a conversation regarding promotions and deals.

For example, after a user stayed on a webpage for more than 30 seconds, a bot can proactively prompt a message for a user stating – “Hey, just want you to know that today we are offering free shipping to the users on every order. Want a promo code?”

Or, you can share special deals with them. For example, a bot can prompt “Hey, we have designer sarees on sale? Click here to see.”

However, if you are planning to apply a proactive approach, it’s ideal to place the pop up in an unobtrusive place. According to research, the bottom right corner is the best place for it.

Furthermore, a human brain browses a page from top left to bottom right. So, it’s a good chance to showcase your products and services after your user has approved your chatbot’s assistant.

Looks Salesy and Clingy, Right?

That’s why it’s important to maintain a balance between replying to a user’s requirements and providing a complete service experience.

For example, if a bot is helping a user to find a new study table, but then the bot starts promoting fancy furniture, then obviously a user gets frustrated. The products are relevant, but not helpful for users. As mentioned, there needs to be a balance to avoid this.

The post 10 Thing To Consider While Designing A Live Chatbot appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How Legendary Companies Fix Failed Payments

Most business owners know how much profit they’re raking in at the top of the funnel, but how many are aware of how much failed payments are holding them back?

The Cost of Failed Payments

Every year in America, customer churn costs businesses $136 billion. On top of that, 47% of companies lose auto-renewals due to changes in payment data. However, auto-renewals can be lost many other ways.

Customer churn is considered any instance in which customers, or subscribers, cease relations with a business or service. With that, reasons for cession may either be voluntary or involuntary.

Any instance in which a consumer, or subscriber, makes an intentional effort to leave a service is known as voluntary churn. On the other hand, involuntary churn refers to consumers who unintentionally leave a business or service.

What Causes Involuntary Churn?

failed payment

Most commonly, involuntary churn is caused by payment failure. In fact, payment failure is the #1 cause of involuntary churn.

That brings us to ask: what causes payments to fail? Most commonly, insufficient funds. 53% of failed payments link back to the consumer not having enough funds. However, not having enough money isn’t the only reason a payment may fail.

Submitting a payment with outdated card information (i.e. expiration date, zip code) can cause a payment to fail. This can easily happen with automatically renewing subscriptions. 35% of subscriptions automatically renew, but credit card changes account for 40% of payment failures.

However, payments may still fail for other reasons. For example, systemic errors. If a merchant’s system is down, it’s unlikely a transaction will succeed. Banks with autonomous firewalls can also cause any attempts over the customer’s daily limit to be blocked. Statistically, credit card limits account for 42% of payment failures.

Does Auto-New Increase Risk of Failed Payments?

From a business outlook, failed payments raise expenses.

For instance, 48% of businesses state that chargeback rates reduce their forecasted revenue. Comparably, there’s also an increased customer service contacts when payments don’t go through. Hence, it only makes it more expensive to retain customers, according to 43% of businesses.

Moreover, 35% of available subscriptions can be auto-renewed, and renewals constitute 62% of subscription-based revenue. Still, auto-renewals contribute to higher instances of failed payments. What’s more, 47% of businesses end up losing auto-renewals because of changes in payment information. What can businesses do to decrease this kind of involuntary churn?

Is Improving Customer Retention Effective in Reducing Involuntary Churn?

failed payment recovery customer service

65% of a company’s business comes from their existing customers, and 32% of people will stop doing business with a brand after just one bad experience.

Furthermore, 66% of consumers want companies to show they value their time, and 69% prefer shopping with merchants who offer consistent customer service. Still, only 15% of customers respond to emails seeking updated payment information.

With this information, businesses should work toward building trust while finding unique solutions to outstanding payments. These solutions, of course, will be contingent on each individual business’ weak areas.

Here are some facts to consider along the way:

  • Poor customer service experiences discourage manual renewal after a failed payment.
  • How do clients rate your brand’s customer service?
  • Many customers may only learn their payment has failed when their service stops.
  • How does your company contact customers regarding urgent account matters? If your typical approach is email, consider alternatives such as SMS or phone calls.
  • Creating on-platform software that can audibly or digitally interrupt clients concerning their subscription status may also improve communication.
  • Payment declines and fees create customer frustration.
  • Remember, the customer is always right. What tactics do your call representatives use to make administrative experience stress-free on the client?

Paying Attention To Failed Payments

Reducing card declines has proven potential to bring payment failure rates as low as 0.5%, which can produce a 70% reduction in involuntary churn. Knowing this, businesses using automated card updates, intelligent retry logic, and human personalization to dilute involuntary churn rates may find more financial relief than those who do not.

Research has also found it costs 6 times more to attract new customers than to keep existing ones. As a result, businesses actively working to reduce their involuntary churn rates will likely see more success than those strategizing methods to draw in replacement clients.

Every year, 34% of customer churn costs are due to involuntary churn and failed payments. By improving consumer retention, brands can save money on marketing expenses, increase profits, and improve their quality of service. What software to prevent failed payments are you using?

How Legendary Companies Make Money
Source: GravySolutions.io

The post How Legendary Companies Fix Failed Payments appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Connecting with Customers During a Crisis – Notes for the Tech Industry

Since foot traffic has dropped dramatically due to the pandemic, the corporate arena is facing a great setback. Social distancing, which is beneficial for health safety, has brought many negative impacts for businesses globally. Among several other factors, customer interaction tops the list. When clients are socially isolated, engagement becomes challenging.

Though some industries catering to the basic needs of clients are doing exceptionally well, others like the technology sector are going through a tough time. If you also belong to the technology industry, and are struggling to break-even, stay connected with your customers.

Irrespective of social distancing, there are endless ways to interact and please your clients. Let us shed some light on these strategies:

Video Chatting and Streaming – Going Digital

connect with customers during a crisis

The time users spend on social media has increased dramatically; utilize this opportunity, and go live with your products. Here are a few ways how:

Show Your Products on Live Videos

If not now, potential clients may buy the product after things get back to normal. For instance, if you sell smartphones, make up an exciting deal for customers. Though people might not have the resources right now, they have ample time to listen to you. Use your convincing skills to make your product their next gadget this year.

Focus more on things that are in demand these days. Since remote working is the new normal, laptops, coaxial cable wires, USBs, chargers, and routers are high in demand. Give discounts, offer installment plans, and ask former customers to review your products.

Share Stories

Use short videos to deliver a big message. Show some behind the scenes and also interact directly with your users to increase satisfaction. Empathize with your users and make the clients realize that you care.

Arrange an Online Event

As the pandemic hit the world, thousands of events got canceled, and hundreds of them are still in the pipeline. However, holding events is still possible. You might need to change your advertising strategy, but you will get a good audience. Whether it is your product anniversary or a new launch, you can always have a digital event and grab the attention of a huge audience.

Many technology companies have introduced new apps, products, and gadgets to stay alive in the eyes of customers besides keeping their business running. You can also come up with an innovative digital product and hold a launch event online. For instance, Tik Tok introduced a new app on Amazon Fire recently through an online event.

Tip:

Offer an exclusive discount on products for the first 50 people attending your event.

Bring a Smile on Others’ Faces

connecting with customers

Getting confined in a home is not an easy job. In this scenario, when you have financial burdens and health concerns, frustration rises at its peak. Many companies are standing firm with their clients at this crucial time.

For example, telcos are delighting their existing customers by giving free data. Similarly, many entertainment companies have released movies and TV shows earlier than the scheduled dates. Disney Channel understood the demand of this time and released its blockbuster family movie, Frozen 2, even though releasing a movie on streaming is less profitable than a cinema release.

Likewise, some technology companies are taking an active part in helping their consumers by offering free or discounted meditation and yoga classes. Free subscriptions are being offered, and online education institutes are even offering free online technological courses to help people learn technical skills in their spare time.

Thus, technological companies can also pair up with other companies to provide entertainment to their clients. At a time when people are losing their jobs, sales are near to zero, and the life of every other person at risk, sharing something that can help alleviate mental stress is noble and inspiring.

Most importantly, this gesture of kindness by companies will be remembered even long after the pandemic is over. Many brands that are unable to stay directly connected with their customers have taken the entertainment route to avoid the flak.

Shifting Customers to Online Channels

Though most technology companies have an active website or an online store, some are still facing difficulty managing this shift. This digital shift is a new experience for many brands. Businesses have no other choice than to provide online services and engage customers through digital means. For instance, Cisco’s WebEx is now offering free technical tools for teachers and students to facilitate remote learning.

Technological companies offering healthcare products can grab this opportunity as well. People do not want to step outside, but still, they have health needs. Therefore, they are ready to invest in smart healthcare gadgets that can keep them healthy while at home.

Similarly, hospitals are ready to embrace the best technology for health care. It is imperative to create awareness regarding healthcare gadgets in this difficult time. People are ready to learn new things at this time. Thus, companies are likely to get a good response from potential clients.

Online channels, like social media presence, blogs, websites, and e-stores, are vital today. These channels are essential to keep the sales running and continue engaging with present clients. For shifting customers to the online platform, the following actions can be taken:

  • Blog
  • YouTube channel
  • Paid advertisement
  • Website
  • Social media campaigns

It’s time to revamp all the marketing strategies and shift entirely to the digital landscape. Offline marketing strategies are the only way to connect with customers and maintain relationships. Since every other business is actively implementing online tactics, there are high chances of losing loyal customers if a coherent connection is not maintained.

Conclusion

The technological sector can play a vital role in this unprecedented situation. The digital shift in business operations, remote learning, and virtual meet-ups have opened new doors of opportunities for various companies. However, this has amplified the competition, making it difficult for other brands to stay connected with former clients.

Though the resources are limited and the times are difficult, you may adopt various ways to connect with potential clients. Virtual meet-ups, video streaming, social media campaigns, blogs, and offline marketing tactics are some useful means for maintaining good relationships with customers. Even if sales are zero, never give up. Keep your bond strong, and don’t let your customers forget you.

The post Connecting with Customers During a Crisis – Notes for the Tech Industry appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Amazon is rewarding new business customers this Prime Day

Amazon is rewarding new business customers this Prime Day

SAVE 30%: Create a free Amazon Business account and save 30% on any items sold by Amazon up to £200.


We’ve already given you guys a heads up about how Prime members and non-members can start profiting from Prime Day, and now business customers can get involved in the shopping event.

All you need to do is create a free Amazon Business account before Oct. 9, and then enter the code B2BPRIME20 at checkout, activated 48 hours after verification. This code entitles you to save 30% on any items sold by Amazon worth up to £200. This deal is valid until Oct. 31.

More about Business, Prime Day, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Uk, and Uk Deals

Are Press Releases Worth The Big Bucks?

The fact that press releases and their newswire services are still around should pretty much answer the question. No clue? Well, let’s look at it this way. Press releases have come a long way and have changed at least three mediums; newspapers, social media, and now dedicated PR platforms.

And to give you an idea of a press release’s resilience, how’s the fact that newspaper is still a medium used today to disseminate information through releases, despite print media shrinking both in visibility and relevance. Still asking if a press release is worth the spend?

However, resilience isn’t a trait looked for by businesses and corporations when shopping for a press release marketing service. It’s the ROI they want, and boy, do press releases give them the ROI. Plus, bigger corporations (especially multinationals) are still very adept at press releases, just not the way it works now in marketing.

Corporations like IBM or Pepsico use press releases as a way to keep both the customers and media updated about events, launches or news regarding the company. In short, press releases have carved out their place in the modern business sector and remain as relevant as they were back in the 1950s or 60s. And with relevance comes big business, which a press release can only serve to complement (if used properly).

But to actually gauge if press releases are worth the spending, let’s look at what they provide and claim to actually do for your business.

Press release – what it does

press releases worth it

Press releases, as stated beforehand, can convey news of a corporation to the relevant media sectors and also act as a marketing tool for products or services looking to expand their footprint in the digital marketing sector. As such, it lays claims to both mediums; print media and social media. Let’s take the purposes of the press release and understand them from the ground up.

As a news service:

Every business, from corporations to enterprises, regularly use press releases as their primary method of dispensing information or news regarding company launches or events. For example, whenever you go to Apple’s site or any other site for that matter, you can always find a dedicated corner for press releases that contains a ton of stuff meant as news items. Journalists, whenever in need of a story or filler material, regularly scour these parts of websites to find news that could fill in the blanks, thereby, guaranteeing press coverage of an event or a product about to be launched.

Similarly, whenever a legal matter is at hand for a major corporation, it is usually addressed and notified to the general public through a press release, which can be further utilized by news outlets as a way to gather aspects of a legal battle (i.e stance of the company or the proceedings of the case). To summarise, press releases double as news agents for corporations looking to release news about particular events or product launches.

As a marketing tool:

Now we come to the crux of the article. If your business utilises press releases, will it pay off? Are press releases worth the spending? As a marketing tool, press releases are a pretty potent method of getting your message across the board. And when it comes to answering the aforementioned question, it would be a big YES.

Press release marketing is considered one of the most cost-efficient methods of marketing there is. This is compared to regular advertisement campaigns, which promise the same amount of coverage as a press release but at a Herculean amount. Let’s look at a few ways press releases differ from a regular media campaign.

  • Dedicated releases to business hotspots like Silicon Valley, Wall Street, etc.
  • Releases to capital cities and metropolitans worldwide (London, Munich, etc.)
  • Inclusion of Virtual Digital Assistants (VDA’s) like Siri, Alexa or Bixby to increase spread and suggestions
  • Multilingual translations of press releases (for varying audiences and regions)
  • Distribution using RSS feeds

This is just the tip of the iceberg that is press release marketing. It contains several other targeting methods that are way better than a regular media campaign that focuses on TV and the internet. When a press release is marketed through services like ReleaseLive, it utilises every software and service at its disposal and makes it work to the tune of the press release, letting the algorithm work its magic and flood the internet with the release.

How much is it cost-effective?

are press releases really worth it

To get an idea of how much cost-effective a press release marketing strategy is, compare the numbers of a licensing and merchandising deal with a celebrity (like Travis Scott’s deal with McDonald’s) to the Super Premium plan of iCrowdNewswire, and you can immediately see why it is claimed to be the most cost-effective and is worth whatever bucks you can shell out.

The effects of both the campaigns are pretty much the same: they target a certain market, a certain audience, and bombard them with the relevant press release. The difference is the price and that difference is huge. As you might have guessed, yes, press releases are definitely worth whatever you spend on them. Maybe even more than what you spend. You could call press releases ‘criminally underrated’.

In a nutshell

Press releases are one of the uncut gems of the advertisement and marketing sector that are used widely, but have yet to be known by the general public as a viable method of marketing. While companies utilise it as a news distribution method and as a marketing method, it remains to be seen how much of its price effectiveness can be put to use by other businesses looking to expand their social media footprint.

As of now, press release marketing is up and coming and will be here to stay, all thanks to its one big pro: being cheap to run.

The post Are Press Releases Worth The Big Bucks? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Understanding How To Use Mobile Communication For Business

Mobile devices are a lifeline for most people right now, but even under normal circumstances people rely on their mobile devices for all kinds of information. Last year, 69% of people looked up information about products and services while they were inside of stores rather than asking a store associate. Using mobile devices to get information has become commonplace, and businesses that don’t communicate with customers the way they want are likely to be left in the dust.

Consumers Use Mobile Devices For Just About Everything

mobile communications in businesses

From managing finances to accessing government services, consumers are really fond of their electronic devices. But, increasingly, those smartphone owners are wanting to communicate via text messaging. In fact, 85% of smartphone owners prefer text messages to calls or emails. More than half of smartphone owners ignore emails completely because their inboxes are overloaded. What’s more, almost a third never listen to voicemail messages.

Text Messages Are What Customers Use And Want

SMS messages are just simpler for a lot of people. 90% of people say they open text messages within three minutes, making this an optimal way for a business to communicate with consumers. SMS text messages have a 98% open rate, as opposed to a 20% rate for email. Response rates are five times higher for text messages than they are for emails, 45% and 6%, respectively.

The response time is even more staggering for SMS messages. The typical response rate for a text message is 90 seconds, whereas the typical response rate for an email is 90 minutes. Response rates for text messages are 60 times higher than that of emails.

In 2019, 68% of businesses used some kind of messaging to keep connected with customers, and now they are relying on this type of communication more than ever.

How Businesses Are Using Mobile Messaging

mobile communications in restaurant takeout business

In retail, mobile messaging is used for a variety of purposes, including sending coupons and sale notifications to customers. Mobile messaging is a crucial part of curbside pickup, which has grown significantly in popularity. Mobile messages are used to confirm an order was received, tell a customer when an order is ready, and for a customer to tell the store they have arrived to pick up their order.

Mobile messaging is used in medical offices to remind patients of appointments, check in for appointments, and remind patients of upcoming tests and more. Some offices are also using mobile messaging for prescription refills and physician questions between visits, which has shown to increase patient satisfaction with their medical providers.

For restaurants, mobile messaging is crucial for a growing takeout business, allowing business and customers to communicate quickly and efficiently. Small order changes and communication about order status can be easily communicated through a quick message rather than taking up the time and resources for cumbersome phone calls.

Consumers Want Mobile Messaging

One in three consumers have sent a mobile message to a business and not received a response, and most of the time it was because the business simply hasn’t activated two-way messaging capabilities.

The fact of the matter is that customers feel better about a business that uses mobile messaging. 65% of consumers say they feel more positive toward a business after a mobile messaging exchange because of a number of factors.

Mobile messaging shows consumers that a company values their time – there’s nothing worse than waiting around for the phone to ring or sitting on hold waiting for someone to help you. The ability to communicate with a business via SMS messages makes customers more likely to choose that business, and it increases the chances of recommending that business to their friends and family.

Communication Is Key

In order for businesses to be successful, communication should take place wherever a customer wants it to, and, increasingly, customers are feeling comfortable messaging instead of making phone calls or talking to people in person. Mobile communication also gives businesses the power to reach customers who aren’t physically showing up in stores with specials to lure them back in or to get them to use curbside pickup services.

Businesses that don’t use mobile communication are going to be left behind. Learn more about the power of mobile communication in business from the infographic below.

The Power of Mobile Messaging
Source: SopranoDesign.com

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5 Tips To Build Your Team’s Productivity

When it comes to managing a team, whether in a corporate setting or as part of your business, productivity is one of the most important parameters of success. It’s also something that we all want, although it’s a little tricky to figure out how to get there.

Building your team’s productivity should be a priority for you as a manager, mainly because when productivity goes up, it implies that your business is functioning at optimal efficiency. Here we’re going to talk about a few tips and hacks that you must consider adding to your arsenal for boosting productivity among your employees. Let’s take a look at what these are.

Sense Of Ownership

As a good leader, it is imperative to understand the value of ownership. Ownership is all about allowing your team members to take their decisions and be accountable for the same. This inculcates a sense of responsibility in them towards their job.

It changes their outlook towards the task at hand and ensures that their decisions positively impact the performance of the whole team. You can give ownership in different ways – by asking someone to lead a particular project, handling more responsibilities, etc. It builds their self-esteem as they feel assured that you trust their capabilities.

Open Communication

boosting your teams productivity

Encouraging open avenues of communication between your team members and yourself is something you must ensure from the outset. It makes businesses thrive and fosters healthy dynamics in the workplace. In the absence of communication, there arise unwanted and completely avoidable misunderstandings and trivial errors that waste time, effort, and money.

Instead, if you can take the extra step to articulate and convey your ideas and expectations effectively, it makes matters easier for everyone on board. Sometimes a team member may shy away from clarifying doubts and asking questions during team meetings. As a team leader, you should sense this and try facilitating better communication in other ways, such as through private conversations and one-on-one interactions.

Collaboration

If your team members gel together and get along well with each other, they’re sure to be happier. It goes without saying that their performance will also be better in such cases. Encouraging collaboration among team members can help you maximize your team’s productivity.

No matter how large or small your team is, there is sure to be a fair amount of diversity in terms of the skills that each team member brings to the table. The best way to utilize these varying skills is by making sure the entire team knows about current projects. It will encourage them to volunteer to collaborate if they feel they can add value to a specific task.

Constructive Feedback

An ideal way to help your employees grow personally and professionally is by providing them with feedback about their performance. It should be your aim to guide your team members to figure out what they can do to keep growing in their careers. If there’s room for improvement, share constructive feedback that shows them how to be more successful at what they are doing.

You can hold regular touch-base meetings to monitor progress and advise the team members on their performance. These meetings can also be an opportunity for the team members to voice their professional concerns to you. Giving feedback may make you feel uncomfortable, but it plays an essential part in your team/company’s success.

Healthy Boundaries

boost your teams productivity

The last thing you want to do as a good team leader is to overwork your employees or cause burnout. Use your position to set healthy boundaries that encourage a harmonious work-life balance. Team leaders and managers can set precedents like not checking emails after working hours. It signals to the team the importance of switching off from work and keeps them motivated for the next day.

It might be tricky to manage this in an environment where flexible work hours prevail, and people start early or work late, depending on their preferences. But if you, as a team leader, can encourage them to set healthy work limits, prioritise their sleep, and avoid burnout, it will lead to better productivity and more success in the long run.

Leading a team isn’t the most straightforward job in the world, which is why great leaders are few and so revered. A good leader understands the techniques, as well as the significance of boosting productivity in the workplace. They value skills like time management, collaboration, and organisation. They also display keen insight into delivering what is asked.

These skills trickle down to the respective team members and make them more efficient at their tasks. A well-supported team is always motivated to bring their best to the table every day, making things smoother for everyone involved. Use the tips mentioned above and see your team achieve better levels of productivity than ever before!

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How to Calculate and Reduce Your Customer Churn Rate

Regardless of what business you are in and by whatever name you call it – attrition, defection, or anything – customer churn is real. Every business has to deal with loss of customers and lose some revenue. Understanding what causes this customer churn is important. When a client or customer chooses to stop doing business with your company or stop using your brand products or services, it is called customer churn.

Customer churn depends on the type and nature of business or company. Some of the various ways it can be called in parlance include:

  • Cancellation of product or service subscription
  • Closure of customer account
  • Non-renewal of service agreement or contract
  • Cancellation of user agreement
  • Switching to a competitor program or offering

How to Measure Customer Churn Rate

Customer churn rate can be measured in these following ways.

  • Total number of customers lost in a specific period of time
  • Total percentage of customers lost in a specific period
  • Percentage of recurring business value lost
  • Business value lost

It is also necessary to note here that churn is inevitable. No matter how amazing your service is or useful your products or how great your marketing strategy is, you will have to face customers who want to leave. But this doesn’t mean you can’t prevent churn. Maintaining a good churn rate is possible and that is what is recommended.

Customer Churn Rates as per Industry basis

  • American card companies churn around 20 percent per annum
  • 5-7 percent customer churn rates are reported for software-as-a-service companies

While some customer churn rates are great for one business, they are terrible for another.

3 Ways to Reduce Customer Churn

Customer Onboarding

how to reduce customer churn rate thru customer onboarding

Customers will look for better options if they do not understand the product too well. Any questions in the initial introduction can blow them away. The most important being the customer’s first experience and when that is good, they will want to continue with the business. A clear onboarding process is necessary to better a customer experience and reduce customer churn. The onboarding is the most important step in the process. Customers think of leaving only when they are unsatisfied from the beginning.

Meet Customers’ Expectations

Promising a lot of things to a customer and failing to deliver is one of the quickest ways to lose one. Close to 35 percent of customers stop doing businesses after a single negative experience. Unmet expectations and dissatisfaction are big reasons for customer churn. Consistently meeting customer expectations is important. Being honest to your customer about what they can expect is necessary.

Listening to what customers have to say about the product is also crucial. If they have any suggestions or improvements, finding out the same from customers is just as essential. 16 percent of customers post on social media when they face a negative interaction with a brand. And close to 60 percent of customers are heavily influenced by social media comments on brands and companies.

Provide Awesome Customer Service

how to reduce customer churn rate thru customer service

A survey by Zendesk revealed that 42 percent of respondents found that they had a major frustration with customer service departments. Customer service is one of the major reasons why customer churn happens. Listening carefully to customers’ feedback is one of the best ways to retain customers.

When customers voice their complaints, listen to their exact problems, and find solutions. Even loyal customers can defect if the service is bad and they are being taken for granted. No one likes it when we must wait on a customer desk call for more than 20 minutes to clarify a simple doubt. Sometimes, customers face technical issues which can be sorted through an awesome customer service.

Bottom Line: Maximise Profits by Reducing Churn

A lot of businesses fail because customers are not happy with the customer service. If a customer threatens to close business, then it means the product needs to be explored to the full potential. A call with the customer success manager can make it simpler to resolve issues. Great customer success education should be the beginning of the customer journey.

From customer onboarding, it is important to maintain a great rapport with them. Through the right customer engagement tactics, customers can understand how the product fits into their success strategy.

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Real Estate SEO Tips: How to Maximize Your Google Visibility

Like other sectors, real estate is increasingly grabbing customers’ attention by coming up with ideal websites that run with proper SEO strategies. SEO has emerged as a successful way to boost your site’s ranking on Google and earn more leads and conversions in your online real estate business.

Today, the majority of buyers rely on Google searches to buy properties. If you want your CRE website to reach the top on the searches, you should leverage the effective marketing strategies. SEO is one of the best digital marketing concepts that can assist your real estate business to gain more benefits and lead online competition ahead. Because SEO matters a lot in hitting your business goals, you must try it in your real estate business.

Best Ways to Optimize Your CRE Website to Boost Google Visibility

Nowadays, the business has the boast of achieving the top position in the search results, which led them to develop an effective SEO strategy to earn the best results. But the question arises from where you should start? How to come up with the best SEO strategy? Here we have come up with a few tips that will assist you in optimizing your site and maximizing its visibility on Google.

#1: Kick-Off the Keyword Strategy

real estate seo keyword tips

Let’s start with the basics. The keyword strategy is the first step for effective SEO. There are a few things that you should consider while strategizing your move. Here, we have mentioned a few essential points of any keyword research and strategy.

Head keywords: When it comes to keywords strategy, the head keywords should be a priority. Generic competitive terms push your website on the Google search and help it to rank high for a specific keyword. For instance, you can consider the “1031 exchange” to “Miami office” and other possible variations that a user usually searches for.

Higher Valuable Terms: Such keywords include your company or brand name. These keywords also play a significant role in helping your site to rank higher.

Long-Tail Keywords: It includes the keywords that relate to a particular category of CRE company. Long-tail keywords include more characters than other keywords—for example, Washington DC Office space for rent, etc.

#2: High-Quality Content

There is no doubt that high-quality content is the core part of SEO, without which you can’t fulfill your dream to rank your site high on Google or other search engines. Therefore, we would highly recommend you to check out the health and wealth of your web content; after all, they are essential for the implementation of SEO strategies that are considered as the smart move towards the success of your real-estate business.

Content is not only limited to text. It also includes images, videos, and graphics. So, it would be best if you prioritize them. If we say clearly, the thing you should focus on for your CRE website is mentioned below. Check it out.

  • Proper company overview
  • Full-fledged property descriptions
  • Only add the original content to your site
  • Content should be relevant to your industry
  • Original news articles
  • Company’s latest updates and news

#3: Optimization of On-Page Elements

CRE website involves several SEO elements that one should always consider. If we say clearly, then on-page elements like the meta titles and meta descriptions of CRE websites are essential to be optimized so that Google can easily understand the page’s content. SEO optimization of on-page elements is necessary as it helps Google to place your site on the relevant searches and further improves the ranking.

Meta Title: In this field, you can describe your company and what you do. The thing which you need to remember is that the meta titles should be around 50-60 characters. Google displays the meta title of up to a maximum of 65 characters. Meta title example: Commercial Real Estate | Company Name | State or City

Meta Description: It allows you to elaborate on the description of your page and the company. The maximum meta description length is 50-160 characters. Along with this, another thing which you should focus on is the geographical area from where your real estate business operates and serves that rendered as target keywords.

Optimized Images: When it comes to SEO optimization, then it is essential to optimize your images correctly using correct file names and ALT tags. But why is it necessary? According to a study, it is mentioned that 63 percent of the people who look at Google images visit the host website, whereas 17 percent of that traffic belongs to the first image. Because website images have a higher CTR, they are also optimized correctly to earn more points in SEO rankings and Google visibility.

#4: Focus on Quality Backlinks

Another CRE SEO tip on our list is to focus on quality backlinks. It is the best way to boost the site ranking on search engines. In this method, you can get other websites to link back to you. Backlinking is considered a part of traditional SEO, but it still works great with today’s websites. But when it comes to quality backlinks, there is a need to develop engaging content that should include something relevant. If your content is not attractive, then people will not provide a link to your site, and your chances for improving ranking will decline.

Why SEO?

real estate seo google tips

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a popular and widely used practice of improving your site’s ranking in Google search results and other search engines. If we say in simple words, then SEO maximizes your business’ visibility on Google and other search engines.

SEO involves several strategies that digital marketers or business owners implement to gain the best results. But at the same time, the process can take months or over a year to offer the desired results. Although it takes a couple of months, if the strategy is implemented properly, it can bring you powerful results, including increased website traffic and Google visibility.

Significance of SEO in Real Estate

“Is SEO important for your real estate business?” Let’s take a look.

  • Google statistics clearly show that around 63K searches are performed on Google every year
  • 33 percent of people click on the first results, and hence businesses always strive to reach on top of the Google search results
  • 75 percent of people never scroll past the first page of search engines

With the above statistics, one can easily conclude how essential SEO is in maximizing business visibility on Google. All these data show that if your business website ranks on top position, then you can easily earn more points in conversions, leads, and sales.

In simple words, you have to focus on several ranking factors that include choosing the right keywords for the meaningful impact and bringing more traffic of property buyers to your platforms. It can make you a better competitor in the online world.

Final Thoughts

The blog has covered everything you need to know about maximizing the Google visibility of your website. So, what are you waiting for? If you are also on the way to boost the ranking of your CRE (Commercial Real Estate) website, then this blog is for you. We hope that you find this helpful enough to learn more about SEO.

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How To Launch And Optimize A Corporate Blog Generating Leads

Blogging became one of the most powerful tools for leads generation. Today, content plays a big part not only in entertaining but also in making sales. Though, there is a long way between just a reader, aka follower, and a qualified lead. How to make that way shorter? Read on to find out more about optimizing corporate blogs for generating inbound leads.

Keep Readers Interested

lead generation blogging

Modern readers are demanding and unforgiving of lapses. Your texts have to be informative, provide value, and be catchy at the same time. No matter what you need to tell your potential customers about, make it interesting. Think on how to present information in an easy and captivating way.

It can be a good idea to lead the narration by using a specially created character or even just one of the members of your team. It all depends on the field of your business, a platform you use for blogging, and purposes you want to reach.

Veterinarian communities can speak through a cat or a dog character who knows about pets’ needs and speak to people in order to explain the animals’ needs. Use your imagination and try to create a friendly atmosphere inside your blog.

Make A Content Strategy

To keep followers active and convert them into customers, you need a content strategy. It should include different types of posts including entertaining, advertising, and informative ones. The blog becomes popular when followers associate themselves with themes you explore. Try to understand what worries your customer and answer those requests in your blog.

If you can’t do it on your own, organize a poll and ask people what kind of content they would like to see in your blog. This way you would kill two birds with one stone. The polls not only push you in the right direction but also increase activity, and show readers you care about their opinion.

Also, content has to be added in your blog on a regular basis. Make a schedule and stick to it because regularity keeps readers involved and interested. What about style? You can tell stories and communicate in any manner you like, but most readers usually like a soft and unostentatious style of narration.

Encourage people to communicate and share opinions more, ask what they think about your latest article, and that will bring results. Communication is key to generating leads.

Let People Communicate

blogging lead generation

How to make followers communicate more? It depends on the services or products you offer to the clients. The following techniques are universal and work well for any area. We talk about useful advices, discussions, and answers to frequently asked customers’ questions.

If people see feedback and feel like their needs are important to blog creators they may become your inbound leads. Make sure your blog has all options for active readers to communicate with you. There have to be options for leaving contact details, which you can use for marketing goals. To generate leads, ascertain that your site makes it possible to:

  • order a call;
  • register a trial account;
  • sign up for updates or webinars;
  • join live chats service;
  • download interesting and useful materials in exchange for contact details.

You can also organize contests with valuable prizes and use chatbots to get more leads. Read on to know more about this method of leads generation.

Contests

Contests are maybe one of the best methods to turn readers into customers and get new leads. If you sell goods, make your followers vote for one of three products, and then offer a discount on “a winner”. Do you want to invite more potential clients into messengers?

You can use chat bots for that purpose. In order to participate in such contests and win the prize, users have to answer a few questions and click the messenger button. The type of contest has to match your platform, goals, and interests of the audience. Photo caption, giveaways, and “comment to win” contests are multi-purpose solutions.

Analyze Leads Behavior

Even if you are satisfied with the number of qualified leads and the followers’ activity, it’s important to analyze users’ behavior. View stats, analyze it, and change a strategy according to that data. It’s the only way you will be able to improve the results of leads generation and achieve greater success.

Author’s Bio

Karl Murphy is a professional journalist from Des Moines, Iowa. After obtaining his Master’s degree, he’s launched his career and over its course, Karl was contributing to the popular publications for men. He’s passionate about eSports, so now he develops his blog, csgo-bettingsites.com.

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10 Tips to Use YouTube to Market Your Business

Since its introduction in 2005, YouTube has become an indispensable marketing tool for every business. With more than one billion users, YouTube is definitely not a platform to ignore if you want to grow your business.

It has enabled more than 50 million content creators to showcase their content through interesting videos everyday and reach a global audience. YouTube supports video marketing, therefore, expands social reach of your business, builds traffic and enhances your online existence.

Entertaining your viewers while promoting your brand might sound challenging, but with the right approach it is totally doable. Creating intriguing videos with valuable content can keep your viewers engaged. Get your YouTube channel noticed with fascinating images and interesting titles. Remember, symbols can establish your channel’s identity.

Creating an alluring YouTube logo is essential to express your brand’s personality and attract viewers. A highly creative logo maker is the right person to contact to add charm to your YouTube channel and make it stand out from the crowd.

By the time you finish this 10 step-by-step guide to market your business on YouTube, you’ll surely have a clear idea and detailed understanding of the facts you need to know to reflect your brand on YouTube. Let’s get started.

Creation & Customization of Your YouTube Channel

Once you create a YouTube channel, customize the background banner and icon. Use high-resolution images that create a strong impact and convey the message to your audience. To ensure a good impression and global recognition of your brand, it’s essential to have a professional logo. You can either create your own brand logo using a logo creator or hire a professional who’ll do that for you.

Don’t shy away from writing a channel description in the ‘About’ section. It helps your audience understand your business, offerings, and mission. Don’t forget to include links of your company’s website and social media pages on the videos and in the descriptions, too. Also, invite new and potential viewers to follow you on social media platforms.

Uploading a Trailer

It’s worth spending some time in creating an impressive trailer for your YouTube channel. Because that gives you an opportunity to engage with your audience with superb content, convincing them to subscribe to your channel.

The ideal duration of a YouTube channel is 1-2 minutes. Hence, you need to ensure that the preview is short yet informative. It’s also important that it captivates your audience in the first five seconds. With the concept of ‘show, don’t tell’, you can encourage your audience to subscribe to your channel and leave comments.

Work with an Influencer

promote your business using youtube

You’ve created your YouTube channel and you’re done with the customization but your brand is still not getting the exposure it deserves? If this is so, working with an influencer is the best step to take for your brand to achieve global recognition.

Get in touch with an influencer relevant to your niche and send them some free samples so that they can try your products. Make sure that you let them know the pros of the products. This enables them share the information with their followers, who might be your relevant audience.

Ask the influencer to share images of the product and even highlight its benefits, which can help in catching the attention of social media followers. Working with an influencer can, therefore, engage new target audience, build trust, and improve search ranking of your channel.

Researching Keywords

Research, find, and implement the keywords relevant to your niche and reach your target audience with ease. Putting researched applicable keywords in your video title, as well as in the description and tags, is a smart approach towards enhancement of the channel’s visibility. Keywords in place tells the search engine what the content of the video is and lets people searching for videos related to your business find you.

Channel Optimization

Don’t hesitate to browse your competitor’s YouTube channels to find out what kind of titles and meta tags they are using. Now try and execute the researched keywords into Google AdWords. Choose the right video format and examine the results.

Integration of your YouTube Channel with Social Media

You have amazing content on your YouTube channel. But delivering it right to your potential subscribers might be difficult. But with social media you can do that easily. In today’s time, it’s an effective and a handy video marketing platform to help expand your reach, create brand awareness, and improve your ROI.

Above all, make sure you have an active presence on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Creating unique videos and posting them on social networking sites is the key to increase the number of subscribers of your YouTube channel. Moreover, encourage your viewers to share the published videos on social media.

Video Creation and Optimization

use youtube to promote your business

The best part about creating YouTube videos is that they don’t have to be expensive and also save the expense of hiring a professional. Having a smart phone is enough to film interesting videos and create sharable content. But make sure you have a good amount of lighting and better sound quality to leave your viewers with a pleasant experience.

After you have created and posted the video on your channel, then comes the optimization part for SEO ranking. To do so, select a catchy title (less than 70 words) and use keywords relevant for your business. This will help in getting more views for your content.

Have Testimonials

Remember YouTube is one of the most preferred platforms for marketing that’s visited by billions of people every day. And leaving a mark on the minds of the viewers becomes quite challenging in today’s competitive world. One of the effective tricks is to include testimonials from your existing customers on your YouTube channel to build a solid reputation and gain the confidence of viewers.

Include YouTube Advertising

YouTube advertising is the best platform to get connected with your audience. When you opt for this, you can expect to have an extra exposure of your brand that ensures personal brand building, customer retention, and more subscribers to your YouTube channel. Moreover, YouTube advertising keeps the video entertaining and hyper-targeted.

Understand Your Audience

If you have a business YouTube channel, you have access to the Analytics tab. It gives you a statistics of your channel’s insights and the behavior of your audience. Moreover, you can have the count of the viewers, average watch time, rate of videos and last but not least, generation of revenues. This step is a confidence-booster and definitely helps you reach the right audience.

To Sum Up

Marketing your business on YouTube is a learning process. The more you create videos, the more you’ll get better in content creation and filming. Analysis of the viewers can help you refine your style, improve keyword usage, and understand the left out points that might increase your subscribers, resulting in the growth of your business.

So, keep posting unique content and make visitors stay tuned to your channel!

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7 Reasons Why You Should Invest In Wristwatches As An Entrepreneur

Watches are a timeless symbol of class and sophistication. Even in this age of smartphones, wristwatches offer a more convenient way to check the time. They also act as tasteful statement pieces and can bring together an entire outfit. In this article, we will discuss the versatility and enduring nature of the wristwatch industry, and why men’s and women’s watches are a good investment opportunity for entrepreneurs.

Reasons to Invest in Wristwatches

While some people may argue that wristwatches are a symbol of a bygone era, wristwatches remain a symbol of class, professionalism, and taste – depending on the watch and the setting in which they wear it. Read on to find out the different types and uses of wristwatches, and how there are many niches in the watch industry that entrepreneurs can invest in.

Watches are a Booming Industry

With wristwatches becoming more accessible and with the increasing variety of designs on the market, the wristwatch industry is experiencing a boom. In 2018, the international luxury watch market had a reported value of roughly 6.93 billion. It is even estimated to increase to 9.3 billion USD by 2025.

Apart from the luxury watch business, there are numerous new brands coming up every year that offer watches of distinct qualities at different price ranges, signifying the fact that many people from all walks of life are taking part in the wristwatch industry.

Keeping this trend in mind, a lot of wristwatch companies are appealing to the working class and student market. That is by creating low-cost models and offering incentives such as discounts on their items.

Impact of Technology on Modern Watches

watches a good investment

Modern technology has had a big impact on the watch industry by incorporating additional features and turning a wristwatch into more than just a tool to tell the time.

These range from simple digital watches to highly advanced models which include a variety of other features. The most famous example of this would be the Apple Watch, a smartwatch released in 2015. It is designed to act as a fitness tracker and can also be paired to the wearer’s iPhone. The success of the Apple Watch has incentivized other watch manufacturers to create similar models with more useful and unique features.

Symbol of Quality Craftsmanship

Both watch enthusiasts and even laymen to some extent can appreciate the quality and finesse of a luxury wristwatch. There are several established brands that have been crafting high-quality watches for decades.

Other than the longevity and quality offered by a quality wristwatch, watches are also a collector’s item. Some watch enthusiasts take great pride in their collections of novel models and quality wristwatches from established manufacturers.

Signifiers of Professionalism

Watches are an essential feature of many workplaces. Even with the presence of smartphones, wristwatches provide a discreet way to check the time. Watches can also add covey an air of professionalism to the wearer. A wristwatch is an infinitely better way of checking the time than your smartphone, especially in professional settings such as meetings, where looking at your smartphone can seem like you’re not paying attention.

A wristwatch can also signify that you are serious about being punctual and that you value discipline, qualities that will allow you to make a good impression on your colleagues and superiors, and therefore help you advance in your professional life.

Watches as Accessories

watches as good investment

With the explosive growth of the fashion industry, brands have created a variety of strikingly different wristwatches, which act more than accessories and statement pieces than just a functional wristwatch.

Wristwatches that are meant to be used as accessories are especially popular among women’s fashion. These differ in style, with many different faces, embellishments, strap colors, and materials.

These kinds of wristwatches are also available at different levels of quality and price, and cheaper and discounted models are most prevalent in this category of watches. To give an extra advantage to customers, there are some discounts and offer such as stylogear.com that helps your customers to become your potential consumers

Watches as Signals of Class

Quality watches are an established symbol of wealth and class, harkening back to the days when watches were an exclusive luxury item. Even though watches are a ubiquitous item these days, a quality wristwatch will still stand out because of its fine craftsmanship and the high quality of the materials used to construct it.

A quality wristwatch can, therefore, be a worthy investment, depending on the wearer’s social status and what they want to convey through wearing it.

Specialized Watches

An oft-forgotten aspect of watches is how certain professions require specialized wristwatches. Advances in watch mechanics and technology have led to the production of a wide variety of watches for different purposes and for different professions.

For example, such advances now specifically make diving watches for divers and swimmers to be waterproof and to also withstand the high pressures faced by divers underwater.

Triathletes also require watches that are designed to both withstand and track the different aspects of running, swimming, and cycling.

Other professions that require watches include medical professionals, both for noting the time for medical records and for recording a patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate, etc. Watches for medical professionals often include another smaller face which can act as a stopwatch. They also require a watch that is easy to clean and disinfect, for obvious reasons.

Conclusion

Wristwatches have strengthened over time to serve a variety of different purposes and to communicate different styles. As the watch industry grows, both in physical outlets and in the e-commerce industry, it provides an opportunity for investors to take part in the market and grow their business.

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Tools to Help Your Employees Work from Home

Working from home has become the new normal, but it’s something that not all businesses and individuals can immediately jump into. There are things to consider, such as new technology and employees used to working on site.

The transition can take time if your company is not prepared for it. Sometimes, situations like this cause confusion and uncertainty among the workforce. However, technology is always one step ahead, so there’s no need to worry.

There are numerous tools available online, both free and paid. These make the process more convenient for you and your employees.

Whatever it is you need, there’s almost always a tool available for it, like video conferencing tools, audio tools, productivity tools, and even project management templates.

Choosing one from the many is challenging, so it’s vital first to find out your choices. Here are some tools to help your employees make working from home more comfortable.

Tools for Productivity

productivity tools for remote work

One of the things businesses worry about when working from home is employees’ productivity, and several tools can help with this.

● Google Online Suite

If your employees use Microsoft Office for many of their tasks, Google Online Suite is what your business needs. It’s Office’s online version, and it has Google Drive, Forms, Sheets, Calendar, Docs, Hangouts (now Google Meet), Slides, and Gmail. It has everything your employees need to be productive.

Google Online suite also makes it easy for teams to communicate, share, and collaborate.

● Trello

Teams tend to achieve more when using a collaborative task management tool like Trello. With its easy-to-use dashboard, monitoring your employees and their progress is simple. There’s an editorial calendar that shows what all the tasks teams are working on – writing, designing, editing, and publishing.

● ProofHub

ProofHub allows you and your teams to work together in one central place. Its main difference from some of the other project management tools is that you and your employees can also communicate and collaborate with clients.

Communication Tools

Most work from home tools have communication components, but using a tool intended solely for communication is essential. Here are some choices to consider.

● Skype

There are now numerous communication tools available online, but Skype is still popular and used by many businesses. It’s highly functional and equipped with a variety of features that help make communication convenient between teams and individuals.

Aside from chat and video conference functions, Skype also works efficiently for online interviews and meetings. Sending photos, videos, and files are likewise easy.

● Intercom

Intercom is another online messaging tool for you and your employees. It’s not as popular as Skype, but it’s just as useful. It’s not only for communications; it’s also an app for customer acquisition. Your employees get to answer clients’ queries, work on email campaigns, and perform various functions.

Video Conferencing

video conference tools for remote work

Video conferencing tools are different from chat or communication tools because they allow you to perform tasks you usually do when you’re in a meeting or conference with your employees. Here are some choices to consider.

● Zoom

Zoom is probably the most-used video conferencing tool nowadays. It’s simple to use and comes with features that make an online call look like it’s happening inside the conference room.

There are two ways to use Zoom – for free with no time limit but with only 100 participants, or paid with unlimited time and up to 1,000 individuals. It has tons of features like scheduling calls/conferences, text chat, recording conferences, and sending individual private messages.

Zoom also allows users to share their screens, either a part of it or the whole screen.

Even if you or your employees have internet connection problems, Zoom will keep working, albeit at a reduced quality.

Zoom is compatible with iOS, Android, macOS, Web, and Windows devices.

● Google Meet

The best reason for using Google Meet is your free access to and use of Google apps such as Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Classroom, Slides, and Gmail. Likewise, you can schedule video conferences ahead of time and mark them on Google Calendar.

Google Meet is available for free or for a fee. Some of its most exciting features include live stream support, real-time captions, 250 participants at once, call recording and mic muting. It’s also easy to share your screen whether you want the participants to see your entire desktop, one window, or a tab.

Social Media Management

Social media plays a significant role in ensuring business success. There are several tools to choose from.

● Hootsuite

Hootsuite is probably the most popular among all social media management tools. Its features include content management, filtering social conversations, analytics, and reports. It works with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and most social media networks. Hootsuite is also easy to understand and use.

● Buffer

Buffer is an intuitive social media management tool used by reputable businesses, individuals, agencies, and brands. It’s perfect for collaboration, engagement, publishing, and analytics.

Helping your employees transition to working from home is not a walk in the park, but using the right tools helps make the process easier. Spend some time studying which options are best for your business before settling for one or two (or more).

The post Tools to Help Your Employees Work from Home appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

8 Tips for a Compelling Business Presentation

Everyone has great ideas at some point—that’s not the biggest challenge. Success is all about showcasing your creativity in a way that amazes your audience. And how should you do that? By having a compelling presentation.

An amazing presentation will make you look professional and confident. Being careful with the smallest details will not go unnoticed and will probably make the audience trust you more easily. Taking time to perfect your presentation—which is both about your slides and your speech—will ensure your success, along with that amazing idea of yours.

There are a few opinions on what makes a presentation great, but some things are universal. You should pay attention to the design of your slides—keep it clean and attractive. Another important point is how you display your data. Don’t throw all the text you have on a few slides and be done. Exhibit your most important, strongest point and develop it in your pitch. And use powerful visuals—they don’t say that a picture equals a thousand words for nothing.

How to Make a Compelling Business Presentation

Be convinced about your idea

If you don’t believe in your idea, no one will. This means that you have to build your presentation to showcase your passion. Show your audience why your idea works and why they should care.

Having passion is a great way of showing how much you care. That this is not just another business idea, but something you have strong feelings about. Usually, the audience will pick up on your attitude. This greatly influences how much they will care about what you have to say.

Tell a story

People tend to show more interest in personal stories rather than listed facts. If your pitch originates from personal experience—use it to your advantage. Become a narrator, rather than a salesman, and see how your audience changes.

Having a story to tell makes you more human. Make people feel something about your idea by transposing them in your narrative. We’re hardwired to get involved emotionally in a good story. So use that to your advantage.

Use supporting materials

create a compelling presentation

Everyone will be more inclined to trust your data if you have supporting materials. Don’t be afraid to quote your authoritative sources. It only shows that you’ve done your research and you’re confident about it.

Most of the time, if someone puts effort into something, it shows. If you’re worried that quoting your sources will make your idea sound less original, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. All of us find inspiration in everything that is around us. What is important is what we do with that inspiration.

Memorable visuals and quotes

Maybe this one doesn’t sound important, but trust us, it can change everything. A well-placed quote or a striking image that supports your ideas is easy to remember for your audience. Inspire your audience to believe in what you present.

Visual content is also a way of influencing what your audience feels. Some images, for example, can be scientifically linked to feeling a certain emotion. So by using memorable visuals, you can technically show your public how they should feel about what you’re saying. Emotion can be a really great incentive if used well.

Questions and rhetorics

If you want your audience to pay attention, engage with them. Ask questions—even if they’re rhetorical—to stress what you want to say. If people agree with you, or if they find themselves having the same questions you have, then they will remember you. What is greater than a hooked audience? (See what we did there?)

Having an engaged public means that not only will they pay attention during your whole presentation, but they will also try to anticipate what you want to say. You can use that and try to surprise them. Thinking out of the box will only make people love your pitch even more.

Skip the jargon

More often than not, people won’t be familiar with your jargon. Technical terms or words that are hard to understand will make you lose the audience’s attention. Explain everything as if you were talking to a child – simple and without showing off your knowledge.

You can still showcase your knowledge but in a subtle manner. If you start throwing jargon in the public’s face, there’s a very small chance that they will be impressed. But if they feel like they actually learned something new—that they didn’t know they needed to know—then congratulations! You’ve definitely impressed some people.

Clean design

A simple design doesn’t have to be bland. Think out of the box! Try to be creative with your slides. Luckily for you, there’s plenty of free PowerPoint templates online ready to use. All you have to do is download them and start editing!

Try to match your template to the feel of your presentation. Sometimes it’s a good idea to be conventionally professional. But there are times when showing your human side can bring you more success. Think about what you’d like people to think about you and your idea, and act accordingly.

The 10-20-30 rule

creating a compelling presentation

This rule is simple but golden. You should have around 10 slides. Your presentation shouldn’t last more than 20 minutes. No font you used should be smaller than 30 points. The attention span of a person gets shorter and shorter every day. By following this rule, you won’t overdo and you have all the chances of having an engaged audience.

Maybe you won’t respect this rule word-by-word. But you should still be aware of what it brings to attention. It’s easy to make a 100-slide presentation when you have a lot to say. But it’s a bit harder to sum up everything in 10 slides while still touching all the points you need. However, the latter will help you have a more engaged audience and it will improve your presentation skills.

What to Take Away

There are many elements involved in a great presentation. But perhaps the hardest part is making it look like it took little or no effort. Like that’s how you arrange your ideas, naturally. A well-designed presentation will make you look professional and trustworthy.

Amazing presentations take you a long way. You need to have more than a great idea to convince anyone. Make your audience say “Why haven’t I thought of this before??” after your pitch. Impress them with your clean, minimalistic slide design. Back up your facts. Make yourself memorable with visual elements. But most importantly, try not to show off or overdo anything. Just be yourself, show your passion, and hook your audience!

The post 8 Tips for a Compelling Business Presentation appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Self-Development Tips for Every Entrepreneur

Anyone can start a business, but not everyone can succeed with it. That’s a fact that every aspiring entrepreneur should understand when planning to open and start their own company.

In fact, thousands of people have opened a business only to find it failing at the end. The truth is, success isn’t a sure-fire thing in business. You, as an entrepreneur, should be prepared to face some changes along the way and learn how to adapt to them.

When you run a business, you’re required to develop personality traits that will help you stay resilient through tough times. As you go through self-development, you’ll learn to become a better entrepreneur. The more you grow, the better your decisions will be and the higher your chances are of succeeding in your industry.

With that said, here are some self-development tips all entrepreneurs can use to ensure the success of their business:

Read Books

self development tips for entrepreneur

Books are the hub for learning – whether in school or real life. They exercise your mind which improves your focus, concentration, creativity, and expands your vocabulary. These attributes are important when running a business since you’ll be constantly speaking with and dealing with different people. Your creativity will also help you in creating solutions to problems, as well as increase your business’ profitability.

According to Rockefeller Habits, entrepreneurs should read at least 24 books in a year. Half of them should be business-related that deal with topics such as marketing strategies, finances, or anything related to a particular skill in an industry. The remaining 12 should focus more on personal development. This includes topics related to culture, politics, or anything along those lines.

Take a Break

Did you know that 50% of most business owners don’t take time off work, at all? Many may not even realize it, but even the most successful business owners need a vacation. Most entrepreneurs are too hesitant to take one because they fear their business would fall idle without them. This can lead to burning out or worse, you might lose your passion and give up on your business dreams, entirely.

Once your workday is at an end, step away from business emails or calls, unless it’s extremely urgent. Push pause, and try to forget about the stresses of running a business. As you may have heard, great ideas come from when you’re relaxed and doing nothing at all. Be sure to take a break sometimes. You’ll be surprised at how relaxing and renewing you will become.

Determine Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Entrepreneurs have their strengths and weaknesses. Many of them, however unintentionally, make the mistake of improving their weaknesses. With the number of resources available today, you can easily hire an employee and delegate tasks that you’re not an expert in, and begin to focus on doing the things you excel in.

For instance, if you’re not good at accounting, you can hire someone on a retainer basis to do your company’s numbers for you. This way, you won’t be left with the burden of doing something you’re not good at. Besides, it’s also not advisable to stretch yourself by trying to do everything yourself.

Learn or Improve a Skill

self development tips

Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate from college. It goes on forever. This is especially true when it comes to running a business. Many business owners make it a top priority to brush up their skills or learn new ones relevant to their industry. Many find it helpful to enroll in courses relating to marketing, finance, or other areas of study that are relevant to their business.

If you don’t have the time to attend physical classes, you can always sign up for online classes. Many schools offer online classes that are specifically designed for people with day jobs or busy entrepreneurs.

Lead but Learn to Listen to Your People

When you run a business, you automatically become a leader. However, acting like a boss all the time will affect your relationship with your people. Sometimes, you also have to step down, listen, and learn from your employees. In doing so, there will be times when you get a measure of insight into how you’re doing as a leader. Even if you receive criticism, take it and learn from it while using it to create a better version of yourself.

Have a List of Things You Need to Improve On

Believe it or not, there’s an endless list of things you can do to develop yourself as an entrepreneur. You have to work on yourself continuously if you want to count yourself among the best in your industry.

If you discover something you need to improve, put it on your list and start working on the solution. Do it one by one, step by step so you won’t lose track of your goal.

Be a Better Entrepreneur and Lead Your Business to Success

Improving and developing certain characters is critical to the success of your business, regardless of the industry you’re in. If you are not constantly striving towards becoming a superior entrepreneur, you’ll miss out on many new business opportunities.

The self-development tips you have discovered in this article will help you develop your relationship with customers, suppliers, and even financing institutions, if and when you’re looking for extra financing.

Always remember, taking action is what will bring your business to success. Knowing what to improve will not ensure success. You need to actually take action and devote yourself to incorporating these improvements within yourself.

The post Self-Development Tips for Every Entrepreneur appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Beat The Competition: Self Discipline For Business Success

How would you describe the business landscape in today’s time?

Would you describe it as competitive? Ruthless? Cutthroat, aggressive, or maybe a dog-eat-dog world? Well, all of the above are accurate discussions of how the business world truly is. Indeed a world full of ambition, it is still a world where simple hard work won’t be enough to guarantee success.

Once it was easy to prosper with your business ventures, simply some common sense, a good balance between spending and saving, and the thirst for success. Today it is not that easy. Just like you, there are a hundred thousand young minds out there, with their own ideas and a thirst for success. And competing with all of them is not going to be easy.

Why So Competitive? A Quick Analysis Of The Business World Competition

According to statistics — only 40% of new businesses become profitable after a certain point. And if you are thinking that you can easily make it into that 40% club, then you’re not only ambitious but also a tad bit arrogant.

The truth is that everyone out there is thinking the same. But after a certain point, they are all going to be losing money. No matter how client-specific services you have, or how much of a good businessman you are, it is going to be very hard for you to beat the business world competition.

This increasing competition can be the result of the increase in internet usage and the rise of smart device users. People today have a bigger pool of resources they can dive into and find the one solution that works for them. They are willing to conduct hours of research just to find the perfect match of a solution for them. This can be problematic for your business.

One of the main reasons why businesses might fail can be the lack of self-discipline among business owners. And no, when we say self-discipline, we don’t mean military-style discipline that requires you to wake up at 6 am every morning. We mean the kind of discipline that drives positive growth and success, and sadly enough, in this “live fast die young” world, businessmen are lacking in it.

The rise of big corporations resulted in a very limited amount of space in the market for startups. If you want to take that space for yourself, then you have to find some kind of strength and self-discipline in yourself. And if you are still wondering what kind of self-discipline I’m talking about, you should check out the list below!

Self Discipline: The Key To Business Success

The growth of your business depends on your personal self as much as it does on the market. Having no sense of discipline in individual life can lead to an ultimate business disaster. So, what kind of personal discipline do you need to make it into the world of business?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn and go for a run. The kind of personal discipline we are talking about sustains personal growth and positivity. With this, you’ll feel the positive effects of the business in your personal life as well. Here are a few personal disciplines that are going to help you on your way to business success despite the cutthroat competition.

Think Outside The Box

self discipline

The first thought in everyone’s mind when starting a corporation is what the majority is doing.

We look at our contenders, how they are solving the client problems, and try to imitate them, but only in a better way. But THIS is not the secret to success.

We have discussed how clients today have a larger pool of resources to pick their solution provider from. During this research period, they would basically compare you along with all the other competitors out there and decide whether investing in your solution is going to be worth it. In order to be successful, you have to break this chain of comparison.

To be unique is one of the most common thoughts today, and yet it is incredibly useful. To be truly successful, not only do you need to think outside the box, but you also have to reinvent the box completely. The key here is to come up with a solution that makes all the other available solutions in the market completely obsolete. When you do THAT, you’ll know that you have started on the path of business success.

Be Patient — Things Take Time

In this world of instant gratification, patience is truly a virtue, especially when you are looking to succeed in the business world.

Let’s try to understand this with an example — both Joe and Dan started a software development company around the same time. After a while, they both made the same investment decisions to increase the annual revenue amount. The investment decision, however, was not effective immediately. While Joe lost his patience and scratched the investment idea fast, because it was not giving him results, Dan stayed patient and stuck with his decision, which ultimately brought him more revenue than he was expecting. In the end, Joe’s business failed, while Dan’s business flourished.

You see the problem with Joe’s decision, right?

The truth is that when controlling a business, you have to be patient with the decisions you take. The world of business is not a food delivery app where your results will be ready after 30 minutes of making decisions. Good business decisions take their time to come to fruition. And that’s why if you’re a business owner, and feel impatient when a business decision is not working out, you have to give it time. After all, all good things come to those who wait!

Plan, Plan, Plan, And Then Plan Some More

Whether you are spontaneous or a planner in your personal life, it doesn’t matter. When it comes to your business, you need to make sure that you know the value of planning ahead of time.

Sure, all the variables that affect the success of your business can not be controlled. But having a plan for all of these variables and their fluctuations can prove to be more than useful.

Let’s think of the present situation, shall we? The global pandemic situation has definitely affected the entire world and businesses around it. Now there are some businesses that planned ahead and already had a remote work from home policy in place. As soon as the self-isolation/quarantine measures started in effect, these companies executed their plan. And now they are working smoothly from home, without any hitches and slowdown in their productivity levels.

Now, what happened to the companies and businesses that didn’t have any plans in place? Well, they had to scramble around and try to make sense of the situation before making a plan, which means delayed action.

Having a plan in place helps you to make the right decision at the right time, which means there won’t be any kind of slowdown in your business growth. Planning and executing the plan at the right time will help you to prepare for anything.

Be The Master Of Your Own Thoughts

We all have around 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts every day. All these thoughts in our head can seriously impact the success of the business venture.

For this reason, controlling the thoughts in our mind is more important than we think it is. Being able to capture all the thoughts and ideas and turning them into action is important to achieve success in the competitive market.

Controlling and channeling the thoughts in our mind is one of the most important self-discipline we can use to achieve business success. Without it, we won’t be able to conduct any kind of business decision with the much-needed clarity.

Leave Some Room To Breathe

Calling oneself a workaholic may seem trendy, but in reality, being a workaholic is actually more harmful to you and your business than you think.

Working for hours might seem like the best way of beating the competitive market. But at the end of the day, it affects both individual and business life. Too much work stresses us and makes us question if all this is worth it.

Not to mention, the long work hours will affect your personal life as well, which in turn will affect your business. So, do yourself a favor and leave yourself some room to take a break.

See Also: 5 Effective Tips To Maintain A Healthy Work-Life Balance

Stay Healthy For Success

self discipline is success

We have all grown up hearing the phrase “health is wealth”. As children, it sounded silly, but as adults and business owners, this phrase seems too real.

Being healthy is definitely key to success. If you are sick and bedridden for days because you did not take care of your body, then you will be nowhere near being successful. Hence, fostering good and healthy habits, along with a positive mindset is crucial for your business success.

The tough competition of the business world demands business owners to be at the prime of their health. They have to keep up with healthy and happy habits that lead to better success for your business venture.

See Also: The 11 Most Important Rules For Healthy Eating

Believe In Self Sufficiency

For a business to be really successful, you have to ensure that it is self-sufficient.

It is important for the organizations to have the right kind of investments, that is true, but the more outside investment you have, the less of control you have on your business. That’s why today’s startup methodologies such as Lean startup and Bootstrapping are becoming popular. With these methodologies, startup owners can start with as small an amount of investment as needed, and then eventually grow their companies from the revenue earned.

These methods are not spoofs, but the real deal. Developing a self-sufficient business that does not need any other investment to run itself is the key to beating the competitive market. If you’re still skeptical, then read up on the benefits of bootstrapping your organization.

So What’s The Last Thought?

The matter of self-discipline has always been portrayed as something we HAVE to practice, not something we need to in order to succeed. However, with a little bit of personal and professional discipline and, along with positive and practical thinking, we have better chances of really succeeding in the competitive market landscape!

The post Beat The Competition: Self Discipline For Business Success appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

7 Benefits Of Using Google Ads

Is Google Ads right for your business? Is it worth the investment? These are the questions you have to ask yourself before you approach any new strategy, particularly paid online advertising. You only have so much money to dedicate to marketing, which means you need to make strategic, smart moves about how you utilize that budget.

In order to evaluate the impact that Google Ads will have on your business and marketing strategy, it’s important to discuss the benefits of using this PPC advertising platform. Then, you can make an informed decision about whether the investment of Google Ads makes sense for your company and budget.

Benefit #1: Increase Your Website Traffic

benefits of google ads

In the Digital Age, website traffic is a top priority. An increasing number of companies conduct some or even all of their business online. Thus, mustering up traffic to your company website means increasing the number of potential business opportunities. More opportunities can lead to more sales and revenue!

The majority of your digital marketing strategies share the same end goal: to drive more traffic to your website. It’s why you link your website to almost every social media post you publish and why you’ve worked tirelessly to improve your organic search rankings. Visibility leads to website traffic.

Google Ads introduces another channel that can help produce this ultra valuable traffic to your website.

Benefit #2: Generate More Qualified Leads

Investing in Google Ads doesn’t just ramp up your website traffic. It creates more qualified leads. In this respect, the traffic created through Google Ads is often better than many of your other sources. That’s because ad traffic generally consists of more qualified leads.

It all has to do with customer intent and behaviors. Every message created by Google Ads has an “Ad” logo next to it, so users can clearly distinguish paid versus organic results. When a user makes the choice to click on an advertisement over an organic result, it’s an indication that they are incredibly interested in converting —and quickly.

For search ads, you can also target keywords that suggest a user that is ready to convert. This saves you time and resources waiting for leads to mature and work through your marketing funnel.

Benefit #3: Get Faster Results

The digital landscape changes so rapidly, yet many of the top marketing strategies take months to develop and mature enough to produce tangible results. Think about how long it takes to grow a following on your blog or social media accounts. Similarly, reaching the top of a search results page can also take months and months.

Google Ads users begin seeing results as soon as they launch their first PPC campaign. This also means that you can reach the top of those search results pages in a fraction of the time that organic strategies require.

Consumer behaviors can change in an instant. The immediate results of Google Ads is the right solution for meeting these frequent and important changes.

Benefit #4: Build A Buzz

Most marketers utilize Google Ads because of its ability to drive website traffic and produce conversions. Google Ads is also a potent platform when it comes to growing brand awareness and building buzz. Publishing display ads can put your brand and marketing materials in front of users across the Internet.

Brand awareness is vital for new companies in a competitive space and when launching a new product. If you need to get the word out to a lot of people in your target audience, Google Ads is also a great option.

This means that Google Ads is not only superb at closing ready-to-convert leads, but also stimulating a steady stream of new prospects. When you empower both ends of the marketing funnel, the results can be huge for your business!

Benefit #5: Drive Local, In-Store Traffic

Another common misconception regarding Google Ads is that it only benefits online businesses. After all, what good does website traffic do for a local business? However, many small businesses produce huge results through Google Ads by focusing on using PPC ads to generate in-store traffic.

Local PPC involves targeting location-specific searches and using geo-targeting to only showcase ads to audiences in a specific region. These ads are crafted to drive foot traffic to a store, office or restaurant, instead of website traffic.

With more users using their mobile devices to access the Internet and find local businesses, Google Ads is a great channel for companies that want to position themselves in front of these individuals.

Benefit #6: Experience Affordable And Scalable Costs

benefit of using google ads

Most digital marketing strategies are free on paper. For example, there is no cost for a business to create a Twitter or Facebook account and begin using it to market materials and connect with customers, just like there is no inherent expense when creating a blog post or building organic search rankings through SEO practices. These strategies just take time and effort.

Easily the biggest fear for new Google Ads users is the costs. Why pay for these ad messages when other facets of digital marketing are free? Marketers also worry that the costs can get out of hand if they aren’t careful.

In reality, the costs for Google Ads are low and completely within the marketer’s control. You can set a daily and monthly budget to ensure that you don’t suddenly have a huge marketing bill to pay. And, those costs can be scaled at any time. If you want to spend more or less, you just change your budget and Google makes the necessary changes to your account.

Benefit #7: Measurable ROI

There is actually an advantage to the direct costs of Google Ads that many marketers overlook. When you know exactly how much you’re spending on a given strategy, it’s extremely easy to measure that channel’s ROI. Google Ads even shows you your return on ad spend to make it incredibly easy to judge how successfully your budget was utilized.

For strategies that are free on paper, calculating ROI can be much harder. There is, of course, some type of investment involved to produce these strategies, even if it isn’t monetary. Writing a blog post or crafting a witty social media post takes time that could be spent elsewhere. Then, you have to track what sort of results these tactics produce. It’s messy.

The Google Ads dashboard is rich with metrics and data that share every detail about the performance of your ad messages and the results of your investment.

Conclusions

Your marketing strategy aims to facilitate the buyer’s journey through your pipeline. By supporting both ends of the funnel and encouraging multiple types of traffic to visit your business, the Google Ads platform is a no-brainer.

Editor’s Note: The above article reflects the views and opinions of the guest author.

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10 Quick Link Building Tactics For Beginners

Link building, according to a lot of digital marketers, is a very old and very traditional digital marketing method. However, just because it’s all that antiquated doesn’t mean it’s useless. In fact, we may consider link building as one of the most timeless yet most effective digital marketing strategies out there.

Link Building: A Quick Rundown

With great link building, your brand may be able to reach any kind of audience and any kind of industry. That’s regardless of your chosen marketing channel, marketing method, or even timeline. That sounds awesome, right? If people and other members of your industry link back to you naturally, the likelier it is for your content to rank. In fact, 62 percent of top 10 Google results in most searches are actually more than three years old!

This is also the reason why it’s very effective despite the impression that it’s traditional. For a beginner marketer, link building seems really intimidating. However, it can actually become one of the most fun in most creative digital marketing strategies you can apply to your campaigns. Here are some quick tips:

Tap into broken links and transform them into your own

Broken links happen when websites have backlinks that end up in error or 404 pages, rendering the link in that particular piece or page generally useless. This can make that particular piece or page unattractive for search engines, and may even result in lower rankings. You can leverage on these broken pages by messaging website owners and suggesting they put your own link in that broken link instead. This not only redirects all traffic to you, but you instantly get linked to a potentially high-ranking page. Remember, though, when you offer links, make sure they’re related to the piece.

Find broken links to your own pages and fix them

linkbuilding for beginners

If broken links can be catastrophic to both guest sites and the competitors that put them, it can put you in a disadvantage as well. Broken links can lose you relevant viewership numbers, and they may end up becoming lost conversions and customers. To avoid this, make it a habit to actively find broken links to your site — be it unlinked anchor texts, misspelled names, and wrong links — and to message the webmasters to send the right ones. SEO tools can easily help you find those broken links and restore them. This ensures your link building efforts haven’t been put in vain.

Add a guest posting feature to your blog

A great way to attract increased viewership and better partnerships would be opening your blog for guest posts. You’d be surprised with how many high-ranking websites may want to connect with your site. This not only lets you have a share of their readership, you also get high-quality content for free. If you want, you can negotiate with these blogs to exchange links, where you post their blog in exchange for your link being posted in theirs. This can be a great way to build a network and establish yourself in the industry, both to search engines and your audience.

See Also: How Guest Blogging Can Boost Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Choose your network and connections properly

Aside from opening your website for guest posting, it can also help a great deal if you make posts that other websites can feature. However, while guest posting in itself can be an effective link building method, you need to choose your connections properly. Make sure you post on blogs related to your industry so that search engines can properly associate your content with your keyword. Websites who fail to do this get on the bad side of search engines, as search engines might feel these websites are just spamming keywords for the numbers.

Find resource links and form your own spin to its contents

Most of the major websites in any niche likely rely on resource websites for information on their most popular content. Articles pertaining to trends, statistics, and new discoveries most likely have sources in the form of research, studies, statistical findings, and even testimonies from these resource sites. However, did you know you can use the same resource links to make your own cornerstone content?

One of the best ways to create appealing content is to find the main source of information in your niche, and tackle its data with your own angle. This would instantly make you and your content more unique. In fact, if you take advantage of the fact that long-form (3,000+ words) content can get 77.2 percent more backlinks compared to short-form content, your cornerstone content can be the reason for your rising ranking.

Take advantage of putting your links in social media content

doing linkbuilding

Did you know that 3.8 billion people are actually active in social media? This is 75 percent of existing people using the internet (4.5 billion as of 2020) right now! As such, it is very likely for you to find an online forum or community of your nation on a social media platform. You can take advantage of the situation by joining these forums and communities, and posting relevant content such as posts, images, videos, and even infographics that contain links to relevant pages you want to link back to. If you choose the right content and post in the right community, you will likely get a lot of traction and even new audiences.

Make your content optimized for mobile

Before you release any form of content — be it blogs, posts, multimedia or ads — it’s important to make sure they’re optimized for mobile first. This means they have to be viewable from a mobile device without any hassle. You should also make sure your links are easily recognized in the middle of the piece, as they’re more helpful compared to sidebars and footers. Doing this can earn you huge plus points from search engines, as they like content that is visible across different kinds of media platforms. This also makes sure all audiences across all devices can check out your content without any worries.

Reuse old data to create new and improved content

If you have a page with interesting content but isn’t ranking, you don’t necessarily have to discard it. Rather, you can actually take data and relevant information from that content and repurpose it into something more updated and more appealing to other content platforms. For instance, an old blog post you think has potential can be repurposed into an infographic or social media post.

The trick here is to find old and struggling content that you think might be relevant to your viewers today. Using new content can boost your old data, as you can link back to that old piece of content. Likewise, if other content creators find your new content interesting, the likelier it is for them to give you backlinks as well. The trick here is to post new content in platforms that can naturally and organically earn you links.

Add links to your content organically

What a lot of brands don’t realize is that they sometimes force their keywords into their content. As a result, they create content that seems “scammy” or off-topic. Unfortunately, they may have included the keyword in their website, but doing it in a forceful way also spells trouble for their SEO. This is why link building services often focus less on aiming for high search engine scores and instead focus on making contextual pieces.

This means adding links to pieces as needed, and only when they provide value to the piece. As such, when writing blogs and making posts, add links that point users to statistics, facts relevant to the niche, and informative pieces that can help enrich user experience. If you want your link building strategies to work, your content must have their keywords and links naturally placed there.

Never buy a backlink from websites

While it can be tempting to just pay websites to post your content, websites that do ask for payment in return for backlinks most likely have low search engine scores in the first place. This not only makes them unreliable, but being associated with them may lower your own ranking and even affect the way search engines perceive your website. if you’re talking to a website that asks you to pay for your guest post, you should probably look for another website to submit your content to.

Link Building: A Timeless Way to Build Connections

With the above points taken into consideration, it’s important to understand that link building remains timeless because its methods can be applied to almost any up and coming trend. Despite the rise of tools such as chatbots, virtual reality, and AI, all of these concepts have to rely on link building if they want to become effective digital marketing tools. At the end of the day, these tools still have to rely on keywords and concepts in order to link brands with their audiences. And with the tips above, knowing how to tap into these tools can give you an edge and help you build better links.

If you have other quick tips you want to share to fellow marketers, feel free to share them below. And if you want to discuss some point we’ve raised in the article, feel free to start a discussion in the comments.

Author Bio:
John Gonzales loves two things the most in the world – technology and pizza. As a writer by trade, he spends a lot of time writing about food, travel, and the latest in tech developments. John is your guy when it comes to writing pieces on gadgets and consoles, games, health and medicine, and even marketing. As a techie himself, John wants to make sure his pieces aren’t just informative, but also very personal and tailored to reader needs.

The post 10 Quick Link Building Tactics For Beginners appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Expand Your Brand Using Business Cards

Every successful business expecting high returns should have investment projects. Just like any other advertisement plan, a business card is crucial. It links up your company and the potential customers easily. It’s cheaper to design and distribute the cards.

However, for a startup business which is low on budget and high on initial expenses, designing the card may be a significant challenge. But, it should not stop you from being a successful entrepreneur. You can create it yourself or have the best free business card makers Shopify for perfection.

How to Design Your Business Card?

making business cards online

To make your business cards online, you should first understand the content to display. It will depend on the type of your business, your potential customers, your expectations and your budget. Thus, make a shortlist of your content bearing in mind that the card is small and can’t fit a ton of data.

Besides, a large number of people ignores typically long statements tending to concentrate on short ones. Make it appealing, readable and don’t overwhelm it since the appearance of the card speaks about your brand.

The card should display a positive image of your business brand. You should incorporate your business name, email and business products. Customers need to know the business location and any contact to use while reaching you.

If you do your business online, remember to include your website URL. Also, you can add a QR code which will help in mobile shopping. These codes make iPhone and android users shop faster by merely scanning them to access your products.

You should likewise know how to arrange all the data on the card and its size. Usually, the right business card size is 3.5 x 2 inches. Decide on the card formatting design where you can either choose from portrait or landscape layout.

You can either follow one side or double side design depending on data length while making the card. Don’t forget the visual aesthetics such as colours, font sizes, patterns, lines and logo if you have any. Make sure the visual branding of the business is fantastic, communicating and attractive.

See Also: Choosing Brand Colors: How to Pick The Best Hues For Your Business

Why Do You Need to Have a Business Card?

using business cards

A quick first impression

Business cards always make the first impression of any brand. For your business to stand out, you must immediately seize the customer’s attention even before they notice your products. Your card must be attractive and create a positive impression of your brand.

It delivers business details

It displays all the contact details about your brand with clarity. Customers usually lack time to go searching for shops, so having the business name, contact number, and location is a must.

It gives a personal touch

In this digital age, a business card gives that special personal touch. It lets a potential customer who may otherwise forget you, have a chance to whip out your card and contact you. At best, your business card will be shared with friends and family thus widening your reach and increasing your sales.

See Also: Here’s Why Business Cards Are Still Useful

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Define The Character Of Your Business For Social Media

Social media is the primary marketing channel for a majority of marketers – regardless of the size of the business – in recent years. But many businesses fail to make an impact in social media because they don’t define a character for themselves in particular platforms.

More precisely, the social media accounts of businesses should exhibit certain characteristics of success. Especially for long-term results, the character of social media accounts is critical. It is also an important element in the overall digital marketing efforts of businesses.

If you are a business and using social media to connect with new audience and customers, creating the social media protocol or character is critical.

Be Active And Responsive

You should give good care to your brand in social media and ensure that your audience has a seamless experience. They should be able to find the information they want in less than a minute. Engage and make your leads active by posting on a regular basis.

Occasional posts can’t give you the magical numbers in shares, likes, and retweets. Don’t forget that businesses that tasted greater success on social media have done some serious long-term work with clear objectives. This is especially important for businesses so you shouldn’t expect overnight results.

You should also be attentive to your audience and respond to their messages and comments in a few hours – not in a few days. Ensure that you have enough manpower to handle the social media and the incoming traffic.

Add Value With Diversity

how to build your brand in social media

Various social media platforms serve different types of contents, and the content created for one platform may not work for the other. While Facebook is for videos, Instagram users may not be happy to see long footages.

However, you can still add value by offering diverse forms of content. Don’t always go and create contents with links that ask your audience to make up their mind. You can post tutorials, guides, or recipes to let your audience learn more about your products and services. Interestingly, this can work out as an art of sales rather than boring, repulsive marketing.

You should do the fine job of attracting your audience with information, suggestions, tips, and more. For instance, Coca-Cola utilised its social media accounts to engage the audience with images, updates, event updates, different meal combos, and more. Who can resist after seeing an image of a delicious pizza with a Coke in social media?

See Also: How Using Live Video Can Boost Your Business Dramatically

Reach Out To Influencers

build your brand in social media

You can seriously route the relevant audience to your pages using the top of the industry – the influencers. Businesses who have mastered in engaging with customers and tasting greater success are credited with making an excellent relationship with the top names in the niche.

Inexperienced business leaders do not try to reach out to influencers as they think that they may be ignored. In reality, you lose nothing if they turn down your message. But by keeping that in mind, you shouldn’t make a proposal without careful consideration of things. Pay attention to treating the influencers worthwhile to encourage them to promote your products and services.

You can achieve this in several ways, like proposing to send a free product to the influencer or offering a free trial for the service. Your relations with the influencers can give more credibility and give more shape to your brand’s character.

See Also: How to Measure Influencer Marketing Impact

Base Your Analytics And Strategies

Keeping track of your posts is highly critical if you want to make your campaigns successful. After each campaign is over, you should make thorough research and archive the data. Anything and everything about your campaigns is valuable information, and you should ensure its proper storing.

After the campaign season is over, these pieces of information can give you an overview to create better campaigns next time. You will also get valuable insights that let you know the right direction for your campaigns – an important phase in shaping your social media character. Once you start spending time on social media and understanding the numbers, you will also learn the simplicity of these platforms.

Importantly, you shouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes and getting the right lessons for your long-term business growth. Create quality content, eye on how your audience responds to your campaigns, and make conversions in no time.

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The Best 11 Marketing Automation Software to Boost Startup Branding

Once you get your company off the ground, there’s so much responsibility to take on, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and torn apart. Marketing, sales, financing, customer support, and other tasks are nearly impossible to handle without assistance.

In such cases, most startups have minimal resources to hire a large team of specialists for every task above. That’s where marketing automation is coming through the whole affair like a breath of fresh air.

Marketing automation has fast become a staple of most bootstrapped startups. It lets the technology work as the marketing team, making it easier to manage repetitive and time-consuming tasks.

In today’s digital era, if you are well-versed with the right software, you can single-handedly automate your marketing activity while you’re sitting at your desk sipping coffee.

The following is a list of top marketing automation software that is tailored to the limited resources and the unique needs of startup firms.

Hubspot

hubspot marketing tool

Hubspot is one of the most widely used and powerful marketing automation software in the digital sphere. This software provides all-in-one inbound marketing tools, including a full platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM. It brings your entire marketing funnel together into one platform for better control and superior results.

With the help of this software, you can effortlessly manage impressive customer support. It also has useful analytics and reporting features to help keep your startups performance on the track.

The all-in-one marketing software can unleash tons of automation possibilities that would be painful if you use separate tools. Also, its easy-to-use interface makes it easier for you to craft simple or highly sophisticated conditional workflows.

Mautic

Mautic provides you with an open-source to automation software at an affordable price. Its modern approach to marketing automation makes it easier for you to automate personalized communications across all your digital channels.

This software automates the process of getting and nurturing leads generated from landing pages and web forms. It manages email, social media monitoring, website visitor tracking, real-time reports on key metrics, and even integrates with your CRM and other technologies.

With a high level of integration and deep audience intelligence, it takes actions and automates them based on your target customers’ behaviors and needs. It helps you to develop a meaningful connection with your potential customers– which is the key to making them convert to loyal customers.

This is one of the best marketing automation software you should consider if your startup is on a tight budget, but determined to create a marketing automation pipeline effectively.

See Also: 9 Signs You Are Doing Your Email Marketing Wrong

Drip

Drip is a feature-packed marketing automation software purposely designed for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. It’s mostly known for the visual email marketing campaign building. This software allows you to create personalized emails to first-time buyers or returning customers, develop a visual workflow of your campaigns, and handle your leads.

It supports different types of marketing emails that suit the different promotional and campaign needs of individuals and businesses. With an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, you can seamlessly send targeted emails and personal communications to a handful of subscribers.

Drip also integrates with Facebook Custom Audiences for more targeted, effective advertising. Now it becomes easier to create custom ads with Facebook and manage them within Drip.

If you’re looking for a marketing automation software that reaches your Facebook audience, Drip is worth considering.

AdRoll

AdRoll offers you a precise segmentation of your potential customers through its location, behavior, and interest. With its industry-leading automation and personalization, you’d be able to structure, measure, and sync your marketing efforts seamlessly.

It provides you with reliable data you need to get a grasp on why some of the potential customers convert and why some don’t. That way, you’ll understand their preferences and set better plans to draw them down the marketing funnel and convince them to buy.

One of the best features of AdRoll is dynamic retargeting. So when a potential customer visits your website, they get targeted with your ads on other platforms (including social networks) once they leave – based on their pools and interest. If you have a retargeting marketing campaign to run, AdRoll is one of the best ways to go.

MailChimp

mailchimp marketing tool

MailChimp is a reliable marketing automation and email marketing tool. It helps you to create a customized email to market your products, find the prospects, and convert leads into sale.

With the automation features, you can send out an auto-respond message to welcome new customers. You can wish them a happy birthday or even remind them when they abandon a shopping cart. That way, you can engage your customers and make them stick around longer.

This software also allows you to monitor your startup email marketing performance by showing you interactive graphs about how many emails were sent, what percentage of customers opened the emails, and more.

If you’re looking for a solution for automated marketing software to leverage your email campaign efforts, MailChimp is worthy of being in your toolbox.

Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft combines your CRM with marketing automation, e-commerce, social network, and payment collection. It allows you to record sales, capture leads, and send automated emails. So, it makes it easier for your startup to streamline communication and boost the brand building.

More than just an automation software that saves your time and energy, Infusionsoft helps you map out each step of your marketing strategy to improve your sales pipeline while developing personal relationships with your customers.

Using this tool, you’d be able to see which prospects and leads that are actively engaged with your brand. That way, you can easily adjust and adapt your marketing effort cost-effectively. This software is highly recommended if you’re looking for an easy way to organize all the customer interactions and their daily activities in one place.

SharpSpring

SharpSpring is a cloud-based marketing automation software specifically designed to help you target leads with behavioral-based communication that turn them into sales. It provides you with feature-packed tools for lead management, lead distribution, sales management, contact management, and analytics.

With this software, you can create powerful automation based on your lead’s behavior. With the Drip Campaigns feature, you can effortlessly personalize and automate emails. It makes you keep up with customers much easier and targeting new leads much more effectively.

Also, there are dozens of stunning landing page templates designed to convert. It lets you create personalized landing pages based on behavioral information — taken from your lead data. If you’re a startup that’s aiming to improve lead nurturing with marketing automation, SharpSpring comes in handy.

Zapier

Zapier allows you to create interconnectivity between several business apps or software and integrates them (even when there’s no native integration) without requiring any coding. It means that if you write a new blog post on WordPress, it will trigger an action in other apps – depending on the conditions that you set up.

That way, you can easily automate data flow from one software to another, eliminating redundant and time-consuming manual data entry. Also, there’s social network automation you can use for sales and marketing. It supports major social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, making it easier for you to assist your social media campaign.

If your startup emphasizes on a marketing software that can automate data integration between thousands of business apps, then Zapier is the solution.

Act-On

Act-On is a feature-packed marketing automation software that helps you to create quality marketing materials with ease. It connects your email operations to other lines of business, including CRM, website visitor tracking, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and many more.

It also offers automated program templates that you can easily customize to meet your startup needs in driving leads into your marketing strategy. With a drag-and-drop interface, you can create a top-notch looking email, landing pages, and forms.

One of the best offerings of Act-On is that you can integrate almost any leading CRM available in the market, as well as webinars and online event planning. If you’re looking for any full-featured marketing automation software with minimal IT involvement, Act-On may be an ideal one.

Marketo

Marketo is an excellent automated solution to create professional, rapid-fire content such as emails, landing pages, forms, social posts, and any marketing campaigns that are tailored to leverage digital marketing efforts.

With its focus on various aspects of digital marketing, it offers essential features like lead generation, leads nurturing, CRM integration, analytics, and report.

This software receives much praise for its usability. With a simple, straightforward interface, the features and tools are easy to get used to. It also has a native Salesforce integration, as well as other popular software to keep your marketing and sales database in perfect harmony.

If you have pretty straightforward automation needs, Marketo is a must-have in your marketing tech-stack.

Pardot

Pardot is designed for organizations that mainly focus on B2B sales and marketing automation. It features lead management, a landing page builder, an automated drip campaign, ROI reporting, and real-time sales notifications to align marketing and sales team functions.

As a Salesforce product, Pardot offers native integration with the CRM. With the integration, it allows your customer service team to seamlessly add a current customer to drip emails and review them.

However, one thing to be mindful of is that this software is quite pricey in the market. But, if you have an extra budget to ramp up your startup marketing efforts with some robust technology, Pardot should be on your list of options.

Wrapping Up

Marketing automation software not only saves you a ton of time, money, and energy, but it also helps you streamline and speed up your marketing processes. If you’re considering jumping into marketing automation for your startup, it’s crucial to understand your business needs and how it affects your marketing performance. Choosing the right marketing automation software that covers all your business needs increases your chances of developing your startup’s brand cost effectively.

The post The Best 11 Marketing Automation Software to Boost Startup Branding appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

It’s ‘bullshit’ that VCs are open for business right now (but that could change in a month)

Earlier today, to get a sense of what’s happening in the land of venture capital, the law firm Fenwick & West hosted a virtual roundtable discussion with New York investors Hadley Harris, a founding general partner with Eniac Ventures; Brad Svrluga, a co-founder and general partner of Primary Ventures; and Ellie Wheeler, a partner with Greylock.

Each investor is experiencing the coronavirus-driven lockdown in unique ways, unsurprisingly. Their professional experiences are very much in sync, however, and founders should know the bottom line is that they aren’t making brand-new bets at this very moment.

On the personal front, Wheeler is expecting her first child. Harris is enjoying lunch with his wife every day. Svrluga said that he hasn’t had so many consecutive meals with his kids in more than a decade. (He described this as a treat.)

Professionally, things have been more of a struggle. First, all have been swamped in recent weeks, trying to assess which of their startups are the most at risk, which are worth salvaging and which may be encountering unexpected opportunity — and how to address each of these scenarios.

They are so busy, in fact, that none is writing checks right now to founders who might be trying to reach them for the first time. Indeed, Harris takes issue with investors who’ve said throughout this crisis that they are still very open to pitches. “I’ve seen a lot of VCs talking about being open for business, and I’ve been pretty outspoken on Twitter that I think that’s largely bullshit and sends the wrong message to entrepreneurs.

“We’re completely swamped right now in terms of bandwidth” because of the work required by existing portfolio companies. Bandwidth, he added, “is our biggest constraint, not money.”

What happens when bandwidth is no longer such an issue? It’s worth noting that none thinks that meeting founders exclusively remotely is natural or normal or conducive to deal-making — not at their firms, in any case.

Wheeler noted that while “some accelerators and seed funds that are prolific have been doing this in some way, shape or form for a bit,” for “a lot of firms,” it’s just awkward to contemplate funding someone they have never met in person.

“The first part of the diligence process is the same, that’s not hard,” said Wheeler. “It’s meeting the team, visiting [the startup’s workspace], meeting our team. How do you do that [online]?” she asked. “How do you mimic what you pick up from spending time together [both] casually and formally? I don’t think people have figured that out,” she said, adding, “The longer this goes on, we’ll have to.”

As for what to pitch them anyway, each is far less interested in sectors that aren’t highly relevant to this new world. Harris said, for example, that now is not the time to float your new idea for a brick-and-mortar business. Wheeler separately observed that many people have discovered in recent weeks that “distributed teams and remote work are actually more viable and sustainable than people thought they were,” suggesting that related software is of continued interest to Greylock.

Svrluga said Primary Ventures is paying attention to software that enables more seamless remote work, too.  Telecommuting “has been a culture-positive event for the 18 people at my firm,” he said.

Naturally, the three were asked — by Fenwick attorney Evan Bienstock, who moderated the discussion — about downsizing, which each had noted was a nearly inescapable part of lengthening a startup’s runway right now. (“It sucks,” said Svrluga. “People are losing their jobs. But to continue to run teams with the same organizational structure as 60 days ago, [which was] the most favorable environment for building industries, you can’t do it.”)

Their uniform advice for management teams that have to cut is to cut deeply to prevent from having to do it a second time.

Though no one wants to part ways with the people who they’ve brought aboard, “no CEO has ever told me, ‘Dammit, we cut too far,’ ” said Svrluga, who has been through two downturns in his career. In contrast, “at least 30%” of the CEOs he has known admitted to not going far enough to insulate their business while also keeping its culture intact.

The “second cut hurts way more,” added Wheeler. “It’s the second [layoff] that really throws people.”

If you’re wondering what’s next, the VCs all said that they’ll be receptive to new ideas after working through layoffs and burn rates and projected runways, along with the new stimulus package that they’re trying to find a way to make work for their startups.

As for how soon that might be, Wheeler and Svrluga suggested the world might look less upside down in a month. They proposed that four or so more weeks should also give founders more needed time to adjust some of their expectations.

Harris seemed to agree. “It will probably be a gradual thing . . . I’m not sure what next week holds, but feel free to ping me in a month and I’ll let [founders] know if I think it’s opening up.”

How To Use Social Media For PR: A Step-By-Step Guide

Social media marketing is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing and PR. If you don’t use social media platforms to promote your business, then you are missing out on quite a lot. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use social media for PR.

Build Your Brand’s Personality

It is extremely important that you know who your audience is in order to be able to create the content that they will enjoy and make your digital marketing campaign suited specifically for them. In other words, if you don’t know who you are posting for, then you can’t expect to attract a dedicated audience on your social media accounts.

Do as much research as possible about who you want to target. It is also a good idea to segment your audience to have several groups that you will be posting for. On the other hand, you might want to focus only on one of the groups if you want to create a more personal relationship with your followers and make your audience more uniform.

Once you know who you will be writing for, you will need to decide what elements you will be incorporating into your content to make it shape your brand image in the right way. Branding with the help of content is still considered one of the most effective ways to give your brand a personality instead of simply making it look like a soulless corporation.

It is crucial that you make your social media content personalized and personal at the same time. Personalization will make it more appropriate for each of your audience segments.  Making it personal will also make your content more individualized, relatable, relevant, and attractive to the majority of social media users.

See Also: 5 Instagram Tools That Can Boost Brand Performance

Start and Participate in Conversations

use social media for pr

Starting and participating in conversations on social media is a great way to reach out to your potential collaborators and followers while also building valuable connections.

Conversations can be initiated in different ways: posting action-inspiring content, creating polls and surveys, replying to posts and to comments under the posts, and so on.

However, if you don’t have enough experience to write good text that starts conversations, you could hire a professional writer from a reputable or recommended company. A professional writer will know how to do their job well to meet all the objectives you set for them while also being efficient with their work.

Every social media platform will require a different approach from you, so you need to keep in mind the specifics of each of the platforms:

  • Instagram: You can create polls, questions, and quizzes in your Instagram Stories, but you can also reply to posts and comments.
  • Twitter: There is an option to make polls, but you will have to reply to tweets most of the time.
  • Facebook: Creating high-quality content that motivates readers to write comments is one of the most effective tactics.
  • Other: Pin often and create interesting boards on Pinterest, upload insightful videos to YouTube, and repost and comment a lot on Tumblr.

Put Energy and Value into Your Content

Energy and value in content are both very abstract concepts, but they are actually essential for your social media content to be actionable. Here are some things you should definitely do:

  • Motivate Your Followers: Motivating your followers should not be something they come to hate eventually because you are being too clingy, but rather something they anticipate because it makes them do the things they have been procrastinating with. In other words, motivational content is the one that promotes hard work while also showing that you want your followers to be better in every way possible.
  • Inspire Your Followers: Inspiring your followers is also important, and even if it seems like it is the same thing as motivating your followers, it is actually quite different. Inspiration comes more on the creative side while motivation is more technical. You need to be an example and a role model that will show your followers that everything and anything is possible.
  • Make Valuable Content: Lastly, always create valuable content. If your content doesn’t bring value to your followers, then they won’t want to follow you. Everyone is looking for something they will either enjoy in terms of entertainment or something they can get knowledge from in terms of education. Consequently, choose your strategy and create either entertaining or educational content.

Create Your Own Opportunities

using social media for pr

Last but not least, stop thinking about where you can find new opportunities and start creating them for yourself. There are numerous ways you can do this, but here are some of the most effective ones:

  • Start Live-Streaming: By live-streaming regularly, you will be able to significantly improve engagement and brand awareness among your audience. Some of your followers will be looking forward to your next livestream if you create a schedule when you go live every week or month. In other words, this is probably one of the best ways to establish a better connection with your audience.
  • Create A YouTube Channel: A YouTube channel will not only help you build your community on that platform, but it will also allow you to post your videos on other social media platforms. Right now, video content is in-demand (and it will likely be even in ten years because of how much viewers enjoy it), so you need to use this situation to get through to all of your followers.
  • Be as Creative as Possible: Being creative is the key to success. If you find unique ways to approach a subject or to create your next piece of content, you will notice that there are many people who find such content useful. Stay out of the crowd and you will attract more people to what you do.

See Also: Finding Out the Best Time for Posting on Social Media Sites

Final Thoughts

To sum up, improving your PR with the help of social media marketing is not as difficult as it seems. Just follow the advice and tips in this article and try to combine these tactics to create a more effective digital marketing campaign.

The post How To Use Social Media For PR: A Step-By-Step Guide appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Eight Ways Entrepreneurs Can Finance their Business Ideas

Every entrepreneur or startup owner faces the biggest concern of financing their business. With minimal experience and no business background, entrepreneurs find it very hard to get the money at the initial level. Be it working capital or provision for the troubled times, you need money to run and grow your business. Let’s discuss some of the options that can help you get funding for nurturing your business ideas.

Before digging deep into the topic, it is necessary to go through two ways of financing your business — Equity and Debt. The equity option enables entrepreneurs to fund their business by providing an ownership stake to an investor. Here, there is no obligation of repayment. But then, you need to give up a part of your ownership in the business. It can also make you lose control over the company in the long run.

The debt option is like taking a loan for a specific period. You have to pay interest on the amount. Here, the ownership of your company is not at stake. But, if for some reason, you fail to repay the loan, the lender can take your company into liquidation. In such a scenario, you lose your company. The debt option is worth only when you have a strong financial backup.

Equity-based Funding

how to finance your startup idea

Self-funding- This is the safest way of funding for your startup. You can either use savings, personal debt, or both for your business. Also, you can consider selling assets like a second home or a boat to generate cash for your company.

Friends and family- This is a source of both equity and debt funding. Though this seems a handy source of funding, you need to remain cautious while assigning part of your business among friends and family members. Many businesses fail because key parts of business go into the wrong hands. Also, when the capital erodes, it hurts feelings and ruins friendships.

Angel investors and Crowdfunding- Affluent investors can bring capital in the startups. They are known as angel investors as they are always willing to invest in ideas they find lucrative in the future. Angel investors can also form a group of investors to spread risks and assist you to do extensive research. Local angels and the Chamber of Commerce are also good sources for funding your business at the initial stage.

Crowdfunding is also a concept similar to angel investors. The only difference here is that there is a large number of people or investors who contribute to your startup idea as per their wish. Crowdfunding has certain norms and its success rate is lower than that of angel investment. Crowdfunding is based either on equity, debt, or rewards. You can select the most suitable platform from hundreds of crowdfunding platforms.

Partnership- This is one of the strongest sources of funding for your business. Strategic partners can not only bring investment but also give new thoughts to take the business to the next level. Partners can also help your business by managing key processes. Let’s take the example of a property management company. A strategic partnership with a property maintenance company can help this company to provide 360-degree solutions.

Debt-related Funding

financing your startup

Lenders- Many lenders and organizations lend money to small businesses and startups. They lend money either at higher interest rates or ask for assets as security. Here, the interest rate is a bit tricky. For example, if the interest rate is 3% and the term is one month, then the actual annual interest rate is 36%. This is quite high as compared to a 3% rate.

Lenders are of two types- Traditional and Government lenders. Traditional lenders can be the first choice. Banks and credit unions are included in this type. This type of lenders, however, do not fund any innovative or experimental ideas. Government lenders work with the government arms to get more funds with some risks.

7a Loans- It is a type of loan that assists startups or businesses that have no collateral. Entrepreneurs with no personal or business assets are the most eligible candidates for this type of loan. However, a common man may not get this type of loan. What makes this loan attractive for entrepreneurs is the fact that the 7a loan has simple T&Cs. Entrepreneurs need to give a repayment guarantee of 85% to take this loan.

Banks- Both government and private banks lend SMEs and startups. But they need a track record and want to secure their loans by some of your assets. Banks are, however, not much friendly for SMEs and startups. Many entrepreneurs tend to stay away from banks at the initial stage because they have issues of both working capital and initial funding. In today’s time, banks have quickly become out of focus for entrepreneurs.

See Also: How to Get A Short-Term Business Loan

Venture Capitalists

They are basically the innovators of the business world. They’re constantly in search of entrepreneurs with lucrative ideas. If your idea is capable of working at a small level, you can easily convince a VC (Venture Capitalist) to support your business. VCs provide funds in two ways — equity or debt. Venture capitalists can lead your business to succeed at the international level.

Some venture capitalist companies invest in businesses by offering scholarships to entrepreneurs. Techpreneurs can leverage the benefits of these scholarships and become owners of small companies or startups at a young age. What’s more, your company can get money along with qualified business mentors through such venture capitalist companies. Simply put, VCs can assist you to launch your products while guiding your company at the initial level.

The SBA (Small Business Administration) is also a considerable debt option. It has many options but these options need a guarantee of repayment.

Concluding Lines

Many options are available to fund your business at the initial level. If you have a unique idea that you think it is worth investing, you can certainly explore various options and find the ideal one for your startup.

The post Eight Ways Entrepreneurs Can Finance their Business Ideas appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Top 9 Financial Mistakes of Young Entrepreneurs You Need to Be Aware Of

Thousands of young businessmen and women start new companies in the United States each year. Most will not last. However, whether you decide to form a limited liability company or go out on your own, you can increase the odds that your business will be one of the few that makes it. Success is not a question of good genes or dumb luck; it’s usually just about being prudent. Avoid these nine common financial mistakes of young entrepreneurs.

Not Separating Personal and Business Assets

You should always keep your personal and business assets separate. Not only does this help to streamline your business operations, it also allows you to take advantage of tax deductions, such as writing off business expenses.

One way is to set up a limited liability company (LLC). There are many benefits to establishing an LLC, including the ability to safeguard your personal assets if your business loses money or in case of a lawsuit.

Racking Up Personal Credit on Business Expenses

financial mistake of young entrepreneurs

If you’re using the same credit card for your movie tickets as you are for ordering branded stationery, you need to stop. Don’t mix your personal and business spending. Business credit card issuers stipulate that you can only use these cards for business purposes anyways, so it’s best to steer clear of such practices.

Another key reason for keeping your personal and business spending separate is that putting both expenses on the same credit card jeopardizes the protections that having a limited liability company gives you. Most business expenses are tax deductible, so separating personal and business spending makes life easier during tax time.

Not Preparing for Unforeseen Circumstances

When you’re young, it’s hard to imagine difficult situations such as death and divorce. However, it’s important to make provision for unforeseen circumstances to protect your loved ones—and your business. Having a buy-sell agreement in place outlines what will happen with your shares of a business should the worst occur.

You can use a revocable living trust to decide who will get your property when you die. This can be altered as your wishes and circumstances change, but the most attractive aspect of a living trust is that it allows you to avoid probate. Probate is the legal process of handling an estate, and it can be expensive and complex.

It may not be very romantic, but if you have your own business, it’s also a good idea to sign a prenuptial agreement before you get married. This legally binding contract describes who owns what assets, and how those assets would be distributed in a divorce.

Foregoing Insurance

Insurance is a legal requirement if you have employees, but even if you are a solo operation, insurance protects you if anybody makes a claim against your business. Business Owners’ Insurance provides an income if your business is temporarily out of action due to a disaster, and covers expenses such as rent and utilities you would’ve incurred during that period.

You may be cash-strapped when you’re starting out, but not taking out insurance could become a very costly false economy.

Not Planning for Taxes

When you first launch your business, it can be tempting to focus all your energy on generating income. But have you thought about taxes?

How LLCs are taxed depends on the number of members it has, and whether you decide to treat your LLC as a different business form for tax purposes.

This checklist from the IRS will help you ensure that your new business complies with federal tax requirements. Each state has its own tax rules, too. It’s not all bad news, though: You can also take advantage of tax incentives relating to energy use and other aspects of your business.

Not Paying Yourself

financial mistakes of young entrepreneur

It’s very common for young entrepreneurs to deny themselves an income. However, you should still pay yourself the market rate for the job you’re doing as soon as the business can afford to do so. When you don’t compensate yourself, it can be hard to determine whether your business model is profitable.

Not Hiring/Speaking to an Accountant

When you are starting out, it can be tempting to try to do everything yourself. This is understandable, considering that your funds are probably limited, and your enthusiasm is unbridled. However, thinking you can be your own accountant can end up saving you money upfront, but costing you more over time. Unless you have financial training, you’re better off hiring a professional. He’ll be able to help you build a strong foundation for your business and save you money in the long term.

Expanding Too Quickly

While it may seem hard to believe, growing too quickly can sometimes be as bad as not growing at all. This is largely because rapid expansion can put too much pressure on your fledgling business, and you have neither the infrastructure nor the experience to deal with it.

The result can be customer dissatisfaction because of your inability to handle an influx of orders, employee burnout from too many long days, and even cash flow problems because you might be shelling out for inventory while customers owe you money.

Insufficient Capital

Likely the biggest mistake that young entrepreneurs make is not having enough money to fund their business properly. Either you, your partners, and/or your shareholders need to invest sufficient capital in the business to ensure its success.

If your business focuses largely on providing services (for example, copywriting or web design), you may not need much capital. However, it’s still worth remembering that the leading cause of failure for all businesses is a lack of money.

See Also: Get Your Business Running With These Business Funding Solutions

The post Top 9 Financial Mistakes of Young Entrepreneurs You Need to Be Aware Of appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Improve Your Business’ Email Response Time

Promptly responding to the emails you receive is crucial for an array of reasons. For one, it builds trust with whom you’re communicating with. If popular media has convinced you that “email is dying,” I encourage you to think again. In fact, email is doing the exact opposite. By just next year, about 126.7 trillion emails will be pushed out annually. About 90% of the people in the country reported relying on email communication in 2017 alone.

Saying this, email responsiveness is important because it’s in demand. 46% of Americans open their inbox as soon as they wake up – even before they turn to social media, check the news, or make a Google search for what’s on their early morning mind. Additionally, 35% of email traffic warrants an answer. 23% of those require quick answer. Yet, that expectation is not met on average. Let’s get more specific.

When emailing a business with inquiry, 11% of clients expect to be answered within 15 minutes. Given slight more leeway, 19% of clients expect an answer within 1 hour. 14% of clients will wait 4 hours before getting antsy. 1 in 3 GenX and Boomers expect to be replied to within an hour or less.

Despite that, the response time, on average, is around 42 hours. What does this imply?

Think about it this way:

Time is money. For every minute you don’t respond to your customer’s email, the more disinterested they grow. When you fail to give them what they want in a quick manner, they’ll feel frustrated and annoyed. Response time is a nonverbal cue to your business-goers. They’re more likely to zone in on these nonverbal cues if you don’t address them with swiftness.

email time

On a more positive note, responding to inquiries within an hour makes you 7x more successful in qualifying the lead than others who take 2 hours to respond.

What Customers Want

Remember: the customer is always right. Always.

But how do you know what they want (outside of a quick response)?

I’ll tell you.

80% of people say friendly service, convenience, and knowledgeable help are the most essential components in making a positive client-business interaction. Once you meet their expectations, the individual client is 80% more likely to continue using your business. They will go on to spend 67% more than they would’ve before having such a delightful interaction.

In other words, customers just want to feel heard and valued by the places they spend their money on. Here are a few things you can do to improve your business’ response time.

To begin, you must encourage your entire brand to rethink about electronic mail communication. Email is far from dead, so encourage each employee with email access to work toward a response time goal catering to the aforementioned client expectations. Furthermore, suggest that your team organizes their inbox to minimize their rate of electronic chaos. By doing so, this employee will be able to find what they’re looking for much easier and quicker, allowing more time to focus on replying to customer inquiries.

Furthermore, emphasize the importance of apologizing in the scenario your team member falls behind in client communication. A simple apology can buy goodwill; however, lengthy excuses are unnecessary and distract from the original inquiry that was made. The last thing you want to do is have your client focus on your brand’s non-responsiveness.

Set a standard that outlines when you’d like your team to get back to clients. You can do so by creating an email policy. It should outline how vacation responses are covered or how many emails (at maximum) can sit in a shared inbox.

Another method would be to schedule specific times in the day check the inbox. By setting clear expectations with your team, you will indirectly train your clients on when to expect a reply. This will leave them feeling less frustrated in the case of delays.

email responsive time

Quick replies are also helpful. They can help you make scripts to respond to frequently asked questions. This way, you don’t have to continue rewriting the questions you’re asked the most.

There are many other ways you can work with your employees to improve your email response times. Just be sure to measure your progress along the way so you can figure out what’s working and what isn’t. Furthermore, be sure to maintain that human touch in your approach to electronic mailing. Including a bit of human and personalizing your message can go a long way with those on the other end of your text – especially if you frequently use pre-written scripts.

Time is money, and being responsive is critical. Below, you can find more information on the importance of email responsiveness and how to improve your response strategies.

See Also: Essential Tips On How to Manage Work Emails Without Losing Productivity

Please include attribution to Time To Reply with this graphic.

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Cash Flow Management Tips to Improve Your Business

Cash flow management is simply a process of tracking the amount of money coming in and the amount of money going out. It helps you determine the amount of money that will be available to your business in the future. There is no business that can survive without proper cash flow management. It is an essential part of financial analysis and is an integral part of any business.

Cash flow management is especially important for startups. If the company is not able to manage its cash flow during the first year of operations, it will probably not survive during the second year. Poor management of cash flow can result in a company’s inability to pay its suppliers or finance urgent needs. Without any doubt, you can make use of a credit line.

However, when your loans and credit cards are empty, you will be left in a situation where the cash is needed.

In order to perform cash flow analysis, you will have to take three key elements into consideration and they are as follows:

  • Accounts receivable – This is the amount of money customers owe you.
  • Accounts payable – This is the amount of money you owe to suppliers.
  • Shortfalls – This refers to the situation where you owe more than what you have on liability.

You have to be able to manage all the aforementioned elements in order to lead your business to success. It is not advisable to allow a situation where your customers owe you too much or when you owe your suppliers too much. Otherwise, it can hurt your business significantly.

In order to determine the current cash flow, you will have to look at the amount of money coming in and the amount of money going out. In case you have a number of customers that owe you money and have yet to pay, make sure not to consider this as part of your cash flow.

Undoubtedly, cash flow management is vital for business. However, if there is no cash to be managed in the first place, the business is in trouble. There are, however, a number of ways to increase your cash flow and eliminate any difficulties with it.

Here are the most important cash flow management tips you can use for your business:

Calculate the break-even point.

cash flow management business tips

It is critically important to determine the break-even point for your business. In this way, you will know when your business becomes profitable and also gives an early goal to strive for.

During cash flow management, keep your focus on reaching that break-even point. This type of analysis can be done in two ways: unit-based or dollar-based. Both approaches involve fixed costs.

In order to calculate the BEP with the use of a unit-based approach, you will need to take your fixed cost. The next step would be taking your revenue per item and subtracting it from the variable cost per item.

The final step is to take the fixed cost and divide it by that number. BEP, with the use of a dollar-based approach, involves taking a fixed cost and dividing it by the contribution margin.

Consider cash flow before profits.

It might sound contradictory, but this is a reality. Even if you reach your break-even point and your business is profitable, you still need to take care of cash flow management.

The next step after reaching the BEP is making an analysis of accounts payable, accounts receivable, and shortfalls. Then, determine whether any of them possess a problem for your business.

It might also be the case that your business is able to break even but it does not have any cash left. If this is the case for you, then it is time to have a detailed look at the aforementioned elements.

It will help you to figure out whether you need to attract new customers or it would be wise to cut the expenses. Even the smallest modification can have a great impact on the profit margin and provide you with an idea of what impacts your business most.

Try to have cash reserves.

Any business has shortfalls and yours is not an exclusion. The survival of your business highly depends on the ability to manage these shortfalls. If you start your business already with some cash in your bank account, it will make your life much easier.

It would be great to have cash reserves that will help you to last for the first three to six months. In this way, you will be able to protect your business from situations where a market dives into a temporary downturn.

Focus on collecting receivables ASAP.

Customers like situations when the invoice says “due in 30 days”. Even though it is good for customers, it is not good for your business. It is recommended to state “due upon receipt” on your invoice.

You can also delegate the task of keeping an eye on receivables to your employees. He/she will be responsible for contacting your customers and collecting payments.

Extend payables ASAP.

Approach to account payables should be the opposite of account receivables. It is advised to extend payable to net 60 or net 90 if possible. It will give you a chance to have a higher cash balance and increase your debt.

Another reason for having cash reserves is your ability to pay suppliers. If you owe suppliers and do not have enough cash to make payments, you will harm the relationship with them. They might also impose additional fees. Apart from that, they can withhold the next shipment, which will interrupt the whole production process.

Carefully monitor your cash flow.

Make sure you have a professional team in the finance department. These people should be completely informed about all the company’s finances. It is also important to have a person who will be responsible for monitoring the cash flow and informing you when the company reaches a certain threshold. For example, when your cash flow hits the $1,000 mark.

Apply technology to your cash flow management.

cash flow management tip

Specialists recommend keeping your cash flow spreadsheets in the cloud. Some of these sites are DropBox and OneDrive.

By utilizing these services, you will be able to access them from anywhere. You can also make use of professional accounting software. One important detail to be mentioned is security.

Thus, when using cloud-based technology, make sure to have the best security practices in place in order to protect the data. Security should be priority number one for your business.

See Also: How Cloud Technology Can Help Your Business Grow

Project future cash flows.

Estimating future cash flows is an important element of cash flow management. This is normally done with the use of historical data and market movements. Make sure to make projections for every month, quarter, and year. Precise cash flow projections can alert you to problems before they appear.

Without any doubt, it is almost impossible to make the forecast that will match with real numbers when the time comes. However, it is possible to make a prediction that will be close to the real numbers.

Cash flow projections will give you an idea of what to expect in the future. In this way, you will be able to prepare your company for any difficulties that will come along the way.

The post Cash Flow Management Tips to Improve Your Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Transform Your Logo Into A Piece Of Art

We all know just how important the logo is for any company or brand. You don’t have to listen to me rant on and on about the importance of the logo, how it is supposed to be memorable and evergreen and everything else. You know it better than I do.

That is why a lot of companies pay a hefty amount to a logo design company to make the logo as relatable, relevant, and sometimes mysterious as they can. Your company’s logo is supposed to tell your story. People should relate to it. It should have the right colors and geometry to be easily understandable and memorable.

It’s not like sitting down on your desk, drawing a circle, using a font to type in your company or brand’s name and voila! You have yourself a logo.

Oh no, no, no!

It takes much more effort than that.

That is why a lot of people must have told you to use a logo design service instead of doing it yourself. You may be good at business, sales, marketing, but if you are not on the up and up with the logo design world, you just might end up with an average logo that looks like a hundred others.

This is what happens when you use free logo maker websites and software. A totally uninteresting, uninspiring and boring logo that no one wants to look at.

So, the question is, whether you are a company or a logo designer, how do you ensure that your logo is not among the hundreds of logos out there that all look the same? How do you ensure that your logo stands out and catches the eye of the audience?

By……..wait for it…….turning it into art.

SAY WHAT NOW?

Yes, you heard me right. There are a million different ways that you can turn your logo into a piece of art that people will talk about for decades to come. It is difficult, but totally possible. Later in this article, we will discuss how you can do that and what are the elements that you will need to incorporate in order to do so.

But for now, let’s talk about how to begin. It’s not like you have a clear idea about designing your logo. So, experiment with various logo templates to get yourself warmed up first. It can also be the starting point of your journey towards making a killer and memorable logo design. It can give you an initial idea of where to begin and just might give you further ideas that you can adapt and incorporate later on.

Do you have a logo maker tool that’s handy? Is there an online app? Make a few logos and circulate them among your friends and colleagues to find out what they think about them. They can suggest any edits that they think you might need. Getting your peers on your side is something that you really need.

So now that we’re done with the warm up exercises, let’s dive into the world of logo designing and see how you can make your logo stand out.

Do you know what a Visual Double Entendre is?

A double entendre is a figure of speech or anything else that can convey two different meanings. Simple as that. A visual double entendre is the same thing but the double meaning is conveyed visually. Some of the world’s most renowned logos use this element to increase the engagement level of their logos and people all around the world remember these logos for their wittiness.

Take for example the Amazon logo. Now who doesn’t know Amazon? At first glance, the logo has an arrow that goes from the ‘A’ in the beginning to the ‘Z’ in the middle and it looks like they are saying that they provide service with a smile. The thing that a lot of people miss is that the arrow is pointing from ‘A’ to ‘Z’, meaning that they have everything that you might ever need or want.

visual double entendre amazon logo

Another great example is the Baskin Robbins logo that uses the curves of the letter ‘B’ and the straight line of the ‘R’ to show their audience just how many flavors they actually have.

The Importance of Colors

One of the most essential decisions that people tend to make about their logos is the colors that they want to use. You might think that it is an easy decision, but it’s not.
You may or may not know this, but every color conveys a deep meaning that resonates with the audience and if you don’t get it right, you just might end up losing your audience instead of gaining one. Colors can communicate various messages and ideas.

For example, red is the color of danger, but it is also the color of excitement and Coca Cola has used it to great effect.

coca cola logo

There is a rich palate of colors that you can truly explore before selecting one or more for your logo. Because once you have a logo, you might not be able to make a lot of changes to it, much less change it for something else. The colors that you use can either grab the audience’s attention and pull them in or they can push them away. The best thing about the color palate is that it is completely up to you. You can even choose a gray scale logo if you think it works.

Avoid the Cliches

Just like every other industry, the logo design industry is also prone to various trends and fads that come and go. What a lot of good businesses do is to follow these trends and fads and generate a logo according to them. What they don’t remember is that trends last for a little while and then fade away.

It doesn’t mean that you stay away from every new thing that enters the market. Study them, do your research on them, but also make sure that you don’t jump on the bandwagon for the pretext of keeping up with the times. It accomplishes nothing more than a bunch of similar looking logos created by different people.

Own Your Logo

Everyone owns a logo, right? So, what am I talking about here?

When I say ‘Own your logo’, I mean that instead of taking into account the latest trend and going for it, you should do your research about the company or the brand. Get to know their products and services, their background story, and then come up with something that reflects those things. That will resonate more with the viewers and they will relate with it instantly.

As an example, let me show you the Evernote logo.

evernote logo

If you look at it, it is just an elephant head which has got nothing to do apparently with the app. Or does it? Remember anything about elephants and their memories? Now check out the way the trunk is curled and the way the ear is marked/folded. That is something that the viewers can immediately connect with.

Say It with the Fonts

Sometimes you don’t need to put so much effort into the colors and the design of it. Sometimes you can do it all with the typeface. Give your simple and minimalistic logo a creative and unique font to make it awesome and super memorable. As an example, I will have to go back to the Coca Cola logo. The font became so famous that a lot of other companies started stealing it and using it as their own typeface in their logos. Now that is the kind of uniqueness that every logo designer is going for.

Go Negative

Yup! You heard me right. You can use the negative space in your logo to create illusions and tricks just like a logo with a double entendre. Instead of talking about it, let me just show you what I mean.

Do you see the hidden arrow between the ‘E’ and the ‘x’? Now if that is not an ingenious idea, I don’t know what is. The use of negative space in the FedEx logo is amazing.
Now that you know how negative space can be used, check out the NBC logo and see if you can figure out how they have used the negative space.

This one is pretty easy, right?

Summing It Up

Knowing these things can greatly help a logo designer, whether you are working in-house or as a contractor. You can show your client just how much effort you have actually put into the logo and blow their minds away.

See Also: Building Your Personal Brand: 3 Ways To Stand Above The Noise

The post How To Transform Your Logo Into A Piece Of Art appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Improve Business Website: A Guide for Wholesale Business Owners

With the competition among wholesale and distribution businesses getting heavier each day, being one step ahead in everything – from production to marketing – is a must. And knowing how to improve business website can take you ahead of the competition.

B2B customers are expecting more from their wholesale partners, demanding a high level of service like B2C customers. Gone are the days when wholesalers simply transact and close a deal. These days, there’s a need to connect more and bring positive experiences to retain and attract clients and boost their revenues.

On-Site Changes for Better Online Presence

It’s not enough that you have a website. Remember, your competitors have websites, too. Your goal is to know how to improve business website and create a virtual place to sell your products or find distributors. You need to create a better online presence.

And no, you don’t need a website overhaul to achieve this.

Here are some proven on-site changes you can implement in your current wholesaler website to improve your online presence.

Provide an e-commerce platform

In case you haven’t heard yet, B2B e-commerce sales are expected to top $1 trillion by 2020. Adopt eCommerce functions on your websites, such as streamlined ordering systems, information-rich product listings, and up-to-date inventory data.

Since you’re targeting corporate clients, added features like order histories and subscriptions will definitely help you gain more customers and boost your sales.

Keep a blog that provides helpful and up-to-date information

Your B2B audience definitely appreciates the detailed information you give about your products and services through your blog. If you’re selling wholesale tarps, for instance, you can talk about the different types of tarps, their uses, and some other technical info that people may need more understanding about.

Keep your blog updated. Make your wholesaler website a reputable resource people can go to for answers. It’s one way to gain trust and credibility.

Make ordering, delivery, and billing as seamless as possible

improve business website

Make use of a flexible invoice tool that makes the payment, billing, and shipping options as easy and as quickly as possible. Give your customers a variety of payment options to cater to their individual needs. Also, make it easy for existing customers to log-in, give new ones an option to create an account or check out as a guest, and put checkout calls-to-actions in locations (top and bottom, usually) and colors that stand out.

Ensure easy navigation

The reason is pretty obvious. The overall structure, presentation, and labels of your website have a huge impact on your business. They affect traffic (how you rank) and conversations (lead-customer conversion).

Be descriptive with your labels. The fewer the items in your navigation, the better for SEO. Keep your design simple, fresh, and clean. Make sure your products are no more than three clicks away. Your goal is to help your visitors find what they need as quickly as possible.

Add relevant and high-quality visuals

Connect closer to your B2B customers by opening up yourself to them.

What are the business practices that make your company stand out? How do you do it? How about you invite them for a virtual tour to your production house?

Through a short, high-quality video clip, show them the tarp weaving process, for instance, featuring the high manufacturing standards and quality control your company adopts. Or perhaps, post a video about the relevant industry updates to showcase your subject matter expertise.

See Also: How Using Live Video Can Boost Your Business Dramatically

Make your website mobile-friendly

improving business website

Having a mobile-friendly website is not just a good practice to adopt. It’s required! 2018 is all about mobile-friendliness. Most likely, the majority of your potential business partners communicate and transact via their mobile phones. Create a mobile version for your site, install a mobile plug-in, or better yet – create an app.

Target the right keywords

Behind each successful wholesale website are careful keyword research and analytic process. If you’re not targeting the right keywords, you could be putting all your efforts to waste. It’s not enough that you base it on the search volume and adopt the highest-volume keywords. It’s important to understand your own website, create hypotheses, test, and repeat – the classic formula for internet marketing. The great thing, there are keywords research tools that make this process easier.

In this tech-heavy world, a big part of your success depends on your website. If you want to be ahead of the competition, convert leads to customers, and ultimately grow your business, take time to analyze your website and identify the things you can make better. With these on-site changes you can implement, you won’t just know how to improve business website, but you’ll also be one step closer to creating a website that ranks and a website that sells.

The post How to Improve Business Website: A Guide for Wholesale Business Owners appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Trucks VC general partner Reilly Brennan is coming to TC Sessions: Mobility

The future of transportation industry is bursting at the seams with startups aiming to bring everything from flying cars and autonomous vehicles to delivery bots and even more efficient freight to roads.

One investor who is right at the center of this is Reilly Brennan, founding general partner of Trucks VC, a seed-stage venture capital fund for entrepreneurs changing the future of transportation.

TechCrunch is excited to announce that Brennan will join us on stage for TC Sessions: Mobility.

In case you missed last year’s event, TC Sessions: Mobility is a one-day conference that brings together the best and brightest engineers, investors, founders and technologists to talk about transportation and what is coming on the horizon. The event will be held May 14, 2020 in the California Theater in San Jose, Calif.

Brennan is known as much for his popular FoT newsletter as his investments, which include May Mobility, Nauto, nuTonomy, Joby Aviation, Skip and Roadster.

Stay tuned to see who we’ll announce next.

And … $250 Early-Bird tickets are now on sale — save $100 on tickets before prices go up on April 9; book today.

Students, you can grab your tickets for just $50 here.

10 Ways to Encourage More Women Into Your Workforce

Female participation in the labor market across the globe is declining. According to a World Bank research report, the women’s labor force participation rate is 48.5%, whereas the rate for men is 75% in 2018.

In this article, I will deliberate upon ways to minimize this gender gap and sexism in the workplace by allowing more female employees to join the workforce.

Offer flexible working hours

By allowing flexible working hours to women, companies can help them maintain a work-life balance and enjoy a fulfilling career. In a global culture that is rapidly becoming 24/7, this initiative will result in better well-being, reduced absenteeism, and enhanced productivity.

Remote working, a form of flexible working schedule, is also gaining momentum. It has grown 140% since 2005.

It is interesting to note that women have more leadership roles in remote companies as compared to traditional brick and mortar ones. According to a study conducted by Remote.co, 28% of remote companies have women CEO and presidents.

Eradicate sexism in the workplace

female in the workplace

Sexism in the workplace (both overt and subtle) is the most blatant irritant for female employees. From sexist remarks to workplace sexual harassment and gender bias, obnoxious sexism takes a toll on female workers’ retention.

According to PewResearch.Org, 42% of working women in the USA say they have faced job discrimination because of their gender.

It is, therefore, vital to create zero tolerance for any type of gender discrimination and sexism within the organization. Promote this as one of the most positive attributes of your company’s culture and that will surely result in the female talent pool and higher women workforce retention.

Provide a clear path to advancement

If you claim to be a company that offers equal opportunities for both sexes, it should be reflected in your career development policy with a good number of female employees working in senior management positions and leadership roles. On this front, the corporate sector has still to do a lot.

The following stats from McKinsey & Company 2018 report about women in the workplace depict a sad picture.

  • 29% of women believe their gender will be an obstacle to advancement.
  • A quarter of women (unlike only 8% of men) believe that their gender has actually played a role in missing out on a raise or promotion.
  • Men hold 62% of managerial positions whereas women hold only 38% and it gets worse higher up. (Women are just 22% of C-suite executives).

The companies should have strengths of both the genders by putting women at its executive boards. Susan Lucas Conwell, the Global CEO at Great Place to Work® say that women tend to lead from an interactive and cooperative style, bringing different perspectives based on a different set of life experiences. This broadens the executive board’s insight and making it more agile.

See Also: Helping Women Succeed In The Workplace

Make sure the women are paid fairly

A discriminatory salary structure that results in lower pay to women for the same task performed by their male counterparts is downright obstructive. It’s a waste of talent and skills from equally capable women with such an unjust system. The salary structure for female employees must be competitive and based on performance.

Have a hiring model that engages female talent

Your hiring methodology should never send negative signals for women applicants. If you are conducting an informative session about your company to prospective female employees, you need to consider following points seriously:

  • The session should be led by both women and men. More importantly, women should not be appearing in supportive roles only, such as welcoming participants on the entrance or distributing brochures and leaflets.
  • Try to include women speakers in the panel of speakers, explaining the core functions of your business.
  • Don’t project images with only men as active players like soldiers, technicians, pilots, etc. The women will be less engaged with these types of presentations.

Hiring good female talent is like fishing. If you can’t fish, it is not the fish to be blamed but your lack of good technique.

Avoid gendered job description

Women perceive a job from the language used to describe it. If you want to establish a more gender-balanced workforce then try to avoid using male-oriented titles like “Super Hero” or “Rock Star”. Instead, use descriptive titles that sound neutral .i.e. Project Manager, Developer, etc.

A Hewlett Packard report reveals that women apply only if they meet 100% of the job requirements. Men, on the other hand, apply when they meet only 60% of the qualifications.

The companies should therefore only include must-have requirements rather than too many nice-to-have requirements.

Hunt female talent through colleges and professional organizations

Every organization wants the best of the talents. In this pursuit, the best female talent can be hunted at professional organizations and colleges. A Harvard and Tel Aviv University studies revealed that companies that recruited from targeted women’s colleges managed to increase their number of women managers by 10% within 5 years. This targeted hunt will provide you the high performers.

Does your business name need to be changed?

This question is more pertinent to startups.

The mistakes when naming a business startup often hinder its growth, let alone annoy prospective employees. Take Reebok’s women’s running shoes brand ”Incubus”, for instance.

It failed miserably because, in mythology, Incubus is a devil that rapes women in their sleep. Hence, it is crucial for startups to revisit their name. If it has an obscene or negative connotation in some other culture, change it before your operation and hiring process begins.

Arrange mentoring for female employees

sexism workplace

The mentoring must be made a priority if your company wants to attract more women applicants, as well as to retain them after being hired. Assign some senior managers and executives to conduct grooming sessions at lunches and breakfasts.

During these sessions, women should be encouraged to ask questions about personal and career-related issues. The mentors will then provide guidance about best management practices and developing the necessary skills to perform a job.

Provide the right information

More often, one-size-fits-all information about the job does not work. HR needs to provide other information points to attract female applications. For example, informing about the proportion of female employees is helpful to show that diversity is encouraged in your company. Also, it influences how women employees rate the company in terms of the work environment. This micro-targeting will result in better response from female job seekers.

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How Companies Should Handle Office Romance

We spend more of our waking day at work than anywhere else. Throughout our careers, we come across many new faces and form strong connections with those we work with.

Spending so much time with the same people leads us to build strong friendships and for some, more than that. Office supply company Viking has conducted research to find out how common romance in the workplace is and what effect it has on those who have been involved with someone at their office.

Is Office Romance Becoming More Popular?

to deal with office romance

From a single kiss to marriage, 5,000 workers across Europe were quizzed on their experience of office romance. In the UK, over two-thirds (68%) said they have been involved in an office romance. This shows how common it is in the workplace.

Of the 68% who said they have experienced office romance, 20% were lucky enough to say it ended in marriage or a civil partnership. With so many people finding that someone special in the office, it’s important employers address this to ensure the best outcome for employees and the business.

Viking’s research shows a rise in office romance among the younger generation. 24% of 25 to 34-year-old employees said they have had or are in a long-term relationship with a colleague. That’s compared to 12% of over 65s. Over half (53%) of the same age group also said they would consider a romantic relationship with a colleague in the future. This makes it even more important that businesses know how to deal with office romance.

The Effects of Office Romance In the Workplace

To shine some light on the effects office romance can have on employees during work hours, Viking questioned those who had dated a colleague about how this impacted office life.

There were some positive responses. However, those who have been in a relationship in the workplace voiced mainly negative opinions on how they felt the relationship affected their time at work.

A full list of the positive and negative effects of romance on workers is included below:

Increases productivity & creativity – 11%
Decreases productivity & creativity – 37%

Reduces stress levels – 17%
Increases stress levels – 21%

Positive impact on wellbeing – 22%
Negative impact on wellbeing – 20%

Boosts work motivation – 12%
Reduces work motivation – 7%

Improves focus – 5%
Is distracting – 26%

Positive effect on your career – 6%
Negative effect on your career – 16%

As you can see, people had different opinions on whether office relationships have a positive or negative effect on those involved.

But the two most popular responses were that office romance decreases productivity (37%) and can be distracting (24%).

How to Deal With Office Romance

To limit any negative effects on the workplace from office romances, below are some guidelines managers and HR departments can follow.

Train Management on Office Romance

It can be as simple as creating an environment where employees are comfortable openly discussing office romance.

42% of UK workers said the worst thing about their relationship with a colleague was being the subject of gossip. A further third (33%) felt they needed to keep it from HR.

If employees are familiar with office romance and feel confident approaching their peers or managers to discuss their relationship, there is less risk of it being either a secret or a subject of gossip.

To help encourage an environment where business can operate as usual around the natural social relationships formed between colleagues, providing training to managers and HR on office romance is advisable.

Relationships are likely to be stressful when it influences employee’s ability to do their job. If managers are aware and have the correct training, then they can help employees remain professional and leave the personal things at home.

As shown by Viking’s study, relationships can improve well-being and boost motivation. It’s important for employers to ensure they don’t decrease productivity and cause distractions.

Introduce a Romance Policy

A vital part of communicating when it comes to office romance is having a policy that clarifies the companies’ attitudes toward internal relationships. As mentioned before, it wouldn’t benefit employees or the business to forbid employees from engaging in relationships.

However, setting out a romance policy can help protect the business against potential HR issues. It can also help outline the conduct expected from those in a relationship.

This is something that needs addressing by companies around the UK as just 33% of employees are aware of their employer’s policy on office romance. If employees understand how they’re expected to behave, it will stop their relationship from impacting their work life and those around them.

Without a policy, behavior in the office when involved in a relationship is left to the judgment of employees. This could lead to distractions and unwanted arguments. The differing opinions on what’s acceptable could cause friction between employees.

A fair office romance policy is the obvious solution. It’s down to you to include what you feel will best benefit the business.

dealing with office romance

Keep Your Door Open

Office romance can harm employees’ ability to do their job. This is why it’s important that it doesn’t slide under the carpet.

Giving time to employees who want to discuss confidential subjects is important. It gives you a clear understanding of the happenings in your team. Turning a blind eye won’t solve anything. Relationships can turn sour and you should be on the lookout to protect your employees and the business.

An office romance that isn’t going so well is far more likely to lead to the negative impacts highlighted earlier on. Showing you understand and doing what you can to support employees if needed will build trust and help maintain productivity.

This handy guide on how to deal with office romance will help you keep your employees happy while taking care of your business’ interest. People spend more time at work than anywhere else and see no one more than their co-workers.

Therefore, romance is expected in the workplace. Finding ways to increase the positives and decrease the negatives caused is the secret to success for businesses around the UK.

See Also: Redefining Office Culture To Boost Employee Satisfaction and Productivity

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How to Measure Influencer Marketing Impact

The rise of social media in the last decade has altered the way we live, work, buy, and do business.

Millennials and Gen Z that have the most purchase power spend most of their time online. This is why it has become indispensable for organizations to have a robust presence on social media platforms.

Influencer marketing is a relatively new concept that has really caught on. It is perceived to be more personal as it comes from individuals whom customers trust.

Due to the massive expansion in the influencer market, authentic content created by influencers has taken the center stage.

Before diving in to understand how to measure influencer marketing impact, you must know that influencer marketing is not just about selling.

Marketing through influencers has become synonymous with creating a community of like-minded target audiences and growing it organically. That is the reason why brands commission influencers to create scalable content that has the power to spike interest among the target audience. In fact, consumers trust online influencers far more than a newspaper ad or a radio commercial.

What is Influencer Marketing?

influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a means to bridge the gap between social media users and your brand.

Influencers on social media are individuals who boast a substantial following and are considered subject-matter experts among their niche. Built on trust and face value of the influencer, this type of marketing could help you in many ways, including increased brand recognition.

You must select influencers by conducting a thorough study. Based on your end goal and budget, you may choose from various mega, macro, and micro-influencers to promote your products or services.

See Also: From Baby Bump to Social Bump: The Rise of Mom Social Media Influencers

The Impact of Influencer Marketing on Consumers

Influencer marketing may not bring immediate results, but it definitely ‘influences’ online users to subconsciously explore the product, if not buy it.

Whether you choose an established actor with a following of over 7 million or a micro-influencer with high engagement, your influencer marketing plan is bound to impact prospective customers.

Here are some of the most prominent results of influencer marketing:

Brand Exposure

Influencer marketing helps create brand awareness and exposure. This could be highly beneficial for new brands.

Perception

Marketing programs created with influencers can help create a brand image among users. For this reason, choosing influencers that speak the language of your brand is a must.

Sparks curiosity

Influencer marketers can spark interest among the target audience by just giving a sneak peek through their profiles.

Builds trust

Influencers are regarded with high respect and considered experts in their field. So, they help build trust by being a representative of the brand.

How To Measure Influencer Marketing

how to measure influencer marketing qr code

The ultimate goal of marketing is to generate sales and the same is true with influencer marketing. Setting online goals and measuring their success is naturally the first step.

What you want to do is analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) of the influencer. These KPIs could include the number of followers, reach, impressions, traffic data, etc.

But, more often than not, the real dilemma arises when you need to analyze the offline effect of an online campaign.

But there is a way around this too!

You can make a dynamic QR Code and use it to measure the offline success of a digital campaign.

How does that work?

Have influencers share coupon codes or discounts in the form of a QR Code as well.
This QR Code can be saved to Apple Wallet or as an image and then, later on, used at a store.

Once the salesperson scans this code, the sale gets attributed back to the influencer campaign.

The data gets stored in the linked program, which you could further use to analyze the overall impact generated on all offline mediums.

Influencers are here to stay. Therefore, the world of influencer marketing will keep evolving.

See Also: How To Nail Social Media and Influencer Marketing: The SME Edition

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How To Build A Minimum Viable Product

In the era of constantly churned out applications, the only thing that can make you stand out from the crowd is a Minimum Viable Product.

An application is hardly ever a one-person job. It is a lot of people coming together and putting their heads together to create a product that will, in turn, be accepted by the market.

There is always this risk hanging on top of your head, one that implies what if your application isn’t as great as what you believe it to be. For dispelling all your doubts and reducing the risk of your investment, it is a good idea to create an MVP.

An MVP is a product that provides the basic core functionality to its users without any of the sophisticated trimmings on top.

Every big application in the market once started as an MVP. Amazon initially started as an online marketplace that only sold books. It later diversified into the e-commerce giant it is today.

At the same time during the E-revolution, there were hundreds of websites that began but then failed, never to be heard about again.

Your MVP is what creates your initial user base which can be further worked upon once you know your product is feasible enough to survive in the market.

An MVP is also important to secure funding for your project as an application requires manpower and resources, which are both next to impossible to get without adequate funding.

But there is no point in building an MVP if you’re planning to go in guns blazing. A successful MVP is a collection of right steps taken in the right direction in the absence of any kind of preconceived notions.

So here is a guide on how to build a minimum viable product.

Do Your Research

build a minimum viable product

The leading problem with most MVP is the startling lack of research. A product can be built simply by sharing the wireframes with your developer and them creating a running application.

However, just the existence of an application is not the basis of a successful application.

Research needs to be carried out. Your target audience needs to be defined and their needs understood. Your product also needs to be useful to them and add value to their life.

You also need to carry out competitor research that clearly states how you are better than what exists in the market. Even in the absence of a direct competitor, just the fact that your product is the new kid on the block will not be of much help.

Your Idea Needs Definition

It cannot be stressed enough but your product needs to add value in your customer’s lives. Your product needs to have the intention behind every aspect of its working.

Understand the functions that are part of your application’s core functionality. Don’t add features just for the sake of bulking up the application.

Decide On The Design And User Flow

building a minimum viable product

Once you have managed to figure out the ideal market, it is time that you begin to design your application.

Everything you do should be done with the user in mind. It does not matter what you think about it as long as the users are happy.

Begin with designing user flows (User Journey maps are good, too) to describe the stages of the process. That would help you chart the path that a typical user would take while completing a task on your application.

This in-depth detailing is essential as it lays out the necessary steps that are required to be taken by the user. It also allows you to improve their experience.

See Also: Integrating User Experience Design and Internet Marketing Successfully

Decide on the features

You have finally completed building your process. Now, you move on to in-depth detailing. You determine exactly what are the features that you want your application to eventually incorporate.

See the process list and then jot down the features that you believe will work with them the best. Prioritize these features next.

Once you have finished organizing the features, define their scope for the first iteration of your application. Then, you’re good to move on to the next step.

Build the MVP

Welcome to the final step of your journey, the actual iteration of your dream. Remember that your MVP is not a low-quality render of your final application. Yes, it is stripped back but by no means is it anything less than what you have decided to release in the market.

An MVP is not the end goal, a full, functioning application however is. Once you have an MVP, it is time to test it. You now need to test it with real audiences to ensure that there are no kinks in the product.

Your customer perception is the only thing that can make or break your product. It is essential that you take their views into account before figuring out whether or not your product is market-ready.

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