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  • How SaaS Can Help Increase Customer Engagement Mar 30, 2021

    SaaS means Software as a Service, which is a cloud-based service. This service allows you to access an application via an internet browser rather than downloading the application. The advantages of SaaS are accessibility, compatibility, and low upfront costs. As an e-commerce business-boosting of sales is just as important as customer engagement. Communicating with customers is important to keep them returning.

    SaaS also calculates the carbon footprint of your business. SaaS helps businesses understand the cause of emissions and calculates how to reduce emissions by moving applications to the cloud. Although a large organisation might prefer to have its own set up for cloud management services, small businesses would benefit from what SaaS offers in relation to development and providing value to consumers.

    Tips To Grow Your Engage customers through the in-app chat
    As consumers, we can relate to the frustration when we start using an app, and it does not work properly. As a company using SaaS, there will be an element of frustration in the beginning but once you get the hang of it, the live chat will be a great way to engage with your customers and resolve any customer issues immediately.

    Using live chats is a powerful way to reach your target audience. Many consumers feel more inclined to purchase from a company that has the live chat feature. It is an easy a quick way for your consumers to ask questions which they might have about your service or product. Communicating immediately with your consumers through live chat increases customer engagement.

    The Offer of Free Training That Wins Customers
    Nowadays creating video content is one of the latest digital marketing trends. It is highly effective for SaaS companies, especially when it comes to tutorial videos. It is one of the best ways to offer free training to your prospective customers and educating them about your service. These training sessions will make your users understand the product features and increase value.

    Creating a number of free online training videos and webinars would increase customer engagement and stand out. Your business can create tutorial videos, as to how to use your service or products. It can answer questions about your potential customer's problems and concerns. Update your customers with any training updates for new features and updates. Training provides a strong relationship with customers.

    Developing educational tutorial videos to win customers
    SaaS businesses can create engaging and enticing promotional videos. It is a good way to connect and engage with your target audience. As a small business owner, you need to stand out, create brand awareness and create leads. Using promotional videos will definitely make you stand out from other businesses. Nowadays consumers tend to be more visual rather than reading posts.

    Creating a promotional video allows you to tell a story in a creative way. It is easier to show prospective customers, that they need your service or product. SaaS videos that make an impact are those that have a pain point and that touches the audience's emotions. Prospective customers are more likely to take action after watching a SaaS promotional video.

    Encourage users to take goal-focused actions to gain customer engagement
    As a business that wants to be sustainable and environmentally friendly transitioning to SaaS is the way forward. SaaS helps users understand how much carbon footprint is generated and gives an insight into how to improve and reduce emissions using cloud-based applications. Cloud-based is the way forward and can still offer benefits as one's own setup, yet offers value to customers.

    Provide user incentive to increase customer engagement
    If you just started and have low engagement rates, start off with smart gamification. It helps create interest in your service. Smart gamification can take the form of quizzes or goal program that the users can work towards. It has to be fun for the users. One can create forms of incentives, once a goal is reached, and it makes it interactive.

    Why Get feedback to help make improvements that succeed
    Prior to releasing a new product you may want your target audience and customers to be notified and get their feedback. Understanding what your target audience is looking for, helps develop a product that caters to their needs. As a business, you can create a poll and depend on the feedback received you can introduce your services and solutions to your audience.

    Reach out for feedback from your users at every opportunity. Listening to what they have to say, understanding their needs helps to improve your service and product. Your customers will appreciate your concern about their issues. Such practices will put you at the forefront of customer care, but also as a business that listens to customer needs. It helps with customer engagement.

    Conclusion - SaaS helps with customer engagement
    As a SaaS business, you definitely understand the need and importance of customer engagement. Implementing the above techniques will improve not your interaction with your current customers but also prospective customers. Provide free training, engage in live chats, develop educational tutorial videos, and ask for feedback. Experiment with new techniques and take note of what works and what does not work.
  • The Untapped Potential of Business Coaching Mar 25, 2021

    Did you know that business coaching is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world? Yep, it’s pretty incredible to find out that the US business coaching market is currently valued at $11.6 billion, which is why it’s no surprise to learn that over 42% of all coaches are currently residing across the Atlantic.

    And while the results of successful coaching programs are clear to see, the UK has been relatively slow to adopt the latest US import for one reason or another. With that said, over the past few years, business coaching, or what many refer to as “executive coaching”, has quickly become a hot topic for organizations as they search for new waves to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals and improve their business processes.

    What is business coaching?
    A business coach will assist the owner on several specific tasks to help improve the company’s performance and growth. It’s an interactive process that is designed to help individuals develop rapidly within a business context and improve the skills needed to run a successful company.

    In most cases, the coach’s primary role is to aid in the transformation of a company from point A to point B by identifying specific targets that can be accomplished with a predetermined process and an actionable business plan. In most settings, the coach serves as a mentor to the owner, providing guidance and wisdom on a variety of problems, adding value wherever they can.

    Interestingly, it’s a common fallacy that coaches are only hired when an organization is in trouble or on the verge of failure. Although this can often be the case, it’s becoming increasingly popular to hire an executive coach to help find new ways to scale company operations and identify opportunities both internally and externally. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of hiring a business coach.

    Identify new (sometimes counterintuitive) opportunities
    When running a business, it can be very easy to fall into the trap of never changing your business processes and carrying on with the same tasks each day without exploring new opportunities. And who could blame you if you do? If you find a recipe that works, why change it?

    Well, if you want to keep your business moving forward, or even if you just want to keep pace with your competitors, you need to always be on the lookout for new ideas and ways to innovate - and this is exactly where a business coach comes in. Aside from the standard opportunities that even the untrained eye could pick out, the best business coaches will help you to identify new strategies, some of which may even seem counterintuitive at first glance.

    Let’s take a look at an example of this from one of the world’s leading business coaches, Russ Ruffino:

    Working with fewer clients at a higher price
    A habitual mistake that many entrepreneurs make is attempting to find as many paying customers as possible; however, as Russ Ruffino, CEO of renowned coaching program Clients on Demand, points out, this usually isn’t the best way to go about your business:

    “Here’s the thing, if you charge too little, you have to work with more clients, you have a busier schedule, and as a result, the quality of your service diminishes. Not only that, but you will likely find you’re continually looking for new clients, spending unnecessary time and money searching for paying customers. The answer is simple. Raise your prices, improve your service, laser in on attaining results for your clients, and focus on attracting the cream of the crop. Nine times out of ten, you find you end up generating much higher revenue with less time invested,” explains Ruffino.

    There’s no doubt that many business owners would initially dismiss this wisdom, as it seems like financial suicide to turn away paying customers, however, it’s an absolute necessity for sustainable, long-term growth. It’s reasons like this why Ruffino’s coaching and consultation system is heralded as one of the most interesting wealth-building systems around because let’s face it - the ability to make ruthless business decisions is often what separates the best from the rest. If you’re interested in Russ’s program and taking up some high-level coaching, check out what their clients say about the course to see if it’s a good fit for your business model.

    Mindset development
    In business, your mindset plays a critical role in dealing with challenges and facing the inevitable adversity that will come your way. Unfortunately, many of us disregard the importance of pro-actively seeking out mindset training and developing the mental skill set required to run a business effectively.

    Things such as drive, determination, perseverance, and self-discipline all play a key role in approaching problems and opportunities, yet most of us go through life without putting too much effort into improving these skills. However, mastery of your mindset, as well as a deeper understanding of critical thinking, will ultimately go a long way towards helping you achieve your long-term goals and business aspirations.

    Fortunately, an experienced business coach will help you develop a “growth mindset” where you become familiar with dealing with things such as failure and rejection more constructively, sacrificing short term rewards for long term success, the ability to plan and foresee potential problems, and not letting self-destructive tendencies get in the way of your business growth.
  • Why Business Intelligence Solutions Are Going from Strength to Strength Jan 31, 2021

    Modern business is extremely tech-centric. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, technology is at the heart of pretty much every sector. From food production lines to server hosting firms, tech is the lifeblood that flows through most of our workplaces in the modern age.

    Since computers first started infiltrating the workplace many decades ago, a key value proposition that the big tech firms kept repeating was that work would become easier. Whether it was to increase efficiency or simply take over menial tasks, computers, and tech in general, was there to grab the reigns.

    In recent times, tech has made strides in more than just automation though. Two areas, in particular, have aided decision making within firms with the use of large data sets, those areas being AI and BI.

    Artificial intelligence has been a buzzword for quite some time, so much so, that you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in your day to day life who wasn’t aware of what AI actually is. Business intelligence, on the other hand, has entered the zeitgeist in a far more subtle way. This doesn’t, however, mean that it is any less useful.

    Quite the contrary in fact.

    Simplified, usable data

    At its core, business intelligence software collates and appropriates data into far more useful products. Streams of numbers rarely lend themselves well to the process of humans gleaning useful information, and the bigger the data set, the worse the problem gets.

    People are, for the most part, not designed to make sense of large data pools, and as such, data alone actually provides us with very little insight when it comes to what is working well – and what is working not so well – in the world of business.

    However, data are shown in ways that are easy to decipher is a different beast entirely. Provide data in graphics, be that charts, graphs, or tables, and a quick glance is sometimes all you need to see exactly why a certain trend is taking place, or why a project has not met the expectation in a certain area.

    Not only do BI software solutions use vast amounts of data to provide insight, they also have the ability to cross-reference data pools, giving users the ability to see trends that are virtually impossible to decipher when looking at each pool independently. For example, seeing how production speed seems to have entered a downward trajectory on a project may not tell the whole story, until cross-referenced against the data from another area, showing that the reason for this lull could be that it coincides with a rise in production machine faults.

    The power of this data can not only give the user easy to decipher information that can lead to a more educated decision making in the future, but can also help address extremely specific problems that would easily be missed when scrolling through data independently.

    Bespoke dashboards

    Of course, each business is different, and as such, BI software needs to be customizable enough to suit many different business models and industries. Because of this, most BI solutions have a variety of integrations available, and highly mouldable dashboards that can allow users to manifest the exact look and feel that any particular business the type could desire.

    What’s more, the best BI dashboards are automatically updated in real-time, meaning that at any given moment, a simple glance at the screen can show the end-user an extremely accurate overview of how a given aspect of the business is running, minute by minute.

    Granular customization capabilities can be found on many different levels within the BI world. Some integrations leverage existing analytics apps, others have the ability for an IT department to build any required bridges with the use of open APIs. But regardless of how bespoke a business may need their BI solution to be, the best options out there provide more than enough functionality to provide a service that is invaluable in the modern era.

    The use of data is fast becoming the new “gold rush” in an era where technology has given users the ability to collate and organize information at such staggering speed.

    With adoption increasing exponentially, businesses that ignore the leaps made in the tech sector do so at their peril, and when it comes to business intelligence software, in particular, those businesses are putting themselves at an extreme disadvantage, when more and more of their rivals will be grabbing what BI has to offer with both hands.
  • How Data Lineage will Boost Data-Driven Initiatives of Organization Dec 14, 2020

    In almost every data strategy, you will find data lineage at the core. We must understand data’s lineage as that enables us to find the root causes of the problem at hand and answer the corresponding question by explaining the data’s origins.


    How Does Data Lineage Help?

    Data lineage tracks data at each system, extraction, ingestion points, and up to the consumption points. Moreover, it also shows the changes all along the data path.

    The lineage can ensure stakeholders of reliable data by providing necessary and insightful details about the data. They can get valuable insights for decision making.

    It is challenging to follow data across different platforms, manipulations, extractions, processes, and uses. If there is no transparency and oversight in the data, users will not be able to spot any changes in the data’s format, function, and quality levels. And that will restrict them from getting insights from the data to make the right decisions.

    It will help organizations if they can extract a three-dimensional view of data lineage in the form of a visual graph that will help them understand the data with trust. It will enable them to extract the maximum value from their data.

    In essence, data visualization helps users to understand the mechanism behind data creating value by connecting data to business processes, operations, and objectives.

    Without a comprehensive understanding of data flow and the ways data are used, users cannot leverage the value of their information.


    How 3-D Data Lineage Maximizes Data Value?

    3-D data lineage enables enterprises to leverage data to make critical business decisions. The lineage bears nine elements, also known as the building blocks, which are the following:

    1. Technical assets include those that physically store, manipulate, transform, and present data. Businesses use the assets in the context of information on data combinations, data storage procedures, transformation processes.

    2. Business assets comprise business-facing data reports, the context around data, business processes, and metrics. These help users understand data’s impact on the business. The assets also enable users to understand the meaning embedded in data apart from discovering how data fits and impacts the business. Moreover, these assets consist of policies to ensure appropriate data usage, keep the security policies intact, and comply with global data privacy regulations.

    3. Data governance provides the framework comprising technology, processes, and people. It helps businesses convert their data into an asset. The framework offers visibility for companies that also helps in reducing their risk factors. It also creates a link from technical lineage to business assets, creating business lineage.

    4. Metadata provides the context to business and technical assets. It helps classify, sort, label, and clarify data catalog information, enabling users to search for data quickly. With Metadata, users can know how and when data was created, its meaning, where it resides, how and who changed it, who has access to it, and who owns that data.

    5. Data quality rules ensure users relying on enterprise data to generate insightful analytics is dependable. By formulating rules to analyze data for inaccuracies, businesses can build trust among users and simultaneously improve overall efficiency by eliminating any deficits to leverage data.

    6. Relationships between data, systems, business processes, people, goals, objectives, and metrics are crucial for all businesses. But businesses need to make some effort to identify and document data assets, processes, and operations to build trust, actuate holistic process execution, and provide insight on improving business performance with data.

    7. Profiling data is critical as that helps businesses explore and visualize enterprise data distribution. It helps to identify missing and incorrect data values and sorting as well as filtering relevant data. Also, it speeds up the discovery, validation, transformation, and blending of data to help users discover accurate and relevant information.

    8. Semantics help to normalize assets. It helps to streamline communication between data systems and data users in programming languages. Businesses must source, organize, and document different data and commands as per the semantics.

    9. Reference data also classifies and organizes data, but the notable aspect is that these data changes frequently due to usages for different purposes. As such, businesses need to put in place a mechanism to refresh reference data often to achieve operational efficiency and drive innovation.

    The bottom line is that the nine data lineage blocks work in unison to maintain data integrity, provide an audit trail throughout the data’s lifecycle, and establish 3-D data lineage.


    Data Catalog

    A data catalog provides a unified technical view of data to support internal business processes. But the downside is that the catalog does not give business and technical assets a single view. It will help if you keep in mind that you should avoid a data catalog with limited visibility. Such a catalog will not allow you to develop innovative products and services, uncover key cost-saving opportunities, or identify unhappy customers.

    So, businesses should not fall behind in building a substantial data catalog with 3-D lineage to improve productivity and meet goals.


    Conclusion

    Businesses can document the nine building blocks of data lineage in a data catalog to develop a business-ready data catalog with a single 360-degree view of all assets and the dependencies. It will combine knowledge about data, business processes and goals, objectives, and metrics in a centralized location. 3-D lineage helps users verify data sources and trust their information. Also, it brings efficiencies, actionable insights, and offers new business opportunities.
  • Tips to Market your Business During the Pandemic Jul 17, 2020

    The Coronavirus pandemic has brought in difficult times for businesses. While sales have plummeted, bringing down the revenues, many sectors have lost all business activities.

    It is needless to say that businesses have no way other than implementing innovative tactics to survive.

    Here, we outline some of the marketing tips for your business during the pandemic phase:

    Adopt an Optimistic Approach

    You need to maintain optimism and cautiously act as times are difficult now. Your business might have seen dwindling sales or complete stoppages of trading for reasons beyond your control. But, you should not panic. It will help if you put all your worries to rest and adopt an optimistic outlook in the belief that things will eventually get better.

    However, it will not make sense for you to underestimate the threats of the virus. And you are constrained to lower or discontinue your business activities for a while. But, you should not panic but remain optimistic that you will survive the chaos.

    In the worst-case scenario, your revenue might dry up, and you need to approach the government for assistance. But, do not fall back from keeping some digital marketing activities going on. It will keep your business visible to the consumers.

    Leverage the Power of Social Media

    You should smartly leverage the social media usage of people during the pandemic. Social media has become the strongest mode of communication during this tough time. So, utilize the opportunity by sharing engaging content on social media. Consumers are likely to keep your business in mind as a result.

    Create Goodwill

    Creating goodwill is the best form of marketing, as people always tend to remember the good things that businesses do. If you can help people during the pandemic, like distributing sanitizers, masks, etc. free of cost, do not fall behind. People will remember you and buy your products and services when you go back to business.

    Strengthen Your Online Presence

    During the pandemic phase, people are more online now. In most of the cases, they are utilizing their free time in making Google searches to research potential items to buy.

    So, you should proactively respond to them. It will help if you alter your website to reflect the current demand and emphasize on digital marketing. As digital marketing is a measurable type of marketing and does not require any face-to-face interaction, it makes it easy to set clear RoI goals.

    Implement SEO Tactics

    Your digital marketing initiatives will bear no fruit if people cannot find your website. So, you should implement the right SEO tactics to restrict your website from getting lost in the competition.

    Google frequently changes its search engine algorithms, so you should ensure that your SEO tactics are up-to-date.

    The focus of SEO is to bring your website within the top rankings of search engine results when people do online searches with specific keywords.

    Since most businesses are now focussing on how to survive rather than thinking about concentrating on digital marketing, it is giving you an excellent opportunity to embark upon powerful SEO techniques to make people keep your business offerings in mind.

    PPC Ads

    You might have not yet sensed it, but it is now the perfect time for you to embark upon pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. As more people are on the internet during the pandemic phase, your ads have a fair amount of chance to appear in front of relevant eyes. You will get a significant competitive advantage as a result.

    Focus on Relevant Marketing

    It is also the time to focus on relevant marketing. So, do not waste your time engaging in irrelevant marketing. You can get a lesson from the irrelevant ads on the television these days, such as suggesting you go on a trip, etc.

    You need to refrain from irrelevant marketing campaigns and instead run the campaigns adhering to the circumstances. Make sure that you market only those products that the consumers are willing to buy.

    Nimble Activities

    It will help if you are nimble and work in sync with customer needs. If you are a small business, then you should modify your operations for the situation.

    For example, if you run a fast-food restaurant in an area that is not yet under lockdown, you can close down your in-store dining facilities and emphasize on the takeaways. Likewise, if you run a gym that is in a lockdown area, you can share videos of exercise routines with your clients for them to perform at home.

    Keep a Tab on Marketing Metrics

    If you tend to overlook your marketing data as businesses have slowed down, then it will be a mistake. It has now become more important to monitor your marketing data closely. You should figure out what works and what does not. Keep an eye on the products that do not work now. And stop marketing those products now because that will be a wastage of time and money.

    You should keep a tab on your marketing data almost every day. Make sincere efforts to examine the data, see the trends, and make the changes where required.

    It will help if you keep in mind that it is not difficult to determine the RoI of digital marketing campaigns. The determination involves identifying a specific marketing goal for each campaign and subsequently deciding the relevant metric to measure.

    Plan Your Future Marketing

    As business activities have slumped and you have more free time than ever, do not take for granted that you should keep all your business plans to rest. You now have more time than ever, so you can utilize the time to plan for things once the Coronavirus crisis comes to an end.

    You should now plan your future marketing and plan how you will get yourself in full-fledged operations after things become normal.

    Conclusion

    It is sensible to adhere to your business building activities even during the pandemic phase. It will be prudent on your part if you prepare your business to run the show once things return to normalcy.
  • Trends Shaping Data Governance in 2020 Jul 9, 2020

    For professionals across industries, the importance of data is constantly evolving. They are actively looking for innovative ways to use data to boost process optimization and enable quicker & smarter decision making.

    While such exponential use of data means more insights and business value, it also translates to greater challenges with regards to effective data governance.

    Organizations that deal with massive amounts of information require a systematic plan for data governance. Data governance here refers to the people, processes, and technology used by an organization to ensure the availability of secure, high-quality, and consistent data.

    Data Governance Trends In 2020

    By putting robust data governance practices in place, organizations can be sure of responding better to new opportunities and challenges as and when they arise.

    In this post, we are going to discuss the top 8 current and predicted data governance trends that you need to be aware of in 2020.


    1. Quality Of Data Will Be Improved

    With an increasing number of organizations prioritizing data, the importance of relevant and accurate data is on an all-time high. Poor data quality can hamper the efforts to extract valuable insights, comply with evolving standards, and capture new efficiencies of data.

    Increased data quality is, in fact, one of the most expected outputs for data governance as it can help minimize enterprise risk, which is one of the main objectives of effective data governance.

    This makes it critical to have certain quality assessment mechanisms in place within any data governance strategy. Having a comprehensive data cleaning process, which identifies and improves the overall quality of inaccurate or incomplete data, helps organizations to prevent issues during analysis and later use of data.


    2. Regulatory Compliance Will Be Stricter

    The issuance of new GDPR guidelines, with the aim of data protection and compliance for the organizations across industries will see strict adherence by the regulators.

    Organizations that lack in complying with the new regulations will suffer heavy fines, and penalties post the recent amendment in the GDPR law.

    The move has been taken by the authorities in light of the sensitivities associated with Big Data and concerns to stop instances of data attacks and breaches. To ensure that organizations remain compliant, the due share of the penalties will be levied on the defaulters.


    3. Data Privacy At The Forefront

    With massive amounts of data distributed across geographies and third parties, protecting the privacy of confidential information is becoming a challenge.

    For companies, it is critical to consistently monitor the privacy gaps as non-compliance can lead to significant fines and reputational harm, owing to stricter laws.

    One of the ways to deal with this, as suggested by Gartner, is to look at the most important or critically exposed data, and use the same to build a trust model supporting current and future business needs. Later, organizations can take the necessary steps to determine whether the trust level for the data is acceptable or not.


    4. Classifying Master Data With Metadata

    Metadata management operates at the center of many data governance processes. Although the specifics of metadata are influenced by source code comprehension and other visual techniques, metadata management will still remain an integral part of facilitating data provenance.

    Metadata management is, in fact, the most important governance element that connects all the vital trends for data governance from regulatory adherence to governing machine learning models and automation.

    Effective metadata management offers an enterprise a clear blueprint for lineage, and it is also used to identify datasets that they are more interested in.


    5. Clearly Defined Roles For CDOs

    Unlike the CEOs, CFOs or CEOs, the role of Chief Data Officers or CDOs in any organization is not clearly defined in terms of both responsibility and functioning. Also, the organizations usually lack consensus on the exact duties and functions of a CDO.

    This scenario is changing and will further evolve in the years to come. With data becoming a very important commodity for organizations, CDOs will have clearly defined roles and will be strategically placed in a company's hierarchy.



    6. Data Governance Tools To Help


    The last couple of years have seen decent growth in data catalogs, which provide critical information about data sets.

    With the emergence of an open data economy, organizations will be moving towards systemic data governance to be able to capitalize on the various benefits - innovation and new insights - offered by this trend.

    More and more organizations today are investing in a data governance platform that can help them run governed data sharing projects with external partners. This is not just to minimize risk but also to harness the data's true potential.


    7. Devising A Data Governance Framework

    Having an effective data governance framework is becoming more and more important. This is simply because it can help in multiple aspects such as data quality, metadata management, data modeling, and data security and compliance to help ensure that data serves the required purpose.

    A data governance framework also allows the organizations to set the processes and procedures to help in execution and determining how enterprise data is acquired, used, managed, and archived.


    8. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to Drive Data Governance

    With ever-increasing volumes of enterprise data, data professionals across the board will continue to struggle with effective ways of aggregating and curating so much information.

    Robotic process automation (RPA) can be a valuable tool here for enhancing and improving the overall data governance strategy. RPA is specifically suited to mundane and repetitive tasks such as data cleansing, metadata creation or updates, and normalization.

    There are multiple potential benefits that RPA technology offers, including greater efficiency in regulatory and risk reporting, improved outcomes due to consistency & greater process quality, and better resource capacity resulting from new efficiencies.

    To unlock the real benefits of RPA, data professionals need to take a critical look at their operations, followed by doing a cost/benefit analysis to determine whether there is a profitable business case for incorporating RPA in their respective organizations.

    The Way Ahead

    The data governance framework is the primary key to delivering compliance and trust, which is why every organization needs to derive real value from its data. Keeping a tab on the above data governance trends can assist you in both the development and implementation of a successful data governance strategy.

    A solid understanding of how to introduce an effective data governance program to your organization is the first step towards optimal data administration and multiple benefits that come along with it.
  • Boosting Employee Motivation From Afar—Remote Working Strategies Jun 22, 2020

    For a workforce to be productive, engaged, and remain innovative, your employees must be happy and motivated. No exceptions, no compromises.

    71% of the world’s most prominent business decision-makers feel that employee engagement is essential to their company’s ongoing success. Plus, 69% of employees across industries say they would be more motivated is they felt appreciated in their role.

    As the COVID-19 storm rages on and many of us are still living in a state of isolation (to some extent, at least), if you’re a team leader or an HR executive, looking after the wellbeing of your remote the workforce is essential.

    Your employees are the beating heart of the business. They may be geographically spread right now, but by keeping your staff engaged and inspired, you will ensure they remain motivated and, in turn, productive.

    To help you on your path to remote working success, here are three essential approaches you should take to improve employee motivation from afar.

    Get social

    Regular social interaction is proven to enhance communication and motivation within the workplace—and remote teams are no exception.

    By hosting regular virtual social events, you will be able to maintain a solid level of transparency concerning company news and updates which will increase engagement and boost morale across the board.

    When it comes to virtual social events, you can be as creative as you wish—the screen’s the limit—but to help guide your efforts, here are some motivation-boosting suggestions:

    1. A twice-monthly themed ‘show and tell’ session where everyone has a chance to give their colleagues an insight into their lives.
    2. A virtual pub for an hour or two at the end of each week where everyone can chat and mull over the week while having a couple of drinks.
    3. Regular one-to-one meetings where individual members of your team can voice their opinions, share their ideas or address their concerns without judgement.
    4. Frequent quizzes or problem-solving sessions.
    5. Reward and recognition meetings held on a regular basis.
    6. Team skill-sharing and learning workshops based on online materials.
    7. Semi-regular team competitions with prizes to incentivize participation. These incentives don’t have to be tangible and can include an hour off work, access to an online platform, service, or even a shopping discount code.

    Create an engagement hub

    As we live in an ever-evolving digital age, the tools and technology exist to drive engagement and encourage collaboration in deep, meaningful ways without relying on geographical proximity.

    By working with the right project management tools or investing in an intranet or internal social media-style platform, you will increase the range of communicative touchpoints your team can use to connect, converse, collaborate, and reward one another. An increasing number of brands are leveraging internal communication platforms to boost employee motivation—and it appears to be working.

    Internal collaborative tools or social-style platforms will make your staff feel more connected to the business, and each other, while offering ample opportunity to get involved with the company’s various virtual events or initiatives.

    Feeling engaged and connected will ultimately make your staff feel more invested in the business and more motivated as a result. Work with the right internal tools and you will yield positive results.

    Streamline your management activities

    If your business’s management processes are watery, internal inefficiencies will emerge from the digital woodwork and you will see friction—the kind that will hinder employee engagement and as a result, motivation levels.

    By harnessing the power of modern technology to your advantage, you will be able to streamline your most essential logistical management processes—activities that include internal comms, fulfilment, customer service and, of course, employee management—for the better.

    By introducing online rota software to the business, you will gain the ability to track employee working hours with pinpoint accuracy from a host of devices while verifying time and attendance with efficiency.

    If you take measures to manage your employees more effectively, your business will become more cohesive, more streamlined, and ultimately, boost staff motivation levels on a sustainable basis.

    "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."—Albert Schweitzer

    We hope this advice has given you the ideas you need to motivate and inspire your remote team. For more virtual working insights, read our guide to managing remote and office employees.
  • Why Great Marketing Requires a Sound Data Strategy Jun 10, 2020

    Big data has transformed every area of business, making it possible to develop wise business decisions that are based on research and insight instead of gut instinct and other types of glorified guesswork. Marketing is one among many business areas that have benefited from the big data revolution. To be a great marketer today, you need to add data analytics capabilities to your skillset, because marketing can’t succeed without a smart strategy for ongoing improvement based on data signals.

    Marketing come a long way since the“spray and pray” methods of the 20th century. Today, you can mine data for detailed information about customer behavior, drill down to check preferences for different demographics, target marketing campaigns to geographic location, and discover which segments of your audience respond best to different wording, formats, or messaging.

    Big data has already proved its value in making your marketing more effective. With the help of marketing data, you can produce personalised marketing campaigns, and uncover real answers to marketing questions such as which channels are the most effective and why some keywords boost your visibility more than others. It helps you to understand both your competition and your own organisation more fully and enables you to track trends within your industry.

    But it’s not enough just to dip your toes into marketing data. For successful marketing, you need a comprehensive data strategy that is developed consciously and carefully.

    Data strategy is the bedrock of your marketing strategy

    Data strategy and marketing strategy go hand in hand. With a data strategy, you can make sure that you’re focusing on the right goals and using the right channels, messaging, and content formats to achieve them.

    A recent survey revealed that only 37.7% of businesses use marketing analytics in their decision-making and 65% of marketers still can’t use data to quantitatively prove the impact of marketing spend, which means that most companies are still basing their marketing strategy on “guesstimates.”

    A solid data strategy forms the vital foundation to your marketing strategy, guiding you in your decision-making so that you can be proactive in developing new campaigns and stop being taken by surprise by consumer reactions or market events. It makes you more agile, so that you can respond to new situations, like the sudden entrance of a new competitor or a natural disaster in your area, without losing your way.

    A data strategy brings data together

    One of the many virtues of a data strategy is that it ensures that you’re accessing all the data that you need when you need it.

    Silos can spring up in the best of businesses, creating blind spots that leave you basing important marketing decisions on an incomplete understanding of your market and audience. It’s vital to link up all your disparate data sources, like your CRM, customer service data, social media mentions, etc. into a single data warehouse.

    Equally, a data strategy ensures that your data is timely and relevant. Today’s business world moves at lightning speed, so without access to real-time data, your marketing strategy will be out of date. A data strategy brings data to you swiftly, without getting delayed along the way.

    A data strategy guides you to the data you need

    Marketing success requires you not just to access data, but to access the right data. Without a data strategy, you risk indiscriminately gathering information that isn’t relevant to your goals. Too much of the wrong kind of data can leave you confused, muddying the waters so that you lose track of your goals.

    It’s important to approach data with your marketing KPIs firmly in hand. Work backward from your desired outcomes to determine which data you need to guide your decision-making.

    Think about which questions you need data to answer. In this way, you can create a solid data strategy that sheds light on the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

    A data strategy helps you stand firm in a flood of data

    Big data is called that for a reason – there’s a lot of it about. Marketing data streams in from every side, and without a data strategy, you’ll be swamped.

    Even experienced marketers can get bogged down analysing data that doesn’t truly provide value, wasting time on creating irrelevant reports that don’t serve any real purpose.

    There is such a thing as “too much data”; it’s data that isn’t useful to your decision-making. A data strategy helps you to consciously select those data sources that guide your marketing strategy effectively so that you don’t miss the wood for the trees.

    Data strategy underpins marketing success

    To succeed as a marketer, you need to draw on all the assets at your disposal. A solid marketing data strategy is one of the most important tools you could wield.

    With your data strategy in place, you’ll be able to tap into the right data at the right time without getting overwhelmed by the flood of information, enabling you to develop effective marketing strategies that work to consistently deliver ROI and boost revenue for your company.
  • 7 Tips to Counter the Ripple Effects of Recession on Your Business Mar 27, 2019

    The business landscape has a history of recession and overcoming the tumultuous times with common sense strategies. Even with the last recession when the Q4 2008 GDP stood at -8.4% for the US, an economic stimulus package rolled out by President Obama helped the nation to overcome the situation starting from Q3 2009.

    Similarly, for any business, getting out of recession pretty much unscathed would require deep thinking around the company’s core business, cutting down on unwanted expenditures, and being well-prepared overall to handle the ripple effects of a bad recession.

    Today, we have compiled a list of common sense and highly effective strategies that let your business to take on the waves of recession and still remain strong in the business.

    1 – Assess the source of the crisis

    A recession pervades deeper than regular ups and downs associated with a stock market and company stock prices. However, it is also true that predicting an adverse recession is complex and challenging to hit the bull’s eye. Hence, we need to be prepared to see any volatility arising from ‘too-good-to-be-true’ scenarios that deviate from the norms of conducting business. The subprime mortgage-led recession of 2008 is a classic example. Here, housing mortgage rates were lent very cheaply without carrying due diligence about the ability of the borrower to pay back. As defaults piled up, bank’s credibility and the top line took a hit. This shows how important it is to stick to basics and be prepared.

    2 – Have an eagle-eye focus on core business

    It is not uncommon to run side gigs and have multiple revenue streams when running a business. However, during a recession its best to stop the experimentation and high overheads businesses. Instead, you need to focus on the core business that feeds the side gigs. So, if you are an ad agency that also dabbles in web series, short films, and TV shows, you need to bring back the focus on the cash cow i.e. the ad agency business. This way, you are sure that the collective corporate energies are focused on sustaining the one business that started it all.

    3 - Cut back on unwanted expenses

    When business is booming, it is a common tendency to go beyond spending on ‘needs’, and start spending on unnecessary ‘wants’. While it may look good if the business is thriving for long, a smart entrepreneur will also look to build a nest to ward off the lean times in business. For this, it is necessary to always look for overheads that can be reduced. Take the case of Julia Ann from Miami. She didn’t put lock her capital on expensive offices leases for her 4-member team of web developers. Instead, she took up a shared working space. The rent also contributed to printing, Wi-Fi access, and use of meeting rooms. This shaved off a substantial amount in rental overheads for the business.

    4 – Focus on ‘Bootstrapping’

    Bootstrapping is emerging as a popular concept among entrepreneurs who don’t want to dilute their equity holdings to PE investors. This business model can also ensure that you sail the choppy waters when business is down. The core principle states that the expenditure made should come from the revenue generated for a given period. So, if you are planning to upgrade the servers, it needs to be from bigger invoices settled, rather than by tapping into emergency reserves.

    5 – Sharp focus on existing client accounts

    Your customers are the key (and sometimes the only) denominator of your business’ growth. In crunch times, it becomes all the more important to serve them to the best of your abilities. You need to concentrate on building and strengthening client relationships with great servicing so that they don’t take their business to the competition. This will help you spend less on acquiring new customers and have a steady flow of income.

    6 – Strategize for survival

    The overall culture at work needs to reflect that every employee is an intrinsic part of a company’s success. Be it the newest hires or the most experienced managers, everyone needs to follow a clear-cut strategy. But that can happen only when you, as the business owner, chalk out a written strategy for the business. Apple is a fabulous example of strategy drilled down to employee DNA. Their culture fosters on innovation and thinking ‘out of the board’. Every employee is expected to abide by this unwritten rule of encouraging innovation in their routine work. For this, it is important to have a strategy team in place. They will help conduct appropriate SWOT analysis in order to prepare for extreme market scenarios where survival becomes difficult. These will help you analyze four key areas –

    1 – The strengths that your company possesses in order to manage economic turmoil

    2 – The weaknesses that need to be overcome in such a situation

    3 – The opportunities that are available to achieve your corporate mission and vision

    4 – The threats that can act as barriers to achieving your mission and vision

    7 – Use the fear of recession to your advantage

    The layoff is the most dangerous impact of a recession. However, entrepreneurs need to re-group with their team and navigate the rocky situation with a bit of compromise rather than drastic measures like layoffs. So many may work at reduced salaries, while others may pitch in for extra responsibilities. As an entrepreneur, you need to avoid taking easy measures like layoffs. Remember that the employees are the bedrock on which your business stands. Treat them well, and it is likely that you will come out of recession faster than others.

    To sign off

    You would be amazed at how simple these survival methods are. They do not require you to go out of the way to accomplish the objectives. All that is needed is a bit of self-discipline and eagle eye focus on what is absolutely essential for the business. Yet it is surprising that not many adhere to these and eventually end up being swept by the waves of recession. Make sure that you utilize these tips and enable your business to weather the heady winds of a volatile business landscape.
  • Why Your Business Needs Stronger Information Security Feb 8, 2019

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    Cybercrimes are growing more sophisticated today, which is why it’s also becoming more common for us to see companies undergoing security breaches. Major corporations are falling victim, which means that small and midsize corporations don’t stand much of a chance either. This is something you can’t overlook as a business owner because, more than likely, you heavily rely on your information systems to help you conduct business. When there’s a weakness therein your whole organization is at risk. This won’t only interrupt you internally, but you’ll be subject to fines from the government and your own industry. You may also be faced with lawsuits, but what’s even worse is your reputation is tarnished.

    Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to protect your business against cyber threats. However, you can implement security controls and policies then keep them updated as you proceed.

    Inventory Your Data

    Digitalist Mag says it’s important for every business to know and properly document the proprietary information (e.g. personally identifiable information, a.k.a. PII; and personal health information, a.k.a. PHI) and intellectual property that they have, where they store it, and how they protect it. When disclosed these things could impair your firm’s competitive advantage – something you don’t want to have to deal with.

    Identify Zero-Day Threats and Update Security Patches

    The phenomenon of zero-day vulnerability is an epitome of cybersecurity’s constantly changing nature. This classification includes any previously unknown threats such as ransomware attacks. Oftentimes these occur when someone least expects it. They’ll click on a link in a spam email and launch malicious software (a.k.a. malware) that will then encrypt your files, rendering them inaccessible unless you’re willing to pay the malware creator a hefty fee. Unfortunately, many large businesses have fallen victim to such attacks, which is why your business needs a way to identify these threats along with an updated policy in regards to your antivirus and anti-malware libraries.

    Use Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software

    Symantec and Verizon teamed up to conduct some research in 2015. It showed how one million new malware threats were released every day throughout the previous year. This demonstrates the need to have updated anti-virus and anti-malware software deployed on all devices throughout the organization. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why this doesn’t always happen. However, strict internal auditing is the best way to handle things here.

    Make Sure Your Data is Encrypted

    All your secured data needs to be encrypted, especially when you send it outside your company or store it in the cloud. This is important because hackers may be unable to access your internal network, but they can still intercept internet traffic.

    Create a Service-Level Agreement Outlining Your Cloud Computing’s Security Specifications

    Many of today’s businesses are using cloud for software and storage purposes. In fact, there are now many software applications that are offered only as SaaS (software as a service). This is great since it allows for scalability. However, managing these operations is typically something that’s automated, especially since an unfathomable amount of data now available. Herein lies a unique set of risks for businesses who use the cloud. There’s the physical security risk that comes from not knowing where your business’ information is stored. This occurs because it’s impossible to make sure the data centers are physically inaccessible so people may steal information.

    A framework is being created to make sure that your SaaS procurement is secure physically, virtually, and storage-wise. You can see this outlined in the cloud service provider’s service-level agreements (SLA). This SLA should provide for security in terms of location, transmission, and encryption. It should address all security concerns. Make sure you review this document for each cloud solution you use.

    Implement Controls for When Data Loss Occurs

    When a hacker can access your system, they’ll try to remove all your data. You should have tools (e.g. intrusion detection system, intrusion prevention system, firewall) available to monitor all your outbound traffic. You must have prevention techniques an alert logs available to analyze and act on too. All these things need to be documented. Remember, the following items are involved in correct change-control procedures:
    • A “change request”
    • Gaining approval from the proper management levels
    • Planning
    • Testing
    • Scheduling
    • Communicating
    • Training
    • Implementing
    • Documenting
    • Verifying the procedure’s effectiveness
    Review Previous Hacks and Document Your Findings

    Only two types of businesses exist in America today: those who’ve been hacked and those who’ve been hacked but don’t know it. You’ll know your firm has weak information security when it’s been hacked in the past. Such hacks happen quite frequently anymore since there are thousands, if not millions, of hackers continually trying to get into companies and steal their information and revenue. This should make you feel urgent about taking steps to ensure your security. One of the important steps you shouldn’t overlook here has to do with exploring and documenting previous hacking events.

    Have Annual Security Training Seminars

    Another complex subject companies must deal with today is information security. This highly detailed field requires everyone (e.g. employees, customers, vendors) know what their role is. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to require your employees, vendors, and stakeholders to complete an information security awareness training course annually, if not more often. You can have in-house personnel provide training in their area of expertise or hire an outside firm to provide training for you. This isn’t as important as ensuring that everyone understands the importance of information security and how to play their role.

    Hire a Third Party to Conduct White hat External and Internal Vulnerability Scanning Tests

    With everything that’s involved in information security, it’s possible that an attack goes easily undetected. This is why you should engage in a third-party “white hat” vulnerability scan every year. Ideally, this will use the same techniques that are used by a black hat hacker so you can identify any potential weaknesses. This will help you remediate them and strengthen your information processing environment.

    Make Sure Everything is Executed Properly

    Digitalist Mag says what it really all comes down to is how you execute your digital risk management plan. Focusing your efforts here will help ensure that your main concerns are addressed and that you’re set up for recovery when everything else fails. This is the only way you can turn your great plans into effective efforts, but it requires enforcing compliance at all levels of your business. When all these things are given their proper amount of consideration you can typically fend off the worst-case scenarios.
  • How to Double-Check Your Social Media Campaigns before You Launch Jan 11, 2019

    Even the experts get it wrong. How many times do you click a link in a social media promoted the post and find it’s dead?

    Your social marketing has many components, and all it takes is for one of them to be broken and every click on your ad is another dollar down the toilet.

    Landing Pages

    Each of your social media campaigns is aimed at a different group, so you need different landing pages to appeal to each target profile: Each page will use messages, visuals, and colors that are most likely to convert one target group.

    Domain names are so cheap you might buy a campaign-specific domain for a maximum impact landing page. Consider using geo-specific landing pages for maximum credibility in each market.

    Alternatively, you could use a subdomain of your main URL or even a hidden page on your website.

    Remember to point the nameservers for your new URL to your web hosting, and to allow 48 hours for the nameserver information to spread over the Internet.

    The screenshots below show how to do this if you buy your domain from LCN, but most companies will have similar links.

    Pic 1.jpg

    Click on the ‘Domains’ icon

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    Then click the ‘Manage’ link and enter your hosting name server details.

    Set up your new URL as an add-on domain on your main cPanel dashboard or set up a subdomain in the same way.

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    Make sure you have WordPress installed on your new URL, and choose a theme or builder to construct your landing page.

    Test your landing page using a mobile simulator website such as MobileTest.me because most of your users’ first clicks will be on phones, and your web page needs to impress if it is to succeed in converting visitors.

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    Test your page in other browsers too using sites such asTurbo.net.

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    You will find a browser simulator site much quicker than installing and using eighteen different browsers on your own computer.

    Technical

    Does everything work?

    Pay someone unrelated to the campaign to test the marketing page sequence. Use screen recording software such as Icecreamapps.com so you can look back and find any hesitations or glitches. If you want to make things easier, then use a testing service like UserTesting.com.

    Test landing pages. Test your ads. Test landing page links. Test your email autoresponder. Test any downloads.

    Audience Profile

    Check your social media targeting criteria. Have you checked gender, interests, location, age range, interests, and previous ads clicked?

    Creatives

    Check all your images are free or yours to use. If using free pictures then check the license details cover the planned uses. If you have your own photos, do you have model release forms signed and are they free of trademarks like a store or car branding details?

    Check all spellings are correct for the target geographical market, including US/rest of world alternative spellings and punctuation.

    Check that fonts and colors align with brand choices. Use a font identifying service likeFontSquirrel.com to easily distinguish between Arial and Calibri or other easily confused font pairs.

    Do yourself a favor and read this Socialnomics.net article on Facebook ads and why they fail. You could save money and time by learning from the mistakes others have made.

    Budgets

    Are the budgets set appropriately? If your daily budget is set too low, you won’t reach as many people as you hoped.

    Check your stats continuously while your campaign is running. If it is paying off, then consider increasing your daily spending limit. Check whether ads are being shown to a group that is not responding as you expected. If any group is clicking your ads and then failing to follow through, then stop showing your ad to those people because they are costing you money with every click.

    The Short Version

    Landing page URLs are crucial to success. Double check URLs, name servers, and cPanel setup or you will be wasting your resources.

    Things go wrong. When links fail to work or direct to 404 ‘Page not found’ screens, it’s not an act of God or the fault of a computer: Broken links or email sequences come down to a failure to check.

    If you check your social media campaign yourself, it is too easy to see what you expect to see. The only way to have confidence in your test is to get others to click and test it for you.
  • Why You Need to Secure Your IoT Network in a Rapidly Expanding World Oct 25, 2018

    The Internet of Things is quickly becoming an integral part of the tech landscape, changing existing models for networks and allowing for innovations in various key industries. Undoubtedly, the rapid spread of IoT in both the public and private sectors is a net positive.

    On one hand, it is a valuable source of data on a variety of things, from logistics to weather and transit patterns. On the other, IoT offers a degree of interconnectivity that permits networks to become smarter and better react to the environment they operate in.

    However, no innovation is without flaws, and IoT is no exception to the rule. Although it solves some problems, the technology does have serious gaps in its design that still make it vulnerable to attacks and less secure than it could be.

    This is a concern for IT departments in every industry, as these devices are usually connected to crucial aspects of a business’ tech infrastructure, and even the real world. The bigger problem with IoT devices is that they are not always considered a “must” for security, as they can range from temperature sensors to small components in car engines.

    As these networks continue to grow, the strain on existing security measures and infrastructure will leave them increasingly vulnerable. When thinking of an IoT system, it is important to start your planning with security. More so, it is essential to find the right tools.

    Strain and Vulnerabilities Lead to Catastrophe
    Few people will argue that the IoT is bad, judging from the advances it has helped foster—from smart cities to innovations in medical technology. This drive for innovation has also led to an explosion in demand and devices that populate today’s IoT networks. As with most rapidly growing technologies, though, this scaling has come with a unique set of security problems.

    For one, the growing number of devices that are being connected to the internet is astounding. In 2015 alone, there were 15 billion IoT devices active, with 20 billion expected in 2020. Relevant gadgets range from cell phones and other big-ticket technology to much simpler chips that operate smart refrigerators or wireless speakers. It is hard to create a universal set of security standards across such a broad range of devices, and especially when there are so many going online every minute.

    Businesses that prize their security are hard-pressed to deal with the constant security problems that so many access points creates. In 2017, a North American casino became an object of internet curiosity after it was revealed that its network was breached by hackers who attacked a smart fish tank. This extreme case is also far from the only one. At the enterprise level, a similar hack could result in millions of dollars’ worth of losses, as well as serious legal ramifications.

    On their own, smaller IoT devices may not be dangerous. A temperature sensor or ventilation system uses rudimentary technology, but they become risky when networked. Their simplicity also means that the security they use is basic, leaving networks exposed. It is also not a problem that is easily solved as including complex security in these simple devices would increase costs and create design problems.

    How to Patch Up the IoT
    While these problems may seem insurmountable, they are rarely so. It is true that many IoT devices cannot have complex security measures, but they can still be defended against a variety of attacks. The most important method for protecting an IoT network is to stay ahead of the curve. Implementing proactive systems that can detect and close vulnerabilities before they are exploited are essential.

    One fundamental area where these systems help is in automated patch management. Patch management might seem like an easy task, but to an IT staff with large numbers of endpoints to manage, it could be an overwhelming burden when done manually. Cloud Management Suite, for instance, is a tool that scan for the most recent patches to security issues and ensure that they are always installed in every endpoint. Such a tool might have helped Equifax to avoid their data-breach.

    Another key tool harnessed by security teams is to segment networks behind secure gateways. While it may seem counter to the idea of open IoT networks, creating proper gates that ensure the right information can move through nodes helps reduce the likelihood an attack could make it through undetected. For instance, a smart TV hack would not be allowed to pass through a gateway to systems-critical devices.

    A Stronger and More Secure Network
    It is only logical to jump on the IoT bandwagon, but that does not mean IT specialists should disregard the real issues attached to the technology. To ensure that your network is not just functional but also secure, it is crucial to have the right tools and security policies in place to avoid leaving gaps, which could compromise more than your network.
  • Plumbing Startup - Web and Software Essentials Sep 28, 2018

    Any plumbing startup needs to invest hundreds in tools ranging from pipe benders to wrenches. Tools are obvious prerequisites for any plumbing business, but there are extra tools a modern plumbing business requires: A website, social media presence and specialist plumbing software.

    Your Plumbing Website
    Customers will search Google for nearby plumbing businesses. If you don’t exist on Google, you don’t exist in real life.

    Other businesses will only employ you if they can check you out online first. B2B contracts will be larger than the typical consumer contract and clients will understandably be cautious about hiring a company you don’t know much about. Having a website reduces the perceived risk, so you need a web address before you even open for business.

    How Much Will Your Website Cost?
    You can use a website builder like WiX that includes hosting for $10 per month, or you can buy separate hosting for $6 per month and use WordPress to build a site using a free theme. Either way, your site has a very low setup cost, and when you look at the credibility you get from it, that money is a superb investment.

    You can find someone on Fiverr or other remote freelancer sites who will set up your site for $5, but you might be better paying $20 to get a recommended freelancer to build it for you. Once you have the site structure set up, you can paste your copy into the different pages.

    This site has an article about a 5-page builders’ website for £449 that you can edit yourself. Such a site can easily be modified for a building specialty such as plumbing.

    Take photos of yourself and your van and make them central to your page design, add referrals with pictures of happy customers, and include your phone numbers so prospective customers can contact you.

    Your Social Media Channels
    Many areas have a local network of homeowners who recommend tradespeople they are happy with. Having your own Facebook page will encourage satisfied customers to share your name with friends, which will bring you more business.

    Post plumbing advice on your social channels to help establish your reputation as someone who is helpful. People remember, and when things go wrong, they will contact a plumber whose free advice has helped them rather than a random tradesperson from a Google search.

    Software Essentials
    Work out what you need your plumbing software to do.

    The best apps will let set up prices for common jobs so your office receptionist can give estimates over the phone or email: This minimizes interruptions to your working day and helps you get home sooner ta the end of the day.

    Ideally, when you visit a customer to give a more definite quote, your app will let you compose a quote and send it by email for the customer to check while you are still with her. More of your quotes will convert to contracts if you can make it easier for customers to say ‘Yes.’

    As your business expands, you need to be able to add new employees to your app subscription: This will get around the exploding paperwork mountain that will otherwise turn you into a typist instead of a plumber.

    Integration with your accounting software is essential. This way, your accounts receivable will automatically update every time you mark a job as complete, much better than juggling multiple invoices, job sheets and receipts on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Of course, it would automatically remind you of overdue accounts, too.

    If your employees could check a job as complete on their cell phones, you could ring the customer within a few minutes to check she is delighted. If there are problems, you need to know about it and fix it, before the unhappy customer takes to Twitter or Facebook to express their displeasure.

    Insist on an app that hits every point on your wish-list at a price that makes sense.

    The Short Version
    A website and social media presence have become essentials to success in any plumbing business. You can get both for less than the price of a good restaurant meal, and they need to be in place before you place your first ad.

    It would be easy to spend hundreds of dollars on software relating to different parts of your work. However, you can get it all for less if you choose specialist software for plumbers that runs on your phones and tablets.
    Abhinandan Jain likes this.
  • Strategies Adopted by Marketing Professionals To Increase Sales Sep 4, 2018

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    Small businesses begin in the country every day. New business owners open with a sense of optimism and a sense of how they want their business to grow. However, many small businesses also fail, often due to poor planning. Businesses who want to begin and grow a customer base need a strategic marketing plan. If you want your business to be successful, making and following a plan can help you map out your journey towards business growth.

    Clarify Your Mission

    In order to map out the path your business should take, you first need to clearly figure out what your mission is with regard to business. First, you need to create your mission statement, which outlines the business plan for your business in one or two sentences. You want to use action verbs and explain what makes your business stand out from other businesses in the area, and why you should be the business that clients choose. Be sure that the language of your mission statement encompasses why you wanted to start your business.

    If the mission statement is the mini-business plan, the vision statement is where you want to take your company in the future. Once you have a mission and vision statements, you next need to select the goals for your company.

    Selecting the Right Goals

    Once you have established your mission and vision statements, you will then need to work on the goals of your company. The keywords that you used in the mission and vision statements should be the key phrases in your goals, which will then lead to specific business objectives that will allow your business achievements to be measured. Some companies use flowcharts to help them visualize the flow of the framework of the business; from mission and vision statements to the goals of your business and then your objectives.

    Design a Stable Framework

    Designing a framework for marketing your product or service for your new company is easier said than done. Before anything can be sold, it is important that a framework for selling should be established. Think about the outline of a sales approach you are hoping to establish with your sales force. What are the keys to selling to clients, in your opinion? Write your processes down for selling, and then look for feedback from mentors and your employees so that your framework can be fine-tuned into a consistent selling process. While you want to allow for differences in selling technique, a consistent framework for selling allows your salespeople to creative growth within your company, allows for goal-setting for each salesperson, enables you to evaluate the performance of each salesperson, and gives you a chance to encourage strengths and coach weaknesses in your employees.

    Use of Technology

    While you may be loath to even consider technology tools because they can be somewhat expensive, it this stage of business development, you can’t afford to use it. There are many technology tools that exist that will make your job much easier, such as CRM software recommended by Google, that will allow you to enhance your relationships with existing customers as well as potential customers, improve your interactions with customers, and allows you to track trends in customer purchase data as well as trends in the market. There are a variety of uses for CRM software, but all of them can help a business grow.

    In addition to CRM software, there are many other technology tools you can use as a small business to help you work more easily and efficiently. For example, there are applications that will allow you to onboard and train your employees without you having to deliver the same speech 5000 times (if you’re lucky). Apps also allow your employees to input their time, upload their banking and tax information, and receive their paychecks electronically, while you receive your tax information and payments -- all one application.

    Define your KPI

    Businesses that are successful have developed key performance indicators (KPI) that are essential towards the growth of your business. You need to sit down with your team and decide 5 or 6 performance indicators that will allow you to determine whether your business is on the right path, or whether you will need to reevaluate your objectives and sales techniques.

    Follow-up and Measure Performance

    Once you have figured out your key performance indicators, you need to follow up with your KPIs, and measure performance of your employees through the performance indicators. You need to reward those employees who have met their performance indicators, and coach those employees who did not meet their indicators, in order to increase the overall performance of your business.

    Increase your Sales and Revenue and Tracking Your Progress

    One of the best ways to increase your sales and track your progress is through CRM software and tools. CRM acts as more than a customer service tool, it also acts as a data tool. This allows you to generate leads for new customers, to track trends in the market so that you are always on top of customer needs and desires, and to measure how your new tactics are having an impact on customer sales of your products or service. CRM software integration with your current business practices allows for data tracking point by point. This data tracking can help you to figure out where you are having success, and where you need to do something else in order to help your business grow and prosper.

    Businesses start out in the United States every day. Some of those businesses will not make it through the first month in business, others may not make it 6 months, and some will make it a year before closing their doors. Many of those businesses had good ideas but did not plan for their business to be successful. Don’t be one of those businesses who had to close their doors. Instead, plan to be successful...which means planning ahead and establishing a framework for your business’ success before you even open the door.
  • Who is the actual hero for your industry – AdWords vs Facebook Jul 20, 2018

    The constant debate that goes on in any businessman's mind is about advertising in the digital space. Today, there are quite a few options available to him – right from Google AdWords to Facebook Ads. For the business owner, it becomes quite challenging to decide the right advertising medium for him to go about.
    Today the pay-per-click model has only 2 competitors in it - AdWords and Facebook. But not all businesses flourish exclusively under both these advertising strategies. For some, AdWords is the best and for others Facebook is the winner and yet for some, both work equally great.

    A Background About Facebook and Google Advertising

    When a business has to expand visibility and boost its outreach to augment customer base, the go-to places are Google’s search engine and the Facebook’s feeds. Google’s AdWords is able to make an impact on billions of people, every day. Whereas Facebook has over 2 billion active members in any given month. Both these media fare very well in their report card when it comes to delivering their respective results. It all depends on the kind of business that somebody wants to target, that makes all the difference.
    First of all, be aware that there are around 2 million searches on Google, every minute. So, if a business wants to target that any numbers of people at one go, then AdWords work best. Facebook has a niche section of people which can be tapped by any business. One can create brand awareness, generate leads, deviate traffic to particular posts, etc. They have something called as ‘lookalike audiences’ which the advertisers can create. Here, customer details are uploaded from databases to Facebook. Based on the data provided by third parties, a filter is applied which matches with the piece of information that the database has uploaded. This results in a ‘lookalike’ audience, where advertisers can reach a lot more number of customers similar to their existing customers.
    Let us see what kind of business fare exceptionally well with each of the models.

    • Business to Business Marketing Model:

    In a B2B model, the product is particular to one section of the customers. In such a case, AdWords is the ideal option. In such a model, the cost-per-click is high, as is the customer lifetime value.
    Facebook too has made its grand entry into the B2B model by categorizing the audience in terms of job titles, roles, employers and company size. Lead ads can also be created by automatically populating a user’s contact details which lets anybody to 3 extra fields to qualify the lead for a sales team.
    For some organizations, these features of Facebook make it an ideal option for their advertising needs, the CPC too being low. But still, the traffic and leads generated through Facebook is lesser than that of AdWords.

    Stay fresh and new

    Retargeting is one thing that needs to be done irrespective of the advertising media that is chosen. When the money is already spent to generate certain traffic, it only seems wise to stay on top with the ads being fresh and intriguing.

    • Business to consumer marketing

    Facebook is numero uno in this business model. Advertising here is very sensitive to cost. The Facebook user base is usually the traffic at the higher funnel, the conversion rate being lower. Since the cost-per-click is lower, the cost-per-conversion is much lower in Facebook.

    Pros of AdWords

    A wide range of audience: Google has the capacity to reach a very huge audience. It handles 40k searches every second.
    Relevant and quality: A relevant ads give a better experience to the user and compels him to go back to the search engine. Thus, AdWords give primary importance to relevance. Advertisers do not need to bid high if their ads are optimized as compared to those which are poorly framed.
    Though Facebook is relatively new to the industry, it is constantly refining its features and is fast becoming a mainstay in paid social.

    Benefits of Facebook

    Facebook has an extremely big user base. Advertisers take advantage of this to drive their ads to a specific section of people.
    - People post every detail of their life on Facebook, such as getting married, joining a new job, the birth of a child, dining out, etc. Thus advertising organizations have a section of people to cater to specific needs. Facebook advertising works immensely well with the targeted audience, but it depends on your Facebook marketing experts.
    - Ads blend perfectly well: The ads on Facebook tend to integrate smoothly with videos and images in the users’ News Feed.
    - Great return on investment: Affordable budgeting on Facebook leads to very high ROI. Facebook works perfectly well for small businesses and organizations with specific resources as it does with big brand names.

    Our parting thoughts

    So, when it comes to deciding and picking up between the AdWords and Facebook, why is it considered a war between them? It does not have to that way, one can choose both. They both have distinctive advantages for all types of businesses. Their target options are diverse and they both give a high impact ad placement. Both these ad serving platforms are effective at attracting new customers.
    It depends on the priorities of the business organizations that they can choose between the two giants. If their aim is to just pique the interest of audiences regarding their brand and get more social media to their brand, then Facebook will serve the purpose. But if businesses need leads, sales, and conversions, then both AdWords and Facebook would be beneficial.
    Or, let there be no competition. They can be used in conjunction with each other, for a more effective approach.