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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.
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:
- A twice-monthly themed ‘show and tell’ session where everyone has a chance to give their colleagues an insight into their lives.
- 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.
- Regular one-to-one meetings where individual members of your team can voice their opinions, share their ideas or address their concerns without judgement.
- Frequent quizzes or problem-solving sessions.
- Reward and recognition meetings held on a regular basis.
- Team skill-sharing and learning workshops based on online materials.
- 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.
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.
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.
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
- Verifying the procedure’s effectiveness
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.
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.
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.
Click on the ‘Domains’ icon
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.
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.
Test your page in other browsers too using sites such asTurbo.net.
You will find a browser simulator site much quicker than installing and using eighteen different browsers on your own computer.
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.
Check your social media targeting criteria. Have you checked gender, interests, location, age range, interests, and previous ads clicked?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When you manage a business, it’s critical to provide value to your customers so that you stay in business. Providing value isn’t just beneficial for your customers, it’s essential for boosting your bottom line. If people are buying your products and services it means they value them.
If you get creative, you can find ways to provide additional value so people become lifelong, loyal customers. You have researched your industry, honed your skills, and created profitable products and services. You are a thought-leader in the field and people will be interested in learning from you — create a webinar to show what you know. If you publish a stellar webinar, you’ll increase brand loyalty, sales, and your email list. Follow these four tips to do just that.
1. Keep them wanting more: the common webinar meaning is an interactive seminar conducted online. Make your webinar content valuable and interactive to your viewers that they will want to continue to engage with your business. Think of your webinars as short courses or tutorials. Each video should have a lesson and end goal for viewers. Let’s say you run a social media marketing company. You could have one of your webinars be about five ways to drive traffic to your website using Pinterest and another about three advanced tips for using Facebook ads to boost traffic. At the end of a helpful webinar, people will want to find out more about your business and how you can help them. (With a lackluster webinar that feels too self-promotional, people won’t actually make it to the end.) Offer special incentives to people who sign up for your email list after watching the webinar. For example, provide a code that people can use to get an exclusive discount, a 30-minute consulting call, a free e-book, or access to your members-only Facebook group where people share advice.
2. Promote, promote, promote: Of course, it’s important to promote your webinar on your website and all of your social media channels to increase views. But don’t forget to promote your webinar after-the-fact so you continue to generate new viewers that turn into new customers. Once you have the finished video, publish it on YouTube, Facebook, and your own website and include links to your email newsletter and the same incentives. Consider also promoting your social media posts by creating strategic social media ads. You’ve already put in the work — now it will continue to pay off.
3. Share the spotlight: It can be tempting to be the only one in the limelight, but it’s advantageous to co-host with other experts in the field. When you have a co-host, you can promote your webinar to both of your social media audiences, newsletter subscribers, and website viewers before and after the webinar. You can also include double the incentives and agree to share any new subscribers to both of your email lists. It can be tricky to constantly come up with new actionable content that resonates with viewers and entices them to give up something that has become sacred — their email inbox — so brainstorm experts and interview them or share your complementary expertise, together.
4. Turn customers into loyal fans: Webinars enable you to build relationships with your audience and have real-time conversations through a moderated Q&A, private chat, and polls and surveys. Viewers need to enter their name and email to register, so you are already increasing your email list. But, here's the thing, you aren't just getting the emails of someone who wanted one of your freebies at an event. (They will probably take the mug or t-shirt and immediately unsubscribe because they already got what they wanted.) You are getting an email address from someone who already wants to learn about you and your business. When you deliver, you have someone who will be highly engaged and your email open-rate and sales will increase exponentially.