Where does marketing rest on your business priorities? For some companies, marketing is a top priority, something that one can never spend enough money or time on.
Can you find a happy medium where your marketing needs are being met, yet you are not breaking the budget when all is said and done?
Market with a Purpose
The goal when it comes to marketing should be to hit all your targets, find new opportunities to go after, and stay within your prescribed budget. In reality, however, that oftentimes becomes a challenge for many companies.
As the New Year arrives, here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to your company’s marketing goals:
- Have a plan – First and foremost, what is your marketing plan? Trying to do things on the fly will almost always never work. Your marketing plan should be laid out months ahead of time, though you obviously will need to tweak things along the way. Assuming you have a marketing plan in place for 2015, do not be afraid to review and tweak it as needed;
- Know your customers – Companies like Direct TV, Target, Coca-Cola, Burger King and thousands of others take the time to do surveys and know their customers as much as possible. You should continually interact with your customers to see if you are meeting their needs, providing them with the products and services they desire, and looking for ways to improve what you give them;
- Mobility matters – As more and more companies have or are learning mobile marketing needs to be in your company’s plans. Face it; countless consumers live on their mobile devices these days and it will only continue to grow moving forward. The key to a successful mobile marketing plan is to know what your customers want without being a nuisance to them, i.e. coming across as a spammer. Offer your customers deals and rewards with your mobile marketing efforts;
- Socialize your efforts – Finally, make sure you use social media as much as possible in promoting your marketing efforts. From Facebook to Instagram, you should regularly use social media in order to reach out to current and new customers, answer questions and solve issues, and promote tweets and shares in order to build your company. The most important feature with correctly using your social media to market your business is doing it correctly and consistently.
As a business owner, marketing is a necessary piece of the puzzle if you want to build your company.
With a New Year ready to kick off, make sure your marketing efforts do not take a back seat.
About the Author: Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as small business and marketing.
Culture and content go hand-in-hand when it comes to an engaging and worthwhile website, which is why it’s so important to keep your website’s content in mind. Whether you are trying to relate to a specific age group, gender, or population, content speaks volumes to your website’s audience.
Culture and the Relatable Factor
If your website doesn’t relate in some way to its audience, then you simply won’t have an audience to begin with. This is where culturally relevant content comes into play.
With content that’s relevant to the culture you’re marketing to, you’ll create a website that’s instantaneously relevant to your audience. A website that’s truly immersed in its audience’s culture uses phrases and design elements that relate its visitors.
In addition, whether you’re selling goods and services or your website reports on pop culture events, knowing what’s culturally trending is always important.
Differentiating Cultural Audiences
As the following articles shows, trying to create content that speaks across all cultures is close to impossible, which is why your brand should inform the content you are trying to produce. What content suits a culture best? Well, that largely depends on how well you know your audience.
Is your audience interested in cutting-edge technical jargon or does it appreciate a little humor? If humor is the direction you’re taking, what kind of humor will work best for the culture you’re marketing to? What’s funny to one population may not translate at all to another.
In other words, you need to make sure you know the culture you are creating your website’s content for.
By learning the difference between your target culture and others, you will have an easier time reaching your audience.
Language and Dialects
Knowing the specific language of your audience is important. There’s a difference between speaking languages like English, French, and Italian and language traits. Also known as dialect, language traits in your website’s content could mean the difference between relatable content and confusion.
Designing a website and its content to relate to a broad population isn’t a bad thing, but it’s good to have some specific cultural dialect mixed in as well.
Dialects change from one region and social group to the next, so try to tailor your content to your ideal cultural audience.
Using popular cultural idioms is a great way to relate to your audience. Whether it’s a common cultural catchphrase or phrase that’s specific to an age group within the culture, idioms are instantly relatable.
However, unless you are marketing to a specific cultural group, using numerous idioms in your website’s content can come off has jumbled and hard to follow.
Subcultures within a Culture
Knowing the different subcultures within a culture is a large part of creating website content that speaks to your audience.
So, don’t ignore age groups, gender specific content, or regional populations when developing your website. Although it may seem like you’re narrowing your website’s range, subcultures are larger than you might think.
From cultural idioms to dialect, it’s easy to see why culture plays such a huge role in your website’s content.
About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including web development and pop culture.
Health insurance has drastically changed over the years. From the plans employers are offering to what is covered and how much is different. From how dependents are treated to how prescriptions and alternative medicine is covered are all variables.
As the following article shows, a survey shows many companies to offer skimpy health insurance plans in the coming year, and this isn’t the best tactic.
In the survey, it’s shown that these skimpy plans will cost us all more in the long run. But remember, a skimpy plan is better than no plan at all.
You can only do the best you can do as an employer. Try not to skimp to save too much, though, because you may end up losing good employees.
Why is it so important to offer health plans?
When you are looking to hire the best employees, you’ve got to offer something to make them want to come. Often, even if your salary offers are great, that’s not enough.
Good employees could even end up leaving after a time once they realize how much they are paying out of pocket without health insurance.
It is important to remember:
- Health insurance is a gesture of loyalty – By offering some sort of health insurance, you show your employees that they mean something to you. You want to help them take care of themselves. Remember, most companies offer insurance only to full time employees, so it’s not really as necessary to offer to flex workers (depending on hours), freelance help or part time employees. But make sure you cover those full time workers, they’ll appreciate it, and it may be what entices them stay or forces them to leave.
- Studies show that those with health insurance are healthier and more productive than those without -They will seek medical attention sooner, which will help keep them healthy. Healthy employees are more productive. With health insurance, prescription medicine is more affordable, even with a copay so illness can be treated faster. Also, health insurance inspires us to go to well check appointments and have standard tests like mammograms and cholesterol screenings, helping to find anything before big issues arise or while things are still treatable. Without health insurance, a lot can be missed until it’s too late.
Your employees reflect your business in many ways. The healthier they are, the healthier your business is.
Productivity goes up, morale goes up, and attendance goes up. No one wants to work in an unhealthy environment. So it’s up to you to provide some sort of healthcare.
It may not be what it was 20 years ago, but remember some sort of health insurance benefits prove better than none at all.
Your business (and your employees) will thank you.
About the Author: Heather Legg is an independent writer who covers topics such as health issues, social media and small business. You can find her at twitter @writeygirl.
Network outages can have devastating consequences for businesses. They do not only result in business interruption; they can also cause businesses to lose money, data and reputation. In some cases, businesses may also get into legal trouble because of network downtime.
If you want to minimize network outages, it is essential that you take effective measures to reduce human errors.
How Human Errors Occur During Configuration Changes
Businesses invest substantial amounts of money to procure network infrastructure, and they employ highly skilled IT professionals to manage their systems.
Usually, a large network infrastructure is managed by several administrators. Since the needs of businesses are always changing, network administrators have to change the configurations of network devices from time to time to meet their companies’ IT needs.
Changing network configurations is a time-consuming and sensitive task, and it requires specialized knowledge and skills, familiarity with network devices, good understanding of the effects of changes and great precision.
Human errors are more likely to occur when configuration changes are carried out manually. Just a small error can result in network downtime and make a network more vulnerable to cyberattack.
According to an article entitled “How to Minimize the Risk of Human Error to Your Network Configuration“, about 35 percent of data breaches are the result of errors made by employees and contractors.
When the number of network devices grows, network configurations have to be changed more frequently, which increases the risk of human error.
Automate Network Configuration Management
Automating network configuration management is probably the best way to reduce human configuration errors. Presently, there are many automated network configuration management tools available in the market.
These tools do not only help you minimize human errors; they can also make your network more reliable and cost-effective, as well as easier to maintain and scale.
Additionally, they can significantly reduce the time needed to perform configuration tasks.
Establish Guidelines and Policies
Establishing standard procedures and guidelines for making changes to network configurations is another effective way to prevent human errors. Create a user manual that contains these guidelines and give a copy to every employee who is involved in configuration management.
Also, you can place markings on hardware to show the proper steps for changing configurations. It is also important that you create policies for preventing unauthorized people from accessing your company’s data and systems.
Back up Your Network Configurations
While there is no sure way to prevent human errors, you can minimize their impact by devising a good disaster recovery plan.
Make sure your network configurations are properly backed up and test the effectiveness of your disaster recovery plan by conducting mock drills.
Human configuration errors are inevitable, and they can hurt your business in many ways.
By following the tips above, you should be able to keep human errors to a minimum.
About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.
One easy way to do this, full of benefits, is with a new commercial floor mat.
As the following article notes, consider these 10 benefits of a new commercial floor mat…
- A floor mat adds a welcoming touch. Whether it’s inside or outside, a new mat can welcome your customers with warmth and invitation and provide a great first impression.
- It will help keep your facility clean. Again, inside or out, a floor mat will keep outside debris from scattering around the inside of your building. Dirt and leaves won’t get tracked in.
- A floor mat provides a place to wipe wet feet and catch drips from rainy weather. When the weather is wet, your employees and customers will have a place to wipe wet shoes or shake out an umbrella without tracking water into the building.
- It can prevent accidents. If water is kept from being tracked into the building, you can eliminate accidental slips and falls. This can not only prevent injury, but also prevent your business from losing money in the case of a lawsuit.
- A floor mat can add personalization. With a logo commercial floor mat, your business can market itself. Again, inside or out, a custom logo mat adds customization and marketing right away for your customers to see.
- Commercial mats hold up better than consumer grade. Because they are made of a more durable material at higher quality, these mats will hold up better and stand up to more wear in high traffic areas like entry ways.
- This is an affordable way to update. If your old mat is ready to go or you just need a little update, a commercial floor mat is a great way to update without spending much. You might be surprised how much better your space looks with a new mat.
- These are versatile. You can use floor mats in places other than entry ways. Depending on the style of your space, you can use them as runners, near the counter or even anti fatigue mats for your employees who are on their feet most of the time.
- You can find green, eco-friendly mats and help the environment while helping your business.
- Commercial grade mats are slip resistant. You won’t have to worry about the mat sliding on floors or carpet because they are slip resistant. You’ll be making the area safer as a whole.
Between safety reasons, affordability, looks, marketing and warming up your space and making it more inviting, a commercial floor mat can add a lot to your business space.
This is an easy, low-cost improvement, and one you and your customers will be happy you added,
About the Author: Heather Legg is an independent writer covering topics like small business, social media and health.
While big data analytics is seeing rapid adoption around the world, many businesses are still too inexperienced with the technology to take full advantage of its great potential.
However, as they continue to explore the possibilities and limitations of big data, they should be able to use it more effectively in the future. As the year is coming to an end, you should start devising strategies for implementing and managing big data next year.
Here is a look at big data predictions and trends for 2015….
Benefits of Implementing Big Data Analytics
The amount of data generated by businesses has increased tremendously in recent years. Businesses that have large amounts of data may not be able to manage and analyze their data efficiently with traditional data management systems. Big data is the ideal solution to this problem, because it enables businesses to handle massive amounts of varied data at unprecedented speeds.
By implementing big data analytics, you can obtain new insights from your data and use those insights to make better decisions.
This technology can help you gain a better understanding of your customers’ preferences and habits, improve customer engagement, develop better products or services, enhance risk assessment and management, improve data security and reduce costs.
Big Data Trends Moving Forward
While big data analytics holds a lot of promise, it may not deliver instant results for every business. According to an article entitled “Little Wins Key to Big Data Success“, businesses should focus on getting small incremental wins from their big data projects instead of expecting great things right away.
Those small wins are the building blocks of big data success. In order to get better results from your big data system, you need to know where big data is headed next year.
Re-emphasis on Systems of Record (SOR)
Businesses are discovering that the best way to access and analyze data that can help them answer critical business questions is to use the access keys of their SOR data to run queries.
Next year, more companies will try to connect their SOR data to big data repositories, so that they can find the information they need more easily.
Emphasis on Data Collections
When businesses come to realize that they cannot keep every byte of data that comes in, they will have to establish meaningful data collections that are useful to them.
As such, the demand for data analysts with library skills is expected to rise in 2015.
Assessment of the Role of the Cloud in Big Data
Many businesses choose to implement their big data systems in-house due to corporate governance problems and system latency. However, they may decide to move their big data applications off-premise in the future to improve their agility and business continuity.
In 2015, there will be more discussions about combining big data and Cloud computing.
It is important that you try to stay constantly up-to-date with the latest big data trends, because it can help you prepare for future big data challenges and opportunities.
About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.