Get Your Big Data Plans Back on Track

bigdatasIf you take advantage of big data for your business computing needs, then you already know how easy it is to lose focus with your data management practices.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to get back on track with your data. With focused data management in mind, here are just a few ways you can improve your business’s big data practices:

Having a Clear Understanding of Data

Although your company probably knows how to capture and store data, that’s only a small part of the big data puzzle. In order to truly visualize and take advantage of the data your company creates and stores, you need to have a clear understanding of where your data comes from.

Too many companies store massive amounts of data, yet they don’t have any context for that data.

For example, a company might track social media data, but they might not necessarily know the type of user that data came from. If your business falls in this category, it can quickly get your big data practices off track.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution: thoroughly analyze your data.

Whether you use data analytics software or you hire a data analytics expert, analyzing data will help you visualize where data comes from and how it can be used to your business’s advantage.

Managing Data Correctly

Depending on the size of your company, there’s a good chance you take in large volumes of data every day.

As the following article looks at, one of the 6 signs your big data plans are on the wrong track is when data management issues begin popping up regularly. This can be remedied by having an effective data management plan in place.

For starters, your business should try to predict upcoming maintenance issues by scaling up its big data storage capabilities. This includes clustering data as opposed to storing it across the board.

Likewise, your business should also plan to archive the data it already has in order to free up valuable space.

Big Data Speed

As your big data needs grow, so will your need for more storage space.

However, if your current data practices aren’t up to the task of handling a growing amount of data, then it could bog down your system and knock your business’s big data practices off track.

A simple solution to this problem comes in the form of hardware.

By increasing your system’s memory and processing power and also adding more onsite servers, you can handle the influx of data and take advantage of all the insights that data provides with little to no lag time.

Data Processing

There’s a good chance your business collects and stores a variety of data types. The issue is organizing that data in a way that adds value to your big data practices. One possible solution is designing a logical process to data capturing and storage.

You can program your data storage devices to automatically process and store data based on the type of data it is. For example, social media data would automatically be redirected to your social marketing data storage set whereas website data would automatically be redirected to your website results data set.

With big data processing like this in place, you can optimize your data storage practices.

If you’re big data plans are losing their focus, then it’s time to take advantage of the pointers above.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including big data and business technology.

Make Your Data Integration the Best It Can Be

bus_intelligenceBusiness intelligence is no longer an option if you want your business to be competitive in the marketplace. More and more businesses are recognizing the importance of big data as playing and integral part in their organizational process.

Is your data integration on par with your competitors?

Sourcing Quality Data

As the article, “Unlocking knowledge and enhancing collaboration with data integration” looks at; keep in mind with data integration there is the requirement of sourcing quality data first.

Poor data can severely disrupt your business operations, or worse, steer your company in the entirely wrong direction. A misguided path could easily lead your business astray, and it could take years to get back on the right track.

Quality data, on the other hand, is a powerful tool that can push your business ahead by leaps and bounds. To source quality data, be sure that you buy from reputable companies, which understand the need to acquire data with honesty and integrity.

For example, data gathered from consumer surveys where the consumer is not paid for their opinion is better than data compiled from paid surveys. With paid surveys, the impetus is to complete as many surveys as possible in order to get paid as much as possible. The answers garnered can’t be guaranteed to be honest.

Unpaid surveys more often illicit honest responses, and the data that comes from them is higher quality.

Importing Data into Systems

Once you have the data acquired, you need to import it into your analysis system software so it can be viewed, crunched and used. Your data analysis system is a critical part of the business intelligence process, so choose wisely. There are several things to look for in any data analysis system you consider.

First, there should be redundancies in the data protection. This will help your business avoid liability issues should any breach occur, and it will help protect your business information, as well.

Secondly, the system should be able to be accessed via an Internet connection from anywhere in the world. Whether or not any of your employees work from home or while traveling now, they may do so in the future, so you want to be able to accommodate that possibility.

Thirdly, you want a data analysis system that your department team members can manipulate to serve their individual needs.

For example, your HR department will want to look at hiring trends in the marketplace, whereas your marketing department will be more interested in looking at things like consumer buying trends.

Everyone should be able to gain valuable insight from the one data analysis system; you shouldn’t have to buy different systems for different departments.

From here on out, every major business decision you make can be done with the whole picture in mind.

When you incorporate data integration into your business, you can be sure to have all the information you need, at your fingertips.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes about best business and marketing practices.

Do You Know How to Sell VoIP?

VoIP2Thinking about selling VoIP?

This is a quickly growing and profitable market. But, before jumping in, you should understand the industry and learn how to properly sell VoIP. This initial legwork can then set you up for future success.

Here are some things to know about selling VoIP:

Tap into a Growing Market

VoIP, otherwise known Voice over Internet Protocol, is growing rapidly. This industry growth is linked to many changes including the globalization of companies, an increase in tech savvy consumers and a reduction in the use of landline telephones.

And this industry growth can mean big profits for VoIP service providers. But, as with any growing industry, you should understand the risks as well as the benefits before entering it.

While you have the potential to build a profitable business selling VoIP, you should understand the competition, the costs and other details before launching the venture.

By researching the industry, you’ll have a firm understanding of its history and current growth and can utilize these details while conversing with potential customers.

Tout the Scalability of VoIP

Online businesses change quickly. Startup businesses often expand rapidly with the use of effective online tactics and large online enterprises must, at times, scale down due to changing online landscapes.

This fluctuation may bring uncertainties for you as a VoIP provider, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, according to the article, “3 Facts your Company Needs to Know about Selling VoIP”, one of the top benefits of VoIP is that it’s scalable.

Options are available for online businesses of all sizes and, as a startup expands, its VoIP solutions can expand with it.

Understand the Quality of VoIP

In the early days of VoIP, users often experienced delays, dropped calls and other issues. Unfortunately, these problems of the past still plague the reputation of VoIP. Educate your potential customers by touting the qualities of modern VoIP services.

If a potential customer voices concerns about the quality of VoIP, address those concerns and then discuss the qualities of the modern technology.

Work with new customers to ensure that they have proper internet connections and other system requirements so that VoIP can operate at top quality.

Research the Industry

Want to increase VoIP sales and create customers for life? Start by researching the industry and knowing your competitors.

This research will strengthen your business by teaching you what not to do, showing you which sales tactics work well and by keeping you one step ahead of competitors.

Effective tactics for researching competitors include scanning their websites, monitoring their online presence via social listening and reading their online reviews.

Know the Needs of your Customers

As in any industry, the top trait of successful VoIP providers is to understand the needs of customers.

Learn what is most important to your customers – whether it’s a quality VoIP connection or great customer service – and deliver on that need. This tactic enhances customer loyalty and showcases your commitment to being a business that truly cares about its customers.

Becoming a VoIP service provider can be a smart business move, if made properly. Start by researching the industry and top competitors.

Position your VoIP business for success by tuning into the needs of customers in this industry and follow through on meeting those needs.

About the Author: Shayla Ebsen is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional writing experience both in the corporate and freelance settings.

Is Your Business App Getting You Attention?

mobileIf you’re trying to get your new business app off the ground, it’s important to remember that visibility is the key to success.

When more people know about your app, it increases word of mouth marketing as well as download rates.

With application attention in mind, here are a handful of ways to increase visibility for your app:

Be Flexible with Your Pricing

Everyone likes to get paid for their hard work, but the cost of your business app could be exactly what’s keeping it in the dark.

Many users search for new apps based on price, which is why it’s important to consider making the cost of your app flexible – at least at the start.

Offering competitive pricing with other similar apps on the market will help put your business app in the spotlight. To truly gain more visibility, you may even want to offer your app for free.

You can either offer free app downloads during the initial release or for short periods of time throughout its duration on the app store.

Don’t Neglect Keywords

Speaking of the app store, whether your business has its sights set on Apple or Google Play, it’s crucial to get your keywords right.

As the article, “App store optimization: How to increase the visibility of your app” looks at, you need to remember to include app keywords in your app title, not just the keyword field.

Most businesses think it’s necessary to put keywords in the app description, but this simply isn’t the case and will get your app nowhere in terms of optimization.

Likewise, in order to get the most characters out of the keyword field, don’t use spaces. Simply enter keywords back-to-back with commas in between.

It’s also important to optimize the keywords themselves. Before choosing keywords for your business, research similar competitors on the app store to see which keywords they’re using. You can then base your keywords on the most successful apps available on the app store.

Use Screenshots

Your design team and app developers have probably put a ton of work into your new business app. Why not visually showcase your beautifully designed business app by including screenshots in the app store?

Not only do screenshots give customers a firsthand look at your app’s design, they can also be used to explain some of your app’s features. Just make sure you show the functionality of your business app and not just splash screens.

Showcasing the great features and intuitive layout of your app with screenshots will definitely help boost visibility.

Market Your App

The app store isn’t the only way you can spread the word about your new business app. There are a number of marketing avenues you can take including social media as well as promoting the app on your own website and blog.

Creating Facebook posts and Twitter updates surrounding the release of your new app will increase visibility. Additionally, including a press release on your business website and blog posts leading up to the app’s release will also get customers interested.

When you’re ready to grab attention with your new app, keep the visibility tips above in mind.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including app development and business marketing.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including app development and business marketing.

Know How to Close the Deal with Your Sales Efforts

salesClosing a sale is always a good thing, but have you considered your sales ratio? While closing a deal is a cause for celebration, that celebration may be cut short when you look at the numbers.

This analysis can provide you with information that shows which sales people are succeeding and which methods are working, but it can also show you who and what are not working.

As a result, examining sales ratios is a very important component in terms of marketing, advertising, and general product or service production.

Think of the Sale Process Like Dating and Marriage

In the article, “Popping the question – ensuring a good close ratio,” the author points out that the sales process is much like dating, leading up to a marriage proposal.

You wouldn’t simply walk up to an attractive person on the street and propose marriage, right? Of course not!

Instead, you would cultivate the relationship for the long haul, ensuring that you and the other person were a good fit and that you were able to deliver on all of the things desired and promised.

The same is true in a sales relationship. You have to work hard to provide the nurturing required in order of getting a commitment.

How Can You Do This?

In order to improve your sales ratio, there are a number of things you can do, but all of them revolve around showing you care.

Just like in the dating example above, showing true care for a potential customer’s business is the key. This is why traditional marketing is falling by the wayside in favor of experiential marketing and social media.

These two approaches allow your brand to truly reach out to consumers in a way that’s personal. In the past, a simple billboard would do, but today, people want brands to demonstrate a clear and devoted effort toward earning business.

Developing a Sales Relationship

The way to show you care is through reaching out. Whether this is done through a regularly updated Facebook page, an interactive display at a festival or anywhere in between, your goal is to truly reach out to consumers and potential customers in ways that leave them with experiences.

The more you connect through experiences, the stronger your brand’s sales are likely to be. With this, you should experience a higher sales-to-non-sales ratio when evaluating success.

Keep in mind that it is important to continually track the data on any campaign that your brand engages in.

Doing so will help your marketing team to understand what has worked and not worked in order to be more successful and competitive in the future.

About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include sales, marketing, and social media.

Should Medical Professionals Use Social Media?

medicineThere is absolutely no question these days as to whether or not the Internet is here to stay. From desktops to laptops to mobile devices, there is more access than ever to online information, and for medical professionals, this can be a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, if your patients are happy with their care, they will write glowing reviews of you and your practice. On the other hand, a patient who perceives an interaction as negative can cripple your practice, and reputation, with just a few keystrokes.

Should Medical Professionals Participate in Social Media?

When working as a medical professional, you take on a role that comes with a few limits as to how you govern your affairs online. For the average person, an embarrassing picture, an off-handed tweet, or a poorly-thought-out Facebook status update can lead to short-term alienation or regret. For a medical professional, these things can cost you your practice and livelihood.

So, there’s no rule against using social media, but it’s important to remember that you represent your practice and profession 24 hours a day.

Pre-empting Damage

Before damage has occurred, there are a few important things to think about. Consider the fact the “health grade” websites are trending, according to the article, “Physicians: Protect Your Online Reputation“, and many people are turning to the Internet to research doctors.

This also means that they are combing social media sites in order to ascertain whether or not a medical professional will live up to his or her rating.

As a result, take some time to think before you post, but also, take some time each week to monitor reviews on health grade sites so that you can combat unfair, improper, and false allegations.

Repairing Damage

Unfortunately, repairing damage done on social media is much more difficult than creating the damage in the first place. Because the Internet allows for virtually instant communication and sharing of information across a multitude of platforms, the social media update you just made, then quickly erased, could be preserved for decades through the sharing capabilities of the web.

If something like this happens, there’s no two ways around it: you’re going to have to own up to your words. In doing so, you may need to work with a professional public relations expert in order to calm things down.

You may not have meant what you said, your statement might have been misinterpreted, but at the end of the day, owning up to a mistake will get you much further than ignoring or denying.

About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include social media and business development.

Don’t Let Your Data Get Airlifted

wifiWhether you use Wi-Fi at your home or at your business, wireless security should be a top priority. Without the right security protocol in place, homeowners and business owners alike could have their information stolen while using their wireless networks.

Here are just a few ways to protect your online activities and your data while using Wi-Fi:

Reduce Router Output

Out of sight, out of mind is sometimes the best way to protect your wireless network. By limiting the output on your wireless router, you can control how many people have access to its signal.

For wireless routers with output settings simply decrease the signal amplification to the confines of your home or office. To make sure your signal doesn’t go beyond your specified area, simply test the signal strength using a Wi-Fi capable device.

If your router does not have an output setting, try moving your router to a more central location in your home or office.

This might weaken the signal strength in certain areas, but it will keep outsiders from finding and hacking your signal.

Use Caution with Unknown Networks

Protecting your home or business Wi-Fi network is important, but what about protecting yourself when using someone else’s wireless network?

Not all public networks have the same safety protocol in place, which can make your wireless devices and the data within vulnerable.

As the following article looks at, whether you’re at a coffee shop or on an airplane, fly safe this summer by using caution with unknown public networks. This means not logging into any sites where passwords are required.

Likewise, don’t access any personal information while on public Wi-Fi networks. Surfing the web is your safest best.

Update Default Passwords

Almost all wireless routers come with a default password out of the box, which is used during the setup process. However, an alarming number of business owners and homeowners neglect to update their router’s default password after the initial setup process.

Default passwords are extremely easy to find because they are specific to the make and model of certain routers.

To avoid this scenario, make sure you update your router’s default password with a strong, unique, one-of-a-kind password that only you know.

Use a Guest Network

Whether you have houseguests for the weekend or clients who need access to the Internet, that doesn’t mean you should hand over your Wi-Fi password. Sure, your guests and clients won’t use your password maliciously, but their devices might not be up to date with the latest security software.

Instead of making your network vulnerable by sharing your password, instead create a guest network. Guest networks use a separate username and password as well as a secondary wireless signal, which helps protect your internal network when guests share your Wi-Fi.

Update Firmware

Firmware is your first line of defense against malicious Wi-Fi activities, but only if you actually update your firmware regularly. During the router setup process, you can set your firmware to update automatically. If you’re unsure whether your firmware updates automatically, simply access your router settings and look for the section on firmware.

If you’re worried about the security of your Wi-Fi network, then take advantage of some of the pointers above.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including network security and wireless technology.

Have a Text Messaging Service Go to Bat for Your Business

smsLong ago, customer service was something to be proud of in many instances. Many small business owners knew their customers; communication, engagement and conversation all existed. Then it disappeared for some. But it’s back.

These days, good marketing techniques employ good communication, and social media and messaging has opened up avenues for any business to revisit customer engagement. It allows small business owners to have a rapport with their customers.

Sure, it may not always be face-to-face, but with social media and text messaging, that communication can come alive again.

Text Messaging Enhances Customer Rapport

Text messaging, like other forms of social media, lets those in a business interact with customers, clients and potential customers.

Because of the personalization that a business owner can employ in a text, it creates closeness between the business and the client. Most texts come from friends, family and coworkers. Clients may text you as well.

To be allowed into those inner circles of texting shows that the customer values you. You in turn can show this appreciation to grow and continue this strong rapport.

Show That Appreciation

You can use your text messaging services to offer a variety of incentives and rewards. Offer a discount for signing up, and then once a week or so, send out a text message with a redeemable incentive.

Depending on your small business, be creative – like $5 off an admission price, buy one cupcake get one free, 10% off your next hair service…

Think about what your customers want. Face it; many customers hate waiting in long lines for a product or service, so give them the opportunity to escape that issue.

When you look at, “Are your customers frustrated with long waits? A text messaging service can help,” send a text that lets them get to the front of the line with that text or code. Offer a contest where by texting a code they can win preferential treatment for a certain amount of time.

Update your clients with first-to-know information. If you are opening a new store or getting a new product, let the ones that subscribe to your SMS be the first to know. They’ll like the feeling of that insider knowledge.

Show Appreciation by Not Overusing Text

It’s easy to get overly involved in SMS marketing. But be careful, too many texts can be a turn off. Remember, they’ve let you into their personal space; don’t take advantage.

A text a week is fine; a text a day is too much. The offers will be likely be redeemed the less you send them, and that’s better for your bank, too. You don’t want to be selling your smoothies for $2 off all of the time.

Remember how things are more special when you don’t overdue them? Employ that technique. You can create some great rapport with your customers through text messages and text messaging services.

Be creative and take some time to get it going and then watch as the benefits roll in, for both you and your customers.

About the Author: Heather Legg is an independent writer who covers topics related to social media, small business and SMS marketing strategies.

Getting a Healthy Diagnosis with Big Data

bigdata_lettersjpgBig data has already proven its value in business and marketing concerns.

Corporations are positively swimming in vast amounts of data that they are still trying to find ways to navigate. Even as more industries discover for the first time the possibilities of big data, it keeps coming.

The healthcare industry is the most recent area in which big data is proving useful.

As some healthcare providers have begun to see, big data can play a valuable role in bettering the future of healthcare in the country.

What is Big Data?

Big data is defined as very large vats of data that can be extrapolated and analyzed to reveal such things as patterns, projections, trends, and comparisons.

Big data is often put into spreadsheets so it can be viewed in administrative dashboards. It’s typically so vast that there is and endless stream that can be viewed in nearly limitless ways.

How Does Big Data Relate to Healthcare?

Big data doesn’t specifically relate to healthcare, but it is starting to be used by the healthcare industry.

When healthcare companies gather big data, they’re looking for things that relate to a person or group of people’s health and behavior.

To take one example, they might look at the behavioral data of a group of war veterans to look at how well they can transition back into peaceful society to determine who may still be suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

To get to these ends they might look at the frequency of alcohol purchases, the rates of suicide, reports of domestic violence, vehicular accidents, aptness to seek therapeutic counseling, and more.

As the following article looks at, with big data in use…healthcare, agencies will find a way to exploit it.

Where Does a Healthcare Agency Get Big Data?

There are a number of collectors of data in the world. Any time a person signs up for a consumer rewards card, their shopping patterns are willingly handed over to data collectors.

When physicians agree to hand over patient records on an anonymous basis, data collectors can mine the files for information. Credit card reward programs always come with terms of service that provide for the collection of spending habits data.

Even online viewing habits can be monitored, collected and sold to data collectors who in turn can sell the information to healthcare agencies. It may seem like Internet browsing is unrelated to healthcare, but the answers can be surprising. This is how trends are forecast.

When a celebrity like Joan Rivers dies from throat surgery, searches for throat polyps jump exponentially. If a soldier threatens civilians with harm and the AP wire picks it up, searches for PTSD spike.

Everything is related, and big data is just the net to collect it all.

Should Healthcare Agencies Be Able to Use Big Data?

The question is an ethical one that will need to be decided in the court of public opinion.

One thing is for sure, though; if the public doesn’t speak up, healthcare agencies will push ahead with utilizing big data, because there is a lot of good to come of it, as well as the bad.

About the Author: Kate Supino covers a broad range of modern health care issues relating to technology.

Put Some Spark in Your Database Marketing

dataDatabase marketing is at the heart of any successful customer outreach campaign. From online marketing to the management of your website to the content within, a stale database marketing game plan will result in lackluster campaigning.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to get your database marketing on the right track:

Database Marketing in a Nutshell

Many businesses rely on their databases to mine customer data that can then be used for marketing purposes. This is referred to as database marketing and it’s helping businesses of all kinds better target their customers.

Database marketing uses potential and current customer databases to generate and market personalized services and campaigns. This direct marketing format makes it easier for businesses to communicate with customers without having to go through other marketing channels.

If you’re business uses database marketing, there are a number of ways you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your marketing practices.

Avoid Database Stagnancy

The only way to take advantage of your database is by making sure it has a constant flow of data.

Although this seems like an easy task to accomplish, databases don’t keep collecting unique forms of data automatically – it’s up to you to add value to your database and your marketing practices.

As the following article looks at, along with the 6 reasons your database marketing isn’t working is database stagnancy.

Fortunately, you can avoid this issue by consistently finding new contacts and company lists to upload. By adding updated customer subscription lists and other business contacts to your internal database, you’ll increase your outreach and avoid stagnancy.

Segment Your Data

There’s a difference between good data and bad data. Good data will help your business optimize its marketing practices whereas bad data will bog down your database and throw your marketing off track. That’s why it’s important to segment your good data and eliminate your bad data.

You can do this by manually monitoring your database or using a program. Manual monitoring involves calling all customer phone numbers, verifing business contacts, and checking websites URLs for outdated information.

Although manually monitoring your database is effective, it’s also time-consuming, which is where monitoring programs come into play. A monitoring program will accomplish everything mentioned above quickly and automatically. Running automatic programs also takes human error out of the equation, but this type of software does come with some upfront costs.

Track Behaviors

If you truly want to take advantage of database marketing, then you need to start paying attention to the behavioral insights that your data provides.

Behavioral insights make it possible to use specific marketing channels to remarket your products and services, but only if you properly track those behaviors.

For example, if you run an online shoe store and a customer in your database searches for “sandals” while visiting your website, you can take advantage of that unique behavior. Instead of sending that person a generic marketing campaign, you can send them an email or text campaign that promotes your next sandal sale.

By keeping in mind the pointers above, you’ll really put some spark in your database marketing practices.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including database marketing and customer outreach.