Marketing Safer Delivery Rooms

Being pregnant is a very emotional and stressful time for many women. They constantly worry about the health of their baby, their own health, the delivery of the baby and, of course, bringing the baby home and being a good mom. As a mom of two little girls, I can attest that the worry that comes with pregnancy and being a mom never truly ends.

The last thing a pregnant woman should have to stress about is the safety of the hospitals’ delivery room. No new mom wants to think that the room they’re bringing the baby into the world could potentially be a hazard.

Thankfully, many hospitals have gone above and beyond normal safety requirements to ensure the rooms are more secure than ever, giving the pregnant woman plenty of peace of mind.

With that in mind, marketing is spreading the word that delivering a baby in 2014 is safer than ever. According to the article “5 Important Delivery Day Decisions,” there are many decisions new moms need to make on delivery day, especially those moms who have chosen to give their baby up for adoption.

Things that need to be decided include who will be in the delivery room, which individual will get to hold the baby first, how long you will stay in the hospital after delivery and more.

The last thing on your mind – whether you’re keeping the baby or giving it up for adoption – should be wondering whether or not you and your baby are safe. That should be a given.

hospitalPromoting Safer Hospitals

A few things hospitals are doing to ensure the safety of their delivery rooms include:

  1. Using state-of-the-art infant monitoring systems – San Gorgonio Hospital, for example, has installed an infant monitoring system known as “Safe Place” to prevent newborn babies from being abducted. The newborn wears a band around their ankle that tracks movement, and if the baby is taken near an exit, an alarm will sound. This particular system allows the mom to rest and recover stress-free, knowing her baby is safe inside the hospital.
  1. Limiting visiting hours – Hospitals have set visiting hours in their maternity wards to provide a safer and more secure environment for both the mom and the baby. Nurses and staff will also meet the mom’s requests as far as how many visitors they want per day and who is allowed in the room. The staff is there to help make you feel safe and will go above and beyond in doing so.
  1. Encouraging safe sleeping habits – Akron Children’s Hospital is the latest to join the HALO Safer Way to Sleep program. The HALO wearable blanket wraps securely around the infant and replaces the need for crib bumpers, loose blankets and pillows, all of which can be deadly for infants. The infant goes home with the blanket, too, so the parents can continue practicing safe sleep habits.

Safety is important, especially when bringing a baby into this world.

Hospitals are now adapting safety measures in every aspect of the process – from the use of infant-tracking devices to making sure the infant sleeps safely. Spreading the word about such measures via marketing makes for better public relations for the hospitals in the process.

New moms – whether taking the baby home with them or putting the baby up for adoption – can rest easy knowing that their delivery will be safe.

About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ. She writes on hospital safety, adoptions and health and wellness.

Is Your Business Social Enough in 2014?

More businesses today are using social media than ever before. In fact, one study by Manta showed that up to 90% use social networks for one reason or another. For those who have not gotten involved in this aspect of marketing, they may need to rethink their strategy.

social_istock_000013528921xsmall1Importance of Being Social

Businesses cannot overlook the fact that they operate in a social world. People are online to do research, connect with others and just to hang out. If social networks are where people are spending their time, then that is where businesses should be, too.

The reasons vary as to why businesses are online.

Another study done by Social Media Today, SAP and Pivot showed that up to 71% of companies are using it for customer service. Improved response time is often the focus and the majority of businesses respond within the same day on social media.

A survey conducted by CareerBuilder showed that 35% of companies are using social media to find new clients or to promote the business. They use this avenue to promote their brand and awareness to customers. A smaller percentage even uses this method to recruit new employees.

One of the great things about social media is its flexibility. Everyone can get online even if they don’t use it in the same way. These studies show that networking online can mean something different to each company.

Getting Involved

As the article, “3 Great Tools to Automate Your Social Media”, says, if your business is not already on one of the major social networks, you are behind the competition.

More companies recognize the value of developing a presence through social networking. Two major reasons are pushing them forward.

First, using social media is a cost-effective approach. It doesn’t cost as much as traditional advertising and it yields better results. Instead of promoting your business to the masses on television, radio or through print ads, you can target those who are really interested in what you have to offer.

The second reason social media draws companies in is because of its effectiveness in improving customer satisfaction. Customers like to know they are important, that they are being heard. Social media is a two-way communication when done correctly. When a customer asks a question through social media, the company answers. When they have a problem, everyone finds out about it and many times it is resolved. Everything that happens on social media is available for others to watch. Many customers believe this makes the business more responsive and accountable.

Businesses use social media for many reasons. In addition, they choose the platform that seems right for them. While Facebook and Twitter are the two most popular, other companies lean towards Pinterest or LinkedIn to get the results they want. Because it is versatile and effective, every company or organization should consider why it is not involved if it has not already developed a social presence.

The benefits far outweigh the time involved and it is obvious to most companies that social media is here to stay.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including SEO and small business.

Are Happy Employees Better Workers?

Even if you are a talented entrepreneur and have a great business plan, you will not be able to run your business successfully if you do not have good employees.

jobHiring competent employees is only half the battle; you also have to make sure that your employees are happy if you want to get the most out of them. However, it is important that you do not create an overly liberal workplace, or you may have trouble maintaining discipline.

Job Satisfaction in the Workplace

According to a Forbes article entitled “Make More Money by Making Your Employees Happy“, a study report released by Bright Horizons in 2012 revealed that about 89 percent of employees who were experiencing high levels of well-being said that they were highly satisfied with their jobs, and almost two thirds of them put extra effort into their work on a consistent basis.

This shows that happy employees are usually more productive than those who are not satisfied, and they can be a great asset to your company. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you should do whatever it takes to keep your employees happy.

If you give them too much freedom when it comes to making work enjoyable, they may not be able to focus fully on their work. This can result in lower work quality and productivity.

Additionally, it is usually more difficult to maintain order in a workplace that is too liberal. To get optimal performance from your employees, you need to know how to strike the right balance between employee happiness and discipline.

How to Make Your Employees Happy and Productive

Your employees have to spend many hours in your office every workday, and it is natural for them to feel confined, tired, or uncomfortable from time to time. If you want them to perform their duties more competently, you have to try to keep them comfortable and relaxed throughout the day.

You can make work more bearable and enjoyable for your employees by allowing them to take more breaks, listen to music and use their personal devices, and wear casual clothes to work.

By doing so, you will not only improve their productivity; you will also help them reduce stress and stay healthy. They will feel especially appreciated and happy if you can show them that you really care about them.

For instance, you can give them free headphones to encourage them to listen to music while working. Headphones can be purchased at very low prices at major retailers such as Walmart, and they can go a long way in helping you create a relaxed work environment.

Other things that you can do to keep your employees happy and productive include providing a healthy and comfortable environment, promoting socialization, offering praise and rewards when they perform well, encouraging them to go on vacations and giving them new responsibilities.

Of course, you also need to offer competitive compensation and perks to your employees. Employer-employee relationships are reciprocal. A happy boss makes a happy workforce, and vice versa.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.

Drive Your Marketing to New Heights

As a business owner or someone running a marketing team, do you ever stop and wonder just how effective your marketing campaigns truly are?

Businessman pushing shopping cartFor some companies, marketing is at or near the top of the food chain when it comes to promoting the business brand. Others, however, do some marketing here and there, but it seems like it is never quite enough to meet the critical needs of the company. Whether this is due to budget constraints or just an overall general lacking of knowledge when it comes to marketing, the end result can be lost revenue.

So, how do you go about getting the word out about your products or services and still keep the marketing budget in tact?

Pinpoint Marketing

In order to increase the chances of your marketing program succeeding, whether you are working to promote or any other number of title loan companies or other industries, remember to:

  • Set a budget – Many companies run into trouble because they get in over their heads financially with marketing goals. Before the start of each fiscal year, set an approximate spending amount for your marketing ambitions. Be willing to adjust those goals as the year moves along, meaning you may have to increase your efforts or scale back to a degree;
  • Know your target audience – It is ever so important when marketing products and services to know who you want to get your message out to. Doing marketing campaigns with no intended audiences is akin to throwing money out the window. If you’re marketing titles loans, you might be looking for individuals and families with lower incomes, small business owners who need one or more vehicles for their companies etc. Do some marketing analysis to see where your time and money will be best spent;
  • Utilize social media – One of the biggest friends for a marketing campaign is social media. If you are not using social media, do you have a good reason? The answer is likely no. Set aside time and effort to focus on your social networking needs. For example, you can use your Facebook fan page to engage current and potential customers by putting questions out to them such as polls. Not only does this encourage engagement with the consumer, but it can also provide you with good data for your products and/or services. Twitter is a great site (140-word character limit) for tweeting out information about your company, links to industry trends etc. One note with Twitter, don’t be tweet-happy to the point you become overbearing to other users. Use it in moderation, retweet interesting items from other users that would be of value to consumers, and add people to follow that are worthwhile to your profile, not just to add large numbers. Remember, quality over quantity should always be the goal.

With all the positives that a good marketing plan can bring you, what are you waiting for?

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as human resources and running a small business.

Make It Your Business to Protect Data

Whether you own a small or large business, it is essential that you take the necessary measures to ensure that your data is properly protected. Data theft occurs on a daily basis in the business world, and it can have devastating consequences that last a long time.

datacenterCertain types of data, such as payment information and customer information, are not easily replaceable if they are lost or stolen, and you may suffer severe losses if they fall into the wrong hands.

Here is a look at how data loss can potentially hurt your business….

Financial Loss

Perhaps, the most important reason why you should implement an effective data security system is to prevent financial loss. Loss of customer data can make it difficult or impossible for you to contact certain customers, which can lead to reduced sales and profits.

If your customers suffer financial losses because their bank account or credit card information is stolen from your company, they may lose trust in you and decide to patronize your competitors instead.

Data theft can seriously undermine the reputation of your company and cause you to lose your competitive edge. Additionally, there is a chance that it may result in lawsuits, which can cost you substantially.

Loss of Productivity

In the information age, data is playing an increasingly important role in the efficiency of business operations. Businesses need to have easy access to their data in order to operate smoothly and maintain a high level of productivity.

If a data breach causes you to lose operational data, product information or client and supplier information, you and your employees may have to take a longer time to perform certain tasks. This can lead to a significant loss in productivity. In some cases, businesses have to shut down temporarily as a result of data theft.

Noncompliance to Data Security Regulations

In an effort to counter the rising prevalence of cybercrime, governments around the world have imposed regulations on electronic communications and data storage.

These regulations require businesses to retain and safeguard certain types of data for specified periods of time. Losing critical information is regarded as a violation of data protection regulations, and it may subject your company to fines or legal action.

How to Keep Your Data Safe?

According to an article entitled “Data Protection and Privacy: Balancing Security and Usability“, the ideal data security system is one that provides a high level of protection while keeping data easily accessible.

In order to strike the right balance between security and accessibility, you need to evaluate the risks and costs of various events that can lead to data loss, and focus on those that are more likely to happen.

Making preparations for every potential error and disaster can significantly reduce data accessibility.

Some of the measures that you can take to safeguard your data include preventing human errors and hardware problems, implementing a data protection policy, using stronger passwords, keeping your anti-malware solution up-to-date and using intrusion detection technology to keep hackers at bay.

Implementing an effective data protection system requires substantial time, effort and money, but it can be a worthwhile investment in the long run.

At least, it will give you greater peace of mind.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.

Are Your Small Business Bills in Check?

What are some of your biggest expenses as a small business owner? Undoubtedly you will find employee salaries and benefits (if offered) prove to be large expenditures. You will also be dealing with office equipment and property taxes when running a small company too.

check_iStock_000016849530XSmallWhile it may not seem like a big cost, about how much do you spend on utilities during a fiscal year, specifically electricity? Over time, those electric bills can quickly add up, giving you and your small business one more charge that cuts into your revenue stream.

Make the Right Choices

In order to make sure you are on top of all your office expenditures (including what you pay for electricity) for your business, here are some tips to follow:

  1. Be prudent – It is very easy as a small business owner to get behind on paying bills/sending out invoices when you have so much to do each day. If you’re running the business with one or a small number of employees, make sure one of them (having another to cross check things etc. is never a bad idea) is in charge of the accounting. Simple tasks like paying bills should never be taken for granted. If you run the company by yourself and feel like you don’t have the time to manually manage your bills, there are online bill paying tools available to handle this for you. Most importantly, make sure you pay yourself for all the time and effort you put into running your small business;
  2. Cut costs – Given utility bills can add up rather quickly, do a periodic inventory of your office to see where you can save some green. Review your office equipment for starters. Office items such as computers, printers, a refrigerator in the break room etc. can add significantly to your electric bills over time. Make sure all of these items are running efficiently, meaning you are not spending extra money for items that have to work twice as hard to operate;
  3. Work with your employees – If you have employees, make sure they get the message to conserve when possible. Simple items such as turning lights off in the break room when it is not being used, making sure the last employee out of the office turns off all lights etc. will help you save money over the long haul. You should also meet from time to time with your workers to discuss ways your small business can save money. Even simple things such as recycling office cans and bottles and taking them to a recycling center once a month can mean some additional revenue for the company;
  4. Shop for the best buys – Lastly, if you’re not happy with your current utility provider, do some shopping around to see if there are better rates out there. Due to deregulation in various states, many consumers and business owners do have options as to who will provide their utility services. It never hurts to see if you can get a better deal than your current one.

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as human resources and running a small business.

Smooth Your Way Into Big Data

Having access to a lot of data isn’t enough for businesses. They must know how to integrate it into their processes and provide access to their staff for it to be useful. This can be challenging to small companies or those on a limited budget.

data_mgmtHowever, you can slowly integrate it into your systems and not become overwhelmed.

Understand What Problem You are Trying to Solve

The first step comes in figuring out why you need big data. What problem are you trying to solve? The answer may be multiple problems or it may focus on one specific thing such as gaining new customers.

Once you know why you need big data, you can then decide what kind of data is useful to you. You don’t want to collect more data just for the sake of collecting. On the other hand, you want to keep any information that you think will be useful in the future as your business grows.

Know Where You are Getting the Data

The next step is to figure out where you will get the information. Will you send out surveys or collect certain data when people sign up for a newsletter or special discounts? Will you need to use outside sources? This helps you know how much work will go into compiling the data and allow you to establish a cost for retrieval.

You also need to know who you will use to compile the big data. You need someone that is knowledgeable about these systems and can help you provide the right solution.

At the same time, you must figure out how to integrate it with your current systems or replace them with something new. Information is only good when it is accessible and useful.

Figure out if you will incorporate it into your current CRM or create a new database for everyone to have access to.

Start Out Slow

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your company. Begin by using data that you already have access to such as email addresses and other customer information.

Look for a system that can include that data or incorporate it into your current one. Make sure staff knows about the information and how to access it.

Only add new information when you have a purpose for it. Decide what kind of information would be useful and how you will go about getting it.

For example, maybe you want to start sending out e-newsletters to your customers but you don’t have their email addresses.

You can put a page on your website telling them about your new newsletter or Tweet about it or post it with a link to where they can go to sign up. You can also offer a free deal or big discount if people will give you their email addresses and opt in to the newsletter. This is an easy way to get more information about your customers that you can use later on in many other ways.

As the article, “Little wins key to big data success” says, small improvements are just as valuable and may be more realistic for those that incorporate big data.

Integrating a lot of information into your system can feel overwhelming. Begin by including the data that is most important for your business goals. After all, big data is only beneficial if it has a purpose for your business.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including business and technology.


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