Every Bit Counts: 5 Areas to Focus on to Improve Your Whole Business

Every business needs a little boost here and there with the success of a business often focused on the ability of a manager to see and reach their potential. A number of areas can be identified which are important for the future of a business, including the purchasing of new equipment and having faith in employees.

Trusting Your Employees

One of the most common areas of concern for a new manager or entrepreneur is entrusting the vision they have for their business to a group of employees. New managers and those responsible for establishing a business often feel they have to micromanage their employees to get the best results, but having faith in those you employ can result in new ideas and options for success in the future.

Take a Look at Your Current Situation

If you are looking to improve your entire business it is clear you believe new ideas are needed for the future of your career. The first step in understanding how to improve your business is to begin working to analyze every department of your business and begin understanding what is working and what is not. Analytics and the use of artificial intelligence in every industrial sector are changing the way business is being done around the world.

Use New Equipment to Improve Efficiency

A business can only work as well as the employees and equipment in place, which means outdated technology can cause major issues in any company. Small Business reports a Microsoft survey revealed millennials cite outdated equipment as the main problem with completing their work in a successful way. In many industries, the latest equipment is a requirement to reach business goals. For example, bakers need a lot of equipment. As technology advances they’ll need to update equipment. Therefore, they’ll need to find trustworthy companies to be their oven and industrial mixer suppliers.

Appearance Is an Important Part of Any Business

If you are involved in a business where clients regularly visit your office the first impression you make is always important. A clean, technologically up-to-date office space is vital to impressing existing and potential clients who will be important to the future success of your business. However, don’t fall into the trap of being something you’re not. For example, if your company boasts family-friendly services, a cozier atmosphere is probably the way to go.

Set out Clear Goals

The goals your business hopes to reach are an important part of your business and allows every member of your team to work together to achieve your stated aims. Making sure every member of your team understands the goals you have set out is important and should include a system for reviewing and addressing how successful your business has been.

Alongside making sure your business has the right equipment and tools to complete your stated aims, it is important to make sure you are clearly communicating your goals to your team. Addressing your goals and making sure they are being reached should form part of the culture of businesses of all sizes.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Keeping It Cohesive: 3 Customer Experience Tips for Every Season

Just like a personal relationship, customer relations need variety to thrive. You might have wracked your brain in the past for exciting ways to shake things up, only to fall flat and realize that most of the large-scale options tend to come off as gimmicky. Sometimes, you don’t have to think outside the box or break the mold to make a mark. There are many small ways you can tailor your business throughout the year to provide a dynamic and engaging experience to your customers. 

A brand is only as good as the people who support it. Customer service needs to be top-notch if it’s going to stand out in today’s oversaturated market. While most business owners are focused on the four quarters of the year, try shifting your attention to the four seasons for opportunities to enhance your customer experience. 

Seasonal Exclusives

Consider offering limited-edition stock for various seasons. Have summer door-buster sales or major holiday discounts. Offer exclusive complementary items that tie into the season or major holidays. The weather and seasons play a huge role in our everyday lives, so you don’t want to miss out on the chance to connect with your customers through something so human and relatable. 

Dress Up for the Holidays

Simple logos are good for many reasons, one of the primary beings that they’re easy to change without losing their identity. Switch up your graphics and logo colors to make the seasonal holidays. You can even put your own twist on them to stand out and grab attention. Seasonal designs and custom displays are a fantastic opportunity to humanize your brand and help contribute to the spirit of the holiday, whatever the time of year. 

Fine-tune Your Content to Seasonal Needs

A content strategy should be fluid and reflect customer needs and current experiences. You don’t always have to create something entirely new in order to thrive. In fact, your target audience is already looking for what you have to offer anyway, so why not diversify your blog posts a little and branch out? Find ways to demonstrate your business’s value through content that taps into your customer’s current wants or needs based on the season.

Business analytics and metrics go a long way, but it’s important to remember the numbers on your data sheets are driven by real people. Behind every click, every impression and every engagement is a live human being who could possibly benefit from your services. 

Stay in touch with your customers through social media. Interact as much as possible so you’re always in-the-know and equipped to make changes before they’re requested.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

How #BigData Can Transform Your #Sales

Big data, cloud computing, AI and machine learning are all popular buzzwords these days. Nearly everyone is talking about these technologies and how they can be leveraged to provide benefits to a variety of companies.

In a general sense, big data can absolutely transform your business operations for the better. It feeds into a concept you should know well, called business intelligence. Through the technology, an endless supply of information is generated about your business, employees, customers, products and impact on the world at large.

This data, when used appropriately, is the end-all be-all for achieving ultimate success and improving sales. Before that can happen, however, raw data coming in must be analyzed, processed and converted into a more usable format.

How Big Data Becomes Actionable

There are two types of data that a business has at its disposal, one of which is less useful. The first type is raw data, which comes unstructured and in its original form. The second type is processed or organized data that is actionable and ready for use.

A major difference between raw data and usable data is that the latter provides a great deal of insight into whatever process, party or component you are studying. A huge swath of customer performance data, before being processed, might show something more generalized and simple — people like a certain product best, for example. However, diving in closer and analyzing the trends or patterns within datasets can reveal so much more.

Suddenly, you understand who it is that likes said product, why and what they’re using it for. Also, you can break your audience down into niche segments to better understand what they’re after. It’s even possible to see how they react after receiving your products or services, and how that affects their future relations with your company.

Closer to the real world. Companies or teams that use quotas and sales targets to measure performance can benefit greatly from data analytics. Target-setting is not the same as forecasting, so it’s vital you get the numbers right. By looking at existing data, you can more accurately choose these goals, honing the process over time to find the best marketers or salespeople.

Of course, these are just a few examples. There’s a lot more you can learn from the right data. The point is just that customer data and insights can help you understand your audience better, allowing for more accurate and informed decision-making. It also leads to a greater opportunity for success.

Some of the enhancements data analytics offers include:

  • Segmented and accurate audience targeting
  • Location-based analytics that relate to a particular place or region
  • Dynamic pricing opportunities that take local events into account
  • A reduction in customer churn, boosting retention and loyalty
  • Enhanced customer relations through better understanding
  • New business and upsell opportunities
  • Guaranteed or successful marketing trends

Using Data to Unlock Opportunities

Spending on big data technologies had surpassed $57 billion by the end of 2017. By 2020, it is estimated that every person on Earth will generate 1.7 megabytes of data per second. That’s an insane amount of digital information being generated on a consistent basis.

It’s becoming more and more common for companies — across all industries — to leverage the kind of big data, cloud computing and AI platforms that offer huge returns in business intelligence. Digital information is constantly flowing, with or without your express attention. As people tap into local networks, apps, online experiences and digital platforms, these systems continue to collect a multitude of user data. It’s a byproduct of the digital age, and you can put all of it to use, provided you know how to understand it.

Since that information is already flowing, it’s equal parts easy and convenient to access and extract more insights from it — this is the ultimate goal of business intelligence.

How You Leverage the Data Is Crucial

It’s not about how much customer information and data you’re collecting, because today it will essentially be coming from everywhere. It’s especially helpful that people carry a smartphone on their person at all times, resulting in even more intel-gathering opportunities.

Instead, it’s all about how you process and leverage the data you have. You could be collecting huge swarms, but it’s not lucrative in the least if you don’t know how to put it to use. You’re just going to be wasting a lot of time and resources.

It’s not a question of whether or not data can transform industries, specifically modern business. It’s more the question of how. Learn to process and understand it efficiently and you’ll be well on your way to improved revenue and better customer experiences. Big data can — and will — transform sales in many ways, providing better opportunities for your employees and improved experiences for your customers.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

Rating Data and Local SEO: Turning Reviews Sites Helping You Further

Buying online products or services is always intimidating for me. And not just me, consumers mind get flipped with the following sort of questions:

  • Is the seller legitimate?
  • Is the product reputable?
  • Could I get this item at a lower price elsewhere?
  • Am I likely to be scammed or dissatisfied with my experience?

You faced it somewhere while contemplating a deal. Didn’t you?

To most of us, the next logical step is to look around what others are saying about the seller and the product. Of course, we Google that.

Statistics:

  1. 72% of buyers don’t commit purchases until they have gone through reviews –Insights from Testimonial Engine.
  2. 93%of local buyers consider online reviews to make their opinion about a company –BrightLocal 2017 report.

If you Google “flooring companies Vancouver bc”; Yelp will be the first search result.

It’s just one query; there are a lot. Every industry keyword with every location – Google loves to rank Yelp at the first page.

Embracing Yelp

Yelp comes as the first name that’s so much synchronized with local ratings and reviews. With an average of 138M site visitors every month, its 206th most popular website globally according to Alexa.

While the site has nearly 4.7M visitors daily, it results in 200K calls daily to businesses. Statistics say that 98 percent of Yelp users made a purchase from a business they found on Yelp.

Well, Sites like Yelp, YP, Hotfrog or CanPages do have an impact on businesses. And these rating websites seem a good thing for your business, right? Leaders like Stigan Media suggest retailers go for Digital Ads this holiday season. They should bring more foot traffic and page views on your website.

Do a check.

Here’s the deal with rating and review sites.

Yelp, YP, or Angielist are more of competitive battlefields,and they use to stack businesses right there among each other making it easyfor buyers to comparison suppliers. A couple of bad Yelp reviews can easilymake Yelp users move to another store. If your listing does maintain a highrating, competition is still fierce.

Data Proof: Studies have concluded that only one five star difference on Yelpcan influence the user’s decision to choose one service provider over another.

Let’s consider an example to understand the behavior of Yelp’s Sphere.Let’s say the agency, DC web design Ottawa paid for a potential buyer to click on a search ad, and the paid click can get user’s attention on another competitor on Yelp. You can feel the risk. It’s just areal barrier local service providers handle.

They pour efforts, time and their money into beating out the competitors to get their advertisements in the top-ranked pages with the sole intention of getting valuable clicks, and ideally converting them into customers.

But that’s not enough.

Savvy online buyers land on a service provider’s website. Then they’ll move to Google Places, or Yelp or Angie’s List where they can verify that whether business and services are credible. They’ll compare reviews, prices and customer services with other competitors before finally making the decision to purchase.

Wait. Is this thing a solution?

What’ll be the outcome if visitors referred from paid clicks don’t have to leave your website to see what others are saying about your services? Can a strategic stream of ratings or reviews embedded on your website make the difference? Yes, it will work. Many businesses enforce this thing in their UI design. It would surely enhance users’ experience, put your credibility easily visible and further help visitors making their decision to purchase.

Possibly, this can help you build credibility and trust with the many visitors came from social platforms or paid clicks. This would remove any chances of getting land your paid visitors to your competitor’s listings.

Encourage more and more of your existing customers to leave you feedback on Google maps, Facebook Page, Yelp, Angie List, YP and elsewhere.

Some tips to get it done in a well manner:

  • Don’t do it manually. When data is less, you can put it manually. But in the case when you’ve bulk data to upload, it becomes time taking. Embrace marketing automation applications that enable webmasters to smoothly integrate ratings into the website and update them as soon as you get new reviews.

  • Don’t try to do all reviews five out of five. Feed some average ratings between the perfect fives, so you appear more authentic and trustworthy; rather than looking like a manipulative guy with customers’ reviews.

  • Some clients do reviews their own even before you ask them. Either they are extremely happy with your work or they have complaints to show to others. Try to get the ratio of pleasant reviews/angry notes as high as possible.

An average user goes through seven reviews to buildhis mindset about a company. Google seems to give a decent weight to reviews inlocal rankings. It’s one of the major ranking factors when an agency like SVPruns a local campaign. What are your thoughts on it?

Aggregately, users go through seven online reviews before building an opinion about a provider. Google also seems to allocate an immense weight toreviews when it comes to ranking local web pages. They consider it as one oft he intrinsic factors when an agency like SVP runs a localized search campaign.


Written by Shyam Bhardwaj, blogger and SEO analyst.

Why You Need to Use Behavioral Segmentation

How do you current and potential customers find you? That is the conundrum for every company in today’s day and age. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to have a location, or to have a location that’s close to others who might add synergy to your business’s stability.

And while technology might seem like it would be an easy way to garner a wider, more solid core of customers, in fact websites and email aren’t enough either. Add to the mix social media (and the realization that one site isn’t enough either) and you’ve got a very confusing mix of how to reach people.

 But luckily, data has given us some insights into what we do need to know about our customers—not just where they live but what their lives look like and how their internal lives work, too. So how do you segment what you know and what you need to know? This graphic explains it.

Why You Need to Use Behavioral Segmentation

Which One Is Better – Digital or Old Fashion Marketing

One of the questions that concern the majority of modern marketers the most is the one regarding the ROI of traditional marketing in the digital world. Most importantly, what they want to know is whether it’s worth it to invest in the old fashion marketing in 2018, in the first place. Unfortunately, this is not a question that has a straightforward answer. Why? Well, because it all depends on your industry, the nature of your business and the specific situation/effect you need to deal with.

For instance, there is a speculation that about 50 percent of all small businesses don’t even have a website. Now, characterizing all of these business owners as non-tech-savvy or stating that all of these businesses are non-profitable and non-efficient would be outright wrong. In fact, about 41 percent of them claim that this decision doesn’t come from the fact that they can’t conduct a proper digital marketing campaign (or couldn’t at least outsource this function) but due to the fact that they don’t really need it. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to dispute the effectiveness of digital marketing in 2018.

1. Digital marketing has better analytics

The first thing you need to understand is that digital marketing has much better analytics than its traditional counterpart. John Wanamaker, one of the titans of the industry back in the day claimed that half the money he invested in marketing was wasted, yet, that he could never reliably know which half. Nowadays, this is no longer the truth. You see, through various platforms and tools, you can reliably know just how many visitors your website received, how long were they there, as well as where they came from. Aside from this, you can also study separate demographics and, in this way, figure out which methods give the best results on which demographics.

On the other hand, with the introduction of concepts such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and the increasing influence of biometrics in the digital world, this might soon change. What we mean by this is that we could soon have a similar insight into the effectiveness and properties of the old-fashion marketing tricks and methods. Needless to say, exciting as this may sound, this is still quite far down the line.

2. Traditional marketing is mostly non-intrusive

The next thing you should understand is the fact that the traditional marketing tends to be quite non-intrusive, especially when compared to a digital marketing. Think about it, every time you receive an email from an unreliable source, you feel like your privacy has been violated. After all, how did they get your email? This happens even if you did give them your email and then forgot about it soon after. With traditional marketing, such a thing doesn’t really happen. A person walks by a billboard or receives a leaflet, which is something they consider normal, even mundane. This means that their defense mechanisms are still down, which, directly influences your potential success rate.

3. Specific scenarios may mandate specific needs

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that there are some scenarios in which you can’t apply to a certain group of marketing methods. For instance, imagine hosting a stand at a show and being forced to decorate your stand. Without promotional materials like flyers, brochures, signs or a durable mesh banner, you wouldn’t be able to do much in terms of on-spot branding and customization. You don’t even have to have banners and signs specifically made for the occasion. You’re bound to have some extras in the storage room or, if the need arises, you can remove them from one location in order to display them in another. It really is that simple.

4. Reach is in favor of the digital

One thing everyone has to recognize is the fact that digital dominates when it comes to the reach. Even when it comes to retail and offline sales, it’s inevitable to mention the power of digital marketing. According to one statistic, about 78 percent of all offline sales come as a direct result of local mobile searches. Even when it comes to regular stores, you have no way of knowing how many people checked prices online before deciding which store they should visit. Therefore, even the smallest and the most localized of businesses can benefit from an online presence. Not only that but they might even find local SEO to be incredibly cost-effective.

5. Digital provides a customized user experience

Probably the most significant advantage of the digital marketing lies in the fact that it offers every user a customized experience. Just compare TV to services like Netflix (or even YouTube). The reason why the first is on the decline while the latter two are on a rapid growth is due to the fact that they give their audience full control over the content they browse.

Sure, some would argue that online ads may act in a more “traditional” sense (with a strong negative connotation), yet this is easily solved with a plugin such as AdBlock which is something that about 30 percent of all internet users resort to. When it comes to content marketing, on the other hand, the only reason why someone would click on the link is if they’re genuinely interested in the topic discussed. Once again, one could argue that this is not the case with click-bait and black-hat, in general, yet, with the current state of Google algorithm and anti-black-hat measures, this is no longer as big of a problem as it was in the past.

In conclusion

As you can see, the question of whether you should go for digital or traditional marketing is an absurd one, to begin with. The successfulness of your digital marketing campaign can be enhanced by promoting it through traditional means, while a giveaway of promotional materials can be multiplied by doing so online. In other words, each of these methods gives by far the best results when multiplied, meaning that it’s by far the best to go with both. The best thing is that there’s literally no reason for you to choose. Just make sure that your marketing budget can take it.

Traveling for Business: 5 Ways to Make it Hassle Free

If you are like Tom Stucker who has flown more than 18 million miles in his life as a business executive, then you may already know all the travel tips. Alternatively, if you are just starting out, then use these five tips to help you manage your corporate travel. Even if you are a pro, reconsidering the basics can never hurt as you may have forgotten key information over time.

Use Analytics

You need good travel analytics to make sure that the amount of traveling that you do is worth the effort. Look for business travel management companies that have elements designed to keep travelers safe and can help deliver emergency messages. Consider a company that has a variety of tools available with a special emphasis on mobile tools. The best analytics examine many possible factors before arriving at the best scenario and presenting it to the business traveler.

Choose a Travel Credit Card

Booking all your travel on one credit card often allows you to rack up points faster. These points can then be exchanged for things that you would normally pay for like free miles, hotel stays and dinners. Check your company’s travel policy to see if you can use your points to treat yourself while traveling.

Pack Light

If you can get all your stuff into a carry-on bag, then you have more options if something goes wrong. You can grab your carry-on and head to another line at the last minute if weather or plane trouble prevents you from catching your original flight. Once you board a flight, consider putting your carry-on in the overhead across the aisle from your seat. This allows you to watch so that other people do not accidentally grab it or smash its contents.

Count on Airport Lounges

If you are a frequent traveler, then choose to fly as much as possible on one or two airlines. This will give you access to their lounge. Depending on your credit card, you may also have access to some lounges. These locations usually have free food, drinks and quiet places to work. Some even have showers for the traveler who does not have enough time in their itinerary to head to a hotel.

Pick Your Hotel Room Carefully

Try to choose a hotel room that is not on the bottom floor, but is low enough that most emergency vehicles will be able to reach your location easily. That is often on the first 10 floors or so in well-developed locations while it may only be on the second or third floor in less-developed areas. Provide only your first initial and your last name when you are making reservations. Make sure that all windows and doors lock properly.

Following these simple tips will help you become a business travel pro. When all else fails, count on your own intuition as it will become stronger as you gain even more experience. Soon, you may be like Mr. Stucker and flying over 2 million miles each year.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley