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4 Tips for Traveling To an International Business Conference

Even though most of our international business communications have gone fully digital, International conferences are still one of the preferred ways for expanding a professional network of contacts and meeting new associates abroad.

Still, traveling to an international business conference can be stressful. Whether you’re a presenter or an attendee, you have numerous roles to fulfill and a lot of people to impress, so you need to be well prepared.

Here is how to take some of the stress off, and get yourself ready for the travel.

Plan in advance

Depending on how the host organizes the conference, you might need to do some planning to make sure everything runs smoothly. Sometimes, hosts will plan all the details, including your accommodation. In some other cases, you will need to manage it all by yourself. 

Here are some of the preparations you need to do if you decide to attend the conference:

  • Confirm your attendance.
  • Book a flight. The earlier you book the flight, the more options you will be able to choose from, and you might even get a good deal and save some money aside.
  • Find accommodation. Try to book a room in a hotel or a motel near the place where the conference will take place. This way you don’t have to worry about transportation to the facility, neither stress yourself for being in a hurry.
  • Arrange someone to pick you up at the airport.

A wise thing to do is to put all the important details, such as flight schedules, your hotel’s name, and the address, and all other important information related to the conference on a list which you will always have with you.

 If you’ve already made arrangements to meet some people, make sure you include their names and contacts, as well as the names of the companies they represent.

Examine possible difficulties and opportunities

International conferences provide great networking opportunities, so prepare yourself for both the small talk and some serious business conversations. 

A wise thing to do is to learn more about business etiquette of the country you’re visiting, and at least a  few common greetings and phrases in the native language, to show the hosts your appreciation and respect.

Also, try to get acquainted with the country’s current challenges, both the economic and political ones and to explore the current trends in your niche. Fortunately, there are some great portals online where you can find all this information organized in a single place. 

One of the great examples is a digital magazine Week in China where you can find all the details you need for the local Chinese trends in the industry of your choice, but much more than that too.  Such information might give you an idea of potential ways of collaboration with foreign associates, so you will know what to focus on while networking.

Research the location

It is always a good idea to thoroughly research the location of your business conference. Your conference schedule will surely occupy the most out of your time, but you’ll have some free time too, which you can use according to your own likings.

Research the city you will be staying at, and map out the most important sights you would like to visit once you’re there. Also, explore the options your hotel offers and whether it has adequate fitness facilities you can use to keep up with your daily exercise routine. 

As soon as you find out the exact dates for the conference, research your travel insurance options, and choose the one that fits your needs the most.  Medical expenses can be very high in foreign countries, and having your insurance covered can take some stress away in case of an emergency. Travel insurance will also cover your expenses if your luggage is stolen or lost and alleviate your inconvenience.

Pack accordingly

It’s always the best to have the checklist ready in advance so that you don’t forget to pack anything important. Your checklist should include:

  • Personal items. Check whether your passport and ID are packed, as well as your travel cards and travel insurance, your driver’s license,  credit cards and some cash. If you’re using some medications, pack them too, as well as your personal hygiene items.
  • Business items. Don’t forget to pack your business cards and all other materials you’ll need to promote your business.
  • Clothing items. You will need some professional clothes, as well as casual ones. If you plan to be active during your stay, pack some fitness clothing too.
  • Technical items. Pack all the devices you will be using and their chargers. If you will be doing some work while you travel, pack the items you’ll need in your shoulder bag.

Be prepared that the conferences abroad can differ significantly in their style and tone, and culturally as well. Try to adapt to these differences, and use this opportunity to learn new things and form connections, as they might be useful one day.

 
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Tips for Companies That Want to Endorse Sustainability

Global warming is not the thing of the future but the thing of now. Humankind stands witness to great changes planet earth has gone through in the past 50 years and people are waking up to the fact that life as we know it is in danger. Many species of flora and fauna are already lost and the global temperature is rising and we all are to blame, some more than others, of course.

Business owners have a special responsibility because they are in a position to influence more people so sustainability is something each entrepreneur should strive for. While some are already on their way to achieving their ‘green’ goals, others are just getting started and might be a bit lost as to how to handle it. With this in mind, here are a few tips to help you kickstart your sustainable business strategy.

Set a clear goal

Your goal (or goals) should be as precise as possible – a general goal such as ‘I want my business to be sustainable’ will not cut it because it doesn’t help you with finding a way to achieve it. People usually choose the most optimal strategies, tools, and means based on what they strive towards so you would need a more ‘tangible’ goal. 

Instead, you can set several concrete goals, such as becoming a paperless business in the next nine months, transitioning from physical to virtual operations in the next year, re-designing your products’ packages in the next three months, etc. Once you have them grouped like this, you will easily come up with a strategy and focus on accomplishing the tasks. And each time you tick one goal off the list, you will feel more motivated to persevere and come up with more efficient ways to reach your aims. 

Involve your employees

Your employees are the moving force of your business and their loyalty and hard work shouldn’t go unnoticed. That being said, in order for your desire to move towards sustainability to come through, you need to get them aboard and to engage them actively in the strategies. 

What you can do is choose one person who will be a sustainability spokesperson and share your goals and plans with the rest of the staff. Employees are often afraid of changes in the sense that sometimes they mean people losing their jobs, so having a person from their own ranks reassuring them and explaining the reasons and all the steps will help the changes be firmly embedded into the core of your business. Another thing this ‘green’ spokesperson can do is to make sure that things change on a smaller scale as well by collecting suggestions around the office on how to make the workspace and daily routines at the office eco-friendlier. 

Extend a helping hand

Sustainability shouldn’t only dwell within the walls of your workspace – your good practices need to extend their reach. If your business is successful, you should find a way to help out your local community by e.g. collecting plastics laying around the streets and floating in rivers, giving business lectures for free, offering to help with kickstarting a ‘green’ startup to the best business idea that wins a competition you organize, etc. 

If your finances allow you, you should also strive to think globally, beyond the borders of your state and find a corner of the world whose community can use your help. When researching exotic markets they know little about, entrepreneurs often consult with local companies, such as Jack Brown Invest Islands Foundation in case of Indonesia, so that together they can help locals gain access to education and improve their economy in the long-run. By raising locals’ awareness and the living standards as well, you will be placing the environment in better hands.  

Be on the lookout for improvements

Your mission is not finished once you make the sustainable processes your permanent strategy. This is because things evolve in the fast-paced world and so must your practices. You should monitor your practices and the results and always strive to achieve more and to involve more people, companies, and organizations. 

For instance, when looking for suppliers, make sure you choose to collaborate with those who truly care about the products and the environment and apply sustainable strategies, as opposed to just reaching a particular number in sales. Also, when organizing business trips, you should choose agencies which think ‘green’ in terms of transportation means, restaurants, hotels, etc. Your influence can and will touch your customers too so they can also introduce eco-friendly solutions to their daily activities and purchase habits. By creating a chain of suppliers, employees, businesses, and customers that embrace the ‘green’ philosophy, you will aid sustainability on a greater scale.

Wrapping up

Entrepreneurs take a special place in the sustainability chain due to their influence: their strategies can raise awareness of their customers and employees who will start thinking about how to apply some good practices in their private lives. By choosing to collaborate with like-minded businesses and by helping communities which are in need, you will be setting an example to other business and creating a path they can follow.

 
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How to Improve Customer Experience of Your Website

In the modern business world, it goes without saying that you need to establish an online presence. However, devising an amazing marketing strategy, having paid ads, and interesting social media posts will not get you the wanted conversion if your customers feel dissatisfied about the main face of your business – your website.

If they follow a link in the search for specific information and instead find a miss-matched pile of images, fonts, and numbers, they will simply move on to another website. This is because we are all busy and don’t have enough time and nerves to waste them surfing an unorganized website. With that in mind, here are some pieces of advice to help you improve your customer experience and perception of your website.

Learn about their preferences

One of the first tasks when it comes to improving customer experience is learning as much as you can about them and their preferences. In that manner, you will be able to share the appearance, functionality, and content of your website to their liking. Some of the useful data include their age, sex, occupation, marital status, geographic location, as well as device preference. There are many software solutions that can help you accumulate and analyze that kind of information among which Google Analytics is perhaps the most popular one owing to its user-friendly structure. Once you obtain these pieces of information, you will be able to target your audience more precisely.

Motivate an emotional bond

People are known for remembering stories far better than a bunch of statistics. Instead of showering them with an array of numbers and data, think of conveying your message in the form of a story. Your content should aim to create an emotional attachment towards your brand and stories are the best manner to do so. The choice of words, the style, and the overall tone can be skillfully combined to prompt curiosity, sadness, anger or affection, depending on your goal. And another crucial strategy is to strive to maintain the same elements in every piece of writing since if one content leaves an impression that it has been written by a teenager while another by a politician, your audience will be confused with the lack of consistency and your brand identity might be compromised.

Pay attention to the design

Since improving customer experience should result in a boost in conversion rates, content is not the only element to keep an eye on. Your website’s design is a major contributor to conversion, so the choice of pages, navigation, color scheme, font, images, etc. is vital for your success. However, sometimes is it difficult to express everything you want, while other times you yourself are not even certain which can create discord between your wishes and the actual design of your website. So, it is best if you ask the agency you hired to provide you with a detailed web design questionnaire so that both you and them are clear about what you wish to achieve. Not only will this clarify your vision but you will also be clear regarding the pricing and expected project duration.

Ask for feedback

No matter how much effort you put into creating an optimal website design and marketing strategy, it doesn’t mean that the customer experience will be up to par. In order to learn how your customers perceive your choices and your efforts, you need to ask them and the best thing to do is ask for real-time feedback. This means that incorporating live chat to your website is a good strategy that will allow you to get instant feedback and to be able to react swiftly if need be. To show your customers how much you appreciate them taking their time to share their experience, it would be good to send a follow-up email to thank them and reflect on their complaint, praise or question. Also, to take it a step further, connect each feedback to a specific customer support agent because that is how you also show your employees recognition for their contribution. 

Conclusion

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try to take a look at your website through objective eyes – would you explore it or move on? Naturally, this also depends on whether you visited the site because of a concrete desire to purchase something or simply to check out the offer but no matter the initial intention, your website needs to be a smooth and tempting ride for your customers.

When you research their inclinations, you need to shape the content and the design based on them. And after asking for feedback to make sure everything is optimal, you will soon notice a rise in the conversion rates.

 
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How to Improve Client Relationship in a Digital Marketing Agency

In a bubbly and creative world of digital marketing, it is not always easy to establish and sustain a harmonious relationship between an agency and a client. Change of circumstances is a valid cause for a client to change the agency but misunderstandings and an unprofessional stance are something to be entirely avoided.

The rapport between these two parties is crucial for the agency not just in terms of profit but also reputation because word of mouth is still an important channel of communication. So, here are five things to keep in mind so that the client relationships of your agency can blossom.

Providing smooth onboarding

For the cooperation to run smoothly from the beginning, you need to make sure that every step is welcoming, starting with the onboarding process. The first meeting that should be organized involves the sales team giving away the client to contact people. Next, you would have an internal meeting where the team members would get acquainted with the client and individual tasks and obligations would get distributed. The final meeting in this cycle is the one where the client meets the team that would be working on their project and this is the right time to present your agency in a good light and to show them your team’s dedication, efficiency, and expertise. From the perspective of the client-agency relationship, this client kick-off meeting needs to be brief, informative and prepared in advance. 

Understanding their needs

One-size-fits-all is not the strategy you wish to be popular for in the digital marketing business so always keep in mind that you have to approach each client differently. For instance, if your prospective client is an ambitious startup company whose experience in marketing is limited, you will have to dive into their plans. Once you understand what their short and long-term plans and ideas are, you will be able to come up with a tailored strategy for their business. Many small business owners set broad goals which lack definition and just like everyday goals, in order to know how to approach them, they need to be analyzed and narrowed down. This is an area where you might offer some advice but strictly in the marketing domain. 

Handling disagreeable situations

Every once in a while, an uncommon situation happens and the manner you react says a lot about your business experience and your willingness to improve a potentially rocky client relationship. If the issue is a misunderstanding on your agency’s part, you have to make sure your apology is quick and honest, and if it is on the part of the client, it is necessary to find an unbiased way to present the issue. An unpaid invoice is an unpleasant topic but if it is vital you approach it rationally and calmly. However, in cases as such, besides being understanding of your clients’ issues, you also need to think about your own small business finance and consider using the unpaid invoices as collateral. This would ensure you have a healthy operational cashflow and that your agency’s growth doesn’t depend on individual clients. 

Communicating transparently

Grounds for sound communication are erected during the onboarding process, where the needs and strategies are shared. Throughout your collaboration, both parties need to be frank about each aspect in order for everything to work. That level of sincerity is possible only if there is regular communication – both parties need to find time for briefings and meetings and your clients need to provide you with honest and constructive feedback about your work. You would need to recap what was done and analyze the efficiency through website traffic and leads so you can adjust the goals. Naturally, since your digital marketing agency has more than one client and you must be busy, you can presume your client is as well, so it is crucial you respect their time and avoid canceling at the last moment. 

Building a partnership

For this relationship to work, it has to be more of a union and, in a manner, your team needs to be a continuation of their company’s marketing vision so the members are to be chosen wisely. This partnership is a two-way street and one party’s success reflects the success of the other. You need each other’s productive support to achieve the planned goals and honest feedback to adjust and improve certain practices. Since an effective digital marketing campaign is a complex project which takes time to create and maintain, cooperation is the key as well as respecting the expertise and experience of the other party. 

Conclusion

Since the marketing campaign is the face of a business, it needs to be tailored exactly to the business’ needs. If your agency is in charge of some business’ marketing campaign, you first have to get to know them, gather a team which will be in charge of their project and create a bond. The team members should be communicative and dedicated to their project as if they were performing it for their own company. 

However, in order for the campaign to be effective, you have to deepen that relationship and create an atmosphere of understanding which will be reflected in the way you communicate and handle unpleasant situations. Nurturing this relationship is a way to ensure a long-term and prosperous collaboration.

 

 
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How to Grow Your Sales Team Effectively

Sales teams are hard to grow. The job is demanding and turnover is relatively high, with even good workers quitting after failing. However, the need for a sales team is always there and it cannot be ignored. With the averages for turnover reaching as high as 34% in 2017, it suddenly becomes very obvious just how difficult it is to keep and grow a successful sales team. These are the facts, there is no denying them. However, let us focus on what can be done for the statistics to change when your company is in question.

Start with high expectations

When looking for good candidates for your sales team, make sure you pick great resumes with high-achievers from the get go. Since there is a limited number of openings, this creates competition even before the work has begun. Your existing salespersons will also start feeling the heat, which should make them do better. If they don’t there is an alternative already waiting for them, which is the actual beauty of having sourced out several potential high-achievers from the start.

Keep the team growing

As you expect the inevitable turnover to come for your team, you should always keep one step ahead. If you can expect one third of your salespeople to quit (or get the sack) over the course of the year, you should be working hard on filling those gaps. However, do not do it by hiring only when you have no other choice – this will create a situation where your hiring quality goes down. You need to be ahead of the curve and keep a steady inflow of candidates, just like the first time you started creating your team. Keep looking for quality resumes, keep interviewing and keep hiring, funneling the quality to the top, all the time. Never stop doing it. 

Use any tools at your disposal

Your team needs to be ready for anything, but most of all it needs to be functional in the contemporary world. Not only are modern sales departments introducing the bdr role more and more, but they are well aware of the latest technology that helps them do their jobs better. Project management tools are a must, of course, alongside cloud storage for easy sharing and collaboration. You should have a sales tool that will provide analytics for your team, as well as allow for template sharing, engagement tracking and similar.

Know what you have accomplished

Although sales require many unmeasurable qualities to achieve success, some metrics have to exist in order for your team to know what to aim for, as well as quantify their success. Your Key Performance Indicators should include things like conversion rate, new leads per month, or new business vs renewal business. Add a healthy dash of revenue churn, client churn, your overall margin, as well as the revenue growth rate, which might be good to have in rear view. Think about individual team KPIs where you might track what people said they would do vs what they actually did. It could be an enlightening thing to see, both for the company and the individual team members.

Grow your sales culture

The people in your sales team are what makes up your sales culture, but in order to live by it, you need to establish guidelines, lead by example and, most importantly, hire people who fit that state of mind. After that, train them and structure the team so that it grows towards unity. The culture helps your team work better together, however, this works only if the members fit well within it. Once again, this all starts with the choices you have made when shortlisting and hiring people, which is a process you need to perfect over time. Perhaps your culture prefers having rockstar-type of salesmen, perhaps it requires hard workers and number crunchers. Perhaps all of them. But you need to be aware of who you need and work towards getting those people in your sales team. 

Bringing all those high-quality working people together and giving them a purpose – that is what creates a team. But providing them with a culture within which they can improve and grow and become part of it, even steering it in the right direction – that is the ultimate goal. 

 
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5 Ways Companies can Start Investing into the World of Cryptocurrency

The world of cryptocurrency is an ever-evolving ecosystem that welcomes individuals as well as private and government organizations – anyone who wants to trade in cryptos, invest in new ICOs, expand on their products and services, or help the blockchain technology develop as a whole. Of course, there is no denying that the industry is constantly evolving and changing with the latest trends and market conditions, so it’s only fair to say that businesses looking to get into the cryptocurrency game should research their investment options carefully.

Minimizing risk and financial expenditure while maximizing ROI is the name of the business game, and even though high-risk crypto investments do come with promises of a high ROI, you need to be careful when balancing the risks vs the possible rewards. Here are the five solid ways you can start investing into the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain.

Accept cryptocurrency as payment

The first and most obvious way your company can venture into the crypto-verse with minimal investment, to test the waters so to speak, is to start accepting payments in various cryptocurrencies. This is just one of the ways customers are using cryptos in everyday life. Nowadays, there are many platforms you can use to process crypto payments, store them in your company’s digital wallet, trade the cryptocurrencies yourself, and even convert the revenue into traditional currencies if you wish to get paid immediately and avoid the price volatility of digital currencies.

What’s more, you can develop a company-wide cryptocurrency program and give your employees the opportunity to delve into the world of cryptocurrencies themselves by paying their salaries this way. This practice is still uncommon because of the price volatility of cryptos, however, forward-looking companies and blockchain businesses are already paying for marketing and advertising with cryptocurrency.

Invest in a promising crypto or blockchain startup

As a company looking to expand into the crypto market and the blockchain itself, you might want to consider investing in, acquiring, or developing a promising startup. Blockchain technology has its applications in every industry in the modern business world, and no matter the market you’re in, there is probably a business idea out there that can help you build your competitive advantage and innovate new and exciting products, features, and services in the crypto world.

Whether you’re looking to improve data security, or make all financial processes more efficient, or develop new and exciting features for your customers, you can acquire a startup that is developing these technologies and make them your primary strategic partner. This way, you can use a team of blockchain professionals to innovate your way to the top of the industry.

Start mining and trading in cryptocurrency

Another direct and lucrative way for a company to venture into the realm of cryptocurrencies is to invest in crypto mining technology in order to add transactions to the blockchain and release new currencies. To achieve this and stay competitive with other crypto miners out there, you will need specialized equipment and hardware with a lot of computing power and a legitimate crypto mining software to ensure proper verification.

Next, you can leverage this technology to start trading in cryptocurrencies on the blockchain yourself. You will need to pick a reliable exchange platform, a multi-currency wallet specialized for businesses instead of individuals, and monitor the market trends in real time to make cost-effective trading decisions. These solutions will allow your company to capitalize on cryptocurrencies quickly, and support the development of the blockchain technology itself.

Join a consortium of companies

Of course, you are not forced to enter the crypto and blockchain markets on your own, as nowadays there are many groups of forward-looking companies you can join in order to invest in the development of blockchain technologies, and share the risks among your partners. In turn, this will allow you to mitigate a lot of the risk and improve your investment potential by working together to achieve a higher goal.

No matter the industry you’re in, there is probably a consortium of brands interested in investing in the development of blockchain applications specific to your niche and in order to resolve certain issues. From finance to logistics, from healthcare to automotive and beyond, companies around the world are partnering up to improve their industry as a whole.

Launch a new token through ICOs

And finally, as you expand into the market and gain experience with blockchain and cryptos, you can start investing in the development of your own token, perhaps one that will take the cryptocurrency world by storm and become the next big investment opportunity. Through Initial coin offerings (ICOs), you can raise the funds needed to propel the development of a new cryptocurrency that you can use for your own products and services.

Wrapping up

It’s common to see individuals venturing into the intricate world of cryptocurrencies, but in recent years we are seeing a new trend that has companies investing in blockchain technology, new tokens, as well as products and services that support the development of the crypto-verse. Invest in these opportunities yourself, and open up another lucrative door for your brand.

 
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Best Ways to Invest in Your Office Tech

Time flies, as the old adage goes, and nothing shows the passage of time as much as technology. If you have been in business since the 80s, you have seen the rise of personal computer, as well as printing technology and what a rise it has been. Still, even after all these years, there is a need to keep investing, as the technological landscape keeps on changing. However, it is prudent to keep tabs on how to do it while making sure you are getting the best bang for your buck as well.

Keeping up with the Joneses

If you require some serious firepower behind your product or services, your employees could stand to benefit from new computers every few years. The recent AMD products have certainly put Intel to shame and brought about unheard-of performances into the PC market with their new AM4 platform. For years, multi-core processors were very expensive, but ever since Ryzen came out (in its 3rd iteration this year already) it has never been cheaper to own a beefy configuration for all your needs, be it for video editing or number crunching in Excel. With the recent drop in RAM prices, it is really a great time to purchase new PC hardware for your employees.

Improving the infrastructure

Having a strong hardware game is all well and good, but you also need to think about servers and connections. If your company depends on access to data, there is no need to stop short from upgrading your data centers and servers, especially now that the prices of SSDs have gone down significantly in comparison to regular old HDDs. Finally now there are options for incredibly fast storage that will not break the bank. On the other end of the spectrum, there is the internet connection. With rising daily increase in data transfer needs, the offer also grows. After all, Amazon is working on its own network of satellites that are bound to bring internet to practically everyone, should they so desire. For your particular needs, something like fiber internet connection could make all the difference perhaps, with speeds of up to 1000 MB/s.

Smart office for smarter business

With the Internet of Things concept that allows practically everything in your office (or house) to connect to the internet and be controlled easily from a single point, such as your smartphone, it is really easy to notice the benefits of this in a company setting. Lights are just one example – they can be set to work with sensors so that there is no excess waste of energy when no one is present in a particular room, for example. You can automate the air-conditioning system as well, to keep things even more green, while at the same time remotely monitoring and controlling your security and camera systems which you have in place. The IoT concept is still in development, but it has been slowly creeping into our homes and workplaces and you should think about how to utilize it best for your needs.

Greet your visitors in a high-tech way

If your premises are not suitable for having a receptionist or if you have a large number of visitors on daily basis, you might benefit from a visitor management system as well. Not only will you be able to do visitor check-ins quickly, but it could also provide all the information regarding the number of visitors in your offices at any given time, including their personal information, such as their names and purpose of visit, even background checks. Keeping a record of your visitors without having to put in the information into the system manually every time also helps with the security.

Make it worth your while

The first rule of any good business is to be careful about investing the money. If the investments increase the quality of life for your employees and visitors, at the same time increasing the workflow of the former and making it easier to track the former, you are on the right track. Technology can help you save funds, but it can also create an environment that is eco-friendlier and cozier. In the end, new tech is your friend, as long as you regularly keep in touch.

 
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How Your Brand Can Increase Exposure Using Different Channels

Published on July 11, 2019 by in Guest Post

The days of traditional trading are long gone and even each brick-and-mortar shop needs to have at least a website, if not an e-commerce platform. Digital presence is vital if you wish for your business to thrive. It is not enough to have a good product – you need to have a strong brand around it, which will be recognizable and respected.

Besides a website, your brand needs to be seen and your products made available across other channels to attract more customers. If you are just getting into the digital business world, here are a few suggestions regarding channels across which you can spread the word about your brand.

SEO ranking

Search engine optimization (SEO) is any businesses’ best tool to get more exposure by ranking you higher on the search engine result pages. A carefully built strategy can do wonders for your sales as well. This is where keywords come into play, as ideas that represent your brand. Singular keywords such as ‘watch’ have a very high search volume, but it is difficult to compete with a multitude of watch selling websites. So, it is best to go with long-tail keywords which are phrases more related to your particular business, such as, ‘best men’s watches under $400’. You need to pepper your main page with keywords and to reach a kind of balance with your content, if you don’t have an in-house marketing team, make sure you hire a professional.

Blogging

Blogging started as a diary-style piece of writing covering mostly life topics, and nowadays it is a prominent medium with a much wider scope. It usually contains opinions and recommendations of both professionals and amateurs on different topics. The best way to use this powerful channel to your brand’s advantage is to start a blog on your website. You can approach it from a strictly professional side and post only advisory texts which are specialized for your niche. On the other hand, to reach a wider audience, you can also allow guest authors and expand the topic list to cover also some more mundane everyday themes. People will enjoy reading interesting articles, share them, visit your website more and in doing that, raise awareness regarding your brand.

E-Commerce

Modern trends encourage online shopping or at least conducting online research prior to purchase. We are used to getting as much information online as possible and then, if we have to, we go just to pick up what we intended to buy. Long story short, if you wish for your brand to be noticed, and to boost sales, having an e-commerce platform is a necessity. This is especially important for those businesses offering very specific products, such as, for example, tubulars and oilfield equipment, which allow customers from all over the world to acquire their goods. Such unique items might not be available in their country, or they might be much more expensive, even with the delivery fee included in the price of your product.

Social Media

In this digital era, if you don’t have a social media profile, it is as if you don’t exist. Your brand needs to connect with your existing and prospective customers, and social network marketing is the most cost-effective way to do it. There are plenty of options you can try, so, for example, you can start a competition for the most imaginative photo with one of your products. This will increase the number of shares and subscribers, broadening the pool of potential customers. The reward can be, besides a supply of your products, that the winner chooses the institution to which you will donate some funds. This is the type of positive exposure which is beneficial for both the brand and the charity cause.

Video Marketing

As a type of format, videos are quite popular – they are creative, mostly short and informative. Whether it is via YouTube or Vimeo, posting videos related to your brand can be just the right boost for your brand. When it comes to content ideas, you can get a celebrity to appear for a minute or two, or post some ‘How to’ content; that’s what people are interested in nowadays. The content doesn’t have to be entirely related to your brand: so, for example, short food preparation videos which all end with a set table, the prepared dish and a glass of Coca Cola, the brand in question. Of course, It is essential to connect your website with any of the channels that you might decide to use for video marketing.

Digital formats are unavoidable elements in your raising brand awareness strategy. You can be bold, and try a few channels and see what works best for your brand and customers. Alternatively, you can play it safe and either hire an external agency or gather an in-house team to help you find the most suitable solution.

Regardless of your approach, trials and errors, don’t forget that mistakes are a part of the path to success. If one strategy doesn’t work, take what experience and knowledge you can from it and move on to another one.

 
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Sensitive Data Protection: 5 Ways to Take Cybersecurity to the Next Level

Published on May 22, 2019 by in Guest Post

In a world where information flows seamlessly from one part of the globe to the other, there can be no compromise on cybersecurity. No matter if you’re running a global business venture or a small local business, the need to protect sensitive business data as well as the personal information of your clients and customers is paramount. After all, the damage caused to your brand’s reputation from a single data breach could be irreversible.

That said, many business owners tend to believe that they have employed all of the necessary features to ensure no malicious attack in the online realm can breach their cyber defenses, when in reality, the threat to global business in the online world is higher than ever before. Here is what you need to do in order to prevent a disaster and take cybersecurity to the next level.

Educate your employees on proper procedures

First things first, understand that cybersecurity starts with your employees, and not with the software or firewall solutions you employ. Without a doubt, you will need to invest in comprehensive firewall systems to keep your data safe against nefarious online attacks, but first be sure to educate your employees on proper cybersecurity conduct as well as the standard procedures they can use to protect themselves, the company, and your customers.

You can start by conducting seminars and workshops intended to familiarize employees of all generations about proper online conduct, especially in situations when they are unsure if a cyberattack is looming in the near future. Remember, your employees can’t inherently know if they are being scammed for sensitive information, or if they are inadvertently participating in a cyber-attack if they come into contact with a skilled hacker. Teach them to recognize these scenarios and act accordingly in order to prevent data breaches.

Run a comprehensive data security audit

You might not want to believe that your company has weak points in its firewall or your cybersecurity structure in general, but that doesn’t mean that the threat is not real. In fact, by denying that a problem might exist, you are putting your company in danger of a cyber-attack, simply because hackers and online scammers are looking to exploit companies with the same mindset. Don’t allow this to happen.

Instead, have a team of professionals take a look at your entire cybersecurity infrastructure in order to find weak points. This can be done by your in-house IT team, or a remote team of professionals, preferably from a trusted cloud provider that specializes in data security and disaster recovery. By conducting a thorough security audit, you will gain a realistic overview of your strengths and weaknesses.

Enhance the strength of your firewall

Now that you have the necessary insights about your cybersecurity infrastructure, you can make calculated steps to enhance the strength of your firewall as a whole. Where many business leaders get things wrong is relying on outdated software firewall solutions. Personal antivirus software might be good for personal, at-home computers, but they can put a company at great risk.

This is why advanced cybersecurity measures such as firewall appliance solutions have become so popular in the business world in recent years, as they put a physical appliance between the web and your entire computer infrastructure to filter incoming traffic and guard it against nefarious attacks. This means that every computer and device will enjoy the highest level of protection with real-time detection as well as rapid response features.

Enable two-factor identification and change passwords

There are numerous ways hackers will try to get into your company’s archives. They will exploit loopholes and weak points, and they will try to obtain and use old passwords and credentials. This is where many businesses make their business mistake. You need to erase old passwords, accounts, and credentials from past employees as well as software you no longer use to prevent hackers from getting in through the back door.

Likewise, make sure to change the passwords to your computers and any platforms you might use on a regular basis in order to make it that much more difficult for online intruders to get into your system. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your passwords will not fall into the wrong hands, because even if your employees don’t share them with anyone, hackers can still data-mine them from your archives.

Migrate your business to the cloud

And finally, it’s time to migrate your business to the cloud if you haven’t already. Cloud storage solutions that are built on a hyper-converged infrastructure offer the highest level of data security, along with other useful features such as quick data recovery and comprehensive disaster recovery plans that will get your business up-and-running in no time.

Cloud storage also eliminates the need for cumbersome on-site IT and storage, and makes regular maintenance and upkeep a breeze. However, its most notable feature is the multi-layer level of security that ensures complete company-wide data protection at all times.

Final thoughts

Cybersecurity is a big issue nowadays, as hackers and scammers are recognizing the lucrative potential of breaking into company archives and extracting sensitive business and customer information. To prevent a potentially crippling scenario, be sure to implement these tips that will take your cybersecurity game to the next level.

 
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How Can Startups Better Manage Employee Satisfaction

Published on April 3, 2019 by in Guest Post
One of the most important factors for building a successful company is a competent and motivated team. However, all too often, employers neglect employee satisfaction because they are too busy focusing on other aspects of the business. The impact that employee satisfaction has on the overall results is hard to measure. Unlike quantifiable results such as the number of sales and the total revenue, employee motivation is more subtle. Because of that, startup companies often neglect proper human resource management and fail to realize how much impact it has on their business until it’s too late. Here are a few ways to improve employee satisfaction and make sure that it’s the driving force behind your company.

The hard truth

The first thing that every entrepreneur needs to realize, especially those that just started out, is that their employees are not as excited about the company as they are. Expecting everyone to be as devoted to your business as you is just unrealistic; after all, the motivations and the ultimate payout are different. However, as an employer, you still need to motivate the people that work for you and get them to care about their job. The trick is to balance your expectations and know what motivates every single employee and focus your efforts towards those things. 

The second hard truth that startup businesses need to deal with is the fact that they won’t be able to pay their employees as competitive of a salary as they could get somewhere else. This is where employee satisfaction plays an important role. Getting people excited about the prospect of building something new is what will keep them motivated even if salaries are not high. At the same time don’t expect the best experts in the field to come knocking on your door asking for a job. You should focus on hiring people that are qualified for the job but most importantly they need to be motivated and eager to learn and improve as your company grows. This way you will build up a team of people that care about the company and are devoted to its success.

Company culture

A company starts building its culture the very first moment that people start interacting with each other. Therefore if you want to have a positive company culture that will increase employee satisfaction and motivate people to do their best, you need to start working on it early on. If you don’t take action, the culture will develop on its own, and you might not always like the way it is heading. The first step to positive company culture is defining your values. Get people together and talk about what kind of values you want your company to be built on. After you have defined the values of your company make sure they are enforced every day. For those values to continue being part of your company, you need to focus your future hiring efforts towards them and only hire people that share the same values as your company.

Optimization

A big part of building a startup company is optimizing all the different processes within the organization. Optimization is usually focused on the product or service that the company offers; however, optimizing human resource management is just as important. As the company grows so will the number of people working for you and the overall structure of the company will eventually have to change. You need to define proper communication channels within the company and make sure that information from one team to another is shared freely and frequently. Optimizing the payroll process is another good way to increase employee satisfaction as well as save you valuable time. Personalized employee income cardsare a big upgrade as they eliminate paper checks and get rid of unnecessary fees. Small optimizations like this can greatly increase employee satisfaction while also saving you lots of time. 

Building trust

Good leaders devote enough time to get to know their people. Try to actively involve yourself in your employee’s tasks and understand what their daily responsibilities are. At the same time don’t try to micromanage every single thing that they do. Trust is very important for every business, therefore you need to show your employees that you trust them while at the same time make them feel like you are available if they have doubts and need help. Try to say something nice to your employees every day. Recognition is a good way to raise morale by showing people that you value their work.

Startups are usually very dynamic and have to deal with a lot of challenges before eventually calming down into a more stable working environment. Because of that they often lose a lot of talented people along the way and spend an unnecessary amount of time on recruiting new employees. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many simple ways to manage employee satisfaction and these ideas are a good place to start.

 
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