Business

6 Ways to Upgrade Your Business Technology

It’s never been easier to access affordable technology while building a business. But at the same time, it feels like any piece of technology you buy becomes obsolete the second you pay for it. If you’re trying to strengthen your business’s revenue, it’s important to invest your dollars wisely, which means not paying for things you don’t need.

When it comes to tech, though, some things pay off more than others.

Here are six things to put in your budget if you hope to upgrade your technology.

Modernize your website.

As the customer-facing side of your business, your website speaks volumes on your behalf. For that reason, your first priority should be keeping it modern-looking. Even if your site is mobile optimized, you still may be scaring customers away if your design is outdated.

Pay close attention to trends in website design from one year to the next. You can also use a DIY tool like SquareSpace or Weebly, which gives you access to templates that feature the current trends in design.

Simplify.

If you’re working with a potpourri of applications for your small business, you aren’t alone. In fact, many businesses end up assembling a suite of solutions to accomplish their day-to-day goals. But at a certain point, businesses will want to find a way to streamline everything. The sooner you can do that, the better. From the start, try to choose applications that manage multiple tasks through one dashboard, then add on apps that integrate with those solutions.

Update your operating system.

Today, it’s slightly easier to keep your operating system updated on each of your devices. Both Microsoft and Apple push O/S updates to end user devices, as long as they have a machine that can handle the software. Make a point to regularly check each of your devices, including smartphones and tablets, to make sure you’re running the latest version of the operating system.

Even missing a few updates can leave your equipment vulnerable to an attack which, inevitably, puts your entire network at risk. By keeping your software as up-to-date as possible, you may be able to stave off a devastating data breach.

Fax to email.

Yes, you likely occasionally need a fax machine. It may be rarer than in previous decades, but when the request comes through to use a fax — you need to be prepared. Fax-to-email solutions let you receive and send faxes without a dedicated machine taking up valuable space in your office. Not only does this free up space in your own office, but it also lets you send and receive faxes wherever you are.

No more making a special trip to the office to send a fax. You can simply upload a file from your computer and send it, whether you’re working from home or waiting at the airport for your flight.

Lease your copiers.

Instead of buying printers, scanners, and copiers, many businesses opt for all-in-one units. Unfortunately, these can be costly and they quickly become outdated. You can lease an all-in-one and opt to get a new unit every couple of years.

This will keep your biggest piece of office equipment current without having to go shopping every couple of years. This will likely work best once you have multiple employees, though, since you can get an all-in-one desktop printer much more affordably than a corporate-quality copier.

Look into a wireless mesh network.

If your business runs on wireless, you may experience dead spots in certain areas of your office. A wireless mesh network is a way to overcome those issues, giving you more reliable Wi-Fi access at faster speeds than you may get with regular providers. Conduct thorough research into whether this is a better alternative for your own business and call around for the best prices.

You may find that the cost and reliability are better than what you’re already getting. This solution works best for companies that plan to run solely on wireless, rather than relying on a hardwired network.

If you’re interested in improving the tech in your business, there are small things you can do to stay up to date. It’s important to regularly audit your environment and find areas where you might be falling behind. By doing that, you’ll be able to remain competitive and keep both your customers and employees happy.

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Jeremy Webb6 Ways to Upgrade Your Business Technology
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Digital-Marketing Tips for Bootstrapped Startups

You just launched a startup and need to get your brand in front of as many eyes as possible. The problem is you are not just competing in your industry, you are competing with the millions of other marketing messages that consumers are bombarded with every day.

Not only that, your bootstrapped startup does not have the funds to invest heavily into digital marketing. What’s an entrepreneur to do?

Focus On Your Target Audience

When you initially start the marketing of your business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and you just want to reach out to every single person all in one time. But, the most important point is to stay focus on reaching your target audience who have the potential to make your business a success and help it grow.

Rather than you try to grab the attention of your potential clients, zero in on a target part that will assist you in reaching your short-term goals. Maybe this target part is made up of initial adopters, who you feel will buy your product instantly – or they might be a target audience you have knowledge of as to how to communicate with them. Whatever the case is, staying focused will assist you in reaching your target audience more efficiently and it is better to make use of whatever restricted resources you have.

Build Planned Partnerships

Build strong brand partnerships, align with an already established brand this will help your startup in gaining popularity along with credibility. Select a business that you like – ideally a setup which offers complimentary services so you can refer them. Or you can also opt for applying a referral fee on both sides so that there is a financial benefit to both the setups that brings in more business.

Connect And Communicate With Your Followers

Social media is one of the best ways to connect with your followers and to engage with them. Your followers are highly important as they are your future customers. Make your followers feel valuable to you and the brand, so they stick around and become loyal members.

Also never be afraid of the social confrontation, if there is any complaint against your brand take a step forward in solving it, use this as an opportunity to show how capable your brand’s customer service is.

Also do not be afraid of social confrontation, approach any complaint as an opportunity to show your brand’s customer-service capabilities.

Lastly, embrace your failures and stop hiding from them, you are a startup and you are bound to face some problems. Use these hurdles strategically as an opportunity to win over the customers with good customer service and display your business long-term mission as much as possible.

Incentivize Individuals To Share

If you want your brand to be the center of attention, there is nothing more like giving them a motivation to do so. Offer them something that will be free if they just tweet about your service or product or ask them to share your post on Facebook. Or in return for liking all your social media profiles, they will get some special perk.

Another way you can engage and incentivize your followers is a contest. Setup a contest for them, pick the winner and give them an incentive or some prize. You can get creative with how to motivate your customers and incentivize them, the only thing you need to make sure is that there is proper value in for them.

Content Is And Will Be The King

This is one of the long-term strategies, but developing branded quality content is one of the best ways to market your newly launched startup.  If you are working with a team that doesn’t consist of a good content creator, then you can wait for a few months to get more established.

Branded content is a fantastic way to partner your company with the themes that are relevant to your industry, and if you have something that is of value to add to the industry, it can instantly get you established as an expert.

An essential thing you must remember is that your content should be not promotional –don’t just go about writing your business offerings or your company’s services, instead write an article about some issues in the industry and write some considerate analysis and commentary related to it. Another great way to create branded content is by conducting surveys in your industry and then publish the results that are pertinent – the more unique your data is the more attention it will earn.

Take Advantage Of Social Media

One of the most common methods of marketing your brand is by making use of the social media platforms. However, it is important that you make use of the right methods of using social media marketing. You want to ensure that you are not only posting on a regular basis but you are also engaging with your users. You just don’t want your Twitter and Facebook profiles to be streaming with your company’s promotional content.

Instead, you should share content that will engage your users. You want to provide content to your users that is valuable, it’s important that you understand your audience well so that you can give them the right amount of information that is helpful and engaging.

If you feel that your users or followers are more into visual content then focus on platforms like Pinterest or Instagram. If you feel the services you offer can be best described through text info, then develop a powerful presence on Facebook by Buying Real Facebook Photo Post Likes from Digi SMM

Apply For Business Awards

Whether you have started a new service that will make the lives of your customers easy, or you are advertising a product that has never been launched in the market before – getting recognition award from a local business will definitely help you in increasing the credibility of your brand. No award is small, as it only means increased recognition for your business. Getting a local business award will only give your newly launched startup more acceptability.

Let us know about, what marketing strategies you have applied for your startup.

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Jeremy WebbDigital-Marketing Tips for Bootstrapped Startups
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Employee Perks From Incredible Company Cultures

With every new hire, a company welcomes to the team the company’s culture increases in complexity. Of course, there are cultural norms within the company that are unlikely to be impacted by a single person but have culminated with the addition of every previous employee.  Overall, the construction of company culture has a linear relationship to the growth of the team.

The modern workplace has become an experiment in work-life balance as many companies offer perks and benefits that would seem unthinkable only a few decades ago. The benefits packages that attracted your parents and grandparents to their careers are now boilerplate in most companies.

If a tech company today offered a prospective employee only medical, dental, and 2-weeks paid-time-off benefits, the candidate would likely seek greener pastures. How has

The Evolution of Company Culture

The rapid evolution of company culture has exploded recently as job candidates become ever more selective about where and how they want to work. The competition between the tech giants to attract top talent has had an unexpected byproduct of inspiring other companies to follow suit and offer similar employee perks.

Google may be the most notable and recognizable for their efforts to create a workplace that is conducive to productivity with restaurant-quality food, laundry services, child care, on-site massage parlor and much more, entirely free.

Although most companies do not have the budget for the perks and benefits available to the average googler, a lot of companies offer free snacks, quality coffee and espresso machines, work from home opportunities, and even a stocked beer fridge for company happy hours.

Epic Employee Perks

Google is not the only company to gain notoriety for their dedication to building a culture around work-life integration, companies like Zappos, Dropbox and Airbnb are also offering envious perks.

Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos.com, the online shoe retailer that sold to Amazon was a visionary who built a customer-centric company that begins with a dedication to employee satisfaction. Every new employee of Zappos is offered $2,000 to quit, in this way they can eliminate people who are only looking to make a quick buck and not focused on finding a job they love. Every employee from the custodian to the C-Level executives also spends the first two weeks on the customer support phones. This is a great way to inspire a culture of empathy and a customer centricity at every level.

Dropbox is yet another company that has built a company culture that inspires collaboration and team building. One perk at Dropbox is their music room. This fully stocked studio comes complete with instruments for employees to play music which can relieve stress and be a fun way to bond with other people within the company.

A lot of companies offer paid-time-off and support traveling. Airbnb, the largest provider of vacation rentals, provides every employee with a $2,000 budget for vacation travel.

17 Companies with Incredible Employee Benefits

To see more of the amazing perks offered by the companies with the best company cultures, check out this piece from GetVoIP:

Employee Perks from Successful Company Cultures

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Yes, Your Logo Still Matters

Your logo is an extremely important aspect of your business. Not only does it visually represent your brand and your products, but it can tell a story and portray a vision as well. There has been a lot of focus on things like content creation, SEO, and other marketing strategies, but your logo is still as important as ever. It represents your drive for innovation and creates a deeper connection with your audience.

Your Logo

When I look at a logo, I don’t just expect to see a company name in nice colors. I expect to understand what that brand does—what their goals are, what their products are for, and how I fit into the whole picture. Sure, that’s a lot to expect from a simple logo, but it can definitely be done.

Some of the tops brands, like Nike, are prime examples. Nike is all about movement and getting out there and working your body. The swish in their logo says movement to me—it represents the purpose of their brand. You don’t have to be a big-name brand like Nike for your logo to make a statement, though. There are a lot of different brands that understand just how much a logo matters, and they’ve used theirs to tell a story and really connect with their audiences.

Today’s Branding

Today, companies have so many touchpoints with customers across screens and social media platforms, that it might be tempting to skimp on effort when it comes to designing a logo that communicates your mission and story, while also working across multiple screen environments. So many brands, startups especially, don’t want to spend all of their seed funding on devising a logo when they know that they’ll have to churn out multiple images and graphics every day.

But a logo (especially a well-designed one) still reigns supreme. And it is possible to create an impactful logo without going broke. Platforms like Deluxe’s logo-maker are built with small business owners in mind, because the program allows users to add customized elements to tried-and-true designs.

If you’re still tempted to bypass the logo process, take a look at some brands who manage to effectively tell their stories and resonate with audiences through their logo designs; in turn, their logos have become the cornerstones of their companies.

Brands Whose Logos Really Work

Young Living Essential Oils

Young Living Essential Oils is a direct sales company producing essential oils and essential oil-based products. The company was established by a couple who started their own herb farming and distillation operation in the 90s in an effort harness the incredible power of essential oils and make them available to others.

Today, it is a multi-million-dollar company with farms all around the world, and they even allow visitors to come and watch the entire “seed to seal” process. Their logo reflects that process and represents their oils’ purity in the form of an essential oil drop falling from a leaf.

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is a place where families can go and enjoy an entire vacation without ever having to leave the park. They have numerous exhibits where children can see exotic animals in real life, great restaurants, and shopping options where families can take a break and relax. They even offer experiences, like “Animals in Action,” “Early Morning with Pandas,” hosting children’s birthday parties, and more.

Their logo shows just how important a custom font can be to your overall design. The San Diego Zoo’s playful, hand-drawn font is reminiscent of an animal paw print and showcases the zoo’s “wild” vibe.  

FedEx

Everybody is familiar with FedEx. They deliver thousands of packages every day and make sure that shipments arrive at their destination promptly and safely.

Their logo may not seem like much more than their name, but if you look closely, you’ll notice a right-pointing arrow formed between the E and the X in their logo. Like the San Diego Zoo, there is a lot of nuance to this carefully executed font.

The Guild of Food Writers

The Guild of Food Writers is an association established in the United Kingdom in 1984 and made up of food writers and broadcasters in the area. It now has over 400 authors, broadcasters, journalists, and other communications professionals among its members.

The benefits of joining The Guild of Food Writers include access to the online food forum for lively debate, a listing in the Annual Directory of Members, invitations to captivating food workshops, and much more. Their logo cleverly represents both the food and writing aspects of the organization by portraying an ink pen with a spoon inside.

Goodwill

You’re probably familiar with Goodwill, an incredible organization that has made it possible for people to donate gently used (or unused) items to stores where people in need (or who just want a great deal on thrift store trends) can shop and save. The organization is also a major employer of individuals with disabilities, giving back to the community in a variety of ways.

The logo displays their name and appears to have a smiling face up above it. If you look closely, though, you’ll notice the smiling face is actually the same lowercase “g” in the Goodwill font. This brings a human element to the logo and represents the countless people the organization has served through its 115 years.

In Conclusion

Your logo still matters — even more than you might realize. You don’t have to be a big-name brand for your logo to be important, and you don’t have to have some fancy, complex image to tell a story. Looking at some of the examples in this article, you can see that sometimes the simplest ideas can tell the most important stories.

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Jeremy WebbYes, Your Logo Still Matters
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Why Data is Important for a Startups Sales Cycle

“In today’s age, data is the new currency.” For those working in sales, this quote holds dear. A good leader realizes the significance of data in sales. When any product is sold its sales team properly follows the sales cycle and strategies for the very product that has just been sold.

During all this process, data plays a key role in selecting or dismissing any strategy. Let’s try to understand this idea from the point of view of a startups sales cycle — and the role data plays in it. In this article, we discuss how and why data is crucial for any startups sales cycle, and we also provide few tips to enhance and boost your own sales cycle — using analytics.

1. Data is useful for evaluation.

A sales cycle usually starts with finding a lead and their qualifications — then adding more effort — and finally closing the deal. Data helps in narrowing down this process by reducing the unwanted contacts and lets us focus time and energy on those leads who better qualify for conversion.

Using data we can know who is our actual potential lead and thus spread out the sales funnel accordingly. Knowing your target audience is very vital. Researchers and studies help us figure out the most needed and useful statistics.

Let’s say a survey tells us that a particular age group is more oriented towards your product. Your market campaigns and sales content can then be carefully drafted and directed to resonate with the mindset of that particular group (in whatever this groups’ diversity calls for — be it age, location, a particular sport, etc.).

2. Easy to use and inexpensive.

While there is a buzz around cool features offered by the latest technological tools such as analytics, many consider leaving the data option due to the unfortunate misinformation surrounding it. The misinformation is that the data costs too much. There are numerous options available in the market. There are always selections that can be garnered at a price that is much more reasonable than one might imagine.

There are many free tools available that should be taken advantage of. Watch just how much these analytics and data show you. When considering the prices for startup sales cycle the aim is to keep the cost less in the beginning.

Yes, your money is essential for many processes in your business. Investing in data has proven more rewards than the investment cost itself and they are easy to use. With the correct tools, you can make and identify your more favorable leads by category and give these strong “potentials” more time and attention. You can now consider your sales cycle as a key weapon to your company’s growth-hacking.

3. Cut short the long sales cycle.

Often the sales cycles are long and ultimately the success may depends on the closing ability of your salesperson. The sales may even depend on the mood of a customer. For these reasons, there is a concrete argument that a startup’s sales cycle should be short. A new startup cannot afford to have too long of a sales cycle. These long sales cycle often do not give any scope for deviation.

Only when the sales cycles are narrowed to specific set of people interested in buying the product — and verified by data — can the cycle actually be shortened, still guaranteeing a profit.

Data is needed in all stages of a sales cycle and should not be limited to only the beginning nor relegated to the very end. Data can be used to track the inbound leads. The data will study and analyze the reasons behind the last successful or unsuccessful sale. Data provides a holistic view of users’ choice and purchasing decisions.

You want to know exactly why your leads converted — so that you can replicate the process. If someone didn’t convert — competitors don’t seem to be shying away from the usage and help of data. Every organization whether they are a startup or an established business, should consider how they can immediately take hold of data-driven success in their sales cycles.

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Top 5 Things E-commerce Entrepreneurs Find Most Challenging

At some point or other, all entrepreneurs face a fair share of challenges in their business. And when the initiative is e-commerce, things become even more tricky. The world of e-commerce has its unique set of challenges.

When you consider that up to 80% of e-commerce businesses fail, you realize just how unforgiving this industry can be, to the unknowing and the unprepared.

Fortunately, this is an industry of tremendous promise. Global e-commerce spending has risen to over $2 trillion over recent years. Analysts predict it to reach over $4 trillion by the year 2021.

In this write-up, we highlight some of the prominent obstacles that e-commerce entrepreneurs find the most challenging. If they successfully overcome these, the road ahead is relatively easier.

#1: TECHNOLOGICAL DIFFICULTIES

Sometimes the appeal of e-commerce stems from not having to deal with the tribulations of managing physical business premises. Do not be fooled, as the technical difficulties of an online store can be just agonizing.

a) Basic Issues

E-commerce stores constantly have to deal with day to day tech problems.

  • Website speed
  • Maintaining server and support
  • Database limitations
  • Data privacy, security issues, among many more

Technical difficulties are not just a huge annoyance. The slightest technical problem with your site can see you lose scores of potential long-term customers before they have even given your business a fair chance.

A recent Google study has found that 53% of mobile visitors will abandon a webpage if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

This is why e-commerce entrepreneurs should carefully select and sample their service providers. Hosting service and support has to be first grade. 

Having a secure and solid IT support system from the very start helps to run the show smoothly.

b) Lack of Integration between Operational Systems

E-commerce operations deploy data management systems, spanning across multiple departments. If these systems are not properly integrated, it could be a disaster.

Receiving orders, validating the customer details, followed by the physical side of arranging and packing the products and shipping out on time, it is a huge chain.

Every team and process should be streamlined to work in complete sync. 

#2: ATTRACTING AND RETAINING CUSTOMERS

Mastering the sales funnel for e-commerce sites may require a different approach.

a) Attracting the Customers

Getting the attention of potential customers of an e-commerce store differs tremendously to that of physical stores.

These prospects are not going to stumble upon the store by chance while walking along the street or in a shopping mall.

Bringing them to your online store requires a strong marketing strategy, involving several and ever-evolving digital techniques.

It’s important to remember that starting a business is easier but generating leads and customers is most difficult. That’s why the marketing department always remains on its toes.

b) Converting Site Visitors into Sales and Leads

Getting potential leads to a site is only half the battle, with e-commerce conversion rates ranging from 1% to 3%.

An e-commerce site needs strategic design and optimization to hold the interest of the average online consumer and to close the sale.

c) Retaining Customers

There is no dearth of competition. With customers fleeing at the slightest technical or logistical annoyance, e-commerce entrepreneurs must invest in building customer loyalty.

Addressing voice of every customer is very significant.

#3: SECURITY

Security is a big concern that often disturbs online customers.

But as much as the customers are wary of it, e-commerce businesses to want to provide their customers with a foolproof shopping experience. 

Consumer fraud is on the rise in the e-commerce world, with US retailers alone losing $32 billion in 2014 to consumer fraud.

E-commerce entrepreneurs can remedy this through undertaking fraud education and implementing customer and payment verification measures.

Customers should only be asked for details that are essentially required for completing the purchase. Databases should be made robust using the latest technological tools.

#4 CUSTOMER SERVICE

Knowing that 78% of consumers will abandon a transaction because of poor customer service will make you want to pay special attention in this department.

Especially so, when this reality is combined with that of stiff competition in this industry.

a) Lack of Personal Assistance and Personal Contact

This is where e-commerce businesses may be at a disadvantage. They lack the face-to-face contact on which physical stores thrive.

E-commerce businesses need to establish ongoing, open lines of communication with their customers.

b) Personalization in Client Liaison

E-commerce lives on customer interaction that is purely personalized, such as sending on-going personalized emails, addressing support, sharing special offers and schemes.

This needs a lot of care. Modern day customers are smart. If they don’t get personalized attention, they switch.

#5 LOGISTICS OF INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS

Tapping the near and off-shore customers is the new potential in the e-commerce market. But catering to global customers isn’t easy and can be highly challenging.

a) The Legalities and Logistics of a Borderless Economy

Selling and shipping items across various countries can make it tricky to deal with:

  • The varying and complex government regulations on items entering cross borders
  • Managing transactions between with numerous international currencies, all subject to ever-fluctuating exchange rates
  • The accounting and tax management of a “stateless income”

b) Localization and Globalization of Products

Shipping products to an international market certainly do expand the customer reach but it also creates the added operational cost of having to localize products to different markets.

E-commerce stores shipping to international destinations have to find the balance, continually, between localizing and globalizing their products to meet the needs of an international customer.

c) Shipping Logistics

Shipping can be a thorn in the side of both e-commerce customer and business. E-commerce loses billions of dollars each year to shipping returns. The US retail economy alone experienced  $351 billion losses to returns in a single year.

Online shopping has significantly higher item return rates of 30-40%, as compared to 10% return rates of physical stores.

Long shipping times and high shipping costs also repel many potential customers. In fact, surveys show that up to 80% of consumers consider free shipping a major factor in their purchasing decisions.

There are many elements of shipping- such as varying shipping costs, varying shipping laws, and delayed shipping times- that are mostly out of the control of e-commerce businesses.

However, business owners can take measures to implement smarter shipping policies, which reduce these costs to a reasonable extent.

d) Staff Management and Collaboration

The lack of effective staff communication and collaboration is a continual struggle for most businesses.

When multiple geographical locations, a lack of face-to-face contact, language barriers and varying time zones enter into the mix, this does not get any easier to manage.

Final Thoughts –

E-commerce certainly yields well because the products and services have a greater reach. But running it effectively can be a daunting task.

E-commerce businesses continually need to invest in terms of organizing processes and resources. From ensuring a smooth website to delivering a product and inviting customer loyalty, all need efforts.

Regardless of brand popularity, the ability to handle on-going bottlenecks determines its long-term, business success.

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How Being Socially and Environmentally Friendly As a Business Can Be Leveraged

The number of companies that have started to value their impact over profits is growing. This is a huge change from past generations when profits were all that mattered even if it came at the expense of the environment.

Technology has made it possible for things to be shared all over the world in a matter of minutes. This has caused many companies to take a step back to look at how their tactics of making money impact their public perception.

In many cases corporations have done better while being more socially or environmentally friendly as people make their money do the talking. The following are advantages a business can have by being socially or environmentally friendly.

Incredible PR Move

People are much more informed about how businesses operate now than they were in the past. Companies that were using underpaid labor overseas have seen drops in sales once revealed. With smartphone technology the treatment of employees as well as the environment has improved.

Announcing the different social or environmental initiatives the company is taking part is can help improve customer loyalty. Companies that produce something of high quality but also are conscious of the waste they produce should be promoted.

A section in a monthly newsletter about the green initiative might not seem like much but those that care deeply about the environment will take notice.

Listing Your Business as a B Corp

A benefit corporation identity or B Corp simply means that the business goal is to benefit the public in some way. The regular business model is to increase profits year after year. A great B Corp example Giving Assistant listed quotes in their announcement that are values of other B Corporations and are below.

“Businesses should compete not only to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world.”

“All business ought to be conducted as if people and places matter.”

“World business leaders must realize that everyone is dependent on each other for the well-being of our global community and natural resources.”

“A company’s products can and should benefit society in their production, practices, and profit.”

As anyone can see these are not the traditional value statements of businesses. A B Corp also allows a company a form of trust from the public as their final goal is not to profit as much off of the public as possible.

Another great benefit of becoming a benefit corporation is that of attracting top talent. Many of those in the job market are willing to take a lower salary in order to make a real difference. Being able to help the public instead of the bank account of investors in the corporation help reduce stress that usually is present at regular corporations.

Social Media Justice Warriors Will Leave You Alone

The rise of social media allowed people to voice their opinions about things that they might not have any idea about. One of these persistent people with a gripe with a company might point out all of the things that they might not like.

This could be production tactics or even something like how much you pay employees. Taking the green route or one that stresses helping people socially will keep their keyboard warriors away. Make sure that you have an employee that embodies your corporate values working the social media accounts.

People can say hurtful things but the last thing that you want is an employee losing their temper which will reflect poorly on the company.

Doing business the correct way might not always be the best for profits but in the long run will be beneficial to the company. Take a few hours to look at processes to see where you can reduce waste. Often times this is a quick fix that will have little to no impact on production. ​

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Jeremy WebbHow Being Socially and Environmentally Friendly As a Business Can Be Leveraged
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10 Landing Page Growth Hacks Converting Website Visitors to Leads

Most of my readers are business owners who are heavily reliant on their biz websites to generate sales and leads.

I feel really sad whenever I see their websites not converting because of the lousy on page user engagement and conversion rate optimization.

Let me directly start by taking 2 scenarios as references that most of us can relate to.

1st Scenario: How do we generally drive targeted traffic?

Suppose you’re running an Adwords search campaign and bidding $5 on a particular keyword to drive targeted traffic. You’re getting 20 clicks a day and it’s costing you around $100 a day (though the CPC is fluctuating). You’ve passed the hard part of driving super targeted traffic to your landing page. Kudos!

But, the bitter part starts once you look into the insights.

Out of 20 visitors, only one converted and signed-up to your offer. 

You might be okay with that 5% conversion rate, but what happened to those 19 visitors who turned down your offer? Even though they had the same buying intent as the one that converted (all being derived from the same search ad campaign).

2nd Scenario: Why didn’t the remaining 19 visitors convert?

The number of possibilities is endless. But for the sake of this scenario.

Maybe because –

You placed your call to action or lead capture form below the fold at 25% of scrolling. 

Maybe the user landed on your page, scroll down only 20 percent and bounced back. These are the users who never see your call to action or contact form. And why didn’t they scroll down more than 20 percent? 

Because you put a wall of text in the above-the-fold and they didn’t bother to read it at all. They might have filled out your form if they would have seen it by scrolling down the page. 

But they didn’t, period.

There are a ton of other minor and major factors that affect conversions on a landing page. By not optimizing your landing page for conversions, you are leaving a great chunk of money on the table.

So, let’s try to save those $95 by converting more visitors into leads, just by testing & tweaking your existing landing page here and there.

In this post, I won’t exaggerate on general optimization techniques like optimizing page load speed, mobile responsive design, or using catchy images, videos and charts to support your copy.

So without further ado let’s jump right into the real strategies to optimize your on-page user engagement and conversions eventually:

1) Personalized Landing Page

Let me start the list with the best and most advanced tactic for a high converting landing page.

Personalization.

Just log-in to your Amazon account and see how they are nailing it at account level personalization.

They personalize the homepage based on what products you’ve viewed but haven’t bought yet, product suggestions based on your previous purchases. 

You can start small by –

Personalizing based on the source of traffic –

Like if someone landed on your website from ProductHunt.

You can personalize the page saying something like this:

“Hope you have already upvoted us on ProductHunt 🙂 If not, could you please upvote and leave your constructive feedback there. It means a lot to us since we just launched ProductX on ProductHunt.”

Personalize based on geo-targeting –

You might have seen this in many places, especially on hotel booking sites. Mention user’s location on your landing page and say something like – “Book a hotel in Las Vegas”. Or on an e-commerce site – “We ship to Montreal for free”.

Personalization based on previous search history –

Capturing users’ search data (obviously within your website) can be the real gold for you because you’ll know exactly what they are looking for and start suggesting similar or complementary products from the very next page on your website.

A personalized landing page also helps in lowering the cost of PPC ads because you start converting more leads. More conversions result in higher CTR and lower CPC.

The possibilities with personalization are endless. It’s just a matter of your A/B testing based on your industry, offering, and visitors.

2) Navigation Menu

Keep your navigation menu minimal not only on landing pages but on the homepage as well.

In fact, try avoiding the navigation bar altogether on targeted landing pages.

Keep the bar sleek so that it doesn’t capture much of your above-the-fold area. 

Need proof that sleek navigation bar works better? 

Just head over to those high traffic websites like Facebook, Twitter, linkedIn, Amazon and check out how sleek and minimal their navigation bars are. Those are tried and tested on billions of users. 

3) Multi-Step Contact Form

If your lead capture form is long and you need more than 2 or 3 form fields. I advise you to A/B test your contact form by changing it to a multi-step form that captures and stores lead information in short steps.

The guys at CTO on Demand use this technique of multi-step forms to boost their form submissions and convert more leads.

Why it works: Because a long form usually put the visitors off and overwhelm on the first impression.

On the other hand, multi-step forms move users through small steps towards the final submission instead of slapping them with 10 form fields at once.

4) Copy That Converts

Your words have power, use them wisely.

The most persuasive thing that you can put on a landing page is – your text copy.

Don’t go over the board with that old style 10,000+ words sales pages. To me personally, they feel like a bit scammy these days (but it’s always better to A/B test the length of your copy to analyze what’s working and what’s not).

5) Show People’s Face Behind the Company

Be human and sound authentic.

The study shows that web visitors get attracted and influenced by happy human faces. So don’t hide behind your product or offering, and make a human connection with your audience to gain credibility. 

Highrise – a CRM company ran an A/B test on their landing page by putting a smiling picture of one of their clients along their optin-form and saw a whopping 102.5% increase in conversions against their previous version.

6) Strong Call to Action

Those age-old “Click Here” or “Sign Up” call to action buttons are no longer enticing to click. Everyone is losing attention towards those generic and over-used web elements.

7) Above-The-Fold Optimization

Above the fold is the area on your landing page that captures the most eyeballs and holds the highest potential of converting a visitor into a lead.

Keep it simple and make sure your text is concise and adds value. No one wants to see a wall of text right on the first view of the page.

A value-packed punch line with a call to action and some trust signals are all you need in the above-the-fold area for higher conversions. 

Remember: Less is more in the above-the fold.

8) Gain Trust

When you drive cold but targeted traffic to your landing pages, most of them are first-time visitors who haven’t heard of your brand before. So, it’s your job to leave a lasting and trustworthy impression on them.

Think like a consumer, what are some of the trust signals that usually influence you in making a purchase or hand over your contact information.

Reviews and ratings that you get on your website or on some other platform, press mentions, business partners, guarantee seals etc., are some of the trust signals that influence user behavior on web pages.

9) Testimonials that Boost Conversions

It’s easier to add marketing claims with buzz words like reliable, trusted and smart on your landing page.

But backing these claims with evidence is where the conversion is hidden.

As I already mentioned before, people are getting web blind to certain generic elements that are being abused everywhere and the same applies to these empty claims.

So, instead of relying on these meaningless marketing claims, let your previous customers do all the talking for you. Grab some enticing testimonials along with their happy photos. And voila! You are ready to A/B test the results.

10) Precise Grammar

Sometimes a small mistake is enough to turn off a converting visitor.

Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, grammatical errors can easily take away from your website’s credibility.

Just take care of your visitor engagement and you’ll see your conversion rate grow day by day. Keep doing A/B tests and implement what’s working in your favor.

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Jeremy Webb10 Landing Page Growth Hacks Converting Website Visitors to Leads
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7 Ways Laws Can Avoid Killing Startups

The great Sir William Blackstone was an English jurist and professor who produced the historical treatise on the common law called Commentaries on the Laws of England. He once said that, “the law, which restrains a man from doing mischief to his fellow citizens, though it diminishes the natural, increases the civil liberty of mankind.”

What this means is that the purpose of the law is to help a society remain fair and just. For a city to become great and startup-friendly, it must maintain a legal environment that facilitates innovation and disruption.

1. Signaled Stability from Legislators

Having elected officials who signal a stable environment that is conducive to business is paramount to a successful startup city. An example of this would be when Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona made public and written statements that Uber and Lyft could safely operate in Phoenix without being hassled by burdensome rules and regulations.

For innovation to happen, innovators need to know that their products or services will be respected by the law and not hindered.

Elected officials can have “business freedom tours”, meet with CEOS of high job, revenue, and growth companies. Not only that, meeting with Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, and Incubators can help encourage growth and innovation within the city. 

2. A Consistent Government

Having a government and legislature that is consistent, is also crucial to creating a city that is startup-friendly.

If a government fluctuates between massive regulation and open freedom, it’s hard for the startup to determine if it will be hammered or helped by the government.

In other words, minor deviations are fine and the expected norm of society, but there needs to be a general consensus in the government if it will support startups or not. If a city really wants to create the startup culture, then it needs to recognize the role of government, which is to maintain fairness in the marketplace and enforce contracts, not pick winners or losers among companies.

3. Rethink Non-compete Agreements

Perhaps one of the most limiting factors in startups and innovation are non-compete agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and non-circumvention agreements.

Yes, these all can be viewed as good, from the perspective of the employer. Taken from the perspective of the consumer and marketplace, these are bad.

And yes, every big company has these, and that’s a problem. Many entrepreneurs have fantastic industry experience that they can leverage to create new companies, but are restricted because of these agreements. Remember, the point of these agreements it not to serve the public, it is to protect the company.

Barriers put up by these agreements can be reduced by making changes to existing laws and employment agreements. A better way to increase innovation and reduce competition is to create a company and workplace that fosters these two things, while creating the proper incentives that motivate people to stay, instead of go off and build their own companies.

4. Reduce Professional and Occupational Licensing

Before you cry out, “what about public safety?!”, consider the following. The purpose of licensing is to protect the profession by limiting the number of folks within the profession. This translates to higher wages for those within.

Sure, licensing and registration can be great if you’re already within the profession. But for those starting out, entrepreneurs, and low-income people, these arbitrary licensing agreements are disastrous, preventing good people from getting into the marketplace.

This isn’t a Republican or Democrat thing. This is back to the idea that if a city wants to cosmic growth and an environment that creates startups and innovation, it has to make the hard choices that actually facilitate this.

If you want innovation in the areas most precious to people’s lives such as healthcare, education, government, and energy, then the barriers to entry must be reduced.

5. Create a Regulatory Hiatus

Lastly, moving, operating, and growing companies is difficult in itself. If a city wants to market itself as the place to be for startups, it needs to create a 12-month regulatory hiatus so that transplants can adjust and build a foundation. 

Even better, lower the amount of rules, regulations, and taxes enough that a hiatus isn’t necessary, so that regulations don’t hinder small businesses.

6. Streamlined Approvals and Guidelines

Rules are tough to follow and laws are difficult to ascertain. If you don’t believe me, spend 10 minutes trying to understand your state statutes.

First, make the guidelines, rules, and processes as simple as possible. This means eliminate paperwork. Make everything able to be done online, quickly, and cheaply. 

Don’t put people on hold, don’t force entrepreneurs to go in-person, and don’t make it take forever to get something approved.

Second, things like land-use and zoning regulations are often reported as big concerns for entrepreneurs. Part of this is because many entrepreneurs start their businesses from their homes (to save money). A starting point would be to have zoning be as local as possible with clear and transparent guidelines as to what it takes for approval, with a quick-decision at the end of it.

Think about it this way, difficult and long waiting times are in many ways a de facto rejection and denial to do business, because entrepreneurs are forced to float cash, postpone ideas, and delay customers.

7. Smart Traffic Laws

In 2013 traffic congestion cost Americans $124 billion in direct and indirect losses, this number will rise to $186 billion in 2030. Evaluating both direct and indirect costs, the study found that in 2013, $78 billion resulted from time and fuel wasted in traffic (direct costs) and $45 billion was the sum of indirect costs businesses passed onto American consumers.

This is bad. Real bad.

The purpose of roadways is to create a conducive way to travel. This means that commuting is efficient, safe, and common-sense. Laws increase speed limits, enforcing “stay right to pass“, and penalizing bad drivers should be enforced.

One of the worst things a city can do, politics aside, is remove 1 lane from traffic during peak hours of house (morning & evening). Basic economics would tell you that if you take away one lane during the busiest time of day, you’ll have worse traffic. We’ve all been on the freeway, bumper to bumper, while the HOV or carpool lane is wide open. This is crazy.

Cities should be concerned with how to most quickly get people to and from work safely and efficiently. The metric should be commute-time.

Your Next Steps

Be involved, get to know your elected officials. Spend the time reading and understanding what is behind somebody’s politics and what political decisions actually help startups. 

When a city decides to be a home to startups or not, there are laws associated with this. Be smart, be aware, and be an advocate for your startup community.

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Using Advanced Warehouse Management Systems

Warehouse operations need to evolve regularly to meet the varying market conditions and customer expectations. Imbibing industry’s best practices of warehousing and being innovative with operations management that suits the nature of business ensure dynamic market performance and customer satisfaction.

A cutting-edge warehouse management solution helps enterprises automate warehouse processes, function efficiently, keep the operational costs low and save time and money. Unless the WMS brings breakthrough results in the current warehouse management system, while being flexible to accommodate market scenarios and best practices across the industries, it may not produce much value to an enterprise.

Uniware, a cloud-based WMS fits all kinds of businesses irrespective of their size and nature of the trade. It is effortlessly scalable and requires considerably low investment.

As warehouse operations are an integral part of supply chain management, it defines how a business is run and affects profits margins.

Here’s how an efficient WMS contributes to business productivity.

  • Synchronises online and offline orders

The WMS that synchronizes orders across all the sales channels effectually impacts the order fulfillment cycle time. The feature assures every order is registered and processed in time. 

  • Automates order allocation

Once the orders are centralized, the warehouse system automatically allocates the orders to nearest warehouse for fulfillment. The automated procedure of order management increases the operational productivity and curbs likely order processing mistakes.

  • Integrates logistics function

The pre-integration of shipping providers eases the order allotment for dispatch. The automatic feature picks the best-suited logistics partner to ship the order and assigns the order delivery. The order dispatched from the warehouse facility is trackable in real-time so that you have better control over the process.

  • Automates inventory replenishment

The warehouse automation tool centralizes the inventory across multiple locations and manages it efficiently. The optimum stock level and replenishment threshold are entirely automated saving lots of time on inventory management.

  • Manages purchase orders

The WMS sends automated purchase orders unless the manual override is necessary. The PO details are promptly tracked and updated in the system. The automation of stock replenishment and PO release ensures steady stock availability and visibility across sales channels and avoid overstocking or stockouts. Prints bulk invoices, labels and manifests

An up-to-date warehouse management solution does not lose time in carrying out the routine, yet the necessary function of printing invoices, labels, and manifests. It prints bulk invoices including current tax calculations, generates proper invoice serials, and dispatches a copy to respective marketplaces. The quickest and bulk printing of manifests, labels, and invoices speeds up the order fulfillment cycle.

  • Integrates barcode scanning

Integration with RFID barcode scanning elevates the productivity of warehouse floor workforce and affects the entire warehouse operations positively. The zone/bin allotment for put away stock is carried out systematically. The aged inventory is detected in time and moved swiftly. This process ensures the warehouse space is optimally utilized.

The handheld barcode scanners enable the order locating process simpler and quicker. They uncomplicate the regular stock audits so that you plan the inventory rotation more efficiently.

  • Dispatches orders in bulk

The imbibed advanced features of automated order allotment, bulk printing of invoices, labels, and manifests and using of barcode scanners for locating orders increases the operational capacity to handle bulk order dispatch in the most efficient way.

  • Effortlessly manages order returns

Since the automated WMS upscales the operational competencies, both order fulfillment and order returns are handled effortlessly.

Unicommerce’s warehouse management solution works intelligently to sort the type of returns, whether it is warehouse return or a return to the point of origin along with product details. The WMS integrates with accounting ERP and vendor accounts to update the returns details in the respective systems.

  • Integrates with other ERPs

Flawless integration with existing ERPs is mandatory for a new-age WMS. Seamless integration with sales, and accounting software platforms ensure smooth flow of information and accurate understanding of business operations.

The Uniware – WMS fits both B2B and B2C businesses. The seamless integration with systems, vendors, processes, and end-to-end automation of warehouse operations makes the tool superlative in warehouse management arena.

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Jeremy WebbUsing Advanced Warehouse Management Systems
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