4 mobile marketing tips for businesses

4 mobile marketing tips for businesses

In today’s society of instant gratification, people have short attention spans. They want to have everything accessible at their fingertips via smartphones and tablets. For businesses with an online presence, this is either a new opportunity – or a missed one. Establishing mobile strategies to target smartphone addicts can give you an edge over competitors […]

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Email tip: Better subject lines

Email tip: Better subject lines

Communication is one of the most essential components of business, and one of the main ways many companies and customers communicate is through email. One of the most important elements of the email is the part that many people either struggle with or ignore – the subject line. If you don’t write strong or appropriate […]

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Define A/B testing

Define A/B testing

When it comes to adding value to your business and the products or services you offer, you often need to carry out research. From the marketing to the actual products themselves, it can be hard to figure out what your customers will respond positively to. For many companies, the answers come from conducting tests, with […]

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Who Says Facebook is Bad for Business?

Who Says Facebook is Bad for Business?

The knee-jerk reaction to Facebook of most businesses is to throw it out the door. But many companies also need to realize the value of using a massive social networking platform like Facebook to help the business grow and put itself out in the market more. When it comes to Facebook, the usual default attitude […]

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IT Support—It’s Really Business Support

IT Support—It’s Really Business Support

Are you investing in IT to win — or just to keep up? Many, if not most, companies use IT as a tool, and in doing so they tend to focus on its cost. A better approach is to consider it a strategic asset. Doing so can differentiate your company and increase your profits. Differentiate your company and increase your profits — with IT It’s easy to think of IT as a tool that comes with a cost — but doing so is a big mistake. That’s because IT, when used properly, can be a strategic asset. It can make your information more accurate, improve your employees’ response time, and even differentiate your company in the marketplace. To make IT a strategic asset as opposed to a tool, it needs to add value. To determine where to make improvement, you’ll want to look at your value chain, which includes all the activities your business performs, and ask which ones earn profits. For example, if you’re a manufacturer, better IT could result in more efficient supply purchasing. If you’re a retailer, better IT could result in fewer units needing after-sales service and repair. Focus on improving IT in those areas and you’ll likely improve profits. An added benefit of this exercise: The use of IT in a new way may create even more opportunities for your company. For example, the Internet allowed Apple to invent iTunes, and now mp3 downloads have overtaken CD sales. Even small businesses can experience this. Case in point: The invention of iTunes has given many startup software companies a distribution channel for apps that otherwise may not have been invented. But the idea doesn’t have to be visionary in this way: YourLittleFilm.com, a small business that creates custom short films, used customer relationship management (CRM) software to help follow up on business leads , and got a 10 percent response rate. How and where you add value with IT developments will depend on your business model. There is little point, for example, in automating production if your customers cherish hand-made products. However, you might find that investing in a CRM system might give you a more efficient way to track your customers’ preferences and provide them with a more personalized service. Using your IT as a strategic asset gives you tools to manage clients worldwide, increases your visibility, and lets you compete with much larger players. Contact us to find out how you can use technology to gain an edge.

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Calculating Your IT’s Real Cost

Calculating Your IT’s Real Cost

Hidden IT costs can be stifling your company and you just don’t know it. It’s important to assess what those costs are and find a way to help your business perform better. In this day and age, few businesses (if any) can survive without an IT arm. Every business, big or small, needs someone, or preferably a group of people, on hand to fix computer problems, check networks, monitor software – to generally make sure that their operations are running smoothly. One question, though: have you ever stopped to consider whether the cost of maintaining your in-house IT system is worth it? For instance, consider your internet connection. Let’s say that a conservative estimate of the efficiency of your business without an internet connection is at 50%. And if your business makes a $1 million a year, then $500,000 depends on your internet connection. If your monthly bill for that connection is $500, or $6,000 annually, you earn $500,000 – $6,000 = $494,000. Now, if you decide to switch to a cheaper DSL connection, which is about $50 per month or $480 a year, you get a much higher figure: $499,520. You could argue that the DSL is the wiser option, but when you look at a deeper level, a slower internet connection may also hamper your company’s productivity – let’s say, by 10%. So with only a DSL connection, your business operates at 90% of its total possible productivity. Considering the previous figures, a loss of 10% in productivity means a loss of $100,000. Subtract that savings from the DSL connection, $5,520 – you get a whopping loss of $94,480. So when you think you’re saving by getting a cheaper internet connection, you are actually losing more money. Inversely, if you subscribe to an even better connection that costs you $10,000, productivity can increase by $15,000. The same principle applies when your IT infrastructure is not up to date, with slow computers, outdated software, and other problems. In a company with 10 employees who bring in an annual average of $65,000 each, even losing productivity for just 35 minutes a day due to IT handicaps can cost you $47,000. Hardly chump change! But hiring an IT provider who charges $20,000 a year can offset that lost productivity and even make your business run better, by as much as $27,000. It’s also noteworthy to mention that employing an IT firm can count as a legitimate business expense, thereby lowering your tax liability to about $8,000 if you peg corporate tax at 40%. IT is important to a business. If you doubt that, just try doing without it for a week – just shut the whole thing down. For most, that’s out of the question, but operating with old software and hardware is almost just as bad. However, many businesses cannot spare the resources to continually upgrade their IT systems. Enlisting the services of an IT firm changes all that. IT Service Providers are constantly on the lookout for better technologies – both hardware and software – that can make your business function much more efficiently and cost effectively. It’s what they do. And the costs are minimal. If you’re wondering how much better your company might operate with an IT Service Provider, we’ll be happy to sit down with you and run some numbers.

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Coming Soon: More Business-class Smartphones

Coming Soon: More Business-class Smartphones

Hold on to your mobile devices: IDC predicts 20.9% growth in smartphone sales from 2009 through 2013. Symbian and Research In Motion (RIM) remain the market leaders, but you can be sure that competition will intensify with giants Microsoft , Google and Apple in the mix. A few weeks ago, Microsoft announced the release of Windows Mobile 7 , officially named Windows Phone. The announcement, made at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, came soon after the debut of Apple’s iPad. Early hardware partners were announced, including Dell, Garmin-Asus, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and HP. While hesitant to give any specific dates, Microsoft says to expect Windows Phone handsets to hit the shelves “in time for the Holiday season of 2010.″ Business users will find the ”Office” particularly interesting: a center where users can access Office, Outlook, OneNote, and SharePoint Workspace on their mobile device. A feature called the “Marketplace” will also be useful, allowing you to easily find and download certified applications and games. Meanwhile, news has been circulating recently on websites such as The Wall Street Journal , Mashable and VentureBeat about Google’s plans to sell third-party software for its Android mobile platform. While an app store for their smartphone OS has existed for some time, many have criticized it for not being business ready, with its lack of a more stringent review and vetting process for apps. However, all that’s expected to change with the launch of a new app store completely filtered for business-ready apps . You can be sure that Symbian, through its sponsor Nokia, is not taking all of this sitting down. Soon, you’ll be able to download the popular VoIP product, Skype, for free from Nokia’s Ovi Store . The app will work over a Wi-Fi or mobile data connection – GPRS, EDGE, and 3G – and you’ll be able to call, instant message, text message, share photos and videos, receive alerts when your contacts are online, and import a phone’s address book. Not to be left behind, RIM also made a recent announcement of its plans to develop a new browser for its Blackberry products. Many have felt that the company’s products has been outperformed by the competition in terms of its web capabilities and UI. With this announcement, it’s believed that the Blackberry will finally have support for websites with AJAX, CSS, and HTML5, although no mention of flash was made. It’s truly exciting times for mobile device users. If you spend your day connected to customers, partners, and employees, you can see the value in these capabilities, with even more useful useful devices that really help you stay in touch and work on the go.

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More SMBs Using the Internet to Promote their Business

More SMBs Using the Internet to Promote their Business

A recent study by the Kelsey Group reveals that more small and midsized businesses are using digital media, specially the Internet, to promote or advertise their business. Their study , conducted with research partner ConStat, indicates that the penetration of digital/online media increased from 73 percent in August 2008 to 77 percent in August 2009, while that of traditional media such as TV, radio, and print decreased from 74 percent to 69 percent during the same period. This is a clear indicator that the Internet has become an important source for many businesses to generate and manage their business. Potential business can come anywhere – from their website, queries in search engines, online ads, and lately even social networking sites. According to the study, for businesses that track lead sources, the percentage that does so using the Internet has increased from 22 percent in 2008 to 30 percent in 2009. Although the Internet can often be a scary for many SMB’s and their prospects place with threats such as spam, malware, phising, and more, this study reveals that it is still a source of tremendous value for those who know how to use it effectively. Related Information: If you’re a Microsoft Partner you can access my 5W50 Webinar “Building Your Online Marketing Engine” If you’d like a copy of the presentation don’t hesitate to drop me an email and request it Online Media Ad/Promo Use Eclipses Traditional Among SMBs

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7 BIG Business Secrets to Increase Your SMALL Business

Whether the economy is up or down, no matter what is happening in the world, most small business owner’s work hard anyway. It’s never been easy to start a business, nurture its growth and succeed in any line of business. It’s competitive, more so in some industries than others, but every butcher, baker, candlestick maker or software developer started the same way – small. There are an astronomical number of variables that are involved in any business success, certainly, but there are also some truisms that seem to apply always and everywhere. The primary ingredient in success, of course, is not genius, creativity, a college education or a lot of working capital. The key is persistence, pure and simple. Read more at SB Informer…

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