Promoting Your Online Business To The Outside World

The internet can be an all-consuming thing, particularly if your business is online-only. It can be easy to forget that there’s a whole world out there, and it’s filled with potential customers. Being able to promote your business effectively will help you to reach new clients and generate more income from your business. To do this, you’ll need an effective marketing strategy. Find out more about promoting your business to the outside world with the useful tips below.

 

Use traditional advertising methods

If you run an online business, it’s likely that your customers are global, not local. However, there is a lot of value in working with people in your local area to help you build some face to face relationships or even establish a premises for your business. Adopt the marketing tools of local business owners and find a way to connect with them. Advertising locally, through billboards or advertisements in the newspaper can help you to spread the word about your services and start building relationships with people in the local area.

Use PR to tell your story

Communities love a local success story, and if your online business has a good story to tell – make sure you share it. Getting press coverage for your business may not be as difficult as you think, and it’s a great way for local people to make a connection with your business and get directed to your services.

Network

 

Networking is important for businesses, especially if you want to connect with other businesses in a specific area. Attend trade or network events and start talking to people about your services and what you can offer. Having something they can take away with them with your contact details is important, so think of some promotional items that people can take as a way to remember you. You could try button badges to promote your message, which is great for events where children are present or try other promotional giveaways that are more interesting than your typical business card. Make sure that your business website is present on all materials to help it stick in people’s minds.

Go local with your social media channels

Your social media channels are great for communicating with people on a global level, but they are a fantastic way to build relationships with local customers and businesses. Start including posts that have a local angle to show that you’re a part of the community. You can also use Facebook ads to market locally and include special offers for people in your local area. You might find that concentrating your marketing budget locally could generate more income than focusing on a wider area.

 

While marketing your website online is a great way to find customers, and once you’ve mastered the basics of promoting your business through social media, you can start to turn your attentions elsewhere. While many people spend a large portion of their day online, remember that there are other ways to promote your online business that can help you increase your visibility to the outside world.

 

How To Bounce Back After A Social Media Disaster

With great power comes great responsibility, a saying which is very apt when it comes to social media. Facebook, Twitter and the ever-growing list of popular channels have swiftly moved on from individual users to become a free, widespread tool to connect with consumers. Get it right, and your profits will see a huge increase. If you get it wrong, your reputation could crumble before you. However, contrary to popular belief, a social media disaster doesn’t need to spell the end for your business. It is possible to bounce back, and below you’ll find some life-saving advice, should you ever need it.

How bad is the damage?

Like earthquakes, there’s a scale of impact when it comes to social media disasters. A silly typo, while enough to generate some sort of reaction online, is not as bad as an ill-timed comment or outright offensive post. If an incorrect post is down to human error, such as a well-meaning employee confusing their personal account with the business’, this can usually be rectified by explaining the situation. Plenty of people have been there before, and they will understand. Larger errors in judgement, however, will require some more careful thought to put right.

Avoid knee-jerk reactions

Social media is an immediate and ongoing phenomenon. While you might think that a quick reaction is the best course of action, thinking carefully and taking your time to create the right response will have a better pay off. 2017 has already witnessed some spectacular social media fails, and you can learn a lot by seeing how different organisations dealt with the aftermath. By reacting too quickly, you could end up making the situation worse, sending your mistake viral for all the wrong reasons. Get your best thinkers together and decide how to put the situation right.

Be honest

Honesty is the best policy when it comes to a social media disaster. If you were hacked (a situation that is easy to recover from), then say so, but don’t lie about it if that wasn’t the case. People will respect and appreciate your honesty, and there’s a lot to be said about businesses that own up to their mistakes. If it’s appropriate, make light of it, but in many cases, a straightforward apology will do the trick.

Protect yourself from damage

A potential PR disaster should be enough to alert you to the need for better social media policies for your business to prevent them happening again. Making sure that everyone responsible for your social media adheres to these guidelines and putting checks in place will help add that extra level of security and could protect your business in the future. It also makes sense to ensure that you’ve got legal protection on your side in case things take a more formal turn. When checking business insurance quotes online, assess whether their policies will cover you against these issues to give you and your colleagues peace of mind. The cost and resource involved in putting safeguards in place will seem like a small price to pay versus the financial and reputational cost involved in putting out PR fires.

 

Helping your business to succeed through social media requires determination and plenty of common sense. Learning the fundamentals will put you in a better position to avoid making a wrong move and keeping your business’ reputation intact. Bookmark this page as a handy point of reference should a social media disaster strike your business.

Getting Your Business Out of A Drought

It happens to every business at some point or another, everything will grind to a halt and the future will look bleak. It’s hard to know what to do when this happens to your business, but there are some things that you can do to get your business going successfully again, so long as the market that you deal in hasn’t gone bust!

 

Get A New Brand

Your branding is an incredibly important part of your business, and it’s importance should not be understated. Your brand is how customers and other businesses perceive your company, it’s the first thing they’re going to see when they look upon your business and so it has to be good in order to draw people in. If your business is going through a dry patch then getting your brand redesigned is definitely the way to go. You can hire them off websites such as toptal.com, these freelance designers are able to give you the look that you want for your business, meaning that you can get back on the success ladder again because people are interested in your business!

 

Cash Injection

Businesses are about making cash, and if your business isn’t making you any then you know you’re doing something wrong! However, there are a few ways you can dump money into your business to start expanding and growing it to get it on it’s feet again. You have 2 options; you could either get a loan from websites like smallbusinessloans.co or you could get investors. A loan is obviously a loan, you get money and you have to pay it back over a certain amount of time, but investors are different. They may give you money to fuel competition between you and one of their competitors, or they might ask for a certain amount of your profits, maybe even a trade deal. If you can get a good investor then definitely jump on the chance to, you’ve just got to keep your eyes peeled!

 

Create New Products

If your business is faltering it could be because no one is after your products, so the way around this problem is to make new ones! Your products will be the problem 99% of the time, so we have to address this. If they’re not selling, ask yourself why? What flaws are there with your products? If you can fix them then by all means do, but a lot of the time it’s going to take something new, interesting and useful to get yourself back on the market, so have a good analysis of your business before you do anything!

Doing all of these things are guaranteed to get you out of a difficult spot. If you manage to get an investor to get money into your business you can focus on growth and expansion which will get the ball rolling again, getting a new brand will help attract new people to your business and so will introducing new products and services! Another important thing for you to remember to use is social media, so read this to find out how to make the best use of it.

 

Using Old Planning Methods To Produce Modern Website Success

Planning is essential for the efficient running of any business. From the moment you have your idea, you should turn to this stationary fuelled problem solver. In truth, proper planning is the only real path to success. There should be no such thing as leaving it to chance with your company. Instead, you need to know what’s happening, and when. You need to plan out profit margins, marketing campaigns, and much more.

 

When it comes to your company’s website, planning should be just as important as ever. Sure, these modern methods may not seem like they would need the old planning touch. But, don’t fix what isn’t broken. By turning to the planning methods you know and love, you can ensure your website runs as smooth as possible. To get you off on the right footing, we’re going to look at a few of the steps you should consider.

Highlight hosting companies

As with any plan, you need to start at the beginning. And, the first step to starting any website is to find a hosting company which serves your purpose. To make this job easier, you could head to another website for web hosting comparisons. This is a fantastic way to metaphorically highlight the best contenders, as it allows you to compare options side by side. Or, you could ask for recommendations from a friend. Instead of jumping in with the first host, jot down your choices, and try to whittle it down to the best one.

 

 

When attempting to distinguish the best from the worst, consider everything from pricing to cloud capabilities. If it helps, draw up a pro and con list. Let’s be honest; they’re the planning staple which so often saves the day!

Brainstorm domain names

Ahh, the good old brainstorming session. It’s how some of the best business decisions are reached. And, it still has a place in your modern methods. Your domain name is essential for your success. For the most part, you’ll pay a yearly fee for the use of said name. Plus, once you get established with one name, it would do real damage to change. So, you want to make sure you get this right before you go ahead. So, get out that whiteboard, and discuss ideas with your team. As above, write down all the options. Then, narrow them down through a process of elimination.

 

 

Sketch out your design

Many a fantastic idea has come out of the idle sketches drawn during a planning session. So, when it comes to your website design, this may be the best way to go. Have a little fun, and draw out a few different options. Seeing them in physical form will help you decide whether they’re workable ideas. To inspire yourself, visit a few competitor’s sites, and sketch features you like. Then, find ways to incorporate these methods into a style which is unique to your company. Once you’re finished, pin these sketches somewhere visible, and give yourself time to decide a favorite!

Are You Paying Enough Attention To Client And Customer Opinion?

The answer is more than likely no. After all, why would you be? If anyone has an issue with your business, it’s not your fault, it’s theres. They can choose whether they want to buy your product or use your business. If they don’t, good riddance. One customer will not make or break a business. One customer will not determine whether a company is a success. But let’s stop right there because you have to remember that when it comes to client opinion, it’s never just one customer.

 

Did you know that 88 percent of customers online have admitted to being swayed on whether or not to buy a product by a negative review? Just think about how many sales you could be losing with that rather scary statistic. It could even be the reason why you business has failed to reach it’s maximum potential on the market. So yes, customer and client opinions are important. You need to listen to them, understand their issues and do what you can to resolve them. It won’t always be bad news, but you can’t bury your head in the sand when it is.

 

Open The Channels

The first step you must take is to make sure that your customers and clients know that you welcome their reviews, feedback and yes criticism. Every company should be willing to do this and should not shy away from the possibility of negative opinions. Indeed, businesses that open up channels in this way often have more positive customer reviews online. That’s certainly true for businesses like Peninsula. Peninsula business reviews are often extremely positive, and the company has determined it’s their encouragement of reviews that has lead to this reaction. They are not the only ones. Plenty of other businesses who have embraced reviews have reaped great benefits.

 

Is The Customer Always Right?

It’s fair to say that these days customers can complain, name and shame anything they want. Often, they have loud enough voices online to reach business owners like you. But should you always bend to their will? Is the customer really always right? You may have to start judging their complaints on a case by case benefit. Otherwise, you might find that customers have more power over how your business is run than you do. In a way that might make sense as surely, they know best what they want from your business.

 

Responding

There are two ways to respond to bad business reviews. You can respond directly to the individual who has put forward the complaint. Or, you can look for trends in negative reviews of your business and change the company accordingly. It depends on the situation. If you think one bad review is having a serious impact, it might be best to offer a direct response and reduce the damage.

You should be able to see now why it’s important to pay more attention to customer reviews and ensure that they do not damage your business.

Digitally Enhance Your Working Life

Many things are done online or via technology these days. As technology advances the more we find that software, the internet, and computers are doing things for us and making things easier and convenient. However, we can often forget to utilise such things during our working lives. Whether we are running a business, a department, or are part of a bigger organisation, there are certain ways you can digitally enhance your working life. I thought I would share with you some of the ways it can help you with your workload or with the running of your business empire.

 

 

Scheduling tools

Keeping on top of every work task you have can be overwhelming, especially if you have a lot of platforms to be using or systems to keep track of. So scheduling tools can make life simple by allowing you to time block work tasks. Here are some of the areas where a scheduling tool could digitally enhance your working life.

 

Social Media

Social media can be exhausting, but for many businesses, whether that is just you or a whole team of people, social media is a vital way to advertise and market your company. However, with the introduction of different social media platforms and ways you can promote on their with words, visuals or video, it can be hard to keep up and be ever present on them all. Which is why a scheduling tool could really help. Enabling you to write updates and share content for the day ahead, the week or even the month if you are organised. There are many websites online that will help you do that.

 

Blog content

Many companies have blogs these days, but again it can be hard to schedule in content and keep it consistent. There are many websites, even software at the back end of your blog, that can help you to create editorial calendars and schedule in blog posts to publish in the future.

 

Online calendars synced with email

It can be hard to keep track of appointments and meetings you have, so a calendar synced with your email can take some of the hard work away. Appointments made could be transferred to your calendar instantly, and your calendar could even be linked with other employees or partners to help you keep in line.

 

 

Software to keep contracts and leases in one place

When you work for yourself, it can be hard to keep all contracts and leases in one place. Of course, you could have a paper filing system, but often, being out and about, you may want to access this information quickly. Thankfully, there is software out there that can help you do this digitally. Websites like http://symfact.com could help and have an abundance of information all about it. Being able to access things instantly is what this world is all about these days, so there is no surprise that this should be reflected in your working life.

 

Applications to make life much easier

With the introduction of smartphones some years ago, the increase in popularity for applications is rising on a daily basis. There is an app for most things these days, and using them to digitally enhance your working life is a productive way to use them.

 

Social media apps

As mentioned earlier, social media is ever more present with businesses these days, and having an application on your phone means you can constantly be in touch with your audience on the go. The commute into town means you can reply to comments on the go. The lunch break means you are keeping up to date with the latest trends.

 

Appointment trackers

If making appointments and keeping on top of things is part of your working day, then an application to help track your appointments, where you are and times, can really help you to be more time managed and productive throughout the day. A lot of the time these applications can be synced to emails, other calendars and even other people. Websites like https://zapier.com have a lot of information about using them.

 

Contacts

Finally, having your contacts in your phone is one thing, but we all know that this can be one big long list of anyone you have exchanged numbers with, both personal and for business. So applications specific for work contacts or for personal use is a great way to keep in check of the numbers you need. Furthermore, you can add social media links, emails, etc. So that you are never out of touch with your business colleagues and clients.

 

I hope these ideas help you to digitally enhance your working life.

Breaking Down (Fire) Walls: How Businesses Should Deal With Hackers

 

With credit card details, sensitive information and access to personal computers up for grabs, hacking is big business. Indeed, more than one trillion of intellectual property is thought to be stolen year upon year. If you are a small business, you can’t afford to let this happen. The key is to fight back and stop the digital thieves in their path. Of course, it is easier to say than do because hackers are relentless and talented individuals. Thankfully, it isn’t impossible if you have access to the right information. Here’s how to deal with hackers and prevent from being a threat.

Assess Your Needs

It is all well and good investing in antivirus software, but it might not mean anything. The reason is there are numerous ways for a thief to gain access to your server, and AVG’s free trial might not cover every base. Therefore, it is essential to analyse the needs of the company before you make any investment decisions. For example, does the staff require access to the server? If so, employee training is crucial to teach them about the dos and don’ts. Or, do you store data in the cloud? Okay, make sure the supplier takes security as seriously as you.

Create And Update Security Plan

A study by AVG found a shocking 52% of small businesses didn’t have a security plan. In essence, this means half of all SMEs are at the mercy of hackers. In simple terms, your plan is how you make the company secure in the first place. Without a detailed set of rules and regulations, there is no strategy. Plus, there is no way to implement it throughout the whole business. Once you have one in place, it is vital that you update it once every couple of months. The industry changes and you have to adapt or else you could die out.

 

Work With Professionals

The first port of call is a security expert with years of experience and a strong knowledge of the subject. With their skills, your IT team should be able to prevent a hack from occurring altogether. However, it isn’t only security professionals you need to hire. Agencies like Rouge Media might deal in websites, but they are a vital part of the security team. As web designers and creators, they know which features to add to make the site safer from criminals. Also, coders will update bugs and glitches to fix any hacking issues.

 

Report It

Far too many businesses are the subject of an attack and take it on the chin. It is almost as if hacking is acceptable in this era. But, it will won’t stop being acceptable if you don’t report the issue. Theft is theft and should be detailed to the authorities as soon as possible. If you don’t know who to call, try your web provider to begin with so that they know attacks are taking place. Then, call the local police force. If they can’t deal with the problem, they will report it to a team that can.

Hacking can cost a company money and its reputation, so you have to fight back or risk losing everything.

 

Safety First: Protecting Your Business From Online and Offline Threats

Most businesses take their security seriously. It’s not just about keeping your company safe and not to let anyone steal it away from you as a lack of security will also put your employees at risk, their personal details, as well their general safety. Safeguard yourself completely by looking at it from a broader perspective; companies today are subject to threats from traditional robbers, cyber criminals, social engineers, and thieves who have made their way to the inside of your company.

 


 

Offline Safety: Alarm Systems and CCTV

If you’ve been robbed once and think the criminals won’t return, you’re in for a sad surprise. It is common for criminals today to target a specific trade, such as a restaurant or a hotel, and steal a small amount – only to come back for a bigger scoop later on. When you’ve already been robbed, the first thing you should do is to install a loud alarm system and a CCTV camera.

For most business owners who experience such a thing, it is common sense to invest in these right away.

When and if the robbers return, the system will have a preventative function as well; the sight of a red blinking light tends to scare most of them away. Think prevention when it comes to all aspects of your business and avoid having anything taken away from you in the first place.

Depending on the kind of business you’re in, it could be a good idea to get in touch with reputable security guards as well. Their mere presence signals safety and control to both outsiders and employees; you can even get in touch just to have a safe place to store your spare keys, for example.

Spend time with your employees and talk about how they can help you to safeguard it. They are the ones who are present in the office at all times and are able to spot crime right away with the proper training. If an attack is to happen when they are in the office, everyone needs to know how to handle the situation – such as complying with the robber’s instructions, memorising his or her characteristics, and securing the crime scene until the police arrive.

 

Online Safety: Safe Browsing and Employee Training

Your safety online starts, first of all, with a proper anti-virus software. Cyber criminals may attack from any corner and scurry away with your business details, employee’s personal details, and all of your credit card information. It’s important that your team knows how to spot unreasonable requests for information, strange-looking emails, as well as any other signs on your computers that the system has already been hacked.

Treat your company to a cyber security conference that focuses on training your employees to recognise attempts at phishing and other cyber security threats. Keep the training up and repeat it at least once a year; launch a mock attempt after a month or two to see if the information has sunk in  – and reward the ones who are ahead of the others.

 

Business security encompasses so much these days and you have to read more about it to be completely up to date. The reward is unquestionable, though, and provides your company as well as your employees with a sense of security as well as the actual security in case something should happen.

Tips to Help Your Brand Succeed on Social Media

Showcasing your brand on social media is one of the best ways to spread the word, increase interest and boost sales, but only if you use it right. You can’t just set up a Facebook page or Twitter profile and expect things to happen. Sadly, that’s exactly what a lot of companies do, and it doesn’t do them a lot of good.

If you want  to ensure your brand succeeds on social media, here are a few things you should do:

 

Create Quality Content

Most important of all, if you want your brand to be a social media success, you must create high-quality content on a consistent basis. This can be in the form of videos, product photos or the written word, but it must be engaging, and it must be there if you want to succeed.

 

Use Hashtags

If you want your brand’s posts to be easily accessible to your target audience, adding relevant hashtags is essential because they will help to get your posts out to the very people who are interested in the kind of stuff you’re posting about and selling.

 

Make it Photogenic

Social media is a very visual medium, and a picture really can say a thousand words, which is why you need to not only ensure that any product pictures you take are of a high-quality, but you also need to ensure that the design of your product is attractive too. Using printed pouch packaging, for example, which is bold, bright and in keeping with your brand identity will ensure that your product gets more shares. Think about Apple and the simple beauty of its products, which helps to make them so appealing and you’ll see how important appearances are when promoting your brand online.

 

Build a Community

 

Building your own brand-related community on social media is a fantastic way of engaging your audience and keeping them interested in the stuff you do. Creating coupons or running giveaways that only community members (people signed up to Facebook pages, for example) can access will keep them coming back for more. If you have your own website, setting up a dedicated forum to discuss your niche and your products could be even more effective.

 

Use Youtube

For a lot of brands, using video to show off products is an excellent idea. Videos allow you to show your products in action so that your audience can get a better idea of what it would be like to own them and get them excited to try them out for themselves.

If you do use Youtube, you must ensure that your videos are of a high quality, easy to find, and posted to a regular schedule, if you want people to watch.

 

Engage with Your Audience

Perhaps, the most important thing you can do if you want your brand to be a social media success is to engage with your audience.The more you interact with your friends and followers, and the better you are at answering their questions and discussing your stuff with them, the more they’ll trust you and the more likely they are to keep following, spread the word, and buy your products.

 

Now, you have everything you need to be a social media success!

 

Can You Hear Me Now? How To Communicate With Outsourcer

 

Although some companies find the issue contentious, the majority of businesses outsource. Why? It’s because the standard is better and cost lower. Still, there are matters that mean hiring outside help doesn’t always work. Quite simply, the inside scoop is that you need to be able to communicate effectively. Otherwise, the people you hire won’t be able to hit their targets and deliver their goals. Anyone with communication issues will find this ominous, yet you can still get results by improving your skills. Here is what you need to know.

 

Outline Your Wants And Needs

There is a difference between wanting something and needing it. However, far too many businesses put them in the same basket and confuse their outsourcers. You should remember that there is only so much they can deliver. After all, they are only human. So, a good tip is to outline which features you must-have and which they must provide, and what can wait. Think about web design for a moment. Creative website development is essential to incorporate modern software features. The colour scheme, on the other hand, can wait because it isn’t hard to change.

 

Be Clear

Even if you think you are succinct, there is a chance the outsourcer won’t understand. And, rather than admit they didn’t get the point, they will nod and agree to save face. Of course, this is when problems occur because they don’t have a brief. With this in mind, be as clear and concise as possible. Speaking too much and overusing words is a sure-fire way to confuse your partner. Instead, leave the jargon at home and talk in layman’s terms. Also, raise your voice so that they can hear what you are saying.

 

Ask Them To Repeat It

If you are not certain they understand, there is a solution. The fix is to ask them to repeat what you said. Even though it doesn’t mean they get the gist, it does show they are listening. And, that is a good sign because most people switch off when they can’t comprehend a concept. Also, the way they repeat it will give you an indication. If they say it back word for word with confidence, they know what to do next. If they repeat it and sound shaky, there is a good chance they are unsure. Of course, you can quiz them to make doubly sure, but it might not go down well!

 

Stay In Touch

You are not pen pals who write to each other once a month. You are business partners who need to confer on a regular basis. Otherwise, you have to trust they will hit their targets without any proof. With semi-frequent calls, you can check-in and keep up to date with the process. There is no reason to hound anyone because they should be a certain element of trust. However, it isn’t wrong or unprofessional to email, talk on the phone or drop into the factory once a week.

Ultimately, the key to outsourcing success is communication, and you can become an expert with the above advice.