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October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (#CyberAware). Lead by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, the month is designed to be a collaboration between government and industry with the aim of providing both businesses and individuals with the information and tools they need to ensure their security in the increasingly online world.
Category Archives: Tip of the Week
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According to The Radicati Group Email Statistics Report, 2015-2019, over 205 billion emails are currently sent and received each day. This number is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 3% over the next four years, meaning that by the end of 2019 over 246 billion emails will be sent and received each day. One might think that the barrage of email is a result of our own overuse of the medium, but the report dispels that notion. It found that in 2015 business people will send on average 34 emails per day yet receive 88 per day. Of those 88, 76 will be legitimate and 12 will be spam or graymail that will likely be summarily deleted.
If you’re anything like me you get every bit of the average 88 emails per day, and you likely get at least twice that. Some of these will be effective and grab your attention, and others will at best fall flat and at worst be annoying. As a small business marketer, your goal is to make sure that not only is your email one of those that get opened, but also one that engages your customers and prospects.
To that end, this list includes my top 9 sales email mistakes, and an explanation of why they are problematic. You’ll probably relate to some of them, either by grimacing at a shared pet peeve, or by recognizing a mistake you have made (or are currently making).Read More »
Even if your customers love your company, love your products and/or services, and think that they provide great value, you may still lose them to the competition if doing business with your company is simply too frustrating for the customer to stand. You may think you’re providing great customer service and have all the major bases covered, but it could be little things (or a combination of multiple little things) that end up making a huge difference. And, if you don’t identify and solve your customers’ pain points, however minor, there is a good chance that it will eventually cost you their business.
Of course, before you can find solutions you must first identify the problematic issues. This can be difficult, as it may not be obvious to you, and the customer may not volunteer it. One approach to this problem is to create Customer Journey Maps.Read More »
What do your customers really want? That’s the key question for any business. And, it isn’t just a matter of getting at one single answer, it is the ability to adapt as that answer changes over time that separates a flash-in-the-pan start-up from a sustainable small business success.
This post concentrates on one small piece of the puzzle: learning from how your customers search. It requires a two-fold approach of first looking at the search terms people use in search engine searches that direct them to your website, and second looking at how they search your website itself.Read More »
It is scary to think that all that hard work you put into creating a small business website and getting it to rank well in search engine results can be compromised or wiped out by the unscrupulous and avaricious actions of a hacker. But, the threat is real. A recent survey of small business owners found that 31% had experienced a cyber-attack or an attempted cyber-attack.
Hopefully you never find your website compromised. But if you do, the following resources will help you identify the problem and restore your site.Read More »
Though 97% of consumers search online for products and services, according to the 2014 SCORE Customer Friendly Websites infographic , only 51% of small businesses had websites. A newer January, 2015 survey of over 14 million businesses (of all sizes) by the US Census bureau paints an even more astounding picture, reporting that only 24.8% of them have websites.
If your business falls in that 49% (or 75.2%!) without an online presence, ditch the excuses and get a website. You really do need one, even if your business has only a local or regional customer base, and for as little as $12 up-front and a bit of time, you can do it.Read More »
Even with the growth of Chat, text messaging, and other social media messaging, email is still the primary means of business communication. According to a recent report from technology market research firm the Radicati Group, there were 4.1 billion worldwide email accounts in 2014 and that number is predicted to grow to 5.2 billion by the end of 2018. And, while consumer email is actually slowing down (in favor of social media, text messaging, and other non-email online methods), business email is growing– From 108.7 billion business emails per day in 2014 to an expected 139.4 billion emails per day in 2018. This equates to business users receiving 121 emails a day in 2014 (excluding those removed by SPAM filters), which is expected to grow to 140 emails a day by 2018.
That’s a lot of email! But, it doesn’t mean businesses people are sitting at their desks all day answering email on a computer. Increasingly, email is being read, responded to, and acted upon using mobile devices.Read More »
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In a world where it seems like nothing worth having is ever free, it is refreshing to find truly useful freeware available without strings attached. PhotoScape is one such application. It provides robust image editing and enhancement features that rival those in expensive industry leading applications such as Photoshop, in an easy-to-use package ideal for small business owners on a budget.
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Research, Test, Target, and Measure: These are the keys to ensuring small business success, be it in product development, operations, or marketing. In some cases, small businesses are at a disadvantage because they don’t have the budget to tackle all four steps as effectively as do big business; but luckily social media marketing doesn’t have to be one of them. Even a small business can have a big presence in social media, with a minimal expenditure, if it develops great content, nurtures key influencer relationships, and promotes effectively. These research findings and free social media marketing applications give small business owners the tools to do just that.
Whether it’s telecommuting as a large company employee or running a home-based small business, studies show that working from home in the US is on the rise. Are you one of us? And, if you are what kind of workspace fits you best? Are you a take over the dining room table kind of person? Or perhaps you want a quiet dedicated space that lets you get away from it all (and helps you keeps the “all” away from your business operations).
The following examples from around the web (and around the globe) provide ideas from across the home office spectrum including everything from practical and cool small-space offices, unique office furniture, and extreme workspaces.Read More »