Category: Blogger’s Hot Picks

5 New Online Marketing Tools Your Business Can’t Afford to Ignore

onlinemarketing
When it comes to growing a business today, effective online marketing is critical. These five tools are forms of online marketing that your business cannot afford to ignore including assistance with search engine optimization, social media management, and overall organization. Depending upon the needs of your business, these tools can take your marketing strategies to another level.

Moz

Moz is a user-friendly search engine optimization tool that provides members with reporting on keywords, website traffic, brand marketing, and social media engagement all in one place. They have two main components: Moz Analytis and Moz Research Tools. The analytics section consists of the reporting while the research tools provide members with insight as to how to improve their online marketing including errors on their websites and SEO opportunities. Moz is an affordable option for businesses of all sizes.

HootSuite

When it comes to social media marketing, HootSuite is a helpful tool that allows users to manage multiple social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook for multiple companies at one time. Users are able to schedule posts ahead of time and track analytics. It is easy for users to view all of their social media marketing posts in one place with HootSuite and they even provide a free trial for small to medium businesses of one to five hundred employees. Larger businesses can request a demo to see if HootSuite is a good fit for them.

RevTap

RevTap is an ideal tool for ensuring your advertising dollars are not wasted on web bots. Just over a third of the traffic on the internet is actually human. RevTap optimizes the human component of online advertising. They help publishers monetize their sites by helping them use their space effectively and keep customers engaged while at the same time helping advertisers ensure their ads are seen by the appropriate audience–people, not bots. It is a win/win situation for both publishers and advertisers.

PiktoChart

Infographics are a vital component of online marketing today and PiktoChart is a great resource to assist with creating compelling graphics for marketing purposes. There are templates, graphs, charts, images, and icons to help you get started but PiktoChart also allows users to fully customize their graphics. Getting started is free and most of the images that are created do not take more than fifteen minutes to complete. This is an effective strategy for companies who can highlight their work through images.

Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft is a full toolkit for online marketing. It is a common replacement for previous SEO company, Optify. They specialize in e-mail marketing campaigns and a customer relationship management system that helps businesses stay organized. Infusionsoft is also able to help members identify some of the best leads for sales and accept payments all in one centralized location to make things easier for customers.

Whatever the needs of your business, the aforementioned tools are innovative ways to improve your online marketing. Search engine optimization, social media management, effective advertising, compelling graphics, and an organizational tool kit are five things that should not be ignored. Measuring the success of your online marketing strategy through the use of these tools will lead to a better campaign.

IT Support Can Be the Key: Do You Get it?

IT
Small to medium businesses have limited budgets to work with, so it might be necessary for them to work with bare bones staffing. Even the smallest of businesses must keep in mind their need for certified and professional IT staffing, especially if they rely on their computers and internet connection to keep their daily business activities up and running. The more aspects of the business that are handled via the internet, the more important reliable IT support becomes.

Down Time is Money Down the Drain

For every hour that is lost to a computer malfunction, software glitch or faulty internet connection, the business is losing money. If you rely on the computer system to set appointments for instance, there is nothing that you can do if the computer crashes. Until you are back up and running, your whole operation is at a total stand still. That is why many companies set aside part of their budget to have IT staff on hand. Having professional project management staffers to keep your computer and software working correctly can keep your business running effectively as well.

Complicated Computer Systems

While most computers are supposed to be easy to set up at home for the average user, there are some software applications and set ups that become a little more complicated. For a business, the computer system might involve a whole network of computers that must interact with one another perfectly for work to be done. Certain applications might require more than just downloaded software to work properly. Downloaded or installing a program may require disabling or uninstalling other programs that are incompatible with the new program. Just one program that is not working correctly can impact the performance of the computer and in some cases can make the system crash. If you think that a glitch is costly in terms of time and money, you don’t want to know what a crash may mean to your business.

IT professionals can set up your system including the computers, printers and multi-line phones. They can do it without having to stop and figure out what they are dealing with a million times and can make sure that the wires (if they are use) are fairly hidden so that they don’t create a tripping hazard. You may not have the funds to have a full time dedicated IT staff, but having a company that can come as needed is very important for your business needs.

Choosing the Right IT Management Company

Before you hire an IT management company, investigate their credentials, looking at things such as their training, certifications and how others have reviewed their work in the past. Look at several companies in the area, reviewing their rates and availability as well. Very available IT firms might not be highly regarded while those that charge very high rates may be overstating their qualifications just to drive up their fees. You want someone you can count on but who will also be able to get the job done quickly and correctly.

The Best Retreats Away From The Big City Grind

In a bid to have an exciting vacation, a lot of families will look for a destination in another country or continent. While it is great to see the world, many forget about their own country. Not only is it easy to see a wonderful and fun destination, but a traveler can save money and help his or her own country recover from the poor economy. With this in mind, here are four countryside travel destinations to consider.

getaway

Kauai: With the island of Kauai, you can get away from it all and enjoy unspoiled paradise. This island is truly empty as 65,000 people call this place home. Since most of these people live in one or two towns, you can enjoy the place to yourself. Whether you like hiking, biking, fishing or relaxing, you can have a great time in many of the small towns dotting this beautiful island. While this is no easy place to get to, you will realize quickly how beautiful the island is. Simply put, if you want to escape the world and enjoy the stars, you should head to Kauai.

San Diego County: Believe it or not, there is much more to San Diego than beaches. In fact, if you head 30 minutes east, you can visit some tall mountains, beautiful lakes and plenty of great casinos. Since the area east of the beaches is relatively empty, you can have a great time exploring many outdoor areas. Furthermore, while most of the country deals with hot summers and cold winters, you can have a fun time in the mountains of San Diego most of the year. Of course, if you like snow, you can enjoy a rare southern California snowy day if you plan your trip at the right time. Either way, when thinking of a beach and mountain day, you should head to San Diego County.

Asheville: If you want to experience a hip and diverse city, you should consider Asheville, North Carolina. Then, after enjoying great beers and local food, you can sleep in a luxury hotel or camp on the river. During the day, visitors can head to the local lakes, rivers and streams. Here, you can party all day and relax in the shade. If you are adventurous, you can enjoy miles of unspoiled hiking trails. Either way you look at it, if you want to get away from it all and still enjoy the amenities, you should consider Asheville.

Chickasaw nation: If you want to check out a unique and fun area in Oklahoma, you should check out the Chickasaw area. Here, you can see plenty of natural and unspoiled lakes of Oklahoma. When visiting this area, you can head to a Las Vegas style casino. While you would pay a huge price to visit a casino in other cities, you can visit one here without breaking the bank. Simply put, if you are looking for a great Oklahoma destination, you should check out the Chickasaw area. When doing so, you and your family can have a great time.

With these four destinations, you can escape the world and have fun with your friends or family. Since it is not always easy to find the best place, you should do your research. When doing so, you can find the perfect destination for your needs.

Lost Under Your Company? When to Get Out

Business owners know that it takes every ounce of sweat and blood they have to make their business successful. However, once the enterprise is on solid ground, it can be a thrill to know that it was all worth it. Businesses tend to go through ups and downs that can shake the confidence of any entrepreneur. It’s important to know when the business is experiencing a small crisis and when it’s time to cash in and walk away.

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The Odds Aren’t Good

It’s a well-known fact that 50 percent of businesses fail in the first year. As if that statistic weren’t bad enough, Bloomberg estimates 80 percent will fail in a year and a half. Businesses face enormous challenges whether the economy is doing well or not. Most businesses that end up failing will fail not because they weren’t a good idea, but because they run out of money. To keep money flowing, good businesses will focus on maintaining the following:

Financials – The fastest way to take the pulse of your business is to know how much money is coming in and how much is going out. Keep accurate financial records and review them monthly, quarterly, and annually. They will be the first indicator that something may not be going as planned. You should have money set aside to weather temporary emergencies and know when your reserves are getting low.

Good Leadership – Problems in the business operation can be handled by capable supervisors. They can assess problems with customer services or product delivery. Surround yourself with experts in marketing, finance, insurance, and management to make sure that you give your business the best chance to succeed.

A Solid Business Model – You should be setting business goals and always seeking out new opportunities. If the market is not responding to your offering the way you had hoped, it might be because the business model needs to be tweaked. Included in your business plan should be an exit strategy.

When Things Still Don’t Work Out

If you are following the health of the business, you will know when things aren’t working out. Some potential exit strategies include:

Closing the Doors – If you can settle the debts, but still want to get out, you can make plans to simply lay off your staff and close the doors. This is the best way to get out of a business, but it requires that you do so long before you are in a position where you don’t have the money to pay off creditors.

Selling Out – Maybe you might not be able to make the company as profitable as you would like, but someone else may think they do have what it takes to do so. You can sell your business, even when it’s not a grand success, and move on to something better.

Declaring Bankruptcy – You will need to seek help for declaring bankruptcy once you’ve run out of money and your creditors are knocking down your door. If no one has an interest in buying, you may have no other choice than to declare bankruptcy.

Reference:

Wagner, E. (2013) 8 Out Of 10 Businesses Fail. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericwagner/2013/09/12/five-reasons-8-out-of-10-businesses-fail/

Are You An Alpha Woman?

femalelionThere has been a notion that the “alpha male” is a pretty much standard moniker in society today. Yet, the fact remains that this is not a wholly one-sided gender circumstance. As with any personality type, both sexes are eligible for any definition, thus the alpha woman is very much alive, well and functioning in society today. In fact, she might be running society in some circles. So, what make you think you qualify as an alpha woman? If you possess many or most of the following personality traits, you just might belong to this exclusive club.

Goal Oriented Strength

The alpha woman has probably been goal oriented from a very early age, having admired legendary heroines and their accomplishments. She is apt to be very determined in achieving her lifetime goal or goals once it/they are set in her mind. This might include becoming a lawyer, striving to the top in the entertainment industry, entering politics or rising to the top in some other less-lofty position or vocation. She may be willing to sacrifice motherhood and marriage to spend the requisite amount of time in order to achieve her life task, often going it alone and handling life’s chores in a completely independent way. She’s highly intelligent and competitive when it comes to performance, tests and trials. Winning is everything to her; social acceptance is not as important in the climb upwards as it is after her arrival to her spot of fame, notoriety and achievement. She is ambitious to a fault.

Independence

This woman is not dependent upon anyone for a hand up or a lifestyle that she sees might keep her limited or in check. She’s not the type to wait for that all important wedding ring which means her life will be directed toward the standard provision of wife and motherhood. She will likely be single, or at least spend a long period of time working on what’s important to her. If she does marry, her husband will have to be the kind to give her some leach because she won’t stand for being tied down to tasks of drudgery or repetitive chores. She works for herself, often supporting every aspect of her life and believes it to be a natural way of doing things. She might not have too many best girl or male friends for support and guidance because she’s not the weepy, unconfident type to need bolstering. Her outcomes are defined by her and she is the master of her own fate. She is less likely to join a support group or seek out the services of a psychologist since she believes the answers to her problems are easily solved by her once she has a handle on the problem.

Appeal and Charm

The alpha gal has an arsenal of appeal and charm. She gives her mind and body equal workouts to deliver a package that includes extra helpings of sex appeal, wit, humor, physical presence and intelligence. She is most often the prime eye target in the room or setting, both looking and acting as though she has something special to offer. The fact is, when called on it, she does very well in a social setting because she is not afraid to state an opinion or engage in any topic of discussion, whether it is highbrow, technical or trivial. With a natural magnetism, she can work a room and gain accomplices, votes, friends or enemies, and do it very indiscreetly. Her sex appeal may be deliberately staged and planned, but it is not used in a retaliatory fashion or as a weapon—it is a means to an end. She is fun—an amusement park, especially for men who adore her levity, wit and confidence.

Assertiveness

The alpha woman is difficult, if nigh impossible to push around. She’ll stand up for her beliefs and not back down from a confrontation. He has no qualms about pointing out the faults of others to their face and putting them in their place. She owes her leadership qualities to finely tuning and crafting her lifestyle, rather than accepting the notion that genes or DNA paved the way. She’s usually the first to volunteer for a difficult project, job or mission since her personality dictates that she conquer one challenge after another—adding bricks to her overall foundation of strength and experience.

When it boils down to it, the alpha woman is really no different than her alpha male counterpart. We have always had them with us but have been less likely to recognize them or call them out. Things have changed in today’s society and we are doffing our hats to these ladies, who as history has shown us, have made some of the most ground-breaking accomplishments extent. After all, winning, succeeding and taking charge are human traits that are not dependent upon gender restrictions or prejudices. And everyone loves a winner.

References

Body Language University; She Does Exist: the Unveiling of the Alpha Female; http://www.bodylanguageuniversity.com/public/243.cfm