Thursday, 18 December 2014

The 5 Best Strategic Marketing Ideas of the Past Decade

Every small business must have a functional and goal-oriented marketing strategy to survive the intense competition in the market today.
Of course, terms like marketing strategy may seem irrelevant to a small business owner who's struggling to take care of production, marketing, sales and administration activities single-handedly. But relying on ideas based on strategic marketing plans can help enhance the returns from your marketing efforts.
Here are the five best strategic marketing ideas of the past decade. If you want to stay ahead of your competition, try to incorporate them into your plans.
Know Your Competition
One popular modern strategic marketing idea is to focus on your customers' consumer habits. Take note of where else they shop or who else they order from, and what those businesses are doing to attract business. Are there potential customers who do not even consider the option of giving you business? Why are they so averse to even thinking about you? A more targeted marketing strategy will help you identify weaknesses in your promotional activities and selling strategies.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
Start treating your small business as a single organic unit. Remember that your customers don't distinguish between departments; a delayed delivery or bad sales experience affects the reputation of your business as a whole. To present a stronger team image and provide the best customer experience possible, make sure your production, sales, marketing and customer service teams are all on the same page, have the same priorities and are speaking with the same language. Every marketing plan should acknowledge that customers judge your small business as a whole.
Focus on the Entirety of the Customer Experience
Similarly, consider every aspect of the way your customers interact with you, from your outbound communications to the way you follow up after a sale. For example, using recycled paper for your print materials may enhance your business's environmentally friendly image among your customers. Hire employees who will represent your business well, even when they're not in the office. Make sure that when customers think of you, they think positively.
Know What's Working
It's difficult to calculate return on investment (ROI) when your advertising and promotional activities are limited to traditional solutions like banners and flyers. On the other hand, online marketing tools, social media and technological improvements make it easy to gauge what's working and what's not, and to do so in real time.
Based on your marketing spend and your sales, calculate the cost of reaching each customer. Monitor social media for immediate and accurate feedback from customers and stakeholders. And use social tools to determine the success or failure of your marketing strategy, and then make adjustments as necessary.
Don't be afraid to invest money now to get results later: Tablet computers can help your team track online metrics even on the move. A digital projector will facilitate group analysis of relevant marketing data and help you receive inputs from all your employees.
Stick with It
While it's alright to change course when something isn't working, your strategic marketing ideas will not work if your employees feel that your innovative ideas are mere fads, or if you make drastic changes too often. Alter your recruitment strategy and try to employ experienced and professional marketers who understand the importance of strategic marketing.
You will be doing a disservice to your business if you ignore these new marketing ideas. Do not expect results overnight. Strategic marketing, if implemented in a holistic manner, will yield fantastic and consistent returns over the long term.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Social Media in the Workplace

There’s no doubt that Facebook participation can be an asset to any business. The question is, how can you use it to promote your products and company, yet be sure your team members are cautious in the way they use it?
What should the owner and office manager post? Where is the line between personal and professional? Knowing the good, the bad and the ugly of Facebook for business, your company can take full advantage of this tool and watch your business grow.

The Good

One benefit Facebook offers for business is it lets the customers and potential clients know your company on a personal level. Clients come to you for a relationship. They assume you know how to take care of their needs. Being accessible on social media sites helps your clients and customers feel connected to your company.
A Facebook page can also help bring people to your website. Customers will look for your presence on the Internet and a Facebook profile is just another way they can find you, leading them to your website to find out more information and possibly contact you.
Facebook can be a tremendous networking tool. Business pages on Facebook can elevate your website status through Search Engine Optimization. In addition, if you have a Facebook business page link on the opening page of your website, potential clients can feel that they know you and your office before coming in for their new customer experience. Several companies have gained new clients simply because of their Facebook page.

The Bad

A recent study of companies with 1,000 employees found that 8 percent of their employees have actually been dismissed for their behavior on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. That’s double from the previous year.
Companies have also fired employees for sharing sensitive details about the business and their clients. In addition, team members have been sanctioned and fired for making unprofessional remarks about their boss via social networking sites.

The Ugly

Realize that even if you use Facebook privacy settings, you may still be in danger.
Remember going to high school and doing things you thought your parents would never know about and yet somehow they always found out? The same is true of social media. Avoid bad-mouthing your boss, co-worker or anyone in your professional life in such a public way on a public forum.
Every business should have specific guidelines that apply to social media use. There are two factors at work here: Employers need to be closely monitoring social media sites, and employees need to use common sense when posting about work life. Employees need to be careful about sharing sensitive information as well as making foolish remarks about their employer.
The owner needs to set the vision and goals for the office regarding social media with the help of the team with the development of a mission-driven ethical use policy.

Simple Guidelines

Following are some basic guidelines for using social media in business. The guidelines listed below must apply to every member of the team, including the owner.
• Never post anything that directly or indirectly insults customers, clients or the business itself.
• When posting on personal and social media sites, be nice and keep it clean. Develop verbal cue cards on “what to say and not to say” on social media. Have clearly developed expectations that apply to all team members.
• Consider leveraging your office’s Facebook profile to start positive conversations about your employees and your services. You can do this by regularly posting testimonials from current or past clients.
• With your customers’ permission, involve them in your efforts. You can do this by connecting with them and posting information about their business.
• If you have a personal page and a business page, consider your policy regarding clients who want to become your personal friend. One business owner lost a family of customers who requested to be his personal friend and he said “no.”
• Create a page in your office policy manual regarding Facebook and social media posting so each employee understands what to do and what not to do.
• Designate one or more specific employees to be responsible for posting on and updating your sites. Business page content will need to be updated frequently and consistently to ensure the Wall tab stays fresh. Carve out 1-2 hours/week for this responsibility dedicated to marketing on the web.
With a clearly established policy and understanding of the good, bad and the ugly, Facebook and social media can be a great asset to your business. By enforcing social media policies and following these guidelines, you’ll see great results from your efforts.

Friday, 14 November 2014

20 Facebook Tips/Tricks You Might Not Know

If you surf Facebook on a daily basis or occasionally, chances are you’re already familiar with regular stuff like add/delete friends, update statuses, walls and profile, add and explore pages & applications, etc, but there’s more..
This week we want to cover some interesting things you can do on (or with) Facebook; inclusive of tricks that are not documented or unknown to many, as well as tips to stay connected better with your friends. Without further ado, here’s 20 Facebook Tips/Tricks You Might Not Know. If you have interesting tips/tricks related to Facebook, please feel free to share in the comment box below.
  1. How To Place Facebook Chat On Firefox Sidebar

    If you are using Firefox, you can place the Facebook Chat at the sidebar.
  2. How To Download Facebook Photo Albums

    FacePAD: Facebook Photo Album Downloader allows you to download your friends’ facebook albums, Events albums, and Group Albums, en masse, with the click of a button.
  3. How To Share Flickr Photos To Facebook

    Flickr2Facebook is an unofficial Flickr to Facebook uploader(bookmarklet) which allows you upload photos to Facebook from Flickr.
  4. How To Update Facebook Without Using Facebook

    hellotxt and both introduced features that let Facebook administrators update Facebook Pages.
  5. How To Schedule Facebook Messages

    Sendible lets you schedule Facebook messages ahead of time so you can send messages to your friends, customers or colleagues in the future.
  6. How To "Friend" Someone On Facebook & Hide It From Your Status Updates

    A short tutorial on Makeuseof to guide you how to hide Facebook status updates and keep that fact confined to your closer friends.
  7. How To Create A Photo Collage Using Pictures Of Your Facebook Friends

    Click on Friends tab. Proceed to More tab. From "Choose an option" dropdown, choose any of the dashes "" . Your Facebook friends collage is right on your computer screen.
  8. How To Know When Facebook Friends Secretly Delete Or Block You

    This service has been discontinued. X-Friends is a unique tool for tracking friends that disappear from Facebook.
  9. How To Display Selected Pictures Only On Your Facebook Profile Page

    A little-known feature in Facebook that lets you decide who shows up in that Friends box. Click that "edit" pencil in your Friends box and type the names of your best friends in the box that says "Always show these friends"
  10. How To Remove Facebook Advertisements

    This Greasemonkey script – Facebook: Cleaner removes many of the annoying ads and updates that unavoidably appear on your Facebook pages.
  11. How To Syncs Photos Of Facebook Friends With Contacts In Microsoft Outlook

    OutSync is a free Windows application that syncs photos of your Facebook friends with matching contacts in Microsoft Outlook. It allows you to select which contacts are updated. So you can update all contacts at once or just a few at a time.
  12. How To Display Facebook Statuses On WordPress Blog

    The following method make use of Facebook status feed and WordPress RSS widget to display Facebook Statuses on WordPress blog.. It will also work for self-host WordPress blogs.
  13. How To Post Your Blog Posts To Your Facebook Wall Automatically

    Wordbook allows you to cross-post your blog posts to your Facebook Wall. Your Facebook “Boxes” tab will show your most recent blog posts.
  14. How To Access Facebook Chat On Desktop

    Gabtastik and digsby let you keep Facebook chat sessions open on your Windows desktop outside of your regular web browser, using minimal screen real estate and system memory.
  15. How To Create Quiz On Facebook Easily

    LOLapps provides quiz creator that can be employed to conjure up these popular personality quizzes that are so widespread in Facebook.
  16. How To Hide Your Online Status On Facebook Chat From Select Contacts

    Facebook has integrated friends list with Chat and you can also choose which of these list members get to see you online.
  17. How To Get Facebook Updates On Email

    NutshellMail consolidates your Facebook accounts through the inbox you use the most.
  18. How To Update Facebook Status From Firefox

    FireStatus is a status update utility for multiple social networks, including FaceBook.
  19. How To Get Facebook On Your Desktop

    Seesmic DesktopFacebookerXobniFacebook Sidebar GadgetScrapboy and Facebook AIR application are desktop applications that allows you interact with your stream just as you would on Facebook, but without the browser.
  20. How To Delete, Cancel And Terminate Facebook Account And Profile

    A simple guide to terminate, delete or cancel Facebook account, together with the Facebook profile easily.

Monday, 27 October 2014

How many people in the world have access to the Internet?

In July, a Soyuz rocket blasted off from French Guiana carrying what could be a legendary payload in the race for total global internet connectivity: four satellites designed to beam fibre internet down to Earth, releasing 'emerging markets' from the shackles of a no or slow-internet world.
The satellites are manufactured by a Jersey-based, Google-backed company called O3b, which stands for the 'Other Three Billion'. According to O3b, its aim is to connect the other three billion, the amount of people that have yet to experience the benefits of Internet access, to the web.
This initiative goes hand in hand with Google's Loon project, using giant, helium filled balloons to drift across emerging markets and distribute connectivity to those who need it.
But Facebook and founder Mark Zuckerberg also have plans to emancipate the the rest of the unconnected world. Zuckerberg's initiative is called, and aims to connect the remaining 5 billion, with drones being part of the strategy.
So exactly how many people in the world are left unconnected?
Let's first take the figures from Internet World Stats. The latest figures it has are from Q2 2012, so a little out of date. It puts the total world population at 7,017,846,022, with only 2,405,518,376 of those using the Internet.
That leaves 4,612,327,646 human inhabitants left unconnected. Slap bang in the middle of O3b's 3 billion and Zucerkberg's 5 billion.
Interestingly, just over 1 billion of those Internet users reside in Asia. 518,512,109 come from Europe and 272,785,413 come from North America.
Flick to the International Telecommunciations Union though, and it forecasts a 2013 estimate of 61% of the world's 7.1 billion strong population not connected to the web.
That's 4,331,000,000 unconnected citizens of planet earth.
These numbers are tricky for the human brain to quantify, but it's clear that around 60% of the world's population is as of yet an untapped monetary resource for service providers and data haulers. There's a long way to go yet before figures like Zuckerberg or firms like Google will see the financial benefits of establishing connections in emerging markets but gosh are they trying.