The Software Tools Every Business Owner Should Consider

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With the advances in software development, many business owners are finding their lives are being made easier. From business planning to managing the accounts, there are software packages available which can make the day to day running of a business that bit simpler.

We have already mentioned the benefits of cloud-based HR software on this site, and in this article, we will list some other software options available to you. Especially for those of you operating a small business with limited funds, using software is a viable alternative to outsourcing essential tasks to other professionals, with all the expense that entails.

Creating a business plan

As with most things in life, a little bit of planning will help you in the long-term. For a business, planning is crucial. Failure to do so could result in your business failing, as so many do within the first year. You need to know what your goals are, your financial projections, and have an understanding of your nearest rivals. See how you can learn more about your business plan here: theprauthority.com. From marketing your business to creating a brand, they offer advice that should prove invaluable.

Knowing the importance of business planning will then give you the incentive to turn to dedicated software tools. We think you should consider Palo Alto Software. It will help you write your business plan, in the short and long-term. Their tools can help you with your finances, with advanced forecasting options, and the latest industry research to help you evaluate your position in the competitive marketplace. The software will help you produce something that looks professional, and should enhance your credibility to investors in your business.

You forego business planning at your peril, so it makes sense to take advantage of the latest software to help you.

Producing a website

Every business needs a website, and chances are you already have something up and running. You need something that makes your business look professional, while offering an effective showcase for your product and services. Not many of us have degrees in computer coding and web design, but there are web-building software tools available that can help you produce something in a matter of hours. One of the best website builders available is Simbla, and if you are reading this over the summer of 2017, you should take advantage of their special offer which is offering 75% of all plans. However, no matter when you read this, their service is still something you should consider paying for. They help you produce beautifully themed websites, which are responsive across all devices, from computers to smartphones. Using state of the art technology, they have templates and apps for all your business needs. A website needs to be eye-catching to the consumer, and Simbla will help you produce something that is bright, colorful and in high-resolution. With a free 60-day trial, you can try before you buy, so there is no reason not to give them a go.

Managing your accounts

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The bane of many business owners, managing the financial aspects of a company can be a time-consuming and complicated affair. No wonder many people opt for the services of an accountant who can take on this responsibility. Of course, you will be adding to your expenses by hiring the services of an accountant, so we recommend you use a financial software package such as Xero. They give you everything you need to help you manage your finances, including sorting out your taxes, managing your expenses, invoicing your clients, and paying your bills. Xero also gives you access to over 500 time-saving apps, including eCommerce and payroll options that integrate smoothly with Xero’s service.

Organizing your time

The final piece of software we are advocating today is the time-management tool offered by Trello. It can be difficult to manage the multitude of tasks you have to do within a day, but

Trello will give you the capability to manage your time effectively. Their task-management app will help you prioritize your workload, and help you manage your team’s tasks as well. The software is also collaborative, with a visual overview that allows everybody on the team to know what is being worked on, and who is doing what task. So whether you work alone, or with others, Trello’s software will enhance your productivity.

We hope the above helps. There are many other software tools available on the market, so do your research and find something that can help you in your business.

 

How to Revamp Your Social Media Strategy

No marketing professional in this day and age would ignore social media. To do would be to sound the death knell for the business. Social Media has come a long way and is now vital tool to drive web traffic, improve brand reputation and visibility, and connect with customers and prospects.

If your social media strategy hasn’t been paying dividends lately, there could be a number of reasons for this. For example, if you use social media to get leads, drive sales, gather data, target ads and for customer service, it can be said that your business has matured digitally and you no longer have any low-hanging fruit to pluck. To succeed in future, you need to overhaul your social marketing with the right social marketing tools at hand.

The Linkage between Social Media and SEO

Let’s begin by taking a look at how social media and SEO complement each other. There are many misconceptions and outright falsehoods regarding the impact of social media on organic search ranking. The big question has been whether social signals have any effect on search rankings. None other than Matt Cutts, the former Google staffer, has said that social signals do not feature in Google’s ranking algorithm. This was back in 2014 and Google confirmed this again in 2016 via Gary Illyes.

However, despite this statement from Google, there is no doubt that there are a number of other ways that social media marketing can impact SEO. For example;

  • Social media profiles and content often show up in Google search results. For example, Google+, Facebook and Twitter content and posts often get indexed.
  • Mentions and social media activity accelerate organic search queries. For example, when something starts trending on Twitter, people quickly perform search engine queries to find out more about the trending topic. This “buzz” can quickly deliver visitors to your website.

The moral is that while social media signals are not ranking factors in the Google algorithm, they do have an impact on SEO by directly influencing other factors which are used in the ranking algorithm.

Where Does Your Social Audience Hang Out?

To revamp your social media strategy, you need to ask yourself where your audience hangs out. A lot of times, you may find your marketing budget being stretched thin because your campaigns are all over the place yet your audience may only be active on one or two social networks. For example;

  • B2Bs are likely to have a captive audience on LinkedIn.
  • For businesses selling a product, Facebook is most likely the platform.
  • For the fashion industry, Instagram appears to be the social media network of choice.
  • If you are targeting teenagers and millennials under 25, then you definitely want to be on Snap.
  • If your main audience in women, you can ignore Pinterest.

If you aren’t sure where your audience hangs out, there is a lot of research and data on this from research organizations like Nielsen and Pew Research Center.

However, social media isn’t ideal for all types of businesses. You may be in some obscure industry where a trade show or other forum may be a more appropriate marketing and PR strategy.

After refining your social media targets, the next thing is to test and retest. Test both paid and organic content and based on the results, refine your targeting. Also, acquaint yourself with how the social media network indexes its content and how it shows up when searched by users.

Combine Social Media Data with Other Marketing Channels

Marketing elements are rarely stand-alone, they co-exist with several other elements within the same ecosystem. To create a more unifying experience for your audience, you need to use data across all marketing channels. There are five ways to do this:

  • Gain content ideas from social media activity, for example, from complaints and suggestions in posts.
  • Gain content ideas from social communities, comments, and most engaging posts.
  • Gain remarking audiences from the site cookies
  • Use ad results to target better
  • Get link magnet ideas from trending topics

Conclusion

Social media marketing is akin to fishing. You need the right bait and you must cast your net where there is fish. Social media is just one cog of the overall marketing strategy. You must combine with other marketing channels for the best results.

Revamping your social media strategy is actually about understanding your social media helps you reach and engage with your target market better. Once you figure this out, you are home and dry.

 

Tips to Ensure Your Office Relocation Goes Without a Hitch

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The thought of relocating to a new office, even when it makes sense to do so because you’ve outgrown your current property, or because you can save money by doing so, can be daunting, to say the least.

You’ll have to pack everything up, organize it, get it to the new location safely and then unpack it all again. It can be a real headache for sure. However, if you follow these tips to ensure your office relocation goes without a hitch, you can avoid even worse issues from cropping up:

Choose an Experienced Office Moving Company

Hiring a company like my bekins, which is experienced in office removal is perhaps the best thing you could do to ensure your move goes without a hitch. They will have a greater than average insight into the unique challenges of moving an office, so things are less likely to go wrong.

Build a Great Move Team

It would also be a good idea to build a strong team of your employees to help you manage the removal process. You are going to need help with packing and moving your office’s fixtures, at the very least, and if you know you have a strong team of people who are excellent communicators, efficient, and most importantly trustworthy, that part of the process will be less of a headache.

Start Early

An office move takes a lot of work, so it really does pay to start preparing as soon as possible if you want your move to be a smooth one. Ideally, you should start packing at least once a month before you move. Obviously, you won’t be able to pack everything up that early if you’re still in business, but packing away the stuff you won’t need anytime soon will be a good start.

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Declutter

When you’re moving to a new office, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to declutter and get rid of all those old files, broken chairs and pointless sales brochures that you’ve been hoarding for some unfathomable reason. Have your team, go through everything weeding out the non-essential, and perhaps even consider scanning important documents with a tool like Adobe Scan, so that they don’t take up any valuable space at your new place, and you can start afresh in your wonderful new office space.

Pack by Room

If you can pack your things away room by room, keeping everything from one particular room together, when it comes to unpacking, you will have a much easier time, and you will always know where everything is should you need to access a particular item in a hurry.

Keep Staff Informed

When you’re moving to a new office space, it’s important that you keep your staff in the loop. If they know why you’re moving, where you’re going and what you expect at the other end, they’re likely to be a lot more engaged in the process. If your employees are engaged, they will probably take more initiative when it comes to packing, decluttering and ensuring the move goes without a hitch.

 

Digital Marketing In The Medical World Requires Surgical Precision

Healthcare, despite its reliance on technology, is an industry that has taken a traditionally old-fashioned route to marketing most of the time. Physical marketing, local TV and radio, and word-of-mouth build practices. Many profess it’s the best way to reach the most patients, but that’s no longer true. 88% of all people in the country, including your potential patients, use the internet, and its growing. Digital marketing is no fad and, if your competitors aren’t using it yet, it offers you even great potential benefits. But if it’s done poorly, your business will pay the price. How do you get the same precision in your marketing you get in your practice?

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Know your ethics

As important as it is, healthcare has some extra rules about its marketing practices compared to other industries.  The federal government pays extra close attention to any misleading or false promises. Setting an ethical core for your search engine marketing, social media, and content marketing is crucial. Get a thorough understanding of what constitutes misleading or false advertising in healthcare and make sure your marketing plan never crosses that line. If you’re outsourcing help with your online marketing, consider those agencies that have someone with a masters or PhD in Health Law.

Give it a human face

Once you’ve ensured that you’re marketing ethically, you want to be concerned with how to market effectively. Content marketing gives your practice the opportunity to flex your service’s expertise in written format. Given that 80% of all internet users have used the web specifically to look up health advice, producing it on your website can give you your best chance of getting them looking at your online presence. You want to appear professional, but results suggest that dry, technical content loses the interest of readers fast. Humanizing the company, taking on a more comforting tone and using layman’s terms when possible can be much more effective. Keep in mind the questions that patients tend to ask about symptoms and conditions in your practice and use that as inspiration for the kind of topics your content can address.

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The difference between convincing and finding patients

Healthcare is an essential service. You don’t need to sell the fact you provide it. Your content will help your target market choose you over your competitors. But it’s just as important that they’re better able to find you, too. In that respect, healthcare marketing is about ensuring you get as much visibility as possible. Focusing on improving your relevance to search results in Google and on building a social media community can have drastic effects, too. Just by improving their visibility online and producing quality marketing content, healthcare providers like DentalWork saw a 40% increase in the leads they could convert to customers as well as a 25% decrease in cost-per-conversion. Going online is not only often more effective but more cost-effective, too.

Run your page like you run your practice

The heart of your online presence is the website. It’s where you want to draw people, whether through advertisements, social media clicks, or your search engine results. The website is your representation and people will often make a 1-to-1 judgment of your business based on the site. So, if a site is poorly designed or optimized, it creates an unprofessional image for the business that people apply to the way you run your practice, too. High-converting healthcare sites feature simple layout, easy navigation, photo and video content to better communicate different information and plenty of ways to get their questions answer. FAQs, links to social media, a page that allows them to contact you directly. Without these, you might have trouble converting leads because people aren’t getting their queries answered.

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Create apps for patients

Practices are starting to offer digital options to patients that only provide a marketing opportunity but the chance to offer a better service, as well. The more convenient it is for the patient to get the information they need on your services or to make appointments and subscriptions, the better. To that end, healthcare providers are designing apps that patients can use to do just that. A popular app can become a great selling point to give your practice the edge over your competitors.  

The online world is making a bigger impact on healthcare choices. 41% of people said in one survey that social media alone influences their choice of healthcare services. As the influence of the online world grows, we can only expect that share to increase. Get online now and stay ahead of the curve.

 

Effective Ways To Reach Your Target Audience

The future of your company depends on your success in convincing people to buy what you’re selling. Believe it or not, there is more to advertising than just getting a beautiful woman to hold your product to attract more customers. There is a fine art involved to persuading your target audience that your product is the missing ingredient to make their lives feel more complete, while not making them feel like they’re being manipulated. Here are a few ways you can use creative and clever advertising to reach your target audience.

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Build a website

The first thing you should do is build a website to advertise your knowledge and services to potentially interested parties. A website is the most simple way to let your target audience know who you are, what services you are offering, and how to get in touch with you. Posting blogs on your website on a regular basis (daily, weekly, or fortnightly) will slowly build up a following and allow you to demonstrate your knowledge of your industry. The best use of your blog is to promote yourself as an expert in your field by using content marketing to show people that you

know more than your competition. You can also use your website to open up a dialogue between yourself and your readers; respond to their comments on your post, or write an article centered around their frequently asked questions.

Online ads

These days you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t spend at least three hours a day online, which means that online ads are definitely a worthwhile investment. Mobile apps in particular are a great source for advertising, because people who like playing their games for free are required to watch a few adverts every once in a while; you can use RTB advertising (Real Time Bidding) to buy online ad space on a per-impression basis in an auction environment. RTB enables exchanges and buyers to work together to programmatically sell and place bids on ads. It allows every impression to be cost effective, and to be placed in front of the right person, at the right time.

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Use email marketing

Social media hasn’t killed email, so you shouldn’t neglect this valuable communications tool. Most people on the move don’t like reading a lengthy blog post, but a quick email blast can give them all the highlights, and let them check out the website in their own time. As long as you don’t bombard your customers with endless emails this is an effective way to generate more traffic. You can also reward subscribers by giving them an exclusive first look at business updates, or by giving them first dibs on limited discounts.

Use feedback to improve services

Once you’ve made it easy for your customers to contact you, use their feedback to make improvements to your business. Upgrade your website until it’s perfect, and improve your products to fit their needs better. Ultimately, using their feedback lets the customer know that you’re listening to their concerns.