Tag Archive | "Business Owner"

New Kindle Fire May Boost Popularity of Tablets

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New Kindle Fire May Boost Popularity of Tablets


There has been some talk in technology blogs about Amazon working on a new smartphone that may be a viable competitor to the Apple iPhone. But for now, nothing has been made official yet and Amazon’s event focused on the Kindle without announcing a new smartphone.

 

Some new versions of the Kindle have been released, which aim to make the tablet even more popular than it is right now. Upgrades have been made to the 7 inch Kindle Fire, which is now priced at $159. The 7 inch Kindle is now available in HD at a price of $199, plus 2 new versions with an 8.9 inch display are available, one of which has 4G connectivity. This makes it quite obvious that Amazon is seeking to take some market share away from Apple in the tablet market. This seems to be working somehow, since the Kindle Fire is the second most popular tablet, after the iPad, of course.

 

If you want to see the specifications of the new Kindles and how they compare to the iPad, there are plenty of technology news articles that provide more details. What’s more interesting to us is the fact that tablet usage is growing and how one can profit from this expansion as a marketer or business owner.

 

Amazon’s strategy is to profit from content sales for their mobile devices. The company has even taken shots at Apple, saying that it’s better to try to make money by selling content than by making upgrades to hardware. And in a way, they are right.

 

The demand for tablet based content is expected to grow as an increasing number of people get a tablet of some sort, whether it’s the Kindle, the iPad or any other one. Publishing eBooks and selling them on the Amazon marketplace is still a popular source of revenue for many, especially amateur authors who are seeking to get their works read. But the written word isn’t the only type of content that consumers want. Multimedia content, such as video and apps are also in high demand. This explains why there is a lot of demand for developers who can make applications that will run on tablet devices. Productivity tools, games, communications programs and many other applications are being downloaded by tablet users.

 

These users also browse the web on their devices. Marketers need to take a look at some numbers and statistics, in an effort to see what web based content tablet users commonly seek out, how they behave with regards to online advertising and which products and services they commonly buy when using the web on their mobile devices. This will allow the creation of advertising campaigns that are specifically targeted to tablet users, as many advertising services already allow marketers to create specific campaigns that will show only to users of tablets.

 

The devices will change and evolve over time, just like the PC has changed. But one thing that will remain is that a new opportunity has been created for entrepreneurs and will remain there for quite some time.

 

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Social Networks are Also a Customer Care Tool

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Social Networks are Also a Customer Care Tool


When we talk about social media from an internet marketer or business owner’s perspective, it is expected that topics about advertising, sales, promotion and marketing would be at the forefront. And yes, this is logical and there is nothing wrong with it. After all, the main reason why business owners are on Facebook, for example, is to promote their business and not waste their time playing Farmville or sharing pictures of funny kittens.

 

But a social media page can be a whole lot more than just a channel that can be used to get more sales. It can also be a very efficient customer service tool for many businesses. The problem is that not all businesses seem to realize this. A study conducted recently shows some disparities among industries related to who uses social networks to respond to customer inquiries, comments and complaints on social media. Telecommunications firms, such as large cell phone and internet providers, had relatively high response rates, meaning that they took the time to respond to users who posted something on the page of their company on Facebook, with response rates around 60%. Consumer goods and electronics companies didn’t fare as well, having an average response of 20%. Ironically enough, media companies, whose business is all about sharing information, only responded to public posts about 5% of the time.

 

No matter what industry you are in, responding to your users on social media is important, especially if a user expresses a concern that needs attention, or asks a question about your company or its products. Social media is not just a sales channel, but also one where you can interact with customers, potential customers and the general public at a customer service level. Doing it is actually quite simple. You can respond to the post if appropriate, provide a link to the answer on your website, or contact the user by private message in order to discuss things privately if it involves something that is specific to their case. Avoid standard, boilerplate responses, however, as they give a “robotic” feeling to those who see them. Therefore, instead of saying “please contact our customer care department at 1-877-YOUR NUMBER”, you can post “We have sent you a message to better address this matter. Bob Parker, Social Media Department, ACME Corporation”.

 

Failing to properly deal with customers who interact with you on social media can give the wrong impression of your business and potentially damage your reputation, as it can make it look like you’re only interested in using the internet to get sales, but not to actually help your customers when they need you. While you may provide customer support by various channels already, such as telephone, live chat, email, etc. you will need to see social media as an important extension of your service department. If your business is relatively large, you can assign a team of employees whose job is to monitor your social media pages for any feedback from consumers, then respond to them and escalate internally as necessary.

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Is Google + a Good Business Marketing Tool? Part 1

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Is Google + a Good Business Marketing Tool? Part 1


Whether or not Google + actually has enough potential to be a useful marketing tool has been a matter of debate for quite some time in online marketing circles. There are those who believe that the social network launched by Google has some potential and will end up growing in popularity. On the other end, there are those who believe that it will be a flop and join Google’s list of “failed products” and therefore businesses shouldn’t waste their time building a significant presence on it.

 

But what is going on with Google + in reality? Is it something that you should bother paying attention to as a business owner that is seeking different ways to advertise online? The decision as to which marketing channels you will use to promote your business online is all up to you. Remember that in addition to social networking sites, there are plenty of other online advertising avenues that you can use. And if these are already working for you, then you should by all means keep using any method that is bringing you a satisfactory amount of website visitors and revenue. But what about those that are seeking to enlarge their online advertising options, or who have just started a new business and are looking for ways to get some traffic going to their website?

 

There are a few things that you should know about Google + and about how it can be used to promote your business in social media.

 

Google has Fixed Several Problems With the Site

 

When it was launched, Google + was only meant to be used as a platform for individuals to connect to each other. This meant that business accounts were not allowed. However, Google has quickly changed course, allowing businesses to use the platform for networking, just like Facebook now allows different types of organizations to use their social networking service to connect with fans, customers and potential customers.

 

Certain functionality issues, such as the ability to put in additional page managers, as well as verify a profile to make sure that it is the official Google + page for your business, have now been resolved and are working quite well. Google has also worked on improving the overall look and feel of the service, which is always a bonus point for increasing use.

 

Adoption Among Consumers Remains Low

 

Google has reported that there are now 90 million users of Google +. Of course, this is far less than its rivals, which are now chiefly Facebook and Twitter. Furthermore, the amount of time that users spend on the service on average is not too encouraging at the moment. Reports show that users of Google + spend just 3.5 minutes on the service. Again, this is low compared to other social media websites. However, there are a few reasons as to why you may not want to discount Google + as a marketing tool just yet and may want to create a profile on the service for your business.

 

 

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Internet Marketing Use In Small Businesses

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Internet Marketing Use In Small Businesses


A recent survey taken in the United States by a technology consulting firm gives some very interesting figures about the use of internet marketing among small business owners. Based on the results, the majority (close to 80%) of small business owners had a website for their business. Of those that didn’t the majority were planning to create one in the coming year. This result is really not something that is surprising. It has been said time and time again that creating a website is beneficial for any business owner, even those that run a very small local enterprise. It makes them easier to find by their prospective clients, many of who exclusively use the internet in order to locate a business that they want to use.

 

While this first statistic was not especially surprising to anyone, what followed next may raise a few eyebrows. Of all business owners that had an online presence, nearly 40% were not entirely satisfied with the results that it was bringing them. Some were not happy with the way their website looked and wanted one that was more professional and more attractive to customers. Some others had a website and were quite happy with the way it looked and worked, but they were not convinced that it was doing them any good, as they did not see their website bringing them the amount of customers that they needed. It has also been said that small business owners (outside of the technology or marketing sectors) did not have much knowledge of how internet marketing worked and only a minority of them (14%) wanted to spend some time studying techniques to make their site better and to figure out how to deploy betting marketing efforts such as SEO and other internet advertising, in order to get more visitors to their website.

 

Ok, this maybe news and it is always nice to know some stats… but what does this mean to internet marketers? The bottom line is that there is a wide open market of local business owners who would want to use your services. Some of them want better websites. Some want to do some SEO on their site to get a better ranking on search engines. Others would want to use internet advertising in order to bring in more customers but are not sure which kind to use and are hesitant to buy ads on their own.

 

For those of you who are just learning internet marketing, or who are doing something else (CPA, Clickbank, eBay sales, affiliate stuff, etc.) and don’t get the results you want, this is a great opportunity. What you need to do is simple: learn how to create simple, yet functional websites. Learn how to optimize pages for SEO and build backlinks. Learn about the different kinds of online ads (business directories, classified ads sites, PPC, etc) and how they work. Compile a list of tutorials and learning materials (there are hundreds of videos, articles and blog posts on these topics, all free) and study them for about 2 weeks. Then you can start targeting local business owners and providing them your services as an internet marketer.

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Online Reputation Management – Part 1

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Online Reputation Management – Part 1


The internet is known to be an excellent place for consumers to find out information about a company that they have done business with, or have the intention of doing so soon. This has given the rise to various websites, such as consumer advocacy sites, industry review websites, complaints boards and various discussion forums and social media groups.

Many of these sites have also become places for people who are dissatisfied with a certain company to voice their their displeasure and make it known to others. So, how do you, as a business owner, deal with this? Here is some useful advice:

  • First, conform to standards of good business practices and ethics

Whether you run a physical business, or one that is strictly online, you really need to have good relationships with your customers if you want to avoid complaints and negative information about your company appearing on various websites and blogs.

Make sure that your prices, policies and service terms are clearly indicated on your website. Provide good support and customer service and respond to inquiries in a timely manner. If someone is not happy with your company or its products, make sure that you take action and correct the situation, or at least make a genuine effort to negotiate a solution with the affected party.

Also be aware that your actions as a business can affect your corporate image very quickly. News spreads very fast in the online world. So obviously if your business is involved in things like disloyal competition, dumping toxic waste, selling weapons to dictators, well, be prepared for the fallout because the news will soon be on dozens of websites.

  • Monitor any information posted about your business regularly

This is not hard to do at all. Do a Google search for your business name, or the name of one of your products if applicable. Add the words “scam”, “ripoff”, “sucks”, “is evil”, well you get the idea,  to your name and see if you get any results. Browse social networks and see if there are any posts or discussions about your business. Check out YouTube. Search for your business or products on consumer advocacy sites like RipOffReport or ComplaintsBoard. Of course, you don’t have to do these things every single day if you don’t have the time for it, but depending on how big your business is and how many customers you have, you will need to do so regularly enough. Know that the more customers you have, the higher the probability that one of them could be unhappy, and that, even if you think you do everything well. By being aware of what is written online about your business, you will then be able to take the necessary actions to respond to it and prevent it from affecting your online reputation in a negative way.

Tomorrow we will take a look at what to do, and what not to do, if you find complaints or negative information about your business on various internet sites.

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Common Mistakes in Social Media Marketing

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Common Mistakes in Social Media Marketing


A lot of businesses, both big and small, have realized the importance and the virtually unlimited potential that social media marketing has. Of course, participating in social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Myspace is good for any business. However, you social media marketing campaigns need to be done properly in order for them to net you the maximum benefit. There are certain things that are best avoided. Here is an overview of the most common mistakes that businesses make when using various kinds of social media sites:

Excessive Advertising

When establishing a presence on social media sites, the first thing that any business owner needs to keep in mind is that these sites were never built to be used as advertising platforms for businesses. Rather, they were created with the goal of providing a place for people to connect with others. Therefore, if all you do is bombard people with commercial messages, they will either drop you or simply not pay attention to what you are saying. Advertisements, such as posting promotional Tweets or Facebook wall messages should be done in limited numbers.

Not Updating Your Page

Social networks are places where users constantly post new information about themselves for the world to see. Your business page should be no different. Make sure that you update it regularly. Even if you don’t have any new products or promotions, you could always make some interesting posts related to your business, such as industry news, information on upcoming product launches, or general advice that is related to your niche. Let’s say that you are in the business of selling vacuum cleaners. You could post information on how to select the best vacuum cleaner, etc.

If you have a page that looks “dead” because it wasn’t updated in a long time, users will gradually lose interest in it as there is nothing new for them to see.

Not Spending Enough Time on Putting Together Your Page

Your business page on social networks is there to reflect your business. As such, its design and message should be consistent with your existing website. If possible, choose a color scheme and font that resembles closely to the one on your main website. It is important that your social media page looks interesting and well made. If you put something together that looks like you made it in 5 minutes while watching TV, it will give it a “cheap” look that reflects poorly on your business.

If you need ideas or are having trouble improving your page, there are plenty of guides that provide details on using specific social networks that you can buy or download for free online. There are also various social media marketing forums that can provide advice or design a page for you. Remember, while building a social media page is not difficult, you will still have to put in a decent amount of time and effort into it if you expect it to bring you good results.

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Aweber Basics


     One of the most successful email marketing software companies is Aweber communications. Aweber.com is centered around creating a strong relationship with customers so that a business owner can in turn generate revenues. Although there are fees associated with the products offered by Aweber, they are in no way going to take food from your mouth, instead these services are going to pay for themselves.

     Aweber has a strong and accurate autoresponse system that will take the worry out of managing a successful email campaign. All you have to do is create and email and assign a day when it will reach the members on your subscriber list. There are even services available to let you know how many people actually open your business emails or merely threw them in the trash bin.

     There is also a subscriber list service offered by Aweber that allows you to generate lists of subscribers based on categories that you group them into. You can create categories for new subscribers, previously purchased clients, and so on. This service also allows you to personalize your emails with the name of the recipient, making the client feel a little more valuable to your business.

     Additional services offered by Aweber include template emails, in case you are not creatively-inclined there are great templates for any business. Blog to newsletter creation is a genius implementation that allows you to take information from your websites blog and place it into your upcoming newsletter, this is a great way to highlight an important conversation with followers to your other consumers, and a great way to advertise your blog to subscribers.
  

     Just these few benefits should be enough to consider seeking out some of the services Aweber.com has to offer online businesses, especially if you need just a little more help with your marketing campaign.

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Ecommerce Security Risks And How To Deal With Them – Part 1

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Ecommerce Security Risks And How To Deal With Them – Part 1


As a business owner you may have heard all about the advantages of getting an online presence to help your business acquire new customers and better serve existing ones. But you may have some reservations about the whole thing. One of the main concerns that business owners bring forward today is security. These concerns are certainly valid. After all, it is rare that we see a week go buy without a mention in the media of some high profile security breach. But this should not dissuade you from taking full advantage of what the online world has to offer for your business. Here are some of the most common security threats facing small businesses transacting online and how they can be mitigated:

Payment fraud.

This is the most common security risk that you will face and it can consist of either: a fraudster making a purchase with a stolen credit card or sending a forged check, or a “real” customer making an order, paying with a legitimate credit card and then charging back on the transaction claiming that they never placed this order, never got their merchandise or that it was damaged when they got it.

Fraudulent payments are, unfortunately, a part of the e-commerce world and there is no sure-fire way to stop them. However, there are certain things you can do to bring the amount of fraud close to zero.

First, use a payment processor that uses security measures such as verifying that the address on the credit card and the shipping address match. Especially when it comes to high value orders, do not ship to an address other than the billing address. Most payment processors have automated tools that evaluate each order and can help determine the chances of it being legitimate.

Verify the customer’s information yourself before shipping the item. Call them on the phone number provided to ensure that it is valid.

While doing business internationally is great, be very careful about shipping to certain countries where internet fraud is rampant such as Nigeria, Russia, Indonesia, etc. A common story used by scammers is that of a wealthy businessman based in the USA ordering a high priced item as a “gift” to a relative who just happens to be working in a third world country known for credit card fraud.

If a customer sends you payment by certified check, call the issuing bank to ensure that the payment instrument is legitimate. Just because a check has cleared your bank account does not mean that it is genuine. Stolen or forged checks are sometimes used by scammers when ordering high priced items like jewelry, industrial equipment or electronics.

Use a courier service that gives you the ability to trace shipments and requires a signature on delivery. Any item over a hundred dollars should be sent insured for its full value. This will prevent dishonest customers from claiming they “never got the package.”

And most importantly, use common sense when processing orders and always err on the side of caution.

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