All posts by Susan Melony

How to Create a More Innovative Culture at a Traditional Company

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In some ways, a traditional company can be great. The concept of a traditional company evokes ideas of something tried and true, and something that’s followed a formula of success over many years or even many decades. Many family-owned businesses and long-standing corporations are often considered traditional in many ways.

At the same time, it’s almost impossible to remain entirely competitive in a fast-paced business world if you don’t embrace some ideas of innovation and new technology.

There are ways to balance tradition with innovation and create a culture that incorporates both.

Below are some ways to make this work across your organization.

Start Small

Your employees and even corporate leadership may be reluctant to embrace entirely new ways of doing things, but start small. Introduce relevant, manageable and value-creating technology and software to begin.

As an example, start by eliminating your manual expense report process, and replace it with invoice and AP automation.

This is something that’s almost instantly going to improve efficiency and productivity, and it’s unlikely to be met with a lot of controversy. Once smaller additions are introduced, and new ways of doing things have gained some acceptance, you can move toward larger and more cultural shifts.

Go From the Top

The hardest people to convince to embrace technology and innovation are often the ones at the top, but if you can get them on board, it’s going to be much easier to have that become a cultural shift.

Your workforce is much more likely to move in an innovative direction if they see company leaders doing it.

If you’re introducing new software for example or a new digital platform, you have to get those leaders onboard from the start, and then they can create a sense of excitement for the rest of the workforce.

Encourage Efficiency

Efficiency was touched on above, and it’s really a key selling point when you want to shift ways of doing things and move toward more technology in a traditional organization.

For example, if you have a large sales team, rather than focusing on the concept of replacing them with digital technology, put the focus more on the idea of working smarter rather than harder, and becoming a more streamlined department.

Try to move employees and executives away from looking at technology as a replacement, but rather frame it as an enhancement for how things are done.

Be Transparent and Authentic

Finally, one of the big ways a startup’s culture often varies from that of a traditional organization is in its inherent sense of transparency and authenticity. These are great things to try to achieve even in long-established companies that might tend to have a more tight-lipped, behind-closed-doors mentality.

When you are authentic with employees, explain the rationale for changes and decisions, ask for open and honest feedback and discussion, and create a sense of transparency, there’s more room to welcome new ideas, embrace new technology and have a more forward-thinking and competitive company.  

4 Tips To Better Engage With Your Email Subscribers

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Having an email list of subscribers is one thing, but actually engaging with those email subscribers is something else entirely. In fact, there’s literally no point to having an email list to begin with if you don’t engage with your subscribers.

If engaging with your email subscribers is something you’ve been struggling with lately, there’s no need to worry any longer. You’re about to learn how you can engage with them to gain higher click and bounce rates.

Here are the top four tips to better engage with your email subscribers:

1. Make Your Personality Show In Each Of Your Emails

Making your personality show in each of your emails is something your subscribers crave most, and yet it’s also something that many email marketers fail to do. Fortunately, you don’t have to make this same mistake.

When writing your emails, write like how you would write or talk to a friend. Don’t make your emails sound robotic or automated. By making your personality show, you’ll make your email messages feel more authentic and unique, which your subscribers will undoubtedly love.

2. Include A Countdown Clock To A Special Event

Another engagement trick you can use is to send messages with a countdown clock to special events. This will help make your subscribers actually look forward to whatever event you’re hosting.

The best email countdown clocks should allow you to choose between different fonts, colors, and sizes, come in a variety of different languages, and will update each time a subscriber re-opens the email.

3. Reward Your Subscribers

Email subscribers love to be rewarded. The moment they subscribe and are sent a welcome email, include a reward such as a free book or video in that message so they feel appreciated.

But you don’t want the rewards to end there. Continue to hold special contests and offer free giveaways throughout your marketing campaign.

4. Segment Your Email List

Segmenting your email list means breaking it down into specific different lists of subscribers. This will make it far easier to manage and also enables you to run a targeted email campaign to increase your leads and sales.

By dividing your email list into different segments of subscribers with different personal tastes, you can then send messages or rewards that those subscribers will be more likely to click. The best way to find out what the tastes of each subscriber are will be to send them a survey with a free gift at the end as a reward to compel them to actually take it.

Engaging With Your Subscribers

Email marketing will only work if you make your subscribers happy and build a relationship with each of them as individuals. This is what engaging with your subscribers is all about: getting them to actually know you as a person.

By following the tips you have just learned in this article, you will be able to more effectively engage with each subscriber and make them happier as a result.

As Cyber Threats Continue to Mount, It’s Time to Beef Up Your Security Measures

Cloud storage adoption is on the rise, which makes security critical. High-profile data breaches are often in the headlines. This is why it is imperative for businesses and IT teams to understand that security is a proactive, two-way street. According to Gartner, information security spending is expected to surpass $113 billion by 2020. Security can get redundant, similar to a whack-a-mole where you are always on the defense–patching issues. Is the cloud more secure for your data? Read on to learn more.

Applications

Many businesses are moving to the cloud simply because it has the ability to recover quickly from any failure. In addition, the cloud was designed to scale even under heavy loads. As a result, developers have started getting into the habit of breaking applications into components in order to facilitate these types of features.

Here is the problem: sharing components can create a backdoor for users to gain access to data they’re otherwise unable to see or modify. This is certainly much more complicated than sending secure information over fax server software.

Hacking has become a billion-dollar industry. The bad guys are stealing your data and benefiting financially. It’s no surprise we’re seeing ransomware everywhere.

Lack of control

Sending company data to the cloud can make you feel insecure about who is monitoring your data. Who can you count on to keep your data safe? You’re giving up control since the information is no longer in only your hands. You can’t see or feel the servers. You won’t know if they need an update. You have no idea who works with your data.

This is why you need to ensure your cloud service provider offers bank-level encryption to keep your data safe. In fact, all of your data should be encrypted both in transit and at rest.

Explosive data growth

The Internet of Things and big data are fueling data growth. A lot of that data is now stored in the cloud. While cloud vendors do offer updated security services to meet evolving needs, it’s important to stay away from the set-it-and-forget-it train of thought. Your security team needs to monitor everything consistently.

Even if you have an open window, for just a few seconds, the bad guys will know. They are constantly checking for vulnerabilities–it’s their job. The minute you have a vulnerability, you will get hacked. You just can expect security features to protect you all of the time. This is why you must monitor and test your deployments continuously.

Zero-knowledge cloud storage

These types of providers are rising in popularity since they encrypt all of your data on the client side. As the name implies, the vendor has no way to access your data despite the fact that they are storing it. This type of storage can make the difference between keeping your data secure or exposing it to cyber threats. On the other hand, before you upload all of your data to the cloud–you can encrypt it yourself with tools such as Cryptomator and Boxcryptor. By encrypting your data, potential hackers can’t read it.

In a day and age where hackers are making millions, it is critical to do everything you can to keep your information safe. Even if you partner with a trusted cloud vendor, you must play your role in the execution of robust and comprehensive security.

 

Simple Ways To Boost Traffic To Your e-Commerce Site in 2017

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Regardless of the type of e-Commerce site you operate, be it a full-blown site with thousands or products, or a small craft shop where you sell handmade items online, it’s important that you have a steady flow of traffic.

The more traffic, the more sales you’re likely to get.

That seems easy enough, right? That is until you start to notice a decline in your site traffic. It can be frustrating if you’re not getting the results you want, and it can often be time-consuming to do anything about it.

Some of the methods you might take to boost traffic can indeed be time-consuming, but there are some simple, fast things you can do to improve your site traffic in 2017 as well.

Encourage Customers to Share User Photos on Instagram

Instagram is one of the best social media resources for anyone from bloggers to people selling things on their website, and if you’re not putting your focus here, it’s a good time to start.

One way you can boost your traffic is to encourage your current customers to share photos of themselves using your products. When you’re just starting out with this tactic, you can incentivize them with free product samples, or you could do creative marketing such as running a contest to get people to share photos.

Create Landing Pages

Another good way to increase your overall sales and boost your business is to design individual landing pages for your products.

Landing pages should be optimized, and that path can take some work and some testing, but once you find a formula that works they can be great for driving traffic to your site and getting customers to buy from you.

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Refresh Your SEO

If it’s been a while since you thought about SEO, make 2017 the year you refresh your efforts in this area. SEO rules may change, but it remains incredibly important as you work to drive traffic to your site. If it’s been a while since you’ve done keyword research or analyzed your site’s SEO, it’s important that you take the time to make adjustments if necessary.

You might also find some great new opportunities for targeting a wider audience simply by using keyword research tools.

Create A Blog

Even if you have strong content on your site describing your products and everything is keyword optimized, you should still think about having a blog.

A blog is one of the best ways to strengthen the brand of your e-Commerce store, let visitors know what your business is all about, and reach new traffic. Content marketing is essential if you want to strengthen lagging traffic numbers.

Incorporate Videos

Finally, if you’re not already, think about adding videos to your social media profiles and your e-Commerce site.

Videos are the perfect way to give people a complete view of your products, and also let them get to know you. When people feel like they know you, they’re more likely to visit your site and buy products from you.

Some of the methods to drive traffic to an e-Commerce site might be labor-intensive, but there are also ways like the ones listed above that can let you improve the performance of your site with a minimal time investment.

Guest Posting Your Way to Blog Success

When you first start your blog, finding ways to bring in consistent traffic can be a major challenge.

One way that many newbie bloggers have made this transition easier is by guest posting.

So, what is guest posting?

Well, essentially, it means that you offer to write a blog post for another website. The post is generally credited to you and the blogger will allow you to link back to your site.

There are obvious advantages for both sides here. You’ll gain the exposure of their visitors while they get quality content to post on their blog.

But how exactly do you get these guest posting opportunities?

And what do you do when you get them?

Let’s find out.

Finding Guest Posting Opportunities

Your main goal when attempting to find guest posting opportunities should be to look for someone that has an audience as similar to your target reader as possible.

If you’re in the health niche, for example, you probably don’t want to guest post on a coding blog.

Instead, it’s best to stick with other health bloggers that wouldn’t exactly be defined as your competition.

For example, a blog that focuses on weightlifting will likely have interest in content from a nutritionist that has similar views on healthy eating.

So long as you’re establishing yourself as an authority within a strong niche, you shouldn’t have much problem finding other bloggers that would be more than happy to have you share your expertise on their blog.

Create a Plan

If you want to use guest posting to drive your blog success, you need to have a plan.

The first aspect of this guest posting plan is to determine your main objectives.

In most cases, your three main objectives are going to include:

  • Bringing more traffic to your blog
  • Positioning yourself as an authority within your niche
  • Earning backlinks that help with SEO

While you could write an entire book on the steps to take in order to accomplish those objectives, it’s important that you have some type of actionable plan in place

At the very least, you should have an idea of how many guest posts you intend to write.

Create a Killer Guest Post

While guest posting can definitely help you achieve the objectives listed above, it will be a huge waste of time if the content you create isn’t outstanding.

Creating a killer guest post on a website with a strong following can literally change the entire direction of your blog.

So, if you’re lucky enough to earn your way through the door and get accepted, make sure you produce something that’s memorable.

How do you do this?

Well, it starts with being useful.

Produce something that truly offers value to the people that read their blog. This will help you earn their trust and hopefully click that link back to your blog.

Conclusion

The potential offered by guest posting is something that very few other blog marketing opportunities can offer.

Take advantage of this and create a plan to use guest posting to drive your blog’s success.