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Technology Solutions

How to Use Technology for Direct Mail Marketing

July 16, 2019


Paper-based advertisements, like direct mails, play a crucial role in influencing the purchase decision of the buyer. While direct mail is a proven marketing strategy, technology takes it to a whole new level.

It’s evident that even in the wake of technological advancements, customers are actively embracing direct mail. It’s no surprise why big corporates invest in direct mail engagement. The touch-and-feel experience offered by direct mail helps customers remember the brand and the product. [Are you interested in direct mail marketing services? Check out the businesscompany.us reviews and best picks.]

By streamlining the process and utilizing the power of technology in direct mail, marketers can improve personalization and ease planning, execution, and tracking. In this post, we’ll discuss how technology can make direct mail better and easy for businesses.

Direct mail: The traditional way

1) Redundant process

Traditionally, direct mail marketers handled customer data and mailing information manually. Even now, most are likely to use spreadsheets to share data with other teams. This leaves no room to track data accurately. A notably redundant process in direct mail is where the same spreadsheet passes through multiple hands. Numerous edits, revisions, and updates can damage the entire operation. While necessary in some cases, such a redundant process is time-consuming and involves a lot of work.

Using technology can streamline the process and maintain an up-to-date system to achieve better results.

2) Room for errors

Efficiency and accuracy go hand in hand in direct mail marketing. Assume you are managing direct mail marketing and you send out printed copies to thousands of users. This process may involve different teams within the organization and some third-party vendors for printing and logistics. How do you know the right team is managing the process? Are you confident that your mailing list is error-free?

Without …

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First 5 Steps to Secure Your New Website

July 14, 2019


But, you should never roll out a personal or business website without properly securing it first. Not only is dealing with the fallout from being hacked a headache, as the owner of the website, you are responsible for the content on its pages as well as the mechanisms that people will use to interact with it.

If you plan to store user information, such as passwords or phone numbers, then it is critical that you safeguard that data appropriately. How critical? You could be subject to data breach fines under certain legislation.

Here are the five most important steps that you need to take to secure your new website.7/14/2019 10:00 am

1. Choose a reliable host.

In the early days of the World Wide Web, individuals and companies would obtain and maintain their own servers in a localized data center or office. The cloud computing movement radically shifted that model and the majority of websites are now hosted through a third-party provider.

Cloud computing reduces overhead costs and responsibilities for website owners, but it brings some security concerns along with it. Essentially, you have to trust an outside organization with the data on your website as well as with its overall stability and reliability.

If you choose the wrong cloud hosting provider, it could leave your website exposed to an array of different vulnerabilities. The provider could suffer a data breach or its entire data center could go down, in which case your website might lose critical information.

Not to scare you off of cloud computing, but it’s not risk-free.

2. Obtain an SSL certificate.

If you plan to transmit any sensitive user data on your web servers, then a secure sockets layers (SSL) certificate is a necessity. SSL is an encryption protocol that occurs at the browser level and …

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How to Empower Your Team To Use Technology From Top to Bottom

July 12, 2019


After mapping out your business specifications, securing executive buy-in, and carefully managing the project, your work is still only half done. 

One of the biggest factors in successfully adopting technology occurs after the implementation itself: training. If you don’t have a training plan in place, your new solution is unlikely to be adopted across your company and you won’t enjoy all the benefits of the digital transformation.  

The key is to take a process-centric approach, which will allow you to cover all your bases and provide your entire team with training that makes them feel confident using your new technology.

Read on to learn how to develop your training plan – from choosing the right methods, materials, and resources, to facilitating your digital transformation into the future.  

Forming the outline of your training plan

You should start developing your training plan long before the technology solution is deployed. Ideally, your training plan will start to take shape as soon as the design for the new technology has been finalized. At this point, you will have a good idea of how the technology will function and how it will be used by your entire team, which is critical information for a comprehensive training plan. 

Now is the time to think about your employees – the end users. There are two important factors any good training outline must address: the technical skill level of the end users, and the array of learning styles of the end users.

Think about your end users’ technical skills

Your teams use technology in different ways and for different purposes. As a result, your employees will vary greatly in terms of their technological knowledge, familiarity, and comfort. Take all competencies, skills and use cases into account as you build an outline for the training plan. This …

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How to Use Conversational Interfaces to Build Websites of the Future

July 12, 2019


Have you ever wondered what the world’s first website looked like? Who created it and when? Well, the world’s first website was launched by Sir Tim Berners Lee in the year 1991. It was a simple webpage having some texts and hyperlinks. You can have a look at it by clicking on this link.

From that modest beginning back in 1991, we have come forward 27 years where some extraordinary transformations have taken place in the world of web design. Whether, it is the launch of the first browser in 1996 by Microsoft, or the introduction of CSS and Flash (both in 1996) and in the recent years, the need of responsive design, all played their role in the evolution of web design.

Now, we are moving into the future of web design and conversational interfaces will be the key that will power up modern mobile first websites.

What is conversation UI?

Conversation interface has been rightly referred to as the “UI of the future.” Global leaders like Google, Amazon and Apple are already developing smart websites that will handle customer queries using conversational interfaces.

In fact, a few years back Google developed a chatbot that could debate the meaning of life with users – its developers didn’t build it through code but used a machine-learning algorithm to study existing conversations – namely movie conversations to teach it to respond to queries from users contemplating the deeper meaning of life.

Conversation interfaces are platforms that have the power to mimic a conversation with a real human. This means, users can interact with a machine in the same language as though they are communicating with a human. This happens with the help of Natural Language Processing which allows the computers to understand, analyze and create meaning from the words entered …

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How To Implement SEO Tactics Before Your Website Launches

July 11, 2019


The key is in properly optimizing your website for search engine optimization so you can be sure your content gets the attention it deserves. When it comes to implementing SEO, there are a few key things you should do to get the best results and reach success, including:

  • Creating an optimized coming soon page

  • Optimizing for mobile users

  • Increasing site speed

  • Using long-tail keywords

  • Creating an XML sitemap

Here is more on the different ways you can use SEO to your advantage before even officially launching your website. 

Create an optimized coming soon page

Did you know it’s completely possible to build an email list and a loyal following before your website’s official launch? If more marketers knew and took advantage of this, they’d start way ahead of the game before ever making a sale.

If you can decide who your target market is and what interests them enough to hand over their valuable information, you’re already on your way to earning loyal visitors. With this information in hand, you’re able to create an optimized coming soon page that collects email addresses and other details you need to boost your lead generation and engage with your audience. 

Based on your niche and industry, add researched keywords to your coming soon page so Google can crawl your new website and make it easy for your target audience to find you. Use this opportunity to build your brand. To set the right tone, be sure to use the right images and visual content.

How exactly do you go about creating a coming soon page that people are excited to engage with? You could use a handy tool like SeedProd to be the face of your website so that every time someone visits, they see that your site is almost ready for the …

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What Digital Adoption Means for Business in 2019

July 11, 2019


It’s just as much a part of the world of business, but not all companies have fully embraced what digital adoption would entail. As a result, they might not only be leaving bigger profits on the table, they may also be doing a disservice to their customers. Digital adoption is more than just migrating away from the analog.

With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at how digital adoption is quickly making a name and presence for itself in the world of online business – and why and how businesses must start using it to their advantage in 2019 and beyond.

Beyond the basics of digital adoption

Let’s start with a fundamental definition. If you are not already familiar with the term “digital adoption,” you would be forgiven for thinking it simply means that a company has adopted digital tools as part of its day-to-day operations.

By the same accord, it’s perfectly understandable for the concept to be quickly dismissed, because practically every company has adopted some digital tools, of course. You’ve got a website with a contact form, the marketing team interacts with publishers via email, and you might be managing your projects in Asana.

But that’s not enough on its own. Entrepreneur defines digital adoption as “achieving a state in which people reach the capability to use digital tools to their fullest extent.”

Did you catch that last part? Until a company is in a position where both its employees and its customers are able to leverage the digital tools available to them “to their fullest extent,” the company has not achieved the ideal of digital adoption. While many organizations and brands use SaaS and automation to improve their daily workflow and processes, it’s likely that many of them are still not getting the most …

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How to Provide an Honest and Ethical User Experience

July 5, 2019


There’s a twist here, though. We’re starting to see common user experience tactics coming under fire for being manipulative. Think about the infinite social media feeds that drive users to scroll and scroll until hours have slipped by.  Or relentless upgrade and upsell messages on applications. Millions are bombarded with these issues daily.

A 2018 Pew Research Center study found that a quarter of Americans said they are online “almost constantly”, with 43 percent going online several times each day. The Netflix show “Black Mirror” recently addressed the issue of social media addiction elegantly in the episode “Smithereens.” User experience designers have done their jobs so well that it’s starting to become a societal problem.

So the question now becomes how can we balance good product design with ethics because they seem to be increasingly at odds. The design teams of businesses large and small need to begin holding themselves accountable. Here’s how:

1. Don’t exploit your users’ fear of missing out.

User experience design can be manipulative as long as it truly benefits the user. A gamified weight loss app, for instance, could encourage users to live a healthier lifestyle. That’s a good form of manipulation.

On the other hand, many apps aim to exploit users’ fear of missing out, which is a tried-and-true marketing tactic, but it’s not necessarily ethical when you’re in a user’s pocket and able to leverage friends and family as collateral. The design choices made at these companies contribute to the isolation users feel on certain social platforms.

A study conducted by psychologists at Nottingham Trent University found that the fear of missing out was the most significant contributing factor for people developing social media addiction.

Instead of using negative consequences to motivate users, such as making them feel bad when they don’t …

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The 10 Best Amazon Prime Day Deals for Small Businesses

July 3, 2019


Amazon Prime Day, which is really two days, starts on July 15, and anticipation for the 48-hour event is ramping up. Bargain shoppers across the globe look forward to the event, which features hundreds of thousands of different sales in its two-day duration.

While some people picture consumers buying products for personal use on Amazon Prime Day, small businesses can benefit from the discounts as well. If your business needs an Amazon device, or any other business product for that matter, consider taking advantage of the potential savings by buying the item on Prime Day. With so many different sales and discounts available, it’s important that businesses know the basics of Amazon Prime Day.

For those unaware of what Amazon Prime Day is, here’s a quick refresher:

  • Prime Day is a day when Amazon Prime members are offered special discounts on an assortment of items on the site.
  • Amazon Prime Day will take place on July 15 and 16, 2019.
  • The day’s popularity has put it in the conversation with other major sales days, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • Participating in Prime Day requires an Amazon Prime membership, although users can sign up for a free 30-day trial to participate in Prime Day without paying for the full membership

If you’re unsure where to start looking on Amazon Prime Day, we’ve compiled a list with 10 of the best Amazon Prime Day deals for small businesses.

NEWYES Smartpen

If you prefer handwritten notes but want that data available on your technological devices, the NEWYES Smartpen is an affordable ($129) way to get exactly that. The pen uses a built-in camera to capture the exact location of everything you’re drawing. Those notes and images then transfer to the NEWYES app.

Any small business owners who enjoy taking handwritten …

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Integrating Trello with a Database Backend

July 2, 2019


Trello works best for just-in-time work and is a fluid workflow system. When things are changing so quickly, especially in large environments, it’s important to store that data; a great way to do that is to integrate Trello with a database.

Tools

To narrow our scope a little bit, let’s first cover one way to integrate Trello with a database backend. I’m assuming that you already have a Trello account and a board or two created with some lists and cards. You now need a database to store information in. One database I highly recommend is AirTable. AirTable is a spreadsheet/database combo service with an easy-to-use API. This will come in handy.

Next, we could build our application or script to update AirTable when changes in Trello are detected, but let’s not reinvent the wheel. To keep Trello and AirTable in sync, I’ll use the automation platform Zapier. Zapier connects thousands of services together and allows you to build some advanced automation. Luckily, it has support for both Trello and AirTable.

Getting set up

Assuming you’ve got accounts with Zapier, AirTable and Trello already set up, we’ll start with creating a zap. If you’re not familiar with Zapier, I encourage you to check out their Getting Started Guide.

To store a database record in AirTable for each Trello card that gets created on a board, use Zapier. Create a trigger to fire whenever a new card is created on a board.

Add a step to create a new record in AirTable. Then create a Create Record step. Using the AirTable step, I can specify fields that are returned via my Trello trigger as you can see below.

Zapier automatically pulled all of the fields that were available in my Partner table inside of my Personal CRM base. …

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An Unexpected Benefit of a Digital Workplace

June 28, 2019


What seems like just an improvement in one area can have dramatic effects on how we look at work as a whole.

Email changes communication

Take email for example. Companies first started using email primarily to eliminate the slowness of interoffice memos and quickly connect people who were in offices far away.

But email changed the entire approach to work. It became the new way of sharing documents (“Email that to me”), organizing tasks, and the entire definition of being on task. Many people spend up to a third or more of their day logged into their email client and consider it “working”.

Google Docs changes collaboration

When Google Docs came on the scene, it was meant to solve the problem of fixing versioning of documents. Instead of suffixing files with NEW_Updated(2), team members could know they were always working on the latest version.

But Google Docs also brought a paradigm shift in how we think of collaboration. A document or spreadsheet can now serve as a launch pad for bringing together people to work on the same idea at the same time. When someone has a new idea, they can draft it, invite others to comment, and invite others to the conversation through tagging. Google Docs introduces the idea that collaboration should be instant and limitless.   

The new horizon for tools

The next breed of tools that will change how we work has arrived. They are called digital workplaces. A digital workplace is a combination of technologies on a single platform that offers your employees an end-to-end experience of completing everything related to work in one place.

Many of the technologies of a digital workplace have existed for years, but they existed as separate applications that required you to jump back and forth between tabs depending on what part …

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