Category Archives: Business Development

Blogging – How Powerful Is It?

Guest writer Ken Myers, offers some surprising data on blogging.

imageBlogging has become a very influential part of online activity. What was once a simple way of developing an online method for a log of events, has turned into a way of communicating information regarding any aspect of life you may think of.

Since the first bloggers began writing information in the early 2000s, popularity of the activity has inspired millions of people around the globe. How influential has blogging become?

1. Replication – In every one-half of a second, a new blog is put up on the Internet. While this can account for a great deal of how often people blog, you should also consider that a large portion of these blogs usually become inactive or produce very little in terms of information and activity.

2. Early Bird – More blogs are read in the early morning  – twice as many as are read at night. For those who wish to catch an early start to the day, posting information before six in the morning has a greater chance of attracting attention and being read. Most content is read by 10 AM and slowly declines as the day progresses.

3. Since the 1990s… – In 1994, Justin Hall published the first “blog” while he was a college student. As early as 1999, there were only 23 blogs spotted throughout the Internet. In the following five years, that number rose to approximately three million.

4. Freedom of Speech – Currently, the majority of bloggers reside in the United States. Nearly 31 million blogs have been created making up nearly 20-percent of all blogging worldwide. Freedom of speech could be partially accredited to the mass amount of information Americans are able to share.

5. Business Traffic – A business that has a regular blogging schedule can amplify leads and traffic to its website. Simply producing a single post per day can increase traffic by five times more than a blog that has less than four posts during the month.

6. Sales – Companies with more than 51 blog articles can experience a 77-percent increase in monthly leads. If a business could produce a single post per day, sales income could increase greatly after three months. It’s all about patience and quality content.

7. Educated – As of 2009, 75-percent of bloggers have college degrees. Approximately 40-percent have graduate degrees. Does this mean that college students are more inclined to share information, or are they looking for a method to pay student loans?

8. Sharing – Nearly three-quarters of bloggers do so in order to share their expertise and knowledge. However, only 61-percent of bloggers do so in order to supplement an income. As blogging has been deemed as potentially lucrative, it is one of the few ways that one can get paid to share his or her knowledge without subscribing to a full-time job, or keeping corporate hours.

Although there is still room on the Internet for traditional websites and eCommerce, blogging has overpowered previous methods of sharing information online. They can be tied into social networking hubs such as Facebook and Twitter, or use to generate income through the use of paid advertising and affiliate marketing.

How often is the information you’re looking for posted on someone’s blog?

Author Bio:

Ken Myers is the founder of Longhornleads.com and has learned over the years the importance of focusing on what the customer is looking for and literally serving it to them. He doesn’t try to create a need, instead he tries to satisfy the existing demand for information on products and services.

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Filed under Blogging Tips, Business Development, Guest Writers, Opinion

Three Ways 4G/Fibre Broadband Can Help Businesses Thrive

Joe Linford, of Broadband Genie, highlights the growing technologies of 4G and Fibre broadband and suggests some of the potential benefits  for helping businesses be more successful.

4G & Fibre optic broadband – what’s happening?

imageThe successor to 3G – 4G, is essentially ultra-fast mobile broadband that utilises airwaves to send information from one internet enabled device to another. Once used by terrestrial television, the airwaves which were owned by the government, were auctioned off to phone networks by Ofcom, and are now starting to become available throughout the UK.

At the same time this is happening, superfast broadband is gradually making its way around the country. As a way of sending information, Fibre optic broadband allows users to access the internet, keep in contact and download information faster than ever before.

You can read more information about the above and check the availability of deals in your area by using Broadband Genie’s guides to 4G and Fibre broadband. But for now, let’s explore how these could have a positive impact on your business.

Are you ready?

Whereas many rural areas may still be waiting for some time, those in urban regions are finally starting to enjoy great broadband speeds. As well as a number of advantages for consumers, businesses are also starting to enjoy the benefits that come with a faster broadband connection.

As 4G and Fibre optic broadband bring advancements in the way businesses can operate, it’s vitally important to understand how your business can thrive and not be left behind in what has become a significant aspect of long term business success.

  • Connections speeds: While Fibre optic will dramatically improve speeds in the workplace, 4G will do the same for anyone on the move and in business, time is money. Working online is no different than working in a factory or retail and the quicker employees can operate, the better value for money you will get as a business owner; something that could lead to you gaining the advantage over your rivals, should they miss the boat.
  • File sharing: This is another area in which businesses that rely heavily on the Internet will see significant advancements. As well as being able to file share much quicker within the workplace, workers will now be able to file share at home and on the move. As well as improving speeds, users will now have the freedom to file share when they want to and not have to wait until they are at work to complete tasks. This should allow for smoother running of many businesses.
  • Online collaboration: From instant messaging to online conference calling, both 4G and Fibre will open doors that have, until now, remained closed, thanks to online collaboration. Users within the office will be able to work far more effectively with others anywhere in the world. 4G users will also enjoy huge benefits, as restrictions that stop users from taking conference calls at a time and place that suit them will be removed. Whilst this is currently possible with 3G, the service is often poor and as such unviable.

It’s time:

The more your business relies on the Internet, the greater the emphasis you should be placing upon understanding and utilising 4G and Fibre optic. Many businesses are now making the transition to the Internet, with it playing an ever increasing role in the long term success of companies both small and large.

The door isn’t opening to just large businesses. As NBS points out, small businesses who have thus far been priced out of the market due to being unable to afford software applications, will be able to utilise the cloud more effectively as well, thus ensuring that they can compete with larger organisations

Neither 4G nor Fibre optic are available everywhere at present, so you may have to be a little patient in some areas. However, if it is and you haven’t taken the first steps, then maybe now is the time. You may be losing ground to your competitors.

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Filed under Business Development, Cloud Computing

Social Media As A Business Tool – First, Engage You Buyers

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

imageIs there a better way of getting your brand, product or service out to people? In our ever-expanding world of digital advancement, the ability to find and share content has grown by leaps and bounds. Businesses in the know understand social media isn’t just for teens and college kids anymore.

While businesses are capitalizing on the impact a strong social networking presence can have, there’s still a hard line when it comes to actual interaction.

Many businesses still work on the premise of “if we build it, they will come.” Though this approach may have worked in the past, people aren’t just interested in what you’ve built, but what’s inside. The point of social media isn’t just to keep talking about your company and its services; consumers want to know what makes you tick.

If you’ve made a video that promotes your company, employees or services you provide, consider including a behind-the scenes look at making the video, including a gag reel or bloopers. Marketing data and spreadsheets mean little to the average consumer. Show your customers the heart, soul and human side of the company they choose to support.

“Going viral” is a popular turn of a phrase related to the sharing of pictures and videos across social networks. Thanks in part to sharing, “Gangnam Style” made Korean rapper Psy a sensation in the United States.

Memes are another one of those viral cases, in which something is elevated through the use of pictures or words. Former presidential nominee Mitt Romney had at least two of his awkwardly worded statements turned into viral memes as the 2012 presidential race heated up.

Why did these videos go viral in the first place? The case could be made that Romney was famous, being a former governor and presidential candidate, but Psy was an unknown singer and rapper.

While something to strive for, going viral isn’t just about putting up content for people to find. Anyone can upload a video; the difficulty is in knowing what that content should be and how to attract viewers who ultimately share it. It goes without saying that social media is one of the biggest pushers of content, from Facebook to Twitter to rising star LinkedIn and newcomers like Google+ and Pinterest.

Understanding these platforms is first and foremost the most important thing when trying to get people to your business. Facebook is not Twitter and, despite their perceived boxing match, Google+ is not Facebook. Being on just one social media site isn’t enough; a business needs to be on all platforms that will work towards its business and customers.

Another crucial step is learning about your customers. Many businesses try to market to everyone without regard to their actual consumer base. Why market material of scantily clad women on top of cars when a customer base is mostly women? Or senior citizens? To this end, not only is it important to know your consumer but, know what they will like and most likely share. As the saying goes, “content is king” and, not having interesting and engaging content is a deal breaker for many.

Memes are popular because they make current events humorous. Animal videos, from cute kittens snuggled together to pandas getting wellness checkups, make people happy and more productive. Clearly not all marketing will benefit from the use of a meme or a video of a hedgehog toddling across a countertop, but interesting content spurs people to share with their friends, family and coworkers.

However you market to your customer base, be sure to engage your buyers. Social shares can drive sales and bring great success to a company that invests time in learning its customers’ interests and the kind of media that will make them go “Aww!”

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Filed under Business Development, FaceBook, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Twitter

Design Tips and Practice for Non-Smartphone Mobile Hardware (which still exist)

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

imageBreaking news: there’s an alternative to smartphones. It’s called a feature phone. You may remember them. They existed long before Android, iOS, Windows Phones and even BlackBerry. If you’ve been paying attention, which most people haven’t, you’ll notice they make up a huge portion of the global market. In fact, they’re very much alive and well.

Most developers completely overlook the feature phone market entirely, ignoring a massive market segment. In other words, there’s plenty of money to make with mass-market phones.

More About Feature Phones:

According to a recent Forbes piece, feature phones are now far more profitable than mid-market smartphones. How can this be?

As smartphones began their steady rise to dominance, popular handset makers from all over the world abandoned the feature phone market. Since most handset makers stopped development for mass-market mobile phones, it left a huge market wide open for Nokia and handful of feature phone developers throughout Asia. While the feature phone market is experiencing a decline, as of 2012, over a billion mass-market handsets are being sold annually. The bottom line: it’s time for developers to get in the feature phone development game.

Top Feature Phone Development Platforms

Brew MP

· About – The Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW) platform, developed by the engineers at Qualcomm, has been around for upwards of a decade. To date, over a billion devices have been sold with BREW as the chief OS platform. Additionally, over $3 billion has been paid out to BREW developers.

The big idea behind BREW is that it seamlessly integrates simple applications with feature phones. The way it does this is kind of misleading. Yes, BREW-powered phones can be programmed in C+ or C++, but for all intents and purposes, BREW works as the pseudo operating system.

While the faux-OS allows you to run native code on each device, you don’t need to code applications for a specific device. This is largely because the runtime library is actually a part of each BREW-powered phone’s on-chip firmware. In other words, BREW is among the most flexible and powerful feature phone development platforms out there.

· Navigation & Basic BREW Development Concepts – Start by downloading the BREW SDK from the Qualcomm site. Once you download the SDK or DevKit from the BREW resources page, you’ll find the Brew Simulator or Emulator, depending on the SDK release.

Throughout the dev process, the simulator offers multiple levels of application signatures: one signature to authenticate you (the developer), and another signature to ensure the application has passed all BREW-related app testing.

Testing apps involves transferring them to-and-from a BREW-powered handset via USB using the Brew AppLoader tool built by Qualcomm. If the app isn’t configured correctly, BREW will automatically delete the app once you restart the phone. From here, apps can be deleted and removed from the handset via USB to free up onboard memory for further app testing.

Symbian

· About – While the Nokia-owned Symbian OS has recently been re-tooled to focus on smartphone development; its history is in feature phone development. The platform is based in C++ programming, but there tends to be multiple issues with the Symbian platform to date. Essentially, Nokia had big plans for the OS – mainly to provide a development community with a repository of standardized code to work with – but third-party developers own much of the code. This essentially means that only a select number of development firms have access to the full source code.

In 2010, the development platform was switched over to open source, which marks the largest open-source code migration in the history of mobile development.

· Basic Symbian Development Concepts – The bad news is that the Symbian development platform is fairly complex. The good news is that once you wrap your head around it, it can prove to be a powerful platform for feature phone development.

For starters, the platform is fairly versatile. While the bulk of apps are programmed in C++, you can easily code with languages as diverse as Python, Java ME, Flash Lite, Ruby and .NET.

Downloading the SDK will reveal some crucial components you’ll need to spend some time with – namely the header files, library files and the Windows-based emulator.

The basics of Symbian development can be broken down into three main components: descriptors, active object and the cleanup stack. The problem with using these components is that they’re based on older, out-of-date Windows hardware components. While you can use a wide range of MobileDev languages to create apps, implementation is often limited to a small number of Nokia handsets.

Most Symbian developers use third-party tools like Carbide C++ express. With these coding tools, programmers can benefit from UI design features and other app debugging tools to get apps ready for deployment in a timely fashion.

The same development concepts that apply to smartphone apps also apply to feature phones: create an app people can use and you can make money off of. The key takeaway is this: there’s a $3 billion+ development market that many mobile developers have given up on. Don’t let that be you.

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Filed under Business Development, cell phone, Connected Devices, Guest Writers

Bridging the Gap: Effectively Connecting With Consumers Online

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and email make keeping customers, clients and loyal subscribers informed about news at your organization easier than ever before. But despite the variety of media and technology platforms, most organizations and businesses struggle to maximize these resources.

Building an online following is about more than posting pictures, or sending daily updates. Like every aspect of business development, effective social networking requires careful attention and a focused, well-articulated theme or message.

Streamline Your Email Newsletters

It’s tempting to inundate your audience with daily emails about everything from promotional sales to product changes. This is a mistake. Frequently sent emails become associated with spam. Email marketing companies typically have rules in place to prevent their clients from inadvertently spamming their clients – it helps to think of your own email inbox and how quickly it clogs with spam.

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· Focus your newsletter, or email, to once or twice a month.

· Organize the information. For example, “What’s New,” “Sales and Promotions” and “Industry Updates” can all be categories.

· Give readers, or customers, an incentive to read through the email by including a coupon at the end.

Facebook

Facebook enjoys around 900 million monthly active users. That’s a goldmine for the media-savvy marketer. Facebook is a good way to automatically insert yourself onto the newsfeed of your followers without sending emails or promotional brochures, but that doesn’t mean you should post daily updates without a purpose.

· Announce new product arrivals alongside pictures of your staff or satisfied customers.

· Facebook is about exchange and engagement, so invite your followers to engage by holding contests for new product names or asking questions related to your business. For example, if your business sells green cleaning products, post a Facebook message asking others which of your products they like the most. This will facilitate an online discussion among your audience and draw attention to your business Facebook page.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a great way to expand on your organization, while offering valuable information to your online audience. Let’s say your company sells fly fishing equipment. Pinterest gives you the perfect opportunity to educate your customers in an interest-related area while showcasing your merchandise visually.

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· Be subtle, make the focal point about the hobby, but mention your products as they relate to specifics. For example, “Using a broader piece, like the Catchfly22, allows you to cover more surface area on the water.”

· Create Pinterest group boards for each facet of your business. For example, if you own an organic pet supply store, feature separate Pinterest boards on food & nutrition, grooming and toys. This will allow you to reach a broader consumer audience of pinners.

Twitter

Twitter is one of the trickier social media outlets to use for business because your content is limited to a few hundred characters per post. The bottom line is: keep your tweets regular and meaningful.

· Twitter is ideal for announcements. For example, “Just in time for summer…Newest colors of Balliboo shorts!” – Along with the announcement, tweet a picture of the new shorts spread in a colorful arch across the store counter. This keeps your audience aware of new merchandise, and excited about purchasing it for the upcoming season.

Each of these social media outlets is only as powerful as your overarching communication strategy. Strategize about when to post, email and tweet so that you can coordinate the messages and media content.

For example, if you want to promote a new brand of athletic clothing that just arrived, make sure to reiterate that news through every social media outlet without making every post identical.

You can tweet a picture of the new clothing in colorful piles and post a picture on your Pinterest board of an employee wearing a new shirt, along with a description of a few local biking routes.

Reinforcing your synchronized message through multiple social media outlets makes it more powerful, and more likely to be absorbed by your audience.

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

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Filed under Business Applications, Business Development, Guest Writers, Social Networks