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The State of Digital Marketing in 2015 [Infographic]

What works best in digital marketing today? Smart Insights takes us through device usage, customer lifecycle engagement, and how to manage digital marketing.

  • Marketers report SEO is the top rated digital channel for 2015
  • 80% of Internet users own a smartphone
  • 92% use social media as preferred tactic for content marketing
  • 34% of consumers use a smart TV and 9% use smart watch to surf the Web
  • 37% of consumers use game consoles to surf the Web
  • 50% of marketers indicate they do not have a defined digital strategy

the-state-of-digital-marketing-in-2015

How to Make Your First Ecommerce Sale [Infographic]

There are many ways How to Make Your First Ecommerce Sale shown in this infographic by Entrepreneur.  It is kicked off with social media with no surprise that it would make the list to get your creative brainstorming.

  1. Social Media
  2. Search Engine Marketing
  3. Public Relations
  4. Content Marketing
  5. Paid Ads
  6. Take it Offline
  7. Traditional Advertising
  8. Tell Family and Friends
  9. Coupon Codes

how-to-make-your-first-ecommerce-sale-infographic

Yahoo Extends Shopping Spree, Buys San Francisco Based Cooliris

marisssa-mayer

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has extended her spending spree, as the company has now bought San Francisco-based Cooliris.

Yahoo Inc. has bought Cooliris, a San Francisco developer of photo management applications that launched in 2006.

The purchase of Cooliris for an undisclosed amount marks the latest in a series of acquisitions by Yahoo under Marissa Mayer, who has faced pressure from investors in recent months over mergers and acquisitions.

In three rounds of funding since 2007, Cooliris raised a total of $28.1 million from venture capitalists, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and the Westly Group, according to CrunchBase.

“Yahoo has a clear vision and unwavering commitment to making mobile an intuitive and effortless experience,” Cooliris said on its website. “This makes Yahoo the perfect partner for Cooliris, and we are excited to come together to bring indispensable products to a worldwide audience.”

Some investors who reportedly want a merger of Yahoo and AOL Inc. want Mayer to slow down the company’s ongoing shopping spree aimed at new talent and technologies.

Source: San Francisco Business Times

5 Ways To Get Prospective Customers to Choose You

Image credit: Alfonsina Blyde | Flickr

Image credit: Alfonsina Blyde | Flickr

In the world of business marketing, the strategic focus has slowly shifted from seeking potential clients to making them want to come to you.

In other words, you as a business owner can finally forgo the drudgery of always having to jump through hoops to gain a client and instead focus on making your customers want to come to you.

To learn how to utilize this marketing strategy, read the helpful tips listed below:

1. Don’t target everyone.

Admittedly, it does seem counterproductive to minimize your potential client base when attempting to grow your business.However, often catering to a niche client base will help you succeed in your efforts to grow your business, not the reverse.

After all, you can’t please everyone and people love specific personalized solutions for their problems.. By selecting a niche group within your broad business arena, you can market more specifically and offer products or services for specific needs.

A good example is Richard Simmons. He is known as exercise expert who focuses on a niche market: overweight people who would otherwise avoid working out. In so doing, Simmons has become a huge success.

2. Make your marketing entertaining.  

While you want prospects to attain information about your business, product or service after watching the ad, you also want your marketing campaign to be memorable, funny and worth sharing. Otherwise, it will likely be forgotten.

3. Provide free resources.

If you as a business owner and solve a client’s problem for free, you will have succeeded where 99.9 percent of others have failed.

By offering a tip or helping a client pro bono, you are building repoire with them which could lead to business down the line. This can help gain credibility, trust and create an image of yourself as an expert in your field.

4. Use authority positioning.

Authority positioning means that you are seen as an expert in your chosen field. To communicate your trustworthiness to your clients, try the following strategies:

  • Align yourself with other experts. Whether through speaking at the same seminar as other experts in your field or simply using their logo on your website (with their permission of course), when you align yourself with other experts in your field, you garner immediate trust.
  • Appear in relevant media. Another way to prove your authority is to be quoted in articles, appear on TV or become a guest on a radio shows and podcasts.  To stand out, create three different pitches that tie into general interest news, so you can sent to producers. The key is writing them, so the producer doesn’t have to do any research or work. Give them everything they need for a five- to 10-minute segment.
  • Share what you know through various means. Whenever you have an opinion, can offer advice or build yourself up as a thought leader share alot and often. A great example of this point is Dave Ramsey. He shares what he knows about financial independence with Christian values on his radio show every day. He also uses seminars, books and his website, to build brand trust and recognition.

5. Create a strong digital profile.

Having a polished digital profile is an important step in getting prospects to come to you.

Why is this so important?

  • Potential business connections and clients will sometimes search for your name in advance of meetings, so you want to have an impressive profile available for them to peruse.
  • Your digital profile is a reflection of who you are, what you are passionate about and what you do well. In addition, since you should also include a photo in your profile, it shows your appearance.
  • Your online profile allows you to brand yourself and showcase your talents, and in many ways, has taken the place of a traditional resume.
  • A digital profile that is well maintained gives you the ability to create a professional network, which will help you build trust and authority in your field.

Source: Entreprenuer

7 IT Startups That Will Change How Businesses Innovate in 2015

IT-Startup-2015-Change-Innovators

New products and services are released every month that dramatically change how we can develop products and manage our IT shops. Innovation is everywhere; it can be hard to keep up, but that is part of the fun.

To help people get a hold of this rapidly changing landscape, highlighted are seven technologies that will help you innovate faster, beat your competition and deliver outstanding customer service. They each address the common challenges of how businesses operate today, and are setting the stage for a new era of IT.

  1. ElasticBox

ElasticBox offers IT-as-a-service. Its platform enables IT and developer teams to collaborate so they can quickly build, manage and deploy applications to any cloud. ElasticBox eases the friction between the two teams. Generally, IT teams want to slow things down and ensure stability, while developers want to speed things up and innovate. ElasticBox is changing the DevOps dynamic into one that’s more collaborative and efficient. It also offers a wide variety of features for businesses. This gives companies more flexibility with how they move to the cloud by not locking them into a single cloud provider or a specific way of deploying applications.

ElasticBox will be interesting in 2015 because it is in the midst of greatly expanding the scope of its platform. I look forward to seeing how they build more features around their clever solutions to longstanding developer and IT pain points.

  1. Zimperium

Zimperium has solved the puzzle of protecting mobile devices against advanced mobile threats. Too many players in the security space are stuck on mobile device management (MDM) like the common “Find My iPhone” apps. This has resulted in a lack of truly intelligent enterprise security apps. Zimperium has found a way to fully secure the devices that employees carry everywhere they go, which when exploited, can be a vulnerable entry point to a company’s network and intellectual property.

MDM leaves much to be desired for forward-thinking organizations, and Zimperium will become even more noteworthy in 2015 as MDM continues to die an all-too-slow death. People will soon realize that putting “shackles” on their devices is a losing proposition. This will cause solutions that secure data at rest/transit, as well as support strong authentication (Cert-Based-Auth) and “app stores” to be more broadly deployed.

  1. ZenPayroll

Startups and SMBs are getting some very cool tools nowadays to give them the power to act like a more established company with greater resources. ZenPayroll takes care of all the payroll legwork for SMBs, vastly simplifying the process of managing employee pay. The startup automates things like tax calculations, payments and direct deposits, which is a godsend for businesses that don’t have a corporate office to deal with managing paying employees.

ZenPayroll will be particularly intriguing in 2015 as the next wave of SaaS solutions meets the challenge of the old-guard of traditional applications like SAP and Oracle. ZenPayroll and others in this new crop of HR upstarts are eliminating the one-year-notice prior upgrade cycle, contentious pricing true-up (which enables revision to pricing after a contract commences), and a few other things that cause IT schedules to fall behind schedule and over-budget.

  1. OneLogin

OneLogin provides single sign-on and identity management for cloud applications. It eliminates the need for lengthy integration and provisioning projects, manual de-provisioning, protracted on- and off-boarding processes, username and password resets, shadow IT policing, and other inconveniences caused by too many digital identities.

As the security perimeter becomes more and more elastic and location agnostic with further cloud adoption, there will be a slow migration of identity management services such as Active Directory and LDAP hosted on-premises to cloud identity providers. OneLogin will be among the preferred cloud identity providers. Furthermore, stronger authentication factors will be adopted by those who truly understand the shortcomings of password authentication.

  1. Conjur

The underlying infrastructure of cloud-based apps is pretty complex. There are many moving parts that are often strung together across several servers and databases. This complexity creates friction between the developers who need to write new code and the operations team who needs to watch all the components to make sure nothing crashes. Conjur is great because it easily manages who has access to what code. So for instance, a developer can’t accidentally mess with live code when he should be in a development environment. It can also set rules for what certain pieces of code are allowed to do.

In 2015 and beyond, cloud adoption will surely continue to grow across businesses. This means more and more people will be looking for tools that help them manage the complexity of their cloud apps, so I expect to see lots of growth for companies like Conjur that bring order to the system.

  1. Illumio

Illumio takes a new approach to securing enterprise applications specifically designed for the cloud-based world. Instead of putting a firewall around everything, its approach is more granular. Illumio secures individual computing workloads as they are en route to the appropriate servers, whether they are in the cloud or bare metal. It’s security regardless of what the underlying infrastructure is.

Enterprise security was a hot topic in 2014 due to massive breaches at consumer retailers and enterprise vendors. Companies in every vertical are more aware now of their vulnerability and more committed to protecting themselves from threats. In 2015, I expect to see increased adoption of tools like Illumio that close dangerous security gaps. Illumio made headlines this year by raising $42.5 million from an A-list group of investors, before even coming out of stealth mode. Now with this funding under its belt, I expect to see continued headlines in the year to come.

  1. RelateIQ

RelateIQ uses searches of unstructured data from email, social networks and calendars to automate large portions of the sales process. Its system eliminates the need for manual data entry to track sales leads, and adds greater insight into business relationships. Like other companies on this list, it takes complex, unstructured data from a variety of sources and integrates it into a workflow that helps people deliver real business results. In this case, with sales.

Salesforce’s acquisition of RelateIQ earlier this summer points to a strong market demand for the product. Following the acquisition, it will be interesting to see what other boutique CRM options continue to innovate in this space, like Propeller CRM and Insightly.

The market for cloud technologies is experiencing disruption at an exhilarating pace. What seemed unfathomable or impossible just five years ago is now a reality, and the possibilities are endless for what lies ahead. I, for one, am looking forward to what 2015 brings.

Source: TechCrunch

Is Your Website Ready for Cyber Monday? [Infographic]

Ecommerce sales are expected to hit a record $72 billion. With Cyber Monday right around the corner, the speed of your website needs to meet user expectations.  Just one second has a dramatic improvement on revenue and conversions.  Staples found that for every second of load time improvement, they increased conversions by up to 10%.

Radware provides info and tips to succeed on ecommerce speed and web performance in this infographic.

cyber-monday-ecommerce-infographic

The Top 9 Website Redesign Nightmares [Infographic]

Are you considering a website redesign? Beware of the horrors that plague traditional redesigns. Wider Funnel put this infographic together on the Scariest Website Redesign Nightmares you want to avoid.

Top-9-Web-Design-Nightmares

 

 

How Most U.S. Small Businesses Get Started [Infographic]

How-US-Small-Businesses-Get-Started-HeaderIntuit recently conducted a survey to better understand how small businesses get started. We asked a representative sample of small business owners across the country about their experience. What made them successful? What do they wish they’d done differently? What are their priorities going forward? Here are some of the highlights:

  • The majority (64%) of small business owners start with less than $10,000.
  • Three quarters (75%) of small business owners relied on their own personal savings to get started.
  • Two-thirds (68%) of small-business owners say that the first year in business is the toughest.
  • The number one regret of small business owners looking back on the first year is that they didn’t spend more time learning about financial management (68%).
  • The majority (57%) of small business require $50,000 or less in annual revenue to feel confident about their long-term health.

Intuit is committed to providing small businesses with tools and resources to make it easier than ever to find long-term success. Check out the infographic below, or see the the eBook here.

How-Most-Small-Businesses-Get-Started-Infographic

Reddit Acquires Popular iOS Reddit App Alien Blue

reddit-alien

Community news sharing site Reddit today announced that it has purchased popular third-party iOS Reddit app Alien Blue.

Alien Blue is probably the most preferred Reddit iOS app for the majority of regular Reddit users — including some of the original Reddit employees, who decided to forgo development on their own in-house official Reddit app in favor of using it. In other words, it was unofficially the official Reddit iOS app anyway.

The move comes weeks after Reddit closed a massive $50 million round of funding from a handful of notable tech entrepreneurs. That said, it makes sense that the company would use its new funding to bring Alien Blue officially into the fold, which was probably a far more attractive option than creating its own app from scratch. The acquisition also comes a month after Reddit released a standalone iOS app focused on its AMA subreddit, as VentureBeat previously reported.

Reddit said the current version of Alien Blue will remain the same, but it will pop up as an independent download. (So if you see two versions of Alien Blue, the one with the new app logo design is from Reddit.) And as an added bonus, Reddit is even offering the Alien Blue “Pro” upgrade for free to anyone that downloads the app over the next week.

As part of the acquisition, Reddit is also hiring on talented developer and Alien Blue creator Jase Morrissey to continue his work on the app. We’ve previously gushed about some of Morrissey’s other applications, such as his third-party YouTube iOS app Jasmine, so we’re really excited to see what else he comes up with now that he’s at Reddit proper.

Source: VentureBeat

The 12-Step Landing Page Rehab Program [Infographic]

Ready to optimize your marketing for higher conversions?  Unbounce provides this 12-Step Landing Page Rehab Program.  Think content, ad messaging, videos, engaging cues, and social sharing for your landing pages to get you on your way.

(Click to enlarge infographic)

12-Step-Landing-Page-Rehab-Program

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