Make Your Organization More Successful With These Growth Strategies

If you want your organization to be as successful as possible, now is the time to implement proven growth strategies. Below you’ll find three which can help your business expand in a dynamic way:

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1. Utilize Maintenance Services.

One simple way to make your organization more successful is by using maintenance services. These services will empower you to keep your office equipment in optimal condition. In addition to optimizing your company’s daily operations, the maintenance services can help improve the aesthetic appeal of your office setting. Companies like Reactor Services are pleased to offer clients dynamic catalyst management services. Before you purchase maintenance services from any specific company, do background research to ensure that they are known for providing customers with high quality, effective services.

2. Work With A Mentor.

Another strategy you can deploy to make your organization more successful is working with a mentor. This approach is effective because it helps ensure that you have an individual evaluating your professional habits and personal proclivities. This monitoring work can lead to the identification and analysis of your strengths and weaknesses, thereby empowering you to become a better, brighter business professional. Another great benefit of working with a mentor is that she or he can function as a networking contact.

3. Optimize Your Marketing Process.

In addition to working with a mentor, make sure you optimize your marketing process. This strategy is key to growth because it ensures that more and more members of your target audience are being exposed to your brand. Luckily, there are hundreds of techniques you can implement to make your marketing process more savvy and successful. One technique you may find effective is hiring a digital advertising company. The professionals of this company can implement diverse marketing strategies to ensure that your brand becomes increasingly authoritative and influential online. Some of the strategies may include:

• web design and development
• email marketing
• online reputation management
• social media optimization
• content marketing
• responsive web design
• search engine optimization

Also note that some digital marketing companies offer public relations services like press releases, blog work, and crisis communications. Remember that PR services are important because they help ensure that your brand is constantly in the public eye while also increasing the likelihood that the company image is positive.

Don’t Delay: Start Growing Your Organization Today!

Three strategies you can use to keep your business growing include utilizing maintenance services, working with a mentor, and optimizing your marketing process. Start using these techniques immediately so you can see substantive growth!

10 Tips to Getting Found Online

Local SEO: 10 Tips to Getting Found Online

If you are a local business, it is time to start thinking about search engine optimization in terms of location. Search engine optimization is the process of improving your rankings in search results. Local SEO is important because of the rise of mobile devices and location settings and the use of Google’s localized search. Below are 10 tips to help your local business get found in search results.

10 TIPS TO GETTING FOUND

  1. Sort Out Your Directory ListingsAn online directory is an organized website listing, used by consumers to find local businesses in specific categories. Common directories include Yellowbook, Angie’s List and Yext. If you haven’t checked out your directory listings yet, give Moz.com/local a visit. This free tool will reveal which of your directory listings are complete, incomplete and inconsistent. From there, you can switch to the paid version to sort out your inconsistencies or work through them on your own.
  2. Optimize Google My BusinessGoogle defines their My Business tool as putting your business information on search, maps and Google+ so that customers can find you. By setting up an account and claiming your business onGoogle.com/business you can control how you display in search, your location in Google maps, online reviews, YouTube channel, Google+ page and more.
  3. Develop Location-Based Meta DataMeta data refers to the HTML tags used in code to communicate to search engines and users information about a particular page on your website. Common Meta tags include the Meta Page Title, Meta Page Description and Meta Keywords. If your website uses a content management system, chances are you have control over your Meta Data either built in to your CMS or available in an add-on. We recommend filling out the Meta Page Title and Meta Description tag for every page on your website. For helpful tips to get started, check out our blog on Meta Data Best Practices.
  4. Add Your Page to Facebook Professional ServicesFacebook Professional Services is a new feature that allows users to search for local businesses without leaving Facebook. Visit Facebook.com/services and search for your industry in your city. If you are not showing up on the page, you will want to check the categories and subcategories listed on your company Facebook page. These can be found by going to the ‘About’ tab and clicking on the ‘Page Info’ tab.;
  5. Try Out Foursquare/SwarmFoursquare has seen a lot of change over the past few years and today it consists of two apps that work together for a common purpose: promoting local businesses. The Foursquare app is used by companies to feature their businesses and by consumers to discover those businesses. The Swarm appis a consumer app used to ‘check in’ to those businesses in real time and share that information with their friends. There are currently more than 50 million people using these two apps each month (Foursquare). If you haven’t already, go to Foursquare.com, claim your business and optimize your account.
  6. Research Search Volume in Your AreaSearch volume, or the number of people who search for a keyword in a search engine in a given time period, is a key metric to consider when identifying your targeted keywords. By using Google AdWords Keyword Planner you can search for keywords with high search volume. The best part is that you cantarget this search volume by location and see how often a keyword is being searched in your city!
  7. Maintain a Locally-Focused BlogThere are three reasons why it is a good idea to maintain a locally-focused blog:
    • You may become the subject matter expert in your area
    • You can engage with local consumers
    • You can expand your brand awareness in your community

    Consider maintaining a locally-focused blog or writing a location-based blog post on occasion. You can write about anything from a local event, news story or how your company is involved in the community!

  8. Utilize Schema MarkupSchema markup is code that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. It tells the search engines what your data means, not just what it says. For example, you can use schema markup on event listings, reviews, news articles and more. As a local business, you can use schema markup to include your address in search results. For more information on schema markup, visit schema.org.
  9. Manage Your Online ReviewsHaving a grasp on what is being said about your company online is very important. In fact, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (Search Engine Land). Online reviews live on a number of websites including Facebook, Yelp, Google My Business and more. Visit these sites and see what people are saying about your business. Whether the reviews or good or bad, the best course of action is to engage and take the conversation offline.
  10. Go ResponsiveAccording to Search Engine Land, 50% of local searches are carried out on mobile devices. If your website is not mobile-friendly, it is time to go responsive. Responsive design describes a website that dynamically resizes t fit the width of the device or browser that it is being displayed on. The great thing about responsive design is that it uses one codebase and one domain but you can still structure it to feature specific content on mobile devices, such as a map or phone number.

5 Mistakes you’re Making with Email Marketing

5 Mistakes you’re Making with Email Marketing

If email marketing does not currently have a place within your overall marketing strategy, it is time to rethink a few things. Once you begin utilizing email marketing, come back and read this blog to ensure that you aren’t making any of the 5 common mistakes.

For those of you already using email marketing, how does your strategy stack up? These 5 mistakes are quite common yet dangerous. Read on to see what they are and how you can avoid them!

NOT HAVING A MOBILE-FRIENDLY DESIGN

First and foremost, is your email design mobile-friendly? If you are using a template from a reputable email platform (e.g. MailChimp, Constant Contact, Vertical Response) chances are it is mobile-friendly. If you created your own template, this might not be the case. Take a moment to test your email template on a mobile device. Is it re-sizing to fit the width of the screen? Are the contents readable and the buttons clickable? If you find yourself pinching and zooming to read the email, you may be in trouble.

According to Litmus, mobile makes up the majority of email opens. If your design is not mobile-friendly, the majority of your subscribers are probably not reading it! Check to see if there is a pre-made template in your email platform that you can switch too. Or if you would like an original template, ask your developer to code you a responsive template.

IGNORING A/B TESTING

Just because you think that a subject line is enticing, doesn’t mean your users feel the same way. Unfortunately, you cannot know exactly what each of your users thinks without directly asking them, and even then your response rate probably won’t be 100%. This is where A/B testing comes in to play. Many email platforms allow you to A/B test your subject lines, content and more!

A/B testing allows you to create 2 subject lines (or email contents) and randomly send them to your list. Your email platform will monitor the send to determine which subject line is the ‘winner’. This is a great way to test if your subscribers prefer hard sells, witty subject lines, deals, or buzz words like ‘sale’.

USING AN EMAIL ADDRESS OR FROM NAME WITH ‘NO REPLY’

How do you feel when you receive an email and have a great question but cannot reply to the email? You probably feel pretty frustrated. Chances are this situation makes you think differently about that company’s customer service. This happens to a lot of people when a company sends an email from a ‘no reply’ address or the From Name of the email says ‘no reply’. Rob Walling, Founder of Drip, points out that “people want to interact with people, not mailboxes” (Zapier).

It is important that you set up a reply address for your email blasts that can be replied to. Think about creating an alias email address, such as ‘contact@company.com’ or ‘customerservice@company.com’. Add the members of your customer service team or marketing team to this email so you can create a triage for handling replies. This allows you to engage with your users in a whole new way!

SENDING WITHOUT TESTING

Sending without testing is a huge no-no. Just because the email looks correct in the builder does not mean it looks correct upon receipt and it certainly does not mean it looks correct across different email carriers. Before sending your email, always send a test copy to yourself and check it on desktop and mobile. Better yet, send the email to multiple team members using different email carriers (Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc.). Finally,consider investing in Litmus. Litmus allows you to easily view how your email will look across a handful of popular devices and email carriers. With Litmus you can ensure that your email is displaying properly for a large percentage of your subscribers.

NOT REVIEWING ANALYTICS

You will never improve your email marketing strategy if you aren’t monitoring your email analytics. It isimportant to report on the performance of your email blasts so that you can see how your open rate, click rate, conversation rate and more are stacking up. By ignoring analytics you are setting yourself up for a loss. By monitoring your analytics over time you can “anticipate potential issues, profile recipients, discover the best time and frequency of your mailings, and track the percentage of active vs. inactive customers” (Mailup).

How to know if your PC is part of a botnet

Botnets are the “big bad wolf” of the Internet, and the problem is that your PC might be a part of one, and you might not even know it. For those of you who are not familiar with the topic, botnets are an “army” of computers which get infected with specific malware and are then used by the attacker for illegal activities such as spreading viruses to other computers, spamming or flooding web targets. Also known as “zombie armies”, the PCs operate without the knowledge of their owners. The largest botnet that we know about was called Oficla, included as many as 30,000,000 computers and was shut down and dismantled in November 2010. In case you’re worried about such things, here’s how to find if your PC is part of a botnet:

Symptoms of being a “zombie”

If your PC isn’t acting strange in any kind of way, there’s no reason for you to worry that it may be part of a botnet. However, there are several signs which can tell you that your PC might be a zombie. Here are the most common ones:

  • Your computer never shuts down properly or takes a very long time to do so: this indicates that there are some processes running which your operating system has a hard time shutting down, and the regular applications that you install generally don’t do that. This could indicate the fact that your PC is part of a botnet, but it could also mean that you’ve picked up some kind of regular virusб so you will need to use a process of elimination to find out which one it is.
  • Your fans are working even harder when your PC is idle: smart botnets will try to conceal their presence as much as possible, so they will try to avoid the user’s suspicions by doing their thing only when the computer isn’t in use. The fact that your fans kick into overdrive while your computer isn’t active usually means that there’s a background process which uses resources. Don’t get alarmed just yet, this could also mean that your Windows is performing updates, or that there’s too much dust on your fan, so rule those out first.
  • Your hard-disk start working intensively for no reason: make sure that there aren’t any updates going on, but if there aren’t, and you weren’t doing anything on the PC while this happened, you should be slightly worried.
  • Windows updates / antivirus updates or installation not working: not being able to update your Windows or antivirus program (or even install a new security application) is usually a clear sign that something is very wrong. You can’t know for sure if you’re actually part of a botnet or of it’s just some other kind of the malware, but you definitely should check it out.
  • Your Internet browsing and downloading speed is very slow: this could mean that something from your PC is using your Internet connection without you knowing. First, make sure that there aren’t any updates running, and that your torrent client isn’t running. If not, then perform an Internet speed test, and if everything looks normal than your computer is most likely a zombie.

The symptoms are there. How about a cure?

The part about a cure is a little bit more delicate than anyone cares to admit. To put it very simply, depending on the type of infection that has been used to add your computer to the botnet, you may not be able to completely get rid of the problem. However, here are a couple of things that you can try:

  • Microsoft Safety Scanner – this tool has proven to be effective versus some botnet infections over the years, so in my opinion, this should be your first step. The application (also known as Malicious Software Removal Tool) is completely free and contains signatures of many known botnets.
  • Bot Revolt – is another solution that seems to work. To be completely honest, I didn’t test the application myself, but one of my friends did, and it actually helped solve his botnet issue. The tool constantly monitors all your inbound communications, being able to recognize suspicious or unauthorized access, keeps an eye on every installer that you use, constantly checks your registries and is not only useful for finding infections, but also for preventing them.
  • RUBotted – coming from Trend Micro, this freeware program contains digital signatures of several known botnets and is also capable of discovering currently unknown botnets. Additionally, the application is quite proficient at cleaning up an infection form your PC, but it uses an online feature called House Call in order to do this, so you will need a decent Internet connection.
  • Mirage Anti-Bot – a tool that contains a database of URLs known to spread botnet infections. The tool keeps you safe from these URL addresses and allows you to add your own links that should be blocked.

While the previously mentioned tools will probably help, there are cases in which there isn’t anything you can do, except maybe buy new hardware. Certain infections can affect your RAM or directly your router, which makes them nearly impossible to clean. So, if none of the applications I’ve shown you are helping, you should seek help from a specialist.

If computer security is a topic that interests you, then you might also want to find out what is ransomware and how to protect yourself against it, learn about how to keep your browser safe from hackers or read about how to know if your router has been infected.