How to Use Cloud Computing for Business

cloud computingThe cloud has become increasingly popular with many small and large businesses. It refers to a location on the internet where data can be stored and accessed anytime and anywhere. Cloud computing offers several benefits including:

  • Convenience – The cloud makes saving and accessing files convenient
  • Cost effectiveness – It is cheaper to store files in the cloud rather than in physical storage
  • Adaptability – The cloud is flexible and be adapted to the changes in your business
  • Automation – Most applications using the cloud are self-updating. This means that you don’t have to hire professional IT services to maintain and update your file storage system.

Besides its benefits, cloud usage also has its disadvantages. One of the main concerns is the security of data. Once information is stored in the cloud, you lose total control and anyone can have access to it. However, there are different ways of ensuring that your data remains safe and accessible. Overall, the benefits of cloud usage far outweigh risks.

Businesses can use the cloud in any of the following ways:

  1. Mobile working

This is one of the main advantages cloud computing. Since files stored in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere, the cloud allows you to continue working conveniently while away from the office.

  1. Data backup

Backing up of data is very important for any business. This ensures that files are kept safe in case of disaster, theft or system failure. The cloud makes data backup easy by automatically updating your files as you work. Copies of your data are created in an offsite location where they are kept safe.

  1. File storage

Many businesses use video, audio and image files for their promotion and marketing activities. Such files require a lot of hard drive storage space, which is usually very expensive. The cloud offers a cheaper option for storing these large files, thus enabling you to use your hard drive for storing smaller files.

  1. Information sharing

The cloud makes it easy for businesses to share data with both in-house and geographically dispersed employees. This solves the problem of having to send large files via email.

  1. Growth planning

Due to its scalability, you can start using the cloud for your business on a small scale without having to spend too much. As your business grows, you can increase your usage while paying a little more for the services. Since the cloud is self-managed, you can avoid the cost of hiring a professional to manage the technology.

7 Best E-Commerce Marketing Tips For 2016

online store2Ecommerce is booming. A recent research has shown that in the US alone, the ecommerce sales soared up to 349.06B $ last year. Due to the competition of this extent, ecommerce is also becoming a tough nut for the new entrants to crack into. If you are a young entrepreneur, you need to know the basic marketing techniques through which you could surface on the global potential consumers’ radar.

This write-up is all about highlighting marketing tips essential to boost up your ecommerce venture. So, run through it to establish a strong customer base for your startup.

  1. Employ contextual ad – marketing strategy in your ecommerce marketing

Do you know about contextual advertisement? It is a data-driven marketing technique that uses the information about the user search patterns, keywords used and cookies-tracking in order to deliver the personalized advertisement at the right time and to the right audience. You can gather relevant information about your target customers/prospects by using a marketing automation system. Many giant websites including Google, eBay, etc. with large customer base use such systems.

It tracks web browsing history of users and keywords most frequently used for research. Exploit this information to display relevant advertisements on their web pages. Plan contextual advertisement for your ecommerce marketing, as it enhances productivity and increase sales rate.

  1. Give priority to user generated content

User generated content is a potential way of building trust among your customers. It includes customers’ reviews, ratings, pictures, etc. Usually, users find this information more authentic and plausible than your own content on product reviews. Through a genuine UGC (User-Generated Content), you can achieve several targets for your ecommerce business including sales stimulation, user interaction, product improvement, product customization (as per the users’ feedback), and increase customers’ loyalty. According to facts published by Syndy, when your users upload the photo of your product-in-use, it increases the brand traffic by 22%. This is just one example of how significant UGC can be for your ecommerce endeavor. You can imagine how rewarding it could be if you resort to such assistance dedicatedly.

  1. Incorporate engagement based loyalty programs

Involve with your customers. Increase your engagement level with them. The extensive use of social networks let the users become more aware of the online content as compared to yesteryears.

In 2016, the consistent user engagement becomes the primal factor in developing loyalty of a brand among its consumers. Introduce the engagement loyalty programs; for instance, offer your consumers some sort of reward points every time they interact with your brand.

Engagement is a consistent, bi-directional, dialogue-based interaction with the customers that indicates their loyalty. This increased loyalty ends up in increasing transactions with you, i.e. increased sales. What you need to do is to figure out different loyalty programs in order to attract and retain your customers.

  1. Incorporate transaction based loyalty programs

There are transaction-based loyalty programs as well, where there is a reward on every transaction a consumer makes with your brand. It is a well known and successful strategy to get repetitive sales from the same customer.

The point of such loyalty programs is increased customer retention. If they get some reward in return of their transaction, their likelihood to come back and do business with you again will go high. Retain your customers by giving them something extra on each transaction.

If you already have such strategies in place, complement them with the social media loyalty programs. The rightful social advocacy leads will give you a significant revenue impact. Announce rewards publicly on social media. The more personally you involve your customers with your brand; the better will be the outcome.

  1. Bridge the language barrier

According to One hour translation (OHT), the holiday sales that are made outside US are worth $300M.

It means that you have a vast potential of customers outside the territory of English language as well. However, it seems difficult to get a multilingual ecommerce site, apparently. But the good news is that now there are different widgets that can serve this purpose very well for you.

Most WordPress ecommerce-themes, Woocommerce-templates and other ecommerce platforms come with such translation settings. Be a multi-lingual ecommerce entrepreneur and cater the whole globe. The larger customer base you build, the more revenue you will be able to generate.

  1. Simpler checkout processes

Establish simpler checkout processes. Majority of customers usually bail out if they find the final step of their shopping a little bit complex. Research has shown that about 23% customers abandon their carts right away if they are asked to create a new user account.

What do you think could be a counter strategy?

Provide the user with the opportunity to get his/her shopping cart in the least clicks. In addition, facilitate the guests. Don’t push them in the hassle of membership activation. The more you get your ecommerce site user friendly, the greater will be the outcome.

  1. Affiliate marketing

Get into relationship with affiliate networks. These networks can get you access to large mailing lists and can direct a large chunk of traffic to your ecommerce site. The benefit of affiliate networks is high traffic. However, you get to pay some commission for every sale made by that traffic. Moreover, offer discount codes through these networks. It is one among many prime ways of attracting traffic to your site. A good affiliate campaign can help you achieve high revenues.

Conclusion:

Ecommerce is sure on its way up. A large number of entrepreneurs are entering into the business to make sales, generate profits and earn high revenues. If you are one such entrepreneur, work well on your marketing strategies of your ecommerce site in order to reach a large base of customers.

Use contextual advertisement for ad marketing. Give your customers something special by adding and encouraging them for user generated content – UGC.

Moreover, incorporate different types of loyalty programs so as not only to attract the customers once, but retain them. Enable the translation of your site in different languages.

The more relevant marketing techniques you use, the larger user base you will be able to cater.

Bio

Khawar Zaman is a seasoned ecommerce consultant, best known for his expertise in developing ecommerce solutions, internet marketing and sales strategies. Nowadays, he takes care of Technorian as a cofounder, specialized in WooCommerce and Magento support services. They also help other companies survive and thrive by offering them top-of-the-line dedicated developers.

Things to Consider When Hiring a Web Developer

inductionA web developer plays a vital role in website development. This makes them one of your most critical hires to complete the team. After all, entrusting your website and projects to someone could be a little tricky, if not too risky.

In general, it is very important that you hire the right talent from the onset. If not, you will just be wasting your time, energy and money seeking for a replacement. Poor hiring decisions may not just cause project delays, but jeopardize the quality of your site as well.

Let us share some things you should consider when hiring a developer:

  1. Attitude before skills

It is true that skills are very important when comes to something as technical as web development. However, there are some instances when you have to set the skills aside first and prioritize a candidate’s attitude. You must keep in mind that your company’s principles and vision should be on top of your priorities. Someone whose DNA does not match the company’s culture will just bring a huge gap in interest. No matter how good he is, if he can’t live and work to respect the culture, he will sure have a hard time focusing on his job as well.

It is best to create a list of traits you are looking for and ask the candidate to state whether or not he has it. There are times when one question may give a hint on what answer you want to hear so It would also be advisable to administer psychological exams whose answers they cannot manipulate.

  1. Test and do not assume

It is best to give a candidate a small project that can let you observe the person up close. You have to know how he handles stress, challenges and of course the company’s expectations. In this way, you will be able to gauge the candidate’s efficiency toward a goal set for him

Avoid deciding in an instant especially after the initial interview as you might just end up assuming things which is definitely not the right way to go. Just imagine it this way, you met a stranger who wants something from you (a job) and he tell you things (impressive things about his self) and you believe him? Of course not, right? A big NO-NO.

  1. Look for someone with aptitude

Skills become obsolete after years since technologies just keep on evolving from time to time. With this being said, consider someone that is trainable and is open for continuous learning. The best way to see if your candidate has this quality is by simply asking them what they have done to improve themselves in the past months.

  1. Give them verbal exams rather than written

Ask them questions based from scenarios rather than giving written exams that they are most probably expecting already. Some samples are:

  • How do you manage conflicts in a web application when different people are editing the same data?
  • Which design patterns have you used, and in what situations?
  • Can you name any differences between object-oriented design and component-based design?
  1. If it’s not working, know what to do

Hiring slowly is not bad. This is actually ideal if you truly want to find the best and the most fitting candidate for the vacant position. However, we all know that not all things go smoothly accordingly to what we usually plan. There is still a big possibility that we are found to fail and hire the wrong person.

When this happens, do not forget to give that person a chance. Not that you’ve only invested time and money on them, but because hiring the wrong person only means going through the recruitment process again – a total waste of energy.

But don’t get me wrong, I did not write all of this to ask you to keep the wrong person in the end. The point that I am driving is, give it a chance but if it is not working you really have to let go and start all over again no matter how stressful it is. There are some special cases when you will meet someone who learns and improves through hands-on work. Meaning, they might not have the right quality for now but along the way while dealing with the tasks eventually learns to handle the deal.

 

Catherine is President & Executive Director of 20four7va, a global eCommerce virtual assistance service provider. She is into strategic planning, product development, brand management, and digital marketing. You can follow her on Twitter @20four7va

6 Ways Pinterest is Good for Business

Pinterest_2The rate at which Pinterest is gaining popularity is impressive compared to other social media platforms including Facebook. Only Google+ had more users on its first anniversary. You have probably heard how a particular picture looked cool on Pinterest. But how is all that helpful especially to your business?

Here are some of the ways Pinterest can benefit your business:

  1. Increasing your website traffic

Pinterest helps in the generation of traffic since images link to the source of the image thus sending potential customers your way. As opposed to Facebook and Twitter that are designed to connect people, Pinterest is intended to connect people with their interests online.

If your business can be visually represented, it will get traffic through Pinterest since it involves something that people may want or need. Pinterest creates more traffic today than Reddit and Twitter together. Pictures on Pinterest also look good. Influential Pinterest users can send lots of traffic to one’s site when they pin material.

  1. Google searches recognition

Ranking well in search engines such as Google is as crucial as growing a following on social media but it’s not a walk in the park. Pinterest enables good ranking without the need to put in a lot of work. The fact that Pinterest is image driven would make your ratings skyrocket since Google recognizes images more.

  1. Making Sales

It connects people with their interests translating into things they might want to buy. Products can be shown on Pinterest and how to use them too. The images can then direct them to the site from which the products may be bought. Online shopping in combination with Pinterest will result into sales.

A new buy button enables users make purchases immediately they find something they like without any additional charges. There are no charges for businesses that want to have the buy button on their products. Pinterest plans to make money from businesses that want to grow sales through promoted pins.

  1. Increasing your service or product reach

Through Pinterest connections, business collaborations and friendships are made between sellers and buyers. Connections are good for long term business prospects. Also, as Pinterest’s popularity increases, so does the ability of your services and products to reach a wider audience.

  1. Longetivity

Pinterest images become popular due to being up for a while. This is due to the structure of the site into boards. People go to boards and browse as opposed to going to pages and scrolling back past posts on Facebook. Repinning always brings new popularity.

  1. Demography

Pinterest is dominated by women who are educated and with an estimated income of a $100,000 a year. This translates to a high purchasing power and Pinterest is a great place for them to shop. They can take a look at brands boards and other user’s boards.

Pinterest would definitely be good for any upcoming business. Simply search ‘Pinterest Home Sign In’ and you’ve taken the first step to business success.

 

Eric Kyalo is the creative force behind NairobiTechie. He is happiest with a cup of tea on his side creating content and innovating. Contact him on kyaloeriq@gmail.com

How to Keep Your Email Subscribers Engaged

email marketing2When it comes to email marketing, having a huge mailing list is not enough. You need to keep your subscribers engaged on a regular basis. This will help you build strong relationships and lower the unsubscription rates. Here are some of the ways you can connect with your subscribers:

  1. Identify your biggest fans

Since it might not be possible to engage personally with all your subscribers, you could identify those who are most active. Your analytics will show you the people who open, click and forward your emails. In addition, you can use tools such as Klout and BackTweets to see how your subscribers are engaging with your content.

  1. Connect

Once you have identified your biggest fans, take time to build interact with them on different platforms. This includes social media sites such as Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as networks such as Quora or Slideshare. To enhance interaction, you could create a Google+ circle, Facebook page or Twitter list. Say hi, share helpful links and comment on their posts. Listen to what they are saying to get an idea of what kind of content would interest them.

  1. Create personalized content

One of the best ways of engaging your audience is by creating content for a specific reader or group of readers. For instance, when a subscriber asks a question on social media, you could write a piece that offers a helpful answer. If someone shares their thoughts on a blog, you can write something which agrees or disagrees with their opinion. Explore the subject in detail and include evidence and examples to support your argument.

  1. Mention your subscribers in your emails

Mention your fans in your emails can be a very effective way of enhancing their loyalty. For example, if they made a memorable comment on your blog, you can quote them. If they prompted you to write on a specific subject, be sure to thank them personally in your emails. When you share the message on social media, be sure to tag them to ensure that they read the article. This will enhance their chances of sharing the piece with their networks.

  1. Create content in collaboration

Another fun way of engaging with your subscribers is by collaborating with them on creating content. This will not only help you build solid connections but will also save you lots of time. One way of collaborating with your fans is by interviewing them. Their answers can then form the content for your next email. You could also pick a subject and ask someone to research on it. The findings could be used to create a reference piece. Finally, you could ask your fans to write guest posts for your blog, and offer to do the same for theirs.

  1. Call them up

Once in a while, you could surprise some of your fans by giving them a phone call. This is an unconventional strategy that will definitely set you apart from the competition. If they are in the same geographical area, you could even go a step further and meet them for coffee! Why not?