Keep Your Emails Mobile Friendly

John Foley, Jr.
Posted on in Inspiration

With the increasing usage of mobile technology, it is now crucial that emails are mobile friendly. Email is one of the communication methods that gets checked often by recipients as it is used to communicate for both work and social reasons. Email is one of the most commonly used methods of communication for mobile device owners along with texting. With such a high level of usage, you can understand why mobile-friendly email is so important.

Issues that plague mobile users are not that different than those on standard computers. However, the issues are magnified. For instance, load times can be a problem when accessing the Internet on any type of device, yet mobile devices are meant to be used in short-interval situations. When you are waiting in line at the dry cleaner checking recent emails, you don’t have time to deal with ridiculously slow load times. If emails do not load, you may not read them for hours when you are back at the office. For people who travel constantly for work, this might mean days.

Another issue is readability. Mobile device users are reading on a smaller screen with limited time. This situation creates a need for shorter, more direct emails that are easy to see on a small screen. Keep in mind that a reader will scan the email unless it is of uber importance. Therefore, short and sweet is the best bet.

Limited features on some smartphones mean that owners cannot view all of the emails they receive. This is especially true with attachments. Attachments take a very long time to load on a smartphone, and even longer if there is no Wi-Fi available. Smartphones can receive data via cell-phone connections, but it generally takes longer. And if the phone is used in an area with poor cell reception, long emails and attachments may not open at all.

Readability and ease-of-use should be your primary concern when sending emails. With user-friendliness as a priority, configure your emails with the mobile user in mind.

Keeping Your Mobile Website Simple and Relevant

Donna Vieira
Posted on in Inspiration

While you are setting up a mobile website, whether it is for a special event or your normal visitors who may be using a smartphone or tablet instead of a computer, it is easy to get distracted by the small details. Even though a variety of details may be useful on a normal website, you want to avoid cluttering up your mobile website.

Identify Your Customer’s Goals

The best mobile websites are straightforward and to-the-point. You do not want to distract your potential customers with unnecessary facts, figures or details that will only confuse or annoy them. Your visitors are looking at your website for a specific reason, so you want to make it as relevant as possible to your customer’s goals. For example, if you own a restaurant, then you may want to include the menu and location details, but you can avoid the historical data or about-us details.

Focus a mobile website design around the goals that your customers are setting. If your customers are looking for a restaurant to stop for lunch, then the most important data is the menu and location.

Keep it Simple

Nothing is more irritating to your customers than struggling to find the information that is most relevant. If your mobile website is announcing an upcoming event, then develop a mobile website that focuses on the most important details.

The Harvard Business Review suggests that an easy navigational set-up on your website can actually result in a greater number of sales and improved customer conversion rates. That is because the decision making process is easier when your customers are not wasting time trying to find out information that is relevant to their search and goals. Creating a simple website will make it easier to navigate and find data.

Building a mobile website is not necessarily as difficult as it might sound. By evaluating your goals and the goals of your customers, it is easier to remove unnecessary clutter and set up a simple mobile website that will bring your customers back in the future and encourage better conversion rates.

Mobile Payments – Everything You Need to Know

John Foley, Jr.
Posted on in Inspiration

Pop Quiz: You are at the game and you’re getting hungry, so you go get some food. They don’t take credit cards, you don’t have cash, and the volunteer suggests you use the PayPal app. What do you do?

Grab Your Mobile Wallet

Sooner or later, if you have a smartphone or tablet, there will be an opportunity to pay for something using an app instead of pulling out your wallet. It might be at the Snack Shack on the local playing fields during a game, or at an art market you’ve been strolling through. Paying with your phone can be as convenient as pulling out a card. “Mobile wallets” are so popular that the Federal Trade Commission had a workshop on mobile payments in an attempt to catch regulations up to the technology exploding around us. Many people are unsure about using this potential perk but it is worth learning how to use your mobile wallet.

Know What Your Mobile Wallet Can’t Do

Using your phone to make a payment securely means you need to understand how the process works. You can load a cloud-based app that links to your bank or credit account and follow the app’s protocol to make your payment. This can be a code to scan at checkout or a button you hit or accessing PayPal at the retailer’s terminal if they have it set up. Square Wallet and LevelUp are examples of this type of mobile payment.

Other apps rely on near field communication (NFC), a compatible phone, and a special NFC payment terminal. Google Wallet and Isis Mobile Wallet use this technology. As Kiplinger.com explains, the phone is touched to the terminal and the information is transferred.

Every type of mobile payment app will be slightly different and you need to know four things:

1. Will it work on your phone?
2. Will it work with your data plan? (Look into what your data offers- For example, compare 3G vs 4G on T-Mobile, or whichever service provider you use)
3. Will it work with your accounts?
4. Will it work for places you hope to use it?

Answering those questions will help you choose the best app for your situation.

Keep Your Money Safe

According to the Federal Communications Commission, consumers should protect their smartphones, data, mobile wallet apps and services from theft and cyber attacks. That means you are the final safeguard for your financial security.

- Treat your phone like the precious asset it is, and don’t leave it lying around
- Set up separate PINs for your phone and the mobile wallet app, and use them
- Have your contact information displayed on the “lock” screen so it can be returned to you if lost
- Have the procedure for reporting a stolen device available and follow it if your phone is stolen
- Install and maintain security software
- Monitor your financial accounts
- Don’t conduct financial transactions over a non-secure network like public wi-fi

The Future Of Paying With Your Phone

Mobile payment options are growing and the future looks like it will definitely include the ability to use your phone to pay your bill. Pay attention, and you can pay safely with your phone.

Is Your Business Blog Putting Readers to Sleep?

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Posted on in Inspiration

There is no single correct way to create a business blog; however there are definitely less effective methods which are used frequently by all types of companies.
Business blogs are started by the dozens and it is important to do something which will set yours apart from the crowd and draw the reader in. Solid content will take you a long way, but it is important to spice things up and make sure that readers are enjoying themselves while they spend time on your site.
There are a few things that you can do to make sure that readers will be riveted by your business blog.

Utilize Images

Readers, especially those on the internet, are drawn to visuals more than text. Breaking up informative information with relevant photos or images can help you keep your readers engaged. Variety is one of the best ways to make sure that your business blog is not putting readers to sleep and a carefully placed picture or image will be sure to provide the variety that you are looking for.

Graphs

Graphs are a great way to make large sets of data more easily understandable. Readers are looking for the conclusions of data sets, not the individual details. By including graphical representations of your data set along with commentary regarding the results you will be able to connect with readers better. This will provide more value to your reader and keep them interested in reading the rest of the blog in order to learn the details of your conclusions.

Calls to Action

Engaging content is one of the best ways to keep readers coming back however it does fall into the passive reading category. Ideally your reader will feel as though they are involved in the process of learning from your business blog. By inserting calls to action you will be able to create a certain amount of interaction with the reader which will cause them to invest more in the blog they are reading. Asking for their opinion on a piece or having them participate in a survey can be excellent ways to keep readers engaged.
If you feel as though your business blog may be on the verge of putting your readers to sleep try adding in some of these techniques to make it more interesting.

Increase Brand Awareness

Having an engaging business blog will help increase your brand awareness among your customers and can help build a community around your business. Customer loyalty can be affected by their involvement with your blog as well which can help your company financially in the long run.
The great part about a business blog is that you are regularly creating content for your readers and can implement these changes at any time.
Whether you spend many dollars or few dollars on your business blog, be sure to re-examine your personal budget software in order to make sure necessary financial resources are allocated for your blog. In the end, it can be some of the best money you will ever spend.
By following these simple strategies you will be able to create a robust following for your business blog that will benefit your company overall.

About the Author: Thomas Verdone is an author who covers a wide range of topics, including finance, fitness, personal development, and social media.

Why Are the Social Sites Your Business Chooses Important?

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Posted on in Inspiration

A key tenet to successful marketing is to put your message where your audience is. When it comes to social media, the rule is the same: Put your message on the sites your audience frequents.
But how do you know which sites your customers spend their time on — and what kind of content is right for each?

Facebook

Boasting more than 1.5 billion users and millions of new signups every day, Facebook is the undisputed leader in terms of sheer number of members.

It also provides several handy tools for businesses, including analytics that let you see who’s visiting and talking about your business, separated by age, gender and other key demographics.

Even better, you have a range of choices for the type of content you post to your Facebook page. Unlike some more limited networks, Facebook makes it easy for you to add photos, video, polls, and other content to boost audience interest and engagement.

This network is best for business to consumer marketing. If you plan to use only one social network to promote your B2C business, Facebook is an excellent choice.

Twitter

Another social media juggernaut, Twitter has grown quickly in the past couple of years thanks to the rise of smartphones.
With its free app, smartphone users can post quick, 140-character messages from anywhere they happen to be.

Twitter provides an excellent way to share your content with a wide audience of people. And with its built-in search tools, you can build your network with a targeted group in mind.

Google Plus

Google+ has been quieter about its growth than other networks, but it’s built up a user base of more than 400 million in its two years of existence.

Owned by search giant Google, this network can give your business a major boost in search engine results. Claiming your Google Authorship will earn you a photo next to your byline in search results, improving click-through rates. And Google’s Joshua Berg has said social signals — such as those from G+ — will become more important in determining search results. These social signals give the search engines a way to filter content by what users really want.

Pinterest

Do you have a product or service that is particularly photogenic (such as fashion, shoes, or food)? Are women your target market?

Then Pinterest might be the right place for your business.

This network charged onto the scene in 2010 and is now the third most popular social media site in the world. Made up of 65% women, the audience on Pinterest is perfect for retail businesses, since it’s highly attuned to commerce and products.

In an infographic by Shopify, the ecommerce platform reported that buyers referred from Pinterest are 10% more likely to make a purchase than those referred by other social media sites — and 70% more likely than those referred by a website.

Shopify also reported that orders from customers referred by Pinterest were double the size of orders from customers referred by Facebook — making Pinterest a serious contender when choosing the sites you build your business presence on.

The social sites you choose for your business will determine the effectiveness of your social marketing strategy.
By studying the demographics of each site’s users, and posting content appropriate to the platform, you may see a major boost to your sales.

About the Author

Freelance blogger Angie Mansfield covers a variety of subjects for small business owners. From business growth to marketing to business reputation, her work will give you tips to keep your business running smoothly.

Using Mobile Websites for Event Promotion

Donna Vieira
Posted on in Inspiration

When you are drawing people to your event, you want them to be able to find out the latest news from wherever they are. These days, people are rarely far from their phones. Mobile websites are the perfect vehicle for event promotion. A few ways to use them to maximize interest:

Integrated Maps

Make it easy for guests to find you by integrating maps and directions into your mobile site. The site’s user-friendly and helpful nature creates a positive relationship before they ever arrive, setting the stage for an exciting event. You can even use custom QR codes that conveniently send people directly to your event map. iFlyMobi makes it easy, even if you have no coding experience.

Mobile-Only Deals

Everyone likes to feel like they have the inside scoop. Offer discounts and perks that are only available through your mobile site. As guests share these deals with their friends, you increase interest in your upcoming event.

A bar, for instance, can offer a drink special that can only be accessed through a special mobile deal. Concert venues can offer automatic ticket upgrades or free promotional items to visitors who show that they’ve connected with the site through their mobile phone.

Live Blogging of Events

Promoting a multi-day event? Build interest and anticipation by updating your blog or RSS feed and delivering it right to your mobile site. Frequent pictures, announcements of new acts and short videos will make everyone wish that they were there.

You can even allow visitors to submit their own event pictures. It is easy to enable social sharing so that your visitors can instantly make their event photos and updates available on their favorite social networks and your mobile site. They’ll love the chance to get involved and you’ll have your own passionate street team at your service.

Mobile gives you the chance to reach out to your audience whenever you want and wherever they are. Use this powerful connection to amp up the excitement for your events and make them a success.

Does Your Business Need An App?

John Foley, Jr.
Posted on in Inspiration

You’ve probably heard the saying “there’s an app for that”, but have you actually considered whether or not your business needs an app? An app can have a lot of advantages, but it also represents a significant investment. So what can an app do for your business? And how do you know if you need one?

Benefits of an App

Having your own business app offers three main benefits for your business:

• More customer engagement – apps have the potential to get your customers engaged with your brand in real time. If the app includes relevant links to your products and services, that can translate to increased turnover.

• Better visibility – even if you have a responsive or mobile site, your customer still needs to use their mobile browser to get to it. An app places you front and center on their phone.

• Promotional possibilities – you can use your app to target coupons and offers to customers based on any number of factors such as their geographical location or recent purchase history.

How to Know if Your Business Needs an App

Apps have a lot of potential, but it’s important to be sure they’re a good fit for you before making the investment. Start by asking yourself three key questions:

• How would an app benefit my customers? Get very specific about this. Would an app help your customers to access your services or information about your business in an even better way than before? Think about how the app could make your customers’ lives easier or better.

• How would an app benefit my business? Could you use it to make information readily available, cutting down on the amount of time spent on customer service? Could you run promotions that stand a good chance of increasing your revenue?

• How do my customers access information? It’s time to break out the metrics and market research. For an app to succeed, you want to know that your customer base regularly uses mobile devices to access sites like yours. If your customer base is particularly skewed towards android devices or the iPhone, focus your app building efforts there.

A carefully chosen and designed app can boost your business and offer more responsive customer engagement. Start by asking the right questions and you’ll soon be able to answer “do I need an app for that?”

Can Your Business Picture Success With Pinterest?

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Posted on in Inspiration

At the height of Pinterest’s popularity, crafty, photo-crazy Internet users were pinning everything they could focus their camera lenses on.
But, after a couple years in the digital spotlight and with the prevalence of sites like Instagram, Pinterest is losing a little momentum in the popularity department.
Here are just a few reasons why Pinterest is losing some of its faithful business followers now and in the foreseeable future:

Pinterest Perfection is Unattainable

Something gaining more popularity than Pinterest itself are photo sites dedicated to Pinterest-inspired fails. That’s right, the all-things crafty and creative site is a big turn-off for followers who discover Pinterest perfection is flat-out impossible to achieve.
It’s not Pinterest’s fault that most of its featured users are incredibly talented artists, chefs, and clothing designers just to mention a few, but when the general public uses Pinterest photos as inspiration and ultimately fail, they lose interest in the site over time. It’s nobody’s fault, but it kind of makes perfect sense.

Mainstreaming Melancholy

As Pinterest began gaining popularity early on in its online infancy, major brands started paying attention and jumping onboard one after the other. But, the overwhelming presence of those major brands is exactly what’s making followers look elsewhere for inspiration.
Established brands aren’t necessarily bad for sites like Pinterest, but followers that appreciate the site’s DIY arts and crafts mentality see major brands as mainstream. And, this mainstream approach is really beginning to rub the Pinterest faithful the wrong way.

Too Much of a Good Pin

Popularity leads to more users regardless of the type of website, but in the case of Pinterest, new users pinning in droves is flooding the streamline quality of the photo-centric site. This has increased the site’s usage over time, but it’s also turning many pinning all-stars away.
As with anything, quality has cleared a path for quantity and many new Pinterest users are taking advantage of the site’s popularity for personal gain.
This is perfectly acceptable, but not when new users are pinning things that don’t add anything to the site and, in fact, take away from other users who use the site for the right reasons.

Pinning Spam

A recent problem in Pinterest’s short history is the rapid increase of spamming issues on the site.
As stated above, popularity doesn’t just result in traffic, but also an increase in those looking to use the site for personal gain. And, when it comes to Pinterest, spamming is turning into a real problem and drawback for the site’s followers.
Instead of a Pinterest board linking to a legitimate website, more and more users are finding that when they click a photo, it takes them to an oftentimes malicious website. These nasty links sometimes take the form of Pinterest-verified sites and can result in users divulging personal information or acquiring software viruses.

Every website has its ups and downs and although Pinterest is losing steam with followers now, there’s no reason the site will not be able to turn things around.

About the Author

Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including social media, Ultimate Mats, and small business.

Why is Your Google+ Page Not Getting it Done?

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Posted on in Inspiration

Along with Facebook and Twitter, Google+ is an essential social media network for most businesses.
It is a powerful way to boost your SEO, and its growth is eye-opening – some even forecast it will have an eventual takeover of Facebook for the Google-based social network. While it transitions to the mainstream, it can be comparatively difficult to build a following for in terms of an audience.
As your business page tries to reach more people, there are some tips you can utilize to give your Google+ a boost.

Make Use of Keywords

Google+ is obviously a product of Google, the world’s largest search engine. If you pay attention to keywords throughout your Google+ strategy, you can count on benefits as everything is quickly indexed by the search engine.

Take advantage of this in your page’s description. Google+ allows you to use bullets and links, offering an easy-to-read way to present what your business does in an SEO-friendly way. This area (“Introduction”) is a fantastic place to use keywords that you can link to your business’ website.

You can also do this on a regular basis.

On your posts, make sure you are identifying and using keywords related to your content. On a regular Google search, it can and will pull results from Google+ posts – especially with users that follow or have connections that follow your page.

Taking Google+ to the Next Level

The next area of tips is simple – you have to take Google+ seriously.
Here are a few ideas:
• Is Google+ on your website? There should be an icon along with Facebook, Twitter, and any other social networks.
• Make sure you place social sharing buttons on the blog. This is a great way for people to like, tweet, and +1 your company’s blog posts, building a following in a natural way.
• Spend some time on the social network. Find circles based on your industry and start engaging with users (such as with the Google+ shared circles database from Chris Porter). Then, you can introduce your Google+ at the right time for your business to grow.
• Don’t be afraid to cross-market. Feel free to mention your Google+ page occasionally on Facebook, Twitter, and in a blog post.

You should also consider making Google+ the target for any marketing campaigns.
For instance, why not do a giveaway on Google+ to drive traffic to that social network? This can be a great incentive for your audience to keep up with what you’re doing there – especially if it’s useful and unique.

Of course, you can also utilize paid marketing strategies on Google+.

It can be a strong angle to take to really ramp up activity on the social network quickly, and enjoy the benefits of increased SEO and activity there.

About the Author

Brian Neese is an author that specializes in content marketing, social media, and SEO. He writes about technology, online reputation management services, marketing, and much more.

Is Your Mobile Site Making a Visual Impact?

John Foley, Jr.
Posted on in Inspiration

We live in a constantly connected world – one where internet users (that includes your customers and prospects) regularly spend time online on a mobile device. It’s only smart to make sure your customers are going to love what they see on their smart phones. This isn’t just about responsive web design, important though that is. It’s about offering a visual treat that gives your customers good looking content worth getting their phone or tablet out for.

Is Your Site Looking Good?

Your first stop when it comes to making a visual impact is making sure your site looks good on any size screen. When creating your mobile site, think about:

• Appealing colors that match your brand’s personality

• Relevance of information

• Clear professional quality images

Image Sharing Can Boost Your Image

Making a visual impact is about more than getting your site looking good. With more people accessing social media on mobile than on desktop or laptop PCs, it’s time to consider using social image sharing sites to boost your visual appeal. Sites such as Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr offer you an opportunity to create entertaining, relevant content that looks appealing and is easy to browse and share on a mobile device.

Short Snappy Videos Are Mobile Friendly

Twitter’s Vine application and Instagram’s video apps are fast proving themselves as valuable tools for business. As well as being made and uploaded using a mobile phone, the bite-sized videos are shared by mobile users who enjoy the Vine and Instagram communities. Vine gives you six seconds to get your message across, while Instagram gives you fifteen. Plan carefully and you can create a brief but interesting video that is perfect for browsers on the go.

Image and video sharing can give your brand visual impact that is perfect for today’s mobile customers. Take the time to plan attention-grabbing content that is consistent with your brand’s tone and you’ll give your customers reason to keeping looking, no matter how they are browsing.