7 Ideas and Benefits for Using Machine Learning for Your Business

Machine learning technology has made major advances in the last decade.

Highly adaptable new AI is changing the way businesses make decisions.

Aside from the smart technology you might be seeing and using today, there are plenty of new and creative technology innovations making waves daily. Everything from smart chatbots, software creation, customer support, and diagnosing business and marketing trends — all with the sole purpose of accomplishing more, and removing the ‘human’ aspect and cost from the business.

These advancements in technology are allowing business to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and automate processes that previously required employees — and sometimes included  weeks or months of additional training before actively taking on a new job. Machine learning also removes high-cost areas for business, such as employee insurance, human resources, and office space.

We’ve put together a list of the top seven benefits of machine learning to show you how your business can use AI.

1. Replaces Manual Data Entry

Filling out standard forms is an important rote task companies must complete. Small business AI is able to instantly fill them out with a high degree of accuracy.

This saves you money on data entry clerks and speeds things up. Data entry will always be needed, making it an automated process is a great way to upgrade.

2. Detects Spam

Small business owners have a lot of hats to fill. Wasting time sorting useless emails from important ones shouldn’t be one of them.

Machine learning tools are great at filtering out previously identified spam emails. They can also use context cues to block new ones.

3. Improve Cyber Security

Machine learning is tailor-made for identifying patterns. When properly directed they can process huge amounts of information and find commonalities between network intrusions.

This makes it easier to prevent them in the future. You can also use AI to help develop new strategies for defending against attacks.

4. Upgrade Your Customer Service

One of the best ways you can use AI for small business is to improve your responsiveness to customer needs. Machine learning algorithms can analyze past interactions and help you better understand what they want.

Not only does this keep your customers happy, but it also lowers your cost to do so. It can make suggestions about their future needs and help you cross-sell other products to them.

5. Analyze Your Financials

Major accounting teams are expensive and take a long time to run through things. Identifying fraud requires a line by line examination of thousands of transactions.

Machine learning tools can quickly scan massive volumes of transactions. It eliminates much of the grunt work involved and lets specialists focus on possible incidents. When properly calibrated it can even predict situations that will create a high potential for fraud.

6. Identify Existing Tools

One of the most interesting features of machine learning systems is their ability to make recommendations. They can process your existing business needs and identify other tools that will help you.

These can include financial tools, databasing tools, and many others.

7. Benefits of Machine Learning Education

If you want to experience all the benefits of AI in your business you have to properly train your staff. Just having data is nothing if you can’t process it.

Make sure your analyst works to learn more about using machine learning tools. This allows them to pick out the best tools available and customize things for your needs.

Leverage Your Existing Assets

The benefits of machine learning speak for themselves. AI can save you money, streamline your operations, and help with your marketing efforts. Make sure your competition doesn’t leave you behind.

If you liked what you saw here, read some of our other articles on entrepreneurship and business planning

5 of the Top Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019

There has never been a more challenging, or more exciting time to be in Digital Marketing. This industry is going through a transformation at breakneck speed driven mostly by technological advancement, innovation and disruption. This transformation is creating copious opportunities for those who are able to keep up. However, coping up with this transformation while still paying attention to the current business can be a struggle for the digital marketers. It’s a new reality we must adapt to. We have to accept that in the world of digital advertising, change is the only true constant. And only way to get ahead of the curve and stay on top of the changes is to understand the digital marketing trends.

Let’s explore 5 Digital Marketing trends to watch in 2019.

#1 – Voice Assistant

Amazon Echo, an Alexa-enabled speaker, kicked off the smart speaker trend a few years ago. Today, not only Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, other tech giants and startups are developing, testing, and implementing voice assistants. The global market for these devices grew 187% in the second quarter of 2018. But what does it mean for you, the Digital Marketer? Voice-enabled apps are going to be a prevalent part of consumers’ lives, changing the way brands and consumers interact. That’s why your brand needs a voice strategy now. As more and more people invite assistive technology into their lives and integrate it into their homes, it’s high time Digital Marketers embraced the opportunity to capitalize the trends. If you are still not convinced, brands like Domino’s Pizza, Patron Tequila, Ocado, Whirlpool, Paypal, Burger King, Johnnie Walker and Uber have already started leveraging the voice assistant technology.

#2 – Shorter Video Ads

Social media’s focus has been slowly morphing from images to video. With digital video viewing on the rise, consumers are increasingly turning to mobile devices due to ease of access and a rise in internet speeds. However, attention is changing in the digital age. According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. And a recent research done by Nielsen reveals that 23% of brand awareness, 38% of brand recall, and 25% of purchase intent is driven by video impressions shorter than 2 seconds. That’s why Facebook now recently said “mobile video works best when it’s 15 seconds or less.” Facebook has already been telling its video advertisers to hit people with faster messages. On the other hand, YouTube has become a commercial advertising powerhouse in recent years. In 2016, YouTube unveiled a new ad format to brands: the unskippable, six second “bumper” ad. The ad format, which gained in popularity in the latter half of 2017, now accounts for 2.8% of all video ads, up from only 0.4% in Q1 of 2017.

The beauty of the six-second pre-roll ad is that it engages viewers without testing their patience. And the popularity of shorter video ads is expected to continue in 2019 as well. But the challenge is that you have to ensure that your campaign meet Estimated Ad Recall Rate. So, you must understand how does human brain process and preserve information. For an example, if you ask any Marvel fan to list marvel characters and their powers, most of them can do it within a few minutes. But if you ask them who the Marvel Comics’ primary creative leader is, they might get lost. Interestingly, this is only true before 12 November, 2018. When Stan Lee died on 12th November, 2018 at the age of 95, according to deadorkicking.com, almost every marvel fan mourned the loss of this man known for creating superheroes such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, and X-Men. Fans have emerged on social media to share tributes about how his characters helped to shape their childhood. Now they know the name! As a digital marketer you have to deal with this Mystery of Memory.

#3 – Programmatic Marketing

The last few years was all about the technology, programmatic, and automation. Digital Marketers are constantly looking for mechanism that enables them to run more sophisticated and targeted campaigns. Here comes Programmatic buying, the next big thing in Digital Media. Programmatic advertising optimizes demand and supply by targeting specific audiences and demographics. To reach consumers, digital marketers increasingly rely on programmatic marketing to deliver highly contextual, effective, and measurable ads. The programmatic revolution has focused on combining data, machine learning, and automation to boost customer engagement by delivering more relevant ad experiences. Google suggests a 5-step process to strategize and execute any programmatic marketing campaign: organizing audience insights, designing compelling creative, executing with integrated technology, reaching audiences across screens and measuring the impact.

Organizing audience insights

Organizing audience insights and using customer data effectively is the key to success in digital marketing. Without data-driven, well organized audience insights, brands are in the dark. That’s why customer centric marketers use all kinds of tools to get a better understanding of their customers.

Designing compelling creative

Creative elements form the foundation of your digital marketing efforts. Today’s users move frequently between devices and platforms and expect a seamless, engaging and entertaining experience. Compelling yet relevant creative is the key to capture their attention.

Executing with integrated technology

Integrated technology platforms enable companies to deliver brand messages through programmatic buying in an efficient way. One of the most important benefits of using Integrated technology platform is that it helps brands evaluate, purchase, activate, and measure media efficiently. This is also one of the most talked about digital marketing trends of 2019.

Reaching audiences across screens

Cross-screen engagement is consumer engagement across a variety of screens, often simultaneously. Certainly multi-screen targeting is easier said than done. There are more screens to compete with today than ever before and it can be difficult to optimize content. They beauty of programmatic marketing is that it creates real opportunity to develop unified digital creative experiences across all screens.

Measuring the impact

You can’t manage what you can’t measure and digital media have been called ‘the most measurable ever’. Knowing how to measure the success of your digital marketing campaigns will save you from a lot of stress down the road. Digital Marketers have been using various tools and platforms to evaluate their campaign success and optimize existing ones when needed. Programmatic buying and integrated platforms have brought new levels of speed and more efficient way to measure your campaign results.

#4 – Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is not new and niche anymore. However, the landscape has evolved quite a bit over the past few years. Use of Influencer marketing in digital arena is recently getting the momentum. In 2017, brands spent over $1 billion dollars on influencer marketing on Instagram alone. It continued to grow this year and 2018 has been a huge year for influencer marketing. Predictions for are 2019 will be no different. With self-educating buyers increasingly relying on friends, family and other trusted sources as they weigh their purchase options, more and more digital marketers are harnessing the power of influencer marketing. Now let’s explore the most effective digital marketing platforms for Influencer Marketing.

Instagram is predominantly the most used marketing channel for Influencer Marketing. This will continue in 2019 as well. You may wonder – why Instagram? It’s attention span again! Even though the platform has a much smaller audience than its parent Facebook, Instagram users are much more engaged. That’s why Digital Marketers around the globe find it the most effective as a platform for Influential Marketing. And don’t forget that Instagram is currently the second most popular social media network in the world, next to Facebook, and digital marketers are falling more in love with the platform. Another reason Digital Marketers prefer Instagram over any other social media is that celebrities themselves prefer using Instagram than other media.

Another great platform for Influencer Marketing is Facebook. Influencer marketing on Facebook is becoming increasingly popular with brands as organic reach on the platform declines. In July, 2018 Facebook acknowledged the importance of influencer marketing on the future sustainability of the platform itself. Facebook let’s Digital Marketers find Influencers who can reach their target audience in an authentic way, while offering these influencers a path to monetizing their Facebook content and fan base.

According to a Bloglovin study, Facebook is the second most preferred platform among influencers themselves. So the time to engage with Facebook influencers is now, and don’t delay. In 2019, “connect” with your influencers and get to creating “meaningful interactions” pronto.

#5 – Immersive content

In recent years, increased competition and clutter on digital media have caused the entire landscape to change drastically for anyone using it to promote their products or services. That’s why providing an experience is not enough to stand out. Now is the time to get one step further and provide your target audience with an immersive experience. That’s why Digital Marketers have been exploring the technologies they can add to their creative armory and examine what value these technology can add to the immersive contents they create. A new research done by Kaizen indicates that immersive contents developed using augmented and virtual reality will make up a large proportion of content marketing in 2019. Let’s demystify them.

Augmented Reality

AR allows digital marketers to transform a static object, such as a newspaper advertisement or hard-copy magazine cover into an immersive 3 dimensional experience and make it more engaging for their target audiences. However, not only is AR advertising more engaging, it comes with increased capability of meeting the specific needs of today’s consumer.

Virtual Reality

On the other hand, almost 75% of the biggest brands in the world have integrated VR, an immersive form of digital entertainment, into their marketing strategy to date. Though the gaming industry has been completely revolutionized with the emergence of virtual reality, the future of virtual reality as a tool for digital marketing seems a bit uncertain. One of the main reasons is that it requires a head-mounted display which makes it much harder to reach potential customers.

The move into 2019 also comes with a shift in digital marketing. The New Year is full of new opportunities to tap into trends, find what your audience is looking for, and explore unexpected ways to reach new people.

What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About Cloud Computing Management

Cloud computing is the future. In fact, it’s already here! Millions of people depend on cloud computing technologies to back up their important data. Big data is the force that is driving this need, and it looks to be a technology that will be with us for a very long time.

Everyone from beginning online business owners to multi-million dollar corporations need to utilize cloud computing technology. The reason so many people rely on this technology is that you cannot afford to rely on only one storage method such as one computer or an external drive. If these drives or computers crash, you will lose all of your essential data.

For business owners, it is even more important to have this kind of backup. When you are an online site owner or manager, you are not only responsible for your data. You are also responsible for your customers’ data. This creates more liability for you and can make you suffer a loss of credibility if the data is compromised.

From Device to the Cloud

Cloud computing involves more than just managing and maintaining the data in the cloud. It also involves the data that is on your mobile devices or desktop computers and servers. Companies need to know what is coming in and going out of these devices as they are legally responsible for the security of this data as well.

For the site manager or business owner, this becomes a bigger challenge since so many people are responsible for their devices. This makes the task of monitoring what each is doing on their devices almost impossible.

This makes it necessary to put a platform and solution in place that will allow for cloud management across the various devices and platforms to avoid lack of consistency and functionality. At the same time, you must ensure that it is safe and that your networks are secure.

Too Many Devices, So Little Time

Another important challenge that online business owners face today is that employees, business partners, collaborators, and others involved in projects with your company all want to maintain the control they have over their devices. They also tend to utilize a large number of devices due to other needs or interests they have that involve their specific job titles or responsibilities.

This means you have to allow for variation in platforms, device types, and integration of a multitude of devices to keep the flow of information going and keep projects coordinated.

This puts a pretty large burden on the IT department since they are still responsible for many of the issues across multiple devices in which they are all connected to a centralized server. The IT provider must handle the individual issues on the devices as well as the data in the cloud and the software and hardware issues.

Colocation of Services

Today, with the help of “the cloud,” and other services, workers and project collaborators can log into a central server from the device of their choice and collaborate on a wide variety of projects and activities no matter where they are. This increases accessibility as well as productivity and workflow. However, you will need to update some software manually for each device to be in compliance with software licenses and to tweak individual devices to work correctly.

Tools in the Cloud

Just as much of the work we now do as business owners is “in the cloud” these days, so are the tools that we need to increase our efficiency and productivity levels. Gone are the days of needing to download or install software based on the different computers or laptops you might have. We are now in the next phase of website and data hosting and storing important data in the cloud. With all of this in mind, it’s important to be able to access such tools due to the need to keep software updated on all devices that are connected to the cloud.

If you can set up platforms that allow you to disperse critical software and security patches and updates from the cloud to all devices on the network, you will save yourself a lot of headaches in the IT and security department by avoiding having to install them manually.

When you work on things “from the cloud,” you are working remotely. This means a lot of added convenience for collaborators and managers, but it also requires more coordination and logistics management so that all systems are working properly across the board.

Smart AI Technology

One thing about cloud computing is that is it heavily immersed in AI. Companies such as nVidia.com and others have had a sudden rise in stock lately. This is because investors realize they are offering many more AI solutions to the technology world than other companies are doing. This includes cloud computing and big data management.

The smarter the technology gets in the future, the fewer business owners will have to do manually. Self-learning AI programs can correct problems as they go and even develop new solutions, rather than having to have engineers continuously check on how they are doing and ensuring that the data is safe.

With this innovation also comes more automation and less worry for the cloud computing IT manager as well as the business owner.

Storage Solutions in the Cloud

Cloud storage is one of the most important aspects of cloud computing. You can store mind-boggling amounts of data in the cloud which allows you to expand on your potential as a business owner in ways never before imagined. If you are a digital media producer, you can create endless videos, podcasts, and other digital assets and upload them to cloud storage without the worry of running out of space.

With so much storage available on most drives such as Google Drive, DropBox, and others, one wonders if someday we will all have illimitable space open. Google Drive allows you to purchase 2 TB of space for only $9.99 per month. This gives you an idea of just how cheap the cloud is when you need more space for storage.

Cloud management platforms like Cloud Management Suite understand the importance of having a cloud computing system in place. For example, Cloud Management Suite offers a wide variety of cloud services from security to data management. It’s primary features include patch tracking, remote control, software distribution, inventory discovery and history & reporting. With businesses relying on the cloud, it’s important to not only provide a cloud based solution, but also one that can scale and grow based on the needs of the end user.

The same holds true with other solutions, as it’s always important to offer excellent business phone services with a multitude of services that you can use for your business. All of this is in place, while also taking advantage of cloud computing, and catering to the end needs of the client.

Why use cloud storage?

Any online business (or offline business who needs storage solutions) should consider utilizing cloud storage today. The benefits are too numerous to mention. But basically, you’ll be covered if something happens and you lose your data or important projects on a physical drive or computer.

You don’t have to worry about system crashes or computer malfunction eating your data. If you have ever mourned the loss of files that you thought you would never retrieve, you can understand the need for cloud storage. If you lose your data on your physical drives, all you have to do is go “to the cloud” to retrieve and replace them.

As a business owner, this also increases your credibility and integrity with clients when you tell them you have cloud storage because they know that their data will never truly be lost.

Some companies that set up an “emergency plan” for loss due to fire, floods, or other natural disasters even include a cloud-based storage system as one of the factors in securing their business and often report this to insurance companies to get their rates down.

This shows the importance of using cloud storage to keep your data safe.

Grow Your Business with Cloud Computing

Additionally, you need cloud storage to grow and maintain your business. You never know how large your online company may grow over the years. Having cloud computer storage allows you to grow and expand to whatever level you can handle as you increase your storage space and online collaboration capabilities “in the cloud.”

When you depend on cloud storage as well as your offline tools, you have more security in what you do, and you can feel free to focus on your goals within your business and less worrying time about your security issues and loss of data. To learn more about each of these concepts and how cloud computing can improve your business, download this free ebook on the top ten security tips for IT managers.

Using cloud computing solutions also allows you to cut down on the amount of money you have to dedicate to your business infrastructure and on-site or in-house maintenance. Upgrades are often done automatically, and you can “set it and forget it.”

Cloud storage and computing options also allow you to put your business on automation in many ways while using the remote tools and accessibility that is necessary to expand without the worry of logistics.

Summary

Cloud computing is still a relatively new innovation that allows you to work from anywhere, have full access to your data, and keep your clients’ important data secure. Managing your cloud computing network is not difficult, but it helps to have tools that help you organize everything.

No matter what type of business or brand you are running, there are always going to be ways to make improvements and have better control over your customer data and day to day operation. Cloud computing can help you get there.

The Importance of Data Protection in the Workplace

What happens at work, stays at work — well, not so much. This is especially true when it comes to not just your personal data, but also those of clients, employees, advertisers and much more. With more data leaks and hacker attacks happening daily, it’s no longer a question of ‘if’ your data will be lost and sold on the darknet. It’s simply a matter of ‘when’ and what you are going to do about it.

With all of this in mind, do you know why data protection matters at your workplace?

Data protection in the workplace can no longer be an afterthought. In today’s world, many businesses have an online presence and store information digitally. No matter what you’re selling, you store data digitally, and that’s why data breaches have hit record numbers in recent years.

Even small businesses can be targets for data breaches. In fact, small businesses are more commonly targeted sometimes, because they often don’t have as many security measures in place for their data.

Don’t get caught off guard by hackers. Instead, keep reading to learn why data protection matters, and what you can do to protect your valuable data.

1. Human Errors Happen

It’s tempting to think that as long as you have the right company guidelines, you won’t need data protection. You know your employees would never break the rules and make data available to people who shouldn’t have it. But has it occurred to you that they might accidentally create a data breach?

Everyone can make mistakes, even your most experienced employees. And the consequences of human error while handling data can be dire. What happens when a personal phone used for some business purposes gets stolen? How about when someone accidentally posts a password on their social media account?

Human error can take many different forms. You should definitely educate your employees on how to avoid security breaches. This includes guiding them on best practices, password protection, and more. But this won’t eliminate the room for mistakes.

Have a layered system of protection measures, so a single mistake can’t make your data completely available to the world. That way, human errors won’t create massive problems.

2. It Could Be Legally Required

Did you know that legally, you must protect your data in certain areas?

According to the European Data Protection Act, you have to take certain steps to keep people’s data safe. This means, among other things, that you can only use data in approved ways, that you can’t store it longer than you need it, and that you have to keep it secure.

Of course, the Data Protection Act doesn’t apply everywhere. But many governments have laws regarding the use of data, and you can also be held liable for data breaches. Even if data protection isn’t required by law, you don’t want to get sued in the event of a breach.

3. Employees Can Use Data for Revenge

The bigger and broader your team of employees, the greater the chances that one of them will break the rules in a serious way. No matter how much you trust your team, though, you should keep in mind that a dissatisfied employee with access to data is a huge liability.

No matter how great your company culture is, there can still be that one employee who has issues. Maybe their problem is with their job description, or a specific person they work with. No matter what the reason is, you don’t want to give a revenge-seeking employee the power to use data against you.

An angry employee with access to data might deliberately share it or use it in ways to harm your business. For some small businesses, a data breach can spell the end.

Make sure to keep employee account privileges tightly controlled, so no one has more access than they need. This helps reduce the chances of a deliberate breach. If an employee is no longer working for you, be sure that their account privileges get shut down right away.

4. Your Reputation Can Suffer

Even minor data breaches can have a huge impact on a brand’s reputation.

If your customers’ data has been compromised — even if it doesn’t lead to anything bad happening — they’ll feel like they can’t trust you. As the word spreads, your company will become known as the one that doesn’t handle customer information with care. It’s very hard to get your reputation back after an event like this.

5. Data Must Be Kept Accurate

Without data protection, inaccuracies in the data can start to create problems. Even if there’s never a data breach, you might find yourself working with outdated, inaccurate information because you didn’t effectively protect what you had.

You need complete data that’s reliable and accurate. One way to achieve this is to always have backups of your data, so replication won’t leave you working with data that’s different from the original. Lost data can also be a huge liability — click here to discover more about data protection.

6. Employees Might Use Their Own Devices

Does your company allow employees to “bring your own device,” or BYOD? Then you definitely need more security measures.

Today, it often makes sense to allow BYOD. You don’t have to buy computers and smartphones for business purposes when people can use their own. Employees can often work faster on the devices they’re familiar with, too.

However, the risk is that sensitive data that’s used on these devices can easily get compromised. To avoid this, you’ll want to set some BYOD standards. For example, you can require employees to put a password protection on any device they’ll use for work purposes. That way, if it’s lost or stolen, other people can’t access the information.

Implementing Data Protection in the Workplace

Now that you can see why it’s important, you need to decide what kinds of data protection in the workplace is right for your company.

The best data safety strategies will vary depending on your industry, the size of your business, and more. But a carefully planned out data protection strategy is always necessary, in all industries, and in all business sizes.

Need to build a site that will keep sensitive information safe? I can help — learn more about my web and site development services here.

The Secret Behind Effective Human Resources Marketing

For many entrepreneurs and business owners, ‘human resources’ can mean a lot of different things. For example, if you’re a solo-entrepreneur/blogger/affiliate marketer, you will likely never need to deal with the issues a corporation with a full HR division needs to. And for most, this is a plus! However, as businesses and organizations grow in size, so do their responsibilities and how they address the needs of different individuals within the company.

This is where human resources come into play, and for big businesses and corporations, it’s serious work! It’s not just about making sure everything is in place, it’s also about exploiting the positives of having a great HR department within your organization as well.

Marketing the work of your HR Department has many benefits. You’ll attract better candidates, make positive impressions, and improve your company’s reputation.

But developing a marketing strategy for HR can be challenging, as it’s not like marketing a product. Yet, with the right approach, human resources marketing is often pretty straightforward.

Keep reading to learn the secrets behind effective human resources marketing. When you’re done reading, you’ll know how to improve the reputation of your company, thanks to this marketing approach.

Let’s begin!

Tell Stories

When trying to market your HR Department, one of the best things you can do is create some content.

Ideally, you’ll want to create content that helps to portray the stories of some of your employees. You could feature someone who’s a recent graduate, for example. Or you might want to tell the story of someone that’s joined your company at a later age.

If you can, have a page on your website that’s dedicated to these kinds of stories. Consider writing content around these stories too. This’ll help improve the chances that people come across this content when they’re browsing Google.

In a similar light, you should also consider producing some content for YouTube. If the employees in question don’t want to be in a video, that’s fine. You can just tell their stories using an animation.

You might even want to think about posting this content onto LinkedIn. The best way to do this would be to create a “Career Page.” This’ll give you the chance to highlight the experiences of your employees.

You could also tell the stories of employees that have undergone some kind of training to make themselves more qualified. For instance, employees could take training such as the one found on this website. As a result, they’d more qualified and hence more marketable if they ever chose to find work elsewhere.

Express Your Expertise

The best people want to work in places that are going to challenge them and push them to be better. So, you need to show people you’re working on interesting problems and you’re trying to do new things.

The best way you can do this is by creating content around the work you’re doing. You don’t need to produce a technical paper to impress employees. What you should do, though, is create some blog posts that explain the kinds of things you’re currently working on.

You should try and get relevant people to write these blog posts. This means that if you want a blog post covering a specific topic, ask the person working on that project to write the post.

Ask them to write freely. If the writing is technical, this is going to work in your favor and it will help impress potential employees.

Internal Focus vs. External Focus

You also need to consider the internal reputation of the HR Department.

This is a big deal since people want to feel as if they’re taken care of. They’ll talk about their experiences on social media and among friends. This could lead to more people wanting to work for you and you may attract better talent.

If people don’t feel you aren’t taking care of them, they may decide to work elsewhere. You should create a weekly email that lets people know what the HR Department is up to.

This email should also let people know what they can do if there’s an issue. You also want to make sure you have a good process in place to deal with any disputes. You may want to ask for feedback on how you can make the workplace better.

It’s also worth mentioning that you should have a good process for dealing with potential hires too. This means you need to think about making the process smoother as they go through the hiring steps. Even if you don’t hire them, they’ll have a positive opinion of your company which they may share with others.

One way you can do this is by following up with candidates when the interview is over. If they didn’t get the job, let them know exactly what went wrong. This can then provide the individual with the knowledge needed to solve this issue so it doesn’t affect them at their next interview.

How Can You Help Former Employees?

You should also put some thought into how you can help former employees. If you do a good job here, these individuals will promote your brand for you.

One thing you can do is try to look out for someone if you have to fire them due to downsizing.

Consider how you can help this individual get another job. This might mean reaching out to some of your existing contacts. You might even want to take a look at their resume and suggest some things they can do to make it better.

Is Human Resources Marketing Important?

Initially, marketing the Human Resources Department of a business can seem like an odd idea. But the more you explore this concept, the more it begins to make sense.

In this post, we have examined how you can go about developing a human resources marketing strategy. Telling the stories of employees is a great way to let people know about the experience of working for your business. You can also create content which highlights the nature of the problems your business is trying to solve.

It also helps to focus on how you can aid past employees too. If you can do this, you’ll create a lasting positive impression on people.

Worried your HR Department is making some mistakes? Check out this post for some tips on what you can do to reduce the chances of this happening.

7 Reasons Why Cloud Computing in 2018 is So Important

The market for cloud services is expected to nearly triple between 2015 and 2020. By the end of next year, it could be worth almost $170 billion. It is easy to see why, since the cloud has provided a much more cost-effective solution for storing data.

The cloud is playing a more important role in our lives every day. One of the biggest ways that cloud technology is changing our lives is by improving the scalability and versatility of online commerce and content delivery. Amazon and other large online brands developed cloud hosting services a few years ago. The solutions have become mainstream, as almost all hosting providers allow their customers to store their website data on the cloud.

Here are some of the biggest reasons that organizations are using the cloud for website hosting.

Massive scalability

The biggest benefit of cloud hosting is scalability. Neal Thoms at TechRadar shares a primer on the benefits of cloud scalability.

He points out that the cloud enables a seemingly infinite number of machines to connect and act as a single, centralized data server. Data for the same application can be distributed across various discs, which makes it much easier for organizations to increase storage space.

Expediting service delivery

After scalability, most organizations believe that cost effectiveness is the main benefit of cloud computing. However, there is at least one other benefit that is even more important.

Improving turnaround times for service delivery is a much bigger benefit for many organizations then reducing operational costs. Gartner published a case study on Easyjet that emphasized this point. Easyjet initially invested in cloud technology to reduce operating costs. However, they quickly realized that their new cloud infrastructure enabled them to deliver services much more efficiently.

Why does cloud hosting help organizations deliver services more quickly? They are able to simultaneously utilize multiple servers at once. With a traditional shared hosting service, all of the data would have been kept on a single server. The server would have a much more limited RAM., so it would face a bandwidth bottle neck after a certain threshold. The server would need to reduce its operating capacity, which would cause services to be delivered more slowly online.

This is not nearly as much of a concern with cloud hosting. The application can share data across multiple servers, so there is little risk of any individual server exceeding its capacity.

Very high uptime guarantees

Uptime is another major consideration for anybody that operates a website. According to data from Pingdom, the average uptime of all websites is 99.03%, which means that it is lower for sites that don’t use cloud hosting.

Some organizations may believe that an uptime of around 98% might be acceptable. However, that figure would mean that the site was down for over seven days every single year. If you operate a website that generates around $300 a day in revenue, a 98% uptime rate will mean that your site is losing over $2,000 in revenue each year.

Downtime is not nearly as much of a concern with cloud hosting. The average uptime for even the cheapest cloud hosting services is around 99.99%. This means that a website using cloud hosting service will only be down for around 52 minutes and 32 seconds over the course of an entire year. That would reduce the $2,000 in losses from the hypothetical business listed above to less than $10 each year.

Some cloud hosting services are so confident in their uptime, that they have actually started guaranteeing 100% uptime. Vultr is among them. If your site ever goes down, Vultr will give you an SLA credit.

Flexible privacy options

Privacy is another important consideration when choosing a hosting service. The levels of privacy that you need will obviously vary based on the nature of your website applications.

Some data is intended to be freely accessible to almost anybody with an Internet connection. If the goal is to share data with the world, then you will want a public hosting solution. On the other hand, some data needs to be very carefully secured. In these circumstances, do you need a much more private hosting option.

Cloud hosting solutions cover a wide range of privacy options. You can buy public, private or hybrid hosting for your website. A private cloud option enables you to use a hosting infrastructure made of both cloud and bare metal dedicated servers.  Private hosting is vital for companies that need to keep certain data very secure, such as companies that are subject to HIPAA regulations.

You have a lot of control over the privacy options of your hosting when you purchase a hybrid hosting service. You can insure that some data is heavily restricted, while other data is freely available.

Cheaper hosting costs for small scale projects

The logistics of cloud hosting are different from shared or dedicated hosting options. This is why there is such a strong debate about the cost effectiveness of cloud computing. Many experts argue that cloud services are intrinsically more affordable, while others have argued that they are more expensive.

Which set of experts is wrong? The answer is that neither of them are wrong. They probably have different experiences with customers of different sizes, so their perceptions are going to be different.

In order to make a cost benefit analysis of a cloud hosting service, you need to recognize that the pricing structure is not linear. Using cloud hosting for larger applications places more strain on a larger number of cloud servers. Hosting providers have a more difficult time distributing your resources across different servers as your website content and bandwidth increase. They are still able to accomplish this without compromising uptime, but they need to compensate by charging you at a higher pricing tier.

On the other hand, hosting smaller websites on the cloud is much easier. Since the hosting provider has far more resources to allocate your data to, they are able to offer much cheaper pricing for smaller websites than traditional shared and dedicated hosting plans.

Ensuring better content delivery for global customers

An organization’s challenges are going to depend on the size of its global footprint. Some organizations have websites that cater to people in a specific region. This means they can easily ensure the fastest content delivery and best user experience by purchasing a hosting plan that uses a server in those parts of the world. Companies that reach customers all over the world will find it is much more difficult to satisfy them with traditional hosting solutions.

Cloud hosting platforms offer content delivery networks. They make sure that the customer is connected to a server near their location, which ensures that they can receive the fastest possible content delivery and the lowest risk of downtime.

Greater confidence among prominent customers

Prominent customers that subscribe to online services are going to have much higher expectations than your average website visitor. They are paying a premium for services, so they are going to insist that they have very reliable experiences.

While you could theoretically meet their needs with a VPS or even a dedicated hosting service, that may not be enough. The perception is also very important. They are going to feel more confident in your online service if you emphasize that your website uses cloud hosting.

New Decentralised Lead Generation Methods with Snovio

Once upon a time, there was just one television channel. If you wanted to watch anything on TV, this was the only channel available and you were at the mercy of the broadcast schedule. The only thing you could watch at 4 pm on a Thursday was whatever they were airing then. Times have changed, of course, and it’s hardly unusual to have access to literally hundreds of channels through a regular cable subscription, not to mention on-demand and the nearly limitless possibilities of online streaming. It’s an embarrassment of riches.

In many ways, the art and science of running a successful business today is similar to that. You’re literally overwhelmed by the amount of information available at your fingertips and the real challenge is separating the signal from the noise. When it comes to lead generation, how can you discover the right people quickly and efficiently? This is where the email finder from Snovio comes into play, but the platform itself continues to evolve beyond that.

Find the Right People Faster

Before we get to some of the more recent developments from Snovio, let’s explore its core service.

With Snovio, you are armed with a multi-faceted tool that has been designed specifically for lead generation. Fueled primarily through the free Chrome extension, the access and interface it offers makes it very approachable for just about anyone. Snovio will go wherever you go on the web, so when the opportunity strikes to nab a prized lead, you can do that in just a couple of clicks.

Snovio email finder works by allowing you to grab email addresses of prospective leads and contacts as you make your way around the Internet. This includes finding email addresses on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as company webpages and other websites. Using the Snovio Chrome extension, you can nab these contacts and nurture the leads as you see fit. Finding anemail address is the first step, but Snovio also works as an email verifier to ensure that the messages you send to these retrieved email addresses won’t bounce.

Features for Finding Information

When you are browsing your way around LinkedIn you can do a “bare search” on the professional social network. When you land on the profile of someone of interest, you can use Snovio to uncover their email address. There is also the Prospect Search tool that strives to find “just the profiles you are seeking.”

Snovio extends this capability across a number of other possible scenarios. For example, the Domain Search tool helps you uncover the names, job positions and email addresses of people associated with a certain web domain. You can also explore the database of company information collected and curated by Snovio to find even more contacts.

Better still, you can get started on Snovio with their forever free plan that provides you with 100 credits each month. If your needs outgrow it, monthly plans start as low as $19 for 1,000 credits, $49 for 5,000 credits and beyond. These credits can be used for verifying LinkedIn emails, performing domain searches, doing bulk domain searches and much more.

Snovio Marketplace

You may have heard of Snovio before and you may have even used their Chrome extension before, as they’ve been around for about a year now. Just recently, in the first quarter of 2018, Snovio launched a blockchain-based marketplace that further amplifies your lead generation possibilities.

The Snovio Marketplace is compelling because it extends beyond the already extensive Snovio database of contacts. If you haven’t found just the right person already (or you don’t have the time to perform the search), you can post your specific request with the number and parameters of the prospects you’d like to get on the Marketplace. Once posted, other users can build up a list of contact data for you in exchange for SNOV tokens. That’s the cryptocurrency supporting this decentralized, blockchain-based marketplace.

You can purchase SNOV tokens using your regular credit card or transfer funds from your Ethereum (ETH) wallet. It’s up to you to set the reward sum in SNOV tokens, knowing that a higher reward will likely attract better and faster results. When you get the results you want, they can be validated and the reward can then be released to the contributor.

Go Direct With Snovian.Space

With the Chrome extension, you tap into the remarkably impressive Snovio email finder and database. With the Snovio Marketplace, you tap into the collective knowledge of a growing number of Snovio contributors who want to fulfill your more specific requests for particular contacts and leads. Going one step above that is Snovian Space, which also uses the SNOV cryptocurrency.

While the Snovio Marketplace is designed so that contributors help you unearth the contact information of prospects, Snovian.Space allows you to make a more direct connection with the prospects themselves. Similarly to the Marketplace, you post a request for a particular kind of contact that you’re looking for, offering a reward in the form of SNOV tokens. It’s a token airdrop. If you prefer, you can use other ERC20 tokens for airdrops too.

Once the request is released, people who fit your specifications and parameters can indicate that they’re interested in being contacted by you. They are rewarded directly with SNOV cryptocurrency for providing their contact information, and you get the lead that you desire. It’s win-win for everyone in a decentralized infrastructure that can theoretically be scaled infinitely.

The scale extends well beyond the “shared connections” you have on a platform like LinkedIn offering you the ability to connect with people directly. Instead of going through an intermediary advertising system in hopes of connecting with the right prospects, businesses can pay these contacts directly by way of offering SNOV tokens. It’s much more transparent and ultimately more effective.

The Future of Snovio

Snovio has come a very long way in a relatively short amount of time. The core database, accessible through the Chrome extension, is already an extremely powerful lead generation tool. The introduction of the Snovio Marketplace and Snovian.Space provides new powerful solutions to the same fundamental challenge all businesses face with: finding the right people quickly and efficiently.

Moving forward through Snovio’s timeline, we can look forward to a proprietary mailing list module, email tracking, data enrichment, a form builder, live chat, lead scoring and even content AI. They’ve got a lot in the works, giving us just a glimpse into the potential of what can be achieved with Snovio.

11 Ways to Use Chatbots to Offer Better, Quicker Customer Service

When customers have a question about your product or service, they want it answered quickly no matter the time of day. Few things are worse than having a problem or question, then needing to access a website and wait several minutes for the next live customer support member to arrive in your support chat area. The same is true with support ticket platforms or emails… it shouldn’t be such an issue to have customer support times of less than an hour, if not instant. Chatbots could be the answer to this demand for lightning-fast customer service, if they are used correctly.

With social media and on-site support leading the way for many companies, chatbots are a hot, modern way to take your business to the next level. They offer real-time customer service to an audience that needs it. But how can you actually leverage chatbots within your business?

To stay up with the latest trends and advancements in chatbot technology, we asked 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share the best ways to integrate a chatbot on your site, or what they’ve seen while browsing through the internet and visiting various other sites.

1. Automate Common Questions

Try to automate the most common questions you receive into the messenger/chatbot. The more you are able to provide people with direct information, the better. Still, though, you should try to provide them with a direct line of communication to a living person, should they need that urgently.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

2. Give Them Simple Tasks

Though chatbots are useful, they should be used to complement your current customer service team, not replace it. Chatbots are best used to answer basic, routine questions and prioritize customer inquiries. Then, they should pass the more complex customer service problems to real staff members. This not only creates a seamless workflow, but it allows human employees to do their jobs better.

Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

3. Start With Really Good Research

Look at voice search analysis in your category. Look at site search data. Talk with your call center. Do keyword research. You want to figure out what your customer’s most important questions are. When executed properly, you can automate a lot of answers as many of your customers’ most pressing questions are direct and simple to answer.

Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)

4. Treat Customers Like Real People

Treating customers as real people rather than numbers is always going to drive loyalty and, therefore, sales. Designing an intuitive chatbot that is able to answer a few basic questions can go a long way toward upping customer retention. We recently took a deep dive into our onboarding process and noticed that far too many users were downloading the app, but not enough were completing the registration process. We found out the main questions users faced during the registration process and adjusted our chat feature and tutorial accordingly, to much success.

Zohar Steinberg, token payments

5. Test for Quality Assurance

If your chatbot can answer your FAQs in a fast, intelligent way, you are good to go. You want to encounter any irritating misunderstandings, which have made chatbots unpopular in some cases, before your customers do. At least the bots can be on call at all times. If nothing else, an automatic response telling customers when you are next available will prevent them from feeling they have been ignored.

Derek Broman, Discount Enterprises LLC

6. Refer Customers to Your Portfolio

Automate your response to have customers call your office. That way, you can personally close the deal. Have your automation hyperlink to your portfolio and services so that the prospective lead has a good understanding of what you provide. In the meantime, you can personally close on the phone.

Andrew Namminga, Andesign

7. Offer Human Contact

Despite popular belief, many customers actually like chatbots. If they’re programmed well and provide valuable information in a short period of time, chatbots can be a valuable tool for any business. However, the most important thing in this situation is that interacting with a chatbot is a choice made by the customer. Provide the option for human contact so they can choose.

Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

8. Preload the Chatbot With Questions

I like to preload the chatbot with questions so I know that moving the prospect from one stage of the funnel to another will be a breeze. Once I have an understanding of what questions most people are asking, I can use those as conversation starters to understand the new prospects. When you leave it open, prospects may not know which questions to ask. It’s better to leave it closed-ended.

Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing

9. Acquire Email Addresses

Have your chatbot ask the visitor for their email address to be able to follow up and convert them into a customer. Make sure the script cross-references your existing customers to keep your email lists segmented. This will ensure that you don’t email existing customers first-time customer coupons or the like.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

10. Analyze Data

One way to leverage chatbots to offer better customer service is to analyze the data gleaned from the conversation. You can use it to educate yourself on your customers’ habits and needs, and then integrate that data into business operations to improve customer service.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

11. Prioritize Customer Convenience

Chatbot technology has come a long way. For many businesses, it can be a way to better serve their customers. Improved service is the key. Though automating your business processes is usually a solid strategy, it can be tempting to take it too far. The primary goal is to give your customers the answers they need. It should be about their convenience, not only about streamlining or cutting costs.

Ismael Wrixen, FE International

Is Your Brand or Business Making the Most of AI, Automation, and Chatbots?

It’s only a matter of time before your business will need to start implementing these methods into it’s day to day operations. While you may not have made the plunge yet, it’s very likely that your competition has. Take a moment to visit your top competitors and see how they are using their websites, blogs, and social media to better engage with their audience and customers. Once you’ve found out what’s working well for them, be sure to consider these same options for your brand or online business.

GDPR Rules, Fines and Compliance – What You Need to Know

As most business people know, taking care of sensitive and personal data of customers is of the utmost importance. Failing to do this could see you getting on the wrong side of your customers and the wrong side of the law – and the penalties can be severe. In the past, the Data Protection Act has provided regulations and guidelines to help businesses to implement data protection policies. However, this is now changing with the introduction of the GDPR.

How will this affect your current business and email marketing efforts?

The biggest question is always what needs to be done next to make sure you are compliant. iContact answers this easy enough with the following statement from the site:

The good news is, if you are already following email marketing best practices and asking your subscribers for permission to join your email lists via a subscription form on your website or requiring the subscriber to tick a box on your ecommerce site (and you can prove this ), you are well on your way to GDPR compliance.

Just like CAN-SPAM came out several years ago, and caused a big fuss, GDPR will likely do the same but everyone (and all of the major solution providers) will make compliance process quite simple and direct.

In order to ensure you do not end up being penalized as a result of failing to implement these new regulations properly, it is important to keep up with the latest developments. Businesses that do not follow these new regulations, which are due to come into play within a matter of weeks, could find themselves facing serious consequences. These regulations are all linked to how data is handled by businesses and it is important for all businesses, large and small, to get to grips with them.

Just like any new laws and regulations that are about to go into place, they have some hefty fines lined up for anyone looking to be made an example of. Imperva has a nice write-up and infographic on the new laws, and their associated fines as well. As you will see from the infographic below, the fines associated with the GDPR are quite high… with maximum fines hitting the $22 million range! In short, prepare your business now, or pay the price later on!

Fortunately, the government has already put a lot of information online about the GDPR, so those with lack of understanding can make sure they do their research to find out what needs to be done. Furthermore, specialist experts from specific industries are being taken on so that businesses can turn to someone with expertise in their specific industry in order to ensure they are following the new regulations to the letter.

One thing to remember is that your business does not have to be located within the EU in order to be tied to these regulations. The regulations also apply to businesses that are not in the EU but that sell products and services to others that are in the EU. Therefore, make sure you do not ignore these regulations just because of the location of your business, as you may find that they also apply to you because of the location of your customers.

How to Prepare for the GDPR Going Live on May 25th, 2018

As fun as it is to read up on all of these new laws and legal jargon, it’s much more exciting to watch a short video that breaks it all down. Not only will you learn more about what GDPR is, but you will also discover eleven things you need to make sure you have in place before May 25th hits and the law goes into effect.

An even better and more detailed resource on how to keep your business safe and compliant is this Forbes article on how the GDPR will affect advertising and e-commerce. With nearly all websites, blogs, and online businesses collecting emails, data, or placing cookies on their visitor’s computers, this is something we all need to be aware of.

How to Stay Up to Date with the Latest GDPR News

Since the new regulations are only just coming in, there may be some teething problems to begin with. This means that there is a chance there could be some changes and adaptations to begin with. In order to ensure you continue to implement the regulations properly, you should keep on top of any chances and developments. You can also hire the services of experts to help you get to grips with the GDPR as well as to help keep you informed as and when any changes are made.

With the introduction of the new regulations, all countries within the EU can benefit from the same data protection laws, which can help to make things much fairer and far easier to understand. Having different sets of rules from one EU country to another could be confusing and frustrating for both customers and businesses. Experts believe that these new regulations will help make things far easier to manage and understand as well as ensuring fairness across all EU countries.

However… only time will tell, and it will be interesting to see how the next few months play out after GDPR goes into affect.

SearchAppNetwork – Online Advertising Trends You Need to Know Now

Tracking and measuring ad performance is more important than ever and a number of companies are helping advertisers with reporting, analytics and measurement. New York-based SearchAppNetwork helps adMarketplace and Bing provide metrics on mobile app ad performance. Mobile app publishers do not have traditional URLs, which makes standard methods of reporting, tracking, and analytics difficult.

To address this issue, adMarketplace created SearchAppNetwork. Every time a Bing advertiser receives a click from a mobile app search ad in the adMarketplace publisher network, adMarketplace creates a URL for Bing advertisers to track performance in the Bing Ads Reporting UI.

For example, 2016 elections and Copa America in the US, UEFA Football in Europe, Summer Olympics in Brazil garnered incremental advertising spending opportunities, which improved media owner ad revenues in comparison to 2015 (when none of the above-mentioned events took place). MAGNA, a company that develops intelligence, investment and innovation strategies for agency teams and clients, suggests that 2016 events accounted for 1% of extra growth.

This article examines 2016’s global advertising activity in various countries and spheres with a look ahead to spot future advertising trends.
2016 ad growth was primarily stemmed from digital ad sales (which increased by 17%) whereas offline media ad sales (these channels include: linear TV, print, radio, and out-of-home) were relatively flat as they increased by 0.3%. If it wasn’t for the cumulative cyclical spending, which benefits mainly television, offline media sales would have slumped by roughly 2.0%, corresponding to 2015’s figures.

Likewise, when looking back at 2016, global net media owners advertising revenues increased by 5.7% to $493 billion (this is a 4.0% increase from in 2015). 2016 was the year that experienced the strongest growth since 2010 (which exhibited a post-recession recovery of 8.8% increase). In 2017, most of the growth emanated from North America as the US market (accounting for 37% of global ad dollars) reported its most prosperous growth rate in 12 years where growth decreased in several emerging regions. Such emerging regions include: Central and Eastern Europe (with a 6.0% increase), Latin America (with a 5.5% increase), Asia-Pacific (with a 5.3% increase) and Western Europe (with a 3.9% increase).

The following are key stats were presented in the Global Advertising Forecast Report 2016:

  • 63 markets experienced advertising growth this year and only seven (most notably Thailand) saw a decrease.• The highest growth rate was recorded in Egypt and the Philippines (both 17%). Among the top 20 markets, the fastest-growing country remains India (+14%) followed this year by a recovering Russia (+8.8%).
  • The 17% growth in digital ad sales are entirely driven by mobile advertising (+47%), while desktop-based ad sales stagnated (0%) in 2016 and actually shrank in many markets. Mobile advertising accounts for 45% of total digital ads by the end of 2016 and will account for 52% by the end of 2017.
  • Digital growth was driven by video formats (+35%) and social formats (+43%) while search remains the largest digital media format (+14% to 17.5 billion – 45% of total digital advertising) and banner ad sales declined (-5%).
  • North America remains the largest market, growing +6.7% to $191 billion; it is projected to slow down to just +1.8% in 2017.
  • Western European markets grew by nearly +4% for the third year in a row, to reach $100 billion. However, growth was significantly lower in the second half and we expect 2017 sales to slow down to +2.4%. Central and Eastern European ad sales increased by +6.0% to $16 billion, as the Russian market recovered.
  • Asia-Pacific media sales reached $148 billion (+5.3%) while recession-stricken Latin America managed to grow by 5.5%, thanks in part to the Brazil Olympics.

Looking ahead to the remainder of 2018 and beyond, according to a recent report by Zenith, online advertisers are expected to outspend TV advertisers by $40 billion this year. That means 40 percent of the world’s ad spending is expected to take place online in 2018, with social media ad spending is estimated to rise 21 percent to $58 billion while video ad spending is rising 19 percent to $32 billion in 2018.