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Tag: markethive

Entrepreneurial Social Networks

Top 5 Social Networks Entrepreneur Strategy

There are hundreds of social networks out there. You can’t be everywhere and we all need to focus our efforts and time on the most effective social networking sites. Here are the social networks I would recommend most for entrepreneurs.

Looking for a job? Consider creating your own. There are a number of social resources to help you connect with other entrepreneurs and get your business ideas off the ground.

Here are the top 10 social networks for entrepreneurs. Each helps entrepreneurs succeed by providing them with the guidance, tools and resources they need to setup their company and gain exposure.

Nothing compares with the brute force horsepower Inbound Marketing engine that comes free with Markethive, but we need to build alliances among our peers and this list is the top 10 of other Entrepreneurial social nets we recommend you frequent as well.

1. Markethive

I am putting Markethive as number one for many reasons, including a serious case of bias. I built it, aside from that. Markethive is a traditional easily navigated and profile oriented network similar to Facebook, oriented like LinkedIn but unique in that it's engine is a multimillion dollar Inbound Marketing platform. As entrepreneurs, we invest (spend) millions on autoresponder systems, capture page systems, blogging platforms, broadcasting technologies, known as Inbound Marketing today. Markethive's founder is the same man the developed Veretekk and invented Automated Marketing, auto responders, capture pages basically what has become today known as Inbound Marketing. There is no other Inbound Marketing solution on the Internet that comes close, has the level of integration found on the Internet at any price and the other systems cost upwards of $10,000 per month. Markethive's Inbound Marketing platform is free included and built into the social network.

2.  StartupNation

Most social networks neglect the content aspect that makes StartupNation so useful.  With articles, forums, blogs, on-demand seminars, and podcasts, entrepreneurs will be better prepared for their ventures and have the resources required to make better business decisions. 

There are a wide range of topics being discussed on StartupNation right now, including business planning, marketing and web-based business.  The site also offers a series of competitions, such as a dorm-based 20 contest and an elevator pitch competition. If you're an entrepreneur or hope to become one, this site is definitely one you can’t miss out on.

3.  LinkedIn

It’s difficult to leave LinkedIn off of any social networking list because it’s so useful for anyone who's either searching for a job, is trying to network with like-minded individuals, or building a company.  LinkedIn offers many resources for entrepreneurs, such as groups, including the very popular “On Startups” group that has over 54,000 members. 

Entrepreneurs on LinkedIn should brand themselves properly so they can attract the right kind of business opportunities, and perform searches to find service providers or partners.  As an entrepreneur, you should also be looking to participate in LinkedIn Answers, events and applications to spruce up your profile and become a valuable member to your community.

4.  Perfect Business

If you want to meet thousands of serious entrepreneurs, experts and investors from a variety of industries, then Perfect Business might be the perfect social network for you.  The type of people you’ll find are potential business partners, potential clients and advisers. Additionally, the site has leading business partners like Entrepreneur and Virgin Money.

From business networking to a video center where you can learn from successful entrepreneurs, a business plan builder and even an investor center, you’ll have most of the resources you need to create or regenerate your business. There is a free basic membership and a gold membership that costs $29.99 per month.

5.   The Funded

The Funded is an online community of entrepreneurs who research, rate and review funding sources.  Entrepreneurs can view and share terms sheets to assist each other in finding good investors, as well as discuss the inner workings of operating a business.  General benefits of this site include viewing facts, reviews and commentary on funding resources, and accessing RSS feeds of the most recent public comments by members. 

By joining the site, you have access to detailed fund profiles with specialty, reference investments, and investment criteria, in addition to accessing partner vCards that have full contact information of all partners at venture funds.  In order to get any value out of this social network, you pretty much have to become a member.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Al Zibluk

What History Teaches Us About Great Speculations

Right now, we are exiting the eye of the giant financial hurricane that we entered in 2007, and we’re going into its trailing edge. It’s going to be much more severe, different, and longer lasting than what we saw in 2008 and 2009.

financial crisis

In a desperate attempt to stave off a day of financial reckoning during the 2008 financial crisis, global central banks began printing trillions of new currency units. The printing continues to this day. And it’s not just the Federal Reserve that’s doing it: it’s just the leader of the pack. The U.S., Japan, Europe, China…all major central banks are participating in the biggest increase in global monetary units in history.

These reckless policies have produced not just billions, but trillions in malinvestment that will inevitably be liquidated. This will lead us to an economic disaster that will in many ways dwarf the Great Depression of 1929–1946. Paper currencies will fall apart, as they have many times throughout history.

This isn’t some vague prediction about the future. It’s happening right now. The Canadian dollar has lost 26% of its value since 2013. The Australian dollar has lost 29% of its value during the same time. The Japanese yen and the euro have crashed in value. And the U.S. dollar is currently just the healthiest horse on its way to the glue factory.

These moves show that we’re in the early stages of a currency crisis. But if you make the right moves, you could actually make windfall gains instead of suffering losses. Here’s how to do it…

The huge winner during this crisis will be the only currency that has real value: gold.

Gold has been used as money for thousands of years because it has a unique combination of qualities. Very briefly, it’s durable, easily divisible, convenient to carry, consistent around the world, and has value in and of itself. Just as important, governments can’t create gold out of thin air. It’s the only financial asset that’s not simultaneously someone else’s liability.

When people wake up and realize that most banks and governments are bankrupt, they’ll flock to gold…just as they’ve done for centuries. Gold will rise multiples of its current value. I expect a 200% rise from current levels, at the minimum. There are many reasons, which we don’t have room to cover here, why gold could see a 400% or 500% gain.

This should produce a corresponding bull market in gold stocks…perhaps of a magnitude we’ve never seen. A true mania for gold stocks could develop over the coming years. This could make anyone who buys gold stocks at their current depressed levels very rich.

What History Teaches Us About Great Speculations

Many of the best speculations have a political element to them.

Governments are constantly creating distortions in the market, causing misallocations of capital. Whenever possible, the speculator tries to find out what these distortions are, because their consequences are predictable.

They result in trends you can bet on. Because you can almost always count on the government to do the wrong thing, you can almost always safely bet against them. It’s as if the government were guaranteeing your success.

The classic example, not just coincidentally, concerns gold.

The U.S. government suppressed its price for decades while creating huge numbers of dollars before it exploded upward in 1971. Speculators who understood some basic economics positioned themselves accordingly. Over the next nine years, gold climbed more than 2,000% and many gold stocks climbed by more than 5,000%.

Governments are constantly manipulating and distorting the monetary situation. Gold in particular,
 as the market’s alternative to government money, is always affected by that. So gold stocks are really a way to short government—or go long on government stupidity, as it were.

The bad news is that governments act chaotically, spastically.

The beast jerks to the tugs on its strings held by various puppeteers. But while it’s often hard to predict price movements in the short-term, the long-term is a near certainty. You can bet confidently on the end results of chronic government monetary stupidity.

Mining stocks are extremely volatile for that very same reason. That’s good news, however, because volatility makes it possible, from time to time, to get not just doubles or triples but 10-baggers, 20-baggers, and even 100-to-1 shots.

When gold starts moving higher, it’s going to direct a lot of attention towards gold stocks. When people get gold fever, they are not just driven by greed, they’re usually driven by fear as well, so you get both of the most powerful market motivators working for you at once. It’s a rare class of securities that can benefit from fear and greed at once.

Remember that the Fed‘s pumping-up of the money supply ignited a huge bubble in tech stocks in the late 90’s, and then an even more massive global bubble in real estate that burst in 2008. But they’re still creating tons of dollars.

This will inevitably ignite other asset bubbles. Where? I can’t say for certain, but I say the odds are extremely high that as gold goes up, a lot of this funny money is going to be directed into these gold stocks, which are not just a microcap area of the market but a nanocap area of the market. The combined market capitalization of the 10 biggest U.S.-listed gold stocks is less than 29% of the size of Facebook.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: When the public gets the bit in its teeth and wants to buy gold stocks, it’s going to be like trying to siphon the contents of the Hoover Dam through a garden hose.

Gold stocks, as a class, are going to be explosive. Now, you’ve got to remember that most of them are junk. Most will never, ever find an economical deposit. But it’s hopes and dreams that drive them, not reality, and even those without merit can still go up 10, 20, or 30 times your entry price.

And companies that actually have the goods can go much higher than that.

You buy gold, the metal, because you’re prudent. It’s for safety, liquidity, insurance. The gold stocks, even though they explore for or mine gold, are at the polar opposite of the investment spectrum; you buy them for their extreme volatility, and the chance they offer for spectacular gains. It’s rather paradoxical, actually.

Why Gold Stocks Are an Ideal “Asymmetric Bet”

Because these stocks have the potential to go 10, 50, or even 100 times your entry price, they offer something called “asymmetry.”

You probably learned about symmetry in grade school. It’s when the parts of something have equal form and size. For example, cut a square in half and the two parts are symmetrical.

Symmetry is attractive in some forms. The more symmetrical someone’s face is, the more physically attractive they are considered to be. Symmetry is often attractive in architecture.

But when it comes to investing and speculating in the financial markets, the expert financial operator eschews symmetry. Symmetry is for suckers.

The expert financial operator hunts for extreme asymmetry.

An asymmetric bet is one where the potential upside of a position greatly exceeds its potential downside. If you risk $1 for the chance of making $20, you’re making an asymmetric bet.

Amateur investors too often risk 100% of their money in the pursuit of a 100% return. These are horrible odds that the financially and statistically illiterate flock towards…the kind you find in casinos and most sports betting. It’s one of the key reasons most people struggle in the market.

I’ve always been more attracted to asymmetric bets…where I stand a good chance of making 10, 50, even 100 times the amount I’m risking. I’m not interested in even bets. I’m only taking the field if my potential upside is much, much greater than my potential downside.

Because of the extreme asymmetry gold stocks offer—because of their extreme upside potential—you don’t have to take a big position in them to make a huge impact on your net worth. A modest investment of $25,000 right now could turn into $500,000 in five years. It has happened before and it will happen again.

Right now gold stocks are near a historic low. I’m buying them aggressively. At this point, it’s possible that the shares of a quality exploration company or a quality development company (i.e., one that has found a deposit and is advancing it toward production) could still go down 10, 20, 30, or even 50 percent. But there’s an excellent chance that the same stock will go up by 10, 50, or even 100 times.

I hate to use such hard-to-believe numbers, but that is the way this market works.

When the coming resource bubble is ignited, the odds are excellent we’ll be laughing all the way to the bank in a few years.

No one, including me, knows that the Mania Phase is just around the corner. But I’ve operated in this market for over 40 years. This is a very reasonable time to be buying these stocks. And it’s absolutely a good time to start educating yourself about them.

There’s an excellent chance a truly massive bubble is going to be ignited in this area. If so, the returns are going to be historic.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Al Zibluk

Markethive Website Rotator

Markethive provides many tools for the Entrepreneur that works on-line; one of these is our very own URL Rotator. This can be found under the Campaigns Menu.

free url rotator

The Website Rotator tool allows you to configure a unique URL that will then rotate and display a list of other websites you define. You can use it to transfer traffic from one of your sites to several others. Or if you work with a team of people, the entire group can promote a single URL which will then automatically distribute the traffic to each member's individual website.

You can add an unlimited number of websites to each rotator. There are 2 different rotation types. Circular will simply rotate through each website, one by one. Shared Ratio allows you to weight certain URLs so they receive a certain number of visits before the rotation continues.

For those of you that have been using this tool here already, please take note of the new website address for our rotator. Previously, it had been using the Markethive domain itself, which is never a good idea.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Al Zibluk

Inbound Marketing

    Inbound Marketing

Do you know that if you have  a inbound marketing system it virtually guarantees success of your business, provided you pay attention to how you use it. There are so many ways to communicate with potential clients these days, you will always find something that will work for you. A lot of inbound marketing systems are automated, but you must never forget that your leads will respond better if you speak with them. Human Intervention is important for success.

Inbound Marketin

I am a member of MarketHive which is a free for life marketing system offering a suite of essential tools fully integrated into a social media site, designed from the bottom to get your message across to potential clients.

I believe in the system which has been enhanced so as to offer serious marketers the opportunity not only to promote their own business but also a way of sharing in the advertising revenue of the system, with a pathway of optional upgrades levels marking levels of achievement  and providing  additional affiliate income.

Some people who own marketing systems tend to be attracted to the idea of passive marketing, it sounds good. Money for doing nothing. But to be honest, a lot more money can be earnt by taking an active role,  encouraging and demonstrating to your leads, how to set-up the system to suit what they want to do.

Your leads need to be nurtured just like a parent nurture their children as they develop and learn about life and it is the same with MarketHive. The members you personally introduce  are referred to as your children and you should support them. Additional support is provided from other members, plus a support team.

According to Jake Newfield Vice President of Business Development at Alumnify, Author of A Cloud in the Sky, Writer for Elite Daily & Tech.co
2016 signifies a new era of marketing. Customers are changing, and as marketers we need to change along with them. Traditional outbound marketing campaigns like cold emails, cold calls, snail mail, and trade shows are not as effective as they once were several years ago. Consumers are now bombarded constantly by ads, information, and other messages from marketers trying to sell them, and they have become jaded. An outbound campaign no longer packs the same level of effectiveness as it once did. Thus, to reach our consumers it will require a strategic, well-planned inbound campaign to stand out from the competition and get noticed. If we embrace it, this change can be good; it can create more opportunities and expand out client base. Inbound marketing offers a refreshing variety of new, effective techniques that can enable us to see unprecedented growth. However, if we fail to embrace this adjustment of customer acquisition, our business' growth can be stunted. Inbound marketing will be king in 2016, and success will largely be dependent on a company's ability to perform with it.

Now you know that inbound marketing is going to be important for success, you need to consider your options. What is going to work for you and how much are you prepared to pay. Prices vary from  free to thousands of pounds a month, if you need help I suggest you watch this 30 minute video.

David Ogden
http://markethive.com/david-ogden
Helping people to  help themselves

Al Zibluk

25 Creative Ways To Improve Internet Customer Service

Consider the competitive advantages of an online retailer. Customer service is usually not the first thing that comes to mind, right?. Many eCommerce websites, even the large well-known store, are infamous for impersonal, mediocre customer service practices. And yet, the few internet retailers that differentiate themselves on service become well-known case studies in client care. In this article, I'll share some of the best-practices I've seen over the years that serve to differentiate companies on customer service.

Upgrade Your CRM Tools: Proper technology can go a long way to improving customer care. At the very least, ensure that your staff has the ability to view the history of previous interactions with a customer. It's very frustrating when you have to repeatedly explain the situation to a representative.

Hand-written thank you on Packing Slip: Most packing slips are dull, impersonal, and useful only if you need to return the merchandise. On rare occasions, I've received orders where the packing list featured a hand-written, personalized thank you from a staff member. While this may not be practical for every order, it is a great way to impress select customers. Another idea might be to include the business card with contact info for a manager.

Assign Personal Customer Service Reps: Along with the order confirmation receipt that you send to your customers, also automatically assign each customer a personal representative that will field their questions. Send the email from this representative's name, and include their contact info. Customers will be impressed that they have a "personal" representative assign specifically to them.

Call Customers Who Abandon Orders: When a customer starts an order but doesn't finish it, follow up with a phone call to find out if there were any problems. Customers appreciate the gesture, and you will likely save many sales in the process.

Follow up surveys: Consider sending a survey email out with every order confirmation. While not every customer will complete it, your customers will know you care enough to ask their opinion.

Extensive FAQ Knowledge Base: Surprisingly, one of the easiest ways to improve your customer satisfaction may be to prevent needless customer interactions in the first place. No matter how friendly your call center representative, no customer will be pleased if they have to call you in order to answer a simple question like "how do I return a product?" Prevent situations like this by maintaining a searchable FAQ knowledge base that answers every reasonable question.

Live Chat: Many customers dislike the thought of sitting on hold for even a few minutes. Offering a live chat option can be an inexpensive way of answering questions for your visitors, and reducing the call volume for your call center.  Improve 

After Hour Call Center: If your business employs a 3rd party after hour call center that is off-site, make sure you frequently monitor the quality of care they are rendering. Make sure they are empowered to serve your customers as effectively as possible. If your primary call center is 3rd party, seriously consider bringing it in house. While this is not always the most affordable option, it's necessary if you desire to give your clients your absolute best.

Free Upgraded Shipping: Surprise select customers by upgrading their shipping to 1 or 2 express. If you do this, be sure to send them an email letting them know they have been upgraded. This strategy was pioneered by Zappos.

Same Day Shipping: Most websites have a policy of shipping orders 1 or 2 business days after they are placed. If possible, selectively ship some orders the same day. The speedy delivery will be appreciated, though not expected by your customers.

Prominent Customer Testimonials: Place customer testimonials on more than just the "testimonial" page. Zappos features them right on their main customer service page. A word of caution applies here though. If you're going to "brag" so to speak about your service, make sure you follow through!

Human Touch: Many online shoppers struggle with trusting an online merchant due to the lack of face to face interaction. Mitigate this weakness by showing pictures of your customer service staff.  Christian retailer C28 shows the picture of their customer service manager on the Help page as well as on every order confirmation email. In addition, below the picture is the manager's direct contact info. Something like this can go a long way to instill trust in your company.

Detailed Product Pages: Answer questions before they are asked by always having thoroughly detailed product pages. Include all the relevant info a customer would want to know about your products. For more ideas on this topic, checkout my previous post on 25 ways to improve your product page.

Automatic Price Protection: Always honor sale prices of items that were previously purchased by customers. They need to be able to shop with this confidence. Better yet, automatically notify customers when items they have purchased in the past go on sale. Offer to apply the price difference toward a future purchase or just refund the amount. Sound crazy? Maybe, but it's small cost that can win a customer for life.

Lenient Return Policy: Make sure your return policy is not unnecessarily complicated or rigid. How many times have you shopped at a certain retailer because their lenient return policy gave you the confidence you needed to buy? (Think Costco vs. Walmart!)

Thank You Calls: Call select customers and thank them for ordering. This personalized gesture will blow them away.

Thank You Emails: Email certain customers and thank them for their business. Be sure to include something personalized in the email that will convince them it's not just something generic sent to everyone.

Do More than Fix Your Mistakes: When your business makes a mistake, be sure that you exceed your customer's expectations when fixing it. If an item was mistakenly left out of a shipment, don't just a apologize, offer that item for free. Many businesses find their most loyal customers result from a highly satisfying resolution to a problem.

Fix Other's Mistakes: If a shipment is delayed or lost due to the fault of the shipping carrier, don't just blame UPS, offer a solution. Offer to promptly re-ship the item, or at the very least, offer to take care of the problem with the carrier so the customer doesn't have to.

Guaranteed Email Response Time: Most customers expect an email inquiry to be answered within at most 24 hours. If you can, guarantee a response time faster than this. Also, acknowledge the receipt of an email inquiry by employing an auto responder.

Secret Shopping: Used extensively by brick-and-mortar retailers, secret shopping is a great way to identify problems and keep your customer service staff on their toes.

Customer Centric Slogan: Show your dedication to customer care by prominently featuring a customer centered slogan that summarizes your company's practices. A great example of this would be Zappos' famous slogan on their home page: "We are a service company that happens to sell shoes."

Free Return Shipping: One of the greatest stumbling blocks to online ordering is the thought of having to return the product. Consider sending customers a pre-paid return shipping label in the case of a product needing to be returned. Because this is rarely done by e-commerce stores, you will certainly set yourself apart in the mind of your customer.

Personalize Everything: Always great customers by name on the home page, and offer them personalized product recommendations based on previous orders.

Increase Number of Service Reps: It goes without saying that if you have a higher representative to customer ratio, you will have the time to better serve your clients. While not every business can afford this, if you want to differentiate yourself with outstanding customer service, it's a must.

I once heard it said that "the enemy of good is not bad, it's mediocre." Too many online retailers struggle with mediocre customer service. Many businesses fail to realize their customer base is also powerful marketing machine. If treated right, they can become to most effective viral marketing campaign imaginable. Treated poorly, and they can become a PR disaster.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Al Zibluk

10 Questions to Ask When Collecting Customer Data

When your customers disclose their personal and financial information to you, they're taking a leap of faith that you won't lose, abuse or otherwise mess with it — accidentally or not. Your customers don't want you to spam them every two minutes, hawk their info to third parties or, worse, expose it to cyber attackers. 
 
Collecting Customer Data 
 
 
Collecting customer data has been notoriously loaded with a tangle of privacy pitfalls. But when done right, the benefit to your bottom line could outweigh the risks. Leveraging customer data can lead to happier customers, reduced client churn and bigger profits. 
 
Gathering sensitive customer information isn't something business owners should just jump into and make up as they go. Get up to speed with these 10 essential questions to consider before you ask your customers anything: 
 
1. I don't have time to get anything from my customers but their money. Do I really need to collect data from them, too?
 
Without customers, you wouldn't be in business. Knowing who they are and what they want, particularly from you, can lead to more effective marketing, increased brand loyalty and the holy grail — more sales. 
 
"Collecting customer data helps you know each customer more individually and treat them that way," says Jeff Tanner, professor of marketing at Baylor University and director of the school's "Business Collaboratory." And the info you glean from them can empower you to "craft offers that increase purchase rates at higher margins while also delivering better value to the customers because they're getting things they want," he says.
 
2. What types of personal data should I collect and why?
 
Start with the basics, such as customer names and mailing and email addresses. These allow you to personalize your communications with them, directly market to them and follow up with them if there's a problem with their order. Other data points to collect for an overall demographic snapshot are age, profession and gender. 
 
As you develop trust with your customers, Tanner suggests going deeper and asking them for certain psychographic data points, like details about their personalities, values and lifestyles. For example, if you own a furniture store and find out your customer has children via a customer questionnaire, you might consider marketing children's furniture to them.   

3. What types of transactional data should I collect and why?

Recording and analyzing each customer's transaction history — what they purchase from you, when and how often — helps you know which products and services to offer them in the future. Companies like Amazon, and Zappos are some of the best at this powerful marketing practice, also known as "basket analysis," automatically delivering sometimes impressively personalized product recommendations based on past purchases.   

4. What are the best ways to collect customer data?

You can start by accumulating customer data every time they interact with your company — on the phone or in online chat with customer service, in-store with a salesperson or via online survey or contest, Tanner says.
 
It's important to note, though, that the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 prohibits procuring email addresses from certain online sources, including blogs and internet chat rooms, without the permission of site users and owners.  

5. How should I organize and store it?

Once you obtain the customer data you want, dumping it into a basic Excel spreadsheet won't do you much good. The best, most time- and cost-effective way to store, track and make sense of customer data, Tanner says, is to use an all-in-one customer relationship management (CRM) solution. 
 
He suggests trying CRM packages for entrepreneurs from Pipeliner ($30 per month with a 30-day free trial), Zoho ($12 to $35 per month with a 15-day free trial) or Teradata (prices available by contacting Teradata sales). 

6. How can I best protect my customers' personal and financial data?

 
Encrypting all of your customers' data is your first step in safeguarding it. This includes their names, email and physical addresses, credit card numbers, spending habits, social media logins and any other sensitive data points you're privy to.
 
Best practices for data encryption vary from industry to industry. Here's a guide to creating a strong cyber security plan for your small business, complete with expert encryption tips. You might consider hiring a data security specialist to take on the task for you. 
 
If you hire a third-party to collect and store your customer data for you, be sure that they use the highest encryption standards available. 

7. How can I be sure what I'm doing is legal?

All that's legally required of you when collecting customer data is to create a customer information privacy policy and give your customers access to it, Tanner says. 
 
In an ideal world, your privacy policy should closely follow the Federal Trade Commission's Fair Information Practice Principles, which are guidelines for securely collecting electronic consumer data, though they aren't enforceable by law. 
 
Clearly state in your policy exactly who is collecting which types of data, how it's used and with whom you share it with (and if you intend to share it at all). You also have to allow your customers to opt out of receiving marketing material from you.  
 
Specifically, if you own a business in the healthcare industry and gather patient information, you have to abide by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) laws. Or, if your company's target demographic is children and you interact with them online, compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is mandatory.  

8. Should I sell my customer's information to third-party marketers?

The choice is yours and plenty of companies do — and profit from it. But Tanner warns that doing so could alienate your customers. And they generally don't come back once they've gone. 
 
"If [business owners] use customer data like a mailing list, then they spam," he says. "If they use data to have an intelligent conversation that includes relevant offers, then they become a preferred partner. You might be able to sell access to your customer list, but no customer will want to stay with you once they figure that out."  
 
If you decide to sell customer data to third parties, clearly say so in your privacy policy.  

9. What's the best way to benefit from the customer data I collect?

Leveraging it to offer added value to your customer is the biggest advantage. Customer data helps you paint a clear picture of who your target customer is and how to best communicate with, advertise and market to them. 
 
When you know your ideal customer better and really understand their needs and wants, you can better craft offers to entice them, which should in turn boost sales.  

10. What are some common mistakes to avoid?

Perhaps the worst in the bunch, Tanner says, is asking for too much at one time and overwhelming your customers.
 
Other common faux pas Tanner suggests steering clear of are not using the data at all and making assumptions about customers based on collecting transactional data only.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Al Zibluk

Using Inbound Marketing Techniques To Convert Leads To Clients

Creating content for a website seems to be an endless task. Often times, businesses outsource to writers who can do the job efficiently. However, the job does not stop there. Efficient content requires more than skilled writing to convert leads to clients. Timing and placing with the right social media strategies also increase the likelihood of converting these leads to clients.

Inbound Marketing with MarketHive 

These strategies all fit within the inbound marketing technique, which has been the guide to great online marketing strategies.

Attract Customers

Customer attraction will turn strangers into potential leads. For businesses and blogs, enticing people to go to their website requires the following actions:

•             Blogs – Opening a blog will begin the journey to attracting customers to the business website. Add insightful information that answers questions and increases the attentiveness of the potential lead. A great business marketing strategy begins with blogging.

•             Using Search Engine Optimization ("SEO") — Clients will begin their search usually through online search engines. Using SEO techniques such as content building, link directing and finding optimal keywords and phrases will increase the overall inbound marketing strategy. Using SEO will help customers find out who a business is and make them the top of the search results.

•             Customized Pages — Website fluency is important for customers. Businesses who create websites that appeal to their intended customers will see more results than those who do not. Creating a great website with a user-friendly interface will be great for online marketing strategies.

•             Social Media Marketing — While great content will be the success of inbound marketing — social media marketing will help get this valuable content out. Social media marketing will help businesses succeed and — even better — it is one of the few free marketing tools. Engage with potential customers and post at times that will lead the business with the most results.

 

It is now important to convert these visitors to leads.

Converting Visitors to Leads

Content Marketing with MarketHive

 
Next step is optimizing a website enough to convert the visitors that great content brings in into leads. This requires a strategic method of creation and publishing.

•             Create Forms On a Website — Website forms will generate enough interest for a business to consider their visitor a lead if he or she fills out the website form. Usually name and email forms that popup on the website for a first-time visitor. Make this conversion process as easy as possible for visitors.

•             Generate Interest Through Call-to-Action — Creating a website where a business must have good call-to-actions is ideal. A lack of call-to-actions detriments the entire inbound marketing strategy. Buttons and links to other places and to sign up for webinars, free products or other interesting links will be great call-to-action.

•             Landing pages and contacts are also consistent in the conversion process. Now it is time to close the deal and turn potential leads to purchasing clients.

Close the Deal by Turning Leads to Clients

Turning leads to clients will be the "money maker" for the business. Through great content and conversion techniques, this step will be cake for most businesses.

•             Customer Relation Management — Also referred to as CRM, this strategy helps keep detailed information about leads' contact information and when the best time to facilitate a sale with them.

•             Use CRM to Figure out Team Efforts — Using the right reports, a business can see how well the marketing and sales team are working together to efficiently create a successful business funnel and great online marketing strategies.

•             Keep in Touch via Email — Sending relevant, interesting emails to clients may persuade them to purchase from the website.

 

Next, a business must can use clients as unpaid promoters.

Use Clients to Promoters

The next step is to get client feedback and persuade them to share a product with friends and families on multiple avenues, including social media marketing.

•             Send Surveys — Surveying clients will provide a business with adequate feedback to ensure the customer is getting what they want.

•             Updated Call-to-Actions — Personalize call-to-actions by presenting visitors, leads and clients with different, new call-to-actions varying on the buyers interest and step within the inbound marketing strategy. New call-to-actions increase the likelihood of turning one-time customers into long-term customers and promoters of the product.

•             Monitor Social Media — It's important for a business to know what their clients are saying about them and their product. Using social monitoring, a business can get the true opinion of their product and customer satisfaction and use it to readjust to be a better company.

Inbound Marketing Creates Great Online Marketing Strategies for Companies

Inbound marketing helps by providing businesses with free marketing tools that will enhance the overall effectiveness of the business' success. Each step is meant to help mold the content and products/services being sold and will generate more viewership than previously. 

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


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LinkedIn — To Open Network Or Not

As an avid LinkedIn user, and as a member of the LinkedIn Open Networkers group (aka LIONs), it is a question I see being asked on LinkedIn and at other social media platforms and services on a regular basis. I actually think that the answer is more varied than simply the two options of "open networking" or "closed networker," and your individual answer depends on you and your objectives in creating a LinkedIn profile.

linkedin training

LinkedIn system

The reason that the question exists to the extent it does, is that LinkedIn has created an online network which at its basic level is fundamentally different to any other Social Media network. LinkedIn positively discourages members to connect to those that they do not know and have not met. They even enforce the systematic structure by making supporting statements in both their terms and conditions as well as their User Guidelines. This is in stark contrast to the social side of others online networks which most will be more used to in the form of Facebook, where chatting and connecting to people who seem to be much like you is part of the whole ethos.

But, and here's the crucial difference: LinkedIn users have an average household income of over $140k, with 80% over $75k, the spammers would see an open network as list building shangri-la! Further, when 60% are senior executives and 90% are college educated, it would mean that any affiliate or direct sale would inevitably come with a high commission return.

LinkedIn market

Hence from a market trust view point, making it difficult to connect is ensuring just that: consistent, believable and hence trusted online networking. Further, that is what LinkedIn's target audience want. They are not used to the fast moving and Farmville-powered coffee corner that is Facebook. They want something more akin to a select and stable club, where one can mix with like minded people, and then be introduced by acquaintances when mutual needs which are mainly business orientated arise.

LinkedIn networking

So, what options are there between open networking and closed networking which can be adopted by LinkedIn users? Firstly, lets be clear here: there is no such thing as closed networking on any social network, including LinkedIn. If you choose to be wholly "closed" in your networking, then you wouldn't even have a LinkedIn profile, let alone connect to known friends whom you work with directly or meet with on a weekly basis. You choose to join a club or network and stay there because it gives you a professional marker post in a popular place, and opens up opportunity on both a personal, professional and business level.

But on the other hand, nor does truly open networking exist. If you were truly open, then you would accept every invite that any "profile" sent to you. The reason I mentioned those statistics about LinkedIn at the start of this piece, was because however difficult a systems designer makes connecting to others, those membership statics much like the challenge of stealing the British Royal Crown Jewels or the Mona Lisa from Paris will always attract ambitious opportunists.

While as a recruiter and CV writer I never encourage non-artiste job applicants to place a photo on their CV, in online networking one of the first signs of a spamming profile is the lack of profile image, or use of one that you may have seen once or twice before: its amazing how many photos of Rod Stewart, Bono and Sir Tom Jones are available! Then there are the names, most often three letters as that is the minimum LinkedIn will allow; or the incomplete profile records of both education and work history: one term at Harvard and a three months on Wall Street doesn't fool anyone!

So in reality, everyone is the same type of networker, but at different points along a line of how much trust they require to develop in others before they decide to offer to connect.

List of Social Networking Sites

This is a quick list of social networking sites, which can be used for traffic generation, or just getting your name out there for marketing and credibility.

Facebook – This was developed for the collegiate market and later expanded to professionals as these people graduated from college. The interface is clean and crisp, without a lot of extraneous stuff. It allows people to connect with others in their own network. It offers a profile and several ways to market yourself to your friends, although you are not allowed to spam marketing hype on your profile or elsewhere. It has many applications you can add to boost your profile or add marketing features to your profile.

LinkedIn – This social networking site has a far more business-like and professional flavor. It is noted for helping people network to find new jobs or business opportunities.

Squidoo – This site allows you to define your brand and even promote and market products. It is more of a marketer's social network and is based on the creation of lenses that are focal points of interest that you want to highlight about your personal expertise or your business.

Twitter – A social networking site with minute-by-minute updates, if that's what you like. It's unlike the other sites, but hugely popular, particularly for mobile phone updates.

By the way, do you want to add a LinkedIn coaching program to your business? If so, join me in Markethive and I will introduce you to someone who provides training. There is no cost to either of these. Good luck.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


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Rebirth of Email Is Coming in 2016 — Really?

Email marketing was ignored, under-resourced, and declared uncool and dead during the rise of social media.

email marketing

Now that leased media is morphing into paid media, and paid media is morphing into blocked media, brands are returning to permission-based email marketing to find that it has new synergies, powerful new capabilities, broader integration, and fresh blood.

Prediction #1: We’ll see many more positive media stories about email marketing than negative in 2016.

It has always been the workhorse behind eCommerce, but now email marketing has become a driving force behind content during the meteoric rise of content marketing. Thanks to advancements in personalization, dynamic content, and predictive analytics, email newsletters have become “the new homepage,” in the words of Contently’s Jordan Teicher.

The Rise of Mobile

Email marketing has also become central to mobile strategies. Reading email has been a top activity on smartphones for a long time, and the growing adoption of responsive email design is boosting smartphone conversion rates to make the most of this opportunity. This holiday season has been a breakout one for mobile shopping and the momentum will carry into the New Year. Beacons, geofences, mobile bar codes, and app behavior triggers will further intertwine email and mobile in 2016 and beyond.

Prediction #2: The majority of email opens will occur on mobile devices in 2016.

Prediction #3: The majority of brands will use responsive design for their marketing emails in 2016.

The Integration of ESPs

Email marketing is also benefiting from broader integration across business functions, thanks to more than $6 billion in acquisitions of major email service providers (ESPs) over the past few years by Salesforce, Oracle, IBM, Adobe, and others. Rather than experiencing a wave of consolidation, where ESPs buy other ESPs, the email industry is experiencing a wave of integration, where ESPs are being melded into customer relationship management, digital marketing, and enterprise resource planning suites.

Prediction #4: Another major ESP will be acquired in 2016 by a software titan.

Together, these advancements have elevated email marketing’s stature and put it on a clear path to achieving the 1-to-1 marketing paradigm, as brands are increasingly empowered to facilitate customer journeys and maximize lifetime value. But it’s not just that it’s getting well-deserved attention again—email marketing is actually kind of cool again.

Whereas the email industry suffered an exodus of talent to social media and mobile during the mid-2000s, now there’s an influx of new talent, most notably from the world of web development. This fresh blood is driving the industry in a new direction, one where emails don’t always act like simple gateways to landing pages.

Sometimes the email will facilitate more of a customer interaction before the clickthrough to the destination, whether it’s through hamburger menus, email carousels, embedded video, or live Twitter streams—and sometimes the email will be the destination itself, where subscribers can take action or convert without leaving the inbox.

Pioneered by innovative companies like Rebelmail, interactive email experiences will bring new energy to the industry over the next 12 to 18 months as familiar web experiences make their way into the inbox.

Prediction #5: The first brands will offer checkout experiences that are fully contained within emails in 2016.

The cumulative effect of all of these developments is that email marketing will experience a second coming of age during 2016. It will be a time of accelerating competitive advantage for brands that are committed to investing in high-ROI subscriber-centric strategies. And it will be a dangerous time for brands whose resource-starved email strategies have never matured beyond batch and blast.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


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Committed to Success

Commited to SuccessThe New year has now officially started with today being the first day of work for many people. Yesterday in church the sermon was about surprisingly about New Years Resolutions. Few responded on being questioned,to have made resolutions, including the Priest himself. I find it surprising that so few people are will to commitment themselves, to changes which can improve their lives.

 

I make resolutions most years and my track record of achievements is pretty good, I find that committing them to paper, helps to hold myself accountable. If you are interested in my plans for 2016 they are listed here

I pride my self as being a committed person.

“You don’t win an Olympic gold medal with a few weeks of intensive training. There’s no such thing as an overnight opera sensation. Every great company, every great brand, and every great career has been built in exactly the same way: bit by bit, step by step, little by little.” Seth Godin founder of Squidoo

I planned to retire at 55 but managed to retire at the age of 50 and became a full time Adventure competing in some of the longest and hardest expeditions races in the world, it took me three years of racing before finally being able to get my complete team across the finish line during a race in Amazonia,

I have always been a goal orientated person and can be quite controversial is someone stands between me and my dream. I have developed a happy disposition knowing I will do what ever it takes, both physically and mentally to achieve my goals

To help me achieve my New Years Resolutions this year, I need to enlist the help of some like minded people, who wish to improve themselves by working with me to promote a newly launched social neural marketing site called MarketHive.

MarketHive is an intuitive site with a FaceBook like look and feel, however it has been built from the bottom up to support budding entrepreneurs with a range of essential tools to maximise your marketing efforts.

 
David Ogden
Helping People Help Themselves
Http://markethive.com/david-ogden

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