Two of the most effective online marketing strategies today are SEO and email marketing, but with so many companies using them you need to have smart approaches to gain an edge when you use them. Here are some great ideas on how to use these marketing strategies to beat out the competition.

SEO

Every business needs an online strategy that has Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at the center of it. The reason is simple. The majority of people will use a search engine to try and locate something on the Internet. There are billions of page and over a billion websites on the Internet that will be searched. The average person will not go through more than 3 search pages for any one topic.

With so many websites on the Internet and nearly all of them coming up in a search, you need to do all you can to get your company to the top of a search. SEO is the way to get this accomplished.

There are many companies that out SEO strategies that will propel your company to the top of search, but the reality is that everyone is fighting for the same retail space and not everyone can provide it.

To give your company an edge you need to work with a firm that takes a specialized approach to SEO. One that delivers complex enterprise SEO tools that leverage a deep understanding of the acquisition funnel to achieve business goals. It should use advanced data analysis, competitive evaluation, and innovative applications of SEO trends, creating a comprehensive approach to SEO.

Working with this type of SEO firm gives your company an advantage over the average company seeking to leverage SEO and will assist you in getting to the top of search.

E-Mail Marketing

Email marketing remains one of the most effective type of online marketing today. Some of the reasons that email marketing is so effective are:

It can help your company become a trusted news source for customers: E-mail marketing campaigns should be wrapped in providing useful information to customers. You can pick topics that are relevant to them and always provide solutions to their biggest current challenges. When you do this, they are eager to open your emails.

You Can Make Them Personal and Targeted: E-mail marketing allows you to be targeted to the specific individual customer or target. Today’s best email marketing software lets you analyze user data, partition your contact lists based on specific factors and then send emails relating to the needs of that target. The level of personalization is appreciated by those who you email.

Email marketing is Cheap: You will need to spend money for a top email automation or CRM software package, but after this initial purchase, emails have the lowest delivery rates, often costing less than a penny per message to send. In terms of the amount of time you will need to spend to formulate and send emails, the software will cut that time in half and teach you to automate many of the processes. In the end, email marketing is just cheap.

You Can Create Them to Solicit Actions: The standard email will typically elicit a response so people are not thrown if you ask for one in a marketing email. In fact it is advisable that you include some type of call to action in your emails.

You Can Accurately Measure Responses to Your Emails: One of the main reasons email marketing persists is that you can understand if it is working and why easily. You can check delivery rate, open rate and click-through rate, and other key metrics. This allows you to make any needed changes on the fly and jettison any aspect of the email that is not getting you responses.

The smart way to leverage email marketing is to do it continuously and consistently. It will take time because you must get through all of the clutter in your customer’s inbox but once you establish yourself, you will reap the rewards.

Utilize smart approaches to SEO and email marketing and it will have a positive impact m your small business’s bottom line.

Businesses have to be extra alert to the variety of ways hackers can break into sensitive online data. This is increasingly necessary since customer data protection is a prime factor in business reputation management and customer confidence.

According to available statistics, small businesses are targeted in 50% of all cyber-attacks. This could be as a result of inadequate security measures which are uncommon in big businesses.

So what can be done to help improve your cyber security and protect your online privacy? It is as simple as establishing strong security protocols and habits, and making sure that these measures are strictly adhered to by all personnel.

  1. Ensure that all employees make use of a strong password: every employee must make use of a complex password that would be very difficult to decipher. The passwords should be a combination of alphanumeric characters, with a mix of lower and upper case letters, and punctuation marks. They should be at least eight characters long and must not match any existing personal passwords. It is also important to change the passwords regularly. By having a strict password policy, your business will be more likely to evade an attack.
  2. Back-up all sensitive files: there are cases where malicious parties hack into online data and remove or lock up files so that they cannot be accessed until the business pays a ransom. This is what is known as ransomware attack. By keeping a secure offline backup of all files, ransoming can be rendered ineffective to a reasonable extent. Regular back-up of all files on a remote server or hard drives is one security discipline that must be observed. Some independent cloud organizations, such as Iomart, also offer innovative solutions and disaster recovery services.
  3. Invest in strong anti-malware software: malware is any piece of software that is written with the sole purpose of doing harm to data, devices, or establishments. There are various forms of malware which include Trojans, viruses, ransomware, and spyware. Some malware are designed to feed on sensitive data so as to defraud the business or its customers. Obtaining a reliable anti-malware is not something to take lightly. Cost does not matter here as trying to save costs would be a typical case of false economy. See to it that all external hard drives, systems, and USB devices are fully scanned.
  4. Staff training: Cyber-security is the responsibility of every staff member. For instance, phishing is a form of malware attack which any employee can fall victim to. Fake emails, text messages, or even phone calls from malicious agents that seem genuine can lead to the release of sensitive files, which can be used to hurt the business or its customers. It is therefore important to continuously train staff on cyber-security, especially those who have admin clearance and who handle sensitive data. Also keep in mind that not every member of the business team should be given full access to certain data. This would help to maintain accountability. Access to certain databases, software applications, etc. should be restricted to only those employees who are responsible for them.

Running a small business takes a lot of time and effort.

With that being the case, the last thing you have time for as a small business owner is identity theft.

Even one case of such theft against your company can set you back. For some small business owners, it can be tough to recover from.

That said are you doing all you can to keep your business safe from identity theft and other crimes?

Be on the Lookout for Potential Trouble

In doing all you can to avoid theft at your small business, keep in mind a few pointers:

1. Having protection – As you look to protect your business, what layers of protection do you have? If trying to avoid identity theft, a proven protection provider is always a good start. There are companies with protection plans that can lessen your odds of being the next I.D. theft victim. Whether you opt for LifeLock or another such company, do your research to see what they all have to offer. When it comes to physical protection such as a security system, check around to see what is available. Your security system should always be on when your office is empty. Too many owners think because they do not have cash around when the place is empty they are immune to break-ins. Remember, computers and other pieces of equipment in your office can be of great interest.

2. Hiring the right employees – Unless you run your small business on your own, you’re going to need the help of others. With that in mind, it is important for you to do your best in hiring the right people in the first place. Be sure to do the proper background checks on anyone you consider bringing aboard. Although there may be a worker who slips through the cracks, you should see stuff via a background check. For example, one with an arrest for forgery is not an individual you’d want handling your company’s finances.

3. Careful with online activities – Last, are you careful with your online activities? As an example, make sure you and any employees do not open email attachments from unknown sources. Many I.D. theft thieves work their way into a business by getting to the company’s computer network. If you or an employee opens an email with malware in it, that criminal can get access to your system. Also be careful not to announce anything on social media that could leave you vulnerable. An example of this would be telling the world your business is out for a week’s vacation. The chances of someone trying to break in go up when you put such a message out there. If you are closing the business for a week’s vacation, let local law enforcement know about this. In doing this, they can keep a little more attention on your office property while you are away. If friendly with other businesses in the neighborhood, alert them too.

Leaving your small business vulnerable to fraud and other crimes can be one of the worst mistakes you do.

That said do all you can to keep your small business safe from those with bad intentions.

Ideas of corporate travel and the role of corporate travel managers are changing and evolving. This doesn’t mean that corporate travel or the people who manage it are obsolete. What it does mean is that there is the unique opportunity, primarily through the use of technology, for corporate travel to be a key part of business strategy. Corporate travel should drive revenue, and there should be measurable objectives linked to it.

The following are some specific things to consider to create or maintain a strategic corporate travel program.

Expense Management

The cornerstone of a strong, modern travel program should be streamlined expense reporting. In the past, the idea of expense management and expense reporting was all about having travelers keep up with receipts and fill out long, tedious expense reports. Those expense reports frustrated employees and took their time away from other things. The risks of fraud and error were also problematic.

With expense reporting software and mobile tools, there are many opportunities to improve strategy. First, there is the ability to see where spending is happening and where it could be lowered without diminishing the employee experience. There are opportunities to determine a finite ROI that aren’t possible otherwise.

There is also improved compliance, and with expense reporting tools there is likely to be inherently lower costs associated with travel because of the elimination of fraud, waste, and error.

Use Data to Negotiate with Vendors

Some businesses mistakenly believe travel managers don’t have a pivotal role like they once did. This isn’t true. It’s just vital to shift that role. One of the most important roles a travel manager can play is to look at the data, see patterns and trends and then use that data to drive strategic decision-making.

One example of where this works is by negotiating with travel suppliers. The data can be used as leverage during negotiations.

Travel managers also play a role in compliance and enforcement, but more importantly than that, they can make sure their actual travel policies are strategic and keep up with modern traveler needs and preferences.

Identify Key Performance Indicators

KPIs are such a pivotal part of most other business decisions, but somehow they’re not integrated into corporate travel planning. It’s important to know what matters most within the travel program. What do you want employees to be working toward when their traveling?

How is the success of your strategy measured?

Choosing the Right Technology

Finally, technology isn’t something travel managers should shy away from. It is, however, something travel managers should be careful when selecting and implementing. Technology is one of the best ways to create a more strategic corporate travel program when applied correctly.

Assess what the current limitations are within your program, and look at technology solutions that could reduce those inefficiencies or issues. One example of technology that can completely shift a travel program is automated expense manage, but there are others as well.

Identify pain points, and then select the solutions that will alleviate those pain points while providing a demonstrable ROI.

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One of the advantages to living today is the myriad of freelancing jobs online that allow you to work from your laptop while you travel.

From freelance writing to eBook publishing to web design to programming to graphic design to affiliate marketing to virtual assistant work, there are very few limits to what you can do to earn money online these days.

Here are five tips for working freelance jobs while traveling the world:

1 – Make Sure Your Established Before You Travel

Since traveling is undeniably expensive, no matter how many money saving tips and hacks you use, you want to make sure that you are very well-established with whatever it is you’re doing before you embark on your traveling adventures. You should have ideally built a name and reputation for yourself, and have two or three steady clients going so you always have backup options should one drop out.

2 – Discipline Yourself

While traveling it’s very tempting to get out of your hotel room and explore the area, and indeed, you should. But still, you need to discipline yourself to get assignments completed, and that’s why you need to find the right balance between work and fun. The best way to do this is to schedule your days at least a week ahead of schedule.

3 – Consider Hiring Help

If your freelancing work or online business eventually grows to the point to where you can’t handle all of the work on your own, you can always hire another freelancer from somewhere in the world to handle at least a portion work for you as well. All you’ll really need to hire a freelancer is a thorough vetting process and an account with a money transfer service of some kind so you can easily convert between currencies to pay them.

4 – Always Have Internet Connection

This is huge for freelancing. Without a steady and reliable Wi-Fi connection, you can’t work or at least you can’t submit work, and it really is that simple. Even though restaurants, libraries, coffee shops, and hotels from around the world may claim to have Wi-Fi, you can’t always guarantee that it will be fast or reliable either. For this reason, consider bringing along your own portable Wi-Fi router.

5 – Don’t Get Too Caught Up In Work

Finally, while it is important to get plenty of work done while you travel, you also don’t want to focus solely on your work until things reach the point where you neglect the entire purpose of traveling in the first place. Traveling is a unique opportunity to explore the world and experience new cultures, and you don’t want to give up that opportunity when it’s right there in front of you. In other words, make sure you get out of your hotel room on a regular basis.

Working Freelance Jobs While Traveling

If you love the idea of where you can work remotely while exploring and traveling across the globe, the five tips covered in this article will help you turn that idea into a reality.

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The World Cup is back and in just a few days the biggest football competition in the world will be kicking off in Russia to find out who is the very best team on the planet. Today we are going to look beyond the football and scratch beneath the surface of how businesses in just about every country in the world, are able to use this competition to boost their profits.

The World Cup provides a unique opportunity for money making, and here are the nuts and bolts behind how it is done.

Frenzy

The first step to making money off the back of a World Cup is simply to embrace it, this is a marketing opportunity which needs little input from your own business. Any fans of football are already whipped up into a frenzy over the competition which makes them far more inclined to spend money on football related gear. As a business you can use this free marketing, to sell products and services which can be coupled with the spectacle.

Merchandise

Selling World Cup merchandise is a greta way to make money during this tournament, be it official or unofficial equipment. Over recent months and the coming weeks, national pride takes over and consumers are more than happy to invest in clothing, flags, trinkets and just about any other type of memorabilia which has their teams colors emblazoned across them. As an indication of how much money can be made, during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, over 3,000 vuvuzelas were sold in England alone.

Events

One thing that is for sure is that when the football starts, everybody stops what they are doing and switches their gaze to the nearest television. What this means for anyone who runs a bar, a restaurant or an events location, is an opportunity to make big cash on match day. In order to do this you have to have the perfect set up, tag on drinks and food promotions and most importantly, get the word out there that your place is the best to watch the action.

Offers

Many companies will make huge money and gain a great amount of new clients by offering unique World Cup experiences. For the small investment of some tickets for the finals themselves and a plane ticket or two, you can then open up a competition which consumers will automatically enter upon being a certain product, with the chance to see the action live. Many businesses will do this on items such as televisions and speakers, offering the perfect medium to watch the finals, as well as having a chance to actually go should someone win. Imagine if a company invests $5,000 on tickets and plane travel, and as a result sells 10 televisions at $1,000 each, a license to print money!

Worldwide events such as the World Cup provide a wonderful opportunity for many businesses to cash on the hype that surrounds the tournament, as well as being able to boost their company’s reputation.