Best Practices for Outsourcing Data Services

A lot of businesses today use cloud-computing in one way or another. Cloud-based services became widely popular over the years and companies of all sizes make use of them. Allowing a third-party vendor or a service provider to handle your business needs turned out to be cost-effective, beneficial for business scaling and, of course, convenient.

One of the most popular cloud-based services is data services, commonly known as DaaS (Data as a Service). But what does that mean? Simply put, data services are also web services designed to handle programming and logic for data virtualization in a cloud infrastructure. 

In other words, data can be delivered anywhere from a centralized spot or various locations, thus allowing companies to leverage data to its fullest potential in any situation. However, outsourcing these activities is the tricky part. Finding a reliable outsourcing partner is the first priority and sorting out any concerns is vital. With that in mind, here are a few best practices for outsourcing data services. 

Determine your needs

For some time now, many companies believed that only large enterprises could afford to outsource data services and other business operations. However, over the years, outsourcing became much more accessible and affordable. 

Therefore, the question isn’t about whether you can or can’t outsource but about why you should outsource. That said, you must determine your needs and the reasons for outsourcing before you actually commit to it. 

When outsourcing data services, take into consideration the fact that data is stored in the cloud and made available to anyone within the company on-demand. 

Data can be provided to users as information that goes through various tools, applications and analytics. Therefore, if your business need is to scale properly and grow, your main reason to outsource data services would be more informed and data-driven decisions this type of service can provide.  

Choosing the right outsourcing partner

There are many cloud-based data service providers nowadays. You have to find an outsourcing partner that will meet your business needs. That doesn’t have to be difficult if you commit time and effort to conduct some research, beforehand. For example, here are a few things you should focus on when choosing an outsourcing partner:

  • Look for a partner with experience and expertise to match your needs.
  • Check for any online reviews regarding their services.
  • Check if they use the latest technologies and solutions.
  • Make sure they follow the best practices.
  • Ensure that they’re transparent.
  • Check how they communicate with clients.
  • Determine how they secure data and if they’re compliant with regulatory requirements.

Consider the benefits and advantages

Not all providers are the same, even if it seems that they all offer similar services. Looking for unique advantages and benefits is vital when choosing an outsourcing partner. Everyone has a unique sell and it’s up to you to determine which of those unique offers will provide your business with the right advantage. 

For example, an enterprise cloud computing solution allows you to migrate vital business applications to the cloud while allowing you to leverage improved cloud architecture with enhanced security protection. 

This type of service provides more benefits than simple data services. Moreover, considering other advantages that will benefit your business in some way is also important. Here are a few things you should keep an eye out for: 

  • Support for remote work – Delivering information via data services means data access on any device regardless of the geographical location.
  • Data backups – Ensuring there’s no data loss in case of a server failure, disaster or other issues.
  • Ability to boost organizational transformation – Supports companies in the process of digital transformation.

Addressing concerns

Your outsourcing partner should be able to address any concerns you might have regarding outsourcing data services. Every company is concerned about something, especially when it comes to allowing a third-party to access, store and manage your data. 

Therefore, talk to a potential outsourcing partner about those concerns before you decide to partner up with them. How they approach those issues should tell you a lot about their capabilities. Here are a few common concerns companies have when outsourcing data services:

  • The security of data and usability of services
  • Hardware resources and server environment
  • Control of data and data retention in case of a disaster
  • Server downtimes
  • Reusability of data for future development
  • Hidden costs and additional fees

Every cloud-based service provider should have policies and practices that will address such concerns. After all, outsourcing relationships should be based on trust. If your potential outsourcing partner cannot ensure that they can meet your expectations, you should look elsewhere. 

 

Choosing an outsourcing partner isn’t difficult but it’s a time-consuming task. If you don’t conduct the necessary research, you may make a mistake. Therefore, an outsourcing partner for data services isn’t just a service provider but, indeed, a partner that will help your business grow, develop further and make the best possible use of data.

Interested in working in the IT industry? Tips to get you started

With so many people transitioning into the IT industry, it’s only logical that you’re thinking about following in their footsteps. There are many reasons why you should consider this idea. To begin with, there is an increasing demand for professionals in this field (and the trend is very likely to continue), the salary is decent (to say the least), it won’t take you long to acquire the skills required for working in the IT industry and you will have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world for employers who could be thousands of miles away. So, if you’re stuck in the rut or simply want to make a change, take a look at the following tips designed to help you start a career in the IT industry.

Apply your knowledge

Regardless of what kind of job-related experience you may have, there are some skills and knowledge you can apply when it comes to working in the IT sector. For example, you’ve already developed certain soft skills at your previous job and those might be extremely useful as you try to make a transition. Especially if you start in a help desk position (which is one of the most common entry-level IT roles). You’ll have to communicate and deal with customers and their enquiries. Also, if you’ve already used Microsoft Office or similar software packages, you’ll see that it will come in handy as you learn the ropes. Just make sure you point such things out in your CV.

Get certified

If you’ve already spent years studying and now you realise your job opportunities are limited, you shouldn’t despair. A career change and transition into the IT industry doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend several years more at college. Luckily, you can get relevant knowledge and certification in a matter of weeks or months if you choose the right institution. Find a reputable institution that offers courses relevant to you. For instance, many people Down Under are now working towards getting online diplomas in Australia, hoping that their investment will be paid back quickly and generously. Chances are, they are right. Prospective employers appreciate candidates who have invested time, money and effort into learning something that is useful for the job they’re applying for. Last but not least, certifications offer a much wider choice of jobs in the industry.

Your degree might be relevant

Don’t reject your diploma too quickly. The IT industry is growing rapidly and looking for individuals from various backgrounds because of their unique perspectives. Even a psychology major can use something they learnt during their studies, such as a deep understanding of interpersonal interaction, to offer fresh insight when it comes to approaching challenges. So, use what you know and what you’ve done to help you make this transition more smoothly.

Be ready to start from the bottom

Patience is the key when you start a career in IT. No matter what position you held before you made the transition, you’ll probably end up at a lower level position and have to roll up your sleeves to work your way up. This is normal and logical, but you have to be ready for the challenge. As you progress up the career ladder, you’ll notice how the number of options is rising, along with your salary. All this comes as a result of your effort, as well as the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired along the way. So, be ready to work hard.

Networking

You are probably aware of the importance of knowing people who can help you. Just like in private life, we often rely on others to provide assistance when it comes to finding a job. You could explore this option and ask people you know to put in a good word for you. However, for that to happen, you need to know those people and they need to believe that you’re worthy of their recommendation. That’s why having a network of friends, colleagues and business partners is vital when looking for a new job. You can even post on social media that you’re trying to find a job in the IT industry and ask your friends for help. They might not be able to help directly, but they may know someone who can. The wider the network, the better your chances of starting a career in IT.

Self-help

No-one can help you more than you can help yourself. Just like so many people use modern technology on a daily basis without any formal training, you can turn to YouTube tutorials, free online courses and other sources of information that allow you to learn the basics of your future job. Feel free to try and experiment. Expect to make a few mistakes along the way, but don’t give up easily.

The IT industry is now open to people with more diverse background that ever, which is a great advantage for someone looking to transition. Still, you should be ready to roll up your sleeves and work hard, be patient, learn and hone your skills. That’s the only way to make progress in your career and the IT industry is certainly one of the environments where professional growth and development are always appreciated and rewarded.

 

How Chatbots Can Help You Increase Conversion

Chatbots have evolved impressively thanks to the rise of artificial intelligence. Many brands have recognized the potential of these sophisticated tools and now use them to provide seamless user experiences. Studies predict that 85% of customer interactions with brands will be handled without a human agent by 2020. 

From immediate feedback to humanizing brand presence, chatbots can improve your conversion rates on multiple levels. Here is what to know.

Providing Excellent Customer Support

With the advent of mobile technologies, social networks, and natural language processing, online customers’ expectations have also grown. Being held on hold while trying to connect with a customer support representative is not an option for them anymore. They want brands to provide exceptional customer service 24/7, across multiple online channels. Research says that most customers want brands to address their problems and questions within 24 hours.

This is exactly where chatbots shine. They are available to your prospective customers 24/7, providing them with real-time assistance. Chatbots will ask customers relevant questions to learn more about their needs and problems and provide clear, accurate, and helpful feedback. Precisely because of that, online users often consider them a faster, more convenient, and real-time resolution to their minor problems.

Another great benefit of chatbots lies in the fact that they streamline your customer support assistants’ jobs. By automating many repetitive tasks, they help them focus on more challenging tasks and, therefore, boost customer satisfaction.

Simplifying the Customer Journey

Statistics say that one of the most common reasons why people ditch shopping carts is a too complicated checkout process, as well as the fact that they need to create new accounts. They often need to fill out a lengthy form and then verify their email address before finalizing the purchase. This is a tedious process that may frustrate your target customers and prevent them from buying from you. 

One of the easiest ways to optimize your checkout process is to use chatbots on your website. Use them to simplify buyers’ journeys and provide customers with guided task completion. One such example is Ebay’s ShopBot. It asks customers numerous questions, such as what brands or product features they are looking for. The bot interactively guides users, encouraging them to complete the purchase. Another amazing example of using chatbots to improve sales and user experiences is Lyft that lets users request a ride via their Messenger bot, Slack bot, or Amazon Echo. The bot provides data about their driver’s location and sends the photo of the license plate and the car model to ensure a client’s security.

Evoking FOMO

In today’s oversaturated digital marketing landscape, when your prospective customers are bombarded with different brands and products, getting yourself noticed can be extremely challenging. To engage users and entice them to convert faster, many brands focus on triggering customers’ fear of missing out, or FOMO. For example, they offer time-sensitive deals, exit-intent popups, exclusive offers for VIP customers, etc. Many SaaS brands rely on social proof tools like Cue that displays real-time notifications about new webpage visits or product purchases. 

Combining your most powerful CRO tools with chatbots can also be highly effective. For example, you could use bots to inform users about your brand’s latest news or trends. Chatbots help you promote exclusive content to generate leads and time-sensitive offers to inspire impulse purchases. 

Providing Personalized User Experiences

Research says that 63% of online users don’t know that they’re talking to a bot. While your goal shouldn’t be to deceive your prospective customers, it is still good to know that chatbots can provide reliable user experiences and humanize your brand. 

This is exactly where you need to hire reliable content creators. Their task is to create an engaging chatbot script that reflects your brand’s personality and values. Your goal is to keep users’ conversations with your chatbot more natural and consistent. To humanize your chatbot, consider giving it a human name, such as Ross, Siri, Cortana, or Alexa. 

Apart from using chatbots to make customer conversations more relaxed, you could also provide more personalized product recommendations. For example, Sephora’s bot asks users about their needs and preferences and, based on them, recommends the right products. A user can even upload a photo and try out different makeup products.

Collecting Feedback from Users

Online businesses are continuously trying to understand their customers. They use numerous techniques for collecting customer feedback, such as surveys, online reviews, social media polls, quizzes, website analytics, heatmaps, and so forth. 

This is exactly where chatbots can help. For example, if a user is leaving their shopping cart, a chatbot could ask them why they are leaving. It could offer several options for users to choose from, such as “not interested,” “the price is too high,” or “I want to explore other options.” Or, you could create a one-question survey in your chat to assess users’ satisfaction with your website, products, or brand. 

This sort of feedback is immensely important to any marketer wanting to improve their conversion rates. By gathering honest feedback directly from your customers, you will be able to identify the most common user experience issues and resolve them fast to improve conversions. In the abovementioned scenarios, a chatbot can even help you save the sale. For example, if it finds that the product is too expensive for a customer, it could recommend more relevant products that suit their budget.

Over to You

With the rise of artificial intelligence, chatbots have become an inseparable aspect of your conversion rate optimization strategy. They give you the opportunity to simplify buyers’ journeys, provide personalized product recommendations, and evoke their emotions. Above all, you can collect customer feedback easier and use it to improve user experiences and sales.

 

How do you use chatbots to improve conversions?

Client Communication: How to Do It Right

Communication, they say, is the basis for any healthy relationship. Much like in romantic bonds, family relations, and our friendships, transparency and honesty are necessary for all parties involved to feel appreciated and to know each other’s expectations. It’s not much different with professional bonds, isn’t it? The clients that give you the most trouble are the ones that send you lengthy emails with zero useful feedback, the ones that bombard you with information you cannot use, and the ones that don’t know what they want. 

Whether you’re working as a solo freelancer or you’re a part of a larger agency, if your role involves any amount of client interaction, you know that misunderstandings can cause more headaches than any amount of actual work ever could. Implementing certain rules, sticking to specific habits in client communication, and setting boundaries are all very important ways in which you can ease those headaches and make sure that your collaborations are more effective.

Define the process

Some companies and freelancers still assume that every single one of their clients has the same idea of the services they provide. For example, the field of digital marketing is a vast one indeed, and if you haven’t specified which particular areas your expertise covers, you can expect your clients to either come to you with a slew of questions, or to assume that you do exactly what they need and want. In both situations, you’re already in a mess. 

First of all, make sure that every touchpoint of your communication entails clear information. Your website, for starters, should have a clear page explaining your services in full. When someone reaches out to you, before the collaboration even begins, you should make sure that they know exactly what you can do for them, and what your business doesn’t cover. That way, you’ll prevent many misunderstandings and you’ll be able to qualify client leads more efficiently than ever. This can be done by using proposal software that will allow you access to a variety of client proposals.

Establish boundaries

We’ve all been there: a client sends you emails in the middle of the night, with no regard for your personal time off, expecting you to reply as soon as yesterday, and constantly in need of changes and alterations to your original service. Some clients are needy, others are borderline certifiable, but sometimes you cannot assess if they are a good match for your business until very late in the collaboration. 

In any scenario, setting those boundaries early on can help you manage those complicated relationships better. For starters, you can emphasize your work hours and when you’re available for communication via chat, phone, or email, and how long it typically takes you to respond. You should also let your clients know that when they need changes to your provided service or product, you have a process to stick to, and explain how long it takes. All of these details could be beneficial for letting your clients know how to get the information they want without disrupting your workflow. 

Embrace discovery

Especially when you’re in a creative industry, delivering something that will be in line with your clients’ expectations and needs can be tricky. Creative work is very individual, although based on expertise, and if you’re running a web design agency, for instance, you can often go through several stages of back-and-forth communication before you actually complete the work at hand, by no one’s fault in particular. Those interactions can still take away a chunk of your valuable time, and preventing that can be beneficial for you and your clients.

You can create and send out a customized web design client questionnaire as a part of your discovery process in an attempt to cover all of your bases and prevent all those changes early on. Of course, it’s always possible for your client to send the design back for tweaks, but you can at the very least prevent major, time-consuming changes that can affect your productivity. This is especially handy if your customers aren’t familiar with the industry and wouldn’t know what kind of details you need to begin with, so some guidance is essential.

Ask for feedback to improve 

Some clients like in-person meetings, some love Skype, while others enjoy the email correspondence that comes with clarity and transparency. In any scenario, you might not be perfectly compatible in terms of those preferences with each and every client, but you can find ways to accommodate their needs without disrupting your own process. A great way to avoid conflicts would be to ask your clients for feedback regarding your performance but also your communication and availability. 

Insights collected in that way could be helpful in defining your future relationships and in redefining expectations in your existing collaborations. In a similar manner, you should feel free to provide your own comments and feedback if you feel that your client should give you more space or that they aren’t available enough to the detriment of the project, causing missed deadlines and the like. Transparency in the form of regular feedback is a healthy way to let your client relationships blossom over time.

 

Although it takes time to evolve as a freelancer or even as a part of a team within an agency, you can certainly find ways to improve how you interact with clients. Take these tips into consideration, and you’ll be able to ensure long-lasting bonds and more satisfied clients down the line.

How to Make the Most out of Business Conference

Business conferences are still events which provide excellent opportunities for professional development, establishing contacts and growing your business, but only if you know what to do and how to do it. Not only can you learn a lot, but you have so many chances to meet people from the industry who might become your clients or who can recommend you to others. However, you shouldn’t leave anything to luck, but prepare well for each and every conference you attend. Here are just some of the most important things you should do before, during and after a conference, which should help you make the most out of it.

Set your goals

There must be some very good reasons why you’ve decided to attend a particular conference. Think about them and consider what you’d like to gain from the experience. You may wish to introduce your company to a wider audience or improve brand perception, for instance, which is why you need to go to the conference with a list of goals you’d like to achieve during the event. Don’t forget your goals and work towards reaching them.

Manage your time carefully

Just like you plan your vacation, you need to do the same when it comes to attending conferences. Every conference organiser issues the conference itinerary ahead of time and in most cases you have both a print and electronic version. Look carefully at the sessions you are most interested and make sure you allow yourself enough time to move from one venue to another. You need to plan all that before the conference in order to avoid confusion once you get there.

Get your materials ready

You need to represent your company in the best possible way. Everyone will base their opinion of your brand based on the impression you leave. So, make sure you have enough business cards and all other advertising material ready. If you need great product catalogues and brochures, turn to professionals who do great print advertising material.

Prepare questions

If there is an interesting talk you’d like to hear or a chance to meet someone you can really learn from, make sure you brainstorm the questions you’d like to ask them. This is also a chance for you to voice a question on behalf of your team, as well. So, ask them what they’d like to hear and add their questions to your list.

Get into right mindset

Some conference attendees shy away from the opportunity to create new connections because networking makes them inauthentic. Those people can never really benefit from such events unless they change their mindset. You’re not establishing connections because that is what you should do, but because it’s great for your career and future success. A conference should not be seen as an obligation, but rather as an opportunity to expend and diversify your network and acquire new knowledge.

Hunt for information

It’s vital to speak with as many people as possible at a conference. You might hear more about the topics that interest you or get inspired by some new ideas and concepts. In order to do this, you should try to attend as many sessions as you can, even if a topic doesn’t seem directly related to what you do. You never know when you might learn something, especially when it comes from a different angle. Needless to say, if an opportunity arises to talk to one of the keynote speakers, grab it. Ask them all the questions you’ve prepared or discuss a point they made during their presentation.

Build your network

A lot has already been said about the importance of networking. It’s probably the most beneficial aspect of every conference. That’s why you should not shy away from introducing yourself to new people, even if you are introverted in nature. All successful businesspeople believe meeting face-to-face is crucial for nurturing and maintaining long-term professional relationships.

Follow up

One of the things many people fail to do is follow up on the groundwork they did at a conference. If there is a logical and natural opportunity for you to get in touch with someone you met at the conference, use it. However, be careful not to come off as overbearing or desperate for a business connection. You should start a professional, yet friendly conversation and turn that into a connection that will last. Pay attention to what they say and don’t be aggressive in your approach.

Naturally, these are just some of the most important and basic tips you should follow regarding your presence at a business conference. As the number of conferences you have attended rises, you’ll surely come up with some additional ones, which might actually help you gain advantage over your competitors. Business conferences are still very important because they provide so many benefits. It’s only up to those attending them to make the most of their time there, which includes careful preparation, proactive behaviour and following up. Only then can you say you’ve truly reaped all the benefits. 

The Relevance of Talent Management and How to Develop Your TM System

Most businesses treat their hiring efforts separately from their accounting, not to mention their overall organization and goal-setting. Strategizing your entire business should include this one element that can boost your employee retention rates and help you build a more stable reputation in the role of an employer. Talent management is a strategy that encompasses everything from taking care of your employees’ perks and benefits, their compensation, workload, hierarchy, all the way to training, collaboration, and feedback. It aims to help your business find, hire, and retain talented individuals in line with your culture and values, people who will be your brand ambassadors. 

To develop such a system, you need to apply your strategic mindset and reform your HR practices from the ground up. The importance of this single system within your business cannot be underestimated, since you cannot afford losing valuable human assets over missed opportunities or misunderstandings in the workplace. Here are a few solutions to keep in mind for your talent management system, and how you can develop it more effectively for your brand to grow.

Form a feedback cycle 

Hiring and retaining employees is certainly not all about money. More than ever, employees cherish their freedom to express their opinions, to work with leaders that have a cause at heart, and to grow under your roof, not just continue earning their salary one month at a time. To truly empower business-wide transparency, you should build a feedback cycle that enables and encourages all of your staff to share their thoughts, criticism, suggestions, and ideas. 

Add to that, you should feel free to provide guidance, praise, and constructive criticism within that very same loop, and ensure equality in this exchange, so that all of your talented employees can get the chance to improve – yourself included. 

Start building your employer presence

Talent management starts with allowing your business to behave like a multifaceted creature that it is – not just aimed at customers, but at your employees, too. Your capacity as an employer greatly impacts the brand development process. To truly allow your business to attract the right talent and keep them happy, you should focus on employer branding as one key aspect of your talent management strategy and overarching brand development, too. 

Create the image you want to portray among your employees, and make sure that your employer brand genuinely embodies all those key values you want to see in the people that work within your business. To properly manage your talent, you should be prepared to position yourself not just as a customer-centric entity, but one strongly devoted to its employees. Send a consistent message over all social platforms, your website, and all other job platforms where you go talent-hunting. Your employer brand will do the rest.

Define your goals clearly

Unlike managing financial assets, tools, or anything abstract, you need to treat talent management as a process that is firmly focused on people in your business. That is why you need to rethink how you define goals that drive your talent management strategy. For starters, instead of sticking to numbers and statistics only, you should also think in people: who of your employees is best for which business task? How many people would you need to handle a new client? Do you have a risk mitigation strategy based on your employees’ skills and strengths?

Above all, this is not something you decide behind closed doors, or with a handful of managers who barely ever see your employees in action. The TM strategy only works if you create it with your employees present and suggesting ideas that make sense to them. While you’re defining your TM strategy goals, make sure to think about preventing issues among your teams, too. That’s yet another part of your strategy that matters to your employees and your management team, too.

Make smart investments in employees

One segment of every strategy that most business leaders fear the most is the budget. Alas, too many neglect to address that particular segment of their talent management strategy, which is a mistake you shouldn’t make. Why? Because selecting optimal funds for your TM strategy will help you allocate your budget towards employee training, advertising available job posts, employee bonuses, and setting up team-building workshops. 

Your employees should mean more than their salaries. That means that even if they’re happy with the number of zeros on the check, you should always focus on what else you can provide that will ultimately inspire them to stay loyal to your business and bring more clients your way. Plus, when you educate and train your staff, you’ll be able to help them climb the ladder and assume positions that will give them more challenges and help them grow. Today, every single employee craves such an approach over that old-fashioned stagnant career path with no room for improvement. 

 

Nurturing your employees and your candidates, and allowing them to be your brand advocates is one of the best strategies that can transform your business. It’s up to you to define your TM strategy from the beginning and implement it mindfully so that each hire you make and each time you let someone go, you do so in the service of your business and your culture. Keep these handy tips in mind to refine your TM strategy for upcoming years of success. 

Ways Brands Can Achieve Successful Personalization

In a competitive industry, it’s vital that you find a way to set yourself apart. The first method that will help you do so is to increase your marketing spending. The rule of thumb is that you should take about 10 percent of your average annual profit and dedicate it to your marketing. If the industry is particularly competitive, however, it’s probably smarter to go for anywhere between 20 and 50 percent instead. Another thing you can do is personalize your business. This method is quite effective, even though it’s far from simple. Here are several ways in which brands can achieve successful personalization. 

Brand awareness

A lot of people make a distinction between brand recognition and brand awareness, however, not a lot of them keep in mind that brand awareness has different forms and levels, as well. You see, brand awareness means that your audience knows a thing or two about your products, still, it is your job to make this learning process as simple as possible. How? Well, by focusing on those features that really matter – features that go into the decision-making process of your audience. Is your product cheaper, of higher quality or more versatile than those of your competitors? This is one of the first things that your audience has to learn about it.

Encourage active dialogue

The only way to personalize your brand properly is to give your audience what they want. The only way to figure out what they want is to ask them or let them tell you on their own. So, encourage active dialogue with your audience. First of all, you should implement chatbots, seeing as how they are the optimal tool of customer service in the 21st century. Second, start reading comments and monitoring brand mentions online. Get engaged in this discourse but avoid online arguments at all costs.

Experiment with formats

In order to get really close to your audience, you need to start using all the content formats that you can come up with. Why? Well, because the majority of marketers get lazy and opt for either text-based or video marketing. First of all, you might want to consider a podcast and infographics for your digital marketing. Second, you need to start thinking outside-of-the-box. What we’re mostly focusing on is offline marketing. Agencies like PostcardMania specialize in postcard advertising, which is one of the simplest ways to personalize the approach to your audience.

Focus on the product

Another thing you need to do is focus on the product. A lot of brands make a mistake believing that the most important brand feature is the logo or the company colors. The truth is that the product itself needs to be something that makes people come back. Take, for instance, Coca-Cola, their colors, logo and packages are recognizable all over the world. These visual traits are not the reason for people to buy Coca-Cola’s product. Their unique beverage is the key ingredient in this branding strategy.

Play on the nostalgia card

Previously, we’ve talked about Coca-Cola’s approach to branding and there’s one more example that you could learn on – playing on the nostalgia card. For years and years now, Coca-Cola has a unique and impactful Christmas strategy. This is particularly effective in their case, seeing as how Santa Claus shares their brand colors – red and white. Therefore, the Coca-Cola has all but become the official beverage of Christmas. Even if your product is not as old or impactful on the market, you can still associate it with something more familiar. We’re talking about an era, a holiday or a particular activity. 

Employ storytelling techniques

The next thing you need to understand is the fact that there are various storytelling techniques that could make your content more immersive. For instance, when writing about your business, it’s important not to portray the brand or even your staff as protagonists. A business, any business, is merely an agent. The role of the protagonist always goes to the average buyer. This everyman is a person that your audience will have an easier time identifying with, which makes your job of reaching out to them a lot simpler.

Stand for a cause

In the end, you could try to offer your audience something beyond the product itself. You see, you’re not actually selling a product but an idea. This idea is something that your audience can stand behind. So, take up a cause. First, it’s important that it’s something that your audience cares about. Second, it’s vital that it’s something that you care about, seeing as how genuine engagement is something that you just can’t fake. Also, this will humanize your business, thus showing your audience that it’s more than mere profit-generating machinery that they initially saw it as.

Conclusion

The very last thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that there are so many factors to take into consideration. This ranges from the nature of your audience, the characteristics of their demographic, the nature of the industry and many other issues. Therefore, you can use the above-listed as guidelines and turn their implementation into a successful branding strategy. As the end result, you’ll bring your brand closer to your audience than ever before.

Project Management Trends in 2020

The field of project management is just as dynamic as the business world because there are many factors influencing it. We have all noticed the great technological, environmental, societal, and economic changes that have been taking place in the last, it is safe to say, decade and they have influenced many segments within companies.

With 2020 slowly unwinding, as a business owner, you already need to be looking into the trends that will dominate this year. Since a proactive approach is always the best, here are the most prominent trends in the field of project management for the year 2020. 

Remote team management

Business owners have recognized the benefits of hiring remote employees some time ago and one of the initial motivators was the opportunity to expand their talent pool. There are numerous talented and hard-working people out there waiting for an opportunity to work, develop their skills, and transfer their knowledge and this is a power most entrepreneurs won’t miss to leverage in 2020.

The only concern regarding remote teams was that the collaboration would not be up to par. This is only natural because any issues in communication can affect the result. To resolve this concern, managing remote employees became the main goal of many efforts and it has provided many businesses with experts at a fraction of the price. The success of a project that involves remote teams depends on the proper management and this year you should invest in quality communication platforms. 

The question of cybersecurity

Considering the fact that many businesses are going paperless, most of the business data is fed into computers and cloud services and this means cybersecurity has an essential role in any project. Technology has provided us with tools to achieve better results quicker but the other side of the coin is that we now need to dedicate some of our efforts to tending to the cybersecurity of the project.

Increasing data security needs to start with educating your employees about phishing and other forms of scams and warning them not to open suspicious emails or click on odd links. Also, discourage employees from plugging in any devices into their computers and this also applies to charging their phones. Without proper education of your employees, any safety measures technology-wise will not make any difference when it comes to the security of your project.

Leveraging the visual 

The elements your project needs to leverage in 2020 are the Kanban boards. ‘Kanban’ is a Japanese word for ‘billboard’ and the Kanban principle is to create ‘to-do’, ‘doing’, and ‘done’ segments which help oversee the progress of the project and help with organizing your team. This principle is the basis of several project management tools but while comparing Trello vs Taskworld, don’t forget to consider which features are additional and need to be paid for and which are innately included. 

Perhaps you have the same task across multiple projects or you wish to enable reminders, so make certain such features exist in your tool of choice. Keep in mind that you may benefit from reading user comments or consulting with those that use such project management tools to be able to assess which features you may need. 

Play on emotions

One of the most interesting factors among the 2020 project management trends is emotional intelligence. It may sound strange to mention emotions when discussing projects, but emotions do play a role there. Just think about it, in the corporate world in which you have different tools for anything that you need, the element that you need to pay attention the most are the people.

With different cultures within one team or among all teams working on a project, it is essential to be mindful of mutual differences and to respect them. Instead of dealing with issues when they arise, you need to prevent them and in case they do happen, you should be prepared to resolve them on the spot. This step is necessary because trust and respect are the pillars of any project’s success. 

Analytics is the key

Numbers are vital for project management because they hold the key to the results. Monitoring the results is what allows project managers to react quickly and stop a problem from emerging which makes analytics an invaluable segment of project management. 

The future of project management analytic tools lies in the cloud because that will allow for real-time data collection. Therefore, managers will be able to react in a timely fashion and make the whole process more transparent and efficient. This also means a smarter distribution of resources such as time, work power, and money, whose saving is always a plus for the company. 

Wrapping up

Regardless of the industry, your business needs to run smoothly this year (and any year for that matter!). Hiring remote employees is one of the factors that influence project management trends and this factor is on the rise. In addition to that, the question of cybersecurity is increasing in importance together with the steady development of technology. 

Other factors such as emotional intelligence that is closely-knit with diversified teams, visual aids refinement, and real-time analytics also have an impact on this year’s trends. Now that you have an idea about what 2020 brings, it is time to assess what your business can benefit most from. 

5 Tips to Provide Better Omni-channel Sales to Your Customers

Nowadays, customers are all about convenience. For businesses of all sizes, and especially small and medium ventures trying to establish a foothold in the competitive market, one of the major obstacles is to provide a seamless purchasing experience for their customers across all relevant platforms. This is because managing sales on numerous fronts can be a cumbersome task, yet the modern customer still demands of their brands to allow them to stay in control of their purchasing habits and preferences.

This is why companies around the world and in all industries are starting to branch out their sales strategies and are incorporating numerous lucrative channels into their operations to appeal to the digital demographic, and boost sales on those platforms that 21st-century customers are using. So today, let’s go over the five tips to help you provide better omni-channel sales to your customers to drive customer acquisition and retention.

Focus on mobile commerce

We live in a mobile world, and it should come as no surprise that customers across the globe are increasingly consuming online content and making their purchasing decisions via mobile devices, especially their smartphones that accompany them on every occasion. Unfortunately, though, the majority of businesses are yet to realize the true power and potential of mobile optimization, as 90% of customers are still unsatisfied with the level of mobile service they provide. So, if you haven’t optimized your processes for handheld devices, now’s the time.

Not only should you optimize your entire website for all screen sizes and ensure a seamless browsing experiences on all mobile devices, but you should also optimize your check-out and sales processes to make it easier for your customers to buy using their smartphones. Remember, M-commerce is on the rise, so be sure to capitalize on this trend while it’s still in its infancy.

Use direct messaging to your advantage

Nowadays, customers want to talk to their favorite brands directly, preferably without wasting any time. Sure, email is still a powerful sales and communication tool you should use in your strategy, but it’s also important to provide your customers with a way to communicate with your representatives in real time, in order to answer their questions, resolve any unique problems that might be holding them back, and inspire them to complete their purchase. Aside from having a live chat function, direct messaging is the only way to achieve this goal.

It’s also important that you leverage all forms of direct messaging, ranging from messaging platforms on popular social media networks, all the way to the good old SMS function, which by the way has a high chance of incentivizing engagement. Combining all of the available messaging platforms and allowing your customers to make a purchase over text is a powerful way to drive sales and deliver a better overall experience. 

Manage sales orders from multiple channels

One of the biggest problems companies of all sizes face nowadays is the problem of importing sales orders from multiple channels. If done correctly, it can boost sales across the board, but if not implemented properly, it will cost you time and money, and it might even hinder logistics and inventory management. All of this can have a negative impact on the sales experience, and your brand experience as a whole. This is why you need to manage your entire sales operation form a centralized cloud platform.

In some of the most complex industries in the world such as manufacturing, companies are integrating comprehensive manufacturing software that provide business owners with hundreds of useful features that cover a range of processes, including sales, in order to make cross-channel order importing manageable and reliable for all parties. In turn, this type of cloud-based software provides reliability and scalability, and allows business owners to stay in control of complementary processes such as logistics and inventory.

Offer live chat and quick automated solutions

Another powerful way you can improve sales is to offer live chat services to your customers, but also to integrate some AI-driven solutions that will tackle menial and repetitive tasks. For the former, consider introducing voice calls, phone communication, and voice communication over social media. For the latter, be sure to integrate chatbot technology that will be able to communicate with your customers instantaneously and guide them towards a solution to their problems, but also incentivize them to make a purchase. 

Leverage the popularity of email

On a final note, keep in mind that while email communication is still one of the best digital marketing tactics you have at your disposal that drives engagement, it can also serve as an amazing sales tool if geared towards this purpose. Some companies choose to use emails to keep customers up-to-date with current events, or to simply notify them of new deals and discounts, but if you want to truly make email a sales-oriented tool, then you should let your customers know that they can make a purchase directly via the email platform.

Wrapping up

In the modern business world, sales is no longer a goal, it’s a journey and an experience – one that customers should be able to control and enjoy on their own terms. With that in mind, be sure to integrate these powerful solutions in order to create an omni-channel sales strategy and drive customer happiness through the roof.

Top 5 Destinations for Relocating from Hong Kong as an Investor

There is no denying the benefit of obtaining a second passport and residency rights in a country other than your own. From having the ability to leverage the passport to travel the world or enjoy the benefits a country has to offer to its citizens, all the way to obtaining a right to relocate your life and your career when you see fit, having a second passport is the best way to make it happen. This is something that property investors from Hong Kong are increasingly looking into in recent years, and especially in recent times during the unstable political trends taking place in the city-state.

While the Hong Kong real estate market remains an appealing prospect for new and seasoned investors, it’s important to start looking beyond its borders in search of more lucrative opportunities – ones that bring other benefits to the table such as permanent residency or even citizenship. Let’s take a look at the most promising destinations you can relocate to as a Hong Kong real estate investor.

Canada

Over the decades, the Canadian real estate market has remained steady and relatively unwavering in the face of new socio-economic trends, which makes the country and especially it’s biggest cities some of the best locations for overseas property investors. Not only does Canada enjoy a stable economy in its own right, but it also has numerous investment opportunities for those seeking to monetize rental homes as well as to flip properties for a profit.

This is because tourism in Canada is high on a year-round basis, but also because many people from around the world are relocating there and are looking to purchase homes of their own. That said, keep in mind that low-cost real estate in Canadian cities is virtually non-existent, so get ready for a cumbersome first investment.

Spain

Among the more affordable investment destinations in the world is Spain, a somewhat unstable economy that has left many amazing properties vacant and ripe for the picking by a skilled investor from overseas. But the best part about investing in Spain’s real estate market is that the local government allows investors to apply for a golden visa and gain permanent residency by buying property worth as little as 500,000 euros. While Spain is more expensive than Greece or Portugal in this regard, the country offers expedited golden visa applications and allows investors to obtain permanent residency much faster, making it easier to relocate in a hurry should the need arise.

Indonesia

Some investors might not be looking to relocate to a faraway destination, and are looking for lucrative real estate opportunities in countries that are closer to home. Luckily, the Southeast Asian market offers many prospects, of which Indonesia might be the most appealing one due to its year-round tourism and rapid urbanization.

That said, acquiring real estate as a foreigner might be tricky without experienced help, which is why Chinese investors are getting in touch with reputable firms such as Invest Islands to get the legal guidance necessary to obtain a property quickly, keep the law on their side, and relocate to this paradise country. The country’s proximity to Hong Kong makes it especially appealing to Chinese investors, as you will be able to stay close to your other assets and manage your portfolio with ease.

Portugal

Next to Spain, quite literally, Portugal is yet another European country that might be appealing to foreign investors because of its year-round tourism and the increasing urbanization of its coastal regions where people from around the world are vacationing in greater numbers. 

Add to that the fact that more and more people are looking for a home in these sunny and warm regions, and you have a promising destination with a long-term ROI potential. This real estate market is all about buying cheap properties and renovating them to appeal to the modern buyer, though, so it will take some time and hard work to monetize the investment. 

Turkey

Finally, the biggest city in Turkey, Istanbul, is currently one of the top investment hubs for foreign investors in the world, simply due to the recent political turmoil that has deterred many business leaders from investing. This is your opportunity to capitalize on a market where properties are extremely cheap, and the prices of labor and materials are low, which means that you will be able to flip a property with minimal financial waste and offer it to the millions of tourists pouring into the city on an annual basis.

Wrapping up

As property investors from Hong Kong are increasingly looking to diversify their portfolios into foreign markets, it’s important to find the destinations that not only offer favorable investment terms, but also provide other valuable benefits. Consider these countries for your growth strategy and invest in a destination where you can relocate with ease.