An Insight into the Top Challenges that Small Businesses Face

Operating a small business can be difficult because you don’t have the cash flow of a large company, but you have far more responsibility when compared to a freelancer. Being stuck in the middle can come with its challenges, and if you are not able to overcome these then you may find yourself being left in the dirt by your competition.

Cash Flow

Money problems can happen to anyone but if you are a small business then you will probably feel the effects more than a bigger company. You may have clients who stall payments, outgoings that you did not expect at all and even outstanding bills that have to be paid. There are some money management tools that you can use to try and get around issues such as these, and there are even applications that can help you to calculate VAT, automate your bill payments and even maintain your credit score. Online invoicing is also something that you need to be looking into, as it can be a great way for you to persuade those reluctant clients to part with their hard-earned cash.

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Tiredness

It may be tempting to try and do everything yourself. This is especially the case if you are a small business owner. Long hours can put you under even more pressure, and eventually you may end up making mistakes and not paying attention to clients as much as you should. As a business owner, it is so important that you pace yourself, and you also need to make sure that you embrace delegation. To begin with, work out the business elements that are outside your skillset and then pass them onto a specialist. This could include an accountant or even a legal expert. You will end up saving time, money and you won’t have to worry about making mistakes as much either.

Technology Issues

Think about it, if your system went down, where would that leave your business? You would probably end up having to shut for the day and your employees would have to be sent home. This is the last thing that you need, so it is imperative that you have backup IT solutions in place. You also need to have the number for an emergency computer repair service as well, so if something does happen, you will never experience too many delays.

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Retaining Customers

It’s so important that you are able to identify your unique selling point. You also need to know your customers on a personal level. If you don’t then you won’t be doing yourself any favours and you may even find it harder to retain customers who have purchased from you in the past. One way for you to get around this would be for you to utilise your own analytical data. You need to know the age of your customers, what they like and what they don’t. Social media is a fantastic way for you to do this, and it can make all the difference to your marketing campaign.

Is Technology The Key To Safer Roads?

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There have been some huge advancements in car safety equipment over the last few years. The sorts of tools you find in this field have been improving for a long time, and the introduction of small computers has had a massive impact on this part of life. Of course, though, even with technology as powerful as a driverless car, there can still be issues which make your time on the road unsafe. To give you an idea of what technology is doing to solve issues like this, this post will be exploring some of the options you can choose for your car, going over exactly what they can do to make you safer during day to day life.

Automatic Braking: While it has only been around for a few years, collision detection has become a standard feature on a lot of different cars. This sort of tool is designed to spot when a car might be heading towards an obstacle, applying the brakes once it thinks that you are getting too close, effectively making it impossible to crash at low speeds. Unlike other tools, this has been proven to save lives, especially when the sensors are able to pick up pedestrians which the driver hasn’t noticed.

Cameras: Over the last few years, it’s become increasingly common to find cars with cameras on their dashboards. A tool like this isn’t designed to be for creating content for sites like YouTube, though. Instead, by recording all of your commutes, you will have the perfect evidence if you ever need to use a lawyer. You can find out more about this at DolmanLaw.com today, giving you an idea of how powerful this sort of tool can be. Video is always the best evidence to have if you find yourself in a dispute.

GPS & Location: There has long been a dream amongst car safety experts which hasn’t been possible to achieve. With most of today’s cars being connected to GPS services, knowing the locations of vehicles is very easy. If each car were able to receive this information, it would make it possible to avoid all sorts of collisions, even if the drivers never know about it. Companies like BMW are hard at work trying to solve this problem for the future.

Diagnostics: Finally, as the last area to consider, it’s time to think about diagnostics, and what it can tell people far away about the state of your car. If you’ve been in an accident, it isn’t always easy to get in contact with the emergency services by yourself. With a tool like a blackbox, your insurance company can be made aware of the accident, prompting them to call for help, even if you unconscious for the whole ordeal.

Hopefully, this post will give you an idea of where technology is moving when it comes to keep you safe when you’re behind the wheel. There are loads of tools being developed in this field, and this means that roads are only going to be getting safer.

Digital Marketing In the Real World: A Primer

If digital marketing is east, and the real world is west, it may seem at first glance that never the twain shall meet. However, in the assumption, you would be quite wrong. In fact, a synergy of the two can be a hugely effective way of capturing your customers' attention and spreading the word about your brand. Read on for more information.

QR codes

One way that you can marry digital and real work marketing is to use QR codes in your campaigns and promotions. A QR or quick response code is a barcode that is expressed in two dimensions that can be scanned by a reader and direct a user directly to a webpage. Specialized readers are not necessary as this can be done via a process of mobile tagging where a smartphone camera can be used to read the code.

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Of course, this an excellent way of encouraging customer engagement, and the real strength of it is that it can be personalized for each client quickly, efficiently, and cheaply. What this means is that you can not only get them to visit a specific page but also add content and a welcome that is specifically targeted to them. Something that can be a very effective marketing technique and that you can go to www.smartinsights.com to read more about.

Digital displays and signage

Next, when it comes to digital marketing we tend to think of it as a way of getting users to visit our sites. However, it can also be embedded effectively in a real word environment too.

One way of doing this is by using digital signage and displays in brick and mortar shops and businesses. This being a method that can be far more dynamic than traditional print media signage.

To that end, many businesses invest in digital screen displays for their stores. Although, a much more reasonable yet still effective method for adding this is to visit a site like www.projecticodis.com and invest in an LED projector. This can then be hooked up to a tablet or laptop, and project images and video of your choice on nothing but a plain white wall.

Touchscreens

Last, of all, a true synthesis of the digital and physical world is the adoption of touchscreen technology in commercial businesses. Of course, this is where customers are presented with screen displays that they can physically interact with to choose a product or leave feedback about the level of service they have received.

The important thing here is that while this is a way of displaying and collecting information digitally, it also involves real-world physical interactions, as well. Something that can help to increase customer engagement levels.

Such tech is also seen as both novel, and instinctive too. Also, both positive aspects that can help commercial businesses encourage customer interaction with the intention of streamlining their processes, providing better services, and collect data that would have previously been difficult to source.   

This, of course, makes, touchscreen tech one of the most crucial tools in bridging the digital-real; world divide when it comes to marketing.

Using Your Industry Knowledge To Get Ahead

Before we get into business we sometimes think that what happens behind closed doors is a little mysterious. For example, when we go into a restaurant, we wonder about how much it would have cost to turn a building into a complex area where the look and feel of it becomes unique to the business. We consider how the marketing campaigns were probably made by experts who have concrete knowledge of how to get customers through the door. All of these things are in our minds because we feel intimidated by the question of ‘could you do it better?’. We like to think that if we were thrown into the challenge we could do it better and be more successful. However, self-doubt creeps in and that’s why we feel intimidated by the mere thought of having the existence of a food business on our shoulders. On the other hand, if you have been in the industry for a little while, you’ll know that because of how things are you can use them to your advantage to make profits no matter the time of the year.

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Target habits

Those who have opened up a restaurant, coffee shop or bar will know there are certain quirks of doing business with different groups. In London there’s is an insatiable appetite for avocado. It's used in juices, lots of breakfast dishes and salads. If you pay close attention it's mainly eaten in large numbers by the younger generation. Do a little industry research and you’ll find the millennials that dine at food and beverage establishments will on average spend more money than their older counterparts. They will also tend to pay more for creativity and value presentation very highly for that social media snap. Therefore, create something new with a favored ingredient such as the avocado and see what price you can put this dish up on the menu for. Make it look pretty and you can make it a staple in your business.

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In season and popularity

Being in the food and beverage industry allows you to absorb what foods are popular on the mass market and what are not. It gives you clarity of thought to know that even though some foods may be in season, they fluctuate in price and can be passed over for something that is not. Taking this knowledge in popularity among taste buds, you can trade these commodities via CMC Markets. CFD trading is when you take up a position that predicts the falling or rising of a financial asset such as a commodity. This includes food so you could take up a position that believes corn will fall in price due to customers not wanting to buy a dish or food with corn in it. Flavors of the month change and so when this does happen to come true, you will make a profit based off the difference in the margin field i.e. the percentage of which the price dropped.

 

Using knowledge from your own industry shouldn’t just be for adjusting your business plan. You can use it to make money that can then be used to grow your business. Target the habits of groups, give them what they want and have shown to desire.

 

How To Use Drones In Marketing

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There is no denying that drone technology has had a huge impact. From the military to photography businesses, drones aren’t only being used for fun, they are being used for the greater good and to turn a profit as well. In fact, drone technology is something that all businesses can benefit from, and this is because they can be used in marketing. With that being said, continue reading to find out how drones can be used in marketing to benefit your business.

Unlimited creativity potential – There is only one place to begin, and this is with the unlimited marketing potential drones have with regards to creativity. A drone doesn’t just have to be a camera, a billboard, or a character, it can be a component of art. You can see a great example of this when 500 drones were utilised by Intel to power part of the Super Bowl LI halftime performance, which was delivered by Lady Gaga. The drones were programmed to arrange themselves and sync up so that they could present numerous patterns in accordance with the music. Of course, the Intel trademark was displayed across the night sky, which meant it captured everyone’s attention in attendance, as well as everyone who was watching the major event from the comfort of their own home. This is just one creative way in which drones have been used to make a monumental statement.

Drones as a platform – Drones can be used as an ideal advertising platform because they can travel virtually anywhere. Check this for more information on how drones work if you are unsure. Traditionally, marketing consists of Internet ads, billboards, TV commercials, and print ads. Nevertheless, drones supply new opportunities for marketers and businesses to make the most of. Plus, drones take a business’ message to people aggressively and directly, which makes them a lot more effective.

Drones as a tool – The third and final way drones can be used for marketing is as a tool. This is probably the most obvious manner that drones can be utilized. However, it is also one of the most effective. The drone’s camera can record from various perspectives that would otherwise cost a lot of money, effort, and time. In the past, helicopters and cranes were needed to record from aerial viewpoints. You don’t need us to tell you how expensive this would have been. Today, a drone can do all of this instead.

As you can see, there are a number of different ways in which you can use drone technology to benefit your business. Advancements in drone technology are offering so many benefits, from improving the way they can be used, how easy they are to use, and lowering production costs. Plus, with their unlimited creativity potential and the other advantages that have been presented, they offer an excellent way for businesses to achieve more on the marketing front.

Building A Better Brand Image (It’s Not All About Marketing Campaign)

First impressions count for everything in business. As such, it is imperative that you go the extra mile to ensure your brand hits the mark time and time again. Designing great logos and using SEO and paid social media to spread the word will provide the best foundations. For true success, though, you’ll need to focus on the external issues too.   

 

Make the right decisions in the following key areas to wow your audience from the start and keep them smiling for years to come.

Brainstorming, Business, Business People, Communication

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Build The Right Team

 

Your employees are a reflection of the business and are likely to conduct most of the interactions enjoyed with customers. Therefore, investing in them needs to be one of the top items on your agenda. Otherwise, they could destroy the image and atmosphere you’re trying to create.

 

Aside from recruiting candidates with the right skills and traits, you can look to utilize uniforms and name badges. Anything that puts the customers at ease should be seen to be a step in the right direction.

 

Investing in the staff development is another crucial step. This could mean using team building exercises to grow a sense of unity. Or it may manifest in having sales scripts or a set philosophy to create consistency. Either way, you will see positive returns.

 

Embrace A Winning Network

 

In addition to your internal staff, it’s imperative that your business is supported by the best third-party teams too. From finding the best suppliers to using the right couriers, the decisions here will impact the quality of goods and customer service. Quite simply, you cannot afford to let the shortcomings of those outside firms become an obstacle.   

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Build Trust Through Existing Clients

 

Smart marketing strategies will build a sense of interest in the brand, and can go a long way to bringing prospective clients to your store or site. However, they are unlikely to complete a purchase until they feel that the business can be trusted.

 

Modern consumers are smarter than ever before. They know that you are going to promote the positives of the brand, and are unlikely to be won over by this alone. Testimonials and positive reviews can change that completely. Ask happy clients for them at every opportunity.

 

Most customers will be happy to do this, especially if you give them an incentive such as a 5% discount on their next purchase. Meanwhile, affiliate schemes that reward them for bringing new clients to your business will work wonders too.

 

Promote Clarity Wherever Possible

 

As well as hearing positive things from other clients, consumers want to know that they are in safe hands. Providing clear contact details on your site, and being responsive to emails, social media, and phone enquiries will make a big impact. Furthermore, a fair returns policy instantly tells them where they stand. This clarity will remove a potential obstacle to establish a greater sense of confidence before they’ve even made a purchase.   

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Make The Purchasing Process Easier

 

The quality of your products should be paramount at all times. Nonetheless, there will be other companies that provide at least a similar level of quality and value for money. Therefore, the process of actually buying the goods can often make all the difference in the war for clients.

 

Accepting more payment types makes life easier for customers. This is why low rate payment processing systems should be on the agenda for offline and online selling platforms. On a separate note, accepting monthly repayment plans can be another hugely beneficial decision to make.

 

Other ideas may include free delivery or offering clients the chance to reserve goods before collecting them from the store. These are the types of issues that clients will research before making a decision, and can boost the image of your brand greatly.

 

Consider Selling On External Platforms

 

Online businesses may find that some clients won’t want to buy your items regardless of how trustworthy the venture seems. However, they may be willing to purchase goods from an Amazon or eBay store. This makes the third-party platforms particularly useful when you’re eager to gain those initial sales. Once clients can see that your brand delivers on its promises, they may switch directly to your site.   

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Be Responsible

 

Modern consumers have higher expectations than ever before. They may even base their decisions partly on issues that aren’t even directly linked to your goods. Unfortunately, if you continue to ignore them, the first impressions may suffer.

 

Conducting yourself in a responsible way can manifest in several ways. These range from public supports of charities and local causes to going green in the office. Again, if it builds a better brand image and gives clients a reason to trust your brand, you should take advantage.

 

When supported by the other points mentioned above, you’ll be destined to see far greater results. In turn, that can only send your profits in the right direction.

Send Users All Atwitter With Your Business Site

If you are interested in improving your ranking online, you need to think about the power of your brand and how much interest you’re getting on sources like social media. Don’t forget, the more content from your site is shared, the more likely it is that your rank will rise dramatically. But how do you do this, how you get the interest that you deserve with your business site? Well, there are a few possibilities to consider here with everything from viral marketing to promotions to making sure that your site looks incredible. Let’s look at some of the best and brightest options.

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Go Live

One option would be to go live either on your site or through social media. That will certainly get people talking because it’s a way that you can interact directly with your followers and customers. They can ask questions and you can provide the answers or solutions that they have been searching for. Instagram live is a particularly attractive option because you can actually video call with a follower. By doing this, you can put the spotlight on a user and make sure that they feel completely connected to your business. If you use this feature through Instagram, it will notify followers when you are live to make sure you have a nice, active group to interact with. Do make sure that you use a great video switcher to guarantee you have the best live quality. A blurry video isn’t going to do anything for your business.

Interactive Landing Page

You might also want to think about using an interactive landing page on your business website. With an interactive landing page, you can make your site more interesting and exciting for users. To do this, you’ll need to make sure that you are investing in a web design service. The right web design service will ensure that your website looks absolutely fantastic and has plenty of cool features. This is a great way to boost the amount of time customers spend on your site, and that, in turn, will lead to a higher ranking for your business.

Invest In Infographics

You can also think about building an infographic out of content for your business website. An infographic is a great tool because it will allow you to simplify content and make it easy to digest. This can be shared online through other businesses or across social profiles by followers. This is definitely going to impact your ranking. Alternatively, if you don’t have the skills or budget to create an infographic, sharing an existing one may have a similar impact.

Deals, Deals, Deals

Lastly, if you want to build a buzz online, you can always think about setting up a deal or promotion. That’s sure to get attention as people scramble to get in on the action. It also helps users feel special and more connected to your business because you can market deals like this directly to them through email marketing. They will then spread the word for you, boosting the reach of a promotion like this.

How To Give Your SEO Access To Your Google Analytics

New UI means that older screenshots that you’ve created to guide your clients to the Admin portion of Google Analytics to provide you with access are out of date. Here’s a GIF-tastic guide and screenshots for you to send your client so they can easily and quickly give you the required access.

Guide To Adding Authorized Users To Google Analytics

  1. Go to Analytics.Google.com
  2. Access the view you want to share
  3. On the left bar click on “Admin”
  4. In the left column click on “User Management”
  5. Input the email in the “Add permissions for:” field
  6. Click the Dropdown that says “Read & Analyze”
  7. Check off Edit & Collaborate if you want them to be able to make changes to your configuration. Check off Manage Users if they might need to add team-members or other people as well.
  8. Check the box for “Notify this user by email” to let them know they have access
  9. Click Add

Screenshot GIF Guide To Giving Analytics Access


Giving Analytics Access to Users Step 1
Step 1 – Go to google analytics, select the view to share, click admin, and User Management

Giving Analytics Access to Users Step 2
Step 2: Enter their email, check boxes for permissions to give, check off Notify by email, click Add.

 

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Finally A Tool To Fight Google Analytics Spam

Fighting Referral Spam in Google Analytics

[Jeremy Says: I’ve been struggling with GA referral spam for a few months and was hitting a creative wall. Fortunately others ran into the problem too and found a solution. I invited Jeff Siebach to tell you more about the problem and what he & his company came up with as a solution. Enjoy!]

Jeff Siebach says:

Over the last 6 months, you probably noticed a big increase in your reported referral traffic in Google Analytics. “Yes! I’m finally getting some visitors to my website!” you exclaimed happily.

Then you clicked to see where the traffic came from and your emotions changed from excitement to confusion. All of the traffic appears to be from ‘free-social-buttons.com’ and ‘Get-Traffic-Now.com’.

But why did those sites start sending you traffic, you ask?

That Referral Traffic Spike is Bogus

The answer is: they didn’t. What you’re seeing is a new form of spam that is sweeping Google Analytics accounts around the world. Referral spam, also known as “ghost referrals” is the newest way advertisers have found to promote their websites to website owners.

By faking traffic to your website, these spammers create mounds of referral traffic in your Analytics account in the hopes that you’ll see their website name and visit their site.

Here’s an example of what this may look like in your GA account:

Example of Google Analytics Spam

 

So these bots are visiting my website?

Not exactly. When you add Google Analytics tracking code to your website, you use a unique “property ID” to tag your Google Analytics account that looks something like “UA-123456-78”. When visitors appear at your site, a small piece of javascript code sends Google a notification with that property ID to let them know that someone has viewed a particular page.

These bots crawl through the internet daily hunting down new property IDs that they haven’t found before. Then, once they’ve locked on to your ID number, they send notification after notification to Google stating that your page has been viewed.

They are not actually sending traffic to your website, just sending Google notifications that your website has been viewed and the source of the page view was (insert spam website here). Google can’t tell whether the page view actually happened on your domain or not – they just record the information they receive and report it back to you in your GA dashboard.

Well if they aren’t visiting my website, what’s the problem?

The unfortunate result of all of this spam is that your Google Analytics data is completely skewed because of all of the fake visits. These visits are often characterized by 0:00 time on site and a 100% bounce rate. They never convert on your conversion goals, reducing your conversion rate numbers, and they ramp up your referral traffic numbers, masking the important information you need to know about how people are getting to your site.

If your website has a lot of traffic, this may not be impacting you too greatly, only accounting for 5-10% of your traffic. But for most of us, who are working to drive traffic to a blog, or a new business, this spam may be responsible for 80% (or more!) of your reported visits.

GA Spam...You just stepped in it!

Ok, now I’m mad! How do I get rid of Google Analytics Spam?

Blocking this traffic from appearing in your Google Analytics account can be done using GA filters. You can eliminate this traffic from your reports by using “Exclusion Filters” which can be found in the Admin -> Account -> Filters section of Google Analytics.

To block one of these sites, you’d create a filter with the following settings:

Here's how you add a filter to blog GA spam

Save your filter, link it to the views that you want it to apply to, and voila! That site will no longer appear in your referral traffic moving forward.

One filter down, 200+ sites to go!

Blocking out all of the spam sites individually is a daunting task. Every day, new spam sites are being created and manually adding these filters is like an endless game of whack-a-mole.

No matter how thorough you are blocking all of the spam sites, new ones will appear the next day – and you may have ten or even hundreds of GA accounts you need to filter.

An automated solution

In order to combat this spam for good, we at Anchor Metrics created a tool called the GA Spam Fighter.  We’re working with the team at SpamScape.net to maintain an up-to-the-day list of all of the known spam sites that have been plaguing Google Analytics.   Then, we created a one-click solution to add filters to a GA profile that will block the entire list of sites at the same time.  

To try it out, visit http://gaspamfighter.com.

First, you will be asked to link up your Google Analytics account and select the profile you want to filter. Click “Add Filters” and we will generate a handful of filters that exclude traffic from the newest list of spam websites (currently almost 300 domains long!).

These filters don’t remove traffic retroactively, but from that day forward these sites will no longer appear in your reports. [Jeremy Says: You’ll need some custom Segments for that]

A week later, when you’ve noticed some new spam sites appearing, make your way back to the GA Spam Fighter and run the filters again. We’ll automatically locate the original filters we made, identify any new spam sites that you aren’t blocking yet, and create another filter for the new sites.

Think of it like updating the anti-virus software on your computer.

Sounds great!  How can I help?

If you’d like to help us maintain the software, head on over to SpamScape.net and anonymously link your Google Analytics profiles to their tool.  

They’ll peek at your Analytics data daily to identify new spam sites and include them in the “blacklist”.  Since the GA Spam Fighter pulls sites from that blacklist, you’ll be helping the tool keep up-to-date on the latest thing spammers are doing to ruin your day.

 Together we can defeat these spammers once and for all.

Who Came Up With This?
Anchor Metrics develops tools for marketers to help them better track and report on digital marketing campaigns.  Their digital marketing dashboard pulls data about your website traffic, ad campaigns, online reviews, social media profiles, and more into one place, letting you view and export reports for all of your campaigns.  They also allow you to white-label a portal so your clients can log in and view their reports 24/7. 

Universal Analytics Can Track Sub-Domain Traffic Without Additional Modification

The documentation for Google Analytics when it comes to subdomains is subpar. That document will give you the complex way you needed to deploy changes for “Classic” Google Analytics and tells you to upgrade to Universal it doesn’t actually link you to a Univeral Analytics article on the same topic. Leaving you without a solid answer.

“Can I Track Subdomain traffic with the same Universal GA code?”

Here’s the answer: Yes.

If you want to track traffic from a subdomain and your main domain in the same profile you can do so without any modification to the tracking code. Just be sure to use the same code.

Example: I wanted to track traffic from:
enroll.domain.com
and
domain.com

I just deployed the code and it worked.

FYI-  If you want to see which domain specifically sent the traffic (in cases where your URL/Page Names are similar) then look at the Host Name dimension in your reporting.