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Posts published in “Communication”

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3 Ways Technology Is Changing the Face of Email Forever

Email is still the center of Internet communication, but it’s changing. With the rise of alternate communication platforms such as social media and business messaging apps such as Slack, business communication is evolving quickly. Along with these new technological developments, people’s expectations are continually rising. To better engage your customers, you need to leverage the latest in email technologies such as personalization and artificial intelligence (AI). But what should you focus on? Where should you place your bets when it comes to your email technology strategy? Trends That Are Changing Email Now and for the Future Don’t worry – email itself is not going away any time soon. If you have an existing email list for your business, and you get a good response rate from it, you are using email well. But consider the following as an upgrade to your email strategy: 1. Personalization (Within Reason) and AI Personalization these days is critical in cultivating and retaining customers. Using metrics, analytics, and AI, you can deliver exactly the kind of emails your customers are looking for. For example, email marketing software company, Campaign Monitor, offers marketers a way to personalize email content dynamically based on how they engage with each email. For example, email workflows can be created that send emails to each individual subscriber based on what video they view or link they click on from a previous email. This ensures that subsequent emails are tailored to each subscriber based on their interests. There is a fine line, however, between using personal information about a customer to deliver them the information and content they want and violating their privacy. So, be careful with your personalization and consider making it opt-in. 2. Include Rich Media In Email For the small business looking to win a new client, one great new technology to consider can turn your email into a presentation device. Mixmax, a productivity platform , makes it easy to embed rich media in emails. For example, using  Mixmax you can put a slideshow presentation, PDF, video calendar or even poll directly into an email, making the content more…

Audience Engagement: 10 Ways to Connect with Every Audience

Have you ever been to a conference, presentation, or meeting where you zoned out after the first 30 seconds? I think we all have. The topic is interesting, but the execution of the material is mind-numbingly boring. If you want the people in the room to buy-in to your idea, purchase your product, or even provide constructive feedback to your proposal, it is essential that you engage your audience. I’ve started using a brand new tool for all of my presentations, Beautiful.ai. I loved it so much, I’ve partnered with them. Beautiful.ai is easy to use and helps you create bold and beautiful slides, has a built-in library of eye-catching images and templates that will best illustrate your talks. I’m using it, you should too! Here are 10 easy and helpful ways to boost your audience engagement: 1. Planning Your Presentation You wouldn’t take a test without studying, so why would you give a presentation without preparing? Take the time to properly research the material you plan to present and become intimately familiar with your subject matter. Then, take the time to lay out and organize your thoughts and ideas. A flowchart or outline will help you get your ideas organized so you can begin to build your presentation. Give your presentation structure. It should follow a logical sequence and not bounce around. Use a tool like Beautiful to make a visually pleasing presentation that’s easy to create. 2. Focus on Your Target Demographic This is a huge factor when it comes to increasing audience engagement. Tailor your presentation to your audience. Research your audience before your presentation and find out the demographics of the group. Know what company they are from, their position, and how you can help them. 3. Keep Visuals Limited When you build your presentation, think about what’s going to make an impression on your audience. To keep them focused on your and your talk, limit how much text you put on your slides. If your audience can read your slides to get all of the information, why do they need you? Focus instead on adding…

10 Smart Solutions for Checking In With Your Remote Team Members

What’s one innovative solution you use to check in with your remote team, and how is it effective? Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co. 1. Monday Monday is an amazing project and team management tool we began using a few months back. It is extremely intuitive and visually appealing. Monday allows us to see what each team member is working on, communicate with one another, review deadlines and more. This tool has proven to be extremely effective in managing our team that is composed of both in-house and remote team members. – Duran Inci, Optimum7 2. Time Doctor About 80% of my team is remote, and we’ve been using Time Doctor for the last four years. It makes the team check in and check out, define daily tasks, capture screenshots and generate payrolls at the end of the month. It gives a sense of being watched to the teams; they feel like they have a manager who is monitoring them. It also increases the accountability and visibility of the remote team. – Piyush Jain, Simpalm 3. Slack  It’s not quite as good as face-to-face communication, but Slack seems to be as close as you can get to the rapport-building, casual-brainstorming settings that typically only happen in real-life contexts. The instantaneous back-and-forth and channel-based communication make it easy to keep people on the same page, both for the very small details as well as for larger goals. – Roger Lee, Human Interest 4. Annual In-Person Visits I plan trips each year to different cities where my remote team works so I can visit them. Of course, if I can do other business while I’m there, like making it part of my annual holiday, then it’s all the better. I spend the day with them working and doing some type of fun activity. It’s been the best bonding experience for all of us. We understand each other so much better. – Peter Daisyme, Hostt 5. Sococo  Sococo is a very fun and great way to have that local office feel while being remote. Everyone…

CRM Systems: A 10-Point Guide

CRM, or Customer Service Management System, is a necessary part of any business that needs to better understand its customers. Good CRM systems are designed to track interactions with customers so businesses in an organized space. Without an official CRM system, businesses often keep no record of interactions with customers or if they do, those interactions are no organized in one location. This creates problems with follow-up activities, leads and prospects, and staff turnover. There are several different types and features can be included in a CRM. How do you know which is the best one to use? Take a look at our 10-point guide before you invest in a CRM that doesn’t work for your needs. 1. Types of CRM Systems There are three different types of CRM systems that meet the needs of businesses of all sizes. A single entrepreneur can get by with a basic desktop version on one computer. Small businesses with more several employees often rely on a self-hosted CRM on a server. Larger businesses tend to use CRM systems that are hosted on the cloud and can be accessed anywhere via WiFi because a third party provides it. 2. What does a CRM do? The question should be what doesn’t a CRM do. The real goal of a CRM system is to manage customer contacts – everything from basic details like phone numbers and email addresses to details about conversations. With this information, users can track activities and goals to build sales. The CRM also helps employees take a customer from the lead stage to the conversion stage – even if more than one employee is involved. 3. Do CRM systems integrate with other applications and systems? Yes. They can be synced with email programs and calendar applications.  Some CRM systems actually have messaging functions built right in, so they do not need to be synced. Larger companies benefit from complex CRM systems that allow employees to interact within them. 4. Can CRM systems customize data for individual employees? Yes. All three types of CRM systems have dashboards that can be customized based on…

Top 5 Financial Podcasts for Small Biz Owners

There are so many podcasts out there created by small business owners that discuss the many ups and downs of getting a business started. These podcasts can serve as a mini support system when you’re getting started as an entrepreneur. Your only issue may be choosing just one. Don’t worry, we have put together a list of our top 5 financial podcasts for small business owners.   StartUp – True to its name, Startup is a podcast centered on getting started in the small business world. Covering a wide array of topics related to small business ventures, this podcast really steps out of the box and addresses so many things in the process. Even if not every episode is something you can relate to, odds are that someone out there, probably many someones, are in the exact situation that is being described and could learn so much from this eclectic group. That’s what the podcast is all about – helping people from all walks of life address the various issues that could come up during the course of getting a business up and running.   Episode to try – Running a Family and a Business   Entrepreneurs on Fire – John Lee Dumas, self-dubbed ‘JLD’, aims to get young people fired up to get their businesses started and to make them happy in their success. JLD works to inspire others to make their life follow their dreams. In the interviews for his podcast, JLD and his guests cover the main objective of going all in with your ideas. The common denominator among successful startups, to JLD, is going 100% into the new idea with every intention of being successful. JLD will explain how to work hard for what you get but to work smarter in the process as well. Episode to try – Be Your Own CFO: Take Control of Your Personal Finances   Office Hours with Spencer Rascoff – As a podcast that works like a roundtable discussion amongst several successful business leaders, Office Hours, seeks to address some of the toughest questions new businessmen and women will face…

The Pros and Cons of Remote Work and Combating Loneliness Among Telecommuters

Today’s small businesses rarely look like the quaint mom-and-pops of 50 years ago. From basement-run carpentry workshops to home-office design studios, small-business headquarters can be anywhere their employees are, from the living room to the local Starbucks. For some small businesses, remote work is essential for balancing the budget. Office spaces are expensive to rent, and with tools like instant messaging and video conferencing to keep employees connected, there’s no reason to waste money on the square footage. Plus, most folks would rather work from home anyway, for a variety of reasons. That’s according to a recent study of 500 remote U.S. workers by TSheets by QuickBooks. Among those surveyed, 67 percent of respondents said they work remotely sometimes, while 33 percent said they work remotely daily. Respondents were asked to rate their experience in relation to everything from mental health to productivity. Remote work pros and cons As with any work arrangement, telecommuting has its pros and cons. For instance, working from home means a shorter commute — approximately the time it takes to get from your bed to your desk or sofa, or wherever you set up shop for the day. Conversely, working remotely can be a bit lonely, as it’s tough to get the same human interaction with co-workers from a solitary home office. Nevertheless, among employees, the option to telecommute is a popular one, regardless of its cons. According to another recent study, 57 percent of workers would like the option to work from home. If you’re considering a telecommute position or thinking about instigating a remote work policy for your employees, here are a few of the pros and cons you can expect, based on survey responses. Pros: Increased productivity Better physical health Better mental health Cons: A constant need to prove productivity Difficulties with self-motivation Loneliness Despite the fact 53 percent of respondents said working outside the office allowed them to be more productive, most felt their workmates had an unfair perception of their productivity. When asked what their concerns were when working remotely, “people think I’m not working” was the second most popular…

Overcoming Disruption in a Family Run Business

Running a family business has it’s unique challenges. I sat down with Sarah Binder Mehta, President of PianoPiano, a third-generation piano sales/rental company. Sarah and I talked about growing a multi-generational business, overcoming industry disruption, and dealing with family dynamics. Sarah’s grandfather started the business in the 1930’s as a department store called Binder’s State Street. Sarah’s father worked in the store, managing the furniture department where pianos where being sold. Grandfather wanted to retire and closed Binder’s, leaving piano manufacturers with no presence in the south Jersey region. Sara and her Dad After being approached by a piano manufacturer, Sarah’s dad opened a Hammond piano store in 1959. By 1960 that store was the #1 Hammond distributor in the US. It wasn’t long before the Binders’ chain of piano stores became the #1 US distributor for almost all the major piano brand. The 1990’s brought disruption and corrections to the piano industry, forcing the Binder patriarch to close most of his 27 stores. A shift to rentals, instead of sales, has kept the company relevant and profitable. Sarah had this to say about the pressures of running a family business and honoring the legacy of her grandfather and father: “You hear all the stories about how second-generation businesses are more likely to fail. Of course that is a concern, but it’s also super rewarding. My dad has four daughters and I always say that this business is his fifth child. It’s rewarding that he trusts me to steward that.” While working with family can create freedoms not aways found in a traditional work setting, Sarah reminded me that, “When you are in a family business, you bring your family dynamics to work, every day.” While working with family has it’s unique set of challenges, a multi-generational business can benefit from the fresh and new outlook brought by younger members of the team. When Sarah introduced e-commerce her parents “they didn’t believe anyone would rent a piano online, but people do it, every day.” Since then, Sarah has digitized their records and introduced a robust CRM, allowing Piano Piano to…

8 Best Practices Every Text Marketer Should Follow

Do you wonder how often you should send a marketing text messenger or what to say? Read here to learn 8 of the best practices every text marketer should follow. Gone are the days of TV and print ads being the best forms of advertising. We’ve entered a new era. Marketing is going mobile. And what […] The post 8 Best Practices Every Text Marketer Should Follow appeared first on SmallBizClub.

Does Team-Building Really Work? Here Are 4 Ways to Know

When it comes to your workforce, productivity, engagement and morale go hand in hand. How do you motivate your team to perform to the best of their abilities? What makes a high performing team? How do you instill a culture of team delivery? Interestingly, one way to tackle low productivity issues may be to have […] The post Does Team-Building Really Work? Here Are 4 Ways to Know appeared first on SmallBizClub.

How Important is Communication in the Workplace?

Workplace communication is vital for any business to run successfully. It doesn’t matter if you’re offering a trade, you sell stock online or you’re a logistics company. Without an effective communication strategy, your business will surely fail, which is not a sign of a good leader. Here are just some of the reasons why communication […] The post How Important is Communication in the Workplace? appeared first on SmallBizClub.

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