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Can Negative Online Reviews Break Your Business?

By on Feb 14, 2013 in Business & Marketing |

The internet is a double-edged sword for business. On one hand, it gives you the power to reach an almost limitless group of potential customers, literally millions of qualified purchasers from all around the world. You can interact with these people from any location, use that data to refine your approach, and even launch new products with very little expense. But on the other hand, you cannot always control what is said about you online. The information age has given birth to the 24-hour news cycle, and bad reports always fly swifter than anything good ever could. As strong as your products are and as serious as you take customer service, you cannot make everyone happy. And if you disappoint someone who takes to the internet with their issue it can cause you unending grief. Can negative online business reviews actually break your business? First, the good news. One bad review will never destroy your company. One bad apple may ruin the bunch, but a single bad review will always be taken with a grain of salt by those who come across it. There are a couple of caveats, however. First off, that bad review must be balanced off by several good ones. Regardless of the website with the posted review, if that negative piece is the only thing on there about your company it will be the feeling left with those who visit. But if there are several other good reviews you should be okay. The other issue is specifically what the negative review concerns. If it’s accusing you of a crime, or something that’s maybe legal but absolutely immoral you have no choice but to respond. Even a single review like that could be devastating. Although anyone can post anything they want online, and many people use the anonymity of the web to be far more vicious than they would ever be in person, you don’t have to let it go. If the review is slanderous you must reach out to the website to have them remove it. In most cases they will. Some websites such as Yelp make it very difficult for you to have bad reviews removed. They feel it is their job to let customers see the good, the bad and the ugly, and they don’t want to be accused of becoming a marketing tool for companies by promoting everything through rose-colored glasses. In this case, the negative reviews will not be a problem as long as you address them. Set a Google Alert for your name, your company and any related brands or products so you know when anything using those terms comes up online. Then respond in a timely manner. Do not allow yourself to respond angry, or get sucked into a “he said, she said” routine. If the negative review is legitimate (again, no one’s perfect), you must apologize for it in public, right there on the same board. Offer that truthful apology, as well as an explanation for why the situation happened as it did. Offer to rectify things, and follow up with that customer until he is happy. You’d be surprised, but he may end up an even more dedicated customer than before. People just want to be heard, and if you handle things with honor they will often sing your praises and forget how they were wronged. Keep in mind that some people just want to be mean, and there will be no helping what they write. You’ll find these people because their gripes will be unfounded, and they won’t respond when you call them out on it in public. Aside from tracking these individuals down on Intelius there isn’t much you can do. Post your response as usual, and once people see that person isn’t stepping forward it will sap any remaining power from their negative statement. Remember, a timely and truthful reply will solve all potential...

Tips for Effectively Managing Virtual Employees

By on Feb 14, 2013 in Business & Marketing |

The face of business as we know it is constantly changing in the face of rapidly growing technology. Modern computers and networking devices allow teams of workers to collaborate on projects from opposite ends of the world, using the internet as their virtual office. There are many benefits to this kind of business model, but managers may find it difficult to manage their virtual employees in this new setting. Virtual work forces present all new challenges to managers, and it is important to tackle those challenges in the best possible way. -Communicate Clearly and Effectively Never underestimate the importance of communication in business. Just because you can’t speak to your virtual employees directly, doesn’t mean that you can neglect communication. In fact, the geographical barriers between managers and their virtual employees make communication even more important. Your workers will be largely on their own most of the time, so make sure to communicate your goals, expectations, likes, and dislikes clearly. When everyone is on the same page, your team will produce the best possible results. -Spend Time Face to Face Getting to know your virtual employees can be very beneficial in management. If you can spend time regularly speaking with your employees face to face, you will all get to know each other better. This is always a good thing. Managers and employees work most productively together when they are comfortable with one another. Meet with your team members in person if at all possible, or use video chat programs like Skype to get a face to face conversation going across great distances. This is a great way to increase communication and get to know your team a little better. -Set Realistic Goals Managing a team of any kind becomes infinitely more difficult when you have unrealistic expectations. Set realistic goals for your team and think about the best ways to achieve those goals. Be reasonable with deadlines to ensure that your virtual employees aren’t rushing to get their projects complete in time. When you set realistic goals for yourself and your team, you will have less managing work to do overall. -Make Use of Their Strengths Always try to play to your virtual employees’ strong points. Don’t get so caught up in titles and presumed responsibilities that you forget what is most important for your business–generating the best possible results. When undertaking new projects, think about your team members and who would be best suited for certain tasks. Setting your employees up for success is one of the most important things you can do as a manager. Find out what your workers do best, and encourage them to keep doing it. -Avoid Micromanaging Try not to create extra work for yourself by micromanaging your team members. Remember that you hired an employee with CISSP online training because you knew that he or she would be able to do good work without constant supervision. Stay involved with your team’s projects, and keep track of everyone’s progress, but take a step back once in a while. Your employees often know their jobs better than you do. Trust in your reliable workers and give them room to...

How to Create a Viral Marketing Campaign Using Infographics

By on Dec 27, 2012 in Business & Marketing |

Business is being done online more and more, these days — and even if your business doesn’t operate online, it still certainly needs to have an online presence. In fact, just about any business needs a social media presence with an active online marketing campaign if they wish to compete in any kind of serious way. It doesn’t really even matter what it is you do. Just about every single company or business has a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, a website, and/or some combination of the three. Typically, these things are all quite comprehensively intertwined. Such is the nature of the newly-formed digital marketplace. As we’re all getting better and better at making sure our businesses have marketing campaigns that are actually able to reach people in the places that they want to be reached, we’re now realizing that simply doing so is no longer enough. Content is king, and it’s become very clear that if you want your marketing campaign to have any effectiveness whatsoever, the content has to be absolutely killer. Over the course of the last year, the infographic quickly rose to prominence as one of the most popular and most shared types of visual media on the Internet. They’re exactly what they sound like — combinations of information and graphics, but in a very clever, attractive, and easy-to-digest kind of way — and people absolutely love them. If your company is thinking about using infographics in its next viral marketing campaign, then you’re on the right track. Since infographics are primarily visual, the look is important. If you don’t have a great graphic designer on staff, you should hire one. Make your selection carefully, and be sure to review the work of whomever it is you’re hiring. If they’ve never done an infographic before, you might want to think about finding someone else. Look for a candidate who clearly knows their way around a visual interface. Research is another important part of your infographic, as is the subject matter. If you really want to make sure something goes viral, make it either very useful or extremely entertaining. Come up with a topic that’s relevant to your brand, but more importantly, that’s relevant to your audience. If you can research well enough, and come up with a powerful story to tell, you’re practically guaranteed to have a viral marketing hit on your hands. With the combination of a smart infographic designer, good research, and a decently-written little story arc, there’s absolutely no reason your infographic can’t propel your content marketing campaign into the stars. People love visual media, and the infographic is one of the most popular things that’s being shared on the Internet right now. All it takes is a little time, some effort, and maybe a bit of an investment, but you can certainly develop a wonderful infographic campaign that entertains your audience and does wonders for your brand at the very same...

Tech Must-Haves for the Business Traveler

By on Oct 16, 2012 in Business & Marketing |

Despite the fact that telecommuting has reduced the necessity of business travel in recent years, there’s no getting around the need for in-person meetings from time to time. And if you’re the person who handles all of that travel, there are certainly some gadgets that will help you shoulder the load. The goal is to minimize the amount of gear you need to carry, while maximizing the work you can get done while on the road. And in the technology age there is no shortage of enticing options. Consider picking up some of these tech must-haves for the business traveler. For the frequent hotel resident, consider picking up an Airport Express from Apple. While many hotels offer internet in the room, the majority of those services aren’t wireless. You’re stuck either attached to that short Ethernet cord, or you have to keep paying the daily charge for the WiFi upgrade. Instead, carry the tiny Airport Express with you and create your own wireless base station wherever you go. And then anyone else in the room can share the internet as well. The busy international business traveler doesn’t always have time to learn half a dozen new languages for your company’s world tour. So if you want to be able to track down a good cup of coffee in Hong Kong or to thank your host in Mumbai, pick up the Twelve Language Global Translator by Franklin Electronics. It has more than 450,000 words stored in memory, as well as 12,000 phrases. You can type in an English phrase and it will speak it back to you in Chinese, Italian or Russian, and the higher end model actually has a scanner that can read and imput text off of signs, menus, or the t-shirt your cab driver is wearing. Since you will be traveling with a laptop in most cases, you need to think about how best to insure that laptop comes home with you. While you don’t want to get overly worried about theft, it is a concern. So pick up the Portable Notebook Lock by Kensington. It plugs into the power station of your laptop, and cannot be opened without a numeric code. Attached to it is a self coiling cable that you can wrap around anything metal in your hotel room or that Wi-Fi friendly coffee shop. Another requirement for the international traveler is dealing with all of the various gadgets you have to charge, and all of the different electrical outlets around the world. So pick yourself up one of those universal international power adaptor kits. On one side, you’ll be able to use one device to charge your phone, tablet, computer, and anything else you’ve brought along, while adapting any power plug to work with your American hardware. And the best part is, everything can be carried in one place, so you’re never hunting around for cables. Finally, don’t forget to pick up a quality pair of noise canceling headphones. While this won’t necessarily aid you in your business on the road, it will certainly make sure you can catch up on your sleep when the guy in the train or plane seat next to you is droning on and on about the great time he had on his latest Kenya safari tours. Sometimes you want to disappear into music, an audio book or merely a few minutes of peace and quiet, and noise canceling headphones will guarantee you can do just...

Entering the Japanese Ecommerce Market

By on Jun 28, 2012 in Business & Marketing |

Recently, I wrote an article about entering the Japanese ecommerce market. Here are some more thoughts on the topic: When addressing Japanese consumers with your e-commerce you should provide a healthy mixture of content and experience. So you might consider creating fantastic articles, video, and social elements. The last one is especially important in helping the Japanese consumer make a purchase. Mobile penetration in the Japanese market is predicted to grow from the current 22% to 60% over the next two years. You should seriously consider your mobile strategy for your Japanese market at the start. The Japanese identify more favorably with higher profile brands. So it will be necessary for you to allocate money to build your brand. You might consider advertising on TV or hiring a local brand expert. The Japanese love the idea of affiliate programs. So leverage this in order to get penetration into the Japanese market. Keep in mind, though, that 66% of all Japanese e-commerce happens on Rakuten,  a Japanese digital storefront service (The Economist June 2010). Collectivism, power distance (based on hierarchy as opposed to egalitarianism), avoiding uncertainty, achieving and ambition, and symbolic context and communication are but a few additional factors to consider when launching your e-commerce into the Japanese market. If you hope to reach the Japanese consumer you must sculpt your business to address these values. Types of Consumers There are basically 4 types of Japanese consumers online. You can determine which of these you want to target with your e-commerce, but you should focus on one of them. Shop for Pleasure This segment is typically made up of 30-39-year old males with a household income of $30,000-$60,000. They do not care about price either way and tend to shop mostly from online catalogs. They simply enjoy the shopping experience. Brand Oriented This segment admires particular brands and convenience. They are older shoppers of a higher education and higher household incomes. While they might compare from time to time, quality has a heavier importance for them than price. Price Oriented This segment appreciates price above all else, though they also like products geared toward convenience and recreation. They are young women with low levels of education and low income. Usually, they do not know much about the Internet. Shopping Haters This segment only shops if absolutely necessary. They appreciate recreation, convenience, and brand. This group tends to be older males with education and are professionals. They also have a higher income. The Final Word Targeting Japanese consumers with your e-commerce requires tact and sensitivity. They have an ancient culture that carries many symbols and assumptions. The market demographics is composed of finely delineated groups of shoppers. So take the proper care and time, make the right investment, and fulfill their needs and desires and you will...

One Month Old Buzzdoes Rakes In $750,000 Dollars For A New Marketing Platform

By on Jan 28, 2012 in Business & Marketing |

If you could get $750,000 dollars for a new idea, would you try it? Buzzdoes did. Buzzdoes is a new face on the horizon designing a mobile marketing platform. It has a distinctively social flavor and will allow those who develop mobile apps to make more money. Read on to get more information on the new Buzzdoes way of doing things here in this informative article. Funding Came From Opposite Sides Of The WorldNew ideas are always a refreshing part of the news in the mobile realm. Buzzdoes is bringing in the original ideas to help out the mobile developer. They are a very young company with around a month of existence. The funding for the Buzzdoes software adventure came from two different sources. The Israeli promotion came from Avraham Gilat and a company from South America, Proxima Ventures, was also involved. The idea is based on the fact that after a developer makes an app, it needs to get some exposure for people to find out about it. How Does This Work?How will Buzzdoes make more exposure for mobile apps? They will be giving a small but important bit of code to developers. This code will go into the apps that are being created to provide a way for users to tell their friends about the mobile app. It is a simple but powerful idea. Coders are always looking to make a bit more money with their work and this will enable them to do so. The Buzzdoes company is offering a free SDK ( Software Development Kit ) to get started. Buzzdoes makes their money if the app maker starts making money with their app. A percentage will go to Buzzdoes when people start buying the coder’s app because of the Buzzdoes program. A Social And Charitable Way To Download AppsThere is no doubt this is going to cheer up the heart of many a struggling mobile programmer. All it will take is that one “right person” to set off a chain of “word of mouth” advertising for the hungry developer. All it will take is a simple line of Buzzdoes code in their app and they are set. The software will also have a way for users to profit as well. Something called “Buzzdoes points” will be available. This is cold hard cash and delivered by Paypal. The cash rewards come when a person recommends an app with this software inside. Users with points will be able to donate their cash to a charity if they prefer. Do you want to get more information on the author? This article has been written by Robert who is a contributor to Payday loans where you can get some useful tips when it comes to choosing the most appropriate loan. This article was written by a guest author. Would you like to write for...