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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Klout Finally Gets Down To Business

By John Joyce on March 22, 2013 - Comments 0

Klout for BusinessI have always seen Klout as a unique way to get an exclusive offer in front of influencers and potential new customers but, never really considered it a “business class” marketing platform. With the announcement of Klout for Business this week, companies will now have access to a complimentary set of analytic tools with detailed insights into how and where influencers are engaging with their brands in social media.

After running a couple of perks on the Klout network in the past myself, I was frustrated by the lack of feedback and analytic insights so I’m pleased to see this functionality coming to fruition.  Klout is collecting such valuable data regarding the interactions between so-called “digital influencers” (of whom Klout claims to reach 70%) and prospective consumers of your products and services, that it seems like a logical progression to move in this direction.

What Does Klout for Business Offer?

Klout for Business will continue to develop into a portal where we intend to help brands and agencies streamline their understanding, management and engagement with this important segment of the digital population. Our goal is to help brands and influencers build relationships that transcend the current advertiser-consumer dynamic.

The delivery of Klout for Business wisdom will come in the form of a dashboard where brands will be able to easily understand (1) their audience; (2) optimizing their reach within the appropriate networks to reach their target influencers; (3) popular topics within their core target; and (4) the top conversations and “moments” driving their campaign.  (see sample below)

Klout for Business - Network View Klout for Business Topics View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Klout is just starting the process of beta testing this new service so head over to their site and sign up if you want to help guide this effort and empower you to nurture your relationships with key influencers and cultivate your brand.

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Is the New Verizon ‘Share Everything Plan’ Really Going to Save You Money?

By John Joyce on June 28, 2012 - Comments 2

Verizon Share Everything PlanVerizon launched its Share Everything Plan today which finally allows you to share voice, text and, yes, data across multiple devices.  If you already have a personal plan with Verizon where multiple devices are being managed with separate data plans, it might make sense to look into this new option to see if you can bring your monthly costs down.

You can actually use this Cost Calculator to compare your existing monthly spend with a new Share Everything Plan to see if there is going to be any savings for your particular scenario.  In most cases, it appears that the cost of the new plan is either the same or slightly cheaper.  There is also the potential for savings for an individual or family with only two devices.

A typical family plan comparison would look like this:

Old Verizon Family Plan

  • 2000 minutes for 4 phones = $120
  • Unlimited texting = $30
  • 3 data plans (2GB each) = $90
  • 1 mobile hotspot (2GB) = $20
  • 2 tablets (2GB each) = $60
  • Total =$320

There would be a $10 a month savings if they purchased a comparable configuration using the Share Everything Plan.

New Verizon Share Plan

  • 2 tablets = $20
  • 1 hotspot = $20
  • 3 smartphones = $120
  • 1 feature phone = $30
  • 12 GB of data = $120
  • Total = $310

A smaller family plan comparison would break down as follows:

Old plan

  • 1400 voice minutes = $90
  • 2 data plans (2GB each) = $60
  • 1000 text messages = $20
  • Total = $170

New Plan

  • 2 smartphones = $80
  • 4GB of data = $70
  • Total: $150

In this case, there is a monthly savings of $20.

What do you think?

UPDATE:  Although I had kept my unlimited data plan after Verizon phased out that option, I was never going above 1G of usage. So, I decided to take the plunge and migrate to the Share Everything Plan.  The real benefit for me is being able to upgrade feature phones to smartphones without having to pay an additional $30+ per month for a separate data plan.  It’s now just an additional $10 per month for a smartphone using the Share Everything Plan.

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Can You Afford To Ignore Mobile Marketing Any Longer?

By John Joyce on March 24, 2011 - Comments 0

Mobile MarketingThis question is reminiscent of the discussions many of us had 10-plus years ago when business owners were contemplating whether or not they needed a website. In hindsight, it’s pretty easy to see that Bill Gates’ vision of “a PC in every home and in every business” has been realized and online search is now universally available.

So, before you ponder the merits of mobile marketing and your specific business goals, let’s first take a look at evolving online marketing tactics and the associated opportunity cost of excluding … [Read more at OPEN Forum]

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5 Free Tools That Automate Your Business

By John Joyce on February 15, 2011 - Comments 0

5 Free Tools, small busines marketing, online marketing, zoho, zopim, freshbooks, hootsuite, spiceworksThe challenging economic climate has taught business owners that it’s absolutely imperative they embrace solutions that will help them work smarter and focus on generating revenue. Of course, limited budgets make business automation solutions that much more difficult to evaluate and implement. If your number one goal for 2011 is to bolster lead generation, customer acquisition, or customer retention, you must ask yourself this question: How am I going to create operational efficiencies that will free up my time, give me leverage, and allow me to grow my business?  Read the entire post over on OPEN Forum.

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Your Small Business And Technology: How Do You Maintain A Competitive Edge?

By John Joyce on January 5, 2011 - Comments 0

The Small BizNest Reviews New Book, The New SmallThis is really the prelude to a book review that is forthcoming but I wanted to start the conversation about challenges facing small business owners when determining which technologies will have a positive impact on their overall business growth. The prevalence of open source development platforms has become a double-edged sword. The good news: Anyone can develop applications fairly easily. The bad news: Anyone can develop applications fairly easily.

There are so many choices that it’s impossible to keep abreast of new technology, new versions of existing products and new companies popping up in already crowded markets. The alternative, however, is to stick your head in the sand and be left in the dust by your competitors.

Phil Simon has written a book that offers real world examples of small businesses that are enjoying success by harnessing the power of emerging technologies. Please look out for a full review in the coming weeks and be sure to check out the book yourself.

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Does Your Website Suck? 5 Free Tools to Help You Find Out

By John Joyce on October 29, 2010 - Comments 2

Your site might look fine on the surface but it could have many issues you’re not even aware of and this could be hurting your lead generation and customer conversion efforts.  Here are five tools that will allow you to take a look under the hood and get an in-depth diagnostic view of your website:

1)  Website Grader

Website Grade for www.thesmallbiznest.com

Website Grader actually gives your website a grade, X/100, based on it’s adherence to “searchability” best practices relative to the other sites that have been tested. (currently 2,973,941 sites have been graded) A report is generated and offers areas for improvement including the following:

  • Checks for a blog and gives a grade
  • Number of indexed pages
  • Readability level
  • Inbound links
  • Do you have a permanent 301 redirect of yourcompany.com to www.yourcompany.com?
  • Is your domain going to expire soon?  (it’s important to show the search engines you’re in for the long haul)
  • Do you have an RSS feed?  Do you have a conversion form?

2)  W3C Validator

W3C Validation Service

The W3C Markup Validation Service checks the markup validity of Web documents in HTML, XHTML, SMIL, MathML, etc. The whole concept behind the W3C organization is to encourage the use of standards compliant, user-friendly and accessible code. The feedback from this tool is extremely technical and would be best suited for your website developer.

3)  Pearanaltyics

Pearanalytics screenshot

Pear Analytics has a more friendly user interface and offers great detail on how to fix website issues and the degree of difficulty for each recommended change.  Some of the relevant checks they perform are as follows:

  • 404 error handling
  • Do you have analytics installed?
  • Domain age (the older the better)
  • Duplicate content
  • Do you have a sitemap?

4)  Reactionengine.com

Reaction Engine

The Reaction Engine is another bare bones technical tool that is geared toward the developer crowd.  The key difference with this tool is that it analyzes the SEO performance of a URL based on a given key phrase.

5)  Woorank.com

Woorank

Woorank is a very comprehensive reporting tool with a great looking interface and the ability to save a copy of the report as a pdf.  You can drill down and gain a great deal of insight from stats such as:

  • Traffic to your site
  • Valid robots.txt file
  • Usability
  • Related websites
  • Directory listings
  • Social media presence

The one caveat I did find when trying each of these tools?  Some of the results are inconsistent, for example, Pear Analytics reported that I did not have an H1 heading and the others saw that I did.  So, if you’re going to take the plunge and optimize your site using free tools, make sure you get a second opinion before making any big changes.

Of course, if you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, please reach out and we’ll give you a hand.

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50% Discount for Small Business Technology Tour In Boston

By John Joyce on October 19, 2010 - Comments 0

The Small BizNest invites small business owners to attend the small business technolgy tour

Friends of The Small BizNest are eligible for a 50% discount on admission to the Small Business Technology Tour in Boston next week.  Ramon Ray, founder of Smallbiztechnology.com, has put together a great series of events to educate growing companies – whether you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner – in how to use technology as a tool to grow your business.  The next event will be taking place on October 25th at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center. (NERD)

Check out our latest newsletter for more information on enrollment and other cities where you can attend this great event.

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Building Your Online Persona vs. Being A Narcissistic Blowhard

By John Joyce on September 12, 2010 - Comments 0

Facebook Breeds NarcissistsA recently released “study” by a psychology student at York Univiersity in Canada showed Facebook users are more likely to be narcissistic.  Their next piece of research will likely answer the age-old question, “do the Irish like beer?”  Seriously, though, this should serve as a reminder to companies using social media -  be genuine and don’t try to project a false image.

Self-promotion is an integral part of social networking but you can’t change your message or image simply because it’s different from more traditional channels. The unique advantage of new online communities is that they are bidirectional and in real time so feedback is instantaneous.  In the future, when you’re interacting with prospects and customers online, make sure you follow these three guidelines:

  • Be honest
  • Be consistent
  • Listen
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LinkedIn Adds “Share” Functionality To Help Boost Your Presence

By John Joyce on June 2, 2010 - Comments 0

I just received an email from LinkedIn announcing a new feature that essentially allows you to share your favorite news and media from within your profile.  This is really a natural progression and I’m sure there were plenty of customers clamoring for more publishing and sharing capabilities to be built into the application.

Now you can share your favorite news and media from within your LinkedIn account

Personally, I use CoTweet as my main dashboard for posting updates and then send them to LinkedIn via Ping.fm but, for someone who spends the majority of their time on LinkedIn, this is a very easy way to position yourself as an expert from within the most powerful business networking platform.

The process is very simple and can be seen in the video below:

Give it a try and let us know what you think!
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Be The Subject Matter Expert: Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part XVI

By John Joyce on May 5, 2010 - Comments 0

Raise your hand and answer questions so people know you're the expertIf you know the answer to a question, you had better raise your hand and let everyone know that you are a subject matter expert.  There are plenty of prospective customers out there looking for answers and all you have to do is share your experience and knowledge with them.  I use a service called Lotusjump (affiliate link) which automates the process of finding questions that pertain to specific keywords I have entered into their system.  Not only do I benefit from positioning myself as being knowledgeable in a specific area, but each answer posted is now an inbound link to my site.  There is a modest monthly fee for this service but it saves you a bunch of time and teaches you how and where you should be investing your SEO resources.

You would be surprised how many prospective customers are asking questions on sites like Answers.com and Yahoo Answers.  And, for the most part, they’re more than happy to award you “the best answer” moniker for taking the time to give thoughtful and insightful answers.

Much like blogging, it might take you awhile to find your “voice” and style for answering questions but this will develop over time.  The most important thing to remember is that you don’t want to be the “blah, blah, blah, hey look at me” guy/girl.  Here are a few guidelines for effectively highlighting your knowledge and experience:

  1. Make sure the question is clear.  Don’t be afraid to ask for quick clarification.
  2. Get right to the point.  Don’t yammer on like Ron Burgundy about being “a big deal”.
  3. Be authoritative.  You need to do x, y and then z.   Don’t do a, b or c.
  4. Tell them why.
  5. When possible, insert links to your site, white papers, etc.

Online Marketing Ecosystem

Although it isn’t included in the image to the right, LinkedIn is another great place for you to build your reputation as an expert.  Since this is a business site with millions of members the competition for “best answer” is substantial as compared to the standard answer forums.

Take a look at these sites to get an idea of the questions you can expect and study the responses of the people who have given the best answers.  It’s not that complicated.  People have questions and you have answers.  So, get to work!

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