General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Update & What You Should Know

GDPR

I’m sure you’ve seen some emails come in from various companies with updates to their privacy policy over the last few weeks.  If not you might be on a remote island with no Internet connection. 😉 These emails all have to do with the upcoming changes in the EU.

We are quickly approaching the European Union’s deadline of May 25th for the new data protection law. Even though the changes take place in the EU the impact is global.

The below info is meant to help with this transition. But it’s important to know that I’m not an attorney so please check with your attorney or legal team to make sure that your business is in compliance with this new law.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) — What is it & what does it mean for you?

Well this has been a long time coming and we’ll most likely see something in the United States as well soon. With all the security breaches over the last few years the EU decided to tighten up the rules for companies that collect data. In the end this gives more control to the end user. Finally! 🙂

First of all the changes will impact your business if you collect any data whether it be through tools like Google Analytics  if you’re tracking who visits your website or MailChimp if you have an email signup form. The EU has a great infographic that explains this.

What does it mean to be GDPR compliant?

In short, GDPR’s purpose is to give people more power to protect their personal data, and it requires businesses who collect that data — whether it be names, addresses, email addresses, phone, IP, etc — more transparency on when and how it’s used.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Tell them who you are when you collect any data,
  2. Get clear consent to process their data,
  3. Allow people to access their data,
  4. Inform people of data breaches,
  5. Give people the right to be forgotten, 
  6. Give people the option to opt out of direct marketing that uses their data,
  7. If you use “Profiling” to process applications there’s a bunch of new rules,
  8. Use extra safeguards for sensitive info like health, race and more.

What should I do now?

Well, that part depends on your situation. You may need to bring it to your legal team if you operate internationally, or have a lot of moving parts. You should probably review this helpful infographic/website to get familiar on how it might effect your business.

If you use WordPress, there is team of core developer that are working together to help plugin developers quickly get up to code. You can read more over there as well (https://www.gdprwp.com/).  Next, you’ll need to evaluate the process for data collection, how you make it accessible on-demand, and update your Terms of Use.

What we’re doing

We’re updating our privacy policy to be in line with the changes and making sure that our newsletter signups are compliant. Right now we’re collecting emails when people download our resource guides and that can be deceptive since we don’t explicitly tell them we’ll be emailing them our newsletter. We also have a call scheduled with our attorney Jon Tobin with Counsel for Creatives to talk more about this to make sure we’re covered.  We’re also going into Google Analytics and selecting the date range for the data retention option so it’s in compliance.

If you’d like to hire us to do an audit of your site to make sure it’s in compliance or implement the changes I’ve suggested above please reach out today!

When to Outsource Your In House Marketing

When to Outsource Your In House Marketing

As a business owner there are different options for how to approach your marketing strategies based on what will be more effective for your company. At some point you may have to decide between creating an in house marketing team or hiring an external marketing provider. Digital marketing can be crucial so making the right choice can strongly influence the success of your business online.

There are many different things to consider when you are deciding whether or not to outsource your marketing campaigns. Analyzing your business’s current needs and plans can help you get a better perspective on when you should choose to outsource. Looking at the pros and cons of outsourcing can also be a good way to make a decision either way.

There are many advantages to having an in house marketing team but if you are a smaller company and don’t have the resources to run your own digital marketing strategy then outsourcing might be the better option. An established marketing provider has more experience working with a business like yours and will understand how to approach your digital campaigns.

A new startup business that has no experience with marketing will need to outsource so that they can get started and not spend too much time or money on figuring out a strategy that will work. A marketing provider can get more immediate results and get your digital marketing plan up and running quickly. The main thing to consider if you are planning to outsource is to find a marketing company that fits within your budget and will not charge more than your business can afford.

Outsourcing can be a great option for smaller companies that need help with their marketing or any business that wants someone with more experience and expertise to handle their ad campaigns.

Should I Diversify My Clientele or Stay Niche?

Should I Diversify My Clientele or Stay Niche?

There are a lot of pros and cons to remaining a niche company or deciding to branch out and reach a broader audience. Some businesses find that their niche works perfectly for them and helps them stay true to their brand. They do one thing well and can focus on that rather than trying something new that could potentially fail or alienate their audience.

However, some companies might be more interested in converting new clients and feel too limited by having only a niche audience. A niche business can have steady and reliable income but a business that wants to expand will find that being too focused can hold them back. One of the dangers of being niche can also be that people lose interest in your products over time and by not diversifying you are leaving yourself more vulnerable to the shifting market.

Diversifying can take time but it can open up new possibilities for businesses that want grow and stay relevant. However, if you become too unfocused and stray too far from your core product you might begin to lose your existing audience. The best solution is to remain focused but innovative enough that you aren’t limited by your niche.

Every business should try to improve on what they do best instead of staying static and continuing to create the same product. You should make plans to diversify in order to meet new technology, marketing shifts and other changes so that you aren’t left behind by being too limited. Businesses don’t necessarily need to be a jack of all trades to diversify but simply need to continue keeping their products fresh and interesting.

There are benefits to both staying niche and diversifying but finding a balance between the two can often be the best answer to maintain an interested audience.

Leveraging Social Media Polls

One of the key strategies that businesses online usually focus on is getting more engagement from their audience on social media. Interacting and getting people to respond to posts can help you build a more engaged fanbase that is likely to stay loyal to your brand and spread the word about what you do. One of the most effective ways to get people to engage with your posts is to create a social media poll to get feedback from your audience.

Getting consumer feedback not only gets people to react to your post, it can also provide you with valuable information that can help you improve what you do. Voting for something can drive excitement for certain products or your brand in general and it can help you understand what your audience really wants. Polls can make user interactions more immediate and intimate in a way that a normal post can’t quite accomplish.

Social media polls can often take the form of allowing followers to decide the best options for products that a company offers. They can also simply be for fun so that the audience can share their opinion on something. Polls can incorporate humor to get people to react in a way that makes them more interested in your brand.

Lettings be involved in business decisions helps them feel more involved in what you do and persuades them to care more about the outcome. Polls can be used on almost any social media site including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Even though polls can be useful they should be only posted occasionally so fans don’t bored or lose interest in them.

Mixing in some social media polls with your regular posts can boost engagement and help you build a closer relationship with your audience.

Top 3 SEO Strategies To Do Right Now

Top 3 SEO Strategies To Do Right Now

SEO is a marketing tool that is constantly changing so marketers need to adjust their strategies fairly often to keep up. SEO is still a crucial part of building an online presence so businesses must take the time to pay attention to what the current best practices are.

Here are the most effective SEO strategies that you should implement right away to see better results:

1. Optimize for Voice Search

One of the fastest growing changes in search marketing is the use of voice search tools such as Siri and Alexa. More people than ever are using the voice option on their mobile phone or their smart home devices so that they don’t have to take the time to type. People often use different kinds of phrases and keywords when they use voice search compared to typing a query on a phone or a desktop so you will need to adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.

2. Write Longer Content

Great content is key to having more effective SEO and recently marketers have found that longer posts tend to hold reader’s interest and get more of a response. However the content still needs to be high quality, useful and interesting information that will keep readers on the page longer.

3. Create a Faster Website

If there are any loading or navigational issues with your website it can negative affect the success of your SEO strategies. A fast site will rank higher on Google and will create a better user experience which is important for retaining customers. If you optimize for speed you are going to see more positive results.

The focus of SEO strategies can incorporate many different aspects of marketing but these three options are simple and effective for businesses that want a quick boost.

Best Graphic Design Apps for Social Media Posts

Best Graphic Design Apps for Social Media Posts

Users on social media expect unique and engaging images that will draw them in and encourage them to respond to your post. This is sometimes best accomplished by a great graphic design that will make people want to share your image. Fortunately there are plenty of apps available to help you create interesting graphics for your posts.

Canva – One of the most useful tools for visual design especially for business owners and entrepreneurs is Canva. This is an app that is easy to use for people with limited design skills who want to create a custom image. You can use the app to choose a layout, search for images, purchase stock photos, add visual effects and customize the color scheme and font to match your brand.

PiktoChart – If you are looking to make your own infographics for your social media posts then Piktochart might be the best app to choose. You can also use the app to make reports, banners and presentations in addition to infographics. There are built in templates to choose from that you can easily customize and edit in order to match your brand’s color scheme and themes.

QuotesCover- Posting quotes on your social media sites can be a great way to capture people’s attention and inspire them. QuotesCover is an app that allows users to create beautiful quote graphics so that you can add a design element to personal or famous quotes that you want to share. Within the app you can choose a layout, add your quote, add a photo or choose a plain background and customize the color and font.

Whatever type of graphics you are hoping to post on your site, there are apps that specifically cater to what you are looking for and make it easy to customize and design unique images.

Instagram Cares About Users Wellbeing

Instagram Cares About Users Wellbeing

Instagram has responded to claims that the social media platform is bad for mental health by setting up their own “Wellbeing Team”. Recently a highly publicized survey revealed that Instagram ranked number one as the worst social media network for user’s mental health and wellbeing. Instagram is hoping to combat the negative impact that it has on user’s health by coming up with ways to make it a more positive community.

The health survey showed that although Instagram can be good for self-expression and self-identity, these positive aspects were overwhelmingly outweighed by its association with anxiety, depression and negative body image. The negative elements of Instagram made it rank well below competitors in terms of mental health such as Facebook and YouTube which was actually reported to have a positive effect on wellbeing. Instagram decided to confront the problem by creating an entire team that is dedicated to improving people’s mood and wellbeing through Instagram.

The Wellbeing Team is making an effort to transform Instagram into a place where people feel good and don’t experience feelings of anxiety and depression while using it. It may be a difficult task since many users especially young women experience a lot of negative feelings on Instagram. Women in their late teens and early 20s using Instagram reported that it had a negative impact on their body image and made them feel inadequate about their work and lifestyle.

Instagram is currently changing their priorities and making positive mental health their number one goal for the platform. They have created comment filters that automatically filter out inappropriate comments to prevent bullying and set up teams to review posts by individuals who may need mental health support. If Instagram continues to take measures to improve the community it may be able to minimize the negative impact it has on user’s mental wellbeing.

3 Strategies That Never Get Old Amidst The New Digital Era

3 Strategies That Never Get Old Amidst The New Digital Era

With the continuous emerging of cutting-edge technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning, the needs and demands of people also have changed. This has brought a paradigm shift in a way marketing works.

As most things go online and mobile, new marketing techniques emerge, resulting in some old tactics to take the backseat. But just because things have changed, doesn’t mean we can just ditch old marketing strategies.

You’ll be surprised to know that there are old marketing tactics that can still do their job. Let’s take a look at some of these strategies that still work these days.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has been around for a while now. But way back not so long ago, influencer marketing is a rather hazy and vague tactic to be used by a small and startup business. It was perceived as expensive and complex that only big players with enough marketing budget could perform.

Luckily, these days, influencer marketing isn’t only limited to big players. Both big players and small business owners can potentially benefit from this marketing approach.

How?

A survey revealed that 95% of consumers trust people as a source of recommendation when they see them as someone similar to themselves. This is an indication that you, as a small business owner, do not need to hire a famous personality to perform an influencer marketing campaign.

Your satisfied customer is your greatest influencer. To get your influencer marketing campaign running, you need to tap into the everyday people whom you have built a relationship with to support your campaign. These people you have a strong engagement with can share their opinions in a credible way which can move their connection to act in favor of your business.

Influencer marketing in the modern era of digital marketing is not exactly after conversion. It is about building the trust and confidence in your business by enhancing information sharing to capture the attention of new target consumers.

Influencer Marketing

Connecting Through Content

With the rise of innovations like AI and machine learning, data gathering has never been easier. Accessing information has never been better for both businesses and consumers.

However, this also has resulted in some backlash. The ability of businesses to utilize customer’s information in a large scale resulted in information overload.  Consumers, these days, are bombarded with salesy pitches that are irrelevant and annoying. Thus, making it difficult to capture consumer’s attention.

But with the right use of data, consumer’s impression can be reversed. Modern day technology gives light to a more efficient data gathering and analysis that are based on customer engagement and interaction. This provides a leeway for business to provide relevant and more targeted content.

The right use of data brings in an opportunity for personalization. Personalization supports dynamic content and marketing automation.  Hence, it is easier to capture the attention of your audience.

When customers engage with the business, an automation tool will gather relevant data and analyze them. It will then create relevant contents, set criteria for audience targeting based on the data analysis and send out different types of contents according to what the consumers are looking for.

This is how personalization works. This allows businesses to create contents that are valuable and answers the current needs and demand of people. Personalization enables you to craft contents that resonate the most with the users by considering their needs, desires, aspirations and problems.

Modern technology gives you an opportunity to have a deeper understanding of the consumers which allows you create a relevant content but also so you can use them in targeting the right people with the right content at the right time.

Competitor Research

Competitor Research

One way or another, your business has perhaps conducted some competitor research. Going back to the basics, competitor research is all about knowing your competitors including their strength and weaknesses.

This made most business obsessed with stalking competitors and isn’t cool. In this modern digital era, competitor analysis goes beyond swot analysis and other overrated methods. More than keeping an eye out for competitors, competitor analysis is performed to get a better knowledge of how your business perform in the industry.

Competitor analysis gives you a glimpse of how and whys your competitors perform in the current situation. This helps you determine the current problems you may be facing but you are not aware of. This helps you spot your own weaknesses and unique value proposition that you can resolve and utilize respectively.

Competitor analysis is a crucial business strategy of the modern days. Modern competitor analysis should be conducted to arm yourself with new knowledge that would guide you in performing business strategies to position yourself as a leader in the industry.

Final Words

Old marketing, in general, may not be an ideal approach in this modern digital marketing world. But that does not mean you need to toss away the marketing strategies that come along with it.

In this modern era, there are marketing strategies that just needs a little makeover to be effective. A slight revamp will help you restore these marketing techniques to its former glory.

The only way to do it is to integrate new technologies and innovations to answer the needs and changing demands of consumers.

Author’s Bio:

SEO consultant Al Gomez is the man behind Dlinkers.com, a company dedicated to provide quality digital marketing services for small business owners from Australia and other parts of the globe. With more than ten years of experience, he enjoys supporting smartpreneurs like himself achieve online success.

Busting the Myth of New Business Failures

Many people from all over the world are afraid of starting up their business ventures because of the myth that most startups do not last beyond a year. This has sadly made people give up on their dream starting a new business for fear of the unexpected and likely failure.

However, this myth is completely misleading, and the opposite is actually the truth! The majority, almost 80%, of all startups thrive for one year and beyond according to the most recent statistics from the SBA Small Business Administration.

Recent research from the small business advocate office of the SBA proves that over 75% of startups succeed in their first year of operation.

 

New Business Failure Percentage Rates – SBA Statistics - An Infographic from Best 4 Businesses.com

Embedded from Best 4 Businesses.com

Small businesses and startups are the backbones of every country’s economic progress. They are a major source of employment since that often employ locally. This simultaneously helps the people’s living standards while driving up the country’s economy.

During the recession for example, when many big businesses faltered, most small businesses withstood the recession and kept going strong. In the process, they helped their many employees weather the economic storms successfully.

Facts about Small Business in America

    • There are over 29 million small businesses in the USA alone. Out of these, about 23 million had no employees while another 5 million had employees. The number of large business is much less than the small businesses.
    • Over 99% of all firms in the USA are small businesses with the same percentage of paid employees.
    • Small businesses account for 62% of new job creations in the first quarter of every year.
    • About 4000,000 small businesses start every year, but only about 50% survive the first five years.

Why Small Businesses and Startups Fail

Though not all new businesses survive after the first five years, those that do, stabilize after being in business for a few years. A third of all startups survive beyond 10 years.

It is important to note that majority of those businesses that close their doors do not do so because they failed. Some opt to sell off their businesses while other people choose to retire and pursue other channels. So let’s explore the reasons why new businesses fail so you can prosper instead.

Failure to focus on the expectations

One of the reasons for business failures is due to lack of focus on long-term results. When any company fails to define its expectations, they are bound to fail.

Somewhere along the line, priorities change, which creates confusion and this, can lead to negative consequences.

If you start a business and define what you want to achieve in terms of revenue, cash flow, and customer retention, then there is no reason to fail. Be very clear to everyone in the company what you expect as the result. In this way, everyone will work towards achieving that goal.

Failure to invest time in employees

While most people think that marketing strategies are the ones that bring in the largest returns on investment in most businesses, it is not always the case. The people that you employ in your startup are the most crucial part of your growth. They are the body of your business, and in order to get the results you need, you have to train and treat them well.

Focus on their needs and they will focus on making your business thrive by attending to your customers better and since they will care more about your business and your company.

Sharpen their skills by offering training and reward them with benefits and promotions for work well done. A happy employee is a great investment. A discontented employee may contribute to your business failure.

Failure to listen to feedback

Some employers are so overly confident that they dismiss every information given to them about their businesses by employers, customers, and experts. Failure to listen to what people say about your business is a sure way of failing.

If you are the owner of a business and take it upon yourself to run all the affairs, it will wear you down and leave you frustrated. Eventually, you may think that you are running the business all alone without any input from anyone. The truth, on the other hand, is you do not let anyone in – to your personal and professional detriment.

Occasionally, ask your employees, partners and even clients what they think you should change. They will probably ask you to delegate some duties and work as a team instead of taking everything head on alone. If you listen and follow the feedback, the positive results will surprise you. Appreciating those that you work with and listening to what they have to say will make your business prosper beyond the one-year myth of failure.

Failure to choose the right location

If you want to beat the myth of your business failure beyond the first year, then be very careful about the location you choose. Choose a location that best suits your business or service that you are offering.

If for example, you are running a café, do not choose an area with low traffic. You need a place with heavy traffic where you are sure that you will have people coming in for meals at all times. If you run a courier service, do not choose a place where it is hard for clients to reach you with their deliveries. Choosing the most convenient places will ensure a consistent flow of traffic, and this should keep you in business for longer.

Failure to advertise

While many businesses flourish because of hard work, commitment, experience and sometimes luck, it is also good to give your business a push by advertising and marketing your products. Many startups may lack traffic because not many people know what they are offering. You can change this by advertising widely either online or on social media or by using banners and other means of advertisement. This way you know that you will attract paying customers and sell products that people are willing to pay for. Make your products stand out during your marketing campaigns and show reason why you are better than the next company is.

Failure to learn management skills

Good management is the backbone of success in a business. If you do not have good managerial or entrepreneurial skills, learn in order to save your business.

It is scary to start a new business. However, if you strive to work hard on your investment and ignore the myths, then there is no reason why you should not go beyond one year successfully.

Get rid of any bad habits and follow these failure-proof guidelines. You have to remember that without small businesses, the economy would not be what it is today.

Test the waters first before you jump into opening your business. Carry out enough research and know everything you need to know about the kind of products and services you want to sell.

You alone can prove the myth wrong. Good luck entrepreneurs.

About the Author:

Marsha Kelly sold her first business for more than a million dollars. She has shared hard-won experiences as a successful serial entrepreneur on her Best4Businesses blog, where she also regularly posts business tips, ideas, and suggestions as well as product reviews for business readers. As a serial entrepreneur who has done “time” in corporate America, Marsha has learned what products and services really work well in business today. You can learn from her experiences to build your business.

https://twitter.com/best4businesses

5 Snapchat Geofilter Tips

5 Snapchat Geofilter Tips

Using Snapchat filters adds a unique element to your posts and geofilters can show viewers a special overlay that is accessed in certain locations. Snapchat recently made it possible for viewers to create their own geofilters which opens up new creative possibilities for posts. Whether you use Snapchat’s existing geofilters or create your own they can add a festive design element that can be useful for marketing or simply showcasing new sticker graphics.

Initially Snapchat geofilters were somewhat limited because they were only offered through the company. Now there are community submitted geofilters that are free and available to users and you can make your own custom geofilter for a special event. Businesses can create a custom geofilter using their logo or brand to promote themselves to Snapchat users.

Here are some tips for using Snapchat geofilters to your advantage-

1. Define the Geographical Area

The way that geofilters work on Snapchat is that the user must be within a certain range to use the filter. If you purchase a custom geofilter that range is about 20,000 square feet or more. You will need to provide details about the area where you want the geofilter to appear and then Snapchat will create a “geofence” for your filter. When users are in that area your filter will appear as an option for them to add to their posts.

In order to find a geofilter the user will need to have the filters box checked under their settings and have their location available on their smartphone. As long as they are within the geofence they will be able to see your geofilter appear as one they can add to their photo or video.

2. Follow Business Guidelines

If you are choosing to create a custom geofilter in order to promote your business you will need to make sure that you follow Snapchat’s guidelines. Businesses creating a filter must have the necessary usage rights and permissions to include any brand or business names well as  logos or trademarks. It is important for anyone who creates a geofilter to know that filters must not contain any photographs of people, URLS, hashtags, phone numbers or emails.

For businesses that means that you might have to be more creative in getting people to contact you when they see your filter. Having your business name may be enough but you can also find ways to include your social media handle or website without using an @ symbol or “.com” so that Snapchat doesn’t recognize it as a URL.

4. Using Templates to Design

3. Understanding Specifications

It is important to have a good idea of the guidelines and specifications for a geofilter to avoid having your custom filter rejected by Snapchat after you submit it. If you follow all the specifications then you are more likely to have your filter approved so you can use it right away without having to make any adjustments. The files need to be 1080px by 1920px high, under 300KB in size and saved as a .PNG file with a transparent background.

4. Using Templates to Design

If you don’t have a designer to help you make a custom geofilter the good news is that Snapchat offers templates to help people create their own filters. You can edit and customize the templates if you don’t have any of your own design programs to create an overlay. These pre-made design elements can inspire you but you can also look at other people’s geofilters for ideas and inspiration.

5. Choose the Right Date for Your Filter

Custom Snapchat geofilters are only allowed to be active for 30 days and then they can no longer be run. You will also need to schedule the exact dates that it will run but not any more than 30 days ahead of the day you submit. That means you need to time your submission accordingly and have an idea of the specific time period where your filter will be most effective.

Geofilters can be effective if you are using them to help promote a special event or let people know that your business recently opened in the area. You can choose the exact start and end dates for the filter so that it falls prior and during your event or opening. If you want to create another geofilter after the 30 days are over you can simply submit a new design and choose new dates.

Snapchat geofilters are a great way for users to show their followers where they are and what they are doing. Custom filters can be a useful way to promote a business, a specific occasion or just be more creative with Snapchat. As long as you understand and follow Snapchat’s rules and guidelines about designing geofilters they can be a fun and effective addition to your online presence.