Displaying articles for: October 2018
SD-WAN: Networking made simpler
The appetite for bandwidth among businesses large and small is increasingly voracious, as are expectations for application versatility and performance. Yet the bandwidth that is essential for application access and reliability is not getting any easier to manage by yesterday’s IT processes. To better harness costs and network complexity, many businesses are looking to the public internet for connection options and custom configurations that can be made simpler by SD-WAN.
Software-defined operations enabled by SD-WAN help simplify IT work and securely connect multiple locations. With the technology, bandwidth can be dynamically distributed from a central location to any other location on the network through a single interface. If a preferred route degrades, another one can be assigned quickly and easily. A centrally controlled WAN allows the IT lead to execute numerous operations in minutes, eliminating multiple manual operations.
To put it simply, the benefits of SD-WAN can return value to organizations in several strategic ways. Chief among them:
Reduced complexity--Centralized management enables and simplifies unified standards for quality of service (QoS) and security across the network.
Increased efficiency--With SD-WAN, data is routed based on each application’s requirements, as well as current network conditions.
Sustained availability--Near real-time decisions can be made to redirect traffic to the service that is most suitable at any given time. Secondary network connectivity and inexpensive broadband allow for a cost-effective way to keep the network up and running.
Cost control--Businesses can use premium connections when needed, and low-cost routes for less sensitive purposes, such as posting to social media. Pricey bandwidth can be more closely managed when inexpensive internet connectivity can be designated for noncritical applications.
The bottom line is that SD-WAN holds great promise as a simple means for helping companies of almost any size tame network operations, enable security, continuity, and innovation for every branch location and transition to advanced business communications. To learn more about software-defined networking, check out the free webinar, Simple, Secure Networking with SD WAN on November 1st at 2 PM
Refresh these 3 critical areas of your online marketing and web presence for a great 2019
The end of 2018 is fast approaching, and that means it’s time to touch up our business plans and make some resolutions to really grow our brands in 2019. It’s also time to plan and budget for online marketing.
Here are three critical areas of your online marketing and presence which you should keep in mind --especially if you’re a small business owner who strives to improve your business in the New Year.
Your content mix and amplification
Many small businesses could gain a competitive advantage if only they’d invest more effort into creating a better content mix. Every piece of content is a form of advertising – even your tweets – and by focusing on higher quality and farther reach, you can get more leads. If you currently blog and post on social media, that’s a start – but consumers are expecting videos, slideshows, infographics, Instagram stories, and even memes from the brands they follow. In short, start thinking about your media the way you think about your core business.
- Check that your branding is unified. Is your tone consistent across your website content, blog posts, videos, and social media channels? You should periodically archive old social media and blog posts which might have seemed like a good idea a few years ago, but don’t currently match your brand. A tip is to check engagement—meaning the likes, comments and shares your posts have received. Posts with low engagement probably fail to match what your audience expects from your brand.
- If you invest in high-quality blog posts, videos, and infographics, but see little return, chances are you need to invest more in content amplification. This is a missing piece for many business owners. Content amplification means utilizing all available outlets so your content is viewed by as many eyes as possible. Pay-per-click (PPC), social shares, influencer shares, repurposing for newsletters – these are some methods to amplify content so it is not limited to the source page but promoted across the web.
- If you find creating or amplifying content to be tedious or too time consuming, outsource it. Many boutique agencies work with small businesses that have limited budgets—or consider hiring someone on a part-time basis.
The buyer’s journey
The point of your content is to generate leads, right? And it’s amazing when site visitors show up, you have what they need, and they immediately call, email, or buy. Unfortunately, this rarely happens on the first visit, especially if you sell complex solutions or have a lot of competitors. Instead, today’s buyers perform a significant amount of research before they are ready to buy. They hold the power in their quest for information, which helps them make the best possible choices within their budget.
What does this means for small businesses? Rather than focusing exclusively on closing the final sale, they also need to pay attention to micro-conversions along the buyer’s journey. This means converting visitors into subscribers to your newsletter, attendees to an online webinar, viewers of a video, downloaders of your PDF, or repeat readers of your blog (see why your content mix is important?). It is similar to how salespeople are trained to “close the next step” if they cannot close a deal at the moment – meaning to get agreement for a follow up call, a meeting with higher-ups, or some other action which gets the buyer to say yes and keep them engaged.
Audit your buyer’s journey online. They key to do this is to examine your analytics. Ask questions such as:
- Where are our visitors coming from?
- Which are the main entry pages?
- How long do they stay and what do they do?
- What can we improve and test on high-bounce pages for better results?
- What micro-conversion can we go for based on the pages they visit?
- Where do most visitors exit the site, and what can we do to engage them further?
User privacy and security
This year’s new GDPR laws, while specifically applying to websites with visitors from the EU, nevertheless forced many businesses to rethink how they handle user information. The general public is also more aware of data and privacy issues, thanks to the troubles Facebook has had – including its CEO testifying before a Senate hearing regarding its user data monetization efforts. The demise of Google+ after user data was compromised further illustrates the need for every business owner to keep their data as secure as possible.
- Install a SSL certificate on your website. This is increasingly important, as it could affect your search engine rankings. Google’s Chrome browser display a “Not Secure” notice right in the address bar for all websites lacking an SSL certificate, potentially scaring off visitors.
- Use strong passwords everywhere and change them often. Leave no device without a lock screen when not in use.
- Change passwords when employees leave.
For more tactics to improve your business please register to attend my webinar Top 10 Small Business Growth Tactics for 2019 on November 14th at 11 p.m. PT.
I will cover 10 great highly effective small business growth tactics including:
- How to leverage your biggest competitors to find new customers of your own
- An email tactic to increase your open rate by five- to tenfold
- A simple homepage design element to boost credibility and prestige
- How to get free publicity and brand yourself as a trusted expert
- Tips to make your marketing more viral and rise to the top of Google search results
- Social media influencer tricks for increased engagement and sales
It’s FREE, and will definitely be worth your time, I promise. REGISTER.