Archive for May 29, 2013

A Virtual Phone System is the Strength of a Small Business in an Uncertain Economy

Competition is brutal in this modern economic environment. You have to make use of all your resources to stay in the competition. To be successful, it is important that you stay in constant touch with your customers. A virtual phone system is perhaps the only communication device that uses the most modern technology to stay in touch with customers – always. A virtual phone is not expensive and is affordable even for a small business. In fact, every business can benefit by using this new age technology.

Uses New Age Technology

A virtual phone system meets all the communication needs of a business. It is easy to use and is not high priced. One of the greatest advantages for small and medium businesses to use this technology is that it is not expensive and it makes the communication system of a business really effective and strong. A virtual phone contributes to a huge cost cut to the overall operational cost of a business. There’s hardly any expense for maintaining this phone system. The phone systems are hosted by a service provider, much like websites.

Offers High End Features

Small businesses can avail most of the high-end technologies while staying within their small budget. Small entrepreneurs can add greeting and welcome notes for everyone who calls on their business number. The advanced features of a virtual phone system allow transferring of calls to colleagues sitting next to each other, across the country or to different phone numbers.   Using the call forwarding feature you can forward calls to more than one phone number to keep you in touch with customers always.

Enhanced Business Image

All these features enhance the image of a business significantly.  This phone system helps you stay accessible to customers always. No matter whether you are at home, in the office or travelling, you can still touch base with customers. Online fax is another important feature of a virtual phone system that allows business communication anytime.

Attend Customers 24/7

As a business expands, you need people to manage phone calls round the clock. The auto attendant of a virtual phone system works 24/7 without any human help. You pre-record all the messages and instructions on an auto attendant. You can also edit the messages and instructions of an auto attendant according to festival, season or hours of operations. You can also upload information about promotions and discounts on the auto attendant. This information can be played after the welcome message or when the caller is waiting on hold to get his call forwarded.

A virtual phone makes a business look bigger than it actually is. It is the best communication device to maintain connectivity with customers and stay in touch with them always. A virtual phone system is one of the best tools to survive the competition and stay in business.

How To Gain Trust As An Online Marketer

This is a guest post from Kelli Cooper (ExhibitDeals.com)

If people refuse to trust you people will not buy from you. You can market for 15 or even 20 hours daily. You can work your fingers to the bone, tweeting, sharing helpful posts on Facebook and Google Plus and creating practical tips through your online marketing blog. You can bust your tail but without trust nobody signs up for your product or service.

Nobody buys your ebook, or attends your webinars or joins your marketing team. Why?
Nobody trusts you. You buy what you trust. Look inside your kitchen cabinets. Each brand is trustworthy. You likely have seen hundreds of commercials touting the quality of these products. You are programmed to know, like and trust the brand of cereal, or the snack food, or the paper towels you use. The trust building process might take days, weeks or months.
You cannot put a time table on building trust for each individual opens up and trusts at different times.

Use Social Media Properly

Open up your Facebook account. Are you not on Facebook? Massive mistake!
Set up a new account now. Be transparent. Tell of your successes and failures, post a smiling picture as your avatar and be free to share of yourself, your story. Being transparent shows prospects that you have nothing to hide. If you have nothing to hide people generally begin to trust you quickly.

Now look up an online marketer with no twitter, Facebook or Google Plus accounts. Where are they? You cannot trust an online entrepreneur who rarely makes their social presence known. This hiding away indicates the individual prefers to hide away, and hiding away is a warning signal. Demand transparency. Demand social media accounts associated with online marketers, and if you market online you better have accounts set up on twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.

Create Massive Value to Gain Trust

How does it feel to be pitched? How does it feel to have people sell to you? Not too good. You probably hate this, being pitched to.
But it feels good to have someone help you without looking for something in return. You might be in business and you might wish to make a sale but you gain trust by creating massive value for your target audience without pressuring people into making a buy.

Creating value-packed emails and sending these messages out to your list or publishing helpful blog posts daily influences your audience to trust you. If you give freely people quickly see that you are not interested in simply making a sale. You want to help someone for the sake of helping them.

Helping with this intent in mind makes you magnetic to individuals who choose to trust you. Solve problems, help people and spare the endless pitching, and individuals will be quick to trust you.

Be All Over the Place

This tip entails the most work but the long term trust you gain is well worth it.
Write guest posts on authority blogs from within your niche. Socialize on Facebook and Twitter. Post helpful comments to blogs related to your niche.
By being all over the place you instantly gain credibility and improve the trust factor around your business opportunity.

Marketers with high visibility can be trusted by many simply because they are being seen while the masses rarely put in the legwork to get themselves out there. Just by spending an extra 30 minutes today working social networks or writing a guest post you can gain the trust of an increasing number of people.

About Author

Kelli Cooper blogs about all things marketing; if trade shows are part of your offline marketing efforts, she recommends visiting exhibitdeal.com for all of your trade show needs.

Why Choose a Small Business Phone System

A small business phone system lets you connect with your co-workers and customers via any phone system including smart phones, cell phone and home phone. These phone systems are especially designed for small and mid-sized businesses. A small business phone is the perfect communication tool for every business.  It helps to make the mobile workforce productive, enhances the growth capacity of a business and provides improved customer service.

Factors for Choosing a Small Business Phone:

A small business phone system provides easy access to anyone who wants to use a professional phone system for his/her business. It helps to communicate quickly with customers and co-workers. It is one of the easiest ways for customers and colleagues to reach the right person in no time. A small business phone is an important investment for every small business. There are certain factors that play an important role in choosing a small business phone. One of them is of course, cost.

Cost

A small business phone system lets you enjoy all the advanced features of a full-scale business phone system at a much reduced rate. Moreover, it allows a business to enjoy advanced features like online fax. The auto attendant of a small business phone also ideally replaces a receptionist, which significantly reduces your business operating cost.  Further, it also minimizes chances of missed calls that significantly reduce lost revenues and increase sales.

Advanced Features

A small business phone system offers advanced features including auto attendant and online fax. The auto attendant efficiently performs all the duties of a receptionist 24×7 without any human interference. Moreover, an auto attendant can also be used for marketing and promotional needs.

Online fax, on the other hand allows sending and receiving fax without using a fax machine. You do not even need a telephone connection, scanner or paper for faxing. It is sent almost instantly using an online interface. It is the faster, more cost effective and efficient way of faxing.

Increased Sales

A small business phone system keeps you close to your customers always. The advanced call forwarding feature of a virtual phone forwards calls to more than one phone number, of which your cell phone should be your first choice. You can also include other numbers like office phone number, home phone number, etc. It does not matter whether you are at home, traveling or in a hotel room, none of your calls will go unanswered – you are never far from your customers.

U.S. Small Businesses Should Use Toll Free Numbers For Improved Sales In 2013

 

U.S. small business owners have always been optimistic, even in the face of furious economic struggles. Some of them have weathered the turbulent economic climate of 2008 and there are quite a few who are new to the business. Toll free numbers can help both the groups of businesses to stay competitive in 2013. Research by Dell and Intel shows that nine out of ten start-up entrepreneurs are worried about the U.S. economy. Nevertheless, 1800 numbers can be an important tool for them to generate more sales.

Reduces effort and expenditure
Toll free numbers attract more people to call you for free. Since these numbers do not charge the callers even for long distance calls, they are capable of attracting customers from across the U.S. and Canada. This is definitely a huge advantage for any business. Think of the efforts you have to make and the money you have to spend for reaching out to customers across the country! Reduce your effort and expenditure simply by including a toll free number in your marketing campaigns.

Assures customers
Toll free numbers are often considered the best friend of start-up business owners. They give businesses an edge that is rare. As soon as an entrepreneur includes an 1800 number in his contact information, it is understood that he is capable of providing 24×7 customer service.  In an age where the success of any business is heavily dependent on the quality of customer service it provides, it is important for you to get one such number for your business as well. Customers feel convinced of a company’s integrity when they see a business using such a number.

Improves marketing campaigns
The easiest way for making a business look legitimate is by using toll free numbers. They are successful in generating more customer response from a marketing or promotional campaign. They increase a business’s traffic which in turn can boost sales. You advertise with a telephone number expecting customers to call you at that number. But they need to first be able to remember your number.

A vanity number makes a telephone number more memorable.  A vanity number is more successful for marketing and promotional purposes because people can remember it easily and they can recall it whenever there’s a need.

Branding is important. A brand represents the corporate identity of a business. Establishing an identity is essential for the success of any business and especially when you are not sure of favorable economic conditions. Customers must be able to recognize you first. Toll free numbers help a small business to build its brand, attract attention and finally answer calls in a sophisticated and professional way.

Entrepreneur Life – 6 Simple Ways To Be More Productive Around The Home

It’s become the new American Dream – being able to manage your own life and career from a home office. The advantages of a flexible, home based career are many. No longer do you have to punch a time clock, have a boss breathing down your neck, or deal with the litany of unpleasant office politics and fashion shows. You can even stay in your pajamas all day and listen to your favorite tunes as long as your spouse doesn’t object.

Yet, for many entrepreneurs, working from home has its own unique set of challenges. One of the pitfalls of working for yourself on a daily basis is staying motivated enough to be productive. It’s too easy to get into the trap of leisure. It’s equally difficult to maximize this time by getting some actual work done. The reality of the work from home lifestyle is that you alone must find ways to trick yourself into being productive so that you can find success at the end of the rainbow.

Getting Motivated to Be Productive While Working from Home

1 – Establish a Routine and Stick to it.  Perhaps it’s the appeal of being able to set your own schedule that makes entrepreneurs tick? But this carefree spirit can get you in trouble if you start slacking. To keep in track, establish a routine for each day starting with the time you rise, get showered, dressed and ready for work. Set clear work hours to avoid being in the 24/7 work mode; an effort that can help you to focus on work during work time, and family time during off hours.

2 – Get in the Mindset of a Successful Entrepreneur. To become successful, you must convert your mind to thinking like a successful person. Associate with others who are successful, learn from them, and adopt this attitude. Why is this important? Worrying about money and where the next project will come from only serves to distract you from the work at hand.

3 – Set Specific Household Goals with a To Do list. It has been said that planning is the most important aspect of a productive day. At the start of every work period, take the time to jot down your tasks for the day, so you can stay focused on your objectives. Keep this list nearby as a visual reminder, and cross things off as you go along. By the end of the day, you will be amazed at how productive you’ve been!

4 – Learn What Your Work Style is and Use it. For every entrepreneur, there is a peak work time. This may be in the mornings, following lunch, or even late in the evenings. Instead of chaining yourself to your laptop, mindless surfing the net, why not use this time to take care of a few things around the house and then come back to your work when you are fresh? Use your work style to get work done in bursts, rather than wasting precious time doing nothing constructive.

5 – Get Out of the House at Least Once a Week. While you may enjoy the sanctity of your quiet home office, even hermits need some personal interaction once in a while. Take your laptop and head to a favorite coffee shop or bookstore once in a while. Or better yet, find a public Wi-Fi spot near an outdoor cafe or a park where you can be around people and experience nature. This will restore you and give you added energy to be more productive.

6 – Give Yourself Permission to Celebrate Achievements. Remember those recognition certificates you used to get when you worked in corporate America? You are likely to have experienced a sense of achievement, but now as a home based entrepreneur, not-so-much. To become more productive, you must set your own incentives. Plan treats for yourself, such as a day off from working, a short trip, or that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing. This will give you the fuel for achieving more and celebrating your successes.

By using the above tricks, you can become more productive and experience greater levels of satisfaction in your home-based career. You’ll also have more time to get things done around your home you’d like to do, and to spend time with the people who mean the most to you.

Advertising Using a Vanity Toll Free Number

Getting a vanity toll free number for your business is just the beginning. No doubt, an easy to remember vanity number offers any business a huge chance to help its branding but you should know where and how to use it in order to get maximum benefits. A vanity number can be used anywhere – from business cards to billboards but which one is more effective? Following is a brief overview of some of the avenues that should be considered while advertising with a vanity number:

Advertise it Online

As it is said, everyone is online and so should you be. In today’s world when the use of the internet is inevitable in every step of life, it is quite logical to begin your advertising campaigns from there. Google AdWords or Facebook are excellent places to begin your advertising campaign. There are also quite a few other ad network sites and you can use them as well. A major benefit for using a vanity number in an online ad is that since ads are charged by the click, seeing a number may encourage people to click more often. Since vanity toll free number shows the brand along with the contact number, people click it only when they are genuinely interested. Research has shown that businesses that use a vanity number for their advertising can save significant cash using pay-per-click advertising campaigns.

Advertise it on Social Networking Sites

Social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube also have great potential for advertising. Create a fan page for your business on Facebook and advertise your vanity number there. You must also have noticed the side advertisements on Facebook. They are not expensive. You can also advertise your business there. Remember to include the vanity toll free number in these advertisements as well. Create a company page on LinkedIn and advertise your vanity number there as well. You can also use Twitter or YouTube to promote your number. If properly used, social media can give a brand huge exposure.

Advertise via Traditional Media As Well

Today, in this cyber age when everything happens online, it is easy to forget the traditional ways of advertising. If you think that the traditional forms of advertising have lost their edge – think again. Even in this age you cannot afford to discard the traditional advertising ways completely. Newspaper advertising, billboards, and flyers should be considered for advertising your vanity toll free number.

Regardless of where you are advertising, the most important thing is to secure a vanity number for your business that perfectly describes your business and represents your brand.