Archive for September 30, 2013

Remote Working Needs a Change in Attitude and Phone System

Recently there has been lot of discussion on the pros and cons of remote working, especially after Yahoo! ended its telecommuting program. This fad about remote working and work-from-home is growing day by day. The growing demand for remote working has forced companies to upgrade their tools and devices to match the new demand.

Remote working is the need of the day. It is not only a matter of convenience for your employees but also a matter to their productivity. Research has shown that remote working increases the productivity of a business and makes a business more profitable. To allow or support remote working, an employer needs to have certain advanced tools. A virtual phone is one of them.

Change Your Attitude

An employer should overcome all of his prejudices about remote working in order to enable a remote worker to be productive. Trust your employees, assign them responsibilities, talk about your expectations and treat them like adults – these are a few rules that you should follow to build a productive remote working environment. You can use a virtual phone system to solve most of your remote workers’ business needs.

Change Your Phone System

How does a virtual phone system help a remote worker?

A virtual phone is compatible with all cell phones and even has an app for most smart phones. This is perhaps most important for a remote worker. You do not need to buy any extra hardware or download any software. A virtual phone can be used with any existing phone line, even with your smart phones. It allows you to forward calls, receive voicemail, and fax.

An employee can go mobile for business as well. For example, sales people often need to work from remote locations. Using a virtual phone, you can stay connected with your customers and colleagues even when you are away from the office, travelling, in a hotel or on vacation.

Staying connected with customers 24×7 and answering their calls can be a great boost for your business. When customers call a business, they expect to speak to somebody and if their call goes unanswered, chances are they will never call the business again.

Faxing is another important feature of a virtual phone.  It is impossible for a remote worker to carry a fax machine along with them. The fax online feature of a virtual phone allows them to send and receive fax using any computer, tablet or smart phone. They do not need a fax machine, a telephone connection, ink or paper.  Faxes are sent via an online interface and received faxes can be viewed right from an email.

 

What else do you think an entrepreneur needs to cultivate a healthy remote working environment? Share with us at Facebook and Twitter.

Feature Thursday: Convert Fax to PDF in 2 Easy Steps

A fax machine occupying a huge space with a dedicated telephone connection is a matter of the past. Businesses no longer use a fax machine for sending or receiving fax, though fax still continues to be an important means of business communication. Send fax online or online fax has replaced traditional faxing in most cases. Online fax has made faxing easier, faster and more cost effective.

Send Fax Online

If you choose to use send fax online for your business, there’s no need for a dedicated telephone connection or a fax machine. Online faxes are sent via an online interface. It allows users to receive and send fax anytime and anywhere. It is faster, cheaper and also environmentally friendly, because online fax completely eliminates the use of paper.

Allows Users to Convert Received Documents to PDF

But this is not the only benefit users can expect from online faxing! Another very significant advantage of using online fax over a traditional fax is that it allows users to save, share or print faxed documents.  Online faxing also allows users to convert a received fax to PDF in just one click. This exactly matches the needs of modern day business communication. The user has the scope of sharing, sending, printing and viewing a document at his fingertips.

How to See the PDF?

Viewing a received fax as PDF is quite easy.  Below are 2 easy steps that you can follow to see your incoming document as a PDF

Step 1:

Click view to see the document

Step 2:

You can see the document. Click on the PDF option at the upper left corner to see or save the document as PDF

 

Wouldn’t you like to replace that clunky old fax machine with online faxing for your business? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter

Creating the Right Website for More Conversions

Did you know your website can play a very important role in your lead generation exercise? The color scheme, the call-to-action and the entire layout of your website can have a profound influence on the sales of your business. Websites should be treated not only as an important marketing device but also as a sales tool. It not only communicates important information to customers and visitors but also helps in directing leads through the sales funnel.

What should be the ideal design of a website to attract users’ attention and to direct them through the sales funnel?  Below is a brief description:

Call-to-Action should be in a Box

Considering from a sales perspective what are the most important parts of your website? Obviously, your lead generation form and button. Always put the lead generation form or button in a box. You really cannot afford to get these things mixed with other elements of the page including the heading and content. The heading and content of a webpage attracts visitors, provide them information and entice them to fill out the lead conversion form and push the lead conversion button. Putting a lead capture form or button in a box ensures that it stands out from the rest of the components in a website.

Directional Clues to the Call-to-Action

When you aim to direct your visitors and users to fill out the lead capture form and take action, you can do more than simply isolating the call-to-action. Putting call-to-action in a box does increase its visibility. There are also other techniques that you can use to increase the visibility of your call-to-action. For example, you can use words like “GO NOW” or “START HERE” to point to the call-to-action.

Put the Call-to-Action in More Than One Space

Imagine if a user wants to sign up and he cannot find the sign up button on your site. Do you think he will come again? Sign-up or any call-to-action buttons are usually stuck in a premium position on a website so that visitors can find it easily. But what if anybody misses that button? It is always better to put your call-to-action in more than one place in a website. Typically a website has a white board on the top that contains different navigation buttons. It is better to put your call-to-action there as well.

Choice of Colors

Whenever you are planning for a website, this is probably one of the few things that have come to your mind first. Choosing the color of your website is every important. First, the color you choose for the website should gel with your brand. Second, different colors produce different effects on its viewer. You must know the effects of every color before you choose to use one for your website. Kissmetrics has perfectly captured it in an infograph:

(Source: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/color-psychology/ )

Website Layout

The design of a website plays an important role in its success. A website should be designed in a way that users can gather information in few searches. Typically, a website should follow a two tier hierarchical structure for easy accessibility of information. Remember a design of a website should not only be aesthetic but at the same time it needs to be informative to communicate more to visitors.

 

Is your website perfectly designed for more conversions? What changes would you like to make to your website design? Share with us on Facebook and Twitter

5 Ways a Virtual Phone System helped Mompreneurs in their Businesses (Part II)

Here are 5 ways that a virtual phone system contributes to the success of mompreneurs:

Presenting a Professional Image

The messages of an auto attendant create the first impression of a business. Moreover, when a customer or a prospect calls a business, he/she first interacts with the auto attendant. The customizable and automated messages of an auto attendant help in creating an impression that the business is big, professional, and has different departments employing many people. Typically, an auto attendant presents a list of options to the caller and the caller can choose according to his need. This makes navigation easy.

Mompreneurs can also record after-hour messages or messages for weekends and holidays. These messages not only make a business look big and professional but also propagate important information to the callers (about the business) without the need for a receptionist.

Making Business Communication Easy

A virtual phone allows mompreneurs to screen a call and then decide whether or not to answer it. She has the option to choose to answer a call if she finds it important or forward it to the voicemail box to check it later. She can also format her phone system to forward all after-hours calls and calls on weekends and holidays to her voicemail box. She is informed immediately about every new message via a text to her cell phone or through email. Voicemail can be read in email or can be listened to simply by clicking on a link contained in the email. This allows her to manage all communication from one place.

Maintains Constant Connectivity with Clients

The advanced call forwarding of a virtual phone allows mompreneurs to maintain constant connectivity with customers.  She can program her phone system to forward calls to more than one phone number and also prioritize her phone numbers, indicating which numbers calls should be forwarded to first.  Usually her cell phone number would be the first choice. Then she can use her home number and any other number. She can also set the time when she wants to receive calls on a particular number. This allows a mompreneur to stay connected to her clients even when she is on a vacation, spending time with her kids or driving to pick up her children from school. If she misses answering a call, it will be forwarded to her voicemail.

Allows Faxing

Faxing is an important form of business communication and maintaining a fax machine and paraphernalia can be little expensive for a mompreneur. A virtual phone system has an online fax feature that allows mompreneurs to enjoy all the benefits of faxing without the hefty price tag.

Cost Effective Alternative to a Traditional Phone System

And finally, a virtual phone system can be used with any phone – home phone or cell phone. It even has a mobile app that is compatible with most smart phones! Mompreneurs need not worry about the cost of buying a virtual phone. It does not need any extra hardware or installation. Moreover, the service providers offer multiple affordable plans for businesses of every size.

Are you a mompreneur or planning to become one? This is your chance to realize your dreams with the help of a virtual phone system.

 

What do you think are the challenges of a mompreneur and how those can be addressed? We would love to hear back from you @ Facebook or Twitter.

Five Fast and Fabulous Ideas to Improve your Content Strategy

This is a guest post from Susan Jacobs

Everyone knows that content is king, but when it comes to marketing strategies today, your content truly needs to be the ruler. Today’s customers are now using tools to research products, services and companies before making a purchasing decision, which means that you can no longer win them over with flashy sales signs and creative imagery. Instead, you need to be able to win them over with content.

Some companies have a solid grasp on their content strategy and know exactly what content to produce to interest and attract their customers. Other companies continue to struggle with their content strategy and simply don’t know what to do in order to successfully reach their customers. Instead of losing customers to your competition, you need to invest in your content strategy, and the following are five fast and fabulous ideas that will help your content strategy improve.

1. Get organized.

Being organized is the most important aspect of content strategy. If you’re not organized, you will not be able to update your content consistently, and you won’t have any records to help you track your success. If you are using a blog, make sure that you keep a calendar of your blog posts, both past and future. This way, you’ll be able to ensure that your posts are timely and stay on track and that you’re not constantly posting about the same topics. You should also consider having a calendar for your social media accounts too and having a set plan for updating your general website content. This way, everyone in your office will be on the same page, and you can more easily determine what strategies are working and what needs to be revamped.

2. Stop being so sales-focused.

Customers are now in the mood for information that is relevant to the product or service they want. They want to know which products or services are the best, which companies sell them for the cheapest price and even what other customers have to say about it. Because of this, customers are looking for content that is informative and real. They don’t want sales pitches. In fact, if customers find content that seems to sales-focused, they will likely move on to other information that provides them with what they are looking for. Instead of using sales pitches in your content, be informative. Tell your customers more about the products and services you sell. Be sure to include all the information that will help them make a smarter purchasing decision. If you’re the company providing them with valuable information, they’ll be more likely to turn to your company when it comes time to actually make a purchase.

3. Optimize your site for mobile.

Customers are no longer doing their Internet research behind a desktop computer. More and more consumers are now reading blogs, using social media and simply scouring the Internet from their mobile phones and tablets, which means that you have to make sure all of your content is optimized for mobile. Make sure that your website and your blog can be accessed and read on mobile devices in order to ensure that your customers can reach your no matter where they are.

4. Be unique.

Have you ever been scanning the Internet and realized that you’ve read the exact same copy on multiple websites? It’s irritating, and it’s an easy way for websites to place content on their pages. While it may be a simple tactic, it’s something that your customers don’t like, and it can actually hurt your chances at successful SEO and content strategies. Make sure that all the copy you provide, whether it’s on social media, your blog or your website, you need to be sure it’s original. This will help you stand out from all the other sites that have simply copy and pasted someone else’s work to their site.

5. Use correct grammar and spelling.

Having poor grammar and spelling on your content strategy materials is a big mistake. Not only does it make you look unprofessional (and who wants to buy products or services from an unprofessional company), but it also hurts your chances at successful SEO. If you have misspellings, search engine crawlers are not going to be able to rank your keywords appropriately, which will hurt your chances at earning a high page rank. Always be sure to proofread your content using a spelling and grammar checker, such as Grammarly. This tool will ensure that your content is perfect, earning you better page ranks and more appreciation from your customers.

5 Ways a Virtual Phone System helped Mompreneurs in their Businesses (Part-I)

According to The State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, there are over 8.3 million women owned businesses in the US, generating about $1.3 trillion revenue and employing 7.7 million people, as of 2012. Between 1997 and 2012, when the number of businesses in the US increased by 37%, the number of women-owned firms increased by 54%. The growth in the number (54%), employment (up 9%) and revenues (up 58%) of women owned firms over the past 15 years exceeds the growth rates of all but the largest publicly traded firms.  The term “Mompreneur” was coined back in the late 1990s by Ellen Parlapiano and Pat Cobe, two leading authorities on women-owned businesses. They are co-authors of “Mompreneurs: A Mother’s Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Work-at-Home Success” and “Mompreneurs Online: Using the Internet to Build Work@Home Success.”

A Virtual Phone System for Mompreneurs

Like every other entrepreneur, a mompreneur also needs help to build a profitable business. She needs it all the more because she is juggling the needs of her kids and family while running her own business operations. To be successful in both spheres of life, she needs to maintain a strong demarcation between her professional life and her personal life. She cannot neglect one for the sake of the other.  A modern business demands 24/7 attention. A business no longer remains restricted between 9 am and 5 pm. On the contrary, a mompreneur needs to be available anytime for business.  How can she address this challenge? What is the best tool she can use?

 

Stay tuned to see how a virtual phone system contributes to the success of mompreneurs.

The Art of Answering Phone Calls

The telephone is still considered the preferred way for business communications.  Customers do use email, social networking sites and live chat, but the phone remains as the most preferred way for communicating with a business.  The way you answer phone calls can have a profound influence on your business. It is essential that you answer them correctly, timely and professionally to create a striking impression of your business on your customers.

Below Are Some Tips to Answer Phone Calls:

The first one is probably the most obvious – answer your phone calls quickly.  You should try to answer all of your calls within the first two rings. Nothing can be more unprofessional than leaving a caller hanging on for long. The caller has chosen to call your business over your competitors and you should try to exceed their expectations.

When you answer a call, be warm and enthusiastic. Your caller might get a negative feeling if you sound dull, drab or tired. Try to smile while answering a call. Though a caller cannot see your smile, it does change the tone of your voice and that can have a very positive effect on the caller.

Welcome your caller first and then identify your company and also yourself. For example, “Thank you for calling ABC Company. This is Maria. How may I help you?” This perfectly sets the tone for a professional conversation.

It is important that you speak slowly and clearly over the phone. Try to pronounce every word correctly. Also check your business vocabulary. Instead of using words like “OK” or “yeah” it is better to use words like “Certainly” or “Yes”. Prepare a list of important business terms and try to use them during your telephone conversation.

If you need to take notes, reconfirm the information before hanging up. Check the spelling of the person’s first and last name. If you are taking down a telephone number or email address be sure to read it back.  If possible, assure the caller that he can expect a call back soon. If you are taking a call on behalf of your colleague who is busy in a meeting, or is out of the office, try to give the caller an estimated time when he can expect a call back.

All business calls should be returned within one business day. Remember the proverb: an early bird catches the worm. So if you wish to win business, try to be an early bird too.

If you have to put a caller on hold, always ask the caller first if they would mind holding on for a moment. Remember to update the caller with the latest progress after a few seconds – leaving someone holding while you go off to get information for them can be frustrating for the caller – come back and offer to return the call if it seems like it will take a while.

Avoid Answering Calls on a Speaker Phone.

It is equally important to consider out of hours business calls. It is better to use an auto attendant to record after hour messages and direct callers to the voicemail box.

 

How do you answer calls? What do you do to make your business sound professional and smart? Share with us on Facebook or Twitter

Should You Use Social Media for Business?

Whether you are operating in the B2B or B2C space, social media can help any business to reach out to its customers more effectively. Customers also prefer to interact with companies through social networking sites. Hence, it is vital for a business to create a remarkable online presence to tap into the interests of its customers. If properly implemented, social media marketing can do wonders for a business.

Broadly speaking, social media marketing is a part of internet marketing that uses various social networking sites to communicate with customers and promote a business’s brand. Primarily, it constitutes of all the activities on a social networking space including sharing content, videos, and images for the purpose of marketing, branding and communication.  If used properly, social media marketing can give tremendous momentum to a business. Below is a brief guide to help new entrepreneurs in their effort to market through social networking sites.

Defining goals

Social media marketing is a part of internet marketing and so the goal of a social media campaign remains more or less the same as that of internet marketing. Defining the goals of your social media effort is very important to measure ROI.

  • Generating web traffic
  • Creating brand awareness
  • Increased conversions
  • Creating positive brand identity
  • Healthy communication with customers

Tips to Use Social Media

Planning: Every successful effort needs planning and social media marketing is not an exception. Before starting your social campaigns, do thorough research on keywords that you are about to use. Decide how you’re going to position yourself on the social networking sites and brainstorm about the content that you would like to present to entice customers.

Content: As with other areas of online marketing, content rules the realm of social media marketing as well. Try creating a variety of ways to engage visitors using videos, images, and a variety of content including blogs, articles and infographics.

Blogging: Blogging is an effective social media tool that allows businesses to share their content with their customers and prospects. You can start your very own company blog to share your business information with customers and readers.

Links: The general rule of social networking sites is to use unique, informative content that readers find interesting. Nevertheless, you can also share links to other articles on your social sites, if you feel the article is really interesting.

Google analytics: As with your other online marketing efforts, use Google analytics with your social marketing as well to measure your efforts. Google analytics is a wonderful social media marketing tool that helps a business to track the results of using social networking sites.

 

Have you been struggling to make a remarkable social media presence? Then these tips are for you. We are also interested to hear more about your social media marketing @Twitter and Facebook.