Author Archives: Miles Young

About Miles Young

Miles Young is a freelance writer, designer and business columnist, and a contributing author for the 'corePHP' blog. Business technology news, views and insights.

4 Things to Consider When Setting Up a B2C Landing Page

google analytics

Going fishing? You are if you’re setting up a B2C landing page. The goal of a B2C is to create instant conversions that make sales. How do you get consumers to land on your page, click your links, and fall in love with your product? Learn about these four B2C design concepts before publishing your page. Continue reading

6 Things Your Business Should Know About NFC and Mobile Payments

Image via Flickr by Joe Ross

NFC or ‘near field communication’ is the latest tech trend aiming to consolidate the consumer experience. The mobile technology uses a connection between two actors: a NFC device and some sort of information receiver or emitter. Despite its perceived simplicity in explanation, businesses often encounter uncertainties when discussing the possibilities for adding NFC infrastructure to their businesses. Here are a few things your business should know about this fast-moving, widespread business trend, particularly its use for mobile payments.

1. NFC Devices Make Mobile Payment Easy

The NFC technology makes paying for goods even more convenient than credit cards. Reaching for a wallet will be a forgotten habit if the technology reaches widespread popularity. All consumers have to do is tap their NFC device against an NFC terminal or signal receiver and the transaction is complete. These automatic connections simplify the consumer experience and aid in the further evolution of monetary exchanges. If NFC isn’t an option, consider one credit card digital wallet to complete all of your purchases and transactions. Safety is always a priority when making mobile payments, so make sure that you’re protecting yourself the right way.

2. Short-Range Communication Is Safer

NFC technology sounds like Bluetooth due to its mobile connection abilities and sharing compatibility; however, NFC sets itself apart from Bluetooth in two keys ways. First, Bluetooth pulls information from devices up to ten meters away. NFC connections need a shorter distance of four to ten centimeters. Second, Bluetooth requires a mediator to help set up the connection between two devices, while the connection is instantaneous (about 1/10th of a second) with NFC. This shorter distance and instant communication prevents unwanted interception of sensitive information that is seemingly flying through the air.

3. NFC Lacks Mainstream Use Due to Competing Development

Unfamiliarity with NFC technology is not unlikely in today’s general population. NFC’s popularity has been severely stunted by banks, credit card companies, and phone carriers competing over NFC development. Google, Apple, and PayPal are all finding ways to develop the widespread, branded NFC technology. Meanwhile, in Japan, businesses have highly integrated NFC systems for mobile payments and consumer recognition.

4. NFC Allows You to Track Consumer Behavior

An indirect and valuable feature of NFC is its ability to track and predict consumer behavior. While savings card and frequent buyer cards already track what customers buy at their businesses, the unique two-way communication ability of the NFC device allows businesses to track, categorize, and instantly turn this personalized information into a marketing strategy unique to the consumer. NFC terminals can relay coupons and directly transmit marketing incentives through a single touch.

5. There Are Security Concerns with NFC

While the short-range of NFC interactions does offer superior protection from unwanted interception compared to longer-distance technologies, especially in crowded areas, there are almost no universal safeguards to protect your information when using NFC.

Consumers must trust banks, credit card providers, and companies like Google, to encrypt their information. Other suggestions for preventing the always possible security breach involve consumer behavior, such as turning off the phones’ NFC capabilities when not in use; however, this may decrease its desirability as the instantaneous trait is particularly pleasing to the mobile world. Consumers should be advised to look into identity theft protection services if they decide to use NFC enabled devices.

6. Many Businesses Will Adopt NFC Infrastructure

NFC developers and technology companies are still wrestling with many of the concerns about the security of NFC; however, technology forecasters are predicting widespread usage within the next six years, akin to that of Japan. Already in 2014, one in every five phones has NFC capabilities. Businesses will benefit from adding the NFC terminals and infrastructure to their businesses, including replacing earlier one-way RFID readers, which limit communication to ‘person to company’ and not vice versa.

The future is bright for NFC and easy, quick mobile transactions. The technology is already moving us towards a more intimate relationship with the businesses, retailers, and marketers who sell the goods consumers know and love. As companies work towards the perfect NFC device, businesses adopt infrastructure that make NFC payments possible, and as consumers learn about the accessibility and ease of use, NFC will infiltrate the mainstream and become a household name in technological development.

5 Mistakes That Can Kill Startups

Image via Flickr by Nguyen Vu Hung

Looking to launch a startup? Here are five mistakes to stay clear of to keep your business from crashing and burning.

Not Planning is Planning to Fail

Any new startup that’s about to launch should have a well-written plan in place with goals that are expected to be achieved. By not making a plan for your startup, you’re planning to fail.

You have created that great idea, and now you need to come up with some realistic goals and expectations that you plan to meet in order to achieve success in the future. Setting goals is hard but imperative when it comes to defining what your startup is working toward.

Without a clear definition, it’ll be harder to determine when something is going wrong or when you need to say no to something. When setting goals for your startup, use the S.M.A.R.T. goals technique. This will help you to create goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Continue reading

How Will the Cloud Evolve in 2014?

Image via Flickr by George Thomas

As we push further into the 21st century, the internet has continued to adapt to fulfill the needs of its demanding user base. Web 2.0 brought forth many changes to the medium such as social media, crowdsourcing and richer user experiences that many of us take for granted. As the infrastructure grew, so did the need for a more flexible data environment.

Enter the cloud. At this point, the general public has been thoroughly educated on its uses and benefits thanks to its seamless integration with mobile devices and digital platforms. However, while consumers are enjoying cloud-enabled apps like Spotify and Google Apps, it’s the businesses that have truly been reaping the benefits. According to IBM, companies that adopt competitive cloud technologies are doubling in revenue growth when compared to others that are behind the curve. Now passed its infancy stage; the future is bright for the cloud. Here’s what we can expect from cloud technology in 2014 and beyond. Continue reading

6 Tips For Making Customer Feedback Work For You

Customer feedback may seem like a double-edged sword, because if you’re going to rejoice over positive experiences then you have to pay attention to criticism as well. What every business needs to realize, however, is that all customer feedback is beneficial. The key is to take what your customers tell you and make it work for the betterment of your business.

Use Feedback to Encourage Engagement

Image via Flickr by Andy Piper

One of the most effective ways to use customer feedback to your advantage is to encourage customer engagement. To begin with, you must give your customers the opportunity to share their experiences. Both new and established clients may distrust a business that doesn’t give them a way to vent or share their positive experiences. Your best options include:

  • Setting up a feedback submission form
  • Publishing an email address devoted to customer experiences, with staff dedicated to reading and responding to emails
  • Creating pages on review sites, such as Foursquare and Yelp
  • And setting up profiles on popular social media sites—especially Facebook, Twitter, and Google+—where a social media manager responds to fans and followers who share their stories

Test Solutions to Different Problems

Do you have an ongoing problem with your business? From slow shipping times to crashing websites, your customers will let you know. Don’t get offended or defensive, because this is the perfect opportunity to test new solutions. Invite your customers to share their ideas. You can’t listen to every possible solution, but actively listening to what your client base wants can help you raise your standards and deliver a better product.

Use Positive Feedback as a Marketing Tool

Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising. Your business garners positive feedback, doesn’t it? Use that as a marketing tool. Blurbs from happy customers will show others that your business is the best. Seasoned business veterans and MBA business school graduates will both tell you that high-quality and transparent customer service goes a long way to building customer retention.

While it’s true that customers are always willing to share criticisms, they’re just as eager to share their positive experiences—especially when you have active social sites that invite participation. You can use the positive feedback to show new and would-be buyers that you take pride in satisfying your customers. You simply have to use authentic, honest feedback for your marketing plans.

Correct Mistakes Using Negative Feedback

Image via Flickr by Horia Varlan

Your customers know what they want. If you see poor reviews that mention the same problem over and over, that gives you a fantastic opportunity to correct any problems. The negative feedback you receive can lead to the creation of those all-important solutions. If you have an app, for instance, and a high percentage of reviewers complain of crashing, inappropriate ads, or other glitches, take the opportunity to correct your mistakes.

You can use negative feedback to correct bad advertising gimmicks, low-quality materials, or issues such as fading colors in clothing, odd tastes in foodstuffs, and breaking clasps in jewelry. Whatever your business, pay attention to the biggest complaints and find a way to correct your mistakes. Some people will complain simply because they’re unhappy or cantankerous. However, you can easily separate the legitimately unhappy customers from the people who complain for the sake of it.

Grow Your Reputation

As you become known for glowing reviews, high satisfaction rates, and your willingness to listen to your customers, your reputation will grow. Your customers buy from you for a reason. They want you to hear them. The best companies earn their reputations through hard work and customer service. Engaging with your customers, even when they aren’t happy, and using reviews to improve your business will reflect well on you.

Monitor Your Results

However, none of this is possible if you don’t monitor your results. Follow up with the customers who come to you with problems. Ask them how they like new layouts, improved products, and updated websites, apps, or services. This, too, will have a positive impact on your reputation.

Customer feedback is one of the most valuable tools at your disposal. Once you know how to use it, the benefits are limitless. How do you respond to positive and negative feedback?

5 WordPress Marketing Resources/Plugins You Need to See

disilvestro4.23

 

Image via Shutterstock

Making the most of your existing website content and getting it in front of the eyes that you need to see it has always been the job of a marketer. With the explosion of websites built on the WordPress platform, marketing has never been simpler with the use of plugins. Whether you work for a small company or need to market your own work, consider installing and testing these plugins.

1. Live Chat Plugin ($15)

What if you could talk directly to customers when they were unsure if they wanted to purchase your product or service? With a live chat plugin, you can. This plugin can take your conversion rate to the next level and many experienced marketers know this. Similar chat tools started popping up years ago but they required complicated custom code and a large investment. For just $15, you can download and install the Live Chat Plugin on your website. You can set it up so anyone on your team can chat with customers and answer their questions.

2. Amazon Auto Links (Free)

Whether you are an affiliate marketer or you just sell your own products on Amazon, you can’t afford to not have a link localizer. This plugin detects what country your visitor is from and only shows Amazon links in that country’s store. The alternative to a plugin like this is to include four or five different links to all the biggest countries (United States, UK, Canada, Germany), which isn’t user friendly and still means you miss out on some sales. With this plugin, visitors always get the right links and they will see your products when they want to, instead of being directed to a store they can’t buy from.

3. Shareaholics (Free)

Getting your users to share your content has always been a chore. The Shareaholics plugin makes it a lot easier, though. This plugin is essentially three plugins in one that all work together to help you maximize the amount of social shares your content attracts. There are custom options included to improve both desktop and mobile sharing. Users using their Samsung tablet on Wi-Fi to those on an HTC-One on T-Mobile networks will  be able to easily share your content.

It starts with attractive sharing buttons that are fully customizable. You choose which ones you want displayed, where they show up, and if they should float along on the screen or not. Also included is a great related content module that is specifically designed to keep your visitors reading content on your site. This presents another opportunity for visitors to share content. Finally, there are detailed analytics so you can learn what content is shared on what platform and make tweaks to optimize your sharing rate.

4. WordPress SEO by Yoast (Free)

Search engine traffic is some of the most valuable traffic you can get to your website, not to mention free. In order to rank your website’s content better on the big search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, it’s important to include keywords in your content and optimize your pages in other ways. WordPress SEO has an in-depth page evaluator to help you improve your content’s search engine visibility. You can easily edit meta tags as well as specify which parts of your site should or shouldn’t be indexed. There is also an optionable sitemap component that you can use to help improve “crawlability.”

5. Thank Me Later (Free)

This is a simple plugin that can pay big dividends. When someone shows an interest in your content and leaves a comment, Thank Me Later will automatically email them a few days later with a thank you message. Most commenters leave their message and forget to return to see responses, but not with this plugin. It’s a great way to build brand loyalty and get return visitors.

There are millions of WordPress plugins designed to help your website. Spend some time trying these five plugins and test how much they can improve your marketing efforts.