In The News: March Madness Distracts Workers, Raising Wages May Force You to Reduce Hours

Did it feel like everyone in your office this week was a little distracted?

Were you a little distracted?

There’s a reason for that. Monday was the first work day with the new NCAA March Madness bracket. That means workers everywhere — even in virtual offices these days — were really hard at work … picking random college basketball teams to win the big office pool.

That’s right. The most asked question around your office this week was probably: What’s a Wofford?

In new data from Monster this week, we learned that an incredible 31% of employees in American workplaces will spend half their time focused on March Madness. That’s watching games but also all the other hoopla.

If you have any questions about how organized your team is or if they’re working together, watch them put together a tournament pool. Presumably, a legal one, of course.

There were other headlines this week, of course. They’re included in our news roundup below.

Meanwhile, we’re watching VCU. We’ve got them going far.

Employment

Increased Minimum Wages Require Hour Cuts to Compensate, Whole Foods Example Shows

Amazon recently began a $15 minimum wage for its employees at Whole Foods, but then the grocery store began cutting workers’ hours, according to the Guardian. The multinational e-commerce company enacted the increased wage in November for all U.S. workers, in response to public pressure and criticism over its pay for employees.

39% of Small Business Hires This Year Will Be Sales and Marketing Staff

The latest report from Clutch says 39% of small businesses will add sales and marketing employees. This data point underscores the importance of sales and marketing in today’s digital commerce. You must optimize websites, social media channels and eCommerce to make it happen. And you need sales and marketing employees to do the heavy lifting.

Management

Survey Reveals 56% of Bloggers Get Better Results by Spending 6 Hours on a Post

Blogs have become one of the most effective ways of communicating with digital technology. And the maturation of the medium has resulted in bloggers spending more time to create high-quality posts which deliver better results. The latest blogger survey from Orbit Media has revealed 56% of bloggers who spend six-plus hours on a blog post get better results.

Retail Trends

Items Most Likely to be Returned to Your eCommerce Business

If you are in the business of selling a product, whether online or a physical store, customers will eventually return some of those items. A new infographic from Website Builder Expert has some interesting insights as to how this part of the retail industry affects the overall business.

Small Business Operations

The Next 4 Things You Should Do to Get your Business Ready for the Summer Slowdown

It’s that time of year again! Spring is around the corner. Following soon afterward that is summer, and summer (for some online businesses) is known for the summer slump. The summer slump is a when you may see a dip in website traffic and sales because people are out on vacation and enjoying the weather.

Startup

A Relentless Focus on the Customer Gives San Francisco’s 360 Payments a Winning Edge

Fintech sales can be tough, but Lisa Coyle of 360 Payments has found her stride. The aim of 360 Payments is to change the fabric of the payments industry by partnering with customers to provide honest and streamlined payment solutions. We chatted to Lisa Coyle, Co-CEO of 360 Payments, to find out how her customer-centric approach has helped to drive her success.

5 Life Lessons from “Wise Guy” Guy Kawasaki

In the entrepreneurship world, Guy Kawasaki is considered a motivational icon. There is a lot to learn from his new book which is appropriately named “Wise Guy”.

Technology Trends

Business Travelers Should Seek Rodeway Inn for Best Hotel WiFi, Research Says

The economically-priced hotel chain Rodeway Inn just won the title of the hotel with best WiFi in 2019. Research compiled by Highspeed Internet found Rodeway Inn possesses the fastest free WiFi speeds for guests at 7.66Mbps. This research used data from HotelWiFiTest.com to calculate average WiFi speeds for each hotel chain.

Only 3% of US Retail Sales Completed Via Mobile Wallet

A new infographic from Expert Market has mapped out mobile wallet usage in 36 countries around the world. In the US, only 3% of retail sales were completed through a mobile wallet. The global penetration rate of this technology is still very low topping at 6%, except for one country. The one outlier in this report is China, which has a staggering 36% of the population using mobile wallet.

Image: DepositPhotos.com

This article, "In The News: March Madness Distracts Workers, Raising Wages May Force You to Reduce Hours" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

In The News: March Madness Distracts Workers, Raising Wages May Force You to Reduce Hours

Did it feel like everyone in your office this week was a little distracted?

Were you a little distracted?

There’s a reason for that. Monday was the first work day with the new NCAA March Madness bracket. That means workers everywhere — even in virtual offices these days — were really hard at work … picking random college basketball teams to win the big office pool.

That’s right. The most asked question around your office this week was probably: What’s a Wofford?

In new data from Monster this week, we learned that an incredible 31% of employees in American workplaces will spend half their time focused on March Madness. That’s watching games but also all the other hoopla.

If you have any questions about how organized your team is or if they’re working together, watch them put together a tournament pool. Presumably, a legal one, of course.

There were other headlines this week, of course. They’re included in our news roundup below.

Meanwhile, we’re watching VCU. We’ve got them going far.

Employment

Increased Minimum Wages Require Hour Cuts to Compensate, Whole Foods Example Shows

Amazon recently began a $15 minimum wage for its employees at Whole Foods, but then the grocery store began cutting workers’ hours, according to the Guardian. The multinational e-commerce company enacted the increased wage in November for all U.S. workers, in response to public pressure and criticism over its pay for employees.

39% of Small Business Hires This Year Will Be Sales and Marketing Staff

The latest report from Clutch says 39% of small businesses will add sales and marketing employees. This data point underscores the importance of sales and marketing in today’s digital commerce. You must optimize websites, social media channels and eCommerce to make it happen. And you need sales and marketing employees to do the heavy lifting.

Management

Survey Reveals 56% of Bloggers Get Better Results by Spending 6 Hours on a Post

Blogs have become one of the most effective ways of communicating with digital technology. And the maturation of the medium has resulted in bloggers spending more time to create high-quality posts which deliver better results. The latest blogger survey from Orbit Media has revealed 56% of bloggers who spend six-plus hours on a blog post get better results.

Retail Trends

Items Most Likely to be Returned to Your eCommerce Business

If you are in the business of selling a product, whether online or a physical store, customers will eventually return some of those items. A new infographic from Website Builder Expert has some interesting insights as to how this part of the retail industry affects the overall business.

Small Business Operations

The Next 4 Things You Should Do to Get your Business Ready for the Summer Slowdown

It’s that time of year again! Spring is around the corner. Following soon afterward that is summer, and summer (for some online businesses) is known for the summer slump. The summer slump is a when you may see a dip in website traffic and sales because people are out on vacation and enjoying the weather.

Startup

A Relentless Focus on the Customer Gives San Francisco’s 360 Payments a Winning Edge

Fintech sales can be tough, but Lisa Coyle of 360 Payments has found her stride. The aim of 360 Payments is to change the fabric of the payments industry by partnering with customers to provide honest and streamlined payment solutions. We chatted to Lisa Coyle, Co-CEO of 360 Payments, to find out how her customer-centric approach has helped to drive her success.

5 Life Lessons from “Wise Guy” Guy Kawasaki

In the entrepreneurship world, Guy Kawasaki is considered a motivational icon. There is a lot to learn from his new book which is appropriately named “Wise Guy”.

Technology Trends

Business Travelers Should Seek Rodeway Inn for Best Hotel WiFi, Research Says

The economically-priced hotel chain Rodeway Inn just won the title of the hotel with best WiFi in 2019. Research compiled by Highspeed Internet found Rodeway Inn possesses the fastest free WiFi speeds for guests at 7.66Mbps. This research used data from HotelWiFiTest.com to calculate average WiFi speeds for each hotel chain.

Only 3% of US Retail Sales Completed Via Mobile Wallet

A new infographic from Expert Market has mapped out mobile wallet usage in 36 countries around the world. In the US, only 3% of retail sales were completed through a mobile wallet. The global penetration rate of this technology is still very low topping at 6%, except for one country. The one outlier in this report is China, which has a staggering 36% of the population using mobile wallet.

Image: DepositPhotos.com

This article, "In The News: March Madness Distracts Workers, Raising Wages May Force You to Reduce Hours" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

Ginger Conlon of The Drum: What is the Most Significant Moment in the 25 Year History of Digital Marketing?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate on a panel focused on the future of customer experience at Oracle’s MCX (Modern Customer Experience) event held in Vegas.  The panel was a lot of fun because I got to sit on the panel with a couple of old friends and CRM industry thought leaders — Beagle Research managing partner Denis Pombriant, and Ginger Conlon, US Editor of The Drum.

After the panel I spent some time with Ginger to discuss an intriguing question based on the upcoming 25th anniversary of the first digital display ads being run on websites — what has been the most significant moment in the 25 year history of digital marketing?

Ginger and I take a shot at answering that, but as you’ll see below it’s kind of hard to narrow it down to one moment or thing.  You can read our attempt at answering the question with the edited transcript below. To see the full conversation you can watch the video below or the play the embedded SoundCloud player.

Ginger Conlon of The Drum: What is the Most Significant Moment in the 25 Year History of Digital Marketing?Small Business Trends:  I’m here, still at Oracle MCX, with Ginger Conlon, the U.S. editor for The Drum, and a longtime friend. I knew her before she was playing with drums. Thanks for joining me.

Ginger Conlon:  Thank you, Brent. I love the on-the-fly interview.

Small Business Trends:  Yeah.

Ginger Conlon:  Or conversation. Because I’m going to ask you questions, too.

Small Business Trends:  Oh, so you’re going to turn the tables, okay. But that’s okay.

Ginger Conlon:  It’s what I do.

Small Business Trends:  That’s exactly what you do. Matter of fact, I have a big question that you are asking a few people around a really interesting digital marketing topic, because it’s kind of what you do, right?

Ginger Conlon:  It’s what I do, but also this October is the 25th anniversary of digital marketing, and basically kicking off in mid-October with that 25th anniversary of the first banner ad. There is one banner ad that is known to be the first, but there were actually a handful of about 12 I think launched that same day.

Small Business Trends:  Wait a minute. There hadn’t been any banner ads before this one day, and then just on this one day, 12 from different areas, from different people all on the same day?

Ginger Conlon:  Kicked off.

Small Business Trends:  That’s kind of strange.

Ginger Conlon:  Yeah. I’m not sure of the history of how it all worked, that’s one of the things I’m going to be looking further into this year, but we’re going to be carrying the theme throughout the year at The Drum, so you’ll see different articles; and so one of the questions I’m kicking off with is asking people from their point of view in the market, what do you think was the most significant moment in digital marketing over that past 25 years?

Small Business Trends:  So we’re going back to basically 1994? That was before Google too, right?

Ginger Conlon:  It was… The funny thing that the first banner ad is it says something like, “Click here, you may not yet, but you will.”

Small Business Trends:  Really? That’s kind of cool.

Ginger Conlon:  It was almost predictive.

Small Business Trends:  Way to work that in there. All right. I was thinking about a couple of things. I was thinking about the first email marketing campaign, and how that’s changed the world of marketing … and spam. Then, I mentioned Google, because I was thinking about search, and then I was thinking on top of search, there’s Google Ad Words, and that kind of changed everything too.

Ginger Conlon:  Yeah.

Small Business Trends:  If I were to pick one over the other, I would pick the … go off the board and go with the unsubscribe list. Only because all these other things have inundated us, and flooded us with ads, and emails, and spam, and from a consumer perspective I like having some choice and some power over the messaging that comes to me at this point.

But really, I’m going to go with actually I’m going to go with search.

Ginger Conlon:  Yeah.

Small Business Trends:  Because that … It changed so many things. It wasn’t even Google that started it, but it was Google that kind of perfected it and got our attention. Then on top of search, you do have Ad Words, and that really changed the game. So I’m going to have to say search.

Ginger Conlon:  Yeah, well that’s interesting too, because they’re searching Google, but then if you think about how searches evolved even within sites, within Amazon, or Facebook, or Instagram, and people are searching for things that may wind up in a purchase, and not necessarily starting at Google. It really has changed the game, and then as we were talking about in our panel yesterday, you’re going to have more and more voice search. So that’s going to change the game again in the future.

Small Business Trends:  It’s like continually changing the game. Search started out as one thing, and then we get a mobile search, and now we’re going to voice search, and like you said, it’s not even just Google, because I think over half of the product searches are done on Amazon.

Ginger Conlon: Yeah.

Small Business Trends:  It just seems like it’s foundational. Although, email marketing, I mean it’s kind of hard to ignore that one, too.

Ginger Conlon:  Yeah.

Small Business Trends:  Although I try, because I get so many of those emails …

Ginger Conlon:  Email is a workhorse. It definitely has staying power. Yes, there are some companies that over email, but other companies that focus more on personalization and sending the right messages to the right people at hopefully more optimum times. Sometimes on their schedule, but at least with more relevancy. It can really get some terrific engagement, and conversions.

Small Business Trends:  And you mentioned yesterday you had an opportunity to talk to the folks over at Mack Truck, and you would think it’s 2019, businesses have been doing this forever, all businesses have been doing this stuff forever now, but that’s not really the case.

Ginger Conlon:  Right. Mack Truck has really dived wholeheartedly into digital marketing really just the past year. I mean, they tested some things before but this past year they have done significantly more than they had in the past, and everything from social, they did influencer marketing. They gave trucks to two trucking influencers.

Small Business Trends:  They gave real Mack trucks to –

Ginger Conlon:  A Mack truck to each one of them, with a kit on how to do a diary of their journey of using this truck for a year. That’s been going really well, they have only a team of four in marketing, and one of them is a video expert, and they’ve done a whole series that they’re doing a second season of this coming year that’s been performing really well for them.

Small Business Trends:  Wow.

Ginger Conlon:  What the head of marketing there was saying is that he loves it because as much as he loves the traditional in print, and things like that, he can really see how digital goes right to the pipeline. He feels like he should be accountable for helping to sell Mack trucks by getting into the pipeline for them to give sales ready leads over to their dealers.

Small Business Trends:  Yeah, well that’s really cool. But I gotta ask you now, because you asked me which one did I pick. What did you pick?

Ginger Conlon:  Oh, I haven’t picked one yet. Now the pressure’s on. That’s a good one. That’s a good one, because you know, I –

Small Business Trends:  Yeah, didn’t you come up with the question?

Ginger Conlon:  I did come up with the question. Yeah, you’re kind of spoiled for choice, because just the access to information that we have now, in real time has changed the game for business and put so much pressure on business as well, to keep up with consumer’s expectations. Again, from the panel yesterday, we were talking about there’s a book called The Entitled Consumer, and it talks about how so many of us, about three quarters, according to the study that’s the foundation of this book, feel some level of entitlement, which means that you expect special privileges.

Small Business Trends:  Right.

Ginger Conlon:  Part of that is because of this … the way digital marketing or digital in general has brought such a real-time nature to everything we do. I mean, if you want something you can probably find it and order it in seconds. If you … or maybe, you know, minutes, if you want information, if you want to teach yourself something you can find it and do it online. I actually fixed something in my car with an online video. It was a simple … It was a really not that mechanical of an issue. But still, I mean, it’s amazing what you can do today with the information, and because of that, the way marketers can reach out to you not just to sell, but also to help you.

Small Business Trends:  Yeah.

Ginger Conlon:  That’s really where it makes the difference.

Small Business Trends:  So you’re going over the whole 25 year mark, but I want to go look to the future. What do you see as a future game changer, whether it’s … You mentioned the word predictive, and one of the things that came out of the conference was around [Oracle’s new product] CX Unity, being able to take all this data, and aggregate it and then find insights, and do something with it. We just talked about video, mobile, augmented reality … I mean, there’s a ton of stuff that is out there, but which of any of those or maybe something else is going to be a big, big, big game changer over the next decade or 25 years or whatever.

Ginger Conlon:  I’m all about the data. I’m going to have to say machine learning/AI, right? Because what marketers can learn and predict using that technology, I mean it’s already established there are companies that use it and use it fairly well, but once more companies do more with it, especially as they weave it into their systems, I think what marketing will be capable of will be amazing on the one hand, and on the other hand marketers will really need to have policies in place to respect privacy and it’s going to be a situation of what you can do, versus what you should do, because of the amazing things that machine learning and AI can bring us.

Small Business Trends:  Mm-hmm (affirmative). You mentioned … I don’t know what the phrase was yesterday, but it was like creepiness to –

Ginger Conlon:  Oh, the cool creepy factor.

Small Business Trends:  Yeah, that’s it. Yeah. It’s good to be cool, but you don’t want to cross the line and be creepy.

Ginger Conlon:  Yes.

Small Business Trends:  It seems like it’s so easy and it’s getting easier to cross that line.

Ginger Conlon:  It is. Absolutely.

This article, "Ginger Conlon of The Drum: What is the Most Significant Moment in the 25 Year History of Digital Marketing?" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

Ginger Conlon of The Drum: What is the Most Significant Moment in the 25 Year History of Digital Marketing?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate on a panel focused on the future of customer experience at Oracle’s MCX (Modern Customer Experience) event held in Vegas.  The panel was a lot of fun because I got to sit on the panel with a couple of old friends and CRM industry thought leaders — Beagle Research managing partner Denis Pombriant, and Ginger Conlon, US Editor of The Drum.

After the panel I spent some time with Ginger to discuss an intriguing question based on the upcoming 25th anniversary of the first digital display ads being run on websites — what has been the most significant moment in the 25 year history of digital marketing?

Ginger and I take a shot at answering that, but as you’ll see below it’s kind of hard to narrow it down to one moment or thing.  You can read our attempt at answering the question with the edited transcript below. To see the full conversation you can watch the video below or the play the embedded SoundCloud player.

Ginger Conlon of The Drum: What is the Most Significant Moment in the 25 Year History of Digital Marketing?Small Business Trends:  I’m here, still at Oracle MCX, with Ginger Conlon, the U.S. editor for The Drum, and a longtime friend. I knew her before she was playing with drums. Thanks for joining me.

Ginger Conlon:  Thank you, Brent. I love the on-the-fly interview.

Small Business Trends:  Yeah.

Ginger Conlon:  Or conversation. Because I’m going to ask you questions, too.

Small Business Trends:  Oh, so you’re going to turn the tables, okay. But that’s okay.

Ginger Conlon:  It’s what I do.

Small Business Trends:  That’s exactly what you do. Matter of fact, I have a big question that you are asking a few people around a really interesting digital marketing topic, because it’s kind of what you do, right?

Ginger Conlon:  It’s what I do, but also this October is the 25th anniversary of digital marketing, and basically kicking off in mid-October with that 25th anniversary of the first banner ad. There is one banner ad that is known to be the first, but there were actually a handful of about 12 I think launched that same day.

Small Business Trends:  Wait a minute. There hadn’t been any banner ads before this one day, and then just on this one day, 12 from different areas, from different people all on the same day?

Ginger Conlon:  Kicked off.

Small Business Trends:  That’s kind of strange.

Ginger Conlon:  Yeah. I’m not sure of the history of how it all worked, that’s one of the things I’m going to be looking further into this year, but we’re going to be carrying the theme throughout the year at The Drum, so you’ll see different articles; and so one of the questions I’m kicking off with is asking people from their point of view in the market, what do you think was the most significant moment in digital marketing over that past 25 years?

Small Business Trends:  So we’re going back to basically 1994? That was before Google too, right?

Ginger Conlon:  It was… The funny thing that the first banner ad is it says something like, “Click here, you may not yet, but you will.”

Small Business Trends:  Really? That’s kind of cool.

Ginger Conlon:  It was almost predictive.

Small Business Trends:  Way to work that in there. All right. I was thinking about a couple of things. I was thinking about the first email marketing campaign, and how that’s changed the world of marketing … and spam. Then, I mentioned Google, because I was thinking about search, and then I was thinking on top of search, there’s Google Ad Words, and that kind of changed everything too.

Ginger Conlon:  Yeah.

Small Business Trends:  If I were to pick one over the other, I would pick the … go off the board and go with the unsubscribe list. Only because all these other things have inundated us, and flooded us with ads, and emails, and spam, and from a consumer perspective I like having some choice and some power over the messaging that comes to me at this point.

But really, I’m going to go with actually I’m going to go with search.

Ginger Conlon:  Yeah.

Small Business Trends:  Because that … It changed so many things. It wasn’t even Google that started it, but it was Google that kind of perfected it and got our attention. Then on top of search, you do have Ad Words, and that really changed the game. So I’m going to have to say search.

Ginger Conlon:  Yeah, well that’s interesting too, because they’re searching Google, but then if you think about how searches evolved even within sites, within Amazon, or Facebook, or Instagram, and people are searching for things that may wind up in a purchase, and not necessarily starting at Google. It really has changed the game, and then as we were talking about in our panel yesterday, you’re going to have more and more voice search. So that’s going to change the game again in the future.

Small Business Trends:  It’s like continually changing the game. Search started out as one thing, and then we get a mobile search, and now we’re going to voice search, and like you said, it’s not even just Google, because I think over half of the product searches are done on Amazon.

Ginger Conlon: Yeah.

Small Business Trends:  It just seems like it’s foundational. Although, email marketing, I mean it’s kind of hard to ignore that one, too.

Ginger Conlon:  Yeah.

Small Business Trends:  Although I try, because I get so many of those emails …

Ginger Conlon:  Email is a workhorse. It definitely has staying power. Yes, there are some companies that over email, but other companies that focus more on personalization and sending the right messages to the right people at hopefully more optimum times. Sometimes on their schedule, but at least with more relevancy. It can really get some terrific engagement, and conversions.

Small Business Trends:  And you mentioned yesterday you had an opportunity to talk to the folks over at Mack Truck, and you would think it’s 2019, businesses have been doing this forever, all businesses have been doing this stuff forever now, but that’s not really the case.

Ginger Conlon:  Right. Mack Truck has really dived wholeheartedly into digital marketing really just the past year. I mean, they tested some things before but this past year they have done significantly more than they had in the past, and everything from social, they did influencer marketing. They gave trucks to two trucking influencers.

Small Business Trends:  They gave real Mack trucks to –

Ginger Conlon:  A Mack truck to each one of them, with a kit on how to do a diary of their journey of using this truck for a year. That’s been going really well, they have only a team of four in marketing, and one of them is a video expert, and they’ve done a whole series that they’re doing a second season of this coming year that’s been performing really well for them.

Small Business Trends:  Wow.

Ginger Conlon:  What the head of marketing there was saying is that he loves it because as much as he loves the traditional in print, and things like that, he can really see how digital goes right to the pipeline. He feels like he should be accountable for helping to sell Mack trucks by getting into the pipeline for them to give sales ready leads over to their dealers.

Small Business Trends:  Yeah, well that’s really cool. But I gotta ask you now, because you asked me which one did I pick. What did you pick?

Ginger Conlon:  Oh, I haven’t picked one yet. Now the pressure’s on. That’s a good one. That’s a good one, because you know, I –

Small Business Trends:  Yeah, didn’t you come up with the question?

Ginger Conlon:  I did come up with the question. Yeah, you’re kind of spoiled for choice, because just the access to information that we have now, in real time has changed the game for business and put so much pressure on business as well, to keep up with consumer’s expectations. Again, from the panel yesterday, we were talking about there’s a book called The Entitled Consumer, and it talks about how so many of us, about three quarters, according to the study that’s the foundation of this book, feel some level of entitlement, which means that you expect special privileges.

Small Business Trends:  Right.

Ginger Conlon:  Part of that is because of this … the way digital marketing or digital in general has brought such a real-time nature to everything we do. I mean, if you want something you can probably find it and order it in seconds. If you … or maybe, you know, minutes, if you want information, if you want to teach yourself something you can find it and do it online. I actually fixed something in my car with an online video. It was a simple … It was a really not that mechanical of an issue. But still, I mean, it’s amazing what you can do today with the information, and because of that, the way marketers can reach out to you not just to sell, but also to help you.

Small Business Trends:  Yeah.

Ginger Conlon:  That’s really where it makes the difference.

Small Business Trends:  So you’re going over the whole 25 year mark, but I want to go look to the future. What do you see as a future game changer, whether it’s … You mentioned the word predictive, and one of the things that came out of the conference was around [Oracle’s new product] CX Unity, being able to take all this data, and aggregate it and then find insights, and do something with it. We just talked about video, mobile, augmented reality … I mean, there’s a ton of stuff that is out there, but which of any of those or maybe something else is going to be a big, big, big game changer over the next decade or 25 years or whatever.

Ginger Conlon:  I’m all about the data. I’m going to have to say machine learning/AI, right? Because what marketers can learn and predict using that technology, I mean it’s already established there are companies that use it and use it fairly well, but once more companies do more with it, especially as they weave it into their systems, I think what marketing will be capable of will be amazing on the one hand, and on the other hand marketers will really need to have policies in place to respect privacy and it’s going to be a situation of what you can do, versus what you should do, because of the amazing things that machine learning and AI can bring us.

Small Business Trends:  Mm-hmm (affirmative). You mentioned … I don’t know what the phrase was yesterday, but it was like creepiness to –

Ginger Conlon:  Oh, the cool creepy factor.

Small Business Trends:  Yeah, that’s it. Yeah. It’s good to be cool, but you don’t want to cross the line and be creepy.

Ginger Conlon:  Yes.

Small Business Trends:  It seems like it’s so easy and it’s getting easier to cross that line.

Ginger Conlon:  It is. Absolutely.

This article, "Ginger Conlon of The Drum: What is the Most Significant Moment in the 25 Year History of Digital Marketing?" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Benefits Of Pest Control For Businesses

If you are running a business like a hotel or a restaurant, the last thing you want to see are pests. You cannot hope to reach the upper echelons of the industry you are in if you can’t even manage to keep out pesky intruders from within your premises. Trust us when we say that spraying insect repellants and placing in traps are never enough to keep them out. If you truly want to do away with pests, you must avail the services of a company like https://joshuaspestcontrol.com/locations/kansas-city/.

Pest control benefits for business

If you are a new entrepreneur, we understand what you are worried about.…

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SBA STEP Program Helps Small Businesses with Exporting

Improving the SBA STEP Program

Small businesses earn trillions for the U.S. economy. And they employee tens of millions of people too. But when it comes to exports they face an uphill climb.

Luckily a government program seeks to help small businesses. The State Trade and Expansion Program (STEP) offers money and assistance to help small businesses become exporters.

Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer from Iowa held a recent hearing to try to tweak the program. Finkenauer now serves as Chairwoman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship.

Congress launched STEP after the global financial crisis.

Congress Seeks to Help Small Business Exporting

The hearing looked at the tough times small businesses face in the export market. It also focused on businesses in rural areas.

In a press release, Finkenauer said, “I … know that it is incredibly difficult for the small business in a town like Maquoketa in my district whose owner may want to do business overseas but lacks the staff capacity or doesn’t know where to start. Today’s hearing was a chance to hear how we as lawmakers can ensure our small businesses have these opportunities.”

The hearing looked at problems the program already faces. But officials also tried to seek ways to improve it. The Small Business Administration Inspector General made some suggestions for improvements. And the Government Accountability Office made suggestions too.

Recommendations from Kimberly Gianopoulos, Director of International Affairs and Trade for the Government Accountability Office include some of the following.

Gianopoulos urged the SBA to assess the risk to achieving program goals posed by some states’ low grant fund use rates.

And she recommended examining the challenges that states reported related to the program’s application, award processes, administrative burden, and communication.

Finally, Gianopoulos suggested the SBA enhance collection and sharing of best practices among states that receive STEP grant funds.

The SBA STEP Program

The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 created STEP.  It began with a three-year pilot program. The success of the program led Congress to move forward. And the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act made STEP permanent in 2015.

Congress also authorized $30 million in funding through the Fiscal Year 2020. To date, the SBA has awarded around $139 million in funding to almost every state in the country.

STEP aims to increase the number of small businesses that export and the value of exports by the small business sector.

The Federal and state partnership competitively awards grants to the 50 states. Grants also go to the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.

In addition to financial contribution, the program also supports small businesses with trade goals outside of the US. These include trade missions and market sales trips. But they also include export trade show exhibits, training and subscription to services provided by the Department of Commerce.

The Federal government provides 75% of the funding for the total project. And states provide 25% of the cost for operating.

Image: Small Business Subcommittee

This article, "SBA STEP Program Helps Small Businesses with Exporting" was first published on Small Business Trends



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SBA STEP Program Helps Small Businesses with Exporting

Improving the SBA STEP Program

Small businesses earn trillions for the U.S. economy. And they employee tens of millions of people too. But when it comes to exports they face an uphill climb.

Luckily a government program seeks to help small businesses. The State Trade and Expansion Program (STEP) offers money and assistance to help small businesses become exporters.

Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer from Iowa held a recent hearing to try to tweak the program. Finkenauer now serves as Chairwoman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship.

Congress launched STEP after the global financial crisis.

Congress Seeks to Help Small Business Exporting

The hearing looked at the tough times small businesses face in the export market. It also focused on businesses in rural areas.

In a press release, Finkenauer said, “I … know that it is incredibly difficult for the small business in a town like Maquoketa in my district whose owner may want to do business overseas but lacks the staff capacity or doesn’t know where to start. Today’s hearing was a chance to hear how we as lawmakers can ensure our small businesses have these opportunities.”

The hearing looked at problems the program already faces. But officials also tried to seek ways to improve it. The Small Business Administration Inspector General made some suggestions for improvements. And the Government Accountability Office made suggestions too.

Recommendations from Kimberly Gianopoulos, Director of International Affairs and Trade for the Government Accountability Office include some of the following.

Gianopoulos urged the SBA to assess the risk to achieving program goals posed by some states’ low grant fund use rates.

And she recommended examining the challenges that states reported related to the program’s application, award processes, administrative burden, and communication.

Finally, Gianopoulos suggested the SBA enhance collection and sharing of best practices among states that receive STEP grant funds.

The SBA STEP Program

The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 created STEP.  It began with a three-year pilot program. The success of the program led Congress to move forward. And the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act made STEP permanent in 2015.

Congress also authorized $30 million in funding through the Fiscal Year 2020. To date, the SBA has awarded around $139 million in funding to almost every state in the country.

STEP aims to increase the number of small businesses that export and the value of exports by the small business sector.

The Federal and state partnership competitively awards grants to the 50 states. Grants also go to the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.

In addition to financial contribution, the program also supports small businesses with trade goals outside of the US. These include trade missions and market sales trips. But they also include export trade show exhibits, training and subscription to services provided by the Department of Commerce.

The Federal government provides 75% of the funding for the total project. And states provide 25% of the cost for operating.

Image: Small Business Subcommittee

This article, "SBA STEP Program Helps Small Businesses with Exporting" was first published on Small Business Trends



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They’ll Have to Scramble to Find a Replacement

OK, this is a fairly standard gag. You take a familiar phrase, illustrate it literally instead of figuratively, and you’re good. Except that eggs are terrible to draw.

Seriously, try drawing one now. It’s not a circle, it’s not an oval, it’s this sort of oblong teardrop but not quite.

You know when it’s right, but it might take you 2 or 3 or 12 times to get that line to curve juuuuust right.

I guess that’s what you get when the gag comes easy.

This article, "They’ll Have to Scramble to Find a Replacement" was first published on Small Business Trends



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They’ll Have to Scramble to Find a Replacement

OK, this is a fairly standard gag. You take a familiar phrase, illustrate it literally instead of figuratively, and you’re good. Except that eggs are terrible to draw.

Seriously, try drawing one now. It’s not a circle, it’s not an oval, it’s this sort of oblong teardrop but not quite.

You know when it’s right, but it might take you 2 or 3 or 12 times to get that line to curve juuuuust right.

I guess that’s what you get when the gag comes easy.

This article, "They’ll Have to Scramble to Find a Replacement" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Do I Still Need a .com TLD For My Business?

Choosing a domain name for your business often goes something like this:

1. After hours of brainstorming, you discover the perfect domain name only to find out it was registered 20 years ago.

2. After a few more hours, you settle on another choice only to find out a payment of $50,000 was required.

3. After more hours and more iterations, you end up buying a .com domain name that you don’t feel great about.

This often happens due to the limited supply of top-level domains (TLDs) combined with the recommendation that all businesses should choose a .com or country-code TLD. But does having a common domain extension still matter? Should businesses still buy a .com domain name?

What is a top-level domain?

Before digging into the pros and cons of .coms vs. other TLDs, here’s a brief refresher on domain name terminology.

A top-level domain or TLD is the last segment of a domain name. For example, the most common TLD is .com. Other popular TLDs include .gov, .net, .and .edu. There are also country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) like .ca (Canada), .uk (United Kingdom), and .in (India).

One other note is that top-level domains are sometimes referred to as domain extensions or domain endings. For brevity, I’ll call them TLDs going forward. To learn more about other terms like subdomains and second-level level domains, check out our guide on What is a Domain?

Per ICANN, there are currently 1,532 TLDs for businesses to choose from. That’s an almost endless number of combinations. But should businesses use one that doesn’t end with .com? Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of non-dotcoms.

Do TLDs matter for SEO?

One of the most commonly asked questions about new TLDs is whether they affect SEO. Here’s a direct, 36-pixel sized quote from Google’s Guide on Traditional vs. New Domain Endings:

"Using a new domain ending will not hurt your search presence."

This makes sense when you think about all the different ways Google can analyze page quality like backlinks, content analysis, search metrics, traffic metrics, and 200 other proven or theorized factors detailed by Backlinko. Another much simpler way to confirm Google’s stance on new TLDs is to notice that they own and use many like https://abc.xyz/, https://docs.new, and https://domains.google.

In other words, .com domains do not rank higher in search due to their TLD. However, they might indirectly rank higher due to Google’s preference for aged brands.

An aged brand is a website or company with a long track record of quality content, frequent updates, and technical uptime. If most other factors are close or equal, a page on an established brand will almost always rank higher than a page on a newer, less proven brand. And seeing that .com domains still make up 46.8% of ranked TLD usage per W3Techs, most aged brands are likely to be .coms.

So if you’re looking to purchase an existing website, a .com domain name might indirectly provide more search value. However, if you’re buying a new domain name, the TLD you choose will not affect your search rank.

Will a non-dotcom TLD help or hurt your company’s brand?

This is a very tough, subjective question with three likely answers:

1. A non-dotcom TLD will help customers remember your brand and serve as a unique differentiator.

2. A non-dotcom TLD will make your brand seem suspect and less reputable.

3. Customers won’t notice your TLD or won’t care about it.

The most frequent answer for your brand probably depends on customer demographics, traffic sources, and other factors.

For example, if you have a tech-savvy audience, they’re probably more likely to be familiar and comfortable with a different TLD. Technical people are frequently early adopters that understand and gravitate toward new, emerging trends. They might also be more likely to notice and care about the TLD you choose.

Alternatively, if you’re selling services to businesses in more traditional industries, your audience might see a non-dotcom as questionable. Paul Graham, the co-founder of the startup accelerator and seed capital firm Y Combinator, believes that B2B businesses, in particular, should prefer a .com whenever possible.

As mentioned in a Forbes article and accompanying tweet, Graham said,

“All other things being equal, .com domain names are preferable, and things are way more equal than people attached to their current name realize.” He also stated that, “dot-com domains are probably more important for B2B, because there you need the legitimacy.”

Finally, it’s always possible that your TLD won’t affect your brand positively or negatively. If your website consists of a lot of single-page, mobile traffic, maybe your customers won’t even notice what your domain name is. Overall, as different TLDs become more common, your customers will likely be equally comfortable with whatever you choose.

Will a new TLD cost more than a .com?

Most popular, new TLDs typically cost about the same as a .com. Per DomainNameStats, .xyz currently has an average price of $0.75, which is actually less than the average price of a .com. .club also has a very affordable average of $0.99. Most other options have similar, reasonable prices but there are some exceptions.

If you’re looking to buy a .makeup domain name, that will currently cost you an average of $5,783.59. I guess I’ll have to find another place to share my extensive collection of beauty tips. Other examples of expensive TLDs include .auto ($2,000), .rich ($1,596), .bank ($801), and .tickets ($389).

Prices might also change when it comes time to renew your domain name. The cost of a domain name is primarily determined by the domain registry (e.g., Verisign, Donuts, or Uniregistry) and the domain registrar (e.g., Google Domains, Namecheap, or GoDaddy). The domain registry first negotiates a price with ICANN, a non-profit that helps prevent unfair price increases. The domain registrar then marks up that negotiated price a little.

Price raises during renewals are typically due to the domain registrar. Some domain registrars are notorious for bait and switching with a low, initial price that increases upon auto-renewal. Questionable price increases are one of the many reasons that choosing a reliable, ethical domain registrar is important.

Are there any risks with a new TLD?

One small, almost irrelevant risk is that some websites or older software won’t be able to recognize your URL is valid. For example, when you create a social media post that links to your company’s website, Facebook or Twitter recognizes it’s a URL and is able to convert it into a clickable link. Some software struggles to do this with newer TLDs.

This scenario is pretty rare as most major websites quickly add support for new TLDs, but you might want to register a .com domain that redirects to your website just in case. You also might want to avoid being an ultra-early adopter of future TLDs.

Another likely negligible risk is that customers will have a tougher time finding your website when they manually type in your domain name. This probably isn’t a big deal because most Internet traffic comes from either search, social, referrals, advertisements, or email.

A study by Conductor using 310 million website visits found that only 12-29% of web traffic was actually “direct” traffic, and a much smaller percentage of that traffic is people typing your domain name into their browser.

As detailed by Moz, direct traffic sometimes includes a variety of scenarios like misattributed search traffic, “dark social” traffic, non-web documents, and improper redirects. It also probably includes some bot traffic. A more realistic estimate of actual direct traffic is probably anywhere from 0-5%.

Are there any indirect risks with a new TLD?

One indirect risk of a new TLD is that some are only available at a limited number of domain registrars. Not only could this lead to a higher price, but this might make you more prone to losing your domain name if you’re forced to use an unreliable registrar.

You should ideally try to purchase a domain name from a registrar that you believe is ethical and technically competent enough to maintain the security of your domain name. An unreliable registrar can lead to minor annoyances or major issues like accidentally transferring your domain name to hackers. A full range of possibilities is discussed in a Stack Exchange thread.

With that said, registrar horror stories are extremely rare. Most top registrars obtained their status by providing ethical, quality service. But like any service provider you do business with, you should try to evaluate a domain registrar’s competency, ethics, and other risk factors.

So should I still choose a .com domain for my business?

As seen above, there’s a lot of different questions to consider. Personally, I believe that if you’re happy with an available .com domain name, you should choose that. But if you’re not, you should strongly consider a different TLD.

In my opinion, having a brand that you believe in is way more important than settling on a name due to a concept that’s quickly becoming obsolete. Having a new TLD might even make your brand stand out.

If you agree and you’re ready to try out a new TLD, our guide on How to Choose a Domain Extension is a great place to start.



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How to Make All Your Accounts Safer With Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Nowadays, account security is a major concern for companies and their employees. It can pose a major threat to your employer if you're hacked -- if someone hacks your Gmail account, for instance, he will have access to company contacts, as well as your calendar, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and other private company information.

For this reason, Duo Mobile and other two-factor authentication apps have risen in popularity.

Two-factor authentication (or 2FA) is a safety process you can enable on any of your devices, including your iPhone, Mac, Gmail account, or social media accounts like Facebook. And it's a smart idea, too -- particularly since the total cost of a successful cyber attack is over $5 million, or $301 per employee.

Here, we're going to tell you what two-factor authentication is, and how you can enable (or disable) it on any of your accounts, to ensure your information is protected in 2019 and beyond.

What is two-factor authentication?

To understand what two-factor authentication is, let's start with an analogy.

Imagine you live in a dangerous neighborhood, and you only have one lock on your door. Alternatively, your neighbor down the street has a top and bottom lock, and each lock requires a separate key -- which means, to break into his apartment, you need to break into two locks, not just one.

Who's safer?

Ultimately, two-factor authentication is your neighbor's top and bottom lock -- but for your online accounts. It significantly decreases the risk of getting hacked by combining two methods of protection.

Two-factor authentication uses two methods to ensure you're the correct user. It combines something you know (i.e. a password), with something you have (i.e. a mobile phone), or something you are (i.e. facial recognition).

For instance, to access my online school account, I need to open the Duo Mobile app on my phone, and input my school account's password -- while a hacker might be able to guess my password, he's going to have a tougher time hacking into my phone, as well.

How to turn off two-factor authentication

It's relatively easy to turn off two-factor authentication on any of your accounts.

On Facebook, for instance, simply go to "Settings" and then "Security and Login". Find "Use two-factor authentication", click "Edit", and then switch to "Off".

Alternatively, on Gmail, you'll want to go to http://myaccount.google.com. Then, select "Security". Under the "Signing in to Google" section, you'll see "2-Step Verification". Click this section.

Screen Shot 2019-03-20 at 4.40.30 PMNext, select "Turn Off" to disable 2-Step Verification for your Gmail account.

It's important to note, Apple removed the option to turn off two-factor authentication for Apple IDs created in iOS 10.3 or macOS 10.12.4 and later.

However, you have a two-week period during which you can still disable the function. Simply open your iCloud email account and find the enrollment confirmation email, then click the link to return to your previous security settings.



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