Getting the Most Out of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is the promotion and sale of products and services using online strategies. These are activities that are constantly evolving, following the habits of Internet users.
A successful business today is almost impossible to imagine without digital marketing. The Internet has created new opportunities in marketing, especially in the field of media combinations, ways of creating messages and designing offers. Although traditional marketing is still a very powerful industry, one thing is certain: it is retreating from digital to digital year after year. Social networks are used daily by over 2.8 billion people worldwide and are a great marketing channel for promoting products or services in the open market, communicating with potential customers and strengthening the brand.
Traditional marketing is no longer a market leader. All users find it much easier to turn to a brand they can interact with than those they see on a billboard or flyer. The costs of digital marketing are over 60% lower, while the effects are up to 3 times greater, so today digital marketing is used by almost 95% of the world organizations. So digital marketing is superior.
The Digital marketing guide, which you can read below, will provide you with useful information and tips on the digital business sphere.
The existence of a website is important, and it is the basis for further work in digital marketing, but if you want this type of marketing to give you concrete effects you have to take advantage of what social networks provide you.
Social networks are used in digital marketing for several purposes: Spreading brand awareness;
The way you use the internet is changing day by day, but people are quickly adapting. All of this has led to the fact that you have a fantastically fast Internet today and eventually 10% of people use it from a desktop computer. The story is being changed by mobile devices through which the vast majority of people use the internet.
This further means that the Internet is used when walking, driving, having lunch, talking to other people, while working or teaching, and so on. Rarely is this the only action you are focused on at that moment. All of this, in addition to a fast-paced lifestyle, is why people have no focus and find it difficult to maintain attention.
Consumer information is key to success
With digital marketing, this kind of information greatly facilitates business, successfully connecting companies and clients. In this way, the company knows exactly what is selling well and what is not, but also which consumer group responds best to specific campaigns.
Get to know your target audience
When you ask your clients who the target group is, you often get an answer — everyone. No matter how much one wants to direct a campaign to the entire population, it is impossible to do so. Simply, internet marketing is based on focusing on a specific population, territory, gender, interests, etc.
This means that any generalization of promotional activities is doomed, as you will only waste time and money on a population that is not interested in your product. The right approach is to focus on the target group and their habits.
Get acquainted with the habits of potential customers
To market your product, place a banner in the right place and reach many potential buyers/visitors of the site, you need to know as much information as possible about them — where they are moving, what is interesting to them, what they spend money on, who are their role models …
If you find your niche successfully, it will be much easier to achieve business success.
Set a clear goal for yourself
There are many strategies in digital marketing, so sometimes it’s really hard to decide on the right path. To choose the right approach, you need to know what you want to achieve with the campaign you are running – whether it is increasing site visits, getting new email contacts, growing sales… Only with a clear goal can your campaign succeed. When you focus on a specific goal, it will be easier to focus your resources on successfully meeting this challenge.
The goal you set must be realistic so that you do not waste money. It’s easy to set up targets that sound fantastic, but you don’t need to fool yourself in marketing. Be realistic about your expectations, research the market well, target the audience and chances are high that you will exceed your expectations. However the campaign ends, you must analyze its results to advance the good things and avoid the bad ones.
If you love social networks, the fast flow of information and the dynamic market that is evolving before your eyes, you will be successful in digital marketing. The knowledge you possess and actively acquire helps in all branches of the internet business, from the blogging site to the sophisticated e-shop. For starters, you need to “live online”, follow trends, want to learn and apply what has been learned. In any case, digital marketing is specific in that you have a huge market ahead of you, and your only stint is your ambition.
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December 31, 2019 at 04:00PM
Best PEO Service Providers
PEO is the acronym for “professional employer organization.”
These outsourcing firms provide business services for functions like payroll, HR tasks, administrative roles, and other crucial activities to running a company.
PEO service providers are incredibly appealing for business owners because they reduce the workload of mundane but critical tasks.
Outsourcing these roles are cost-effective as well. Instead of having a full-time HR staff on your payroll, it’s much cheaper to contract that work. Plus, PEO service providers have the ability to negotiate rates related to employee health insurance or workers’ compensation expenses.
Whether you’re interested in hiring a PEO service for the first time, or looking to switch providers, this guide has you covered.
The 7 Best PEO Service Providers
There are countless PEO services available on the market today. From local providers to national names, and everything in between. Some PEO services are industry-specific, while others are intended for businesses of a certain size.
Finding the best PEO provider for your business can be challenging if you don’t have any guidance.
I narrowed down and reviewed the seven best PEO service providers below. I’ll cover the features, benefits, costs, and any drawbacks of each one as we continue.
Justworks is a full-service PEO provider offering payroll, human resources, compliance, and employee benefits under a single umbrella package.
The company launched in 2012 but has quickly grown in both size and popularity over the last few years. They went from 40 employees in 2015 to 300 in 2018. Today, Justworks has more than 600 employees and relationships with major companies like United Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, and ClassPass.
In addition to employee benefits like health, vision, and dental insurance, Justworks also provides a wide range of compliance services. They handle W-2 and 1099 filings, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.
Justworks has an automated payroll system for direct deposit, paying vendors and contractors, and integration with your business accounting software like Quickbooks and Xero.
Another benefit of Justworks is that they can accommodate the needs for businesses of all sizes. So if you start working with them now, they can scale with you as your company grows.
Here’s an overview of their plans and pricing based company size:
Basic — Payroll, HR Tools, Benefits, and Compliance
Plus — Access to Medical, Dental, and Vision
You can save 15% on all plans when you sign up for an annual contract.
I like Justworks because they give you so many options. You’re not forced to take the health insurance package, but it’s available if you want it. If you’re just starting out and new to working with PEO service providers, you could always start with the Basic plan and upgrade to Plus when you’re ready.
Justworks offers 24/7 customer support. The company is modern and still growing at a rapid rate, so I expect them to continue providing excellent service in the future.
The only real downside of Justworks is their lack of experience. There are other PEO service providers who have been in business for decades.
Speaking of experience, Insperity has been around for 30+ years. They provide full HR solutions for small businesses as well as enterprises with up to 5,000 employees.
In 1997, the company went public on the NYSE. They have a long list of awards, accreditations, achievements, and glowing reviews from their customers.
Insperity’s full-service HR solution includes:
For those of you who don’t need a full-service solution, you can also use Insperity for individual services.
While Insperity does accommodate the needs of businesses with 150-5,000 employees, I’d recommend their services to small and medium-sized business owners with less than 150 employees.
With Insperity, you’ll have access to the iOS and Android mobile apps to monitor and manage your business on the go. It’s a great option for those of you who enjoy leveraging the latest technology to streamline your processes.
For those of you who prefer working with large organizations, Insperity is definitely a top choice to consider. They did $3.8 billion in revenue back in 2018.
Although the company is big, they still provide excellent customer service and know how to work with small business owners.
Another top feature of Insperity is its flexibility. Unlike other PEO providers on the market, Insperity won’t lock you into a long term contract. You can cancel at any time, as long as you give them 30 day’s notice.
Insperity does not list prices for their services online. You’ll need to speak with their customer service sales team to get a custom quote.
A potential drawback of using Insperity for PEO services is that their health plan options are limited. Unlike other providers, Insperity only offers health plans from a single health insurance provider. So if your company wants to give your employees multiple options for healthcare, you should look elsewhere on our list. But this usually isn’t a problem for small business owners.
ADP is an industry leader in technology. Since 2011 they have been providing software for human resources to businesses of all shapes and sizes.
But in addition to their robust technology, ADP TotalSource is a full-service PEO solution.
ADP is another top option for small to medium-sized business owners. Whether you have 1-49 employees, 50-999 employees, or 1,000+ members on your team, ADP has a plan for you.
ADP TotalSource is used for human resources, talent management, payroll, employee benefits, and risk assessment.
As a small business owner, you can use ADP to provide enterprise-grade medical, dental, and vision care to your employees. Furthermore, ADP also offers 401(k) plans.
The technology used by ADP is the biggest standout of this PEO provider. Everything from HR to payroll, benefits, and recruiting can be accessed and managed through a mobile app or easy to use web dashboard.
But arguably the best feature of ADP is the customer service.
Naturally, your employees will have questions. Whether it be about their pay, benefits, or something else that would fall into the HR category. Rather than bothering you with those questions, your staff can simply contact an ADP representative directly.
ADP’s knowledgeable and friendly staff will guide your employees in the right direction to answer any questions or help them pick a plan that fits their needs.
I like ADP because they also have industry-specific solutions for businesses in the following categories:
ADP provides PEO services and technology in over 140 countries worldwide.
The only potential downside of using ADP TotalSource is the company’s size. Since ADP is so large, it’s possible that your small business could feel like it’s getting lost in the shuffle.
One of the biggest standouts of Paychex is the way that they provide PEO services. Your business will get a dedicated HR professional. In some cases, this dedicated HR manager can even be on-site at your office.
By working directly with your employees, Paychex takes HR outsourcing to the next level.
Since Paychex works so closely with your company, it makes it easier for them to assess workplace risks and address key areas of liability.
These are some of the top features and benefits of using Paychex as your PEO provider:
Like other PEO providers, Paychex also offers individual services if you don’t need a full-service plan. You can search for solutions by task, business size, or role. Paychex even offers outsourced office management services.
From paperless hiring and onboarding to issuing payroll, Paychex does it all.
The only negative thing I can find about Paychex is that the interface is a bit outdated and not as user-friendly compared to options like ADP TotalSource.
The price for Paychex PEO services is based on the number of employees you have. Contact their sales team for a free consultation and quote.
Oasis Outsourcing was originally founded in 1996. The company was recently acquired by Paychex in 2018, although Oasis still operates under its own name.
PEO services provided by Oasis Outsourcing include:
Oasis can help your small business get great deals on healthcare by bundling your plan with other clients. They’ll help you set up employee retirement plans as well.
Like other providers on our list, Oasis has some industry-specific solutions.
I’d recommend Oasis to startup companies because they are versatile, but smaller than some of the other choices out there. Oasis can give startups the special attention that they need, even with just a handful of employees.
While some PEO providers allow for month-to-month commitments, Oasis will force you into a one-year contract. So for those of you who don’t want to get locked in, this won’t be the best option for you.
With that said, Oasis does offer a 90-day money-back guarantee window. So you’ll have some time to change your mind if you’re not satisfied in the first few months.
Contact Oasis Outsourcing to get a custom quote for your company’s needs.
TriNet is one of the oldest and most experienced PEO service providers in the industry. After launching in 1988, the company has been serving businesses for more than 30 years.
As of today, they are currently working with over 16,000 clients and roughly 332,000 employees.
The PEO services provided by TriNet are similar to some of the others in the industry. They offer niche-specific solutions for:
TriNet stands out as one of the best PEO providers because of their service and attention to detail. Their team will be on standby for your employees.
Whether it’s during the hiring process, onboarding, or just day-to-day questions about their benefits or employee status, TriNet is there for all of those needs.
TriNet does not try to appeal to larger organizations. In fact, services are segmented by employee size into these three categories:
I’d recommend TriNet to those of you who fall on the lower end of this scale. A company with 500 or 1,000+ employees should look elsewhere.
TriNet offers a wide range of employee health benefit options through insurance companies like United Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Aflac, Aetna, and MetLife.
TriNet also has partnerships with big brands to offer small businesses and employees marketplace discounts. Some of those brands include Verizon, AT&T, Hyatt, and Avis.
To get a custom quote for your small business, simply fill out a short form field on the TriNet website.
While some providers force you to bundle all PEO services in one package, Infiniti HR allows you to pick and choose which ones you need.
Do you only need an outsourced human resources department, but not payroll? No problem. Infiniti HR can set you up with that.
In addition to the traditional PEO services that we’ve seen so far (HR, payroll, risk management, employee benefits, etc.), Infiniti HR also specializes in recruitment. This PEO provider will help get top-level talent to your team.
Another standout for Infiniti HR is the type of businesses that they serve. They work with lots of franchise organizations like Supercuts, Best Western, and Massage Envy.
Whether you own one franchise location or multiple franchises across the country, Infiniti HR will be a top choice for you to consider.
Infiniti HR has been in business for just over ten years. They are still growing and improving their services on what seems like a daily basis.
The Infiniti HR mobile app is expected to be released by the end of 2020. This technology improvement will definitely make their services more appealing.
How to Find the Best PEO Service Providers
There is quite a bit of information that must be taken into consideration when you’re evaluating a PEO service provider. Since so many companies seem to offer similar services, choosing the best fit for your business can be a challenge.
I’ll take you through the methodology that we used to come up with this guide. You can use these features as well during your search process.
The first thing you should look at is the price of the PEO solutions. This will make it easier for you to eliminate options that might be out of your price range.
Unfortunately, not every PEO provider includes prices on their website. Since so much about this industry is customized, you’ll need to speak with a sales representative to get a quote.
But if you’re looking for a provider with transparent prices, Justworks will be a top option for you to consider.
While a PEO provider is supposed to reduce costs make your life easier as a business owner, it should also have a positive impact on your employees.
Things like retirement plans, health insurance, dental, and vision offered by a PEO will be appealing to your staff. Not only will this keep your employees happy, but it will also help you hire top-level talent.
Some PEO providers work with just one health insurance company, while others provide a wide range of options. So if diverse plans from varying providers is important to you, then make sure you find a PEO solution that can accommodate those needs.
The best PEO providers offer technology for employee self-service. Whether it’s an app or web portal, your staff can access crucial information related to their pay, employee status, or benefits.
If the self-service options are not sufficient, you want to make sure that your PEO provider will be available to answer any questions via phone, email, or live chat for your employees.
Your staff should be able to do this without having to go directly through you to speak to an outsourced HR representative.
Business Size and Industry
A startup with five employees and a franchise with 2,000 employees across 50 locations will not be in the market for the same PEO service provider. Look for you providers that work with companies similar to the size of your business.
Furthermore, some PEO providers specialize in certain industries. Ideally, you want to work with a provider who understands your industry, whenever possible.
What’s the best PEO service provider?
The answer depends on a wide range of factors. Not every business is looking for the same thing in a PEO solution. Some businesses want a full-service PEO package, while others just want an outsourced HR representative.
Here’s a recap of the best PEO providers that we reviewed in this guide:
I’m confident that you can find exactly what you’re looking for from one of the providers on this list. I made sure to include something for everyone.
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December 31, 2019 at 02:06PM
5 Hidden Features of Instagram that All Brands and Influencers Must Know
5 Hidden Features of Instagram that All Brands and Influencers Must Know
Today, over one billion people access the app every month for networking, entertainment, business promotion, and media sharing.
In the past few years, Instagram has emerged as one of the leading platforms to promote businesses, owing to the rising number of users and social media influencers on the app. As a result, it has become a hot place for sales and promotions. If you use the Instagram business account(s), to promote your business, increase the number of sales, or simply as an influencer, there are a few unique features of Instagram that you must know how to engage your audience:
First, let’s take a look at some basic tips that will help you ace your Instagram game:
Hidden Instagram Features for Brands and Influencers
A ‘nametag’ is essentially a scannable image that a user can create using Instagram. When scanned through the app, the image redirects you to the Instagram profile of the user. You can customize it by experimenting with backgrounds, colors, emojis, etc.
Although pretty similar to QR codes, creating and using nametags are a bit complicated, as they have to be exclusively scanned in the Instagram app. An easier alternative of going through this process is that you can leverage a free online QR code generator. This way, you can generate a QR code dedicated to your account within seconds. Plus, it can be scanned with the camera of any smartphone – without the need to open Instagram. You can use both the options for networking during events and conferences. Also, you can use them in e-mails or display them at physical locations (like a store) to give customers instant access to your social media profile. Influencers, too, can print their QR code on their merchandise.
In fact, Instagram is also testing QR Codes to replace Nametags altogether.
If you are an influencer or an entity and want to promote your business on Instagram, running advertisements could help you gain more followers and engagement. Earlier, businesses could run an ad only by using the ‘Promote’ button. But now, by using the Ads Manager tool on the Instagram app, you can create an ad out of any of the past Instagram post(s) from your profile. Consequently, the engagement you generate will be transferred to the organic post, regardless of how old or new it is. Running an Instagram ad on past posts can be extremely beneficial, as it can help you bolster the posts that are already doing well. Furthermore, ads also usually have a spillover effect and increase the reach of other posts as well.
If you have an existing online business, shoppable tags are a way to use social media to promote your products. Shoppable tags are price ‘tags’ that you can attach to your Instagram posts, mentioning a short description of the product and its price. These tags redirect a user to the original shopping page, and they can shop directly from Instagram instead of using a separate app or browser. You can create these tags by linking your Instagram account to your official Facebook Page (or creating a new one) and then uploading the pictures of your products in the form of a catalog.
There are many benefits of using shoppable tags in posts as well as stories on Instagram, like:
At the nascent stage of growth of your Instagram account, you might follow other pages or people to grow engagement and follower count. However, after some time, a lot of these accounts lose relevance. Their content might not be at par, does not match your values, or even relevant to you, but unfollowing them now might seem rude.
Don’t fret. Instagram has a perfect solution to this dilemma. Unfollow such accounts without actually unfollowing them by using the mute feature. You can either mute their stories, or posts, or both. Once you mute an account, you won’t see any of their content in your feed or stories. This feature, although not known to many, was primarily created by Instagram to let the user be in control of the content they want to see on their feed. This special feature sets Instagram apart from other social networks, allowing users and businesses to streamline their feeds.
The coveted blue tick next to your profile is crucial if you want everyone who looks you up to reach your genuine profile. Instagram offers these ‘badges’ to public figures, celebrities, businesses, and brands after confirming their authenticity. Many people wrongly assume that these badges appear automatically after amassing a certain number of followers or that Instagram approaches you to verify your account. However, anyone can request a verified badge for their profile, provided it falls into one of the categories mentioned earlier. All you need to do is go to Settings > Account > Request Verification. You will also have to provide some sort of government-issued photo identification.
Remember, submitting a verification request doesn’t mean that you will get the badge, even if you are eligible for it. Instagram may deny your request, and you will be eligible to submit a new request only after 30 days of the rejection. Instagram has stringent rules regarding offering verified badges and can also revoke the badges (or even disable the account) of those who sell or transfer their badge, promote other services or try to get a verification badge through a third-party.
Instagram has revolutionized the way we consume information, shop, and get our daily dose of entertainment. Apart from being the go-to image-sharing app for millions across the world, Instagram has also become the undisputed king for product promotion and influencer market. By learning more features that they can use, both businesses and people can promote themselves as a unique brand. Remember, content is king on Instagram, so all you need to elicit genuine user engagement is quality visuals and images.
The post 5 Hidden Features of Instagram that All Brands and Influencers Must Know appeared first on Social Media Explorer.
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December 31, 2019 at 06:11AM
How to Optimize Your Online Marketing Plan: A 4-Step Process
Want to be sure your next marketing plan is optimized for the future? Looking for a framework to follow?
In this article, you’ll discover a four-step process to audit and adjust your next marketing plan.
#1: Evaluate Your Branding and Online Footprint to Ensure Consistency
First, you need to address brand health. Does your brand need some dusting off? Now’s the time to evaluate the past year. Because your product offerings are like your children, I recommend having a third party (like a digital marketing agency) help in the overall brand assessment. Sometimes we get carried away with our invention and it’s hard to be objective.
Examine your brand direction and messaging. Look over all of your brand properties, logo, packaging, website, online stores, marketing materials, and digital marketing channels. What needs to be modified? How much money do you have to achieve these goals? Start planning for the changes.
I’m a big believer in having marketing materials ready for all initiatives. Do you have those product and lifestyle photos ready for the media? Do an audit of all of your existing materials and modify those that need updating. I like to create materials that focus on the usability of and need for a product. Human wants and products’ usefulness are what make your products relatable.
Are you launching your product in a new store or opening a new eCommerce shop? Packaging may look different online than offline so plan for this. If your budget doesn’t allow for full-fledged repackaging, work with what you have and perhaps change the lifestyle pictures. Consider using short videos to showcase your brand in the social media space.
#2: Define Your Marketing Goals for the Year
Take a look at your marketing efforts from past years and analyze your performance. You might find that your company has grown or may need a change of direction. Review your products and services to determine any modifications you need to make for effective results.
Put a solid program together with clear goals and objectives. This is important! We all get caught up in what we’re working on and overwhelmed with everyday tasks. It’s imperative to get your ideas on paper in front of you so you can map out a marketing scenario. Take a little time to jot down your priorities.
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This step requires some investigation and organization. A quick review of your present business plan might help you get that perspective. Then you can move forward with some context from what happened in the past year.
Define Your Goals
What do you want to achieve in 2020? Define your purpose based on the answer to this question. Compare these goals to last year’s and see if anything has changed. It’s a good idea to review these objectives every quarter to see if you need to make any changes to benefit your company.
Once you revisit your business plan, see what necessary adjustments you need to make for a prosperous year. Make sure you have an accountability plan for every initiative so all actions are measurable.
Identify Your Target Audience
The marketplace changes daily. Keep a close focus on your target markets and their behavior patterns. Think about how to interest customers and prospects in your products and services.
Analyze Your Competition
See what your competition is doing so you can hopefully woo some of their customers to your camp. What makes your competitors successful? What strengths help them stand out among the competition?
Understand Your Product
You know your product—after all, you created it! But you may have to take this a step further and see how users react to it. Are you getting the desired engagement? Are people buying and recommending it?
This might seem obvious, but getting stuck in the wonderment of your creation can make you lose sight of the consumer’s perspective. Seek out objective opinions from consumers who have used your products—unbiased influencers and shoppers who will give you an honest idea of why they like or don’t like your product. Then you can make the necessary modifications.
Pro Tip: Find out what the sales team needs and provide them with the necessary information and support. It’s imperative to your company’s success to ally with the sales team. Finding out what makes buyers buy and users use is a constant educational process. Everyone wants to make the effort to get repeat customers so working together is essential.
#3: Organize and Prioritize Your Marketing Initiatives
Now that you’ve defined your goals, you’re ready for the more creative part of your yearly planning.
Set a date to achieve all of your goals and objectives so you can start your course of action. Break the year into quarters. Don’t let these tasks intimidate you; you’re not wasting your time. On the contrary, if you run a business, you’re forever thinking about it so it’s a matter of going through your due diligence.
Think about how you’re going to execute all of the above. How are you going to put all of your marketing ideas and creative thoughts into one place so you can examine what makes sense? Here are some suggestions.
Create a Vision Board
Design a vision board for all of your quarterly and yearly initiatives. Pin or add images that represent ideas past and present. This will help you get some clarity on what needs to be done to maximize your efforts for the coming year. I personally like doodling on a napkin or writing down ideas in a Moleskine notebook.
What tasks require your immediate attention? Do you have a product that has potential but isn’t selling? Perhaps part of the budget could be dedicated to reviving this item. What about a product that’s already successful? Maybe you want to spend more time and money on it.
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Revisit your product’s unique selling proposition (USP). Has anything changed? After reviewing users’ reports and experiences, you might find that your consumers are looking for something else.
#4: Plan Your Social Media Marketing Campaigns for the Coming Year
Planning your budget is the most important piece of the marketing mix. Don’t let this intimidate you. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends that you spend about 8% of your gross revenue on marketing and advertising. So let’s review expenses.
Look at your pricing structure compared to your competition. Don’t be intimidated if your competition spends more than you do. Creative marketing can be an equalizer. In all my years of working in this field, sometimes the big campaigns also fall short of expectations. Focus on a comfortable budget that’s efficient and effective (analytics will help give you answers).
Social Media Advertising
Social media advertising is an important aspect of your marketing and deserves its own category. While organic reach is optimum, let’s be honest; it’s almost impossible for a company to get any traction without a proper advertising budget. Our company uses Facebook and Instagram for B2C and LinkedIn for B2B advertising. Find platforms that work for your company. If the bulk of your business comes from search, consider adding search engines to your budget.
Review your prior efforts and determine what makes sense. Be sure to include video in your advertising budget. Spots in the 10- to 15-second range for vertical markets work well on several mobile social media platforms.
One of the benefits of programmatic advertising is the testability factor and the analytics. You can create campaigns and monitor success very easily.
Pro Tip: Have a plan B ready in case your detailed plan A doesn’t go as expected. Map out alternative scenarios and what-ifs.
As you plan, here are some things other than ads to consider when you’re deciding what’s worked in the past for your company and where you might want to change things up in the coming year.
Collaborative Brand Partnerships
Look for partnerships with symbiotic products that can enhance your brand. These collaborations can change brand perception. You can find examples of this marketing technique with something as simple as McDonald’s selling Coca-Cola with a bundled meal. It’s a win-win for both companies.
Still relevant, influential spokespeople can help build your brand. Select them carefully. Monitor engagement and influence. There are many analytics tools that can measure influencer activity.
We tend to pick influencers who are passionate about a product and are willing to represent it. Sometimes smaller influencers are more effective than the biggies that tweet once. Select your paid influencers based on their performance, reach, and passion.
PR Outreach Appearances
Send your CEO or a top executive to be interviewed on podcasts or other media. This positions your company as approachable, human, and newsworthy.
Take Stock of New Trends
Explore new trends and opportunities. A new environment or outreach platform that might be a good fit can be worth looking into. I typically choose platforms that have less noise and great choices of vertical audiences. What are the new trendy tools of the trade?
Ask yourself what’s new in your marketing arsenal. A hot new social media platform like TikTok, perhaps? This new social media tool has advanced video composition tools that enable marketers to showcase their products in use. It’s a powerful way to market your products to a whole new audience of young adults.
Also look for new promotional opportunities that can bring more awareness to your products and services. Try unexplored territories. Sometimes you can stand out in a less-crowded community like utilizing Flipboard, a digital magazine app. In my business, we experienced lots of brand success with podcasts and interviews for our clients.
Perhaps it’s time to put a real person in front of a camera for a different take on your brand’s philosophy and products. Having the face of your company promote a product will get more consumer attention.
If you’re working with a digital agency, ask them to create a program that integrates new initiatives. I always recommend looking for innovative solutions to keep your brand at the forefront of the marketplace.
It’s important to have an accountability program ready to track all of your marketing efforts. I like simple metrics that keep track of a few goals. The case is different for advertising and paid reach but for marketing goals, I typically measure impressions, sentiment, and brand reach to get a general idea of the marketplace.
The new year brings change and soul-searching for improvement, especially when it comes to marketing your company. Now’s the time to preview the year ahead and make the necessary adjustments for the best performance of your marketing initiatives.
Your business is constantly evolving so it needs to be constantly monitored and updated. A new decade is a good excuse to re-energize your marketing efforts with a fresh new start.
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What do you think? Do you create a new online marketing plan every year or just tweak an existing one? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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December 31, 2019 at 05:01AM
In the shadow of Amazon and Microsoft, Seattle startups are having a moment
Venture capital investment exploded across a number of geographies in 2019 despite the constant threat of an economic downturn.
San Francisco, of course, remains the startup epicenter of the world, shutting out all other geographies when it comes to capital invested. Still, other regions continue to grow, raking in more capital this year than ever.
In Utah, a new hotbed for startups, companies like Weave, Divvy and MX Technology raised a collective $370 million from private market investors. In the Northeast, New York City experienced record-breaking deal volume with median deal sizes climbing steadily. Boston is closing out the decade with at least 10 deals larger than $100 million announced this year alone. And in the lovely Pacific Northwest, home to tech heavyweights Amazon and Microsoft, Seattle is experiencing an uptick in VC interest in what could be a sign the town is finally reaching its full potential.
Seattle startups raised a total of $3.5 billion in VC funding across roughly 375 deals this year, according to data collected by PitchBook. That’s up from $3 billion in 2018 across 346 deals and a meager $1.7 billion in 2017 across 348 deals. Much of Seattle’s recent growth can be attributed to a few fast-growing businesses.
Convoy, the digital freight network that connects truckers with shippers, closed a $400 million round last month bringing its valuation to $2.75 billion. The deal was remarkable for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was the largest venture round for a Seattle-based company in a decade, PitchBook claims. And it pushed Convoy to the top of the list of the most valuable companies in the city, surpassing OfferUp, which raised a sizable Series D in 2018 at a $1.4 billion valuation.
Convoy has managed to attract a slew of high-profile investors, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and even U2’s Bono and the Edge. Since it was founded in 2015, the business has raised a total of more than $668 million.
Remitly, another Seattle-headquartered business, has helped bolster Seattle’s startup ecosystem. The fintech company focused on international money transfer raised a $135 million Series E led by Generation Investment Management, and $85 million in debt from Barclays, Bridge Bank, Goldman Sachs and Silicon Valley Bank earlier this year. Owl Rock Capital, Princeville Global, Prudential Financial, Schroder & Co Bank AG and Top Tier Capital Partners, and previous investors DN Capital, Naspers’ PayU and Stripes Group also participated in the equity round, which valued Remitly at nearly $1 billion.
A number of other factors have contributed to Seattle’s long-awaited rise in venture activity. Top-performing companies like Stripe, Airbnb and Dropbox have established engineering offices in Seattle, as has Uber, Twitter, Facebook, Disney and many others. This, of course, has attracted copious engineers, a key ingredient to building a successful tech hub. Plus, the pipeline of engineers provided by the nearby University of Washington (shout-out to my alma mater) means there’s no shortage of brainiacs.
There’s long been plenty of smart people in Seattle, mostly working at Microsoft and Amazon, however. The issue has been a shortage of entrepreneurs, or those willing to exit a well-paying gig in favor of a risky venture. Fortunately for Seattle venture capitalists, new efforts have been made to entice corporate workers to the startup universe. Pioneer Square Labs, which I profiled earlier this year, is a prime example of this movement. On a mission to champion Seattle’s unique entrepreneurial DNA, Pioneer Square Labs cropped up in 2015 to create, launch and fund technology companies headquartered in the Pacific Northwest.
Operating under the startup studio model, PSL’s team of former founders and venture capitalists, including Rover and Mighty AI founder Greg Gottesman, collaborate to craft and incubate startup ideas, then recruit a founding CEO from their network of entrepreneurs to lead the business. Seattle is home to two of the most valuable businesses in the world, but it has not created as many founders as anticipated. PSL hopes that by removing some of the risk, it can encourage prospective founders, like Boundless CEO Xiao Wang, a former senior product manager at Amazon, to build.
“The studio model lends itself really well to people who are 99% there, thinking ‘damn, I want to start a company,’ ” PSL co-founder Ben Gilbert said in March. “These are people that are incredible entrepreneurs but if not for the studio as a catalyst, they may not have [left].”
Boundless is one of several successful PSL spin-outs. The business, which helps families navigate the convoluted green card process, raised a $7.8 million Series A led by Foundry Group earlier this year, with participation from existing investors Trilogy Equity Partners, PSL, Two Sigma Ventures and Founders’ Co-Op.
Years-old institutional funds like Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group have done their part to bolster the Seattle startup community too. Madrona raised a $100 million Acceleration Fund earlier this year, and although it plans to look beyond its backyard for its newest deals, the firm continues to be one of the largest supporters of Pacific Northwest upstarts. Founded in 1995, Madrona’s portfolio includes Amazon, Mighty AI, UiPath, Branch and more.
Voyager Capital, another Seattle-based VC, also raised another $100 million this year to invest in the PNW. Maveron, a venture capital fund co-founded by Starbucks mastermind Howard Schultz, closed on another $180 million to invest in early-stage consumer startups in May. And new efforts like Flying Fish Partners have been busy deploying capital to promising local companies.
There’s a lot more to say about all this. Like the growing role of deep-pocketed angel investors in Seattle have in expanding the startup ecosystem, or the non-local investors, like Silicon Valley’s best, who’ve funneled cash into Seattle’s talent. In short, Seattle deal activity is finally climbing thanks to top talent, new accelerator models and several refueled venture funds. Now we wait to see how the Seattle startup community leverages this growth period and what startups emerge on top.
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December 30, 2019 at 04:48PM
What Role Will Coupon Marketing Play for Marketers in 2020?
The Internet has drastically changed the landscape of shopping and has accelerated the evolution of the coupon. No longer are consumers content with just clipping coupons from the Sunday newspaper.
Finding discounts has become a highly-competitive digital race, and a secret weapon for digital marketers everywhere. So, what’s next for coupon marketing in 2020?
Why Digital Coupons are Big Business
It’s become so simple to search for coupon codes at major sites like Groupon and CouponBirds that consumers have come to expect it. Thrifty shoppers will search for a discount first and then make a purchasing decision.
Bottom line? Businesses need to be prepared to cater to this growing demographic of casual and extreme couponers.
According to a recent study, 8 million people in the US redeemed digital coupons in 2016, and that number is expected to grow to over 145 million by 2021.
Globally, an estimated 31 billion digital coupons were redeemed in 2019, so there’s no doubt that 2020 is going to be another big year for the digital coupon.
How Marketers Can Leverage Coupons in 2020
A smart shopper will always search for the best deal before making a purchase, and consumers in general have become more savvy. Having coupons as part of the 2020 marketing strategy is essential for brands that want to be relevant in the digital coupon age.
But first, brands need to understand the profiles of their target audience.
Tricia Liu, COO at CouponBirds, provides this advice on building a coupon marketing strategy in 2020, “To develop a successful Coupon Marketing Strategy and increase your conversion rates, you need to define your audience spending habits, specify the time of biggest traffic to fit coupon timing, and keep an eye on significant dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Place customers in appropriate segments in your coupon system.”
In addition to understanding the statistics of spending habits and traffic, there are a few coupon tactics that have proven more successful than others in studies.
For example, an undecided shopper that has filled their online cart is less likely to abandon the purchase if offered a coupon code at checkout. Similarly, 63% of consumers said they would reconsider an abandoned cart if offered a coupon code.
One study also showed that 65% of consumers reported that online vouchers convinced them to finalize an undecided purchase.
The best practices when it comes to coupon marketing are to provide vouchers before the cart is filled, at checkout, and in a follow up email for abandoned carts.
Undecided shoppers are a goldmine for brands, especially when it comes to digital coupon codes. Offering an online coupon could be the deciding factor between one brand or website versus another for a similar product.
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December 30, 2019 at 03:55PM
The Power of PaaS: Ravi Bahethi Expert Programmer Shares a Guide to Development Testing Integration and Data Analysis in the Cloud
The Power of PaaS: Ravi Bahethi, Expert Programmer, Shares a Guide to Development, Testing, Integration, and Data Analysis in the Cloud
No enterprise IT manager should underestimate the power of PaaS (platform-as-a-service) cloud computing. The advantages in terms of cost-efficiency and flexible, scalable development capabilities are well-known. Less well understood is how integrating your PaaS with SaaS (software-as-a-service) and IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) is beneficial. Here, Ravi Bahethi, president of Terranet, Inc. discusses how harnessing the full power of integrated PaaS is one of the most powerful options available to any small to medium-sized business today.
What is PaaS?
PaaS is a form of cloud computing service where a service provider provides a platform to clients. The cloud platform allows clients to develop, operate, and maintain business applications from their remote location with needing to obtain and maintain the local infrastructure that is typically required. The service provider manages and runs the cloud server while managing the allocation of resources to clients; that way, clients can focus on development and related activities. Clients can enjoy faster development and delivery as well as other production advantages when they are free from infrastructure development and management.
PaaS and Development
Along with cloud infrastructure, PaaS includes development tools. PaaS provides a system that developers use to build and customize cloud-based programs and applications. The platform allows developers to use built-in software to assist in coding new applications. PaaS development also allows programmers to spend more of their time coding their applications thanks to the scalability and multi-user capabilities of the cloud platform. PaaS enables clients to get more work done with less staff and lets programmers more easily develop for multiple platforms, such as mobile, desktop, and browsers. As a pay-per-use format, PaaS allows developers to access more advanced development tools than they would otherwise be able to use.
PaaS Integration with SaaS and IaaS
Many client organizations use all three most common cloud services, PaaS, SaaS, and IaaS. The integration of these services in a useful way can deliver a complete service that exceeds the power of any one of the services. It is essential to understand what SaaS and IaaS provide to understand how valuable an integrated PaaS can be.
IaaS is a service where the cloud provider gives access to standard computing resources like storage, servers, and networking infrastructure. However, an IaaS provider does not develop a platform for these resources.
SaaS is simply software that clients can access and use through the cloud, just as if it were installed locally on the clients’ computers.
An integrated PaaS system delivers the entire infrastructure, meaning that clients are relieved from local development and acquisition of the components of IaaS and SaaS while also enjoying the tools that integrate the operation of the associated services. Many PaaS systems provide continuously updated integration, allowing for updates and new functions without interrupting client access to the platform.
Evaluating the quality of any proposed PaaS should focus on the quality of the integration of the platform with IaaS and SaaS systems that are of value to the company. With the right PaaS service, companies can get down quickly to the business of developing code and products that can be delivered efficiently.
About Ravi Bahethi
Ravi Bahethi specializes in programming and systems engineering and serves both government and industry clients. Mr. Bahethi is a devoted believer in the power of integration of technologies in order to create new and more powerful efficiencies. He is a confident team leader, experienced programmer and systems engineer, and president of Terranet Inc. He is devoted to providing flexible and cost-effective IT solutions to his clients. When he is not working, Ravi enjoys reading, walking, and playing tennis.
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December 30, 2019 at 11:29AM
How to Use Social Media to Grow a Business
In today’s era, it is more important than ever for businesses to have a strong online presence. This is because when most people look for a new product or service, they are going to turn to the internet first. While most businesses understand the importance of having a strong website, having a social media presence using sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, SoSa, and more is just as important. Social media can be used to grow a small business.
First, social media can be used to develop trust with potential customers. When people use social media, they are able to interact with a small business on a personal level. For example, a small business can use social media to survey potential customers to see what they are interested in. Then, businesses can use this information to drive sales and promotions. In this sense, customers will have their feedback heard. When they feel like they are listened to, this imbues them with a sense of loyalty to the business and brand as a whole.
Next, social media can also be used to increase a business’s search engine rankings. When potential customers use search engines to find a product or service, it is critical for businesses to land on the first page of the rankings, preferably in the top spot. Having a strong social media presence will help this happen. With the ability to add pictures, videos, and links back to the company’s main website, this will improve the search engine ranking through a process called search engine optimization, or SEO. Many potential customers will visit a company’s social media pages before they head to the company website to learn more.
Finally, as alluded to above, a small business can use social media platforms to drive traffic back to the website. In this fashion, a business is able to turn social media traffic into leads by getting them to visit the company’s main website. Social media platforms can be used to expand the potential reach of a brand, driving traffic back to the company websites. By creating a profile for a business on each social media platform, the popularity of these platforms can be leveraged by sharing content that has been customized to the needs of the consumer and business. As they start to follow the business, they will eventually reach the company platform, driving content.
Furthermore, potential customers can even share the company’s social media posts and the business’s website on social media platforms such as SoSa, which is an online community where people can make new friends and socialize. Through discussions on social media platforms, small businesses are able to promote their brand, expand their reach, and market their products and services.
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December 30, 2019 at 11:05AM
4 Top Reasons to Hire Professionals over DIY Web Development
In the modern Internet era, whether you are a global organization or a startup, among the must-consider concepts is website development. While the online world is saturated with resourceful information you can utilize to learn web development, however, going the DIY way might not deliver desirable results. Noting that the website is a representation of your business, your friend, or relative who kind-of know their way around web development might not be your best shot. The good news is, with the readily available and accessible website development services with companies like Innovsoltech, you can conveniently enlist pro services and impress your visitors with a fully-functional website. If you haven’t considered it, here is a look at why you should hire professional web development services.
Despite your skills, you can hardly match a professional whose primary job is to develop websites. What’s more, here is the thing about that web development template you have been picturing as your solution; it is readily accessible by others. It means that, should you opt for a DIY using a template, you will end up with a boring website that everyone has seen somewhere.
The secret to a successful website is standing out in a pool of sites, and with the available templates, you can’t achieve it. Web development professionals have the right tools and skills to tailor your website from scratch with your target traffic in mind. This results in a unique and fully-functional website that conveniently captures your visitors’ attention and offers a seamless experience. With such features, you get to reduce the bounce rate, generate quality leads, and enjoy a better conversion rate.
While developing a website, you can easily be carried away by the aesthetics and forget its functionality. With professional web development services, however, you eliminate such mistakes that can cost you a lot. With effective measures such as video background, strategically positioned images, and tabs arrangement to mention a few concerns, professionals add a unique aesthetic appeal while easing your visitors’ activities. This ensures that you won’t sacrifice functionality, trying to achieve a captivating visual appeal.
Load speed, search engine optimization, and elimination of friction are among website optimization concerns that require a professional touch to accomplish, especially for an eCommerce site. For instance, if your site takes forever to load, users will quickly leave and use competitors offering fast load speeds. Moreover, if your users find it hard to add items on the cart, remove, or navigate varying pages during the purchase, the cart abandonment rate will only keep on rising. With professional services, you not only get an SEO optimized site for better visibility but also a website that quickly captures the users’ attention and offers a friendly experience to keep them coming back.
Keep up with the changes
Web development is never complete. Over time, new trends will emerge, and without the right skills, implementing such trends will take forever. Missing out on some trends could significantly affect your website performance. For instance, as more users continue to take favor in mobile devices over the PC, ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly and that it seamlessly works across varying devices with different screen sizes and resolution is vital. However, with your quick DIY endeavors, you are more likely to skip such essential features while concentrating on lesser significant concerns.
Hiring professional web development services saves you time and is cost-effective. What’s more, with a professionally designed and developed website, you show how serious you are with your business. As you strive to grow your business, hiring professional web development services, therefore, is among the best decisions you will ever make.
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December 30, 2019 at 10:34AM
Best Document Management Software
Document management software has become a crucial component of running a business in 2020. So many organizations are either going paperless, have remote employees, or both.
These new trends make it unrealistic to keep documents and paperwork in physical filing cabinets or boxes in an office.
Document management software allows you to declutter your office, improve security, and access files or data from anywhere. This software also enhances efficiency when sharing documents or collaborating with team members.
Are you ready to digitally upload, track, and securely archive your documents? You need document management software to achieve this.
Whether your company is going paperless, or you just want to digitize your records for improved organization, this guide has everything you need to know about DM software (DMS).
The 7 Best Document Management Software
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of document management solutions on the market today. Cloud storage tools like Google Drive or Dropbox could technically fall into this category as well.
But for the purpose of this guide, I focused on DMS for businesses. For this instance, there are really only seven solutions that I would recommend.
The reviews below include a brief summary, features, benefits, prices, and any potential drawbacks of each software. Use this as a resource to find the best document management software for your unique situation.
eFileCabinet is one of the best document management solutions on the market today. Since 2001, this company has helped individuals, small business owners, and enterprise-level companies organize data and files online.
The software makes it easy for you to stay organized and find a document, regardless of how many you have on file.
You can search for documents or locate them based on folder templates or pre-defined file names. eFileCabinet also keeps a portfolio of your most used documents for quick access.
The eFileCabinet solution does all of the hard work for you. Simply upload a document, and the software will file it for you. The automated workflow streamlines your time-consuming tasks to improve efficiency in the office.
All of your documents can be accessed from anywhere with a web browser or mobile app. You can upload documents directly from your phone using the camera on your device. eFileCabinet also allows you to sign contracts.
One of the biggest standouts for this solution is the collaboration features. The system allows you to create different levels of security, so only certain people can access data.
eFileCabinet has encrypted file sharing and requests, two-factor authentication, and role-based permissions. You can even set IP or location-based authentication.
The software integrates with popular third-party services like DocuSign, Salesforce, and Microsoft Office.
Here’s an overview of the plans and price points for eFileCabinet:
All prices are listed per user and billed on an annual basis. Once you upgrade from the Starter plan to Advantage, you’ll need to pay for a minimum of three users.
I’d only recommend the Starter plan to individuals. Sole proprietors or very small businesses can probably get away with the Advantage plan, but the Business package will likely be the best for the majority of you.
With eFileCabinet, you get to choose if you want your storage either on-site or on the cloud. Personally, I prefer the cloud storage. But there are advantages to on-premises as well.
When you upload content to M-Files, the platform automatically organizes the data based on what it is, as opposed to just where you want to store it.
You even have the ability to connect M-Files to your existing network and systems to protect your information and categorize everything with AI, automatically and securely.
Another top benefit of M-Files is that they offer industry-specific solutions. Some popular industries that they service include:
M-Files is great for larger teams that need to access documents at different times. If someone on your staff needs a file that was uploaded and saved by another colleague, they won’t need to search through different folders to see what the document was saved as.
With AI technology, all you need to know is what type of document you’re looking for. Then you can organize the content based on criteria like project title, author, customer, or expiration date.
M-Files will automatically detect duplicate content. Rather than having multiple versions of the same or slightly different documents on your storage system, it will automatically update the latest document to one singular file. This way you always know that you’re viewing or working with the latest version.
With M-Files, you can store a wide range of document types, including emails. The software also allows you to collaborate with external users who don’t have M-Files. That content can be shared as a secure link.
M-Files offers cloud storage, on-site storage, and hybrid storage solutions as well.
You can try M-Files free for 30-days by filling out a form on their website. Pricing for M-Files is not listed on their website. You need to contact their sales team to inquire about a custom solution.
Templafy is a relatively new DMS. After launching in 2014, they have been providing all-in-one document management solutions for enterprises all over the world. It’s designed specifically for large businesses and helps streamline tasks to save time when it comes to storing and accessing files.
More than 300 enterprises across 80+ countries use Templafy for document management. This translates to more than one million users.
Using intelligence software, Templafy will automatically show the most relevant content to each employee based on their usage and position.
Your marketing team doesn’t need to see accounting documents, and vice versa.
One of the biggest pain points with DMS, in general, is having to create new documents using another platform. Templafy eliminates this pain point by giving users the ability to create and edit new content directly within the system.
Both new and uploaded content can all be managed in a simple and singular feed on your dashboard.
Templafy’s cloud storage software means you can access documents from anywhere, including on your smartphones and tablets.
You can integrate Templafy with Microsoft Office 365, G-Suite, and other platforms that you’re using to run your business on a daily basis. You can even integrate Templafy with CRM solutions like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics.
Big brands like Pandora and IKEA trust Templafy to manage their documents with enterprise-grade software.
In addition to managing documents and files, Templafy has solutions for maximizing employee productivity and creating an evergreen IT infrastructure.
Security is another top benefit of using Templafy. You and your team can securely store and access content from anywhere, using any device, whether you’re online or not.
Like most enterprise software, Templafy provides custom solutions for each unique company. So they don’t list any prices online. You can try Templafy for free before you commit to a contract by reaching out to their sales team.
For those of you who are looking for a high-quality cloud-based solution for document management, look no further than DocuWare.
This DMS is unique because it has specific solutions for tasks within your business processes:
DocuWare has everything you need for digital transformation and going paperless using cloud technology.
This is another software that’s used by large businesses and enterprises. Sony, Toshiba, Levi’s, and Kellog’s are just a handful of their most well-recognized customers.
But with that said, DocuWare stands out as a top option for small and medium-sized businesses as well.
Small business owners can use DocuWare to automate their digital workflow, securely organize and store documents, and automate certain tedious tasks.
DocuWare allows you and your staff to edit or annotate documents directly on the platform. Not every DMS on our list gives you this capability.
I like DocuWare because it has features designed to connect remote employees and your deskless workforce. Anyone can easily access content at home or on the go from any device.
More than 12,000 businesses in 90+ countries trust DocuWare for document management. So you know that the company is legitimate with a track record like that.
It has specific use cases for things like contract proposals, finance processes, and HR tasks as well.
The pricing for DocuWare follows a common theme in this guide. They offer a free trial, but you need to contact their customer support team directly for a custom quote.
Hightail is a document management solution with a specific purpose—sharing and collaboration.
Other DMS on the market have features for file sharing as well, but Hightail takes this to the next level.
I recommend Hightail to businesses that need the ability to send large files securely.
Sharing is simple. Just drag or upload a file from your device or cloud storage solution into your Hightail account. Enter the information for who you want to share it with, and automatically send an email notification to the recipient.
With Hightail, you’ll be able to track the delivery and downloads of content you shared. So you know exactly who opened it and when.
Hightail lets you send files of up to 500 GB. You can add password protection to files and set expiration dates as well.
Here’s an overview of the plans and pricing for Hightail:
Lite — Free
Pro — $12 per month per user
Teams — $24 per month per user
Business — $36 per user
As you can see, the pricing is largely based on the file sending limits. But the features get significantly better with each plan as well.
The free option is actually pretty good if you don’t need to send huge files, and even the entry-level Pro plan is suitable for a number of individuals.
If you’re interested in a paid plan, you can try Hightail free for 14 days.
MasterControl is a DMS made for businesses where security is a top priority and concern. Certain industries have strict regulations for companies to comply with.
MasterControl understands those compliance concerns and created a document management solution that meets any security requirements.
One of the top features of MasterControl is its ability to track changes and revisions. If a document needs to be reviewed by a particular person, you can schedule a time and send out reminders as well.
MasterControl can also limit revisions based on access. You have complete control over who can make changes to a document.
You can also create custom watermarks, sequential numbering, and location tracking to control copies of your files.
MasterControl is 21 CFR Part 11 compliant. This means that documents have a time-stamped audit trail, as well as e-sign functionality that complies with federal regulations.
Another unique standout of MasterControl is its learning center. You’ll have access to tons of free videos, documents, and other resources to educate you about the platform and security compliance in general.
If you need enterprise-grade security for document management in a strict industry, MasterControl will be a top option for you to consider. Contact their sales team for a custom quote.
PaperTracer has solutions for small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses. It’s a simple solution for document management.
With PaperTracer, you’ll have the ability to automate your contracts and digitize all of your documents in a centralized database. PaperTracer has tracking and reporting capabilities and HIPPA compliant solutions as well.
Your document management solution is completely customized. You can benefit from a cloud-based implementation with end-to-end workflow solutions.
E-signature capability is also available with PaperTracer.
PaperTracer is a top solution for businesses in healthcare and legal industries.
Here’s a brief overview of the available plans, although all pricing is customized.
Demos and free trials are available for all three plans. I’d recommend PaperTracer for small and medium-sized businesses. While they do have an enterprise-grade solution, there are better options for that on our list.
How to Find the Best Document Management Software
Choosing a document storage solution can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. There are certain features and benefits that you need to keep an eye on when you’re evaluating a prospective software.
I’ll show you the methodology that we used to come up with the choices in this guide. You can use the same system to help narrow your search.
In most cases, document management solutions are either cloud-based or on-site. Some companies offer just one, while others let you choose which one you prefer.
For example, eFileCabinet offers both on-premises and cloud-based storage. M-Files has both as well, and also has a hybrid solution. Other solutions, like DocuWare are completely cloud-based.
I personally prefer cloud solutions because you can access content from anywhere. But for security reasons, some companies want files stored locally on their network.
File Sharing and Collaboration
What can you do with your files once they are uploaded and stored? While organizing files is obviously important, it’s useless for some companies if the documents can’t be shared with teams or external users.
Look for a DMS that accommodates your internal needs for editing or collaborating on files. Features like automated version updates and in-platform editing capabilities are crucial here.
The size of your files will also depend on which solution is best for your business. If you need to share large files, Hightail is the best choice.
Most business-related files and data are sensitive. So it’s important to have a document management solution that can securely store information.
Some solutions offer access permissions based on individual clearance levels or even location.
Other platforms specialize in compliance for unique industries, like healthcare, legal, or government businesses.
Pricing for DMS is usually based on storage limits and users. At each price tier, you can expect the plan to have additional features and benefits.
The majority of the solutions on this list offer custom plans and pricing. So to get a better idea of how much your document management software will cost, you’ll need to consult with a sales representative.
For those of you who are looking for a cost-effective solution and instant sign-ups, eFileCabinet will be a top choice for you to consider.
Ideally, you want to find document management software that works with the platforms you’re already using. Whether it’s CRM like Salesforce, or document editing and creation software like Microsoft Office 365, certain platforms have a wide range of integrations for you to choose from.
However, other solutions that are niche-specific are a bit more limited. So make sure you use software that will actually benefit your workflow process.
Document management software is extremely diverse. Each solution offers unique benefits for businesses based on size, industry, or specific needs.
What’s the best document management software? It’s impossible to say since every option is so different. Here’s a quick recap of the platforms reviewed above:
If you’re looking for a basic all-in-one document management solution, eFileCabinet will probably be your best bet.
But for those of you with unique circumstances and needs, you can find custom software from one of the providers on our list.
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December 30, 2019 at 08:55AM