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4 Online Marketing Tools to Enhance Your Brand

Boost your online presence and find more clients

Online Marketing ToolsIf you run a business, then you already understand the importance of marketing.

Nowadays, marketing is more than cold calling or direct mail campaigns. To really make an impression, you need to establish a solid online presence and a high level of engagement with your audience. This involves leveraging social media, blogging, email campaigns, and more.

That’s a lot to do for any business. These four online marketing tools will help simplify your efforts and make you feel more confident about your relationships with clients.

1) Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft combines the best of online marketing into one easy-to-use tool. With Infusionsoft, you’ll receive different resources for selling, content marketing, and building an email list.

Infusionsoft brings you closer to your contacts than ever before by allowing you to track their payment histories, lead scores, and email clicks. This information will help you tailor marketing efforts to a specific demographic, using Infusionsoft’s automated email tool.

Good marketers know that an attractive landing page helps entice more customers. Infusionsoft shows you how to optimize your landing page content and monitor lead sources on your website. With a solid focus on eCommerce, Infusionsoft will help you manage payments and close more sales.

If you’re overwhelmed by your workload, Infusionsoft has the tools you need. The interface makes it easy to schedule meetings, track appointments, and follow up with contacts in only a few clicks. It also includes seamless email integration, so you’ll never miss an important message from a client.

2) HubSpot

As one of the most effective lead generation strategies, inbound marketing can provide tons of organic traffic to your website. An industry leader, HubSpot delivers an exceptional inbound marketing platform that will make your interactions with clients more targeted and personal.

This accessible suite of tools lets you leverage your website, social media activity, and SEO to attract customers and convert more leads into sales. HubSpot provides detailed reports all in one place, and its emphasis on collaboration helps put you in sync with the rest of your team. Not only does HubSpot track website traffic and page performance, but it also provides data on email clicks. This information can help you create targeted emails, segmented lists, and timed posts across multiple media channels.

If blogging is more your style, HubSpot makes content creation easy. It provides beautiful templates, SEO tools, and an easy editor for blogging. The tool also automatically optimizes your blog for mobile devices so that your audience can always find and share your content.

3) Oktopost

If you’re a social media fan, you’ll want to check out Oktopost. Designed to meet the specific needs of business-to-business (B2B) marketers, Oktopost helps you manage all of your social media accounts at once.

With Oktopost, you can schedule posts across multiple channels and measure the performance of your content, including clicks and conversions. This information is essential for determining how well your marketing efforts match your bottom line.

Oktopost is also an expert in content curation. It automatically tracks mentions and suggests links to share, so you always have a way to engage with your audience. Oktopost’s social inbox collects comments on your posts in one place, allowing you to respond quickly to customers.

If you’re interested in Oktopost, you can get started with a free 30-day trial, or you can purchase one of four subscription plans. Buying a subscription provides additional user accounts and more detailed performance reports for your website.

4) SlideShare

SlideShare is a popular multimedia tool that takes content marketing to the next level. Using SlideShare, you can instantly upload presentations, documents, infographics, and PDFs. With millions of worldwide users, SlideShare is the perfect platform for sharing original content and promoting your brand.

As a marketing tool, SlideShare helps improve your reputation with search engines. By creating and posting quality content, you can increase your ranking on Google and drive more traffic to your website.

The most compelling SlideShare presentations offer something of value to their readers. Webinars,
how-to posts, and top 10 lists are especially popular because they are evergreen and easy to share on social media. Images and video clips will enhance your SlideShare content and make it more memorable for your audience.

Your presentation should be on a topic that is relevant to your business. It should also include a call to action that points readers to your website. SlideShare can help you generate a lot of great leads, provided you consistently produce high-quality content.

Online marketing tools put your business on the map

There’s no denying it—the marketing world moves quickly. To stay ahead of the competition, you need to leverage the right tools. With these four services in your toolkit, you’ll build brand awareness and nurture your leads more effectively than ever before.

 

Disclosure: If there are links to a product in any of the reviews, a commission may be paid to us if you purchase the product. We will never write a review on a manufacturer’s product, nor will we promote a product, if we believe the product will not be beneficial to you.

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Sources for Online Editing Jobs

Sources for Online Editing Jobs

A guide to different places to find online editing jobs

Sources for Online Editing JobsAre you an editor looking for work? Searching for places to find online editing jobs? Well, you’re in luck, because job seekers are no longer restricted to traditional job-seeking methods. These days, one way (if not the main way) to find online editing jobs is to search the wonderful World Wide Web. You can take advantage of numerous resources to find online editing jobs. You can look for job openings posted on company websites, search different employment websites, and connect with others in the editing field via online networking sites. Creating profiles on networking sites and connecting with everyone you know can be very beneficial when you’re trying to find online editing jobs.

Many websites and job boards specialize in writing and editing. For example, you will want to check out the following sites when trying to find online editing jobs. (Keep in mind that some sites require fees/registration/membership.)

  • bookjobs.com: The purpose of this website is twofold. It provides a centralized place for jobseekers to research available positions in publishing, and it provides basic information about the book publishing industry as a whole. You can search for jobs and internships, find out about recruitment events and publishing organizations, find publisher profiles and publishing programs, and learn commonly used terms.
  • publishersweekly.com: This website provides information about the publishing industry and authors, reviews, a self-publishing service, links to blogs, and a job zone that lists jobs (job title, employer, post date, location, and more specific job details).
  • publishersmarketplace.com: This is a dedicated marketplace where publishing professionals can find critical information and unique databases, find each other, and learn how to do business better electronically. You also can browse a listing of job openings.
  • writejobs.com: This website is courtesy of Writers Write, Inc., which provides a network of professional websites covering books, entertainment, gaming, media, publishing, and writing. The site allows you to:
    • view only freelance positions
    • view only journalism, media, and magazine jobs
    • view only medical writing/editing positions
    • view only book publishing industry jobs
    • view only technical writing/editing positions
    • view only jobs where telecommuting is considered
  • ed2010.com: Ed2010 is a community of young magazine editors and others interested in this career who want to learn more about the industry in order to land top editing and writing positions at magazines. On this site, you can find blogs, advice, resources, a message board, and job listings. The latter includes job titles, employers, locations, post dates, descriptions, and sometimes contact names.
  • journalism.berkeley.edu: This is part of the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism’s website. You can find a listing of jobs and internships (titles, locations, post dates, application deadlines, descriptions) in journalism, including editing and proofreading jobs in the United States.
  • copyediting.com: The Copyediting: Language in the Digital Age website is all about the copyediting profession. A job board lists various jobs in editing.
  • mediabistro.com: Mediabistro is the leading provider of jobs, news, education, events, and research for the media industry. Its mission is to help media professionals succeed and grow in their careers by providing opportunities to acquire new positions, knowledge, skills, and connections.
  • journalismjobs.com: JournalismJobs.com is the largest and most-visited resource for journalism jobs. It receives between 2.5 million and 3 million page views a month.
  • ihirepublishing.com: This site, part of the iHire job network, is for finding jobs in the publishing industry. You can register for jobs by title or location or search the list of “featured jobs.” The listings are updated daily, and there are thousands of them. There is also an option to upload your résumé, which might speed up your search for editing jobs online.
  • mastheadonline.com: This site provides news, job listings, and information about the Canadian magazine industry.
  • staffwriters.com: StaffWriters has been providing communications professionals with opportunities for more than 15 years.
  • sunoasis.com: Sunoasis Jobs uses the Internet to provide job postings, leads, and links to connect you with opportunities.

In your quest to find online editing jobs, also make sure to check out job boards such as Monster, Simply Hired, Indeed, and CareerBuilder. Consider joining professional associations, such as the Editors’ Association of Canada, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, or the Society of Editors. You can network via these sites and make useful contacts. This can also be a good source for finding online editing jobs.

Get ready, get set, and go find online editing jobs!

If you are an editor trying to find an online editing job, use this brief guide to help in your search. Just remember that patience and perseverance will pay off. A challenging and fulfilling editing career awaits you.

Image source: Alberto Zornetta/Shutterstock.com

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Top 6 Technology Tools

Top 6 Technology Tools

Improve your website with the latest technology tools

Top 6 Technology ToolsYou might be pleased with your company’s website and think it is performing well, but do you know for sure? Even a website that brings in sales could be improved to bring in more sales. The only way to discover whether your website is doing the best possible job is to test its performance. This review covers the best technology tools that will help you improve the performance of your website by identifying your potential customers and asking them about the site. Word of mouth is an important sales tool, so you need to ensure your back-office functions and after-sales service are also maximized.

Until recently, to get product testing for your website, you would need to hire a marketing firm. However, new feedback technology, analytical services, and website traffic analysis services can do much of the work for you. Take a look at the top six technology tools that will help you improve your website.

1) UserTesting

The classic method of product testing involves gathering a group of typical people from your target market, getting them to use the product, and requesting their opinion. UserTesting offers analytical services that do exactly that with websites. No matter where your website is hosted, it is accessible throughout the world. You don’t need to go to the UserTesting offices. They communicate with you over the Internet. Because you can’t physically be there to witness the testing, the company creates videos of typical users moving around your site and then sends those videos to you. The tests are specifically based on an aspect of your site you want investigated; for example, you can determine whether users can find the FAQ page or whether the payment page is easy to use on a smartphone.

2) Mixpanel

Mixpanel is a technology tool that covers information similar to that provided by UserTesting. However, the data that is used by the analytical technology of Mixpanel is gathered from regular users of your site rather than from nominated test subjects. To use the feedback technology of this service, you have to install a set of programs on your web server. This enables you to request data on the behavior of your site’s visitors. The aim is to gather business intelligence on how people use your site, which gives more detailed information about your site’s strengths and weaknesses than a simple count of the number of people who visited each page. You get information from the system by assembling data queries from a series of drop-down option boxes. Mixpanel’s pricing structure is a monthly subscription payment. The analytical services track either a certain number of people or a certain number of data points in your site. The plans cost up to $2,000 per month, but there is a free version available.

3) Mint

Mint is similar to Mixpanel in that you install the technology tool on your web server. The program applies analytical technology to visits to your site, and you access the gathered business intelligence through a dashboard program. Mint is much cheaper than the paid version of Mixpanel. You pay a one-time fee of $30 when you install the technology tool on your site. However, the information you receive from the system is much less comprehensive than the data presented by Mixpanel.

4) Clicky

Clicky provides feedback technology through a range of technology tools, the list of which expands with increasingly more expensive plans. This analytical service has a much wider range of analysis options than Mint does and doesn’t require you to assemble queries of data to get business intelligence from the system. Clicky has a menu of pages, each of which presents a different graphic covering aspects of your site. All the information shown in the analysis includes live data, so the reports are up to the minute. A distinctive feature of Clicky is its Heatmap presentation of your webpages. This shows which features of each page attract the most clicks, by overlaying colored spots over the image of a particular page. The Heatmap feature is available only with the Pro Plus plan and more expensive plans. Pro Plus costs $14.99 per month, while the Pro plan, the cheapest paid plan, costs $9.99 per month. There is a free version, but it only allows you to monitor sites with daily page views of less than 3,000.

5) Kampyle

One of the most straightforward ways to get customer feedback is to ask for it. You can either put feedback buttons at various locations on your site or program a dialogue box asking for feedback. Kampyle specializes in the process of asking for customer feedback and interpreting the captured data. Feedback technology can be an effective method to get public opinion about your website’s performance.

6) Jira

You may have lost many customers in the past because you didn’t realize that your customer service methods weren’t good enough. The technology tools in this review may help you gain business intelligence into what is going wrong, but you can’t fix lousy procedures if you are prone to poor organization. A good work- and team-planning tool like Jira will help your improve your overall task management.

Implementation

The three key technology tools for website traffic analysis are Mint, Mixpanel, and Clicky. Each of these business intelligence tools can be installed and run without the need for additional technological capabilities. You could try the free version of Clicky and then progress to one of the paid plans once you become familiar with the tool. Once you have worked out how to analyze your site’s performance, you can ask for a second opinion by getting UserTesting to check the vital functions of your webpages. Adding feedback features through Kampyle will enable continuous feedback data to drive your website’s design. Implementing a task management tool for user support or project management should improve your customers’ opinions of your site. You can get started today with these technology tools and improve your site’s sales performance.

Image source: italianestro/BigStockPhoto.com

 

Disclosure: If there are links to a product in any of the reviews, a commission may be paid to us if you purchase the product. We will never write a review on a manufacturer’s product, nor will we promote a product, if we believe the product will not be beneficial to you.

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Top 8 ECommerce Tools

Top 8 ECommerce Tools

ECommerce Tools That Will Get Your Business Online

Top 8 ECommerce ToolsPeople with the entrepreneurial spirit come up with great ideas, but then sometimes encounter technological and psychological barriers that stop them implementing these ideas. You may have turned your enthusiasm to eCommerce a few years ago, but then found it all too complicated and just given up. If this is the case, try again. There are many new eCommerce tools available now that will make your online enterprise a lot easier to set up.

You don’t have to be a computer genius to get an eCommerce shop going. In this review, you will read about eCommerce platforms, services, software, and shopping cart solutions. It takes time to get familiar with new systems, but this roundup of eCommerce solutions has done some of the groundwork for you by narrowing your search to the eight top eCommerce tools currently available.

1) Recurly

Getting people to subscribe to a service is a great way to tie in repeat business automatically. Services like investment tip sheets, diet plans, exercise regimes, and lifestyle coaching can be charged with monthly or yearly repeat billing. If that’s the type of business you are in, you should look into Recurly, an eCommerce platform specifically serving subscription businesses. They have credit card verification methods that minimize any impact you might suffer from fraud, and their confirmation procedures reduce incidences of canceled payments and chargebacks.

2) Shopify

Shopify offers a complete eCommerce solution. This platform hosts and helps you build your website, provides an online shopping cart, and processes payments. You can interface your Shopify site with PayPal and many other payment processing systems. Shopify integrates some of the best eCommerce software, and it has pretty much covered all the eCommerce tools you will need. They even offer an interface that enables you to use a Shopify screen instead of a point of sale (POS) system if you have a brick-and-mortar business as well as an online outlet.

3) Vendio

Vendio is very similar to Shopify, and you will need to examine each of their websites to decide between the two. Vendio places more stress on the fact that you can sell on eBay, Amazon, and Facebook through its system. You can do that with Shopify, too, but you have to dig a little deeper through its presentation to find this information, suggesting that Vendio gives those services a little more priority than Shopify.

4) Sift Science

Fraudsters win by gaming the eCommerce world—getting goods delivered and then demanding refunds from their credit cards without returning anything. A credit card refund, called a chargeback, can be made without your permission, and if you get hit with too many of them, credit card companies will withhold a large chunk of your revenue for a time. If the chargebacks continue, they will refuse to deal with you, and your business will be finished. Sift Science is a fraud detection system that analyses shoppers’ habits and prevents fraudsters from buying from your site. This will protect you from excessive chargebacks and unpaid deliveries. This eCommerce solution integrates with Shopify.

5) Google Adwords

Google offers a chance to get ahead in the search engine optimization game, right to the top of search results. This method is called Google AdWords. You may not be interested in paying for your slot on Google’s results, but signing up for Google AdWords is free. You can use it to research what keywords are popular at the moment. So, it is a useful eCommerce tool even if you never actually use it for advertising.

6) Open Cart

At first glance, Open Cart seems to be just an online shopping cart. However, it isn’t just that; it is a comprehensive eCommerce platform like Shopify and Vendio. Just like those other two eCommerce solutions for instant online shops, Open Cart integrates with payment processing and shipping companies such as PayPal and FedEx. If you already have your own domain and hosting package, Open Cart has one big advantage over Shopify and Vendio—it’s free.

7) Zendesk

Zendesk is a customer relationship management (CRM) system. CRM systems enable you to chat with potential customers to answer their questions about your products, and then you can provide support and help through those systems for after-sales service. Zendesk isn’t an eCommerce platform—you will still need an eCommerce solution, such as Vendio or Shopify, that has an online shopping cart included. Zendesk is more of an eCommerce service that you could add to your existing online store. This eCommerce tool can be integrated with Shopify.

8) IDChecker

IDChecker, like Sift Science, is an eCommerce tool for fraud prevention. This eCommerce service includes document and face scanning, which is performed through the buyer’s webcam. As with Sift Science, the motivation for integrating IDChecker into your online shop is to reduce the damage of chargebacks. A main benefit of IDChecker is its scalability and effectiveness for enterprises of all sizes.

Solutions

Starting an online business is an exciting venture, and you should take time to read through the descriptions of Shopify, Vendio, and Open Cart to see which of these three eCommerce platforms would work best for your products. If you sell subscriptions to your services, then you should consider Recurly for your billing method. Sift Science and IDChecker provide essential eCommerce services to prevent chargebacks and keep your business running. Google AdWords will help you analyze your market and target your advertising. Finally, eCommerce tools like Zendesk will encourage nervous shoppers to buy and increase word-of-mouth recommendations by making sure you help buyers fix problems with your products. Your eCommerce strategy just got a lot easier to plan.

Image source: Scanrail/BigStockPhoto.com

 

Disclosure: If there are links to a product in any of the reviews, a commission may be paid to us if you purchase the product. We will never write a review on a manufacturer’s product, nor will we promote a product, if we believe the product will not be beneficial to you.
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Top 5 Web Development Tools

Top 5 Web Development Tools.

Awesome web development tools to give your website an edge

Top 5 Web Development Tools.Developing a new website for your business is an exhilarating experience. You need to work through designs for all the pages your site needs and decide how visitors will move from one page to another. You may decide to pay for expert skills for the design, the build, or both. Custom web development is a fairly straightforward task, thanks to the wide range of web services and tools now available. You can do the web development and design yourself or use web development services. Whichever path you choose depends on your confidence and your computing skills.

A number of web services now offer online templates that automate the web development and design process, making custom web development a task that anyone can perform. Consider the web development tools outlined in this review before you decide whether you can tackle the job yourself.

1) Balsamiq

Balsamiq may influence your decision about whether to perform your own web development and design. This easy-to-use web service enables you to create mock-ups of your webpages. If you want to have the program on your computer so you can work with it offline, Balsamiq offers a downloadable version. Nowadays, you have to produce several different versions of your site because people may access it from desktop and laptop computers as well as smartphones. The mobile versions of your webpages will require different layouts because a phone screen is much smaller than a laptop screen. This makes custom web development a little more complicated than it was a few years ago. Creating mock-ups of your pages before the final build means you can test their appearance and get feedback from others on the look and feel of your new site before you go to the trouble of building it.

2) 99 designs

If you aren’t going to do your own web development and design, you need to find someone to do it for you. 99 designs enables web designers to showcase their abilities and pitch for work. You fill out an online form with your requirements and specify how much you are willing to pay. This information is then accessible to freelance web designers, who come up with a pitch and post their ideas for your project. The competition closes after seven days, and you pick the design you like the best. Don’t forget to specify that you need SEO web development, because that will get you search engine-friendly web services built into the submitted designs.

3) Amazon

You probably know Amazon as an online retailer. The company extended its platform from selling books to creating a marketplace for a wide range of products. Selling online requires many specialized web services, not just web development and design. For example, you will need a shopping cart and some form of payment processing. Amazon Web Services helps users of the Amazon platform set up their online shops through a series of web development tools. You can create your own pages online with the Amazon templates, which simplifies the decisions that must be made in custom web development. Amazon is highly experienced at web marketing, so you can be sure that its templates include search engine optimization, thus guaranteeing SEO web development for your enterprise. Another advantage of Amazon Web Services is that the company is so well known; plenty of blogs and web development and design advice sites can give you tips specifically related to using Amazon Web Services. Some small businesses, however, may find Amazon’s standardized design procedures too restrictive for their needs.

4) Wufoo

If you like the idea behind Amazon Web Services but want a little more originality in your web development and design, take a look at Wufoo. This company offers web development services similar to Amazon’s in that you can create your own pages using templates. However, one big limitation in Wufoo’s web development tool is that it is restricted to producing forms. Forms can be used not just to input data but also to display it. If you have a catalog of products, you can set up input forms that only you can access and then construct the main product pages of your site as forms to display search results based on the data you input into your database. But not every website needs input forms, and those that do have forms also need other pages that are not centered on forms. However, you can integrate your Wufoo forms into an Amazon shop. Websites are more than just the layout you see in the browser. Often there are complicated behind-the-scenes programs and databases at work in a webpage. Wufoo generates all these programs for you. Handling forms input, storing the input data, and accessing it is a complicated programming task, so if you need forms on your site, look into Wufoo.

5) Swiftype

Swiftype won’t help you with your web development and design, as it isn’t a web development tool; however, it is a search facility that you can integrate into your website. A search facility is more complicated than just an input field labeled “Search.” The search engine needs to index the site and record keywords against different points in your webpages. Swiftype stores this information on its own server, and the Search button on your site prompts a call to a program on its computer. This may slow the response of the search, depending on the performance of the Swiftype computer and the speed of the Internet connection when a user tries the function.

Considerations

If you are completely new to web development and design, Amazon Web Services is probably the best solution for your custom web development project. The limitations of design decisions in this system will actually help you get the job done, and the automatic integration of a shopping cart and payment processing simplifies the work you need to do to get your online shop running. If you don’t need to collect payments through your website but have a lot of products to display, you might be more interested in Wufoo’s web development services, where you get more design options but fewer services. The prototyping facilities of web development tools such as Balsamiq will enable you to test the usability and visual appeal of your planned webpage layouts. Remember to create mobile-friendly versions of all your pages, and check them out on a range of devices before settling on your design.

Image source: venimo/BigStockPhoto.com

 

Disclosure: If there are links to a product in any of the reviews, a commission may be paid to us if you purchase the product. We will never write a review on a manufacturer’s product, nor will we promote a product, if we believe the product will not be beneficial to you.

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Top 6 Online Tools for Operations

Top 6 Online Tools for Operations

Top 6 Online Tools for OperationsOperations management is the process of running the day-to-day functions of your business. Although these functions tend to be the main activities of a business, most small-business owners tend to slip into a routine and rarely examine these tasks to form an operations strategy. Taking just a little time to consider these things will enable you to identify operational weaknesses in your organization and start to think about what tools could assist you in improving the efficiency of your business processes.

New, cloud-based services can help any business save money and improve efficiency through proper operations management. You don’t have to be an online business to benefit from these online tools for operations. Take a look at this list of the latest tools for operations, and see whether any of these would fit your business’s needs.

1) Yammer

“Collaboration” is a buzzword in business at the moment. Basically, it means keeping team members informed. In the old days, managers would send endless streams of memos to keep everyone informed. The most recent method of collaboration is based on email systems. Yammer is a business collaboration platform that mimics social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Yammer is a cloud-based service, so your employees out in the field, such as the sales team, can access the network on their smartphones. You can also integrate the applications you use in your day-to-day operations. As Yammer is all about business collaboration, very small businesses would probably not find a social network like Yammer suitable for their operations strategy.

2) Carbonite

One service that no business should overlook is data backup. If your laptop gets stolen or your hard drive crashes, the loss of data could ruin your business. Carbonite is one of many cloud-based services specializing in data storage. A major benefit of Carbonite is that it is affordable and scalable. It is not one of those tools for operations that suit only multi-employee businesses. Sole traders and small businesses also need to build data recovery into their operations strategy, and Carbonite has a range of plans to suit all business sizes.

3) Trello

Trello is a business collaboration tool that could also be used by a sole trader for operation organization. The user assembles all the information for a project onto a board, which can then be accessed by others; it is a way of allocating tasks to a team or just gathering all your thoughts in one place. Because Trello is a cloud-based service, the boards you create can be accessed from any other device, including a tablet or a smartphone. So, if you are a decorator or a handyman, you can compose a library of guides and checklists at home or at the office and then access that information when you are out on site. Trello combines many tools for operations, such as a calendar for scheduling and a method for centralizing project documentation.

4) NetSuite

NetSuite is a big system that covers all operations management for a company. Its tools for operations include an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that covers financial functions, such as accounting, financial planning, order management, invoicing, and bill paying. The NetSuite ERP system is the world’s most implemented cloud-based service for operations management. It enables you to track inventory, order supplies, and write sales orders. The system also helps you ship packages and issue invoices to customers. The company also offers a customer relationship management (CRM) module that controls the customer contact aspects of operations management. NetSuite isn’t designed for small businesses—the NetSuite website only mentions midsize businesses and enterprises—so the product is less suitable for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

5) Deputy

Deputy is one of the tools for operations in this list that focuses on the workforce management aspects of your operations strategy. This is a cloud-based service, so information you post in your Deputy system can be accessed from mobile devices—making it a business collaboration platform as well as a scheduling and task allocation system. The operations management functions of Deputy are comprehensive. Nevertheless, sole traders or small partnerships probably wouldn’t benefit from the team management and business collaboration aspects of the system enough to justify Deputy’s expense. Consultancies and agencies, however, would find this a useful tool for operation organization.

6) AOMi

AOMi stands for Active Operations Management International, but you don’t need to be a multinational to run your operations management through this system. The “international” part of the name just refers to the fact that the company is active in many different countries. AOMi is probably the most targeted of the tools for operations in this list in that it doesn’t focus on business collaboration or form part of an ERP system. It is specifically targeted at supporting operations management. The AOM methodology focuses on staff allocation and goal setting. Many businesses overlook the concept of capacity when planning their operations strategy. AOMi starts with HR capacity, including the availability of in-house skills and outsourced services. If your business has many employees, or if you operate with independent contractors to fulfill your orders, you would benefit from the performance and resource utilization capabilities of this system.

Considerations

As you work through this list of reviews of tools for operations, you will probably see immediately which of these systems match the needs of your business. If you are a sole trader or a small business with very few employees, you probably wouldn’t need the business collaboration features of some of the products in this list. Some of the systems reviewed here, such as NetSuite and AOMi, are better suited to midsized companies with a number of employees and sales activities to track. Other services, such as Trello or Carbonite, fulfill operations management needs of all sizes of businesses.

Image source: ginasanders/BigStockPhoto.com

 

Disclosure: If there are links to a product in any of the reviews, a commission may be paid to us if you purchase the product. We will never write a review on a manufacturer’s product, nor will we promote a product, if we believe the product will not be beneficial to you.

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Top 9 Sales Tools for Small Businesses

Top 9 Sales Tools for Small Businesses

Online sales tools can help you win new business

Top 9 Sales Tools for Small BusinessesYou don’t have to run an online business to benefit from online sales tools. Even if you generate all your sales in the real world and have little presence on the web, you can benefit from web-based sales tools to support your sales management functions.

A sales strategy is easier to implement if it involves a well-motivated sales organization and is fully supported by sales tools. If you are struggling to improve the conversion rate of your initial contacts and you want to know how to increase sales, you should try to move to an online sales strategy that includes conversion optimization. The nine sales tools detailed in this review should get your sales management buzzing with technology.

1) Highrise HQ

Put very simply, the Highrise sales tool is an email address book that allows you to add notes to a contact’s details. That description may be an oversimplification; the system also includes a calendar section to enable you to schedule meetings and follow-up calls. The purpose of this sales tool is to improve the conversion rate of your sales organization by making details about the client available for future reference. If your sales management extends to a team, you can choose to share the details you note about a client with one, some, or all of your sales force.

2) Velocify

Velocify is the new name for Leads360. It is cloud based, which means you access the software and store your data on a host computer in the Velocify office. You don’t need to run your own servers to operate this system as your sales management tool. The system can integrate with other software popular with sales organizations. There is a version of Velocify specifically written to interact with Salesforce, which is a well-known sales management tool. The company’s other sales tools are called LeadManager and Dial-IQ. LeadManager enables a sales manager to schedule tasks for team members and track their activities in the field. You can set up automated follow-up emails in the system to keep a potential client informed while you attend to other tasks. Velocify Dial-IQ was written for telesales teams. Outgoing calls can be channeled through an area code that is local to the client, so a remote call center can appear to be in the client’s neighborhood.

3) Bidsketch

Not all sales tools are about customer relationship management. If your tenders and proposals need extensive details, then you may need a sales tool that specifically focuses on presenting bids. Examples of detailed proposals are those presented by advertising agencies or interior designers. Such proposals have to detail more than just a list of tasks and materials. Bidsketch allows you to communicate your proposal online, mixing text, calculations, and graphics. You can include a contract in PDF form with your bid, which the client can approve and commit to using the digital signature technology integrated in the Bidsketch sales tool.

4) ZohoCRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems track contacts with sales leads and store customer and sales information. Full CRM systems also include customer support systems, such as a help desk. Highrise is a CRM tool, but ZohoCRM is a more comprehensive package of customer relationship sales tools. The system is accessible from smartphones, so a sales team member can check customer details before and during meetings. Another feature for conversion optimization is access to social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter. ZohoCRM has many features, so if you are searching for ways to increase sales and improve the conversion rate of your sales organization, check out the ZohoCRM website for all the sales management facilities the package offers.

5) Contactually

Contactually is similar to Highrise in that it is an email address book, like a contacts database married to an appointments calendar. This is a much smaller CRM system than ZohoCRM, so if you are an individual, you would be more likely to buy the single-user version rather than shell out for all the team functionality of ZohoCRM. Like ZohoCRM, Contactually offers access to customers through social media and is also accessible from smartphones.

6) Bloomfire

Bloomfire is a comprehensive CRM system. In fact, this sales tool extends beyond the boundaries of usual CRM functions to those such as staff training. The Bloomfire website explains the ethos of this package as “enterprise collaboration software.” The system can be integrated with other sales tools, such as Salesforce and SharePoint, and also includes interfaces to social media sites, such as LinkedIn.

7) Sidekick

HubSpot specializes in services to facilitate digital marketing efforts, and they produce Sidekick. You don’t have to be an online business to use this sales tool, however. Sidekick is like Highrise because it centers its CRM on an expanded contacts database that acts as an email address book. HubSpot is developing a full CRM system, and Sidekick customers will gain early access to the new sales tools before they are released to the general public in 2015.

8) RelateIQ

Salesforce is a sales management package that is well known among sales organizations for its ability to support conversion optimization. RelateIQ is a sister product of Salesforce, so it integrates well with its stablemate. RelateIQ is an email contact list-based system, much like Highrise and Contactually. If you find the customer contact features of Salesforce weak, add on RelateIQ.

9) Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed is a data scanning service that digitizes your receipts, business cards, and other sales documents. The documents are stored as images and uploaded to cloud storage, so expense receipts can be printed for tax returns. The information from the documents is also indexed so you can search your data store for any relevant information.

Selection

Some of the products in this list complement each other, while others compete to offer the same service. If you are a sole trader or small business looking for a CRM system, the lighter features of Highrise and Contactually would be suitable. As your company grows, you may find the extra features of Velocify worth the money. Larger sales organizations focused on customer contact would be better served by ZohoCRM or Bloomfire.

Image source: dolgachov/BigStockPhoto.com

 

Disclosure: If there are links to a product in any of the reviews, a commission may be paid to us if you purchase the product. We will never write a review on a manufacturer’s product, nor will we promote a product, if we believe the product will not be beneficial to you.

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The Ultimate Resume Checklist

What to Include in a Resume

The Ultimate Resume ChecklistIf you’re reading this article, then you’re probably also in the process of applying for a job. In that case, you’ve found the right place! Here at Inklyo, we know that even the mere thought of creating your resume can be daunting, so we’re here to help. Resumes do take time and patience, but if you’re equipped with the right tools and resources, you’ll have no trouble breezing through the resume writing process . . . and who knows, you might even have fun along the way! This resume checklist will discuss what to include in a resume and will focus on the following topics:

  • Sections (or headings) to include
  • Information to omit
  • Design elements
  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Additional tips to make your resume stand out and help land you that dream job

The Resume Checklist

Feel free to read this checklist as you’d like—from beginning to end, or just the sections that pertain most to your resume writing needs. You could also skip ahead to the point-form infographic if you’re looking for a quick guide to use when reviewing a resume that has already been written. We do, however, suggest reading through the tips to the end—you’ll find some great advice that will really take your resume, and resume writing skills, up a notch!

What to Include

✓ Contact information. Full name, address (street name and number, city, state, and zip code), phone number (home or cell; choose the one you use most often so it’s easier to reach you), email address (keep it professional), and a link to your LinkedIn profile (if you have an account; optional). Depending on your industry, you can also include a link to your professional website (if you have one) or a portfolio of your work.

 Summary. A few brief but comprehensive sentences at the top of your resume highlighting how your skills and accomplishments will benefit the company you are applying to. Try to match this information with the qualifications outlined in the job description.

Relevant knowledge and skills. A concise bulleted list of your knowledge, skills, and attributes that apply to the position at hand.

Work experience. A comprehensive summary of your work history from the past 10 to 15 years. These must be listed in reverse chronological order, which means listing the newest positions first. For each job, include the company name, your position, the dates you worked there (months and years), and a few bulleted points outlining your duties and accomplishments in your role.

Education. Also list your education in reverse chronological order. Unless you’re in high school, it is not necessary to include your secondary education. Rather, focus on your post-secondary education (university and/or college).

Volunteer experience (optional). List any volunteer positions you have held, especially if they’re relevant to the job you’re applying to.

  Industry-specific extras (optional; list each under its own heading). Licenses and Certifications, Publications, Professional Affiliations, Professional Memberships, Awards and Recognition, Portfolio

What to Omit

Non-job-related social media profiles. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.

A “Career Objective” section. Instead, write a summary that explains why you’re qualified for the position and what makes you the best candidate.

A “References” or a “References Available upon Request” section. If a potential employer needs references from you, they will contact you.

Pictures, tables, graphs, or charts. They are unnecessary and will cause confusion for both readers and applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Gender, age, or marital status. These personal details are not necessary to include, as employers are not allowed to make decisions based on an applicant’s status.

A photo of yourself. Save this for your LinkedIn profile, and make sure it’s professional looking.

Fraud, padding, and exaggeration. Don’t lie!

Clichéd words. Avoid words such as try, love, seasoned, experienced, creative, and innovative. Many of these words are vague, over-used, or have lost their strength. Focus on showing your skills rather than telling about them.

Design Elements

Document type. Unless the employer asks for a specific format, prepare your resume as a Word document (.doc or .docx). Word documents, as opposed to PDF or other file types, are the most common and are, therefore, the easiest to be emailed/attached, opened, and read.

Format. Write your work experience and education in reverse chronological order. This means listing your positions from the newest to the oldest.

White space (or negative space). This refers to margins (the areas between the main content and the edges of the page), gutters (the vertical space between columns), and the spaces between lines of type and graphics or figures. Having a balance between white space and content will keep your resume from looking cluttered while drawing the reader’s eye to certain sections.

Font style, size, and color. Use a font that is easy for both ATS and a real person to recognize: Arial, Calibri, Verdana, Times New Roman, Georgia, Lucida, Tahoma, or Trebuchet—these fonts were designed for the web. The font size should be between 10 and 12 point, and the color should be consistent throughout (black).

Margins. Use 1-inch margins all the way around your resume. This will ensure that no information gets cut off if a paper copy is printed and that no information will be lost to ATS if it falls outside the margin.

Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation

Attention to detail. Spelling and grammar are important indicators of a candidate’s attention to detail; they highlight defects rather than spotlighting qualities. It is nearly impossible to recover from spelling errors on your resume.

Action words. Use words that convey action, such as advised, examined, oversaw, prepared, resolved, and compiled.

Consistency. Be consistent with your punctuation throughout. This includes putting periods at the end of complete sentences, using only single or only double quotation marks, using the serial comma, and using only straight or only curly quotes.

Acronyms. Always make sure to spell out any acronyms in full upon their first use.

Editing. Make sure to take the time to thoroughly edit and proofread your resume. Even the smallest spelling mistake can have a disastrous effect, so pay extra attention when reading through your resume. You may even want to use a professional editing service such as Scribendi.com to have an extra set of professional, discerning eyes catch any errors you may have missed. Editing is crucial for two reasons: 1) ATS software will miss important keywords and phrases if they’re spelled incorrectly, making your resume more likely to get rejected and 2) A hiring manager who sees mistakes in your resume won’t take you seriously and will think you are lazy, which also makes it more likely for your resume to get rejected.

Punctuation. Make sure to use punctuation marks properly. Know the difference between a hyphen (-), an en dash (–), and an em (—) dash; when and how to use a semicolon (;); how to properly use a comma (,); and how a period (.) should be placed at the end of each complete sentence.

Capitalization. Capitalize words correctly. Do capitalize names; proper nouns; names of cities, states/provinces, and countries; languages; company names; brand names; and months. Do not capitalize job titles (unless they come before a name); college/university majors; important-sounding career words that aren’t proper nouns; seasons; or directions.

Bonus Tips for an Outstanding Resume

Customization. Tailor your resume specifically to each job that you apply for. This means incorporating words and phrases from the job description—as they apply to your skills and experience—directly into your resume. Try to put most of these words and phrases in the top-third of the first page of your resume.

Template. Stay current and use a modern and professional resume format, but avoid using a template. A template will make your resume look too generic, and it won’t stand out to a potential employer.

Pronouns. Don’t use third- or first-person pronouns. For example, instead of saying “Annie prepares” or “I prepare,” just say “Prepare.”

Email address. Make sure your email address is professional and appropriate, and avoid using a nickname. Think john.smith@email.com as opposed to crazyjohnny27@email.com.

Metrics: Include performance metrics to show exactly how you helped the company. This could mean percentages, dollars, percentages, or time frames.

Keywords. Include industry keywords in your resume, but not too many.

Cover letter. Supplement your resume with a cover letter, especially if the job description calls for one. If you don’t include this important document when it’s asked for, it’s highly unlikely that the hiring manager will even look at—let alone consider—your resume, regardless of how qualified you are for the position.

Quick Reference: Resume Sections

If you’re a bit unsure about how to structure your resume to include all the required information, here’s a tool you can use to guide you. This isn’t the only way to structure a resume, but it’s a great starting point from which you can expand and personalize as much as you want.

Resume Section

Where Is It?

What Does it Tell the Reader?

Main Header (Name and Contact Information)Very top of first pageTells the reader your preferred name and the best ways to contact you
SummaryTop of first page, under main headerExplains why you’re qualified and sums up why you’d be the best candidate for the job
Knowledge and SkillsTop third of first page, beneath SummaryTells the reader how your knowledge and skills match those required by the position
Work ExperienceMiddle of first page, beneath Knowledge and SkillsExplains how your professional achievements could benefit the company you’re applying to
EducationBeneath Work ExperienceShows the reader whether you meet the educational   requirements for the position
Other InformationBeneath EducationShows how your other assets would be beneficial to the role being applied to. Examples include volunteer work, additional honors or completed courses, etc.

Infographic

If you’re looking for a quick reference to use when writing or revising your resume, the following infographic provides a point-form version of this article. Go over this checklist before sending your resume out to potential employers.

Resume Checklist Infographic

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Conclusion

So there you have it—the ULTIMATE resume checklist. Comprehensive? Yes. Helpful? We hope so! Now that you’ve read through the resume tips outlined above, you should be confident in creating an outstanding resume that’s up to date, modern, and exactly what your potential employer wants to read. You now know exactly what to include in your resume and what to avoid, how your resume should be designed and formatted, and how to put it all together. But before you send it off, make sure to edit, edit, edit! Using an editing service like Scribendi.com will ensure your resume is error free so that you land that dream job.

Take these tips, apply them, and share them with your friends! There’s nothing better than that sense of accomplishment you feel after completing something you worked really hard on, and that’s what we want to help you achieve. Best of luck!

How to Write a Resume

Image sources: Unsplash/Pixabay.com, Ian Prince/StockSnap.io

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Top 5 Customer Relationship Management Tools

Top 5 Customer Relationship Management Tools

Improve customer support with customer relationship management tools

Top 5 Customer Relationship Management ToolsYou may have seen the term “CRM” bandied about on blogs and technology sites and wondered what it means. The term stands for “customer relationship management,” and it’s a hot topic for small businesses. CRM is all about improving contacts with existing and future customers. It runs from a sales office fielding calls from potential customers, through to scheduling sales meetings, and on to customer service and technical support after a sale. Maintaining an office just for customer support is an expensive luxury that most small businesses just can’t afford. However, more and better customer relationship management tools are now becoming available to reduce the complexity of this field of business to the point where an existing small team can integrate CRM functions into its usual work schedule. This review examines the top five customer relationship management tools currently on the market.

1) Zendesk

One of the main benefits of customer relationship management tools is that they enable you to focus all the contact channels customers may use to contact you in one dashboard. You centralize information gathered by different team members during customer contact, share any pertinent information, and enable the customer to feel recognized. There is nothing more annoying than calling a company, getting transferred to different people, and having to explain your needs all over again. Zendesk helps keep your team informed regarding contact with customers made by other team members. Therefore, it helps reduce repetition of effort and improves response times to customer queries through workflow scheduling. This customer relationship management tool is cloud based, so you don’t have to install any complicated software, and your team members can access the system from home or while on the move. One element of the Zendesk suite enables you to set up self-help systems, so customers can browse a set of solutions without having to call in for technical support.

2) Get Satisfaction

Zendesk includes a customer self-service module to help reduce the demands on your technical support team, but Get Satisfaction takes this concept one step further by fostering the creation of customer communities. This is like having a Facebook specifically dedicated to your company, its products, and its customers. You encourage customers to check out the community when they first visit your website. This has the benefit of getting existing customers to guide potential clients on the value and usage of your products. People naturally resist sales pitches, so being able to talk to existing customers gives first-time visitors the courage to buy. The community ethos carries through the customer life cycle, enabling customers to advise each other about how to install and exploit your products to their full potential. Customers having trouble with a purchase can use the community for technical advice as well.

3) SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey is the world’s leading online survey platform. It includes access to millions of respondents in the world population, which enables you to research the appeal of your products while they are under development. However, surveys and questionnaires are also key tools in CRM, and you can use SurveyMonkey as a customer relationship management tool. Customer feedback is a key input to improving your services. People are sometimes reluctant to complain if they received poor service, but they will tell their friends, meaning you will lose potential customers without realizing your company is doing anything wrong. Prompting customers for feedback, especially those that chose not to buy, will help you highlight and fix weaknesses in your business’s customer services.

4) Casengo

Casengo is a lot like Zendesk, but it’s a lot cheaper. It can be difficult to choose between these two customer relationship management tools, but fortunately, both offer a 30-day free trial, so whether you choose Casengo or Zendesk may just come down to which of the two you feel more comfortable using. Like Zendesk, Casengo centralizes customer contact channels and provides a central store for records of contact events. Casengo also has a customer self-service module. Both Casengo and Zendesk have a free version with limited functionality. The free version of Casengo only allows you to monitor chat-based contacts with customers. The free version of Zendesk only covers email contact. Casengo is based in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, so its tariff is priced in Euros, not US dollars. Casengo’s basic paid plan costs €9 per user per month, whereas Zendesk’s cheapest paid package costs US $25 per user, per month. Casengo offers a free trial of any of its packages, but Zendesk’s free trial offers its mid-range package, which retails at US $59 per user, per month. The equivalent package at Casengo costs €29 per user, per month.

5) Deskero

The distinguishing feature of Deskero is that it integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. So if you focus your marketing efforts on social media, it’ll probably be the most appropriate customer relationship management tool you could choose. The Deskero presentation specifically refers to the system as Help Desk software, so they don’t aim to fulfill all CRM functions, such as pre-sales and sales force support. Deskero has four different price packages, the cheapest of which is free. The free version allows for only one user and integrates with just one social media platform. The cheapest paid package costs US $15 per user per month and can be integrated with accounts on all five of the social media platforms that Deskero supports. Your help desk webpages are hosted on a subdomain of the Deskero site. Although Deskero’s user interface comes as a standard series of pages, these can be customized to reflect the look and feel of your main website.

Prioritize customer support

Customer relationship management tools enable you to quickly and cheaply offer online customer support, without the need to outsource services to a call center. Whether you expect to get customer approaches via the telephone, through a chat screen on your website, or via email will dictate which of the CRM tools listed in this review work best for your enterprise. Fortunately, all these tools offer trial periods or free versions, so log in to each, and play around with their systems to decide which customer relationship management tool is right for you.

Image source: vitanovski/BigStockPhoto.com

 

Disclosure: If there are links to a product in any of the reviews, a commission may be paid to us if you purchase the product. We will never write a review on a manufacturer’s product, nor will we promote a product, if we believe the product will not be beneficial to you.

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Finding Editing Jobs Online

A guide to finding editing jobs online.

A guide to finding editing jobs online

A guide to finding editing jobs online.Just as there are different types of editing, there are also different types of editors, editing jobs, and ways to find editing jobs. If you want to pursue editing as a career, you are no longer restricted to the traditional job-seeking methods; there are numerous online resources you can take advantage of in your quest to find employment. For example, look for job openings posted on company websites, search different employment websites, and connect with others in your field via online networking sites. Creating profiles on networking sites and connecting with everyone you know can prove very beneficial in your job search

Job search engines

Check out websites that specialize in providing information about job seeking, as these often provide good advice about the whole process. Job search engines have been hugely successful in bringing employees and employers together, and many job sites list employment opportunities according to industry and/or geographic location.

Job boards

There are quite a few job boards that specialize in writing and editing. You will want to check out the following sites when trying to find editing jobs online.

CAUTION: Many job search engines and job boards encourage people to upload their resumes and contact information, so job seekers looking for editing jobs online should exercise caution as doing so will mean that they have no control over who might be able to see and/or use this information.

Jobs and resources for freelance editors

If you are interested in finding freelance editing jobs online, check out the following websites for both job listings and more general resources for freelance editors.

Create your own website

If you are a freelancer looking for editing jobs online, consider creating your own website that features your qualifications, examples of your work, and client testimonials. You might also be able to find useful information or make connections via editing blogs. Here are a few blogs you might want to take a look at.

Associations

When looking for editing jobs online, also be sure to look at the web sites of relevant associations, including the following:

  • Editors’ Association of Canada
  • The National Association of Independent Writers and Editors
  • The Society for Editors and Proofreaders
  • The Editorial Freelancers Association
  • The American Copy Editors Society
  • The Association of Earth Science Editors
  • The Board of Editors in the Life Sciences
  • The Institute of Professional Editors Limited
  • The Northwest Independent Editors Guild
  • The Professional Editors Network
  • The Society of Editors
  • The Society of Professional Journalists
  • The Society for Technical Communication

Typically, you have to belong to associations such as these to view their job listings, but they can be invaluable resources. These kinds of associations often produce their own magazines—generally available online—such as the Society for Technical Communication’s Intercom and Technical Communication. Such sources not only provide industry news and information but often list employment opportunities as well.

Patience, patience, patience

Finding editing jobs online will no doubt require time, a lot of patience, and great persistence—but have no fear, your determination will eventually pay off. So scour all the job search engines, job boards, company web sites, niche job sites, social media sites, and professional networking sites you can in your mission to find editing jobs online. You never know where you might find editing jobs online. Just keep in mind that good editing jobs are worth the time and effort spent searching! And remember that in order to keep your dream editing job, you’ll need to have great editing skills. To brush up on your editing skills, try EditingCamp, the online editing course, today.