Why You Should Outsource Your IT Department

Why You Should Outsource Your IT Department

 

Information Technology or IT is the use of computers and software to manage information. In some companies, this is called Management Information Services (MIS), or just Information Services (IS). The IT department of a large company is responsible for storing information as necessary, then later retrieving it when needed.

 

Today’s IT Departments

In order to perform the complex functions that modern IT departments are required to perform they need to use computers, servers, database management systems and cryptography. The department is made up of several System Administrators, Database Administrators and at least one Information Technology Manager. The whole group usually reports to the Chief Information Officer (CIO).

 

Why outsource IT if your employees are handling it just fine?

When it comes to your company’s technology, your current employees may be handling things without a problem. However, the question is will they be able to handle things in the future. You need to consider how much time your employees are spending with tech issues, instead of focusing on their own jobs. You also need to realize that technology is constantly changing from year to year. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to stay on top of the latest advancements in IT and to train your employees.

 

Main reason to outsource IT

The main reason for outsourcing your company’s IT is cost. Outsourcing can help save a company money in the form of not having to hire additional employees, not having to increase the hours your employees are currently working and not having to buy new software with every advancement. Outsourcing can also provide better productivity and allow you to supply your customers with a better and more efficient product or service.

 

What is the cost savings for outsourcing IT?

Cost savings benefits will differ for every company. The expected Return on Investment (ROI) is 30%, on average in cost reductions and increased productivity. It takes time to solve technical problems. Time that your employees can use to focus on the operation of the company and the goals to increase operations.

 

Will you lose control of the IT department if you outsource?

For business owners that prefer to have regular involvement in every area of their company, outsourcing their IT department may make them initially feel like they have lost control over the company’s operations. However, this doesn’t have to be the result of outsourcing. An owner can choose to receive regular updates and have input into the process and decision making. Outsourcing will free up the owner to focus more on the operations of the company and the long term direction of the business.

 

Importance of Cloud Computing and Storage

Cloud computing and storage has become increasingly popular in the last few years offering several possible business applications. This is another area where it is better and more efficient to outsource your IT department because even though Cloud Computing makes a business more effective and efficient it isn’t an easy process to implement.

 

Complete Integration

It is no longer enough for a Major Service Provider (MSP) to only provide one basic service. Along with the expectations of a partnership when it comes to long-term goals, integrating a process is now also a requirement. The latest trends of outsourcing in vertical integration means that one department will manage everything. This makes an MSP an excellent option. All business services need to work together in sync, ensuring your company never has to worry about who is in charge of which area.

 

Business computer services are now held to a higher standard, one that requires an IT department to be more conscience of the future. Businesses now require more complex service that cover all aspects of the company and follows an international standard.

 

The future of IT

In a world where the economy works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week where business transactions move at the speed of light, efficiency is the most prized commodity. Today businesses want to do more with less. The future of IT is a focus in a more mobile and tech-savvy business environment.

 

Choosing the right IT partner

When looking for the best IT partner for your business make sure you ask about how the IT Services provider plans to measure its success. Your IT partner should have specific goals to fulfil your company’s needs. A good IT Support provider will already have an accountability plan of their own in place.

 

More and more companies are outsourcing their IT needs and this will continue to increase in the future, which makes this an ever evolving field that will continue to be a part of most businesses. With this in mind you owe it to your business to give IT outsourcing serious thought.

Generating Revenue Using “White Label” Reseller Hosting

Generating Revenue Using “White Label” Reseller Hosting

 

Many web hosting providers are now offering reseller hosting. They usually offer “white label” hosting as part of the package. Reseller hosting with white labelling is the most common format that hosting companies use to sell their hosting wholesale.

 

White Label

The term “white label” is used for products or services that can be branded with another company’s logo and contact information, when, in fact, the product or service is actually owned by a different company.

 

In web hosting, white label refers to the ability to brand hosting space or servers with another company’s information. This makes it look like the person who is selling the service is the actual owner, when in fact it belongs to another provider.

 

Benefits of White Label Hosting

The benefits of purchasing white label hosting from a larger hosting business is that you can offer your service without having to invest in creating or purchasing the technology and infrastructure you would need to create the web space yourself.  This will create a new stream of revenue for the brand, with very minimal investment. By branding the servers your clients are dependent on you for service and billing.

 

Reseller Hosting

The reseller buys the host’s services wholesale and then sells them to their customers for a profit. A specified amount of the hard drive space and bandwidth is allocated to the reseller account.

 

The typical web hosting reseller might be a web design firm, web developer or systems integrator who offers web hosting as an add-on service. Reseller hosting is also an inexpensive and potentially very profitable way for entrepreneurs to start a company.

 

A reseller is responsible for interacting with their own customer base. However, any hardware, software and connectivity problems are typically forwarded to the server provider that the reseller plan was purchased from.

 

Tips for Success

There are a lot of people reselling web hosting every day, so it is very important that you know about SEO and optimizing your website for the search engines. If you just create a website and let it sit, you will actually lose money paying for hosting that isn’t being used. This is a popular niche, so it is important to stand out from the crowd. However, starting any business has never been easy. With hard work and dedication being a web reseller can be a profitable business.

 

Optimize your website so that it will stand out among the other hosting companies by submitting it to directories, using keywords and SEO, advertising heavily and using social networking just as heavily to make sure that you get the word out to everyone that will listen that you are offering a better service than anyone else.

 

If your website is popular and visible to internet users, you will be able to build a larger and more solid customer base. SEO is very important; in some cases, it can even be more important than traditional advertising. It can’t be stressed enough, be sure you are ranked high on Google.

 

After you have optimized your website, you should give it at least 3 to 6 months before you decide whether or not it is profitable. Many websites can take up to a year before they become profitable. Just like any other business it takes time before you see it turn around and become profitable.

 

Make sure that you choose web hosting company gives you unlimited domains, a large amount of disk space and bandwidth as well as 24-hour customer support. Making sure you choose a reliable web hosting company is not only important for you, but equally important for your customers.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. If you enjoyed this article, let me help you with any of your professional content needs. Including professional and original blog articles, website content and all forms of content marketing. Please contact me at michael@mdtcreative.com and I will put my 10+ years of experience to work for you.

Email Marketing: Design and Deliverability Strategies

Email Marketing Design and Deliverability Strategies

 

Email marketers often focus only on the number of opens and clicks that come from email subscribers. They tend to forget about the conversions which are, of course, the most important. Purchases, registrations, reads, downloads, etc. will increase only if you have them set as a goal. It will be much easier to achieve the outcome you want, if you know exactly what you want your email subscribers to do after receiving your message, with the appropriate subject lines, call to action buttons, images, content and other email elements.

 

Subject lines

You should spend 80% of your time perfecting your subject line, call to action and headlines, and 20% writing copy. You need to create subject lines and call to action buttons with your email subscriber in mind.

 

Be very specific, relevant and useful to your customer. In this case, shorter is not always better, so replace the usual one-word call to action with something more specific in order to get your email subscribers to act on your emails.

 

Be visually unique, for example, make your subject line stand out visually and by trying square brackets, symbols, etc.

 

Use digits, action words and timely topics, for example, use an end date for a campaign to motivate email subscribers to react to the message right here and now.

 

Use a call to action by asking a question.

Make the call to action appropriate to where the email subscribers are at in the buying cycle.

 

Use the golden real estate effectively

When creating your email design, use the golden real estate wisely. The golden real estate is the upper left hand corner of a newsletter, because as we read in an F-shaped pattern, this is the place where attention is paid first of all. So don’t waste this space with images or logos. Leave it for text you directly call on your email recipients to act.

 

Pre-header

In some email programs, you are able to see the first phrase of a newsletter even before opening it. Usually the phrases in this area are “View this email in a browser”, “Show remote content” or other information that is at the top of the email.

 

However, you can use this pre-header for marketing reasons. If before opening the newsletter you saw “Hi, your name”, wouldn’t you be more likely to open it? Any personalization increases the likelihood your email subscribers will react to your emails.

 

Keep it simple

Don’t give your email recipients too many choices. The simpler a message, the easier it is for email subscribers to take action. Choose to have only one call to action instead of several. Also in regards to keeping it simple, use the “rule of 3”, which states you shouldn’t use more than three bullet points within email content. While the “rule of 2” says the two most important content elements are a heading and the first paragraph, so in this case, less is more.

 

Content evaluation

After you have established your targets and how they like to consume information, you need to know deliver the right kind of information to them. First and foremost, stop using emails to sell and start using them to teach. People love to learn and want content and information that is of value to them.

 

However, don’t give everything away in the email, draw them back to your site. Give them a small taste of the information that makes them want more, then direct them to a landing page.

 

Constantly test and optimize

Less than half of online retailers perform some sort of optimization in their email marketing campaigns.

 

It is best to set up goals, pay attention to details, benefit from any opportunity to effectively analyse and optimize campaigns. These are tips that every email marketer should follow closely to get email subscribers to act on your emails in the manner you need them to.

 

Email marketing can be a powerful tool. It doesn’t have to just be something you check off a list. When done right, you’ll notice more than just a higher open rate. You’ll see higher lead acquisition and conversion rates as well.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. If you enjoyed this article, let me help you with any of your professional content needs. Including professional and original blog articles, website content and all forms of content marketing. Please contact me at michael@mdtcreative.com and I will put my 10+ years of experience to work for you.

QR Code Based Virtual Shopping is the Future of Shopping

QR Code Based Virtual Shopping is the Future of Shopping

 

If you can’t get customers, who are too busy to shop, to come to your store then take your store to them. With this mindset comes the future of shopping using QR Codes.

 

An increasing number of companies are creating virtual stores, that are made up of posters displaying the products with quick response (QR) codes, rather than having physical merchandise. Customers are able to scan the matrix barcodes with their smartphones, pay for the items in their virtual carts and then have the items delivered to their home within hours, depending on the items. For the person who doesn’t have time to shop, it is the advantage of window shopping without the hassle of waiting in a checkout line.

 

For the last four years, virtual stores have been popping up around the world, in countries which include South Korea, Canada, The United States, UK, Ireland, Sweden, Chile and Argentina. Walmart teamed up with Mattel to open a virtual toy store at Union Station in Toronto for a month of Christmas shopping. The virtual toy store is positioned so that 200,000 commuters a day pass by it. The hottest toys of the season are displayed to catch the commuters’ eye as they head to and from work.

 

Even though most companies offer online stores for shopping, the ability to browse is what is making these virtual stores more popular. Mobile devices limit the number of products that can be seen because of the size of their screen. The merchandise posters, however, allow the store to display dozens of products at a time.

 

These displays catch the consumer’s attention and help them find items quickly, which also allows them to avoid having to use keyword searches in an online store which isn’t as quick because they may have to figure out the correct keyword to find what they need. These virtual stores are also capitalizing on prior shopping experiences by including products on shelves, which encourages an immersive shopping experience that they can’t find from a mobile online store.

 

The concept of a virtual store began in 2009, when the British grocery chain Tesco launched its HomePlus service in South Korea. They installed posters that looked exactly like a grocery store aisle onto the walls of subway stations. When a commuter made a purchase, the items would be delivered to their door within hours. A similar type of service is now being offered in Chicago by Peapod, with several train stations having virtual stores in them.

 

QR codes have been around since the 1990s, however, the surge in smartphones has made them incredibly popular for gathering information, whether it’s for shopping, travel or anything in between. Besides Walmart, other major retailers have their own virtual stores in highly populated areas including Sears, JCPenney, Kmart and Staples.

 

This isn’t really a new concept, in fact, companies have been doing it for years in the form of mail order catalogues, dating back to when Montgomery Ward mailed out the first in 1872. Back then, item descriptions were combined with an item number that could be added to an order page and items were received through the mail weeks later. Today, images of products give a visual representation of the item, QR codes have replaced the item number and delivery times have been slashed to days, and in some cases even hours.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. If you enjoyed this article, let me help you with any of your professional content needs. Including professional and original blog articles, website content and all forms of content marketing. Please contact me at michael@mdtcreative.com and I will put my 10+ years of experience to work for you.

How Google+ Impacts Search Results

 

Google+ is a social networking and identity service which is owned and operated by Google. Google+ has been described, by Google, as a “social layer” that enhances many of its online properties, and it is not simply a social networking website, but also an authorship tool that associates web-content directly with its owner/author.

 

Second only to Facebook, Google+ is the second largest social networking site in the world. Google counted 540 million monthly active users on the identity service side, of this number 300 million users are active in “the stream”.

 

In a 2013 survey, 30% of surveyed smartphone users used the Google Plus app at least once a month. Another survey stated that, in August 2013, 92% of US smartphone users had visited a Google website or app.

 

How Google+ impacts search ranking

Since Google started “Search Plus Your World”, most Google Search users have witnessed results that add more emphasis to sites shared on Google+.

 

TastyPlacement, a search engine marketing firm, conducted a study to determine just how much of an effect Google+ promotion has on search rankings. As it turned out, having Google+ followers boost the ranking the most, while a “+1” still does way more for your search ranking than Facebook or Twitter.

 

There has been a pretty heated debate going on as to the relationship between Google+ and high ranking search results. Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, has actively denied that Google directly uses +1s as an input for its algorithm. What can’t be denied is that webmasters using Google+ have much higher ranking websites than those who don’t.

 

Google goes to great lengths to assure users that this is search ranking has nothing to do with Google+. They have also drawn parallels between the situation and that of Facebook “likes,” with Matt Cutts claiming, “If you make good content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn’t mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking. Rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is much better spent making great content.”

 

In SEO, correlation is a lot of times mistaken for causation. As the precise details of Google’s search algorithm are unknown, people have typically offered an educated guess on how to improve a website’s ranking. A good example of this are all of the studies published on search engine ranking factors, which show the common elements of high ranking pages.

 

The main subject for debate is whether +1s cause a website to rank higher, or if high ranking websites have +1s for other reasons. Google claims it is because of other reasons, and that this is a simple case of people misinterpreting the relationship between +1s and PageRank.

 

However, since we don’t have access to Google’s algorithm, it is impossible for anyone to know all the “other reasons” high ranking websites may have +1s.  Until this information is made available, people are likely to continue the debates, because without it, Google’s claims need to be taken at face value because after all, the search engine is a part of their business.

 

Eric Enge, for Stone Temple Consulting, conducted an incredibly detailed study to determine the relationship between Google+ and search results. His interpretation of the findings supports Matt Cutts’ claims that the tendency of Google+ pages to receive high rankings is a case of correlation. While he believes that Google+ leads to quick crawling of content, he does not believe this same speed is applied to indexing. When he created test pages provided with +1s, Enge monitored the outcome and found no “material evidence of Google Plus Shares driving rankings movement.”

 

In his analysis, Enge found that Google+ still has value for SEO. He also felt that the correct use of Google+ can be a fantastic strategic tool for optimisation practices. Enge finds that use of Google+ encourages both the discovery and indexing of content.

 

After Enge submitted the first batch of Google+ web pages, there was an almost immediate crawl of the content by GoogleBot. GoogleBot also completes additional crawls of the website every time that it receives another batch. Enge also made note of a small quote by Google made on its developers’ page, that states;

 

“By using a Google+ button, Publishers give Google permission to utilize an automated software program, often called a “web crawler,” to retrieve and analyse websites associated with a Google+ button.”

 

 

This statement alone would imply that the use of Google+ drives website discovery by the search engine. As a result, websites using Google+ are likely to be found faster than those that don’t.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. If you enjoyed this article, let me help you with any of your professional content needs. Including professional and original blog articles, website content and all forms of content marketing. Please contact me at michael@mdtcreative.com and I will put my 10+ years of experience to work for you.

How to Develop an Effective Business Signage Plan

signs

 

Whether your business is well-established or you’re just starting out, signs and graphics are invaluable marketing tools that shouldn’t be overlooked. A quality, professional and eye-catching sign can help your business stand out among your competitors and bring in a lot of new business.

 

It is crucial to integrate a signage strategy into every effective marketing plan. This article will take a look at why your business should have a strategic signage plan, what to include in your plan and the details for making your signage as memorable and effective as possible.

 

Why do you need a sign?

Most often a sign is the first contact anyone will have with your business and should give a positive and lasting impression. Besides a first impression, here are a few reasons your business should develop a strategic signage plan to increase sales and brand loyalty:

 

  • Signs are one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising.
  • A sign introduces you to people passing by, who might not even know about your business.
  • Signs work 24/7, 365 days a year advertising your business.
  • Businesses may increase sales just by adding a good sign.
  • Signs displaying your logo create brand recognition.

 

Come up with a Plan

Devise a plan, put it into writing and commit to reviewing it quarterly to measure your performance. Next, create a budget for both interior and exterior signage and consult a design professional at Display System to devise a strategy. Different businesses have different needs and a detailed graphic design plan will help you narrow which direction to choose.

 

Here are some different signs and graphics that could work for your business:

 

  • Banner Stands
  • Popup Systems
  • Exhibition Displays
  • Tension Fabric Displays
  • Flags
  • POS Systems
  • Brochure Holders

 

It’s all in the details

Before putting up any outdoor signage, you must consider details like permits and maintenance. Check your city’s guidelines regarding signs. After obtaining any necessary permits for outdoor signs, you should evaluate what types of resources you have or need for your sign.

 

Make your sign memorable

Professional signs and banners are very effective advertising tools and help people notice and remember your business, even if they weren’t looking for it. How well a sign does for your business depends largely on how easy it is for people  to see and read it while walking, or driving by your business.
With a well planned signage design strategy, and help from the professionals at Display Systems, your business will be able to create a striking, informative and lasting signage plan that will accurately represent your brand and its mission.

5 Reasons Why Your Business Card Is Still Your Most Effective Marketing Tool

Even in today’s “digital age” you’re still better off doing some things “old school”. One of those things is handing out your business card. Even though it’s very hard to find a business person who doesn’t email, call or even hold meetings using a conference call, instead of flying half way around the world to hold a meeting in person. Handing out a business card should never be done away with.

Here are five reasons why every business person should always keep a good supply of business cards on hand at all times:

Sending contact information digitally is impersonal

Networking has always been, and will always be extremely important to any business. Even though sending your contact information digitally, through an email or a text, will always be quick and convenient. However, it will also be very impersonal.

 

If you want to make a solid connection with someone (which should be your goal), the only effective way to do this is in person, with eye to eye contact, a firm handshake and the presentation of your business card. Genuine connections are still made the old fashioned way, in person and with an actual conversation.

Still the most effective tool for effective marketing

Search engine optimisation (SEO), email marketing and social media marketing are extremely important marketing tools for all businesses. However, nothing is effective for attracting solid leads then a meeting in-person, with eye to eye contact, a firm handshake and the exchanging of business cards.

 

An effective first impression of your brand

A properly designed business card is an excellent first impression of your brand. No one wants their businesses’ first impression to say “I’m cheap and incompetent”. This is why you should always provide a business card, however, it should be properly designed.

Having a poorly designed business card is the same as writing your contact information on a napkin with a crayon, it’s not only ineffective it makes you look incompetent. An effective business card should do more than provide your contact information, it should say this is me and I guarantee I’m not only up to the challenge, I will succeed.

When I pass out my business card, I want to make a great first impression, I want to be unique and I want people to remember me.

Unique business cards get shared

A business card is a physical object that has the potential to be passed around and shared with other potential clients. If you have one that is unique, the chances are far greater for this to happen regularly.

A business cards says “I’m prepared”

We have all met the person who scrambles for a scrap piece of paper and a pen (or sometimes a crayon) when asked for their contact information. I don’t even have to explain what kind of first impression this person leaves me with. Not a good one, and I promise you I usually file their info in the “circular file”.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I sincerely hope that my blog entertains, helps and gets you thinking. Please take a minute to leave a comment to start and interesting conversation, or add your interesting thoughts to an existing conversation.

For more thought provoking articles please check out:

New Technology for Wearable Electronics

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

On Ben Affleck and Slavery

The Secret to Successful UX Design

6 Reasons You Need Content Marketing TODAY