Tag Archive | "Business"

Number of Active Business Profiles on Instagram Reaches 25 Million

Instagram’s business profiles are proving to be good for businesses.

The social media network recently announced that 25 million merchants have changed their personal Instagram accounts into business profiles. That’s a huge leap from the 15 million business accounts that were active on the app as of July of this year. What’s more, most of these accounts are from small businesses.

The Facebook-owned app introduced business profiles in May 2016 in order to give businesses better commercial representation on its video and photo network. By changing one’s account to a business profile – which is similar to a Facebook page – companies can add a “contact us” button and examine detailed analytics about Stories and organic posts that they have published, like the number of impressions and the reach the posts accumulated.

Highlighting the main differences between an Instagram personal account and an Instagram business account.

Graphic via modernsoapmaking.com

Instagram is hoping that the more tools they provide merchants, the more they’ll use the app to expand their business, first organically and then through ads. And it seems Instagram’s strategy is working. Since business profiles were introduced, Instagram’s advertiser base has grown from 200,000 in February 2016 to 2 million by September 2017.

Those numbers clearly show that Instagram’s ratio of business accounts to advertisers is almost the same as its parent company. Facebook boasts of more than 6 million advertisers and 70 million companies using Pages.

About 80% of Instagram’s roughly 800 million users per month follow a business, and about 40% of 500 million daily users check out at least one business profile. Interestingly, two-thirds of the 200 million people who check out a company’s business profile on any day do not follow the brand or company. That is something businesses should consider closely.

Merchants might want Instagram users to tap on the follow button, but they would probably be just as happy if people tap the button to contact the company. After all, this would allow them to develop a customer base that goes beyond Instagram.

[Featured image via Pixabay.com]

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Geomodified Searches, Localized Results, and How to Track the Right Keywords and Locations for Your Business – Next Level

Posted by jocameron

Welcome to the newest installment of our educational Next Level series! In our last episode, our fearless writer Jo Cameron shared how to uncover low-value content that could hurt your rankings and turn it into something valuable. Today, she’s returned to share how to do effective keyword research and targeting for local queries. Read on and level up!


All around the world, people are searching: X sits at a computer high above the city and searches dreamily for the best beaches in Ko Samui. Y strides down a puddle-drenched street and hastily types good Japanese noodles into an expensive handheld computer. K takes up way too much space and bandwidth on the free wireless network in a chain coffee house, which could be located just about anywhere in the world, and hunts for the best price on a gadgety thing.

As we search, the engines are working hard to churn out relevant results based on what we’re searching, our location, personalized results, and just about anything else that can be jammed into an algorithm about our complex human lives. As a business owner or SEO, you’ll want to be able to identify the best opportunities for your online presence. Even if your business doesn’t have a physical location and you don’t have the pleasure of sweeping leaves off your welcome mat, understanding the local landscape can help you hone in on keywords with more opportunity for your business.

In this Next Level post, we’ll go through the different types of geo-targeted searches, how to track the right keywords and locations for your business in Moz Pro, and how to distribute your physical local business details with Moz Local. If you’d like to follow along with this tutorial, get started with a free 30-day trial of Moz Pro:

Follow along with a free trial

Whether your customer is two streets away or gliding peacefully above us on the International Space Station, you must consider how the intertwining worlds of local and national search impact your online presence.


Geomodified searches vs. geolocated searches

First, so you can confidently stride into your next marketing meeting and effortlessly contribute to a related conversation on Slack, let’s take a quick look at the lingo.

Geomodified searches include the city/neighborhood in the search term itself to target the searcher’s area of interest.

You may have searched some of these examples yourself in a moment of escapism: “beaches in Ko Samui,” “ramen noodles in Seattle,” “solid state drive London,” or “life drawing classes London.”

Geomodified searches state explicit local intent for results related to a particular location. As a marketer or business owner, tracking geomodified keywords gives you insight into how you’re ranking for those searches specifically.

Geolocated searches are searches made while the searcher is physically located in a specific area — generally a city. You may hear the term “location targeting” thrown about, often in the high-roller realm of paid marketing. Rather than looking at keywords that contain certain areas, this type of geotargeting focuses on searches made within an area.

Examples might include: “Japanese noodles,” “Ramen,” “solid state drive,” or “coffee,” searched from the city of Seattle, or the city of London, or the city of Tokyo.

Of course, the above ways of searching and tracking are often intertwined with each other. Our speedy fingers type demands, algorithms buzz, and content providers hit publish and bite their collective nails as analytics charts populate displaying our progress. Smart SEOs will likely have a keyword strategy that accounts for both geomodified and geolocated searches.

Researching local keywords

The more specific your keywords and the location you’re targeting, generally, the less data you’ll find. Check your favorite keyword research tool, like Keyword Explorer, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. In this example, I’m looking at search volume data for “japanese noodles” vs. “japanese noodles london.”

“Japanese noodles”

“Japanese noodles London”

So, do I toss this geomodified keyword? Hold on, buddy — while the Monthly Volume decreases, take a look at that Difficulty score — it increases. It’s an easy search term to dismiss, since the search volume is so low, but what this tells me is that there’s more to the story.

A search for “japanese noodles” is too broad to divine much of the searcher’s intent — do they want to make Japanese noodles? Learn what Japanese noodles are? Find an appetizing image?… and so on and so forth. The term itself doesn’t give us much context to work with.

So, while the search volume may be lower, a search for “japanese noodles london” means so much more — now we have some idea of the searcher’s intent. If your site’s content matches up with the searcher’s intent, and you can beat your competition in the SERPs, you could find that the lower search volume equates to a higher conversion rate, and you could be setting yourself up for a great return on investment.

Digging into hyperlocal niches is a challenge. We’ve got some handy tips for investigating hyperlocal keywords, including using similar but slightly larger regions, digging into auto-suggest to gather keyword ideas, and using the grouping function in Keyword Explorer.

Testing will be your friend here. Build a lovely list, create some content, and then test, analyze, and as the shampoo bottle recommends, rinse and repeat.


Localized ranking signals and results

When search engines impress us all by displaying a gazillion results per point whatever of a second, they aren’t just looking inwards at their index. They’re looking outwards at the searcher, figuring out the ideal pairing of humans and results.

Local rankings factors take into consideration things like proximity between the searcher and the business, consistency of citations, and reviews, to name just a few. These are jumbled together with all the other signals we’re used to, like authority and relevancy. The full and glorious report is available here: https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors

I often find myself returning to the local search ranking factors report because there’s just so much to digest. So go ahead bookmark it in a folder called “Local SEO” for easy reference, and delight in how organized you are.

While you may expect a search for “life drawing” to turn up mostly organic results, you can see the Local Pack is elbowing its way in there to serve up classes near me:

And likewise, you may expect a search for “life drawing london” to show only local results, but lookie here: we’ve also got some top organic results that have targeted “life drawing london” and the local results creep ever closer to the top:

From these examples you can see that localized results can have a big impact on your SEO strategy, particularly if you’re competing with Local Pack-heavy results. So let’s go ahead and assemble a good strategy into a format that you can follow for your business.


Tracking what’s right for your business

With your mind brimming with local lingo, let’s take a look at how you can track the right types of keywords and locations for your business using Moz Pro. I’ll also touch on Moz Local for the brick-and-mortar types.

1. Your business is rocking the online world

Quest: Track your target keywords nationally and keep your eye on keywords dominated by SERP features you can’t win, like Local Packs.

Hey there, w-w-w dot Your Great Site dot com! You’re the owner of a sweet, shiny website. You’re a member of the digital revolution, a content creator, a message deliverer, a gadgety thingy provider. Your customers are primarily online. I mean, they exist in real life too, but they are also totally and completely immersed in the online world. (Aren’t we all?)

Start by setting up a brand-new Moz Pro Campaign for your target location.

Select one of each search engine to track for your location. This is what I like to call the full deck:

Another personal favorite is what I call the “Google Special.” Select Google desktop and Google Mobile for two locations. This is especially handy if you want to track two national locations in a single Campaign. Here I’ve gone with the US and Canada:

I like to track Google Mobile along with Google desktop results. Ideally you want to be performing consistently in both. If the results are hugely disparate, you may need to check that your site is mobile friendly.

Pour all your lovely keywords into the Campaign creation wizard. Turn that keyword bucket upside-down and give the bottom a satisfying tap like a drum:

Where have we found all these lovely keywords? Don’t tell me you don’t know!

Head over to Keyword Explorer and enter your website. Yes, friend, that’s right. We can show you the keywords your site is already ranking for:

I’m going to leave you to have some fun with that, but when you’re done frolicking in keywords you’re ranking for, keywords your competitors are ranking for, and keywords your Mum’s blog is ranking for, pop back and we’ll continue on our quest.

Next: Onward to the SERP features!

SERP features are both a blessing and a curse. Yes, you could zip to the top of page 1 if you’re lucky enough to be present in those SERP features, but they’re also a minefield, as they squeeze out the organic results you’ve worked so hard to secure.

Luckily for you, we’ve got the map to this dastardly minefield. Keep your eye out for Local Packs and Local Teasers; these are your main threats.

If you have an online business and you’re seeing too many local-type SERP features, this may be an indication that you’re tracking the wrong keywords. You can also start to identify features that do apply to your business, like Image Packs and Featured Snippets.

When you’re done with your local quest, you can come back and try to own some of these features, just like we explored in a previous Next Level blog post: Hunting Down SERP Features to Understand Intent & Drive Traffic

2. Your business rocks customers in the real world

Quest: Track keywords locally and nationally and hone in on local SERP features + the wonderful world of NAP.

What if you run a cozy little cupcake shop in your cozy little city?

Use the same search engine setup from above, and sprinkle locally tracked keywords into the mix.

If you’re setting up a new Campaign, you can add both national and local keywords like a boss.

You can see I’ve added a mouthwatering selection of keywords in both the National Keywords section and in the Local Keywords field. This is because I want to see if one of my cupcake shop’s landing pages is ranking in Google Desktop, Google Mobile, and Yahoo and Bing, both nationally and locally, in my immediate vicinity of Seattle. Along with gathering comparative national and local ranking data, the other reason to track keywords nationally is so you can see how you’re doing in terms of on-page optimization.

Your path to cupcake domination doesn’t stop there! You’re also going to want to be the big player rocking the Local Pack.

Filter by Local Pack or Local Teaser to see if your site is featured. Keep your eye out for any results marked with a red circle, as these are being dominated by your competitors.

The wonderful world of NAP

As a local business owner, you’ll probably have hours of operation, and maybe even one of those signs that you turn around to indicate whether you’re open or closed. You also have something that blogs and e-commerce sites don’t have: NAP, baby!

As a lingo learner, your lingo learning days are never over, especially in the world of digital marketing (actually, just make that digital anything). NAP is the acronym for business name, address, and phone number. In local SEO you’ll see this term float by more often than a crunchy brown leaf on a cold November morning.

NAP details are your lifeblood: You want people to know them, you want them to be correct, and you want them to be correct everywhere — for the very simple reason that humans and Google will trust you if your data is consistent.

If you manage a single location and decide to go down the manual listing management route, kudos to you, my friend. I’m going to offer some resources to guide you:

3. You manage multiple local businesses with multiple locations

Quest: Bulk-distribute business NAP, fix consistency issues, and stamp out duplicates.

If you are juggling a bunch of locations for your own business, or a client’s, you’ll know that in the world of citation building things can get out of hand pretty gosh-darn quick. Any number of acts can result in your business listing details splitting into multiple fragments, whether you moved locations, inherited a phone number that has an online past, or someone in-house set up your listings incorrectly.

While a single business operating out of a single location may have the choice to manually manage their listing distribution, with every location you add to your list your task becomes exponentially more complex.

Remember earlier, when we talked about those all-important local search ranking factors? The factors that determine local results, like proximity, citation signals, reviews, and so on? Well, now you’ll be really glad you bookmarked that link.

You can do all sorts of things to send appealing local signals to Google. While there isn’t a great deal we can do about proximity right now — people have a tendency to travel where they want to — the foundational act of consistently distributing your NAP details is within your power.

That’s where Moz Local steps in. The main purpose of Moz Local is to help you publish and maintain NAP consistency in bulk.

First, enter your business name and postcode in the free Check Listing tool. Bounce, bounce…

After a few bounces, you’ll get the results:

Moz Local will only manage listings that have been “verified” to prevent spam submissions.

If you’re not seeing what you’d expect in the Check Listing tool, you’ll want to dig up your Google Maps and Facebook Places pages and check them against these requirements on our Help Hub.

When you’re ready to start distributing your business details to our partners, you can select and purchase your listing. You can find out more about purchasing your listing, again on our Help Hub.

Pro Tip: If you have lots of local clients, you’ll probably want to purchase via CSV upload. Follow our documentation to get your CSV all spruced up and formatted correctly.

If tracking your visibility and reputation is high on your to-do list, then you’ll want to look at purchasing your listings at the Professional or Premium level.

We’ll track your local and organic rankings for your Google My Business categories by default, but you can enter your own group of target keywords here. We account for the geographic location of your listings, so be sure to add keywords without any geomodifiers!

If you want to track more keywords, we’ve got you covered. Hop on over to Moz Pro and set up a Campaign like we did in the section above.

4. You’re a dog trainer who services your local area without a storefront

Quest: Help owners of aspiring good dogs find your awesome training skills, even though you don’t have a brick-and-mortar storefront.

At Moz HQ, we love our pooches: they are the sunshine of our lives (as our Instagram feed delightfully confirms). While they’re all good doggos, well-trained pooches have a special place in our hearts.

But back to business. If you train dogs, or run another location-specific business without a shop front, this is called a service-area business (or SAB, another term to add to the new lingo pile).

Start by tracking searches for “dog trainer seattle,” and all the other keywords you discovered in your research, both nationally and locally.

I’ve got my Campaign pulled up, so I’m going to add some keywords and track them nationally and locally.

You may find that some keywords on a national level are just too competitive for your local business. That’s okay! You can refine your list as you go. If you’re happy with your local tracking, then you can remove the nationally tracked keywords from your Campaign and just track your keywords at the local level.

Pro Tip: Remember that if you want to improve your Page Optimization with Moz Pro, you’ll have to have the keyword tracked nationally in your Campaign.

In terms of Moz Local, since accuracy, completeness, and consistency are key factors, the tool pushes your complete address to our partners in order to improve your search ranking. It’s possible to use Moz Local with a service-area business (SAB), but it’s worth noting that some partners do not support hidden addresses. Miriam Ellis describes how Moz Local works with service-area businesses (SABs) in her recent blog post.

Basically, if your business is okay with your address being visible in multiple places, then we can work with your Facebook page, provided it’s showing your address. You won’t achieve a 100% visibility score, but chances are your direct local competitors are in the same boat.


Wrapping up

Whether you’re reaching every corner of the globe with your online presence, or putting cupcakes into the hands of Seattleites, the local SEO landscape has an impact on how your site is represented in search results.

The key is identifying the right opportunities for your business and delivering the most accurate and consistent information to search engines, directories, and your human visitors, too.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


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Should You Outsource Digital Marketing for Your Business?

For most companies, digital marketing is essential to growing and retaining their customer base. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses are in the dark when it comes to implementing and managing this type of marketing strategy. As a matter of fact, an informal poll conducted by Smart Insights revealed that half of the businesses that use digital marketing don’t have a working marketing plan to go on.

But before you hash out the details on when and where to launch your digital campaigns, you’ll first need to figure out who will get the job done for you. There are two approaches to tackling this problem: go in-house or outsource.

The Case for In-House Digital Marketing

A lot of companies take advantage of the abundant resources, current online technology and available information on strategies and techniques to manage an in-house digital marketing group. After all, there are several advantages to going this route, most important of which is saving money. Hiring a third-party marketing agency can be relatively expensive considering you’ll need to cover their costs as well as their “markups”. Another advantage would be having a dedicated team who knows the company’s specific goals and are working on a documented digital marketing plan. 

However, one major problem that an in-house team often encounters is the steep learning curve employees without the relevant skill set face. More often than not, this would cause a slower ramp-up time for marketing campaigns. It’s also a sad fact that more than half of in-house digital marketers are ineffective because they learned about the system on-the-job, and did not undergo any official training.

Choosing to Outsource Digital Marketing

Outsourcing your digital marketing needs can be very beneficial, particularly if this task is not your forte. Tapping the services of a digital marketing group can give you several advantages, like having a team of experts readily available. This means that you won’t have to worry about a marketer going on a vacation or taking a sick leave. Your marketing needs will always come first, regardless of whether there’s a holiday or not.

One big advantage of using a digital marketing agency is the insight it can give your business. Employers are often so consumed by the day-to-day running of the company that they don’t have time to understand the business more deeply, like studying what brings prospective clients to the site or how to optimize the company’s online presence. An unbiased set of eyes will give you a new outlook on how to handle your marketing needs. These marketing experts are also likely to be more up-to-date on the latest techniques and strategies being utilized in digital marketing circles.

Perhaps the most important benefit outsourcing your digital needs give is that you get to focus on what’s crucial to your company. Businesses who opt to outsource do so in order to keep the marketing process separate from the company’s core operations. By being distinct, the marketers have more freedom to develop and execute winning marketing strategies and keep up with changing business needs.

Graphic via Quartsoft.com

Should You Outsource Your Digital Marketing Needs?

Before you make a decision on whether to outsource your digital marketing needs, take the time to determine what you really need in terms of marketing. You should also consider the following when you begin your search for an outside marketing agency:

  • Your Company’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Knowing what your KPIs are will help narrow down what you need help with and what the marketing agency can do for you. KPIs will influence the strategy the agency will suggest, as conversions, traffic, cost and revenue per lead are key KPIs for businesses. Which means this is the first question any reputable digital marketing company would ask. Consider it a red flag if the agency doesn’t inquire about it. Conversely, you should also ask digital marketing specialists what they think about your KPIs and how to optimize it. A good company would help you pinpoint weaknesses in your current marketing strategy and introduce new ideas and strategies to help you get the best results for your business.
  • The Digital Agency’s Track Record: Don’t take recommendations at face value. Do your due diligence and check the marketing company’s track record. Ask what types of clients they have handled before and their success record. Most agencies would have case studies and a portfolio on hand. But bear in mind that some clients do ask for non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). However, agencies that can’t provide a single client to show or refer should not be taken seriously.

While there are other factors to consider, the bottom line is that outsourcing your digital marketing needs would depend on what you actually need. If you want to hit targets consistently and predictably then maybe an in-house team is the way to go. But if you want to focus all your energy on the core aspects of your business, then a digital marketing agency can save you time and offer more flexiblity.

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Millennials: Why Your eCommerce Business Should Focus on Them

Millennials are now the biggest demographic with disposable income in the US today. This is the generation born between the 1980s and 1990s. Statistics show that Millenials will make up the majority of the US workforce by the year 2025, which also means that most of them still have their prime earning (and spending) years ahead of them. Thus,  eCommerce businesses with sound marketing strategies focused on this demographic should yield steady returns for the next few decades.

 

Millennials also have a distinct psychology from the previous generations. How they were raised and the technology they learned growing up definitely affected their buying habits. Here are some other reasons why eCommerce businesses should concentrate on this segment:

They are an Influence to be Reckoned With

There are about 80 million Millennials in the US today. Aside from being the biggest segment of the population, representing trillions in sales, they are also a force to be reckoned with in terms of influence on brands and what the next generation of shopping will be like.

Being the children of the technology age, Millennials are dependent on their gadgets. Not only are they constantly connected to their devices, they also influence the next generation’s use of these gadgets as well as their shopping habits. eCommerce marketers should recognize that when they target Millennials they are also targeting their sphere of influence as well.

It should also be emphasized that Millennials are very involved with the brands they like. They’re very active in searching for reviews, reading feedback and providing their own as well. They’re also open to giving positive and negative feedback on almost every product they use, as can be seen by their propensity to fill out surveys on customer experience, the products they want and the content they consume. 

Millennials Demand Value for Money

Growing up during the recession has caused these group to be more careful with their purchases. This means that they are prone to taking their time and evaluating the value of the product. They will take to social media to look for reviews and ask pertinent questions to find out more about a product they are interested in.

This generation is also wise about getting the most out of their hard-earned money. They will look for deals, promos, and discounts and are not ashamed of using coupons. They would even wait patiently for a flash sale or an auction just to get more for their money. While they would often forego unnecessary expenses, Millennials are famous for window shopping online. They can spend hours clicking on sites, looking at products.

They are Always Online

Hours Millennials Spend Online

Graphic via Content Science Review

Never forget their need to be and do things online. Being raised on technology means they know the power they have at their fingertips and are only too willing to use it. This is why brands who were too slow to embrace online shopping are now being left in the dust. This generation loves to check things out online first before buying anything. So companies who want to cater to them should focus on marketing online over other all other types of marketing mediums.

Image result for how much do millenials shop online

Graphic via Social4Retail

Capturing the Interest of Millennial Consumers

It’s obvious that Millennials have a different approach to shopping. This is why online retailers must find a way to relate to them and capture their loyalty and their dollars. Since this generation has an active online presence, your business should be felt online too.

Using conventional marketing tactics won’t work here. It’s vital that you engage with them honestly and realistically. This means providing content with the same behavioral, emotional, and psychological benefits that turned them to social media. Place yourself in the running by providing high-quality images that provide ideas and inspiration and make sure they’re optimized for sharing and for mobile.

It’s also a good idea to make pricing a priority. Millennials are always looking for good deals. So pushing a marketing plan that incorporates promos, discounts and coupons are a good bet. Add some free shipping and you’ll be able to drive traffic to your site.

[Featured image via Graphica YouTube]

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Security Challenges to Consider Before Adopting a Hybrid Cloud Strategy for Your Business

Cloud computing has brought numerous benefits to companies. However, putting all data on the public cloud is something that a lot of IT admins are concerned about. This is why a number of businesses have opted to utilize a hybrid cloud environment. This allows them to store some data in the public cloud and others in an on-site cloud storage.

However, the hybrid cloud isn’t perfect. There are several security problems that companies should watch out for. Here are five security issues to keep in mind:

Inadequate Data Redundancy

Image result for hybrid cloud

Cloud storage service providers commit a substantial amount of resources to ensure the infrastructure is accessible and open whenever end users need it. Unfortunately, problems will inevitably arise. Some well-publicized outages like those involving Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure have underlined the risk of running applications using just one data center. Cloud architects need redundancy across data centers to lessen impact of such outages.

 

This lack of redundancy can end up being a major security risk to a company’s hybrid cloud, particularly if redundant data is not distributed across various data storage centers. Cloud architects can work around this by implementing redundancy via numerous data centers from one provider, using several public cloud providers or a hybrid cloud.

Data Compliance

Maintaining and showing data compliance can be more challenging with a hybrid cloud. Aside from having to ensure that the public cloud provider and the hybrid cloud you’re using are in compliance, you also have to prove that the means of coordination between the two is also compliant.

Poorly Assembled SLAs

 

Public cloud providers work hard to ensure that they meet all the conditions listed in their service level agreement (SLA). Businesses should also make sure that their private cloud can also live up to the same expectation. Otherwise, the company might need to develop SLAs based on the outlook of the lower of the two clouds, which could be your private cloud.

It’s best to gather data on your private cloud’s availability and performance under pragmatic conditions. Watch out for possible issues with integrating private and public clouds that could hinder service. For instance, if a vital business driver for the private cloud is storing confidential and sensitive data on-site, then your SLA should reflect the limitations to which the company can utilize the public cloud for certain services.

Risk Management

From a business point of view, information security revolves around risk management. Cloud computing, especially in hybrid clouds, entails the use of new application programming interfaces (APIs), demand advance network configurations, and pushes the boundaries of a conventional system administrator’s abilities and knowledge.

Unfortunately, these factors can lead to new types of threats. While cloud computing is just as secure as internal infrastructures, the hybrid cloud has a more complex system that IT admins have limited experience in handling, and this can create problems.

As with any technology, problems do arise. Luckily, several traditional IT and security vendors are already working on improving their products in order to support hybrid cloud issues. There are also third parties that can deliver niche tools to bolster particular security configurations.  

[Featured image via Pixabay]

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Amazon Prime Now Offers Business Shipping

Amazon has rolled out a new paid membership program for businesses in the United States and Germany, a clear indication that the company now has its sights on corporate customers.

The program, dubbed Business Prime Shipping, extends Amazon Prime’s free, two-day shipping features to everyone with an Amazon Business account and allows them to purchase office supplies. Some sectors will undoubtedly see this new program as a threat to office supply shops likes Office Depot and Staples, retailers like Walmart and stores like Costco, which specializes in warehouse deals.

According to Amazon’s press release, the pricing for the new membership model is determined by the number of users on the business account. The base price starts at $ 499 for a company with about 10 users and $ 1,299 for businesses with 100 users. The most expensive is $ 10,099 for companies with more than 100 users.

Once a company signs up for the program, all the employees or users will be notified through email about the benefits they are entitled to. New users added to current Amazon Business accounts will also be automatically enlisted in the program.

Greg Greeley, VP of Amazon Prime, said the company is excited to introduce the new shipping program and described it as combining the vast selection of products open to Amazon Business clients with the convenience and speed that Prime is famous for. He also assured customers that the company would keep innovating to ensure easier business purchasing.

Amazon Business was launched in the US in 2015 and was later introduced to countries like Germany and the United Kingdom. The service was recently expanded to include Japan and India.

Aside from the usual benefits offered to Prime subscribers, Amazon Business provides other features big businesses need, like being able to compare offers between sellers, exclusive pricing on more than 5 million items, bulk discounts, integration with 30 or more purchasing systems, and reporting and analytics.

Amazon did not reveal when the new shipping program will expand beyond Germany and the US.

Companies can also sign up to try out Amazon’s Business Prime Shipping for free for 30 days.     

[Features image via Amazon]

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Oculus Rift Goes After Business Sector With New VR Bundle

Oculus VR is now trying to tap into a new market to boost the sales of its high-end virtual reality device. The company is now launching Oculus Business, effectively sweetening the deal for companies to snap up its Oculus Rift bundle.

Oculus vice president Hugo Barra made the announcement of its business bundle during the Oculus Connect conference in San Jose, Tech Crunch reported. The Oculus for Business package costs $ 900 and includes the hardware package, dedicated customer support, full VR license and enterprise-grade warranties.

The hardware package consists of the Oculus Rift headset, three room sensors, three Rift Fits and Oculus Touch Controllers, according to The Verge. Altogether, the hardware only costs $ 574, but the $ 900 price of the business bundle is still considered a great deal, given the warranty, commercial license and preferential customer support that go with it.

While virtual reality is still a relatively new technology, businesses can harness its potential to improve their reach and exposure as well as streamline their operations. For instance, VR can be utilized to aid personnel training and even allow potential customers to examine products in great detail in the virtual world. In the future, VR could be indispensable to a host of industries such as construction, manufacturing, education, tourism, and health.

In fact, the German automobile manufacturer Audi is one of the launch partners of the Oculus for Business. The carmaker harnessed VR to build virtual showrooms where potential buyers can configure a car and even walk around it to assist them in the selection and customization process.

Aside from Oculus VR, other virtual technology manufacturers such as Apple have been pitching their VR hardware as a business tool. Admittedly, the market for VR gear among individuals is a bit limited, as the price of the gadgets is a bit too steep for the average consumer. In addition, setting up a VR rig inside a home also requires some expertise. Businesses, however, have bigger budgets and tech-savvy staff at their disposal which makes it easier for them to buy and install VR equipment.

[Featured Image by YouTube]

The post Oculus Rift Goes After Business Sector With New VR Bundle appeared first on WebProNews.


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Yes, Competitors Can Edit Your Listing on Google My Business

Posted by JoyHawkins

I decided to write this article in response to a recent article that was published over at CBSDFW. The article was one of many stories about how spammers update legitimate information on Google as a way to send more leads somewhere else. This might shock some readers, but it was old news to me since spam of this nature on Google Maps has been a problem for almost a decade.

What sparked my interest in this article was Google’s response. Google stated:

Merchants who manage their business listing info through Google My Business (which is free to use), are notified via email when edits are suggested. Spammers and others with negative intent are a problem for consumers, businesses, and technology companies that provide local business information. We use automated systems to detect for spam and fraud, but we tend not to share details behind our processes so as not to tip off spammers or others with bad intent.

Someone might read that and feel safe, believing that they have nothing to worry about. However, some of us who have been in this space for a long time know that there are several incorrect and misleading statements in that paragraph. I’m going to point them out below.


“Merchants are notified by email”

  1. Google just started notifying users by email last month. Their statement makes it sound like this has been going on for ages. Before September 2017, there were no emails going to people about edits made to their listings.
  2. Not everyone gets an email about edits that have been made. To test this, I had several people submit an update to a listing I own to change the phone number. When the edit went live, the Google account that was the primary owner on the listing got an email; the Google account that was a manager on the listing did not.

Similarly, I am a manager on over 50 listings and 7 of them currently show as having updates in the Google My Business dashboard. I haven’t received a single email since they launched this feature a month ago.

“Notified [...] when edits are suggested”

Merchants are not notified when edits are “suggested.” Any time I’ve ever heard of an email notification in the last month, it went out after the edit was already live.

Here’s a recent case on the Google My Business forum. This business owner got an email when his name was updated because the edit was already live. He currently has a pending edit on his listing to change the hours of operation. Clearly this guy is on top of things, so why hasn’t he denied it? Because he wouldn’t even know about it since it’s pending.

The edit isn’t live yet, so he’s not receiving a notification — either by email or inside the Google My Business dashboard.

Edits show up in the Google My Business dashboard as “Updates from Google.” Many people think that if they don’t “accept” these edits in the Google My Business dashboard, the edits won’t go live. The reality is that by “accepting” them, you’re just confirming something that’s already live on Google. If you “don’t accept,” you actually need to edit the listing to revert it back (there is no “deny” button).

Here’s another current example of a listing I manage inside Google My Business. The dashboard doesn’t show any updates to the website field, yet there’s a pending edit that I can see on the Google Maps app. A user has suggested that the proper website is a different page on the website than what I currently have. The only way to see all types of pending edits is via Check the Facts on Google Maps. No business owner I’ve ever spoken to has any clue what this is, so I think it’s safe to say they wouldn’t be checking there.

Here’s how I would edit that original response from Google to make it more factually correct:

Merchants who manage their business listing info through Google My Business (which is free to use) are notified when edits made by others are published on Google. Sometimes they are notified by email and the updates are also shown inside the Google My Business dashboard. Google allows users (other than the business owner) to make edits to listings on Google, but the edits are reviewed by either automated systems or, in some cases, actual human beings. Although the system isn’t perfect, Google is continually making efforts to keep the map free from spam and malicious editing.


Do you manage listings that have been edited by competitors? What’s your experience been? Share your story in the comments below!

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Microsoft’s Bing for Business Aims to Make Companies More Productive

Bing is often seen as the underdog of search engines, but it recently held center stage at Microsoft’s recently concluded Ignite conference. Held in September in Orlando, Florida, the conference allowed the company to disclose how it plans to proceed with the enterprise software.

With that goal in mind, Microsoft introduced Bing for Business, a novel intelligent search service that focuses on enterprise users. The software is not available to the general public yet but users with existing subscriptions to Office 365 will be able to take advantage of a private preview.

This special version of the search engine will reportedly offer an “intelligent search” feature that combines several data sources to help companies become more efficient. It will also allow company employees to find information that is relevant only to the organization. If properly utilized, Bing for Business can become the technology that many companies would be using in the future to disseminate company knowledge.

Bing for Business will provide businesses with more than the usual web results. The software can scan for information across a company’s shared files, emails, recent documents, and team sites, turning it into the central hub of all information gathered from Office 365.

Instead of providing each app with a distinct search bar, users won’t have to go to another page or site to get particular information about the business. Instead, they can just do a normal web search and have the relevant content delivered. Said content will be presented as cards after the result is finished, with the business data set at the forefront.

System administrators will also reportedly benefit from Bing for Business. The software can integrate with current admin controls so it can be managed by IT enterprise managers. Search traffic will also be protected so that business listing won’t reach the Internet and custom branding options will be provided as well. This will allow companies to keep their identity unique and protected.

 

Image credit: Microsoft

The upcoming service will be powered by AI and Microsoft’s centralized API, Microsoft Graph. This combination permits for search to collate data from all corners of Office 365, from SharePoint team sites to specific words in office documents. The software will also be linked to the company’s available data analytics tool, like Delve and Power BI.

Users of Office 365 Enterprises, Business and Education can avail of Bing for Business’ private preview by requesting an invitation.

[Featured image via Microsoft]

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My Business Made $153,428 While I Was Traveling In Europe Because I Made One Important Change Years Ago

Hello from beautiful Lviv Ukraine, the town I presently call home. I’ve had a very busy 2017, traveling from Toronto to Vancouver, then Paris, Nice, Monaco, Lviv, Kiev, back to Paris for the French Open tennis, London, Valencia, Barcelona, Warsaw, and then back to Lviv. Traveling this frequently is not…

The post My Business Made $ 153,428 While I Was Traveling In Europe Because I Made One Important Change Years Ago appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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