The Importance of Executive Protection Services In The Tech Industry

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The tech industry might seem pretty calm and relaxed from the outside and it certainly has a reputation for being a little more laidback just look at Google’s HQ! But just because things seem a little less serious that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for executive protection services.

In fact, executive protection services are in high-demand when it comes to the tech industry, you might not really notice it but if you ever see footage of tech leaders like Mark Zuckerberg out in public he will usually be flanked by bodyguards.

These bodyguards will be part of a professional executive protection services team and be responsible for ensuring the safety of important business leaders. Sticking with Facebook for a moment do you know how much it costs the business to protect their founder and leader?

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the news lately you might have already seen a report about it but if you haven’t then I’ll answer the question for you. In 2017 alone, it was reported that Facebook spent $7.3 million dollars on personal security for Mark Zuckerberg, a 50% increase on the amount spent in 2016.

Robert Frank, writing for CNBC estimated the cost at around $20,000 dollars a day which goes to show how important keeping their leader and founder safe is. While available data shows Facebook spend the most when it comes to executive protection services many other leading tech figures also have large budgets when it comes to their protection.

Amazon reportedly spent $1.6 million on executive protection services for Jeff Bezos in 2016 while Apple spent $224,000 on protection services for Tim Cook. These might seem relatively small when compared to the amount spent on Mark Zuckerberg, but while the amounts are smaller they still show that tech companies are willing to spend a lot when it comes to protection services.

After all, can anyone really argue that even the smallest of the three figures is not a lot of money? You also have to take into the account the amount of traveling Mark Zuckerberg did in the last year compared to the other tech leaders. Travel protection is what usually increases the price of executive protection services.

But whether it’s a million dollars or ten thousand many tech companies will be willing to pay to protect their leaders and other key figures. Executive protection services are also rarely focused on a single person they can be used to ensure the protection of larger groups like a group of board members or a tech leader and their family.

You might be reading this and thinking well that’s all well and good but what does any of it mean for me and my business? You might be the leader of a smaller business or in the process of setting one up and thinking I don’t need that level of protection, it’s way too over the top.

That’s understandable and you might even be right in your assumption at least right now but what about in the future? You might also be underestimating just how valuable you actually are, even in the early days of your business, you could need the high level of protection on offer from professional executive protection service providers. Let’s look at the benefits in more detail, shall we?

Why You Need Executive Protection Services

Many people reading this might be in the early stages of setting up their business, or you might even have it set-up and could be doing business right now. You probably fit somewhere into the rather wide category encompassed by SME’s don’t you? But while every SME is different I’ am willing to bet many don’t have executive protection services.

Many small to medium-sized business leaders probably don’t see the point or can’t justify the expense. But remember you can get professional protection services on a smaller budget you don’t have to spend millions like Facebook did, many service providers know that level of expense is an exception and not a common occurrence.

But even when you know you can afford it many SME tech business leaders will still think the money could be better spent elsewhere or think they won’t need the level of protection an executive protection service provider could offer. There’s a variety of reasons why they could believe this but some of it does go back to what I said at the beginning of this piece.

Many people hold a very common misconception when it comes to the tech industry, they see it as being more playful and relaxed unlike other big industries like finance or the media. But the tech industry is arguably the most important business industry around today and it is heavily connected to almost every other industry.

It might all seem like fun and games but many of the leading businesses today need the protection provided by executive protection services. And it’s not just the tech leaders who need high levels of protection but their families as well and you might be a smaller tech business owner, but you could still need a high level of protection.

Think about it like this every big tech business you see today started out as a small business somewhere. Some leading tech companies expanded an insane amount in just a few months so don’t think just because you’re a small business now that you’ll stay that way.

And even if you are a small business that doesn’t mean you won’t be a target! Yes, it’s not as common but small tech business leaders have found themselves targets of a variety of crimes because of the ideas they have. So, every tech business leader out there big or small should think about hiring executive protection services from a professional provider.

That way you can ensure you, your employees and even your family are always protected and remember despite what you might have heard you can still get high-quality protection on a smaller budget.

 

7 essential tech tools to support your small business

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If you’re a small business and offer services such as commercial cleaning in Glasgow then  you’re likely to be quickly realising that you need all the help you can get when it comes to making your business a success, espcially online.

That might mean taking on staff members, contractors or even unpaid help – but then again, sometimes just a few extra hours in the day would be the most desirable options.

There are no time machines on this list – but if you want to maximise the time you do have, we can recommend some great time and sanity saving tools!

  1. A website designer

Mention web design and you could be forgiven for thinking of complex lines of code and years of training.

In actual fact, there are quicker ways to get an online presence.

Take a look at a tool like Wix or Squarespace. They’re both ‘drag and drop’ style site designers and can see you with anything from a holding page to an online store in literally a matter of hours.

You don’t need to have the eye of a designer either, with a series of great looking templates you’ll find that dropping in your own logos and products makes a site uniquely yours with a fraction of the project management effort needed to get a traditionally coded site in place.

In the long term you might decide to look at something more flexible – but to get you out of the gates, especially when money is tight, these tools can be invaluable.

  1. A project management tool

If you’re putting a team together, whether that’s with permanent or freelance staff, having a central place to coordinate your efforts is worth its weight in gold.

Rather than hoping that everyone’s going to take great notes or read and reply to emails as diligently as you do, you might want to think about a tool like Basecamp, Trello or a similar alternative.

With tools like these you have a central ‘board’ or virtual office space to work from. You can do virtually anything you would in a real office, from having discussion areas, post to-do lists, allocate tasks, share files, invite guests to collaborate and much more.

If keeping everything in one place is becoming difficult, opt for a free trial and see what a project management tool does to your productivity.

  1. Book keeping software

It’s easy to let money management matters go to the back of your head when there are more pressing jobs at hand – but when there are some exceptionally quick and easy tools to use, you really don’t have to – especially when putting that stuff off causes headaches at tax return time (or a telling off from your accountant…)

Take a look at tools like Xero and Quickbooks, they’re modern book keeping tools that, dare I say it, actually make keeping tabs on your finances quite good fun. Both have nice looking and very usable apps with quick functions that allow you to categorise your transactions with a sweep of your finger.

You can link them with your bank accounts and online payment gateways – as well as being able to quickly scan and categorise expense receipts. You can even generate or pay invoices on the fly. It’s incredible how one app can revolutionise your business financial dealings.

  1. Collaboration tools

Although tools like Basecamp and Trello have some collaboration tools built in, you’ll find that true collaboration comes with a tool like Google’s G-Suite or Microsoft’s Office 365.

With these options you can almost entirely abandon your office space and set up online!

Setting up folders that you can share with your team means there’s no doubt where that proposal, brief or invoice is to be found – and when it comes to collaboration there’s no longer a need for emailing versions of files to one another. Instead, you can access a document, spreadsheet, presentation or much more and work on it virtually at the same time.

Then, no need for emailing attachments – just share the file and it’s with someone else in the blink of an eye. What’s more, you can message, call or video call from within the service too, meaning you don’t even have to move your chair to work next to someone else.

  1. Email marketing tools

Despite social media’s rise to the top of most people’s marketing hitlist there’s still an enormous amount that can be done with a good mailing list.

Equally, with the right tools in place you’re going to struggle with the sheer magnitude of putting a mailer out – especially with new data protection laws looming.

This is where tools like MailChimp and Get Response come in. Starting with a list of emails and a drag and drop mail composer you’ll quickly find yourself putting together something beautiful that ticks all the necessary compliance boxes. You’ll find dozens of great templates to work with if you don’t have an eye for design and a few clicks later you’ll have your mailer either sent – or scheduled to go at a time that suits you and your customers.

  1. A central social media desk

If conquering social media is on your list of things to do you’ll quickly realise there’s a lot of logistics involved – not least remembering a massive number of passwords so you can cut, paste and post across them all.

Using a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer takes a LOT of the effort out of your social media activity. Connect your accounts, then send your communication from the one central desk – choosing which of your feeds it’s posted to. You can even handle replies to direct customer interaction too, making it a great way to keep all your social communication in one quick and easy to use place.

  1. An online calendar

Our final suggestion is one that’s easy to use – but also easily overlooked!

Having an online calendar is essential if running a tight schedule is important to your business. Microsoft’s Outlook or Google’s Calendar provide simple interfaces and sync with your mailbox and other apps, meaning missed appointments, double booking and needing to get back to people when you’ve checked your diary is going to be a thing of the past.

5 Types Of Software And Tools You Need For Your Business

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If you are looking to increase the productivity and success of your business, there are important pieces of software and tools you need to invest in that will help you do this. While some software and tools out there will help you save time, others will help you to streamline and focus your business efforts more precisely therefore helping you to make money. Furthermore, there are even some that will increase your company’s leads and sales.

As there are a wide variety of different types of software and other helpful tools out there, it can be more than a little overwhelming for you, if you are trying to work out which are right for your business. This is why we are here to help and are going to do this by putting together a list of the 5 most important pieces of software and tools that could help your business during this new year.

Accountancy Software And Tools

Never underestimate the difference investing in a high quality accountancy tool or software can have on your business. As well as helping you to save money that can then be invested elsewhere in the business, it can stop you from using too much of your precious time on something that can be dealt with, in many situations, automatically. This also saves you from lots of headaches and stress.

Many business owners consider their accountancy software to be top of the list of tools they couldn’t run their business without.

All good accountancy software should:

  • Display an overview of the finances of your business
  • Easily keep a recorded record of payments, quotes and invoices
  • Efficiently and quickly calculate your company’s taxes
  • Offer invoice generation tools
  • Reports on the company’s finances, such as cash flow, profits and losses etc.

All-In-One Style Business Dashboards

With all-in-one style business dashboards you have access to a comprehensive overview of the business. This includes such aspects as project management, finances and tracking marketing campaigns to name but a few. They are designed to enable you to enable you to keep an eye on the many different departments of your business.

If you invest in a good quality business dashboard, you will be able to monitor your entire business and will always know what marketing campaigns and other projects you have running and how the company’s finances are looking. Whenever you want. You will also be able to quickly access any important information about your business or the people that work for you, so that you are always able to make more informed decisions, faster.

To put it more succinctly – this kind of software is a great tool for managing your business, so you know exactly what is going on with each individual part of it

Customer Relationship Management or CRM software

In the past customer relationship management tools were generally only used by the sales department of a business. However, there is now a increased need for this type of software to be available for various departments, not just sales. As customers expect modern businesses to offer seamless and improved interactions, it means the CRM tool you invest in should be able to track and record all interactions with customers, whether it is via the phone or email, on the website, Twitter or even the Facebook messenger.

Web Monitoring

Most businesses should invest in some kind of web monitoring tools, and although they can be utilised in a variety of ways. Though, they are most commonly good for helping you:

  • Keeping track and updated when your business is mentioned at all online – this is perfect for presenting opportunities to you and managing customer service for your business
  • Discover potential leads and opportunities for sales – you can use them to monitor your niche keywords and look out for leads looking for services and products that are similar to the ones you offer
  • Enhance your marketing campaigns lead by an influencer by finding a social influencer
  • Obtain better understanding and knowledge about the industry you are working in and therefore, understand your audience better

Digital Marketing Tools

This is quite a big category – digital market and everything that is included under that umbrella term, from search engine optimisation and content marketing to social media marketing and management. There is a wide variety of different tools designed to be used to improve your digital marketing strategies. By investing in one or two or even a few of these, depending on your needs, you should be able to improve traffic, raise awareness of your brand and products/services, engagement with customers and ultimately generate a greater amount of leads and sales.

Human Resources Software

In a time when there are easy to use and manage human resource software platforms available such as www.hrflow.org, it does seem kind of odd that so many business owners still insist on doing things the old fashioned way. The thing is though, while it may be okay for the running of the human resources of your small company to consist of a few spreadsheets and a pile of invoices and paperwork – as you expand and try to increase your productivity, workforce and generate more sales, this is not going to cut it.

The other alternative is to have a draconian system that is only usable by select HR professionals (if you have any in your company). Modern HR software, fortunately, is often designed to be used by everyone from management through to supervisors and ground level employees.

Essentially, if you want to run a tighter ship, in terms of organising shifts, holidays, absences and performance reviews. It can be used to help your business at every step of the way, from the beginning of an employee’s journey with your company through to the time they leave.

Although this is not an incredibly exhaustive list, we hope it serves as a good starting point if you are trying to find ways to improve your business and its growth.

Big Data: 5 Ways How it is Disrupting the Gambling World

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Raw numeric data is the backbone of any industry as companies rely heavily on it to make sales volume predictions and to generate consumer insights. Colossal sets of it such as big data play a strategic role in the realm of online gaming. Microgaming was the first such wonder of the virtual gaming kind and was launched in 1994.

Fast forward 23 years later and mobile gaming by itself produced a revenue stream of $40.6 billion in 2017. The rate of innovation and invention is no longer what it was at the beginning of the twentieth century. As are modern technological norms, the gaming industry is expected to experience a growth explosion in the coming five years.

Digital betting ventures have been around for a while now and have honed their capability to gather large data brackets. Not only that, firms have begun to uncover the secrets of how to monetize such knowledge.

Tech giants such as Microsoft have foreseen the eminence of data aggregation and procured successful gaming entities such as Minecraft for $2.5 billion. By doing so, Microsoft will be able to delve into infinite quantities of customer data and drive out strategic behavioral input.

After all, gaming companies have to ascertain the probabilities of player outcomes and have to customize their gaming frameworks in order to appeal to a diverse audience of gamers. Corporations have invested heavily into the recruitment and management of talented engineers and technicians.

It is imperative for businesses to retain such qualified, competent candidates who are well-versed in the software language and local company systems that perform data mining. This, in turn, will allow a low employee turnover and save hiring costs as well as time. The underlying motivation for such practices can be credited to the pace at which big data in gambling is revolutionizing the gaming world.

Better Marketing Practices

Since the inception of the first casino, betting companies have strived to personalize their portfolio of gambling products to keep their customers captivated. Contemporary history has reflected that big data has always been a critical component of gambling entities’ business strategies.

Such commercial firms depend strongly on big data to design effective promotional campaigns that will get the right message to the right consumer at the right time in the right place. In the modern era, evolution in communication and technology has become an expected norm. With constant developments in fiber internet technology, mankind has changed the way it speaks to each other. 

The advent of computers, desktops, smart mobile phones, and tablets can be found in the hands of the youngest member of the family along with the ability to operate and interact with the gadget.

It is understandable then that our minds function in a different way than the way preceding generations did. Marketing managers have to work harder than ever to get their message across to their target market in an inspiring and stimulating manner.

The mere challenge of breaking through the vast ocean of information clutter requires each brand manager to come up with a compelling story that his audience can relate too.

The days of simply highlighting product benefits are long gone as not only do you have to capture your audience’s attention, you have to retain it as well. Technology allows gaming companies to do just that now. Inventions such as cookies have given gambling brand managers access to personalized knowledge such as what food their players like, what games appeal to them the most and what kind of patterns they utilize in their gaming operations.

When prospects are provided with incredible, customized experiences, they will keep returning to the same platform. In turn, the level of customer loyalty will ameliorate and keep the gaming company an ongoing concern for a long time to come.

Stronger Gaming Strategies

In the past few years, poker has surpassed the boundaries of traditional card play. It has become a grand sporting event that is televised on major cable channels. Virtual poker has also become a preferred source of entertainment and has witnessed a rising level of competition. As an online poker company, if you wish to bring more players to your site, you must know the best way where your customers can beat the odds. Arm them with more knowledge that will improve their winning chances and let them adapt their tactics in real time. Innovators such as Sharkscope monitor primary international poker competitions and facilitate players to evaluate players’ statistics by employing them in their own personal games.

Improvement in Operational Efficiencies

Fantasy sports is another gaming marvel that has caught the interest of players within its niche. Big data drive the portals of such companies and programs gaming dynamics as per a player’s statistics in real life. Complex algorithms have been developed and enhanced for this very purpose that scrutinize countless volumes of data (of the player’s life). By sifting through such data, the games are able to better predict which competitions will fare well with an accurate mix of talented players.

Accurate Forecasting

Big data has transformed the way betters function as they compare performance numbers of competing teams. Google assigned a large team of engineers to experiment and utilized Google Cloud DataFlow to import large volumes of data and analysed it with Google BigQuery.

With the magic of these softwares, they were able to forecast the results of fourteen out of sixteen matches of the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil. Microsoft beat that with an accurate outcome prediction of fifteen out of sixteen matches.

The true potential of big data is yet to be explored and will be unleashed with the passing of time. Tech professionals have just begun exploring its features and benefits.

It does not matter whether a casino owner, a player or a gambler uses it, big data will help determine their chances for winning. It will build player confidence, increase gaming subscriptions and attract first time gamers as well.

There is no doubt that big data comes with powerful implications for not only the gambling industry, yet multiple industry verticals will be able to reap its associated benefits. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Bitcoin

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Depending on who you speak to, Bitcoin can either be seen as the greatest currency in the world, or as a bubble that’s about to burst. Either description can be true, but some of the downfall people experience with Bitcoin can sometimes be attributed to the way they approach the industry.

Although many people have heard of Bitcoin, not everyone is sure of the inner workings, or the way trades within the industry, which can sometimes mean that many lose money as a result.

Just as there are advantages to this inventive digital currency, there can also be a series of disadvantages. While there are never any guarantees when it comes to investing in Bitcoin, knowing what the advantages and disadvantages are will allow you to find your way around the industry with more ease.

The Stability of Bitcoin

There’s no denying that Bitcoin has had to contend with a series of obstacle to retain its dominance, but there are some factors that question the stability of Bitcoin. This is because when compared to stocks and commodities, Bitcoin is seen as a newcomer. This means that the digital currency has very short track record when compared to the years of data accumulated from other commodities.

However, looking at the stability of Bitcoin from a different perspective shows that you’re dealing with a currency that has held its own in a tough financial environment. A series of businesses also have confidence in the stability and popularity of Bitcoin, as there are vendors that will now accept Bitcoin as a form of payment.

European economists have even gone on record to say that they believe there is no reason should pose a threat, although they did advise that the regulatory oversight currently in place would need to be improved.

The digital arena is constantly evolving, and with so many innovative creations being introduced daily, we never truly know what’s around the corner. This means there’s no real way of knowing Bitcoin will fare in the future, which is why it’s so important to ensure we’re keeping on top of industry news and trends involving Bitcoin, as well as other forms of digital currency.

Risk of Investment

As well as being a popular form of alternative currency, there are those who invest in Bitcoin hoping to make a profit from their initial investment. Some may even look towards Bitcoin mining, which can offer another stream of income if carried out correctly.

Unfortunately, there are some that offer investment opportunities in relation to Bitcoin but may not give investors the full story. Unaware of any risk, investors invest where they can on the assumption that they will yield a bigger return. However, Bitcoin is like any other currency, and its value can depend on several factors. It’s also worth noting that investments of any form always pose a risk.

Those looking to invest in Bitcoin should first carry out research and became familiar with the industry. The more you’re able to find out about Bitcoin, the less susceptible you will be to unsavoury online outfits. For example before buying Bitcoin you should read this review of the Top Cryptocurrency Exchanges 2018 

Bitcoin has also become very popular when hedging portfolios, ensuring investors are covered show another form of currency fail to deliver.

Like any investment, we need to be savvy in relation to Bitcoin. Trading blindly may mean that we have luck in some instances, but more often than not, will not have the desired effect. Carrying out research before you invest is the only true way to ensure that any potential loss is minimised.

Bitcoin in Business

Before the birth of the Internet, it would be common for us to have to exchange currency purchasing an items or service abroad, which was very costly at the time. As the Internet has evolved, purchasing an item from overseas is now effortless. While credit can be given to sites like PayPal, the company can be seen as a little intrusive when it comes to how finances are dealt with.

It’s easy to assume that customers who want to hide their details have something to hide, but this isn’t necessarily the case. When you consider how many data leaks they have been in recent years, it’s no surprise that people are a little more reserved when handing over their personal details.

Bitcoin allows customers to make a payment without their details being shared. This means that customer is more likely to make a purchase if they’re confident that their details aren’t at risk. Businesses that offer Bitcoin could grow a larger customer base simply by allowing customers to pay using their Bitcoin.

However, there can be drawbacks should a business choose to accept Bitcoin for payments. Whereas other forms of payment are more recognised, Bitcoin is relatively new. And while the digital currency has soared in popularity, this doesn’t mean that everyone is aware of how it works. As such, you need to ensure that if a business is looking to accept Bitcoin as a method of payment, then you may need to educate your employees as to how the currency works, otherwise there could be some confusing and frustrating transactions.

Like any form of currency, there are advantages and disadvantages when using Bitcoin, but if you’re able to understand how it works and stay on top of current trends, then there’s no reason as to why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the benefits it has to offer.

Types Of Video Marketing You Should Be Considering In 2018

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Why Video Marketing?

The trends for online marketing show video as one of the biggest in growth through 2017 and in 2018 it’s only going to get bigger.

Here are some figures that will help you see why:

  • Video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80% or more. (via slideshare.net) this has also been confirmed by obe agency we have spoke to Think Zap who offer web design in Glasgow.
  • Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text. (via insivia.com)
  • The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. (via mistmedia.com)

If those three reasons alone don’t help you see why you should already be using video then maybe you should be handing your marketing strategies over to someone else.

For the rest of you here are some ideas to why else you should be considering video marketing and also how you could be doing it.

SEO

If you create your video to capture the hearts of its viewers, or make them laugh, cry or feel anything in the slightest that they want to share with their friends/colleagues/others then your video just bought you some backlinks. Not to be scoffed at backlinks are important in search engine ranking and many companies will pay a premium for this. A viral video can provide these by the thousand if you get it right.

Video also demands that your website visitors will have to stay on your site to watch them; no skimming through boring content trying to find the information they need, and the longer any visitor stays on your site the more relevant google thinks it is and scores it higher again in that all important ranking.

By linking back to yourself after hosting your new video not only on your website but on YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter and everywhere else you can think of not only are you creating more backlinks but you’re encouraging traffic to your website for anyone interested in a) what you’re saying or selling, and b) if there are any more great videos and content to enjoy if they click through.

Conversions

Your videos need to drive customers to buy from you. You don’t have to beg them, you don’t even have to ask; if your video is informative, trustworthy and shows the benefits of what you’re selling then that should be enough to make it happen.

Your first reason to make a video is to inform so why not make a video tutorial? Show your customers exactly how to use your product. Or show your product in action highlighting some of the benefits they might not have thought of for themselves? Educate them on how your product will save them time or money, or how it will add to the quality of life they wish for.

Show prospective customers how your previous customers have benefitted from your product or service. They’ll believe them a lot more than they’ll believe you. You have a reason to sell – profit; your customers however are only bigging you up because they want to, not because they have to. Testimonials have become a huge part of online marketing and brand confidence over the past few years, so it makes sense to move it forward into a video heavy marketplace where chunks of text are going to be replaced by any other easier method as trends continue in this manner.

Broadcast your Q&As. Why not create a video question and answer session? Gather information or questions from prospective customers via social media or from your website and if you have an email address or social media profile for them either tag or link them in or invite them to watch. For even more chance of views and conversions do it live. Live video feeds on Facebook receive ten times more comments than regular video posts. Do it live and get a bigger response. It’s all about building awareness and confidence that leads to sales.

Methods of Video Marketing

Demonstration videos

We’ve touched on this already but it’s the number one in getting your product or service out there. How you do it is up to you. There are ways of making a boring product more interesting; it can be as simple as how you present yourself and your company instead of how you present the product. If it’s something a customer already understands and knows about then how you sell it to them can be the difference in them buying from you and not your competitor. Make it fun, make it snappy, make it cool; just make it different from the competition in a way that makes a good impression with your customers.

Vblogging

Vblogging or vlogging is generally thought of as young teens on YouTube doing crazy things or teaching us how to put on our make-up and style our hair. These next-gen gurus are often gaining hundreds and thousands of views just by gathering a following. What would you give to garner that kind of interest for your business?

You don’t have to sell to the teenage masses though, there are plenty of other users out there well over the age of twenty who will want to see what you can offer them and also how, where and why – and if your target audience is the teens we mentioned, then you already know that this is their chosen media so what better place to get involved.

Again, don’t just drop it on your website and hope for the best – get it out there on as many platforms as you can. Email market to let your existing customers know where and when they can view new items; it’s easier to sell more to your existing customers than it is to sell to new ones after all so don’t let that database go to waste either.

Product Testing, Services and Reviews

What a great way to tell your customers about your fantastic product simply by reviewing it. But what about a way to drive traffic to your website? Why not review other peoples products? Ones that have a similar customer base to yours? That way you can mention your product or service in the review and how to find it. It’s all about driving traffic to where you want it and converting it into a sale. Reviews are a great way to jump on someone else’s customers, ones with plenty of existing interest and already making those relevant searches.

Crowdfunding

Initially viewed as online begging for startups and charities Crowdfunding is now viewed as an acceptable way to gather capital for existing business by letting their clients and customers get in on the ground level. Offering special rates, bonuses and exclusives are the lure but ultimately your video shown on there is still simply good marketing. You’re telling your customers about your product and you’re getting them to buy it. Job done.

Expert Interviews

Finding an expert in your field of sales or even a celebrity if you’re lucky enough to know one can help you reach out easier to a new market or broaden the awareness of your product. You could end up in the results for searches containing your expert’s name or speciality that in turn could boost traffic to your website. You will also gain brand confidence from your viewers by association. Asking the right questions you can lead the expert to giving a great review whether they were planning to or not.

Once more – do it live on social media and boost those figures even higher.

Event Videos

If you’re looking for ways to tap into a specific market covering an event by documenting it, reviewing it or previewing it can get you into searches less related to your own specific product or service, and give you access to all those new prospective customers.

By choosing an event relative to your trade or area of expertise then you’re already selling to people you know are interested in what you have to offer.

And if there isn’t an event you can cover – you can always put one on yourself!

Web Design & UX Trends To Keen An Eye On 2018

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Time is a-flying! We are well into 2018 and web design trends are beginning to pick up. It is natural that designs of the virtual world will evolve faster than their conventional print counterparts. Development patterns change in the blink of an eye.

What was trending in the year 2017 may not be as popular today. Web designers such as Internet Creation a leading Fife web design company have come a long way as they have not only kept ahead of the technological advancements that take place but have managed to innovate as well. In today’s day and age, most companies have a digital footprint that spans across versatile mediums. Websites have progressed from being static informative tools to powerful marketing instruments. Wondering what lies in store for 2018? Read on!

Bold Typography

In the war of readership where clutter reigns, bold fonts and visual formats will stand up to capture your attention. Spicier, juicier text will make play to be bolder and abstract in nature. The concept of symmetry may be tossed out in favour of arbitrary, random assignment of header text. Traditional design boundaries will be pushed as graphic artists experiment and create new industrial benchmarks.

Animation

The phenomena of animation facilitates user interaction as it makes interfaces easier to comprehend. It imparts intricate information quickly and effectively whilst maintaining a notable level of viewer interest. By increasing the dynamism of the brand through its flow and movement, the brand has a stronger probability of gaining top of the mind recall in the prospect’s mind.

A logo is the first touch point of your brand’s visual identity. Applying animation to this medium will allow entities to embellish their brand even further. GIFs (graphic interchange format) are an entertaining, amusing form of animation utilized to express emotions or statements that are loved by users and will see a come-back this year as well.

Ground breaking Layouts

With inventive design facilitation programs, such as the CSS Grid released in 2017, developers and designers can exert a strong degree of control on the placement of page variables. 75% of internet engagers use CSS Grid backed browsers that allow web artists to ascend to new heights of imagination that can be translated in to effective execution.  Whilst a design revolution may be taking place, web creators will still retain an element of adaptability for such designs that will work on older editions of browsers.

Saturated Gradients

Multi-coloured gradients are making their mark in the design realm since 2017 and will continue to do so this year as well. With vivid, modern tones, gradients create a clear and soft aesthetic appearance that appeals to all viewers.

Artificial Intelligence

Communicative user interfaces such as voice and chatbots were all the rage last year. They were not powered by artificial intelligence at that time. However, technology is transitional force that is continually evolving. In 2018, AI may drive the development of new chatbots and voice user interfaces.

Not only that, artificial intelligence could augment levels of designer productivity. How, you may ask? There is a lot of menial legwork and labor involved in design projects that could be managed effectively with the assistance of an AI robot.

They could save designers twenty percent of the overall time allocated for a project by addressing such duties. With programs such as Adobe Scene Stitch and the announcement of Sensei, corporations are endeavouring to improve the work lives of designers and leave them free to dedicate their energies to more intellectual, creative tasks.

Companies and brands have access to real time insights into their consumers as they visit their websites and can gather intel digitally. With a variety of statistical tools at their disposal virtually, they now own the means to perform multi-dimensional analysis on customers and truly gain a picture of what motivates to them visit their websites.

Entities can identify what time a viewer visited a page, how much time was spent on it, where and when he came from as well. Triangulating these sundry data points allows companies to create accurate consumer profiles and to predict what he may be seeking whilst searching.

If artificial intelligence driven programs are designed to do the legwork, designers will be more effective in designing effectual landing pages and be able to understand what visuals are the most attention grabbing.

Total Minimalism

One way to break through the never-ending sea of clutter is to invoke the power of minimalism. Designers have been disputing text-intensive sites since the beginning and are now taking it to the next level by incorporating only those elements that are absolutely essential. This saves the viewer time and gives him the required information in an effective, quick manner.

Mobile Responsiveness

Mobile web browsing made history in the year 2017 as it was utilized more than desktop browsing. Google will also rank websites based on mobile web usage, not only its desktop counterpart. This will obviously be a critical design variable as the device of web utilization has to be factored in by web artists. Of course, it will be a challenge for designers as they will aim to push boundaries this year and create new design milestones across a sector of mediums.   

Sustainable design

As the world moves towards strengthening sources of renewable energy, the design industry seeks to contribute in whatever way it can. The world wide web utilizes approximately ten percent of global energy and is a mounting figure. Tech giants such as Google, Apple and Facebook have employed renewable energy to energize their data centers.

Designers can help out by guiding viewers to their desired information as quickly as possible and creating personalized experiences. They can also pitch in by hosting their portfolio of products and services via renewable energy. By deploying sustainable design tactics, artists can facilitate and direct the world towards eco-friendlier resources.

This school of thought is gaining global momentum with events such as the SustainableUX, a free digital conference, which exhibits speakers who are experienced and equipped to impart such knowledge. It holds a record of past talks as well and are available to designers whenever they wish to study them.

The 10 best apps for small business owners in the UK

968 - The 10 best apps for small business owners in the UK

If your smartphone barely breaks out of the cycle of checking social media, the news and your email – then you’re not alone, usage statistics show that this is more common than you might expect.

However, if you’re a small business owner, manager or decision maker, you could be missing out.

We’ll run you through 10 of the best smartphone apps for small business available in the UK right now – and tell you a bit about how they might change your smartphone world…

  • Evernote

Although well established, Evernote has never lost it’s place as an absolute must for anyone who’s taking it more than their brain can reasonably remember!

The app allows you to make notes, photos, to-dos and much more – then save it quickly to your phone or device – with it instantly available across all your other synced devices – as well as anywhere you can access a connected web browser.

Evernote also has some really smart tools that make going back to your info simple too – with a great categorisation system that means you’ll never be left wondering where a note is again. The clipping tool that saves websites as images is a huge time saver too – snipping notes down to just the essentials – cutting out any adverts or other distractions.

  • Paypal

The PayPal system is really popular with small businesses and freelancer contractors – especially given how quickly and easily funds can be requested and sent.

When combined with your small business website, the app gives you a chance to glance real time information about how your e-commerce site is performing – and lets you quickly juggle money between accounts.

  • QuickBooks

If you want a full view of your finances, QuickBooks is the answer.

The app allows you to do a huge number of financial tasks for your small business – and depending on your level of requirement – you can go from self-employed tasks, all the way through to small business level, allowing you to manage payroll and much more.

Quickbooks is also great at logging expenses – with a camera function that allows you to snap your receipts and add them to your calculations quickly. You’re also able to connect your bank and online payment accounts too, meaning every penny that goes through your business is quickly and easily allocated and catagorised – with reports that your accountant will love.

  • Pages Manager

Lets say you have a business page on Facebook where you promote the latest range of Atlas Ceramics range of grouts then Pages Manager will take away a lot of the frustration that business users often attribute to the standard Facebook app.

Pages Manager allows you to access numerous business pages if you have them, switching quickly between them. When you’re in, you can look at all the activity taking place on the page, from advertisement management – to the responses you send to messages and comments made on your page.

Facebook is quickly developing toward being a CRM style piece of software that sits behind your page and lets you manage your business with the maximum effect. Pages managers let you – and others, take full advantage of this functionality – meaning your social followers are never left wanting.

  • Basecamp

If you’ve ever had a headache that relates to how your team communicates then Basecamp could be the painkiller you’re looking for!

The latest incarnation of the tool, Basecamp 3, is a dream to use – and allows an online space where you can create project, allocate roles within those projects, share ideas, have discussions, set tasks, collaborate selectively with guests – and much more.

A paid subscription runs a little more expensive than most of the other apps on this list – but the time, effort and frustrated communication that it saves would probably leave you happy to pay double!

  • Dropbox

Dropbox is a superb and extremely simple to use application that lets you share files quickly and easily wherever you are.

While file sharing might not be anything new, Dropbox does it so seamlessly you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s not just a native part of your device or operating system’s function. Access your files anywhere you have an internet connection – and quickly share files and folders with anyone in just a couple of clicks. An amazing time saver.

  • Headspace

Although Headspace isn’t about business directly, it’s a sure-fire way to improve your personal business performance.

Some of the most successful managers, CEOs and business owners say that their habit of reflective thinking, mindfulness or meditation is one of the most key parts of their on-going ability to perform – and Headspace is at the top of the game.

With guided breathing exercises that take just 10 minutes a day to do, you’ll be amazed at how your motivation, mood, productivity and general business performance improves if you’re willing to give your busy brain a few minutes too cool off each day.

  • Trello

Although similar to Basecamp, Trello is arguably a more simple concept – working as a note-board of sorts, with digital sticky notes divided up in a sections or projects. Click on each and it opens up, allowing you to keep tasks, to-dos, notes, files and much more on each one.

Trello’s most basic functions are excellent – and free to use. Ideal for collaborating with your team or others!

  • Skype for Business

When asked, most business executives say they’re just as happy (if not happier – based on some city’s traffic levels!) to meet via video call – rather than in person.

Skype is the original video messaging service – with stable connections and almost unlimited call participants – no matter where you are in the world. If you’d prefer to have your meeting from the comfort of your own desk (or home!) – then Skype is well worth giving a go.

  • Hootsuite

Whether you’re managing your company or personal brand, it’s really useful to have a tool that posts information across all your social media pages from one control panel.

Hootsuite does exactly this – and more.

Whether you’re using it from your app or on a desktop – you can integrate all your social media accounts and post to them all at the same time. What’s more, you can go well ahead into the future and schedule huge chunks of social media activity. Your business partners might think you’re sitting at your desk doing nothing but social media work – but the truth is, Hootsuite takes all the effort out of the job!