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Mobile user talking to chatbot

Perhaps you have seen the videos of pets riding robotic vacuums and are left wondering what a bot can do for your business. Perhaps you have already invested in wearable technology for your health or smart home devices for personal reasons. Artificial intelligence can also assist you in business.

We provided answers about chatbots in our post “Getting Started With A Chatbot For Business.” However, bots can do much more than deliver customer service. They can be a valuable tool for marketers.

More and more customers are messaging businesses—instead of calling—to get appointments, information, rebates, refunds, and replacements for products; to make purchases or renew services; and to express their dissatisfaction. Increased use of mobile phones by consumers and greater use of messaging apps and chatbots by sales people and service providers both play a role in this shift. Messaging is a win for your business and your marketing department when it makes you stand out from the crowd.

Artificial intelligence is perfect for handling simple automated tasks. Examples include
• Generating monthly reports from a standard spreadsheet
• Invoicing
• Paying recurring bills
• Providing data and patterns to help you determine the best placement and timing of ads
• Testing the best wording (and colors, fonts, and graphics) for ads

Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers reported the following uses of AI in her report on 2017’s Internet Trends:
• Instacart personalizes online shopping and found customers were “8x more likely to buy when prompted with ‘Buy it again’ option” and “85% of in-store replacements [for Instacart] are based on algorithmic recommendations.”
• Lowe’s guides in-store shoppers to products on its shelves with augmented reality
• Stitch Fix creates new computer-generated products based on “product attributes + customer feedback + data science/testing”

What a bot can do for your business is not limited to these examples. You can also use a bot to nurture leads for you. Program your bot to send one message to a new site visitor and a different message to someone who already knows and likes you (based on how many times they have visited). Use your bot to send educational content to those who opt-in to your newsletter and product information to those who repeatedly ask questions. Let your bot do the sorting and categorizing of your visitors’ behaviors so you can see the bigger picture and get a good idea of who might be a good prospect.

Bot use is still in its infancy in the marketing world but you can get started right now with a chatbot for your customer service. Give Tate Design a call at 610.725.0702 or e-mail us at info@tatedesign.net.

No matter where your business is physically located, an online presence—a blog, an e-mail newsletter and list, a podcast, social media, a video channel, a website, and other published content—makes you part of a global network. This international access through the Internet means you and your business need to be aware of the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

What the GDPR is
The GDPR goes into effect on May 25, 2018. It is a series of regulations that govern how personal information must be handled. Lead generation, newsletter opt-ins, sales records—it doesn’t matter if the product or service is free or paid—are all to be treated with the utmost care. Client data must be protected and customers must be given multiple ways to check and delete the information a company has on them if they so desire. Personal data is any identifying information including but not limited to
• Age
• Birthday
• E-mail address
• IP address
• Name
• Personal preferences stored in cookies
• Phone number
• Street address or other location

According to MarTech Today’s Guide to GDPR—The General Data Protection Regulation, “the EU is aggressive about protecting consumer privacy…[and] recognizing that data can travel well beyond the borders of the EU, GDPR provides protection to EU citizens no matter where their data travels. This means that any company, anywhere, that has a database that includes EU citizens is bound by its rules. Businesses of all sizes are affected—from micro to multinational. No one is exempt.”

Adherence
You can sidestep the problem by choosing to either block users from the European Union from accessing your online presence or stop doing business altogether. Klout, which routinely accessed social media data, will cease doing business on May 25, 2018. You can choose to protect privacy and adhere to the GDPR by
• Presenting a Privacy Policy that includes complete details about how data is handled from the moment it is gathered to the time it is deleted
• Creating an easy-to-understand consent form that allows you to get written permission from anyone whose data you will have access to
• Providing a simple way for those who have previously granted permission for you to access their data to revoke their consent
• Encrypting data you collect
• Pseudonymizing individual portions of data—assigning anonymous name and location information, for instance—that can only be pieced back together with the correct key, like a closely-guarded birth date
• Setting up safeguards to alert you and your customers to a data breach within 72 hours
• Requiring parental consent for children up to age 16

How the GDPR will affect your use of Google
If you are using any Google products—analytics, AdWords, cookies, DoubleClickCampaign Manager, Tag Manager—to track the behavior of visitors to your site, especially if that data will be used to personalize ads, you must get your visitor’s permission. This is the updated Google policy:
“If your agreement with Google incorporates this policy, or you otherwise use a Google product that incorporates this policy, you must ensure that certain disclosures are given to, and consents obtained from, end users in the European Economic Area. If you fail to comply with this policy, we may limit or suspend your use of the Google product and/or terminate your agreement.

Properties under your control
For Google products used on any site, app or other property that is under your control, or that of your affiliate or your client, the following duties apply for end users in the European Economic Area.

You must obtain end users’ legally valid consent to:
• the use of cookies or other local storage where legally required; and
• the collection, sharing, and use of personal data for personalization of ads or other services.

When seeking consent, you must:
• retain records of consent given by end users; and
• provide end users with clear instructions for revocation of consent.

You must clearly identify each party that may collect, receive, or use end users’ personal data as a consequence of your use of a Google product. You must also provide end users with prominent and easily accessible information about that party’s use of end users’ personal data.

Properties under a third party’s control
If personal data of end users of a third-party property is shared with Google due to your use of, or integration with, a Google product, then you must use commercially reasonable efforts to ensure the operator of the third-party property complies with the above duties. A third-party property is a site, app or other property that is not under your, your affiliate’s or your client’s control and whose operator is not already using a Google product that incorporates this policy.”

How the GDPR will affect your e-mail marketing list
If you have an e-mail newsletter, you should have already received permission to add people to your list. Under GDPR rules, you need to promote your newsletter to get explicit permission to add someone to your list. Signing up for a freebie no longer equals consent for additional mailings. You also need new consent forms from your European readers before May 25, 2018.

How to acquire permissions
Google provides concise how-to information for advertisers and publishers—those with blogs, websites, etc.—regarding gaining consent to meet GDPR requirements at http://www.cookiechoices.org/.

What to do now
Let Tate Design handle your copy development as you incorporate the necessary changes into your
• E-mail marketing
• Website copy writing
• WordPress blog

For more information on the new data privacy rules and their impact on online marketers and consumers, check out some links we found helpful below.

References
Google consent how-tos for advertisers and publishers http://www.cookiechoices.org/
Google EU user consent policy https://www.google.com/about/company/consentstaging.html
MarTech Today’s Guide To GDPR https://martechtoday.com/guide/gdpr-the-general-data-protection-regulation

bot, bots, chatbot, chatbots, artificial intelligence, virtual assistant

In March 2018, attendees at Social Media Marketing World were asked the question: “Can we go from being human to being human-like?” It is becoming increasingly evident that we can as chatbots become the norm.

What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a software program designed to carry on a conversation with a human in response to questions. The program recognizes pre-determined natural language options and then selects an answer, sometimes from multiple choices. Bots can appear to be extremely intelligent (or not), depending on the complexity of their programming and how well they “understand” you.

You are probably interacting with a bot when you place a call and you get a recorded message that says “Push 1 to speak to _____” and “Push 2 to speak to _____.”

What is the advantage of a chatbot?
How can I use a chatbot for my business?
Chatbots can immediately answer frequently asked questions even when your business is closed for the evening, the weekend, or for holidays. In “Social Media Marketing Trends: What The Newest Research Reveals,” Michael Stelzner noted “where bots can be exceptionally powerful is at a point of sale. If you are trying to sell something and you know that people tend to have a lot of questions, what if you could staff it with a bot that is available 24 hours a day and never sleeps? And what if that question being answered instantly can speed the sale? If you have a lot of customers that have a lot of questions, maybe that bot could answer all those questions for them.”

Bots also have marketing applications. These include ad optimization, data aggregation, and lead generation.

How many chatbots are there?
In September 2017, there were 1.3 billion people using Facebook Messenger. More and more businesses are becoming active on Messenger and the number of live bots on that platform alone continues to grow—now over 200,000.

Who is using chatbots?
Of the highly motivated folks at Social Media Marketing World 2018, 50% “plan on using messenger bots in the next 12 months. 15 to 50%…70% want to learn more about messenger bots.” These people see the value in messaging and assisted interactions beyond social media.

How do I get started with a chatbot for my business?
Tate Design provides customer service chatbot solutions that are secure and operational in about 14 days. We use your top 15 FAQs as the foundation of your chatbot content. The bot is voice-enabled in English and can text chat in over 100 languages including English, French, and Spanish. Your customers receive chatbot-powered assistance through your website or other online presence anytime, anywhere because your chatbot is always on and always available. Call Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or e-mail info@tatedesign.net to get started with a chatbot for business.

search results signs

If you have created content for your business for any length of time, you realize search engine optimization, SEO best practices, Google’s ranking algorithms, and even the devices we use for our searching have changed rapidly and significantly. These 3 elements will have a major impact on your future search results.

AI
AI—also known as artificial intelligence, machine intelligence, smart home technology, and wearable technology, to name a few—was once relegated to science fiction or medical and scientific laboratories. Now it is making rapid inroads into our everyday lives. With personal/virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Apple’s Siri, factual content that can be indexed and found quickly is quite valuable. Try content that concisely answers specific questions like “when does daylight saving time begin this year?” for best results.

Google’s mobile-first index
As the name implies, content that promotes a strong, positive user experience for those on mobile devices—as opposed to traditional desktop PCs—will be what Google indexes first. If you haven’t followed our prior advice and created a mobile-friendly web site (for example “Mobile Trends And Tactics To Get Your Business Noticed”), there is no better time to take action. Although the mobile-first index is still in development for release later this year, you will probably get the best search results and ranking if
• Content is identical on both the mobile and desktop versions of your website—including SEO like meta descriptions and titles
• Information is accessible in as few clicks as possible
• Navigation is simple
• Page loading is quick
• Your design is mobile-friendly and responsive
• Your website is easy to use

Image indexing
You may already add alt-tags and captions—both with key words—to the images you use on your blog, in your newsletter, and/or on your website. These allow for text-based or description-based indexing and searching and will continue to play a part in future search results. However, SEO as we now know it is being challenged by pixel-by-pixel visual searches. Bing’s visual search tool and Lens (Google and Pinterest both have one) all try to identify what you are seeing and provide you with matching options. This could be a shop owner’s dream. Best results would require a large quantity of high-resolution, high-quality photos published on your site with descriptive text to create proper context.

Tate Design copy development service and website optimization for search engines and mobile devices both provide content that can improve how your website appears in searches. Call Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or e-mail info@tatedesign.net to get started.

Young man showing love

If you are only using Twitter to post links to your own content—on your website, in your blog, from your newsletter, and on your other social media platforms—you are missing out on opportunities to show your customers a little love. Like constantly talking and never allowing anyone else to speak, this leaves others with a poor impression of you. Here is how to use Twitter to make a good impression, engage with local customers, encourage conversations, build brand loyalty, and show your love and appreciation.

First, stop broadcasting only about yourself and your business. There is a place for that, but it is not your starting point. Instead, take an interest in your customers. They will love you for it.

Second, start listening. Use Twitter’s advanced search and keywords related to your geographic location and industry to see what concerns your neighbors and potential customers are voicing right now. Monitor your brand to discover what is bothering your current customers.

Third, respond quickly and appropriately. You can offer
• An apology
• Assistance
• Directions (the how-to variety)
• A discount
• Encouragement
• A free product or service
• A refund
• Tickets to a special event, etc.
For example, if you are a restaurant owner and see a tweet about “looking for a romantic setting,” you could tweet back “we’ve reserved a table and a dessert for two for you.” If you are a florist and see a complaint about flowers being left out in the elements, you can respond with your shop’s guarantee to deliver personally. If you are jeweler, tweet that “our customers brighten our lives” and encourage them to come in for a free ring cleaning. If you offer products in multiple flavors or colors, ask people to post pictures with their favorites, with or with the promise of a future discount.

Fourth, be your best self. Let your sense of humor show. Be an encourager. Make the world a better place. Be kind and loving. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and respond like you would like to be treated. Refrain from unnecessary newsjacking—where you use every trending news story as a lead-in to promoting your product or service—but do respond with compassion and understanding in a crisis.

Fifth, use the increased character limit (280 characters) to convey a clear, useful message about you and your brand. You can now respond more fully to questions, inject more humor into conversations, and direct customers to the resources they want and need. Go ahead and link to content on your blog, in your newsletter, on other social media platforms, or on your website when it provides the answers your audience seeks (this is where broadcasting your stuff is okay). They will love you for solving their problems and/or making their lives easier.

If this seems overwhelming, don’t be discouraged. Tate Design can help with all your social media marketing.  Call Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or e-mail info@tatedesign.net to add a little love to your social media presence.

Social Media Usage Chart - Popular Platforms

The Pew Research Center recently released their report on social media use in 2018. As expected, social media use among adults in the United States continues to rise as it has every year since the Pew surveys began in 2012. This is the percentage of reported use for the most popular platforms:
• 73% YouTube
• 68% Facebook
• 35% Instagram
• 29% Pinterest
• 27% Snapchat
• 25% LinkedIn
• 24% Twitter
• 22% WhatsApp

These statistics do not tell the whole story however. Looking closer at the demographics in the study
• Facebook usage was fairly consistent across age groups under 50 with
80% of 18-24-year-olds
82% of 25-29
78% of 30-49
(and 65% of 50-64 and 41% of those 65+)

• YouTube usage was similarly steady until retirement with
94% of the 18-24 age group
88% of 25-29
85% of 30-49
68% of 50-64
40% of 65+

• Highly visual egocentric social media sites Instagram and Snapchat were especially popular with 18-24-year-olds with 71% of them using Instagram and 78% of them using Snapchat. Compare this to
54% 25-29
40% 30-49
21% 50-64
10% 65+ using Instagram
and 59% 25-29
26% 30-49
10% 50-64
and 3% 65+ using Snapchat

• Pinterest, while still a highly visual platform, requires one to pin other people’s content instead of selfies so usage is down across the younger age groups:
31% of 18-24 demographic
39% 25-29
34% 30-49
26% 50-64
16% 65+

• Twitter saw
45% usage with 18-24 year-olds
33% 25-29
27% 30-49
19% 50-64
8% 65+

• LinkedIn and WhatsApp share very similar numbers.
Linked has 25% of 18-24 year-group
34% 25-29
33% 30-39
24% 50-64
9% 65+
and WhatsApp has 25% 18-24 age
31% 25-29
32% 30-39
17% 50-64
6% 65+

Social media users visit one or more of their favorite sites at least once per day. Facebook users are the most loyal, with 74% checking in daily and 51% checking in multiple times during the day. Snapchat is a close second with 49% checking in multiple times and 63% doing so at least daily. Except for Snapchat, each social media platform had the highest percentage of users in the “post college” and “income of $75,000+” categories. For Snapchat, the winning categories were “some college” and “$30,000-$49,999” so an individual in your social media audience is a good prospect, with both the education to understand what you offer and the means to make a purchase.

As this research indicates, maintaining a vibrant online presence can be a challenge. How and where your present yourself online may influence your business results. Tate Design is here to help you create a good first impression with your branding and corporate identity. Our social media marketing services include
• Social media account setup services
• Brand images (profile photos, backgrounds, cover photos, company logo) for your chosen networks
• Customized pages for increased exposure
• Knowledge about the latest updates to Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other evolving social networks
• Strategies to leverage the social channels that best fit your goals and objectives
• Content that provides organic—rather than paid—search engine results
• Complete social media marketing campaigns

We also help you identify the best online marketing venues for sharing your blog, your e-mail newsletter, your online video, and other social media posts. Call Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or e-mail info@tatedesign.net to rise to the challenge of reaching a growing social media audience.

Businessman looking ahead for social media trends

At Tate Design, we are here to help you build a strong brand and a vibrant online presence. This means we keep informed about changes in the social media landscape and know how to take appropriate action. Here is what you need to do.

Forget what you know about big numbers
Clicks, likes, shares, social proof, and traffic to your blog or website are not as important as building an amazing audience. Instead of looking at numbers of people, look at their engagement with you and your content. As Jeff Bullas shared in an interview on unpacking social media trends with Jeff Steen on March 14, 2018, “The real connection with an audience, whatever your goal, happens when you share your honest thoughts and feelings. That’s incredibly powerful and can incite change more quickly than a well-rehearsed presentation on sales or industry trends.”

Make your content mobile-friendly
Social media users aren’t all at their desktops. From 60% of LinkedIn users to 100% of Snapchat users, the majority of users on these major social networks (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter) use their mobile devices to access content.

Choose more than one platform
When asked, “What is your single most important social platform?” for this year’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 67% of 5,700 respondents said Facebook, 12% LinkedIn, 10% Instagram, 5% Twitter, 4% YouTube, 2% Pinterest, and 0% Snapchat. While Facebook obviously has a loyal following now, their January 2018 algorithm change may encourage you and/or your audience to look elsewhere. Also, who knows what social media platforms will best serve your audience and your business in the future?

Basically, Facebook has changed its news feed. Instead of helping you/your audience find relevant content, the goal is now to help you have more meaningful interactions. Facebook wants you—the content creator—to post content that will accomplish this for them. They want to see your followers get others to Comment and Like, respond in long (not one-word) answers, carry on conversations with others in response to what you post, and share your content on Messenger so they can talk about it with friends.

Take a look at messaging
Messaging is gaining in popularity. As of January 2018, Facebook Messenger and Facebook-owned WhatsApp both had 1.3 billion active users. Another 217 million people use LINE, the messaging system that replaced Japan’s telecommunications after their massive earthquake. An additional 2.1+ billion people actively use QQ, Skype, and WeChat. This is almost equal to the total of active Facebook (2,167 million), Instagram (800 million), Twitter (330 million), and YouTube (1,500 million) users.

Realize organic content won’t be as effective
Michael Stelzner, speaking at Social Media Marketing World in March 2018, shared that your organic content will no longer have the reach that you have enjoyed in the past. Links to your external pages—blog posts, website, landing pages—will get less visibility with the new Facebook algorithm and this applies to personal posts, your groups, and your event postings.

Even videos will get less space in the Facebook news feed. According to a statement by Mark Zuckerberg during Facebook’s January 2018 quarterly update “We made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure your time is well spent. In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day.”

Stelzner observed “…you are about to hit the end of the organic road if you are part of the 89% using Facebook to generate exposure or the 81% to generate traffic to your website.”

Invest in advertising on social media
Obviously, increasing organic posts on Facebook—and possibly other platforms, too—will not produce the results that investing in high quality, relevant, targeted ads will. Ads will become more important. Tate Design can help you with this process.

Try different kinds of videos
Video will remain popular but there is no one clear winner. Facebook likes quick on-the-go videos, which is why they have Instagram Stories. They also love video because it gets people talking. Unfortunately, only 35% of those in this year’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report are using it (but 77% say they plan to increase their use of all kinds of video in the next 12 months). Facebook’s algorithm also adores videos that are crafted as episodes of a story, which encourage viewers to keep coming back for more.

Bullas, in the previously mentioned interview, noted, “There’s a push now to create longer-form, more meaningful content. And sure…there are different kinds of content and there’s tension between quick-hit content “bites” and content of consequence. But I think there will be a lot of focus on quality, long-form content this year because there’s so much crap online. People want content that is real, that has value.”

If you are new to video, here are some easy ways to do live video that has value:
• Ask in-depth questions that get people talking about meaningful things
• Give a tour of your place of business or walk a customer through the production of their purchase
• Report breaking news in your industry and comment on what it means to you personally
• Review books or tools as they hit the market, just when your friends are considering a purchase
• Share tips your followers can use immediately
• Show your audience around a live event and tell them what you are learning, what they shouldn’t miss if they attend, what you wish you had packed, or your favorite giveaways

Once you have created your videos, make good use of them. Post them on multiple social media sites.

Explore automation and artificial intelligence
It’s great to show how human you are in all those videos but there is also a time and place for human-like technology. That time is now. Chatbot use is on the rise. David Marcus, head of Messenger for Facebook, reported that more than 200,000 bots were live in January of this year. They will continue to be an important part of quickly responding to customer queries for many businesses. AI and automation will play a greater role in marketing and publishing, too.

However, Twitter has come back hard in an effort to prevent spam and bot activity. They will no longer allow posting of identical or nearly identical material on multiple accounts at the same time. If you do not comply, your Twitter account may be suspended. This rule does not apply to emergency and public safety announcements or weather bulletins.

Look for more storytelling
Storytelling isn’t limited to Facebook and Instagram. More storytelling is happening on LinkedIn, which continues to grow as the best social network for business. Even Twitter has enabled better stories with its increased character limit.

Don’t be intimidated by this list or the rapid changes that occur in the world of social media. We at Tate Design are on your side every step of the way with your social media marketing and graphic design for your ad campaigns and other online content.  Stay ahead of the game. Start with a call to Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or an e-mail to info@tatedesign.net.

Young man being productive

We’ve talked about productivity tools for your business but you have another 8 to 16 hours of your day where you could also be more efficient. These tools and apps might give you more work-life balance, more to talk about when you are networking for business, and more time to enjoy the fruits of your labors.

Socializing
• Evite
This is a quick way to invite friends and acquaintances to informal gatherings (and those who only respond once they know who else is going to be there can see your guest list).
• Meet-up
Try this to facilitate networking in any one geographical location.
• Social media platforms of your choice
You don’t have to be active everywhere—choose what appeals to you and your close friends and/or those you like spending time with and hang out there.

Good food, fast
• Food delivery services
If you are fortunate enough to live in one of their almost two dozen metropolitan test markets, Amazon Restaurants will deliver food to PRIME members from any one of hundreds of area restaurants.
• Grocery shopping and delivery services
Depending on your zip code and the participating grocery stores in your area, you may have options like Amazon Fresh, Amazon Pantry, ClickList, InstaCart, and PeaPod.
• Take-out food apps
Speed up ordering and checkout at your favorite places by using their app. Unfortunately, even with an app, Starbucks delivery is currently only available to tenants of the Empire State building in NYC.

Fitness tracking
• Apple watch
• Fitbit watches and activity trackers
• Garmin activity trackers
A daily commitment to fitness activities—like walking 10,000 steps per day—can make you happier, healthier, more creative, better able to sleep at night, and more focused at work.

Personal growth
• Amazon PRIME
Membership includes access to free audio and e-books, podcasts, A PRIME membership entitles you to free books,
• Audible
Listen to books on tape and learn.
• Duolingo
Learn one (or more) foreign languages.
• GoodReads
Explore the world through books.
• Library card
Take advantage of all your public library has to offer. The Chester County Library System here in southeastern Pennsylvania includes an outstanding business center at their Exton location/the District Center.

Personal money management
• Mint
• Quicken
Both of these are designed for ease of keeping track of personal finances.

Travel
• Airbnb and Booking
Use these for booking place to stay.
• Airline apps and App in the Air
These can provide real-time flight updates, gate info, and more.
• Hotel apps
Some guarantee the best price; others offer upgrades or special perks.
• Kayak and Wego
Do your comparison shopping with a reliable app.
• Lonely Planet guides
Go with those who have been there and then wrote about it.
• PA Turnpike’s Preferred Traveler’s tools
Get text alerts about travel problems—for instance, you’ll want to know there is no gas available at the New Stanton service plaza while you still have other options.
• Translation tool
You choose depending on the language you need. Google Translate is an option if you have Internet access.
• Travel+Leisure app
The magazine now has an app and lists of favorites for all sorts of things to make your travels easier or more fun.
• XE Currency
Use this for calculating exchange rates.

Now that you have made your personal life more productive, make your business marketing do more for you, too. Call Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or e-mail info@tatedesign.net for strategic marketing, web development, and graphic design.

Business productivity on desktop

Increase your productivity. Choose to use the right tool for the job and you will save yourself time and energy and, quite possibly, a good bit of frustration, too. Here are some top picks for your business.

Hold better meetings
Apple, Fitbit, Garmin, and Nokia fitness trackers allow you to walk while you take a meeting—either walking with other meeting participants or while on a Bluetooth device and your phone
Interactive-calendar (choose your favorite for your device) allows you to manage your time and your priority tasks and see when others are free for meetings
FaceTime, GoToMeeting, and Skype For Business eliminate the need to gather in the same room to conduct business, saving time and resources

Learn
LinkedIn Learning may appear in your inbox as a free trial for a week, otherwise it is a monthly subscription
TED gives you access to a variety of educational speakers and their TED Talks
YouTube hosts how-to videos, tutorials by professionals, cautionary tales by amateurs, and a little bit of everything else in between those two positions,

Remember
Dragon converts your verbal notes to text
Evernote, as we previously wrote about in “Remember Everything With The Evernote App,” is the cloud version of those scraps of paper and sticky notes you have cluttering your desk
Notes comes pre-installed on Apple devices and can be used for quick lists

Run a professional office
Apple Pay, PayPal, and the Square makes getting paid easier
ColdTurkey, Focus, and SelfControl (depending on your operating system) limit access to distractions while user focus is on what is important or high priority
Office apps from Apple and Microsoft produce documents, e-mail, images, spreadsheets, and more—learn to use the features that will save you the most time like document styles, short-cut keys, rules for e-mail folders, meeting scheduling, macros for spreadsheets, etc.
Track
Accounting software from Freshbooks and Quickbooks allows you to track accounts payable and accounts receivable without having to outsource the work
Evernote, Expensify, and TinyScannerPro—all scan and capture receipts for you; Expensify works with Quickbooks
MileIQ tracks your mileage (and when you sign up through my MileIQ link for a free account, you’ll get 40 free drives every month plus, if you ever upgrade your account, you will automatically get 20% off your annual MileIQ subscription and I’ll be paid a small reward)

The list of apps and tools continues to grow. You can still be productive without having to try them all out. Let Tate Design handle your strategic marketing, web development, and graphic design. E-mail Tate Design at info@tatedesign.net or give us a call at 610.725.0702.

people using market research

If you read our earlier post about why market research matters, you may now be asking yourself how to use market research in YOUR business. Here is a quick checklist to get you started.
• Make sure you have a clear brand
Use what you learn from market research to better define who you are as a brand and to clearly articulate what you do/produce/sell better than anyone else.

• Clarify the benefits you provide
Emphasize benefits instead of features in your advertising, your content creation, and in your collateral materials. This will increase the perceived value of your product or service.

• Look at how you compare to the competition
Determine what they excel at and how you can keep your unique product or service while taking away some of their edge.

• Create a profile of your ideal customer
When you can identify their needs, what causes them pain (or frustration or anger or a loss of something they value like time or money), or what stirs their emotions, you can then offer a specific solution.

• Continue to collect data from multiple sources
Once you know your ideal customers, you also know where they spend their time. Go there (blogs, networking and other events, social media) and listen to their concerns. Ask yourself “how can I help?” without jumping into the conversation and selling to the audience just yet.

• Use the information you gather sooner rather than later
Too many people gather information and then do nothing with it. Act on what you learn so you are serving the right market for your product/service.

• Decide where to grow
Use the solid data you collect to make smart decisions. You’ll know where to
– Expand your product line or services
– Pursue new opportunities
– Follow trends
– Improve or modernize
– Take a completely different direction

• Communicate effectively
Once you have identified your client, listened to his/her needs, made evident your ability to meet those needs better than the competition with clearly defined benefits, and decided to take action and grow your company, you need to communicate often and well. Your message—whether advertising, blog, e-mail newsletter, packaging, promotional material,  or website —must touch your audience. With your market research, you will know how to make it all about them and answer the ever-present question: “what’s in it for me?”

• Always ask questions
– What are my objectives for collecting this piece of market research?
– Where is my business growing?
– What is changing?
– What solutions can I match to new needs?
– What is my competition up to?
– What feedback can my employees provide?

• Continue to monitor your data and make adjustments

We at Tate Design can help with analytics monitoring and market research. Give us a call at 610.725.0702 or e-mail info@tatedesign.net.


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