7 reasons you need Google Drive for your business

7 reasons you need Google Drive for your business

As technology develops, an increasing number of innovations are emerging that make it easier to do business. Google Drive is one of these innovations. As a Cloud storage system, it offers many unique benefits that other office suites simply can’t provide. Whether you use it to supplement your office suite or completely replace it, here are six reasons why it’s worth using Google Drive for your business.

1. Collaborate better

 

Perhaps the most obvious advantage that Google Drive has over other platforms – particularly for business owners – is its ability to help you collaborate with staff and clients. Documents created on Google Drive are by default only accessible to those that have the correct login details. However, you can quickly and easily share Google Drive files and folders with others, with the option to allow them permission to edit or to only view the document.

 

This has a few advantages over sharing files back and forth via email. With the conventional email model, for example, you may send through a draft to a client. Once they’ve given their feedback, they then need to send it back to you again, and you reply a second time with further revisions. At this stage, you have three different versions of the same file being emailed backwards and forwards, which could lead to confusion.

 

On Google Drive, however, making changes to a document is simplified. Everyone has access to the most recently updated version of the file, with a clear edit history which you can revisit at any time.

 

In addition to this, Google Drive makes sharing large files far easier. A limitation of Gmail, for example, is that it only allows you to send an attachment with a maximum size of 25mb in one message. As anyone that’s ever tried (and failed) to send a short, high-quality video will realise, that’s not much. Google Drive, on the other hand, allows you to share a link with a contact to any number of files in a folder, without any size limitations. Your contact can then view or download the files.

2. Enjoy greater flexibility

 

Do you need to work at home, or while travelling? By storing your data in the Cloud on Google Drive, working remotely is simple – all you need to do is log on and get to work. Even if you happen to be caught without Wifi, an offline option is also available in your settings.

 

And, to make working remotely even easier, Google Drive also has an app for your smartphone or tablet. That means if you want to pack more productivity into your day, you can even read or edit documents while you’re commuting.

3. Save money

 

For many businesses, perhaps the biggest incentive comes from the fact that Google Drive is incredibly economical. In fact, the first 15gb of storage on Google Drive is completely free. For many small to medium-sized businesses, this amount of storage space will be sufficient, especially as files can be backed up elsewhere. However, if you do need extra space, Google Drive also has some very cost-effective packages. For example, for their cheapest payment option, Google Drive offers 100GB for $1.99 a month. Compared with pricing for desktop office suites, that’s unparalleled cost-effectiveness.

4. Know your data is secure

 

As data on Google Drive is stored off-site, in many ways it’s more secure than using a desktop or paper-based storage system. This is because it isn’t vulnerable to external threats such as theft or natural disasters. Furthermore, Google Drive is encrypted using SSL, the same security protocol used on Gmail.

 

To help you feel even more secure, Google Drive also allows you to back up files to the Cloud using ‘Back up and sync’, or, if you are a paying customer, ‘Drive File Stream’. This option provides you with a copy of your files in a Google Drive folder on your hard-drive, making your data both secure and more easily accessible.

5. Find and organise your files with ease

 

Google’s features provide numerous options for filing, allowing you to create the filing system that works best for you. With Google Drive, you can find your files easily by searching by keyword, owner or file type. Or, to make your filing even more organised, colour code or star important documents, or keep track of collaborations through the ‘Shared with me’ option.

6. Tailor your experience with apps and add-ons

 

One benefit of using Google Drive over other office platforms is the ability to connect with third-party apps. Edit your Google Drive images with Pixlr Editor, convert files with Cloud convert or improve your written communications with Grammarly. As a further plus, many of these apps are also free.

 

These are just a few examples, but they indicate that there’s a lot more to Google Drive than many people realise. Properly explored, Google Drive offers a streamlined and incredibly cost-effective platform to help run your business.

Samantha Clark using Mobile Phone

Contact Ben & Sam today to discuss your business on the internet. Your first consultation is FREE.

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How Stepping Back Can Help Your Business Move Forward

As a manager, it can be easy to think of all the things that can go wrong if you sit back, relinquish some control and let your team members take responsibility for their outcomes. What if they make a mistake? What if they lose an important customer or client? What if things don’t go exactly as you planned?

Policies and procedures essential for top business performance

In an ideal world, employees would start a new job knowing the expectations for their role and how they should conduct themselves. They would know how to respond perfectly in any given situation and their actions would always align with company standards and values.

Make mobile the centre of your customer experience

Make mobile the centre of your customer experience

Modern businesses understand that a positive customer experience builds market share and client loyalty. A high CX score shows they’re customer-focused and their clients are generally satisfied.

 

However, today’s customers have increasingly higher expectations and it’s becoming more difficult to keep them happy – mainly due to mobile technology.

 

They expect an easy and seamless process while communicating with a business on their mobile, being able to find operating hours from a Google search and the option for live-chat assistance when they visit a mobile e-commerce store.

Consumers expect even more from mobile devices

Bill Loller, Vice President of Mobile at IBM, describes this as a ‘mobile mind shift’ in customers, who now expect to get what they want where and when they need it. He explains that mobile is becoming the customer’s problem solver, which dramatically increases customer expectations.

 

He says his company’s research has found that 75 percent of adults believe there is no reason why a mobile transaction cannot be completed on the first try.

Australia is one of the world’s top mobile device users

 

Smartphone ownership in Australia increased from 11.1 million in 2013 to 15.3 million in mid-2015. During the same period, tablet ownership increased from 6.3 million to 11.2 million.

 

Smartphone and tablets now make up 63 percent of total time spent on devices. To remain competitive, businesses now need to offer a first-class mobile experience.

Mobile devices are bringing us even closer together

 

If you’re working to improve your customer experience, mobile is the main channel to focus on. Everything else is secondary. Today, mobile IS the Internet. Mobile analyst Benedict Evans says in his presentation Mobile Is Eating The World that the idea of mobile Internet as a cut-down version of the ‘real’ Internet should be forgotten.

 

He suggests we should think about mobile as the ‘real’ Internet and the desktop as the limited, reduced version.

 

Mobile happens to be the best customer experience delivery platform for companies. It offers great functionality and is engaging, flexible and powerful. And it’s continuing to grow in scope, scale and capability.

How can mobile improve customer experience?

1. Build a mobile app for your business

 

With 90 percent of smartphone internet time spent in apps versus mobile web, more consumers are choosing the seamless experiences that apps offer. By offering value, understanding their audience and using mobile thoughtfully, brands can make the most of this mobile shift.

 

According to a recent report by Flurry Analytics, overall app usage last year grew by 11 percent compared with 2015, and the amount of time spent in apps grew by 69 percent. The message is clear: Every business should seriously consider releasing an app if they haven’t yet, as they are valuable tools for providing user data and improving customer engagement.

 

Apps are easy to open and simple to use. They offer businesses increased visibility and accessibility and they can be used to build customer loyalty.

2. Use mobile data to grab your customer

 

Retail consultancy eCommera says you can use search history, device and location data and demographic information to deliver targeted messaging.

 

For example, if a shopper has searched for a relevant product term recently, you can serve up specific product promotions when they are near one of your stores, offer discounts when they are close to one of your competitors, or combine all available data sources to deliver personalised product recommendations.

3. Use SMS to communicate

 

Consumers are increasingly relying on their mobile devices once they enter a store. According to ICSC’s 2017 survey, by 2020, 54 percent of consumers want to be able to compile a shopping list on a store app and receive a floor map to locate products. Importantly, 80 percent of those who have shopping centre apps choose to receive notifications about sales, promotions or special events while shopping, giving businesses another valuable touch point.

 

SMS is also a valuable tool for creating a sense of urgency and for incentivising customers to take action. Mobile location-based information can be used to send time-sensitive messages such as the ‘deal of the day’, or a post-purchase ‘thank you’, which could include a receipt, a loyalty point update or an incentivised offer for a future purchase.

Contact Ben & Sam today to discuss your business on the internet. Your first consultation is FREE.

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Location-based marketing drives improved customer experience

Location-based marketing drives improved customer experience

Technology breakthroughs are allowing retailers to dynamically change prices during the day, based on surges in demand. While this has previously been easier to do in the travel and hospitality industries, it has been more difficult in the retail environment.

 

However, smart Digital-Out-Of-Home (DOOH) digital display advertising, combined with more in-depth customer data, is giving businesses the tools to adjust prices in real-time and attract specific customers at particular times of the day.

 

Is the U.S, for example, Coca-Cola has been using Google’s cloud platform to send videos and discount coupons to customers’ smartphones in Albertsons grocery stores, directing them to specials in the soft drinks aisle. While privacy advocates see this targeted approach as an aggressive invasion of privacy, marketers are congratulating themselves on the wily use of location-based marketing (LBM) piggybacked on mobile phone signals.

 

Closer to home, Australian marketing services company ReachLocal has launched a new location-based mobile marketing solution that uses geofencing technology to track conversions and better measure return on investment. The technology uses location-based marketing to help businesses pinpoint and target customers where and when products and services are more relevant to them. Once the geofence ‘boundary’ is set up, consumers are tracked and targeted via the GPS beacons in their smartphones.

 

ReachLocal Australian MD, Justin O’Sullivan, says the technology puts a company in front of consumers where they are spending the majority of their time – on their smartphones.

 

Smart billboards have also adopted LBM technology quickly and an increasingly common sight around Australian cities is DOOH ‘smart’ billboards, which offer advertisers a range of functionality, including customisation of content based on the local market, such as weather or time of day. They also allow consumers to interact directly and can provide detailed analytics such as foot and vehicle traffic volumes in their vicinity.

 

This surge in interest in location-based marketing is predicted to increase. Research company BIA/Kelsey recently projected this segment will grow from $12.4 billion currently to $32.4 billion by 2021. And Google has reported that 56 percent of its searches ‘on the go’ now have a local focus. The company claims 50 percent of the searches done on a smartphone prompted a store visit within a day.

 

Although the rise and early success of location-based marketing has businesses rubbing their hands, a cautious approached is needed to make sure consumers aren’t scared off. There have been a number of international incidents where retailers have been called to account for tracking shoppers’ movements without disclosure.

 

Transparency is needed to explain data collection and privacy protection or businesses risk scaring consumers off, even if nothing untoward is happening. The key is to make practices and policies clear and accessible to consumers – for example, by not burying them in hard to read fine print.

 

Despite misgivings, consumers are generally open to location-based tracking, as long as there is a genuine, valuable payback. For example, most of us are comfortable trading some privacy for the value of location pinpointing within Google Maps. But where the trade-off is less obvious, businesses need to be transparent about GPS tracking, the reason for it, and how the collected data will be used.

 

Location-based marketing on mobile has a strong future. It’s still early days, but the curve is developing fast. The payoff will be more engaging marketing campaigns, an enhanced customer experience and more accurate data.

Contact Ben & Sam today to discuss your business on the internet. Your first consultation is FREE.

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How Stepping Back Can Help Your Business Move Forward

As a manager, it can be easy to think of all the things that can go wrong if you sit back, relinquish some control and let your team members take responsibility for their outcomes. What if they make a mistake? What if they lose an important customer or client? What if things don’t go exactly as you planned?

Policies and procedures essential for top business performance

In an ideal world, employees would start a new job knowing the expectations for their role and how they should conduct themselves. They would know how to respond perfectly in any given situation and their actions would always align with company standards and values.

5 Ways to Boost Audience Engagement Using Video Marketing

5 Ways to Boost Audience Engagement Using Video Marketing

Small Business Video Marketing

 
While television constrains video advertising to a limited 30-second format, the Internet has given video content a completely new scope. This is your opportunity to embrace video marketing for your business and it’s really not as hard as it sounds.

 

From product demos to ‘behind the scenes’ footage, businesses have more opportunity than ever to truly show consumers who they are and what they do, rather than simply tell them.

 

Research suggests that consumers are taking notice of this growing channel. When market research company Hubspot asked users what types of content they preferred to see in the future, video was the clear preference.

 

Their research also suggests that video is particularly favoured by younger generations, indicating that the popularity of this medium is likely to continue to grow.

 

While it may require a slight shift in approach, there are clear benefits to prioritising video in your content marketing strategy. Here are five examples of video content that are worth considering:

1. Create product demo videos

 
Anyone that’s tried to read and follow an instruction manual for a new product will know how frustrating this can be. Visually following another person’s actions, on the other hand, often feels far more natural.

 

In this respect, demos can be a great way to help existing customers who need guidance in using your product, while also drawing in customers who may be curious about how it works before purchasing it.

 

It’s important to remember that while hard-to-operate appliances or gadgets may be good candidates for product demos, this type of content is far more versatile than it may first appear. A silent product demo video could be used to showcase an item of clothing for example, by demonstrating how it moves when you walk.

 

With so many customers now doing their shopping online, think of your demo video as a way for users to remotely ‘try out’ your product.

2. Create an About Us Video

 
What are the values of your company? How did you get started and how has your business evolved? What about your business makes you most proud?

 

The answers to these types of questions are sometimes difficult to convey in a single webpage of writing, which is where an About Us video can be useful. They allow you to introduce key staff members, convey the right attitude and tone and give your customers an insight into what your make your business tick.

 

When creating an About Us video, think about the story that you want to tell. If you’ve achieved industry awards, partnered with not-for-profit organisations, or done work in the community, you might like to highlight this.

 

Ultimately, About Us videos are about building trust, so let people in and show the human side to your business.

3. Competition videos

 
If you want people to pay attention to the videos you produce, sometimes all that’s needed is a bit of an incentive. Try creating a few easy questions that can be answered by watching your latest marketing video and make answering them a condition to entering a competition.

 

A great example of this can be found a recent competition carried out by the New Zealand mobile phone company 2degrees. Using the tagline ‘communication is everywhere’, entrants are asked to watch a short video and look out for ten forms of communication in the clip.

 

The ten forms of communication are easy to spot, but it does mean that viewers have to pay attention to the video in order to enter the competition – thus making the marketing campaign more memorable.

 

If creating a video-based competition doesn’t appeal, another option is to use video to promote a competition. This works especially well where the prize can be conveyed well visually.

 

For a travel competition, for example, seduce viewers by producing a short clip showing off the winning location. Keep your viewers’ eyes on the prize – literally.

4. A behind the scenes video

 
If you feel that your customers don’t always appreciate what goes into what you do, videos are a way you can show them.

 

Giving people behind the scenes insights into how a product or service was developed is a great way to market a new product in a way that feels authentic and educational.

 

Interview key staff members to get insightful, expert perspectives and record footage at each stage of the process to show progression in the development of your product.

 

Importantly, remember that About Us videos showcase your company culture.

 

Producing a quality behind the scenes video is not only great for engagement with your product; it can also help to attract new talent, as it shows people that your business is a great place to work.

5. Create a video blog

 
If you have a blog for your website, it’s worth supplementing with video content. Research suggests that having video content on a webpage increases dwell time by six times and users are more than twice as likely to click through to other pages on your website.

 

While producing both a blog and a video can seem like a lot of time and effort, it doesn’t need to be. Use the video as the centerpiece of your page, then use your blog as a way of recapping the material covered.

 

This provides users with options; they can watch the video, read the blog, or do both.

 

And, importantly, you get the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) benefits of having video on your webpage, without the additional work of having to create entirely new content.

Contact Ben & Sam today to discuss your business on the internet. Your first consultation is FREE.

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What are the Different Website Types?

What are the Different Website Types?

Website Types – Purpose and Benefit

Originally, before the web was opened to the public, websites were purely informational text-only sites for educational, research and government agencies. Now there are more types of websites and hybrids of those types than you can count. Here are the basic types. Where do you and your idea fit?

Personal Websites – Personal websites usually provide information about a certain individual or group and require little to no maintenance. A lot of internet service providers give consumers the opportunity to create a personal website by giving you free server space to upload family photos and content. This space is very limited and only allows you to do the bare minimum. This type is not advisable for a small business as they are not search engine friendly and the limited capabilities are not nearly sophisticated enough.

E-Commerce Websites – E-Commerce websites are online shops and commercial and auction websites. Just about anything that can be sold in a brick-and-mortar store can be sold online—with much less overhead! In order to be a competitor with other businesses on the internet an E-Commerce site must have excellent Calls to Action and simple and secure checkout procedures. E-Commerce sites would have to be the most popular start-up type of website, and although they take more time to build and market, they are often the most profitable.

Online Business Brochure/Catalogue Websites – With your online brochure or catalogue, you can show anyone who looks for and finds your website, photos and descriptions of your products or services. Although this may sound like an E-Commerce Website, there are many businesses that deal in products or services that are not sellable over the web—think hair-stylist, dentist, or day-care centre. These sites are simple and effective and add another point of contact for prospects and clients.

Informational Websites – Informational websites such as Wikipedia are among the easiest sites to maintain so long as the information is regularly refreshed or updated. If you have information to share or sell this is the type for you. Take a landscaping business for example: A website that lists plants with their definitions and planting and caring instructions would be helpful to people, and would lead people to your nursery. Of course an e-commerce function could later be added to sell your plants online.

Blog/Forum Websites – If you want to voice your opinion and meet people with common views then Blogging is the way to go. Blogs (online journals or editorials) give regular people the power to tell the world what is on their mind. There are many free Blogging sites available and maintenance for these sites depends on how big of a Blogger you are. Allowing readers, for example, to post comments or responses to a post increases maintenance with the need to constantly monitor what people post as well as edit any information you see fit. Blogs are great for a business – it’s free advertising and a way to reach a wider customer base.

Social Websites – Social websites such as Facebook and EHarmony are groups or communities that are online where members can meet and interact with other people that share a common interest. Social websites are usually high maintenance, since in order to keep your visitors and attract new ones you must continually update your information and have the latest interactive media. Also, security is a big issue as these community sites usually contain a lot of personal and private information about its’ members. Not been up to date with your social websites security could put you in very hot water. Forums, file sharing sites and blogs may also be considered social websites and have the same benefit of networking and connectivity to the small business person

File Sharing Websites – File Sharing websites provide space for people to post files like photos or videos so other people may view them, save them and sometimes buy them. Some good example of File Sharing websites are YouTube, Flickr, and Instagram. There could easily be over a hundred such sites that offer free photo sharing paid for by their online advertising. They are great as secondary sites for any business and require only monitored communication with those who view your files.

Ben & Sam are here to help. Contact us now to help you choose the right platform for you and your organisation. Your first consultation is FREE.

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Increase your ROI with a Website Plan!

Increase your ROI with a Website Plan!

You know what they say about failing to plan…

“The most important factor determining whether or not your website succeeds depends on how effectively you planned for success.”

(Someone important and then lots of important people after them)

Sounds simple right?

Well we’ve all been on a site that looked like it was stuck in a time warp, took you to non-existent pages, or was there one week and gone the next.

That is because a successful website is first built in the mind, not on the web.

There are over 9 billion websites on the internet with thousands more going live each day. So naturally getting noticed is going to take some effort – both on your part, and on your designer/developers part.

Are you Ready for a Website?

Do you have:

  • a goal,
  • a purpose
  • and a firm understanding of your meaningful transactions for your website project?

If yes, you’re a winner already, pass go and call Ben & Sam!

When you define your goals you’ll find your purpose. Then take steps aligned with this purpose to get to your goals. The crucial link, however, is your website visitors and whether they are taking steps towards achieving your goals too?

It’s all about leverage!

So, let’s get started…TAKE NOTES!

Create a Website Business Plan 

If you plan to make money from your website it should be treated like a business from day one. You want something to show for your time and money, not just another pretty failure to add to the statistic.

This means creating a business plan. It doesn’t have to be hugely complex but, trust us, it can save a lot of headaches down the track and make adjustments for growth and change a much more fulfilling experience!

A simple and focused website business plan should state the following (and mostly in point form to avoid any brain explosions or urges to ‘file it’ never to be seen again!):

  • Business Mission Statement

This should state your main objectives. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to create a content site or an eCommerce store? What meaningful transactions or actions do you want your visitors to take on you website to move them to beginning a customer, and a repeat customer? Ensuring your visitors take action will determine the success of your website.

Here’s an example:

The objective is to create a user friendly e-commerce site where clients can place screen-printing orders at any time. The goal is to turn one time purchasers into regular clients. We will do this by promoting special deals via our website and website email newsletters.

  • Define your Audience

Many sites fail to take into consideration who will actually be using the website.  How can you design an effective website if you don’t know who is going to visit it? Defining the user experience up front will help you establish a clear understanding of your audience, and this could lead to an understanding of how users will react to your website.

  • What makes you Different?

Are you selling something? Are you offering a unique service? What is the motivation for somebody to come to your site for the very first time and will they come back?

  • Expected Revenues

Calculate the revenues you may be able to acquire. Don’t assume you will make a lot of money you first few months unless you intend to invest heavily in marketing. Be realistic and stay focused on your initial objectives. Building a successful website is often a work in progress, sometimes spread over a 1-3 year plan.

  • Expected Expenses

Some of the fixed expenses you will face are things such as web hosting, and a domain name. Some variable costs are your marketing budget.

  • Details of Operations

Decide what you think you can do yourself during the website design and development process. Do you want to write your own content? Take your own photographs? Or do you want to leave it all to the professionals, knowing they’ll do it with creativity, integrity and experience – all according to your direction of course!

Be Proactive!

Small things such as a note book full of your ‘to-do lists’ can help keep you on top of all your tasks when your memory fails you. It’s also a fulfilling reward to look back and see what you have accomplished so far! This is a good thing to keep you focused and motivated.

Quick! Get that idea down now!

If you are still awake…and you Website Business Plan has successfully survived the filing cabinet, then you should probably get in touch with Ben & Sam and get this winning project STARTED!

Head to our CONTACT page and tell us all about it.

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