Posts Tagged ‘mobile’


5 Ways to Make Money Through Text Messaging for Your Small Business

???????????????????????????????It’s nearly impossible to go anywhere without seeing people using their smartphones to text, talk, use apps, or surf the web. More than 90 percent of the U.S. population has mobile phones, and those individuals spend 19 hours per day with the device at arm’s length (some even more!). If you’re not using text messaging as part of your marketing and business development plan, you’re missing out on serious opportunity to connect with your customers and increase sales.

Text messages are one of the most-read methods of communication, with a 97 percent open rate (that’s much higher than the average email gets). And 85 percent of text messages are read within 15 minutes of receipt. This is a boon if you’re trying to get people’s attention right now. Here’s a look at how you can leverage text messages to make money for your small business.

  1. Get permission first.  You must make sure that your customers want to hear from you via text message, or you’ll risk suffering a huge backlash and potentially losing customers.
  2. Use text messaging as a relationship building tool. Like with any type of business development venture, don’t immediately start using a text messaging strategy to sell products and services. Instead texting should first be a way to build relationships with current customers and prospects. Send out useful information that customers will want, such as appointment reminders or coupons. Just remember not to send text messages too frequently or you’ll risk irritating people.
  3. Use text messaging to support existing marketing and sales efforts. One of the best ways to use text messaging is to present special offers, which lead customers to buy in the store or online. For example, if your business has a sale on a Monday, a text message can be sent Sunday afternoon to remind customers about this opportunity to shop and save.​​Starbucks will often send out text messages to customers reminding them to use their “treat receipt” (morning coffee receipt) to buy an afternoon drink at a discounted price. The “treat receipt” is an existing sales strategy, and adding the text messaging component helps to encourage customers to come back for a second purchase on the same day.
  4. Develop exclusive mobile content. You want customers to pay attention to the text messages you send. As such, don’t simply promote the same discounts and offers you send in email and your website. Create specific offers such as a 20 percent discount using a text message code. This will train the buyer not to ignore your texts.
  5. Find the right service provider. This is an important step in order to deploy a text messaging strategy for your business. There are text messaging platforms available for iPhones and Android devices that allow geo-tracking, which shows the geographic location of the mobile device holder. This is important if you plan to send text offers to customers who are near your business.

A text messaging strategy is a critical part of business development and marketing in today’s multi-channel marketing world. Remember to use texting to form relationships before going straight for the sale, and think about a strategy before sending your first message. 


Mondays with Mike: 4 Steps To Taking Your Business On The Road

I’m a self-taught mobile business evangelist.  When I made the decision to convert the way I did business from the traditional, office-based model, I literally never looked back, at least not fondly.  Now, everything I need to conduct business is in my backpack, and I can work – quite easily, in fact – from anywhere in the world.

Getting your business ready to go mobile isn’t without its pitfalls, though, so I’ve compiled a game plan for getting there with minimal hassle.

  1. Communication is key.  The single most important component of your mobile business strategy is ensuring that you can communicate reliably with your staff, clients, and key contacts.  Skype is the solution for my company.  It lets me talk by phone, conduct video conferences, and it even lets me send messages.  When you’re on the road, you can’t afford to be out of touch, so it’s worth it to research your options and make the choice that meets all of your needs.
  2. Use the cloud to store and share data.  In addition to being able to talk to clients and employees, you’re also going to need a way to store and share your data securely.  Google Drive works for me, and I simply can’t overstate how critical it is to be able to access, edit, and share files from the road.  Even if you end up paying for your cloud storage, you’ll end up saving money in the long run when you factor in the savings in both time and money.  No more searching for a fax machine or waiting for documents to arrive.  Being able to share files – even large ones – by pointing and clicking is critical.
  3. Create contingency plans.  Ask yourself what you’d do if your laptop battery died.  What would you do if you couldn’t find reliable wifi?  What if Google Drive stopped working in the middle of a negotiation that relies on sending and receiving files?  Think through the problems that could arise and start developing solutions.  Whether it’s a backup battery or a second cloud storage account, you’ll save yourself huge headaches if you do some troubleshooting before you need it.
  4. Take a deep breath and jump right in.  Force yourself to go mobile.  Even if you start with a single day, making yourself actually do it will help you identify problems with your systems and give you the confidence that you can, in fact, survive outside your office and outside your comfort zone.  As you start going through your regular tasks from a mobile office, you’ll start to realize all the benefits.  You’ll appreciate the flexibility, and you’ll quickly see that you’re actually more efficient.

Much of working outside the office relies on technology, but one of the things that I love most about working from my backpack is that I’m free to schedule more face time with my important clients.  Rather than being tied to a desk, I’m free to actually go seal a deal with a real handshake.  Your laptop doesn’t distance you from personal contact; it simply lets you keep tabs on your business while you go forge those important face-to-face connections. 

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The Nextiva App Has Arrived!

The Nextiva App is here! Available for Nextiva Office ProPlus and Enterprise users on NextOS, it's a free application that simultaneously syncs your business communications between multiple devices. Find out more here:

Download the Nextiva App to your desktop and smartphone today!


Work Your Biz Wednesday: How to Develop an App for your Small Business

Use the mobile web to develop your small business! Learn how with these 5 tips from The Small Biz Lady, Melinda Emerson.


The Hottest Technologies to Watch in 2014

sparkling_2014_lightsWhat are the hottest technologies your company should know about next year? Here is my watch list for 2014:

Rapporative: People buy from who they know, like and trust. Form a relationship with your prospects and customers by integrating their social media posts inside your email. How to use it: When you receive an email from a prospect, you now see their latest social media posts attached. This is a fantastic time to comment on them to further your relationship.

Bitcoin: This internet currency is getting a lot of press this year. It uses peer-to-peer computer technology to operate with no central banks. The managing of these transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out by the an Internet network. How to use it: Is it time for your company to accept this currency to gain an advantage over your competitors?

Mobile wallet: Is this finally the year for the customer to leave their wallet at home? With solutions like Coin, it is sure to make an impact. This new product allows consumers to program all your credit cards into one payment size card. The device must be near your smartphone or it locks! How to use it: Ensure your company accepts mobile wallet solutions at all brick and mortar locations.

Geofencing: When customers are searching for something on their phone, how does the small business get them to buy from their company? One answer is geofencing that uses GPS to set a virtual perimeter for a given geographic area. How to use it: Generate a fence around your store or a particular location. When the consumer enters the "fenced-in" area, a text or email with a special offer is pushed to the customer's phone with their permission.

Mobile check out: Apple pioneered mobile checkout from a sales person’s smart phone. Gone are the days of waiting in a cash register line. How to use it: Equip your staff with these devices and sales will increase as a result of a closer bond with the customer.

3D printing: Instant delivery of physical products are becoming a reality. If consumer 3D printer sales continue to double over the next two years, the download market could reach 73M units for 2015. Based on research conducted by 3Dagogo, an online marketplace for 3D designs, 70% of all 3D designs found online actually cause failed prints due to design flaws. How to use it: Can your company deliver its products through 3D printing?

Connected cars: Google’s self-driving car is not yet a reality, but with the Internet everywhere, why not in your car?  Auto makers are starting to make cars their own hot spot so they can receive data and communicate with the driver’s hand held devices. Leading auto companies Audi, BMW, and Mercedes are starting to make it standard in their cars. How to use it: What solutions does your company offer that should be accessed from the car?

The quantified self: Consumers are checking their own blood pressure, pulse and steps on mobile devices. Forty percent of smartphone users want their phone to log all of their physical activities and 56 percent would like to monitor their blood pressure and pulse using a ring. Popular wearables are currently available from Nike and Fitbit. How to use it: What solutions does your company offer should be monitored from smartphones?

Faster Wi-Fi: The average consumer household today has 6 devices that connect to the Internet. As more devices become connected, the burden on the existing Wi-Fi networks will begin to show strain. The next generation of the wireless networking standard called 5G WiFi, or 802.11ac will offer faster speeds making it more capable of handling the spiking demand for connectivity. How to use it: What solutions become more beneficial at higher Wi-Fi speeds? What else do you sell that can be connected to the Internet?

What would you add?


Master the Art of Balance as a Road Warrior

Traveling and working isn’t easy, but still many companies expect it from employees, especially with new communication tools that allow for always-on connectivity.

Yet workers can actually stay productive and work while traveling if they follow certain steps.

  • Find a Dedicated Workspace - The first issue is finding a workspace that nurtures your work mentality and put you into productivity mode. Finding this while traveling may not be easy though. You can use the hotel kitchen table, but a local coffee shop is often better. Better yet, go to the local library for minimal distractions.
  • Identify When You’re Most Productive - Once you identify when you’re most productive, you should plan your most difficult or pressing work during those times and leave the easier work for the time of day you’re usually not as productive.
  • Create a Work List - Zen Habits suggests creating a list that prioritizes work. The first list has three things to be done today. The second is three things you’d like to get done, but aren’t essential. The third is three things that need to be done at some point.
  • Set Concrete Work Hours - Try setting a time limit to get your work done, say 90 minutes, and you’ll be surprised at just how productive you’ll be in that short time, says FreelanceSwitch.com. With a limited time frame, people are often more efficient, since Parkinson’s Law suggests that a task will inflate in difficulty and importance relative to the time allocated to it, the site says.
  • Block out Distractions - Cut out the countless distractions that can sabotage your work, including email that can interrupt your productivity. Close your web browser and resist the urge to engage in social media and read articles and any other Internet activities not related to work. Save those for your downtime. If you’re working in a busy coffee shop, wear earphones and listen to classical music.

We hope these tips are helpful for your days out of the office as a road warrior. To learn more ways that you can experience more mobility and flexibility with your incoming and outgoing business calls, give us a ring at 800-983-4289! We would be happy to tell you about Nextiva Connect – a virtual phone system that allows you to route your calls to anywhere you are at any time through an online control panel.


Why Go Mobile?

VoIP is a powerful communication tool that is helping businesses of all sizes take advantage of numerous features. While significant cost savings is often the primary advantage of VoIP, mobility is quickly becoming a deciding factor for businesses to transition to VoIP communications.

The United States has the highest percentage of mobile workers, with 72.2% of the workforce mobile in 2008, according to IDC. By 2013, an estimated 75.5% of the U.S. workforce, or 119.7 million workers, will be mobile.

Mobility helps company employees stay connected anytime, anywhere by having access to important company information wherever they may be. There are three key areas where businesses can expect ROI from a mobile workforce, according to the Yankee Group:

  • Improved services
  • Decreased costs
  • Increased revenue

A mobile workforce that has constant access to real-time information and software can make smarter decisions and process requests faster, which leads to improved services. This also improves overall productivity since employees can work faster and more efficiently. IP phone technology like Cisco SPA phones feature productivity features like video conferencing, call forwarding, visual voicemail and other features to help a mobile workforce.

Plus, a successful mobile workforce helps decrease costs by reducing workflow volumes and streamlining business processes. New mobility solutions like IP-based phone systems reduce costs through Internet-based phone calls. Also, businesses ultimately reduce costs by streamlining both Internet and phone into one communications system. Internet-based calls and conferencing help to reduce costs by up to 85 percent, compared with legacy phone systems.

How Mobility is Helping SMBs Compete with Enterprises

Today’s small to medium-sized business customers expect SMBs to deliver service, support and products that are on par with big businesses. However, SMBs are often burdened with the need to provide these services with limited resources.

VoIP has emerged as a powerful new communication tool that is helping SMBs compete with larger businesses by providing enterprise-level support, service, mobility and more.

“SMBs know that having reliable, always-on communications helps them maintain the kind of quality of service that has traditionally been provided by much larger competitors with an established 9 to 5 culture,” according to the Wall Street Journal article, Technology is Helping SMBs to Become a Global Force.

There are numerous ways SMBs benefit from VoIP technology. The following are some of the more important ones SMBs use to help them better compete with larger companies:

  • Cost Savings - One of the biggest benefits of VoIP to SMBs is cost savings. With VoIP technology, phone calls are made over the Internet and can reduce a phone bill by as much as 85 percent, when compared with legacy phone lines.
  • Anywhere, Anytime Access - Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever and SMBs need to provide access to employees working out of hotel rooms, airport lounges, remote branches, and home offices. Without it, mobile and remote workers lose valuable time. VoIP connects remote and mobile workers to an SMB’s critical applications such as customer-relationship management and sales force automation tools, e-mail, instant messaging, and more. 
  • Employee Collaboration - Frequent collaboration among employees is often essential for SMBs. Yet does an SMB develop a richly collaborative environment when many employees collaborate remotely or on the go? A cloud-based network with integrated voice, video, data, and wireless communications delivers interactive calendaring, Web-based videoconferencing, IP telephony, and other tools that foster collaboration.
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Connectivity - An estimated 88% of executives worldwide report employees are using their own personal computing technologies for business purposes today, according to a report by Avanade. 58% of respondents said the greatest outcome of BYOD was the ability for their employees to work from anywhere, followed by their employees being more willing to work after hours (42 percent).

These are just some of the key ways SMBs are leveraging VoIP to enhance their business productivity and efficiency, and help them compete against larger corporations. To see how much money your business can save with Nextiva business VoIP, call us today at 800-983-4289.




 
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