10 Best Ways To Stay Safe Online

At the time when the digital world is going omnipresent around the world, issues related to data theft, scams, hacks, ransomware, malware, etc. are also exponentially increasing. –And that is why being aware of the tips and habits to stay safe online is very important.

When you are browsing any site, you don’t want your information to get leaked.

But numerous hackers are waiting for hacking your details. The only way to protect your sensitive content is to take care of your privacy and to stay safe online.

So, without any further ado, let us get started with some of the best ways that can help you to stay safe online in the best possible manner.

10 Best Ways to Stay Safe Online 

Best Ways to Stay Safe Online

1. Stop using Public WiFi for sensitive stuff 

Everyone likes Free WiFi, but only some are aware that it can be harmful to your details.

Safe browsing is essential; similar is secure WiFi. When you are out and are using public WiFi, never share Credit Card Numbers Bank Account Details or Login Credentials.

It can be hacked easily, and your privacy can be lost. If you need to check, Email or Bank account details, go for using it by Mobile Data instead of using Free WiFi. This will, for sure help you to stay safe online.

2. Use Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Use Virtual Private Network (VPN)

VPN will ensure nobody can see what you are browsing on the Internet.

Communication is fully encrypted and surveillance proof. Even if you are using Unsecured Free WiFi, your privacy isn’t lost. It won’t let others keep an eye on your conversation or personal matters.

Using a VPN is one of the most efficient sources to secure your privacy and to stay safe online.

It also prevents any would-be cybercrime on your computer by hiding your sensitive information.

3. Ignore Spam Emails 

Stop interacting with Spam emails; there is a higher risk of falling into the trap.

Spam emails can be recognized as there is a separate folder in your email account for it. Sometimes even your valuable messages or documents are transferred to Spam, but not all of them are important. Try to stay away from these spam messages.

Sometimes a hacker might pretend to be a CEO and ask you for your details. Some messages can be about installing malicious software on your computer.

Someone can pretend to be from a bank and ask for your bank account details, stay alert. Mostly, spam messages have lots of grammatical errors; don’t fall for them to stay safe online.

4. Use complicated, robust and strong Passwords

Use complicated, robust and strong Passwords

Passwords are crucial for your safety online. Instead of using a small and secure password, try to create complex passwords.

And for every account, be it social media or professional; keep a different password so that even if one account gets hacked, you’ll have others safe.

It is also essential your banking and payment apps have the most robust passwords.

Your passwords are essential to safeguard you from database breach, corporate hacks, and other security threats.

Choosing multi-factor authentication is also a critical practice that will help you to stay safe online.

For creating a password always use special characters, random lowercase uppercase series, add numbers. Never try to be too obvious, using direct words from the dictionary are known to everyone.

Try reversing the order of passwords. Also, you can consider a long sentence and keep only the first or last character as a combined password.

5. Network Security 

Your Login credentials and other details are safer than before.

But when you are outside your home, there is a chance of getting your details hacked. So it’s better to use VPNs and boost your network security.

Avoid HTTP websites. If you see any HTTP website instead of HTTPS, don’t use it because it can harm your privacy.

Because HTTP isn’t secured and anyone can track what you’re doing on that site, so avoid any URL address starting from HTTP.

6. Stay alert while downloading or posting

Stay alert while downloading or posting

 

When you are about to post or download anything, make sure, you don’t regret it later.

These days several sites can be proved as a virus for your computer. Always stay alert while you are downloading anything.

Also, when you are about to post, make sure you know that you aren’t posting anything private.

Since if you post something online, you won’t be able to delete it forever (for example, Twitter), so keep that in mind and check whatever you are about to post isn’t harming you or others.

That is why, when you are downloading something from the web, you need to be alert to stay safe online.

7. Stay away from online dating and meeting 

Recently, individuals are indulged in dating and meeting their online friends.

There are several apps like Tinder that are for online dating. It’s not bad, but you need to be aware of whom you are making friends. Sometimes people get extorted due to these sites.

Never rely upon someone you aren’t sure about. Always check the “About Me” line when you are looking for someone. Numerous people use fake ids and can trap you. Stay away from those counterfeit ids and always cross-check everything.

8. Keep Your Privacy Settings On

Keep Your Privacy Settings On

 

Hackers all present all over to hack your sensitive content or know all about you.

It can lead to extortion or someone making a fake account as yours.

For instance, Facebook has an option of privacy settings. You can enable it, and all your details are locked.

It can help you in securing your identity and other details. Only those who are your friends on Facebook or any other networking site can see your updates.

It helps you in safeguarding your integrity.

9. Stay alert while purchasing

People nowadays are inclined to online shopping.

But make sure you shop from a secured site instead of buying from any website that is offering you a discount. There are shopping sites like Amazon, Walmart, Alibaba, and others. They are secured and trusted; you can rely on them.

Be aware and stay alert from fraudulent sites that can grab your bank details and money. Also, you will get inferior quality products. So it’s better to use secure sites.

10. Antivirus Program should be Up To Date 

Antivirus Program should be Up To Date

 

Internet security is important because your personal and professional details are available on it.

Anyone can use it. Similarly, keeping the antivirus software on your computer is crucial. It will help you in removing any unwanted data and malware viruses.

We can say that Antivirus Internet Security software creates a protective layer of security.

And this will help to protect the pirate and sensitive information present on your network.

Final Thoughts on How to Stay Safe Online!

Staying Safe while you use several sites when you’re online is essential.

It secures your information and keeps your information private. So never trust anyone whom you don’t know in person or never share any details.

Make sure you have internet security and complex passwords whenever you are using it outside your house. Your safety online is as important as your physical safety. Take care of it.

On the concluding note, we hope that the tips mentioned above to stay safe online will help you in having safe browsing, downloading and online experience.

So, what do you do to stay safe online?

Did we miss any of the tips that you consider essential for staying safe online? Share your experience with us in the comments online.

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David Enyi June 27, 2020 0 Comments

Top Software Development Trends For 2020

Software Development Trends for 2020 You Need to Know

In the year 2020, we can observe that some of the most exciting technologies for software development are becoming commercially practicable, and few are finally going mainstream. It is predicted that new trends such as machine learning, edge computing, and artificial intelligence can go mainstream and reach broader adoption. Besides this, there are trends such as artificial intelligence (AI), IoT, and blockchain, that will have an impact beyond our understanding. The year 2020 will be an essential year for any custom software development company, and software developers will play a valuable role in this. Here in this article, we will be talking about such tremendous software development trends of the year 2020.

1. Blockchain

Blockchain technology is poised to have an even more significant effect on the future of development. The most beneficial thing about blockchain is its decentralized nature. Blockchain can store any record in a public-facing database that is impossible to hack. Software developers are finding new and exciting ways to implement the latest developments in blockchain. Blockchain-based apps are emerging as a popular option for developers looking to create decentralized and secure open-source solutions.

2. Microservice Architecture

In 2020, we can observe that the software industry is moving towards Cloud. This will make Micro services Architecture dominate the tech world.

The main reason behind the rise of Micro service Architecture is that it fits perfectly with Cloud Native and fastens the software development process. Since its existence, Micro services has been gaining grounds in software development.

3. IoT

IoT is emerging at a significant level. From Bluetooth trackers to smart microwaves, internet-connected devices no longer refer to cell phones and computers. As technologies like 5G are coming up, more and more devices can take advantage of better wireless bandwidth. This is because of the always-communicating and always-on IoT devices. They are making it easier for technology to track and monitor the world around us.

For all the IoT software developers in the world, the ability to write code for small energy-efficient devices that are connected with the internet will remain a powerful skill.

4. Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is divided into two main categories, namely, internal and external. When we talk about internal cybersecurity, businesses will be focused on building security measures into their software. DevOps engineer teams of any organization should focus on automating security testing into their software development ecosystem. This can even help guarantee that there will not be any vulnerabilities during the software development process.

However, there is a lack of cybersecurity talent. According to a survey by Info Security magazine, 65% of the questioned organizations have indicated a shortage of cybersecurity employees. Besides this, the questionnaire also acknowledged that this lack of skilled cybersecurity professionals is their number one concern. This shortage has consequences beyond big business.

5. Edge Computing

The market of edge computing is predicted to rise by approximately 28 times between 2018 to 2025. This is because edge computing is being used to upgrade cloud computing, which is itself an embraced and growing technology.

Edge computing even has an advantage for remote areas where connectivity to a centralized location is reduced. Besides this, edge computing can also be used to process data that is time-sensitive. This is where cloud computing cannot be used.

6. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a multi-disciplinary branch of computer science, which intends to make machines perform tasks that only human beings could do earlier. It‘s a vast field, and while parts of it have been commercialized, research & development continue on its other dimensions.

AI includes various capabilities like machine learning (ML), deep learning, vision, natural language processing, speech, etc.

This discipline of computer science “trains” computer systems from “experience”, i.e., a vast amount of data. As we feed it with more relevant data, the computer systems improve upon their capabilities of performing human-like tasks.

Gartner projects that AI augmentation will create $2.9 trillion worth of business value in 2021. The “Artificial Intelligence Market – 2025 | MarketsandMarkets” report estimates that the global market of AI will reach $190.61 billion by 2025, up from $16.06 billion in 2017. This report projects a CAGR of 36.62% during the 2018-2025 period.

Wondering how AI could benefit your business? Well, it has a wide range of use cases, e.g.:

  • Image and video recognition capabilities of AI could help law enforcement and security agencies, as I have explained in “How to build facial recognition software”.
  • Efficient and scalable processing of patient data could help healthcare delivery organizations.
  • Chatbots could help businesses streamline their customer service operations.
  • AI-powered predictive maintenance could improve operational efficiency in the manufacturing industry.
  • AI and ML could help software developers and testers by intelligently automating low-end tasks.

7. Progressive web Apps

We have to add progressive web applications to Gartner’s software technologies. The growth of web-based solutions is a solid trend we could observe during the current year. It’s no reason to think it’s going to change in the coming decade.

On the contrary, in the long term, it’s more probable that web apps will take a significant slice of market cake from mobile apps, and not vice versa. We believe it, even more, when we hear Google reps talking about focusing on expanding the features of the current browsers to let web applications achieve the same UX level as mobile apps.

Moreover, progressive web apps are easier to develop and maintain than native applications. They combine the best features of the web and mobile apps. What’s more, they make use of the vast web ecosystem, plugins, and community.

8. Event-Driven Applications

Gartner predicts that through the 2020s a real-time, event-based approach will be a core required demand for 80% of all digital solutions. It’s crucial for business application development companies to apply “event thinking” to their solution strategy.

Event programming is not a type of technology or programming language. It represents an approach that should be implemented in a product development process. An event-driven application responds to actions generated by the user or the system, for example, mouse clicks or loading a program. From a programming point of view, it’s important to separate event-processing logic from the rest of the coding work.

Technologies like AI or IoT speed up event-driven coding as a useful product development strategy. In general, event-driven apps can improve responsiveness, flexibility and give a better understanding of user experience.

9. Multiexperience 

Improvements in wearables and advanced computer sensors are paving the way for the emergence of multiexperience, fully-immersive technology. Traditional ideas of the computer will expand to include new, varied touchpoints. This, of course, will greatly increase the demand for mobile development as firms rush to compete on better, more immersive apps.

Gartner cites Domino’s Pizza, who rolled out an ordering app that combines autonomous vehicles, smart speaker communications, and tracking sensors. The growing popularity of wearable technology is driving development in this field. Greater connectivity and improved user experience will attract more users.

Currently, multiexperience apps use augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality to deliver ever more immersive experiences. As consumers demand more and more sophisticated applications, businesses will have to keep up and deliver more ambient experiences.

Conclusion

As the technologies are trending, the custom software development industry is also evolving. We can see a constant advancement in major technologies like blockchain, ML, and IoT.

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David Enyi June 27, 2020 0 Comments

Advantages of Having An eCommerce Website

When you read the following list of advantages of e-commerce for businesses and customers, you will get the sense that e-commerce is the holy grail of retail. Below are the advantages of an ecommerce website for your business.

Overcome Geographical Limitations

If you have a physical store, you are limited by the geographical area that you can service. With an e-commerce website, the whole world is your playground. Additionally, the advent of m-commerce, i.e., e-commerce on mobile devices, has dissolved every remaining limitation of geography.

Gain New Customers with Search Engine Visibility

Physical retail is driven by branding and relationships. In addition to these two drivers, online retail is also driven by traffic from search engines. It is not unusual for customers to follow a link in search engine results and land on an e-commerce website that they have never heard of. This additional source of traffic can be the tipping point for some e-commerce businesses.

Lower Costs

One of the most tangible positives of e-commerce is the lowered cost. A part of these lowered costs could be passed on to customers in the form of discounted prices. Here are some of the ways that costs can be reduced with e-commerce:

  • Advertising and marketing: Organic search engine traffic, pay-per-click, and social media traffic are some of the advertising channels that can be cost-effective.
  • Personnel: The automation of checkout, billing, payments, inventory management, and other operational processes lowers the number of employees required to run an e-commerce setup.
  • Real estate: This one is a no-brainer. An e-commerce merchant does not need a prominent physical location.

Locate the Product Quicker

It is no longer about pushing a shopping cart to the correct aisle or scouting for the desired product. On an e-commerce website, customers can click through intuitive navigation or use a search box to narrow down their product search immediately. Some websites remember customer preferences and shopping lists to facilitate repeat purchase.

Eliminate Travel Time and Cost

It is not unusual for customers to travel long distances to reach their preferred physical store. E-commerce allows them to visit the same store virtually, with just a few mouse clicks.

Provide Comparison Shopping

E-commerce facilitates comparison shopping. There are several online services that allow customers to browse multiple e-commerce merchants and find the best prices.

Enable Deals, Bargains, Coupons, and Group Buying

Though there are physical equivalents to deals, bargains, coupons, and group buying, online shopping makes it much more convenient. For instance, if a customer has a deep discount coupon for turkey at one physical store and toilet paper at another, she may find it infeasible to avail of both discounts. But the customer could do that online with a few mouse-clicks.

Provide Abundant Information

There are limitations to the amount of information that can be displayed in a physical store. It is difficult to equip employees to respond to customers who require information across product lines. E-commerce websites can make additional information easily available to customers. Most of this information is provided by vendors and does not cost anything to create or maintain.

Create Targeted Communication

Using the information that a customer provides in the registration form, and by placing cookies on the customer’s computer, an e-commerce merchant can access a lot of information about its customers. It, in turn, can be used to communicate relevant messages. An example: If you are searching for a certain product on Amazon.com, you will automatically be shown listings of other similar products. Also, Amazon.com may email you about related products.

Remain Open All the Time

Store timings are now 24/7/365. E-commerce websites can run all the time. From the merchant’s point of view, this increases the number of orders they receive. From the customer’s point of view, an “always open” store is more convenient.

Create Markets for Niche Products

Buyers and sellers of niche products can find it difficult to locate each other in the physical world. Online, it is only a matter of the customer searching for the product in a search engine. One example could be the purchase of obsolete parts. Instead of trashing older equipment for lack of spares, today we can locate parts online with great ease.

Convinced that your business might benefit from the wonders of e-commerce?

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David Enyi June 27, 2020 0 Comments

10 Reasons Why You Should Have An eCommerce Website

In this new age, with the growing popularity of the Internet and technological advancement, is it much quicker and easier to buy and sell online now than ever. Internet users are no longer limited to sitting at desktop computers in order to do research or send emails.

People are now using their laptops, tablets and even mobile phones to do more things including making purchases and even selling products via the Internet. People can now enjoy shopping and even running their own business from the comfort of their own homes!

As a seller with an eCommerce website, you can tell your customers about your company, showcase your products and take payments online.

With the rapid growth of the online market, here are some of the reasons to get in on the action and start selling on an eCommerce platform:

1 Global Market

Having an eCommerce website designed will give you the opportunity to reach out and offer your products and services to customers around the world, regardless of the distance and time zone.

2 Open All Hours

Customers will enjoy the round-the-clock convenience of being able to purchase what they want and when they want it, and you won’t lose out on sales with an online shop that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, compared to regular store hours.

3 Broaden Your Brand

Diversify your product range and increase sales with intangible goods like eBooks that can be sold on your online store. Customers can also place orders for personalized items which makes it easy to provide all the necessary information to suit their requirements.

4 Higher Conversion Rate

Potential buyers are more likely to make purchases when they can place their order instantly, rather than waiting for a regular store to open.

5 Marketing Through Social Media & Search Engines

With good search engine optimisation, your website will appear in the top results of search engines such as Google. Also social media websites like Facebook and Twitter will provide you with a platform to build trust with your customers through reviews and ratings, as well as keeping them informed with regular posts about your products and offers. Keep your customers engaged with competitions and shareable content to drive even more traffic to your website.

 

6 More Convenient

These days customers are appreciating the convenience of online shopping more and more. Rather than spending hours searching in physical stores, people are now making purchases over the Internet during breaks at work, before the school run and in harsh weather conditions, all the times that would be difficult to make a trip to a shop on the high street. The presence of the market has made it easier for everyone including busy parents with pushchairs and wheel-chair users to shop around and make decisions on purchasing without the hassle of being in an environment that is not fully accessible.

7 Less Overheads

It is without a doubt, much cheaper and easier to sell your products and services on an eCommerce platform as online business owners do not have to take into consideration the high expenses of shop rental, security measures, utility bills and a large team of staff. This in turn will enable to sell your products at competitive prices.

8 Less Risk

An online shop enables you to enjoy increased profitability with less risk as you will most likely need a smaller workforce with the reduced chances of shoplifting, rogue workers and damages to goods that can often happen in a physical shop.

9 Personalisation

You can use your website to connect with your customers by providing a personalised service, such as order tracking, delivery confirmations and product recommendations based on their order history.

10 Influence Purchases

Nowadays potential buyers go to the Internet to shop around and make decisions on what they want to buy and where to buy it from. Having your products showcased on a website will increase the chance of sales as you will be to show customers why your product is right for them.

Setting up your online store now will give you a competitive edge over those who have not yet embraced the world of eCommerce, in an age where customers are constantly looking for the quickest and easiest ways to purchase what they need while at the same time maintaining a busy lifestyle.

We offer modern, user-friendly web solutions so why not contact us for a no obligation quote for an eCommerce website today.

GET AN ECOMMERCE WEBSITE TODAY

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    David Enyi June 27, 2020 0 Comments

    What is Ecommerce?

    Ecommerce, also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions. Ecommerce is often used to refer to the sale of physical products online, but it can also describe any kind of commercial transaction that is facilitated through the internet.

    Whereas e-business refers to all aspects of operating an online business, ecommerce refers specifically to the transaction of goods and services.

    The history of ecommerce begins with the first ever online sale: on the August 11, 1994 a man sold a CD by the band Sting to his friend through his website NetMarket, an American retail platform. This is the first example of a consumer purchasing a product from a business through the World Wide Web—or “ecommerce” as we commonly know it today.

    Since then, ecommerce has evolved to make products easier to discover and purchase through online retailers and marketplaces.  Independent freelancers, small businesses, and large corporations have all benefited from ecommerce, which enables them to sell their goods and services at a scale that was not possible with traditional offline retail.

    Global retail ecommerce sales are projected to reach $27 trillion by 2020.

    Types of Ecommerce Models

    There are four main types of ecommerce models that can describe almost every transaction that takes place between consumers and businesses.

    1. Business to Consumer (B2C):
    When a business sells a good or service to an individual consumer (e.g. You buy a pair of shoes from an online retailer).

    2. Business to Business (B2B):
    When a business sells a good or service to another business (e.g. A business sells software-as-a-service for other businesses to use)

    3. Consumer to Consumer (C2C):
    When a consumer sells a good or service to another consumer (e.g. You sell your old furniture on eBay to another consumer).

    4. Consumer to Business (C2B):
    When a consumer sells their own products or services to a business or organization (e.g. An influencer offers exposure to their online audience in exchange for a fee, or a photographer licenses their photo for a business to use).

    Examples of Ecommerce

    Ecommerce can take on a variety of forms involving different transactional relationships between businesses and consumers, as well as different objects being exchanged as part of these transactions.

    1. Retail:
    The sale of a product by a business directly to a customer without any intermediary.

    2. Wholesale:
    The sale of products in bulk, often to a retailer that then sells them directly to consumers.

    3. Dropshipping:
    The sale of a product, which is manufactured and shipped to the consumer by a third party.

    4. Crowdfunding:
    The collection of money from consumers in advance of a product being available in order to raise the startup capital necessary to bring it to market.

    5. Subscription:
    The automatic recurring purchase of a product or service on a regular basis until the subscriber chooses to cancel.

    6. Physical products:
    Any tangible good that requires inventory to be replenished and orders to be physically shipped to customers as sales are made.

    7. Digital products:
    Downloadable digital goods, templates, and courses, or media that must be purchased for consumption or licensed for use.

    8. Services:
    A skill or set of skills provided in exchange for compensation. The service provider’s time can be purchased for a fee.

    Start an online store for free at Sopdap Store

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    David Enyi June 26, 2020 0 Comments

    What Digital Marketing is all About

    Digital marketing, online marketing, internet advertising…whatever you call it, marketing your company online is a big deal these days. After all, internet usage has more than doubled over the past decade and this shift has massively affected how people purchase products and interact with businesses.

    So, what is digital marketing? Digital marketing is like any other type of marketing—it’s a way to connect with and influence your potential customers. The real difference is, you connect with and influence those customers online.

    What is Digital Marketing?

    Basically, digital marketing refers to any online marketing efforts or assets. Email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing and even blogging are all great examples of digital marketing—they help introduce people to your company and convince them to buy.

    Here are some of the most common digital marketing assets and strategies businesses use to reach people online:

    Digital Marketing Assets

    Almost anything can be a digital marketing asset. It simply needs to be a marketing tool you use online. That being said, many people don’t realize how many digital marketing assets they have at their disposal. Here are just a few examples:

    • Your website
    • Branded assets (logos, icons, acronyms, etc)
    • Video content (video ads, product demos, etc)
    • Images (infographics, product shots, company photos, etc)
    • Written content (blog posts, eBooks, product descriptions, testimonials, etc)
    • Online products or tools (SaaS, calculators, interactive content, etc)
    • Reviews
    • Social media pages

    As you can probably imagine, this list just scratches the surface. Most digital marketing assets will fall into one of these categories, but clever marketers are constantly coming up with new ways to reach customers online, so the list keeps growing!

    Digital Marketing Strategies

    The list of digital marketing strategies is also constantly evolving, but here are some of the strategies most businesses are using:

    Pay-Per-Click Advertising

    Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is actually a broad term that covers any type of digital marketing where you pay for every user who clicks on an ad. For example, Google AdWords is a form of PPC advertising called “paid search advertising” (which we’ll go over in a second). Facebook Ads are another form of PPC advertising called “paid social media advertising” (again, we’ll get into that shortly).

    Paid Search Advertising

    Google, Bing and Yahoo all allow you to run text ads on their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Paid search advertising is one of the best ways to target potential customers who are actively searching for a product or service like yours.

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

    If you don’t want to pay to show up in the SERPs, you can also use search engine optimization (SEO) to try and rank pages or blog posts on your site organically. You don’t have to pay directly for every click, but getting a page to rank usually takes quite a bit of time and effort (for a more in-depth comparison of paid search and SEO.

    Paid Social Media Advertising

    Most social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Snapchat will allow you to run ads on their site. Paid social media advertising is great for building awareness with audiences that might not be aware that your business, product or service exists.

    Social Media Marketing

    Like SEO, social media marketing is the free, organic way to use social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter to market your business. And, just like SEO, organically marketing your business on social media takes a lot more time and effort, but in the long run, it can deliver much cheaper results.

    Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

    Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the art and science of improving your online user experience. Most of the time, businesses use CRO to get more conversions (leads, chats, calls, sales, etc) out of their existing website traffic.

    Content Marketing

    Content marketing is another fairly broad digital marketing term. Content marketing covers any digital marketing effort that uses content assets (blog posts, infographics, eBooks, videos, etc) to build brand awareness or drive clicks, leads or sales.

    Native Advertising

    Ever get to the bottom of an article and see a list of suggested articles? That’s native advertising. Most native advertising falls under content marketing because it uses content to attract clicks (“you’ll never believe what happens next!”). Often, native advertising can be a bit hard to spot, since it is usually mixed in with non-paid content recommendations…but that’s kind of the point.

    Email Marketing

    Email marketing is the oldest form of online marketing and it’s still going strong. Most digital marketers use email marketing to advertise special deals, highlight content (often as part of content marketing) or promote an event.

    Affiliate Marketing

    Affiliate marketing is essentially paying someone else (a person or a business) to promote your products and services on their website.

    As you can see from the list above, there are a lot of different ways to market your business online, which is why many businesses either hire an agency to manage their digital marketing efforts or pay for an in-house marketing team and marketing automation software to cover their marketing needs (for an in-depth comparison of these options, check out this article).

    Does Digital Marketing Work?

    Digital marketing is a great option for any business. At Disruptive, we’ve used digital marketing to help all kinds of businesses grow—from mom-and-pop shops to internationally recognized universities and beyond. That’s the beauty of advertising online. If you know who you want to target, you can use digital marketing to target anyone, anywhere.

    However, that being said, certain types of businesses will benefit more from certain types of digital advertising. As a quick overview, let’s take a look at which strategies tend to work best for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies and business-to-business (B2B) companies:

    B2C Companies

    Generally speaking, B2C companies have much lower price points than their B2B counterparts. After all, it can be a little hard to sell a $150,000 drill bit (believe me, they exist) to a harried mom. But a $10 pair of kids pants? That’s a fairly straightforward sell.

    The good news is, because B2C companies aren’t trying to sell incredibly expensive products or services, they don’t need big sales teams or complicated marketing funnels. All they have to do is get their products or services in front of the right audience with the right messaging and the rest should take care of itself.

    As a result, the primary goal of most B2C companies is to get people into and through their marketing funnel. For example, if you can get that harried mom onto your kids clothing website and offer her an exciting deal, there’s a good chance that she’ll buy today. You don’t need to build a ton of brand awareness or trust before you can close a sale.

    With that in mind, B2C companies often see great results from higher-funnel marketing channels like social media marketing or paid social advertising. These channels do a great job of getting your business in front of potential customers who might not otherwise know that you exist.

    Now, supplementing with other digital marketing strategies like paid search or SEO is always a good idea, but if you have to pick one channel to start with, paid social advertising or social media marketing are great options for B2C.

    B2B Companies

    In contrast, paid search is a great option for B2B companies. Most B2B companies have very specific niche audiences that can be hard to target using social media. However, if you sell $150,000 drill bits and someone searches for “diamond-tipped oil drilling bit manufacturer”, you want to be the first result they see. Yes, you might pay more for your click than you would with paid social advertising, but with a $150,000 price tag, it’s money well spent.

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    In addition, most B2B companies have a much longer and more involved sales cycle than B2C companies. If you’re selling a $150,000 drill bit, most people probably don’t come to your site, give you a call and say “I want one.” As a result, longer-term strategies like content marketing or email marketing are often necessary to close a deal.

    Of course, the right blend of digital marketing tactics will vary from industry-to-industry and business-to-business, but simply comparing B2C to B2B should help give you a sense for how different strategies can be better for certain businesses. Not every strategy is right for every business, but with a little trial and error, you should be able to identify the most profitable approach for your company.

    How Do I Get Started?

    The good news is, getting started with digital marketing is fairly easy. Most online advertising platforms make it easy to sign up and create your first campaign (it is how they make money, after all). Here are a few tips to beginner guides for several different digital marketing strategies:

    • Paid search advertising
    • Search engine optimization (SEO)
    • Paid social media advertising
    • Social media marketing
    • Conversion rate optimization
    • Content marketing
    • Email marketing

    The core of every successful digital marketing campaign, however, isn’t a guide. Regardless of which strategies you choose to use, here are 4 questions you need to answer before you get started with digital marketing:

    1. How Much Do You Need to Make?

    To figure out what you need to spend on digital marketing, you first need to clarify what your goals are. How you approach digital marketing can vary quite a bit depending on whether your ultimate goal is to drive clicks, conversions or leads, sales, revenue or a certain return-on-investment (ROI).

    When you get right down to it, the ultimate goal of any marketing effort should be ROI. After all, if your digital marketing spend isn’t driving profitable revenue for your business, why are you marketing online?

    Clicks and even conversions are great, but your company doesn’t make money from clicks (in fact, you actually spend money on clicks) or conversions. It makes money from sales.

    With that in mind, the first thing you need to determine before you decide what your digital marketing budget should be is to decide how much revenue you want to drive. Once you know that, you can use that information to determine how much ad spend it will take to reach that revenue goal.

    2. Who Are You Marketing To?

    Once you know how much money you want to make from digital marketing, you need to identify who you are marketing to. This is critical, because different buyer personas require different marketing tactics. And, even more importantly, different buyer personas turn into different types of buyers.

    So guess what? If you don’t understand your buyer personas, you can’t create an effective digital marketing strategy!

    If you’ve got a sales team, talking to sales can be one of the fastest ways to get a decent buyer persona together. After all, they’re the ones who talk to your customers the most, right?

    However, even talking to your sales team and doing a little research isn’t enough to really get at the level of detail you need to put together an effective digital marketing plan. To do that, you need to get on the phone and call your actual customers.

    Ask how they found you, why they converted and what convinced them to pay you. This information will give you a ton of insight into your marketing and sales process that you can use to both improve the performance of your advertising and choose your marketing budget.

    3. What are Your Customers Worth?

    Typically, people look at buyer personas as a good way to craft an effective marketing strategy. Buyer personas are great for this, but they are also an important part of putting together an effective digital marketing plan.

    For example, imagine you are advertising for a SaaS business called SaaS-A-Frass that has the following pricing structure:

    AdWords Buyer Personas Example | Disruptive Advertising

    In this situation, you’re probably targeting 3 different buyer personas:

    1. Small business “Steve”
    2. Mid-market business “Mandy”
    3. Enterprise business “Edward”

    Small business “Steve” has much smaller and simpler business needs than Edward or Mandy, so he’ll probably choose the Starter package. Mandy will probably want the Professional package and Edward will likely need the Enterprise package.

    Assuming that Steve, Mandy and Edward stick around for an average of 14 months, 4 years and 9 years, respectively (average lifetimes for a SaaS client) and buy 5, 20 and 100 licenses (again, respectively), here’s the lifetime value for each of these personas ( [licenses/mo] x [# of licenses] x [typical customer lifespan in months] ):

    Lifetime Value

    1. Steve: $1,750
    2. Mandy: $72,000
    3. Edward: $1,590,000

    These numbers look really exciting, but not all of that money is profit.

    A normal SaaS company pays about 22% for fulfillment, 9% to sales and has a 40% overhead, leaving them with about 29% of the lifetime value of each client to play around with. That means to simply break even, SaaS-A-Frass has to spend less than the following to acquire a customer from Facebook:

    Maximum Acquisition Cost

    1. Steve: $507.50
    2. Mandy: $20,880
    3. Edward: $461,100

    If SaaS-A-Frass can keep their acquisition cost below this threshold, they’ll make money. If it costs more than this to acquire each of these customers, they’ll lose money.

    See why buyer personas are so important to budgeting?

    Of course, it’s unlikely that the market is saturated with Edwards, so SaaS-A-Frass will need a mix of these deals to hit their revenue goals. That mix will dictate their Facebook budget.

    So, if SaaS-A-Frass is willing to spend $0.18 on marketing to produce $1.00 in lifetime value (for a 11% total profit margin), SaaS-A-Frass’s can afford to pay the following for each buyer persona:

    Customer Acquisition Cost

    1. Steve: $315
    2. Mandy: $12,960
    3. Edward: $286,200

    If SaaS-A-Frass can’t produce paying customers from a particular buyer persona at a price point below this threshold, they probably shouldn’t be marketing to that buyer persona.

    However, if SaaS-A-Frass’s digital marketing efforts are currently producing buyers from each persona at these CAC (or even a CAC below these thresholds), SaaS-A-Frass can use that information to then calculate their marketing budget.

    4. How Much Do You Need to Spend to Reach Your Goals?

    At this point, things are pretty simple. Just take your CAC, average purchase order value and average number of purchases (if you have a subscription model, you can just use the average lifespan of each buyer persona here) and plug them into this calculator!

     

    The default for this calculator shows the monthly budget and ROI for SaaS-A-Frass, assuming that SaaS-A-Frass wants to produce $2,425,500 in new revenue from digital marketing each month and they’ve determined that to do that, they need their marketing efforts to produce 100 sales a month (90 Steves, 9 Mandys and 1 Edward).

    Per our example, a new Steve pays $125/mo for an average of 14 months, a new Mandy pays $1,500/mo for an average of 48 months and a new Edward pays $15,000/mo for 108 months.

    Plugging all of that into the calculator, SaaS-A-Frass will need to budget $348,300/mo to achieve their new lifetime revenue goals.

    See? I told you this part is easy! To make things even better, you can use this calculator to calculate your overall digital marketing budget or you can pick a specific strategy and use it to figure out whether or not a given strategy makes sense for your business. For example, if you need a CAC of $75, but your average cost-per-click on AdWords is $25, AdWords may not be the right digital marketing channel for you.

    Now, as you might imagine, this approach isn’t a perfect estimate of what it will take to hit your revenue goals. This calculator is only as accurate as the information you can give it. But, it’s a lot better than picking your monthly at random and hoping that digital marketing will produce the results you need.

    How is Digital Marketing Different on Mobile?

    As you can probably imagine, digital marketing on mobile is very different from digital marketing on desktop. These days, these differences are particularly important because smartphones are now the primary device people use to interact with the internet.

    With 60% of internet activity taking place on mobile devices, the shift from desktop to mobile has had a profound effect on digital marketing.

    Last year, Google Ads got rid of the sidebar ads on their results pages to create a consistent experience between mobile and desktop. Facebook Ads still shows sidebar ads on desktop, but only shows in-stream ads on mobile. Shorter blog posts outperform longer blog posts on mobile…and the list of differences goes on and on.

    To be honest, in today’s digital marketing world, it’s a good idea to assume that people will encounter your marketing on mobile and then adapt your strategy for desktop as needed.

    In addition to optimizing your ads for mobile, it’s also important to think about your site and landing page experience. Sure, your website might look beautiful on desktop, but if it’s impossible to navigate on mobile, you’ll end up alienating a significant percentage of your web traffic.

    At a minimum, you should have a mobile-responsive website, but ideally, your mobile experience should be specifically designed to facilitate an effortless mobile experience (not just an adapted version of your desktop experience).

    Whether most advertisers realize it or not, digital marketing is primarily a mobile experience now. The good news is, if you’re relatively new to digital marketing, you don’t have to worry about reinventing the wheel. You can start by coming up with compelling mobile advertisements and then adapt as needed for desktop.

    Conclusion

    Digital marketing is the marketing of the future. In addition to all of the benefits we’ve discussed throughout this article, you can track the results of your digital marketing efforts with incredible accuracy, which means it is easy to see which strategies are producing profitable results and which ones need some work.

    Incidentally, if this article has convinced you that you need digital marketing (or need to up your digital marketing game), but you’d like some help identifying the right approach, let us know here or in the comments! We love helping businesses grow with digital marketing.

    Did I miss something in this article? Have additional questions about digital marketing? Let me know in the comments!

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    David Enyi June 26, 2020 0 Comments

    How to Build Career Paths for Programmers

    I recently interviewed a Business Analyst position with the CIO of a large multi-national software development firm. This man was in charge of the company’s worldwide IT operations, including offshore development projects, for which he was searching for qualified Business Analysts. The interview quickly became a casual conversation about current trends within the IT service sector, how the company was planning to take advantage of those trends, and, most importantly, how I could fit into those plans. It was during his evaluation of my skills that I asked how I fit and whether it was technical or business skills that were most valuable to his projects. The CIO summed up his advice about my career path with one small sentence: “Stay on the business side.”

    Business skills, in this CIO’s view, were most important to his future projects and the industry as a whole. His reasoning was that he could train anyone in the technical skills he needed for a project, but finding those people with the necessary business skills to guide an IT project to success was something that could not easily be obtained. He went on to say that he found it difficult to find people who could communicate on even the most basic of levels. I asked if my background as a developer would help in getting a business analyst job, and he conceded that although it’s not a requirement, it certainly would help matters as long as I could prove that I wasn’t “too technical.”

    His comments are consistent with the trend that all US-based programmers have observed since the late 1990’s: global salary competition amongst programmers, and a growing view in big business of programming as a commodity skill. It’s hard to compete with a developer in Russia or India who can work for a fraction of what I make minus benefits. The CIO managed to reaffirm the subtle, but major, shift from technical skills to business-technical skills in today’s labor market. I gave weight to his viewpoint since the people in his position are the trendsetters of the technology industry. They are the ones who set the directives for a company’s IT needs, and often, the requirements desired for the higher-paying positions.

    I did a little research and found that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts that computer systems analysts are expected to be among the fastest growing occupations through 2012. The Handbook describes a systems analyst as someone who may plan and develop new computer systems or devise ways to apply existing systems’ resources to additional operations. It describes a computer programmer as someone who writes programs according to the specifications determined by systems analysts. (The book does not separately list business analyst as an occupation.)

    According to the Handbook, in the US systems analysts held an astounding 487,000 positions in 2004 (up from 468,000 positions in 2002) compared with 455,000 jobs in 2004 for computer programmers (down from 499,000 in 2002). The Handbook also states that employment for computer programmers is “expected to grow much more slowly than that for other computer specialists.” And recent estimates by the Economic Policy Institute have put the number of jobs being offshored at approximately 330,000 to 500,000 jobs. About 100,000 of those were full-time computer programming jobs.

    The key to maintaining a good employment outlook in IT, it seems, is to move out of programming and up into more business-oriented IT positions such as systems analyst, business analyst, project manager, or systems architect. However, a computer programmer can’t just decide to become a systems analyst or project manager overnight. The journey takes time and requires the right amount of experience and learning to be successful.

    Making the Shift

    So you’ve seen the statistics and watched as the jobs in your market slowly disappear. You want to move more to the “business side,” but you don’t quite know how to do it. As I’ll describe next, making the shift can be done on-the-job by gaining more responsibility, polishing up your problem-solving skills, and using creativity in your work.

    I began my journey into systems analysis and design by accepting more responsibilities throughout the project I was on when things proved too overwhelming for my superiors. I gradually accepted more of the project management and business analysis responsibilities when the opportunity presented itself. For example, I would walk to Suzy in accounting and work out a new enhancement with her one-on-one rather than wait for my manager to do so. Over time, as my manager’s confidence in my abilities grew, these responsibilities became a part of my job. It wasn’t long before I became the Programmer Analyst, and ultimately the Project Manager, as new positions were created to fulfill demand for our work.

    When the need arises, I recommend walking to the end user yourself and working with her one-on-one. Your manager will be relieved when he discovers that you are capable of communicating with his end-users, identifying their issues, and resolving those issues before they are brought up in the weekly manager’s meeting. Even the best IT managers need a subordinate who is visible to the users who they can trust to get the job done. If a manager is slowly factoring himself away from the day-to-day workings of the project, welcome it. The higher visibility that you are obtaining can be translated into higher value—and that can result in a promotion. Over time, your increased interactions with more business-oriented people will make you more sensitive to business concerns.

    A good subordinate has to be open-minded and creative. When solving problems, one has to always believe that there is a way to accomplish something, even if it’s never been done before. Sometimes, just listening to the user will produce an idea. A lot of issues may come down to the business process that the system is attempting to replicate. I have had users actually solve a business problem for me just by listening to what they had to say!

    Whether you’re open-minded and creative or not, you can still work towards more business-oriented positions. After all, business systems analysts and project managers are only a small subset of the many positions opening up each year to address the issues of complexity through simplicity. If you love programming, you don’t have to necessarily give it up.

    Jobs To Pursue

    Senior Technical Positions

    Developers will often find that they may have to work side-by-side with the users to iron out difficult bugs. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to fix these problems when both parties can’t communicate effectively. There was always a time in most of my work situations when the developer had to talk with the users or other developers directly to fix difficult issues. This is the programmer’s chance to show management that he or she is someone who can communicate and utilize analysis methodologies—otherwise known as a “programmer analyst.” A programmer analyst is also usually someone who has some years of technical experience, and a certain depth of technical knowledge.

    Programmers who seek advanced technical skills without too much end-user interaction may find themselves gravitating toward the design & architecture side of the business. Although these types of positions are still relatively technical, they often involve making key decisions to address how the new system will fit into the organization’s overall IT plans. In order to be successful, the architect needs to understand and control the elements associated with the utility, cost, and risk factors of the proposed solution.

    System architects must make very educated decisions about how to decompose and isolate the different components that will be required, how to fit these components into the existing infrastructure, and in what order to implement each component. It can be a disaster to implement an online ordering system that isn’t compatible with the organization’s current accounting packages. The architect must identify these types of issues and present them to non-technical management in words they can understand.

    Business and Systems Analysts

    My job searches have suggested that business and systems analysts with a good programming background and a high-level of “business savvy” are becoming the next hot ticket. More and more organizations are finally hiring business analysts to explore, record, and recommend systems that fit the business—as opposed to the other way around.

    The business analyst must often work with project managers, systems architects, and systems analysts, all of which are growing occupations that can make the difference between success and failure. In some cases the business analyst’s responsibilities are being combined with that of the systems analyst or the project manager under the guise of “business analyst” or “business systems analyst.” A quick search on Dice.com will reveal that many business analyst jobs have hidden deep within their job descriptions requirements to develop technical specifications or to guide and manage projects. My first business analyst job required both project management and systems analyst skills. These positions are sure to become more common as organizations struggle to reduce project failure and development time.

    Project Management

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Handbook, employers prefer project managers who possess advanced technical skills that have been acquired through work experience. The project manager is often responsible for hiring the staff, setting the schedule, and keeping track of the progress through every phase of development. This person is also responsible for assigning the work, dealing with everyday problems affecting that work, and making sure each analyst or programmer is carrying his own weight. The project manager can best carry out this function if he truly understands the work he is managing.

    The project manager must also be a “people person” as well as a “technical person” in order to succeed. This individual must work with technical and non-technical staff at every level of the organization in order to succeed in his goals. Additionally, the project manager has to manage his team effectively to produce the desired product on time.

    Management

    The ultimate assignment for many IT professionals looking to move up the IT food chain is to become the manager. The Occupational Handbook explains that “employment of computer and information systems managers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014.” These job opportunities are best suited for applicants with computer-related work experience and often require an advanced degree, such as an MBA. And of course, strong communication skills are a requirement for any management job in IT.

    Skills To Develop

    Okay, so you’ve heard all about what’s required and where IT is going, but how can you capitalize on this new information?

    My interview with the CIO and my experience in the field have shown me that companies want IT professionals who can understand what their business is and how to apply technology to make it better. Being able to follow directions is important, but being able to take some initiative and make your own judgments without handholding is equally important. The solution is to differentiate yourself from the traditional developer.

    We have already discussed two ways of building up your current skills—acquiring business knowledge and advanced technical knowledge—but two other areas are important as well: communication and leadership.

    Whether that CIO I interviewed with believed that communication skills could be learned or not is irrelevant. Everyone can learn to be a better communicator with practice. The difference is that communication skills take much longer to develop. Communication takes the right mix of experience and training to become effective. I have worked on this since my college days and have had great success in my career as a result.

    I learned to communicate more effectively by dealing with those who couldn’t. Many software users can’t understand the technical side enough to describe any of their requirements in any type of detail regardless of their background. On the other hand, many technical people don’t understand the intricacies of the business processes they are implementing because they can’t openly communicate with the users. Learning to communicate, and having the patience to gain knowledge from the user, is an essential skill that many of my former and current coworkers don’t have.

    To add to your problem solving skills, instead of asking your superior or a more experienced programmer to help with a problem, take it upon yourself to find the answer to that complex problem. Before too long, you can be the one who others consult when there is a problem to fix or a new project to complete. Gaining problem-solving experience not only improves communication, it also improves your chances of moving into analyst and management positions. Eventually, you can do as I did and get your own project to manage.

    The key to moving up the ladder at any company is to let them know what you know. Answer those questions, solve those problems, accept those new projects, and don’t be too shy to share a better solution. It could mean the difference between being “just another programmer” or being the top candidate for a promotion.

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    David Enyi June 26, 2020 0 Comments