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  • Best Practices for B2B Companies and How to Convey Them on the Web

    Promoting B2B business online

    Marketing a B2B company can sometimes be a challenge. When you’re trying to get another company to buy your products or services, it isn’t quite the same as marketing to a consumer. If you want to make a strong connection online, you need to know the correct way to portray your B2B business.

    There are a few best practices any B2B company should follow when promoting themselves online. Here are seven of the ones you need to know.

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  • Blocking Analytics Referrer Spam

    11/1/2017- A quick update; the service listed below is no longer in operation. But Google has added the option to block bots, go to Admin->View Settings, and check the box that says "Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders":

    google analytics bot filtering checkbox

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    If you use Google Analytics to track traffic on your website, there is a good chance that the amount of traffic you see is exaggerated. The culprit is called referrer spam.

    In Google Analytics reporting, you can see how visitors get to your website by navigating to the Acquisition menu. Expand the All Traffic submenu, and you will see a link to Referrals. This screen will show the source of all traffic to your website.

    Unfortunately for many website owners, the numbers here can be skewed by fake entries that are designed to entice the user to visit a URL. Look at URLs listed in the example below:

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  • How Data Visualization Benefits All Industries

    Even the most skilled analyst has difficulty reading raw data because it's nothing more than a wall of text, numbers or data points. Looking at a long list of addresses and city locations, for example, doesn't really give you a clear understanding of the regions where most of your audience comes from. Sure, you can probably identify several cities or states, but that doesn't offer anything actionable.

    To take collected, raw data and turn it into something useful or practical, you must utilize a process called data visualization. More importantly, data visualization allows you to present data to nearly everyone on a team, even those unfamiliar with the information or content in question. For example, you can make charts and diagrams to explain a particular demographic or data set to executives. With the right tools, you could even just send them the visualized data, and they'll be able to
    understand it.

    Of course, none of this is possible with raw data.

    data visualization

    1. Understand or Identify Value

    One thing that is increasingly common these days, thanks to big data systems, is that the information we are collecting streams in endlessly. While not technically accurate, this notion is correct in the sense that you'll always have something new to process or analyze. The problem with raw data is that it may never reveal or even have inherent value. You may have a long list of telephone numbers or email addresses, for example, that give no clear indication of how or what to use them for.

    Step one regarding data visualization is to discern how valuable the data you have in your hands is. This enables several things, the most obvious of which is the option to put that information to use internally. But it also tells you what data is most valuable, providing you with even more assets to sell or barter with. You could take the data you have, for instance, and sell it on a second or third party marketplace. Even though it may not directly help with your brand and processes, it can still be valuable to someone else — and help you by creating an additional revenue stream.

    Visual content is a must if you want to capture the attention of your audience. But you would be none the wiser if you merely threw up some media on your brand's social profiles and then checked back every so often. You'd only be able to discern what was popular and what wasn't. You'd never be able to apply that information to future campaigns or posts. With data visualization systems in place, however, you can better understand which visual content works, how, why your audience likes it and even pinpoint exactly who likes it.

    2. Near Instant Access to Business Insights

    Whether you are at the top of a company as an executive or c-suite member or you're further down the ladder as a project or department manager, the information you need to make informed, accurate decisions is mostly the same. You need a clear, comprehensive picture of the steps you are going to take so that you can make accurate predictions and use this as a basis for your decisions.

    In layman's terms, you can look at various conditions or scenarios and gauge how they're going to affect your business.

    Data visualization processes allow you to see these connections, to make sense of what and why something is happening. For example, you can see how a particular decision affected your most recent shipments, and what that resulted in on the consumer side of the equation. This allows you to either change or optimize the process, ultimately, to boost that bottom line.

    Simply put, you cannot make a decision or take action — at least not efficiently — without the proper insights. Data visualization is the act of taking all the data you have and making it practical or actionable so that you can extract insights.

    AOL teamed up with a data analyst team at Dapresy to iron out a more actionable way to reach their audience with the data they were collecting. As a result, they were able to meet ballooning business objectives, unlock hidden insights and increase their customers' confidence in them.

    3. Stay Up to Date With Trends

    The general market is continually shifting, and when you have an ever-changing audience, you have to stay on the bleeding edge. It's difficult though, especially when it comes to making accurate predictions about trends, to predict which way they're going to go. If you align your business objectives to match a growing trend, and it does the opposite and disappears, you're going to lose out on a lot of opportunities and waste a lot of resources.

    Data visualization helps you take control of the situation and plan for the worst while optimizing for the best. It offers the insights and statistics to spot trends and opportunities early so that you can take full advantage of them.

    More importantly, with the data compiled and processed, decision makers and managers have the information they need to assess customer behaviors and conditions. This enables them to take appropriate action and direct the rest of the organization as necessary.

    This visualization of "daily routines of famous creative people" allows you to see what all key influencers have in common. You know that saying "great minds think alike," well this visualization proves otherwise. It also offers some other fascinating insights, so take a look when you have the time.

    4. Get More Minds Involved

    A data analyst or a data scientist is a professional that can look at various data sets and understand what it means and figure out what to use it for. That definition is a bit broad, but you get the gist of it. And there are many data analysts across a variety of industries, including marketing, retail, customer service and more.

    Of course, it costs money to employ a data analyst, and it does no good to have them or a related team confined to a single department or area. The data they are viewing and processing, needs to be passed to other key leaders and team members. In fact, a data analyst may not even know how valuable a set of information is if they don't understand other processes, tasks or projects going on at their company.

    Data visualization allows you to take data, which would otherwise be remarkably dull and confusing, and make it readable for everyone and anyone. It can then be passed on to other departments, getting more minds and team members involved. This opens up many new opportunities, especially if those looking over the visualizations can find a unique use for it.

    IBM was able to determine cities with the most commuting woes, simply by reorganizing the data they collected during a 2010 survey. This allowed them to better understand and present the data to everyone, not just an internal group of analysts.

    5. Improve Performance and Sales

    After launching a new product, you will eventually find out how it performs. You'll know if it sold well, how much money it made and maybe even what areas or stores had the most sales of the item. You could use that information to build a decent customer profile for future campaigns.

    However, the insights you collect without looking at the actual data are shallow and basic. You can't make a more informed decision with them. It would be like grasping at straws. It's still considered a gamble in many cases, because you may not fully understand why a product even sold well or performed poorly.
    By collecting loads of data and organizing it to be more viable through data visualization, you can improve the performance and sales of your brand. You can identify the product changes you made that improved or decreased sales as well as what future changes might correct any issues.

    The point is that data visualization enables you to boost your company's performance and sales because you can make sense of the vast amounts of data coming in. You can also discover more actionable insights and turn those insights into strategies.

    Lexie Lu

    Guest Blog Author: Lexie Lu

    Lexie Lu is a freelance UX designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest web design trends and always has a cup in close proximity. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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  • How to Effectively Monitor Your Competitors

    Thorough insight of your industry can aid tremendously in distinguishing your business strongly from others. You and your competition mold industry trends and approaches, so it makes sense to gain insight by thoroughly monitoring your competition.

    Monitoring competition has several benefits. For one, you can use a specific marketing campaign or social media strategy as a case study, without taking the risk that the competitor did by actually implementing it. By seeing what works, along with what doesn't, you can craft an enticing campaign in response.

    Monitoring is a great way to maintain cutting-edge knowledge of your industry. The five methods below are a great place to start for monitoring your competitors:

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  • How To Highlight Your USP On Your Website

    A Unique Selling Proposition, or USP, is a factor the seller presents to the target audience to convey why a product or service is superior to competitors. You can verbally mention a few advantages during a radio or television ad or show images that get your point across in print media.

    So how should you go about calling attention to a USP online within your website? Keep reading to get tips, as well as case studies from brands that excel at this.

    Showcase Industry-Related Knowledge

    Perhaps you sell a product easily obtained almost anywhere, but it’s an item that has varying levels of quality depending on the source. Since the late 1800s, the De Beers diamond company has used the slogan, “A Diamond Is Forever.” It has successfully established itself as a brand able to provide enduring jewelry that matches that phrase.

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  • Marketing Your Website – Different Options for Analytics

    sample google analyticsBusiness analytics technology has opened a host of opportunities and benefits for small and medium sized-business to level the playing field with their larger and well-established rivals. Through the use of analysis tools, such as Google Analytics, businesses can have up-to-date information about customer preferences and use it to fine-tune their marketing strategies to ensure high sales revenue and growth.

    Google Analytics had so far been the first choice of many businesses for taking advantage of analytics, because it is free and very comprehensive. However, there is a premium version called Google Analytics Premium that is out of reach for most small business entities, with an annual cost of $150,000.00. That may make it worthwhile to look for alternatives.

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  • Marketing Your Website- SEO Basics

    Search EnginesIn today’s world of information technology, people largely rely on search engines for getting information and for finding solutions to their various problems. Search Engines provide quick results and also give you multiple answers to your questions. Whenever you enter a question in a search engine, you get a long list of websites that contain information relevant to your query and all this takes merely a few seconds to execute. However, have you ever wondered how this happens and why do some websites rank higher than others? There is a whole process behind this phenomenon.

    Fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization

    Although understanding how search engines function is important and the majority of the people know how they work, this is only half of the information. In order to improve the ranking of your web page, you need to know more about the functioning of search engines. Search Engine Optimization is an umbrella term that entails multiple processes and techniques to make your web page visible to as many users as possible. Some basic steps that can be taken to ensure this are:

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  • Start Up Business - 5 Useful Web Services to Go with Your Business Website

    useful web servicesAre you an online business owner? If so, you must keep track of your website performance using online web services. A lot of website design tools are available online that can assist with analyzing your site.

    However, the problem is that not all of them are useful — or even effective.

    In order to save you time, we have listed some of the most useful web services for a business website.

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  • Start Up Business - Maintaining Social Media Presence

    girl searching social mediaSocial media offers the perfect platform for businesses to connect with their target audiences. A strong social media presence has become a necessity for businesses both large and small.

    The fact that social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and others have millions of active users makes it too powerful of a platform to ignore. A company can leverage the power of social media to create a strong bond with their customers, build a brand image, and see their profits climb exponentially.

    While the importance of maintaining a social media presence cannot be ignored, not all companies have the resources including time and manpower to manage a full-force social media campaign.

    The solution, however, is simple: Outsource!

    Outsourcing social media marketing provides many benefits. Here are five ways businesses can benefit from outsourcing social media management to an experienced firm.

    1. Get the Help of Experts

    When you outsource social media marketing to an experienced agency, you can leverage their experience, expertise, and knowledge in creating a strong social media presence. Companies that offer specialized social media services use tested strategies for creating an online presence. This makes the costs of hiring the experts worth it in the end.

    2. Create a Consistent Brand Message

    You should have a consistent brand message across different social media sites. An expert social media agency will tightly define the brand message and integrate it across multiple platforms. A consistent brand message is important to connect with customers.

    3. Social Media Analytics

    An expert social media agency can perform advanced analytics allowing you to gain more insights about your customers. You will know which products or campaigns get the most positive response from online users. The information gathered through social media analytics can help fine-tune your overall marketing strategy.

    4. Save Time and Effort

    While posting on social media sites may look simple, it's not as easy as it seems.  Managing multiple social media accounts is time-consuming. Creating posts and responding to users requires a lot of effort. There are a lot of things to look at to create the perfect post.

    By outsourcing the activity to an experienced social media company, you will be able to divert the saved time and effort of the in-house team to more important aspects of running a business.

    5. Dedicated Team of Experts

    When hiring a social media agency your business obtains the services of a dedicated and knowledgeable team of experts. The team consists of top-of-the-line social media experts, graphics designers, content marketing strategists, and certified digital marketing specialists. Their combined efforts will do wonders for your social media campaign.

    A social media consultant can take the pain out of managing a presence in the cyber world. The rewards of outsourcing to an experienced social media agency exceed the costs. If you want help in creating a social media presence, you can contact BCS Website Services by dialing 804-421-2400 today and book a consultation.

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