5 Ways to Implement Automation and Technology into Your Business

5 Ways to Implement Automation and Technology into Your Business

As entrepreneurs, bloggers and small businesses we are continually tasked with various day-to-day operations that many large organizations  also have to deal with. No matter if you are large or small, such tasks still need to be taken care of. At the end of the day, the client doesn’t care if you have one employee or 5,000, as long as they get the quality work they are looking for.

To help with the management and completion of such projects, automation and software-based services are making this process a whole lot easier. At the same time, it’s also helping businesses better manage their outgoing costs and increase profit margins across the board. In this article, you will discover five different ways to improve productivity, management and simply getting more done.

Using Technology to Streamline Business Processes

We all know the world of retail and location-based businesses are dying. The internet isn’t just to blame for this, it’s also the ability to streamline a business from anywhere and eliminating the need for additional costs of staff, retail locations and holding physical products.

Here are some of the best ways to implement technology and automation into your business to see continue growth and productivity across the board.

eCommerce_Management_Tools

eCommerce Site Solutions

Companies who sell products and/or services online rely heavily on their website for business. When sites are haphazardly thrown together, they do not provide the best consumer experience which can lead to less sales and a ruined reputation. Utilizing resourceful e-commerce solutions such as Magento allows business owners to improve their e-commerce site and provide a quality platform for consumers to use. This article gives information on how you can learn to leverage the Magento platform for an improved consumer experience.

Takeaway: This same concept holds true for retail location-based businesses that are still stuck in their old ways of selling to their local audience. Yes, you can still be loyal to where you were born and raised, but if you aren’t making it easy for your audience to buy on — you are basically putting yourself out of business. Have you ever wondered why sites like GoDaddy or Wix.com can sell their services so cheap? It’s because they’ve automated the process of e-commerce site creation and made it so easy for their customers to get up and running.

Accounting_Automation_Tools

Accounting Software

Most small businesses do not have the funds to hire a full-time accountant. Many owners end up taking on the responsibility themselves to no avail. One of the major problems with taking on the responsibility of financial management is that it can be time-consuming. Managing the company budget, generating reports for taxes, monitoring and issuing payroll, invoicing clients, and even managing debts require a plethora of reports and calculations. Business owners can shave some time off of their day by investing in accounting software. The right software would allow businesses to easily keep track of all their financials and generate reports as needed.

It’s also important to note that there are better business accounting solutions for organizations of all sizes. Whether you have 100 employees or just a single entrepreneur, one of the last things you want to do is mess around with your financials just to save a few dollars on internal accounting costs. Organizations without an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) accounting software in place are leaving themselves vulnerable to their own human nature. This kind of software streamlines the entire procurement process, offers real-time income statements, bank reconciliation insights, and a bunch of other tools so human error never costs your operation money. Additionally, there are professional services automation software that can help identify new opportunities in the pipeline to accurately forecast future revenue.

For individual business owners and entrepreneurs, there are also many self-selve invoicing and accounting software solutions to consider as well.

Takeaway: Billing and cost management doesn’t need to be a paid department of your business anymore. Services like Paychex, Freshbooks and Due.com make it way too easy to setup your accounting and billing online, while also automating the process of sending out payments and managing where your costs are going each month.

 

Project_Management_Tools

Project Management Software

Managing projects requires several key players and tasks. Trying to keep everyone on the same page can often consume a lot of time. Project management software on the other hand makes executing and monitoring processes a lot easier for both the customer and the involved parties. The right project management software allows users to input project information, set projected completion dates, input a budget, and provide access to key players. Cloud-based platforms are even more advance allowing users to access the project plans remotely from anywhere with internet access as well as update information in real time.

Takeaway: Gone are the days of needing to bring all employees into one office room and holding board meetings. They are simply a waste of time and resources. Now through the use of the internet, mobile messaging/video and online services like Skype or GoToMeeting, it’s way too cost effective to keep thinking like an old-world company. Implement project management and networking software into your organization and simply get more done.

Marketing_Automation_Tools

Marketing Software

Marketing is another big aspect of a successful business. Keeping your name in the minds of your target audience is important and also an ongoing responsibility. Again, most small businesses don’t have the budget for marketing teams and therefore use in-house staff skilled in other departments to pitch in. While this may work in the beginning, it is taking key staff away from other responsibilities and also wasting a great deal of time.

Takeaway: No matter what industry you are in or the demographic audience you are going after, marketing automation is key. With over 3 billion users on the internet, there is simply no way to effectively run a business one campaign at a time and manually looking over spreadsheet data. Through the use of self-serve advertising platforms like Facebook Ads and campaign management services like Wishpond.com, it’s never been easier to implement marketing automation into your business.

Brand_Management_Tools

Brand Management Software

Whether’s project management, e-commerce sales or marketing software… every business needs to be aware of when, where and why their name is being mentioned online. This usually falls under the category of reputation management. It’s not so much about maintaining your reputation, but instead having a system in place to know when and where someone is writing about your brand online. Just one complaint from a random customer or even defamation from your competition can result in thousands (or even millions) of lost dollars in sales, customers and brand reputation.

Takeaway: Going to Google.com and searching for your personal or brand name is a great way to see what might rank for your name, however, this is also tedious and not something you can do on a daily basis. Instead, you can rely on tools like Google Alerts to set up a free email alerts system to notify you every time your target keyword or name appears in the search results. For more advanced tracking, you can also refer to reputation management services, which not only have more detailed tracking and management systems in place, but they can also help remove any negative attacks that might currently be ranking for your name as well.

Automation and Technology for Every Business Model

Depending on what your needs are there is plenty of marketing and automation solutions for you to choose from. Social media management software for instance, would allow you to schedule posts, measure marketing performance, and interact with followers.  Content management tools would assist you in generating key content, finding relevant keywords and phrases to use, and even track which platforms are receiving the best feedback from your posts.

When you’re dealing with limited funds, finding the best way to streamline processes can seem impossible. The good news is that there is probably a perfect solution out there for you, and it’s probably more cost-effective than you think. With free and low costing options available to you, finding the resources without breaking the bank is simpler than ever. If you’re considering the possibility of investing in any of the above-mentioned software, be sure to compare products to determine which presents the best overall value for your business. 

Increase Site Revenue with Ayboll Native Advertising

Increase Site Revenue with Ayboll Native Advertising

When it comes time to making money with your web site or blog, you have a lot of options. You can create your own products, sell advertising or even perform a service. Each of these are great, but it’s always been a preference of mine to try and create a source of recurring revenue that was always working for me, no matter if I was actually online or not. For most site owners, they would rather focus on content creation and getting traffic to their sites vs. having to run ad campaigns and continually split test what works best.

Many sites are using advertising methods such as Google Adsense to generate income through their sites, but the problem with this is that Google is a lot more picky on the sites they allow into their network. Sites making money with Google Adsense have also seen a decrease in earnings, as more site visitors are aware of what Google Adsense looks like and are less likely to click on these ads then in previous years.

A great alternative to Google Adsense and other site monetization methods is native advertising. You’ve probably seen this type of advertising across some of the largest sites in the world already, and it works extremely well for both the site owner and the site visitor, simply because it’s engaging content that the visitor is interested in and it pays well for the site owner.

Ayboll is a great example of a network that is currently offering native advertising to their site partners, while helping them earn additional income in the process. Here’s an example of the what advertising served through Ayboll might look like if it was to appear on your site.

Ayboll Sponsored Advertising

Once any of the images or links are clicked, the visitor is then sent over to the article or site of their choice. Should the user take action once visiting any of these links, the site displaying the advertising is then paid a commission. Ayboll is setup differently from other ad networks (like Google Adsense), in that they are promoting CPA/affiliate based offers and split that commission with the site owner.

While some site owners might think it’s better to be paid on a per click basis, it can actually back out to a much higher eCPM when being paid out on a commission or sale basis. Results will vary based on sites, geographic and demographic audience.

In terms of how well this is working for site owners and advertisers? It’s doing pretty well!

Ayboll sent over a screenshot from one of the top earning sites. Notice the RPM of $12+ and 1% CTR, even though the widget is displayed near the bottom of the paid after their main content.

Ayboll Revenue Screenshot

Ayboll_Reach_and_Distribution_Numbers-min

Ayboll currently has over 2,000 premium advertisers on their network, with average eCPM rates of $6 for U.S. Traffic. Site owners also don’t have to worry about seeing blank ads on their site, as Ayboll also has 100% international fill rate and their network is seeing 600+ new publishers joining every day. A win-win for both advertisers and affiliates.

How to Make Money with Ayboll

Creating an account with Ayboll is dead simple and takes only a few minutes to setup.

The first thing you will need to do is visit https://ayboll.com and click on “Sign Up” or “Get Widget”.

Once setup with an account, you can then fill out the “Create a Widget” form, which only asks for your site info and how you want the widget to be displayed on your site.

Ayboll Widget Creation

Below the form you will also see the “Widget Preview” like the one below. This will help you in deciding how many columns and rows you want, to fix the current design of your site.

You can also select the different type of ads you want to appear on your site. (Safe, Moderate, 18+).

Ayboll Widget Preview

The last part of the process is grabbing your widget install code and placing it on your site. With this simple code, Ayboll will serve a wide range of their advertisements on your site, so your audience is always seeing the best performing campaigns and always something new.

Ayboll Widget Code

It’s as simple as that! Once ads are running on your site, the only thing you have to do is login to your account and see how much you’re earning!

Using Ayboll to Generate More Revenue with Your Site

As mentioned at the beginning of the post, there are always going to be new and exciting ways to make money with your site. Ayboll is yet another option for generating additional traffic to your site — no matter what your audience is and where they are located.

The frustration of finding relevant advertisers and ad networks that accept publishers, bloggers and site owners around the world is always going to be an issue — especially when quality of traffic comes into play. With Ayboll, this really isn’t an issue as their advertising platform is based off a CPA basis, and they accept all forms of traffic.

Ayboll would likely perform best on informational and entertainment based sites — especially any content that you might already be having a hard time to make money with.

Create an account, setup your widget and see what type of eCPM earnings you see across your site.

How to Create an Affordable Logo with DesignHill

How to Create an Affordable Logo with DesignHill

When it comes to logo design and the identity of your brand, skimping on the design and quality process is not something you should consider. At the same time, not everyone has hundreds or even thousands of dollars to spend on a professional looking logo for their site. Fortunately there are millions of designers on the internet and one of the best ways to connect with them is through the use of online design contests.

One of the best reasons behind using an online market place or contest format for your logo design, is that you will get a wide range of creative ideas from different designers around the world. In this article we are going to be looking at DesignHill.com, which has become a powerful asset for individuals and brands of all sizes to outsource and create amazing graphic designs.

DesignHill.com – Marketplace for Custom Designs

DesignHill.com is an online marketplace for custom graphic designs. Think 99Designs, but at a much more affordable rate. For many people, 99Designs is one of the top sites on the internet for getting custom graphic design work done, but most of the time you are still looking at a few hundred dollars in out of pocket costs. DesignHill was created not only to cater to the massive freelance designer market, but also for bloggers, site owners and brands that want a high quality logo, but don’t have a huge budget for it.

DesignHill_Logo_Design_Contests

While the main focus of this article highlights how to get a custom and affordable logo design for your site, DesignHill actually offers design services for all of your needs, such as clothing, infographics, business cards, letterhead, CD covers and mobile icons. The concept behind every logo design is to create a contest listing on their marketplace and choose a winner from their many active designers on the site.

As you can see from the figures displayed on the bottom of their site, already $40,000+ has been paid out to designers, with over 10,000 designs being created through the site from over 23,000 different designers around the world.

How to Create a Logo with DesignHill

Once you visit the main DesignHill site, you will see a popup window giving you two different choices, which are to run your own custom design marketplace contest or to create your own logo in their readymade logo store. The contest marketplace is the main attraction on the site, but the readymade solution just went live and delivers high quality logos that are available at a rate of $99. In short, you can look through the collection of readymade logos on their site, and if you find one you like, you can buy it and have the full rights to the logo and use it as your own.

DesignHill_Contests_and_Ready_Made_Logos

When creating your own custom design contest you get to walk through a simple wizard process that asks you a few questions about your potential logo design, color usage, shapes / sizes and anything else that might help designers create the best design for your needs. The more detailed information you can provide, the better results you will see from active designers and their submissions through the site.

DesignHill_Logo_Specs

In the screenshot above you can see a few of the questions and details requested when setting up your design content. From the basics of slogans you might like to use and any specific colors, to more sophisticated questions like what types of logos you currently like and also the ability to rank your preferred logo based on what values your logo should be based on and who your target audience is. If you put in the time and effort to fill out the design request form, you should be more than happy with the results through the site.

After completing the design request form and your payment information, your design contest will then go live. Once live, you will start to see new submissions coming in from various designers on the Designhill marketplace. When you come across a logo design you like, you can choose the winner and DesignHill will send you the final design files.

Active Design Contests on DesignHill

To get a better understanding of how the concept works, you can take a look at some of the active contests running on DesignHill right now. Notice the differences in pricing and entries posted. The more you can pay for a design, the more submissions you will receive.

Open_Design_Contests_on_DesignHill

Once you have a live design contest running, it’s also important for you to provide feedback for the designers and letting them know of any changes or direction they should be taken. You should also leave feedback for the winner of your contest after the design has been received as well.

In addition to viewing the active contests running on DesignHill, you can also look at the individual portfolio of designs from different designers on the site as well.

Design_Gallery_Designhill

No matter what type of design work you may be looking to have done, be sure to look through the full design gallery to get an idea of the work you might expect to receive, while also getting new ideas and concepts for the direction of your own logo creation.

DesignHill Pricing Models

As mentioned earlier, you will see different price points throughout DesignHill on active contest listings. This is how DesignHill has setup pricing on their site, and it’s not about naming your own price for getting work done, but instead selecting what prize level you would like to fall into — thus increasing submissions, quality and expectations in the process.

There are four set pricing packages for each category of design. Logo design work starts at $199, Twitter Design at $149, Website Design at $499 and TShirt Design at $199… with 35+ other design categories available as well.

While there is no guarantee that you will receive a set number of designers and submissions for your contest, DesignHill does provide an accurate estimate on the type of numbers you should expect (as seen in the chart below). All contests must be paid in advanced, but the funds won’t be released to the winner until your contest promotion has ended and you’ve received all of your request design files.

DesignHill_Logo_Design_Prices

Creating a Killer Logo or Design with DesignHill

There are millions of sites and brands on the internet and if you want to stand out from the crowd, one of the best ways to do this is through the use of your own logo design. Since the majority of us aren’t designers, sites like DesignHill make it easy for us to explain exactly what we want, while tapping into a world of designers to get the work done.

When creating a design with DesignHill, not only do you get the extra added benefits of tapping into a wide range of designers and choosing from multiple designs, you also get to save money in the process. Compare design costs of DesignHill with any single agency and you will see the clear difference.

Create a logo design contest with DesignHill.com.