Step Up Your Online Marketing Efforts with These 10 Tips

Today’s businesses need an online marketing strategy to succeed. While every business’s strategy may look a bit different, there are some common threads that hold most of those successful strategies together.

Members of the small business community have plenty of tips to share when it comes to successfully marketing businesses online. Check out their top tips below.

Make Your Way with Social Media

Social media isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. You have to determine the strategy that is going to work best for your business, as Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media discusses here. And Strella elaborated on these suggestions in a conversation in BizSugar community here.

Super Charge Your Local Search Results

Even for local businesses, online marketing can make a huge difference. Local search, for example, can help to bring new faces to your store, restaurant or other local business. To make the most of your local search marketing, check out this Inc article by Small Business Trends CEO Anita Campbell.

Think About These Things for Your Website’s Social Sharing Features

Letting customers or followers do some of your online marketing for you can really help out and save you time. But you need to make sharing your content easy for them. So in this article at the Social Media Week, Larry Alton suggests some things you should think about when incorporating social sharing buttons into your website.

Keep Up with Marketing Technology Trends

Thanks to technology, online marketing is constantly changing. That means that you need to keep up with the new trends in order to stay relevant to tech savvy consumers. This article at Docurated by Angela Stringfellow includes some marketing technology trends that are poised to re-shape the world of marketing.

Grow Your Website Traffic

Content creation can be a key part of your online marketing strategy. But you need to build traffic in order for your content to be effective. This post on the official dlvr.it blog by Bill Flitter includes a playbook for growing traffic to your content.

Expect These Things When Joining Social Media

As a small business owner, the idea of joining various social media sites and regularly using them as part of your online marketing plan can seem daunting. But if you know what to expect, the process can be a bit easier. Here on NutsPR, Corina Manea shares some things you should expect when joining social media as a small business owner.

Use These Best Practices for Twitter Polls

Twitter’s polling feature can help you to gain insights and interaction from your followers on the platform. And the microblogging site has now revealed some of the best practices that people should use when running polls, which Matt Southern covers in this Search Engine Journal article. BizSugar members also chime in with their own thoughts here.

Consider Starting Your Own Podcast

Lots of businesses have websites and social media accounts. But starting your own podcast can really help you to stand out in today’s business world. Here, Ileane Smith shares some of the benefits that businesses could realize through starting a podcast.

Create a Content Anchor

When creating content for an online audience, the length and quality of your content can make a big difference in how many people see and interact with it. In this post on Blogger Sidekick, Will Blunt discusses the concept of a content anchor and how it could help your online marketing strategy.

Use Influencer Marketing That Works

Influencer marketing is a relatively new concept to a lot of businesses. But it can really jumpstart your online marketing efforts if used correctly. Here, Ann Smarty discusses how small businesses can use influencer marketing in a way that should work both now and in the future.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to:  sbtips@gmail.com.

Warning! Ransomware Attacks Against Businesses Up 500 Percent In Some States

A new report from Malwarebytes released today shows a dramatic increase in the number of malware attacks U.S. small businesses face.  In fact, 90 percent of small to medium sized businesses reported increased malware detection in Q1 2017 over Q1 2016. A 500 percent increase in ransomware alone was detected in March of this year in ten states.

Ransomware Attacks Are Increasing

All 50 states suffered through a spike in malware detections. In other alarming news, 15 states had their total number of incidents quadruple. Small Business Trends talked with Adam Kujawa,  Director of Malware Intelligence at Malwarebytes and Justin Dolly, EVP, Chief Security Officer and CIO of Malwarebytes. They talked about the latest trends and the types of threats to small businesses highlighted in the report.

Big Problem in the Small Business World

“Ransomware has been a big problem in the SMB world and that has not changed,”  Kujawa says. “We’ve seen a 231 percent increase in incidences between Q1 2016 and Q1 2017.”

Adware is another persistent threat to small business. Kujawa says this is the most prolific malware businesses need to battle at least in part because it constantly changes to evade detection. Arizona had the most striking numbers with a year over year increase of 1774.42 percent. Maine, Alaska and Hawaii followed suit with exponential increases.

Small Businesses Vulnerable

Small businesses are left especially vulnerable. They often don’t have the money to buy the more involved solutions bigger companies and corporations have.  Kujawa says cybercriminals are well aware of this small business Achilles Heel. They often exploit it through creating “spoof” emails that pose as legitimate third party vendors and even banks. These phony emails often contain the malware that gets activated when opened.

“The most prevalent method of distributing malware is through email,” Kujawa says, adding it’s also a common method for small businesses to reach out to third parties.

No Way! Ransomware Attacks Are Increasing Against Businesses Up 500 Percent In Some States

A Layered Approach

Dolly suggests one way for small businesses to combat malware is to understand how to get to the root of the problem. He says having a layered approach to stay ahead of malware variations works. Taking advantage of the latest technology is an important part of the mix.

“For example,” he says, ” a cloud platform should allow small to medium sized businesses to manage all of the end points that could have malware bytes installed.”

High Risk Industries

According to the report, Maine had the the highest rate of malware detection per 100 endpoints. Some of the highest risk industries included retail, tourism and healthcare. These endpoints refer to the laptops, desktops, smartphones and other devices that connect to a network.

The report’s  data was collected from  millions of small to medium sized business computers protected by products from Malwarebytes. There were four types of malware studied — spyware, ransomware, adware and botnets. The study ran from  January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017.

 

Microsoft's AI Mocks Humans by Notching Up Perfect Score in Ms. Pac-Man

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Welcome our new Ms. Pac-Man overlords
  • The AI program scored nearly 1 million points in Ms. Pac-Man
  • Previous recorded high score (by a human) is 266,330

If there was ever a doubt that artificial intelligence could one day overtake humans, then what follows should be sign enough that the day isn’t too far away. Microsoft’s AI has managed to hit the one million mark in cult-classic game Ms. Pac-Man, something humans never managed to achieved in the 35 years of the game’s existence.

Maluuba, a deep learning startup that was acquired by Microsoft earlier this year, created an AI system that learned the ways of the game to reach the coveted score of 1 million points by level 201. So, not only does Microsoft’s AI manage to achieve the highest possible score in both human and AI history, it managed to do so before hitting the all-too well known level 256 glitch. In a video posted by Microsoft Research, you can see the AI reach the game’s maximum point value of 999,990 on Atari 2600, after which the game seems to start over.

Microsoft's AI Mocks Humans by Notching Up Perfect Score in Ms. Pac-Man

It will also interest you to know that the highest recorded score in Ms. Pac-Man – by a human, of course – is 266,330 points, as recorded by HighScore.com. This makes Microsoft’s AI look truly remarkable and gives us a glimpse at how machine learning has evolved over time.

Maluuba was able to set the new Ms. Pac-Man record using machine learning and breaking up the game into small problems with “a separate reinforcement learning agent for each problem,” which the team calls Hybrid Reward Architecture. Here, individual agents are rewarded based on their assigned task. Through this ‘divide and conquer’ method, the top agent gets a feedback from the little agents to understand which is the best route for Ms. Pac-Man to take to avoid being eaten by ghosts, the video explains.

Recently, Google’s AI AlphaGo once again defeated a human, Ki Jie, at the ancient game Chinese game, Go.

Games like Ms. Pac-Man and Go, though quite old, are revered for their complex gameplay, which is why companies in the field of AI test out their machine learning algorithms on them.Maluuba sees an expansive, practical real-world applications though the Hybrid Reward Architecture used in the game, like helping a company predict which potential customers to target, or advancements in natural language processing.

Xiaomi Mi Bluetooth Headset Goes Up for Pre-Orders at Rs. 899

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The headset is already out-of-stock on the website
  • Xiaomi Mi Bluetooth Headset supports Bluetooth 4.1
  • Only Black colour variant is available in India

While Xiaomi’s Redmi 4 India launch is just around the corner, the company has now made its Mi Bluetooth Headset available for pre-orders in the country at Rs. 899. The new headset from Xiaomi weighs just 6.5 grams and has been made available in only Black colour for the country. The headset will be shipped within 5 days of pre-order as per company’s website. Notably, the product seems to have gone out of stock already but might be made available again by the company soon.

Xiaomi’s Mi Bluetooth Headset allows users to accept or end phone calls, reject calls, redial phone numbers, transfer calls, make three-way calls, play or pause music, play next/previous song, and adjust volume. The headset comes with a ceramic antenna, rounded sound cavity, a Bluetooth chip, magnetised moving coil speaker, and a noise-cancelling silicone microphone. “To optimise sound quality for calls and music, we kept the speaker output structure at a narrow 3mm, so that detail in the mid and high frequencies are preserved and noise is significantly reduced,” the Xiaomi says on its website.

Xiaomi Mi Bluetooth Headset Goes Up for Pre-Orders at Rs. 899

The Mi Bluetooth Headset offers noise reduction and supports Bluetooth 4.1, which as per the company’s claims, reduces 4G network interferences and in turn improves device compatibility, stability, and functionality across the board. Xiaomi Mi Bluetooth headset provides 3-4 hours of battery life with regular usage and 100 hours in standby mode, as per the company. Notably, the headset is capable of pairing with two devices simultaneously.

The new Bluetooth headset from Xiaomi comes with silicone earbuds in three different sizes. Let us know in comment section down below if you are interested in buying Xiaomi Mi Bluetooth Headset or have your eyes set on some other headset

 

Used car website Auto Trader's profits up 18 per cent

Operating profit in the 12 months to March 31, 2017 was £203.1million, up 18 per cent on the previous year.

The increase was driven by a 9 per cent increase in revenue, to £311million, and a 6 percentage point rise in operating margins, to 67 per cent.

The group also declared a higher final dividend, bringing the total for the year to 5.2p per share, up from 1.5p last year.

It wasn’t all so rosy, however. The UK’s car market has been buoyant in recent years, but new car registrations are down slightly so far this year.

Auto Trader chief executive Trevor Mather points out that the used car market is likely to remain robust for a while yet, but historically weakness in new car sales still feeds through to the second hand market after a couple of years.

Heightened political uncertainty following a less than decisive election result could also have knock-on effects.

AUTO TRADER
Operating profit was £203.1million, up 18 per cent on the previous year

Nonetheless, Auto Trader retains some enviable characteristics. The way we go about buying our next car has changed in recent years.

Rather than trekking from dealer to dealer to try and find a suitable purchase, we are now much more likely to conduct our research online before going to the dealership specifically to complete the deal.

This makes websites like Auto Trader’s invaluable to sellers, since they provide such an important means of connecting dealers to potential buyers.

Given Auto Trader generates four times the traffic of its nearest competitor, it’s easy to see why maintaining a spot on the site is all but essential to dealers.

AUTO TRADERGETTY

The increase was driven by a 9 per cent increase in revenue

This gives it the power to put through price increases year-on-year.

In the past three years, the group has managed to squeeze 30 per cent more revenue out of a stable bank of customers.

Running a successful website doesn’t require much in the way of capital outlay, and so the group generates plenty of surplus cash.

All in all, Auto Trader’s business model looks strong to us. However, the group is sensitive to wider economic conditions.