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What Is SMS Marketing and How Does It Work?

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SMS marketing is a way for business owners to advertise their goods and services directly to clients and prospective clients. It is inexpensive and extremely effective. If you are not yet using SMS marketing to promote your business, perhaps you should be. Read on to find out more.

What Is SMS Marketing?

SMS is an abbreviation for “short message service.” SMS messages can be promotional messages, product launches, sales offers, and more. In the 21st century, most people think they can’t do without their mobile phones. Therefore, there are multiple channels through which you can promote your business. SMS marketing is one of them.

Simply put, SMS marketing is text messages that businesses send individuals on their mobile phones.

SMS messaging works because buyers today want easier, faster, and more convenient means of communicating with the merchants they feel loyalty toward.

If you’re looking for a way to get started, tools such as those from Jook SMS provide the most reliable means for sellers to gain direct access to buyers.

Integrating SMS with your other modes of marketing will allow you to:

  • promote your business
  • advertise your products
  • communicate with customers
  • receive feedback

Basically, SMS messaging can help businesses with multiple marketing tasks. What’s more, text messages have an exceptionally high open rate. For example, customers read more than 98% of messages within a few minutes of receiving them.

RELATED ARTICLE: HOW TO MAKE SOCIAL INFLUENCER MARKETING WORK FOR YOU

How Does It Work?

To understand how SMS marketing works, there are two basic terms you need to master: short code and keywords.

Short Code

A short code is a specific, short, and easily memorized number that your SMS service provider associates with your business. It is the number from which you will send your marketing messages.

Short codes are usually five to six digits long. This makes them easy to enter and remember.

In addition to a short code, sellers usually find it helpful to have an automated response system. Also, it can be useful to have a standby customer agent ready to respond to customers’ calls or inquiries.

Keywords

Keywords are special words that are intended to trigger actions from buyers. Ideally, your buyers will have a sense of personal connection with the keywords you use in your SMS marketing campaign.

This because aim of every marketing campaign is to elicit some form of response. For example, you might want to promote more sales or to receive calls from prospective clients with your SMS marketing campaign. Therefore, deploying the right keywords is essential to a successful campaign.

Initially, in order for customers to continue receiving your marketing messages, they need to reply to your short code with your chosen keyword. To find out more, check out top bulk messaging companies you can use for your SMS marketing campaigns.

The Benefits of SMS Marketing

SMS marketing provides a higher open rate than emails. Plus, you will be sending your customers and prospective customers mobile-friendly messages with fast delivery and response times. In return, you’ll enjoy better customer engagement and more customer loyalty.

The post What Is SMS Marketing and How Does It Work? appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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6 Tips for Excelling in an MBA Program

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Whether your aim is to head into management positions in the business sector or launch your own startup, completing an MBA program is a great way to enhance your business knowledge. What’s more, you will gain valuable skills and attributes that will set you up for a promising career.

Once you know you have met the entry requirements, completed your application, and received an acceptance notice, you will be officially enrolled in an MBA program.

But with assignments to complete and tests to take, it’s important that you’re fully prepared for what is ahead of you. To ensure you get the grades you envisaged from the start, here are six tips on how to excel in an MBA program.

Know What to Expect

To increase the chances of success in your MBA program, it’s crucial that you do as much research as possible into your course before getting started.

Knowledge is power. Therefore, once you become aware of the modules that you will be expected to undertake, you can create a road map for the duration of the course. This means you will know how much time it will take to obtain your MBA.

You will need to understand the importance of time management, which can help make sure you:

  • Deliver your assignments on time
  • Provide the best quality of work
  • Are more productive and efficient
  • Make the most of your opportunities for career growth

Create Clear Objectives and Goals for Your MBA Program

Understandably, the first question you should ask yourself is what you want to get out of your MBA degree.

Whether it’s to grow in confidence, launch your own company, or seek higher managerial roles within the organization you currently work for, setting objectives and goals from the start will help keep you motivated and on track with your workload.

Also, having an end goal in sight will help you choose the right concentration and course.

Learn to Prioritize

If your plan is to work part or full time while studying for an MBA, learning how to prioritize is crucial.

With many tasks to focus on simultaneously, you will need to figure out which are the most urgent so they can be addressed quickly. Further, learning how to effectively prioritize will benefit you not only throughout your MBA program but also in day-to-day life, such as managing a busy household.

There are various tips that can help you prioritize your workload better, such as:

  • Creating a list of all your tasks
  • Assessing value
  • Ordering tasks by estimating
    effort
  • Identifying what is urgent
  • Being flexible and adaptable

Build Relationships During Your MBA Program

One of the major benefits that students gain from an MBA program is the opportunity to network.

RELATED ARTICLE: HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR NETWORKING APPROACH

So whether you pick a traditional college or study for your MBA degree online, engaging with fellow students, professors, and industry experts can be a great way to build relationships and expand your network.

Additionally, once you’ve obtained your MBA and are ready to go into the working world, having the right networking skills behind you can increase your chances of securing your dream job.

Knowing how to network helps to:

  • Strengthen business connections
  • Getting fresh perspectives and ideas
  • Having more access to job opportunities
  • Getting support and career advice
  • Building confidence and boosting self-esteem

Make Time to Rest

When studying for an MBA degree, studying and completing coursework will take up a huge amount of your time. If you factor in employment alongside your learning, having the time to relax and unwind can be difficult.

However, as you will be putting your full concentration, time, and money into your MBA program, it’s only natural that you will want to get the best grades possible. Therefore, be sure to allocate time for yourself so you can be in the best frame of mind possible.

There are lots of things you can do to reduce stress levels during your course, such as:

  • Getting more sleep
  • Trying relaxation techniques
  • Avoiding caffeine
  • Keeping a stress diary

In addition to the tips listed above, students can benefit from incorporating regular exercise into their routine. Even taking 30 minutes away from your studies for exercise can help you retain a positive mindset.

Ask for Help

While the main purpose of an MBA degree is to help advance your own career, that’s not to say you have to solely rely on yourself throughout your studies.

RELATED ARTICLE: DO YOU REALLY NEED A MENTOR?

Therefore, whether you are studying in person or have chosen the online route, having the opportunity to engage with classmates and professors when you need help will ensure you stay on the straight and narrow.

Set Yourself up for a Great Career by Completing an MBA Program

Many employers
are looking for candidates who have qualifications like an MBA on their resume.
To stand out from the crowd and increase the chances of you finding your dream
role in business, be sure to use the tips above, and you will excel in your MBA
program.

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What You Should Know Before Moving to Washington DC

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Are you considering relocating your business to the capitol of the United States? Here are some things you should take into consideration before moving to Washington DC.

Many Americans Call Washington DC Home

While many view Washington DC as a politics-driven city—and it is—it is also a place a lot of Americans call home. The city is seeing a steady growth in population every year. As a matter of fact, some experts believe the city’s population will grow 47% by the year 2045.

DC is a great place if you’re looking for career opportunities, want to start a business, or if you want to move up or down from a small town or a bigger city. But before you come, you have to be prepared for some changes. Let’s take a look at some of the things you should know before moving to Washington DC.

RELATED ARTICLE: HOW CAN i SELL MY HOUSE AND MOVE MY HOME BUSINESS?

Washington DC Is More Than Government

Washington is where the federal
government is located, and naturally, there are lots of people here who work
for the government. But this isn’t all DC has to offer as far as opportunities
go.

One large portion of DC’s prospects is in what is referred to as the “knowledge economy.” This is what makes the city so attractive to young professionals with an education. So if you were thinking of moving to the city, but weren’t interested in a career in government or one of the sectors that surround it, then know that the private sector is very robust and looking for new people to fill high-demand positions.

The Housing Market Is Tougher Than It Used to Be

If you’re looking for something in
prime locations around the city, you might have to wait. With the growth in demand,
houses in top neighborhoods are becoming harder to come by.

One of the things you could do, however, is to look at serviced apartments in Washington DC like Blueground, for instance. They have premium furnished properties across the city that can be rented flexibly, starting from a month up to as long as you want before you find somewhere to call home. This will prevent a lot of the troubles of having to work with shady landlords and realtors. This would allow you to take your time, do your research, and find the best place for you.

The Traffic Is No Joke

Many people are surprised when they first experience DC traffic. Traffic in the city can be brutal. Therefore, a lot of people would rather rely on the bus and metro system. You should also factor this in if you were thinking of getting a less expensive pad outside of the city. The daily commute could end taking a toll on you, and that’s something you should be prepared for.

The Taxes Are Different in Washington DC

Another thing that you’ll have to be prepared for is more taxes. There are a lot of taxes in DC, and some might seem strange to you if you’re from a low-tax state or city.

For instance, parking spots are taxed 18%. Then there’s a 10% tax on any alcohol purchased off-premises. The same goes for takeout orders and restaurants. And all hotel rooms have a 14.5% tax on them. So make sure you understand the taxation in DC, and factor that into your budget.

There Are Ton of Free Things to Do

On the other hand, Washington DC
is a great place if you’re a lover of culture but don’t want to spend too much.
The city is full of free world-class museums you can visit. For example, there
are the National Gallery of Art, the Botanic Garden, and the National Air and
Space Museum.

RELATED ARTICLE: ENSENADA: YOUR RELAXING GETAWAY IN BAJA CALIFORNIA

Forget Casual Fridays

While Washington is about more than politics, the government is still a major influence. And one place where you can definitely sense this is when it comes to the dress code.

The dress code in DC is more on the conservative side. Even if they don’t work in government, most people shop at the same spots and end up having pretty much the same style. So, unless it’s for a job for a new startup, we strongly suggest you stay on the conservative end when dressing for interviews or meetings.

Learn to Love Brunch

While everyone likes a good brunch every now and then, brunch is a big deal in Washington. So don’t be surprised if you hear someone talking about this hot new brunch spot, or if you see lines outside a restaurant at 10 in the morning. If you were thinking of trying a new brunch place in the city, we strongly suggest you get a reservation and make sure you’re there early.

Conclusion

Now that you know a little more about Washington DC, you can start planning your move. Whatever you do, make sure that you take your time when choosing your lodging option, and be ready to trade in your car keys for a Metrocard.

The post What You Should Know Before Moving to Washington DC appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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Bigger Better Benefits: It’s What Your Employees Want

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Ensuring your business offers great benefits is important for your employees, both present and potential ones.

Your employees are vital for making your business the best it can be. You want to ensure your team is happy to be working for you, so they can give it their all. What’s more, good work deserves rewards, and you want to create a positive working environment for everyone.

But there are so many options you can choose from. Where do you start?

Give Employees Choices

One option of offering more benefits to your employees is introducing a payment plan. People can pay a small monthly sum and then enjoy the benefits that come with it. This can include health or dental care, a gym membership, or help with childcare.

You could talk to your employees and see what benefits they would be interested in and willing to pay for. Other examples of company benefits include subsided travel or a company car. Talk to your team and see what they need.

RELATED ARTICLE: WELLNESS PROGRAMS CAN MAKE HAPPIER STAFF

Research What Other Businesses Are Doing

Offering great benefits plays a crucial role in recruiting. Employee benefits can really set a company apart when people are looking for jobs. So make sure you research what similar businesses to you are offering.

Then consider what you could offer that’s different. Don’t be afraid to try a new approach for what you can offer an employee alongside their salary.

Personal touches could add that enticing element people are looking for in their future workplace. Some suggestions include happy hour at the office, bring a-pet day, and company outings.

You can have fun with deciding what will make life at work better. Again, it could be worth getting your team involved in this discussion.

Reward Longevity

Another benefit plan to consider is one that rewards length of service. In other words, the longer someone has been working for you, the more benefits they’re entitled to.

This option benefits everyone. You get a loyal team member who you know isn’t going anywhere and can help build the company. They gain more from their job, and their hard work gets rewarded. It is entirely up to you to choose when new benefits are to be introduced.

Fund Benefits in Creative Ways

If you’re not sure you currently have the budget to offer the benefits you want to offer your employees, look into various ways of funding them. For example, Nucleus Commercial Finance offers loans to companies wishing to expand. They can provide the finances needed to help your business grow in the direction you want it to.

It’s important to set yourself clear goals for what you want to gain from the loan. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the Nucleus team. They can help pick a plan that is right for you. But don’t forget to budget in paying the money back.

Keep Your Team Happy with Bigger Better Benefits

Keeping your team happy will be beneficial for you in the future. You reward their hard work and in return they’ll work harder, making for a happy and profitable business. So choose now some benefits you’ll offer to your team.

The post Bigger Better Benefits: It’s What Your Employees Want appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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Digital Marketing News: Coronavirus’ Impact on Marketing Budgets & Social Media Usage, LinkedIn’s New Conversation Ads, & Instagram Story Changes

2020 March 27 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 March 27 MarketingCharts Chart

LinkedIn rolls out Conversation Ads, aimed at improving personalization in messaging
LinkedIn has begun launching its new Conversation Ads, with real-time engagement ad options that include multiple calls-to-action. Conversation Ads are rolling out to all LinkedIn (client) advertisers over the next several weeks, the firm recently announced. Marketing Land

Social Media Consumption Grows Amid Coronavirus
Social media usage has sharply increased in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain Instagram #ad campaign post likes have seen an increase of up to 76 percent during the past two weeks, as the majority of workers have shifted to temporary remote work. AList

CX in B2B Marketing: Top-of-Mind Strategy in 2020
54 percent of B2B marketers say their organizations are focusing most on customer experience and loyalty in their marketing efforts, according to newly-released report data examining global B2B customer experience priorities. MarketingProfs

Coronavirus: Emarketer lowers global ad spend projections for 2020
Worldwide ad spending will decrease due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a previously expected $712 billion total being revised to $691 billion for 2020, a 3 percent decrease, according to newly-released forecast data, with many expecting even sharper forthcoming ad spend decreases. Marketing Land

B2B Senior Marketer Survey: The Most Effective Approaches for 2020 [Infographic]
LinkedIn (client) is tops among senior B2B marketers for nurturing leads, with some 84 percent saying the Microsoft-owned platform is the most effective social media channel, followed by Facebook at 43 percent and YouTube at 25 percent, according to recently-released survey data of interest to B2B marketers. MarketingProfs

Facebook Warns of Ad Approval Delays Amid Staff Changes Due to COVID-19 Impacts
Facebook was among the first social media platform to announce that the COVID-19 pandemic would affect how it reviews and approves certain content including ads, with a full slate of Facebook monetized content options being impacted. Social Media Today

2020 March 27 Statistics Image

Sales And Marketing Are Misaligned As Email Lags In B2B Nurture Mix: Study
While some 64 percent of marketing teams said that their organizations use account based marketing (ABM) for at least half of their marketing, 90 percent consider it challenging to successfully use it across multiple channels including sales — two of several findings of interest to digital marketers in recently-released survey data. MediaPost

Instagram’s Testing the Capability to Add Hashtags and Location to Stories Highlights
Marketers may soon be able to add location information and up to four hashtags to the Highlights option of Instagram Stories, which stay active beyond the usual 24-hour active period, according to recent test observations — changes that could eventually bring an array of new targeting options to digital marketers’ toolkits. Social Media Today

Amazon could win big in the post-coronavirus retail economy
Marketers may swivel more ad dollars to Amazon, which has seen sizable demand increases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The firm announced that it was hiring more than 100,000 new workers, and a jump in ad revenue also appeared likely as some marketers have shifted more spend to the e-commerce giant. Marketing Land

Data Hub: Coronavirus and Marketing
28 percent of industrial marketers plan to shift marketing budgets from trade shows cancelled due to COVID-19 to digital advertising instead, while 14 percent will allot that spending to content marketing — one of several statistics of interest to digital marketers contained in newly-released report data from MarketingCharts. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 March 27 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at how not to communicate right now by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Diabolical Mailing List Admin Twirling Mustache and Cackling at Dead “Unsubscribe” Link — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • SAP, Dell Technologies — 3 Tips For B2B Marketers When Your Big Trade Show Is Cancelled Due To Coronavirus — Forbes
  • SAP — Event industry and COVID-19: An insider’s point of view — The Future of Commerce
  • Lee Odden — Marketing During a Pandemic – Resources for Small Businesses in the Coronavirus Crisis [Roundup] — Simple Machines

Do you have your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to join us, and please return again next Friday for a new selection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post Digital Marketing News: Coronavirus’ Impact on Marketing Budgets & Social Media Usage, LinkedIn’s New Conversation Ads, & Instagram Story Changes appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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How to Improve Your Networking Approach

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Millions of people use networking as a way to land sales, find a new job, or just improve their access to resources. It can be a great strategy, enabling you to meet new people and maintain connections with those people. Eventually, you will find exactly the right folks you need to get closer to achieving your goals. But without the right tactics to master that strategy, networking can become ineffective.

How Networking Can Suffer

There are three main ways your networking strategy could fail:

You’re Spending Too Much Time

First, you could be spending too much time networking. If it takes you 20 hours a week to network and you only meet a handful of people, you’ll likely be missing out on other opportunities or sacrificing more important responsibilities. This is usually due to inefficient practices.

You’re Not Meeting Enough People

This is a factor of networking quantity. If you aren’t meeting enough new people, your network isn’t going to grow. Depending on the circumstances, you could be running into the same people over and over again, or you could be choosing venues that are too small.

You’re Not Meeting the Right People

This is a factor of networking quality. You’ll want to find people within your realm of expertise, or people adjacent to your industry. You might meet lots of people, but if they add no value or potential to your career, they may not amount to much.

RELATED ARTICLE: 5 PROBLEMS WITH SCHEDULING MEETINGS (AND HOW TO FIX THEM)

These are some of the ways to beat the odds.

Automate What You Can

Networking requires a lot of manual effort, some of which can’t be skipped. For example, you’ll never be able to automate a face-to-face meeting if you’re trying to make a good in-person impression.

However, there are tasks related to networking that you can automate to save time. For example, you can use a business card scanner to automatically collect information from your new contacts after each engagement. You could also use automatic reminders and notifications to stay organized along the way.

Set Goals for Meeting New People

At an event, it’s easy to get caught up in conversation with the people you already know, or a single person you just met. Before you know it, you’ve spent an hour without any real effect on your network.

To overcome this pattern, consider setting a goal for each evening. How many new people are you going to try and talk to? How many personal contacts are you going to try to add to your network? You don’t have to hit this goal every single time. However, it can be something to strive for.

Research and Optimize for Specific Targets

Which types of people are going to be most valuable for your networking strategy? If you don’t know, that’s part of the problem.

Therefore, you’ll want to do some market research, just like you would in a marketing strategy. Then, figure out exactly what types of people would be most beneficial to you.

For example, are you looking for people in a specific industry? People within a certain age group? People with a specific job title, like production manager? Once you figure this out, spend some time deciding which networking events and places these people attend most frequently.

Use Multiple Channels for Your Networking

Too many networkers, both amateurs and professionals, get hung up using a single channel, or only a collection of channels they’re familiar with. They might only spend time looking for new contacts on social media, while never venturing out in person. Or they might only go to the networking events they already know, never trying social media or new venues.

Even if you have a firm demographic in mind, it’s important for you to mix things up and try meeting new people in new places as often as possible.

Tap Your Existing Network

Finally, work on tapping your existing network as well as you can. If your first-degree contact can’t help you, they might have someone in their extended network who can.

But don’t just meet people for the sake of meeting them. Meet them for the sake of gaining access to all the people they’ve met. This is especially important if you’re meeting people at networking events, where most of the attendees will be similarly motivated networkers with hundreds or even thousands of contacts.

Don’t be afraid to ask people if they know anyone meeting your key criteria. This is one of the best ways to find who you’re looking for.

One Last Thing

Above all, you can improve your networking approach with practice. Think critically about your performance at each event, and analyze the factors that made it successful or unsuccessful. Learn from your mistakes, pay attention to the things you can change, and tweak your approach iteratively until you’re more satisfied with the results.

For more ideas and inspiration for getting your business up and running, be sure to check out our blog frequently.

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How a Direct Consolidation Loan Can Help You

Most people want to avoid the hassles of dealing with numerous credit card companies. If you maintain many credit cards from multiple companies, then it may be time to consider getting a direct consolidation loan. This is especially the case if you have used your credit card debt to establish and run your business.

RELATED ARTICLE: SMALL BUSINESS LOANS: GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR FUNDS

This type of loan works for you by consolidating all of your debts into one low-interest loan. You will be able to eliminate your credit card debt and get rid of credit card interest fees. Ultimately, a direct consolidation loan eases the burden of always carrying multiple loans.

After you have finalized the terms of the new loan, your debt consolidation company can begin negotiations with your creditors. You will be able to get a lower interest rate, lower monthly payments, and possibly a reduced total amount due. You can then pay off your debt with a single monthly payment to the consolidation company. Then, they distribute payments to your creditors.

How Consolidation Works

The debt consolidation company will then be responsible for managing the debt payments that are due to the creditors. In most cases, they will use a loan servicing company to do this for them. They will also consolidate your debts into one direct consolidation loan. You are then required to make just one monthly payment to the loan servicing company.

Direct Consolidation Loan

A direct consolidation loan works great for people who are carrying multiple loans and have difficulty paying off each one. In some cases, you may even be eligible for a reduced interest rate for every loan. However, not all of your loans will qualify for this benefit. It is a good idea to check your total debts to see what is eligible.

The benefits of a direct consolidation loan can be attractive to many consumers. You should carefully consider the terms and conditions of your chosen company before you agree to the terms. Many companies have hidden charges and fees that you will not be aware of.

Potential Drawbacks of Direct Consolidation Loans

Be sure to review the terms and conditions carefully and be sure to compare them to those of other companies. If you are unable to repay the amount you owe on the consolidation loan, then you could lose your home or worse. The terms of the loan should clearly spell out this possibility.

RELATED CONTENT: SMALL BUSINESS LOANS: GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR FUNDS

When considering the benefits of a direct consolidation loan, know how much debt you have. In the United States, approximately ninety percent of consumer debt is due to credit cards. In many cases, these cards have been handed out for free. Then, companies require consumers to pay an annual fee or high interest rates to get a replacement card.

Escape High Interest Rates

High interest rates and fees balloon over time. They can cost tens of thousands of dollars to each year. These card balances accumulate at a rapid pace and can eat up much of your available cash flow. If you are unable to pay off your debt, you can even lose your home.

To prevent this, you should consider getting a direct consolidation loan that can help you get out of debt quickly. The more you pay back on your debt, the more likely you are to be able to pay it off in full. By consolidating your debt, you can also ensure that you are able to obtain a reasonable interest rate.

However, in order to find a lender that will offer you a low interest rate, you should first contact a good search engine and run a search for “low interest debt consolidation loans.” You should then look through the results and compare the loan offers to find the lowest rates that meet your needs. You can also run a comparison of various lenders to find the lowest rates.

Direct Consolidation Loan Summary

By working with a debt consolidation loan, you can avoid the embarrassment of being defaulted on your debt and lose your home. Rather than allowing these events to become part of your life, you can use a debt consolidation loan to ensure that you can avoid bankruptcy. As long as you make your payments on time, you will avoid the loss of your home, as well as a possible court judgment against you.

You will also not have to deal with the hassle of dealing with multiple creditors and debt management companies. With a direct consolidation loan, you are only required to make one monthly payment to the loan servicer, which will distribute it to your creditors in a lump sum payment.

The post How a Direct Consolidation Loan Can Help You appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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Business VoIP Phone Service: 5 Things to Take Care Of

Expanding business operations, rising connectivity concerns, and spurting expenses are a few aspects that have made your traditional phone service incompatible for today’s time. That is the reason why you have decided to integrate the virtual phone system, or business VOIP. Using Internet protocol technology to channelize and route calls, both within and outside the organization, is definitely reliable and appropriate for digitally driven organizations.

However, there are certain organizations that have had bad experiences with the technology. Their notion toward the adoption of business VoIP phone service has only worsened. But that was years ago. The good news is that time has taken its course. The technology has evolved. Today, these services are more sophisticated. Moreover, they are rich in quality and effective in providing limitless communication.

If you still are not sure about how you can benefit from it, here are five key considerations for successful business VoIP phone service.

RELATED ARTICLE: STEPS TO STARTING A CALL CENTER

1. Business VOIP Lets You Have a Backup

We always plan to play safe. Traveling to different places, we keep a power bank handy. Or we install a generator to make sure we never run out of power.

Similarly, we advise you to install a second Internet connection. Then, if things go wrong or the network goes offline, your alternative network takes over. This ensures that your data or voice services run without obstruction.

Pro Tip: When buying a second line, make sure you opt for a different service provider. Then, since you'll have two different connections from different companies, you can be sure that even if one fails, the other would be running easily.

2. Find a Reliable Provider

As a general standard, VoIP services make use of SIP, or “session-initiated protocol,” to place calls. It is this SIP that routes calls between the communicating parties. Also, SIP is the reason business VoIP phone services are cheap and affordable.

However, you need to be cautious when selecting a SIP service provider. Often, companies label themselves as the best. However, when you dig deeper, you find that they follow a least-cost routing (LCR) policy.

Though this might be beneficial considering it doesn’t cost you much, you might unknowingly compromise the quality of the connection. Definitely, you would not want to integrate a service that fails to offer a quality connection. Therefore, a reliable service provider is a must.

3. Embed a QoS System

QoS, or quality of service, is something that assures you of on-time delivery of data packets. And what are these packets?

In case you have a faint idea of how data travels, you might have heard the term data packet. That is, when data travels from one end to another, each piece of information collects into different packets. Then, they transfer from the source to the destination.

Now, when these packets are in transit, they follow the first-come-first-serve path to reach the users. However, not all packets are of equal priority. What QoS does for a business VOIP is restrict the pass of low-priority packets. This ensures only the top ones reach users first. Imagine if your network doesn’t have a QoS. Each packet would have to fight for its delivery. This affects call quality.

business voip

A poor-quality connection is bad for your business. What’s more, you could even lose potential clients along the way. So consider installing a dedicated Internet connection for your virtual phone number.

4. Assess the Quality Score of Business VOIP

As mentioned above, the quality of calls by the VoIP phone service is of utmost importance. If the quality is poor or there are interruptions, this is a problem for you and your business.

However, the question here is how to measure call quality. You cannot always dial a number to test it. A better way is to use the MOS, or mean opinion score. This is a standard tool used by most of the companies. Running this over the network, you can determine the call quality for that particular network.

Quality is marked on a scale of one to five. A score of one is the least acceptable. On the other hand, an MOS score of five suggests the quality is as effective as face-to-face conversation.

5. Be Sure to Have a Secured Connection

An unsecured Internet connection is inviting hackers to steal your organization’s data. It is important that you business VoIP phone service is installed with IT security and is totally protected against cyber hacks.

The Final Word

Finding the best VoIP phone service might seem like a daunting task. However, knowing what you are looking for makes things easier. The above considerations will help you select an efficient and scalable business VoIP phone service. With the right tool, you can strive toward problem-free communication within and outside your organization.

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Top 5 Financial Companies Doing It Right

Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash

Banks and financial companies face high expectations. Whether for their businesses or their individual needs, people need to know their funds are safe. But they also want the best deals and most convenient options on the market.

Some financial
companies have dropped the ball in recent years. For example, Wells Fargo is
still dealing with the fallout from its fake accounts scandal, agreeing in
February to pay a $3 billion fee to settle a civil lawsuit. Not
many companies have engineered disasters on that scale, but consumers remain
cautious about which businesses they trust with their money.

If you’re looking for a financial company with helpful features, great service, and a ton of personalization options, check out these five financial institutions that are doing things the right way:

RELATED ARTICLE: 3 STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING YOUR BUSINESS FINANCES

Discover

Discover is a
financial company that offers a bit of everything. Personal banking accounts,
credit cards, student loans—everything you’d expect from a traditional bank.
Where some financial companies offer Stone Age service and treat customers like
cattle, though, Discover takes the high road.

For instance, not one credit card in Discover’s lineup charges a membership fee. Additionally, for students and people with limited credit histories, Discover offers introductory cards that beat industry standards, such as providing cash back instead of just access to a small line of credit.

Additionally, the Discover Match program provides customers with a cash bonus equal to the amount of cash back they earn in their first year. Therefore, regular spenders can expect a major chunk of change around the same time other banks would charge an annual fee.

Chime

As a no-frills digital banking app with great service and support, Chime is a financial company that fulfills all the basic banking needs while providing a few helpful extras. For example, members of Chime can get their paychecks early with direct deposit features. They also enjoy fee-free overdraft protection and can send money instantly to friends through the app.

Chime also offers checking accounts with free debit cards and automatic savings features to round up every purchase. This helps users grow their savings a little at a time. A few cents here and there can add up to substantial savings over weeks and months, especially in a high-yield savings account. With no hidden fees and helpful features like these, Chime makes a great financial partner for anyone looking for a boost.

Ally

One of the biggest stars on the digital banking stage, Ally provides everything banking customers need to spend, invest, save, and plan for the future. Recently, Ally debuted savings buckets. These allow users to split their savings into categories to save for multiple things at once. For instance, you can save up for a down payment on a new car, grow your vacation savings, and build your emergency fund, all in the same account.

Ally also offers conveniences to help traditional banking customers make the switch to digital. Reimbursed ATM fees allow Ally customers to pull out cash whenever and wherever, and constant customer service makes it feel like Ally is a financial company that is right down the street, even with no physical branches.

SoFi

SoFi made its mark by taking on the massive student loan debt crisis. However, this financial startup offers much more than refinancing services. For instance, users can open cash accounts, invest, and track their spending to identify bad habits and realign for faster debt repayment.

While traditional banks typically treat customers as sources of income, SoFi addresses its customers as members and gives perks to match. Members get access to free financial advice from SoFi advisors. They also receive invitations to members-only events. Anyone who refers a friend or family member can get even more perks through SoFi’s referral program. From home loans to home improvement budgeting and everywhere in between, SoFi works diligently to help its members get the most from their financial lives.

Chase

While the other financial institutions on this list got their start in recent years, Chase has earned its spot atop the traditional banking ranks. Chase offers big bonuses for customers who open personal and small business checking and savings accounts. And Chase’s credit card offerings are the best in the business. The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers travel perks and luxury to those looking for a nicer card. Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Preferred carries a more reasonable fee for everyday spenders.

Speaking of
customer service, Sapphire Preferred and Reserve members get access to a
special customer service line with no phone trees and virtually no wait times.
Call in, input your information, and talk to a human whenever you need. That
high level of support, combined with a variety of great financial products,
makes Chase a top choice for anyone not ready to go all-digital just yet.

Consider These Financial Institutions for Your Next Investment

Some financial
institutions may nickel and dime customers for low-level service, but these top
five do business the right way with friendly support and helpful products.
Whether you’re looking to change banks or you’re just in the market for a new
credit card, consider these top contenders for your next investment.

The post Top 5 Financial Companies Doing It Right appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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Hiring SEO Outsourcing Companies: 11 Crucial Benefits

If you want your business to be a success, then you need to get it as high up the search engine rankings as you can. That’s where SEO comes in. The trouble is, with search engines constantly updating their algorithms, keeping on top of your SEO game is a constant battle. This reality makes hiring SEO outsourcing companies a no-brainer. As the saying goes . . .

Where’s the best place to hide a dead body? The second page of Google results!

The fact is that this joke exists because it’s basically true. Results on the first page of Google get 91.5% of all traffic. That means that out of every hundred people making a search, less than nine of them will take a look on page two.

Some companies hire in-house SEO managers, whereas others prefer to leave the work to  SEO outsourcing companies. Which is the better option?

Read on as we take a look at 11 reasons why outsourcing your SEO is definitely the way to go.

1. SEO Outsourcing Companies Have Expertise

If you hire an in-house SEO manager, they might have ten years of experience. That’s not bad at all.

Now consider an SEO company. They will have a number of employees, each with years of experience in the field. Add all that up, and you’ve got decades of experience at your fingertips.

It means that an SEO company has a much wider range of experience than any individual SEO manager could ever have, and that experience could prove invaluable to you.

2. SEO Doesn’t Sit Still, and Neither Does an SEO Company

Every time search engine algorithms change, so does the effectiveness of your SEO. What once got you to the top of the search results might now not even be good enough to get you a place in the top five.

The important thing is how quickly, and how well, you can react to these changes. That’s why hiring SEO outsourcing companies makes sense; the company you’re using has been through many of these algorithm changes before and knows how to deal with them. They’ve got the experience needed to get your rankings back to where they should be before too much damage is done.

If you don’t want to see your rankings disappear for long periods of time, then outsourcing your SEO is the smart move.

3. SEO Software Doesn’t Come Cheap

To do SEO well, you need to research keywords, run audits on your site, measure effectiveness, and much, much more.

The good news is that there are plenty of websites and apps that can help you with all of these things. The bad news is that they all cost money. A significant amount of money.

If you hire SEO outsourcing companies, you don’t have to carry the cost of purchasing software or subscriptions. All of that will be taken care of for you. When you stop to add up how much you could be spending, this could be a significant saving.

4. No Recruitment Worries

Having an in-house SEO manager means that you have to hire one. 

While the initial hiring process may not be too onerous, when your SEO manager decides it’s time to move on, things can get tricky. Not only do you need to hire a new SEO manager, but that manager also has to get up to speed with what your previous manager was doing. This isn’t always that easy.

If things don’t go according to the plan, you’ve then got to let someone go, and start the whole process all over again. Each time a new person comes on board, it’s going to have an impact on the quality of your SEO for some time.

With an SEO company, you have no hiring and firing concerns at all. If you choose the right company that gives you the results you want, you can stay with them indefinitely.

5. Consistent Quality with an SEO Company

As mentioned above, if you have an in-house SEO manager, they’re unlikely to stay at your company forever.

That means that the quality of your SEO is inevitably going to vary. Even if they do stay for years, what happens when they go on vacation, and someone else is manning the ship? What happens if they fall ill?

When you’re relying on one person or a small team, the quality of your SEO efforts is inevitably going to fluctuate.

When hiring SEO outsourcing companies, you know that your SEO will be of a high quality week in and week out.

6. Your Competition Is Probably Working with an SEO Company

While it’s not always advisable to copy what your competitors are doing, in this case, if you don’t you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Hiring SEO Outsourcing Companies

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay 

The fact is that an SEO manager is unlikely to be able to match the effectiveness of an SEO company with multiple employees, all putting their expertise to work. If your competitors are consistently coming out ahead of you in search engine results, then it’s going to harm your bottom line.

If you want to compete, you’ve got to at least match what they are doing.

7. You Get Quality Content

A huge part of SEO is creating high-quality content for your website. If you get a reputation as an authority in your field, then your rankings will rise accordingly.

Creating this content is a time-consuming job and requires a specific set of skills. An SEO company will have a small army of content creators who have experience in writing SEO optimized content for your site. It’s highly unlikely that an in-house team will be able to match either the quality or the level of output that an SEO company can offer.

8. No Salary or Overheads

Some people are put off the idea of outsourcing their SEO because they think it will cost too much.

You need to take into account the money you will save, however. We’ve already discussed the savings you make from not having to purchase any software or subscriptions. The same applies to other overheads too, such as office space for your SEO manager, their equipment, and more. Most significantly, you no longer have their salary to pay.

Finally, you need to consider how much more money you could make if your ranking improves.

9. Link Building Takes a Lot of Time

SEO is a time-consuming process. We’ve already looked at the time commitment involved with creating high-quality content. 

Link building is another area that can take a serious amount of time to do successfully. A good SEO company will be able to build high-quality links in a fraction of the time that an in-house SEO manager could do it.

RELATED CONTENT: WHY LOCAL SEO IS IMPORTANT FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS

Link building is one of the biggest reasons that businesses choose to outsource their SEO.

10. An Outside Perspective

It’s all too easy to become so involved with the running of your business that it’s hard to see the wood for the trees.

When you bring an SEO company on board, they will need to get to know your business. That will involve them asking a lot of questions, some of which you may never have considered. This fresh perspective allows them to spot places that you can make significant gains in your SEO that you might never notice yourself.

11. Scalability

The whole point of SEO is to help your company grow.

The trouble is, if you’re successful, you may outgrow your own in-house department. If you need to launch a new website or create a copy for a new range of products, your current SEO team may not be able to cope as you scale your business. You could bring more people on board, but it’s going to take time for them to get up to speed.

With an SEO company, you have no such problems. You know that they have the bandwidth to take on the extra work as and when you need it. Hopefully, it will be a perfect feedback loop; as you grow, you’ll require more from your SEO company, which in turn will help you grow even more.

If you want to see your business grow to its full potential, then outsourcing your SEO is the most likely way to get you there.

Are You Hiring SEO Outsourcing?

Hopefully, this article will have convinced you of the many benefits of using SEO outsourcing companies.

If you’re looking for someone to take care of your SEO needs, then we’re here to help. We’re an SEO agency specializing in international SEO projects. We have more than two decades of experience helping internationally operating companies to improve the visibility and search engine ranking of their websites, taking into account local aspects such as language and culture.

Our services include link building, content creation, keyword research, on-page analysis, snippet optimization, and more.

The post Hiring SEO Outsourcing Companies: 11 Crucial Benefits appeared first on Business Opportunities.

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