Along with the introduction of the plural generation, mobile payments and pre-election year politics, 2015 also promises more development of the “internet of things”, a concept that small business owners may or may not be already familiar with. According to a Wired.com article on the IoT, the name refers to the increasing spread of networks as well as the proliferation of “smart” devices capable of using the internet to receive and collect information, bridging the gap between the internet and the physical world. How does the internet of things relate to small business? There are many ways that businesses both large and small could be changed by the increasing connection between the web, interenet enabled devices and people in the next few years. Here are a couple that business owners should take into account. Mobile payment technologies. The news that Apple will be moving into the mobile payment space brought the possibility of widely adopted seamless payments back into focus, as the challenge of balancing retailer concerns

In a study released by Magid Generational Strategies, marketers were introduced to the newest American generation, now officially recognized as different from the Millennial generation currently entering the workforce. In 2014, the last Millennial will turn 18, marking an important milestone and signifying the formation of a new generation called the “Plurals” for their diverse ethnic backgrounds and open attitudes towards issues including immigration, gay marriage and equalization of traditional gender roles. As the Millennials enter the realm of adulthood, with the increased purchasing power and political influence that entails, the Boomer generation will enter into their 50’s, again a significant shift in demographics that will see a shift of targeting and message through the media channels that target the 18-49 year old demographic with the most significant impact on purchasing in the US, as the golden years, according to the analysis, are characterized by staunch brand loyalty and moderate spending habits. What are the Plurals like? Changing technology, parenting strategies and legislation in the US

The holidays are a time when business tends to pick up, with some small businesses making large percentages of their yearly sales in the months leading up to the New Year. Because of the higher concentration of sales being made as well as the heightened traffic web pages experience, the holiday season represents a great time for business owners to gather and analyze data on the effectiveness of their landing pages. Whether it is figuring out which pages convert the most, or A/B testing to fine tune the appearance and functionality of their e-commerce pages, taking advantage of this busy time to improve processes is in the best interest of business owners who are serious about having the best sites possible. Get acquainted with Google Analytics. Setting up Google Analytics can help your business with a great amount of insight on traffic patterns and the rate of conversions that your business can expect. Conversion tracking can tell you not only how many sales you’ve made, but

With disruptive technologies, start-up culture, the rise of mobile and the unfolding battleground of mobile payment technologies set to be major influences on the business world in 2015, small business owners need to be prepared to adapt and stay up to date on what matters most; that being what it is that their customers want. Shifts in consumer habits are being influenced by the increasing integration of technology into the ways that people look for and purchase goods, and should business owners ignore these persistent trends, they do so at their own peril. Be mobile friendly. Your customers are going to become more mobile-oriented as time goes on. The power of smart-phones continues to increase, and as a result, a larger percentage of the population is turning to mobile apps in order to locate stores within their areas when they want to make purchases. Review apps such as Yelp can also decisively affect customer perceptions of small businesses before they even set foot in a store,

Apple Pay is an app available for IOS 8.1,  representing Apple’s historic foray into mobile payment solutions. A great blog post on BizEpic.com sums up the general thought regarding Apple’s presence in the mobile payment arena, saying “this changes everything”, and so it does. While the article is correct to point out that mobile payments are not exactly new, with Apple throwing the full weight of their market share and huge popularity behind their payment app, not to mention their significant innovative and aesthetic force responsible for the ubiquity of the iphone itself, many are assuming this is the product that makes mobile payment go mainstream. Apple Pay’s launch has apparently spiked interest in the Android alternative, Google Wallet, which has already existed for years with less warm reception, as well as thrown light on a series of events that brought challenger CurrentC out of development of their payment platform and directly into the fray, with a not too warm reception by the public after their

      What’s so great about Instagram? For one thing, more and more marketers are waking up to the possibilities of the medium, with its simple to use interface and engaged demographics. True to form, marketing tools are emerging that can provide business owners with more functionality and insight surrounding how they post on the network, an indicator that businesses are taking it seriously. At face value, Instagram is seemingly the perfect platform for marketing visually appealing products, since its emphasis on images and its scrolling system of browsing are reminiscent of window shopping and in that sense is similar to Pinterest, which many use in order to create virtual wishlists. In order to make your small business’s efforts on Instagram pay off, there are a few factors that business owners should consider regarding what they are posting and how. Quality trumps quantity. The feeds that have the most subscribers aren’t always the ones that post the most content. Instagram users tend to be pretty

The internet was left reeling over Labor Day weekend by leaked nude photos of many of the most high profile personalities in Hollywood, including Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton among others. In the aftermath of the leak, a flurry of articles have come out, reporting on the pleas from hacked camps to not look at the photos as well as the various interpretations of what the event means in relation to celebrity and its relationship with the public, privacy in an increasingly public age, digital security and the knowledge that individuals need in order to protect themselves. The photos may have been stolen via hacking of cloud accounts. According to the Telegraph, the photos may have been stolen through exploiting vulnerabilities in Apple’s cloud storage, and may not have been the work of a single hacker alone, rather a longstanding hacking ring that has amassed a potentially much larger collection of salacious celebrity photographs. We have already written about the potential security gaps

The internet was left reeling over Labor Day weekend by leaked nude photos of many of the most high profile personalities in Hollywood, including Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton among others. In the aftermath of the leak, a flurry of articles have come out, reporting on the pleas from hacked camps to not look at the photos as well as the various interpretations of what the event means in relation to celebrity and its relationship with the public, privacy in an increasingly public age, digital security and the knowledge that individuals need in order to protect themselves. The photos may have been stolen via hacking of cloud accounts. According to the Telegraph, the photos may have been stolen through exploiting vulnerabilities in Apple’s cloud storage, and may not have been the work of a single hacker alone, rather a longstanding hacking ring that has amassed a potentially much larger collection of salacious celebrity photographs. We have already written about the potential security gaps

A mobile website is a very strong investment for small business owners, since mobile traffic on the internet continues to increase year over year. Smallbiztrends.com even suggests businesses gear up their mobile marketing now in anticipation of peak sales during the Christmas season. But what if a business is simply not able to invest in a mobile site for whatever reason? Are there ways that they can still attempt to profit off of the increasing important medium of mobile web traffic? Here are a few suggestions for putting a brand in the public eye via mobile marketing even without a site that is optimized for mobile. 1) Take advantage of mobile apps that allow business profiles. Claiming all the listings that are open to your business is a good first step towards gaining mobile exposure without a website. Examples of sites that can help businesses appear on mobile are Yelp and Foursquare, as these allow businesses to create profiles that have the potential to show up

Mobile web traffic has continued to grow as a percentage of all online activity, as reported by smallbiztrends.com, and currently 60 percent of internet traffic is now occurring on mobile devices. This figure includes internet use by mobile apps, with organic traffic created by handheld devices including smartphones and tablets clocking in at around 35% of the total number. Regardless, if small businesses rely on digital, they need to be aware of the increasing importance of mobile and position themselves to take advantage of the implications. Mobile ads. Mobile marketing is one way for business owners to take advantage of the traffic taking place on mobile devices. This type of advertisement is particularly powerful for businesses trying to create calls, since a mobile ad can allow for a conversion to a call with the touch of a button. Some apps also host ads, which can potentially be strong places for businesses to advertise depending on the demographics that they serve. App development. Apps offer an unprecedented level of

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